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always sagacious, wise and indefatigable. The question of the confederation coming up, he gave it his utmost influence and support, and pushed it to an adoption. Then came the victory over Burgoyne, the relinquishment of Clinton's campaign against the North, and the end of the war in that quarter.
Adams now resolved to leave Congress, for a time, if not permanently. He had embarked in the service of his country, to the infinite detriment of his private interesis, with a determination to do his utmost for the accomplishment of two results—the independence and the confederation of the colonies. The latter had been effected ; the former was declared, and he, in common with many others, overestimating the immediate influence of the defeat of Burgoyne, considered its establishment to be near at hand. His family had been long alone, his business had of course ceased with his absence, and he, a poor man, could ill afford its total loss. Hence he sent in his resignation upon the 9th day of November, 1777, and set out for home, little thinking that the decisive battle of the war was yet nearly four years distant, and that the most important of his public service was before him, instead of being already passed.
THE TWO MISSIONS TO FRANCE.
CARCELY had Adams set out upon his homeward way, rejoicing in
his newly acquired freedom, when arose in Congress the emergency which was to compel its relinquishment. The many contracts made by Silas Deane had brought to America a number of soldiers of fortune of more or less ability and character, holding that erratic diplomat’s promises of rank and pay, and so annoyed was Congress by the complications result. ing, that Mr. Deane's recall was sounded, and Mr. Adams was, without his knowledge, made a candidate for the post, and chosen, against Robert Livingston. The message announcing this fact followed him closely, and was accompanied by most urgent letters from many friends, urging the infirmity of Franklin, the surpassing importance of having one discreet and honest man in France, and the vital necessity of closing an alliance upon favorable grounds, as reasons why he should accept the place. These considerations, added to the pleasant prospect of being able to apply his principles regarding foreign affairs, induced Adams to abandon the law practice, which he had resumed, and again assume the galling cares of office. He sailed from Boston February 13, 1778, accompanied by his eldest son, John Quincy Adams, a lad of ten years; his vessel out-ran a British cruiser, fought and captured a British privateer, and weathered a storm. Upon landing, he was received with honors, and proceeded to Paris, where he arrived April 8, 1778.
The news which met him was, to his view, far from encouraging. A treaty had been closed during the preceding February, which purchased America the assistance of France, but at the cost of an alliance, offensive and defensive, and a guaranty to France of territorial integrity in America. Adams, even admitting the inadequacy of a purely commercial treaty to accomplish the results gained by this, could not but fear that complications might result quite uncontemplated by its framers. The events of twenty y cars later quite justified this fear.
The nature of the treaty was not, however, his only or most immediate cause of disquiet. The relation of the American envoys in France was such as to bring discredit upon the United States. Deane, with his surrounding of toadies, had become dissatisfied with the conduct of Ir. Arthur Lee and his brother, William Lee, both of whom thoroughly distrusted and cordially disliked the weak-headed Connecticut envoy. Deane had worked upon the vanity and prejudices of Franklin and the natural suspicions of the Court de Vergennes, until he had won them both to his opinion, and the Count actually requested that Lee, an envoy duly accred ited by the United States, be kept in ignorance of transactions in which his colleague and the American minister plenipotentiary took part! It will readily be conceived that Adams was most uncomfortably placed. He had a very high respect for Franklin, a sincere regard for the Lees, and knew at that time no reason why he should not respect the character, if not the wisdom, of Deane. He determined, then, to maintain his neutrality, and, at the same time, to use his influence, so far as possible, for the restoration of harmony among his colleagues. In the latter he was not successful, but his own attitude, and his effort for the pacification of his warring countrymen, met the approval and the public commendation of the Count de Vergennes.
It was, from the first, evident to Adams that the settlement of treaty terms had anticipated his mission, and that his usefulness in Europe was more than questionable. He, however, possessed his soul in patience for a time, awaiting an answer to his request for instructions. Pending this he devoted himself to systematizing the business of the consular service, reducing its records to order, and conducting an extensive correspondence with various prominent men in private and official life, with a view to per. fecting himself in knowledge of European affairs. The result of his observation was reduced to writing, and published after his return to America. Inactivity was foreign to Adams' character, and, after chafing under the necessity of a comparatively idle life for some time, he at last determined, against the advice of Franklin, to act for himself, since he seemed forgotten by Congress, and embarked, on the 17th of June, 1779, in a French frigate, which reached Boston August 2d. He felt very much dissatisfied with the results of his long foreign stay, which were represented, to his mind, only by the division of the strictly diplomatic from the commercial service abroad, the transfer of Arthur Lee as minister to Madrid, and the appointment of an American consul general to France. There had been some reason for the failure of Congress to pay proper attention to his request for instructions, for that body had been sufficiently harassed in the effort to pay an army from an empty treasury; to increase it, with a prostrate credit; to settle the quarrels of the diplomats and the complications
arising at home, by reason of the Conway cabal. Adams forwarded his report and once more sought his home.
