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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1782-07-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your charming Letters of April 10 and 22d1 were brought me, Yesterday. That of 22d is upon Business. Mr. Hill is paid I hope. I will honour your Bill if you draw. But be cautious—dont trust Money to any Body. You will never have any to lose or to spare. Your Children will want more than you and I shall have for them.
The Letter of the 10 I read over and over without End—and ardently long to be at the blue Hills, there to pass the Remainder of my feeble days. You would be surprised to see your Friend—he is much altered. He is half a Century older and feebler than ever you knew him. The Horse that he mounts every day is of service to his Health and the Air of the Hague is much better than that of Amsterdam, and besides he begins to be a Courtier, and Sups and Visits at Court among Princesses and Princes, Lords and Ladies of various Nations. I assure you it is much wholesomer to be a complaisant, good humoured, contented Courtier, than a Grumbletonian Patriot,2 always whining and snarling.
However I believe my Courtierism will never go any great Lengths. I must be an independent Man, and how to reconcile this to the Character of Courtier is the Question.
{ 338 }
A Line from Unkle Smith of 6. of May3 makes me tremble for my Friend and Brother Cranch! I must hope he is recoverd.
I can tell you no News about Peace. There will be no Seperate Peaces made, not even by Holland—and I cannot think that the present English Ministry are firm enough in their Seats to make a general Peace, as yet.
When shall I go home? If a Peace should be made, you would soon see me.—I have had strong Conflicts within, about resigning all my Employments, as soon as I can send home a Treaty. But I know not what is duty as our Saints say. It is not that my Pride or my Vanity is piqued by the Revocation of my envied Commission. But in such Cases, a Man knows not what Construction to put. Whether it is not intended to make him resign. Heaven knows I never solicited to come to Europe. Heaven knows too what Motive I can have, to banish my self from a Country, which has given me, unequivocal Marks of its4 Affection, Confidence and Esteem, to encounter every Hardship and every danger by Sea and by Land, to ruin my Health, and to suffer every Humiliation and Mortification that human Nature can endure.
What affects me most is the Tryumph given to Wrong against Right, to Vice against Virtue, to Folly vs. Wisdom, to Servility against Independance, to base and vile Intrigue against inflexible Honour and Integrity. This is saying a great deal, but it is saying little more than Congress have said upon their Records, in approving that very Conduct for which I was sacrificed.—I am sometimes afraid that it is betraying the Cause of Independence and Integrity or at least the Dignity, which they ought to maintain, to continue in the service. But on the other Hand I have thought, whether it was not more dangerously betraying this Dignity, to give its Ennemies, perhaps the compleat Tryumph which they wished for and sought but could not obtain.
You will see, the American Cause has had a signal Tryumph in this Country. If this had been the only Action of my Life, it would have been a Life well spent. I see with Smiles and Scorn, little despicable Efforts to deprive me of the Honour of any Merit, in this Negotiation, but I thank God, I have enough to shew. No Negotiation to this or any other Country was every recorded in greater detail, as the World will one day see. The Letters I have written in this Country, are carefully preserved. The Conversations I have had are remembered. The Pamphlets, the Gazettes, in Dutch and French, will shew to Posterity, when it comes to be known what share I have had in them as it will be, it will be seen that the Spanish Ambassador expressed but the litteral Truth,5 when He said
{ 339 }
“Monsieur a frappé la plus grand Coup de tout L'Europe.—Cette Reconnaisance fait un honneur infinie a Monsieur.—C'est lui qui a effraycée et terrassee les Anglomanes. C'est lui qui a rempli cet nation d'Enthusiasm.”—&c.6
Pardon a Vanity, which however is conscious of the Truth, and which has a right to boast, since the most Sordid Arts and the grossest Lies, are invented and propagated, by Means that would disgrace the Devil, to disguise the Truth from the sight of the World. I laugh at this, because I know it to be impossible. Silence!
1. Error by JA for 25 April; see AA 's letter of that date, above.
2. That is, as the word suggests, a grumbling patriot or member of the anticourt party. For the origin of this word in 17th-century English politics, see OED .
3. Not found.
4. MS : “his.”
5. JA revised this sentence in the course of writing it, spoiling its structure without losing its meaning.
6. JA relished this praise well enough to convey it, in varying language but always bad French, to others; see, for example, his letter to Edmund Jenings, 28 April (Adams Papers), quoted in JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:5. The Spanish minister plenipotentiary at The Hague was Sebastián de Llano y de la Quadra, Conde de Sanafcé and Vizconde de Llano (Reportorium der diplomatischen Vertreten aller Länden, 3:435).

