Papers of John Adams, volume 10

To Antoine Marie Cerisier, 18 November 1780 JA Cerisier, Antoine Marie To Antoine Marie Cerisier, 18 November 1780 Adams, John Cerisier, Antoine Marie
To Antoine Marie Cerisier
Sir Amsterdam Novr. 18th. 17801

I have recieved the letter which You were so good as to write me on the 15th. of this Month. The Translation of the Narrative of Genl. Howe cannot fail to have a good Effect at this critical Moment.

The final Independence of America is as certain, as a decree of the Destinies. The only Question is, how much Blood shall be shed and how long Mankind shall be unnecessarily embroiled in the quarrel, and how many Nations shall be injured and insulted by one. It is plain, that Genl. Howe studiously avoids giving any Information to the rest of Mankind, which can shew the Weakness of his Country and the Strength and Unanimity of America, but what was absolutely necessary for his own Vindication. Yet enough appears, to shew his Opinion and to convince any impartial Reader. It is astonishing that any sensible Man, should still be of Opinion, that there is either Light or Integrity in the British Ministry. The whole History of the Court of St. James's for these twenty Years proves that they have had the narrowest views, and been actuated by the meanest Passions. They have betrayed a total Ignorance of the Temper, Character, Principles, and Views of America, France, Spain, Holland, Russia, Sweeden and Denmark. They have discovered a constant Contempt of Truth, Justice, Liberty and Humanity—in short they have shewn themselves ignorant of every thing that Statesmen ought to know, except the Character of their Master, and the Degree to which Corruption might be carried in their Nation, and this last Knowledge has been or will be the Ruin of themselves, their Master and Nation altogether.

Your Advertisement, and your Observations on American Credit, I shall expect with Impatience, as they will undoubtedly throw much 358light upon our Affairs. You may depend upon me, Sir, for any little Assistance I may be able to afford You, in your virtuous Labours, in the Cause of Mankind. I have written for G. Burgoyne's Narrative, but have not yet recieved it. As soon as it comes it shall be sent.

This Opportunity Republick2 will very soon have its Eyes opened upon its Interest and its Duty. I have had too long and too painful Experience of the British Cabinet, and their Conduct, not to know, that when they use a Language like that of Sir Joseph Yorke's Memorial, they mean a great deal. It will not long be in the Power of any Man to think so favourably as some do or pretend to do.

I should be obliged to You if You would let me know upon what Terms my Sons might go to the School you mention and whether Greek as well as Latin is taught at it.

I am Sir, with very great Respect and Esteem your H. Servt.

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).


The letter printed here is JA's second of this date to Cerisier. In the first (LbC, Adams Papers), JA thanked Cerisier for his letter of the 15th (above) and his translation of Howe's Narrative, and promised to write at greater length soon. JA also enclosed two pamphlets, one of them probably Pensées, and some papers “written in great haste.” The enclosures cannot be more fully identified, for no replies by Cerisier to either of the letters of 18 Nov. have been found, probably because his employer, the Utrecht bookseller Bartholomé Wild, had him thrown into prison for breach of contract. See Joseph Mandrillon's letter of 20 Dec. (below).


“Republick” is in JA's hand.

To Thomas Digges, 19 November 1780 JA San, Fernando Raymond Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton To Thomas Digges, 19 November 1780 Adams, John San, Fernando Raymond Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton
To Thomas Digges
Dr Sr. Novr. 19th 1780

The Bundle by Mr. Bromfield I received, and one or two Parcells since. Yesterday I received the N. Papers and yours of the 14th.

I wish to know, how Sir. J. Y. Mem. is considered among you. Will they declare this Republick in Rebellion, or not? Whenever my Lord H—h has charged Faction and Cabal, it has been followed Soon by outlawry, and Charges of Rebellion and War.1

Poor Arnold! Where are his Laurels?—So much for attempting to convert the Tory Ladies.2 I dont wonder, there is no Exultation. A poor crippled, Piece of frail Mortality, hobbling on Crutches can no longer be an active Soldier. Will he go out? If he does he will meet Riflemen, and Hunters.

This Defection is not So shocking, as the Example of the Son of the Count of Egmont, delivering up to the Spaniards that very Brussells where the Citizens dipt their Hankerchiefs in his Fathers Blood in order to preserve the prescious Drops.3


It must have been a Bargain to march a Body of Men into Some Position to be Surrenderd up. As to a Body of 3000 Men, or their Officers being corrupted, I know better.4

Can you discover, whether Mr. Laurens had a Commission as Plenipo. or only to negotiate a Loan. This is a material Question.

Mr. Searle's desires his Respects to you.5

With great Regard yrs


LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W. S. Church.”


See JA's letter of 16 Nov. to the president of Congress, No. 20, and note 4 (above).


For JA's previous reference to the “Tory Ladies,” see his letter of 14 July to Edmund Jenings (above).


The Duke of Alva executed Lamoral, Count of Egmont, in Brussels' main square on 5 June 1568. His son, Philip of Egmont, initially supported the Orangist rebellion, but ultimately returned his allegiance to Spain and in June 1579 led an assault on Brussels. The effort failed and he was forced to withdraw as the townspeople, who remembered his father, jeered (Gordon Griffiths, William of Hornes, Lord of Hèze and the Revolt of the Netherlands, Berkeley, 1954, p. 14–15, 30, 43, 59, 69–70, 80).


The London newspapers of 14 Nov., which Digges presumably enclosed with his letter of that date (above), carried the first reports to reach England of Benedict Arnold's treason. Although it has not been found, JA refers here to one of those reports.


Both this sentence and the dateline are in John Thaxter's hand.