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Title: The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution - Volume 7.
Author: Various
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.

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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.







    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, December 14th, 1782,             3

        The King of Sweden's compliment to the United
        States.--The signing of the preliminaries announced to
        Parliament.--Quotes a note from the Courier de
        l'Europe.--Requests leave to return.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, December
    19th, 1782,                                                      4

        Mr Jefferson accepts his appointment.--Financial
        arrangements for raising a revenue.

    To Charles W. F. Dumas. Paris, January 1st, 1783,                6

        M. Brantzen.--Conversation with Mr Oswald on freedom of

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, January 22d, 1783,               8

        Preliminaries and armistice between England, and Spain,
        and France, signed and sealed.--Terms England offers to
        the Dutch.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, January 23d, 1783,              10

        Grounds of Mr Adams's opinions of European politics.--Mr
        Laurens's services.--The northern powers friendly to
        America.--America has suffered by reposing confidence in
        a certain minister.

    To C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, January 29th, 1783,                   13

        Proceedings of Congress in reference to the armed
        neutrality.--America is ready to accede to its

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, February 5th, 1783,             14

        Causes of the revocation of his commission for
        negotiating a treaty of commerce with Great
        Britain.--Recommends the appointment of a Minister to
        England for negotiating a treaty of commerce.--Mr
        Adams's idea of the qualifications necessary for an
        American Minister, particularly at the English
        Court.--Address and fluency in speaking French of little
        importance.--Mr Jay's services and qualifications.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, February
    13th, 1783,                                                     23

        Financial embarrassments of the country.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, March 2d, 1783,                 25

        Transmitting an application from a French house at
        Leghorn to be appointed consul or commercial agent of
        the United States.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, April 14th,
    1783,                                                           26

        Ambiguous expressions in the declaration of the
        cessation of hostilities.--Affairs of the Dutch.--Mr
        Adams's accounts.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 14th, 1783,               28

        Mr Hartley succeeds Mr Oswald.--Prospect of a general
        congress at Paris.

    To Robert Morris. Paris, May 21st, 1783,                        30

        The Dutch loan; perplexities and embarrassments.--Wishes
        to be at home to persuade the Americans to pay taxes and
        build ships.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, May 24th, 1783,                 31

        A temporary regulation of commerce with England will be
        necessary.--The American ministers invited to London
        with a promise that they should be treated as the
        ministers of other sovereign states.--The English court
        wishes to interchange ministers with America.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, May 30th, 1783,                 34

        Receives the ratification by Congress of the treaty with
        Holland.--Delay in the negotiations of the definitive

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 9th, 1783,                 35

        "Letters from a Distinguished American," written by Mr

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 16th, 1783,                36

        Ambiguities in the articles of the provisional treaty
        occasioned by the critical state of affairs.--The Dutch
        have been of important service in bringing about the
        termination of the war.--Expresses a wish to return; is
        unwilling to remain in Europe if the embassy to England
        is given to any other person.--Policy to be pursued in
        raising a loan in Holland.--Conduct of General
        Washington during the discontent in the army.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 23d, 1783,                 41

        Obstacles in the way of agreeing upon a regulation of

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 23d, 1783,                 42

        Embarrassments of the English Ministry.--A party in
        England in favor of restricting the commerce of the
        Americans.--America and the West Indies are mutually
        necessary to each other.--Thinks it politic to revive
        the trade on the former footing, if necessary.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 24th, 1783,                45

        Fictions of the European Gazetteers.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 27th, 1783,                46

        Progress of the negotiations of the other
        powers.--Expects to obtain nothing more favorable than
        the terms of the provisional treaty.--Conduct,
        character, and materials of the British Ministry.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 27th, 1783,                48

        American ships arrive in England.--Dubious policy of
        the Ministry.--The American Ministers would effect more
        in England.--France does not desire a reconciliation
        between England and the United States.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 3d, 1783,                  51

        The American Ministers make visits to the Ministers of
        all the powers.--The coalition.--The commerce with the
        West Indies.--Receives a visit from the Ambassador of
        the Emperor of Germany.--The other Ministers return his

    To Robert Morris. Paris, July 5th, 1783,                        56

        State of affairs in Europe at the moment of signing the
        peace.--Expediency of signing it without consulting the
        French Minister.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 7th, 1783,                 59

        The British Ministry avoid any definitive
        propositions.--The West India commerce in regard to the
        different powers.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 9th, 1783,                 63

        Mediation of the Imperial Courts.--Explains the
        necessity for concealing the separate article from
        France; and for signing the treaty without a previous
        communication of it to the French Court.--The foreign
        Ministers cease to treat the American Ministers with

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 10th, 1783,                67

        French policy in regard to the fisheries.--Letter of M.
        Marbois.--M. de Rayneval's correspondence with Mr
        Jay.--France wishes the exclusion of the Americans from
        the West Indies.

    To Robert Morris. Paris, July 10th, 1783,                       70

        Means of raising a loan in Holland.

    To Robert Morris. Paris, July 11th, 1783,                       72

        Necessity of sustaining the credit of the United States
        by providing for the prompt settlement of all claims.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 11th, 1783,                74

        Obligations of America to France.--Reasons for
        maintaining a close connexion with France.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 12th, 1783,                75

        Algiers.--Negotiations with Portugal.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 13th, 1783,                77

        Reasons for forming a treaty of commerce with the
        Emperor of Germany.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 14th, 1783,                81

        Jealousy of American ships and trade in France and
        England.--Proclamation of the English court permitting
        intercourse between America and the West Indies in
        British vessels.--Fish, potash and pearlash not
        admitted.--This measure is the result of French
        policy--Remedies to be applied by America.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 14th, 1783,                85

        Exclusive policy of the European powers in regard to
        commerce.--Views of Austria and Russia towards the Black
        Sea, the Danube, the Archipelago and Turkey.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 15th, 1783,                88

        Mr Hartley offers no definitive
        propositions.--"Observations on the American States."

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 16th, 1783,                89

        Visit to the Count de Vergennes.--Conversation relative
        to the West India commerce.--Means of retaliating the
        British restrictions on the commerce with their
        islands.--The Americans ought to send ships to
        China.--Doubtful complexion of British politics.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 17th, 1783,                94

        Conversation with Mr Hartley on the English trade and
        policy in the East.--Importance of forming commercial
        connexions with the Dutch.--Conversation with the Duc de
        la Vauguyon relative to the French and English policy in
        Eastern Europe; on the colonial commerce.--The British
        restrictive policy will produce wars.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, July 18th, 1783,                99

        The United States must counteract French and British
        policy by forming connexions with other
        nations.--Necessity of a common authority in America for
        managing foreign affairs, regulating commerce, raising a
        revenue, &c.--The friendship of the Dutch must be

    To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 23d, 1783,            103

        Sugar trade, and sugar refineries may be carried on by
        Americans as well as by the Dutch.--Conversation with M.
        Visscher and M. Van Berckel on the trade with the Dutch
        Colonies.--M. Van Berckel's remarks on a loan in
        Holland.--Conversation with the Prince of Orange on the
        ranks of foreign Ministers.

    To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 25th, 1783,           109

        Intrigues of the English to restore their former
        connexions with Holland.--The Dutch complain of having
        been deceived by the French Ministers.--No progress in
        the negotiations between England and Holland.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, July 28th, 1783,           112

        Sugar trade.--American loan in Holland.--Loans of the
        other powers there.

    To Robert Morris. Amsterdam, July 28th, 1783,                  115

        The loan in Holland.--Suggests the expediency of sending
        out ships loaded by the States with their respective
        staples.--Probability of obtaining a loan in England.

    To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 30th, 1783,           117

        Trade with the Dutch Colonies.--Account of the limits,
        &c. of the Dutch West India Company received from the
        secretary.--General commerce with the European West
        India Colonies.

    To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 31st, 1783,           122

        Conversation with the Sardinian Minister, who advises
        the sending of a circular by Congress to the European
        powers, giving an account of the Declaration of
        Independence, of the acknowledgment by other powers,
        &c.; recommends commercial connexions with Italy;
        remarks on the Austrian policy towards Turkey.--Efforts
        to detach Holland from her connexion with France.

    To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 1st, 1783,          127

        Conversation with the Portuguese Minister on commercial
        matters.--Dr Franklin's treaty with Portugal.

    To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 2d, 1783,           131

        Conversation with M. Berenger on the European politics
        of the day.

    To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 3d, 1783,           133

        Necessity of securing reciprocity in the commercial
        treaties.--Dissatisfaction in Holland with France.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, August 10th, 1783,             136

        Interview with the Spanish and Portuguese Ministers on
        commercial subjects.--Extraordinary increase of the
        commerce of the neutrals.--No progress in the
        negotiation.--Causes of the delay.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, August 13th, 1783,             140

        Exchange ratifications of the provisional treaty with Mr
        Hartley.--The project of a definitive treaty produced by
        Mr Hartley in the words of the provisional treaty.--Mr
        Hartley objects to the mediation of the Imperial Courts.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, August 13th, 1783,             143

        Probable policy of France in regard to
        Turkey.--Situation of the Count de Vergennes considered

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, August 13th, 1783,             145

        Expresses his discontent with Dr Franklin's negotiating
        treaties with several powers without communicating with
        other Ministers.--Remarks on the treaty with Denmark.

    To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, August 15th, 1783,             149

        The belligerent powers except Holland are
        agreed.--Remarks of M. Brantzen on the conduct, policy,
        and situation of the Count de Vergennes.--The Queen and
        some of the council are opposed to him.

    To the President of Congress. Paris, September 5th, 1783,      152

        The definitive treaty signed, sealed, and delivered.--A
        new commission necessary for negotiating a treaty of
        commerce.--The Count de Vergennes was not desirous of
        admitting the mediation of the Imperial Courts.--Mr
        Adams regrets not having admitted the mediation.--Policy
        of forming commercial connexions with the European

    To Elias Boudinot, President of Congress. Paris, September
    8th, 1783,                                                     156

        Accepts the joint commission for negotiating a treaty of
        commerce with England.--Advises that it be extended to
        the other powers.

    To the President of Congress. Paris, September 8th, 1783,      158

        Management of the European Journals.--Courier de

    To the President of Congress. Paris, September 10th, 1783,     160

        Advises the opening of negotiations with all the Courts
        of Europe, and with the Barbary powers.


    To the President of Congress. St Pierre's, Martinique,
    December 20th, 1779,                                           171

        Action at sea between the French and English.

    To the President of Congress. St Pierre's, Martinique,
    December 22d, 1779,                                            172

        Repairs of the ship.

    To the President of Congress. St Pierre's, Martinique,
    December 24th, 1779,                                           174

        An account of the condition of the ship, and the causes
        of his favoring the steering for Martinique.

    To the President of Congress. St Pierre's, Martinique,
    December 25th, 1779,                                           190

        Recommends Mrs Smith to the attention of Congress.

    To the President of Congress. St Pierre's, Martinique,
    December 25th, 1779,                                           191

        Draws on the fund for the payment of his salary for a
        hundred guineas, to be distributed among the officers of
        the Confederacy.

    To the President of Congress. St Pierre's, Martinique,
    December 26th, 1779,                                           192

        M. Gerard proposes to send home the Confederacy to
        refit.--She is permitted to refit in Martinique, and a
        French frigate is ordered to carry Mr Jay and M. Gerard
        to France.--Mr Bingham's services.

    To Arthur Lee. Cadiz, January 26th, 1780,                      194

        Requests of Mr Lee information.

    To the Count de Vergennes. Cadiz, January 27th, 1780,          195

        Recapitulation of former proceedings relative to
        Spain.--Requests the interposition of the King in favor
        of America.

    To Don Joseph Galvez, Minister of the Spanish Court. January
    27th, 1780,                                                    199

        Stipulation in the treaty between France and the United
        States providing for the accession of Spain.--Mr Jay
        appointed to carry it into effect.

    To the President of Congress. Cadiz, January 27th, 1780,       202

        Reasons for his landing in Cadiz.

    Instructions to William Carmichael. Cadiz, January 27th,
    1780,                                                          203

        Directions as to his conduct towards M. Galvez, the
        Spanish Minister, and the French Ambassador, for
        procuring information.

    William Carmichael to John Jay. Madrid, February 15th, 1780,   207

        Cordial reception by the French Ambassador.--Should have
        been addressed to the Count de Florida Blanca.--Prospect
        of reception by the Spanish Ministry.--M. Miralles has
        been instructed to assist in the conquest of
        Florida.--There is no coldness between the French and
        Spanish Courts.

    To the President of Congress. Cadiz, February 20th, 1780,      209

        Mr Bingham advanced the hundred guineas distributed
        among the officers of the Confederacy.

    Count de Florida Blanca to John Jay. Pardo, February 24th,
    1780,                                                          210

        Expresses his Majesty's satisfaction with Mr Jay's
        arrival, and declares there is no obstacle to his coming
        to Court in an informal character.

    To William Carmichael. Cadiz, February 25th, 1780,             211

        Was informed by M. Gerard that M. Galvez was the
        Minister with whom all business with the United States
        was to be transacted.--Wished to have discovered the
        sentiments of Spain towards America, independently of
        French influence.--Requests further information as to
        the instructions to M. Miralles.

    To the President of Congress. Cadiz, February 29th, 1780,      215

        Transmitting papers.--Generally believed that the
        American islands will be the theatre of the next

    To the President of Congress. Cadiz, March 3d, 1780,           216

        M. Guatier of Barcelona desires to be American consul
        there.--Necessity for consuls in Spain.

    To the President of Congress. Cadiz, March 3d, 1780,           217

        Reason for not making personal application to the
        Ministry at first.--Policy of France.--M. Gerard's
        opinion.--Spain is already at war with England.

    De Neufville & Son to John Jay. Amsterdam, April 6th, 1780,    219

        Congratulations on his arrival.

    Answer to De Neufville & Son. Madrid, April 27th, 1780,        219

        Their letters to Congress were received before his
        departure.--The success of America important to Holland.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, May 26th, 1780,          220

        Arrival at Cadiz.--Draws on Dr Franklin.--Extract of a
        letter from Dr Franklin (April 7th, 1780), contradicting
        the report that the Loan Office bills payable in France
        were not honored.--Certificate of Mr Grand to the same
        effect.--Correspondence with Mr Lee.--Letter of the
        Count de Vergennes in reply to that of Mr Jay announcing
        his arrival.--Reply of Mr Jay (Aranjues, May 9th, 1780),
        to the Count de Vergennes assuring him of his confidence
        in M. de Montmorin.--M. Gerard informs him that he
        should address himself to M. Galvez.--Writes to that
        Minister.--Answered by the Count de Florida
        Blanca.--Letter of Mr Jay (Cadiz, March 6th, 1780), to
        the Count, expressing the confidence of the United
        States in the King's favorable disposition, and
        declaring his intention of setting out for
        Madrid.--Arrives at Madrid.--Questions from the Count de
        Florida Blanca (dated March 9th, 1780), requesting
        information on the civil and military state of the
        American Provinces.--Reply of Mr Jay (Madrid, April
        25th, 1780), to the preceding questions, comprising his
        commission and that of Mr Carmichael, with details in
        reply to the questions; the democratic nature of the
        American governments renders a knowledge of their
        affairs easily attainable. 1. THE CIVIL STATE;
        population of each State; government of each State and
        the Articles of the Confederation; disposition of the
        people, who were at first only desirous of a redress of
        grievances; but now determined on independence, with the
        grounds of this opinion; there is no British party in
        America; revenues; public debts; resources; possibility
        of supporting their credit in the operations of
        Government, in commerce, in the protection of the
        national industry; advantages to result to Spain from
        the independence of American States, in the reduction of
        the British power, and in the commerce with America;
        ability of the United States to furnish naval stores.
        2. THE MILITARY STATE; number of the troops; the
        commander in chief; means of recruiting by the militia;
        deficiency of arms, of clothing; means of subsistence;
        naval forces; the people will not submit; their
        disposition towards the Kings of France and of Spain;
        financial embarrassments; sending supplies to America
        would be the surest means of humiliating Great
        Britain.--Receives the resolutions of Congress drawing
        on Mr Laurens and himself for £100,000 sterling
        each.--Letter of Mr Jay (Aranjues, April 29th, 1780), to
        the Count de Florida Blanca in consequence of the
        foregoing resolution, giving an account of the financial
        operations of Congress, and requesting aid from his
        Majesty.--Conference with the Count on the subject of
        the preceding letter; the Count states that Spain has
        been subject to heavy expenses during the preceding
        year, but that his Majesty intends to give America all
        assistance in his power, and has directed him to confer
        with his colleagues in the Ministry on this point;
        wishes Mr Jay to contract to furnish Spain with frigates
        and light vessels; promises to engage in the King's name
        to pay the bills of exchange if presented; the
        pretensions of America to the navigation of the
        Mississippi an obstacle to a treaty.--Letter of Mr Jay
        (Aranjues, May 12th, 1780), to the Count de Florida
        Blanca stating his confidential connexion with the
        French Ambassador, and wishing to know if he may
        communicate to him the subject of the conference.--Reply
        of the Count de Florida Blanca (Aranjues, May 14th,
        1780).--Mr Jay's note to the French Ambassador informing
        him of Sir J. Dalrymple's arrival at Madrid.--Note of M.
        de Montmorin in reply, declaring his entire confidence
        in the Spanish Ministry.--Extract of a letter from Mr
        Jay (April 26th 1780), to Mr Adams informing him of Sir
        J. Dalrymple's arrival at Aranjues.--Sir J. Dalrymple
        requests permission to go through Spain, and a passport
        through France.--Sir J. Dalrymple presents to the Count
        de Florida Blanca Lord Rochford's project to prevent the
        war by a confederation between France, Spain, Portugal
        and England; the confederates to guaranty mutually their
        Colonial possessions; to participate in the commerce of
        the English Colonies under certain limitations, to be
        settled by five persons, one from each country; to
        settle the contested privileges of the Americans on just
        principles; disadvantages resulting to Spain from the
        independence of the English American Colonies, first by
        promoting a contraband trade between the American States
        and the Spanish Colonies, and secondly by exposing the
        Spanish Colonies to the attacks of the Americans, who
        will soon form establishments in the South Seas; all
        Europe is interested in preventing the independence of
        America.--The Gardoquis; Mr Jay is destitute of
        resources; difficulty of conveying intelligence;
        expenses of a Minister at the Spanish Court; coldly
        treated by the Ministers of the Northern powers;
        ignorance of American affairs in Spain; the secrets of
        Congress well known to the Spanish and French Courts.

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, May 27th, 1780,   282

        Mr Laurens is not arrived.

    To James Lovell. Madrid, May 27th, 1780,                       283

        Want of intelligence from America.

    William Carmichael to John Jay. Aranjues, May 27th, 1780,      283

        Destination of the Spanish fleet.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, May 28th, 1780,          284

        Enclosing the preceding, the information in which he
        considers authentic.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, May 30th, 1780,          285

        Receives the resolution of Congress, desiring the
        Ex-Presidents of Congress to lodge their public
        correspondence in the Secretary's office.--Mr Jay did
        this at the time of his retirement from the office.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, May 30th, 1780,          285

        Bills drawn upon him are arrived.

    De Neufville & Son to John Jay. Without date,                  286

        Bills drawn on Mr Laurens, who is not arrived.--Have
        promised the holders to accept them.

    De Neufville & Son to John Jay. Amsterdam, June 1st, 1780,     287

        Are willing to accept the bills drawn on Mr Laurens,
        provided they are permitted to draw on Dr Franklin at
        seven or eight months.

    De Neufville & Son to John Jay. Amsterdam, June 8th, 1780,     288

        Have accepted the bills on Mr Laurens, and request that
        some method of reimbursing them may be adopted.

    Committee of Foreign Affairs to John Jay. Philadelphia, June
    16th, 1780,                                                    288

        Reasons for drawing on him.--Have drawn for an
        additional sum.

    To De Neufville & Son, at Amsterdam. Madrid, June 18th, 1780,  290

        Thanking them for their offer to accept the bills drawn
        on Mr Laurens.

    To De Neufville & Son. Madrid, June 25th, 1780,                291

        Is uncertain whether he shall be able to reimburse them
        for their advances.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, July 10th, 1780,         292

        Remittances from America are necessary.

    De Neufville & Son to John Jay. Amsterdam, July 13th, 1780,    293

        Cannot accept any more bills.--Would undertake a loan if

    De Neufville & Son to John Jay. Amsterdam, July 28th, 1780,    295

        Dr Franklin has offered to accept further bills drawn on
        Mr Laurens; they will therefore continue to accept those

    To De Neufville & Son. Madrid, July 29th, 1780,                296

        Has not power to authorise them to raise a loan.--The
        capture of Charleston will have no effect on the
        determination of the Americans.

    To De Neufville & Son. Madrid, August 16th, 1780,              298

        Expresses his sense of their friendly conduct towards

    To Silas Deane. St Ildefonso, September 8th, 1780,             299

        Desires to correspond with him.

    To the President of Congress. St Ildefonso, September 16th,
    1780,                                                          299

        It is necessary to cease drawing bills on him.--The King
        of Spain has offered his responsibility to facilitate a

    Instructions to John Jay. In Congress, October 4th. 1780,      300

        Directing him to insist on the navigation of the
        Mississippi.--The boundary.--Florida.

    To De Neufville & Son. Madrid, October 4th, 1780,              302

        Connexion between Holland and the United States.--Shall
        recommend their house to Congress.--Spanish ordinance
        establishing a paper currency.--Effect of this measure
        on the bills drawn on him; wishes to know if money could
        be raised in Holland for Congress on the joint credit of
        Spain and the United States.

    To James Lovell. Madrid, October 27th, 1780,                   304

        Difficulties of finding a safe conveyance for his
        letters.--Receives little information from the
        committee.--M. Dohrmer.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, November 6th, 1780,      306

        The Abbé Hussey arrives at Madrid with Mr
        Cumberland.--Notes of Mr Jay's conference with the Count
        de Florida Blanca.--Conference of Mr Carmichael with the
        Minister.--Note from the Count de Florida Blanca
        (Aranjues, June 9, 1780); to Mr Jay on the subject of
        aids; his Majesty is willing to become responsible at the
        expiration of two years to the holders of the bills drawn
        on Mr Jay, provided Congress will build four frigates and
        some light vessels for the King; the Americans may send
        for stores to the Spanish ports for this purpose; the
        squadron manned by Americans and under Spanish colors to
        intercept the English East India vessels.--Reply of Mr
        Jay (Aranjues, June 9th, 1780); expectations of the
        Americans from Spain; the holders of the bills will
        prefer recovering the amount on protest, to waiting for
        the payment two years; the Spanish treasure from America
        may arrive before the bills become payable; Mr Jay is
        authorised to pledge the faith of the United States for
        the repayment of any sums his Majesty may lend; former
        aids; Congress has not the resources necessary for
        building ships; difficulty of manning them with American
        sailors, who prefer sailing in privateers; the country is
        not in a condition to undertake foreign enterprises; the
        Americans will always be ready to cooperate with Spain
        against the Floridas or elsewhere; unfavorable
        conclusions will be drawn as to the condition of Spain,
        if she cannot supply such aid to men in arms against her
        enemy.--Mr Jay's reasons for not touching on other points
        of the proposition.--Note from Mr Jay to the Count,
        informing him of a new draft.--Reply of the Count,
        promising to pay the bill, and declaring that no more can
        be paid without consulting the King; the proposition of
        the Count having been rejected, it becomes necessary for
        Mr Jay to devise other means.--Reply of Mr Jay to the
        preceding (Madrid, June 22d, 1780), proposing as a means
        of paying the bills the advance of the £25,000 to £40,000
        sterling promised; the sum necessary for building the
        ships cannot be raised by Congress; America cannot pay
        the debts occasioned by the war till peace; advantages
        resulting to Spain by the furnishing of aid to
        America.--Reasons for not pushing the treaty at this
        time.--Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca
        (Madrid, June 28th, 1780), transmitting the resolutions
        of Congress, directing that bills be issued redeemable in
        specie in six years; this plan may enable the United
        States to supply the vessels, his Majesty becoming
        responsible for a certain part of the sum so
        issued.--Note from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca,
        stating that he has been called on to accept new
        bills.--Reply of the Count de Florida Blanca, declaring
        nothing can be done in regard to the new drafts without
        consulting the King and the other Ministers; requests
        further explanations of Mr Jay's plan for furnishing the
        ships and engaging the responsibility of the King.--Note
        from the Count de Florida Blanca to Mr Jay, requesting to
        know when the bills lately arrived will become due.--News
        of the capture of Charleston.--Mr Jay's notes of a
        conference with the Count de Florida Blanca, July 5th;
        capture of Charleston; death of M. Miralles; the Count
        advises Mr Jay to be cautious of Messrs Joyce, who hold
        the bills; regrets the precipitancy of Congress in
        drawing; specie might have been remitted from the Spanish
        Colonies directly to the United States; remarks on the
        deranged state of the finances of the United States; the
        difficulty of raising money in Europe; wishes to wait the
        arrival of a certain person; Mr Jay observes, that
        Congress have adopted measures for restoring the
        finances; suggests that Spain might furnish aid by bills
        on Havana; states in reply to a question of the Count,
        that ship timber may be furnished from America; urges the
        importance of accepting the bills; reminds the Minister
        of the promise of clothing; evasive and uncertain nature
        of this conference.--Note from Mr Jay to the Count de
        Florida Blanca (Madrid, July 11th, 1780), informing him
        that new bills have been presented; the Messrs Joyce
        consent to have their bills payable at Bilboa.--Answer of
        the Count to the preceding, desiring a delay till the
        arrival of a certain person.--Mr Jay requests that Mr
        Harrison be allowed to remain at Cadiz.--Note from the
        Count de Florida Blanca (July 29th), granting Mr Harrison
        permission to remain at Cadiz; still waits the arrival of
        the person above mentioned.--Note from Mr Jay to the
        Count de Florida Blanca (August 11th), announcing the
        presentation of more bills.--Reply of the Count de
        Florida Blanca, regretting that he must still wait the
        arrival of a certain person.--Letter of Mr Jay (Madrid,
        August 16th, 1780), to the Count de Florida Blanca,
        stating that the holders of the bills grow
        impatient.--Letter of Mr Jay to the Count de Florida
        Blanca (Madrid, August 18th, 1780), informing him that
        bills have been received by the Gardoquis, which will be
        immediately presented.--Letter from Mr Jay to the Count
        de Florida Blanca (St Ildefonso, August 25th, 1780),
        urging the necessity of providing for the acceptance of
        the bills.--Mr Jay's notes of a conference with the
        French Ambassador, August 27th; Mr Jay gives an account
        of his proceedings since his arrival, and requests the
        Ambassador to obtain an answer for him from the Spanish
        Minister; Mr Jay was encouraged to expect that he should
        be supplied with money to meet the bills; the Ambassador
        thinks that the Spanish Minister will pay the bills, and
        promises to speak to him on the subject.--Subsequent
        coolness of the French Ambassador.--Second visit to him;
        he advises Mr Jay to write again to the Count de Florida
        Blanca, praying an audience; Mr Jay declines making any
        supplications, or purchasing by concessions the
        acknowledgment of independence; declares his
        determination to write on the subject of the treaty, and
        if treated with the same neglect to return; conduct of
        France.--Mr Jay consents to send Mr Carmichael to the
        Minister.--Note from the Count de Florida Blanca
        introducing M. Gardoqui.--Conversation with M. Gardoqui
        on the subject of the bills; second conversation with M.
        Gardoqui, who proposes the surrender of the navigation of
        the Mississippi.--Objections to this
        measure.--Conversation with M. Del Campo on the same
        subjects.--Conversation with the Secretary of the French
        Ambassador.--M. Gardoqui informs him from the Count de
        Florida Blanca that no more bills can be paid by
        Spain.--Letter of Mr Jay (St Ildefonso, September 14th,
        1780), to the Count de Florida Blanca, requesting to know
        if any aid is to be expected from Spain.--Answer to the
        preceding, dictated by M. Del Campo, in the name of the
        Count de Florida Blanca, to M. Gardoqui, declaring the
        readiness of his Majesty to assist the States.--Letter
        from Mr Jay to Count de Vergennes (St Ildefonso,
        September 22d, 1780), giving an account of his
        proceedings in Spain; requesting the aid of France in
        meeting the bills.--Letter of Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (same
        date), on the same subject.--Notes of a conference
        between Mr Jay and the Count de Florida Blanca (September
        23d); satisfaction of the King with the measures of
        Congress for supplying the Spanish forces in the West
        Indies; plan of the English Court to attempt an
        accommodation with America; Mr Jay enters upon the points
        mentioned in the paper dictated to M. Gardoqui; on the
        manner of making known the King's responsibility; on the
        King's being disgusted with the drawing of bills without
        his consent, and without terms of recompense; the bills
        were drawn on Mr Jay, and the faith of the United States
        was pledged for the payment of any sum advanced; Mr Jay
        wishes the evidence of an understanding between America
        and England; Congress had given proofs of friendship by
        sending a Minister to negotiate treaties of amity and
        alliance; the delaying of the negotiations owing to the
        Minister not sending the promised notes on the subject;
        terms of such a treaty; Spain ought not to expect the
        expenses of the war will be refunded; America will be
        ready to render every assistance possible.--Mr Jay
        returns to Madrid and accepts the bills.--Equivocal
        nature of the Spanish policy.--Extract of a letter from
        the Count de Vergennes to the French Ambassador, stating
        that it will be difficult to make advances to Mr
        Jay.--Letter from Messrs Couteulx and Co. to Mr Jay
        (Cadiz, October 3d, 1780), complaining of the expenses
        and difficulty of supplying and sending home American
        seamen.--Mr Jay to Messrs Couteulx and Co. (Madrid,
        October 15th, 1780), directing them to settle accounts
        with Mr Harrison.--Difficulties in the conveyance of
        correspondence.--A copy of the correspondence of the
        Commissioners in France in the hands of a certain

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, November 30th, 1780,     389

        Enclosing copies of papers from Morocco.--Delays of the
        Spanish Court.--Remarks on the enclosed account of the
        revenues and expenditures of Spain for 1778.

    From D'Audibert Caille to John Jay. Aranjues, April 21st,
    1780,                                                          392

        Is authorised to declare the pacific intentions of the
        Emperor of Morocco towards the United States.

    To D'Audibert Caille,                                          393

        Expresses his satisfaction with the disposition of the
        Emperor of Morocco.

    Copy of M. D'Audibert Caille's Appointment,                    394

        Copy of M. D'Audibert Caille's appointment to officiate
        as consul of all nations who have no consul in Morocco.

    Copy of the Declaration by the Emperor of Morocco, February
    20th 1778,                                                     396

        Certificate of Pedro Umbert, that the above is
        conformable to the truth.

    Certificate of M. D'Audibert Caille. December 1st, 1779,       397

        Certificate of M. D'Audibert Caille that Don Pedro
        Umbert is employed for foreign affairs at the Court of

    D'Audibert Caille to Congress. Salé, September 6th, 1779,      397

        The Emperor of Morocco intends to be at peace with the
        United States.

    General State of the Revenues of Spain in the Year 1778,       399

    To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, November 30th,
    1780,                                                          401

        Necessity of providing means for the safe conveyance of
        the public correspondence.--His letters are opened and
        many kept back both in Spain and the United States.

    Instructions to John Jay. In Congress, February 15th, 1781,    403

        Instructing him to recede from the demand of a free
        navigation of the Mississippi below 31°.

    James Lovell to John Jay. February 20th, 1781,                 404

        Has received no letters from him of late.

    James Lovell to John Jay. March 9th, 1781,                     405

        Ratification of the articles of the Confederacy.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, March 22d, 1781,         405

        Supplies from Spain.--Russian mediation.--M. Necker's

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, April 25th, 1781,        406

        Spain insists on the exclusive navigation of the
        Mississippi.--Letter from Mr Jay to De Neufville and Son
        (Madrid, January 8th, 1781), renouncing the idea of a
        loan in Holland separate from that negotiated by Mr
        Adams.--Mr Jay's proceedings in regard to the payment of
        the bills.--Advises that the unfinished ships be sold to
        Spain.--Disposition of Portugal.--Dr Franklin.--Mr
        Cumberland's mission.--Disposition of Spain.

    The President of Congress to John Jay. In Congress, May 28th,
    1781,                                                          415

        Expressing the satisfaction of Congress with his
        conduct.--Instructs him to disavow any understanding
        between the United States and Great Britain; to avoid
        referring to the treaty with France in his negotiations
        with Spain; to declare that facilities will be granted
        for the exportation of naval stores for the Spanish
        marine; to continue to provide as far as possible for
        American seamen in Spain; to open a correspondence with
        M. D'Audibert Caille.

    To the President of Congress. Aranjues, May 29th, 1781,        419

        Conversation with the Count de Florida Blanca on the
        admission of letters.

    James Lovell to John Jay. Philadelphia, June 4th, 1781,        420

        The affair of the Dover cutter.

    James Lovell to John Jay. Philadelphia, June 15th, 1781,       421

        Case of Dumain and Lyon.

    Robert Morris to John Jay. Philadelphia, July 4th, 1781,       421

        Mr Morris is appointed Superintendent of
        Finance.--Objects to be accomplished by this
        office.--Expectations of aid from Spain.--State of the
        finances.--Disposition of the nation.--State of the
        army.--Advantages that will result to Spain by aiding
        America.--The United States cannot be dangerous to
        Spain.--Amount desired.

    Robert Morris to John Jay. Philadelphia, July 7th, 1781,       435

        Necessity of immediate aids.

    Robert Morris to John Jay. Office of Finance, July 9th, 1781,  436

        Proposes a plan for sending home American seaman.

    Robert Morris to John Jay. Philadelphia, July 13th, 1781,      438

        Reasons which induced him to adopt the enclosed plan of
        a national bank.--Wants aid from Spain.--Suggests that
        an attempt should be made to obtain money from Portugal.

    Robert Morris to John Jay. Office of Finance, August 15th,
    1781,                                                          449

        Directing to protest certain bills, assigning as a
        reason his instructions.

    James Lovell to John Jay. Philadelphia, August 15th, 1781,     450

        Surrender of Pensacola.

    To the President of Congress. St Ildefonso, September 20th,
    1781,                                                          451

        Regrets that instructions should have been given the
        American Ministers to concur in any terms to which
        France should accede.

    To the President of Congress. St Ildefonso, October 3d, 1781,  454

        Conversation with the Count de Florida Blanca, who
        complains that Congress has not shown any disposition to
        oblige the King; remarks relative to M. Gardoqui.--Mr
        Jay regrets that the instructions concerning the
        Mississippi had not been kept secret; use that might
        have been made of the claim.--Has another interview with
        the Minister; stoppage of the letters from America; the
        affair of the Dover cutter; cession of the claims of the
        United States to the navigation of the Mississippi; the
        Count remarks that these affairs can be settled at a
        general peace.--Letter from Mr Jay (Madrid, July 2d,
        1781), to the Count de Florida Blanca, declaring that he
        has been instructed to cede the exclusive navigation of
        the Mississippi.--Letter from Mr Jay (Madrid, July 2d,
        1781), to the Count de Montmorin, communicating the
        above.--Receiving no answer from the Minister, Mr Jay
        calls upon him, and is informed that he cannot attend to
        the matter.--Letters from Mr Jay (Madrid, July 13th,
        1781), to the Count de Florida Blanca communicating his
        instructions.--Note from the Count de Florida Blanca (St
        Ildefonso, July 1st, 1781), to Mr Jay proposing to
        attend to American affairs.--Mr Jay visits the Minister
        with Major Franks; general conversation.--Renewed
        delays.--Letter from Mr Jay (St. Ildefonso, September
        16th, 1781), to the Count de Montmorin, enclosing the
        draft of a letter to the Count de Florida Blanca, and
        requesting the advice of the Ambassador.--Note from the
        Count de Florida Blanca to Mr Jay requesting him to call
        upon him.--Notes of the conference between Mr Jay and
        the Count de Florida Blanca (September 19th, 1781); the
        Count requests Mr Jay to draw up an outline of the
        proposed treaties; aids; commercial connexion; treaty of
        alliance; the Count observes that Congress has done
        nothing to gratify the King; a person will be appointed
        to confer further with Mr Jay.--Letter from Mr Jay (St
        Ildefonso, September 22d, 1781), to the Count de Florida
        Blanca requesting that some decisive measure be taken in
        regard to American affairs.--Propositions toward a plan
        of a treaty, with remarks; the subject of aids will
        require a separate convention; also the regulation of
        the mutual conduct of the parties during the war.--Mr
        Jay's reason for limiting the duration of the offer
        contained in the sixth proposition, relating to the
        navigation of the Mississippi; arts of Spain.--Note from
        the Count de Florida Blanca to Mr Jay, expressing a hope
        that some progress will soon be made in the
        consideration of the propositions.--Embarrassments in
        providing for the payment of the bills.--Mr Harrison's
        services.--Proposes the sending of an agent to Portugal.

    To the President of Congress. Madrid, October 18th, 1781,      506

        Has protested some of the bills.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, November 1st,
    1781,                                                          507

        Organization of the new executive departments.--The debt
        of the United States not so large as might have been
        expected.--British American recruits.--Proposes that
        Spain should furnish a convoy between Havana and the
        United States.--Plan for paying the French troops in
        specie from Havana.

    Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, November
    28th, 1781,                                                    511

        State of military affairs.--The Marquis de la Fayette.











       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Paris, December 14th, 1782.


There is more matter than time to write at present. The King of Sweden
has done the United States great honor in his commission to his
Minister here, to treat with them, by inserting, that he had a great
desire to form a connexion with States, which had so fully established
their independence, and by their wise and gallant conduct so well
deserved it; and his Minister desired it might be remembered, that his
sovereign was the first who had voluntarily proposed a treaty with

Mr Secretary Townshend announced, on the 3d of December, in a letter
to the Lord Mayor, the signature of our preliminaries. On the 5th, his
Majesty announced it in his speech to both Houses. Addresses of
thanks, in both Houses, passed without a division.

There is a note in the _Courier de l'Europe_, of the 6th instant,
worth transcribing, viz. "We mark these three lines in italics, to
notice at present the assertion, which we shall consider more fully
hereafter, that we do not owe to any of the causes assigned at
present, even in the two Houses of Parliament, the peace, the
blessings of which we consider as certain, but to the armed
neutrality. This peace will be durable."

I have transcribed this note, because it falls in with an opinion,
that I have long entertained. The armed neutrality, and even Mr Dana's
mission to it, have had greater effects, than the world is yet
informed of, and would have had much greater, if his hands had not
been tied.

On the 4th instant, I wrote a resignation of all my employments in
Europe, which I have now the honor to confirm, and to request, that
the acceptance of it may be transmitted to me several ways, by the
first ships.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[1] See Dr Franklin's letter on this subject, dated June the 25th,
1782. _Franklin's Correspondence_, Vol. III. p. 371.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, December 19th, 1782.


The enclosed letter for Mr Dana you will open and peruse. It may
possibly contain information, that may be useful to you, which it will
be unnecessary to repeat here.

I mentioned in my last, Mr Jefferson's appointment; I have the
pleasure of adding now, that I have received an account from him of
his acceptance of the place. He will be here in the course of ten or
twelve days, and sail with Count de Rochambeau, who proposes to return
to France. The French troops have embarked with the Marquis de
Vaudreuil, and are to sail for the West Indies, unless they should
receive counter orders, by a frigate, which is now in the river. Her
letters are not yet come up, as she unfortunately ran ashore at Dover;
it is yet uncertain whether she will be saved.

The great political question, which at present engages the attention
of Congress, is the means of providing for the payment of the public
debts, or at least establishing such funds for the regular discharge
of the interest, as may set their creditors at ease as to their
capitals. It was imagined, that a duty of five per cent upon all
imposts would afford a fund adequate to this. Congress accordingly
recommended it to the several States to impose the duty. They have all
complied, except Rhode Island. Her refusal renders the other laws
nugatory, as they contain clauses suspending their operation until the
measure is generally adopted. Congress are about to send down a
committee to endeavor to persuade Rhode Island to comply with a
measure, that they deem so essential to public credit. It is extremely
difficult in a country, so little used to taxes as ours is, to lay
them directly, and almost impossible to impose them so equally as not
to render them too oppressive on some members of the community, while
others contribute little or nothing. This difficulty is increased by
the continued change of property in this country, and by the small
proportion the income bears to the value of lands.

By a short letter just received from Mr Jay, it appears, that England
has at length swallowed the bitter pill, and agreed to treat with the
"Thirteen United States of America." I am still at a loss to account
for this commission's being directed to Mr Oswald, while Mr
Fitzherbert's continues in force; or is that revoked?[2] I will not
trouble myself with guesses, as I must receive despatches today, that
will explain the mystery, if either Dr Franklin or Mr Jay have kept
their words with me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[2] The two commissions were for distinct purposes; Mr Oswald's to
treat with the American Commissioners alone; and Mr Fitzherbert's to
treat for a general peace with the European powers, then at war with

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO CHARLES W.F. DUMAS.

                                             Paris, January 1st, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

Returning this evening from Versailles, where I had been to make the
compliments of the season, I found your favors of the 26th and 27th of
December. The letters enclosed shall be forwarded, as you desire.

The Dutch Ministers here have no occasion for my assistance. _Non tali
auxilio._ I have the honor to be more particularly acquainted with M.
Brantzen, who is certainly a very able man, and universally
acknowledged to be so by all who know him. The arguments, which I know
he has used with the British Minister, are such as can never be
answered, both upon the liberty of navigation, and the compensation
for damages. He is an entire master of his subject, and has urged it
with a degree of perspicuity and eloquence, that I know has much
struck his antagonists.

Unnecessary, however, as any exertions of mine have been, I have not
omitted any opportunity of throwing in any friendly suggestions in my
power, where there was a possibility of doing any good to our good
friends, the Dutch. I have made such suggestions to Mr Fitzherbert.
But with Mr Oswald, I have had several very serious conversations upon
the subject. So I have also with Mr Vaughan and Mr Whiteford.

To Mr Oswald I urged the necessity of Great Britain's agreeing with
the Dutch upon the unlimited freedom of navigation, from a variety of
topics, some of which I may explain to you more particularly
hereafter. Thus much I may say at present, that I told him, that it
was impossible for Great Britain to avoid it; it would probably be
insisted upon by all the other powers. France and Spain, as well as
Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, the Emperor, and Portugal, as well
as Holland, had already signed the armed neutrality. The United States
of America had declared themselves ready to sign, and were ready. The
combination being thus powerful, Great Britain could not resist it.
But if she should refuse to agree to it with Holland, and the other
powers should acquiesce, and Holland should make peace without it
(which would never, however, be the case,) yet all would be
ineffectual, for Holland would forever be able to make use of other
neutral bottoms, and would thus enjoy the benefit of this liberty and
reality, though denied it by treaty, and in appearance. It would,
therefore, be more for the honor and interest of Great Britain to
agree to it with a good grace, in the treaty with Holland. Nay, the
wisest part she could act would be to set on foot a negotiation
immediately for signing herself the Treaty of Armed Neutrality, and
then admitting it into the treaty with Holland would be a thing of
course. At one of these conversations Dr Franklin was present, who
supported me with all his weight; at another, Mr Jay seconded me with
all his abilities and ingenuity. Mr Oswald has several times assured
me, that he had written these arguments and his own opinion, in
conformity with them, to the King's Ministers in London, and I doubt
not they will be adopted.

With respect to the compensation for damages, it is impossible to add
anything to the arrangements M. Brantzen has urged to show the justice
of it, and if Britain is really wise, she will think it her policy to
do everything in her power to soften the resentment of the Dutch, and
regain their good will and good humor.

The rage of Great Britain, however, has carried her to such
extravagant lengths, in a cause unjust from beginning to end, that she
is scarcely able to repair the injuries she has done. America has a
just claim to compensation for all her burnt towns and plundered
property, and indeed for all her slaughtered sons, if that were
possible. I shall continue to embrace every opportunity that presents,
of doing all the little service in my power to our good friends the
Dutch, whose friendship for us I shall not soon forget. This must be
communicated with great discretion, if at all.

My best respects to all.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             Paris, January 22d, 1783.


Upon a sudden notification from the Count de Vergennes, Dr Franklin
and myself, in the absence of Mr Jay and Mr Laurens, went to
Versailles, and arrived at the Count's office at ten o'clock on
Monday, the 20th of this month. At eleven, arrived the Count d'Aranda
and Mr Fitzherbert. The Ministers of the three Crowns, signed and
sealed the preliminaries of peace and an armistice, in presence of
Doctor Franklin and myself, who also signed and sealed a declaration
of an armistice between the Crown of Great Britain and the United
States of America, and received a counter declaration from Mr
Fitzherbert. Copies of these declarations are enclosed.[3]

The King of Great Britain has made a declaration concerning the terms,
that he will allow to the Dutch; but they are not such as will give
satisfaction to that unfortunate nation, for whom, on account of their
friendship for us, and the important benefits we have received from
it, I feel very sensibly and sincerely. Yesterday we went to
Versailles again to make our court to the King and royal family upon
the occasion, and received the compliments of the Foreign Ministers.

The Count d'Aranda invited me to dine with him on Sunday next, and
said he hoped that the affairs of Spain and the United States would be
soon adjusted _à l'aimable_. I answered, that I wished it with all my
heart. The two Floridas and Minorca are more than a _quantum meruit_
for what this Power has done, and the Dutch unfortunately are to
suffer for it. It is not in my power to say when the definitive treaty
will be signed. I hope not before the Dutch are ready, in six weeks or
two months at farthest I suppose.

It is no longer necessary for Congress to appoint another person in my
place in the commission for peace, because it will be executed before
this reaches America. But I beg leave to renew the resignation of the
credence to the States-General, and the commission for borrowing money
in Holland, and to request, that no time may be lost in transmitting
the acceptance of this resignation, and another person to take that
station, that I may be able to go home in the spring ships.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[3] Contained in the Correspondence of the Ministers for negotiating

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             Paris, January 23d, 1783.


The letters you did me the honor to write on the 6th, and 18th of
November, came safe to hand.

You do me honor, Sir, in applauding the judgment I have formed from
time to time of the Court of Britain, and future ages will give me
credit for the judgment I have formed of some other Courts. The true
designs of a Minister of State are not difficult to be penetrated by
an honest man of common sense, who is in a situation to know anything
of the secret of affairs, and to observe constantly the chain of
public events; for whatever ostensible appearances may be put on,
whatever obliquities may be imagined, however the web may be woven, or
the thread doubled and twisted, enough will be seen to unravel the

My opinions, as you observe, sometimes run counter to those generally
received; but the reason of this has generally been, that I have had
earlier evidence than the generality, and I have had the satisfaction
to find, that others have formed the same judgment, when they have
had the same intelligence. I do not affect singularity, nor love to be
in a minority, though truth and justice have sometimes obliged me to
be so. You say, that nothing can be more conformable to your wishes
than the instructions I transmitted. I am not surprised at this; it is
very natural. Had I never been on this side of the Atlantic, I believe
I should have been of your mind in this particular. At present I
cannot be, and I believe, by this time, the Dutch regret having given
them. You will hear enough of the reason of it. I have lived long
enough, and had experience enough of the conduct of governments, and
people, nations, and courts, to be convinced, that gratitude,
friendship, unsuspecting confidence, and all the most amiable passions
in human nature, are the most dangerous guides in politics. I assure
you, Sir, if we had not been more cautious than the Dutch, we should
have been worse off than they, and our country would have suffered
much more.

Mr Laurens has been here, and has behaved with great caution,
firmness, and wisdom. He arrived so late, as only to attend the two
last days of the conferences, the 29th and 30th of November. But the
short time he was with us, he was of great service to the cause. He
has done great service to America in England, where his conversation
has been such as the purest and firmest American could wish it, and
has made many converts. He is gone again to Bath, and his journey will
do as much good to his country as to his health. He will return to the
signature of the definitive treaty.

The ratifications of my contracts have been received.

The release of Captain Asgill was so exquisite a relief to my
feelings, that I have not much cared what interposition it was owing
to. It would have been a horrid damp to the joys of peace, if we had
received a disagreeable account of him.

The difference between Denmark and Holland is of no serious nature.
The clue to the whole is, the Queen Dowager is sister to the Duke of
Brunswick; but there is nothing to fear from Denmark. As to the
northern powers, we have nothing to fear from any of them. All of
them, and all the neutral powers, would have acknowledged our
independence before now, by receiving Mr Dana to sign the principles
of the armed neutrality, if he had not been restrained from acting.
The unlimited confidence of Congress has been grossly abused, and we
should have been irreparably injured, if we had not been upon our
guard. As our liberties and most important interests are now secured,
as far as they can be, against Great Britain, it would be my wish to
say as little as possible of the policy of any Minister of our first
ally, which has not been as we could desire, and to retain forever a
grateful remembrance of the friendly assistance we have received. But
we have evidence enough to warn us against unlimited confidence in any
European Minister of State.

I have never drawn upon Dr Franklin for any money, since the end of my
two and a half years' salary; and he tells me he has made no use of
the bills. I had received money for my subsistence of Messieurs
Willinks, and as it will be but a few months more, at farthest, that I
shall have to subsist in Europe, I beg leave to proceed to the end in
the same way. I shall receive only the amount of my salary, and settle
the account with Congress on my return.

I hope to be safely landed on my native shore in the month of June;
and to this end, I beg that an appointment may be made to the Dutch
mission, and the acceptance of my resignation be transmitted to me by
the first ships.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

                                            Paris, January 29th, 1783.


Upon receiving the letter, which you did me the honor to write me on
the 24th, late last evening, I went immediately to consult with my
colleague, Mr Jay, and we agreed to go this morning to Dr Franklin.
Accordingly today we went together to Passy, and communicated your
letter to him, and after recollecting the powers we have received, we
all agreed that I should make you the following answer.

You will readily recollect the resolutions of Congress, which I did
myself the honor two years ago to communicate to the President of
their High Mightinesses, and to the Ministers of Russia, Sweden, and
Denmark, at the Hague. The letter to the President was sent "_au
greffe_," and there may, perhaps, be now found. These resolutions
contained the approbation of Congress, of the principles of the
declaration of the Empress of Russia, and authorised any of the
American Ministers in Europe, if invited thereto, to pledge the faith
of the United States to the observance of them.

Sometime after this, Congress sent Mr Dana a commission with full
power to accede to the principles of the Marine Treaty between the
neutral powers, and he is now at Petersburg, vested with these powers,
and, according to late intelligence received from him, has well
founded expectations of being soon admitted.

It is the opinion of my colleagues, as well as my own, that no
commission of mine to their High Mightinesses contains authority to
negotiate this business, and we are all of opinion, that it is most
proper that Mr Dana should negotiate it.

But as there has been no express revocation of the power given to all
or any of us, by the first resolutions, and if the case should happen,
that Mr Dana could not attend in season, on account of the distance,
for the sake of accelerating the signature of the definitive treaty of
peace, we should not hesitate to pledge the faith of the United States
to the observance of the principles of the armed neutrality. I wish it
were in my power to give you a more satisfactory answer, but candor
will warrant no other.

With great respect to the gentlemen, as well as to you,

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Paris, February 5th, 1783.


The resolution of Congress of the 12th of July, 1781, "That the
commission and instructions, for negotiating a Treaty of Commerce
between these United States and Great Britain, given to the Honorable
John Adams, on the 29th day of September, 1779, be, and they are
hereby revoked," was duly received by me in Holland; but no
explanation of the motives to it, or the reasons on which it was
founded, was ever transmitted to me by Congress, or the Committee of
Foreign Affairs, or any individual member, nor has anybody in Europe,
or America, ever once attempted, that I know of, to guess at the
reason. Whether it was intended as a punishment to me, or with a
charitable design not to lead me into temptation; whether it was
intended as a punishment to the English for their insolence and
barbarity; whether it was intended to prevent or remove suspicions of
allies, or the envy and green eyed jealousy of copatriots, I know not.
Of one thing, however, I am fully satisfied, that Congress had
reasons, and meant well; but whether those reasons were founded on
true or mistaken information, I know not.

When I recollect the instructions, which were given and revoked with
that commission, I can guess, and only guess, at some considerations,
which might, or might not, operate with Congress. In these
instructions, Congress determined,

1st. That the common right of fishing should in no case be given up.

2dly. That it is essential to the welfare of all these United States,
that the inhabitants thereof, at the expiration of the war, should
continue to enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their common
right to fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and the other fishing
banks and seas of North America, preserving inviolate the treaties
between France and the said States, &c. &c.

3dly. "That our faith be pledged to the several States, that without
their unanimous consent no Treaty of Commerce shall be entered into,
nor any trade or commerce whatever carried on with Great Britain,
without the explicit stipulation hereinafter mentioned. You are,
therefore, not to consent to any Treaty of Commerce with Great
Britain, without an explicit stipulation on her part, not to molest or
disturb the inhabitants of the United States of America, in taking
fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and other fisheries in the American
seas, anywhere, excepting within the distance of three leagues of the
shores of the territories remaining to Great Britain at the close of
the war, if a nearer distance cannot be obtained by negotiation. And
in the negotiation you are to exert your most strenuous endeavors to
obtain a nearer distance in the Gulf of St Lawrence, and particularly
along the shores of Nova Scotia; as to which latter we are desirous,
that even the shores may be occasionally used for the purpose of
carrying on the fisheries by the inhabitants of these States."

These instructions are very decisive in favor of our indubitable right
to the fisheries; and it is possible, that Congress might be of
opinion, that commerce would be the strongest inducement to the
English to make peace, and at the same time, that there was something
so naval in the fisheries, that the dread of acknowledging our right
to them would be the strongest obstacle in the way of peace. They
might think, too, that peace was of more importance to the United
States, than a British acknowledgment of our right to the fisheries,
which, to be sure, would have been enjoyed by our people in a good
degree without it.

Reasonings like these might influence Congress to revoke the
commission and instructions in question. But whatever probability
there might appear in them at that time, experience has since shown,
that they were not well founded. On the contrary, arguments have been
found to convince the British Ministers themselves, that it was the
interest of their King and country, not only to acknowledge the
American right to the fisheries, but to encourage the unrestrained
exercise of it. These considerations, therefore, can be no longer of
any weight against a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, or against
accrediting a Minister to the Court of St James. Nor can I conceive of
any motive now existing against this measure. On the contrary, so many
advantages present themselves to view, that I think it my duty to
recommend them to Congress as proper to be adopted without loss of
time. If there are in Congress any of those gentlemen, with whom I had
the honor to serve in the years 1775 and 1776, they may possibly
remember, that in arguing in favor of sending Ministers to Versailles,
to propose a connexion with that Court, I laid it down as a first
principle, that we should calculate all our measures and foreign
negotiations in such a manner, as to avoid a too great dependence upon
any one power of Europe; to avoid all obligations and temptations to
take any part in future European wars. That the business of America
with Europe was commerce, not politics or war. And above all, that it
never could be our interest to ruin Great Britain, or injure or weaken
her any further than should be necessary to support our independence,
and our alliances; and that as soon as Great Britain should be brought
to a temper to acknowledge our sovereignty and our alliances, and
consent that we should maintain the one, and fulfil the others, it
would be our interest and duty to be her friends, as well as the
friends of all the other powers of Europe, and enemies to none.

We are now happily arrived, through many tremendous tempests, at that
period. Great Britain respects us as sovereign States, and respects
all our political engagements with foreign nations, and as long as she
continues in this temper of wisdom, it is our duty to respect her. We
have accordingly made a treaty with her and mutually sworn to be
friends. Through the whole period of our warfare and negotiations, I
confess I have never lost sight of the principles and the system, with
which I set out, which appeared to me to be the sentiments of Congress
with great unanimity, and I have no reason to believe that any change
of opinion has taken place; if there has not, every one will agree
with me, that no measure we can pursue will have such a tendency to
preserve the government and people of England in the right system for
their own and our interest, and the interest of our allies too, well
understood, as sending a Minister to reside at the Court of London.

In the next place, the Court of London is the best station to collect
intelligence from every part, and by means of the freedom of the press
to communicate information for the benefit of our country, to every
part of the world. In time of peace, there is so frequent travelling
between Paris, London, and the Hague, that the correspondence of our
Ministers at those Courts may be carried on by private hands, without
hazarding anything from the infidelity of the posts, and Congress may
reasonably expect advantages from this circumstance.

In the third place, a treaty of commerce with Great Britain is an
affair of great importance to both countries. Upon this occasion I
hope I shall be excused if I venture to advise, that Congress should
instruct their Minister not to conclude such a treaty, without sending
the project to them for their observations and fresh instructions, and
I think it would not be improper, on this occasion, to imitate the
Dutch method, and take the project, _ad referendum_, and transmit it
to the Legislatures of all the States for their remarks, before
Congress finally resolve. Their Minister may be authorised and
instructed, in the mean time, to enter into a temporary convention for
regulating the present trade, for a limited number of months or years,
or until the treaty of commerce shall be completed.

In the fourth place, it is our part to be the first to send a Minister
to Great Britain, which is the older, and as yet the superior State.
It becomes us to send a Minister first, and I doubt not the King of
Great Britain will very soon return the compliment. Whereas if we do
not begin, I believe there will be many delicacies at St James',
about being the first to send. I confess I wish a British Minister at
Philadelphia, and think we should derive many benefits from his
residence there. While we have any foreign Ministers among us, I wish
to have them from all the great powers with whom we are much
connected. The _Corps Diplomatique_ at every Court is, or ought to be,
a system representing at least that part of the system of Europe, with
which that Court is most conversant.

In the same manner, or at least from similar reasons, as long as we
have any one Minister abroad at any European Court, I think we ought
to have one at every one to which we are most essentially related,
whether in commerce or policy, and therefore while we have any
Minister at Versailles, the Hague, or London, I think it clear we
ought to have one at each, though I confess I have sometimes thought,
that after a very few years, it will be the best thing we can do to
recall every Minister from Europe, and send embassies only on special

If, however, any members of Congress should have any delicacies, lest
an American Minister should not be received with a dignity becoming
his rank and character at London, they may send a commission to make
a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, to their Minister at Madrid,
or Versailles, or the Hague, or St Petersburg, and instruct him to
carry on the negotiation from the Court where he may be, until he
shall be invited to London, or a letter of credence may be sent to one
of these, with instructions to go to London, as soon as the King shall
appoint a Minister to go to Philadelphia.

After all, however, my opinion is, that none of these manoeuvres are
necessary, but that the best way will be to send a Minister directly
to St James', with a letter of credence to the King, as a Minister
Plenipotentiary, and a commission to treat of a treaty of commerce,
but with instructions not to come to any irrevocable conclusion, until
Congress and all the States have an opportunity to consider of the
project, and suggest their amendments.

There is one more argument in favor of sending a Minister forthwith;
it is this, while this mission lies open, it will be a source of
jealousy among present Ministers, and such as are or may be candidates
to be foreign Ministers, a source of intrigue and faction among their
partisans and adherents, and a source of animosity and division among
the people of the States. For this reason, it is a pity, that the
first choice had not been such as Congress could have continued to
approve, and the first measure such as Congress could have constantly
persevered in. If this had been the case, the door of faction would
have been kept shut. As this, however, was once my department, by the
voice of eleven States, in twelve present, and as I will be answerable
at any hazard, it will never be the department of any one by a greater
majority, there seems to be a propriety in my giving my advice
concerning it, on taking leave of it, if such is the will of
Congress, as I have before done in this letter, according to the best
of my judgment. And if it should not be thought too presumptuous, I
would beg leave to add, what is my idea of the qualifications
necessary for an American foreign Minister in general, and
particularly and above all to the Court of St James'.

In the first place, he should have had an education in classical
learning, and in the knowledge of general history, ancient and modern,
and particularly the history of France, England, Holland, and America.
He should be well versed in the principles of ethics, of the law of
nature and nations, of legislation and government, of the civil Roman
law, of the laws of England, and the United States, of the public law
of Europe, and in the letters, memoirs, and histories of those great
men, who have heretofore shone in the diplomatic order, and conducted
the affairs of nations, and the world. He should be of an age to
possess a maturity of judgment, arising from experience in business.
He should be active, attentive, and industrious, and above all, he
should possess an upright heart, and an independent spirit, and should
be one, who decidedly makes the interest of his country, not the
policy of any other nation, nor his own private ambition or interest,
or those of his family, friends, and connexions, the rule of his

We hear so much said about a genteel address, and a facility in
speaking the French language, that one would think a dancing master
and a French master the only tutors necessary to educate a statesman.
Be it remembered, the present revolution, neither in America nor
Europe, has been accomplished by elegant bows, nor by fluency in
French, nor will any great thing ever be effected by such
accomplishments alone. A man must have something in his head to say,
before he can speak to effect, how ready soever he may be at
utterance. And if the knowledge is in his head, and the virtue in his
heart, he will never fail to find a way of communicating his
sentiments to good purpose. He will always have excellent translators
ready, if he wants them, to turn his thoughts into any language he

As to what is called a fine address, it is seldom attended to after a
first or second conversation, and even in these, it is regarded no
more by men of sense of any country, than another thing, which I heard
disputed with great vivacity among the officers of the French frigate,
the Sensible. The question was, what were the several departments of
an Ambassador and a Secretary of Legation. After a long and shrewd
discussion, it was decided by a majority of votes, "that the
Secretary's part was to do the business, and that of an Ambassador to
keep a mistress." This decision produced a laugh among the company,
and no ideas of the kind will ever produce anything else, among men of

It is very true, that it is possible, that a case may happen, that a
man may serve his country by a bribe well placed, or an intrigue of
pleasure with a woman. But it is equally true, that a man's country
will be sold and betrayed a thousand times by this infamous commerce,
where it will be once served. It is very certain, that we shall never
be a match for European statesmen in such accomplishments for
negotiation, any more than, I must and will add, they will equal us in
any solid abilities, virtues, and application to business, if we
choose wisely among the excellent characters, with which our country

Among the Ministers, who have already crossed the Atlantic to Europe,
there have been none exceeding Mr Jay and Mr Dana, in all the
qualifications I have presumed to enumerate, and I must say, that if I
had the honor to give my vote in Congress, for a Minister at the Court
of Great Britain, provided that injustice must be finally done to him,
who was the first object of his country's choice, such have been the
activity, intelligence, address, and fortitude of Mr Jay, as well as
his sufferings in his voyage, journeys, and past services, that I
should think of no other object of my choice than that gentleman. If
Congress should neglect all their old Ministers, and send a fresh one
from America, they cannot be at a loss, for there are in that country
great numbers of men well qualified for the service. These are most
certainly better known by name to Congress than to me, and, therefore,
I shall venture no further, but conclude, by wishing this arduous
business well settled, and by assurances to Congress, and to you, Sir,
of my warmest attachment and respect.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, February 13th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

On my return, the night before last, from a journey to the State of
New York, I found your favors of the 6th, the 7th, the 17th, the 19th,
and the 23d of September. They contain important and useful
information; and that particularly of the 6th is replete with matter,
which deserves an attention, that I lament not having it in my power
to give it at this moment, as the express, by which this goes to
Baltimore, is on the wing.

I congratulate you most sincerely upon having surmounted all the
obstacles, that opposed themselves to the completion of our important
connexion with the United States [of Holland]. It has, I think, given
the last blow to the pride of Britain. Its power, so far as it could
endanger us, was past recovery before, except as it derived force from
its pride, which, like the last struggles of a dying man, gave an
appearance of vigor to the body, which it was about to destroy.

This covers a ratification of the treaty. The first copy sent by Mr
Jefferson has not been signed by me, owing to my absence. That
gentleman has not yet sailed from Baltimore, having been delayed by a
number of the enemy's cruisers, which infest the Bay.

We this day received the speech of his Britannic Majesty. It breathes
so much the language of peace, that I begin to think it will be
unnecessary to give Mr Jefferson the trouble of going over at all. The
delays he has met with leave you longer without intelligence from
hence, than I would ever wish you to be, though no important event has
taken place, except the evacuation of Charleston. Our distress for
want of money has rather increased, than diminished. This object will
demand your attention, full as much if the war should be terminated,
as if it should continue. The army, and the other public creditors,
begin to grow very uneasy, and our present exhausted situation will
not admit of internal loans, or such taxes as will suffice to give
them relief.

I have sent you three different sets of cyphers, not thinking it
advisable to send duplicates. Be pleased to let me know whether any
and which have arrived safe.

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, March 2d, 1783.


I am very much of your opinion, that all places in general, in foreign
countries, under the United States, should be filled with Americans,
but am sometimes requested to transmit to Congress applications and
recommendations in so pressing a manner, and by persons of
distinction, that it would be scarcely civil to refuse.

Such an instance is the following, and if Congress should depart from
the general rule, I suppose, that no person at Leghorn has so good

The application to me is this,--"Messrs Touissaint, Doutremont & Co.,
merchants of great credit at Leghorn, who obtained, fortyfive years
ago, letters of nobility from the Court of France, pray the gentlemen,
the deputies of the United States of America, to grant them the place
of Consul, or of Agent of their commerce at Leghorn."

At least, if Congress, or their Ministers, have occasion for a
correspondent in that city, they will not be at a loss.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                       Philadelphia, April 14th, 1783.


I received two days ago your favors of the 22d and 23d of January,
with the declarations for the cessation of hostilities, on which a
doubt of much importance to the people of this country is started, to
wit, to know at what period hostilities ceased on this coast, that is,
what is meant by "as far as the Canaries." If it means in the same
_latitude_, hostilities ceased here the 3d of March, and a great
number of vessels must be restored. If it does not mean a latitudinal
line, what does it mean, which carries any certainty with it? The
terms of the provisional treaty also occasion much debate. A variety
of questions have been started, but these I shall speak of in my
letter to you in conjunction with your colleagues, that you may, if
opportunity should offer before the Definitive Treaty is concluded,
find some means to rid them of their ambiguity.

It would give me pain to find, that the Dutch do not attain their
objects in the close of the war, and still more to impute their
misfortunes to any desertion of their interests by France, since I
confess freely to you, that her conduct, as far as I have observed it,
has appeared to me in the highest degree generous and disinterested.
The extreme langour of the Dutch, their divisions, and the less than
nothing that they have done for themselves, entitle them to little.
Without the uncommon exertions of France, they would not have had a
single settlement left, either in the East or West Indies. So that
they lay absolutely at her mercy, and, therefore, I was pleased to
find their instructions to their Ministers so expressed as to leave no
room to fear, that they would obstruct the peace, when they
contributed so little to the prosecution of the war. But I rather
pitied, than blamed their weakness; they were torn by factions, and
clogged by an executive, which strove to find reasons for having no

Congress, the day before yesterday, agreed to ratify the Provisional
Articles as such, and to release their prisoners, in which the British
took the lead. The tories have little reliance upon the effect of the
recommendations of Congress; great numbers of them have sailed, and
are daily sailing for Nova Scotia.

With respect to your salary, I must pray you to settle with Dr
Franklin the amount of bills drawn in your favor. You will, with those
that go by this conveyance, receive the amount of three quarters'
salary, at two thousand seven hundred and seventyseven dollars and
sixtyeight ninetieths per quarter, which were laid out in bills at six
shillings three pence, this money, for five livres, which was a very
advantageous exchange for you. This, however, Congress have directed,
by the enclosed resolution, to be altered, and your salaries to be
paid in bills at the rate of five livres, five sous per dollar. As
this resolution retrospects you will have, with the bills transmitted
to you, livres more than is due for three quarters' salary. This will
be deducted from the last quarter, for which I will get a warrant, and
leave it with the Treasury here for you or your order. By settling
this matter with Dr Franklin, and redrawing upon your banker in
Holland, you will leave my accounts unembarrassed, which is of
consequence to me, as I have determined to quit the place I now hold,
in the course of a few weeks, and enjoy in retirement the pleasures of
peace. I have charged no commissions on these money transactions, nor
do I propose to charge any.

Your account of contingent expenses is before a committee. Should
Congress agree to accept your resignation, (which I am sorry to see
you offer, since the connexions you have formed, and the experience
you have acquired, might render you particularly serviceable in
Holland) it will be best that you settle it with them yourself on your
arrival. The want of permanent funds, and the opposition which some
States have given to every attempt to establish them, the demands of
the public creditors, and particularly of the army, have excited much
uneasiness here. Satisfactory measures will, I hope, be adopted to
calm it, and do ample justice. The army, whose proceedings I transmit,
have done themselves honor by their conduct on this occasion. Too much
praise could not be given to the commander-in-chief, for the share he
had in the transaction, if he was not above all praise.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                              Paris, April 14th, 1783.


You may easily imagine our anxiety to hear from America, when you know
that we have no news to this hour, either of your reception of the
news of peace, or that of the treaty with Holland, four copies of
which I put on board different vessels at Amsterdam, in October.

We have been in equal uncertainty about the turn, which affairs might
take in England. But by letters from Mr Laurens we expect him every
day, and Mr David Hartley with him, in order to complete the
definitive treaty. It would have been more agreeable to have finished
with Mr Oswald. But the present Ministry are so dissatisfied with what
is past, as they say, though nobody believes them, that they choose to
change hands.

It will be proposed, I believe, to make a temporary arrangement of
commercial matters, as our powers are not competent to a durable one,
if to any. Congress will, no doubt, soon send a Minister with full
powers, as the treaty of commerce with Great Britain is of great
importance, and our affairs in that country require an overseer.

It is confidently asserted, in letters from Holland, that M. Markow,
the Minister Plenipotentiary from the Empress of Russia, has received
from his mistress a full power to come to Paris, to the assistance of
the Prince Bariatinski at a Congress for a general pacification. There
is, as yet, no answer received from the Emperor. If the two Imperial
Courts accept of the mediation, there will be a Congress; but I
suppose it will relate chiefly to the affairs of Holland, which are
not yet arranged, and to the liberty of neutral navigation, which is
their principal point. I wish success to that Republic in this
negotiation, which will help to compose their interior disorders,
which are alarming.

I know not whether it will be insisted or expected, that we should
join in the Congress, nor do I know what we have to do in it, unless
it be to settle that point as far as it relates to us. There is
nothing in difference between us and Great Britain, which we cannot
adjust ourselves, without any mediation.

A spring passage to America is so great an object, that I should be
very sorry to have the negotiations spun out to such a length as to
oblige me to lose it, and I take it for granted, I shall now receive
the acceptance of my resignation by the first ships.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                                Paris, May 21st, 1783.


I am just now honored with yours of the 19th of January, by the way of
London. We have not yet had the happiness to receive, as we should be
disposed to do with open arms, our excellent old friend Jefferson, and
begin to fear that the news of peace has determined him not to come.

I thank you, Sir, for your polite congratulations; when the tide
turned, it flowed with rapidity, and carried the vessel, as I hope,
into a safe harbor.

As to the loan in Holland, I have never troubled you, nor any one else
in America, with details of the vexations of various kinds, which I
met with in the negotiation of it; indeed, I never thought it prudent
or safe to do it. If I had told the whole truth, it could have done no
good, and it might have done infinite mischief. In general, it is now
sufficient to say, that private interest, party spirit, factions,
cabals, and slanderers, have obstructed, perplexed, and tortured our
loan in Holland, as well as all our other affairs, foreign and
domestic. But as there has been a greater variety of clashing
interests, English, French, Stadtholderian, Republican, and American,
mixing in the affair of our loan in Holland, it has been more puzzled
than anything else. If, in the bitterness of my soul, I had described
the fermentation, and mentioned names, and drawn characters, I might
have transmitted a curious tale, but it would have only served to
inflame old animosities, and excite new ones.

A great many things are said to me, on purpose that they may be
represented to you or to Congress. Some of these I believe to be
false, most of them I suspect, and some of them that are true would do
no good. I think it necessary, therefore, to employ a little
discretion in such cases.

Messrs Willinks & Co. will write you from time to time, as they tell
me they have done, the state of the loan. Mr Grand wants all the
money, but they wait your orders. The loan has been and will be damped
by transmitting the money to France, but your necessities were so
urgent, that you could not avoid it.

In my opinion, if you had a Minister at St James's, and he were
authorised to borrow money generally, in England or elsewhere, it
would serve you greatly, by causing an emulation even in Holland,
besides the money you would procure in London, which would not be a
trifling sum.

I wish I were in Congress, that I might assist you in persuading our
countrymen to pay taxes and build ships.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, May 24th, 1783.


I have the honor to enclose copies, to be laid before Congress, of
several papers. 1st. Mr Hartley's full powers of May 14th. 2dly. The
order of the King of Great Britain in Council, for regulating the
American trade, of May 14th. 3dly. Articles proposed by the American
Ministers to Mr Hartley, April 29th. 4thly. Mr Hartley's observations
left with us May 21st. And 5thly. Mr Hartley's proposition of the same

This proposition, however, upon inquiry, we find Mr Hartley does not
incline to subscribe to, before he sends it to his Court for their
orders. So that we have not yet given him our opinion of it. He has
sent a courier to London, before whose return we hope to have further
intelligence from Philadelphia.

The present British Ministry discover an indecision and timidity,
which indicate instability. Some persons from England imagine, that my
Lord Shelburne will come in again. The change would produce a longer
delay; but I think would be no disadvantage to America. If he had
continued in power, I think we should have finished, or been ready to
finish, before now with Mr Oswald. Mr Hartley's dispositions, however,
are very good, and if left to his own judgment, would be liberal and

The idea of reviving the trade, upon the plan of the laws of Great
Britain before the war, although those laws were calculated so much
for the advantage of that country and so little for the advantage of
ours, might be admissible for a few months, until Ministers could be
appointed on both sides to frame a treaty of commerce; provided no
advantage should be ceded by it, in the negotiation of such treaty,
and provided, that such a temporary convention for trade should
neither delay nor influence the definitive treaty. It is much to be
wished, that the definitive treaty of peace, and a permanent treaty of
commerce, could be signed at the same time. This, however, seems now
to be impossible; and, therefore, some temporary regulation of
commerce seems unavoidable. But we are as yet too uncertain of the
sentiments of the Court of St James, to be able to foresee, whether we
shall be able to agree with them. Mr Hartley has been here four weeks,
and nothing has been done, although he was very sanguine before he
left London, that he should send home a convention in less than half
of four days.

Congress will see by Mr Hartley's commission, that they are become the
"good friends" of the King of Great Britain. Mr Hartley on his first
arrival here communicated to us in form, an invitation from the
Ministers, with the knowledge and consent of the King, to all the
American Ministers to go to London, with the assurance, that we should
be there presented at Court, and treated in all respects like the
Ministers of any other sovereign State. He also communicated the
desire of his Court, that the two Powers should interchange Ministers
as soon as possible. I hope that the first ship will bring a Minister
for that Court, or a commission to some one to go there, because I
think it would have been useful to us to have had one there three
months ago, and that it would not be less useful now. The permanent
treaty of commerce, nevertheless, should not he hastily concluded, nor
before Congress shall have had an opportunity to judge of the project,
suggest their amendments, and transmit their orders.

No preliminaries are yet signed with the Dutch, and I am very anxious
for their lot.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[4] These papers will be found in the Correspondence of the
Commissioners for making peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, May 30th, 1783.


On the 28th of this month, the letter which you did me the honor to
write me on the 13th of February, which arrived at the Hague, I
received, enclosed with the ratification of the treaty with their High
Mightinesses, which will be exchanged by M. Dumas, as the conferences
here for the definitive treaty will not admit of my taking so long a
journey at this time.[5]

This arrival in season to exchange the ratifications before the
departure of M. Van Berckel, which is to be in about three weeks, is
fortunate. I hope that the first ships from America will bring my
letter of recall from that Republic, and another Minister, or credence
to some one now in Europe, to take my place.

I am happy to find that any letters of mine in September last
contained information that you think of consequence, although, not
having my letter book here, I am not able to recollect the subject.
The final completion of the negotiation with Holland gives me a
pleasure, which will not be equalled, but by that of the definitive
treaty of peace, which languishes at present for want of decisive
instructions from Mr Hartley, in such a manner, as gives cause to
suspect that the present Ministry are not firm in their seats.

The presence of a Minister in Holland would encourage your loan of
money there, but it would be quickened still more, by your sending a
Minister to London, with powers to borrow money there. Emulation is
the best spring; or call it rivalry, or jealousy, if you will, it will
get you money if you put it in motion.

I have received two cyphers from you, Sir, one beginning with No. 1,
and ending with No. 1011. The other beginning with Amsterdam, and
ending with Provinces.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[5] The particulars of the ratification will be seen in M. Dumas's

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, June 9th, 1783.


The enclosed, No. 121 of the _Politique Hollandais_ having translated
a few sentences of mine, and the author intending to insert more, as
he has already inserted a good deal of the same correspondence, I
think it proper to transmit you a short relation of it.

In 1780, at Paris, a number of pamphlets of Mr Galloway's were sent me
from England. I wrote to a friend an answer to them. He sent it to
London to be published. But whether the printers were afraid, or from
what other motive, I know not. I heard nothing of them until the
spring and summer of 1782, when some of them appeared in print, in
Parker's General Advertiser, under the title of "_Letters from a
distinguished American_," &c. but with false dates.

There are in those letters so many of the characteristic features of
the Provisional Treaty, of the 30th of November, 1782, that the
publication of them in England, at the time when they appeared, may be
supposed to have contributed, more or less, to propagate such
sentiments as the more private circulation of them before had
suggested to a few. And as they were written by one of your Ministers
at the conferences for peace, who repeated and extended the same
arguments to the British Ministers in the course of the negotiation,
it is proper that you should be informed of them. Whether I have in
any former letter mentioned this subject, or not, I do not recollect.
If I have, I pray you to excuse the repetition.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, June 16th, 1783.


Yesterday afternoon, the duplicate of your letter of the 14th of
April, No. 16, was brought in to me, with the post-mark "Brest" upon
it. As soon as I had read it, I went out to Passy, in hopes that other
despatches had arrived there, but I found none. While I was there, a
packet of newspapers addressed to us all was brought in, with the
post-mark of Brest on it. I still hope and believe, that other
despatches, by the same conveyance, will appear in a few days, but
whether they are still in the post office, or whether the Duc de
Lauzun intends to bring them in person, is uncertain.

I think, Sir, there is no room to doubt the justice of your opinion,
that the latitude of the Canaries is meant, and, consequently, that
hostilities ceased on the whole coast of the United States on the 3d
of March.

I am well aware, that a variety of questions may be started upon the
provisional articles. The great points of sovereignty, limits, and
fisheries, are sufficiently clear. But there are too many other things
in much obscurity. No one of us alone would ever have put his hand to
such a writing. Yet there is no one to blame. It must be confessed,
that it was done in haste, but that haste was inevitable. The peace
depended absolutely upon the critical moment, when that treaty was
signed. The meeting of Parliament was so near, and the state of the
Ministry so critical, that if that opportunity had been lost, there
would have been at least another campaign. There were never less than
three of us, and there were finally no less than three to be consulted
on the other side. These inaccuracies are much to be lamented, but
they were quite unavoidable. We shall endeavor to explain them in the
definitive treaty, but I fear without success.

I hope, Sir, you will excuse me, if I think your expressions fall
short of the real merit of the Dutch. If they had accepted the Russian
mediation for a separate peace, we should have seen a very formidable
difference. The vast weight of the Dutch in the East Indies, being
added to that of France, has influenced the minds of the natives in
such a manner, as to turn the scale against England. The Cape of Good
Hope was indispensable to France, and we are not yet informed what
proportion of the expense of French operations in the East Indies is
to be borne by the Dutch East India Company, at whose solicitations,
by their agents, sent early to Versailles, they were undertaken. From
twelve to fifteen British ships of the line, in the best condition,
with the best officers and men, have been kept almost constantly in
the North seas to watch the Dutch, a momentous diversion, which made
the balance more clear in favor of the allies in the East and West
Indies, as well as in the Channel; and it may be added, and that with
strict truth, the battle of Doggerbank imprinted more terror on the
imaginations of the British navy and nation, than all the other sea
engagements of the war.

Your observations of their unfortunate situation are, however, very
just, and their exertions have not been such as they might and ought
to have been. But this was the fault of the enemies of France in
Holland, not of their friends, and, unhappily, those enemies are to be
gratified by the terms of peace prescribed to that power, and those
friends mortified. And this misfortune probably arises from the
instructions in question, by which they made themselves of no
importance, instead of acting the part of a sovereign, independent,
and respectable power. If they had held their own negotiations in
their own hands, they would probably have obtained better terms. I
could mention many facts and anecdotes of much importance; but these
have been communicated to me in confidence, and as this is a
discussion that concerns us only indirectly, and as our instructions
were parallel to theirs, although the execution of them was different,
and the event different, I shall waive any further observations upon
the subject.

We are happy to learn, that Congress have ratified the treaty,
imperfect as it is, and that each side has released its prisoners. Mr
Hartley communicated to us officially, two days ago, that orders were
gone to New York to evacuate the United States.

Dr Franklin has never made any use of the bills for my salary, and I
have never received any part of them. I shall easily settle that
matter when I get home, which your letter encourages me to hope will
be very soon. The connexions I have formed in Holland may be of use to
the public, wherever I may be, in America, or elsewhere, as well as
even in that country itself. Those connexions will readily become
those of any Minister Congress may send there. It cost me all my
happiness, and had very nearly cost me my life, to form them; it cost
me more; it has left me in an ill state of health, which I never shall
fully repair. I shall carry Holland in my veins to my grave. It will
cost no man anything to go there now. His mind will be at ease, and he
will have spirits necessary to take care to preserve his health. To me
it has become physically necessary, as well as a moral and religious
duty, to join my family. This can be done only by going to them, or
bringing them to me; and to bring them to Holland is what I cannot
think of, both because, that on account of my own health, as well as
theirs, and on other considerations, I should not choose to live among
those putrid lakes, and because I think I can do my country more and
better service at home than there.

I will not disguise another motive, which would be altogether
insurmountable, if it were alone. I do not think it consistent with
the honor of the United States, any more than with my own, for me to
stay in Holland, after the appointment of any other Minister
whatsoever to the mission upon which I came to Europe, and which has
been taken from me without assigning any reason. Congress are the
sovereign judges for themselves and the public of the persons proper
for all services, excepting that every citizen is a sovereign judge
for himself. I have never adopted the principle, that it is a
citizen's duty to accept of any trust, that is pointed out to him,
unless he approves of it. On the contrary, I think it a right and a
duty, that no law of society can take away, for every man to judge
for himself, whether he can serve consistently with his own honor, and
the honor and interest of the public.

When the existence of our country and her essential interests were at
stake, it was a duty to run all risks, to stifle every feeling, to
sacrifice every interest, and this duty I have discharged with
patience and perseverance, and with a success, that can be attributed
only to Providence. But in time of peace, the public in less danger
abroad than at home, knowing I can do more good at home, I should do a
very wrong thing to remove my family to stay in Holland, merely for
the sake of holding an honorable commission, making and receiving
bows, and compliments, and eating splendid suppers at Court.

There is one piece of advice I beg leave to offer to the Minister who
may go to Holland, respecting a future loan of money. It is, to
inquire whether the house of Hope would undertake a loan for us,
either in conjunction with the houses who have the present one, or
with any of them, or alone. In my private opinion, which ought to be
kept as secret as possible, we might obtain a large loan in that way,
and that we cannot in any other. The people in that interest have the
money. I am not personally known to that House, nor any one of them to
me, but I know they are all powerful in money matters, and I believe
they would engage.

The happy turn given to the discontents of the army, by the General,
is consistent with his character, which, as you observe, is above all
praise, as every character is whose rule and object are duty, not
interest, nor glory, which I think has been strictly true with the
General from the beginning, and I trust will continue to the end. May
he long live, and enjoy his reflections, and the confidence and
affections of a free, grateful, and virtuous people.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, June 23d, 1783.


Your favor of the 14th of April, No. 16, acknowledged the receipt of
mine of the 21st and the 22d of January, but took no notice of any
letters, which went by Captain Barney. Neither Dr Franklin, Mr Jay,
nor myself have any answer to the despatches, which went by this
express; although yours to me, No. 16, gave cause to expect letters to
us all, with instructions concerning the Definitive Treaty. This
profound silence of Congress, and the total darkness in which we are
left, concerning their sentiments, is very distressing to us, and very
dangerous and injurious to the public.

I see no prospect of agreeing upon any regulation of commerce here.
The present Ministry are afraid of every knot of merchants. A clamor
of an interested party, more than an evil to their country, is their
dread. A few West India merchants, in opposition to the sense and
interest of the West India planters, are endeavoring to excite an
opposition to our carrying the produce of the West India Islands from
those islands to Europe, even to Great Britain. There are also secret
schemes to exclude us, if they can, from the trade of Ireland, to
possess themselves of the carrying trade of the United States, by
prohibiting any American vessel to bring to Great Britain any
commodity but those of the State to which it belongs. Thus, a
Philadelphia vessel can carry no tobacco, rice, or indigo, nor a
Carolina vessel wheat or flour, nor a Boston vessel either, unless
grown in its own State. In this way, a superficial party think they
can possess themselves of the carriage of almost all the productions
of the United States, annihilate our navigation and nurseries of
seamen, and keep all to themselves more effectually than ever. They
talk too of discouraging the people of the United States, and
encouraging those of Canada and Nova Scotia, in such a manner as to
increase the population of those two Provinces, even by migrations
from the United States. These are dreams, to be sure; but the dreamers
are so many, as to intimidate the present Ministry, who dare venture
upon nothing that will make a clamor. I have lately heard, that the
merchants in America are waiting to hear the regulations of trade made
here. They will wait, I know not how long. There is no present
prospect of our agreeing at all upon any regulations of trade.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, June 23d, 1783.


