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Title: The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. IV (of 12)
Author: Various
Language: English
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by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at
http://gallica.bnf.fr)



  THE

  DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE

  OF THE

  AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

  VOL. IV.



  THE

  DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE

  OF THE

  AMERICAN REVOLUTION;

  BEING

  THE LETTERS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, SILAS DEANE, JOHN
  ADAMS, JOHN JAY, ARTHUR LEE, WILLIAM LEE, RALPH
  IZARD, FRANCIS DANA, WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, HENRY
  LAURENS, JOHN LAURENS, M. DE LAFAYETTE, M.
  DUMAS, AND OTHERS, CONCERNING THE FOREIGN
  RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES DURING
  THE WHOLE REVOLUTION;

  TOGETHER WITH

  THE LETTERS IN REPLY FROM THE SECRET COMMITTEE OF
  CONGRESS, AND THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

  ALSO,

  THE ENTIRE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE FRENCH MINISTERS,
  GERARD AND LUZERNE, WITH CONGRESS.

  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.

  EDITED
  BY JARED SPARKS.

  VOL. IV.

  BOSTON:

  NATHAN HALE AND GRAY & BOWEN;

  G. & C. &. H. CARVILL, NEW YORK; P. THOMPSON, WASHINGTON.

  1829.

  HALE'S STEAM PRESS.

  No. 6 Suffolk Buildings, Congress Street, Boston.



CONTENTS OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S CORRESPONDENCE, CONTINUED.


                                                                    Page.

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

      Expresses a wish to promote the commerce between
      France and America.

  Thomas Townshend to Richard Oswald. Whitehall,
  September 1st, 1782,                                                  4

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

  To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Sept. 3d, 1782,                       4

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

  To John Jay. Passy, September 4th, 1782,                              9

      Mr Oswald's courier arrives, with directions to acknowledge
      the independence of America.

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  September 5th, 1782,                                                 10

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

  Richard Oswald to B. Franklin. Paris, September
  5th, 1782,                                                           15

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

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

      Requesting a copy of the fourth article of his instructions,
      given in the note.

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

      Prospect of peace.

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  September 12th, 1782,                                                17

      Presenting Mr Paine's work addressed to the Abbé
      Raynal.

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  September 12th, 1782,                                                18

      Necessity of further supplies of money.

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

      The preliminaries formerly received, inadmissible.

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  September 18th, 1782,                                                19

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

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

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

  Richard Oswald to B. Franklin. Paris, September
  24th, 1782,                                                          21

      Transmitting a copy of Mr Townshend's letter to himself.

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

      Aspect of affairs dubious.

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

      Reply to his complaints of want of information.--Delays
      of the negotiation.

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

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

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

      Sends a proposition for a temporary commercial convention.--The
      dissolution of the union of the States apprehended.

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

      Progress of the negotiation.--Acknowledges the receipt
      of Ministers' salaries.

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

      Delay in the negotiations.

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

      Introducing Mr Strachey.

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

      Regrets the obstructions to the negotiations.

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

      Introducing the Baron de Kermelin.

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  November 9th, 1782,                                                  31

      Sweden proposes to acknowledge the independence of
      the United States.--Advantage of obtaining an acknowledgment
      from the States of Barbary.--Difficulties in the exchange of
      prisoners.--Affair of Lippincott.--Mr Boudinot elected President.

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  November 21st, 1782,                                                 34

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

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

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

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  November 27th, 1782,                                                 44

      Messrs Lamarque and Fabru.

  To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Nov. 29th, 1782,                       45

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

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  December 3d, 1782,                                                   45

  To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Dec. 4th, 1782,                      46

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

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

      Difficulties of conveying information to America.--Has
      asked for further supplies from France.--History of
      the negotiations.--The principal preliminaries between
      France and England agreed to.--Proceedings
      in regard to Sweden.

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

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

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

      Expresses his astonishment at the despatching of the
      Washington.--Complains that the preliminaries have
      been concluded without any communication with
      France.

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

      Causes of the sailing of the Washington.--No peace
      will take place between England and America without
      the concurrence of France.

  To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, Dec. 24th, 1782,                     58

      The Swedish Ambassador exchanges full powers with
      Dr Franklin.

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

      Enclosing various resolutions of Congress.--Regrets
      the departure of the French fleet.--Financial distresses
      of America.

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

      Financial distress.--Subjects of negotiation.--Contingent
      expenses of foreign Ministers.

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

      Enclosing propositions for abolishing privateering.

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

      Desiring a conference with the Commissioners.

  To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Jan. 18th, 1783,                       70

      Promising to be present at the conference.

  Benjamin Vaughan to B. Franklin. Paris, January
  18th, 1783,                                                          70

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

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

      Acquainting him with Vergennes's desire for a conference.

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

      Preliminaries signed between France, Spain, and England.

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

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

  From M, Rosencrone, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  in Denmark, to M. de Walterstorff. Copenhagen,
  February 22d, 1783,                                                  74

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

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

      Treaty with Sweden signed.--The English Ministry
      changed.

  David Hartley to B. Franklin. London, March
  12th, 1783,                                                          76

      Enclosing conciliatory propositions, and a sketch of a
      provisional treaty of commerce.--Changes in the
      Ministry.

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

      Expresses a desire for a reconciliation.

  Robert R. Livingston to B. Franklin. Philadelphia,
  March 26th, 1783,                                                    84

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

  From the city of Hamburg to Congress. March
  29th, 1783,                                                          88

      Proposing the establishment of commercial connexions.

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

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

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

      Informing him of an attempt by the Algerines to seize
      American vessels.

  To the Grand Master of Malta. Passy, April 6th,
  1783,                                                                96

      Requesting protection for Americans in the ports of
      Malta.

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

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

  To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, April 15th, 1783,                    98

      Proposals of Denmark.--Delay in the negotiation of
      the Definitive Treaty.--Mr Hartley substituted in
      the room of Mr Oswald.--Propositions for the renewal
      of the commerce between England and the
      United States.--Receives applications of persons
      wishing to emigrate to America.--Financial embarrassments
      of France.

  Charles J. Fox to B. Franklin. St James's, April
  19th, 1783,                                                         104

      Introducing Mr Hartley.--Expresses a desire to effect
      a reconciliation of the two nations.

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

      Introducing the Count del Veome.

  Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles,
  May 5th, 1783,                                                      105

      Acknowledges the receipt of a copy of the three articles
      discussed by the Commissioners and Mr Hartley.--Complains
      of the infrequent appearance of the
      Commissioners at Court.

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

      The Commissioners prevented by sickness from appearing
      at Court.

  To David Hartley. Passy, May 8th, 1783,                             106

      Desires the abolition of privateering.

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

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

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

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

  To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, June 12th, 1783,                    110

      The ratification of the treaty with Sweden received.--Treaty
      with Denmark going on.--Portugal proposes to treat.--Delay
      of the Definitive Treaty with England.--Dr Bancroft.

  The Ambassador from Sweden to B. Franklin.
  Paris, June 13th, 1783,                                             112

      Requesting that Mr W. T. Franklin may be sent to the
      Swedish Court.

  From the Grand Master of Malta to B. Franklin.
  Malta, June 21st, 1783,                                             112

      Promising protection to Americans in the ports of
      Malta.

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

      Delays of the negotiations.--Mr Laurens's presence
      necessary.

  From M. Rosencrone, Minister of Denmark, to B.
  Franklin. Copenhagen, July 8th, 1783,                               114

      Enclosing a Counter Project of a Treaty between the
      United States and Denmark.

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

  Giacomo F. Crocco to B. Franklin. Cadiz, July
  15th, 1783,                                                         135

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

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

      Justifies the signature of the Provisional Treaty without
      communicating to the French Court.--Expresses
      his confidence in France.--Contrary opinion of one
      of his colleagues.--Reason for striking a commercial
      article out of the preliminaries proposed.--Advantages
      of free trade.--Moderation of France.--The
      Ambassador of Portugal desires to form a treaty
      with the United States.--Correspondence with the
      Danish Minister.--Inclination of Saxony and Prussia
      to engage in the American commerce.--Affair
      of the Bon Homme Richard.--Recommends his
      grandson for the diplomatic service.--General desire
      of the European powers to engage in commerce
      with the United States.--The American constitutions
      translated into French, produce a favorable
      effect.--Dangers from the Barbary powers.--Kindness
      of Mr Wren to the American prisoners
      near Portsmouth.

  Plan of a Treaty with Portugal,                                     150

      Enclosed in the preceding.

  From the Pope's Nuncio to B. Franklin,                              158

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

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

      The English Ministry reject the propositions of the
      Commissioners and of their own Ministers.--Propose
      the preliminaries slightly changed as a definitive
      treaty.--The other Commissioners are inclined
      to sign this.

  M. de Rayneval to B. Franklin. Versailles, August
  29th, 1783,                                                         160

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

  To the President of Congress. Passy, August 31st,
  1783,                                                               161

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

  To David Hartley. Passy, September 6th, 1783,                       161

      Expresses his esteem for Mr Fox.--Intelligence of the
      American people.--Their misunderstandings much
      exaggerated.--Complains of the delay in evacuating
      New York.

  To John Jay. Passy, September 10th, 1783,                           163

      Quotes a letter from America, which accuses him of
      favoring France, in her opposition to granting the
      fishery, and the whole territory demanded by the
      Americans.--Appeals to Mr Jay for the falsehood
      of the assertion.

  John Jay to B. Franklin. Passy, Sept, 11th, 1783,                   164

      Dr Franklin agreed and acted with the other Commissioners
      respecting the boundaries and fisheries.--On former occasions
      he had also maintained the same claims on these points.

  John Adams to B. Franklin. Passy, September
  13th, 1783,                                                         165

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

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

      Relations with Morocco; with Portugal.--False reports
      of disunion, &c. in the United States injurious
      to the American cause.--Count de Vergennes
      refuses to sign the Definitive Treaty with England
      before that between England and the United States
      was signed.

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

      Relative to accounts.

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Passy, September
  27th, 1783,                                                         171

      Encloses a copy of the Definitive Treaty.--Expects
      Mr Hartley to negotiate a treaty of commerce.

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

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

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

      Reports of the divisions in America unfounded.

  To the President of Congress. Passy, November
  1st, 1783,                                                          173

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

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

      Informs Dr Franklin that he is appointed by the
      Emperor of Morocco to conduct to that Court the Minister
      of the United States.--Demands $1500 for his expenses to Paris.

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

      Accounts of the proceedings and demands of M. Crocco.

  To Giacomo Francisco Crocco. Passy, December
  15th, 1783,                                                         179

      Mr Jay is the suitable person for M. Crocco's application.

  To the President of Congress. Passy, December
  25th, 1783,                                                         180

      Mr Hartley refuses to go to Versailles to sign the
      Definitive Treaty.--Ill will of the British Court towards
      America.--Has the American constitutions
      translated in French, which produce a favorable
      impression.--Relations with Denmark, Portugal, Morocco,
      and Germany.--The expense of Commodore Jones's expedition
      paid entirely by the King of France.

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

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

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

      Recommends Mr Hodgson as Consul in London.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  David Hartley to B. Franklin. Paris, June 1st,
  1784,                                                               192

      Defects of form in the ratification of the treaty by
      Congress.

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

      Answers to the objections made in the preceding letter.

  To the President of Congress. Passy, June 16th,
  1784,                                                               196

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

  Consular Convention,                                                198

      Consular convention between France and the United
      States.

  To Count de Mercy Argenteau. Passy, July 30th,
  1784,                                                               208

      Dr Franklin, Mr Jefferson, and Mr Adams are appointed
      to negotiate a treaty of commerce with the
      empire.

  Count de Mercy Argenteau to B. Franklin. Paris,
  July 30th, 1784,                                                    209

      Assures Dr Franklin of the disposition of the Emperor
      to form commercial connexions with the United
      States.

  Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles,
  August 27th, 1784,                                                  210

      Requesting a declaration, in an official form, that Congress
      will in no case treat any nation more favorably than France
      in commercial privileges.

  To Count de Vergennes. Passy, Sept. 3d, 1784,                       210

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

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

      Expresses the satisfaction of the King with the resolution
      of Congress, contained in the preceding letter.--The
      United States shall enjoy a complete reciprocity in France.

  Count de Mercy Argenteau to B. Franklin. Paris,
  September 28th, 1784,                                               211

      The Emperor has agreed to the propositions of Congress
      concerning commercial regulations between
      the two powers.

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

      The Commissioners have made propositions of treating
      to all the European powers.

  To Charles Thompson. Passy, Nov. 11th, 1784,                        213

  To the President of Congress. Passy, February 8th,
  1785,                                                               213

      Receives the Resolve of Congress, respecting the Consular
      convention, too late to suspend the signing.

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

      Introducing M. de Chaumont, the younger.

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

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

  M. de Rayneval to B. Franklin. Versailles, May
  8th, 1785,                                                          216

      Regrets to hear of his approaching departure from
      France.

  To John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Passy,
  May 10th, 1785,                                                     216

      Prepares for his return to America.

  To Charles Thompson. Passy, May 10th, 1785,                         217

  Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles,
  May 22d, 1785,                                                      217

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

  To Thomas Barclay. Passy, June 19th, 1785,                          218

      Relative to his charges for salary as Minister Plenipotentiary.

  M. de Castries to B. Franklin. Versailles, July 10th,
  1785,                                                               220

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

  To John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Philadelphia,
  September 19th, 1785,                                               220

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

  To Mr Grand, banker at Paris. Philadelphia, July
  11, 1786,                                                           222

      Requests information concerning the gift of three millions
      of livres from the King, of which only two millions
      appear in the accounts.

  M. Durival to Mr Grand. Versailles, August 30th,
  1786,                                                               223

      The King's gift amounted to three millions, independently
      of the million advanced to the United States
      by the Farmers-General.

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

      Declines communicating to him the receipt taken for
      the first million advanced by the King, June 10th,
      1776.

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

      States that he received only three millions; the first
      million having been advanced previous to his appointment.

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

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

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

      Professes himself unable to discover who received the
      first million.

  To Charles Thompson. Philadelphia, January 27th,
  1787,                                                               226

      Conjectures that the million advanced June 10th, 1776,
      must have been delivered to Beaumarchais.

  To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, November
  29th, 1788,                                                         228

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


         *       *       *       *       *

  JOHN ADAMS' CORRESPONDENCE.

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

      Enclosing his commission as Commissioner to France.

  To Henry Laurens, President of Congress. Braintree,
  December 23d, 1777,                                                 242

      Accepting his appointment as Commissioner.

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

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

  To Samuel Adams. Passy, May 21st, 1778,                             244

      State of Europe.--Disposition of the powers towards
      America.--Affairs of the United States in France
      in great confusion.--Expenses of the Commissioners.
      (Information on this subject in the note, p. 245.)--Proposes
      remedies.

  To the Commercial Committee. Passy, May 24th,
  1778,                                                               248

      American affairs in France in great confusion; attended
      with much delay and expense.--Remedies proposed.

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

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

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

      Mr Deane's claims, services, and complaints.--Victories
      of the army the best negotiators in Europe.

  To the President of Congress. Passy, July 27th,
  1778,                                                               254

      Policy of England to separate America from France.

  To Samuel Adams. Passy, July 28th, 1778,                            256

      British Commissioners authorised to offer independence
      to America, on condition of her breaking off
      her connexions with France.--America is bound by
      alliances to reject such proposals.--The proximity
      of the British colonies to the United States will always
      render Great Britain an enemy.--France and
      America reciprocally important to each other.--The
      alliance of France will secure the rest of the continent.--Necessity
      of imposing taxes in the United States to support the national
      credit.

  To James Warren. Passy, August 4th, 1778,                           259

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

  To Richard Henry Lee. Passy, Aug. 5th, 1778,                        262

      Necessity of taxation to support the national credit.--
      Dissensions among the American agents.

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

  To the President of Congress. Passy, September
  7th, 1778,                                                          266

      Great preparations of Spain; their object is unknown.

  To the President of Congress. Passy, September
  11th, 1778,                                                         267

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

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

  M. Ray de Chaumont to John Adams. Passy,
  September 18th, 1778,                                               269

      Declines receiving any compensation for his house.

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

      The American refugees in England encourage the notion,
      that another campaign will compel the colonies to return
      to submission.--The marine and finances of England are in
      a miserable condition.

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

      Agriculture the most essential interest of America, even
      in Massachusetts.--Evils of the fisheries; they promote
      luxury, and injure morals; are useful as a
      source of naval power.

  To Ralph Izard. Passy, October 2d, 1778,                            274

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

  To the President of Congress. Passy, October 2d,
  1778,                                                               277

  Committee of Foreign Affairs to John Adams.
  Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778,                                   277

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

  To the President of Congress. Passy, December
  3d, 1778,                                                           278

      The opinion that the English intend to withdraw from
      the United States, unfounded.--The British power
      there must be destroyed.

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

      Reserve of the French Ministry towards the Commissioners.--
      Dissensionsof the Commissioners.

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

      Enclosing the King's speech.

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

      Value and dangers of the connexion with France.

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

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

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

      Congratulations on his successes.--Prospect of obtaining
      an exchange of prisoners.--Refuse the payment of his bill
      of exchange drawn on the Commissioners.--Offer to furnish
      his men with slops.

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

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

  The Commissioners to Lieut. Simpson, of the Ranger.
  Passy, June 3d, 1778,                                               288

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

  To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Passy, February
  1st, 1779,                                                          289

      Difficult to obtain a loan in Europe.

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

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

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

      The recall of his commission has rendered unnecessary
      the conference he had requested with the Minister
      relative to Mr Deane's address.

  To the Marquis de Lafayette. Passy, February
  21st, 1779,                                                          295

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

  Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles,
  February 21st, 1779,                                                 298

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

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

      Expresses his sense of the King's indulgent sentiments.

  To John Jay, President of Congress. Passy, February
  27th, 1779,                                                          299

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

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

      Conditions of the British loan.

  M. de Lafayette to John Adams. St Germain,
  April 9th, 1779,                                                     303

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

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

      Relative to the charges made against Mr Lee.

  To the President of Congress. Braintree, August
  3d, 1779,                                                            307

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

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

      View of the state of Europe.--France.--War of Bavarian
      succession.--Great Britain.--Holland.--Spain.--Portugal.--German
      States.--Austria.--Prussia.--The northern powers.--Italy.

  To James Lovell. Braintree, August 13th, 1779,                       325

      Enclosing letters concerning Count de Vergennes and
      Arthur Lee.

  To the President of Congress. Braintree, September
  10th, 1779,                                                          326

      Requesting a copy of the complaints, evidences,
      witnesses, &c. reported by a Committee of Congress to
      exist against the Commissioners.

  To the President of Congress. Boston, September
  23d, 1779,                                                           327

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

      Regrets Mr Lee's recall.--Denies Mr Izard's charges.

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

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

  To Samuel Huntington, President of Congress.
  Braintree, October 20th, 1779,                                       333

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

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

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

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Braintree, November
  4th, 1779,                                                           337

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

  Instructions for a treaty of peace with Great Britain,               339

  Instructions for a treaty of commerce with Great
  Britain,                                                             342

  To the President of Congress. Braintree, November
  7th, 1779,                                                           344

      Transmits a copy of the letter book of the Commissioners
      at the Court of Versailles.

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Ferrol, December
  11th, 1779,                                                          346

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

  To the President of Congress. Corunna, December
  16th, 1779,                                                          348

      Disposition of Spain.--Report of the intended mediation
      of Russia on the basis of independence.

  To the Governor of Corunna. Corunna, December
  18th, 1779,                                                          351

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

  M. de Sartine to John Adams. Versailles, December
  31st, 1779,                                                          352

  To the President of Congress. Bilboa, January
  16th, 1780,                                                          352

      Sketch of the northwestern provinces of Spain.

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

      Informs him of his mission.--Intends to take no measures
      without consulting the French Ministers.--Requests advice as
      to the course to be pursued in making known his mission.

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

      Thanks for his being permitted a passage in the Sensible.

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, February
  15th, 1780,                                                          364

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, February
  17th, 1780,                                                          366

      Supplied with money by M. Lagoanere at Corunna.

  To the Marquis de Lafayette. Paris, February
  18th, 1780,                                                          368

      Requesting information concerning the reports circulated
      by the British, of their preparations for the ensuing campaign.

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

      Same subject as the preceding.

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

      The accounts of the British abovementioned are without
      foundation.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, February
  19th, 1780,                                                          373

      False reports circulated by the British as to their
      means for the next campaign.--Naval preparations of
      France.--The importance of the colonies in maintaining
      the naval supremacy of Great Britain, will render her
      averse to a peace.

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

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

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

      Falsehood of the British reports mentioned pp. 368, 370.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, February
  20th, 1780,                                                          378

      Exaggeration of the English successes in South America
      and the United States.--Account of his proceedings
      in France.--Application of England to Russia
      rejected.

  To John Jay, Minister Plenipotentiary at Madrid.
  Paris, February 22d, 1780,                                           380

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

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

      Transmitting French journals; gives their character.

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

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

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

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

  Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles,
  February 24th, 1780,                                                 386

     Expresses himself satisfied with Mr Adams's powers
     and instructions.--Advises secrecy in regard to his
     powers for negotiating a treaty of commerce.--His
     mission to negotiate a peace will be publicly announced.

  To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, February 25th,
  1780,                                                                388

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

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

      Committees of Correspondence formed in Ireland and
      England.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, February
  27th, 1780,                                                          389

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

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

      The Americans must not indulge the hope of peace.

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

      M. Genet translates the American constitutions.

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 4th,
  1780,                                                                395

      Successes of Admiral Rodney.--French naval force.

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 8th,
  1780,                                                                400

      Is presented at Court.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 8th,
  1780,                                                                401

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

      Rodney's successes.

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

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

  To Edmund Jennings. Paris, March 12th, 1780,                         407

      Chatham's doctrine of a constitutional impossibility of
      acknowledging the independence of America.--Effects
      of the interposition of France and Spain on the
      acknowledgment.

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

      Clinton's expedition.--State of affairs in England and
      Ireland.

  To the President of Congress. Passy, March 14th,
  1780,                                                                414

      English forces.

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 18th,
  1780,                                                                418

      French military preparations.--Armed neutrality of
      the northern powers.

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

      British fleet in the channel.--Reported capture of despatches
      from the Court of France.

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

      Transmits the Morning Post and the General Advertiser.--Virulence
      of parties.

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

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

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

      Rumors of change in the British Ministry.--A truce
      impossible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 26th,
  1780,                                                                435

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 29th,
  1780,                                                                440

      Affairs of Holland.--History of the dispute with England.

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

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

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

      Approves the announcement of his presentation in the
      Mercure.

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

      Explains the reason, why his presentation was not
      announced in the Gazette.--Does not approve of
      the concealment of his powers to treat of commerce.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, March 30th,
  1780,                                                                446

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

  To Arthur Lee, at L'Orient. Paris, March 31st,
  1780,                                                                448

      Difficulties between the Commissioners.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 3d,
  1780,                                                                449

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 3d,
  1780,                                                                458

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

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

      Attack of an English privateer on a Swedish frigate.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 6th,
  1780,                                                                466

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 7th,
  1780,                                                                473

      Rumors of an armed neutrality of the northern powers.--Violations
      of the neutrality of the Turkish waters by the English and
      French naval forces.--Representations of the Porte.--Sentiments
      of Russia on the English attack of the Dutch convoy.

  To William Carmichael, Secretary of the American
  Embassy at Madrid. Paris, April 8th, 1780,                           480

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 8th,
  1780,                                                                483

      List of the naval losses of the English since the beginning
      of the war.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 10th,
  1780,                                                                484

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 10th,
  1780,                                                                488

      Memorial of the Russian Envoy, Prince Gallitzin, to the
      States General, communicating the declaration of
      his Court to the belligerent powers, and inviting the
      concurrence of the States.--The declaration mentioned
      in the foregoing Memorial, asserting the determination
      of Russia to protect her subjects in the rights of neutrals,
      nd proposing to establish the principles that free ships
      make free goods; that an efficient force is necessary to
      constitute a blockade, &c.

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 11th,
  1780,                                                                493

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

  To the President of Congress. Paris, April 14th,
  1780,                                                                497

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

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

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

  To M. de Sartine. Paris, April 16th, 1780,                           507



  THE

  CORRESPONDENCE

  OF

  BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,

  COMMISSIONER AND MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY TO THE COURT OF FRANCE, AND
  COMMISSIONER FOR NEGOTIATING A PEACE.



  THE

  CORRESPONDENCE

  OF

  BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

  CORRESPONDENCE CONTINUED.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                            Translation.

                                         Versailles, August 23d, 1782.

  Sir,

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

  I have the honor to be, &c.
                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  THOMAS TOWNSHEND TO RICHARD OSWALD.

                                       Whitehall, September 1st, 1782.

  Sir,

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

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

                                                         T. TOWNSHEND.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Passy, September 3d, 1782.

  Sir,

I have just received yours, No. 13, dated the 23d of June. The
accounts of the general sentiments of our people, respecting
propositions from England, and the rejoicings on the birth of the
Dauphin, give pleasure here; and it affords me much satisfaction to
find the conduct of Congress approved by all who hear or speak of it,
and to see all the marks of a constantly growing regard for us, and
confidence in us, among those in whom such sentiments are most to be
desired.

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

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

You wish to know what allowance I make to my private Secretary. My
grandson, William T. Franklin, came over with me, served me as a
private Secretary during the time of the Commissioners; and no
Secretary to the Commission arriving, though we had been made to
expect one, he did business for us all, and this without any allowance
for his services, though both Mr Lee and Mr Deane at times mentioned
it to me as a thing proper to be done, and in justice due to him. When
I became appointed sole Minister here, and the whole business, which
the Commissioners had before divided with me, came into my hands, I
was obliged to exact more service from him, and he was indeed, by
being so long in the business, become capable of doing more. At
length, in the beginning of the year 1781 when he became of age,
considering his constant close attention to the duties required, and
his having thereby missed the opportunity of studying the law, for
which he had been intended, I determined to make him some
compensation for the time past, and fix some compensation for the time
to come, till the pleasure of Congress respecting him should be known.
I accordingly settled an account with him, allowing him from the
beginning of December 1776 to the end of 1777, the sum of 3,400
livres, and for the year 1778, the sum of 4,000 livres, for 1779,
4,800 livres, and for 1780, 6,000 livres. Since that time I have
allowed him at the rate of three hundred louis per annum, being what I
saw had been allowed by Congress to the Secretary of Mr William Lee,
who could not have had, I imagine, a fourth part of the business to go
through; since my Secretary, besides the writing and copying the
papers relative to my common ministerial transactions, has had all
those occasioned by my acting in the various employments of Judge of
Admiralty, Consul, purchaser of goods for the public, &c. &c. besides
that of accepting the Congress bills, a business that requires being
always at home, bills coming by post, from different ports and
countries, and often requiring immediate answers, whether good or not;
and to that end, it being necessary to examine by the books, exactly
kept of all preceding acceptances, in order to detect double
presentations, which happen very frequently. The great number of these
bills makes almost sufficient business for one person, and the
confinement they occasion is such, that we cannot allow ourselves a
day's excursion into the country, and the want of exercise has hurt
our healths in several instances.

The Congress pay much larger salaries to some Secretaries, who, I
believe, deserve them; but not more than my grandson does the
comparatively small one I have allowed to him, his fidelity,
exactitude, and address in transacting business, being really what one
could wish in such an officer; and the genteel appearance a young
gentleman in his station obliges him to make, requiring at least such
an income. I do not mention the extraordinary business that has been
imposed upon us in this embassy, as a foundation for demanding higher
salaries than others. I never solicited for a public office, either
for myself, or any relation, yet I never refused one, that I was
capable of executing, when public service was in question, and I never
bargained for salary, but contented myself with whatever my
constituents were pleased to allow me. The Congress will therefore
consider every article charged in my account, distinct from the salary
originally voted, not as what I presume to insist upon, but as what I
propose only for their consideration, and they will allow what they
think proper.

You desire an accurate estimate of those contingent expenses. I
enclose copies of two letters,[1] which passed between Mr Adams and me
on the subject, and show the articles of which they consist. Their
amount in different years may be found in my accounts, except the
article of house rent, which has never yet been settled; M. de
Chaumont, our landlord, having originally proposed to leave it till
the end of the war, and then to accept for it a piece of American land
from the Congress, such as they might judge equivalent. If the
Congress did intend all contingent charges whatever to be included in
the salary, and do not think proper to pay on the whole so much, in
that case I would humbly suggest, that the saving may be most
conveniently made by a diminution of the salary, leaving the
contingencies to be charged; because they may necessarily be very
different in different years, and at different courts.

I have been more diffuse on this subject, as your letter gave occasion
for it, and it is probably the last time I shall mention it. Be
pleased to present my dutiful respects to Congress, assure them of my
best services, and believe me to be, with sincere esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

_P. S._ As you will probably lay this letter before Congress, I take
the liberty of joining to it an extract of my letter to the President,
of the 12th of March, 1781, and of repeating my request therein
contained, relative to my grandson. I enclose, likewise, extracts of
letters from Messrs Jay and Laurens, which both show the regard those
gentlemen have for him, and their desire of his being noticed by the
Congress.[2]

                                                                 B. F.

FOOTNOTES:

  [1] See these letters above, pp. 218, 238.

  [2] The following are the extracts of the letters alluded to in this
  place.

    EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM JOHN JAY TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Madrid, April 25th, 1781.

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

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM JOHN JAY.

                                             Madrid, April 21st, 1781.

  By the letter from Dr Franklin, herewith enclosed, and which he was so
  obliging as to leave open for my perusal, I find he has requested
  permission to retire, on account of his age, infirmities, &c. How far
  his health may be impaired I know not. The letters I have received
  from him bear no marks of age, and there is an acuteness and
  sententious brevity in them, which do not indicate an understanding
  injured by years. I have many reasons to think our country much
  indebted to him, and I confess it would mortify my pride as an
  American, if his constituents should be the only people to whom his
  character is known, and that should deny to his merit and services the
  testimony given them by other nations. Justice demands of me to assure
  you, that his reputation and respectability are acknowledged, and have
  weight here, and that I have received from him all that uniform
  attention and aid, which were due to the importance of the affairs
  committed to me.

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

                                                             JOHN JAY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 COLONEL JOHN LAURENS TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                Leagues W. of Ortegal, June 9th, 1781.

    Sir,

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

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

    I am, &c.
                                                         JOHN LAURENS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                              TO JOHN JAY.

                                           Passy, September 4th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

Mr Oswald's courier being returned, with directions to him to make the
independence of America the first article in the treaty, I would wait
on you if I could, to discourse on the subject; but as I cannot, I
wish to see you here this evening, if not inconvenient to you.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                    Philadelphia, September 5th, 1782.

  Sir,

Having written to you lately, I should not again trouble you so soon,
were it not necessary to remind you, that your last letter is dated in
March, since which there have been frequent arrivals from France; and
since which too we have reason to believe, the most interesting
events have taken place in Europe.

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

As to Mr Dana, if it were not for the necessity of drawing bills in
his favor, we should hardly be acquainted with his existence. It is
commonly said, that republics are better informed than monarchs of the
state of their foreign affairs, and that they insist upon a greater
degree of vigilance and punctuality in their Ministers. We, on the
contrary, seem to have adopted a new system. The ignorance, in which
we are kept, of every interesting event, renders it impossible for the
sovereign to instruct their servants, and of course forms them into an
independent privy council for the direction of their affairs, without
their advice or concurrence. I can hardly express to you what I feel
on this occasion. I blush when I meet a member of Congress, who
inquires into what is passing in Europe. When the General applies to
me for advice on the same subject, which must regulate his movements,
I am compelled to inform him, that we have no intelligence but what he
has seen in the papers. The following is an extract of his last
letter to me. "But how does it happen, that all our information of
what is transacting in Europe should come to hand through indirect
channels, or from the enemy; or does this question proceed from my
unacquaintedness with facts?"

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

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

The Marquis de Vaudreuil has unfortunately lost the Magnifique, sunk
by running on a rock in the harbor of Boston, where he is now, with
the remainder of his fleet, except three refitting at Portsmouth,
consisting of twelve sail of the line. This has enabled Congress to
show their attention to His Most Christian Majesty, and their wish to
promote his interests as far as their circumstances will permit, by
presenting him the America, of seventyfour guns. Enclosed are their
resolves on that subject, and the answer given by the Minister of
France. The ship is in such a state, that she may by diligence be
refitted for sea in about two months; and from the accounts I hear of
her, she will I believe prove a fine ship. The General is collecting
the army. The last division of the French troops marched from here
this morning. When collected, they will, I presume, repair to their
old post, at the White Plains, and perhaps endeavor to accelerate the
departure of the enemy.

I am sorry you did not pursue your first design, and enlarge in your
letter upon the subjects, which you imagined would be discussed in the
negotiations for peace. It might have changed our sentiments, and
altered our views on some points. Two things are of great moment to
us, one of which at least would meet with no difficulty, if France and
England understand their true interests; I mean the West India trade,
and the right to cut logwood and mahogany. Without a free admission of
all kinds of provisions into the Islands, our agriculture will suffer
extremely. This will be severely felt at first, and when it remedies
itself, which it will do in time, it must be at the expense of the
nations that share our commerce. It will lessen the consumption of
foreign sugars, increase the supplies which the poorer people among us
draw from the maple, &c. and by reducing the price of provision, and
rendering the cultivation of lands less profitable, make
proportionable increase of our own manufactures, and lessen our
dependence on Europe. This will, I must confess, in some measure check
our population, and so far I regard it as an evil. The merchants and
farmers, if precluded at a peace from the advantages, which this
commerce gave them while connected with England, ----.[3] Then a
variety of arguments on this subject, arising as well from the general
interests of France, as from her political connexion with us, might be
urged to show the wisdom of adopting the same liberal sentiments on
this point, which has of late distinguished her in so many others. But
if she should not be able to overcome her ancient prejudices, I
believe they will be found to have less influence on the British, whom
you will press earnestly on this head. Besides the general interest of
the kingdom, there is with them a powerful West India interest, to
plead in behalf of a free importation of provisions into their
Islands. If I mistake not, the present wishes of the nation, as well
as the professions of administration, lead to every measure, which may
wear away our present resentments, and strengthen the connexion
between us and them.

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

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

  I have the honor to be, Sir,
                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

FOOTNOTE:

  [3] The sense is broken here, owing to the omission of three lines in
  cypher, the key to which could not be found.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    RICHARD OSWALD TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                           Paris, September 5th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

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

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

                                                       RICHARD OSWALD.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO RICHARD OSWALD.

                                           Passy, September 8th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have received the honor of yours, dated the 5th instant, enclosing
an extract of a letter to your Excellency, from the right honorable
Thomas Townshend, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State,
wherein your conduct in communicating to us the fourth article of
your instructions appears to have been approved by his Majesty. I
suppose, therefore, that there is no impropriety in my requesting a
copy of that instruction; and if you see none, I wish to receive it
from you, hoping it may be of use in removing some of the difficulties
that obstruct our proceeding.[4]

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [4] Copy of the Fourth Article of his Majesty's instructions to
  Richard Oswald, for his government in treating with the Commissioners
  of the Thirteen United Colonies of America for a truce or peace, the
  said instructions being dated the 31st day of July, 1782, viz.

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO EARL GRANTHAM.

                                          Passy, September 11th, 1782.

  My Lord,

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

You do me justice in believing, that I agree with you in earnestly
wishing the establishment of an honorable and lasting peace; and I am
happy to be assured by your Lordship, that it is the system of the
Ministers with whom you are co-operating. I know it to be the sincere
desire of the United States, and with such dispositions on both sides
there is reason to hope, that the good work in its progress will meet
with little difficulty. A small one has occurred in the commencement,
with which Mr Oswald will acquaint you. I flatter myself that means
will be found on your part for removing it; and my best endeavors in
removing the subsequent ones (if any should arise) may be relied on.

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

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                   Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have nothing to add to mine of the 5th instant, but to congratulate
you on the safe arrival of two vessels from Holland, having on board
the goods left by Commodore Gillon, and to present you in the name of
Mr Paine, with three copies of a late work of his addressed to the
Abbé Raynal, in which he takes notice of some of the many errors with
which his work abounds. The Abbé has a fine imagination, and he
indulges it. The enclosed resolution contains an important fact, which
I am using means to ascertain; but from the ill success I have
hitherto met with in every similar attempt, I am fearful that it will
be very long before I can effect it.

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

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                   Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

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

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

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                          Passy, September 17th, 1782.

  My dear Friend,

Since those acknowledged in my last, I have received your several
favors of August the 16th, 20th, and 26th. I have been a long time
afflicted with the gravel and gout, which have much indisposed me for
writing. I am even now in pain, but will no longer delay some answer.

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

I did receive the paper you inquire about, entitled _Preliminaries_,
and dated May, 1782, but it was from you, and I know nothing of their
having been communicated to this Court. The third proposition, "that
in case the negotiation between Great Britain and the allies of
America should not succeed, but the war continue between them, America
should act and be treated as a neutral nation," appeared at first
sight inadmissible, being contrary to our treaty. The truce too seems
not to have been desired by any of the parties.

With unalterable esteem and affection, I am, my dear Friend, ever
yours, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                   Philadelphia, September 18th, 1782.

  Sir,

Just after closing my despatches, I was favored with yours of the 25th
of April, and the 25th and 29th of June. The ships that brought them
were so unfortunate as to be chased into the Delaware by a superior
force. The Eagle was driven ashore and sunk. The papers and money were
however happily saved, and part of the crew. But Captain la Fouche,
not having been since heard of, is supposed to be taken. The other
frigate has arrived safe, with all the passengers of both ships.

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

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

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

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

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

              MR SECRETARY TOWNSHEND TO RICHARD OSWALD.

                                      Whitehall, September 20th, 1782.

  Sir,

I received, on Saturday last, your packets of the 10th and 11th of
this month.

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

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

  I am, with great regard, &c.

                                                         T. TOWNSHEND.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      RICHARD OSWALD TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                          Paris, September 24th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

                                                       RICHARD OSWALD.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                     Versailles, September 25th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

I should be glad if it were in my power to inform him, that our treaty
is in as good progress as yours, but this is far from being the case.
I cannot even foresee what will be the issue, for difficulties
multiply. It will be well for you to forewarn the Congress to be
prepared for whatever event may arise. I do not despair; I the rather
hope; but as yet all is uncertainty.

  I have the honor to be, Sir,
                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          Passy, September 26th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

The negotiations for peace have hitherto amounted to little more than
mutual professions of sincere desires, &c., being obstructed by the
want of due form in the English commissions appointing their
plenipotentiaries. The objections made to those for treating with
France, Spain and Holland were first removed, and by the enclosed[5]
it seems that our objections to that for treating with us will now be
removed also, so that we expect to begin in a few days our
negotiations. But there are so many interests to be considered and
settled, in a peace between five different nations, that it will be
well not to flatter ourselves with a very speedy conclusion.

I mentioned, in a former letter, my having communicated to Count de
Vergennes the state of American commerce, which you sent me, and my
having urged its consideration, &c. Enclosed is a copy of a letter
received from that Minister on the subject.

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

  With great esteem, &c.
                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                         Versailles, October 3d, 1782.

  Sir,

I have the honor to return you the commission appointing Thomas
Barclay consul of the United States, to reside in France, and I
endorse the exequatur, which is requisite for the exercise of his
functions. I must inform you, that the latter of these will require
the Admiral's signature previously to its being registered, either by
the Secretary of the Admiralty at L'Orient, where Mr Barclay intends
to fix his residence, or by those of other ports of the kingdom, where
commercial considerations may require his presence.

  I have the honor to be, &c.
                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                              Bath, October 4th, 1782.

  My Dear Friend,

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

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

I have met with a sentiment in this country which gives some alarm,
viz. lest the unity of government in America should be uncertain, and
the States reject the authority of Congress. Some passages in General
Washington's letter have given weight to these doubts. I do not hear
of any tendency to this opinion; _that the American States will break
to pieces, and then we may still conquer them_. I believe all that
folly is extinguished. But many serious and well disposed persons are
alarmed, lest _this should be the ill-fated moment for relaxing the
powers of the union, and annihilating the cement of confederation_,
(_vide_ Washington's letter,) and that Great Britain should thereby
lose her best and wisest hope of being reconnected with the American
States _unitedly_. I should for one think it the greatest misfortune.
Pray give me some opinion upon this.

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

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

  Your ever affectionate,

                                                           D. HARTLEY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Passy, October 14th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

In my last of the 26th past, I mentioned that the negotiation for
peace had been obstructed, by the want of due form in the English
commissions appointing their plenipotentiaries. In that for treating
with us, the mentioning our States by their public name had been
avoided, which we objected to; another is come, of which I send a copy
enclosed. We have now made several preliminary propositions, which the
English Minister, Mr Oswald, has approved, and sent to his Court. He
thinks they will be approved there, but I have some doubts. In a few
days, however, the answer expected will determine. By the first of
these articles, the King of Great Britain renounces for himself and
successors, all claim and pretension to dominion or territory within
the Thirteen United States; and the boundaries are described as in our
instructions, except that the line between Nova Scotia and New England
is to be settled by Commissioners after the peace. By another article,
the fishery in the American seas is to be freely exercised by the
Americans, wherever they might formerly exercise it while united with
Great Britain. By another, the citizens and subjects of each nation
are to enjoy the same protection and privileges, in each others' ports
and countries, respecting commerce, duties, &c. that are enjoyed by
native subjects. The articles are drawn up very fully by Mr Jay, who I
suppose sends you a copy; if not, it will go by the next opportunity.
If these articles are agreed to, I apprehend little difficulty in the
rest. Something has been mentioned about the refugees and English
debts, but not insisted on, as we declared at once, that whatever
confiscations had been made in America, being in virtue of the laws of
particular States, the Congress had no authority to repeal those laws,
and therefore could give us none to stipulate for such repeal.

I have been honored with the receipt of your letters, Nos 14 and 15. I
have also received two letters from Mr Lewis R. Morris, both dated
the 6th of July, and one dated the 10th of August, enclosing bills for

          68,290 livres,
          71,380
           9,756
         -------
  In all 149,426 livres,

being intended for the payment of Ministers' salaries for the two
first quarters of this year. But as these bills came so late, that all
those salaries were already paid, I shall make no use of the bills,
but lay them by till further orders; and the salaries of different
Ministers not having all the same times of falling due, as they had
different commencements, I purpose to get all their accounts settled
and reduced to the same period, and send you the state of them, that
you may be clear in future orders. I see in one of the estimates sent
me, that a quarter's salary of a Minister is reckoned at 14,513
livres, in the other it is reckoned 16,667 livres, and the bill for
9,756[6] livres is mentioned as intended to pay a balance due on the
remittance of the 68,290 livres. Being unacquainted with the state of
your exchange, I do not well comprehend this, and therefore leave the
whole for the present, as I have said above. Permit me only to hint
for your consideration, whether it may not be well hereafter to omit
mention of sterling, in our appointments, since we have severed from
the country to which that denomination of money is peculiar; and also
to order the payment of your Ministers in such a manner, that they may
know exactly what they are to receive, and not be subject to the
fluctuations of exchange. If it is that, which occasions the
difference between 14,583 for the first quarter, and the 16,667 for
the second, it is considerable. I think we have no right to any
advantage by the exchange, nor should we be liable to any loss from
it. Hitherto we have taken 15,000 for a quarter, (subject however to
the allowance or disallowance of Congress) which is lower than the
medium between those two extremes.

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

With great esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [6] This was not merely to pay a balance, but an excess on account of
  contingencies. _Note by Mr Livingston_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                            Passy, October 15th, 1782.

  Sir,

A long and painful illness has prevented my corresponding with your
Excellency regularly.

Mr Jay has, I believe, acquainted you with the obstructions our peace
negotiations have met with, and that they are at length removed. By
the next courier expected from London, we may be able perhaps to form
some judgment of the probability of success, so far as relates to our
part of the peace. How likely the other powers are to settle their
pretensions, I cannot yet learn. In the mean time, America is
gradually growing more easy, by the enemy's evacuation of their posts;
as you will see by some intelligence I enclose.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  FROM T. TOWNSHEND TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                         Whitehall, October 23d, 1782.

  Sir,

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

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

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

                                                         T. TOWNSHEND.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO THOMAS TOWNSHEND.

                                            Passy, November 4th, 1782.

  Sir,

I received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me by Mr
Strachey, and was much pleased with the opportunity it gave me of
renewing and increasing my acquaintance with a gentleman of so amiable
and deserving a character.

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

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Passy, November 7th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                     Philadelphia, November 9th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

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

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

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

The only political object of a general nature, that has been touched
upon in Congress since my last, is the exchange of prisoners, which
seems at present to be as far as ever from being effected. The
propositions on the side of the enemy were to exchange seamen for
soldiers, they having no soldiers in their hands; that the soldiers so
exchanged should not serve for one year against the United States;
that the sailors might go into immediate service; that the remainder
of the soldiers in our hands should be given up at a stipulated price.

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

"With respect to the information contained in the extract of Sir Guy
Carleton's and Admiral Digby's letter of the 2d of August, '_that
after Mr Laurens was discharged, he declared that he considered Lord
Cornwallis as freed from his parole_,' your Committee conceive it
sufficient to observe, that no intimation having been received of such
a fact, except, from the said extract, and Congress having given no
directions to that purpose, the consideration thereof would in their
opinion be premature, and ought therefore to be deferred." Since
which, though letters have been received from Mr Laurens, they have
come to no resolution, unless their direction to him to proceed in the
business of his mission may be considered as such.

General Carleton has sent out the trial of Lippincott, which admits
the murder of Huddy, but justifies Lippincott under an _irregular_
order of the Board of Refugees. So paltry a palliation of so black a
crime would not have been admitted, and Captain Asgill would certainly
have paid the forfeit for the injustice of his countrymen, had not the
interposition of their Majesties prevented. The letter from the Count
de Vergennes is made the groundwork of the resolution passed on that
subject. I shall transmit you the resolve.

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

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

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                    Philadelphia, November 21st, 1782.

  Sir,

Congress a few days since, passed the enclosed resolution, No. 1, by
which they have added Mr Jefferson to the commission for concluding a
peace. The established character of this gentleman gives me reason to
hope, that his appointment will be very acceptable to you, and the
other gentlemen in the commission. I have not yet learned whether he
will take the task upon him, but I have reason to believe he will, the
death of his wife having lessened, in the opinion of his friends, the
reluctance which he has hitherto manifested to going abroad. I think
it would be proper to make a formal annunciation of this resolution to
the Court of France. You will naturally give such a representation of
Mr Jefferson's character, as will secure to him there that esteem and
confidence which he justly merits. The resolution, No. 2, needs no
comment; or if it does, Mr Morris will prove the able commentator. I
resign the task to him.

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

By accounts from Jamaica, we learn that the British have recovered
most of their settlements on the Bay. Some attention will, I hope, be
paid in the treaty of peace to secure to us the share we formerly had
in the logwood trade; it was a valuable remittance to us, and the low
price at which we were enabled to sell renders it important to other
nations, that we should not be excluded from furnishing it as usual.
You will find by the enclosed paper, that Mr Burgess, an English
merchant, was not permitted to settle at Boston and obtain the rights
of citizenship, upon principles which must be alarming to England. It
shows at the same time the respect that is paid to the resolutions of
Congress, notwithstanding all that has been said and written to prove
the contrary.

  I am, Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO RICHARD OSWALD.

                                           Passy, November 26th, 1782.

  Sir,

You may well remember, that in the beginning of our conferences,
before the other Commissioners arrived, on your mentioning to me a
retribution for the royalists, whose estates had been confiscated, I
acquainted you that nothing of that kind could be stipulated by us,
the confiscation being made by virtue of laws of particular States,
which the Congress had no power to contravene or dispense with, and
therefore could give us no such authority in our commission. And I
gave it as my opinion and advice, honestly and cordially, that if a
reconciliation was intended, no mention should be made in our
negotiations of those people; for they having done infinite mischief
to our properties, by wantonly burning and destroying farm-houses,
villages, and towns, if compensation for their losses were insisted
on, we should certainly exhibit again such an account of all the
ravages they had committed, which would necessarily recall to view
scenes of barbarity that must inflame, instead of conciliating, and
tend to perpetuate an enmity that we all profess a desire of
extinguishing. Understanding, however, from you, that this was a point
your Ministry had at heart, I wrote concerning it to Congress, and I
have lately received the following resolution, viz.

        "_By the United States, in Congress assembled._"

                                                 September 10th, 1782.

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

     "RESOLVED, That, in the meantime, the Secretary for Foreign
     Affairs inform the said Ministers, that many thousands of slaves,
     and other property, to a very great amount, have been carried
     off, or destroyed by the enemy; and that in the opinion of
     Congress, the great loss of property, which the citizens of the
     United States have sustained by the enemy, will be considered by
     the several States as an insuperable bar to their making
     restitution or indemnification to the former owner of property,
     which has been, or may be forfeited to, or confiscated by any of
     the States."

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

           "_State of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly._"

                                      Wednesday, September 18th, 1782.

"The bill, entitled 'An Act for procuring an estimate of the damages
sustained by the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, from the troops and
adherents of the King of Great Britain during the present war,' was
read a second time.

"Ordered to be transcribed, and printed for public consideration.

  Extract from the minutes.

                                                       PETER Z. LLOYD.

                                     _Clerk of the General Assembly._"

"Whereas great damages, of the most wanton nature, have been committed
by the armies of the King of Great Britain, or their adherents within
the territory of the United States of North America, unwarranted by
the practice of civilized nations, and only to be accounted for from
the vindictive spirit of the said King and his officers; and whereas
an accurate account and estimate of such damages, more especially the
waste and destruction of property, may be very useful to the people of
the United States of America, in forming a future treaty of peace,
and, in the meantime, may serve to exhibit in a true light to the
nations of Europe the conduct of the said King, his Ministers,
officers, and adherents; to the end, therefore, that proper measures
be taken to ascertain the damages aforesaid, which have been done to
the citizens and inhabitants of Pennsylvania, in the course of the
present war within this State; Be it enacted by the House of
Representatives of the freemen of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in
General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, that in every
county of this State, which has been invaded by the armies, soldiers,
or adherents of the King of Great Britain, the Commissioners of every
such county shall immediately meet together, each within their county,
and issue directions to the assessors of the respective townships,
districts, and places within such county, to call upon the inhabitants
of every township and place, to furnish accounts and estimates of the
damages, waste, spoil, and destruction, which have been done and
committed as aforesaid, upon the property, real or personal, within
the same township or place, since the first day of     which was in
the year of our Lord 177 , and the same accounts and estimates to be
transmitted to the Commissioners without delay. And if any person or
persons shall refuse or neglect to make out such accounts and
estimates, the said assessors of the township or place shall, from
their own knowledge, and by any other reasonable and lawful method,
take and render such an account and estimate of all damage done or
committed, as aforesaid; Provided always, that all such accounts and
estimates to be made out and transmitted as aforesaid, shall contain a
narrative of the time and circumstances; and if in the power of the
person aggrieved, the names of the General, or other officers or
adherents of the enemy by whom the damage in any case was done, or
under whose orders the army, detachment, party, or persons, committing
the same, acted at that time, and also the name and condition of the
person or persons, whose property was so damaged or destroyed, and
that all such accounts and estimates be made in current money, upon
oath or affirmation of the sufferer, or of others having knowledge
concerning the same; and that in every case it be set forth, whether
the party injured hath received any satisfaction for his loss, and by
whom the same was given.

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

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

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

The present British Ministers, when they reflect a little, will
certainly be too equitable to suppose, that their nation has a right
to make an unjust war, (which they have always allowed this against us
to be,) and do all sorts of unnecessary mischief, unjustifiable by the
practice of any individual people, which those they make war with are
to suffer without claiming any satisfaction; but that if Britons, or
their adherents, are in return deprived of any property, it is to be
restored to them, or they are to be indemnified. The British troops
can never excuse their barbarities. They were unprovoked. The
loyalists may say in excuse of theirs, that they were exasperated by
the loss of their estates, and it was revenge. They have then had
their revenge. _Is it right they should have both?_

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

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

Your Ministers require that we should receive again into our bosom
those who have been our bitterest enemies, and restore their
properties who have destroyed ours, and this, while the wounds they
have given us are still bleeding! It is many years since your nation
expelled the Stuarts and their adherents, and confiscated their
estates. Much of your resentment against them may by this time be
abated; yet, if we should propose it, and insist on it as an article
of our treaty with you, that that family should be recalled and the
forfeited estates of its friends restored, would you think us serious
in our progressions of earnestly desiring peace?

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

Give me leave, however, to advise you to prevent the necessity of so
dreadful a discussion by dropping the article, that we may write to
America and stop the inquiry.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                    Philadelphia, November 27th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

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

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

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

  I am, Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Passy, November 29th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that the Commissioners
of the United States have agreed with Mr Oswald, on the preliminary
articles of the peace between those States and Great Britain. Tomorrow
I hope we shall be able to communicate to your Excellency a copy of
them.[7]

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [7] These articles will be found in the Correspondence of the
  Commissioners.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                      Philadelphia, December 3d, 1782.

Sir,

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

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON

                                            Passy, December 4th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Passy, December 5th, 1782.

  Sir,

I am honored by your several letters, Nos 16, 17, 18 and 19, dated
September 5th, 13th, 15th, and 18th. I believe that the complaints you
make in them of my not writing, may ere now have appeared less
necessary, as many of my letters written before those complaints must
have since come to hand. I will nevertheless mention some of the
difficulties your Ministers meet with, in keeping up a regular and
punctual correspondence. We are far from the seaports, and not well
informed, and often misinformed about the sailing of vessels.
Frequently we are told they are to sail in a week or two, and often
they lie in the ports for months after, with our letters on board,
either waiting for convoy, or for other reasons. The post office here
is an unsafe conveyance; many of the letters we received by it have
evidently been opened, and doubtless the same happens to those we
send; and at this time particularly, there is so violent a curiosity
in all kinds of people to know something relating to the negotiations,
and whether peace may be expected, or a continuance of the war, that
there are few private hands or travellers, that we can trust with
carrying our despatches to the seacoast; and I imagine that they may
sometimes be opened and destroyed because they cannot be well sealed.
Again, the observation you make, that the Congress Ministers in Europe
seem to form themselves into a privy council, transacting affairs
without the privity or concurrence of the sovereign, may be in some
respects just; but it should be considered, that if they do not write
as frequently as other Ministers here do to their respective Courts,
or if when they write, their letters are not regularly received, the
greater distance of the seat of war, and the extreme irregularity of
conveyances may be the causes, and not a desire of acting without the
knowledge or orders of their constituents. There is no European Court,
to which an express cannot be sent from Paris in ten or fifteen days,
and from most of them answers may be obtained in that time. There is,
I imagine, no Minister who would not think it safer to act by orders
than from his own discretion; and yet, unless you leave more to the
discretion of your Ministers in Europe than Courts usually do, your
affairs may sometimes suffer extremely from the distance which, in the
time of war especially, may make it five or six months before the
answer to a letter shall be received. I suppose the Minister from this
Court will acquaint Congress with the King's sentiments, respecting
their very handsome present of a ship of the line. People in general
here are much pleased with it.

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

It is in vain for me to repeat again what I have so often written, and
what I find taken so little notice of, that there are bounds to
everything, and that the faculties of this nation are limited like
those of all other nations. Some of you seem to have established as
maxims the suppositions, that France has money enough for all her
occasions, and all ours besides; and that if she does not supply us,
it is owing to her want of will, or to my negligence. As to the first,
I am sure it is not true, and to the second, I can only say I should
rejoice as much as any man in being able to obtain more; and I shall
also rejoice in the greater success of those who may take my place.
You desire to be very particularly acquainted with "every step which
tends to negotiation." I am, therefore, encouraged to send you the
first part of the journal, which accidents, and a long severe illness
interrupted; but which, from notes I have by me, may be continued if
thought proper. In its present state, it is hardly fit for the
inspection of Congress, certainly not for public view. I confide it
therefore to your prudence.

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

Much of the summer has been taken up in objecting against the powers
given by Great Britain, and in removing those objections. The not
using any expressions, that might imply an acknowledgment of our
independence, seemed at first industriously to be avowed. But our
refusing otherwise to treat, at length induced them to get over that
difficulty, and then we came to the point of making propositions.
Those made by Mr Jay and me before the arrival of the other gentlemen,
you will find in the paper A, which was sent by the British
Plenipotentiary to London for the King's consideration. After some
weeks, an under secretary, Mr Strachey, arrived, with whom we had much
contestation about the boundaries and other articles which he proposed
and we settled; some of which he carried to London, and returned with
the propositions, some adopted, others omitted or altered, and new
ones added, which you will see in paper B. We spent many days in
disputing, and at length agreed on and signed the preliminaries, which
you will see by this conveyance. The British Minister struggled hard
for two points, that the favors granted to the royalists should be
extended, and all our fishery contracted. We silenced them on the
first, by threatening to produce an account of the mischief done by
those people, and as to the second, when they told us they could not
possibly agree to it as we requested it, and must refer it to the
Ministry in London, we produced a new article to be referred at the
same time, with a note of facts in support of it, which you have,
C.[8] Apparently, it seemed, that to avoid the discussion of this,
they suddenly changed their minds, dropped the design of recurring to
London, and agreed to allow the fishery as demanded.

FOOTNOTE:

  [8] The papers alluded to in this letter will be found in the
  Correspondence of the Commissioners for negotiating peace.

You will find in the preliminaries some inaccurate and ambiguous
expressions, that want explanation, and which may be explained in the
definitive treaty, and as the British Ministry excluded our
proposition relating to commerce, and the American prohibition of that
with England may not be understood to cease merely by our concluding a
treaty of peace, perhaps we may then, if the Congress shall think fit
to direct it, obtain some compensation for the injuries done us as a
condition of our opening again the trade. Every one of the present
British Ministry has, while in the Ministry, declared the war against
us as unjust, and nothing is clearer in reason, than that those who
injure others by an unjust war, should make full reparation. They
have stipulated too, in these preliminaries, that in evacuating our
towns, they shall carry off no plunder, which is a kind of
acknowledgment that they ought not to have done it before.

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

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

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

_December 14th._ I have this day learnt, that the principal
preliminaries between France and England are agreed on, to wit.

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

2d. Senegal remains to France, and Goree to be restored. The Gambia
entirely to England.

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

4th. In the West Indies, Grenada and the Grenadines, St Christophers,
Nevis and Montserat, to be restored to England. St Lucia to France.
Dominique to remain with France, and St Vincents to be neutralized.

5th. No Commissioner at Dunkirk.

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

Holland has yet hardly done anything in her negotiation.

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

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

I thank you for the copies of Mr Paine's letter to the Abbé Raynal,
which I have distributed to good hands. The errors we see in
histories of our times and affairs weaken our faith in ancient
history. M. Hilliard d'Auberteuil has here written another history of
our revolution, which however he modestly calls _an essay_, and
fearing that there may be errors, and wishing to have them corrected,
that his second edition may be more perfect, he has brought me six
sets, which he desires me to put into such hands in America, as may be
good enough to render him and the public that service. I send them to
you for that purpose, by Captain Barney, desiring that one set may be
given to Mr Paine, and the rest where you please. There is a quarto
set in the parcel, which please to accept from me.

I have never learnt whether the box of books I sent to you, and the
press to Mr Thompson, were put on board the Eagle or one of the
transports. If the former, perhaps you might easily purchase them at
New York; if the latter, you may still receive them among the goods
for Congress, now shipping by Mr Barclay. If they are quite lost let
me know it, that I may replace them.

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

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

I am now entering on my 78th year; public business has engrossed fifty
of them; I wish now to be, for the little time I have left, my own
master. If I live to see this peace concluded, I shall beg leave to
remind the Congress of their promise then to dismiss me. I shall be
happy to sing with old Simeon, _now lettest thou thy servant depart in
peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation_.

  With great esteem, &c.
                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Passy, December 15th, 1782.

  Sir,

I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that our courier is to
set out tomorrow at ten o'clock, with the despatches we send to
Congress, by the Washington, Captain Barney, for which ship we have
got a passport from the King of England.[9] If you would make any use
of this conveyance, the courier shall wait upon you tomorrow at
Versailles, and receive your orders.

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

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [9] _Copy of a Passport given to the Ship Washington, to carry over
  the Preliminary Articles._

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

  Given at our Court of St James, the tenth day of December; 1782, in
  the 23d year of our reign. By his Majesty's command.

                                                         T. TOWNSHEND.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                            Translation.

                                      Versailles, December 15th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

You are wise and discreet, Sir; you perfectly understand what is due
to propriety; you have all your life performed your duties. I pray you
to consider how you propose to fulfil those, which are due to the
King? I am not desirous of enlarging these reflections; I commit them
to your own integrity. When you shall be pleased to relieve my
uncertainty, I will entreat the King to enable me to answer your
demands.

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

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Passy, December 17th, 1782.

  Sir,

I received the letter your Excellency did me the honor of writing to
me on the 15th instant. The proposal of having a passport from England
was agreed to by me the more willingly, as I at that time had hopes of
obtaining some money to send in the Washington, and the passport would
have made its transportation safer, with that of our despatches, and
of yours also, if you had thought fit to make use of the occasion.
Your Excellency objected, as I understood it, that the English
Ministers by their letters sent in the same ship, might convey
inconvenient expectations into America. It was therefore I proposed
not to press for the passport, till your preliminaries were also
agreed to. They have sent the passport without being pressed to do it,
and they have sent no letters to go under it, and ours will prevent
the inconvenience apprehended. In a subsequent conversation your
Excellency mentioned your intention of sending some of the King's
cutters, whence I imagined, that detaining the Washington was no
longer necessary; and it was certainly incumbent on us to give
Congress as early an account as possible of our proceedings, who will
think it extremely strange to hear of them by other means, without a
line from us. I acquainted your Excellency, however, with our
intention of despatching that ship, supposing you might possibly have
something to send by her.

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

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

It is not possible for any one to be more sensible than I am, of what
I and every American owe to the King, for the many and great benefits
and favors he has bestowed upon us. All my letters to America are
proofs of this; all tending to make the same impressions on the minds
of my countrymen, that I felt in my own. And I believe, that no Prince
was ever more beloved and respected by his own subjects, than the King
is by the people of the United States. _The English, I just now
learn, flatter themselves they have already divided us._ I hope this
little misunderstanding will therefore be kept a secret, and that they
will find themselves totally mistaken.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Passy, December 24th, 1782.

  Sir,

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

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

The Commissioners have joined in a letter to you, recommending the
consideration of a proposal from Mr Bridgen, relating to copper coin.
With this you have a copy of that proposal, and a sample of the
copper. If it should be accepted, I conceive the weight and value of
the pieces (charge of coinage deducted) should be such that they may
be aliquot parts of a Spanish dollar. By the copy enclosed, of an old
letter of mine to Mr Bridgen, you will see the ideas I had of the
additional utility such a coinage might be of, in communicating
instruction.[10]

_December 25th_. Enclosed is a copy of a letter just received from the
Count de Vergennes, upon the present state of negotiation with
England.[11]

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTES:

  [10] See this letter in Volume III. p. 106.

  [11] This refers to a letter, which has been already printed under a
  wrong date. See above, p. 21.

                  *       *       *       *       *

              _Powers of the Swedish Ambassador to treat._

                              Translation.

Gustavus, by the Grace of God, King of Sweden, of the Goths and
Vandals, &c. &c. &c. Heir of Norway, Duke of Sleswick-Holstein, of
Stormaria, and of Ditmarsen, Count of Oldenburgh and of Delmenhorst,
&c. &c. makes known, that the United States of North America, viz. New
Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on
the Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and
Georgia, having obtained the fruit of their courage and constancy, and
their Independence being duly and solidly acknowledged and
established; We, in consequence of our desire to concur with them in
the establishment of certain fixed rules, by which a reciprocal and
advantageous commerce may be carried on between Sweden and North
America, which may be permanent between the two nations, have
nominated, constituted, and appointed, and by these presents do
nominate, constitute, and appoint our very dear and well beloved Count
Gustavus Philip de Creutz, our Ambassador Extraordinary at the Court
of France, Knight and Commander of our Orders, and we give him full
powers to confer with whomsoever the United States shall have
furnished with their powers in due form, to agree on, conclude, and
sign such Treaty of Amity and Commerce between us and the said United
States, as shall be reciprocally advantageous to our subjects,
promising, on our word of a King, to agree to everything that our said
Ambassador shall stipulate, promise, and sign in virtue of the present
power, as likewise to make out the ratifications in proper form, and
to deliver them to be exchanged at such time as shall be agreed on by
the treaty so to do. In faith of which, we have signed these presents
with our own hand, and have caused our royal seal to be thereunto
affixed.

                                                             GUSTAVUS.
                                                  COUNT ULR. SCHEFFER.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                       Philadelphia, January 2d, 1783.

  Sir,

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

But I will not enter into that subject at present, as I mean to write
very fully both to Mr Jay and you by Mr Jefferson, who will sail in
company with this frigate in the Romulus, a ship of fortyfour guns.
Lest, however, any accident should happen to prevent his arriving so
soon as the Emerald, I enclose a resolution of Congress, which was
suggested by the proposition you mention to have been made to Mr
Oswald, on the subject of commerce. For my own part, I presume that it
is already included in your propositions, but as we have yet been
favored only with that short note of them, which has been transmitted
by you, we can form no accurate judgment on the subject. You can
hardly conceive the embarrassments that the want of more minute
details subjects us to.

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

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

  I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.
                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                      Philadelphia, January 6th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have before me your letters of the 25th and 29th of June, 12th of
August, 3d and 26th of September, and 14th of October last. Several
matters contained in them have already been answered, and some others
I am unable to reply to, till Congress have decided on such
propositions as I have submitted to their consideration.

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

I see the force of your objections to soliciting the additional twelve
millions, and I feel very sensibly the weight of our obligations to
France, but every sentiment of this kind must give way to our
necessities. It is not for the interest of our allies to lose the
benefit of all they have done, by refusing to make a small addition to
it, or at least to see the return that our commerce will make them
suspended by new convulsions in this country. The army have chosen
committees; a very respectable one is now with Congress. They demand
with importunity their arrears of pay. The treasury is empty, and no
adequate means of filling it presents itself. The people pant for
peace; should contributions be exacted, as they have heretofore been,
at the point of the sword, the consequences may be more dreadful than
is at present apprehended. I do not pretend to justify the negligence
of the States in not providing greater supplies. Some of them might do
more than they have done; none of them all that is required. It is my
duty to confide to you, that if the war is continued in this country,
it must be in a great measure at the expense of France. If peace is
made, a loan will be absolutely necessary to enable us to discharge
the army, that will not easily separate without pay. I am sorry that
neither Mr Jay nor you sent the propositions at large, as you have
made them, since we differ in opinion about the construction to be put
on your commercial article, as you will find by a resolution enclosed
in my letter.

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

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

I am more and more convinced, that every means in your power must be
used to secure the fisheries. They are essential to some States, and
we cannot but hate the nation, that keeps us from using this common
favor of Providence. It was one of the direct objects for carrying on
the war. While I am upon this subject, I cannot but express my hope,
that every means will be used to guard against any mistrusts or
jealousies between you and France. The United States have shown their
confidence in her by their instructions. She has repeatedly promised
to procure for us _all we ask_, as far as it lies in her power. Let
our conduct leave her without apology, if she acts otherwise, which I
am far from suspecting.

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

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

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

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

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

Several important political events have taken place here lately. The
evacuation of Charleston, the sailing of the French fleet and the
army, the decision of the great cause between Connecticut and
Pennsylvania, in favor of the latter, the state of the army, &c., all
of which I should enlarge upon, if this was not to be delivered by Mr
Jefferson, who will be able to inform you fully on these points and
many others, that you will deem important to a right knowledge of the
present state of this country.[12]

I enclose a state of the trade between these States and the West
Indies, as brought in by a Committee of Congress, and referred to me.
It may possibly afford you some hints, and will serve to show how
earnestly we wish to have this market opened to us.

  I have the honor to be, &c.
                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

FOOTNOTE:

  [12] Mr Jefferson did not go, as was here expected. See his reasons
  in his _Memoir, Correspondence, &c._ Vol. I. p. 41.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO RICHARD OSWALD.

                                            Passy, January 14th, 1783.

  Sir,

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

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

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

     _Propositions relative to Privateering, communicated to Mr
                               Oswald._

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

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

The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas, a remnant of the
ancient piracy, though it may be accidentally beneficial to particular
persons, is far from being profitable to all engaged in it, or to the
nation that authorises it. In the beginning of a war, some rich ships,
not upon their guard, are surprised and taken. This encourages the
first adventurers to fit out more armed vessels, and many others to do
the same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful, arm
their merchant ships better, and render them not so easy to be taken;
they go also more under protection of convoys; thus while the
privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to be
taken, and the chances of profit, are diminished, so that many cruises
are made, wherein the expenses overgo the gains; and as is the case in
other lotteries, though particulars have got prizes, the mass of
adventurers are losers, the whole expense of fitting out all the
privateers, during a war, being much greater than the whole amount of
goods taken. Then there is the national loss of all the labor of so
many men during the time they have been employed in robbing; who
besides spend what they get in riot, drunkenness, and debauchery, lose
their habits of industry, are rarely fit for any sober business after
a peace, and serve only to increase the number of highwaymen and
housebreakers. Even the undertakers, who have been fortunate, are by
sudden wealth led into expensive living, the habit of which continues
when the means of supporting it ceases, and finally ruins them; a just
punishment for their having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many
honest innocent traders and their families, whose subsistence was
employed in serving the common interests of mankind.

Should it be agreed and become a part of the law of nations, that the
cultivators of the earth are not to be molested or interrupted in
their peaceable and useful employment, the inhabitants of the sugar
islands would perhaps come under the protection of such a regulation,
which would be a great advantage to the nations who at present hold
those islands, since the cost of sugar to the consumer in those
nations, consists not merely in the price he pays for it by the pound,
but in the accumulated charge of all the taxes he pays in every war,
to fit out fleets and maintain troops for the defence of the islands
that raise the sugar, and the ships that bring it home. But the
expense of treasure is not all. A celebrated philosophical writer
remarks, that when he considered the wars made in Africa, for
prisoners to raise sugars in America, the numbers slain in those wars,
the numbers that, being crowded in ships, perish in the
transportation, and the numbers that die under the severities of
slavery, he could scarce look on a morsel of sugar without conceiving
it spotted with human blood. If he had considered also the blood of
one another, which the white nations shed in fighting for those
islands, he would have imagined his sugar not as spotted only, but as
thoroughly dyed red. On these accounts I am persuaded, that the
subjects of the Emperor of Germany, and the Empress of Russia, who
have no sugar islands, consume sugar cheaper at Vienna, and Moscow,
with all the charge of transporting it after its arrival in Europe,
than the citizens of London or of Paris. And I sincerely believe, that
if France and England were to decide, by throwing dice, which should
have the whole of their sugar islands, the loser in the throw would be
the gainer. The future expense of defending them would be saved; the
sugars would be bought cheaper by all Europe, if the inhabitants might
make it without interruption, and whoever imported the sugar, the same
revenue might be raised by duties at the custom houses of the nation
that consumed it. And, on the whole, I conceive it would be better for
the nations now possessing sugar colonies to give up their claim to
them, let them govern themselves, and put them under the protection of
all the powers of Europe as neutral countries, open to the commerce of
all, the profits of the present monopolies being by no means
equivalent to the expense of maintaining them.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                              Translation.

                                       Versailles, January 18th, 1783.

  Sir,

It is essential that I should have the honor of conferring with you,
Mr Adams, and your other colleagues, who are in Paris. I therefore
pray you to invite these gentlemen to come out to Versailles with you
on Monday, before ten o'clock in the morning. It will be well, also,
if you will bring your grandson. It will be necessary for much
writing and translating from English into French to be done. The
object for which I ask this interview is very interesting to the
United States.

  I have the honor to be, Sir,
                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                            Passy, January 18th, 1783.

  Sir,

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

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                   BENJAMIN VAUGHAN TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                            Paris, January 18th, 1783.

  My Dearest Sir,

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

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

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

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

                                                           B. VAUGHAN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                            TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                            Passy, January 19th, 1783.

  Sir,

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

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Passy, January 21st, 1783.

  Sir,

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       JOHN JAY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                            Paris, January 26th, 1783.

  Sir,

It having been suspected, that I concurred in the appointment of your
grandson to the place of Secretary to the American commission for
peace _at your instance_, I think it right, thus unsolicited, to put
it in your power to correct the mistake.

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

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

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

  I have the honor to be, Sir, with great respect,
                                                             JOHN JAY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    FROM M. ROSENCRONE, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN DENMARK,
                       TO M. DE WALTERSTORFF.

                            Translation.

                                       Copenhagen, February 22d, 1783.

  Sir,

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

You will recollect, Sir, what I said to you in our conversations, of
the high respect which all the King's Ministry have for that Minister.
You have witnessed the satisfaction with which we have learned the
glorious issue of this war for the United States of America, and how
fully we are persuaded, that it will be for the general interest of
the two States to form, as soon as possible, reciprocal connexions of
friendship and commerce. Nothing, certainly, would be more agreeable
to us, than to learn by your letters, that you find the same
dispositions in Mr Franklin, and in that case it seems to me the
shortest way of accelerating these new connexions would be to take the
treaty between the Congress and the States-General for the basis, and
that Mr Franklin should communicate to us his ideas on the changes or
additions which he might think reciprocally useful in the treaty of
commerce, which Congress might conclude with us.

