The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. VIII
Author: Various
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Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818.








Steam Power Press—W. L. Lewis' Print.

No. 6, Congress Street, Boston.







Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, December 13th, 1781, 3

Military operations in the South.—Requests more frequent communications.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, February 2d, 1782, 5

State of affairs in the South.—New order introduced into the financial department.—Interest of Spain to attack Britain in America.—Apostacy of Mr Deane.

To Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, February 6th, 1782, 8

Correspondence interrupted and examined in the post-offices.

To the President of Congress. Madrid, February 6th, 1782, 10

Delays of the Spanish Court.—Thinks it advisable to demand a categorical answer.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 16th, 1782, 12

Capitulation of Fort St Philip.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 18th, 1782, 12

Encloses the articles of capitulation for Fort St Philip.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, March 8th, 1782, 13

Military operations in the South.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, April 27th, 1782, 14

General expectations from Spain.—Conduct of Spain towards America.—Spanish Claims on Great Britain and in America.—That Court can only secure the exclusive navigation of the Mississippi by an alliance with the United States.—The sums advanced by Spain to the United States will be repaid.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, April 28th, 1782, 20

State of the American military force.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, April 28th, 1782, 21

Difficulty of obtaining supplies.—Letter to Dr Franklin, (St Ildefonso, September 10th, 1781), requesting supplies of money to meet the bills drawn on him; new financial regulations of Mr Morris; they will probably spare him the necessity of making further demands.—Receives advances from M. Cabarrus.—Dr Franklin permits Mr Jay to draw on him.—The Court prepares to go to the Escurial.—Note from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca, informing him of his intention of returning to Madrid.—Reply of the Count de Florida Blanca to the preceding.—Complaint exhibited by the Count de Florida Blanca against Commodore Gillon, for retaining deserters from the Spanish service on board his vessel.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca, (Madrid, October 9th, 1781), acknowledging the justice of his demand of the surrender of the deserters, and enclosing a copy of his letter to Commodore Gillon on the subject; Mr Jay urges decisive measures relating to the negotiations with America.—Letter from Mr Jay to Commodore Gillon (Madrid, October 9th, 1781), advising the surrender of the deserters.—Receives a statement from Commodore Gillon, showing the charge against him to have been precipitate.—Representations of Colonel Searle against Commodore Gillon disproved by the Commodore.—Continued silence of the Spanish Minister.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, October 28th, 1781), representing the inconveniences of an ordinance requiring the legality of prizes brought into the Spanish ports, to be tried in the Court of Admiralty, whence the commission of the captors issued.—Receives no answer.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, November 6th, 1781), on the detention of the American privateer Cicero, with her prize, at Bilboa, on account of her firing into one of the King's cutters; statement of the case, which renders the firing justifiable.—Note from the Count de Florida Blanca to Mr Jay, declaring his statement to be incorrect, and insisting on satisfaction.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, November 12th, 1781), requesting a statement of the facts in the case of the Cicero, and the speedy release of the vessel.—Letter from the Count de Florida Blanca to Mr Jay, communicating an order for the release of the Cicero.—Card from Mr Jay on the subject.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, November 16th, 1781), urging the necessity of supplies.—Receives no answer.—Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, November 21st, 1781), requesting advances of money to meet the bills drawn on him.—Note from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca, requesting an interview.—Reply to the preceding note.—Receives no answer to a Memorial, which he transmits from Mr Harrison; experiences the same neglect in other similar cases.—Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca; the Count excuses the delays on account of the sickness of M. del Campo, and declines entering on any business.—M. del Campo has been appointed to confer with Mr Jay three months without Mr Jay's knowledge.—M. del Campo declines the conference, under pretence of ill health; and afterwards on the plea of want of instruction.—Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, December 31st, 1781), asking advances of money.—Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, January 11th, 1782), on the subject of advances.—Conference with the French Ambassador; Mr Jay complains of the delays of the Spanish Court; requests aid from France; declares his intention in case of protesting the bills, to assign as a reason, that he had placed too much confidence in his Catholic Majesty; the Ambassador advises patience.—Letter from Dr Franklin to Mr Jay (Passy, January 15th, 1782), enclosing a letter from the Count de Vergennes to Dr Franklin (Versailles, December 31st, 1781), promising to advance a million to him, if he is authorised to dispose of the Dutch loan.—Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, January 30th, 1782), on the subject of advances; important services of Dr Franklin.—Note from Mr Jay to M. del Campo (Madrid, February 1st, 1782), expressing his anxiety to enter upon the discussion of American affairs.—Reply of M. del Campo, regretting that the ill health of the Count de Florida Blanca has prevented the drawing up of his instructions.—Letter from Dr Franklin to Mr Jay (Passy, January 19th, 1782), stating the difficulties of obtaining further supplies in France; the Dutch loan principally anticipated; advises Mr Jay to demand an immediate and explicit answer to his proposition of a treaty, and solicit his recall in case of further delay.—Letter from M. Cabarrus to Mr Jay (Madrid, February 10th, 1782), requesting to know how he is to be reimbursed for his advances.—Mr Jay replies verbally to M. Cabarrus, that he can give him no positive assurances of immediate repayment, but has expectations from Dr Franklin.—The French Ambassador promises to represent to the Count de Florida Blanca, the critical situation of Mr Jay.—Letter from the Chevalier de Bourgoing to Mr Jay, communicating the reply of the Spanish Minister to the representations of the French Ambassador.—Note from Mr Jay to the Chevalier de Bourgoing, returning his thanks to the Ambassador.—Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, February 11th, 1782), on the subject of advances.—Mr Jay pays a visit to the Minister, who refers him to M. del Campo.—Evasions of M. del Campo.—Letter from M. Cabarrus to Mr Jay (Madrid, February 25th, 1782), transmitting accounts of his advances, and requesting repayment.—M. Cabarrus has a conference with the Minister, who refuses any new advances, and declares that the King is dissatisfied, that he has received no returns from America for his good offices.—Conference between Mr Jay and the French Ambassador.—Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, March 1st, 1782), on the subject of advances.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count de Florida Blanca (Madrid, March 2d, 1782), explaining the causes which have prevented returns on the part of the United States to the King's good offices; declares himself entirely without resources.—Note from Mr Jay to M. del Campo, enclosing the preceding letter.—Receives no answer to the above communications.—Mr Jay has an interview with the Minister, who laments the difficulty of raising money, but promises aid; conversation on the proposed treaty; the Minister promises to send M. Gardoqui to America.—Extract from the Madrid Gazette, giving an account of the capture of the Fort St Joseph by Spanish troops, who take possession of the country in the name of his Catholic Majesty.—The bills drawn on Mr Jay are presented.—Letter of Mr Jay to the Count del Florida Blanca (Madrid, March 14th, 1782), informing him that the bills have been presented, and requesting to know if he will afford any aid.—Note from Mr Jay to the French Ambassador, communicating the preceding letter.—Letter from the Count de Montmorin to Mr Jay, stating that the Count de Florida Blanca consents to become security for fifty thousand dollars, on condition M. Cabarrus remains in the same disposition.—M. Cabarrus refuses to abide by his former offer.—Mr Jay protests the bills.—Conversation with the French Ambassador on the subject.—Advices that the Parliament have counselled the cessation of offensive measures in America.—Letter from Dr Franklin to Mr Jay (Passy, March 16th, 1782), offering to meet the bills; thinks it best to pay off the whole sum due to Spain.—Letter from Mr Jay to Dr Franklin (Madrid, March 19th, 1782), acknowledging the supplies; proposals of a peace separate from France ought not to be listened to; approves of the plan of repaying Spain her advances.—M. Cabarrus wishes a reconciliation.—Letter from Mr Jay to M. Cabarras (Madrid, April 2d, 1782), in reply to his claims for gratitude; his conduct requires an apology.—M. Cabarras was the scape-goat of the Minister.—Messrs Drouilhet employed as American bankers.—Mr Jay does not wait on the Minister while the Court is at Madrid.—Receives an invitation to appear on Saturdays at the Minister's table.—No advantage to be gained by hastening a treaty with Spain.—Spain will be less easily satisfied than France in the articles of peace.—Mr Jay requests the French Ambassador to inquire if the card of invitation was intended for him.—The Minister declares it to have been left by mistake, but would be happy to see Mr Jay as a private gentleman.—Mr Jay doubts the truth of this declaration.—Letter from Mr Jay to the French Ambassador (Madrid, April 27th, 1782), stating his objections to appearing as a private gentleman at the Spanish Minister's dinners.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, May 9th, 1782, 105

General Carleton's attempts at a reconciliation.—Importance of securing Spain.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, May 14th, 1782, 110

Is summoned to Paris by Dr Franklin.

