Adams Papers
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From John Adams to the Marquis of Carmarthen, 13 March 1786

To the Marquis of Carmarthen

Grosvenor Square March 13: 1786.1

Mr Adams presents his Compliments to the Right Honourable the Marquis of Carmarthen and acquaints his Lordship that Mr Jefferson, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at the Court of Versailles is now here and as they have something to communicate to his Lordship relative to the Affairs of the United States, they request a Time when they may have the Honour to pay their Respects to his Lordship, before the Levy on Wednesday.2

LbC (Adams Papers description begins Manuscripts and other materials, 1639–1889, in the Adams Manuscript Trust collection given to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1956 and enlarged by a few additions of family papers since then. Citations in the present edition are simply by date of the original document if the original is in the main chronological series of the Papers and therefore readily found in the microfilm edition of the Adams Papers (APM). description ends ); APM Reel 112.

1Thomas Jefferson, on his first—and only—visit to England, arrived in London on 11 March and took up residence at No. 14 Golden Square in Soho, a short walk from the American legation (AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963– . description ends , 7:156). In a letter of 12 March, Jefferson informed John Jay of his arrival and that he had seen JA on the evening of the 11th and again the following day (Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, N.J., 1950– . description ends , 9:325–327). The only difficulty resulting from Jefferson’s arrival was that he had forgotten to bring a letter of credit from Ferdinand Grand, leading JA, on 17 March, to write to the London banker Louis Tessier, arranging for Jefferson to draw “Small sums of Money for his Expences here” (LbC, APM Reel 112).

Jefferson came in response to JA’s 21 Feb. letter, above, wherein his presence was requested because of JA’s seemingly promising exchanges with Tripoli’s ambassador in London, and the possibility of completing the Portuguese-American commercial treaty. But, as JA indicates in this letter, and Jefferson in his 12 March letter to Jay, the two men, in their role as joint commissioners, also had business with the British government. JA had submitted a draft Anglo-American commercial treaty to Carmarthen on 29 July 1785 but had never received a substantive response. Now the time to conclude an agreement was growing short because the joint commission to negotiate an Anglo-American treaty was limited to “a Term not exceeding two years” and would expire on 12 May 1786 (vols. 16:196, 207–209; 17:225–236, 280–282). For the result of the commissioners’ representation to Carmarthen, see their letters to Carmarthen of 4 April and to John Jay of 25 April, both below.

2Jefferson was presented to King George III at the levee on Wednesday, 15 March (Jefferson’s Memorandum Books description begins Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, ed. James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton (The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series), Princeton, N.J., 1997; 2 vols. description ends , 1:614).

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