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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0251-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have written to Ostend for the two gazettes in question. In the meantime, I will continue, always as soon as possible, to lend you mine. I am very happy to hear that your son has returned in good health to Passy. Some day this spring you should send me him, together with Mr. Cooper's grand child and your other son. I will show them Versailles and ensure they return satisfied. My son will be unable to receive them, as he is leaving for Germany in four days and will remain there a year. But on his return, he will have the honor of making their acquaintance. I thank you for the good wishes you sent him. I thank you also for your excellent project for a constitution for your state. I scanned it quickly and it appeared to me well suited to prevent all difficulties. I will have it translated in order to publish it as it is, and then add the changes that will be made, for better or worse, and of which you will undertake to inform me. Please find enclosed the list of the constitutions that I lack. I will be obliged if you would try to obtain them for me.1 I have the honor to be, with an unshakable attachment, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
Constitutions requested by Genet
Massachusetts      
New Hampshire      
Connecticut   }   if the former ones, he has them.2  
Rhode Island  
N. Carolina      
Georgia      
{ 378 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr. J. Adams Hotel de Valois rue de Richelieu”; docketed: “M. Genet. 28. Feb. 1780. ansd. 29.”
1. JA did so in his letter of 29 Feb. to the president of the congress (calendared, below). There he stated that Genet had “already translated and published the Constitutions of New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.”
2. This sentence is in Genet's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0252

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

From James Moylan

[salute] Dear sir

I received your much esteem'd letter of the 22d. with the memorandums it inclosed of the articles you wish to send to Boston by the Alliance. Captain Jones, on my application to him to permit those goods to be loaded on his vessel, immediately consented and told me he wou'd write you by this post,1 in consequence of which I shall prepair them and distinguish the property as you direct.
In Mrs. Adams's memorandum is mention'd half a Dozen: Damask Table Cloaths. Those, are not to be purchased in this Kingdom without the Napkins, say twelve to every Table cloath, and this, which the French call a sett, cost from 120 to 250 livres according to their quality. I shou'd be glad of your advice what is to be don in this case as well as to Know what colour'd velvet is meant in Mr. P. B. Adams's list and the Delph and stone ware in that of Mrs. Adams's and what quantity. You will have full time for this explination as I shall lay in the other goods in the mean time.2

[salute] I remain with much respect Dear sir Your most obedient & humble Servant

[signed] James Moylan
P.S. This letter gos under cover to my Banker as you forgot to mention the street and as I Know there are more than one Hotel de Valois in Paris.
1. Jones' letter of 28 Feb. is not printed, but see JA 's letter to Jones of 22 Feb., note 3 (above).
2. JA replied on 6 March ( LbC , Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0253

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-29

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear sir]

I have this Moment your[s of the 28. I] thank You, Sir, for your kind Invitation to my [three Sons,] to come some time in the Spring, and spend a day [at Ver]sailles, which will be very agreeable to them, and [to me.]
{ 379 }
I am happy to find that the [Report of] the Committee has your Approbation; and shall [be very g]lad to see it translated and printed as it is. [Every] Attempt of this kind may be worth preserving, and [will be a] Gratification at least to Posterity to see the gradual [Pro]gress of Society, and the slow March of the human Un[der]standing in the Science of Government.
On the Moment of the Receipt of your Letter I have written to Congress, requesting their Aid in procuring the Constitutions of Georgia and of North Carolina.1 That of the Massachusetts is at present accord[ing] to their late2 Charter: that of New Hampshire is the same.3 As soon as the Massachusetts shall have established a [new one, New Hampshire will follow their Example, and I shall undoubtedly have Copies of them as soon as they can cross the sea, and] I will send them without [Loss of time to you.]
Rhode Island and Connecticut ha[ve made no Alte]rations in their Governments, but proceed [according to] their Charters, which You already have.
The Convention of the Massachusetts[, had receive]d the Report of the Committee which I sen[t you and] had considered and agreed to the Declaration of [Rights wi]th very little Alteration, before I took my Lea[ve of them.] They then adjourned to the first of January. [I was ver]y happy to observe the Temperance, Wisdom and [Firm]ness of this Assembly, and hope they will accomplis[h their] great Work with Success. I assure You, it was [mo]re comfortable building Constitutions of Governmen[t at] Cambridge, than sailing in a leaky Ship, or4 climb[ing] over the Mountains, or lodging in the Chimneyless [and] Windowless Taverns of Galicia, Leon, Castile or [ev]en Biscay and Guipuscoa. Yet I shall look back with equal pleasure upon both, if they contribute [to lay the Foundations of a free and prosperous People.]

[salute] [I am with sincere Affection yours]

[signed] [John Adams] 5
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). LbC (Adams Papers). Fire damage to the recipient's copy has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.
1. In his letter to the president of the congress of this date (calendared, below), JA wrote: “there is so great a Curiosity throughout all Europe to see our new Constitutions; and those already published in the Languages of Europe have done Us so much Honor, that I thought I should be excuseable, in making a direct Request to Congress for their Assistance in procuring those, which Mr. Genet still desires.”
2. In the Letterbook copy, a draft, JA deleted “old” in favor of “late.”
3. JA was in error; New Hampshire was governed under its unusually concise constitution of 5 Jan. 1776. In 1784 New { 380 } Hampshire inaugurated a much more elaborate constitution based on the Massachusetts model (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions , 4:2451–2470).
4. In the Letterbook copy JA interlined “sailing in a leaky ship or.”
5. The signature is supplied. Although it has been lost from the recipient's copy and does not appear on the Letterbook copy, there can be little doubt that JA signed the letter.