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 VII.
THE NEGOTIATION AND SIGNATURE OF THE TREATY OF PEACE WITH GREAT BRITAIN.

THE moral trial described in the last chapter, was not yet entirely passed. It had only changed its form. Some time prior to the completion of the labors there narrated, the calls upon Mr. Adams to repair to another great scene of duty, opening at Paris, had become quite urgent. Not much disposed to be subject, without strong necessity, to a renewal of the rude and menacing tone which Count de Vergennes had not forborne again to use on his last visit, Mr. Adams waited to be convinced that the causes were sufficient to require his presence before he went. Nor was the necessity of putting the seal to the treaty, which he had succeeded in negotiating with the States of Holland, without its imperative force in favor of delay. He deemed it wise to make sure of it before he should leave the Hague. But, this great object once gained, he lost not a moment more. The fact had become by this time apparent that Great Britain was making some attempts at negotiation. Intimations had also been received of the occurrence of differences of opinion at Paris, which his intervention would be required to decide. These events contributed to quicken his movements, so that, on the 26th of October, 1782, he was again in the French capital. In order to comprehend the state of things he found there, it will be necessary to go back a little, and explain the several steps which led to the pacification.

Even before the decisive vote given in the House of Commons upon General Conway's motion, which snapped the chain by which Lord North had been so long held to his sovereign, and before that sovereign had been compelled to subject his recalcitrating will to the necessity of receiving the Whigs once more into his counsels, emissaries had been sent to the con-

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