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Title: The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. VIII
Author: Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. VIII" ***

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by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at
















Published under the Direction of the President of the United States,
from the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably
to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818.








Steam Power Press--W. L. Lewis' Print.

No. 6, Congress Street, Boston.







    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, December
    13th, 1781,                                                      3

        Military operations in the South.--Requests more
        frequent 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 Deane.

    To Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
    Madrid, February 6th, 1782,                                      8

        Correspondence interrupted and examined in the

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, February 6th, 1782,       10

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

    To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 16th, 1782,           12

        Capitulation of Fort St Philip.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 18th, 1782,           12

        Encloses the articles of capitulation for Fort St

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, March 8th,
    1782,                                                           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 exclusive
        navigation of the Mississippi 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
        Franklin, (St Ildefonso, September 10th, 1781),
        requesting 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 Florida Blanca, informing him of his intention
        of returning to Madrid.--Reply of the Count de Florida
        Blanca to the preceding.--Complaint exhibited by the
        Count de Florida Blanca against Commodore Gillon, for
        retaining deserters from the Spanish service on board
        his vessel.--Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida
        Blanca, (Madrid, October 9th, 1781), acknowledging the
        justice of his demand of the surrender of the deserters,
        and enclosing a copy of his letter to Commodore Gillon
        on the subject; Mr Jay urges decisive measures relating
        to the negotiations with America.--Letter from Mr Jay to
        Commodore Gillon (Madrid, October 9th, 1781), advising
        the surrender of the deserters.--Receives a statement
        from Commodore Gillon, showing the charge against him to
        have been precipitate.--Representations of Colonel
        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 ordinance requiring the legality of
        prizes brought into the Spanish ports, to be tried in
        the Court of Admiralty, whence the commission of the
        captors issued.--Receives no answer.--Letter from Mr
        Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, November
        6th, 1781), on the detention of the American privateer
        Cicero, with her prize, at Bilboa, on account of her
        firing into one of the King's cutters; statement of the
        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, 1781), requesting
        a statement of the facts in the case of the Cicero, and
        the speedy release of the vessel.--Letter from the Count
        de Florida Blanca to Mr Jay, communicating 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 16th, 1781), urging the
        necessity of supplies.--Receives no answer.--Letter from
        Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, November 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 interview.--Reply to the preceding
        note.--Receives 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 Jay's
        knowledge.--M. del Campo declines the conference, under
        pretence of ill health; and afterwards on the plea of
        want of instruction.--Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin
        (Madrid, December 31st, 1781), asking advances 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; requests
        aid from France; declares his intention in case of
        protesting the bills, to assign as a reason, that he had
        placed too much confidence in his Catholic Majesty; the
        Ambassador advises patience.--Letter from Dr Franklin to
        Mr Jay (Passy, January 15th, 1782), enclosing a letter
        from the Count de Vergennes to Dr Franklin (Versailles,
        December 31st, 1781), 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 30th, 1782), on the subject of advances;
        important services of Dr Franklin.--Note from Mr Jay to
        M. del Campo (Madrid, February 1st, 1782), expressing
        his anxiety to enter upon the discussion of American
        affairs.--Reply of M. del Campo, regretting that the
        ill health of the Count de Florida Blanca has prevented
        the drawing 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 answer 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 reimbursed for his advances.--Mr Jay replies
        verbally to M. Cabarrus, that he can give him no
        positive assurances of immediate repayment, but has
        expectations from Dr Franklin.--The French Ambassador
        promises to represent to the Count de Florida Blanca,
        the critical situation of Mr Jay.--Letter from the
        Chevalier de Bourgoing to Mr Jay, communicating the
        reply of the Spanish Minister to the representations of
        the French Ambassador.--Note from Mr Jay to the
        Chevalier de Bourgoing, returning his thanks to the
        Ambassador.--Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid,
        February 11th, 1782), on the subject of advances.--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 accounts of his advances, and requesting
        repayment.--M. Cabarrus has a conference with the
        Minister, who refuses any new advances, and declares
        that the King is dissatisfied, that he has received no
        returns from America 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 advances.--Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de
        Florida Blanca (Madrid, March 2d, 1782), explaining the
        causes which have prevented returns on the part of the
        United States to the 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
        proposed treaty; the Minister promises to send M.
        Gardoqui to America.--Extract from the Madrid Gazette,
        giving an account of the capture of the Fort St Joseph
        by Spanish 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 del
        Florida Blanca (Madrid, March 14th, 1782), informing him
        that the bills have been presented, and requesting to
        know if he will afford any aid.--Note from Mr Jay to the
        French Ambassador, communicating the preceding
        letter.--Letter from the Count de Montmorin to Mr Jay,
        stating that the Count de Florida Blanca consents to
        become security for fifty thousand dollars, on condition
        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 offensive measures in
        America.--Letter from Dr Franklin to Mr Jay (Passy,
        March 16th, 1782), offering to meet the bills; thinks it
        best to pay off the whole sum due to Spain.--Letter from
        Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, March 19th, 1782),
        acknowledging the supplies; proposals of a peace
        separate from France ought not to be listened to;
        approves of the plan of repaying Spain her advances.--M.
        Cabarrus wishes a reconciliation.--Letter from Mr Jay to
        M. Cabarras (Madrid, April 2d, 1782), in reply to his
        claims for gratitude; his conduct requires an
        apology.--M. Cabarras 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 Madrid.--Receives an invitation to appear on
        Saturdays at the Minister's table.--No advantage to be
        gained by hastening a treaty with Spain.--Spain will be
        less easily satisfied than France in the articles of
        peace.--Mr Jay requests the French Ambassador 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 dinners.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, May 9th,
    1782,                                                          105

        General Carleton's attempts at a
        reconciliation.--Importance of securing Spain.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, May 14th, 1782,               110

        Is summoned to Paris by Dr Franklin.

    Robert R. Livingston, to John Jay. Philadelphia, June 23d,
    1782,                                                          111

        Conduct of Spain in the West Indies.--The people will
        listen to no term of accommodation.

    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,               115

        Services of the Marquis de Lafayette.--Intentions of the
        British Ministry.--Inexpediency of any negotiations in

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, July 6th,
    1782,                                                          117

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

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, September
    12th, 1782,                                                    119

        Complains of want of information from American Ministers
        in Europe.--Symptoms of a change in the British
        conciliatory policy.--Importance of securing 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 views on the French policy.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, September
    18th, 1782,                                                    127

        Enclosing certain resolutions of Congress.--The letters
        of the Commissioners are inspected on the passage.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Sept. 28th, 1782,              128

        Mr Oswald receives a new commission, empowering him to
        treat with the thirteen United States of America.

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

        The French Court advised treating with Mr Oswald under
        his former commission.--Mr Jay refused.--The Count
        d'Aranda wishes to treat with Mr Jay without exchanging
        powers, and the French Court advises it.--Mr Jay

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

        England appears disposed to evade the acknowledgement 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 Dr Franklin, on Mr Oswald's powers.--Conference
        between the Count de Vergennes and Messrs Franklin and
        Jay; Mr Jay objects to treating with Mr Oswald, under a
        commission styling the United States Colonies; opinion
        of the Court assented to by Dr Franklin, that that was
        no ground of objection.--Conversation on the same
        subject between Dr Franklin and Mr Jay.--Extracts from
        the instructions to Sir Guy Carleton, transmitted by
        Lord Shelburne to Dr Franklin.--Conversation with Mr
        Oswald on this subject.--Form of a commission to Mr
        Oswald proposed by Mr Jay, recognising the colonies as
        independent States.--Further conversation with the Count
        de Vergennes on the same subject.--Extract of a letter
        from Mr Townshend to Mr Oswald (Whitehall, September
        1st, 1782), declaring that the negotiations 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 Carleton's instructions, and attributes it
        to French influence; 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 d'Aranda (Paris, June 25th,
        1782), acquainting him with his readiness to enter upon
        the negotiations.--Letter from Count d'Aranda to Mr Jay
        (Paris, June 27th, 1782), expressing a wish to see
        him.--Conversation 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 declines treating with the Count
        d'Aranda, without exchanging powers.--Mr Jay assures the
        Count d'Aranda that the Mississippi is the ultimatum of
        America; objections of the Count.--Letter from M.
        Rayneval to Mr Jay (Versailles, September 4th, 1782),
        requesting a visit from him.--Letter from M. Rayneval to
        Mr Jay (Versailles, September 6th, 1782), transmitting
        the following Memorial.--Memorial of M. Rayneval on the
        right of the United States to the navigation of the
        Mississippi.--Reflections of Mr Jay on this
        Memorial.--Letter from Mr Jay to the Count d'Aranda
        (Paris, September 10th, 1782), 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 his visit.--Conversation
        with Mr Vaughan on the subject of M. Rayneval's
        visit.--Mr Jay represents the expediency of treating
        with America on an equal footing; the inexpediency of
        attempting to exclude the Americans from the fisheries;
        and of restricting the western boundary and 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
        Vergennes, 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; precedents from acts of Congress;
        America has treated with other powers as an independent
        State; precedents from other States under similar
        circumstances; detail of the history of the early
        negotiations of the United Provinces with Spain, showing
        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'Aranda, and the Marquis de Lafayette, on the
        propriety of Spain's treating with America on an equal
        footing.--The Count de Vergennes states the object of M.
        Rayneval's visit to England to be, to judge of the real
        views of the English Ministry.--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 French
        Court is directed to prevent a cordial reconciliation
        between 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. Rayneval's visit to England.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, November
    23d, 1782,                                                     212

        Complains of want of information from the Ministers 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

        The negotiations with Spain are not begun.--Unanimity 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 to John Jay. Philadelphia, January 4th,
    1783,                                                          215

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

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 7th, 1783,               222

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

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 11th, 1783,              223

        Change in the British Ministry.--Russia and Austria are
        invited to send mediatorial plenipotentiaries to assist
        at the definitive treaties.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 22d, 1783,               224

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

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

        Proposes Mr Adams as the most suitable Minister to Great

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

        Progress of the negotiations.--Settlement of his

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

        Reasons for resigning his commission to the Spanish

    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 ratifications of
        the treaty of peace exchanged.


    To the President of Congress. Paris, August 10th, 1780,        239

        Forwarding certain papers.

    To the President of Congress. Paris, August 24th, 1780,        240

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

    To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, September 20th,
    1780,                                                          241

        Receives despatches from Congress by Mr Searle, and sets
        off in consequence for the Low Countries.--Suspicions
        entertained in Holland, that the United States have
        granted exclusive privileges 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 it.

    To Jonathan Jackson. Amsterdam, November 11th, 1780,           244

        Capture and confinement of Mr Laurens.--Intemperate
        Memorial of Sir J. Yorke on the discovery of a plan of a
        treaty, drawn up by Mr W. Lee and the Regency of
        Amsterdam.--Naval forces of Holland.

    Instructions to Francis Dana, as Minister Plenipotentiary to
    the Court of St Petersburg. In Congress, December 19th,
    1780,                                                          247

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, February 16th,
    1781,                                                          252

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

    To the President of Congress. Paris, March 24th, 1781,         254

        Dr Franklin advises the communication of his commission
        to the Count de Vergennes, and to the Russian
        Court.--Objections to the latter part of his advice.--No
        provision is made for any secretary or clerk to assist

    To the President of Congress. Paris, March 28th, 1781,         258

        Dr Franklin coincides in his objections to communicating
        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 his mission to St
        Petersburg.--Intends to appear only as a private

    To the President of Congress. Paris, March 31st, 1781,         261

        Manner of communicating his mission to the Count de

    Count de Vergennes to Francis Dana. Versailles, April 1st,
    1781,                                                          263

        Requests an interview with him relative to his mission.

    To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, April 2d, 1781,              263

        Mr Dana will wait on the Count before setting out for

    To the President of Congress. Paris, April 2d, 1781,           264

        Delayed by the proposed interview with the Count de
        Vergennes.--Impolicy of making the communication.--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 Minister at the

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

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

    B. Franklin to Francis Dana. Passy, April 7th, 1781,           270

        Thinks the Count de Vergennes made no objection to his
        going.--Dr Franklin thinks 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 propriety of
        communicating with the Prince Gallitzin on the subject.

    John Adams to Francis Dana. Leyden, April 18th, 1781,          273

        Advises him to proceed to Russia, without assuming any
        distinction of character, and without communicating his
        intention to the Prince Gallitzin or the Russian
        Court.--The resolutions of Congress on neutral rights
        ought to be communicated.--The United States should be
        represented in all countries of Europe.

    To Edmund Jennings. Amsterdam, April 26th, 1781,               277

        Requesting him to join him on his mission.

    Edmund Jennings to Francis Dana. Brussels, May 3d, 1781,       278

        Accepts of the invitation to join him.

    To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 13th, 1781,       278

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

    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 declines
        accompanying him on his route.--Policy of the European
        powers.--Minutes of the Memorial of the French
        Ambassador to Count Ostermann, relative to the
        violations of neutrality by the English.--It is
        important to discover the real sentiments of Russia
        toward America.--Expects no support from the French
        Minister at St Petersburg, 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 Marquis de Verac to Francis Dana. Thursday, August 30th,
    1781,                                                          290

        Expresses his satisfaction on Mr Dana's arrival.

    To the Marquis de Verac, Ambassador from France. St
    Petersburg, September 1st, 1781,                               290

        Acquainting him with his commission, and his
        instructions to communicate with the French Minister at
        the Russian Court.

    The Marquis de Verac to Francis Dana. St Petersburg,
    September 2d, 1781,                                            291

        The Court of Russia has maintained a strict neutrality
        between the belligerent powers, 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

    To the Marquis de Verac. St Petersburg, September 4th, 1781,   294

        Considerations on the policy pursued by Russia towards
        the belligerents.--The admission of an American Minister
        to the proposed mediatorial Congress would be an
        acknowledgment of independence.--The present is a
        favorable opportunity for establishing freedom of
        commerce and navigation for all nations.--Reasons which
        render it proper to assume his public character.

    The Marquis de Verac to Francis Dana. St Petersburg,
    September 12th, 1781,                                          300

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

    To the Marquis de Verac. St Petersburg, September 13th,
    1781,                                                          304

        Thanking him for his information and advice.

    To the President of Congress. St Petersburg, September 15th,
    1781,                                                          305

        Commerce of the southern shore of the Baltic.--The
        objections of the French Ambassador to his assumption 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 this proposition
        would be rejected by England, and would thus leave them
        to treat more decidedly with the United States.--If the
        Empress 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 exchanged in
        Russia for the productions 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 documents 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 obstructed by the delays of
        Holland.--Count Panin.--Expectations from the neutral
        confederation.--The plan of a general pacification
        founded on a desire to preserve the balance of power by

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, October
    22d, 1781,                                                     319

        Announcing the appointment of a Secretary of Foreign
        Affairs.--Successes in the south.--Encloses resolutions
        of Congress relative to the propositions of the Empress
        of Russia, respecting the rights of neutrals.

    To William Ellery. St Petersburg, January 17th, 1782,          323

        Different offers of mediation by Russia.--Effect of the
        American revolution on the policy of the European
        powers.--Jealousy of American commerce in Russia.

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana, Philadelphia, March
    2d, 1782,                                                      325

        The cause of the United States may be served by
        representations of their actual condition.--Military
        operations in America.--Financial concerns.--Ordinance
        relating to captures.--Requests frequent 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 England cannot
        succeed in recovering the United States.--The Empress's
        offer of mediation will prevent her from favoring the
        United States.--Another campaign must be
        expected.--State of the neutral confederation.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 30th, 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.--Account of Russian commerce.

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

        Congratulates him on his success in Holland.--Favorable
        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

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, 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, and 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 succeeds General Clinton.--Attempts of England
        to gain over America to a reconciliation entirely
        without success.

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May 22d,
    1782,                                                          350

        The change of administration in England has produced no
        change of feeling in America.--Congress refuses a
        passport to General Carleton's Secretary.

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May
    29th, 1782,                                                    352

        Transmitting letters of earlier date.--Ten thousand
        British prisoners in America, which the English 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 chances in the British
        Ministry.--Reflections drawn up by Mr Dana without
        signature, and communicated indirectly to the Russian
        Cabinet, showing that the commerce of Russia will not
        suffer by the independence of America.--Difficulties of
        transmission 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 fully convinced
        that the independence of the United States is
        permanently established.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, September 5th, 1782,   364

        The Empress is prevented, by her desire of acting as
        mediator, from taking any decisive measures in favor of
        the United States.--The belligerent powers were never
        intended to be parties to the marine convention.--Custom
        at 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. Philadelphia,
    September 18th, 1782,                                          369

        Complains of want of information as to his
        proceedings.--Military operations in America.--Changes
        of measures in consequence of the changes of
        administrations in England.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, September 23d, 1782,   371

        Russia will not make any advances towards America.--The
        Russian Cabinet.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, September 29th,
    1782,                                                          373

        Russian commerce.--Apprehensions in Russia, that the
        United States may interfere with that country,
        particularly in the articles of hemp and
        iron.--Considerations showing the groundlessness of
        these fears.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, October 14th, 1782,    379

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

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, November 1st, 1782,    382

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

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, November
    7th, 1782,                                                     384

        Encloses resolutions of Congress, directing the foreign
        Ministers of the United States to transmit frequent
        communications.--Also resolutions, declaring the
        intention of Congress not to conclude a peace without
        their allies.--State of affairs in the United
        States.--Mr Boudinot elected President of
        Congress.--Provisions for the payment of the salaries of
        the Ministers.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, November 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. Philadelphia, December
    17th, 1782,                                                    391

        Military operations of the preceding campaign.--General
        Carleton's attempts at negotiation.--Spirit of the
        people.--Flourishing State of commerce.--State of the
        circulating medium.--Success of the bank.--Condition of
        the finances.--Formation of the State
        governments.--General tranquillity.--Insurrection in
        Massachusetts represented as the revolt of New
        England.--Character of Congress.--Transmits the

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, December 21st, 1782,   398

        Opportunities on which the communications of his powers
        seemed proper.--Circumstances which render it expedient.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, December 27th, 1782,   402

        Intends to return to America as soon as a commercial
        treaty with Russia shall be completed.--Reasons for this

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, December 30th, 1782,   404

        Advantages of postponing the conclusion of a commercial
        treaty with Russia.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 3d, 1783,      406

        Treaty between Denmark and Russia on the principles of
        the Marine Convention.--The Marine 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,                                408

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

    To John Adams. St Petersburg, Jan. 15th, 1783,                 409

        Is prevented by his instructions from communicating his
        mission.--The attention of Russia is turned chiefly to
        the east.

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

        Delays the communication of his mission in compliance
        with the opinion of the French Ambassador.--State of
        affairs between Russia and Turkey.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 31st, 1783,    413

        Dr Franklin promises to advance the money necessary to
        conclude the treaty with Russia.--Intends to return to

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, February 10th, 1783,   414

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

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, February 25th, 1783,   417

        The French Ambassador advises him not to communicate his
        mission until the formal announcement of the signing of
        the preliminaries by the British Minister.--Intends to
        draw on Dr Franklin for the expenses of the treaty.

    Mr Dana's Communication of his Mission to Count Ostermann.
    St Petersburg, March 7th, 1783,                                419

    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 reception.

    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

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, April 22d, 1783,       427

        Enclosing a copy of his second letter to Count
        Ostermann, requesting to know the pleasure of the
        Empress on the subject of his mission.--Is informed that
        an objection will be made to his letter 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 definitive treaty
        between the belligerents; that she could not then
        receive one whose letter of credence was dated prior to
        the acknowledgment of their independence by 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 objections to Mr
        Dana's reception.

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May 1st,
    1783,                                                          436

        Enclosing resolutions recalling Mr Dana.--Mr Dana has
        no power to sign a commercial treaty, and there can be
        no advantage in joining the Marine Convention.

    To Count Ostermann. St Petersburg, May 8th, 1783,              438

        Enclosing a Memorial to Count Ostermann, containing the
        objections of the Count to the reception of an American
        Minister, with Mr Dana's replies.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 9th, 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 sentiments.--Intention of returning.--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, May 13th, 1783,        451

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

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

        Objections to his reception.--Congress ought not to
        consent to issue new letters of credence of later date.

    Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, 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 condition of

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

        Prepares another letter to the Vice Chancellor, desiring
        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 privileged sea by a confederation of
        the powers occupying 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. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 17th, 1783,       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.--Answer of Mr Dana to
        the note of Count Ostermann.--Reasons for not
        transmitting more full information relative to Russia.

    Mr Dana's plan of a Commercial Treaty between Russia and the
    United States,                                                 466

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 24th, 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 boundary.--Prospect of a
        war with Turkey, and probable consequences.--Changes of
        the _corps diplomatique_ at the Court of St Petersburg.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, July 8th, 1783,        499

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

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, July 27th, 1783,       501

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

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, August 8th, 1783,      504

        Informs Count Ostermann of his intention to return.

    To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, August 17th, 1783,     505

        Encloses his letter to Count Ostermann, stating ill
        health to be the cause of his departure.--Interview with
        Count Ostermann relative to his return.

    To the President of Congress. Cambridge, December 17th,
    1783,                                                          510

        Announcing his return.











       *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, December 13th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

My last letter of the 28th of November, sent by the Marquis de
Lafayette, must for the most part have been unintelligible 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 North
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 General
St Clair joins the southern army, the enemy will evacuate 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 they have intrusted you.

You will see that I neglect no opportunity of writing. I flatter
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 Minister of France. 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. I 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. Perhaps this may make some
arrangements with the Court of Spain necessary; that is, if any prize
goods are re-shipped from thence to America.

I am, my Dear Sir, with the greatest esteem and regard, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                      Philadelphia, 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 quadruplicate of my last letter, and
to add thereto the little information which this inactive season
affords. Nothing passes here between the armies; they are cantoned at
a 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 enterprize of General Greene an activity, which
the season will not admit of here.

I had a letter from him of 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 natural
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 conceived. General Greene's letter expresses
it in the following words; "The tyrants of Syracuse were never more
detested than the British army in this country; 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 Bouillé; and his disinterested 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 ninepence 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 comfortable 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 off; and the departments, in
consequence of it, filled with men of integrity and abilities.
Embargoes and other restrictions being removed, our commerce begins to
revive, and with 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 people
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

Whether Spain wishes for peace or war, it is certainly her interest to
push the enemy where they are most vulnerable, and where she can do it
with the smallest expense to herself, and the greatest to her enemy.
Every additional man she enables us to maintain here, forces Britain
to lay out four times as much in procuring, transporting, and feeding
another to oppose him. It has been acknowledged 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 recruits to make
up deficiencies, and that of sending provisions 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 Rivington has published, which speak
a still more dangerous language. No doubt is entertained here of his
apostacy, or of his endeavor to weaken the efforts 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
accidental 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 uneasiness 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 Mercury, 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,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                           Madrid, February 6th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

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

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

On the 29th of November last, I received a packet, in which I 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 18th 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 correspondences in important
cases by couriers, and not by the post.

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, private as well as
official, and as I still have confidence in Mr R. Morris's cypher, I
shall sometimes use it to you.

A duplicate of my letter of the 3d of October to Congress, 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.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Madrid, February 6th, 1782.


My last particular letter to your Excellency was dated the 3d of
October last, by Major Franks. I now transmit 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
himself to America, or forward it by some person of confidence.

From the date of that letter to this day, the Minister has found it
convenient to continue the system of delay mentioned 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 time, given
the Doctor a great deal of trouble on this subject, and I ought to
acknowledge, that I am under many and great obligations 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 afflicted, I shall write
your Excellency 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, which, though mentioned to have
been enclosed, is missing. None of his other letters have reached me.
A duplicate of Mr Thomson's cypher, brought by Mr Barclay, came to me
through the post-office with such evident marks of inspection, that it
would be imprudent to use it hereafter.

Notwithstanding all our difficulties 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
Minister's system should change, (for they still give me hopes) it
might perhaps also be proper for me to consult with Dr Franklin and Mr
Adams on the subject, and send Congress the result. For this purpose,
I submit 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 general opinion at present. But I
am still much inclined to think it advisable to push this Court by a
demand of a categorical answer. I 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, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          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 13th instant.

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

I 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 hitherto been so
like an April one, that I dare not as yet flatter you or myself with
settled fair weather.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          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 tomorrow, and I send enclosed as
much of it as contains the articles of capitulation for Fort St
Philip. This event takes place very opportunely, and will have a fine
effect in England. Things begin to look more promising; but I avoid
particulars for a week or two, that I may have a better opportunity
of judging what reliance may be placed in present appearances.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

_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. I do not care
to do it without letting you know, that we have nothing worth telling
you. For want of positive, you must be content with negative
information, which sometimes has its use, and failing of any other at
least serves to provoke 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 Charleston, 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 I cannot say. We are extremely anxious
to hear the event of a battle, which has been fought in the West
Indies between 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 the Mississippi; it contains some
information which may be of use to you. I also enclose 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,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                       Philadelphia, April 27th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I informed you in my letter of the 16th instant,[1] that yours of the
3d of October had been received and submitted 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
approbation of your conduct, and afford you that intimate knowledge of
their sentiments, which the delicacy of your situation renders
particularly important. They have, however, judged it proper to refer
the letter to me. I shall endeavor 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 believe, that they are equally
surprised and concerned at the little attention hitherto shown by
Spain to their respectful solicitations. They had learned from every
quarter that his Catholic Majesty, among the princely virtues he
possesses, was particularly distinguished for his candor, and that
open dignity of character, which is the result of having no views
that 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 form the politics of inferior powers. They knew the
insults which Spain had received from Great Britain, and they could
conceive no reason why she should conceal or refuse to return them by
supporting openly the people, whom Britain unjustly endeavored to
oppress. These principles, confirmed by the frequent recommendations
of those whom they believed 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 Majesty to a people who were
struggling with oppression, and whose success or miscarriage 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; or to the
candor and integrity by which they were supposed to be influenced. 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 undergone 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 abatement of respect or
esteem for the virtue and magnanimity of his Majesty, and do full
justice to the integrity and abilities of his Ministers, accepting the
apologies you mention, and attributing to their true causes the delays
and neglects you have unhappily experienced, 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 government, 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 belief 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 jealousies. 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 unsuccessful. These insinuations are gaining
ground, and it becomes 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
concessions when they are found ineffectual. Yet they find much
reluctance in discovering the least want of confidence in the Court of
Madrid; and though their present situation might fully justify them in
not parting with the important 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,
till you shall have reason to conclude, that nothing can be done
towards forming the alliance they have so much at heart; not only
because of the influence it will immediately have in accelerating the
peace, but because 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 have met with afford 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 the 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 compensation 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 Gibraltar 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 Majesty 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 controversy,
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, contributed to bring upon his enemy? And this too, without
the least necessity, when he may, by accepting and purchasing our
title, appear to have contended for the rights of the United States.
This will then make no part of the 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 navigation of the Mississippi, by
postponing the treaty to a general 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
inconsistent 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 Majesty, 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 confidence, which becomes the
representative of a nation, which has 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 affairs, they can conceive no
reason for disguising his designs, they are satisfied, that your
frankness will meet from his Ministers with the confidence it merits.

I make no observations on the hint the Count de Florida Blanca gave
you, with respect to the restitution of such sums as Spain might be
pleased to advance to us; because, 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.

I cannot close this letter without expressing the grateful sense, that
Congress entertain of the disinterested conduct 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.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[1] This letter is in cypher, and the key has been lost.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                       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 regular 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 by this supply. These are loose hints
by no means directory to you. Congress mean as little as possible to
clog you with instructions. They 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 have 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, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             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 difficulties were omitted, and
among others, those which arose from my having no funds for the bills
payable in October and November, &c. &c. The experience I 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 as 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 purpose, wrote him the
following letter on the 10th of September, viz.

                       TO DR BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

                                  "St Ildefonso, September 10th, 1781.

  "Dear Sir,

"My last to you was of the 20th day of August last, by Dupin, the
French Ambassador's courier. Major Franks, with despatches from
Congress, and from Mr Robert Morris, 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 present state of American finances, and the measures he
is prosecuting to ameliorate them. My former letters mentioned my
apprehensions, that many more bills had been drawn upon me, than those
for which the sum you authorised me 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.

"This 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 us 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 recover it. The protest of any of our
public bills for want of payment would at this period be more
injurious than heretofore, and unless again saved by you, that cruel
necessity must take place with respect to those on me. Besides, as the
singular policy of drawing bills without previous funds will now be
relinquished, we have reason to flatter ourselves, that we shall in
future have no embarrassments of this kind to struggle with. I am well
persuaded, that Mr Morris will not pursue such hazardous and
unprecedented measures, and, therefore, as in all human probability
the present difficulties 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 prevent it.

"When 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 ascertained.

"I am, Dear Sir, with great and sincere regard and esteem, your
obliged and obedient servant,

                                                             JOHN JAY.

"_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
without further order. I am a little at a loss to determine whether
this restriction is intended 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 prejudicial to their credit, I
transmit herewith enclosed a state 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 had become
payable, that I received the Doctor's friendly answer of the 29th of
September, in which he permitted me to draw for the sum requested; so
that had not M. Cabarrus, my banker, consented to make the necessary
advances, I should have been extremely embarrassed, for, as I before
apprehended, any reliance for immediate though small supplies from
this Court would have proved delusive.

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 further bills, the intention of this Court
on the subject of supplies might be ascertained.

I will now proceed to resume the narrative of our affairs here 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

My letter of the 3d of October mentions my having been then lately
promised, that a person should be appointed 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 Ildefonso 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 Ildefonso until the Court should be on the point of leaving it.

On the 5th of October I found that no further progress in our affairs
was to be made before the Court should be settled at the 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 informing him that he purposes
to return to Madrid tomorrow, and will with pleasure attend his
Excellency's orders at the Escurial, as soon as it may be convenient
to his Excellency to render his presence there necessary.

"_St Ildefonso, October 5th, 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 5th,

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
transactions, but also that my conduct on this occasion may stand
contrasted with that of the Minister on some other similar ones.

   _Recital of a Complaint 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 regiment 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 off 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
surrender 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 have 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 time 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.

"_October 8, 1781._"

                         ANSWER TO THE ABOVE.

                                           "Madrid, October 9th, 1781.


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

"I perfectly agree in sentiment with your Excellency respecting the
impropriety of detaining on board the American frigate at Corunna, the
two men claimed by the commandant there, as deserters from one of his
Majesty'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 reception given
to American vessels in the ports of Spain gives his Majesty a double
right to expect, that their conduct should at least be inoffensive. In
the present case, (as stated in your Excellency's letter) I am fully
convinced 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

"Agreeably to your Excellency's desire, I have written a letter (of
which the enclosed is a copy) to the commanding 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 my acknowledgments 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. Permit 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.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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

                         TO COMMODORE GILLON.

                                           "Madrid, October 9th, 1781.


"The paper herewith 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.

"You 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
States of North America, and admitted to be such, refusing 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 certainly had an equal one to
enter into that of Spain; and if they had previously engaged with the
latter, their subsequent enlistments with you were void, and Spain
being in friendship with us has a just right to reclaim them.

