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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


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Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0078-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-14

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I am honored by your letter of the 5th, and wholly agree with you on the { 146 } appropriateness of a policy focused on protecting French and Spanish commerce and destroying the enemy's, and wish that such a policy be adopted and pursued. On the other hand, it should be noted that the English have experienced an astonishing run of good luck, while the others have seen only continued misfortunes. According to the rules of the game, however, things must change, as they appear to be doing now, and the British in their turn will suffer from the vicissitudes of the wind, the tide, and fate.
There is little to report from the meeting of the States of Holland except that it will likely grant to Mr. Texier &c. the franchise for transporting naval stores through the canals of Flanders to France. The inactivity of the States General is even more pronounced. One expects to learn that the plenipotentiaries have reached St. Petersburg and have done nothing.
That which has occurred in New Jersey and the capture of part of the Quebec fleet are for me but a pleasant foretaste of that which is to come. Blessed are General Greene and his troops. I am very pleased at the manner in which they defended their positions, inch by inch, against the arsonists of Springfield. The best European troops could not have done better. Consider also that Clinton failed in his effort to foil the combined operations of General Washington and his European reinforcement by attacking and attempting to dislodge the former before the arrival of the latter. If you learn anything further from a newly arrived American vessel, sir, please send it to me at once so that I can inform certain important people before the news appears in the gazette. This pleases them and does not interfere with the later publication of the news in the gazette, for I can send letters to Leyden at any hour of the day.
I had planned to make a short trip to Amsterdam at the end of this week, but a very painful abscess has formed in my head and, I fear, will delay me for several days.
I would be delighted if I was able to make a short voyage to America before I die in order to see your noble republic and meet personally all its great men and fine citizens. I also would endeavor to render such a trip useful to Congress by the insights that I could provide on this republic and the European powers in general. It would have the additional advantage of helping to re-establish my health, which has not been good for the past year. I would be most obliged if you could aid me in making such an event a reality.1
One will never cure by reason, sir, our investors' mania for investing their money in England. They would do so even if this republic were at war with Great Britain. It would have to go bankrupt first, then it would be all over. So long as England maintains its credit by promptly paying interest, their confidence will continue, for they prefer the present gain to any other consideration. I have seen, however, this mania even greater before this war. It is certainly slowing and is only sustained because the English provide such large profits to the lenders, particularly to the financial houses. One proof of this slowdown is that the price of real estate, particularly the land in this country, has greatly increased. One should also add that, despite the { 147 } small 2 ½ to 3 percent interest, the value of the republic's bonds has risen to an exorbitant price.
How goes the affair of the Indien? Does it progress? Will it be sailing soon? Is Mr. Gillon content? I hope so with all my heart.
I am delighted, sir, that you are enjoying your stay in Amsterdam. I will always be very happy to see you again and prove to you by my services the sincere respect with which I am, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Dumas, 14. Sept. 1780.”
1. Dumas never visited the United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0079

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-14

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

On my Arrival in Town from Spa and Aix La Chapelle, where I staid longer than I intended to drink the Waters, I found Mr. Austin in his Way to Holland. I now take the Opportunity He offers me to Congratulate your Excellency on the Reception, Approbation and Confirmation of that Plan of Government, which does your Excellency so much Honor in forming, and which, I trust, will perpetuate the Happiness of the People, who have adopted it. It is republishing in England to imprint on the minds of the people there over and over Again, that there is something more than Common Sense in America1—the Translation of Pownal and the other papers are got safe to my Friends Hands and He is preparing to publish them together and then proposes to retail it out in the News Papers.2
I Congratulate your Excellency too on the Capture of the Quebec West and India Fleets, it is a blow, which if followed up by two or three others of like Nature may have great and good Effects but Above all permit me to Congratulate your Excellency on the Affairs in Jerseys—the Letter written by General Greene on the Subject makes great Impression—it shews to all Europe that the Americans can fight with Bravery and Knowledge too.
During my Intercourse with foreigners at Spa and Aix, it was with pleasure that I found an Attention to America and that I removed with the greatest Ease the Ideas of her Weakness and Unfaithfulness, which England had endeavoured to give. I had much respect shewn to me as an American, while the English were treated in General with coldness, and since my return hither, I have been congratulated on the present State of Affairs with more than ordinary Warmth—All this is Well.
{ 148 }
Our Ennemies are now all Drunk; they are Chusing their Members of Parliament, they ought to be Attentive to what they are about, for this may be the last Election in England; for Parliaments will be either be laid aside at the End of seven years or the ensuing One will be perpetuated by a Short Vote. It is said the Minority will be succesful; but what is it to Us, who is in or out. Until England is thoroughly beat, She will be always be foolish or Knavish.
I shall set out the beginning of next week for Boulogne and return in fortnight, when I Hope to receive your Excellencies Commands.
I Hear Mr. D gives a Miserable Account of our Affairs in America—this Marks a dissatisfid Man.3 Mr. J Johnson for reasons that I Know not, has written to Congress to desire them to Appoint another Agent for the Examining the public Accounts.4 I believe He is dissatisfid with Passy. I beg to be most Kindly remembered to my young Friends.
I am Sir your Excellencys Most Obedient & faithful Humble servant
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. That is, that Thomas Paine was not the only American political thinker and writer of substance. No republication of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 in the London newspapers has been found, but for the earlier publication of The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, note 2 (above). Jenings may, however, have learned of John Almon's plans to publish the constitution in The Remembrancer. On 2 Oct., the publication of part 4 of vol. 10 (p. 193–257 of the 2d vol. of The Remembrancer for 1780) was announced in the London Courant, with the constitution appearing on p. 202–222.
2. These are JA 's revision of Thomas Pownall's Memorial (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above), and possibly his letters responding to Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts, but see the Editorial Note to “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July] (above).
3. By 1781, Silas Deane's pessimism led him to write from Paris to friends in America proposing reconciliation, and to submit his letters to the British government, which in turn sent them to America for publication, ostensibly as intercepted letters. Unfortunately for Deane, the letters reached New York and were published just as Americans were celebrating the victory at Yorktown (Julian Boyd, “Silas Deane: Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?,” WMQ , 3d ser., 16:167–168 [April 1959]).
4. Joshua Johnson had written to the president of Congress on 20 July to request that a new agent be appointed in his place (PCC, No. 78, XIII, f. 146–150). He did so rather than leave Nantes to conduct his business at Passy as Benjamin Franklin had requested in a letter of 22 June.