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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0040

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gates, Horatio
Date: 1780-03-18

To Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear sir

The Marquis de la Fayettes Brother, the Viscount de Noailles tells me, he should be glad to take Letters to America, and I dont know to whom I can give him a Letter with more Propriety than to the General of Saratoga.
I should be proud to return any Civilities you may shew him to any of your Friends, who may travell to Paris.
I want very much to know, what Scope the Ennemy have from New York, what supplies of Provisions, &c. they do and can derive from New Jersey, New York or Connecticutt. If you can find Leisure, to inform me you will much oblige, sir your Friend and humble sert.
[signed] John Adams
{ 62 }
I want too the best Plan for attacking New York, how many ships and how many Troops, and what Number of Land forces you can depend upon having from the united states. I hope N.Y. will be ours in the Course of this Campain: but if it should not I should be glad to have these Things to contemplate upon next Winter.1
RC (NHi: Gates Papers;) endorsed: “Paris March. 18th. 1780. John Adams rec'd. 28th. Augst.”
1. The letter to Gates is one of eight letters written on 18 March to past or current general officers of the Continental Army in which JA requested intelligence on the progress of the war. The others were to Nathanael Greene (below), Alexander McDougall (NSchU: McDougall Papers), Johann Kalb, Henry Knox, Samuel Holden Parsons, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, and John Sullivan (all LbC 's, Adams Papers). The letters to Greene, McDougall, Knox, Parsons, and Sullivan also served as letters of introduction for Vicomte de Noailles, while in those to Kalb and von Steuben, as he did in this letter to Gates, JA specifically requested information regarding an attack on New York.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0041

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1780-03-18

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Give me Leave, by the Opportunity of the Viscount de Noailles, to take this Method of reviving a Correspondence, which has been interupted almost three Years, but was one of the most pleasing I ever had.1
It is unnecessary to say any thing of the Expedition with which this Letter is intended to go, because I hope it will reveal itself to You, in Accounts which will make themselves heard and understood by all the World.
As there is a probability, that there will be more frequent Communication, with America this Summer, than there ever has been, let me beg the favor of your Sentiments both upon Subjects of Policy and War.
Every Operation of your Army has its Influence upon all the Powers of Europe in France, Spain, England, Ireland, Holland, Sweeden, Denmark, Russia, Prussia, Portugal, and even in the German Empire.
America is the City, set upon a Hill,2 I do not think myself guilty of Exaggeration, Vanity or Presumption, when I say, that the proceedings of Congress are more attended to, than those of any Court in Europe, and the Motions of our Armies than any of theirs. And there are more political Lies made and circulated about both, than all the rest: which renders genuine Intelligence, from good Authority, the more interesting and important.
{ 63 }
There is a great Variety of Policy on foot, in England, Ireland, Holland, and among the Northern Powers, all tending to favor the Cause of America, which is promoted by nothing more than by prompt and accurate Intelligence.
I am, Sir, as much as ever, your Friend and Servant
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. The last known letter from JA to Nathanael Greene is of 7 July 1777 and, since that letter may not have been sent, the last letter known to have been received by Greene is of 2 June 1777 (vol. 5:213–214, 238–241). Greene's last known letter to JA is of 28 May 1777 (vol. 5:206–208). For a possible explanation of the long gap in the correspondence, see the annotation to JA 's letter of 7 July 1777. This letter did not lead to an immediate resumption of the correspondence, for Greene did not reply until 28 Jan. 1782 ( Dft , DLC: Greene Papers).
2. Matthew 5:14; see also John Winthrop, “A Modell of Christian Charity,” The Winthrop Papers, Mass. Historical Society, 6 vols. to date, 1929– , 2:295.