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

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

CHAPTER VI.
COMMISSION TO FRANCE -- SERVICES IN FORMING A CONSTITUTION FOR MASSACHUSETTS -- COMMISSION TO NEGOTIATE TREATIES WITH GREAT BRITAIN -- THE MEDIATION OF RUSSIA AND AUSTRIA -- NEGOTIATIONS IN HOLLAND.

THE embarrassments into which congress had been thrown by the contracts of Silas Deane so incensed that body against him that they determined upon his recall, though his friends proved strong enough to prevent any record on the journal of the precise reason for the act. A few days after Mr. Adams had left York, the selection of a successor in the commission came up for decision. He was nominated by his friend and colleague, Elbridge Gerry. The votes of the States sufficiently indicate the relations of members at this time. New England with Pennsylvania, the Lees, of Virginia, and Laurens, of South Carolina, elected him, whilst New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, and one Virginian preferred Robert R. Livingston. The news of this event reached him whilst engaged in a cause before the admiralty court at Portsmouth, in New Hampshire. It came accompanied by letters, earnestly pressing his acceptance of the trust. "I am charged," said James Lovell, then a member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, "by all those who are truly anxious here for the best prosperity of our affairs in France, to press your acceptance of the commission which has this day been voted you. The great sacrifices which you have made of private happiness have encouraged them to hope that you will not allow the consideration of your partial defect in the language to weigh any thing, when you surmount others of a different nature. Dr. Franklin's age alarms us. We want one man of inflexible integrity on the embassy." From the camp at Whitemarsh, whither Mr. Gerry had been sent on a committee, he wrote

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