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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1782-07-02

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

It is a long time Since I had a Line from you, and from Sickness, and various Engagements it is long since I had the Pleasure of Writing to you.1 I Suppose that Milton Hill, furnishes you with Amusement enough, in your beloved science and Practice of Agriculture. I wish I had Fortune enough to purchase me an equal Farm upon Pens Hill, and enter into an Emulation with you, which should make his Hill shine the brightest. I find that the various Combinations of street Dust, Marsh Mud and Horse dung furnish a more delicate Employment, than the foul Regions of machiavillian Politicks. Yet when Honest Wisdom tryumphs over its opposite, as is sometimes the Case, Politicks themselves offerd an Exquisite Entertainment, to a well regulated Mind.
It is a Problem at present whether the English will evacuate { 149 } N. York and Charlestown or not. It is very probable they would if they could, but how to get away. A great Number of Transports must be had—these must be protected by a superiour Fleet. If Pigot, who succeeds Rodney2 should go with the whole Fleet, the French and Spaniards may do Mischief in the West Indies in the meantime.
It is supposed, that Carleton, has orders to make Propositions to Congress but what can they be?3 Reconcialion, Seperate Peace, even upon an express Acknowledgment of our Independence, can never be thought of. We must keep our faith and not violate our Treaties—it is whispered too that the Garrisons of N. York and Charlestown are to be removed to Rhode Island, which is to be fotified as a Place of Arms &c. This Policy is beyond my Comprehension. There is but one sensible system for the English, and it is amazing to me they dont see it, that is evacuate the United States and declare them by an Act of Parliament independent. Then, they might defend themselves better against France and Spain and other European Powers, would wish them success, and aid them by Negotiation to obtain more favourable Terms of Peace. But the present British Ministry have forced themselves into Power, partly by decrying the Capacity and Activity of the old Ministry and partly by Promisses to the King and Nation that they had Address enough to make a seperate Peace with America and Holland. Both these Professions were false—they now appear to be so—and the Ministry know not what to do.
The present Ministry therefore, as I conjecture will languish away the time undecided what to do, untill they become as unpopular as the past, unless the Parliament Should be dissolved, and a new Election should give them a more decided Majority, ready to vote for American Independance—the Principles of the Armed Neutrality; Fisheries to France and spain, Restitutions to Holland, Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain &c. &c &c.
Thus it is that an Empire has, in a Frenzy, committed Suicide upon itself, almost as suddenly, as one of its Individuals could have Swallowed a Pistol Bullet.
They have Succeeded in propagating a general opinion in Europe that Peace will be soon made, and that their Stocks will rise after a Peace which opinions have actually raised them before the Peace, 5 or 6 Per Cent, by foreigners sending over considerable sums to purchase in, if the Conferences for Peace should be broken off, the Stocks will fall again. Both Sides will be loth to break off: but I really dont expect that any Thing will come of them this year.
{ 150 }

[salute] My most profound Respects to your good Lady.

[salute] Adieu.

RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); endorsed: “Mr J A. Letter July 2. 82.”
1. James Warren's last letter to JA was of 4 June 1781 (vol. 11:352–353), but JA had written to Warren on 17 June, above.
2. Admiral Hugh Pigot replaced Sir George Rodney as admiral of the British fleet in the wake of the fall of the North government in March 1782. This proved an embarrassment for the new Rockingham government when news subsequently reached Great Britain of Rodney's victory at the Battle of the Saints. The government tried to undo its decision and recall Pigot, but he had already sailed for the West Indies (Mackesy, War for America , p. 472–473; Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence, Boston, 1913, p. 225).
3. For the proposals to be made by Sir Guy Carleton, commander of the British forces in America, see vol. 12:414–415; for Congress' reaction, see Robert R. Livingston's letter of 22 May, and note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0090

Author: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-07-02

From Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Sir

We have to apprize your Excellency that we have received Two Bills of the United States in date of the 6th. July 1780 No. 84 and 85 a Six Months Sight, to the order of Joseph Carleton,1 drawn on the Honourble. Henry Laurens Esqr. for f 550 each, and to request you will inform us, where, we are to send 'em for Acceptance, And at the same time that you would be pleased to inform us whether it is your Wish we should carry the Amount of what you are indebted to us, (as mention'd pr. our letter of 31st. May) on Accot. of the States, and your own, to a new Accot., being as [per] our last together f 3772:17:8 as from our Senior Mr. J—— De N——'s having retired from Business, it becomes Necessary.2
With due respect We have the honour to be Your Excellency's Most Obedient & Hble: Servt:
[signed] John de Neufville Son
1. Joseph Carleton (1754–1812) was paymaster and secretary to the Board of War ( JCC , 13:128; PCC, No. 49, f. 578).
2. The de Neufville firm was presumably creating new accounts for its clients upon Jean de Neufville's retirement. For an earlier reference to de Neufville's retirement, see his letter of 5 June, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0091

