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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


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Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Date: 1780-04-15

To Thomas Digges

Yours of April 6. I have this day received. That of 28 Ultimo received. That of 20th not.1
Let me beg of you to send me duplicates, of Pamphlets, as they come out,2 when you send Letters to another Gentleman. Any Banker in London who will draw upon, Me or Mr. Grand the Banker for the Expence of them, shall be punctually paid, or I will get Mr. Grand to desire some Banker of his Correspondence to pay you, or the Bookseller if any one, will undertake to send them to me. Political Pamphlets I mean respecting the present War, and the actual State of Things. It is of much Importance to me, and perhaps to others, that I should have all these Things as soon as possible and that they should be my Property that I may have the Use of them to myself as long as I please, and send them where, and as soon as I please. If Almond, will send me his Newspaper, by you, I will pay him or you { 140 } in the manner I mentioned above. I want also that Vol. of Remembrancer called prior Documents in which is the History of the rise and Progress of the disputes with Amer.3 I wrote you, on the 6th of Ap. by Post, an Account, of some News from America. Since which have seen a Letter from a Passenger. The Account he gives of the storm or rather Hurricane that happened to Clinton, i.e so soon after his departure, that it is impossible he should have escaped it, is terrible, it makes Humanity shudder, even in this Case, which is the least entitld to its feelings of any Disaster of the Kind that ever happend. It is impossible by this account, that one of his Ships should be upon the Amer. coast. They must be all driven off, somewhere. Time will discover. I sent you a Pamphlet by Dr. L.4 Have no Papers of present. When I have you shall have them, or the substance. I wish to know, the Effect in England of another storm from the North?5
Adieu
Least the other method should not succeed, I send you four Guineas to pay for Pamphlets and Papers.6 I take already, regularly by another Channel, the general Advertiser and Morning Post.7 You need not therefore send me these, but subscribe for as many other Papers as you think proper, and send them always by private Hands, with all the Pamphlets that can through any light on the great systems of Business now in Agitation. Send me a note of the Expence, and it shall be remitted without delay. I am determined to Spare no Expence of this Sort, insert the inclosed in all the Papers if you please. It is of Importance, that I should, in my present situation be known to be faithfull to our Allies and Alliances, and in good Understanding with this Court. To this End I pray you to publish this Extract, of a Letter, in the original, or translated as you think proper, and with such an Introduction as you think proper.8
5 O Clock
I have since found means to accomplish, that if you call on Mr. Teissier old Broad Street, he will pay you, the Money for what you send of Papers and Pamphlets.
LbC (Adams Papers;) directed to: “W. S. C.” The portion of this letter dated 16 April was written in the Letterbook on the second page following that dated the 15th, but Digges' reply of 28 April (below) makes it clear that the two parts were sent as a single letter.
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1. This letter has not been found.
2. For a list of pamphlets sent by Digges to JA between 25 April and 10 June, see the enclosure to Digges' letter of 8 June (below).
3. John Almon's newspaper was the London Courant, and the Westminster Chronicle, which Digges had mentioned in his letter of 3 March (above). Almon also published a compilation of documents relating to the progress of the war entitled The Remembrancer, or Impartial Repository of Public Events, 16 vols., London, 1775–1784. In 1777 Almon issued a supplementary volume to The Remembrancer entitled A Collection of Interesting, Authentic Papers, Relative to the Dispute between Great Britain and America; shewing the Causes and Progress of that Misunderstanding, from 1764 to 1775, also known as “Prior Documents.” See, however, JA 's letter to Digges of [6–7? June] (below).
4. George Logan. For the “Pamphlet,” see Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 2 (above).
5. This sentence was interlined and refers to Catherine II's proposed armed neutrality.
6. For this payment see JA 's account of personal expenditures from Feb. through July 1780 (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:438). There the entry is dated 26 April. See also Digges' letter of 8 June (below).
7. The General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer favored the opposition, while The Morning Post and Daily Advertiser supported the North ministry.
8. For the extract and its publication, see Vergennes to JA , 21 Feb. 1779, and note 1 (vol. 7:423–424).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-15