The British nation and Ministry are in a very unsettled state; they
find themselves in a new situation, and have not digested any plan.
Ireland is in a new situation; she is independent of Parliament, and
the English know not how to manage her. To what an extent she will
claim a right of trading with the United States, is unknown. Canada
too, and Nova Scotia, are in a new situation; the former, they say,
must have a new government. But what form to give them, and, indeed,
what kind of government they are capable of, or would be agreeable to
them, is uncertain. Nothing is digested.

There is a party, composed probably of refugees, friends of the old
hostile system, and fomented by emissaries of several foreign nations,
who do not wish a cordial reconciliation and sincere friendship
between Great Britain and the United States, who clamor for the
conservation of the navigation act, and the carrying trade. If these
should succeed so far as to excite Parliament or the Ministry to adopt
a contracted principle, to exclude us from the West India trade, and
from trading with Canada and Nova Scotia, and from carrying freely, in
vessels belonging to any one of the Thirteen States, the production of
any other to Great Britain, the consequences may be to perplex us for
a time, may bind us closer to France, Spain, Holland, Germany, Italy,
and the northern nations, and thus be fatal to Great Britain, without
being finally very hurtful to us.

The nations of Europe, who have islands in the West Indies, have, at
this moment, a delicate part to take. Upon their present decisions,
great things will depend. The commerce of the West India Islands, is a
part of the American system of commerce. They can neither do without
us, nor we without them. The Creator has placed us upon the globe in
such a situation, that we have occasion for each other. We have the
means of assisting each other, and politicians and artful contrivances
cannot separate us. Wise statesmen, like able artists of every kind,
study nature, and their works are perfect in proportion as they
conform to her laws. Obstinate attempts to prevent the islands and the
continent, by force or policy, from deriving from each other those
blessings, which nature has enabled them to afford, will only put
both to thinking of means of coming together. And an injudicious
regulation at this time may lay a foundation for intimate
combinations, between the islands and the continent, which otherwise
would not be wished for, or thought of by either.

If the French, Dutch, and Danes, have common sense, they will profit
of any blunder Great Britain may commit upon this occasion. The ideas
of the British cabinet and merchants, at present, are so confused upon
all these subjects, that we can get them to agree to nothing. I still
think, that the best policy of the United States is, to send a
Minister to London to negotiate a treaty of commerce, instructed to
conclude nothing, not the smallest article, until he has sent it to
Congress, and received their approbation. In the meantime, Congress
may admit any British or Irish ships, that have arrived, or may
arrive, to trade as they please.

For my own part, I confess I would not advise Congress to bind
themselves to anything, that is not reasonable and just. If we should
agree to revive the trade upon the old footing, it is the utmost that
can, with a color of justice or modesty, be requested of us. This is
not equal, but might be borne. Rather than go further, and deny
ourselves the freight from the West Indies to Europe, at least, to
Great Britain, especially rather than give away our own carrying
trade, by agreeing that the ships of one State should not carry to
Great Britain the produce of another, I would be for entering into
still closer connexions with France, Spain, and Holland, and purchase
of them, at the expense of Great Britain, what she has not wisdom
enough to allow us for her own good.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, June 24th, 1783.


The gazettes of Europe still continue to be employed, as the great
engines of fraud and imposture to the good people of America.
Stockjobbers are not the only people, who employ a set of scribblers
to invent and publish falsehoods for their own peculiar purposes.
British and French, as well as other politicians, entertain these
fabricators of paragraphs, who are stationed about in the various
cities of Europe, and take up each other's productions in such a
manner, that no sooner does a paragraph appear in a French, Dutch, or
English paper, but it is immediately seized on, and reprinted in all
the others; this is not all; in looking over the American newspapers,
I observe, that nothing is seized on with so much avidity by the
American _nouvellists_, for republication in their gazettes, as these
political lies. I cannot attribute this merely to the credulity of the
printers, who have generally more discernment than to be deceived. But
I verily believe, there are persons in every State employed to select
out these things, and get them reprinted.

Sometimes the invention is so simple, as really to deceive. Such, I
doubt not, will be that of a long paragraph in the English papers, all
importing that Mr Hartley had made a treaty of commerce with us, or
was upon the point of concluding one. Nothing is further from the
truth. We have not to this hour agreed upon one proposition, nor do I
see any probability that we shall at all, respecting commerce.

We have not, indeed, as yet, agreed upon a point respecting the
definitive treaty. We are waiting for those instructions of yours,
which you mentioned in yours of the 14th of April, which I have not
yet received.

Americans should be cautious of European newspapers, as well as of
their own; more so, indeed, because they have not so much knowledge,
and so good opportunities to detect the former as the latter. There is
a great number of persons in Europe, who insert things in the papers
in order to make impressions in America. Characters are in this way
built up and pulled down, without the least consideration of justice,
and merely to answer sinister purposes, sometimes extremely pernicious
to the United States.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, June 27th, 1783.


Yesterday Dr Franklin, Mr Jay, and myself, met to prepare the
definitive treaty, and made so much progress in it, that tomorrow we
shall be ready to communicate to Mr Hartley the result. But I have
small hopes of obtaining anything more by the definitive treaty.

The Duke of Manchester, and Count d'Aranda have arranged everything
between England and Spain, and are ready to finish for their two
Courts. France, I presume, waits only for Holland, or perhaps for some
other negotiation with the Imperial Courts. If all the other parties
were now to declare themselves ready, we should be puzzled. In such a
case, however, I am determined (and I believe, but do not know, that
my colleagues would join me) to declare myself ready to sign the
provisional treaty, _totidem verbis_, for a definitive treaty.

From all I can learn, I am persuaded we shall gain nothing by any
further negotiation. If we obtain anything by way of addition or
explanation, we shall be obliged to give more for it than it is worth.
If the British Minister refuses to agree to such changes as we may
think reasonable, and refuses to sign the provisional articles as
definitive ones, I take it for granted, France will not sign till we
do. If they should they are still safe, for the provisional articles
are to constitute the treaty as soon as France has made peace, and I
should rather have it on that footing, than make any material

I have put these several cases, because I should be supprised at
nothing from the present British Ministry. If they have any plan at
all, it is a much less gracious one towards America, than that of
their immediate predecessors. If Shelburne, Townshend, Pitt, &c. had
continued, we should have had everything settled long ago, to our
entire satisfaction, and to the infinite advantage of Great Britain
and America, in such a manner as would have restored good humor and
affection, as far as in the nature of things they can now be restored.

After the great point of acknowledging our independence was got over,
by issuing Mr Oswald's last commission, this Shelburne administration
conducted towards us like men of sense and honor. The present
administration have neither discovered understanding nor sincerity.
The present British administration is unpopular, and it is in itself
so heterogeneous a composition, that it seems impossible it should
last long. Their present design seems to be not to commit themselves
by agreeing to anything. As soon as anything is done, somebody will
clamor. While nothing is done, it is not known what to clamor about.
If there should be a change in favor of the Ministry that made the
peace, and a dissolution of this profligate league, which they call
the coalition, it would be much for the good of all who speak the
English language. If fame says true, the coalition was formed at
gambling tables, and is conducted as it was formed, upon no other than
gambling principles.

Such is the fate of a nation, which stands tottering on the brink of a
precipice, with a debt of two hundred and fiftysix millions sterling
on its shoulders; the interest of which, added to the peace
establishment only, exceeds by above a million annually all their
revenues, enormously and intolerably as they are already taxed. The
only chance they have for salvation is in a reform, and in recovering
the affection of America. The last Ministry were sensible of this, and
acted accordingly. The present Ministry are so far from being sensible
of it, or caring about it, that they seem to me to be throwing the
last dice for the destruction of their country.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, June 27th, 1783.


A few vessels have arrived in England from various parts of America,
and have probably made the Ministry, merchants, and manufacturers less
anxious about a present arrangement of commerce. Whether these vessels
have rashly hazarded these voyages against the laws of their country,
or whether they have permission from Congress, or their States, we are
not informed.

It would have been better, no doubt, to have had an agreement made
before the trade was opened, but the eagerness of both sides may not
easily be restrained. Whether it is practicable for Congress to stop
the trade, I know not, or whether it would be expedient if
practicable, I doubt.

The balance of parties in England is so nicely poised, that the
smallest weight shifts the scales. In truth nothing can be done
without changing the Ministry, for whatever is done raises a cry
sufficient to shake those who do it. In this situation, it is a
question whether it is best to keep things in suspense, or bring them
to a decision. If Congress were to prohibit all trade with England,
until a Treaty of Commerce were made, or some temporary convention at
least, it might bring on a decision, by exciting a cry against the
Ministry for not making a convention. But the moment a convention is
made, a cry will be raised against them for making it. The present
Ministry, to judge by their motions hitherto, will hazard the clamor
for not making one, rather than that for making one. They think it
least dangerous to them, especially since they have seen so many
American vessels arrive in England, and have heard, that British ships
are admitted to an entry in the ports of America, particularly

The most difficult thing to adjust in a Treaty of Commerce, will be
the communications we shall have with the West India Islands. This is
of great importance to us, and to the islands, and I think to Great
Britain too. Yet there is a formidable party for excluding us at least
from carrying the produce of those islands to Great Britain.

Much will depend upon the Minister you first send to London. An
American Minister would be a formidable person to any British Minister
whatever. He would converse with all parties, and if he is a prudent,
cautious man, he would at this moment have more influence there than
you can imagine.

We are chained here on the only spot in the world, where we can be of
no use. If my colleagues were of my mind, we would all go together to
London, where we could negotiate the Definitive Treaty, and talk of
arrangements of commerce to some purpose. However, one Minister in
London, with proper instructions, would do better than four. He would
have the artifices of French emissaries to counteract, as well as
English partizans; for you may depend upon it, the French see with
pleasure the improbability of our coming soon and cordially together,
as they saw with manifest regret, the appearances of cordial
reconciliation under the former administration. These sentiments are
not unnatural, but we are under no obligation, from mere complaisance,
to sacrifice interests of such deep and lasting consequence. For it is
not merely mercantile profit and convenience, that is at stake; future
wars, long and bloody wars, may be either avoided or entailed upon our
posterity, as we conduct wisely or otherwise the present negotiation
with Great Britain.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                 Paris, July 3d, 1783.


On the last Ambassador's day, which was last Tuesday, Dr Franklin, Mr
Jay, and myself waited on the Count de Vergennes, who told us, he
thought he had agreed with the Duke of Manchester, but that his Grace
had not yet received the positive approbation of his Court. The Count
advised us to make a visit altogether to the Ambassadors of the two
Imperial Courts. Accordingly, yesterday morning we went, first to the
Count de Mercy Argenteau, the Ambassador of the Emperor of Germany,
and King of Hungary and Bohemia. His Excellency was not at home, so we
left our card.

We went next to the Prince Bariatinski, Minister Plenipotentiary from
the Court of Russia; our servant asked if the Prince was at home, and
received for answer, that he was. We were shown into the Prince's
apartment, who received us very politely. While we were here, Mr
Markoff came in. He also is a Minister Plenipotentiary, adjoined to
the Prince in the affair of the mediation. I told him we proposed to
do ourselves the honor of calling on him. He answered, "As you are an
old acquaintance I shall be very happy to see you." Whether this was a
turn of politeness, or whether it was a political distinction, I know
not. We shall soon know, by his returning, or not returning, our
visit. The Prince asked where I lodged, and I told him. This indicates
an intention to return the visit.

We went next to the Dutch Ambassador's, M. de Berkenrode. He was not
at home, or not visible. Next to the Baron de Blome, Envoy
Extraordinary of the King of Denmark; not at home. Next to M.
Markoff's. The porter answered, that he was at home. We alighted, and
were going to his apartment, when we were told he was not come in. We
left a card, and went to the other Dutch Ambassador's, M. Brantzen,
who was not at home; _en passant_, we left a card at the Swedish
Minister's, and returned home, the heat being too excessive to pursue
our visits any further.

Thus, we have made visits to all the Ministers, who are to be present
at the signature of the definitive treaty. Whether the Ministers of
the Imperial Courts will be present, I know not. There are many
appearances of a coldness between France and Russia, and the Emperor
seems to waver between two opinions, whether to join in the war that
threatens, or not. Perhaps the Ministers of the Imperial Courts will
write for instructions whether to return or not our visit.

After I had begun this letter, Captain Barney came in, and delivered
me your duplicate of No. 12, November the 6th, 1782; duplicate of No.
14, December the 19th, 1782, and triplicate of No. 16, April the 14th,
1783, and the original of your letter of the 18th of April, 1783, not
numbered. The last contained my account. But as I have never received
any of this money from Dr Franklin, or M. Gerard, but have my salary
from Messrs Willinks & Co. at Amsterdam, I am extremely sorry you have
had so much trouble with this affair.

Although in your later letters you say nothing of my resignation, or
the acceptance of it, I expect to receive it soon, and then I shall
have an opportunity to settle the affair of my salary at

After reading your letters to me, I went out to Passy to see those
addressed to us all. Dr Franklin, Mr Jay, and myself, (Mr Laurens
being still in England) read them all over together. We shall do all
in our power to procure the advantages in the definitive treaty, you
mention. The state of parties is such in England, that it is
impossible to foresee when there will be a Ministry, who will dare to
take any step at all. The coalition between Lord North and his
connexions, and Mr Fox and his, is a rope of sand. Mr Fox, by pushing
the vote in the House of Commons disapproving the peace, and by
joining so many of the old Ministers in the new administration, has
justly excited so many jealousies of his sincerity, that no confidence
can be placed in him by us. I am extremely sorry, that the most
amiable men in the nation, Portland, and the Cavendishes, should have
involved themselves in the same reproach.

In short, at present, Shelburne, Pitt, Townshend, and the
administration of which they were members, seem to have been the only
ones, who, for a moment, had just notions of their country and ours.
Whether these men, if now called to power, would pursue their former
ideas, I know not. The Bible teaches us not to put our trust in
Princes, and _à fortiori_ in Ministers of State.

The West India commerce now gives us most anxiety. If the former
British Ministry had stood, we might have secured it from England,
and, in that case, France would have been obliged to admit us to their
islands, _se defendendo_. The first maxim of a statesman, as well as
that of a statuary, or a painter, should be to study nature; to cast
his eyes round about his country, and see what advantages nature has
given it. This was well attended to, in the boundary between the
United States and Canada, and in the fisheries. The commerce of the
West India Islands, falls necessarily into the natural system of the
commerce of the United States. We are necessary to them and they to
us; and there will be a commerce between us. If the government forbid
it, it will be carried on clandestinely; France can more easily
connive at a contraband trade than England. But we ought to wish to
avoid the temptation to this. I believe, that neither France nor
England will allow us to transport the productions of their Islands to
other parts of Europe.

The utmost we may hope to obtain would be permission to import the
productions of the French Islands into France, giving bond to land
them in some port of that kingdom, and the productions of the English
Islands into some port of Great Britain, giving bonds to land them
there. It must, however, be the care of the Minister, who may have to
negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, to obtain as ample
freedom in this trade as possible.

While I was writing the above, my servant announced the Imperial
Ambassador, whom I rose to receive. He said, that he was happy that
the circumstances of the times afforded him an opportunity of forming
an acquaintance with me, which he hoped would be improved into a more
intimate one. I said, his Excellency did me great honor, and begged
him to sit, which he did, and fell into a conversation of an hour. We
ran over a variety of subjects, particularly the commerce which might
take place between the United States and Germany, by the way of
Trieste and Fiume, and the Austrian Netherlands, and the great
disposition in Germany to migration to America. He says he knows the
country round about Trieste very well, having an estate there; that
it is a very extensive and a very rich country, which communicates
with that maritime city, and that the navigation of the Adriatic sea,
though long, is not dangerous. I asked him what we should do with the
Barbary powers. He said, he thought all the powers of the world ought
to unite in the suppression of such a detestable race of pirates, and
that the Emperor had lately made an insinuation to the Porte upon the
subject. I asked him if he thought France and England would agree to
such a project, observing that I had heard that some Englishmen had
said, "if there were no Algiers, England ought to build one." He said,
he could not answer for England.

It is unnecessary to repeat any more of the conversation, which turned
upon the frugal and industrious character of the Germans, the best
cultivators in Europe, and the dishonorable traffic of some of the
German Princes in men, a subject he introduced and enlarged on
himself. I said nothing about it. Rising up to take leave, he repeated
several compliments he had made when he first came in, and added, "The
Count de Vergennes will do me the honor to dine with me one of these
days, and I hope to have that of your company. We will then speak of
an affair upon which the Count de Vergennes and you have already

This shows there is something in agitation, but what it is I cannot
conjecture; whether it is to induce us to make the compliment to the
two Imperial Courts to sign the definitive treaty as mediators,
whether there is any project of an association for the liberty of
navigation, or whether it is any other thing, I cannot guess at
present, but I will write you as soon as I know. Whatever it is, we
must treat it with respect, but we shall be very careful how we
engage our country in measures of consequence without being clear of
our powers, and without the instructions of Congress.

I went out to Passy, and found from Mr Jay, that he had made his visit
there, in the course of the day, but had said nothing to Dr Franklin
or him about the dinner with the Count de Vergennes. In the course of
the day, I had visits from the Prince Bariatinski and M. de Markoff,
the two Ministers of the Empress of Russia. The porter told these
gentlemen's servants, that I was at home, but they did not come up,
but only sent up their cards.

While I was gone to Passy, Monsieur de Blome, Envoy Extraordinary from
the King of Denmark, called and left his card. Thus the point of
etiquette seems to be settled, and we are to be treated in character
by all the Powers of Europe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                                Paris, July 5th, 1783.


Your favors of the 12th and 29th of May were delivered to me on the 3d
of this month by Captain Barney. Every assistance, in my power, shall
be given to Mr Barclay. Mr Grand will write you the amount of all the
bills which have been paid in Holland, which were accepted by me. You
may banish your fears of a double payment of any one bill. I never
accepted a bill without taking down in writing a very particular
description of it, nor without examining the book, to see whether it
had been accepted before. I sent regularly, in the time of it, copies
of these acceptances to Dr Franklin, and I have now asked him to lend
them to me, that I may copy them and send them to you. The Doctor has
promised to look up my letters, and let me have them. The originals
are at the Hague, with multitudes of other papers, which I want every

Among the many disagreeable circumstances attending my duty in Europe,
it is not the least, that instead of being fixed to any one station, I
have been perpetually danced about from "post to pillar," unable to
have my books and papers with me, unable to have about me the
conveniences of a house-keeper for health, pleasure, or business, but
yet subjected in many articles to double expenses.

Mr Livingston has not informed me of any determination of Congress
upon my letter to you of the 17th of November, which distresses me
much on Mr Thaxter's account, who certainly merits more than he has
received, or can receive, without the favor of Congress.

I thank you, Sir, most affectionately for your kind congratulation on
the peace. Our late enemies always clamor against a peace, but this
one is better for them than they had reason to expect after so mad a
war. Our countrymen too, I suppose, are not quite satisfied. This
thing and that thing should have been otherwise, no doubt. If any man
blames us I wish him no other punishment than to have, if that were
possible, just such another peace to negotiate, exactly in our
situation. I cannot look back upon this event without the most
affecting sentiments, when I consider the number of nations concerned,
the complications of interests, extending all over the globe, the
characters of actors, the difficulties which attended every step of
the progress, how everything labored in England, France, Spain, and
Holland, that the armament at Cadiz was upon the point of sailing,
which would have rendered another campaign inevitable, that another
campaign would have probably involved France in a continental war, as
the Emperor would in that case have joined Russia against the Porte;
that the British Ministry was then in so critical a situation, that
its duration for a week or a day depended upon its making peace; that
if that Ministry had been changed, it could have been succeeded only
either by North and Company, or by the coalition; that it is certain,
that neither North and Company, nor the coalition, would have made
peace upon any terms, that either we or the other Powers would have
agreed to; and that all these difficulties were dissipated by one
decided step of the British and American Ministers. I feel too
strongly a gratitude to Heaven for having been conducted safely
through the storm, to be very solicitous whether we have the
approbation of mortals or not.

A delay of one day might, and probably would, have changed the
Ministry in England, in which case all would have been lost. If, after
we had agreed with Mr Oswald, we had gone to Versailles to show the
result to the Count de Vergennes, you would have been this moment at
war, and God knows how or when you would have got out. What would have
been the course? The Count de Vergennes would have sprinkled us with
compliments, the holy water of a Court. He would have told us; "you
have done, gentlemen, very well for your country. You have gained a
great deal. I congratulate you upon it, but you must not sign till we
are ready; we must sign altogether here in this room." What would have
been our situation? We must have signed against this advice, as Mr
Laurens says he would have done, and as I believe Mr Jay and I should
have done, which would have been the most marked affront, that could
have been offered, or we must have waited for France and Spain, which
would have changed the Ministry in England, and lost the whole peace,
as certainly as there is a world in being. When a few frail vessels
are navigating among innumerable mountains of ice, driven by various
winds, and drawn by various currents, and a narrow crevice appears to
one, by which all may escape, if that one improves the moment and sets
the example, it will not do to stand upon ceremonies, and ask, which
shall go first, or that all may go together.

I hope you will excuse this little excursion, and believe me to be,
with great respect and esteem, your most obedient and most humble

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, July 7th, 1783.


We cannot as yet obtain from Mr Hartley, or his principals, an
explicit consent to any one proposition whatever. Yet England and
France, and England and Spain are probably agreed, and Holland, I
suppose, must comply. Our last resource must be to say, we are ready
to sign the Provisional Treaty, _totidem verbis_, as the Definitive

I think it is plain, that the British Ministry do not intend to sign
any treaty till Parliament rises. There are such dissensions in the
Cabinet, that they apprehend a treaty laid before Parliament, if it
did not obtain advantages, of which they have no hope, would furnish
materials to overthrow them. A new administration is talked of, under
Lord Temple. The West India commerce is now the object, that interests
us the most nearly. At dinner with the Duc de la Vauguyon, on Saturday
last, he told me, that he believed the commerce between the French
West India Islands and the United States, would be confined to ships
built in France, and navigated by French seamen.

"So then, M. le Duc," said I, laughing, "you have adopted the ideas of
the British navigation act. But suppose the United States should adopt
them too, and make a law, that no commerce should be carried on with
any West India Islands, French, English, Spanish, Dutch, or Danish,
but in ships built in America, and navigated with American seamen? We
can import sugar from Europe. But give me leave to tell you, that this
trade can never be carried on without a great number of seamen, which
the French vessels being all large require, and your navigators are
too slow. The trade itself was only profitable to us as a system, and
little vessels, with a few hands, run away at any season of the year,
from any creek or river, with a multitude of little articles,
collected in haste. Your merchants and mariners have neither the
patience to content themselves with much and long labor, and dangerous
voyages for small profits, nor have they the economy, nor can they
navigate vessels with so few hands." "Aye, but we think," said the
Duke, "if we do not try, we shall never learn to do these things as
well and as cheap as you." The Duke told me, some days before, that he
had had a great deal of conversation with the Count de Vergennes, and
he found he had a great many good ideas of commerce. The Count
himself told me a few weeks ago, "in our regulations of the commerce
between our Islands and you, we must have regard to our shipping, and
our nurseries of seamen for our marine; for," said he, smiling
politely enough, "without a marine, we cannot go to your succor."

In short, France begins to grow, for a moment, avaricious of
navigation and seamen. But it is certain, that neither the form of
government, nor the national character, can possibly admit of great
success in it. Navigation is so dangerous a business, and requires so
much patience, and produces so little profit among nations who
understand it best, and have the best advantages for it, where
property is most secure, lawsuits soonest and cheapest ended, (and by
fixed certain laws,) that the French can never interfere much with the
Dutch, or Americans, in ship building or carrying trade. If any French
merchants ever begin to carry on this commerce, between America and
the Islands, they will break to pieces very soon, and then some new
plan must be adopted. The English, for aught I know, will make a
similar law, that the communications between us and their Islands
shall be carried on in British built ships, or ships built in Canada
or Nova Scotia, and navigated by British seamen. In this case, we must
try what we can do with the Dutch and Danes. But the French and
English will endeavor to persuade them to the same policy, for the Duc
de la Vauguyon told me, that he thought it a common tie (_lien
commun_.) In this they will not succeed, and we must make the most we
can of the Dutch friendship, for luckily, the merchants and Regency of
Amsterdam had too much wit to exclude us from their Islands by the
treaty. Happily, Congress will have a Dutch Minister, with whom they
may consult upon this matter, as well as any others, but I should
think it would not be convenient to invite an English or French
Minister to be present at the consultation.

I am at a loss, Sir, to guess what propositions made to us Congress
have been informed of, which they had not learned from us. None have
been made to us. The Dutch Ambassadors did once propose a meeting to
us, and had it at my house. Dr Franklin came, but Mr Jay did not, and
Mr Laurens was absent. The Ambassadors desired to know, whether we had
power to enter into any engagements, provided France, Spain, and
Holland, should agree to any, in support of the armed neutrality. We
showed them the resolution of Congress, of the 5th of October, 1780,
and told them, that Mr Dana had been since vested with a particular
commission to the same effect. We never heard anything further about

Not seeing, at the time, any probability that anything would come of
this, nor intending to do anything of any consequence in it, if we
should hear further of it, without the further orders of Congress, we
did not think it necessary to write anything about it, at least, till
it should put on a more serious appearance. If the Count de Mercy's
dinner, to which we are to be invited, with the Count de Vergennes,
should produce any insinuations on this subject, (which I do not,
however, expect) we shall inform you, and request the orders of

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                                Paris, July 9th, 1783.


Since the dangerous fever I had in Amsterdam, two years ago, I have
never enjoyed my health. Through the whole of the last winter and
spring, I have suffered under weaknesses and pains, which have
scarcely permitted me to do business. The excessive heats of the last
week or two have brought on me a fever again, which exhausts me in
such a manner, as to be very discouraging, and incapacitates one for
everything. In short, nothing but a return to America will ever
restore my health, if even that should do it.

In these circumstances, however, we have negotiations to go through,
and your despatches to answer. The liberal sentiments in England
respecting the trade are all lost for the present, and we can get no
answer to anything. It is the same thing with the Dutch. One of the
Dutch Ambassadors told me yesterday at Versailles, that now, for five
weeks, the English had never said one word to them, nor given them any
answer. These things indicate, that the Ministry do not think
themselves permanent.

The Count de Vergennes asked Dr Franklin and me, yesterday, if we had
made our visits. We answered, that we had, and that they had been
promptly returned. "The thing in agitation," says the Count, "is for
you to determine whether your definitive treaty shall be signed under
the mediation of the two Imperial Courts, or not. Ours and the Spanish
treaty with England are to be so finished, and if you determine in
favor of it, you have only to write a letter to the Ministers of the
Imperial Courts, who are here." I told him, in the present case, I
did not know what a mediation meant. He smiled, but did not seem to
know any better than I; at least, he did not explain it. We told him
we would determine upon it soon.

How we shall determine, I cannot say. For my own part, I see no harm
in accepting the mediation, nor any other good, than a compliment to
the two empires. In Europe it may be thought an honor to us, and,
therefore, I shall give my voice, as at present informed, in favor of
it, as it seems rather to be the inclination of the Count de Vergennes
that we should.

Your late despatches, Sir, are not well adapted to give spirits to a
melancholy man, or to cure one sick with a fever. It is not possible
for me, at present, to enter into a long detail in answer to them. You
will be answered, I suppose, by all the gentlemen jointly. In the
meantime, I beg leave to say to you a few words upon two points.

1st. The separate article never appeared to me of any consequence to
conceal from this Court. It was an agreement we had a right to make;
it contained no injury to France or Spain. Indeed, I know not what
France has, or ever had, to do with it. If it had been communicated to
this Court, it would probably have been communicated to Spain, and she
might have thought more about it than it was worth. But how you could
conceive it possible for us to treat at all with the English, upon
supposition, that we had communicated every, the minutest thing, to
this Court, when this Court were neither obliged, nor thought proper,
to communicate anything whatever to us, I know not. We were bound by
treaty no more than they to communicate. The instructions were found
to be absolutely impracticable. That they were too suddenly
published, is very true.

2dly. A communication of the treaty to this Court, after it was agreed
upon, and before it was signed, would have infallibly prevented the
whole peace. In the first place, it was very doubtful, or rather, on
the contrary, it is certain, the English Minister never would have
consented that we should have communicated it. We might, it is true,
have done it without his consent or knowledge; but what would have
been the consequence? The French Minister would have said, the terms
were very good for us, but we must not sign till they signed; and this
would have been the continuance of the war for another year, at least.
It was not so much from an apprehension, that the French would have
exerted themselves to get away from us terms that were agreed on, that
they were withheld. It was then too late, and we have reasons to
apprehend, that all of this kind had been done, which could be done.
We knew they were often insinuating to the British Ministers things
against us, respecting the fisheries, tories, &c. during the
negotiation, and Mr Fitzherbert told me, that the Count de Vergennes
had "fifty times reproached him for ceding the fisheries, and said it
was ruining the English and French commerce both." It was not
suspicion, it was certain knowledge, that they were against us on the
points of the tories, fisheries, Mississippi, and the western country.

All this knowledge, however, did not influence us to conceal the
treaty. We did not, in fact, conceal it. Dr Franklin communicated the
substance of it to the Count and M. de Rayneval. So did I. In a long
conversation with the Count and M. de Rayneval together, I told them
the substance of what was agreed upon, and what we further insisted
on, and the English then disputed. But the signing before them is the
point. This we could not have done, if we had shown the treaty, and
told them we were ready. The Count would certainly have said to us,
you must not sign till we sign. To have signed after this would have
been more disagreeable to him, and to us too. Yet we must have signed
or lost the peace. The peace depended on a day.

Parliament had been waiting long, and once prorogued. The Minister was
so pressed, he could not have met Parliament and kept his place,
without an agreement upon terms, at least, with America. If we had not
signed, the Ministry would have been changed, and the coalition come
in, and the whole world knows the coalition would not have made peace
upon the present terms, and, consequently, not at all this year. The
iron was struck in the few critical moments when it was of a proper
heat, and has been moulded into a handsome vessel. If it had been
suffered to cool, it would have flown in pieces like glass. Our
countrymen have great reason to rejoice, that they have obtained so
good a peace, when, and as they did. With the present threatening
appearances of a northern war, which will draw in France, if our peace
was still to be made we might find cause to tremble for many great
advantages, that are now secured. I believe the Count himself, if he
were now to speak his real sentiments, would say, he is very glad we
signed when we did, and that without asking his consent.

The Duc de la Vauguyon told me and M. Brantzen together, last
Saturday, "if you had not signed when you did, we should not have
signed when we did." If they had not signed when they did, d'Estaing
would have sailed from Cadiz, and in that case nobody would have
signed to this day. It is not possible for men to be in more
disagreeable circumstances than we were. We are none of us men of
principles or dispositions to take pleasure in going against your
sentiments, Sir, much less those of Congress. But in this case, if we
had not done it, our country would have lost advantages beyond

On Monday, Sir, we pursued our visits, and today we finish. Yesterday
at Court all the foreign Ministers behaved to us without reserve, as
members of the _Corps Diplomatique_, so that we shall no longer see
those lowering countenances, solemn looks, distant bows, and other
peculiarities, which have been sometimes diverting, and sometimes
provoking, for so many years.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 10th, 1783.


In the present violent heat of the weather, and feverish state of my
health, I cannot pretend to sit long at my pen, and must pray you to
accept of a few short hints only.

To talk in a general style of confidence in the French Court, &c. is
to use a general language, which may mean almost anything, or almost
nothing. To a certain degree, and as far as the treaties and
engagements extend, I have as much confidence in the French Court as
Congress has, or even as you, Sir, appear to have. But if, by
confidence in the French Court is meant an opinion, that the French
Office of Foreign Affairs would be advocates with the English for our
rights to the fisheries, or to the Mississippi river, or our Western
Territory, or advocates to persuade the British Ministers to give up
the cause of the refugees, and make Parliamentary provision for them,
I own I have no such confidence, and never had. Seeing and hearing
what I have seen and heard, I must have been an idiot to have
entertained such confidence, I should be more of a Machiavelian, or a
Jesuit, than I ever was, or will be, to counterfeit it to you, or to

M. Marbois' letter is to me full proof of the principles of the Count
de Vergennes. Why? Because I know, (for it was personally communicated
to me upon my passage home, by M. Marbois himself,) the intimacy and
confidence there is between these two. And I know further, that letter
contains sentiments concerning the fisheries, diametrically opposite
to those, which Marbois repeatedly expressed to me upon the passage,
viz. "That the Newfoundland fishery was our right, and we ought to
maintain it." From whence I conclude, M. Marbois' sentiments have been
changed by the instructions of the Minister. To what purpose is it
where this letter came from? Is it less genuine, whether it came from
Philadelphia, Versailles, or London? What if it came through English
hands? Is there less weight, less evidence in it for that? Are the
sentiments more just, or more friendly to us for that?

M. de Rayneval's correspondence too with Mr Jay. M. de Rayneval is a
_Chef de Bureau_. But we must be very ignorant of all Courts not to
know that an Under Secretary of State dares not carry on such a
correspondence without the knowledge, consent, and orders of the

There is another point now in agitation, in which the French will
never give us one good word. On the contrary, they will say everything
they can think of to persuade the English to deprive us of the trade
of their West India Islands. They have already, with their emissaries,
been the chief cause of the change of sentiment in London on this head
against us. In general they see with pain every appearance of
returning real and cordial friendship, such as may be permanent
between us and Great Britain. On the contrary, they see with pleasure
every seed of contention between us. The tories are an excellent
engine of mischief between us, and are, therefore, very precious.

Exclusion from the West India Islands will be another. I hold it to be
the indispensable duty of my station, not to conceal from Congress
these truths. Do not let us be dupes, under the idea of being
grateful. Innumerable anecdotes happen daily to show, that these
sentiments are general. In conversation, a few weeks ago, with the Duc
de la Vauguyon, upon the subject of the West India trade, I endeavored
to convince him, that France and England both ought to admit us freely
to their islands. He entered into a long argument to prove, that both
ought to exclude us. At last, I said, the English were a parcel of
sots to exclude us, for the consequence would be, that in fifteen or
twenty years we should have another war with them. _Tant mieux! tant
mieux! je vous en felicite_," cried the Duke, with great pleasure.
"_Tant mieux pour nous_," said I, because we shall conquer from the
English in that case all their islands, the inhabitants of which would
now declare for us, if they dared. But it will not be the better for
the English. They will be the dupes, if they lay a foundation for it.
"Yes," said the Duke, "I believe you will have another war with the
English." And in this wish he expressed the vows of every Frenchman
upon the face of the earth. If, therefore, we have it in contemplation
to avoid a future war with the English, do not let us have too much
confidence in the French, that they will favor us in this view.[6]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[6] See a letter from Dr Franklin, containing remarks on Mr Adams's
opinions of the policy and designs of the French Court, dated July the
22d, 1783. _Franklin's Correspondence_, Vol. IV. p. 138. Also a letter
from Mr Laurens, Vol. II. p. 486.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                               Paris, July 10th, 1783.


Upon the receipt of the despatches by Barney, I sent off your letters
for Messrs Willinks & Co. and I received last night an answer to the
letter I wrote them upon the occasion. They have engaged to remit Mr
Grand a million and a half of livres in a month, which has relieved Mr
Grand from his anxiety.

This Court has refused to Dr Franklin any more money. They are
apprehensive of being obliged to take a part in the northern war, and
their own financiers have not enough of the confidence of the public
to obtain money for their own purposes.

Your design of sending cargoes of tobacco and other things to
Amsterdam, to Messrs Willinks & Co. is the best possible to support
our credit there. The more you send, the more money will be obtained.
Send a Minister too; residing there, he may promote it much. It is a
misfortune, that I have not been able to be there, but this post
cannot be deserted. Instruct your Minister to inquire whether the
House of Hope could be persuaded to engage with Willinks in a new
loan. This should be done with secrecy and discretion. If that House
would undertake it, you would find money enough for your purpose, for
I rely upon it, the States will adopt a plan immediately for the
effectual payment of interest. This is indispensable. The foundation
of a happy government can only be laid in justice; and as soon as the
public shall see, that provision is made for this, you will no longer
want money.

It is a maxim among merchants and monied men, that "every man has
credit who does not want it." It is equally true of States. We shall
want it but little longer, if the States make provision for the
payment of interest, and therefore we shall have enough of it. There
is not a country in the world whose credit ought to be so good,
because there is none equally able to pay.

Enclosed is a pamphlet of Dr Price's, for your comfort. You will see
by it, that the only nation we have reason to fear wants credit so
much, that she is not likely to have it always, and this is our
security. By some hints from Mr Hartley, he will probably return to
London, and not be here again. The present Ministry is so undecided
and feeble, that it is at least doubtful whether they will make the
definitive treaty of peace.

With great respect, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                               Paris, July 11th, 1783.


In my letter to you of yesterday, I hinted in confidence, at an
application to the house of Hope. This is a very delicate measure. I
was induced to think of it merely by a conversation which M. Van
Berckel, (who will soon be with you, as he sailed the 26th of June
from the Texel,) had with M. Dumas. It would be better to be steady to
the three Houses already employed, if that is possible. You will now
be able to converse freely with that Minister upon the subject. I
should not advise you to take any decisive resolution at Philadelphia,
but leave it to your Minister to act as shall appear to him best upon
the spot. The Houses now employed are well esteemed, and I hope will
do very well. But no House in the Republic has the force of that of

All depends, however, upon the measures to be taken by Congress and
the States for ascertaining their debts, and a regular discharge of
the interest. The ability of the people to make such an establishment
cannot be doubted; and the inclination of no man who has a proper
sense of public honor can be called in question. The Thirteen States,
in relation to the discharge of the debts of Congress, must consider
themselves as one body animated by one soul. The stability of our
confederation at home, our reputation abroad, our power of defence,
the confidence and affection of the people of one State towards those
of another, all depend upon it. Without a sacred regard to public
justice no society can exist; it is the only tie which can unite men's
minds and hearts in pursuit of the common interest.

The commerce of the world is now open to us, and our exports and
imports are of so large amount, and our connexions will be so large
and extensive, that the least stain upon our character in this respect
will lose us in a very short time advantages of greater pecuniary
value than all our debt amounts to. The moral character of our people
is of infinitely greater worth than all the sums in question. Every
hesitation, every uncertainty about paying or receiving a just debt,
diminishes that sense of moral obligation of public justice, which
ought to be kept pure, and carefully cultivated in every American
mind. Creditors at home and abroad, the army, the navy, every man who
has a well founded claim upon the public, have an unalienable right to
be satisfied, and this by the fundamental principles of society. Can
there ever be content and satisfaction? Can there ever be peace and
order? Can there ever be industry or decency without it? To talk of a
sponge to wipe out this debt, or of reducing or diminishing it below
its real value, in a country so abundantly able to pay the last
farthing, would betray a total ignorance of the first principles of
national duty and interest.

Let us leave these odious speculations to countries that can plead a
necessity for them, and where corruption has arrived at its last
stages; where infamy is scarcely felt, and wrong may as well assume
one shape as another, since it must prevail in some.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 11th, 1783.


As there are certain particulars, in which it has appeared to me, that
the friendship of a French Minister has been problematical, at least,
or rather, not to exist at all, I have freely mentioned them to
Congress; because I hold it to be the first duty of a public Minister,
in my situation, to conceal no important truth of this kind from his

But ingratitude is an odious vice, and ought to be held in detestation
by every American citizen. We ought to distinguish, therefore, between
those points, for which we are not obliged to our allies, from those
in which we are.

I think, then, we are under no particular obligations of gratitude to
them for the fisheries, the boundaries, exemption from the tories, or
for the progress of our negotiations in Europe.

We are under obligations of gratitude, for making the treaty with us
when they did; for those sums of money, which they have generously
given us, and for those, even, which they have lent us, which I hope
we shall punctually pay, and be thankful still for the loan; for the
fleet and army they sent to America, and for all the important
services they did. By other mutual exertions, a dangerous rival to
them, and I may be almost warranted in saying, an imperious master,
both to them and us, has been brought to reason, and put out of the
power to do harm to either. In this respect, however, our allies are
more secure than we. The House of Bourbon has acquired a great
accession of strength, while their hereditary enemy has been weakened
one half, and incurably crippled.

The French are, besides, a good natured and humane nation, very
respectable in arts, letters, arms, and commerce, and, therefore,
motives of interest, honor, and convenience, join themselves to those
of friendship and gratitude, to induce us to wish for the continuance
of their friendship and alliance. The Provinces of Canada and Nova
Scotia in the hands of the English are a constant warning to us to
have a care of ourselves, and, therefore, a continuance of the
friendship and alliance of France is of importance to our
tranquillity, and even to our safety. There is nothing, which will
have a greater effect to overawe the English, and induce them to
respect us and our rights, than the reputation of a good understanding
with the French. My voice and advice will, therefore, always be for
discharging, with the utmost fidelity, gratitude, and exactness, every
obligation we are under to France, and for cultivating her friendship
and alliance by all sorts of good offices. But I am sure, that to do
this effectually, we must reason with them at times, enter into
particulars, and be sure that we understand one another. We must act a
manly, honest, independent, as well as a sensible part.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 12th, 1783.


Reports have been spread, that the Regency of Algiers has been
employed in fitting out ships to cruise for American vessels. There
are reports too, that Spain has an armament prepared to attack their
town. How much truth there may be in either, I cannot pretend to say.

Whether Congress will take any measures for treating with these
piratical States, must be submitted to them. The custom of these
Courts, as well as those of Asia and Africa, is to receive presents
with Ambassadors. The Grand Pensionary of Holland told me, that the
Republic paid annually to the Regency of Algiers a hundred thousand
dollars. I hope a less sum would serve for us; but in the present
state of our finances, it would be difficult to make any payment. Mr
Montgomery, of Alicant, has ventured to write a letter to the Emperor
of Morocco, in consequence of which, his Majesty was pleased to give
orders to all his vessels to treat American vessels with all
friendship. Mr Montgomery ventured too far, however, in writing in the
name of the United States, and what will be the consequences of the
deception I know not.

Dr Franklin lately mentioned to Mr Jay and me, that he was employed in
preparing, with the Portuguese Ambassador, a treaty between the United
States and Portugal. The next Ambassador's day at Versailles, I asked
him if we could be admitted to the Brazils? He said, no, they admitted
no nation to the Brazils. I asked, if we were admitted to the Western
Islands? He said he thought Madeira was mentioned. I told him, I
thought it would be of much importance to us to secure an admission to
all the Azores, and to have these Islands, or some of them, made a
depot for the sugars, coffee, cotton, and cocoa, &c. of the Brazils.
He liked this idea, and went immediately, and spoke to the Ambassador
upon it. He said, the Ambassador had told him, that they could furnish
us with these articles at Lisbon, fifteen per cent cheaper than the
English could from their West India Islands.

This treaty, I suppose, will be submitted to Congress before it is
signed, and I hope Congress will give a close attention to it, in
order to procure an exemption from as many duties as possible, and as
much freedom and security of trade in all their ports of Europe and
the Western Islands as possible. If any particular stipulations should
be necessary, concerning the free admission of all the articles of our
produce, as rice, wheat, flour, salt-fish, or any other, the members
of Congress may readily suggest them.

I could wish that the Court of Lisbon had sent a Minister to
Philadelphia to negotiate a treaty there. I wish that advantages may
not be lost by this method of preparing treaties here, by Ministers
who have made no particular study of the objects of them.[7] Benefits
on both sides may escape attention in this way. A good treaty with
Portugal is of so much consequence to us, that I should not wonder if
Congress should think it necessary to send a Minister to Lisbon to
complete it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[7] See the draft of a Treaty with Portugal, in _Franklin's
Correspondence_, Vol. IV. p. 150.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 13th, 1783.


Yesterday Colonel Ogden arrived with the originals of what we had
before received in duplicates by Captain Barney. The ratification of
the Dutch treaty had been before received and exchanged. The
ratification of their High Mightinesses is in the safe custody of M.
Dumas, at present at the Hague.

I believe we shall accept of the mediation of the two Imperial Courts
at the definitive treaty, as it is a mere formality, a mere
compliment, consisting wholly in the Imperial Ministers putting their
names and seals to the parchment, and can have no ill effect. The
inclination of the Count de Vergennes seems to be, that we should
accept it, and as he calls upon us to decide in the affirmative or
negative, I believe we shall give an answer in the affirmative.

The Empress has promised to receive Mr Dana, as soon as the definitive
treaty shall be signed, and he has prepared a treaty of commerce,
which will be valuable if he can obtain it.

The Emperor of Germany has caused to be intimated several ways, his
inclination to have a treaty of commerce with us; but his rank is so
high, that his House never makes the first formal advance. I should
think it advisable, that we should have a treaty with that power for
several reasons.

1st. Because, as Emperor of Germany, and King of Bohemia and Hungary,
he is at the head of one of the greatest interests and most powerful
connexions in Europe. It is true it is the greatest weight in the
scale, which is, and has been, from age to age, opposite to the House
of Bourbon. But for this very reason, if there were no other, the
United States ought to have a treaty of commerce with it, in order to
be in practice with their theory, and to show to all the world, that
their system of commerce embraces, equally and impartially, all the
commercial States and countries of Europe.

2dly. Because the present Emperor is one of the greatest men of this
age. The wisdom and virtue of the man, as well as of the monarch; his
personal activity, intelligence, and accomplishments; his large and
liberal principles in matters of religion, government, and commerce,
are so much of kin to those of our States, (perhaps indeed so much
borrowed from them, and adopted in imitation of them,) that it seems
peculiarly proper we should show this respect to them.

3dly. Because, that if England should ever forget herself again so
much as to attack us, she may not be so likely to obtain the alliance
or assistance of this Power against us. A friendship once established
in a treaty of commerce, this power would never be likely to violate,
because she has no dominions near us, and could have no interest to
quarrel with us.

4thly. Because the countries belonging to this power upon the Adriatic
sea, and in the Austrian Flanders, are no inconsiderable sources of
commerce for America. And if the present negotiations between the two
Imperial Courts and the Porte shall terminate in a free navigation of
the Danube, the Black sea, and the Archipelago, the Emperor's
hereditary dominions will become very respectable commercial

5thly. Because, although we have at present a pleasant and joyful
prospect of friendship and uninterrupted alliance with the House of
Bourbon, which I wish may never be obscured, yet this friendship and
alliance will be the more likely to continue unimpaired, for our
having the friendship and commerce of the House of Austria. And (as in
the vicissitudes of human affairs all things are possible) if in
future times, however unlikely at present, the House of Bourbon
should deal unjustly by us, demand of us things we are not bound to
perform, or any way injure us we may find in the alliance, of Austria,
England, and Holland a resource against the storm. Supernumerary
strings to our bow, and provisions against possible inconveniences,
however improbable, can do us no harm.

If we were not straitened for money, I should advise Congress to send
a Minister to Vienna. But as every Mission abroad is a costly article,
and we find it difficult, at present, to procure money for the most
necessary purposes, I should think it proper for Congress to send a
commission to their Minister at Versailles, London, Madrid,
Petersburg, or the Hague, who might communicate it to the Court of
Vienna, by means of the Imperial Ambassador. The Emperor in such a
case would authorize his Ambassador at that Court to prepare and
conclude a treaty, and in this way the business may be well done,
without any additional expense.

M. Favi, _Chargé d'Affaires_ of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the
Emperor's brother, has called upon me so often to converse with me
upon this subject, that I doubt not he has been employed, or at least
knows that it would be agreeable to his Court and their connexions,
although he has never made any official insinuations about it. This
gentleman has been employed by the Republic of Ragusa to consult
American Ministers upon the subject of commerce too. I have told him,
that the American ports were open to the Ragusan Vessels, as well as
to all others, and have given him the address, by which they propose
to write to Congress.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 14th, 1783.


A jealousy of American ships, seamen, carrying-trade, and naval power,
appears every day more and more conspicuous. This jealousy, which has
been all along discovered by the French Minister, is at length
communicated to the English. The following proclamation, which will
not increase British ships and seamen in any proportion as it will
diminish those of the United States, will contribute effectually to
make America afraid of England, and attach herself more closely to
France. The English are the dupes, and must take the consequences.

This proclamation is issued in full confidence, that the United States
have no confidence in one another; that they cannot agree to act in a
body as one nation; that they cannot agree upon any navigation act,
which may be common to the Thirteen States. Our proper remedy would be
to confine our exports to American ships, to make a law, that no
article should be exported from any of the States in British ships,
nor in the ships of any nation, which will not allow us reciprocally
to import their productions in our ships. I am much afraid there is
too good an understanding upon this subject between Versailles and St

Perhaps it may be proper for Congress to be silent upon this head
until New York, Penobscot, &c. are evacuated. But I should think, that
Congress would never bind themselves by any treaty built upon such
principles. They should negotiate, however, without loss of time, by a
Minister in London. A few weeks' delay may have unalterable effects.


         _At the Court of St James, the 2d of July, 1783._

    Present, the King's Most Excellent Majesty in Council.

    "Whereas, by an Act of Parliament, passed this session,
    entitled an 'Act for preventing certain instruments from
    being required from ships belonging to the United States of
    America, and to give his Majesty, for a limited time, certain
    powers for the better carrying on trade and commerce, between
    the subjects of his Majesty's dominions, and the inhabitants
    of the said United States;' it is amongst other things
    enacted, that, during the continuance of the said act, 'it
    shall and may be lawful for his Majesty in Council, by order
    or orders to be issued and published from time to time, to
    give such directions, and to make such regulations, with
    respect to duties, drawbacks, or otherwise, for carrying on
    the trade and commerce between the people and territories
    belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, and the people and
    territories of the said United States, as to his Majesty in
    Council shall appear most expedient and salutary, any law,
    usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding;' his
    Majesty doth, therefore, by and with the advice of his Privy
    Council, hereby order and direct, that pitch, tar,
    turpentine, hemp and flax, masts, yards, and bowsprits,
    staves, heading, boards, timber, shingles, and all other
    species of lumber, horses, neat cattle, sheep, hogs, poultry,
    and all other species of live stock, and live provisions;
    peas, beans, potatoes, wheat, flour, bread, biscuit, rice,
    oats, barley, and all other species of grain, being the
    growth, or production of any one of the United States of
    America, may, until further order, be imported by British
    subjects, in British built ships, owned by his Majesty's
    subjects, and navigated according to law, from any port of
    the United States of America, to any of his Majesty's West
    India Islands; and that rum, sugar, molasses, coffee,
    cocoa-nuts, ginger, and pimento, may, until further order, be
    exported by British subjects, in British built ships, owned
    by his Majesty's subjects, and navigated according to law,
    from any of his Majesty's West India Islands, and to any port
    or place within the said United States, upon payment of the
    same duties on exportation, and subject to the like rules,
    regulations, securities, and restrictions, as the same
    articles by law are, or may be, subject and liable to, if
    exported to any British colony or plantation in America. And
    the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's
    Treasury, and the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, are
    to give the necessary directions herein, as to them may
    respectively appertain.

                                               STEPHEN COTTRELL."

One of the most remarkable things in this proclamation is, the
omission of salt-fish, an article, which the islands want as much as
any that is enumerated. This is, no doubt, to encourage their own
fishery, and that of Nova Scotia, as well as a blow aimed at ours.
There was, in a former proclamation concerning the trade between the
United States and Great Britain, an omission of the articles of
_potash_ and _pearlash_. These omissions discover a _choice love_ for
New England. France, I am afraid, will exclude fish too, and imitate
this proclamation but too closely; if, indeed, this proclamation is
not an imitation of their system adopted, as I believe it is, upon
their advice and desire.

These, however, are important efforts. Without saying, writing, or
resolving anything suddenly, let us see what remedies or equivalents
we can obtain from Holland, Portugal and Denmark. Let us bind
ourselves to nothing, but reserve a right of making navigation acts
when we please, if we find them necessary or useful. If we had been
defeated of our fisheries, we should have been wormed out of all our
carrying-trade too, and should have been a mere society of
cultivators, without any but a passive trade. The policy of France has
succeeded, and laid, in these proclamations, if persisted in, the sure
source of another war between us and Great Britain.

The English nation is not, however, unanimous in this new system, as
Congress will see by the enclosed speculations,[8] which I know to
have been written by a confidential friend of my Lord Shelburne; I
mean Mr Benjamin Vaughan. This Minister is very strong in the House of
Lords, and Mr Pitt, in the House of Commons, has attached to him many
members in the course of this session. If that set should come in
again, we shall have a chance of making an equitable treaty of
commerce. To this end a Minister must be ready; and I hope in mercy to
our country, that such an opportunity will not be lost in delays, in
compliance to our allies.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[8] This paper is missing.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON

                                               Paris. July 14th, 1783.


The United States of America have propagated far and wide in Europe
the ideas of the liberty of navigation and commerce. The powers of
Europe, however, cannot agree, as yet, in adopting them in their full
extent. Each one desires to maintain the exclusive dominion of some
particular sea, or river, and yet to enjoy the liberty of navigating
all others. Great Britain wishes to preserve the exclusive dominion of
the British seas, and, at the same time, to obtain of the Dutch a free
navigation of all the seas in the East Indies. France has contended
for the free use of the British and American seas; yet she wishes to
maintain the Turks in their exclusive dominion of the Black sea, and
of the Danube, which flows into it through some of their Provinces,
and of the communication between the Black Sea and the Archipelago, by
the Dardanelles. Russia aims at the free navigation of the Black Sea,
the Danube, and the passage by the Dardanelles, yet she contends, that
the nations, which border on the Baltic, have a right to control the
navigation of it. Denmark claims the command of the passage of the
Sound, and by the late Marine Treaty between the neutral powers, it
was agreed, that the privateers of all the belligerent powers should
be excluded from the Baltic. France and Spain too begin to talk of an
exclusive dominion of the Mediterranean, and of excluding the Russian
fleet from it; or, at least, France is said to have menaced Russia
with a fleet of observation in the Mediterranean, to protect her
commerce to the trading seaport towns of the Levant. But, as England
possesses Gibraltar, and the Emperor of Morocco the other side of the
Straits, France and Spain cannot command the entrance; so that it will
be difficult for them to support their pretensions to any exclusive
dominion of the Mediterranean, upon the principle on which the
northern powers claim that of the Baltic, and the Porte the passage of
the Dardanelles.

France, at present, enjoys a large share of the trade to the Levant.
England has enjoyed a share too, and wishes, no doubt, to revive it.
The Emperor and the Empress, if they succeed in their views of
throwing open the Danube, Black Sea, and Archipelago, will take away
from France and England a great part of this trade; but it is not
likely that England will join with France in any opposition to the
Emperor and Empress.

In order to judge of the object, which the two Empires have in view,
we should look a little into the geography of those countries.

The project of setting at liberty the whole country of ancient Greece,
Macedonia, and Illyricum, and erecting independent Republics in those
famous seats, however splendid it may appear in speculation, is not
likely to be seriously entertained by the two Empires, because it is
impracticable. The Greeks of this day, although they are said to have
imagination and ingenuity, are corrupted in their morals to such a
degree, as to be a faithless, perfidious race, destitute of courage,
as well as of those principles of honor and virtue, without which
nations can have no confidence in one another, nor be trusted by

The project of conquering the Provinces of Albania, Romelia,
Wallachia, Moldavia, and Little Tartary, from the Turks, and dividing
them between the two Empires, may be more probable; but the Turks, in
Asia and Europe together, are very powerful, and, if thoroughly
awakened, might make a great resistance; so that it is most probable,
the two Imperial Courts would be content, if they could obtain by
negotiation, or by arms, the free navigation of the Danube, Black Sea,
and Archipelago. This freedom alone would produce a great revolution
in the commerce of Europe. The river Don or Tanais, with its branches,
flows through the Ukraine, and a considerable part of the Russian
dominions, into the Black Sea. The Danube flows very near Trieste,
through the Kingdom of Hungary, and then through a Turkish Province
into the Black Sea. If, therefore, the Black Sea and the Danube only
were free, a communication would be immediately opened between Russia
and Hungary quite to Trieste, to the great advantage of both Empires.
But if, at the same time, the passage of the Dardanelles was laid
open, all the Levant trade would be opened to the two Empires, and
might be carried to Trieste, either by the Danube, or through the
Archipelago and the Gulf of Venice. This would be such an accession of
wealth, commerce, and naval power to the two Empires, as France is
jealous of, and may be drawn into a war to prevent.

It is a question how the King of Prussia will act. It is the general
opinion, that, as he is advanced in years, loves and enjoys his
laurels and his ease, and cannot hope to gain anything by the war, he
will be neuter. If he is, the issue cannot be foreseen. The Emperor is
vastly powerful, and his preparations are immense. Perhaps France may
not think it prudent to declare war. I should be sorry to see her
again involved in a war, especially against the principles she has
lately espoused with so much glory and advantage.

For my own part, I think nature wiser than all the Courts and States
in the world, and, therefore, I wish all her seas and rivers upon the
whole globe free, and am not at all surprised at the desire of the two
Empires to set those near them at liberty.

I think, however, that whatever turn these negotiations may take, they
cannot directly affect us, although we may be remotely interested in
the freedom of the Levant trade, and of the seas and rivers in the
neighborhood of it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 15th, 1783.


Enclosed are copies of papers, which have passed between Mr Hartley
and the American Ministers. We have not thought it prudent to enter
into any written controversy with him, upon any of these papers. We
have received whatever he has offered us. But he has offered nothing
in the name of his Court, has signed nothing, and upon inquiry of him
we have found that he has never had authority to sign officially any
proposition he has made.

I think it is evident, that his principals, the coalition, do not
intend to make any agreement with us about trade, but to try
experiments by their proclamations. I think, too, that they mean to
postpone the definitive treaty as long as possible. We can get no
answer, and I believe Mr Hartley gets no decisive answers to anything.

Enclosed also is a pamphlet, entitled, "Observations on the American
States," said to have been published by Lord Sheffield, and to have
been composed by four American renegadoes. The spirit of it needs no
comments. It deserves to be attended to, however, by Congress. It is a
fatal policy, as it appears to me, to see a British Ambassador at
Versailles, and a French Ambassador at St James's, and no American
Minister at the latter. This is admired at Versailles, I doubt not,
but not because they think it for our interest.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 16th, 1783.


Yesterday we waited on the Count de Vergennes at Versailles, and
showed him the project of a letter to the Ministers of the two
Imperial Courts, which he read and approved. We told him, that we were
at a loss what might be the effect of the mediation; possibly we might
be involved in difficulties by it; possibly the British Ministers
might persuade the mediators to offer us their advice upon some
points, respecting the royalists for example, which we could not
comply with. The Count said, that he had told them, that as soon as he
had fully agreed with England upon all points, their mediation should
be accepted, and they should sign the treaty as such; and we might
agree to it in the same manner. He said we were not obliged to this,
but as they were to be present and sign one treaty, it would look
better to sign both. It would be a very notorious, public, and
respectable acknowledgment of us, as a power, by those Courts. Upon
this footing we left the letter with him to be shown to the Imperial

We asked the Count if he had seen the British proclamation of the 2d
of July. He answered, that he had. I asked him if the King had
determined anything on the subject of salt provisions, and salt-fish,
whether we might import them into his islands. He said we might depend
upon it, they could not supply their islands with fish, that we had
two free ports in their islands, St Lucia, and a port in Martinique.
By the thirtysecond article of the Treaty of Commerce, these free
ports are secured to us; nothing, he said, was determined concerning
salt beef and pork, but the greatest difficulty would be about flour.
I told the Count, that I did not think it would be possible either for
France or England to carry on this commerce between the islands and
continent; it was profitable to us only as it was a part of a system;
that it could not be carried on without loss in large vessels,
navigated by many seamen, which could sail only at certain seasons of
the year, &c. Upon the whole, I was much pleased with this
conversation, and conclude from it, that we shall do very well in the
French West India Islands, perhaps the better in them the worse we are
treated by the English.

The Dutch and Danes will, I doubt not, avail themselves of every
error, that may be committed by France or England. It is good to have
a variety of strings to our bow; and, therefore, I wish we had a
Treaty of Commerce with Denmark, by which a free admission of our
ships into their ports in the West Indies might be established. By
means of the Dutch, Danes, and Portuguese, I think we shall be able to
obtain finally proper terms of France and England.

The British proclamation of the 2d of this month, is the result of
refugee politics; it is intended to encourage Canada and Nova Scotia,
and their fisheries, to support still the ruins of their navigation
act, and to take from us the carriage even of our own productions. A
system, which has in it so little respect for us, and is so obviously
calculated to give a blow to our nurseries of ships and seamen, could
never have been adopted but from the opinion, that we had no common
legislature for the government of commerce.

All America from the Chesapeake Bay to St Croix I know love ships and
sailors, and those ports to the southward of that bay have advantages
for obtaining them when they will, and therefore I hope the Thirteen
States will unite in some measures to counteract this policy of
Britain, so evidently selfish, unsocial, and I had almost said
hostile. The question is, what is to be done? I answer, perhaps it
will be most prudent to say little about it at present, and until the
definitive treaty is signed, and the States evacuated. But after that,
I think in the negotiation of a treaty of commerce with Great Britain,
Congress should tell them, that they have the means of doing justice
to themselves. What are these means? I answer, let every State in the
Union lay on a duty of five per cent on all West India articles
imported in British ships, and upon all their own productions exported
in British ships. Let this impost be limited in duration, until Great
Britain shall allow our vessels to trade to their West Indies. This
would effectually defeat their plan, and encourage our own carrying
trade more than they can discourage it.

Another way of influencing England to a reasonable conduct, is to
take some measures for encouraging the growth in the United States,
of West India articles; another is to encourage manufactures,
especially of wool and iron among ourselves. As tilt-hammers are now
not unlawful, and wool may be water-borne, much more may be done now
than could have been done before the war. But the most certain method
is, to lay duties on exports and imports by British ships. The sense
of a common interest and common danger, it is to be hoped, will induce
a perfect unanimity among the States in this respect. There are other
ways of serving ourselves, and making impressions upon the English to
bring them to reason. One is to send ships immediately to China. This
trade is as open to us as to any nation, and if our natural advantages
at home are envied us, we should compensate ourselves in any honest
way we can.

Our natural share in the West India trade, is all that is now wanting
to complete the plan of happiness and prosperity of our country.
Deprived of it, we shall be straitened and shackled in some degree. We
cannot enjoy a free use of all our limits without this; with it, I see
nothing to desire, nothing to vex or chagrin our people, nothing to
interrupt our repose or keep up a dread of war.

I know not what permission may be expected from Spain to trade to the
Havana, but should think that this resource ought not to be neglected.

I confess I do not like the complexion of British politics. They are
mysterious and unintelligible. Mr Hartley appears not to be in the
secret of his Court. The things which happen appear as unexpected to
him as to us. Political jealousies and speculations are endless. It is
possible the British Ministers may be secretly employed, in fomenting
the quarrel between the two Imperial Courts and the Porte, and in
secretly stirring up the French to join the Turks in the war. The
prospect of seeing France engaged in a war may embolden them to adopt
a system less favorable to us. The possibility of these things should
stimulate us, I think, to form as soon as possible treaties of
commerce with the principal powers, especially the Imperial Courts,
that all our questions may be decided. This will be a great advantage
to us, even if we should afterwards be involved in a war. I put this
supposition with great reluctance. But if England should in the course
of a few years or months have the art to stir up a general war in
Europe, and get France and Spain seriously involved in it, which is at
least a possible case, she may assume a tone and conduct towards us,
which will make it very difficult for us to avoid taking a part in it.
If such a deplorable circumstance should take place, it will be still
a great advantage to us, to have our sovereignty explicitly
acknowledged by these powers, against whom we may be unfortunately
obliged to act. At present they are all disposed to it, and seem
desirous of forming connexions with us, that we may be out of the

The politics of Europe are such a labyrinth of profound mysteries,
that the more one sees of them, the more causes of uncertainty and
anxiety he discovers.

The United States will have occasion to brace up their confederation,
and act as one body with one spirit. If they do not, it is now very
obvious, that Great Britain will take advantage of it in such a manner
as will endanger our peace, our safety, and even our very existence.

A change of Ministry may, but it is not certain that it will, give us
better prospects.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 17th, 1783.


Last evening Mr Hartley spent two hours with me, and appeared much
chagrined at the proclamation, which had never been communicated to
him by his principals. He has too much contempt of the commercial
abilities of the French, and, consequently said, that the French could
derive but little benefit from this step of his Court, but he thought
the Dutch would make a great advantage of it. I endeavored to discover
from him, whether he suspected that his Court had any hand in stirring
up the two Imperial Courts to make war upon the Turks. I asked him
what was the state of their Mediterranean trade, and Levant trade. He
said, it was dead, and that their Turkey Company was dead, and,
therefore, he did not think his Court cared much about either, or
would ever do anything to prevent the Empires. He thought it possible,
that they might rather encourage them.

I am quite of Mr Hartley's mind, that the Dutch will profit by all the
English blunders in regulating the West India trade, and am happy that
M. Van Berckel will be soon with Congress, when its members and
Ministers may communicate through him anything they wish to their High
Mightinesses. They may inquire of him what are the rights of the East
and West India Companies? To what an extent our vessels may be
admitted to Surinam, Curaçoa, Demerara, Essequibo, Berbice, St
Eustatia? What we may be allowed to carry there? and what bring from
thence to the United States, or to Europe? Whether we may carry
sugars, &c. to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, &c.? There are at Rotterdam and
Amsterdam one hundred and twentyseven or eight refineries of sugar.
How far these may be affected, &c.?

I lay it down for a rule, that the nation which shall allow us the
most perfect liberty to trade with her Colonies, whether it be France,
England, Spain, or Holland, will see her Colonies flourish above all
others, and will draw proportionally our trade to themselves; and I
rely upon it, the Dutch will have sagacity to see it, and as they are
more attentive to mercantile profit, than to a military marine, I have
great hopes from their friendship. As there will be an interval before
the signature of the definitive treaty, I propose a journey of three
weeks, to Amsterdam and the Hague, in hopes of learning in more detail
the intentions of the Dutch in this respect. I am in hopes too of
encouraging the loan to assist our Superintendent of Finance. The
Dutch may be a great resource to us in finance and commerce. I wish
that cargoes of produce may be hastened to Amsterdam to Messrs
Willinks & Co. for this will give vigor to the loan, and all the money
we can prevent England and the two Empires from obtaining in Holland,
will not only be nerves for us, but, perhaps, be useful too to France
in her negotiations.

I have spent the whole forenoon in conversation with the Duc de la
Vauguyon. He thinks that England wishes to revive her trade to the
Levant, to Smyrna, Aleppo, &c. and her carrying trade in Italy; and
although she might be pleased to see France involved in a war with the
Emperor and Empress, yet he thinks her funds are not in a condition to
afford subsidies to either, and, therefore, that she will be perfectly
neutral. Quere, however, whether if by a subsidy or a loan of a
million or two a year, she could make France spend eight or ten
millions, she would not strive hard to do it? The Duke thinks, that
France will proceed softly, and endeavor, if possible, to avert the
furious storm that threatens, and to compose the disputes of the three
Empires, if possible; but she will never suffer such a usurpation as
the conquest of the Turkish Provinces in Europe. France will certainly
defend Constantinople. He thinks that the Empress of Russia has not
revenues, and cannot get cash to march and subsist vast armies, and to
transport great fleets, and that the Emperor has not revenues to
support a long war.

This is, however, a serious business, and France lays it so much to
heart, and looks upon the chance of her being obliged to arm, as so
probable, that I presume this to be the principal motive of her
refusal to lend us two or three millions of livres more.

As to our West India questions, the Duke assures me, that the French
Ministry, particularly the Count de Vergennes, are determined to do
everything they can consistent with their own essential interests, to
favor and promote the friendship and commerce between their country
and ours. That they, especially the Count, are declared enemies of the
French fiscal system, which is certainly the most ruinous to their
commerce, and intend to do everything they can to make alterations to
favor commerce; but no change can be made in this, without affecting
their revenues, and making voids, failures, and deficiencies, which
they cannot fill up. They must, therefore, proceed softly. That France
would favor the commerce between Portugal and America, because it
would tend to draw off that kingdom from her dependence on England.
That England, by her commercial treaty with the Portuguese, in 1703,
has turned them into an English Colony, made them entirely dependent,
and secured a commerce with them of three millions value. France would
be glad to see this, or as much of it as possible, turned to America.

The Duke agrees fully with me in the maxim, that those Colonies will
grow the most in wealth, improvement, population, and every sort of
prosperity, which are allowed the freest communication with us, and
that we shall be allowed to carry lumber, fish, and live stock, to
their islands, but that the export of their sugars to us, he thinks,
must be in their own ships, because they are afraid of our becoming
the carriers of all their commerce, because they know and say, that we
can do it cheaper than they can. These sentiments are different from
those, which he mentioned to me a few days ago, when he said, the West
India trade with us must be carried on in French bottoms.

The Duke said, the English had been trying to deceive us, but were now
developing their true sentiments. They pretended, for awhile, to
abolish the navigation act and all distinctions, to make one people
with us again, to be friends, brothers, &c. in hopes of drawing us off
from France, but not finding success, they were now showing their true
plan. As to the pretended system of Shelburne, of a universal free
commerce, although he thought it would be for the good of mankind in
general, yet, for an English Minister, it was the plan of a madman,
for it would be the ruin of that nation. He did not think Shelburne
was sincere in it; he only meant an illusion to us. Here I differ from
the Duke, and believe, that the late Ministry were very sincere
towards us, and would have made a treaty with us, at least to revive
the universal trade between us, upon a liberal plan. This doctrine of
ruin, from that plan, to the English, has been so much preached of
late in England by the French and the American refugees, who aim at
establishments in Canada and Nova Scotia, and by the old Butean
administration and their partisans, that I do not know whether any
Ministry could now support a generous plan. But if Temple, Thurlow,
Shelburne, Pitt, &c. should come in, I should not despair of it. It is
true, the Shelburne administration did encourage the ideas of cordial,
perfect friendship, of entire reconciliation of affections, of making
no distinction between their people and ours, especially between the
inhabitants of Canada and Nova Scotia and us, and this, with the
professed purpose of destroying all seeds of war between us. These
sentiments were freely uttered by Fitzherbert, Oswald, Whiteford,
Vaughan, and all who had the confidence of that Ministry; and in these
sentiments they were, I believe, very sincere. And they are, indeed,
the only means of preventing a future war between us and them, and so
sure as they depart from that plan, so sure, in less than fifteen
years, perhaps less than seven, there will break out another war.
Quarrels will arise among fishermen, between inhabitants of Canada and
Nova Scotia and us, and between their people and ours in the West
Indies, in our ports, and in the ports of the three kingdoms, which
will breed a war in spite of all we can do to prevent it. France sees
this and rejoices in it, and I know not whether we ought to be sorry;
yet I think we ought to make it a maxim to avoid all wars, if
possible; and to take care that it is not our fault if we cannot. We
ought to do everything, which the English will concur in, to remove
all causes of jealousies, and kill all the seeds of hostility as
effectually as we can; and to be upon our guard to prevent the French,
Spaniards, and Dutch, from sowing the seeds of war between us, for we
may rely upon it they will do it if they can.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Paris, July 18th, 1783.


There is cause to be solicitous about the state of things in England.
The present Ministry swerve more and more from the true system, for
the prosperity of their country and ours. Mr Hartley, whose sentiments
are at bottom just, is probably kept here, if he was not sent at
first, merely to amuse us, and to keep him out of the way of
embarrassing the coalition. We need not fear, that France and England
will make a common cause against us, even in relation to the
carrying-trade to and from the West Indies. Although they may mutually
inspire into each other false notions of their interests at times, yet
there can never be a concert of operations between them. Mutual enmity
is bred in the blood and bones of both, and rivals and enemies at
heart they eternally will be.

In order to induce both to allow us our natural right to the
carrying-trade, we must negotiate with the Dutch, Danes, Portuguese,
and even with the Empires; for the more friends and resources we have,
the more we shall be respected by the French and English; and the more
freedom of trade we enjoy with the Dutch possessions in America, the
more will France and England find themselves necessitated to allow us.

The present Ministers in England have very bad advisers; the refugees,
and emissaries of various other sorts, and we have nobody to watch
and counteract, to correct or prevent anything.

The United States will soon see the necessity of uniting in measures
to counteract their enemies, and even their friends. What powers
Congress should have for governing the trade of the whole, for making
or recommending prohibitions, or imposts, deserves the serious
consideration of every man in America. If a constitutional legislative
authority cannot be given them, a sense of common danger and necessity
should give to their recommendations all the force upon the minds of
the people, which they had six years ago.

If the union of the States is not preserved, and even their unity, in
many great points, instead of being the happiest people under the sun,
I do not know but we may be the most miserable. We shall find our
foreign affairs the most difficult to manage of any of our interests;
we shall see and feel them disturbed by invisible agents, and causes,
by secret intrigues, by dark and mysterious insinuations, by concealed
corruptions of a thousand sorts. Hypocrisy and simulation will assume
a million of shapes; we shall feel the evil, without being able to
prove the cause. Those, whose penetration reaches the true source of
the evil, will be called suspicious, envious, disappointed, ambitious.
In short, if there is not an authority sufficiently decisive to draw
together the minds, affections, and forces of the States, in their
common foreign concerns, it appears to me we shall be the sport of
transatlantic politicians of all denominations, who hate liberty in
every shape, and every man who loves it, and every country that enjoys
it. If there is no common authority, nor any common sense to secure a
revenue for the discharge of our engagements abroad for money, what
is to become of our honor, our justice, our faith, our universal,
moral, political, and commercial character? If there is no common
power to fulfil engagements with our citizens, to pay our soldiers,
and other creditors, can we have any moral character at home? Our
country will become the region of everlasting discontents, reproaches,
and animosities, and instead of finding our independence a blessing,
we shall soon become Cappadocians enough to wish it done away.

I may be thought gloomy, but this ought not to discourage me from
laying before Congress my apprehensions. The dependence of those who
have designs upon us, upon our want of affection to each other, and of
authority over one another, is so great, that in my opinion, if the
United States do not soon show to the world a proof, that they can
command a common revenue to satisfy their creditors at home and
abroad, that they can act as one people, as one nation, as one man, in
their transactions with foreign nations, we shall be soon so far
despised, that it will be but a few years, perhaps but a few months
only, before we are involved in another war.

What can I say in Holland, if a doubt is started, whether we can repay
the money we wish to borrow? I must assure them in a tone, that will
exclude all doubt that the money will be repaid. Am I to be hereafter
reproached with deceiving the money-lenders? I cannot believe there is
a man in America, who would not disdain the supposition, and therefore
I shall not scruple to give the strongest assurances in my power. But
if there is a doubt in Congress, they ought to recall their borrowers
of money.

I shall set off tomorrow for Holland, in hopes of improving my health,
at the same time that I shall endeavor to assist the loan, and to
turn the speculations of the Dutch merchants, capitalists and
statesmen, towards America. It is of vast importance that the Dutch
should form just ideas of their interests respecting the communication
between us and their islands, and other colonies in America. I beg
that no time may be lost in commencing conferences with M. Van Berckel
upon this subject, as well as that of money; but this should not be
communicated to the French nor the English, because we may depend upon
it, both will endeavor to persuade the Dutch to adopt the same plan
with themselves. There are jealousies on both sides the Pass of
Calais, of our connexions and negotiations with the Dutch. But while
we avoid as much as we can to inflame this jealousy, we must have
sense and firmness and independence enough not to be intimidated by
it, from availing ourselves of advantages, that Providence has placed
in our power. There ever have been, and ever will be, suspicions of
every honest, active, and intelligent American, and there will be as
there have been insidious attempts to destroy or lessen your
confidence in every such character. But if our country does not
support her own interests, and her own servants, she will assuredly
fall. Persons, who study to preserve or obtain the confidence of
America, by the favor of European statesmen, or Courts, must betray
their own country to preserve their places.

For my own part, I wish Mr Jay and myself almost anywhere else but
here. There is scarce any other place where we might not do some good.
Here we are in a state of annihilation.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            The Hague, July 23d, 1783.


On Saturday last I left Paris, and arrived here last night. This
morning I sent M. Dumas to M. Van Berckel and M. Gyselaer, to inform
them of my arrival, and to desire a conversation with them, upon the
subject of the commerce between the United States and the Dutch
establishments in the West Indies.

M. Van Berckel told M. Dumas, "that St Eustatia and Curaçoa were open
to the vessels of all nations, and to the commerce of all the world;
but that it was not the interest of the West India Company alone, but
that of the whole State, that obliged them to confine the commerce of
their sugars to themselves, because of the great number of their
refineries of sugar. That all their own sugars were not half enough to
employ their sugar-houses, and that at least one half of the sugars
refined in Holland were the production of the French West India

I suppose that some of these sugars may have been carried first to St
Eustatia, and brought from thence to Holland, and some others may have
been purchased in the ports of France, and imported raw from thence. I
do not know that Dutch vessels were permitted to purchase sugars in
the French Islands, and export them from thence. This matter deserves
to be examined to the bottom. If France has not sugar-houses for the
refinement of her own sugars, but is obliged to carry them, or to
permit their being carried, to Amsterdam and Rotterdam for
manufacture, why should she not be willing, that the same sugars
should be carried by Americans to Boston, New York, and Philadelphia?
Surely France has no predilection for Holland rather than America. But
what is of more weight, all the sugars, which America takes, will be
paid for in articles more advantageous to the Islands, and to France,
than the pay that is made by the Dutch. If any sugars refined in
Holland are afterwards sold in France, surely it would be more for the
interest of France, or rather less against her interests, to have the
same sugars refined in America, and afterwards sold in France, because
the price of them would be laid out by us in France. There is this
difference between us and the Dutch, and all other nations, we spend
in Europe all the profits we make and more, the others do not. But if
the French sugars, refined in Holland, are afterwards sold in other
parts of Europe, it would be just as well that we should sell them. We
have sugar-houses as well as the Dutch, and ours ought not to be more
obnoxious to French policy or commerce than theirs.

Sugars are a great article. There is a great consumption in America.
It is not the interest of any nation, that has sugars to sell, to
lessen the consumption there. All such nations should favor that
consumption, in order to multiply purchasers, and quicken the
competition, by which the price is raised. None of these nations then
will wish to prevent our having sugar, provided we offer as high, or a
higher price. How they will be able to arrange their plans, so that we
may have enough for our own consumption, without having more, without
having some for exportation, I do not know.

We have now St Eustatia and Curaçoa, St Lucia and Martinique, St
Thomas and St Martin's, no less than six free ports in the West
Indies; and perhaps England may be induced, necessitated indeed, to
add two more to the number, and make eight. At these free ports, it
will be hard if we cannot find sugars, when we carry thither all our
own productions, in our own ships. And if the worst should happen, and
all the nations, who have sugar Islands, should forbid sugars to be
carried to America in any other than their own bottoms, we might
depend upon having enough of this article at the free ports, to be
brought away in our own ships, if we should lay a prohibition or a
duty upon it in foreign ships. To do either, the States must be
united, which the English think cannot be. Perhaps the French think so
too, and in time, they may persuade the Dutch to be of the same
opinion. It is to be hoped we shall disappoint them all. In a point so
just and reasonable, when we are contending only for an equal chance
for the carriage of our own productions, and the articles of our own
consumption, when we are willing to allow to all other nations even a
free competition with us in this carriage, if we cannot unite, it will
discover an imperfection and weakness in our constitution, which will
deserve a serious consideration.

M. Visscher, Pensionary of Amsterdam, who came in to visit me, when I
had written thus far, showed me a list of the Directors of the West
India Company, and refers me to M. Bicker, of Amsterdam, as one of the
most intelligent of them. He says, that the Colonists of Surinam,
Berbice, Essequibo, and Demarara, have been in decay, and obliged to
borrow money of the merchants at home, and have entered into contracts
with those merchants, to send them annually all the productions of
their plantations to pay the interest and principal of their debts;
that this will make it difficult to open the trade.

Soon after M. Visscher went out, M. Van Berckel came in. I entered
into a like conversation with him, and told him that I thought the
decay of their plantations in the West Indies had been owing to the
rivalry of other nations, especially the English, whose Islands had
greater advantages from a freer communication with North America; and
I thought it might be laid down as a rule, that those Islands would
flourish most in population, culture, commerce, and wealth, which had
the freest intercourse with us, and that this intercourse would be a
natural means of attracting the American commerce to the metropolis.
He thought so too.

I then mentioned to him the loan; and asked him, if he thought that
the States-General, the States of Holland, or the Regency of
Amsterdam, would be likely, in any way, to aid us? He said, no; that
the country was still so much divided, that he could not depend upon
any assistance in that way. That the Council of Amsterdam was well
enough disposed; but that the Burgomasters were not so. That M.
Temmink, M. Huggens, and M. Rendorp, were not to be depended on in
such an affair. That, therefore, our only resource was, to endeavor to
gain upon the public opinion and the spirit of the nation, and that,
in this respect, he would do me all the service in his power. He
thought that the present uncertainty about the definitive treaty, and
the fate of the Republic, would be an obstacle; but the definitive
treaty once signed, he thought our loan would succeed very well. I
asked him, whether he thought that the junction of three houses in my
loan was any obstruction to it? and whether any one of them, or
whether any other house, would do better? I told him what his brother,
(now I hope in Philadelphia,) had said to M. Dumas, viz. that the
house of Wilkem and Van Willink alone would succeed sooner than the
three. I asked him, whether he thought the house of Hope, either
alone, or in conjunction with that of the Willinks, or any other,
would undertake it? He said, this might well be, and that if they saw
their interest in it they would, for those mercantile houses had no
other object in view. He promised me to make inquiry into this matter,
and let me know the result.

Upon this occasion, I must inform Congress, that it is absolutely
necessary they should send another Minister to this Republic, without
loss of time; because our three present houses, before they would
undertake the loan, extorted a promise from me, not to open another
with any other house until the five millions should be full. This
engagement I took for myself alone, however, and expressly premised
that Congress should not be bound by it; that Congress should be
perfectly free, and that any other Minister they might send here
should be perfectly free to open another loan, when and with whom they
pleased. A new Minister, therefore, may open a loan when he will, with
Hope, Willink, or whom he will, and I am persuaded it would succeed to
a good amount.

I made visits to day, the 25th of July, to the Grand Pensionary, the
Secretary Fagel, the President of the week, and M. Gyselaer; and
returned visits to M. Van Berckel and M. Visscher. M. Gyselaer says,
that at present there is no ready money (_argent comptant_) in the
Republic, but in two months there will be, and the loan will go very

At noon I went to the house in the Grove, to make my court to the
Prince and Princess of Orange.

The Prince either happened to be in a social humor, or has had some
political speculations lately, for he thought fit to be uncommonly
gracious and agreeable. He made me sit, and sat down by me, and
entered into familiar conversation about the negotiations of peace. He
asked many questions about it, and the probability of a speedy
conclusion of the definitive treaty. At length, he asked me, if Dr
Franklin was left alone? I answered, that Mr Jay was with him. He
asked, if I returned before the signature? I answered, that such was
my intention. He asked, whether Dr Franklin was an Ambassador? I
answered, that he was a Minister Plenipotentiary only. He asked, if
none of us were Ambassadors? I answered, that we all had the same rank
of Ministers Plenipotentiary, and that Congress had never yet made an
Ambassador. He said, he was astonished at that; that he had a long
time expected to hear, that we had displayed the character of
Ambassadors. I asked his Highness, what reason he had for this, and
what advantage there was in it? "Why," said he, "I expected that your
Republic would early assert her right to appoint Ambassadors.
Republics have been generally fond of appointing Ambassadors, in order
to be on a footing with crowned heads. Our Republic began very early.
We had eight Ambassadors at the peace of Munster; one for each
Province, and one supernumerary. And we always choose to appoint
Ambassadors, for the sake of being upon an equality with crowned
heads. There are only crowned heads, Republics, and the Electors of
the Empire, who have a right to send Ambassadors; all others can only
send Envoys, and Ministers Plenipotentiary. Princes cannot send
Ambassadors. I cannot, as Stadtholder, nor as Prince, nor in any other
quality, send a Minister of any higher order, than an Envoy, or
Minister Plenipotentiary." He asked me, what was the reason the
Congress had not made use of their right? I answered his Highness,
that really I did not know. It was a subject I had never much
reflected on; perhaps Congress had not. Or they might think it a
matter of ceremony and of show, rather than substance; or might think
the expense greater than the advantage. He said, it was very true, the
dignity of the rank must be supported, but he thought the advantage
worth more than the expense.

I am utterly at a loss for his Highness' motives for entering so
minutely into this subject. Whether M. Van Berckel, before his
departure, had mentioned it; whether he thought he should please me by
it; whether he thought to please Congress by it; whether he affected
to interest himself in the honor of the United States; or whether any
of the politicians of this, or any other country, have put him upon
it, or whether it is mere accident, I know not. They are the words of
a Prince, and I have reported them very exactly.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, July 25th, 1783.