"If they deny their having enlisted in the Spanish service, still like
all other foreigners who come into this kingdom 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 the 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 proper authority, as deserters
from the service of his Catholic Majesty.

"You may observe that I treat this subject merely as a 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 America do what is right merely
because it may be convenient. I flatter myself that her conduct will
uniformly be actuated by higher and more generous principles, and that
her national character will daily become more and more distinguished,
by disinterested justice and heroic magnanimity.

"I shall take the earliest opportunity of transmitting a particular
state of this affair to Congress, and I cannot doubt but that your
conduct will merit their approbation, by being perfectly consistent
with a just regard to the dignity 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 punishment, 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
engagements, which they ought to have honestly performed instead of

"In short, Sir, although on the one hand, I 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 Cæsar whatever may belong unto Cæsar.

"I am, &c.

                                                            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 anything 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. Colonel Searle's representations against the Commodore's
conduct 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 offered to transmit to me
through him some important information, which had been confidentially
communicated 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 I 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 Commodore, 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 confidence 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 letter from the
Commodore. This letter placed his transactions in a different point of
view, and inclined me to think that the proposed interposition on my
part would have been unnecessary.

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

You will be pleased to observe, that my last letter to the 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 continued.

I consulted the Ambassador of France, as to the propriety of my going
to the Escurial, and endeavoring to prevail upon the Minister to
proceed in our affairs, 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 notice of the
time when he would be able to transact these affairs with me, it would
be most prudent to wait with patience 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 followed

Thus the month of October produced nothing but expectation, suspense,
and disappointment.

About this time M. Gardoqui mentioned to me a singular 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 commission 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 Majesty was pleased to extend the abovementioned order to prizes
taken by American vessels of war, and sent into any of the ports of

"So far as this order affects the United States of America, 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 Admiralty can be obtained and executed here.

"2dly. That by these delays all cargoes, or parts of cargoes, 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 transmission of the evidence of
captures, in the manner specified in the abovementioned 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 yet it is more
probable, that those claimants would endeavor to avoid that expense
and trouble, by applying here for an order to suspend the execution 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 countries.

"This order not being published, it is possible, that my information
respecting it may not be right in all its parts; though I 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, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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 supposing, 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

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 obstacle. 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 exemplification 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 conduct towards one of the King's cutters. Upon this subject
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 private 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 he had taken, was going from Corunna
to Bilboa. That in the night of the 26th of October last, he
discovered an armed vessel approaching 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

"If this is really a true state of the fact, and I have reason 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
16th instant. The privateer alone, has one hundred and forty men on
board, and should they not be permitted to sail at the time
appointed, 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 United States to cultivate the
friendship of his Catholic Majesty, I am convinced, that there was not
in this case the least intention of disrespect to the Spanish flag.
Permit me therefore 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 improper conduct towards his
Catholic Majesty, or any of his subjects, and if I 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

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

The Count's answer to the above.


"The Count de Florida Blanca has the honor to present 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 6th instant, is not correct, the Count having received
from persons of respectability and entirely worthy of credit very
accurate statements. It is therefore necessary, that some suitable
satisfaction should be given, in order to serve as an example 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 8th, 1781._"

                       REPLY TO THE ABOVE NOTE.

                                         "Madrid, November 12th, 1781.


"I have received the letter, which your Excellency did me the honor to
write on the 8th instant.

"It gives me pain to hear, that the conduct of an American 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
commissions; 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 Captain Hill, that by being
transmitted immediately 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 me, by informing me how the
satisfaction demanded of Captain Hill is to be ascertained, and to
whom it is to be paid. As his remaining much longer in his present
situation would be a great loss to his owners, I wish, for their
sakes, that he may be released as soon as possible; and, I am
persuaded, 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 Excellency, that nothing on my
part shall be wanting to prevent the like in future, and I am sure
that Congress would consider themselves obliged, by your Excellency's
putting it in my power to convey to them exact details of any
complaints against their officers.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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 respecting 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 November, that the matter
was determined by the order alluded to in the following polite


  "My Dear Sir,

"From respect to your Excellency and to the 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 which he is detained, shall be at liberty to return to his
country when he pleases. For this purpose I communicate the enclosed
order to the Corregidor of Bilboa, and repeating myself to be at the
service of your Excellency, I pray God to preserve you many years.

                                             COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA."

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

"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 Mr Jay."

As further remonstrance 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.

I 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 me on
leaving St Ildefonso, yet as many bills would become payable in
December, and I was unprovided with funds, I 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 themselves, that the offers
they have made would certainly induce his Majesty at least to assist
them with some supplies. 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, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

To this letter I never received any answer, and it is remarkable, 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. Whatever might be the Minister's real intentions, as to
furnishing 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 I 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 me by Congress. It is happy for me that you are a
philosopher, and for our country that our allies are indeed our
friends. _Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur._

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

"I cannot as yet obtain any answer to any of my applications for aids.
Heretofore the Minister was too sick or too busy. At present his
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 answer.
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 unhappy 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. I 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

"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 Marblehead the 9th of October. He was then in
daily expectation of hearing that Lord Cornwallis and his army were
our prisoners. He describes the last harvest as very abundant, and the
general state of our affairs as very promising; much more so, indeed,
than ever they have been.

"I am, &c. &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

This letter was conveyed by a courier of the French Ambassador. I did
not choose, by putting it in the post office, 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 delay 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
further advances, and to him I am indebted for being relieved from the
necessity I should otherwise have been under, of protesting the bills
due in that month.

The Court removed from the Escurial to Madrid without having bestowed
the least attention either on the propositions or different memorials
on commercial matters, which I had submitted to the Minister.

It was natural to expect, that our successes in Virginia would have
made a very grateful impression on this Court; but I am far from
being persuaded that they considered these events as favorable to
their views. Of this, some judgment may be formed from their
subsequent conduct.

On the 6th of December I sent the Minister the following 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 Florida Blanca, and
has the honor of requesting his attention to the enclosed memorial.

"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
agreeable 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 I received to the letter, which accompanied 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 engaged."

This note was not dated, but I received it the 7th of December. On the
same day I received a letter from General Washington, dated the 22d of
October, and enclosing copies of the articles of capitulation of
Yorktown, and returns 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 Minister.

As to Mr Harrison's Memorial, no answer has been given it to this day.
Nor indeed have any of the representations I have hitherto made to the
Ministers relative to commercial grievances procured the least
redress. Even the hard case of the Dover cutter still remains
unfinished, notwithstanding my repeated and pressing applications on
behalf of the poor captors. It is now more than a year since the
Minister promised me that the cutter should be immediately 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 money than what I gave him to purchase his
daily bread.

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 delays, 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 Ildefonso that gentleman's health began to decline;
and that his indisposition had hitherto prevented his attending 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 necessary 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 confer on those subjects with M. Del Campo,
for that for his part his time and attention were so constantly
engaged by other matters, that he could not possibly attend to this,
especially while at Madrid, when he always enjoyed much less leisure
than at the Sitios. He then proceeded to congratulate 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 remind the Count of the various memorials, &c. which still
remained to be considered and despatched, when he mentioned he was
engaged for the rest of the evening in pressing affairs. This
intimation put an end to the conference.

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 without any information of it. It shows, that
the King is ready to do what may depend upon him, but that his
Ministers find it convenient to interpose delays without necessity,
and without even the appearance of it.

After the King's return from Aranjues, I took an opportunity 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-established to permit him to do business. The fact
however 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 answered, 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 elapsed without an answer, nor had any
prospect of obtaining aids here opened. I therefore wrote him the
following letter.

                                         "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 explanation. I have received two letters,
dated the 22d and 26th 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 was 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, &c.

"I am, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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

                                          "Madrid, January 11th, 1782.

  "Dear Sir,

"The last letter I had the pleasure of writing to you was dated the
31st ultimo, and referred to a former one of the 21st of November
last, in which I stated my difficulties on account of the bills, the
improbability of my obtaining 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 complain 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 hundred and fifteen dollars, but I have no
reason to rely on receiving it soon, if at all.

"I also begin severely to feel the want of my back salary. It is in
vain for me to expect it from America, and unless you can supply it,
it will be necessary for me immediately to disencumber myself of most
of my expenses, and confine myself to mere necessaries, until a change
may take place for the better. This circumstance conspires with those
of a more public nature, to make me very solicitous to know what you
can, or cannot do for me.

"As to the affairs of the negotiation, they have not advanced since
Major Franks left me. 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 purpose, and when I apply to him, he tells me, that his
instructions are not yet completed, and that he cannot tell when they
will be.

"I am, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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 Ambassador of France, about the delays I experienced, and the
propriety of pressing the Minister to pay some attention to our
affairs, he repeatedly told me, that he knew the Minister 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 Ambassador of France. I entered into a
detail of the various pretexts and delays, which the Minister had used
to avoid coming to any decision on our affairs, and made some remarks
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 pressing 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

I recapitulated in the course of the conference the various 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. I then enumerated the various assurances I had at
different times received 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 feelings 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 embarrassments, which would
result to all parties from such 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 enemies, impress doubts on the minds
of our friends, and abate the desire of Congress to form intimate
connexions with Spain; and that this latter consequence might become
interesting also to France, by reason of the strict alliance
subsisting between the two kingdoms.

I begged the favor of him to give me his 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 renewed his promise to write,
and we parted.

The next day, viz. 27th of January, I received the following letter
from Dr Franklin.

                                           "Passy, January 15th, 1782.

  "Dear Sir,

"Mr Grand tells me, 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 Holland, and I have so many urgent
correspondences to keep up, that some of them at times necessarily
suffer. I purpose 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

"I am ever, with the greatest esteem, &c.

                                                         B. FRANKLIN."

The paper abovementioned to be enclosed, is in these words.



                                     "Versailles, December 31st, 1781.


"I 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 demands 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, I will propose to M. 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 Morris issues drafts on this same million, I shall not be able
to provide for the payment 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 Mr 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, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

"_P. S._ I remit to you herewith the letter of Mr Grand."

Although this letter of Dr Franklin 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 I returned the following answer to
the Doctor's letter.

                                          "Madrid, January 30th, 1782.

  "My dear Sir,

"I had yesterday the satisfaction of receiving your favor of the 15th
instant. You will find by a letter, which I wrote you on the 11th
instant, that I imputed your silence to its true cause, being well
persuaded, that the same attention you have always paid to the public
affairs in general, would not be withheld from those, which call for
it in this kingdom.

"I am happy to find, that you have a prospect of terminating the
difficulties, which the bills drawn upon me have occasioned, and
though I cannot but observe, that Count de Vergennes' 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 delicacy 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 Neufville had given me a hint of the embarrassments occasioned
by the affair 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 18th 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-office. 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
affectionate regard with which I am, &c. &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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

                                          "Madrid, February 1st, 1782.

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to M. Del Campo, and requests to be
informed whether he has as yet received 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 discussion of these affairs at any
time and place that may be agreeable to him."

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


"M. Del Campo has the honor to address his compliments 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
consideration. _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 19th, 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 payments 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 repeated after-clap demands, occasioned by these unadvised,
(as well as ill advised) and, 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 discourage you, and thereby occasion a protest of bills,
which possibly I 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, besides a fleet and army; and yet I am obliged to worry
them with my solicitations for more, which makes us appear insatiable.

"This letter will not go before Tuesday. 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 Congress 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, unfortunately, 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 conduct 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 affairs
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 friendship, which may hereafter
be of great consequence to their American affairs.

"If I were in Congress I should advise your being instructed to thank
them for past favors, and take your leave. As I am situated, I do not
presume to give you such advice, nor could you take it if I should.
But I conceive there would be nothing amiss in your mentioning in a
short memoir, the length of time elapsed since the date of the secret
article, 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 uncertainty
with regard to so important a matter. I do not see how they can
decently refuse such an answer. But their silence, after the 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

"Mr 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 abominable baseness.

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

                                                         B. FRANKLIN."

You will easily perceive, Sir, that my 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.

M. Cabarrus had offered to advance, or rather to supply 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
received to this proposition was, that the government had occasion for
all the money that M. Cabarrus could possibly 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 extending it to ten
or twelve. The Ambassador did not conceive himself authorised to enter
into any such engagement, 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


                                         "Madrid, February 10th, 1782.


"I was summoned yesterday to the Pardo, which prevented me from paying
you my respects as I had intended. Not knowing whether I shall be able
to do it before Tuesday, I write to inform you, that it will be
necessary for me to know on what I am to depend in regard to the
reimbursement 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 approaching, 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 my disposition, yet the former
is entirely absorbed by the necessities of the government, so that I
shall be the more desirous, that you would enable me to meet these
engagements, as I shall always find a difficulty in disposing of your
paper. I speak to you frankly, since I shall always endeavor, as I
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 Mr Carmichael to inform
M. 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 him 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 improbability, 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 succeeded 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 waited 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. Cabarrus' offer was of such a
nature as to remove any objection, 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 coming 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 your 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 success. He assures Mr Jay, that if the
misfortune he apprehends 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.

                                                        DE BOURGOING."

I returned by the bearer of the above letter the following answer.

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to the Chevalier de Bourgoing. The
Minister's answer to the Ambassador is polite and cautious, and if
sincere (which time can only ascertain) will demand Mr Jay's thanks
and acknowledgments.

"The Minister is mistaken if he supposes that Mr Jay views personal
consequences as of any other importance, than as they may affect the
political 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 Jay 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 gratitude, which every American owes to the first
friend and steadfast ally of the United States. _Madrid, February
11th, 1782._"

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

                                         "Madrid, February 11th, 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?

"The conduct of this Court bears few 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 appears to me imprudent to
disregard his opposition.

"I have not as yet received a single letter by or from the Marquis de

"I am, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

On the 15th of February, the first advices of the surrender 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 proper
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 received me with great
and unusual civility, and carried me into his private apartment. I
told him, that as he was evidently very busy, I could not think of
sitting down, and wished only to detain him a few minutes. He said,
that he was indeed much engaged, but that we might nevertheless 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 government 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 confined to this Court,
for that France having this year supplied 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; I nevertheless 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 approaching 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 compensate 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 hear from the Ambassador, 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; that he was much my friend; that he
esteemed my private character, and many such like compliments
improper as well us 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

All this looked very fair, but experience had taught me that
professions were sometimes insincere. On the 18th of February, I
communicated the substance of this conference to the Ambassador of
France, requesting him to remind the Minister of his promise, and to
press the importance of his performing it. The Ambassador promised to
take every proper opportunity of doing it. On the 24th of February
your letter by the Marquis de Lafayette arrived safe.

On the 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 4th 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 that you will take measures for my
speedy reimbursement, and I ask with the more urgency, as I have a
pressing necessity for this sum, on the payment of which I have
relied. I have the honor to be, &c.


This 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 inauspicious. I returned a
verbal answer, that an examination 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 M.
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
returns to his good offices, either in ships or flour, &c. &c.; 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, &c.

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. 26th of February, I paid the Ambassador an
early visit, and mentioned these circumstances to him minutely. I
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 expectations of his
being able to replace the money I had borrowed of M. Cabarrus, and
that this sum, added to the balance to be paid by the Court, would
reduce the remainder 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 anywhere;
that he should dismiss a courier on Saturday next, and that he would
again write to the Count de Vergennes on the subject. I observed to
him, that the answer if favorable 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 Lafayette. 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 Wentworth had been sent there
by England on pretence 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 dependence upon her shall 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 pressing it suspect that I meant more than
a casual remark. The conversation then turned upon our affairs here. I
remarked, 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 following 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 interesting to us, and that it is the
desire of Congress, that we should correspond with him. My answer to
his letter is herewith enclosed. Peruse and dispose of it.

"I have given him a summary account of my situation here; 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 expected.

"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 Ambassador 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 months.

"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 twentyfive thousand pounds sterling,
does not greatly surprise me; but I should be astonished if the
Minister of France should act the same part, for I have a high opinion
of his wisdom.

"I am, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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

As there could be no doubt, but that the Minister mentioned to M.
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 indirect
communication. I wrote him as follows.

                                              "Madrid, March 2d, 1782.


"M. Gardoqui informed me yesterday, that he had received 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
thousand dollars, 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 give 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, &c. &c.

"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 induced 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
kindness 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 Majesty's good disposition towards us.

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

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

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

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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 plausible 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
following note to him.

                                              "Madrid, March 2d, 1782.

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to M. Del Campo, and takes the
liberty of enclosing a letter to his Excellency, 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 obliged 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
uncertain, and every consideration urged me not to leave anything in
my power undone here, to avoid the catastrophe I had so much reason to
apprehend. I therefore concluded to wait on the Minister, and in a
plain and pointed manner enter into a detail of the reasons given us
to expect supplies from this Court, and the impolicy of withholding

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

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 I wished also to speak to him on the
subject of our affairs.

I told him that was really the case, for that 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
inconvenient, 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, intimated that he was not Minister of Finance.

I observed, that the sum now wanted was not very considerable, and
that M. Cabarrus' offer rendered the advancing of it very easy. He was
in a very good humor; and after a few hesitations, he told me
cheerfully and smilingly, that when I 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 expect 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 Ambassador 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 M. Del Campo if I

I remarked, that I had so often disappointed Congress by giving them
reason soon to expect M. Gardoqui, that I wished to be enabled to give
them accurate information on that point. He replied, that a variety of
particular circumstances had intervened to prevent his departure, but
that he _certainly_ should go unless he made personal objections to
it, and that _I might tell Congress so_.

I rose to take my leave. _He repeated what he had before 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 conference, 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
Minister's excuses for them were frivolous and merely ostensible, 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 payable 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 evening of
the 11th 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 hunger, 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 merchandises, 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 the
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
Cruyat, the commandant of that post.

"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
resulting from the success of this expedition, for thereby it became
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 expedition, 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 remarks, that would occur to a reader of far less
penetration than yourself.

I will therefore return to our bills.

The 14th 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 following letter, and
sent it by the post, which passes every evening between Madrid and the

                                            "Madrid, March 14th, 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 explicitly whether I may flatter
myself with any, and what relief from the friendly interposition of
his Majesty.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to his Excellency, the Ambassador of
France, and has the honor of transmitting 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 waiting upon him
in the morning to receive it.

"_Madrid, Thursday Evening, March 14th, 1782._"

On this day, being Thursday, on which day in every week M. Cabarrus
had for some time past kept an open table, M. Del Campo 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. Cabarrus. In
the afternoon Mr Carmichael, by my desire, pressed M. Cabarrus to
write to the Minister, that on the morrow our bills must be either
paid or protested. M. Cabarrus replied, that he had already given
that information 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 Campo's attention to it. Mr Carmichael
informed me at the same time, that M. Cabarrus' manner appeared
changed and somewhat embarrassed.

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.

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

                                              THE COUNT DE MONTMORIN."

You will doubtless think with me it was very extraordinary, that the
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 depend 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, considering
that his offers on that head had been repeatedly and explicitly
communicated to the Minister, and to the Ambassador of France, both by
him and by me. Immediately on receiving the Ambassador's letter, I
gave it to Mr Carmichael 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 Minister'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-office; and that M. Cabarrus promised
either to write or speak to the Minister about it.

A new application to the Minister became necessary, and consequently
further time and indulgence from the holders of the bills was to be

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

I 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 belonged 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 more pressing than any of
the others, and had already sent him two messages to conclude the
matter with me without delay, that he had received one of the messages
the day before, and the other that morning. He nevertheless cheerfully
undertook to obtain permission from the holders of the bills to wait
till the next afternoon, and succeeded in it.

The next morning, viz. the 16th of March, I waited upon the
Ambassador. I mentioned to him these several facts, and told him, that
my hopes from M. Cabarrus were at an end, for that exclusive of other
circumstances it was not probable that, considering his lucrative
connexions with government, he would risk treating the promise of the
Minister, made in consequence of his own offer, with so little
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 in the afternoon.

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

From the Ambassador's I went to M. Cabarrus'; he had 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
Minister, 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,
who told him, "that they could not possibly comply with M. Cabarrus'
terms; that he had written so that morning to M. Cabarrus by a private
courier, and that in the evening the Minister would repeat it to him
officially." On the Chevalier's mentioning 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 entertain on this subject, and that his endeavors to
obtain moneys for the purpose both here and elsewhere have been
unsuccessful, 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, for want of time, have recourse to Congress, and,
therefore, finds himself reduced to the mortifying necessity of
permitting 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 you; it will look
as if we had deserted you."

I replied, that since the bills must be protested, I was content that
my true situation should be known. I admitted his inferences to be
just, and naturally flowing from the facts, adding, that as France
knew my situation and had withheld relief, she had so far deserted us;
but that I was, nevertheless, mindful of the many proofs we had
received of her friendship, and should not cease to be grateful for
the ninetynine acts of friendship she had done us, merely because she
had refused to do the hundredth.

In short, I directed the notary to recite this protest _verbatim_.

This protest was drawn at my leisure, and with much consideration. It
operated as I expected, and I am persuaded you will see the reason of
each sentence in it without the aid of my comments. I will only
remark, that I was at first induced to insert, and afterwards to
refuse striking out the sum, lest from leaving it uncertain, the
public might have had room to conjecture, or individuals to insinuate,
that I 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 impeached 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 appearance, and it could not be foreseen how
much those which might still be behind would amount to, I thought it
advisable to make a considerable allowance on that score; for in case
I should have asked for less than might afterwards have proved
indispensable, I should, doubtless, have been put to great
difficulties in obtaining a supply for the deficiency.

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 I would
only pass my word for the payment of them within a few weeks; but as I
had no assurance of funds, 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 Ignacias
Salaia, the notary, was so particularly and singularly generous, that
I cannot forbear mentioning it. Though without expectations, and
uninfluenced by promises from me, he behaved as if the case had been
his own, and proved the sincerity of his professions by doing
everything 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 acknowledgment 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 command.

When the bills were protested, and M. Cabarrus' conduct mentioned in
his presence, the poor fellow literally shed tears. I was much
affected by the warmth and generosity 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 sometime 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 Ambassador of France was hurt by this event;
I am sure he regretted it as disreputable 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 prudent
to appear a little incensed than dispirited on the occasion. I suspect
that there has been an interesting conversation 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 mediate
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 them; and this may help both to account for the
little impression made by the capitulation of York, and for their
conduct as to our bills and propositions, &c. 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 Parliament had resolved to
advise the King to cease all offensive operations against us, &c.
This, and the subsequent debates and resolutions of Parliament
relative to the American war, made a deeper impression here in our
favor than any event which has 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 26th 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 politeness.

                                             "Passy, March 16th, 1782.

  "Dear Sir,

"I have received your several favors of January 30th, February 11th
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
obtained a promise of six millions for this year, to be paid me
quarterly, I now see that I shall be able to pay your drafts for
discharging the sums you may be obliged to borrow 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 with us exclusive of France, Spain, and
Holland, which so far as relates to France is impossible; and I
believe they will be content that we leave them 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 off speedily.

"With sincerest regard, I am, &c. &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

"_P. S._ The Marquis de Lafayette has your letter."

I answered this letter as follows, by a French courier.

                                            "Madrid, March 19th, 1782.

  "Dear Sir,

"On the 18th instant I informed you of my having been reduced, by M.
Cabarrus' want of good faith, to the mortifying 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 my 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 I have accepted is making
out, and when finished shall be transmitted by the first good
opportunity that may offer. You may rely on my best endeavors to
render my drafts as little 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 the 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 separate peace with us is very
natural, but as such a proposal implies an impeachment of our
integrity, I think it ought to be rejected in such a manner as to show
that we are not ignorant of the respect due to our feelings on that
head. As long as France continues faithful to us, I 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 obtained 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 obliged to consult either their interest or their inclinations,
further than may be convenient to ourselves, or than the respect 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, command 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
sensibility. 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 I 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 expedient,
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, &c. &c.

                                                            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 importance, 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.

                           TO M. CABARRUS.

                                              "Madrid, April 2d, 1782.


"I 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 advances, at a time
when I could only give you hopes, and not formal assurances of

"I acknowledge freely and with gratitude, that (exclusive of the
commissions due to you for paying out the various 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 supplies 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 repayment.

"2dly. _That 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 follows. 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 difference. 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 transaction 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 detaining part of it, to repay yourself what you had before
advanced. But, Sir, such a proceeding would have been a flagrant
breach of trust; and I cannot think any gentleman 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 which I
applied to you for my personal use, without detaining any part of it
on account of the balance then due to you._

"The transaction you allude to was as follows. I had authority to draw
from his Excellency, Dr Franklin, on account of my salary. It happened
to be convenient to me to draw for a quarter. You agreed to purchase
my bill on him, and to pay me in specie at the current exchange. 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 produce a single instance, in which my signature
had not justified the confidence reposed in it. Secondly, that by
sending you the bill before you had sent me the money for it, I gave
you an opportunity of keeping the money, and giving my public account
credit for it, and that in not taking this advantage you did me a

"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.

"4thly. _That by your agency you accelerated the payment 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
apprehensions, which the confidence due to my private as well as
public character, ought to have excluded from your imagination. 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 balance, 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

"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 repeated this offer to me in these precise
terms on the 11th 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. I accordingly made this offer known to the Minister, and
solicited his consent. On the 15th 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. The
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, &c. &c. 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 offer, 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. I had no time even to
look out for other resources, and thereby was reduced to the necessity
of protesting them.

"Such conduct, Sir, can have no pretensions to gratitude, and affords
a much more proper subject for apology than for approbation. I 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

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

"I acknowledge with pleasure, that until these late singular
transactions I had reason to believe you were well attached to the
interests of my country, and I present you my thanks for having on
several former occasions endeavored to promote it.

"I am, &c. &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

As M. Cabarrus was concerned in contracts with government 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 banker. Some advantages have arisen from it, and they
would probably have been greater, if not opposed 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 business; 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 generous 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

The Court left the Pardo, and passed the Easter holidays at Madrid. 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 feelings, approved of this omission. The Court are now at
Aranjues, where I have taken a house, 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


"The Count de Florida Blanca has been to take the orders of V. S.[2]
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 England, and the
grant of six millions by France was probably accelerated by it. Both
Courts are watching and jealous 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 sacrifices 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 resentment ought to have no

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 balance 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. France is ready for a peace, but not
Spain. The King's eyes are fixed on Gibraltar. The Spanish finances
indeed are extremely mismanaged, and I may say pillaged. If England
should offer us peace on the terms of our treaty with France, the
French Court would be very much embarrassed 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 Ambassador 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 before the Dutch
become our allies. Under such circumstances, Spain ought not to expect
such a price as the Mississippi 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 perhaps 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

You will readily perceive on reading this letter, that parts of it
relate to Mr Morris's department. I hope he will excuse my 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 are those in which I correspond with Mr
Morris, and the only ones I have received from him. They were brought
by Major Franks and marked No. 1. Several of my former letters to Mr
Thompson and you mentioned, that his cypher was not to be depended
upon. The copy of it, brought by Mr Barclay, which is the only copy I
have received of the original by Major Franks, having passed through
the post office, came to my hands with marks of inspection on the

I received, the 12th of April, a packet of newspapers, which I believe
was 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
hundred 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 here.

The _Courier de l'Europe_ 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 this Ministry, but also regain the possession of those places,
which might otherwise counterbalance other demands at a peace.

Great preparations are making here for a serious attack on Gibraltar.
The Duc de Crillon will doubtless command it. His good fortune has
been very great.

It is natural as well as just, that Congress should be dissatisfied
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 Florida 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 Ambassador of France. He told me the
Count had not mentioned 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 mentioning the matter to the Count,
he said it must have happened by mistake, for that he intended only to
ask my orders for Aranjues, but that he was nevertheless glad the
mistake 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 stating the
fact. The Ambassador did so, and the Count afterwards informed 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 I
might bring Mr Carmichael with me.

Much conversation ensued between the Ambassador and myself, consisting
of my objections to accepting this invitation, 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

For my part I doubt there having been any mistake. I think it more
probable, that the Minister, afterwards reflecting on the use that
might be made of this note, wished to render it harmless by imputing
it to mistake, and substituting 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 ordered; 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, especially 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.

                                            "Madrid, April 27th, 1782.


"Be pleased to accept my thanks for the very friendly part you have
acted relative to the Minister's written invitation 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 discovery 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 Carmichael with me.

"The only objection, which opposes my accepting it, arises from this
question, viz. whether a Minister or representative of an independent
sovereign can with propriety accept any invitation, which in the terms
of it impeaches 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 inquiry 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 American
thinks they do. Whatever doubts this, or other Courts may entertain
relative to their independence, the United States entertain none, and
therefore their servants ought not, by words or actions, to admit any.
For instance, ought General Washington to accept an invitation, which
expressly imposed upon him the condition of laying aside his uniform,
and appearing at table in the dress of a private gentleman? I think
not. If this reasoning be just, the impropriety of my accepting this
invitation becomes 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 had 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 legations.

"It would give me pain if the Count de Florida Blanca 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 particular 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. I am persuaded that he meant to do me a favor, and I feel
myself indebted for his friendly intentions. But as the considerations
mentioned 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.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

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 stranger of distinction, but as Mr Carmichael
had been presented 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,

                                                             JOHN JAY.


[2] Vuestra Senoria. _Your Lordship_, or _Your Excellency_. We have no
title, which exactly corresponds with the Spanish.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                          Philadelphia, May 9th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 6th of February, with a duplicate of that of August
last, directed to the President, has been received 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, from any of the neighboring ports, without
carrying letters or duplicates of letters from me. The whole number
directed to you, including the duplicates from October to this time,
amounts to twentyfour; so that they must certainly be suppressed in
many instances. But what astonishes me more, is to find that you
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 written; 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 cypher. My first letter was in our
private cypher; this you had not received. My second, by the Marquis
de Lafayette, in cypher, delivered to me by mistake by Mr Thompson,
and lost with Mr Palfrey. My third, 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 I can in no way account for your being unable to decypher it.

Since my last, of the 28th of April, we have been informed 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,
which those who know us less and are interested 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 ensuing campaign.

When Sir Guy Carleton arrived at New York, he found them in violent
convulsions about the demand that General Washington had made of the
persons who perpetrated 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 occasion. The affair has not yet ended; the
British officers insist upon his [i. e. Lippincott, who hung Huddy]
being given up. The refugees support him. A court martial is now
sitting for his trial. In the extracts sent out by General Robertson
are contained the cases of all the persons, 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
consider every felon we hang, as a part of their 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 Colonel 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 inquired whether
Mr Livingston would himself be the bearer of them, which he declined,
unless they contained an explicit acknowledgment of our independence,
and a resolution 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 enclosed. 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 violation 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 consider themselves as
bound, both in honor and interest, to support the alliance, which they
formed in the hour of distress; 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 connexion with

I yesterday took the sense of Congress upon the propriety 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. I 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 necessary, therefore, rather to submit with
patience to their repeated 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 stimulus to the politics of Spain, or leave 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
willing or able to give us. Congress have found so little advantage
from sending embassies to Courts, who have shown no disposition to aid
them, that they have passed the enclosed resolution, No. 4. Every
saving is an object of importance with them, and they feel very
heavily the expense of their foreign embassies, which are in some
particulars unnecessarily expensive.

