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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0193-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1778-12-18

The Comte de Vergennes to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

The effects of Dr. James Smith of New York have, gentlemen, finally been found.1 They are at the customs office at Calais and consist of a package containing 12 table cloths and 12 knives and forks of iron with silver ferrules.2 If Mr. Smith plans to bring these goods into the Kingdom, he cannot avoid paying the regular charges, but if he intends to return them to America, then he will be free to do so without having to pay any charges, provided that he takes the trouble to obtain an Acquit à Caution.
{ 290 }
I have the honor to be very sincerely, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Vergennes
1. See Smith's letter to the Commissioners of 15 Nov., and notes 3 and 4 (above).
2. The following is a one-page document found in the Franklin Papers (PPAmP) and docketed: “Brought from M. Grand's to Passy, Decr 27th. 1778.”
List of Dr. Smith's Effects detain'd at
2. Middle siz'd Diaper Table Cloths.
2. Ditto of Huckaback.
8. Diaper Breakfast Cloths.
1. Diaper Towel.
12. Green handle Knives and Forks tiped with Silver.
The whole wrapped up in an Ell of Crocus.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-12-19

To James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

It is unhappy that So many People in America, should perswade themselves that the Ennemy intend to evacuate New York and Rhode Island. This opinion cannot fail to damp their Ardour, and Slacken their Nerves. But you may depend upon it, they mean no such Thing. On the Contrary it is their unalterable Resolution, to maintain the Possession of both, as long as they can. Indeed either without the other would be in a manner useless to them. Without Rhode Island, their Fleet could not remain in the United States, during the Winter—Without New York and the Resources of Provisions from Long Island, Staten Island, and frequent Excursions into the Jerseys, for Depredation, they could not well subsist their Army. It is therefore certain that they will keep both, untill you destroy or captivate them all.
They have it now in Contemplation to fortify New York at a vast Expence and if they do this, they will oblige you to keep a great Army constantly up, Winter and summer at an infinite Expence, without being able to prevent them from making frequent Inroads upon you by Surprise, pillaging, burning and laying Waste.
There have been great Debates in the two Houses of Parliament, concerning the Manifesto of the Commissioners, and the Minorities appear to have a just Sense of its horrid Nature, but it has been Sanctifyed by triumphant Majorities in both, and it is past a doubt, that the Cabinet intend to execute it as far as they shall be able. Burn the sea coast and massacre upon the Frontiers, is now the Cry. This will harrass, distress, exhaust, and at length divide, and then Will conquer for think of it as you will the Hope of Conquest is not yet given up.
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Ministers, Ambassadors, Generals, Admirals are all together by the Ears, in England, accusing, reproaching, and threatning each other.1 No allies their Fleet rotten, Army small, Funds low, gloomy, desponding Stupid, yet all together dont discourage Administration.
There has been no Engagement between the two Fleets, since the first, and I fancy there will not be another, very Soon. The attention of both Nations turns towards the Islands in the West Indies.
You have all the Intelligence from Holland, from the Same Hand which sends it here.2 There is a monarchical, and a Republican Party there, from which division, as their Constitution requires Unanimity We are Safe from their taking Part against Us, but I fear We may infer from it too that they will not take a Part in our favour. Spain is as enigmetical as ever. We are impatiently waiting for Advice of your Determination upon foreign affairs, according to the Bruits propagated here, I expect to be recalled. Wherever I may be, I shall be your Friend.
1. For JA's more detailed comments on these controversies, as well as the debates in Parliament mentioned above, see his letter to Francis Dana of 25 Dec., and notes (below).
2. C. W. F. Dumas.
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.