Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from John Adams, 14 December 1783

From John Adams

Copy: Massachusetts Historical Society

London Decr: 14th: 1783.


The Day before Yesterday, Mr. Boudinot called upon me, with Dispatches from the President of Congress, his Brother.5 There were two Letters addressed to the “Ministers” and these I opened but found little or Nothing but Duplicates of Dispatches, receiv’d by you before I left Auteuil.6

There are two letters, and one large Packet addressed to you,7 which I have the Honour to transmit by Mr: Little page.8

Mr: Jay and I are waiting, for Advices from your Excellency if this Packet or that by Captn: Jones contains a Commission to treat with Great Britain, it will be necessary that we should return, to Paris, or that you should come to London very soon—I am also very anxious to hear whether it is possible for you to Save Mr: Morris’s Bills at Amsterdam from a Protest for Non payment. If it is not, many Individuals will be disappointed, and the Catastrophe to American Credit must come on.

With the greatest Respect, I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedt:

His Excellency Benjn: Franklin Esqr:

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5Lewis Boudinot had arrived in Falmouth, England, at the end of September; see his letter to BF, Sept. 29. We do not know why it took so long for him to reach London.

6One surely was Elias Boudinot’s July 15 letter to the peace commissioners (XL, 301–8); the other probably was Boudinot’s June 16 letter to them (XL, 178–80).

7On the same day JA wrote the present letter, he wrote to Congress complaining that the dispatches addressed to “The Ministers” contained nothing but duplicates, “wereas a larger Packet addressed to Dr Franklin, leaves room to Suppose that it contains a Commission or other Papers for Us all.” He asked that in the future, anything of general importance be addressed to all the commissioners, so that he would be permitted to open it; this would avoid not only “inconveniencies,” as had happened in the past, but also the “greater Evil” that the present circumstance might cause: Adams Papers, XV, 423.

8Lewis Littlepage. The date of his arrival is unknown, but on Jan. 15, 1784, in a letter to WTF, he alluded to his “late residence in London” (APS).

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