Papers of John Adams, volume 12

From Thomas Digges, 23 April 1782 Digges, Thomas Russell, William JA From Thomas Digges, 23 April 1782 Digges, Thomas Russell, William Adams, John
From Thomas Digges
London 23d Apr 1782 Dr sir

Since the sailing of Adml Barrington there has been much surprise and speculation as to His destination, and an express just arrivd from Plymouth announces that a few days ago and not many leagues off Brest one of His look out frigates the Artois Cap McBride fell in with an outward Bound India Fleet of 4 line of Battle ships (two armed en flute) and about 20 sail of Transports, four of which were taken by Capt McBride and brought into Plymo. and the fleet under Adml Barrington left in chase in such a position as to make it morally certain He would capture the whole. Report at first said it was the homeward bound Domingo fleet and that Adml 458Barrington had taken 23 merchantmen and two men of War; but the above seems to be the nearest accot to truth.1 As this accot came too late for the Gazette, without its publication is purposely kept back, I give it You in a hurry just at the period of the post setting out.

No other news. The idea of Peace with Holland or Ama seperately has pretty well blown over; and as a substitute in conversation the cry now is that Genl Carlton carrys over such profers as will assuredly be accepted of. Mr. L— too is very shortly to return from the Continent with such an assent to the proposals He carryd to His Colleagues as will insure a Peace!!!

I am with high Esteem Sir Your ob H. Sert W R

RC (Adams Papers).


Adm. Samuel Barrington sailed in early April to patrol off Brest. On the 20th one of his frigates sighted a convoy bound for the East Indies accompanied by three 64-gun ships of the line, one of them serving as a troop transport armed en flûte: that is, with its armament removed. In the ensuing engagement the troop transport and another ship of the line were taken together with twelve other vessels from the convoy. By 26 April, Barrington was back at Spithead, having struck a heavy blow against the French in the East Indies (Mackesy, War for America , p. 478; W. M. James, The British Navy in Adversity: A Study of the War of American Independence, London and N.Y., 1926, p. 366–367).

To Robert R. Livingston, 24 April 1782 JA Livingston, Robert R. To Robert R. Livingston, 24 April 1782 Adams, John Livingston, Robert R.
To Robert R. Livingston
No. 8.1 Hague 24th. April 1782 2 Sir

On the 24th. day of April I had the Honor to be introduced to the Princess, from whom I met a very gracious Reception. As it is necessary to say something upon these Occasions, I could think of nothing better than what follows:3


Je suis ravi d’avoir l’honneur de presenter une Republique Vierge, un Monde Enfant à la Bienveillance et à la Protection de votre Altesse Royale; d’une Princesse aussi illustre par ses Perfections et Vertus personnelles, que par Sa Connection avec la Maison d’Orange, si révérée en Amerique, et avec l’un de ces grands Monarques4 dans le Siecle desquels on se fait un honneur de vivre.

Votre Altesse Royale me permettra de faire des Vaux, pour que ses 459serenissimes Enfans et leur Postérité, puissant jouir parmi les Generations les plus reculées de l’Amerique, de la même Vénération profonde, qui y a toujours été entretenue pour leurs Ancêtres.

Her Royal Highness thanked me for the Compliment, and promised to do what depended upon her to render my Residence at the Hague agreable to me, and then asked me several Questions similar to those of his most Serene Highness.

I have the Honor to be,5 Sir your most obedient servant J. Adams

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 73–74).


The numbers JA and Thaxter assigned JA’s letters to Livingston correspond to the order in which they were entered in the Letterbook. Letter No. 8 was entered immediately following letter No. 7 of 2 3 2 April, above, in Lb/JA/18 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 106).


In the Letterbook copy, JA left a blank space for the date in both the dateline and the first sentence that John Thaxter filled in later.


When JA published this letter in the Boston Patriot of 10 April 1811, he included the following English translation of his conversation with Wilhelmina, princess of Orange:

“Madame—I am happy to have the honor of presenting a virgin republic and an infant world, to the benevolence and protection of your royal highness; a princess as illustrious for her perfections and personal virtues, as by her connection with the house of Orange, so much revered in America, and with one of those great monarchs, with whom it is esteemed an honor to live in the same century.

“Your royal highness will permit me to pray that your most serene children and their posterity, may enjoy to the latest generations in America, the same profound veneration, which has always been entertained there for their ancestors.”


Wilhelmina was the niece of Frederick the Great.


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