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John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778
sheet 34 of 37, 9 - 10 July 1778

Influence but that which was given them by the Folly and Temerity of Great Britain: and if any of them had adopted and advocated any such Projects as these, he would not only have lost all Influence in America, but been obliged to fly to England for Protection among the Royalists and Refugees. These Speculations were however, all rendered unnecessary. Independence had been declared two Years, and all America, in a manner had renounced every modification of Government under Great Britain forever, fully convinced that no cordial Confidence or Affection could ever be restored on either Side. Besides a Treaty with France had been solemnly made. America was then a Virgin and her Faith sacred. And it would have been ridiculous to suppose that France would now consent that We should make a seperate Treaty and become subject again to England, that the reunited Empire might immediately fall upon France in a new War.
We thought the whole Subject so futile that I think We never transmitted any Account of it to Congress.
To Governor Henry of Virginia
Dear Sir
I had the honour of a Letter from you, some time ago, which I have never had an Opportunity of answering 'till now.
Immediately after the Receipt of it, I went with Mr. Arthur Lee to Versailles in order to obtain the Articles you wrote for. It gave me pleasure to do any thing in my Power to serve the State of Virginia or its worthy Governor: but my Assistance was not necessary, as Mr. Lee sollicited the Business with great Spirit and with good Success as he will inform you.
We have received Yesterday, by two Vessells, the Saratoga and the Spy, very agreable Accounts from America.... The Ratification of the Treaty, with such perfect Unanimity, and in such handsome terms, is very agreable here, and will be so in other parts of Europe.
The Resolutions of Congress for detaining General Burgoine's Army, those upon the conciliatory Bills, and their late Address to the People, are exceedingly admired and applauded all over Europe.
Hostilities having commenced between France and England, without any formal declaration of War, it is this day said that the Brest Fleet has put to Sea.... If they meet Keppell there will be a sublime Battle. But if Keppell should beat D'Orvilliers, which one would think however to be impossible, as the French Fleet is certainly superiour in number, fuller manned, in better repair and in higher Spirits, Britain would not be much the better for it. For their Fleet will be disabled, their Seamen destroyed, losses which they cannot repair. Whereas Spain remains to bring up the rear: and France is better able to repair her losses. It is a Connection with America, which must in future decide the Ballance of maritime Power, in Europe.
What Events will take place in EuropeAmerica, is uncertain. D'Estaing's

Fleet is there before now: but what he will do, time must discover. Byron is twenty or thirty days behind him. But I think it is probable, that some part of the American Seas, will also have the honour of a magnificent Sea fight, for the first time.
The English Papers received this day, announce the Evacuation of Philadelphia. But it is not perfectly understood, how the Army could march through the Jersies without molestation. Surely America will not suffer that remnant of an Army to plague them much longer.
The same Papers affirm that a Committee of Congress is appointed to treat or confer, with the Commissioners from London, and mention the names, but We can conceive here, of no Use for such a Conference, but to ask the question, Have you Power and Will to acknowledge the Sovereignty of our States? The Answer must be,No.
I should esteem myself, at all times honoured, by a Letter from You. The Anxiety here, for Intelligence from America is indeed surprizing. Indeed Sir, you would be flattered with the Attention that is shown to our States, and with the high Eulogiums, that are every where bestowed, by learned and ingenious Men, upon our Constitutions, our Laws, our Wisdom,Valour and Universal Virtue. Partial as I am to my Country, and dearly as I love it, I cannot but say that I think they do Us, rather more honour than We deserve. But We are Combattants for Liberty, and it is a fashionable Saying in this Country, that every Man who combats for Liberty is adorable. There is more Liberality of Sentiment in every part of Europe, except England, but especially in France, than former Ages have known, and it will increase every day.
I am &c.
John Adams
[to] Patrick Henry Esqr. Governor of Virginia.
Mr. Williams
We approve of the Directions given by you to stop the Reparation of the Arms at Nantes, paying the Workmen their Wages, Gratifications and Conduct Money, according to Agreement, of which you inform Us in your Letter July 3. 1778.
Arthur Lee, John Adams
Mr. Williams is desired to send the Commissioners an order for the Goods remaining on hand, including the sixty three Barrells of Beef to be delivered to Mr. J. D. Schweighauser of Nantes or to his order.
Arthur Lee, John Adams
These two Letters are also in the Hand Writing of Mr. Arthur Lee, in my Book. The Reason why Dr. Franklin did not sign them I do not remember. He might be absent, or might disapprove them.