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0225

Author: Ingraham & Bromfield (business)
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1782-07-01

Ingraham & Bromfield to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

We had the Honor to write you 23d. March by the Ship Enterprize, Capt. Danl. Deshon and then sent an Invoice of Articles to Amount of f428.1— Hol[lan]d Cur[renc]y.
By Direction of Mr. Adams we now enclose a like Invoice of Goods ship'd on his Account on the Brig Sukey, Capt. Grinnel for Boston— the Bill of Lading for which we forward to Isaac Smith Esqr. Wishing that they may reach you safely, We remain, with sincere Respect Madam, Your most obedient, Humble Servants,
[signed] Ingraham & Bromfield
Amount of Invoice now enclosed is f525.0.10.
RC (Adams Papers). Text follows on the same sheet of paper the Dupl RC of Ingraham & Bromfield to AA , 23 March, above. Enclosed invoice not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0226

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1782-07-02

John Adams to Richard Cranch

“I am among a People, whose slowness puts all my Patience to the Tryal, and in a Climate which is too much for my Constitution: I { 340 } love this Nation however, because they love Liberty.—You will have learn'd the Progress of our Affairs here, which has been slow but sure. —This Dutch Legation has very nearly cost me my Life, and has taken away forever much of my Strength, and some of my Memory. Tomorrow the States of Holland assemble and go upon my Project of a Treaty.—A Mr. Greenville is at Paris about Peace, and is authorised to treat with all the belligerent Powers, but England has not acknowledged us to be a Power, and therefore I fear it will end in Chicane.1 Certain Persons of the Courts of Petersbourg and Copenhagen are intriguing, to favour England a little, but they can do no great things. Holland will not make a seperate Peace.
“I believe that the Acknowledgement of the Sovereignty of no Nation was ever made with such solemnity, and made so particularly the Act of the whole Nation, and of all the Individuals in it, as ours has been here.2—What say the Clergy to their new Allies, Protestant, Calvinist, Antiepiscopalians, Tolerant, Republican, Commercial. How do they pray and give Thanks? Into whatever Country I go, I listen to the Sentiments of the Clergy, because it is a good Index often of the sense of the People. The Clergy here, are in this War, generally well disposed in our favour and against England. I hope our Dutch Friends of all sorts will be treated with Respect and Affection, as well as the French—tho' we are under greater Obligations to the latter.
“It has been a critical Business to conduct this Nation right, amidst their Connections with England, the Influence of their Court, the Intrigues of foreign Courts &c. &c. It has required all the Patience, all the Skill, Address and Capacity, of their own Patriots, aided by the Duke de la Vauguion, not to mention any more, to prevent them from joining England; and it never would have been done but by appealing to the Nation, and arrousing their long dormant Bravery and love of Liberty.—Thanks to Heaven it is done, and we have nothing to fear from them, if we have not room to hope very much.”
Early Tr (MHi:Smith-Carter Papers); in the hand of Richard Cranch and captioned by him: “Extract of another Letter dated at the Hague July 2d 1782.” Prepared by Cranch for newspaper publication and in small part published in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 19 Sept. 1782, p. 3, col. 3, under the caption “Extract of a letter from an American gentleman in Holland, dated July 2.” The omission of the word “another” in the newspaper caption indicates clearly that Cranch originally prepared his abridged versions of both JA 's letters to him of 17 June (above) and of the present date for publication en suite. In the end, however, the first letter was apparently not printed at all, and the second emerged in a form so altered as to be nearly unrecognizable. The printed text actually uses only two sentences from JA 's original letter as excerpted by Cranch (see notes 1 and 2), and these are followed by added { 341 } matter that fills about three-quarters of a newspaper column. Much of the added matter seems to have been taken from letters JA did write, or at least could have written, at this period from the Netherlands about his successful negotiations there and affairs in Europe generally, but it is a pastiche or at times even a paraphrase of these letters, together with comments, such as “The Memorial of Mr. Adams was admirably well adapted to accomplish these purposes,” which both praise JA 's accomplishments and conceal his authorship, so far as he was the author of the letter or letters on which the newspaper text was based.
1. This sentence begins the text published in the Independent Chronicle and constitutes its first paragraph.
2. This sentence begins the second paragraph in the Independent Chronicle text.