Papers of John Adams, volume 12

From Edmund Jenings, 2 January 1782 Jenings, Edmund JA From Edmund Jenings, 2 January 1782 Jenings, Edmund Adams, John
From Edmund Jenings
Brussels Janry. 2d 1782 Sir

I have the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Letter of the 26th Ult. An american Gentleman passing through this Town had deliverd to me before the 1st volume du politique Hollandois, for which I humbly thank your Excellency, as I must do for your Intention to send me the second Vol. but as I have taken in all the numbers thereof and shall continue to have them as they come out, I must beg your Excellency not to give yourself that trouble. I have reced too the Pamplet relative to the Taxes of France and England,1 169which I have read with Attention and as I think it ought to be seen by others, I have put it into the Hands of a Friend here, to be made Known in his way. I think it will operate among the Capitalists here, as I doubt not it has done in Holland. I do not Know whether your Excellency has recd Mr Hollis’s Book.2 The volume of the Politique Hollandais, destined for that Gentleman shall be sent Him.

I have several publications from England for your Excellency which shall be conveyed to you by the first opportunity.

I think your Excellencys has been somewhat amused of late by the debate in the English Parliament.

The Ministry seem too much puzzled and too much divided among themselves to speak out. The meetings of the Counties and the State of Ireland will Confound them more. I trust that the french Fleet has escaped the fury of late winds, and then its operation may serve to bring them at last to their Senses. The English Minister here thinks that Barbadoes is taken. It will be a Happy Event to the Inhabitants, who I find have been tyrannizd over by their Governor Cunningham.3

I have lately recd the following extract from London.

“There is a Scheme now in Agitation, and I have no doubt, but it will be adopted by the minister, of encouraging the Growth of Tobo. in this Country.4 Some of the Produce of last Year I have seen, the Sort is Excellent and in a quantity to the value of £7000 worth is sold privately.

“the Plan

“Every Tobo Ground to be entered as the Hop Grounds are, and a Duty of 6d pr pd to be collected by the officers of Excise.

“If exported then 5d draw back to be allowed in that Case it will be sold by the Grower from 1 1/2 to 2d pr pd and yield a better profit than wheat or any other grain.

“The above £7000 worth was grown from 100 Acres only you are not to look on this as a visionary and impracticabl Scheme, but to make immediate Use of it as authentic.

“It is calculated that this Scheme will bring one Million and in time £1750,000 pr Ann. calculating on the constant demand, that is 30000 HHdds for home Consumption and 60,000 for exportation.”

Many observations might and have been made on this Scheme. One is that it shows the English begin to think that they have no more to do with the tobacco States, and are therefore wisely en-170deavouring to live without them. If they once imagine the rest of the States are no longer Necessary to them they may perhaps be induced to part with them without reluctance or delay.

I Know not whether your Excellency has seen the inclosed Letter.5 If not it is perhaps worthy of your Excellencys perusal. If your Excellency has seen it, and have no occasion to Keep it, I should be glad your Excellency would return it to me.

I have receivd to day a Letter from Mr Ridley a Gentleman of Maryland, who tells me, that He had thoughts of going to England with an order to endeavour to procure the exchange of Mr Lawrens and a general one for our prisoners, but it has been thought adviseable that He should not trust Himself in the Hands of the English. Perhaps Mr Deans Son has the Commission, as Mr Lee tells me that He certainly went to England about a month ago.6 His Father who is at Ghent conducted Him to Ostend.

I think I informed your Excellency that the Abbê Raynal resided here. If your Excellency has any Commands to Him, I should be proud to deliver them, as it will serve me as an Introduction to Him.

I Hope your Excellencys Health will be soon established in the most perfect manner.

Does your Excellency Know why Mr Jefferson does not arrive?

I Know not whether it appears to your Excellency, that Cornwallis has violated the Capitulation in sending the Virginia and other Traytors to n York in the Bonetta sloop.7

I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt Edm: Jenings

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Jenings 2d. Jany. 1782.”


Not identified.


Thomas Brand Hollis sent JA a set of Francis Blackburne, Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, 2 vols., London, 1780, via Edward Bridgen, but the volumes miscarried (from Bridgen, 13 July 1781, vol. 11:417–418). Jenings ultimately sent JA his own copy of the work (from Jenings, 29 May, Adams Papers).


Barbados was not taken. The island’s lower house had sent a memorial to the king to protest the actions of Gov. Cunningham and the upper house in “Establishing new and oppressive fees to be paid to the Secretary of the Island, for the use of the Governor, upon all writs, orders, processes, and papers issued by him, or in his name, in the Courts of Justice, Ordinary, Council, as Commander in Chief.” In the view of the London Courant, this indicated that the “baneful Scotch system of despotism and rapine, which made the colonies in America revolt from the other country, is securely exercised in the Island of Barbadoes.” For the memorial and extensive editorial commentary, see the London Courant of 6 and 7 December.


