To Elbridge Gerry
Braintree Octr. 25. 1779
Yours of the 4. is before me.1 Mr. Dana, I think will accept. I have no personal Objection to either of the Gentlemen you mention.2 You know more of the political Character of one of them, than I do. With the other I never had any personal Misunderstanding. He has Abilities and he has had his Merit. But he has been in the Center of Disputes so much, that you must have learned perhaps more of his public Conduct than I have done, certainly enough to determine your Judgment.3 Mr. D and the D[octo]r are much attached to him; Mr. L. and Mr. , much against him.4 He has formerly written some Things well on the American Question. In France he wrote one good Thing. But he has had Connections in Change Alley, which in my Opinion ought to be renounced forever by him, if he is appointed to any Place, because I have no Imagination that any Thing can be concealed from Ld North, that is written to any one in Change Alley. I mention nothing of Religion nor Morals, for in these Respects, I suppose Objections are no stronger, than against others, whom it would be Blasphemy to Attack.5 I mention these Things in Confidence.
Pray let me know, what is become of my Accounts and Vouchers; and whether there are any Objections to, or Speculations about them.
RC (DLC, photostat in Gerry Papers). LbC (Adams Papers.)
2. According to Gerry’s letter of 12 Oct., these were Sir James Jay, John Jay’s brother, and Dr. Edward Bancroft. With the exception of the sentence immediately following, the remainder of this letter deals with Bancroft, who is described in terms similar to those used by JA in his Autobiography. There he indicates that the “one good Thing” that Bancroft wrote in France, which has not been otherwise identified, appeared in Affaires de l’Angleterre et de l’Amérique (Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 4:71–74).
3. In the Letterbook JA first ended his letter at this point. He then extended it through the sentence discussing “Change Alley,” and then again through “I mention these Things in Confidence.” Finally, he added the query about accounts and vouchers.
4. Silas Deane, Franklin, Arthur Lee, and probably Ralph Izard are intended here. In the Letterbook, immediately after the blank space left in place of the fourth name, “bitter” was lined out in favor of “much.”
5. That is, Franklin.