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Mazzei, Philip
Date: 1782-07-03

To Philip Mazzei

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter, which you did me the Honour to write me the 21. May, and thank you for your Congratulations, on the { 151 } Tryumph the American Cause has gained, in this Country. I call it a Tryumph because, it prevailed over great obstacles, long Habits of Friendship, vast Interests of Capitalists in the Stocks, intimate ancient and modern Connections of ruling Families, and multifarious little Intrigues, from Several other Courts; I cannot call them refined as you do: to me, they appear gross.
I am not able to give you any Advice in the World. I dont believe you will succeed in any Attempt to borrow Money, but you may know better than my belief.
England is not cured of her Delirium, as yet. But the Devil is in the other Powers of Europe, if they Suffer the war to continue much longer. We shall have Ireland, in Alliance with America, France, Spain and Holland, very soon for what I know: and a lucky or unlucky Game and Cards may throw all Europe together by the Ears.
It is so easy and Simple to pacify the Universe that it is amazing it is not done. The System of Mankind is arranged exactly for the Purpose. There is nothing wanting, but for the confederated Neutral Powers, to admit the United States of America, to acceed to the Principles of the armed Neutrality, and the Business is done. England herself would rejoice in it, and, in her Heart thank those Powers, and the belligerent Powers, after this, would chicane but a very little time about Peace.
By keeping open this Dispute, the Neutral Powers may begin to think England too much weakened, and France and Spain too much Strengthened and by and by all may be embroiled. I dont know that America, need distress herself much about this, for the more miserable the Powers of Europe make their Subjects at home, the more will emigrate.
England is So equally divided into Parties, that neither has an Influence decided enough to acknowledge American Independence: but if the Example were set by the neutral Powers, the honest Party in England, would gain by it, Sufficient Authority to venture on the step.
If you are in a Situation to learn the refined Intrigues, as you call them, here, I wish you would explain them to me, for one can learn more in such a round about way, of such Things, than is to be got directly, nearer home.
We may make ourselves very easy, for neither “refined Intrigues” nor crude Intrigues, nor gross Intrigues, nor wicked Intrigues, can { 152 } much injure Us. The Rescources of our Country appear greater and greater, every Year and the Population, Wealth, and Power of the United States, augment every day, in the midst of the War. I have recd a Letter within four days from Boston1 which informs me, that the Numbers of People, have increased by many Thousands, Since a Valuation in 1778, according to a new one lately taken, that the Property was proportionally increased, and that even the horned Cattle had increased by many Thousands, notwithstanding the immense Consumption of Beef, by the American Army, the French, Spanish and even English Fleets and Armies, in the West Indies, and in the United States, for all those derive a great Part of their supplies of Provisions, directly or indirectly from New England.
Old England deserves to be damned, and will be, without Repentance for having ever indulged the desire or conceived the Thought of enslaving such a Country: and a great Part of Europe deserve little less, for having viewed the accursed Project, with so much Indifference and Lukewarmness. I never could find an Image to represent the wickedness of this attempt in Britain. Herods murder of the Innocents was a trifle in comparison.2 Lady Macbeth uttered a Sentiment a little like it.

“I have given Suck; and know how tender tis to love

the Babe that milks me: yet would I: even when 'twas

smiling in my face; have plucked my Nipple from its

boneless Gums and dash'd the Branis out.”3

Stop Mother! You may pluck away the Nipple, if you please But the Boy is too big for the rest—have a Care, Mamma!
Such a total Deprivation of all the Moral Sentiments and natural Feelings, must and ever will be punished. Let Us lament that human Nature is capable of such Baseness, but let Us rejoice too, that it is capable of Elevation enough to resist it.

[salute] But I am wandering while I should asure you of the Esteem &c.

1. This letter may have been Isaac Smith Sr.'s of 6 May, which has not been found but is mentioned in JA 's letter of 1 July to AA ( AFC , 4:337–339). The economic information as related by JA was similar to that conveyed in other letters from Smith. See, for example, his letters to JA of 7 Sept. (same, 4:378–379) and 9 Oct., below.
2. For Herod's murder of every male child in Bethlehem under two years of age after Jesus' birth, see Matthew, 2:16.
3. Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act I, scene vii, lines 55–58. For previous references by JA to this passage, see vol. 9:89; 10:439.