Preparations for War between Prance and England. M. Gerard. Mr. John Adams. Secret Advances made to Dr. Franklin for effecting a Reconciliation between England and the United States. Mr. Hutton. Mr. Pulteney. Mr. Hartley. An Emissary in Disguise. Franklin's personal Friends in Paris. Interview with Voltaire. Franklin appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of France. Machinations of his Enemies to procure his Recall. Mr. Arthur Lee. Mr. Ralph Izard. Visit of Sir William Jones to Paris. Franklin instructs the American Cruisers not to seize Captain Cooks Vessel. Grants Passports to Vessels carrying Supplies to the Moravian Missionaries on the Coast of Labrador. Paul Jones. The Marquis de Lafayette. Paper on the Aurora Borealis. Sir Humphrey Davy. Mr. Vaughan's Edition of Franklin's Political and Miscellaneous Writings.
THE French ambassador in London, as instructed by his court, informed the British ministry, that a treaty of amity and commerce had been concluded between France and the United States. This was considered tantamount to a declaration of war, and Lord Stormont was directed to withdraw from Paris. Anticipating this event, the court of Versailles had already begun to prepare for hostilities. A squadron was fitted out at Toulon, under the command of Count d'Estaing, which sailed from that port for America about the middle of April. M. Gerard and Mr. Deane were passengers on board the admiral's ship. The former went out as minister to the United States; the latter bad been recalled, in consequence of the agreements be bad entered into with French officers for their serving in the American army, by which Congress had been much embarrassed. His successor was Mr. John Adams, who arrived in Paris just at the time of Mr. Deane's departure.
The British ministers were now convinced, that the contest was likely to be of longer duration and more serious than they had apprehended. There was little doubt that Spain would soon follow the example of France. A reconciliation with the Americans, therefore, on such terms as would comport with the dignity of Parliament and the interests of the crown, was a thing most ardently to be desired. After warm debates in Parliament, it was resolved to despatch commissioners to treat with Congress, invested with such powers as, it was fondly hoped, would insure their success.
In the mean time other measures were put in operation to effect the same end through the instrumentality of secret agents. Their advances were chiefly made to Dr. Franklin. Even before the treaties were signed, an emissary of this description appeared in Paris, who endeavoured to obtain from him propositions, which he might carry back to England. This was Mr. Hutton, secretary to the Society of Moravians; an old friend, for whom he had great esteem; a grave man, advanced in years, respected for his virtues, and possessing the confidence of persons in power. Franklin replied, that neither he nor his colleagues bad any authority to propose terms, although they could listen to such as should be offered, and could treat of peace whenever proposals should be made. Mr. Hutton returned to London, and immediately wrote to him, renewing his request for some hints or suggestions upon which he might proceed, and adding, that he believed every thing satisfactory to the Americans, short of independence, might be obtained.
Dr. Franklin was still reserved, however, and only intimated, that a peace could not be expected while the cabinet and Parliament of Great Britain continued in their present temper. Mr. Hutton had asked his advice. He answered; "I think it is Ariosto who says, that all things lost on earth are to be found in the moon; on which somebody remarked, that there must be a great deal of good advice in the moon. If so, there is a good deal of mine, formerly given and lost in this business. I will, however, at your request give a little more, but without the least expectation that it will be followed; for none but God scan at the same time give good counsel, and wisdom to make use of it." He then mentioned certain terms, which he said it would be good policy for the British government to propose, if they meant to recover the respect and affection of the Americans.
Mr. Hutton was followed by Mr. William Pulteney, a member of Parliament, who assumed in Paris the name of Williams, and who was understood to have come from Lord North, although not invested with any official character. He held a long conversation with Dr. Franklin, and presented to him a paper containing the outlines of a treaty. Franklin told him at once, that every plan of reconciliation implying a voluntary return of the United States to a dependence on Great Britain was now become impossible.
"I see," he remarked, "by the propositions you have communicated to me, that the ministers cannot yet divest themselves of the idea, that the power of Parliament over us is constitutionally absolute and unlimited; and that the limitations they may be willing now to put to it by treaty are so many favors, or so many benefits, for which we are to make compensation.