The complaints, which have justly been made of the mode in which our
Ministers are paid, have induced Congress to direct the financier to
fall upon some other mode. The one adopted will be very advantageous
to our Ministers. 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 liable 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 the department of Foreign

Your present account 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 the papers
enclosed. The Count de Montmorin will see with 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 his father,
and the French nation.

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

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.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Madrid, May 14th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

A letter from Dr Franklin calls me to Paris. I set off 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 letters for me under cover to Dr Franklin. No inconveniences
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 the line, and they say thirteen transports bound to the

I hope my future letters will be less unfortunate than many of my
former ones. Rely upon it, that I shall continue to write particularly
and frequently to you.

With great regard and esteem, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                         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 success is important, as it not only
weakens an enemy, and operates against their future resources, but as
it gives reputation 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 hazardous 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 important 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
disappointment occasioned by their detention have thrown the greatest
discouragements on the trade. The Bahama Islands having surrendered to
the arms of Spain, if the copy of the capitulation, published by
Rivington, may be depended upon, it is a counterpart to that of
Pensacola, and the troops will probably be sent to strengthen the
garrisons 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 confidence, which it is the
mutual interests of Spain and America 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 themselves upon refinements,
which are unknown to us. When a sovereign calls us friends, we are
simple enough to expect 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 permit Mr Morgan to wait upon them
with General Carleton'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,
who are unacquainted with our dispositions, would be surprised to hear
that our attachment to an alliance with France has gathered 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 unanimously declared its resolution to listen to no terms
of accommodation, which controvenes its principles.

Congress have it in contemplation to make some alteration 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, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, June 25th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

My letters from Madrid, 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 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 Shelburne 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 interruptions 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 Ambassador 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
expedient 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 I may so call it, of our commission, without the benefit of their
counsel and assistance. You know what I think and feel on this
subject, and I wish things were so circumstanced as to admit of my
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 secondary objects to those of business.

I shall endeavor to get lodgings as near to Dr Franklin 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 Duc de Bourbon are soon to set out for
Gibraltar. The siege of that place will be honored with the presence
of several princes, and therefore the issue of it (according to the
prevailing modes of thinking) becomes in a more particular manner
interesting. The Duc de Crillon 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.

I am, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, June 28th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

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

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 his talents could be more advantageously employed here,
than an inactive campaign in America would admit of there,) 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 subject. It is said that Mr Fox
and his friends incline to meet us on the terms of independence, but
that Lord Shelburne and his adherents entertain an idea of making a
compact with us, similar to that between Britain and Ireland, and
there is room to apprehend that efforts 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.

I 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 answers 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 admit any Englishman in either character within
our lines at this very critical juncture. A mild and yet firm
resolution, on the impropriety and inexpediency of any negotiation for
peace in America, would give great satisfaction to our friends and
confirm their confidence in us. We indeed, who know our country, would
apprehend no danger from anything that British agents might say or do
to deceive 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 avoid giving occasion to
the slightest suspicions of a contrary 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 prefer
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 circumspection necessary.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                         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 in 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 received from Charleston of a number of soldiers, taken in
Pensacola, having been sent there. Could I suppose 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 them to detach to
Jamaica, of any other of their islands, which Spain may have it in
contemplation to reduce.

I am, therefore, fully persuaded, that every measure of this kind must
originate merely in the inattention of the officer, 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 whom a
variety of considerations will lead them to maintain in future the
most intimate connexion.

I have remitted to Dr Franklin the amount of one quarter'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 five and a half
per cent, and will be more than sufficient to pay the expense 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, exclusive of contingencies, an account of which
I wish you to remit me, that I may get it discharged for you. The
second quarter being now due, I shall get the accounts passed and the
bills remitted 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 importance to both of us.

Let me hear from you on this subject as soon as possible.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                   Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

We yesterday received letters from Mr Adams by Captain Smedley, who
brought out the goods left by Commodore 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 for 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 we are fully
informed from France. I may think improperly upon this subject, but I
cannot be satisfied that a quarterly letter from our Ministers 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, properly so called, is dated in April; Dr Franklin's in
March. This is the more mortifying, as want of time can hardly be
offered as an excuse by our Ministers, who must certainly 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 Carleton and Digby published in Europe.
Before the arrival of the packet, every disposition was made for the
evacuation 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
evacuation 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 considerable
also from the Eastern States. 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, which 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 exportation 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 community. My doubt upon the
first head arises from this consideration; if, as I 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 planters abroad are now consumed at home by the
manufacturer, 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.

My second position is grounded upon the competition, that prevails at
this moment among the maritime manufacturing 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 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
expense of building and navigating ships. Both these advantages, where
there is a concurrence, are therefore clearly in favor of the nation,
that can reduce the price of provisions 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 consumes 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 husbandman, whether 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 manufactures 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
manufactures, 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
State, such as acts of navigation, 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 husbandman's

There are many collateral arguments to show the policy of this
measure, even with reference to agriculture, arising 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 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 cultivation 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 produce. But if that market is shut against us; if we
cannot vend what we raise, we shall want the means of purchasing
foreign manufactures, and of course must from necessity manufacture
for ourselves. The progress of manufactures is always rapid, when once
introduced in a country where provisions are cheap, and the means of
transportation 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 encouragement 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 useful hints.

Pigot is at New York, with twentysix sail of the line. The Marquis de
Vaudreuil is at Boston with twelve, having lost the Magnifique in the
harbor; Congress have presented his Most Christian Majesty with the
America, a seventyfour built at Portsmouth. She was to have been
commanded by Paul Jones. I wish heartily it were possible 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 Marquis de Lafayette? We have impatiently
expected him these four months. Present my compliments to him, General
Du Portail, and Viscount de Noailles. Tell the last I congratulate him
on his preferment, though it is with difficulty 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,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          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 kept a profound secret, though I do not see how that is to be
done, if communicated to the Congress at large, among whom there
always have been and always will be, some unguarded members. I think,
however, 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, &c. 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 than 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
with 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 preparing 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 light 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

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                   Philadelphia, September 18th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

Since closing the despatches you will receive with this, I was honored
with yours of June. Nothing material having since occurred, I only
write to 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 renders 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

I hope my despatches by Mr Laurens, with the cyphers under his care,
have reached you 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,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          Paris, September 28th, 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 America_. I am preparing a longer letter on this subject,
but as this intelligence is interesting, I take the earliest
opportunity of communicating it.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Paris, October 13th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I hope my letter to you of the 18th of 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. I positively refused.

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

I would give you details, but must not until I 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 does not secure the fishery.

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

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Paris, November 17th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

Although it is uncertain when I shall have an opportunity either of
finishing or transmitting the long particular letter, which I am now
undertaking to 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 my health will permit, and when finished, shall convey this
letter by the first prudent _American_ that may go from hence to
Nantes or L'Orient.

My reception here was as friendly as an American Minister 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, I was shown a copy of it, and
I confess it abated the expectations I had formed of the intention of
the British Ministry to treat in a manly manner with the United
States, on the footing of an unconditional acknowledgment of their
independence. The 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 unconditionally, but, on being
desired to commit that information to writing, he wrote that his
Majesty was _disposed_ to acknowledge it. This had the appearance of

About this time, that is, in June last, there came to Paris a Mr
Jones[3] and a Mr Paradise, both of them Englishmen, the former a
learned and active constitutionalist. 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 of absentees. Mr Jones said he despaired of
seeing constitutional liberty re-established in England, that he had
determined 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 patriotism, wisdom, &c. &c. On speaking to me
some days afterwards of his intended voyage, he assigned an additional
reason for undertaking it, viz. that his long and great friendship for
Mr Paradise had induced him to accompany that gentleman on an
occasion, which, both as a witness and a friend, he could render him
most essential services in Virginia.

I exchanged three or four visits with these gentlemen, and, in the
meantime, was informed that Mr Jones was a rising character in
England, that he had refused a very lucrative appointment in the
Indies, and had by his talents excited the notice of men in power.

In conversing one morning with this gentleman on English 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 Inquiry into the Legal Mode of
Suppressing Riots, &c." first published 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 the Society for Constitutional
Information, of which Mr Jones is a member. The other was a Speech to
the assembled Inhabitants of Middlesex and Surry, &c. on the 28th of
May, 1782.

As it appeared to me a little extraordinary that a gentleman 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 returning 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 to unfold and
elucidate, and from this resolution long and deliberately made, no
prospects, no connexions, no station here or abroad, no fear of
danger, or hope of advantage to myself, shall ever deter or allure

He begins his essay on suppressing riots, by saying, "It has long been
my opinion, that in times of national adversity, 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, Ligarius, 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 worthy of yourselves, I am

"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 patience to hear, who have not time to
read. And as to _myself, a very particular and urgent occasion, which
calls me some months from England_, will deprive me of another
opportunity to communicate my sentiments, until the momentous object
before us shall be made certainly attainable through the concord, or
forever lost and irrecoverable, through the disagreement of the

To make comments on these extracts would be to waste time and paper.
On reading them, I became persuaded that Mr Paradise and American
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 better 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 Lafayette, and I declined giving any letters either
to Mr Paradise or to Mr Jones.

I am the more particular on this subject, in order that you may the
better understand the meaning of a paragraph in my letter to you, of
the 28th of June last, where I inform you, "that, 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 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 I 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 I never
could learn. It was a subject on which Mr Paradise 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
mistaken, for it is mere conjecture.

On the 25th of July, 1782, the King of Great Britain issued a
warrant,[4] or order, directed to his Attorney or Solicitor-General.

A copy of this warrant was sent by express to Mr Oswald, 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 me, 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, with which you have
honored me, and the copy of the powers, which Mr Oswald communicated
to you. The form in which it is conceived, not being 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 be 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.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

"_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
independence and our limits against all future claims.

I observed to the Count, that it would be descending from the ground
of independence to treat under the description of Colonies. He
replied, that names signified little; 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
independence, instead of preceding, must in the natural course of
things be the 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 cautiously.

On returning, I could not forbear observing to Dr Franklin, 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
postpone 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 inconsistent with our
dignity, and for reasons, which he himself had too much understanding
not to see the fallacy of.

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 suspicions to their disadvantage should not be
readily entertained. 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 respecting his commission. On the
resignation of Mr Fox, many reports to the prejudice of Lord
Shelburne'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 following is a copy, viz.

"_June 25th, 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
restoration of peace, by commanding his Majesty's Ministers to direct
Mr Grenville, _that the independence of America should be 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 appear to you most advisable
for making a direct communication of the substance of the same, either
immediately to Congress, or through the medium of General Washington,
or in any other manner, which you may think most likely to impress the
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 concessions are, that
America, once apprised of the King's disposition to acknowledge the
independence of the thirteen 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 injurious to the interests of America

"That if the negotiation is broken off, it will undoubtedly be for the
sake of those powers, and not America, whose object is accomplished
the instant she accepts of an independence, which is not merely held
out to her in the way of negotiation by the executive power, but a
distinct unconditional offer, arising out of the resolutions of
Parliament, and therefore warranted by the sense of the nation at

"These facts being made notorious, it is scarce conceivable 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 subjected her to. It is to be presumed, that
from that moment she will look with jealousy on the French troops in
that country, who may from allies become dangerous enemies.

"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, take
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 causing 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
reconciliation with America on the noblest terms and by the noblest

In the course of the beforementioned conversation with Mr Oswald, I
reminded him, that the judgment and opinion of America respecting the
disposition and views of Britain 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 Carleton. 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 deceive and disunite them, 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
footing, 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 upon this, as upon every other occasion, behaved in a candid
and proper manner. He saw and confessed the propriety of these
remarks; he wished his commission had been otherwise, but was at a
loss how to reconcile it to the King's dignity, to make _such_ a
declaration, immediately after having issued _such_ 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 to writing. I did so, and
communicated it to Dr Franklin, and, as we corrected it, is as
follows, viz.

"George III, &c. to Richard Oswald, greeting. Whereas by a certain
act, &c. (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, &c. our General, &c. to make known to the
people of the said Colonies, in Congress assembled, our royal
disposition and intention to recognise the said Colonies 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 commission.) Now, therefore, to the end that a
period may be put to the calamities of war, and peace, commerce, and
mutual intercourse the more speedily restored, we do hereby, in
pursuance of our royal word, for ourselves and our successors,
recognise the said thirteen Colonies as free and independent States.
And it is our will and pleasure, that you do forthwith proceed to
treat with the Commissioner or Commissioners already appointed, or to
be appointed for that purpose by the Congress of the said States, and,
with him or them only, of and concerning the objects of your said
commission, which we do hereby confirm, and that this declaration be
considered by you as a preliminary article to the proposed treaty, and
be in substance 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 Commissioners, to be by him or them transmitted to the
Congress of the United States of America, as an earnest of the
friendship and 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 recommend 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
his instructions, of which the following is a copy, viz.

"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 he 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 time the commission under the great seal had arrived, and Dr
Franklin and myself went to Versailles to communicate that
circumstance to the Count de Vergennes, and (agreeably to our
instructions) to inform him of what had passed between Mr Oswald and

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 effect before the cause, and many
other similar remarks, which did not appear to me to be well founded.
I told the Count, that a declaration of our independence was in my
opinion, a matter of very little consequence; that 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 footing of equality, it was all that I desired. He differed
with me also in this opinion. He thought an explicit acknowledgment of
our independence in treaty very necessary, in order to prevent our
being exposed to further claims. I told him we should always have arms
in our hands to answer those claims, that I considered mere 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 claims 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 I am commanded to signify to you, his
Majesty's approbation of your conduct, 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 manner,
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 Versailles had been the means of
infusing these ideas. He smiled, and after a little pause said; why,
Count de Vergennes 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 Mr Fitzherbert, struck by this conduct of Count de
Vergennes, and finding that the commission given to Mr 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 Mr 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; he then desired, in
order to avoid mistakes, that I 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 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

I then reminded him of the several resolutions of Congress, passed at
different periods, not to treat with 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
prepared 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 negotiations 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 affords matter for a variety 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 positive instructions to us to speak the same

"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
consequently 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 submitting to your consideration, 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 independence 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 acquiescing would be to admit the propriety of our
being considered 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 be 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 opportunity of doing it in the only
manner in which it is possible for one nation to treat with another,
viz. on an equal footing.

"Had you been commissioned in the usual manner, we might have
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 obstacle so very unimportant to Great Britain, but
so essential and insuperable with respect to us, to delay the
re-establishment 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, &c."

I submitted this draft to Dr Franklin's consideration. He thought it
rather too positive, and therefore rather imprudent, 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 intended we should
follow any advice, which might be repugnant to their dignity and

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, which 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 I would consider of it, and give
him an answer the next day.

It appeared to me on further reflection, that no bad consequences
would arise from giving him a copy of this paper; that, though
unsigned, it would nevertheless convey to the Ministry the sentiments
and opinions I wished to impress, 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 declared, after what Mr
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 firmly resolved not to treat on more humble

I gave him a copy, and also copies of the various resolutions of
Congress, which evince their adherence to their independence. These
papers he sent by express to London, and warmly recommended the
issuing a new commission 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 independent, &c. &c. 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 examination.

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 state them in a letter to him, and request his answer
in writing, because, as we were 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 letters 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 return it, I thought it most
advisable to avoid that risk, and to write him the following letter.

                          TO COUNT D'ARANDA.

                                              "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 manner agreeable to
both our countries; and permit me to assure you, that nothing on my
part shall be wanting to manifest the respect and consideration, with
which I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

The following is a copy of the Count's answer.


                                              "Paris, June 27th, 1782.


"I have the honor to reply to your note of the 25th, informing me of
your happy arrival at this Court. I shall also have the honor to
receive you, when you shall intimate 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.

                                                  THE COUNT D'ARANDA."

It having been intimated to Dr Franklin, that if we paid a visit to
Count d'Aranda, it would be returned, we waited on him 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 terms
agreeable to both.

He returned our visit the next day, and gave us an invitation to dine
with him a few days afterwards. On that day I was taken sick, and
continued so for many weeks, nor, 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.

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
the boundary between us and the Spanish dominions was a line drawn
from the head of Mississippi, down the middle thereof to the
thirtyfirst degree of north latitude, and from thence by the line
between Florida and Georgia.

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 to the
ancient Colonies. That previous to 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 certain posts
on the Mississippi and Illinois, it became vested in Spain. 2dly. That
supposing the Spanish right of conquest 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 longitudinal 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 had marked the line he
proposed, I told him I would forbear 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 instructions
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.

I 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 find 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 between us as might be satisfactory
to both parties. I told him, that on receiving his map, I would take
all that he had said into consideration, and take the earliest
opportunity 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 communicating 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.[5]

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 with 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 me, 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 reserved; 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 that they were
utterly inadmissible, I had little hope of our ever agreeing;
especially as the Mississippi was, and ought to be, our _ultimatum_.

It was not long before I had another interview with M. Rayneval. He
asked me whether I had made any progress 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 I should
have any difficulties on that head; especially considering the public
as well as private character of that nobleman. I replied, that I was
very sensible of the respectability, both of his public and private
character; but, that neither the one nor the other authorised him to
negotiate treaties with the United States of America; and
consequently, that his Court would be 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 business, 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 the Mississippi,
and that I had no authority to cede any territories east of it to his
Catholic Majesty, and that all I could do relative to it, was to
transmit his proposition to Congress for their consideration.

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 we had to
territories, which manifestly belong 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 respect to all other
nations. I reminded him, that Mexico and Peru had been in the same
predicament, and yet that his Catholic Majesty had had no doubts of
his right to the sovereignty of those countries.

He then desired me to write him a letter on the subject, in order that
he might with the greater accuracy convey my sentiments to his Court.

On the 4th of September, I received the following letter from M. de


                                     "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 impossible for me to go
to Paris for this purpose. You would oblige me, if you would have the
goodness to come to Versailles 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 entered 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 he called a conciliatory 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

On the 6th of September, M. de Rayneval wrote me the following letter.

                     M. DE RAYNEVAL TO JOHN JAY.


                                     "Versailles, September 6th, 1782.

"I have the honor, Sir, to send you as you desired me, my personal
ideas on the manner of terminating your discussions about limits with
Spain. I hope they will appear to you worthy to be taken into

"I have reflected, Sir, on what you said to me yesterday 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 results 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 knowledge
of the title, which the United States can have to extend 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 be useful to the cause of your country.

"I have the honor to be, with perfect consideration, yours, &c. &c.


"_P. S._ As I shall be absent for some days, I pray you to address
your answer to M. Stenin, Secretary to the Council of State, at

"I must desire you not to let the perusal of the following memoir make
you forget the postscript of the above letter, for in the sequel you
will find it of some importance."

_M. de Rayneval's Memoir respecting 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 Mississippi, 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, either 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 between the Courts
of Versailles and London, but it would be superfluous to 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, Venango, a right line was drawn as far as
the last mountains of Virginia, which descend towards the ocean. As to
the savage tribes situated between the aforesaid line and the
Mississippi, the English Minister considers them as independent; 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 1761, France offered to make a cession
of Canada to England. The regulation 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 commandant when he abandoned Canada. The Minister of
London maintained at the 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 part from
the five Irequois nations. The misfortunes of France cut these
discussions short; the treaty of Paris assigned the Mississippi for
the boundary between the possessions of France and Great Britain.

"Let us see the dispositions, which the Court of London has made in
consequence of the treaty of Paris.

"If they had considered the vast territories situated to the eastward
of the Mississippi as forming part of their ancient 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 precise and positive manner
that the lands in question are situated between the Mississippi and
the ancient _English establishments_. 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 subverted.

"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 cannot, therefore, pass beyond the Natchez,
situated towards the thirtyfirst degree of latitude; her rights are,
therefore, confined to this degree; what is beyond, is either
independent 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 manner. A right line
should be drawn from the eastern angle of the Gulf of Mexico, which
makes the section between the two Floridas, to Fort Toulouse, situated
in the country of the Alabamas; from thence the river Loneshatchi
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 drawn 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 eastward 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 that the establishments, which the
Americans may have on this river, would remain untouched, and that
even a very extensive 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 thirtyfirst 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 States of America
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.
Their fate must be regulated with the Court of London."

I 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 the honor to write,
and that I should send a copy of it to our Secretary for Foreign

As both the letter and memoir were _ostensibly_ written by him in a
private character, it did not appear to me expedient 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

2dly. That they would oppose our claim to the free navigation of that

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 of the Ohio.

4thly. That in case we should not agree to divide with Spain in the
manner proposed, that then this Court would aid Spain in negotiating
with Britain for the territory she wanted, and would agree that the
residue should remain to Britain.

In my opinion, it was not to be believed that the first and
confidential Secretary of the Count de Vergennes would, without his
knowledge and consent, declare such sentiments, and offer such
propositions, and that, too, in writing. I therefore considered M.
Rayneval as speaking the sentiments of the Minister, and I 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 to the conclusion of
a general peace, than aid us in procuring it at present.

You will now be pleased to recollect the postscript to M. Rayneval's

On the 9th of September I received certain information that on the 7th
M. 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 before this,
Mr Oswald had despatched a courier with letters, recommending it to
his Court to issue a new commission, styling us _United States_, and
that I had agreed to prepare a letter to the Count de Vergennes,
stating our objections to treat with Mr Oswald under his present one.

This, therefore, was a period of uncertainty and suspense, and
whatever part Britain might take, must necessarily be followed by very
important consequences. No time was, therefore, to be lost in
counteracting what I supposed to be the object of M. Rayneval's
journey. But before I enter into that detail, I must here insert a
copy of the letter, which I wrote to the Count d'Aranda, agreeably to
his request herein beforementioned.

                        TO THE COUNT D'ARANDA.

                                         "Paris, September 10th, 1782.


"Agreeably to your Excellency's request, I have now the honor of
repeating in writing, that I am not authorised by Congress to make any
cession of any counties belonging 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
principles 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 Excellency 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, &c.

                                                            JOHN JAY."

To this letter, the Count returned the following answer.

                     COUNT D'ARANDA TO JOHN JAY.



"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 observations on them, in order that we may
be able to agree on both sides.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                  THE COUNT D'ARANDA."

On the same day, viz. the 10th of September, a copy of a translation
of a letter from M. Marbois to the Count de Vergennes, against our
sharing in the fishery, was put into my hands. Copies of it were
transmitted to you, enclosed with my letter of the 18th of September,
of which a duplicate was also forwarded.

I also learned from good authority, that on the morning of M.
Rayneval's departure the Count d'Aranda had, contrary to his usual
practice, gone with _post horses_ to Versailles, and was two or three
hours in conference with the Count de Vergennes and M. Rayneval before
the latter set out.

All these facts taken together led me to conjecture, that M. Rayneval
was sent to England for the following purposes.

1st. To let Lord Shelburne know that the demands of America, to be
treated by Britain as independent previous to a treaty, were not
approved or countenanced by this Court, and that the offer of Britain
to make that acknowledgment in an article of the proposed treaty was
in the Count's opinion sufficient.

2dly. To sound Lord Shelburne on the subject of the fishery, and to
discover whether Britain would agree to divide it with France to the
exclusion of all others.

3dly. To impress Lord Shelburne with the determination of Spain to
possess the exclusive navigation of the Gulf of Mexico, and of their
desire to keep us from the Mississippi; and also, to hint the
propriety 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.

4thly. 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 answers and conversation, whether it
was probable that a general peace, on terms agreeable to France, could
be effected, in order that if that was not the case an immediate stop
might be put to the negotiation.

Having after much consideration become persuaded, that these were M.
Rayneval's objects, I mentioned his journey to Mr Oswald, and after
stating to him the first three of these objects, I said everything
respecting them, that appeared to me necessary; but at the same time
with a greater degree of caution than I could have wished, because I
well knew it would become the subject of a long letter to the
Ministry. On reflecting, however, how necessary it was, that Lord
Shelburne should know our sentiments and resolutions respecting these
matters, and how much better they could be conveyed in conversation
than by letter; and knowing also, that Mr Vaughan was in confidential
correspondence with him, and he was and always had been strongly
attached to the American cause, I concluded it would be prudent to
prevail upon him to go immediately 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 him.

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
than 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
measure 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 Minister,
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, either in the negotiation or in the
treaty of peace, and by liberally yielding every point essential to
the interest and happiness of America; the first of which points was,
that of treating with us on an equal footing.

That if the Minister really meant to make peace with us, it was his
interest to make us believe so, and thereby inspire 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 useful to him to convince all the world that such a charge was

That it would be vain to amuse themselves with expectations 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,
_oblige us by the terms of our treaty, and by regard to our safety, to
continue in it to the end_.

That it hence appeared to be the obvious interest of Britain
immediately to cut the cords, which tied us to France, for that,
though we were determined faithfully to fulfil our treaty and
engagements with this Court, _yet it was a different thing to be
guided by their or our construction of it_.

That among other things we were bound not to make a separate peace or
truce, and that the assurance of our independence 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 of France and America,
without our being restrained by the 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; because 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 restraints 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 wilderness, were the true objects
of a commercial European nation.

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 several lakes and rivers, there would be
an inland navigation from the Gulf of St Lawrence to that of Mexico,
by means of which the inhabitants west and north of the mountains
might with more ease be supplied with foreign commodities, than from
ports on the Atlantic, and that this immense and growing trade would
be in a manner monopolized by Great Britain, as we should not insist,
that she should admit other nations to navigate the waters that
belonged to her. That therefore the navigation of the Mississippi
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 question, it would be
impolitic for these further reasons. Because 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, thus to sow
the seeds of future war in the very treaty of peace, or to lay in it
the foundation 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 him with the necessity and policy of taking a decided
and manly part respecting America.

Mr Vaughan set off the evening of the 11th of September. 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.
Rayneval's journey, he did not concur with me in sentiment respecting
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 but 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 following 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 a Letter to Count de Vergennes._


"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 the variance subsisting between your
Excellency's sentiments and our 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 conspire 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 under the commission in

"We flatter ourselves, that in the course of this discussion, 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 their fallacy on the 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, 'solemnly publish and declare, that the said United
Colonies were and of right ought to be _free and independent States_,
that they were absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and
that all political connexion between them and the State of Great
Britain was and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as _free and
independent States_, they had _full power_ to levy war, _conclude
peace_, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other
acts and things, which independent nations might of right do. And for
the support of that declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence, they did mutually pledge to each
other their lives, their fortunes, and their _sacred honor_.'

"This declaration was immediately ratified by legislative acts of the
different States, all of whom have ever since so uniformly abided by
it, that the authority of the King of Great Britain has never from
that day to this extended over more ground in that country, than was
from time to time 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 States of America_,'
and by it they vested _in Congress_ the sole and _exclusive_ right and
power of determining on _peace_ and war, of sending and receiving
Ambassadors, and entering into _treaties_ and alliances.

"Thus becoming of right, and being in fact free, sovereign and
independent States, their representatives in Congress did on the 15th
day of June, 1781, grant a commission to certain gentlemen (of whom we
are two) _in their name_ to confer, treat, and conclude, with the
Ambassadors, Commissioners, &c. _vested with equal powers_ relating to
the re-establishment of peace, &c.

"On the 25th of July 1782, his Britannic Majesty issued a commission
under the great seal of his kingdom to Richard Oswald, reciting in the
words following, 'that whereas by an act passed in the last session of
Parliament, 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 Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, &c. (naming the thirteen) that
peace, intercourse, trade, and commerce, should be restored between
them, therefore, and for a full manifestation of our earnest 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 body or bodies, corporate or politic, or any
assembly or assemblies, _or description of men or any person
whatsoever_, a peace or truce with the said Colonies or Plantations,
_or any of them_, or any _part or parts thereof_, 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 treat.

"Nations, particularly corporations, mercantile companies, and indeed
every private citizen, in every country, have 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, companies, and even
private citizens by their proper names and legal descriptions.

"When the United States became one of 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 the law of
nations, so on the other they have a right to claim and enjoy its
protection, and all the privileges it affords.

"Mr Oswald's commission is a formal, 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 _as their servants_ can have no right to treat with him.

"We are apprised the word _Colonies_ or Plantations of New Hampshire,
&c. in _North America_, 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, to 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, _that it is
essential to the interest, welfare, and prosperity of the Colonies or
Plantations_ of New Hampshire, &c. that peace, &c. should be restored,
&c. 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 _American Ministers_, and not of private

"But admitting that the studied ambiguity of this commission 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 United States, the Congress, and their Commissioners, by
such circumlocutory, equivocal, and undeterminate words and
appellations, as should with equal propriety apply to the Thirteen
States considered as British Colonies and territories, or as
independent States, to 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 the United States have vested in Congress
the exclusive right to make peace, this commission, by authorising Mr
Oswald to treat with them _separately_, 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 acquiescence. 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
negotiating 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
subjection and independence? Neither Congress nor their servants, if
so inclined, have a right to suspend the independence of the United
States for a single moment, nor can the States themselves adopt such a
measure, while they remember the solemn manner in which they pledged
to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their _sacred honor_,
to support their independence.

"It gives us pleasure to find that these inferences and conclusions
from the general nature and rights of independence, stand confirmed by
the express acts and declarations of Congress on the subject, and in
whatever view these acts may be regarded by others, they must be
considered 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 station, and, therefore, that this Congress do highly
approve the same, and _do direct_ that no letter or message be
received 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

"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 Britain.

"On the 5th 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 his
Lordship in their _private_ characters, but that ever desirous of
establishing 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 behalf of _America_, and
what that authority is; and to hear such propositions as he shall
think fit to make respecting the same; that the President write to
General Washington 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 be received or attended to_, unless
the same be made in writing, and addressed to the representatives of
the said States in Congress, or _persons authorised by 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 defence of their lives and
liberties, will cheerfully agree to peace on reasonable terms,
_whenever such_ shall be proposed to them in MANNER AFORESAID.'

"These resolutions were passed at a time when the United States had
formed no alliances, and when a formidable 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
doubtful a period, there certainly is reason to presume, that the
fortitude which influenced them 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 be rejected by

"We cannot consider the present proposals to treat with us in a
character _below independence to be consistent with it_.

"Among other objections _unanimously_ made by Congress, 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 individuals_, 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 _with any Commissioners_ on the part of Great Britain, unless
they shall _as a preliminary thereto_, either withdraw their fleets
and armies, or else _in positive and express terms acknowledge the
independence of the said States_.' Neither of these alternatives 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
under the British acts of Parliament beforementioned, viz.

  'My Lord,

'I have had the honor to lay your Lordship's letter of May the 27th,
with the acts of the British Parliament enclosed, before Congress, and
I am instructed to acquaint your Lordship, that they have already
expressed their sentiments upon bills not essentially different 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 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 sacred regard
they mean to pay to treaties.'

"The honor of an _independent nation_ forbids their treating in a
_subordinate_ capacity.

