Adams Papers

From John Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 19 August 1782

To Elbridge Gerry

Aug. 19. 1782

My dear Friend

I am ashamed to let Mr Guild1 go without a long Letter to you—but you must pardon me. Mr Guild calls upon me for my Dispatches.

There are Conferences begun about Preliminaries at Paris and Things are tending to a Congress, but I fancy they would have gone on much better, if Congriss had adhered to <your> their first Plan. Never did the Neccessity of a clear and firm Conduct appear more plainly to me than upon this occasion.2

It was my Intention to have written you at large upon affairs—but Mr Guilds obligations to go sooner than expected have disappointed me. As some Compensation however I inclose to you all the newest Papers. In to days it is said France insists on a formal Acknowledgment of American Independence, that her Ministers may meet a Congress.3


RC (MHi:Gerry II Papers).

1For Benjamin Guild, future husband of AA’s cousin Elizabeth Quincy, see AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–?. description ends , 3:322. Guild sailed from Amsterdam on the Apollo and arrived at Boston on 9 October. He carried a packet for AA, but its content and other letters that Guild may have carried cannot be positively identified (same, 5:11).

2That is, Congress should not have appointed a five-member joint peace commission in 1781 in place of his 1779 commission as the sole minister authorized to negotiate an Anglo-American peace treaty.

3It is not known what papers JA sent Gerry, but see the report from Paris dated 12 Aug. in the Gazette d’Amsterdam of 20 August.

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