Adams Papers

To John Adams from the President of Congress, 10 January 1781

From the President of Congress

In Congress January 10: 1781


Congress consider your correspondence with the Count de Vergennes on the subject of communicating Your Plenipotentiary Powers to the Ministry of Great Britain as flowing from your Zeal and Assiduity in the service of your country: but I am directed to inform you that the Opinion given to you by that minister relative to the time and circumstances proper for communicating your powers and entering upon the execution of them is well founded.1

Congress have no expectations from the influence which the People of England may have on the british councils whatever may be the dispositions of that nation or their Magistrates towards these United States: Nor are they of Opinion that a change of Ministers would produce a change of measures, they therefore hope you will be very cautious of admitting Your measures to be influenced by presumptions of such events or their probable consequences.

I am, Sir, with great respect Your humble servant, (By order of Congress)

Sam. Huntington President

RC (Adams Papers).

1On 26 Dec. 1780 Congress received copies of eight letters that JA and the Comte de Vergennes exchanged the previous July dealing with the sufficiency of French aid and JA’s desire to execute his mission to negotiate Anglo-American peace and commercial treaties. These were JA’s letters of 13, 17, 21, 26, and 27 July (vol. 9:520–529; 10:1–4, 17–18, 42–51) and Vergennes’ of 20, 25, and 29 July (vol. 10:16–17, 32–42, 56–58). Congress was most concerned with JA’s of 17 and 26 July and Vergennes’ of 25 July dealing with JA’s mission and accordingly referred them to a committee, the report of which resulted in this letter (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774– 1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 18:1194; 19:41–42). For an overview of the correspondence between JA and Vergennes, see The Dispute with the Comte de Vergennes, 13–29 July 1780 (vol. 9:516–520).

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