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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0126

Author: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1781-07-25

Jean de Neufville & Son to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

We regret that your Ladyship's letter of 25th April1 should not have Came to our hands soon enough to have prevented our executing your orders p[er] the Ship Juno, in Lieu of that of our good friends Messrs. N. & T. Tracey (the Minerva) as a freight of 12 ½ PCt. is an object worth saving. But they were Shipped as early as the 25 May, and we were in hopes you would have received them before now, but the ship on board which they are, having waited for the { 188 } Convoy of a Large Frigate going to your Continent, prevented its departure till now.2
We are very Sencible of what America must expect from us, and feel too much for its disappointment at our tardiness in Seeking revenge for Such attrocious Insults, and Injuries. It has been a Subject of wonder to Europe, also, and to ourselves a Cause of painfull Sensation though we are Still persuaded we shall see our nation fully avenged. The Slowness of measures here having been more owing to the banefull influence of a Court, then to a want of proper Spirit in the nation, who on the Contrary gave us to dread from their resentment against Some Leaders, the most dreadful Consequences. True patriotism however Seems to gain the ascendancy with us, from which we hope the happiest effects will result, and finally that Iniquitous and haughty power (in Lieu of bringing the world at her feet to unconditional Submission) be punished for the wickedness of her measures.
It now is in the State of a ruined Gamester throwing its last Stake Neck or nothing: All in the East Indies is in as forlorn a State as in America. In short their Situation in all quarters is so deplorable that tho' an honest Brittain Cannot behold it without weeping he sees no Safety for himself or posterity from being enslaved but by further disgrace and ruin to their arms in hopes the remaining virtue left amongst them will at Last from despair unite in attempting to drag from the Seat of power the wretches who have perverted it, to their ruin, by every Corruption. May the good genius of your rising States ward them from every kind of it, and preserve their virtue and may our former one be restored to us, that we may be the more worthy of that union we so earnestly wish for, and to which we direct all our Labours. We flatter ourselves it is not far off. Tho' it will not add to our attachment or devotion to America, we believe it will to the energy of our assurances of that respect with which we have the honor to be most respectfully, Your Ladyships Most obt. hume. servts.,
[signed] John de Neufville & Son
RC (Adams Papers); in a clerical hand, signed by a member of the firm; at foot of text: “The honorble. Lady Adams.” Another RC (Adams Papers), marked “Triplicate” at head of text.
1. Not found.
2. See Jean de Neufville & Son to AA , 25 May, above, and enclosed invoice and notes there.
{ 188 } { 188 } { 188 } { 188 } { 189 }

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0127

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1781-07-30

Elbridge Gerry to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Madam

I have been honored with your Letter of the 20th Instant, on a Matter of the highest Concern to the Continent, as well as to our mutual Friend, who represents it in Europe.
Previous to the Receipt of the Letter I saw a Copy of one from Dr. F[ranklin] to C[ongress],1 and was soon after confidentially informed by a Gentleman at the southard of the proceedings thereon, which I confess have given me the greatest Pain and uneasiness. I cannot write so freely, Madam, as I shall confer with You, at a convenient Opportunity; but thus much I am greived to impart, that the Decree is past for revoking all the former Powers of our Friend, and for appointing him to execute new Instructions, with a Fraternity, some of whom to injure him, would I fear go greater Lengths than Judas did, to betray his Lord.2
I think it no difficult Task to trace the Vestiges of an undue Influence, which dared to approach our publick Councils as early as the period of the first Instructions, and which appears to me, for political purposes foreign to the Interest of America, to have produced a deep layed Plan for removing a Gentleman from office, upon whom alone many of the States could rely for obtaining a safe and honorable Peace.
If I have a right Idea of the last Powers, there can be no great Honor in executing them, either seperately or jointly; and the only object worth contending for in C[ongress] will be, a Revocation of these, and a Confirmation of the former Instructions with one Minister to execute them: but it is a Matter of Doubt in my Mind, whether the proceedings of C[ongress] have not made such a Measure altogether impracticable.
We shall however, Madam, be better able to judge understandingly, on the Return of Mr. L[ovell] who in his last Letter proposed soon to be in Boston: and altho the Times may justify the Sentiment that “the Post of Honor is a private Station”3 I shall not decline a publick one, whilst there is the least prospect of serving my Country on so important an occasion. I need not add Madam that nothing will afford me greater pleasure than an opportunity of rendering Services to Yourself and Family, and that I have the Honor to be with the sincerest Esteem your most obedt. & very hum. sert:,
[signed] E. Gerry
RC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Portia.” Dft (MHi:Gerry-Knight { 190 } Collection). Only one of the numerous cancellations and alterations in Dft has been noted below.
1. Franklin's controversial letter to Huntington, 9 Aug. 1780, criticizing JA 's conduct toward Vergennes; see above, Lovell to AA , 13 July, and note 7 there. Gerry's allusion makes clear that copies of Franklin's letter were sent to Boston at this time through more than one channel.
2. In a letter of the present date to Lovell ( Dft , heavily corrected, on verso of Lovell to Gerry, 17 June 1781, MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.), Gerry wrote:
“I have seen a Copy of the Letter from <Doctor Franklin> to <Congress> respecting <Mr. J. Adams> and fear that his Zeal for his Country has far exceeded his usual Caution. Be that as it may I feel a deep Concern for our worthy Friend, and apprehend that the <ungrateful and> ungenerous Treatment he has received will be productive of Disgrace and irreparable Injury to his Country. <Gerard> You well remember was ever against our saving the Fishery, and as he received his Instructions from the <Court of France>, is it not probable they have layed a plan to oust Mr. <Adams> in order to carry their Measures into Effect.”
Whether the names stricken by Gerry in his Dft , and which appear here as cancellations, were replaced in RC with identifying initials, were written in cipher in keeping with Lovell's usage in his letter on recto, or were left blank to be supplied by Lovell, cannot be known.
3. In Dft , Gerry at this point wrote and then cancelled: “I would chearfully make a Tour to the southard.”