Adams Papers

From John Adams to the Duc de La Vauguyon, 6 April 1781

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

Leyden <April 6> 1781


I have the Honour to acquaint your Excellency, that I have received from Congress a Commission, to their High Mightinesses with full Powers and Instructions to <treat with their high mightinesses, concerning> to conclude a Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

I have also received Letters of Credence as a Minister Plenipotentiary to <their High Mightinesses>, the states General, and to <his Most Serene Highness the> Prince of Orange,1 and have made all the Communication to <both that is in my> their high Mightinesses and to his most Serene Highness, that is in my Power, untill it is determined whether I shall be received or not.2

By the 10 Article of the Treaty of Alliance, between the King and the United States3

I do my self the Honour to communicate this to your Excellency for your Information, that if any Circumstances should occur, in which the United States may be of service to the common Cause, your Excellency may know where to apply, and that you may have an Opportunity of knowing the sentiments of his Majesty if you judge proper. I shall always be ready to concur with your Excellency whenever it is necessary or proper, that the United States should be made Parties, in any Transactions for the common Good. I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Consideration, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant

LbC (Adams Papers); notations at the top and bottom: “not sent nor copied.” When JA decided not to send this letter he drew a line through the text.

1JA incorporated the text to this point into his letter of 16 April to La Vauguyon, below.

2The second half of this paragraph indicates that JA considered announcing his commissions to the States General and William V without first seeking the advice of the French ambassador.

3JA presumably intended to insert here the text of Art. 10, which provided for admission to the alliance of other powers “who may have received injuries from England” (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:39). JA had long seen this provision as a means to persuade France to aid the U.S. in obtaining recognition and assistance from other powers. He had considered taking it up with La Vauguyon in a letter of 19 Feb., above, which he did not send, and would take it up in earnest in his letter of 1 May, below.

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