Robert R. Livingston, to John Jay. Philadelphia, June 23d, 1782, 111

Conduct of Spain in the West Indies.—The people will listen to no term of accommodation.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 25th, 1782, 113

Mr Jay arrives at Paris.—Visit to the Count de Vergennes.—Dr Franklin.—Siege of Gibraltar.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 28th, 1782, 115

Services of the Marquis de Lafayette.—Intentions of the British Ministry.—Inexpediency of any negotiations in America.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, July 6th, 1782, 117

Complains of the sending of British prisoners into the United States by Spain.—Remits Mr Jay's salary.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782, 119

Complains of want of information from American Ministers in Europe.—Symptoms of a change in the British conciliatory policy.—Importance of securing a direct trade with the West Indies.—This is also for the interest of the European holders of the islands.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Sept. 18th, 1782, 125

France wishes to postpone the acknowledgment of independence by England until the general peace, in order to preserve her influence over America.—France and Spain will dispute the western boundary.—Dr Franklin's views on the French policy.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, September 18th, 1782, 127

Enclosing certain resolutions of Congress.—The letters of the Commissioners are inspected on the passage.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Sept. 28th, 1782, 128

Mr Oswald receives a new commission, empowering him to treat with the thirteen United States of America.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Oct. 13th, 1782, 128

The French Court advised treating with Mr Oswald under his former commission.—Mr Jay refused.—The Count d'Aranda wishes to treat with Mr Jay without exchanging powers, and the French Court advises it.—Mr Jay declines.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 17th, 1782, 129

England appears disposed to evade the acknowledgement of independence.—Visit from Sir William Jones, who desires letters of recommendation for America.—Probable objects of his proposed visit.—Note from the Count de Vergennes to Dr Franklin, on Mr Oswald's powers.—Conference between the Count de Vergennes and Messrs Franklin and Jay; Mr Jay objects to treating with Mr Oswald, under a commission styling the United States Colonies; opinion of the Court assented to by Dr Franklin, that that was no ground of objection.—Conversation on the same subject between Dr Franklin and Mr Jay.—Extracts from the instructions to Sir Guy Carleton, transmitted by Lord Shelburne to Dr Franklin.—Conversation with Mr Oswald on this subject.—Form of a commission to Mr Oswald proposed by Mr Jay, recognising the colonies as independent States.—Further conversation with the Count de Vergennes on the same subject.—Extract of a letter from Mr Townshend to Mr Oswald (Whitehall, September 1st, 1782), declaring that the negotiations were intended to be carried on in Europe, and on the basis of unconditional independence.—Mr Jay, in conversation with Mr Oswald, points out the inconsistency of this with General Carleton's instructions, and attributes it to French influence; it is for the interest of England to treat with America as an independent State.—Letter from Mr Jay to Mr Oswald, stating his objections to his commission.—Dr Franklin objects to the letter.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count d'Aranda (Paris, June 25th, 1782), acquainting him with his readiness to enter upon the negotiations.—Letter from Count d'Aranda to Mr Jay (Paris, June 27th, 1782), expressing a wish to see him.—Conversation between Mr Jay and Count d'Aranda on the western boundary.—The Count sends Mr Jay his proposed boundary line.—Conversation with M. Rayneval, in which Mr Jay declines treating with the Count d'Aranda, without exchanging powers.—Mr Jay assures the Count d'Aranda that the Mississippi is the ultimatum of America; objections of the Count.—Letter from M. Rayneval to Mr Jay (Versailles, September 4th, 1782), requesting a visit from him.—Letter from M. Rayneval to Mr Jay (Versailles, September 6th, 1782), transmitting the following Memorial.—Memorial of M. Rayneval on the right of the United States to the navigation of the Mississippi.—Reflections of Mr Jay on this Memorial.—Letter from Mr Jay to the Count d'Aranda (Paris, September 10th, 1782), stating that he is not empowered to cede any countries belonging to the United States, but is ready to negotiate, with a Minister vested with equal powers, a treaty of amity and commerce.—Reply of the Count d'Aranda, declaring himself vested with ample powers to treat.—Visit of the Count d'Aranda to Versailles.—M. Rayneval goes to England.—Probable objects of his visit.—Conversation with Mr Vaughan on the subject of M. Rayneval's visit.—Mr Jay represents the expediency of treating with America on an equal footing; the inexpediency of attempting to exclude the Americans from the fisheries; and of restricting the western boundary and the navigation of the Mississippi.—Mr Vaughan goes to England to communicate these views to Lord Shelburne.—Proposed draft of a letter to the Count de Vergennes, containing objections to Mr Oswald's commission; it does not designate the United States by their proper title; it empowers him to treat with bodies not having authority to treat by the American constitution; it calls in question the independence of the United States; precedents from acts of Congress; America has treated with other powers as an independent State; precedents from other States under similar circumstances; detail of the history of the early negotiations of the United Provinces with Spain, showing that they treated with other powers on an equal footing, and refused to negotiate with Spain except in like manner; the independence exists in fact, and not as a grant from Great Britain.—Conversation between Mr Jay, the Count d'Aranda, and the Marquis de Lafayette, on the propriety of Spain's treating with America on an equal footing.—The Count de Vergennes states the object of M. Rayneval's visit to England to be, to judge of the real views of the English Ministry.—The claims of Spain to countries east of the Mississippi are of recent origin.—Conversation with M. Rayneval on this subject.—Mr Oswald receives a new commission, under which articles are agreed on.—Conversation between Messrs Jay and Franklin and M. Rayneval on the boundaries and fisheries.—The policy of the French Court is directed to prevent a cordial reconciliation between America and England, and thus to keep the United States dependent on France.

Observations of the Editor on the above letter, 208

Pointing out the misapprehensions of Mr Jay as to the objects of M. Rayneval's visit to England.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, November 23d, 1782, 212

Complains of want of information from the Ministers in Europe.—English Commissioners will meet with no success in America.—Mr Barlow's poem.—Mr Boudinot elected President of Congress.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Dec. 12th, 1782, 214

The negotiations with Spain are not begun.—Unanimity of the Commissioners on all points in the preliminaries.—Mr Adams's services relative to the eastern boundary.—Dr Franklin's services on the subject of the tories.

Robert R. Livingston to John Jay. Philadelphia, January 4th, 1783, 215

Policy of France towards America erroneously suspected—Reasons for this belief.—Marbois's letter on the fisheries.—The Spanish system of delay favorable to America by putting off negotiations till a more advantageous time for treating.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 7th, 1783, 222

The Spanish Ambassador informs him, that he will be honorably received at Madrid.—Services of M. de Lafayette.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 11th, 1783, 223

Change in the British Ministry.—Russia and Austria are invited to send mediatorial plenipotentiaries to assist at the definitive treaties.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, April 22d, 1783, 224

Spain and England may form a league to secure their American possessions against the United States.—Meaning of the mutual guarantee between Spain and the United States, of their possessions.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, May 30th, 1783, 226

Proposes Mr Adams as the most suitable Minister to Great Britain.

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, June 1st, 1783, 227

Progress of the negotiations.—Settlement of his accounts.

To Robert R. Livingston. Passy, July 20th, 1783, 229

Reasons for resigning his commission to the Spanish Court.

To the President of Congress. New York, July 25th, 1784, 230

Explains the manner in which some bills drawn on him were twice paid.—British and American ratifications of the treaty of peace exchanged.


To the President of Congress. Paris, August 10th, 1780, 239

Forwarding certain papers.

To the President of Congress. Paris, August 24th, 1780, 240

Forwarding letters of Mr Adams, who is absent in the Low Countries.

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, September 20th, 1780, 241

Receives despatches from Congress by Mr Searle, and sets off in consequence for the Low Countries.—Suspicions entertained in Holland, that the United States have granted exclusive privileges in commerce to France.

Commission to Francis Dana, referred to in the preceding letter, 243

Empowering him to obtain a loan in Holland, in case Mr Adams should be prevented from attending to it.

To Jonathan Jackson. Amsterdam, November 11th, 1780, 244

Capture and confinement of Mr Laurens.—Intemperate Memorial of Sir J. Yorke on the discovery of a plan of a treaty, drawn up by Mr W. Lee and the Regency of Amsterdam.—Naval forces of Holland.

Instructions to Francis Dana, as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St Petersburg. In Congress, December 19th, 1780, 247

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Paris, February 16th, 1781, 252

Mr Adams has not obtained a loan in Holland.—Resolutions of Congress relative to the Russian declaration.

