Adams Papers

From John Adams to the President of the Congress, 23 December 1777

To the President of the Congress

Braintree Decr. 23. 1777


Having been Absent, on a Journey, I had not the Honour of receiving your Letters, until Yesterday when one of the Twenty Eighth of November1 inclosing a Resolution of Congress of the Same Day, and another of the third of December inclosing 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 Honour 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 with2 all my Deficiences, 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 Esteem and Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servant,

John Adams

RC (PCC, No. 84, I); docketed: “Letter from John Adams Braintree 23 Decr. 1777 read 19 Jany 1778 informing his acceptance of Comm. to France.” LbC (Adams Papers).

1Adams Papers, but not printed here.

2The Letterbook copy, much more scratched out than usual, originally read from this point on: “the Meanness of my Qualifications for this service, I shall submit to their Judgment, and devote all that I have and all that I can acquire to the service of these united states.” At this point, JA intended to make his complimentary close, but he then finished the paragraph as printed here, starting with “I conclude,” and added the paragraph which comes before the close. The latter also caused him some difficulty before he felt it was right. Whether to express his respect for the congress or the president caused him concern.

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