"On the 17th of June, 1778, Congress in another letter to the same
Commissioners, _unanimously_ join in saying;

'Nothing but an earnest desire to spare the further effusion of human
blood could have induced them to read a paper containing 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 commission from your
sovereign, and your letter, suppose 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 which this
war originated, and the savage manner in which 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, _when_ the King of Great Britain shall demonstrate a
sincere disposition for that purpose. The only solid proof of this
disposition will be an explicit acknowledgment of the independence of
these States, or the withdrawing his fleets and armies.'

"On the 11th of July, 1778, the British Commissioners again
endeavored to prevail upon Congress to treat with them on the
humiliating idea of dependence. And on the 18th day of the same month,
Congress came to the following resolution, viz.

'Whereas Congress, in a letter to the British Commissioners of the
17th of June last, did declare that they would be ready to _enter into
the consideration_ of a treaty of peace and commerce not inconsistent
with treaties already subsisting, _when_ the King of Great Britain
should demonstrate a sincere disposition for that purpose, and that
the only solid proof of this disposition would be an _explicit
acknowledgment 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

"We 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 different States on that occasion show how exactly
the sense of the people at large corresponds with that of their
representatives in Congress on these important points.

"To our knowledge, there is not a single instance in which Congress
have derogated from the practice and conduct 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, therefore, 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 States, as well in matters of _government_ as of

"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 support of which forms the _direct end_ of our

"But although the United States as an independent nation can regard
Great Britain in no other light, than they would any other Kingdom or
State with whom they 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 embarrassed 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 circumstances.

"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 definitive treaty of peace.

"History bears honorable testimony to the wisdom and fortitude of that
nation during that interval, and we think the 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 consequently they were independent.

"On the last of June, 1584, 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

"Queen Elizabeth did nearly the same thing by her letter of the last
of October, 1584, which she sent to her Ambassador _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

"On the 3d of January, 1585, the States despatched Deputies to make
this offer 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 answer, which does
the highest honor to his magnanimity.

"On the 13th of February, 1585, the deputies had an audience of the
King, and afterwards of the Queen Mother.

"On the 8th of March, 1585, the King gave for answer to the Deputies,
that he could not at present accept their 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
sovereignty 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 offered to her the sovereignty, &c.

"The Queen declined to accept the sovereignty or undertake the
perpetual protection of the United Provinces, but on the 10th of
August, 1585, she entered into a formal treaty with them to afford
aid, &c.

"On the 16th of October, 1587, the States made a declaration 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 against his power. Nor would they
have been able to treat with their Majesties of France and England_,
nor to have transferred the government to your Excellency,' &c. &c.

"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 States 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 hinder their
doing their duty, nor make them recede one step from that foundation
of constancy on which they were fixed; but that seeing the honorable
weapons which were left them, viz. firmness and resolution, they were
sufficiently powerful to surmount their difficulties, in the same
manner as the virtue of the Romans 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 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 negotiations.

"On the 30th of October, 1588, the Queen again proposed their entering
into negotiations for peace, and they again refused.

"In 1590 and 1591, the Emperor endeavored to persuade 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 reasons 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

"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 state of their reasons for it.

"In the same year the United Provinces sent Ambassadors 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 ancient treaties, &c.

"On the 31st of October, 1596, the King of France entered into a
treaty of alliance with the United Provinces against Spain.

"On the 9th of August, 1597, the Emperor by his Ambassador, 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 the 15th of October, 1597, Ambassadors from the King of Denmark
arrived at the Hague, among other things to dispose the States to
peace. On the 24th of October, the States gave them a long answer,
recapitulating their reasons for refusing to negotiate.

"On the 2d of November, 1597, the King of France, having been offered
advantageous terms of peace by Spain, hinted his pacific inclinations
to the States. They earnestly dissuaded him from making either _peace_
or _truce_. The King nevertheless began to treat under the mediation
of the Pope, &c.

"The States sent Ambassadors to France with instructions dated 13th 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 conclude it unless the Queen
of England and the United Provinces, who were allied with his
Christian Majesty, were received and admitted to the treaty. To which
the Deputies of the King of Spain answered, that from the commencement
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 time to come there if they had been so pleased; and it was
concluded and agreed, that if in six months the Deputies of the said
Queen and United Provinces should come with sufficient powers, and
declare themselves willing to treat of peace, they should there be
received, and for that purpose the Deputies of the King of Spain
should be at Vervins, or such other place as by common consent of
parties should be agreed upon; and at the instance of the Deputies of
his Christian Majesty, it was further agreed, that there should be a
cessation of arms and hostilities between his Catholic Majesty, the
Queen of England, and the United Provinces for two months, to be
computed from the day on which the said Queen and Provinces should
inform the Archduke of Austria, that they accepted the said cessation,

"On the 6th of May, 1598, 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

"On the 29th of June, 1598, the Queen of England, by her Ambassador
Sir Francis Veer, addressed the States 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
his _rebellious subjects_, on which she desired 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 him 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
convention with the United Provinces, confirming the treaty of 1585,
with certain other stipulations.

"On the 28th of August, 1598, the Archduke wrote a letter to the
States-General, to persuade them to accept him for their sovereign. To
this letter they resolved _not to give any answer_.

"On the 13th of September, 1598, Philip II, King of Spain, died. In
the year 1599, the Emperor again commissioned Ambassadors to persuade
the United Provinces to treat of peace, &c. The States, in their
answer of the 2d of December, 1599, refuse to treat, because among
other reasons, 'the insolence of the Archduke and Infanta was such
that although they 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 excuse, they held them for rebels.'

"On the 7th of June, 1600, the States, in their answer to another
application to the Emperor, say among other things that the Archduke
had 'treated the inhabitants barbarously, proclaiming those to _be
rebels who had nothing to do with him_, 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 Queen of England died.

"On the accession of James, the Archduke immediately sent Nicholas
Schossy to sound the King on the subject of peace, and the next year
sent Count Arembergh there for the same purpose. King James sent
Rudolph Winwood 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 inclinations.

"On the 30th 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, 1604, conferences for a peace were opened at London between
the Deputies of Spain and the Archduke 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 reasonable and equal terms_. The
English answered, that it was not their business, and that they could
treat together, without saying anything of the United Provinces.

"On the 28th of August, 1604, peace was concluded between Spain and
the Archduke on the one part, and England on the other.

"On the last of May, 1605, the States, 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 Countries for a
_free 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 from 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 Orange.

"He came to learn the reasons, which had prevented the propositions of
the Sieur Horst from being successful. After speaking often in private
with Prince Maurice, he came to the Hague, where he also had an
audience of Prince Maurice, to whom he said, that it was not the
intention of his Highness _either to better or to lessen his right by
any treaty of truce, but to treat with the States in the state in
which they were_. And on being given to understand, that the Archduke
_must acknowledge the State for a free State before they would 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 parties 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 following 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 delivered from the miseries of
war, declare, by these presents, 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,
Provinces, and States, to which their Highnesses pretend nothing_,
either by way perpetual peace, or truce, or cessation of arms for
twelve, fifteen, or twenty years, at the election of the said States,
and on reasonable conditions;' then follow certain propositions for a
truce, &c. and afterwards a condition, 'That the States agree to the
aforesaid provisional truce in eight days after the delivery of 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 arms, with the time and
place which they may have chosen. Done at Brussels, under the
signatures and the seal of their Highnesses, the 13th of March, 1607.'

"To this declaration and offer, the States 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 accepted_ the said
declaration of the Archdukes _to regard their United Provinces as free
Countries, to which their Highnesses have nothing to pretend_, and
also a truce for eight months, &c. &c. 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 independence_.

"The States-General, on the 9th and 11th of August, 'declared these
ratifications to be imperfect both in substance 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 November, 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 States should be firmly
assured that nothing would be proposed either 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 provided also, that
the Archduke did send his Deputies to the Hague fully authorised, &c.
within ten days after the receipt of that answer.

"On the 10th 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 10th of December.

"On the 24th of December, 1607, they wrote to the Archduke, that under
the _protest and declaration_ contained 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 weeks.

"On the 7th of January, the answer of the Archduke arrived, in which
he calls the States, '_très chers et bons amis_.' He observed, that he
had learnt from their letter of the 24th of December, the resolution
they had taken to enter into conferences with his Deputies about
peace, and, in the meantime, to prolong the truce for a month or six

"That as to the first point, he had appointed for the said conferences
the same persons whom he had before employed, 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, 1608, the Deputies of the States, and those
of the Archduke, had their first 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 if they were
fully instructed (_enchargés_) _to acknowledge the United Provinces to
be free Provinces and countries, and to treat with them in that
capacity_, to which they explicitly (_rondement_) 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, 1608, 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
sovereignty of the said Provinces, &c. as well for themselves as for
their successors and heirs, _with the name and arms_.'

"The others received the article and took time to consider 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 13th.
They complained, however, to the Ambassadors of France and Great
Britain, &c. of the States being _so precise_ in that article.

"On the 13th of February, 1608, in the afternoon, the Deputies again
assembled, and those of the Archduke _consented to the article as it
was drawn up_, with reserve, nevertheless, that 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, &c.

"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, that 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 4th of March, 1608, the
Deputies met, but, except debating, did nothing, both parties
continuing 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 on a
proposition to make a truce for some years respecting the navigation,
and that they were ready to go on to the other points, and try to
agree upon some of them.

"On the 7th of March, they exchanged heads of articles for
consideration. On the 11th and 12th of March they again met, and had
fruitless debates about a _free navigation 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 the other for the Indies.

"On the 17th of March they again met, and the Dutch Deputies offered
to the others two sets of propositions as had been proposed; they
received them 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.

"The truce was continued from time to time, and sundry fruitless
meetings held; but, on the 20th of August, 1608, the Deputies
assembled; 'the Spanish ones declared, that they had lately received
full instructions on the several points in question, viz. _that 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 that they
should immediately _desist from all navigation both to the East and
West Indies_.'

"The Dutch Deputies reported this to the States-General. On the 25th
of August, the 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

"On the 27th of August 1608, 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 30th of August, the States expressed their readiness 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.'

"On the 3d of September, the Spanish Deputies said they had 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 instructions.

"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 States, on condition to acknowledge them to be States
absolutely free, and without comprehending the re-establishment of the
Roman religion, and the relinquishment of _all navigation to the
Indies_, but that the Archduke would send the proposition to Spain,
from whence he might expect an answer by the end of September.

"They then proposed either to wait for the answer of Spain, or
continue the present truce for seven years, observing, 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 time_.

"The States unanimously rejected this new proposition, but gave them
the time they had demanded for the answer of Spain. On the 28th of
September, the Spanish Deputies applied to the Ambassadors of France,
&c. 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 Brussels, the 6th of January, 1608. They were
thereby instructed to insist on the free exercise of the Roman
Catholic 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 declaration 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 those who might
undertake such voyages, &c. &c.

"On the departure of the Spanish Deputies, the Ambassadors 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 prepared. The States after much deliberation,
agreed to enter into further negotiations on that subject.

"On the 25th of March, 1609, the Deputies of both parties met at
Antwerp, and on the 9th of April following, a truce for twelve years
was concluded upon. It was forthwith ratified by the States and the
Archdukes, and published on the 14th of April.

"On the 7th of July, 1609, at Segovia, the King of Spain explicitly
and without 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 the truce
granted in the name of his Majesty, by his representative, and in that
of their Highnesses by themselves, to the States-General of the United
Provinces of the low countries, and having maturely considered it,
declares that he applauds, approves, confirms, and ratifies the said
truce, in so much as concerns him, &c.'

"The first article of this truce was in the words following.

'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
conditions hereinafter described and declared by these presents.'

"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. 7th of June, 1646, and they show clearly, that he
negotiated with those Provinces as with independent States, on that

"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, having by common
consent chosen the city of Munster as a place for holding the Congress
and negotiations for the peace aforesaid; we have thought proper to
name plenipotentiaries there to treat with the States of the free
Provinces of the low countries, or with their Ambassadors and
plenipotentiaries, authorised and deputed for this purpose, &c.'

"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 negotiate either for truce or peace
with Spain, until she consented to treat with them in _like manner_.

"We forbear engaging your Excellency's time and attention by the
application of these facts and conclusions, to the case of our
country. We are persuaded, that the similarity 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 think it inconsistent with the dignity of the
United States to treat with Britain in the humiliating manner
proposed, but also that it would be repugnant to their interest.

"The respect of other nations is undoubtedly of importance to America;
but, Sir, if she ceases to respect herself, how can she expect to
respected by others?

"America has taken and published noble and manly resolutions to
support her independence, at every hazard. She has hitherto 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, the very proposition carries with
it insult, and therefore bears strong marks of _insincerity_.

"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 find 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 _we 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
independence. 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. 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 pretended, 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, whether 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 neighbors who are troubled by them; and who, for peace sake,
may choose to 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 recommended.

On the 26th of September, I went to pay a visit to the Count de
Vergennes, at Versailles. I found the Marquis de Lafayette in the
ante-chamber, and the Ambassador of Spain shortly after entered. After
some common conversation, 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 that 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 Marquis 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
_Ambassador_, and that it was proper we should make a treaty with
Spain in the same manner that we had done with France. I told him, I
desired nothing more; and that the commission to M. 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 observed and admitted on that occasion. The
Count did not seem pleased with my allusion to the communication made
of our alliance to England. He observed, that Spain did not deny our
independence, and he could perceive 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, we should always insist on being treated as such,
and, therefore, it was not sufficient for Spain to forbear denying our
independence 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 dignity of America forbid my
treating on any other 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. Rayneval to England, which he said was, that by conversing
with Lord Shelburne about peace and matters connected with it, he
might be able to judge whether a pacific disposition really prevailed
in the British Court, and, therefore, whether any dependence might be
placed in his Lordship's professions on that head; that he was
satisfied with M. Rayneval's report, and that he believed that Lord
Shelburne was sincerely desirous of peace.

A few words then passed about Mr Oswald's new commission; the Count
observing in general terms, that as it removed our former 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 conclude the treaty, &c.

I remarked, that these claims of Spain were of recent date, for that
on my first arriving in Spain, the Count de Florida Blanca told me,
that the 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 considered that
river as our boundary; for it would have been very strange indeed,
that they should insist on our forbearing 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 reply; he hoped we
should, nevertheless, agree, and that we must endeavor to approach and
meet each other. I told him I could not flatter myself with such
expectations, while Spain continued her claims to those countries, for
that we should be content with no boundary short of the Mississippi.

I went from the Count's to M. Rayneval's chamber, for I had not seen
him since his return from England. He gave me the same reason for his
journey, which I had just received from the Count. We then talked of
his memoir and the Spanish negotiation. He said much in favor of the
conciliatory line he had proposed, and of the advantages of placing
the Indian nations on the _west_ side of it, under the _protection_ of
Spain, and those on the _east_, under that of the United States; that
the rights of those nations would be thereby secured, and future
disputes between us and Spain 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 independent, they
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
recency of these Spanish claims, which I had just before done to Count
de 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 Mississippi, to their ignorance respecting those matters; hence it
became evident, from whom they had borrowed their present ideas.

On the 27th of September, Mr Vaughan returned here from England with
the courier that brought Mr Oswald's new commission, and very happy
were we 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 acknowledgments.

The next thing to be done, was to prepare 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.[6]

These articles, for very obvious reasons, were not communicated 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 letters from the Minister
informed him, that the extent of our boundaries, and the situation of
the tories, &c. caused some objections, and the Minister's Secretary
was on the way here to confer with us on those subjects.

On the 24th of October, I dined at Passy with Dr Franklin, where I
found M. Rayneval. After dinner, we were in private with him a
considerable time. He desired to know the state of our negotiation
with Mr Oswald. We told him, that difficulties had arisen about our
boundaries, and that one of the Minister's Secretaries was coming 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
arguments to show our claim to be ill founded. These arguments were
chiefly drawn from the ancient French claims, and from a clause in the
proclamation restraining governors from making grants in the Indian
country, &c.

He inquired what we demanded as to the fisheries. We answered, that we
insisted on enjoying a right in common 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 their
demands on that head. We told him 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 importance to the
eastern States in particular. He then softened his manner and
observed, that it was natural for France to wish better to us than to
England; but as the fisheries were a great nursery for seamen, we
might suppose that England would be disinclined to admit others to
share in it, and that for his part he wished there might be as few
obstacles to a peace as possible. He reminded us, also, that Mr
Oswald's new commission had been issued posterior to his arrival at

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, I 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 Franklin.

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 critical times, and great necessity there is for
prudence and secrecy.

So far, and in such matters as this Court may think it their interest
to support us, they certainly will, but no further, 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 such a treaty should be formed between
us and Britain, as would produce cordiality and mutual confidence.
They will, therefore, endeavor to plant such seeds of jealousy,
discontent, and discord in it as may naturally and perpetually keep
our eyes fixed 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 contest between us
and Britain to the end of the war, to prevent 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 believe they will take any
measures for our repossession of New York, unless the certainty of its
evacuation should render such an attempt advisable. The Count de
Vergennes lately said, that there could be no great use in expeditions
to take places, which must be given up to us at a peace.

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

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.

We are, nevertheless, thank God, in a better situation than we have
been. As our independence is acknowledged 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 fruitless.

It is not my meaning, and therefore I 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 observation.

I have written many disagreeable things in this letter, but I thought
it my duty. I have also deviated from my instructions, which though
not to be justified, will, I hope, be excused on account of the
singular and unforeseen circumstances which occasioned it.

Let me again recommend secrecy, and believe me to be, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

_P. S._ I have neither seen nor heard anything of Mr Laurens, nor of
the cypher you mention to have sent by him.


[3] Afterwards Sir William Jones.

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

[5] When the Treaty was made with France, M. Gerard, who negotiated it
on the part of the French Court, did not show his commission 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.

[6] See these articles in the Correspondence of the Commissioners for

       *       *       *       *       *

          _Observations on the above Letter by the Editor._

Although in the present work I have carefully refrained 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 the 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 read in the office of
Foreign Affairs in London the confidential correspondence of the
British Ministers with their Commissioners for negotiating peace in
Paris. I have also read in the French office of Foreign Affairs the
entire correspondence 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
correspondence which passed between them while he remained there,
containing notes of conversations with Lord Shelburne on one part, and
Count de Vergennes' opinions on the other. After examining the subject
with all the care and accuracy, which these means of information have
enabled 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

1. Mr Jay conceived, that one motive of M. de Rayneval's journey was
to cause the acknowledgment of independence 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
independence of the United States as a _preliminary measure_. In a
letter to the Count de Vergennes, dated September 28th, 1782, he
writes, that Lord Shelburne said, "he had always 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 conversations with the British Minister,
M. de Rayneval states the points discussed in their order, the first
of which is as follows.--"_Independence, this article is agreed upon;
it shall be without 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 _a
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 boundaries. 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. de Rayneval
concerning 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 discussing the subject of the
fisheries with reference to the interests 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 authority 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 Newfoundland; 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 continued 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 Rayneval's visit to London had
nothing to do with American affairs, except to insist on unconditional

Nor is it improbable, that the change in Mr Oswald's commission was
effected in consequence of M. de Rayneval's representations; for the
agreement on the part of the British Minister to cede independence
"_without 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 cast on them, respecting their supposed
policy in the negotiations for peace. Whoever 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 fact, and which bestow but scanty justice on the
motives, conduct, and policy of the first ally of the United

                                                         JARED SPARKS.


[7] 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.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                     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 accounts 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 ignorant of points, which they have thought sufficiently
important to make them the foundation of those resolutions, which are
herewith transmitted to you.

You need be under no apprehensions, that Commissioners from the Court
of Great Britain will be allowed to negotiate 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 Burgess, which you will find in one of the papers of last
week, and in my letter to Dr Franklin,[8] will afford you some
evidence of the extreme caution of particular States on this head.

That in the mass of our people, there is a great number, who though
resolved on independence, prefer an alliance with England to one with
France, must be a mere speculative opinion, which can be reduced to no
kind of certainty. If we form our judgment from acts of government, we
would suppose that no such sentiment prevailed; they all speak a
different language. If from the declarations 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 ignorant 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 already written to
Dr Franklin, presuming that you communicate with freedom to each
other. Mr Jefferson will afford, I dare say, a very acceptable aid to
your commission; I have not yet learned from him whether he will take
the duties upon him.[9]

Mr Barlow, a poet of New England, has requested me to transmit you his
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 enclosed, which is all I have seen of it. The
enclosed resolution informs you of Mr Boudinot's advancement to the
Presidentship. For other intelligence I refer you to my letter to Dr
Franklin, and the papers that accompany this.

I am, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[8] See Franklin's Correspondence. Vol. IV. p. 34.

[9] Mr Jefferson did not join the Commissioners for Peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Paris, December 12th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I have already written a long letter to you by this vessel, and should
have continued the details of our subsequent proceedings, had my
health admitted of the necessary application.

You will receive from us a joint letter with a copy of the
preliminaries. I shall therefore omit making any remarks 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
exceedingly civil, and frequent visits pass between us.

It gives me pleasure to inform you, that perfect unanimity has
hitherto prevailed among your Commissioners here; and I do not
recollect, that since we began to negotiate with Mr Oswald, there has
been the least division or opposition between us. Mr Adams was
particularly useful respecting the eastern boundary, and Dr Franklin's
firmness and exertions on the subject of the tories did us much
service. I enclose herewith a copy of a letter he wrote about that
matter to Mr Oswald.[10] It had much weight, and is written with a
degree of acuteness and spirit seldom to be met with in persons of his

I have the honor to be, with great regard and esteem, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.


[10] See Franklin's Correspondence. Vol. IV. p. 36.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                      Philadelphia, January 4th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

I have before me your despatches of the 4th and 18th of September
last, and the 13th 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 letters, compared with the 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 letter of the
18th 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 rightly
of the designs of the Court, to whom we have intrusted such extensive
powers, that I most earnestly wish you had enlarged on the reasons
which have induced you to form the opinion you intimate; an opinion,
which, if well founded, must render your negotiations extremely
painful, and the issue of them very uncertain. If on the other hand,
it should have been taken up too hastily, it is to be feared, that in
defiance 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
exciting jealousies between us and our friends. I so sincerely wish
that your conjectures on this head may not be well founded, that I am
led to hope you carry your suspicions 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 collect here, and with which it is impossible you
should be acquainted.

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 reason 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 opportunity 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 Mr
Grenville proposed to treat of the independence of the United States
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 Versailles led to a direct negotiation
between Great Britain and us, and ended in the offer of unconditional
independence. The reply of the Court of France to that of London,
communicated to Mr Grenville on the 21st of June, speaks the same

From these and the following facts you will, when you have compared
them with those within your own knowledge, 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 Grenville's commission, and the ground it gave
him to hope, that negotiations would open with an express and
unconditional acknowledgment of independence. He mentions the change
in the British administration; their assurances, 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 essential article in the propositions
offered by Mr Fitzherbert, and infers from thence, that Lord Shelburne
had no other design than to divide and deceive. In a letter of the 7th
of September, he mentions Mr Oswald's commission, your objections to
it, and his doubts of the manner in which these objections will be
received. "If," says he, "Mr Oswald is right in his conjecture, that
they will be favorably received and removed, then everything _is
said_. If they reject them, because they will not begin where they
propose 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 off_." In his letter of the 14th of
October, he mentions with great apparent satisfaction, the alterations
in Mr Oswald's commission. From the general tenor of these letters, I
can 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 attainment of an object, which they have as much at heart as we.

Whatever the sentiments of the Count de Vergennes may be, as to the
claim of Spain, in a letter which I have seen, he treats them as well
as ours, as chimerical and extravagant, and declares, that he does not
mean to interfere in them. You can best judge of the sincerity of this
declaration. If insincere, I cannot conceive for what purpose it was
made, or the subject treated so lightly, or why this should be
confided to me. For my own part, I believe their situation with
respect to Spain is very delicate, and that they are embarrassed by
her demands. I mention these things, that you may, by comparing them
with facts within your reach, draw useful inferences from them, and I
wish to give you everything that may _possibly_ be of use to you.

As to the letter of Marbois, I am by no means surprised at it, since
he always endeavored to persuade us that our claim to the fisheries
was not well founded. Yet one thing is very remarkable, and I hope
evinces the determination of France to serve us on this point. The
advice given to discourage the hope is certainly judicious, and yet we
find no steps taken in consequence of it. On the contrary, we have
been repeatedly told in formal communications since that period, "that
the King would do everything for us that circumstances will admit, and
that nothing but dire necessity shall induce him to relinquish any of
the objects we have at heart, and that he does not imagine that such
necessity will exist." This communication was made on the 21st of last
November, from letters of the 7th of September, _previous to our_
success at Yorktown, and has been renewed at different periods since.
You will undoubtedly avail yourself of this engagement if necessary.
Congress relying upon it, have made no alteration in their
instructions since the change in their affairs, by the blow the enemy
received at Yorktown.

This letter of Marbois, and the conduct of the Court of France, evince
the difference between a great politician and a little one. France
can, by prohibiting the importation 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 sacrificing a
part of her fisheries, and protecting us in the enjoyment of them,
would render herself necessary to us, our 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 light.

I know not how far the Marquis may deserve your confidence; you are
the best judge of his conduct. I ought, however, in justice to him 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 upon.

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
jealousies, that I wish you to examine yours with all the coolness you
are master of. I am persuaded, the last hope of Britain is founded 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 authenticity, 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.[11]

Count de 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 I 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 communicated 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 unfettering the consciences and the commerce of the world.

We are 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.[12] 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 enclose
you a new cypher, which I 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. I have received _from the Count de Vergennes' letters_,
the whole progress of the negotiation. Information of this kind it
would give me more pleasure to receive through another channel.

I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, with great respect and esteem, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[11] M. de Marbois' letter here alluded to, was very long, and written
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 Commissioners. M. de Marbois
was at that time only a Secretary of Legation, 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.

[12] Mr Jefferson did not go till some time afterwards.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               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 "_très honnêtement_." 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 forwarded it.

On the 29th ult. the Spanish Ambassador communicated to me the desire
of his Court that I would return to Madrid, and there complete the
treaty, for that in their opinion, it ought to be concluded either at
_Madrid_ or at Philadelphia.

You will have this communication at large in another letter.

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, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                              Paris, April 11th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

I wrote you a short letter on the seventh instant. Certain
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 Cavendish Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is also
said, that Lord Stormont is President of the Council, and the Duke of
Manchester 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 mediatorial
capacity, to send Plenipotentiaries to assist at the definitive
treaties. The due motives to this measure can as yet be only
conjectured. The ostensible one is, a mark of respect to their
offered, but not accepted mediation. The proposition originated here.
Their answer is expected daily. It is whispered that Russia consents.
Safe opportunities of sending important letters from hence to Madrid
are so very rare, that I think yours for that place had better be
always conveyed directly to Cadiz or other ports in Spain, where some
American of confidence may be settled.

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
has been almost daily gathering strength since my arrival in Europe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, April 22d, 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 you information than as a mark of

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 admitted of. Mr Hartley is not yet arrived, but is daily
expected. 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 expedient. 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 improper 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. They are
the only two European powers, which have continental possessions on
our side of the water, and Spain I think wishes for a league between
them for mutual security against us. Perhaps this consideration should
lead us to regard the present fervor of the British advances with the
less indifference.

On looking over one of 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 _fight_ for them, was as
distant from my design, as it could be from that of Congress. A common
guarantee means nothing more than a _quit claim_, to which we
certainly could have had no objection. When more is intended,
provisional and express stipulations become necessary. To any such I
never would have consented. A confidant of the Minister (and I believe
by his directions) had assured me, that unless a guarantee was offered
any other propositions would not induce the minister to negotiate 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 I considered this objection as a pretext for
delay. My opinion 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 the States for the tories until the
British forces shall be withdrawn, and then I confess it would be for
our honor to forgive all except the perfidious 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 recommended 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 country 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. Actions are the only proofs of
professions, and if I live mine shall not want that evidence.

I am, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

_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

                                                                 J. J.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                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 London. Perhaps my
friends may wish to add me 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 I view the expectations of Mr
Adams on that head as founded in equity and reason, and that I will
not by any means stand in his way. Were I in Congress I should vote
for him. He deserves well of his country, and is very able to serve
her. It appears to me 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. I do
therefore in the most unequivocal manner decline and refuse to be a
competitor with that faithful servant of the public, for the place in

As Mr Barclay has power to settle our accounts in Europe, 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 accounts in my department. I cannot learn that my repeated
requests to him to send a state of those accounts to Philadelphia have
as yet been complied with.

I am, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, June 1st, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

I have had the honor of receiving your favor of the 4th of January
last. The cypher you mention to have enclosed is missing. My letter by
Captain Barney affords an answer to the greater part of your
inquiries. Business here goes on heavily. The Dutch and English are
not yet agreed, and some points remain still to be adjusted between
the latter and the French and Spaniards. Mr Hartley has an ample and
proper commission to conclude with us. We are discussing the terms of
a temporary commercial regulation, but as he is waiting for more full
instructions, it may be a week or a fortnight before we shall be able
to inform you of the real intentions of Britain on that subject.

Before I left Spain, and often since by letters, I desired Mr
Carmichael to make out and transmit to Philadelphia a clear and full
state of the public accounts; and also agreeably to Dr Franklin's
request, to send him an account of the bills remaining to be paid. The
Doctor has not received his account; and I have no reason to suppose
that you or Mr Morris have received the other. 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 I managed those
transactions,) I might experience 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
Madrid, 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 settlement by Mr Barclay. Be so good as to lay this matter
before Congress without delay.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Passy, July 20th, 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 restoring 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, I 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 my fixed resolution to resign.

But as I should then pass the winter without being useful to the
public, Congress may not perhaps think it reasonable, that their
allowance to me should be continued. I think it my duty therefore to
apprize them of these circumstances, 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 not
probably have an opportunity of sailing before June next, it is
important to me to know by what rule I am to regulate the expenses of
my family in the meantime.

As you know upon what principles I have devoted myself to the public
for the last nine years, and as those motives 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
individuals of my family, whose afflictions and whose relation to me
give them the strongest claims to my care and attention.

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, I mean not to retreat from
any duties, which an American owes his country.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            New York, July 25th, 1784.


Having waited until the settlement of the public accounts was
completed, I left Paris the 16th of May last, and on the 1st of June
embarked with my family at Dover, on board the ship Edward, Captain
Coupar, in which we arrived here yesterday. Mr Barclay has
transmitted, or will soon transmit to Mr Morris, a state of the above
mentioned 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 particular and cautious manner in
which that business was transacted 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 particulars of every
bill, that might be presented to me for acceptance, 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
accepted a single bill until after it had been inspected and sent to
me by him to be accepted. Further, to avoid mistakes and frauds, I
also made it a constant rule, that every bill presented for payment,
should undergo a second examination 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 abovementioned; and I
can only regret, that the entries 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 Franklin, a copy of the British ratifications, which I
have the honor to transmit herewith enclosed.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

_P. S._ I shall send with this letter to the post office, several
others, which were committed to my care for your Excellency.






