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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-01-16

To the President of the Congress, No. 3

Bilbao, Spain, 16 January 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC No. 84, I, f. 234; docketed: “No. 3 Letter from John Adams Bilbao { 311 } Jany 16 1780 Read April 7.” LbC Adams Papers. LbC in Thaxter's hand Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No.3.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above).
Adams described the hardships of his journey through Spain and the reasons for his decision to bypass Madrid. He then wrote at length about the civil and military institutions of the Province of Galicia and the potential for trade with the United States if obstacles could be removed. He also commented on the special privileges of the three Basque provinces (although he did not call them that), and on the trade with other countries that they enjoyed, suggesting what markets America might find there if successful negotiations could be entered into.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC No. 84, I, f. 234); docketed: “No. 3 Letter from John Adams Bilbao Jany 16 1780 Read April 7.” LbC (Adams Papers). LbC in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No.3.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above). printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:230).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0195

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-01-20

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] <Gentlemen>

<If you will be so good as to send to America, on Board of <<Either>> each of the Vessells now here2 to the Amount of Twenty Pounds sterling in Articles for the Use of my Family, and consign them to my Adress, and to the Care of Isaac Smith Esq of Boston, I will pay your Bills, with Pleasure and hold myself obliged besides. The Articles I wish to have sent are, become very scarce in America>

<one Piece of common Linnen>

<a few Dozens of Glass Tumblers>

<half a dozen plain Glass Decanters.>

<a few Dozens of Silk Handkerchiefs>

<two Dozens of common Table Knives and Forks.>

<Half a Dozen large and fine Blanketts.>

<half a Dozen Pounds of Green Tea.>3

1. JA left Bilbao on the 20th (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:433).
2. These were the Phoenix, James Babson, and the Rambler, Benjamin Lovett, which were owned by the Traceys of Newburyport and Andrew Cabot of Beverly, respectively (JQA, Diary, 1:30).
3. The Letterbook copy was wholly canceled by a series of large X's, presumably because of either JA's initial decision not to send any goods to America from Bilbao (see JA to AA, 16 Jan., Adams Family Correspondence, 3:258–259), or his personal presentation of his order to Gardoqui & Sons. JA did give the Gardoquis an order that was nearly identical to this one, which they shipped on board the Phoenix in February (see Gardoqui & Sons to JA, 19 Feb., below). Sending such merchandise was a convenient way for JA to get money into AA's hands, for she could sell the items she did not need at a good profit (AA to JA, 15 April, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:320–323).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0196

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-01-24

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Gentlemen

I have but just Time to inform you by the Return of our Guide, that We all arrived in safety and in rather better Health than When We took our Leave of you, at this Place, last night. After 8 or 9 Leagues of bad Way, We found the Roads excellent, and the Accommodations at the Taverns all the Way, very comfortable. I assure you We discovered two or three fine Chimneys,1 besides that which you mentioned to Us, which contributed not a little to our Health and Comfort.
We were all much pleased with the Appearance of the Country through Biscay and Guipuscoa, the Houses Seeming commodious, and properly distributed about upon the Farms, instead of appearing in little Villages of Mud Walls mouldering into Ruins. We could not help reflecting that Liberty produces similar Effects, upon the Happiness of human Kind wherever you find it.2
Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Allen, with all the Children join with me in presenting to your House, our most sincere Thanks for the Thousand Civilities and the essential assistance We received at Bilboa. <I have the Hono>
Our Guide and his People, behaved extreamly well, and did everything in their Power for our Accommodation. I have the Honour to be with much Respect and Esteem, Gentn. your most obligd & obedient sert
1. On the journey to Bilbao, JA had complained that houses and inns lacked chimneys, and that the smoke escaped only through small holes in the roof. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:415–429passim;4:214–231passim; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:259.
2. JA commented more extensively on the political liberties allowed the semi-autonomous Basque provinces, and on the impact of those liberties upon the local economy, in his Diary and Autobiography (2:432; 4:229–235passim ).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0197

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lagoanere, Michel
Date: 1780-01-24

To Michel Lagoanere

[salute] dear sir

We have arrived Safe at this Place, but very much fatigued with our Journey and We have the Pleasure to inform you that We have received the politest Treatment from the House of Messrs. Cabarrus Pere et Fils, to whom We had the Honour to be recommended by you. The Roads, the Accommodations and our consequent state of Health has been such as to make our Journey somewhat longer than We ex• { 313 } pected, and our Expences run much higher than our Computation, We have therefore, Mr. Dana and I, received of that House the Amount of one Hundred Louis D'ors, on the Account of yours in Addition to the Three Thousand Dollars, We receivd from you at Corunna and Ferrol &c.1
We have been emboldened to receive this on your Account, rather than on that of any other, because you were so kind as to inform Us, you had some Money in your Hands of the United States, altho it was under an Attachment in your Hands. There is no manner of Doubt that the Congress, to whom We shall render an Account of the Receipt of this Money, will readily discharge you for so much. As to taking any Measures to get the Attachment taken off, We would readily undertake it, if We knew the Nature of the Attachment and the Measures proper to be taken, of which We are at present ignorant but desire to be informed by you. We have the Honour to be, with great Respect & Esteem, sir your most obligd & obedient servants
1. See Lagoanere's letter of 26 Dec. 1779 (above), in which he states that 3,000 pesos fortes (variously known as dollars, pieces of eight, etc.) had been expended on behalf of JA and his party. The sum of 100 louis d'or equaled approximately 463 pesos fortes, thus making the total owed Lagoanere 3,463 pesos fortes or approximately £825 sterling (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 10–11).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0198

