Adams Papers

To John Adams from James Lovell, 16 November 1779

From James Lovell

Novr. 16. 1779

Dear Sir

Not a Line by yesterday’s Post from either you or Mr. Dana; nor indeed from any Person whatever in Massachusetts.

The Principles of Equality in the Treaty between France and us being held up as a model for future Treaties may betray Negotiators into an Error; because tho’ the Equality in regard to France and America is conspicuous, yet Partiality to France compared with other Powers has been established; particularly in the XIX Art: of our incorrect copy:1 “On the contrary no Shelter or Refuge” &c.

In the XIII Article, same Copy, French and Americans shall enjoy reciprocal Rights in the respective Dominions. The banished Americans cannot be allowed this under the Title of the Subjects of the King of Gr. Br.

The respective States of our Union who have passed Laws in their sovereign, independent Capacity, will not consent to repeal them, for the Sake of readmitting into their Bosoms capital Villains.

This was hinted yesterday by Sth. Carolina and will produce an Instruction if you or we find it necessary.

If I do not accomplish to send you by Palfrey2 or Foster3 the Orders of Credit you mentioned in your last I will most assuredly see that you shall not be without them. There is no trusting to Expedition in the Remittances of Funds by our Committees, nor indeed to Expeditiousness of any Kind here though we are reduced to a few now; the Gem’men for the most part taking themselves home to warm Lodgings, while the Drudges alas must sleep but few hours under slight Coverings and alone.

I will if I have Time say more respecting the Subject of your past Letters. Affectionately


RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Mr Lovell Nov. 16. 1779 ansd. 16 March.”

1Incorrect in the sense that Arts. 11 and 12, which the United States and France had agreed to remove from the treaty, had been eliminated from the text of the treaty then in use in America. Thus, Lovell is referring to Art. 17 of the treaty as ratified (and to Art. 11, as ratified, in the following paragraph).

2The congress had voted to give leave to William Palfrey of Massachusetts, pay master general of the Continental Army, so that he might visit his family (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 15:1268).

3Possibly Dr. Isaac Foster, deputy director of the Eastern Department of medical services for the Continental Army. Although Foster’s headquarters were in Boston, he was in Philadelphia during the winter of 1779–1780 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends , 14:262–268).

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