Adams Papers

From John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 18 July 1785

To Thomas Jefferson

Grosvenor Square July 18th. 1785

Dear Sir.

Your favours of June 22d. and July 7 and 11th. are before me. The delay of Mr: Lamb’s Arrival is unfortunate, but I think with you that the sooner a project of Treaties is prepared the better, and I will give the earliest attention to it whenever you shall send it— I shall go this morning to Stockdale, to talk with him about sending you the News Papers, and Pamphlets through the Channell of Cleveland Row ce.1 Lord Carmarthens office.

I agree with pleasure to the appointment made by the Dr. & you of Mr. Short, to carry the treaty through London to the Hague, and in joining Mr. Dumas with him in making the Exchange. A Letter to him and another to Mr. Dumas signed by you and me, as the Dr. is gone, would be sufficient Authority: But I shall have no objection of giving each of them a more formal Commission under our Hands and seals, to be our Secretaries specially pro hac Vice — He must carry our original Commission to shew to the Baron De. Thulemeyer and a Copy of it attested by Colo. Humphries to deliver him and Mr. Dumas & he should see the Prussian Commission and receive an attested Copy of that. I do not think of any other Papers necessary.2

I have given to Lord Carmarthen long ago, an Explanation of the power of Congress to form Treaties of Commerce exactly conformable to that which you gave the English Gentn but I did not extend it to the case of Consuls. He asked me no questions concerning Consuls, and I did not think it proper for me to say any thing on that subject, not having any Instruct[ions.] But I am not easy on that head, Mr. Temple talks of going out in three or four weeks, but I am very apprehensive he will meet with the difficulties you foresee.

I will enquire about insuring, 20.000 Livres on the Life of Mr: Houden— I have written to Mr Frazier, the Under Secretary of State in Lord Carmathens office concerning Dr. Franklins Baggage, have stated the Circumstances as you State them to me, and have solicited the necessary Facilities. I hope for a favourable Answer— Truxton is to depart from hence on Thursday, and I will let him know the answer I may have—3

{I dont like the Symptoms.— Galloway, Deane, Chalmers, Watson, are too much in favour The Lottery for the Tories, although perhaps in Part inevitable, has been introduced with such pompous demonstrations of Affection and Approbation as are neither wise, nor honest. There is too much Attention to the Navy—and there is another Step, which allarms my Apprehensions. Hanover is joining Prussia4 against the Views of the two Imperial Courts. at least in Bavaria}5 keep this as secret as the grave but search it to the botom6 where you are— {Does this indicate a Doubt Whether our Business with De Thulemeyer} may be delayed? does it indicate a design in the {British Cabinet, to be Newtral} in order to be more— {at Leisure to deal with Us?} can it be a— {Secret Understanding bet. St. James’s and Versailles?—} the disigns of— {ruining, if they can our carrying Trade, and annihilating all our Navigation, and Seamen is too apparent.}—7

Yours sincerely

John Adams.8

RC in WSS’s hand (DLC:Jefferson Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / T. Jefferson Esqr.LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 111. Encoded text has been supplied from the LbC. Text lost due to a tight binding has been supplied from the LbC.

1In the LbC, JA wrote, “i.e.”

2In the LbC, JA wrote and canceled, “But, from Some Intelligence I am not without fear, that this Business may be delayed.”

3In the LbC, JA wrote here, “The Rest to be in Cypher. and kept Secret.”

4In the LbC, JA wrote and canceled, “and France.”

5JA hinted here at the impending creation of the Fürstenbund, a short-lived and highly controversial “League of Princes” led by George III, as Elector of Hanover, and Frederick II, King of Prussia. Its purpose was to maintain the imperial status quo and to curb the perceived expansionism of Austria’s Joseph II. Presumably Jefferson, too, knew of the Fürstenbund’s creation since he did not bother to encode his view of it in his reply of 28 July, below. On 23 July, representatives from Prussia, Hanover, and Saxony formalized the agreement with a treaty in Berlin, sparking sharp criticism from British M.P.s and merchants who identified the Fürstenbund as a troubling sign of George III’s overtly “Germanic” interests. During the following months several German princes joined the league, but by 1787, after Parliament regained control of British foreign policy from the king, the Fürstenbund’s influence collapsed (Jeremy Black, The Continental Commitment: Britain, Hanover and Interventionism, 1714–1793, London, 2005, p. 159–161; T. C. W. Blanning, “‘That Horrid Electorate’ or ‘Ma Patrie Germanique’? George III, Hanover, and the Furstenbund of 1785,” The Historical Journal, 20:311–344 [June 1977]).

6In the LbC, JA inserted, “among the foreign Ministers.”

7This paragraph was largely encoded using Jefferson’s Code No. 8, for which see Jefferson’s letter of 2 June 1785, note 6, above. Jefferson’s decoding of JA’s text, attached to the RC, is almost exact, but with three minor differences. Jefferson rendered “St. James” and “Versailles” as England and France. The third change hinged on an error caused by the code sheet; either JA or WSS used the number “1672” rather than “1072” to encode “part” when discussing the lottery’s inevitability. This mistake only slightly hampered Jefferson’s decoding of JA’s report, but for Jefferson’s continuing trouble with certain elements of the code and his resolution of the problem, see his letters of 31 July and 17 Aug., both below.

8In JA’s hand.

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