It is the general opinion here both among the members of the States,
and at the _Hôtel de France_, that the delays of the definitive
pacification are contrived by the Court of London, in order to set all
their instruments at work in this Republic, to induce it to renew its
ancient connexions with Great Britain, particularly their alliance,
offensive and defensive, by which each power was bound to furnish the
other, if attacked, a certain number of ships and troops. Against this
the patriotic party is decided, and they are now very well satisfied
with the Grand Pensionary, Bleiswick, because he openly and roundly
takes their side, and the Court is said to be discontented with him
for the same reason. There is, no doubt, an intelligence and
correspondence between the two Courts of London and the Hague, to
bring about this point. The Grand Pensionary told me yesterday, that
the Court of London desired it, and there were persons here who
desired it, and he knew very well who they were; but that most
certainly they would not carry their point. Van Berckel, Visscher, and
Gyselaer, all assured me of the same, and added, that the fear of this
had determined them not to send a Minister to London, but to go
through with the negotiation at Paris, although they were all highly
dissatisfied with the conduct of France, and particularly with that of
the Count de Vergennes.

They all say, he has betrayed and deserted them, played them a very
bad trick, (_tour_) and violated his repeated promises to them. They
do not in the least spare M. Berenger and M. Merchant, who conduct the
French affairs here in the absence of the Duc de la Vauguyon, but hold
this language openly and freely to them. These gentlemen have
sometimes found it hard to bear, and have winced, and sometimes even
threatened; but their answer has been more mortifying still; "Do as
you please, drive the Republic back into the arms of England, if you
will. Suppress all the friends of France, if you choose it." And some
of them have said, "we will go to America." They all say, that France
had the power to have saved them. That the acquisition of Tobago was
no equivalent to France for the loss of the Republic, &c. &c. &c. They
are all highly pleased with the conduct of their own Ambassador,
Brantzen, with his activity, intelligence, and fidelity. They all say,
that they would send a Minister to London to negotiate there, if they
were sure of being able to carry an election for a man they could
depend upon. But the Court here would have so much influence in the
choice, that they would run a risk of sending a man, who would
insensibly lead them into a revival of the old ties with England,
which, they say, is enslaving the Republic to that kingdom.

I learn here from all quarters, a confirmation of what I had learned
before at Paris from M. Brantzen and the Duc de la Vauguyon, viz. that
the Duke of Manchester had given them no answer, nor said a word to
them for six weeks, in answer to the propositions they had made; among
which was an offer of an equivalent for Negapatnam. They offered some
establishments in Sumatra and Surat. Lately the Duke of Manchester has
received a courier, and has given an answer, that a real equivalent
might be accepted. No answer is given to any other point, and this is
vague; so that another courier must go to London and return.
Parliament is now up, and perhaps the Ministers may now be more
attentive, and less timorous.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Amsterdam, July 28th, 1783.


I find, upon inquiry, that there are in this Republic, at Amsterdam,
Rotterdam, and Dort, near one hundred and thirty sugar-houses. The
whole of the raw sugars produced in Surinam, Berbice, Essequibo, and
Demarara, are wrought in these houses; and, besides, raw sugars were
purchased in Bordeaux and Nantes, after being imported from the French
islands, in French bottoms. Raw sugars were also purchased in London,
which went under the general name of Barbadoes sugars, although they
were the growth of all the English Islands, and imported to London in
British bottoms. I have learnt further, that great quantities of raw
Brazil sugars were purchased in Lisbon, and that these were cheaper
than any of the others. All these raw sugars were imported into
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Dort, and there manufactured for
exportation. We must endeavor to obtain a share in this trade,
especially with Lisbon, or the Western Islands.

Since it is certain, that neither Portugal, France, nor England has
been able to manufacture all their raw sugars, but each of them sold
considerable quantities to the Dutch, I suppose that we may
undoubtedly purchase such sugars in future in Lisbon, Bordeaux,
Nantes, London, and perhaps Ireland, and carry them where we please,
either home to America, or to Amsterdam, or to any part of Europe, and
there sell them, and in this way promote our own carrying-trade, as
well as enable ourselves to make remittances. I cannot see why the
English, or French, should be averse to their sugars going to America
directly; and if they insist upon carrying them in their own ships,
we may still have enough of them. The Dutch have the most pressing
commercial motives to bring home their West India produce; yet they
would really gain the most by opening a free communication with us,
because they would the most suddenly make their colonies flourish by

Molasses and rum we shall have, probably, from all the islands,
English, French, and Dutch, in our own bottoms, unless the three
nations should agree together to keep the whole trade of their islands
in their own ships, which is not likely.

I have made all the inquiries I could, and have sown all the seeds I
could, in order to give a spur to our loan. Three thousand obligations
have been sold, and the other two thousand are signed; but at this
time there is a greater scarcity of money than ever was known. The
scarcity is so great, that the agio of the bank, which is commonly at
four or five per cent, fell to one and a half. The Directors, at
length, shut up the bank, and it continues shut. The English omnium,
which at first was sold for eight or ten per cent profit, fell to one
and a half. The scarcity of money will continue until the arrival of
the Spanish flotilla at Cadiz. Seven eighths of the treasures of that
flotilla will come here, and make money plenty. Then we may expect,
that my obligations will sell.

In the meantime, I have great pleasure in assuring you, that there is
not one foreign loan open in this Republic, which is in so good
credit, or goes so quick as mine. The Empress of Russia opened a loan
of five millions, about the same time that I opened mine. She is far
from having obtained three millions of it. Spain opened a loan with
the House of Hope, at the same time, for two millions only, and you
may depend upon it, it is very far from being full. Not one quarter
part of the loan of France upon life-rents, advantageous as it is to
the lender, is full. In short, there is not one power in Europe, whose
credit is so good here as ours. Russia and Spain, too, allow of
facilities to undertakers and others, in disposing of their
obligations, much more considerable than ours; yet all does not
succeed. You will see persons and letters in America, that will
affirm, that the Spanish loan is full, and that France and Spain can
have what money they please here. Believe me, this is all stockjobbing
gasconade. I have made very particular inquiries, and find the
foregoing account to be the truth. Of all the sons of men, I believe
the stockjobbers are the greatest liars. I know it has been given out,
that the Spanish loan, which was opened at Hope's, was full the first
day. This I know has been affirmed in the hearing of Americans, with a
confidence peculiar, and with a design, I suppose, that it should be
written or reported to Congress. But I am now assured, that it is so
far from being true, that it is not near full to this hour. Let me beg
of you, Sir, to give Mr Morris an extract of this, because I am so
pressed for time, that I cannot write to him.

Upon further inquiry concerning sugars, I find, that the Dutch were
used to purchase annually considerable quantities of the raw sugars of
Spain, as well as of France, England and Portugal. Some of these they
obtained by a clandestine trade between Curaçoa and Havana, and St
Domingo; but the greater part were purchased at Cadiz.

I suppose our merchants and musters of vessels will be as adroit at
inventing and executing projects of illicit trade, as others. But
this is a resource, that Congress and the States cannot depend on, nor
take into their calculations. Illicit trade will ever bear but a small
proportion to that which is permitted. And our governments should take
their measures for obtaining by legal and honorable means from Spain,
Portugal, France, England, Holland, and Denmark, all the productions
which our people may want for consumption, for manufacture, and for

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                           Amsterdam, July 28th, 1783.


Upon inquiry of those who best know, I see no probability of success
from any application to authority in this country, for reasons which I
have explained to our Minister of Foreign Affairs. Our only resource
is in the public opinion, and the favor of the nation.

I know of nothing which would operate so favorably upon the public, as
the arrival of a few vessels with cargoes of American produce,
addressed to your bankers, and appropriated to the payment of
interest. The report of such an event would greatly augment our
credit, by spreading the opinion of our ability and disposition to

It would be presumption in me, at this distance, to undertake to
advise you, who are upon the spot, and much better informed. But I beg
leave to suggest the question, whether an application of Congress to
the States would not succeed? Suppose Congress should represent to the
States the necessity of an exertion, in order to obtain a loan at
present, to enable you to satisfy the most urgent demands of the army,
and other public creditors, until the States can agree upon some
permanent establishment, and should recommend to each State to furnish
a cargo of its produce, in proportion to its rate upon the list. For
example, South Carolina and Georgia a quantity of rice or indigo;
Virginia and Maryland, of tobacco; Pennsylvania, of wheat or flour;
and the Northern States, of fish or any other thing. Suppose these
cargoes, which need not be expensive for the Thirteen States, should
be sent to Amsterdam or anywhere else in Europe, the proceeds of sale
to be remitted to Amsterdam to your bankers. The reputation of this,
if well planned, adopted, and executed, would give a strong impulsion
to your loan, if adopted here.

I am but just arrived, and have not yet seen our bankers. Saturday and
Sunday are usually spent at country seats. But before I leave this
place, I shall be able to inform you more precisely, whether you may
depend on anything from hence. No pains of mine shall be spared. The
British stocks are so low that we may hope for something. If a
Minister is sent to London, you should give him a commission to borrow
money. If he conducts the matter with secrecy and caution, he may
probably obtain a considerable sum there. There are monied men in that
country who wish us well. There are others who may easily be inspired
with more faith in our funds, than they can rationally have in their
own. If upon advising with proper persons, he should not judge it
prudent to open a loan there, he might easily put things in a train
for some individuals to purchase obligations in your loan in
Amsterdam. So dismal are the prospects in England, that many men are
on the wing to fly, and some would be willing to transfer their
property across the Atlantic.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, July 30th, 1783.


I have been the more particular in my letters to you concerning that
extensive manufacture and commerce of refined sugars in this country,
because the proximity of all the sugar colonies to us renders a share
in it naturally useful and convenient, both to us and them. Fifty
thousand hogsheads of raw sugar are annually wrought in this Republic,
and exported at a great profit to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia,
Poland, and Italy. At Amsterdam I visited a number of respectable
merchants, in order to discover their sentiments concerning the
communication between us and their Islands and sugar colonies. They
all agree, that St Eustatia and Curaçoa are and will be commercial
Islands, open and free to all our vessels. St Martin's is divided
between the French and Danes and the Dutch, whose share of it does not
flourish. The colonies upon the continent, Surinam, Berbice, Demarara,
and Essequibo, are at a greater distance from us. But they will be
open to our vessels and their cargoes, because they all agree, that
those colonies cannot subsist without our horses, lumber and
provisions, nor without the sale to us of their molasses. We shall be
allowed to take in return molasses, with which some quantities of
sugar, coffee, and other produce are always smuggled, as they say. But
although nothing has been as yet determined, it is the general
opinion, that the produce of the colonies must be brought home in
Dutch ships, as heretofore, molasses excepted.

From the Secretary of the West India Company I have obtained a few
minutes, in so bad French, that I almost despair of rendering them
intelligible. I have attempted it, however, in the following
translation, viz.

    "In the grant of the West India Company, renewed, or more
    properly newly erected, in the year 1700, continued in 1730,
    prolonged afterwards in the year 1760 for two years, and in
    the year 1762, from the first of January to the thirtyfirst
    of December, 1791, are found the limits fixed, only for the
    inhabitants of these Seven United Provinces, under the name
    of the United Company of these Provinces, upon the coasts and
    country of Africa, computing from the Tropic of Cancer to the
    southern latitude of the Equinoctial Line, with all the
    Islands in this district, situated upon the said coast, and
    particularly the Islands of St Thomas, Annebon, Islands of
    Principia and Fernando Po, as also the places of Essequibo
    and Baumenora, situated upon the Continental Coasts of
    America, as also the Islands of Curaçoa, Amaba and Buen Aire.
    All the other limits of the ancient grant being open for the
    commerce of all the inhabitants of the Republic, without
    exception, upon condition, however, that if the Company,
    oriental and occidental, should judge proper to navigate to
    the Islands situated between the coasts of Africa and
    America, beginning at the Ascension and further south, or any
    of them, and should occupy it before any other should have a
    private grant, with exclusion of all others for so long time
    as it shall occupy its places, and in case they should
    desist, these places should return under the second class,
    open for the navigation of every individual of the Republic,
    paying an acknowledgment, &c. That the said particulars,
    trading in the said districts, shall be obliged to
    acknowledge the Western Company, and to pay them for the
    right of convoy, and consequently in form of acknowledgment,
    viz. for the productions and merchandises for the West
    Indies, two per cent, and returning from thence into these
    Provinces, two per cent more for the commodities in return.
    And further, the ships navigating to places farther distant
    in America, contained in the ancient grant, both in going and
    returning, should pay five florins per last, or more or less
    as their High Mightinesses shall judge proper to determine
    hereafter; observing, nevertheless, that these five florins
    per last shall not be demanded of ships navigating to the
    Caribee Islands, which shall pay the ordinary duty for convoy
    to the Colleges of the Admiralty from which they sail, and
    the said private navigators shall be held, moreover, for the
    satisfaction of the Western Company, to give sufficient
    caution, that they will not navigate, nor cause to be
    navigated, the places contained in the first class, ceded to
    the Company with exclusion of all others. And if any one is
    found to act contrary, and to navigate to any place situated
    in the prescribed limits, and granted to the Company, his
    ship and cargo shall be confiscated and attacked in force, by
    the ships belonging to the said Company; and if such ships
    and merchandises or commodities, shall be sold or entered
    into any other country or foreign port, the owner and his
    accomplice shall be liable to execution, for the value of the
    said ships and merchandises or commodities.

    "The Company has also the right to require an acknowledgment
    of all those who shall navigate, import or export any
    merchandise to or from places belonging to the said Company,
    notwithstanding they may be subject, and may belong to the
    domination of other Kings or Princes, situated within the
    limits stipulated in the grant; and especially of every
    foreign vessel, bringing any commodities or merchandises from
    the West Indies, or the limits stipulated in the grants into
    the Provinces, whether upon its own account, or freight, or
    on commission, whether such foreign vessel shall come
    directly from the West Indies; and the limits of the grant,
    into the Provinces, or whether she shall have carried her
    cargo to other countries or kingdoms, for what reason soever
    this may be done. Excepting only in case the merchandises of
    the proprietor should by negotiation be changed in nature,
    and that the duty of this country fixed to the place should
    be paid, which any one alleging shall be obliged to prove
    sufficiently, according to the amount of the merchandises.
    Declaring, moreover, for the further elucidation of the said
    grant, that under the name of the New Low Countries, in
    consequence of the three per cent, which the Company has a
    right to require for the merchandises sent there, or brought
    from thence, is understood that part of North America, which
    extends itself west and south of the northern part of
    Newfoundland as far as the Cape of Florida, and for what
    regards the payment of the two per cent under the name of the
    West Indies, to be computed from the Cape of Florida, to the
    river Oronoco, and the Islands of Curaçoa. For what concerns
    the other places of America, contained in the most ancient
    and precedent grant, in regard to the five florins per last,
    upon the vessels there navigating, shall be understood all
    the Carribee Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Porto
    Rico, as also all the other coasts and countries, computing
    from the river Oronoco aforesaid, by the straits of Magellan,
    Le Maire, or other passages or straits, situated under these,
    as far as the strait of Aryan, both upon the sea of the
    north, and the Islands situated upon the other side, and
    between them, as also the southern countries, situated
    between the two meridians, touching at the east the Cape of
    Good Hope, and in the west the eastern part of New Guinea,

If this paper is not very clear to Congress, it is not more so to me,
and perhaps to the Dutch themselves. There is a dispute likely to
arise between the West India Company and the College of the Admiralty
about it, which will be explained further as it proceeds, by whatever
Minister you may send here.

Upon the whole matter of our communications with the European
establishments in the West Indies; we shall carry freely our
commodities to the French and Dutch, excepting, perhaps, flour to the
French, which however will be carried, I suppose, to St Lucia and Port
Royal, as well as St Eustatia and Curaçoa, St Thomas's and St
Martin's, and there sold to any nation that will purchase it. Molasses
and rum we shall bring away freely from the French and Dutch. And if
we can obtain of them the liberty of carrying sugars, coffee, &c. from
their possessions in the West Indies to their ports in Europe, giving
bonds with surety to land them in such ports, it will be as much as we
can expect. If they will allow raw sugars, coffee, cotton, &c. to be
sent freely to the United States in their own vessels, this would be
an advantage for us, though not so considerable as to bring them in
ours. What the English will do is uncertain. We are not to take the
late proclamation for a law of the Medes. The Ministry who made it
are not firm in their seats. If Shelburne comes in we shall do better;
and, to be prepared to take advantage of so probable an event, you
should have a Minister ready. We have one infallible resource, if we
can unite in laying a duty or a prohibition. But this measure must not
be hastily taken, because by negotiation, I apprehend, the point may
be carried in England. To this end it may be proper to instruct your
Minister, and authorise him to say, that the States will find
themselves obliged, against their inclination, to lay a prohibition or
heavy duty upon all West India goods imported, and all American
productions exported in British bottoms, if the trade is not regulated
by treaty upon an equitable footing.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, July 31st, 1783.


The last evening at Court in the house in the Grove, where all the
foreign Ministers supped, the Count Montagnini de Mirabel, the
Minister Plenipotentiary from the King of Sardinia, took an
opportunity to enter largely into conversation with me. As he and I
were at a party of politics, while the greatest part of the company
were at cards, for two or three hours, we ran over all the world, but
nothing occurred worth repeating except what follows.

The Count said, that his advice to Congress would be to write a
circular letter to every power in Europe, as soon as the definitive
treaty should be signed, and transmit with it a printed copy of the
treaty. In the letter, Congress should announce, that on the 4th of
July, 1776, the United States had declared themselves a sovereign
State, under the style and title of the United States of America; that
France, on the 6th of February, 1778, had acknowledged them; that the
States-General had done the same on the 19th of April, 1782; that
Great Britain, on the 30th of November, 1782, had signed with them a
treaty of peace, in which she had fully acknowledged their
sovereignty; that Sweden had entered into a treaty with them, on the
5th of February, 1783; and that Great Britain had concluded the
definitive treaty under the mediation of the two Empires, if that
should be the fact, &c. Such a notification to all the other powers
would be a regular procedure, a piece of politeness, which would be
very well received, and the letter would be respectfully answered by
every power in the world, and these written answers would be explicit,
and undeniable acknowledgments of our sovereignty.

It might have been proper to make this communication in form,
immediately after the declaration of independence; it might have been
more proper to do it after the signature of the provisional treaty;
but that it was expected it would be done after the definitive treaty.
That these circular letters might be transmitted to your Ministers for
peace, or such of them as may remain, or to any of your Ministers in
Europe, to be by them delivered to the Ministers at the Court where
they are, or transmitted any other way. That Congress must be very
exact in the etiquette of titles, as this was indispensable, and the
letters could not be answered nor received without it. That we might
have these titles at the Count de Vergennes' office with precision,

The Count then proceeded to commerce, and said, that all the cabinets
of Europe had lately turned their views to commerce, so that we should
be attended to and respected by all of them. He thought we should find
our account in a large trade in Italy, every part of which had a
constant demand for our tobacco, and salt-fish, at least. The
dominions of the King, his master, could furnish us in exchange,
oranges, citrons, olives, oil, raisins, figs, anchovies, coral, lead,
sulphur, alum, salt, marble of the finest quality and gayest colors,
manufactures of silk, especially silk stockings twenty per cent
cheaper than France, hemp, and cordage. He said, we might have great
advantages in Italy in another respect. We had it in our power to
become the principal carriers for the people of Italy, who have little
skill or inclination for navigation or commerce. The (_cabotage_)
carrying-trade of Italy had been carried on by the English, French,
and Dutch; the English had now lost it, the French had some of it, but
the Dutch the most, who made an immense profit of it; for to his
knowledge they sold in the Baltic, and even in Holland, many Italian
productions, at a profit of five or six for one. That we should have
the advantage of them all. By bringing our tobacco and fish to Italy,
we might unload at some of their ports, take in cargoes upon freight
for other ports of Italy, and thus make coasting voyages, until we had
made up our cargoes for return, or we might take in cargoes on freight
for Germany, or the Baltic. The Dutch, he said, would be the greatest
losers by this rivalry, but as long as the Italians and Americans
would be honestly gainers, neither need be anxious for that. That
there was a very good port in his master's dominions, which was
perfectly free, where we might go in and out at pleasure, without
being subject to duties, searches, or visits.

We then made a transition to Turkey; the Count could not, for his
part, blame the Emperor for wishing to open the navigation of the
Danube; his kingdom of Hungary was one of the finest countries in the
world; it was one of the most fertile, producing in great abundance
wines of various sorts, all excellent, though Tokay was the best;
grains of every sort in great quantities, metals of all sorts, gold,
silver, copper, iron, quicksilver; yet all these blessings of nature
were rendered in a manner useless by the slavery of the Danube. The
Emperor was very unfortunate, in having the Danube enslaved on one
side, and the Scheldt on the other; and in this age, when the liberty
of navigation and commerce was the universal cry, he did not wonder at
his impatience under it. He did not think, that England would meddle
in the dispute, as her trade to the Levant had declined. The Dutch had
some still, but France had now the greatest part of it to Smyrna,
Alexandria, Aleppo, in short, to all the trading towns of Turkey in
Asia, for this is what is understood by the Levant trade. France, he
thought, could not venture to engage in the war in earnest, in the
present state of her finances.

I have learnt, since I came here, that France is desirous that this
Republic should declare herself concerning this Turkish war. But she
will avoid it. Unhappily, France has lost much of her influence here.
Her friends fear, that the odium of losing Negapatnam will fall upon
them among the people. The English and the Stadtholderians are
endeavoring to detach the Republic entirely from France, and to revive
the ancient connexions, particularly the ancient alliance, offensive
and defensive in the treaty of 1674. A Mr Shirley, at Paris, has
lately proposed to M. Boers, and M. Van der Pere, two agents of the
Dutch East India Company, who have been a year or two at Paris, and
are reputed to be in the Stadtholder's interest, that England had the
best dispositions towards the Republic, and would give them ample
satisfaction if they would treat distinctly from France, and renew the
ancient cordial friendship, and proposed an interview with the Dutch
Ambassadors upon this subject. The agents proposed it, but Brantzen
refused, to the great satisfaction of the principal republicans. Yet
M. Berenger tells me, that some of the republican members begin to be
afraid, and to think they shall be obliged to fall in with the

Upon conversing with many people in the government and out of it, in
Amsterdam as well as the Hague, they all complain to me of the conduct
of France. They all confess, that the Republic has not done so much in
the war as she ought, but this is the fault of the friends of England,
they say, not those of France, and the worst evils of all, that befall
the latter, are the reproaches of the former, who now say insultingly,
"this comes of confiding in France, we always told you, that you would
be cheated," &c. France ought, they say, to have considered this, and
not have imputed to the Republic the faults of her enemies, because
the punishment falls wholly on her friends.

I mention these things to you, because, although we are not
immediately interested in them, they may have consequences which may
affect us; and, therefore, you ought to know them. I think, however,
upon the whole, the Republic will stand firm, and refuse to receive
the alliance, though they sacrifice Negapatnam. France wishes to win
the Republic into an alliance, but feels an awkwardness about
proposing it, and, indeed, I doubt whether she would now succeed; she
might have succeeded heretofore. But, in plain English, Sir, the
Count de Vergennes has no conception of the right way of negotiating
with any free people, or with any assembly, aristocratical or
democratical. He cannot enter into the motives which govern them; he
never penetrates their real system, and never appears to comprehend
their constitution. With empires, and monarchs, and their Ministers of
State, he negotiates aptly enough.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          The Hague, August 1st, 1783.


I had last evening some conversation with D. Joas Theolonico de
Almeida, the Envoy Extraordinary of Portugal, who desired to meet me
today at any hour at his house or mine. I promised to visit him at
twelve, which I did.

He said, he had heard that the French Minister had proposed to the
Duke of Manchester, at Versailles, to reduce the duties upon French
wines in England to the level of those upon Portugal wines, and begged
of me to inform him if it were true, because, if it were, Portugal
must endeavor to indemnify herself by opening a trade with America, or
some other way, for such a project will be ruinous to the sale of
their wines in England, which was their only market. I answered, that
I had heard of such a project among multitudes of others in private
conversation, but knew no authority for it. We have a treaty, says he,
made in 1703, by which we have stipulated with the English, to permit
the importation of their cloths, upon condition that they allow the
importation of Portugal wines upon paying one third of the duty upon
French wines; if they violate the treaty, says he, we shall be rid of

I asked him, if his Court permitted the English, or any other nation,
to go to the Brazils? In the last century, said he, between 1660 and
1670, we did agree with Charles the Second, who married a daughter of
Portugal, that the English should go to the Brazils, and after that,
the Dutch sued for permission to go there too, and we granted it. But
we found it inconvenient, and in 1714 or 1715, at the treaty of
Utrecht, we agreed upon an article with Spain, to exclude all nations
from the Brazils, and as the English Ambassadors were there, we have
since held that nation bound, and have confiscated their vessels as
well as the Dutch which venture there. The English have sometimes made
strong remonstrances, but we have always told them, if we admit you,
we must admit the Dutch too, and such has been their jealousy of the
Dutch, and dread of their rivalry, that this has always quieted them,
choosing rather to be excluded themselves, than that the Dutch should
be admitted. So that this commerce has been a long time carried on in
Portuguese ships only, and directly between the Brazils and Lisbon.

I asked him, whether we might not have free communication with all
their Western Islands, and whether one or all of them might not be
made a depot for the produce of the Brazils, so that Portuguese ships
might stop and deposit cargoes there, and American vessels take them?
He said, he would write about it to his Court by the next post. At
present, Brazil communicated only with Lisbon, and, perhaps, it might
be difficult for government to secure the duties at the Western
Islands. I asked, if there were any refineries of sugar at Lisbon? He
said, none. Their sugars had all been brought here by the Dutch for
refining; that all their carrying-trade with other parts of Europe had
been carried on by the English and Dutch; that their mercantile
navigation (_marine marchand_) before this war, had been upon a very
poor footing, but it was now much changed, and they began to carry on
their trade in their own vessels. I observed, if their trade should
continue to be carried on by others, it must be indifferent to them
whether it were done in English, Dutch, or American vessels, provided
it was done to their equal advantage. But if they should persist in
the desire to conduct it in their own vessels, they might purchase
ships ready built in America cheaper than they could build them or buy
them elsewhere. All this, he said, was true. That they could supply us
with sugars, coffee, cocoa, Brazil wood, and even with tea, for they
had an island, called Macao, near China, which was a flourishing
establishment, and sent them annually a good deal of tea, which the
Dutch usually bought very cheap at Lisbon to sell again.

He asked, whether Portugal wines had been much used in America. I
answered, that Port wines, common Lisbon, and Caracavalles, had been
before the war frequently used, and that Madeira was esteemed above
all other wine. That it was found equally wholesome and agreeable, in
the heats of summer and the colds of winter, so that it would probably
continue to be preferred, though there was no doubt that a variety of
French wines would now be more commonly used than heretofore. He said,
they should have occasion for a great deal of our fish, grain, and
perhaps ships or ship-timber, and naval stores, and other things, and
he thought there was a prospect of a very beneficial trade with us,
and he would write largely to his Court upon it. I replied, that I
wondered his Court had not sent a Minister to Philadelphia, where the
members and Ministers of Congress, and even the merchants of the city,
might throw much light upon the subject, and assist in framing a
treaty to the greatest possible advantage for both countries. He said,
he would write for a commission and instructions to negotiate a treaty
with me. I told him, that I believed his Court had already instructed
their Ambassador at Versailles to treat with Dr Franklin; but that I
thought that Philadelphia or Lisbon were the proper places to treat,
and that I feared mutual advantages might be lost by this method of
striking up a bargain in haste in a distant country, between Ministers
who could not be supposed to have made of commerce a study.

In a letter from Paris yesterday, I am informed that a project of a
treaty with Portugal, and another with Denmark, are to go home by
Captain Barney.[9] These projects have never been communicated to me,
nor to Mr Jay. I hope that Congress will not be in haste to conclude
them, but take time to inform themselves of everything which may be
added to the mutual advantage of the nations and countries concerned.
I am much mistaken, if we have not lost advantages by a similar piece
of cunning in the case of Sweden.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[9] For these treaties, and some account of them, see _Franklin's
Correspondence_, Vol. IV. pp. 114, 115, 130, 141, 150.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, August 2d, 1783.


M. Berenger, the Secretary of the French Legation, has this moment
left me. He came in to inform me of the news. The Empress of Russia
has communicated to the King of Prussia, a treaty of alliance between
the Emperor of Germany and her, defensive against the Christian powers
and offensive against the Turks. The King of Prussia has answered her,
"that he is very sensible, upon this communication, as one is upon the
communication of things of great importance." Thus wrapped up in an
impenetrable reserve is this great warrior and statesman. We may
discern by this answer, what all the world would know without it, viz.
that his Majesty has no joy in this new alliance. Still he expresses
no sorrow; and maintains a perfect liberty to take which side he will,
or neither, at his pleasure, and the same reserve he will probably
hold to the end of the war.

M. Berenger says, if Prussia is neutral France must be so too, for she
cannot cope by land with the two Empires; that this Republic is
desired to declare, but does not choose it; that they are
dissatisfied, and the republicans murmur a good deal, and are
wavering, and that the other party will do nothing; that England
hitherto has favored an accommodation between Russia and the Turks;
that the British Ambassador, at Constantinople, has co-operated with
the French to bring about an accommodation; that the Turks have
offered Russia the free navigation of the Black Sea and passage of the
Dardanelles, and the same with a free navigation of the Danube to the
Emperor, but they will not accept it, but are determined to drive the
Turks from Europe; that France has determined to put her army upon a
war footing, because it has been much neglected during the late war;
that he believes France and Spain will shut the Mediterranean against
a Turkish fleet, as Russia, Sweden, and Denmark excluded warlike
vessels from the Baltic in the last war; that this state of things
gives him great pain, and must embarrass the Count de Vergennes. It is
a great and difficult question, whether France should take a side. If
she does not, and the Empires should prevail, it will be an immense
aggrandizement of the House of Austria, which, with Russia, will
become two great maritime powers; that England will act an insidious
part; pretend to favor peace, secretly foment war, and join in, at the
end, if she sees a favorable opportunity to crush France. These are
sensible observations of M. Berenger, who added, that a new difficulty
in the way of the definitive treaty had arisen between England and
Spain, respecting the Musquito shore, so that more couriers must go
and return.

I confess myself as much in pain at this state of things as M.
Berenger, and, therefore, I wish most ardently, that we may omit no
proper means of settling our question with every Court in Europe, and
especially our plan of commerce with Great Britain. If this is too
long left in uncertainty, the face of things may soon change, so as to
involve us in the complicated, extensive, and long war, which seems to
be now opening.

The prospect of returning to Paris, and living there without my
family, in absolute idleness, at a time when so many and so great
things want to be done for our country elsewhere, is very
disagreeable. If we must live there, waiting for the moving of many
waters, and treaties are to be there negotiated with the powers of
Europe, or only with Denmark and Portugal, I pray that we may all be
joined in the business, as we are in the commission for peace, that,
at least, we may have the satisfaction of knowing what is done, and of
giving a hint for the public good, if any one occurs to us, and that
we may not be made the sport and ridicule of all Europe, as well as of
those who contrive such humiliations for us.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, August 3d, 1783.


The fiscal systems of the powers of Europe have such an ill influence
on commerce, that they deserve the serious attention of Congress and
their Ministers, whenever they have under consideration a treaty with
any foreign power. In conversation yesterday with M. d'Asp, the
_Chargé d'Affaires_ of Sweden, I inquired of him what imposts were
payable in their ports upon the importation and exportation of
merchandises, and observed to him, that I had lately seen in the
gazettes, that the King had taken off certain duties upon the
importation of merchandises from America, in Swedish ships. He agreed
that such a thing had been done. This ought to alarm us. All the
powers of Europe, who are called neutral, have felt a sudden increase
of their navigation in the course of the late war, and the profits
they have made have excited a desire to augment it still further. If
they should generally exact duties of our ships, and none of their own
upon the importation of our produce, this will be as great a
discouragement to our navigation as it will be an encouragement to
theirs. Whether this has been attended to in the treaty with Sweden I
know not, for I have not seen it. But it ought to be carefully
considered by those who negotiate the treaties with Denmark and
Portugal, the Emperor and Empress, and all other powers. We have a
good right to insist, that no distinction shall be made in their ports
between their ships and ours; that we should pay in their ports no
higher duties than they pay in ours.

I should think it therefore advisable for Congress to instruct their
negotiators, to endeavor to obtain equity in this respect. This is the
time for it, if ever. If we cannot obtain it by negotiation, we must
think and talk of doing ourselves justice by making similar
distinctions in our own ports between our vessels and theirs. But here
again comes in the difficulty of uniting our States in such measures;
a difficulty which must be surmounted, or our commerce, navigation,
and marine will still be ruined, notwithstanding the conservation of
the fisheries. It deserves to be considered by whom this new method of
huddling up treaties at Paris is contrived, and for what purposes. It
may well be conjectured, that it is done with the secret intention of
preventing these things from being attended to; for there are persons
who had rather that any other people should have navigation than the
Americans. I have good reason to believe that it was known at
Versailles, that Mr Dana had well digested his thoughts upon this
subject, which was reason enough for some people to endeavor to take
Sweden out of his hands, in whose department it was. Their success is
much to be lamented.[10]

I had yesterday and the day before long conversations with the Baron
Van der Capellen de Pal, and M. Gyselaer. They both complain to me, in
the most pathetic terms, of the cruel situation of the friends of
America and France in this Republic. They both say, that they are
looking round every way like drowning men for support. The Province of
Friesland, their great dependence, wavers, and many of their
fellow-laborers are discouraged. They both inquired of me very
earnestly, if closer connexions could not be formed with us; if we
could not agree to warrant to each other the liberty of navigation, or
enter into an alliance, offensive and defensive. They see they shall
be obliged to make a shameful peace, and that the blame of it will
fall upon them, which will give a triumph to the Court, and put their
persons even in danger. They say, the King of France, by his
Ambassador, in July, 1782, gave them a positive assurance that he
would never separate his cause from theirs. In consequence of this,
they had instructed their Ambassadors never to separate their cause
from his. On their part the agreement had been sacredly observed, but
not on the other. With Great Britain enraged against them, with a
formidable party in the Republic furious against them, with the King
of Prussia threatening them, and abandoned by France, their prospects
are, they say, as disagreeable as can be conceived.

There are many appearances of designs to excite the people to
seditions, and I think it probable that the Court of London studies
delays of the Definitive Treaty in this hope. I still believe,
however, that the people will be wise and the Republic firm, and
submit to the immense losses of the war, and that of Negapatnam,
rather than renew their old submission to the Court and to England.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[10] The plan of the treaty with Sweden was sent out to Dr Franklin by
Congress, and adopted with hardly a verbal alteration. See the plan,
and the treaty as adopted, in the Secret Journals of Congress, Vol.
III. pp. 227, 369.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             Paris, August 10th, 1783.


On the 6th I left the Hague, and last night arrived here. I had
several interviews, on some of the last days at the Hague, which I had
not time to give you an account of, as a great part of my time was
taken up with visits to take leave of the Court, the President, the
Grand Pensionary, Greffier, &c. ceremonies which must be repeated at
every coming and going, and upon many other occasions, to the no small
interruption of business of more importance.

I asked the Count de Sanafeé, the Spanish Minister, with whom I have
always lived upon very good terms, whether it might not be possible to
persuade his Court, that it would be good policy for them to allow to
the citizens of the United States of America a free port, in some of
their islands at least, if not upon the Continent of South America? He
said he did not know; that he thought, however, his Court would be
afraid of the measure, as free ports were nests of smugglers, and
afforded many facilities of illicit trade, (_le commerce interlope_.)

I asked him further, whether measures might not be taken at Madrid, to
the end that the sugars, coffee, cocoa, &c. of their Colonies might be
carried to the free ports of France, Holland, and Denmark, in the West
Indies or one of them, in Spanish vessels, that they might be there
purchased by Americans? He said he was not able to foresee any
objection against this. I asked him again, what objections there
could be to admitting American vessels to the Spanish Islands of Cuba
and Hispaniola, to carry their produce and purchase molasses, as they
did in the French and Dutch Colonies. Such a commerce would be useful
and profitable both to them and to us. He said that he could not
pretend to give any opinion upon any of these points. But that we must
negotiate them at Madrid. I hope Congress will instruct their Minister
at the Court of Madrid to propose all these things, and endeavor to
obtain them.

The Portuguese Envoy, Don Almeida, returned my visit, and brought with
him a copy of the treaty between Spain and Portugal, made at Utrecht
in 1715. This treaty was signed under the warranty of Great Britain,
and one article of it is, that each nation shall confine the commerce
with its possessions in America to its own subjects. I had much
satisfaction in the conversation of this Minister, who, though a young
man, appears possessed of more than common intelligence, and a desire
to inform himself of everything which can affect his nation. He is, as
he told me, a nephew of the present Prime Minister at the Court of
Lisbon. He says, that the _King his master_, (a style which they
continue to use, although the Queen is the sovereign, and her husband
is but her subject) allows but sixty thousand Dutch guilders a year to
his Ambassador at Versailles, which not being sufficient for his
expenses at that Court, he is continued there because he is very rich;
but that he is not a man of business.

He again enlarged upon the subject of Portuguese navigation, which has
been prettily increased, (_tres joliment augmenté_) during the late
war, and would have been still doubled if the war had continued
another year; that their merchants and mariners had pushed their
navigation with more spirit than skill; had sent their wines and other
things in prize vessels purchased in France and Spain, all over
Europe; but that their seamen not being experienced, many vessels had
been lost, so that the price of insurance was ten per cent with them,
when it was not more then three or four with other neutral nations;
that the profits had nevertheless been so considerable, as to excite a
strong inclination still to increase their shipping and
carrying-trade. These observations are worth repeating to Congress,
because all the other neutral powers have felt a like advantage. The
commerce of the northern powers was so increased, and had turned the
course of business that way to such a degree, as occasioned to the
Danish Minister at Versailles, for example, a loss of forty per cent
upon his salary. So much was exchange affected.

The late belligerent powers, having observed this sudden increase of
the commerce of the neutrals, and that it was owing to the sudden
growth of their navigation, are alarmed. So that the attention of all
the commercial nations is now turned to navigation, carrying-trade,
coasting-trade, &c. more than ever. We should be apprised of this, and
upon our guard. Our navigation and carrying-trade is not to be
neglected. We have great advantages for many branches of it, and have
a right to claim our natural share in it.

This morning I went out to Passy, and found from Dr Franklin and Mr
Jay, that nothing farther had been done since my departure, but to
deliver to Mr Hartley a fair copy of the project of a definitive
treaty, which I had left with my colleagues; that Mr Laurens had been
here in my absence, and returned to England; that he was of opinion,
the present British Ministry would not remain a fortnight; that Mr
Hartley had been seven weeks without a letter from his principals, and
then received only an apology for not having written, a promise to
write soon, and authority to assure the American Ministers that all
would go well. These last are words of course. There are but three
ways in which I can account for this conduct of the British Ministry.
1st. The fact is, that they foresee a change, and do not choose to
commit themselves, but wish to reserve everything for the foundation
of a future opposition, that they may attack the definitive treaty
which may be made by a future Ministry, as they attacked the
provisional and preliminary one, made by the last. 2dly. That they are
exciting secretly and insidiously the troubles in the north, in hopes
of involving France, and then assuming a higher tone. 3dly. That they
are in expectation, that seditions may be excited in Holland, and the
Dutch induced to renounce France, and renew the ancient alliance with

I see no more appearance of the definitive treaty, than I have done
these six months. Mr Hartley, I am told by Mr Jay, thinks that the
French Court wish to delay the signature; that they do not wish to see
the peace finished between England and America, while matters are
uncertain in the north. There are so many considerations on both sides
of the question, whether the French Minister wishes to finish soon or
not, that it is hard to decide it. Neither Court possibly is very
zealous to finish, while so great a scene as the northern war lies
under so much obscurity.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             Paris, August 13th, 1783.


Yesterday I went to Court with Dr Franklin, and presented to the Count
de Vergennes our project of a definitive treaty, who told us he would
examine it and give us his sentiments upon it.

It was Ambassadors' day, and I had conversations with a number of
Ministers, of which it is proper I should give you an account.

The Dutch Ambassador, Berkenrode, told me, that last Saturday the
Count de Vergennes went to Paris, and dined with the Imperial
Ambassador, the Count de Mercy, in company with the Duke of
Manchester, the Count d'Aranda, the Prince Bariatinski, and M.
Markoff, with their Secretaries; that after dinner the Secretaries in
presence of all the Ministers read over, compared, and corrected the
definitive treaties between France and Great Britain, and between
Spain and Great Britain, and finally agreed upon both. So that they
are now ready for signature by the Ministers of Great Britain, France,
and Spain as principals, and by those of the two Imperial Courts as

The Duke of Manchester told me, that Mr Hartley's courier, who carried
our project of a treaty, arrived in London last Saturday, and might be
expected here on next Saturday on his return.

In the evening, on my return from Versailles, Mr Hartley called upon
me at my house, and informed me, that he had just received a courier
from Westminster, who had brought him the ratification of our
provisional treaty, under the King's own hand, and under the great
seal of the kingdom, enclosed in a silver box, ornamented with golden
tassels as usual, which he was ready to exchange tomorrow morning. He
informed me farther, that he had received very satisfactory letters
from the Duke of Portland and Mr Fox, and the strongest assurances,
that the dispositions of his Court were very good to finish
immediately, and to arrange all things upon the best footing; that he
had farther received plenary authority to sign the definitive treaty
tomorrow, or tonight, if we pleased; that he had received a draft
ready formed, which he would show us.

We agreed to go together in the morning to my colleagues, and this
morning we went out in Mr Hartley's carriage, exchanged the
ratifications, and he produced to us his project of a definitive
treaty. It is the provisional treaty in so many words; without
addition or diminution. It is only preceded with a preamble, which
makes it a definitive treaty. And he proposed to us, that all matters
of discussion respecting commerce or other things should be left to be
discussed by Ministers, to be mutually appointed to reside in London
and Philadelphia. We told him, that it had been proposed to us, that
the Ministers of the two Imperial Courts should sign the treaty as
mediators, and that we had answered, that we had no objection to it.

He said, he had unanswerable ones. First, he had no authority, and
could not obtain any certainly under ten days, nor probably ever. For
secondly, it would, he thought, give great offence to his Court, and
they never would agree that any nation should interfere between them
and America. Thirdly, for his part, he was fully against it, and
should write his opinion to his Court. If he was about to marry his
daughter, or set up a son in the world, after he was of age, he would
never admit any of his neighbors to interfere, and sign any contract
he might make, as mediators. There was no need of it.

We told him there was no need of warmth upon the occasion, or any
pretence for his Court to take offence; that it had been proposed to
us, that the Imperial Ministers should sign as mediators. Our answer
had been, that we had no objections, that we were willing and ready to
consent to it, or even to request it. His Court had a right to consent
or dissent, as it thought proper. To be sure, the mediation could not
take place without their consent. That he might write to his Court the
proposition, and if he received orders to consent or dissent, it would
be equally well. In the meantime, we were ready to sign the definitive
treaty, either with or without the mediation, whenever the other
parties were ready to sign, according to his project just received
from his Court, that is, simply a repetition of the provisional

We have agreed to this, because it is plain, that all propositions for
alterations in the provisional articles will be an endless discussion,
and that we must give more than we can hope to receive. The critical
state of things in England, and at the Court of Versailles, and in all
the rest of Europe, affords pressing motives to get this business

Mr Hartley told us from his Court, that they had expected an American
Minister at St James's these three months, and that all further
matters might be there discussed.

He also announced to us the birth of another Princess, the fifteenth
child of the Queen, upon which event he received our congratulations,
which I hope Congress will approve and repeat by their Minister in
London; for these personal and family compliments are more attended
to in Courts, and have greater effects than may be imagined.

I lament very much, that we cannot obtain an explanation of the
article respecting the refugees, and that respecting debts; but it is
plain, we must give more than they are worth for such explanations;
and what is of more decisive importance, we must make a long delay,
and put infinitely greater things at hazard by this means.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             Paris, August 13th, 1783.


The question before the French cabinet, whether they shall involve
themselves in a war against two Christian Empires, in order to support
a Turkish one, is of a serious nature on many accounts. If the Turks
should be driven out of Europe, France would lose some of the Levant
trade, and some of the coasting trade of Italy; and these commercial
and naval considerations are enforced by others, which lie deeper in
the human heart, the ancient rivalry between the great Houses of
Bourbon and Austria, and between the vast countries of Germany and
France, and between all the lesser powers, which depend upon them. To
these considerations is to be added, that an Austrian Princess is now
upon the throne of France, to whom it is no doubt a melancholy
consideration, that there is danger of a war between a husband and a

The city politicians are looking out for alliances with Prussia,
Holland, and even England, but can find none. It cannot be expected
that either will engage; yet the French Minister has gone far towards
compromising his master, by augmenting the array to a war
establishment, and by threatening to shut up the Mediterranean Sea.

In this posture of affairs, it is not surprising, that there should be
a fermentation at Versailles, and since my return to Paris, I find it
is the general topic of conversation. Monsieur de Breteuil, late
Ambassador to the Court of Vienna, who is supposed to be esteemed by
the Queen, and connected with her friends, is lately, about a
fortnight ago, called to the King's council, and the Maréschal de
Castries, who is in the same interest, is said to be new modelling the
subordinate offices in his department.

From these, and many other considerations, it is generally concluded,
that Count de Vergennes' continuance in the Ministry is precarious. Mr
Hartley last night and today began conversation with me upon the
subject, and is very sanguine that his Minister will continue in place
but a very short time, and assures me that the Duke of Manchester is
of the same opinion. I pretend to form no opinion, because I have ever
carefully avoided conversations and connexions, which might be
misinterpreted into an attachment to persons or parties in this

I know, that for the last nine months many sensible people have
thought this Minister in a tottering situation; others think he will
weather out the storm, which all people agree is preparing for him.
Time will discover. One thing is agreed on all hands, that he is not
in favor with the Queen, and as he has taken up the cause in a pretty
high tone against the Emperor and Empress, if he should be now
displaced, Congress, I think, may infer from it, that France will not
take a part in the war; on the contrary, if he remains, it is probable
she will.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             Paris, August 13th, 1783.


Yesterday at Versailles, the Baron de Walterstorff came to me and told
me he had delivered to Dr Franklin, a project of a treaty between the
Court of Denmark and the United States, and asked me if Dr Franklin
had shown it to me? I answered him, that I knew nothing of it. He
said, he wondered at that, he presumed it was because of my absence at
the Hague, for that it had been shown to Mr Jay. There by the way he
was misinformed, for upon my return from Versailles, I called upon Mr
Jay on purpose to ask him, and he assured me he had not seen it. I
asked Walterstorff, if his orders were to propose his project to us
all. He said no, this Court had been informed, that Dr Franklin was
the Minister authorised and empowered by Congress to treat with all
the powers of Europe, and they had for this reason sent him orders to
deliver the project to Dr Franklin, but he supposed Dr Franklin would
consult his colleagues. The same information, I doubt not, has been
given to the Court of Portugal, and every other Court in Europe, viz.
that Dr Franklin is alone empowered to treat with them; and in
consequence of it, very probably, propositions have been or will be
made to him from all of them, and he will keep the whole as secret as
he can from Mr Jay, Mr Laurens, Mr Dana, and me.[11]

Now I beg to be informed by Congress, whether he has such authority or
not? Having never been informed of such powers, I do not believe he
has them. I remember there was seven years ago a resolution of
Congress, that their Commissioners at Versailles should have power to
treat with other powers of Europe; but upon the dissolution of that
commission this authority was dissolved with it; or if not, it still
resides in Mr Deane, Mr Lee, and myself, who were once in that
commission, as well as Dr Franklin. And if it is by virtue of this
power he acts, he ought at least to communicate with me, who alone am
present. I think, however, that neither he nor I have any legal
authority, and therefore that he ought to communicate everything of
this kind to all the Ministers here or hereabout, Mr Jay, Mr Laurens,
and myself, at least.

It is not from the vain wish of seeing my poor name upon a treaty,
that I write this. If the business is well done, it is not of much
importance in itself who does it.

But my duty to my country obliges me to say, that I seriously believe
this clandestine manner of smuggling treaties is contrived by European
politicians on purpose, that Mr Jay and I may not have an opportunity
of suggesting ideas for the preservation of American navigation,
transport-trade, and nurseries of seamen. But in another point of view
it is of equal importance. This method reflects contempt and ridicule
on your other Ministers. When all Europe sees, that a number of your
Ministers are kept here as a kind of satellites to Dr Franklin in the
affair of peace, but that they are not to be consulted or asked a
question, or even permitted to know the important negotiations which
are here going on with all Europe, they fall into contempt. It cannot
be supposed that Congress mean to cast this contempt upon us, because
it cannot be supposed they mean to destroy the reputation, character,
influence, and usefulness of those to whom in other respects they
intrust powers of so much consequence; and therefore I am persuaded,
that Congress is as much imposed on by it as the Courts of Europe are.

I asked the Baron, what was the substance of the treaty. He said his
Court had taken for a model, my treaty with Holland. I said nothing to
him in answer to this, but I beg leave to say to Congress, that the
negotiation with Holland was in very different circumstances. We were
then in the fiercest rage of the war. A treaty with that Republic was
at that time of as much weight in the war, as the captivity of
Burgoyne or Cornwallis. A treaty with any power was worth a battle or
a siege, and no moments of time were to be lost, especially in a
country so divided, that unanimity being necessary, every proposition
was dangerous. At present the case is altered, and we may take time to
weigh and inquire. The Baron tells me, that St Thomas and St John, two
of their Islands, are free ports, but that St Croix, which is of more
importance than both, is not. That foreign vessels, our vessels, are
permitted to bring our produce, and carry away half the value in
sugar, &c. The Island produces, _communibus annis_, twenty thousand
hogsheads of sugar, and their molasses is better than that of the
French, because they make only "_sucres crutes_." He says, they have
some sugar-houses at Copenhagen. But notwithstanding this, I think it
is worth while for Congress to try if they cannot, by the treaty,
obtain a right to take away cargoes, to the full value of those they
bring. It is worth while to try too, if we cannot obtain a tariff, to
ascertain the duties to be paid in exportation and importation. It is
worth while too, to endeavor to get the duties ascertained in the
Danish ports in Europe, at least that we may not pay in their ports
more than they pay in ours; or that our vessels may not be obliged to
pay more than theirs, especially when we import our own produce. I
pretend not to be a master of these commercial subjects, but I think
that Dr Franklin has not studied the subject more than myself, that
both of us need the advice of Mr Laurens and Mr Jay, and that all of
us want that of American merchants, and especially of Congress. I am
therefore against this secret and hasty method of concluding treaties,
at this time, when they may be more maturely reflected on.

I know very well to what ill-natured remarks these reflections are
liable, but they shall not hinder me from doing my duty. I do
sincerely believe, there are clandestine insinuations going about to
every commercial nation in the world, to excite them to increase their
own navigation and seamen at the expense of ours, and that this
smuggling of treaties is one means of accomplishing the design,
although Dr Franklin may not be let into the secret of it. For, from
long experience and observation, I am persuaded that one Minister at
least and his dependants would prefer, that the navigation of any
nation in the world, even that of the English, should grow, rather
than ours. In the last _Courier de l'Europe_, it is said, that all the
commercial powers are concerting measures to clip the wings of the
eagle, and to prevent us from having a navy. I believe it. That is to
say, I believe measures are taken with them all to bring them into
this system, although they are not let into the secret design, and do
not know from whom the measures come, nor with what views promoted.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[11] Franklin did not assume this authority, but reported to Congress,
that propositions for treaties had been made, and desired that
authority to conclude them might be sent to him, or _some other
person_. See on this subject, _Franklin's Correspondence_, Vol. IV.
pp. 74, 97, 99, 110, 114, 141. For the treaty with Sweden he had a
special authority. _Secret Journals_, Vol. III. p 240.

       *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                             Paris, August 15th, 1783.


France, England, Spain, and America are all agreed; but Mr Hartley is
sanguine, that the treaty will not be signed, because, he says, the
Count de Vergennes does not mean to sign it. His reasons for this
opinion I know not, and I think he is mistaken. It is very certain,
however, that the French Minister is embarrassed, and would not,
perhaps, be sorry to find good reasons for postponing the signature
for some time.

Congress may judge in some degree of the situation of things, by the
following conversation, which I had this morning with M. Brantzen, the
Ambassador Extraordinary from the States-General, to whom I returned
the visit he made me yesterday, when I was abroad.

He told me, "that he was as far, and indeed farther than ever, from an
agreement with the Duke of Manchester. He had given up, he said, all
pretensions to a compensation for the unjust damages of the war, and
he had in a manner waived his claim of the restitution of Negapatnam.
But the Duke of Manchester now insisted peremptorily upon, not only
all the ancient salutations from the Dutch flag to the English, but
upon an unlimited liberty of navigation in all the seas of the East
Indies. He had despatched an express to the Hague the day before
yesterday, who would arrive today; but the Grand Pensionary was sick,
and the States of Holland not sitting; so that there must be some time
before he could have an answer. Concerning the salutes to the flag,
there would be different opinions, but they would be all of a mind
against the liberty of navigation in the Indies. He could not,
therefore, expect from their High Mightinesses permission to sign, and
the Count de Vergennes would be embarrassed. All the other powers were
ready, and to make them wait would raise a cry.

"To sign without Holland would raise a terrible storm in Holland
against the Count, and no small one in France. And even, if the States
should authorise him to sign a shameful peace, this would raise no
less clamor in Holland and France against the Count. He will,
therefore, not know what to do, and will seek to postpone; for the
parties of the Marquis de Castries and of M. de Breteuil will take
advantage of every clamor against the Count, as these parties wish M.
de Breteuil in his place. I am persuaded, therefore, that the Count
himself looks upon his own situation as very hazardous. It has been so
a long time. It was his instability in his place that made him sign
the preliminaries, for money to carry on the war could not be obtained
without M. Necker, and M. Necker would not come in with the Count, as
they were and are sworn enemies to each other. He was, therefore,
reduced to the dilemma to make peace or go out. I have good reasons to
believe, that the Maréschal de Castries disapproves of the Count's
conduct towards our Republic. He certainly deceived me. The
States-General did very wrong to bind me to leave so much to the
French Minister; but I thought him an honest man, and that I could
trust him; so I left things to him, according to my instructions,
depending on his word, and, at last, I found myself the dupe. No, not
a dupe, for I am always upon my guard not to be a dupe. But he
deceived me; and when one, whom I have reason to believe an honest
man, deceives me, I cannot call myself a dupe, for I can do no other
than believe an honest man, when he gives me his word."

In several of your letters, Sir, you have insisted on my reciting to
you my conversations with foreign Ministers. You must not esteem them
infallible oracles. They are often mistaken in their facts, and
sometimes wrong in their reasonings. But these sentiments of M.
Brantzen are of so much importance, that I thought proper to recite
them. It will, indeed, be necessary for your foreign Ministers to be
more inquisitive than we have been, and to transmit to Congress more
information concerning the intrigues of Courts, than we have done. If
the Maréschal de Castries and M. de Breteuil, who is now in the
Council, and M. Necker are not friends to the Count de Vergennes, and
all the world here agree they are not, Congress ought to know it.
Although I would have so much respect to the Queen, as not to name her
Majesty upon unnecessary occasions, yet, upon this, when she is sister
to the Emperor, and the question at Court is, whether there shall be a
war with her brother, it is obviously a matter of so much importance,
as to make it a duty to communicate to Congress her sentiments, which
all men here agree are favorable to de Castries and Breteuil, but not
partial to the present Minister of foreign Affairs. I said in a former
letter, if this Minister continues, there will be war; but I am told
by some, if there is war, he cannot continue; for neither he, nor his
friends, can raise the money. M. de Rayneval, however, affirmed
positively to Mr Hartley, that nothing but death could remove the

All these things show the critical and uncertain constitution of this
Court, and the uncertainty when the definitive treaty will be signed,
notwithstanding that four powers are agreed, and, therefore, I can
give Congress no clear information upon that head. This is a great
chagrin to me, both on account of the public and myself, because I am
as uncertain about my own destiny as that of the public.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[12] This affirmation was verified. The Count de Vergennes continued
in the Ministry till his death, which happened, February 13th, 1787.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Paris, September 5th 1783.


On Wednesday, the 3d day of this month, the American Ministers met the
British Minister at his lodgings at the _Hôtel de York_, and signed,
sealed, and delivered the Definitive Treaty of Peace between the
United States of America and the King of Great Britain. Although it is
but a confirmation or repetition of the provisional articles, I have
the honor to congratulate Congress upon it, as it is a completion of
the work of peace, and the best that we could obtain. Nothing remains
now to be done but a treaty of commerce; but this in my opinion cannot
be negotiated without a new commission from Congress to some one or
more persons. Time, it is easy to foresee, will not be likely to
render the British nation more disposed to a regulation of commerce
favorable to us, and therefore my advice is to issue a commission as
soon as may be.

There is another subject on which I beg leave to represent to Congress
my sentiments, because they seem to me of importance, and because they
differ from many sanguine opinions, which will be communicated to the
members of that assembly from partisans both of England and France.

In the late deliberations concerning an acceptance of the mediation of
the Imperial Courts, the British Minister refused it, and in the
conferences we had with the Count de Vergennes upon this subject, it
was manifest enough to me that he was not fond of our accepting it;
for although he maintained a perfect impartiality of language, neither
advising us for, nor against the measure, yet at last, when it was
observed that Mr Hartley was averse to it, he turned to Dr Franklin
and said, that we must agree with Mr Hartley about it, with such a
countenance, air, and tone of voice (for from these you must often
collect the sentiments of Ministers) as convinced me he did not wish
the mediation should take place.

It was not a subject which would bear insisting on either way. I
therefore made no difficulty. But I am, upon recollection, fully of
opinion that we should have done wisely to have sent our letter to the
Imperial Ministers, accepting the mediation on our part. The signature
of these Ministers would have given reputation in Europe and among our
own citizens. I mention these, because I humbly conceive that Congress
ought, in all their proceedings, to consider the opinion that the
United States or the people of America will entertain of themselves.
We may call this national vanity or national pride, but it is the main
principle of the national sense of its own dignity, and a passion in
human nature, without which nations cannot preserve the character of
man. Let the people lose this sentiment, as in Poland, and a partition
of their country will soon take place. Our country has but lately been
a dependent one, and our people although enlightened and virtuous,
have had their minds and hearts habitually filled with all the
passions of a dependent and subordinate people; that is to say, with
fear, with diffidence, and distrust of themselves, with admiration of
foreigners, &c. Now I say, that it is one of the most necessary and
one of the most difficult branches of the policy of Congress to
eradicate from the American mind, every remaining fibre of this fear
and self-diffidence on one hand, and of this excessive admiration of
foreigners on the other.

It cannot be doubted one moment, that a solemn acknowledgment of us by
the signature of the two Imperial Courts would have had such a
tendency in the minds of our countrymen. But we should also consider,
upon every occasion, how our reputation will be affected in Europe. We
shall not find it easy to keep up the respect for us, that has been
excited by the continual publication of the exploits of this war. In
the calm of peace, little will be said about us in Europe unless we
prepare for it, but by those who have designs upon us. We may depend
upon it, everything will be said in Europe and in the gazettes, which
anybody in Europe wants to have repeated in America, to make such
impressions upon the minds of our citizens, as he desires. It will
become us, therefore, to do everything in our power to make reasonable
and just impressions upon the public opinion in Europe. The signature
of the two Imperial Courts would have made a deep and important
impression in our favor, upon full one half of Europe, as friends to
those Courts, and upon all the other half as enemies.

I need not explain myself further. I may however add, that Americans
can scarcely conceive the decisive influence of the governments of
Europe upon their people. Every nation is a piece of clockwork, every
wheel is under the absolute direction of the sovereign as its weight
or spring. In consequence of this, all that moiety of mankind that are
subject to the two imperial Courts and their allies, would, in
consequence of their mediation have been openly and decidedly our
friends at this hour, and the other half of Europe would certainly
have respected us more for this. But at present, the two Imperial
Courts not having signed the treaty, all their friends are left in a
state of doubt and timidity concerning us. From all the conversations
I have had with the Count de Mercy and M. Markoff, it is certain that
the two Courts wished, as these Ministers certainly were ambitious to,
sign our treaty. They and their sovereigns wished that their names
might be read in America, and there respected as our friends. But this
is now past. England and France will be most perfectly united in all
artifices and endeavors to keep down our reputation at home and
abroad, to mortify our self-conceit, and to lessen us in the opinion
of the world. If we will not see, we must be the dupes; we need not,
for we have in our own power, with the common blessing, the means of
everything we want. There is but one course now left to retrieve the
error, and that is to send a Minister to Vienna with power to make a
treaty with both the Imperial Courts. Congress must send a Minister
first, or it will never be done. The Emperor never sends first, nor
will England ever send a Minister to America, until Congress shall
have sent one to London.

To form immediate commercial connexions with that half of Europe,
which ever has been, and with little variations ever will be, opposite
to the House of Bourbon, is a fundamental maxim of that system of
American politics, which I have pursued invariably from the beginning
of this war. It is the only means of preserving the respect of the
House of Bourbon itself; it is the only means in conjunction with our
connexions with the House of Bourbon, already formed, to secure us the
respect of England for any length of time, and to keep us out of
another war with that kingdom. It is, in short, the only possible
means of securing to our country that peace, neutrality, impartiality,
and indifference in European wars, which, in my opinion, we shall be
unwise in the last degree, if we do not maintain. It is, besides, the
only way in which we can improve and extend our commercial connexions
to the best advantage.

With great respect, I am,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                           Paris, September 8th, 1783.


Yesterday morning Mr Jay informed me, that Dr Franklin had received,
and soon after the Doctor put into my hands, the resolution of
Congress of the 1st of May,[13] ordering a commission and instructions
to be prepared to those gentlemen and myself for making a Treaty of
Commerce with Great Britain. This resolution, with your Excellency's
letter, arrived very seasonably, as Mr Hartley was setting off for
London with information from us, that our powers were executed.

I am very sensible of the honor, that is done me by this resolution of
Congress, and of the great importance of the business committed to our
care; and shall not, therefore, hesitate to take a part in it. I can
attend to this business, and at the same time have some care of your
affairs in Holland; and in case the present loan should be full in the
course of the next winter, I can open a new one, either by going to
Amsterdam, or by having the obligation sent to me in Paris to be
signed. In this way there will be no additional expense to the public,
as I have informed M. Dumas, that there must be no expense made at the
Hague on my account, or on account of Congress, but that all his
expenses must be borne by himself, or he must at least settle them
with Congress. I have so much regard for this gentleman, and such an
opinion of his worth and merit, that I cannot but recommend him upon
this occasion to Congress, for the commission of Secretary of that
Legation, but as economy is and ought to be carefully attended to, I
presume not to point out the salary, which will be proper. There are
so many ways of pillaging public men in Europe, that it will be
difficult for Congress to conceive the expenses, which are unavoidable
in these countries.

If the principle of economy should restrain Congress from sending
Ministers to Vienna, Petersburg, Copenhagen and Lisbon, they will
probably send a commission to Paris to negotiate treaties there,
because I think it will appear to be of great importance, both in a
political and commercial light, to have treaties with these powers. If
this should be the case, as three of us will be now obliged to attend
at Paris the tedious negotiation with every Court, we can all at the
same time and with the same expense attend to the negotiations with
the other powers; which will afford to all an opportunity of throwing
in any hints, which may occur for the public good, and will have a
much better appearance in the eyes of Europe and America. I do not
hesitate, therefore, to request, that if such a commission or
commissions should be sent, that all your Ministers in Europe may be
inserted in it. If the arrangement should make any difficulty in
America, it will make none with me; for although I think there was
good reason for the order in which the names stand in the new
commission for peace, and in the resolution for a new commission for a
treaty of commerce, that reason will not exist in any future

Mr Hartley's powers are sufficient to go through the negotiation with
us, and I suppose it will be chiefly conducted at Paris, yet we may
all think it proper to make a tour to London, for a few weeks
especially, in case any material obstacle should arise. We are told,
that such a visit would have a good effect at Court and with the
nation; at least, it seems clear it would do no harm.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[13] "Ordered, That a commission be prepared to John Adams, Benjamin
Franklin, and John Jay, authorising them, or either of them in the
absence of the others, to enter into a treaty of commerce between the
United States of America and Great Britain, subject to the revisal of
the contracting parties previous to its final conclusion; and, in the
meantime, to enter into a commercial convention, to continue in force
one year."

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, September 8th, 1783.


As the resolution of Congress of the 1st of May has determined it to
be my duty to remain in Europe, at least another winter, I shall be
obliged to say many things to your Excellency by letter, which I
hoped to have had the honor of saying upon the floor of your house.
Some of these things may be thought at first of little consequence,
but time, and inquiry, and consideration, will show them to have
weight. Of this sort, is the subject of this letter.

The views and designs, the intrigues and projects of Courts, are let
out by insensible degrees, and with infinite art and delicacy in the

These channels of communication are very numerous; and they are
artificially complicated in such a manner, that very few persons are
able to trace the sources from whence insinuations and projects flow.
The English papers are an engine, by which everything is scattered all
over the world. They are open and free. The eyes of mankind are fixed
upon them. They are taken by all Courts and all politicians, and by
almost all gazetteers. Of these papers, the French emissaries in
London, even in time of war, but especially in time of peace, make a
very great use; they insert in them things which they wish to have
circulated far and wide. Some of the paragraphs inserted in them will
do to circulate through all Europe, and some will not do in the
_Courier de l'Europe_. This is the most artful paper in the world; it
is continually accommodating between the French and English Ministry.
If it should offend the English essentially, the Ministry would
prevent its publication; if it should sin against the French
unpardonably, the Ministry would instantly stop its circulation; it
is, therefore, continually under the influence of the French
Ministers, whose under-workers have many things translated into it
from the English papers, and many others inserted in it originally,
both to the end, that they may be circulated over the world, and
particularly that they may be seen by the King of France, who reads
this paper constantly. From the English papers and the _Courier de
l'Europe_, many things are transferred into various other gazettes,
the _Courier du Bas Rhin_, the _Gazette de Deux Ponts_, the _Courier
d'Avignon_, and the _Gazette des Pays Bas_. The Gazettes of Leyden and
Amsterdam, are sometimes used for the more grave and solid objects,
those of Deux Ponts and d'Avignon for popular topics, the small talk
of coffee-houses, and still smaller and lower circles.

All these papers and many others discover a perpetual complaisance for
the French Ministry, because they are always in their power so
entirely, that if an offensive paragraph appears, the entrance and
distribution of the gazette may be stopped by an order from Court, by
which the gazetteer loses the sale of his paper in France, which is a
great pecuniary object. Whoever shall hereafter come to Europe in any
public employment, and take in the papers above enumerated, will
acknowledge his obligations to me for mentioning them. He will find
them a constant source of amusement, and sometimes of useful
discoveries. I may hereafter possibly entertain Congress with some
curious speculations from these gazettes, which have all their
attention fixed upon us, and very often honor us with their
animadversions, sometimes with their grave counsels, but oftener still
with very subtle and sly insinuations.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Paris, September 10th, 1783.


As I am to remain in Europe for some time longer, I beg leave to take
a cursory view of what appears necessary or expedient to be further
done in Europe; for I conceive it to be not only the right but the
duty of a Foreign Minister, to advise his Sovereign, according to his
lights and judgments, although the more extensive information and
superior wisdom of the Sovereign, may frequently see cause to pursue a
different conduct.

With Spain no doubt Congress will negotiate by a particular Minister,
either the present one or another, and perhaps it would be proper that
the same should treat with Naples. With the two Empires, Prussia,
Denmark, Portugal, Sardinia and Tuscany, I humbly conceive, it might
be proper to negotiate, and perhaps with Hamburg; but there are other
powers with whom it is more necessary to have treaties than it ought
to be, I mean Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli.

I presume that Congress will not think it expedient to be at the
expense of sending Ministers to all these powers, if to any. Perhaps
in the present state of our finances it may not be worth while to send
any. Yet the present time is the best to negotiate with all. I submit
it to consideration then, whether it is not advisable to send a
commission to such Minister as you judge proper, with full powers to
treat with all, to the Ministers now in Paris, or to any others. But I
humbly conceive, that if powers to treat with all or any of these
States are sent to any of your Ministers now here, it would be for the
public good, that they should be sent to all. If Congress can find
funds to treat with the Barbary Powers, the Ministers here are the
best situated, for they should apply to the Court of Versailles and
their High Mightinesses in the first place, that orders should be sent
to their Consuls according to treaties to assist us. Ministers here
may carry on this negotiation by letters, or may be empowered to send
an agent if necessary. I have no private interest in this business. My
salary will be the same, my expenses more, and labor much increased by
such a measure. But as it is of public importance, I think, that no
unnecessary delicacies should restrain me from suggesting these hints
to Congress. Whatever their determination may be, will be satisfactory
to me.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellency's,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.






John Jay was a member of the first Congress, which assembled at
Philadelphia in September, 1774, having been, with four other persons,
chosen a delegate from the city and county of New York. He was also in
the Congress of the following year, but after the organization of the
government of New York he was made Chief Justice of the State, and
retired from Congress. On the 21st of October, 1778, even while he
held the office of Chief Justice, he was elected by the Assembly a
delegate to Congress for a specific object, till the first of March
following. The Assembly at the same time declared, that by the
constitution of New York both these stations were consistent with each

Mr Jay joined the Congress on the 7th of December, and was elected
President of that body three days afterwards, as the successor of
Henry Laurens. He discharged this office with great dignity and credit
to himself till September 27th, 1779, when he was appointed Minister
Plenipotentiary to negotiate a treaty of amity and alliance with
Spain. He sailed for France about the first of November in the same
ship with M. Gerard, who had been the late French Minister in the
United States. Accidents at sea compelled the Captain of the vessel to
put into Martinique, whence Mr Jay sailed in another vessel for
Europe, and arrived at Cadiz on the 22d of January, 1780. Here he
remained between two and three months, and then proceeded to Madrid,
and entered on the duties of his mission.

The two principal objects, which Mr Jay was instructed to obtain, were
a grant of aids in money and military supplies from Spain, to assist
in prosecuting the war against the common enemy, and a treaty between
Spain and the United States. After encountering for more than two
years innumerable embarrassments, vexatious delays, cold treatment,
and a provoking indifference, that would have exhausted the patience,
if not ruffled the temper of most men, he met with very little success
in the former object, and none at all in the latter. The Spanish Court
seemed nowise inclined to recognize the independence of the United
States, or to show them any substantial marks of friendship, and yet
there was evidently a willingness to keep on terms, and be prepared to
act according to the issue of events. Tardy promises of money were
made by the Minister, which he was reluctant to fulfil, and it was
with extreme difficulty at last, that Mr Jay succeeded in procuring
from his Catholic Majesty the pitiful loan of one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars. In the treaty he made no progress, but was put off
from time to time, with pretences as frivolous as they were insincere.
He was never received in his public capacity, nor in any other
character than that of a private gentleman empowered to act as Agent
for the United States. In short, it must be confessed, that the
conduct of Spain, in regard to this country during the revolutionary
war, was not such as to inspire the gratitude or respect of succeeding

Meantime, on the 13th of June, 1781, Mr Jay was chosen one of the
Commissioners for negotiating a peace, when the parties at war should
be prepared for such an event. Having already made considerable
progress with Mr Oswald in the treaty; and being persuaded that the
British government were in earnest as to their professed desire for
peace, Dr Franklin wrote to Mr Jay requesting him to repair to Paris,
and join in the negotiation. He arrived in that city on the 23d of
June, 1782, and shortly afterwards engaged in the duties of his
commission with his colleague. Mr Adams did not arrive till the 26th
of October. The preliminary articles were signed on the 30th of

Mr Jay continued in Europe the year following, and signed, with the
other Commissioners, the Definitive Treaty, September 3d, 1783.
Several months previously he had asked permission to return home, but
he did not embark till June 1st, 1794. He arrived in New York on the
24th of July following.

It having been understood that he would soon return, Congress had
elected him Secretary of Foreign Affairs on the 7th of May, as
successor to Mr Livingston, who had resigned some time before. He
accepted this appointment, and took charge of the office, which he
filled with the same dignity and ability, that had marked his conduct
in every public station.




                         A TREATY WITH SPAIN.

                                    In Congress, September 29th, 1779.


By the treaties subsisting between his Most Christian Majesty and the
United States of America, a power is reserved to his Catholic Majesty
to accede to the said treaties, and to participate in their
stipulations, at such time as he shall judge proper, it being well
understood, nevertheless, that if any of the stipulations of the said
treaties are not agreeable to the Court of Spain, his Catholic Majesty
may propose other conditions analogous to the principal aim of the
alliance, and conformable to the rules of equality, reciprocity, and
friendship. Congress is sensible of the friendly regard to these
States manifested by his Most Christian Majesty, in reserving a power
to his Catholic Majesty of acceding to the alliance entered into
between his Most Christian Majesty and these United States; and,
therefore, that nothing may be wanting on their part to facilitate
the views of his Most Christian Majesty, and to obtain a treaty of
alliance, and of amity and commerce with his Catholic Majesty, have
thought proper to anticipate any propositions, which his Catholic
Majesty might make on that subject, by yielding up to him those
objects, which they conclude he may have principally in view; and for
that purpose have come to the following resolution;

That if his Catholic Majesty shall accede to the said treaties, and,
in concurrence with France and the United States of America, continue
the present war with Great Britain for the purpose expressed in the
treaties aforesaid, he shall not thereby be precluded from securing to
himself the Floridas; on the contrary, if he shall obtain the Floridas
from Great Britain, these United States will guaranty the same to his
Catholic Majesty; provided always, that the United States shall enjoy
the free navigation of the river Mississippi into and from the sea.

You are, therefore, to communicate to his Most Christian Majesty the
desire of Congress to enter into a treaty of alliance, and of amity
and commerce with his Catholic Majesty, and to request his favorable
interposition for that purpose. At the same time, you are to make such
proposal to his Catholic Majesty, as in your judgment, from
circumstances, will be proper for obtaining for the United States of
America equal advantages with those, which are secured to them by the
treaties with his Most Christian Majesty; observing always the
resolution aforesaid as the ultimatum of the United States.

You are particularly to endeavor to obtain some convenient port or
ports below the thirtyfirst degree of north latitude, on the river
Mississippi, for all merchant vessels, goods, wares, and merchandises,
belonging to the inhabitants of these States.

The distressed state of our finances, and the great depreciation of
our paper money, inclined Congress to hope that his Catholic Majesty,
if he shall conclude a treaty with these States, will be induced to
lend them money; you are, therefore, to represent to him the great
distress of these States on that account, and to solicit a loan of
five millions of dollars upon the best terms in your power, not
exceeding six per cent per annum, effectually to enable them to
co-operate with the allies against the common enemy. But before you
make any propositions to his Catholic Majesty for a loan, you are to
endeavor to obtain a subsidy in consideration of the guarantee


[14] The above is the form in which the instructions were reported by
a committee.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                         St Pierre's, Martinique, December 20th, 1779.


This is the only opportunity of transmitting a letter to Philadelphia
since our arrival; and as the route, which this is to take, will be
very circuitous and doubtful, it will be short and general.

Having lost our bowsprit, all our masts, and many of our sails, as
well as split our rudder, off the Banks of Newfoundland, we steered
for this Island, and arrived yesterday afternoon. The Governor and
Admiral are at Port Royal. They are informed of our being here, and I
shall see them either at this or that place, according as we shall
find it to be their intention to come to the one, or remain at the
other. Till then, it must continue doubtful, whether we shall be able
to obtain a passage in a French frigate, or speedily refit our own;
neither of which can be done without the interposition of government.

Two days hence, a vessel will sail for St Eustatia. I shall write more
particularly by her, and it is more than probable, that those letters
will come to hand before this.

Yesterday, a fleet of twentyfive merchant-men under the convoy of a
frigate, bound from France to this place, were attacked on the
southern coast of Martinique, near Port Royal, by a number of the
enemy's ships of war from St Lucia. Fourteen merchant-men were
captured, and two driven on shore. The rest escaped during a very
severe action between three line of battle ships under Monsieur le
Motte Piquet, (who went from Port Royal to their relief) and double
the number of the enemy. This intelligence was communicated to me this
morning by the commanding officer here.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                          St Pierre's, Martinique, December 22d, 1779.


By a message received yesterday afternoon from the Marquis de Boulliè,
I find there is no reason to expect him or the Admiral here very soon.
We shall, therefore, set out for Port Royal early tomorrow morning,
and endeavor to get our ship refitted as soon as possible. She will
follow us in a day or two, and, as the enemy's ships of war are
frequently cruising near the Island, she will go under convoy; four of
them are now in sight of this town.

It seems agreed on all hands, that the expense of refitting the
Confederacy will be very considerable. To reduce this matter to
greater certainty, I have desired the captain to make out an estimate
of his wants; he promised to prepare it, and give me a copy this
evening. If I receive it before nine o'clock, it will accompany this
letter, otherwise it will be transmitted by the next conveyance.

The agent here tells me, he is without cash, and in debt on the public
account. I fear he has been neglected. I shall, however, defer saying
anything further on his subject till I shall be better informed.
Should an opportunity offer of writing to your Excellency from Port
Royal, I shall embrace it, if not, I shall take the first after my
return. As the government here will, I hope, advance the money
necessary for preparing the frigate for sea, I am anxious that you may
have the earliest intelligence of it, that timely provision may be
made for the payment.

Of the fleet mentioned in my letter of the 20th instant, only nine
were taken or destroyed.

_7 o'clock._--I had written thus far, when Captain Harding called upon
me. He has made out an estimate of the ship's wants, and given it to
Mr Bingham, without having made a copy for me, which it is now too
late to do to go by this vessel.

On our return from Port Royal, the captain will transmit particular
accounts of everything respecting the ship, which he ought to
communicate. He has been too much engaged to prepare his despatches to
go by this vessel, and, therefore, postpones writing for the present,
especially as he would have leisure only to repeat the general account
of our misfortune contained in my letter.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                         St Pierre's, Martinique, December 24th, 1779.


My former letters to your Excellency of the 20th and 22d instant, (a
triplicate of the former, and a duplicate of the latter are herewith
enclosed) have already informed Congress of the disaster, which
imposed upon us the necessity of coming hither. But as that necessity
has been and still continues the subject of much inquiry and
investigation, it is proper that the facts from which it arose be
minutely stated.

On the 7th day of November last, between the hours of five and six in
the morning, in latitude 41 03 N. and longitude 50 39 W. the Captain
being in bed indisposed, and the master and second lieutenant on deck,
the ship going nine knots an hour in a brisk breeze and rough sea, but
by no means hard weather, her bowsprit and all her masts gave way in
less than three minutes. The day was employed in clearing the ship of
the wreck, and getting up a little sail; towards evening a heavy gale
came on. During the night, the tiller was lashed fast, and she lay too
very well, the wind blowing hard at south east. The next morning the
shank of the rudder was found to be so much wrenched and split, that
the Captain then told me he thought it a greater misfortune than the
loss of the masts. There were two French gentlemen on board, who, it
was said, and I believe with truth, were well skilled in maritime
affairs, having been bred to that business from their infancy, viz.
Monsieur Roche, a Knight of the Order of St Louis, and a Captain
Remuy, of Marseilles. Either this day or the next, I am not certain
which, M. Gerard remarked to me, that without any previous counsel,
it seemed to be the unanimous opinion of all the naval officers on
board to go to the West Indies, and that he believed it would be best,
though he said he was at first inclined to oppose it. The first
expedient to steer the ship was by the cable and a spar; below the
split in the rudder there was a bolt with two rings, to which it had
been intended to fix a chain for the purpose of steering the ship in
case of such accidents, but the fixing the chains had been omitted;
through this ring the Captain passed a chain, and to each end of it
fastened a strong rope, which was conducted over the quarters, and
this was the second mode of steering her; but from the uncommon
breadth of the rudder by which its power became unusually great, and
the acuteness of the angle between it and the chains rendering a
greater force necessary than if it had approached nearer to a right
angle; the bolt, though to appearance a good one, broke nearly in the
middle, and came out.

It seems the rudder of this ship was hung after she had been launched,
and that to do it the more easily an eyebolt had been fixed in each
side of the rudder below the shank; to these eyebolts two chains were
then fixed, which crossing the edge of the rudder in opposite
directions, were fastened to pennants made of cordage, provided for
the breechings of our twelve pounders. These pennants passed through
blocks at the end of spars, run out of the ports of the cabin. From
thence they were led through blocks in opposite ports of the main deck
to the capstan, by means of which they were very conveniently managed,
and the ship without much difficulty steered. Such however was the
force and wear they underwent before our arrival in calmer latitudes
and smoother seas, that they generally gave way every day or two; and
the Captain tells me, no less than six hundred weight of that cordage
has been consumed in that service.

So great was the swell off the Banks, and so high, though not severe
the winds, that near a fortnight elapsed before the ship was put in
her present condition for sailing. The same obstacles also retarded
the repairing of the rudder, which after all was so weak that it was
not thought advisable to steer by the tiller, and to prevent any
further injury from its striking against the ship, which it constantly
did in calm weather, bags stuffed with oakum were placed on each side
of it, and a man employed night and day to tend them.

Some days before the 23d day of November, the Captain told me, he
thought it advisable to call a council of his officers, and submit to
their consideration the propriety of continuing our course towards
Europe. M. Gerard shortly after mentioned to me the sitting of this
council, and said, he could assure me that the Chevalier Roche and
Monsieur Remuy would not give their opinions on the subject but in
writing, and on being requested to do it in writing by the Captain.
This intelligence appeared to me extraordinary, but as it was not
necessary that my sentiments relative to it should be known, I made no
reply to M. Gerard, but by degrees turned the conversation to another
subject; nor did I give the least hint of it to the Captain, but
observed a perfect silence relative to it. It appeared to me that
those gentlemen either overrated their importance, or entertained
improper ideas of the merit of our officers, and I confess it gave me
pleasure to hear that they were not consulted at all.

The council of officers was held the 23d of November last. The
Captain gave me their report, together with a return of the provisions
and water on board, and assured me of his readiness to proceed to any
port whatever, that M. Gerard and myself should direct. I gave these
papers to M. Gerard, and although I did not think it expedient by
consulting the French officers to give them reason to suppose, that I
concurred in sentiments with them as to the importance of their
opinions, yet I told M. Gerard, I was well satisfied he should
communicate to them the report of our officers, and obtain their
sentiments on the question stated in it, and the better to enable him
to do it, I proposed that we should postpone the discussion of the
subject till the next day, or longer if necessary. He took the papers,
said it was very well, and that he would speak to those gentlemen. A
day or two after, being on deck, M. Gerard took me aside and gave me
the papers, telling me he had seen these gentlemen, and that they both
declined giving any opinion about it; that they had always been, and
still were, ready to do anything for the benefit of the ship; that had
they been requested to give their opinions while the matter was in
agitation, they would have done it; that it was now over, and
determined; that under these circumstances their opinion would be of
no avail, and that they did not choose, by declaring their sentiments,
either to confirm the report, or give it ineffectual opposition. M.
Gerard further intimated, that those gentlemen seemed to think their
giving their advice in the course of our troubles had given offence to
the officers of the ship; but I had never reason to think their
apprehensions well founded. Upon this conduct of those gentlemen, I
briefly observed to M. Gerard, that as they were passengers, we had
no right to demand their opinions, and that they had a right to
withhold them, or not, as they pleased, and for such reasons as they
might think proper; but that as the Captain of the ship had been
directed by the marine committee to obey such orders as he should
receive from us, it was necessary that in the present conjuncture we
should decide on the report; that the Captain, in my opinion, would
not be justifiable in further pursuing his course against the solemn
and unanimous opinion of all the officers, unless by our express
orders; and he would be culpable in changing it, without a previous
application to us for direction. M. Gerard observed, that he was
sensible of the honor done him by the order alluded to, but that it
was not convenient to him to give any opinion or direction on the
subject. It did not appear to me prudent to reply to this, and
therefore I took the first opportunity of turning the conversation to
another topic. As this circumstance prevented the Captain's receiving
any positive orders from us on the subject, he was of course left to
pursue his own judgment, but being desirous of my opinion, I gave it
to him, in the manner endorsed on the report of the council, of which
a copy is herewith enclosed.

The reasons on which this opinion was grounded are, in part, contained
in this report, but there were others not mentioned in it. That
Congress may the better judge of their force, it is necessary that
they be informed of some previous circumstances.

The first fair day after losing our masts, I went to the door of M.
Gerard's room on the deck, which was open, to bid him good morning.
Chevalier Roche was with him; they were conversing on the course most
proper for us to steer, and the port most proper to make for. M.
Gerard was for going to Cadiz; he had an excellent set of charts, and
he had then one of the Atlantic Ocean, with its American, European,
and African Coasts, and the intervening islands, before him. By the
assistance of this map we perfectly understood his reasoning. The
Chevalier at that time inclined to the West Indies, and I heard him,
on leaving the room, tell M. Gerard, that to endeavor to get to Europe
in the present condition of the ship, would be to "_run a very great
risk of perishing in the ocean_." Some time after this, M. Gerard
perceiving that I had adopted no decided opinion on the subject, (and
that was really the case) in the course of an evening he spent with us
in the cabin, (none of the officers of the ship being present) desired
me to attend particularly to his several reasons for going to Cadiz,
and consider them maturely before I made up my judgment. I promised
him to do it, and was as good as my word. He proceeded to observe;

1st. That the distance to Cadiz and to Martinique differed but little,
and that no weighty argument could be drawn from this difference.

2dly. That between us and Cadiz lay the Western and Canary Islands,
into some one or other of which we might run, if necessary.

