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John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778
sheet 15 of 37, 21 April 1778

On the other hand it was said of Mr. Lee, that he had not the confidence of the Ministry, nor of the Persons of influence here, meaning as before Mr. Chaumont, Mr. Beaumarchais,Mr. Monthieu and Mr. Holker: that he was suspected of too much Affection for England, and of too much intimacy with Lord Shelbourne: that he had given Offence, by an unhappy disposition, and by indiscreet Speeches before Servants and others, concerning the French Nation and Government, despizing and cursing them.
I was extreamly sorry for these Altercations and Calumnies, knowing that Parties and divisions among Americans here, must have disagreable and pernicious Effects both at home and abroad. I was wholly untainted with these prejudices and unalterably determined to preserve myself from them. It was no part of my Business to quarrel with any one without cause, to differ with one Party or the other, or give offence to any body. But I must and would do my duty to the Public, let it give offence to whom it might.
In this place it is necessary to introduce a few portraits of Characters that the subsequent narration may be better understood.
Dr. Franklin one of my Colleagues is so generally known that I shall attpnot attempt a Sketch of his Character at present. That He was a great Genius, a great Wit, a great Humourist and a great Satyrist, and a great Politician is certain. That he was a great Phylosopher, a great Moralist and a great Statesman is more questionable.
Mr. Arthur Lee, my other Colleague, was a Native of Virginia. His Father had been long a Councillor under the Crown and sometime commander in Chief of the Colony and ancient Dominion of Virginia. He left several Sons, Thomas, Richard Henry, William, Francis Lightfoot and Arthur, with all of whom except Thomas I have been intimately acquainted. Their Father had given them all excellent Classical Educations and they were all virtuous Men. Arthur had studied and practiced Physick but not finding it agreable to his Genius he took Chambers in the Temple in England, and there was admitted to practice as a Barrister, and being protected by several Gentlemen of Rank among the Opposition was coming fast into importance. Animated with great Zeal in the Cause of his native Country, he took a decided part in her favour and became a Writer of some Celebrity by his Junius Americanus and other publications. Becoming known in America as a zealous Advocate for our Cause, the two Houses of the Legislature of Massachusetts Bay appointed him provisionally their Agent to the Court of Great Britain, in case of the death, Absence or dissability of Dr. Franklin,

in which capacity he corresponded with some of the Members of that Assembly, particularly with Mr. Samuel Adams, and with the Assembly itself, transmitting from time to time information of Utility and Importance. After a Congress was called in 1774, 5 and 6 He continued to transmit to Us some of the best and most authentic Intelligence, which We received from England. In 1786 [1776] when the Election of Ministers to the Court of France was brought forward and after I had declined the nomination,  [illegible and Mr. Jefferson had refused the Election and Appointment sent him by Congress, Mr. Arthur Lee was elected in his place. He came immediately over to Paris and joined his Colleagues in Commission. His manners were polite, his reading extensive, his Attention to Business was punctual, and his Integrity without reproach.
Mr. Ralph Izzard was a native of South Carolina. His Grandfather or Great Grandfather was One of Mr. Lockes Landgraves, and had transmitted to his Posterity an ample landed Estate. Mr. Izzard had his Education, I believe at Westminster or Eaton School, certainly at the University of Cambridge in England. When he came to the Possession of his fortune he married Miss De Lancy a Daughter of Chief Justice De Lancy, who was so long at the head of the Party in New York in Opposition to the Livingstones, a Lady of great beauty and fine Accomplishments as well [as ]perfect purity of conduct and Character through Life. This accomplished Pair had a curiosity to Travel. They went to Europe, and passed through Italy, Germany, Holland and I know not how many other Countries. Mrs. Izzard, an excellent Domestic Consort, was very prolific, and it was often jocularly said that she had given Mr. Izzard a Son or a Daughter in every great City in Europe. When the American War commenced they were in England, and Mr. Izzard embracing the Cause of his Country with all the Warmth of his Character, passed with his Family over to France in his Way to America. Congress had been advised, by Persons who knew no better, to send a Minister to the Emperor and to the Grand Duke of Tuscany because they were Brothers to the Queen of France. In this measure there was less Attention to the Political Interests and Views of Princes than to the Ties of Blood and Family Connections. Congress however adopted the Measure, and Mr. Izzard