Francis Dana was a native of Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard
University, where he was graduated in the year 1762. He studied the
profession of the law, and was among the first to espouse the cause of
the Colonies in resisting the aggressions of the mother country. In a
letter to General Washington, dated Philadelphia, April 1st, 1776, Mr
John Adams speaks of him in the following terms.

"The bearer of this letter, Mr Francis Dana, is a gentleman of family,
fortune, 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 their
triumphs. I have done myself the honor to give him this letter, for
the sake of introducing him to your acquaintance, as he has frequently
expressed to me a desire to embrace the first opportunity of paying
his respects to a character so highly esteemed, and so justly admired
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, though he did not take his
seat in that body till the November following. This station he filled
till September, 1779, when he was appointed Secretary to Mr John
Adams, the Minister Plenipotentiary for negotiating a treaty of peace
and a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. He went to Europe with Mr
Adams, and resided with him in Paris, and a short time in Holland. On
the 20th of June, 1780, 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 undertook the negotiation, Mr Dana did
not enter upon this commission.

On the 19th of December, he was elected by Congress to be Minister
resident in Russia, with authority to accede to the convention of the
neutral and belligerent powers for protecting the freedom of commerce
and rights of nations, and also to negotiate a treaty for this
purpose. He received his 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
publicly 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, he should be admitted
to an audience of the Empress, and received in his public character,
as Minister from the United States. Meantime his continued ill health
had induced him to solicit from Congress permission to return home,
which was granted. He sailed from St Petersburg in a ship bound for
Boston, where he arrived in December, 1783.

Mr Dana was a member of the Convention at Annapolis, and of the
Convention of Massachusetts for ratifying 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 1811, at the age of
sixtyseven years.





       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Paris, August 10th, 1780.


Mr Adams having left Paris the 27th of last month, to visit the Low
Countries, I do myself the honor of forwarding 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 containing letters numbered in their order from No. 1 to 10,
inclusive. I shall also forward to your Excellency, if the bearer can
take them, all the newspapers we have on hand. The whole will be
committed to the care of Captain Jones, who will sail in the Ariel.

Had I been apprized less suddenly of the time of Captain 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 commerce
of the neutral powers, and the armed neutrality. These declarations
are in the "_Suite des Nouvelles d'Amsterdam_," of the 8th of August,
No. 63. The fleet, which left Virginia the 14th of last June, under
the convoy of the _Frère Rodêrique_, bound for France, are all except
one, which foundered 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, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             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, assigning as the reason the
absence of Mr Adams, who was gone to visit the Low Countries. I then
forwarded to your Excellency 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. I had a letter from him of the 17th
instant, in which he makes no mention of his being 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
Excellency. 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 newspapers, which
have come to hand since making the first packet. We have not received
any advice of the arrival of M. 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.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      Amsterdam, September 20th, 1780.


Having been disappointed in my expectations of forwarding to your
Excellency the packets mentioned in the above letter from France, I
have brought them on to this place, and shall commit 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 10th instant, and
immediately sent me the despatches of Congress committed to his care.
I perused them, and waited 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.[13]
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 Brussels 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 engaged to
endeavor to effectuate the purposes of Congress. What success we may
meet with here is uncertain; but I hope I may 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
employ in this business, should be at the same time furnished with the
powers of a Minister Plenipotentiary to the States-General. Some
persons here, notwithstanding all that can be said, seem to be
apprehensive that the United States have granted exclusive privileges
in commerce to France. This idea is industriously propagated
throughout Europe, by the emissaries 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, although 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 throughout
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 can be no
occasion of being more particular on this subject. 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.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.


[13] Among these despatches, Mr Dana received a commission, empowering
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 commission. See John
Adams's Correspondence, Vol. V. p. 327.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Commission to Francis Dana, referred to in the preceding Letter._

Whereas by our commission to the honorable Henry Laurens, bearing date
the 30th day of October, 1779, we have constituted and appointed him
the said Henry Laurens, 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 the said Henry
Laurens having, by unavoidable accidents, been hitherto prevented from
proceeding on his said agency, we have, by our commission bearing
equal date herewith, constituted and appointed the honorable John
Adams, until 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 negotiate a loan as aforesaid;[14]

And whereas it may so happen, that the said John Adams, by reason of
some disability arising from the state of the business of his present
appointment, or otherwise, may be prevented from undertaking the
execution of the said commission, or having undertaken it, from
proceeding therein; we, therefore, reposing especial trust and
confidence in your patriotism, ability, conduct, and fidelity, do by
these presents constitute and appoint you, the said Francis 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 relating thereto.

Witness his Excellency, Samuel Huntington, President of the Congress
of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, the 20th day of
June, in the year of our Lord, 1780, and in the fourth year of our

                                       SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, _President_.


[14] See Mr Adams's commission in John Adams's Correspondence, Vol. V.
p. 329.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO JONATHAN JACKSON.

                                       Amsterdam, 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 et salva custodia_. 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 William Lee, with the Regency
of this city in 1778, a letter from M. de Neufville upon the subject,
one from our friend, the Commodore, one from Mr Stockton, and one from
an amiable character of this country, whom I personally 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 States 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 States-General,
which, perhaps, any foreign Minister ever made to an independent
State; calling for their open disavowal of the conduct of the Regency;
censuring 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 happiness; 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 hereupon published the whole matter
in the nature of an appeal 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 interests, 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 demands, which
does not seem probable, by the weight of her influence in this
Republic; or whether this memorial was to serve as a balance to that
of the States-General, respecting the outrageous violation of her
territorial rights by Admiral Rodney, at St Martin's; or whether she
foresaw that 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 against the
whole confederacy; whether any of these things were the motive of this
singular conduct, 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 expected.
Whether the other six States are prepared and determined to accede
without Zealand, a short time will show.

The navy of these States is too feeble at present for an immediate war
with England, which they seem to apprehend must take place upon their
joining the neutral confederation. They have, I believe, but about
twentysix vessels, instead of the fiftytwo 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 States 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 bondage. 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 from kings, princes, and stadtholders. The
people are the best guardians of their own liberties and interests.

I am, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        OF ST PETERSBURG.[15]

                                     In Congress, December 19th, 1780.


The great object of your negotiation is to engage her Imperial Majesty
to favor and support the sovereignty and independence of these 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 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 admitted as a party to
the convention 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 importance. Your
success will, however, depend on a variety of sources and
contingencies; on a more perfect knowledge 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 circumstances, precise
instructions for your conduct cannot be expected; on the contrary, the
greatest room must be 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
independence of your country will restrain you from every concession
unbecoming the dignity of a free people. The diplomatic order in which
you are placed by your commission, will prevent embarrassments, which,
in so delicate a case, might arise from the punctilio 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 conform, 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 sense of the Court of France

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 Majesty, or her Ministers, towards these United States.

3. If the result of your inquiries should point out a fair prospect of
an honorable reception, you are to announce your public character, and
deliver your letters of credence in the usual form.

4. You are to manifest on all proper occasions the high respect, which
Congress entertain for her Imperial Majesty; for the lustre of her
character, and the liberality of her sentiments and her views; and
particularly you are, in the strongest terms, to testify our
approbation of the measures, which her Imperial Majesty has suggested
and matured for the protection of commerce against the arbitrary
violations of the British Court. You will present 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
States shall be formally invited, or admitted, 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 commerce in behalf of these United States, either with
her Imperial Majesty conjunctly 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 nature and stability of our
union, and the solemn engagements by which not only the States but his
Most Christian Majesty, are reciprocally bound to maintain the
sovereignty, rights and jurisdiction of each of the thirteen States
inviolably; 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 imply an express
or tacit acknowledgment of the 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 all civilized nations, the war has been
conducted by the enemy, the difficulties, which we have surmounted,
and the certain prospect, under the divine blessing, of expelling 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 Majesty of our ambition to
number so wise and magnanimous a Princess among our friends, and to
assign her a distinguished place among those illustrious personages of
ancient and modern times, who have delighted in promoting the
happiness of mankind, and in disarming tyranny of the power of doing

6. You shall assure her Imperial Majesty and her Ministers of the
sincere disposition of these United States to enter into a treaty of
friendship and commerce with her on terms of the most perfect
equality, reciprocity and mutual advantage, and similar to those
expressed in our treaty with his Most Christian Majesty; and you are
authorised to communicate with her Imperial Majesty's Ministers on the
form and terms of such treaty, and transmit the same to Congress for
their ratification.

7. You shall communicate punctually with our respective Ministers in
Europe, and avail yourself of their advice and information, and of the
success of their respective negotiations to raise our importance and
support our interest at the Court of Petersburg.

8. You shall endeavor to acquire a perfect knowledge of the manners
and etiquette of the Court at which you reside, and particularly in
the diplomatic line; and of the manufactures and commerce of that
empire; and point out in your 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 States, to the
faithful discharge of your important trust, and which circumstances
may point out to be salutary and beneficial.

I am, &c.

                                       SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, _President_.


[15] _In Congress, December 15th, 1780._--"Whereas a good
understanding and friendly intercourse between the subjects of her
imperial Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, and these United
States, may be for the mutual advantage of both nations;

"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 Minister.

"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."

       *       *       *       *       *


                                           Paris, February 16th, 1781.


I do myself the honor to acquaint you, that I returned to this city
the 28th of December, where it is probable I 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 happen to our public concerns by this separation. On the other
hand, Mr Adams was pleased to say it might be attended with some

Shortly after I came to town, your despatches by Captain Bell were
forwarded to me. Though they were addressed 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.

You 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

Mr Adams has not been able to obtain the amount of the bills actually
drawn on Mr Laurens. The resolution of Congress of the 23d of
November, 1779, expresses a certain sum; so does that of the 6th 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 persuaded 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 time 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 Empress of all the Russias,
relative to the commercial rights of neutral nations, and have
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
occasion 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
opportunity to write from Holland, I would just say, that the
principal matter then remained _in statu quo_.

I am 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 of
Congress relative to the above Declaration of the Empress of Russia.

I am, Gentlemen, with much respect, your most obedient and most humble

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 24th, 1781.


I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that Mr Laurens arrived
at Passy the 15th instant, and in the evening of the same day, sent me
your despatches intrusted 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 private 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 they contain anything relative to our first
commissions, or in what light to consider myself respecting them,
provided I 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 entitled to anything under the resolution of Congress of
the 20th of December last.[16]

I have communicated my instructions and commission, and everything
respecting it, to Dr Franklin, and have asked his opinion whether it
was expedient to make a communication 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 the Count
de Vergennes, whether it would not be proper to make this
communication also to the Court of St Petersburg, and obtain their
approbation of the measure, before I 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. My 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 involve them in consequences they are
not prepared to meet; for Britain would consider such an act as
absolutely decisive of the part the Court of St Petersburg meant
finally to take, and this consideration, however well they might stand
affected towards us, in my opinion would prevent their approving of
the proposition, if it did not draw after it an absolute prohibition.
There is no difficulty in going in the character of a private citizen
of the United States, and when one has once entered, the ground is
changed. Admission and rejection are essentially different. Besides,
one would be at hand to open the way gradually, as favorable
occurrences might arise.

I have been at Passy this day to consult the Doctor again on this
point, and to lay my objections before him, but he was not at home. I
shall do it the first opportunity. If we should finally differ on any
point after having consulted Mr Adams, agreeably to my instructions,
if they concur in opinion, I shall make no difficulty in conforming
exactly to their better judgments, otherwise I must exercise my own
upon the choice of opinions. But if the result should be, that I am
not to proceed, how, and in what character am I to consider myself? Is
my former commission superseded, and what am I to depend upon? The
resolution of Congress of the 20th of December last, mentions a
certain sum for which I have a letter of credit, conditionally, 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 the same things at the
Court of St Petersburg, that their Ministers at other Courts, which
have not yet acknowledged the independence of the United States, are
empowered to do? Or is 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 private 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 necessity 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 Affairs. 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

Convinced as I am of the propriety of such an appointment, it is my
present determination, throwing aside all pecuniary considerations, to
accept of this honorable trust. I wish my abilities were equal to the
importance of it. I can engage for nothing more, than sincere and
uniform endeavors to promote the great end of it. Through you, Sir, I
beg leave to communicate my most respectful acknowledgments to
Congress for this distinguished instance of their confidence in me.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

_P. S._ I will under my present uncertainties, keep a regular account
of all my expenses under this commission, and shall cheerfully 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, &c. I shall hope, however, that Congress will reduce these
things to a certainty 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.[17]

                                                                 F. D.


[16] _In Congress, December 20th, 1780._ "Resolved, That the President
furnish the Minister appointed to the Court of Petersburg with letters
of credit on the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at 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."

[17] See resolutions of Congress, on the subject of Mr Dana's salary
and expenses, in the Secret Journal. Vol. II. p. 457.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              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 Leinster, both for Mr Adams and myself. I
also acquainted your Excellency, that I had communicated my
instructions, my commissions, and everything respecting it, to Dr
Franklin. I mentioned also the question I proposed to him, and his
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. I have done so this day, and
have the satisfaction to find that he now perfectly concurs in opinion
with me, so that a simple communication of the general object only
will be made here.

I 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. Through whatever 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
information of every material circumstance respecting it. My situation
may however render my communications less frequent than I could wish,
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 military operations; so that
I may be able to prevent our enemies 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
principally to our wanting the necessary information to counteract

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 other.
Nothing but an anxious concern which I feel to be furnished with
authentic evidences of events, which may be improved to the benefit of
our country, has led me to speak of this, which I deem important in
the manner I have done, and I presume Congress will not attribute it
to a querulous disposition.

I am, with the greatest respect and esteem, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                              Paris, March 31st, 1781.


I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that Congress have been
pleased to charge me with a commission as their Minister at the Court
of St Petersburg, and that reposing the highest confidence in his
Most Christian Majesty, their first and illustrious ally, and in his
Ministers, 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 those 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 direct this communication to be made
to his Majesty in the first instance, through your Excellency. Under
this persuasion, I 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 the 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 encouragement 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 the result of my inquiries shall point out a
ready and honorable reception. I shall most cheerfully obey my
instructions to communicate the general object of my mission to his
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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 31st, 1781.


My letter of the 28th instant will inform your Excellency, that on
that day I had 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, he might have them before him, and do it without loss
of time.

Partly to save time in case the Doctor should be of the opinion, that
it was most proper for me to make it, and partly 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. The 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 entirely; 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 five o'clock this afternoon. This
mode obliges 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

I am not without my 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 voyage at
this time, or prior 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
transmit to your Excellency the answer I may receive to the enclosed,
and a particular account of every material circumstance, which may
take place here before my departure. It is probable I shall have a
safe opportunity to send duplicates of the whole from Holland.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *



                                          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 influence in fixing the time of your departure, I should be
glad on this account to have an interview with you. The reflections,
which I shall communicate, have for their principle 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.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                                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 before 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

I am, with the highest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                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 substance of the proposed conference, in order to form a judgment
of the sentiments of his Majesty's Ministers, 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 unfounded.

From the beginning, I have foreseen the difficulty of my situation,
and I 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, that 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 question, expecting any seasonable
answer to it. Our distance is unhappily too great for timely
explanation. I shall go to Versailles tomorrow, to confer with the
Count, after which, whatever may be the result there, I shall think it
my duty to set off for Holland, for the purpose of consulting Mr Adams
on the whole matter. Having done this, I 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
information of it.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, April 4th, 1781.


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 general object of my mission, my letter to yourself of the
same date, a copy of the Count's answer to me of the 1st instant,
proposing a conference with me before my departure, and my answer to
_that_ of the 2d, 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 on the subject of
my mission, and was afraid the opportunity of sending them would
otherwise be lost. Whether I was too 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 Excellency this morning,
(being, at my particular desire, introduced 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 line of conduct, he did not persist in
them. He seemed rather to have desired an opportunity of
communicating to me his reflections, by way of caution and advice,
than as serious objections 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
expedient to have some person at St Petersburg, with an eventual
character, who might improve the favorable moment for assuming it. He
inquired whether I had received 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, capable of giving information of the state of our

He observed, that Russia had not acknowledged the independence 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 _désagréments_. I answered 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 their
power to deny they knew anything about me; and while I held such a
line of conduct, I 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 immediately 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 make use of his name; but this did not comport with his
idea of the matter, which was, to keep my eventual character out of
sight, and to propose the journey only as a private gentleman of
America, desirous of seeing that country, and of inquiring into the
nature and state 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 insurmountable
obstacle in my way. While I am making this observation, I feel a
concern, lest it might be ungenerous. Besides, it has a strange
appearance to me, for a private gentleman of one country to ask the
public Minister of another, both being in amity together, whether it
is safe or proper for him to travel into the other. The Minister 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 particularly charged, (these
are my 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 intervenes to prevent it, I shall set off for Holland next
Sunday, 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                               Paris, April 6th, 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 mission to the Court of St Petersburg, and my
correspondence 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 unnecessary 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 objection to 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 Petersburg, in the
character of only a private American gentleman, and there waiting for
the favorable moment for opening my eventual character? And whether,
all circumstances considered, your Excellency thinks it expedient 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 particular 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 itself; and that I have paid, as I shall do, a
proper respect and attention to your opinions and advice in the whole
of the business.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

_P. S._ I shall set off for Holland on Sunday morning, and shall
cheerfully take your commands.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     B. FRANKLIN TO FRANCIS DANA.

                                               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 being
present; and also as to the expediency of your proceeding to St
Petersburg; which request I willingly comply with as follows.

_Question 1._ "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 the Court
was known, and its consent obtained, 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 I 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 character?"

_Answer._ 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 suspected, that you had such a character,
and the British Minister there might exert himself to procure you
"_quelques désagréments_," i. e. chagrins or mortifications. And that
unless you appeared to have some other object in visiting 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 commerce, 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 American in Russia, who could give true
intelligence of the state of our affairs, and prevent or refute
misrepresentations, &c. and that you could, perhaps, by means of that
gentleman, make acquaintance, and thence procure useful information of
the state of commerce, the country, the Court, &c. 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 offering 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 Holland, 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, &c. a delay for some time would be more advisable.

With great esteem, and best wishes for your success, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                             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 Petersburg. To this end I have already laid before you
all the papers, which I have received from Congress, any way relating
to it, and also my correspondence with his Excellency, the Count de
Vergennes, and Dr Franklin, upon the same subject, as well as my
letters to the President of Congress from 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 the following questions.

Whether all circumstances considered, your Excellency thinks it
expedient for me to proceed to St Petersburg, in the character of a
private citizen of the United States only, and to wait there for a
favorable moment to announce my public character?

Or whether, previous to my going in such a character, you judge it
expedient for me to communicate my design to 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 given to me by the Count de Vergennes at our conference?

Whether it is advisable to communicate my real character to the Court
of St Petersburg, and to ask their permission before I undertake the

Whether in case you think it advisable for me to proceed 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 resolutions, relative to the
rights of neutral vessels, to the Court of St Petersburg on my 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 already 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, before you
give me yours.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     JOHN ADAMS TO FRANCIS DANA.

                                             Leyden, April 18th, 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 to a subject on which I
have long reflected, and have formed an opinion as fully as my
understanding is capable 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 distinction of
public or private, as far as the publication of your appointment
already made in France will permit.

I should think it altogether improper to communicate your design to
the Ambassador of travelling to St Petersburg 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 much 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
explaining the views of Congress.

After your arrival at St Petersburg, I should advise you, unless upon
the spot you discover reasons against it, unknown 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 presenting 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 dishonorable 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 consistent 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, according to your instructions. This method was
taken by this Republic in her struggle with Spain, nay it was taken by
the Republican Parliament in England, and by Oliver Cromwell. It was
taken by Switzerland and Portugal, in similar cases, with great
success. Why it should be improper 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 opinion, because I have
already communicated those resolutions 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 resolutions, if invited thereto,
because it would be interfering with your department.

America, my Dear Sir, has been too long silent in Europe. 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 given appear to me conclusive. 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 sudden 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 appointment, 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
rejected. 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 resources of three or four millions
of virtuous men, inhabiting a fine country, when contending for
everything which renders 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 capitalists abroad willing
enough to venture in their funds.

With ardent wishes for your health and success, I have the honor to
be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO EDMUND JENNINGS.

                                          Amsterdam, April 26th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

Have you an inclination to favor me with your company to a certain
place, where you seemed to think the presence of an American might be
very useful to our country? I have it not in my power to make you any
advantageous proffers, but perhaps it may be nearly equal to you to
reside at Petersburg or Brussels. It may eventually be turned much to
your benefit and honor.

I need not be more particular on this subject, or to request 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 immediately, 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                               Brussels, May 3d, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

I had the honor of receiving your letters of the 26th and 29th ultimo,
by the last post, containing a most obliging invitation to accompany
you on some intended tour. It came upon me quite unexpected, and when
I had arranged 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
elsewhere, that I may present myself to you at Amsterdam, without loss
of time. 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, &c.

                                                      EDMUND JENNINGS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 13th, 1781.


I 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 place relative to my late
appointment, that can be of any importance to them to know.

I shall not trouble you with observations upon any of them, except the
letter of Dr Franklin, and merely to correct one or two mistakes in
his account of my conference with the Count de Vergennes. The Doctor
says, "when I mentioned that I might appear to have _views of
commerce, as a merchant_, or of curiosity as a traveller," &c.--"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," &c.
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
destination, and determined to endeavor to obviate every objection,
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 knowledge of that country. I added, indeed, of its
laws, customs, manners, _commerce_, manufactures, &c. The character 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 inform his
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
a personal knowledge of the gentleman I alluded to; he 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 few days on my journey, probably
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
communicate my design of going into his country, and secreting from
him at the same time, my public character, if by such means I might
obtain his advice and passport to proceed, whenever my real character
should be made known, he would perhaps consider it as a mean artifice
and an imposition 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 having 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, I 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 death or accident, your papers and
affairs may be safely lodged, for the future advantage of Congress, I
have invited Mr Edmund 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. I promise myself he will be able to afford me much essential
assistance in the execution of my duty. I did not, however, take this
step till I had communicated my design to Mr Adams, who well knew Mr
Jennings, and found that it met his full approbation. I enclose (over
and above the other papers) my letter to Mr Jennings on this occasion,
and his answer to me. I hope Congress will not disapprove of this
measure. I have no other end in it than to promote the interests of
our country, in obtaining the assistance of his abilities, and to
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.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            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 receive the whole from hence in the South
Carolina, commanded 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.

I 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 the States in
the Union. When this system shall be established, I hope the Committee
of Foreign Affairs, or some others to whom it may belong, will not
fail to transmit some account of it, with any observations which may
be necessary to explain it. In my separate department, where 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

I am, with the highest sentiments of respect and esteem, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              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 journey, in hopes of being accompanied by Mr
Jennings, I have been exceedingly disappointed, that that gentleman
has thought himself under the necessity to decline going with me, on
account of certain circumstances, which have since turned up in his
own affairs.

I left Amsterdam on the 7th instant, (Mr Adams having 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 this city, through Cologne, Frankfort, and Leipsic, though
not the common or shortest one, to avoid passing through Hanover, lest
my motions should have been watched in Holland, and notice given of
my passing through Hanover, which might have brought on the seizure of
my person and papers.

I have been unfortunate in having my carriage overthrown and broken in
pieces, between Leipsic and Berlin; happily, however, no other injury
was sustained. I mention this circumstance, because it not only lays
me under the necessity of purchasing another here, (for there is no
travelling in these countries tolerably without a private carriage)
but it will detain me several days extraordinary. Though I am not
quite well, I shall set off as soon as the carriage I have bought can
be properly fitted for so long a journey, for no less than fifteen
hundred of our miles are still before me; and the 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, I should find
matters in the state we wish them to be.

As I have no faith on the one hand, that the present mediation of the
Emperor and Empress will issue in a pacification, general or partial,
so, on the other, I as little expect that it will suddenly light up
other wars. It is probable, nothing of the latter kind can take place,
without this kingdom having a portion in it, and I have not yet been
able to learn, that there is the least expectation of the sort here,
which most commonly goes before the act. I suppose, therefore, that
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 them, (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 tendency to bring about a pacification.

Not one of the belligerent powers, I believe, has an expectation, or a
sincere wish that a pacification will, or should be brought about at
present. Spain wishes to possess 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 America must be
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 proposition in their mediation, or Britain to
acknowledge it?

Great Britain, in my opinion, wishes not to make a separate 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 flatter
herself, that by doing this, 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 forsaken by her new allies, and exposed singly to the
whole power of Britain, might either be induced once more to submit to
her domination, or would become an easy conquest, in part at least. So
little wisdom, it is probable, experience has taught 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
importance in the political system, absolutely depend upon supporting
the independence of our country?

Of Holland or the 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
demand in virtue of treaties, which Britain has annulled; as also
restitution 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 attempted, and I fear they will not meet with a very
vigorous opposition from a quarter, which we have a right to expect
should stoutly oppose them.[18] Should a Congress be assembled in
this half matured state of things, is there any reasonable ground to
hope that the professed design of it, a general pacification, can be
accomplished? The determination of such bodies, are, however, so
frequently influenced by improper motives, that he who concludes that
such a matter cannot be the result merely because it ought not to be,
may find himself egregiously deceived in the end.

Thus I have attempted to give a sketch of my sentiments relative to
the business of a mediation; but Congress will probably 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. I have said I should go through the fatigues of my
journey with much alacrity, if I had well grounded hopes, that at the
end I should find matters in the state we wish them to be. I 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 even for their own
defence, and seemed not to be half decided 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
Minister, seems to denote an essential change in the system of the
Court of St Petersburg.

"_St Petersburg, 12th of June._ Friday last the Minister of the Court
of Versailles had a conference with Count Osterman, Vice Chancellor of
the Empire, and delivered him a memorial of the following import.

'Representations upon the continual proceedings of the English against
the commerce 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 convention of neutrality, which has been concluded
between them; upon the prejudice which will naturally result therefrom
to all nations; and upon the desire which the King his master has,
that it should be remedied by the vigorous co-operation of her
Imperial Majesty; seeing that otherwise 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 regret, under
the indispensable necessity of changing in like manner the system
which he has hitherto pursued respecting the commerce and navigation
of neutrals, and to order and regulate that according to the conduct
which the English themselves 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, I could
not have the benefit of his judgment upon it, but I am so thoroughly
acquainted with his political 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 better and
properly informed about us. Britain most certainly has been
industrious 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
knowledge 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 procure it other allies,
who, by their friendly offices and support, 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 reasons, why I am
persuaded we ought not to expect any real support, in our attempts to
form new alliances, and why the Ministers of Congress in Europe should
be encouraged in pursuing a more independent line of conduct. I am
sensible this is a matter of much delicacy, and that appearances of
the 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 matters, and I hope
we may do so _safely_; otherwise, there is an end of all beneficial
correspondence, and expectations of rendering any essential services
to our country.

I crave your Excellency's pardon for the length of this letter, and
beg leave to subscribe myself, with the highest respect, and most
perfect esteem, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.


[18] This doubtless refers to France, but the suspicion was not well
founded, for when a pacification was proposed through the mediation of
Russia and Austria, the Court of France insisted on an express
_preliminary condition_, that the United States should be represented
by their Ministers as _an independent power_ in the negotiations for
peace. It was on this account alone, that England refused to come into
the plan of the mediation.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                     St Petersburg, August 30th, 1781.

Mr Dana begs leave to acquaint his Excellency, the Marquis de Verac,
that he has arrived in town, and proposes to do himself the honor of
paying his respectful compliments to his Excellency, as the Minister
of the sovereign in alliance with his country, at any hour, which
shall be most agreeable to him.

Mr Dana is silent at present with regard to himself, presuming that
his Excellency has been already informed by his Excellency, the Count
de Vergennes, of his intended journey to this place, and of some
circumstances, which have opened the nature of his business.

       *       *       *       *       *



                                          Thursday, August 30th, 1781.

The Marquis de Verac has the honor to present his compliments to Mr
Dana, and is very happy to hear of his arrival, which he had been
prepared to expect by the Count de Vergennes; he will be flattered to
make his acquaintance, and to assure him of his eagerness to render
him any service in his power in this country.

       *       *       *       *       *


                               St Petersburg, September 1st, 1781.[19]


I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that the Congress of the
United States 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 particularly 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 doubtless 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 expressive of their earnest wish and persuasion, that
their negotiations at this Court may, and will be conducted in perfect
harmony with those of his Majesty, and that they rest assured, that
his benevolence and friendship towards the United States and the
general cause of humanity, are sufficient 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 her Imperial
Majesty to favor and support the sovereignty and independence of the
United States of America, 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.

Thus a foundation 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 Excellency will at all times be ready to afford me
every assistance in your power, which I may need in the execution of
my mission.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.


[19] 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 _New Style_.

       *       *       *       *       *



                                    St Petersburg, September 2d, 1781.


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 proposed by the Congress of the United States of America,
when they decided to send you to the Court of Russia as their Minister
Plenipotentiary to the Empress. You know, Sir, the deep interest,
which 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 confidence than by
making you acquainted with the general dispositions of her Imperial
Majesty in regard to the powers 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
particular 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 powers 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
London 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 interested. 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 state of things at the
Court of Russia, and you will readily comprehend, that her Imperial
Majesty, not wishing to dissatisfy the Court of London more than those
of Versailles and Madrid, abstains with the greatest possible 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
London 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 advances 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 have 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. If, 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 I 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.

                                                 THE MARQUIS DE VERAC.

_P. S._ I ought to inform you, that the Count Panin and the Count
d'Ostermann do not understand English; this will render your
communications with these Ministers difficult.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO THE MARQUIS DE VERAC.

                                   St Petersburg, September 4th, 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,
communicating to you the general object of my mission.

It is impossible for me to express the obligations I feel 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 London 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 proposed, 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 at this Court, but your
goodness has anticipated my design.

You will not impute it to a proper want of respect for your
sentiments and opinions, if I presume to raise some doubts, and to
make some reflections upon them. For whether they come from the
Marquis de Verac, or from the Minister of France, they make an equal
impression upon my mind, and it is at present a matter of indifference
to me. The wisdom of her Imperial Majesty, in making it, as you
express yourself, "from the moment the first hostilities commenced, a
point of honor to hold the balance perfectly equal between the
different parties, taking particular 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 powers
to the prejudice 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 celebrated, 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 the only basis, upon which could be erected her favorite and just
system, of equal freedom and commerce and navigation to all nations.

She might hope to 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 both wise and necessary. It was necessary above all, that she
should abstain, with the greatest care, from manifesting a particular
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 for her Imperial Majesty any longer to conceal
her particular inclination for the cause of America, since she, in
conjunction with 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. This is to rank America (as in
fact she stands) among the belligerent powers, and, in a manner, to
acknowledge her independence. It is making a much larger stride
towards it, I confess, than I expected would have been made in the
first plan of pacification. That they must come to it at last, I have
been long firmly persuaded.