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-01-31

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

At Bayonne, I had the Honour of yours of the 25. Decr. last,1 which was delivered me by Mr. Dufour, whom you desired to assist me with whatever I should want particularly with Money. Mr. Dufour politely offered me, Supplies of Cash, and services of any sort in which he could be usefull to me, and I was very sorry that I could not have the Opportunity of forming an Acquaintance with him: but my stay was necessarily too short at Bayonne.
You will please to accept of my Thanks, for your kind Attention to me, and for your Attachment to the Honour of the united states: But as I was supplied with Funds Sufficient for my Purposes then, I shall defer making Use of your generous Offer untill some future Opportunity when it may become more necessary.
I thank you, sir for the Intelligence contained in your Letter. I have suffered the Utmost Anxiety, on Account of the Confederation,2 not only on Account of the ship and the great Number of very respectable { 314 } Characters on Board, but on Account of the delay of a most important Embassy to Spain. Yet I am not without hopes that she put back and that We shall still have a good Account of her. I have the Honour to be with great Respect & Esteem, sir your obliged and obedient servant
1. Not found.
2. That is, the Confederacy, which was taking John Jay to Spain. See James Lovell to JA, 1 Oct. 1779, note 6; JA to Benjamin Franklin, 8 Dec. 1779, note 3 (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0199

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Casamayor, Pedro, & Company
Date: 1780-01-31

To Pedro Casamayor & Company

[salute] Gentlemen

On the 29th of this month, on my Arrival at this Place, I had the Honour of a polite Letter from your House, offering me your services and Assistance, particularly in the necessary Article of Cash, in Consequence of Recommendations from Mr. Lagoanere at Coruñna and Mr. Montgomery at Alicante.1 I am much obliged to you for the Honour you have done me by this Letter, and to Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Lagoanere for their Recommendations: But as many Circumstances conspired, to deprive me of the Pleasure which I very much desired of a Visit to Madrid, I had no Occasion, to trouble your House, to which I should certainly have paid my Respects, if I had gone there.
I am extreamly unhappy, to find there is no Intelligence of the Confederation, on Board of which Frigate Mr. Jay was embarked who is destined to Madrid.2 I have the Honour to be with much Respect, your most humble servant
1. The letter from Pedro Casamayor & Co. has not been found, but for the recommendations from Lagoanere and Montgomery, see Lagoanere to JA, 26 Dec. 1779, and note 8 (above); and JA to Montgomery, 31 Jan. (below).
2. See JA to John Bondfield, 31 Jan., note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0200

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Montgomery, Robert
Date: 1780-01-31

To Robert Montgomery

[salute] Dear sir

Since my Arrival at this Place, which was the day before Yesterday, I had the <Honour> Pleasure of receiving a Letter from you, dated Alicante January 8. 1780,1 informing me that you had desired your Bankers D. Pedro Casamayor & Co, to wait on me at Madrid, and make me a Tender of what Money I might have Occasion for. At the same Time I received a Letter from the House of D. Pedro Casamayor { 315 } & Co, offering me every Assistance in their Power, particularly as much Money as I should have Occasion for, either on the Account of your House or another, which had done me the favour to write a Similar Letter to the same Banker.2
You will be pleased to accept of my Thanks which are the only return I can make you, for this Instance of your Politeness to me, and your generous Attachment to the Honour of the united states. I had the strongest Inclination to go to Madrid, for the Pleasure of seeing that <fine><noble> City, but it would have delayed my Journey to Paris by 15 or 20 days at least, for which Reason as well as Some others, I did not know how it might be taken by Congress or by the Court of Spain: I therefore concluded it, Safest to pursue my Route to Paris. I have not had Occasion, to make Use of the Credit, you was so kind as to offer me: but am not the less obliged to you, for the offer. I am with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient, and obliged, humble servant
1. Not found.
2. The letter from Pedro Casamayor & Co. has not been found, but for that from “another” house, see Lagoanere to JA, 26 Dec. 1779, and note 8 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0201

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-01

From Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dear sir

I heartily congratulate you on your safe Return to Europe and thank you for your obliging Care of my Letters from my Friends, which I received last Post from Bilboa.
I shall be greatly obliged to you if you will employ a leisure half Hour in giving me a little Sketch of our public Affairs in America, so far only as is prudent for you to communicate, and proper for me to know. Please to let me know if anything has passed in Congress relative to my Accounts and public Conduct; I am extreemly sensible in whatever concerns my Reputation, and I should be very unhappy if any Stain was on it in the Opinion of that respectable Body. Doctor Franklin will inform you that I have passed through a very rigid Examination, and he will show you my Accounts as they have been re-stated and the Award of my Arbitrators on them. I hope no Testimony is neccessary to fix your Opinion of me, but notwithstanding this I beg you to cast your Eye on my Accounts and the Award.1
Now my Reputation is restored I have no Enmity to any person, nor will I ever be concerned in any Party. I shall be always ready to serve { 316 } | view my Country whenever it is in my Power to do so, but as my Object in this is more her welfare than my own Emolument I never can solicit any public Employ, and I shall always wish the Good of America may be the only point considered in the Choice of all her Officers.
I hope you will allow me to consider you in the same familiar Friendly Light you have hitherto allowed me to do and believe me to be with sincere Respect Dear Sir Your most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] Jona Williams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. Jona. Williams of Nantes Feb. 1. 17<79>80”; and by John Thaxter: “Answd. 15th. Feby. 1780.” Partially lost by the tearing of the letter's fold is a computation, the purpose of which is unknown:
2400  
25  
[1]2000  
[4]800   
[6]0000  
1. For the questions raised by the Commissioners, particularly Arthur Lee, about Williams' accounts and his reimbursement from them without furnishing proper vouchers, see the indexes in vols. 6 and 8 under Williams, Jonathan (1750–1815).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0202