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

I shall finish, Sir, with hoping that you may happily terminate the
visits you have proposed to make to the different parts of France; and
it is with sentiments of the most distinguished respect, that

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           ROSENCRONE.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Passy, March 7th, 1783.

  Sir,

I but this moment hear of this opportunity, by which I can only send
you a line to acquaint you, that I have concluded the treaty with
Sweden, which was signed on Wednesday last. You will have a copy by
the first good opportunity. It differs very little from the plan sent
me; in nothing material.[13] The English Court is in confusion by
another change of Ministry, Lord Shelburne and his friends having
resigned; but it is not yet certainly known who will succeed, though
Lord North and Mr Fox are talked of as two, they being reconciled!! I
cannot add, but that I am, with great esteem, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

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

FOOTNOTE:

  [13] This treaty is printed in the public _Journals of Congress_,
  Vol. IV. p. 241, under the date of July 29th, 1783.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                             London, March 12th, 1783.

  My Dear Friend,

It is a long while since I have heard from you, or indeed since I
wrote to you. I heartily congratulate you on those pacific events,
which have already happened, and I wish to see all other final steps
of conciliation succeed speedily. I send you copies of two papers,
which I have already communicated to Mr Laurens; the one called
_Conciliatory Propositions, in March, 1783_; the other _A Sketch of a
Provisional Treaty of Commerce for opening the Ports between Great
Britain and the United States of America without Delay_; to each of
which is prefixed a short state of the argument on each head.

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

  Ever your most affectionate,

                                                           D. HARTLEY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

               _Conciliatory Propositions, March, 1783._

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. That all prisoners on both sides be immediately released.

7. That intercourse of amity and commerce do immediately take place
between Great Britain and the United States of America.

                  *       *       *       *       *

            _Sketch of a Provisional Treaty of Commerce._

As soon as preliminaries of peace are signed with any independent
States, such as Spain, France, and Holland, the course of mutual
commerce emerges upon the same terms and conditions as were existing
antecedent to the war, the new duties imposed during the war excepted.
The case between Great Britain and America is different, because
America, from a dependent nation before the war, emerges an
independent nation after the war. The basis, therefore, of a
provisional treaty between Great Britain and the United States would
be simply to arrange such points as would emerge after the war,
impracticable and discordant to the newly established independence of
the American States, and to leave all others, as much as possible,
untouched. For instance, that all instrumental regulations, such as
papers, bonds, certificates, oaths, and all other documents should be,
between Great Britain and the United States, upon the same footing,
and no other than as between Great Britain and any other independent
nation, but that all duties, drawbacks, bounties, rights, privileges,
and all pecuniary considerations, should emerge into action and effect
as before. I say emerge as before, not stipulated for any fixed term,
because I am speaking of a provisional _treaty_, not of a provisional
_bill_ of commerce, for a specified period. By this means, all
difficulties, which otherwise would be accumulated, and obstruct a
temporary and provisional act are avoided _in limine_. The ports will
be immediately opened, upon specified and known conditions. If the
legislature of either country thinks proper to introduce on its own
part any new conditions or regulations, even previous to the intended
treaty of commerce, that will not shut the ports again generally but
only operate _pro tanto_ according to the case; on which side soever
any novel condition should arise, the other will likewise be at
liberty to make any corresponding regulations as between independent
nations. The great object is to open the ports between Great Britain
and the United States, immediately on the signature of preliminaries
of peace, as between France and Great Britain. By the proposition
above stated, Great Britain and France, and Great Britain and the
United States respectively, on the subject of intercourse of commerce,
would emerge again after the war into situations relatively similar to
their situation before the war.

The Crown of Great Britain is enabled by the Conciliatory Act of 1782
to repeal, annul, make void, or suspend, for any time or times, the
operation and effect of any act of Parliament, or any clause,
provision, matter, or thing therein contained, relating to the
colonies or plantations now become the United States of America; and,
therefore, the crown is not only competent to conclude, but likewise
to carry into effect any provisional treaty of commerce with America.
The first foundation must be laid in the total repeal of the
Prohibitory Act of December, 1775, not only as prohibiting commerce
between Great Britain and the United States, but as the corner stone
of the war; by giving up universally all American property at sea to
military plunder, without any redress to be obtained by law in any
British Court of Admiralty. After this, all obstructions from the act
of navigation and other acts regulating the commerce of the States of
America (formerly dependent upon Great Britain,) may be removed.
Instructions may be sent to the Commissioners of the customs to
dispense with bonds, certificates, &c. which by the old laws are
required to be discharged or attested by supposed governors, naval or
customhouse officers in America. The questions of drawbacks, bounties,
&c. after opening the ports, may remain free points of discussion and
regulation, as between States having no commercial treaty subsisting
between them. As the Crown is competent to open an intercourse of
commerce with America by treaty, this mode is preferable to any act of
Parliament, which may be only a jealous and suspicious convention _ex
parte_. This mode by treaty avoids the accumulated difficulties, which
might otherwise obstruct the first opening of the ports by act of
Parliament, and above all, it secures an alternate binding part of the
bargain, which no act of Parliament can do.

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

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

2. And therefore the King of Great Britain agrees to the repeal of the
prohibitory acts, viz. 16 Geo. 3, chap. 5, &c. The King of Great
Britain likewise agrees by instructions, according to the laws of
Great Britain, to his Commissioners of customs and other officers, to
remove all obstructions to American ships either entering inwards or
clearing outwards, which may arise from any acts of Parliament
heretofore regulating the commerce of the American States, under the
description of British colonies or plantations, so as to accommodate
every circumstance to the reception of their ships, as the ships of
independent States.

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

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

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

6. The principles and spirit of this treaty to be supported on either
side by any necessary supplemental arrangements. No tacit compliance
on the part of America in any subordinate points to be argued at any
time hereafter to the prejudice of their independence.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                               Passy, March 23d, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

I received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me,
requesting a recommendation to America, of Mr Joshua Grigby. I have
accordingly written one, and having an opportunity the other day, I
sent it under cover to Mr Benjamin Vaughan. The general proclamations
you wished for suspending, or rather putting an end to hostilities,
are now published; so that your "heart is at rest," and mine with it.
You may depend on my joining my hearty endeavors with yours, in
"cultivating conciliatory principles between our two countries;" and I
may venture to assure you, that if your bill for a provisional
establishment of the commerce had passed as at first proposed, a
stipulation on our part in the definitive treaty, to allow reciprocal
and equal advantages and privileges to your subjects, would have been
readily agreed to.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                       Philadelphia, March 26th, 1783.

  Sir,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I remit bills for the salaries of our Ministers. It is impossible,
that I can adjust their accounts here; you must settle with them, and
they repay you out of the drafts I have made in their favor when they
have been overpaid. Congress have, in pursuance of your sentiment, in
your letter of October, passed the enclosed resolution.[14] So that
on the quarter's salary due in April, there will be a deduction of all
you gained by the course of exchange; and the payments will be reduced
to par, at which rate they will always be paid in future. This
deduction amounts on your salary to eight thousand three hundred and
thirtysix livres, as will appear from the account that will be stated
by Mr Morris. I shall pay your bills into the hands of Mr Robert
Morris, whom you have constituted your agent. The bills for the other
gentlemen, who may not be with you, are committed to your care. As the
bills are drawn in their favor, they can only be paid on their
endorsement.

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

On the arrival of the Triumph from Cadiz, which brought orders for
recalling the cruisers of his Britannic Majesty, Congress passed the
enclosed resolution, which I transmitted with the intelligence we had
received to Carleton and Digby. I sent my Secretary with my letters,
and expect him back this evening. I am anxious to know how the first
messenger of peace has been received by them, as well as to discover
through him what steps they propose to take for the evacuation.

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

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

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

FOOTNOTE:

  [14] _March 7th, 1783._ "Resolved, that the salaries of the Ministers
  and other officers of the United States in Europe be estimated in
  future in dollars, at the rate of four shillings and sixpence sterling
  per dollar.

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

             FROM THE CITY OF HAMBURG TO CONGRESS.[15]

                             Translation.

FOOTNOTE:

  [15] The original of this singular paper is not preserved, and the
  translation is here given, as found in Dr Franklin's public
  correspondence.

                                                     March 29th, 1783.

  Right Noble, High, Mighty, Most Honorable Lords,

Since, by the preliminary articles of peace, concluded lately between
the high belligerent powers, the illustrious United States of North
America have been acknowledged free, sovereign, and independent, and
now since European powers are courting in rivalry the friendship of
your High Mightinesses,

We, impressed with the most lively sensations on the illustrious
event, the wonder of this, and the most remote future ages, and
desirous fully to testify the part which we take therein, do hereby
offer your High Mightinesses our service and attachment to the cause.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In further testimony of our most attentive obsequiousness and sincere
attachment, we have deputed our citizen, John Abraham de Boor, who is
charged with the concerns of a considerable merchant house, which,
like several other merchant houses of good report and solidity in this
city, is desirous of entering with merchants of your country into
reciprocal commerce. He is to have the honor to present to your High
Mightinesses this our most obsequious missive; wherefore we most
earnestly recommend him to your favorable reception. He has it from us
in express charge, most respectfully to give your High Mightinesses,
if required, such upright and accurate accounts of our situation and
constitutions, as may be depended upon, and at the same time in person
to testify the assurance of the most perfect respect and attachment,
with which attentively we remain, Right Noble, High, Mighty, and most
honorable Lords, your most obsequious and devoted Burgomaster and
Senate of the Imperial free City of Hamburg.

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                             London, March 31st, 1783.

  My dear Friend,

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

The tenth article, which is supposed to be referred to the definitive
treaty, is a renewal of the same proposition, which I moved in
Parliament some years ago, viz. on the 9th of April, 1778. I see
nothing inconsistent with that proposition, either in the declaration
of independence or in the treaty with France. Let it therefore
remain, and emerge after the war, as a point untouched by the war. I
assure you my consent should not be wanting to extend this principle
between all the nations upon earth. I know full well, that those
nations to which you and I are bound by birth and consanguinity, would
reap the earliest fruits from it. _Owing no man hate, and envying no
man's happiness_, I should rejoice in the lot of my own country, and
on her part say to America, _Nos duo turba sumus_. I send you,
likewise, enclosed with this, some sentiments respecting the
principles of some late negotiations, drawn up in the shape of
Parliamentary motions by my brother, who joins with me in the
sincerest good wishes to you for health and happiness, and for the
peace of our respective countries, and of mankind.

  Your ever affectionate,

                                                           D. HARTLEY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

         _Supplemental Treaty between Great Britain and the
                    United States of North America._

1. That the British troops be withdrawn from the United States with
all convenient speed.

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

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

4. Agreed on the part of Great Britain, that all Prohibitory Acts
shall be repealed, and that all obstructions to American ships, either
entering inwards or clearing outwards, shall be removed, which may
arise from any acts of Parliament, heretofore regulating the commerce
of the American States, under the description of British Colonies and
Plantations, so as to accommodate every circumstance to the reception
of their ships, as the ships of independent States.

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

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

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

8. That all prisoners on both sides be immediately released.

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

    _Separate Article to be referred to the Definitive Treaty._

10. Neither shall the independence of the United States be construed
any further than as independence, absolute and unlimited in matters of
government, as well as commerce. Not into alienation, and therefore
the subjects of his Britannic Majesty and the citizens of the United
States shall mutually be considered as natural born subjects, and
enjoy all rights and privileges as such in the respective dominions
and territories, in the manner heretofore accustomed.

                  *       *       *       *       *

       _Paper mentioned in the Close of Mr Hartley's Letter._

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

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

3. That when this House, by its vote against the further prosecution
of offensive war in America, had given up the point of contest, and
adopted a conciliatory disposition, the pursuing those principles by
an immediate and liberal negotiation upon the basis of independence,
at the same time expressing a readiness to conclude a general peace
with the allies of America upon honorable terms, would have been the
most likely way to promote a mutual and beneficial intercourse between
the two countries; to establish peace upon a firm foundation; and
would have prevented the House of Bourbon from having a right to claim
any further obligations from America, as the assertors of their
independence.

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       M. SALVA TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                             Algiers, April 1st, 1783.

  Sir,

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

Some secret enemies, (whom I know) having giving information to this
regency of their departure, nine armed ships immediately sailed to
wait for them at Cape Palos. It is to be presumed that the Americans
had passed the Straits.

Algiers has many ships, and the politics of certain European powers do
not restrain them from paying tribute to enjoy peace; they make use of
these human harpies as a terror to the belligerent nations, whose
commerce they chain to the car of Algerine piracy. We saw an example
of this, when his Imperial Majesty, to protect his flag, made use of
the Firman of the Sublime Porte. It was attacked, and five prizes were
brought into this port in 1781, four of which with ballast were
restored in February, 1782, at the claim of a Capapigi Bashaw of the
Porte, and of M. Timone, the Imperial Agent, who was expelled, and
whose correspondent I am, having been his Secretary on this occasion,
and having revealed to his Highness, Prince Kaunitz Rietberg, Minister
at the Court of Vienna, horrors and crimes which would have remained
unpunished but for my pen.

Humanity alone, Sir, has engaged me to give you this advice. I request
you will be pleased to keep it secret; your prudence will effect what
may be necessary on this occasion.

I have the honor to offer you every information respecting this port,
and flatter myself that I shall succeed therein. I think to depart
from this in May or June next for Marseilles, and to leave these
barbarian pirates.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                                SALVA.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE GRAND MASTER OF MALTA.

                                               Passy, April 6th, 1783.

  My Lord,

I have the honor to address to your Eminent Highness the medal, which
I have lately had struck. It is a homage of gratitude, my Lord, which
is due to the interest you have taken in our cause, and we no less owe
it to your virtues, and to your Eminent Highness's wise administration
of government.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO M. ROSENCRONE.

                                              Passy, April 13th, 1783.

  Sir,

Monsieur de Walterstorff has communicated to me a letter from your
Excellency, which affords me great pleasure, as it expresses in clear
and strong terms the good disposition of your Court[16] to form
connexions of friendship and commerce with the United States of
America. I am confident that the same good disposition will be found
in the Congress; and having acquainted that respectable body with the
purport of your letter, I expect a commission will soon be sent,
appointing some person in Europe to enter into a treaty with his
Majesty the King of Denmark for the purpose desired.

In the meantime, to prepare and forward the business as much as may
be, I send, for your Excellency's consideration, such a sketch as you
mention, formed on the basis of our treaty with Holland, on which I
shall be glad to receive your Excellency's sentiments. And I hope
that this transaction when completed, may be the means of producing
and securing a long and happy friendship between our two nations.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [16] The Court of Denmark. See the letter referred to, p. 74
  of this volume.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                              Passy, April 16th, 1783.

  Sir,

You complain sometimes of not hearing from us. It is now near three
months since any of us have heard from America. I think our last
letters came with General de Rochambeau. There is now a project under
consideration for establishing monthly packet boats between France and
New York, which I hope will be carried into execution; our
correspondence then may be more regular and frequent.

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

M. de Walterstorff, Chamberlain of the King of Denmark, formerly Chief
Justice of the Danish West India Islands, was last year at Paris,
where I had some acquaintance with him, and he is now returned hither.
The newspapers have mentioned him as intended to be sent Minister from
his Court to Congress, but he tells me no such appointment has yet
been made. He assures me, however, that the King has a strong desire
to have a treaty of friendship and commerce with the United States,
and he has communicated to me a letter, which he received from M.
Rosencrone, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, expressing that
disposition. I enclose a copy of the letter, and if Congress shall
approve of entering into such a treaty with the King of Denmark, of
which I told M. de Walterstorff I made no doubt, they will send to me,
or whom else they shall think proper, the necessary instructions and
powers for that purpose. In the meantime, to keep the business in
train, I have sent to that Minister for his consideration, a
translation of the plan, _mutatis mutandis_, which I received from
Congress for a treaty with Sweden, accompanied by a letter, of which
likewise I enclose a copy. I think it would be well to make it one of
the instructions to whoever is commissioned for the treaty, that he
previously procure satisfaction for the prizes mentioned in my letter.

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

Mr Laurens, having left Bath, mended in his health, is daily expected
at Paris, where Messieurs Jay and Adams still continue. Mr Jefferson
has not yet arrived, nor the Romulus, in which ship I am told he was
to have taken his passage. I have been the more impatient of this
delay, from the expectation given me of full letters by him. It is
extraordinary, that we should be so long without any arrivals from
America in any part of Europe. We have as yet heard nothing of the
reception of the preliminary articles in America, though it is now
nearly five months since they were signed. Barney, indeed, did not get
away from hence before the middle of January, but copies went by other
ships long before him; he waited some time for the money he carried,
and afterwards was detained by violent contrary winds. He had a
passport from England, and I hope arrived safe; though we have been in
some pain for him, on account of a storm soon after he sailed.

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

I have caused to be struck here the medal, which I formerly mentioned
to you, the design of which you seemed to approve. I enclose one of
them in silver, for the President of Congress, and one in copper for
yourself; the impression on copper is thought to appear best, and you
will soon receive a number for the members. I have presented one to
the King, and another to the Queen, both in gold, and one in silver to
each of the Ministers, as a monumental acknowledgment, which may go
down to future ages, of the obligations we are under to this nation.
It is mighty well received, and gives general pleasure. If the
Congress approve of it, as I hope they will, I may add something on
the die (for those to be struck hereafter) to show that it was done by
their order, which I could not venture to do till I had authority for
it.

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

I have continued to send you the English papers. You will often see
falsehoods in them respecting what I say and do, &c. You know those
papers too well to make any contradiction of such stuff necessary from
me.

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

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

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

  With great esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

_P. S._ Mr Laurens is just arrived.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 CHARLES J. FOX TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                         St James's, April 19th, 1783.

  Sir,

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

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

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

                                                            C. J. FOX.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                              Passy, April 27th, 1783.

  Sir,

The Count del Veome, an Italian nobleman of great distinction, does me
the honor to be the bearer of this. I have not the satisfaction to be
personally acquainted with this gentleman, but am much solicited by
some of my particular friends, to whom his merits and character are
known, to afford him this introduction to you. He is, I understand, a
great traveller, and his view in going to America is merely to see the
country and its great men. I pray you will show him every civility,
and afford him that counsel, which as a stranger he may stand in need
of.

  With great respect, I am, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                              Translation.

                                            Versailles, May 5th, 1783.

  Sir,

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

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

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                                 Passy, May 5th, 1783.

  Sir,

It was my intention to pay my devoirs at Versailles tomorrow. I thank
your Excellency, nevertheless, for your kind admonition. I omitted
two of the last three days from a mistaken apprehension, that being
holidays there would be no Court. Mr Laurens and Mr Jay are both
invalids; and since my last severe fit of the gout, my legs have
continued so weak, that I am hardly able to keep pace with the
Ministers who walk fast, especially in going up and down stairs.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                                 Passy, May 8th, 1783.

  Dear Friend,

I send you enclosed the copies you desired of the papers I read to you
yesterday.[17] I should be happy if I could see, before I die, the
proposed improvement of the law of nations established. The miseries
of mankind would be diminished by it, and the happiness of millions
secured and promoted. If the practice of privateering could be
profitable to any civilized nation, it might be so to us Americans,
since we are so situated on the globe, as that the rich commerce of
Europe with the West Indies, consisting of manufactures, sugars, &c.
is obliged to pass before our doors, which enables us to make short
and cheap cruises, while our own commerce is in such bulky, low priced
articles as that ten of our ships taken by you are not equal in value
to one of yours, and you must come far from home at a great expense to
look for them. I hope therefore that this proposition, if made by us,
will appear in its true light, as having humanity only for its motive.
I do not wish to see a new Barbary rising in America, and our long
extended coast occupied by piratical States. I fear lest our
privateering success in the two last wars, should already have given
our people too strong a relish for that most mischievous kind of
gaming, mixed blood; and if a stop is not now put to the practice,
mankind may hereafter be more plagued with American corsairs, than
they have been and are with the Turkish. Try, my friend, what you can
do, in procuring for your nation the glory of being, though the
greatest naval power, the first who voluntarily relinquished the
advantage that power seems to give them, of plundering others, and
thereby impeding the mutual communications among men of the gifts of
God, and rendering miserable multitudes of merchants and their
families, artizans, and cultivators of the earth, the most peaceable
and innocent part of the human species.

With great esteem and affection, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most
sincerely,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [17] See the Proposition about privateering, p. 67 of this volume.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                          Philadelphia, May 9th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

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

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

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

The enclosed resolution imposes a new task upon you. I hope you will
find no great difficulty in procuring the small augmentation to the
loan which it requires. Be assured that it is extremely necessary to
set us down in peace.

None of the States, though frequently called upon, have sent me the
estimates of their losses by the ravages of the British, except
Connecticut and Rhode Island, and their accounts are extremely
imperfect. Such as they are I enclose them. For my own part, I have no
great expectation that any compensation for these losses will be
procured; however, if possible it should be attempted. Commissioners
might be appointed to ascertain them here.

Great part of the prisoners are on their way to New York, and the
whole will be sent in a few days. They will amount to about six
thousand men.

Our ports begin to be crowded with vessels. There is reason to fear
that a superabundance of foreign articles will, in the end, produce as
much distress as the want of them has heretofore occasioned.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                         Philadelphia, May 31st, 1783.

  Sir,

I informed you sometime since, that I had written to the Court of
Appeals on the subject of the Nossa Senhora da Soledado San Miguel e
Almas, and laid before them the papers you sent me. The cause has
since been determined in such a way as will, I hope, be satisfactory
to her Portuguese Majesty. I enclose the copy of a letter from the
first Judge of the Court of Appeals on that subject.

Nothing has yet been done as to the acceptance of your resignation,
nor will, as I believe, anything be done very hastily. Many think your
task will not be very burdensome now, and that you may enjoy in peace
the fruit of your past labors.

As this will probably be the last letter, which I shall have the
pleasure of writing to you in my public character, I beg leave to
remind you of the affairs of the Alliance and the Bon Homme Richard,
which are still unsettled. I must also pray you not to lose sight of
the vessels detained by his Danish Majesty. This will be a favorable
opportunity to press for their restitution. I do not see how they can
decently refuse to pay for them. Great Britain is bound in honor to
make them whole again.

Preparations for the evacuation of New York still go on very slowly,
while the distress of our finances has compelled us to grant furloughs
to the greater part of our army.

If it were possible to procure any addition to the last six millions,
it would be extremely useful to us at present.

An entire new arrangement with respect to our foreign department is
under consideration. What its fate will be, I know not.

  I am, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                               Passy, June 12th, 1783.

  Sir,

I wrote to you fully by a vessel from Nantes, which I hope will reach
you before this. If not, this may inform you that the ratification of
the treaty with Sweden is come, and ready to be exchanged when I shall
receive that from Congress; that the treaty with Denmark is going on,
and will probably, be ready before the commission for signing it
arrives from Congress. It is on the plan of that proposed by Congress
for Sweden.

Portugal has likewise proposed to treat with us, and the Ambassador
has earnestly urged me to give him a plan for the consideration of his
Court, which I have accordingly done, and he has forwarded it. The
Congress will send commissions and instructions for concluding these
treaties to whom they may think proper; it is only upon the old
authority, given, by a resolution, to myself with Messrs Deane and
Lee, to treat with any European powers, that I have ventured to begin
these treaties in consequence of overtures from those Crowns.

The definitive treaty with England is not yet concluded, their
Ministry being unsettled in their minds as to the terms of the
commercial part; nor is any other definitive treaty yet completed
here, nor even the preliminaries signed of one between England and
Holland. It is now five months since we have had a line from you, the
last being dated the 13th of January; of course we know nothing of the
reception of the preliminary articles, or the opinion of Congress
respecting them. We hoped to receive before this time such
instructions as might have been thought proper to be sent to us for
rendering more perfect the definitive treaty. We know nothing of what
has been approved or disapproved. We are totally in the dark, and
therefore, less pressing to conclude, being still (as we have long
been) in daily expectation of hearing from you. By chance only, we
learn that Barney is arrived, by whom went the despatches of the
Commissioners, and a considerable sum of money. No acknowledgment of
the receipt of that money is yet come to hand, either to me or M.
Gerard. I make no doubt that both you and Mr Morris have written, and
cannot imagine what has become of your letters.

  With great esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

_P. S._ I beg leave to recommend to your civilities the bearer of
this, Dr Bancroft, whom you will find a very intelligent, sensible
man, well acquainted with the state of affairs here, and who has
heretofore been employed in the service of Congress. I have long known
him, and esteem him highly.

                                                                 B. F.

                  *       *       *       *       *

               THE AMBASSADOR FROM SWEDEN TO B. FRANKLIN.

                              Translation.

                                               Paris, June 13th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have just received his Majesty's ratification of the treaty of
commerce concluded with the United States, which I will have the honor
to send you as soon as it can be exchanged for the one from Congress.

Permit me, Sir, on this occasion to repeat the request which the
Ambassador has made you respecting Mr Franklin, your grandson. He had
the honor to tell you, that it would afford the King a pleasure to
have a person residing with him, in the capacity of the Minister of
Congress, who bears your name in conjunction with such estimable
qualifications as young Mr Franklin possesses. He charged me before he
departed, to repeat to you the same assurances, and you will allow me
to add, on my part, my best wishes for the success of this matter.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                    LE BARON DE STAEL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

            FROM THE GRAND MASTER OF MALTA TO B. FRANKLIN.

                              Translation.

                                               Malta, June 21st, 1783.

  Sir,

I received with the most lively sensibility the medal, which your
Excellency sent me, and the value I set upon this acquisition leaves
my gratitude unbounded. This monument of American liberty has a
distinguished place in my cabinet.

Whenever chance or commerce shall lead any of your fellow citizens or
their vessels into the ports of my Island, I shall receive them with
the greatest welcome. They shall experience from me every assistance
they may claim, and I shall observe with infinite pleasure any growing
connexion between that interesting nation and my subjects, especially
if it will tend to convince your Excellency of the distinguished
sentiments with which I am, Sir, &c.

  The Grand Master,

                                                                ROHAN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO HENRY LAURENS.

                                                Passy, July 6th, 1783.

  Dear Sir,

We have been honored with several of your letters, and we have talked
of writing to you, but it has been delayed. I will therefore write a
few lines in my private capacity.

Our negotiations go on slowly, every proposition being sent to
England, and answers not returning very speedily.

Captain Barney arrived here last Wednesday, and brought despatches for
us as late as the first of June. The preliminary articles are
ratified. But General Carleton, in violation of those articles, has
sent away a great number of negroes, alleging, that freedom having
been promised them by a proclamation, the honor of the nation was
concerned, &c. Probably another reason may be, that if they had been
restored to their masters, Britain could not have hoped anything from
such another proclamation hereafter.

Mr Hartley called yesterday to tell us, that he had received a letter
from Mr Fox, assuring him that our suspicions of affected delays or
change of system on their side were groundless; and that they were
sincerely desirous to finish as soon as possible. If this be so, and
your health will permit the journey, I could wish your return as soon
as possible. I want you here on many accounts, and should be glad of
your assistance in considering and answering our public letters. There
are matters in them of which I cannot conveniently give you an account
at present.

Nothing could be more seasonable than success in the project you
proposed, but we have now very little expectation.

Please to give my love to your valuable and amiable son and daughter,
and believe me, with sincere esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

     FROM M. ROSENCRONE, MINISTER OF DENMARK, TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                           Copenhagen, July 8th, 1783.

  Sir,

It was with the greatest alacrity, that I laid before his Majesty the
letter you did me the honor to write to me, as also the project of a
treaty of amity and commerce that accompanied it. The King observed,
with the greatest satisfaction, the assurances contained in that
letter, of the good disposition of Congress to form connexions of
amity and commerce with his kingdoms, such connexions being equally
conformable to the interests of the two States, and to his Majesty's
sincere desire to cement, by every possible means, that harmony,
union, and confidence, which he wishes to establish forever between
his Crown and the United States.

The enclosed _Counter Project_ differs in nothing essential from the
project sent by you, being drawn up entirely conformable to the same
principles, which you will be certainly convinced of, Sir, by the note
explaining the reasons for adding some articles, and only giving a
different turn to others, so that I flatter myself, that I shall soon
hear that you are perfectly satisfied with them, having observed the
most perfect reciprocity carefully established throughout.

As to the object mentioned in the letter with which you have honored
me, you already know, Sir, his Majesty's generous intentions towards
the individuals in question, and his Majesty is the more induced to
avail himself of the first opportunity to manifest these intentions,
as he thinks he may reasonably hope that Congress will also consider
them as a distinguished proof of his friendship and esteem for that
respectable body.

There remains nothing further for me to add, but that the King will
adopt with great pleasure the most proper means to accelerate the
conclusion of the treaty, which we have begun. For myself, it will be
the most agreeable part of my office, Sir, to assist in perfecting
such happy connexions with a minister of such universal reputation as
yourself; and it is with sentiments of the most distinguished regard,
that I have the honor to be &c.

                                                           ROSENCRONE.

                  *       *       *       *       *

              _Counter Project of a Treaty with Denmark._

                             Translation.

Counter Project of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between his Majesty,
the King of Denmark and Norway, and the United States of America.

His Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, and the United States of
America, wishing to fix in an equitable and permanent manner the
regulations necessary in the commerce, which they are desirous to
establish between their respective countries, conceive that they
cannot accomplish this object better, than by taking as the basis for
their conventions, the most perfect equality and reciprocity, leaving
to each party the liberty of making such interior regulations, with
respect to commerce and navigation, as shall appear suitable, and
founding the advantages of commerce on reciprocal utility, and the
just laws of free competition. It is in consequence of these
principles, and of mature deliberation, that the contracting parties
have agreed upon the following articles.


                               ARTICLE I.

There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and
sincere friendship, between his Majesty, the King of Denmark and
Norway, his heirs and successors, on the one part, and the United
States of America on the other, and between the citizens and subjects
of the said powers, and likewise between the countries, islands,
cities, and places situated within their respective jurisdictions, and
the people and inhabitants thereof, of whatever rank or condition they
may be, without exception of persons or places.


                               ARTICLE II.

The subjects of his Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, may
frequent the countries and latitudes of the United States, reside and
traffic there in all kinds of merchandise and effects, the importation
or exportation whereof is not, or shall not be prohibited, and in all
places where the navigation or commerce are not, or shall not be
reserved solely for the citizens and inhabitants of the United States;
and they shall not pay in the ports, harbors, roads, countries,
islands, cities, and places of the United States, other or greater
duties or imposts of any kind or denomination whatever, than such as
the most favored nations pay, or shall pay. They shall, moreover,
enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges, and exemptions, with
respect to trade, navigation, and commerce, which the most favored
nations do or shall enjoy, and they shall also conform to the laws and
ordinances, which the said nations are, or shall be bound to observe,
whether in passing from one port to another of the dominions of the
said States, or in returning from any part, or to any part of the
world whatever.


                              ARTICLE III.

In like manner, the citizens and inhabitants of the United States of
America may frequent the States of his Majesty, the King of Denmark
and Norway, reside and traffic there in all kinds of merchandise and
effects, the importation or exportation whereof is not, or shall not
be prohibited, and in all places where the navigation and commerce are
not, or shall not be reserved solely to his Danish Majesty's subjects,
and they shall not pay in the ports, harbors, roads, countries,
islands, cities, and places belonging to his said Majesty, other or
greater duties and imposts of any kind or denomination whatever, than
such as the most favored nations do, or shall pay. They shall,
moreover, enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges, and exemptions,
which the most favored nations do, or shall enjoy, and they shall also
conform to the laws and ordinances which the said nations are, or
shall be bound to observe, whether in passing from one port to
another of his Danish Majesty's dominions, or in going to, or
returning from any part of the world whatever. And the United States
of America, with their subjects and inhabitants, shall allow his
Danish Majesty's subjects peaceably to enjoy their rights in the
countries, islands, establishments, and seas, in the East and West
Indies, without molestation or opposition.


                             ARTICLE IV.

His Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, shall use every means in
his power to protect and defend all the vessels and effects belonging
to the citizens or inhabitants of the said United States of America,
as shall be in his ports, harbors, or roads, or in the vicinity of his
territories, countries, islands, cities, and places, as far as his
jurisdiction extends, as to the sea, and shall use his efforts to
recover and cause to be restored to the lawful proprietors, the
vessels and effects which shall be taken from them within the extent
of his said jurisdiction, and his ships of war, or any other convoys
whatever, sailing under his authority, shall, on all occasions where
there may be a common enemy, take under their protection all the
vessels belonging to the citizens or inhabitants of the United States,
or any of them which may be holding the same course, or going the same
route, and they shall defend the said ships as long as they shall hold
the same course, or follow the same route, against every attack,
force, or violence of the common enemy, in the same manner as they are
bound to defend and protect the vessels belonging to his said
Majesty's subjects.


                              ARTICLE V.

In like manner, the said United States and their ships of war, sailing
under their authority, shall protect and defend, in conformity with
the preceding article, all the vessels and effects belonging to the
subjects of his Danish Majesty, and shall use all their efforts to
recover and cause to be restored the said vessels and effects, which
shall have been taken within the extent of the jurisdiction of the
said States, and each of them.


                              ARTICLE VI.

It is agreed and determined that every merchant, captains of merchant
vessels, or others, his Danish Majesty's subjects, shall have entire
liberty in all places within the dominions and jurisdiction of the
United States of America, to manage themselves, their own affairs, and
to employ whomsoever they please to manage them, and they shall not be
obliged to make use of any interpreter or broker, nor to pay them any
fee, unless they make use of them; and with respect to the time and
manner of loading or unloading their ships and whatever belongs to
them, they shall always be considered and treated as the most favored
nations, and shall pay no fee or salary, which the said nations are
not bound to pay in similar cases. The citizens, inhabitants, and
subjects of the United States of America shall reciprocally have and
enjoy the same privileges and liberties in all the places belonging to
his Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway.


                             ARTICLE VII.

Whenever one of the contracting parties shall be at war with other
powers, the communication and free commerce of the subjects of the
other party with the States of the said powers, shall not on that
account be interrupted. On the contrary, in this case it is agreed and
stipulated, that every ship and vessel of the neutral party may
freely navigate from port to port, and on the coasts of the States at
enmity with the other party, and that the vessels and ships being
free, shall likewise secure the liberty of merchandise; so that
everything shall be judged free which shall be found on board of the
vessels belonging to the subjects of one of the contracting parties,
although the loading, or part of it, should belong to the enemies of
one of them; it being, nevertheless, well understood, that contraband
goods shall be always excepted; and it is also agreed, that this same
liberty shall extend to the persons of such as shall be found on board
of the free vessel, even though they should be enemies of one of the
two contracting parties, and they shall not be taken from on board the
said vessels, unless they are military characters, and actually in the
service of the enemy.


                             ARTICLE VIII.

The merchant vessels of one of the two contracting parties, coming
either from a port belonging to the enemy, or from their own, or a
neutral port, and navigating towards a port of an enemy of the other,
shall be bound every time they shall be required, to exhibit, as well
on the high seas as in port, their passports, or sea letters, and
other public documents, which shall expressly prove that their loading
is not of that kind, which is prohibited as contraband; it being well
understood, nevertheless, that in all cases, where such merchant
vessels shall be escorted by one or more vessels of war, the simple
declaration of the officer commanding the convoy, that these vessels
do not carry any contraband goods, shall be considered as fully
sufficient, and they shall not require to examine the papers of the
escorted vessels.


                              ARTICLE IX.

It shall no sooner be found by the sea letters, passports, or other
public documents, or by the verbal declaration of the commanding
officer of the convoy, that the merchant vessels are not laden with
contraband goods, than they shall be at liberty to continue their
voyage without any hinderance; but if, on the contrary, the exhibition
of the said passports or other documents, in case the vessels are not
escorted, tends to discover that the said vessels carry merchandise
reputed contraband, consigned to an enemy's port, it shall not,
however, be permitted to break open the hatches of the said vessels,
nor to open any chest, case, trunk, bale, package, or cask, which
shall be found on board, or to displace or overturn the least part of
the merchandise, whether the vessel belongs to his Danish Majesty's
subjects, or to the citizens or inhabitants of the United States,
until the cargo has been landed in presence of the officers of the
Courts of Admiralty, and that the inventory has been made of it. And
it shall not be permitted to sell, exchange, or alienate the
merchandise reputed contraband, in any manner whatever, before trial
has been held and legally finished, to declare them contraband, and
that the Courts of Admiralty shall have pronounced them confiscated,
without any prejudice, nevertheless, to the vessels or to the
merchandise, which by virtue of the treaty shall be considered free.
It shall not be permitted to retain these merchandises under pretence,
that they have been intermixed with the contraband merchandise, and
still less confiscate them as legal prizes. In case where a part only,
and not the whole of the loading, shall consist of contraband
merchandises, and that the commander of the vessel consents to deliver
them up to the privateer, which shall have discovered them, then the
captain, who shall have made the prize, after having received the
merchandise, must immediately release the vessel, and shall not in any
wise prevent the continuation of his voyage; but in case the
contraband merchandise cannot all be taken on board the captor, then
the captain of the said vessel shall be at liberty, notwithstanding
the offer to deliver the contraband goods, to conduct the master to
the nearest port, in conformity to what is prescribed above.


                             ARTICLE X.

In order to obviate entirely every disorder and violence, it is
stipulated, that whenever the merchant vessels and ships of the
subjects and inhabitants of one of the two parties, navigating alone,
shall be met by any vessel of war, privateer, or armed vessel of the
other party, the said vessels of war, privateers, or armed vessels,
shall remain on their part constantly out of cannonshot, and shall not
send above two or three men in their boats on board the merchant
vessels or ships, to examine the passports or other documents, which
shall prove the property and cargoes of the said vessels or ships.
Such of the vessels of war, privateers, or armed vessels of the one
party, as shall molest or damage in any manner whatever the ships or
vessels of the other, shall be obliged to answer for it in their
persons and property, and consequently, to render satisfaction for all
damage and interest over and above the reparation due for the insult
shown the flag.


                             ARTICLE XI.

It is agreed that everything that is found laden by the respective
subjects or inhabitants on board of vessels belonging to the enemies
of the other party, or to their subjects, shall be confiscated
without distinction of prohibited merchandise, in like manner as
though it belonged to the enemy, excepting always such effects and
merchandise as shall have been put on board of said vessels, before
the declaration of war, or even after said declaration, if, at the
time of lading, it was unknown, so that the merchandises of the
subjects of the two contracting parties, whether they are of the
number termed contraband or otherwise, which, as has just been said,
shall have been laden on board of a vessel belonging to the enemy
before the war, or even after the declaration, when it was not known,
shall in no wise be subject to confiscation, but shall be faithfully
and _bona fide_ returned without delay to their proprietors who shall
claim them, it being well understood, nevertheless, that it shall not
be permitted to carry into the enemy's ports merchandise of a
contraband nature. And in order that every dissension may be avoided,
it is agreed, that after the term of six months being elapsed from the
declaration of war, the respective subjects, from whatever part of the
world they may come, shall not allege the ignorance mentioned in the
present article.


                                ARTICLE XII.

All vessels and merchandise of whatever nature soever, whenever they
shall have been recovered from the hands of pirates on the high seas,
shall be brought into some port of one of the two States, and shall be
delivered to the care of the officers of the said port, in order to be
restored entire to their true proprietor, as soon as he shall have
duly and sufficiently proved his property.


                                ARTICLE XIII.

The ships of war belonging to the two parties, as also those of their
subjects which are armed, shall conduct at full liberty wheresoever
they please, the prizes they shall have made from their enemies,
without being obliged to pay any other duties than such as the most
favored nations; the said vessels or the said prizes, on entering into
the ports of his Danish Majesty, or of the said United States, shall
not be subject to be stopped or seized, nor shall the officers of the
places have any power to take cognizance of the validity of the said
prizes, which shall go out, and be freely conducted in full liberty,
to the places mentioned in the commissions, which the captains of the
said vessels shall be obliged to produce.


                                 ARTICLE XIV.

In order to favor as much as possible the commerce on both sides, it
is agreed, that if a war should happen between his Majesty, the King
of Denmark and Norway, and the United States of America, (which God
forbid) nine months after the declaration of war shall be granted to
the subjects on both sides to collect, sell, and transport freely, the
merchandise and effects belonging to them, and to withdraw themselves;
and if anything is taken from them, or if any injury is done to them
during the above prescribed time, by one of the two parties, full and
entire satisfaction shall be given them in this respect.


                                  ARTICLE XV.

No subject of his Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, shall take
a commission or letter of marque (to arm any vessel or vessels, for
the purpose of acting as a privateer against the said United States,
or any of them, or against their subjects, people, or inhabitants, or
against their property, or that of any among them) from any Prince
whatever, with whom the said United States shall be at war. In like
manner no citizen, subject, or inhabitant of the said United States,
or of any of them, shall demand or accept of any commission or letter
of marque (to arm any vessel or vessels, to cruise against the
subjects of his said Majesty, or any of them, or their property) from
any Prince or State whatever, with whom his Majesty shall be at war;
and if any one of either nation should take such commissions or letter
of marque, he shall be punished as a pirate.


                            ARTICLE XVI.

In case the vessels of the subjects and inhabitants of one of the two
contracting parties should approach the coasts of the other, without
however designing to enter into the port, or to discharge the cargo,
or to break bulk after having entered, they shall be at liberty to
depart, or to pursue their voyage without molestation, in the same
manner as is practiced by the vessels belonging to the most favored
nations.


                            ARTICLE XVII.

The liberty of navigation and commerce, mentioned in the 7th article
of this treaty, shall extend to all kinds of merchandises, excepting
those which are designated by the name of contraband. Under this name
of contraband, or prohibited merchandise, are only to be comprehended,
arms, cannon, powder, matches, pikes, swords, lances, spears,
halberts, mortars, petards, grenades, saltpetre, fusils, balls,
bucklers, helmets, drums, coats of mail, and other arms of that kind
fit to arm soldiers, swivels, shoulder belts, horses with their
equipages, and all other instruments of war whatever, excepting always
the quantity that may be necessary for the defence of the vessel and
such as compose the crew. All other effects and merchandise not
expressly designated above, of whatever kind or denomination they may
be, and however fit they may be, even for the building, the repairing,
and equipment of vessels, or for the making of any machine or warlike
instrument by land or by sea, shall not be considered as contraband,
and they may consequently be transported and conducted in the freest
manner by the subjects of the two contracting parties to places
belonging to the enemy, excepting, nevertheless, such as shall be
actually besieged, blocked up or invested, and such shall only be
considered so, where the vessels of the power that attacks shall be so
near, and posted in such a manner, as that there shall be evident
danger to enter.


                          ARTICLE XVIII.

The passports or sea letters, which shall prove the property of the
neutral vessels, according to the tenor of the 8th Article of the
present treaty, shall be prepared and distributed according to the
model which shall be agreed on. Every time that the vessel shall have
returned to its own country, it shall be furnished with new passports
of the like kind; at least, these passports must not be of an older
date than two years after the time the vessel has returned last to its
own country. Moreover, the vessels being loaded, must be provided with
such certificates, or manifests, or other public documents, as are
commonly given to vessels which depart from the ports from whence they
have last sailed, containing a specification of the cargo, of the
place from whence the vessel has departed, and that of her
destination, in order that it may be known whether there are any
contraband effects on board of the vessels, and whether they are
destined to carry them to an enemy's country, or not. If the names of
the persons to whom the effects on board belong, are not expressed in
the said documents, this omission shall not, however, give cause for
confiscation, as the freedom of the vessel secures the freedom of the
effects.


                              ARTICLE XIX.

Should it happen that the ships or vessels of one of the two
contracting parties, or of their subjects, should strike against the
rocks, or strand, or be shipwrecked on the coast of the other, the
respective subjects shall enjoy both for their persons and their ships
and vessels, effects and merchandise, all the aid and assistance
possible, as the inhabitants of the country, and shall only pay the
same expenses and duties, which the proper subjects of the State on
whose coasts they shall have stranded or have been shipwrecked, are
subject to in similar cases.


                               ARTICLE XX.

If the subjects or inhabitants of one of the two parties, compelled by
storm, or by the pursuit of pirates, or of the enemy, or by any other
accident, find themselves constrained to take refuge with their ships
in the rivers, bays, ports, and roads belonging to the other, they
shall be received and treated with every humanity and kindness, and
they shall be permitted likewise to refresh and to furnish themselves
at a just price with every kind of provisions, and everything
necessary for the maintenance and support of their persons, and for
the reparation of their ships, provided they carry on no commerce
contrary to the laws and ordinances of the place or port into which
they have entered.


                               ARTICLE XXI.

It is agreed, that the subjects of each of the contracting parties,
and their ships, vessels, merchandise, and effects, shall not be
subject to an embargo or detention in any of the countries, islands,
towns, places, ports, or domains whatever of the other party, for any
military expedition, public or private use, in any manner whatever,
and in cases of seizure, detentions, or arrests for debts contracted,
or faults committed by any subject of one of the parties in the States
of the other, the said seizures, detentions, or arrests shall be made
only by order and authority of the justice, and according to the
ordinary means; and with regard to debts and faults, process ought to
be made by way of equity, and agreeably to the forms of the justice of
the place.


                               ARTICLE XXII.

The two contracting parties have mutually granted permission to have
in their respective ports, consuls, vice consuls, agents, and
commissaries, which they shall appoint themselves, and whose functions
shall be regulated by a particular convention whenever either of the
parties wish to establish it.


                               ARTICLE XXIII.

The subjects of his Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, may in
the country of the United States of America dispose of their effects
by testament, donation, or otherwise; and their heirs, subjects of his
said Majesty, shall succeed them, without any impediment in all their
effects, moveable and immoveable, either by testament or ab intestat;
so that they may take possession of the inheritance, either by
themselves, or by attorney, and dispose of it as they please, after
having discharged the different duties established by the laws of the
State where the said succession shall have been left; and in case that
the heirs of the said dead subjects should be absent or minors, and
that the deceased shall not have appointed guardians or executors, the
property left shall then be inventoried by the Notary Public, or by
the magistrate of the place, and disposed of in such manner that they
may be kept and preserved for the legal proprietors; and, supposing
that there should arise a dispute about such inheritance among several
pretenders, then the Judges of the places where the effects of the
deceased shall be found, shall decide the process by a definitive
sentence agreeably to the laws of the country. The contents of the
present article shall be reciprocally observed, with respect to the
subjects of the United States of America, in the States of his Danish
Majesty.


                            ARTICLE XXIV.

A perfect liberty of conscience shall be granted to the subjects and
inhabitants of each party within the respective States, and they may,
consequently, freely attend the worship of their religion without
being disturbed or molested, provided that they submit, as to the
public demonstration, to the ordinances and laws of the country.


                            ARTICLE XXV.

His Majesty, the King of Denmark and Norway, and the United States of
North America, have agreed, that the present treaty shall be in full
effect during the space of fifteen successive years, reckoning from
the day of its ratification; and the two contracting parties reserve
to themselves the power of renewing it at the expiration of that time.


                             ARTICLE XXVI.

The present treaty shall be ratified on both sides, and the
ratifications shall be exchanged within the space of eight months from
the date of the signature.


                    EXPLANATION OF THE COUNTER PROJECT

       _Of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce received from Denmark._

                              Translation.

Although the simple comparison of the enclosed Counter Project, with
the Project proposed by Mr Franklin, evidently proves the attention
that has been shown on our part here to the negotiation set on foot,
and which, in the main, has been agreed upon as to the principles,
which have been adopted for the basis of a treaty, as well as the most
essential stipulations, we could not avoid, however, explaining more
distinctly certain points of the Counter Project; and the
eclaircissements that will be given of them will at the same time
prove the amicable intentions, with which it has been endeavored to
facilitate the consequences of an affair too important to the welfare
of the two nations, not to merit the attention and cares of the powers
which govern them.

The second and third articles will regulate the conduct of the
reciprocal subjects in the respective States. Taking things as they
now are, it is easily perceived that the stipulations of the said
articles, although apparently reciprocal, give however superior
advantages to the United States. For, according to the system of
commerce, which subsists in Denmark and Norway, the most favored
nations pay there no greater imposts or other duties than the proper
subjects of the State, and the proper subjects of the State enjoy
considerable diminutions with respect to unprivileged nations, as well
for their vessels as their merchandise. It is evident, therefore, that
the subjects of the United States of America being received among the
most favored nations in Denmark and Norway, would not only gain by
that means a competition with the said most favored, but also a
preference over several other nations, even in the neighborhood of
Denmark, with whom no treaties of commerce have been concluded, and
who, therefore, are still in the number of unprivileged, as to
navigation and commerce, in the States of his Danish Majesty.

On the other hand, if the advantages, which would result from these
articles, as to the commerce of the subjects of Denmark in the
territories of the United States, are considered, the said advantages
would be confined to the simple competition with every other foreign
nation; but, as there is no nation that we know of, which actually
pays in the territories of the United States other or greater duties,
than what the privileged or most favored nations are bound to pay, the
Danish subjects would not find in the territories of the United States
the same preference, which the subjects of the United States would
obtain in Denmark and Norway. The preceding considerations are not
advanced for the purpose of taking any advantage, but they are pointed
out only to show the impartiality and good will, with which we desire
to contribute to the mutual connexions of amity and commerce between
the two nations, who will, it is to be hoped, more and more unite. As
to the periods inserted in these articles, they do not essentially
change the stipulations projected by the Minister of the United
States; they only add therein some proper determination to prevent
every misunderstanding on the subject of the reciprocal liberties and
privileges, and to guaranty some rights, which the subjects of his
Danish Majesty enjoy with respect to certain countries and colonies,
as Iceland, Greenland, Finmarson, Faro, the establishment of
Tranquibar, and, in certain respects, the Islands of St Croix, St
Thomas, and St John; and if, at any time, it should please the United
States to reserve for its own subjects similar rights, with respect to
certain places, or certain kinds of merchandise, and to exclude
therefrom every foreign nation, the same stipulations shall then suit
their intentions. In like manner the same mark of reciprocity has been
given to every change, excepting only the last clause of the third
article, which has not been susceptible of the same turn, considering
the local position of the United States, and which, undoubtedly for
the same reason, has been inserted in the treaty of the United States
with Holland, in the same manner as it is here in the Counter Project.

After having pointed out the privileges, which the subjects of his
Danish Majesty enjoy in the islands of St Croix, St Thomas, and St
John, it will not be useless to observe, that it is only the commerce
and navigation between the said islands and Europe, which Denmark has
appropriated to itself in any manner; but the commerce, which is
conducted between those islands and North America, although always
subject to the same interior regulations on both sides, has been for a
long while authorised by his Danish Majesty's commercial laws, and his
said Majesty has, moreover, granted to the islands of St Thomas and St
John privileges, which will give the commerce of these islands, with
America in particular, a freer course, and very different from that of
the commerce of the colony. The advantages, which the United States
may derive from a more close commercial connexion with the said
privileged islands, and whose ports, distinguished by the security
they insure to vessels, appear to invite the commercial subjects of
America, are too evident to need any circumstantial detail. There
shall only be added, therefore, to what has been said, this single
observation, that his Danish Majesty, having it very much at heart to
open every possible road to industry and commerce, finds himself much
disposed to favor the connexion in question, and that, if for this
purpose the United States, after the conclusion of the present treaty,
which shall fix the general commercial points between the contracting
parties, should desire a particular convention to agree upon the
reciprocal and local advantages proper to accomplish this object, his
said Majesty would willingly come into it, provided that the United
States were equally disposed on their part to facilitate the affair.

The fourth and fifth articles have only been modified in order to
remove the doubts, which might arise with respect to the defence and
protection due to the vessels belonging to the respective subjects. It
is only in cases of attack from the common enemy, against whom it was
conceived possible to confine each other by these articles; for in
case that one of the parties was at war and the other at peace, the
vessels belonging to the neutral party could not protect the vessels
belonging to the belligerent party, without taking a part and quitting
its neutrality.

The privileges of the most favored nations undoubtedly guaranty to the
respective subjects the favors mentioned in the sixth, eleventh,
fourteenth, and seventeenth articles of the Project. For this reason
it has appeared, that it would be better to reduce the points detailed
in these articles to the number of general liberties of the most
favored nations, and this is what has been done in the sixth,
thirteenth, sixteenth, and twentyfirst articles of the Counter
Project, contenting ourselves here with the assurance, that the
subjects of his Danish Majesty in the cases mentioned here, as well as
in any other, shall be regarded and treated in the territories within
the dominions of the United States as the most favored nations, and in
expectation that the United States will not demand anything more in
these respects.

The seventh, eighth, and ninth articles of the Counter Project only
contain the spirit and ideas of the fifteenth, seventh, and eighth
articles of the Project, to which has been added some further
stipulations, conformable to the principles, which have been
established and acknowledged with respect to the commerce of neutral
nations in time of war.

The term of two months, which has been proposed in the ninth article,
and that of six months named in the twelfth article of the Project,
did not appear to correspond with the extent of commerce, which is
carried on, particularly with the East Indies, nor with difficulties,
which the merchants or inhabitants sometimes find in arranging their
affairs to change their abode. It is for this reason, that instead of
two and six months, the terms six and nine months have been
substituted, it being nevertheless well understood, that from the
friendship and good understanding, which is about being strengthened
between the two nations, the subjects of neither party will ever have
cause to take refuge on account of a rupture.

Although no fault has been found as to the merchandise, which the
Project has called contraband, or not contraband in time of war, there
is however reason to think, that it would still be better for the
conveniency of the contracting parties, only to name in express terms
the contraband, without detailing the free merchandise, with respect
to which no better explanation could be given, as it appears, than by
agreeing that everything that is not called contraband shall be
comprehended in the number of free merchandise; consequently, on this
principle, the seventeenth article of the Counter Project has been
arranged, and at the end of the article has been added the definition
of a port that is blocked up.

The new articles that have been proposed on this side principally turn
on reciprocal points and favors, which justice and equity demand, and
which humanity and the rights of nations ordinarily grant, even
without stipulation by express conventions; but it is usage that has
introduced them into treaties, and it is conceived that it is no less
necessary to conform thereto.

As to the passports mentioned in the eighteenth article of the Counter
Project, there is nothing easier than to agree about them after the
conclusion of the treaty, or at the time when it is concluded, and the
models that shall be agreed on can then be officially exchanged and
published in case of necessity.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  GIACOMO F. CROCCO TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                               Cadiz, July 15th, 1783.

  Sir,

His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Morocco, did me the honor to
appoint me to be the bearer of his answer to the United Provinces of
North America, with which he is willing to sign a treaty of peace and
commerce, and in consequence has already given orders to his Captains
of men of war not to molest on the open seas the American vessels,
which agreeable news I have already given to Mr Richard Harrison.
According to my instructions, I am to accompany to the Court of
Morocco the Ambassador, that will be appointed to conclude the treaty
of peace. I presume, that your Excellency is already acquainted, that
the travelling expenses and other charges of ambassadors, or envoys,
sent to Europe by the Emperor of Morocco, are to be paid by the Court,
or Republic, that demands his friendship. In a few days I intend to
set out for Madrid, where I will remain till I receive your
Excellency's answer to this letter, directed to William Carmichael,
the United States Chargé d'Affaires at the Court of Spain, who, I make
no doubt, will receive orders to supply me with the money I may want
on the occasion.

As soon as I arrive at Paris I shall have the satisfaction to
entertain at large your Excellency on the present negotiation, not
doubting it will soon be concluded to the advantage of both Courts.

  In the meantime I remain, most truly, Sir, &c.

                                             GIACOMO FRANCISCO CROCCO.

_P. S._ I was obliged to call on a friend to write you this letter in
English, otherwise I could only do it in the Italian language.

                                                              G. F. C.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                        Passy, July 22d, 1783.

  Sir,

You have complained, sometimes with reason, of not hearing from your
Foreign Ministers; we have had cause to make the same complaint, six
full months having intervened between the latest date of your
preceding letters and the receipt of those by Captain Barney. During
all this time we were ignorant of the reception of the Provisional
Treaty, and the sentiments of Congress upon it, which, if we had
received sooner, might have forwarded the proceedings on the
Definitive Treaty, and, perhaps, brought them to a conclusion, at a
time more favorable than the present. But these occasional
interruptions of correspondence are the inevitable consequences of a
state of war, and of such remote situations. Barney had a short
passage, and arrived some days before Colonel Ogden, who also brought
despatches from you, all of which are come safe to hand. We, the
Commissioners, have in our joint capacity written a letter to you,
which you will receive with this.

I shall now answer yours of March the 26th, May the 9th, and May the
31st.

It gave me great pleasure to learn by the first, that the news of
peace diffused general satisfaction. I will not now take it upon me to
justify the apparent reserve, respecting this Court, at the signature,
which you disapprove. We have touched upon it in our general letter. I
do not see, however, that they have much reason to complain of that
transaction. Nothing was stipulated to their prejudice, and none of
the stipulations were to have force, but by a subsequent act of their
own. I suppose, indeed, that they have not complained of it, or you
would have sent us a copy of the complaint, that we might have
answered it. I long since satisfied Count de Vergennes about it here.
We did what appeared to all of us best at the time, and if we have
done wrong, the Congress will do right, after hearing us, to censure
us. Their nomination of five persons to the service seems to mark,
that they had some dependence on our joint judgment, since one alone
could have made a treaty by direction of the French Ministry as well
as twenty.

I will only add, that with respect to myself, neither the letter from
M. Marbois, handed us through the British negotiators, (a suspicious
channel) nor the conversations respecting the fishery, the boundaries,
the royalists, &c. recommending moderation in our demands, are of
weight sufficient in my mind to fix an opinion, that this Court wished
to restrain us, in obtaining any degree of advantage we could prevail
on our enemies to accord, since those discourses are fairly
resolvable, by supposing a very natural apprehension, that we, relying
too much on the ability of France to continue the war in our favor,
and supply us constantly with money, might insist on more advantages
than the English would be willing to grant, and thereby lose the
opportunity of making peace, so necessary to all our friends.

I ought not, however, to conceal from you, that one of my colleagues
is of a very different opinion from me in these matters. He thinks the
French Minister one of the greatest enemies of our country, that he
would have straitened our boundaries, to prevent the growth of our
people; contracted our fishery, to obstruct the increase of our
seamen; and retained the royalists among us, to keep us divided; that
he privately opposes all our negotiations with foreign Courts, and
afforded us, during the war, the assistance we received only to keep
it alive, that we might be so much the more weakened by it; that to
think of gratitude to France is the greatest of follies, and that to
be influenced by it would ruin us. He makes no secret of his having
these opinions, expresses them publicly, sometimes in presence of the
English Ministers, and speaks of hundreds of instances which he could
produce in proof of them. None, however, have yet appeared to me,
unless the conversations and letter abovementioned are reckoned such.

If I were not convinced of the real inability of this Court to furnish
the further supplies we asked, I should suspect these discourses of a
person in his station might have influenced the refusal, but I think
they have gone no further than to occasion a suspicion, that we have a
considerable party of antigallicans in America, who are not tories,
and consequently, to produce some doubts of the continuance of our
friendship. As such doubts may hereafter have a bad effect, I think we
cannot take too much care to remove them; and it is, therefore, I
write this to put you on your guard, (believing it my duty, though I
know that I hazard by it a mortal enmity) and to caution you
respecting the insinuations of this gentleman against this Court, and
the instances he supposes of their ill will to us, which I take to be
as imaginary as I know his fancies to be, that Count de Vergennes and
myself are continually plotting against him, and employing the
newswriters of Europe to depreciate his character, &c. But as
Shakspeare says, "Trifles light as air," &c. I am persuaded, however,
that he means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a
wise one, but sometimes, and in some things, absolutely out of his
senses.

When the commercial article, mentioned in yours of the 26th, was
struck out of our proposed preliminaries by the British Ministry, the
reason given was, that sundry acts of Parliament still in force were
against it, and must be first repealed, which I believe was really
their intention, and sundry bills were accordingly brought in for
that purpose; but new Ministers with different principles succeeding,
a commercial proclamation totally different from those bills has
lately appeared. I send enclosed a copy of it. We shall try what can
be done in the Definitive Treaty towards setting aside that
proclamation, but if it should be persisted in, it will then be a
matter worthy the attentive discussion of Congress, whether it will be
most prudent to retort with a similar regulation in order to force its
repeal, (which may possibly tend to bring on another quarrel) or to
let it pass without notice, and leave it to its own inconvenience, or
rather impracticability in the execution, and to the complaints of the
West India planters, who must all pay much dearer for our produce
under those restrictions.

I am not enough master of the course of our commerce to give an
opinion on this particular question, and it does not behove me to do
it; yet I have seen so much embarrassment and so little advantage in
all the restraining and compulsive systems, that I feel myself
strongly inclined to believe, that a State, which leaves all her ports
open to all the world upon equal terms, will, by that means, have
foreign commodities cheaper, sell its own productions dearer, and be
on the whole the most prosperous. I have heard some merchants say,
that there is ten per cent difference between _Will you buy?_ and
_Will you sell?_ When foreigners bring us their goods, they want to
part with them speedily, that they may purchase their cargoes and
despatch their ships, which are at constant charges in our ports; we
have then the advantage of their _Will you buy?_ And when they demand
our produce, we have the advantage of their _Will you sell?_ And the
concurring demands of a number also contribute to raise our prices.
Thus both those questions are in our favor at home, against us
abroad.

The employing, however, of our own ships and raising a breed of seamen
among us, though it should not be a matter of so much private profit
as some imagine, is nevertheless of political importance, and must
have weight in considering this subject.

The judgment you make of the conduct of France in the peace, and the
greater glory acquired by her moderation than even by her arms,
appears to me perfectly just. The character of this Court and nation
seems, of late years, to be considerably changed. The ideas of
aggrandisement by conquest are out of fashion, and those of commerce
are more enlightened and more generous than heretofore. We shall soon,
I believe, feel something of this in our being admitted to a greater
freedom of trade with their Islands. The wise here think France great
enough; and its ambition at present seems to be only that of justice
and magnanimity towards other nations, fidelity and utility to its
allies.

The Ambassador of Portugal was much pleased with the proceedings
relating to their vessel, which you sent me, and assures me they will
have a good effect at his Court. He appears extremely desirous of a
treaty with our States; I have accordingly proposed to him the plan of
one (nearly the same with that sent me for Sweden) and after my
agreeing to some alterations, he has sent it to his Court for
approbation. He told me at Versailles, last Tuesday, that he expected
its return to him on Saturday next, and anxiously desired that I would
not despatch our packet without it, that Congress might consider it,
and, if approved, send a commission to me or some other Minister to
sign it.

I venture to go thus far in treating, on the authority only of a kind
of general power, given formerly by a resolution of Congress to Messrs
Franklin, Deane, and Lee; but a special commission seems more proper
to complete a treaty, and more agreeable to the usual forms of such
business.

I am in just the same situation with Denmark; that Court by its
Minister here has desired a treaty with us. I have proposed a plan
formed on that sent me for Sweden; it has been under consideration
some time at Copenhagen, and is expected here this week, so that I may
possibly send that also by this conveyance. You will have seen by my
letter to the Danish Prime Minister, that I did not forget the affair
of the prizes. What I then wrote, produced a verbal offer made me
here, of £10,000 sterling, proposed to be given by his Majesty to the
captors, if I would accept it as a full discharge of our demand. I
could not do this, I said, because it was not more than a fifth part
of the estimated value. In answer, I was told that the estimation was
probably extravagant, that it would be difficult to come at the
knowledge of their true value, and that whatever they might be worth
in themselves, they should not be estimated as of such value to us
when at Bergen, since the English probably watched them, and might
have retaken them in their way to America; at least, they were at the
common risk of the seas and enemies, and the insurance was a
considerable drawback; that this sum might be considered as so much
saved for us by the King's interference; for that if the English
claimants had been suffered to carry the cause into the common courts,
they must have recovered the prizes by the laws of Denmark; it was
added, that the King's honor was concerned, that he sincerely desired
our friendship, but he would avoid, by giving this sum in the form of
a present to the captors, the appearance of its being exacted from him
as the reparation of an injury, when it was really intended rather as
a proof of his strong disposition to cultivate a good understanding
with us.

I replied, that the value might possibly be exaggerated; but that we
did not desire more than should be found just on inquiry, and that it
was not difficult to learn from London what sums were insured upon the
ships and cargoes, which would be some guide; and that a reasonable
abatement might be made for the risk; but that the Congress could not,
in justice to their mariners, deprive them of any part that was truly
due to those brave men, whatever abatement they might think fit to
make (as a mark of their regard for the King's friendship) of the part
belonging to the public; that I had, however, no instructions or
authority to make any abatement of any kind, and could, therefore,
only acquaint Congress with the offer, and the reasons that
accompanied it, which I promised to state fully and candidly (as I
have now done) and attend their orders, desiring only that it might be
observed, we had presented our complaint with decency, that we had
charged no fault on the Danish government, but what might arise from
inattention or precipitancy, and that we had intimated no resentment,
but had waited with patience and respect the King's determination,
confiding, that he would follow the equitable disposition of his own
breast, by doing us justice as soon as he could do it with
conveniency; that the best and wisest Princes sometimes erred, that it
belonged to the condition of man, and was, therefore, inevitable, and
that the true honor in such cases consisted not in disowning or hiding
the error, but in making ample reparation; that, though I could not
accept what was offered on the terms proposed, our treaty might go on,
and its articles be prepared and considered, and, in the mean time, I
hoped his Danish Majesty would reconsider the offer, and make it more
adequate to the loss we had sustained. Thus that matter rests; but I
hourly expect to hear further, and perhaps may have more to say on it
before the ship's departure.

I shall be glad to have the proceedings you mention respecting the
brig Providentia. I hope the equity and justice of our Admiralty
Courts, respecting the property of strangers, will always maintain
their reputation, and I wish particularly to cultivate the disposition
of friendship towards us, apparent in the late proceedings of Denmark,
as the Danish Islands may be of use to our West India commerce, while
the English impolitic restraints continue.

The Elector of Saxony, as I understand from his Minister here, has
thoughts of sending one to Congress, and proposing a treaty of
commerce and amity with us. Prussia has likewise an inclination to
share in a trade with America, and the Minister of that Court, though
he has not directly proposed a treaty, has given me a packet of lists
of the several sorts of merchandise they can furnish us with, which he
requests me to send to America for the information of our merchants.

I have received no answer yet from Congress to my request of being
dismissed from their service. They should, methinks, reflect, that if
they continue me here, the faults I may henceforth commit, through the
infirmities of age, will be rather theirs than mine. I am glad my
journal afforded you any pleasure. I will, as you desire, endeavor to
continue it. I thank you for the pamphlet; it contains a great deal
of information respecting our finances. We shall, as you advise, avoid
publishing it. But I see they are publishing it in the English papers.
I was glad I had a copy authenticated by the signature of Secretary
Thompson, by which I could assure Count de Vergennes, that the money
contract I had made with him was ratified by Congress, he having just
before expressed some uneasiness to me at its being so long neglected.
I find it was ratified soon after it was received, but the
ratification, except in that pamphlet, has not yet come to hand. I
have done my best to procure the further loan directed by the
resolution of Congress. It was not possible. I have written on that
matter to Mr Morris. I wish the rest of the estimates of losses and
mischiefs were come to hand; they would still be of use.

Mr Barclay has in his hands the affair of the Alliance and Bon Homme
Richard. I will afford him all the assistance in my power, but it is a
very perplexed business. That expedition, though for particular
reasons under American commissions and colors, was carried on at the
King's expense, and under his orders. M. de Chaumont was the agent
appointed by the Minister of Marine to make the outfit. He was also
chosen by all the captains of the squadron, as appears by an
instrument under their hands, to be their agent, receive, sell, and
divide prizes, &c. The Crown bought two of them at public sale, and
the money I understand is lodged in the hands of a responsible person
at L'Orient. M. de Chaumont says he has given in his accounts to the
Marine, and that he has no more to do with the affair, except to
receive a balance due to him. That account, however, is I believe
unsettled, and the absence of some of the captains is said to make
another difficulty, which retards the completion of the business. I
never paid or received anything relating to that expedition, nor had
any other concern in it, than barely ordering the Alliance to join the
squadron at M. de Sartine's request. I know not whether the other
captains will not claim a share in what we may obtain from Denmark,
though the prizes were made by the Alliance, when separate from the
squadron. If so, that is another difficulty in the way of making
abatement in our demand, without their consent.

I am sorry to find, that you have thoughts of quitting the service. I
do not think your place can be easily well supplied. You mention, that
an entire new arrangement, with respect to foreign affairs, is under
consideration. I wish to know whether any notice is likely to be taken
in it of my grandson. He has now gone through an apprenticeship of
near seven years in the Ministerial business, and is very capable of
serving the States in that line, as possessing all the requisites of
knowledge, zeal, activity, language, and address. He is well liked
here, and Count de Vergennes has expressed to me in warm terms his
very good opinion of him. The late Swedish Ambassador, Count de
Creutz, who has gone home to be Prime Minister, desired I would
endeavor to procure his being sent to Sweden, with a public character,
assuring me, that he should be glad to receive him there as our
Minister, and that he knew it would be pleasing to the King.[18] The
present Swedish Ambassador has also proposed the same thing to me, as
you will see by a letter of his, which I enclose.[19] One of the
Danish Ministers, M. Walterstorff, who will probably be sent in a
public character to Congress, has also expressed his wish, that my
grandson may be sent to Denmark. But it is not my custom to solicit
employments for myself, or any of my family, and I shall not do it in
this case. I only hope, that if he is not to be employed in your new
arrangement, I may be informed of it as soon as possible, that while I
have strength left for it, I may accompany him in a tour to Italy,
returning through Germany, which I think he may make to more advantage
with me than alone, and which I have long promised to afford him, as a
reward for his faithful service, and his tender filial attachment to
me.

FOOTNOTES:

  [18] See the Swedish Ambassador's letter, p. 112.

  [19] See p. 112.

_July 25th._ While I was writing the above M. Walterstorff came in,
and delivered me a packet from M. Rosencrone, the Danish Prime
Minister, containing the project of the treaty with some proposed
alterations, and a paper of reasons in support of them.[20] Fearing
that we should not have time to copy them, I send herewith the
originals, relying on his promise to furnish me with copies in a few
days. He seemed to think, that the interest of the merchants is
concerned in the immediate conclusion of the treaty, that they may
form their plans of commerce, and wished to know whether I did not
think my general power, above mentioned, sufficient for that purpose.
I told him I thought a particular commission more agreeable to the
forms, but if his Danish Majesty would be content for the present with
the general authority, formerly given to me, I believed I might
venture to act upon it, reserving by a separate article to Congress
the power of shortening the term in case any part of the treaty
should not be to their mind, unless the alteration of such part should
hereafter be agreed on.

FOOTNOTE:

  [20] See M. de Rosencrone's letter, and the other papers here
  mentioned, p. 115 et seqq.

The Prince de Deuxponts was lately at Paris, and applied to me for
information, respecting a commerce which is desired between the
Electorate of Bavaria and America. I have it also from a good hand at
the Court of Vienna, that the Emperor is desirous of establishing a
commerce with us from Trieste, as well as Flanders, and would make a
treaty with us if proposed to him. Since our trade is laid open, and
no longer a monopoly to England, all Europe seems desirous of sharing
in it, and for that purpose to cultivate our friendship. That it may
be better known everywhere, what sort of people, and what kind of
government they will have to treat with, I prevailed with our friend,
the Duc de la Rochefoucault, to translate our book of Constitutions
into French, and I presented copies to all the Foreign Ministers. I
send you one herewith. They are much admired by the politicians here,
and it is thought will induce considerable emigrations of substantial
people from different parts of Europe to America. It is particularly a
matter of wonder, that in the midst of a cruel war, raging in the
bowels of our country, our sages should have the firmness of mind to
sit down calmly and form such complete plans of government. They add
considerably to the reputation of the United States.

I have mentioned above the port of Trieste, with which we may possibly
have a commerce, and I am told that many useful productions and
manufactures of Hungary may be had extremely cheap there. But it
becomes necessary first to consider how our Mediterranean trade is to
be protected from the corsairs of Barbary. You will see by the
enclosed copy of a letter[21] I received from Algiers, the danger two
of our ships escaped last winter. I think it not improbable, that
those rovers may be privately encouraged by the English to fall upon
us, and to prevent our interference in the carrying trade; for I have
in London heard it is a maxim among the merchants, that if _there were
no Algiers, it would be worth England's while to build one_. I wonder,
however, that the rest of Europe do not combine to destroy those
nests, and secure commerce from their future piracies.

FOOTNOTE:

  [21] See p. 96.

I made the Grand Master of Malta a present of one of our medals in
silver, writing to him a letter, of which I enclose a copy;[22] and I
believe our people will be kindly received in his ports; but that is
not sufficient; and perhaps now we have peace, it will be proper to
send Ministers, with suitable presents, to establish a friendship with
the Emperor of Morocco, and the other Barbary States, if possible. Mr
Jay will inform you of some steps, that have been taken by a person at
Alicant, without authority, towards a treaty with that Emperor. I send
you herewith a few more of the abovementioned medals, which have given
great satisfaction to this Court and nation. I should be glad to know
how they are liked with you.

FOOTNOTE:

  [22] See above, p. 95.

