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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


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Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0231

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-10-04

From Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst

[salute] Sir

The opportunity, by which we take the Liberty to write your Excellency these few lines, is, that we've seen a Letter from London by the last mail, where in the writer assures that it was decided the 23 Septr. in the Kings Councel, by a unamity of all the Ministers, to declare the Independency of the United States in America, and that the Act, passed under the great Seal, should immediately be forwarded. Since as much as we know this is not confirmed by other letters, we must doubt of its authenticy. If it is true we suppose it will be known to your Excellency, and as it would be of much value to us, as well for the Intrest of the American Loans, we would wish to be informed by your Excellency, wether you received about it Any intelligence or not, and there fore we beg the favour to receive a few words in answer upon this Question.1
Our hopes that the Undertakers will soon ask the third Million of the Loan are still increasing. Two or three of them have already spoken about it. Since our demand in favour of the Maryland Loan is declined in Council,2 it remains an undecided Problem, wether the Credit, which it would have give to said Loan, would have been of a good influence upon the General.

[salute] We have the honour to be with much esteem Sir of your Excellency, the most humble & Obedt. Servts.

[signed] Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst
{ 512 }
1. See JA 's reply of 5 Oct., below.
2. In addition to the Staphorsts, Wilhem & Jan Willink wrote on 5 Oct. (Adams Papers) to report that the Regency of Amsterdam had refused to subscribe to the Maryland loan.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1782-10-05

To Edmund Jenings

A Sermon on,
2. Samuel Chapt. 16. Verses 17. and 18. And Absalom Said to Hushai Is this thy Kindness to thy Friend? Why wentest thou not out with thy Friend? And Hushai Said unto Absolom, Nay but whom the Lord, and this People, and all the Men of Israel choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide,1 and to him will I Say2 God Save the King, God Save the King.
Hushai, has here asserted the first Principle of the Rights of Man kind, the first Principle of Liberty. He here gives to the Nation, or Body of the People, the unlimited and unconditional Authority of pulling down a Government that is inconvenient to them and erecting another in its Stead, as fully as a Freeholder in his own right may demolish a decayed or unconvenient Building and erecting another, better calculated to his Use or fitted for his Taste.
The 1. Proposition is, that as Government is instituted by the Nation it is their right to frame it to their Taste, Use and Convenience.
2. As it is instituted for the Nation, for their Pleasure, and Accommodation, it ought to be Such and they have a right, and it is their Duty to make it Such as they foresee, or find by Experience will answer their Ends.
3. The Will, and Judgment and Choice of a Nation, their Taste Pleasure, and Convenience, being in the Nature of Things only to be judged of, by the Nation, and indeed by the Majority of the Nation, every Individual has a right to the submission of the whole to the decision of the Majority, and it is the Duty of every Individual to submit to the Decision of the Majority although it be against his own opinion or quit the Club.
4. It is therefore the Duty of every Individual to cry God save the King as Hushai did in such Cases, and every Subject is legally adjudged justified in Obedience to the Authority of the Sovereign in such Cases, even although, the national Will upon which it is founded should be but temporary or even momentary. Subjects are { 513 } necessitated to acknowledge Such Authority, by submitting to it to try and punish Crimes under, it, to alter Property under, it to take Arms under it, and all other Things. The Nations ennemies are obliged to consider Commissions given by Such an Authority, as given by the Lawfull Authority of the nation. Their Armies and Navies must consider them so—and cant avoid it.
If Foreign Nations have any Thing to Speak of, or treat about with such a Nation, they must treat with the Powers that be and Surely a foreign Nation, would be justified in considering the Powers that be, and treating with them, if the Members and Subjects of the Nation itself are so justified.
I wish I had nothing else to do I would make a drol sermen upon this Text, or a devout one—for it will admit of either.
Philo <Nestor> Mentor3 has written excellently upon the Powers that be—But neither the Doctrine of Philo <Nester> Mentor nor that of Hushai amount to passive obedience, and Non Resistance.
Il faut bien distinguer.4
Passive obedience and Non Resistance, are contended for, to Tyrants who rule against the Good and the sense and Voice of the Nation. Upon this Principle Hushai, ought not to have cryed God save the King to Absalem tho the Lord and the People set him up.
Surely Subjects and foreigners are justified, in acknowledging the Powers that be.
Keep this Ball up. It is at least as amusing as Shuttlecock—and as innocent.
If Subjects Citizens and foreign Nations are thus justified and necessitated to acknowledge the Powers that be for the time, Surely it can be no Hostility against England or breach of the armed Neutrality, to acknowledge the Congress, or the United states to be sovereign de facto, and admitting them into the armed Neutrality.
You see I am very dull. Dulness is the Power that is now over me and I must acknowledge her sovreignty.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams Octr. 5th 1782.”
1. The quotation of verses 17 and 18 ends at this point.
2. The remainder of the sentence is from verse 16, “And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.”
3. Possibly a newspaper pseudonym, but if so, the author has not been identified.
4. He should be more discriminating.