Papers of John Adams, volume 10

From William Lee, 5 October 1780 Lee, William JA From William Lee, 5 October 1780 Lee, William Adams, John
From William Lee
Dear Sir Bruxelles Oct. 5. 1780

I was very happy to find by your favor of the 21st. Ultimo that Mr. S. Adams still continues in the Public service and I am the more pleased at this choosing to serve in Congress rather than in any service in his particular State, for I think there is not any man that can doubt of America having very greatly suffer'd, if the continuance of the War is a sufferance by some of the States having in some instances payed too little attention to the persons that were appointed to represent them in Congress. There are rumors of an inclination in G.B. for Peace, and that a Parliamentary acknowledgement of the Independence of Ama. is to be the first public Step; but 'tis probable that these are only Ministerial givings out, in order to feel that pulse of the people and to prepare for the loss of Jamaica and the fall of Giberalter; but if Mess. Guichen and Solano, do not succeed against Jamaica, tho' Giberalter should fall, I shall much doubt of the B. Ministrys acceeding to such a peace as the Allies will accept.

I suppose you have long known of G.B. offering the two Floridas to Spain to induce her to make a seperate Peace. Since Portugal has acceeded to the system of neutrality, I know not how it will be possible for G.B. to extricate herself out of her embarrassments, if she continues the War another year.

Too rigid an Oeconomy in States will I beleive oftener prove injurious than beneficial; for when it occasions a deficiency in useful services, it makes the nation, in the event, pay twentyfold, and verifies the Proverb, of letting the Ship rot, to save a half penny worth of Tar. However, tho' in my opinion, American Agents or Ministers, wou'd not only be useful but are highly necessary during the War at most of the Courts in Europe; I think they will be unnecessary and an idle waste of Money after we have Peace, except in some few instances.

Our friend Mr. Jenings has gone to Boulogn and left a Packet for you with me which I shall forward by Mr. Searle as he passes thro' here, if no conveyance happens before.

I must congratulate with you on the favorable Account for us, of 256the general situation of things in America as bro't by General Dalrymple to London from N. York which place he left the 1. of Sept.1Tho' the B. Ministers are quite silent, sundrie particulars have got abroad of which you certainly have fuller information than we have here.

With very great Esteem & regard I have the Honor to remain Dr Sir Your most Obliged & Obedt. Hble Servt.

W. Lee

RC (Adams Papers).


See Thomas Digges' letter of 26 Sept., and note 6 (above).

To the President of Congress, No. 14, 6 October 1780 JA President of Congress Huntington, Samuel To the President of Congress, No. 14, 6 October 1780 Adams, John President of Congress Huntington, Samuel
To the President of Congress, No. 14

Amsterdam, 6 Oct. 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 285–287). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:83–84.

Received by Congress on 29 Jan. 1781, this letter consisted of an English translation of the decree of 30 Aug. by Maria I, Queen of Portugal, forbidding privateers from entering any Portuguese port and further prohibiting any vessel, whether a privateer or warship, from bringing in its prizes.

Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 285–287). printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:83–84.)

From Thomas Digges, 6 October 1780 Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton JA From Thomas Digges, 6 October 1780 Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton Adams, John
From Thomas Digges
Dr. Sir London Octr. 6. 1780

I am thankful for your late favor1 and shall send you the Books desird by first opportunity.

Mr. Henr. Laurens was brought to Town last night, rather in better health. He was lodgd that night in the Messengers House in Scotland Yard, and denyd all sort of communication with his friends—or those who wishd to speak to Him. He was Examined at noon at Lord G. Germains and committed by a Warrant of Justice Addington a close prisoner to the Tower—orders that no person whatever speaks to Him. These folks are so foolishly changable that most likely in a few days the severity of His confinement may be relaxd. At present two men are always in the same room with Him, and two soldiers without.2You shall hear more from me by next post.3

No news from the Westward of any sort. The general beleif is that the privy Council yesterday have determind to prosecute the war further in Ama. with vigour—perhaps the fools have concluded that as they have catchd Mr. Laurens they can conquer America. I can see no other reason for their supposition of success in the further prosecution of that war.

I am your mo ob ser


RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsiéur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San Chez Monsiéur Henri Shorn Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S.C Octr. 6. 1780.”


Of 25 Sept. (above).


Digges' report agrees in most respects with that of Henry Laurens in his “Narrative.” There Laurens, who was committed to the Tower under a charge of high treason, gives a brief account of his examination before Lord George Germain and several others, including Lord Hillsborough and Lord Stormont (Laurens, “Narrative,” p. 24–25). A longer account of the interrogation appeared in the London newspapers (see, for example, the London Courant, 7 Oct.; London Chronicle, 7–10 Oct.). For the printing of a French translation of Digges' report in the supplement to the Gazette de Leyde of 7 Nov., see Dumas' letter of 7 Nov. (below).


Of 10 Oct. (below).