Our people, who were prisoners in England, are now all discharged.
During the whole war, those who were in Forton prison, near
Portsmouth, were much befriended by the constant charitable care of Mr
Wren, a Presbyterian minister there, who spared no pains to assist
them in their sickness and distress, by procuring and distributing
among them the contributions of good Christians, and prudently
dispensing the allowance I made them, which gave him a great deal of
trouble, but he went through it cheerfully. I think some public notice
should be taken of this good man. I wish the Congress would enable me
to make him a present, and that some of our universities would confer
upon him the degree of Doctor.

The Duke of Manchester, who has always been our friend in the House of
Lords, is now here as Ambassador from England. I dine with him today,
26th, and if anything of importance occurs, I will add it in a
postscript. Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the Congress,
assure them of my most faithful services, and believe me to be, with
great and sincere esteem, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    PLAN OF A TREATY WITH PORTUGAL.

Plan of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Her Most Faithful
Majesty, the Queen of Portugal and Algarva, and the United States of
North America.

Her Most Faithful Majesty, the Queen of Portugal and Algarva, and the
United States of North America, anxious to fix in an equitable and
permanent manner the regulation, which ought to be observed with
regard to the commerce they wish to establish between their respective
countries, conceive that they cannot more effectually attain this end
than by observing as the basis of their arrangement the most perfect
equality and reciprocity, allowing each party the liberty of making
such interior regulations respecting their commerce and navigation as
may best suit them, resting the advantages of commerce on its
reciprocal utility and the laws of a just concurrence. In consequence
of these principles, and of a mature deliberation, Her Most Faithful
Majesty and the United States have agreed on the following articles.


                               ARTICLE I.

There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a sincere
amity between Her Most Faithful Majesty, the Queen of Portugal, her
heirs and successors, and the United States of North America, as well
with respect to the citizens and subjects of the said two parties as
their people, islands, cities, and places situated within their
respective jurisdictions, and between their people and inhabitants of
all classes, without exception of persons and places, similar to what
has been already established with the most favorite powers.


                               ARTICLE II.

The subjects of Her Most Faithful Majesty may freely frequent and
reside in the United States, and traffic in all kinds of effects and
merchandises, whose importation or exportation is not or shall not be
prohibited, and they shall not pay in the ports, harbors, roads,
countries, islands, cities, and places within the United States, other
or greater duties or imposts of any kind whatever, than such as the
most favored nations are, or shall be, obliged to pay. And they shall
enjoy all the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and
exemptions with respect to trade, navigation, and commerce, whether in
going from one port of the said States to another, or in going there,
or returning from any part or to any part of the world whatever, which
the said nations do or shall enjoy.


                              ARTICLE III.

In the like manner the citizens and inhabitants of the United States
of North America shall freely frequent and reside in the States of Her
Most Faithful Majesty in Europe; also in Madeira and the Azores, and
trade there in all kinds of effects and merchandises, the importation
and exportation of which is not, or shall not be prohibited, and they
shall not pay in the ports, harbors, roads, countries, islands,
cities, and places of the Queen of Portugal, other or greater duties
of any kind whatsoever than such as the most favored nations are, or
shall be, bound to pay; and they shall enjoy all the rights,
liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions as to trade,
navigation, and commerce, whether in going from one port of Her Most
Faithful Majesty's States to another, or in going there, or returning
from any part of the world whatever, which the said nations do or
shall enjoy.


                              ARTICLE IV.

Her Most Faithful Majesty shall use every means in her power to
protect and defend all the vessels and property belonging to the
subjects, people, and inhabitants of the said United States, which
shall be in her ports, harbors, or roads, against any violence
whatever that may be committed by the subjects of her said Majesty, by
punishing such as shall violate these principles.


                               ARTICLE V.

The preceding article, shall be in like manner reciprocally and
exactly observed on the part of the United States, with respect to the
vessels and property belonging to the subjects of her said Majesty,
which shall be found in their ports, harbors, or roads, against any
violence that may be committed by the subjects of the United States.


                               ARTICLE VI.

If any squadrons or vessels of war touch at the ports, or enter into
the seas in the neighborhood of Her Most Faithful Majesty's States,
they shall conform to the regulations already established with respect
to the other most favored maritime powers.


                               ARTICLE VII.

The United States of America likewise oblige themselves reciprocally
to observe with exactitude the stipulations contained in the above
article.


                              ARTICLE VIII.

It is likewise agreed and determined that every merchant, captains of
merchant vessels, or other subjects of Her Most Faithful Majesty,
shall have entire liberty in all places within the dominion or
jurisdiction of the United States of America, to manage themselves
their own affairs, and to employ therein whomsoever they please, and
that they shall not be obliged to make use of any interpreter or
broker, nor to pay them any fee, unless they do employ them. Moreover,
the masters of the vessels shall not be obliged, in loading or
discharging their vessels, to employ workmen, appointed for that
purpose by public authority, but they shall be entirely free to
discharge or load themselves their vessels, and to employ, in loading
or discharging, such persons as they shall think proper for the
purpose, without paying any fee, under the title of salary, to any
other person whatever, and they shall not be obliged to put any kind
of merchandise in other vessels, or to receive them on board, and wait
to be loaded any longer time than what they please, and all and every
of the citizens, people, and inhabitants of the United States of
America shall have, and shall reciprocally enjoy, the same privileges
and liberties in all the aforesaid places within Her Most Faithful
Majesty's jurisdiction in Europe. And, as to what concerns contraband
goods, which may be introduced in merchant vessels belonging to either
nation, they shall be obliged to submit to the visit of the officers
appointed in the two States, to prevent the said contraband, and, for
that purpose to conform to the established regulations, or such as
shall be established within the respective States.


                              ARTICLE IX.

Full and entire liberty of conscience shall be granted to the
inhabitants and subjects of each party, and no one shall be molested
with respect to his worship, provided he submits, as far as respects
the public demonstration, to the laws of the country. The inhabitants
and subjects of either party, who shall die in the territory of the
other party, shall be permitted to be buried in suitable and decent
places, which shall be assigned for that purpose, and the two
contracting powers shall provide, each within its own jurisdiction,
that the respective subjects and inhabitants may obtain certificates
of death, in case they shall be required to deliver them.


                               ARTICLE X.

The subjects of the contracting parties may, within the respective
States, freely dispose of their property, moveable and immoveable,
either by testament, donation, or otherwise, in favor of such persons
as they may think proper, and their heirs, wherever they may dwell,
shall receive these successions, even ab intestato, either in person
or by attorney, without the necessity of obtaining letters of
naturalization. These inheritances, as well as the capitals and
effects, which the subjects of the two parties, in changing their
residence, would carry from the place of their abode, shall be
exempted from any duties on the part of the government of the two
respective States. The contents of this article shall in no wise
derogate from the ordinances published against emigrations, or which
shall hereafter be promulgated within the dominions of the two powers,
the exercise of which they reserve to themselves.


                              ARTICLE XI.

If, hereafter, a war should happen between Portugal and the United
States, which God forbid, the space of nine months shall be granted to
the merchants of either country residing at that time in the other, to
collect their debts and put their affairs in order, and they may
depart with all their effects without let or molestation. All
fishermen, farmers, artisans, or manufacturers, unarmed and residing
in cities, places, and villages not fortified, who work for the
subsistence and welfare of mankind, and who peaceably exercise their
respective employments, shall be allowed to continue their occupations
without molestation from the armed forces of the enemy, in whose power
they may fall through the events of war; but should it be necessary to
take anything from them for the use of the army, they shall be paid
for them at a reasonable price. All traders and merchants, whose
vessels shall not be armed for war, but employed in the commerce of
exchanging the productions of different countries, and thereby
rendering the wants, conveniences, and comforts of life easier to be
obtained and more universal, shall be permitted to pass freely, and
without molestation. Neither of the contracting powers shall grant a
commission to any privateer, authorising it to take or destroy such
merchant vessels, or to interrupt such commerce.


                              ARTICLE XII.

In order to remove and prevent on both sides every difficulty and
misunderstanding, that commonly happen respecting merchandise
heretofore denominated contraband, and which shall be judged such by
the powers of Europe in their respective treaties, that is to say,
arms and warlike stores, it has been agreed, that in case where one of
the contracting parties shall be engaged in a war against any other
nation, none of these articles carried in the vessels, or by the
subjects of one of the parties to the enemies of the other, shall be
considered contraband under any pretext whatever, nor be confiscated
or taken away as such from any individual. It shall, nevertheless, be
lawful to stop such vessels, and to detain them as long as the captors
shall think necessary to prevent the inconveniencies or damages that
may result from the continuation of their voyage, by paying, however,
to the proprietors a reasonable compensation for the loss, which such
detention may occasion; moreover, the captors shall be permitted to
use, in whole or in part, the warlike stores thus detained, provided
that they pay the full value thereof to the proprietors.


                             ARTICLE XIII.

All vessels and merchandise of whatsoever kind, that shall be
recovered from pirates of the high seas, shall be brought into some
port of one of the two States and delivered to the care of the
officers of the said port, in order that they may be completely
restored to their true proprietor, as soon as he shall have duly and
sufficiently proved his property.


                             ARTICLE XIV.

None of Her Most Faithful Majesty's subjects shall take a commission
or letter of marque to arm any vessel or vessels for the purpose of
acting as privateers against the United States, or any of them, or
against their subjects, people, or inhabitants, or against their
property, or that of the inhabitants of either of them, from any
prince whatever, with whom the said States shall be at war. In like
manner, no citizen, or subject, or inhabitant of the aforesaid United
States, or any of them, shall demand any commission or letter of
marque to arm any vessel or vessels to cruise against the subjects of
Her Most Faithful Majesty, or any of them, or their property, from any
prince or State whatever with whom the said Queen shall be at war; and
if any one belonging to either nation takes such commission or letter
of marque, he shall be punished as a pirate.


                               ARTICLE XV.

In case the vessels, subjects, and inhabitants of one of the two
contracting parties shall approach the coasts of the other, without
designing, however, to enter into the port, or, after having entered,
without intention to discharge their cargo, or to break bulk, they
shall be at liberty to depart or to pursue their voyage without
molestation.


                              ARTICLE XVI.

It is stipulated by the present treaty, that free vessels shall secure
the liberty of the persons who shall be on board, even should they be
the enemies of one of the two contracting parties, and they shall not
be taken out of the said vessels unless they are military characters,
and actually in the enemy's service.


                             ARTICLE XVII.

The two contracting parties mutually grant permission to maintain in
their respective ports, consuls, vice consuls, agents, and
commissaries, whose functions shall be regulated by a particular
convention, whenever either party may be pleased to establish it.


                            ARTICLE XVIII.

The present treaty shall be ratified on both sides, and the
ratifications shall be exchanged in the space of eight months, or
sooner if possible, reckoning from the date of the signature.


                             ARTICLE XIX.

Her Most Faithful Majesty, the Queen of Portugal and Algarva, and the
United States of North America, agree that the present treaty shall be
in full force, reckoning from the date of its ratification, and the
two contracting parties reciprocally promise to observe it exactly.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                FROM THE POPE'S NUNCIO TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

The Apostolical Nuncio has the honor to send Mr Franklin the enclosed
note, which he requests he will be pleased to forward to the Congress
of the United States of North America, and support it with his credit.

                                                      July 28th, 1783.


                                 NOTE.

Before the revolution, which has just been completed in North America,
the Catholics and missionaries of those provinces depended, as to
their spiritual concerns, on the Apostolical Vicar, resident in
London. It is well known that this arrangement can no longer exist;
but as it is essential that the Catholic subjects of the United States
should have an ecclesiastic to govern them in their religious
concerns, the congregation _de Propagandâ Fide_ existing at Rome for
the establishment and conservation of missions, has come to the
determination of proposing to Congress to establish, in some city of
the United States of North America, one of their Catholic subjects,
with the powers of Apostolical Vicar, and in the character of Bishop,
or simply in quality of Apostolical Prefect.

The establishment of an Apostolical Vicar Bishop appears the most
eligible, the more so as the Catholic subjects of the United States
would find themselves in a situation to receive confirmation and
orders in their own country, without being obliged to go for that
purpose to the country of a foreign power. And as it might sometimes
happen, that among the subjects of the United States, there might be
no person in a situation to be charged with the spiritual government,
either as Bishop or Apostolical Prefect, it would be necessary, in
such circumstances, that Congress should consent to choose him from
among the subjects of a foreign nation the most friendly with the
United States.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                             Passy, August 16th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have the honor to inform your Excellency, that the English Ministry
do not agree to any of the propositions that have been made, either
by us or by their Minister here; and they have sent over a plan for
the definitive treaty, which consists merely of the preliminaries
formerly signed, with a short introductory paragraph, and another at
the conclusion, confirming and establishing the said preliminary
articles. My colleagues seem inclined to sign this with Mr Hartley,
and so to finish the affair.

  I am, with respect, Sir, your Excellency's, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DE RAYNEVAL TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                        Versailles, August 29th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have informed the Count de Vergennes of the difficulty, which Mr
Hartley has made to signing at Versailles, and this Minister has
directed me to say, that nothing ought to prevent your signing at
Paris on Wednesday next, the day proposed for the signature of the
other treaties; but I request you to fix the hour with Mr Hartley at
nine o'clock in the morning, and to send here an express immediately
after your signature is completed.

M. de Vergennes is desirous of being informed of the completion of
your labors at the same time with his own. You receive for Wednesday a
note of invitation, as well as for your colleagues and Mr Hartley; I
presume that the latter will make no difficulty.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with perfect consideration, your most
obedient humble servant,

                                                          DE RAYNEVAL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Passy, August 31st, 1783.

  Sir,

After a continued course of treating for nine months, the English
Ministry have at length come to a resolution to lay aside, for the
present, all the new propositions, that have been made and agreed to,
their own as well as ours; and they offer to sign again as a
Definitive Treaty, the articles of November the 30th, 1782, the
ratifications of which have already been exchanged. We have agreed to
this, and on Wednesday next, the third of September, it will be
signed, with all the definitive treaties, establishing a general
peace, which may God long continue.

I am, with great respect, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                           Passy, September 6th, 1783.

  My Dear Friend,

Enclosed is my letter to Mr Fox. I beg you would assure him, that my
expressions of esteem for him are not mere professions. I really think
him a _great_ man, and I would not think so if I did not believe he
was at bottom, and would prove himself a _good_ one. Guard him against
mistaken notions of the American people. You have deceived yourselves
too long with vain expectations of reaping advantage from our little
discontents. We are more thoroughly an enlightened people, with
respect to our political interests, than perhaps any other under
Heaven. Every man among us reads, and is so easy in his circumstances
as to have leisure for conversations of improvement, and for acquiring
information. Our domestic misunderstandings, when we have them, are of
small extent, though monstrously magnified by your microscopic
newspapers. He who judges from them, that we are on the point of
falling into anarchy, or returning to the obedience of Britain, is
like one who being shown some spots in the sun should fancy, that the
whole disk would soon be overspread with them, and that there would be
an end of daylight. The great body of intelligence among our people,
surrounds and overpowers our petty dissensions, as the sun's great
mass of fire diminishes and destroys his spots. Do not, therefore, any
longer delay the evacuation of New York, in the vain hope of a new
revolution in your favor, if such a hope has indeed had any effect in
occasioning the delay. It is now nine months since the evacuations
were promised. You expect with reason, that the people of New York
should do your merchants justice in the payment of their old debts;
consider the injustice you do them in keeping them so long out of
their habitations, and out of their business, by which they might have
been enabled to make payment. There is no truth more clear to me than
this, that the great interests of our two countries is a thorough
reconciliation. Restraints on the freedom of commerce and intercourse
between us, can afford no advantage equivalent to the mischief they
will do, by keeping up ill humor and promoting a total alienation. Let
you and me, my dear friend, do our best towards advancing and securing
that reconciliation. We can do nothing, that will in a dying hour
afford us more solid satisfaction.

I wish you a prosperous journey, and a happy sight of your friends.
Present my best respects to your good brother and sister, and believe
me ever, with sincere and great esteem, yours affectionately,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                          Passy, September 10th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received a letter from a very respectable person in America,
containing the following words, viz.

"It is confidently reported, propagated, and believed by some among
us, that the Court of France was at the bottom against our obtaining
the fishery and territory in that great extent, in which both are
secured to us by the treaty; that our Minister at that Court favored,
or did not oppose this design against us, and that it was entirely
owing to the firmness, sagacity, and disinterestedness of Mr Adams,
with whom Mr Jay united, that we have obtained these important
advantages."

It is not my purpose to dispute any share of the honor of that treaty,
which the friends of my colleagues may be disposed to give them, but
having now spent fifty years of my life in public offices and trusts,
and having still one ambition left, that of carrying the character of
fidelity at least to the grave with me, I cannot allow that I was
behind any of them in zeal and faithfulness. I therefore think, that I
ought not to suffer an accusation, which falls little short of treason
to my country, to pass without notice, when the means of effectual
vindication are at hand. You, Sir, were a witness of my conduct in
that affair. To you and my other colleagues I appeal, by sending to
each a similar letter with this, and I have no doubt of your
readiness to do a brother Commissioner justice, by certificates, that
will entirely destroy the effect of that accusation.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       JOHN JAY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                          Passy, September 11th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have been favored with your letter of yesterday, and will answer it
explicitly. I have no reason whatever to believe, that you were averse
to our obtaining the full extent of boundary and fishery secured to us
by the treaty. Your conduct respecting them throughout the negotiation
indicated a strong, a steady attachment to both those objects, and in
my opinion promoted the attainment of them.

I remember, that in a conversation, which M. de Rayneval, the first
Secretary of Count de Vergennes, had with you and me, in the summer of
1782, you contended for our full right to the fishery, and argued it
on various principles.

Your letters to me, when in Spain, considered our territory as
extending to the Mississippi, and expressed your opinion against
ceding the navigation of that river, in very strong and pointed terms.

In short, Sir, I do not recollect the least difference in sentiment
between us respecting the boundaries or fisheries. On the contrary, we
were unanimous and united in adhering to, and insisting on them. Nor
did I perceive the least disposition in either of us to recede from
our claims, or be satisfied with less than we obtained.

I have the honor to be, with great respect and esteem, &c.[23]

                                                             JOHN JAY.

FOOTNOTE:

  [23] See other letters from Mr Jay respecting Dr Franklin, above,
  pp. 8, 9.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     JOHN ADAMS TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                          Paris, September 13th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write me on
the 10th of this month, in which you say you have received a letter
from a very respectable person in America, containing the following
words, viz. "It is confidently reported, propagated, and believed by
some among us, that the Court of France was at the bottom against our
obtaining the fishery and territory in that great extent, in which
both are secured to us by the treaty; that our Minister at that Court
favored, or did not oppose this design against us, and that it was
entirely owing to the firmness, sagacity, and disinterestedness of Mr
Adams, with whom Mr Jay united, that we have obtained those important
advantages."

It is unnecessary for me to say anything upon this subject, more than
to quote the words which I wrote in the evening of the 30th of
November, 1782, and which have been received and read in Congress,
viz; "As soon as I arrived in Paris, I waited on Mr Jay, and learned
from him the rise and progress of the negotiation. Nothing that has
happened, since the beginning of the controversy in 1761, has ever
struck me more forcibly or affected me more intimately, than that
entire coincidence of principles and opinion between him and me. In
about three days I went out to Passy, and spent the evening with Dr
Franklin, and entered largely into conversation with him upon the
course and present state of our foreign affairs. I told him my opinion
without reserve of the policy of this Court, and of the principles,
wisdom, and firmness with which Mr Jay had conducted the negotiation
in his sickness and my absence, and that I was determined to support
Mr Jay to the utmost of my power in pursuit of the same system. The
Doctor heard me patiently and said nothing."

"The first conference we had afterwards with Mr Oswald in considering
one point and another, Dr Franklin turned to Mr Jay and said, 'I am of
your opinion, and will go on with these gentlemen without consulting
this Court.' He has accordingly met us in most of our conferences, and
has gone on with us in entire harmony and unanimity throughout, and
has been able and useful, both by his sagacity and reputation, in the
whole negotiation."[24]

  I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [24] For further information on this subject, and particularly for an
  account of the part taken by Dr Franklin in the negotiation before he
  was joined by Mr Jay and Mr Adams, see the North American Review for
  January, 1830, p. 15 et seqq.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Passy, September 13th, 1783.

  Sir,

I received a few days since, the private letter your Excellency did me
the honor of writing to me of the 13th of June. I regret with you the
resignation of the late Secretary. Your present cares are increased by
it, and it will be difficult to find a successor of equal abilities.

We found no difficulty in deciphering the resolution of Congress. The
Commissioners have taken no notice of it in our public letter.

I am happy to hear that both the device and workmanship of the medal
are approved with you, as they have the good fortune to be by the best
judges on this side of the water. It has been esteemed a well-timed,
as well as a well-merited compliment here, and has its good effects.
Since the two first, which you mention as received, I have sent by
different opportunities so many, as that every member of Congress
might have one. I hope they are come safe to hand by this time.

I wrote a long letter to Mr Livingston by Mr Barney, to which I beg
leave to refer, enclosing a copy.

We had, before signing the definitive treaty, received the
ratification of the preliminary articles by his Britannic Majesty,
exchanged with us by Mr Hartley for that of the Congress. I send
herewith a copy of the first and last clauses.

In a former letter I mentioned the volunteer proceedings of a merchant
at Alicant, towards obtaining a treaty between us and the Emperor of
Morocco. We have since received a letter from a person who says, as
you will see by the copy enclosed, that he is sent by the Emperor to
be the bearer of his answer to the United States, and that he is
arrived in Spain on his way to Paris. He has not yet appeared here,
and we hardly know what answer to give him. I hope the sending a
Minister to that Court, as recommended in my last, has been taken into
consideration, or at least that some instructions respecting that
nation have been sent to your Minister in Spain, who is better
situated than we are for such a negotiation.[25]

The Minister from Denmark often speaks to me about the proposed
treaty, of which a copy went by Mr Barney. No commission to sign it,
nor any instructions from Congress relating to it are yet arrived; and
though pressed, I have not ventured to do anything further in the
affair.

I forward herewith a letter to the Congress from the city of
Hamburg.[26] I understand that a good disposition towards us prevails
there, which it may be well to encourage.

No answer has yet been given me from the Court of Portugal, respecting
the plan of a treaty concerted between its Ambassador here and me. He
has been unwell and much in the country, so that I have not seen him
lately. I suspect that the false or exaggerated reports of the
distracted situation of our government, industriously propagated
throughout Europe by our enemies, have made an impression in that
kingdom to our disadvantage, and inclined them to hesitate in forming
a connexion with us. Questions asked me, and observations made by
several of the foreign Ministers here, convince me that the idle
stories of our disunion, contempt of authority, refusal to pay taxes,
&c. have been too much credited, and been very injurious to our
reputation.

I sent before a copy of the letter I wrote to the Grand Master of
Malta, with a present of our medal. With this you will have a copy of
his answer.[27] I send also a copy of a note I received from the
Pope's Nuncio.[28] He is very civil on all occasions, and has
mentioned the possibility of an advantageous trade America might have
with the Ecclesiastical State, which he says has two good ports,
Civita Vecchia, and ----.

This Court continues favorable to us. Count de Vergennes was resolute
in refusing to sign the definitive treaty with England before ours was
signed. The English Ministers were offended, but complied. I am
convinced that Court will never cease endeavoring to disunite us. We
shall, I hope, be constantly on our guard against those machinations,
for our safety consists in a steady adherence to our friends, and our
reputation in a faithful regard to treaties, and in a grateful conduct
towards our benefactors.

I send herewith sundry memorials recommended to my care by Count de
Vergennes, viz. one respecting a claim of Messieurs Fosters, of
Bordeaux, one of M. Pequet, and one of M. Bayard. The Congress will
take such notice of them as they shall think proper.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTES:

  [25] See p. 135 of this volume.

  [26] See p. 88.

  [27] p. 112.

  [28] p. 158.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO LEWIS R. MORRIS.[29]

                                          Passy, September 14th, 1783.

  Sir,

I received by the Washington the bills and accounts mentioned in yours
of the 5th of June, and shall soon send you an account of the
disposition of the money.

My account as stated by you appears to be correct.

With much esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [29] Mr Morris was a Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                           Bath, September 24th, 1783.

  My Dear Friend,

I am at present at Bath with my dearest sister, whom I have found as
well as I could have expected, and I hope with reasonable prospect of
recovery in time. I have seen my friends in the ministry, and hope
things will go on well; with them I am sure all is right and firm. The
chief part of the Cabinet Ministers are out of town, but there will be
a full cabinet held in a few days, in which a specific proposition, in
the nature of a temporary convention, will be given in instructions to
me. I imagine nearly upon the ground of my memorial of May 19th, 1783,
which I delivered to the American Ministers, viz. "American ships not
to bring foreign manufactures into Great Britain, nor to trade
directly between the British West Indies and Great Britain;" all the
rest to be as before the war. I expect that something to this effect
will be their determination in the affair, and if it should be so, I
shall hope not to meet with difficulty on your parts. I want to see
some specific beginning. As to any further proposition respecting the
trade between Great Britain and the British West Indies, I doubt
whether any such can be discussed before the meeting of Parliament. I
wish to look forward not only to the continuation of peace between our
two countries, but to the improvement of reconciliation into alliance,
and therefore I wish the two parties to be disposed to accommodate
each other, without the strict account by weights and scales, as
between aliens and strangers, actuated towards each other by no other
principle than cold and equalizing indifference. Friendly dispositions
presumed have their fairest chance of being realized, but if we should
set out presuming against them, the good which might have happened may
be prevented. Pray remember me to your three colleagues, and to all
friends.

  Yours, ever most affectionately,

                                                           D. HARTLEY.

_P. S._ I have put in a word for our Quaker article, and I hope with
some impression.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Passy, September 27th, 1783.

  Sir,

Mr Thaxter, late Secretary of Mr Adams, who is charged with all our
despatches, that were intended to go by the French packet boat, writes
from L'Orient, that though he arrived there two days before the time
appointed for her sailing, he missed reaching her by four hours; but
another light vessel was fitting, and would sail the 21st instant, in
which he hoped to arrive at New York, nearly as soon as the packet. We
shall send duplicates by the next from hence.

In the meantime I enclose a printed copy of the Definitive Treaty,
which I hear is ratified. Indeed we have the ratification of the
preliminaries.

Mr Hartley, when he left us, expected to return in three weeks, in
order to proceed with us in forming a treaty of commerce. The new
commission, that was intended for us, is not yet come to hand.

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

                                                           B. FRANKLIN

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                            Passy, October 16th, 1783.

  My Dear Friend,

I have nothing material to write to you respecting public affairs, but
I cannot let Mr Adams, who will see you, go without a line to inquire
after your welfare, to inform you of mine, and assure you of my
constant respect and attachment.

I think with you, that your Quaker article is a good one, and that men
will in time have sense enough to adopt it, but I fear that time is
not yet come.

What would you think of a proposition, if I should make it, of a
compact between England, France, and America? America would be as
happy as the Sabine girls, if she could be the means of uniting in
perpetual peace her father and her husband. What repeated follies are
those repeated wars! You do not want to conquer and govern one
another. Why then should you be continually employed in injuring and
destroying one another? How many excellent things might have been done
to promote the internal welfare of each country; what bridges, roads,
canals, and other useful public works and institutions, tending to the
common felicity, might have been made and established with the money
and men foolishly spent, during the last seven centuries by our mad
wars in doing one another mischief! You are near neighbors and each
have very respectable qualities. Learn to be quiet and to respect each
other's rights. You are all Christians. One is _The Most Christian
King_, and the other _Defender of the Faith_. Manifest the propriety
of these titles by your future conduct. "By this," says Christ, "shall
all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another." Seek
peace, and insure it.

  Adieu, yours, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                             Passy, October 22d, 1783.

I received my dear friend's kind letter of the 4th instant from Bath,
with your proposed temporary convention, which you desire me to show
to my colleagues. They are both by this time in London, where you will
undoubtedly see and converse with them on the subject. The
apprehension you mention, that the cement of the confederation may be
annihilated, &c. has not, I think, any foundation. There is sense
enough in America to take care of their own china vase. I see much in
your papers about our divisions and distractions, but I hear little of
them from America; and I know that most of the letters, said to come
from there with such accounts, are mere London fictions. I will
consider attentively the proposition abovementioned, against the
return of my colleagues, when I hope our commission will have arrived.

I rejoice to hear that your dear sister's recovery advances, and that
your brother is well. Please to present my affectionate respects to
them, and believe me ever yours, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Passy, November 1st, 1783.

  Sir,

Enclosed is a copy of my last, which went by the English packet. I
heard after I wrote it, that the French packet putting back by
contrary winds, Mr Thaxter had an opportunity of getting on board her,
and that she sailed the 26th of September.

The mentioned new commission is not yet come to hand. Mr Hartley is
not returned, and I hear will stay for the meeting of Parliament,
which is to be the 11th instant, and he will not come hither till the
recess for the Christmas holidays. Mr Jay went to England about three
weeks since on some personal affairs; and Mr Adams followed last week
to see that country, and take some exercise during this vacancy of
business.

This Court is now at Fontainbleau, but will return to Versailles in a
few days. Its good disposition towards us continues. The late failure
of payment in the Caisse d'Escompte, an institution similar to the
Bank of England, occasioned partly by its having gone too far in
assisting the government with money, and the inability of the
government to support their credit, though extremely desirous of doing
it, is a fresh proof that our not obtaining a further loan was not
occasioned by want of good will to assist us, as some have unjustly
supposed, but by a real want of the means. Money is at present
unaccountably scarce here; what is arrived and expected in Spain since
the peace it is thought will set things right. The government has
proposed a second lottery for this year, by which they borrow
twentyfour millions, and it is filled readily. This helps, and the
Caisse d'Escompte goes on again with its operations, but it is said
the interest paid by the lottery plan is nearly seven per cent.

I have received the duplicates of your Excellency's letter, of the
15th of July, to the Commissioners, which is very satisfactory,
though it came to hand but lately. The first sent, via New York, has
not yet appeared. I have sent copies of it to the Hague and Madrid.
The substance is published in several papers.

I have acquainted the Minister of Sweden, that I have received the
ratification of the treaty, and he has written to me that he shall be
in town in a few days, when he will make the exchange. The conclusion
of the Danish treaty waits only for the commission and instructions
from Congress. The Ambassador of Portugal informed me lately, that his
Court had our proposed plan under consideration, and that we should
soon hear from them. I sent it to Congress by Barney, and hear the
ship is arrived. A commission and instructions will be wanting for
that also, should the Congress be disposed to conclude a treaty with
that nation.

I see by the public prints, that the Congress have ratified the
contract I made with the Minister here, respecting the loans and aids
we had received, but the ratification itself, though directed to be
sent me, has never come to hand, and I am often asked for it. I beg it
may be forwarded by the first opportunity.

There has been with me lately M. Pierre du Calvet, a merchant of
Montreal, who, when our army was in Canada, furnished our generals and
officers with many things they wanted, taking their receipts and
promissory notes for payment; and when the English repossessed the
country, he was imprisoned, and his estate seized, on account of the
services he had rendered us. He has shown me the originals of his
papers, which I think are genuine. He produced also a quantity of
Congress paper, which he says he received in payment for some of the
supplies, and which appeared to me of our first emissions, and yet
all fresh and clean, as having passed through no other hands. When he
was discharged from prison, he could not obtain permission to go into
the United States to claim the debt, but was allowed to go to England;
and from thence he came hither to solicit payment from me. Having no
authority to meddle with such debts, and the sum being considerable, I
refused, and advised him to take passage for America, and make his
application to Congress. He said he was grown old, much broken and
weakened by near three years' imprisonment, and that the voyage from
Canada to London had like to have been too much for him, he being sick
all the way; so that he could not think of another, though distressed
for want of his money. He appears an honest man, and his case a hard
one. I have therefore undertaken to forward his papers, and I beg
leave to recommend them to the speedy consideration of Congress, to
whom I request you would be pleased to present my dutiful respects,
and assure them of my most faithful services.

With great esteem and regard, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

               GIACOMO FRANCISCO CROCCO TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                           Cadiz, November 25th, 1783.

  Sir,

On the 15th of July last, I had the honor to acquaint your Excellency
of my arrival in Europe, and that I was appointed by his Majesty, the
Emperor of Morocco, bearer of the answer to the Congress, Sovereign of
the Thirteen United States of North America, and that according to my
instructions, I was to meet at Paris the Ambassador, that would be
appointed by the Congress, to sign at the Court of Morocco the treaty
of peace and commerce, agreeably to the proposals made to his Imperial
Majesty, by Robert Montgomery, in his letter dated at Alicant, the 4th
of January, 1783. Since I have been at the Court of Madrid, where I
had some commissions from the Emperor, and to see the execution of
them, I came to this place, from whence I intend to embark in three or
four months for Barbary, unless in the meantime I should receive an
answer from your Excellency, with orders, that Mr Richard Harrison
should give me for my travelling charges fifteen hundred hard dollars,
although the Courts of Europe are accustomed to allow the Ministers of
my master at the rate of ten pounds sterling per day, while they are
in Europe, to defray their expenses, besides presents for their good
offices in those important affairs.

His Imperial Majesty was graciously pleased at my solicitation to
agree at the request of Congress, to grant them a treaty of peace,
(which other powers in Europe could not obtain but after many years)
and my return, without the full execution of his commands, I apprehend
may forever indispose him against the United Provinces.

  I remain most truly, Sir, &c.

                                             GIACOMO FRANCISCO CROCCO.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

                                           Passy, December 15th, 1783.

  My Dear Friend,

I am much concerned to find by your letter to my grandson, that you
are hurt by my long silence, and that you ascribe it to a supposed
diminution of my friendship. Believe me, that is by no means the
case, but I am too much harassed by a variety of correspondence,
together with gout and gravel, which induce me to postpone doing what
I often fully intend to do, and particularly writing, where the urgent
necessity of business does not seem to require its being done
immediately, my sitting too much at the desk having already almost
killed me, besides, since Mr Jay's residence here, I imagined he might
keep you fully informed of what was material for you to know, and I
beg you to be assured of my constant and sincere esteem and affection.

I do not know whether you have been informed, that a Mr Montgomery,
who lives at Alicant, took upon himself, (for I think he had no
authority,) to make overtures last winter in behalf of our States,
towards a treaty with the Emperor of Morocco. In consequence of his
proceedings I received a letter in August, from a person who
acquainted me, that he was arrived in Spain by the Emperor's order,
and was to come to Paris, there to receive and conduct to Morocco the
Minister of Congress appointed to make that treaty, intimating at the
same time an expectation of money to defray his expenses. I
communicated the letter to Mr Jay. The conduct of Mr Montgomery
appeared to us very extraordinary and irregular, and the idea of a
messenger from Morocco coming to Paris to meet and conduct a Minister
of Congress appearing absurd and extravagant, as well as the demand of
money by a person unknown, I made no answer to the letter, and I know
not whether Mr Jay made any to Mr Montgomery, who wrote about the same
time. But I have lately received another letter from the same person,
a copy of which I enclose, together with my answer open for your
perusal, and it is submitted to your discretion whether to forward it
or not. The Mr _Crocco_, who writes to me, having been, as he says, at
Madrid, you possibly may know more of him than I can, and judge
whether he is really a person in credit with the Emperor, and sent as
he pretends to be, or not rather an _Escroc_, as the French call
cheats and impostors.

I would not be wanting in anything proper for me to do towards keeping
that Prince in good humor with us, till the pleasure of Congress is
known, and therefore would answer Mr Crocco if he be in his employ;
but am loth to commit myself in correspondence with a _Fripon_. It
will be strange if, being at Madrid, he did not address himself to
you.

With great and unalterable regard, I am ever, my dear friend, yours
most affectionately,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO GIACOMO FRANCISCO CROCCO.

                                           Passy, December 15th, 1783.

  Sir,

I have just received the letter you did me the honor of writing to me
the 25th past. I did indeed receive your former letter of July, but
being totally a stranger to the mentioned proceedings of Mr
Montgomery, and having no orders from Congress on the subject, I knew
not how to give you any satisfactory answer, till I should receive
further information; and I communicated your letter to Mr Jay,
Minister of the United States for Spain, in whose district Mr
Montgomery is, and who is more at hand than I am for commencing that
negotiation.

Mr Jay, who is at present in England, has possibly written to you,
though his letter may have miscarried, to acquaint you, that Mr
Montgomery had probably no authority from Congress to take the step he
has done, and that it was not likely that they, desiring to make a
treaty with the Emperor, would think of putting his Majesty to the
trouble of sending a person to Paris to receive and conduct their
Minister, since they have ships, and could easily land him at Cadiz,
or present him at one of the Emperor's ports. We have, however,
written to Congress, acquainting them with what we had been informed,
of the good and favorable disposition of his Imperial Majesty, to
enter into a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States, and
we have no doubt but that, as soon as their affairs are a little
settled, which, by so severe a war carried on in the bowels of their
country, by one of the most powerful nations of Europe, have
necessarily been much deranged, they will readily manifest equally
good dispositions, and take all the proper steps to cultivate and
secure the friendship of a monarch, whose character I know they have
long esteemed and respected.

  I am, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Passy, December 25th, 1783.

  Sir,

Not having heard of the appointment of a new Secretary for Foreign
Affairs, I take the liberty of addressing this despatch directly to
your Excellency. I received by Captain Barney a letter from the late
President, directed to the Commissioners, dated November the 1st, with
a set of instructions, dated the 29th of October, a resolution of the
same date respecting Hamburg, and another of the 1st of November,
relating to Captain Paul Jones, all which will be duly regarded.

Captain Jones, in passing through England, communicated these papers
to Mr Adams then at London. Mr Adams, disappointed in not finding
among them the commission we had been made to expect, empowering us to
make a treaty of commerce with England, wrote to me, that he imagined
it might be contained in a packet that was directed to me, and
requested to be immediately informed, adding, that in case no such
commission was come he should depart directly for Holland; so I
suppose he is now there. Mr Laurens is gone to England, with an
intention of embarking soon for America. Mr Jay is at Bath, but
expected here daily. The English Ministers, the Duke of Manchester and
Mr Hartley, are both at present in Parliament. As soon as either of
them returns, we shall endeavor to obtain an additional article to the
treaty, explaining that mentioned in the instructions.

The affairs of Ireland are still unsettled. The Parliament and
volunteers are at variance; the latter are uneasy, that in the late
negotiations for a treaty of commerce between England and America, the
British Ministers had made no mention of Ireland, and they seem to
desire a separate treaty of commerce between America and that kingdom.

It was certainly disagreeable to the English Ministers, that all their
treaties for peace were carried on under the eye of the French Court.
This began to appear towards the conclusion, when Mr Hartley refused
going to Versailles, to sign there with the other powers our
definitive treaty, and insisted on its being done at Paris, which we
in good humor complied with, but at an earlier hour, that we might
have time to acquaint Count de Vergennes before he was to sign with
the Duke of Manchester.

The Dutch definitive treaty was not then ready, and the British Court
now insists on finishing it either at London or the Hague. If,
therefore, the commission to us, which has been so long delayed, is
still intended, perhaps it will be well to instruct us to treat either
here or at London, as we may find most convenient.

The treaty may be conducted, even there, in concert and in the
confidence of communication with the Ministers of our friends, whose
advice may be of use to us.

With respect to the British Court, we should, I think, be constantly
upon our guard, and impress strongly upon our minds, that though it
has made peace with us, it is not in truth reconciled either to us, or
to its loss of us, but still flatters itself with hopes, that some
change in the affairs of Europe, or some disunion among ourselves, may
afford them an opportunity of recovering their dominion, punishing
those who have most offended, and securing our future dependence. It
is easy to see by the general turn of the ministerial newspapers,
(light things, indeed, as straws and feathers, but like them they show
which way the wind blows) and by the malignant improvement their
Ministers make, in all the foreign Courts, of every little accident or
dissension among us, the riot of a few soldiers at Philadelphia, the
resolves of some town meetings, the reluctance to pay taxes, &c. all
which are exaggerated, to represent our government as so many
anarchies, of which the people themselves are weary, and the Congress
as having lost its influence, being no longer respected. I say it is
easy to see from this conduct, that they bear us no good will, and
that they wish the reality of what they are pleased to imagine. They
have, too, a numerous royal progeny to provide for, some of whom are
educated in the military line. In these circumstances we cannot be too
careful to preserve the friendships we have acquired abroad, and the
union we have established at home, to secure our credit by a punctual
discharge of our obligations of every kind, and our reputation by the
wisdom of our councils; since we know not how soon we may have a fresh
occasion for friends, for credit, and for reputation.

The extravagant misrepresentations of our political state in foreign
countries, made it appear necessary to give them better information,
which I thought could not be more effectually and authentically done,
than by publishing a translation into French, now the most general
language in Europe, of the Book of Constitutions, which had been
printed by order of Congress. This I accordingly got well done, and
presented two copies handsomely bound to every foreign Minister here,
the one for himself, the other more elegant for his Sovereign. It has
been well taken, and has afforded matter of surprise to many, who had
conceived mean ideas of the state of civilization in America, and
could not have expected so much political knowledge and sagacity had
existed in our wilderness. And from all parts I have the satisfaction
to hear, that our constitutions in general are much admired. I am
persuaded, that this step will not only tend to promote the emigration
to our country of substantial people from all parts of Europe, by the
numerous copies I shall disperse, but will facilitate our future
treaties with foreign Courts, who could not before know what kind of
government and people they had to treat with. As, in doing this, I
have endeavored to further the apparent views of Congress in the first
publication, I hope it may be approved, and the expense allowed. I
send herewith one of the copies.

Our treaties with Denmark and Portugal remain unfinished, for want of
instructions respecting them from Congress, and a commission
empowering some Minister or Ministers to conclude them. The Emperor of
Morocco, we understand, has expressed a disposition to make a treaty
of amity and commerce with the United States. A Mr Montgomery, who is
a merchant settled at Alicant, has been, it seems, rather forward in
proposing a negotiation, without authority for so doing, and has
embarrassed us a little, as may be seen by some letters I enclose.[30]
Perhaps it would be well for the Congress to send a message to that
Prince, expressing their respect and regard for him, till such time as
they may judge it convenient to appoint an Ambassador in form,
furnished with proper presents to make a treaty with him. The other
Barbary States, too, seem to require consideration, if we propose to
carry on any trade in the Mediterranean, but whether the security of
that trade is of sufficient importance to be worth purchasing, at the
rate of the tributes usually exacted by those piratical States, is a
matter of doubt, on which I cannot at present form a judgment.

FOOTNOTE:

  [30] The letters from G. F. Crocco, see pp. 135 and 176.

I shall immediately proceed, in pursuance of the first instruction, to
take the proper steps for acquainting his Imperial Majesty of Germany
with the dispositions of Congress, having some reason to believe the
overture may be acceptable. His Minister here is of late extremely
civil to me, and we are on very good terms. I have likewise an
intimate friend at that Court.

With respect to other powers, it seems best not to make advances at
present, but to meet and encourage them when made, which I shall not
fail to do, as I have already done those of Sweden, Denmark, and
Portugal. Possibly Hamburg, to whom I have forwarded the letter of
Congress, may send a Minister to America if they wish for a treaty to
conclude it there. They have no Minister here.

I have lately received a memorial from the Minister of Denmark,
respecting a ship of that nation, the Providentia, taken by one of our
privateers and carried into Boston. I enclose a copy of it, and
request to be furnished with directions and informations for the
answer. It may be well to send me a copy of the proceedings in the
Courts. From a perusal of the papers communicated with it, I am
satisfied that the cargo was clearly British property.

We have hitherto entered into no engagements respecting the armed
neutrality, and, in obedience to the fifth instruction, we shall take
care to avoid them hereafter. The treaty between this Court and the
United States for regulating the powers, privileges, &c. of consuls,
is at length completed, and is transcribing in order to be signed. I
hope to transmit a copy by the next packet. I have received the
Congress ratification of the two money treaties, which will be soon
exchanged, when I shall send copies of them with that of Sweden.

I have given, and shall continue to give, Captain Paul Jones all the
assistance in my power, towards recovering the prize money; and I hope
it may soon be accomplished.

When Mr Jay returns, I shall desire him to make the inquiry directed
in the fourth instruction, respecting the expedition under that
Commodore, and report thereon to Congress. In the meantime I can
answer respecting one of the questions, that the King paid the whole
expense, and that no part of it has ever been placed to the account of
Congress. There exists indeed a demand of one Puchelberg, a person in
the employ of M. Schweighauser, of about thirty-thousand livres, for
provisions and other things furnished to Captain Landais, after he
took the Alliance out of the hands of Captain Jones; but as the ship
was at that time under the King's supply, who having borrowed her for
the expedition when fitted for sea, and just ready to sail with Mr
Adams, had ordered her to be delivered in the same condition, free of
all charges accrued, or accruing, by her being in Holland and in
L'Orient, and as M. Puchelberg had not only no orders from me to
furnish Captain Landais, but acted contrary to my orders given to M.
Schweighauser, and contrary to the orders of M. Schweighauser himself,
I refused to pay his account, which besides appeared extravagant, and
it has never yet been paid.

I shall do my best in executing the third instruction, respecting our
claim upon Denmark. I have written to London to obtain if possible an
account of the sums insured upon the ships delivered up, as such an
account may be some guide in the valuation of the prizes.

A Captain Williams, formerly in the British service, and employed upon
the lakes, has given me a paper containing information of the state of
the back country. As those informations may possibly be of some use, I
send herewith the paper. Mr Carmichael has sent me the accounts of the
money transactions at Madrid. As soon as Mr Jay returns they will be
examined.

Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to Congress, and assure them
of my most faithful services.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ROBERT MORRIS.

                                           Passy, December 25th, 1783.

  Sir,

The remissness of our people in paying taxes is highly blameable, the
unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see in some resolutions
of town meetings, a remonstrance against giving Congress a power to
take, as they call it, _the people's money_ out of their pockets,
though only to pay the interest and principal of debts duly
contracted. They seem to mistake the point. Money justly due from the
people is their creditor's money, and no longer the money of the
people, who if they withhold it should be compelled to pay by some
law. All property indeed, except the savage's temporary cabin, his
bow, his matchuat, and other little acquisitions absolutely necessary
for his subsistence, seems to me to be the creature of public
convention. Hence the public has the right of regulating descents, and
all other conveyances of property, and even of limiting the quantity
and uses of it. All the property that is necessary to a man for the
conservation of the individual, and the propagation of the species, is
his natural right, which none can justly deprive him of; but all
property superfluous to such purposes is the property of the public,
who by their laws have created it, and who may therefore by other laws
dispose of it whenever the welfare of the public shall desire such
disposition. He that does not like civil society on these terms, let
him retire and live among the savages. He can have no right to the
benefits of society, who will not pay his club towards the support of
it.

The Marquis de Lafayette, who loves to be employed in our affairs, and
is often very useful, has lately had several conversations with the
Ministers and persons concerned in forming new regulations, respecting
the commerce between our two countries, which are not yet concluded. I
thought it therefore well to communicate to him a copy of your letter,
which contains so many sensible and just observations on that subject.
He will make a proper use of them, and perhaps they may have more
weight, as appearing to come from a Frenchman, than they would have if
it were known, that they were the observations of an American. I
perfectly agree with you in all the sentiments you have expressed on
this occasion.

I am sorry for the public's sake, that you are about to quit your
office, but on personal considerations, I shall congratulate you; for
I cannot conceive of a more happy man, than he who having been long
loaded with public cares finds himself relieved from them, and
enjoying private repose in the bosom of his friends and family.

With sincere regard and attachment, I am ever, dear Sir, yours, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Passy, December 26th, 1783.

  Sir,

If the Congress should think it fit to have a consul for the United
States in London, and do not appoint one of our own countrymen to that
office, I beg leave to mention the merits of Mr William Hodgson, a
merchant of that city, who has always been a zealous friend of
America, was a principal promoter of the subscription for the relief
of American prisoners, and chairman of the committee for dispensing
the money raised by that subscription. He also took the trouble of
applying the monies I furnished him with, when the subscription was
exhausted, and constantly assisted me in all the negotiations I had
with the British Ministers, in their favor, wherein he generally
succeeded, being a man of weight and credit, very active, and much
esteemed for his probity and integrity. These his services, continued
steadily during the whole war, seem to entitle him to the favorable
notice of Congress, when any occasion offers of doing him service or
pleasure.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                               London, March 2d, 1784.

  My Dear Friend,

Will you be so good as to transmit the enclosed to Mr Jay? I am sorry
that we are going to lose him from this side of the Atlantic. If your
American ratification should arrive speedily, I might hope to have the
pleasure of seeing him again before his departure. As soon as I hear
from you of the arrival of your ratification I will immediately apply
for the despatch of the British ratification. I wish very much to have
the pleasure of conversing with you again. In hopes that that time may
come soon, I have nothing further to say at present. Believe me always
to be, what you have always known me to have been, a friend of general
philanthropy, and particularly your ever, most affectionate

                                                           D. HARTLEY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO CHARLES THOMPSON.

                                               Passy, March 9th, 1784.

  Sir,

I received a few days since a letter from Annapolis, dated June the
5th, in your hand writing, but not signed, acquainting the
Commissioners with the causes of delay in sending the ratification of
the Definitive Treaty. The term was expired before that letter came to
hand, but I hope no difficulty will arise from a failure in a point
not essential, and which was occasioned by accidents. I have just
received from Mr Hartley a letter on the subject, of which I enclose a
copy.

We have had a terrible winter, too, here, such as the oldest men do
not remember, and indeed it has been very severe all over Europe.

I have exchanged ratifications with the Ambassador of Sweden, and
enclose a copy of that I received from him.

Mr Jay is lately returned from England. Mr Laurens is still there, but
proposes departing for America next month, as does also Mr Jay, with
his family. Mr Adams is in Holland, where he has been detained by
business and bad weather. These absences have occasioned some delays
in our business, but not of much importance.

The war long expected between the Turks and Russians is prevented by a
treaty, and it is thought an accommodation will likewise take place
between them and the Emperor. Everything here continues friendly and
favorable to the United States. I am pestered continually with numbers
of letters from people in different parts of Europe, who would go to
settle in America, but who manifest very extravagant expectations,
such as I can by no means encourage, and who appear otherwise to be
very improper persons. To save myself trouble, I have just printed
some copies of the enclosed little piece, which I purpose to send
hereafter in answer to such letters.

Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to Congress, and believe me
to be, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                                         TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Passy, May 12th, 1784.

  Sir,

In my last I acquainted your Excellency, that Mr Hartley was soon
expected here to exchange ratifications of the Definitive Treaty. He
is now arrived, and proposes to make the exchange this afternoon. I
shall then be enabled to send a copy. Enclosed is the new British
Proclamation respecting our trade with their Colonies. It is said to
be a temporary provision, till Parliament can assemble and make some
proper regulating law, or till a commercial treaty shall be framed and
agreed to. Mr Hartley expects instructions for planning with us such a
treaty. The Ministry are supposed to have been too busy with the new
elections, when he left London, to think of those matters.

This Court has not completed its intended new system for the trade of
their Colonies, so that I cannot yet give a certain account of the
advantages that will in fine be allowed us. At present it is said we
are to have two free ports, Tobago and the Mole, and that we may carry
lumber and all sorts of provisions to the rest, except flour, which is
reserved in favor of Bordeaux, and that we shall be permitted to
export coffee, rum, molasses, and some sugar, for our own
consumption.

We have had under consideration a commercial treaty proposed to us by
the King of Prussia, and have sent it back with our remarks to Mr
Adams, who will I suppose transmit it immediately to Congress. Those
planned with Denmark and Portugal wait its determination,

Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the Congress, and believe
me to be, with sincere and great esteem, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

_May 13th._ I now enclose a copy of the ratification of the Definitive
Treaty, on the part of his Britannic Majesty.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     DAVID HARTLEY TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                                Paris, June 1st, 1784.

  Sir,

I have the honor to inform you, that I have transmitted to London the
ratification on the part of Congress of the Definitive Treaty of
peace, between Great Britain and the United States of America, and I
am ordered to represent to you, that a want of form appears in the
first paragraph of that instrument, wherein the United States are
mentioned before his Majesty, contrary to the established custom in
every treaty in which a crowned head and a republic are parties. It is
likewise to be observed, that the term definitive _articles_ is used
instead of definitive _treaty_, and the conclusion appears likewise
deficient, as it is neither signed by the President, nor is it dated,
and consequently, is wanting in some of the most essential points of
form necessary towards authenticating the validity of the instrument.

I am ordered to propose to you, Sir, that these defects in the
ratification should be corrected, which might very easily be done,
either by signing a declaration in the name of Congress for preventing
the particular mode of expression, so far as it relates to precedency
in the first paragraph, being considered as a precedent to be adopted
on any future occasion, or else by having a new copy made out in
America, in which these mistakes should be corrected, and which might
be done without any prejudice arising to either of the parties from
the delay.

I am, Sir, with great respect and consideration, &c.

                                                        DAVID HARTLEY.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                                                     TO DAVID HARTLEY.

                                                 Passy, June 2d, 1784.

  Sir,

I have considered the observations you did me the honor of
communicating to me, concerning certain inaccuracies of expression,
and supposed defects of formality, in the instrument of ratification,
some of which are said to be of such a nature as to affect the
validity of the instrument.

The first is, "that the United States are named before his Majesty,
contrary to the established custom observed in every treaty in which a
crowned head and a republic are the contracting parties." With respect
to this, it seems to me we should distinguish between that act in
which both join, to wit, the treaty, and that which is the act of each
separately, the ratification. It is necessary, that all the modes of
expression in the joint act should be agreed to by both parties,
though in their separate acts each party is master of, and alone
unaccountable for its own mode. And, on inspecting the treaty, it will
be found that his Majesty is always regularly named before the United
States. Thus, "the established custom _in treaties_ between crowned
heads and republics," contended for on your part, is strictly
observed; and the ratification following the treaty contains these
words. "Now know ye, that we, the United States in Congress assembled,
having seen and considered the definitive articles aforesaid, have
_approved_, _ratified_, and _confirmed_, and by these presents do
_approve_, _ratify_, and _confirm_ the said articles, AND EVERY PART
AND CLAUSE THEREOF," &c. Hereby all those articles, parts, and
clauses, wherein the King is named before the United States, are
_approved_, _ratified_, and _confirmed_, and this solemnly under the
signature of the President of Congress, with the public seal affixed
by their order, and countersigned by their Secretary.

No declaration on the subject more determinate or more authentic can
possibly be made or given, which, when considered, may probably induce
his Majesty's Ministers to waive the proposition of our signing a
similar declaration, or of sending back the ratification to be
corrected in this point, neither appearing to be really necessary. I
will, however, if it be still desired, transmit to Congress the
observation, and the difficulty occasioned by it, and request their
orders upon it. In the meantime I may venture to say, that I am
confident there was no intention of affronting his Majesty by their
order of nomination, but that it resulted merely from that sort of
complaisance, which every nation seems to have for itself, and of that
respect for its own government, customarily so expressed in its own
acts, of which the English among the rest afford an instance, when in
the title of the King they always name Great Britain before France.

The second objection is, "that the term definitive _articles_ is used
instead of definitive _treaty_" If the words _definitive treaty_ had
been used in the ratification instead of _definitive articles_, it
might have been more correct, though the difference seems not great
nor of much importance, as in the treaty itself it is called the
present _Definitive Treaty_.

The other objections are, "that the conclusion likewise appears
deficient, as if is neither signed by the President, nor is it dated,
and consequently is wanting in some of the most essential points of
form necessary towards authenticating the validity of the instrument."
The situation of seals and signatures, in public instruments, differs
in different countries, though all equally valid; for when all the
parts of an instrument are connected by a ribband, whose ends are
secured under the impression of the seal, the signature and seal
wherever placed are understood as relating to and authenticating the
whole. Our usage is, to place them both together in the broad margin
near the beginning of the piece, and so they stand in the present
ratification, the concluding words of which declare the intention of
such signing and sealing to be giving authenticity to the whole
instrument, viz. "_In testimony_ whereof, We have _caused_ the seal of
the United States to be hereunto affixed; Witness his Excellency
Thomas Mifflin, Esquire, President;" and the date supposed to be
omitted, perhaps from its not appearing in figures, is nevertheless to
be found written in words at length, viz. "this fourteenth day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred
eightyfour," which made the figures unnecessary.

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

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Passy, June 16th, 1784.

  Sir,

My letter by Mr Jay acquainted your Excellency, that the ratifications
of the Definitive Treaty were exchanged. A copy of the British part
was also sent by him.

Mr Hartley remained here expecting instructions to treat with us on
the subject of commerce. The bustle attending a new election and
meeting of Parliament, he imagined might occasion the long delay of
those instructions. He now thinks that the affair of the American
trade, being under the consideration of Parliament, it is probable no
treaty will be proposed till the result is known. Mr Jay, who sailed
for America the first instant from Dover, and who saw there several of
our friends from London before his departure, and Mr Laurens who left
London the 6th to go on in the Falmouth packet, will be able to give
you more perfect informations than I can, of what may be expected as
the determination of the British government respecting our intercourse
with their Islands; and, therefore, I omit my conjectures, only
mentioning, that from various circumstances there seems to be some
lurking remains of ill humor there, and of resentment against us,
which only wants a favorable opportunity to manifest itself.

This makes it more necessary for us to be upon our guard, and prepared
for events, that a change in the affairs of Europe may produce; its
tranquillity depending, perhaps, on the life of one man, and it being
impossible to foresee in what situation a new arrangement of its
various interests may place us. Ours will be respected in proportion
to the apparent solidity of our government, the support of our credit,
the maintenance of a good understanding with our friends, and our
readiness for defence. All which I persuade myself will be taken care
of.

Enclosed I send a copy of a letter from Mr Hartley to me, respecting
some supposed defects in the ratification, together with my answer,
which he has transmitted to London. The objections appeared to me
trivial and absurd, but I thought it prudent to treat them with as
much decency as I could, lest the ill temper should be augmented,
which might be particularly inconvenient, while the commerce was under
consideration. There has not yet been time for Mr Hartley to hear
whether my answer has been satisfactory, or whether the Ministers will
still insist on my sending for an amended copy from America, as they
proposed.

I do not perceive the least diminution in the good disposition of this
Court towards us, and I hope care will be taken to preserve it.

The Marquis de Lafayette, who will have the honor of delivering this
to you, has, ever since his arrival in Europe, been very industrious
in his endeavors to serve us and promote our interests, and has been
of great use on several occasions. I should wish the Congress might
think fit to express in some proper manner their sense of his merit.

My malady prevents my going to Versailles, as I cannot bear a carriage
upon pavement, but my grandson goes regularly on Court days to supply
my place, and is well received there. The last letters I have had the
honor of receiving from you, are of the 14th of January.

  With great respect, I am, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        CONSULAR CONVENTION.

Convention between His Most Christian Majesty and the Thirteen United
States of North America, for the purpose of determining and fixing the
functions and prerogatives of their respective consuls, vice consuls,
agents, and commissaries.

His Majesty, The Most Christian King, and the Thirteen United States
of North America, having, by the 29th article of the Treaty of Amity
and Commerce concluded between them, mutually granted the liberty of
having in their respective States and ports, consuls, vice consuls,
agents, and commissaries, and being willing in consequence thereof, to
determine and fix in a reciprocal and permanent manner the functions
and prerogatives of the said consuls, vice consuls, agents, and
commissaries, His Most Christian Majesty has nominated the Sieur
Charles Gravier, Count of Vergennes, Baron of Welfording, &c.
Counsellor of the King in all his Councils, Commander of his Orders,
Head of the Royal Council of Finances, Counsellor of the State of the
Sword, Minister and Secretary of State, and of his Commands and
Finances; and the United States, Mr Benjamin Franklin, their Minister
Plenipotentiary to His Most Christian Majesty, who, after having
communicated to each other their respective full powers, agreed upon
what follows.


                               ARTICLE I.

The consuls and vice consuls, nominated by His Most Christian Majesty
and the United States, shall be bound to present their commissions on
their arrival in their respective States, according to the form which
shall be there established. There shall be delivered to them without
any charges the _Exequatur_ necessary for the exercise of their
functions; and, on the exhibition they shall make of the said
Exequatur, the governors, commanders, heads of justice, public bodies,
tribunals, and other officers, having authority in the ports and
places of their consulates, shall cause them to enjoy, as soon as
possible, and without difficulty, the pre-eminences, authority, and
privileges, reciprocally granted, without exacting from said consuls
and vice consuls, any duty under any pretext whatever.


                              ARTICLE II.

The respective consuls shall have power to establish vice consuls in
the different ports and places of their departments, where necessity
shall require. There shall be delivered to them likewise the Exequatur
necessary to the exercise of their functions, in the form pointed out
in the preceding article, and on the exhibition, which they shall make
of the said Exequatur, they shall be admitted and acknowledged in the
terms and according to the powers, authority, and privileges,
stipulated by the 1st, 4th and 5th articles of the present convention.


                              ARTICLE III.

The respective consuls and vice consuls may establish agents in the
different ports and places of their departments, where necessity shall
require; these agents may be chosen among the merchants, either
national or foreign, and furnished with a commission from one of the
said consuls. It shall be their business, respectively, to render to
their respective merchants, navigators, and vessels, all possible
service, and to inform the nearest consul or vice consul of the wants
of the said merchants, navigators, and vessels, without the said
agents otherwise participating in the immunities, rights, and
privileges, attributed to the consuls and vice consuls, and without
power to exact from the said merchants any duty or emolument whatever,
under any pretext whatever.


                              ARTICLE IV.

The consuls and vice consuls, officers of the consulate, and in
general, all persons attached to the consular functions, shall enjoy
respectively a full and entire immunity for their persons, their
papers, and their houses. The list of the said persons shall be
approved and inspected by the executive power of the place of their
residence.

They shall be exempt from all personal service and public offices,
from soldier's billets, militia, watch guard, guardianship and
trusteeship, as well as from all duties, taxes, impositions, and
charges whatsoever, except the real estates of which they may be
proprietors, which shall be subject to the taxes imposed on the
estates of all other individuals.

They shall place over the outward door of their house the arms of
their sovereign, without this mark of distinction giving to the said
house the right of asylum for any malefactor or criminal, so that in
case it should happen that any malefactor or criminal take refuge
there, he shall be instantly delivered up on the first requisition,
and without difficulty.


                               ARTICLE V.

Generally, in all cases whatever, which concern the police or
administration of justice, where it may be necessary to have a
juridical declaration from the said consuls and vice consuls
respectively, the governors, commandants, chief justice, public
bodies, tribunals, or other officers whatever of their respective
residence there, having authority, shall be bound to inform them of
it, by writing to them, or sending to them a military or civil officer
to let them know, either the object which is proposed, or the
necessity there is for going to them to demand from them this
declaration, and the said consuls end vice consuls shall be bound on
their part to comply faithfully with what shall be desired of them on
these occasions.


                               ARTICLE VI.

The consuls and vice consuls respectively may establish a chancery,
where shall be deposited the consular acts and deliberations, all
effects left by deceased persons, or saved from shipwreck, as well as
testaments, obligations, contracts, and, in general, all the acts and
proceedings done between, or by, persons of their nations.

They may, in consequence, appoint for the _business_ of the said
chancery capable persons, receive them, administer an oath to them,
give to them the keeping of the seal, and the right of seal,
commissions, judgments, and other acts of the consulate, as well as
there to discharge the functions of notaries and registers.


                              ARTICLE VII.

The consuls and vice consuls respectively shall have the exclusive
right of receiving in their chancery, or on board of vessels, the
declarations and all other acts, which the captains, masters, seamen,
passengers, and merchants of their nation would make there, even their
testaments and other dispositions of last will, and the copies of the
said acts duly authenticated by the said consuls, or vice consuls, and
under the seal of their consulate shall receive faith in law in all
the tribunals of France and the United States.

They shall have also, and exclusively, the right to inventory,
liquidate, and proceed to the sale of the moveable effects of the
estates left by subjects of their nation who shall die within the
extent of the consulate. They shall proceed therein with the
assistance of two merchants of their said nation, of their own
choosing, and shall deposit in their chancery the effects and papers
of the said estates, and no officer, military or civil, or of the
police of the country, shall trouble them or interfere therein, in any
manner whatsoever; but the said consuls and vice consuls shall not
deliver up the same and their product to the lawful heirs, or _their
attornies_, until they shall have discharged all the debts, which the
deceased shall have contracted in the country, by judgment, by acts,
or by notes, the writing and signing of which shall be known and
certified by two principal merchants of the nation of the said
deceased, and in all other cases the payment of debts cannot be
ordered but on the creditor's giving sufficient and local security to
repay the sums unduly received, principal, interest, and costs, which
securities, however, shall remain duly discharged after a year in time
of peace, and two years in time of war, if the demand in discharge
cannot be formed before these delays, against the heirs who shall
present themselves.


                            ARTICLE VIII.

The respective consuls and vice consuls shall receive the
declarations, "_consulats_," and other consular acts from all captains
and masters of their respective nations on account of average losses
sustained at sea by leakage, or throwing merchandises overboard, and
these captains and masters shall leave in the chancery of the said
consuls and vice consuls, the "consulats," and other consular acts,
which they may have had made in other ports on account of the
accidents, that may have happened to them on their voyage. If a
subject of His Most Christian Majesty and a citizen of the United
States are interested in the said cargo, the average shall be fixed by
the tribunals of the country, and not by the consuls or vice consuls;
and the tribunals shall admit the acts and declarations; if any should
have been passed before the said consuls and vice consuls; but when
only the subjects of their own nation, or foreigners, shall be
interested, the respective consuls or vice consuls, and in case of
their absence or distance, their agents furnished with their
commission, shall officially nominate skilful persons of their said
nation to regulate the damages and averages.


                              ARTICLE IX.

In case, by storms or other accidents, French ships or vessels shall
run ashore on the coasts of the United States, or the ships and
vessels of the United States shall run ashore on the coasts of France,
the consul or vice consul nearest to the place of shipwreck shall do
whatever he may judge proper, as well for the purpose of saving the
said ship or vessel, its cargo and appurtenances, as for the storing
and security of the effects and merchandise saved. He may take an
inventory, without any officers military, of the custom house,
justices, or the police of the country interfering, otherwise than to
facilitate to the consuls, vice consuls, captain and crew of the
vessel shipwrecked, or run ashore, all the assistance and favor, which
they shall ask, either for the celerity and security of the salvage
and effects saved, or to prevent all disturbances.

To prevent even any kind of dispute and discussion in the said cases
of shipwreck, it has been agreed that where no consul or vice consul
shall be found to attend to the salvage, or that the residence of the
said consul or vice consul, (he not being at the place of shipwreck)
shall be further distant from the said place than that of the
competent territorial judge, the latter shall immediately there
proceed therein with all the celerity, safety, and precautions
prescribed by the respective laws; but the said territorial judge
shall retire on the coming of the consul or vice consul, and shall
resign to him the procedures by him done, the expenses of which the
consul or vice consul shall cause to be reimbursed to him.

The merchandise and effects saved shall be deposited in the custom
house, or other nearest place of safety, with the inventory of them,
which shall be made by the consul or vice consul, or in their absence
by the judge who shall have had cognizance thereof, and the said
merchandises and effects shall be afterwards delivered, after levying
therefrom the costs, and without form of process to the proprietors,
who being furnished with a _replevy_ from the nearest consul or vice
consul, shall reclaim them by themselves, or their attornies, either
for the purpose of re-exporting the merchandises, and in that case
they shall pay no kind of duties of exportation, or for the purpose of
selling them in the country if they are not prohibited; and in this
latter case, the said merchandises being averaged, there shall be
granted them an abatement of the entrance duties proportioned to the
damages sustained, which shall be ascertained by the _verbal process_
formed at the time of the shipwreck, or of the vessels running
ashore.


                               ARTICLE X.

The consuls and vice consuls shall have, on board of the vessels of
their respective nations, full power and jurisdiction in matters
civil. They shall cause to be executed the respective laws,
ordinances, and rules concerning navigation, on board the said
vessels, and for this purpose, they shall go there without being
interrupted by any officer or other person whatsoever.

They may cause to be arrested every vessel carrying the flag of their
respective nation. They may sequester them, and even send them back
respectively, from the United States to France, or from France to the
United States. They may cause to be arrested without difficulty, every
captain, master, sailor, or passenger of their said respective nation.

They may cause to be arrested or detained in the country the sailors
and deserters of their respective nations, or send them back, or
transport them out of the country.

It shall be sufficient proof, that the sailors and deserters belong to
one of the respective nations, that their names be written in the
ships' registers, or inserted in the roll of the crew.

One and the other of these proofs concerning sailors and deserters
being thus given, no tribunals, judges, and officers whatsoever shall
in any manner whatever take cognizance of the complaints, which the
said sailors and deserters may make, but they shall, on the contrary,
be delivered up on an order signed by the consul, or vice consul,
without its being in any one's power in any manner to detain, engage,
or withdraw them. And to attain to the complete execution of the
arrangements contained in this article, all persons having authority
shall be bound to assist the said consuls or vice consuls, and, on a
simple requisition signed by them, they shall cause to be detained and
guarded in prison at the disposal and expense of the said consuls and
vice consuls the said sailors and deserters, until they shall have an
opportunity to send them out of the country.


                              ARTICLE XI.

In cases where the respective subjects shall have committed any crime,
they shall be amenable to the judges of the country.


                             ARTICLE XII.

All differences and suits between the subjects of His Most Christian
Majesty settled in the United States, or between the citizens and
subjects of the United States settled in France, and all differences
and suits concerning commerce between the subjects of His Most
Christian Majesty, and one of the parties residing in France or
elsewhere, and the other in the United States, or between the citizens
and subjects of the United States, one of the parties residing in the
United States, or elsewhere, and the other in France, shall be
determined by the respective consuls, either by a reference to
arbitration, or by a summary judgment, and without costs.

No officer, civil or military, shall interfere or take any part
whatever in the affair. Appeals shall be carried before the tribunals
of France, or the United States, to whom it may appertain to take
cognizance thereof. The consuls or vice consuls shall not take
cognizance of disputes or differences, which shall arise betwixt a
subject of His Most Christian Majesty and a citizen of the United
States. But the said disputes shall be brought before the tribunals,
to which the defendant shall be amenable.


                            ARTICLE XIII.

The general utility of commerce having caused to be established in
France tribunals and particular forms to accelerate the decision of
commercial affairs, the merchants of the United States shall enjoy the
benefit of these establishments in France, and the Congress of the
United States shall recommend to the Legislatures of the different
States to provide equivalent advantages, in favor of the French
merchants, for the prompt despatch and decision of affairs of the same
nature.


                             ARTICLE XIV.

The subjects of His Most Christian Majesty and those of the United
States, who shall prove that they belong to the body of the respective
nations, by the certificate of the consul or vice consul of the
district, mentioning their names, surnames, and place of their
settlement, as inscribed in the register of the consulate, shall not
lose, for any cause whatever in the respective domains and States, the
quality of subjects of the country of which they originally were,
conformably to the eleventh article of the treaty of amity and
commerce, of the 6th of February, 1778, of which the present article
shall serve as an interpretation in case of necessity, and the said
subjects respectively shall enjoy in consequence exemption from all
personal service in the place of their settlement.


                              ARTICLE XV.

If any other nation acquires, by virtue of any convention whatever,
either in France or in the United States, a treatment more favorable
with respect to the consular pre-eminences, powers, authority, and
privileges, the consuls, vice consuls, and agents of His Most
Christian Majesty, or the United States, reciprocally shall
participate therein, agreeably to the terms stipulated by the second,
third, and fourth articles of the treaty of amity and commerce,
concluded between His Most Christian Majesty and the United States.


                             ARTICLE XVI.

The ratification of the present convention shall be given in proper
form and exchanged on both sides, within the space of six months, or
sooner if possible.

In faith whereof, we, the underwritten, Ministers Plenipotentiaries of
His Most Christian Majesty, and the United States of North America,
have signed the present convention, and have thereto affixed the seal
of our arms.

Done at Versailles, the 29th of July, one thousand seven hundred and
eightyfour.

                                                 GRAVIER DE VERGENNES.

                                                 B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO COUNT DE MERCY ARGENTEAU.

                                               Passy, July 30th, 1784.

  Sir,

I have the honor to communicate to your Excellency an extract from the
instructions of Congress to their late Commissioners for treating of
peace, expressing their desire to cultivate the friendship of his
Imperial Majesty, and to enter into a treaty of commerce for the
mutual advantage of his subjects and the citizens of the United
States, which I request you will be pleased to lay before his Majesty.
The appointing and instructing Commissioners for treaties of commerce
with the powers of Europe generally has, by various circumstances,
been long delayed, but is now done, and I have just received advice,
that Mr Jefferson, late Governor of Virginia, commissioned with Mr
Adams, our Minister in Holland, and myself, for that service, is on
his way hither, and may be expected by the end of August, when we
shall be ready to enter into a treaty with his Imperial Majesty for
the above purpose, if such should be his pleasure.

With great and sincere respect, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

               COUNT DE MERCY ARGENTEAU TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                               Paris, July 30th, 1784.

  Sir,

I have received the letter you did me the honor to write to me this
morning, and I shall lose no time to transmit the contents to my
Court.

The sentiments of the Emperor towards the United States of America
make me foresee the satisfaction, which his Majesty will have to enter
into reciprocal, suitable, and advantageous connexions with them. I
have not the least doubt but that measures will be instantly taken on
this subject to concert with you, Sir, and with the appointed
Ministers Plenipotentiary, and as soon as the answer from my Court
shall come, I shall instantly communicate it to you.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                   DE MERCY ARGENTEAU.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                        Versailles, August 27th, 1784.