I must take the liberty to differ in opinion from your Excellency,
when you say, in the present circumstances, it is very doubtful
whether the Ministry of her Imperial Majesty will acknowledge a
Minister from the United States of America, more especially when I
reflect upon the principal reasons you assign for this opinion. I can
no longer consider 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
sovereigns are prepared to make the same, if properly invited to do
it. Neither can I imagine, that her Imperial Majesty will now give
herself much concern about any groundless complaints, which 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 Minister would
be. I cannot but consider her Imperial Majesty's line of conduct, in
this respect, decided by the above proposition, which she made as
mediator between the belligerent powers. No one could more deeply
wound the Court of London. She must have contemplated as probable, at
least, what I think might have been almost certainly predicted,
namely, the rejection of her mediation by the Court of London, on
account of that very proposition, and have resolved 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 accepting 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 fortune in the war, and still in full possession
of their independence; 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 offices to bring about a general pacification upon
the most reasonable and just grounds and principles, which the Court
of London has thought proper to reject, still keeping up their absurd
claims over the United States; it would seem after all this, that
there now remained but one step for her Imperial Majesty to take,
consistent with her dignity, (for I presume the mediators cannot
withdraw their proposition,) which is, to acknowledge 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
establish 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 presume 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 connexion?

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 I venture to differ from yours. I have
endeavored to follow 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 everything which may come
from you, demands of me. If I am wrong, I 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 myself in any measure, which
may become more prejudicial than advantageous to the success of my
views. On the other hand, when I see no difficulty in adopting the
measure I shall presently mention, it becomes my indispensable duty to
adopt it, because it appears to me to be betraying the honor and
dignity of the United States to seclude myself in a hotel, without
making one effort to step forth into political life; besides, I think
I owe this also to her Imperial Majesty, who it is possible, may have
matured her political plan to 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 sovereign authority of
the United States, or upon myself individually considered. If the
experiment is not made, the United States can never be satisfied, that
in a juncture apparently so favorable, it would not have succeeded,
and their Minister would find it extremely difficult to justify before
them a state of absolute inaction.

At present, I should be puzzled for reasons to vindicate such a
conduct, while they seem to crowd in upon me in support of a contrary
one. The United States trust to the justice of their cause, and the
rectitude of their intentions, to open the way for them into the
affections of the sovereigns of Europe. They have no sinister, no
dishonorable propositions to make to any of them, 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 character to the proper
Minister of her Majesty, and of the general object of my mission; and
perhaps to accompany those 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 to the proper time of presenting the memorial, or taking any
other step in the business of my mission; and ask him in the meantime
to assure me of the protection of her Majesty. I shall acquaint him,
that I have not yet assumed 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 without
his approbation.

As I have done in this instance, so your Excellency may be persuaded I
shall in future make you fully acquainted 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 I 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. I must crave your Excellency's pardon for the length of
this letter, and hope you will impute that to the desire I have to
impart to you fully my sentiments and intentions touching the subject
of it.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *



                                  St Petersburg, September 12th, 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 article 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. Persuaded, as you appear to have been, that the American
Minister would be admitted 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 political 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 evidence 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 refrained from this, because
I supposed you were already perfectly acquainted with it. I cannot
better 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-establishment of
peace, &c." "And there shall at the same time be a treaty between
Great Britain and the _American Colonies_ for the re-establishment of
peace in America, _but without the intervention of any other
belligerent parties, not even that of the two Imperial Courts, unless
their mediation shall be formally asked and granted for this

By this the mediating Courts intend, that your deputies shall treat
simply with the English Ministers, as they have already treated with
them in America in the year 1778; that the result of their
negotiations shall make known to the other powers upon what footing
they ought to be regarded; and that their public character will be
acknowledged without difficulty, from the moment the English
themselves interpose no opposition. This plan has been conceived for
the purpose of conciliating the strongly opposing pretensions. Have
the goodness, Sir, to observe, that I do not say that I approve this
scheme. I merely say, that the august mediators have adopted it, in
rendering 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 independence of the United States,
till England herself shall have taken the lead.

You perceive, Sir, that nothing is more conformable to my wishes, than
to see Russia acknowledge the independence of the United States. If it
depended on me to draw from her this acknowledgment, you would
immediately have grounds to be perfectly contented with my efforts. In
a word, you cannot doubt, that the Minister of his Most Christian
Majesty in Russia takes a warm interest in your cause. But the more I
desire your success, the more I feel myself obliged to forewarn you of
the difficulties 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 character on the part of
a power, whose rights and perfect independence it is my duty to
recognise, it does not pertain to me to guide your advances, but the
alliance of this same power with the King my master, invites me to
acquaint you with all the knowledge, which I have acquired respecting
this country, that 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 say to you in my first letter, that when you shall have
succeeded in surmounting the difficulties, which you may meet in
causing your public 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, therefore, to communicating such
facts as shall come to my knowledge, and which may interest you,
leaving to your intelligence 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 Petersburg. 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.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 THE MARQUIS DE VERAC.

_P. S._ I ask pardon for the delay of this answer. It has been owing
to the embarrassment of translating your letter; the Marquis de la
Coste, my son-in-law, being the only person in my family who can read
a little English.


[20] See the articles of pacification at large, as far as they relate
to America, in _John Adams's Correspondence_, Vol. VI. p. 100.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO THE MARQUIS DE VERAC.

                                  St Petersburg, September 13th, 1781.


On my return home last evening, I found myself honored with 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 Marquis de la
Coste, should make a task of translating my letters, or suffer them to
interfere with his engagements or avocations. It is with extreme
repugnance I write to your Excellency, because of the trouble I know
that it must give him; and nothing but an opinion of the necessity of
doing it, has given your Excellency, or the Marquis, any trouble of
that sort.

It may not be amiss to acquaint your Excellency, that just before my
departure from Holland, by an unforeseen accident, I was unexpectedly
deprived of the assistance of a gentleman, who both speaks and writes
the French language 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 answers of the Courts of Versailles and Madrid to the
plan of pacification, as soon after you may receive them, as shall be
convenient to you. It is my earnest wish to form my conduct upon the
fullest informations I can possibly obtain, and to avoid any step,
which may have the least tendency rather to injure than to promote the
interests of either country.

Your Excellency will be pleased to accept my warmest thanks for your
attention to the business of my mission, your wishes for the success
of it, as well as for the assurances of your personal zeal, to promote
the general interests of the United States.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                  St Petersburg, 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 days, the
first part of which time was lost by my illness, and the rest in
waiting for my carriage. I set off from thence the 2d of August, and
arrived here, travelling day and night, on the 27th, _New Style_,
having stopped in this route (sometimes to recruit a little, and
sometimes to make the reparations to my carriage, necessary in so long
a journey) at the following places, viz. Dantzic, Konigsberg, Memel,
Riga and Narva, all of which are ports of consideration, and lay in my

I made during my short stay in them as full inquiry into the nature of
their commerce as circumstances would admit of. I 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 circuitous voyages and become their carriers. The great article of
Riga is cordage of all sorts, which I am told is the best in all these
countries. They export considerable 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
expect to receive shortly a minute account of all the exports and
imports of Riga, with their prices current, &c. Being no merchant, my
account of these things it is to be expected 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 acknowledgement
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 Mr Adams, and shall desire him to break them up, and
read them before he forwards them for America, as the best means of
making him fully acquainted with all that has yet taken place here,
especially with the sentiments of the French Minister, 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 I 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 I still
intended to adopt the measure mentioned in my second letter. He
possibly may have other reasons for his opinions, which he chooses to
keep to himself, but surely such cannot serve as rules by which to
regulate my conduct while I remain ignorant of them, nor can I 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 judgment upon this point from the letters of the Minister
himself, and from 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 finger upon three words only in
it, viz. _en même tems_, and considered the others, to which he meant
to draw my particular attention, by underscoring them, as merely
colorable 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.--"_It is therefore clear, that their design is to avoid
compromiting themselves by recognising the independence of the United
States, till England herself 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 belligerent
powers, or themselves, ought to interfere in settling the war between
them and Great Britain, without being invited by both parties, how
comes it to pass, that as mediators between the belligerent powers,
meaning not to comprehend 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 prescribing to a sovereign State _the time_ when it
shall enter upon the settlement of a dispute, existing between the
Sovereign of that State and a part of his subjects, in which they mean
not to intermeddle; and, according to the French Ministers, even the
manner of doing it. For, says he, "the mediating Courts intend
thereby, that your deputies shall treat simply with the English
Ministers, in the same manner as they have already treated 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 conciliate opposing
pretensions," and "that the result of their 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 time, and in
her own way, and proceed to the great business 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 interfere in our
particular negotiation unless invited to do it, and were determined
never to 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 United States, as an
independent sovereign power; that upon that principle they wish to
extinguish the flames of war in both countries at the same time; that
they do not flatter 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 powers, 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 particular one.

I cannot but think the mediators expected the Court of London would
reject this first plan of mediation, on account 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 to 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 be less ambiguous.

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 conviction 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 exactly the
same in both cases, so far as respects the proposed communication of
my public character to this Court. If her Imperial Majesty has really
resolved upon such a strange system of politics, the sooner Congress
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 supporting 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 themselves 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 difficulties, which you
may meet in causing your public 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," 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. I must proceed in it
therefore by myself, or be totally inactive. I thought it advisable
to assure the French Minister, that I would wait some time for the
answers of the Courts of Versailles 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 possibility 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 difficulty of my situation,
standing alone upon new ground, and will make every allowance for it I
ought in reason to expect.[21]

I am, with the highest respect, and most perfect esteem, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.


[21] 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, with whom
he has inviolable engagements; that he should betray them in
abandoning the American cause; and that it would be abandoning this
cause for him to negotiate a separate peace. The high mediators 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 personal interests,
and leave to the Americans the task of coming to an accommodation 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 evidence) 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 be 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 expressions, which relate to

"The Court of London will elude as much, and as long as she possibly
can, the direct or indirect acknowledgment of the independence 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
her 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 received. The
King of England will consider him as his subject, while Congress will
demand that he should be received as the representative of a free
people, by means whereof the mediation will be stopped at the first

"To prevent this inconvenience it should seem, that previous to 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
invitation is so much the more interesting as the negotiation relative
to America should go hand in hand with that of the Courts of Madrid
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 the negotiation. This task then 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 success, and with
the certainty of not rendering himself suspected by the Americans, it
is necessary that he should first know the determination 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."

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                     St Petersburg, October 1st, 1781.


In the project of a treaty, which France proposes to Russia, there is
an article to this effect;

"When the subjects of France shall carry in their own vessels French
goods into Russia, and shall exchange them 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."

France, to induce Russia to grant this, says, "France will want great
quantities of Russian goods, which, after the war, France will not be
obliged to take of Russia, for France can have the like from America,
and though perhaps 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 off more French goods, and to pay France for them."
Hemp is particularly mentioned.

I pray you to keep this to yourself, and I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    St Petersburg, October 15th, 1781.


Since my letter to your Excellency of September 15th, enclosing a
duplicate of mine from Berlin, and copies of all the enclosed papers,
the French Minister 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
propositions 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 state of our particular
negotiation, and that both of the pacifications, although they shall
have been separately concluded, shall be solemnly guarantied by the
mediators, and all other neutral powers, whose 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 powers, or even that of the two Imperial Courts,
unless their mediation has been formally demanded, and granted upon
this object?" Is it clear from hence, that the design of the
mediators is to avoid exposing themselves by acknowledging the
independence of the United States before Great Britain has done this
herself? 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 recede 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 have no room to doubt it,
that it was a secret part of the original plan of the armed
neutrality, as soon as it should be completed, that the neutral
confederated powers should propose a general pacification between the
belligerent powers, 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 January. All this
time her navy was neglected, and the mischiefs 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 from
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 contraband articles. From that time the spirit of the
confederation seems to have languished. The Danish Minister most
interested in it has been superseded. Count Panin, who in this Court,
it is said, was its principal support, 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 affairs 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 presents a discouraging prospect.

It has not such an effect upon my mind at present, and I 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 8th of May) he entered into a similar
convention with the Empress. About this time, (the 23d of May,) the
propositions for a general pacification were made, and on the 20th of
August, both the Prussian and Russian Ministers at the Hague notified
to the States-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 independence of the United States, one might
conclude with confidence, that all would soon go well between us, if
it was confidently to be concluded, that all Courts are 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 probable Denmark will not stand out. The Emperor has ceased his
opposition to the confederation. The step is now short for him to
favor and support it. I believe it may be depended upon, that he has
already agreed to accede to it.

If I 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 consolidating themselves in their
confederation; that even after this should take place, our
independence will not be acknowledged by this Court before all the
neutral confederated powers shall have agreed upon this measure, and
are fully prepared to adopt it, and that even Holland waits for this
event, although her ease is now different from theirs, by being
actually at war with our enemy.

The ground on which the 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 vindicate 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 nothing to apprehend, I believe, but
the baneful influence of British gold, which can serve but to defer
for awhile, however, the event they most dread, the open
acknowledgment of our independence by this, and the other neutral
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 Minister. 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 communication
of my mission to this Court, unless some matter which I do not
foresee, should render it expedient to delay doing it still longer.

I am, with the highest respect, and most perfect esteem, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                      Philadelphia, October 22d, 1781.


Congress having lately thought it advisable that their correspondence
with foreign Courts and their Ministers abroad should pass through the
hands of their Secretary for Foreign Affairs, I enclose the act by
which they did me the honor to appoint me to that office. In this
character, Sir, I have the pleasure of communicating to you the
important account of two signal victories, which have 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 intelligence, which
must fix our independence, not only beyond all doubt, but even beyond
all controversy. I should have mentioned to you, that besides the
troops and seamen abovementioned, the enemy lost during the siege of
Yorktown, 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 the line, that of
the British to twentyfour. 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 ourselves 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 their 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
work of some time.

It is of importance to you to know that the spirit of opposition 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
barbarity 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 few
days since, I do not think it prudent to proceed to any minute
discussions. I can only tell you, that the people here entertain the
highest respect for the Court you are at. They consider the plan of
the armed neutrality as the best proof of an enlarged and generous
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,

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 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.

I 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
seventyfour, burnt, and two frigates taken, and compelled to return to
New York, whence, as I before mentioned, having been reinforced, they
have again sailed.

I am, with the greatest esteem, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

_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, would be
preferable. Both parts of the Dictionary are to be procured, if
possible, but particularly the one which begins with the Russian. If
anything like a Court Calendar is published at St Petersburg, 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.


[22] "_In Congress, October 5th, 1780._--On the report of a committee,
to whom was referred a motion of Mr Adams, relative to certain
propositions 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 the
belligerent 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 commerce,
and their respect for the sovereign who has proposed, and the powers
who have approved the said regulation;

"Resolved, That the Board of Admiralty prepare and report instructions
for the commanders of armed vessels commissioned by the United States,
conformable to the principles contained in the declaration of the
Empress of all the Russias, on the rights of neutral vessels.

"That the Ministers Plenipotentiary from the United States, if invited
thereto, be, and hereby are respectively empowered to accede to such
regulations, conformable to the spirit of the said declaration, as may
be agreed upon by the Congress expected to assemble in pursuance of
the invitation of her Imperial Majesty.

"Ordered, That 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."

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO WILLIAM ELLERY.

                                    St Petersburg, January 17th, 1782.


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
unsuccessfully. 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 affects the European systems to be overlooked or disregarded
by those who have the adjustment of them.

Notwithstanding the material change, which our revolution has wrought
in their old systems, which is felt somehow by all the politicians of
Europe, yet they seem some of them not to be sufficiently 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 neutral nation, by constantly
convoying her trade, and is besides wisely reaping the benefits of
the American commerce, 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
maritime 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 suggestions, 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 they shall
each share a proportion of the benefits of an intervening commerce.
Nothing, you will readily perceive, is to be expected here, while the
business of mediation is kept up.

I am, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                         Philadelphia, March 2d, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I 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 matter of which we have 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 my not entering into a
minute consideration of your letters, or of our own affairs. The
subject of your conference with the[23] ---- 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 advantage we could wish from your attention. I must
therefore beg the favor of you to increase the number of your letters,
and to send at least four copies of each to the different 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 to general
politics should be written weekly, and sent to France and Holland.

You will continue, I presume, to appear only in a private 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 represent them as humble suppliants for their favor. The least
slight from a sovereign, whose life will be read with applause 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
struggles they have made, or which shall render their liberties
insecure. 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 supplied with every
necessary to enable them to use their force with advantage. Contrast
this with our present situation. Allied to a powerful nation, in
possession of governments with which the people are pleased; having an
army disciplined, well appointed, and flushed with victory; an
extensive and active commerce; provisions 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 desired 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 doubted by those who reflect on
these circumstances, and the ease with which every order of government
is carried into effect, 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 display 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 afford 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 under obligations;
in the second, he is cautious lest he should be led away by your
prejudices. Should these inquiries be made by people who are able to
serve you, be particularly attentive to render your information
agreeable by enlivening 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 them.

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 private 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
population, agriculture, commerce, and revenues; their past and
present governments; the progress of the arts and sciences; the steps
which led to this revolution, and the present state of the war, will
probably be the objects of her inquiry. These you will answer with
candor, even though you should thereby expose some of our defects or
imperfections. 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

Since my last, conveying an account of Cornwallis's capture, 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 reduced 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 abandoned 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 commerce are sacrificed to the possession of three posts, which
cost them 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 emitting 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

The only money now in general circulation is specie and notes from 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 States, 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
imports, which is designed as a perpetual fund for the payment 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 neutrality. 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 despises, and is permitted to despise with impunity,
particularly on this coast, where Britain is left at liberty to
consider us 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 formed
of the Empress, makes all her actions important to us. When no other
political object presents itself, give us the best account you can
collect 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 administration, 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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[23] A blank in the original, but probably the Count de Vergennes is
alluded to.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                       St Petersburg, March 5th, 1782.


I had the honor of the triplicate of your letter of the 22d of last
October, on the 20th instant. It was forwarded to me by that amiable
nobleman, the Marquis de Lafayette. The original or duplicate has not
yet come to 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 keeping 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 distinguished for his abilities and
integrity, than for the early and decided 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, which 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 us in its consequences, made apparently 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 conviction, 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, I believe, would be too
hasty. For the time does not so much depend upon the real sentiments,
which her Imperial Majesty and her Ministers may entertain of the
stability of our independence, 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 attempt to mediate between Britain and
Holland was rejected by the former, and her second, in conjunction
with the Emperor, between Britain and the other belligerent powers,
may be said to be at a full stand, yet, as you are informed long
before this 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
agitation. 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 probability 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 convinced 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
Empire, 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 the 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 entirely 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.
Notwithstanding 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 September, 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 general or partial. I
have given them to you 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 through
this year, unless Holland, by the prevalence of the patriotic party,
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.

The acts of accession and acceptation on the part of the Emperor and
Empress, relative to the neutral confederation, were exchanged here a
few days after the date of my last letter to the President. A want of
connexion is observable among the powers who have adopted this system;
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
without connexion one with the other, unless it should be supposed,
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,
which have adopted the system. The principles of it, however, have
acquired some support by these last accessions, particularly 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 imprudent 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 in a state
of neutrality, meet with no further obstruction in their commerce or
navigation, their end is answered. Neither Russia, Sweden, nor Denmark
will give themselves much concern to vindicate the right of Holland to
participate in the benefits of the system, according to their demands,
especially the two last, who derive very great advantages from the
present situation of the Dutch. Holland 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 despatches, 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,
I 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 of 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 pacification, and also the final
answer of the Court of Versailles. Although you may probably receive
these through another channel, yet perhaps that is not a good reason
why we should fail to furnish you with them.

I am, Sir, with much esteem, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

_P. S._ I hope to have an opportunity to forward next week, to the
care of Mr Adams, two or three Court Almanacs for you in French. The
other books I will procure for you as soon as possible, but as they
will be cumbersome, it is not probable I shall find any other
conveyance from hence than by water for them. I shall at all times be
very happy to have an opportunity to execute any of your commands.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      St Petersburg, March 30th, 1782.


I did myself the honor on the 5th instant to acknowledge 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 expressed, relative to
the partial mediation between Britain and Holland, but more especially
the resolution of Friesland 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 condition 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 imminent danger, and the formidable force gone against Jamaica, 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 haughtiness. 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 Ministers of the United States to the General

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 _Chargé d'Affaires_) as a resident Minister. He is expected here the
next month.

There has lately been a lively sensation in this quarter, occasioned
by a publication in the "_Courier du Bas Rhin_," where it was
positively asserted, that a secret treaty had been concluded between
her Imperial Majesty and the Emperor, relative to a partition of the
Turkish territories in Europe. The affair, it is said, has been
denied. However the fact may be, there seems to be some suspicions
remaining, that a scheme is forming, if not of the nature mentioned,
yet at least relative to a full enjoyment of a commerce 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 Turkish seas, and for that end, three ports
there, viz. Kinbourn, 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 Imperial Majesty, and would be
capable of affording essential services towards the execution of such
a plan. He has 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 difficulties, which have taken place
respecting the admission of a Russian Consul, which the firmness of
her Majesty has at last overcome. The whole seems yet to be on too
precarious a foundation. Perhaps solidly to establish this system 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; without this, all
that vast commercial project lies at the mercy of the Turks.

I have touched upon this subject, that from the great interest 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 better opinion of the probability or
improbability of the supposed 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 happen, 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 affairs on this side of Europe will
become but secondary concerns. I shall add nothing further at present
on this subject, but shall from time to time endeavor to give you some
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 nature of the commerce of this
country. By the list of exports 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 proportion 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 remain 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 confederation,
though a crooked and corrupt system of politics may prevent some of
them from defending their rights with proper vigor.

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
commodities suitable for this market may not be so well understood
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, cochineal, &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 Dutch; but may we not come in for a share of it?
Many of our commodities 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, Bordeaux, 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 Marseilles 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
Congress 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 consideration, 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, I 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 Marseilles, 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 diffidence on this subject, because I know
that 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, in order to form a solid judgment upon it. But if
anything I have said may serve as hints, which may be improved by
others to the general benefit of our country, my purpose will be
completely answered.

I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                       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
adjusting 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

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
mediators; 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 benefits 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 themselves 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 require the neutral powers to forbear the
acknowledgment of our independence, till they themselves shall have
acknowledged it? Or in other words, to rest idle spectators, as I
have before said, till Britain has adjusted all her commercial
interests with America, as far as possible to their exclusion.

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 informed, I may say of the immense
interest it has at stake relative to the commerce of our country, I
know the British will not fail constantly to hold up to her Imperial
Majesty 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 satisfied 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 with 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 me) 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 independence of the United States, 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
freedom 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 interests, and her
Majesty should persevere in her system of mediation, 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, though 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 Holland is setting them, and which she would have set
them at this moment, had 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                         Philadelphia, May 10th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

In my letter of the 2d of March last, I explained fully to you the
intentions of Congress in sending you to Petersburg; 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 31st of March, 1781, to the Count de Vergennes, that you
had determined agreeably to the spirit and meaning of your
instructions, to appear only as a private citizen of the United
States, 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, that 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 belligerent 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 moment it could hardly be
expected, that she would publicly 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 having
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 dissimulation, or permitting us to
entertain unfavorable sentiments 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
circumstances. It appears by your letters of the 28th of July, the
15th of September, and 15th of October last, which have been received
and read in Congress, that you entertain 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
opinion 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 the Court of

Congress, when they appointed you to the important and delicate
mission in which you are engaged, discovered their respect for your
abilities, while they meant by their instructions to guard against any
inconvenience into which you might hastily run, by directing you
before you declared 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 restriction. The conclusions of the Marquis 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 proposals 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 between 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 independence recognised, is a solecism in politics. Surely every
acknowledgment of this kind raises our hopes and depresses those of
the enemy, and places the justice of the war, both on the part of
France and of us, in a fairer point of view. But, Sir, I do not
enlarge on this subject; your instructions ought to be your guide, and
they evidently show, that at the time they were given, Congress meant
that you should treat the Minister of France at the Court of
Petersburg, with the most unreserved confidence, 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 farther instructions
from Congress.

In the meanwhile you will employ yourself in the manner, 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 quadruplicate 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 28th 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 I shall be to hear that this has
reached you, since I cannot use my cypher till I receive a line from
you written in it, nor can I 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 consequently much weakened; if, as we expect, we shall have a
naval support, we have no doubt of being able to expel them this
campaign from the continent. Our effective force, exclusive of
militia, which we can call in as we 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 a new 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 endeavor 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 astonishing to see the contempt with which these attempts are
received. The only effect they have, is to convince us of the
declining strength of the enemy, and to excite a general determination
to push them with vigor before they recover their late blow. I 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 govern
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 should 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 quarter's salary by this conveyance, commencing the
1st of January last, and ending the 1st of April last, and considering
myself as the agent of all our foreign Ministers, I shall follow your
directions relative to the disposition of your appointment, until you
shall think it expedient to name another.

Your most obedient humble servant,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                          Philadelphia, May 22d, 1782.


Your letters, from the 28th of July to October 15th, have been read in
Congress. I have reported an answer,[24] but they have not yet agreed
on it, and I do not care to let this vessel go without a line,
however hastily written, to you. You will receive with this the
newspapers, which contain some information upon a delicate point. The
administration of Britain having been changed, they will endeavor to
represent themselves as popular in America, to induce a belief that we
will, under their auspices, be desirous of returning to our connexion
with them. Be assured, that the change 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 Assembly of Maryland 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

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 business accordingly for you, unless you
should choose to appoint 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 most humble servant,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[24] This refers to the preceding letter of May 10th.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                         Philadelphia, May 29th, 1782.


You will receive herewith a letter of the 10th instant, which having
been submitted to Congress, was returned yesterday to this office,
together with the resolution, which I have the honor to enclose
expressive of their sense of the sentiments contained in the letter,
and of the line of conduct 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 British for the
exchange of prisoners, of whom we have a balance in our hands to the
amount of ten thousand. They refuse to pay the great sums, 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 express a great inclination to settle here.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       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 me 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 his
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 I knew my
means of information 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 March 5th, might still be
supposed to have some influence. This determined me to conform to his

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
remained without contradiction here, and by this means to prepare the
way for the former. It might at least serve to sound the sentiments of
the Ministers. With these views I have thrown the few following
reflections upon paper, three translations of which into French, have,
I am assured, been placed in the very hands I wished to place them,
and that they have not been unacceptable.


"When Great Britain engaged in a war with her 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 from a free and direct commerce
with America, and that with or without this commerce, Russia will be
in the same circumstances, _because Great Britain who now takes off,
will continue to take off, all the superfluous productions, and
manufactures of Russia_.

"The conduct of Spain, and of Holland, is the best comment upon the
declarations of the British, which respect those nations. I shall
confine myself, therefore, to those which respect the nations about
the Baltic, and particularly Russia. A few short reflections upon
these reasonings, or rather assertions, may perhaps show the mere
fallacy of them.

"Let it be admitted, that Great Britain will in fact continue to take
off all the superfluous productions and manufactures of Russia. Does
it follow from hence, that Russia can have no interest in a free and
direct commerce with America? Will it make no difference to the
interests of Russia whether she disposes of her commodities to Great
Britain 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 follow, all the reasonings of
the best writers upon the principles of commerce, showing the great
benefits every nation derives from the concurrence of purchasers of
her commodities, 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 commodities? 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 circuitous
voyages through Great Britain, and consequently from a third hand?
Does not this course draw along 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 such
American commodities be increased by these means when they arrive in
Russia, at the most moderate computation, at the rate of twentyfive
per cent? Will not Russia, therefore, necessarily lose at that same
rate, upon all her commodities sold to Great Britain in exchange for
such American 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 infallibly derive from the
concurrence of the Americans in her ports? Is it not worthy of
consideration, whether this extra 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 importance 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
assertion 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 part of America, in the markets 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 promote their general interests, is certain. But will the
exclusion of the Americans from a free and direct commerce 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 burthened with all
the charges abovementioned when it comes to the hands of the
Americans, that is to say, with the extraordinary charge of twentyfive
per cent? And will not this twentyfive 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 exclude her from the
benefit of a free and direct commerce with Russia, is it not natural
to suppose she would endeavor to relieve herself from the effects of
such an inequitable system, by vigorously adopting proper measures for
that purpose? And could she not do it? Might she not begin by
profiting of the errors of such an exclusive system, to the
encouragement that system would give to the cultivation of her hemp,
could she not superadd a duly 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 counterbalance them? And what are these
benefits? What, for instance, could compensate Russia for the damage
she would sustain by losing the supply of hemp for the great American
market, a market which will be rapidly increasing, while that of Great
Britain, 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 consequence of the
independence of America, would have taken place, especially in the
articles of pitch, tar, turpentine, iron, ship timber, masts, spars,
bowsprits, and in general of all naval stores.

"Every one knows that Great Britain drew great quantities 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, and of so little intrinsic value, that it
was utterly 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 the northern
nations. This kind of commerce, therefore, 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 granting 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 rendering a great 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 her
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 upon 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
cheapest, that is from the northern nations. When the British
bounties therefore 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 America, which has 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 much cheaper by a direct commerce with Sweden or
Russia. Is it not then clear, that the independence of the United
States, in whatever view it is properly considered, will turn to the
benefit of all Europe, Great Britain alone excepted; that the nations
about the Baltic, Russia above all, 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 exposing Congress or myself
in this business. Though no great doubt could be entertained from what
hand they came, yet they might have been disavowed by me if it should
be thought advisable. I pretend not to have suggested 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 affairs, than anything the
Ministers here may have seen. On the whole, I have no reason to repent
of the measure. Although it should not be attended with any immediate
good effects, yet I flatter myself it may not be wholly fruitless.

I have prepared a second part, which enforces the first, enters more
into political matter, and is chiefly designed as an answer to certain
ostensible objections, which I understand have been made against her
Imperial Majesty's forming 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 reflects 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 office) obliges me to remain totally silent upon some matters,
and to use so much caution in others, that I fear none of them will
afford you much satisfaction, or can be of any real service. I have
not been honored with any letter from you since that of the 22d 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 Mr 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 opportunity
to promote the end of my mission. I should be happy if I could give
them any reasonable assurances, that my success was at hand.

I am, with much respect and esteem, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                     St Petersburg, August 30th, 1782.


I cannot suffer the post of this day to depart without acknowledging
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 I 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 addressed 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 "_you_" and ends with
"_acknowledged_," as it has cleared up the point of most importance,
and upon which I wanted more explicit directions than are contained
in my instructions. Though this letter has been so long on its way,
yet it has arrived in good season to answer every purpose of it. I
have hitherto been governed by sentiments exactly conformable to those
you have expressed in the clause which begins with "_all_" and ends
with "_insecure_." But my 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 communicate.

I have reason to believe, that at this time, the illustrious Sovereign
of this empire, and her principal Ministers are fully 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 measures, 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 mention does not accompany your letter, though you
say you enclosed it. I wrote to Mr Adams for it as soon as I heard of
it, but have not received it from him.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   St Petersburg, September 5th, 1782.


Though there is now no danger of our suffering from the
misrepresentations of the British, and our independence may be
considered as established beyond all question, yet her Imperial
Majesty, still entertaining the expectation 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 circumstances.

