A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Boylston, John
Date: 1779-03-05

To John Boylston

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your Billet of the 6. Feb. and altho I am much obliged by your Care to put me on my Guard, against dangerous Men: Yet I am extreamly Sorry to find, that Slander has been So successfull, as to impose upon you, who I know have no sinister Motive, nor any Thing to byass you; in this Case from the Truth and the Interest of a Country whose Welfare you wish.
The “Freres” have been abominably belied, and their Characters must be vindicated and assuredly will be.
Your Caution against Persons whose Circumstances expose them to Corruption and Stock Gambling is excellent. It is the execrable Game of the Alley,1 that has done Us Injuries, created Divisions, and propa• { 3 } gated Slanders. I am not however of your opinion that the Independance of our Country, entirely depends, on a Harmony and Unity of sentiment. On the Contrary, if our Ministers, Generals, Admirals and Ambassadors, quarrelled as much as the British, and if such Quarrells should continue in succession these twenty Years, they would not affect in the least degree that Independance.
That Independance stands on a Rock. The Winds may blow, and the Rain descend and it will not fall, for it is built upon a Rock.
There is no Character or Group of Characters in that Country, who have Influence enough to shake it.

They are all but Bubbles on the Sea of Matter borne

They rise, they break and to that Sea return.2

LbC (Adams Papers). This letter appears in Lb/JA/5 and is the last Letterbook copy made by JA during his residence at Passy. The next entry in this Letterbook is his letter to Edmund Jenings dated 22 May at Lorient. It is an unfortunate gap because, as can be seen from references to letters by JA in the recipient's copies printed below, at least thirteen, and probably more, of his letters have not been found.
1. See JA to James Lovell, 20 Feb., note 5 (above).
2. Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle III, lines 19–20. JA had used the quotation earlier in Thoughts on Government (vol. 4:80, 90).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0003

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-03-05

From William MacCreery

[salute] Sir

Since I wrote you in January, I have not been favour'd with a line from you. Since I heard of the change which lately took place in the Administration of our Affairs at this Court, I took the liberty to address Doctor Franklin, on the Subject of my last Letter to you. Having a large Ship now here, which I want to ballast with Salt, but can not unless furnish'd with an order from the Minister for that purpose.1
If you cou'd conveniently assist in procuring a general permission for the Americans to load Salt here, as they do at Nantes, it wou'd be a most acceptable piece of Service.
This Ship left Baltimore about the 12th. and the Capes of Virginia about the 20th. of January. I take the liberty to send you enclosed, an extract of a Letter which I received by her,2 and which I have translated, in order to shew it to my French Acquaintance here, who are apt to have doubts as to our constancy. Some how or other, there are allways some idle tales propagated here of our being displeased with them, both in America and in Europe. I immagine that the Leyden Papers and the Couriere D'L'Europe (neither of which do I often read) serve a good deal to propagate such ideas.
{ 4 }
You have heard, no doubt, of the Two Fleets of Merchant Ships which Sail'd from St. Domingue and from Martinique. We have Accounts of about Six of them being arrived at different Ports to the N.E., Three here Yesterday, and an Account of 10 or 12 having got into the River today.
I imagine the English had disarmd many of their Cruizers, and am in great hopes that all, or nearly all the Ships of these Two Fleets will be so fortunate as to arrive. One of the Merchant Ships arrived here, has made Prize of a Dutch Man with English Property on board, bound from Spain to <the Streights> England. The Captain of the French Ship only hail'd him to know where he was, i.e. the Latitude and Longitude; to which the Dutchman woud make no Answer. The Other fired a Gun at him, upon which he immediatly hawl'd down his Colours, and told the French Captain to cease fireing, as he was a good Prize to him; and accordingly gave up his Ship and Papers. This behavior may seem very odd to you, but no doubt the cunning, and I may add treacherous, Dutchman had his Vessel and freight highly Insured.
Another of the same Nation hath allredy served the French in like manner, by giving up his Vessel to an English Cruizerr.

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your very obedient Servant

[signed] Will MacCreery
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. W. McCreery. 5th. March 1779.”
1. MacCreery had written to JA on 5 Jan. (above) and to Benjamin Franklin on 27 Feb. (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:34). He wrote to Franklin again on 6 March and there identified the ship as the Buckskin (same, 2:38).
2. Not found.
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.