was nominated by Mr. Arthur Middleton in the Name of South Carolina and highly recommended for his Integrity, good Sense and Information. The Members from New York and other States supported the nomination and concurred in all the particulars of his Character. Mr. Izzard was accordingly appointed and when he arrived in Paris he found his Commission to the Grand Duke. With an high Sense of honor, and great Benevolence of heart as well as integrity of Principle, Mr. Izzard had a Warmth of Temper and sometimes a violence of Passions, that were very inconvenient to him and his Friends, and not a little dangerous to his Enemies.
Dr. Edward Bancroft was a Native of Massachusetts Bay in the Town of Suffield [Westfield]. He had been a School Boy under Mr. Silas Deane, when he was a Schoolmaster, whether in any Town of the Massachusetts or Connecticutt I do not recollect. After some Education at School he had been bound an Apprentice to a Trade: but being discontented he had ran away from his master and gone to Sea, carrying away with him, some property of his master. After some years of Adventures, the history of which I have not heard, he had acquired Property enough to return to his native Town, made his Apologies to his master, paid him honourably all his demands, and went to Sea again. The next information I have of him, was that he was in England and had published his Essay towards a natural History of Guiana, which I have in a handsome Volume presented me with his own hand, and it is a Work, considering the Advantages of the Author, of great merit. He wrote also in England The History of Sir Charles Wentworth, a Novel which no doubt was recommended to many readers, and procured a considerably better Sale, by the plentifull Abuse and vilification of Christianity which he had taken care to insert in it. He had also been in the Intimacy and Confidence of Dr. Franklin, who had recommended him to the Editors and Proprietors of the Monthly Review, in which his  [illegible standing Share was to review all Publications relative to America. This Information I had from Dr. Franklin own mouth himself. I understood this very well, as I thought--to wit that Bancroft was the ostensible Reviewer, but that Franklin was always consulted before the publication. Bancroft was a meddler in the Stocks as well as Reviews, and frequently went into the Alley, and into the deepest and darkest retirements and

recesses of the Brokers and Jobbers, Jews as well as Christians, and found Amusement as well perhaps as profit by listening to all the News and Anecdotes true or false that were there whispered or more boldly pronounced. This information I had from his own mouth. When Mr. Deane arrived in France, whether he wrote to Bancroft or Bancroft to him, I know not, but they somehow or other sympathised with each other so well that Bancroft went over to Paris and became a confidential associate with his old Friends Franklin and Deane.Bancroft had a clear head and a good Pen. He wrote some things relative to the Connection between France and America, with the Assistance of Franklin and Deane as I presume, which were translated into French by Mr. Turgot or the Duke de la Rochefaucault I forget which and printed in a Publication called Affaires de L'Angleterre et Amerique and which were very well done. After the Peace he obtained a Patent in France for the exclusive Importation of the Bark of the Yellow Oak for the Dyers and then he went to England and procured a similar Patent there, by bothwhich together he is said to have realised an Income of Eight hundred a Year. He has resided in England to this time and has renewed his ancient connections with the Monthly Reviewers, as I conclude from several Circumstances, among others from the Review of my first Volume of The Defence &c. and from that of my Sons Travels in Silesia, in both which the Spirit of Franklin,Deane and Bancroft, is to me very discernible.
This Man had with him in France, a Woman, with whom he lived, and who by the french was called la Femme de Monsieur Bancroft. She never made her Appearance. She had several Children very handsome and promising whom I saw in France and two of whom I have since seen in America, with complexions as blooming as they had in their Childhood. One of them behaved very well-the other has been much censured, I know not how truly. Bancrofts intimacy with Franklin brought him daily to my our house, and he often came to my Appartment where I received him always with Civility for he was sensible, social and in several Things well informed. He often dined with Us especially when We had company. Here I was not so well pleased with his Conversation, for at Table he would season his food with such enormous quantities of Chayan Pepper, which assisted by a little generous Burgundy, though he drank not a great deal, would sett his tongue a running at a most licentious rate both at Table and after dinner, as gave me great paine. The Bible  [illegible and the Christian Religion

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778, sheet 15 of 37 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778. Part 2 is comprised of 37 sheets and 7 insertions; 164 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 4 Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961.
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