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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0266

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-02-13

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

Yours of the 24 Oct. is before me. I have received several Letters from you <every one of> which I have answered, and written you many more. But so many Vessells have been taken, that I fear many have miscarried.
{ 409 }
We have been totally in the dark about every Thing at Philadelphia, for a very long Space of Time, yet private Persons learnt all—untill <the Address of Mr. Deane to the People,> a certain Address appeared in the English News papers and in the Courier de L'Europe.2 You must imagine, for I cant describe the Situation that this threw Us into. But on the Arrival of the Dispatches by the Alliance, We have much Relief, and I hope the sensation, will wear off, without any lasting ill Consequence. But for three or four days, I confess, I felt more fears for the Public than I ever felt before.3
As to Finances, I am quite unequal, at this Distance to form any Opinion. Dr. Price most politely declines, on Account of Age, and Connections.4 As to loaning so much as you mention, I cant see the End of it—it is too vast an Object for me. Cannot much be done in the Way of Œconomy, to lessen Expences. Cannot Taxes be raised to help along? You say I am against Debts abroad. You heard my sentiments in Congress upon that Head, but I assure you, I have not presumed, to Act in Conformity to those sentiments in opposition to those of Congress, I have done all in my Power, to accomplish their Views. But the state of our Currency it appears to me, and what they hear in Europe from all Parts of America of the Course of Exchange, discourages and will discourage. They cant see through our System, and altho very well disposed towards Us, are afraid to risque their Interest. I am now accountable only to myself for my opinions, being a private Citizen, and therefore I tell you plainly you must recommend Depreciation and Appreciation Laws, or our Currency will be good for nothing. And you must tax to the quick.5
The States of Europe, seemed, not long since to be universally friendly to Us, and England without the Hope of an Ally. I hope no late Intelligence, has altered or will alter this Disposition. The English are so artful in framing and industrious in propagating Suspicions, that It may be necessary to say to you, that I am fully perswaded, of the firmness of this Court, in our Support. Their Preparations by sea, are very great, and already in my opinion considering the state of ships and Number of Seamen Superiour to the English altho the Number of Ships is not so great.6 We expect News from the C. D'Estaing, every Hour. I am with great Affection your Friend
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. No extant letters by James Lovell mention receiving a letter of 13 Feb. He does indicate in his letter to JA of 20 Aug. (below), however, that he had received one of 19 Feb., for which no Letterbook or recipient's copy has been found. JA may not have copied this letter from his Letterbook until 19 Feb., not an { 410 } unusual practice, but it is quite possible that the letter was never received. See Lovell's letter of 20 Aug., and note 1, and that from Elbridge Gerry of 24 Aug., and note 1 (below).
2. See John Boylston to JA, 6 Feb., note 1 (above).
3. See JA's Diary entries for 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13 Feb. (Diary and Autobiography, 2:345–347, 352–354).
4. See Price to the Commissioners, 18 Jan. (above).
5. This sentence was interlined, as was at least a portion of the one immediately preceding it. It is impossible to determine precisely how much of that sentence was an addition to the original text.
6. The preceding nine words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0267-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-02-13

From the Comte de Vergennes, with a Contemporary Translation

J'ai recû Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avés fait l'honneur de m'Ecrire Le 11. de Ce mois, et Conformement a vos desirs je n'ai point appellé le Secours d'un traducteur pour prendre Connoissance de Son Contenû. Je ne suis pas moins peiné que vous Monsieur, de l'appel au peuple d'amerique que M. Silas Deane a Publié. Il ne m'apartient pas de qualifiér Cette demarche; C'est a vos souvrains respectifs d'en jugér et de prononcér Sur les differens qui peuvent S'Etre Elevés entre Mrs. Leurs Commissaires. La façon dont on vous a traités ici ensemble et Séparément, a dû vous Convaincre que Si nous avons pû Etre instruits de vos Contestations nous n'y Sommes entrés pour rien, et L'Estime personnelle que nous avons cherché a faire remarquér a chacun de Mrs. Les Commissaires fait preuve que nous n'avons point adopté les preventions qu'on Semble vouloir inspirér a l'amerique et dont Le fondement nous est inconnû ici; quoi que Cette desagreable discussion nous Soit Etrangere et que nous devions a tout Egard nous l'abstenir d'y entrér, je n'en Serai pas moins charmé de Vous voir Monsieur; Le jour qui vous Conviendra Sera le mien, je vous prie Seulement de me prevenir a l'avance de Celui que vous aurés choisi.
J ai l'honneur d'Etre avec une Veritable Consideration Monsieur, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0267-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-02-13

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have received the letter which you did me the honor of writing to me the 11th. instant and agreable to your desire I have not submitted its contents to the inspection of a Translator. I am no less hurt than yourself Sir at the Appeal which Mr. Silas Deane has made to the people of America. It does not belong to me to qualify this step. Your re• { 411 } spective sovereigns must judge of the measure and decide the differences which have arisen between their Commissioners. The manner in which you have been treated here conjointly and separately, must have convinced you that if we even had been informed of your disputes we should have paid no regard to them, and the personal esteem which we have endeavoured to show each of the Commissioners is a proof that we have not adopted the prejudices with which they have endeavoured to inspire America the foundation of which is unknown to us; altho' this disagreable discusion is strange to us, and it becomes us by all means to refrain from taking part therein, I shall nevertheless be delighted to see you sir, whatever day you fix will be agreable to me, I only request you to acquaint me beforehand with the time you shall choose. I have the honor to be with true regard Sir Yr. mo. he. & mo. ob Servt.
[signed] (signed) De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “M. Le Comte De Vergennes ans. Feb. 16. 1779.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation at the head of the letter: “about Six o Clock, in the Evening of the 15 of February being Monday I received, in my Chamber, the following Letter, in these Words, viz”; and at the foot: “This Letter was inclosed in a Cover, inscribed with these Words. A Monsieur, Monsieur, Adams l'un des Deputes des Congres de l'Amerique Septentrionale. a Passy. De Vergennes.” Copy in JA's hand with contemporary translation by John Pintard (PCC, No. 83, II, f. 310–312). The copy was sent to Arthur Lee with JA's letter of 13 June (below). Lee then obtained the translation and enclosed it and JA's copy in his letter to the president of the congress of 17 Oct. 1780, which was read on 19 Oct. (PCC, No. 83, II, f. 302–303; JCC, 18:951). At the bottom of the copy, JA entered the same notation that appears at the foot of the LbC.
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.