In the latter End of 75 one of the Characters in my last was left out of the Delegation of the Colony he had represented, and a Number of his Friends gave him a sort of Certificate or Letter of Recommendation as they had before done to one of your Delegates,1 which led me to think it was their Opinion he needed a Prop in his own Country. Soon after, the Congress appointed a secret Committee of Commerce, with a View of procuring from abroad the necessary Articles for carrying on the War. They also appointed a secret Committee of Correspondence. Their Business was to form political Connections abroad & to feel the pulsations of foreign Powers & particularly France. The first of these Committees engagd Mr ------ to go to that Kingdom for the purpose of their Commission & the Corresponding Come took the Advantage of his intended Residence there to facilitate the salutary Purpose of their Appointment. At the same Time they wrote a Letter to Mr —— then in England from whom the Congress had before receivd the most accurate Intelligence, requesting a Correspondence with him & pledging Secrecy & Confidence. Mr —— arrivd in France in June 76. Thus you see we had an Intelligencer to let us know what was doing or meditating against us in England; and a political Commercial Agent who was to inform us what was doing or could be done for us in France. The one had before settled a Correspondence & formd Connections in several parts of the Continent of Europe & particularly France; the other was a perfect Stranger in every Nation in Europe, but bearing Letters to considerable Men there. The one was altogether the political Man, the other had to do with Commerce as well as politicks. The one by his Address obtaind in England such Assurances as satisfied him that France would afford such Aid to America as she could consistently, the other was better skilld in the commercial Part of his Agency than the political. The one in London in the Months of March and April discoverd that he might successfully & actually did treat with a Merchant in France of no Capital but a favorite at Court for a Supply to the Value of L200,000 sterling—the other arrivd in the Month of June following, found him out & was somehow concernd in forwarding the Supplys thus contracted for. I dare say you are apt to draw this Conclusion that the one was the political Negotiator in this Instance & the other the Commercial Agent only—yet, will you believe it, it is positively affirmd that the one did every thing & the other Nothing. I will explain it to you in my next.
1 Cf. Vol. Iii., p. 269.
To Samuel Cooper.
[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]