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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


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Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0057

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-28

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your favor of the 20th. instant which disappointed me a good deal, for I had received much pleasure from being told by Mr. Searle that you were fully vested with the same powers that Mr. Laurens had, which occasion'd my writing what I did in my last.1 I must confess that I can't be perfectly easy, however favorable things may appear, while the War continues and the Independence of America is not acknowleged by more than one power in Europe. After open War is raging, I can't see what greater mischeif any of the powers of Europe can apprehend from the resentment of G. Britain.
The general prospect of Affairs in Ama. is favorable, from the last advices, and promise more important intelligence soon; The principal embarrassment of Congress seems to be the want of money, which cou'd be easily supply'd where you are, if there are powers to borrow and they are willing to lend. I send you a Crisis which perhaps you may think worth being translated and published in Holland.2
The Dutch must use more activity than they have hitherto done and depend more on their own strength and exertions, than on that of their neighbors; or they will certainly suffer a great deal; for I conceive, the guarantie of every power in Europe will hardly make them amends for the immense loss their Commerce may sustain, and the plunder &c. of their Asiatic and W. India possessions; all which, they may easily prevent, by a timely and proper exertion of their own strength.
You have no doubt seen the Treaty of the armed neutrality, are the contracting powers bound by it to enter into a War with England in favor of Holland?3
There is no reason that I know of, for apprehending the Emperors interference in favor of England, yet it will be certainly wise and prudent in the Dutch to pay every attention to him and to watch { 86 } narrowly every thing that passes in that quarter, which is the only one that has not, or will not declare openly against G. B.
The winds have for some days been fair and yet we have no English Mail here since that of the 12th.
I have the Honor to be with great Esteem Dr. Sir Your most Obliged &c. Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. W. Lee 28th. Jany. 1781.”
1. JA 's reply of 20 Jan. to Lee's letter of the 17th Jan., above, has not been found. JA 's commission as minister to the Netherlands authorizing him to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce did not arrive until mid-March (to the president of Congress, 19 March, below).
2. Probably Thomas Paine's The Crisis Extraordinary, which was published in Philadelphia in Oct. 1780 (Evans, No. 16918). JA sent the copy he received from Lee to John Thaxter who, in a letter of 1 Feb., indicated that he had submitted it to Jean Luzac for publication ( Adams Family Correspondence , 4:73); see also Thaxter's letter of 7 Feb., below. No Dutch or French translation published in the Netherlands has been found.
3. That, of course, was the crux of the problem facing the Netherlands. The armed neutrality, to which it formally acceded by virtue of the convention signed at St. Petersburg on 4 Jan., provided for reprisals in the event of belligerent depredations on the commerce of the neutral nations comprising the League of Armed Neutrality. By the date of its accession, however, the Netherlands was no longer a neutral power, but rather a belligerent, and for Russia, Sweden, or Denmark to go to its aid meant war with England, something that none of those powers was willing to risk. For JA 's comments on the armed neutrality and the implications of the Dutch accession to it, see his letters of 25 Nov., 25 Dec. and 28 Dec. 1780 to the president of Congress (vol. 10:371–372, 433–435, 442–443).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0058-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-29

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Dans ma Lettre d'hier il y a une erreur qui doit être redressée. Ce n'est point parce qu'on attend un Courier de Petersbourg, que le Manifeste n'a pas encore été publié, mais parce que les villes d'Amsterdam et de Dort ne sont point contentes de celui qui est dressé, ne le trouvent pas assez fort, et veulent qu'on en fasse un autre. Voilà la seule raison qui a retardé celui-ci; et l'on en fera un autre.
Votre prédiction, Monsieur, d'une convulsion dont l'Angleterre est menacée,1 pourroit bien s'accomplir plutôt que vous ne pensez. Les grains sont fort chers en Angleterre. Ce qui coûtoit cent, est aujourd'hui à 175. La Livre de pain coûte à Londres 10 pence: on y craint une Révolte.
Probablement la rep. fera dans peu la démarche de demander à la France le secours de ses forces aux Indes orientales. On l'a proposé au St–r, qui l'a approuvé.
Le Courier expédié d'ici à Petersb. pour demander les secours de la Convention, n'est parti qui le 12 de ce mois, ainsi il ne pourra guere être de retour que vers le 20e. du prochain.
{ 87 } | view
On garnit nos côtes contre des descentes qui paroissent peu à craindre à cause des bancs qui les bordent. Vous êtes, Monsieur, à même plus que moi de voir si la même diligence est employée pour l'équipement de la Flotte. Je suis avec le plus vrai respect & attachement Monsieur Votre très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas