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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0160

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de
Date: 1782-02-20

To the Marquis de Lafayette

[salute] My dear General

Yesterday Major Porter, brought me, your kind favour of the first of this month,1 together with some Letters from America, in one of which is a Resolution of Congress of the 23d of November “That the secretary of foreign affairs acquaint the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States, that it is the desire of Congress that they confer with the Marquis de la Fayette, and avail themselves of his Informations relative to the Situation of publick affairs, in the United States.”1 This Instruction is so agreable to my Inclinations, that I would undertake a Journey to Paris, for the Sake of a personal Interview with my dear General, if the State of my Health, and the Situation of affairs, in which I am here engaged did not render it improper.
Permit me, however, to congratulate you, on your arrival with fresh and unfading Laurels, and to wish you all the Happiness, which the Sight of your Family the applause of the Public and the approbation of your Sovereign can afford you.
I Should be extreamly happy in your Correspondence, Sir, and if there is any Thing in this Country which you would wish to know, I should be glad to inform you as far as is in my Power. This Republick is ballancing between an alliance with France and America on one hand, and a Mediation of Russia for a separate Peace on the { 249 } other. The Byass is strong for Peace but they dont see a Prospect of obtaining it, by the Mediation. They are determined however to try the Experiment, but are so divided about it that all is Languor and Confusion. I fancy they will oscillate for Some time, and at last finding the Negotiations for a Separate Peace, an Illusion, they will join themselves to the Ennemies of their Ennemy.
Upon your Return to America, I should be obliged to you, if you would Say to some of the Members of Congress, that if they should think fit to recall me, it is absolutely necessary in my humble opinion that they Should have some other Person here invested with the Same Powers.

[salute] With the Sincerest affection and Esteem, I have the honour to be, my dear General, your most obedient and humble sert

1. Lafayette’s note was a brief covering letter for the enclosures (Adams Papers). Maj. John Porter sailed with Lafayette as an aide on his return to France. JA knew Porter’s father, Rev. John Porter of the North Parish in Bridgewater (now Brockton), Mass., and his family. On 4 March, JA recommended Porter to Jan Gabriël Tegelaar, an Amsterdam merchant, and on the 5th wrote to Tegelaar to vouch for Porter’s integrity in repaying a loan (both LbC ’s, Adams Papers). Porter’s reputation had been tarnished when he was relieved of his command after mortally wounding Brig. Gen. Enoch Poor of New Hampshire during an August 1780 duel (Dexter, Yale Graduates , 3:392–393; MHS, Procs. , 19 [1881–1882]:256–261).
2. JCC , 21:1134–1135. The resolutions regarding Lafayette were enclosed with the letter of 20 Nov. from Robert R. Livingston, and see also note 8 to the same, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0161

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1782-02-21

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dr Sir

The next morning after the Rect of your Letter,1 I went to Mr De Neufville and paid him the Eight Ducats as you desired, for which I inclose his Receipt.
I want to know whether Mr Laurens is exchanged for General Burgoine whether he knows that he is in the Commission—of the Peace, or not, whether and when he intends to come over to the Continent. Pray invite him for me, I dare not do it myself for fear of hurting him, to come and take his Abode with me, in my House—and take Possession of his station here. You may easily do it by means of your Friend.
I want your charitable Aid in another affair. I have received Letters from the Parents of some others in Prison, to whom I am desired to lend some Money.2 I will inclose their Names. Should be much obliged to you if you would take measures to supply them, { 250 } forthwith with forty shillings Sterling each, and to know of them and of the others whom you befriended before, whether they are in want of more, and how much, but exhort them, however to Frugality, for the sake of their Parents. This is so malicious a kind of Work that I know it will gratify your Ill Nature.
Nathanael Beal—Lemuel Clark, Gridley Clark, Louis Glover Samuel Curtis, Jedidiah Bass, Thomas Vinton, William Horton are the Names.
The inclosed Letter mentions a Benjamin Brackett and his Case. I know the Uncle Joshua Brackett and will advance any reasonable sum for him, if that can procure his Release, or Exchange.3

[salute] Affectionately yours

[signed] J. Adams
1. Of 21 Jan., above.
2. JA gives the names of the sons of his neighbors imprisoned in England in the following paragraph, but there are no extant letters prior to this date from their parents. For letters from the prisoners, see from Job Field and others, 8 Sept. 1781, note 1 (vol. 11:483).
3. Of 15 Dec. 1781, above.