The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author - Vol. 1

By Charles Francis Adams; John Adams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII.
ILLNESS IN EUROPE -- COMMERCIAL TREATIES -- MISSION TO THE COURT OF GREAT BRITAIN.

IMMEDIATELY after the signature of the preliminary articles, in the manner already mentioned, Mr. Adams, in a dispatch to Mr. Livingston, transmitting them, announced his desire to resign all his employments. The principal objects for which he had consented to come to Europe at all, having been accomplished, and the definitive treaty being likely to be completed before a reply could return, he felt warranted in asking to be released from further service. Congress, however, was in no humor to comply with the request. Satisfied with the action of the commissioners in procuring the peace, they were now desirous to enlist them in the work of superadding a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. This idea had taken its rise in a suggestion made by Mr. Adams himself in a later dispatch, which lamented the revocation of the commission formerly given to him, and urged a reëstablishment of it at this auspicious moment, in the hands of one or more of the official representatives of the country, who might be left in Europe. Congress adopted it by giving the necessary powers to Messrs. Adams, Franklin, and Jay. And the receipt of this intelligence determined Mr. Adams to remain, after the signature of the definitive treaty.

But the labors, anxieties, and excitement of the trials through which he had passed, had acted strongly upon his physical frame, already weakened by one violent fever taken during his residence in Holland, two years before. Scarcely were the necessary dispatches, transmitting the history of the treaty of peace, fairly in the hands of Mr. Thaxter, his secretary, who was about to return home, when he was brought down again, in Paris, with a severe illness. Inasmuch as he has himself given

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