From James Lovell
I shall not in my great hurry repeat to you any of the matters which I have written to Mr. S. Adams as you can have them, on sight of him.
I expected Brother Geary would have written to you but he has just requested me to inclose two Letters1 which he opened in consequence of your orders; and to give his Compliments to you begging your excuse of his further silence as he is preparing to go on a Committee to Camp in the morning with Robt. Morris and Mr. Jones to have a confidential Conference with the General, which I hope will put an end to the Idea of retiring into winter quarters, an Idea too much entertained by our military Officers. The Conference is to be with the General only.2 I hope every exertion will be made in New England to lessen complaints about Cloathing. A rascally improvement is made of the charming appearance which some of our lately-arrived troops make in comparison of others. It is said that now it may be seen where the cloathing is that came in the Amphitrite.3 I mention this en passant to you. I shall write about it to camp as the malice of it deserves.
I am charged by all those who are truly anxious here for the best prosperity of our affairs in France to press your acceptance of the Commission which has this day been voted you. The great sacrifices which you have made of private happiness has encouraged them to hope you will undertake this new business. As one I hope that you will not allow the consideration of your partial defect in the Language to weigh any thing, when you surmount others of a different nature. Doctor Franklin’s Age allarms us. We want one man of inflexible Integrity on that Embassy. We have made Carmichael Secretary who is master of the Language and well acquainted with the politics of several Courts. Mercantile matters will be quite in regular channels and so not a burthen to the Commissioners. Alderman Lee Morris and Williams4 will have got our commerce into good order by the time of your arrival. If you make the Language any Argument to deter you, consider that you may perfectly master the Grammer on your voyage and gain much of the Speech too by having a genteel french man for a fellow Passenger. You see I am ripe in hope about your acceptance, however your dear amiable Partner may be tempted to condemn my Persuasions of you to distance yourself from her farther than Baltimore or York Town.
Great as Brother Geary’s hurry is he threatens to take his Pen in hand because I am not enough urgent with you; he feels all the Callosity of a Bachelor. I am but too ready to pardon his hard heartedness on this occasion where the eminent Interest of my Country is pleaded an excuse for him.
Tyconderoga and Independence evacuated5 give room for a revengeful exertion against our Enemies in this Quarter with fresh force from the northward. But this and every other favourable circumstances encreases our necessity of having a strict politician in France, as the probability of Treaties grows with our good Luck and lessens with our bad.
I will add no more than my Love and Respects to you & yours sincerely,
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honourable John Adams Esqr. Boston or Braintree” by “Express”; franked: “York Town Jas Lovell”; docketed twice: “Mr Lovell”; in an unidentified hand: “James Lovell November 1777.”
1. Probably AA to JA, 16 Nov. and Cotton Tufts to JA, 21 Nov., both being addressed to him as still attending the congress (Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963-. description ends , 2:367–369).
2. Lovell used a brace in the margin to mark this passage describing the mission of the congressional committee and wrote beside the brace: “for yourself, and your discretion.” The committee was appointed on the 28th (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 9:972).
3. The French ship Amphitrite had arrived at Portsmouth, N.H., in April with arms and other supplies. JA later complained that none in the congress knew where the cargo had disappeared to (James Warren to JA, 23 April, note 8, and JA to Warren, 7 July, note 1, both above).
4. William Lee, who had been an alderman in London, Thomas Morris, and Jonathan Williams. Williams superseded Morris as commercial agent at Nantes. Lee, originally meant to act with Morris in Nantes, was named by the congress in May commissioner to the Berlin and Viennese courts (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).