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
I 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 I did not
consider, that the real honor and dignity 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 that
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 States, when the event would show, that I had
all the while a commission in my pocket as their public Minister. You
will not conceive, Sir, that I mean to question the propriety of the
orders of Congress which you have communicated to me. I am sensible it
is my duty to obey, and not to dispute their commands, and I am very
happy to have received them in such clear and explicit terms.

I 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 proposed by her Imperial Majesty, to
maintain the freedom of commerce, and of navigation. My commission and
instructions are in part founded upon the supposition, that her
Imperial Majesty, in her declaration of February 28th, 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 thereto) on the part of the United
States. Whereas that declaration is in the nature of a notification to
the belligerent powers only, and contains a complaint of the
interruption 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 forth and claims those rights and declares, that to maintain
them, to protect the honor of her flag, &c. she had fitted out the
greatest part of her marine forces. These violations, it is said in
it, ought to excite the attention of all neutral powers. In pursuance
of this sentiment, a copy of the declaration was communicated 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 abovementioned
would open a negotiation, and enter into a particular 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 negotiation has ever been opened in
consequence of this intimation, 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 result. 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 afterwards 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 maintain
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 Minister 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 whether I am mistaken in my opinion about it, but
whether my conduct meets with their approbation.

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
Ministers, 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 should 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. I
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
declined, unless Portugal would accede to the neutral confederation.
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 20th 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 salaries of all their
foreign Ministers to be paid in America, and 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, 1781, relative to my salary; and what has 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
which 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 Vattel's Law of Nations, where
he treats of the several orders of public Ministers. He supposes a
great difference 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 Plenipotentiary, 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 respective 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 Minister
of the present Empress claim precedency of a Minister 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 matter of precedency among Ministers of the same
class, much at loose here, where indeed they are not much troubled
about etiquette of any sort. Each Court has its particular usage in
such cases, and no good information is to be drawn from any general
treatises upon the subject.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                   Philadelphia, September 18th, 1782.


I 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 5th 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 keep at a distance till a more
favorable moment offers; whether our cause gains 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 inactive, 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, Secretary 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 evacuation
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 Shelburne at
the head of the administration.

The enclosed letter from General Carleton and Admiral 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,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   St Petersburg, September 23d, 1782.


Your answer to my letters, from the 28th of July to October, 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 published in the newspapers, to cut them out and
enclose them in your letters. For I cannot receive our newspapers
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 my
last, I should not have troubled you with an inquiry about the
questions stated in my letter of the 24th 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 as 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, I 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 considered as an independent nation.
For her Imperial Majesty 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 Majesty and her Ministers well know
our policy is founded upon great and liberal principles, and they do
not apprehend they shall lose any advantages, by postponing a
political connexion with us, till the way is perfectly clear to form

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 title of Chief of the
College of Foreign Affairs, yet he takes not the least part in them.
The Vice Chancellor, Count d'Ostermann, continues to conduct 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 retirement 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 person into
whose hands your papers might be committed in case of my death; nor is
it possible here to procure any one in whom I 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 principal
business of my mission shall be finished. I will, myself, 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 satisfactory to Congress.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                  St Petersburg, September 29th, 1782.


I have this day been honored with the duplicate of yours of the 10th
of May, and of the 22d and 29th 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
sentiments contained in the letter of the 10th of May, or of the
cypher, all of which you say are enclosed in that letter, has come to
hand with it.

If my first letter to you, dated March 5th, which was written by the
next post after the receipt of your first, has been received, and I
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 written, 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 important 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, I hope also will have the same favorable
tendency. The measure mentioned in it, I presume will not be censured.
To say the least, it has not been productive of any unhappy effects. I
have never delivered the second part, because I have not yet been
satisfied of the expediency of touching upon some matters which it
contained. I have always consulted the French Minister freely,
whenever I have thought any circumstances favorable to our views have
turned up, (an instance will be found in the above letter) and I have
never acted against his opinion given me 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 be less liable rashly to expose them to any
indignities. I 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

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, I
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 1781. 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 import 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 commerce of this
country, I have sent you (with the dictionaries you wrote for) a small
treatise upon the subject, which enters into mercantile details, and
may be very serviceable 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, &c. 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,
&c. 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 I 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 foreign 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 commerce 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 cultivation,
as it not only required a good soil, which could be more profitably
imployed in raising grain, but impoverished it very fast; that grain
was one of our capital articles; that by means of it we kept up a
profitable commerce 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 perfectly 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 endeavored, 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 point.

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; that all was then quiet
there, but that General Carleton had determined 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

_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.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                    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
29th, 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 I 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 communication
expressed myself in as few words as possible, preserving 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 I 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 effects upon our present interests here, as well as upon
our commerce and navigation in future, should the scheme be carried
into execution, of which I 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. I 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 thousand 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 1736, situated at
the mouth of the same river, and opposite to Kinburn, a port which
Russia obtained at the last peace, but which is exposed to the sudden
attacks of the Turks from Oczakow. Eighteen regiments, amounting to
about twentyfive 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 Oczakow. I pretend not to be certain about this
particular information, 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
acquiescence in her attempt to make a particular peace with the United
States, 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 appearances.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                    St Petersburg, November 1st, 1782.


Conceiving that the most, if not the only profitable connexion, we can
form with this Empire, is of a commercial nature, I have, during my
residence here, turned much of my attention to learn in what manner we
can carry on 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 maintain 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 consider that
scheme in so serious a light. I found it a great obstacle in my way,
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. I was of course an obstacle in the way of that,
though at first without the least apprehension of its existence, and
it must necessarily have been supposed, that I should be so. How far
this may have influenced in certain matters, which I need not point
out for your information, 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, I believe, the
least apprehension that I have come to the knowledge of it, or that I
have been in the way of obtaining the least information of it. While
things remain in this state, there will be no disagreeable
consequences from it. In my last, I have added some circumstances 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 office 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 favorable
light, and can do us no injury, but will serve to confirm 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 ourselves, and in which we shall have
great advantages, if I am not deceived, over all the nations of Europe
in this market; I mean through the West Indies, all the productions of
which (rum excepted) are brought here, after being 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, therefore, for us to exchange
them there for the proper commodities 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 respective 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 commodities of the West Indies through France,
and to bring them on here, as well as the wines, brandies, &c. 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. I throw
out the matter therefore for consideration.

I have suggested this plan here, as one by means of which this Empire
might be furnished with all the productions 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 Europeans 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 permit 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                     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 28th, 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 17th of October makes more
peculiarly your duty.[25] 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 Mr
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 declaratory of their
determination in no event to conclude a peace without the concurrence
of their allies. As it is for the honor of the United States, that
their sentiments on this subject should be known, you will make such
communication 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 authorised to declare that his
Britannic Majesty has proposed the unconditional independence of
America as preliminary to a peace. This change in the British system
places them in a truly contemptible light, since it is a direct
disavowal of their assertion. Carleton seems to feel this, if we may
judge by some expressions in the extracts I enclose 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 arrangements, which rendered them, in
the 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 arrangements 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 precedent to their being received into favor.

The enclosed resolution will inform you of the appointment 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
informed you sometime ago, that the salaries of our Ministers would in
future be paid 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 the purchase of bills and the regularity
of payment. I have taken upon me to act as your agent till I hear from
you; and my Secretary, Mr Morris, has hitherto transmitted bills to
you on Dr Franklin, on your account, 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 sentiments 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 me an account of them.

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

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[25] "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."

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   St Petersburg, November 18th, 1782.


When I 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
Court. It would be imprudent, through this channel, to go into the
reasons he assigned against it. It may be sufficient 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,
nothing can be attempted till the period arrives when we shall not
feel ourselves under strong obligations to any Sovereign in the world,
who should even make advances to form political connexions with us, or
acquire much eclat from any such connexions. I thought the opportunity
favorable when the only power, which had any pretence of right, to
contest our independence, had consented by so formal an act, to treat
with us upon 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
advantages we might reasonably expect to derive from it in our
negotiation for a peace, (for I have never considered independence as
our only object) have ever made me desirous, if possible, to effect it
during the war. Scarce any political measure of great importance can
be undertaken with "an absolute certainty of success." If, therefore,
upon mature deliberation, the state of things is found to be such,
that success is not improbable, and the benefits of it great 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 I do not
believe this to be the very moment, in which her Imperial Majesty
would wish to form any political connexion with the United States, but
on the contrary, she would wish to postpone it till the conclusion of
the war, and be well pleased that no advances should be made on our
part till then; because this would afford her opportunity to claim
much merit of the Court of London, in having withheld any
encouragement to us, when at the same time not only any offence to the
United States would be avoided, but she might allege, without a
possibility of contradiction, that if an earlier application had been
made by them, she would have been happy to have had 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 propositions were
communicated while the British King is in fact treating with the
United States, as with an independent Sovereign power, that they 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 independence by some
other very considerable powers of Europe, particularly Sweden and
Russia. The neutral maritime powers would extend the protection of
their commerce and navigation to America, and no longer suffer their
flags to be insulted on our coasts. The Court of London would treat of
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 cautious how they broke
off any negotiations, which they had opened. In a word, we should
stand on a more advantageous and independent ground of treaty.

For the attainment of objects like these, had any discretionary 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 my 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
remain 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 answer from Congress on that subject, and
I shall apply to Dr Franklin and Mr Adams to advance it between them.
It may not be amiss again to inform you, that by the express 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 President 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 become
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 treaty 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 paying _all_ the duties in the money of
the country. This privilege is extended to Denmark by their late
treaty, and will doubtless 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, December 17th, 1782.


Your distance, and the difficulty 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

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 brilliant military exploit, it has by no means been
unemployed. Such attention has been paid during these moments of
leisure 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 perfect are the officers and men in every military
manoeuvre, 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 gives 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 seeking new
habitations under the line or near the pole. Numerous cargoes of them
are sent to the West Indies and Halifax, to St Augustine and

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 knowing 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 believed, 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 opportunity 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, had 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 Morgan,
his Secretary, without soliciting a passport, and was much surprised
when Colonel Livingston, who was then a prisoner, informed him that 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 confidence 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 without consulting each other, and independent of
directions from Congress; it proves beyond contradiction, to those who
know how our legislatures are formed, and the frequency of their
elections, that these sentiments are the sentiments of the people; and
that, too, at a time when they most sincerely wished for peace. It
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 sentiments that their
Commissioners, Digby and Carleton, solemnly pronounced in a public
letter to be those of their Sovereign.

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 controversy. 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
furnish a ready market for all we raise beyond what is necessary for
our own consumption. The embargoes and restrictions, 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
provision has been made both for our troops and those of our allies.
Our trade with the Havana has furnished considerable 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 circulation 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 conceive, 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

I would not, however, have you think the flourishing state of the
bank (which is the property of a private company, under the protection
of government) a certain indication of the happy situation of our own
finances. This is by no means the case. The demand for money to
replace 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 taxation 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 revolution, will be established upon a firm and lasting basis.

The evacuation of the southern States, 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 the 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, I believe most of the States had formed their
governments. Massachusetts has since completed hers upon plans similar
to those of the other States. That of New Hampshire is printed for
the approbation of the people, and I am told will shortly be agreed

The causes which occasioned a temporary suspension of government in
South Carolina and Georgia being removed, they are again in the full
exercise of them, and, indeed, have been so ever since Lord Cornwallis
left the latter State.

Upon this head, therefore, I have nothing to inform you unless it be
that the people appear to be perfectly happy under their new
establishment; not the smallest commotion having arisen in any of the
States from discontents on this, or, indeed, on any other ground, if
we except an attempt, which was made by an inconsiderable party in one
county of Massachusetts, to prevent the collection of debts till the
termination of the war. This was instantly suppressed by the
punishment of their leader. Indeed, this trifling matter was so little
attended to here, that I should not have thought of mentioning 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, who I believe was originally of
Massachusetts, is printed as a voucher for this impudent falsehood. As
British emissaries may endeavor to circulate this with you, where they
have an interest in deceiving, I concluded it proper to furnish you
with the means of refuting it.

Your knowledge of the continental forms of governments, 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 freer 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 offices in their
respective States, they bring with them that knowledge, and habit of
business which they acquired at home. The establishment of Ministers
for the great executive department (a regulation which has taken place
since you left us) has been found to be productive of very great
advantages. 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 acquainted 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

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 among 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

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 already explained to
you the objects on which I wish you particularly to enlarge. None of
your letters have embraced those objects. I would recommend 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 despatch for us; adding thereto, a sketch of the
character and station of the person whose sentiments you give. I 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, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   St Petersburg, December 21st, 1782.


I had the honor of your letter of the 18th 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

I am glad to learn the observations I sent you upon the trade of this
empire, have been deemed at all pertinent, and have afforded 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 in course, you will find I have not been silent upon the
particular subjects you mention, and upon which you want information,
nor altogether an idle spectator of events; although to this moment I
have not had any conferences with either of her Majesty's Ministers,
or taken any official step, yet I have constantly endeavored to clear
up all misrepresentations 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 particular 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 mediators, were built upon it.
These sentiments were expressed 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 I first detailed to Congress, except when I thought
some important change had taken place in the state of affairs, such as
the capture of Lord Cornwallis 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 negotiation, which is had in view,
who can be supposed to be interested in it, whether it may be a
question respecting the States-General or the American Colonies;" and
finally, when I had authentic intelligence, that a commission 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 measure 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 this 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 time? 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, and have 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, when their military commanders in America have published
under their hands from authority, that their Sovereign had commanded
his Ministers, to direct Mr Granville, that the independency 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 propositions 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, which 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 would induce me, if I was at
liberty, to make an immediate 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 throughout 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 General
Carleton and Admiral Digby, which you enclosed, and desired me to have
published, had been published before in the principal gazettes of

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   St Petersburg, December 27th, 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 preliminaries 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 proposed 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 the Minister
who might succeed me, would probably want that 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 Ministers in
Europe, viz. that of a Minister 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 _Chargé d'Affaires_ 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 me to sustain the indispensable expenses of my rank,
with an appointment less than that of our other Ministers in Europe.
If there was, therefore, no other motive to influence 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 obtained it. I can only say with regard
to the Minister of Sweden, who has a Secretary to his Embassy, that
his appointment and allowance for his house rent, exclusive of some
other benefits, amount to more than double my appointment, including
everything I can charge agreeably to what I suppose to be the
intention of Congress. I will send the abovementioned account as soon
as the gentleman, who has promised to procure it for me, shall furnish
me with it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   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 information.

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 communication 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 I have made to them, as mentioned in
several of my letters, when I shall know what I have to depend upon
touching the principal object of my mission, and can better govern
myself as to the communication 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 business 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
something 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 mutual
interests of the contracting parties. But so we find the state of
things here. And it is not to be expected that any difference should
be made in our favor, and, perhaps, it would not be consistent 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 sovereign 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 received by her Imperial
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 the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      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 received any intelligence by
yesterday's post, (the third which has come on since our first
accounts) upon the subject from either of our Commissioners. The
French Minister continues in the same uncertainty. By private letters,
and the gazettes brought by the last post, it appears only that the
preliminaries between Great Britain and the United States 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 _twelve_ 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
sufficiently short to 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

Upon a more careful examination upon the Marine Convention, it appears
to me from its nature as well as from 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 accurate copy
of that convention, I will cite the article upon which I form my

"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 maritime wars, with which Europe may unfortunately
be troubled. These stipulations ought to be regarded as permanent, 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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                    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
distinguished 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
effect. The prevailing opinion here among the best informed is, that
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 present belligerent powers
at peace, for reasons, which will readily occur to you.

I thank you, gentlemen, for your opinions respecting the communication
of my mission to the Ministers of her Imperial Majesty, and of the
other neutral powers residing at this Court. But "absolute certainty
of success" are strong words, and will bind me down to a state of
inaction till the conclusion of the present war, unless I should
receive positive assurance, that things are prepared for my reception,
of which I have no expectation. I have yesterday consulted the French
Minister upon this matter, and acquainted 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 might not meet with a refusal,
yet my admission would be, upon various pretences, postponed 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 received. Thus I am doubly bound down as above, during
the war. If unfortunately the negotiations should be broken 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 United
States, after what has already taken place between them and his
Britannic Majesty, 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                    St Petersburg, January 15th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

The post of this day has brought me your favor of the 22d ultimo, in
which you acknowledge the receipt of mine of the 25th of November. In
the first place, let me 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.

Besides what is said in my letter to the Commissioners, you are
acquainted with the positive nature of my last instructions, 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
of it 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 application. 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 impolitic 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 doing 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 affirmative.

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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                    St Petersburg, January 15th, 1783.


The post of this week brought me a letter from our Commissioners,
accompanied with a copy of the preliminary 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 Commissioners 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 Ministers 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 duty 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 quarter.

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 Empress, 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 his restoration was, probably, not the
only object in view.

The existence of the connexion mentioned in my letter of March 30th,
seems no longer to be doubted, or that the object of it (which you
will find 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 apprehension 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, I hope my long residence here will not have been wholly
unserviceable to our country.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                    St Petersburg, January 31st, 1783.


We still remain in the same uncertainty about the negotiations of the
other belligerent powers, yet they are believed 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 Mr Adams, he informs me
that Dr Franklin and himself had agreed to advance the money necessary
to the conclusion of a commercial 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. I do not foresee any inconvenience 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 27th ultimo,
which appear to me to render such a step necessary, 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. 6.

I am, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   St Petersburg, 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 account of it to the Vice
Chancellor, Count Ostermann. No courier has yet arrived for either of
the foreign Ministers here.

You will be pleased to accept my most hearty congratulations 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 plighted faith, have contributed. Our revolution
is universally spoken of as the most important which the world has
ever seen. Its influence penetrates the innermost recesses of every
Cabinet in Europe, they will and they must give way to it.

It is yet difficult to say what will be the effect 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. I 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
productions imported into America, if any higher duties should be
imposed upon her West India productions when exported by us, than when
by her native subjects, notwithstanding 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 commercial treaty with Great Britain.
We should reap advantages from it, not only in our commerce with this
empire, but with every other in Europe, not having such establishments
in America.

Now I am upon this subject of commerce, I will take the liberty to
acquaint you, that Portugal intends to procure 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 advantage 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,
paying 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 here, under the protection of the
Oporto Company. You will not take it amiss, that I suggest these
subjects to your consideration. If any of them can be turned to the
benefit of our country, my end in troubling you with them will be

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                   St Petersburg, February 25th, 1783.


In the last letter I did myself the honor to write you, I acquainted
you I should communicate my mission to the Vice Chancellor as soon as
some necessary arrangements could be made. Being entirely prepared to
do so, I 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 definitive treaty of peace, adding,
that though he could not take upon himself to say, that I 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 affairs, (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
communicated in form the signature of the preliminaries of peace to
this Court. I shall conform entirely to his advice; for the time is
now most certainly indifferent as to our interests, which are most
solidly established by the peace.

I cannot add anything to what I have before said respecting the
Turkish war, which since the conclusion of the late one, is the grand
object which engages the general 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 14th 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 conclusion 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 cannot provide in season, and this seems to be of that
nature. If those gentlemen should not, therefore, withdraw their
credit, I shall venture to apply the money when it shall become
necessary, to 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 I acquainted you I should
stand in need of the money.

I shall not fail to give you the earliest intelligence of my reception
in this Court, which 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Mr Dana's Communication of his Mission to Count Ostermann._

                                       St Petersburg, March 7th, 1783.


I have the honor to inform your Excellency, that the United States of
America, assembled in Congress, having thought fit to appoint a
Minister to reside near her Majesty, 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 Majesty 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
maintenance 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 Imperial Majesty.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       St Petersburg, March 7th, 1783.


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
666,13 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 original 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 I 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 I hope it will not be thought amiss by Congress, whose honor and
dignity I shall ever keep in view.

I am, with much esteem and respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      St Petersburg, March 12th, 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 the Private Cabinet of her Imperial Majesty,
that the way was prepared for it. I had an interview on the 5th inst.
with one of the members of the Cabinet, who informed me, after some
general conversation respecting America, that I might communicate my
mission to the Vice Chancellor at any time, that possibly I might not
receive an immediate answer to my letter, but that I need give myself
no uneasiness on that account, as the delay would not be occasioned by
anything which concerned the United States or me personally. I told
him, that I could form my opinion only upon general principles; that
judging upon them, I did not perceive any obstacle to her Majesty's
receiving in this moment a Minister from the United States; yet it was
possible her Majesty might have some particular matters in view, which
might form an impediment, of which I could have no knowledge.

I threw in this last sentiment to discover if there were any
difficulties of the sort, which the French Minister had intimated to
me might arise from the unsettled state of affairs alluded to in my
letter of the 25th of February, when I consulted him as there
mentioned. He replied, there were no such matters, nor would there be
any difficulty, especially since the signing of the preliminaries of
peace had been communicated to her Majesty, and that I might make
myself perfectly easy about it, and send my letter to the Vice
Chancellor as soon as I pleased. I have given you the substance of our
conversation, omitting only the complimentary parts of it on one side
and on the other. I have this day received a verbal message from the
Vice Chancellor, acknowledging the receipt of my letter, and informing
me, that as this was the first week in the great Lent, he had not yet
had an opportunity to lay it before her Majesty. This, Sir, is the
present state of things as far as they concern us immediately.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      St Petersburg, March 21st, 1783.


As I 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 immediately.

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 commerce with the United States, that we may probably
secure that of her West India Islands as a compensation for it. The
commerce with her European territories only, is no longer an adequate
one, since we have all the rest of Europe 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.

I have already advised you of my intention to quit this Court as soon
as I shall have concluded the commercial treaty, even without waiting
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 without
intention, have imposed upon me, by annexing an appointment to my
office, 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 liberty to acquaint you, that if Congress
should think proper to send another Minister to this Court, of the
second class, they should grant him at least £2500 sterling fixed
appointment. I think £3000 will not be too 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,
according 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 necessity 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 unaccountable. I have
consulted him as a private friend only. An ill state of health, the
distance of America, the dangers of a winter passage, &c. &c. must be
the ostensible reasons why I quit this Court without being relieved by
another Minister, or waiting for the permission of Congress. I 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 example I shall have set him, by quitting his station without

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      St Petersburg, April 17th, 1783.


My letter of the 7th of March will have advised you, that on that day
I communicated my mission to the Vice Chancellor by a letter, the
translation of which was enclosed. By that of the 12th of March, you
will have a particular account of the assurances mentioned in the
former, and which, together with the general state of affairs,
confirmed me in the opinion, that I ought no longer to delay taking
that step. I 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 I 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 despatches for
the French Minister, inviting her Imperial Majesty 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 invitation 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 preparations would have ceased; that he cannot regard the
continuance of them with indifference, &c. &c. 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

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 I 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 anything 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 Minister 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
expediency of sending another till they receive a certain account of
my reception.

Whatever may be the event, I flatter myself if the general state of
affairs at the time 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 difficult
to conceive one solid objection against the admission of an American
Minister into any Court of Europe, after the acknowledgment of our
independence by the King of Great Britain, and the 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 received it, whether it be favorable or
not, I shall desire an interview with him. In this course my
correspondent agrees with me in opinion. I have only to pray, Congress
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, &c.

                                                         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 my last,
much lamented. He had long lived a retired life in the city. His
death, therefore, makes no change.

                                                                 F. D.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       St Petersburg, April 22d, 1783.


In my last I acquainted you, that I 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 compliments, and said he would
present it to her Majesty. The following is a copy of it.

                         TO COUNT OSTERMANN.

"I did myself the honor to write to your Excellency on the 7th of
March, to inform you of my mission on the part of the United States of
America, to reside near her Imperial Majesty, in the character of
their Minister, and to request 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 acknowledged 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 Majesties, after those treaties have been
ratified 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 Parliament have solemnly engaged to observe and
maintain those treaties; after such national transactions on both
parts, I 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 her Imperial Majesty 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

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

"_St Petersburg, April 21st, 1783._"

I have some intimations of a very extraordinary objection, which has
been suggested to my present admission into this Court, viz. that my
letter of credence must necessarily bear date prior to the
acknowledgment of the independence of the United States by the King of
Great Britain. Should the answer to my communication be of that
nature, I will let you know from whence I think it originates. But I
shall think it my duty to leave this Court as soon as possible. For I
should not dare to apply to Congress 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, sovereign, and independent

2dly. Because their compliance with it would, in effect, annul their
resolution contained in the declaration of their independence, viz.
"that as free and independent States they had full power to 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 acknowledgment 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 credence bearing date
since the period abovementioned, involves 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.

6thly. Because the granting of new letters of credence, would amount
to a confession on the part of the United States, 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 derogatory to the dignity
of the United States, and is a sacrifice, which circumstances by no
means require to be made.

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 the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      St Petersburg, April 25th, 1783.


In consequence of my second letter to the Vice Chancellor, of the 21st
instant, he sent me a verbal message with his compliments on the 23d
in the morning, and desired 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 the consent of those powers; that the
treaty of America was provisional only, and dependent upon those
arrangements; and though there was no doubt but they would take place,
and that the definitive treaty would be concluded, yet, till that was
done, her Majesty could not consider 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 acknowledgment of the independence of America by the 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 letters of
credence, bearing date since the King of Great Britain had
acknowledged 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 neutrality, 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 acknowledged the independence of
that power; that besides, no Minister 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 Majesty 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

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 their independence 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 acknowledged 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 misrepresent 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 distance, I must use my best discretion in
all such extraordinary cases. I 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. I would
beg to take this occasion 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 manner, the great
legislator of nations by her system of neutrality, which they had
early highly applauded, and had made the principles of it the
invariable rules of their conduct during the war; that, animated with
sentiments of this kind, they wished to give some strong proofs of a
distinguished attention and consideration for her Majesty's person and
government. With this view, they had early named a Minister to reside
near her, 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 expect, as they
had intended, that her Imperial Majesty would be the first of the
neutral powers, which should receive a Minister from them; that as to
the objections, which had been made to my present reception, I begged
leave to observe, that the present mediation differed from the former
one, which had been tendered by their Imperial Majesties, in two
essential respects, that that was tendered during the continuance of
hostilities, 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 powers, 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 intercourse between
Great Britain and America, as between States, 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 citizens should be admitted into all the ports of Great
Britain, 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 Majesty 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 matter he had before spoken
upon, as if he saw what I intended to say and wished to avoid it. The
fourth and last point was chiefly 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 conference, 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 I was apprehensive of
obtruding too much upon the patience of the Vice Chancellor, whose
view it must be considered, was rather to communicate the answer, than
to discuss the points of it.

An important question arises out of this state of things. What remains
to be done on the part of the United States? It belongs to me only to
answer what I propose to do further myself, which is to draw a
memorial containing this answer, with 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 respecting 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 Mr
Adams received an account through Mr William Lee, 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 impossible the United States could ever comply with it.

I plainly told the Vice Chancellor, that for myself, I could never
make the proposition respecting my letters of credence; and that if I
should, I had no expectation they would ever adopt it, and, therefore,
my waiting here the length of time, which it would be necessary for me
to learn the pleasure of Congress upon it, seemed to be useless. I
cannot in any case quit this country till towards the end of May,
because there is no getting out of it before by land or water. I still
hope it will not be thought I have precipitated the measure at a time
when, if ever it could be, the course of events had prepared the way
for it, and when it shall be considered too, that the first objection
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.

I 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 Majesty, otherwise I shall lose the post of the

I have the honor to be, with much respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                          Philadelphia, May 1st, 1783.


An opportunity will offer of writing to you by a frigate in the course
of next week, when I 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
resolution, directing your return, unless you should have commenced 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 the 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 Ministers 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 them.

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 persuaded 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 Morris on the subject of your salary.
The mistake you mention shall be corrected. I 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 the 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 subject
to some deductions, as you will see by the enclosed resolutions
transmitted you by Mr Lewis Morris, out of that quarter. I shall pay
Mr Tracy's order, counting the commencement of the year from the date
of the order.

I am, Sir, with great respect, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         TO COUNT OSTERMANN.

                                         St Petersburg, May 8th, 1783.


I do myself the honor to lay before your Excellency the enclosed
Memorial, containing what I take to be the substance of the answer to
my letter, communicating my mission to your Excellency, which you
delivered to me verbally 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 omitted 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 trouble it may give your Excellency. I pray you would be
pleased to favor me with an answer to this Memorial in writing, or
otherwise to grant me the honor of an interview with your Excellency,
that I may know the final pleasure of her Imperial Majesty respecting
my mission.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

               _Mr Dana's Memorial to Count Ostermann._

The undersigned, named by the United States of America to reside near
her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, 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 reason he is unable to say anything upon
it from instructions. He nevertheless thinks it to be his duty in so
extraordinary a case, which will not admit of his waiting for their
particular instructions to make use of his best discretion, in
replying to it. He prays, therefore, that this Memorial may be
considered as containing his private sentiments only. Whether they
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 compatible with his views, or the interests of his empire, to
receive the Minister of another; and persuaded also, that the United
States have not even a wish to obtrude their Minister upon any
Sovereign, the undersigned has not the least intention to oppose
himself to her Imperial Majesty's pleasure, 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 applause 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 principles 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 attention and consideration for her Imperial Majesty's
person and government. With this view, they early named a Minister to
reside near her, that he might improve the first occasion to display
his character, which the course of events should afford. 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 accepted 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 take 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 differs from the former one, which had been
tendered by their Imperial Majesties, in two essential respects. That
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 inseparably
connected their interests with those of the other belligerent powers.
At such a time for her Imperial Majesty to have received a Minister
from the United States, would have been to prejudge the most capital
subject of the proposed negotiation, and most certainly repugnant to
the character of a mediator, if not to the laws of neutrality. But in
the present mediation there is no question relative to the United
States, nor can there regularly be any made upon their interests, as
they are not parties to the mediation, and consequently have no right
to send their Ministers to the Congress. If then the United States are
not concerned in any arrangements to be made under the present
mediation, the matter seems to rest upon the general law of nations,
and to be reduced to this simple question: whether the reception of a
Minister from them at this moment, would be 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?

In the preliminary treaty, "His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the
United States to be free, sovereign, and independent States; that _he
treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs, and successors,
relinquishes all claim to the government, property and territorial
rights of the same, and 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
other 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 "_is not to be concluded until
terms of a peace shall be agreed upon between Great Britain and
France_." Now these terms having been agreed upon by the preliminary
treaty between their Most Christian and Britannic Majesties, the
preliminary treaty between 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 the
Commissioners of the United States, to save their faith plighted to
his Most Christian Majesty. 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 be 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 caution, this has been inserted into the
preliminary treaty of peace, yet it has never been a subject of
negotiation. The United States would never submit to negotiate 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 them 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 Mr
Oswald, on the 7th of 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 27th 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
notwithstanding_," 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
happy conclusion. Their independence being once acknowledged, is it
not irrevocable in its nature? If in the moment the British
Commissioner entered into negotiation with the Commissioners of the
United States, in virtue of his last commission, any neutral power had
declared it would consider and treat them in every respect, as
sovereign and independent States, and would protect the lawful
commerce of its subjects with them, would this have been a violation
of the 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
Majesty and himself, after a cessation of hostilities has been
proclaimed by them, and also by the Commissioners of the United
States, and finally, 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 authority
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. In all
probability the King of Denmark has adopted a similar line of conduct
towards 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 incompatible
with that exact neutrality, which she has hitherto observed, to
receive you while your letter of credence bears date before that


This objection seems deeply to affect the rights and interests of the
United States. The United Colonies, on the 4th of July, 1776, erected
themselves into an Independent Sovereign Power. Great Britain,
notwithstanding, kept up her claim of sovereignty over them, without
having 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
States. The United States have not, therefore, acquired the rights of
sovereignty, in consequence of this acknowledgment of their
independence. Their independence must necessarily have existed prior
to the acknowledgment of it by the King of Great Britain. At what
period then can the commencement of it be fixed, if not at the time
when they declared 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 question. The
undersigned thinks, therefore, it is incompatible for him to propose
to the United States to revoke his present letter of credence, because
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 time, for the following among other reasons.