Author: Tolmond, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-02

From Thomas Tolmond

The Humble Petition of Thomas Tolmond

[salute] My Lord

Humbly Sheweth that your Petitioner is a poor american just arived from Marttanico to Rochal in a french frigat.1 At my arival I got my Disscharge, and from that I travild by Land hear to, Bordeaux. A few days after I Came hear I Was taken Very Ill in the Small pox. I being a stranger in this City, not knowing Where to go, or what to do for any Quarters to Lay my Self Down in this Dissorder Which happend to me in this Contaray, I applied to the american Agant to try If it Were possable for me to get to the Hospattall. He Replied to me, that they took in no people in that Dissorder, So I was Obledge to go father. And as I was awalking along the Street A man of Some humanity I Chance to meet that took Compassion on me, altho he being a poor man, Likewise an English man. He took me in and provided Quarters for me Likewise a Doctor to atend me all on his own Expence I being Disstitute of Money when he took me in he himself being a poore man and having a great Charge on him, and I being not Capable at present to make him the Leat Satissfaction for his goodness.
I hearing of your Lordships being in town2 I humbly make my { 317 } adress to your Lordship hoping that your goodness will take this of my great Misfourtine into Consideration, and grant me such as your Lordship Shall think nessacary for me to Satissfy the poore man Who took Compassion on me, ... I am in Duty Ever Bound to Pray
[signed] Thomas Tolmond
1. Tolmond may have been a prisoner of the British, retaken by the French, and returned to France from Martinique. His fate and JA's response to this petition are unknown.
2. JA arrived in Bordeaux on 29 Jan. and left on 2 Feb. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:433|| (entry for 31 Jan. and following)||).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0203

Author: Heimenthal, Baron de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-05

From Baron de Heimenthal

[salute] Sir

I take the liberty, to address myself to your Excellency, about a project I have send to Mr. Franklin the 20. of Septr. last;2 which contains in short the following. I propose that if I could have the honour to be admitted into the Service of the United States, with the Commission of Major, to form a small Corps of Artillery, consisting in 300. Men, divided into 6. Companies; all the particulars concerning the formation of this Corps, I explain'd very large to Mr. Franklin: the Conditions I beg'd are, that it would be allow'd to me, to provide all the officers at the formation of the Corps; a great deal of them would be of my acquaintances, Subjects of a very good instruction: for this purpose I beg'd Mr. Franklin to send me a full Power, in order to legitimate my Commission; but till this moment, I have not been favour'd with any answer: for this reason I beg you to be so good, as to communicate to me your thoughts concerning this matter, or to procure me an answer from Mr. Franklin, in order to know, if the Project would be accepted, or upon what other conditions I could have the honour to enter into the service of the United States.
I assure your Excellency, that the formation of the said Corps, would be very usefull to the service; for besides, to serve as Artillery and Infantry, the officers could be employed as Ingeneers at the same time, being instructed in Mathematics and Fortification; which allways subsist, establishing into this Corps, an Academy of Mathematics, Artillery and Fortification (like the estabishements, made by Count de la Lippe in Portugal). For this purpose I should carry with me very able Mathematicians.
The letter I wrote to Mr. Franklin, was accompanied by an anonymous one, of a Gentlemen of his acquaintance, residing some times { 318 } ago in this country; who inform'd him of my Knowledge and capacity: the said Gentlemen is a Competent Judge in Military affairs.
I beg you to favour me with an answer, as soon as possible, and to believe that I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys most humble and most obedient Servant
[signed] Baron de Heimenthal
First Lieut. of Regt. of Artillery of
Porto, into the service of Portugal
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Baron de Heimenthal. 5. Feb. 1780. recd 6. decr. 1780.”
1. Valença do Minho is on Portugal's northern border with Spain, sixty miles north of Porto (Oporto), and fifteen miles south of the Spanish port of Vigo.
2. For the baron's letter to Benjamin Franklin, as well as its enclosure mentioned later in this letter, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:142. There is no indication that either Franklin or JA responded to Heimenthal's proposal.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0204

Author: Montgomery, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-05

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Sir

When I was Advised of your Arrival at Corunia I had the Pleasing hopes that Your Destination Was the Court of Madrid and Accordingly porposed myself the happiness of Paying you my devoirs there in the month of Aprile. I Also Presumed on taking the Liberty of Writing My Banker in that City Messr. Peter Casamayor & Co. to Make you a Tender of their Services in my Behalf, and to Supply you with the Money you Might have Occation for in Case you Should Chuse to Accept of it for my Account, however Since I have been deprived of the Pleasure of Seing you this Spring I hope this Will Come to hand with My Sincerest Congratulations On your Safe Arrival at Paris.
You will no dout have Learn'd that the English have Thrown Suckers into Gibralter.1 It was unfortunet that Cordova had gone into porte befor those fell in with Langara's Squadron and is to be feard that this Blow will Prolonge the War At Least on this side the Atlantic. His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr. Will Probably have Informd you the Trouble I have Given him in My Particular.2 On the Declaration of the War the Kings Attorney And Governor's Asessor here Insisted I Should Retire With the English Merchants Who had been Established here Notwithstanding they had Always Considered And Acknowledged Me an American Since My first Coming to the Place being yearly Enrold on the List of foraign Merchants as Such, however those became Quiet on geting What they Wanted a little Money, And I have Since Partly by Means of Mr. Franklin and Partly { 319 } { 320 } by My freinds At Madrid Obtain'd an Order from his Majesty to the Governour of this Place to Consider and Protect me as a freind and Not to Cause Nor Suffer me Any farther Molestation Whatever. I Am under Infinit Obligations in this Perticular to Dr. Barnardo del Campo Secretary to the Counsil of State and Also to the Minister the Count de Florida Blanca.
Since I had the Pleasure of Seing you I have been Remarkably Successful in Comerce and Only Wish to have it in My Power to be of Service to you or Any freind in this Quarter and have the Honour to be With the Greatest Sincerity Sir Your Most Obedient Most humble Servent
[signed] Robt Montgomery
Since Writing the Above I have Advice that Mr. Jay is Arrived at Cadiz, as Plenipotentiary to this Court. I Am Not Aquaint With this Gentleman And Should Much Esteem the favour of your Giving Me A line to him. It Would Make Me Happy to be Able to Render him Any Service here.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Robt. Montgomery 5th. Feby. 1780.”
1. That is, gave succor to Gibraltar. On 16 Jan. 1780, Adm. Sir George Rodney soundly defeated a Spanish squadron commanded by Adm. Don Juan de Langara. In the action Langara was captured and seven of the eleven ships of the line under his command were either taken or destroyed. Despite the presence of a large fleet of French and Spanish ships of the line at Cadiz under the command of Adm. Cordoba, Rodney's victory gave him control of the approaches to Gibraltar, thus the beleaguered garrison received the food that it needed to withstand and prolong the seige (Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 122–127).
2. For Montgomery's problems with the Spanish government and his applications to Benjamin Franklin, see his letter to JA of 6 July 1779 (above), and Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:101, 109, 129, 133, 165.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-02-12

