Jonathan Williams to the Commissioners
Passy. July 3. 1778
Agreeable to your verbal order I have given Directions to stop the Reparation of the Arms at Nantes, paying the Workmen their Wages Gratifications and Conduct Money according to agreement. I beg to know if this is agreeable.1 I am very respectfully Hon Gentlemen Your most obedt Servant
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Mr Jona. William’s Letter July 3. 1778”; also: “ansd July 10 1778 approved, see the Letterbook.” The last reference is to JA’s Letterbook, in which the answer is entered in Arthur Lee’s hand.
1. This letter resolved, in part, the controversy that had begun in April over the Commissioners’ efforts to end Williams’ activities at Nantes as an American agent. Initially the Commissioners may have wished simply to return the RC to Williams with their comments, for on the second page of the letter is a note dated 10 July, in JA’s hand, informing Williams that “the within directions given by you, being according to our Verbal orders to you, are approved.” Deciding, however, that a more detailed reply was needed, JA and Arthur Lee composed the answer referred to in the descriptive note above. In it they approved Williams’ actions and requested that he send an order for the goods on hand at Nantes, including 63 barrels of beef, to J. D. Schweighauser. Williams complied on the same day, writing to a Mr. Cossoul and ordering him to send the beef and other merchandise, including 196 swivel guns and 49 cases of arms, to Schweighauser. The Commissioners notified Schweighauser of Williams’ action in a postscript to their letter of 9 July (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 4:155, 158–159, 147).