"As our opinions in America are totally different, a treaty on the terms proposed appears to me utterly impracticable, either here or there. Here we certainly cannot make it, having not the smallest authority to make even the declaration specified in the proposed letter, without which, if I understood you right, treating with us cannot be commenced.
"I sincerely wish as much for peace as you do, and I have enough remaining of good will for England to wish it for her sake as well as for our own, and for the sake of humanity. In the present state of things, the proper means of obtaining it, in my opinion, are, to acknowledge the independence of the United States, and then enter at once into a treaty with us for a suspension of arms, with the usual provisions relating to distances; and another for establishing peace, friendship, and commerce, such as France has made."×
The ministry were not discouraged by the failure of these attempts. Mr. David Hartley, likewise a member of Parliament was next employed on a similar mission. He bad opposed all the measures of government in relation to the American war; but his character was so high and honorable, that he was confided in by both parties. An intimate friendship between him and Dr. Franklin, formed while the latter resided in England, had been preserved ever since by a correspondence on public and private affairs. His benevolence and philanthropy were eminently manifested during the war, by the lively interest he took in the condition of the American prisoners in England. He visited them often, collected money by subscription for their relief, interceded with the ministers in their behalf, and used his unremitted efforts at various times to procure their exchange. He was very properly selected, therefore, as a suitable person to elicit Dr. Franklin's views on the subject of a reconciliation. He did not propose terms, but inquired, "Whether America would not, to obtain peace, grant some superior advantages in trade to Britain, and enter into an alliance, offensive and defensive; and whether, if war should be declared against France, the Americans had bound themselves by treaty, to join with her against England." It is scarcely necessary to add, that the first of these queries was answered in the negative. As to the second, Dr. Franklin assured his friend, that peace, while a war was waged against France on account of her alliance with America, was impossible. In short, Mr. Hartley obtained no more satisfaction than his predecessors.
When he was on the point of leaving Paris, he wrote a note to Dr. Franklin, in which he said; "If tempestuous times should come, take care of your own safety; events are uncertain, and men are capricious." "I thank you for your kind caution," said Franklin in reply; "but, having nearly finished a long life, I set but little value upon what remains of it. Like a draper, when one chatters with him for a remnant, I am ready to say, 'As it is only a fag end, I will not differ with you about it; take it for what you please.' Perhaps the best use such an old fellow can be put to, is to make a martyr of him." It was rumored, also, that he was surrounded with spies. Some time after the date of the above note, an anonymous letter came to a friend of his in Paris, written in cipher, and containing the following passage. "Mr. Hartley told Lord Camden this morning, that, he was sure the commissioners, and particularly Dr. Franklin, were much disconcerted at Paris; for they might as well live in the Bastille, as be exposed, as they are, to the perpetual observation of French ministerial spies. This must not, however, be repeated." The letter was conveyed to Dr. Franklin, who replied; "Be so good as to answer our friend, that it is impossible Mr. Hartley could have said what is here represented, no such thing having ever been intimated to him; nor has the least idea of the kind ever been in the minds of the commissioners, particularly Dr. Franklin, who does not care how many spies are placed about him by the court of France, having nothing to conceal from them."
A more formidable advance was made soon after by a secret agent under a fictitious name. It was now thought proper to mingle threats with persuasion. Dr. Franklin received a long letter dated at Brussels, and signed Charles de Weissenstein, in which Has sketched not only a plan of reconciliation, but the form of a future government in America. The writer speaks disparagingly of the French, and says they will certainly deceive and betray their allies; and he represents the power of England as invincible, by which the colonies would inevitably be overwhelmed, if they continued obstinate in their resistance. He affirms that Parliament would never be induced to acknowledge their independence, and that, if such a thing were possible, the people of England would never submit to it. "Our title to the empire," he says, "is indisputable; it will be asserted, either by ourselves or successors, whenever occasion presents. We may stop awhile in our pursuit to recover breath, but we shall assuredly resume our career again." After these threats, he holds out temptations. By the new plan of government, now proposed, the Americans were to have a Congress, which should assemble once in seven years, or oftener, if his Majesty should think fit to summon it; the distinguished men, like Franklin, Washington, and Adams, were to have offices or pensions for life; and perhaps there would be an American peerage, by which honorary rewards would be duly distributed.
There was little doubt in Franklin's mind, that this agent was in Paris, although his letter was dated at Brussels. He had good reason for believing, that be acted by the direction of the British ministry, and he framed his answer accordingly.