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 24th, 1781, 254

Dr Franklin advises the communication of his commission to the Count de Vergennes, and to the Russian Court.—Objections to the latter part of his advice.—No provision is made for any secretary or clerk to assist him.

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 28th, 1781, 258

Dr Franklin coincides in his objections to communicating his mission to Russia.—Desires to be kept informed of the state of affairs in America.

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, March 31st, 1781, 259

Communicating the objects of his mission to St Petersburg.—Intends to appear only as a private citizen.

To the President of Congress. Paris, March 31st, 1781, 261

Manner of communicating his mission to the Count de Vergennes.

Count de Vergennes to Francis Dana. Versailles, April 1st, 1781, 263

Requests an interview with him relative to his mission.

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, April 2d, 1781, 263

Mr Dana will wait on the Count before setting out for Russia.

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 2d, 1781, 264

Delayed by the proposed interview with the Count de Vergennes.—Impolicy of making the communication.—Is determined to proceed to Holland and consult with Mr Adams at all events.

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 4th, 1781, 265

Conference with the Count de Vergennes on the subject of his mission to Russia.—The Count advises him to communicate his intention to the Russian Minister at the Hague.

To B. Franklin. Paris, April 6th, 1781, 268

Requests Dr Franklin's opinion, in writing, of the sentiments of the Count de Vergennes, and of his own opinion on the mission.—Intends to consult Mr Adams on the subject.

B. Franklin to Francis Dana. Passy, April 7th, 1781, 270

Thinks the Count de Vergennes made no objection to his going.—Dr Franklin thinks it expedient for him to go.

To John Adams. Leyden, April 18th, 1781, 272

Requesting his opinion as to the character under which he should go to Russia, and as to the propriety of communicating with the Prince Gallitzin on the subject.

John Adams to Francis Dana. Leyden, April 18th, 1781, 273

Advises him to proceed to Russia, without assuming any distinction of character, and without communicating his intention to the Prince Gallitzin or the Russian Court.—The resolutions of Congress on neutral rights ought to be communicated.—The United States should be represented in all countries of Europe.

To Edmund Jennings. Amsterdam, April 26th, 1781, 277

Requesting him to join him on his mission.

Edmund Jennings to Francis Dana. Brussels, May 3d, 1781, 278

Accepts of the invitation to join him.

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 13th, 1781, 278

Corrects some mistakes in Dr Franklin's account of the conference with the Count de Vergennes.—Objections to consulting the Russian Ambassador at the Hague.—Mr Jennings.

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 20th, 1781, 281

Transmitting certain papers.

To the President of Congress. Berlin, July 28th, 1781, 282

Delay on account of Mr Jennings, who finally declines accompanying him on his route.—Policy of the European powers.—Minutes of the Memorial of the French Ambassador to Count Ostermann, relative to the violations of neutrality by the English.—It is important to discover the real sentiments of Russia toward America.—Expects no support from the French Minister at St Petersburg, it being the interest of France not to render America less dependent by gaining new friends.

To the Marquis de Verac, French Minister at St Petersburg. St Petersburg, Aug. 30th, 1781, 289

Apprising the Minister of his arrival.

The Marquis de Verac to Francis Dana. Thursday, August 30th, 1781, 290

Expresses his satisfaction on Mr Dana's arrival.

To the Marquis de Verac, Ambassador from France. St Petersburg, September 1st, 1781, 290

Acquainting him with his commission, and his instructions to communicate with the French Minister at the Russian Court.

The Marquis de Verac to Francis Dana. St Petersburg, September 2d, 1781, 291

The Court of Russia has maintained a strict neutrality between the belligerent powers, and may be unwilling to receive an American Minister, as it would give rise to complaints of favor for the American cause.—Plan of a mediatorial Congress at which the United States will be represented.

To the Marquis de Verac. St Petersburg, September 4th, 1781, 294

Considerations on the policy pursued by Russia towards the belligerents.—The admission of an American Minister to the proposed mediatorial Congress would be an acknowledgment of independence.—The present is a favorable opportunity for establishing freedom of commerce and navigation for all nations.—Reasons which render it proper to assume his public character.

The Marquis de Verac to Francis Dana. St Petersburg, September 12th, 1781, 300

The American Minister at the proposed Congress is intended to treat only with England, and is not therefore to be admitted as the representative of an independent power, unless after consent of England.—Objections to Mr Dana's assumption of his public character.

To the Marquis de Verac. St Petersburg, September 13th, 1781, 304

Thanking him for his information and advice.

To the President of Congress. St Petersburg, September 15th, 1781, 305

Commerce of the southern shore of the Baltic.—The objections of the French Ambassador to his assumption of a public character are unsatisfactory.—Reasons drawn from the terms of the proposition of mediation, prove that the mediators intended to treat America as independent.—The mediators expected this proposition would be rejected by England, and would thus leave them to treat more decidedly with the United States.—If the Empress will not receive a Minister from America it had better be known at once.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, October 1st, 1781, 312

Article in the project of a treaty proposed by France to Russia, stipulating, that French goods exchanged in Russia for the productions of the country shall be entitled to a drawback.—Reason given for this proposition, that otherwise France could obtain the same articles in America, and create a market for French manufactures there.

To the President of Congress. St Petersburg, October 15th, 1781, 314

Receives a copy of the propositions of mediation and of the French answer.—Confirmed by these documents in his former opinion, that the United States were to be treated as independent.—Has been informed, that one of the objects of the armed neutrality was a general pacification on the basis of American independence.—This plan was obstructed by the delays of Holland.—Count Panin.—Expectations from the neutral confederation.—The plan of a general pacification founded on a desire to preserve the balance of power by sea.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, October 22d, 1781, 319

Announcing the appointment of a Secretary of Foreign Affairs.—Successes in the south.—Encloses resolutions of Congress relative to the propositions of the Empress of Russia, respecting the rights of neutrals.

To William Ellery. St Petersburg, January 17th, 1782, 323

Different offers of mediation by Russia.—Effect of the American revolution on the policy of the European powers.—Jealousy of American commerce in Russia.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana, Philadelphia, March 2d, 1782, 325

The cause of the United States may be served by representations of their actual condition.—Military operations in America.—Financial concerns.—Ordinance relating to captures.—Requests frequent communications.

To Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. St Petersburg, March 5th, 1782, 330

Congratulations on his appointment.—The capture of Lord Cornwallis has satisfied Europe, that England cannot succeed in recovering the United States.—The Empress's offer of mediation will prevent her from favoring the United States.—Another campaign must be expected.—State of the neutral confederation.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 30th, 1782, 336

The depressed condition of England may lead her to accept the mediation, to which the French and Spanish Courts will accede, on condition of the presence of the Ministers of the United States.—Schemes of Austria and Russia for extending their commerce on the Black Sea.—These plans may injure the American cause by directing the attention of Russia to a different quarter.—Account of Russian commerce.

To John Adams. St Petersburg, April 23d, 1782, 341

Congratulates him on his success in Holland.—Favorable opportunity for the maritime powers to secure the commerce with America.—Delays on their part may produce a separate pacification between Britain and the United States.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May 10th, 1782, 345

Reasons which should prevent him from assuming a public character.—Absurdity of supposing, that France would go to war for the independence of America, and then oppose the recognition of it.—Congress still adhere to their instructions on this point.—Desires him to write frequently.—State of the military in America.—Sir Guy Carleton succeeds General Clinton.—Attempts of England to gain over America to a reconciliation entirely without success.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May 22d, 1782, 350

The change of administration in England has produced no change of feeling in America.—Congress refuses a passport to General Carleton's Secretary.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May 29th, 1782, 352

Transmitting letters of earlier date.—Ten thousand British prisoners in America, which the English refuse to ransom.—The Germans will be sold for three years.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 28th, 1782, 352

The Marquis de Verac advises against disclosing his character, notwithstanding the chances in the British Ministry.—Reflections drawn up by Mr Dana without signature, and communicated indirectly to the Russian Cabinet, showing that the commerce of Russia will not suffer by the independence of America.—Difficulties of transmission prevent frequent communications.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, August 30th, 1782, 362

The only safe channel of communication with him is through Holland.—The Russian Court is fully convinced that the independence of the United States is permanently established.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, September 5th, 1782, 364

The Empress is prevented, by her desire of acting as mediator, from taking any decisive measures in favor of the United States.—The belligerent powers were never intended to be parties to the marine convention.—Custom at Russian court for a power entering into a treaty with Russia to pay six thousand rubles to each of the four Ministers.—Portugal accedes to the armed neutrality.—Rank of diplomatic agents.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, September 18th, 1782, 369

