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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


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Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-08-22

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

At a Time, when the English Emmissaries are filling all Europe with their confidant Assertions, of the Distress of the Americans, the enclosed Papers shew that both at Philadelphia and at Boston, the People are so much at their Ease, As to be busily employed, in the Pursuits of the Arts of Peace, and in laying Foundations for future Improvements in Science and Literature. It is perhaps the first Instance, of Such Tranquility of Mind in the midst of a civil War.
If you think, it worth while to publish these Proceedings they are at your Service.2 I have received also the new Constitution of the Massachusetts Bay. If you think it of any Use to translate it, and publish it it is at your Service.3
If you dont think proper to publish the Proceedings of the Mass. { 84 } in establishing an Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, in electing a number of new members, I should be obliged to you, for the Return of these Papers to me, because I have no other. Please to direct to me, at Mr. Henry Schorns in Amsterdam. I am with great Respect, your humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (NjMoHP).
1. This is JA 's first letter to Jean Luzac, publisher of the Gazette de Leyde, and sympathetic friend to the American cause. The Adams Papers Editorial Files contain thirty-six letters exchanged by the two men from this date through 24 May 1805. Particularly during the first months of JA 's residence in the Netherlands, he used Luzac to convince Europeans that the United States was determined to achieve independence and to explain the operation of its economic and political systems (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence , p. 121–124). In addition to printing the items offered by JA in this letter (see note 2), Luzac proved particularly valuable to JA as the publisher of the French translation of JA 's reworking of Pownall's Memorial: Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie, Amsterdam, 1780 (Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], Editorial Note, above).
2. In the Gazette de Leyde of 29 Aug., Luzac, using the text of JA 's letter as the basis for his introductory comments, printed the act establishing the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that had been adopted by the General Court on 4 May 1780 (Mass., Province Laws , 5:1194–1196), and the text of a report of the meeting of the American Philosophical Society on 21 Jan. at which George Washington, JA , and numerous others were elected to membership. The newspaper account indicated that the material was taken from a letter dated 15 June at Philadelphia, but no such letter has been found in the Adams Papers, despite Luzac's return of this letter's enclosures with his letter of 31 Aug. (below). A printed copy of the act establishing the American Academy (Evans, No. 16841) is in the Adams Papers. JA copied a small portion of the text from the Gazette into Lb/JA/14 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 102). It appears immediately after his letter of 28 Aug. to Joseph Gridley (not printed, but see Gridley's letter of [post 28 Aug.] , below) and is followed by eleven blank pages, indicating that JA probably intended to copy the entire article. For JA 's role in the establishment of the American Academy, see vol. 8:233, 260, 270–271; Adams Family Correspondence , 3:225–226. For JA 's election to the American Philosophical Society in 1780 and then again in 1793, see Adams Family Correspondence , 3:299–300.
3. For Luzac's publication of the Massachusetts Constitution, see his letter of 14 Sept., and note 3 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0043

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-08-22

To the President of Congress, No. 2

Amsterdam, 22 Aug. 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 241–244). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:36–38.
This letter, read by Congress on 20 Nov., began with France's reply of 4 Aug. to the Swedish declaration of 30 July acceding to the armed neutrality, the text of which had formed part of John Adams' letter of 14 Aug. to the president of Congress (No. 1, above). The French court declared that so long as Sweden complied with the law of nations and observed a strict neutrality, France would do nothing that would infringe on neutral rights. The remainder of the letter consisted of five questions posed to Russia by Sweden concerning the operation of the armed neutrality and the Russian reply that had appeared in a London newspaper of 15 Aug. (see London Courant). Following a particular reply to { 85 } each of Sweden's questions, the Russian court declared that by observing a strict neutrality and acting in concert for the protection of their trade, the members of the armed neutrality would further establish the rights of neutrals under the law of nations and force their observance by the belligerent powers. No report by the committee to which this letter and that of 23 Aug. (No. 3, below) were referred ( JCC , 18:1072) has been found.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 241–244). printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:36–38.)