I had Yesterday the pleasure of your Letter from Nantes, and am much obliged to you for the agreable Intelligence contained in it.... I had no letters by the Sarratoga, later than the thirtieth of April, but the Spy has arrived at Brest, and brought a full and unanimous Ratification of the Treaty, and an handsome Resolution of Congress expressing their high Sense of the Friendship of the French King. The Treaty was ratified in less than forty eight hours, after its Arrival.
The English have affirmed in their Papers of the fourth of this month, that their Army has evacuated Philadelphia, and got safe to New York.... I think they ought not to have got there without broken Bones. However, I have little dependence on these paragraphs of English Newspapers.... Gates commands at Peeks Kill. An ominous Name, to the British Army in New York.
I am glad to learn that a Vessell has arrived to your Address, in which you are also an Owner. I wish you much pleasure and profit in the disposition of her Cargo. And as Rochefoucault and Swift inform Us, that in all good fortune of our Friends We first consult our private Ends, if you have received among the Cargo, any good News, I wish you would let your Friends at Passi, come in for a Share of it.
You will possibly see a Part of your Letter in the Affairs De L'Angleterre et de L'Amerique. The Anecdote of the M. De La Fayette, will please in this Country, which takes a great Interest in all the Actions of that gallant and amiable young Nobleman. His Lady is gone to Bourdeaux, or I would have sent your Letter to her.
The Brest Fleet is sailed, as I was told last night, so that We may expect soon to hear of a Rencounter. I think it probable too, that We may soon hear of a splendid Sea Fight in America, the first that will grace the History of that Country. God grant it may be prosperous to it.
I am, dear Sir, your Friend and Servant.
John Adams
[to] Mr. William McCreery at Nantes.
Dear Sir
I received, the day before Yesterday, your Letter by the Saratoga And I thank you for it, and for the Packett of Newspapers. Pray continue this goodness.... Pack up every Newspaper you can lay your hands on, by themselves, and write upon the Outside of the Package "Not to be thrown Overboard," for in that case, if they are taken, by the enemy the News gets published by the Enemy, which is an Advantage. Pray send me also, a Sett of the Journals of the Congress, by every Opportunity for some

time.Mr. Thompson will have the goodness (my Respects to him) to furnish you with these, without expence, and a Volume of the Journals, is a great Curiosity here, and an handsome Present. Inclose them in Carthrige Paper and direct them to me. Before this reaches you, great Events will have taken place in America, I presume, and very probably a Battle in Europe, between D'Orvilliere's Fleet, and Keppells, in which if England should get the better, which seems not very probable, she will still be the Looser in the End, because the War she has before her with France, Spain and America, must exhaust her, how many gallant Exploits soever she may perform in the course of it. Your Friend.
John Adams
[to] Mr. John Thaxter, in the Secretary's Office of Congress.
I had the pleasure Honour of a Letter from you, by the French Frigate which gave me the more pleasure, as no other Person in the Massachusetts thought proper to take any notice of me, by that Opportunity.... I laid your Letter immediately before the People in Power here, and an Extract of it has crep'd into a Publication called Affaires de L'Angleterre et de L'Amerique.
We received the day before Yesterday, a very handsome Ratification of the Treaty, which is extreamly pleasing to the Ministry, and will give fresh Vigour to their Operations, as Hostilities are already commenced.
Great Britain has before her a very chearing Prospect.... Stripped of the best Branch of her Commerce, her Navy is like a girdled Tree. Without Soldiers, without Sailors, without Ships indeed in sufficient numbers and in suitable repair, without commerce, without Revenue, and without Allies, she has the united Forces of France, Spain and America to meet by Land and by Sea. She seems to be chiefly occupied at present with concerting Measures for the defence of the Kingdom, and is agitated with an apparent dread of another Conquest like that of William the Norman. France has an hundred Thousand Men in Normandie, Picardie and Brittany, and a Fleet compleatly ready to go out of Brest, if not already at Sea, greatly superiour to that of Keppell. -- I mention Spain among the Ennemies of Britain, because, although she has not as yet made a Treaty with Us, yet I am well assured in my own mind, that she will have neither Inclination nor Ability to preserve a Neutrality, if a War is openly avowed between France and England as it very soon will be.
I am very easy in my own Mind, concerning the British Commissioners, because, after the Resolutions of Congress upon the Conciliatory Bills, which you sent me, which are admired and applauded all over Europe, and after an Unanimous Ratification of the Treaty with France, I am sure there can be nothing to fear from a Conference.

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778, sheet 34 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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