To the Comte de Vergennes

Paris, 12 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:243–245
With this letter John Adams formally notified Vergennes of his mission. Stating that he had been appointed to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain, he explained, so far as he knew it, the origins of the congress' action. He declared that his efforts would be consistent with American obligations to France and that “it is my own determination to take no steps of consequence in pursuance of my Commission, without consulting his Majesty's Ministers.” He asked Vergennes whether he should inform the British government of his arrival, commissions, and readiness to undertake negotiations when circumstances permitted; publish, to a greater extent than in the Journals of the congress, the nature of his mission; or “remain upon the reserve” { 321 } as he had done since he had arrived in Europe. Adams pledged that any British proposals to him would be reported to Vergennes, and he asked that any proposals made to France relating to American interests be disclosed to him. Finally, he requested permission to reside in France as either a public or private person, according to Vergennes' view of what was most advisable.
Although this letter was carefully phrased in the most polite and respectful language, it introduced several of the major themes that informed the antagonistic relationship between Adams and Vergennes during Adams' second diplomatic mission. Adams recognized his anomalous position in France as a minister with no official standing, charged with negotiating treaties with an enemy that showed no desire for peace and was pressing its naval war against France and Spain. Vergennes' distrust of Adams, fostered by reports placing him in an anti-French faction, was increased by this letter, as was his fear that Adams intended to undercut French and Spanish interests by initiating negotiations. For the progress of the Adams-Vergennes relationship, see the letters exchanged by the two men of 15, 19, 24, and 25 Feb. (all calendared below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0206

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1780-02-13

To Gabriel de Sartine

Paris, 13 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:248.
This letter was a reply to Sartine's of 31 Dec. 1779 (same, 4:247–248), which Adams received when he arrived at Paris. In that letter the minister congratulated him on his new appointment and expressed his pleasure that he had been able to return to Europe on La Sensible. Adams thanked Sartine for his letter and indicated his gratitude for the aid given and the courtesies shown him by Gérard, La Luzerne, and Capt. Chavagnes in allowing him to make his return voyage on the French frigate.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0207

Author: Gillon, Alexander
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-14

