Adams Papers

From John Adams to the President of the Congress, 7 November 1779

To the President of the Congress

Braintree Novr. 7. 1779


I have the Honour to enclose to Congress Copy, of the Letter Book of the Commissioners at the Court of Versailles, during the Time that I had the Honour to be one of them.1

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 any Thing for these Copies, I can pay him, in Europe, if it is thought proper.

I chose to mention Mr. Thaxters going with me to Congress because that Jealousies have arisen, heretofore concerning private secretaries. Mr. Thaxter is known to Congress,2 and I think I can safely confide in his Fidelity, Dilligence, 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 Honour to be with great Respect, sir your most obedient servant

John Adams

RC (PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 121); docketed: “Letter from John Adams Novr. 7. 1779 Read 22. Q Mr. Thaxter to be paid for copying.” LbC (Adams Papers).

1For this Letterbook, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above); and vol. 6:22. The copy by Thaxter is docketed: “Copies sent by Mr. J Adams and recd, by the president of the congress Novr. 22d. 1779. vid Mr. A’s Letter Novr. 7th. 1779 and a Question relative to Mr. Thaxter’s Services.” It now comprises f. 124–225 of PCC, No. 84, 1.

2Canceled here in the Letterbook is “and to Mr Dana, by whom he is much esteemed.” Thaxter had worked in the office of the secretary of the congress (Henry Laurens to JA, 15 Jan. 1778, vol. 5:388).

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