Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Huntington, enclosing a Resolution of Congress Appointing Peace Commissioners, 15 June 1781

From Samuel Huntington, enclosing a Resolution of Congress Appointing Peace Commissioners

Philadelphia 15. June 1781


Before this comes to Hand your Excellency will have received my Letter of the 2d Instant with it’s Enclosures, by which you will be informed that a Negotiation for Peace between the Belligerent Powers may probably take Place through the Mediation of the Empress of Russia and Emperor of Germany.

In Consequence of which Congress have thought proper to add four other Plenipotentiaries to the Honorable John Adams Esquire to assist in the expected Negotiation, of which you are elected one, as you will be informed by the enclosed Resolve. You will doubtless come this Way to embark, if Circumstances will admit of your Undertaking this important Service. The Commissions will be prepared immediately, as no Time should be lost.

Your Appointment is ordered to be kept secret that the Enemy may not get Intelligence of your Embarkation.

With very great Respect I have the Honor to be Your Excellency’s Most obedient & most humble Servant,

Sam. Huntington President


By the United States in Congress assembled

June 14. 1781

Resolved That four persons be joined to Mr. Adams in negotiating a peace between these United States and Great Britain.

The following were elected

  • The honble. Benjamin Franklin
  • The honble John Jay
  • The honble. Henry Laurens
  • The honble. Thomas Jefferson
Extract from the minutes.

Chas Thomson secy.

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ: “Huntington Saml. Presidt. of Congress. Philadelphia. June 15. 1781. appmt. Plenipoty. to Peace with Adams Franklin Jay Lawrens.” FC (DLC: PCC, No. 16). Enclosures (MHi): (1) Resolution of Congress appointing TJ and others to serve as peace commissioners, printed herewith, and (2) extract of the minutes of Congress recording the election. Both MSS are in the hand of Charles Thomson.

Huntington’s letter was transmitted to TJ through Lafayette, by whom TJ returned his reply (Lafayette to TJ, 26 June; TJ to Lafayette, 4 Aug.; TJ to Thomas McKean, 4 Aug. 1781).

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