Again his native province claimed his service, and he was elected representative for Braintree, in the general assembly of Massachusetts. That colony had been making shift, since the outbi zak of hostilities, to live under a provisional government, and had procured to substitute for the charter granted by William and Mary at the institution of the province. It was the office of the newly elected legislature to frame a new constitution, and there existed so decided differences, throughout the province, as to endanger the harmony of the session. One party, headed by Powdoin, demanded a recognition of property as a basis of representation; the other, headed by Samuel Adams, was extremely democratic. John Adams was not committed to either party, and favored a middle course. He succeeded in obtaining a resolution of the assembly, declaring in favor of a republican government, administered by officers chosen by the people. A committee of thirty-two members was then appointed, to make and prepare a draft of a constitution; this committee appointed a smaller one, and the latter placed the whole matter in the hands of Mr. Adams. He drew a constitution which harmonized the parties, receiving the hearty support of each, and placed the machinery of the province, for the first time, in running order. In the meantime Congress was striving for the solution of the vexatious questions relating to the foreign diplomacy of the United States, and a resolution was drawn, intended to cut the gordian knot, by revoking the commissions of all ministers and envoys. Adams having come home upon his own motion, still held a commission, and was recessarily included within the operation of the act. As the resolution named the officers categorically, it was moved by his friends that each name be voted upon separately, and the result was the exception of Franklin and Adams from its operation.
Pending the discussion, arrived M. Gerrard, accredited by Versailles to the United States. One of his first official acts was to propose the mediation of Spain between Great Britain and the United States. This proposal was eagerly considered by Congress, the discussion being defined only by a desire that any treaty made should guarantee to America: First, inde. pendence. Second, a just settlernent of boundaries. Third, the protection of the fisheries. Fourth, the free navigation of the Mississippi. The French ambassador desired nothing so much as to free the negotiation from any other condition than that of the independence. He set himself very skillfully to work to procure the removal of these restrictions, one of which, -that regarding the Mississippi,—was particularly distasteful both to France and Spain. This first gave way, and, later, he obtained the withdrawal also of the condition as to the fisheries, but only with the understanding that America should be at liberty to attempt an independent negotiation with Great
Britain. These important steps—the most important since the declaration of independence-rendered necessary, first, the filling of the vacant ministerial post at Madrid, by a very able man, and, second, the appointment of one, if possible, more able, as envoy extraordinary to negotiate directly with Great Britain. Both Adams and Jay were urged for the latter place, but New England would not consider the name of Jay, for the reason of his real or imaginary lukewarmness in the matter of the fisheries, and, hence, Adams received the appointment to that post, while Jay was accredited to the court of Spain. Adams' commissions, empowering him to negotiate distinct treaties of peace and commerce, bore date October 20, 1779, and, on the 13th of November, of the same year, again accompanied by his son, John Quincy Adams, he set sail, and, duly arriving in Paris, presented his credentials.
It was, of course, necessary for him to establish himself in friendly territory and watch his opportunity to open communication with Great Britain. The vexations and delays which attended his vain effort can not be minutely related here. It was no part of the plan of the crafty Count de Vergennes to permit of the negotiation of a peace to which France should not be directly or indirectly a party, to her own profit. Hence, he threw constant obstacles in the way of the envoy, all covered by a mask of polite solicitude.
It is well to state before entering upon the brief relation of the circumstances attending Mr. Adams' mission, that documentary evidence exists in great abundance to prove that France, though her “disinterested succor" of the United States has been made the toast at so many banquets for this century and more, was, in fact, not in the slightest degree disinterested. She would not have ended the war a year sooner than 1781, could it have been done with honor and success. She had her private reasons for desiring to withdraw troops from Europe, at that particular time, and, beyond this fact, had no other interest in the conflict than that which arose from the double willingness to cripple her natural enemy and to open the way for possible gain to herself. Adams estimated rightly, when he held that the faith of France could be relied upon just so far as her interests and those of America coincided—beyond that, not at all.
Vergennes saw in Adams' embassy the possibility of purchasing a peace by offering exclusive trade to England, and thus leaving France out of the affair; he distrusted the Lees, and, knowing Adams to be their friend, distrusted him as well, and, when applied to to open a way for notifying England of the mission, refused to grant it, and set every means at work to procure a reconsideration of America's determination. In the meantime, Adams was courteously received as one empowered to assist in any negotiations for peace, which might be opened through other channels. Though thus practically without a mission, Adams did not waste time, but began