From Alexander Gillon

[salute] Dr Sir

Permit me to Congratulate you on your happy return to Europe, and to make this enquiry after your Welfare.1 I much flatter myself that nothing but affairs of the utmost Consequence cou'd induce you to undertake the Ardous task of again quitting your happy native Country, and I am well Convinced evry inhabitant on our Continent stands highly indebted to you for this fresh proof of your Zeal for their Welfare. As one from there please to Accept of my best thanks for your unwearied Studys in our behalf, and of my Sincere wishes that no Obstacles or difficultys may prevent your Accomplishing that which { 322 } your Country hopes for, from your peculiar and particular Abilitys and experience. I have not yet reciev'd Any replys to my repeated letters to Carolina, thus am Acting almost without orders, for as I recievd undoubted proofs that last year the French goverment intended me no Aid,2 in my Business, I was Compell'd to try Ailleurs[elsewhere]. Have for that purpose been to Prussia, where I found my Assurance of Compleating what I requested, tho' found it wou'd take longer time than was proposed, but the Enemys and Supposed friends of our Country soon followd me there, and by their malicious reports and plans totally frustrated my views, by Shutting the doors to the Credit I shou'd have procured, and by preparing difficultys that Staggered me as they Carried the Appearance of a Concerted plan, to effectually prevent any American Succeeding there. It is a Consolation to me that I have clearly traced the Actors, in this and can produce proofs of their Cruelty to our distress'd Country.
I therefore timely withdrew with honor from a Country where Success woud have attended my endeavours had Secret motives that you can Judge not taken place, yet I do not lament my Jaunt as it answerd one essential pecuniary point. I had full oppertunity to Collect material Intelligence, and it is with pleasure I say that our friends in Prussia, and Saxony are very numerous, and had they been left to follow their own inclinations, I shoud have done much there. I reach'd here the 21 Xber, and as the season did not admit of my doing any thing more then Collecting the monies under my directions and gaining intelligence I have not been Idle, and it is with pleasure I assure you that this Goverment as well as its Inhabitants is altered very much in our favor lately, so much so that I have reason to be of opinion was their a gentleman here properly qualified by Congress he might be of much Service, for though they wou'd not receive him publickly, yet I am clear he wou'd evry where be receiv'd as a private gentleman, tho' they knew him to be a minister. I know they want and wish for Such person here, with proper powers. Such a person may also procure a large Sum at 5 percent Intrest for 10 a 15 years, and a very moderate Commission, but please observe it must Come direct from our Country, and to none but a Solid dutch house here. This sir is not my language but the observations that was made to me by the money lenders and brokers here. The late request of the English for the Dutch to furnish the Stipulated Assistance, Added to the threat if they do not Comply, that the ancient treaty is broke, has Staggerd some. However the States of Holland at their meeting last Month did resolve on an unlimitted Convoy. The Prince it seems is or appears to be altered in his Sentiments, and { 323 } makes no Secret of his being deciev'd by the English, Says he will do much to have the resolution of unlimited Convoy passed in the States general. Yet this late request may make some Alteration. Many are for using easy means about Mast, Spars, Timber and hemp, but in the mean while to Arm as quick as possible, but no one is for granting the Supply's the English require. Others are for entring into a Treaty with Denmark and Sweeden, if so, it is and will be a Common Cause for them to protect their Trade. A few days will enable me to Say more on this head, as the 25 Instant the States general meet, and I have oppertunitys to have Clear intelligence, so much so, that if your Excellency admits it I will be more in the way of it, and from time to time acquaint you for your Eye only what may be worth your attention. Perhaps if the French are Active at this Court, they may check the little inclination still left to aid the English.3
When your Excellency was about leaving Europe I had the honor of laying before you my requests to the French Ministers and their replys, also my requests to his Excellency B. Franklin Esqr. to which I recievd replys that the Fleet fitting out at L'orient was not Continental, and that the Alliance was lent to go the Cruize.4 Thus they cou'd not go to America as I requested, Since when I've been doing my utmost to buy or to build as far as the money wou'd admit. The Jaunt to Prussia were seem'd sure of Success, prevented my trying here, Tho as I now have borrow'd and Collected more money, can act on a larger Scale, and am promised Still a further sum here. Mr. Chaumont in October last offerd me the Ship Indian, built here by Mr. Boux, if I wou'd pay him directly £600,000 that he wou'd go directly to Mr. de Sartine and Settle a bill of Sale.5 I replyed I wish'd first to examine Said ship and her materials and to know the impediments to her getting out ere I determined. I came here with that View and find the Ship to be the best I ever Saw, well built and will readily Carry 28. 24 pounders on one Deck, must sail fast and is Compleatly fitted, as they Say, though have not Seen the Inventary, and may be got to Sea in 3 months. There is another of same kind may be launched in 8 weeks, and got ready to Sail in 4 months. It seems there is particular reasons perhaps political ones, that prevented these Ships being got out. Those reasons that depended on politics here, are now obviated, and if the objections in France are Overset and I buy them, I can fit them out not to appear as American property. There is no need of it. I am a native of Holland, have preserv'd and renewd my priveledges, thus have as much right as any dutch man to the use of the Flag. This is not only my opinion, but the voice and advice of those that can best Judge of those matters. { 324 } Now Sir as you know how and why those ships was built, and why now french property, and now know they can be got out, I take the liberty of Craving your Excellencys friendly aid to enable me to buy one or more of these Ships. I have now here 5 a 600,000 Livres to pay Cash down, and am not doubtfull but shall have all I want to fit them out. Seamen are Scarce, but I know I shall have my Share. Admit my Acquainting you what I did on my road here from Prussia. I wrote his Excellency B. Franklin Esqr. and Mr. Chaumont as per Copy of enclosed letters, whereto recievd no replys.6 On my Arrival here I waited on Mr. de Neufville Mr. Chaumonts friend, got him to write and to offer £300,000 for the Indian. Mr. Chaumont replied if Mr. Gillon will pay the first Cost and realize his offer, I may become his mediator, but she ought not to go under first Cost. I got Mr. Deneufville to again write him to enable us to see the Inventary and to examine the Materials before we cou'd determine to give Such a high price. No reply has been recievd, thus it appears as if there was no real intention to Sell them. Perhaps they think if I Can get them out they Can. I presume to the Contrary, and it is with no little difficulty that I prevail'd, for firstly she must go as a dutch vessel, next she must have the Camillas to float her over the Shoals, and then she must have men. Enfin I can either get her Sent to St. Eustatius or any Port in France, Spain or Portugal as dutch, insure them to there and receive them there, or else fit them out as dutch here till get to Sea, and then do as I like. It may be Said these vessels draw too much for Charles Town Barr. I agree to it, but that risk I take on myself, well knowing the Conveniency of the Eastern Ports and that Congress wants Such Ships, that South Carolina woud Say take them in lieu of Frigates that may Suit our Barr, yet I know that Tho' Charles Town Barr may not do for them, The barr at Beaufort will admit their going into Port Royal harbour, thus the State may keep them. If I procure them my Idea is to go North About with them and to go to Boston, where I may recieve the orders of Congress and of the State.
As I now have made your Excellency Acquainted with this whole affair, will you pardon me for Craving you to Step forth, and be the glorius Instrument of aiding your Country to have a great Assistance to her infant navy. I know they will make great difficulty but I know your friendly heart to your Country, and I know your perseverance, thus have great hopes. I do not mean to dictate to your Excellency, but I humbly presume the nearest road to success is by a direct application to Mr. de Sartine, Mr. de Vergennes and Mr. de Maurpas. If you apply without mentioning my name, they may Suppose it is for Congress and { 325 } may readily Acquiese, and you can Say you gave me the Command of them. Mr. Chaumont need not know the Affair but all this I Submit to your better Judgement. I am told the French goverment took this Ship Indian from the American Commissioners at the valuation of £300,000. That price even with Interest I woud Chearfully pay or whatever price you sold her for. If not, they Can Choose two experienced men here and I will do the Same, and let them value Said Ship Indian and all her materials, which valuation I will pay the Instant I get bill of Sail and possesion of her. Please observe that this Ship by being launched a good while requires heaving down, and I am told her bottom is Such that it must be Sheath'd. All this makes a decline in her value. As to the other Ship on the Stocks, I will either take her at a valuation as above, or else take her as she now Stands, by taking and fullfilling the Contract they entered into with the Builder, and then I can rigg and fit her out as I like, in a cheaper and better manner than the Indian is fitted out. Indeed if they will not Sell both I prefer her on the Stocks, as she will be a better Ship by not being launched, and by different methods of outfitting Ships. There will also be less noise about her, for really the other was a Town Talk. Mr. Izard was here Saw the Ships and knows my Applications. If you think proper I am Sure both he and Mr. A. Lee will Chearfully Join you in the Application on this business. I know this requires Sometime, but as letters meets with Curious delays, you'l oblige me to Say per return of post you have recievd this, that I may know it has got Safe. I inclose it to Messrs. Pache freres & Co. Bankers of Solidity Craving them to waite on you with it and to deliver it to no other person. They are friendly Gentlemen and Able Bankers. Nay so much do I dread letters not getting Safe, that was I Sure of Success I wou'd immediatly waite on your Excellency and tarry till the Business was over. However you will oblige me to Acquaint me as Soon as Convenient if it is needfull for me to be there and I will soon be with you for I have much at Heart to procure those two very fine Ships, well knowing what Service they may be to our Country. Shou'd I not Succeed in this I fear I then must determine to Invest the funds in shipping materials, Send them to a neutral port in neutral Botoms nearest our Coast, and then I return with my Officers as soon as possible to America, with a lasting proof that France though she has it in her power, wou'd not aid us in the least towards getting a Navy, for as to her not aiding me the last year may be owing to her want of all her naval force, yet there Ships being here being idle, that they Cannot or will not get them out here, is not loss to them. Thus they Can readily Spare them to you. I have been { 326 } wrote to on some good Ships to be Sold at the French ports, but as I dread that instead of aiding me to procure Seamen I might be prevented as I know they want all their men for their own ships I now submit the matter to your Excellency. I can do all the rest. Evry thing we wish is to be done in this Country if proper and Cautious methods are adopted.
I have been hinted Mr. Dana Accompanys you, if so you will much oblige me to present my best respects to him, also to your promising Son if he is with you. Please direct to me under Cover to Messrs. Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst Merchants here. If any news of Consequence from home shall esteem it as a favor if you will impart it to me. I will trouble you with what is doing here and am with respect—Your Excellys. most obdt. & most hble Servant
[signed] A. Gillon
NB. The highest tides here are in March and April thus that is the best times to get these Ships over the Shoals. As Mr. Chaumont and Doctor Franklin7 did not reply to my letter on this Business presume it was not Agreable to them, thus leave to you to mention it to them or not—or to deliver them the Inclos'd Copys of my last to them if they say they did not receive the Originals.
RC with two enclosures (Adams Papers); notation by Gillon at the top of the first page: “the outside Case directed by AG. please [remove?] if Open'd”; docketed on enclosed letter to Franklin: “Commodore Gillon Amsterdam 14. Feb. 1780 ans. Feb. 20.” The enclosures are described in note 6.
1. Because Gillon used only commas for punctuation, the editors have replaced them with periods here and elsewhere as has seemed appropriate. Punctuation has also been supplied on occasion.
2. Gillon presumably is referring to Sartine's refusal to give a positive answer to his requests for aid (Gillon to JA, 17 April 1779, above). In addition, Benjamin Franklin, believing that Gillon's effort would undercut his own, had refused to aid him in obtaining a loan at an interest rate higher than that permitted for the loan that Franklin had been directed to raise by the congress (Franklin to Gillon, 5 July 1779, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:239–240).
3. The shift in Dutch opinion to which Gillon refers resulted in large part from the British seizure of a convoy of merchant ships under the protection of Dutch naval vessels off the Isle of Wight on 31 Dec. 1779. This action further weakened the English party, but did not immediately result in the decisive action by the States General that Gillon apparently expected. For a summary of Dutch relations with Britain and France in 1779 and early 1780, see Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 Jan. 1779 (above).
4. Gillon had written to JA on 17 April 1779 (above), giving a summary of his appeal to Sartine for aid. The appeal to Franklin to which he refers is probably his letter of 29 June 1779, to which Franklin replied on 5 July (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:239–240). Gillon presumably reported this exchange to JA soon thereafter, but no letter has been found.
5. For the Indien, later the South Carolina, see Richard G. Stone Jr., “'The South Carolina We've Lost': The Bizarre Saga of Alexander Gillon and His Frigate,” American Neptune, 39:159–172 (July 1979). Here and elsewhere in this letter Gillon uses the “£” sign to indicate French livres.
{ 327 }
6. Both enclosed letters were dated 1 Dec. 1779 from Frankfurt am Main. In the first, Gillon urged Franklin to exert all his influence to facilitate the purchase of the two frigates built at Amsterdam. He also proposed that his efforts be joined with those of John Paul Jones, who was already at Amsterdam. In the second letter, Gillon sought Chaumont's aid in financing the purchase of the two frigates and proposed methods of payment.
7. Gillon interlined “and Dr. Franklin.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0208