"You think we flatter ourselves," said be, "and are deceived into an opinion that England must acknowledge our independency. We, on the other hand, think you flatter yourselves in imagining such an acknowledgment a vast boon, which we strongly desire, and which you may gain some great advantage by granting or withholding. We have never asked it of you; we only tell you, that you can have no treaty with us but as an independent state; and you may please yourselves and your children with the rattle of your right to govern us, as long as you have done with that of your King's being King of France, without giving us the least concern, if you do not attempt to exercise it."
"Your true way to obtain peace, if your ministers desire it, is, to propose openly to the Congress fair and equal terms, and you may possibly come sooner to such a resolution, when you, find, that personal flatteries, general cajolings, and panegyrics on our virtue and wisdom are not likely to have the effect you seem to expect; the persuading us to act basely and foolishly, in betraying our country and posterity into the hands of our most bitter enemies, giving up or selling our arms and warlike stores, dismissing our ships of war and troops, and putting those enemies in possession of our forts and ports."
The idea of offices, pensions, and a peerage, he treated with a cutting severity of ridicule and sarcasm. Indeed, the whole letter is one of the best specimens of the writer's peculiar clearness and vigor of thought and felicity of style.
Having now been in France eighteen months, Dr. Franklin had attracted around him a large number of personal friends. Among these were Turgot, Buffon, D'Alembert, Condorcet, La Rochefoucauld, Vicq d'Azyr, Cabanis, Le Roy, Morellet, Raynal, Mably, and many others, who were conspicuous in the political, scientific, and literary circles of the great metropolis of France. He was often present at the meetings of the Academy, where he was honored with every mark of consideration and respect. When Voltaire came to Paris for the last time, to be idolized and to die, he expressed a desire to see the American philosopher. An interview took place. Voltaire accosted him in English, and pursued the conversation in that language. Madame Denis interrupted him by saying, that Dr. Franklin understood French, and that the rest of the company wished to know the subject of their discourse. "Excuse me, my dear," he replied, "I have the vanity to show that I am not unacquainted with the language of a Franklin."
The business of the commissioners continued nearly the same as it had been before the treaty of alliance. There was more to be done in maritime affairs, because American vessels were then freely admitted into the French ports. Cases of capture and of the sale of prizes were referred to them for their decision. With the loans obtained from the French government and comparatively small remittances from America, they were enabled to refit public vessels, purchase military supplies for the army and navy of the United States, contribute to the relief of American prisoners in England, and pay the drafts of Congress. In all these transactions Dr. Franklin found an able, zealous, and active coadjutor in Mr. Adams.×
Both Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams had represented to Congress the inexpediency of employing three commissioners in a service, the duties of which might be discharged with equal facility and at less expense by one. In conformity with this suggestion, Dr. Franklin was appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of France on the 14th of September. The commission was dissolved, and Mr. Adams returned to America. Mr. Lee stayed some time longer, holding nominally a commission to Spain, but never going to that court.
It is not the design of this narrative, nor is it possible within the limits prescribed, to write a history of the public transactions in which Dr. Franklin was concerned. Some of the more prominent incidents, and those of a personal nature, are all that can be introduced. But justice to his memory, as well as gratitude for the great services he rendered to his country, require, that some of the particulars should be stated in regard to the means that were used to embarrass his proceedings and injure his character.
Among those, who took upon themselves this unworthy task, the most active and persevering was Mr. Arthur Lee. This gentleman was a Virginian by birth, a brother of Richard Henry Lee. A few years before the war broke out, he went to London, studied law in the Temple, and commenced practice. His talents and attainments were respectable, he was a good writer, and supported the cause of his country with ardor and a uniform consistency. But his temper was restless and vehement. Jealous of his rivals and distrustful of everybody, he involved himself, and those connected with him, in a succession of disputes and difficulties.