The source of this plan has not been found.


Not identified.


Matthew Ridley had been at Paris since early December on a mission to raise a loan for Maryland. On 13 Dec. Benjamin Franklin proposed giving Ridley powers to exchange Henry Laurens for Gen. Burgoyne and enter into a general exchange of all American prisoners in England. Franklin prepared the 171papers necessary for the mission, but on the 26th Ridley informed Franklin that he believed it too risky for him to go to England (MHi: Matthew Ridley Diaries). Jesse Deane, son of Silas Deane, did not replace Ridley.


The Bonetta sloop was the British vessel designated in the articles of capitulation to carry the news of Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown to Gen. Clinton at New York. The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of 17 Dec. 1781 reported that “the Loyalists captured at York Town, with Lord Cornwallis, were put on board a sloop, and sent to New York, where they all arrived in perfect safety.” In fact, the captain of the Bonetta, Ralph Dundas, was criticized severely for refusing passage to Loyalists seeking to escape from Yorktown (Davies, ed., Docs. of the Amer. Rev. , 1770–1783, 19:207–208, 209, 234, 241, 247, 268, 275).

To Benjamin Franklin, 3 January 1782 JA Franklin, Benjamin To Benjamin Franklin, 3 January 1782 Adams, John Franklin, Benjamin
To Benjamin Franklin
Amsterdam Jany. 3d. 1782 Sir

Yesterday were presented to me two other Bills of Exchange on Mr. Laurens drawn 6th. July 1780, Numbers 40 and 41 for 550 Guilders each, which I wait your Excellency’s orders to accept. I have never been informed of the exact amount of the Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens on that day; but there are by the Numbers which have appeared probably many not yet arrived.

I have the honor to make your Excellency the Compliments of the Season, and to wish that the Year coming may be as prosperous as the past, and as much more so as You please.

The States will not probably accept the Mediation of Russia, but upon a preliminary, that the Treaty of maritime Neutrality be the Basis of it, and other Conditions which will render the Negotiation quite safe.1

I have the honor to be,2 Your Excellencys most obedient humble servant J. Adams

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “Adams Jany. 3d. 1782.”


For the Dutch acceptance of Russian mediation, see Dumas’ letter of 14 Feb., below.


The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

To the Abbé Raynal, 5 January 1782 JA Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé To the Abbé Raynal, 5 January 1782 Adams, John Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé
To the Abbé Raynal
Amsterdam January 5. 1782 Dr Sir

I have the Honour to transmit you, the Revolution of America, translated into the Sublimest Language of Europe, if we are to believe the People of the Netherlands, who alone understand it. The Compliment paid to four Characters among whom I am Supposed to be one in this History, no doubt induced the Editor to dedicate it 172to me: be this however as it may, I would not exchange the Small Share which belongs to me in that pathetic Testimony from So distinguished a Friend of Truth, Liberty and Humanity, for a Statue of Bronze or Marble to be erected in honour of me, by the first Monark of the World in the Market street of Philadelphia.1

I am however, very unhappy to find so many Mistakes in Point of Fact, because coming from so great an authority they will be taken for certain, and have an ill Effect.2

My Friend Edmund Jennings Esqr, a Gentleman whose Principles Sentiments and Disposition I think will be agreable to you, will have the Honour to deliver you this Letter.3 He resides at Brussells, and is very agreable Company.

LbC (Adams Papers.)


Abbé Guillaume Thomas François Raynal, Staatsomwenteling van Amerika. Uit het Fransch, Amsterdam, 1781. Two copies are among JA’s books at MB ( Catalogue of JA’s Library ). For the various printings and translations of Raynal’s work, see vol. 10:405. The dedication reads, “Zyner excellentie John Adams schildknaap gevolmagtigden staatsdienaar der vereenigde staaten van Amerika, edelmoedigen bevorderaar van de onafhanklykheid dier volkplantingen, wordt dit werk onderdaanigst opgedraagen, door zyner excellentie’s Zeer eebiedigenden Dienaar willem holtrop.” Translation: To his Excellency, John Adams Esqr., plenipotentiary officer of the United States of America, noble proponent of the independence of those colonies, this work is most humbly dedicated, by his Excellency’s very respectful servant Willem Holtrop. Raynal’s attribution of the leading roles in the adoption of the Declaration of Independence to John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and the two Adamses appeared on p. 76 of the Dutch edition.


See On the Abbé Raynal’s Révolution de l’Amérique, 22 Jan., below.


JA enclosed this letter in one to Jenings that has not been found (from Raynal, 18 Jan., below).