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-15

To the President of the Congress, No. 4

Paris, 15 February 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 243; docketed: “No. 4 J. Adams Esqr. Paris Feby. 15th: 1780 Read May 15. arrival in France. interesting News.” LbC Adams Papers. LbC in Thaxter's hand Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 4.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies in the Adams Papers, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above).
Adams reported his arrival at Paris on 9 Feb. and his meetings on the 11th at Versailles with Vergennes, the foreign minister; Sartine, the minister of marine; and Maurepas, the prime minister. According to Adams, the ministers' declarations of their determination to pursue the war and provide aid were more frank and explicit than any he had heard previously from French officials. He noted that his conversation with Vergennes had led him to write to the foreign minister on 12 Feb. regarding his commission, and that Vergennes had replied on the 15th (calendared above and below). Adams then wrote that Britain was borrowing twelve million pounds for the year and making new preparations to carry on the war, but that in the face of French and Spanish efforts these actions could not greatly harm America. He informed the congress that John Jay had arrived in Spain and stated his belief that a favorable treaty could be negotiated. Finally, he reported on John Paul Jones' preparations to sail for America in the Alliance, and the difficulties faced by Arthur Lee and Ralph Izard in securing passage to America.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 243); docketed: “No. 4 J. Adams Esqr. Paris Feby. 15th: 1780 Read May 15. arrival in France. interesting News.” LbC (Adams Papers).LbC in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 4.” For a discussion of the presence of two Letterbook copies in the Adams Papers, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and his Letterbooks” (above). printed: (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:240).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0209