Complains of want of information as to his proceedings.—Military operations in America.—Changes of measures in consequence of the changes of administrations in England.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, September 23d, 1782, 371

Russia will not make any advances towards America.—The Russian Cabinet.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, September 29th, 1782, 373

Russian commerce.—Apprehensions in Russia, that the United States may interfere with that country, particularly in the articles of hemp and iron.—Considerations showing the groundlessness of these fears.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, October 14th, 1782, 379

Projects of Russia on Turkey.—Anglican character of the Russian Cabinet.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, November 1st, 1782, 382

Project for supplying Russia with West India goods by American vessels.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, November 7th, 1782, 384

Encloses resolutions of Congress, directing the foreign Ministers of the United States to transmit frequent communications.—Also resolutions, declaring the intention of Congress not to conclude a peace without their allies.—State of affairs in the United States.—Mr Boudinot elected President of Congress.—Provisions for the payment of the salaries of the Ministers.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, November 18th, 1782, 387

The British Commissioner having received powers to treat with those of the United States, Mr Dana proposes to make known his public character.—The Marquis de Verac opposes this intention.—Advantages of the measure.—Sums to be paid to the Russian Ministers in case of a treaty.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, December 17th, 1782, 391

Military operations of the preceding campaign.—General Carleton's attempts at negotiation.—Spirit of the people.—Flourishing State of commerce.—State of the circulating medium.—Success of the bank.—Condition of the finances.—Formation of the State governments.—General tranquillity.—Insurrection in Massachusetts represented as the revolt of New England.—Character of Congress.—Transmits the constitutions.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, December 21st, 1782, 398

Opportunities on which the communications of his powers seemed proper.—Circumstances which render it expedient.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, December 27th, 1782, 402

Intends to return to America as soon as a commercial treaty with Russia shall be completed.—Reasons for this measure.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, December 30th, 1782, 404

Advantages of postponing the conclusion of a commercial treaty with Russia.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 3d, 1783, 406

Treaty between Denmark and Russia on the principles of the Marine Convention.—The Marine Convention itself is limited to the duration of the present war.

To the Commissioners of the United States at Paris. St Petersburg, January 14th, 1783, 408

Congratulations on the conclusion of the preliminary treaty.—The French Ambassador thinks his admission would be delayed, if not refused.

To John Adams. St Petersburg, Jan. 15th, 1783, 409

Is prevented by his instructions from communicating his mission.—The attention of Russia is turned chiefly to the east.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 15th, 1783, 411

Delays the communication of his mission in compliance with the opinion of the French Ambassador.—State of affairs between Russia and Turkey.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, January 31st, 1783, 413

Dr Franklin promises to advance the money necessary to conclude the treaty with Russia.—Intends to return to America.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, February 10th, 1783, 414

High standing of America in Europe.—A direct intercourse between the West Indies and the United States ought to be secured.—Plan of Portugal to establish factories in America.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, February 25th, 1783, 417

The French Ambassador advises him not to communicate his mission until the formal announcement of the signing of the preliminaries by the British Minister.—Intends to draw on Dr Franklin for the expenses of the treaty.

Mr Dana's Communication of his Mission to Count Ostermann. St Petersburg, March 7th, 1783, 419

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 7th, 1783, 420

Communicates his mission without the advice of the French Ambassador, on assurances of reception from the Russian Cabinet.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 12th, 1783, 420

Conversation with one of the Russian Cabinet, who declares there will be no impediment to his reception.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, March 21st, 1783, 422

Importance of a direct intercourse with the West Indies.—Intends to return to the United States.—Insufficiency of the appointment for a Minister at the Russian Court.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, April 17th, 1783, 424

Has yet received no answer to his communication of his mission.—Intends to renew his application for an audience.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, April 22d, 1783, 427

Enclosing a copy of his second letter to Count Ostermann, requesting to know the pleasure of the Empress on the subject of his mission.—Is informed that an objection will be made to his letter of credence, on the ground, that it bears date prior to the acknowledgment of the independence of the United States by Great Britain.—Reasons which should prevent Congress from granting new letters on that account.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, April 25th, 1783, 430

Interview with Count Ostermann, who declares that the Empress could not receive a Minister from the United States till the conclusion of the definitive treaty between the belligerents; that she could not then receive one whose letter of credence was dated prior to the acknowledgment of their independence by Great Britain, nor prior to her own acknowledgment of it, nor previous to the reception of an American Minister by Great Britain.—The Count declines delivering these objections in writing.—Mr Dana replies to these objections.—Is advised to send a memorial to the Vice Chancellor, showing the fallacy of his objections to Mr Dana's reception.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May 1st, 1783, 436

Enclosing resolutions recalling Mr Dana.—Mr Dana has no power to sign a commercial treaty, and there can be no advantage in joining the Marine Convention.

To Count Ostermann. St Petersburg, May 8th, 1783, 438

Enclosing a Memorial to Count Ostermann, containing the objections of the Count to the reception of an American Minister, with Mr Dana's replies.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 9th, 1783, 449

Transmitting his Memorial to Count Ostermann.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 9th, 1783, 449

Reasons for presenting his Memorial as containing only his private sentiments.—Intention of returning.—Effect of the acceptance of the mediation of Russia by the belligerent powers on the present policy of the Empress.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 13th, 1783, 451

Absurdity of the objections on the part of Russia, to the immediate reception of an American Minister.—The other neutral powers are desirous of forming connexions with the United States.—In case no answer is returned, intends leaving Petersburg for Stockholm.

To John Adams. St Petersburg, May 15th, 1783, 453

Objections to his reception.—Congress ought not to consent to issue new letters of credence of later date.

Robert R. Livingston to Francis Dana. Philadelphia, May 27th, 1783, 455

Transmitting resolutions of Congress, directing that the commercial treaty with Russia be limited to fifteen years, and be subject to the approbation of Congress.—Requesting information on the condition of Russia.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, May 30th, 1783, 457

Prepares another letter to the Vice Chancellor, desiring an answer to his Memorial.—A promise of an answer prevents the sending of this letter.—In case his reception is not determined on, intends to leave the country.—Prospect of a war between Russia and Turkey.—Russia has become mistress of the Black Sea.—Rumored project of the House of Bourbon to render the Mediterranean a privileged sea by a confederation of the powers occupying its shores.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 6th, 1783, 459

Answer to his Memorial not given as promised.—The delay is probably caused by the expectation of the conclusion of the definitive treaty.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 17th, 1783, 460

Has an audience of Count Ostermann, who explains away his former objections.—Written answer of the Count, stating that Mr Dana shall be received when the definitive treaties are concluded.—Answer of Mr Dana to the note of Count Ostermann.—Reasons for not transmitting more full information relative to Russia.

Mr Dana's plan of a Commercial Treaty between Russia and the United States, 466

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, June 24th, 1783, 495

Prospect of a war between Russia and the Porte.—American vessels in Russian ports.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, July 1st, 1783, 497

Visit of the Empress to the King of Sweden.—Forces of the two powers on their mutual boundary.—Prospect of a war with Turkey, and probable consequences.—Changes of the corps diplomatique at the Court of St Petersburg.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, July 8th, 1783, 499

Alliance, offensive and defensive, of Austria and Russia against Turkey.—Probable policy of the other powers.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, July 27th, 1783, 501

Having received the resolutions of Congress, permitting his return, he will not wait for an audience.—Conceives his instructions direct him to conclude a commercial treaty with Russia.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, August 8th, 1783, 504

Informs Count Ostermann of his intention to return.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Petersburg, August 17th, 1783, 505

Encloses his letter to Count Ostermann, stating ill health to be the cause of his departure.—Interview with Count Ostermann relative to his return.

To the President of Congress. Cambridge, December 17th, 1783, 510

Announcing his return.











* * * * *


Philadelphia, December 13th, 1781.

Dear Sir,

My last letter of the 28th of November, sent by the Marquis de Lafayette, must for the most part have been unintelligible to you, owing to an unfortunate mistake of Mr Thompson, who delivered me a cypher sent by Mr Palfrey, which you never received, instead of that sent by Major Franks. The duplicate enclosed is in the last, so that you will no longer be at a loss for my meaning. Since the date of that letter the enemy have thought it prudent to abandon Wilmington, in North Carolina. This port was extremely important to them, not only as it checked the trade of that State, but as it directly communicated with the disaffected counties. For it must be confessed, that though in other parts of the continent they had only well wishers, in North Carolina they had active partisans. These they have left to the mercy of their country, and abandoned as disgracefully as the capitulation of York did those of Virginia. It is not improbable, that when General St Clair joins the southern army, the enemy will evacuate Savannah, as they are at present extremely weak there; and unless they reinforce from New York, may be attacked with a prospect of success.