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 6 and 12 of April are before me. The last received to day. I thank you, sir, for so readily, undertaking to announce &c. As to going to England upon any Errand for me, the Time is not yet come. I must avoid every Thing of that Kind yet.
The Memorial from Russia, refutes at once all the Lyes of Seven Years growth, which is one Point.1 It does more. It threatens, an Union of all Mankind except the H[ouse] of Austria against England.
Pray what is your impartial opinion of this Measure of the Empress. That it is useful to Us, and destructive to England is most certain: but laying all this out of the Scale, is it not, useful, equitable, reasonable, and humane? Is it not for the Interest of Mankind, that neutral ships should make free goods, and that Ports blocked up, should be strictly construed, to mean only those which are besieged, and shut up by force? The contrary Doctrine seems to have been chiefly English, and they have grounded it always, on the selfish Principle of their insular Situation, and of the Power which they had from that Cause, and the necessity they were under, to make Use of it. The British Interpretation of the Law of Nations, not only tends to Spread the flames of War far and wide, when two maritime Powers are engaged, but it necessarily involves all other commercial Nations in the solicitudes, Dangers, and Losses of the War. The Russian Interpretation appears to me, to be So much for the good of Mankind though it thwarts a little, the Ardour for the barbarous Glories of War, { 142 } that I doubt not it will be adopted by all Nations, as a great Improvement in the Droit publique.2
I had the Pleasure of Some personal Acquaintance with Mr. Johnson at Nantes and the Honour of many Civilities from him, when I was there, this time twelve months. I conceived much esteem for him, and should hold myself under Obligations to him, for any Communications he may be so good as to make to me. He has a numerous Correspondence, in America, with Persons too who have the best Information, and as they are in a Part of the Continent, where I have very few, it will freequently be in his Power to give me very refreshing and usefull Intelligence. I am glad he has accepted the Trust, which is honourable, tho it will probably be troublesome. I doubt not he will execute it, with Honour and Fidelity.
I had heard before, of the Intention of Congress to draw, but not having the whole of their Plan, and not knowing their funds, whatever may be my private Conjectures, I can form no decided opinion about it.3
I rejoice, sir that your native Country has taken honourable Notice of you, and I wish they had appointed you, without any Refinement, or Condition or Competition. Mr. C[armichael] is otherwise employed. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Williams, may be all fit Persons for any Thing I know. Who will be appointed, I cannot conjecture. It is a Speculation. There are so many Arguments, on one side and the other, that I can conceive will occur to the judge, that I rather think it will be a long time before, it can be accurately, and mathematically determined, in which Scale the preponderating Weight will lay. If I could be convinced that I could throw any Weight into the Scale, I should be at no loss, into which to cast it.
I received a few Lines the 8. of April from Mr. Charmichael, which I answered and deliverd to the Hand he pointed out the same day. I wrote to Mr. Jay, the 22d feb.4 and have received no answer. I should cultivate this Correspondence with Pleasure.
Hard hearted as I am against England I assure you I feel the stirrings of Humanity for Clintons fleet and army. I had infinitely rather your Friend Gates should have taken them all Prisoners.
But I feel an Anxiety of another Kind for the two Laurens's, and for our Country, whose Interests suffer by their absence.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Esteem Dear sir, your faithful sert

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “J.A. April 15. 1780.”
{ 143 }
1. For the texts of the Russian memorial and the declaration of an armed neutrality, see JA 's letter of 10 April to the president of Congress (No. 40, above). The “Lyes of Seven Years growth” were the recurring rumors that Russia was about to supply troops and/or naval vessels to Britain for use against the Americans. JA had noted such reports as early as 15 March 1775 in a letter to James Warren (vol. 2:405), but in the end such fears proved groundless. The shifting currents of European politics made any new Anglo-Russian alliance impossible, despite British overtures to Catherine II as recently as Dec. 1779 (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780 , p. 4–5, 121–139; see also JA to the president of Congress, 20 Feb., No. 7, and note 2, vol. 8:346–347). For the end of such rumors, see JA 's letter of 26 April to the president of Congress, (No. 53, below).
2. Compare this observation on the impact of the armed neutrality with that in JA 's letter of 14 April to the president of Congress (No. 44, calendared above).
3. See Jenings' letter of 12 April, and note 2 (above).
4. Vol. 8:348–349.