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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


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Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0156-0002

Author: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-11-25

Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

The King, gentlemen, has sent passports for four English vessels which are to come from a foreign port to Dunkerque. It is equally necessary that they be protected from insult by American privateers and I ask you to send me, in this regard, four open letters or passports, which they could1 use if needed. Please note that they must be left blank since they can only be filled out on the spot.2 I have the honor to be, with the utmost consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Sartine
{ 234 }
1. In copying the French text JA wrote the following five words in larger letters than the remainder of the letter.
2. The Commissioners enclosed the four requested documents, to be completed as Sartine wished, in their letter to Sartine of 30 Nov. ( LbC , Adams Papers), which he acknowledged on 1 Dec. (DLC: Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1778-11-27

To Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear sir

Yesterday the B. Parliament met. The 2d of Decr., We shall have the Speech. We hope to make Inferences from it of the Intentions of Spain, as well as Great B.1
Among the innumerable Falshoods that the English Emmissaries propagate every Year, to keep up the Spirits of stockjobbers and others, one has constantly been that Russia will take a Part with them. This is repeated lately. But I have taken some Pains to inform myself, and I think you may depend upon it, that there is an Understanding between this Court and that of Russia, and this last has taken an Engagement with the former, not to assist England in any Way. There is also a good Understanding with Prussia. In short England has not and cannot obtain a Single Ally in all Europe.
Nobody pretends to penetrate the Mysteries of Spanish Councils: but the late order from Court to take the Names of all foreign Merchants in the Kingdom, and the other to admit all armed Vessells to bring in their Prizes condemn and sell them in the Ports of the Kingdom are considered as preparatory Steps, and the Edict of the K. of the two Sicilies, the eldest son of the K. of Spain2 to admit the American Flagg into his Ports, is looked upon as an unequivocal Indication of the Designs of Spain.
The French Marine has hitherto shewn itself in every Encounter equal at least to the British, in the Bravery and Skill both of officers and Men: But the French Merchants have not exerted themselves in Privateering so much as the English, and have not had so much success.
What Reinforcement will be sent to the Comte D'Estaing, I cannot say: But of one Thing I am sure that the only wise Method of conducting the War would be to send a clear superiority of naval Force to America, an opinion which has been suggested and will be urged where it ought.
What Shall I say on the subject of Money? We can get no Answer from Mr. B. ——3 respecting the Contract. I shudder for fear, our Army should not be well supplied in the approaching Winter. But can { 235 } do no more than has been done. And knowing what they have done and suffered I am at no Loss what th[ey] will do and suffer. But I should be happier if I was more sure they would be warm.
Crossing the ocean does not cure a Man of his Anxiety. But We are contending for as great an Object as ever Men had in View, and great Difficulties and Dangers, will lay the Foundation of a free and flourishing People broad and deep, in great Virtues and Abilities. I am my dear sir, your Friend and servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (NN: George Bancroft Collection); docketed: “From J Adams Esq Passy Novr 27. 1778 Copied & Asd.” Despite the docketing, no reply to this letter has been found.
1. JA 's reference is to George III's speech of 26 Nov. opening the session, the newspaper account of which he presumably expected to reach Paris by 2 Dec., but which in fact was delivered to him on the evening of the 1st ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:125). In it the King strongly attacked France's unprovoked entry into the war, noted the mixed success of his war measures, regretted the failure of the Carlisle Commission, and promised renewed efforts to achieve victory and restore peace. Although Spain was not mentioned by name, George III did state that “the great armaments of other powers ... must necessarily engage our attention” ( Parliamentary Hist. , 19:1277–1279).
2. SeeCommissioners to the president of the congress, 7 Nov., and note 12 (above).
3. Beaumarchais.