Adams Papers
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To John Adams from James Lovell, 17 December 1777

From James Lovell

[post 17 December 1777]

Decr. 2d.

Resolved that a Commission be made out for Mr. J. Adams similar to that heretofore granted to the Commissioners at the Court of France.1

The date of the Commissions upon the 27th. was an error of the Secretary. But He as well as the president and others think it of no consequence.

In Congress Decr. 17th. 1777

Resolved that Genl. Washington be directed to inform Genl. Burgoyne the Congress will not receive nor consider any Proposition, for Indulgence or altering the terms of the convention of Saratoga, unless immediately directed to their own Body.

I cannot find the letter of the 14th. of Novr. from Genl. W—which contained the Copy of Genl. B—’s to him requesting permission for himself if not his troops to embark at R Island.2 You must be so kind as to acknowledge from Paris to Mr. Dumas the Receipt of the following3

Copie of a Dispatch of the 14th: of June J
Do. 24th of June K
Do. 7th. of July L
Do. 2d of Augst. N
And you must mention to your Colleagues the impossibility of our making the interests of America coincide with Mr. De la Rocatelles4 just pretensions to rank compared with those of some foreigners now in our service with whose conduct we are satisfied.

It is not possible to get the absolute order mentioned by Dr. Franklin5 while so much stress is laid by some upon a genteel Figure polite address or to take up all a fine fellow. To say nothing of the honest Predilection of RHL and Mr. President for Foreigners.

This Gentleman wants an advance to bring over himself his wife 3 daughters and a Son—and to be sure Servants in proportion. Be obstinate, my good Friend.6

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter Mr Lovell to me”; in JA’s later hand: “December 1777.”

1JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 9:988.

2Burgoyne’s letter to Washington of 15 Dec. (not November, an inadvertence) provoked the congressional resolve of 17 Dec. (same, 9:1032).

3The four letters from Dumas are in PCC, No. 93, I, f. 76–95.

4Not identified.

5In a letter to Lovell of 7 Oct., Franklin remarked, “I wish we had an absolute order to give no Letter of Recommendation or even Introduction of the future to any foreign officer whatever” (Frankin, Writings, ed. Smyth description begins The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert Henry Smyth, New York and London, 1905–1907; 10 vols. description ends , 7:66).

6This final paragraph was written in the margin and was meant to apply to “De la Rocatelles.”

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