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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0058

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-06-02

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I am much honored by the open and Confidential Manner, in which you have written to me; in return to which, I must assure you, that I heartily Concur with You in your Sentiments of the Necessity of the french Courts holding a Most liberal and neutral Conduct, and that it will do so, I look upon the New Appointment,1 to be an Earnest. I am to have the Honour of meeting the Gentleman, who is going out, to• { 70 } morrow at Dinner. I have heard such Accounts of Him, that I Shall go much prejudiced in his favor. Your Opinion of the Necessity of appointing different Men for the Mercantile Maritime and Money Matters are just. At present the Power of the Minister2 is vast indeed, too much for any Man, and in Case of Accidents, the whole depending on one life, maybe highly detrimental to the States for want of a Successor or Chargé des Affaires on the Spot.
When you was informd that Mr. D was coming over, you ought to be informed it was not much Credited by me, it was however positively assertd by one of his friends. But when I asked the Question of another, I was convincd there was little foundation for it. You show me the Impropriety of the permission. The Narrow Capacity, the Immeasurable Vanity, together with the Intrigue and Subtility of the Man, must make Him most dangerous. But I must tell you He is in the highest Repute here—His bust was placed in your Apartments immediately as you Quitted them.3
The Questions you Ask, as to the intended Expedition occurred to every one. Some others might be Asked? Who advised the Sending french Troops to any part of America? And who contested that the Alliance, which surely ought to have attended the American Ships out, when left by the french Men of war, on their own most Dangerous Coasts? but to these and other Questions, the Answer is now given. The Expedition is totally Laid Aside; so that you may yet go in your favorite Vessel.4
I Know the Difficulty of recommending Men who may be proper to discharge the public business, but I think I can with Ease and pleasure recommend Mr. Joshua Johnson,5 now residing at Nantes, to be Consul there. He is the Brother of the Govr. of Maryland, and is at present charged with the particulars Commission of that State. But is there not at present a Commercial Agent or Consul there already?
I was preventd sending to You by the last Post. I have since I wrote the foregoing seen the Minister who Answered my Expectation. He sets out tomorrow for L Orient. He goes by the Way of Orleans I believe to visit Choiseul.6 I shall beg the favor of his Secretary to deliver a Packet to You—of Which I Shall be obliged to you for the Delivery in America. They Talk in England and Here of Spain taking a part. The Jamaica fleet is arrived.
I beg you remember me to your Son and Mr. Ford7 who I Hope goes with You. You all go with my best Wishes.

[salute] I am Dear Sir Your Most Obt Humble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
{ 71 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Jean Adams. au Soin de Monsieur Moylan á L Orient.”; docketed by CFA : “E. Jennings. June 2d. 1779.”
1. Chevalier de la Luzerne.
2. Benjamin Franklin.
3. This bust of Silas Deane has not been located.
4. See Benjamin Franklin to JA , 24 April, note 1 (above).
5. Johnson, whose daughter Louisa Catherine married JQA in 1797, had first met JA on 12 April 1778 at Paris. While at Nantes in April 1779, JA spoke with him about trade and the appointment of consuls (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:299, 357–359, 363; for a sketch of Johnson, see same, 2:300).
6. La Luzerne apparently meant to visit Etienne François de Choiseul-Stainville, Duc de Choiseul, Vergennes' predecessor as foreign minister from 1758 to 1770. La Luzerne reached Lorient on either 10 or 11 June ( JA to the president of the congress, 3 Aug., below; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:380). Barbé-Marbois had arrived a few days earlier ( JA to Arthur Lee, 9 June, below).
7. Hezekiah Ford did not return to America with JA ( JA to Arthur Lee, 9 June, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0059

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-06-02

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Either my Letter to you of the 29th. March miscarried or you are in my debt. The inclosed MS which belongs to you was seald to go by Mr. Ford and was omitted by mistake.1
This will be delivered to you by the Chevalier de la Luzerne and M. de Marbois, whom you will find to be Gentlemen worthy of the important trusts they fill. I am much obliged to you for your kindness to Mr. Ford, and hope you will take him with you, if he shoud prefer it to going by Bourdeaux. I usd every argument in my power to prevail on Dr. Franklin to let the Alliance persue her first destination, and convoy the fleet after Piquet had left them. But my application was in vain, and the answer was that the Capt. had assurd him she was not mannd. This was on the 3d. of May.2
I have been told that accounts have been transmitted from Nantes to Passy, of your having spoke very freely there of the conduct of Dr. Franklin. I beleive this may be relied on, I think it proper you shoud know it.
The declarations of Holland and the Nothern powers against the right of England to stop their Merchant vessels, and arming to support their rights, are the most favorable events that have lately happend. Not a syllable from Congress, nor any news from England. Mr. Paine is displaced.3 I have seen the paper which gave rise to it which is more in favor of the french than truth will justify and in so much it merited censure. We have hazarded our lives and fortunes to some purpose if { 72 } the factious nod of a foreign Minister can subject a deserving man to punishment in the most open violation of truth and justice. You must correct these proceedings.
Remember me to my young friend and accept of my good wishes for prosperity to you both.

[salute] I have the honor to be with great esteem Dear Sir, yr. most Obedt Servt.

[signed] A. Lee
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “H. A. Lee. 2. June ansd. 9th.”; in CFA 's hand: “1779.”
1. No reply by JA to Lee's letter of 29 March (above) has been found. See, however, JA 's letter to Lee of 9 June (below). Neither the manuscript mentioned by Lee nor a pamphlet referred to by JA in his letter of the 9th have been identified.
2. Lee is referring to Franklin's reply of 3 May to his of the 2d (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 3:153–154; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 2:71). In a letter of 6 May, Lee renewed his plea that the Alliance convoy the ships to America, but it was not until 15 May, when he met with Franklin, that Lee was told that he had received no reply because the ships had already sailed and thus there was nothing to be done (same, 2:72; PCC, No. 102, III, f. 25–26). For Franklin's real reason for refusing, see his letter to JA of 24 April, note 1 (above).
3. That is, Thomas Paine had resigned under pressure because of the controversy over his statements regarding French aid (Edmund Jenings to JA , 25 April, note 1, above).