3dly. That if, on our arrival at either of these Islands, it should
appear impracticable or imprudent to proceed further, our persons at
least would be safe, and we might get to Europe in one of the many
vessels, which frequent those Islands; whereas, on the other hand,
there were no Islands between us and Martinique, and we should, in
steering southward, be obliged to run all that distance without
finding any place by the way, at which we might touch, or, in case of
danger, find shelter.

4thly. That if calmer seas were our object, we should find them in
going eastward as well as southward; that we must not expect to meet
with the trade winds at that season but in a very remote southern
latitude; that in crossing the latitude of Bermudas, we should meet
with heavy squalls, and bad weather; that in the latitude between that
and the trade winds, we must expect variable winds, and particularly
long calms, which are often more dangerous, and more to be dreaded
than hard winds.

5thly. That in a voyage to Cadiz, we should have nothing to apprehend
from the enemy, but to Martinique, everything.

6thly. That if we should arrive safe at Martinique, we should probably
be detained there until next Spring; that the vessels, which usually
sail from thence for France every fall, would have departed before the
time we should reach the Island; that he had reason to believe it
would be very difficult, if not impracticable, to obtain a frigate,
and, among other reasons, urged the absence of Count d'Estaing, and
the improbability that any subordinate officer would undertake without
his orders to grant us one, even admitting what was very unlikely,
that one might be spared from the service.

7thly. That the ship might remain long at Martinique without being
made ready for sea, for want of naval stores, provisions, &c.

These were M. Gerard's reasons for our steering for Cadiz, by the way
of the Azores, and I do not remember to have afterwards heard an
additional one. Whether the French officers really thought them
conclusive, or whether they found it convenient to make a compliment
of their sentiments to a gentleman very able to serve them, is
uncertain; but I believe they in appearance inclined to M. Gerard's
opinion, and gave him implied reasons to think their sentiments
corresponded with his.

The matter appeared to me in a serious light, and to require caution
on many accounts. Every consideration called me to Spain; private as
well as public good forbade a difference with M. Gerard. I had reason
to believe him well disposed towards me; I perceived, clearly, that he
could not with any patience admit the idea of being absent from Europe
at so important a season, and that he could scarcely treat with common
decency the reasons urged for going to Martinique. Hence it appeared
obvious, that should I be the means of his losing his objects, or
should any public inconveniences result from our not being in Europe
during the winter, I should be censured, not only by him, but by all
those who judge of the propriety of a measure only by its
consequences, of which number are the far greater part of mankind.
Thus circumstanced, I found myself in a very unpleasant situation,
without any way of extricating myself, but by agreeing to a sort of
middle proposal; viz. to order the Captain to land us on one of the
Western Islands, and then leave the ship to shift for herself. This
would have satisfied M. Gerard, and we should have been as good
friends as ever. I thought it my duty, however, to form my decision
carefully, and honestly, and abide by it firmly. It was that we should
proceed to Martinique. Some of the reasons for it are set forth in the
report of the council of officers. The whole together were briefly

1st. That the officers of the ship, including the carpenter, who were
to be presumed to be better judges than M. Gerard or myself, were of
opinion, that we ought not to attempt to go to Europe, and had this
reason stood single and unexplained, I should not readily have
ventured to reject it, especially as it appeared to me against the
interest of the officers to come to the West Indies, and I have heard
them constantly and uniformly regret the necessity of it; but I also
thought they decided on good grounds; for

2dly. The rudder daily gave us infinite trouble, almost everyday a
pennant breaking, and on every such occasion the ship for some time
left to the direction of the wind and waves, a circumstance which
might be fatal in hard weather, and near land; the quantity of cordage
consumed in this way of steering; the doubt of our having sufficient
for the purpose without stripping the guns, which would thereby be
rendered useless; the rudder irons daily becoming more and more loose,
and, by the nails drawing out, opening a passage for the water into
the stem of the ship. By this circumstance our bread had been damaged;
the danger of our being obliged to get rid of the rudder entirely, and
steering only by the cable, which in northern seas, and winter season,
is very inadequate. This event would have arrived in case either of
the eye bolts in the rudder had given way, as the first mentioned one
had done, or the upper irons become entirely loose; and for this event
it was thought necessary to prepare, by removing the obstacles to
unhanging the rudder. Indeed the upper irons in the course of our
passage here, with fair winds and no storms, became so loose as to
render it necessary to lash the head of the rudder with ropes to a
bolt fixed for the purpose in the cabin floor.

3dly. The sails we had left were bad, having been originally made, as
Mr Vaughan the second Lieutenant told me, of damaged canvass; they
frequently split; we had none to replace them, nor a sufficient stock
of twine to mend them, eight pounds only being left of the twenty odd
we brought from Philadelphia; nor were we much better supplied with
cordage, for which there was a daily demand and some of which was very

4thly. Our jury masts were not calculated for hard weather, the
foremast being sprung a few feet below the top, and not able to endure
a hard storm.

For these reasons the rough weather common in northern latitudes was
by all means to be avoided, and smooth seas sought.

As to the conveniences to be derived from the Islands laying between
us and Cadiz, I took some pains to examine into that matter. We had
maps and descriptions of them all, and our master had been at many of
them. I found there was not a single harbor in any one of them in
which a ship could ride at anchor in every wind; on the contrary
neither of them has anything more than open roads, out of which it is
necessary for ships to make the best of their way, and put to sea
whenever certain winds blow, a task which our ship was very far from
being in condition to perform.

From this and other circumstances it was evident we could not refit in
either of those Islands, not even so much as get a new rudder; for
admitting materials for the latter could be had, yet such was the
difficulty, if not impossibility, of hanging it in an open road, from
whence the ship was every moment exposed to the necessity of going to
sea by an unfavorable wind, that we could expect to derive no
advantage from these Islands, except the prospect of obtaining some
refreshments, which we could do without, and the value of which would
not have compensated for the risk of approaching them in our

As to the idea of our steering that course with a view of being landed
on one of those Islands, and from thence going to Europe in another
vessel, leaving our own to her fate, no earthly consideration could
ever have reconciled me to it. The reasoning which was insisted on,
that our being seasonably in Europe was of more importance to the
United States than a frigate, and that in time of war, and for the
public good, lives were to be risked by sea as well as by land, was a
species of reasoning which applied to this case led to conclusions,
which never have been, and I pray God never may be, among my
principles of action. Had this plan of being landed on one of the
Azores or Canaries been adopted, we should have either landed the crew
with us or not; if the first, the frigate would have been given to
destruction. This appeared to me inconsistent with the public good,
because, if we reached Martinique, I had no doubt of a passage, and my
arrival in France eight weeks sooner or later did not appear to me of
equal importance to the United States with the frigate. Had the crew
been left on board, it must have been with a view of saving the ship,
either by her reaching Europe or the West Indies. The probability of
her effecting either became then a most important question, as the
lives of between two and three hundred Americans depended on the
event. Against it were opposed the dangers of the seas, and the want
of provisions; the former would have increased with the approach of
winter, and therefore the longer the ship was detained to the
northward, the more she had to suffer, and to fear. The frigate after
having landed us on either of the Islands, must either have gone on
towards Europe, or endeavored to get to the West Indies.

All the considerations abovementioned opposed the first, and whoever
compares the time necessary for a voyage for a ship under jury masts,
and almost without a rudder, from the banks of Newfoundland to the
Azores or Canaries, and from thence to the West Indies, with our stock
of provisions, will find them inadequate to the purpose, and be
convinced of the cruelty of subjecting one's fellow citizens to such
extremities. For these reasons I positively refused to join in this

As to the position in favor of going to Europe, that we should find
the seas calmer as we advanced eastward, equally as we went southward,
all the officers of the ship testified against it, nor would they
admit that we had as much to dread from calms as from hard gales. The
supposed difficulty of obtaining a passage from Martinique made but
little impression on me. I could not suppose the Islands left
unprotected by ships of war, or that the commanding officer would
refuse to order a frigate on this service, if M. Gerard would
represent it to be of importance, which I was sure he would do. How
long our ship might be refitting here was not to be ascertained, but I
could not prevail upon myself to believe, that the King of France
would keep so considerable a fleet in those seas, without providing
for the usual accidents they would be exposed to from the sea and the
enemy. At the worst the ship would be in a safe port, and among a
people bound by treaties and by interest to afford aid and protection,
at least until Congress should be informed of her situation, and have
an opportunity of providing for her wants. As to ourselves, in case we
meet with the imagined difficulties respecting a passage, it would be
easy by passing over to St Eustatia to get very safely in a Dutch ship
to Holland.

On these reasons the advice I gave to the captain to come here was
founded. I thought them right then, and was daily more and more
confirmed in an opinion of their propriety. In the course of our run
here, we had all the way fine, fair breezes; and, except in the
latitude of Bermuda, smooth seas and scarce any calms. The night
before we made the land, it was thought proper to lay the ship too,
after the moon set, which was between twelve and one o'clock, and she
continued in that position only four hours and a half. Such, however,
was the effect of it upon the rudder, and so much damage did it
receive from it, that had the ship continued as much longer in the
same state, it was agreed on all sides, that the rudder would have
been rendered useless.

M. Gerard, hurt by being disappointed in his expectation of being
seasonably in France, and perhaps mortified at my preferring my own
sentiments to his, ceased to observe that cordiality and frankness,
which had before attended his conduct towards me. Nay, he once went
so far as to tell me I had my reasons for coming here. I appeared not
to understand him, and continued to endeavor to render the
conversation as light and general as possible. This was a tax imposed
on my feelings by regard to public good; as a private man, I should
have acted differently.

Thus matters continued till about ten or twelve days before our
arrival here, when M. Gerard observed to me in the presence of the
captain, that it was time to think which side of the island of
Martinique it would be most prudent for the ship to go, the north or
south side, and proceeded to state the reasons which ought to induce
us to prefer the north; particularly, that in the present condition
of the ship, she would if she went to the south side be in great
danger of running by the island to the leeward; for that as we might
expect the wind at northeast, she would not be able to lay
sufficiently close to the wind, to reach Port Royal or St Pierre's;
besides, that she would be in danger of calms, and being in sight of
St Lucia, would be exposed to the enemy's ships of war, without having
reason to expect succor from any French ships of war; none of which,
he said, cruised off the eastern part of the island, between
Martinique and St Lucia. He then showed the advantages of going the
other side, by an enumeration of many circumstances, of which I have
notes, but which it would be too tedious to mention. The obvious
meaning of all this appeared to me to be, that we should direct the
captain to go to the northward of the island; but as I neither thought
myself authorised, nor found myself inclined to interfere with the
particular navigation of the ship, to which I was not competent, I
only observed to M. Gerard, that his reasoning appeared to me to have
weight; that it was a subject I did not understand, but that I thought
his observations merited attention. On this the captain remarked, and
I thought with propriety, that it was impossible to determine on which
side of the island it would be best to go, until we were at or near
the parting point, for that circumstances at present unforeseen might
render that way rash, which we might now think prudent; for instance,
an unexpected change in the wind, or the appearance of an enemy. He
therefore thought a decision on the question improper, till we arrived
off the eastern part of the island. This appeared to me so perfectly
reasonable, that I thought no more about the matter, and I did not
suspect that M. Gerard would have felt any further anxiety about it;
but it nevertheless so happened, that in the afternoon of the 14th
instant, there was a conversation in the cabin relative to a wager,
which of the two we should see first, land or a sail. In the course of
this conversation, M. Gerard observed, that it would depend on our
going on the north or south side of the island, and insensibly leaving
the subject of the wager, proceeded minutely to recapitulate his
reasons for the one, and his objections to the other. In the progress
of this disquisition, he grew warmer and warmer, and at length
addressing himself more particularly on the captain, said, he was
surprised that those facts and observations should meet with so little
attention; that he owed it to his conscience and personal safety to
mention and enforce them, and that he should represent the whole
matter to his Court, &c. The captain repeated what he had before said
relative to the impropriety of deciding on which side of the island we
were to go, until we had made the land, observed whether any vessels
were on the coast, and knew how the wind would be. He then questioned
some matters relative to the navigation round the island, on which M.
Gerard had insisted.

For my own part, as the subject was so serious, I wished to be
informed of some others, which appeared to me to want explanation. The
captain had informed me, that the master had been at the taking of
Martinique last war, and was well acquainted with its bays, harbors,
and coasts. I desired the captain to send for the master, which was
immediately done. On this, M. Gerard more animated than usual, said,
he pretended to no extraordinary knowledge on the subject, but that he
had made inquiries, and was satisfied with the opinion he had given;
then repeated what he had before said, about his conscience, personal
safety, and Court, and was opening the door to go on deck, when I
asked him if he would not stay, and hear what the master had to say.
He said, no, he did not want to hear anything farther about it; he had
done his duty in delivering what he had to us, and we might do as we
pleased about the matter. I made no reply, but proceeded to examine
the master, and one of the lieutenants. On the whole it did not appear
to me necessary, but on the contrary invidious to give the captain any
positive orders on the subject; nor did I enter into any farther
conference respecting it with M. Gerard. I knew that no good would
result from altercation, and that the best way of treating
unreasonable propositions, cavalierly dictated, was silently to go my
own way, uninfluenced by them.

This last business rendered M. Gerard still more dissatisfied with me.
We observed, nevertheless, and still observe great politeness towards
each other, but it proceeds more from the head than the heart. On
coming ashore, I flattered myself we should have left all these
controversies behind us; but this city was soon entertained with them.
The opinions of French officers were taken by M. Gerard about the
sufficiency of the rudder to have gone to Europe; the question about
the northern and southern navigation was stated and agitated. M.
Gerard claims the merit of having saved the ship, by having, as he
insinuates, dragged us into the measure of taking the northern
passage, &c. &c. As we are safe in the harbor, these matters are now
of no consequence, and therefore I constantly avoid the subject. How
they may be represented at Philadelphia is of some moment, and
therefore it appears to me expedient to trouble myself and Congress
with this narration.

I cannot conclude this letter without expressing my satisfaction with
the attention and politeness observed by the captain and other
officers towards the passengers, as far at least as my knowledge

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                         St Pierre's, Martinique, December 25th, 1779.


As singular instances of humanity and patriotism always merit, and
sometimes meet with public notice, I take the liberty of transmitting
to Congress a copy of the Rev. Mr Keith's narrative of the conduct of
a Mrs Smith, at New York, to the Americans there, who had been taken
at Fort Washington.

Conversing, while at sea, with Mr Keith (our chaplain, who had been
one of those prisoners) respecting the cruelties exercised towards
them by the enemy, and the manner in which they were treated by the
inhabitants of the city, he mentioned the behavior of this Mrs Smith;
whose conduct appeared to me so remarkably liberal, disinterested, and
christianlike, that I desired him to commit it to paper, with a design
to enclose it to your Excellency. I know nothing more of this woman
than what Mr Keith told me; but, as from his profession and character
I am induced to credit what he says, I transmit this account of her,
that if, on further inquiry, it be found to be just, Congress may have
an opportunity of saving from poverty and distress a widow, who
generously divested herself of a decent maintenance, and applied it to
the relief of many citizens and servants of the United States, who
were then gloriously enduring the most extreme cruelties, for their
faithful attachment to the rights of their country and mankind.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                        St Pierre's, Martinique, December 25th, 1779.


I have done, what perhaps I shall be blamed for, but my pride as an
American, and my feelings as a man, were not on this occasion to be
resisted. The officers of the Confederacy were here without money, or
the means of getting any. The idea of our officers being obliged to
sneak, as they phrase it, from the company of French officers, for
fear of running in debt with them for a bottle of wine, or a bowl of
punch, because not able to pay for their share of the reckoning, was
too humiliating to be tolerable, and too destructive to that pride and
opinion of independent equality, which I wish to see influence all our
officers. Besides, some of them wanted necessaries too much to be
comfortable, or, in this country, decent. In a word, I have drawn on
the fund, pointed out for the payment of part of my salary, for one
hundred guineas in their favor, to be divided among them according to
their respective ranks. Indeed, it would have given me pleasure to
have done something towards covering the nakedness of the crew; but
the expense I have been put to by coming here; and the preparations
for another voyage, would not admit of it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                         St Pierre's, Martinique, December 26th, 1779.


On our arrival here, M. Gerard told me that he was about to write to
the Governor and Admiral at Port Royal, and asked me whether I also
chose to write, or would leave to him the necessary communication;
offering to mention to them whatever I might desire. As I was well
satisfied that he should take the lead in the business, I replied,
that I was obliged to him, but did not think it necessary for him to
communicate anything to those gentlemen from me, except our arrival,
and the confidence I had in their readiness to afford us aid.

I thought it would have been improper to apply for a passage in one of
their ships, till I know in what time our own could be refitted, and
on this subject it appeared to me most advisable, that application
should be made by our agent here; and that I should reserve all
interference, till it should be rendered necessary by obstacles. Mr
Bingham accordingly wrote without delay to the Governor, and had
immediate and full assurances of his readiness to afford us every aid
in his power. Nothing now remained to be ascertained, but the time in
which the repairs could be made, and this depended on the state of
their naval stores.

Mr Bingham went with us to Port Royal, on a visit to the officers of
government, (a compliment paid them by all strangers.) The Governor
again assured him, that everything should be done for the ship that
was possible, and some orders were given for the purpose. This passed,
I believe, without M. Gerard's knowledge. About two hours after our
arrival at Port Royal, he took me aside, observed that great
difficulties and delays would attend the Confederacy's refitting
there; that there were no masts or spars in store, and the expectation
of supplies uncertain; that an old mast of a merchant-man had been
purchased for one of their ships of war, and that a main yard for
another had been made of four pieces for want of a proper spar, and,
after some general hints about expenses, provision, &c. proposed, that
the frigate should be provided with a new rudder, and proceed to
America to refit. I objected, that, contrary to our expectations, the
English had an acknowledged superiority in these seas; that three
French frigates were at that instant flying from four ships of the
line, which were in full chase of them; that a frigate under jury
masts would find no safety in flight; that it would be more prudent
for Captain Harding to remain here without being refitted, till he
could get materials and supplies from America, or receive orders from
Congress, than expose his ship to such imminent danger, and,
therefore, that I could not possibly come into the measure he

M. Gerard replied, that she might be convoyed to sea by the French
squadron here; but this required no answer. It was not to be supposed,
that the French squadron, which, in their present state of
inferiority, choose to keep their eyes constantly on Port Royal, would
expose themselves to very unequal combat, for no higher object than
that of convoying the Confederacy seventy or eighty leagues off the
coast, or, that if they did, she would then be out of that degree of
danger, to which no ship in her condition ought to be exposed.
Besides, I could not reconcile it to the wisdom of France long to
leave their fleet here destitute of naval stores, or to disgust their
allies by a conduct neither just nor politic. We agreed to leave the
matter till the next day, when we expected to see the Admiral; but in
an hour or two afterwards the Admiral came in; and a very little time
elapsed when the Governor, and shortly after M. Gerard told me, the
"_whole arrangement_ was completed; that the same attention should be
paid to the Confederacy as if she had been a French frigate, and that
the Aurora, of thirty odd guns, should carry us to France." The fact
is, that the officers of government in general, and the Governor in
particular, are strongly attached to everything that is American.

Our agent here is in high estimation. I really believe, from
everything I hear, that he has done his duty faithfully, and that he
well deserves the notice and approbation of Congress. This leads me to
take the liberty of remarking, that it would, probably, be much for
the public interest, if Congress were to pay off all private debts due
from them to subjects of France, and have none but national
engagements with that kingdom. The debts unavoidably contracted here,
for the outfit of the Deane, &c. ought certainly to be paid. Our
credit and reputation suffer from such delay. We sail tomorrow
morning, at six o'clock.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                            Cadiz, January 26th, 1780.


As a knowledge of the measures you may have taken and the information
you may have acquired, relative to the objects of your commission
from the United States of America to conclude treaties with his
Catholic Majesty, would probably enable me with greater facility and
advantage to execute the duties of my appointment, permit me, Sir, to
request the favor of you to communicate the same to me in such manner
as you may judge most prudent.

I have in my possession some letters directed to you; they are
voluminous, and probably contain printed papers. They may also be
confidential and important to you. Under these circumstances I can
only judge of your inclination by what would be my own in a similar
situation. I should wish that they might be detained till I could have
an opportunity of directing the manner of their conveyance. Upon this
principle they shall remain among my papers till I receive your orders
what to do with them.[15]

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.


[15] See the answer to this letter in Arthur Lee's Correspondence,
Vol. II, p. 276.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                            Cadiz, January 27th, 1780.


It is with very sensible pleasure that I commence a correspondence
with a Minister, of whose disposition and abilities to promote the
happiness of my country we have received repeated proofs, and on a
subject that affords His Most Christian Majesty an opportunity of
perceiving the desire and endeavors of the United States to become
cordial and steadfast friends and allies to an illustrious branch of
his royal house.

By the treaties subsisting between His Most Christian Majesty and the
United States of America, His Most Christian Majesty, in consequence
of his intimate union with the King of Spain, did expressly reserve to
his Catholic Majesty the power of acceding to the said treaties, and
to participate in their stipulations at such time as he should judge
proper. It being well understood, nevertheless, that if any of the
said stipulations should not be agreeable to the King of Spain, his
Catholic Majesty might propose other conditions analogous to the
principal aim of the alliance, and conformable to the rules of equity,
reciprocity, and friendship. And the Deputy of the said States,
empowered to treat with Spain, did promise to sign, _on the first
requisition_ of his Catholic Majesty, the act or acts necessary to
communicate to him the stipulations of the treaties abovementioned,
and to endeavor in good faith the adjustment of the points in which
the King of Spain might propose any alteration, conformable to the
principles of equality, reciprocity, and perfect amity.

But as the above reservation has always been no less agreeable to the
United States than to their great and good ally, both considerations
conspired in inducing them to make the first advances towards
attaining the object of it. And, therefore, instead of waiting till
the requisitions mentioned in the said article should be made, they
have thought proper to assure his Most Catholic Majesty, not only of
their readiness to comply with the terms of it, but of their desire to
obtain his confidence and alliance, by carrying it immediately into
execution on the most liberal principles. Trusting also that the same
wise reasons which induced his Most Christian Majesty to give birth
to the said article, would lead him to facilitate the endeavors of his
allies to execute it, they resolved that their desire to enter into
the said treaties should be communicated to his Majesty, and that his
favorable interposition should be requested.

The more fully to effect these purposes, the Congress were pleased, in
September last, to do me the honor of appointing me their Minister
Plenipotentiary, and, in pursuance of this appointment, I sailed from
America for France on the 26th of October last, with M. Gerard, who
was so obliging as to wait till I could embark in the frigate assigned
for his service. After being thirteen days at sea, the frigate was
dismasted, and her rudder so much damaged that it was thought
imprudent to proceed on our voyage. We therefore steered for
Martinique, and arrived there on the 18th of December. I cannot, on
this occasion, forbear expressing my warmest acknowledgments for the
very polite attention and hospitality with which we were received and
treated, both by the officers of government and many respectable
inhabitants of that island. We left Martinique on the 28th day of the
same month, in the Aurora, in which I expected to have gone to Toulon,
but on touching at this place, it appeared that the further
prosecution of our voyage had become impracticable, without running
risks that could not be justified.

Thus circumstanced, the respect due to his most Catholic Majesty
demanded an immediate communication of my appointment and arrival,
which I had the honor to make in a letter to his Excellency, Don
Joseph Galvez, of the Council of his Catholic Majesty, and general
Secretary of State for the Department of the Indies, of which the
enclosed is a copy.

Will you, therefore, Sir, be so obliging as to lay this circumstance
before his Most Christian Majesty, and permit me through your
Excellency to assure him of the desire of Congress to enter into a
treaty of alliance, and of amity and commerce with his Catholic
Majesty, and to request his favorable interposition for that purpose?

I am happy in being able to assure you, that the United States
consider a cordial union between France, Spain and them as a very
desirable and most important object, and they view the provision,
which his Most Christian Majesty has made for it by the abovementioned
article, not only as evinsive of his attention to his royal ally; but
of his regard to them.

Under these views and these impressions, they are most sincerely
disposed, by the liberality and candor of their conduct, to render the
proposed treaties speedy in their accomplishment, and perpetual in
their duration.

Your Excellency will receive this letter by M. Gerard, who is so
obliging as to take charge of it, and to whom the Congress have been
pleased to give such ample testimonies of their esteem and confidence,
as to enable him to exert his talents with great advantage on every
occasion interesting to them.

I cannot conclude without indulging myself in the pleasure of
acknowledging how much we are indebted to the politeness and attention
of the Marquis de La Flolte and the other officers of the Aurora,
during the course of our voyage.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                            Cadiz, January 27th, 1780.


Permit me through your Excellency to have the honor of representing to
his most Catholic Majesty, that on the sixth day of February, 1778,
the respective Plenipotentiaries of his most Christian Majesty, and
the United States of America, by whom the treaties now subsisting
between them were concluded, did make and subscribe a secret article
in the words following, viz.

"The Most Christian King declares, in consequence of the intimate
union which subsists between him and the King of Spain, that in
concluding with the United States of America this treaty of amity and
commerce, and that of eventual and defensive alliance, his Majesty had
intended, and intends to reserve expressly, as he reserves by this
present separate and secret act, to his Catholic Majesty, the power of
acceding to the said treaties and to participate in their
stipulations, at such time as he shall judge proper. It being well
understood, nevertheless, that if any of the stipulations of the said
treaties are not agreeable to the King of Spain, his Catholic Majesty
may propose other conditions analagous to the principal aim of the
alliance, and conformable to the rules of equality, reciprocity and
friendship. The deputies of the United States, in the name of their
constituents, accept the present declaration to its full extent; and
the deputy of the said States, who is fully empowered to treat with
Spain, promises to sign, on the first requisition of his Catholic
Majesty, the act or acts necessary to communicate to him the
stipulations of the treaties above written. And the said deputy shall
endeavor, in good faith, the adjustment of the points in which the
King of Spain may propose any alteration, conformable to the
principles of equality, reciprocity, and perfect amity; he the said
deputy not doubting but the person or persons, empowered by his
Catholic Majesty to treat with the United States, will do the same
with regard to any alterations of the same kind, that may be thought
necessary by the said Plenipotentiary of the United States."

The Congress willing to manifest their readiness fully to comply with
an article, which they have reason to believe particularly agreeable
to their great and good ally, and being desirous of establishing
perpetual amity and harmony with a Prince and nation whom they greatly
respect, and with whom various circumstances lead them to wish for the
most cordial and permanent friendship, have thought proper to request
his most Catholic Majesty to accede to the said treaties, and thereby
preclude the necessity of that measure's originating in the manner
specified in the article. For this purpose they have done me the honor
to appoint me Minister Plenipotentiary, and directed me to communicate
to his Most Christian Majesty the desire of Congress on this subject,
and to request his favorable interposition. They also made it my duty
to give his Most Catholic Majesty the fullest assurances of their
sincere disposition to cultivate his friendship and confidence; and
authorised me, in their behalf, to enter into such treaties of
alliance, amity, and commerce, as would become the foundations of
perpetual peace to Spain and the United States, and the source of
extensive advantages to both.

Thus commissioned I embarked without delay on board the frigate, which
had been appointed to carry the Sieur Gerard to France, and sailed
with him for that kingdom, from Pennsylvania, on the 26th day of
October last.

But after having been thirteen days at sea, the frigate was dismasted,
and her rudder so greatly injured, as to oblige us to alter our course
and steer for Martinique. We arrived there on the 18th day of December
last; and sailed from thence on the 28th day of the same month in a
French frigate which was bound to Toulon, but had orders to touch at
this port for intelligence. We arrived here the 22d instant, and
received information of recent events, which rendered the further
prosecution of our voyage too hazardous to be prudent.

Providence having thus been pleased to bring me directly to Spain, the
respect due to his most Catholic Majesty forbids me to postpone
communicating to him my appointment and arrival; and the same motive
will induce me to remain here till he shall be pleased to signify to
me his pleasure. For although nothing would afford me more sensible
pleasure, than the honor of presenting to his Majesty the despatches,
which I am charged by Congress to deliver to him, yet on this, as on
every other occasion, it shall be my study to execute the trust
reposed in me, in the manner most pleasing to his Majesty, agreeable
to the true intent and meaning of the article abovementioned.

And that his most Christian Majesty may have the highest evidence of
the intention and desire of Congress fully and faithfully to execute
this article, I shall immediately do myself the honor of communicating
the same, together with my appointment and arrival; and I flatter
myself, that the request of Congress for his favorable interposition,
will meet with the same friendly attention, which he has uniformly
extended to all their concerns, and of which I am too sensible not to
derive the highest satisfaction from acknowledging it on every

Mr Carmichael, my Secretary, will have the honor of delivering this
despatch to your Excellency, as well as of giving every information in
his power to afford. This gentleman was a member of Congress at the
time of his appointment, and will be able more fully to express the
ardor with which the United States desire to establish a union with
France and Spain, on principles productive of such mutual attachment
and reciprocal benefits, as to secure to each the blessings of
uninterrupted tranquillity.

I have the honor to be, with great consideration and respect, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

P. S. I do myself the honor of transmitting to your Excellency,
herewith enclosed, a copy of my letter to his Excellency the Count de

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Cadiz, January 27th, 1780.


This morning M. Gerard set out from this city for France, and Mr
Carmichael, charged with despatches from me to the Spanish Ministry,
accompanies him as far as Madrid.

We arrived here the 22d inst. and I have been so much engaged ever
since in preparing letters, &c. as not to have an opportunity of
writing circumstantially to your Excellency by Captain Proctor, who I
am told, is to sail early in the morning for the Delaware or

We left Martinique on the 28th of December, in the Aurora frigate,
bound to Toulon. On touching here for intelligence we were informed
that the enemy had acquired a decided superiority in the
Mediterranean, and that the coast was infested by their cruisers, all
of whom we had fortunately escaped. Hence it became improper for me to
proceed to France by water, and it would in my opinion have been
indelicate, and therefore imprudent to have passed silently through
this kingdom to that, for the purpose of making a communication to his
most Christian Majesty, which could be fully conveyed by paper. On
this subject I shall take the liberty of making a few further remarks
in a future letter.

Congress will be enabled to judge of the propriety and plan of my
conduct, from the papers herewith enclosed, viz. a copy of a letter to
M. Galvez, the Spanish Minister; a copy of a letter to the Count de
Vergennes; of both these I have sent copies to Dr Franklin; a copy of
a letter to Mr Arthur Lee; and a copy of my instructions to Mr

It is in pursuance of what appears to me to be my duty, that I shall
render frequent, particular, and confidential accounts of my
proceedings to Congress. I flatter myself care will be taken to
prevent the return of them to Europe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                            Cadiz, January 27th, 1780.

You will proceed to Madrid with convenient expedition, and, if M.
Gerard, with whom you set out, should travel too deliberately, I
advise you to go on before him. The propriety of this, however, will
depend much on circumstances, and must be determined by your own

On delivering my letter to M. Galvez, it would be proper to intimate,
that I presumed it would be more agreeable to him to receive my
despatches from you, who could give him information on many matters
about which he might choose to inquire, than in the ordinary modes of
conveyance. And it may not be amiss to let him know, that his not
receiving notice of our arrival from me by M. Gerard's courier, was
owing to a mistake between that gentleman and me.

Treat the French Ambassador with great attention and candor, and that
degree of confidence only, which prudence, and the alliance between us
may prescribe. In your conversations with people about the Court,
impress them with an idea of our strong attachment to France; yet, so
as to avoid permitting them to imbibe an opinion of our being under
the _direction_ of any counsels but our own. The former will induce
them to think well of our constancy and good faith, the latter, of our
independence and self respect.

Discover, if possible, whether the Courts of Madrid and Versailles
entertain, in any degree, the same mutual disgusts, which we are told
prevail at present between the two nations, and be cautious when you
tread on this delicate ground. It would also be useful to know who are
the King's principal confidants, and the trains leading to each.

To treat prudently with any nation, it is essential to know the state
of its revenues. Turn your attention, therefore, to this object, and
endeavor to learn whether the public expenditures consume their
annual income, or whether there be any, and what overplus or
deficiency, and the manner in which the former is disposed of or the
latter supplied.

If an opportunity should offer, inform yourself as to the regulations
of the press at Madrid, and, indeed, throughout the kingdom; and the
particular character of the person at the head of that department.
Endeavor to find some person of adequate abilities and knowledge in
the two languages, to translate English into Spanish with propriety,
and, if possible, elegance. I wish also to know, which of the
religious orders, and the individuals of it, are most esteemed and
favored at Court.

Mention, as matter of intelligence, rather than in the way of
argument, the cruelties of the enemy, and the influence of that
conduct on the passions of Americans. This will be the more necessary,
as it seems we are suspected of retaining our former attachments to

In speaking of American affairs, remember to do justice to Virginia,
and the western country near the Mississippi. Recount their
achievements against the savages, their growing numbers, extensive
settlements, and aversion to Britain, for attempting to involve them
in the horrors of an Indian war. Let it appear also from your
representations, that ages will be necessary to settle those extensive

Let it be inferred from your conversation, that the expectations of
America, as to my reception and success, are sanguine; that they have
been rendered the more so by the suggestions of persons generally
supposed to speak from authority, and that a disappointment would be
no less unwelcome than unexpected.

I am persuaded, that pains will be taken to delay my receiving a
decided answer as to my reception, until the sentiments of France
shall be known. Attempts will also be made to suspend the
acknowledgment of our independence, on the condition of our acceding
to _certain_ terms of treaty. Do nothing to cherish either of these
ideas; but, without being explicit, treat the latter in a manner
expressive of regret and apprehension, and seem to consider my
reception as a measure, which we hoped would be immediately taken,
although the business of the negotiation might be postponed till
France could have an opportunity of taking the steps she might think
proper on the occasion.

You will offer to transmit to me any despatches, which M. Galvez may
think proper to confide to you; or to return with them yourself, if
more agreeable to him.

You will be attentive to all other objects of useful information, such
as the characters, views, and connexions of important individuals; the
plan of operations for the next campaign; whether any, and what secret
overtures have been made by Britain to France, or Spain, or by either
of them to her, or each other; whether any of the other powers have
manifested a disposition to take a part in the war; and whether it is
probable that any, and which of them, will become mediators for a
general peace, and on what plan. If the war should continue, it would
be advantageous to know whether Spain means to carry on any serious
operations for possessing herself of the Floridas, and banks of the
Mississippi, &c. &c. &c.

Although I have confidence in your prudence, yet permit me to
recommend to you the greatest circumspection. Command yourself under
every circumstance; on the one hand, avoid being suspected of
servility, and on the other, let your temper be always even, and your
attention unremitted.

You will oblige me by being very regular and circumstantial in your
correspondence, and commit nothing of a private nature to paper unless
in cypher.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                          Madrid, February 15th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

I arrived in this city late in the evening of the 11th, after a
tedious and disagreeable journey. The next day, although much
indisposed, I waited on the French Ambassador, who had by a message
over night, requested M. Gerard to engage me to dinner. I was received
by him and all his family in the most friendly manner, and was offered
every service in his power, to render us without those personal
professions, which give birth to many unmeaning words and more
suspicion. Indeed, I have neither expressions nor time to represent
the apparent candor and liberality of his sentiments. He entered fully
into the good disposition of his Court, and informed me, that the
King, as a further proof of his friendship for us, had agreed to pay
us annually the additional sum of three millions of livres during the
continuance of the war, in order to enable us to purchase the
necessaries for our army, &c. &c. and that his Majesty had also
determined to send a considerable marine and land force early in the
year to America, to be at the disposition and under the direction of
our General. Seventeen sail of the line, and four thousand troops, are
also to be sent to the West Indies, if they have not already sailed.
Judge after this, if attention, candor, and apparent unreservedness,
were not the more necessary on my part.

On inquiring, I found that M. Galvez was at the Pardo, about two
leagues from Madrid, where the King resides at present, and in the
course of conversation discovered, that the proper channel of address
ought to have been through the Count de Florida Blanca.

The Ambassador offered to introduce me, but as this could not be done
with propriety without previous application, he undertook to make it
the day following, and to fix the time for my reception by both, and I
think the manner will be the sole difficulty.

Among other circumstances, which induce this conclusion, is the
certain knowledge I have obtained, that M. Mirales received
instructions several months past to enter into engagements with
Congress, to take into pay a body of troops to assist in the conquest
of Florida. Your own good sense will point out the use, which may be
made of this intelligence. It answers to the point of the
instructions, which I had the honor to receive from you. The short
time I have been in this city has not hitherto given me an opportunity
of writing so circumstantially as I could wish, in the matters
abovementioned, and much less of giving a decided opinion on many
objects contained in your instructions. I find, however, hitherto no
difficulty in acquiring in time a knowledge on most of the subjects
recommended to my attention.

I have reason to believe, that the same disgusts do not subsist
between the Crowns as between the nations, but the most perfect
harmony and good understanding.

I have been positively assured, and from good authority, that no
overtures have been made for peace.

The Dutch are arming, which is a circumstance in our favor, as their
preparations originate from their discontent with England, on account
of the late affair of the convoy.

Mr Harrison is here, and proposes to proceed to Cadiz next week, which
will furnish me a good opportunity of writing to you. I enclose you
the last paper received from America; the people were in high spirits,
and everything in a good state in the beginning of January.

I cannot conclude without mentioning the very polite manner in which
the French Ambassador offered his personal civilities in everything,
that depended on him, to be useful to you in this place.

M. Gerard will write to you himself, yet I must do him the justice to
mention his personal kindness to me, and the candid representations he
has made in every public company here of the prosperous situation of
our affairs.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                   WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Cadiz, February 20th, 1780.


The papers herewith enclosed are duplicates of those, which I had the
honor of transmitting to your Excellency by Captain Desaussure. As yet
I have received no intelligence from Madrid, owing I believe to the
extreme badness of the roads.

When at Martinique, I informed Congress by letter, dated the 25th of
December last, that I had drawn a bill in favor of the officers of the
Confederacy on Dr Franklin, for one hundred guineas. At the time that
letter was written, I had made the officers that promise, and had
directed the bills to be made out accordingly, but just as I was
coming away and closing accounts with Mr Bingham, he, perceiving that
the money I was about to draw for the officers was to come out of my
salary, in the first instance, was so obliging as to offer to advance
that sum on the credit of Congress, and thereby save me the necessity
of drawing. I accepted his offer, and gave notice of it to the
officers by Mr Lawrence, the clerk of the frigate.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *



                                           Pardo, February 24th, 1780.


Having received by the hands of Don Joseph de Galvez, the letter which
your Excellency sent by Mr Carmichael, and having communicated the
contents to his Majesty, I have it in command to inform you, that his
Majesty highly approves the choice, which the American Congress have
made of you to the trust mentioned in your letter, as well on account
of the high estimation in which his Majesty holds the members who made
the choice, as the information he has received of your probity,
talents, and abilities. His Majesty also received with pleasure the
information of the desire which the Colonies have to form a connexion
with Spain, of whose good disposition they have already received
strong proofs. Nevertheless, his Majesty thinks it necessary in the
first place, that the manner, the forms, and the mutual correspondence
should be settled, upon which that Union must be founded, which the
United States of America desire to establish with this monarchy. For
this purpose there is no obstacle to your Excellency's coming to this
Court, in order to explain your intentions and those of the Congress,
and to hear those of his Majesty, and by that means settling a basis
upon which a perfect friendship may be established, and also its
extent and consequences.

His Majesty thinks, that until these points are settled, as he hopes
they will be, it is not proper for your Excellency to assume a formal
character, which must depend on a public acknowledgment and future
treaty. But your Excellency may be assured of the sincerity and good
dispositions of his Majesty towards the United States, and of his
earnest desire to remove every difficulty, for the mutual happiness of
them and of this monarchy. This has been intimated to Mr Carmichael,
who can communicate the same to your Excellency, to whom I beg leave
to make a tender of my service, being, &c.

                                              COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

                                           Cadiz, February 25th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 15th instant was delivered to me last evening. I
congratulate you on your safe arrival, and hope the agreeable
circumstances of your present situation will compensate for the
fatigue and trouble you experienced on the way to it.

It gives me pleasure to hear the French Ambassador has been so
obliging, and I am glad to find from your letter, that your
attentions to him at least keep pace with his civilities, especially
as you are no stranger to the distinction between the candor and
politeness of a gentleman, and that unbounded confidence which is
seldom necessary.

The intelligence you received from him is so agreeable and so
interesting, that although the nature of it leaves me no room to doubt
of this having been signified by the Court of France to Congress,
either through Dr Franklin or the Count de la Luzerne, yet as
unexpected accidents may have retarded its arrival, I shall also
transmit it by a vessel, which will sail in a few days for Boston.

I regret your not having been more particular on the subject of the
mistake you have been led to suppose in the direction of my letter, as
I wish to have the means of determining whether it was from decisive
authority that M. Gerard, whose opinion I requested on that subject,
without hesitation told me, that M. Galvez was the Minister with whom
all business with the United States was to be transacted, and urged
several reasons for his being of that opinion. From that gentleman's
knowledge of the Courts of Europe, and the departments established for
the despatch of business in each, particularly with that of Madrid,
with which his Court had been so long and so intimately acquainted, I
was induced to desire and confide in his information on that point.
Very conclusive reasons, therefore, are necessary to induce a belief
of his having been mistaken. But as it is of importance that all
errors of this kind be known, and, if possible, corrected, I must
request your attention to this matter in your next.

I am at a loss to determine from your letter whether or not you have
sent my despatches to M. Galvez. From your not having seen that
gentleman, nor expecting to be introduced to him till the 17th
instant, I conjecture that my letter did not reach him till that day;
if so, I fear the delay will appear as singular to him as I confess it
does to me. It does the more so to me, as my letter would have
introduced you, and as you were apprised of my apprehension that pains
would be taken to delay my receiving a decided answer, as to my
reception, until the sentiments of France should be known. Perhaps the
advice you received, as to the time and manner most proper for the
delivery of it, was a little influenced by a desire of gaining time. I
wished to have felt the pulse of Spain, and, by their conduct on this
occasion, to have been enabled to determine whether their councils,
with respect to the United States, are in any and in what degree
independent of those of France, or whether directed by them. This
would have been very useful in the further progress of the business,
and might have been easily obtained, had my letter been delivered
immediately on your arrival, because in that case, before the
sentiments of the French Court could have been asked and received,
sufficient time would have elapsed to justify your applying to M.
Galvez for an answer; and, whatever that might have been, certain
inferences would have been deducible from it. For these reasons, and
not from an expectation of opposition from France, I regret this
delay. But as my conjectures may prove groundless, and if just, you
may have very cogent reasons, I forbear further remarks till I shall
again have the pleasure of hearing from you.

Are you sure that the intelligence you heard respecting M. Mirales is
_certain_? I am sorry by this question to lengthen your next letter,
especially as writing in cypher is tedious and disagreeable. But that
intelligence is important; if credited, it may have an influence on
American measures, which, if it should be groundless, might be
injurious. The transmission of information to Congress, by which their
councils and determinations may be affected, is a very delicate
business, and demands the greatest care and precision. It is not
uncommon, you know, for one gentleman to think a matter certain, which
another of no greater discernment, and judging by the same evidence,
will deem somewhat doubtful. I would choose, therefore, with respect
to all interesting intelligence, and particularly such as I may
transmit to Congress, to possess as far as possible every circumstance
necessary to form a judgment of its credibility, such as the rank and
character of the informants, and the means they have of acquiring the
information they give, that I may represent it as entitled to that
degree of credit only, which, on full consideration, it may appear to
deserve. I observe this less with reference to the case in question
than as a general rule. Besides, as we correspond in cypher, no danger
can result from being explicit.

I am well satisfied that the short time you had been at Madrid did not
admit of your writing on the several subjects contained in your
instructions, on all of which, if allowed sufficient time, I am
persuaded you will be able to obtain important information. However,
as the object of your going to Madrid was to prevent delays in my
receiving an answer to the letter to M. Galvez, the other
instructions, however important, are to be considered as secondary,
and though I wish that great and constant attention may be paid them,
yet by no means to the neglect or prejudice of the first.

I am much obliged to you for the American paper enclosed in your
letter. Everything from our country is interesting. If you should find
any more of them, whose contents afford either information or
entertainment, send them, and you shall receive from me all I may meet
with here, which come under that description.

The letter you gave me reason to expect from M. Gerard has not yet
arrived; perhaps the next post will bring it. On the first occasion I
have of writing to him, I shall take the liberty of mentioning the
sense you have of his personal kindness and attention to you.

The polite offers of the French Ambassador to be useful to me in all
things that depend on him at Madrid, as well as his civilities to you,
demand my acknowledgments, which I must beg the favor of you to
present to him.

I am, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Cadiz, February 29th, 1780.


I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency in the enclosed
papers,[16] all the intelligence I have received from Madrid. Mr
Secretary Thompson will decypher them. An opinion begins to prevail,
that America will be the theatre of war the ensuing campaign, and that
the islands there will be the principal objects of contention.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.


[16] See above, p. 207, Mr Carmichael's letter, dated February 15th,
and Mr Jay's reply, p. 211, dated February 25th. See also a letter in
_Carmichael's Correspondence_, dated February 18th.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Cadiz, March 3d, 1780.


Agreeably to my promise to the Marquis de la Flotte, I must inform
your Excellency, that a Monsieur Jean Guy Guatier, merchant at
Barcelona, recommended to the Marquis by Monsieur Aubere, the French
consul there, is desirous of becoming the consul of the United States
at that port. He had been encouraged, as M. Aubere says, to expect
this appointment by Dr Franklin, but as he supposed my arrival would
prevent the Doctor's interference, it became necessary to make the
application to me. I told the Marquis that my commission did not
authorise me to comply with his request, and that all I could do would
be to mention his friend's application to Congress.

How far it may be proper to grant appointments of this sort to any but
citizens of America, is a question whose importance will not, I am
persuaded, escape the notice of Congress. A sensible, active consul is
a very useful officer in many respects, and has many opportunities of
doing essential services to those who employ him, or to whom he may be
most attached. It is most certain, that for want of proper persons
appointed to take care of our distressed seamen, who, escaping from
captivity at Lisbon, Gibraltar, &c. daily arrive here, America loses
many of them. Humanity as well as policy calls for this provision. I
have some of them now with me, destitute of bread and money, and
almost of clothes, and of the means of getting either, unless by
entering into the French or Spanish service. Such as may arrive here
after my going to Madrid will be friendless unless I employ some
person to take a little care of them, which I shall take the liberty
of doing, being fully persuaded that the same principles which press
me into that measure will induce Congress to approve it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Cadiz, March 3d, 1780.


Captain Morgan being still here, waiting for a fair wind, I have an
opportunity of transmitting to your Excellency a copy of a letter[17]
just come to hand from the Count de Florida Blanca, in answer to mine
to M. Galvez.

Being apprehensive that if present I should probably be amused with
verbal answers capable of being explained away if necessary, until the
two courts could have time to consult and decide on their measures, I
thought it more prudent that my first application should be by letter
rather than in person.

The answer in question, divested of the gloss which its politeness
spreads over it, gives us, I think, to understand, that our
independence shall be acknowledged, provided we accede to certain
terms of treaty, but not otherwise; so that the acknowledgment is not
to be made because we are independent, which would be candid and
liberal, but because of the previous considerations we are to give for
it, which is consistent with the principles on which nations usually

I shall proceed immediately to Madrid. There are many reasons
(hereafter to be explained,) which induce me to suspect that France is
determined to manage between us, so as to make us debtors to their
influence and good correspondence with Spain for every concession on
her part, and to make Spain hold herself obligated to their influence
and good correspondence with us for every concession on our part.
Though this may puzzle the business, I think it also promotes it.

M. Gerard has often endeavored to persuade me, that a certain
resolution of Congress would, if persisted in, ruin the business,
which however he did not appear much inclined to believe, but, on the
contrary, that if every other matter was adjusted you would not part
on that point. I assured him that ground had, in my opinion, been
taken with too much deliberation now to be quitted, and that
expectations of that kind would certainly deceive those who trusted
them. And, indeed, as affairs are now circumstanced, it would, in my
opinion, be better for America to have no treaty with Spain, than to
purchase one on such servile terms. There was a time when it might
have been proper to have given that country something for their making
common cause with us, but that day is now past. Spain is at war with

I do not like the cypher in which I write, and shall therefore defer
further particulars till Mr Thompson shall receive the one now sent

I have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem, your
Excellency's most obedient servant,

                                                             JOHN JAY.


[17] See this letter above, dated February 24th, p. 210.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   DE NEUFVILLE & SON TO JOHN JAY.

                                           Amsterdam, April 6th, 1780.


We beg leave to congratulate your Excellency on your safe arrival in
Europe. By principle warmly attached to the American cause, we could
wish that we saw our States in a situation to acknowledge the
independence of their sister Republic, and though we could only
cultivate private connexions as yet, we took the liberty to address
some intelligence to your Excellency when President of Congress. We
should reckon ourselves extremely happy to know whether our letter
came to hand before your Excellency left Philadelphia, and whether we
may form any hopes that our zeal may prove successful for the benefit,
as we intended, of both countries.

Meanwhile we have the honor to be, with all possible regard, &c.

                                              JOHN DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    ANSWER TO DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

                                             Madrid, April 27th, 1780.


I have had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 6th instant,
and am much obliged by your kind congratulations on my arrival in

The letters you mention to have written to Congress had been received
before I left Philadelphia, and referred to a committee. This mark of
attention was justly due to the interest you take in the American
cause, and the disposition you manifest to serve it. I presume that
the committee soon made a report, and that answers to your letters
have been written, although perhaps the many hazards to which letters
from America are exposed may have prevented their reaching you.

When the rulers of your republic recollect in what manner and on what
occasion they became free, I am persuaded they cannot but wish
duration to our independence, nor forbear considering it as an event
no less interesting to every commercial nation in Europe than
important to America. These and similar considerations, added to the
injustice they daily experience from England, will, I hope, induce
them to call to mind that spirit of their forefathers, which acquired
a glorious participation in the empire of the ocean, and laid the
foundation of the commerce, affluence, and consideration they
transmitted to their posterity.

Permit me to assure you that I shall consider your correspondence as a
favor, and that I am, with great respect, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Madrid, May 26th, 1780.


Since my departure from America I have had the honor of writing the
following letters to your Excellency, viz. 20th, 22d, 24th, 25th,
25th, 26th and 27th of December, 1779, from Martinique; and 27th of
January, 20th, 28th and 29th of February, and 3d of March, 1780, from
Cadiz. I am still uncertain whether any, and which of them, have come
to your hands, and request the favor of particular information on this

Of such of them as respect immediately the business committed to me I
now send duplicates, as well as copies of such other papers as, taken
collectively, will give Congress a full and accurate state of their
affairs here.

This packet, of which an exact copy goes by another vessel, will
appear voluminous. It will nevertheless be found interesting. I have
interspersed such observations as to me appeared proper for the
purpose of explanation.

On the 22d of January, 1780, I arrived at Cadiz, without letters of
credit or recommendation to any person there. The Chevalier Roche (a
passenger with us) was so obliging as to procure me credit for about
two hundred pounds sterling with a relation of his, to whom I was
obliged to give a bill on Dr Franklin at a more than usual short
sight. I afterwards became acquainted with the house of Le Couteulx
and Company, who offered me what money I might want, and furnished me
accordingly, with great cheerfulness. I was very disagreeably

Finding reports ran hard against American credit, and that bills on Dr
Franklin were held very cheap, by reason of his having, as was there
said, postponed, delayed, and in some instances refused payment of
them, on very frivolous pretences, I did, on the 26th of January,
1780, inform him by letter of my arrival, and of these reports.

In answer to this, the Doctor, on the 7th of April, 1780, wrote me a
very friendly letter, asserting these reports to be false, and
enclosing a certificate of his banker, which proved them to be so. Of
this I have made the proper use, and as the same reports prevailed in
Martinique, and probably in the other islands, I wish the remedy to be
as extensive as the mischief, and therefore transmit the following
extract from his letter on that subject, and a copy of the certificate
mentioned in it.

        _Extract of a Letter from his Excellency Dr Franklin,
                      dated April 7th, 1780._

    "The reports you tell me prevail at Cadiz, that the Loan
    Office Bills, payable in France, have not been duly honored,
    are wicked falsehoods. Not one of them, duly endorsed by the
    original proprietor, was ever refused by me, or the payment
    delayed a moment. And the few not so endorsed have been also
    paid on the guarantee of the presenter, or some person of
    known credit. No reason whatever has been given for refusing
    payment of a bill, except this very good one that either the
    first, second, third or fourth of the same set had been
    already paid. The pretence that it was necessary for the
    whole set to arrive before the money could be paid, is too
    absurd and ridiculous for anyone to make use of, who knows
    anything of the nature of exchange. The unexpected large
    draughts made upon me by Congress and others, exclusive of
    these from the Loan Office, have indeed sometimes embarrassed
    me not a little, and put me to difficulties. But I have
    overcome those difficulties, so as never to have been obliged
    to make the smallest excuse, or desire the least delay of
    payment from any presenter of such bills. Those reports must
    therefore have been contrived by enemies to our country, or
    by persons who proposed an advantage to themselves by
    purchasing them at an under rate. Enclosed I send you a
    certificate of our banker in refutation of those calumnies."

              _Copy of the abovementioned Certificate._


    "I, the subscriber, banker at Paris, and alone charged with
    the payment of the bills of the Loan Office, declare, that I
    have paid, without exception or delay, all such bills to this
    date, accepted by his Excellency Dr Franklin; that, to my
    knowledge, no such bill has been refused payment; but that
    several have been presented after they had been once paid.

    "I declare further, that whatever is contradictory to this
    present is false.

    "In testimony of which I have here signed my name at Paris,
    this 15th of March, 1780.


It appearing to me of importance that I should as soon as possible be
informed of the measures, which Mr Arthur Lee might have taken leading
to a treaty between the United States and Spain, I did, on the 26th of
January, 1780, write him a letter, of which the following is a

Mr Lee, in answer to this, wrote me a polite letter on the 17th of
March, 1780. The following is a copy of it.[19]

As, for reasons, which will appear in the course of the following
papers, and which I hope will meet with the approbation of Congress,
it became proper for me to remain in Spain, I apprised the Court of
France of it by a letter to his Excellency the Count de Vergennes, on
the 27th of January, 1780, of which the following is a copy.[20]

The Count's answer to this is in the following words.


                                   "Versailles, March 13th, 1780.


    "I have received your favor of the 27th of January, and I am
    fully sensible of the confidence you have reposed in me, by
    communicating to me the object of your mission. You know too
    well the attachment of his Majesty to the United States, not
    to feel assured that he sincerely wishes you success, and
    will be eager to contribute to it. The Count de Montmorin has
    received instructions accordant with this disposition, and I
    do not doubt that your confidence in him will enable him to
    fulfil them to your entire satisfaction.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                   DE VERGENNES."

On the 9th of May, 1780, I replied to the Count as follows.

                                        "Aranjues, May 9th, 1780.


    "The letter which your Excellency did me the honor to write
    me, on the 13th of March last, was delivered to me by the
    Count de Montmorin on my arrival at Madrid.

    "I should not have thus long delayed the pleasure of replying
    to it, if I could have prevailed upon myself to have given
    your Excellency complimentary professions, instead of sincere
    assurances. Unreserved confidence in an Ambassador of our
    great and good ally was just, as well as natural; and I am
    exceedingly happy to find that personal considerations,
    instead of forbidding, prompt it. M. Gerard, whose judgment I
    greatly respect, had given me a very favorable impression of
    this gentleman, and I am convinced from my own observation,
    that he was not mistaken. His conduct towards me has been
    that of a wise minister, and a candid gentleman. Your
    Excellency may therefore rely upon his receiving all that
    confidence from me, which these considerations dictate.
    Permit me to add, that I never indulge myself in
    contemplating the future happiness and independence of my
    country, without feeling the warmest attachment to the Prince
    and people, who are making such glorious exertions to
    establish them.

    "With the most lively sentiments of respect and esteem, I
    have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

I requested the favor of M. Gerard to inform me, to which of the
Ministers of Spain it would be proper to address any letters, which I
might think proper to write to that court. He told me M. Galvez, and
enumerated his reasons for thinking so. On the 27th of January, 1780,
I wrote a letter to that Minister. The following is a copy of it.[21]

Mr Carmichael was the bearer of this letter, and as his going to
Madrid to expedite an answer to it would give him an opportunity of
acquiring, as well as giving information on several subjects, I gave
him the following instructions.[22]

I have desired Mr Carmichael, for greater certainty, to give me notes
in writing of all the information he gained in pursuance of these
instructions, but he has postponed it for the sake of enlarging them
by some important additions.

My letter to M. Galvez was answered the 24th of February, 1780, by the
Count de Florida Blanca, in the words following, viz.[23]

To this letter I replied as follows, viz.

                                         "Cadiz, March 6th, 1780.


    "I have been honored with your Excellency's favor of the
    24th ultimo, which did not come to my hands till sometime
    after its arrival.

    "The sentiments which his Majesty is pleased to entertain of
    me, together with the polite manner in which your Excellency
    has been so obliging as to express them, demand my warmest
    acknowledgments, and give additional force to the many
    motives, which render me desirous of a permanent union
    between his Majesty and the United States.

    "The honor and probity, which have ever characterised the
    conduct of Spain, together with the exalted reputation his
    Majesty has acquired, by being an eminent example of both,
    have induced the people of the United States to repose the
    highest confidence in the proofs they have received of his
    friendly disposition towards them; and to consider every
    engagement with this monarchy as guarantied by that faith,
    and secured by that ingenuousness, which have so gloriously
    distinguished his Majesty and this kingdom among the other
    Princes and nations of the earth.

    "Permit me to request the favor of your Excellency to assure
    his Majesty, that the people of the United States are
    convinced, that virtue alone can animate and support their
    governments; and that they can in no other way establish and
    perpetuate a national character, honorable to themselves and
    their posterity, than by an unshaken adherence to the rules
    which religion, morality, and treaties may prescribe for
    their conduct. His royal mind may also be persuaded, that
    gratitude will never cease to add the influence of
    inclination to the power of dignity, in rendering them
    solicitous for the happiness and prosperity of those generous
    nations, who nobly strengthened their opposition to a torrent
    of oppression, and kindly aided in freeing them from the
    bondage of a nation, whose arrogance and injustice had become
    destructive of the rights of mankind, and dangerous to the
    peace and tranquillity of Christendom.

    "Having therefore the most perfect conviction, that the
    candor and benignity of his Majesty's intentions are equal to
    the uprightness and sincerity of those of Congress, I shall
    set out in a few days for Madrid, with the pleasing
    expectation that there will be little delay or difficulty in
    adjusting the terms of a union between a magnanimous Monarch
    and a virtuous people, who wish to obtain, by an alliance
    with each other, only reciprocal benefits and mutual

    "I have the honor to be, with perfect respect and
    consideration, your Excellency's most obedient, and most
    humble servant,

                                                       JOHN JAY."

On the 4th of April, 1780, I arrived at Madrid, and Mr Carmichael
delivered to me the following questions from the Count de Florida
Blanca, to which he had declined giving answers, viz.

       _Questions from the Count de Florida Blanca, dated the
                        9th of March, 1780._


    "Before entering into a discussion with Mr Jay or Mr
    Carmichael, jointly or separately, on the subject of the
    affairs of the United States of North America, and their
    mutual interest with respect to Spain, it is judged
    indispensable at Madrid, that the Catholic King should be
    exactly informed of the civil and military state of the
    American Provinces, and of their resources to continue the
    present war, not only for the defence of their own liberty,
    but also with respect to the aid and succors they may be able
    to afford Spain in its operations, in case hereafter this
    Crown should become the ally of America. The _Civil Affairs_
    ought to comprehend,

    "1st. A true account of the population and form of government
    of each Province of the Union, and the resolution of the
    inhabitants to continue the war with vigor, as long as it is

    "2dly. Whether there is any powerful party in favor of
    England, and what consequences are to be apprehended from it;
    whether the heads of this party suffer themselves to be
    seduced by the great promises of the British government.

    "3dly. A statement of the revenues of these Provinces, and of
    their ability to contribute to the general expense; to which
    may be added, whether they will be able long to support this
    burthen, and even to increase it should it be judged

    "4thly. A statement of the public debts, and of the
    particular debts of each State, taken collectively or
    separately, of their resources to lessen them, and the
    possibility of their being able to support their credit in
    all the operations of government, in the commerce of their
    inhabitants, and above all in the protection of national

    "5thly. By what means, or with what branches of commerce,
    will the States of America have it in their power to
    indemnify Spain, whenever this power may second the views and
    operations of the Americans; and particularly the Court
    wishes to know, whether it may be convenient for the said
    States to furnish ships of war of the best construction for
    the Spanish marine, and likewise timber and other articles
    for the King's arsenals, and the whole without loss of time,
    and fixing the terms on which they would make an agreement of
    this nature, and who would be commissioned to bring the
    vessels and these naval stores to Spain.

    "With respect to the _Military State_ of America, it is
    necessary to be informed first, of the number and strength of
    the different bodies of troops armed by the Provinces, and of
    their present situation, in order to judge whether they are
    sufficient to oppose the enemy wherever they may go, and
    particularly in Carolina and Georgia.

    "Further, it may be expedient to know the means of augmenting
    the American army in case it is necessary, or to keep it
    always on the same footing, notwithstanding its daily losses.
    In what condition their clothing and arms are at present;
    whether they are partly in want of those articles, and how
    much it would require to remedy those defects.

    "The subsistence of an army being an object of the greatest
    consequence, the Court desires to know if proper measures
    have been taken for that purpose, that it may be ascertained
    whether it can act everywhere, if necessary, even in the
    above mentioned Provinces, without danger of being in want of

    "It is highly essential for the Provinces of America to keep
    a marine to act against the common enemy, and to secure their
    own possessions during the present war. The Spanish Minister
    therefore is desirous of knowing its strength, including the
    armed vessels belonging to individuals, and by what means it
    may be augmented, and what succors will be necessary for that

    "The Court of Spain, desirous of information on these
    subjects with all possible frankness and precision, does not
    pretend to dive into matters, which Mr Jay or Mr Carmichael
    may regard as reserved to themselves. Its only aim is to be
    acquainted with the present state of the American forces,
    their resources, and ability to continue the war, so that if
    it was in consideration for new allies to supply them with
    succors of any kind, the former might be able to plan on
    solid grounds their operations convenient for the common
    cause, and for the particular advantage of these States,
    without running the risk of being misled by false
    calculations for want of foresight and proper information."

    "_Pardo, March 9th, 1780._"

My answer to these questions is contained in a letter I wrote to the
Count de Florida Blanca, on the 25th of April, 1780; the removal of
the Court to Aranjues, and his attending the King at that time at an
annual chase, rendering it useless, and perhaps improper, to endeavor
to call his attention to these matters sooner. The following is a copy
of it.

                                       "Madrid, April 25th, 1780.


    "Mr Carmichael has delivered to me a paper he had the honor
    of receiving from your Excellency before my arrival here,
    containing heads of many important inquiries respecting which
    it was thought necessary, that his Catholic Majesty should be
    exactly informed before entering into a discussion with me
    and Mr Carmichael jointly or separately, on the subject of
    the affairs of the United States of North America, and their
    mutual interest with respect to Spain; but that the Court,
    though desirous of information on these several articles,
    with all possible frankness and precision, did not mean to
    dive into matters which Mr Carmichael and myself might regard
    as reserved to ourselves only.

    "Being persuaded, that direct and accurate information
    respecting the nature and extent of the commissions given to
    that gentleman and myself, would be very agreeable to your
    Excellency, I take the liberty of transmitting the following
    copies of each.

    'The delegates of the United States of New Hampshire,
    Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,
    Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
    Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
    Georgia, in Congress assembled, to all who shall see these
    presents, Greeting.

    'Whereas an intercourse between the subjects of his Catholic
    Majesty, and the citizens of these United States, founded on
    the principles of equality, reciprocity, and friendship, may
    be of mutual advantage to both nations, and it being the
    sincere desire of the United States to enter into a treaty of
    alliance and of amity and commerce with his Catholic Majesty,
    know ye, therefore, that we, confiding in the integrity,
    prudence, and ability of the Honorable John Jay, late
    President of Congress, and Chief Justice of the State of New
    York, have nominated and constituted, and by these presents
    do nominate and constitute him, the said John Jay, our
    Minister Plenipotentiary; giving him full power general and
    special to act in that quality, 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, and whatever
    shall be so agreed and concluded for us and in our names, to
    sign, and thereupon make such treaty or treaties, conventions
    and agreements, as he shall judge conformable to the ends we
    have in view, in as ample form, and with the same effect, as
    if we were personally present and acted therein, hereby
    promising in good faith, that we will accept, ratify, fulfil,
    and execute whatever shall be agreed, concluded, and signed
    by our said Minister Plenipotentiary, and that we will never
    act, nor suffer any person to act, contrary to the same in
    the whole, or in any part.

    'In witness whereof, we have caused these presents to be
    given in Congress, at Philadelphia, the 29th day of
    September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred
    and seventynine, and the fourth year of the independence of
    the United States of America.

      'Signed by the President, and sealed with his seal.

               'SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, _President_.

      'Attest, CHARLES THOMSON, _Secretary_.'

    'The United States of America, in Congress assembled. To the
    Honorable William Carmichael, a delegate in Congress from the
    State of Maryland. Greeting.

    'We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your
    patriotism, ability, conduct, and fidelity, do, by these
    presents, constitute and appoint you, during our pleasure,
    Secretary to our Minister Plenipotentiary, appointed to
    negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce, and of alliance
    with his Catholic Majesty. You are, therefore, carefully and
    diligently to discharge the duty of Secretary, by doing and
    performing all things thereunto belonging, and, in case of
    the death of our said Minister, you are to signify it to us
    by the earliest opportunity, and on such event, we authorise
    and direct you to take into your charge all our public
    affairs, which were in the hands of said Minister at the time
    of his death, or which may be addressed to him before notice
    thereof, and proceed therein, according to the instructions
    to our said Minister given, until our further orders.

    'Witness, his Excellency, Samuel Huntington, President of the
    Congress of the United States of America, at Philadelphia,
    the 29th day of September, in the year of our Lord, 1779, and
    in the fourth year of our independence.

                                 'SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, _President_.

       'Attest, CHARLES THOMSON, _Secretary_.'

    "The inquiries in question are numerous and important. They
    do honor to the sagacity which suggested them, and, if fully
    answered, would produce a very interesting history of the
    present condition of the American States. On some of the
    subjects proposed, I can give your Excellency full and
    positive intelligence; on others, only general and by no
    means precise information. On all, however, I shall write
    with candor.

    "Such is the nature of the American governments and
    confederacy, that the Congress, and all other rulers of the
    people, are responsible to them for their conduct, and cannot
    withhold from their constituents a knowledge of their true
    situation, without subjecting themselves to all the evils,
    which they experience, who substitute cunning in the place of
    wisdom. Hence it is, that a knowledge of their affairs is
    easily attainable by all who will be at the trouble of
    collecting it, and as it is neither the policy nor
    inclination of America to draw a veil over any part of their
    affairs, your Excellency may be persuaded, that every
    consideration forbids their servants, by a suppression, or
    misrepresentation of facts, to deceive or mislead those whose
    amity they so sincerely endeavor to cultivate, as they do
    that of Spain.


    "Your Excellency has with great propriety arranged the
    subjects of your inquiry under two heads; the _Civil_ and
    _Military_ States of North America. The first of these is
    again branched into several subdivisions, at the head of
    which, is the

                     _Population of each State._

    "The exact number of inhabitants in the United States has
    not, I believe, been ascertained by an actual census in more
    than two or three of them. The only computation made by
    Congress was on the 29th of July, 1775; the manner and
    occasion of which exclude every suspicion of its exceeding
    the true number. Congress had emitted bills of credit to a
    very considerable amount, and were apprised of the necessity
    of emitting more. Justice demanded that this debt should be
    apportioned among the States according to their respective
    abilities; an equitable rule whereby to determine that
    ability became indispensable. After much consideration,
    Congress resolved, 'that the proportion, or quota of each
    Colony, should be determined according to the number of the
    inhabitants of all ages (including negroes and mulattoes) in
    each Colony,' but as that could not _then_ be ascertained
    _exactly_, they were obliged to judge of, and compute the
    number from circumstantial evidence. The delegates gave to
    Congress an account of the population of their respective
    Colonies, made from the best materials then in their power,
    and so great was their confidence in each other, that from
    those accounts that computation was principally formed. Your
    Excellency will readily perceive, that the delegates were far
    from being under any temptations to exaggerate the number of
    their constituents; they were not ignorant, that by such
    exaggerations they would increase their portion of aids, both
    of men and money, and that whatever errors they might commit,
    could not be rectified by an actual numeration during the
    war. The computation then formed was as follows.

      New Hampshire,              124,069 and a half
      Massachusetts Bay,          434,244
      Rhode Island,                71,959 and a half
      Connecticut,                248,139
      New York,                   248,139
      New Jersey,                 161,290 and a half
      Pennsylvania,               372,208 and a half
      Delaware,                    37,219 and a half
      Maryland,                   310,174 and a half
      Virginia,                   496,278
      North Carolina,             248,139
      South Carolina,             248,139

    Exclusive of the inhabitants of Georgia, who were not at that
    time represented in Congress, and of whose numbers I have no
    information that I can confide in.

               _The Form of Government of each State._

    "In the pamphlets I have now the honor of transmitting to
    your Excellency, viz. No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5,
    you will find the constitutions of New York, New Jersey,
    Pennsylvania, Delaware, and South Carolina. The others I have
    not with me. The great outlines of them all are very similar.
    By the last accounts from America, it appears that
    Massachusetts Bay had not as yet agreed upon their
    constitution, but had it then under consideration.

    "It cannot be necessary to observe to your Excellency, that
    these new modes of government were formed by persons named
    and authorised by the people for that express purpose; that
    they were, in general, instituted with great temper and
    deliberation upon such just and liberal principles, as on the
    one hand to give effectual security to civil and religious
    liberty, and on the other make ample provision for the rights
    of justice, and the due exercise of the necessary powers of

    "The articles of confederation agreed upon by Congress, and
    approved by every State in the Union except Maryland, provide
    for the general government of the Confederacy, and the
    ordering of all matters essential to the prosperity and
    preservation of the Union in peace and war. I ought also to
    inform your Excellency, that the reasons why Maryland has as
    yet withheld her assent to those articles, do not arise from
    any disaffection to the common cause, but merely from their
    not having adopted certain principles respecting the
    disposition of certain lands.

    _The Union and Resolution of the Inhabitants to continue the
           War with Vigor as long as may be necessary._

    "On this subject I can give your Excellency certain and
    positive information; the storm of tyranny and oppression,
    which had for some years been constantly growing more black
    and more terrible, began to burst with violence on the people
    of North America in the year 1774. It was seen and felt and
    deprecated by all except those, who expected to gather spoils
    in the ruins it was designed to occasion. These were those
    who enjoyed, or expected, emoluments from Great Britain,
    together with their immediate dependants and connexions; such
    as the officers of government throughout the Colonies, but
    with some very distinguished exceptions; those of the clergy
    of the church of England almost without exception, who
    received annual salaries from the society established in
    England for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts; foreign
    adventurers, buyers and sellers, who, being no further
    attached to the country than as it afforded the means of
    gain, soon prepared to speculate in confiscations, and
    courted the notice of their sovereign by intemperate zeal for
    the ruin of his subjects. With these exceptions, the great
    body of the people moved together, and united in such firm
    and considerate measures for the common safety, and conducted
    their affairs with such regularity, order, and system, as to
    leave no room to suppose them to be the work of only a
    prevailing party, as our enemies have always represented and
    affected to consider them.

    "There was, it is true, another class of persons not much
    less dangerous, though far more contemptible than those I
    first mentioned; persons who in every revolution, like
    floating weeds in every storm, obey the strongest wind, and
    pass from side to side as that happens to change. I mean the
    _neutrals_, a pusillanimous race, who having balanced in
    their minds the advantages and disadvantages, the gains and
    dangers of joining either side, are seduced by their fears to
    form a thousand pretexts for joining neither; who, to
    manifest their loyalty to their King, when his armies were
    successful, gave them every aid in their power, except
    drawing their swords against their country, and who, when
    their countrymen prevailed, were ready to render them all
    possible service, except taking arms against their Prince.

    "The auxiliaries, whom the British measures and forces found
    in the country, consisted of persons from these classes. And
    although when these first appeared in, and wounded the bosom
    of America, she was obliged to extend her arms to repel the
    assaults of a foreign enemy, yet such was the union and
    spirit of her inhabitants, that she was soon enabled not only
    to put them under her feet, but on the ruins of her former
    governments to erect new ones in the midst of invasions from
    without, and treacherous combinations from within. Being able
    to obtain no other terms of peace than unconditional
    obedience, she had sufficient courage to declare herself
    independent in the face of one of the best appointed armies
    Britain could ever boast of, as well as sufficient strength
    to limit its operations, and reduce its numbers.

    "It may perhaps be observed, that the first object of the war
    was a redress of grievances; that the present object is
    _independence_; and it may be asked whether the people are as
    much united with respect to the last as they were with
    respect to the first.

    "I am certain that the people of America never were so well
    united as they are at present, in that of their independence.
    Exclusive of actual observation on the spot, I think so

    "1st. The Declaration of Independence was made by Congress at
    a time, when the great body of their constituents called for

    "2dly. Because that declaration was immediately recognised by
    the general assemblies and legislatures of the several
    States, without exception.

    "3dly. Because the successful army under General Burgoyne was
    defeated and captured by a great collection of the
    neighboring militia, to whom he had offered peace and
    tranquillity on their remaining at home, terms which it was
    natural to suppose a great many of them would have accepted,
    had the Declaration of Independence been disagreeable to

    "4thly. Because the Congress, consisting of members annually
    elected, have repeatedly, expressly, and unanimously declared
    their determination to support it at every hazard.

    "5thly. Because their internal enemies have been either
    expelled or reduced, and their estates to a very great amount
    in some of the States confiscated and actually sold.

    "6thly. Because constitutions and forms of government have
    since been instituted and completely organised, in which the
    people participate, from which they have experienced
    essential advantages, and to which they have of consequence
    become greatly attached.

    "7thly. Because Congress unanimously refused to enter into
    treaty with the British Commissioners on any terms short of
    independence, and because every State, though afterwards
    separately solicited, refused to treat otherwise than
    collectively by their delegates in Congress.

    "8thly. Because the inhuman and very barbarous manner in
    which the war has been conducted by the enemy, has so
    alienated the affections of the people from the King and
    government of Britain, and filled their hearts with such
    deep rooted and just resentments, as render a cordial
    reconciliation, much less a dependence on them, utterly

    "9thly. Because the doctrine propagated in America by the
    servants of the King of Great Britain, that no faith was to
    be kept with Americans in arms against him, and the
    uniformity with which they have adhered to it, in their
    practice as well as professions, have destroyed all
    confidence, and leave the Americans no room to doubt, but
    that, should they again become subjects of the King of
    Britain on certain terms, those terms would as little impede
    the progress of future oppression, as the capitulation of
    Limerick, in 1691, did with respect to Ireland.

    "10thly. Because the treaty with France, and consequently
    virtue, honor, and every obligation due to the reputation of
    a rising nation, whose fame is unsullied by violated
    compacts, forbid it.

    "11thly. Because it is the evident, and well known interest
    of North America to remain independent.

    "12thly. Because the history of mankind, from the earliest
    ages, with a loud voice calls upon those who draw their
    swords against a Prince, deaf to the supplication of his
    people, to throw away that scabbard.

    "13thly. Because they do not consider the support of their
    independence as difficult. The country is very defensible and
    fertile; the people are all soldiers, who with reason
    consider their liberty and lives as the most valuable of the
    possessions left them, and which they are determined shall
    neither be wrested or purchased from them but with blood.

    "14thly. Because for the support of their independence, they
    have expressly, by a most solemn act, pledged to each other
    their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor; so that
    their bond of union, for this very purpose, thus formed of
    all the ties of common interest, common safety, mutual
    affection, general resentments, and the great obligations of
    virtue, honor, patriotism, and religion, may with reason be
    deemed equal to the importance of that great object.

    _Whether there is any powerful Party in Favor of England, and
      what Consequences are to be apprehended from it? Whether
      the Heads of this Party suffer themselves to be seduced by
      the Promises of the British Government?_

    "What has been already said, on the subject of the union of
    the people in North America, will I imagine in a great
    measure answer these questions.

    "If by a party in favor of England is meant a party for
    relinquishing the independence of the United States, and
    returning to the dominion of Britain, on any terms whatever,
    I answer there is no such party in North America; all the
    open adherents of the Crown of Great Britain having either
    voluntarily quitted or been expelled from the country.

    "That Britain has emissaries and masked adherents in America,
    industrious in their little spheres to perplex the public
    measures, and disturb the public tranquillity, is a fact of
    which I have not the most distant doubt, and it is equally
    true, that some of these wicked men are by a few weak ones
    thought to be patriots, but they cannot with any propriety be
    called a party, or even a faction. The chief mischief they
    do, is collecting and transmitting intelligence, raising
    false reports, and spreading calumnies of public men and
    measures; such characters will be found in every country so
    circumstanced, and America has not been negligent in
    providing laws for their punishment.

    "The obvious policy of the Court of London has induced them
    to boast perpetually of their party in America; but where it
    is? of whom composed? what it has done, or is doing? are
    questions to which they constantly give evasive answers. Much
    also have they said of the numbers that have joined their
    arms in America. The truth is, that at Boston, Rhode Island,
    New York, and Philadelphia, they gleaned some of that refuse
    of mankind, to be found and purchased by any body in all
    commercial cities. It is also true, that some men of weight
    and influence in the country, who joined the enemy on their
    first successes, did draw away with them several of their
    immediate dependents, whom they persuaded or otherwise
    influenced to enlist in their service. To these may also be
    added the prisoners, who at different times they forced into
    their service by famine, and other severities too numerous as
    well as barbarous to be here particularized. But I have no
    reason to believe, that all these aids put together ever
    exceeded three thousand men. This business, however, (except
    with respect to prisoners,) has long been over, and before I
    left America many of those deluded people had returned and
    implored the pardon of their country.

    "In America, as in all other popular governments, your
    Excellency knows there must and ever will be parties for and
    against particular measures and particular men. The enemy,
    adverting to this circumstance, have had address enough to
    ascribe differences and temporary heats arising from this
    source, in which they were not interested, to causes much
    higher, and more flattering to their importance; and this
    they have done with so much art, as to have imposed in some
    instances on the credulity of men high in reputation for
    sagacity and discernment.

    "If your Excellency will be pleased to peruse a pamphlet
    marked No. 6, which you will find enclosed with the other
    papers I herewith transmit, and entitled 'Observations on the
    American Revolution,' you will perceive that nothing is to be
    apprehended from this supposed party in North America.

    _A Statement of the Revenues of the States, and of their
      Ability to contribute to the General Expense; whether they
      will be able long to support this Burthen, and increase it
      if necessary?_

    "The Confederated States have no fixed revenues, nor are such
    revenues necessary, because all the private property in the
    country is at the public service. The only restriction
    imposed by the people is, that it be taken from them with
    wisdom and justice, or to be more explicit, that the sums
    required be proportionate to the public exigencies, and
    assessed on the individuals in proportion to their respective

    "A nation can seldom be destitute of the means of continuing
    a war, while they remain unsubdued in the field, and
    cheerfully devote their all to that service. They may indeed
    experience great distress, but no distress being equal to
    that of subjection to exasperated oppressors, whose most
    tender mercies are cruel, the Americans had little difficulty
    in making their election.

                 _A Statement of the Public Debts._

    "This subject your Excellency will find fully discussed in an
    address of Congress to their constituents, in which they
    compute their debts, and mention the means they had taken to
    preserve the public credit. It is also herewith enclosed, and
    marked No. 7.

         _A Statement of the Debts of each particular State._

    "Although exact accounts of these debts are contained in the
    public printed acts of each State, yet as I neither have any
    of those acts or extracts from them with me, and my general
    knowledge on this hand is very imperfect, I am deterred from
    giving your Excellency any information respecting it, by the
    very great risk I should run of misleading you on this point.

                _The Resources to lessen these Debts._

    "Taxes; foreign and domestic loans; sales of confiscated
    estates, and ungranted lands.

    _The possibility of their supporting their Credit in all the
      Operations of Government, in the Commerce of their
      Inhabitants, and, above all, in the Protection of National

    "As to the possibility of supporting their credit in the
    cases mentioned, there is no doubt it is very _possible_. How
    far it is _probable_, is a question less easy to answer. If
    the taxes called for by Congress last fall be duly paid, all
    will be safe. But whether they have been paid or not I am
    wholly uninformed, except that I find in a public paper that
    Virginia had made good her first payment. As I daily expect
    to receive advices from America on this subject, I shall
    postpone saying anything further on it at present, but your
    Excellency may rely on my communicating to you a full state
    of what intelligence I may have respecting it.

    "As to supporting their credit in _commerce_, it is attended
    with considerable, though not insurmountable difficulties.
    They are of two kinds, the want of sufficient commodities for
    remittances, and the risk of transporting them. North
    America abounds in valuable commodities, such as fish, oil,
    lumber, provisions of flesh and corn, iron, tobacco, and
    naval stores, peltry, indigo, potash, and other articles, all
    of which have greatly diminished since the war; the laborers
    formerly employed in producing them having been often called
    to the field, and by other effects of the war been prevented
    from regularly following their usual occupations. Of some of
    these articles America still produces more than is necessary
    for her own consumption, but the risk of transporting them to
    Europe renders her remittances very uncertain. The asylum,
    which all British armed vessels find in the ports of
    Portugal, enables them to cruise very conveniently and with
    great advantage off the Western Islands, and other situations
    proper for annoying vessels from thence to France, Spain, or
    the Mediterranean. Hence it is that the trade from America to
    St Eustatia has of late so greatly increased, it being
    carried on principally in small, fast sailing vessels, that
    draw but little water, and that the chief remittances to
    Europe have been in bills of exchange instead of produce.

    "With respect to the protection of _national industry_, I
    take it for granted that it will always flourish where it is
    lucrative, and not discouraged, which was the case in North
    America when I left it; every man being then at liberty, by
    the law, to cultivate the earth as he pleased, to raise what
    he pleased, to manufacture as he pleased, and to sell the
    produce of his labor to whom he pleased, and for the best
    prices, without any duties or impositions whatsoever. I have
    indeed no apprehensions whatever on this subject: I believe
    there are no people more industrious than those of America,
    and whoever recurs to their population, their former exports,
    and their present productions amidst the horrors of fire and
    sword, will be convinced of it.

    _By what Means, or what Branches of Commerce, will the States
      of America have it in their Power to indemnify Spain,
      whenever this Power may second the Views and Operations of
      the Americans?_

    "America will indemnify Spain in two ways, by fighting the
    enemy of Spain, and by commerce. Your Excellency will be
    pleased to remark that Spain as well as America is now at war
    with Britain, and therefore that it is the interest of both
    to support and assist each other against the common enemy. It
    cannot be a question whether Britain will be more or less
    formidable if defeated or victorious in America; and there
    can be no doubt but that every nation, interested in the
    reduction of her power, will be compensated for any aids they
    may afford America, by the immediate application of those
    aids to that express purpose at the expense of American

    "Your Excellency's well known talents save me the necessity
    of observing, that it is the interest of all Europe to join
    in breaking down the exorbitant power of a nation, which
    arrogantly claims the ocean as her birthright, and considers
    every advantage in commerce, however acquired by violence, or
    used with cruelty, as a tribute justly due to her boasted
    superiority in arts and in arms.

    "By establishing the independence of America, the empire of
    Britain will be divided, and the sinews of her power cut.
    Americans, situated in another hemisphere, intent only on the
    cultivation of a country more than sufficient to satisfy
    their desires, will remain unconnected with European
    politics, and not being interested in their objects, will
    not partake in their dissensions. Happy in having for their
    neighbors a people distinguished for love of justice and of
    peace, they will have nothing to fear, but may flatter
    themselves that they and their posterity will long enjoy all
    the blessings of that peace, liberty, and safety, for which
    alone they patiently endure the calamities incident to the
    cruel contest they sustain.

    "While the war continues, the commerce of America will be
    inconsiderable; but on the restoration of peace it will soon
    become very valuable and extensive. So great is the extent of
    country in North America yet to be cultivated, and so
    inviting to settlers, that labor will very long remain too
    dear to admit of considerable manufactures. Reason and
    experience tell us, that when the poor have it in their power
    to gain affluence by tilling the earth, they will refuse the
    scanty earnings which manufacturers may offer them. From this
    circumstance it is evident, that the exports from America
    will consist of raw materials, which other nations will be
    able to manufacture for them at a cheaper rate than they can
    themselves. To those who consider the future and progressive
    population of that country, the demands it will have for the
    manufactures and productions of Europe, as well to satisfy
    their wants, as to gratify their luxury, will appear immense,
    and far more than any one kingdom in it can supply. Instead
    of paying money for fish and many other articles as
    heretofore, Spain will then have an opportunity of obtaining
    them in exchange for her cloths, silks, wines, and fruits;
    notwithstanding which, it is proper to observe, that the
    commerce of the American States will forever procure them
    such _actual wealth_, as to enable them punctually to repay
    whatever sums they may borrow.