Your letter of the 20th of September has been received and read in Congress. They have not been pleased to direct any particular answer thereto, so that you are to consider it as their wish, that you execute the commission with which they have intrusted you.

You will see that I neglect no opportunity of writing. I flatter myself that you will be equally attentive to let us hear from you. It is not without some degree of pain, that we receive our earliest intelligence frequently from the Minister of France. I know you may retort upon us with too much justice, but I hope to give you less reason to do so in future. I send a packet of newspapers with this. I sent another sometime ago. I hope they may reach you. In one of them you will find an ordinance of Congress, which comprizes all their resolutions with respect to captures; and forfeits all British goods, which have not been taken, as prizes. Perhaps this may make some arrangements with the Court of Spain necessary; that is, if any prize goods are re-shipped from thence to America.

I am, my Dear Sir, with the greatest esteem and regard, &c.


* * * * *


Philadelphia, February 2d, 1782.

Dear Sir,

Having heard that a vessel is soon to go to Cadiz from Baltimore, I embrace the opportunity to send a quadruplicate of my last letter, and to add thereto the little information which this inactive season affords. Nothing passes here between the armies; they are cantoned at a distance from each other. The enemy is secure from attack by the nature of their situation; and we by our numbers, our success, and the apprehensions of Sir Henry. We turn our faces therefore to the south, and expect from the enterprize of General Greene an activity, which the season will not admit of here.

I had a letter from him of 13th of December, which contains the latest advices. His camp is at Round O. He writes in high spirits, and assures me he is preparing for the siege of Charleston, which he is not without hopes of carrying even before any foreign assistance can arrive. I must confess for my own part, notwithstanding the natural coolness of General Greene, that I believe he is much too sanguine on this occasion; for I have no conception that his means are adequate to so important an object, more especially as troops have since the date of his letter sailed from New York, as I suppose for Charleston.

The governments of Georgia and Carolina are again established, and their legislatures are now sitting. The detestation of the people for the British can hardly be conceived. General Greene's letter expresses it in the following words; "The tyrants of Syracuse were never more detested than the British army in this country; even the slaves rejoice, and find a kind of temporary freedom from oppression on the return of their masters."

I congratulate you upon the capture of St Eustatia and St Martin's. The enterprise does the highest honor to the abilities and spirit of the Marquis de Bouille; and his disinterested generosity is finely contrasted with the sordid avarice of the British commanders.

Order and economy have taken place in our finances. The troops are regularly clothed and fed at West Point, and most of the other posts, at the moderate rate of ninepence a ration when issued, so that the innumerable band of purchasing and issuing commissaries is discharged. The hospitals are well supplied in the same way, and small advances of pay are made to the officers and men. Upon the whole, they were never in so comfortable a situation as they are at present. Our civil list formed upon plans of the strictest economy, after having been many years in arrear, is now regularly paid off; and the departments, in consequence of it, filled with men of integrity and abilities. Embargoes and other restrictions being removed, our commerce begins to revive, and with it the spirit of industry and enterprise; and what will astonish you still more is, that public credit has again reared its head. Our bank paper is in equal estimation with specie. Nothing can be more agreeable than to see the satisfaction with which people bring their money to the bank, and take out paper; or the joy mixed with surprise with which some, who have hesitatingly taken bank bills for the first time, see that they can turn them into specie at their option.

Whether Spain wishes for peace or war, it is certainly her interest to push the enemy where they are most vulnerable, and where she can do it with the smallest expense to herself, and the greatest to her enemy. Every additional man she enables us to maintain here, forces Britain to lay out four times as much in procuring, transporting, and feeding another to oppose him. It has been acknowledged in the British House of Commons, that every man in America costs the nation annually one hundred pounds sterling. Though this may appear exorbitant, yet whoever reflects on the first expense of raising and transporting a regiment, and the additional charge of sending over recruits to make up deficiencies, and that of sending provisions to an army and its innumerable dependants three thousand miles, will think it deserves some degree of credit. It is obvious then as nations are only strong in proportion to the money they can command, that every thousand men we oblige the British to maintain here must make a diminution of their strength in some other quarter, equal to three times that number.

Enclosed you have copies of two original letters from Mr Deane, in which he acknowledges others that Rivington has published, which speak a still more dangerous language. No doubt is entertained here of his apostacy, or of his endeavor to weaken the efforts of the United States, and to traduce the character of the people and their rulers, both in Europe and America. You will doubtless use every means in your power to destroy the ill effects, which his calumnies may have had upon the minds of people with you. I enclose you the gazettes, and again entreat you to let us hear from you more frequently, and to leave letters at all times at Cadiz, and in the hands of our Consul in France, so that no vessel may sail without bringing us some intelligence. The last letter we had from you is dated in September, near five months ago. I dare say this has been owing to some accidental cause, and I only mention it, that you may guard against it by writing more frequently in future, as the silence of our Ministers excites more uneasiness here than you can conceive. Pray send me, when no other subject presents itself, and you have leisure, a sketch of the government of Spain, and the present state of its trade, marine, military establishments, commerce, revenues, and agriculture.

I could also wish to have the Madrid Gazette, and Mercury, and the Court Kalendar of this year. I have the pleasure of informing you, that your friends here are well, and as numerous as ever.

I am, my dear Sir, with those sentiments of esteem and friendship, which I shall always feel for you, your most obedient humble servant,


* * * * *


Madrid, February 6th, 1782.

Dear Sir,

The Secretary of the Minister of State sent me yesterday morning your favor of the 13th of December last, accompanied by various papers.

These are the first letters or papers of any kind, that I have as yet had the pleasure of receiving from you since your appointment; and they must for the present remain unintelligible for the want of your cypher. The one mentioned to have been enclosed with these papers is missing, and the other never came to hand.

On the 29th of November last, I received a packet, in which I found enclosed a set of cyphers endorsed by Mr Secretary Thomson, and nothing else. Mr Barclay had sent it by the post, under cover to a banker here. It had evident marks of inspection, but I acquit the banker of any hand in it.

A letter of the 18th ult. from Mr Joshua Johnson, at Nantes, mentions the arrival there of the brig Betsey, from Philadelphia, and that she brought letters for me, which were put into the post-office by the captain. I have not yet seen them.

There are letters in town, brought by the Marquis de Lafayette to France; but I have not yet received a line by or from him.

We must do like other nations; manage our correspondences in important cases by couriers, and not by the post.

I have not written you a single official letter, not having been ascertained of your having entered on the execution of your office. I have, indeed, sent you by more than one opportunity my congratulations on your appointment.

You may rely on my writing you many letters, private as well as official, and as I still have confidence in Mr R. Morris's cypher, I shall sometimes use it to you.

A duplicate of my letter of the 3d of October to Congress, which goes with this, renders it unnecessary for me to go into particulars at present. Nothing having since happened but a repetition of delays, and, of consequence, additional dangers to the credit of our bills.

I am, dear Sir, &c.


* * * * *


Madrid, February 6th, 1782.


My last particular letter to your Excellency was dated the 3d of October last, by Major Franks. I now transmit a duplicate of it by Mr Stephen Codman, a young gentleman of Boston, who is passing through this city to Cadiz, from whence he will either be the bearer of it himself to America, or forward it by some person of confidence.

From the date of that letter to this day, the Minister has found it convenient to continue the system of delay mentioned in it. I have not been able to obtain anything more than excuses for procrastination, and these excuses are uniformly want of health, or want of time.

There is little prospect of our receiving speedy aids from this Court, and Dr Franklin gives me reason to fear, that a great number of the bills drawn upon me must, after all our exertions to save them, be finally protested for non-payment. I have, from time to time, given the Doctor a great deal of trouble on this subject, and I ought to acknowledge, that I am under many and great obligations to him for his constant attention to our affairs here.

As soon as I get a little better of the rheumatism, with which I am now, and have for sometime past been much afflicted, I shall write your Excellency another long and particular letter.

I have just received, through the hands of the Minister's Secretary, a letter from Mr Livingston, dated the 13th of December, marked No. 3. It is in cypher, but I cannot read it, nor a duplicate of No. 2, enclosed in it, for want of a key, which, though mentioned to have been enclosed, is missing. None of his other letters have reached me. A duplicate of Mr Thomson's cypher, brought by Mr Barclay, came to me through the post-office with such evident marks of inspection, that it would be imprudent to use it hereafter.