  Sir,

You have communicated to me an extract from the instructions, which
Congress addressed to you on the 11th of May last, which imports that
the United States will in no case treat any other nation with respect
to commerce more advantageously than the French. This disposition is
much the wisest, as it will prevent those misunderstandings, which
might arise from the equivocal terms in which the 2d article of the
Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed February 6th, 1778, is conceived.
But that the resolution of Congress on this subject may be clearly
stated, it would be best, Sir, that you furnish me with it in the form
of a declaration, or at least in an official note, signed by yourself.
I have no doubt that you will adopt one of these two forms.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                            Passy, September 3d, 1784.

  Sir,

I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency, by order of Congress,
a resolution of theirs, dated the 11th of May last, which is in the
words following, viz.

"_Resolved_, That Doctor Franklin be instructed to express to the
Court of France, the constant desire of Congress to meet their wishes;
that these States are about to form a general system of commerce, by
treaties with other nations; that, at this time, they cannot foresee
what claim might be given to those nations by the explanatory
propositions from the Count de Vergennes, on the 2d and 3d articles of
our Treaty of Amity and Commerce with His Most Christian Majesty, but
that he may be assured it will be our constant care to place no people
on more advantageous ground than the subjects of his Majesty."

  With great respect, I am, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                              Translation.

                                      Versailles, September 9th, 1784.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write me the
3d instant. You there declare in the name of Congress, that the United
States will be careful not to treat any other nation, in matters of
commerce, more advantageously than the French nation. This
declaration, founded on the treaty of the 6th of February, 1778, has
been very agreeable to the King; and you, Sir, can assure Congress,
that the United States shall constantly experience a perfect
reciprocity in France.

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

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

               COUNT DE MERCY ARGENTEAU TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                          Paris, September 28th, 1784.

  Sir,

With respect to the proposition of the United States of America, that
I forwarded to my Court, concerning the arrangements of commerce to
be adopted by the respective dominions, I have received the order,
Sir, which I have the honor to communicate to you, that his Majesty,
the Emperor, has agreed to the said proposition, and that he has
directed the Government General of the Low Countries to adopt measures
to put it in execution.

When the particulars respecting this matter shall be sent to me, I
shall instantly communicate them.

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew the assurances of the most
perfect attachment, with which I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                   DE MERCY ARGENTEAU.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO CHARLES THOMPSON.

                                            Passy, October 16th, 1784.

  Dear Sir,

It was intended by the Commissioners to write a joint letter to
Congress, but I am afraid the opportunity may be missed. This may
serve to inform you, that propositions of treating have been made by
us to all the powers of Europe according to our instructions, and we
are waiting for their answers. There are apprehensions here of a war
between the Emperor and Holland, but, as the season is not proper for
opening a campaign, I hope the winter will give time for mediators to
accommodate matters. We have not yet heard that Mr Jay has accepted
the Secretaryship of Foreign Affairs.

I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO CHARLES THOMPSON.

                                           Passy, November 11th, 1784.

  Dear Friend,

I received your kind letter of August 13th, with the papers annexed,
relative to the affair of Longchamps. I hope satisfaction will be
given to M. Marbois. The Commissioners have written a joint letter to
Congress. This serves to cover a few papers relative to matters with
which I was particularly charged in the instructions. I shall write to
you fully by the next opportunity, having now only time to add, that I
am, as ever,

  Yours most affectionately,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

_P. S._ I executed the instructions of October 29th, 1783, as soon as
I knew the commissions for treating with the Emperor, &c. were issued,
which was not till July, 1784. The three letters between the Emperor's
Minister and me are what passed on that occasion.

                                                                 B. F.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Passy, February 8th, 1785.

  Sir,

I received by the Marquis de Lafayette the two letters you did me the
honor of writing to me the 11th and 14th of December, the one
enclosing a letter from Congress to the King, the other a resolve of
Congress respecting the convention for establishing consuls. The
letter was immediately delivered and well received. The resolve came
too late to suspend signing the convention, it having been done July
last, and a copy sent so long since, that we now expected the
ratification. As that copy seems to have miscarried I now send
another.

I am not informed what objection has arisen in Congress to the plan
sent me. Mr Jefferson thinks it may have been to the part, which
restrained the consuls from all concern in commerce. That article was
omitted, being thought unnecessary to be stipulated, since either
party would always have the power of imposing such restraints on its
own officers, whenever it should think fit. I am, however, of opinion
that this or any other reasonable article or alteration may be
obtained at the desire of Congress, and established by a supplement.

Permit me, Sir, to congratulate you on your being called to the high
honor of presiding in our national councils, and to wish you every
felicity, being with the most perfect esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Passy, April 12th, 1785.

  Sir,

M. de Chaumont, who will have the honor of presenting this line to
your Excellency, is a young gentleman of excellent character, whose
father was one of our most early friends in this country, which he
manifested by crediting us with a thousand barrels of gunpowder and
other military stores in 1776, before we had provided any apparent
means of payment. He has, as I understand, some demands to make on
Congress, the nature of which I am unacquainted with; but my regard
for the family makes me wish, that they may obtain a speedy
consideration, and such favorable issue as they may appear to merit.

To this end, I beg leave to recommend him to your countenance and
protection, and am, with great respect, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                                  Passy, May 3d, 1785.

  Sir,

I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that I have at length
obtained, and yesterday received, the permission of Congress to return
to America. As my malady makes it impracticable for me to pay my
devoirs at Versailles personally, may I beg the favor of you, Sir, to
express respectfully for me to his Majesty, the deep sense I have of
all the inestimable benefits his goodness has conferred on my country;
a sentiment that it will be the business of the little remainder of
life now left me, to impress equally on the minds of all my
countrymen. My sincere prayers are, that God may shower down his
blessings on the King, the Queen, their children, and all the royal
family, to the latest generations!

Permit me, at the same time, to offer you my thankful acknowledgments
for the protection and countenance you afforded me at my arrival, and
your many favors during my residence here, of which I shall always
retain the most grateful remembrance.

My grandson would have had the honor of waiting on you with this
letter, but he has been some time ill of a fever.

With the greatest esteem and respect, and best wishes for the constant
prosperity of yourself, and all your amiable family, I am, Sir, your
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DE RAYNEVAL TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                            Versailles, May 8th, 1785.

  Sir,

I have learned with the greatest concern, that you are soon to leave
us. You will carry with you the affections of all France, for nobody
has been more esteemed than you. I shall call on you at Passy, to
desire you to retain for me a share in your remembrance, and renew to
you personally the assurances of the most perfect attachment, with
which I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

                                                          DE RAYNEVAL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

              TO JOHN JAY, SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                                Passy, May 10th, 1785.

  Dear Sir,

I received your kind letter of the 8th of March, enclosing the
resolution of Congress, permitting my return to America, for which I
am very thankful, and am now preparing to depart the first good
opportunity. Next to the pleasure of rejoining my own family will be
that of seeing you and yours well and happy, and embracing once more
my little friend, whose singular attachment to me I shall always
remember.

I shall be glad to render any acceptable service to Mr Randall. I
conveyed the bayberry wax to Abbé de Chalut, with your compliments, as
you desired. He returns his with many thanks. Be pleased to make my
respectful compliments acceptable to Mrs Jay, and believe me ever,
with sincere and great respect and esteem, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

_P. S._ The striking of the medals being now in agitation here, I send
the enclosed for consideration.

                                                                 B. F.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO CHARLES THOMPSON.

                                                Passy, May 10th, 1785.

  Dear Sir,

An old gentleman in Switzerland, long of the Magistracy there, having
written a book entitled _Du Gouvernement des Moeurs_, which is thought
to contain many matters, that may be useful in America, desired to
know of me how he could convey a number of the printed copies, to be
distributed gratis among the members of Congress. I advised his
addressing the package to you by way of Amsterdam, whence a friend of
mine would forward it. It is accordingly shipped there on board the
Van Berckel, Captain W. Campbell. There are good things in the work,
but his chapter on the liberty of the press appears to me to contain
more rhetoric than reason.

  With great esteem I am, ever, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                              Translation.

                                            Versailles, May 22d, 1785.

  Sir,

I have learnt with much concern of your retiring, and of your
approaching departure for America. You cannot doubt but that the
regrets, which you will leave, will be proportionate to the
consideration you so justly enjoy.

I can assure you, Sir, that the esteem the King entertains for you,
does not leave you anything to wish, and that his Majesty will learn
with real satisfaction, that your fellow citizens have rewarded, in a
manner worthy of you, the important services that you have rendered
them.

I beg, Sir, that you will preserve for me a share in your remembrance,
and never doubt the sincerity of the interest I take in your
happiness. It is founded on the sentiments of attachment of which I
have assured you, and with which I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO THOMAS BARCLAY.

                                               Passy, June 19th, 1785.

  Sir,

With respect to my continuing to charge £2500 sterling per annum as my
salary, of which you desire some explanation, I send you, in support
of that charge, the resolution of Congress, which is in these words.

"In Congress, October 5th, 1779. Resolved, that each of the Ministers
Plenipotentiary be allowed at the rate of two thousand five hundred
pounds sterling per annum, and each of their Secretaries at the rate
of one thousand pounds sterling per annum, in full for their services
and expenses respectively. That the salary of each of the said
officers be computed from the time of his leaving his place of abode,
to enter on the duties of his office, and be continued three months
after the notice of his recall."

The several bills I afterwards received, drawn on the Congress banker,
Mr Grand, for my salary, were all calculated on that sum, as my
salary; and neither the banker nor myself has received notice of any
change respecting me. He has accordingly, since the drawing ceased,
continued to pay me at the same rate. I have, indeed, heard that a
resolution was passed last year, that the salaries of Plenipotentiaries
should be no more than £2000 sterling per annum. But the resolution, I
suppose, can relate only to such Plenipotentiaries as should be
afterwards appointed; for I cannot conceive that the Congress, after
promising a Minister £2500 a year, and when he has thereby been
encouraged to engage in a way of living for their honor, which only
that salary can support, would think it just to diminish it a fifth,
and leave him under the difficulty of reducing his expenses
proportionably; a thing scarce practicable; the necessity of which he
might have avoided, if he had not confided in their original promise.

But the article of salary, with all the rest of my accounts, will be
submitted to the judgment of Congress, together with some other
considerable articles I have not charged, but on which I shall expect,
from their equity, some consideration. If, for want of knowing
precisely the intention of Congress, what expenses should be deemed
public, and what private, I have charged any article to the public,
which should be defrayed by me, their banker has my order, as soon as
the pleasure of Congress shall be made known to him, to rectify the
error, by transferring the amount to my private account, and
discharging by so much that of the public.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DE CASTRIES TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                          Versailles, July 10th, 1785.

  Sir,

I was not apprized, until within a few hours, of the arrangements
which you have made for your departure. Had I been informed of it
sooner, I should have proposed to the King to order a frigate to
convey you to your own country, in a manner suitable to the known
importance of the services you have been engaged in, to the esteem you
have acquired in France, and the particular esteem which his Majesty
entertains for you.

I pray you, Sir, to accept my regrets, and a renewed assurance of the
most entire consideration, with which I have the honor to be, Sir,
your very humble and very obedient servant,

                                                          DE CASTRIES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

             TO JOHN JAY, SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                   Philadelphia, September 19th, 1785.

  Sir,

I have the honor to acquaint you, that I left Paris the 12th of July,
and, agreeable to the permission of Congress, am returned to my own
country. Mr Jefferson had recovered his health, and was much esteemed
and respected there. Our joint letters have already informed you of
our late proceedings, to which I have nothing to add, except that the
last act I did, as Minister Plenipotentiary for making treaties, was
to sign with him, two days before I came away, the treaty of
friendship and commerce that had been agreed on with Prussia,[31] and
which was to be carried to the Hague, by Mr Short, there to be signed
by Baron Thulemeyer on the part of the King, who, without the least
hesitation, had approved and conceded to the new humane articles
proposed by Congress. Mr Short was also to call at London for the
signature of Mr Adams, who I learnt, when at Southampton, was well
received at the British Court.

The Captain Lamb, who, in a letter of yours to Mr Adams, was said to
be coming to us with instructions respecting Morocco, had not
appeared, nor had we heard anything of him; so nothing had been done
by us in that treaty.

I left the Court of France in the same friendly disposition towards
the United States, that we have all along experienced, though
concerned to find that our credit is not better supported in the
payment of the interest money due on our loans, which, in case of
another war, must be, they think, extremely prejudicial to us, and
indeed may contribute to draw on a war the sooner, by affording our
enemies the encouraging confidence, that those who take so little care
to pay, will not again find it easy to borrow. I received from the
King, at my departure, the present of his picture set round with
diamonds, usually given to Ministers Plenipotentiary, who have signed
any treaties with that Court; and it is at the disposition of
Congress, to whom be pleased to present my dutiful respects.

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

                                                          B FRANKLIN.

_P. S._ Not caring to trust them to a common conveyance, I send by my
late Secretary, who will have the honor of delivering them to you, all
the original treaties I have been concerned in negotiating, that were
completed. Those with Portugal and Denmark continue in suspense.

                                                                 B. F.

FOOTNOTE:

  [31] See this Treaty at large in the public _Journals of Congress_,
  Vol. IV. p. 639.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO MR GRAND, BANKER AT PARIS.

                                        Philadelphia, July 11th, 1786.

  Sir,

I send you enclosed some letters, that have passed between the
Secretary of Congress and me, respecting three millions of livres,
acknowledged to have been received, before the treaty of February,
1778, as _don gratuit_ from the King, of which only two millions are
found in your accounts; unless the million from the Farmers-General be
one of the three. I have been assured, that all the money received
from the King, whether as loan or gift, went through your hands; and
as I always looked on the million we had of the Farmers-General to be
distinct from what we had of the Crown, I wonder how I came to sign
the contract, acknowledging three millions of gift, when, in reality,
there was only two, exclusive of that from the Farmers; and, as both
you and I examined the project of the contract before I signed it, I
am surprised, that neither of us took notice of the error.

It is possible, that the million furnished ostensibly by the Farmers,
was in fact a gift of the Crown, in which case, as Mr Thompson
observes, they owe us for the two ship loads of tobacco, which they
received on account of it. I must earnestly request of you to get this
matter explained, that it may stand clear before I die, lest some
enemy should afterwards accuse me of having received a million not
accounted for.

  I am, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       M. DURIVAL TO MR GRAND.

                             Translation.

                                        Versailles, August 30th, 1786.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write on the
28th of this month, touching the advance of a million, which you say
was made by the Farmers-General to the United States of America, the
3d of June, 1777. I have no knowledge of that advance. What I have
verified is, that the King, by the contract of the 25th of February,
1783, has confirmed the gratuitous gift, which his Majesty had
previously made, of the three millions hereafter mentioned, viz. one
million delivered by the Royal Treasury, the 10th of June, 1776, and
two other millions advanced also by the Royal Treasury, in 1777, on
four receipts of the Deputies of Congress, of the 17th of January, 3d
of April, 10th of June, and 15th of October, of the same year. This
explanation will, Sir, I hope, resolve your doubt, touching the
advance of the 3d of June, 1777. I further recommend to you, Sir, to
confer on this subject with M. Gojard, who ought to be better informed
than we, who had no knowledge of any advances, but those made by the
Royal Treasury.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                              DURIVAL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       M. DURIVAL TO MR GRAND.

                              Translation.

                                      Versailles, September 5th, 1786.

  Sir,

I laid before the Count de Vergennes the two letters, which you did me
the honor to write, touching the three millions, the free gift of
which the King has confirmed in favor of the United States of America.
The Minister, Sir, observed that this gift has nothing to do with the
million, which the Congress may have received from the Farmers-General
in 1777; consequently he thinks, that the receipt, which you desire
may be communicated to you, cannot satisfy the object of your view,
and that it would be useless to give you the copy which you desire.

I have the honor to be, with perfect attachment, &c.

                                                              DURIVAL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      MR GRAND TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                           Paris, September 9th, 1786.

  My Dear Sir,

The letter you honored me with, covered the copies of three letters,
which Mr Thompson wrote you to obtain an explanation of a million,
which is not to be found in my accounts. I should have been very much
embarrassed in satisfying and proving to him, that I had not put that
million in my pocket, had I not applied to M. Durival, who, as you
will see by the answer enclosed, informs me, that there was a million
paid by the Royal Treasury, on the 10th of June, 1776. This is the
very million about which Mr Thompson inquires, as I have kept an
account of the other two millions, which were also furnished by the
Royal Treasury, viz. the one million in January and April, 1777, the
other in July and October of the same year, as well as that furnished
by the Farmers-General in June, 1777.

Here then are the three millions exactly, which were given by the King
before the treaty of 1778, and that furnished by the Farmers-General.
Nothing then remains to be known, but who received the first million
in June, 1776. It could not be myself, as I was not charged with the
business of Congress until January, 1777. I therefore requested of M.
Durival a copy of the receipt for the one million. You have the
answer, which he returned to me. I wrote to him again, renewing my
request, but as the courier is just setting off, I cannot wait to give
you his answer, but you will receive it in my next, if I obtain one.

In the meanwhile, I beg you will receive the assurances of the
sentiments of respect, with which I have the honor to be, my dear Sir,
&c.

                                                                GRAND.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      M. DURIVAL, TO MR. GRAND.

                              Translation.

                                     Versailles, September 10th, 1786.

  Sir,

I have laid before the Count de Vergennes, as you seemed to desire,
the letter which you did me the honor to write yesterday. The Minister
persists in the opinion, that the receipt, the copy of which you
request, has no relation to the business with which you were intrusted
on behalf of Congress, and that this piece would be useless in the new
point of view in which you have placed it. Indeed, Sir, it is easy
for you to prove, that the money in question was not delivered by the
Royal Treasury into your hands, as you did not begin to be charged
with the business of Congress until January, 1777, and the receipt for
that money is of the 10th of June, 1776.

I have the honor to be, with perfect attachment, Sir, &c.

                                                              DURIVAL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       MR GRAND TO B. FRANKLIN.

                             Translation.

                                          Paris, September 12th, 1786.

  Sir,

I hazard a letter in hopes it may be able to join that of the 9th at
L'Orient, in order to forward to you the answer I have just received
from M. Durival. You will there see, that notwithstanding my entreaty,
the Minister himself refuses to give me a copy of the receipt which I
asked for. I cannot conceive the reason for this reserve, more
especially since, if there has been a million paid, he who has
received it has kept the account, and it must in time be known. I
shall hear with pleasure, that you have been more fortunate in this
respect in America than I have been in France; and I repeat to you the
assurance of the sentiments of regard, with which I have the honor to
be, &c.

                                                                GRAND.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO CHARLES THOMPSON.

                                     Philadelphia, January 27th, 1787.

  Dear Friend,

You may remember, that in the correspondence between us in June last,
on the subject of a million _free gift_ of the King of France,
acknowledged in our contract to have been received, but which did not
appear to be accounted for in our banker's accounts, unless it should
be the same with the million said to be received from the
Farmers-General, I mentioned, that an explanation might doubtless be
easily obtained by writing to Mr Grand, or Mr Jefferson. I know not
whether you have accordingly written to either of them, but being
desirous that the matter should speedily be cleared up, I wrote myself
to Mr Grand a letter upon it, of which I now enclose a copy, with his
answers, and several letters from M. Durival,[32] who is _Chef du
Bureau des Fonds_ (and has under his care the finance) _des Affaires
Etrangeres_.

You will see by these letters, that the million in question was
delivered to somebody, on the 10th of June, 1776, but it does not
appear to whom. It is clear, however, that it could not be to Mr
Grand, nor to the Commissioners from Congress, for we did not meet in
France till the end of December, 1776, or beginning of January, 1777,
and that banker was not charged before with our affairs.

By the Minister's reserve in refusing him a copy of the receipt, I
conjecture it must be money advanced for our use, to M. de
Beaumarchais, and that it is a _Mystère du Cabinet_, which perhaps
should not be further inquired into, unless necessary to guard against
more demands than may be just from that agent; for it may well be
supposed, that if the Court furnished him with the means of supplying
us, they may not be willing to furnish authentic proofs of such a
transaction, so early in our dispute with Britain. Pray tell me, has
he dropped his demands, or does he still continue to worry you with
them?

I should like to have these original letters returned to me, but you
may if you please keep copies of them. It is true the million in
question makes no difference in your accounts with the King of France,
it not being mentioned or charged, as so much lent and to be repaid,
but stated as freely given. Yet, if it was put into the hands of any
of your agents, or ministers, they ought certainly to account for it.
I do not recollect whether Mr Deane had arrived in France before the
10th of June, 1776;[33] but from his great want of money, when I
joined him a few months after, I hardly think it could have been paid
to him. Possibly Mr Jefferson may obtain the information, though Mr
Grand could not, and I wish he may be directed to make the inquiry, as
I know he would do it directly; I mean if, by Hortalez and Co's
further demands, or for any other reason, such an inquiry should be
thought necessary.[34]

  I am, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTES:

  [32] See these letters, pp. 223, 224, 225.

  [33] Deane did not arrive in Paris till the first week in July.

  [34] This matter was not cleared up till 1794, when Gouverneur Morris
  was American Minister in Paris. By application to the government he
  procured a copy of the receipt of the person, who received the million
  of francs on the tenth of June, 1776. It proved to be Beaumarchais, as
  Dr Franklin had conjectured. See _Pitkin's History of the United
  States_, Vol. I. p. 422.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                    Philadelphia, November 29th, 1788.

  Sir,

When I had the honor of being the Minister of the United States at the
Court of France, Mr Barclay arriving there, brought me the following
resolution of Congress.

"Resolved, that a commissioner be appointed by Congress, with full
power and authority to liquidate, and _finally to settle_, the
accounts of all the servants of the United States, who have been
intrusted with the expenditure of public money in Europe, and to
commence and prosecute such suits, causes, and actions, as may be
necessary for that purpose, or for the recovery of any property of the
said United States in the hands of any person, or persons, whatsoever.

"That the said commissioner be authorised to appoint one or more
clerks, with such allowance as he may think reasonable.

"That the said commissioner and clerks, respectively, take an oath
before some person duly authorised to administer an oath, faithfully
to execute the trust reposed in them respectively.

"Congress proceeded to the election of a commissioner, and ballots
being taken, Mr T. Barclay was elected."

In pursuance of this resolution, and as soon as Mr Barclay was at
leisure from more pressing business, I rendered to him all my
accounts, which he examined, and stated methodically. By his statement
he found a balance due me on the 4th of May, 1785, of 7,533 livres, 19
sols, 3 den. which I accordingly received of the Congress banker; the
difference between my statement and his being only seven sols, which
by mistake I had overcharged; about three pence halfpenny sterling.

At my request, however, the accounts were left open for the
consideration of Congress, and not finally settled, there being some
articles on which I desired their judgment, and having some equitable
demands, as I thought them, for extra services, which he had not
conceived himself empowered to allow, and therefore I did not put them
in my account. He transmitted the accounts to Congress, and had advice
of their being received. On my arrival at Philadelphia, one of the
first things I did was to despatch my grandson, William T. Franklin,
to New York, to obtain a final settlement of those accounts; he having
long acted as my secretary, and being well acquainted with the
transactions, was able to give an explanation of the articles, that
might seem to require explaining, if any such there were. He returned
without effecting the settlement, being told that it could not be made
till the arrival of some documents expected from France. What those
documents were, I have not been informed, nor can I readily conceive,
as all the vouchers existing there had been examined by Mr Barclay.
And I, having been immediately after my arrival engaged in the public
business of this State, waited in expectation of hearing from
Congress, in case any part of my accounts had been objected to.

It is now more than three years that those accounts have been before
that honorable body, and, to this day, no notice of any such objection
has been communicated to me. But reports have, for some time past,
been circulated here, and propagated in the newspapers, that I am
greatly indebted to the United States for large sums, that had been
put into my hands, and that I avoid a settlement. This, together with
the little time one of my age may expect to live, makes it necessary
for me to request earnestly, which I hereby do, that the Congress
would be pleased, without further delay, to examine those accounts,
and if they find therein any article or articles, which they do not
understand or approve, that they would cause me to be acquainted with
the same, that I may have an opportunity of offering such explanations
or reasons in support of them as may be in my power, and then that the
accounts may be finally closed.

I hope the Congress will soon be able to attend to this business for
the satisfaction of the public, as well as in condescension to my
request. In the meantime, if there be no impropriety in it, I would
desire that this letter, together with another[35] relating to the
same subject, the copy of which is hereto annexed, may be put upon
their minutes.

With every sentiment of respect and duty to Congress, I am, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

  [35] A letter to Mr Barclay, written in France, see p. 218.

                  *       *       *       *       *



  THE

  CORRESPONDENCE

  OF

  JOHN ADAMS,


  ONE OF THE COMMISSIONERS TO FRANCE, MINISTER
  PLENIPOTENTIARY TO HOLLAND, AND ONE OF THE
  COMMISSIONERS FOR NEGOTIATING THE
  TREATY OF PEACE.



John Adams was a delegate in the first Continental Congress, and one
of the most active, zealous, and efficient members of that body. For
three years his labors in Congress were incessant, and of the most
valuable kind. It is said of him, that he belonged to more committees
than any other individual, and he discharged the duties of each with
remarkable promptness and energy.

The foreign affairs of the United States having assumed an important
aspect, Mr Adams was appointed a Commissioner to France in the place
of Silas Deane, who had been recalled. This appointment took place on
the 28th of November, 1777, and in the following February he embarked
from Boston. After a long and disagreeable passage of fortyfive days
he arrived in France. Here he devoted himself to the duties of his
mission, in conjunction with his colleagues, till Dr Franklin was
appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of France, and the
commission was dissolved. Having no longer any charge to execute in
Europe, Mr Adams left Paris on the 8th of March, 1779, for Nantes,
where he proposed to embark for his own country. Various accidents and
unexpected causes of delay kept him there till the 14th of June, when
he sailed in the French frigate, the Sensible, in company with M. de
la Luzerne, who was coming to the United States in the character of
Minister Plenipotentiary, as successor to M. Gerard. The French
government had voluntarily proffered to Mr Adams a passage in this
vessel, after his disappointment in not sailing in the American
frigate Alliance, as he at first expected. The Sensible arrived in
Boston on the 3d of August.

But he was not long allowed to remain a spectator only of public
events. On the 27th of September he was again chosen by Congress to
represent his country abroad, as Minister Plenipotentiary for
negotiating a treaty of peace and a treaty of commerce with Great
Britain, when that nation should be found in a humor to recognise the
independence of the United States, and enter into bonds of friendship.
A task more honorable, momentous, and difficult could not have awaited
him, nor one bearing more emphatical testimony of the confidence of
his countrymen in his wisdom, abilities, integrity, and patriotism. On
this second mission he sailed in the same frigate, which had brought
him from France; accommodations for this purpose having been offered
to Congress by the French Minister in Philadelphia. The vessel sprang
a leak on the passage, and the captain was obliged to put into Ferrol,
in Spain, where he arrived on the 8th of December. From this place,
that he might avoid further hazards and uncertainty of a sea voyage in
the depth of winter, Mr Adams resolved to proceed by land to the point
of his destination. He reached Paris on the 9th of February, 1780. The
extreme badness of the travelling at this season had detained him
nearly two months on the road.

By the terms of his commission, the place of his residence was not
prescribed, but for the present he chose to fix himself in Paris, as
amicable relations already subsisted between the French Court and
Congress, and he was instructed to consult the French Ministry in
regard to any movements, that might be made in effecting a treaty with
England. He held a correspondence with Count de Vergennes, respecting
the time and manner of carrying his instructions into execution, and
on other topics; in all of which, however, his opinions and those of
the French Minister were somewhat at variance. There seeming no
prospect that Great Britain would soon be inclined to peace, and Mr
Adams having no special reasons for remaining at the French Court, he
made a tour to Holland in the beginning of August, leaving his
Secretary, Mr Dana, in Paris.

Meantime Congress had assigned to him another duty. Mr Henry Laurens
had been appointed, as early as November, 1779, to negotiate a loan of
ten millions abroad, but having been prevented by various causes from
departing on this service, Congress, on the 20th of June following,
authorised Mr Adams to engage in the undertaking, and prosecute it
till Mr Laurens, or some other person in his stead, should arrive in
Europe. This commission reached Paris four weeks after he had left
that city, and Mr Dana proceeded with it to Holland. Efforts were
immediately made to procure a loan in that country, which were for a
long time ineffectual, but which at last succeeded.

Mr Laurens sailed for Holland in August, 1780, but was captured a few
days afterwards by a British frigate, which conveyed him to
Newfoundland, whence he was sent to England and imprisoned in the
Tower. When this intelligence reached Congress, it was resolved to
transfer his appointment to another person, and on the 29th of
December Mr Adams was commissioned to negotiate a treaty of amity and
commerce with the United Provinces, and he was furnished with separate
letters of credence as Minister Plenipotentiary to the States-General
and to the Prince of Orange. The state of parties in Holland, and
particularly the influence of England there, rendered unavailing all
advances of the American Minister towards a treaty.

It having been intimated to Mr Adams, by the Duc de la Vauguyon,
French Ambassador in Holland, that a treaty of peace was in prospect
through the mediation of Russia and Austria, and that Count de
Vergennes would be glad to see him on the subject at Versailles, he
set off for Paris on the 6th of July, 1781. He had several interviews
with the Count de Vergennes, and a correspondence of some length.
After remaining three weeks at Paris and Versailles, without
perceiving any apparent indications, that this project for a
negotiation would come to maturity, he returned again to Holland.

On the 14th of June Congress appointed four other Commissioners, in
conjunction with Mr Adams, to negotiate a treaty of peace, namely,
Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson, and
the first commission of Mr Adams for this purpose was annulled.

A misunderstanding having grown up between England and the United
Provinces, chiefly on account of the part taken by the latter in
joining the northern powers to carry into operation the plan of the
armed neutrality, the French Court thought it a good opportunity for
the United States to seek a treaty of alliance with Holland. This step
was accordingly recommended to Congress through the French Minister at
Philadelphia, and, in consequence of this suggestion, new powers were
conferred on Mr Adams, dated August the 16th, by which he was
commissioned to negotiate a treaty of alliance with Holland, limited
in duration to the continuance of the war with England, and
conformable to the treaties then subsisting with France.

The political relations between the several Provinces of Holland were
such, however, that the process of negotiation went on heavily and
slowly. The English interest still continued strong, even after the
war had begun, and embarrassments of various kinds were thrown in the
way, which required no common share of sagacity, firmness, and
perseverance to overcome. All these at length yielded, and on the 8th
of October, 1782, a treaty of commerce between the United States and
Holland, and a convention concerning recaptures, were signed at the
Hague.

Dr Franklin and Mr Jay had now been for three or four months actively
engaged in the negotiation of peace at Paris. Having thus brought
affairs to a happy issue in Holland, Mr Adams hastened to join the
Commissioners, and arrived in Paris before the end of October. From
that time till the Preliminary Articles were signed, November the
30th, he applied himself unremittingly with his colleagues to the
details of the negotiation. He also took part in the discussions
respecting the Definitive Treaty, which followed from time to time,
and was one of the signers of that instrument.

In the winter of 1784 he was in Holland. In January, 1785, he was
appointed the first American Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of
St James's. While in England, he wrote his Defence of the American
Constitutions. In the year 1788 permission was granted him to return
home, where he arrived after an absence of almost nine years, during
the whole of which period he had been employed in services of the
highest responsibility and importance. He was shortly afterwards
elected Vice President of the United States, under the first
Presidency of Washington.



THE

CORRESPONDENCE

OF

JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

             COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO JOHN ADAMS.

                             York, in Pennsylvania, December 3d, 1777.

  Dear Sir,

With great pleasure to ourselves we discharge our duty, by enclosing
to you your commission for representing these United States at the
Court of France. We are by no means willing to admit a thought of your
declining this important service, and therefore we send duplicates of
the commission, and the late resolves, in order that you may take one
set with you, and send the other by another vessel.

These are important papers, and therefore we wish they may be put into
the hands of a particular and careful person, with directions to
deliver them himself into the hands of the Commissioners. Mr Hancock,
before he left this place, said that he intended to send a gentleman
to France on some particular business. Cannot we prevail to get this
gentleman to undertake the delivery of our packet to the
Commissioners, they paying the expense of travel to Paris, and back
again to his place of business?

It is unnecessary to mention the propriety of directing these
despatches to be bagged with weight proper for sinking them, on any
immediate prospect of their otherwise falling into the enemy's hands.

We sincerely wish you a quick and pleasant voyage, being truly your
affectionate friends,

                                                            R. H. LEE,
                                                            JAMES LOVELL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

              TO HENRY LAURENS, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Braintree, December 23d, 1777.

  Sir,

Having been absent on a journey, I had not the honor of receiving your
letters until yesterday, when one, of the 28th of November, enclosing
a resolution of Congress of the same day, and another of the 3d of
December, enclosing a commission for Dr Franklin, Dr Lee, and myself,
to represent the United States at the Court of France, were delivered
to me in Boston.

As I am deeply penetrated with a sense of the high honor, which has
been done me in this appointment, I cannot but wish I were better
qualified for the important trust, but as Congress are perfectly
acquainted with all my deficiencies, I conclude it is their
determination to make the necessary allowances; in the humble hope of
which, I shall submit my own judgment to theirs, and devote all the
faculties I have, and all that I can acquire, to their service.

You will be pleased to accept of my sincere thanks, for the polite
manner in which you have communicated to me the commands of Congress,
and believe me to be, with the most perfect respect and esteem, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                       Braintree, December 24th, 1777.

  Gentlemen,

Having been absent from this State, I had not the honor of your favor
of December 3d, until the 22d, when it was delivered to me with its
enclosures, viz. a letter from the President to the Navy Board at
Boston, and a private letter of December 8th, from Mr Lovell. At the
same time, I received a packet directed to Benjamin Franklin, Arthur
Lee, and John Adams, Commissioners of the United States of America, in
France, under seal. I also received a packet unsealed, containing

1. Copy of a letter dated the 2d of December, from the Committee of
Foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.

2. A duplicate of a commission of the 27th of November, to the
Commissioners.

3. A duplicate of a resolve of December 3d; duplicates of resolves of
November 20th and 21st, and duplicates of resolves of November 10th
and 22d.

4. Two letters unsealed, to Silas Deane, Paris.

5. Two printed handbills, one containing messages, &c. between the
Generals Bourgoyne and Gates; the other, a copy of a letter, &c. from
Mr Strickland. The packet under seal, I shall do myself the honor to
forward by the first conveyance, and the other shall be conveyed, God
willing, with my own hand.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO SAMUEL ADAMS.

                                                Passy, May 21st, 1778.

  Dear Sir,

I have never yet paid my respects to you since my arrival in Europe,
for which seeming neglect of duty, the total novelty of the scenes
about me, and the incessant avocations of business, and ceremony, and
pleasure, (for this last, I find in Europe, makes an essential part of
both the other two,) must plead my excuse.

The situation of the general affairs of Europe is still critical and
of dubious tendency. It is still uncertain whether there will be war
between the Turks and the Russians, between the Emperor and the King
of Prussia, and indeed between England and France, in the opinion of
many people. My own conjecture, however, is that a war will commence,
and that soon.

Before this reaches you, you will be informed that a strong squadron
of thirteen capital ships and several frigates has sailed from Toulon,
and that another squadron is ordered to sail from Spithead. Whatever I
may have heard of the destination of the first, I am not at liberty to
mention it. We have no intelligence that the latter has sailed.

Chatham the great is no more, but there is so much of his wild spirit
in his last speech yet left in the nation, that I have no doubt but
the administration will put all to the hazard.

We are happy to hear by the frigate, La Sensible, which has returned
to Brest, that the treaty arrived safe at Casco Bay. We hope to have
the earliest intelligence of the ratification of it. The Commissioners
from England, of the 22d of April, will meet, as we suppose, with
nothing but ridicule. The King of Prussia is yet upon the reserve
concerning America, or rather forgetting his promise, has determined
not to acknowledge our independence at present. His reason is obvious;
he wants the aid of those very German princes, who are most
subservient to Great Britain, who have furnished her with troops to
carry on the war against us, and, therefore, he does not choose to
offend them by an alliance with us at present. Spain is on the reserve
too, but there is not the least doubt entertained here of her
intention to support America. In Holland there is more friendship for
us than I was aware of before I came here; at least, they will take no
part against us.

Our affairs in this kingdom I find in a state of confusion and
darkness, that surprises me. Prodigious sums of money have been
expended, and large sums are yet due; but there are no books of
account, nor any documents from whence I have been able to learn what
the United States have received as an equivalent.

There is one subject which lies heavily on my mind, and that is the
expense of the Commissioners. You have three Commissioners at this
Court, each of whom lives at an expense of at least three thousand
pounds sterling a year, I fear at a greater expense; few men in the
world are capable of living at a less expense than I am. But I find
the other gentlemen have expended from three to four thousand a year
each, and one of them from five to six. And by all the inquiries I
have been able to make, I cannot find any article of expense which can
be retrenched.[36]

The truth is, in my humble opinion, our system is wrong in many
particulars.

1. In having three Commissioners at this Court; one in the character
of Envoy is enough. At present, each of the three is considered in the
character of a public Minister Plenipotentiary, which lays him under
an absolute necessity of living up to this character, whereas, one
alone would be obliged to incur no greater expense, and would be quite
sufficient for all the business of a public Minister.

2. In leaving the salaries of these Ministers at an uncertainty, you
will never be able to obtain a satisfactory account of the public
monies while this system continues; it is a temptation to live at too
great an expense, and gentlemen will feel an aversion to demanding a
vigorous account.

3. In blending the business of a public Minister with that of a
commercial agent. The business of various departments is by this means
so blended, and the public and private expenses so confounded with
each other, that I am sure no satisfaction can ever be given to the
public of the disposition of their interests, and I am very confident,
that jealousies and suspicions will hereafter arise against the
characters of gentlemen, who may, perhaps, have acted with perfect
integrity and the fairest intentions for the public good.

My idea is this; separate the offices of public Ministers from those
of commercial agents;[37] recall, or send to some other Court, all
the public Ministers but one at this Court; determine with precision
the sum that shall be allowed to the remaining one for his expenses,
for his salary, and for his time, risk, trouble, &c.; and when this is
done, see that he receives no more than his allowance. The
inconveniences arising from the multiplicity of Ministers and the
complication of business are infinite.

Remember me with the most tender affection to my worthy colleagues,
and to all others to whom you know they are due.

  I am your friend and servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTES:

  [36] In another letter, which Mr Adams afterwards wrote to Mr Samuel
  Adams, he says the account of the Commissioners' expenses here given
  is "exaggerated," and "put much too high," owing to his having been
  but a short time in Paris, and not being accurately informed on the
  subject. See this letter hereafter, dated February 14th, 1779, in the
  present volume.

  By a letter from Mr Arthur Lee, dated May 9th, 1778, containing a
  transcript from the banker's books, it appears, that from December,
  1776, to March, 1778, a period of fifteen months, Silas Deane received
  on his private account, $20,926; Arthur Lee, $12,749; and Dr Franklin,
  $12,214. _See Arthur Lee's Correspondence_, Vol. II. p. 159, where the
  above sums are stated in livres, and they are here reduced to dollars
  by the rule practised at that time, of allowing five livres and eight
  sols to the dollar. The fractions are omitted in the reduction. It
  must be observed, that the above payments are not a specification of
  the amounts actually received for the period in question, because the
  Commissioners may have had other expenses for which they afterwards
  drew on the banker, but these sums may serve as a tolerably correct
  indication of their expenses, and were probably intended as such by Mr
  Lee. At this time no fixed salary was allowed, but Congress resolved
  that all expenses should be paid, and that such an additional
  compensation should be granted, as might afterwards be deemed
  expedient by Congress.

  On the 1st of June, 1778, Mr Lee wrote to Congress; "I am of opinion,
  with our colleague, Mr Adams, that it would be better for the public,
  that the appointment of your public Ministers were fixed, instead of
  being left at large, and their expenses indefinite. From experience, I
  find the expense of living in that character cannot well be less than
  three thousand pounds sterling a year, ($13,333) which I believe is as
  little as is allowed to any public Minister beyond the rank of
  consul." _Arthur Lee's Correspondence_, Vol. II. p. 165.

  The original mode of paying Ministers abroad continued, however, till
  October 4th, 1779, when Congress,

  _Resolved_, That each of the Ministers Plenipotentiary, be allowed at
  the rate of two thousand five hundred pounds sterling ($11,111) per
  annum; and each of their Secretaries at the rate of one thousand
  pounds sterling ($4,444) per annum, in full for their services and
  expenses respectively.

  "That the salary of each of the said officers be computed from the
  time of leaving his place of abode to enter on the duties of his
  office, and be continued three months after notice of his recall."
  _Secret Journals_, Vol. II. p. 272.

  The salaries continued fixed at the above sums during the remainder of
  the revolution, and till May 7th, 1784, when the salary of Ministers
  was reduced to $9000, and that of Secretaries to $3000 per annum.

  [37] Dr Franklin expresses this opinion very strongly on several
  occasions; and after he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary, with
  the duties of commercial agent attached to his office, he repeatedly
  solicited Congress to separate these duties, and to leave him in
  charge only of those branches of business, which pertained to him in
  the character of Minister. See _Franklin's Correspondence_, Vol. III.
  pp. 90, 108, 119, 131.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE COMMERCIAL COMMITTEE.

                                                Passy, May 24th, 1778.

  Gentlemen,

I find that the American affairs on this side of the Atlantic are in a
state of disorder, very much resembling that which is so much to be
regretted on the other, and arising, as I suppose, from the same
general causes, the novelty of the scenes, the inexperience of the
actors, and the rapidity with which great events have succeeded each
other. Our resources are very inadequate to the demands made upon us,
which are perhaps unnecessarily increased by several irregularities of
proceeding.

We have in some places two or three persons, who claim the character
of American agents, agent for commercial affairs, and continental
agent, for they are called by all these different appellations. In one
quarter, one gentleman claims the character from the appointment of
Mr William Lee, another claims it from the appointment of the
Commissioners at Passy, and a third from the appointment of the
Commercial Committee of Congress. This introduces a triple expense,
and much confusion and delay. These evils have been accidental, I
believe, and unavoidable, but they are evils still, and ought to be
removed.

One person at Bordeaux, another at Nantes, and a third perhaps at
Havre de Grace, or Dunkirk, would be amply sufficient for all public
purposes, and to these persons all orders from Congress, or the
Commercial Committee, or the Commissioners at Paris, ought to be
addressed. To the same persons all public ships of war, and all other
ships belonging to the United States, and their prizes, ought to be
addressed; and all orders for the supplies of provisions, clothing,
repairs of vessels, &c. as well as all orders for shipping of
merchandises, or warlike stores for the United States, ought to go
through their hands. We have such abuses and irregularities every day
occurring, as are very alarming. Agents of various sorts are drawing
bills upon us, and the commanders of vessels of war are drawing upon
us for expenses and supplies, which we never ordered, so that our
resources will soon fail, if a speedy stop is not put to this career.

And we find it so difficult to obtain accounts from agents of the
expenditure of monies, and of the goods and merchandises shipped by
them, that we can never know the true state of our finances, or when
and in what degree we have executed the orders of Congress for sending
them arms, clothes, medicines, or other things.

In order to correct some of the abuses, and to bring our affairs into
a little better order, I have constantly given my voice against
paying for things we never ordered, against paying persons who have
never been authorised, and against throwing our affairs into a
multiplicity of hands in the same place. But the consequence has been
so many refusals of demands and requests, that I expect much
discontent will arise from it, and many clamors. Whether the
appointment by Congress of one or more consuls for this kingdom would
remedy these inconveniences, I must submit to their wisdom.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                            JOHN ADAMS

                *       *       *       *       *

                        TO JAMES LOVELL.

                                                Passy, July 9th, 1778.

  My Dear Friend,

I had yesterday the honor of receiving the despatches from Congress,
which were sent by the Saratoga from Baltimore, arrived at Nantes,
convoyed in by the Boston, Captain Tucker, (who was returning from a
short cruise, and who has sent in four prizes,) and those by the Spy,
from New London, arrived at Brest, and the inexpressible pleasure of
your private letters by the same vessels. You acquaint me, that you
had written to me eight or nine times, which has given me some
anxiety, as these letters are the first I have received from you or
from any member of Congress, since my arrival in France.

The ratification of the treaty gives universal joy to this Court and
nation, who seem to be sincerely and deeply rejoiced at this connexion
between the two countries.

There is no declaration of war as yet at London or Versailles, but the
ships of the two nations are often fighting at sea, and there is not
the smallest doubt but war will be declared, unless Britain should
miraculously have wisdom given her to make a treaty with the Congress
like that which France has made. Spain has not made a treaty, but be
not deceived nor intimidated, all is safe in that quarter.

The unforeseen dispute in Bavaria has made the Empress Queen and King
of Prussia cautious of quarrelling with Great Britain, because her
connexion with a number of the German Princes, whose aid each of those
potentates is soliciting, makes her friendship, or at least her
neutrality in the German war, of importance to each. But this will do
no hurt to America.

You have drawn so many bills of exchange upon us, and sent us so many
frigates, every one of which costs us a large sum of money, so many
merchandises and munitions of war have been sent, whether arrived or
not, and we expect so many more drafts upon us, that I assure you I am
very uneasy concerning our finances here. We are laboring to hire
money, and have some prospect of success, but I am afraid not for such
sums as will be wanted.

Let me entreat you to omit no opportunity of writing me; send me all
the newspapers, journals, &c. and believe me your friend and servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO JAMES LOVELL.

                                               Passy, July 26th, 1778.

  My Dear Friend,

Your favors of May 16th and 25th, by Captain Barnes reached me
yesterday. These, with those by Niles from Connecticut, and those by
the Saratoga from Baltimore, are all that I have received from you, or
from anybody at Congress; which gives me pain, because your other
letters must have miscarried, and I hold your letters in so high
esteem, that I cannot be willing to lose one.

The robbery of Folger's packet, by all that I can learn, must have
been committed by a traitor, who made his escape to England. But Dr
Franklin and Mr Lee, who were acquainted with this transaction, will,
I suppose, develope the mystery as far as they are able. One of these
gentlemen has some other suspicions, but I believe the fugitive to
England was the only thief.

Mr Deane, whom you mention, is no doubt with you before now, but if
the Count d'Estaing has not been able to strike a decisive blow before
the arrival of Byron, I should fear that some misfortune has befallen
him since the junction of Byron and Howe. We are, however, anxious to
know the naval manoeuvres in America, as well as those of the armies.
Mr Deane complains of ill treatment, and claims great merit for his
services. I shall not add to the ill treatment, nor depreciate the
merit, but it will never do for Congress to dread the resentment of
their servants. I have heard a great deal in this country concerning
his conduct; great panegyrics and harsh censures. But I believe he has
neither the extravagant merit that some persons ascribe to him, nor
the gross faults to answer for, which some others impute or suspect. I
believe he was a diligent servant of the public, and rendered it
useful service. His living was expensive, but whether he made the vast
profit to himself that some persons suspect, I know not, or whether
any profit at all. One thing I know, that my family will feel that I
shall not imitate him in this faculty, if it really was his; for which
reason I wish Congress would determine, what allowance we shall have
for our time, that I might know whether my family can live upon it or
not.

Extravagant claims to merit are always to be suspected. General Gates
was the ablest negotiator you ever had in Europe,[38] and next to him,
General Washington's attack upon the enemy at Germantown. I do not
know, indeed, whether this last affair had not more influence upon the
European mind than that of Saratoga. Although the attempt was
unsuccessful, the military gentlemen in Europe considered it as the
most decisive proof that America would finally succeed.

And you may depend upon it, although your agents in Europe were to
plead with the tongues of men and angels, although they had the
talents and the experience of Mazarin, or the integrity of d'Asset,
your army in America will have more success than they.

I foresee there will be diversities of sentiment concerning this
gentleman, (Deane,) and perhaps warm debates. Perhaps there will be as
much as there has been about a General in the northern department. All
that I request is, that I may not be drawn into the dispute. Europe
has not charms enough for me to wish to stay here to the exclusion of
abler negotiators, much less at the expense of heat and divisions in
Congress. How well united you were in the choice of me I never was
informed, and how soon attempts may be made to displace me I know not.
But one thing I beg of my friends, and one only, that if any attempt
of that kind should be made, they would give me up, rather than
continue my residence at the expense of debates in Congress, and by
the favor of small majorities.

If I were capable of speculating in English funds, or of conducting
private trade, I might find opportunities here to make a private
profit, and might have inducements from private considerations to
continue here; but this will never be my case, and I am very well
persuaded that Congress will never grant me so much for my services
here, as I could earn by my profession in Boston, to which I will
return with submission to old ocean, old Boreas, and British men of
war, the moment I am released from this station. I wish however that
Congress would determine what allowance they will grant, that honest
men may not be made or suspected otherwise. As to the public, I am
fully persuaded that its interests are not at all concerned in my
residence here, as there is a great plenty of persons quite as well
qualified.

  I am, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [38] The capture of Burgoyne was the immediate cause of the treaty of
  alliance between France and the United States.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Passy, July 27th, 1778.

  Sir,

I thank you for your kind congratulations on the favorable appearances
in our American concerns, and for so politely particularizing one of
the most inconsiderable of them, my safe arrival in France, which was
after a very inconvenient passage of fortyfive days.

Your letter to Mr Izard I had the pleasure to send to him immediately
in Paris, where he resides, the Court of Tuscany being so connected
with that of Vienna, as to discourage hitherto his departure for
Italy. He did me the honor of a visit yesterday, when we had much
conversation upon American affairs.

Your other letter to your daughter-in-law, I have forwarded by a safe
opportunity. You may depend upon my conveying your letters to any of
your friends by the best opportunities, and with despatch. The more of
your commands you send me, the more pleasure you will give me.

War is not declared, that is, no manifesto has been published, but
each nation is daily manufacturing materials for the other's
manifesto, by open hostilities. In short, Sir, the two nations have
been at war ever since the recall of the Ambassadors. The King of
France has given orders to all his ships to attack the English, and
has given vast encouragement to privateers.

The King of Great Britain and his council have determined to send
instructions to their Commissioners in America to offer us
independency, provided we will make peace with them, separate from
France. This appears to me to be the last effort to seduce, deceive,
and divide. They know that every man of honor in America must receive
this proposition with indignation. But they think they can get the men
of no honor to join them by such a proposal, and they think the men of
honor are not a majority. What has America done to give occasion to
that King and council to think so unworthily of her.

The proposition is in other words this; "America, you have fought me
until I despair of beating you, you have made an alliance with the
first power of Europe, which is a great honor to your country and a
great stability to your cause, so great that it has excited my highest
resentment, and has determined me to go to war with France. Do you
break your faith with that power and forfeit her confidence, as well
as that of all the rest of mankind forever, and join me to beat her,
or stand by neuter and see me do it, and for all this I will
acknowledge your independency, because I think in that case you cannot
maintain it, but will be an easy prey to me afterwards, who am
determined to break my faith with you, as I wish you to do yours with
France."

My dear countrymen, I hope you will not be allured upon the rocks, by
the syren song of peace. They are now playing a sure game. They have
run all hazards, but now they hazard nothing.

I know your application is incessant and your moments precious, and,
therefore, that I ask a great favor in requesting your correspondence,
but the interests of the public, as well as private friendship, induce
me to do it.

  I am, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO SAMUEL ADAMS.

                                               Passy, July 28th, 1778.

  My Dear Sir,

The Sovereign of Britain and his Council have determined to instruct
their Commissioners to offer you independence, provided you will
disconnect yourselves from France.

The question arises, how came the King and Council by authority to
offer this? It is certain that they have it not.

In the next place, is the treaty of alliance between us and France now
binding upon us? I think there is not room to doubt it; for
declarations and manifestos do not make the state of war, they are
only publications of the reasons of war. Yet the message of the King
of Great Britain to both houses of Parliament, and their answers to
that message were as full a declaration of war as ever was made, and
accordingly hostilities have been frequent ever since. This proposal,
then, is a modest invitation to a gross act of infidelity and breach
of faith. It is an observation that I have often heard you make, that
"France is the natural ally of the United States." This observation
is, in my opinion, both just and important. The reasons are plain. As
long as Great Britain shall have Canada, Nova Scotia, and the
Floridas, or any of them, so long will Great Britain be the enemy of
the United States, let her disguise it as much as she will.

It is not much to the honor of human nature, but the fact is certain,
that neighboring nations are never friends in reality. In the times of
the most perfect peace between them, their hearts and their passions
are hostile, and this will certainly be the case forever between the
thirteen United States and the English colonies. France and England,
as neighbors and rivals, never have been and never will be friends.
The hatred and jealousy between the nations are eternal and
irradicable. As we, therefore, on the one hand, have the surest ground
to expect the jealousy and hatred of Great Britain, so on the other we
have the strongest reasons to depend upon the friendship and alliance
of France, and no one reason in the world to expect her enmity or her
jealousy, as she has given up every pretension to any spot of ground
on the Continent. The United States, therefore, will be for ages the
natural bulwark of France against the hostile designs of England
against her, and France is the natural defence of the United States
against the rapacious spirit of Great Britain against them. France is
a nation so vastly eminent, having been for so many centuries what
they call the dominant power of Europe, being incomparably the most
powerful at land, that united in a close alliance with our States, and
enjoying the benefit of our trade, there is not the smallest reason to
doubt, but both will be a sufficient curb upon the naval power of
Great Britain.

This connexion, therefore, will forever secure a respect for our
States in Spain, Portugal, and Holland too, who will always choose to
be upon friendly terms with powers, who have numerous cruisers at sea,
and indeed in all the rest, of Europe. I presume, therefore, that
sound policy as well as good faith will induce us never to renounce
our alliance with France, even although it should continue us for some
time in war. The French are as sensible of the benefits of this
alliance to them as we are, and they are determined as much as we to
cultivate it.

In order to continue the war, or at least that we may do any good in
the common cause, the credit of our currency must be supported. But
how? Taxes, my dear Sir, taxes. Pray let our countrymen consider and
be wise; every farthing they pay in taxes is a farthing's worth of
wealth and good policy. If it were possible to hire money in Europe to
discharge the bills, it would be a dreadful drain to the country to
pay the interest of it. But I fear it will not be. The house of
Austria has sent orders to Amsterdam to hire a very great sum, England
is borrowing great sums, and France is borrowing largely. Amidst such
demands for money, and by powers who offer better terms, I fear we
shall not be able to succeed.

Pray write me as often as you can, and believe me your friend and
servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO JAMES WARREN.

                                              Passy, August 4th, 1778.

  My Dear Sir,

Your kind favor of July the 1st was brought here yesterday from
Bordeaux, where Captain Ayres has arrived, but was not delivered to me
till this day. This is the second only received from you. I have
infinite satisfaction in learning from all parts of America the
prosperous train of our affairs, and the unanimity and spirit of the
people. Every vessel brings us fresh accessions of ardor to the
French, and of depression to the English, in the war that is now begun
in earnest.

The resolutions of Congress upon the Conciliatory Bills, the address
to the people, the ratification of the treaty, the answer to the
Commissioners, the President's letter, the message of G. Livingston,
and the letter of Mr Drayton, are read here with an avidity that would
surprise you. It is not one of the least misfortunes of Great Britain,
that she has to contend with so much eloquence; that there are such
painters to exhibit her atrocious actions to the world, and transmit
them to posterity. Every publication of this kind seems to excite the
ardor of the French nation, and of their fleets and armies, as much as
if they were Americans.

While American orators are thus employed in perpetuating the
remembrance of the injustice and cruelty of Great Britain towards us,
the French fleet has been giving such a check to her naval pride, as
she has not experienced before for many ages. The vessel, which is to
carry this, will carry information of a general engagement between
d'Orvilliers and Keppel, which terminated in a disgraceful flight of
the English fleet. We hope soon to hear of d'Estaing's success, which
would demonstrate to the universe, that Britain is no longer mistress
of the ocean. But the events of war are always uncertain, and a
misfortune may have happened to the French fleet in America. But even
if this should be the case, which I do not believe, still Britain is
not mistress of the sea, and every day will bring fresh proofs that
she is not. The springs of her naval power are dried away.

I have hitherto had the happiness to find that my pulse beat in exact
unison with those of my countrymen. I have ventured with some freedom
to give my opinion, as to what Congress would do with the Conciliatory
Bills, with the Commissioners, with the treaty, &c. &c. and every
packet brings us proceedings of Congress, according in substance, but
executed in a manner infinitely exceeding my abilities. Nothing has
given me more joy, than the universal disdain that is expressed both
in public and private letters, at the idea of departing from the
treaty and violating the public faith. This faith is our American
glory, and it is our bulwark. It is the only foundation on which our
union can rest securely, it is the only support of our credit both in
finance and commerce; it is our sole security for the assistance of
foreign powers. If the British Court with their arts could shake it,
or the confidence in it, we should be undone forever. They would
triumph over us, after all our toil and danger. They would subjugate
us more entirely than they ever intended. The idea of infidelity
cannot be treated with too much resentment or too much horror. The man
who can think of it with patience is a traitor in his heart, and ought
be execrated as one, who adds the deepest hypocrisy to the blackest
treason.

Is there a sensible hypocrite in America, who can start a jealousy,
that religion may be in danger? From whence can this danger arise? Not
from France, she claims no inch of ground upon your continent. She
claims no legislative authority over you, no negative upon your laws,
no right of appointing you bishops, nor of sending you missionaries.
Besides, the spirit of crusading for religion is not in France. The
rage for making proselytes, which has existed in former centuries, is
no more. There is a spirit more liberal here in this respect, than I
expected to find. Where has been the danger to the religion of the
Protestant cantons of Switzerland, from an alliance with France, which
has subsisted with entire harmony for one hundred and fifty years, or
thereabouts? But this subject is fitter for ridicule than serious
argument, as nothing can be clearer than that in this enlightened
tolerant age, at this vast distance, without a claim or color of
authority, with an express acknowledgment and warranty of sovereignty,
this, I had almost said tolerant nation, can never endanger our
religion.

The longer I live in Europe, and the more I consider our affairs, the
more important our alliance with France appears to me. It is a rock
upon which we may safely build. Narrow and illiberal prejudices,
peculiar to John Bull, with which I might perhaps have been in some
degree infected when I was John Bull, have now no influence over me. I
never was, however, much of John Bull. I was John Yankee, and such I
shall live and die. Is Great Britain to be annihilated? No such thing.
A revolution in her government may possibly take place. But whether in
favor of despotism or republicanism, is the question. The scarcity of
virtue, and even the semblance of it, seems an invincible obstacle to
the latter. But the annihilation of a nation never takes place. It
depends wholly on herself to determine whether she shall sink down
into the rank of the middling powers of Europe, or whether she shall
maintain the second place in the scale. If she continues this war, the
first will be her fate, if she stops short in her mad career and makes
peace, she may still be in the second predicament. America will grow
with astonishing rapidity, and England, France, and every other nation
in Europe will be the better for her prosperity. Peace, which is her
dear delight, will be her wealth and her glory, for I cannot see the
seed of a war with any part of the world in future, but with Great
Britain, and such States as may be weak enough, if any such there
should be, to become her allies. That such a peace may be speedily
concluded, and that you and I may return to our farms to enjoy the
fruits of it, spending our old age in recounting to our children the
toils and dangers we have encountered for their benefit, is the wish
of your friend,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.

                                              Passy, August 5th, 1778.

  My Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 20th of June, by Captain Ayres, from Boston, had a
quick passage. He sailed on the 4th of July, and your letters were
brought to Passy from Bordeaux, where she arrived the 3d of August.

I thank you, Sir, for the kind expressions of your obliging anxiety
for me. The uncertainty in which you remain so long, concerning the
fate of the Boston, must have been occasioned by the capture of many
vessels by which the news was sent, together with many bundles of
English newspapers and pamphlets. The prompt ratification of the
treaties, as well as the dignity with which you have received the
letters from the British Commissioners, has given great satisfaction
here. The two articles, the Count de Vergennes agreed, when we
presented your instructions to him on that head, should be given up.

The confederation is an important object, and nothing is more wished
for in Europe than its completion, and the finishing of the separate
governments. The eagerness to complete the American code, and the
strains of panegyric in which they speak and write of those parts of
it, which have been published in Europe, are very remarkable, and seem
to indicate a general revolution in the sentiments of mankind upon the
subject of government. Our currency cannot engage our attention too
much. And the more we think of it, the more we shall be convinced,
that taxation, deep and broad taxation, is the only sure and lasting
remedy. Loans in Europe will be very difficult to obtain. The powers
at war, or at the eve of war, have such vast demands, and offer terms
so much better than ours, that nothing but sheer benevolence to our
cause can induce any person to lend us. Besides a large foreign debt
would be a greater evil, for what I know, than a paper currency.
Moreover, your large drafts upon the Commissioners here, from various
quarters, are like to consume more money than we can borrow. We shall
do however all we can.

I have hitherto had the good fortune to preserve a good understanding
with the gentleman you mention, and shall endeavor to continue it. I
have long known him to be employed very ably and usefully for our
country, and his merits and services, his integrity and abilities,
will induce me to cultivate his friendship, as far as I can,
consistently with the public service. I wish I could converse with you
freely upon this subject, but it would lead me into too long a detail.
It has given me much grief, since my arrival here, to find so little
harmony among many respectable characters; so many mutual jealousies,
and so much distrust of one another. As soon as I perceived it, I
determined neither to quarrel with any man here, because he had
quarrelled with another, or because another had quarrelled with him;
nor to make any man my bosom friend, because he was the bosom friend
of any other; but to attend solely to the public service, and give my
voice upon all occasions, as I should think that justice and policy
required, whether it agreed with the opinion of one man or another. I
cannot be more particular. If I were to take every man's word, I
should think there was not one disinterested American here, because it
is very certain, that there is nobody here, that everybody speaks well
of. There is no doubt to be made, that private interest has some
influence here upon some minds, and that our mercantile affairs and
competitions have occasioned some altercation. But there is, I think,
rather more of mutual reproaches of interested views and designs,
rather more of animosity among the Americans here, than I remember to
have seen anywhere else. I will have nothing to do with any of these
things. I will have nothing to do with designs and endeavors to run
down characters, to paint in odious colors indifferent actions, to
excite or propagate suspicions without evidence, or to foment or
entertain prejudices of any kind, if I can possibly avoid it. I am
really ashamed to write to you in this enigmatical manner, which is
not natural to me; but I know not how to write clearer at present. I
sometimes differ in sentiment from each of my colleagues, and
sometimes agree with each; yet I do not trim, or at least I think I do
not. It has been and shall be my endeavor to heal and reconcile, to
the utmost of my power, Yet I fear, that some gentlemen are gone over
to America, heated with altercation and inflamed with prejudice.
Others still remain here, it is to be feared, in the same temper of
mind, and probably many letters are gone over loaded. These things
will probably make you uncomfortable, as they have and will make us. I
really wish, however, that you would remove the cause of this, and
appoint consuls to do the mercantile business. If you do not, however,
I am determined to go on, giving my voice clearly and without
equivocation, and at the same time without wrangling or ill will.

We expect on Sunday, the 9th, the English accounts of the sea fight
between d'Orvilliers and Keppel, which happened on the 27th ult. in
which the former obtained the laurels, whatever representation the
latter may make of it. There are so many facts, attested by so many
respectable witnesses, that there is no room to doubt, but that the
Britons lost the day; a terrible loss indeed to a nation, who have the
empire of the sea to maintain, in order almost to preserve their
existence. It is not being equal to France at sea; they must support a
clear and decided superiority, not only to France, but to France and
Spain in conjunction, not to mention our States, in order to preserve
their rank among the powers of Europe. My tenderest respects to all
good men.

  I am, dear Sir, affectionately yours,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

              TO HENRY LAURENS, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Passy, August 27th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the last gazettes, by which Congress will
see the dearth of news in Europe at present. We expect an abundance of
it at once soon, as we have nothing from America since the 4th of
July.

The French fleet went out again from Brest the 17th, but we have not
yet heard that the English fleet is out. While the two fleets were in
the harbor, the British East India fleet, and another small West India
fleet, got in; a misfortune of no small moment, as the British
finances will receive by means of it a fresh supply of money for the
present, and their fleet a considerable reinforcement of seamen.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Passy, September 7th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to Congress all the newspapers I have by
me, enough to show that we have nothing very important here at
present. The French and British fleets are again at sea, and we hourly
expect intelligence of a second battle; but our expectations from
America are still more interesting and anxious, having nothing from
them since the 3d of July, except what is contained in the English
gazettes.

Events have probably already passed in America, although not known in
Europe, which will determine the great question, whether we shall
have a long war or a short one. The eyes of all Europe are fixed upon
Spain, whose armaments by sea and land are vastly expensive and
extremely formidable, but whose designs are a profound, impenetrable
secret; time, however, will discover them. In the meantime, we have
the satisfaction to be sure, that they are not inimical to America.
For this, we have the word of a King, signified by his Ministers, a
King, who they say never breaks his word, but, on the contrary, has
given many striking proofs of his sacred regard to it.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Passy, September 11th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to Congress the latest gazettes. We have
no other intelligence, than is contained in them.

Since the 11th of July, the date of Lord Howe's announcing the arrival
of the Count d'Estaing off Sandy Hook, we have not a syllable from
America, by the way of England. In France, we have nothing from
America since July 3d. This long interval leaves a vast scope for
imagination to play, and, accordingly, there is no end to the
speculations prompted by the hopes and fears of the nations of Europe.
We are weary of conjectures, and must patiently wait for time to end
them.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                        TO M. RAY DE CHAUMONT.

                                          Passy, September 15th, 1778.

  Sir,

As our finances are, at present, in a situation seriously critical,
and as I hold myself accountable to Congress for every part of my
conduct, even to the smallest article of my expenses, I must beg the
favor of you to consider what rent we ought to pay you for this house
and furniture, both for the time past and to come. Every part of your
conduct towards me, and towards our Americans in general, and in all
our affairs, has been polite and obliging, as far as I have had an
opportunity of observing, and I have no doubt it will continue so; yet
it is not reasonable, that the United States should be under so great
an obligation to a private gentleman, as that two of their
representatives should occupy, for so long a time, so elegant a seat,
with so much furniture and so fine accommodations without any
compensation; and in order to avoid the danger of the disapprobation
of our constituents on the one hand, for living here at too great or
at too uncertain an expense, and on the other, the censure of the
world for not making sufficient compensation to a gentleman, who has
done so much for our convenience, it seems to me necessary that we
should come to an eclaircissement upon this head.

As you have an account against the Commissioners, or against the
United States, for several other matters, I should also be obliged to
you, if you would send it in as soon as possible, as every day renders
it more and more necessary for us to look into our affairs with the
utmost precision.

I am, Sir, with much esteem and respect, your most obedient, humble
servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  M. RAY DE CHAUMONT TO JOHN ADAMS.

                              Translation.

                                          Passy, September 18th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write to me
on the 15th inst, making inquiry as to the rent of my house, in which
you live, for the past and the future. When I consecrated my house to
Dr Franklin, and his associates, who might live with him, I made it
fully understood that I should expect no compensation, because I
perceived that you had need of all your means to send to the succor of
your country, or to relieve the distresses of your countrymen escaping
from the chains of their enemies. I pray you, Sir, to permit this
arrangement to remain, which I made when the fate of your country was
doubtful. When she shall enjoy all her splendor, such sacrifices on my
part will be superfluous, or unworthy of her, but, at present, they
may be useful, and I am most happy in offering them to you.

There is no occasion for strangers to be informed of my proceeding in
this respect. It is so much the worse for those, who would not do the
same if they had the opportunity, and so much the better for me, to
have immortalized my house by receiving into it Dr Franklin and his
associates.

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

                                                   LE RAY DE CHAUMONT.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Passy, September 20th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the latest gazettes, which contain all the
news of Europe. The news from America by the way of London, which are
contained in the _Courier de l'Europe_ of the 15th instant, have
raised our expectations and increased our anxiety. We are not without
apprehensions, that the Count d'Estaing may fall in with the combined
fleets of Howe and Byron.

The English are beginning to elevate their heads a little, and to
renew their old insolent language, both in coffee houses and in daily
papers. The refugees from America, unable to bear the thought of being
excluded forever from that country, and still less that of soliciting
for pardon from their injured countrymen, and returning to see
established principles, which they detest, and forms of government,
against which they have ever combated, are said to be indefatigable in
instilling hopes into the King and Ministers, that by persevering
another campaign, and sending twenty thousand more men to America, the
people will be worn out, and glad to petition for dependence upon
them.

They flatter themselves and others with hopes, that Spain will remain
neuter, and that by intriguing in France, they can get the French
Ministry changed, and then that they shall have little trouble from
this quarter. Nothing can be more whimsical, more groundless or
ridiculous, than all this. Yet it is said to amuse and please the
credulous multitude in that devoted island. Those, who pretend to know
the bosoms of the persons highest in power in that kingdom, say, that
they delight themselves with the thought, that if it is not in their
power to reduce America once more to their yoke, yet they are able to
harass, to distress, and to render miserable those whom they cannot
subdue. That they have some little compunction at the thought, that
they shall be ranked in history with the Philips and Alvas, the
Alberts and Gislers of this world; but this, instead of producing
repentance and reformation as it ought, engenders nothing but rage,
envy, and revenge. This revenge, however, is impotent. Their marine
and their finances are in so bad a condition, that it is with infinite
difficulty they can cope with France alone, even at sea; and it seems
to be the intention of Providence, that they shall be permitted to go
on with their cruelties, just long enough to wean the affection of
every American heart, and make room for connexions between us and
other nations, who have not the ties of language, of acquaintance, and
of custom to bind us.

I am, with the most perfect respect, Sir, your most obedient, humble
servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO RALPH IZARD.

                                          Passy, September 25th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have received with much pleasure your favor of yesterday's date. No
apology was necessary for the delay of so few days to answer a letter,
the contents of which did not, from any public consideration, require
haste. My most fervent wishes mingle themselves with yours, that the
happy time may soon arrive when we may enjoy the blessings of peace,
uninterrupted by disputes with any power whatever. But alas! my
apprehensions are very strong, that we are yet at a distance from so
great a felicity.

You will readily acknowledge the impropriety of my entering into the
question concerning the duty of the Commissioners here, to have made
the communications of the treaty, which you mention. But of this you
may be assured, that I shall at all times hold myself obliged to you
for the communication of your sentiments upon any public affair. I am
therefore sorry, that in your letter you have confined yourself to
that part of the treaty, upon which I particularly requested your
sentiments. And I now take the liberty to request your sentiments upon
every part of the treaty, which you conceive liable to doubtful
construction, or capable of producing discontent or dispute, for I
have the honor to be fully of your opinion, that it is of very great
importance to be upon our guard, and avoid every cause of controversy
with France as much as possible. She is, and will be, in spite of the
obstacles of language, of customs, religion, and government, our
natural ally against Great Britain as long as she shall continue our
enemy, and that will be at least as long as she shall hold a foot of
ground in America, however she may disguise it, and whatever peace or
truce she may make.

Your sentiments of the fishery, as a source of wealth, of commerce and
naval power, are perfectly just, and therefore this object will and
ought to be attended to with precision, and cherished with care.
Nevertheless, agriculture is the most essential interest of America,
and even of the Massachusetts Bay, and it is very possible to injure
both, by diverting too much of the thoughts and labor of the people
from the cultivation of the earth to adventures upon the sea. And
this, in the opinion of some persons, has been a fault in the
Massachusetts Bay. Experience has taught us in the course of this war,
that the fishery was not so essential to our welfare as it was once
thought. Necessity has taught us to dig in the ground instead of
fishing in the sea for our bread, and we have found that the resource
did not fail us.

The fishery was a source of luxury and vanity, that did us much
injury; yet this was the fault of the management, not of the fishery.
One part of our fish went to the West India Islands for rum, and
molasses to be distilled into rum, which injured our health and our
morals; the other part went to Spain and Portugal for gold and silver,
almost the whole of which went to London, sometimes for valuable
articles of clothing, but too often for lace and ribands. If,
therefore, the cessation of the fishery for twenty years to come was
to introduce the culture of flax and wool, which it certainly would do
as far as would be necessary for the purposes of decency and comfort,
if a loss of wealth should be the consequence of it, the acquisition
of morals and of wisdom would perhaps make us gainers in the end.

These are vain speculations I know. The taste for rum and ribands will
continue, and there are no means for the New England people to obtain
them so convenient as the fishery, and therefore the first opportunity
will be eagerly embraced to revive it. As a nursery of seamen, and a
source of naval power, it has been, and is an object of serious
importance, and perhaps indispensably necessary to the accomplishment
and the preservation of our independence. I shall therefore always
think it my duty to defend and secure our rights to it with all
industry and zeal, and shall ever be obliged to you for your advice
and co-operation.

Pardon the length of this letter, and believe me, with much esteem,
your friend and servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                            TO RALPH IZARD.