    _How far it may be convenient for these States to furnish
      Ships of War, Timber, and other Articles for the King's
      Arsenals, without Delay, and, if in their Power, on what

    "I am much at a loss to determine at present, and therefore
    will by no means give your Excellency my conjectures for

    "It is certain, that in ordinary times, America can build
    ships as good, and cheaper than any other people, because the
    materials cost them less. The ships of war now in her
    service, as to strength and construction, are not exceeded by
    any on the ocean. On this subject I will write to America for
    information, and give your Excellency the earliest notice of
    it. Naval stores, and particularly masts and spars, may
    certainly be had there, and of the best quality, and I doubt
    not but that the Americans would carry them to the Havana or
    New Orleans, though I suspect, their being in a manner
    destitute of proper convoys for the European trade, would
    render them backward in bringing them to Spain, on terms
    equal to the risk of capture, on the one hand, and the
    expectations of purchasers on the other.


    _The Number and Strength of the American Troops, their
      present Situation, and Ability to oppose the Enemy,
      especially in Georgia and Carolina._

    "Six months have elapsed since I left America, and I had not
    seen a return of the army for some time before that period.
    It did not, I am certain, amount to its full complement, and,
    in my opinion, did not in the whole exceed thirty or
    thirtyfive thousand men; I mean regular troops.

    "The Commander-in-Chief, whose abilities, as well as
    integrity, merit the highest confidence, was authorised to
    conduct all the military operations in the United States at
    his discretion, subject, nevertheless, to such orders as the
    Congress might think proper from time to time to give. It is
    impossible, therefore, for me (not having received a single
    letter from America on these subjects since my arrival) to
    decide in what manner or proportions these troops are
    employed or stationed, though I am confident it has been done
    in the best manner.

    "All the men of proper age in America are liable to do
    military duty in certain cases, and with a few exceptions, in
    all cases. The militia is for the most part divided into a
    certain number of classes, and whenever reinforcements to the
    main army, or any detachment of it are wanting, they are
    supplied by these classes in rotation. These reinforcements
    while in the field are subject to the like regulations with
    the regular troops, and with them submit to the severest
    discipline and duty. Hence it is, that the people of America
    have become soldiers, and that the enemy have never been able
    to make a deep impression in the country, or long hold any
    considerable lodgments at a distance from their fleets.
    Georgia and South Carolina, indeed, enjoy these advantages in
    a less degree than the other States, their own militia not
    being very numerous, and speedy reinforcements from their
    neighbors of North Carolina and Virginia rendered difficult
    by the length of the way. They have, nevertheless, given
    proofs of their spirit by various and great exertions, and I
    have reason to believe, that all possible care has been taken
    to provide for their safety, by furnishing them with a
    proper body of troops under Major General Lincoln, a very
    good officer, as well as a very good man.

    "Arms are still wanting in America, many of those imported
    proving unfit for use, and the number of inhabitants who were
    without proper arms at the beginning of the war, calling for
    great supplies. The army, and a considerable part of the
    militia, especially in the Northern States, have in general
    good arms.

    "The article of clothing has been, and still is a very
    interesting one to the American army. It is impossible to
    describe, and, indeed, almost impossible to believe, the
    hardships they have endured for want of it. There have been
    instances, and I speak from the most undoubted authority, of
    considerable detachments marching barefooted over rugged
    tracts of ice and snow, and marking the route they took by
    the blood that issued from their feet; but neither these
    terrible extremities, nor the alluring offers of the enemy,
    could prevail on them to quit their standard, or relax their
    ardor. Their condition, however, has of late been much
    bettered by supplies from France and Spain, and American
    privateers; but adequate provision has not yet been made for
    the ensuing winter, and I cannot conceal from your Excellency
    my anxiety on that head. A supply of clothing for twenty
    thousand men, added to what is engaged for them in France,
    would make that army and all America happy.

    "I foresee no other difficulties in providing subsistence for
    the American armies in every station in which they may be
    placed, than those which may attend the transportation of it.
    But when I reflect on the obstacles of this kind, which they
    have already met with and surmounted, I have little
    uneasiness about future ones. The last crops in America
    promised to be plentiful when I left it, but whether there
    would be any and what considerable overplus for exportation
    was then undetermined, the damages done the wheat in
    Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina by a fly, which
    infested those countries, not being to my knowledge at that
    time ascertained.

    "How many ships of war belong to Congress, is a question I
    cannot answer with certainty. I think there are not more than
    ten or twelve in the whole. Of privateers there are a great
    number, but how many exactly has not been computed. In my
    opinion, they exceed one hundred, several of them very fine
    ships. The Governor of Martinique told me, that in that
    Island alone, the American privateers had brought and sold
    above five thousand African slaves, which they had taken from
    the enemy. Nine tenths at least of all the rum and sugar used
    in North America, these three years past, have been obtained
    in the same way, and to their successes have the public been
    indebted for the most seasonable and valuable supplies of
    military stores which they have received. I left several
    vessels on the stocks at Philadelphia, and heard of more in
    other parts.

    "Upon the whole, his Majesty may rest perfectly assured, that
    the Americans are determined, though forsaken by all mankind,
    to maintain their independence, and to part with it only with
    their lives; the desolations and distresses of war being too
    familiar to them to excite any other passions than
    indignation and resentment.

    "That the country will supply its inhabitants with
    provisions, some clothing, and some articles of commerce.

    "That there is no party in America in favor of returning
    under the dominion of Britain, on any terms whatever.

    "That the King of France is very popular in America, being in
    all parts of it styled the protector of the rights of
    mankind, and that they will hold the treaty made with him

    "That the people in America have very high ideas of the honor
    and integrity of the Spanish nation, and of his Catholic
    Majesty especially, and that this respect and esteem unite
    with their interest in rendering them so desirous of his
    friendship and alliance.

    "That the greatest difficulty under which America labors
    arises from the great depreciation of her bills of credit,
    owing principally to a greater sum having been emitted than
    was necessary for a medium of commerce, and to the
    impossibility of remedying it by taxes before regular
    governments are established.

    "That great attempts, seconded by the general voice of the
    people, have been made to retrieve the credit of those bills
    by taxation, the issue of which was as yet uncertain, but if
    unsuccessful, a recurrence to taxes in kind was still left,
    and would be practised, though it is an expedient which
    nothing but necessity can render eligible.

    "That if France and Spain were to unite their endeavors to
    conquer Britain in America, by furnishing the latter with the
    necessary aids of ammunition, clothing, and some money, there
    is reason to believe, that the House of Bourbon would find it
    the most certain and least expensive method of reducing the
    power of their irreconcilable enemy, and not only command the
    gratitude and perpetual attachment of America, but the
    general approbation of all who wish well to the tranquillity
    of Europe, and the rights of mankind. Thus would that
    illustrious House erect glorious and lasting monuments to
    their virtues in the hearts of a whole people.

    "I fear your Excellency will consider the intelligence here
    given, less full and precise than you expected. I regret that
    it is not in my power to render it more so but it is not. I
    hope however it will be thought sufficient to open a way to
    those further discussions, which must precede the measures
    necessary to bind America to Spain, as well as to France, and
    thereby complete the division and consequently the
    humiliation of the British Empire; a work too glorious and
    laudable not to merit the notice of so magnanimous a Prince
    as his Majesty, and engage the attention of a Minister of
    such acknowledged abilities as your Excellency.

    "I flatter myself that the importance of the subject will
    apologise for my trespassing so long on your Excellency's
    patience so soon after your return to Aranjues.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

This letter gives occasion for many observations, which I am persuaded
will not escape Congress, and therefore I forbear repeating them. Your
Excellency will be pleased to observe, that on some of the subjects of
it I ought to be without delay apprised of the intentions of Congress,
and furnished with such information and instructions as may be
necessary to enable me to fulfil them.

On the 27th of April last, I received at Madrid a letter from the
Committee of Foreign Affairs, enclosing copies of the resolutions of
Congress of the 23d and 29th of November, 1779, for drawing on Mr
Laurens and myself for £100,000 sterling each. I went the next day to
Aranjues, and the day after wrote to the Count de Florida Blanca, in
the words following, viz.

                                     "Aranjues, April 29th, 1780.


    "By the address of Congress to their constituents on the
    subject of their finances, which I had the honor of
    transmitting to your Excellency, you have doubtless observed,
    that in September last Congress came to a resolution of
    emitting no more bills, than, with those already emitted and
    in circulation, would amount to 200,000,000 of dollars; that
    about the same time they called upon their constituents to
    raise money by taxes, and assigned the first day of January
    last for the first payment, at which day it was supposed,
    that the bills to be emitted would be nearly expended.

    "Congress perceiving that at once to stop the great channel
    of supplies, that had been open ever since the war, and to
    substitute another equally productive, was not one of those
    measures which operate almost insensibly without hazard or
    difficulty; and well knowing that if the first payment of
    these taxes should be delayed beyond the limited time, the
    treasury would be without money, and the public operations
    obstructed by all the evils consequent to it; they were of
    opinion, that collateral and auxiliary measures were
    necessary to ensure success to the great system for
    retrieving and supporting the public credit. So early,
    therefore, as the 23d day of November last, they took this
    subject into their most serious consideration, and although
    they had the highest reason to confide in the exertions of
    their constituents, yet having received repeated assurances
    of his Majesty's friendly disposition towards them, and being
    well persuaded, that they could avail themselves of his
    Majesty's friendship on an occasion more agreeable to him and
    advantageous to them, than on one so interesting to the
    United States, and important to the common cause, they
    adopted a measure, which, but for these considerations, might
    appear extraordinary, viz. to draw bills upon me for £100,000
    sterling, payable at six months' sight.

    "The drawing bills previous to notice of obtaining money to
    satisfy them may at first view appear indelicate, but when it
    is considered that the whole success of this measure depended
    on its taking place between the 23d of November, and the
    first of January last, in which period it was impossible to
    make the application, his Majesty's magnanimity will I am
    persuaded readily excuse it.

    "As I shall always consider it my duty to give your
    Excellency all the information in my power, that may enable
    his Majesty from time to time to form a true judgment of the
    state of American affairs, it is proper, that I should inform
    your Excellency, that Congress, having reasons to believe
    that a loan might be obtained in Holland, did shortly after
    my leaving America take measures for that purpose, and on the
    23d of November last resolved to draw bills on Mr Henry
    Laurens, to whom that business had been committed, for the
    sum of £100,000 sterling.

    "I greatly regret that it was not in my power to advise your
    Excellency of these matters sooner; but it was not until the
    27th instant, at Madrid, that I received the letter which
    informed me of them.

    "As further remarks would draw this letter into greater
    length, than the opinion I have of your Excellency's
    discernment will permit me to think necessary, I forbear
    longer to engage your time and attention, than to request the
    favor of your Excellency to lay it before his Majesty.

    "The eyes of America are now drawn towards him by their
    opinion of his virtues, and the situation of their affairs;
    and I flatter myself it will not be long before their hearts
    and affections will also be engaged by such marks of his
    Majesty's friendship, as his wisdom and liberality may
    prompt, and their occasions render expedient.

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

                                                       JOHN JAY."

On the subject of this and my former letter, I had a conference with
the Count, on the 11th of May 1780, of which the following are notes,
taken immediately after it ended.

                                        Aranjues, May 11th, 1780.

    Mr Jay having waited on the Count de Florida Blanca, in
    consequence of a message received on the evening of the 10th,
    the latter commenced the conversation by observing that he
    was sorry that his ignorance of the English language
    prevented him from speaking with that ease and frankness,
    with which he wished to speak in his conferences with Mr Jay,
    and which corresponded with his own disposition and

    He observed that he intended to speak on two points. The
    first related to the letter Mr Jay had written to him, on the
    subject of bills of exchange drawn on him by Congress, that
    being an affair the most pressing and more immediately
    necessary to enter upon. He said that the last year he should
    have found no difficulty on that head, but that at present,
    although Spain had money, she was in the situation of
    Tantalus, who, with water in view, could not make use of it;
    alluding to the revenue arising from their possessions in
    America, which they were not able to draw from thence. That
    their expenses had been so great in the year 1779,
    particularly for the marine, as to oblige them to make large
    loans, which they were negotiating at present. He entered
    into a summary of those expenses, and particularized the
    enormous expense of supporting thirtyfive ships of the line
    and frigates in French ports. He observed, that to do this
    they had prepared a very expensive and numerous convoy at
    Ferrol and other ports of Spain, loaded with provisions,
    naval stores, and every other article necessary for the
    squadron before mentioned, which convoy did not arrive at
    Brest until the day on which the Spanish fleet sailed from
    thence. That the supplies so sent had emptied their magazines
    at Cadiz, Ferrol, and other ports, and had frequently obliged
    them to buy at enormous prices the necessary stores to supply
    the fleet under the admirals Cardova and Gaston, on their
    arrival in the ports of Spain. That they had been forced to
    sell these stores thus sent to France, and others purchased
    for the same purpose at Bourdeaux, Nantes, and elsewhere, at
    half price; and added, that their loss on this occasion could
    scarce be calculated. This, joined to the other expenses, and
    the great losses they had sustained in their marine and
    commerce, but chiefly in the former, and the great expenses
    they were at in consequence thereof, rendered it difficult
    for the King to do for America what he could have done easily
    the last year, and which he declared repeatedly, and in the
    strongest manner, it was his intention to do, as might be
    judged from his conduct heretofore; touching slightly on the
    succors sent us from Spain, the Havana, and Louisiana, but
    dwelling on his conduct in the negotiation last year with
    Great Britain, in which he would on no account be brought to
    sacrifice the interests of America.

    Such being his Majesty's disposition and intentions previous
    to the war, Mr Jay might easily judge, that he was not less
    determined at present to support their interests, whether
    formally connected with America by treaty or not. That,
    notwithstanding the losses and misfortunes sustained, the
    King's resolution, courage, and fortitude induced him to
    continue the war, and therefore they were obliged to incur
    much expense in order to fill their magazines and make the
    necessary preparations for this campaign and the next, yet
    that it was his Majesty's intention to give America all the
    assistance in his power. That it was as much his inclination
    as duty to second these dispositions, and that he had
    received the King's orders to confer with his colleagues
    thereon. He observed, however, that, although he was First
    Secretary of State, he must first confer with them on this
    subject; and from his own personal inclinations to second the
    King's intentions and to serve America, he was desirous of
    concerting with Mr Jay measures in such a manner as would
    prevent him from meeting with opposition from his colleagues,
    and therefore he spoke to him not as a minister, but as an

    In order to facilitate this, he said it was necessary to make
    some overtures for a contract, in case Mr Jay was not
    absolutely empowered to make one; and then he pointed out the
    object most essential to the interests of Spain at the
    present conjuncture. He said that for their marine they
    wanted light frigates, cutters, or swift sailing vessels of
    that size. That for ships of the line, they could procure
    them themselves; that if America could furnish them with the
    former, they might be sent to their ports in Biscay, loaded
    with tobacco or other produce, and, discharging their
    cargoes, be left at the disposition of Spain. He also
    mentioned timber for vessels, but said that was an article
    not so immediately necessary, though it might be an object of
    consequence in future. He observed that he mentioned this at
    present in order that Mr Jay might turn his thoughts on that
    subject as soon as possible, and that he would, in order to
    explain himself with more precision, send him, either on
    Saturday or Sunday next, notes containing his ideas on this
    subject, and adding that he hoped that the one, viz. Jay,
    would assist the other, meaning himself, to manage matters in
    such a way as to procure the means of obtaining for America
    present aid.

    With respect to the bills of exchange which might be
    presented, he said that at the end of the present year, or in
    the beginning of the next, he would have it in his power to
    advance twentyfive, thirty, or forty thousand pounds
    sterling, and in the mean time, should these bills be
    presented for payment, he would take such measures as would
    satisfy the owners of them, viz. by engaging, in the name of
    his Majesty, to pay them, observing that the King's good
    faith and credit were so well known, that he did not imagine
    this would be a difficult matter. He also said, that in
    consequence of what Mr Jay had written with respect to
    clothing for the American army, it might be in his power to
    send supplies of cloth, &c. which he would endeavor to do.

    Mr Jay, in answer, assured him of his high sense of the
    frankness and candor with which he had been so obliging as to
    communicate the King's intentions and his own sentiments, and
    gave him the strongest assurances that he should, for his
    part, with the same frankness and candor, give him all the
    assistance and information in his power to forward his
    generous intentions in favor of his country, and that be
    might depend that in doing this, he would neither deceive him
    in his information, nor mislead him by ill grounded

    The Count then expressed his confidence in these assurances,
    said he had been well informed of the characters, both of Mr
    Jay and Mr Carmichael, (who was present at the conference,)
    and said, that he considered them as _les hommes honnêtes_,
    and that no consideration could have prevailed upon him to
    have treated with men who did not sustain that reputation.

    The Count then proceeded to the second point, viz. with
    respect to the treaty in contemplation between Spain and
    America. He began by observing, that he now spoke as a
    Minister, and as such, that he would be as candid and frank
    as he had just been speaking as a private man; and that it
    was always his disposition to do so with those from whom he
    expected the same conduct. He then proceeded to observe, that
    there was but one obstacle from which he apprehended any
    great difficulty in forming a treaty with America, and
    plainly intimated that this arose from the pretensions of
    America to the navigation of the Mississippi. He repeated the
    information, which the Count had received from M. Mirales,
    that Congress had at one time relinquished that object; that
    he also knew from the same source, that afterwards they had
    made it an essential point of the treaty. He expressed his
    uneasiness on this subject, and entered largely into the
    views of Spain, with respect to the boundaries. (He mentioned
    Cape Antonio and Cape ----, and expressed their resolution if
    possible, of excluding the English entirely from the Gulf of
    Mexico.) They wished to fix them by a treaty, which he hoped
    would be perpetual between the two countries. He spoke amply
    of the King's anxiety, resolution, and firmness on this
    point, and insinuated a wish that some method might be fallen
    upon to remove this obstacle. He observed, that the King had
    received all his impressions with respect to the necessity of
    this measure, previous to his being in place, and appeared to
    regard it as a point from which his Majesty would never
    recede, repeating that, still however he was disposed to give
    America all the aid in his power, consistent with the
    situation of his affairs, to distress the common enemy; that
    this point being insisted on, it would be necessary for the
    Court of Spain to obtain the most accurate knowledge of local
    circumstances, with which he supposed Mr Jay and his
    constituents were more fully apprised than his Majesty's
    Ministers could be. That for this purpose they had already
    written to the Havana and Louisiana, in order to obtain all
    the necessary information, which he gave reason to believe
    they had not yet received. He dwelt on the necessity of this
    information previous to any treaty, and expressed his own
    regret, that ways and means could not be found to obviate or
    overcome this impediment.

    Mr Jay here took an opportunity to mention, that many of the
    States were bounded by that river, and were highly interested
    in its navigation, but observed that they were equally
    inclined to enter into any amicable regulations, which might
    prevent any inconveniences with respect to contraband or
    other objects, which might excite the uneasiness of Spain.

    The Count, still, however, appeared to be fully of opinion,
    that this was an object that the King had so much at heart,
    that he would never relinquish it, adding, however, that he
    hoped some middle way might be hit on, which would pave the
    way to get over this difficulty, and desired Mr Jay to turn
    his thoughts and attention to the subject, in which he
    assured him he was as well disposed to assist him, as in the
    means of procuring the assistance and succors for America
    beforementioned; always repeating the King's favorable
    disposition, his inviolable regard to his promises, &c. &c.
    On this subject he also subjoined, that whenever Mr Jay chose
    to go to Madrid, he desired to have previous notice of it;
    for in those cases, he would leave his sentiments in writing
    for him with Mr Carmichael, or, if he should also go to
    Madrid, that he would then write to Mr Jay there, to which he
    might return an answer by the _Parle_ (a post which goes to
    and from Madrid) to Aranjues, every twentyfour hours.

    Mr Jay expressed his full confidence in what the Count had
    done him the honor to communicate to him, and assured him of
    his satisfaction and happiness in having the good fortune to
    transact a business so important to both countries, with a
    Minister so liberal and candid in his manner of thinking and

    The conference ended with much civility on the one part and
    on the other, and with an intimation from the Count, that he
    should take an opportunity of having the pleasure of Mr Jay's
    company at dinner, and of being on that friendly footing on
    which he wished to be with him.

What passed in the course of this conference needs no comment, though
it calls for information and instructions. If Congress remains firm,
as I have no reason to doubt, respecting the Mississippi, I think
Spain will finally be content with equitable regulations, and I wish
to know whether Congress would consider any regulations necessary to
prevent contraband, as inconsistent with their ideas of free
navigation. I wish that as little as possible may be left to my
discretion, and that, as I am determined to adhere strictly to their
sentiments and directions, I may be favored with them fully, and in

The Count de Florida Blanca had upon all occasions treated me with so
much fairness, candor, and frankness, that between the confidence due
to him and the footing I was and ought to be on with the French
Ambassador, I was embarrassed exceedingly, especially as there is
little reason to doubt of their being on confidential terms with each
other. I was reduced to the necessity, therefore, of acting with
exquisite duplicity, a conduct which I detest as immoral, and
disapprove as impolitic, or of mentioning my difficulties to the
Count, and obtaining his answers. I preferred the latter, and wrote
the following letter to the Count de Florida Blanca.

                                       "Aranjues, May 12th, 1780.


    "It is with the utmost reluctance, that I can prevail upon
    myself to draw your Excellency's attention from the great
    objects that perpetually engage it. But the liberality,
    frankness, and candor, which distinguished your conduct
    towards me the last evening, has impressed me with such
    sentiments of correspondent delicacy, as to place me in a
    most disagreeable situation.

    "Deeply sensible of the benefits received by my country from
    their illustrious ally, prompted by duty and inclination to
    act not only with the highest integrity, but the greatest
    frankness towards him and his Minister, and influenced by the
    good opinion I have imbibed of the talents, attachment, and
    prudence of the Count de Montmorin, I have given him and his
    Court assurances that he should receive from me all that
    confidence, which these considerations dictate. These
    assurances were sincere; I have most strictly conformed to
    them, and as no circumstances of delicacy forbid it, I have
    communicated to him the information I gave your Excellency
    relative to American affairs, and the resolution of Congress
    for drawing bills upon me, these being the only transactions
    within my knowledge and department, which related to that
    proposed connexion between Spain and America, for the
    accomplishment of which, the King of France has been pleased
    to interpose his kind offices with his Catholic Majesty.

    "But, Sir, my feelings will not allow me to permit the
    confidence due to one gentleman to interfere with that which
    may be due to another. Honor prescribes limits to each, which
    no consideration can tempt me to violate. You spoke to me the
    last evening in the character of a private gentleman, as well
    as of a public Minister, and in both without reserve. Let me
    entreat your Excellency therefore to inform me, whether I am
    to consider your conferences with me, either in the whole or
    in part, as confidential. I am apprised of the delicacy of
    this question. I wish I could know your sentiments without
    putting it. I assure you my esteem and respect are too
    sincere and too great, not to make me regret every measure,
    that can give you an uneasy sensation. On this occasion I am
    urged by justice to you as well as to myself, and that must
    be my apology.

    "Unpractised in the ways of courts, I rejoice in finding that
    I am to transact the business committed to me with a
    gentleman, who adorns his exalted station with virtues as
    well as talents, and looks down on that system of finesse
    and chicanery, which, however prevalent, wisdom rejects and
    probity disapproves.

    "With sentiments of attachment and esteem, I have the
    honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

To this I received the following answer.


                                       "Aranjues, May 14th, 1780.


    "Sensible of the favorable opinion you are pleased to
    entertain of my conduct, both as a minister and a private
    gentleman, I have the honor to assure you, that on every
    occasion, you shall experience nothing but frankness and
    candor on my part. Besides that my own principles are
    invariable on these points, I am certain thereby to follow
    the example and good intentions of the King my master.

    "The delicacy, which induced you to doubt, whether there
    would be any impropriety in communicating to the Ambassador
    of France the explanation we had in the course of our late
    conference, accords well with the idea I first formed of your
    character, and I am pleased with this mark of your attention.
    Besides, it appears to me that you may do it freely,
    especially as those explanations are founded on principles of
    equity and wisdom, for the benefit of the common cause. But
    if, hereafter, circumstances demand a more pointed reserve,
    by accidents we cannot now foresee, we shall always have time
    to agree upon those points, which it may be necessary to keep

    "I am, Sir, with the most sincere attachment, and the most
    perfect consideration, your most humble and most obedient

                                        COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA."

I have not yet received from his Excellency the notes mentioned in the
conference, and therefore cannot have the satisfaction of sending
copies of them to Congress by this opportunity.

On the 9th of April, 1780, Sir John Dalrymple arrived here from
Portugal with his lady. On the evening of the 10th I heard of it, and
the next morning sent the following card to the French Ambassador at
Aranjues, viz.

    "Mr Jay presents his compliments to his Excellency Count
    Montmorin, and informs him that Sir John Dalrymple arrived
    here the day before yesterday from Lisbon, and it is said,
    intends to be at Aranjues today. What business should call
    this gentlemen here, or enable him to obtain license to come,
    are questions which I am persuaded will receive from your
    Excellency all the attention due to their extent and

    "_Madrid, May 11th, 1780._"

To this I immediately received the following answer on that subject,


    "M. de Montmorin received this morning Mr Jay's note, and
    thanks him for the information. M. de Montmorin is fully
    sensible of the importance of it, and although he is far from
    entertaining the least doubt on the sentiments of the Spanish
    Ministry, he will not fail to take the precaution to be
    informed of everything connected with Sir John Dalrymple's
    arrival. He advises Mr Jay to follow the same course. Courts
    are so beset with intrigues, that nothing should be
    neglected, which may tend to discover them. He repeats that
    he has not the slightest cause to suspect the Spanish
    Ministry, but on the contrary, has the strongest reasons for
    confiding in its integrity and honor. M. de Montmorin begs Mr
    Jay to accept his compliments, and to present his respectful
    homage to Mrs Jay."

Learning that Sir John had obtained leave to go to France in his way
to England, I apprised Mr Adams of it in a letter of the 26th of
April, 1780, of which the following is an extrac

    "Sir John Dalrymple is here; he came from Portugal for the
    benefit of his lady's health, as is said. He is now at
    Aranjues. He has seen the Imperial Ambassador, the Governor
    of the city, Senior Compomanes, the Duke of Alva, and several
    others named to him I suppose by Lord Grantham, who I find
    was much respected here. He will return through France to
    Britain. I shall go to Aranjues the day after tomorrow, and
    shall form some judgment of that gentleman's success by the
    conduct of the Court towards America."

On waiting on the Count de Florida Blanca, a few days afterwards at
Aranjues, he told me that Sir John had applied to him to obtain from
him permission to go through Spain to France, and to the French
Minister for a passport through that kingdom to England. The
indisposition of his lady was the reason assigned for not going from
Portugal by water. That in conversation, Sir John took occasion to say
several things respecting the war, and the manner of drawing it to a
conclusion. That the Count desired him to reduce what he would wish to
say on that subject to writing, and that Sir John thereupon sent him
a paper, entitled "A Historical Anecdote," of which the following is
a copy.

           _A Project of Lord Rochford to prevent the War._

    "Before the declaration of France in favor of America, Lord
    Rochford, formerly Ambassador in Spain and in France, formed
    a project to prevent the war. It was, that England should
    propose a great treaty of confederation between France,
    Spain, Portugal, and England, the objects of which should be
    the three following; the first, a mutual guarantee between
    these four powers of their possessions in America and the two
    Indies, with a proviso, that a war in Europe should never be
    a war in those remote regions on any pretext whatever, fixing
    also the number of troops and vessels to be furnished by the
    contracting powers against the power that should contravene
    the peace in those distant parts. The second object was, to
    grant a participation in the commerce of America to France,
    Spain, and Portugal, as far as such participation might not
    be incompatible with the common interests, and without the
    rivalship of English America and England. The third object
    was, the adjustment of the contested privileges of the
    Americans upon principles just and honorable for them. Lord
    Rochford was at that time Secretary of State. He told me,
    that the first person to whom he had communicated this
    project was the late Prince of Mazarano, Ambassador of Spain,
    and that though old and indisposed, he arose and embraced
    him, and said, 'Ah! my Lord, what divinity has inspired you?'
    Lord Rochford also communicated it to a friend of his, who
    was then, and still continues one of the Ministers of the
    King of England, who gave it his approbation; but Lord
    Rochford soon after quitted the Ministry and retired to the
    country, by which accident the project failed of being
    presented to the cabinet of the King.

    "I have given a relation of this anecdote, because I am one
    of the four or five persons who alone know the truth of it,
    and because I am of opinion, that it is not yet too late to
    revive a project, which will save a million of Christians
    from becoming widows and orphans. As to the first object of
    such a confederacy, Lord Rochford did not doubt of the
    proposition's being accepted by all the powers, because it
    was the interest of all to accept it. The losses of France in
    the two Indies the last war, and their misfortunes in the
    East Indies in the present one, where, in six weeks, they
    have lost all they possessed; the losses of the Spaniards in
    the last war in the two Indies, and even the stroke the other
    day in the Bay of Honduras, by a young captain with a handful
    of soldiers; the facility with which Portugal lost the Island
    of St Catharine in the Brazils, and the misfortunes of the
    English armies the three last years in America, all prove
    that France, Spain, Portugal, and England, have their tender
    parts in America and the two Indies, and of consequence, that
    they have all an interest in a mutual guarantee of their
    possessions in those three parts of the world.

    "As to the second object of the confederacy, I am sensible,
    that the idea of the other three powers participating in the
    commerce of America, under the limitation of its not being
    incompatible with the common interests of English America and
    England, is an idea somewhat vague, and subject to disputes.
    But, fortunately for humanity, there are five persons in
    those five countries, of characters which render them proper
    to draw the outlines of some determinate regulations, which
    will admit of no disputes, and may enrich France, Spain, and
    Portugal, without impoverishing England and her Colonies. In
    America there is Doctor Franklin, perhaps the first genius of
    the age, who is well acquainted with the commercial
    connexions between America and England; France has her
    Comptroller-General, who, from his youth, has been brought up
    in the practice of commerce; in Spain, we find M. Campomanes,
    who has employed the maturity of his life in studies, that
    give him a superiority in discussions of this kind; Portugal
    will be assisted by the counsels of the Duke of Braganza, who
    has gathered knowledge in almost every field, in courts, in
    libraries, and even on the exchanges of the merchants of
    Europe; and as for England, she has a Minister who,
    thoroughly versed in the true interests of commerce, will not
    refuse to America what he has just granted to Ireland.

    "As to the third object of the confederation; England, who
    much boasts of her own _magna charta_, will make no
    difficulty in granting a _magna charta_ to the liberties of
    America. Perhaps the best means to expedite this measure
    would be to give a _carte blanche_ to Dr Franklin. A generous
    confidence is the surest means to secure a generous man.
    Spain has two very solid interests in the success of such a
    confederacy, and against the independence of America. The
    first is, that if English America becomes independent,
    Spanish America will be overrun with the contraband of the
    Americans thus independent of England. 1. England is bound by
    treaties with Spain not to carry on the contraband trade. 2.
    She is restrained by the fear of this contraband's drawing a
    war upon her in Europe, which was the consequence of it in
    the times of Sir Robert Walpole. 3. The dearness of English
    and European commodities sets natural bounds to the quantity
    of this contraband. But when the Americans are independent,
    they will say, first, they are not bound by the treaties of
    the English; secondly, they will not be restrained by fear,
    being so far from Spain, and having defended themselves
    against eighty thousand English soldiers and marines, they
    would but little dread the forces of Spain; and thirdly, the
    low price of American commodities will cover the Spanish
    Colonies with contraband. Indeed, necessity itself will
    oblige the Americans either to carry on this contraband, or
    to make war on Spanish and Portuguese America and their
    Islands. They have neither gold nor silver among themselves,
    and without these precious metals, they can neither cultivate
    their lands nor carry on commerce. They will only have four
    sources from whence to draw them; first, their commerce with
    Europe; secondly, pensions from France and Spain; thirdly, a
    contraband trade with the Provinces of Spain and Portugal in
    the new world; and fourthly, a war in these Provinces.

    "While the Americans continue in a state, which the English
    call rebellion, their commerce with Europe will be
    interrupted by English cruisers. Thus they will draw but a
    small quantity of these precious metals from this first
    source. The pensions of France and Spain will be much too
    inconsiderable to support the agriculture and manufactures of
    so extensive a country. Their only remaining source then for
    these metals will be in the contraband, or wars with the
    Spanish and Portuguese Provinces. To prevent this contraband,
    the treaty of confederation might make provision against the
    contraband both of the English and Americans. It is a
    delicate point for an Englishman to suggest the means, but
    were the two nations sincerely disposed for peace, I could in
    a quarter of an hour suggest the infallible means.

    "Spain has another interest, perhaps still greater, against
    the independence of the Americans, and, consequently, in
    favor of the treaty in question. The Americans, who will be
    able to fly with their sails wherever they please, will make
    establishments in New Zealand, the Islands of Otaheite, or
    some other Islands in the South Sea, from whence they will
    torment the Spaniards in that sea, and even the English, the
    French, the Portuguese, and the Dutch, in the East India
    Seas. Being independent, no treaty will prevent their making
    such establishments. They may make them consistent with the
    laws of nations. Captain Cook in his last printed voyages
    says, there are fortyseven thousand seafaring people in the
    Island of Otaheite alone; and Captain Wallis, who discovered
    those Islands, told me at Lisbon a few days ago, that the
    inhabitants of Otaheite went to the mast-head of the English
    ships, and ran on the yard-arms as well in three days' time
    as the English mariners, and gave me two reasons for it. The
    first was, that living on fish, they are all seafaring
    people; and the second, that those who wear no shoes are
    always the most dexterous in mounting the upper parts of a
    ship. Captain Cook also in the same voyage gives a
    description of a port and city in New Zealand, which might in
    a few weeks be made impregnable, and one needs only look at
    the shape of the Islands in the South Seas, in the maps we
    have of them, to be convinced that they have no small number
    of these impregnable ports.

    "I show myself as much a friend to Spain, to France, to
    Portugal and Holland, as to England, in disclosing the
    following idea, which may have escaped others. Heretofore it
    was impossible to go to the South Seas with any safety, but
    in the months of December and January, and by the dreadful
    latitudes round Cape Horn. But the late discoveries of
    Captain Cook and other Englishmen have demonstrated the
    practicability of going thither in every month of the year,
    round the Cape of Good Hope, and the fine latitude of New
    Zealand, and in almost the same time; the one being a passage
    of four and the other of five months. Because the same west
    wind, which blows almost the whole of the year, and retards
    the vessels passing by Cape Horn, carries them with rapidity
    by the Cape of Good Hope and New Zealand. Hence it follows,
    that when the Americans quarrel with Spain, perhaps on the
    subject of the contraband, they will send their ships on the
    coast of Chili from their establishments in the South Seas,
    by the latitudes of New Zealand, and with the west winds,
    which always blow in that quarter. This is a voyage of only
    five weeks; for Captain Cook in one voyage, and Captain
    Fourneaux in another, went from New Zealand to Cape Horn in
    less time, and the journal of the winds annexed to the voyage
    of Captain Cook shews, that the west winds in those latitudes
    bear to the east the proportion of ten to one. When their
    vessels are on the coasts of Chili, they will take the
    advantage of the land wind, which, blowing constantly from
    south to north, will carry them along the coasts of Chili and
    Peru. With this wind they will go in fourteen days to the Bay
    of Panama, and in the course of this voyage they will ravage
    the sea coasts, and make prizes of all the vessels they meet.
    The naval force of Spain at Lima will not have it in their
    power to hinder them, for the same south wind, which will
    push the Americans forward, will prevent the fleets of Spain
    going to meet them. From the Bay of Panama they will return
    by the great wind of the tropics, which never fails blowing
    from east to west, either to their settlements in the South
    Seas, or to sell their prizes in the seas of China or India,
    from whence they will perhaps again return with new vessels,
    newly manned, to repeat their ravages. Their return will
    either be by New Zealand in coming from the Indies, or by the
    latitude of forty north in coming from China. In this last
    case they will fall on Mexico, and profiting of the land
    winds which always blow there from north to the Bay of
    Panama, they will ravage Mexico as before they ravaged Chili
    and Peru. From the Bay of Panama they will return by the
    great tropic wind, either to their own homes in the South
    Seas, or to the seas of Asia to renew a war, insulting,
    tormenting, and without remedy.

    "On the other hand, when at war with England, France,
    Portugal, or Holland, they will direct their course from
    their establishments in the South Seas, and fall upon the
    possessions of those powers in the East Indies. They will
    have two great routes to go and return by; the one to the
    west of New Zealand, the other by the Islands between China
    and New Holland, and in this they will have as many passages
    as there are Islands. Thence follows the impossibility of
    waylaying their vessels, either going or on their return.
    These consequences may all be prevented by the treaty
    proposed by Lord Rochford, in which it might be stipulated
    that these Islands shall forever belong to their present
    inhabitants and their posterity, for certainly the nation who
    shall first possess herself of them will command the commerce
    of the South Seas and those of Asia.

    "Europe, wishing for the independence of America, resembles a
    man asleep on ice, and not sensible that ice thaws, and
    therefore to give the greater weight to the confederation,
    Holland and Denmark, who have interests in both the new
    worlds, might be invited to become contracting parties to
    those articles of treaty, which regard the mutual guarantee.

    "The reason of the frequent breach of treaties is, that they
    are made without provision for the future reciprocal
    interests of the contracting nations. The only ones that I
    know of, that pay attention to this object, are the treaties
    between Portugal and England; by which Portugal gains a
    preference for the sale of her wines in England, and England
    for the sale of her cloths in Portugal. The consequence is,
    that there never has, and in appearance never will be, a war
    between Portugal and England. It would not be difficult,
    either in the general confederation, or by separate treaties
    of commerce between England on the one part, and the three
    kingdoms of Spain, Portugal, and France respectively on the
    other, to advance infinitely the commercial interests of all
    three, by their connexions with England. Spain having wines,
    oil, fruits, salt, fine wools, and some other articles, which
    England has not, and England having iron, with coal in the
    same fields for the manufacturing of it, and by the moistness
    of her climate long wool for cloths of a low price, also tin,
    fish, with some other articles, which Spain has not, it
    follows, that when England is rich she will buy more articles
    of Spain, and when Spain is rich she will buy more articles
    of England, and consequently, that one cannot enrich herself
    without enriching the other. The same reasoning applies to
    the natural connexions between England and Portugal. There is
    even a natural connexion between England and France in many
    articles of commerce, if the jealousy of fools, and
    misinformed persons did not perpetually interrupt it. I have
    heard from certain authority, that had the Abbé Terray
    continued in the Ministry of France, there would have been a
    tariff between France and England for the entry, on the most
    favorable conditions, of the wines and articles of mode of
    the one nation, and the manufactures of iron and wheat of the
    other, and England might have procured the consent of
    Portugal for the diminution of her commerce of wines with
    England by other indemnifications. England in favor of
    France, Spain, and Portugal, might, without injury to herself
    even permit the exportation of those wools, paying a duty at
    the exportation thereof. The exportation of the superfluous
    wool, would be an advantage to the proprietors of lands in
    England, to the King in furnishing him a new revenue, and to
    those three nations, in giving them an article necessary for
    their manufactures.

    "Unfortunately for humanity, the Abbé Terray is no more; but
    happily for humanity, Dr Franklin, the Comptroller-General of
    France, M. Compomanes, the Duke of Braganza, and Lord North
    are all still living, and the King of Spain, with the Count
    de Florida Blanca, may put all these five in motion.

    "For my part I have no authority from the English Ministers
    to present this project, but living in friendship with the
    greater part of them, and on an intimate footing with the
    others, I am certain that some of the sentiments in this
    memorial correspond with their manner of thinking on the
    subject. I confess I received a letter in Portugal, fourteen
    days before my departure for Spain, from Lord Rochford, who
    is not at present in the Ministry, but who is so taken up
    with a project that does him so much honor, that he has
    advised me to feel the pulses on the possibility of making it
    succeed, and that I have a letter on the same subject from
    the Duke of Braganza, who entered into the views of my Lord
    Rochford not as a politician, but as a friend to humanity.

    "Encouraged by such men, and still more by the dictates of my
    own heart, I wrote to one of the English Ministers, that if I
    did not find minds too much heated, and there was no danger
    of giving offence, I intended to do justice to the project of
    my Lord Rochford, in Spain and in France, and begged him to
    send me an answer to Paris whether the Ministry of England
    approved or disapproved my intentions.

    "I have only to add, that my views being to unite, and not to
    separate nations, I have no objection that the Ministers of
    France and Dr Franklin should each have a copy of this

The Count spoke of Sir John and his anecdote very properly, and
concluded with assurances of the King's firmness.

The manner in which Sir John speaks of Dr Franklin, however just, I
impute to a design of injuring the confidence reposed in him by his

The house of Gardoqui at Bilboa are rich, in favor with the Ministry,
and friends to America. The Navy Board have sent to them for goods for
the use of the navy, and have remitted to them only an inconsiderable
part of the sum to which they will amount, desiring the residue on
credit, and promising speedy payment. One of the House now here spoke
to me on the subject; I advised him to complete the orders. It is of
the utmost consequence that the Navy Board be punctual in their
remittances. American credit is not high, and ought to be higher. I am
the more anxious on this subject, as that House is exceedingly well
disposed, and a disappointment would not only be injurious to them,
but much more so to us. Perhaps it would be a good rule if the United
States were to contract debts only with Governments, and never with
individuals abroad.

I received a letter last week from a Captain Hawkins at Cadiz,
informing me that the Americans, who had escaped from captivity and
were collected there, were fitting out a vessel for America, which
they were arming, and wished to be enabled to act offensively and
defensively in their way home, by having a proper commission from me
for that purpose. As I had neither blank commissions nor authority to
grant them, I referred him to Dr Franklin.

Congress will be pleased to consider how far it may be proper to
remove these obstacles, by sending me both. This leads me again to
remind your Excellency of several letters I wrote you from Cadiz,
respecting American seamen coming to Spain from captivity at Gibraltar
and other places. As copies of these letters have been sent by
different vessels, I presume some of them have reached you. It
certainly is necessary that provision be made for these people, and in
a regular established manner. I am very desirous of instructions on
this subject.

The credit given me by Congress on Dr Franklin is expended, and I am
without other means of obtaining supplies than by private credit,
which I am at a loss to satisfy. To apply to, and be maintained by
the Court, is, in my opinion, too humiliating to be for the public
good; and as yet I have neither received nor heard of remittances
from America. It would give me pleasure to know in what manner
Congress mean I should be supplied, and whether any measures have been
taken for that purpose.

I am much embarrassed for the means of conveying and receiving
intelligence. Being at a great distance from the sea, all my letters
to and from thence here must either be conveyed by private couriers or
the public post. All my letters by the latter, whether in France or
Spain, are opened. By that conveyance, therefore, it would not always
be proper to write either to Congress, to Dr Franklin, Mr Adams, or
others, with that freedom which would often be useful, and sometimes
necessary. The salary allowed me, so far from admitting the expense of
private couriers, is inadequate for the common purposes for which it
was given. This is a delicate subject, and I wish it was not my duty
to say anything respecting it. This place is the dearest in Europe.
The Court is never stationary, passing part of the year in no less
than five different places, viz. Madrid, Pardo, Aranjues, St
Ildefonso, and the Escurial; hence considerable expenses arise. I
forbear enumerating particulars, my design being only to mention this
matter to Congress, not to press it upon them. I shall always live
agreeably to my circumstances; and if, from their being too narrow,
inconveniences result to the public, they ought to be informed of it.
I hope what I have said will be viewed in this light only; so far as I
am personally interested, I am content.

Mr Harrison, a gentleman of Maryland, now here, will be the bearer of
this letter to Cadiz. I therefore embrace this good and unusual
opportunity of being so minute and explicit in it.

The family of Galvez is numerous and of weight. The one on the
Mississippi has written favorably of the Americans to his brothers
here, three of whom are in office. It would be well to cultivate this
disposition whenever opportunities of doing it offer.

The resolution providing for Spanish prisoners at New York was well

Dr Franklin is more advantageously circumstanced than I am to gain and
transmit to Congress intelligence of the disposition of Holland and of
the Northern Powers.

From the conduct of their ministers here, I have no reason to predict
much to our advantage. They are cold, and I have received nothing more
than common civility from any of them, except the Ministers of Holland
and Sweden, and indeed not much more from them. Perhaps they have been
rendered unusually cautious by an extract of a letter from Madrid in
the Leyden paper, mentioning the precious reception Mr Carmichael met
with here, and the attentions he received from the foreign Ministers.
You have probably seen it in the _Courier de l'Europe_.

From what I hear of the character of the Empress of Russia, I cannot
but think that a prudent agent there would be very useful. They say
she is sensible, proud, and ambitious. Hence I infer that such a mark
of attention would be grateful, and consequently useful.

I should have given your Excellency seasonable intelligence of the
Spanish fleet and armament, which lately sailed from Cadiz, as I
believe to the Havana, and whose objects I suspect to be the Floridas
or Jamaica, or probably both, but I omitted writing on that subject
previous to the departure of the fleet, from a persuasion that any
letters by the post containing such advices would not be permitted to
proceed, and therefore I thought it unnecessary; nor will I now swell
the pages of this letter, already very voluminous, by entering into
particulars relative to it, especially as that armament will probably
have begun its operations before this letter will come to your
Excellency's hands.

The reports of dissensions in Congress, which prevailed here prior to
my arrival, and the causes to which they were ascribed, had filled
this Court with apprehensions; and it gives me pleasure to assure you,
that the present appearance of union in Congress is attended here with
very happy effects.

The people in this country are in almost total darkness about us.
Scarce any American publications have reached them, nor are they
informed of the most recent and important events in that country. The
affairs of Stony Point, Paulus Hook, &c. &c. have never been heard of
here, except perhaps by the great officers of state, and they could
scarcely believe that the Roman Catholic religion was even tolerated

There are violent prejudices among them against us. Many of them have
even serious doubts of our being civilized, and mention a strange
story of a ship driven into Virginia by distress, about thirty years
ago, that was plundered by the inhabitants, and some of the crew
killed in a manner and under circumstances which, if true, certainly
indicate barbarity. The King and Ministry are warm, yet I have reason
to believe that the bulk of the nation is cold towards us; they appear
to me to like the English, hate the French, and to have prejudices
against us.

I mention these things to show in a strong light the necessity of
punctuality in sending me from time to time all American intelligence
of importance, and observing such conduct towards Spaniards in
general, as may tend to impress them with more favorable sentiments of
us. There was a little uneasiness among the mercantile people at Cadiz
respecting the capture of some Spanish vessels by privateers. I hope
the former have had ample justice done them; it certainly is of great
importance that they should have reason to be satisfied.

Your Excellency may observe that I have written very particularly.
Both this Court and that of France have very particular information
respecting the proceedings of Congress.

Want of prudence, rather than virtue, I believe to be the cause. I
nevertheless think it my duty to give Congress from time to time full
information of their affairs here, and shall not be restrained by the
apprehension of any consequences, that may result from want of secrecy
there. I make it a rule to write on these subjects only to Congress,
and to them very particularly.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

_P. S._ Congress may think it extraordinary, that Mr Carmichael's
handwriting does not appear in this letter. He is, with my
approbation, now at Aranjues, and I must do him the justice to say,
that he is always ready and willing to do his duty as Secretary.

                                                                 J. J.


[18] See above, dated January 26th, p. 194.

[19] See this letter in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II p. 276.

[20] See above, p. 195.

[21] See above, p. 199.

[22] See p. 203.

[23] See p. 210.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                               Madrid, May 27th, 1780.


On the 27th of last month I had the pleasure of receiving your favor
of the 11th of December, 1779, with copies of the resolutions of
Congress, for drawing on Mr Laurens and myself for one hundred
thousand pounds sterling each.

I had the honor of writing to Congress yesterday very fully respecting
their affairs in this kingdom, and particularly on the subject of
those resolutions.

I have not yet had the pleasure of hearing of Mr Lauren's arrival,
about which I am anxious. Be pleased to assure Congress, that Mr
Laurens shall receive from me every mark of attention, and all the aid
in my power to afford. The latter I fear will not be great.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO JAMES LOVELL.

                                               Madrid, May 27th, 1780.


Eight days ago I had the pleasure of receiving a packet containing
journals and newspapers.

From an endorsement I conjecture that I am indebted to you for it.
There was no letter enclosed in it. I am much obliged by this
attention. American intelligence is of more importance here (where
they have little of it) than can well be imagined.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                             Aranjues, May 27th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

Since my letter of the 25th instant, I have very strong reason to
believe, in consequence of conversations I have had with persons who
ought to be well informed, that the fleet and troops, which sailed
from Cadiz the 28th ultimo, are destined in the first instance to the
Windward Islands, to act in concert with the squadron of the Count de
Guichen, from thence as circumstances may render it proper they will
proceed to Jamaica or the Floridas; for it appears to be the intention
of the Spanish, as well as of the French Court, to detach a part at
least of their force in the Islands to the continent, as soon as the
hurricane season in the West Indies renders it dangerous for them to
act against the enemy in that part of the world. I do not mention by
letter my source of information, because I do not choose to hazard the
loss of intelligence, which I may gain from the same persons, by the
miscarriage of letters. I shall however mention it to you _vivâ voce_,
in order to enable you to judge of the credit due to my information.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                   WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Madrid, May 28th, 1780.


Since closing my letter of the 26th instant, I have received from Mr
Carmichael the interesting intelligence contained in the enclosed
paper.[24] He is now here, and has communicated to me the channel
through which he obtained it, from which I think his information
deserves belief, and his address in obtaining it credit.

I have the honor to be, &c.
                                                             JOHN JAY.


[24] See the preceding letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Madrid, May 28th, 1780.


In the journal of the proceedings of Congress of November, 1779, I
find that on the 8th day of that month they were pleased to come to
the following resolution. "Resolved, that the late and former
Presidents of Congress be desired to lodge, as soon as they
conveniently can in the Secretary's office, copies of all public
letters by them respectively written during their Presidentship."
After I resigned the chair, and immediately on your Excellency's
election, I delivered a book, containing copies of the public letters
I had written during my Presidentship, to your Excellency, who
promised to lodge it in the Secretary's office, which, I am persuaded,
was accordingly done. It gives me concern therefore to find this
resolution is made to extend to me, and I flatter myself Congress will
do me the justice to let it appear, by the entry to be made on their
journals of the receipt of this letter, that I had done that part of
my duty in season, and without their express request.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Madrid, May 30th, 1780.


On the 26th instant I had the honor of writing a very long and
particular letter to your Excellency, by the way of Cadiz, of which a
duplicate has also been sent. To the contents of that letter I have
nothing new to add, except that two of the bills directed to be drawn
upon me have arrived.

I shall go tomorrow to Aranjues, from whence I shall embrace the first
opportunity of communicating to Congress the further progress of their
affairs here.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   DE NEUFVILLE & SON TO JOHN JAY.

                                                         Without date.


By vessels lately arrived from the continent, and from St Eustatia,
there appeared here some bills drawn by the Treasurer of Loans in
America on Henry Laurens, Commissioner for the States in Amsterdam.
Every body has been surprised at it, and we in particular, as we were
directly applied to. We said at the first, that we expected Mr Laurens
would be in town very soon, begging them to keep those bills a
fortnight, and that, at all events, we would accept them. We have seen
others since more willing to wait; but not knowing what sums may have
been drawn for already, we are in hopes to be soon released from this
anxiety by the arrival of the Minister. As we think your Excellency
may have some intelligence about this matter, and have it in your
power at the same time to save the credit of America, if Mr Laurens by
any accident should not arrive, we beg the favor to be informed how to
conduct ourselves. In the mean time we will do what lies in our power
to prevent all noise and trouble about them. In case Mr Laurens should
not arrive, your Excellency will have time left to make or provide for
remittances, as the bills are drawn at six months' sight.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                              JOHN DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   DE NEUFVILLE & SON TO JOHN JAY.

                                            Amsterdam, June 1st, 1780.


Craving reference to our last, we have now the honor to propose to
your Excellency on what terms we think all difficulty on account of
the absence of Henry Laurens, as Commissioner from Congress here, may
be prevented. We have written the same to Dr Franklin in France,
offering him to accept all those bills, provided he gives us
permission to re-draw directly on him for account of Congress, and to
do it even at seven or eight months, until, by the arrival of Mr
Laurens, or in some other way, this matter may be arranged, for there
must certainly be provision made for those bills, and the sums we do
not think will exceed two or three hundred thousand guilders before Mr
Laurens's arrival here may be known in America, and matters are
settled. We even offered those transactions without any view of
interest, as for a commission. The importance of the business must
have influence with every one, who has any regard for the United
States; and this emboldened us even to trouble your Excellency with
this relation, not doubting but you might equally find means to make
matters easy at all events; for the terrible loss which there would be
on such bills, if protested, must be prevented, and the honor of the
credit of America must be saved. We hope our endeavor for it may be
approved of, and have the desired end.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                              JOHN DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   DE NEUFVILLE & SON TO JOHN JAY.

                                            Amsterdam, June 8th, 1780.


In conformity with what we have informed you, that we had engaged for
the acceptance of some of the bills drawn on Henry Laurens, since
nothing has been heard of him as yet, we accepted those on the first
instant, and we hope your Excellency, as well as Dr Franklin, may
approve of our proceeding, and of the method we have proposed for our
reimbursement, in case Mr Laurens may not appear, or that they should
not be provided for in time. Certain it is that those bills should be
honored for the credit of America. At the same time, it is not in the
power of a mercantile house to stand for the whole; yet the measure
proposed may make it easy, since the sums will not be so large but
that they may be easily provided for in Spain and France by the
Plenipotentiary Ministers. And for ourselves, we only desire to be
properly empowered to draw again for any sums we may accept. As there
was no time to get the matter previously adjusted, we will go on, and
see how our plan may be agreed to and approved of.

We have the honor to be always with the most devoted regard, &c.

                                              JOHN DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                        Philadelphia, June 16th, 1780.


The embarrassments, which the depreciation of the currency had created
in the public affairs at the time of your departure for Europe, were,
as you may well remember, very distressing, and have, till lately,
continued to increase. Congress, greatly anxious to avail themselves
of every possible means of checking this evil, on the 23d of November
last ventured on the expedient of drawing bills upon you for one
hundred thousand pounds sterling, as you have been already advised by
letter of December the 11th following. This they thought they might
risk, considering the importance of the object. But as the time of
your arrival in Europe could not be counted upon with certainty, and
as the negotiation might not be immediately practicable, and moreover,
as a disappointment would be highly injurious to the public faith,
they determined to draw the bills at six months' sight, which we hope
will allow sufficient leisure for every preparation.

It will not be amiss to observe, that Congress have not taken this
measure without some circumstances of encouragement, that a fund to
satisfy the draft would not be unattainable. Since the agreeable news
of your arrival, and to answer a purpose of great national utility,
Congress, by their resolution of the 19th instant, have directed bills
to be drawn for the additional sum of twentyfive thousand dollars,
payable at sixty days' sight. The exertions necessary at this crisis
require the command of a considerable sum of money; but these drafts,
we hope, will not be increased till we have intelligence from you
respecting your prospects and assurances. We have the pleasure to
inform you, that from the measures, which have lately been adopted,
and with which you are made acquainted by the journals, the finances
begin to assume a better appearance, and our public affairs in general
will, we hope, be delivered from many of the embarrassments under
which they have labored, but we earnestly entreat you to push every
possible exertion for procuring aids of money from the Court of Spain,
without which we are fearful the measures of Congress fully to restore
the currency and prosecute the war with good effect will fall short of
the desired success.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 JAMES LOVELL,
                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON,
                                                 WILLIAM C. HOUSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                              Madrid, June 18th, 1780.


Accept my thanks for your favors on the subject of the bills drawn on
Mr Laurens. The kind concern you take in the credit and prosperity of
the United States merits their acknowledgments, and I shall take the
first opportunity of communicating to Congress your very friendly
propositions relative to the acceptance of the bills.

Whether Dr Franklin is in circumstances to agree to these propositions
I know not. They certainly are very generous and liberal, and would be
attended with very happy effects. I am persuaded, that Congress would
strain every nerve to fulfill them. I have no intelligence whatever of
Mr Laurens, and am much at a loss to conjecture what should detain

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

                                              Madrid, June 25th, 1780.


Your favor of the 8th instant came to hand yesterday. The receipt of
the letters referred to in it was acknowledged by the last post. Your
plan for paying the bills drawn on Mr Laurens is noble and generous. I
heartily wish it may succeed, and that things could be so adjusted as
that you might not be exposed to loss or inconvenience by it. But,
gentlemen, as to this matter, I have neither instructions, nor the
means of preventing the evils you mention. If I had the money, or
could procure it, I would, without hesitation, engage to repay you
punctually, but that is not the case. That Congress will repay you
with gratitude I am certain, but whether quite so soon as your
convenience may require, is more doubtful, because the absence of Mr
Laurens is an event they did not foresee, and consequently did not
provide against. If you could make a loan for the United States in
your country, the money might be applied for the discharge of these
bills. I am sure you would do Congress a very acceptable service by
it. I have not yet heard from Dr Franklin on this subject. You may
rely on all the aid in my power to render, and I should be very happy
if it could be equal to the present exigency. I am not without
difficulties respecting the bills drawn upon me. If these difficulties
should cease, and I should be in a capacity to assist you, I will
immediately let you know it, but of this there is as yet no great

As a man, I admire and esteem your conduct, and as an American I
thank you. Be assured, therefore, that I shall omit no opportunity of
convincing you of the regard and attachment, with which I have the
honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Madrid, July 10th, 1780.


As a late and particular letter from me to your Excellency is now on
the way to America, and as I purpose to write again very fully by the
successor of M. Mirales, I decline saying much in this letter, which I
shall send by a circuitous and hazardous route.

I have accepted bills to the amount of between eleven and twelve
thousand dollars. They arrive slowly, and I am very glad of it. No
news of Mr Laurens; I regret his absence. I hope the terms for the
sale of the bills on me will not be lowered. Remittances have really
become necessary. Distressed American seamen cost a great deal. The
house of Le Couteulx has advanced money for them at Cadiz.

I had yesterday an application from the director of a hospital at St
Andeira, desiring to be informed whether I would be responsible for
the ordinary expenses of receiving and curing a New England master of
a vessel, who had escaped from captivity pennyless, having one of his
legs so injured by iron fetters as to be in danger of losing it. These
are calls of humanity, and I entreat Congress to enable me to obey
them, and to establish specific regulations for the conduct of these

The surrender of Charleston is the subject of much speculation, and
many unfavorable conjectures. I have received no public letters since
I left America, except one from the Committee, enclosing the
resolutions for drawing bills on me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   DE NEUFVILLE & SON TO JOHN JAY.

                                           Amsterdam, July 13th, 1780.


Never letter could have been more welcome than the favor your
Excellency honored us with of the 25th of the past month, since it
expressed a true concern about the bills drawn on Mr Laurens, and your
approbation of our conduct. As we from the beginning acted from
principle in the American cause, and never will prevaricate, this is
only from the same motive, but we shall be sorry if we should not be
supported, and that it is out of your Excellency's power to do it. We
cannot judge how far those drafts may go, and if we had not expected
that your Excellency, as well as Dr Franklin, would have been willing
and able to answer for a trifle, (one or two hundred thousand
guilders) in such a matter as this, it would have been a folly to
undertake it.

Dr Franklin wrote to us, that people would be satisfied to have the
bills enregistered, but we found the contrary; several of them would
have them duly protested, and until today we have again accepted them
all; but how it will go further we do not know. We were very sensible
to the hint your Excellency was pleased to give us, of making a loan
here. We might from time to time have got some money in that way, if
properly authorised; and our good will and influence certainly would
have brought it further than it had been done by the House, which was
formerly intrusted with it, and we have long ago desired a loan should
be opened in our hands, but we never could properly obtain it. A
trifle of allowance, and chiefly the largeness of the sum, which was
required from us to answer for at once, prevented it; so we did not
think proper to mention it again. We can and may work for glory, but
on a large scale we cannot sacrifice our own interest. Every
catastrophe in favor of or against America, has with our public a
great influence. So the capture of Charleston would be very much
against us at this moment for such a purpose; and though we could not
flatter ourselves to go any length with it, a very particular
circumstance might revive the American spirit; and it would even
require some time before such a power was brought into due terms,
whereon we could engage anything.

This is certain, that in a moment as critical as the present, a small
sum would save the honor of Congress, and in that light could not be
paid for too dear; which made us think on a method, that your
Excellency could employ a banker, and likewise Dr Franklin; that we,
drawing on either of your Excellencies, if we were sure you would
approve of it, could prolong terms in all probability, and without
doubt as long as should be needful, and until the arrival of Mr
Laurens, and that by his means and instructions proper measures could
be taken.

We must also expect, that Congress, (as on the first days of May they
were informed, that Mr Laurens had not sailed,) will have been
attentive to provide for those bills, and have considered the
consequences, as we do in Europe. We write the same idea to Dr
Franklin, and propose to him, if he should not approve of such a
method, or find a better, to empower us for a loan, as we know he had
formerly instructions thereon. We are too nice and anxious for the
credit of Congress to make any use thereof, if it should hurt matters
any way; but it is not possible to know what may be done before a
proper trial; and we are obliged at last to speak plain, that whatever
bills now further should offer, we cannot accept any more. We wish our
proposals may not seem incongruous; we make them with the more
assurance, as we are not guided by any other motive, than by the most
extended desire to prevent every difficulty, which could in any way
affect the reputation of the United States.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                              JOHN DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   DE NEUFVILLE & SON TO JOHN JAY.

                                           Amsterdam, July 28th, 1780.


Since we had the honor of writing to your Excellency, it is but just,
that we should inform you of the success of our proceedings in the
acceptance of the bills drawn on Henry Laurens, for which Dr Franklin,
by his last favor, has engaged, offering to accept further bills, when
sent to him, until the arrival of Mr Laurens, or that some good reason
may appear for the contrary. As this will answer the same purpose, and
we think it best, that there should not seem to be any alteration, we
offer today to continue our acceptance until forbid, under guarantee
of our being reimbursed in time. We are very much pleased, that the
matter is thus far settled for the honor of Congress.

We have the honor to be, &c.

                                              JOHN DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

                                              Madrid, July 29th, 1780.


Your favor of the 13th instant was delivered to me last evening. I
admire the generous principles, which lead you to take so decided and
friendly a part in favor of America. I have too great confidence in
the honor, justice, and gratitude of Congress to suspect, that they
will permit you to be sufferers by your exertions in their favor. On
the contrary, I am persuaded they will entertain a proper sense of
your disinterested attachment, and with pleasure take every
opportunity of acknowledging it.

Mr Laurens's absence is much to be regretted; his endeavors, aided by
your assistance, would probably have prevented the embarrassments,
which have taken place. I have not as yet received any advices of his
having sailed, and your information of his not having left America in
May is true. By a letter from a gentleman at Cadiz of the 21st instant
I learn, that a vessel from North Carolina had arrived in fortynine
days, and left Mr Laurens there on his way to Philadelphia. I am at a
loss to account for this, having no intelligence from America on the
subject. Perhaps his design was to sail from Philadelphia. If so, we
may still look out for him. Prudence, however, demands, that every
possible step be taken to alleviate the inconveniences arising from
his absence. If my power extended to this case, I should, without
hesitation, authorise you in a proper manner to make a loan in
Holland, and be much obliged to you for undertaking it. But my
instructions do not reach so far; all I can do is to advise as an
individual, and as a public servant, to represent in a true light to
Congress your benevolent efforts to preserve their credit. If Dr
Franklin has such instructions as you suppose, and his circumstances
will admit of it, I can at present see no objections to his taking
some such measures as you propose, until Mr Laurens's arrival; but of
this, he alone can properly judge. I shall write to him on the
subject, and you may rely on my doing everything in my power. I assure
you I feel myself, as an American, so much obliged by your generous
zeal to serve my country, that I shall be happy in being instrumental
to render the issue of it as agreeable and honorable to you, as the
principles on which you act are meritorious and noble.

I flatter myself, that the unfavorable influence, which the capture of
Charleston has on the public, will be of short duration. When they
reflect, that America has nobly sustained a six years' war, fought
hard battles with various success, and lost and regained several of
their cities, they will find it ridiculous to believe, that the fate
of the Thirteen States is involved in that of one or two towns. The
like impressions were made, when New York, Philadelphia, and
Ticonderoga fell into the enemy's hands; and those impressions were
again removed by the battle of Trenton, the evacuation of
Philadelphia, the battle of Monmouth, the defeat and capture of
General Burgoyne and his army, and other victories on our side. Many
of these great events happened when America had no ally, and when
Britain had no other objects to divide her force. It is not
reasonable, therefore, to imagine, that the power of Britain has been
augmented by the accession of two formidable enemies, or that the
power of America has been diminished in proportion as the number of
her friends increased.

Depend upon it, that as the spirit of America has always risen with
the successes of her enemies they will not, on this occasion, throw
away their arms, and ingloriously pass under the yoke of a nation
whose conduct towards her has been marked by injustice and oppression
in peace, and by malice and wanton barbarity in war.

With sentiments of sincere regard and esteem, I have the honor to be,

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

                                            Madrid, August 16th, 1780.


My last to you was dated July 29th, in answer to yours of the 13th of
the same month. I have since had the pleasure to receive your favor of
the 28th of July, and am happy to hear that Dr Franklin has been able
to take the step you mention. I cannot forbear again to repeat the
sense I have of your very friendly conduct on this occasion. I assure
you I shall rejoice in every opportunity of acknowledging the
obligations you have conferred on my country. Such disinterested acts
of friendship are not common, and ought never to be forgotten.

With sentiments of great and sincere esteem and regard, I have the
honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                           TO SILAS DEANE.

                                    St Ildefonso, September 8th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

If I could easily be angry with an old friend, I should be so with
you. Your silence is unkind, and the more so as you might probably
have communicated things useful, as well as entertaining. Before we
parted in America, you gave me a cypher, and I really promised myself
much from it on your arrival in Europe. I could almost wish that the
winds had blown you this way. I would give a good deal for a day's
conversation with you, but that is impossible. A correspondence is the
only substitute, and perhaps you have detached yourself too much from
public concerns and public men to be troubled with it. I hope this is
not the case. It would be wrong to extend to a whole nation the
resentments excited by a few. Perhaps other reasons may have induced
your silence; whatever they may be I regret them.

Adieu. I am, dear Sir, your most obedient servant,

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                   St Ildefonso, September 16th, 1780.


This letter and several copies of it are to be sent by the next post
to Bilboa, Cadiz, Nantes, &c. The object of it is to inform you, that
it is necessary immediately to cease drawing bills upon me for the

Your Excellency may soon expect a full detail of particulars; you will
then receive an answer to every question that may be raised upon this

His Catholic Majesty has been pleased to offer his responsibility to
facilitate a loan of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for us,
payable in three years, and to promise us some clothing. This need not
be kept secret. I have written several letters to your Excellency, but
have received only one from the Committee since I left America. It
covered the resolutions respecting these bills.

The Philadelphia bank, the ladies' subscriptions, and other
indications of union and public spirit, have a fine effect here.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      INSTRUCTIONS TO JOHN JAY.

                                       In Congress, October 4th, 1780.

On the report of a committee to whom were referred certain
instructions to the delegates of Virginia by their constituents, and a
letter of the 26th of May, from the Honorable John Jay, Congress
unanimously agreed to the following instructions to the Honorable John
Jay, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, at the
Court of Madrid.

That the said Minister adhere to his former instructions, respecting
the right of the United States of America to the free navigation of
the river Mississippi into and from the sea; which right, if an
express acknowledgment of it cannot be obtained from Spain, is not by
any stipulation on the part of America to be relinquished. To render
the treaty to be concluded between the two nations permanent, nothing
can more effectually contribute, than a proper attention, not only to
the present but the future reciprocal interests of the contracting

The river Mississippi being the boundary of several States in the
union, and their citizens, while connected with Great Britain, and
since the revolution, having been accustomed to the free use thereof,
in common with the subjects of Spain, and no instance of complaint or
dispute having resulted from it, there is no reason to fear, that the
future mutual use of the river by the subjects of the two nations,
actuated by friendly dispositions, will occasion any interruption of
that harmony which it is the desire of America, as well as of Spain,
should be perpetual. That if the unlimited freedom of the navigation
of the river Mississippi, with a free port, or ports below the 31st
degree of north latitude, accessible to merchant ships, cannot be
obtained from Spain, the said Minister in that case be at liberty to
enter into such equitable regulations as may appear a necessary
security against contraband; provided the right of the United States
to the free navigation of the river be not relinquished, and a free
port or ports as above described be stipulated to them.

That with respect to the boundary alluded to in his letter of the 26th
of May last, the said Minister be, and hereby is instructed, to adhere
strictly to the boundaries of the United States as already fixed by
Congress. Spain having by the treaty of Paris ceded to Great Britain
all the country to the northeastward of the Mississippi, the people
inhabiting these States, while connected with Great Britain, and also
since the revolution, have settled themselves at divers places to the
westward near the Mississippi, are friendly to the revolution, and
being citizens of these United States, and subject to the laws of
those to which they respectively belong, Congress cannot assign them
over as subjects to any other power.

That the said Minister be further informed, that in case Spain shall
eventually be in possession of East and West Florida, at the
termination of the war, it is of the greatest importance to these
United States to have the use of the waters running out of Georgia
through West Florida into the Bay of Mexico, for the purpose of
navigation; and that he be instructed to endeavor to obtain the same,
subject to such regulations as may be agreed on between the
contracting parties; and that as a compensation for this, he be and
hereby is empowered to guaranty the possession of the said Floridas to
the Crown of Spain.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        TO DE NEUFVILLE & SON.

                                            Madrid, October 4th, 1780.


I have lately had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 7th of
September. After the proofs you have given of disinterested zeal in
the cause of liberty and America, I cannot harbor a doubt of your
opposing the measures of a Court industriously employed in attempts to
destroy both.

Your sentiments respecting the expediency of a connexion between the
United States and your Republic concur with my own, and I am persuaded
that those who know and wish well to the interests of both will
assiduously promote it.

As I have received no further intelligence respecting Mr Laurens, I
can add nothing on that subject. I cannot doubt but that good reasons
have detained him, though I do not know what they are. Congress, I am
sure, will continue their attention to the objects of his appointment,
and will be happy in cultivating a friendly connexion with a people
whose history exhibits many instances of heroic and glorious exertions
in a cause similar to their own. Those among you who know history, and
venerate the names and characters of their forefathers, cannot consent
to be the instruments of despotism, to deprive others of those rights
which were purchased for themselves by the blood of their own

When or how far it may consist with the views of Congress to make
mercantile appointments in your country, I cannot determine; should
they ever become necessary, I cannot doubt of your being remembered.
The most powerful recommendation I can give them, will be by sending
them our correspondence; and for that purpose, copies of all the
letters that have passed between us are now preparing, and shall,
together with duplicates and triplicates, be sent by the first

As to the late ordinance of Spain establishing a paper currency, it is
a subject on which I make no remarks, and for this very good reason,
that the policy and propriety of that measure are objects without my
sphere, on which I can have no influence, and which would not be
altered by anything I might say or write about them.

The Mexican dollars, mentioned in the bills drawn upon me, I
understand to be only another name for Spanish milled dollars, which
you know pass here at twenty reals of vellon. How far the sale or
payment of these may be affected by the paper in question I know not,
though I must confess that I do not apprehend so much evil from it as
some others do. These bills will be on an equal footing with all
others drawn on Spain, and you will readily suppose it not to be in
my power to put them on a better.

The King of Spain has been so kind as to offer to become responsible
to a certain amount for monies which I may borrow for Congress,
payable in three years. Be so kind as to inform me whether this could
be done in your country, on their _joint credit_, how far, and on what

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            TO JAMES LOVELL.

                                           Madrid, October 27th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 11th of July gave me much pleasure. There is a
degree of ease and cordiality in it, which, as mere letters of
business do not require, I am the more obliged to you for.

It is true that I might write to Congress very often, indeed by every
vessel, and there are many of them. But how are my letters to get to
the sea-side? By the post? They would be _all_ inspected, and many
suppressed. There is scarce a man in any of the ports, except Mr
Harrison at Cadiz, with whom I would trust them; so that if, under
different covers, I should get them there, the danger would not end.
To write often, and write nothing material, would be useless; and when
you see my public letters, by this opportunity, you will perceive,
that, to be well understood, I must write a great deal.

I would throw stones too, with all my heart, if I thought they would
hit only the committee, without injuring the members of it. Till now I
have received but one letter from them, and that not worth a farthing,
though it conveyed a draft for one hundred thousand pounds sterling
on the bank of hope.

One good private correspondent would be worth twenty committees, made
of the wisest heads in America, for the purpose of intelligence. What
with clever wives, or pretty girls, or pleasant walks, or too tired,
or too busy, or do you do it, very little is done, much postponed,
and more neglected. If you are naturally industrious, and love your
country, you would frequently take up your pen and your cyphers, and
tell me how the wheel of politics runs, and what measures it is from
time to time turning out. I should be better informed and Congress
better served. I now get more intelligence of your affairs from the
French Ambassador, than from all the members of Congress put together.

I had written thus far, when I received a letter from M. Le Couteulx
at Cadiz, enclosing a letter of the 16th of September, written at St
Ildefonso from me to Congress. It had been enclosed in one to Mr
Harrison, and that again put under cover to M. Le Couteulx, and, under
these two covers, it was put into the post office. Now mark its fate.
The Director of the post office at Cadiz showed it to M. Le Couteulx,
naked and stripped of its two covers, of which he made no mention. He
said it came from Bayonne, but M. Le Couteulx, knowing my hand
writing, paid the postage, and returned it to me. This is only one
among many instances of the fate to which my letters are subjected. To
avoid it, I must now be at the expense of sending Colonel Livingston
to the sea-side with my despatches.

When at Cadiz, I heard some of our countrymen, who had been prisoners
at Lisbon, speak handsomely of M. Dohrmer. They mentioned his having
supplied them with necessaries, but at the same time told me that he
had been employed for the purpose by Dr Franklin. Hence it happened
that I declined mentioning his usefulness to Congress. I considered
him as an agent of Dr Franklin, who did his duty faithfully, and
thought it would be more proper for him to recommend his services to
the notice of Congress than for me.

I am, dear Sir, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Madrid, November 6th, 1780.


The last particular letter I had the honor of writing to your
Excellency was dated the 26th of May, and, with a duplicate, was
carried to Cadiz by Mr Harrison, who sent one by the Peacock, Captain
Davis, to Boston, and the other by the General Arnold, Captain
Jenkins, to Alexandria in Virginia. They both sailed in June last, and
the former, I hear, arrived safe after a short passage.

I have since written several letters to your Excellency, but as they
went to the seaports by the post, none of them contained anything
material, except one from St Ildefonso of the 16th of September,
advising Congress of the necessity of suspending further drafts on me
for the present.

Congress will recollect, that my letter of the 26th of May contained
notes of a conference I had with the Minister on the 11th of that
month, on the subjects of my two former letters to him, the first in
answer to his questions, and the latter relative to the resolution for
drawing bills upon me. It may be remembered also, that, in this
conference, the Minister promised me his sentiments in writing in a
few days, as well on the subject of the proposed treaty, as on the
bills which were daily expected. The first I have not yet received,
and it was not before the 7th of June that I was favored with the

In this interval there arrived here from England, by the way of
Lisbon, an Abbé Hussey. He came to Lisbon in company with Mr
Cumberland, one of Lord George Germain's secretaries, who, with his
family, purposed, on obtaining permission, to come to Madrid. This
priest was known to many, being a pensioner of the Spanish Court, and
formerly in the late Prince Massarano's family. Indeed he took no
pains to conceal himself, or his business, which was to obtain
permission for his friend to proceed, on account of the bad health of
a daughter. Mr Carmichael watched his motions with success and
industry, and was the first who mentioned his arrival to me. He hired
lodgings and a coach for Mr Cumberland, and visited several persons
about the Court, particularly M. del Campo, First Secretary of the

On the first of June I received a card from the Minister, desiring to
see me at nine o'clock the next evening. I waited upon him
accordingly. The following are notes of what passed upon that

    [Notes of a Conference between his Excellency the Count de
    Florida Blanca and Mr Jay, in the office of the former at
    Aranjues, 2d of June, 1780, reduced to writing, immediately
    after the conference ended, by Mr Carmichael, who was present
    at it.]

    In consequence of a card received by Mr Jay yesterday, from
    his Excellency the Count de Florida Blanca, appointing him a
    meeting at nine o'clock this evening, Mr Jay waited on him at
    that hour. The conversation commenced on the part of the
    Minister, with polite inquiries for the state of Mr Jay's
    health, which, he said, had induced him not to send the notes
    promised on the former meeting, at the time when appointed,
    as he had been informed that he was indisposed. He attributed
    to his own frequent ill state of health (a disorder of the
    nerves, occasioned by his necessary application to business)
    the disappointment and delay to which, without intending it,
    the business that passed through his hands was sometimes
    subjected. He then said, that on Sunday following, at eleven
    o'clock in the forenoon, if Mr Carmichael would wait on him,
    he would send Mr Jay the notes formerly promised him.

    He added that his reason for desiring to see him at present
    proceeded from something mentioned to him by the French
    Ambassador, of which he supposed he was informed. He
    recapitulated what he had before mentioned of the King's good
    faith and favorable disposition towards America, and entered
    more fully into his conduct in the negotiation with Great
    Britain, when the Court of Spain proposed a truce between
    that country and the United States, observing, that as the
    King at that period was determined not to sacrifice our
    interests, it could not be supposed that now, when at war
    with Great Britain, his Majesty would be less disposed to
    maintain them. After these reflections and assurances, he
    told Mr Jay that the person lately from England, by the way
    of Portugal, was the chaplain of their former Embassy at
    London; that he had been there for some time on his private
    affairs, and had at the same time instructions concerning an
    exchange of prisoners, which their sufferings rendered
    expedient; that the death of an uncle, a chaplain of the
    Court, had obliged him to return; that an English gentleman
    and his family had come to Lisbon with him, under the
    pretext, or really on account of the ill health of a
    daughter, to whom the Duke of Dorset was much attached; that
    the opposition made by his friends to the marriage had
    affected her health, and that this family was desirous of
    passing through Spain to Italy. He added, that this gentleman
    was one of Lord George Germain's secretaries, and would
    perhaps have some proposals to make for an exchange of
    prisoners, and possibly others of a different nature, which
    he assured Mr Jay should be communicated to him as candidly
    as he had communicated the extravagant scheme presented by
    Sir J. Dalrymple. He desired Mr Jay, therefore, to make
    himself easy on this subject, giving new assurances of the
    King's strict regard to justice and good faith, and of his
    disposition to assist America.

    Mr Jay begged him to be persuaded of the perfect confidence
    of America and himself, and of their reliance on the good
    faith, justice, and honor of his Catholic Majesty; that he
    had no other apprehension from the circumstance of Englishmen
    resorting to this Court, than that the enemy would on this,
    as on former occasions, avail themselves of it, by
    endeavoring to alarm and deceive our people.

    The Count de Florida Blanca assured Mr Jay, that he would
    shortly give him such proofs of the King's intentions, as
    would enable him to prevent any bad effects from such
    misrepresentations, and convince America of his Majesty's
    favorable disposition and good faith. After repeating
    assurances of his full confidence, Mr Jay mentioned that he
    had received two bills of exchange, drawn by order of
    Congress on him, and that he should take no measures on that
    subject, as he had before the honor of telling him, till he
    had consulted his Excellency. The Count, having asked the
    amount, and being told that the bills were for between six
    and seven hundred dollars, told him, smiling, that he might
    accept them, and he hoped so to arrange matters, as, in a
    short time, to make him easy on that head. He then said, that
    an expedition had been suggested to him, in which the
    Americans might co-operate; but, without entering into
    particulars, he recollected himself, and said he would send
    the project to Mr Jay by Mr Carmichael at the same time that
    he should give him the other papers. The conference ended
    with mutual compliments.

    _June 4th._ This morning the Chevalier de Burgoing, Secretary
    of the French Embassy, waited on Mr Jay, and afterwards on Mr
    Carmichael, and told them the Ambassador had informed him,
    that the Count de Florida Blanca had received despatches from
    Versailles, which demanded his instant attention, and that,
    therefore, he could not see Mr Carmichael until the 5th, at
    the hour mentioned in the conference of the 2d. Mr Jay,
    however, having received no direct message from the Minister,
    thought it proper for Mr Carmichael to wait on him at the
    place and hour appointed. Accordingly he went to the Bureau
    of Foreign Affairs, and was told by order of the Minister,
    that he had desired the Ambassador to acquaint Mr Jay, that
    he could not see Mr Carmichael that day, but desired to see
    him next Monday, at eleven.

    _June 5th._ Mr Carmichael waited on the Minister, agreeably
    to appointment, who, on his entrance, immediately expressed
    his concern, that the arrival of a courier, which informed
    him of the intentions of the Court of Great Britain to
    expedite the sailing of their grand fleet, had engaged his
    attention so much as to prevent him from fulfilling his
    promise of sending the notes mentioned in the former
    conferences, that he would certainly do it on the Wednesday
    following, and desired Mr Carmichael to wait on him that day
    at the same hour to receive them. He then mentioned an
    expedition, which had been proposed to him from Bilboa, to
    intercept the homeward bound ships of the East India Company,
    by equipping some frigates in America at the expense of his
    Catholic Majesty, desiring Mr Carmichael to communicate this
    to Mr Jay, that he might turn his attention to that object,
    to enable him to judge of the probability of its success. He
    touched slightly on the subject of bills of exchange, and on
    the only difficulty of the treaty, viz. the navigation of the
    Mississippi, which he said he hoped some middle means might
    be hit on to obviate. He concluded by saying that he would
    give his sentiments on that, and other subjects to Mr Jay in
    writing at the time abovementioned, and hoped that he would
    believe the delay hitherto proceeded from no other motives
    than those he had mentioned. Mr Carmichael assured him, that
    Mr Jay was too sensible of the importance of his other
    occupations, and of his candor, to impute the delay to any
    other cause, and after common civilities he withdrew.

This conversation needs no comment. It promised well. On or about the
19th of June, Mr Cumberland, his wife, and two daughters arrived,
appeared publicly, and were openly visited and received by persons of
distinction. But although it was not difficult to know who he was,
and with whom he associated, his business and measures continue to
this day mere objects of conjecture, further that he or the Minister
has thought proper to communicate them.[25] The impression made by his
arrival on the minds of the people is worthy of remark. They supposed
his errand to be secret overtures for peace, and as far as I can judge
were very glad of it. There is reason to believe that he favored these
conjectures from the first. He has since said publicly, that he was
authorised to offer to Spain Gibraltar, and other advantageous terms.

On the 7th of June, I received from the Minister his notes on the
subject of aids. They are in these words.


                                        Aranjues, June 7th, 1780.

    "His Catholic Majesty would be very glad to be able to
    furnish, at the present crisis, funds for the payment of the
    one hundred thousand pounds sterling, proposed to be
    addressed to Mr Jay, in order to evince the concern which the
    King takes in the prosperity and relief of the United States
    of North America, as well as in the personal satisfaction of
    the abovementioned gentleman. But the demands of the present
    war, and the great difficulty there would be to transport
    hither the treasures of the King's possessions in that part
    of the world, render it impracticable to furnish here, the
    said sum in specie, as could be wished. Some expedient,
    however, may be found to remedy this inconvenience. For
    example; if the owners of the bills of exchange would be
    content with the security or responsibility of his Catholic
    Majesty, to pay the sum already mentioned in the term of two
    years. The King will readily agree to such an arrangement,
    even if it should be found necessary to add a moderate
    interest. This security, given by such a sovereign as the
    King of Spain, would induce the owners of those bills of
    exchange, and the creditors of Congress to consent to a
    measure so advantageous, and would equally serve to sustain
    the credit and good faith of the same body.

    "Mr Jay, therefore, is entreated to reflect on the idea just
    stated to him, and in answer to inform us what measures he
    thinks suitable to this scheme, in order that they may be
    laid before the King, and his orders taken thereon. If the
    expedient in question should be adopted, it will at the same
    time be necessary to take measures in concert to reimburse to
    the King this considerable sum, as well as others already
    expended in favor of the United States. The first idea which
    offers for reciprocal convenience is that Congress should
    engage to build without delay some handsome frigates and
    other smaller vessels of war, fixing the price of each, and
    the time when they will be finished.

    "This point once settled, it will be proper immediately to
    take measures to equip these vessels as fast as they are
    ready; to point out what articles will be necessary to send
    from Spain for this purpose, and in what port they will have
    notice to receive them. After this it is expedient to be
    informed, whether the Americans themselves will engage to
    come to the ports of Bilboa, St Ander, Ferrol, or Cadiz, for
    the said articles, which they will find ready, and afterwards
    transport them in their own vessels of war or letters of
    marque to America. On this supposition it is conjectured,
    that it would be easy to find hands enough in America to man
    these new built vessels, which will sail under Spanish
    colors. There are certainly among the subjects of the said
    United States many who have made the voyage, and are
    acquainted with the usual route of the ships of the English
    East India Company, and who know perfectly well the ports and
    places at which they stop. This fact established, it is
    proposed to equip in the ports of the United States four good
    frigates, and some other lighter vessels, with the effects
    which shall be sent from hence on account of Spain. This
    small squadron, under Spanish colors, shall be employed to
    intercept the convoys of the said Company by cruising in the
    proper latitudes. The measures just pointed out appear to be
    the most proper to reimburse, in some shape, the expenses
    already incurred by his Catholic Majesty, and to answer for
    such security as has been proposed to be given in this
    memoir. It being always understood, that a share of the
    prizes taken from the English by this small squadron shall be
    given to the crews, and even to Congress, in proportion to
    the assistance which they shall furnish for the equipment of
    the vessels.