His hostility to Franklin showed itself at an early date. It has been seen above, that, when Dr. Franklin was appointed agent for Massachusetts at the court of London, Mr. Lee was nominated to be his successor whenever he should retire. Circumstances detained him longer in England than he had expected. Mr. Lee grew impatient, and fearing, as he said, that Dr. Franklin would never depart "till he was gathered to his fathers," be resorted to the dishonorable artifice of writing letters to one of the principal members of the Massachusetts legislature, filled with charges against him in regard to his official conduct, as destitute of foundation in point of fact as they were of candor and propriety. This was the more reprehensible, as Dr. Franklin consulted him on proper occasions respecting the affairs of the colony, treated him as a friend and considered him as such, and spoke favorably of him in his correspondence. It is true, that these charges did not then produce the effect desired by Mr. Lee; yet they gave rise to suspicions, which long existed in the minds of the prominent men of Massachusetts, and which were utterly without any just cause.
Before Dr. Franklin's arrival in France, Mr. Lee had fallen into a quarrel with Mr. Deane. Some months previously, Beaumarchais had consulted him in London with respect to the best mode of forwarding secret aids to the United States. A plan was partly matured, in which Mr. Lee supposed he was to be a principal actor. But, when Mr. Deane appeared in Paris, as an agent from Congress, the plan was changed, and Beaumarchais completed his arrangements directly with him, because be was the only person in Europe authorized by Congress to enter into contracts on their account. Mr. Lee, hearing of this change, hastened over to Paris, accused Mr. Deane of interfering in his affairs, and endeavoured to stir up a contention between him and Beaumarchais. Failing in this attempt, he returned to London, vexed at his disappointment and angry with Mr. Deane.
Such was the disposition of Mr. Lee towards his associates, when the commissioners met in Paris. For seven or eight months there was an apparent harmony, for Mr. Lee was absent the most of the time in Spain and Germany, and the business was transacted by Franklin and Deane. But no sooner bad he again joined his colleagues, than his suspicious temper and aspiring ambition raised up new troubles, and he began to foment discords both in Europe and America, which ultimately threatened alarming consequences to the foreign affairs of the United States. He was dissatisfied with all that his colleagues had done, found fault with their contracts, and more than insinuated that they had been heedlessly extravagant, partial to friends, and indulgent to themselves, in the expenditure of public money. This was not the worst. His 'letters to members of Congress teemed with charges and insinuations, which, although they were not sustained by any positive evidence, could not fail to produce impressions as erroneous, as they were unjust to those, whom he chose to consider his enemies, and 'whom he believed to stand in his way.
As early as October, 1777, his designs were unfolded in letters to his brothers, and to Samuel Adams, who were then members of Congress. He represents the American affairs in France to be in the utmost disorder and confusion, by the negligence and faithlessness of his associate commissioners, who would pay no regard to his counsels and admonitions, and whom it was impossible for him to control; and he then begs his friends to remember, that, if there should be a question in Congress about his destination, he should "prefer being at the court of France," for he had discovered that court to be "the great wheel," by which all the others were moved. He recommended that Dr. Franklin should be sent to Vienna, and Mr. Deane to Holland. "In that case," said he, "I should have it in my power to call those to an account, through whose hands I know the public money has passed, and which will either never be accounted for, or misaccounted for, by connivance between those, who are to share in the public plunder. If this scheme can be executed, it will disconcert all the plans at one stroke, without an appearance of intention, and save both the public and me." These hints and insinuations require no comment.
He continued the same manoeuvres for several months. At one time he intimated, that Dr. Franklin had sent out a public vessel on a "cruising job," in the profits of which he was to share; and, at another, that be and the American banker in Paris, were in a league to defraud the public, and to put money into their own pockets. It is needless to say, that there was not one word of truth in these charges, nor any grounds for them, except in Mr. Lee's heated passions, distempered imagination, and ambitious hopes. He did not succeed in his schemes, but he was not the less pertinacious in pursuing them. His letters produced a mischievous influence, fanning the flame of party, and exciting suspicions of almost every public agent abroad, whom he did not regard as subservient to his views. It is scarcely too much to say, that the divisions and feuds, which reigned for a long time in Congress, with respect to the foreign affairs of the United States, are to be ascribed more to this malign influence, than to all other causes.×
Another individual, who placed himself among the foremost of Dr. Franklin's enemies, was Mr. Ralph Izard. He imbibed his prejudices in the first instance from Mr. Lee. He resided nearly two years in Paris as commissioner from the United States to the court of Tuscany; but, having no direct intercourse with that court, and no encouragement that he would be received there, it was not in his power to render any public service, and he was at length recalled.