                                              Passy, October 2d, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the pleasure of yours of the 28th, and agree with you in
sentiment, that if the money, which has heretofore been squandered
upon articles of luxury, could for the future be applied to discharge
our national debt, it would be a great felicity. But is it certain
that it will? Will not the national debt itself be the means, at least
a temptation to continue, if not increase the luxury? It is with great
pleasure that I see you mention sumptuary laws. But is there room to
hope that our Legislatures will pass such laws? Or that the people
have, or can be persuaded to acquire those qualities, that are
necessary to execute such laws? I wish your answer may be in the
affirmative, and that it may be found true in fact and experience. But
much prudence and delicacy will be necessary, I think, to bring all
our countrymen to this just way of thinking upon this head. There is
such a charm to the human heart in elegance, it is so flattering to
our self-love to be distinguished from the world in general by
extraordinary degrees of splendor, in dress, in furniture, equipage,
buildings, &c. and our countrymen, by their connexion with Europe, are
so much infected with the habit of this taste and these passions, that
I fear it will be a work of time and difficulty, if not quite
impracticable, to introduce an alteration; to which the late condition
of our trade and currency, besides the great inequality of fortune,
and the late enterprises introduced by privateers, are dangerous
enemies.

You ask my opinion, whether the reasons in your last letter are well
founded. It is observable, that the French Court were not content
with the treaty proposed by Congress, which contained all, in my
opinion, which is contained in the article as it now stands in the
treaty of the 6th of February. What motive they had for inserting the
words, "indefinite and exclusive," is left to conjecture.[39] The
suspicion, that they meant more than the treaty proposed by Congress
expressed, arises from a fact, which you remember, viz. that the
French at the time of the last peace claimed more. I wish to know if
there is any letter or memorial extant, in which such a claim is
contained, or whether it was only a verbal claim made by their
Ambassadors. Whether any of the magazines of that time mention and
discuss any such claim. If the fact is incontestible, that they made
such a claim, it is possible that it may be revived under the words
"indefinite and exclusive." But I hope it will not, and I hope it was
not intended when these words were inserted. Yet I confess I cannot
think of any other reason for inserting them. The word indefinite is
not amiss, for it is a right of catching fish and drying them on land,
which is a right indefinite enough. But the word exclusive is more
mysterious. It cannot mean that Americans and all other nations shall
be "excluded" from the same right of fishing and drying on land,
between the same limits of Bonavista and Riche. It would be much
easier to suppose, that the following words, "in that part only, and
in no other besides that," gave rise to the word "exclusive;" that is,
that right of fishing and drying within those limits, for which we
have excluded ourselves from all others. I will undertake to show
better reasons, or at least as good, for this sense of the word
exclusive, as the most subtle interpreter of treaties can offer for
the other, although I think them both untenable.

My opinion further is this, that as contemporaneous exposition is
allowed by all writers on the law of nations to be the best
interpreter of treaties, as well as of all other writings, and as
neither the treaty of Utrecht, or the treaty of Paris in 1763, ever
received such an interpretation as you are apprehensive may hereafter
be contended for, and as the uninterrupted practice has been against
such a construction, so I think that the treaty of Paris of the 6th of
February, 1778, is not justly liable to such a construction, and that
it cannot be attempted with any prospect of success. I agree with you,
however, that as we are young States, and not practised in the art of
negotiation, it becomes us to look into all these things with as much
caution and exactness as possible, and furnish ourselves with the best
historical light, and every other honest means of securing our rights.
For which reason I requested your sentiments upon this subject in
writing, and continue to desire in the same way your observations on
other parts of the treaty. Reduced to writing, such things remain in
letters and letter books, as well as more distinctly in the memory,
and the same men or other men may recur to them at future
opportunities, whereas transient conversations, especially among men
who have many things to do and to think of, slip away and are
forgotten. I shall make use of all the prudence I can, that these
letters may not come to the knowledge of improper persons, or be used
to the disadvantage of our country, or to you or me in our present
capacity.

  I am, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [39] This alludes to a clause in the 10th Article of the Treaty of
  Amity and Commerce between France and the United States.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Passy, October 2d, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the latest gazettes, by which Congress
will perceive, that we have no intelligence from America since the
departure of the Count d'Estaing from Sandy Hook; our anxiety is very
great, but we hope that a few hours will relieve it. In the midst of a
war in Germany, and between France and England, there was scarcely
ever a greater dearth of news in a profound peace.

Captain Mc Neil, the bearer of this, makes the most conversation,
having taken and destroyed, I think, thirteen vessels in the course of
his last cruise, six of which have safely arrived in France, the
others, not destroyed, he sent to America. His cruise will prove a
great disappointment to the enemy, having deprived them of a great
quantity of naval stores, upon which they depended.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

             COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                     Philadelphia, October 28th, 1778.

  Sir,

While we officially communicate to you the enclosed resolve, the
foundation of which you cannot remain a stranger to, we must entreat
you to be assiduous in sending to those Commissioners who have left
France, and gone to the Courts for which, they were respectively
appointed, all the American intelligence, which you have greater
opportunity than they of receiving from hence, particularly to Mr
Izard and Mr William Lee. We do not often send more than one set of
gazettes by one opportunity; and we hear of several vessels which have
miscarried.

Congress must and will speedily determine upon the general arrangement
of their foreign affairs. This is become, so far as regards you,
peculiarly necessary, upon a new commission being sent to Dr Franklin.
In the meantime we hope you will exercise your whole extensive
abilities on the subject of our finances. The Doctor will communicate
to you our situation in that regard.

To the gazettes, and to conversation with the Marquis de Lafayette, we
must refer you for what relates to our enemies, and close with our
most cordial wishes for your happiness.

  Your affectionate friends,

                                                         R. H. LEE,
                                                         JAMES LOVELL.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Passy, December 3d, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to Congress the latest newspapers. As they
contain the speech at the opening of Parliament, and some of the
debates in both Houses, upon the addresses in answer to it, they are
of very great importance. I learn by some newspapers and private
letters, that an opinion has been prevalent in America, that the enemy
intended to withdraw from the United States; and considering the cruel
devastations of the war, and the unfortunate situation of our
finances, nothing would give me so much joy, as to see reasons to
concur in that opinion, and to furnish Congress with intelligence in
support of it. But I am sorry to say the reverse is too apparent. We
may call it obstinacy or blindness, if we will, but such is the state
of parties in England, so deep would be the disgrace, and perhaps so
great the personal danger to those who have commenced and prosecuted
this war, that they cannot but persevere in it at every hazard, and
nothing is clearer in my mind, than that they never will quit the
United States until they are either driven or starved out of them. I
hope, therefore, Congress will excuse me for suggesting, that there is
but one course for us to take, which is to concert every measure, and
exert every nerve, for the total destruction of the British power
within the United States.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ELBRIDGE GERRY.

                                            Passy, December 5th, 1778.

  Dear Sir,

It is necessary that you should be minutely informed of the minutest
and most secret springs of action here, if it is possible. Yet the
danger is so great of our letters being taken, and getting into
English newspapers, that it is very discouraging to a free
correspondence. I will, however, take all the precaution in my power
to have the letters sunk, but if all these fail, and my letters become
public, the world must take them as they find them, and I hope they
will do more good upon the whole than harm.

This Court and nation appear to me, to be well convinced of the
utility to their interests of the American alliance. But
notwithstanding this, they appear to me to have too much diffidence of
us, too much diffidence of the people of America, and too much
reserve towards the Commissioners here. I am not satisfied in the
cause of this. Whether they think, that the obstacles of language,
religion, laws, customs and manners, are obstacles in the way of a
perfect friendship, which cannot be removed, and therefore that they
shall lose our connexion as soon as Britain comes to her senses; or
whether they are embarrassed by the conduct of Spain, and are acting
in this reserved manner, and with an appearance of irresolution in
hopes of her coming in; or whether they have any prejudices against
the personal characters of the Commissioners, and are loth to be
unreserved with them, for fear they shall communicate either
indiscreetly or by design anything to the English, or to anybody here,
who might convey it to England; or whether all these motives together
have a share in it, I know not. Thus much is certain, that ever since
I have been here, I have never seen any disposition in any Minister of
State to talk with any of the Commissioners, either upon intelligence
from Spain or England, upon the designs or negotiations of either, or
any other Court in Europe, or upon the conduct of the war by sea or
land, or upon their own plans or designs of policy or war. If this
reserve was ever thrown off to any one, I should think, that putting
it on to others had some personal motive. But it is exactly equal and
alike to all three.

Each Commissioner here, before I came, had his own set of friends,
admirers, and dependents, both among the French and Americans. Two
households united in some degree against one, very unjustly, I fear,
and very impolitically. But this set the friends of the two to
injuring the third in conversation, and they cannot forbear to do it,
to this day. This dissension, I suspect, has made the Ministry
cautious, lest in the course of altercations, improper use should be
made of free communications. For my own part, however odd you may
think it in me to say it, I have no friends, much less dependents,
here, and am determined to have none, for I am convinced, that
competitions among these have done the evil; but I am determined, if I
am continued here, to have free communication with the Ministry upon
these subjects and to search them to the bottom. The Ministry are
candid men and sensible, and I am sure, that some eclaircissements
would do good.

However, I am reckoning without my host, for by the bruits, which Mr
Deane's letters have scattered, I may expect, that the first vessel
will bring my recall or removal to some other Court. But wherever I
am, my heart will ever be anxious for the good of our country, and
warm with friendship for her friends, among whom you will ever be
reckoned in the foremost rank, by your most obedient,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Passy, December 6th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have had the honor to enclose to Congress the speech at the opening
of the British Parliament by several opportunities, but as it opens
the intention of the enemy, and warns us to be prepared for all the
evils, which are in their power to inflict, and not in our power to
prevent, I enclose it again in another form.

  I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO ROGER SHERMAN.

                                            Passy, December 6th, 1778.

  Dear Sir,

From the long series of arduous services in which we have acted
together, I have had experience enough of your accurate judgment, in
cases of difficulty, to wish very often that I could have the benefit
of it here. To me it appears, that there will be no more cordial
friendship, nor for many years to come any long peace between Great
Britain and America, and therefore the French alliance is and will be
an important barrier to us, and ought to be cultivated with perfect
faith and much tenderness. But still it is a delicate and dangerous
connexion. There is danger to the simplicity of our manners, and to
the principles of our constitution, and there may be danger that too
much will be demanded of us. There is danger, that the people and
their representatives may have too much timidity in their conduct
towards this power, and that your ministers here may have too much
diffidence of themselves, and too much complaisance for the Court.
There is danger, that French councils, and emissaries, and
correspondents may have too much influence in our deliberations.

I hope that this Court will not interfere, by attaching themselves to
persons, parties, or measures in America. It would be ill policy, but
no Court is always directed by sound policy, and we cannot be too much
upon our guard. Some Americans will naturally endeavor to avail
themselves of the aid of the French influence, to raise their
reputation, to extend their influence, to strengthen their parties,
and in short to promote the purposes of private ambition and
interest. But these things must be guarded against.

I wish for a letter from you as often as you can, and that you would
believe me your friend,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Passy, December 8th, 1778.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to Congress one other copy of the speech
at the opening of Parliament, together with the debates in consequence
of it.

The hints in those debates, especially those given out by Lord
Suffolk, are confirmed by the general strain of intelligence from
London. Letters from persons, who are supposed to know, announce the
determination of the cabinet to be, that Clinton and Byron, with their
fleet and army, shall ravage the coast, and bombard and pillage the
towns, that their army in Canada shall be reinforced, and that parties
of regulars, with such tories and Indians as they can persuade to join
them, shall ravage, burn, and massacre on the frontiers of
Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and
the Carolinas.

Their magnificent menaces we know it is not in their power to execute
entirely, yet we may depend they will do as much as they can. They
will neither acknowledge our independence, nor withdraw their fleets
and armies, nor shall we get rid of them, but by destroying them, or
making them prisoners, until the nation is so exhausted, and their
credit so sunk, that the Minister can raise no more money.

It has been usual to consider this as a ministerial war, but I have
ever thought, they would some time or other discover it to be a
national war; the few men of the nation, who think seriously of the
business, see clearly in the long train of consequences of American
independence the loss of their West India Islands, a great part of
their East India trade, the total loss of Canada, Nova Scotia, the
Floridas, all the American fisheries, a diminution of their naval
power, as well as national bankruptcy, and a revolution in their
government in favor of arbitrary power. And the nation in general has
a confused dread of all these things upon its spirits.

The inference they draw from all this is to go on with the war, and
make it more cruel, which is the way in the opinion of impartial
persons to make all their gloomy visions realities, whereas the only
way to prevent them is to make peace now, before a total alteration
takes place on both sides. However, all we can do is to be prepared
for the worst they can do.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 THE COMMISSIONERS TO JOHN PAUL JONES.

                                                Passy, May 25th, 1778.

  Sir,

Your favors of May 9th and 16th from Brest, we duly received. We
congratulate you on your success, and safe arrival at Brest, as well
as on the honor you have acquired by your conduct and bravery in
taking one of the King's ships.

As we have some expectation of obtaining an exchange of prisoners from
England, we would advise you to keep those you have made securely
confined, though in a manner most consistent with humanity, till we
have an answer from thence. For if we can get an equal number of our
own seamen to man the Drake, she will be an additional strength to you
in a future expedition. Whereas sending her with the prisoners to
America, will not only weaken you by the hands you must spare to
navigate her, and to keep the prisoners in subjection, but will also
hazard their being retaken. We should have been happy to have been
early informed of the particulars of your cruise, and of the prizes
you have made, of which we have no authentic advice to this hour.

Your bill of exchange in favor of M. Bussolle for twentyfour thousand
livres, which you inform us you mean to distribute among the brave
officers and men to whom you owe your late success has been presented
to us by M. Chaumont. We are sorry to inform you, that we have been
under the disagreeable necessity of refusing payment, and that for
several reasons; first, because your application should have been made
to M. Schweighauser, who is the person regularly authorised to act as
Continental Agent at Brest, and we are determined that all American
concerns, within our department, shall go through his hands, as long
as he shall continue in the character of American Agent, or at least
until we shall find it necessary to order otherwise. Secondly, because
the bill is drawn for an expense, which we have no right or authority
to defray. We have no authority to make presents of the public money
to officers or men, however gallant and deserving, for the purpose of
providing their families with clothing, or for any other purpose, nor
to advance them money upon the credit of their share of prizes, nor
have we authority to advance them any part of their pay or bounties;
all these things belong to Congress alone, and must be done by the
proper Boards in America. Our authority extends no further than to
order the necessary repairs to be made to your ship, to order her to
be furnished with necessary victuals, which we are ready to order M.
Schweighauser to do as soon as we shall be informed by you what
repairs and victuals are wanted, with an estimate of the amount of the
expenses.

There is one thing further, which we should venture to do for the
benefit of your men. Upon a representation from you of the quantity of
slops necessary for them, we should order M. Schweighauser to furnish
your ship with them; not more however than one suit of clothes for
each man, that you may take them on board of your ship, and deliver
them out to the men as they shall be wanted, charging each man upon
the ship's books with what he shall receive, that it may be deducted
out of his pay.

Lieutenant Simpson has stated to us your having put him under arrest
for disobeying orders. As a court martial must, by order of Congress,
consist of three captains, three lieutenants, and three captains of
marines, and these cannot be had here, it is our desire that he may
have a passage procured for him by the first opportunity to America,
allowing him whatever may be necessary for his defence. As the
consequences of an arrest in foreign countries are thus extremely
troublesome, they should be well considered before they are made. If
you are in possession of any resolution of Congress, giving the whole
of ships of war when made prizes to the captors, we should be obliged
to you for a copy of it. We should also be obliged to you for a
particular account in whose hands the prizes made by you are, and in
what forwardness is the sale of them. We have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                THE COMMISSIONERS TO JOHN PAUL JONES.

                                                 Passy, June 3d, 1778.

  Sir,

We have received sundry letters from Lieutenant Simpson, and sundry
certificates from officers and others, concerning his behavior in
general, and particularly upon that occasion in which he is charged
with disobedience of orders. Without giving or forming any decided
opinion concerning his guilt or innocence of the crime laid to his
charge, we may venture to say, that the certificates we have received
are very favorable to his character, and at least afford reason to
hope, that he did not mean to disobey his orders. Be this however as
it may, we are constrained to say, that his confinement on board of
any other ship than the Ranger, and much more his confinement in a
prison on shore, appears to us to carry in it a degree of severity,
which cannot be justified by reason or law. We therefore desire you
would release Mr Simpson from his imprisonment, and permit him to go
at large upon his parole to go to Nantes, there to take his passage to
America by the first favorable opportunity, in order to take his trial
by a court martial.

We request you to transmit to us as soon as possible, an account of
what is due to Lieutenant Simpson, according to the ship's books, for
wages.

An application has been made to us in behalf of Mr Andrew Fallen, one
of the prisoners lately made by you, and his case represented with
such circumstances as have induced us to request you to let Mr Fallen
go where he will, after taking his parole in writing, that he will not
communicate any intelligence, which may be prejudicial to the United
States, that he will not take arms against them during the war, and
that he will surrender himself prisoner of war, whenever called upon
by Congress, or their Ministers at Paris. We are, Sir, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

          THE COMMISSIONERS TO LIEUT. SIMPSON, OF THE RANGER.

                                                 Passy, June 3d, 1778.

  Sir,

We have received several letters from you, and several certificates
from officers and others, respecting your behavior in general, as well
as particularly relative to the charge of disobedience of orders, for
which you have been confined. It would be improper for us to give any
opinion concerning this charge, which is to be determined only by a
court martial. But we have requested Captain Jones to set you at
liberty upon your parole to go to Nantes, there to take your passage
to America by the first favorable opportunity, in order to take your
trial by a court martial.[40]

  We are, Sir, your humble servants,

                                                          B. FRANKLIN,
                                                          ARTHUR LEE,
                                                          JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [40] See a letter from Paul Jones on this subject in the
  Commissioners' Correspondence, Vol. I. p. 399.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                            Passy, February 1st, 1779.

  Gentlemen,

I had yesterday the honor of your favor of the 28th of October,
enclosing a resolution of Congress, of the 22d of the same month, to
which I shall give all the attention in my power.[41] I have much
satisfaction in the reflection, that I have hitherto endeavored with
much sincerity to conform to the spirit of it. What you recommend to
me, viz. to communicate to the Ministers of other Courts such
intelligence as I may receive, will not in future be so much in my
power; but as far as I can, while I stay in Europe, I shall endeavor
to comply. Indeed, it is a long time that we have had no intelligence
to communicate. Three vessels we know have been taken, each of which
had many letters, and two of them public despatches; one that sailed
from Philadelphia the 4th of November, another that sailed from the
same port the 24th, and another that sailed from Boston on the 20th.
These letters and despatches were all sunk, and we fear that others
are lost.

It would be agreeable to me, indeed, if I were able to throw any light
on the subject of finances. As to a loan in Europe, all has been done
that was in our power to this end, but without the desired effect.
Taxation and economy comprehend all the resources that I can think of.

We expect the honor of a visit from the Marquis de Lafayette this
morning, whom we shall receive with gratitude for his gallant and
glorious exertions in one of the best causes in which a hero ever
fought.

Be pleased to accept my thanks for your kind wishes for my happiness,
and believe me to be your affectionate friend,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [41] See the proceedings of Congress on Foreign Affairs, October 22d,
  1778, in the Secret Journals, Vol. II. p. 107.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO SAMUEL ADAMS.

                                           Passy, February 14th, 1779.

  My Dear Sir,

The Marquis de Lafayette did me the honor of a visit yesterday, and
delivered me your favor of the 25th of October. I am not sorry, as
things have been ordered, that mine of May 24th did not reach you till
the 24th of October, because, as the new arrangement[42] was
previously made, it cannot be said that I had any hand in
accomplishing it. Yet I am glad the letter has arrived, because it
will show that the new system is quite agreeable to me, that is, the
appointment of a single Minister here. Believe me, Sir, it was become
very necessary.

FOOTNOTE:

  [42] Dissolving the commission in Paris, and appointing Dr Franklin
  Minister Plenipotentiary.

How Congress will dispose of me, I do not know. If it is intended that
I shall return, this will be very agreeable to me; and I think that
this is the most probable opinion, because Mr Deane's "Address" was on
the 5th of December. Congress soon after resolved to enter on foreign
affairs and go through them. The Alliance sailed on the 14th of
January, and there is no resolution arrived here respecting me. I
think, therefore, that it is my duty to return, and that is my present
determination; but whether I shall go to Amsterdam, and from thence to
St Eustatia, or to Spain, and thence home, or in a French man-of-war
to Martinique, or an American frigate to America, I have not decided.
Some hint that I am to go to Holland, others to Spain. This last
implies the removal of Mr Lee, which would give me much pain on many
accounts. I think him a faithful man and able. Yet what the
determination will be upon the complaint of Mr Deane, I cannot say.
This is a subject which I cannot write or talk about; I would not feel
such another sensation to be made a prince. I confess I expected the
most dismal consequences from it, because I thought it would render
business and confidence between us three totally impracticable; that
it would destroy all confidence between this Court and us, and that it
would startle Spain; that it would alienate many in Holland from us,
and that it would encourage the Ministry in England and disconcert
opposition so much, that they would even make another vigorous
campaign, besides all the evils it would produce among you. But the
arrival of Dr Franklin's commission has relieved me from many of these
fears. This Court have confidence in him alone. But I think they were
cautious, even of him, when he had two colleagues, to whom he was
obliged to communicate everything, one of whom was upon as bad terms
with him as with Mr Deane. I have had a kind of a task here, as Mr
Lovell expresses himself; determined to be the partizan of neither,
yet to be the friend of both, as far as the service would admit. I am
fixed in these two opinions, that leaving the Doctor here alone is
right, and that Mr Lee is a very honest and faithful man.

You say that France should be our polar star in case war should take
place. I was, I confess, surprised at this expression. Was not war
sufficiently declared in the King of England's speech, and in the
answers of both Houses, and in the recall of his Ambassador? Has it
not been sufficiently declared by actual hostilities in most parts of
the world? I suspect there will never be any other declaration of war.
Yet, there is in fact as complete a war as ever existed, and it will
continue, for you may depend upon it, the King of France is immovably
fixed in your support, and so are his Ministers. Every suspicion of a
wavering disposition in this Court concerning the support of American
independence is groundless, is ridiculous, is impossible. You may
remember, that several years ago, several gentlemen were obliged to
reason, to show that American independence was the interest of France.
Since my arrival in this Kingdom, I never yet found one man, nor heard
of more than one, who doubted it. If the voice of popularity is
anything, I assure you that this voice was never so unanimous in
America in favor of our independence as it is here. It is so much so,
that if the Court were to depart from its present system in this
respect, it is my clear opinion it would make this nation very
unhappy, and the Court too; but I again repeat, that the Court is as
fixed as the nation. And this union of sentiment arises out of such
principles in nature, as, without a miracle, cannot alter. Common
sense in America supported independence; common sense in France
supports the alliance, and will support it to the last. Nay, the
common sense of Europe supports the common sense of France.

By the way, my regards to Mr Paine, and tell him, that I do not agree
with him in his ideas about natural enemies. It is because England is
the natural enemy of France, that America in her present situation is
her natural friend; at least, this is one cause, although there are
many others. Some of them are more glorious, for human nature.

France scarcely ever made a war before, that was popular in Europe.
There is not a State, that I can hear of, but applauds her, and wishes
her success. And in point of finance and naval strength, and in skill
and bravery of officers, she seems to be superior to England. You may
be surprised to hear me say naval strength, yet if you consider the
wretched state of the British Navy, as to masts, yards, rigging, and
men, you will not wonder, although their number of ships may be
superior. I therefore think, that all is safe. We may have further
trouble, and trials of our faith and patience. But trouble is to you
and me familiar, and I begin to think it necessary for my health.

There is one thing in my letter to you exaggerated; the expenses of
the Commissioners. I had been here but a short time, and wrote
according to the best guess I could make, from what I had heard; but I
now think I put it much too high, yet I cannot say exactly.[43]

_February 20th._ There is not the least appearance of the embarkation
of troops for America, nor any intelligence of transports taken up.
The national discontent is great, and tumults have arisen in Edinburgh
and London. According to present appearances, they will have occasion
for so many of their troops to keep their populace in order, as to be
able to spare few for America. Their proclamations are all alike from
Burgoyne's to those of the Commissioners. The weaker they are, the
more they puff.

  I am, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [43] See the statement here referred to, in a letter dated May 21st,
  1778, p. 245, of the present volume.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Passy, February 16th, 1779.

  Sir,

Last evening I had the honor of your letter of the 13th of this month,
in answer to mine of the 11th.[44]

I thank your Excellency for the politeness with which you have agreed
to my proposition, of a conference upon the subject of Mr Deane's
"Address to the People of the United States."

At the time when my letter of the 11th was written and sent to your
Excellency, there were three Commissioners here, representatives of
Congress, between whom it appeared to me Mr Deane's Address had a
tendency to destroy all confidence, as well as between your Excellency
and them, for which reason I thought it my duty to endeavor, by a
conference with your Excellency, to lessen those evils as far as
should be in my power.

But within a few hours after my letter of the 11th was sent, the
Aid-de-Camp of the Marquis de Lafayette arrived, with despatches from
Congress to Dr Franklin, and from their Committee of Foreign Affairs
to me, informing me of the new arrangement by which Dr Franklin is
constituted Minister Plenipotentiary here, and I am restored to the
character of a private citizen; by which, so wholly changed are the
scene and the characters here, that I now think I have no right to do
what, if I had continued in the character of a Commissioner, I should
have thought it my indispensable duty to do.

This masterly measure of Congress, which has my most hearty
approbation, and of the necessity of which I was fully convinced
before I had been two months in Europe, has taken away the
possibilities of those dissensions, which I so much apprehended. I
shall not, therefore, give your Excellency any further trouble, than
to take an opportunity of paying my respects in order to take leave,
and to assure you, that I shall leave this kingdom with the most
entire confidence in his Majesty's benevolence to the United States,
and inviolable adherence to the treaties between the two powers, with
a similar confidence in the good disposition of his Majesty's
Ministers of State and of this nation towards us, and with a heart
impressed with gratitude for the many civilities which I have
received, in the short space I have resided here, at Brest, in the
city, and in the country, and particularly from your Excellency.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [44] These letters relate to Silas Deane and Arthur Lee, and may be
  found in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II, pp. 224, 227.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.

                                           Passy, February 21st, 1779.

  My dear Marquis,

The conversation with which you honored me last evening, has induced
me to give you the trouble of this letter upon the same subject.

It is certain that a loan of money is very much needed to redeem the
redundancy of our paper bills, and without it, it is impossible to
foresee what will be the consequence to their credit, and therefore
every service, that may be rendered in order to obtain it from this
kingdom, from Spain, or Holland, will be a most acceptable service.

But without some other exertions, even a loan perhaps would be but a
temporary relief; with them a smaller loan might suffice. You know
perfectly well, that the enemy in America are at present very weak,
and in great distress in every part. They are weak in Canada, weak in
Halifax, weak in Rhode Island, weak in New York, weak in the Floridas,
and weak in every one of the West India Islands. A strong armament of
ships of the line, with five thousand troops, directed against
Halifax, Rhode Island, or New York, must infallibly succeed. So it
must against the Floridas, so it must against Canada, or any one of
the West India Islands.

You are very sensible, that in this state of weakness, the British
possessions in America depend upon each other for reciprocal support.
The troops and ships derive such supplies of provisions from Canada
and Nova Scotia, that if these places or either of them were lost, it
would be difficult, if not impossible, for the other to subsist. The
West India Islands derive such supplies from the Floridas, that if
they were lost the others could hardly subsist. Their fleets and
armies in Canada, Halifax, Rhode Island, New York, and the Floridas,
receive supplies of rum, sugar, molasses, &c. from the West India
Islands, without which they could scarcely subsist. Every part of
their possessions in America, both on the continent and in the
islands, receives constant supplies from Europe, from England,
Scotland, and Ireland, without which they must fall. You perceive,
therefore, that their dominions in America at present form such a
chain, that the links mutually support each other in such a manner,
that if one or two were taken away, the whole, or at least the greater
part, must fall. In this state of things then, the obvious policy is
to send a strong squadron of ships of the line to co-operate with the
Count d'Estaing and the American army, in some expedition directed
against New York, Rhode Island, Halifax or perhaps all of them in
course. Five or six thousand troops would be quite enough. Above all,
it is indispensably necessary to keep a clear naval superiority, both
on the coast of the continent, and in the West Islands. This together
with French and American privateers would make such havoc among the
enemy's transports, passing from one of their possessions to another,
as must ruin their affairs. The French have a great advantage in
carrying on this kind of war in America, at present. The British ships
are badly manned and in bad repair. They cannot send them into the
American seas, without the utmost terror for their own coasts. And
when they are in America, they have not such advantages for supplies
of provisions, naval stores, &c. as the French.

The devastation, which was made among their ships of the line,
frigates, transports, and traders, in the American seas the last
summer, shows how much might be done, if a stronger force were sent
there. As long as the enemy have possession of New York and Rhode
Island, so long it will be necessary for us to keep up large armies,
to watch their motions, and defend the country against them, which
will oblige us to emit more paper, and still further to increase the
depreciation. Now as long as they maintain the dominion of those seas,
their troops will be protected by the cannon of their ships, and we
could not dislodge them with an army, however large, at least we could
not keep possession of those places. But if their force was captivated
in those seas, as it might easily be by a sea force, co-operating with
the land forces, we might reduce our army and innumerable other
articles of expense. We need not emit any more paper, and that already
out would depreciate no further. I should be happy to have further
conversation with you, Sir, upon these subjects, or to explain
anything by letter, which may be in my power.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS.

                             Translation.

                                      Versailles, February 21st, 1779.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you have done me the honor to write
me on the 16th of this month. Although you are to be henceforth
without a public character in France, be persuaded that the esteem and
consideration, which you have justly acquired, are by no means
diminished, and I flatter myself, Sir, that you will not deprive me of
the pleasure of assuring you of it by word of mouth, and being at the
same time the interpreter of the favorable sentiments with which the
King honors you. They are the consequence of the particular
satisfaction, which his Majesty has received from the wise conduct you
have held during the whole time of your commission, as well as the
zeal you have constantly displayed, both for the cause of your
country, and for the support of the alliance which attaches it to his
Majesty.

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

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Passy, February 27th, 1779.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which your Excellency did me the honor to
write me on the 21st of this month. This testimony from your
Excellency of those indulgent sentiments, with which his Majesty is
pleased to honor my sincere intentions, cannot fail to be preserved by
me and my posterity as a most precious monument; and what is of
infinitely more importance, it cannot fail to give great satisfaction
to my country, to find that a servant of theirs, who has been honored
with no small share of their confidence in the most dangerous of
times, and most critical circumstances, has been so happy as not to
forfeit the confidence of their illustrious ally.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  TO JOHN JAY, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Passy, February 27th, 1779.

  Sir,

By the new arrangement, which was brought by the Marquis de Lafayette,
I find myself restored to the character of a private citizen.

The appointment of a single Minister at the Court of Versailles was
not unexpected to me, because I had not been two months in Europe
before I was convinced of the policy, and indeed of the necessity, of
such a measure. But I ever entertained hopes, that when the news of
such an alteration should arrive, the path of my own duty would have
been made plain to me by the directions of Congress, either to return
home or go elsewhere. But as no information that we have received from
Congress has expressed their intentions concerning me, I am obliged to
collect them by implication, according to the best of my
understanding, and as the election of the new Minister Plenipotentiary
was on the fourteenth of September, and the Alliance sailed from
Boston the fourteenth of January, and in this space of four months no
notice appears to have been taken of me, I think the only inference
that can be made is, that Congress have no further service for me on
this side the water, and that all my duties are on the other. I have
accordingly given notice to his Excellency, M. de Sartine, and to his
Excellency the Minister Plenipotentiary here, of my intentions to
return, which I shall do by the first frigate that sails for any part
of the United States, unless I should receive counter orders in the
meantime. In a matter of so much uncertainty, I hope I shall not incur
the disapprobation of Congress, even if I should not judge aright of
their intentions, which it is my desire as well as my duty to observe,
as far as I can know them.

By the papers enclosed with this, Congress will perceive the
discontented and tumultuous state of the three kingdoms of England,
Scotland, and Ireland, which is so great and so rapidly increasing,
that the United States will have little to fear from reinforcements of
their enemies the ensuing campaign. All their forces will be necessary
to keep in order their own riotous populace, and to replace those
which are daily consuming in the West Indies. There is, however, no
prospect of their evacuating either New York or Rhode Island. The
possession of those places is so indispensable for the preservation of
their West India and other trade, as well as of their other dominions
in America, that nothing but the last necessity will induce them to
give them up.

The greatest source of danger and unhappiness to the States then
probably will be a depreciating currency. The prospect of a loan in
Europe, after every measure that has been or could be taken, I think
it my duty to say frankly to Congress, is very unpromising. The causes
of this are very obvious, and cannot be removed; the state of our
country itself, and the course of exchange, would be sufficient to
discourage such a loan, if there were no other obstruction, but there
are many others. There are more borrowers in Europe than lenders, and
the British loan itself will not be made this year at a less interest
than seven and a half per cent.

I see no hope of relief, but from economy and taxation, and those I
flatter myself will be found sufficient, if the people are once
convinced of the necessity of them. When a people are contending not
only for the greatest object, that any people ever had in view, but
for security from the greatest evil that any nation ever had to dread,
(for there is at this hour no medium between unlimited subjugation to
Parliament and entire sovereignty) they must be destitute of sense as
well as of virtue, if they are not willing to pay sufficient sums
annually to defray the necessary expense of their defence in future,
supported as they are by so powerful an ally, and by the prospect of
others, against a kingdom already exhausted, without any ally at all,
or a possibility of obtaining one. As this is the first time I have
had the honor to address myself to Congress, since we received the
news of your Excellency's appointment to the chair, you will please
to accept of my congratulations on that event.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  TO JOHN JAY, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Passy, March 1st, 1779.

  Sir,

My last letter to Congress was on the twentyseventh of last month;
since which an account of the new loan is received from London, and as
this may, perhaps, afford to Congress the clearest proof of the
weakness of their enemies, it is of importance, that it should be
transmitted to them. Some accounts say, that the loan is to be seven
millions, others eight. The conditions of the loan are, in general,
the established interest of three per cent, an annuity for three and
three quarters per cent for twentynine years, and seven lottery
tickets for every thousand pounds.

In one account the advantages are thus stated.

  100 3 per cent,                                      £61 00 00
  £3 15s. annuity for twentynine years, at
    twelve years' purchase,                             45 00 00
  Two fifths of a year's interest and annuity, gained
    by both beginning from the 5th of January,
    although the money is paid monthly, and
    not ended until December,                            2 14 00
  £3 premium of seven lottery tickets for each
    £1000, gives for each hundred,                       2  2 00
                                                       ---------
  For each £100 paid, there is received               £110 16 00

This statement for the first year is pretty accurate. Another account
makes it ten and one quarter per cent for the first year. The
subsequent years, however it will not be so much. Yet for all the
subsequent years, during the term of the annuity, it will be six and
three quarters per cent. Upon the whole, it is generally looked upon
as good as seven and a half per cent. In a country where the highest
interest, that is tolerated by the standing laws, is five per cent,
this is a terrible symptom.

While this system has any credit among the money lenders in Holland,
Switzerland, Geneva, &c. Congress will perceive, that there is little
hope of procuring a private loan for the United States from any of
those places. Whether any may be procured from any State, or Prince,
time must discover.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DE LAFAYETTE TO JOHN ADAMS.

                              Translation.

                                          St Germain, April 9th, 1779.

  Dear Sir,

I beg leave to apply to you, in an instance where I am much concerned.
The case I shall lay before you, and recommend to your care. There is
an officer in Paris, whom I wish to send over to America on board the
Alliance, and who I know would be of service in the American army. For
that reason, besides his recommendations, I have a great regard for
him. I wish the gentleman may find a passage in the frigate. Dr
Franklin cannot officially send an officer, but I beg you would take
him along with you, as I take upon myself the charge of presenting him
to Congress. All the marks of kindness I ever met with from them, and
the knowledge which the strictest friendship has given me of General
Washington's sentiments, make me as certain as possible, that my
officer will meet with the best reception in Philadelphia and in the
army, who know I am acquainted with what may be convenient to them.

It is with a great concern, that I hear of discontents between Captain
Landais and his officers, and I flatter myself, that you will again
establish harmony and concord among them. I will take the opportunity
of this frigate to write over to my friends in America.

The articles alluded to in your letter from Passy, I have been very
busy about, but I did not meet with great success till now, and what
is done is not equal to what I could wish. It is true, our
circumstances are rather narrow at this moment, and I believe, that
the Ministers are willing to do what they think possible, or
advantageous, but we do not always agree in opinion. I hope, however,
America will have more and more occasions of knowing the true
attachment of this nation for her.

With great impatience I wait for your answer, that I may send the
officer to Nantes. I hope you will not refuse your patronage on this
occasion, and I may answer Congress will have no objection to take a
gentleman whom I send them. You will, my dear Sir, in settling his
passage, much oblige your humble servant,

                                                            LAFAYETTE.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                            TO ARTHUR LEE.

                                             L'Orient, June 9th, 1779.

  Dear Sir,

Your favors of June the 2d and 5th are now before me; that of the 29th
of March I have answered, if I ever received it, for I have answered
every one I have received from you, but not having my papers at hand
cannot be particular. I thank you for the manuscript and the pamphlet.

I am happy to hear from you, and from all others, so agreeable a
character of the Chevalier de la Luzerne, and M. Marbois, the last of
whom I have had the pleasure to see.

I wish it was in my power to do more for Mr Ford, and to take him with
me, but the frigate will be so crowded, I fear it will be impossible.

The declarations of the northern powers against the right of England
to stop their merchant vessels, and arming to support their rights,
are important events. The displacing of Mr Paine is a disagreeable and
alarming one.

It is with no small astonishment, that I learn by your letter of the
5th, that by advices from America since your last to me, your enemies
are determined to impeach your attachment to our country and her
cause. Your request that I would give my opinion on that subject, from
the knowledge I have had of your conduct, while we acted in commission
together, can meet with no objection from me. But I hope I need not
inform you, that my opinion upon this point is no secret at
Versailles, Paris, Nantes, or elsewhere. Enclosed is a copy of a
letter I did myself the honor to write to his Excellency the Count de
Vergennes some time ago, which, for anything I know, is communicated
to all the Court, but the answer shows that it was received. I had my
reasons then for keeping it to myself, which exist now no more. I
would transcribe the whole correspondence if it was in my power, but I
have not time, and it is sufficient to say, that it was conducted by
his Excellency with the most obliging politeness. It is my duty now to
furnish you with a copy, lest any accident may befal me, which is by
no means improbable. I thought then, and am confirmed in that opinion
more and more, that it was my duty to communicate my sentiments at
Court, upon that very extraordinary occasion, and from regard to my
own reputation, I am very glad you have given me an opportunity of
furnishing you with evidence, that I did this part of my duty so far
forth. The letter was written, sent to Versailles, and received by his
Excellency before the arrival of the Marquis de Lafayette, his
Aid-de-Camp, or Dr Winship; that is, before the news reached Passy of
the new arrangement.[45] But lest that letter should not be
sufficient, I shall enclose another certificate, not without a
heartfelt grief, that malice should have been so daring and so
barbarous, as to make either such a letter or such a certificate from
me either necessary or even pardonable.[46] Your hint, that I must
correct some things that are amiss, extorts from me an involuntary
sigh. I shall be in a situation critical and difficult without
example, my own character at stake from various quarters, and without
anything to support me but truth and innocence, and you need not be
informed, that these are not always sufficient. I have little
expectation of doing good; God grant I may do no harm. I shall not
designedly. But I suppose Congress intend to examine me as a witness,
and I must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,
as far as I know it. If the task should end here, I should not be much
embarrassed, but if they should proceed to demand of me opinions and
judgments of men and things, as there is reason to expect they will,
although I hope they will not, what will be the consequences? Upon the
whole, truth must be my shield, and if the shafts of interested malice
can pierce through this, they shall pierce me.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTES:

  [45] See this letter in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II. p. 224.

  [46] See as above, p. 249.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Braintree, August 3d, 1779.

  Sir,

On the 27th of February, I had the honor of writing to Congress,
informing them of my intention of returning home, in consequence of
the commission which superseded mine. On the first of March, I had
again the honor of writing some information concerning the
unprecedented interest, which the British Government are obliged to
give for the loan of money for the service of the present year. On the
8th of March, I took my leave of the American Minister, and left Paris
for Nantes, in expectation of there meeting the Alliance, and sailing
in her for America in a few weeks. Upon my arrival at Nantes, I
learned the Alliance was yet at Brest, and so embarrassed with nearly
forty prisoners, who were supposed to have been concerned in a
conspiracy to carry her to England, and with other difficulties, that
it was uncertain when she would be ready.

The agent at Nantes at this time receiving a letter from his
Excellency, Dr Franklin, desiring him to consult me about the
direction of the Alliance, I thought it would expedite the public
service for me to make a journey to Brest, about two hundred miles,
which I undertook accordingly, and arrived at that port without loss
of time. There, after an attendance of some weeks, and much
negotiation with the Commandant, Intendant, and Agent, all things were
prepared for the frigate to sail for Nantes, with about one hundred
British prisoners, to be exchanged for a like number of American
prisoners, arrived there from England in a cartel. I returned to
Nantes, and the Alliance in a few days arrived in the river, the
prisoners were exchanged, about sixty enlisted in the Alliance, and
the rest in the Poor Richard, Captain Jones.

After accommodating all the difficulties with the British prisoners,
the American prisoners, the officers and crew of the Alliance, and
supplying all their necessary wants, Captain Landais, having orders to
sail for America, and everything ready to proceed to sea in a few
days, received unexpected orders to proceed to L'Orient, and wait
there for further orders. I had the honor of a letter at the same time
from his Excellency, enclosing one from the Minister of Marine, by
which I learned, that the King had been graciously pleased to grant me
a passage on board the frigate, which was to carry His Majesty's new
Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States, that the frigate was at
L'Orient, and that the Minister would be there in a few days. I went
in the Alliance from Nantes to L'Orient, where after some time the
frigate, the Sensible, arrived, but his Excellency, the Chevalier de
la Luzerne, did not arrive until the 10th of June. On the 14th of
June, and not before, I had the pleasure to be under sail, and on the
3d of August, arrived in Nantasket Roads.

I have entered into this detail of disappointments to justify myself
for not returning sooner, and to shew that it was not my fault, that I
was not at home in eight weeks from the first authentic information,
that I had nothing further to do in France. There is nothing remaining
for me to do but to settle my accounts with Congress; but as part of
my accounts are in conjunction with my late colleagues, with whom I
lived in the same house during my residence in Paris, I am not able to
judge whether Congress will choose to receive my accounts, or to wait
until the other Commissioners shall exhibit theirs, and have the whole
together, under one view, so as to do equal justice to all. I am
ready, however, to render all the account in my power, either jointly
or separately, whenever Congress shall order it, and I shall wait
their directions accordingly.

It is not in my power, having been so long from Paris, to give
Congress any news of importance, except that the Brest fleet, under
the Count d'Orvilliers, was at sea the beginning of June, that Admiral
Arbuthnot was at Plymouth the 31st of May, and that there was a
universal persuasion, arising from letters from Paris and London, that
Spain had decided against the English. The Chevalier de la Luzerne
will be able to give Congress satisfactory information upon this head.

I ought not to conclude this letter, without expressing my obligations
to Captain Chavagne, and the other officers of the Sensible, for their
civilities in the course of my passage home, and the pleasure I have
had in the conversation of his Excellency, the new Minister
Plenipotentiary from our august ally, and the Secretary to the
embassy, Monsieur Marbois.

The Chevalier de la Luzerne is a Knight of the Order of St John of
Jerusalem, of an ancient and noble family, connected by blood with
many characters of principal name in the kingdom, a grandson of the
celebrated Chancellor de la Moignon, a nephew of Monsieur Malesherbes,
perhaps still more famous as first President of the Court of Aids and
as a Minister of State, a brother to the Count de la Luzerne, and of
the Bishop of Sangres, one of the three Dukes and Peers who had the
honor to assist in the consecration of the King, a near relation of
the Marcéhal de Broglie and the Count his brother, and of many other
important personages in that country. Nor is his personal character
less respectable than his connexions, as he is possessed of much
useful information of all kinds, and particularly of the political
system of Europe, obtained in his late embassy in Bavaria; and of the
justest sentiments of the mutual interests of his country and ours,
and of the utility to both of that alliance, which so happily unites
them, and at the same time divested of all personal and party
attachments and aversions. Congress and their constituents, I flatter
myself, will have much satisfaction in his negotiations, as well as in
those of the Secretary to the embassy, who was recently Secretary to
the embassy in Bavaria, and who is a counsellor of the Parliament of
Metz, a gentleman whose abilities, application, and disposition cannot
fail to make him useful in the momentous office he sustains.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Braintree, August 4th, 1779.

  Sir,

At the close of the service on which Congress have done me the honor
to send me, it may not be amiss to submit a few remarks to their
consideration on the general state of affairs in Europe, as far as
they relate to the interests of the United States. As the time
approaches, when our relations with the most considerable States in
Europe will multiply and assume a greater stability, they deserve the
attention of Americans in general, but especially of those composing
their supreme council.

France deserves the first place among those powers, with which our
connexions will be the most intimate, and it is with pleasure I am
able to assure Congress, that from the observations I have made during
my residence in that Kingdom, I have the strongest reasons to believe,
that their august ally, his Ministers, and nation, are possessed of
the fullest persuasion of the justice of our cause, of the great
importance of our independence to their interests, and the firmest
resolution to preserve the faith of treaties inviolate, and to
cultivate our friendship with sincerity and zeal. This is of the more
consequence to us, as this power enjoys in Europe at this hour an
influence, which it has not before experienced for many years.

Men are so sensible of a constant tendency in others to excesses, that
a signal superiority of power never appears, without exciting
jealousies and efforts to reduce it. Thus, when Spain, under Charles
the Fifth and his successor, made herself dangerous, a great part of
Europe united against her, assisted in severing the United Provinces
from her, and by degrees greatly diminished her power. Thus, when
France, under Lewis the Fourteenth, indulged the spirit of conquest
too far, a great part of mankind united their forces against her, with
such success as to involve her in a train of misfortunes, out of which
she never emerged before the present reign. The English, in their
turn, by means of their commerce and extensive settlements abroad,
arose to a degree of opulence and naval power, which excited more
extravagant passions in her own breast, and more tyrannical exertions
of her influence, than appeared in either of the other cases. The
consequence has been similar, but more remarkable. Europe seems to be
more universally and sincerely united in the desire of reducing her,
than they ever were in any former instance. This is the true cause why
the French Court never made war with so universal a popularity among
their own subjects, so general an approbation of other Courts, and
such unanimous wishes among all nations for her success, as at this
time.

The personal character of the King, his declared patronage of morals
and economy, and the great strokes of wisdom, which have marked the
commencement of his reign, the active spring which has been given to
commerce by the division of the British empire, and our new connexions
with his subjects; all these causes, together with the two treaties of
peace, which have been lately signed under his auspices and his
mediation, have given to this power a reputation, which the last reign
had lost.

The first of these treaties has determined those controversies, which
had for a long time divided Russia and the Porte, and the parties have
been equally satisfied with the conditions of their reconciliation, a
circumstance the more honorable for the French Ministry, and the
Chevalier de St Priest, their Ambassador at Constantinople, as it is
uncommon. The ancient confidence of the Porte in the Court of
Versailles has revived, and the coolness, or rather enmity, which
divided France and Russia for near twenty years, gives place to a
friendship, which is at this time in all its fervor, and will probably
be durable, as these powers have no interest to annoy each other, but,
on the contrary, are able to assist each other in a manner the most
essential.

The peace of Germany, signed at Teschin, the 13th of last May, has not
equally satisfied the belligerent powers, who were on the one part the
Emperor, and on the other, the King of Prussia and the Elector of
Saxony his ally.

From the multitudes of writings, which have appeared before and during
this war, in which the causes, the motives, and the rights of it are
discussed, it appears, that in 1768, at the extinction of one of the
branches of the House of Bavaria, which has been separated from its
trunk for near five centuries, the House of Austria thought itself
able, and priests and lawyers among their own subjects were
complaisant enough to tell her, that she had a right to put herself in
possession of the best part of the patrimony of the extinguished line.

The King of Prussia, to whose interest this augmentation of power
would have been dangerous, has crowned an illustrious reign, by
displaying all the resources of military genius and profound policy in
opposition to it. While he contended in the field, France negotiated,
and the work, begun by his arms, was completed by the cabinet of
Versailles.

The Palatine House of Bavaria, the Duke of Deux Ponts, and
particularly the Elector of Saxony, have obtained all they could
reasonably demand, and the empire has preserved its balance of power
in spite of its head. The King of Prussia had covered himself with
glory, to which he put the finishing stroke, by not demanding any
compensation for the expenses of the war. All parties have been
satisfied except the Emperor, who has disordered his finances, ruined
his Kingdom of Bohemia with immense fines, has not obtained any
advantage over his adversary, and consequently has destroyed among his
own troops the opinion they had of their superiority, and, in fine,
has sustained a loss the most sensible for a young Prince just
beginning to reign, the reputation of justice and moderation. It is
the influence, the address, and ability of the French Minister, joined
to the firmness of Russia, which have completed this work; and Lewis
the Sixteenth has restored in Germany to the nation over which he
reigns, that reputation which his grandfather had lost.

The merit of the Chevalier de la Luzerne, who was Ambassador in
Bavaria during the transaction of this business, and that of M.
Marbois, the Secretary to that embassy, in accomplishing an affair of
such importance, which was rendered peculiarly delicate by the late
family connexion between the Courts of Vienna and Versailles, was
probably a motive for sending them now to America, a mission of no
less importance and no less delicacy.

It is not probable, however, that they could have succeeded so soon,
if England could have afforded subsidies to the Emperor. The
Revolution in America, in which the French King has taken an earlier
and a greater part than any other Sovereign in Europe, has operated so
as to conciliate to him a consideration that is universal. The new
Minister will give to Congress information the most precise in this
respect, and touching the part which Spain is taking at this time, for
which reason I shall refrain from entering into it, and content myself
with observing, that all these considerations ought to induce us to
cherish the alliance of France; and that every good citizen of the
United States ought to endeavor to destroy the remains of those
prejudices, which our ancient rulers have endeavored to inspire us
with; that we have nothing to fear and much to hope from France, while
we conduct ourselves with good sense and firmness, and that we cannot
take too much pains to multiply the commercial relations, and
strengthen the political connexions between the two nations; provided
always, that we preserve prudence and resolution enough to receive
implicitly no advice whatever, but to judge always for ourselves, and
to guard ourselves against those principles in government, and those
manners, which are so opposite to our own Constitution and to our own
characters, as a young people, called by Providence to the most
honorable and important of all duties, that of forming establishments
for a great nation and a new world.

In the opinion of some, the power with which we shall one day have a
relation the most immediate, next to that of France, is Great Britain.
But it ought to be considered, that this power loses every day her
consideration, and runs towards her ruin. Her riches, in which her
power consisted, she has lost with us, and never can regain. With us
she has lost her Mediterranean trade, her African trade, her German
and Holland trade, her ally, Portugal, her ally, Russia, and her
natural ally, the House of Austria; at least, as being unable to
protect these as she once did, she can obtain no succor from them. In
short, one branch of commerce has been lopped off after another, and
one political interest sacrificed after another, She resembles the
melancholy spectacle of a great wide spreading tree, that has been
girded at the root. Her endeavors to regain these advantages, will
continually keep alive in her breast the most malevolent passions
towards us. Her envy, her jealousy, and resentment, will never leave
us, while we are what we must unavoidably be, her rivals in the
fisheries, in various other branches of commerce, and even in naval
power. If peace should unhappily be made, leaving Canada, Nova Scotia,
or the Floridas, or any of them, in her hands, jealousies and
controversies will be perpetually arising. The degree, therefore, of
intercourse with this nation, which will ever again take place, may
justly be considered as problematical, or rather the probability is,
that it will never be so great as some persons imagine; moreover, I
think that every citizen in the present circumstances, who respects
his country, and the engagements she has taken, ought to abstain from
the foresight of a return of friendship between us and the English,
and act as if it never was to be.

But it is lawful to consider, that which will probably be formed
between the Hollanders and us. The similitude of manners, of religion,
and in some respects of constitution, the analogy between the means by
which the two republics arrived at independency, but above all the
attractions of commercial interest, will infallibly draw them
together. This connexion will not probably show itself, before a peace
or a near prospect of peace. Too many motives of fear or interest
place the Hollanders in a dependance on England, to suffer her to
connect herself openly with us at present. Nevertheless, if the King
of Prussia, could be induced to take us by the hand, his great
influence in the United Provinces might contribute greatly to
conciliate their friendship for us. Loans of money, and the operations
of commercial agents or societies, will be the first threads of our
connexions with this power. From the essays and inquiries of your
Commissioners at Paris, it appears, that some money may be borrowed
there, and from the success of several enterprises by the way of St
Eustatia, it seems that the trade between the two countries is likely
to increase, and possibly Congress may think it expedient to send a
Minister there. If they should, it will be proper to give him a
discretionary power to produce his commission or not, as he shall find
it likely to succeed, to give him full powers and clear instructions
concerning the borrowing of money; and the man himself above all
should have consummate prudence, and a caution and discretion, that
will be proof against every trial.

If Congress could find any means of paying the interest annually in
Europe, commercial and pecuniary connexions would strengthen
themselves from day to day, and if the fall of the credit of England
should terminate in bankruptcy, the Seven United Provinces, having
nothing to dissemble, would be zealous for a part of those rich
benefits, which our commerce offers to the maritime powers, and by an
early treaty with us secure those advantages, from which they have
already discovered strong symptoms of a fear of being excluded by
delays. It is scarcely necessary to observe to Congress, that Holland
has lost her influence in Europe to such a degree, that there is
little other regard for her remaining but that of a prodigal heir for
a rich usurer, who lends him money at a high interest. The State
which is poor and in debt has no political stability. Their army is
very small, and their navy is less. The immense riches of individuals
may possibly be in some future time the great misfortune of the
nation, because the means of defence are not proportioned to the
temptation which is held out for some necessitous, avaricious, and
formidable neighbor to invade her.

The active commerce of Spain is very inconsiderable; of her passive
commerce, we shall not fail to have a part; the vicinity of this
power, her forces, her resources, ought to make us attentive to her
conduct, but if we may judge of the future by the past, I should hope
we had nothing to fear from it. The genius and interest of the nation
incline it to repose. She cannot determine upon war but in the last
extremity, and even then she sighs for peace. She is not possessed of
the spirit of conquest, and we have reason to congratulate ourselves,
that we have her for the nearest and principal neighbor. Her conduct
towards us at this time will perhaps appear equivocal and indecisive,
her determinations appear to be solely the fruit of the negotiations
of the Court of Versailles. But it ought to be considered, she has not
had motives so pressing as those of France to take in hand our
defence. Whether she has an eye upon the Floridas, or what other terms
she may expect from Congress, they are no doubt better informed than I
am. To their wisdom it must be submitted to give her satisfaction, if
her terms are moderate, and her offers in proportion. This conduct may
conciliate her affection and shorten delays, a point of great
importance, as the present moment appears to be decisive.

Portugal, under the administration of the Marquis de Pombal, broke
some of the shackles by which she was held to England. But the
treaty, by which a permanent friendship is established between the
Crowns of Spain and Portugal, was made in 1777, an event that the
English deplore as the greatest evil, next to the irrecoverable loss
of the colonies, arising from this war, because they will now no
longer be able to play off Portugal against Spain, in order to draw
away her attention as well as her forces, as in former times. But as
Portugal has not known how to deliver herself entirely from the
influence of England, we shall have little to hope from her; on the
other hand, such is her internal weakness, that we have absolutely
nothing to fear. We shall necessarily have commerce with her, but
whether she will ever have the courage to sacrifice the friendship of
England for the sake of it is uncertain.

It would be useless to consider that infinite number of little
sovereignties into which Germany is divided, and develope all their
political interests. This task is as much beyond my knowledge as it
would be useless to Congress. They will have few relations friendly or
hostile with this country, excepting in two branches of commerce, that
of merchandise and that of soldiers. The latter, infamous and
detestable as it is, has been established between a nation, once
generous, humane, and brave, and certain princes, as avaricious of
money as they are prodigal of the blood of their subjects; and such is
the scarcity of cash, and the avidity for it in Germany, and so little
are the rights of humanity understood and respected, that sellers will
probably be found as long as buyers. America will never be found in
either class. The State of Germany, with which we may have commerce of
an honorable kind, is the House of Austria, one of the most powerful
in Europe. She possesses very few countries, however, near the sea.
Ostend is the principal city, where she might have established a trade
of some consequence, if the jealousy of the maritime Powers had not
constantly opposed it. France, Spain, Holland, and England, have been
all agreed in their opposition, and the treaty of Utrecht, ratified
more than once by subsequent treaties, has so shackled this port, that
it will be impossible to open a direct trade to it, without some new
treaty, which possibly may not be very distant. England may possibly
make a new treaty with Austria, and agree to privileges for this port,
in order to draw away the advantages of the American trade from France
and Spain; and in such a treaty Holland may possibly acquiesce, if not
accede to it. The port of Trieste enjoys liberty without limits, and
the Court of Vienna is anxious to make its commerce flourish. Situated
as it is at the bottom of the Gulf of Trieste, the remotest part of
the Gulf of Venice, tedious and difficult as the navigation of those
seas is, we could make little use of it at any time, and none at all
while this war continues.

This Court would seize with eagerness the advantages, that are
presented to her by the independence of America, but an interest more
powerful restrains her, and although she is certainly attentive to
this revolution, there is reason to believe she will be one of the
last powers to acknowledge our independence. She is so far from being
rich, that she is destitute of the means of making war without
subsidies, as is proved by the peace which has lately been made. She
has occasion for the succors of France or of England to put in motion
her numerous armies. She conceives easily, that the loss of the
resources and credit of the English has disabled them to pay the
enormous subsidies, which, in former times, they have poured into the
Austrian coffers. She sees therefore with a secret mortification, that
she shall be hereafter more at the mercy of France, who may choose her
ally, and prefer at her pleasure either Austria or Prussia, while
neither Vienna nor Berlin will be able, as in times past, to choose
between Paris and London, since the latter has lost her past opulence
and pecuniary resources. It is our duty to remark these great changes
in the system of mankind, which have already happened in consequence
of the American war. The alienation of Portugal from England, the
peace of Germany, and that between Petersburg and Constantinople, by
all which events England has lost, and France gained, such a
superiority of influence and power, are owing entirely to the blind
division of that policy and wealth, which the English might have still
enjoyed, from the objects of their true interests and honor, to the
ruinous American war.

The Court of Berlin flatters itself, that the connexions which have
heretofore so long united France and Prussia will renew themselves
sooner or later. This system is more rational than that which subsists
at this day. The king of Prussia may then wait without anxiety the
consequences of the present revolution, because it tends to increase
the resources of his natural ally. The jealousy between the Emperor
and the King of Prussia, and that between the Houses of Bourbon and
Austria, are a natural tie between France and Prussia. The rivalry
between France and Great Britain is another motive, too natural and
too permanent for the former to suffer the King of Prussia to be long
the ally of the latter. One of the favorite projects of Prussia, that
of rendering the port of Emden a place of flourishing trade, interests
him most powerfully in our independence. Silesia, one of his best
provinces, has already felt the influence of it, and, sensible of the
force that empires derive from commerce, he is earnestly desirous to
see it introduced between America and his States; which gives ground
to believe, that as Austria will be one of the last so Prussia will be
one of the first to acknowledge our independence; an opinion which is
rendered more probable by the answer, which was given by the Baron de
Schulenburg to Mr Arthur Lee, and the influence of the King of Prussia
in the United Provinces, which is greater than that of any other
Power, arising from his great military force, and the vicinity of his
dominions. His near relation to the Stadtholder and the Prince of
Brunswick, is an additional motive to cultivate his friendship. The
Electorate of Saxony, with a fruitful soil, contains a numerous and
industrious people, and most of the commerce between the east and the
west of Europe passes through it. The fairs of Leipsic have drawn
considerable advantages for these four years from our trade. This
Power will see with pleasure the moment, which shall put the last hand
to our independence. The rest of Germany, excepting Hamburgh and
Bremen, have no means of opening a direct commerce with us; with the
latter we have no connexion at present; in the former all the commerce
of Lower Germany is transacted; here we shall soon have occasion to
establish an agent or consul.

Poland, depopulated by the war and a vicious government, reduced by a
shameful treaty to two thirds of her ancient dominion, destitute of
industry and manufactures, even of the first necessity, has no
occasion for the productions of America. Dantzic sees her ancient
prosperity diminish every day. There is, therefore, little probability
of commerce, and less of any political connexion between that nation
and us.

Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, comprehended under the denomination of
the northern powers, have been thought by some to be interested in our
return to the domination of Great Britain. Whether they consider
themselves in this light or not, their late declarations against the
right of England to interrupt their navigation, and their arming for
the protection of their commerce on the ocean, and even in the English
channel, are unequivocal proofs of their opinion concerning the right
in our contest, and of their intentions not to interfere against us.
It is very true, that the articles of commerce which they produce, are
in many respects the same with those of America. Yet if we consider
that we shall have occasion to purchase from them large quantities of
hemp and sailcloth, and that our productions of timber, pitch, tar,
and turpentine, are less profitable with us without bounties, than
some other branches of labor, it is not probable that we shall lower
the price of these articles in Europe so much as some conjecture, and
consequently our increased demand upon those countries for several
articles will be more than a compensation to them for the small loss
they may sustain, by a trifling reduction in the price of those
articles. It is not probable that the Courts of Petersburg, Stockholm,
and Copenhagen have viewed with indifference the present revolution,
if they have been apprehensive of being hurt by it in some respects,
which however I think must have been a mistaken apprehension; yet the
motive of humbling the pride of the English, who have endeavored to
exercise their domination, even over the northern seas, and to render
the Danish and Swedish flag dependent on theirs, has prevailed over
all others, and they are considered in Europe as having given their
testimony against the English in this war.

Italy, a country which declines every day from its ancient prosperity,
offers few objects to our speculations. The privileges of the port of
Leghorn, nevertheless, may render it useful to our ships, when our
independence shall be acknowledged by Great Britain, if, as we once
flattered ourselves, the Court of Vienna might receive an American
Minister. We were equally in error respecting the Court of the Grand
Duchy of Tuscany, where an Austrian prince reigns, who receives all
his directions from Vienna, in such a manner that he will probably
never receive any person in a public character, until the chief of his
house has set him the example. The King of the two Sicilies is in the
same dependence on the Court of Madrid, and we may depend upon it, he
will conform himself to all it shall suggest to him. This prince has
already ordered the ports of his dominions to be open to American
vessels, public and private, and has ordered his Ambassador at Paris
to apply to your Commissioners for a description of the American flag,
that our vessels might be known, and receive no molestation upon their
appearance in his harbors.

The Court of Rome, attached to ancient customs, would be one of the
last to acknowledge our independence, if we were to solicit for it.
But Congress will probably never send a Minister to his Holiness, who
can do them no service, upon condition of receiving a Catholic Legate
or Nuncio in return, or in other words, an ecclesiastical tyrant,
which it is to be hoped the United States will be too wise ever to
admit into their territories.

The States of the King of Sardinia are poor, and their commerce is
very small. The little port of Villa Franca will probably see few
American vessels, nor will there be any close relations, either
commercial or political, between this prince and us.

The republic of Genoa is scarcely known at this day in Europe, but by
those powers who borrow money. It is possible that some small sums
might be obtained there, if Congress would fall upon means of insuring
a punctual payment of interest in Europe.

Venice, heretofore so powerful, is reduced to a very inconsiderable
commerce, and is in an entire state of decay.

Switzerland is another lender of money, but neither her position nor
her commerce can occasion any near relation with us.

Whether there is anything in these remarks worth the trouble of
reading, I shall submit to the wisdom of Congress, and subscribe
myself, with the highest consideration, your most obedient and humble
servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO JAMES LOVELL.

                                         Braintree, August 13th, 1779.

  My Dear Sir,

Since I have had opportunity to converse a little in this country, and
to read a few gazettes, I find that questions have been agitated here
in the newspapers, and in private circles, as well as in Congress,
concerning his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes, and Mr Arthur Lee,
which seem to make it necessary that I should send the enclosed
copies.[47] You can judge better than I whether it will be of any
public utility to lay them before Congress. My first letter, and his
Excellency's answer, I can see no objection to laying before
Congress; but as the rest[48] contain little else besides mutual
compliments, perhaps it will be as well to conceal them. I submit the
whole, however, to your discretion, and am, with much esteem, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTES:

  [47] See these letters in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II. pp.
  224, 227.

  [48] See the present volume, under the dates of February 16th, 1779,
  p. 294; February 21st, p. 298; February 27th, p. 299.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      Braintree, September 10th, 1779.

  Sir,

Looking over the printed journals of the 15th of last April, I find in
the report of the Committee appointed to take into consideration the
foreign affairs of the United States, and also the conduct of the late
and present Commissioners of these States, the two following articles.

1. "That it appears to them, that Dr Franklin is Plenipotentiary for
these States at the Court of France; Dr Arthur Lee, Commissioner for
the Court of Spain; Mr William Lee, Commissioner for the Courts of
Vienna and Berlin; Mr Ralph Izard, Commissioner for the Court of
Tuscany; that Mr John Adams was appointed one of the Commissioners at
the Court of France, in the place of Mr Deane, who had been appointed
a joint Commissioner with Dr Franklin and Dr Arthur Lee, but that the
said commission of Mr Adams is superseded by the Plenipotentiary
commission to Dr Franklin.

2. "That in the course of their examination and inquiry, they find
many complaints against the said Commissioners, and the political and
commercial agency of Mr Deane, which complaints, with the evidence in
support thereof, are herewith delivered, and to which the Committee
beg leave to refer."

The word "said" in the second article, refers to the Commissioners
mentioned in the first, and as my name is among them, I learn from
hence, that there were some complaints against me, and that the
evidence in support of them was delivered to Congress by the
Committee.

I therefore pray, that I may be favored with copies of those
complaints, evidences, and the names of my accusers, and the witnesses
against me, that I may take such measures as may be in my power to
justify myself to Congress.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Boston, September 23d, 1779.

  Sir,

I had yesterday the honor of your letter of the 7th of this month. I
thank you, Sir, for your obliging congratulations on my return to my
family and country.

The reason why my letters of the 27th of February, and the 1st of
March, arrived so late was, that they were delivered at the time of
their dates to gentlemen then bound to the seaports, who expected to
sail directly for America, but were disappointed of passages, until
the vessels sailed under the convoy of the Sensible.

I have not my letter book here, but I do not remember that they
contained anything of much consequence, so that I suppose the
inconvenience of their late arrival was not much.

You will be pleased to make my most respectful compliments to the
members of Congress, and believe me, with great esteem, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO JAMES LOVELL.

                                        Braintree, October 17th, 1779.

  My Dear Sir,

What shall I say to your favors of the 27th and 28th of September,
which came by the last post? The unanimity of my election surprises
me, as much as the delicacy, importance, and danger of the trust
distress me. The appointment of Mr Dana to be Secretary pleases me
more than my own to be Minister, Commissioner, Negotiator, call it
what you will. I have communicated to him your letters in confidence,
and all other material intelligence I had, and hope he will not
decline, but you know the peculiarities of his situation, and if he
should refuse, I hope you will not force your name out of nomination
again. I did not suppose that such characters would be willing to go
as Secretaries, because I did not know your plan, otherwise I should
not have mentioned Mr Jennings to Mr Gerry for one to Dr Franklin.
Your mastery of the language, and your indefatigability, would make
you infinitely useful in any of these departments.

I rejoice that you produced my letter to the Count de Vergennes and
his answer before the choice, because it contained a testimony in
favor of Mr Lee, which was his due.[49] I am very much affected at his
recall, because I know his merit, and, therefore, I am glad I was not
placed in his stead, for suspicions would have arisen, and
reflections would have been cast upon me, as having favored his
removal in order to make room, which I certainly did not. I am
infinitely obliged to you for those letters, and for that received the
post before last, but I really tremble for your health. Let me entreat
you, for the sake of our country, to take care of it. If I was to
apply myself as you do, I should soon go to study politics in another
sphere. Yet I am so selfish as to beg the continuance of your favors
to me, and I pledge myself to you, I will not be in debt any more than
may be made by the intrinsic difference in the value of the letters,
which will be unavoidable.

I thank you for the extract from Mr Izard's letter. I am not a little
surprised at its contents. It was written, I see, to his friend, and I
suppose intended in confidence. I am fully persuaded he did not
intend, that the whole should have been laid before Congress.[50] I
utterly deny that I ever used to him any such language, as the
indecent paragraph that closes what he says about me. Indeed, that is
manifestly his own inference, and in his own words, from what he says
he had heard me say, and he draws the same from what Dr Franklin and
Mr Deane had said upon the same subject. I further deny that I ever
_threatened_ him with the displeasure of Congress, for writing his
opinion concerning these articles to Congress, or for suggesting them
to the Commissioners. But to enter into all the conversations that
have passed between Mr Izard and me respecting those articles, and
many other points in order to give a full and fair representation of
those conversations, would fill a small volume. Yet there never was
any angry or rude conversation between him and me, that I can
recollect. I lived with him on good terms, visited him and he me,
dined with his family, and his family with me, and I ever told him,
and repeated it often, that I should be always obliged to him for his
advice, opinions, and sentiments upon any American subject, and that I
should always give it its due weight, although I did not think myself
bound to follow it any further than it seemed to me to be just. As
Congress have declined giving me the charges against me by their
authority, and have, upon the whole, acquitted me with so much
splendor, it would look like a littleness of soul in me to make myself
anxious, or give them any further trouble about it. And as I have in
general so good an opinion of Mr Izard's attachment to his country,
and of his honor, I shall not think myself bound to take any further
notice of this fruit of his inexperience in public life, this peevish
ebullition of the rashness of his temper. I have written a few other
observations to Mr Gerry on the same subject. You and he will compare
these with them for your private satisfaction, but be sure that they
are not exposed where they will do harm to the public, to Mr Izard, or
me, unnecessarily.

If I should go abroad, cannot you lend me twenty or thirty complete
sets of the journals? They are much wanted in Europe. A set of them is
a genteel present, and perhaps would do me and the public more service
than you are aware of. If Congress, or some Committee would order it,
I should be very glad.

  I am, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTES:

  [49] See these letters in Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II. pp.
  224, 227.

  [50] See Izard's Correspondence, Vol. II. p. 434.

                  *       *       *       *       *

            TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Braintree, October 19th, 1779.

  Sir,

I had in Paris an opportunity of procuring information concerning the
British whale fishery on the coast of Brazil, which it is proper to
communicate to Congress, that if any advantage can be made of it the
opportunity may not be lost.

The last year and the year before the English carried on this fishery
to very great advantage, off the river Plate in South America, in the
latitude of 35° south, and from thence to 40°, just on the edge of
soundings, off and on, as the sailors express it, and about longitude
65° from London. They had about seventeen vessels in this fishery,
which all sailed from London in the months of September and October.
All the officers and men Americans from Nantucket and Cape Cod, two or
three from Rhode Island, and one from Long Island. Four or five of
these vessels went to Greenland, to which place they sail yearly, the
last of February or the beginning of March.

The year before last, there was published in the English newspapers, a
letter from the Lords of the Admiralty to Dennis de Bredt, in Coleman
Street, informing him, that a convoy should be appointed to the Brazil
fleet. But this I had certain information was a forgery, calculated
merely to deceive American privateers, and no convoy actually went or
was appointed, either last year or the year before, although the
imposture was repeated both times, and will no doubt be renewed this.

For the capture or destruction of a fishery so wholly defenceless, not
one of the vessels having any arms, a single frigate, or indeed a
privateer of four and twenty guns, would be sufficient. The beginning
of December would be the best time to proceed from Boston or
Philadelphia, because the frigate would then find the whaling vessels
nearly loaded. The cargoes of bone and oil are very valuable, and at
least four hundred and fifty of the best kind of seamen would be taken
out of the hands of the English, and might be gained into the American
service. Most of the officers and men wish well to this country, and
would gladly be in its service, if they could be delivered from that
they are engaged in. Whenever the English men of war or privateers,
have taken an American vessel, they have given to all the whalemen
found among the crew, by order of government, their choice, either to
go on board a man of war and fight against their country, or into the
whale fishery. Such numbers have chosen the latter, as have made up
the crews of seventeen vessels.

I thought it my duty to communicate this, that if so profitable a
branch of commerce, and so valuable a nursery of seamen, can be taken
from the English, it may be done. I prevailed with my colleagues last
year to represent these facts to his Excellency, M. de Sartine, but it
appears that his Majesty's service would not admit of any enterprise
from France in consequence of it. Since my return I have represented
them to the Council of this State, but whether anything can be done by
them, after the disaster at Penobscot, I doubt. If Congress should not
deem it consistent with the public service to send a frigate upon this
service, nothing will be lost but the trouble of this letter.

I have the honor to congratulate your Excellency on your advancement
to the chair, and to subscribe myself with great respect, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

            TO SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Braintree, October 20th, 1779.