    "A speedy and decisive answer to all the points here
    enumerated is requested, and Mr Jay is too enlightened not to
    perceive that the common cause is interested therein."

To this paper, which deserves much attention, I returned the
following answer.

                                       "Aranjues, June 9th, 1780.


    "The propositions which your Excellency did me the honor to
    send on the 7th inst. have been considered with all the
    attention, which their great importance demands.

    "The evidence they contain of his Majesty's friendly
    disposition towards the United States will, I am persuaded,
    make correspondent impressions on the citizens of America;
    and permit me to assure you, that his Majesty's desire of
    contributing to my personal satisfaction by measures
    conducive to the welfare of my country, has excited my
    warmest acknowledgments and attachment.

    "The enlarged ideas my constituents entertain of the power,
    wealth, and resources of Spain, are equal to those they have
    imbibed of the wisdom and probity of his Catholic Majesty,
    and of that noble and generous system of policy, which has
    induced him to patronize their cause, and, by completing
    their separation from Great Britain, effectually to disarm
    the latter. Such wise and liberal designs, followed by such
    great and extensive consequences, would add a bright page to
    the annals of a reign already signalised by important events.
    It is, therefore, with deep regret that Congress would
    receive information that the aid they solicit, small when
    compared with their ideas of the resources of Spain, has been
    rendered impracticable by the expenses of a war, which, on
    the part of Spain, is of a recent date. Nor will their
    disappointment be less than their regret, when they find
    their credit diminished by the failure of a measure, from the
    success of which they expected to raise it.

    "The kind disposition of his Majesty to become responsible at
    the expiration of two years for the amount of the bills in
    question, and that even with interest, is a proof of his
    goodness, by which I am confident the United States will
    consider themselves greatly obliged. But when it is
    considered that bills of exchange, immediately on being drawn
    and sold, become a medium in commerce, and pass through
    various hands in satisfaction of various mercantile
    contracts; that the drawer and every endorser become
    responsible for their credit at every transfer; and that the
    object of the merchants last holding the bills, as well as of
    all other merchants, is money in hand or actively employed in
    trade, and not money lying still, at an interest greatly
    inferior to the usual profits to be gained in commerce; I
    say, on considering these things, it appears to me that,
    although no objection can be made to the good faith of his
    Majesty, which is acknowledged by all the world, yet that the
    last holders of the bills will prefer recovering the amount
    of them, with the usual damages on protests, to delay of
    payment for two years with interest.

    "Should these bills, therefore, meet with this fate, his
    Majesty will readily perceive its influence on the credit,
    operations, and feelings of the United States; on the common
    cause; on the hopes and spirits of the enemy. The necessity
    or prudence which detains his Majesty's treasure in his
    American dominions, is an unfortunate circumstance at a time
    when it might be so usefully employed. There is,
    nevertheless, room to hope, that the great superiority of the
    allied fleets and armaments in the American seas will, in the
    course of a year or eighteen months, render its
    transportation safe and easy, and that the greater part of it
    may arrive before the bills in question would become payable.
    This will appear more probable, when the time necessary to
    sell these bills, and the time which will be consumed in
    their passage from America, and the time which will be
    employed in their journey from different ports of Europe to
    this place, are all added to the half a year which is
    allotted for the payment of them after they have been
    presented. I am authorised and ready to engage and pledge
    the faith of the United States for the punctual repayment,
    with interest, and within a reasonable term, of any sums of
    money which his Majesty may be so kind as to lend them.

    "As to the aids heretofore supplied to the United States, I
    am without information relative to the precise terms on which
    they were furnished, as well as their amount. When I left
    Congress, they appeared to me not to possess full and
    positive intelligence on these points. I ascribe this, not to
    omissions in their commissioner, who then had the direction
    of these affairs, but to those miscarriages and accidents, to
    which the communication of intelligence to a distant country
    is liable in time of war. If it should appear proper to your
    Excellency, in order that I may be furnished with an accurate
    and full statement of these transactions, I will do myself
    the honor of transmitting them immediately to Congress; and,
    as they happened prior to my appointment, I shall request
    particular instructions on the subject.

    "With respect to the plan proposed for the repayment of such
    sums as Spain may lend to the United States, viz. by the
    latter furnishing the former with frigates, &c. &c. I beg
    leave to submit the following remarks to your Excellency's
    consideration. In the United States there are timber, iron,
    masts, shipwrights, pitch, tar, and turpentine; and Spain can
    furnish the other requisites. But neither the timber, the
    iron, the masts, nor the other articles, can be procured
    without money. The Congress are in great want of money for
    the immediate purposes of self-defence, for the maintenance
    of their armies and vessels of war, and for all the other
    expenses incident to military operations. The Congress,
    pressed by their necessities, have emitted bills of credit,
    till the depreciation of them forbids further emissions. They
    have made loans from their great and good ally, and, in aid
    of the system of gaining supplies by taxation and domestic
    loans, they have, for the reasons which I have already had
    the honor of explaining to your Excellency, drawn upon me the
    bills before mentioned. These bills will be sold in the
    United States for paper money, and that money will be
    immediately wanted for the purposes I have enumerated. If,
    therefore, this money was to be turned into frigates, the
    obvious ends of drawing those bills would not be attained.
    The war against the United States has raged without
    intermission for six years already, and it will not be in
    their power to pay their debts during its further
    continuance, nor until the return of peace and uninterrupted
    commerce shall furnish them with the means of doing it.

    "That excellent frigates and other vessels may be built in
    America cheaper than in Europe, I am persuaded. And I know,
    that Congress will cheerfully give every aid in their power
    to facilitate the execution of any plan of that kind, which
    his Majesty may adopt, but, Sir, their necessities will not
    permit them to supply money to those purposes, and I should
    deceive your Excellency with delusive expectations, were I to
    lead you to think otherwise. I would rather, that the United
    States should be without money than without good faith; and,
    therefore, neither my own principles of action, nor the
    respect due to his Majesty and reputation of my country, will
    ever suffer me (if my authority extended so far) to enter
    into any contracts, which I had not the highest reason to
    believe would be fully, fairly, and punctually performed on
    the part of my constituents. Nor, in case his Majesty should
    think proper to cause frigates to be built in America, can I
    encourage your Excellency to expect, that they could be
    easily manned there for cruises. The fact is, that the
    American frigates often find difficulties in completing their
    compliments, principally because the seamen prefer going in
    privateers, which are numerous, and too useful to be

    "The design of preparing an armament to intercept the English
    East Indiamen appears to me very judicious. The enemy draw
    their resources from commerce; to annoy the one, therefore,
    is to injure the other. Before the present war, there were
    several, but not a great many Americans, well acquainted with
    the route of the East Indiamen. But whether any number of
    these men could now be secretly collected is uncertain; for
    if by a particular selection of and inquiry for them, the
    enemy should become apprized of the design, they would
    naturally take measures to frustrate it. For my part, I
    should suppose, that many of these men are not necessary, and
    that the proper number may be had from France, if not from

    "The idea of the United States co-operating in the execution
    of this plan is flattering, and the terms proposed generous.
    But so far as this co-operation will depend on the building
    of frigates there as proposed, it cannot be effected from
    their want of money. Whether the American frigates could be
    employed in such an enterprise, that is, whether the
    services, for which they may be already destined, will admit
    of it, are, with other similar circumstances, necessary to be
    known before that question could possibly be answered. The
    distance from America, and the length of time necessary to
    ask for and receive information and instructions from
    thence, are such, that it would probably be more expedient,
    that engagements for these purposes should be discussed and
    concluded there than here. The circumstances of the United
    States, while invaded, will be more fluctuating than those of
    Spain, and measures in which they might conveniently embark
    at one period, may shortly after be rendered impracticable by
    the vicisitudes of war. It is further to be observed, that a
    people, rising amidst such terrible struggles, with an
    extensive country to defend, and that country invaded, and,
    as it were, on fire in several places at once, are not in
    good condition for foreign enterprises; but, on the contrary,
    that it must generally be their interest, and of course their
    policy, to keep their forces and strength at home, till the
    expulsion of their enemies shall afford them leisure and
    opportunities for distant and offensive operations.

    "Whenever this period shall arrive, his Majesty may be
    assured, that the United States will not remain idle, but
    that, impelled by resentments too deep and too just to be
    transitory, as well as by unshaken attachment to their
    friends, they will persevere with firmness and constancy in
    the common cause, and cheerfully unite their efforts with
    those of France and Spain, in compelling the common enemy to
    accept of reasonable terms of peace. I can, also, with great
    confidence, assure your Excellency that the United States
    will be happy in every opportunity, which may offer during
    the war, of joining their arms to those of Spain, and in
    co-operating with them in any expeditions, which
    circumstances may render expedient against the Floridas, or
    other objects. The Americans would most cheerfully fight by
    the side of the Spaniards, and by spilling their blood in the
    same cause, and on the same occasion, convince them of their
    ardent desire to become their faithful friends and steadfast

    "I cannot prevail upon myself to conclude, without expressing
    to your Excellency my apprehension of the anxiety, and
    painful concern, with which Congress would receive
    intelligence of the failure of their bills, and especially
    after the expectations they have been induced to conceive of
    the successful issue of their affairs here. What conclusions
    the enemy would draw from the inability of Spain to advance
    the sum in question, even to men actually in arms against
    Great Britain, I forbear to mention, nor would it become me
    to point out the several evil consequences flowing from such
    an event, to those who enjoy from nature and experience more
    discernment than I am blessed with.

    "I still flatter myself, that some expedients may be devised
    to surmount the present difficulties, and that the harvest of
    laurels now ripening for his Majesty in America will not be
    permitted to wither for want of watering.

    "Influenced by this hope, I shall delay transmitting any
    intelligence respecting this matter to Congress, till your
    Excellency shall be pleased to communicate to me his
    Majesty's further pleasure on the subject.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

Your Excellency will doubtless observe, that this answer does not
comprehend all the objections to which the Minister's plan is liable,
such, for instance, as the proposal that the vessels proposed to be
built in America, with the money of America, and to be navigated by
Americans, should sail under _Spanish colors, &c._ I thought it most
prudent to avoid taking notice of these and similar circumstances,
lest objections, which might be ascribed to pride, as well as reason,
might lose their force in that supposition, and, instead of
convincing, serve only to irritate.

Nothing further passed between the Minister and myself except a
message or two respecting each other's health, until the 19th day of
June, when I sent him the following card.

    "Mr Jay presents his respectful compliments to his
    Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca, and takes the
    liberty of enclosing the copy of a note he has just received,
    respecting a bill drawn upon him for three hundred and
    thirtythree dollars. From this his Excellency will perceive
    the painful situation Mr Jay is in. He forbears making any
    reflections on it, being persuaded that his Excellency's
    wisdom and sensibility render them unnecessary.

    "_Madrid, June 19th, 1780._"

On the 20th instant I received the following answer.


    "The Count de Florida Blanca will have no difficulty in
    paying the bill of three hundred and thirtythree dollars
    mentioned in Mr Jay's note of yesterday, both on account of
    its small value, and in consequence of what he had the honor
    to offer him at their last conference; but he cannot forbear
    observing to Mr Jay, that it will be impossible to show the
    same complaisance for other bills without consulting the
    pleasure of the King.

    "The means hitherto proposed not having been considered as
    agreeable to Congress, it has become necessary to seek for
    others, and Mr Jay will do well to think seriously on this
    subject, and communicate to the Count de Florida Blanca
    whatever his wisdom and information may suggest to him."

This looked dry, and indicated a degree of irritation, though it held
up the idea of further means.

I replied to it on the 22d of June, as follows.

                                         "Madrid, June 22d, 1780.


    "I received the note your Excellency did me the honor to
    write on the 20th instant, and I take the earliest
    opportunity of expressing my thanks for your Excellency's
    permission to accept the bills mentioned in it, which I have
    accordingly done.

    "Agreeably to your Excellency's recommendation in the first
    conference, I have turned my thoughts very seriously to the
    objects which were the subjects of it, relative to the bills
    drawn upon me; they were two.

    "1st. The means of paying these bills.

    "2dly. The proposed contract with America for light vessels,

    "With respect to the _first_, it appeared to me, that the
    principal difficulty was removed by your Excellency's
    informing me, '_that at the end of the present year, it would
    be in your power to advance twentyfive, thirty, or forty
    thousand pounds sterling_.' Hence I inferred, that as much
    time would be taken up in the sale, negotiation, and
    transmission of those bills, and as so long a space as six
    months was assigned for their payment, after being presented,
    that the sums which it would be in your Excellency's power to
    advance at the end of the year, would probably be equal to
    the amount of the bills which would then become payable; and
    that in the mean time such further means might be provided,
    as would obviate difficulties with respect to those that
    might afterwards become due. When I reflected that I was a
    stranger to the resources of Spain, and that your
    Excellency's acknowledged abilities comprehended all the
    objects and combinations necessary in determining what
    supplies they were capable of affording, and the manner and
    means most proper for the purpose, it appeared to me in the
    light of presumption to hazard to your Excellency any
    propositions on the subject.

    "2dly. On considering the proposed contract, it became
    important to distinguish between the building these vessels
    with the money of the United States, or with that of Spain.
    The latter was very practicable, and I gave your Excellency
    that opinion in my letter of the 9th instant. The former, on
    the contrary, appeared to me not to be within the power of
    the United States, and candor obliged me to make this known
    to your Excellency in the same letter.

    "I knew it to be impossible for Congress, consistent with
    good faith, to contract; that, notwithstanding their great
    want of money, the injuries of a six years' war, and their
    being actually invaded, they would repay immediately the
    monies lent them, either in ships or otherwise. It is not
    uncommon for ancient and opulent nations to find it necessary
    to borrow money in time of war, but I believe it very seldom
    happens, that they find it convenient to pay those debts till
    the return of peace. If this be the case with powerful and
    long established nations, more cannot be expected from a
    young nation brought forth by oppression, and rising amidst
    every species of violence and devastation, which fire, sword,
    and malice can furnish for their destruction.

    "If attentive only to obtaining payment of these bills, and
    thereby relieving my country from the complicated evils which
    must result from their being protested, I had entered into
    the proposed engagements for immediate repayment, by building
    vessels, &c. if I had done this, notwithstanding a full
    conviction, that the contract so made could not be fulfilled,
    my conduct, however convenient in its immediate consequences,
    would have been highly reprehensible. This reflection,
    therefore, will I hope convince your Excellency of the purity
    of my intentions, and induce you to ascribe my objections to
    the contract, to want of ability, and not to want of
    inclination in the United States to perform it. No
    consideration will ever prevail upon me to practise
    deception, and I am happy in a persuasion, that although
    truths may sometimes not please, yet that when delivered with
    decency and respect, they will never offend either his
    Majesty or your Excellency.

    "Believe me, Sir, the United States will not be able to pay
    their debts during the war, and therefore any plan whatever
    calculated on a contrary position must be fruitless. I am
    ready to pledge their faith for repaying to his Majesty,
    within a reasonable term after the war, and with a reasonable
    interest, any sums he may be so kind as to lend them. What
    more can I offer? What more can they do? If there be any
    services they can do to his Majesty, consistent with their
    safety and defence, they are ready and will be happy to
    render them. They respect the King and the nation, and at the
    very time they are requesting his aid, they are soliciting to
    be united to him by bonds of perpetual amity and alliance.
    Against his enemies as well as their own, they are now in
    arms; and the supplies they ask are not for the purpose of
    luxury or aggrandizement, but for the sole and express
    purpose of annoying those enemies, and enabling France,
    Spain, and themselves, to obtain a peace honorable and
    advantageous to each.

    "Of his Majesty's kind disposition towards them, they had
    received not only professions but proofs. Hence they became
    inspired not only with gratitude, but with confidence in his
    friendship. Impelled by this confidence, and a particular
    concurrence of exigencies already explained to your
    Excellency, they drew the bills in question. The issue of
    this measure will be highly critical, and followed by a train
    of consequences very important and extensive. The single
    circumstance of your Excellency having permitted me to accept
    the first of these bills, will be considered by our enemies
    as an unfortunate omen. By predicting from it further aids,
    their ideas of the resources of Spain, and the resistance of
    America will naturally be raised, and their hopes of subduing
    the one, or reducing the power of the other, will naturally
    be diminished. They will impute these aids to a plan of the
    House of Bourbon, wisely concerted and firmly persisted in,
    to secure themselves and all Europe against the ambition of
    Britain, by completing the division of her empire, and they
    will cease to flatter themselves, that America thus aided
    will become destitute of resources to carry on the war. On
    the other hand, America will derive fresh vigor from this
    mark of friendship, and their attachment to his Majesty
    become proportionably more strong. By mutual good offices,
    friendship between nations, as between individuals, is only
    to be established; and it is always a happy circumstance when
    it subsists between those, whom nature has placed contiguous
    to each other. But your Excellency's time is of too great
    importance to be engaged by such obvious reflections.

    "Permit me, Sir, still to indulge the pleasing expectation of
    being enabled to inform Congress, that his Majesty's
    magnanimity and friendship have prompted him, though
    inconvenient to his own affairs, to secure the credit of
    their bills; and I am persuaded that the benevolence of your
    Excellency's disposition will be gratified in being
    instrumental in a measure, which would make such agreeable
    impressions on the hearts and minds of so great a number of
    steadfast friends to the Spanish monarchy.

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

                                                       JOHN JAY."

As this letter was, among other things, designed to establish the
expectations and encouragement given me by the Minister, as to money,
in the last conference, by obliging him either to deny them against
truth, or admit them, at least, by his silence, I desired Mr
Carmichael to deliver it with his own hands, which he accordingly did.
It still remains unanswered.

Your Excellency will be at no loss to perceive, that this was an
improper season for pushing on the treaty, and that it would not have
been prudent to have given poignancy to the Minister's feelings for
the loss of his frigates, and the trouble of our bills, by disputes
about the Mississippi, &c. &c. I therefore did not remind him of the
notes he had promised, nor indeed say anything at all about the

About this time I met with a printed copy of an act of the State of
Connecticut, reciting and adopting the resolutions of Congress of the
18th of March last, respecting the former and new paper emissions.
This was the first advice I had of those resolutions. The promise of
annual interest in Europe appeared to me to be a hardy measure,
though, in my opinion, the weakest side of the plan.

Finding the Minister's heart and imagination much attached to his
favorite idea of getting American frigates at the expense of the
United States, I gave him the following hint.

                                        "Madrid, June 28th, 1780.


    "I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency,
    herewith enclosed, a copy of an act of the State of
    Connecticut, just come to hand, in which are recited certain
    resolutions of Congress, passed the 18th of March last.

    "These resolutions are calculated to put the American
    finances on a permanent footing. They direct, among other
    things, that bills be issued, redeemable in specie, with
    interest, at the expiration of six years. The interest to be
    paid at the redemption of the bills, or at the election of
    the holder annually, at the American Loan Offices, in
    sterling bills of exchange on the commissioners in Europe.

    "Your Excellency will perceive, that when this plan, so well
    concerted, shall be fully executed, it will furnish the
    United States with resources equal to all the exigencies of
    the war, and probably enable them to supply his Catholic
    Majesty with vessels, &c, &c.

    "I take the liberty, therefore, of submitting to your
    Excellency's consideration, whether it would not be for the
    benefit of both nations, that his Majesty, on the one hand,
    should engage his responsibility for the credit of a certain
    proportion of the sum so to be emitted; and that the United
    States, on the other hand, should not only pledge their faith
    to indemnify his Majesty, but also furnish him with certain
    aids in vessels, &c.

    "If your Excellency should think this hint worthy of your
    attention, it will be easy to improve it, and adjust the

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

This letter was accompanied with the following one, on the subject of
some more bills that had just arrived.

    "Mr Jay presents his respectful compliments to his Excellency
    the Count de Florida Blanca, and has the honor of informing
    him, that he has been called upon to accept bills to the
    amount of between ten and eleven thousand dollars; that the
    far greater part of them belong to Messrs Joyce of this city,
    who have agreed to wait for an answer until Monday next.

    "Mr Jay exceedingly regrets his being obliged to give his
    Excellency so much trouble, but still flatters himself, that,
    when his Excellency considers it as his duty which imposes
    that necessity upon him, his goodness will excuse it.

                                      _Madrid, June 28th, 1780._"

I ought also to add, that I had sent to the Count a representation on
the subject of a very high handed stretch of power in the Governor of
Teneriffe, towards a prize carried there by some Americans. On the
next day I received the following answer to these three papers.


                                      "Aranjues, June 29th, 1780.

    "The Count de Florida Blanca has had the honor of the three
    last letters, which Mr Jay has been pleased to write him.

    "The first relates to a privateer detained in the Canaries.
    On this point he can say nothing until he has obtained some
    further information thereon.

    "The second respects some new bills of exchange just
    presented by Messrs Joyce, to the amount of between ten and
    eleven thousand dollars. The Count can give no positive
    answer hereon, without first taking the orders of the King,
    his master, and having a meeting with the other Ministers,
    and some of these having already gone to Madrid, a
    determination cannot be immediately had, which renders it
    necessary for Mr Jay to require Messrs Joyce to wait some
    days longer for the answer in question.

    "The third contains a project of an arrangement, by which his
    Majesty should oblige himself for his responsibility for
    certain sums in favor of Congress, and they, on their part,
    for the indemnification of the said sums at a certain period,
    by furnishing some vessels, &c. Mr Jay is therefore entreated
    to draw out a more clear and precise plan on this subject,
    noting therein the sum to which the responsibility of the
    King should extend, and on which they may converse at their
    first interview.

    "In the meanwhile the Count has the honor of assuring him of
    the sincerity of his esteem and attachment."

Congress will observe, that the Minister still kept up the idea of an
interference in favor of these bills. On the 3d of July, the Count
having removed to Madrid, he wrote me a note expressing the same idea.
It is in these words


    "The Count de Florida Blanca presents his compliments to Mr
    Jay, and prays to be informed when the last bills of
    exchange, which he mentioned the other day as being in the
    hands of Messrs Joyce, and amounting to about ten or eleven
    thousand dollars, will become payable. At the Palace, 3d of
    July, 1780."

Thus things were apparently in good train, when the news of the loss
of Charleston became credible. The effect of it was as visible the
next day, as that of a hard night's frost on young leaves.

I requested a conference with the Minister, and had one on the evening
of the 5th of July. The following are notes of it.

                                          Madrid, July 5th, 1780.

    Mr Jay waited on the Count de Florida Blanca agreeably to an
    appointment made by the latter to meet at his house at half
    past eight this evening.

    After the usual compliments, the bad news relative to the
    surrender of Charleston, just received, became the topic of
    conversation. The Count mentioned the channels through which
    he had received it, viz. by an express despatched by the
    Spanish Ambassador at Lisbon, in consequence of intelligence
    which Governor Johnson had received and published in that
    city, and by letters from the Count d'Aranda, with the
    accounts printed at London of the affair. He expressed his
    sorrow on the occasion, but observed, that the Count d'Aranda
    flattered him, that the arrival of the Chevalier de Ternay in
    that part of the world would totally change the face of
    affairs, particularly as there would be eight vessels of the
    line, and more than five thousand troops instead of three
    thousand, and three vessels of the line which he had been
    informed were demanded by General Washington.

    He seemed to think it strange, that the place had not been
    better defended, and that more vigorous measures had not
    been taken to impede the enemy's progress, and observed, that
    if the town was not in a condition to stand a siege, it would
    have been better to have withdrawn the troops and stores, and
    reserved them for the defence of the country. Mr Jay replied,
    that probably when all circumstances relative to this affair
    were known, there might be reasons which would account for
    the conduct of the Americans on this occasion; to the truth
    of which remark the Count appeared to assent. He then
    mentioned the death of M. Mirales, and regretted his loss at
    this time. He said, he had recommended to his Majesty a
    person to succeed him, whom we knew, that spoke English, whom
    he expected soon, and to whom he would explain his ideas on
    the subject of the bills, and on other matters, touching
    which Mr Jay had written to him, and who would confer also
    with Mr Jay on those subjects.

    Mr Jay mentioned, that if it was agreeable to his Excellency
    to permit M. Del Campo (a confidential secretary of the
    Count, who speaks English, and who translated all the letters
    to and from the Count) to be present, he should be able to
    explain his sentiments more fully and clearly. Though the
    Count did not object to this proposal, he appeared
    disinclined to it, and said, that with the assistance of Mr
    Carmichael, then present, they could understand each other
    very well.

    He then proceeded to speak of the bills of exchange in the
    possession of the Messrs Joyce, and seemed to be surprised
    that that House should be possessed of so many of them. He
    advised Mr Jay to be cautious of those gentlemen, saying,
    that they were as much English in their hearts as the
    Ministry of that country; that he had known them long, that
    he thought their conduct extraordinary in being so urgent
    for the acceptance of these bills. Mr Jay then informed his
    Excellency, that he had paid those gentlemen a visit in order
    to obtain further time, and that they had consented to wait
    until Monday next. The Count mentioned a fortnight or three
    weeks as necessary, in order that he might have an
    opportunity of seeing the person he had sent for, and making
    some arrangements with him. He said, that it would be more
    agreeable to his Majesty to pay those bills at Cadiz, Bilboa,
    or Amsterdam, than here; lamented the precipitancy with which
    Congress had entered into this measure, saying, that if they
    had previously addressed the King on the subject, ways and
    means might have been found, either to transport from their
    possessions in America specie for the service of Congress, or
    to have enabled them to have drawn bills of exchange at a
    shorter sight, which would have prevented the loss of one
    third of the money to which Congress had subjected
    themselves, by the terms on which the present bills were
    sold. Mr Jay assured his Excellency, that by letters he had
    received from America, from members of Congress and others,
    he was informed, that the terms were judged so unfavorable to
    the buyers, that the bills drawn on him sold heavily from
    that circumstance solely, and not from any doubt of their
    credit and payment.

    This did not, however, appear to convince his Excellency, who
    spoke much of the deranged state of our finances and credit;
    of the advantages taken of Congress by merchants and others,
    who availed themselves of that circumstance, which he called
    cruel extortions, frequently expressing the King's wishes and
    his own to render America all the service in their power in
    this crisis of their affairs; but observed, that it was
    impossible to obtain much money in Europe while France,
    England, and Spain, were making use of every resource to
    obtain it for the enormous expenses of the war, and while the
    channel through which the European merchants received
    supplies of specie was stopped, viz. the arrival of the usual
    quantity from America. This induced him to mention the
    arrival at Cadiz of three millions of piastres, all of which
    was on account of the merchants, and again to dwell on what
    he had before said of the possibility of transmitting specie
    to the States from the Spanish possessions abroad, and of the
    effect that this would have in re-establishing the credit of
    our money. Mr Jay observed in reply, that if a supply of
    specie could be sent to America, and his Excellency thought
    that measure more convenient and advisable than bills, the
    Congress would, in his opinion, readily suspend drawing, on
    receiving that information; to which the Count answered, that
    when the person he had sent for arrived, this matter might be
    further discussed.

    Mr Jay then proceeded to observe, that by papers which he had
    transmitted to his Excellency, he would see that Congress had
    adopted a system to redeem and destroy the former emissions,
    and to emit other bills to be paid in Europe with interest in
    a certain term of years, and in fully establishing this
    system, it would be probably in their power, not only to
    sustain the credit of their money, but to contribute, in some
    measure, to assist Spain in the way proposed by his
    Excellency, viz. in building of frigates, &c. &c. He added,
    that as his Majesty's treasure was detained in America, and
    as much expense would be incurred by the armaments employed
    by Spain there, that bills on the Havana in favor of the
    United States might be more convenient to Spain, and equally
    contribute to the end proposed. The Count did not seem to
    disapprove of the idea, but did not enlarge upon it. He asked
    Mr Jay, if America could not furnish Spain with masts and
    ship timber. Mr Jay replied, that those articles might be
    obtained there. The Count then said that he would defer
    further remarks on this head, till the arrival of the person
    whom he expected would succeed M. Mirales, and appeared
    desirous of leaving this subject, and, indeed, all other
    matters relative to American affairs to be discussed when he

    In the further course of conversation, he recurred to the
    subject of the bills in question, and told Mr Jay if an
    immediate acceptance of them was insisted on, that he might
    accept them payable at Bilboa, but rather seemed to wish that
    their acceptance might be delayed till the coming of the
    abovementioned person. Mr Jay expatiated on the impression,
    which the acceptance of these bills and every other mark of
    friendship would make in America at this particular crisis,
    and the Count, in a very feeling and warm manner, assured him
    that his desire to serve the States increased in consequence
    of their distresses. By his whole conversation he endeavored
    to show how much he interested himself in the prosperity of
    our affairs, more than once desiring Mr Jay not to be
    discouraged, for that with time and patience all would go
    well, expatiating on the King's character, his religious
    observation of, and adherence to his promises, and his own
    desire of having Mr Jay's entire confidence. Mr Jay seized
    this opportunity of assuring him of his full reliance on the
    King's justice and honor, and his particular and entire
    confidence in his Excellency, asserting to him that all his
    letters to Congress breathed these sentiments. The Count
    appeared much pleased with this declaration, and, seeming to
    speak without reserve, hinted his hopes that the combined
    fleets would soon be in condition to give the law to that of
    England in the seas of Europe, repeating that measures would
    be taken, on the arrival of the person expected, to provide
    for the payment of the bills of exchange, and that other
    arrangements would be made with the same person, which would
    contribute to relieve, as much as it was in his Majesty's
    power, the present distresses of America, of which he
    frequently spoke very feelingly in the course of this

    Mr Jay reminded his Excellency, in a delicate manner, of the
    supplies of clothing, &c. &c. which had been promised in a
    former conference, and said that if they could be sent in
    autumn, they would be essentially useful. The Count assured
    him that measures would be taken for this purpose, with the
    person so often hinted at in the course of the conference;
    that probably these goods would be embarked from Bilboa, as
    everything was so dear at Cadiz. He also once more told Mr
    Jay, that at all events he might accept the bills presented
    by Messrs Joyce, payable at Bilboa, though he appeared to
    wish that this measure might be delayed for a fortnight if
    possible. The conference ended with compliments and
    assurances on the one part and the other, the Count
    endeavoring to persuade Mr Jay of his Majesty's desire to
    assist the States, and Mr Jay assuring him of his reliance on
    his Excellency, and of the good effects which such proofs of
    his Majesty's friendship would have in America at the present

In this conference not a single nail would drive. Everything was to be
postponed till the arrival of the person intended to succeed M.

On the 11th of July I wrote the Count the following note.

    "Mr Jay presents his respectful compliments to his Excellency
    the Count de Florida Blanca, and has the honor of informing
    him, that Don Carlos Maria Maraci of this place has presented
    to him, for acceptance, bills amounting in the whole to one
    thousand six hundred and sixtyfive dollars. The Messrs Joyce
    consent to having their bills payable at Bilboa, but have
    acquainted Mr Jay that the name of the House there, by whom
    they are to be paid, should accompany the acceptance of the
    bills, it being necessary to their further negotiation.

        "_Madrid, July 11th, 1780._"

To this note the following answer was returned.


    "In answer to the note the Count de Florida Blanca has just
    received from Mr Jay, dated yesterday, he has the honor to
    acquaint him, that he intends writing to Bilboa on the
    subject of the bills in the hands of Messrs Joyce, and which
    are to be accepted, so that it will be necessary to wait some
    days to fix the House at which the acceptance will be made.

    "As to the bills presented by Don Carlos Maraci to the value
    of one thousand six hundred and sixtyfive dollars, the Count
    recommends to Mr Jay to request, in like manner, a delay of
    fifteen days for their acceptance, this time being necessary,
    that the Count may have an interview with a person not at
    present in Madrid.

        "_At the Palace, July 12th, 1780._"

I was obliged to wait with patience, and endeavor to keep the holders
of the bills from returning them, noted for non-acceptance. The Count
went to St Ildefonso; the time limited for the arrival of the person
expected having expired, I wrote the Count three notes on the subject
of the bills, and in one requested his permission for Mr Harrison of
Maryland to remain at Cadiz, from whence he was threatened to be
removed in pursuance of the King's ordinance against Irishmen. To
these I received the following answer, dated the 29th of July.


    "The Count de Florida Blanca presents his compliments to Mr
    Jay, and acquaints him that he has duly received his three
    last letters.

    "For the satisfaction of Mr Jay, orders shall be given for Mr
    Harrison to remain at Cadiz, the general regulations
    established by the King notwithstanding.

    "On the subject of the acceptance of the bills of exchange,
    the Count can only say that he still waits for the person in
    question, who has informed him that he was on the point of
    setting out on his journey.

    "He is moreover very sensible of the attention in
    communicating to him the last advices received respecting the
    affair of Charleston, and persuades himself that Mr Jay will
    always observe the same complaisance.

        "_Saturday, July 29th._"

I immediately wrote him a letter of thanks for his civility to Mr
Harrison, and nothing further passed between us till the 11th of
August, when I sent him the following note.

    "Mr Jay presents his respectful compliments to his Excellency
    the Count de Florida Blanca, and has the honor of informing
    him, that since the date of his last, bills to the amount of
    six thousand and six hundred dollars have been presented to
    him for acceptance. Mr Jay has prevailed on the holders of
    these bills to wait six or eight days for his answer, on a
    promise that the time for their payment, if accepted, shall
    be computed from the day on which they were presented.

        "_Madrid, August 11th, 1780._"

To this was written the following answer.


    "The Count de Florida Blanca has just received Mr Jay's note
    of yesterday, on the subject of the new bills, which have
    been presented to him. He is mortified not to be able to
    return a positive answer today, respecting the acceptance of
    said bills, and must repeat, that he still waits for the
    person of whom mention has been made in preceding notes.

        "_St Ildefonso, August 12th, 1780._"

Mrs Jay's illness, and the death of a child, detaining me at Madrid, I
requested the Count to give me notice when it would be necessary I
should wait upon him, and in the mean time Mr Carmichael went to St

Congress will be pleased to remember, that in the conference of July
5th, the Minister, speaking of the person intended to succeed M.
Mirales, said that he spoke English, and that we knew him. I supposed,
that he alluded to one of the Gardoquis, three of whom speak English,
and I was well acquainted with one of them. But as another of them had
been heretofore employed by the Court, it appeared most probable that
he was the person meant. They are brothers and have a strong family

On the 10th, Mr Carmichael wrote me, that he had seen the Count, and
was informed by him, that the person so long expected had not yet
arrived, and when he did he would give notice of it. On the 12th he
wrote me that a person had arrived, whom he suspected to be the one so
long expected. It seems that a person much resembling the Gardoqui
family had arrived at the same inn where Mr Carmichael lodged, and was
seen by him.

The holders of the bills becoming extremely uneasy, I wrote the Count
the following reply to his last note.

                                      "Madrid, August 16th, 1780.


    "The letter, which your Excellency did me the honor to write
    on the 12th instant, was delivered to me yesterday.

    "The kind concern you are pleased to express for the delay,
    which suspends my receiving a positive answer respecting the
    bills, demands my acknowledgments, and is an additional proof
    of that generous sensibility, which induced your Excellency
    to tell me, that your friendship for America should rise with
    her distresses. A sentiment so evincive of magnanimity will
    be received by Congress with all the admiration and gratitude
    it merits, and will not cease to inspire me with that
    confidence in your Excellency, which greatness of mind seldom
    fails to excite.

    "I ought to mention, that the holders of the bills here begin
    to grow impatient, and frequently repeat their applications
    to me for acceptance.

    "With sentiments of great respect and regard, I have the
    honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

No answer.

The next day I received a card from the house of Joyce, informing me
of their having received peremptory orders to return their bills, and
that they could not delay it longer than the next post. Of this I sent
a copy to the Count without any observations.

No answer.

On the 18th of August, I wrote the Count the following letter.

                                      "Madrid, August 18th, 1780.


    "I never find myself more disagreeably circumstanced, than
    when my duty constrains me to be troublesome to those, whom I
    wish to afford only pleasure and satisfaction. Such is my
    present situation. Monday next I perceive is to be a critical
    day. Other bills besides Messrs Joyce are then to be

    "M. Gardoqui of Bilboa writes me, that he has received bills
    on me for thirteen thousand three hundred and thirtyfive
    dollars, with orders immediately to ship the amount in goods
    to America. They will be presented tomorrow, and he expects
    an answer by Monday's post. If an immediate acceptance or
    refusal should be insisted on by any one of them, a protest
    must ensue, and American credit be reduced to the lowest ebb.
    What am I to do? If your Excellency should direct me to
    accept these bills payable at Bilboa, they will, as before,
    demand at what House they are to be paid.

    "I must entreat your Excellency to relieve me and my country
    from this painful situation, and to pardon the trouble I am
    obliged to give you.

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

                                                       JOHN JAY."

    "_P. S._ The enclosed contains intelligence from America."

No answer.

Having first visited the holders of the bills, and obtained further
time till Monday next, on the 24th I set out for St Ildefonso. I
arrived the next day, and wrote the Count the following letter.

                                "St Ildefonso, August 25th, 1780.


    "I arrived here this morning, but was prevented from
    immediately doing myself the honor of paying my respects to
    your Excellency, by fatigue and indisposition.

    "In a letter I had the honor of writing to your Excellency on
    the 16th instant, I mentioned, that the holders of the bills
    began to grow impatient. On the 18th instant, I informed your
    Excellency by another letter, that their applications to me
    for acceptance had become so pressing, as that I found myself
    under the necessity of again requesting your directions.

    "I have accepted Messrs Joyce's bills payable at Bilboa,
    agreeable to your Excellency's directions on the 5th of July
    last, and they have agreed to wait some time for the name of
    the House there, which may be employed to pay them. The other
    gentlemen were induced to delay requiring of me a decisive
    answer until Monday next, on my assurances, that they should
    then receive one.

    "The inducements and reasons, which urged Congress into this
    measure, are known to your Excellency, and it would be no
    less unnecessary than improper to recapitulate the
    consequences, which must ensue from the success or failure of

    "I fear your Excellency thinks I am too solicitous, too
    importunate. But when it is considered, that the holders of
    these bills are not under my control, and that they require
    an answer from me, I flatter myself that the trouble I give
    your Excellency on this subject will appear to arise from a
    sense of my duty, and not from the impulse of impatience.

    "I sincerely congratulate your Excellency on the late
    important naval success against the common enemy, and have
    the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

No Answer.

The next morning I went to pay my respects to the Minister, but being
told he was sick, I left a card. The French Ambassador, however, and
others, had been with him in the morning, and he rode out as usual in
the afternoon.

Mr Carmichael informed me, that in passing by a wicket-gate of the
King's private gardens, he had seen the person, whom he had before
seen at the inn, walking in them, and that his servant had learned
from a barber of his acquaintance, that he dressed a gentleman who
spoke English, and lodged at M. Del Campo's. He also informed me, that
the French Ambassador had lately received a letter from Count de la
Luzerne, dated the 12th of May; that he was present when it was
opened, that it was in cypher, and that the Ambassador said, he
supposed he was impatient to hear the news; that he afterwards
expressed a desire to see this letter, and that the Ambassador
referred him for it to the Secretary; that the Secretary gave him some
important papers, adding, that he had _mislaid_ the letter. Hence it
seems, as if the Ambassador intended at first to communicate the
letter, but that its contents on being decyphered forbad it.

It appeared to me proper to mention my embarrassments to the French
Ambassador, who had always been friendly, and ask his advice and aid
on the subject. The next day I had a conference with him, and the
following are notes of it.

                                 St Ildefonso, August 27th, 1780.

    Mr Jay waited on the Count de Montmorin this morning at nine
    o'clock, agreeably to appointment the day before. The former
    commenced the conversation by observing, that in his first
    conferences with the Minister of Spain, at Aranjues, the
    Minister divided the subject into two parts, and spoke
    largely on that of the bills drawn on Mr Jay, and on the
    treaty proposed to be entered into between Spain and America.
    Mr Jay recapitulated the Minister's assurances relative to
    the former, and informed the Ambassador, that the result of
    this conference was a promise of the Minister to send him
    written notes on _both_ points, a few days afterwards. That
    with respect to the notes relative to the treaty, Mr Jay had
    not received them as yet. That on the other point, he had
    received notes, which, as well as his answer, he had shown to
    the Ambassador. That on the 5th of July he had another
    conference with the Minister at Madrid, in which he had
    endeavored to turn the conversation to the several objects of
    his business and mission here, but that the Minister
    postponed the discussion of them, until a person for whom he
    had sent, with a view to succeed M. Mirales, should arrive,
    when all the necessary arrangements should be made. He indeed
    told Mr Jay, that if the Messrs Joyce were pressing, he might
    accept their bills, payable at Bilboa, and throughout the
    whole conference, had given Mr Jay warm and repeated
    assurances, not only of the King's good faith and friendly
    disposition towards America, but of his own personal
    attachment to her interest, on both of which, as well as in
    his candor and promises, he desired him to place the greatest

    Mr Jay proceeded further to inform the Ambassador, that being
    exceedingly pressed by Messrs Joyce and others, holders of
    the bills, for a decisive answer, which they had required to
    have on the Monday last past, he had signified the same to
    the Minister by three letters, requesting his directions, to
    none of which he received any answers. That he had accepted
    Messrs Joyce's bills, payable, as directed, by the Minister,
    and had prevailed on the other to wait until Monday next.
    That on his arrival here on Friday he wrote another letter to
    the Minister on the same subject, and the next day called at
    his house to pay his respects, but not being able to see him
    had left a card; that being thus circumstanced he was under
    the necessity of requesting the favor of him to speak to the
    Count, and obtain an answer from him.

    The Ambassador told Mr Jay, that he ought to ask an audience
    of the Minister. To this Mr Jay replied, that he could not
    hope to have an answer to this request, as he had not been
    able to procure one to the different applications he had
    already made. The Ambassador said, that he would willingly
    speak to the Minister, but that he feared he should not be
    able to enter fully into the subject with him until
    Wednesday, both the Minister and himself having their time
    employed on objects, which at present and for some time past,
    had engrossed much of their attention. He then asked Mr Jay
    if he had written to Congress to stop drawing bills on him.
    Mr Jay replied, that he could not with propriety give such
    information to Congress, after the general and repeated
    assurances made him by the Count de Florida Blanca ever since
    his arrival here, and particularly the Minister's
    declaration, that he should be able to furnish him with
    thirty or forty thousand pounds sterling, at the end of the
    present or commencement of the next year, and that in the
    meantime, other arrangements might be taken to pay such bills
    as might become due after that period. He added, that if the
    Count had candidly told him that he could not furnish him
    with money to pay the bills, he should then immediately have
    informed Congress of it, who would have taken of course the
    proper measures on the occasion, but that should he now send
    a true account of all that had passed between the Count de
    Florida Blanca and himself thereon, he could not answer for
    the disagreeable effects such intelligence would produce. The
    Count seemed to think the Spanish Minister would pay the
    bills that had been already presented, and had probably
    delayed giving Mr Jay an answer until the arrival of the
    person he expected, who he understood was detained by the
    necessity of making some arrangements in his family before he
    left it.

    On this Mr Jay remarked, that this did not accord with the
    information the Minister had given him near three weeks
    before, that the said person was then about to set out.

    The conference ended with a promise of the Count de
    Montmorin, that he would endeavor to speak to the Count de
    Florida Blanca on the subject, but that he was afraid he
    should not be able to do it fully until Wednesday next.

Finding that the Ambassador could not do anything till Wednesday next,
and that the Minister's determined silence left no room to hope much
from him very soon, I despatched letters by express to the holders of
the bills, and requested a little more time. I was apprehensive that
if I should accept them without the Minister's consent, it might
become an objection to his providing for their payment, and
appearances led me to suspect, that any tolerable excuse for such
refusal would have been very grateful.

The French Ambassador did not, as usual, return my visit. I dined with
him, nevertheless; but his behavior, though polite, was dry, and not
cordial and open as before. He mentioned not a syllable of his having
received a letter from Philadelphia. These circumstances increased my
apprehensions that his letter contained some things unpleasant.

On Wednesday afternoon, 30th of August, I waited on the Ambassador, to
know the result of the conversation he had promised to have with the
Minister on our affairs. He did not appear very glad to see me. I
asked him whether he had seen the Minister, and conversed with him on
our affairs. He said he had seen the Minister, but that as Count
d'Estaing was present, he had only some general and cursory
conversation with him, and slipping away from that topic, went on to
observe, that I would do well to write another letter to the Minister,
mentioning the number of letters I had already written, my arrival
here, and my desire of a conference with him. I told the Ambassador,
that while four letters on the subject remained unanswered, it could
not be necessary to write a fifth. That these letters had been written
with great politeness and circumspection; that the last was written
the day of my arrival at St Ildefonso; that I had also gone to the
Minister's house, to pay my respects to him, and on being told he was
sick, had left a card; and that, notwithstanding these marks of
attention and respect, I still continued unanswered and unnoticed. I
observed to him further, that this conduct accorded ill with the
Minister's assurances; that unless I had met with more tenderness from
the holders of the bills, they would have been returned noted for
non-acceptance; that if such an event should at last take place, after
the repeated promises and declarations of the Minister, there would of
necessity be an end to the confidence of America in the Court of

He replied, that he hoped things would take a more favorable turn;
that to his knowledge the Minister had been of late much occupied and
perplexed with business; that I ought not to be affected with the
inattention of his conduct; that I should continue to conduct the
business smoothly, having always in view the importance of Spain, and
remembering that we were as yet only rising States, not firmly
established, or generally acknowledged, &c. and that he would by all
means advise me to write the Minister another letter, _praying_ an

I answered, that the object of my coming to Spain was to make
_propositions_, not _supplications_, and that I should forbear
troubling the Minister with further letters, till he should be more
disposed to attend to them. That I considered America as being, and to
continue independent in _fact_, and that her becoming so in _name_ was
of no further importance than as it concerned the common cause, in the
success of which all the parties were interested; and that I did not
imagine Congress would agree to purchase from Spain the acknowledgment
of an undeniable fact at the price she demanded for it; that I
intended to abide patiently the fate of the bills, and should transmit
to Congress an account of all matters relative to them; that I should
then write the Minister another letter on the subject of the treaty,
and if that should be treated with like neglect, or if I should be
informed that his Catholic Majesty declined going into that measure, I
should then consider my business at an end, and proceed to take the
necessary measures for returning to America; that I knew my
constituents were sincerely desirous of a treaty with Spain, and that
their respect for the House of Bourbon, the desire of France signified
in the Secret Article, and the favorable opinion they had imbibed of
the Spanish nation, were the strongest inducements they had to wish
it; that the policy of multiplying treaties with European nations was
with me questionable, and might be so with others; that, for my own
part, I was inclined to think it the interest of America to rest
content with the treaty with France, and, by avoiding alliances with
other nations, remain free from the influence of their disputes and
politics; that the situation of the United States, in my opinion,
dictated this policy; that I knew it to be their interest, and of
course their disposition, to be at peace with all the world; and that
I knew too it would be in their power, and I hoped in their
inclination, always to defend themselves.

The Ambassador was at a stand; after a little pause, he said, he hoped
my mission would have a more agreeable issue. He asked me if I was
content with the conduct of France. I answered, most certainly; for
that she was spending her blood as well as treasure for us. This
answer was too general for him. He renewed the question, by asking
whether I was content with the conduct of France relative to our
proposed treaty with Spain. I answered, that, as far as it had come to
my knowledge, I was. This required an explanation, and I gave it to
him, by observing, that, by the Secret Article, Spain was at liberty
to accede to our treaty with France whenever she pleased, and with
such alterations as both parties might agree to; that Congress had
appointed me to propose this accession now, and had authorised me to
enter into the necessary discussions and arguments; that, to give
their application the better prospect of success, they had directed me
to request the favorable interposition of the King of France with the
King of Spain; that I had done it by letter to Count de Vergennes,
who, in answer, had assured me of the King's disposition to comply
with the request of Congress; and informed me that instructions
analogous to this disposition should be given to the Ambassador at
Madrid; that it gave me pleasure to acknowledge that his conduct
towards me had always been polite and friendly, but that I still
remained ignorant whether any, and what progress had been made in the
mediation. He seemed not to have expected this; but observed, that all
he could do was to be ready to do me any friendly office in his power,
for that he did not see how his _mediation_ could be proper, except in
cases where points of the treaty were discussed, and could not be
agreed upon. To this I replied, that these were only _secondary_
objects of the expected mediation, and that the _primary_ one was to
prevail upon the King of Spain to commence the negotiation, and enter
upon these discussions; but that I remained uninformed of what he
might have done on that subject. The Ambassador made no direct reply
to these remarks, but again proceeded to repeat his advice, that I
should try one more letter to the Minister. I told him I had, after
much consideration, made up my mind on that subject, and that it
appeared to me inexpedient to follow his advice in this instance; and
that when he should see the letters I had already written, he would
probably be of the same opinion. I promised to show him the letters
the next day, and took my leave. How far the tone of this conversation
may be judged to have been prudent, I know not. It was not assumed,
however, but after previous and mature deliberation. I reflected that
we had lost Charleston, that reports ran hard against us, and
therefore that this was no time to clothe one's self with humility.

On considering the earnestness with which the Ambassador had pressed
me to write another letter to the Minister, I began to suspect that it
might be the wish of the latter, who, conscious of having gone rather
too far, might desire this way to retreat through. I concluded,
therefore, to adhere to my resolution of not writing, but that if the
Ambassador should confirm my suspicions by again pressing the measure,
in that case to consent to send Mr Carmichael to the Minister with my
compliments, and a request that he would favor me with a conference at
such time as might be most convenient to him.

The next day, Thursday, the 31st of August, I visited the French
Ambassador, and showed him the four last letters I had written to the
Minister. He confessed they were perfectly unexceptionable, but again
advised me to write another; I told him, I could not think of it, but
that I would so far follow his advice, as to send Mr Carmichael to
request of the Minister the favor of a conference. The Ambassador
expressed much satisfaction at this proposal, and immediately
promised to speak to the Minister on the subject. He advised, however,
that I should delay the measure till Saturday, on account of some
urgent business which then employed the Minister. To this I agreed. I
hinted to him, that the person expected to succeed Mr Mirales was in
town. He said he did not know, and waived the subject. I thought if
that was really the case, it could do no harm that the Minister should
know I suspected it. In the afternoon, the Ambassador's secretary paid
me a visit, and seemed desirous of entering into particular
conversation on the subject of our affairs, but as I did not approve
of talking with the Ambassador through his secretary, I avoided it, by
turning the conversation to light and general topics. He asked me
several leading questions, and among others, whether there was a _M.
Gardoqui_ in town. I told him many persons came and departed that I
was ignorant of, and passed on to another subject. Two persons about
the Court mentioned to Mr Carmichael this evening, that this person
was arrived.

On Saturday morning, the 2d of September, I committed my message for
the Minister to Mr Carmichael, with directions, first to call on the
French Ambassador, and ask him whether anything new had occurred to
render the delivery of it improper. He told Mr Carmichael, he had
mentioned to the Minister my desire of seeing him that day, but that
the Minister said, he was so much occupied that it would be
impossible. He, nevertheless, told Mr Carmichael _he might go and
see_. This being mentioned to me, I told Mr Carmichael to go on.

After being long detained in the ante-chamber, he had an opportunity
of delivering his message, and received for answer, that the Minister
could not possibly see me till the next Tuesday evening, and that Mr
Carmichael should call again on Tuesday morning, to be informed
whether it would be in his power to see me _then_; that the person so
long expected was arrived; that he had been preparing instructions for
him, and would endeavor in the meantime to send him to converse with

On Sunday, the 3d of September, Don Diego Gardoqui, of Bilboa,
presented me a note from the Count de Florida Blanca, in these words.


    "The Count de Florida Blanca presents his compliments to Mr
    Jay, and recommends to him to form an acquaintance with the
    bearer of this letter, being the person in question, whom he
    had expected from day to day."

It is observable, that M. Gardoqui's name is not mentioned in this
letter, which appears the more singular, as the Count had never
mentioned to me the _name_ of the _person expected_. This was being
very wary. Mr Carmichael told me, he took this to be the same person
whom he saw first at the inn, and afterwards walking in the private

Hence it appears, that these strange delays were not unavoidable.
Probably, the desire of further intelligence of the enemy's operations
in America, and the undecided state of Mr Cumberland's negotiation,
might have given occasion to them. To these may perhaps be added an
expectation that our distresses would render us more pliant, and less
attached to the Mississippi. But these are conjectures, and as men
sometimes act without any settled system, it may not be prudent to
scan their conduct by a supposed plan, however probable.

M. Gardoqui began the conversation by assurances of his personal
attachment to our cause and country, which gave occasion to mutual and
complimentary professions too unimportant to repeat. I told him, that
the holders of the bills, after having shown me great forbearance and
delicacy, were at length perfectly tired; that the house of Casa Mayor
had sent their bills after me, but that as I was not to expect the
honor of a conference with the Minister until Tuesday evening, at
soonest, I had requested time till Wednesday to give my answer. I
therefore begged the favor of him to mention this to the Minister, and
obtain his directions what I should do. He asked to what amount
Congress had resolved to draw. I told him. He observed, that the Court
ought previously to have been applied to. In answer to which, I
recapitulated the reasons before given to the Minister. He dwelt
largely on the necessities of the State, and I expatiated on the
extensive ideas entertained of Spanish opulence in America. He assured
me they were mistaken, and spoke of the difficulties occasioned by the
detention of their treasures abroad. He then remarked, that we offered
no _consideration_ for the money we solicited. I replied, that we
offered the same consideration that other nations did who borrowed
money, viz. the repayment of the principal with interest. He asked me
if we had nothing further to offer, and mentioned ship timber. I said
we had ship timber, but that as it belonged to individuals, the public
could not get it otherwise than by purchase, and that it could answer
no purpose to borrow money with one hand and instantly repay it with
the other, for that a repayment in money, or in ship timber, was the
same thing in fact, and differed only in name. Besides, that if Spain
wanted timber from America, it would be better in case he went there,
that he should be charged with that business, than that it should be
under the direction of Congress, for that public works were always
more expensive than private. He agreed in this. He again asked me
whether I could think of nothing else to offer. I told him no. Whether
there was nothing on the side of the Mississippi that I could offer. I
told him nothing that I could think of except land, and that I did not
think it would be worth the King's while to buy a hundred thousand
pounds worth of land there, considering the immense territories he
already possessed. He inquired whether I thought Congress would draw
for the whole sum. I answered that it was in my opinion not
improbable, for that they would consider the acceptance of ten or
twelve thousand dollars as a prelude to further aids, naturally
supposing, that if the King afforded us any supplies at all, they
would be such as would correspond with his dignity, and not be limited
to that little pittance. He desired me to meet him the next day at M.
Del Campo's, which I promised to do.

I shortly after saw the French Ambassador, who among other things
mentioned the proposed meeting at Del Campo's, which, with various
other circumstances, shows his being on confidential terms with the

In the evening M. Gardoqui again paid me a visit, and pointedly
proposed my offering the navigation of the Mississippi, as a
consideration for aids. I told him that object could not come in
question in a treaty for a loan of one hundred thousand pounds, and
Spain should consider, that to render alliances permanent, they should
be so formed as to render it the interest of both parties to observe
them; that the Americans, almost to a man, believed that God Almighty
had made that river a highway for the people of the upper country to
go to the sea by; that this country was extensive and fertile; that
the General, many officers, and others of distinction and influence in
America, were deeply interested in it; that it would rapidly settle,
and that the inhabitants would not readily be convinced of the justice
of being obliged, either to live without foreign commodities, and lose
the surplus of their productions, or be obliged to transport both over
rugged mountains, and through an immense wilderness, to and from the
sea, when they daily saw a fine river flowing before their doors, and
offering to save them all that trouble and expense, and that without
injury to Spain. He observed, that the present generation would not
want this navigation, and that we should leave future ones to manage
their own affairs, &c.

The next day, that is, the 4th of September, I met M. Gardoqui at M.
Del Campo's. After some unconnected conversation, I observed to M. Del
Campo, that as all the papers between the Minister and myself had
passed through his hands, it was unnecessary to give him any
information, except what related to the present state of the bills
drawn upon me, which I proceeded to state in a short, but particular
manner. He replied by making several strictures on the impropriety of
drawing bills without previous notice and consent. He remarked, that
they might with more propriety have been drawn on France, with whom we
were allied, and who were richer than they; that the King must first
take care of his own people, before he could supply us; that Spain had
been brought into the war by our quarrel, but received no advantage
from us; that they had been told of our readiness to assist in taking
Pensacola, &c. but instead of aids, he had heard of nothing but
demands from us; that our situation was represented as being
deplorable, and that the enemy talked of the submission of some of the
States, and of negotiations being on foot for that purpose.

Whether this style proceeded from natural arrogance, or was intended
to affect my temper, I cannot say; in either case, I thought it most
prudent to take no notice of it, but proceed calmly and cautiously,
and the more so as this was the first time I had ever conversed with
this man. I told him in substance, though more at large, that the
assurances given Congress of the friendly disposition of Spain by M.
Mirales and others had been confided in, and had induced Congress to
expect the aids in question. That if this application could be called
a demand, it was still the first they had made to my knowledge; that
men in arms against the enemies of Spain were serving her as well as
themselves, and therefore might without impropriety request her aid;
that our separation from Britain was an object important to Spain, and
that the success, with which we had opposed her whole force for six
years, showed what the power of both, if under one direction, might be
capable of; that I knew nothing of Spain's having been drawn into the
war by or for us, and that this was not to be found among the reasons
she had alleged for it; that an attack on Pensacola could not be
expected to be made by troops actually employed in repelling the
enemy's assaults from their own doors, and that the principles of
self-defence would not permit or justify it; that Spain had much to
expect in future from our commerce, and that we should be able as well
as willing to pay our debts; that the tales told of our despondency
and submission resulted from the policy of the enemy, not from fact,
and I believed no more of their private negotiations between America
and Britain, than I did of there being private negotiations between
Spain and Britain for a separate peace, which the Minister assured me
was not the case; that if on the arrival of the bills, I had been told
plainly that no money could be advanced, further drafts would soon
have been prevented; but that a contrary conduct having been adopted,
other expectations had been excited; that as to France, she had done,
and was still doing much for us, and that her being our ally did not
confer propriety upon every request that we could make to her. He
still pressed this point, and complained that the greater part of the
money heretofore advanced by Spain had been laid out in France. He saw
that France was deriving great commercial advantages from us, but that
our commerce never would be an object with Spain, because all her
productions would find a better market in her own Colonies. He desired
a note of the bills which had arrived, and then made some reflections
on the proposal of a treaty. We agreed perfectly well, that mutual
interest should be the basis of it, and I added, that the good opinion
entertained of the King and nation by America, was also a pleasing
circumstance. He said, however that might be, America did not seem
inclined to gratify Spain, in the only point in which she was deeply
interested. Here followed much common-place reasoning about the
navigation of the Mississippi, of which your Excellency has heretofore
heard too much to require a repetition. He spoke also much of the
difficulties of Spain, as to money matters, saying that their
treasures in America could at present be of no use to them, as they
had given orders that none should be sent home during the war, even if
it continued these ten years; and this was done in order, by stopping
the usual current of specie into Europe, to embarrass the measures
which Britain must take to obtain her necessary supplies.

On the 6th of September, M. Gardoqui brought me word, that I might
accept the bills of Casa Mayor, amounting to one thousand one hundred
and ten dollars, which I accordingly did. The proposed conference was
postponed, nor indeed was it obtained until the 23d of September.

On the 11th, the French Ambassador's Secretary called upon me, by the
Ambassador's direction, to inform me, that an express was going to
Paris, and to know whether anything further had been done in our
affairs since he had seen me. I told him things continued in the same
situation. He again commenced a conversation on the subject, and as he
came directly from the Ambassador I entered into it. He expressed some
concern for the delays I met with. I told him such things must be
expected. He said he hoped I was content with France. I replied, that I
apprehended France considered an interference in our negotiations, as
a delicate matter, for that as she had probably held up the exclusive
navigation of the Mississippi, and Gulf of Mexico, among other objects
to induce Spain to take a part in the war, she might hesitate about
pressing Spain into a treaty with us on terms, that would not
comprehend this object. He said M. Gerard had reasoned well about
those matters, but that he did not believe France would be backward,
nor indeed that she had promised this to Spain to bring her into the
war. I told him, I should not be surprised to find, that the delay
arose from a desire of hearing further news from America, and probably
from Philadelphia. He said, that could not be the case, for since M.
Mirales's death, Spain had no person there to give them intelligence.
I told him that Spain might be waiting the issue of new motions
respecting the Mississippi in Congress, and that I was sure Count de
la Luzerne would readily be at the trouble of communicating to them
any interesting information on _that_ or any other subject. Whether he
drew any conclusions from the manner in which this was said, I cannot
say, but in a way that looked like exculpating that Minister, he told
me, that Count de la Luzerne had only mentioned to the French
Ambassador, that two Members of Congress, with whom he had talked over
the affair of the Mississippi, thought it would be best not to bring
on the question of the navigation until Spain should become possessed
of the adjacent country, for that then it might be ceded with a better
grace. He mentioned no names. This explains the letter herein before
mentioned. The inferences which flow from it are obvious. I incline to
suspect, that what I said in my letters on that head returned here by
the same conveyance.

On the 13th of September, M. Gardoqui delivered me the following
verbal message from Count de Florida Blanca. "That the exigencies of
the State would not permit his Majesty to provide for the payment of
more of the bills drawn upon me than had been already accepted." I
expressed my regret that this had not been told me at first, and told
him it appeared a little extraordinary that the Minister should employ
himself and me three months in making and answering propositions
relative to a loan which it was not in his power to make. I touched
also on the assurances from time to time given me, and intimated, that
something, which I could not at present see through, must have caused
this change; that I lamented it the more, as it would weaken the
foundations on which I wished to see a cordial union laid between the
two countries.

I dined with the French Ambassador. He was a little out of spirits,
and on talking to him on what had happened, I told him there was
nothing now left but for me to apply to France. He encouraged the
idea, and agreed with me, that the bills ought to be by all means
saved from protests. He imputed the conduct of Spain to resentment
against M. Necker, for opposing a certain scheme of Spanish finance,
which he thought interfered with his plan. It is a curious one, but I
shall omit it at present, as I fear Congress already wish this letter
at an end. As the Count de Florida Blanca's message to me by M.
Gardoqui was a verbal one, and might hereafter be denied or explained
away as convenience might dictate, I thought it important to establish
it, and for that and other reasons which need no explanation, I wrote
the Count the following letter.

                            "St Ildefonso, September 14th, 1780.


    "The information I received yesterday from your Excellency by
    M. Gardoqui, has drawn the affair of the bills of exchange to
    a conclusion. He told me, that the exigencies of the State
    would not permit his Majesty to provide for the payment of
    more of those bills than were already accepted, amounting to
    about fourteen thousand dollars.

    "As it is important that every nation at war should know
    exactly the state of their resources, and as America has been
    induced to consider the friendship of his Catholic Majesty
    as among the number of hers, I must request the favor of your
    Excellency to tell me frankly whether the United States may
    expect any, and what aids from Spain. The general assurances
    of amity, which that country has received from this, together
    with what has passed between your Excellency and myself
    relative to clothing for our troops, and supplies of specie
    in America, will I hope be considered as authorising this
    question; and the more so, as M. Gardoqui, to whose arrival
    your Excellency postponed the discussion of these matters,
    informs me he is not instructed to say anything to me on
    these, or indeed any other subjects.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

On this day some glorious reports from America arrived. It seemed as
if she had risen like a giant refreshed with sleep, and was doing
wonders. I sent the news to the Count as usual, without appearing to
be affected by his late conduct. I began again to be seen, and in a
few instances to be known.

The next day, the 15th of September, M. Gardoqui delivered to me a
paper by way of answer to my letter of yesterday to the Minister. It
is in these words;

    "The following answer has been dictated to me in his
    Excellency's name by Don Bernardo del Campo, to be delivered
    to the honorable John Jay.

    "That it is not his Majesty's intention to stop assisting the
    States, whenever means can be found to do it, but that it
    will be impossible to supply them with money in Europe, there
    being none to spare, for that which ought to have come this
    year from America, has neither come, nor is it known when it
    will, and that which would have facilitated a far advanced
    negotiation is likely to produce no effect, in a great
    measure, _through the undermining of some persons of rank in

    "The States not giving timely advice, nor having taken his
    Majesty's previous consent, he could not arrange his affairs
    beforehand, in order to assure the acceptance and payment of
    the bills they have drawn, for which reasons, and that
    Congress has not to this day given any tokens of a
    recompense, his Majesty might have just cause of disgust, but
    notwithstanding he does not, nor will change his ideas, and
    will always retain those of humanity, friendship, and
    compassion, that he has had towards the colonies. That,
    consequently, if Mr Jay or his constituents should find money
    upon credit, to the sum of one hundred or one hundred and
    fifty thousand dollars, that his Majesty will be answerable
    for the said sum, payable in the space of three years; that
    his Majesty will besides exert all that is possible to assist
    them with clothing and other things, and, finally, in order
    that his Majesty may extend his further dispositions, it is
    precisely necessary that they should give sure and effective
    tokens of a good correspondence, proposing reciprocal
    measures of a compensation that may establish a solid
    friendship and confidence, without reducing it to words and
    protests of mere compliment.

    "This being the substance, I would further suggest to Mr
    Jay's consideration, that the continuance of assisting the
    States by answering the sum expressed in a manner much more
    public than that of paying the money privately, shows plainly
    the sincerity of his Majesty, although the States have not to
    this day proposed any equivalent to the assistance already
    given, and to the expenses occasioned by a war, which had its
    true origin from them, to all which must be added, (though
    by the way no credit is given to it,) that there are hints of
    some understanding between the colonies and England.

        "_St Ildefonso, September 15th, 1780._

                                                 JAMES GARDOQUI."

It is to be observed, that this paper when first delivered was not
signed, and suspecting that this omission might not be accidental, I
mentioned it to M. Gardoqui a day or two afterwards. After some
hesitation, and doubts of its being necessary, he signed it. I made no
remarks at all to M. Gardoqui on any part of this paper except the
last article, which I treated with great indignation.

On the 16th I wrote a short letter and many copies to your Excellency,
informing you of the necessity of suspending further drafts upon me
for the present.

Three days afterwards, I had a long and satisfactory conversation with
the French Ambassador, in which he was very unreserved, candid, and
confidential. He read to me part of a letter he intended to send to
Count de Vergennes on our affairs, and justice calls upon me to say,
that we are obliged to him for it.

On the 22d of September, I sent the following letter to Count de
Vergennes by one of the Ambassador's couriers.

                              "St Ildefonso, September 22d, 1780.


    "I have never taken up my pen with so much reluctance as I
    now do, although my design is to write a letter to your
    Excellency. But, Sir, there are few sensations more painful
    than those which they experience, who, already covered with
    benefits, are impelled by cruel necessity to ask for more.
    Such is my present situation, and hence proceeds my regret.

    "My uniform and unreserved communications to the Count
    Montmorin, who has my fullest confidence, precludes the
    necessity and consequently the propriety of a minute detail
    of American affairs here.

    "Your Excellency will recollect the resolution of Congress
    for drawing bills on me, as well as the reasons assigned for
    that measure. In my first conference with the Minister on
    that subject, he enlarged on the necessities of the State,
    but nevertheless told me, he should be able, at the end of
    the present or beginning of the next year, to advance thirty
    or forty thousand pounds sterling, and that further
    arrangements respecting the residue should then be made.

    "I afterwards received and answered propositions for the
    reimbursement of this money; and from time to time, was
    permitted to accept such of the bills as were most pressing.

    "Things remained in this state till the 5th of July, when,
    after many warm assurances of friendship and good will, the
    further discussion of these matters was postponed by the
    Minister until the arrival of a person intended to succeed M.
    Mirales, the late Spanish agent at Philadelphia, and I was
    told that they should then be arranged and adjusted.

    "Several weeks elapsed after the time assigned for his
    arrival had expired. The holders of the bills became
    importunate, and insisting on my accepting or refusing them.

    "I wrote several letters to the Minister, requesting his
    directions, but was not favored with an answer to any of

    "On the 3d instant, after fruitless endeavors to see the
    Minister, I received the following note from him by the hands
    of M. Gardoqui;

      'The Count de Florida Blanca sends his compliments to Mr
      Jay, and advises him to become acquainted with the bearer
      of this letter, who is the person that has been expected
      from day to day.'

    "This gentleman made many remarks tending to show the
    propriety of America's offering some specific consideration
    for this money, and hinted at the navigation of the
    Mississippi, ship timber, vessels, tobacco, &c. &c. I
    replied, that the only consideration Congress could offer,
    was that which all other nations at war, who borrowed money,
    offered, viz. to repay the principal with a reasonable
    interest after the war; that I should deceive him, were I to
    enter into contracts to pay it sooner; that the proposition
    of paying it during the war, in ship timber, tobacco, or
    other articles, did not lessen the difficulty, for that these
    things were worth, and cost money in America, as well as in
    Europe; and that as to the Mississippi, it could not come in
    question as a consideration for one hundred thousand pounds.
    The conversation was concluded, by his desiring me to meet
    him at M. Del Campo's the next morning. M. Gardoqui then, and
    since, behaved with temper, candor, and politeness.

    "The next day we saw M. Del Campo. He was liberal in his
    censures on the measure of drawing the bills in question on
    Spain. He informed me, that the King must first take care of
    his own people before he gave supplies to others; that Spain,
    instead of deriving advantage from America, heard of nothing
    but demands. That if Congress wanted money, they should have
    drawn on France, with whom they were in alliance, and who had
    all the profit of their trade; that we ought to have
    distinguished between our allies, and those who only wished
    us well, and that applications for aid might be proper to
    the one, which were not so to the other; that our affairs
    were in a ruinous condition, and that it was even said some
    of the States were holding secret negotiations for peace with
    the enemy, &c. &c. &c. My replies were such as the subject
    naturally suggested, and as prudence dictated; there are
    seasons when men mean not to be convinced, and when argument
    becomes mere matter of form. On such occasions, we have
    little more in our power than moderation and temper. I gave
    M. Del Campo credit for his frankness, and wish I could with
    propriety have extended it to his delicacy.

    "A day or two afterwards, viz. the 6th instant, I was
    permitted to accept bills to the amount of one thousand one
    hundred and ten dollars.

    "On the 13th, M. Gardoqui, by order of the Minister, told me,
    that the exigencies of the State would not permit the King to
    provide for the payment of more of the bills than had been
    already accepted, amounting to about fourteen thousand
    dollars. This gave occasion to my letter to the Minister of
    the 14th, and to his answer of the 15th, which was dictated
    by him to M. Del Campo, and by M. Del Campo to M. Gardoqui,
    copies of both of which your Excellency will receive from
    Count Montmorin. The Minister's answer made a conference
    between us expedient. I requested that favor the 15th
    instant, and have been informed that the Count de Florida
    Blanca will endeavor to see me on Saturday evening next.

    "I forbear remarks on this singular conduct. I wish it could
    be explained in a manner compatible with the reputation Spain
    enjoys in North America. I much fear partial resentments,
    which ought not to affect America, have been permitted to
    have an undue degree of influence, and that the Minister
    forgot in his zeal for a certain scheme of finance, that it
    was unjust to wound opponents through the sides of their
    friends. But whatever may have been the cause; the effect,
    unless removed, will be destructive, and France only can at
    present afford the means of doing it.

    "When I consider, on the one hand, that France was our first,
    and is still our best, and almost only friend; that she
    became our ally on terms of equality, neither taking, nor
    attempting to take ungenerous advantages of our situation;
    that she has clothed and armed our troops, and is at this
    moment assisting us with her fleets, her armies, her
    treasure, and her blood; gratitude and generosity forbid me
    to solicit a further tax on her magnanimity. But, on the
    other hand, when I reflect that the loss of American credit
    would be a loss to the common cause, and an eventual injury
    to France; that such an event would be a matter of triumph to
    our common enemy; and of pain to our friends; that the honor
    of Congress, suspended on the fate of these bills, now hangs
    as it were by a hair, and that our enemies here and elsewhere
    are doing all in their power to cut it; when I consider, that
    America would feel more sensibly the loss of reputation in
    this instance, than the loss of battles in many others; I
    say, Sir, when I consider these things, I find it to be my
    duty to request your Excellency to interpose the amity of
    France, and that his Majesty will be pleased to add this
    strong link to the chain of benefits, by which he has already
    bound the affections of America to his family and people.

    "I ought to inform your Excellency, that bills for about
    fifty thousand dollars remain unaccepted. The greater part
    of these are in the hands of merchants, who waited my answer
    with a degree of patience, I could not have expected; some of
    them ever since the month of June last. Further delays,
    therefore, were not to be asked or obtained, and I was
    reduced to the necessity, either of promising to accept them,
    or permit the credit of Congress to perish with them. I could
    not long hesitate. I promised to accept them. Fortunately,
    these bills have hitherto come on slowly, though, it is
    probable, that the assurances of Spain, which I have
    communicated to Congress, may quicken their pace. A period,
    however, will soon be put to their drawing, as I have written
    to them by several conveyances immediately to stop.

    "I ought also to inform your Excellency, that a promise made
    me in June last of some clothing for our troops has been
    renewed, and that his Majesty has been pleased to offer us
    his responsibility to facilitate a loan of one hundred and
    fifty thousand dollars. I shall endeavor to make the most of
    this offer, and your Excellency may rest assured, that I
    shall gladly embrace every measure, which may be calculated
    to lessen the weight with which the American cause presses on
    the finances of France.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

I also sent a copy of this letter to Dr Franklin, enclosed in one of
which the following is a copy.

                                   St Ildefonso, Sept. 22d, 1780.

      Dear Sir,

    "I have lately written to you several letters. Enclosed is a
    copy of one to Count de Vergennes, which Count Montmorin, who
    also writes to him on the same subject, is so obliging as to
    send together with this, by a courier to Bayonne.

    "The papers you have heretofore received from me, with those
    now sent, will enable you to understand it, and I am
    persuaded your abilities and influence will be exerted to
    promote the success of the application contained in it. It
    appears to me absolutely necessary, that the bills drawn on
    me be saved at all events. If contrary to my ideas of the
    wisdom and affection of France, she should not lend us money
    for the purpose, we must endeavor to borrow it of
    individuals, though at a higher than usual interest; nay, on
    any terms, rather than not get it. Almost anything will be
    better than a protest; for exclusive of the disgrace, which
    is intolerable, the consequences of it would cost Congress
    more than the expense of saving their credit, be it almost
    what it will.

    "I am, &c.
                                                       JOHN JAY."

The Ambassador informed me, that he had received despatches from
Philadelphia, which gave him and the Court great pleasure, viz.--That
Congress had, at the instance of the Chevalier de la Luzerne and Don
Francisco, agreed to make a diversion to the southward in order to
facilitate the Spanish operations in that quarter; that a noble spirit
was pervading all ranks of people; that we had been successful in
Jersey, &c. &c. and in short, that the Chevalier de la Luzerne was
much pleased with Congress and the general aspect of affairs in
America. I lamented in silence, that I should have no other
intelligence of all this, but from a French Ambassador.

He informed me further, that he believed we should now be able to get
some of the clothing taken from the enemy by Admiral Cordova; that he
had, and would continue to cherish the idea. We had a long
conversation; he gave me much good advice, some useful information,
and many assurances of cordiality and good will.

On the evening of the 23d, I was admitted to the honor of a conference
with his Excellency the Count de Florida Blanca; and M. Gardoqui, who
understands Spanish and English exceedingly well, performed the part
of interpreter.

The following notes of the conference are very exact as to every

    _Notes of a Conference between his Excellency the Count de
      Florida Blanca and Mr Jay, at St Ildefonso, on Saturday
      Evening, September 23d, 1780_.

    After the usual civilities the Count began the conference by
    informing Mr Jay, that the Court had received intelligence
    from the Havana, of Congress having so far complied with the
    request made to them to permit the exportation of provisions
    for the use of his Majesty's fleets and armies there, as to
    give license for shipping three thousand barrels of flour,
    circumstances not admitting of further supplies at that time;
    that this business was conducted by Mr Robert Morris in a
    manner with which he was well pleased; that Congress had
    also, in order to promote the success of the Spanish
    operations against Pensacola, &c. agreed to make a diversion
    to the southward, to detach a considerable body of regular
    troops and militia to South Carolina under General Gates;
    that his Majesty was well pleased with, and highly sensible
    of, these marks of their friendly disposition, and had
    directed him to desire Mr Jay to convey his thanks to them on
    the occasion.

    Mr Jay expressed his satisfaction at this intelligence, and
    promised to take the earliest opportunity of conveying to
    Congress the sense his Majesty entertained of their
    friendship, manifested by these measures. He told the Count
    it gave him pleasure to hear the business of the Spanish
    supplies was committed to Mr Robert Morris, and assured him,
    that the fullest confidence might be reposed in that
    gentleman's abilities and integrity. He requested his
    Excellency again to assure his Majesty, that he might rely on
    the good disposition of Congress, and of their evincing it in
    every way, which the situation of their affairs and the
    interest of the common cause might render practicable and
    expedient. The Count told Mr Jay, that he had proposed to the
    French Ambassador to send to Congress for the use of their
    army, clothing for ten regiments lately taken in the convoy
    bound from Britain to Jamaica, and in which the two Crowns
    were equally interested; that the Ambassador approved the
    proposition, but had not yet given his final answer. He then
    observed, that a negotiation for a peace between Britain and
    Spain appeared at present more distant than ever; that the
    former had offered his Majesty everything he could desire to
    induce him to a separate peace; but that the King, adhering
    to the same resolutions in favor of America, which had
    influenced his conduct in his mediation for a general peace
    and since, had rejected them, and that Congress might rely on
    his Majesty's determination never to give up or forsake
    America, but on the contrary continue affording her all the
    aids in his power.

    He told Mr Jay, that the Court of London, disappointed in
    their expectations of detaching Spain, had it in
    contemplation again to send Commissioners to America to
    treat with Congress on the subject of an accommodation with
    them; that this measure was at present under the
    consideration of the Privy Council, and that there was reason
    to suppose it would be adopted. He observed, that the English
    had hitherto discovered much finesse and little true policy;
    that first they endeavored by their intrigues in France to
    separate that kingdom and America, but not succeeding there,
    they sent Commissioners to America; that the last year they
    attempted to detach France, and this year Spain, and that
    being unsuccessful in both they would again attempt America;
    that the best way of defeating their designs was mutual
    confidence in each other. He remarked, that America could not
    rely on any promise of Britain, and asked if she was once
    detached from France and Spain, who could compel an
    observance of them? Mr Jay thanked the Count for this
    communication, and assured him, that Congress would not only
    adhere to their engagements from motives of interest, but
    from a regard to their honor, and the faith of treaties; that
    the opinion of Congress on this subject corresponded with
    that of his Excellency, and that their conduct, with respect
    to the former English Commissioners, gave conclusive evidence
    of their sentiments on the subject. Mr Jay promised in case
    he received any intelligence relative to this matter, his
    Excellency might depend on its being communicated immediately
    to him.

    The Count appeared satisfied with this, and again repeated
    his former assurances of the King's good disposition towards
    America, &c. &c.

    Mr Jay informed his Excellency, that the subject on which he
    was desirous of conversing with him, arose from the paper he
    had received from M. Gardoqui the 15th instant, containing
    his Excellency's answer to Mr Jay's letter of the 14th.

    Mr Jay then requested the Count to communicate to his Majesty
    his thanks for the offer he had been pleased to make, of his
    responsibility in order to facilitate a loan of one hundred
    and fifty thousand dollars, and also for the promise of
    clothing, &c. &c. and to assure him, that the gratitude of
    the States would always be proportionate to the obligations
    conferred upon them; he observed to the Count, that he
    intended to attempt this loan in Spain, France, and Holland,
    and begged to be informed in what manner he should evidence
    the responsibility of his Majesty to the persons, who might
    be disposed to lend the money, for that in this and other
    similar cases, he meant to be guided by his Excellency's
    directions. The Count replied, that as this matter fell
    within the department of M. Musquir, the Minister of Finance,
    he would consult him upon it on Tuesday evening next, and
    immediately thereafter inform Mr Jay of the result. He then
    apologized, and expressed his regret for not being able to
    furnish the money he had expected to supply (alluding
    evidently to the _thirty or forty thousand pounds_ which, in
    the conference at Aranjues, the 11th day of May last, he said
    he expected to be able to supply by the end of this or
    beginning of next year.) He said he had been disappointed in
    the remittances expected from America, for he was advised,
    that two ships, which he had expected would arrive from
    thence with treasure in December or January next, would not
    come, and that this and other circumstances rendered it
    impossible for him to advance us any money in Europe. But
    that he would, nevertheless, agreeably to the King's
    intentions, give us all the assistance in his power.

    Mr Jay desired to be informed, whether any steps were
    necessary for him to take for forwarding the clothing at
    Cadiz to America. The Count answered, that he waited the
    French Ambassador's answer on the subject, and that he had as
    yet no inventory of them, but that he would again speak to
    the Ambassador, and make arrangements for sending them on to
    America as soon as possible.

    Mr Jay then proceeded to regret that the pleasure he derived
    from these instances of his Majesty's friendship to the
    United States, was mingled with pain from being informed by
    the abovementioned paper, that the King conceived he might
    have just cause to be disgusted with them.

    Because, 1st; they had drawn the bills of exchange without
    his previous consent; and, 2dly, because they had not given
    any tokens of a recompense. Mr Jay reminded his Excellency
    that these bills were drawn upon himself, and not on Spain,
    and although that Congress might have hoped, for reasons
    already assigned, to have been enabled to pay them by a loan
    from his Majesty, yet that every other usual measure was left
    open for that purpose. That an application to Spain for such
    a loan could give no just cause of offence, for that if it
    had not been convenient to her to make it, all that she had
    to was to have told him so, and he was then at liberty to
    take such measures for procuring it elsewhere as he might
    think proper. The Count replied, that what Mr Jay observed
    was true, but that certainly the bills were drawn with an
    expectation of their being paid by Spain, and that this might
    probably have been done if previous notice of the measure had
    been given. That he always intended to have done something
    towards their payment, but had been prevented by
    disappointments, and the exigencies of the State. Mr Jay
    continued to observe, that the second cause assigned for this
    disgust, viz. that Congress had given no tokens of a
    recompense, must have risen from a mistake. He reminded his
    Excellency, that he had never requested a donation from
    Spain, but that on the contrary he had repeatedly offered to
    pledge the faith of the United States for the repayment with
    interest, within a reasonable time after the war, of whatever
    sum his Majesty might be so kind as to lend them. To these
    remarks the Count said only, that interest for the money
    would have been no object with them; that they would gladly
    have lent it to us without interest, and repeated his regret
    at the disappointment which had prevented them. He appeared
    rather uneasy and desirous of waiving the subject.

    Mr Jay next called the Count's attention to a part of the
    paper in question, which informed him "that there were hints
    (though no credit was given to it) of some understanding
    between America and the Court of London." He observed, that
    this subject was both delicate and important; that so far as
    this understanding related to Congress, or the governments of
    either of the States, he was sure that this insinuation was
    entirely groundless; that there might possibly be intriguing
    individuals, who might have given cause to such suspicions;
    that if there were such men or bodies of men it would be for
    the good of the common cause that they should be detected,
    and their designs frustrated. He therefore requested, that if
    his Excellency had any evidence on this subject, he would be
    pleased to communicate it, and thereby enable him to give
    Congress an opportunity of taking such measures as
    circumstances might render proper. The Count said, he had
    nothing specific or particular as yet to communicate. That he
    was pursuing measures for further discoveries, and that he
    would mention to Mr Jay whatever information might result
    from them.

    Mr Jay resumed his animadversions on the paper in question by
    observing, that it assured him it was necessary, "that
    Congress should give sure and effective tokens of a good
    correspondence, proposing reciprocal measures of a
    compensation, &c. in order that his Majesty might extend his
    further dispositions towards them." That for his part he
    could conceive of no higher tokens, which one nation could
    give to another of friendship and good will, than their
    commissioning and sending a person for the express purpose of
    requesting his Majesty to enter into treaties of amity and
    alliance with them, and that on terms of reciprocity of
    interest and mutual advantage. To this the Count replied,
    that to this day he was ignorant of these terms, and that no
    particular propositions had been made him. Mr Jay then
    reminded him of his letters from Cadiz, and of the conference
    on the subject at Aranjues on the 2d day of June last, in the
    latter of which, after conferring on the subject of aids, and
    of the treaty, his Excellency had promised to reduce his
    sentiments on both to writing, and send him notes on each;
    that as to the first, Mr Jay had received the notes, but not
    on the last; that he had been in constant expectation of
    receiving them, and that delicacy forbade pressing his
    Excellency on that matter, or offering anything further till
    he should have leisure to complete them.

    He said he thought he had given them to Mr Jay or Mr
    Carmichael, which both of them assured him he had not. Of
    this the Count appeared after a little time satisfied, when
    Mr Jay resumed the subject by remarking, that the order of
    conducting that business appeared to him to be this; that as
    a right was reserved by the Secret Article to his Majesty to
    accede to the treaty between France and America whenever he
    thought proper, and that the latter would go into a
    discussion of any alteration the King might propose, that
    should be founded on reciprocity of interest, the first
    question was whether his Majesty would accede to it as it
    was, or whether he would propose any and what alterations.