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1780-02-15

To Jonathan Williams

Paris, 15 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:248–249.
John Adams thanked Williams for his letter of 1 Feb. (above) and briefly commented on events in America and the settlement of Williams' accounts. He applauded Williams' stated determination to eschew any party spirit, which Adams believed had too long infected the conduct of American foreign affairs and had “injured worthy Characters on both Sides, and done Us much harm.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0210

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-15

From the Comte de Vergennes

Versailles, 15 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:245
Vergennes stated that he thought it best to await the arrival of Conrad Alexandre Gérard, who presumably would bring a copy of Adams' instructions and additional information on the nature and scope of his mission, before responding to the points raised in Adams' letter of the 12th (calendared above). For the present, however, he advised Adams “to conceal your eventual Character and above all to take the necessary Precautions, that the Object of your Commission remain unknown to the Court of London.” Following this letter in the Autobiography, Adams wrote at length on the impropriety of a foreign minister having access to the confidential instructions of a diplomatic representative of another nation. In fact, Gerard had sent a summary of Adams' instructions to Vergennes on 14 Aug. 1779, the very day of their adoption (same, 4:245–247).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0211-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-16

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

Si je nay pas eu l'honneur de vous ecrire depuis mon arrivée a brest, c est que ayant scau [su] a la corogne que votre projet etoit d'aller a madrid, je vous crois tout au plus rendu soit a paris, soit a versailles, mais je prends un interest trop sincere et trop vif a votre santé a celle de vos chers enfants, de messieurs denas et allain pour ne pas vous en demander des nouvelles, en vous reiterant les voeux que je forme pour quelles soint parfaites et quelles nayent point eté derangées par la longueur et duretés de vos voyages, et les sentiments de reconnoissance et D'attachement que vous m'avez inspirés avec tous les habitants de boston. Ma santé ainsi que celles de tous nos messieurs s est toujours assez bien soutenue quoyque pour venir de la corogne icy j aye eté 10 jours avec des vents contraires tres forts et une mer tres dure. La pauvre sensible n'a pas pu absolument se deshabituer de faire de l eau, mais en bien moindre quantité que par le passé. Je viens de les quitter absolument. J ose esperer que le ministre voudra bien m'accorder un mois ou 6 semaines pour me reposer un peu, aller voir madame luy demander raison de touttes les santes qu'on luy a porté, et mettre un peu D'ordre dans mes affaires. Je me suis informe a mon arrivée a brest s il y avoit un agent de l'amerique, on m'a dit que non. Je me suis en consequence adressé a mr. l'intendant, nommé mr. de la porte qui m'a assuré qu en faisant remettre vos malles, et touttes les affaires que j ay a messieurs gerard de malherbes et allain, il vous les feroit parvenir. Je les y ay fait remettre avec touttes les precautions qui ont pu dependre { 329 } de moy, trop heureux d'avoir trouvé et de trouver encor les occasions de vous estre util en quelque chose, ainsi qu'a tous vos compatriottes chez lesquels je desirerois fort pouvoir un jour vous rammener. J ignore ceque l on vat faire de moy cette année mais quelque part ou je sois destiné si je puis le scavoir je me feray un vray plaisir en m'informant de vos nouvelles de vous demander vos ordres et commissions, en vous priant d'estre bien persuadé que rien ne peut egaller les sentiments du sincere et respectueux attachement avec lequel j ay l honneur d estre pour la vie, Mon cher monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
capne des vaux
[du roy] de france
Mille compliments respectueux a messieurs denas et allain. J embrasse les chers enfants.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0211-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-16

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My dear sir

If I have not had the honor of writing to you since my arrival at Brest it is because, having understood at La Coruña that your plan was to go to Madrid, I thought at the very most you would have arrived at Paris or Versailles. However, I take too strong and sincere an interest in your health, and that of your children and Messieurs Dana and Allen, not to ask you for news while reiterating my wishes for their happiness, and that they did not suffer too much from the length and duration of your travels, and the feelings of gratitude and affection that you have inspired in me for all the citizens of Boston.
My health and that of my crew remains excellent, although it took ten days to get from La Coruña to Brest against very strong, contrary winds and heavy seas. The poor Sensible could not help but take on water, but far less than previously. I have left all this behind. I dare to hope the Minister will be kind enough to grant me a month or six weeks to rest a little, visit my wife who can provide me with news of all that has happened, and put some order in my affairs.
I expected on my arrival at Brest that there would be an American agent, but was informed that there was not. I, therefore, turned to the Intendent, Mr. De La Porte, who assured me that, if I directed your trunks and belongings to Messrs. Gerard, de Malherbes and Allain, you would receive them. I delivered them with all due precaution, very glad to have found additional occasions to be useful to you and, likewise, your compatriots to whom I hope to have the pleasure of returning you some day. I know not where I will be sent this year, but wherever I am destined to go, as soon as I know, it will give me great pleasure to be informed of your news and to receive your orders and commissions. I pray that you are well pursuaded that nothing can equal the sentiments { 330 } of sincere and respectful devotion with which I have the honor to be for life, my dear sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
Captain of the Vessels
of the King of France
Many respectful regards to Messrs. Dana and Allen. I embrace the dear children.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “a Monsieur Monsieur Labbé Arnoux chez M. de chalut”; docketed: “ans. 24.”; by John Thaxter: “1780” and “Captn. Chevagne 16th. Feby. 1780.” The letter was addressed to Abbe Arnoux at Abbé Chalut's because, as the first sentence of the letter indicates, Chavagnes was unsure whether JA had arrived at Paris.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0212

