Papers of John Adams, volume 8

From James Lovell, 20 August 1779 Lovell, James JA From James Lovell, 20 August 1779 Lovell, James Adams, John
From James Lovell
Dear, respected Sir Philada. Augst. 20th. 1779

I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favors of Decr. 19, Feb. 191 and Feb. 20 the 1st. on the 16th, the two latter yesterday by Mr. Partridge.2 I ought also to profess myself obliged by your long Letter this day read in Congress dated at Braintree.3

I am quite pleased with finding I had formed a just Opinion of the several Character mentioned in these your Letters to me;4 And should have readily consented to more than seperating the joint Officers, if any Thing would have answered the Purpose of some here but a downright disgracing of them.

By Conversation with Mr. S. A. my Scrawls to Portia and a Resolve or two lately sent her you will find the Stage we are at respecting the Business which has caused you Uneasiness while abroad.5

Mr. D—— is discharged from further Attendance, here; and has an Allowance for the Time he has been disgracing us and betraying us to disgrace ourselves. But he is not yet done. He expects to be paid for going again to France after his Papers and for the Time necessary to settlement of his Accounts. That Business relative to you mentioned in one of your public Letters read Today6 is referred to the Treasury. Be assured you have not an Enemy amongst us; but whether you will hear properly from this quarter hangs on Tomorrow or the next day or the next, &c.

Though my Heart would be more at Ease if you was in Europe than it is at Present in regard to probable Negociations; yet, I must, in a decided Case, congratulate you on your safe Arrival among your Relations. I presume your little Secretary7 is with you; and I hope he is in Health, with the whole Circle of your beloved ones.

The Bearer is 24 Hours earlier upon me than I expected; so that I take up my Pen only that he may not go without a visible Assurance of being with a continued sincere Esteem Sir, your obliged Friend and humble Servant

Jas. Lovell

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Mr. Lovell Aug. 20. 1779,” and, in JA's later hand, “relative to Mr. Deane.”


This is likely the letter that JA, in his Letterbook, dated 13 Feb. (above). It was not unusual for JA to draft a letter in his Letterbook and delay sending it. But see Elbridge Gerry to JA, 24 Aug., note 1 (below).


George Partridge, elected to the congress from Massachusetts in June ( JCC , 14:980; Adams Family Correspondence , 3:208, note 5).


That of 4 Aug. (above).


Arthur Lee, Izard, Silas Deane, and Franklin (JA to Lovell, 20 Feb., above).


Lovell wrote to AA on 16 and 19 125July and 9 and 11 Aug. ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:211–213, 219–223). In his letter of 9 Aug. he sent copies of two resolutions passed on 6 Aug., setting salaries for the American Commissioners and making provision for examination of their accounts ( JCC , 14:928–929).


That of 3 Aug. (above), which expresses JA's willingness to submit his accounts.



From Elbridge Gerry, 24 August 1779 Gerry, Elbridge JA From Elbridge Gerry, 24 August 1779 Gerry, Elbridge Adams, John
From Elbridge Gerry
My dear Friend Philadelphia August 24. 1779

I have only Time by this Days post to express the pleasure I feel on the News of your safe Arrival to your Family and Friends, and the prospect of an agreable and early Interveiw with You. The Letters to me which You mention in your's to Mr. Lovell1 never came to Hand, or I should certainly have acknowledged the Receipt of them; altho I have been under the Necessity of giving up my most agreable Correspondents. I am much informed by your sensible Letter to Congress, which has been justly admired as an accurate History of the Relations, Inclinations, Interests, and Dependencies, of the several Powers of Europe; and I fully agree with You in your private History of Men and Things. Many of our Friends, by a Discovery of their personal Attachments and other impolitic Measures, must now be sensible that they have in great Measure defeated their honorable Intentions of supporting patriotism and Integrity, and developing Conduct which from present appearances, is disgraceful to our Country and the Cause in which We are engaged: but not approving their policy, I presume that I must not expect their Confidence. Your Letter relative to Expences is referred to the Board of Treasury, and will be answered by the next post.2 Pray make my Compliments to Mrs. Adams, and inform me what she will say, if I should again think it my Duty to promote your Appointment to an Embassy in Europe; she cannot justly impute it to the Want of tender Feelings, which married Ladies will rarely allow to Batchelors, When she is truly informed of my Impatience to join your sacred order.3 However I shall never wish to see any of my Friends in important offices under Congress untill they have adopted a Resolution, that no Member person shall be appointed to any office of profit of the united States, during the Time of or within twelve Months after his being a Member of Congress.4 I remain sir in Haste with the sincerest Esteem your Friend and very huml. sert.

E Gerry

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams Esq at Boston”; franked: “free E Gerry”; docketed: “Mr. Gerry”; by CFA: “August 24th 1779.”

126 1.

No extant letter from JA to Lovell refers to letters written to Gerry. It could be that a letter of 19 Feb., of which no Letterbook copy exists, but which Lovell said that he received, contains the reference or it may have been in a postscript to a letter for which there is no extant recipient's copy.


For the reply from the Board of Treasury, see JA's letter to Gerry of 20 Sept., note 1 (below).


Gerry did not marry until 1786, but for an earlier courtship, see Adams Family Correspondence 2:94–95.


On 25 Sept., Gerry seconded a motion in the congress barring the appointment to an office of profit of any member of the congress. After an unsuccessful attempt to extend the bar for nine months after a member retired, the original motion lost ( JCC , 15:1105–1107).