    The Count here interrupted Mr Jay by saying, that the
    interest of France and Spain with respect to America were so
    distinct, as necessarily to render different treaties
    necessary. Mr Jay answered, that admitting this to be the
    case, the treaty with France might be made the basis, and
    then go on _mutatis mutandis_. The Count proceeded to say,
    that it would not conduce to the general pacification to
    hurry on the treaty; that finding Congress were not disposed
    to cessions, without which the King would not make a treaty,
    he thought it best by mutual services and acts of friendship,
    to continue making way for more condescensions on both sides,
    and not excite animosities and warmth by discussing points
    which the King would never yield. That, therefore, Mr Jay
    might take time to write to Congress on the subject, and
    obtain their instructions.

    He said, that previous to Mr Jay's or M. Gerard's arrival at
    Madrid, M. Mirales had informed him that Congress would yield
    the navigation of the Mississippi, but that M. Gerard
    informed him that Congress had changed their resolution on
    that subject; that he had mentioned these obstacles to Mr Jay
    and Mr Carmichael, and it was probable that having done this,
    he had neglected or forgotten to give Mr Jay the notes in
    question. Mr Jay here reminded his Excellency, that the
    conference between them of the 2d day of June last turned
    among other points on these obstacles, and that they had then
    mutually expressed hopes that regulations calculated to
    remove them in a manner satisfactory to both parties might be
    adopted, and that the conferences respecting them were
    concluded by his Excellency's promising to give Mr Jay notes
    of his sentiments on the proposed treaty. The Count admitted
    this, and made several observations tending to show the
    importance of this object to Spain, and its determination to
    adhere to it, saying, with some degree of warmth, that unless
    Spain could exclude all nations from the Gulf of Mexico, they
    might as well admit all; that the King would never relinquish
    it; that the Minister regarded it as the principal object to
    be obtained by the war, and _that obtained_, he should be
    perfectly easy whether or no Spain procured any other
    cession; that he considered it far more important than the
    acquisition of Gibraltar, and that if they did not get it, it
    was a matter of indifference to him whether the English
    possessed Mobile or not; that he chose always to speak his
    sentiments plainly and candidly on those occasions, for which
    reason he generally acted differently from other politicians,
    in always choosing to commit himself to paper, and appealing
    to the knowledge of the French Ambassador and others, who had
    done business with him, for the proofs of this being the
    principle of his conduct. He concluded by saying he would
    give his sentiments in writing on this subject to Mr Jay.

    Mr Jay made no reply to the Count's remarks on the
    navigation, but observing, that being little acquainted with
    the practice of politicians, he was happy in having to treat
    with a Minister of his Excellency's principles. He added,
    that there were many points necessary to be adjusted in order
    to a treaty; that they might proceed to agree upon as many as
    they could, and with respect to the others, he should state
    them clearly to Congress, and attend their further

    Mr Jay then again turned the conference to the paper
    beforementioned, by observing to the Count, that it appeared
    from it, that the King also expected from Congress
    equivalents to the supplies formerly afforded, and also the
    expenses of the war, which it alleged had its origin from
    them. That as to the first he could only repeat what he had
    before said, that a general account of them was necessary.
    That he neither knew the amount of them, nor the terms on
    which they were granted; that it was a transaction previous
    to his appointment; that on being furnished with the
    necessary information, he would transmit it to Congress, and
    wait their instructions; that an expectation of an equivalent
    to the expenses sustained by Spain in the war, was
    inadmissible on every principle. He read the passage in
    question and remarked, that America could no more be justly
    chargeable with the expenses of the war sustained by Spain,
    than Spain could be justly chargeable with the expenses of
    the war sustained by America. The Count replied, that Mr Jay
    had mistaken his meaning, and that he urged it merely to show
    that as the States were deriving considerable advantages from
    very expensive operations on the part of Spain, that
    consideration should incline them to more condescension
    towards the latter.

    Mr Jay assured his Excellency that he knew it to be the
    disposition of Congress to contribute all in their power to
    the success of the common cause, and that they would on
    every occasion give proofs of it, and among others, that he
    was confident they would permit his Majesty to export from
    thence, _during the war_, ship timber and masts for the royal
    navy, and would readily consent to such measures as might be
    proper and necessary for facilitating it. He further observed
    that having been informed by M. Gardoqui that his Majesty
    would like to take and finish a seventyfour gun ship now on
    the stocks in one of the eastern ports, on which it was said
    no work was doing, he would with pleasure write to Congress,
    and propose their transferring her to his Majesty at prime
    cost. That this previous step was necessary, as Congress
    might perhaps intend that vessel for particular services, but
    he was confident they would otherwise be happy in indulging
    his Majesty's inclinations. The Count appeared pleased with
    this. He said, that with respect to timber they stood most in
    need at present of yards, and should be glad to obtain a
    supply of them from Congress. That as to the ship, he wished
    to be informed exactly of her present state, and the
    materials wanted to complete and equip her, which he observed
    might be sent from the Havana, and whether a crew of
    Americans could be had to navigate her there. Mr Jay replied,
    that though he was sure that Congress would readily give
    their aid in these and other matters interesting to Spain,
    yet he could not forbear reminding his Excellency as a
    friend, that public business done under the direction of
    public bodies was always more expensive than when done by
    individuals. That, therefore, he would submit it to his
    consideration whether it would not be more advisable to
    commit the management of those affairs to the agent, intended
    to succeed M. Mirales, who, by being on the spot, would have
    opportunities of acting on exact information, and in a
    manner more consistent with the views of his Excellency. The
    Count agreed in this opinion, and promised to communicate to
    Mr Jay his further intentions on this subject.

    Mr Jay informed the Minister, that as his further stay here
    would now be unnecessary, and business called him to Madrid,
    he purposed to return there on Monday next. The Count
    concurred and the conference ended.

Congress will permit me to observe that many things in this conference
are important, and demand instructions. I forbear to point them out,
because they are obvious; and I take the liberty of giving this hint
from a knowledge of the delays attending the proceedings of large

I returned to Madrid on the day appointed; and whether to accept or
not to accept the bills became a very serious question. After
reviewing all the reasons for and against it, which are numerous, and
which Congress will readily perceive without a particular enumeration,
I determined to put a good face on the business, and accept all that
should be presented, which I have accordingly done, and am daily
doing. What the event will be I cannot pretend to decide. All that I
can say is, that my endeavors shall not be wanting to render it
successful. The responsibility of the King will not produce much, and
the difficulty of borrowing money has been increased, by the number of
agents sent to Europe for that purpose by several of the different
States, who I am told have imprudently bidden on each other.

M. Gardoqui returned to Madrid a few days after I did, and brought me
word from the Minister, that instructions should be sent to their
Ambassadors in Holland and France, to assure in due form the
responsibility of the King to such persons as might there incline to
lend us money on the credit of it, and that the Minister would do the
same here. He told me further, that the Minister hoped I would not be
discouraged, nor consider this only on the dark side, for that it was
still his intention to afford America every aid in his power. All this
I ascribe to the exertions of America, and I am confident, that it will
always be necessary for the United States to be formidable at home, if
they expect to be respectable anywhere.

For my own part, I shall be disappointed, if I find Courts moving on
any other principle than political ones, and, indeed, not always on
those. Caprice, whim, the interests and passions of individuals, must
and will always have greater or less degrees of influence. America
stands very high here, at present. I rejoice at it, though I must
confess I much fear that such violent exertions may be followed by
languor and relaxation. What the plan of this Court is with respect to
us, or whether they have any, is with me very doubtful. If they have
rejected all the overtures of Britain, why is Mr Cumberland still
here? And why are expresses passing between Madrid and London through
Portugal? If Spain is determined that we shall be independent, why not
openly declare us so, and thereby diminish the hopes and endeavors of
Britain to prevent it? She seems to be desirous of holding the
balance, of being in some sort a mediatrix, and of courting the offers
of each by her supposed importance to both. The drawing of bills on me
was considered as a desperate measure, prompted by our imbecility, and
was a bad card to play at a time we were endeavoring to form a treaty,
and when prudence demanded that the importance of Spain to us should
not have been brought forward, or placed in such a glaring point of

One good consequence, however, has resulted from it. The cordiality of
Spain has been tried by it. For I know of a certainty, that it was in
her power easily to have made the loan we asked. Indeed, we shall
always be deceived, if we believe that any nation in the world has, or
will have, a disinterested regard for us, especially absolute
monarchies, where the temporary views or passions of the Prince, his
Ministers, his women, or his favorites, not the voice of the people,
direct the helm of State. Besides, from the manner in which the war is
carrying on, it would seem as if it was the design of France and Spain
that the longest _purse_, not the longest _sword_, should decide it.
Whether such be really their intention, or how far it may be politic,
I cannot pretend to determine. This, however, is certain, that it
would be putting the affair on a hard issue for us. It is also
certain, that some respect is due to appearances and probable events,
and we should be cautious how we spend our money, our men, or our
public spirit, uselessly.

In my opinion, we should endeavor to be as independent on the charity
of our friends, as on the mercy of our enemies. Jacob took advantage
even of his brother's hunger, and extorted from him a higher price
than the value of the Mississippi even for a single dinner. The way
not to be in _Esau's_ condition, is to be prepared to meet with

From what I can learn of the King's character, I am persuaded, that a
present from Congress of a handsome fast sailing packet boat would be
very acceptable, and consequently very useful.

I am informed, and believe, that a loan from individuals in France is
impracticable. Here nothing can be done in that way. What may be
expected from the like attempts in Holland, I am unable to say.

I have received no answer to my letter to Count de Vergennes; the
Ambassador informs me, that the Count has written him on the subject,
and the following is an extract from his letter.


    "I doubt whether I shall be able to render Mr Jay the service
    he requests of me, independently of what the Ministry has
    furnished the Americans in the course of the year. Dr
    Franklin is urgent for a million extra, to meet the drafts of
    Congress to the 31st of December. I am sensible how important
    it is to prevent them from being returned protested, but the
    difficulty is to find the means. I shall do my best in this
    exigency, but am not sure of success; beyond this, it would
    be impossible for me to go."

Dr Franklin has obtained some more money from his Court, and I am to
have twentyfive thousand dollars of it; perhaps he may be able to
advance more, but how much, I cannot say.

_November 1st, 1780._ No orders have as yet been given respecting the
clothing. I have applied and reapplied, and have been promised and
repromised. I employed Mr Harrison, at Cadiz, (with the Minister's
concurrence) to make the purchase, and he has several weeks been
waiting for these orders.

General Gates is defeated, and Mr Laurens in the Tower. Our sky in
this quarter is again darkened with clouds not in my power to dispel.

I had flattered myself with receiving before this time some
regulations respecting American seamen.

The house of Le Couteulx have refused to continue their care of them,
or to advance more money on that account. They complain that the
American Captains under various pretexts refuse to give them passages,
without being paid for them. This is cruel.

The following are copies of their letter to me on the subject, and my

                      LE COUTEULX & CO. TO JOHN JAY.

                                        "Cadiz, October 3d, 1780.


    "Our supplies for the American sailors amount at this day to
    ---- We will continue to render them every service in our
    power, but will confess to you ingenuously, that if you do
    not furnish us with an order from Congress, by which you
    empower us to oblige all American Captains, who come here, to
    take a certain number of people, in proportion to their bulk,
    free of passage, and afterwards so many more on paying them a
    certain sum for their provisions, we can advance nothing; as
    all the Captains who come here never fail of showing good
    motives for not taking any of their fellow countrymen,
    without paying them a passage, which forces us to let the
    people go on board neutral vessels; and instead of fulfilling
    your views of sending them back as soon as possible, this is
    a means by which they get still further from it, and a great
    many engage in the English service."

                         TO LE COUTEULX & CO.

                                     "Madrid, October 15th, 1780.


    "I have been honored with your favor of the 3d instant, and
    am much obliged by your attention to the letter it enclosed.
    You were not mistaken in supposing that the handwriting was
    mine. That letter was enclosed in one for Mr Harrison, and
    sent under cover to you.

    "It gives me concern to find that you have so much trouble
    with American seamen, and I much lament that it is not in my
    power to comply with the terms on which alone you incline to
    continue it. I have written more than once to Congress on the
    subject, and submitted to their consideration the propriety
    of establishing proper regulations for the conduct of that
    business, but as yet I have received none. I presume that
    their attention has been so engaged by other matters of
    higher and more pressing importance, as not to have had
    leisure for making these arrangements. The refusal of
    American Captains to give passages to their unfortunate
    countrymen is certainly unkind. I shall communicate to
    Congress, and I hope proper measures will be taken to remove
    that obstacle. At any rate, however, I cannot leave these
    unhappy captives friendless, in a strange country. The
    unfeeling treatment of the Captains rather stimulates than
    represses my commiseration, and, therefore, Gentlemen, as it
    is not convenient to you to proceed in your care of them, but
    on terms not in my power to comply with, I find myself
    reduced to the necessity of requesting that favor from
    others. For this purpose I have written to Mr Harrison of
    your city, and proposed his undertaking it, and have desired
    him in case he consented, to mention it to you. On that event
    I must beg the favor of you to give him such information and
    advice, as may be useful to him in the management of those
    affairs. Be pleased also to liquidate your accounts with him;
    they shall be paid without further delay.

    "The attention and kind offices you have regularly paid to
    Americans, and the personal civilities that myself and family
    experienced from you, while at Cadiz, will always continue to
    excite my warmest acknowledgments, and lead me to omit no
    opportunity of convincing you of the esteem and regard, with
    which I am, Gentlemen, &c.

                                                        JOHN JAY.

I have before mentioned to Congress my difficulties as to
correspondence. They continue, and I am obliged to give Colonel
Livingston the trouble of carrying this letter to Bilboa, and
delivering it with his own hands to the Captain of some American
vessel. Congress might have letters from me every month, if orders
were given to the Captains of the vessels bringing despatches for me,
to send a trusty officer with them to me. I know that all are opened,
and some suppressed, and I can think of no other way of avoiding these
inconveniences. It is important that our correspondence be

I have written very particularly, perhaps more so than may be prudent,
but as I think it my duty, I pay no regard to consequences. If
Congress will be equally well satisfied with less minute information,
I wish to be told so, that their direction on this head may govern me
in future. I cannot forbear again observing, that few of their
proceedings remain long secret. I have very good authority for saying
that copies of the letters, which passed between the Committee and the
late Commissioners in France, are now in the hands of a certain
foreigner. How he got them I do not know, but such is the fact, and in
my opinion it calls for more care in future.

If my letters meet with the same fate, my remaining here will become a
useless expense to my country.

I think I have written everything material to enable Congress to know
the exact state of their affairs here. If, however, there should be
any questions to which an answer would be agreeable to Congress, I
wish to be informed of them; for since I left America, I have made it
a rule to be always in a capacity to render a reason for every part of
my conduct, and state with accuracy every fact relative to it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.


[25] A full account of Mr Cumberland's proceedings in Spain may be
found in his _Memoirs_ published many years afterwards.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Madrid, November 30th, 1780.


Your Excellency will receive herewith enclosed certain papers from
Morocco, viz.

_No. 1._ Containing a letter of the 21st of April last, to me from
Audibert Caille, who styles himself the "Consul appointed by the
Emperor for such foreign nations as have none of their own in his
dominions, to protect the strangers who may come to traffic in his
ports pursuant to two proclamations published last year."

_No. 2._ My answer.

_No. 3._ Copy of M. Audibert's appointment.

_No. 4._ Copy of a declaration of the Emperor, 20th of February, 1778.

_No. 5._ A letter from M. Audibert Caille to Congress of 6th of
September, 1779. Also, six printed copies of M. Audibert Caille's

These papers ought to have been sent with my letters of May last, but
recollecting as I was then about to put them up, that if the originals
should be lost on the passage, it might be difficult to obtain
others, I thought it most prudent to detain them to be copied, and
wait for some other opportunity of getting them to the sea; none has,
however, since occurred, and I did not think them of sufficient
importance to render it necessary that either Mr Carmichael or Colonel
Livingston should carry them to one of the sea ports.

It is proper that your Excellency should be informed, that on the 8th
instant I had a conference with the Minister at the Escurial, in which
I received many good _words_ and friendly assurances, but time only
can decide how they will terminate. I received a letter yesterday from
Mr Harrison, of the 24th instant, and then no orders had arrived about
the clothing. These delays may seem singular, but they are not
uncommon. Mr Cumberland is still here. The French and English fleets
are at sea.

Although appearances are not very flattering at present, I hope they
will in time become more so. Patience, prudence, and perseverance,
sometimes effect much. It is in my opinion very important that no
dissatisfaction be expressed in America at the conduct of Spain.
Complaint and disgust can answer no good purpose, but may be
productive of many disagreeable consequences. A cautious silence is
the more necessary, as I am confident that there are persons in
America, who would make a merit of collecting and transmitting the
sentiments of Congress, or _members_ of Congress, on subjects
interesting to the views and objects of persons in power here.

Colonel Livingston would have returned this fall at the expiration of
the term expressed in his leave of absence, had I not taken the
liberty of advising him to remain, and taken upon myself to adjust
this matter with Congress. As he is employed, and industrious in
obtaining knowledge, which may enable him to be useful in future to
his country, I must join with him in requesting that Congress will be
so kind as to extend his leave of absence to such further period as
may be agreeable to them.

The enclosed paper marked No. 6, is a copy of a State of the Revenues
and Expenditures of Spain, in the year 1778. It was formed by a
Secretary to one of the embassies, and a copy of it was given to Mr
Carmichael. I received it the last day of July, and had no safe
opportunity of sending it before. What credit may be due to this
account I cannot determine, and I have reason to think that there are
few men in the kingdom who can. This government, disposed to
concealment and mystery in most matters, will not probably permit an
accurate knowledge of their revenues to be easily attained. This
account is perhaps as near the truth as any other. The gentleman, it
is said, took much pains in forming it, and it also met with the
approbation of some foreign Ministers; but how far those Ministers
were judges of the subject I am uninformed. The remarks subjoined to
this account are Mr Carmichael's, and were added to the copy I
received from him.

I send copies of several letters, which passed between Messrs de
Neufville and Son, of Amsterdam, and myself, relative to the bills
drawn on Mr Laurens.[26] The conduct of that House has been so
friendly and disinterested, that I think Congress should be
particularly informed of it, and by taking proper notice of it, induce
others to follow the example.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.


[26] These have been inserted in the order of their several dates.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                No. 1.



                                           Aranjues, April 21st, 1780.


By order of his Majesty the Emperor of Morocco, I wrote on the 6th of
September in the last year to the Congress of the United States of
North America, by way of his Excellency Dr Franklin, their
Plenipotentiary at the Court of France, to inform them of the pacific
intentions of that sovereign.

Not having yet received any answer on their part, I fear they have not
received my letter, and by way of precaution, send your Excellency
herewith joined an open copy, that after perusing it, you may make
such use of it as you may think proper. I also send you a copy of the
two manifests therein mentioned, as well as a translation of the
patent of the consuls for foreign nations, with which his Majesty the
Emperor has been pleased to honor me, and some copies of the
certificates which he ordered me to give to the captains of ships,
which sail under his flag.

I wish, Sir, that you may receive all these papers with pleasure, and
I request your Excellency to honor me with an answer, that I may be
able to convince his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, that I have
executed the commission he gave me to make known to Congress, that the
subjects of the said United States might come and traffic under their
own flags, in the ports of the empire of Morocco, in the like manner
as they formerly did under the English flag.

Before I had the commission to write to Congress I had already
written on this subject to his Excellency Dr Franklin, and I offered
to interest myself cheerfully in establishing a good understanding
between his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, and the Northern United

In case that Congress should be equally well pleased to be at peace
with his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, it will be proper to
instruct the captains of American armed ships to let freely pass all
ships sailing under the flag of his Majesty, the Emperor, and will be
provided with a certificate similar to the within mentioned copies.

I shall probably be obliged to remain here some days; as soon as my
business shall be despatched, I shall set out for Cadiz, and from
thence go to Salé, the place of my residence.

Whenever your Excellency may be pleased to honor me with your orders,
you may address your letters to Messrs Paul Greppi, Azarino, and
Company, merchants at Cadiz, who will take care to forward them to me.

I am with profound respect, &c.

                                                    D'AUDIBERT CAILLE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                No. 2.

                        TO D'AUDIBERT CAILLE.


Your favor of the 21st day of April, 1780, with the papers enclosed in
it, has come safe to hand.

The declaration of his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, does honor to
his liberality and wisdom, and I shall with great pleasure transmit
the copy of it, as well as of the other papers enclosed with it, to
his Excellency the President of Congress.

Although I have no particular instructions on the subject, yet the
knowledge I have of the sentiments of Congress enables me to give
assurances of their disposition to cultivate peace and harmony with
all nations. I am persuaded that his Majesty's declaration will be
very agreeable to them, and that a correspondent conduct on their part
towards the subjects of Morocco, will convince him of the truth of
these assurances. I am much obliged to you for this mark of attention,
and I flatter myself that by extending your good offices to such
Americans as may resort to the ports of Morocco, they will have reason
to consider you among the number of their friends.

Should anything interesting to America occur in Morocco, I request the
favor of you to communicate it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                No. 3.



    Copy of a French translation of a writing in Arabic, the most
    authentic of those that are written at the Court of his
    Majesty the Emperor of Morocco.

    "Let the name of the only God be praised; there is neither
    wisdom nor power but what proceeds from the Lord most high
    and most mighty.

    "We make known by this our present and generous writing, that
    we have appointed the Christian, D'Audibert Caille, who is
    the bearer hereof, to officiate as consul for all those
    nations who have no consuls in our dominion, and who are,
    the empire of Germany, Russia, Prussia, Naples, Sardinia,
    Rome, Tuscany, the States of America, Genoa, Ragusa, Hamburg,
    Lubec, and Dantzic; all of whom may come into our ports, and
    each of them there traffic under the flag of his nation, such
    as it may be. The said consul will assist them, by our order,
    in whatever may be useful to them in like manner as the other
    consuls do towards the subjects of their nations. And all the
    officers and governors of our ports will acknowledge him for
    a consul as they do the other consuls, and whichsoever of the
    said nations shall come into our ports, they shall not be
    molested by any of our officers or commandants whatsoever, of
    our ports. To all our captains whom we shall order to cruise
    by sea, the said consul will give a passport, and we renew
    our order to him to hoist the flag of peace at his house,
    without being therein opposed by anybody. He may also hoist
    it in any port whatever, where he may have a house of
    commerce, and he shall be mediator between us and the said
    nations, because we esteem him. Given the 8th of the moon of
    Alcahda, 1193. (1st of November, 1779.)"

    Signed by the Emperor.

We, Stephen d'Audibert Caille, a French merchant resident at Salé,
appointed by his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, consul of those
foreign nations who have none in his dominions to protect them in that
capacity on all occasions, and to be mediator between him and those
nations, certify to all whom it may concern, that the above copy is
conformable to the original, compared by Don Miguel Cassori, the
interpreter of his Catholic Majesty. In faith of which we sign the
present certificate, sealed with the seal of the consulate of peace
at Salé. Done at Aranjues, where I happen to be in passing, the 21st
of April, 1780.

                                                 S. D'AUDIBERT CAILLE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                No. 4.


    _Copy of the Declaration, which his Majesty the Emperor of
      Morocco (whom God preserve) orders to be notified to all
      the Consuls and Christian Merchants, who reside in the
      Ports of Tangier, Salé, and Mogadore, dated the 20th of
      February, 1778._

    "That in future all vessels, which carry Russian, German,
    Prussian, Hungarian, Neapolitan, Sardinian, Tuscanian,
    Genoese, Maltese, or American flags, may freely enter into
    the ports of his dominions; and in consequence of his
    determination, he has given orders to the commanders of his
    vessels, that they let freely pass, all ships and other
    vessels carrying the said flags without molesting them. To
    the end, that they may arrive at his ports, take
    refreshments, and enjoy in them the same privileges and
    immunities, with those of the other nations with whom his
    Imperial Majesty maintains peace."

I, the underwritten, employed by his Imperial Majesty for foreign
affairs, certify, that the contents of the preceding declaration are
conformable to the truth. And in faith thereof, I sign this present
certificate. At Salé, the 30th of October, 1779.

                                                         PEDRO UMBERT.

       *       *       *       *       *

We, Stephen d'Audibert Caille, a French merchant residing at Salé,
appointed by his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, to be consul of the
foreign nations who have none in his dominions to protect them in that
capacity on all occasions, and to be mediator between him and those
nations, certify, whom it may concern, that the said Don Pedro Umbert,
who has signed the above certificate, is employed for foreign affairs
at the Court of Morocco, and that in the said quality faith is to be
given to his signature. In witness whereof we sign these presents,
sealed with the seal of the consulate of peace, at Salé, the 1st of
December, 1779.

                                                 S. D'AUDIBERT CAILLE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                No. 5.

                    D'AUDIBERT CAILLE TO CONGRESS.


                                            Salé, September 6th, 1779.

In quality of a French merchant, who has resided in this town since
the year 1773, and whom his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, has
lately named consul for those foreign nations who have none in his
dominions to protect the strangers who might come to traffic in his
ports, in pursuance of the two manifestoes which he published last
year, I have the honor to inform your Excellencies, that it is his
intention to be at peace with the United States of North America, and
that their subjects can come to trade freely in his ports under
American colors, with the like safety with those of the principal
maritime powers in Europe who enjoy peace with him. Besides the good
reception, which the governors of the ports of this empire will give
to the subjects of the United States of North America, I will on my
part render them all the services, which may depend upon me as consul
for those foreign nations who have none, and as being charged to
invite them to come and traffic freely in these ports, in like manner
as they formerly did under the English flag.

In order that I may be able to convince his Majesty, the Emperor of
Morocco, that I have executed the commission he gave me to write as
above to the Congress, I entreat your Excellencies to be pleased to
honor me with an answer. If you think proper to write at the same time
to his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, relative to what I have
written to you on his part, I will take care to obtain a very
satisfactory answer; and I offer to interest myself very willingly, as
far as may depend upon me, that a treaty of peace may be made between
his Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, and the United States of North
America, nearly similar to those which the principal maritime powers
have with him.

That this letter may the more safely pass to you, I address it to his
Excellency Dr Franklin, your Plenipotentiary with his Most Christian
Majesty. Your Excellencies may answer me through the same channel, or
directly by the way of Cadiz, addressing your letter to the Sieurs
Paul Grippi, Azarino, and Company. My address is, to Stephen
d'Audibert Caille, consul for those foreign nations who have none in
the dominions of his Majesty the Emperor of Morocco, residing at Salé,
or simply "to D'Audibert, Santigo, and Company," which is that of my
house of commerce.

I am, with the most profound respect, &c.

                                                    D'AUDIBERT CAILLE.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                No. 6.

    _General State of the Revenues and Expenses of Spain in the
                             Year 1778._


                                       Reals de vel.
  Provincial duties,                     70,000,000
  Duties on tobacco,                     55,000,000
  Duties on salt,                        20,000,000
  Duties on wool,                        17,000,000
  General duties,                        48,060,000
  Duties on brandy,                       4,525,000
  2 per cent duty on the Octrois,
    former grants of the Crown,             500,000
  Taxes on the houses in Madrid,          1,200,000
  1. King's domain in the Serrara,          140,000
  Post office and couriers,              34,000,000
  Tax on cards,                           1,000,000
  Stamp paper,                            4,312,000
  Tax on the taverns in Madrid,             196,000
  Various revenues farmed,                6,418,552
  2 Manufacture of glass at St Ildefonso, 1,500,000
  3 Manufactures of St Ferdinando and
    Guaudalaxa,                           1,800,000
  Extraordinary effects,                 35,000,000
  Books of Advocates and Attorneys,          62,000
  Fines in the chamber of Castille,          72,000
  Effects in the same chamber,              786,800
  Tax on the Grand Masters,               1,800,000
  Do. arising from the secular annals and
    vacancies,                            1,300,000
  Royal lottery,                          4,500,000
  Cruzada,                               20,000,000
  4 Effects of the kingdom of Navarre,   47,500,000
  American revenue[27],                 200,600,000
  Clergy,                                13,000,000


                                       Reals de vel.
  The Court[28],                        108,500,000
  5 Land forces,                        204,202,000
  6 Marine,                             100,000,000
  Secretary of the Indies,                8,000,000
  Department of Finance,                  4,500,000
  Favers and justice,                     1,100,000
  To support the tribunals,               8,422,769
  7 Secretary of state and foreign
    affairs,                              9,873,288
  8 Extraordinary expenses,              30,000,000

I subjoin the result of my inquiries touching the articles marked No.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

No. 1, 2, 3. The sums mentioned in the preceding statement as arising
from the revenues numbered as above may be deducted, as concurrent
testimony induces me to believe, that the expenses consume near the
whole of the revenue.

No. 4. I have been also assured, that this article is much

No. 5. The expenses of this establishment have greatly increased, but
I have not been able to ascertain the sum.

No. 6. I have heard from good authority, that the expenses of the
marine in 1776 amounted to one hundred and twentyfour millions of
reals, owing to the expedition against Portuguese America. In 1777
they amounted to eightyeight millions of reals, and in 1779 to near
four hundred millions of reals; which information induces me to
conclude, that there were great arrears of the expenses of 1778, or
that the estimate for that year is not exact.

No. 7, 8. The expenses of these departments have greatly augmented.


[27] The American revenue is difficult to ascertain from this
circumstance; that not arriving regularly and annually, it is
necessary to have the receipts for several years to be able to form an
exact calculation of the modium communibus annis.

[28] The birth of the Infant has increased the Court expenses.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                          Madrid, November 30th, 1780.


I have had the honor of receiving from you a letter of the 16th of
June, and another of the 12th of July, 1780, with the several papers
mentioned in them. With respect to the subjects of the first, you will
find them fully discussed in my letter to the President of Congress,
which will accompany this. The description of the bills will, I hope,
answer good purposes.

How far the resolution, which immediately follows the one respecting
Mr Dohrman, can be fully executed, is hard to determine. Had I funds
necessary for the purpose, I should meet with few difficulties. The
measure is a wise one, and my attention to it shall be unremitted. In
a future letter I shall say more on this subject; as yet nothing has
had time to ripen.

I must request your attention to the necessity of putting your
correspondence with the public servants in Europe on a better
footing. I am now at the expense of sending Colonel Livingston to the
sea side with my despatches, with orders to wait for American vessels,
and deliver them to the Captain with his own hands. I receive no
letters by the post, but with marks of inspection, and after much
delay. Some that I write never come to hand, and I know of letters
having arrived from America for me, which I have never seen, and never
expect to see. I know of but one man at the sea ports whom I can
confide in, viz. Mr Harrison, at Cadiz. I cannot even find a courier,
that I can depend on. Is it not time for America like other nations to
provide against these inconveniences by proper regulations and
establishments? Would it not be well to have American agents or
consuls in one or more of the ports of France and Spain? Public
despatches might be sent by packet boats, or other vessels to these
agents, and should on no account be delivered to any other person; the
agents might be ordered to send them to the Courts, to which they may
be directed, by a trusty American; one of the officers of the ship,
for example; and he should be ordered to wait for, and return with,
the despatches of the Minister.

Would it not also be proper to provide for the safe conduct of letters
to Congress after their arrival in America? I have reason not only to
suspect, but to believe, that certain persons in America are attentive
to these matters, and care should be taken to keep American letters
out of their way.

This is an important subject and merits attention. For my own part I
find several persons here, who have more intelligence from America
than myself; and it is the more mortifying when considered, that they
are probably often indebted for their information to the contents of
letters directed to me.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      INSTRUCTIONS TO JOHN JAY.

                                     In Congress, February 15th, 1781.


Congress having since their instructions to you of the 29th of
September, 1779, and 4th of October, 1780, relative to the claim of
the United States to the free navigation of the river Mississippi, and
to a free port or ports below the thirtyfirst degree of north
latitude, resumed the consideration of that subject, and being
desirous to manifest to all the world, and particularly to his
Catholic Majesty, the moderation of their views, the high value they
place on the friendship of his Catholic Majesty, and their disposition
to remove every reasonable obstacle to his accession to the alliance
subsisting between his Most Christian Majesty and these United States,
in order to unite the more closely in their measures and operations
three powers who have so great a unity of interests, and thereby to
compel the common enemy to a speedy, just, and honorable peace; have
resolved, and you are hereby instructed to recede from the
instructions above referred to, so far as they insist on the free
navigation of that part of the river Mississippi, which lies below the
thirtyfirst degree of north latitude, and on a free port or ports
below the same; provided such cession shall be unalterably insisted
upon by Spain; and provided the free navigation of the said river,
above the said degree of north latitude, shall be acknowledged and
guarantied by his Catholic Majesty to the citizens of the United
States in common with his own subjects. It is the order of Congress,
at the same time, that you exert every possible effort to obtain from
his Catholic Majesty the use of the river aforesaid, with a free port
or ports below the said thirtyfirst degree of north latitude for the
citizens of the United States, under such regulations and restrictions
only, as may be a necessary safeguard against illicit commerce.

I am, &c.

                                       SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, _President_.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY

                                                  February 20th, 1781.


The President sends you instructions passed in Congress the 15th.

Personally, I am mortified that no letters from you since September
16th have reached us. We have not waited for the minute information
promised in yours of that date, nor have we received any notice of
your receipt of our instructions of October 4th, before we discussed
anew the old subject. There has been unfair dealing with your
despatches. I apprehend that we are allowed to see only sentiments
somewhat different from yours. Perhaps the enclosed memorandum may be
some clue to your scrutiny.

On the 10th of January, Congress resolved to establish an office for
foreign affairs, which I hope will make your station more easy and
reputable. I wish most earnestly to have a choice made of the
secretary, to whom I may deliver all the papers in my possession
connected with his duty.

I am, Sir, your friend and humble servant,

                                                  JAMES LOVELL,
                                                  _For the Committee_.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                                      March 9th, 1781.


You will herewith receive gazettes and journals, also a resolve
respecting the complete ratification of the articles binding the
Thirteen States as a confederated body. The delay of that business
appears now like all the other circumstances of our rise and growth;
for the present is really the best of all times for that particular
event. Our enemies have been ripening themselves for this capital

We have no letters from you or Mr Carmichael later than those
mentioned in my last, a copy of which attends this.

I am, Sir, your friend and humble servant,

                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Madrid, March 22d, 1781.


I ought, and wish to write your Excellency a long letter, but not by
the post. The French fleet is not yet sailed. It will, in my opinion,
be late in the summer before the fleet at Rhode Island will be
reinforced. This Court has promised me one hundred and fifty thousand
dollars. Some clothing is now shipping on account of Congress from

Russia has offered her mediation to England and the States-General.
The latter have accepted it. The answer of the former (if given) is
not known here. If she should refuse, Russia will probably take part
with the Dutch; if she accepts, she will doubtless be obliged either
to agree to terms consistent with the armed neutrality, or continue
the war. The consequences of either are obvious.

M. Necker has published a state of the French finances, much to his
honor and their credit. Perhaps a complimentary order to translate and
publish it would be useful.

Mr Cumberland will set out on his return, through France, in a few

This letter is intended to go by Captain Trask, from Bilboa. I am told
he will sail much sooner than had been given out, and that unless my
letters go by this evening's post, they would arrive too late. Hence I
am obliged to write in haste, and say little, there being no time for
cyphers. I have received some letters from your Excellency. Their
dates shall be mentioned another time.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Madrid, April 25th, 1781.


I have had the honor of receiving your Excellency's letters of the 6th
and 17th of October last, with the enclosures. They arrived the 30th
day of January last. There is more than reason to suspect, that the
French Court were apprised of their contents before they arrived, and
to believe that the construction of the treaty, by which the
navigation of the Mississippi is supposed to be comprehended in the
guarantee, does not correspond with their ideas on that subject. This
Court continues pertinaciously to insist on our ceding that
navigation, nor will they, as yet, listen to any middle line. Whether
this be their real motive for declining a treaty with us at present,
or whether the bills drawn upon me have inspired an expectation of
profiting by our necessities, or whether they flatter themselves with
a future majority of Congress on that point, or whether they choose,
by continuing free from engagements with us, to be better enabled to
improve to their advantage the casualties of the war, are questions
which still remain undecided. Indeed, the movements of this Court in
general, when compared with the great rules of national policy
applicable to their situation, is so inexplicable, that I should not
be surprised, if it should appear in future, that they had no fixed
system whatever.

My last particular letter informed your Excellency, that having, in
September last, been told that his Majesty could not advance us any
money, but could be responsible for a loan to the amount of one
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, I determined to continue accepting
the bills, to attempt the loan, and by a representation of my
situation to the French Court, endeavor to save the necessity of
protesting them for non-payment.

I tried to borrow here on the security of this responsibility, but
without the least success. I attempted it in France, but it would not
do. I made the like attempt in Holland, and a gleam of hope appearing
there, I was about improving it, when a letter from America informed
me, that Mr Adams was authorised to execute the business, which had
been committed to Mr Laurens. I had heard before of his being in
Holland, but did not know the object which had called him there.
Several letters passed between Messrs De Neufville and myself on the
subject of this loan. The following is a copy of my last to them about

                       TO DE NEUFVILLLE & SON.

                                      "Madrid, January 8th, 1781.


    "I have had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 4th
    ult. together with the one referred to in it.

    "England has, it seems, declared war against the United
    Provinces, and that in a style of such eminent superiority,
    as I am persuaded will remind your countrymen, that the
    United Netherlands are not comprehended among the territories
    depending on the Crown of Great Britain.

    "The English Ministry, by charging the States with having
    acted under French influence, intend to alarm their national
    pride, and, by making Holland the particular object of their
    resentment, to sow the seeds of dissensions among them, and
    render that most important Province obnoxious to the others.
    The tone of the whole declaration is that of a nation going
    rather to give correction to disobedient vassals, than to war
    upon a free and independent people. It could have been
    assumed only upon a persuasion, that the same supposed
    timidity, to which they ascribed the long forbearance of the
    Dutch under multiplied insults and injuries, would, on this
    ostentatious display of terror, reduce them to the
    humiliating measure of imploring forgiveness for having acted
    like freemen, and purchasing peace at the expense of their
    honor and liberty. Every other nation must expect better
    things of you, and can never believe, that the present
    generation will want firmness to assert the rights and
    vindicate the honor of a Republic, which owes its very
    existence to the glorious spirit and magnanimity of its

    "It gives me great satisfaction to hear that Mr Adams has
    conversed with you on the subject of a loan, and I am
    persuaded that business will be much advanced by it. The
    impropriety of two loans at a time is evident. My chief
    motive in proposing one at the time I did was, that no time
    might be lost by the absence of Mr Laurens, in prosecuting a
    measure, which appeared to me highly useful to my country. I
    have no views or objects separate from her, and, provided she
    is effectually served, I am well content that the honor of
    doing it should devolve on others. As the management of our
    affairs in your country is committed to Mr Adams, I request
    the favor of you to give him all the aid in your power. When
    that gentleman went to Holland, I was ignorant of the
    business which called him thither; and the first knowledge I
    had of it was from America, long after Mr Laurens's capture.
    It cannot now be necessary, that my name should appear in the
    affair of the proposed loan, but should it be in my power to
    be useful, Mr Adams may rely upon my zealous endeavors to
    promote that, and every other measure for the public good.
    Indeed, as matters now stand, delicacy forbids me to
    interfere further than as a mere auxiliary to Mr Adams, to
    whom, and to whose affairs I beg you to extend the influence
    of that generous regard for America, which has placed you so
    high in the esteem of

    "Gentlemen, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

My last particular despatches contained a copy of my letter to Count
de Vergennes, requesting his aid. I received from Count de Montmorin
an extract of a letter he had received from the Minister on that
subject, in which he mentions the advances made to Dr Franklin, and
the improbability of his being able to assist me, but concluded with
saying, he would do his best. Shortly after, I received a letter from
Count de Vergennes, which left me without hopes of succor from that
quarter, except that Dr Franklin promised to accept my drafts to the
amount of twentyfive thousand dollars.

In December following, I had a long and interesting conference with
Count de Florida Blanca, the particulars of which it is not necessary
minutely to enumerate by this opportunity. He expressly promised me
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. As the bills afterwards became
due, I applied for money to pay them, and received it to the amount of
thirtyfour thousand eight hundred and eighty dollars.

On the 15th of March I sent him a list of the bills payable in April,
which amounted to eightynine thousand and eightythree dollars.

On the 25th, I was informed that the payment of this sum could not
then be possibly made, but that the balance due on the one hundred and
fifty thousand dollars promised, should be paid in the course of six

I communicated this matter to the Ambassador of France, and I must do
him the justice to say, that his conduct on this occasion merits our
thanks. All he could obtain from this Court was, that the amount of
the April bills should be paid me in six equal monthly payments. This
arrangement still leaving me unprovided with the means of satisfying
the approaching demands, the Ambassador made personal application to a
rich banker here, and on his personal credit and my consenting that
the aforesaid six monthly payments should be applied to the repayment,
obtained a loan for me of the whole sum wanted for April. I have
passed my note for it, payable as soon as possible, with interest at
the rate of six per cent. But this provision not extending beyond
April, the fate of the bills payable in the succeeding months still
remained dubious. That nothing in my power might be left undone, I
sent on the 1st of April an express to Dr Franklin representing to him
my true situation, and the injuries our credit would sustain from the
protest of a single bill drawn by order of Congress. I desired him to
communicate my letter to Colonel Laurens, to whom I also wrote on the
subject. The express returned on the 19th instant, with a letter from
Dr Franklin, by which I am authorised to draw upon him as occasion may
require, to the amount of one hundred and fortytwo thousand two
hundred and twenty dollars, towards paying the bills that become due
between May and September.

My endeavors, however, to obtain further aids from Spain, shall not be
relaxed. They seem very desirous of having the ships of the line,
still unfinished on the stocks at Boston and Portsmouth. I have
written to your Excellency on this subject, and have as yet received
no answer. When I consider that the state of our finances has so long
prevented the completing those ships, and the difficulties heretofore
experienced in providing for those in service; when I recollect that
the finishing and fitting out those ships will bring money into our
country, and probably prepare the way for Spain's building more
vessels in it, and lastly, when I consider how much these ships seem
to be an object, I am almost prevailed upon to engage positively that
Spain shall have at least one of them at prime cost. To exercise a
power not clearly within the limits of those confided to me, is a
delicate and disagreeable business. This is the first time I ever
found myself disposed to hazard it, and yet so many circumstances lead
me to think, that the public good would be promoted by the sale of
these ships, that in case I should be again pressed on this subject, I
believe I shall run the risk, from a persuasion that though such
conduct ought not to be approved or encouraged by Congress, yet that
when directed by the purest motives, and for the best purpose, it may
obtain forgiveness.

Your Excellency will receive herewith enclosed a copy of the invoice
of prize clothing, taken by Admiral Cordova, and presented by the
Courts of France and Spain to Congress. The Count de Montmorin was
very much an American on this occasion also. Mr Harrison, at Cadiz,
has my orders to ship these goods in different vessels to America;
part of them is now on the ocean, and the rest will soon follow. Your
Excellency will receive a letter of advice with each parcel from Mr
Harrison, of whom I have a very good opinion. He charges no commission
for doing this business, being contented with the satisfaction of
serving his country.

I have often mentioned to Congress the necessity of more effectual
provision for our captive seamen; for want of money I cannot pay that
attention to them, which their misfortunes and usefulness demand. I am
already greatly in arrears on their account, and Mr Harrison, unless
reimbursed, must soon stop his hand.

Portugal, though overawed by France and Spain, fears and perhaps
loves England; her conduct will be determined by future events. The
Minister here has promised me to interpose the good offices of his
Court with that of Lisbon in our behalf. In time something good may
result from it. I have not received a line from Mr Dohrman; I fear he
is obliged to be very circumspect and cautious. The letters herewith
enclosed from Dr Franklin were left open for my perusal, the short
stay of my courier not allowing time for copies to be made of the
information conveyed in and with them. The intercepted letters will be
found interesting. One of them ascertains the price paid Arnold.

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

Your Excellency may rely on my cordially adopting and pursuing any
measures, that can conduce to the enlargement of Mr Laurens, and I
regret that no occasion has yet offered in which I could do anything
towards the attainment of that desirable object.

Mr Cumberland is on the road home. I much suspect that he was sent and
received, from mutual views in the two Courts of deceiving each other.
Which of them has been most successful is hard to determine. I believe
in point of intelligence, England has had the advantage. As to the
assurances of the Minister on this subject, they are all of little
consequence, because on such occasions Courts only say what may be
convenient; and therefore may or may not merit confidence. Time and
circumstances will cast more light on this subject.

Whatever we may get from this Court is clear gain. We have no demands
upon it, and if we had, are not in a capacity to insist upon them. In
my opinion, therefore, it is of the utmost importance to avoid
appearances of discontent, and rather to impress other nations with
an opinion of the friendship of Spain for us, than otherwise. Indeed,
I really believe the King means well towards us, and that the Prime
Minister is also well disposed; but whether as much can be said of the
Minister's confidential and I believe influential secretary, M. Del
Campo, is by no means a clear point. It is proper that Congress should
know, that the gentleman intended to succeed M. Mirales was
recommended by M. Del Campo, with whom he has long been on terms of
intimacy and friendship.

I have nevertheless no room to doubt of this gentleman's attachment to
our cause, though I am inclined to think his conduct will be
conformable in a certain degree with the views of his patron. This
ought to remain a secret. He is still here, although he expects daily
to be despatched.

I represented the case of the Dover cutter to the Ministry here the
22d of June last. In December I obtained a promise that it should be
appraised, and the value paid to the captors, and two days ago I was
again assured, that measures were taking to bring this matter to a
conclusion. _Festina Lente_ seems to be the first maxim in Spanish
politics and operations. It is the fashion of the country and
strangers must conform to it.

I congratulate Congress on the victory obtained by General Morgan, and
the success of the French in the Chesapeake. The enclosed gazette
contains much good news from the East Indies. These events will
probably give Lord George Germain other ideas than those which appear
in his intercepted letters.

M. Toscan, who goes to reside as Vice Consul of France at Boston, will
carry this letter to America, and perhaps to Philadelphia. He was
ready to set out when my courier returned from France. I was obliged
to delay my letters till his arrival, and M. Toscan has been so
obliging as to wait till I could complete them.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                          In Congress, May 28th, 1781.


Your letter of the 6th of November last, detailing your proceedings
from the 26th of May down to that period, has been received by the
United States in Congress assembled. At the same time was received
your letter of the 30th of November, with the several papers therein
referred to.

It is with pleasure, Sir, I obey the direction of Congress to inform
you, that throughout the whole course of your negotiations and
transactions, in which the utmost address and discernment were often
necessary to reconcile the respect due to the dignity of the United
States with the urgency of their wants, and the complaisance expected
by the Spanish Court, your conduct is entirely approved by them. It is
their instruction that you continue to acknowledge, on all suitable
occasions, the grateful impression made on these States by the
friendly disposition manifested toward them by his Catholic Majesty,
and particularly by the proofs given of it in the measures which he
has taken, and which it is hoped he will further take, for preserving
their credit, and for aiding them with a supply of clothing for their
army. You are also authorised and instructed to disavow, in the most
positive and explicit terms, any secret understanding or negotiation
between the United States and Great Britain; to assure his Catholic
Majesty, that such insinuations have no other source than the
invidious designs of the common enemy, and that as the United States
have the highest confidence in the honor and good faith both of his
Most Christian and of his Catholic Majesty, so it is their inviolable
determination to take no step, which shall depart in the smallest
degree from their engagements with either.

Should the Court of Spain persist in the refusal intimated by its
Minister to accede to the treaty between the United States and his
Most Christian Majesty, or to make it the basis of its negotiation
with you, the difficulty, it is conceived, may easily be avoided by
omitting all express reference to that treaty, and at the same time
conforming to the principles and tenor of it; and you are accordingly
authorised so far to vary the plan of your original instructions. As
his Most Christian Majesty however may justly expect, in a matter
which so nearly concerns him, and which was brought into contemplation
in the treaty he so magnanimously entered into with these States, the
strongest marks of attention and confidence, you will not fail to
maintain, in the several steps of your negotiation, a due
communication with his Minister at the Court of Spain, and to include
his interests as far as circumstances will warrant.

You are authorised to acquaint his Catholic Majesty that not only
entire liberty will be granted, during the war at least, to export
naval stores for the royal marine, but that every facility will be
afforded for that purpose.

As Congress have no control over the captains of private vessels,
however proper your hints may be of obliging them to give a passage to
American seamen returning home from foreign ports, and to send an
officer with despatches intrusted to them for foreign Ministers, it is
impracticable to carry them into execution, you will therefore
continue to provide for these objects for the present, in the best
manner you can. As soon as the United States are in condition to
establish consuls in the principal ports of the States with which they
have intercourse, the difficulty will be removed; or if any other
practicable remedy be suggested in the meantime, it will be applied.

The letter, of which you enclose a copy, from Stephen d'Audibert
Caille, styling himself consul for unrepresented nations at the Court
of Morocco, had before been received through the hands of Dr Franklin.
If you shall have no objection to the contrary, you will correspond
with him, and assure him in terms the most respectful to the Emperor,
that the United States in Congress assembled entertain a sincere
disposition to cultivate the most perfect friendship with him, and
that they will embrace a favorable occasion to announce their wishes
in form.

The generous and critical services rendered these United States by
Messrs Neufville and Son, have recommended them to the esteem and
confidence of Congress. You will signify as much to them, and that
their services will not be forgotten, whenever a proper occasion
offers of promoting their interests.

Your intimation with respect to complimenting his Catholic Majesty
with a handsome, fast sailing packet-boat, claims attention; but the
variety of public embarrassments will render the execution of it very

Congress agree to an extension of Colonel Livingston's furlough, till
the further order of Congress, which you will make known to him.

Your letter of the 16th of September last was received on the 4th day
of December. No bills have been drawn on you since. That of the 28th
of January was received on the 27th day of April; and in consequence
of it the sale of the bills already drawn, but then remaining on hand,
was countermanded.

By a letter from Mr Carmichael, dated the 22d of February, and
received on the 27th of April last, Congress are informed that you had
received despatches from them dated in October. These must have
contained their instructions to you to adhere to the claim of the
United States to the navigation of the Mississippi. A reconsideration
of that subject determined Congress, on the 15th day of February last,
to recede from that instruction so far as it insisted on their claim
to the navigation of that river below the thirtyfirst degree of north
latitude, and to a free port or ports below the same. On the receipt
of this latter instruction, Congress have little doubt that the great
obstacle to your negotiations will be removed, and that you will not
only be able without further delay to conclude the proposed alliance
with his Catholic Majesty, but that the liberality and friendly
disposition manifested on the part of the United States by such a
cession, will induce him to afford them some substantial and effectual
aid in the article of money. The loss attending the negotiation of
bills of exchange has been severely felt. A supply of specie through
the Havana would be much more convenient and acceptable.

                                       SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, _President_.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Aranjues, May 29th, 1781.


My last to your Excellency was of the 25th ult. and was the more
particular, as Mr Toscan, who is appointed Vice Consul of France at
Boston, and was the bearer of it; he sailed from Bilboa.

On the 18th instant I received from Mr Lovell three letters written on
one sheet, viz. 20th of February, 9th and 31st of March last. No other
copies of these letters ever reached me. They arrived at Cadiz in the
Virginia; but the papers and journals said to accompany them never
came to my hands, nor have I received any letters from your Excellency
since January last.

On the 23d instant I waited upon his Excellency, the Count de Florida
Blanca, and informed him of the facts stated in the above memorial. He
said, he had not as yet heard anything upon the subject; that there
was such an ordinance, and that prudence demanded that the admission
of letters from abroad, especially in time of war, should be under the
direction of government. That the situation of North America rendered
new regulations necessary, that he would turn his thoughts to it, and
do what should appear equitable. The next day I sent him Mr Harrison's
memorial in a letter on the subject of it.

As this letter will go by the post, I must omit being minute about
many matters, which I wish to communicate to Congress. Cyphers would
probably impede the progress of this letter, if not stop it.

The captors of the Dover cutter still remain unsatisfied. My first
memorial on that subject was dated and presented the 22d of June last.
In the winter I was promised, that the prize should be appraised, and
the value paid. At present I am assured that informations about it are

M. Gardoqui, it is said, will set out in June. If a safe conveyance,
which I am encouraged to expect in about a fortnight's time, should
offer, I shall write your Excellency a long letter, and mention the
dates of my former ones. If not, I shall take another method, not
proper to explain in this letter, which, notwithstanding its different
covers, will, I doubt not, be inspected before it reaches Cadiz.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                         Philadelphia, June 4th, 1781.


I enclose a resolve of Congress, of May 24th, respecting an interest
of Messrs Dumain and Lyon, with their petition annexed. I also add the
copy of a resolve of September the 27th, 1780, and of a short letter
of mine to a gentleman in Teneriffe, to serve as a memorandum in case
you have not already procured justice for Mr Magnall and his
associates, who took the Dover cutter. Mr McCarrick of Santa Cruz is
knowing to all the circumstances of that affair. Magnall has been
unfortunate from the time he left this place last October; he is now
here. I do not know whether this is the matter referred to in the
letter of Mr Carmichael of December 24th, where he says, "The Minister
also engaged to do justice to certain Americans, who carried a British
privateer to the Canaries." I send you an extract from instructions
given to Dr Franklin concerning M. d'Audibert Caille, which may serve
to govern your conduct towards that gentleman.

Your humble servant,

                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                        Philadelphia, June 15th, 1781.


On the 4th I transmitted to you a resolve of May 24th, respecting an
interest of Messrs Dumain and Lyon, with their petition annexed. You
will herewith receive other copies of those papers by opportunities,
which the party concerned will industriously find. I recommend the
business afresh to your attention, those worthy men having already met
with vexatious delays on this side of the water.

With much esteem I am, Sir, your friend,

                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      ROBERT MORRIS TO JOHN JAY.

                                         Philadelphia, July 4th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

The derangement of our money affairs, the enormity of our public
expenditures, the confusion in all our departments, the languor of our
general system, the complexity and consequent inefficacy of our
operations; these are some among the many reasons which have induced
Congress to the appointment of a Superintendent of Finance. I enclose
you copies of their resolutions on that subject, with such other
papers as will fully explain to you my appointment and powers.

The use of this office must be found in a progress towards the
accomplishment of these two capital objects, the raising a revenue
with the greatest convenience to the people, and the expenditure of it
with the greatest economy to the public.

The various requisitions of Congress to the several States, none of
them entirely complied with, create a considerable balance in favor of
the United States, and the claiming this balance is delivered over to
me as revenue; while on the other hand, the dangerous practice of
taking articles for the public service and giving certificates to the
people, has created a very general and a very heavy debt. The amount
of this debt is swelled beyond all reasonable bounds, nor can the
extent of it be at present estimated. These things need no
explanation, but it may be proper to observe, that if the certificates
were not in my way, there is still an infinite difference between the
demand of a balance from the States, and an effectual revenue. The
latter can be obtained only in consequence of wise laws generally
adopted, and as generally executed with vigor and decision. Were all
that is necessary on these heads accomplished, something further would
still remain to be done, in order that the produce of taxes should he
subject to the sole and absolute disposition of the United States, or
of their officers. To you who are acquainted with republican
governments, it is unnecessary to observe on the delays which will
arise, the obstacles which will be raised, and the time which will be
consumed, in placing the revenue of America on a proper footing. Yet
this is absolutely necessary before credit can be established, and the
indispensable supplies obtained on terms of economy.

To reform our expenditure is an object of equal importance with the
other, and it is in some degree within my power, as you will perceive
it to have been subjected to my authority. But even here I find myself
trammeled by the want of necessary funds. To contract, for instance,
with any one, in order to obtain bread for our troops, requires the
previous certainty of being able to make the stipulated payments. And
so in every other case, I shall be unable to act with decision, unless
I have the command of money. On the other hand, the people will bear
with great reluctance the necessary imposition of heavy burthens,
while they can perceive any want of arrangement, method, or economy,
in the administration of their affairs.

If for a moment we suppose, that this country, amid the confusions of a
revolution, and the rage of war, could be governed with all the
regularity, wisdom, and prudence, of ancient and peaceable nations;
yet we must be convinced, that no annual revenue she is able to raise
could equal the annual expense in an offensive war against so powerful
a nation, as that which we now contend with. A great balance,
therefore, must remain, and it must be provided for by loans or

To expect loans within the United States, presupposes an ability to
lend, which does not exist in any considerable number of the
inhabitants. The personal property, not immediately engaged, either in
commerce or the improvement of lands, was never very considerable.
Little as it was, it has been greatly diminished by the pernicious
effects of a depreciating medium. This expedient, which was adopted in
the beginning from necessity, and too pertinaciously adhered to in the
sequel, has not only exhausted the funds of those who might have been
willing to trust the United States, but it has so wounded our public
credit, that even the will would be wanting if the ability existed,
which as I said before, it really does not.

While we have neither credit nor means at home, it is idle to expect
much from individuals abroad. Our foreign credit must be nurtured with
tenderness and attention before it can possess any great degree of
force, and it must be fed by substantial revenue, before we can call
it into active exertion or derive beneficial effects from its

All reasonable expectation, therefore, is narrowed down to the
friendly interposition of those sovereigns, who are associates in the
war. From Holland, we can properly ask nothing; nor is she, I believe,
in a capacity to grant it if we did ask. The active efforts of France
require all the resources of that great nation, and of consequence the
pecuniary aid which she affords us can but little advance the general
cause, however it may relieve our immediate distress.

We must then turn our eyes to Spain, and we must ask either loans or
subsidies to a very considerable amount. Small sums are not worth the
acceptance. They have the air of obligation without affording relief.
A small sum, therefore, is not an object to the United States, for
they do not mean to beg gratuities, but to make rational requests.

As Congress have empowered you to remove the obstacles, which have
hitherto impeded your negotiations, you will doubtless proceed with
prudent despatch in forming the important treaties, which are to be
the basis of our national connexion. Your own integrity, and the
dispositions which you certainly feel, as the true representative of
your Sovereign, to gratify the wishes of his Catholic Majesty, will
give you just claim to the confidence and friendly support of his
Ministers. And on the other hand, his Majesty's known piety and
justice, will certainly induce him to facilitate a permanent union
between the two countries, and to overturn that power, whose ambition
is known, felt, and detested, throughout the habitable globe.

Having a perfect confidence in the wisdom of his Majesty's Ministers,
I must request that you will submit to their consideration the
reasons, which operate in favor of the advances we expect. In doing
this, it will immediately strike you and them, that the enemy carries
on the operations against us at an expense infinitely greater than
that by which they are opposed. By enabling us, therefore, to increase
our resistance, and redouble our offensive efforts, the British will
be reduced to the necessity of increasing their force in America, or
of submitting beneath a decided superiority. Either must be fatal to
them. In the first instance, they will be crushed by the weight of
expense; and, in the second, they must, while they lose an actual
force, and part forever with the object in contest, feel the increased
weight of the American arms, and make head against those resources,
applied to a marine, which are now consumed in land operations.

Money ought, therefore, to be supplied to us from the Havana, which
will at the same time save the risk of transporting it to Europe,
while, as I have already observed, it must, when employed among us,
absolutely ruin the common enemy. For, when once they are driven from
the United States, they must, at a considerable expense, defend, or,
at a great loss, relinquish the rest of their American possessions;
and, in either case, the resources of this country will enable France
and Spain to carry on operations for the subjection of the British

With respect to our finance, I am further to observe, that the
resolutions of Congress, of the 18th of March, 1780, have neither been
so regularly adopted by the States as was hoped and expected, nor been
productive of those consequences, which were intended. It is
unnecessary to travel into the causes, or to explain the reasons of
this event. The fact is clear. The new money is depreciated, and there
is the strong evidence of experience to convince us, that the issuing
of paper, at present, must be ineffectual. Taxation has not yet been
pursued to that extent, which was necessary. Neither is it reasonable
to expect that it should. Time has been required under all governments
to accustom the people by degrees to bear heavy burdens. The people of
America have so patiently endured the various calamities of the war,
that there is good reason to expect they will not shrink at this late
hour from the imposition of just and equal taxes. But many
arrangements are necessary to this purpose, and, therefore, an
immediate pecuniary assistance is the more necessary to us. Our debts,
under which I comprise, as well those of the individual States, as
those of the Union, are but trifling, when we consider the exertions
which have been made. The debt I have already mentioned on
certificates is heavy, not from the real amount, but because it is
beyond what the supplies obtained were reasonably worth, and because
it impedes taxation and impairs its effects. But the amount of other
debts so small, that a few years of peace would bring it within the
bounds of a revenue very moderate, when compared with the wealth of
our country. You well know the rapid increase of that wealth, and how
soon it would relieve us from the weight of debts, which might be in
the first instance very burdensome. There can, therefore, be no doubt,
that we shall be able to pay all those, which it may be necessary to
contract. But, as I have already observed, our great difficulty is the
want of means in our people, and of credit in our government.

It gives me, however, very great pleasure to inform you, that the
determined spirit of the country is by no means abated either by the
continuance of the war, the ravages of our enemy, the expense of blood
and treasure we have sustained, or the artifices, falsehoods, and
delusions of an insidious foe. These last become daily more and more
contemptible in America, and it appears equally astonishing, that they
should longer attempt them here, or boast the success of such attempts
in Europe. Uniform experience has shown the futility of their efforts,
and the falsehood of their assertions. I know they take the advantage
of every little success to vaunt the prowess of their troops and
proclaim hopes of conquest, which they do not feel. But those, who
know anything of our history or situation, must have the utmost
contempt for all these gasconades. It is impossible they should make
impression upon any but weak minds, and I should hardly have thought
of mentioning them, but I learn by letters from Spain, that men, who
are uninformed, have been led into misapprehensions from
circumstances, which were here considered as trivial and even

I could hardly have supposed that our enemies had still the folly to
repeat, as I am told they do, that there is an English party in
America. Bribes and deceit have induced some wicked and weak men to
join them; but when we consider the sums they have expended, and the
falsehoods they have used, our wonder is not, that they have got so
many, but that they have gained so few. The independence of America is
considered here as established; so much so, that even those of
equivocal character accustom themselves to cherish the idea; for the
doubt is not now, whether an acknowledgment of it will take place, but
when that acknowledgment will be made. Our exertions also, in the
present moment, are not so much directed to establish our liberties,
as to prevent the ravages of the enemy, abridge the duration and
calamities of the war, and faithfully contribute to the reduction of a
power, whose ambition was equally dangerous and offensive to every

All reasonings on this subject must be deeply enforced, by paying
attention to what has happened in the Southern States. The progress of
the enemy, while in appearance it menaced the conquest of that
extensive region, tended only, in effect, to exhaust him by fruitless
efforts, so that at length a handful of men have rescued the whole
from his possession. The attack on Virginia (if the piratical
incursions there can deserve that name) has been equally futile. The
commanders may indeed have enriched themselves by plunder, and many
worthy families have been distressed; but what is the consequence?
Indignation and resentment have stimulated even the weak and indolent
to action. The wavering are confirmed, and the firm are exasperated,
so that every hour, and by every operation, they create enemies,
instead of gaining subjects.

Our armies, though not very numerous, are powerful. The regular troops
are so much improved in discipline and the habits of a military life,
that they are at least equal to any troops in the world. Our militia
are becoming more and more warlike, so as to supply the wants of
regular troops, when the enemy (taking advantage of that convenience,
which their ships afford them) transfer the scene of action from one
place to another. The number of the British diminishes daily, and of
consequence, our superiority becomes daily more decisive. The greatest
plenty of subsistence is to be had for our armies, and the prospects
from the present harvest are beyond all former experience. I wish I
could add, that clothing and military stores were as abundant as those
other requisites for war. This is not the case; our soldiers, indeed,
are well armed, and, in some degree, they are clothed. We have also
ammunition abundantly sufficient for the common operations of the
field. But many of our militia are unarmed, and the sieges, which will
be necessary to expel the enemy, must make a heavy deduction from our
military stores.

The proposed siege of New York will soon be commenced, and would
undoubtedly be successful, if we could maintain a decided superiority
at sea. This must depend on contingencies, which are not in our power,
nor perhaps in the power of any human being. I am not without hopes,
even if we should not possess that superiority; but the expense will,
from the want of it, be very considerably enhanced, and this is a
circumstance which I cannot but deplore, for I repeat it again, the
want of money can alone prevent us from making the greatest
exertions. What our exertions have already been, our enemies
themselves must acknowledge, and while from insidious views, they
assert that they could not make an impression on us with ninety
thousand soldiers and seamen, we are certainly authorised to conclude
from this confession, that these States form a considerable balance in
the scale against them.

I am now, therefore, again led to reiterate my request of a
considerable sum of money from Spain; for I also again repeat, that
small sums are not worth our acceptance, and I may add, they are
unworthy the dignity of his Catholic Majesty. There can be no doubt,
nor will the Spanish Ministry deny, that there is a considerable risk
in transporting their money from the new world to the old, besides,
that when expended there, it necessarily runs through the different
channels of commerce, to feed the wants and invigorate the forces of
the enemy. There is, therefore, a double policy in expending a part of
it here, where it can not only be brought with safety and despatch,
but be employed to an immense advantage, when compared with its
effects in Europe. If it be asked, what advantages Spain will derive
in particular during the war, and what recompense can be made her
after the peace? I answer, that the weakening more the common enemy by
a given sum, is in itself a great advantage, and that to do this, by
sparing the blood of Spanish subjects, is an advantage still greater.
I add, that when relieved from the enemy, we may assist her in the
reduction of the Floridas and Bahamas, and, perhaps, of Jamaica. We
shall then, also, be in a situation to secure Nova Scotia, thereby
depriving Great Britain of her principal resource for ship-timber, and
enable us to furnish that essential article to the navy of Spain, on
cheaper and better terms, than it can be had elsewhere. On this last
subject, I have further to observe, that there is hardly anything in
which the maritime power of Spain is so much interested; for if we do
not possess that country, it will be impracticable to furnish those
supplies of masts and spars, which both France and Spain may stand in
need of; so that, of consequence, their positive and absolute strength
at sea will be the less, while that of the enemy is positively and
absolutely greater. The comparative inferiority, therefore, will be
still more considerable. Nor is this all. A marine requires men, as
well as ships. The fisheries and collieries are two pillars, which
support the marine of Britain, so far forth as seamen are required.
But it is evident, that the fisheries could not long continue in her
hands, if she were deprived of Nova Scotia. Here again, we are also to
consider, that there is an immense difference between that patient
resistance, whose opposition must at length weary the enemy into
granting our independence, and those vigorous active operations, which
may wrest from them their present possessions. Money is necessary for
the latter, and I can say with confidence, that money alone is

But to return. The advantages which will flow to Spain at a peace,
from giving effectual aid to our finances now, will be, in the first
place, the common compensation of repayment, should his Catholic
Majesty prefer loans to subsidies. The having expelled the English
from the Bay of Mexico, and having, by that means, prevented the
contraband commerce, so destructive to his revenue, will be another
striking advantage, which cannot have escaped the penetration of his
Ministers. But this is not all. The opening a port in East Florida, on
the shores of the Atlantic, under proper regulations and
restrictions, would enable us to carry on a commerce very advantageous
to Spain, because we could furnish all such supplies of provisions,
&c. as their possessions might stand in need of, and in return, take
at port, cocoa, logwood, Nicaragua wood, and, indeed, any other
commodities, which his Catholic Majesty should find it for the
advantage of his dominions to permit the exportation of. Our commerce
with Spain is also, in itself, a very considerable object. At this
moment, we take from thence wine, oil, fruit, silk, cloth, &c. And
after the conclusion of the war, our remittances of wheat, corn, fish,
and naval stores, will be of very great consequence to the commerce of
that country. Another article of commerce will be the building of
ships, which can be had on cheaper and better terms here than
elsewhere; and there can be no doubt but that the construction of
ships in this country is equal, if not superior, to that in any other.
Even now, ships might be built on his Majesty's account, though by no
means so cheaply as in times of peace; besides that, as there is now
no seasoned timber in the country, such ships would not be durable,
and, therefore, it might, perhaps, be imprudent to get any more than
are immediately necessary.

To all the other advantages, which would arise to his Catholic
Majesty, I may add, (although that is not so properly within my
department,) the security, which his dominions would derive from our
guarantee. This is an advantage, which must be the more evident from a
consideration of what might have happened, had this country continued
in union with Great Britain, and had Great Britain pursued those
schemes of universal empire, which the virtue and fortitude of America
first checked, and which it is the object of the present war to
frustrate. Our enemies do, I know, allege, that our weakness is unable
to withstand them, and that our force is dangerous to Spain. The
serious refutation of such absurd contradictions would involve an
absurdity. It may not, however, be improper to observe, that the
attention of this country, for a century past, has been, and for a
century to come, most probably will be, entirely turned to agriculture
and commerce. We must always, therefore, be useful neighbors, and
never dangerous, except to those who may have views of dominion. Spain
can never be in this predicament, though the British may and will.
Their solicitude, therefore, to inspire apprehensions of us is, and
ought to be, the strongest argument against entertaining them. But, if
this evident reasoning did not exist, still the conduct of Congress,
with regard to his Catholic Majesty, has been so just, and even
generous, not only in being willing to secure his rights, but to
gratify him by foregoing their own, that there is not room for the
shadow of suspicion. This conduct, I should suppose, would alone have
weight sufficient to procure what it is my object to request, if the
other very cogent and conclusive reasons for it did not apply. And,
after all, if it be considered how much greater is the interest of
Spain at the vigorous continuance of the present war, than that of any
other of the associates, I cannot permit myself one moment to doubt of
your success. I am the more sanguine from the character of the
Catholic King, and of his Ministers, for wisdom, candor, and
integrity. These qualities will, I am sure, meet such corresponding
dispositions in the United States, that the most thorough harmony and
coalition must inevitably take place. This is an object of the
greatest importance to both countries. Mutual benefits and the
reciprocation of good offices will endear a connexion between them,
and their interests require that this connexion should be of the
closest kind.

In every point of view, therefore, that we can consider the subject,
the advance I have mentioned must appear alike beneficial. If the
Governor of Cuba, or any other person, were duly authorised,
stipulations might even now be entered into for furnishing all
necessary supplies of provisions to the fleets and armies of his
Catholic Majesty, which would certainly facilitate their operations.
The advance of money also by Spain would enable the fleets and troops
of France to subsist cheaper than at present, because it would tend to
raise the exchange here, which is now too low.

Your own good sense will suggest to you many other most forcible
arguments, as well as the proper time and manner of applying them. It
is necessary to mention, that the sum of five million dollars may,
perhaps, be sufficient for our present emergencies; but if a greater
sum can be obtained, we shall thereby become more extensively useful.
Whatever the grant may be, it will be proper that it be sent hither in
some Spanish ships of war from the Havana, or advanced to us there; in
which latter case, we will devise the means of bringing it away.
Whether to ask for subsidies, or loans, as well as the terms on which
either are to be obtained, these, Sir, are objects, which you are
fully competent to determine upon. I have only to wish that your
applications may meet with that success, which I am confident you will
not fail to merit. As the means of facilitating your views, I shall
apply to the Minister of his Most Christian Majesty here, to write on
the same subject to the French Ambassador at Madrid. The generous
conduct of France gives just ground of reliance on her friendly
assistance; and you are too well convinced of this, not to act in the
most perfect harmony with the servants of that Court, especially on an
occasion so important as the present. I need not stimulate your
activity, by observing how precious is every moment of time in those
affairs, on which the fate of Empires depends; nor need I suggest the
importance of a treaty, and particularly a subsidiary treaty with
Spain, in that moment, when the judgment of Europe is to be passed on
the fate of America. For, however impracticable it may be to subdue
us, it is undoubtedly of moment to hasten the approach of that period,
when the acknowledgment of our independence shall give the blessings
of peace to so many contending nations. To spare the present lavish
effusion of blood and treasure, is a serious object with those, who
feel, as you do, the emotions of benevolence; and I am confident, that
the patriotism, which has inspired your conduct, will prompt you to
obtain a peace honorable for your country and advantageous to her
friends. The only probable method to effect these things, is a
thorough union of forces and resources, to reduce the pride and power
of that aspiring nation, whose ambition embroils the universe.

With all possible respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      ROBERT MORRIS TO JOHN JAY.

                                         Philadelphia, July 7th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

This will accompany my former letter of the 4th instant, which you
will perceive to be so written, as that it may be shown, if
necessary, to the Spanish Minister. You will make such use of it as
prudence may dictate. I would gladly now give you details of our
situation and plans for reforming it, but I have not yet sufficiently
obtained the one, nor matured the other. Whenever I am in capacity to
apprize you fully of these things, you shall hear from me at large on
the subject. At present I can only inform you that a sum of hard money
will, from particular circumstances, afford us relief and turn to our
advantage far beyond what might be supposed from the amount. Although
I have stated the demand at five millions, yet I beg you will take as
much as you can obtain, though it be far short of that sum. But at the
same time, I repeat, that a very small one is not worth the
acceptance. Knowing our wants to be great, you will judge properly as
to what we can accept consistently with our dignity.

I enclose you a cypher, and with the duplicate of my letters I will
send you another. Should both arrive safe, you will be so kind as to
hand one to Mr Carmichael, letting me know which you keep and write

I have the honor to be your Excellency's most obedient and humble

                                                        ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      ROBERT MORRIS TO JOHN JAY.

                                    Office of Finance, July 9th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

Observing by your correspondence with Congress, that you are put to a
good deal of expense by American seamen arriving from captivity at
Cadiz, where they also grow very troublesome, I offer the following
proposal to your consideration. Authorise Mr Harrison, or whoever may
be your agent at Cadiz, to enter into contracts with such Americans as
present themselves for the bounty of their country, to proceed from
Cadiz, in such ship or vessel as he may provide for the purpose, for
such port within the United States as he may appoint, at the monthly
wages of six or eight Spanish dollars, to be paid as soon after their
arrival in America as the cargo of the vessel shall be landed. After
they sign such contract, he is to supply their wants sparingly, until
he collects a sufficient number to man a suitable vessel, which he may
procure either by charter or purchase, whichever may be in his power,
and shall appear most eligible at the time. If he charter, it should
be on such terms that the owners risk their vessel, putting in their
own master, and, if they choose it, part of the seamen. The vessel to
be loaded with salt for account and risk of the United States; freight
so much per bushel or so much per ton to America and back. But in that
case, let it be always a condition, that the vessel may be ordered
from the first place she arrives, to any one other port in America;
because, it may happen that she will arrive where there cannot be got
a cargo to load her back, or where the salt would be of no use.

If your funds will admit of it, and vessels can be furnished cheap,
this would be the more eligible mode of doing the business, because I
could then either send the vessels back, or sell, as might suit best.
In case of purchase, they should be fast sailers, with good sails and
rigging, well found and fitted, and if armed, so much the better.
Honest, active, industrious, and faithful masters must be provided for
these vessels, and they must all come addressed to my order, directed
for this port, with liberty however to get into any safe port they
can. The master to give me immediate notice of his arrival, when I
shall give proper orders, or probably have them previously ready. An
account of the moneys advanced to each person on board these vessels,
as well as the cost and outfit of the ship and cost of the cargo, must
be sent me by each vessel, in order that proper deductions may be made
from the people, and proper credits be given for the costs. You will
observe, I am duly empowered by Congress to export and import for
account and risk of the United States; and I think this plan so likely
to benefit the public, that I very freely give my sanction to it,
provided you can find the money. Your agent must give me regular
advice of every expedition, and inform you also whenever he commences
them. When a ship is provided and a master appointed, all the men
should sign articles for the voyage in the common form.

I am, Dear Sir, &c.

                                                        ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      ROBERT MORRIS TO JOHN JAY.

                                        Philadelphia, July 13th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

I enclose you in this packet the plan of a national bank, which I have
been induced to adopt for the following reasons. The issuing of a
large paper medium converted the coin of the country into a commodity,
so that much of it was exported and the remainder concealed. The
depreciation of our paper has so lessened our currency, that there is
not a sufficiency for commerce and taxation, without creating by the
latter such distress in the former, as must injure every order of men
in the community. It is necessary, therefore, to fill up the
deficiency in such proportion as it may be called, and with such
medium as may preserve its value.

I have already in my letter of the 4th instant stated the want of
ability in the people to lend, and of credit in the government to
borrow. An additional reason, therefore, for establishing a bank is,
that the small sums advanced by the holders of bank stock may be
multiplied in the usual manner by means of their credit, so as to
increase the resource, which government can draw from it, and at the
same time, by placing the collected mass of private credit between the
lenders and borrowers, supply at once the want of ability in the one,
and of credit in the other.

An additional reason for this institution is, to supply the place of
all our other paper, which it is my design to absorb as soon as
possible, and thereby to relieve the people from those doubts and
anxieties, which have weakened our efforts, relaxed our industry, and
impaired our wealth. But this must not be done, without the
substitution of other paper, for reasons which I have already
assigned, and because that our commerce would suffer for the want of
that facility in money transactions, which paper alone can give.

Finally, one very strong motive, which has impelled my conduct on this
occasion, is to unite the several States more closely together, in one
general money connexion, and indissolubly to attach many powerful
individuals to the cause of our country, by the strong principle of
self-love, and the immediate sense of private interest. It may not be,
perhaps, improper to show and explain this plan to the Spanish
Ministry. They will then perceive how, by an advance of money, they
may in this instance increase our resources and our efforts in a
degree much superior to the immediate sum, and they may be assured,
that on a variety of other occasions, similar benefits will result
from it. I take this opportunity, however, to observe to you, that I
do not mean this, or any other communication, should be absolutely
made. It is, on the contrary, my unalterable opinion, that a prudent
Minister on the spot should be left to act with large discretionary
power, being always furnished with such details, as will enable him to
judge with propriety, and act with decision.

It will undoubtedly strike your observation, that the sum of four
hundred thousand dollars is very small, considering the object which
it is my design to effect. I acknowledge that it is so, and when I
tell you, that I was very apprehensive that we should be unable to
fill a larger subscription, and when I add, that it is far from
certain we shall get all of this moderate sum, you will see still more
clearly the force of those observations which I have already made. But
it is weakness to be deterred by difficulties from a proper pursuit. I
am, therefore, determined that the bank shall be well supported, until
it can support itself, and then it will support us. I mean that the
stock, instead of four hundred thousand dollars, shall be four hundred
thousand pounds, and perhaps more. How soon it will rise to that
amount, it is impossible to foresee. But this we may venture to
assert, that if a considerable sum of specie can be speedily thrown
into it, the period when its force and utility will be felt and known
is not far off.

After I had determined to make the application to the Court of Madrid,
which is contained in my letters, it was my next object to obtain for
you such support as might materially favor your operations. For this
purpose I have written to Dr Franklin, and have told him, that you
would receive by this conveyance, and forward to him, copies of those
resolutions and letters, which may be necessary to explain my
appointment and powers. I lay this task on your Secretaries, because
the want of clerks in my office, and the many things to be done,
together with the short time allowed me by the departure of the
vessel, prevent me from having duplicates made out. I have written to
the Doctor to apply to the Court of Versailles, to further your
negotiations with their influence. I am confident his application will
not be unsuccessful; but how you may derive most benefit from the
cooperation of the French Court, you best can tell. Major Franks,
therefore, is instructed to take your orders for Passy, and return
thence to Philadelphia; so that you will have an opportunity of
communicating fully with the Doctor on any subject you think proper.
You may write to me by any opportunity, if this should arrive safe,
because our cypher will prevent you from being exposed to interested
or impertinent curiosity.

To obtain for you still further assistance, I have applied (in the
absence of M. de la Luzerne, who is gone to camp,) to M. de Marbois
for letters to their Ambassador at the Court of Madrid. I have stated
my views, my hopes, and wishes, with that candor which is proper on
such occasions, and which I wish to preserve on all occasions. M. de
Marbois has, in consequence, written a letter on the subject, in which
he informs the Ambassador of our conversation, states the disorders of
our finances, and makes polite mention of my operations, my designs,
and abilities, as well as the confidence reposed in me by Congress,
and by the people at large. He details the proposed plans, and
particularly that of the Bank, and shows forcibly the advantages,
which would result from a considerable advance of money by Spain. He
assigns also very proper reasons to show why it ought to be
considerable, if it be made at all. The great interest of France in
this business, as well as the open and candid manner, which has marked
all transactions I have hitherto had with the Minister of that nation,
induces me to believe that this letter is more than a compliment, and
that as it is intended, so it will operate to produce the desired

That nothing in my power might be wanting to the success of a
business, which you must be convinced I have very much at heart, I
have also applied to Don Francisco Rendon, who at present acts here
for Spain, and I have every reason to believe that he will write to
the Spanish Court such a letter as I wish. But after all, much, my
Dear Sir, must depend on your prudence, your activity, and your
attentions to incline, to stimulate, to lead the Ministry into our
views, to remove the obstacles, surmount the difficulties, and crush
the procrastinations, which retard the completion of an object so
essential to your country. I am happy to add, that I have the utmost
confidence in your abilities, your industry, and integrity.

There is a possibility that money may be obtained from Portugal, and
though I confess there is not a very solid ground to build on, and
though it must be owned that appearances are against us, yet I think
it best not too much to trust appearances, either favorable or
unfavorable, and to leave nothing unattempted which may be useful. It
was for reasons of this sort that my letter of the 9th instant, which
I enclose you a copy of, was written to Congress. In consequence of
it, on the 11th they passed a resolution, of which I also enclose you
a copy, and have only to add, that you will act entirely according to
your own discretion on this occasion. I cannot pretend to know the
situation of the Court of Lisbon, and therefore I will not attempt to
measure out a line of conduct to be pursued there. You are, for every
reason, more competent to this business than I am, and therefore I
submit it to your management entirely.

You will observe that a material part of my letter of the 9th remains
unnoticed by Congress. The Committee had not yesterday reported upon
it. Should anything be done previous to the departure of this vessel,
you shall know it. But you are so well acquainted with the delays
incident to public assemblies, that you will not be surprised if you
hear nothing further on the subject.

It is unnecessary for me to make any other mention of Major Franks,
except to inform you, that after a critical examination into his
conduct by a court of inquiry, he was honorably acquitted of all
improper connexion with his late General.[29] For the rest, you are
perfectly acquainted with him, and will therefore take that notice of
him which he deserves.

I am, Dear Sir, your most obedient and humble servant,

                                                        ROBERT MORRIS.


[29] Major Franks was Aid to General Arnold at the time his treachery
was discovered, but he was honorably acquitted from all suspicion of
having any knowledge of Arnold's designs.

       *       *       *       *       *

       _Plan of a Bank, referred to in the preceding Letter._

    1. That a subscription be opened for four hundred thousand
    dollars, in shares of four hundred dollars each, to be paid
    in gold or silver.

    2. That the subscription be paid into the hands of George
    Clymer and John Nixon, or their agents.

    3. That any subscriber of less than five shares, pay the
    whole sum on the day of his subscription.

    4. That every subscriber of five shares or upwards, pay one
    half the sum on the day of his subscription, and the other
    half within three months of that day.

    5. That every holder of a share shall be entitled to vote by
    himself, his agent, or proxy, properly appointed, at all
    elections for directors, and that he have as many votes as he
    holds shares. And that every subscriber may sell and transfer
    his share or shares at his pleasure, the transfer being made
    in the bank book, in presence and with the approbation of the
    proprietor or his lawful attorney, the purchaser then to
    become entitled to the right of voting, &c.

    6. That there be twelve directors chosen from among those
    entitled to vote, who at this first meeting shall choose one
    as president.

    7. That there be a meeting of the directors quarterly, for
    the purpose of regulating the affairs of the bank; any seven
    of the directors to make a board, and that the board have
    power to adjourn from time to time.

    8. That the board of directors determine the manner of doing
    business, and the rules and forms to be pursued, appoint the
    various officers, which they may find necessary, and dispose
    of the money and credit of the bank for the interest and
    benefit of the proprietors, and make from time to time such
    dividends out of the profits as they may think proper.

    9. That the board be empowered from time to time, to open new
    subscriptions, for the purpose of increasing the capital of
    the bank on such terms and conditions as they shall think

    10. That the board shall, at every quarterly meeting, choose
    two directors to inspect and control the business of the bank
    for the ensuing three months.

    11. That the inspectors so chosen shall, on the evening of
    every day, Sundays excepted, deliver to the superintendent of
    the finances of America, a state of the cash account, and of
    the notes issued and received.

    12. That the bank notes, payable on demand, shall by law be
    made receivable in the duties and taxes of every State in the
    union, and from the respective States, by the Treasury of the
    United States, as specie.

    13. That the superintendent of the finances of America shall
    have a right at all times to examine into the affairs of the
    bank, and for that purpose shall have access to all the books
    and papers.

    14. That any director or officer of the bank, who shall
    convert any of the property, monies, or credits thereof to
    his own use, or shall any other way be guilty of fraud or
    embezzlement, shall forfeit all his share or stock to the

    15. That laws shall be passed making it felony, without
    benefit of clergy, to commit such fraud or embezzlement.

    16. That the subscribers shall be incorporated under the name
    of the President, Directors and Company of the Bank of North

    17. That none of the directors shall be entitled to any
    pecuniary advantage for his attendance on the duties of his
    office of director, or as president, or inspector, unless an
    alteration in this respect shall hereafter be made by the
    consent of a majority of the stockholders at a general

    18. That as soon as the subscription shall be filled, Mr
    George Clymer and Mr John Nixon shall publish a list of the
    names and sums respectively subscribed, with the places of
    abode of the subscribers, and appoint a day for the choice of
    directors, to whom, when chosen, they shall deliver over the
    money by them received.