  Sir,

M. Schweighauser of Nantes, who is a native of Switzerland, observing
me as I was one day at his house looking with some attention upon a
stamp of the heroic deed of William Tell, asked me to take a few of
them to America, as a present from him, which I agreed to do with
pleasure. He accordingly sent on board the frigate a box containing,
as he told me, one stamp for each State, neatly framed and glazed,
which he desired me to present to Congress, as a small token of his
respect. The box has never been opened, but I hope the pictures are
safe, and with permission of Congress I will deliver it to the Navy
Board in Boston, to be by them transmitted to the delegates from the
several States, or to their order.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Braintree, October 21st, 1779.

  Sir,

So many advantages might be derived to the United States in the
conduct of the war, in furnishing the army and navy, in augmenting the
value, or at least in preventing the further depreciation of their
currency, in lowering the prices of goods, in supplying the wants of
the people, and in preventing murmurs and discontents, that I have
ever thought it of very great importance, in some way or other, to
procure convoys to their trade, to and from the West India Islands,
and Europe.

France and Spain have such advantages of England in carrying on the
war in the American seas, and would receive such assistance from our
commerce, privateers, and growing navy, that I have ever thought it a
main principle of their policy to maintain a constant and decided
superiority of naval power in the West Indies, and upon the coasts of
this continent. I would, therefore, with due deference to the superior
wisdom of Congress, beg leave to submit to their consideration,
whether it would not be expedient for them, either by a direct
representation from themselves to the French and Spanish Courts, or by
instructions to their Plenipotentiary Ministers, to convince those
Courts, that their true interest lies in adopting this plan. It is
certainly their interest, reasoning upon French and Spanish principles
simply, to conduct this war in such a manner as has a tendency in the
shortest time, and with the least expense, to diminish the power of
their enemies, and increase their own. Now I would submit it to
Congress whether it may not be easily demonstrated, that these ends
may be obtained the most easily in this way. A representation from
Congress, either directly or by instructions to their Ministers,
showing what assistance in provisions, artists, materials, vessels of
war, privateers, land armies, or in any other way, France and Spain
might depend upon receiving from these States, either for money or as
the exertions of an ally, would have great weight.

Much has been already said to the French Ministry upon these subjects,
and not wholly without effect; yet much more may be said to greater
advantage, and perhaps to better purpose, for they are extremely well
disposed to do what can be made to appear to them for the advantage of
the common cause.

I have the honor to enclose some papers on this subject. One is a
letter from the Commissioners to his Excellency the Count de
Vergennes, which he received the beginning of January last,[51] the
other is a letter from me to the Marquis de Lafayette[52] in February,
with his answer.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTES:

  [51] See the Correspondence of the Commissioners in France, Vol. I. p.
  500.

  [52] See above, p. 295. The answer of M. de Lafayette is missing.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO HENRY LAURENS.

                                        Braintree, October 25th, 1779.

  My Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 4th of this month gave me great pleasure, but I am
afraid that you and some others of my friends felt more for me in the
awkward situation you mention than I did for myself, though I cannot
say that I was wholly insensible. I could compare it to nothing, but
Shakspeare's idea of Ariel, wedged in the middle of a rifted oak, for
I was sufficiently sensible, that it was owing to an unhappy division
in Congress, and pains enough were taken to inform me, that one side
were for sending me to Spain, and the other to Holland, so that I was
flattered to find that neither side had any decisive objection against
trusting me, and that the apparent question was only _where_.

That I was sent without the least solicitation of mine, directly or
indirectly, is certainly true; and I had such formidable ideas of the
sea and of British men of war, such diffidence in my own
qualifications to do service in that way, and such uncertainty of the
reception I should meet, that I had little inclination to adventure.
That I went against my interest is most undoubtedly so, for I never
yet served the public without losing by it. I was not, however, as you
suppose, kept unemployed. I had business enough to do, as I could
easily convince you. There is a great field of business there, and I
could easily show you that I did my share of it. There is so much to
do, and so much difficulty to do it well, that I am rejoiced to find a
gentleman of such abilities, principles, and activity as Colonel
Laurens undoubtedly is, without a compliment, appointed to assist in
it.[53] I most sincerely hope for his friendship, and an entire
harmony with him, for which reason I should be very happy in his
company in the passage, or in an interview with him as soon as
possible in Europe. He will be in a delicate situation, but not so
much so as I was; and plain sense, honest intentions, and common
civility will, I think, be sufficient to secure him, and do much good.

Your kind compliments on my safe return and most honorable re-election
are very obliging. I have received no commission, nor instructions,
nor any particular information of the plan; but from the advice and
information from you and several other of my friends at Philadelphia
and here, I shall make no hesitation to say, that, notwithstanding the
delicacy and danger of this commission, I suppose I shall accept it
without delay and trust events to Heaven, as I have been long used to
do.

The convulsions at Philadelphia are very affecting and alarming, but
not entirely unexpected to me. The state of parties, and the nature of
their government, have a long time given me disagreeable
apprehensions. But I hope they will find some remedy. Methods will be
found to feed the army, but I know of none to clothe it without
convoys to trade, which Congress, I think, will do well to undertake,
and persuade France and Spain to undertake as soon as possible. Your
packets for your friends in Europe will give me pleasure, and shall be
forwarded with care and despatch.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [53] This alludes to the appointment of Colonel John Laurens to be
  Secretary to the Minister Plenipotentiary in France. _Secret
  Journals_, Vol. II. p. 261. It does not appear that Colonel Laurens
  accepted the appointment. He was the son of Henry Laurens, to whom
  this letter from Mr Adams is addressed.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Braintree, November 4th, 1779.

  Sir,

I had yesterday the honor of receiving your letter of the 20th of
October, enclosed with two commissions, appointing me Minister
Plenipotentiary from the United States, to negotiate peace and
commerce with Great Britain, together with instructions for my
government in the execution of these commissions, copies of
instructions to the Ministers Plenipotentiary at Versailles and
Madrid, and two acts of Congress of the 4th and 15th of October.

Peace is an object of such vast importance, the interests to be
adjusted in the negotiations to obtain it are so complicated and so
delicate, and the difficulty of giving even general satisfaction is so
great, that I feel myself more distressed at the prospect of executing
the trust, than at the thought of leaving my country, and again
encountering the dangers of the seas and of enemies. Yet, when I
reflect on the general voice in my favor, and the high honor that is
done me by this appointment, I feel the warmest sentiments of
gratitude to Congress, and shall make no hesitation to accept it, and
devote myself without reserve or loss of time to the discharge of it.
My success, however, may depend, in a very great degree, on the
intelligence and advices that I may receive from time to time from
Congress, and on the punctuality with which several articles in my
instructions may be kept secret. It shall be my most earnest endeavor
to transmit to Congress the most constant and exact information in my
power of whatever may occur, and to conceal those instructions, which
depend in any measure on my judgment. And I hope I need not suggest to
Congress the necessity of communicating to me, as early as possible,
their commands from time to time, and of keeping all the discretionary
articles an impenetrable secret, a suggestion, however, that the
constitution of that sovereignty, which I have the honor to represent,
might excuse.

As the frigate has been some time waiting, I shall embark in eight or
ten days at furthest. Your Excellency will please to present my most
dutiful respects to Congress, and accept my thanks for the polite and
obliging manner in which you have communicated their commands.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

      INSTRUCTIONS FOR A TREATY OF PEACE WITH GREAT BRITAIN.[54]

FOOTNOTE:

  [54] These instructions, and those for a treaty of commerce which
  follow were agreed to unanimously in Congress on the 14th of August,
  nearly six weeks before the Minister was chosen. They were drawn up by
  Gouverneur Morris.

Sir,

You will herewith receive a commission, giving you full power to
negotiate a treaty of peace with Great Britain, in doing which you
will conform to the following information and instructions.

1. The United States are sincerely desirous of peace, and wish by
every means, consistent with their dignity and safety, to spare the
further effusion of blood. They have, therefore, by your commission
and these instructions, labored to remove the obstacles to that event,
before the enemy have evidenced their disposition for it. But as the
great object of the present defensive war, on the part of the allies,
is to establish the independence of the United States, and as any
treaty whereby this end cannot be obtained must be only ostensible and
illusory, you are, therefore, to make it a preliminary article to any
negotiation, that Great Britain shall agree to treat with the United
States, as sovereign, free, and independent.

2. You shall take especial care also, that the independence of the
said States be effectually assured and confirmed by the treaty or
treaties of peace, according to the form and effect of the treaty of
alliance with His Most Christian Majesty. And you shall not agree to
such treaty or treaties, unless the same be thereby so assured and
confirmed.

3. The boundaries of these States are as follows, viz. These States
are bounded north, by a line to be drawn from the northwest angle of
Nova Scotia along the highlands, which divide those rivers which empty
themselves into the river St Lawrence, from those which fall into the
Atlantic ocean, to the northwesternmost head of Connecticut river;
thence down along the middle of that river to the fortyfifth degree of
north latitude; thence due west in the latitude fortyfive degrees
north from the equator to the northwesternmost side of the river St
Lawrence or Cadaraqui; thence straight to the south end of Nepissing;
and thence straight to the source of the river Mississippi; west, by a
line to be drawn along the middle of the river Mississippi from its
source to where the said line shall intersect the thirtyfirst degree
of north latitude; south, by a line to be drawn due east, from the
termination of the line last mentioned in the latitude of thirtyone
degrees north from the equator to the middle of the river
Appalachicola, or Catahouchi; thence along the middle thereof to its
junction with the Flint river; thence straight to the head of St
Mary's river; and thence down along the middle of St Mary's river to
the Atlantic ocean; and east, by a line to be drawn along the middle
of St John's river from its source to its mouth in the Bay of Fundy,
comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the
shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due
east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova
Scotia on the one part, and East Florida on the other part, shall
respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic ocean. You are,
therefore, strongly to contend that the whole of the said countries
and islands lying within the boundaries aforesaid, and every citadel,
fort, post, place, harbor, and road to them belonging, be absolutely
evacuated by the land and sea forces of his Britannic Majesty, and
yielded to the powers of the States to which they respectively belong,
in such situation as they may be at the termination of the war. But,
notwithstanding the clear right of these States, and the importance of
the object, yet they are so much influenced by the dictates of
religion and humanity, and so desirous of complying with the earnest
request of their allies, that if the line to be drawn from the mouth
of the lake Nepissing to the head of the Mississippi cannot be
obtained without continuing the war for that purpose, you are hereby
empowered to agree to some other line between that point and the river
Mississippi; provided the same shall in no part thereof be to the
southward of latitude fortyfive degrees north. And in like manner, if
the eastern boundary above described cannot be obtained, you are
hereby empowered to agree, that the same shall be afterwards adjusted,
by commissioners to be duly appointed for that purpose, according to
such line as shall be by them settled and agreed on, as the boundary
between that part of the State of Massachusetts Bay, formerly called
the province of Maine, and the colony of Nova Scotia, agreeably to
their respective rights. And you may also consent, that the enemy
shall destroy such fortifications as they may have erected.

3. Although it is of the utmost importance to the peace and commerce
of the United States that Canada and Nova Scotia should be ceded, and
more particularly that their equal common right to the fisheries
should be guarantied to them, yet a desire of terminating the war has
induced us not to make the acquisition of these objects an ultimatum
on the present occasion.

5. You are empowered to agree to a cessation of hostilities during the
negotiation, provided our ally shall consent to the same, and provided
it shall be stipulated that all the forces of the enemy shall be
immediately withdrawn from the United States.

6. In all other matters not abovementioned, you are to govern yourself
by the alliance between His Most Christian Majesty and these States,
by the advice of our allies, by your knowledge of our interests, and
by your own discretion, in which we repose the fullest confidence.

                  *       *       *       *       *

        INSTRUCTIONS FOR A TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH GREAT BRITAIN.

Sir,

You will herewith receive a commission, giving you full power to
negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, in doing which, you
will consider yourself bound by the following information and
instructions.

1. You will govern yourself principally by the treaty of commerce with
His Most Christian Majesty, and as, on the one hand, you shall grant
no privilege to Great Britain not granted by that treaty to France,
so, on the other, you shall not consent to any peculiar restrictions
or limitations whatever in favor of Great Britain.

2. In order that you may be the better able to act with propriety on
this occasion, it is necessary for you to know, that we have
determined, 1st, that the common right of fishing shall 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; 3dly, that
application shall be made to His Most Christian Majesty to agree to
some article or articles for the better securing to these States a
share in the said fisheries; 4thly, that if, after a treaty of peace
with Great Britain, she shall molest the citizens or inhabitants of
any of the United States, in taking fish on the banks and places
hereinafter described, such molestation, being in our opinion a direct
violation and breach of the peace, shall be a common cause of the said
States, and the force of the union be exerted to obtain redress for
the parties injured; and 5thly, that our faith be pledged to the
several States, that, without their unanimous consent, no treaty of
commerce shall be entered into, nor any trade or commerce carried on
with Great Britain, without the explicit stipulation hereinafter
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 to 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.

In all matters you are to govern yourself by your own discretion, as
shall be most for the interest of these States, taking care that the
said treaty be founded on principles of equality and reciprocity, so
as to conduce to the mutual advantage of both nations, but not to the
exclusion of others.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Braintree, November 7th, 1779.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to Congress a copy of the letter book of
the Commissioners at the Court of Versailles, during the time I had
the honor to be one of them. As the letter book was kept by me, and
almost wholly in my hand writing, the Minister Plenipotentiary
consented, that I should bring it home with me, leaving him a copy,
which was done.

As there may be many things in it which Congress may have occasion to
know, I have prevailed with Mr Thaxter to copy it. I shall submit to
the consideration of Congress, whether he ought to have any allowance
for this service, and how much. As Mr Thaxter will accompany me to
Europe, in the character of my private Secretary, if Congress think
proper to allow him anything for these copies, I can pay him in Europe
if it is thought proper.

I chose to mention Mr Thaxter's going with me to Congress, because
jealousies have arisen heretofore concerning private Secretaries. Mr
Thaxter is known to Congress, and I think I can safely confide in his
fidelity, diligence, and discretion, and from the experience I have
had in Europe I am fully convinced, that it is my duty to take with me
some one of this character.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                           Ferrol, December 8th, 1779.

  Sir,

I have the honor to inform your Excellency, that, Congress having
judged it proper to appoint me to a new mission in Europe, I embarked
on the 13th of November, at the instance of the Chevalier de la
Luzerne and M. Gerard, on board the same frigate, that carried me to
America. Soon after we got to sea, a formidable leak in the ship
discovered itself, so as to oblige us to keep two pumps constantly
going by night and day, which induced the captain to think it
necessary to put into this place, where we have just now cast anchor.
Whether I shall go to Paris by land or wait for the frigate is
uncertain; I believe the former, as the latter might detain me four or
five weeks. I have despatches for your Excellency from Congress, which
I shall carry with me, and newspapers. These latter contain little
remarkable save the evacuation of Rhode Island by the enemy, and the
Count d'Estaing's progress in Georgia, in co-operation with General
Lincoln, which was in a fair course of success.

I hope the Confederacy, which sailed from Philadelphia three or four
weeks before us, with M. Gerard and Mr Jay, who is appointed Minister
Plenipotentiary for Spain, has happily arrived, and made it
unnecessary for me to enlarge upon the general state of affairs in
America, which were upon the whole in a favorable train. I hope to
have the honor of saluting you at Passy in a few weeks, and am, with
great respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Ferrol, December 11th, 1779.

  Sir,

I have the honor to inform Congress, that on the 13th of November I
embarked on board the French frigate, la Sensible, and on the 14th
came on board Mr Francis Dana, the Secretary to my commission, when we
fell down to King's Roads, and on the 15th we sailed for France.

A leak was soon discovered in the ship, which obliged us to ply the
pumps; as it seemed a steady leak, it gave little alarm at first, but
continuing to increase to such a degree as to make two pumps
constantly necessary night and day, obliging the passengers to take
their turns in common with the ship's people, the captain judged it
necessary to make the first port he could find. Accordingly, on the
7th of December, we happily discovered Cape Finisterre, and on the 8th
arrived in the magnificent Spanish port of Ferrol, where we found a
squadron of French ships of the line, the officers of which think we
were very happy in making this port, as the frigate, since she has
been in this harbor, is found to make seven or eight feet of water an
hour.

The advice of all the gentlemen here is to make the best of my way to
Paris by land, as it is the opinion of many, that the frigate will be
condemned, but if not, she certainly will not be ready to sail again
from this port in less than four or five weeks.

This is unfortunate to me, because, by all the information I can
obtain, travelling in this kingdom is attended with many difficulties
and delays, as well as a very great expense, there being no regular
posts as in France, and no possibility of passing over the mountainous
part of this country in carriages.

I find there has been no engagement in the European seas between the
English and the combined fleets of France and Spain, as was reported
in America. There has been an epidemic sickness on board the French
fleet, which caused it to return rather sooner than was intended.
There are twentyfive Spanish ships of the line in Brest harbor with
the French. It is reported that M. du Chaffault is appointed commander
in chief of the French fleet, and that the Count d'Orvilliers has
retired.

Captain Jones has done another brilliant action, by taking a fortyfour
gun ship, after an obstinate engagement, which he carried into the
Texel, but I cannot learn the particulars with much certainty or
exactness.

I have been treated with the utmost attention and politeness since my
arrival in this place, both by the Spanish and French officers,
particularly by the Spanish Lieutenant General of Marine, Don Joseph
St Vincent, who is commander in chief of the marine, by M. de Sade,
the French _Chef d'Escadré_, and by the French consul and vice consul,
who have all obligingly offered me every assistance in their power.

I shall endeavor to inform Congress of every step of my progress, as I
may find opportunity. I have heard nothing as yet, which makes it
probable to me, that I shall have anything to do openly and directly,
in pursuance of my commission very speedily. There is a confused rumor
here of a mediation of Russia and Holland, but I am persuaded without
foundation. It seems to be much more certain, that the English
continue in their old ill humor and insolent language, notwithstanding
their impotence grows every day more apparent.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                         Corunna, December 16th, 1779.

  Sir,

By the opportunity of a small vessel accidentally in this harbor,
bound to Newburyport, I have the honor to inform Congress that I have
been detained by violent rains, and several accidents, in Ferrol until
yesterday, when I set out with my family for this place, and arrived
last evening without any accident. I awaited immediately on the
Governor of the province, and on the Governor of the town, and
received many civilities from both, and particularly from his
Excellency the Governor of the province of Galicia, an assurance that
he was not only disposed personally to render me every hospitality and
assistance in his power, but that he had received express orders from
his Court, to treat all Americans who should arrive here like their
best friends. These personages were very inquisitive about American
affairs, particularly the progress of our arms, and the operations of
the Count d'Estaing, and more particularly still about the appointment
of a Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Madrid. They requested
his name, character, nativity, age, whether he was a member of
Congress, and whether he had been President, with many other
particulars.

To all these questions I made the best answers in my power, and with
regard to his Excellency, the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court
of Madrid, I gave them the most exact information, and such a
respectable character as the high offices he has sustained, and his
own personal merit require. It is the prevailing opinion here, that
the Court of Madrid is well disposed to enter into a treaty with the
United States, and that the Minister from Congress will be immediately
received, American independence acknowledged, and a treaty concluded.
The frigate la Sensible is found to be in so bad a condition, that I
am advised by everybody to go to France by land. The season, the
roads, the accommodations for travelling are so unfavorable, that it
is not expected I can get to Paris in less than thirty days. But if I
were to wait for the frigate, it would probably be much longer. I am
determined, therefore, to make the best of my way by land. And it is
possible that this journey may prove of some service to the public,
although it will be tedious and expensive to me, at least, I hope the
public will sustain no loss by it.

There are six battalions of Irish troops in Spain, in three regiments,
several of whose officers have visited me to assure me of their regard
to the United States. I have been this afternoon to the Tower de Fer
to see the Island of Cezarga, which was rendered famous in the course
of the last summer by being appointed the rendezvous of the French and
Spanish fleets. The French fleet arrived at this Island on the 9th of
June last, but were not joined by the Spanish fleet from Ferrol, till
some time in July, nor by the fleet from Cadiz till much later, so
that the combined fleets were not able to sail for the English
Channel, until the 30th of July. To prevent a similar inconvenience
another campaign, there are about twentyfive Spanish ships of the line
now in Brest, which are to winter there, and to be ready to sail with
the French fleets the approaching summer, at the first opening of the
season.

God grant them success and triumph, although no man wishes for peace
more sincerely than I, or would take more pleasure, or think himself
more highly honored in being instrumental in bringing it about, yet, I
confess, I see no prospect or hope of it, at least before the end of
another summer. America will be amused with rumors of peace, and
Europe too, but the English are not yet in a temper for it.

The Court of Russia has lately changed its Ambassador at the Court of
London, and sometime in the month of October, M. Simolin, the new
Minister Plenipotentiary from the Court of Petersburg to the Court of
London, passed through France in his way to England, and resided three
weeks in Paris. From this circumstance, a report has been spread in
Europe, that the Court of Russia is about to undertake the office of
mediator between the belligerent powers. But from conversation with
several persons of distinction since my arrival in Spain, particularly
with the Count de Sade, the Chef d'Escadré, commanding the French men
of war now in Ferrol, I am persuaded, that if Russia has any thoughts
of a mediation, the independence of the United States will be insisted
upon by her as a preliminary, and Great Britain will feel much more
reluctance to agree to this, than to the cession of Gibraltar, which
it is said Spain absolutely insists upon.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE GOVERNOR OF CORUNNA.

                                         Corunna, December 18th, 1779.

Mr Adams presents his compliments to the Governor of Corunna, and
informs him, according to his desire expressed last evening, that the
names of the persons for whom he requests a passport from his
Excellency, the Governor of this Province, are as follows.

John Adams, a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of
America.

Francis Dana, Secretary to Mr Adams's commission, a member of
Congress, and a member of the Council of Massachusetts Bay.

John Thaxter, private Secretary to Mr Adams.

John Quincy Adams, a son of Mr Adams, about twelve years of age.

Charles Adams, another son of Mr Adams, nearly ten years of age.

Jeremiah Allen of Boston, in Massachusetts, a private gentleman
accidentally in company; he is a merchant travelling with the view of
establishing a private commerce in Spain, as well as France.

Samuel Cooper Johonnot, ten or eleven years of age, a grandson of a
particular friend of Mr Adams in Boston, going to Paris for an
education in the University there.

Joseph Stevens, a servant of Mr Adams.

John William Christian Frieke, a servant of Mr Dana.

Andrew Desmia, a servant of Mr Allen.

Mr Adams requests a passport for all these persons to go to Madrid,
and from thence to Bilboa, and from thence to Bayonne, in their way to
Paris; with liberty at the same time to go directly to Bayonne by the
nearest road, without going to Madrid, or to Bilboa; as it is
uncertain whether Mr Adams will have the time to gratify his
inclination with the sight of those cities.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    M. DE SARTINE TO JOHN ADAMS.

                           Translation.

                                      Versailles, December 31st, 1779.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write to me
on the 6th of October last.

I was well persuaded, that M. de Chavagne[55] would endeavor to
procure for you everything in his power to render your passage
agreeable. This was conformable to the instructions I had given him
respecting the intentions of the King.

I learn with pleasure, that, being again charged with an important
mission by Congress, you will be able to profit by the frigate
Sensible a second time in your voyage to France.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           DE SARTINE.

FOOTNOTE:

  [55] These instructions, and those for a treaty of commerce which
  follow were agreed to unanimously in Congress on the 14th of August,
  nearly six weeks before the Minister was chosen. They were drawn up by
  Gouverneur Morris.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Bilboa, January 16th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have the honor to inform Congress, that last night, and not before,
I arrived at this place.

At Ferrol and Corunna I was advised by all the friends of America, to
undertake a journey by land. The consul of France and M. Lagoanere, a
gentleman who has acted for some time as the American agent at
Corunna, obligingly offered me all the assistance in their power, and
accordingly used their utmost diligence to procure me the necessary
mules and carriages, for the transportation of the small number of
persons in company with me, and the small quantity of baggage we found
it indispensably necessary to take with us, having left more than two
thirds of what we had with us to take the chance of a passage by sea
to France. From the 8th of December, when we arrived at Ferrol, to the
26th of the same month, when we set off from Corunna, we were detained
by the violent rains, and the impossibility of getting accommodations
for travelling. All our beds and provisions we were obliged to carry
with us. We travelled through the ancient kingdoms of Galicia, Leon,
Old Castile, and Biscay, and although we made the best of our way
without loss of time, we found it impossible to go more than eight
leagues a day, and sometimes not more than four. The roads and inns
are inconvenient to a degree that I should blush to describe, and the
pain we suffered in a cold season of the year for want of fire, in a
country where there are no chimnies, gave us all such violent colds,
that I was under great apprehensions of our being seized with fevers.

As we were so near Madrid, within about forty leagues, I balanced some
time in my own mind, whether to go to that fine city, but considering
that this would lengthen our journey near a hundred leagues, the
severe season of the year, and above all the political situation that
I might be in, my country not being yet acknowledged as a sovereign
State by any formal act of that Court, it being known, that another
gentleman had a commission for that Court, and he being expected soon
to arrive, I thought it upon the whole the least hazardous to the
public interest to avoid that route.

It may be of some use to my countrymen to transmit a few observations
upon the country I have passed through, because it appears to me that
a commerce extremely advantageous to both countries may be opened
between us and Spain, as soon as our independence shall be
acknowledged by that power, at least as soon as we shall obtain the
great object of all our wishes, peace.

The province of Galicia is one of the largest in Spain, and said to be
one of the best peopled. Corunna is in effect the principal city,
although St Jago, in respect to its patron Saint, or more probably to
the Archbishop who resides there, is in name the capital. This
province, one of those whereof the ancient Crown of Castile was
formed, is washed by the ocean for more than seventy leagues from
Ribadeo, on the frontiers of Asturias, to the mouth of the river
Minks, which separates it from Portugal. This coast, which is divided
by Cape Finisterre, is provided on both sides of the Cape with ports
equally safe and convenient, which nature seems to have prepared
around this Cape, an object oftentimes so necessary to be made by
navigators, both at their departure from Europe, and at their return,
as so many asylums both from the apprehensions and the consequences of
storms. The most known of these ports are Ribadeo, Ferrol, Corunna,
and Camarinas, to the eastward of Cape Finisterre; Corubios, Muros,
Pontevidia, and Vigo to the westward; all proper to receive vessels of
the first rate, especially Ferrol and Vigo; the first, the most
considerable department of the marine of Spain, is embellished with
everything that art and the treasures, profusely spent upon it for
thirty years past, could add to its happy situation. Vigo, represented
to be one of the most beautiful ports in the world, is another
department of the marine, more extensive and proper, for such an
establishment than Ferrol itself. Besides these ports, there are a
multitude of harbors and bays round Cape Finisterre, which afford a
safe and convenient shelter to merchant vessels. With all these
advantages for foreign commerce, this province has very little but
what is passive. It receives from abroad some objects of daily
consumption, some of luxury, some of convenience, and some even of the
first necessity. At present it offers little for exportation to
foreign countries. The Sardiné of its coast, the famous fish which it
furnishes to all Spain, the cattle which it fattens for the provision
of Madrid, and a few coarse linens which are its only manufacture, and
are well esteemed, are the objects of its active commerce, and form
its balance with the other provinces. The wine and the grain, the
chief productions of its lands, seldom suffice for its consumption,
and never go beyond it.

The liberty of commerce with the Windward Islands, granted by the
Court within a few years, and the particular establishment of ----
opened the ports of that part of the new world to this province; and
although without manufactures herself, or any of those productions
proper for America, she renders to foreign hands the product of those
which she receives from them and carries thither. In this circulation
of so many treasures, she enriches herself with parts that she
detaches from the whole.

The civil government of this province is formed by a superior tribunal
called the _Audience_, to which an appeal lies from all the subaltern
jurisdictions, public and private. This Court hears and determines,
as sovereign and without appeal, all civil affairs of a less value
than a thousand ducats, or three thousand livres. Appeals in those
which exceed that value are carried to the Chancery of Valladolid, or
to the Council of Castile. Although justice is gratis on the part of
the judges, who are paid by the government, it is said to be not less
costly, tedious, and vexatious. It may not be useless to observe that
the Criminal Chambers, whose decrees extend to the punishment of
death, and are executed without any application to the King or any
other authority, is composed only of three judges, and these three are
the youngest of the whole tribunal, and this order is generally
followed in Spain in the composition of the criminal tribunals,
although no one pretends to conjecture the motive of so singular a
reverse of the rational order of things. The administration of the
royal police belongs also to the Audience, and forms the third chamber
into which this tribunal is divided.

All the military authority, and the government of the troops in this
department, are in the hands of the Captain General of the province.
There is not any one under him who has even the title of commandant.
But in case of his death or absence, he is succeeded by the general
officer, the most ancient in the province. To this title of Captain
General is added, commonly, that of President of the Audience, a
prerogative which, by uniting in his hands the civil authority to all
that of his place, gives a power the most absolute and unlimited.

The inspection general, and all the economy of the affairs of the King
in the province, belong to the Intendant. The different branches of
the public revenue are all administered by officers appointed by the
King, as in the rest of the kingdom, and there are no Farmers-General
as in France. Their product is about twentysix millions of reals, or
six millions five hundred thousand livres, the expense of collection
being deducted. The expenses of the administration, including the
maintenance of three regiments of infantry scattered about in
different places, do not exceed two millions five hundred thousand
livres. The surplus goes into the dry docks, arsenals, and fund of
fortifications, to the support of which this sum is far from being
sufficient. Such is in general the government, military, political,
and civil of this province, and nearly pf all the others, except
Biscay, Guipuscoa, and Alaba.

There is not in this province any particular jurisdiction of commerce,
but there is a tribunal, under the name of the Judge Considerator of
Commerce, which takes cognizance of all their causes, civil and
criminal, except the case of contraband. At this day, the Judge
Considerator of Strangers is the governor of the province himself, and
the appeals from his judgment are carried directly to the Council of
War, which is said to be a precious privilege, by the form and brevity
of procedure compared with the expensive and insupportable delays of
the ordinary jurisdiction.

I cannot but think that if some measures could be taken to convince
the Court, that it is their interest to take off the vast duties with
which commerce is overloaded in this port, fifteen per cent being to
be paid upon all commodities exported and upon all imported, and if
the rigid prohibitions of tobacco could be relaxed or repealed,
several of the productions of America would find a good market here,
and a commerce be opened that would put a new face upon this province,
and be profitable to America too. The conveniency of such a number of
excellent ports would be a vast advantage, which Bilboa cannot have,
as her harbor is neither safe nor convenient, besides its being so
much further down the stormy, turbulent Gulf of Biscay; yet Biscay,
which is commonly used to comprehend Biscay proper, the principal city
of which is Bilboa, although Orduna is the capital; Guipuscoa, the
capital of which is St Sebastian, and Alaba, the capital of which is
Vittoria, three free provinces, whose laws the Kings of Spain have
hitherto been sworn to observe inviolate, have attracted almost the
whole of the American trade, because the King has no custom house or
officers here, and there are no duties to be paid.

It may seem surprising to hear of free provinces in Spain, but such is
the fact, that the high and independent spirit of the people, so
essentially different from the other provinces, that a traveller
perceives it even in their countenances, their dress, their air, and
their ordinary manner of speech, has induced the Spanish nation and
her kings to respect the ancient liberties of these people so far,
that each monarch at his accession to the throne takes an oath to
observe the laws of Biscay. The government here is therefore
diametrically opposite to that of Galicia, and the other provinces.
The King of Spain has never assumed any higher title than Lord of
Biscay. He has no troops of any sort in the lordship, nor is there any
standing array, instead of which every man is obliged to serve in the
militia. The King has no custom house officers, nor other revenue
officers, nor any other officers whatsoever in the lordship except a
corregidor, and lately a commissary of marine. This last is considered
as an encroachment and a grievance, and the authority of the
corregidor is very small, as there lies an appeal from his judgment
to another tribunal, that of the two deputy generals, who are
biennially elected by the people. Few of the grandees of Spain have
any considerable estates here. The Duke of Medina Coeli, and the Duke
of Berwick, have some lands here of no great value. The lands,
generally, belong to the inhabitants and possessors, who hold them of
no lord but the King of Spain, who is Lord of Biscay.

There is a Board of Trade here, which is annually instituted by the
merchants of the place, partly by lot and partly by election, which
decides all controversies arising in trade, and all the affairs of
strangers. They have never admitted any foreign consul to reside here,
although it has been solicited by Holland, England, and France.

It is not at all surprising, that a constitution in its nature so
favorable to commerce, should have succeeded.

In travelling through the provinces of Leon and Castile, and observing
the numerous flocks of sheep, with the most beautiful fleeces of wool
in the world, I could not but wish that some communication might be
opened, by which the United States of America might be furnished with
this necessary article from this country. There are few of our
articles of exportation but might be sent to the Spanish market to
advantage, rice, pitch, tar, turpentine, tobacco, wheat, flour, ship
timber, masts, yards, bowsprits, and salt fish might be supplied to
Spain, and at an advantage, and in return, she might furnish us wine,
oil, fruits, some silks, some linens, perhaps, and with any quantity
of wool, which is now exported to foreign countries for manufacture,
and might as well be sent to us, but above all with silver and gold.

It must be the work of time and a free intercourse between the two
nations, and a future negotiation to ripen these hints into a plan
that may be beneficial to both. The system of revenue, which it is
dangerous and difficult to alter in Spain, as well as in all other
countries of Europe, will be the principal objection. I have collected
together with some difficulty a few gazettes, which I have the honor
to transmit to Congress, from which all the news may be collected that
I have been able to learn. Congress will easily perceive the eagerness
with which the belligerent powers are bent on war, without manifesting
the least disposition for peace, and most of all, Great Britain, whose
ostentatious display of trifling successes, and whose weak exultation
shows, that nothing can divert her from her furious course. But she is
exhausting and sinking her forces every day, without gaining any
lasting or solid advantage, and she has reason to fear, from the
combined fleets of France and Spain, under such enterprising,
experienced, and approved officers, as d'Estaing and du Chaffault, the
entire ruin of her commerce and navy in the course of a campaign or
two more.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                             Paris, February 12, 1780.

  Sir,

Having obtained permission from your Excellency yesterday, when I did
myself the honor to wait on you at Versailles, to write on the subject
of my mission, I have now the honor to acquaint you, that on the 29th
day of September last the Congress of the United States of America did
me the honor to elect me their Plenipotentiary to negotiate a peace
with Great Britain, and also to negotiate a treaty of commerce with
that kingdom, and Mr Francis Dana, member of Congress, and of the
Council of Massachusetts Bay, Secretary to both commissions.

As I was not at Congress when this transaction took place, I am not
able to inform your Excellency very particularly of the rise and
progress of it. But from conversation with gentlemen at Boston, who
were members of Congress, and from private letters, I learned in
general, that it was not the result of any sudden deliberation, or the
fruit of any particular event of the war, prosperous or adverse, but a
measure that has been more than a year under consideration, and
finally agreed to on this principle, that as it was uncertain at what
time the belligerent powers might be disposed to treat of peace, which
could not be concluded without a Minister from the United States, it
would save a great deal of time for this power to have a Minister in
Europe fully authorised to treat, and in concert with Ministers from
the other powers at war, conclude a peace with great Britain, and a
treaty of commerce consistent with that already made with His Most
Christian Majesty, and such others as might be made with other powers.
I am persuaded it is the intention of my constituents and of all
America, and I am sure it is my own determination, to take no steps of
consequence in pursuance of my commissions, without consulting his
Majesty's Ministers. And as various conjectures have been, and may be
made concerning the nature of my appointment and powers, and as it may
be expected by some, that I should take some measures for announcing
these to the public, or at least to the Court of London, I beg the
favor of your Excellency's opinion and advice upon these questions.

1. Whether, in the present state of things, it is prudent in me to
acquaint the British Ministry that I am arrived here, and that I shall
be ready to treat, whenever the belligerent powers shall be inclined
to treat?

2. Whether it is prudent in me to publish in any manner, more than the
journals of Congress may have already done, the nature of my mission?

3. Or whether to remain on the reserve, as I have hitherto done since
my arrival in Europe?

If any propositions should be made to me directly or indirectly from
the British Ministry, I shall not fail to communicate them without
loss of time to your Excellency, and I beg the favor of your
Excellency, as I am the only person in Europe who has authority to
treat of peace, that if any propositions on the part of Great Britain
should be made to his Majesty's Ministers, that they may be
communicated to me, at least as far as they may relate to the interest
of the United States.

Although I am not confined by commissions, nor instructions, nor by
any intimations from Congress to reside in any one place in Europe
more than another, yet my own inclinations as well as those of the
public would be most gratified, and the public service most promoted,
by my residing here. I must, therefore, request his Majesty's
protection and permission to reside in this kingdom for some time,
with or without assuming any public character, as your Excellency may
think most advisable.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                           Paris, February 13th, 1780.

  Sir,

It was not until my arrival at Passy, that I had the honor of your
Excellency's letter of the 31st of December last.

When his Majesty's intentions of granting me a passage to America were
communicated to me, I had little expectation of returning in the same
frigate; but the Congress having honored me with a fresh mission to
Europe, their Excellencies, the late and present Ministers from his
Majesty to the United States, concurred in a proposal to Congress, and
a requisition to the commander of the frigate, to afford me a passage
in her voyage home, which Captain Chavagne agreed to with particular
marks of politeness to me and Mr Dana, and the others who accompanied
me.

I have again to express to your Excellency the obligations I am under
to the captain, and all the officers of the Sensible, for their
goodness to me and mine. But it is more particularly my duty to
express again my thanks to his Majesty, for this fresh favor, to M.
Gerard and the Chevalier de la Luzerne, who procured it for me, and to
your Excellency, for your approbation of it.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS.

                             Translation.

                                      Versailles, February 15th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write me on
the 12th of this month. I think before I reply to the different
points on which you consult me, that it is proper to wait for the
arrival of M. Gerard, because he is probably the bearer of your
instructions, and will certainly be able to make me better acquainted
with the nature and extent of your commission. But in the mean time, I
am of opinion, that it will be prudent to conceal your eventual
character, and above all to take the necessary precautions, that the
object of your commission may remain unknown to the Court of London.
Besides, Sir, you may be assured, that his Majesty sees you with
pleasure in his dominions, that you will constantly enjoy his
protection, and the prerogatives of the law of nations. For my own
part, Sir, I shall be eager to give you proofs of my confidence, as
well as of the sentiments with which I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, February 15th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have the honor to inform Congress, that on the 9th of this month,
and not before, I had the good fortune to arrive in this city, from
Ferrol (where I arrived on the 8th of December) with Mr Dana, Mr
Thaxter, and the rest of the company in tolerable health, after a
journey of near five hundred leagues, in the dead of winter, through
bad roads, and worse accommodations of every kind. We lost no time
more than was indispensably necessary to restore our health, which was
several times affected, and in great danger; yet we were more than
twice as long in making the journey by land, as we had been in
crossing the Atlantic ocean.

The next morning after our arrival at Paris, Mr Dana and myself went
out to Passy, and spent the day with his Excellency Dr Franklin, who
did us the honor the next day to accompany us to Versailles, where we
had the honor to wait on their Excellencies the Count de Vergennes, M.
de Sartine, and the Count Maurepas, with each of whom we had the honor
of a short conference, upon the state of public affairs. It is
sufficient for me to say in general, that I never heard the French
Ministry so frank, so explicit, so decided, as each of these gentlemen
was in the course of this conversation, in his declarations to persue
the war with vigor, and to afford effectual aid to the United States.
I learned with great satisfaction, that they are sending, under
convoy, clothing and arms for fifteen thousand men to America, that
seventeen ships of the line were already gone to the West Indies,
under M. de Guichen, and that five or six more at least are to follow,
in addition to ten or twelve they have already there. I asked
permission of the Count de Vergennes to write to him on the subject of
my mission, which he cheerfully and politely agreed to. I have
accordingly written to his Excellency, and shall forward copies of my
letter and his answer, as soon as it may be safe to do it.

The English are to borrow twelve millions this year, and it is said,
that the loan is filled up. They have thrown a sop to Ireland, but
have not appeased her rage. They give out exactly such threats as they
did last year, and every other year, of terrible preparations. But
Congress knows perfectly well how these measures have been
accomplished. They will not be more fully executed the next year than
the last, and if France and Spain should throw more of their force,
especially by sea, into America the next year, America will have no
essential injury to fear.

I have learned since my arrival at Paris, with the highest pleasure,
the arrival of M. Gerard, Mr Jay, and Mr Carmichael, at Cadiz, for
whose safety we had been under great apprehensions. I have now very
solid hopes, that a treaty will soon be concluded with Spain, hopes
which everything that I saw and heard seemed to favor.

The Alliance frigate, now under the command of Captain Jones, with
Captain Cunningham on board, is arrived at Corunna, where she is to be
careened, after which she is to return to L'Orient, and from thence to
go to America, as I am informed by Dr Franklin.

Mr Auther Lee, and Mr Izard, are still in Paris, under many
difficulties in procuring a passage home. Mr William Lee is at
Brussels. Mr Izard has been to Holland, to obtain a passage from
thence, but unfortunately missed his opportunity and returned
disappointed.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, February 17th, 1780.

  Sir,

It is necessary, that I should inform Congress in what manner I have
been able to procure money to defray my expenses in my long journey,
through the greatest part of Spain and France to this city.

On my arrival at Ferrol, I was offered the loan of money by the French
consul, M. de Tournelle, who, at the same time told me, there was a
gentleman at Corunna, M. Michael Lagoanere, who had heretofore acted
as an American agent at that place, and who would be very happy to
supply me. On my arrival at Corunna, M. Lagoanere did me the honor of
a visit, and offered me every assistance in cash, otherwise telling me
at the same time, he had some money in his hands, which he supposed
belonged to the United States, being part of the proceeds of some
prizes heretofore made by Captain Cunningham. That this money,
however, had been attached in his hands by some Spanish merchant, who
had commenced a lawsuit against Captain Cunningham. I accordingly
received three thousand dollars for myself and Mr Dana, and a letter
of credit on the house of Cabarous at Bayonne, for as much more as I
should have occasion for. On our arrival at Bayonne, Mr Dana and I
received of that house fifty louis d'ors, and a bill of exchange on
another house of the same name and family at Bordeaux for the like
sums, our expenses having exceeded all our computations at Corunna, as
our journey was necessarily much longer than we expected, on account
of the uncommon bad weather and bad roads. This bill was paid upon
sight. So that, upon the whole, we have received the amount of
seventeen thousand four hundred livres, all on account of M. Lagoanere
of Corunna. Of this sum, Mr Dana has received the amount of four
thousand nine hundred and seventyone livres and fifteen sols, and I
have received twelve thousand four hundred and twentyeight livres and
five sols, for which sums we desire to be respectively charged in the
treasury books of Congress.

As this money is expended, if M. Lagoanere should draw upon us for it,
all the authority we have to draw upon his Excellency the Minister
here will not enable us to pay it, and if M. Lagoanere should be so
happy as to avoid the attachment and leave us to account with Congress
for this money, the small sum we are empowered to receive from his
Excellency will go a very little way in discharging our expenses. We
must therefore pray, that Congress would forward us authority to draw
upon his Excellency for the amount of our salaries annually, which,
without all doubt, will be paid.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.

                                           Paris, February 18th, 1780.

  My Dear General,

You know extremely well the skill of our enemies in forging false
news, and their artifice in circulating it, not only through the
various parts of Europe, but in the United States of America, to keep
up the spirits of their friends and depress those of their
adversaries. It is their annual custom in the winter to send abroad
large cargoes of these lies, and they meet with a success in making
them believed, that is really astonishing.

Since my arrival here, I find they have been this winter at their old
game again, and have circulated reports here, in Holland, and other
parts of Europe, that they have made new contracts with other petty
Princes in Germany, by which, together with those made before, they
will be able to draw seven thousand fresh troops from that country to
serve in America. That by appeasing the troubles in Ireland, they
shall be able to avail themselves even of the military associations
in that kingdom, by depending upon them for the defence of the
country, and to draw near ten thousand men from thence for the service
in America. That they have concluded a treaty with the Court of
Petersburg, by which Russia is to furnish them with twelve ships of
the line and twenty thousand men, which they say is of the more
importance, on account of the intimate connexion between Russia and
Denmark, as the latter will be likely by this means to be drawn into
the war, with their numerous fleet of fortyfive ships of the line. The
greatest part of these tales are false. I know very well what is said
of Russia is so contrary to all that I have seen and heard of the good
understanding between Versailles and Russia, that I have no doubt of
its falsehood. But as I am very lately arrived, and, consequently,
have not opportunity to examine these reports to the bottom, I beg the
favor of you to inform me, with all the exactness possible, how much
truth there is in them, if any at all.

You are very sensible that it is of the utmost importance, that
Congress should have the exactest information of these things, and
that you and I cannot render a more useful service to our country at
present, than by collecting such intelligence with precision, and
transmitting it without delay. Knowing the pleasure you take in
serving the United States in every way in your power, I thought I
could beg this favor of you with propriety, and that you would believe
me always your friend and servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

 TO M. GENET, FIRST SECRETARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

                                           Paris, February 18th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

Whether it is, that the art of political lying is better understood in
England than in any other country, or whether it is more practised
there than elsewhere, or whether it is accidental that they have more
success in making their fictions gain credit in the world, I know not.
But it is certain, that every winter since the commencement of the
present war with America, and indeed for some years before, they sent
out large quantities of this manufacture over all Europe, and
throughout all America, and what is astonishing is, that they should
still find numbers in every country ready to take them off their
hands.

Since my arrival in this city, I find they have been this winter at
their old trade, and have spread reports here and in Holland, and in
various other parts of Europe, and no doubt they have found means to
propagate them in America too, tending to keep up the spirits of their
friends, and to sink those of their opponents. Such as, that they have
made new contracts with several German Princes, by which they are to
obtain seven thousand men to serve in America; that they have so
skilfully appeased the troubles in Ireland, that they shall ever be
able to take advantage of the military associations there, by
depending upon them for the defence of the kingdom, while they draw
from thence ten thousand regular troops for the service in America;
that they have even concluded a treaty with Russia, by which the
Empress is to furnish them with twelve ships of the line and twenty
thousand men, as some say, and twenty ship of the line and twelve
thousand men as others relate. This they say is of the greater moment,
because of an intimate connexion, I know not of what nature it is,
between Russia and Denmark, by which the latter will be likely to be
drawn into the war against the House of Bourbon and America; and
Denmark, they say, has fortyfive ships of the line.

I know very well that the greatest part of these reports is false; and
particularly what is said of Russia is so contrary to all those
reports, which I have heard for these twelve months past of the
harmony between Versailles and Petersburg, that I give no credit to it
at all, but I find that all these reports make impressions on some
minds, and among the rest some Americans.

I therefore beg the favor of you to inform me of the exact truth in
all these matters, that I may take the earliest opportunity of
transmitting the intelligence to Congress, where it is of importance
it should be known.

I was much mortified when I was at Versailles the other day, that I
could not have the honor of paying my respects to you, but I was so
connected with other gentlemen, who were obliged to return to dinner,
that I could not; but I shall take the first opportunity I can get to
wait on you, and assure you that I am, with great respect, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                 *       *       *       *       *

                  M. DE LAFAYETTE TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                           Paris, February 19th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

As I came but this morning from Versailles, it was not in my power
sooner to answer the letter you have honored me with, and this duty I
now perform with the more pleasure, as it is of some importance to the
interests of America. Since the first day, when I had the happiness of
making myself and of being considered in the world as an American, I
have always observed, that among the many ways of attacking our
liberties, and among the most ungenerous ones, misrepresentations have
ever been the first weapons on which the British nation has the most
depended.

I am glad it is in my power generally to assure you, that the many
reports propagated by them and alluded to in your letter are not
founded upon truth. New contracts with petty princes in Germany have
not, I believe, taken place, and if any such merchandise were sent to
America, it would at most consist of a few recruits. The troubles in
Ireland, if there is the least common sense among the first patriots
of that country, are not I hope at an end, and it seems they now begin
to raise our expectations. The Russian troops, so much talked of in
their gazettes, I take to be mere recruits for those thirty thousand
Russians, that Mr Rivington had three years ago ordered to embark for
America.

Those intelligences, my dear Sir, must be counteracted by letters to
our friends in America. But as the respect, which we owe to the free
citizens of the United States, makes it a point of duty never to
deceive them, and as the most candid frankness must ever distinguish
our side of the question from the course of tyranny and falsehood, I
intend paying tomorrow morning a visit to the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, and from him get such minute intelligence as shall answer
your purpose.

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

                                                            LAFAYETTE.

_P. S._ On my return from Versailles, my dear Sir, where I will settle
the affairs of arms that I have undertaken, I will impart to you a
project privately relating to me, that is not inconsistent with my
sentiments for our country, America.

                                                                    L.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, February 19th, 1780.

  Sir,

Enclosed are copies of former letters to Congress, and I shall
continue to transmit copies, until I learn that some have arrived, for
which reason I must request the favor that his Excellency the
President, or some committee, may be desired to acknowledge the
receipt of letters, so that I may know as soon as may be, what letters
have arrived, and which have been less fortunate.

The art of making and spreading false news to answer political
purposes is not peculiar to Great Britain, but yet she seems to
possess this art, and the talent of giving to her fictions the colors
of probability beyond other nations; at least, she seems to have more
success in making her impostures believed than any other. It is her
annual practice in the winter to fabricate and export large quantities
of this merchandise to all parts of Europe and America, and she finds
more customers to take them off her hands than she ought, considering
how illicit the traffic is.

This winter her emissaries have been more assiduous than ever in
propagating reports, that they have entered into new engagements with
several other petty principalities in Germany, by which they shall
hire seven thousand men, for the service of the next campaign in
America. That by compromising with Ireland, they shall be able to take
advantage even of the military associations in that kingdom, and draw
from them a large number of regular troops for the service in America,
depending on the volunteer militia, or associators for the defence of
the country; that they have made a treaty with Russia, whereby that
power has engaged to furnish them with twelve ships of the line and
twenty thousand troops, as some say, and twenty ships of the line and
twelve thousand troops, according to others. This alliance they say
too is of the more consequence, on account of some connexion between
Russia and Denmark, who, it is insinuated, will follow Russia into the
war, and Denmark they add has fortyfive ships of the line, not manned
it is true, but England they say can man them.

These tales one would think are so extravagant and absurd, that they
would not find a believer in the world. Yet there are persons, who
believe them in all nations of Europe, particularly in Holland, and
there is no doubt the same song will be sung in America, and many will
listen to it. There is nothing further from the truth; they will find
the utmost difficulty to draw from Germany troops enough to repair the
breaches in the German troops made in America the last year; the same
with regard to Ireland. And as to what is said of Russia, there is not
even a color of truth in it, but on the contrary, the same good
understanding continues between Versailles and Petersburg, which
subsisted last winter, spring, and summer. As to Denmark, I have no
reason to think that she is disposed to assist Great Britain, but on
the contrary that she has armed to defend herself at sea against Great
Britain; but if it were otherwise, to what purpose would her ships of
the line be unmanned, when Great Britain cannot man the ships of the
line she already has.

France seems determined to pursue the naval war with vigor and
decision in the American seas. M. de Guichen sailed the beginning of
January with seventeen or eighteen ships of the line. Seven more are
now preparing at Brest with all possible expedition, supposed to be
for America. Those, if they all happily join the twelve ships left
there by the Count d'Estaing, will make a fleet of six and thirty
ships of the line. And the Court seems determined to maintain the
superiority in the American seas. This will give scope to our
privateers to weaken and distress the enemies of their country, while
they are enriching themselves.

There is no news of Admiral Rodney; from whence I conclude he is gone
to the West Indies.

The English have derived such a flush of spirits from their late
successes, which are mostly however of the negative kind, that they
talk in a style very different from that of peace. There are two
reflections, which the English cannot bear, one is that of losing the
domination of the colonies as indispensable to the support of their
naval superiority over France and Spain, or either of them, in
possession of a powerful fleet at the peace. Their maxim is to make
themselves terrible at sea to all nations, and they are convinced that
if they make a peace leaving America independent, and France and Spain
powerful at sea, they shall never again be terrible to any maritime
power. These reasons convince me, that Great Britain will hazard all
rather than make peace at present. Thompson's "Britannia," which
expresses the feelings as well as the sentiments of every Briton, is
so much to the present purpose, that I hope I shall be pardoned for
referring to it, even in a letter to Congress.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Paris, February 19th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which your Excellency did me the honor to
write me on the 15th of this month, and lest I should not have
explained sufficiently in my letter of the 12th the nature and extent
of my commissions, I have now the honor to enclose attested copies of
both, as well as of that to Mr Dana.

With regard to my instructions, I presume your Excellency will not
judge it proper, that I should communicate them any further than to
assure you, as I do in the fullest manner, that they contain nothing
inconsistent with the letter or spirit of the treaty between his
Majesty and the United States, or the most perfect friendship between
France and America, but, on the contrary, the clearest orders to
cultivate both. I have hitherto conducted according to your advice,
having never communicated to any person since my arrival in Europe the
nature of my mission, excepting to your Excellency and Dr Franklin, to
whom it was indeed communicated by a resolution of Congress, and to
him in confidence. I shall continue to conceal, as far as may depend
upon me, my actual character, but I ought to observe to your
Excellency, that my appointment was as notorious in America as that
of Mr Jay, or Dr Franklin, before my departure. So it is probably
already known to the Court of London, although they have not regular
evidence of it. I mention this, lest some persons might charge me with
publishing what I certainly did not publish.

I thank your Excellency for the assurances of his Majesty's protection
and of your confidence, which it shall be my study and endeavor at all
times to deserve.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                 *       *       *       *       *

                      M. GENET TO JOHN ADAMS.

                            Translation.

                                      Versailles, February 20th, 1780.

  Sir,

You have been afraid to trouble the Count de Vergennes, and you have
done me the honor of addressing yourself to me, in order to know what
you are to think of several rumors, which the English have endeavored
to spread. I am infinitely flattered by the mark of confidence, which
you have been pleased to give me, but I have thought myself obliged to
lay the letter before the Minister. He has directed me to assure you,
that on every occasion he will be very happy that you should address
yourself directly to him, and that you will always find him ready to
satisfy your inquiries.

He has remarked, as well as yourself, the address which our enemies
use to circulate false reports, and to make Europe believe that the
Americans are making advances to them, in order to treat of an
arrangement with them. The Count de Vergennes is likewise persuaded
of the contrary, as he is assured that no new treaty has been
negotiated with the Princes of Germany, and that no levies are making
there, but for the sake of filling up the old ones. He does not think
that the news of the treaty with Russia, nor that which relates to the
Court of Denmark, are better founded. He told me that I might do
myself the honor to write you, that all those rumors are false, and
that you run no risk in presenting them as such to the persons, on
whom you think they have made some impression, both in Europe and
America.

I am extremely anxious to have the honor to see you, and congratulate
you on your happy return. As I but seldom go to Paris, I wish your
business may permit you to do me the honor to call at my house and
accept of a family dinner.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                                GENET.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, February 20th, 1780.

  Sir,

Since my arrival in Europe, I have had the mortification to see in the
public papers a series of little successes, which our enemies have had
in the prosecution of the war. The first was a very exaggerated
account in the English Court Gazette, of their successes against the
Spaniards in South America. The next was the history of the repulse of
General Lincoln and the Count d'Estaing at Savannah, and the raising
of the siege at that post. These were soon followed by the capture of
the Spanish fleet of transport ships by Rodney's squadron, and the
advantage gained by that Admiral over the Spanish ships of war, after
a most gallant resistance, however, off Gibraltar.

These small triumphs, although chiefly of the defensive and negative
kind, and a poor compensation for the blood and the millions they are
annually wasting, are, however, sufficient to cheer the spirits of the
British populace, and to banish from the minds of the Ministry all
thoughts of peace upon reasonable terms; for the English in the
present war act upon a maxim diametrically opposite to that of the
Romans, and never think of peace upon any event fortunate to them, but
are anxious for it under every great adversity.

A report of my appointment having also been carried to England by the
cartels from Boston, and being spread in Europe by various other ways,
by passengers in the Committee, by French passengers in the Sensible,
of whom there were a great number who had heard of it in all companies
in America, and by many private letters, and the English ministerial
writers having made use of this as evidence of a drooping spirit in
America in order to favor their loan of money, I thought it my best
policy to communicate my appointment and powers to the French Court,
and ask their advice, as our good allies, how to proceed in the
present emergency. I accordingly wrote to his Excellency, the Count de
Vergennes, the letter of the 12th of February, a copy of which is
enclosed; and received his answer of the 15th, a copy of which is
enclosed; to which I replied in a letter of the 19th, a copy of which
is also enclosed. When I shall receive his Excellency's answer, I
shall do myself the honor to enclose that.

If there is anything in these letters of mine, which is not
conformable to the views and sentiments of Congress, I wish to be
instructed in it, or if Congress should not concur with his Excellency
the Count, I shall obey their orders with the utmost punctuality and
alacrity. I have ever understood, that Congress were first advised to
the measure of appointing a Minister to negotiate peace, by the French
Minister then at Philadelphia, in the name of the Count de Vergennes.
However this may have been, it cannot be improper to have some one in
Europe empowered to think and treat of peace, which some time or other
must come.

Since my last, which was of yesterday's date, I have had opportunity
to make more particular inquiries concerning the pretended treaty with
Russia, and am informed, that the English Ministry did, not long
since, make a formal application by their Ambassador to the Empress of
Russia for a body of troops and a number of ships; but that the
application was opposed with great spirit and ability in the Russian
Council, particularly by the Minister for foreign affairs, and
rejected in council with great unanimity, and that the harmony between
Versailles and Petersburg remains as perfect as when I left France.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

          TO JOHN JAY, MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY AT MADRID.

                                            Paris, February 22d, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

I most sincerely congratulate you on your happy arrival in Europe,
which must be the more agreeable to you, for the terrible voyages you
have had. Every good American in Europe, I believe, suffered a great
anxiety from the length of time that passed between the day when it
was known, that the Confederacy sailed, and the time when the news
arrived of your being in Cadiz. I, too, have had my hairbreadth
escapes, and, after my arrival, a very tedious journey in the worst
season of the year by land. Happy, however, shall we be, if all our
hazards and fatigues should contribute to lay the foundation of a free
and prosperous people.

I hope no accident or disagreeable circumstance has happened to your
family, to whom I shall be obliged to you to present my respects. From
what I saw and heard in Spain, from the strong assurances I received
of the good will of the Court and nation, and from the great attention
and respect, that were paid me by officers of government of the
highest rank in the provinces through which I passed, I am persuaded
you will meet with the most distinguished reception, and I hope will
soon have the honor and satisfaction of concluding a treaty with
Spain. You will have the advantage of more frequent and speedy
intelligence from home, than we can have here, at least you will have
it in your power. There are vessels oftener arriving from America at
Bilboa and Cadiz, I think, than in France. Many of these vessels come
from Boston and Newburyport, perhaps the most of them. So that by
directing your correspondents to send their letters that way, you will
have them much sooner than we can commonly obtain them; and by
transmitting yours to Messrs Gardoqui & Co. at Bilboa, and Mr
Montgomery, or some other, at Cadiz, your despatches will go more
speedily, and more safely than ours, for we find it almost impossible
to get a letter across the Bay of Biscay from France in a merchant
vessel, there are so many privateers in the route; the danger of whom
is avoided chiefly by vessels from Bilboa keeping near the coast, and
running into harbor in case of danger, and wholly by those from Cadiz.
You will excuse my mentioning to you this channel of intelligence,
which might not possibly have occurred to you, and my wishing to make
some advantage of it to myself, by asking the favor of your
correspondence, and that you will impart to me the advices you may
receive through it.

We have nothing new here at present, but what you have had before.
Pray what think you of peace? It seems to be the will of Heaven, that
the English should have success enough to lead them on to final
destruction. They are quite intoxicated with their late advantages,
although a poor compensation for what they cost.

My respects to Mr Carmichael, and believe me to be, with respect and
esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Paris, February 23d, 1780.

  Sir,

Having been informed this morning by the Marquis de Lafayette, of
another opportunity for America, I have the honor to enclose to
Congress triplicates of former letters, and copies of some other
letters, which I have written and received lately. I have also packed
up all the newspapers and pamphlets I can obtain. The _Mercure de
France_ is a weekly publication of very ancient origin, and is become
lately very interesting to America, because those political
intelligences and speculations, which were formerly published in
another pamphlet, under the title of _Affaires de l'Angleterre et de
l'Amérique_ are now published in this, the other having been dropped.
The _Courrier de l'Europe_ has the most extensive circulation of any
gazette, although supposed to be rather too much under the influence
of the British Ministry sometimes; the _Gazette de France_ is
published by authority here, and has a great reputation for integrity;
in the _Gazette de la Hague_ the English find means to publish many
false reports. These papers and pamphlets, together with one or two
English papers, for which I shall subscribe as soon as possible, I
shall do myself the honor to transmit to Congress constantly as they
come out. From these, Congress will be able to collect from time to
time all the public news of Europe.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO SAMUEL ADAMS.

                                            Paris, February 23d, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

You will see by the public papers, that your Committee of
Correspondence is making greater progress in the world, and doing
greater things in the political world, than the electrical rod ever
did in the physical; Ireland and England have adopted it, but mean
plagiaries as they are, they do not acknowledge who was the inventor
of it. Mr Lee and Mr Izard will go with this letter in the Alliance,
and probably go to Boston. They will be able to inform you of
everything of a public nature much better than I can do, as I have
scarcely had opportunity to look about me as yet. They will give you
few hopes of peace, at least very speedily.

The associations of counties and committees of correspondence in
England, are very ominous to our old acquaintances the refugees, as
they attack unmerited pensions in the first place. But they must do
greater things than distressing these gentry; they must necessarily
produce great commotions in the nation. The speeches at these meetings
go great lengths, some of them openly justifying and applauding the
Americans, and others even applauding France and Spain for stepping in
to our assistance. The Court here seems determined more than ever to
pursue the war with vigor, especially by sea, and above all in the
American seas. They have already sent seventeen ships of the line
under M. de Guichen, to reinforce M. de la Motte Piquet, and seven
others are preparing at Brest. They are sending out clothing and arms
for fifteen thousand men for our army, and seem confident, that the
next campaign will be better than the last. I hope the spirit of
privateering among us will increase, because I think this is the way
in which we can do the most service to the common cause. I hope you
will be so good as to inform me of what passes, particularly what
progress the Convention makes in the constitution.[56] I assure you it
is more comfortable making constitutions in the dead of winter at
Cambridge or Boston, than sailing in a leaky ship, or climbing on
foot, or upon mules, over the mountains of Galicia, and the Pyrenees.

  Believe me your friend and servant,
                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [56] Convention of Massachusetts, of which Mr Adams had been chosen a
  member soon after his return from France.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO GENERAL JAMES WARREN.

                                            Paris, February 23d, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

The French Court seems to be now every day more and more convinced of
the good policy, and indeed the necessity of prosecuting the war with
vigor in the American seas. They have been, and are making great
preparations accordingly, and are determined to maintain a clear
superiority.

M. de la Motte Piquet has with him the Hannibal, the Magnifique, the
Diadème, the Dauphin Royal, the Artisane, the Réfléchi, and the
Vengeur, and if M. de Grace has joined him from the Chesapeake Bay,
the Robuste, the Fendant, and the Sphinx; in all ten ships of the
line. M. de Guichen has gone to join him with the Couronne, eighty
guns, the Triumphant, eighty; the Palmier, the Victoire, the Destin,
the Conquérant, the Citoyen, the Intrépide, the Hercule, and the
Souverain, all of seventyfour; the Jason, the Actionnaire, the Caton,
the Julien, the Solitaire, the St Michael, and the Triton, all of
sixtyfour; the frigates, the Medea, Courageuse, Gentille, and the
Charmante, all of thirtytwo. He had above a hundred sail of vessels
under his convoy, and the regiment of Touraine and Enghien, of more
than thirteen hundred men each, and the second battalions of Royal
Corntois, and of Walsh, of seven hundred men each, making in the whole
more than four thousand troops. Besides these, there are seven more
preparing at Brest to sail.

M. Gerard, Mr Jay, and Mr Carmichael are arrived at Cadiz in a French
frigate, the Confederacy having been dismasted, and driven to
Martinique. The Alliance carries this with Mr Lee and Mr Izard, who
will no doubt be treated with all respect at Boston.

Notwithstanding the commotions in England and Ireland, the success of
Provost at Savannah, and of Rodney off Gibraltar, and even the silly
story of Omoa, in South America, is enough to embolden the Ministry to
go on with a debt of two hundred millions, already contracted, to
borrow twelve or fourteen millions a year, in the beginning of a war
with France and Spain, each having a greater navy than they ever had,
each discovering a greater fighting spirit than they ever did before,
and obliging the English to purchase every advantage at a dear rate.
The premiums and bounties, that they are obliged to give to raise men,
both for the service by sea and land, and the interest of money they
borrow, are greater than were ever given in any former wars, even in
the last year of the last war. This cannot always last, nor indeed
long. Yet I do not expect to see peace very soon.

Pray write me as often as possible, and send the newspapers to me.

  Your friend and servant,
                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS.

                            Translation.

                                      Versailles, February 24th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you have done me the honor to write
me the 19th of this month. Your full powers, of which you have been
pleased to send me a copy, are perfectly conformable to what M. Gerard
has written to me about them, and they leave us nothing to wish for,
as to the form or matter. I think there will be no inconveniency in
informing the public of the principal object of your mission, I mean
the future pacification. It will be announced in the Gazette of
France, when it will mention your presentation to the King and royal
family, and you will be at liberty to give your eventual character a
greater publicity, by having it published in the Dutch papers. I could
only wish, that you would be so kind as to communicate the article to
me before you transmit it. With regard to the full powers, which
authorise you to negotiate a treaty of commerce with the Court of
London, I think it will be prudent not to communicate them to any body
whatever, and to take every necessary precaution, that the British
Ministry may not have a premature knowledge of them. You will no doubt
easily feel the motives, which induce me to advise you to take this
precaution, and it would be needless to explain them.

With regard to your instructions, Sir, I am satisfied that they have
for their certain and invariable basis, the treaties subsisting
between the King and the United States. M. Gerard has assured the King
of it, in the most positive manner, and his Majesty does more justice
to the uprightness of Congress, and to the stability of the sentiments
which they have hitherto manifested, than to have ever entertained, or
to entertain, the least doubt on this subject. This way of thinking
will convince you, Sir, that we have no need of seeing your
instructions, to appreciate properly the principles and dispositions
of Congress towards Great Britain.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Paris, February 25th, 1780.

  Sir,

I had last evening the honor of your Excellency's letter of
yesterday's date, and shall conform myself to your advice.

I shall esteem myself highly honored by a presentation to the King and
royal family, and shall wait your Excellency's directions concerning
the time of it, and shall not think myself at liberty to make any
publication of my powers to treat of peace, until it shall have been
announced in the Gazette. After which, I shall transmit to your
Excellency any paragraph, which may be thought proper to publish in
the gazettes of Holland, and take your advice upon it, before it is
sent. My other powers shall be concealed, according to your advice,
and I shall have the honor to pay my respects to your Excellency very
soon at Versailles.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, February 25th, 1780.

  Sir,

Since my letter of the 20th, I have received another letter from his
Excellency the Count de Vergennes, dated the 24th of February, which I
answered this day. Copies of both letters are enclosed.

I have also the honor to enclose a gazette, and an application from Mr
Comyn, of Marseilles, to be a consul for the ports of Provence and
Languedoc. I know nothing of this gentleman but what he says of
himself.

By the enclosed gazette, as well as by many others, Congress will see
of what wonderful efficacy in pulling down tyranny a committee of
correspondence is likely to be. Ireland has done great things by means
of it, England is attempting great things with it, after the example
of the Americans, who invented it, and first taught its use. Yet all
does not seem to produce the proper gratitude on the minds of the
English towards their benefactors. However, the glory of the invention
is as certainly ours, as that of electrical rods, Hadley's quadrant,
or inoculation for the smallpox.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, February 27th, 1780.

  Sir,

There are so many gentlemen of rank going out to America, that there
can be no doubt Congress will be fully informed of the state of public
affairs.

Mr Lee, Mr Izard, the Marquis de Lafayette, Mr Wharton, and many
others, are going by different vessels. Besides these, Monsieur de
l'Etombe, who is appointed Consul General of France for the northern
district of America, as M. Holker for the middle, (I have not yet
learned who for the southern,) will go soon.

There is an armament preparing with the greatest expedition at Brest,
which is to be commanded by M. de Ternay, and to consist of eight or
ten ships of the line and frigates, six of the line and several
frigates, as it is said, (perhaps it is not yet certain nor determined
exactly how many of either,) with several thousand men; all numbers
are mentioned from six to ten thousand men, under the General officers
de Rochambeau and Jaucourt. Whether this force is destined to the
continent or the West Indies, time will discover; at present, it ought
not to be known. On the other hand, I see by a paragraph in a London
paper of the 16th of this month, that the Thunderer, Torbay, Ramilies,
Royal Oak, Triumph, and Egmont, are ordered for the West Indies, under
Captain Walsingham; the Southampton, St Albans, and Winchelsea, which
were talked of to go with him, are found unfit for service, and in so
bad a condition as to be ordered to be paid off. Thus the French are
likely to be drawn into the American seas in sufficient force, where
they have great advantages in carrying on the war. It is much to be
wished, that the Spaniards could be drawn into the same field of
battle, for Gibraltar must be taken in America if ever.

There are some persons, however, who think that the English will
avenge the French, the Spaniards, and above all the Americans, upon
one another, and it is certain that parties in England are working up
to a crisis. The petitions of the counties, their numerous committees
of correspondence, their hints of associations, have most certainly
alarmed the King and his Ministers to so great a degree, that for some
time their conduct was equivocal, giving hopes at times to the people,
that the Crown would favor the desired reformation in the expenditure
of money. But upon the news of Rodney's successes they grew bolder,
and determined to exert all the authority of the Crown to suppress the
meetings of the people. Accordingly the cry of faction, sedition, and
rebellion, was set up in Parliament by the majority, and the King was
advised to dismiss those lieutenants of counties, who had favored the
meetings of the people, advice which he has certainly taken. This is
a decisive measure. It will either discourage and suppress those
meetings, petitions, correspondence, and associations altogether, or
it will give them greater force.

By a debate in the House of Commons on the 14th of this month, one
would think that the nation was nearly on the brink of a civil war.
Yet, I confess, I cannot think that there are any characters at
present in whom the nation have sufficient confidence, to venture
themselves any lengths under their guidance, and I believe that this
spirited conduct of the King will defeat the measures of the counties,
unless, indeed, in the course of the next campaign, his arms,
especially by sea, should meet with any signal defeat, which would
perhaps reanimate the people. But supposing the people go on and
succeed so far as to effect a change in the Ministry, the question is,
whether this would be an advantage to us or our allies? I am myself
very far from being convinced that it would.

There are none of the principal leaders of the people, who avow any
fixed principle, that we can depend upon. None that avow a design of
acknowledging our independence, or even of making peace.

By letters, which I have received from Brussels and Holland, since my
arrival, I am told that the late desperate step of the English in
seizing the Dutch ships has made a great change in the minds of the
people there, and the government too in our favor; even the Prince
declares he has been deceived by the English, and that he will promote
unlimited convoys; that an American Minister is much wished for, who,
although he might not yet be publicly received, would be able to do as
much good as if he was; that money might be borrowed there by such a
Minister directly sent by Congress, applying directly to solid Dutch
houses. I hope every hour to hear of Mr Laurens' arrival.

I have subscribed for the English papers, but have not yet received
any, which I am sorry for, because I can get none to enclose. As fast
as they come to me I will send them. I have the honor to enclose
another _Mercure de France_.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO DR COOPER OF BOSTON.

                                           Paris, February 28th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

This will be delivered to you by the Marquis, your friend. Your
grandson is well and very contented. He has seen the world, to be
sure, such a part of it, that none of the rest can ever be
superlatively disagreeable to him hereafter.[57]

Instead of wishing and hoping for peace, my dear countrymen must
qualify themselves for war, and learn the value of liberty by the
dearness of its purchase. The foundations of lasting prosperity are
laid in great military talents and virtues. Every sigh for peace,
until it can be obtained with honor, is unmanly. If our enemies can be
obstinate and desperate in a wicked and disgraceful cause, surely we
can be determined and persevering in the most just, the most
honorable, and the most glorious cause, that was ever undertaken by
men.

  I am, with great affection, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

FOOTNOTE:

  [57] Alluding to the journey through the north of Spain.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Paris, February 29th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have this moment received a letter from M. Genet, who is one of the
first Secretaries in the office of Foreign Affairs, and who has the
care of publishing all things relative to America, and has already
translated the constitutions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, requesting me to assist him in
procuring those of Georgia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
Massachusetts Bay, and New Hampshire.

There is so great a curiosity through all Europe to see our new
constitutions, and those already published in the languages of Europe
have done us so much honor, that I thought I should be excusable in
making a direct request to Congress for their assistance in procuring
those, which M. Genet still desires.

Those of Rhode Island and Connecticut, being according to their
ancient charters, M. Genet has already; those of Massachusetts and New
Hampshire, whenever they shall be formed and established, will be
easily obtained. But those of North Carolina and Georgia, I could not
obtain when I was at Boston, and these are therefore the ones which M.
Genet wants at present, and which I have ventured to beg the aid of
Congress to procure.

I have the honor to enclose the gazette of the day, in which Congress
will see the news from England and Holland.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Paris, March 3d, 1780.