Notwithstanding all our difficulties here, I think we should continue to oppose obstacles by perseverance and patience, and my recall should rather be the result of cool policy than of resentment. I am somewhat inclined to think, that it may become politic to suspend it on the reply of the Court to a demand of a categorical answer. Unless the Minister's system should change, (for they still give me hopes) it might perhaps also be proper for me to consult with Dr Franklin and Mr Adams on the subject, and send Congress the result. For this purpose, I submit to Congress the propriety of giving me permission to go to France or Holland.

Advantages are certainly to be derived from preserving the appearance of being well here; and such is the general opinion at present. But I am still much inclined to think it advisable to push this Court by a demand of a categorical answer. I doubt their venturing to break with us. The French Ambassador thinks it would be rash, and opposes it. Hence principally arises my suspense.

I have the honor to be, &c.


* * * * *


Madrid, February 16th, 1782.

Dear Sir,

No letters by the Marquis de Lafayette have as yet reached me. I had the honor of writing to you on the 6th and 13th instant.

We were yesterday informed, and so the fact is, that the Castle of St Philip surrendered by capitulation to the Duc de Crillon, on the 4th instant. There was no breach made, nor any of the out-works taken. The garrison are to go to England and remain prisoners of war till exchanged.

I am to go to the Pardo this evening. There I shall learn some further details from the Minister. If I return sufficiently early for the post, they shall be subjoined.

Things look better just at present; but my sky has hitherto been so like an April one, that I dare not as yet flatter you or myself with settled fair weather.

I am, Dear Sir, with great esteem and regard, &c.


* * * * *


Madrid, February 18th, 1782.

Dear Sir,

I wrote to you a short letter on the 16th instant. I have procured a copy of the gazette to be published tomorrow, and I send enclosed as much of it as contains the articles of capitulation for Fort St Philip. This event takes place very opportunely, and will have a fine effect in England. Things begin to look more promising; but I avoid particulars for a week or two, that I may have a better opportunity of judging what reliance may be placed in present appearances.

With great esteem and regard, I am, Dear Sir, &c.


P. S. Not a letter yet by the Marquis de Lafayette.

* * * * *


Philadelphia, March 8th, 1782.

Dear Sir,

I shall leave town tomorrow, and be absent a few weeks. I do not care to do it without letting you know, that we have nothing worth telling you. For want of positive, you must be content with negative information, which sometimes has its use, and failing of any other at least serves to provoke an answer, and makes those to whom it is addressed ashamed of their silence, when they can collect anything to communicate. I just now learn that General Greene has moved to the Quarter House, five miles from Charleston, and detached a part of his army to Georgia. The enemy have evacuated all the outposts they held in that State, and retired into Savannah. It is imagined that they will shortly evacuate and concentre their forces at New York. Empty transports have sailed from the latter place, but whether to bring away the troops from Charleston I cannot say. We are extremely anxious to hear the event of a battle, which has been fought in the West Indies between the fleets, but of which we know nothing certain.

Enclosed you have a copy of a letter from Mr Pollock, who is well acquainted with the country about the Mississippi; it contains some information which may be of use to you. I also enclose you sundry resolutions of Congress, organizing the office of Foreign Affairs, from which you will learn the extent of my powers, and not be misled by supposing them greater than they are.

I am, Dear Sir, with great esteem and affection,


* * * * *


Philadelphia, April 27th, 1782.

Dear Sir,

I informed you in my letter of the 16th instant,[1] that yours of the 3d of October had been received and submitted to Congress in my absence, and, as I had then reason to think, that it would be answered by them. This I wished because I was persuaded it would express their approbation of your conduct, and afford you that intimate knowledge of their sentiments, which the delicacy of your situation renders particularly important. They have, however, judged it proper to refer the letter to me. I shall endeavor to preserve the advantages I have mentioned to you, by reporting this answer.

Acquainted with the expectations of Congress, and the grounds on which they formed them, you will easily believe, that they are equally surprised and concerned at the little attention hitherto shown by Spain to their respectful solicitations. They had learned from every quarter that his Catholic Majesty, among the princely virtues he possesses, was particularly distinguished for his candor, and that open dignity of character, which is the result of having no views that he found any reluctance in disclosing; and that the Ministers in whom he confided, breathing the spirit of the Prince, were above those artifices, which form the politics of inferior powers. They knew the insults which Spain had received from Great Britain, and they could conceive no reason why she should conceal or refuse to return them by supporting openly the people, whom Britain unjustly endeavored to oppress. These principles, confirmed by the frequent recommendations of those whom they believed to be acquainted with the sentiment of the Court of Madrid, induced them to send a Minister to solicit the favorable attention of his Catholic Majesty to a people who were struggling with oppression, and whose success or miscarriage could not but be important to a sovereign, who held extensive dominions in their vicinity. Give me leave to add, Sir, that in the choice of the person, they were not inattentive to the dignity of the Court; or to the candor and integrity by which they were supposed to be influenced. I would not have you infer from what I have said, that the favorable sentiments, which the United States have hitherto entertained of the Court of Madrid, have undergone the least alteration. They are satisfied that nothing would be more injurious to both nations, than to permit the seeds of distrust or jealousy to be sown among them.

But though those who are well informed feel no abatement of respect or esteem for the virtue and magnanimity of his Majesty, and do full justice to the integrity and abilities of his Ministers, accepting the apologies you mention, and attributing to their true causes the delays and neglects you have unhappily experienced, yet they are in the utmost pain, lest they should work some change in the sentiments of the people at large, in whom with us the sovereignty resides, and from thence diffuse themselves into the government, and be productive of measures ruinous to that friendly intercourse, that spirit of amity, which it is the wish of those who are acquainted with the true interests of both countries to promote.

After the war was declared by Spain, those among us who had formed the highest ideas of her magnanimity, persuaded themselves that she would act advisedly for us when she found us in distress. They grounded their belief upon the avowed spirit of the nation, and the policy of adopting measures to re-animate us and damp the ardor of the enemy, and to make such impressions upon our hearts, as to give them in future a considerable influence on our councils. Our disappointment in this expectation, though perhaps to be accounted for upon very natural principles, has been greatly aggravated by the sedulous endeavors of the enemies of both countries to create distrust and jealousies. They artfully insinuate, that Spain seeks only to draw advantages from our wants, without so far interfering in our affairs as to involve herself, if we should be unsuccessful. These insinuations are gaining ground, and it becomes daily more necessary for Congress to be furnished with reasons to justify to their constituents the concessions they have proposed to make, or to withdraw those concessions when they are found ineffectual. Yet they find much reluctance in discovering the least want of confidence in the Court of Madrid; and though their present situation might fully justify them in not parting with the important rights you are empowered to concede, without stipulating some very valuable equivalent, yet they cannot be induced to make any alteration in your instructions on this subject, till you shall have reason to conclude, that nothing can be done towards forming the alliance they have so much at heart; not only because of the influence it will immediately have in accelerating the peace, but because of the advantages, which Spain and America may reciprocally promise each other in future, from the lasting connexion which will be erected thereon.

Though the delays you have met with afford room to suspect, that Spain wishes to defer a particular treaty with us till a general peace, yet I see so many political reasons against such a measure, that I can hardly presume they will adopt it.

At the close of a successful war, a great and powerful nation, to whom a character for justice and moderation is of the last importance, can in no case demand more than a compensation for the injuries received. This compensation will, indeed, be measured in part by their success. But still it has bounds, beyond which a nation cannot go with dignity. Spain has insisted upon the cession of Gibraltar as a preliminary to a peace. This is, of itself, a considerable compensation for any damage she may have sustained. Should she carry her demands further, and agreeably to the ideas of the Spanish Ministers, expect to have any exclusive right to the Gulf of Mexico, and the river Mississippi, she must not only demand East and West Florida of the British, but she must support the claims of Great Britain against those of America, the claims of an enemy against the rights of a friend, in order that she may make still further demands.

