Massachusetts Council to John Adams and Francis Dana
Council Chamber Boston January 13th. 1780
The General Assembly having for many Reasons, and for purposes appearing to Them advantagious, taken the Resolution to negociate a Loan of One hundred and fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling in Europe,1 to be conducted agreeable to the enclosed Instructions given to the Agent Jonathan Loring Austin Esqr. appointed for that purpose.2
The Success of this undertaking is important to This State, and We Wish to guard against every Event that may take place to defeat it. The Consequences in Case of his Death or Captivity, we design to guard against, by this Application to you. If he arrives he will want the Assistance of your Advice and Influence. If he does not, We beg you to undertake, and transact this Business (if consistent with your present Character and Engagements) otherwise appoint some suitable Person for that purpose—That the Expectations of this State be not disappointed, for which we consider this Letter as vesting either of you with sufficient Powers.
I am, In the Name & behalf of the Genl. Assembly With great Esteem, Gentn. Your most Obedt hble Servt
Jer: Powell Presidt
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Hon’ble John Adams & Francis Dana Esqrs. Paris”; notation: “(Public Service)”; docketed by John Thaxter: “President Powell to Mr. Adams & Mr. Dana 13th. Jany. 1780. Respecting a Loan for Massachusetts.”
1. Twenty thousand pounds were to be used to clothe the troops needed to fulfill Massachusetts’ quota for the Continental Army. An additional sum, not to exceed twenty thousand pounds, was to be spent on goods suitable for the Massachusetts market, both purchases to be sent in the ship Protector. The remaining amount of the loan was to be held for drawing bills of exchange against or for future purchase of goods (Mass., Province Laws description begins The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols. description ends , 21:326–327).
2. The enclosure has not been found, but Austin’s instructions are in same, 21:346–348. Austin was appointed on 11 Jan., and immediately set out for Europe, but was captured by a Jersey privateer, taken to England, and thrown into prison. He was soon released and by May was at Paris where he lodged with Francis Dana. It proving impossible to raise the needed loan, Austin returned to America in the fall of 1781 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends , 16:306).