  Sir,

The news of the day is, that Rodney has gone with his whole fleet to
the West Indies, that Du Chaffault is to command the French fleet in
America, and the Count d'Estaing in the channel; that a large force is
to go to America, either to the Islands or to the Continent, both of
ships and troops in two divisions; that the last letters from Holland
breathe a spirit somewhat warlike, and indeed the English have treated
them with so much indignity and contempt as well as injustice, that
one would think it was not always to be borne.

It is not agreeable to my principles, nor to my feelings, to injure
the character even of an enemy at war; but it is often possible to
draw important inferences from the true known character of a commander
of the forces of an enemy. It is therefore my duty to mention, that
Rodney is reported to be a man of dissipation and prodigality, a great
spendthrift, and virulent against us; that he has often declared, that
if he had a command in America, his mode to humiliate and subdue us
should be, to burn every town and every house, that he could come at
upon the seacoast.

That such a plan of military execution will be sooner or later adopted
by the Court of London, I have not the least doubt, from their known
principles, tempers, characters, and past conduct, provided it should
ever be in their power to attempt it in the whole or in part. And if
this is the disposition and system of their Admiral Rodney, the
appointment of him raises a presumption, that they have given him
express orders to this purpose at this time. An uncommon coincidence
of favorable circumstances has thrown the whole Caracas fleet into his
hands, and given a victory, although pretty dearly paid for, over a
much inferior fleet of Spanish men of war. If he is therefore a man of
such levity as is represented, and so malicious against us, and has
such malignant orders from his Court, and goes to America flushed and
giddy with success, we may expect he will do mischief if he can, and
we ought to be upon our guard.

My business is peace, but I think of nothing but war. While our
enemies think of nothing else, we ought not to think more of peace
than to be ready to treat of it, as soon as it shall be put into the
hearts of our foes to be willing for it. Americans must be soldiers,
they must war by sea and land, they have no other security.

I have the honor to enclose the gazette of the day, and to be with
much respect, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, March 4th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the _Mercure de France_ of this day, which
contains among other interesting intelligence Admiral Rodney's
narration, after his good fortune on the 8th of January last in
meeting the Spanish Caracas fleet, which sailed from St Sebastian the
1st of January, under convoy of seven armed vessels belonging to the
Caracas company. The Guipuscoa, of sixtyfour guns, and five hundred
and fifty men; the San Carlos, of thirtytwo guns, and two hundred men;
the San Raphael, of thirty guns, and one hundred and fiftyfive men;
the Santa Theresa, of twentyeight guns, and one hundred and fifty
men; the Corbetta San Firmin, of sixteen guns, and sixty men; these
armed vessels were all taken, and the Guipuscoa was christened Prince
William, in honor of his royal highness, in whose presence she was
taken and given to one of the English captains, as a better ship than
his former one, the Bienfaisant.

The merchant vessels under this convoy are the Nostra Senora de
l'Ores, the San Francisco, the Conception, the San Nicholas, the
Jeronimo, the Divina Providentia, the San Gibilan, the San Pactora,
the San Lauren, the Bellona, and the Esperanza, all loaded with flour
and corn. The Cervidada de Merica, loaded with provisions for the
navy, the Amisted, the San Michael, loaded with anchors and cables,
and the Bilboa, loaded with tobacco. Those with provisions for the
navy, and that with tobacco, were sent to England under convoy of the
America and the Pearl, and those with corn and flour were carried into
Gibraltar.

This fleet seems to have been met at sea by the Admiral by perfect
accident, of which the English do not appear to have had the least
hope, nor the Spaniards the smallest fear. It must therefore be
allowed to be one instance of the good fortune of the English Ministry
and their Admiral, or rather as it is reported, of the King and his
Admiral.

Their good fortune, however, did not end here, for eight days
afterwards, on the 16th of January, they fell in with Don Juan de
Langura, with eleven vessels of the line, who being so much inferior,
could not hope for a victory. He fought the English, however, upon the
retreat with so much bravery, skill, and success, that they were able
to take only three of his ships. The Phoenix, of eighty guns, and the
Princessa, and Diligent, of seventyfour, were taken, and the San
Domingo blown up. The S. Genero, the S. Justo, and the Monarcha,
having separated before the battle, and the S. Juliano, the S.
Eugenio, the S. Augustine, and S. Lorenzo, having since arrived in
Cadiz, although in a bad condition.

Thus the English have been permitted, against probabilities and
appearances, to throw succor into Gibraltar, and perhaps Mahon, to
give a little fresh confidence to the Ministry, and make a few
bonfires for the populace, but have added very little to their riches
or their power. In the meantime, Rodney must have been retarded by
these lucky accidents, in his course to the West Indies, and given
opportunity to the Count de Guichen to arrive before him in the West
Indies, and prevent the reconquest of the Grenadas, and perhaps do
more, but of this Congress will be informed sooner than I.

These successes have not suppressed the independent spirit of Ireland,
which is going on in a regular train, deliberating upon bills for the
independence of the judges, the habeas corpus, the restriction, of
subsidies, and discipline of their troops, and they seem determined to
throw off all the authority of the British Parliament; nor that of the
Committees of Correspondence and petitioners in the counties of
England, which threaten associations, and, as the Ministry themselves
say, sedition, faction, tumults, and rebellion; nor provided a fleet
for the British channel for the ensuing summer, nor assuaged the
serious resentment of Holland, for the piracies committed in violation
of the faith of treaties, as well as the laws of nature and nations,
upon their commerce. As it is most interesting to us to know the
forces to be employed in America, by which word I comprehend the West
India Islands, as well as the coasts of the Continent, all these being
connected together in such a manner as to make but one whole, I beg
leave to lay before Congress in one view, the French force that is
intended to be in that service.

There are actually at Cape François, the Touant of eightyfour guns,
the Robuste, and the Fendant, of seventyfour, the Sphinx of sixtyfour,
and the Amphion of fifty, in all five. At Martinique, the Admirable,
the Magnifique, the Dauphin Royal, and the Diadème, of seventyfour;
the Réfléchi, the Vengeur, the Artisane, of sixtyfour, and the Fiers
of fifty. In all eight, making in the whole thirteen ships of the
line, reckoning as such two fiftys. If the Count de Guichen should
happily arrive, he has seventeen, which will amount to the number of
thirty, besides frigates. Six others are preparing at Brest with all
possible expedition, under the command of M. de Ternay. The Duc de
Burgone of eighty guns, the Neptune of seventyfour, M. Destouches; the
Magnanime of seventyfour, M. de Vaudreuil; the Eveille of sixtyfour,
M. de Trobuiand; the Jason of sixtyfour, M. de Marigny. With this
fleet the troops are to be embarked, and there are many conjectures,
that it is intended for North America. The Languedoc, the Cæsar, the
Provence, and the Fantasque, of the fleet of the Count d'Estaing, are
careened and refitted, and the Royal Louis of one hundred and ten
guns, the Northumberland, and the Astrea are to be launched
immediately.

In the course of my peregrinations, at Brest, L'Orient, and Ferrol, I
have had an opportunity to see most of these ships, and to be on board
many of them, and one would think there was force enough to protect
us, and quiet our fears, but the battle is not always to the strong,
and we must wait patiently for time to decide events.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO SAMUEL ADAMS.

                                               Paris, March 4th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

This will be delivered to you by Mr Izard, who goes out in the
Alliance with Mr Lee, Mr Wharton, Mr Brown, and others. He will wait
on you of course, and will be able to give you good information
concerning the intentions of the English, and their military
preparations by sea and land, and those of the French and Spaniards,
at the same time. He will also give his opinion very freely concerning
American and other characters here, as well as measures.

In many things his opinions may be just, but in some and those not a
few, I am sure they are wrong. The great principle, in which I have
differed from him, is this, in the mode of treating with this Court.
He has been always of opinion, that it was good policy and necessary
to hold a high language to this Court; to represent to them the danger
of our being subdued, if they did not do this and the other thing for
us, in order to obtain money and other aids from them. He is confident
they would not have dared to refuse anything.

Although no man in America, or in the world, was earlier convinced
than I was, that it was the interest of France and Spain to support
the independence of America, and that they would support it, and that
no man is more sensible than I am of the necessity they are under to
support us, yet I am not, nor ever was, of opinion, that we could
with truth or with good policy assume the style of menace, and
threaten them with returning again to Great Britain, and joining
against France and Spain, even telling them that we should be subdued,
because I never believed this myself, and the Court here would not
have believed it from us. The Court have many difficulties to manage,
as well as we, and it is delicate and hazardous to push things in this
country. Things are not to be negotiated here as they are with the
people of America, even with the tories in America, or as with the
people of England. There is a frankness, however, that ought to be
used with the Ministry, and a candor with which the truth may be and
has been communicated, but there is a harshness, that would not fail
to ruin, in my opinion, the fairest negotiation in this country.

We are anxious to hear from you, having nothing since the beginning of
December, and very little since we left you.

  Your friend and servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, March 8th, 1780.

  Sir,

Yesterday I went to Court, in company with the American Minister
Plenipotentiary, and had the honor to be presented to the King, by the
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, after which, I had the honor
to go round with all the foreign Ambassadors, and make a visit to the
Queen, the King's brothers, sister, aunts, and daughters, which are
all the branches of the royal family, and to be presented to each of
them in turn, and after them to the Count de Maurepas.

After these ceremonies were over, we were all invited to dine with the
Count de Vergennes.

As ceremonies of this kind are so much attended to in this and all
other countries of Europe, and have often such important effects, it
is proper that Congress should have information of them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, March 8th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to Congress the gazettes of France, of the
Hague, and Amsterdam, of the 1st, 3d, and 4th of this month. They
contain all the news, which makes the subject of conversation at this
time, except that M. du Chaffault is to command in the West Indies,
and the Count d'Estaing in the Channel, which, although it is not
announced by the Court, seems to be very generally believed in the
world.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 10th, 1780.

  Sir,

Enclosed are the _Courrier de l'Europe_, of the 3d, and the _Gazette
de France_ of this day. The House of Lords and the House of Commons
are voting thanks to Admiral Rodney for his good fortune, for they all
seem to confess, that his brilliant successes were not owing to more
skill, valor, or vigilance than others have shown, but merely to his
good luck, which, by a report that spreads and gains credit today, did
not end with his advantage over Langara, and his safe departure from
Gibraltar. It is said that two French ships of the line and several
frigates with transports, bound to the Isle of France, in the East
Indies, have been doomed to fall in his way, and be taken.

Whether this is true or not, he has done enough it seems to be in a
fair way of paying his creditors some part of their demands for money,
which he has gambled away, and which they had despaired of ever
receiving. This run of good luck, however, could never have happened
to the gambler, if the game had been played otherwise by the opposite
party; if France and Spain, instead of keeping immense fleets in
Europe with nothing to do, or employed in blocking up Gibraltar, which
is a trifle, if taken in comparison of other objects in view, had but
employed but a fourth part of them in the American seas, where they
had, and still have, the enemies in their power, Rodney's creditors
had still been in despair, together with the British government and
nation.

I would not desire a better proof, that the English are in the power
of their enemies in the American world, than the list of the prizes
printed in the _Courrier de l'Europe_, as condemned by N. Cushing,
Judge of Admiralty for the middle district of Massachusetts Bay. I am
very glad to see this method taken of publishing to the world the
success of our privateers, because it will in time show our allies
where our strength lies, and the weakness of our enemies.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 12th, 1780.

  Sir,

It is an observation made some years ago by a great writer of this
nation, de Mably, that the project of being sole master of the sea,
and of commanding all the commerce, is not less chimerical nor less
ruinous, than that of universal monarchy on land, and it is to be
wished, for the happiness of Europe, that the English may be convinced
of this truth, before they shall learn it by their own experience.
France has already repeated several times, that it was necessary to
establish an equilibrium, a balance of power at sea, and she has not
yet convinced anybody, because she is the dominant power, and because
they suspect her to desire the abasement of the English, only that she
may domineer the more surely on the Continent. But if England abuses
her power, and would exercise a kind of tyranny over commerce,
presently all the States that have vessels and sailors, astonished
that they had not before believed France, will join themselves to her
in avenging her injuries.

The present conjuncture of affairs resembles so exactly the case here
put, that it seems to be a literal fulfilment of a prophecy.

A domination upon the sea is so much the more dangerous to other
maritime powers and commercial nations, as it is more difficult to
form alliances and combine forces at sea than at land. For which
reason it is essential, that the sovereign of every commercial State
should make his nation's flag respected in all the seas, and by all
the nations of the world. The English have ever acted upon this
principle, in supporting the honor of their own flag, but of late
years have grown less and less attentive to it, as it respects the
honor of other flags. Not content with making their flag respectable,
they have grown more and more ambitious of making it terrible.
Unwilling to do as they would be done by, and to treat other
commercial nations as they have insisted upon being treated by them,
they have grown continually more and more haughty, turbulent, and
insolent upon the seas, and are now never satisfied until they have
made all other nations see, that they despise them upon that element.
It is said by the Baron de Bielfield, that piracies and robberies at
sea are so odious, so atrocious, and so destructive to the interest of
all the European nations, that everything is permitted to repress
them. Providence has not granted to any people an exclusive empire
upon the seas. To aim at setting up a master there, to prescribe laws
to other free nations, is an outrage to all Europe.

I have quoted these authorities, because they contain the true
principle, upon which as I have ever conceived, the English began this
war, and upon which they will assuredly continue it, as long as they
can get men and money, which will be as long as they have success.
They contain also the true principles of France, Spain, and Holland,
and all the powers of Europe. The outrages committed upon the Dutch
commerce, and the insults offered to their flag, ought to be, and are,
alarming to all the maritime powers. The late successes of the English
will have no tendency to allay the fears of these powers; on the
contrary they will increase the alarm, by showing the precarious
situation they will all be in if England should finally succeed, which
some of them may perhaps apprehend from the late brilliant fortune of
Admiral Rodney.

One cannot but be struck with the rapid series of fortunate incidents
for the English, which have been published here in about the course of
three months, that I have been in Europe. The little affair of Omoa
began it, the repulse at Savannah succeeded, with all its
consequences, the Curraçoa fleet was next, Langara's fleet soon
followed; Gibraltar was relieved; Don Gaston's squadron was dispersed
by a storm; and Admiral Rodney had opportunity to get safe out of
Gibraltar. The French East India fleet brings up the rear. There is
hardly in history such a series of events, that no human wisdom could
provide against or foresee. Yet after all, the advantages gained are
by no means decisive, although no doubt it will raise the ambition of
the English, and in some degree damp the ardor of their enemies.

It must not have this effect however upon America. Let the maritime
powers fare as they will, we must be free, and I trust in God we shall
be so, whatever be their fate. The events of war are uncertain at sea,
more than even by land; but America has resources for the final
defence of her liberty, which Britain will never be able to exhaust,
though she should exhaust France and Spain, and it may not impossibly
be our hard fate, but it will be our unfading glory finally to turn
the scale of the war, to humble the pride, which is so terrible to the
commercial nations of Europe, and to produce a balance of power on the
seas. To this end Americans must be soldiers and seamen.

It is proper, however, to keep constantly in sight, the power against
which we have to contend; the English have in all the ports of
England, in a condition for actual service, or at least given out and
reported to be so, twenty ships of the line. In the course of the
spring and the month of June, eight others which are now repairing,
and three new ones in the course of the year. The whole squadron for
the Channel will be thirtyone. The squadron of Arbuthnot, at New York,
consists of five. That of Jarvis at the Western Islands is two,
including the Dublin, which was detached from Admiral Rodney, and is
now in bad condition at Lisbon. One only at Jamaica, for the Lion is
too far ruined to be counted. The fleet at the other islands, joined
by the Hector, detached from Rodney, the Triumph and the Intrepid,
lately sailed from England, are nineteen, seven of which at least are
in too bad a condition for actual service. That of India, including
two which serve for convoys, consists of ten, two of which however are
returning to be repaired or condemned; the Lenox is a guard ship in
Ireland.

Rodney entered Gibraltar with four Spanish ships of the line, the
Phoenix of eighty guns, the Monarca, the Princessa, and the Diligente
of seventy, besides the Guipuscoa, now the Prince William, of
sixtyfive, which he took with the convoy on the 8th of January. He
entered, also, with the Shrewsbury of seventyfour, which joined him
from Lisbon. His squadron must therefore have consisted of twentyfour
ships of the line. If he left the Panther and another at Gibraltar, he
must have gone out with twentytwo.

Whether he has gone with the whole fleet to the West Indies, or
whether with part of it, and what part, is yet undetermined by the
public.

France and Spain, however, have a vast superiority still remaining,
which, if it should be ably managed, will easily humble the English;
but if it should be unwisely managed, or continue to be as unfortunate
as it has been from the moment of the Count d'Estaing's sailing from
Toulon, it will even in this case last long enough to consume and
exhaust their enemies.

I have the honor to enclose the _Mercure de France_, of the 11th of
March, the Hague Gazette of the 6th, and 8th, the Amsterdam Gazette of
the 7th, and the Leyden of the 7th.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO EDMUND JENNINGS.[58]

FOOTNOTE:

  [58] Mr Jennings was an American, and although he resided in London
  during the war, he was a warm friend to the cause of his country.

                                              Paris, March 12th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

I have to acknowledge the receipt of three excellent letters, one of
the 1st, the others of the 5th and 8th of March. I thank you for the
copy of your letter to the pensioner, and for your dialogue between
York and Chatham.

It is undoubtedly the duty of every commercial nation, to make their
flag respected in all the seas, and by all the nations, not by
insulting and injuring all others, like Great Britain, but by doing
justice to all others, and by insisting upon justice from them. But
how is Holland to obtain justice from the English, who take a manifest
pleasure and pride in showing her and all Europe, that they despise
her? Holland seems to be as corrupted and unprincipled as Great
Britain, but there is one great difference between them. Great Britain
has a terrible naval force, Holland has next to none. Great Britain
has courage and confidence in her power, Holland has none. I do not
mean that the Dutch are destitute of personal courage, but national
courage is a very different thing.

The curious doctrine of a constitutional impossibility of
acknowledging our independence is well exposed in your dialogue. I
suppose the idea was taken from Lord Chatham's dying speech, when he
conjured up the ghost of the Princess Sophia of Hanover, to whose
posterity, being Protestants, the act of settlement had consecrated
the succession of the crown and its authority over all parts of the
dominions. This was a masterly stroke of oratory, to be sure, and
shows, that my Lord Chatham in his last moments had not lost the
knowledge of the prejudices in the character of the English nation,
nor the arts of popularity. But a more manifest address to the
passions and prejudices of the populace, without the least attention
to the justice or policy of the principle, never fell from a popular
orator, ancient or modern. Could my Lord Chatham contend, that the
heirs of the Princess Sophia of Hanover, provided they should be
Protestants, had the throne and its prerogatives entailed upon them,
to everlasting ages, over all parts of the British dominions, let them
do what they would? Govern without Parliament, by laws without law,
dismiss judges without fault, suspend laws, in short do everything
that the Stewarts did, and ten times more, yet so long as they were
Protestants, could there be no resistance to their will, and no
forfeiture of their right to govern? I said this was a figure of
rhetoric, employed by his Lordship _ad captandum vulgus_. I believe so
still, but I believe he meant it also _ad captandum regem_, and that
he thought, by throwing out this idea, that he was not for
acknowledging our independence, the King, who at that time was
distressed for a Minister able in conducting a war, would call him
into the Ministry. I ever lamented this black spot in a very bright
character. I do not remember anything in his Lordship's conduct, which
seemed to me so suspicious to have proceeded from a perverted heart as
this flight. Allowance, however, ought to be made; perhaps he was
misunderstood, and would have explained himself fairly if he had
lived.

I have not seen the pamphlet entitled _Facts_, nor that by Lloyd, nor
the _Examen_. I should be glad to see all of them. I find a difficulty
in getting pamphlets from England, but I shall have a channel to
obtain them by and by. I went to Mr Grant's as soon as I received
yours of the 8th. Mr Grant the father was out, and no other in the
house knew anything of your letter, or maps, or other things. I will
speak to the father the first opportunity. Mr Lee is gone to L'Orient.

What think you of luck? Had any gambler ever so much as Rodney. One of
our tories in Boston, or half way whigs, told me once, God loves that
little island of Old England, and the people that live upon it. I
suppose he would say now, God loves Rodney. I do not draw the same
conclusion from the successes, that the island or the hero have had.
Who can be persuaded to believe, that he loves so degenerate and
profligate a race? I think it more probable, that heaven has permitted
this series of good fortune to attend the wicked, that the righteous
Americans may reflect in time, and place their confidence in their own
patience, fortitude, perseverance, political wisdom, and military
talents, under the protection and blessing of his providence.

There are those who believe, that if France and Spain had not
interposed, America would have been crushed. There are in other parts
of Europe, I am told, a greater number who believe, that if it had not
been for the interposition of France and Spain, American independence
would have been acknowledged by Great Britain a year or two ago. I
believe neither the one nor the other. I know the deep roots of
American independence on one side of the water, and I know the deep
roots of the aversion to it on the other. If it was rational to
suppose, that the English should succeed in their design, and endeavor
to destroy the fleets and naval power of France and Spain, which they
are determined to do if they can, what would be the consequence? There
are long lists of French and Spanish ships of the line yet to be
destroyed, which would cost the English several campaigns and a long
roll of millions, and after this they may send sixty thousand men to
America, if they can get them, and what then? Why, the glory of
baffling, exhausting, beating, and taking them, will finally be that
of the American yeomanry, whose numbers have increased every year
since this war began, as I learnt with certainty in my late visit
home, and will increase every year, in spite of all the art, malice,
skill, valor, and activity of the English and all their allies. I
hope, however, that the capricious goddess will bestow some of her
favors upon France and Spain, and a very few of them would do the
work. If Rodney's fortune should convince Spain, that she is attacking
the bull by the horns, and France and Spain, that the true system for
conducting this war, is by keeping just force enough in the Channel to
protect their coasts and their trade, and by sending all the rest of
their ships into the American seas, it will be the best fortune for
the allies they ever had.

I long to learn Mr Jay's success at Madrid, and Mr Laurens' arrival in
Holland, where I will go to see him some time in the summer or autumn.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 14th, 1780.

  Sir,

By a letter from London of the 3d of this month, received since my
former of this day's date, I learn that the friends of the Ministry
were in hopes every hour to hear that Clinton, who embarked seven
thousand effective men, (though they are said to be ten) in the latter
end of December, is in possession of Charleston. The detachment
consisted of the light infantry and grenadiers of the seventh,
twentythird, thirtythird, fortysecond, sixtythird, and sixtyfourth
British regiments, a legion of horse, yagers, four battalions of
Hessian grenadiers; the New York volunteers, Ferguson's corps; one
Hessian regiment, and a detachment of the seventyfirst British
regiment. Many are of opinion that a part of this army was intended
for the Windward Islands, and that they embarked and sailed the 26th
of December, and was much hurt by a storm after sailing. Two thousand,
under Lord Cornwallis, were said to be intended for the Chesapeake, to
burn two or three men of war in James river, and to serve as a
division to the other five, going against Charleston.

The friends of the Administration are not in spirits about the picture
of affairs in America and the West Indies. They fear the French will
have a superiority there, from whence some late accounts are arrived
of vast sickness and disorder on board the English ships. The naval
war will, to appearance, be removed for the next summer to that
quarter. Rodney was to sail with four ships only to the West Indies;
and Walsingham will not take more than that number as a convoy to
about one hundred West Indiamen, which were to sail about the 20th of
this month, and more ships of war would probably conduct this fleet
off the land, and it was probable in the New York and Quebec trade
about fifty vessels more would sail about the same time. That there
was no talk of any troops or ships going to New York or Quebec. That
there was a rumor that Wallace would have a small squadron, and carry
four or five thousand men out, but this was not believed. That the
Ministry had been hard pressed in several parliamentary questions
lately; that their party was losing ground daily; that the county
petitions for reformation were a heavy weight upon them; that it was
likely there would be serious disturbances, if reforms do not take
place; that the committees for each county have already appointed
three deputies to meet and act for the whole, which is the beginning
of a Congress, and will probably be soon called by that name; that it
was hard to determine whether these movements at home, or the
proceedings in Ireland, chagrin the Ministry most; that the
sovereignty of England over Ireland will not be of many month's
duration; that the armed associations in the latter amount to
sixtyfour thousand men, who seem determined to free themselves from
every restriction that has been laid on them; that their Parliament is
about putting an end to all appeals to England; to render the judges
independent of the crown, they at present holding their offices
_durante bene placito_, and not _quamdiu se bene gesserunt_, as in
England; to have a habeas corpus act; to repeal Poyning's law, which
enacts that all bills shall originate in the council and not in the
commons; to confine the new supplies to the appointment of new duties
only; to give bounties on their own manufactures, and to have a mutiny
bill, which last goes immediately to the grand point of jurisdiction.

That, however, notwithstanding all the present appearances against
Great Britain, and the certainty of America's succeeding to her wish,
there are not among even those, who are called patriots in Parliament,
many who possess directly a wish for American independence; that Lords
Camden, Effingham, Coventry, and the Bishop of St Asaph are clearly
and distinctly for it; Sir G. Saville, and but a few others in the
House of Commons; that the rest of the patriots are for sovereignty;
America to give up the French alliance, make up a federal alliance
with England, by which no doubt they mean an alliance offensive and
defensive, &c.

It is surely unnecessary for me to make any observations upon the
absurdity of these provisos, so injurious to the honor of our country,
and so destructive of her most essential rights and interests. By a
letter of the 7th, a vessel with two hundred Hessians or Yagers on
board has arrived at St Ives, in Cornwall. She sailed with the
expedition from New York, the 26th of December, and a few days after
received much damage in a storm, which it is thought separated and
dispersed the fleet. This gives us great spirits and sanguine hopes
for Charleston. I have the honor to enclose several newspapers, and,
with much respect, to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                *       *       *       *       *

                  TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                             Paris, March, 14th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have taken some pains to inform myself what number of regular troops
the enemy have in the three kingdoms, because we may form some
judgment from this, whether they will be able to send any, and what
reinforcements to North America or the West Indies. I am assured, that
they have not more than four thousand regular troops in Ireland, and
these chiefly horse. It is not to be expected then, I think, that they
can spare any of these. There is too much danger even of popular
commotions in England, Scotland, and Ireland, to spare many of these,
if they were perfectly safe, or thought themselves so from French and
Spanish invasions. I have, however, written to obtain more exact and
authentic information, which I will not fail to transmit as early as
possible.

I have received an account at length, both by the Gazette
Extraordinary, and by letter from London, that Admiral Digby is
returned with the fleet and Spanish prizes from Gibraltar, and brought
in with him the Protée, a French sixtyfour gun ship, and three small
store ships, part of a fleet bound from L'Orient to the East Indies.
The sixtyfour gun ship had about sixtythree thousand pounds in cash on
board. This fleet was unlucky enough to fall in with Digby on the 23d
of February. Rodney sailed from Gibraltar on the 14th, and parted with
Digby on the 18th, taking only four ships of the line with him to the
West Indies. A like number will probably go under Walsingham about the
20th or 25th of this month, with the fleet to the West Indies. It is
said in letters from London, that by every appearance, there are no
more troops going to North America, and that it looks as if the
Ministry mean not to continue the American war, but to let it dwindle
and die away. If this should be the case, it is to be hoped that the
Americans and their allies will not let it dwindle, but put it to
death at a blow.

The Marquis de Lafayette, and his brother the Viscount de Noailles, a
young noble officer, who is worthy of his family, and of the relation
he bears to the Marquis, who I hope will be the bearer of this letter,
will be able to say more upon this head. At present the King and his
General are the only persons, who ought to know the secret.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO JAMES LOVELL.

                                              Paris, March 16th, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

I have received, since my arrival here, your favor of the 16th of
November, 1779. I shall take proper notice of your remarks upon the
13th and 19th articles of the treaty. They are both of them of
importance, and, as to the last, I wish for an instruction upon it,
because there is no doubt to be made, that whenever a serious
negotiation shall be commenced, great pains will be taken for the
banished, although little attention is paid to them now. I learned
yesterday, that they have received no payment of their pensions these
eighteen months. The delay is colored with a pretence of waiting for
some funds for Quebec, which have been stopped by the interruption of
that trade. They are still bitter, as I am told, and are firmly
persuaded, that America cannot hold out six months longer.

You assure me, that I shall not be without the orders and credit,
which I mentioned in a letter of mine. I thank you for this assurance,
which is conceived in such strong terms, that one would think you did
not expect any opposition to it; at least, an effectual opposition. I
wish there may not be, but I am not without conjectures, I will not
call them suspicions, upon this head. Denying them, however, would be
virtually recalling me and Mr Dana, and in a manner the most
humiliating and disgraceful. Indeed, I do not know how we should get
away from our creditors. You know what sort of minds cannot bear a
brother near the throne; and so fair, so just, so economical a method,
would not escape minds of so much penetration, as a refusal to lend
money without orders. I am not sure, however, that the measure would
be hazarded in the present circumstances, by persons by whom I have
been treated politely enough since my return.

I should be glad to know what the Board of Treasury have done with my
accounts; whether they have passed upon them; or whether there are any
objections to them, and what they are. I do not know but I was
indiscreet in sending all my original vouchers, because, if any of
them should be lost, I might be puzzled to explain some things.
However, I know by a letter from Mr Gerry, that they were received,
and I presume they will be preserved.

I wish to know your private opinion, whether Congress will continue Mr
Dana and me here, at so much expense, with so little prospect of
having anything to do for a long time; an uncertain time, however; or,
whether they will revoke our powers, and recall us; or what they will
do with us. A situation so idle and inactive is not agreeable to my
genius; yet I can submit to it as well as any man, if it be thought
necessary for the public good. I will do all the service I can, by
transmitting intelligence, and in every other way.

You must have observed, that in all my public letters, and, indeed, in
a great measure in my private ones, I have cautiously avoided giving
accounts of the state of our affairs in France. I had many reasons for
this caution. In general, I was sure it would do no good, and I
doubted the propriety of stating facts, and remarking upon characters,
without giving notice of it to the persons concerned, and transmitting
the evidence. There is no end of conceiving jealousies; but, I am
sure, that officers of government, especially foreign Ministers, ought
not to attack and accuse one another upon jealousies, nor without full
proof; nor then, without notifying the party to answer for himself.

Thus much let me say, however, that the present plan of having a
distinct Minister in Spain, another in Holland, and another to treat
with Great Britain, and having Secretaries independent of Ministers,
is a good one. I pray you to stand by it with the utmost firmness, if
it should be attacked or undermined. If you revoke the powers of a
separate Minister to treat with the King of Great Britain, you ought
to revoke the former powers of treating with all the Courts of Europe,
which were given to the Commissioners at Passy; for, under these,
authority will be claimed of treating with the English, if my powers
are revoked. The powers of treating with all other Courts ought to be
separated from the mission.

  Your friend, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 18th, 1780.

  Sir,

We have this moment the news of the arrival of the convoy from St
Domingo, with sixty sail of merchant vessels, which is a great event
for this country.

It is also reported, that ten sail of Spanish ships of the line, with
ten battalions of land forces have sailed, and their destination is
supposed to be North America.

The armament preparing at Brest, is thus described in one of the
public papers. The Count du Chaffault de Besné, Lieutenant General of
the naval forces in France, has taken leave of the King, being
presented to his Majesty by M. de Sartine. The report runs, that
orders have been sent on the 29th of February, for the officers who
are at Paris to join their regiments upon the coasts by the 15th of
March, and that eight regiments are to embark under the Count de
Rochambeau. These regiments are that of _Anhalt_, whereof the Marquis
de Bergen is Colonel in second; _Auvergne_, Colonel Commandant, the
Viscount de Lavel; _Bourbonnois_, Colonel Commandant, the Marquis de
Laval, and in second, the Viscount de Rochambeau; _Neustrie_, Colonel
Commandant, the Count de Guibert, and in second, the Viscount le
Veneur; _Romergne_, Colonel Commandant, the Viscount de Custine, and
in second, the Marquis du Ludec; _Royal Corse_, Colonel Commandant,
the Marquis du Luc, and in second, the Count of Pontevez; _Royal Deux
Ponts_, Colonel Commandant, the Count aux Ponts; _Saintongé_, Colonel
Commandant, the Viscount de Beranger, and in second, the Marquis de
Themines. It is asserted, that there will be added a detachment of
artillery, and that the Baron de Viomenil, the Count de Chastellux,
and the Count de Witgenstein will embark with these troops, and that
the Duc de Lazun will have the command of a body of twelve hundred
volunteers, and be joined to the armament under the Count de
Rochambeau. All these troops, as it is believed, will embark at Brest,
and go out under the convoy of the Count du Chaffault de Besné.

They add, that he will have more than thirtyseven ships of the line
under his command, destined for an expedition, whereof the genuine
object is yet unknown. Many other regiments have also orders to march
down nearer to those upon the seacoast, and there are many vessels
taken upon freight for the service of the King, in the different ports
of the kingdom. The freight at Havre is thirty livres a ton, on
condition that the owner furnish his vessel for twelve months. They
say the Prince de Condé will go and command upon the coast of Brittany
with the Count de Vaux.

By a letter I just now received from Holland, I am told that the grand
business is done between the northern powers on a footing very
convenient for Holland, as it must compel the English to cease
interrupting the trade of the neutral powers. This would be more
beneficial to France and Spain than to Holland, by facilitating the
acquisition of ship timber, hemp, and all other things for the supply
of their arsenals of the marine. A principal branch of the British
policy has ever been, to prevent the growth of the navies of their
enemies, by intercepting their supplies.

What gives further countenance to this letter, and the reports to the
same purpose, which have been sometime circulated, is an article in
the _Mercure de France_, enclosed. They talk of an alliance between
Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Prussia, and the United Province, for
maintaining the honor of the flags of these powers. Congress will see
also another paragraph from London, which favors this idea. That the
Baron de Nolker, Envoy Extraordinary from Sweden, had declared that if
the convoy of his nation was not released forthwith, with an
indemnification for expenses and losses, he had orders to quit the
Court of London in twenty four hours.

Some other paragraphs seem to show the Dutch in earnest about
equipping a respectable naval force of fiftytwo vessels.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 19th, 1780.

  Sir,

Enclosed is a paper of the 10th of March, which was accidentally
omitted to be enclosed in the season of it.

There are two articles of intelligence, which ought not to escape our
observation, because they have relation to the armament equipping at
Brest, although I do not suppose them of much consequence. The first
is of a small squadron of frigates, which is said to have sailed from
Portsmouth on the 28th of February, in consequence of orders sent from
the Admiralty on the 22d, under the command of Captain Marshall, who
is on board the Emerald, of thirtytwo guns. The others are the Hussar
of thirtytwo, the Surprise of twentyeight, the Squirrel, and Heart of
Oak of twenty; the sloops, the Beaver's prize of fourteen, the Wolf,
and the Wasp of eight, with the cutters, the Nimble and the Griffin.
It is thought, that this little squadron is gone to make a cruise on
the coast of France, to hinder the transports assembled in different
ports from going out, or even to destroy them, if that shall be found
to be possible. There is not, however, much to be dreaded from this
squadron so near the neighborhood of Brest.

The other paragraph discovers the marks of more ingenuity and less
truth. It is taken from the English papers, that Captain Jarvis, in
the Foudroyant of eighty guns, who has been out upon a cruise, with a
small division in the mouth of the Channel, has returned to Plymouth
and gone to Court, to be himself the bearer to Government of
despatches of great importance, from the Court of France to Congress,
found on board a sloop, which on her passage to Philadelphia fell into
his hands. It is asserted, that these despatches contain an ample
detail of the operations concerted between the Court of Versailles and
Dr Franklin, among which the most probable is, the project of
attacking Halifax, which is to be made by a body of troops from New
England, and by a detachment of French troops very considerable by sea
and land.

This moment a letter from London of the 10th of March informs me, that
a packet boat is arrived from Jamaica, which sailed the 29th of
January, with accounts, that Fort Omoa is again in possession of
Spain. That an English man-of-war has taken a Spanish ship-of-war,
bound to South America with stores. She was pierced for sixtyfour, but
earned only fiftytwo guns. The Jamaica fleet sailed on the 24th of
January, convoyed slightly, with two fiftys and two frigates, about
forty merchantmen in all. Nothing yet from America, but it is
generally believed, that a storm has separated and dispersed
Clinton's fleet, intended for the Southern expedition.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 20th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have at length received a parcel of English papers, which I have the
honor to enclose with this to Congress. They are the General
Advertiser, and the Morning Post, both of which I shall for the future
be able to transmit regularly every week. Congress will see that these
papers are of opposite parties, one being manifestly devoted to the
Court and the Ministry, and the majority, the other to the opposition,
the committees, the associations, and petitions; between both I hope
Congress will be informed of the true facts.

There is the appearance of a piquancy and keenness in the temper of
the opposite parties, by their writings and paragraphs in these
papers, that looks like the commencement of a serious quarrel.

By the violence of the manner in which such characters as Keppel,
Howe, Burgoyne, Richmond, Shelburne, Rockingham, &c. are treated, it
should seem, that the Ministry were exasperated to a greater degree of
rancor than ever, and that they were thoroughly alarmed and determined
to throw the last die. Time and the events of war will decide what
will be the consequences of these heated passions.

By a conversation this morning with the Viscount de Noailles, I am led
to fear, that the fleet from Brest will not be able to put to sea
before the 10th of April. This will be about the time the Marquis de
Lafayette will arrive in America. He sailed from Rochelle the 13th of
this month.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                              Paris, March 21st, 1780.

  Sir,

In the letter, which you did me the honor to write me on the 24th of
February, your Excellency proposed, that the principal object of my
mission should be inserted in the Gazette of France, when it should
make mention of my presentation to the King and all the royal family.

In the answer to this letter, which I had the honor to write on the
25th of February, I informed your Excellency, that I should not think
myself at liberty to make any publication of my powers to treat of
peace, until they should have been announced in the Gazette. It was on
the 7th of March, that I had the honor to be presented to the King and
Royal Family, but no notice has been taken of it in the Gazette of
France. Whether the omission is accidental, or whether it is owing to
any alteration in your Excellency's sentiments, I am not able to
determine.

Your Excellency will excuse the trouble I give you on this occasion,
as it arises wholly from a desire to be able at all times, to render
an account to my sovereign of the motives and reasons of my own
conduct.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                            TO WILLIAM LEE.

                                              Paris, March 21st, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

I have just received your favor from Brussels of the 17th of this
month, and I thank you for this instance of your attention to me.

Considering the state of Ireland, and the spirit that seems to be
rising in England, which has already attained such a height, as to
baffle the Minister, and the East India Company, and to carry many
votes in the House of Commons, almost to a balance with him, and even
some against him, I should not be at all surprised, if terms, such as
you mention, should be offered to America; nor should I be surprised
if another rumor, which was propagated at the Palais Royal this day,
should prove true, that a great change is made or to be made in the
Ministry, and that the Lords Shelburne and Rockingham, Burke, &c. are
in. Yet I have no proper accounts of either.

Whatever may be my powers or instructions, or whether I have any or
not, I am very much obliged to you for your sentiments on such a
proposition as a truce for America, supposing it should be made. Your
arguments are of great weight, and will undoubtedly be attended to by
every one, whoever he may be, who shall be called to give an opinion
upon such a great question. You will not expect me at present to give,
if it is proper for me even to form, any decided opinion upon it. Yet
thus much I may venture to say, that having had so long an experience
of the policy of our enemies, I am persuaded, from the whole of it, if
they propose a truce, it will not be with an expectation or desire,
that America should accept it, but merely to try one experiment more
to deceive, divide, and seduce, in order to govern.

You observe, that the heads of some well intentioned, though visionary
Americans, run much upon a truce. I have seen and heard enough to be
long since convinced, that the Americans in Europe are by no means an
adequate representation of those on the other side of the water. They
neither feel, nor reason like them in general. I should, therefore,
upon all occasions hear their arguments with attention, weigh them
with care, but be sure never to follow them, when I knew them to
differ from the body of their countrymen at home.

You say the Dutch are disturbed. Do you wonder at it? They have been
kicked by the English, as no reasonable man would kick a dog. They
have been whipped by them, as no sober postillion would whip a hackney
coach horse. Can they submit to all this, upon any principle, which
would not oblige them to submit, if the English were to bombard
Amsterdam, or cut away their dikes?

I wish I knew the name of the principal confident and director of the
Prince, whom you mention.

I am very anxious to hear of the arrival of Mr Laurens, but suspect
you will learn it first. Mr Dana returns his respects to you.

I thank you, Sir, for your offers of service; nothing can oblige me
more than to communicate to me any intelligence of the designs of our
enemies, in politics or war, and their real and pretended forces by
sea and land. Pray what is the foundation of the story of a quintuple
alliance between Holland, Sweden, Russia, Prussia, and Denmark?

I am, Sir, with great esteem, your humble servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, March 23d, 1780.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the English papers of the 11th, 13th, and
14th of March, the _Courrier de l'Europe_, and the Hague, Leyden, and
Amsterdam Gazettes. We are in hourly expectation of great news from
Holland, Ireland, England, Spain, and above all from America, and the
West Indies. I have not had a letter from America since I left it,
except one from my family of the 10th of December, and, indeed,
although several vessels have arrived, I can hear of no letters or
news.

By the English papers Congress will perceive the violent fermentation
in England, which has arisen to such a height as to produce a Congress
in fact, and it will soon be so in name. The proceedings in the House
of Commons on the 14th, which were terminated by a resolution of the
committee of the whole house, to abolish the Board of Trade and
Plantations, carried against the Ministry after a very long and warm
debate, by a majority of eight voices, is not only the most
extraordinary vote, which has passed in the present reign, but it
tends to very extensive consequences.

I believe it is very true, that this Board has been the true cause of
the quarrel of Great Britain against the Colonies, and therefore may
be considered as an object of national resentment, but a resentment of
this kind alone would not probably have produced this effect.

Whether it is the near approach of an election, that has intimidated
the members of the House of Commons, or whether committees, petitions,
associations, and Congress have alarmed them, or whether the nation
is convinced, that America is indeed lost forever, and consequently
the Board of Trade would be useless, I do not know. Be this as it may,
the English nation, and even the Irish and Scotch nations, and all
parts of the world will draw this inference from it, that even in the
opinion of the House of Commons America is lost. The free and virtuous
citizens of America, and even the slavish and vicious, if there are
any still remaining of this character, under the denomination of
tories, must be convinced by this vote, passed in the hey-day of their
joy for the successes of Admiral Rodney's fleet, that the House of
Commons despaired of ever regaining America. The nations subject to
the House of Bourbon cannot fail to put the same interpretation upon
this transaction.

Holland and all the northern powers, with the Empress of Russia at
their head, who are all greatly irritated against England for their
late violences against the innocent commerce of neutral powers, will
draw the same consequences. The politicians of Great Britain are too
enlightened in the history of nations, and the rise and progress of
causes and effects in the political world, not to see, that all these
bodies of people will, in consequence of this vote, consider the
Colonies given up as lost by the House of Commons, and they are too
well instructed, not to know the important consequences that follow,
from having such points as those thus settled among the nations. I
cannot, therefore, but consider this vote, and the other respecting
the Secretary of State for the American Department, which arose almost
to a balance, as a decided declaration of the sense of the nation. The
first consequence of it probably will be one further attempt, by
offering some specious terms, which they know we cannot in justice,
in honor, in conscience, accept, to deceive, seduce, and divide
America, throw all into confusion there, and by this means gaining an
opportunity to govern. There is nothing more astonishing than the
inconsistencies of the patriots in England. Those, who are most
violent against the Ministry, are not for making peace with France and
Spain, but they would wish to allure America into a separate peace,
and persuade her to join them against the House of Bourbon. One would
think it impossible, that one man of sense in the world could
seriously believe, that we could thus basely violate our truth, thus
unreasonably quarrel with our best friends, thus madly attach
ourselves to our belligerent enemies. But thus it is.

Sir George Saville threw out in the House, that he wished to carry
home to his constituents the news of an accommodation with America,
and Mr David Hartley has given notice of his intentions to make a
motion relative to us. But I confess I have no expectations. Mr
Hartley's motions and speeches have never made any great fortune in
the House, nor been much attended to; from whence I conclude, if the
present great leaders, even of opposition in the House, were seriously
disposed to do anything towards a pacification, which we could attend
to, they would not suffer Mr Hartley to have the honor of making the
motion.

The heads of many people run upon a truce with America, and Mr
Hartley's motion may tend this way; but a truce with America cannot be
made without a peace with France and Spain, and would America accept
of such a truce? Give Great Britain time to encroach and fortify upon
all our frontiers? To send enemies into the States, and sow the seeds
of discord? To rise out of her present exhausted condition? Suffer
France and Spain to relax? Wait for alterations by the death of
Princes, or the changes in the characters of Princes, or Ministers in
Europe? I ask these questions, that Congress may give me instructions,
if necessary. At present I do not believe my powers are sufficient to
agree to a truce, if it was proposed; nor do I believe it would be for
our interests or safety to agree to it, if I had. I do not mean,
however, to give any decided opinion upon such a great question, in
this hasty letter; I am open to conviction, and shall obey the
instructions of Congress, with the most perfect respect.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 24th, 1780.

  Sir,

Mr Burke's bill not being as yet public, we are not yet informed of
the items of it. But as it already appears, that it strikes at the
Department of Secretary of State for America, and at the Board of
Trade, there seems to be little reason to doubt that it goes further,
and strikes at the American Board of Commissioners, at all the
American Judges of Admiralty, Governors of Provinces, Secretaries, and
Custom House Officers of all denominations. At least, if this should
not be found to be a part of the bill, there are stronger reasons, if
possible, for abolishing this whole system of iniquity, together with
all the pensions granted to the refugees from America, than even for
taking away the Board of Trade. And from several late paragraphs in
the papers, and from Mr Fox's severe observations in the House of
Commons upon Governor Hutchinson, calling him in substance the
"firebrand that lighted up all the fire between the two countries," it
seems pretty clear, that it is in contemplation to take away all these
salaries and pensions.

If such a measure should take place, exiled as these persons are from
the country, which gave them birth, but which they have most
ungratefully endeavored to enslave, they will become melancholy
monuments of divine vengeance against such unnatural and impious
behavior. Nevertheless, as these persons are numerous, and have some
friends in England as well as in America, where they had once much
property, there is a probability, I think, that whenever or wherever
negotiations for peace may be commenced, they and their estates now
almost universally confiscated, will not be forgotten. But much pains
and art will be employed to stipulate for them in the treaty, both a
restoration of their property, and a right to return as citizens of
the States to which they formerly belonged. It is very possible,
however, that before the treaty shall be made, or even negotiations
commenced, these gentlemen will become so unpopular and odious, that
the people of England would be pleased with their sufferings and
punishment. But it is most probable, that the Court will not abandon
them very easily.

I should, therefore, be very happy to have the explicit instructions
of Congress upon this head, whether I am to agree, in any case
whatsoever, to an article which shall admit of their return, or the
restoration of their forfeited estates. There are sentiments of
humanity and forgiveness which plead on one side, there are reasons of
state and political motives, among which the danger of admitting such
mischievous persons as citizens, is not the least considerable, which
argue on the other.

I shall obey the instructions of Congress with the utmost pleasure, or
if, for any reasons they choose to leave it at discretion, if I ever
should have the opportunity, I shall determine it without listening to
any passions of my own of compassion or resentment, according to my
best judgment of the public good. There is another point of very great
importance, which I am persuaded will be aimed at by the English
Ministers, I am sure it will by the people of England, whenever times
of peace shall be talked of. For facilitating the return of commerce,
they will wish to have it stipulated by the treaty, that the subjects
of Great Britain shall have the rights of citizens in America, and the
citizens of the United States the rights of subjects in the British
dominions. Some of the consequences of such an agreement to them and
to us are obvious and very important, but they are so numerous, that
it is difficult to determine whether so great a question should be
left to my determination. If, however, contrary to my inclinations, it
should fall to my lot to decide it without instructions, it shall be
decided according to my conscience, and the best lights I have.

  I have the honor to be, &c,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 24th, 1780.

  Sir,

It has been observed in former letters, that there is scarcely an
example of such a series of fortunate incidents as that which happened
to Rodney's fleet, and it may be proper to dilate a little upon some
of these incidents, to show that the enthusiastic applause, which is
given him by the Court, the Lords, the Commons, and the city of
London, is no otherwise merited than by the boldness of his
enterprise; unless simple good fortune is merit.

It must be allowed, that it was a desperate plan in the Minister to
order him out on the design to succor Gibraltar, and it was a
desperate resolution in him to undertake it; because he had to expect
to meet with the whole Spanish squadron at Cadiz, and that it would
follow him, which was in fact the case.

Don Gaston sailed from Brest the 13th of January in search of Admiral
Rodney, with twenty Spanish ships of the line, with four French ships
of the line, the Glorieux, the Burgundy, the Zodiac, and the Scipio,
with the frigate, the Nereis, under the Chef d'Escadre, the Chevalier
de Bausset. If the four and twenty ships of the line had joined Don
Langara's squadron, there is scarce a possibility of doubt, after the
brave defence made by him, with such inferior force, that Rodney's
fleet would have been totally ruined, and consequently Gibraltar
reduced to extremities. But this was not to happen. The next day after
Don Gaston sailed from Brest, he met with a terrible storm, which
separated his fleet. Two of his Spanish ships arrived at Cadiz the
31st of January, the Serious and the Atlant, each of seventy guns. The
third of February there arrived twelve others. The Rayo, commanded by
Don Gaston, and the St Louis, both of eighty guns, the Velasco, the St
Francis de Paule, the S. Isabella, the S. Joachim, the St Peter, the
St Damase, the Arrogant, and the Warrior, all of seventy, the Mink of
fiftysix, and the frigates, the Assumption and the Emerald, with the
French division under the Chevalier de Bousset, excepting the Scipio,
commanded by the Baron de Durfort, which did not arrive until the 17th
of February, after having cruised ten or twelve days off St Vincent,
which had been appointed as the place of rendezvous and reunion, in
case of separation. The Guardian Angel, of seventy guns, which was
also separated from the squadron, did not arrive till several days
after Don Gaston at Cadiz, having suffered very much, as well as all
the other vessels, in their masts and rigging, by the bad weather, and
especially by the violent gale of wind, which they met with on the 1st
of February, near the Cape of St Vincent. Of the five remaining
Spanish vessels, four went into Ferrol, the St Vincent Ferries, of
eighty guns, commanded by Don d'Acre, Lieutenant General; the St
Charles, of eighty; the Vengeur, of seventy, and the Septentrion, of
sixty; the fifth, named the St Joseph, of seventy, by Don Orsorno,
Chef d'Escadre, returned to Brest dismasted. This separation and
dispersion of the fleet and of its principal officers exposed Langara,
and made Rodney's fortune; and the necessity these vessels were in of
reparation, gave liberty to the English fleet to put to sea from
Gibraltar and regain the Atlantic Ocean, on the 13th of February, to
the number of twentytwo ships of the line, including those of Rodney,
Digby, and Ross, and four of the vessels taken from the Spaniards, and
three frigates, with twelve merchant ships under their convoy, leaving
at Gibraltar, the Edgar, of seventyfour, the Panther, of sixty, which
has been there a long time, and the Guipuscoa, of sixtyfour guns,
taken from the Spaniards on the 8th of January, with twentyfour
merchant vessels under her convoy.

There has been much conversation for several days, concerning a
Spanish armament preparing at Cadiz, and letters from Carthagena say,
that the regiment of infantry, called the Flankers' regiment, which
has been in garrison in that city, has been completed by orders from
the Court of Naples, and on the 1st of March, the first battalion
marched for Cadiz, and on the 4th of March, the second battalion. It
is said that this regiment is to embark with several others, which
from different garrisons have arrived at the same place for America,
in all parts of which, according to appearances, the English will have
enough to do to maintain their ground this ensuing campaign.

In Ireland, on the 22d of February, an assembly of the gentlemen,
clergy, and freeholders of the city of Dublin, resolved unanimously,
that the advantages obtained in commerce are neither complete nor
solidly established; that the sense of the nation is, that the Irish
Parliament alone, in concert with the sovereign, can give to the laws
already obtained of the Prince their obligatory force; that what has
been done ought not to be considered as anything more than a great
beginning; and that the general hope was, that the end of the session
would be as advantageous to the political constitution of the country,
as the commencement of it had been favorable to commerce; that the
fathers of the country are particularly requested and instructed to
obtain a declaratory act, which may preserve forever the free and
independent state of Ireland, and by introducing some necessary
modifications of Poyning's law, to prevent in future all controversy
between the King and the Parliament of Ireland, concerning fundamental
laws.

These instructions were given by the sheriffs to the representatives
of Dublin, who answered that they were convinced, that no foreign
legislative power whatsoever had any right, or ought to arrogate to
itself any authority over their nation, and without injuring the legal
and known authority, which his Majesty has a right to exercise over
this kingdom in a manner conformable to the laws, they would neglect
nothing to obtain an act, which should take away every unjust
restriction, and which should tend to assure the constitutional
independence of the kingdom. This is said to be the general sense of
the whole kingdom, so that it may truly be said, that the British
empire is crumbling to pieces like a rope of sand, insomuch, that if
the war should continue, I shall not be at all surprised if even
Scotland should become discontented with the Union, and the disputes
between the Ministry and the East India Company should terminate in
the independence of Asia; nay, it would be no miracle if the West
India Islands should request the protection of France and Spain, or
the United States. I will take the first opportunity to write upon the
subject of Lord North's loan, which, together with the other ways and
means, amounts to the amazing sum of £20,674,000 sterling.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 26th, 1780.

  Sir,

On the 2d day of March the news of the royal consent to the bill,
which the British Parliament has passed for granting to Ireland a free
commerce with the American Colonies, the West Indies, and the Coast of
Africa, was celebrated in Dublin by public rejoicings; the guns of
the Lark were discharged, the garrison made a _feu de joie_, the
castle and other public buildings were illuminated, as well as some
private houses. The government were probably encouraged to these
demonstrations of joy, by the motion, which was made the day before,
that is, the 1st of March, by Mr Dennis Doly in the House of Commons,
for an address of thanks to the King, to which both parties
unanimously consented, not excepting the principal patriots, such as
Mr Ogle, Mr Hussy Burgh, and Mr Grattan.

The address contains an assurance of their attachment to the royal
person and government of the King; a profession of gratitude for his
Majesty's uninterrupted attention to the interest of Ireland, and for
the happy alteration, which the wisdom of his councils, and the
liberal sentiments of the British Parliament have effected in the
situation of their affairs. They express a double satisfaction for the
benefits, which have been granted them, because they appear to them to
be an efficacious remedy for the poverty of that country, and because
they furnish an unquestionable proof of that fraternal affection,
which they think they have a right to expect from Great Britain, and
which they will constantly endeavor to cultivate and augment to the
most perfect degree of mutual confidence. They profess the sincerest
pleasure in finding that the ties, which have ever united the two
kingdoms, have been bound faster than ever, by the conduct of their
fellow subjects, and they assure his Majesty, that on their part, they
will never fail to make the greatest efforts for the maintenance of
that close connexion between the two kingdoms, which they firmly
believe to be inseparable from their happiness and prosperity.

The next day the House of Peers, even at the motion of the Duke of
Leinster, followed the example of the House of Commons. Their address
is in substance the same, with this addition, that the benefits
received afford a remedy proportioned to their distress, and that they
will discountenance with all their power all attempts, that deluded
men might make to excite ill founded apprehensions in the people, and
to turn their attention to the commerce, which has been granted them
in a manner so extensive.

To these additions, however, there was an opposition, and finally a
protest, signed by Lord Carrisford, the Earls of Charlemont and Arran,
and the Viscounts Powerscourt and Mountmorris, and by the proxies of
the Earl Moira, and the Lords Eyre and Irnham.

The Duke of Leinster, however, has brought upon his reputation by this
motion suspicions all over Europe, that he has been gained by the
King, which a little time and his future conduct will either dissipate
or confirm.

The next day Parliament adjourned to the 11th of April. Congress will
be able to put a just interpretation upon these addresses, by the
account I gave in my last, of the instructions of the city of Dublin
to their representatives, and their answer, as well as by those of the
county of Dublin, which remain to be communicated. On the 7th of
March, there was held at Kilmainham, an assembly of the freeholders of
the county of Dublin, when the following instructions to their
representatives were agreed on.

"We, your constituents, desiring to acknowledge as we ought, the
advantages our commerce will derive from the particular attention,
which his Majesty has given it, from the integrity of our Parliament,
the firmness of our countrymen, and the justice, which the English
nation begins to render us, we declare to you, that what follows is
the principal cause of our joy upon this occasion. It appears to us,
that the desire of monopolising commerce was the only motive, which
could make England imagine that she had a right to usurp a legitimate
authority over this kingdom, and from the moment when she renounced
this monopoly, she has taken away the principal obstacle, which
opposed our liberty, and consequently the British nation will not
continue to itself an arbitrary power, from which she can derive
nothing but reducing this kingdom to slavery. We desire to know,
moreover, whether the united efforts of the Parliament and people of
Ireland ought to confine themselves, so as to leave this island in a
state of dependence and submission to laws, to which the nation has
never consented, to laws dictated by a Parliament, in which she has no
representatives? Let it not be said, that this power attributed to the
English Parliament is chimerical. We may see the proofs of it even in
the repeal of several of the acts and in this, that several persons
declare, however falsely, that this power is founded upon law. Having
an equal right to political liberty and to commerce, but deprived of
both; and nevertheless content to be restored to the enjoyment of a
free commerce alone; will it not appear, that we absolutely give up
the former? This idea would be absurd. It is then our duty to declare
to the universe, that we are of right a free nation, not to be
subjected to any laws, but such as are made by the King and Parliament
of Ireland.

"Desirous of nothing so much as to live always in good intelligence
with the British nation, on account of the union of the two Crowns,
our instructions are, that you shall make the greatest efforts to
obtain an act, which shall establish forever the independence of the
legislative power of Ireland. We wish, moreover, that you would
endeavor to qualify Poyning's law, by taking away from the privy
council the legislative power. In accomplishing these important
objects, you will acquire honor to yourselves, and give satisfaction
to the nation.

"It is not to be doubted, that you will also fall upon some plan of
economy, by making savings, which are become necessary to increase the
revenue of the Crown, and improve the commerce of the nation."

It seems now very plain, that the Irish nation aspires to an
independence of Great Britain the most unlimited, and acknowledges no
other connexion with her but that of affection and a subjection to the
same King. The troops already raised by associations amount to between
sixty and seventy thousand men, which are to be forthwith augmented by
ten thousand more, who are to be formed of countrymen; each officer is
to furnish four, who will be clothed and paid out of the funds, that
each regiment will establish for this purpose. The principal objects
of these armed associations are said to be, a free and unlimited
commerce to all parts of the world, except only the East Indies. The
repeal of Poyning's law, passed under Henry the Seventh, and another
under George the First, which restrains the legislative authority of
the Irish Parliament, with an express clause, that the Parliament of
Ireland ought, and shall be forever and wholly exempt from all kind of
control and dependence of the British Parliament, in all cases
whatsoever. That students shall no longer be obliged to go to the
Temple in London, and other seminaries in England to study law. But,
in future, they shall study in the University of Dublin, under proper
professors, and shall be admitted to the bar in Ireland by the Lord
Chancellor and the other judges, after a proper examination; the
judges to be natives, except the Chancellor; the bishops also to be
natives.

In the meantime, the slightest circumstances may blow up the flames of
war between the two kingdoms, which would have been done some weeks
ago, if the regular officers of the King's troops had not given way to
the Dublin volunteers.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 29th, 1780.

  Sir,

I think it my duty to lay before Congress what may occur in Holland,
relative to the present war, at least until the arrival of Mr Laurens,
whose presence is much desired there. Many appearances make it
probable, that the grasping and vindictive temper of the English will
compel the Republic into the war. If they do take a part, it is very
certain it will be against England. As plunder and revenge are the
present ruling passions of the English, it is probable, that a war
with Holland is rather wished for than otherwise, because the Ministry
and their principal supporters seem to have no idea, that it is
possible to make things worse, and all the plunder they can get will
be so much clear gain. The Dutch are so much alarmed and aroused, that
it is very certain the Prince finds it necessary to give out, that he
has been deceived by the English, that he has changed his sentiments,
and that he will promote with all his influence unlimited convoys. It
is certain, that they are fitting their men-of-war with a great deal
of activity, and it is confidently affirmed, that they have made a
treaty with Russia and Sweden, who are to make a common cause. The
States of the Province of Friesland have come to a resolution, that it
was certain Byland was not the aggressor, but that Fielding had not
hesitated to make use of force to visit the Dutch ships under convoy,
to stop those that were loaded with hemp, and to insult the flag of
the Republic. That this proceeding shows, that the complaisance
hitherto shown to England, in depriving the ships loaded with masts
and ship timber of the protection of the State, in leaving them to
sail alone and without convoy, has had no effects, and consequently
the States judge, that a similar condescension ought no longer to take
place, but, on the contrary, all merchandise whatsoever, which the
treaties do not expressly declare to be contraband, ought, without the
least difficulty, to be admitted under convoy, and enjoy the
protection of the State, and to this effect, His Most Serene Highness
ought to be requested to give orders to the commanders of the men of
war, and of the squadron of the Republic, to protect, as heretofore,
all merchandise.

This resolution was taken the 29th day of February, and laid before
the States-General, who, after debating upon it, determined to require
the deputies of the other Provinces to obtain, as soon as possible,
the decision of their Provinces upon the same subject. These two
Provinces, Holland and Friesland, have already decided for unlimited
convoys.

Sir Joseph Yorke, on the 21st of March instant, laid before their High
Mightinesses another Memorial, insisting on the aid which he had
demanded before, upon condition, in case of refusal, that his master
would, after three months consider all treaties between the two
countries as null, and in which he contends, that the protection
afforded to Captain Jones, whom he calls a pirate, in the Texel and in
Amsterdam, was a violation of the treaties.

In order more clearly to comprehend the dispute between Great Britain
and the States-General, it may not be amiss to observe, that by the
marine treaty between the two powers, concluded at the Hague in 1667,
all the subjects and inhabitants of the United Provinces may, with all
safety and freedom, sail and traffic in all the kingdoms, countries,
and estates, which are, or shall be in peace, amity, or neutrality
with the States-General, without any hinderance or molestation from
the ships of war, gallies, frigates, barques, or other vessels
belonging to the King of Great Britain, or any of his subjects, upon
occasion or account of any war, which may hereafter happen between the
King of Great Britain and the above said kingdoms, countries, and
estates, or any of them, which are, or shall be, in peace, amity, or
neutrality with the States-General; and this freedom of navigation and
commerce shall extend to all sorts of merchandise, excepting
contraband goods. That this term of contraband goods, is to be
understood to comprehend all sorts of fire arms, their appurtenances,
and all other utensils of war called in French, "_servans à l'usage de
la guerre_," and that under this head of contraband goods, these
following shall not be comprehended; corn, wheat, or other grain,
pulse, oils, wine, salt, or generally anything that belongs to the
nourishment or sustenance of life, but they shall remain free, as
likewise all other merchandise and commodities not comprehended in the
foregoing article, and the transportation of them shall be permitted
even into places at enmity with Great Britain, except such places are
besieged, blocked up, or invested. Masts, yards, ship timber, and
hemp, the articles now in dispute, are not contraband by this treaty,
or by the law of nations. Yet Great Britain, in the hours of her
insolence and madness, which are not yet at an end, makes no scruple
to seize, condemn, and confiscate them. She pretends, that as the
Dutch refuse to her the aid she demands by treaty, she has a right to
seize upon masts, timber, and hemp, which are not prohibited by
treaty. Not to enter into the inquiry, whether the present case is
such, as by the treaties obliges the Dutch to furnish her aid, but
admitting for argument's sake it is so, yet the consequences will not
follow. It would only follow, that Great Britain was absolved from the
obligation of the treaty, not by any means that she is discharged from
the obligations of the law of nations.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                  COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS.

                               Translation.

                                         Versailles, March 30th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write on the
21st instant. I remember very well to have said to you, that your
presentation should be inserted in the Gazette of France; but, from
the information I have since obtained, it seems that the
presentations, whether of Ambassadors or Ministers Plenipotentiary,
are not thus announced in our Gazette, and it would have the
appearance of affectation to insert yours. As a substitute, I will
have it mentioned, if you wish, in the _Mercure de France_, and you
can take measures to have the notice repeated in the foreign gazettes.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

_P. S._ I enclose a draft of an article, which I propose to send to
the _Mercure de France_. It will not be sent till I learn your opinion
of it.

                  *       *       *       *       *

"Mr Adams, whom the Congress of the United States has designated to
assist at the conferences for a peace, when that event shall take
place, arrived here some time ago, and has had the honor to be
presented to the King and the royal family."

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                              Paris, March 30th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have the honor of your Excellency's letter of this day, in answer to
mine of the 21st of this month. Until the receipt of it, I had taken
it for granted, that the presentation of every Ambassador was
regularly inserted in the Gazette of France, and until very lately,
several days since the date of my letter to your Excellency of the
21st of this month, I had supposed, that the presentation of Ministers
Plenipotentiary was constantly inserted likewise.

The information your Excellency has given me, that the presentation of
neither Ambassadors nor Ministers Plenipotentiary have ever been
inserted, has perfectly satisfied me, and I doubt not will equally
satisfy my countrymen, who have heretofore been under the same
mistake with myself.

I approve very much of your Excellency's proposition of inserting my
presentation in the Mercury of France, and shall take measures to have
it repeated in the foreign gazettes.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 30th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to Congress copies of certain letters,
which I have had the honor to write to the Count de Vergennes, and of
others, which I have received from him.

It seems that the presentations of the American Commissioners and
Ministers Plenipotentiary have not been inserted in the Gazette, which
occasioned some uneasiness in the minds of some of our countrymen, as
they thought it a neglect of us, and a distinction between our
sovereign and others. The enclosed letters will explain this matter,
and show, that no distinction has been made between the
representatives of the United States and those of other powers.

I ought to confess to Congress, that the delicacy of the Count de
Vergennes about communicating my powers is not perfectly consonant to
my manner of thinking, and if I had followed my own judgment I should
have pursued a bolder plan by communicating, immediately after my
arrival, to Lord George Germain, my full powers to treat both of peace
and commerce; but I hope Congress will approve of my communicating
first to this Court my destination and asking their advice, and then
pursuing it, because I think no doubt can be made, that it is my duty
to conduct my negotiations at present in concert with our ally, as I
have hitherto done.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, March 30th, 1780.

  Sir,

There is an anecdote, which causes a great speculation at present,
because it is supposed to show the tendency of things in Ireland, and
what is to be expected by Great Britain, if the Ministry should oppose
themselves to the wishes of the Irish nation. On the 23d of February,
three bodies of volunteers, those of Dublin, commanded by Colonel John
Allen, those of the Liberties, commanded by Sir Edward Newingham, and
another body, commanded by Mr Taylor, assembled at the Exchange, from
whence they made a long march in a circuit of four miles, accompanied
with other volunteers on horseback, to the Park, the avenues of which
were guarded by five other corps of volunteers.

There they went through the manoeuvres and firings, with as much
celerity and precision as any regular troops. They were there reviewed
by the Duke of Leinster, as General and Commander-in-Chief,
accompanied with four Aids-de-Camps, and they all rendered to this
nobleman military honors almost equal to those which are rendered to a
King.

Returning from the review, the volunteers met in Barrack street a
detachment of the royal troops marching to the castle. These required,
that the volunteers should turn out of the way, and endeavored to
break their ranks; but the volunteers, with their bayonets fixed and
charged, stood their ground and discovered such a resolution, that the
commanding officer of the King's troops ordered them to halt, and
desired to speak with the Duke of Leinster. They entered into a
conference. The regular troops pretended they had a right to the
pavements, as the troops of the King. The volunteers, thought they had
a right to keep it, as free citizens, voluntarily armed for the
defence of their country, and consequently superior to mere
mercenaries. They supported these arguments by preparations for
battle, the people declared themselves in favor of the volunteers, by
collecting together a sufficient quantity of stones, to overwhelm the
troops, who at last gave way, in order to avoid a scene of blood. The
next day the volunteers sent to the Viceroy an excuse, but couched in
terms, which justified their conduct as necessary to maintain the
liberty, independence, and dignity of the nation. I have seen so much
of the spirit of the King's troops, in several contests between them
and the citizens of Boston, as to know very well what all this means.
The volunteers must have great confidence in their own strength, and
the King's troops equal diffidence of theirs, before an altercation of
this kind could terminate in this manner.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ARTHUR LEE, AT L'ORIENT.

                                              Paris, March 31st, 1780.

  Dear Sir,

I have received yours of the 26th, and that of the 15th of this month.
I enclose a copy of the letter you desire.

M. Garnier is gone into the country, and I have not seen him since I
arrived here. Mr Izard, however, has seen him, and will give you a
satisfactory account of what he says.

If I were to apply to the other gentleman, you know what would be the
consequence. It would fly very soon to, you know where, and I should
have only the credit of meddling unnecessarily with disputes, which I
have kept out of as much I could, and which it is certainly now the
public interest, and consequently my duty, to keep out of as much I
can. I had, therefore, rather be excused. The gentleman himself would
probably give you the same answer to a letter from you directly to
him, as he would give to me, unless I should use arts with him; which
would be unworthy of you, as well as of me, and which I cannot use
with anybody.

I shall have enough to do, to steer my little bark among the rocks and
shoals. I shall have perplexities enough of my own, which I cannot
avoid, and dangers too. These I shall meet with a steady mind, and
perhaps none of them will be greater than that, which I think my duty,
of avoiding things that do not belong to me.

Scarcely ever any Minister executed a commission for making a peace,
without ruining his own reputation, in a free government. No Minister
that ever existed, had a more difficult and dangerous peace to make
than I have.

The gentleman you mention has hitherto been very still, but he has
been well received, by all that I have learnt.

  Adieu,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Paris, April 3d, 1780.

  Sir,

The Prince of Orange, Stadtholder, is not only supposed to have
ambitious views of allying his family to that of Great Britain, but is
very much influenced by the Duke of Brunswick, who is a field marshal,
and commander in chief of the Dutch land forces, who is also a brother
of Prince Ferdinand. The Duke is not upon the best terms with his
family, because they think he is too much attached to the House of
Austria. By this double attraction of England on one side, and their
old friends the House of Austria on the other, it is not very
surprising that His Most Serene Highness is drawn a little aside from
the line of the American cause, which is now so closely connected, and
likely to be more so, with the House of Bourbon. Hence it is said,
that the Count de Byland is to be honorably acquitted by the court
martial, and hence the embarrassments the Dutch are under, in their
wishes to resent like men the unparalleled injuries, that have been
done them by the English. There is, however, so much spirit in the
United Provinces, as to oblige the Prince to put on the appearance of
resentment at the insults offered to his flag, and to oblige the
British Minister to assume the tone of menace, in order to work upon
the fears of the people, whose property is so exposed as to make them
dread a war with any nation whatever.

Congress will, however, be able to judge of what is doing in Holland
by the following proceedings. A petition was presented to their High
Mightinesses on the 25th of February, for the equipment of fiftytwo
ships of war, in the following terms.

"Your High Mightinesses having thought proper by your resolution of
the 17th of this month, which came to us the 22d, to require us to
present to your High Mightinesses, without influencing, however, in
anything the deliberations of the confederates, a petition for the sum
of two million six hundred and twenty thousand five hundred and
ninetyeight florins, to assist towards the one half of the necessary
expense for an extraordinary equipment of fiftytwo vessels of war and
frigates, which are to be put in a condition of service by the first
of May, as well as of other articles more fully particularised in the
report contained in the resolution of your High Mightinesses, and in
the estimate enclosed with it, which we flatter ourselves were made
with all possible accuracy, while the funds necessary for the half of
the equipment abovementioned, will be found in the produce of certain
duties.

"We have been the more zealous not to delay giving satisfaction to the
requisition of your High Mightinesses, as we consider the said plan,
as tending to accomplish what has been for so many years represented
and advised, as well by His Serene Highness as by us, in general
petitions addressed successively to your High Mightinesses, as well as
to the confederates, that is to say, to put the Republic in a more
respectable state of defence, by augmenting her marine and troops, an
object upon which it has been again insisted in the petition of the
current year, which employed such reasons and such urgent motives to
this purpose, that expressions now fail us for adding anything to what
has been already said; and persuaded, moreover, as we are, that the
circumstances and facts, such of them as have passed in a manner so
remarkable, render useless and superfluous all further reasonings, in
such sort, that all these details being already perfectly understood,
as well by your High Mightinesses as by the confederates, we think we
may depend upon this knowledge, in expectation of the definitive
resolutions of your High Mightinesses, equally salutary and unanimous,
and the effect of which will be to prevent and ward off the new
misfortunes, which may threaten the Republic; assured, moreover, and
persuaded, that the serious intention of the confederates is to
accomplish the equipment proposed with all that depends upon it, and
that to this end, their High Mightinesses will be pleased, not only to
give their consent to the petition of two millions six hundred and
twenty thousand five hundred and ninetyeight florins, formed by the
present, but also, what is more important, to furnish as soon as
possible their quota to the general treasury, by which means the
colleges of the Admiralty, whose duty it is to attend to the
equipments, may be possessed of the means necessary to this operation
at convenient periods; which will be thought more indispensably
necessary, on casting an eye on the reasons more amply alleged in the
report of the colleges of the Admiralty, and expressed in the
resolution of your High Mightinesses, the 17th of February, to which
we refer."


