Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Adams, 29 June 1784

From John Adams

Copy: Massachusetts Historical Society

The Hague June 29. 1784

Sir

The Baron de Reishack,8 has several times said to me that his Court expected that Congress would announce formally their Independence, and asked me, if any Step of that Sort had been taken.9 That I may be able to give him an Answer, I must request of your Excellency to inform me whether you have made the annunciation directed in the first Article of the Instructions of the 29 of October 17831 and what is the answer.

I have the Pleasure to learn, by report only however that Mr Jay is appointed Minister of foreign Affairs and that Mr Jefferson is appointed to Madrid,2 and that Mr Johnson has received and transmitted to your Excellency, a Packet which probably contains an authentic Account, as it Seems to be posteriour to the Appointment, by being addressed only to your Excellency and to me.3 I Should be glad to know whether there is any Thing else of Consequence, and whether it appears to be the design and Expectation of Congress that I should join you, where you are.

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Franz Freiherr von Reischach, minister plenipotentiary of the Holy Roman Empire in the Netherlands: Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter, III, 82.

9JA had written to Thomas Mifflin on June 22 that several foreign ministers, including Reischach, had informed him that with the definitive treaty ratified, Congress should send a letter to all European governments giving formal notice of American independence. This, according to the diplomats, was standard practice. JA advised Mifflin on what the letter ought to say, and noted that the answers given by the various sovereigns would cause orders to be issued to all their representatives, official, civilian, and military, “to treat all Americans, Citizens of the United States according to their Characters”: Adams Papers, XVI, 243–4.

1The article instructed the peace commissioners to announce to Joseph II or one of his ministers the desire of the United States to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce: XLI, 154–5. Without waiting for BF’s reply, JA sent Reischach a copy of the article the following day: Adams Papers, XVI, 258–9.

2JA learned this from William Bingham, who had just received letters from Philadelphia informing him that TJ had been selected to replace Jay, who intended to return to America: Adams Papers, XVI, 251.

3Edmund Jenings wrote JA on June 23 about the arrival of this packet: Adams Papers, XVI, 246. It probably contained Mifflin’s letter of March 20, above, and its enclosures. Joshua Johnson had volunteered the previous year to forward mail for BF from London (XL, 424), but we have found no cover letter from him.

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