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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


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Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0220

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-12-06

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your Favour of September 10th and am very glad to hear of your Visit to Braintree and Plymouth. I have traced your Path as far as Governor Trumbulls at Lebanon. I hope you found, Things in the Eastern States, as well as all others agreable. Govr. Trumbulls son and Mr. Tyler, are taken up in England and committed for high Treason. This will cure the Silly Itch of running over to England, but how shall We relieve these Gentlemen, who behaved as prudently in England as any body could. Mr. Laurens's Confinement is relaxed only by one Walk in the Yard, a day.
The States General have acceeded to the armed Neutrality. It is Said that the Prince was induced to acquiesce, by Letters from the King of Prussia, who convinced him that he would make himself too responsible, if he held out against it. The States of Holland excepting Harlem and Dort, have disavowed the Treaty between Amsterdam and your Brother. Sir Josephs Memorial is not yet answered.
The Disasters in Carolina, the Inactivity of France and Spain, the Desertion of Arnold, the rough Treatment of Mr. Laurens, &c., but above all, the Publication of Mr. Laurens's Papers, and Sir Josephs Memorial, have totally annihilated our Credit here, at least for the present. No Man, dares any Thing, least he should be charged with aiding and abetting and comforting Rebellion. We have nothing to depend upon but ourselves, and Providence.
{ 395 }
The English are making a Bluster, about Sending Troops. They talk of Ten Thousand—and are trying to hire Transports here. But, We know, how they annually execute these Threats. Shall be always glad to hear of your Welfare and the News from our Country, from want of which We suffer very much.
Adieu.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-12-06

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours from Lebanon 28 Sept. is just come to hand. I wish the Mass. happy in their Governor. It would not have been otherwise, as you Suggest, had an Absent Citizen been at home. Popularity is a Witch. The Gentleman chosen has long been So, to a great degree. The Absent one could Scarcely ever be Said to be so.1
So it has ever been. Objects must be set up for popular Admiration, Confidence, and Affection, and when the Habit is formed, it is impossible to wean it, tho it may become dangerous, or even pernicious. It is So in the freest Governments, and even in the most virtuous. I hope however, in this Instance, We shall do well—and have no Reason to think otherwise. More Penetration, Knowledge, and Steadiness might have been found, perhaps. But the Meaning is good, as I believe.
I hope that effectual Measures will be taken to support Credit: but I doubt whether our Allies, will Lend us a Million. You know the Difficulty, We always had to get any Money. As to borrowing in Holland, our Credit is not worth a Guinea.
How can We expect Credit abroad when We have it not at home? It is most assuredly in the Power of the People of America, to pay in Taxes, and lend to the Publick Money for our Necessities. But nobody will lend.
I have now made Experiments in Person, and I know that Money cannot be borrowed here, altho on my first Arrival I was deceived into an opposite opinion, by People who thought by a few fair Words to get a great deal of Trade. Depend upon it the Friendship for Us in this Country goes no further, than an Inclination after our Commerce.
As to our being forced to an Accommodation, God forbid. We can gain no Accommodation but unconditional submission. No Propositions the English ever made Us had any Sincerity, or meant any Thing { 396 } more than to deceive, divide and betray Us. Malice is in all their Thoughts towards Us.
No Man or Nation in my opinion can do a more fatal Injury to America, or lead her into a more ruinous Error, than by countenancing an opinion, that England will ever give Us Terms. No sir! War We must have and that for many Years, or Slavery without Alloy. My most friendly Respects to your Brothers &c.
Adieu.
1. In this paragraph JA refers to John Hancock and himself.