There were two causes of his enmity to Franklin. Whilst the treaties were negotiating with France, he conceived that he ought to be consulted, in virtue of his commission to another court; he complained of being overlooked, and demanded an explanation. Not recognising his authority to make such a demand, Dr. Franklin was tardy in answering it; and Mr. Izard chose to took upon this remissness as a slight, and to assume it as the ground of a quarrel. On this point it is enough to say, that he was not in the commission for treating, with France, and could not, with the least propriety, claim to be consulted, in the negotiation. Again, after Dr. Franklin became minister plenipotentiary, the drafts for public money expended in Europe passed through his hands. He was to pay the salaries of the American commissioners at other courts. He paid to Mr. Izard about twelve thousand dollars, and, there being no prospect of his going to the court of Tuscany, he declined accepting further drafts, till he should receive such instructions from Congress as would meet the case. Mr. Izard's pride was wounded by this refusal. He neither suppressed nor concealed his resentment; and he never practised any reserve in avowing his settled hostility to Dr. Franklin.×
The amputations of these gentlemen, and of some others with whom they were allied in opinions and sympathy, reiterated in letters to members of Congress, would necessarily produce a strong impression, especially as Dr. Franklin took no pains whatever to vindicate himself, or to counteract the arts of his enemies. He was not ignorant of their proceedings. The substance of their letters, which the writers seemed not to desire should be kept secret, was communicated to him by his friends.× Relying on his character, and conscious of the rectitude of his course, he allowed them to waste their strength in using their own weapons, and never condescended to repel their charges or explain his conduct. This apparent apathy on his part contributed to give countenance to the suspicions, which had been infused into the minds of many, by the persevering industry of his adversaries. At one time those suspicions had gained so much ascendancy, that his recall was proposed in Congress. There were thirty-five members present, eight of whom voted for his recall, and twenty-seven against it. Some of the latter were probably not his friends, but yielded to the motives of a patriotic policy, rather than to the impulse of personal feeling. That he was the best man to fill a public station abroad, no one could doubt; that he should be sacrificed to gratify the spleen of disappointed ambition and offended pride, few could reconcile to their sense of justice, or to their regard for the true interests of their country.
It is interesting to see in what manner he speaks of his enemies, and of the artificers they employed to injure him. In writing to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, eighteen months after Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard began their opposition, he says; "Congress have wisely enjoined the ministers in Europe to agree with one another. I had always resolved to have no quarrel, and have, therefore, made it a constant rule to answer no angry, affronting, or abusive letters, of which I have received many, and long ones, from Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard, who, I understand, and see indeed by the papers, have been writing liberally, or rather illiberally, against me, to prevent, as one of them says here, any impressions my writings against them might occasion to their prejudice; but I have never before mentioned them in any of my letters." To his son-in-law, who had informed him of the efforts used against him by certain persons, be replies, that he is "every easy" about these efforts, and adds; "I trust in the justice of Congress, that they will listen to no accusations against me, that I have not first been acquainted with, and had an opportunity of answering. I know those gentlemen have plenty of ill will to me, though I have never done to either of them the smallest injury, or given the least just cause of offence. But my too great reputation, and the general good will this people have for me, and the respect they show me, and even the compliments they make me, all grieve those unhappy gentlemen."
He writes in a similar tone, whenever be has occasion to allude to the subject, which rarely occurs, except when his attention is called to it by his correspondents. At a date two years later than that of the above extracts, he says to Mr. Hopkinson; "As to the friends and enemies you just mention, I have hitherto, thanks to God, had plenty of the former kind; they have been my treasure; and it has perhaps been no disadvantage to me, that I have had a few of the latter. They serve to put us upon correcting the faults we have, and avoiding those we are in danger of having. They counteract the mischiefs flattery might do us, and their malicious attacks make our friends more zealous in serving us and promoting our interest. At present I do not know more than two such enemies that I enjoy.× I deserved the enmity of the latter, because I might have avoided it by paying him a compliment, which I neglected at of the former I owe to the people of France, who happened to respect me too much and him too little; which I could bear, and be could not. They are unhappy, that they cannot make everybody hate me as much as they do; and I should be so, if my friends did not love me much more than those gentlemen can possibly love one another."