Will it consist with the dignity of his Catholic Majesty to ask, for the short space in which he has been engaged in the war, not only Gibraltar, but the two Floridas, the Mississippi, the exclusion of Great Britain from the trade to the Bay of Honduras; while the other branch of the House of Bourbon, who engaged early in the controversy, confines her demands to the narrowest limits? Will he expose himself to the imputation of despoiling an ally, (for such we are in fact, though we want the name) at the instant that he is obtaining the greatest advantages from the distress, which that ally has, at least in part, contributed to bring upon his enemy? And this too, without the least necessity, when he may, by accepting and purchasing our title, appear to have contended for the rights of the United States. This will then make no part of the satisfaction to which he is entitled from Great Britain; he may justly extend his demands to other objects; or exalt his character for moderation, by limiting them to narrower bounds. This mode of reasoning will come with more weight, when we display our rights before impartial mediators, and show that recent conquests have been added to our ancient title, for it cannot be doubted, that we shall at the close of the war make the most of those rights, which we obtain no equivalent for, while it continues.

I persuade myself, therefore, that Spain will not risk the loss of so important an object as the exclusive navigation of the Mississippi, by postponing the treaty to a general peace, more particularly as a treaty with us will secure our concurrence in their views at a general Congress, as well as save them the necessity of making demands inconsistent with that character for moderation, which their great power renders important to them.

Congress flatter themselves, that the surmises on this subject are groundless, and that before this reaches you, the treaty will be far advanced. Should they be mistaken, you will take measures to know from Spain, whether she accepts your concession as the price of our alliance, and upon what terms. If they are such as you cannot close with, and the treaty must break off, be persuaded, that any steps you have taken or shall take, not inconsistent with the respect due to his Catholic Majesty, to prevent the cessions you are empowered to make from militating against our rights, will be approved by Congress.

Congress presume you will find no difficulty in knowing the intentions of his Majesty on this subject, since they wish you to treat his Ministers with that unreserved confidence, which becomes the representative of a nation, which has no views that it does not avow, and which asks no favor which it does not hope to return, and, as in the present happy state of his Majesty's affairs, they can conceive no reason for disguising his designs, they are satisfied, that your frankness will meet from his Ministers with the confidence it merits.

I make no observations on the hint the Count de Florida Blanca gave you, with respect to the restitution of such sums as Spain might be pleased to advance to us; because, whatever claims we might set up to a subsidy from the share we take in the burthen of the war, and the utility of our exertions in the common cause, we are far from wishing to lay ourselves under any pecuniary obligations for a longer time than is absolutely necessary. A few years of peace will enable us to repay with interest any sums, which our present necessities compel us to borrow.

I cannot close this letter without expressing the grateful sense, that Congress entertain of the disinterested conduct of Spain, in rejecting the proffers of Great Britain, which must undoubtedly have been considerable, if they bore that proportion to the importance of his Catholic Majesty in the great system of politics, which those that have been frequently thrown out to lead the United States to a violation of their engagements, have done to their comparatively small weight in the general scale. But as America never found the least inclination to close with the insidious proposals of Great Britain, so she finds no difficulty in believing, that the wisdom and magnanimity of his Catholic Majesty will effectually guard him against every attempt of his natural enemy, to detach him from those, who are daily shedding their blood to avenge his injuries in common with their own.

I have the honor to be, &c.



[1] This letter is in cypher, and the key has been lost.

* * * * *


Philadelphia, April 28th, 1782.

Dear Sir,

You will receive with this a letter dated yesterday. You will judge how far it may be expedient to ground demands on the right we have to a compensation for our share of the burden and expense of the war, if the issue should be as favorable as we have reason to expect. Our strength is so much underrated in Europe, that you will find it proper to represent it as it really is. Our regular army, including the French troops, will consist of about —— men. They are well disciplined, clothed, and fed; and having for the most part seen seven years' hard service, I believe they may be counted equal to any troops in the world. Our militia are in excellent order, and chiefly disciplined by officers who have left the regular service. While the army lies in the middle States, it can in ten or fifteen days receive a reinforcement of —— men for any particular service. Facts, that you can easily call to mind, will evince that any deficiency in the regular troops is amply made up by this supply. These are loose hints by no means directory to you. Congress mean as little as possible to clog you with instructions. They rely upon your judgment and address to reconcile whatever differences may appear to be between the views of Spain, and the interests of these States.

I have the honor to enclose an important resolution, which I fear to put in cypher, both because you seem to be at a loss about your cypher, and because it would be of little use, considering the accident which you say has happened to it.

I have the honor to be, &c.


* * * * *


Madrid, April 28th, 1782.

Dear Sir,

My letter to his Excellency, the President of Congress, of the 3d of October last, of which a copy has also been since sent, contained a full and accurate account of their affairs here. Many minute and not very interesting details of little difficulties were omitted, and among others, those which arose from my having no funds for the bills payable in October and November, &c. &c. The experience I had gained of the disposition of this Court, and the delays which attend all their decisions and operations, induced me to consider my obtaining timely supplies from hence as very uncertain. I therefore wished to have an occasional credit from Dr Franklin, to be made use of as necessity might require, and, for that purpose, wrote him the following letter on the 10th of September, viz.


"St Ildefonso, September 10th, 1781.

"Dear Sir,

"My last to you was of the 20th day of August last, by Dupin, the French Ambassador's courier. Major Franks, with despatches from Congress, and from Mr Robert Morris, is now with me, and will proceed to Passy as soon as I shall be enabled to write to him.

"He will bring you a copy of Mr Morris's letter to me, from which you will see the present state of American finances, and the measures he is prosecuting to ameliorate them. My former letters mentioned my apprehensions, that many more bills had been drawn upon me, than those for which the sum you authorised me to draw upon you for would satisfy. Near seventy thousand dollars will be wanted to pay those which have since arrived, and although I cannot think it improbable that provision may here be made for at least a part of that sum, yet the delays which usually attend operations of this kind render it highly necessary, that occasional resources be elsewhere had.

"This consideration, so far as it applies to the payments to be made in the two succeeding months, obliges me again to recur to you.

"The sanguine expectations entertained by our country from the appointment of Mr Morris, his known abilities, integrity, and industry, the useful reformations he has begun, and the judicious measures he is pursuing abroad, as well as at home, afford reason to hope, that under his direction American credit will be re-established, and the evils which have long threatened us on that head avoided.

"It will be useless, therefore, to remark, how important it is to prevent our credit from receiving a deep additional wound at the very moment when so much is doing to recover it. The protest of any of our public bills for want of payment would at this period be more injurious than heretofore, and unless again saved by you, that cruel necessity must take place with respect to those on me. Besides, as the singular policy of drawing bills without previous funds will now be relinquished, we have reason to flatter ourselves, that we shall in future have no embarrassments of this kind to struggle with. I am well persuaded, that Mr Morris will not pursue such hazardous and unprecedented measures, and, therefore, as in all human probability the present difficulties will be all that we shall have to surmount, I hope you will think with me, that the utmost exertions should be made for the purpose, and that after having done so much to save the credit of American bills, you will still be disposed to do everything in your power to put it out of danger.

"When it will be in my power to replace the sums drawn from you, is hard to divine. All I can say or do is to assure you, that nothing but want of ability shall delay or prevent it.

"When I consider how much might have been saved, had my bills on you been sold to those who would have taken them on the best terms, I cannot forbear thinking, it would be advisable to give me only general authority to draw for such sums as I may want, not exceeding the one you may limit.

"The sum wanted for October is twelve thousand five hundred and sixtyseven dollars, and for November three thousand and six hundred.

"I particularise only the payments due in these two months, because, before the first of December, I hope my expectations from other quarters will at least be ascertained.

"I am, Dear Sir, with great and sincere regard and esteem, your obliged and obedient servant,


"P. S. The Marquis d'Yranda has received a letter from Mr Grand, informing him that no more bills are to be drawn upon you by me without further order. I am a little at a loss to determine whether this restriction is intended to extend to the balance, which remains of the twentyfive thousand dollars allotted for the payment of the bills at two months' sight, and for which I was only to draw as occasion might require.

"Lest my having refused to accept some bills drawn upon me by Congress, should give rise to reports prejudicial to their credit, I transmit herewith enclosed a state of that case; you will be pleased to make such use of it, as circumstances may render necessary. I gave a copy of it to the gentleman who presented the bills, and desired that it might be recited at large in the protest.

J. J."

It was not till after several of the bills due in October had become payable, that I received the Doctor's friendly answer of the 29th of September, in which he permitted me to draw for the sum requested; so that had not M. Cabarrus, my banker, consented to make the necessary advances, I should have been extremely embarrassed, for, as I before apprehended, any reliance for immediate though small supplies from this Court would have proved delusive.

This credit from Dr Franklin enabled me to see our bills duly paid for two months, and I had some faint hopes that before the month of December should arrive with further bills, the intention of this Court on the subject of supplies might be ascertained.

