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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


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Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0097

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-23

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir

The inclosed Letter has this moment been delivered by Mr. Celesia.1 I have thought it my duty to forward it to You. The letter, which Mr. Mazzei mentions to be inclosed in his, is to his Excellency the Governor of Virginia—am I to forward it to You, or to seal it and forward it to the Governor, first taking a Copy thereof? I wish to have your directions, Sir.2
Capt. Sampson3 has informed me, that Mitchel and Duncan, that went in the Cartel to England about the time we sailed from Boston, had arrived with about £15,000 sterling's worth of Goods at Boston—that the Vessel was seized per order of the Navy Board and libelled, and that it was the general Opinion She would be condemned.4
He mentions that a Cartel had arrived at Boston from New York just before he sailed—that she had to the amount of £1500 sterling's worth of Goods, for some Gentlemen and Ladies in Boston—that he had seized and libelled her by order of the Board of War in behalf of the State, himself and Crew.5 I cannot but wish very sincerely that these Cargoes may be condemned, and that this perversion of Cartels to the purposes of private Commerce and Emolument may be prevented.
When Capt. Sampson sailed, Bills of Exchange were to be bought { 173 } at the rate of fifty two for one—one fortnight before they were at seventy five for one. Even Col: Quincy himself is puzzled to account for these curious changes in the Currency—it has mounted and fallen like the Mercury.
Hard money, he says is offered to sale—that one third of our proportion of the debt was assessed or to be assessed about the time of his sailing.
He has politely and obligingly offered to take any family Articles for You and Mr. Dana, when he returns, and desired me to mention it. He leaves Paris to day. Mr. Watson6 who is with him, as well as himself desire their Respects to You.
My Respects, if you please, to Mr. Dana and Love to the young Gentlemen.
I have the Honor to be, with the most perfect Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Thaxter 23. Septr.”; docketed by CFA : “1780.”
1. This was Philip Mazzei's letter of 19 Aug. (above), which introduced and was carried by Pietro Paolo Celesia.
2. This was Mazzei's letter to Thomas Jefferson of 19 Aug., which has not been located. For a brief statement of its contents, see Jefferson, Papers , 3:557. No instructions to Thaxter regarding it have been found.
3. Capt. Simeon Sampson, of the Massachusetts armed ship Mars, arrived at Paris on 19 Aug. with numerous letters for both JA and Francis Dana. For the letters directed to JA , as well as additional information provided by Sampson, see Thaxter's letter to JA of 19 Sept. ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:419–421).
4. For the cartel ships owned by Edmund Dunkin and Henry Mitchell, see Thomas Digges' letter of 8 June, and note 6; and James Warren's of 19 July (both above). The vessel referred to here was the brigantine Adventure owned by Mitchell. A legal notice in the Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. indicated that the vessel had been libelled and that the Admiralty Court for the Middle District of Massachusetts would meet at Salem on 23 Aug. to determine whether it should be condemned as a good prize.
5. This was the brigantine Trial (Independent Chronicle, 3 Aug.).
6. Probably Elkanah Watson Jr.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-24

To the President of Congress, No. 9

[salute] Sir

Since the Receipt of the Dispatches, by the Honourable Mr. Searle I have been uninteruptedly employed in attempting to carry into Execution the Designs of Congress.
The first Inquiry, which arose, was, whether it was prudent to make any Communication of my Business, to the States General, or to the Prince. Considering that my Errand was Simply an Affair of Credit, and that I had no political Authority, I thought, and upon consulting Gentlemen of the most Knowledge, best Judgment, and fullest Incli• { 174 } nation for a Solid and lasting Connection between the two Republicks, I found them of the Same opinion, that it was best to keep my designs Secret as long as I could. The Same Reasons determined me, to communicate nothing to the Regency of Amsterdam, or any other Branch of Government, and to proceed to seek a Loan upon the Foundation of private Credit. I have accordingly made all the enquiries possible for the best and most unexceptionable House, and Tomorrow I expect an Answer to Some Propositions which I made Yesterday.1
This Business must be conducted with So much Secrecy and Caution, and I meet so many difficulties for Want of the Language, the Gentlemen I have to do with not understanding English, and not being very familiar with French that it goes on slower than I could wish. Commodore Gillon, by his Knowledge of Dutch and general Acquaintance here has been as usefull to me as he has been friendly. I never Saw the national Benefit of a polished Language generally read and Spoken, in So Strong a Light, as Since I have been here. The Dutch Language is understood by nobody but themselves: the Consequence of which has been, that this Nation is not known. With as profound Learning and Ingenuity, as any People in Europe possess, they have been over looked, because they were Situated among others more numerous and powerfull than they. I hope that Congress will profit by their Example, by doing what they have lost so much Reputation and Advantage by neglecting; I mean by doing every Thing in their Power to make the Language they Speak respectable, throughout the World. Seperated as We are from the British Dominion, We have not made War against the English Language,2 any more than against the old English Character. An Accademy instituted by the Authority of Congress, for correcting, improving, and fixing the English Language would Strike all the World with Admiration and Great Britain with Envy. The Labours of Such a Society, would unite all America, in the Same Language, for Thirty Millions of Americans to Speak to all the Nations of the Earth by the Middle of the Nineteenth Century.3 I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect, your Excellencys most obedient and humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 265–267); endorsed: “Letter from [ . . . ] Amsterdam Sepr: 24: 1780 Read Novr. 27 Referred to Mr. Root Mr. Mathews Mr. Lovell—Respectg. a Loan in Holland and cultivating our own Language advised not to communicate his Powers to the States General or the Stadholder.” LbC (Adams Papers).
{ 175 }
1. See Hendrik van Blomberg's letter of 25 Sept. (below).
2. At this point in the Letterbook is a canceled passage with which JA originally intended to end the letter: “in the Propagation as well as Improvement and Refinement of which an Accademy established by Congress would have great Effects. I have the Honor to be &c.”
3. For additional comments by JA on the need for an academy, see his letters of 5 Sept. to the president of Congress, No. 6; and 23 Sept. to Edmund Jenings (both above).