Papers of John Adams, volume 12

From Benjamin Franklin, 22 April 1782 Franklin, Benjamin JA From Benjamin Franklin, 22 April 1782 Franklin, Benjamin Adams, John
From Benjamin Franklin
Passy, April 22. 1782 Sir

Messrs. Fizeaux and Grand have lately sent me two Accounts of which they desire my Approbation. As they relate to Payments made by those Gentlemen of your acceptances of Bills of Exchange, your approbation must be of more Importance than mine, you having more certain Knowledge of the affair. I therefore send them enclos’d to you, and request you would be pleas’d to compare them with your List of Acceptations, and return them to me with your Opinion, as they will be my Justification for advancing the money.1

I am very happy to hear of the rapid Progress of your Affairs. They fear in England that the States will make with us an alliance offensive and deffensive, and the public Funds which they had puff’d up 4 or 5 per Cent, by the Hope of a separate Peace with Holland, are falling again. They fill their Papers continually with Lies to raise and fall the Stocks. It is not amiss that they should thus be left to ruin one another, for they have been very mischievous to the Rest of Mankind. I send enclosed a Paper, of the Veracity of which I have some doubt, as to the Form, but none as to the Substance, for I believe the Number of People actually scalp’d in this murdering War by the Indians to exceed what is mention’d in the Invoice, and that Muley Istmael (a happy Name for a Prince as obstinate as a Mule) is full as black a Tyrant as he is represented in Paul Jones’s pretended Letter: These being substantial Truths, the Form is to be considered as Paper and Packthread.2 If it were re-publish’d in England it might make them a little asham’d of themselves. I am, very respectfully Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant

B Franklin

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr Franklin Ap. 22 ansd July 23. 1782.”


The enclosed accounts were returned to Franklin with JA’s reply of 23 July. JA expressed regret that he had not answered Franklin sooner, but attributed the delay to the prolonged illness of John Thaxter, “who keeps the Account of those Affairs,” but see also JA to Franklin, 24 May (both LbC’s, Adams Papers).


The enclosure, which is not in the Adams Papers, was a fictitious piece printed by Franklin at Passy purported to be taken from the Boston Independent Chronicle of 12 March (Franklin, Papers , 37:184–196). It consisted of two letters, dated 7 March 1782 and 7 March 1781, respectively. The first, from a Capt. Gerrish of the New England militia, described the contents of eight packages of scalps, totaling 954, taken from American men, women, and children on the western frontier. The Seneca Indians intended the scalps for the governor of Canada, but they had been captured in transit by an American expedition. It was ultimately decided that the scalps should be sent in small packets to George III, Queen Charlotte, and members of the government. The 448second letter was from John Paul Jones to Sir Joseph Yorke, the British ambassador to the Netherlands, protesting the British diplomat’s memorial to the States General in which Jones was designated a pirate. Jones argued that he in no way met the definition of a pirate because he was acting in the cause of liberty in defense of his fellow citizens against British tyranny. No comment by JA regarding Franklin’s fabrication has been found.

From Jean Luzac, 22 April 1782 Luzac, Jean JA From Jean Luzac, 22 April 1782 Luzac, Jean Adams, John
From Jean Luzac
Leyden 22. April 1782 Honorable Sir

Altho’ the early part, I have taken in the struggles of America for the rights of Liberty and Mankind, would be a silent witness of my particular happiness at the present moment, when Your Excellency’s steady and prudent conduct in our Republic is crowned with the most glorious success, I should deem myself wanting in my duty, if I did not congratulate Your Excellency most sincerely in the public character, wherein You have now been publicly acknowledged by our Government; an event, Sir, that will be, (if my most ardent wishes are fulfilled) the forerunner of many happy consequences to both Countries. May Your Excellency long enjoy that heart-felt satisfaction, which is the best reward of a life spent to public good. I am with the sincerest regard and deep respect, Honorable Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedient and very humble Servant

J. Luzac

RC (Adams Papers).

From Jean de Neufville & Fils, 22 April 1782 Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business) JA From Jean de Neufville & Fils, 22 April 1782 Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business) Adams, John
From Jean de Neufville & Fils
Amsterdam April 22. 1782 Sir

Although indisposition and absence may have frustrated our wishes of being first in paying Your Excellency an homage in which our Country partakes so much of, by the success of your negotiations we trust to your Excellencys indulgence for being Satisfied with this apology, and tho’ late, that you will accept of this tribute which yeilds to none in sincerity. Our wishes are in nothing more earnest than that your Excy: may long Contribute to preserve that harmony which we hope will result without interuption from that union you have had so much share informing between both Republicks, and as a reward to your Labours may you from this time see daily accrue that advantage to each, which so natural a connection gives the best reason to expect.

449 These are our Sentiments, to which we can only add those of respect, and perfect regard, with which we have the honor to be Your Excelly. Most Obdt & humbl Servts John de Neufville & Son

RC (Adams Papers).