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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


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Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0206

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-20

To the President of Congress, No. 69

Paris, 20 May 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 57–62). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 3:693–696.
In this letter, read in Congress on 11 Sept., John Adams reported on the speeches supporting and opposing Gen. Conway's bill of 5 May for ending the American war. Conway's own speech and JA 's reaction to it were included in a second letter of this date (No. 70, calendared, below). Adams began by summarizing the speech of Robert, Earl Nugent, a former opponent of conciliation, who now supported Conway's bill. Although Adams was willing to concede that Nugent, like Conway and others, had finally accepted the impossibility of winning the American war, he believed that they had not accepted the reality of an altered world in which Great Britain was in decline and the United States in the ascendancy. He then reported the pro-ministry speech of William Eden, which he found witty and empty. Speeches by other members of the opposition, such as Lord George Gordon, Henry Cruger, and Thomas Pitt, ridiculing the ministry's refusal to acknowledge American independence and calling for its resignation, led Adams to note the opposition's “Hunger for the Loaves and Fishes” of office and their lack of a sincere interest in peace, but see his comments regarding Gordon in his note to { 329 } Edmé Jacques Genet of 20 May (above). Adams reserved his sharpest criticism for the speech by Lord George Germain opposing Conway's bill. Germain, he wrote, indulged in absurdities by stating as fact that the misery of the American people would soon put an end to congressional tyranny and prompt the states to come to terms. Adams soon greatly expanded this criticism of Germain's speech, including it in his letters of 28 May to Edmé Jacques Genet (below) and of 2 June to the president of Congress (No. 77, calendared, below). In a postscript, Adams reported that Denmark had acceded to the armed neutrality, and on 28 April had urged Sweden to do the same. Sweden was expected to announce its accession shortly.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 57–62). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 3:693–696.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0207

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-20

To the President of Congress, No. 70

Paris, 20 May 1780. RC partly in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 63– 69). LbC partly in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
In the recipient's copy the account of Conway's speech is in John Adams' hand, while the criticism of the speech is in Thaxter's. In the Letterbook the portions by Thaxter and Adams are reversed. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 3:691– 693. This letter was read in Congress on 11 September. Due to the capture of the packet bringing the London newspapers to the continent, John Adams provided a retranslation of the text of Gen. Conway's speech of 5 May as it appeared in the Gazette de La Haye and followed it with a lengthy analysis. For a virtually identical text of Adams' rebuttal to that part of Conway's speech attacking the Franco-American alliance, see Adams' letter of 17 May to Edmé Jacques Genet, and notes (above).
RC partly in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 63– 69). LbC partly in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0208

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-20

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

Arrived this morning a Brig from Philadelphia. By her are Letters for Mr. De Vergenne and Le Ray de Chaumont. No mention of the Operations in Carolina our Letters are 24 Mars she was detaind many days in the River as she left the Bay of Delawar the 23 or 24 April.
Congress has assignd a short period for calling in the whole of their Emissions in lieu of which the different States are to Issue Money upon Specific Securities for its redemption. It is impossible to know the precise effect this Measure will have but it must tend to the appreciation of the Currency as the New Emissions are to have as Substantial a foundation as can be given them.
I have recievd Bills on the Minister plenepotentiary at the Court of Madrid drawn by Congress. It proves a Fund is obtaind from that Court.1 The American Empire begins to take a permanent Lead and from appearances of the Sentiments of all the European Courts promises to place you 'ere long in a sceen of Action the most Con• { 330 } spicuous that ever yet was allotted to a Minister in the clear, explicite and inteligent execcution of this sacred trust [on which] depends the Welfare Peace and Happiness of Millions. Happy we are in our opinions of the Well placed trust.
I hope the Wine got Safe to your pray my respectful Compliments to Mr. Dana. If any Commands to Baltimore the ship we expect will be ready in the Course of Twenty or thirty Days. I have the Honor to be with due respect Sir your very hhb Serv
[signed] John Bondfield
If you had any opening where the services of young M Vernon2 could be made useful he is a promising youth has engaging qualities but wants to see and obtain a knowledge of the world. The high Sphere in which you act might posibly tend to render his services in future useful to the province in which he may reside by being thus early in life placed in the political Line.
RC (Adams Papers; addressed: “The Honbl. John Adams Esq Hotel de Valois Rue Richlieu Paris”; endorsed: “Mr Bondfield recd and ansd May 24.”; docketed by CFA : “1780.”)
1. In Dec. 1779, Congress had authorized £100,000 in bills of exchange to be drawn on John Jay (from Edmund Jenings, 12 April, note 2, above), but Spain had not yet supplied Jay with any funds by the date of this letter (Morris, Peacemakers , p. 224–229).
2. JA had offered William Vernon Jr. a position as clerk to the American Commissioners in Sept. 1778, but Vernon had declined (vol. 7:35, 80–81).