The British ministry were still intent on some scheme of reconciliation. In May, 1779, Mr. William Jones, afterwards Sir William Jones, visited Paris. Dr. Franklin bad been acquainted with him in England, a member of the Royal Society, and an intimate friend of the Shipley family. Without openly avowing himself an authorized agent, he contrived to insinuate ideas, which may be presumed to have had their origin in a higher source. He put into Dr. Franklin's hands an ingenious paper, which he called a Fragment of Polybius, purporting to have been taken from a treatise by that historian on the Athenian government. It relates to a war in which Athens was engaged with the Grecian Islands, then in alliance with Caria. A close parallel is drawn between this pretended Grecian war and the actual war between England, France, and the United States. It ends with the plan of a treaty proposed by the Athenians, which, by merely changing the names of the parties, is intended to apply to the existing situation of the belligerent powers. The performance is elaborated with skill, and as a composition it shows the hand of a master. The terms are somewhat more favorable to the Americans, than any that had been before suggested, but the idea of independence is not admitted.
Dr. Franklin was ever ready to promote whatever could be useful to mankind. When Captain Cook's vessel was about to return front a voyage of discovery, he wrote a circular letter to the commanders of American cruisers, in his character of minister plenipotentiary, requesting them, in case they should meet with that vessel, not to capture it, nor suffer it to be detained or plundered of any thing on board, but to treat the captain and his people with civility and kindness, affording them, as common friends of mankind, all the assistance in their power." This act of magnanimity was properly estimated by the British government. After Cook's Voyage was published, a copy of the work was sent to him by the Board of Admiralty, with a letter from Lord Howe, stating that it was forwarded with the approbation of the King.
One of the gold medals, struck by the Royal Society in honor of Captain Cook, was likewise presented to him.×
* Acts of a similar kind were repeated in other instances. There was a settlement of Moravian missionaries on the coast of Labrador, to which the Society in London annually despatched a. vessel laden with supplies. Dr. Franklin, at the request of Mr. Hutton, granted a passport to this vessel, which was renewed every year during the war. He afforded the same protection to a vessel, which sailed from Dublin with provisions and clothing for sufferers in, the West Indies, contributed by charitable persons in that city.
* When Paul Jones came to France, after his cruise in the Ranger, and his fortunate action with the Drake, a British sloop of war, the French ministry planned a descent upon the coast of England by a naval armament combined with land forces. The Marquis de Lafayette, who had recently returned from America, where be had won laurels by his bravery and good conduct in two campaigns, was to be at the bead of the expedition. Paul Jones was to command the squadron, under the American flaol, and he received his instructions from Dr. Franklin. The plan was changed, just. as it was on the point of being executed, in consequence of larger designs of the French cabinet; but Jones sailed with his little fleet some
time afterwards, met the enemy, and gained a brilliant victory in the well known and desperate engagement between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis. The task of settling the affairs of his cruise, of reconciling the difficulties between him and Captain Landais, who was the second in command, and of deciding on the conflicting claims for prize money devolved on Franklin.
Notwithstanding his laborious duties in the public service, he found time to bestow some attention upon philosophical studies; and, in the year 1779, be read a paper on the Aurora Borealis to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, in which he professed only to advance Suppositions and Conjectures towards forming an hypothesis for its explanation. His ideas are original and curious, though his conjectures may not Perhaps be sustained by more recent discoveries. He says of this paper, in a letter to Dr. Priestley; "If it should occasion further inquiry, and so produce a better hypothesis, it will not be wholly useless." He seeks for the cause of this phenomenon in electricity, and supports his theory by plausible reasons, founded on such a knowledge of the science and of facts as then existed.×
It was also in the course of this year, that he communicated to Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, of London, materials for a more complete collection of his miscellaneous and political writings, than bad hitherto appeared. Mr. Vaughan's edition is comprised in a single volume, but it possesses the merit of a methodical arrangement, and of having judicious and appropriate notes, explanatory and illustrative, which he was enabled to render accurate and valuable by his correspondence with the author.×
Doubting his powers to treat of peace, under his commission of plenipotentiary to France, even if an opportunity should offer, he recommended to Congress to appoint a minister for that purpose, and invest him with the requisite powers. The appointment was Conferred on Mr. John Adams, soon after his return to the United States.