Franklin, old, wise, and tolerant; John Jay, young, impatient, and daring, already a great master of English law and keen analytical thinking; and John Adams—well, an Adams, that is to say a genius, whose uncompromising, provincial, stubborn, and cantankerous methods still succeeded because of his monumental earnestness and patent honesty.
Primarily their instructions were to insist upon absolute independence, and to consult and take the advice of the French Court in all negotiations.
They met Mr. Richard Oswald, sent by the British, to Paris. To begin with, it all looked bright. It was almost a family party. Oswald was a gentleman—friendly, courteous, even sympathetic, reasonable to a degree, and a charming companion. But before they had gone very far it developed that he was authorized to treat with the "United Colonies." To be sure, he was to grant them independence. But John Jay would not listen to a word of it. He intended to be treated with as represent-