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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


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Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0168-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-02

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Today I have the honor to send you the resolution1 of which I have already spoken. What delayed me a little was my recent trip to Amsterdam, a bothersome cold which I brought back with me, and the three copies which I had to make to send in successive letters to the congress. This piece fully deserves to be published in both French and English for the service of the United States because of the intimate knowledge that it displays respecting the finances, politics, and the ground and naval forces of this Republic. It is the English party that schemes to have the Republic increase the former and continue to neglect the latter. If it were to succeed, there is no doubt that the Republic would immediately { 247 } be put to the service of England. Judge, therefore, gentlemen, of what importance is the strong resolve of the great city.
The period of calm in which we are now will last another ten to twelve days, until the States of the Province reconvene. May God send us before then some great and good news from America. I would put it to more than one good use, and it might produce more than one good result. The London Evening Post of 26 November2 makes us hope that Clinton has been very roughly handled.
I am, with great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Dumas
RC with one enclosure (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique à Passy, pres Paris.”
1. This was Dumas' 22-page French translation of Amsterdam's resolution against the augmentation of the army, which had been placed before the Provincial States on 8 Sept. and promised to the Commissioners. See Dumas' letters of 4 and 9 Sept., and 27 Oct. (all above).
2. The London Evening Post of 26 Nov. carried a report, apparently obtained from vessels that had left New York on 19 Oct., that Gen. Clinton had gone out with two-thirds of his Army to attack a convoy of 300 wagons carrying supplies to Boston for the use of Estaing's fleet. The escort, however, proved to be stronger than expected, forcing Clinton to retreat to New York. No account of such an engagement has been found in American sources.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0169

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1778-12-03

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose to Congress, the latest News Papers: As they contain the Speech at the Opening of Parliament,1 and Some of the Debates in both Houses upon the Addresses in Answer to it, they are of very great Importance. I learn by Some Newspapers, and private Letters that an opinion has been prevalent in America, that the Ennemy intended to withdraw from the united States, and considering the cruel Devastations of the War, and the unfortunate Situation of our Finances nothing would give me so much Joy as to see Reasons to concur in that opinion, and to furnish Congress with Intelligence in Support of it.
But I am sorry to say that the Reverse is too apparent. We may call it Obstinacy or Blindness, if We will, but such is the state of Parties in England, so deep would be the Disgrace, and perhaps so great the personal Danger to those who have commenced and prosecuted this War, that they cannot but persevere in it, at every Hazard. And nothing is clearer in my Mind, than that they never will quit the united States, untill they are either driven or starved out of them.
{ 248 }
I hope therefore that Congress will excuse me, for suggesting that there is but one Course for Us to take, which is to concert every Measure and exert every Nerve, for the total Destruction of the British Power within the united States. I have the Honour to be with the most respectfull Consideration sir, your most humble, and most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 25–28); docketed: “2 Letter from J. Adams Passy Decr. 3. 1778 Read March 4. 1779 Referred to Mr G Morris Mr Drayton Mr Paca.” JA 's letter of 8 Dec. to the president of the congress (below) was also read on 4 March. The “2” may indicate that this letter was considered after that of the 8th.
1. This is the first of four letters to the president of the congress enclosing copies of the King's speech of 26 Nov., the others being dated 6, 7, and 8 Dec. That of the 6th, read by the congress on 25 Feb. 1779, was a simple letter of transmission that noted only the importance of the speech for understanding British intentions (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 29—30; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:851). The letter of the 7th, existing only as a Letterbook copy (Adams Papers), may have been superseded by that of the 8th (below) and not sent, for there is no evidence that the congress ever received it. In his letter of the 7th, JA stated that it could be inferred from the speech that the British had neither allies nor any prospects of gaining any, feared the appearance of additional enemies, and would prosecute the war as long as possible. JA also noted the surprising amount of opposition in Parliament, which he believed would grow.