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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12

This note contained in document ADMS-06-12-02-0162
15. This letter was published serially in the Boston Patriot on 24 Oct. and 7, 14, and 17 Nov. 1810. In the issue of 17 Nov., immediately following the letter, JA wrote “I shall make a comment or two, Messrs. Printers, upon this letter, without which it may not be so well understood.
“1st. It was written to justify myself for presenting my credentials to the states general and for printing my memorial, in answer to a letter from Mr. Secretary Livingston in which, in plain English, he had reprimanded me, strange as it may seem, very severely, for my conduct in these instances.
“2. An allusion is made to a copy of a letter, or rather an extract of a letter, which was transmitted to me, through a friend, from London, said to have been written by one of the first personages in France, (meaning the comte de Vergennes) to one of the first personages in Great Britain, (meaning the Earl of Shelbourne) in these words, as nearly as I recollect them. ‘Nous n’avons pas une confiance, bien aveugle, en Monsieur Adams. On le croit honnêtte; on le scait ardent, inflexible mêrne dans sa cause: mais il abonde trop en son sens, et ne scait pas se donner aux convenances. Nous aimons mieux, paler confiance en Monsieur Franklin.’
“3. I believed that the reproof in Mr. Livingston’s letter had been insinuated into him by the Chevalier de la Luzerne, or Mr. Marbois, or some other gentleman of the French legation, and that in consequence of previous instructions from the comte de Vergennes, or Mr. Rayneval. Such, whether corruptly or not, was my belief.
“4. There is not an effect of that memorial, suggested in this letter as possibly or probably flowing from it, that I do not now in 1810, after near thirty years of examination and reflection, believe to have been produced by it. Holland then held a much higher consideration in Europe than it has since.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.