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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Search for a response to this letter.

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.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1779-08-27

To Elbridge Gerry?

[salute] My dear Sir

I have written, many Times to you, Since I left you, but have never received one Line, except that which accompanied my Commission, which I received at the Same Time.1
Are you of the Board of Treasury Still?2 If you are, I believe I must transmit to you my Accounts and Vouchers, and beg the favour of you to get them passed. I wish to have this Affair off my Mind, which will then be at Ease. If there is a Ballance due to me, I have abandoned my Family and Affairs, so long that I have Occasion enough for it. If the Ballance is due from me, I must pay it, if able, if not I must borrow it.
This will go, I Suppose by the new Plenipo. or the new secretary, who are good Sort of Men. You will be pleased I fancy with their Conversation. They are Sensible Folk, and of Rank.
I am about to assist in the Formation of a new Constitution—a Subject which has been, out of my Head, so long, that I have forgotten, most of the Reflections I ever had about it. Cant you give Us, a few Hints? Your Children, are to have the Benefit of the good, and the Injury of the Evil, that may be in it, as well as mine. You are therefore as much bound as I, to help lay the foundation stones, because you have, or ought to have, as many Children as I.
Seems to me, you wise folks, have managed foreign Affairs, some what curiously, but deep and humble Submission, becomes Us foolish ones.
Dont you intend to Appoint a secretary to the new Commission at { 128 } Versailles? Dont you intend to appoint Consuls, or a Consull to manage, maritime and commercial Affairs? If you dont there will be, more Trouble for you, e'er long.
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “J Adams to Elbridge Gerry Aug 27th 1779.” The letter's presence in the Adams Papers suggests that it was not sent; there is no Letterbook copy.
1. The editors know of letters from JA to Gerry of 9 July (vol. 6:273, calendar entry; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 4:149–150), 27 Nov., and 5 Dec. 1778 (both above). If this letter is to Gerry, JA refers to Gerry's letter of 3 Dec. 1777, but Gerry also wrote on 8 Dec. 1777 and 25 Jan. 1778 (vol. 5:343–344, 349–350, 394–398). All of those letters, however, were received before JA left America in Feb. 1778. The only letter known to have been written to JA by Gerry while JA was in France was dated 12 May 1779 (Adams Papers), and was not received until JA returned to Paris in 1780. For that letter, see Tristram Dalton to JA , 13 May (above, and note 1) and JA 's reply to Gerry of 23 Feb. 1780 (below).
2. Gerry had not served on the Board since 1776, according to standing committee lists compiled by Worthington C. Ford for 1777, 1778, and 1779 in JCC .