Adams Papers

John Jay to John Adams, 15 March 1785

From John Jay

New York 15th: March 1785

Dear Sir

The enclosed Extracts from the Journal of Congress will inform you of your Appointment to go as Minister to the Court of London, and of Mr. Smith’s being elected Secretary to the Legation. I congratulate you on this Event. It argues the Confidence reposed in you by the United States, and I am persuaded will redound to their Advantage as well as to your Reputation.—1

The necessary Papers are preparing, and Mr. Smith will carry them to you by the next Packet.—2

With great Respect and Esteem / I am Dear Sir / Your most obt. & very humble Servt:

John Jay

RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Honorable / John Adams Esquire.”

1The enclosed document was a transcription of resolutions concerning JA and WSS of 24 Feb. and 1 March, respectively. But a third resolution, dated 7 March, was also included. It proposed to appoint a minister to replace JA in the Netherlands and assigned 14 March as the date for the election. No action was taken, however, until 23 June when Congress elected William Livingston, governor of New Jersey, but four days later Livingston declined the appointment. Congress next acted on 5 July, naming John Rutledge of South Carolina to the post, but on 24 Aug. it received Rutledge’s refusal of the post. The final effort apparently took place on 28 March 1786 when Samuel William Johnson of Connecticut was nominated, but on 15 May his name was withdrawn (JCC, description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, D.C., 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends 28:98, 111, 122, 474, 481; 29:497, 654–655; 30:140, 267). JA thus remained minister until he officially notified the Dutch government of his recall in a 30 March 1788 note to the Baron van Nagell, Dutch minister to Great Britain (LbC, APM Reel 112).

2A reference to JA’s 24 Feb. 1785 commission and 7 March instructions, both above, as well as to his letter of credence, not found, all of which were enclosed with John Jay’s 18 March letter, below.

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