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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


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Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0217

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-05-25

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I wrote you once before this day1—but it is necessary I should write again. After sending my french servant, a monstrous number of Times, all over the City after my Wine I can learn nothing of it. Upon looking over the Invoice and your Letters, and showing them to the Abbé's my friends,2 they say that my Wine, was sent by a private Waggon, and that that Waggon belongs to a private Person in the Country, where I know not—and that the Wine is only marked J. A. and Addressed to Mr. John Adams at Paris. They say that it should have been addressed to me, by my name and quality and the Hotel and street where I live. So that I dont expect to get a Glass of this Wine to the lips of any of my Friends these six weeks, not then without writing many Letters and sending many Messages. I have Six or seven Trunks of Baggage belonging to me, Mr. D. Mr. T. my Children and our servants, which have been at Brest this four Months, and I have written many Letters and taken more pains about them than they are worth, and cannot get them. I have a Box And a Bundle of Papers and Books &c from London, of which I have had Letters of Advice from London and Ostend long long ago. I have sent every day for a long time to the Bureau, but can hear nothing of them. I am told all this is for Want of my Address being written on my Letters and Packetts &c. There is not a Being upon Earth who has a greater Contempt for all kind of Titles than I have in themselves, but when I find them in this Country not only absolutely necessary to make a mans Character and Office respected, but to the transaction of the most ordinary Affairs of Life, to get a glass of Wine to drink a pamphlet to read or a shirt to put on, I am convinced of their Importance and necessity here. By the Etiquette of all the Courts in Europe a minister Plenipotentiary has the Title of Excellency, and the wise men of Europe cant believe it possible a Man { 341 } should be one without it. I therefore request that for the future, you would address every Letter, Packet, Bundle Case and Cask, for me A Son Excellence, Monsieur Monsieur John Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis De L'Amerique, Hotel de Valois, Ruë de Richelieu a Paris.
1. No other letter from JA to Bondfield dated 25 May has been found. Although JA may have written without making a Letterbook copy, his concern for his wine in this letter suggests that he was referring to his letter of 24 May (above).
2. For the abbés Arnoux and Chalut, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 4:59.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0218

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-05-25

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Your kind favour of April 12th. is yet unanswered. With nothing at all to do, I am as busy as ever I was in my Life. Whether any good will result from it time must discover. I have undertaken to inform Congress, a little more particularly than they are want to be informed, of Some Things that have passed in Europe, which will ultimately affect them: but I find it is in vain to put my Eyes out by writing for when Letters are written, We cant get them across the Water.
I have however Sworn and I will perform, if it is possible to get Letters to them by the way of Spain or Holland, or any other Way, let the Expense be what it will they shall go.
I have a very good opinion of Count Sarsefield, and have the Honour to see him Sometimes, tho not So often as I wish. Too many unsuitable Characters it is very certain have been permitted to meddle in our Affairs, but when or how it will be remedied, God only knows. In a Country where every Thing goes and is done by Protection, and where the Maxims of Government are the direct opposites of ours, I see no Prospect of having it otherwise let who will be in or out.
As to Jobs, I never had, and never will have any Thing to do in any, let the Consequence to me, and my family be what it will. The Trusts with which you and I have been honoured by our Country are too sacred, to be tarnished, by the little selfish Intrigues, in which the little Insects about a Court are eternally buzzing. If I had neither a sense of Duty nor the Pride of Virtue, nor any other Pride—if I had no higher Principle or Quality than Vanity, it would mortify this, in an extream degree, to sully and debase so pure a Cause, by any such Practices.
{ 342 }
On the Characters you mention, I shall never condescend, to bestow my Confidence nor my Resentment nor Contempt. They have ever been treated by me and ever will be, with Justice and Civility, but they will never be my Friends.
I have received a Letter by the Way of Bilbao for you which I do my self the Honour to inclose.
I was in hopes you would have been at Congress before now. Your situation must be disagreable, but I know by Experience it can be born.
Pray how do you relish Clintons Letter. I think the Policy of France and Spain is pointed out by it, in sunbeams. I hope they will profit by it. They Seemed to be convinced of it, before this Letter arrived. They have now the Testimony of our Ennemy to the Truth and Justice of what you and I had the Honour to represent to them, in Conjunction with our Colleague last January was twelve Months.1

[salute] I am with much Esteem &c yours

[signed] John Adams
I have a Letter from Mr. S. A. and Dr. Gordon2—both desire to be remembered to you. No News from either, only respecting our Constitution which it seems the Convention have adopted, without any essential Alterations. They have published their Result for the Remarks and objections of the People, after which they are to revise it. If two thirds of the People in 95 shall desire a Convention, to revise and alter as Experience shall find necessary it is to be done. Mass. very intent on filling up their quota of the Continental Army.
RC (Adams Papers;) docketed by CFA at the top of the first page: “To Arthur Lee.” For an explanation of how this letter came to be in the Adams Papers, see JA to Arthur Lee Arthur Lee to JA , 10 Oct. 1778, descriptive note (vol. 7:127–128).
1. JA is referring to the Commissioners' appeal to Vergennes for an increased French naval presence in American waters. See the Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (vol. 7:292–311).
2. These were letters from Samuel Adams of 15 March (Adams Papers) and William Gordon of 8 March (above).