1st. Because it would be to propose to the United States, in effect,
to strike off near seven years of their existence, as free, sovereign,
and independent States.

2dly. Because their compliance with it would amount to a confession on
their part, that they owed their existence, as a free nation, to the
acknowledgment of their independence by the King of Great Britain.

3dly. Because it would go to annul all their acts of sovereignty prior
to that period, and among others, the important ones of their treaties
with his Most Christian Majesty, and with the United Provinces of the
Low Countries, 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 make in virtue thereof.

4thly. 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 commerce, and to do all other acts and things,
which independent States may of right do."

The United States have been induced to constitute this mission thus
early, solely from the laudable views abovementioned. It is singularly
unfortunate then, that the very circumstance, which they intended as a
mark of particular respect and consideration for her Imperial
Majesty's person and government, should be turned against them, and
have 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 with the Commissioners of the
United States, whose powers had date long before he had acknowledged
their independence, and without requiring them to produce new ones
bearing date since that time. Which is a strong and necessary
implication, that he did not consider that acknowledgment as
conferring their sovereignty upon them, but, on the contrary, they
were a complete sovereign power before, and had a full right to name
their Ministers 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.


III. "Besides, no Minister has been received at the Court of London
from America yet, and her Imperial Majesty could not consistently
receive a Minister from America, before that Court had done it."


There seems not to be any objections against the immediate 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 Ministers, it is highly probable
there are, in fact, no such objections existing. The omission,
therefore, must be attributed to the only apparent 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
forming any intimate connexions with the United States, the contrary
of which seems to be the case, from the generous, 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
received 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 States,
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
acknowledged 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 impartiality, 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 from the United States are removed.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

_St Petersburg, May 8th, 1783._

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                         St Petersburg, 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 Memorial spoken of in my last,
which 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 appearance 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 waiting 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                         St Petersburg, May 9th, 1783.


By this day's post I have sent you, by the way of France, a copy of
the Memorial, which I yesterday delivered to the Vice Chancellor. In
that I have expressly declared, 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 liberty, if they should
judge it expedient, to disavow the whole. A reply I 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, however, 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 sacrificing 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 Congress would consent to revoke my present letter
of credence, 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 nominating
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
17th, 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 supposed quite
otherwise when I mentioned it, and I feared the consequence of it when
it was known here. This is to be accounted for only, from particular
local knowledge of what kind of influence governs here. I shall lose
this day's post, if I do not immediately close this letter.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                        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 Chancellor, 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 I reflect
upon the objections, which have been raised against the immediate
reception of a Minister from the United States. They appear to me to
be totally unsupported by any principles 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," &c.
Is it probable, 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 generally only upon this subject while I remain here. I
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 Memorial. If
none should be given, or the former one should be persisted in, I
shall then set off 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
Ministers, 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 immediately. In the meantime, I
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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                        St Petersburg, May 15th, 1783.


You will see, with astonishment, I dare say, the objections 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 extraordinary 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 request. 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. I
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 arguments merely to avoid giving offence. It is not my
business 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 reply may be considered as
containing my private sentiments only. This leaves Congress at full
liberty to avow or disavow whatever they think proper. They may
sacrifice my reputation and character, if they judge the interests of
our country require it, but I will never sacrifice the dignity of the
United States, by seeming, for a moment, 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 another Minister here, if they should incline to do it,
without 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.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                         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 obligatory upon them, till they had revised and approved
it.[26] 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 I 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
conformable to their intentions, but have left it to your discretion
to proceed if you are too far engaged to recede with honor; but they
are still anxious not to engage extensively in commercial treaties,
till experience has shown the advantages or disadvantages that may
result from them.

I 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 a treaty rather than without. You hint at
one of them, when you speak of the different coin in which the duties
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 couriers be allowed as
contingent expenses.

Give me leave, Sir, again to remind you, that your letters have
hitherto been silent on the subject of government, police, laws, arts,
manufactures, finances, civil and military establishments, &c. It is
true, a general knowledge of these may be acquired from several
publications; but minute and accurate details are necessary to answer
political purposes; and as you have much leisure, an ample support,
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 freedom, and they
could not be within the letter or spirit of the article.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[26] "_In Congress, May 22d, 1783._ Resolved, that Mr Dana be
instructed, in case he has not already proceeded too far in the
commercial 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
proceedings of Congress on the subject of Mr Dana's letters, see the
_Secret Journal_, Vol. III. pp. 344-354.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                        St Petersburg, May 30th, 1783.


I have already sent you three copies of the Memorial, which I
presented to the Vice Chancellor, Count Ostermann. There 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
Memorial 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 Majesty 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 Chancellor, as his answer
was to me, after the previous assurances 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 throwing the whole into a

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 friend called upon me in the evening of the
same day, and told me 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 sanguine 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 to it. Not a moment shall be lost to
communicate to you whatever may take place relative to so interesting
a subject.

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 peninsula 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 most have been foreseen, though probably not expected so
early. You will find some particulars relative to the Crimea in my
letter of the 15th 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 Archipelago 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
entering 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 supposed, 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

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                        St Petersburg, June 6th, 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 all ideas of a mediation will
be done away. This is daily expected 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       St Petersburg, June 17th, 1783.


Although we have not received any account of the conclusion 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.


"Count Ostermann begs Mr Dana to do him the favor to call on him today
at one o'clock, taking this occasion to assure him, with great
pleasure, of his perfect esteem.

"_Saturday, June 14th._"

Having waited upon him accordingly, he entered into a conversation
tending to explain away the principal parts of his first answer. He
said, however, that he did not intend that as the answer to my
Memorial, this being included wholly in the note which he would read
to me, and that I might take a copy of it to prevent any mistakes,
which is as follows.


"I have not failed, Sir, to place under the eyes of the Empress, my
Sovereign, the letters which you addressed to me on the 8th and 10th
of April, accompanied with a Memorial and a supplement to that

"Their contents proving that you have taken in a wrong sense what I
had the honor of saying to you previously respecting 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 concluded 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 that you shall enjoy, not only in your own person, but also
your countrymen, who shall visit her empire either on commercial 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 during 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

To which I returned the following answer.


"I 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. Knowing the high sense the United Status of America have, of
that strict impartiality between all the late belligerent powers,
which her Imperial Majesty has so evidently manifested during the
course of the war, and that they 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
treaty between the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London, had been
in form communicated to her Imperial Majesty. 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, I 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 Majesty has been pleased 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 acknowledgments of the
polite manner in which you communicated the answer to my Memorial.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

"_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 protection of the laws of nations. If this
is not in effect giving up every objection, so far as they have any
pretence to be grounded upon established principles, I am greatly
mistaken 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 respecting 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. I
am happy to add, I found the Vice Chancellor in an exceeding 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 answer 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 set off in a few days for Fredericksham, a town in
Finland, near the frontiers of her Empire, to meet the King of Sweden.
The object of their meeting 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 I communicated to
you, is not yet beyond all question. If it has not already become a
fact, there is little room to doubt but it will, in the course of a
short time. Protection and subjugation are not far separated in such
cases. Besides, it forms so capital a part of the present ruling
system, that no means will be neglected to effect it as early as

The duplicate of your letter of the 17th of December, was brought me
by the last post; 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 meddling too
particularly with the subjects you speak of, that has hitherto
prevented my going further into them. You will be 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 accompany 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 cypher 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 expected 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 30th of March, and
to read that _single_ sentence in it, which begins with the words
"There has lately been a lively sensation," &c. you will find the
great object which has constantly engaged the attention of this Court.
It is the polestar 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 policy mentioned in the
last paragraph of my letter of October 14th, (sent by Mr Adams,) had
no other object in view. You will instantly perceive the reason why I
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 agreeable here, and how they may,
and in fact do, obstruct the great project in this moment. Sir, I have
been very unwell for four days past, and am at this instant so feeble,
that I can add nothing more than, that I am, with much respect, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *


                              ARTICLE I.

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
citizens and subjects of every degree without exception of persons or

                             ARTICLE II.

The rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions
respecting navigation, trade, commerce, or the distribution 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
ample 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.

                             ARTICLE III.

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 port to another,
within the territories of the other party, of going from any of those
ports to any foreign port of the world, or of coming 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 duties 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 twentyfive copeaks for each rix dollar of full weight.
The citizens 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 permitted 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 hereafter 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 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 treaty.

                          SEPARATE ARTICLE.

Whereas, it may sometimes happen, that the citizens of the United
States of America, may make circuitous voyages from America, through
some other parts of Europe into Russia, and may take on board their
vessels merchandise of the growth, production, or manufacture 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
confiscation, 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
clandestinely to be landed, or be exposed to sale, but a full report
of all such 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 reloaded on board
the same vessel, when she shall have made up the residue of her cargo
to be exported for America, according to the original intention,
paying only the expense of storing the same and other reasonable

                             ARTICLE IV.

And to enable them more amply to enjoy the benefits 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 liberty 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

                              ARTICLE V.

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 fully enjoy the same special advantages
and benefits, to all intents and purposes, whenever they shall in
their 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.

                             ARTICLE VI.

It is further agreed and concluded, that when any of the commodities
of the Islands, commonly called the 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 citizens of the United States in their own proper vessels, by a
direct navigation from the countries where the same commodities 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, according to the
tariff. It is particularly agreed, that all raw and refined sugars,
not in loaves, when imported by the citizens of the United States as
above by a direct navigation shall be free of any duties.

                             ARTICLE VII.

All possible assistance and despatch shall be given to the loading and
unloading of vessels, as well for the importation 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 denounced in the said regulations. And to prevent vexations
and grounds of complaint, it is agreed, that all merchandises 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 merchandises 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 put 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 punishment be inflicted upon them for
such offences.

                            ARTICLE VIII.

It shall be wholly free for all merchants, commanders of vessels, and
others, citizens and subjects of the contracting parties, within the
territories of the other party, to manage 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
proper. 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 their 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 whomsoever; 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.

                             ARTICLE IX.

If 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 the said seamen, or other civil causes, the
magistrate of the place shall require no more from the person
complained against, than that he give to the complainant a
declaration in writing, witnessed by the magistrate, whereby he shall
be bound to prosecute that matter before a competent 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 commander 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 commander 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 depart with his vessel.

                              ARTICLE X.

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 Petersburg, Moscow, and Archangel, and in
all other towns of the empire, which have not rights of burghership,
and privileges 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 soldiers or other
lodgements, so long as the same shall be actually 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 of the territories of the United States, in
the same manner as now is, or shall hereafter be granted to the most
favored nations; and all such houses as they shall build, buy, or
hire, shall, so long as they shall continue to dwell in the same
themselves, be exempt from all quartering of soldiers or other
lodgements, throughout all parts of the same territories, without
exemption of places.

                             ARTICLE XI.

The citizens and subjects of the contracting parties shall, within the
territory of the other party, have full liberty to take and receive
into the houses they inhabit, or into their particular magazines, all
such commodities 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 conveniently may be, after
they shall have paid the duties and other lawful charges thereon; and
they shall have full liberty to sell and dispose of the same at their
houses and particular magazines as they shall think fit, upon this
express condition, however, that they shall not sell them there or
elsewhere by retail; and they shall not be charged with any taxes or
impositions whatever on account of their enjoying this privilege, or
with any other than the most favored nations shall pay.

                             ARTICLE XII.

To prevent fraud, which might otherwise take place, and to establish a
mutual confidence in matters of commerce, 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 twentyone 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 so make and enter into, agreeably to the rules of good
faith; and this, whether their fathers, or mothers, or both, shall be
living or dead at the time of making the contract, or whether they
have been portioned or not by them, or either of them. And all the
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.

                            ARTICLE XIII.

When the Russian merchants shall cause to be enregistered at the
custom house their contracts or bargains 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
account 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 had 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.

                             ARTICLE XIV.

The Russians 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 them
in the towns of St Petersburg, Moscow, or Archangel, the College of
Commerce alone, to the exclusion of every other tribunal, shall take
cognizance thereof, after complaint shall have been duly made; and
said College shall cite the person complained against to appear before
them in person, or by his attorney, to answer such complaint, allowing
a reasonable time therefor; and if he should appear, or fail to appear
and answer within the time 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 complainant, 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 sums of
money specified in such judgment, with reasonable costs.

                             ARTICLE XV.

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, they shall be heard and determined by the ordinary
magistrate of the place; and in all such cases, the process shall be
conducted in like manner as is agreed in the preceding article, as
well with respect to the obtaining of judgment, as to 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 the judgment of the magistrate to that of
the College of Commerce, whenever they shall think themselves
aggrieved thereby. On the other hand, the Russian merchants within the
territories of the United States shall, in their turn, enjoy the same
administration of justice as the native citizens.

                             ARTICLE XVI.

It shall be lawful for the merchants on the one part and on the other,
to keep in the places of their abode, or elsewhere, books of their
accounts and affairs, and also to maintain an intercourse of letters
in any language they please, without being liable to any restraint in
these respects. 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 produce their books or
papers for deciding any controversy, in such case, no other articles
or parts thereof shall be shown, than such as shall relate to the
matter in question, or shall be necessary to give credit to the same
books and papers. And it shall not be lawful under any pretence, to
take the said books or papers forcibly out of the hands of the owners,
or to retain them; the case of bankruptcy always excepted.

                            ARTICLE XVII.

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
persons, from among themselves or elsewhere, trustees, who shall take
possession of all the effects movable and immovable 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 creditors. The trustees shall have full
authority also to demand 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 allowed by the trustees, without any
preference whatever among the creditors, on account of the different
nature of their demands. It is to be understood always, however, that
when any immovable estate of the bankrupt shall have been mortgaged
and pledged to any creditor, such 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
effects, no right of pledge shall be admitted, unless 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 general. The trustees shall make a report to the College
of Commerce in what state they have found the books, papers, and
affairs 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.

                            ARTICLE XVIII.

To multiply the ties, and to establish a more intimate and friendly
intercourse between the citizens 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, whenever any Russian
merchant resident in any of the territories of 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, immunities,
and exemptions in navigation, trade, and commerce, of a native citizen
of the United States. But the said citizens and subjects, on the one
part and on the other, shall not be subjected on such account to any
tax or imposition 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 nations.

                             ARTICLE XIX.

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 sufficient proofs produced against them, to
make up the losses occasioned by their negligence 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.

                             ARTICLE XX.

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 territories 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 territories 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 merchants 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

                             ARTICLE XXI.

There shall be an entire and perfect liberty of conscience allowed to
the citizens and subjects of both nations, within the territories of
the other party; and in consequence thereof they shall be permitted to
worship freely, either in their own houses, or churches destined and
allowed for that purpose by the government, according to the rites of
their own religion, nor shall they in any measure be molested therein.
There shall, moreover, be granted liberty whenever any of the citizens
or subjects of either party shall die in the territories of the other
party, to bury them in the usual burying places, or in decent and
convenient 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.

                            ARTICLE XXII.

Although the _Droit d'Aubaine_ does not exist within the territories
of either of the contracting parties, it is nevertheless 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 testament, donation, or
other particular titles, or as intestate, shall 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 think 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 entering into the possession of such
effects, movable or immovable; and who shall be deemed heirs of any
citizen of the United States, who shall die intestate in Russia, and
in what proportion his effects, movable or immovable, 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 particular
trustee of his effects for their use, in such case an inventory shall
be taken of all such effects, movable and immovable, by a Notary
Public, under the direction and in presence of 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 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

                            ARTICLE XXIII.

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 convoys 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 parties
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
protect and defend the vessels belonging to the people and subjects of
their proper sovereign.

                            ARTICLE XXIV.

Merchants, masters, and owners of vessels, mariners, men of all kinds,
vessels, merchandises, and effects in general, of either of the
contracting parties, or of their citizens and subjects, shall not be
seized or detained within the territories of the other party for any
military expedition, 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 the citizens or subjects of the
other party, and without the consent of the owner; which, however, is
not to be understood of seizures, 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 whereof the
proceedings must be by way of law and according to the forms of

                             ARTICLE XXV.

In case the citizens or subjects of either party, with their shipping,
whether public and of war, or private and of merchants, be forced
through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies, or any other
urgent necessity for seeking of shelter and harbor to retreat and
enter into any rivers, bays, roads, or ports, belonging to the other
party, they 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 vessels, and conveniency of their
voyage, and shall no ways be detained or hindered from returning out
of 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 nevertheless to be understood, that if it shall become
necessary for the effectual 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 other pretence whatever,
but she shall be permitted freely to proceed to sea with the remainder
of her cargo, without any molestation or impediment whatever.

                            ARTICLE XXVI.

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 probable 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 shall be

                            ARTICLE XXVII.

It shall be lawful for captains and masters of vessels belonging 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 being 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 seamen, being natives or subjects of any country of the
domination of her Imperial Majesty, provided that neither 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.

                           ARTICLE XXVIII.

If any vessels belonging to either of the parties, their citizens or
subjects, shall within the coasts or dominions of 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 thereof; and the vessels, effects,
and merchandises which shall have been saved, or the proceeds of them,
if 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 return each one to his country.

                            ARTICLE XXIX.

The two contracting parties, fully convinced of the wisdom and justice
of the principles contained in the declaration 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 powers 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 invariable rule of their
own conduct, and to have recourse thereto upon all proper occasions,
as to stipulations and laws, which merit a distinguished rank in the
human code;

The contracting parties do here solemnly adopt and immediately 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 always ports blocked;

2dly. That effects belonging to powers at war, or to their subjects,
shall be 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 port 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;

4thly. That neutral vessels shall not be arrested, but upon just
causes and evident facts, and they shall be judged without delay; that
the process shall always be uniform, prompt, and legal, and that
always besides the indemnification, which shall be granted to those
who have sustained any damages or losses without being in fault, there
shall be given complete satisfaction for the insult committed upon the
respective flags.

                             ARTICLE XXX.

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 in a war with any other power, they
shall be held, if required, 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 remain 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 examining 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 port.

                            ARTICLE XXXI.

And when it shall appear by the papers exhibited, or by the verbal
declaration of the officer commanding the 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,
subjects, and people of both parts, it shall be expressly 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.

                            ARTICLE XXXII.

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 his 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 parcel 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 allowance 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
Admiralty 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 the 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.

                           ARTICLE XXXIII.

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 prohibited goods, the whole may be confiscated as if
it belonged to the enemy; excepting always such effects and
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 merchandises are contraband, it shall by no means be lawful to
transport them afterwards to any port belonging to the enemies of the
other ally.

                            ARTICLE XXXIV.

And under this denomination of contraband or merchandises prohibited,
shall be comprehended only ----. All other effects and merchandises
not before specified expressly, 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 prohibited or contraband; so that all effects and
merchandises, which are not expressly before mentioned, may, without
any exception and in perfect liberty, be transported 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.

                            ARTICLE XXXV.

All vessels and merchandises of whatever nature, which shall be
rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers navigating the high
seas without requisite commissions, 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 concerning the
property thereof.

                            ARTICLE XXXVI.

It shall be lawful, as well for the ships of war of the two
contracting parties, as for the private armed vessels belonging 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 anything 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 questioned; but they may come to sail,
depart, and carry their prizes to those places, which are mentioned in
their commissions, 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.

                           ARTICLE XXXVII.

No subject of her said Imperial Majesty, shall apply for or take any
commission or letters-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 arming any ships or vessels to act as privateers against the
subjects of her said Imperial Majesty, 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 letters-of-marque, he shall be punished as a

                           ARTICLE XXXVIII.

It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers, not belonging 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 their
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 port of that Prince or State
from which they have commissions.

                            ARTICLE XXXIX.

To the end that all dissension and quarrel may be avoided and
prevented, it is agreed, that in case one of the two parties happens
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 thereby 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 passports 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 instead
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 documents, 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.

                             ARTICLE XL.

The contracting parties grant to each other mutually, the liberty of
having, each in the ports of the other, consuls, vice consuls, agents,
and commissaries, of their own appointment, whose functions shall be
regulated by particular agreement whenever the parties shall choose to
enter into one.

                             ARTICLE XLI.

For the better promoting commerce on both sides, it is agreed that if
a war should break out between the contracting parties (which may God
prevent) the term of twelve months, to commence from the day of the
publication 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 families, goods, and effects, 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 disposing of their
effects, both movable and immovable, shall be allowed to them freely,
and without any molestation; 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 justice, 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 consign 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 contracting parties were in full peace with each other.


[27] 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 principles as
he intended to maintain, should the negotiation proceed.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       St Petersburg, June 24th, 1783.


In my last, I had the honor to transmit to you a copy of the answer
which I had received to my Memorial, 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 to
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 will 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 Europe respecting
an adjustment of affairs between the Imperial 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
reinforcements intended to be sent from hence into the Mediterranean,
are stopped most certainly on account of an opposition 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 Captain McNeil, belonging to
Massachusetts, who arrived there on the first instant from Lisbon with
salt, an article permitted in that port though prohibited here. This
is the only arrival of any American vessel in any part of this empire.
She carries out hemp only, it being the only article with which she
can be furnished there proper for our markets. 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
support the contrary representation which 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. They are, however, of a better
quality, but they are seldom exported on private account, as the
difference of the price is thought to be too great for that of the
quality. The Admiralty of England prefers them. I mention these
circumstances as they may give some useful information, not only to
the Admiralty of the United States, but to our private merchants. The
one may seek them, the other may avoid them. A vessel owned partly in
Ireland, and partly by a Mr Wharton and others, of Philadelphia, 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.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                        St 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, that I remain in the
same state as at the date of my last. Her Imperial Majesty set off
last Friday to meet the King of Sweden at Fredericksham, and is
expected here again next Friday. The object of this meeting 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 putting their
possessions in that quarter into a better state of defence for some
time. Sweden has been engaged in completing the fortress of Sweaborg,
near Helsingfors, which is said to be an exceeding strong place.

These preparations do not indicate, certainly, hostile intentions on
either part. They are such as common prudence, with the most pacific
dispositions, might render indispensable 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
occasion, 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 summer, in the
diplomatic corps here. The Minister of Spain has lately gone away,
leaving a _Chargé d'Affaires_. The Ministers of France, Portugal, and
Denmark, are about doing the same. The Minister of England will be
succeeded by another of the same class, as also the Minister of
Naples. Besides these changes, a Minister is coming from the Republic
of Venice. France, Spain, Denmark, Portugal, and Sweden, will be
represented here by _Chargés d'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 _Chargé d'Affaires_ 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 annum, and that it would be a very useless expense for
them, as a _Chargé d'Affaires_ may be well supported upon half that
sum. I have not received any letter from you later than ----, nor has
the confederation or the constitutions of the several States, which
you say you have sent me, and which would be very acceptable to me,
ever come to hand, and as you have not mentioned through what channel
you sent them, I know not where to apply for them. I have written to
Paris and Holland for them in vain.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                        St Petersburg, July 8th, 1783.


After the departure of her Imperial Majesty for Fredericksham, as
mentioned in my last, the Vice Chancellor communicated to the foreign
Ministers the information, that their Imperial Majesties had concluded
an alliance offensive and defensive against the Porte. Thus it is now
become 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 communication as
above, to the Courts of Berlin and Versailles, 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
Imperial Courts, which is nothing short of what was supposed to be in
agitation, by my letter of the 30th of March, 1782, particularly by
the first sentence of it relative to that subject, to which I beg
leave again to refer you for more particular information. Last
Saturday, a courier arrived from 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 Christian 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 offer 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 design 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 upon 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
safety will now oblige them to make powerful diversions in their
favor. Not only France and Prussia 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 independence
and liberties, which are ever in danger from powerful and ambitious
Emperors. Hence we may see some of these allied with those two
principal powers, to support the Turks against 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 calamities of war are laying waste and desolating this
continent. We may derive special advantages from it, as it will,
probably, augment the emigrations 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. Having had no account of the definitive treaty, I remain _in
statu quo_.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       St Petersburg, July 27th, 1783.


I have this day been honored with the duplicate of your letter of the
1st of May 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 I
return.[28] This letter has come very opportunely to hand, as we are
in expectation every moment of receiving the account of the conclusion
of the definitive treaty of peace, when I should have immediately had
my audience of her Imperial Majesty. I shall now think it expedient to
decline that honor. For it would be a very useless ceremony, 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 being 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, &c.
&c. but not to sign it." I confess I had put a very different
construction upon the passage of my instructions alluded to, which is,
"You shall assure her Imperial Majesty and her Ministers, of the
sincere disposition of the United States to enter into a treaty of
friendship and commerce with her, on terms of the most perfect
equality, &c. and you are authorised to communicate with her Imperial
Majesty's Ministers on the form and terms of such treaty, and transmit
the same to Congress for their ratification," especially when taken
into conjunction with the following paragraph 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 confer and
treat thereon with her Ministers vested with equal powers, so far as
the same shall be founded on principles of equality, &c. transmitting
such treaty for our final ratification. 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 moment'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 persuaded no treaty is to be obtained, or could be
honorably proposed, without conforming, as other nations have done, to
the usage of this Court in that respect. That it would be for the
interest of the United States, immediately to conclude a commercial
treaty with her Imperial Majesty, such a one as I flatter myself I
could obtain, I have not the least doubt upon my mind. As to the
neutral confederation, 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

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 Boston, 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, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.


[28] "Resolved, That Mr Dana having intimated his intention of
returning to America, Congress do approve of the same; provided he
should not be engaged in a negotiation with the Court of St Petersburg
at the time of receiving this resolution, in which case, it is the
desire of Congress that he should finish such negotiation before he

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      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 acquainted you, at the same time, that
I should take my passage 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 become public, and have this day
written a letter to him for that purpose, of which the following is a


"I do myself the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that having
obtained the permission of the Congress of the United States to return
to America, I propose to leave this Empire in a few 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 take place before
my departure, yet if would be unnecessary to trouble her Imperial
Majesty with that ceremony, when it must be soon followed with
another. I have thought it incumbent upon me to inform your Excellency
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.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

"_St Petersburg, August 8th, 1783._"

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.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                     St Petersburg, August 17th, 1783.


Before I received your letter and the resolution of Congress founded
upon my letter of the 23d of September last, permitting my return to
America, finding it impracticable 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 refuse 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 engaging 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 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 I doubted whether
Congress would approve of my incurring 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, I saw if I had
an audience of her Majesty, it would not do for me to leave the Court
abruptly, or before the next spring, and that in consequence 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 last, to inform him of my intention to return to America.
Further to explain the motive of Congress, as well as my own
respecting this measure, I wrote him again on the 14th instant as

                         TO COUNT OSTERMANN.


"Lest the motive of the Congress of the United States, in granting me
permission to return to America, as mentioned in the letter I did
myself the honor to write to your Excellency on the 8th instant, might
be misapprehended, I beg leave to inform you, that finding my health
had suffered greatly since coming into this climate and my private
affairs urging it upon me at the same time, I wrote to the Congress in
September last, acquainting them with my desire to return to America.
It was in consequence of this alone, they have been pleased to grant
me that liberty.

"Those causes, but especially my ill state of health, operating with
greater force at this day, oblige me to improve the earliest occasion
to return to America, and one now offering from this port, I have
proposed to take the benefit of it. But independent of such
considerations, which are merely personal, as I have not yet been
acknowledged in my public character, it appears improper for me after
having received the abovementioned act of Congress, to ask an audience
of her Imperial 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 hitherto remained here. Highly sensible of the honor I
should derive from being the first Minister from the United States of
America at this Imperial Court, it is with infinite regret, I feel
myself under the necessity of departing without having assumed that
character. If your Excellency should judge it expedient, I will do
myself the honor to wait upon you, in order to give you further
explanations upon this subject verbally, than I have done in writing.

"I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your Excellency's most
obedient and humble servant,

                                                        FRANCIS DANA."

In consequence of the above letter I received a message from the Vice
Chancellor on the 15th by one of his 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, assigning the ill
state of my health as the occasion of it, that I was already well
informed of the time her Imperial Majesty had fixed for my reception,
and of the reasons which influenced 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 mentioned was the true cause, that my
health was in such a state the last fall, when I wrote to the
Congress, that I should not have remained over the winter, but from an
expectation that everything would have been settled during the winter,
so that I might have had an audience of her Majesty, and been ready to
return to America early in the spring, by which time I expected to
have received the permission 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 replied, none at all, that if he would
be pleased to attend to dates, he would see it was impossible; that my
communication was made on the 24th 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 to remain here, that he
should have been very happy to have had the honor of seeing me in my
public character. I expressed again the great regret with which I
should depart, especially after having resided so long in the country
without having had an audience of her Imperial Majesty, which I should
have deemed the highest honor of my life. I told him, so convenient an
opportunity 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 I had recovered
my 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 persuaded, that they had much
rather I should remain, because they have their apprehensions, that
Congress may resent the postponement of my audience to the conclusion
of the definitive treaties of peace; an event, which they must know
can operate no change in the political existence of the United States.

I thought 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 engage Congress, but leave them at perfect liberty to
send another Minister at this Court or not, as they shall judge
expedient, all circumstances considered. It is clearly my opinion,
since Congress decline being at the expense of concluding a commercial
treaty with her Majesty, that the supporting a Minister here has
become a matter of much indifference to our interests. The interests
of this empire are much more in the power of the United States, than
theirs are in the power of this empire. Should we vigorously adopt
the cultivation of hemp, and our territories along the Ohio are
exceedingly well adapted to it, we should strike at the foundation of
the commerce of this empire, and give her Majesty reason to repent at
leisure of the line of conduct she has chosen to hold with the United

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Cambridge, December 17th, 1783.


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
ninetyfive days from St Petersburg. I propose to set off for Congress
as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made for my journey,
provided the severity of the season should not render it
impracticable. I wish, however, that your Excellency would be pleased
to write to me by the return post, (to which time it is possible 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 particular account of my late mission. There is
nothing I should more earnestly wish, than to meet a strict inquiry
into my conduct during the time I have had the honor of being a
servant of the public.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         FRANCIS DANA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      END OF THE EIGHTH VOLUME.

| TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE.                                                |
|                                                                    |
| Omitted words, shown as blank spaces in the original, have been    |
| transcribed as four hyphens ('----').                              |
|                                                                    |
| Spelling variations between letters have been preserved.           |

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