                  _Observations on the above Plan._

ART. 1st. The objects and use of a bank are too obvious to need
illustration. But it may not be amiss to take notice, that the first
moment of its getting into action, the credit arising from its funds
can be made use of by the government of the United States in
anticipation of taxes, in consequence of special agreements to be made
between their superintendent of Finance and the directors for that
purpose; and as the capital and credit of the bank increase, so may
this mode of anticipation be increased, to answer all the purposes of
government. It is, however, evident at the first view, that four
hundred thousand dollars are not sufficient for those purposes, nor
those of private commerce, because no considerable circulation of
paper can be founded on so narrow a basis; yet it is dangerous to
attempt more. It is not possible to determine what is the highest sum,
that could speedily be obtained by subscription. To ask more than
could be obtained would have a fatal effect; to ask less is a partial
evil. It is, however, an evil which admits of a remedy, as is
provided in the plan.

ART. 2d. Before the corporation is formed, and much more so before the
subscription is opened, by which the company is to be determined, no
authority can be bestowed under the corporation. At the same time, it
must be remembered, that in circumstances like ours, the loss of time
involves in it the loss of many advantages. It becomes necessary,
therefore, to appoint individuals to manage the subscription and
receive the money. Mr Clymer and Mr Nixon having been formerly
directors of the Bank of Pennsylvania, and being thereby generally
known in that line, their names naturally present themselves for this

ART. 3d & 4th. The difference as to payments of large and small, is so
common an incitement to subscribers, on such occasions, as to speak
for itself.

ART. 5th. The subscribers, it is expected, will consist of citizens of
every State in the Union; and, possibly, foreigners may subscribe or
purchase bank stock; therefore the necessity and propriety of enabling
them to vote by proxy; and this being a monied institution, it is just
that every share be entitled to a vote.

ART. 6th. As the stockholders will mostly be absent from the place
where the bank is kept, the number of twelve seems quite sufficient
for the direction, as they will generally be chosen from the
residents, and there ought to be room left for rotation among these.

ART. 7th & 8th. This plan, if adopted, will be considered as the
constitution of the Bank, and therefore necessary to establish in it
the powers of government by by-laws, rules, and regulations, and
making dividends out of the profits; it is meant that they should
annually pay a dividend of five or six per cent to the proprietors of
the stock, and then settling the accounts of the bank, declare
publicly, if necessary to give credit and confidence, what capital
remains after such dividend. It will be observed, that such dividends
are confined to be made out of the profits; consequently, the capitals
can never be touched.

ART. 9th. When the directors, by paying a dividend out of the profits,
establish the credit of the bank firmly in the minds of the
stockholders, and by declaring the capital stock at the same time to
be increased, give it equal confidence in the general opinion, there
is little doubt but they may open new subscriptions for increasing the
capital with certainty of success.

ART. 10th, 11th & 12th. As credit is the soul of all operations of
this kind, every precaution should be taken to support it. In the
course of things, much of the private property of America may be
dependent on the conduct of affairs at the bank. Care, therefore,
should be taken to prevent fraud and mismanagement. If the
transactions were opened to public inspection, it would be impossible
to do the business amidst the continued interruption; besides that, in
this way, the national enemies would be apprized of our resources and
operations. It is necessary, therefore, by instituting a check, to
guard against the ill consequences which lie in the way, as the public
will have much connexion with the bank, and, at times, deposit
considerable sums of money in it, and always be availing themselves of
its credit. The check should be in the hands of that officer who is
appointed to manage the monied interests of America.

ART. 13th & 14th. The penalties on fraud and embezzlement are derived
from the same source, and are supported by the same reasoning.

ART. 15th & 16th. The necessity of incorporating the bank is obvious,
and the propriety of rendering the office of a director honorable,
rather than lucrative, arises from this circumstance, over and above
the difference between motives of fame and interest, that at present,
any adequate salaries would absorb the profits, and in future the care
of their own interests as stockholders will be an additional
inducement to the first characters to accept the direction, for it is
not doubted but every subscriber will increase his capital in the
bank, so soon as he finds not only the national advantages it will
produce, but sees clearly his private interest advanced beyond his
most sanguine expectations.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      ROBERT MORRIS TO JOHN JAY.

                                 Office of Finance, August 15th, 1781.


Enclosed you have a list of sundry bills of exchange drawn on you. I
wrote you relatively to these bills on the 29th day of July last, with
sundry enclosures explanatory of my letter. I am now to inform you,
that the advices contained in that letter must, from particular
circumstances, be totally disregarded. Should any of the bills,
mentioned in the enclosed list, come to your hands, you will be pleased
to protest them, and assign, if you please, as a reason therefor, that
you have express instructions to that purport. The uncertainty,
whether you have received my cypher, prevents my using it on this
occasion. The importance of the subject obliges me to write, and as I
send many copies, the risk of capture and inspection is too great to
be more particular.

The gazettes will furnish you with our latest intelligence. That of
New York announces the arrival of near three thousand Hessian troops,
and the capture of the Trumbull frigate. Neither of these is a very
agreeable circumstance. However, we must wait the course of events,
and struggle, as well as we can, against adverse fortune. Our affairs
to the southward wear no unpleasing aspect. And, although it is
impossible, at this distance, to determine what effect European
movements may have on American politics, our government acquires daily
a firmness and stability, which will not easily be shaken.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                        ROBERT MORRIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

                     JAMES LOVELL TO JOHN JAY.

                                      Philadelphia, August 15th, 1781.


Herewith you will receive according to the resolution of Congress of
the 10th, such information relative to the surrender of Pensacola, and
the subsequent arrival of the garrison at New York, as I have been
able to obtain, which you will make use of according to your
discretion, and the spirit of the enclosed resolution.

I am, Sir, your friend and very humble servant,

                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

_P. S. August 16th._--It appears to me not amiss to enclose to you a
report of a committee on the 10th, as it stands negatived on the
journals of Congress.     J. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                   St Ildefonso, September 20th, 1781.


Your Excellency's favor of the 5th of July last, with the papers
therewith enclosed, were delivered to me on the 29th ult. by Major
Franks, whom the procrastination of the Minister still obliges me to

The new commissions, with which Congress have honored me, argue a
degree of confidence, which demands my warmest acknowledgments, and
which, so far as it may be founded on an opinion of my zeal and
integrity, they may be assured will not prove misplaced.

At the commencement of the present troubles, I determined to devote
myself, during the continuance of them, to the service of my country,
in any station in which she might think it proper to place me. This
resolution, for the first time, now embarrasses me. I know it to be my
duty, as a public servant, to be guided by my own judgment only in
matters referred to my discretion, and in other cases faithfully to
execute my instructions, without questioning the policy of them. But
there is one among those which accompanies these commissions, which
occasions sensations I never before experienced, and induced me to
wish that my name had been omitted.

So far as personal pride and reluctance to humiliation may render
their appointment contra-agreeable, I view it as a very unimportant
circumstance, and should Congress, on any occasion, think it for the
public good to place me in a station inferior and subordinate to the
one I now hold, they will find me ready to descend from the one, and
cheerfully undertake the duties of the other. My ambition will always
be more gratified in being useful than conspicuous; for, in my
opinion, the solid dignity of a man depends less on the height or
extent of the sphere allotted to him, than on the manner in which he
may fulfil the duties of it.

But, Sir, as an American, I feel an interest in the dignity of my
country, which renders it difficult for me to reconcile myself to the
idea of the sovereign independent States of America submitting, in the
persons of their Ministers, to be absolutely governed by the advice
and opinions of the servants of another sovereign, especially in a
case of such national importance.

That gratitude and confidence are due to our allies, is not to be
questioned, and that it will, probably, be in the power of France
almost to dictate the terms of peace for us, is but too true. That
such an extraordinary extent of confidence may stimulate our allies to
the highest efforts of generous friendship in our favor is not to be
denied, and that this instruction receives some appearance of policy
from this consideration may be admitted.

I must, nevertheless, take the liberty of observing, that however our
situation may in the opinion of Congress render it necessary to relax
their demands on every side, and even to direct their Commissioners
ultimately to concur (if nothing better could be done) in any peace or
truce not subversive of our independence, which France determined to
accede to, yet that this instruction, besides breathing a degree of
complacency not quite republican, puts it out of the power of your
Ministers to improve those chances and opportunities, which in the
course of human affairs happens more or less frequently to all men.
Nor is it clear, that America, thus casting herself into the arms of
the King of France, will advance either her interest or reputation
with that or other nations.

What the sentiments of my colleagues on this occasion may be, I do not
as yet know, nor can I foresee how far the negotiation of the ensuing
winter may call for the execution of this commission. Thus
circumstanced, at such a distance from America, it would not be proper
to decline this appointment. I will, therefore, do my best endeavors
to fulfil the expectations of Congress on this subject, but, as for my
own part, I think it improbable, that serious negotiations for peace
will soon take place. I must entreat Congress to take an early
opportunity of relieving me from a station, wherein, in character of
their Minister, I must necessarily receive (and almost under the name
of opinions) the directions of those on whom I really think no
American Minister ought to be dependent, and to whom, in love for our
country and zeal for her service, I am sure that my colleagues and
myself are at least equal.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

_P. S._ I had an interview last evening with the Minister. Nothing was
promised or denied. A person is to be named on Sunday to confer in
earnest, as it is said, with me about the treaties. I do not despair,
though having so many bills to pay, and no money, perplexes me
extremely. The treasury of Spain is very low; much of the money for
the expenses in this war costs them between thirty and forty per
hundred, by mismanagement and want of credit. This ought not to be
public. His Excellency still looks at your ships on the stocks, but I
shall, without refusing, not consent to their changing masters.    J. J.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       St Ildefonso, October 3d, 1781.


My letter of the 25th of April last, by Mr Toscan, informed Congress,
that on the 30th day of January preceding, I had the honor of
receiving their letters of the 6th and 17th of October, 1780, the
latter of which states particularly and ably the right of the United
States to the free navigation of the river Mississippi, and enumerates
the various reasons which induce them to decline relinquishing

Among these reasons is the guarantee contained in the treaty with
France. I hinted to Congress, that it was more than probable, that the
contents of this interesting letter were well known to the French
Court before it came to my hands. I am well persuaded, that this was
the case. Shortly after receiving it, I took occasion to converse
generally with the Ambassador on the subject of the Spanish
pretensions to that navigation, and remarked, as it were
inadvertently, how unreasonable it was for them to expect, that we
should relinquish a territorial right, which both justice and the
guarantee of France enabled us to retain. The thought did not appear
new to him, but he strongly combated this construction of the treaty,
and endeavored to explain it away by observing, that the guarantee
could not comprehend claims, whose objects we had never possessed, &c.
&c. I mention this only to show how improper it would have been for me
to have communicated this part of your Excellency's letter to the
Spanish Minister. It could have answered no good purpose, because, as
France would have disputed this construction, Spain could with
propriety have refused to admit the force of any argument drawn from
it, and it might have done much mischief, not only by bringing on an
unseasonable explanation between France and us, but also between Spain
and France.

If I had given the Spanish Minister a copy of every other part of this
letter, except those paragraphs which contain the reasoning in
question, the omission might in future have been urged by France, who
I verily believe has a copy of that whole letter, as an argument for
my having yielded that point as not tenable; and though my opinion
might not be of much consequence, it appeared to me most prudent to
avoid doubts about it. For my own part I really did, and do think,
that this guarantee does comprehend the navigation in question, though
I also think, that no question should be raised about it at present.
So circumstanced, I thought it most advisable to make no written
communications of any parts or part of this letter, but from time to
time to press every argument contained in it in the course of
conversations with the Spanish Minister, except those drawn from the

The Minister, however, did not at any time enter into the merits of
these arguments, nor appear in the least affected by them. His answer
to them all was, that the King of Spain must have the Gulf of Mexico
to himself, that the maxims of policy adopted in the management of
their colonies required it; and that he had hoped the friendly
disposition shown by this Court towards us would have induced a
compliance on the part of Congress.

As to a free port below the northern limits of West Florida, or
anywhere else in the vicinity, the Minister sometimes wished certain
regulations, some middle line might be devised, to reconcile the views
of both parties, but he did not see how it could be done. The King had
always been accustomed to consider the exclusive navigation of the
Gulf of Mexico as a very important object to Spain, more so indeed
than even Gibraltar, and he was persuaded, that his Majesty would
never be prevailed upon to change his ideas on that subject. At other
times he spoke clearly, and decidedly against it, saying, that it was
their desire to exclude all nations from the Gulf, and that it made
little or no difference, whether they admitted all nations or only

In my letter of the 25th of April last, I informed your Excellency,
that on the 25th of March preceding, the Minister sent me word, that
the money necessary to pay the bills due in April could not be
advanced to me. The constant inconsistency I experienced between the
Minister's promises and conduct often surprised, as well as
embarrassed me. This last instance appeared to me to be really cruel;
for if he had intended to withhold the necessary supplies, he ought to
have given me notice of it, and not by keeping up my expectations to
within a few days before the holders of the bills were to call upon me
for their money, (and the bills of April amounted to eightynine
thousand and eightythree dollars,) reduce me to such imminent danger
of being obliged to protest them. Speaking on this subject with the
French Ambassador, he intimated, that the Court expected I should have
made them some further overtures respecting the Mississippi. I told
him I had no authority to make any others than what I had already
made. He replied, that the Minister believed I had. At that time I
had received no letters, public or private, which gave me the least
reason to suspect, that Congress had passed the resolution of the 15th
of February last,[31] and it was not before the 18th of May, that a
letter, I then received from Mr Lovell, enabled me to understand the
reason of the Minister's belief. I then recalled to mind his frequent
assurances of frankness, and of his speaking without reserve, often
adding, that he was well informed of our affairs, and had minute
information of what was passing at Philadelphia. There can be no doubt
but that some copies of the President's letters to me have fallen into
his hands, and that he supposed I had received others, though this was
not in fact the case. Hence it appears, that the double miscarriage,
if I may so call it, of these letters, had an unfavorable influence on
our hopes of pecuniary aids, for it is highly probable, that in this
instance they were so critically withheld on purpose to extort
overtures from me, which the Minister, though mistaken, had reason to
believe I was in a capacity to make.

Your Excellency will perceive from this, how important it is, that
your letters, to and from your Ministers, be transmitted in a manner
not subject to these inconveniences.

It was not, as I said before, until the 18th of May, that Mr Lovell's
letter, enclosing a copy of the resolution of Congress of the 15th of
February, reached me. It was brought to Cadiz by the Virginia, and it
is remarkable, that none of the journals, or gazettes, nor the letter
from Congress, which Mr Lovell gave me reason to expect, ever came to
my hands. But as all the papers brought by the Virginia passed through
the hands of the Governor of Cadiz, and afterwards through the Post
Office, the suppression of some of them may be easily accounted for.

As Mr Lovell's letter did not appear to be official, nor the copy of
the instruction of the 15th of February authenticated, I was much at a
loss to determine how far it was to be considered as a measure finally
concluded upon, and this difficulty was increased by another, viz.
whether my having no letter on the subject from the President was to
be imputed to the miscarriage of it, or to a reconsideration of the
instruction in question; for I recollected, that resolutions had in
some former instances been reconsidered, and either altered or
repealed a few days after their date; for these reasons it appeared to
me imprudent immediately to hazard overtures on the ground of this

The next day, the 19th of May, I thought it expedient to wait upon the
Minister, and again renew the subject of our proposed treaty,
expecting that if he was acquainted with the contents of my letter,
something might drop from him in the course of conversation, which
would lead me to judge of what he might, or might not know on that
subject, and others connected with it.

He received me with more than usual cordiality. The conversation
turned at first on the situation of the southern States, the late
combat between the fleets in the Chesapeake, and General Greene's
retreat. He appeared to apprehend much danger from what he called the
delicate situation of our army there, and the blockade of the
reinforcement intended for it, under the Marquis de la Fayette. I
endeavored to remove such of his fears as appeared to be ill-founded,
and (though without leaving room to suppose that the operations of
Spain were indispensable to our safety,) represented to him the good
policy and probable success of France and Spain's seriously turning
their attention and force to the expulsion of the enemy from America.
I then repeated what I had often before remarked to him, respecting
the influence which the hesitations and delays of Spain in forming a
treaty with us must naturally have on the hopes and fears of Britain.
I announced to him formally the completion of our confederation by the
accession of Maryland, and after dwelling on the advantages, which the
States and their allies might expect from it, I endeavored to impress
him with an opinion, that a cordial union between France, Spain,
Holland, and America, supported by vigorous measures, would soon
reduce the enemy to the necessity of listening to reasonable terms of

The Count replied, generally, that he was very minutely informed of
the state of our affairs. That the good dispositions of Congress
towards Spain had not as yet been evinced in a manner the King
expected, and that no one advantage had hitherto been proposed by
America to Spain, to induce the latter to come into the measures we
desired. That the views of Congress were such as would not permit his
Majesty to form a treaty with the States, but that the King was an
honest man, and I might again and again assure Congress, that he would
never suffer them to be sacrificed to Britain, but on the contrary
would with constancy maintain the friendship he had professed for
them. That Britain had in vain attempted to deceive Spain; that Mr
Cumberland had been sent here for that express purpose, but that,
however possible it might be for Britain to vanquish, she would never
be able to deceive Spain; that he wished Congress had been more
disposed to oblige the King. He knew indeed that opposition in
sentiments must necessarily prevail in public bodies, but that he
hoped for the best. That I ought to preach to them forcibly, for that
he thought a good preacher (_un bon prédicateur_,) would do much good,
thereby intimating, as I understood it, that Congress were not
sufficiently apprised of the importance of Spain, and the policy of
complying with her demands.

To all this I briefly remarked, that his Excellency's knowledge of
American affairs must convince him, that it was not in their power to
give his Majesty other proofs of their attachment than what they had
already done, and that if he alluded to the affair of the Mississippi,
I could only add one remark to those which I had often made to him on
that head, viz. that even if a desire of gratifying his Majesty should
ever incline Congress to yield to him a point so essential to their
interest, yet it still remained a question whether new delays and
obstacles to a treaty would not arise to postpone it.

The Count smiled, said he always spoke frankly, and that whenever I
should announce to him my having authority to yield that point, I
might depend on his being explicit, and candid, but as matters stood
at present, he could say nothing on that head. He then informed me,
that M. Gardoqui would set out for America the beginning of June. He
said it might be in my power to furnish some useful hints and
observations relative to the objects and conduct of his mission,
adding that he reposed full confidence in me, and wished that I would
also consider whether there were any particular reasons which might
render it advisable, either to hasten or retard his going.

I suspected there was too much meaning in all this to admit of my
entering into these discussions without time for further reflection;
and, therefore, without seeming to avoid it, I told the Count I was
happy to hear, that M. Gardoqui was so near his departure. That I
considered myself much honored by his requesting my remarks relative
to it, and that I was sure Congress would draw agreeable conclusions
from his mission. That I should write by him to Congress, and as they
would expect to learn from me the precise character in which they were
to receive, and consider him, it became necessary, that his Excellency
should favor me with that information, as well to enable me to
transmit the proper advices to Congress, as to make the remarks which
he had done me the honor to request. That I conceived this to be the
more indispensable, because if M. Gardoqui should carry no public
testimonials from this Court to Congress, he could only be considered
by them as a private gentleman, and all his intercourse with Congress
would of consequence be subjected to all the inconveniences resulting
from it.

This topic carried the conversation off the delicate ground to which
the Count had led it. He admitted the propriety of my being exactly
apprized of the nature of M. Gardoqui's commission, said that as yet
it was not decided, and therefore for the present could only give me
his opinion of what it would probably be.

He observed that circumstances did not render it proper, that he
should go as Minister, though perhaps it might he proper to give him
contingent powers. That it was the common practice, where Courts sent
to each other persons charged with their affairs, in a character below
that of Minister, to give no other credentials than a letter of
advice from the Minister of the Court sending to the Minister of the
Court receiving the person in question. That the same practice was
about to be pursued by Spain towards Prussia, and had been observed in
other instances; therefore, he believed the like method would be
adopted in this case. That if it should be purposed to give M.
Gardoqui a letter authenticating his being an agent of Spain, it would
be either to the President, or the Secretary of Congress, and asked me
which of the two would be the most proper.

Whether he really was uninformed on this point, or whether he asked
the question merely to try my candor, cannot easily be determined. I
told him honestly, that Congress had no Secretary or Minister of State
for general purposes, nor for foreign affairs particularly, and that
neither the President nor Secretary of Congress could regularly be
considered in that light. That there was a committee of Congress,
whose appointment came near to that of Secretary for foreign affairs,
but that I had heard Congress were about establishing a more proper
and regular mode of conducting the affairs committed to that
committee, and had perhaps already done it. That therefore it was
difficult for me to give his Excellency a clear and decided opinion on
the subject, and the more so as the letters which I daily expected to
receive from the President, and which probably contained exact
information relative to this very matter, had not yet come to my
hands. He seemed very well satisfied, and extended his civilities so
far as to say, that if at any time the warmth of his temper had led
him into any harshness of expression, he hoped I would forget it. I
told him, and that was the fact, that I did not recollect any part of
his behavior to me, which required that apology. He desired me to wait
upon him again on the Wednesday next.

As to the instructions of the 15th of February, I had every reason to
wish it had been a secret to the Ministry. The propriety of them is a
subject without my province. To give decided opinions of the views and
designs of Courts always appeared to me hazardous, especially as they
often change, and as different men will often draw different
conclusions from the same facts. This consideration has constantly
induced me to state facts accurately and minutely to Congress, and
leave them to judge for themselves, and be influenced only by their
own opinions.

I could not forbear, however, seeing the danger to which the proviso
contained in that instruction exposed me. I have no reason to flatter
myself, that, more fortunate than others, the propriety and policy of
my conduct will not be drawn, at least impliedly, into doubt. If I
should, on a persuasion that this cession would be unalterably
insisted upon by Spain, yield that point, I am certain that many
little half-created doubts and questions would be cast into, and
cultivated in America. If, on the other hand, I should be of opinion
that this point could be gained, and the event prove otherwise, it
would soon be whispered, what rich supplies and golden opportunities
the United States had lost by my obstinacy.

I permitted my mind to dwell on these considerations, merely that I
might, by the utmost degree of circumspection, endeavor to render the
uprightness and propriety of my conduct as evident as possible.

My only difficulty arose from this single question. Whether I could
prudently risk acting on a presumption, either that Spain did not
already, or would not soon be acquainted with the contents of this
instruction. If such a presumption had been admissible, I should,
without the least hesitation, have played the game a little further,
keeping this instruction in my hand as a trump card, to prevent a
separate peace between Spain and Britain, in case such an event should
otherwise prove inevitable. Had Spain been at peace with our enemies,
and offered to acknowledge, guaranty, and fight for our independence,
provided we would yield them this point, (as once seemed to be the
case) I should, for my own part, have no more hesitation about it now
than I had then. But Spain being now at war with Great Britain, to
gain her own objects, she doubtless will prosecute it full as
vigorously as if she fought for our objects. There was and is little
reason to suppose that such a cession would render her exertions more
vigorous, or her aids to us much more liberal. The effect, which an
alliance between Spain and America would have on Britain and other
nations, would certainly be in our favor, but whether more so than the
free navigation of the Mississippi is less certain. The cession of
this navigation will, in my opinion, render a future war with Spain
unavoidable, and I shall look upon my subscribing to the one as fixing
the certainty of the other.

I say I should have played this game a little further, if the
presumption before mentioned had been admissible, because it has
uniformly been my opinion, that if after sending me here Congress had
constantly avoided all questions about the Mississippi, and appeared
to consider that point as irrevocable, Spain would have endeavored to
purchase it by money, or a free port, but as her hopes of a change in
the opinion of Congress were excited, and kept alive by successive
accounts of debates, and intended debates on that question, and as
Congress by drawing bills without previous funds had painted their
distress for want of money in very strong colors, Spain began to
consider America as a petitioner, and treated her accordingly. But as
by the intervention of Dr Franklin, our bills for near six months were
safe, and as after this resolution of the 15th of February, there was
reason to expect that the subject of it would not soon be resumed in
Congress, I should, in case I could have depended on this
instruction's being and remaining a secret, have thought it my duty to
have given the United States a fair trial for the Mississippi, or at
least for a free port near it. With this view I should have appeared
to give myself no concern about the bills, applied for no aids, made
no offers, and on all proper occasion have treated an alliance with
Spain as an event, which, though wished for by us, was not essential
to our safety, and as the price demanded for it appeared to us
unreasonable, it was not probable we should agree. I think we should
then have been courted in our turn, especially as the Minister was
very desirous of having our men-of-war on the stocks, and that thus
dealing with them on terms of equality, would have produced some
concessions on their part, as inducements to greater ones on ours. I
am persuaded in my own mind, that prudent self-respect is absolutely
necessary to those nations, who would wish to be treated properly by
this Court, and I have not the least doubt but that almost any spirit
will prosper more here, than that of humility and compliance. I had no
doubt but that this plan of conduct would have been perfectly
consistent with that part of the instruction, which orders me to make
every possible effort to obtain from his Catholic Majesty the use of
the river aforesaid, &c. For whatever might have been, or may be, my
private sentiments, they shall never in mere questions of policy
influence me to deviate from those of Congress.

But on the other hand there being abundant circumstantial evidence to
induce a firm persuasion, that the Ministry were well acquainted with
the contents of this instruction, this plan would have been idle. The
moment they saw that the cession of this navigation was made to depend
upon their persevering to insist upon it, it became absurd to suppose,
that they would cease to persevere. All that remained for me therefore
to do was, in the next conference to break this subject as decently as
possible, and in such a manner as would account for my not having
mentioned this instruction at our last meeting.

On Wednesday evening, the 23d of May, I waited upon the Count
agreeably to his appointment. The Count seemed a little hurried in his
spirits, and behaved as if he wished I had not come. He asked me
rather abruptly, if I had anything particular to communicate to him,
and whether I had received any further letters. I told him I had
received some private ones from L'Orient, but that none from the
President of Congress had as yet, reached me, though I had reason to
expect one by that opportunity, as well as by the vessel lately
arrived at Cadiz. I informed him of my having received from Mr
Harrison a copy of his memorial to the Governor of Cadiz, complaining
that letters brought for him by the Virginia, from Philadelphia, had
been stopped at the gates, on pretence, that they must agreeably to an
ordinance for that purpose be put into the post office, and charged
with the like postage as if brought from Spanish America. He said he
had not yet received a copy of the memorial, but that there was such
an ordinance, and that it was highly proper the admission of letters
into the kingdom, especially in time of war, should be under the
direction of government. That letters from North America rendered new
regulations necessary, and that he would turn his thoughts to this
subject, and do what should appear equitable. This was another proof
of what I before suspected, and looked like an indirect apology for
opening my letters.

It surprised me a little that he said nothing of the remarks he had
desired me to make on M. Gardoqui's going to America, especially as he
had appointed this meeting for that purpose. To give him further time,
I started a new subject, and begged he would take the earliest
opportunity of completing the business of the Dover cutter.
Notwithstanding all that had before passed between us about this
affair, he affected to be very ignorant of it, and asked me a number
of questions. I recapitulated the circumstances of the capture, my
several applications to him on the subject, his promise finally to
order the prize to be appraised, and the value to be paid to the
captors, the arrival of one of them at Madrid, &c. &c. He replied,
with some degree of quickness and perplexity, that it was not a lawful
prize, the crew not having authority to do what they did; that he had
sent to the Canaries for particular information respecting the value,
&c. that two of the packet boats had been taken; that he would pay
some gratuity to the captors, and wished I would give him another
state of the whole case in writing, to refresh his memory, which I
promised to do, and have since done.

He then resumed the subject of the letter, which I expected from
Congress. He expressed his regret at its not having arrived, said he
was preparing instructions for M. Gardoqui, who would certainly depart
in June, and that until I could give him precise information of the
dispositions of Congress, he could not enter into any further
conversations on the subject of the proposed treaty. I joined in
regretting the miscarriage of my public letter, and the more so, as my
private ones gave me reason to expect instructions, which would enable
me to comply so far with his Majesty's views, as that I hoped no
further delays would intervene to prevent a perfect union between
Spain and the United States. That my correspondence had given me to
understand that Congress viewed the speedy accomplishment of this
union as very important to the common cause; and, therefore, if Spain
would consent forthwith to come into it, in that case they would
gratify his Majesty by ceding to him the navigation of the
Mississippi, below their territories, on reasonable terms.

He replied, that he earnestly desired to see all difficulties on this
point removed, but that the treaties subsisting between Spain and
other nations, as well as the particular policy and determination of
Spain, rendered it necessary that she should possess the exclusive
navigation of the Gulf of Mexico. After a variety of other remarks of
little importance, he made a very interesting observation, which will
help us to account for the delays of the Court, viz. That all these
affairs could with more facility be adjusted at a general peace than
now, for that such a particular, and even secret treaty with us might
then be made, as would be very convenient to both. That he
nevertheless wished to know exactly the views and intentions of
Congress, but that I must wait for the arrival of my letters, and that
he would in the meantime finish M. Gardoqui's instructions, whose
going to America, he did not doubt, would make a useful impression on
the English Court. I was beginning to reply to what he said when he
interrupted me, by mentioning his not having time at present to
prolong the conference.

Throughout the whole of this conversation, the Count appeared much
less cordial than in the preceding one; he seemed to want
self-possession, and to that cause I ascribe his incautiously
mentioning the general peace as the most proper season for completing
our political connexions. I had, nevertheless, no reason to suspect
that this change in his behavior arose from any cause more important
than those variations in temper and feelings, which they, who are
unaccustomed to govern themselves often experience from changes in the
weather, in their health, from fatigue of business, or other such like
accidental causes.

As I had not as yet received any letter from the President, either by
the Virginia, or the vessel lately arrived at L'Orient, nor by Colonel
Laurens, who, I was informed, had brought letters for me, I concluded
it would be most prudent to wait ten days, or a fortnight, before I
proceeded to act on the copy of my instruction received from Mr
Lovell, expecting that such other letters as might then have arrived
in France or Spain for me, would reach me in the course of that
interval, if at all. And I determined, in case I should receive none,
to proceed, without further loss of time, to make a formal overture to
the Minister for a treaty on the ground of this instruction. It
happened, however, that the Minister was so occupied during the
remaining time that the Court staid at Aranjues, by the expedition
preparing to sail from Cadiz, under the Duke of Crillon, and other
matters, that it was impossible to engage a moment of his attention to
American affairs. The removal of the Court to Madrid necessarily
consumed some time, and as soon as they were well settled there, I
wrote the Count the following letter; none of the letters expected
from America having come to my hands.

                   TO THE COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                           Madrid, July 2d, 1781.


    "When Congress were pleased to order me to Spain, with the
    commission of which I have had the honor of presenting a copy
    to your Excellency, I left my country with the most sanguine
    expectations, that the important objects of it would be
    speedily accomplished. The proofs they had received of his
    Majesty's friendship for them, the interests of a common
    cause, and the information they had received from persons
    whom they conceived in capacity to give it, all conspired to
    infuse these hopes.

    "On my arrival, your Excellency gave me to understand, that
    the realising these expectations would turn on one point, and
    I have uniformly since been informed, that this point was the
    navigation of the Mississippi below the territories of the
    United States, in which Congress desired to retain a common
    right, but of which the maxims of policy adopted by his
    Majesty required the exclusive use.

    "I have now the honor of informing your Excellency, that
    Congress, in order to manifest in the most striking manner
    the sincerity of their professions to his Majesty, and with a
    view that the common cause may immediately reap all the
    advantages naturally to be expected from a cordial and
    permanent union between France, Spain, and the United States,
    have authorised me to agree to such terms relative to the
    point in question, as to remove the difficulties to which it
    has hitherto given occasion.

    "Permit me, therefore, to hope, that his Majesty will now be
    pleased to become the ally of the United States, and for that
    purpose authorise some person or persons to adjust with me
    the several points of compact necessary to form a union,
    which, by being founded on mutual interest, may be no less
    satisfactory than it certainly will be important to both

    "Your Excellency will oblige me exceedingly, by putting it in
    my power to give Congress early, explicit, and, let me add,
    agreeable information of his Majesty's pleasure and
    intentions on the subject of this letter.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

Although it was sufficiently evident, that the Court of France could
not, for the reasons assigned in my letter to Congress, of the 6th of
November, 1780, openly and warmly interpose their good offices to
bring about this treaty, it nevertheless appeared to me most prudent,
to behave on this occasion towards the Ambassador, as if I knew
nothing of those reasons, and, therefore, sent him a copy of the
aforegoing letter to the Minister, enclosed in one of which the
following is a copy.

                      TO THE COUNT DE MONTMORIN.

                                          "Madrid, July 2d, 1781.


    "I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency herewith
    enclosed, a copy of a letter I have this day written to his
    Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca. I have thereby
    informed him of my being authorised to remove the objections
    hitherto made by the Court of Spain to a treaty of alliance
    with the United States, and again requested that the
    measures necessary for the purpose may now be taken.

    "Permit me to request, that the favorable interposition of
    our kind and generous ally with his Catholic Majesty may be
    exerted to commence the proposed negotiation, and bring it to
    a speedy and happy conclusion.

    "The confidence justly reposed by America in the amity and
    assurances of his Most Christian Majesty, forbid me to urge
    this request by any arguments, (persuasives being indelicate,
    when not warranted by doubts of inclination.) I am happy in
    reflecting, that his instructions on this subject are
    committed to the execution of a Minister, from whose
    attachment, as well as from whose talents and address, the
    American cause may expect to derive advantage.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

The instructions above alluded to are those, which Count de Vergennes,
in his letter to me of the 13th of March, 1780, assures me should be
sent to their Ambassador here. I must confess to Congress, that I very
much doubt his ever having received any other instructions, than
generally to favor the treaty, and to manage his interference in such
a delicate manner, as, without alarming the pride of Spain, to give
both parties reason to think themselves obliged.

The French Ambassador sent me no answer to this letter, which, in my
opinion, gives a greater degree of probability to my conjectures. I
must, nevertheless, do him the justice to say that I have great reason
to believe him to be in sentiment, and with sincere attachment, a
friend to our cause; and that he considers the honor and interest of
France deeply concerned in the success and support of it.

On the 11th of July, having received no answer from the Minister, I
waited upon him. He told me, he had received my letter, but that the
short time the Court would remain at Madrid, and the multiplicity of
business that he was obliged to despatch, would not admit of his
attending to our affairs till after the arrival of the Court at St
Ildefonso. He then informed me, that a vessel had arrived at Cadiz,
which had brought despatches for me, and that his courier had brought
them to Madrid. He then delivered me a number of letters, among which
was one from his Excellency the President, of the 28th of May

I need not observe, that all these letters bore evident marks of
inspection, for that has uniformly been the case with almost every
letter I have received.

I do not recollect to have ever received a letter that gave me more
real pleasure. When I considered, that almost the whole time since I
left America had afforded me little else than one continued series of
painful perplexities and embarrassments, many of which I neither
expected, nor ought to have met with; that I had been engaged in
intricate and difficult negotiations, often at a loss to determine
where the line of prudence was to be found, and constantly exposed by
my particular situation to the danger of either injuring the dignity
and interest of my country on the one hand, or trespassing on the
overrated respectability and importance of this Court, on the other; I
say, Sir, that on considering these things, the approbation of
Congress gave me most singular and cordial satisfaction.

I was also happy to perceive from this letter, that the plan of my
late letters to the Minister and French Ambassador, of the 2d of July,
above recited, happens to correspond exactly with the views of
Congress, respecting the manner of conducting this negotiation.

It appearing to me, that the communication I was directed to make to
this Court could not be better made than in the very words of this
letter, which seemed exceedingly well calculated for the purpose, I
recited them in a letter, which I wrote two days afterwards to the
Minister, viz.

                   TO THE COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                                         Madrid, July 13th, 1781.


    "I have now the honor of communicating to your Excellency a
    copy of certain instructions I have just received from
    Congress, dated the 28th of May, 1781, and which were
    included in the despatches, which your Excellency was so
    obliging as to deliver to me the evening before the last,

    "It is their instruction, that you continue to acknowledge on
    all suitable occasions, the grateful impression made on these
    States by the friendly disposition manifested towards them by
    his Catholic Majesty, and particularly by the proofs given of
    it in the measures which he has taken, and which it is hoped
    he will further take for preserving their credit, and for
    aiding them with a supply of clothing for their army.

    "You are also authorised and instructed to disavow in the
    most positive and explicit terms, any secret understanding or
    negotiation between the United States and Great Britain, to
    assure his Catholic Majesty that such insinuations have no
    other source than the insidious designs of the common enemy,
    and that as the United States have the highest confidence in
    the honor and good faith, both of his Most Christian and his
    Catholic Majesty, so it is their inviolable determination to
    take no step, which shall depart in the smallest degree from
    their engagements with either.'

    "It gives me pleasure to observe that these instructions
    confirm, in the fullest manner, the assurances and
    professions I have heretofore made to your Excellency
    respecting the sentiments and dispositions of the United
    States, and I flatter myself that his Majesty will be pleased
    to consider the assurances they contain, as receiving
    unquestionable proofs of sincerity from the offer I have
    already made to confirm them by deeds, no less important to
    the interests than, I hope, consistent with the views and
    desires of his Majesty.

    "I cannot omit this occasion of presenting my congratulations
    on the success of his Majesty's arms at Pensacola. This event
    cannot fail of being followed by important consequences to
    the common cause, and may perhaps induce the enemy to expect
    greater advantages from concluding a reasonable peace, than
    continuing to protract an unrighteous war.

    "Having understood, shortly after receiving my letters from
    your Excellency, that the Court had also received despatches
    from Philadelphia, I presumed that the communication of any
    gazettes from thence, which indeed contain all the
    intelligence I have, would be useless, and therefore did not
    send them; but on considering that it was possible that the
    papers I had might be of later date than those which your
    Excellency might otherwise receive, I now take the liberty of
    enclosing two, which contain accounts somewhat interesting.
    If they should be new to your Excellency, I beg that their
    not being sooner sent will receive an apology from the
    abovementioned circumstance; and that your Excellency will
    remain assured of the perfect respect and consideration with
    which I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

I also took the earliest opportunity of mentioning to the Ambassador
of France, that my letters from America gave me reason to believe that
our union was daily growing more warm and intimate, and that Congress,
in writing of their affairs here, had expressed themselves in the
strongest terms of attachment to his Most Christian Majesty, and not
only approved of my communicating freely and confidentially with his
Ambassador here, but also directed me in express terms to endeavor, in
the course of my negotiations, to include and promote the interests of

The Ambassador was much pleased. He told me his letters assured him
that the best understanding subsisted between the French and American
troops, and that much good might be expected from the increasing
harmony and intercourse between the two countries.

The Court removed to St Ildefonso without the Minister's having either
given any instructions to M. Gardoqui, answered my abovementioned
letters, or taken the least notice of my late representations to them
about the Dover cutter, &c.

The events of the campaign were as yet undecided, and little money in
the treasury.

On the 21st of July the Minister wrote me the following note, in which
there was ample field left open for procrastination.


    "The Count de Florida Blanca presents his compliments to Mr
    Jay, and has the honor of acquainting him, that he has duly
    received his two letters of the 2d and 13th instant. The
    short stay of the Court at Madrid allowing time only to
    despatch the most pressing business, the Count de Florida
    Blanca has not been able to take into consideration the
    points, which form the object of the abovementioned letters.
    He proposes therefore to do it at present, in order to render
    an account thereof to the King, and in the meanwhile he has
    the honor to repeat to Mr Jay the assurances of the most
    perfect esteem and consideration.

    "_St Ildefonso, July 21st, 1781._"

On the 4th of August, I arrived here. I did not see the Minister till
the 8th, he being, as I was told, from home. He had made no
communications to the King. He had been sick; he had been busy, and
was so still. I requested to be informed when it would be most
convenient to him to confer with me on the subject of my late letters,
and to give me such information relative to his Majesty's intentions,
as he might be prepared to communicate to me. He answered, that he
could not then fix a time, being exceedingly hurried by pressing
business. He asked how long I proposed to stay, I told him till the
Court removed. He then promised to take an early opportunity of
conferring with me on the subject of our affairs, and promised to send
me word when he should be ready to receive me.

I remained in this state of suspense and expectation until the 18th of
August, when having been for a week past very much indisposed with a
fever and dysentery, and fearing lest that circumstance might become a
ground of delay, I wrote the Count word, "that my health would permit
me to wait upon his Excellency at any time and place he might do me
the honor to name." He replied two days afterwards, in a manner which
indicated his supposing I had gone to Madrid and had returned. He must
have known better, for none of my family had been absent from hence,
and one or other of them were almost daily about the palace and


    "The Count de Florida Blanca is charmed to learn, that Mr Jay
    has sufficiently recovered from his last indisposition to
    make the journey from Madrid to this place, and thanks him
    for his attention in communicating it to him.

    "The very pressing business with which he finds himself at
    present surrounded does not permit him to fix the day for a
    conference with Mr Jay, but the moment he shall be a little
    disengaged, he will have the honor to advise Mr Jay of it.

    "_St Ildefonso, August 20th, 1781._"

On the 22d I sent him a note enclosing a newspaper, which contained an
account of General Greene's operations, the capture of Fort Watson,

The Count answered this note by another, expressing his thanks for the
intelligence, but not a word of a conference.

On the 30th of August Major Franks arrived here with interesting
despatches, of which I must not here take notice, lest I interrupt
the thread of this letter, which I devote particularly to the affair
of our negotiations for a treaty.

There was indeed among these despatches a very sensible letter from Mr
R. Morris to me about money matters,[33] &c. excellently well
calculated for being shown entire to the Minister.

I consulted with the French Ambassador on the propriety of giving the
Minister a copy of it. He advised me to do it, and much commended the
letter. As it might have suffered from being carelessly translated, I
had it put into very good French.

I was very glad to see the Major. The nature of the despatches he
brought being a secret occasioned speculation, and gave me an
opportunity of drawing further advantages from his arrival. His
accounts of American affairs were favorable to us, and the manner of
his behavior and conversation has not done discredit to himself, nor
prejudice to his country.

The Ambassador of France having assured me that the Minister had
really been a good deal indisposed, I thought it would be best to
write him a letter in a style somewhat adapted to his situation. He
certainly appears to be fatigued, and worn down by business. He looks
as I have seen some members of Congress look, after two years'

                   TO THE COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

                               "St Ildefonso, September 3d, 1781.


    "When I consider that the delicate state of your Excellency's
    health demands a greater degree of leisure and relaxation,
    than the various business of your office will permit, it is
    with great reluctance, that I can prevail upon myself to
    remind your Excellency, that since our conference at
    Aranjues, the affairs of the United States at this Court have
    made no progress.

    "The short residence of his Majesty at Madrid, I am
    persuaded, made it necessary to postpone the discussion of
    these affairs to this place; and since my arrival here on the
    4th of August last, I have daily flattered myself with being
    enabled to communicate to Congress his Majesty's pleasure on
    the important subjects, which by their order I have had the
    honor of laying before your Excellency.

    "It has also for some time past been my duty to have
    requested your Excellency's attention to some other objects,
    which, though of less public importance, are nevertheless
    interesting to individuals, as well as to the commercial
    intercourse of the two countries, but it did not appear to be
    consistent with the respect due to your Excellency to solicit
    your attention to new objects, while this former remained
    undespatched for want of time.

    "It would give me great pleasure to have it in my power to
    regulate all my applications by your Excellency's
    convenience, and though I am happy to see the connexion
    between our two countries daily increasing, yet as that
    circumstance will naturally render necessary applications to
    government more frequent, I fear the duties of my situation
    will often press me to be troublesome to your Excellency.

    "On Friday evening last I received some important despatches
    from Congress, which I shall do myself the honor of
    communicating at any time, which your Excellency may be
    pleased to name. The gentleman who brought them, will after
    passing on to Paris, return immediately to Philadelphia, and
    will with pleasure execute any orders which your Excellency
    may honor him with, for either of those places. His stay here
    will be but short. As soon as I can ascertain the day of his
    departure, your Excellency shall have immediate notice of it.
    As Congress will naturally expect to receive by him
    particular information respecting their affairs here, I
    cannot forbear expressing how anxious I am to make him the
    bearer of welcome tidings; and permit me to hope, that your
    Excellency's sensibility will suggest an apology for the
    solicitude which appears in this letter.

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

                                                       JOHN JAY."

On the 5th, I received the following answer, viz.


    "The Count de Florida Blanca has been much mortified not to
    be able to receive the visit of Mr Jay, not only on account
    of the too pressing business, which has engaged all his time,
    but also by reason of the indisposition he has suffered, and
    still suffers.

    "Although he be not in a situation to engage in long and
    serious conferences for the reasons abovementioned, he will,
    nevertheless, be charmed to converse a moment with Mr Jay,
    one of those leisure evenings when there is no business with
    the King; in which case, Mr Jay may, if he thinks proper,
    bring with him the officer in question.

    "Saturday, for instance, towards eight o'clock, the interview
    may take place."

    _Wednesday, the 5th of September._

Your Excellency will be pleased to observe, that the Minister in the
above note intimates a desire that I should bring Major Franks with
me. I thought it best to do so; but lest his presence should be a
check upon business, and as it was natural to suppose, that the Count
would begin by asking him questions about our affairs, I desired the
Major to relate to him the impression made in America by that article
in the capitulation of Pensacola, which permitted the garrison to go
to New York. I also desired the Major to retire into the ante-chamber
and leave me alone with the Minister, as soon as the latter should
appear to have finished with him.

At the time appointed, viz. the evening of the 8th of September, we
waited upon the Minister.

The Count received us very politely. He spoke much of his want of
health, and how greatly it incapacitated him for business. He then
asked the Major several questions about our military operations. The
Major answered them clearly, and, in speaking of the proposed siege of
New York, very naturally introduced an account of the surprise and
apprehensions occasioned by the permission given to the Pensacola
garrison to join that of New York. The Count confessed it was ill
done; said it was very unexpected, and that they ought to have been
sent to Europe; that the like should not happen in future, and that
proper orders upon that subject should be despatched to their
Generals. He then observed, that our fears were not altogether well
founded, for that those troops were restrained by the capitulation
from taking arms against the allies of Spain till exchanged, and could
not operate against our troops without also operating against those of
France, who were joined with them, and who, it was well known, were
the allies of Spain. The Major replied, that it was feared that the
enemy would attempt to evade this reasoning, by insisting that the
French troops in America were only to be considered as auxiliaries to
the United States, and that though that argument might be fallacious,
yet, that in matters affecting America, the enemy had invariably
neglected good faith, whenever they found it convenient.

The Count asked how long the Major would stay here. I told him, that I
only detained him in expectation of being soon enabled by his
Excellency to write something decisive by him to Congress on the
subjects under his consideration. He said he hoped in the course of
next week to enter into serious conferences with me on those subjects,
and that he would give me notice of the day. He offered to give the
Major letters to the Spanish Ambassador at Paris, and to do him any
other services in his power. He then rose from his chair in a manner
indicating indisposition, said he was unable to do business, and that
M. Del Campo should inform me when it would be convenient for him that
I should see him again. I expressed my regret at his illness, and gave
him the French translation of Mr Morris's letter, adding, that I had
intended to offer him some remarks on the subject of it. He said he
would read it with pleasure. He spoke of Mr Morris's appointment, and
after conversing a few minutes about the good consequences expected
from it, and of the services done by that gentleman to Spain, in some
business they had committed to his care, we parted.

Thus this conference ended as fruitless as the last.

Eight days elapsed. I heard nothing from the Minister. He was daily at
Court, and every evening took his ride.

I repeatedly mentioned and complained of these delays to the French
Ambassador. He regretted them, promised to speak to the Minister on
the subject; but, I believe, did not. I appeared much dissatisfied,
though not with him; and told him, that if Major Franks returned to
America with no other intelligence than that of repeated delays, it
was more than probable that Congress would be much hurt, as well as
much disappointed. He had the same fears, and advised me to detain the

It became in my opinion important, that the Minister, as well as the
French Ambassador, should be seriously apprehensive of my dismissing
the Major with letters, that would render Congress very little
disposed to make sacrifices to this Court. The manner of doing this
required some caution. I could think of nothing better than to prepare
a letter to the Minister, and send the Ambassador a fair copy of my
draft for his consideration and advice.

The following are copies of that letter, and of the one I sent with it
to the Ambassador.

                      TO THE COUNT DE MONTMORIN.

                             "St Ildefonso, September 16th, 1781.


    "The paper herewith enclosed is the draft of a letter, which
    I think of writing to his Excellency, the Count de Florida

    "The subject, as well as the occasion, demands that dexterous
    and delicate management, of which they only are capable, who
    possess an accurate judgment and much experience in affairs
    of this kind.

    "I am happy, therefore, that on such occasions I can avoid
    the risk of committing errors, by recurring to your friendly
    advice. Without compliment, but with sincerity,

    I am, Sir, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

                   TO THE COUNT DE FLORIDA BLANCA.

    "Whatever may be the issue of the American revolution,
    whether that country shall continue independent, or be doomed
    to reunite her power with that of Great Britain, the good
    will and affection of the people of North America cannot in
    either case be unimportant to their neighbors; nor will the
    impressions made upon their minds by the benefits or
    injuries, which they may receive from other nations in the
    course of their present struggles, ever cease to have a
    certain degree of influence on their future conduct.

    "Various circumstances led Congress at an early period to
    suppose, that the Court of Spain had wisely and generously
    determined to take a decided part in their favor. The
    supplies granted to them by his Catholic Majesty, soon after
    the British armies became numerous in America, spoke this
    language in strong terms, and the assurances repeatedly given
    me by your Excellency, that his Majesty would firmly support
    their cause, and never consent to their being reduced to the
    subjection of Britain, left no room to doubt of his friendly
    disposition and intentions towards them.

    "Many obvious considerations prompted Congress to desire,
    that an intimate connexion might speedily be established
    between the two countries by such treaties as would take from
    the enemy every prospect of success, and secure to Spain and
    the United States the permanent enjoyment of mutual
    advantages and reciprocal attachment. With this view Congress
    were pleased to send me to Spain, and the first letter I had
    the honor of receiving from your Excellency gave me reason to
    believe, that the object of my mission was not displeasing
    to his Majesty; unavoidable and long delays were,
    nevertheless, created by differences respecting a certain
    important right, which America wished to retain. So strong,
    however, was the reliance of Congress on his Majesty's
    assurances of support, and such was their disposition to
    render the proposed treaties consistent with his
    inclinations, that they have since agreed to remove the only
    obstacle, which seemed to prevent his Majesty from realising
    those assurances by substantial aids and an open declaration
    of his intentions.

    "But unfortunately for America, and perhaps for the general
    cause, the delays in question have not ceased with the cause
    to which they were ascribed, and although the confidence
    reposed by Congress in his Majesty's assurances will not
    permit them to doubt of his determination to support their
    independence, yet the silent inattention, with which their
    offers to remove the former obstacle to a treaty have long
    laid unanswered, must appear to them as being very singular.
    Your Excellency has indeed repeatedly promised me to name a
    time when I should have an opportunity of conferring with you
    on that and other subjects submitted to your consideration,
    but it constantly happened that the expectations excited by
    these promises proved abortive.

    "Knowing that Congress would expect to receive by the return
    of Major Franks particular information respecting their
    affairs here, I was anxious to send them some intelligence
    more welcome than I have reason to think a detail of delays
    and procrastination would be, in a season when they would be
    indulging the most flattering expectations from the measures
    they had taken to gratify his Majesty. For this reason I
    informed your Excellency, that I should detain Major Franks
    for the present, and your Excellency promised me on the 8th
    instant, that you would appoint some time in the ensuing week
    for entering into a serious conference about these matters,
    and that M. Del Campo should give me notice of it. That week,
    however, has passed away without having been witness to any
    such notice or conference.

    "I think your Excellency will do me the justice to
    acknowledge that the utmost respect, delicacy, and patience,
    have been observed in all my transactions with your
    Excellency, and therefore I cannot forbear hinting that my
    constituents are at least entitled to that species of
    attention, which the most dignified sovereigns usually pay to
    the friendly propositions of such States, as solicit either
    their aid or alliance in a decent manner, viz. a candid

    "I am sensible that Spain possesses a higher degree on the
    scale of national importance than the United States, and I
    can readily admit, that the friendship of this Court is of
    more immediate consequence to America, than that of America
    to the Spanish empire. But as his Catholic Majesty and his
    Ministers doubtless extend their views beyond the present
    moment, it would ill become me to remark, how essential it is
    to the happiness of neighboring nations, that their conduct
    towards each other should be actuated by such passions and
    sentiments only, as naturally tend to establish and
    perpetuate harmony and good will between them. Most certain
    it is, that in whatever manner the negotiations between Spain
    and North America may terminate, various good or evil
    consequences will in future naturally and necessarily flow
    from it to both.

    "There is good reason to believe, that the apparent
    indecision of Spain, relative to an open acknowledgment of
    the independence of the United States, has inspired other
    nations with doubts and conjectures unfavorable to the
    American cause, and on the other hand, it is more than
    probable that, if his Catholic Majesty would be pleased to
    declare to the world, that the United States were his allies,
    and that he had given his royal word to support their
    independence, Holland and many other nations would follow his

    "On such an event, also, it might not be difficult to form a
    permanent alliance between France, Spain, the Dutch and the
    United States, and thereby not only prevent a separate peace
    between the Dutch and English, but effectually reduce the
    latter to reasonable terms of general pacification.

    "The limits of a letter forbid my enlarging on these topics.
    The eyes of America, and indeed of all Europe, are turned
    towards Spain. It is in the power of his Catholic Majesty to
    increase his friends and humble his enemies. I will only add
    my most sincere wishes, that the annals of America may inform
    succeeding generations, that the wisdom, constancy, and
    generous protection of his Catholic Majesty, Charles the
    Third, and of his Minister, the Count de Florida Blanca, are
    to be ranked among the causes that insured success to a
    revolution, which posterity will consider as one of the most
    important and interesting events in modern history.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

The Ambassador called upon me in the evening to answer my letter.

He observed, that the delays of which I complained were not singular,
but that others, and even himself, experienced the like. That he had
reason to believe this Court were really disposed to treat with us,
though the time when might be doubtful. That the remarks made in the
draft of my intended letter were but too just; that he feared they
would give offence; that at any rate, he thought I had better postpone
it, and for the present write one less pointed, and more laconic. We
had much conversation on the subject, unnecessary to repeat. It ended
in my consenting to pursue his advice.

It is observable, that he did not offer to return me the draft of this
letter, though I had agreed to suppress it.

The letter which, agreeable to the Ambassador's advice, I substituted
in the place of the other, is in these words, viz.

                            St Ildefonso, September 17th, 1781.


    "A reluctance to despatch Major Franks without transmitting
    by him to Congress the information they expect to receive, on
    the subject I have had the honor of submitting to your
    Excellency's consideration, has induced me hitherto to detain
    him, especially as I was encouraged to hope that your
    Excellency would have found leisure last week for entering
    into serious conference with me on those important points.
    The same reluctance prevails upon me to detain him another
    week, and I think it my duty to inform your Excellency that
    he will set out on Saturday next.

    "I need not remark to your Excellency, that if the letter I
    may then write by him should not contain the desired
    intelligence, Congress will naturally be led to apprehend
    that their expectations of forming an intimate union with
    Spain were not well founded.

    "I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

On the 19th, I received the following answer.


    "The Count de Florida Blanca would have been charmed to have
    had it in his power to have a long conference with Mr Jay, if
    his ordinary indispositions had not prevented him; he will,
    therefore, have the honor to see him this evening about eight
    o'clock, if Mr Jay will give himself the trouble of waiting
    on him, either alone or with Major Franks, and in
    communicating to the King the result of their conference, he
    will endeavor to prevail on his Majesty to name some other
    person to confer with Mr Jay in case of need, in order to
    avoid, as much as possible, the embarrassments which Mr Jay
    has hitherto experienced.

    _Wednesday, 19th of September, 1781._"

I waited upon the Count at the time appointed. The following is a copy
of my notes of that conference.

    _Notes of a Conference held at St Ildefonso, on Wednesday
      Evening, the 19th of September, 1781, between his
      Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca, and Mr Jay,
      agreeably to the appointment of the former._

The Count introduced the conference by asking for Major Franks, and
why Mr Jay did not bring him with him. Mr Jay answered, that as Major
Franks was not charged with the transaction of any business with his
Excellency, and had, at a former interview, answered such questions
relative to American affairs as the Count had thought proper to ask
him, Mr Jay did not think his attendance on this occasion necessary,
as he supposed his Excellency meant to enter at present into the
discussion of the matters referred to in Mr Jay's last letter.

The Count then proceeded to enumerate the various obstacles arising
from his ill health, the multiplicity of business, which had so long
subjected Mr Jay to the delays he had hitherto experienced, and which,
for his part, he could not but regret; that agreeable to his promise
made to Mr Jay soon after his arrival, and frequently afterwards
repeated, he had attempted to commit to paper his sentiments on the
various points on which the proposed treaties must turn, and although
he had made some progress in it, he had, for the reasons
abovementioned, been obliged to leave it imperfect; that daily
experience convinced him that his official business was too extensive
and various to admit of his application to other objects, especially
as his indisposition often rendered it impracticable for him to pay a
due attention to it; that he, therefore, conceived it necessary that
some person, duly authorised to confer with Mr Jay on these subjects,
should be appointed by his Majesty; that he intended on Sunday next to
recommend this measure to the King, to whom he would at the same time
communicate the copy of Mr Morris's letter to Mr Jay, which the latter
had given him; that in order to the putting of this matter in proper
train, it would be expedient for Mr Jay previously to commit to paper
his ideas of the outlines of the proposed treaties, and particularly
to state the propositions he might think proper to make relative
thereto; that he had been informed, that the treaties between France
and America had been preceded by the like measures; for that the
American Commissioners had first offered a plan of propositions, and
then M. Gerard was appointed to confer with them before those treaties
were drawn into the state they now appear, and finally concluded. That
the like proceedings were rendered particularly necessary in this
case, by the variety and importance of the points necessary to be
adjusted between Spain and America; that in forming political
connexions between nations, constant regard must be had to their
reciprocal interests, and care taken, by previous arrangements, to
avoid the inconveniences which would result from any clashing of
interest; that three great points presented themselves, as requiring
great attention, in forming the proposed connexion between Spain and

1st. The aids requested by America, as stated in Mr Morris's letter,
were very considerable; that it would be necessary, on the part of
Spain to determine what pecuniary aids it might be in their power to
grant either by loan or subsidy, as well as the time, place, and
manner of payment; for that great punctuality was requisite in such
transactions, as well that the royal engagements might be properly
fulfilled, as that Congress might not be subjected to inconveniences
and disappointments; that on the part of America, it must be
ascertained what compensation they should make, as well as the time
and manner of doing it; and that it might be well to consider how far
such compensation might be made in ship timber, or other productions
of that country; that a compensation would be indispensable, for that
the King, being only the guardian of his dominions, would not think
himself justifiable in dispensing with the just rights of his people.

2dly. That the commercial concerns of the two countries was another
point, which would call for very accurate and important regulations.
That so far as this commerce would respect the United States and old
Spain, the difficulty would not be very great; for that such commerce
being in a considerable degree permitted to other nations, America
ought also to participate in the benefits of it. But with respect to
the Spanish dominions in America, as all other nations were excluded
from any direct commerce with any part of them, the United States
could not reasonably expect to be on a better footing than other
nations, and particularly the French, who were the near allies of

3dly. That with respect to the proposed treaty of alliance, Mr Jay
must be sensible, that the several engagements, which would thereby be
rendered necessary between the parties, the matters of boundary, and
the navigation of the Mississippi, would give occasion to several
important articles, which ought to be maturely considered and well
digested. To this end, he wished that Mr Jay would immediately turn
his thoughts on these subjects, and offer him such a set of
propositions, as might become the basis of future conferences between
him and the person whom he expected his Majesty would appoint.

The Count then took occasion to observe, that he had long wished Mr
Jay had offered him such propositions, but that his Court had as yet
received from Congress nothing but good words and fair assurances, and
that though his Majesty had given them some little aids, yet they had
discovered no disposition, by acts, to acknowledge them. Mr Jay
reminded his Excellency of his having, at a very early day, undertaken
to commit to paper the outlines of the proposed treaties, and that the
constant expectations of his perfecting it, had restrained Mr Jay from
offering anything of the like nature on the subject. That he could
conceive of nothing in the power of Congress to do, which could more
fully evidence their disposition to gratify his Majesty, than their
having offered to recede from their claims to the navigation of the
Mississippi, though the preservation of it was deemed of the highest
importance to their constituents. The Count admitted the propriety of
both these observations, and said he hoped that the delays, which had
so long embarrassed Mr Jay, would soon be terminated.

Mr Jay expressed his anxiety to be enabled to communicate to Congress
some decided intelligence, respecting the aids they might expect from
this Court; to which the Count replied, that the sum requested was
great, the expenses of the kingdom very extensive, and the means of
obtaining the sums necessary to defray them subject to many
difficulties; that he would, as he had before mentioned, communicate
Mr Morris's letter to the King, and, until that was done, he could not
be in capacity to say anything further on the subject; that as the
appointment of a person to confer with Mr Jay would rest with his
Majesty, he could not say who in particular it would be, but he hoped,
and was persuaded that it would be some person well-intentioned
towards America; that he was the more confirmed in this expectation,
from the friendly disposition, which the King had early and constantly
manifested towards that country; that he would again repeat what he
had before told Mr Jay, viz. that the King, when acting in capacity of
mediator for a peace, had refused to permit that country to be
sacrificed; that since the rupture with Britain, tempting and
advantageous offers had been made to him to withdraw his protection
from America, and conclude a separate peace; that he had rejected
these offers, and still continued determined to support the States;
that this conduct ought to be viewed as extremely generous, as no
political connexions or engagements did then, or do as yet subsist
between the two countries. Mr Jay assured his Excellency that the
magnanimity of this conduct had made a deep impression on the people
of America; that nothing but want of opportunity would ever prevent
their expressing it more strongly than by words, and that the sense
they entertained of it, had greatly influenced the late measure they
had taken to comply with his Majesty's desires. The Count then pressed
Mr Jay again to send him the paper above mentioned before Sunday,
adding that he sincerely wished nothing might be wanted to put the
business in a proper train; that for his part, he had the best
disposition towards America, as well as personal regard for Mr Jay,
and, after adding some complimentary expressions relative to the
character of the latter, he concluded.

I was a little surprised that the Count should expect to receive from
me, in the course of three days, formal propositions on the several
points stated in this conference. But it would not have been proper
for me to desire further time.

On the 22d of September, I sent him the following letter and

                              "St Ildefonso, September 22d, 1781.


    "I have the honor of transmitting, herewith enclosed, the
    propositions requested by your Excellency on Wednesday
    evening last.

    "I have endeavored to render them as short and simple as
    possible, and I flatter myself that the unreserved frankness
    with which they are written will be no less agreeable to your
    Excellency, than I am sure it is consistent with the desire
    and disposition of my constituents.

    "As the issue of this measure will in a great degree
    ascertain the expectations which Congress entertain from
    their negotiations here, and as they flatter themselves with
    receiving information on this subject by the return of Major
    Franks, they will doubtless excuse my detaining him another
    week, unless your Excellency should sooner be enabled to
    communicate to me his Majesty's pleasure relative to the
    proposed treaty.

    "Permit me to entreat your Excellency, therefore, to enable
    me to transmit by him such intelligence to Congress, as may
    relieve them from their present distressing doubts and

    "I sincerely hope it may be such as may make them happy in a
    prospect of soon seeing an intimate and lasting union
    established between France, Spain, and the United States, a
    union which, by being raised on the solid foundation of
    mutual interest and reciprocal advantages, may secure to each
    the blessings of uninterrupted tranquillity. This generous
    policy pervades the treaties already formed between his Most
    Christian Majesty and the United States, and I am happy in
    being persuaded, that the magnanimity of his Catholic
    Majesty's conduct towards my country, on this and other
    occasions, will furnish materials for some bright pages in
    the American annals.

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

                                                       JOHN JAY."

Here follow the propositions alluded to, and sent enclosed in the
preceding letter.

                              "St Ildefonso, September 22d, 1781.

    "As the time allowed Mr Jay for offering such propositions,
    as may become the basis of the proposed treaty between his
    Catholic Majesty and the United States of North America, is
    very short, he should fear the consequences of haste and
    inaccuracy, if he were not persuaded that the candor, with
    which they will be received, will secure him from the
    inconveniences to which these circumstances might otherwise
    expose him.

    "Mr Jay presumes that it is not expected he should offer a
    plan of a treaty drawn at length, but only general
    propositions, which may be so modified and enlarged, as on
    due consideration and discussion may appear expedient. With
    this view, he begs leave to present the following as the
    basis of a treaty of amity and alliance, viz.



    "There shall forever subsist an inviolable and universal
    peace and friendship between his Catholic Majesty and the
    United States, and the subjects and citizens of both.


    "That every privilege, exemption, and favor, with respect to
    commerce, navigation, and personal rights, which now are, or
    hereafter may be granted, by either, to any the most favored
    nation, be also granted by them to each other.


    "That they mutually extend to the vessels, merchants, and
    inhabitants of each other, all that protection, which is
    usual and proper between friendly and allied nations.


    "That the vessels, merchants, or other subjects of his
    Catholic Majesty, and the United States, shall not resort to,
    or be permitted (except in cases which humanity allows to
    distress,) to enter into any of those ports or dominions of
    the other, from which the most favored nation shall be


    "That the following commerce be prohibited, and declared
    contraband between the subjects of his Catholic Majesty and
    the United States, viz.

    "All such as his Catholic Majesty may think proper to

    REMARKS. "On this proposition Mr Jay can offer nothing, but
    an assurance of his being ready to concur in every reasonable
    regulation that may be proposed.


    "The United States shall relinquish to his Catholic Majesty,
    and in future forbear to use, or attempt to use, the
    navigation of the river Mississippi from the thirtyfirst
    degree of north latitude, that is, from the point where it
    leaves the United States, down to the ocean.

    REMARKS. "The impression made upon the United States by the
    magnanimity of his Majesty's conduct towards them; the
    assistance they hope to receive from the further exertions of
    the same magnanimity; the deep wound which an alliance with
    so great a monarch would give to the hopes and efforts of the
    enemy; the strong support it would afford to their
    independence; the favorable influence which the example of
    such a King would have on other nations, and the many other
    great and extensive good consequences which would result at
    this interesting period from his Majesty's taking so noble
    and decided a part in their favor, have all conspired in
    prevailing upon Congress to offer to relinquish in his favor,
    the enjoyment of this territorial and national privilege, the
    importance of which, to their constituents, can only be
    estimated by the value they set upon his Majesty's

    "By this proposition, the United States offer to forego all
    the advantages and conveniences, which nature has given to
    the country bordering on the upper parts of that river, by
    ceasing to export their own, and receiving in return the
    commodities of other countries by that only channel, thereby
    greatly reducing the value of that country, retarding its
    settlement, and diminishing the benefits which the United
    States would reap from its cultivation.

    "Mr Jay thinks it his duty frankly to confess, that the
    difficulty of reconciling this measure to the feelings of
    their constituents, has appeared to Congress in a serious
    light, and they now expect to do it, only by placing in the
    opposite scale the gratitude due to his Catholic Majesty, and
    the great and various advantages, which the United States
    will derive from the acknowledgment and generous support of
    their independence by the Spanish monarchy, at a time when
    the vicissitudes, dangers, and difficulties of a distressing
    war, with a powerful, obstinate, and vindictive nation,
    renders the friendship and avowed protection of his Catholic
    Majesty in a very particular manner interesting to them. The
    offer of this proposition, therefore, being dictated by these
    expectations and this combination of circumstances, must
    necessarily be limited by the duration of them, and
    consequently, that if the acceptance of it should, together
    with the proposed alliance, be postponed to a general peace,
    the United States will cease to consider themselves bound by
    any propositions, or offers, which he may now make in their

    "Nor can Mr Jay omit mentioning the hopes and expectations of
    Congress, that his Majesty's generosity and greatness of
    mind will prompt him to alleviate, as much as possible, the
    disadvantages to which this proposition subjects the United
    States, by either granting them a free port, under certain
    restrictions, in the vicinity, or by such other marks of his
    liberality and justice, as may give him additional claims to
    the affection and attachment of the United States.


    "That his Catholic Majesty shall guaranty to the United
    States all their respective territories.


    "That the United States shall guaranty to his Catholic
    Majesty all his dominions in North America.


    "As the aforegoing propositions appear to Mr Jay the most
    essential, he omits proposing those less and subordinate
    ones, which seem to follow of course. He therefore concludes
    this subject with a general offer and propositions to make
    and admit all such articles as, in the course of this
    negotiation, shall appear conducive to the great objects of
    the proposed treaty.

    REMARKS. "Nothing on Mr Jay's part shall be wanting to
    expedite the happy conclusion of this business, by adhering
    constantly to the dictates of candor, frankness, and
    unsuspecting confidence.

    "He is ready to receive the treaty between the United States
    and his Christian Majesty, as a model for this, or with such
    alterations as, founded on the principles of reciprocity, may
    be more agreeable to his Catholic Majesty, it being his
    earnest desire to arrive at the important objects of his
    mission in any way his Majesty may be pleased to prefer.

    "The subject of aids, either by subsidy or loan as may be
    most convenient to his Majesty, will require a particular
    convention, but as the manner, extent, and terms depend on
    his Majesty's pleasure, it is impossible for Mr Jay, without
    some knowledge of it, to offer propositions adapted thereto.
    All that he can at present say on that subject is, that
    Congress are ready to do everything in their power. He will
    not, however, endeavor to conceal their incapacity to do much
    in the way of compensation, while the enemy shall continue to
    make the United States the theatre of a desolating war, and
    the object of their predatory operations. But when those
    obstacles shall cease, it will be in their power, as well as
    their inclination, to make retribution, and render important
    services to his Majesty. Mr Jay will therefore continue to
    decline attempting to induce his Majesty to take any
    measures, however favorable to his country, by delusive
    promises, or rash engagements; but on the other hand, he is
    ready to enter into such reasonable ones, as he may have good
    reason to say shall be faithfully and punctually performed.

    "A particular treaty regulating the conduct to be observed by
    his Catholic Majesty, and the United States, towards each
    other during the war, also appears to Mr Jay important to
    both; but as the proper plans and articles of such a treaty
    can only result from a free conference on the subject, he can
    upon this occasion only express his readiness to concur in
    every provision, which may be calculated to give energy and
    success to the operations and objects of both.

                                                       JOHN JAY."

Your Excellency will be pleased to observe, that among my remarks on
the sixth proposition, I have limited the duration of the offer
contained in it. I did this from a persuasion, that such limitation
was not only just and reasonable in itself, but absolutely necessary
to prevent this Court's continuing to delay a treaty to a general
peace. Besides what the Minister dropped upon this head in his
conference with me at Aranjues, I think it probable that they still
wish to adhere to that idea. To me they appear desirous of avoiding
the expense that the aids, which a treaty we should expect would
render unavoidable, and which at present would not be very convenient
for them. They wish to see our independence established, and yet not
be among the first to subscribe a precedent, that may one day be
turned against them. They wish not to exclude themselves, by any
present engagements, from taking advantage of the chances and events
of the war, not choosing on the one hand, that in case we sink, that
we should be fastened to them by any particular ties, nor on the other
hand, in case we survive the storm, to be so circumstanced as not to
make the most of us. I think it is their design, therefore, to draw
from us all such concessions as our present distress, and the hopes of
aid may extort, and by protracting negotiations about the treaty,
endeavor to avail themselves of these concessions at a future day,
when our inducements to offer them shall have ceased. As this would
evidently be unjust, I think the limitation in question can give them
no offence, and I hope Congress will be pleased to communicate to me
their sentiments on the subject.

I must also remark, that after what has passed, and considering how
well they are acquainted with my instructions, it would not only have
been useless, but absurd, to have made these propositions otherwise
than agreeably to those instructions.

Congress may at first view be a little surprised at the extent of the
fifth proposition, but when they compare it with the second, I am
persuaded they will find it sufficiently restrained.

In forming these propositions, it was my determination to leave them
so free from disputed, or disputable points, as that no plausible
pretexts for delay should arise from the face of them. I am well
apprised, nevertheless, that in the course of the negotiation, it will
be impossible for me to prevent their practising as much
procrastination as they may find convenient. Almost the only hope I
have of their seriously doing business arises from their fearing, that
the instruction respecting the Mississippi will be recalled the moment
that either any very decided successes on our part in America may
render a treaty with Spain of less importance to us, or a general
treaty of peace give us different views and prospects.

These are my conjectures and opinions. Perhaps they may prove
erroneous; as facts accompany them, Congress will be enabled to judge
for themselves. I will add, that from everything I can hear, the King
is honestly disposed to do us good, and were he alone to be consulted
in this business, I believe it would soon be concluded.

On the 23d of September, the foregoing propositions were to be laid
before the King. I heard nothing further from the Minister until the
27th, when he sent me the following note.


    "Although the last letter of Mr Jay, accompanied with a
    certain plan, was transmitted on Saturday in the evening to
    the Count de Florida Blanca, and although he could not inform
    himself of their contents until translated from the English,
    he nevertheless did not fail to render an account thereof to
    the King in his despatch of Sunday. His Majesty having then
    shown himself disposed to appoint some person to confer with
    Mr Jay, it is become necessary to prepare a suitable
    instruction, and present it to the King for his approbation.
    The Count de Florida Blanca flatters himself, that he shall
    be able to arrange this affair before the departure of the
    Count for the Escurial, and in the meanwhile, he has the
    honor to transmit to Mr Jay a passport for Major Franks.

    "_Thursday, September 27th, 1781._"

I have been given to understand, though not officially, that M. Del
Campo, the Minister's Secretary, is the person who will be appointed
to confer with me, and though that gentleman is constantly about the
Minister, yet it seems, that a set of formal instructions are to be
prepared for him. When the Minister will be able to find either time
or health to complete them is uncertain.

There is reason to believe, that still less progress would have been
made in this affair, had Major Franks not have arrived. I regret his
detention, but hope the reasons assigned for it will be deemed
sufficient; I am perfectly satisfied with him.

Notwithstanding Congress had given me reason to expect, that the plan
of drawing bills upon me had been laid aside, I have now bills to the
amount of between seventy and eighty thousand dollars to pay, and no
funds provided. What am I to do? Dr Franklin writes me, that so far from
being able to give me further aids, he does not expect to have it in
his power even to pay our salaries in future.

From the facts stated in this letter, Congress will perceive that this
Court neither refuse nor promise to afford us further aid. Delay is
their system; when it will cease I cannot conjecture, for that is a
question which I doubt whether they themselves have as yet determined.

I am indebted largely to Mr Harrison for money advanced by him to
distressed seamen. He ought to be paid, and it is so far from being in
my power to do it, that I have been reduced to the mortifying
necessity of desiring him for the present to hold his hand. A great
many of this valuable class of people are confined in English gaols,
without other means of obtaining their enlargement than by entering
into the enemy's service. They complain bitterly of being neglected by
their country, and I really think not without reason. Retaliation
ought to be practised, and if we have not a sufficient number of
marine officers and seamen in our power to make the objects of it, why
would it be improper to substitute landsmen?

As to Portugal, I have more than once spoken to the Minister on the
subject. He admits the justice of our being treated by that as by
other neutral nations. He has promised to interfere in our behalf, but
nothing efficacious has yet been done. To send an agent there, could
do no harm, and might do good; I am therefore for it. The Ambassador
of France thinks with me, that before that step is taken, it ought to
be confidentially communicated to this Court, and I am persuaded
difficulties will arise from it. I shall do my best.

M. Gardoqui's departure is uncertain. He is still attending the orders
of the Court. I doubt his receiving them till the campaign closes, and
perhaps not then.

I do not despair of seeing some good result, finally, from all this
complication of political solecisms. It would not surprise me if we
should in the end be the gainers by them. My greatest fears are about
the fate of the bills. If protested, for want of payment, they will
become the source of much evil.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

_P. S._ I have this instant received a letter from Commodore Gillon,
dated at Corunna, the 28th of September, and one from Colonel Searle
of the 26th of September. I herewith enclose copies of them. Their
contents are interesting.        J. J.


[30] See these letters at large in the _Secret Journal of Congress_,
Vol. II. pp. 323, 326. The latter was drawn up by Mr Madison.

[31] Secret Journal of Congress, Vol. II. p. 393.

[32] Secret Journal of Congress, Vol. II. p. 404.

[33] See this letter above, p. 449.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Madrid, October 18th, 1781.


Major Franks delivered me the despatches committed to his care on the
30th of August. He set out for France the 5th instant. My letters by
him to your Excellency will account for his remaining here so long. I
also beg leave to refer to them for other more interesting

Congress will doubtless be informed that I have refused to accept some
of their bills. As the enemies of America in Europe had, with some
success, endeavored to render the credit of our paper suspected, it
appeared to me expedient to state the reasons for these refusals very
particularly, and I caused them to be recited at large in the
protests. I have sent copies of them to Dr Franklin and Mr Adams,
that in case these transactions should be represented to our
disadvantage, either in France or Holland, they might be enabled to
set the matter right. I now send copies to Congress, to prevent their
being alarmed at any general report that may arrive in America, of my
having refused to accept their bills drawn upon me.

Our merchants would, in my opinion, do well to write their
endorsements on bills at length, and in their own hand writing. There
is reason to believe that the enemy often turn blank endorsements to
good account.

M. Gardoqui is here. Those ships of the Spanish flotilla, which
carried the treasure, are arrived at Cadiz. Trenches are not yet
opened against Fort St Philip at Minorca. Another expedition is
preparing at Cadiz; its destination is uncertain.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                             JOHN JAY.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                     Philadelphia, November 1st, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

Your letter to Congress of April last having been read and answered by
them, though not so minutely as I would wish, I forbear making any
remarks upon it, because I am not yet perfectly acquainted with their
sentiments, (and would not wish any which might interfere with them)
having just entered upon the office, in consequence of which I open
this correspondence, though long since appointed. I beg of you,
agreeably to the directions of Congress, to address in future your
public letters to me, and to notify the Count de Florida Blanca of
this alteration in our system, our unacknowledged situation rendering
it improper to do it formally.

Congress have at length completed the organization of their executive
departments, by the choice of General Lincoln for their Secretary at
War. It is expected that order and system will arise out of this mode
of doing business, and the strictest economy.

If the great powers of Europe, with every advantage that settled
governments enjoy, feel themselves under the necessity of making
foreign loans, can it be expected that a war of six years, in the
heart of our country, should not have abridged the resources of a
State, which had every necessary for their army to import; which never
manufactured for itself; which had no marine; and which, with a number
of internal enemies in their bosom, had civil governments to
establish? Perhaps it would be impossible to offer a better picture of
the resources of this country, and the stability of her funds when
they shall be well managed, than by comparing our present debt with
the duration of the war and the exertions we have made. For though our
enemies may allege, that our debt was relieved by the depreciation of
our bills, yet it must be remembered, that that very depreciation was
a tax, though an unequal one, borne by the people of these States, and
as it has not produced national ruin, it must follow, that the States
had sufficient resources to bear this burthen. These resources, though
lessened, still remain.

The only object for which Britain continues the war, is the recovery
of this country. What better plan of finance then can be adopted by
France or Spain, than by timely aids of ships and money to blast this
hope, and by a speedy peace to terminate their expenses? If, on the
contrary, they wish to linger out the war till Britain is more
exhausted, this country affords them the easiest means of doing it.

Armies may be maintained here for one third of the expense that
Britain lays out upon hers. This France has experienced. Though her
affairs were not perhaps managed with the strictest economy, though
her bills were extremely low, her supplies cost at least one third
less than the British paid at New York, without taking into account
the hire of transports, the seamen employed, paid, and fed in that
service, and the number of them that fell into our hands. Be persuaded
yourself, and endeavor to persuade others, that if this is a war of
finance, which all modern wars are, Britain is most vulnerable in

I congratulate you upon the important success of our aims in South
Carolina and Virginia, of which I enclose you official accounts. On
the returns you will remark a number of British American nominal
regiments. These were recruiting in Virginia and North Carolina, and
their success will show the truth of what Britain advances with
respect to the number of her partisans in America. I will venture to
say, that with similar advantages, their recruiting parties would have
been more successful in any country in Europe. Besides the troops
mentioned in the returns, the enemy lost during the siege near two
thousand negroes. Previous to the surrender, they had a naval
engagement with the Count de Grasse. The Terrible, a British
seventyfour, was burnt, so that our affairs here stand upon the most
respectable footing imaginable.--[Upwards of thirty lines follow
interspersed with a cypher, the key to which is not to be found.]

But this is a delicate subject, and I quit it till I am more fully
acquainted with the views of Congress thereon, for I confess to you,
that the sentiments I have hazarded are rather my own, than any that I
know to be theirs, and should weigh accordingly with you. The
provision trade with the Havana being very considerable and important
to Spain, while she has fleets and armies to maintain there, it might
be proper to suggest to the Spanish Ministry the advantage of allowing
small convoys of frigates, which would enable us to carry it on in
vessels of greater burden, and by that means diminish the expense of
freight and insurance, both of which, eventually, fall upon Spain. A
few frigates would answer the purpose, as the stations of the enemy's
ships are almost always known on this coast, and, indeed, they seldom
have any out but frigates cruising singly.

Another thought strikes me, which, perhaps, if digested, might be
ripened into a plan advantageous to France, Spain, and America. While
France keeps an army here, she must draw bills, or export money. She
has, for the most part, preferred the former, at the loss of forty per
cent discount. The money of Spain is lodged at the Havana, and cannot
be brought to Europe without great hazard; whereas the risk of sending
it here under convoy is extremely small. It may be vested in European
bills to such advantage, as to pay the whole expense of
transportation, and even an interest, till the bills are negotiated in
Europe. This plan affords France a market for her bills, Spain a cheap
and easy way of bringing her money home, and America a circulating
medium, which enables her to tax with advantage.

The enclosed act of Congress informs you of the appointment of Mr
Hanson, of Maryland, to the Presidentship.

I shall write very frequently to you, and shall in return expect that
you will omit no opportunity of letting me hear from you. A Court
kalendar, if one is printed with you, with notes of your own thereon,
might be of some service to us. I shall use our private cypher, as
corrected by that sent by Mr Toscan, till you receive the one
transmitted by Mr Thomson, in which case, as it is less troublesome,
be pleased to use that, if you are sure it came safe.

I am, dear Sir, with the sincerest regard and esteem, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

       *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, November 28th, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

I wrote so fully to you not long since, that I should not trouble you
at this time, if I had not determined to omit no opportunity of
letting you hear from this side of the water, and enabling you at all
times to meet any falsehood the enemy may find it politic to publish.

Since the capture of Cornwallis, nothing very material has happened.
The ravaging parties on the northern frontiers have been defeated with
great loss by the militia. The armies have taken their stations for
the winter quarters; the French, in Virginia and Maryland; our troops,
on the Hudson, excepting some detachments under General St Clair,
destined to reinforce General Greene. They have orders to take
Wilmington in their way, where the enemy have about six hundred men;
it is probable they will not wait the attack. General Greene will have
men enough to shut up the enemy, but not to force their strong holds.
Want of money cramps all our exertions, and prevents our making a
glorious winter campaign. The enemy are all shut up on two or three
points of land, which is all they possess of the immense country they
hope to conquer; and even these they hold by a very precarious tenure.
Disaffection, which has languished for some time past, died when
Cornwallis surrendered.

Congress are occupied in taking measures for an active campaign; and
they feel themselves satisfied with everything both at home and

Congress have dissolved Mr Adams's powers to make a treaty of commerce
with Great Britain; and, as you know, joined Dr Franklin and Mr
Laurens in his other commission, if England should at length be wise
enough to wish for peace.

The Marquis de Lafayette is the bearer of this. He has promised to
convey it with safety to you, and to correspond with you in such a
manner as to enable you to avail yourself of the knowledge which he
has acquired, that may be of use to you. The resolves of Congress, of
which I enclose a copy, show their sense on this subject, and the
confidence which they very justly repose in him. His Aid waits for
this. Adieu my dear Sir.

Believe me to be, with the highest respect and esteem, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                      END OF THE SEVENTH VOLUME.

| TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE.                                                |
|                                                                    |
| Omitted words, shown as blank spaces in the original, have been    |
| transcribed as four hyphens ('----').                              |
|                                                                    |
| Every effort was made to match the original text. Spelling         |
| variations between letters have been preserved. Apparent typos     |
| and misspellings were retained, including the following:           |
|                                                                    |
| Page  Original text                                                |
|   47  "supprised"                            possible misspelling  |
|  169  "he did not embark till June 1st, 1794  1784?                |
|  198  "Marquis de La Flolte                  possible misspelling  |
|  216  "Jean Guy Guatier"                     possible misspelling  |
|  267  "the following is an extrac"           possible misspelling  |
|  285  "May 28th, 1780"                       date is given as May  |
|                                               30th in Table of     |
|                                               Contents             |
|  399                                         sum of Revenues does  |
|                                               not appear correct   |
|  400                                         sum of Expenses does  |
|                                               not appear correct   |
|                                                                    |

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