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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0151

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-10-23

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] My dear Sir

Your excellent Letter of the nineteenth I have recieved.
Your feelings I find are in Unison with mine, upon the behaviour of Cornwallis, and the Treatment of Mr. Laurens. It is not however at all surprising to me. I have ever expected, whenever I have crossed the Atlantic, to be treated with the same and with greater Indignities, if I should have been so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of the English. To Tyrants, Tyranny is always very dear: they take no delight but in exercising it; and this is now and has been long the predominant Character of the People of England, as well as the Government.
Reconciliation and Peace are but dreams of Philanthropy. Let Us think of them no more, but prepare to grow up in the midst of war. Let Us not be decieved with the Idea that next Campaign will be the last: it will be no such thing.
The Treatment of Mr. Laurens will have a deep Effect upon the American Mind. He is very dear to all honest Americans. His ill Treatment will be considered as a studied Insult, to all America: it will be considered as it is intended, as a glaring proof in the Sight of all the World, of their Contempt and Hatred of all America, and of their determination to pursue Hostilities to the Last Extremity.
I rejoice with You in the Arrival of the Alliance. Mr. Austin is gone to Nantes. The Affair of St. Martins makes a deep Impression.
I have not my health here so well as in Paris: but otherwise I like my Situation here very well—here I shall stay some time. My Boys are very thankful for your Benediction, and beg me to present You their dutiful Respects.
{ 301 }
The Trial of three Kings1 I have read. Mr. Guild had the only one, I have been able to see, and that he carried to America. It is flattering to Us—it is droll and very saucy: it makes so free with many Sovereigns, that I believe it will not be very easy to procure it. The Testament Politique2 I have recieved, and thank You for it. There is a Flood of Pamphlets upon the times, all of which are favourable to our Side. Have You read the Letters Hollandoises, Le Destin de l'Amerique &c.3
It seems as if the armed Neutrality would come to something in time, if my Information is not false.
I am not without hope that De la Motte Picket, or somebody is gone to De Ternay, but dare not hope too much. However if You were to converse two Hours with Mr. Searle, You would not be distressed very much. He is the only Man I ever met in Europe, who tells, what I know about the State of our Affairs. It is a Comfort to have one Witness.
Most affectionately Your's
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Hbl. J.A. 23 Octr 1780.”
1. [Ange Goudar], Le Procés des Trois Rois, Louis XVI, de France-Bourbon, Charles III, d'Espagne-Bourbon, et George III d'Hanovre, fabricant de boutons, plaidé au tribunal des Puissances-Européénes. Par appendix, l'appel au Pape. Traduit de l'anglois, London, 1780. Although the title would indicate otherwise, no evidence of an edition in English has been found.
2. [Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville], Testament politique de l'Angleterre, Phila. [Paris], 1780.
3. See Bartholomé Wild's letter of 20 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0152

Author: Austin, Jonathan Loring
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-23

From Jonathan Loring Austin

[salute] Sir

I was duly honored with your Favor of the 2d Instant.1 Mr. Thaxter having left Paris, I applied to Mr. Grand for the twenty Louis d'ors which I received, and shall invest them in Calicoes and ship on Board the Mars as directed. In this Vessel I think to take passage myself, mortified and disappointed in all my Attempts to execute the Commission I am entrusted with, I cannot flatter myself a longer Residence here will prove more favorable to my Wishes, the Enquiries I have made and the constant Attention I have paid to the Business, convince me that future Applications will only serve to renew my Chagrin, increase my Anxiety, and terminate ineffectually; besides, my Situation since I left America has been very disagreable, more so perhaps than any who have left it on the same Errand—without Money, without a Line of Credit, or a single Remittance.
{ 302 }
The Impracticability of obtaining the Loan, has led me for some time to turn my Attention to procure, if possible the Cloathing, many of the Obstacles which occur'd in the first I experienc'd in the last Attempt, and tho' I have represented the Ability of our State in every advantageous light, yet my Rhetorick has not been sufficiently powerfull to impress the least Confidence, or procure a warm Garment for a poor Soldier. Had I been furnished with anything to work with, had I brought out with me sufficient to pay for one third of the Goods wanted, or had the Mars been loaded with some sort of Cargo its probable a small Advance would have procur'd a part, if not all the Cloathing.
On my leaving America, I was determined to prosecute the Business with the utmost Attention, in hopes of accomplishing it, tho' I have failed in my Attempts, yet I rest satisfied my Exertions have not been wanting. I have not taken it for granted, (agreeable to my Friends predictions) it could not be effected, 'till I had made every Trial. As your Excellency is well acquainted with the Steps I have taken in the Business, permit me to request a Letter from you to our General Assembly upon the Subject, with your Sentiments relative to my proceedings and whether you would advise me to return by this Ship or wait here in hopes of a more favorable Moment.2
I am with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys Most Obedient & very humble Servant
[signed] Jon: Loring Austin
PS. Please to direct to me to the Care of Mr. Williams.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr J. L. Austin October 23d 1780.”
1. JA wrote to Austin on 2 Oct. ( LbC , Adams Papers), requesting him to send AA calicoes valued at 20 louis d'or, the funds to be obtained from John Thaxter or Henry Grand. In a letter of 13 Oct. (Adams Papers), Grand informed JA that Austin had received the money on the 12th, and on 30 Nov. (Adams Papers), Austin wrote to inform JA that the goods had been put aboard the Mars. The Mars reached Boston at the end of Feb. 1781 ( Adams Family Correspondence , 4:84).
2. For Austin's commission to raise a European loan, which authorized JA and Francis Dana to act in Austin's absence, and the dispatch of the Mars, see the General Court's letter of 22 July to JA and Dana, and note 1 (above). For JA 's views regarding the prospects for Austin's mission, see his reply of 13 Nov. (below).