Monday, December 19, 2005

Benjamin Franklin vs. John Adams

Continuing my listening to the audio book on John Adams...

It turns out that John Adams and Ben Franklin didn’t always see eye to eye in Paris while they were trying to secure French support for the Revolution.

* As John Adams’ French improved he came to realize that Ben Franklin, as popular as he was with the French public, really didn’t speak or understand French very well.
* A good steward of the public money, he thought Ben Franklin spent public funds too lavishly

Once the French entered into the American Revolution, he French Foreign Minister it seems was willing to compromise on American independence should it become necessary to negotiate with the British. Knowing that John Adams would never stand for that, he began an effort to discredit John Adams. He instructed the French representative to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia to try to get John Adams recalled. He complained to Ben Franklin.

At one point, Ben Franklin sent a letter back the Continental Congress implying that John Adams had offended the French. This little detail would not become known to John Adams for several months as it took that long for the letter to cross the Atlantic and for the news to come back across the Atlantic from his wife and friends. This eventually lead to new instructions from the Congress which put Franklin solely in charge of negotiations with the French and made no mention of Adams.

Adams took this as an opportunity to return to Massachusets and be with his wife and children.

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