                               MEMORIAL.

On the twentyfirst of March, 1780, Sir Joseph Yorke, the British
Ambassador, presented a Memorial to their High Mightinesses, of the
following tenor.

     "High and Mighty Lords,

     "The King, my Master, has always cultivated the friendship of
     your High Mightinesses, and has always considered the alliance,
     which has so long subsisted between the two nations, as founded
     upon the wisest principles, and as essential to their mutual
     prosperity. The principal objects of this alliance, which stands
     upon the immovable basis of a common interest, are the safety and
     prosperity of the two States, the maintenance of the public
     tranquillity, and the preservation of that just balance so often
     disturbed by the ambitious policy of the House of Bourbon. When
     the Court of Versailles, in direct violation of the public faith,
     and of the common rights of sovereigns, had broken the peace, by
     a league made with the rebel subjects of his Majesty, avowed and
     declared formally by the Marquis de Noailles; when, by immense
     preparations, France manifested her designs of annihilating the
     maritime power of England, the King expected that your High
     Mightinesses, too enlightened not to see, that the safety of the
     Republic is closely connected with that of Great Britain, would
     have been zealous to come to his assistance. One of the first
     cares of his Majesty was, to inform your High Mightinesses of all
     the circumstances of this unjust war; and in the critical
     situation in which the King found himself he did not forget the
     interests of his ancient allies; but, on the contrary, has shown
     the most sincere desire to favor the commerce and the free
     navigation of the Republic, as much as the safety of his people
     could permit. He even desisted a long time from demanding the
     succors stipulated by the treaties, fulfilling thus his own
     engagements, without insisting on the accomplishment of those of
     your High Mightinesses. The demand was never made, until after
     the united forces of France and Spain showed themselves ready to
     fall upon England, and there attempt a descent by the assistance
     of a formidable fleet. Although frustrated in this enterprise,
     the enemies of the King meditate still the same project; and it
     is by the express order of his Majesty, that the undersigned
     renews, at this time, in a manner the most formal, the demand of
     the succors stipulated by different treaties, and particularly by
     that of the year 1716.

     "Hitherto your High Mightinesses have been silent upon an article
     so essential; at the same time, you have insisted on a forced
     construction of the treaty of commerce of the year 1674, against
     the abuse of which Great Britain has protested at all times. This
     interpretation cannot be reconciled to the clear and precise
     stipulations of the secret article of the treaty of peace of the
     same year. An article of a treaty of commerce cannot annul an
     article so essential of a treaty of peace, and both are expressly
     comprehended in the principal treaty of alliance of 1678, by
     which your High Mightinesses are obliged to furnish to his
     Majesty the succors, which he now demands. You are too just and
     too wise not to feel, that all the engagements between powers
     ought to be mutually and reciprocally observed, and although
     contracted in different periods, they oblige equally the
     contracting parties. This incontestible principle applies itself
     here with so much the more force, as the treaty of 1716 renews
     all the anterior engagements between the Crown of England and
     the Republic, and incorporates them, as it were, together.

     "Moreover, the subscriber had orders to declare to your High
     Mightinesses, that he was ready to enter into conferences with
     you, to regulate in an amicable manner all which might be
     necessary to avoid misunderstandings, and prevent every
     disagreeable occurrence, by concerting measures equitable and
     advantageous for the respective subjects.

     "This friendly offer was refused, in a manner as unexpected as it
     was extraordinary and unusual among friendly powers; and without
     taking notice of repeated representations, both public and
     secret, upon the subject of convoys, your High Mightinesses have
     not only granted convoys for different kinds of naval stores, but
     you have moreover expressly resolved, that a certain number of
     vessels of war should be held ready to convoy in the sequel naval
     stores of every species, destined for the ports of France; and
     this at a time when the subjects of the Republic enjoyed by the
     force of treaties, a freedom and an extent of commerce and of
     navigation far beyond that, which the law of nations allows to
     neutral powers. This resolution, and the orders given to Admiral
     Byland, to oppose himself by force to the visits of merchant
     ships, have given place to the incident, which the friendship of
     the King would have greatly desired to have prevented; but it is
     notorious, that this Admiral, in consequence of his instructions,
     first fired upon the sloops bearing the English flag, which were
     sent to make the visit in the manner prescribed by the treaty of
     1674. It was then a manifest aggression, a direct violation of
     the same treaty, which your High Mightinesses seem to look upon
     as the most sacred of all. His Majesty has made beforehand
     repeated representations of the necessity and justice of this
     visit, practised in all similar circumstances, and fully
     authorised by this treaty. They were informed in London, that
     there were in the Texel a great number of vessels loaded with
     naval stores, and particularly with masts and large ship timber,
     ready to set sail for France immediately after, or under, a Dutch
     convoy. The event has but too fully proved the truth of these
     informations, since some of these vessels have been found even
     under this convoy. The greatest number have escaped, and have
     carried to France the most efficacious succors, of which she
     stood in the greatest necessity.

     "At the same time your High Mightinesses thus aided the enemy of
     the King, by favoring the transportation of these succors, you
     imposed a heavy penalty upon the subjects of the Republic, to
     restrain them from carrying victuals to Gibraltar, although this
     place was comprehended in the general warranty of all the British
     possessions in Europe, and although at that time Spain had vexed
     the commerce of the Republic, in a manner the most outrageous and
     unexampled.

     "It is not only on these occasions, that the conduct of your High
     Mightinesses towards the King, and towards the enemy of his
     Majesty, forms a most striking contrast in the eyes of all the
     impartial world. No one is ignorant of that, which passed in the
     too well known affair of Paul Jones. The asylum granted to this
     pirate was directly contrary to the treaty of Breda, of 1667, and
     even to the proclamation of your High Mightinesses of 1776.
     Further, although your High Mightinesses have kept, and still
     keep a silence the most absolute, with regard to the just demands
     of his Majesty, you have been forward, at the simple request of
     the King's enemies, to assure them of an absolute and
     unconditional neutrality, without any exception of the ancient
     engagements of the Republic, founded upon the most solemn
     treaties. Nevertheless the King would still persuade himself,
     that all which has passed ought to be attributed less to the
     disposition of your High Mightinesses, than to artifices of his
     enemies, who, after having excited discord among the members of
     the State, seek alternately by menaces and by promises to animate
     them against their natural ally. His Majesty cannot believe, that
     your High Mightinesses have taken the resolution to abandon a
     system, which the Republic has pursued for more than a century,
     with so much success and so much glory.

     "But if such was the resolution of your High Mightinesses, if you
     were determined to forsake the alliance with Great Britain, in
     refusing to fulfil the engagements of it, there would arise from
     this resolution a new order of things. The King would perceive
     such an alteration with a sensible regret; but the consequences,
     which would follow from it, would be necessary and unavoidable.
     If by an act of your High Mightinesses, the Republic should cease
     to be the ally of Great Britain, the relations between the two
     nations will be totally changed, and they will no longer have any
     other ties or relation than those, which subsist between nations
     neutral and friendly. Every treaty being reciprocal, if your High
     Mightinesses will not fulfil your engagements, the consequence
     will be, that those of his Majesty will cease to be obligatory.
     It is in pursuance of these incontestible principles, that his
     Majesty has ordered the subscriber to declare to your High
     Mightinesses, in a manner the most friendly, but at the same time
     the most serious, that, if contrary to his just expectations,
     your High Mightinesses do not give him, within the term of three
     weeks, to be computed from the day of presentation of this
     memorial, a satisfactory answer, touching the succors demanded
     eight months ago, his Majesty, considering this conduct as a
     departure from the alliance on the part of your High
     Mightinesses, will no longer consider the United Provinces in any
     other light than that of other neutral powers not privileged by
     treaties, and consequently will, without further delay, suspend
     conditionally, and until further orders, in regard to their
     subjects, all the particular stipulations of the treaties between
     the two nations, particularly those of the treaty of 1674, and
     will hold himself simply bound by the general principles of the
     law of nations, which ought to serve as rules between powers
     neutral and not privileged.

                                                        JOSEPH YORKE."

On the 24th of March, the States-General made the following answer to
Sir Joseph Yorke.

     "That their High Mightinesses had resolved to represent to his
     Britannic Majesty by the Count de Welderen, their Envoy
     Extraordinary, that having seen by the memorial of the
     Ambassador, dated the 21st of March, that his Majesty fixed a
     term of three weeks to have a satisfactory answer touching the
     succors demanded, their High Mightinesses wished to satisfy, as
     soon as possible, the desires of his Britannic Majesty, by giving
     him a positive answer; but they foresaw, that the form of
     government inherent in the constitution of the Republic would not
     permit them to complete their answer in the time specified, as
     the memorial of the Ambassador, having become an object of the
     deliberations of the representative Provinces, it was necessary
     to wait the resolution of the several States, the Assemblies of
     which were now sitting, or about to sit; that their High
     Mightinesses assured themselves, that his Majesty, considering
     these reasons, would not persist rigorously in the time fixed, to
     the end, that their High Mightinesses might have that of forming
     in a manner conformable to the constitution of the Republic (in
     which their High Mightinesses had not a right to make any
     alteration) an answer to the memorial of the Ambassador, their
     High Mightinesses promising to neglect nothing for accelerating,
     as much as possible, the deliberations upon the subject, and they
     pray the Ambassador to support these representations, with his
     good offices, with the King, his master."

Sir Joseph Yorke, after reading this answer, replied, that whatever
might be his desire to satisfy the inclinations of their High
Mightinesses, the orders of the King, his master, would not permit him
upon this occasion; that, however, he doubted not, that they would be
equally satisfied by the representations with which their High
Mightinesses had charged the Count de Welderen at the Court of London.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                                Paris, April 3d, 1780.

  Sir,

The fermentation in England has already distressed the administration
and overawed some of the members of the House of Commons, but there is
room to suspect, that this is chiefly to be attributed to the approach
of an election. The petitions are very far from being universal, and
the congress of the sub-committees is not yet numerous.

At a meeting of these from York, Surry, Middlesex, Sussex, Gloucester,
Hertford, Kent, Huntington, Dorset, Bucks, Chester, Devon, and Essex,
from the cities of London, Westminster, Gloucester, and the towns of
Newcastle and Nottingham, holden at the St Albans tavern, and
afterwards by adjournment at the great room in King Street, St James,
on the 11th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, and 20th days of March, 1780, the
Reverend Christopher Wyvill in the chair, a memorial was agreed on,
containing reasons for a plan of association.

They affirm that there is a despotic system, and they date the
commencement of it nearly from the beginning of the present reign, and
they say that they have arrived at the crisis, which the wisest of the
political writers marked for the downfall of British liberty, when the
legislative body shall become as corrupt as the executive, they should
have said more corrupt, because that is undoubtedly the fact at
present, as well as the case stated by Montesquieu.

They say, that by the unhappy war with America, begotten in the first
instance of this despotic system, and nursed with a view of giving
completion to it, the fatal influence of the Crown has been armed with
more ample means for enslaving Parliament, while the nation has
visibly sunk almost into beggary. Never did any country experience so
sudden a reverse from prosperity to depression. They state the fall of
rents, the accumulation of taxes, and the stagnation of all credit.
They then run a long course of reasoning, to show the utility,
importance, and necessity, of the several things they recommended to
the people of England, which are all comprehended in a few
propositions.

1st. They recommend perseverance in the petitions, and an association
in support of them.

2dly. A new law for taking the suffrages of the people at elections,
to prevent expense and influence.

3dly. To adopt, as part of their general associations, the following
propositions.

I. That an examination be made into all the branches of the receipt,
expenditure, and mode of keeping and passing accounts of public money.

II. One hundred, at least, of additional members of counties in the
House of Commons.

III. That the members of the House of Commons be _annually elected_.

IV. That it is recommended to all voters to support, at the next
election, such candidates as shall, by signing the association or
otherwise, satisfy them that they will support these regulations in
Parliament.

In the Middlesex committee, at the Masons' tavern, March 24th, this
circular letter and the memorial it contained were unanimously
approved, and their members in the general Congress thanked. In the
Westminster committee, King's Arms tavern, Palace yard, March 15th,
1780, it was resolved, "that by the resolution of the general meeting,
directing this committee to prepare a plan of association on legal and
constitutional grounds, to support the laudable reform, and such other
measures as may conduce to restore the freedom of Parliament, this
committee conceive themselves bound to enter into the consideration of
every question tending to establish the independency of Parliament on
a solid and durable basis. That the duration of Parliament, and the
state of the representatives of the people, are questions immediately
under this description; that a sub-committee, consisting of seven
persons, be appointed to inquire into the state of the representation
of the nation and make a report." On the 20th of March, the
sub-committee reported. The report is dated the 19th. "That new
Parliaments to be holden once in every year were the ancient usage,
and declared to be the hereditary and indefeasible right of the people
of England; that the 6th of William and Mary is the first, which
attempts to appoint the time of the continuance of Parliament to be
for the term of three years, though the same act recognises the
ancient laws and statutes of this kingdom, by which annual Parliaments
were confirmed, and declares that frequent and new Parliaments tend
very much to the happy union and good agreement of the King and
people; that by the 1st of George the First, the Parliament then
chosen for three years, (by acquiescence of the people to the act of
William and Mary, on the faith of its declaring, that from henceforth,
no Parliament whatsoever, that shall at any time hereafter be called,
assembled, or held, shall have any continuance for longer than three
years only at the furthest,) did pass an act to prolong its
continuance to seven years; that temporary considerations are stated
in the preamble to the act, as the principal motives for the act
itself, that the 6th of William and Mary is worded as if declaratory
of what was conceived, however falsely, to have been the constitution
of the country; but that the septennial act assumes a power of
altering the duration of Parliament at pleasure; that these
alterations in the constitution of Parliament were made without
communication with the constituent body of the people, and have been
continued without the sanction of their approbation; that the
septennial bill was strongly opposed in Parliament, and a direct
infringement on the constitution, and a flagrant breach of trust
towards the constituent body; that it was supported almost entirely on
the principle of expediency; that the voice of the people appeared
strongly against it, in many respectable petitions to Parliament on
the occasion, and that a constitutional protest was entered by the
Peers, stating, that frequent Parliaments were the fundamental
constitution of the kingdom; that the House of Commons ought to be
chosen by the people, and when continued for a longer time than they
were chosen for, they were then chosen by the Parliament and not by
the people; that they conceived the bill, so far from preventing
corruption, would rather increase it, for the longer a Parliament was
to last, the more valuable to corrupt ones would be the purchase, and
that all the reasons which had been given for long Parliaments might
be given for making them perpetual, which would be an absolute
subversion of the third estate; that various motions were afterwards
made and strongly supported for a repeal of the septennial act,
particularly a motion for annual Parliaments in 1774, which was lost
only by a majority of thirtytwo; that the city of London and other
respectable bodies continued to instruct their representatives to
prosecute this object in the most vigorous manner, as essentially
necessary to the independency and integrity of Parliament, the rights
of the people, and the prosperity of their country; that by the 8th of
Henry Sixth, the Parliament, then elected by the commonality at large,
passed an act to disfranchise the greater part of their constituents,
by limiting the right of election of Knights of the Shire to persons
having free lands, or tenants, to the value of forty shillings by the
year, at the least, which restriction has ever since continued; that
many towns and boroughs, formerly entitled for their repute and
reputation, to send members to Parliament, have since fallen into
decay, yet continue to have a representation equal to the most opulent
counties and cities, while other towns and places, which have risen
into consideration, and become populous and wealthy, have no
representatives in Parliament; that the number of the inhabitants of
England and Wales is above five millions; that of these, twelve
hundred thousand are supposed capable of voting, as the constitution
stood before the restrictive act above quoted; that not more than two
hundred and fourteen thousand are at present permitted to vote; that
out of these, one hundred and thirty thousand freeholders elect
ninetytwo members for fiftytwo counties; fortythree thousand citizens,
freemen and others, elect fiftytwo members for twentythree cities and
two universities, and fortyone thousand electors choose three hundred
and sixtynine members for one hundred and ninetytwo towns and
boroughs; that fifty of these members are returned by three hundred
and forty electors; and a number scarcely above six thousand, being a
majority of the voters of one hundred and twentynine of the boroughs,
return two hundred and fiftyseven representatives, which is a majority
of the whole English House of Commons, and the efficient
representation of above five millions of people; that many of these
boroughs are immediately under the influence of the Crown, as the
cinque ports; many of them are private property, affording hereditary
seats, as those under burgage, tenure, and some of them almost without
houses or inhabitants, as Galton, Newtown, and Old Sarum; that
considering the representation with reference to property, many
counties return representatives out of all proportion to what they
contribute to the public revenue; that Cornwall pays to land tax and
subsidy, sixteen parts out of five hundred and thirty, and sends
fortyfour members to Parliament, while Middlesex pays not less in
proportion than two hundred and fiftysix, and sends eight members; so
that the inequality of the representation of this country, with regard
to property, is still greater than when estimated according to the
numbers of its inhabitants." The Westminster committee after
considering this report, Mr Fox in the chair, came to the following
resolutions.

"1. That annual Parliaments are the undoubted right of the people of
England, and that the act which prolonged their duration was
subversive of the constitution, and a violation on the part of the
representatives, of the sacred trust reposed in them by their
constituents.

"2. That the present state of the representation of this country is
inadequate to the object, and a departure from the first principles of
the constitution.

"3. That thanks be given to the sub-committee for their very
intelligent report.

"4. That copies of it be sent to the several committees of the
counties, cities, and boroughs of the kingdom."

I have been thus particular in stating the proceedings of these
committees, because it must be an advantage for Congress to have them
all in view, and to see the whole of the foundation that is laid. They
are some of the most important proceedings of the present reign; they
are the commencement of a new sovereignty in opposition to the old. If
there is virtue or good sense in the nation, these machines will
discover it and set it in motion, and provided the war continues, it
will prevail; but if there is neither virtue or sense remaining, or
not enough of these to produce the desired effect, it will probably
be the last national effort made in favor of liberty, and despotism
will range at large.

If the King would make peace now, he would dissipate all these
combinations in England, Ireland, and Holland, as well as prevent the
treaty with Spain, (which I believe is in a good way, from a letter
which I lately saw from Mr Carmichael,) from giving advantages, to
Spain, and disadvantages to England, which can never be altered. But
if he continues the war long, if he should have signal successes,
these may dispel the storms in England and Ireland; but if he should
be unsuccessful, the new sovereignty will probably prevail against
him, after involving the three kingdoms in confusion and blood.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, April 4th, 1780.

  Sir,

There is an anecdote from Malaga, which ought to be mentioned to
Congress, because, it cannot fail to have serious consequences.

The Swedish frigate, the Illerim, of thirtyfour guns, commanded by
Captain Ankerloo, on the 28th of February, at half after eight o'clock
at night met an English privateer belonging to Minorca, of twentyeight
guns. The Swedish Captain, after hailing the privateer, let her
continue her course, and went on quietly his own; about half an hour
after the privateer returning, ranged herself astern of the frigate,
and unexpectedly discharged both his broadsides, loaded with langrage,
which killed three sailors, broke the thigh and the right leg of the
Captain, wounded the Lieutenant and some people of the crew. Ankerloo,
who in the evening had been obliged by a violent gale of wind to draw
in his guns and shut up his ports, not finding himself prepared for
battle, his officers took immediate measures, with the utmost
alertness, for repulsing the privateer, which did in fact at last
receive one broadside from the frigate; but, upon the whole, she
escaped in the night, by the force of sails and of oars. After this
perfidy on the part of the English, Ankerloo would have entered
Marseilles for the sake of dressing his wounds, but having met with
contrary winds and bad weather for three days, he put into Malaga,
where he went ashore to the house of the Swedish consul, where he is
since dead of his wounds.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, April 6th, 1780.

  Sir,

It may be necessary to transmit the decree of Sir James Mariott,
against the Dutch ship la Sybellina Hillegonda, in order fully to
comprehend the proceedings, which I have sent before. The decree is
this.

"The fact in this case is, a Dutch ship loaded with naval stores, for
a port in France, under the convoy of not less than five men-of-war,
and the commander of these men-of-war, not measuring his conduct by
the line of the treaty, resists, fires upon the boat of the English
Commodore, and forbids the execution of the treaty. The English
Commodore returns the fire. The Dutch Admiral fires again, and
strikes; so that the fact is to be adjusted, and it is of such a
nature as has never before happened in the history of this nation. It
falls unfortunately to my share, to decide upon these facts and their
consequences.

"It is, nevertheless, a consolation, that although the judge of this
court may decide, in the first instance, there is still a superior
tribunal, in the last resort. This court ought to judge of the case of
the treaty, since, in virtue of a special commission, under the great
seal of the kingdom, the judges of the courts of admiralty are
authorised and required to take cognizance of, and proceed judicially
in all manner of captures, seizures, prizes, and reprisals, and decide
upon them according to the course of the admiralty and the law of
nations.

"The claimant disdains to found his right in any other way than upon
the treaty. My idea is, that all the marine treaties, which subsist
between two friendly powers, form but one code of laws, one great
confederation, one indivisible union. They are, if it is lawful to
make use of these sacred words, the Bible, the Book, or the Testament
of the social contract between the nations, to be maintained
inviolably, as a system, whereof we cannot break one part without
dissolving the whole.

"The Dutch subjects have, in virtue of the treaty, particular
privileges, superior to those of every other country, but they may
overleap the bounds of these privileges, and from that time they ought
to be weighed in the balance, like other neutral nations. To be found
under a convoy is not, in itself, an infraction of the treaty, but the
conduct of this convoy is to be considered.

"The fifth article of the treaty of 1674 is reciprocal. 'If any ship,
belonging to the subjects of his Majesty of Great Britain, shall in
open sea, or elsewhere, out of the dominions of the said States, meet
any ships of war of the Lords the States, or privateers belonging to
their subjects, the said ships of the Lords the States, or of their
subjects, shall keep at a convenient distance, and only send out their
boat, with two or three men only, to go on board such ships or vessels
of the subjects of his Majesty, in order that the passport, or
sea-brief, concerning the property thereof, according to the form
hereunder annexed, may be produced to them, by the captain or master
of such ship or vessel, belonging to the subjects of his Majesty; and
the said ships, so producing the same, shall freely pass; and it shall
not be lawful to molest, search, detain, or force such ship from her
intended voyage. And the subjects of the Lords the States shall enjoy
in all things, the same liberty and immunity, they in like manner
showing their passport, or sea-brief, made out according to the form
prescribed at the foot of this treaty.'

"The sixth article is, 'If any ship or vessel, belonging to the
English or other subjects of Great Britain, shall be met making into
any port belonging to an enemy of the Lords the States, or, on the
other side, if any ship belonging to the United Provinces of the
Netherlands, or other subjects of the Lords the States, shall be met
in her way, making into any port under the obedience of the enemies of
his said Majesty, such ships shall show, not only a passport, or
sea-brief, according to the form hereunder subscribed, wherewith she
is to be furnished, but also her certificate or cocket, containing the
particulars of the goods on board, in the usual form, by the officers
of the customs of that port, from whence she came; whereby it may be
known whether she is laden with any of the goods prohibited by the
third article of this treaty.'

"Such are the terms of this treaty, which this court will not declare
to be now in force; but one of the parties may renounce it; and it
would be from that time, so far forth, a good cause of annulling it.
It could not ever have been the intention of the contracting parties,
that the merchant ships of the subjects of the States should become
the transport vessels for the service of the King of France, nor that
the men-of-war of the States should serve as a convoy to them. It is
impossible to form an idea more unworthy of the sovereignty of the
States. The idea of granting a convoy to all Dutch ships destined for
the port of an enemy is offensive, and still more aggravating, when
accompanied with resistance, or orders to resist, when they go so far
as to reject _ipso facto_ all the ordinary ways of public justice, and
to set at nought the articles, which had been established to prevent
the consequences of the intervention of neuters, as parties in a war,
by public acts; articles which stipulate a legal procedure for
discussing all the points in controversy, before the courts of
admiralty reciprocally; and in case the parties should not be
satisfied, they ought to be finally heard by their respective
sovereigns in council. Such is the tenor of the twelfth article of the
treaty of 1674.

"In the present state of the cause, this court will not say,
nevertheless, that the States have annulled the treaty; because the
orders of Admiral Byland have not appeared, and his conduct may be
disavowed by the States; but even the granting of a convoy, and above
all of a squadron, is essentially offensive, since the Dutch subjects
are already sufficiently armed by the treaty, and by the methods of
redress prescribed, which are the same with all maritime nations. The
party complaining follows the ship and the papers, which she has on
board, into the jurisdiction of the place and country where he is
carried, as the subject, who in the nature of things and proceedings,
can only of necessity be judged there, where the original proofs
exist; the judges specially constituted, for the decision of prizes,
both in the first instance and in the last resort, are, by common
consent, charged to hear and determine all national differences
between powers who are friends and allies, like the Council of
Amphyctions in ancient Greece. But seamen do not well comprehend this
language. They speak roughly, like the mouths of their cannons. If
this vessel had fired upon the boat, and any one had thereby lost his
life, I think I should not have hesitated to condemn her upon general
principles. Neither Admiral Byland, nor his instructions, are before
me. I know not how to give a sentence against him or his vessels;
nevertheless, he ought not to have fired upon the boat of Commodore
Fielding; but he was bound to send to him his boat, and to propose an
interview and an amicable conference. He might have made him a visit,
which he immediately would have returned; and all the captains of the
Dutch merchant ships might have been ordered on board the English
Commodore, to produce their passports and cockets. The effect of his
resistance is thus the cause, that, although I do not declare the
treaty null generally, nevertheless, in retaliation to these vessels
taken in time of resistance, I ought to declare the ship forfeited of
its privilege, and foreclosed of the treaty, by the act of M. Byland.
There was certainly never any vessel under convoy without
instructions, at least in her course, and without signals. If the
claimants had not withheld them, it would have appeared, whether the
Dutch Admiral ought, or ought not to have escorted these ships even
into the ports of France, which would have aggravated the offence
against the treaty. A convoy of a single ship, destined for the
States, destined for the Colonies of the States, or loaded generally
with innocent commodities, is, in itself, inoffensive; because, in
these times, there are in all the seas little pirates, furnished with
all sorts of commissions, American, French, Spanish, and English; but
a squadron of a line of battle ships, and which appears force [?] even
to the treaty, which they claim the benefit of, is a serious affair.
To engage in hostilities is not the way of protecting commerce; and
those who have solicited the States to grant such a convoy, were
rather factious Americans, or intriguing French politicians, than
solid, sensible Dutchmen, true and real friends of their country.
There is certainly among them a number of worthy people, who can never
desire to become, in fact, a Province, under the obedience of the King
of France, or his resident Minister.

"The case of the Swedish convoy is not applicable to this case. That
convoy had not made any resistance. The ships entered the Downs by the
bad weather, and were there taken without their convoy, which came to
anchor near them. This was represented, and the course of justice was
followed. The ship's papers were produced directly in this court, the
requisites were done, and the causes finally discussed according to
the style of the admiralty, _velo levato_; no time was lost, either in
contesting the justice or demanding right; and the captains of the
ships returned contented with their vessels after they had been paid
the freight, as well as the expense; and the naval stores, which they
had on board, were purchased by the government, by virtue of powers
granted to the Council of the Royal Marine, by act of Parliament, in
conformity to acts of Parliament in former wars.

"The question, whether the hemp and flax are contraband, is clear.
Both of them have been adjudged such on all former occasions, when the
quantity has been considerable, and particularly, when they are not of
the produce of the country of the party which carries them. The flax
is as necessary for sails, as the hemp for cordage; and if this court
has once ordered that flax should be sold to the Commissioners of the
navy, it was because it was of little value, and in very small
quantity. I am sorry to learn, that the Navy Board makes any
difficulty upon this subject. The iron on board was only for ballast."

I cannot go through with the whole of this decree for want of time;
but the following curious and convenient doctrine ought not to be
omitted.

"That, which in the natural or intellectual world is called quality,
is not relative. Good and evil are relative. Everything is what it is,
and acquires its denomination from comparison, degree, manner,
quality, place, time, person, fault, &c. &c. These relations
constitute the metaphysical essence of every complex idea in the human
understanding. Hence that source, without end, of disputes, the glory
of the bar, and of the schools of philosophy.

"Grotius and Bynkershoeck agree, and who is there that will deny, that
necessity gives a right to make ourselves masters of everything,
without the seizure of which a nation cannot defend herself? As in
relation to want, if the enemy, on one part, is in want of stores, the
want to intercept them on the other is equal. And in relation to
blockades, every port of the enemy is blocked relative to a neutral
vessel loaded with stores, which is seized, and, by consequence,
blocked, or hindered to go there. It imports little, that whether the
blockade be made across the narrows at Dover, or off the harbor at
Brest, or L'Orient. If you are taken, you are blocked. Great Britain,
by her insular situation, blocks naturally all the ports of Spain and
France. She has a right to avail herself of this situation, as a gift
of Providence.

"In fine, it is necessary to observe, that the claimants, founding
themselves upon the privilege of the treaty, have not a single paper
on board to prove the property of the cargo, in which respect all are
defective. The sentence then, is, that, under the circumstances of
this case, the claim of privilege is rejected, and that the Dutch
master be enjoined to produce his sailing orders, and certificates and
cockets from the Custom House of the port from whence the ship sailed,
according to the stipulations of the sixth article of the treaty of
1674. The hemp and flax are condemned as contraband on board of this
ship, and the owners of the iron are held to prove their property."

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, April 7th, 1780.

  Sir,

There are several articles of intelligence today, which are connected
with the subject of my letter of yesterday. One is from the Hague, the
2d of April. "Thursday night last two couriers from Petersburgh
arrived here, alighted at the hotel of the Prince Gallitzen, the Envoy
Extraordinary of her Majesty the Empress of all the Russias to the
States-General. One of the couriers set off immediately for London, to
the Russian Minister who resides there. The Prince Gallitzen having
been in conference the next day with the President of the Assembly of
their High Mightinesses, relative to the said despatches, this
Minister sent back, the next night after his arrival, the same
courier. From that time the report runs, that the object of these
despatches was to communicate to the Republic the measures taken by
Russia, with some of the northern powers, for ensuring respectively
the safety of the navigation and commerce of their subjects, and to
invite the States-General to enter into the same arrangements."

The other is from Constantinople, the 14th of February. "The
privateers continue to vex the neutral ships in the seas of the Grand
Seignior, by visiting and stopping them wherever they find them, and
even without any discretion, at the entry of the ports and under the
guns of our fortresses. The French frigate, the Gracieuse, which lay
at anchor in the road of Cyprus, having learned that an English
privateer had brought into the port of this island a French prize,
sent to her some boats armed to retake her, which they could not
accomplish, however, without having some men killed on both sides. The
English consul having carried his complaints to the government of the
Island, of a violation of the laws of nations and demanded assistance,
he was so well succored, that the French were obliged to abandon the
prize, and all of their nation who were in the island came very near
being massacred by the Turks. As the Porte has also been informed,
that on the other hand the ship Smyrna, of Rotterdam, has run a risk
of undergoing the same fate with the ship of Captain Kinder, of
Amsterdam, and perhaps to suffer treatment still harder, and in sight
of the city of Smyrna; she has not only resolved to send new orders to
all the commandants, to enjoin them very seriously to observe a
neutrality the most exact, by fulfilling their duty, but she has also
testified her sensibility in regard to all these depredations to the
Ambassadors of the Courts of France and England, by sending to them
last Saturday a representation in writing, purporting, that as the
Porte had not failed to observe, during the war between France and
England, an exact and perfect neutrality to facilitate their commerce
upon an equal footing, and to afford to their ships all possible
safety in her seas, it was natural that she should, and ought to
expect, that the two powers would answer her conduct with a sincere
friendship. That at the news of the first differences arisen between
the two kingdoms, there were conferences held with their Ambassadors,
in which it was agreed upon an equal footing; that the rules of the
sea should not be violated, and that they should be, on the contrary,
exactly observed and respected. That in consequence of this agreement,
the Porte had not neglected anything to fulfil of fortresses and
castles in the empire, to protect the ships of war and merchant-men
against every attack, and not to suffer that any hostilities should be
commenced in the ports of the Grand Seignior, and under the cannon and
in sight of his fortresses.

"But in spite of all these measures, these powers had not taken care
to observe them, which was the cause that no nation could now navigate
freely and safely; that even to this time, the Porte had not received
the least answer on the subject of a regulation of neutrality, which
had been formed upon the footing of that which had been established
during former wars between Christian powers, and of which
communication had been made to the said Ambassadors, with a view to
put a stop to the intolerable irregularities which had taken place in
his seas, and to the end to prevent in consequence continual
complaints and representations. That the Porte was informed foreign
privateers held his ports blocked up, and forced the ships which
entered into them or went out, without even excepting the Turkish
vessels, to submit to their unjust visits and searches.

"That such a conduct, being contrary to the honor of the empire, the
Porte ought to determine, as soon as possible, and communicate to the
belligerent powers a good regulation, to the end, to procure by that
means repose, to his subjects, whom Providence had confided to his
care, and to this end it was necessary, that the Ambassadors of these
two powers should be advertised to request their Courts, in the first
place, to send, as soon as possible, to the captains and officers of
ships armed for war, or privateers, precise orders, and as some time
must pass before they can receive such orders, the Porte hopes that
the gentlemen, the Ambassadors, will be so good in the meantime, as to
order the captains and officers to suspend their operations, and
abstain from all acts of hostility.

"And as, in consequence of the ancient regulations, every time that
any vessels of war or armed ships come into the seas of the Grand
Seignior, the foreign Ministers were held to give notice to the Porte
of the object of their expedition or voyage, of their destination, and
of the time they were to stay, it could not but be regarded as
unreasonable, and entirely contrary to the reciprocal friendship, if
these formalities should not be observed, the Porte, considering it as
one of its principal duties, to employ all possible means to procure
the tranquillity of its merchants, to protect their possessions
against all force and injustice, as also to grant its protection to
the subjects of the belligerent powers, and those of other powers who
are equally good friends of this empire."

The Porte finishes, by giving notice to the Ambassadors, that the
Capitan Pacha was ordered to oppose himself in a friendly manner to
the enterprises of those, who should pursue the ancient proceedings,
and to protect the merchants and the ships of all nations, who carry
on commerce in the countries of this empire, whose sovereigns live in
friendship with the Porte.

A third is a letter from Petersburg, 7th of March. "The rencounter
which the Dutch convoy, on going out of the Texel the later end of
December, under the command of Admiral Byland, had with the English
squadron under Commodore Fielding, as well as the violent and hostile
manner in which they made prize of this convoy, have occasioned here
the greatest astonishment, and it is very much desired to know the
consequences of this measure, which is generally considered as very
offensive to the Republic of the United Provinces, and derogatory both
to the treaties subsisting between the two nations, to the law of
nations, and to the respect which ought to take place between two free
and independent powers."

But that which is thought more extraordinary still, is, that the Court
of London should have ordered a step so violent and insulting at a
time when, having to maintain a war so dangerous as that against
France, Spain, and the United States of America, her situation must
appear not less anxious than dangerous, which this Court itself seems
to acknowledge, by representing as she has done, that not finding
herself in a condition to oppose the dangerous designs of the House of
Bourbon, which, if you believe her, threaten the safety of all Europe,
she believed herself consequently to have cause to demand succors
here, as well as from the Republic of the United Provinces. However
this may be, it is nevertheless notorious, that the solicitations of
England have produced no effect here, which has given no small
satisfaction to those, who consider in their proper point of light the
designs and the conduct of this power, since the commencement of this
war against the liberty of commerce and the navigation of free and
independent powers, by means of which people in general seem so much
the more pleased with the present resolution taken by her Majesty the
Empress of all the Russias, relative to the said solicitation, as well
as with the system of neutrality, which she has adopted, because
without this wise measure there is no doubt but Great Britain would
have pushed much further the irregularity of her proceedings.

The English, who are here, exert themselves as much as they can to
justify and even to praise this proceeding of their nation towards the
said convoy, but in vain have they attempted to induce the public to
adopt this error, by advancing boldly, that the Court of Russia
approves the violence, which they have exercised in this rencounter.
No man believes them, since in fact it is impossible that the Empress
can approve an action so diametrically opposite to the tenor of
treaties, to the law of nations, as well as to the dignity of a
sovereign and independent power, the injustice of which is so
notorious, that if it had been committed with similar circumstances
upon the Russian flag, the Princess herself would have been the first
to have condemned it. Thus the reports, which the English propagate
here, of the approbation given to these proceedings, imply so much the
more of a manifest contradiction to the sentiments and manner of
thinking of the Empress and her Ministers, that it is well known, that
from the beginning of the present troubles, the Court of Russia has
made representations and complaints against that of London, for the
violent and arbitrary manner of acting, which this last has indulged
herself in, against the navigation and commerce of neutral powers,
from whence it has resulted, that other nations, in imitation of this
proceeding, have embarrassed business more and more, until there
exists no safety for any, which causes the greatest embarrassment to
merchants and the freighters of ships.

I ought to add to this letter, that the English emissaries, who
propagate false news everywhere and about everything, having
circulated a report, that the Porte was discontented with the peace
made with Russia, the Grand Seignior thought it necessary to order the
interpreter of the Court to declare to all foreign Ministers, that the
Sultan and all his Ministers had every reason to be very well
satisfied with the accommodation with the Empress of Russia, and that
he was determined to maintain religiously all the articles contained
in that treaty. All these things tend to show, that the state of
Europe continues the same, and that England, instead of getting an
ally, is likely to have a combination of all maritime powers to bring
her to reason.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

 TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, SECRETARY OF THE AMERICAN EMBASSY AT MADRID.

                                               Paris, April 8th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have this moment the honor of your letter from Madrid of the 29th of
February, as I suppose, although the month is not mentioned. I thank
you, Sir, for commencing a correspondence, which I have for some time
wished to begin. I wrote to Mr Jay at Madrid, on the 22d of February,
and wish to know if he has received the letter. It is certainly
proper, that those who are intrusted abroad should maintain a
correspondence and cultivate a good understanding with each other,
because, although their departments are in some respects separate, yet
in others they are intimately connected. From all that I heard in
Spain, I expected, that you would meet with an agreeable reception at
Madrid; and I am much pleased to learn from you, that I was not
mistaken.

I have sometimes wondered at the slowness of Spain in making a treaty
with us; but, when I reflected upon a certain secret article, my
surprise ceased. We are already bound in a treaty to her, but she is
not bound to us. It would be ungenerous in her, however, to hold us
long in this situation. The treaty, notwithstanding all that has been
justly said of the advantages to us, is not less advantageous to our
allies. The single article, that binds us to exclude all armed vessels
of the enemies, in all future wars, from our ports, is worth more
millions to them than this war will cost; nay, it will be a severer
loss to Great Britain, than all that she has spent in it. Whether
Great Britain has considered this or not I do not know; but she will
some time or other discover it, and feel the inconvenience of it.

You ask for news from America. A vessel from Baltimore is arrived at
Bordeaux, but not a single letter to Dr Franklin or me. She brings two
or three Baltimore newspapers, one as late as the 15th of February.
There has been a hard winter, deep snows, uncommon frosts, frozen over
from Connecticut to Long Island, and from New Jersey to Staten Island.
Lord Sterling went over to Staten Island with a party on the ice,
burnt a few vessels and a guard house, took a few prisoners, and
brought off a few deserters. Some New Jersey people went over at the
same time, and plundered without mercy. Finding the communication open
with New York, which had been supposed to be obstructed by the ice, he
returned. An article from a Fishkill paper says, that Clinton and
Cornwallis sailed the 26th of December, with seven thousand men, for
the West Indies, but that the storm, which happened soon after their
departure, was supposed to have done him mischief. A ship, brig, and
schooner were lost in the storm on Cape Cod, unknown who or whence,
all perished. Congress had recommended to all the States to regulate
prices at twenty for one, which, by the speculations in the papers,
was not well liked. Governor Johnson is a delegate for Maryland,
General Ward for Massachusetts, in the room of Mr Dana, (who desires
me to return you his compliments and respects.) The other delegates as
last year. This is all the news I can recollect, having seen the
papers only a few minutes in a large company.

The general state of affairs appears very well. I see no probability
of England's obtaining an ally; on the contrary, there are many
symptoms of an approaching combination of the maritime powers, to
protect neutral ships from searches and insults. Ireland is in the
full career of independence. England seems determined to force Holland
into a war against her, that she may have an opportunity to plunder
her.

The correspondences and associations in England distress the Ministry
very much; and, if the war continues and they should not be very
successful, it seems likely, that they would save us the trouble of
despatching them. I wish, however, that France and Spain were more
convinced of the advantages they have in America and the West Indies.
The more ships they send into those seas, the more they will force
England to send there; and the more she sends there, the weaker she is
in Europe, and the less she is dreaded and respected. Holland,
Ireland, the opposition in England, and the other maritime powers all
feel a confidence rising in proportion to the diminution of the
British naval force in Europe, besides the innumerable advantages the
French and Spaniards have, in supporting the war in the American seas
over the English, which they have not in Europe; but I am apprehensive
of being tedious. My compliments to Mr Jay and his family.

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, April 8th, 1780.

  Sir,

It will not be disagreeable to Congress to see a list of the naval
losses of the English, since the commencement of the war.

_Taken by the Americans and the French._

                     Guns.                                  Guns.
  Active,              82          Experiment,                50
  Fox, 1st,            20          Montreal,                  32
  Fox, 2d,             20          Alert, cutter,             14
  Lively,              20          Ceres,                     18
  Hellena, schooner,   16          Countess of Scarborough,   42
  Ardent,              64          Liverpool,                 28
  Thorn,               16          Unicorn                    20
  Drake,               20          Ariel,                     16
  Minerva,             32          Folstone, cutter,           6
  Serapis,             44          Holderness, destroyed,      4

_Lost, or cast away._

                     Guns.                                  Guns.
  Somerset,            64          Mermaid,                   28
  Arethusa,            32          Glasgow, burnt,            20
  Speedwell,           14          Vestal,                    20
  Acteon,              32          Mercury,                   20
  Repulse,             32          Quebec, blown up,          32
  Viper,               16          Grampus,
  Success,             24          Tortoise,
  Pomona,              18          Leviathan.

_Burnt, sunk, or otherwise destroyed, to prevent their falling into
the Hands of their Enemies_.

              Guns.                               Guns.
  Augusta,     64                 Cerberus,        28
  Lark,        14                 Syren,           28
  Juno,        32                 King Fisher,     14
  Flora,       32                 Falcon,          18
  Orpheus,     32                 Essex,           64

Making a total number of fortysix vessels.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, April 10th, 1780.

  Sir,

There are several miscellaneous articles of intelligence, which ought
to be mentioned to Congress.

One from Copenhagen, of the 25th of March. "The Count de Lucchese,
Minister of the King of the Two Sicilies, and charged at the same time
with the affairs of the Court of Madrid, has received orders to
declare to ours, that the King of Spain had it in contemplation to
make arrangements relative to merchant ships of neutral powers, and
with which we should have cause to be very well pleased. However this
may be, we have not any news that the Danish ships detained, to the
number of twenty, at Cadiz and Malaga, have been as yet released,
which is a great damage to those who are interested in those vessels.

"There is arrived in this city a courier coming from St Petersburg,
who has also passed through Stockholm, who after having delivered his
despatches to the Envoy Extraordinary of her Majesty, the Empress of
all the Russias, at this Court, immediately continued his journey for
Hamburg."

Another is from Madrid, the 13th of March. "It is said that our Court
will soon publish a new regulation relative to the Dutch navigation.
In the meantime, they have released two ships of this nation, viz. the
Griffin and the Zandam, which were detained at Algeziras.

"The register ships destined for the Havana and Vera Cruz, which are
ready at Cadiz, are to sail immediately; these ships will be convoyed
by twelve ships of the line and two frigates, as far as the Canary
Islands. It is assured, that there will be embarked on board of this
fleet, twelve thousand men, who are to be transported to America under
the command of Don Victa de Nava, Lieutenant General. The last letters
from the Havana import, that there were in that port fourteen ships of
the line, as well as four thousand men ready to embark for an
expedition, the object of which is yet unknown. Two of our cruisers
have entered Barcelona with five very rich prizes, among which, one
had on board eighteen thousand guineas, destined for Mahon."

Another from Paris. "Letters from Malta of the 11th of February
inform, that the King's frigate, the Syracuse, commanded by M. Clavel,
off Candia, has taken the English cutter, the Buck, of twentyfour
guns, twelve swivels, and two hundred and three men, commanded by
Captain George Flagg, and that the bad condition to which the
engagement had reduced her, had induced him to sink her."

Another from Francfort, of the 1st of April. "They write from Hesse,
that they continued to raise many recruits, and that there were at
Ziagenham six hundred and eight volunteers, who were to set off in a
little time with eleven hundred and twenty men for America."

Another from Amsterdam, of the 6th of March. "We learn from Dort, that
they expected there the English vessels destined to transport the
German troops for the service of England, which were still at
Nimeguen; and they write from the Hague, that General Faucet had
arrived there a few days since."

Another from London, of the 31st of March. "The despatches, which the
Court has last received from Sir Joseph Yorke, excite the particular
attention of the Ministry. Although the contents of them have not yet
been made public, it is said, nevertheless, that in consequence of the
memorial, presented on the 21st to the States-General by the British
Minister, their High Mightinesses have taken the _Pre-avis_, relative
to the succors demanded by Great Britain, which, although conceived in
very moderate terms, contains, nevertheless, a refusal to furnish the
succors demanded. The Republic, as it is pretended, founding its
inability to comply with this demand principally upon the
non-existence of the case of invasion of the British States, as a
case, which alone could lay them under obligation to accede to the
requisition of the King of England, the Count de Welderen, Envoy
Extraordinary of the States-General, has been on the 29th in
conference with Lord Stormont, and communicated to him the _Pre-avis_
of their High Mightinesses, relative to the requisition of his
Britannic Majesty, upon the subject of which the States-General will
soon take a formal resolution. It is reported also, that his
Excellency has likewise imparted to our Ministry the sentence of a
court martial, which has adjudged, that Count Byland was not the
aggressor in the affair of the seizure of the Dutch ships by
Commodore Fielding. However, it is asserted, that the Court of St
James has declared afresh, 'That if the States-General refuse to
furnish to England the succors demanded in virtue of the treaties, she
will give orders to search, without distinction, all Dutch ships under
convoy and without convoy, and that all the merchandises and effects
destined for the French and Spaniards, which shall be found loaded on
board of these vessels, shall be seized and confiscated; adding, that
it is neither just nor reasonable, that the Republic should be
excused, on her part, from the observation of the treaties, while
England should be held on hers to fulfil the conditions, and that
thus, in consequence of her former declaration, the Republic should be
no more considered but on the footing of other neutral powers.'

"They say, moreover, that the reasons alleged by their High
Mightinesses in justification of their refusal to acquiesce in the
demand of England, are of a nature to convince our Ministry, that such
an acquiescence would produce consequences equally hurtful to the
respective interests of the two powers in the present conjuncture.

"We are assured, that each man of the crews of the squadron of
Commodore Fielding, will receive more than nine pounds sterling, for
his share of the proceeds of the captures made of the Dutch convoy,
and that there will be two hundred pounds sterling paid to the King's
ships at Spithead, for their part of the prizes which they have made.

"The Court has received, within a few days, a great number of
despatches from its Ministers at foreign Courts, the contents of which
have given occasion to several cabinet councils. Those of Sir Joseph
Yorke have excited a particular attention.

"The officers of all the vessels of war destined for sea, have
received orders to repair on board as soon as possible, and be ready
to sail on the first notice. The officers of the regiments of regular
troops, and of the militia, must also join their respective corps
without delay, that they may be ready to march by the middle of April.
The forces will encamp nearly in the same place as last year; and
there will be some detached corps ready to join the different camps
according to circumstances."

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, April 10th, 1780.

  Sir,

The _Memoire_ of the Prince Gallitzen, Envoy Extraordinary from the
Empress of all the Russias to the States-General, presented the third
of this month, is of too much importance to the United States of
America, and their allies, to be omitted to be sent to Congress. It is
of the following tenor.

   "High and Mighty Lords,

     "The undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary of her Majesty, the Empress
     of all the Russias, has the honor to communicate a copy of the
     declaration, which the Empress, his Sovereign, has made to the
     powers actually at war. Your High Mightinesses may regard this
     communication, as a particular mark of the attention of the
     Empress to the Republic, equally interested in the reasons which
     have given birth to this declaration.

     "He has, moreover, orders to declare, in the name of her Imperial
     Majesty, that how much soever she may desire, on the one hand, to
     maintain during the present war the strictest neutrality, she
     will, nevertheless maintain, by means the most efficacious, the
     honor of the Russian flag, and the safety of her commerce, and
     the navigation of her subjects, and will not suffer that any
     injury should be done to it by any of the belligerent powers.
     That to avoid, on this occasion, all misunderstanding or false
     interpretation, she has thought it her duty to specify in her
     declaration the terms of a free commerce, and of that which is
     called contraband; that if the definition is founded upon notions
     the most simple, the most clear, and the most determinate by the
     law of nature, that of the latter is taken by her literally from
     the treaty of commerce of Russia with Great Britain; that by this
     she proves incontestably her good faith, and her impartiality
     towards both parties; that she thinks, consequently, that she
     ought to expect, that the other commercial powers will be earnest
     to accede to her manner of thinking relative to the neutrality.

     "In pursuance of these two views, her Majesty has charged the
     subscriber to invite your High Mightinesses to make a common
     cause with her; insomuch, that this union may serve to protect
     commerce and navigation, observing at the same time the most
     exact neutrality, and to communicate to you the measures which
     she has taken in consequence. Similar invitations have been
     already made to the Courts of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Lisbon,
     to the end, that by the common cares of all neutral maritime
     powers, a neutral system, founded on justice, and which, by its
     real utility, may serve as a rule for future ages, may be
     established and made legal in favor of the commercial navigation
     of neutral nations. The subscriber makes no doubt, that your High
     Mightinesses will take into consideration the invitation of her
     Imperial Majesty, and concur in making, without delay, a
     declaration to the belligerent powers, founded upon the same
     principles with those of the Empress, his sovereign, by
     explaining your sentiments at the same time upon the subject of
     the protection of your commerce, of your navigation, and of the
     nature of contraband goods, conformably to the terms of your
     particular treaties with other nations. Moreover, the subscriber
     has the honor to assure your High Mightinesses, that if, for
     establishing solidly a system, equally glorious and advantageous
     to the prosperity of navigation in general, you will commence a
     negotiation with the neutral powers abovementioned, to the end to
     establish a particular convention upon this subject, the Empress,
     his sovereign, will be ready to engage in it.

     "Your High Mightinesses will readily perceive the necessity of
     coming to a resolution upon subjects equally important and
     advantageous to humanity in general.

     "The subscriber requests the favor, that your High Mightinesses
     would furnish him with a speedy answer.

                                                           GALLITZEN."

                  *       *       *       *       *

                             DECLARATION

     _Of her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, made to the Courts of
         Versailles, Madrid, and London, mentioned in the foregoing
         Memorial._

"The Empress of all the Russias has manifested so visibly the
sentiments of justice, equity, and moderation, which animate her, and
has given, during the whole course of the war maintained against the
Ottoman Porte, such convincing proofs of her attention to the rights
of neutrality, and the freedom of commerce in general, that, in this
respect, she may appeal to the testimony of all Europe. This conduct,
as well as the scrupulous exactness with which she has observed the
rules of neutrality during the Course of this war, has given her room
to hope, that her subjects would peaceably enjoy the fruits of their
industry, and the advantages, which belong to all neutral nations.
Experience has, however, taught her the contrary, since neither these
considerations, nor the regard due to what the law of nations in
general prescribes, have been able to hinder the subjects of her
Majesty from being oftentimes troubled in their navigation, or
interrupted or retarded in their commerce, by the subjects of the
belligerent powers. These interruptions having come upon business in
general, and that of Russia in particular, are of a nature to awaken
the attention of all the neutral nations, and oblige her Majesty, the
Empress, to seek to deliver herself from them by all means suitable to
her dignity and the well being of her subjects.

"But before she shall put them in execution, being filled with a
sincere desire to prevent all subsequent acts of violence, she has
thought that it was consistent with her equity to lay open to all
Europe the principles, which will govern her, and which are
indispensable to prevent all misunderstanding, as well as all which
might give occasion to it. To this she has determined herself with so
much the more confidence, as these principles are drawn from the
primitive law of nations, and adopted by all nations, which the
belligerent powers themselves cannot enervate, at least not without
violating the laws of neutrality, and contemning the fundamental rules
which they themselves have adopted, in divers treaties and alliances
now existing.

"ARTICLE I. That all neutral vessels ought to navigate freely from one
port to another, as well as upon the coasts of the powers now at war.

"ARTICLE II. That the effects belonging to the subjects of the
belligerent powers shall be free in neutral ships, excepting always
contraband goods.

"ARTICLE III. That her Imperial Majesty, in consequence of the limits
above fixed, will adhere strictly to that which is stipulated by the
tenth and eleventh articles of her treaty of commerce with Great
Britain, concerning the manner in which she ought to conduct towards
all the belligerent powers.

"ARTICLE IV. That as to what concerns a port blocked up, we ought not
in truth to consider as such any but those, which are found so well
shut up by a fixed and sufficient number of vessels belonging to the
power which attacks it, that one cannot attempt to enter into such
port without evident danger.

"ARTICLE V. That these principles above laid down ought to serve as a
rule in all proceedings, whenever there is a question concerning the
legality of prizes.

"From these considerations, her Imperial Majesty makes no difficulty
to declare, that wishing to insure the execution of that, which is
herein before declared, to maintain at the same time the honor of her
flag, as well as the safety of the commerce of her States, and also to
protect the navigation of her subjects against all those whom it may
concern, she has given orders that a considerable portion of her
maritime forces shall be put to sea, with no other intention than to
insure the observation of the most exact and the most strict
neutrality, which her Majesty proposes to keep as long as she shall
not see herself absolutely forced to depart from that system of
moderation and of perfect neutrality, which she has adopted; in such
sort, that it will not be but in the last extremity, that her fleet
will exercise her final orders to go wherever the necessity and the
circumstances may require.

"It is then by assuring the belligerent powers in the most solemn
manner, and with all that rectitude and sincerity, which form the
distinguishing character of her Imperial Majesty, that she declares to
them that she proposes to herself no other thing, than to convince
them of the sentiments of equity with which she is animated, as well
as of the tendency of her salutary views towards the well being of all
nations in general, and particularly of those now at war, and that
consequently her Imperial Majesty will provide her Admiralty as well
as her Generals with instructions relative to this system, extracted
from the code of nations, and which they have so often taken for rules
in their treaties."

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, April 11th, 1780.

  Sir,

The counties in England, which have agreed to petitions upon the
expenditure of public money, the influence of the Crown, and the
corruption of Parliament, are these.

  York,                                       December  3d, 1779,
  Dorset,                                        "    27th,  "
  Middlesex,                                  January  7th, 1780,
  Chester,                                       "    13th,  "
  Hertford,                                      "    17th,  "
  Sussex,                                        "    20th,  "
  Huntington,                                    "    20th,  "
  Surry,                                         "    21st,  "
  Cumberland,                                    "    22d,   "
  Bedford,                                       "    24th,  "
  Essex,                                         "    24th,  "
  Gloucester,                                    "    25th,  "
  Somerset,                                      "    25th,  "
  Wilts,                                         "    25th,  "
  Devon,                                         "    28th,  "
  Norfolk,                                       "    29th,  "
  Berks,                                         "    31st,  "
  Bucks,                                     February 26th,  "
  Nottingham,                                    "    28th,  "
  Kent,                                         March  4th,  "
  Northumberland,                                "     8th,  "
  Hereford,                                      "    11th,  "
  Suffolk,                                       "    14th,  "
  Cambridge,                                     "    25th,  "
  Derby,                                         "    30th,  "

In all, twentyfive counties.

The first meeting of the delegates was March the 11th, 1780. The
cities and towns, which have agreed upon similar petitions, are
London, Westminster, York, Bristol, Cambridge, Nottingham, Newcastle,
Reading, and Bridgewater.

The counties, which have not yet agreed upon petitions, are
Westmoreland, Durham, Lancaster, Salop, Stafford, Lincoln, Leicester,
Warwick, Oxford, Worcester, Cornwall, and Rutland. Hants agreed on a
petition, but appointed no committee, and Northampton agreed to
instruct their members on the points of the petition.

This account takes no notice of the twelve Welsh counties; these,
however, are small.

The counties, which have already petitioned, it seems, therefore, are
a vast majority of the kingdom in numbers as well as property and
understanding; and the meeting of their committees may be reasonably
considered as a more equitable and adequate representation of the
people of England, than the House of Commons.

Amidst all the addresses, instructions, petitions, associations, and
resolutions, I never found one that dared to expose the true cause of
their miseries, and to propose a remedy, until the association of the
county of York appeared, which was agreed to by the committee of
sixtyone, to be recommended to the general meeting of the county of
York, held the 28th of March, 1780.

They declare their unanimous assent,

1st. To the economical reform requested by the petitions of the
people.

2dly. To the proposition for obtaining a more equal representation of
the people in Parliament, by the addition of at least one hundred
Knights, to be chosen in a due proportion by the several counties of
Great Britain.

3dly. To the proposition for the members of the House of Commons to be
elected, to serve in Parliament for a term not exceeding three years.

But the most important resolution of all was also unanimous, "That it
is the opinion of this meeting, that the prosecution of an offensive
war in America is most evidently a measure, which, by employing our
great and enormously expensive military operations against the
inhabitants of that country, prevents this from exerting its united,
vigorous, and firm efforts against the powers of France and Spain,
and has no other effect upon America, than to continue, and thereby to
increase the enmity, which has so long and so fatally subsisted
between the arms of both, can be productive of no good whatever, but
by preventing conciliation, threatens the accomplishment of the ruin
of the British Empire."

This meeting, which is said to have been the largest ever known, and
perfectly unanimous, gave power to the committee of association to
call the county together when they should judge proper.

After all, even this committee does not appear to see the true
interest of the country, the necessity of peace. Peace alone can save
them. They are for leaving America, which is a great thing; but it
does not appear but that they are still for continuing the war with
our allies.

An article of the 4th of April says, that commotions are reported to
have arisen in the County of York, many of the inhabitants of which
have peremptorily refused to pay the taxes.

Congress will observe by the paragraphs in the Morning Post of April
the 1st, that they seem to be in England totally ignorant of the
designs of the Empress of Russia, and of the other neutral powers.

The paper of April the 3d contains Major General Campbell's and
Lieutenant Colonel Dickson's account of the surrender of the port of
Baton Rouge, &c. with about five hundred regular troops prisoners of
war, to Don Bernado de Galvez, the 21st of September.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, April 14th, 1780.

  Sir,

Everything which tends to show the probability of a general
association of the maritime powers, against the violences at sea,
which the English have practised, and which other nations, after their
example, have begun, and which tends to prove the justice, the wisdom,
and the humanity of such an association, is worthy of observation. For
my own part, I think, that the abolition of the whole doctrine of
contraband would be for the peace and happiness of mankind; and I
doubt not, as human reason advances, and men come to be more sensible
of the benefits of peace, and less enthusiastic for the savage glories
of war, all neutral nations will be allowed, by universal consent, to
carry what goods they please in their own ships, provided they are not
bound to places actually invested by an enemy.

_Constantinople, March the 3d._ "The Porte having received the
disagreeable news, that three xebecs from Malta had seized upon a
large Turkish ship with a rich cargo of coffee, rice, hemp, and other
productions, this advice has accelerated the departure of two
men-of-war and four gallies, which will go before the fleet of the
Grand Admiral, to cruise in the Archipelago, and protect the
navigation of the European nations against the vexations of the French
and English."

_Copenhagen, March the 28th._ "Captain Zagel, the courier of her
Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, is returned to Petersburgh,
accompanied by Captain Socolousky, Secretary of the Russian Consul in
the Sound. They are very busy here in equipping the vessels of war,
the Wagrie, of sixtyfour guns, the Infodstretten, of sixtyfour, and
the frigate Combord, of thirtyfour."

_London, April the 4th._ "There are lately arrived here interesting
despatches to government from Sir Joseph Yorke, which contain some
further explanations of the dispositions of the Republic, in
consequence of the last Memorial presented to their High Mightinesses
by that Minister, and the resolution to protect the commerce of their
subjects. However this may be, there are actually in the ports of this
kingdom fifty Dutch vessels seized by our ships of war, because they
were found loaded with naval stores for our enemies; and, already the
most of their cargoes have been adjudged good prizes. These articles
being considered as contraband, and their transportation to an enemy
contrary to treaties subsisting between the Republic and England."

_Hague, April the 9th._ "We learn, that the States of the Province of
Overyssell have sent to the Assembly of their High Mightinesses their
instructions, relative to the two Memorials presented by Sir Joseph
Yorke, the 28th of July, and the 26th of November, of the last year,
the first purporting a demand of succors stipulated by the treaty of
1678, and the second demanding an immediate and categorical answer.
The contents of the instructions are, 'That their Noble Mightinesses,
after having maturely reflected upon all which concerns the matter in
question, especially upon the treaties existing between the kingdom
and the Republics, as well as the obligations, which the two nations
had mutually laid themselves under, and also in particular, upon the
present situation in which this republic now stands in several points
respecting her own preservation, the maintenance of her rights and
possessions, and respecting the powers actually at war, judge, that
the two Memorials presented by Sir Joseph Yorke may and ought to be
answered in the following manner. That all the principles alleged, and
the circumstances at this time existing, oblige their High
Mightinesses more than ever to watch carefully their own preservation
and defence, to use every effort to ward off all further dangerous
consequences, and to this end, to request his Majesty not to take it
in ill part, if in the critical situation of affairs, in which the
least diminution of their forces might be dangerous, their High
Mightinesses think themselves lawfully authorised to refuse the
succors demanded by his Majesty, although these succors, considering
certain engagements, the pretended application of which it would be
useless at this time to search into, may be judged indispensable by
his Majesty, in the firm confidence, that, in the circumstances in
which their High Mightinesses find themselves, his Majesty, not
disapproving, of their conduct, will desist, not only from demanding
their assistance, but on the contrary, as a proof of the affection of
which his Majesty had so often given them assurances, will permit them
invariably to pursue that neutrality, which from the beginning of the
present troubles they have adopted.'

"It is asserted, that on the Memorial presented by the Prince
Gallitzen, Envoy Extraordinary of the Empress of Russia, their High
Mightinesses have provisionally concluded, 'That having taken the said
Memorial into consideration, the deputies of the respective Provinces
have sent copies of it, as well as of the papers annexed to it, to be
communicated to their Assemblies, praying them to procure, as soon as
possible, the resolutions of the States, their constituents.'

"In the meantime, since the said Memorial has been made public, it is
given out, that the convention between the Courts of Petersburgh,
Stockholm, and Copenhagen, will in a little time be confirmed, and
that Denmark will procure, on certain conditions, five or six thousand
seamen for this Republic.

"We learn that the answer of his Britannic Majesty to the
representations which the Count de Walderen, Minister of the
States-General at the Court of London, has been charged by their High
Mightinesses to make to the British Government, relative to a
prolongation of the term of three weeks, prescribed in the last
Memorial of Sir Joseph Yorke, for giving him a definitive answer, &c.
arrived the 31st of last month, and is found to be in the negative,
the King insisting on an answer by the time fixed, which will expire
next Tuesday.

"They give out, that the cities of Dantzic, Lubec, Bremen, Hamburgh,
&c. will adopt, as well as most of the northern powers, the party of
neutrality, and that, if England persists in the practice of visiting,
stopping, and searching neutral vessels, Denmark is resolved to
exclude English vessels from the Sound."

To judge of things the most impartially, no man can doubt, that
proceedings so violent, and so contrary to the natural rights of
nations, will make the neutral powers _feel_ how much it imports them
to set bounds to the intolerable excesses, to which their vessels,
sailing under the faith of treaties, are daily exposed by the ships of
one party in the present war.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                   TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                              Paris, April 15th, 1780.

  Sir,

There is an article from Hamburgh which deserves attention; it is
this.

"The neutrality of the powers of the north is decided. They have
profited of the divisions, which have arisen between England and North
America, by selling to the former, timber, cordage, hemp, and tar,
which she formerly drew from her Colonies. The occasions, which the
enemies of Great Britain have also had for these articles, have
established a competition, which has procured great advantages to the
commerce of the north. They have everywhere taken measures to protect
it."

In vain has England sought assistance from that quarter; her conduct
has irrevocably deprived her of it.

_Leghorn, 22d of March._ "We learn from Naples, that the King has
purchased of the Order of Malta two vessels, to increase the marine of
that kingdom. His Majesty is attentively engaged in the care of
forming officers for this department. The young gentry, whom he has
sent to serve on board of the squadrons of the belligerent powers,
have all of them distinguished themselves; and those who remain at
Naples, under the direction of the Chevalier Aston, have discovered
equal zeal, intelligence, and good will, for the service of the
marine."

_Madrid, 25th of March._ "Our squadrons, they write from Cadiz the
16th of this month, will put to sea without delay. Transport ships are
taken up on freight with great activity, and all the troops are
arrived. The following is an exact state of the armament.

"The complete regiments of the King, Guadalajara, Arragon, Soria, and
the second regiment of Catalonia; in all ten battalions, making six
thousand and six hundred men.

"The squadron of D. Solano; the St Louis, of eighty guns, the St
Augustine, the Orient, the Gaillard, the Arrogant, all of seventy
guns, and the Rule of sixty guns.

"The squadron of D. Tomaseo; the St Nicholas, of eighty guns, the
Eugene, the Damase, the St Janizer, the St Francis, the Assisse, and
the Warrior, all of seventy guns.

"The first squadron takes in provisions for five months, and the
second for four months and a half. They fill up the regiments, which
are destined for the expedition, with soldiers from the regiment of
Hibernia.

"The beautiful wools of Segovia have not been always employed within
the kingdom, because the love of labor has not been predominant; but
since the establishment of the royal patriotic society, industry has
recovered its activity. D. Laurent Ortiz de Paz has established
spinneries of wool in that city, and in St Ildephonso, and other
places. His Majesty has assigned rewards for men and women, who shall
distinguish themselves in this kind of labor. This measure cannot fail
to establish the royal manufacture of fine cloth, which the Marquis of
Enseñada had already erected at Segovia, and which had fallen into
decay with the favor of that Minister."

There are in some of the papers hints of a plan of pacification, which
is said to come from the Rockingham party. The substance of it is as
follows.

"Let us open our eyes! The hope of subjecting America is a chimera.
Nothing but clemency can ever open a way for a reconciliation with
its inhabitants. To show that we wish it sincerely let us give up Nova
Scotia, that dry, uninhabitable, and languishing colony, which
produces nothing. Let us also permit the Canadians to institute a form
of government, which may be agreeable to themselves, and let the
independence of North America become the object of our support. Sooner
or later it will be unavoidable, that America should separate herself
from us, and I should be very glad that a permanent system of alliance
should take place between them and their mother country, before our
ancient colonies shall be united to France, by ties too strict to be
relaxed. I am persuaded, that neither Nova Scotia nor Canada will
remain long under the government of England; and it is to be feared,
that in contending for them we shall still further embroil affairs.
Nova Scotia is not worth the trouble of keeping it, and it will
require continual succors. Canada will occasion us more expense than
it will bring us in profit, and will never become flourishing under an
European government; at least unless the whole country should be
recovered. We deceive ourselves if we imagine, that by emancipating
the Americans we shall lose our American islands. We hold these by the
strongest of all ties, which is, that of their own interest. North
America will not seek to make conquests so long as it shall be divided
into distinct States, and under a republican form of government; and
it is probable, that several centuries will pass away before she will
change the form of her administrations. Commerce will return into
England, and into our islands, without any other motive than that
which actuates all the commercial nations of the earth. If we were now
disembarrassed of the objects of dispute, concerning which Spain
discovers so many pretensions, and if we could content ourselves with
a superiority at sea, all that would result from it would be, that our
trade to the Levant would increase, we should become more respectable,
and we should see ourselves more in a condition to maintain our
quarrels, and protect our rich possessions, without hazarding a
bankruptcy by expenses, which we cannot sustain. Our maritime power
will always be sufficient to protect our islands. Our naval forces
will never want anything so long as we shall have divers markets,
where our vessels may go. The northern powers of Europe, and the
northern States of America, will be competitors to serve us, so long
as we preserve the superiority upon the sea, and while, by means of
our manufacturers, we can pay for them, or make an advantageous
exchange, with the one and the other. We have as good a right to
things, which we can purchase in divers foreign markets, as if the
things were the productions of our own establishments.

"Are France and Spain in want of warlike stores? Are they not as well
supplied with them as we are? And do they not make Sweden rather
incline to their side, by means of their commerce with that country
for these articles? Is it probable that they can ever shut up from us
the ports of America, of Russia, of Denmark, and of Sweden, while it
is the interest of these States to furnish us? It is necessary, then,
to resolve to demand peace by the means which offer themselves, and
which are not only able to obtain it, but may still be preserved, and
in which there is no appearance that we shall be disturbed, if, at
least, at all times we preserve our marine upon a respectable footing;
and, if we do not, we ever subject ourselves to be restrained upon the
article of the number of ships, and in the places where we shall
employ them. In that case we shall not perceive that Gibraltar or
Minorca is wanting to us. We shall always be ready to meet our enemies
in those parts where our safety, security, and riches lie, and which
nature points out to us as our proper element. Surrounded on all sides
by the sea, there is one half of the nation whose inhabitants
understand navigation, from their infancy, and they are disposed to
become seamen because they are almost educated with the sea. But
whenever we shall engage ourselves in the wars of the continent, we
shall never draw from them any solid advantages. Where are the
trophies so dearly purchased of King William and Marlborough? And
where is the benefit of the two last wars? The balance of power will
not remain long in our hands, although we have engaged the annual
produce of an innumerable quantity of taxes.

"In America we have destroyed the balance, which held our colonies in
dependence. We ought not, then, to lose the opportunity of binding the
interests of the United States with ours by some amicable convention,
which will assure us of their attachment, and deliver us from the
cruel necessity of continuing the war with our own children. It is by
this means we may preserve for a long time our insular property, and
enjoy still a superiority at sea."

_Paris, April 11th 1780._ "The Ambassador of Russia has notified,
within a few days past, to our Court, that it was the intention of his
sovereign that the commerce of the subjects of her empire should not
be troubled, and that under no pretence should their vessels be
stopped by those of the belligerent powers, and that she is arming to
defend her flag, and protect it from insults. This declaration was to
be made at the same time to the Courts of Madrid and London. It is
asserted, that it is the first fruit of a treaty of commerce, which
Russia has concluded with us, and of a confederation which she has
entered into with the other northern powers, and in which they wish to
engage Holland and Portugal. We are very inquisitive to learn how this
notification will be received by the Court of St James."

The English ministerial gazettes propagate a report, that there was
arrived in Europe a deputy of Congress to offer peace to Great
Britain. Those of the opposition assert, that this deputy who is in
fact arrived, will do nothing but in concert with France, when it
shall please England to propose a negotiation of peace.

The following article is published in the English papers, to excite
the people against the opposition.

"If the Marquis of Rockingham should come again into the
administration, his first operation would most probably be, to declare
America independent. This would, nevertheless, be a fatal resolution,
which, instead of giving us peace, would throw that event still
farther off. A proof so striking of our pusilanimity would raise still
higher the hopes and the pride of the House of Bourbon. France would
demand that we should restore to them Canada, Cape Breton, and Nova
Scotia, as well as the islands which were taken from her the last war.
Nothing less would be necessary for Spain than the restitution of
Gibraltar and Jamaica. But it cannot but be supposed, that the Marquis
of Rockingham is too much attached to his head to expose it to danger
by so shameful a dismemberment of our empire. He would then make us
continue the war with the disadvantage of not being able any longer to
rein in the Americans, who would assist everywhere their allies by
land and by sea. But every Englishman of good sense sees to what
disasters this plan of conduct would lead us. The ambition of this
Marquis and of his party is not to triumph over rebels, and the
natural enemies of England; it is to humble his King and ruin his
country."

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                          TO M. DE SARTINE.

                                              Paris, April 16th, 1780.

  Sir,

I have received the two letters, which your Excellency did me the
honor to write to me, on the 5th and on the 12th of this month.

I do not mean to give your Excellency the trouble of answering these
letters of mine, which contain extracts of letters from abroad, or
simply news. This would be giving your Excellency too much trouble,
and taking up too much time. Indeed, I think it will very probably be
often, if not always unnecessary, because your Excellency's
information must be, beyond all comparison, earlier, more exact, and
more particular than mine; yet, as it is possible that sometimes a
circumstance of importance may escape one channel of intelligence, and
yet pass in another, I thought it to be my duty sometimes to send your
Excellency an extract. In this view, I now have the honor to send your
Excellency another extract from a letter of the 6th of this month; but
I pray your Excellency not to take the trouble to answer it.

  I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


                       END OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.


                  *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained
except in obvious cases of typographical error.

On page 39 the blank areas remain as they are in the original:

"upon the property, real or personal, within the same township or
place, since the first day of     which was in the year of our
Lord 177 , and the same accounts and estimates to be transmitted
to the Commissioners without delay."





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