Adams Papers

From John Adams to the Duc de La Vauguyon, 16 April 1781

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

Leyden April 16. 17811


I have the Honour to acquaint your Excellency, that I have received from Congress, full Powers and Instructions to treat with the States General, and to conclude a Treaty of Amity and Commerce, consistent with the Relations already formed between the United States and France. And, that I have also received a Letter of Credence, as a Minister Plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses; and another, to his most Serene Highness the Prince of Orange. With the greatest Respect and Consideration I have the Honour to be, Sir, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servant

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent the Same day by Commodore Gillon who was bound to the Hague on a visit to the French Ambassador.”

1In his 1809 letters to the Boston Patriot, JA wrote: “About this time, considering the connection between the United States and France, it was very obvious that prudence required I should communicate my design to the French ambassador. I was not, however, without apprehensions of the consequence of it, for I could not doubt that the count de Vergennes had information of my appointment sooner than I had, and I had a thousand reasons to believe that my whole system in Holland, and even my residence in it, was disagreeable to him. I might presume, and I did presume, that the duke had instructions from the count to counteract me. But the inconveniences that would arise from concealing my design from the French ambassador, appearing to overbalance those in the other scale, I wrote to his excellency ...” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot description begins Correspondence of the Late President Adams. Originally Published in the Boston Patriot. In a Series of Letters, Boston, 1809[–1810]; 10 pts. description ends , p. 431–432).

At some point, perhaps to prove that he was working in consultation with La Vauguyon, JA sent two copies of this letter, both in John Thaxter’s hand, to Congress (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 127; Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 255).

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