I will now proceed to resume the narrative of our affairs here from the date of my abovementioned letter to the President, of the 3d of October last, confining myself to such matters as appear to me necessary to enable you to form a just and clear idea of my negotiations.

My letter of the 3d of October mentions my having been then lately promised, that a person should be appointed to confer with me, as well on the subject of my propositions for a treaty as on that of my application for aids, and that his instructions should be completed before the Court should remove from St Ildefonso to the Escurial, which was soon to take place.

This communication was made to me on the 27th of September, and, lest pretext for delay might arise from my absence, I determined to remain at St Ildefonso until the Court should be on the point of leaving it.

On the 5th of October I found that no further progress in our affairs was to be made before the Court should be settled at the Escurial, to which they were then preparing to go. I therefore concluded to return to Madrid, and, with the approbation of the Ambassador of France, I wrote the following note to the Minister, viz.

"Mr Jay presents his compliments to his Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca, and has the honor of informing him that he purposes to return to Madrid tomorrow, and will with pleasure attend his Excellency's orders at the Escurial, as soon as it may be convenient to his Excellency to render his presence there necessary.

"St Ildefonso, October 5th, 1781."

To this I received the following answer.


"The Count de Florida Blanca presents his compliments to Mr Jay, and wishes him a pleasant journey. He will write to him as soon as he can say anything positive on the subject of his last note. October 5th, 1781."

Four days afterwards the Count sent me a complaint against Commodore Gillon, of the South Carolina frigate, then lying at Corunna, and I insert copies of the papers which passed between us on that occasion, not only because I ought to give an account of all interesting public transactions, but also that my conduct on this occasion may stand contrasted with that of the Minister on some other similar ones.

Recital of a Complaint exhibited by the Count de Florida Blanca against Commodore Gillon.


"An American vessel of war has arrived at Corunna, having on board two soldiers, deserters from the Irish regiment of infantry. The commander of the Province having claimed them, the captain refuses to deliver them up on any pretext whatever, pretending, among other reasons, that all his equipage belongs to his Most Christian Majesty. This is not at all probable, for if the officers and crew were subjects of France, it would have been improper to pass off the vessel for a frigate of the United States, under the American flag. Besides, these deserters having fled to a French vessel of war, to the demand of their surrender by the Spanish commander, it was replied on the word of honor of the captain, that they were not on board; so that, supposing the frigate to be a French ship, there is reason to suppose that they would have been surrendered.

"The Count de Florida Blanca has thought it necessary to inform Mr Jay of these facts, in the full persuasion that he will have the goodness to write by the first post to the captain, in such terms as to induce him to surrender the deserters; it shall be understood, that they shall not be punished, and shall finish their engagements in their own corps, or in some other better paid.

"Mr Jay is too reasonable not to grant that it would be unjust for a vessel to appear in a port, solely to require and receive all sorts of attentions and marks of respect, (without any previous claim or engagement) and at the same time to refuse and deliver up any subjects, which it should have on board, of the sovereign of the country in whose name all these tokens of respect have been rendered.

"October 8, 1781."


"Madrid, October 9th, 1781.


"The letter which your Excellency did me the honor to write on the 8th instant arrived this morning. I consider myself much obliged by the communication of the facts mentioned in it, especially as it affords me an opportunity of manifesting to his Majesty and to Congress my attention to his rights and to their orders.

"I perfectly agree in sentiment with your Excellency respecting the impropriety of detaining on board the American frigate at Corunna, the two men claimed by the commandant there, as deserters from one of his Majesty's regiments.

"Your Excellency's remarks on this subject are no less delicate than just; and your assurance that these men shall not be punished renders a compliance with the requisition to deliver them up no less consistent with humanity than with justice.

"It gives me pleasure to confess, that the hospitable reception given to American vessels in the ports of Spain gives his Majesty a double right to expect, that their conduct should at least be inoffensive. In the present case, (as stated in your Excellency's letter) I am fully convinced of the justice of this demand, that I should not hesitate to comply with it, even though made on a similar occasion by the Court of Portugal, from whose affected neutrality we suffer more evils, than we should experience from any open hospitality she is capable of executing.

"Agreeably to your Excellency's desire, I have written a letter (of which the enclosed is a copy) to the commanding officer of the frigate in question; and as the manner in which your Excellency's letter to me treats this subject cannot fail making agreeable impressions on Americans, I shall take the liberty of sending a copy of it to Congress, as well as to the abovementioned officer.

"I cannot omit this opportunity of expressing my acknowledgments for your Excellency's promise to write to me from the Escurial, as soon as you shall be in a capacity to speak positively on the subject of my late letter. Permit me only to remark, that the season wears away fast, and that Congress must be extremely anxious to hear that the delays, which have so long kept them in a disagreeable state of suspense, are finally and happily terminated.

"I have the honor to be, &c.


The letter written to the commanding officer of the frigate, a copy of which was furnished to the Count de Florida Blanca, is as follows.


"Madrid, October 9th, 1781.


"The paper herewith enclosed is a copy of a letter which I received this morning from his Excellency, the Count de Florida Blanca, his Catholic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State, and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"You will perceive from it that two men on board your frigate are claimed by this government, as deserters from one of his Majesty's Irish regiments of infantry; and that you are said to have refused to deliver them up, because, among other reasons, your crew are the subjects of his Most Christian Majesty.

"If the men in question are citizens of one or other of the United States of North America, and admitted to be such, refusing to deliver them up, as deserters from the service of Spain, may be proper, because while their own country is at war, they cannot without her consent enter into the service of any other power.

"If they are Spaniards, then they are the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, and ought not to be withheld from him.

"If they are foreigners, in that case whatever right they might have to enter into the American service, they certainly had an equal one to enter into that of Spain; and if they had previously engaged with the latter, their subsequent enlistments with you were void, and Spain being in friendship with us has a just right to reclaim them.

"If they deny their having enlisted in the Spanish service, still like all other foreigners who come into this kingdom they ought to submit to the justice of the country, and you ought not to screen them from it, especially as it cannot be presumed that the charge made against them is destitute of probability.

"As to the circumstance of your crew's being subjects of the King of France, I cannot think that any argument to justify your detaining them can be drawn from it. For admitting them to be French subjects, yet as it may be lawful for them (Spain and France being allies) to enter into the service of Spain, the right of Spain to enlist must necessarily involve a right to compel obedience, and also to retake and punish deserters. Besides, as any questions about the legality of such enlistments concern only those two crowns, Americans cannot with propriety interfere.

"In whatever light I view this affair, I cannot perceive the least right that you can have to detain these men, after having been thus formally and regularly, demanded by proper authority, as deserters from the service of his Catholic Majesty.

"You may observe that I treat this subject merely as a question of justice, arising from that general law, which subsists and ought to be observed between friendly nations.

"I forbear making any remarks on the impolicy of your persisting to detain these men. I hope never to see America do what is right merely because it may be convenient. I flatter myself that her conduct will uniformly be actuated by higher and more generous principles, and that her national character will daily become more and more distinguished, by disinterested justice and heroic magnanimity.

"I shall take the earliest opportunity of transmitting a particular state of this affair to Congress, and I cannot doubt but that your conduct will merit their approbation, by being perfectly consistent with a just regard to the dignity and rights of a sovereign, who has acted not only justly but generously towards our country.

"If your reluctance to deliver up those men should have arisen from an apprehension of their suffering the punishment, which on conviction would be due to their offences, that reluctance ought now to cease, because his Excellency, the Minister, has been pleased to assure me, that they shall not be punished, but only obliged to fulfil those engagements, which they ought to have honestly performed instead of deserting.

"In short, Sir, although on the one hand, I will never advise or encourage you to violate the rights of the meanest man in the world, in order to answer political purposes; yet on the other, I shall always think it my duty to advise and encourage both you and others to render unto Caesar whatever may belong unto Caesar.

"I am, &c.


In answer to this letter, the Commodore wrote me one, which, according to the state of facts mentioned in it, showed that the charge against him was precipitate, and, as he in that letter predicted, I have never since heard anything further from the Minister on the subject.

You may recollect, that copies of certain letters from Colonel Searle and Mr Gillon, which I had just received, were subjoined to my letter of the 3d of October last. These letters were soon followed by several others. Colonel Searle's representations against the Commodore's conduct were very strong, and tended to create an opinion, that the ship and public stores on board of her were in danger. He desired me to send some person to Corunna, with proper instructions on the subject, and as an additional inducement offered to transmit to me through him some important information, which had been confidentially communicated to him in Holland by Mr Adams, and which he did not choose to hazard by a common conveyance.

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