Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Commissioners to Vergennes, 10 April 1778: résumé

The American Commissioners to Vergennes

ALS:6 Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères

<Passy, April 10, 1778: Mr. Adams, appointed by Congress to replace Mr. Deane, has arrived and will wait on you as soon as he recovers from his voyage.7 He came on a continental frigate, which took a prize with a cargo valued at £70,000. Congress is detaining Gen. Burgoyne and his army for a breach of the convention, and has more than 10,000 prisoners on its hands; the other British troops, short of provisions, are penned in New York and Philadelphia.

Mr. Adams brings the enclosed Congressional resolutions.8 They will probably discourage the British government from tempting us or Congress with offers of everything short of independence. We have given no encouragement to such overtures, and these resolutions make certain that Congress will not, especially after the treaties are known; Mr. Adams is confident of their immediate ratification.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6In BF’s hand. The letter is reproduced, as well as printed and annotated, in Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 25–7.

7On the evening of the 10th, when the commissioners were having supper with Chaumont, Charles-Jean Gamier and Jacques Batailhe de Francès arrived to say that it would be advisable for Adams to be presented to the Minister and Maurepas the next day. Lee was apparently not at the supper, for BF sent him word to join them the next morning for the visit to Versailles. WTF to Lee, April 10, APS; Butterfield, John Adams Diary, IV, 47–8.

8Congress had acted in response to rumors of an Anglo-American treaty, and had committed itself to reject any such treaty that did not recognize American independence or conflicted with any alliance that the U.S. might make: JCC, IX, 951–2.

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