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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0087

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-24

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

I have only Time by this Days post to express the pleasure I feel on the News of your safe Arrival to your Family and Friends, and the prospect of an agreable and early Interveiw with You. The Letters to me which You mention in your's to Mr. Lovell1 never came to Hand, or I should certainly have acknowledged the Receipt of them; altho I have been under the Necessity of giving up my most agreable Correspondent<s>. I am much informed by your sensible Letter to Congress, which has been justly admired as an accurate History of the Relations, Inclinations, Interests, and Dependencies, of the several Powers of Europe; and I fully agree with You in your private History of Men and Things. Many of our Friends, by a Discovery of their personal Attachments and other impolitic Measures, must now be sensible that they have in great Measure defeated their honorable Intentions of supporting patriotism and Integrity, and developing Conduct which from present appearances, is disgraceful to our Country and the Cause in which We are engaged: but not approving their policy, I presume that I must not expect their Confidence. Your Letter relative to Expences is referred to the Board of Treasury, and will be answered by the next post.2 Pray make my Compliments to Mrs. Adams, and inform me what she will say, if I should again think it my Duty to promote your Appointment to an Embassy in Europe; she cannot justly impute it to the Want of tender Feelings, which married Ladies will rarely allow to Batchelors, When she is truly informed of my Impatience to join your sacred order.3 However I shall never wish to see any of my Friends in important offices under Congress untill they have adopted a Resolution, that no <Member> person shall be appointed to any office of profit of the united States, during the Time of or within twelve Months after his being a Member of Congress.4 I remain sir in Haste with the sincerest Esteem your Friend and very huml. sert.
[signed] E Gerry
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams Esq at Boston”; franked: “free E Gerry”; docketed: “Mr. Gerry”; by CFA : “August 24th 1779.”
{ 126 }
1. No extant letter from JA to Lovell refers to letters written to Gerry. It could be that a letter of 19 Feb., of which no Letterbook copy exists, but which Lovell said that he received, contains the reference or it may have been in a postscript to a letter for which there is no extant recipient's copy.
2. For the reply from the Board of Treasury, see JA 's letter to Gerry of 20 Sept., note 1 (below).
3. Gerry did not marry until 1786, but for an earlier courtship, see Adams Family Correspondence 2:94–95.
4. On 25 Sept., Gerry seconded a motion in the congress barring the appointment to an office of profit of any member of the congress. After an unsuccessful attempt to extend the bar for nine months after a member retired, the original motion lost ( JCC , 15:1105–1107).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0088

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-08-24

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I am much chagrined at not having a Line about you by last Post. I did not expect one from you. You are so sick of Party abroad that you would not venture to have any thing to do with Individualities, here. Every Line that I read from France, like as yours have done, confirms me in an Approbation of the part I have taken all along through the contests of many months back relative to our Commissioners at foreign Courts. We have now in our different Committees Vouchers sufficient to prove that Mr. A Lee has been greatly abused——greatly provoked——and, in that Predicament, has conducted so as to give his Enemies an Advantage in some points. I hope his Brothers, who are both now out of Congress, will publish several peices, which have lately passed through my Hands; particularly a Letter to Carter Braxton being strictures upon one of his intercepted at Sea.1
I send you three Gazettes which I beg you will inclose to A L, with or without a Letter as you please.2 The Navy Board will forward them by the Vessels which go from Boston. It will be a Satisfaction to him to see that the Falsehood and Malice of the Address of Decr. 5–78; is appearing more and more daily here.
Mr. D——, by a late Application to have his Pay during a Return to France and settlement of our Business which he was forced to leave by our Order of Decr. 8–77, in a very loose condition, has put us upon a fair occasion of doing Justice to ourselves for the Abuses which he has gone into of our over Lenity months ago. I will send you the little foolish part of the vexatious Report of the Committee of 13 which related to you.3 It will show the Spirit of that Committee as well as Izards overheat.
I am persuaded that Watchmen of Integrity are necessary for us abroad; but I would not chuse to emply4 Jealousy or Suspicion for such Ends; they never see truly all round. I am in hope that a Treaty of { 127 } Alliance will shortly be formed with Spain, and I am sure that then Mr. L will think he can resign with honor. He would now appear to do it thro fear or thro pet.

[salute] Yr. affectionate humble Servant

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell Aug. 24. 1779,” and, in JA 's later hand, “Mr. Deane's public Address. Mr. Izzards Petulance &c.”
1. A reference to Arthur Lee's letter of 22 May, which answered the charges in Carter Braxton's intercepted letter of 26 Dec. 1778 to John Ross, extracts from which appeared in Rivington's Royal Gazette of 3 Feb. There Braxton had asserted that the Lees were “actuated by . . . base principles” and were “full of ... artifice and intrigue,” and expressed the hope that Deane might help to reveal their true character. Lee's long and angry reply, finally published in the Virginia Gazette (Dixon, Hunter, Nicolson) of 9 Oct., virtually accused Braxton of treason.
2. See Lovell to JA , 31 Aug., postscript, and JA to Lovell, 10 Sept. (both below).
3. See enclosures in Lovell to JA , 14 Sept. (below).
4. Either an obsolete form of “imply” ( OED ), or “employ.”