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-17

To the President of the Congress, No. 5

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

It is necessary that I should inform Congress, in what manner I have been able to procure Money to defray my Expenses, in my long Journey through the greatest Parts of Spain and France, to this City.
On my Arrival at Ferrol, I was offered the Loan of Money by the French Consul Mr. De Tournelle, but at the same Time told me there was a Gentleman at Corunna Mr. Michael Lagoanere, who had heretofore acted as American Agent at that place, and who would be very happy to supply me. On my Arrival at Corunna, Mr. Lagoanere did me the Honour of a Visit, and offered me every Assistance in Cash and otherwise, telling me at the same Time, that he had some Money in his Hands, which he supposed belonged to the United States, being Part of the Proceeds of some Prizes heretofore made by Captain Cunningham—that this Money however had been attached in his Hands by some Spanish Merchant, who had commenced a Lawsuit against Captain Cunningham. I accordingly received three thousand Dollars for myself and Mr. Dana, and a Letter of Credit on the House of Cabarus at Bayonne, for as much more as I should have Occasion for. On our Arrival at Bayonne, Mr. Dana and I recieved of that House Fifty Louis D'Ors, and a Bill of Exchange on another House of the same Name and Family at Bordeaux for the like Sum, our Expences having exceeded all our Computations at Corunna, as our Journey was necessarily much longer than we expected on Account of the uncommon bad Weather and bad Roads. This Bill was paid upon Sight. So that in the whole, we have recieved the Amount of seventeen thousand four { 331 } hundred Livres, all on Account of Mr. Lagoanere of Corunna. Of this Sum Mr. Dana has recieved the Amount of four thousand nine hundred and seventy one Livres and fifteen Sols, and I have recieved twelve thousand and four hundred and twenty eight Livres and five Sols for which Sums we desire to be respectively charged in the Treasury Books of Congress.
As this Money is expended, if Mr. Lagoanere should draw upon us for it, all the Authority we have to draw upon his Excellency, the Minister here, will not enable us to pay it, and if Mr. Lagoanere should be so happy as to avoid the Attachment, and leave us to account with Congress for this Money, the small Sum we are impowered to recieve from his Excellency will go a very little Way in discharging our Expences.
We must therefore pray that Congress would forward us Authority to draw upon his Excellency for the Amount of our Salaries annually, which, without all doubt, will be paid.1

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the highest Respect and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 247); docketed: “No. 5. J. Adams Esqr Duplicate of Feby. 17th: 1780, original recievd, same time Recd. May 15. 1780 monies received.” The original has not been found. LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “recd in Congress. Oct. 15 Triplicate.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 5.”
1. At this point in the Letterbook, JA continued the sentence: “as his Excellency,” and then struck out the phrase. This letter was received on 15 May; on the 31st the congress resolved to accept the solution proposed by JA. It ordered Benjamin Franklin to pay the drafts of JA and Dana “to the amount of their respective salaries” (JCC, 17:428, 476).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-18

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear Sir]

Whether it is that [the Art of political Lying] is better understood in England than in [any other Country, or] whether it is more practised there than [elsewhere, or whether it] is accidental that they have more Success [in making their Fictions] gain Credit in the World, I know not.
But it is certain that every [Winter, since the] Commencement of the present War with America, [and indeed for some] Years before, they sent out large Quantities of this [Manufacture over] all Europe, and throughout all America: and [what is astonish]ing is, that they { 332 } should still find Numbers [in every Country] ready to take them off their Hands.
Since my Arrival in this City, [I find they have] been this Winter at their old Trade, and have [spread Reports here] and in Holland, and in various other parts of [Europe; and no doubt] they have found means to propagate them in America [too, tending to keep] up the Spirits of their Well wishers and to sink those of [their Opponents.] Such as, that they have made new Contracts with several [German Princes,] by which they are to obtain seven thousand Men to [serve in America.] That they have so skillfully appeased the Troubles in [Ireland, that they] shall even be able to take Advantage of the Military [Associations] there, by depending upon them for the Defence of [the Kingdom, while] they draw from thence ten thousand Regular Troops [for the Service] in America. That they have even concluded a [Treaty with Russia,] by which the Empress is to furnish them with twelve Ships [of the] Line and twenty thousand Men, as some say, and twenty [Ships] of the Line and twelve thousand Men, as others relate. [This] they say, is of the greater Moment, because of an intimate Connection (I know not of what Nature it is) between Russia [and Denmark, by which] the latter will be likely [to be drawn into the War against the] House of Bourbon and America [and Denmark they say has] forty five Ships of the Line.
I know very well that the greatest part of these [Reports is false,] and particularly, what is said of Russia is so contrary [to all that I have] heard for these twelve Months past, of the [Harmony between] Versailles and Petersbourg, that I give no Credit to [it at all: but I] find that all these Reports make Impressions [on some Minds,] and, among the rest, on some Americans.
I therefore beg the favour of You, to inform me [of the exact] Truth in all these Matters, that I may take the [earliest] Opportunity of transmitting the Intelligence to Congress, [where it] is of Importance, that it should be known.1
I was much mortified, when I was the other [day at] Versailles, that I could not have the Honour of paying [my Res]pects to You: but I was so connected with other Gentlemen, [who were] obliged to return to Dinner, that I could not; but I [shall] take the first Opportunity I can get, to wait on You, and [assure] You, that I am with great Respect, Sir, your Friend and humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). Dupl in Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 257–260);) docketed: “Copy Feb. 18. 1780 Letter from J Adams to Monsr. Genet recd. May 15 with an answr. { 333 } dated 20th. Feb.” Severe fire damage to the recipient's copy has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied in brackets from the duplicate.
1. Using very similar language, JA asked Lafayette for essentially the same information in a letter of this same date (LbC, Adams Papers). Lafayette replied on the 19th (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0214

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-02-19

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend

You have been so good, in sending me the Journals and above all in sending me very particular Intelligence of what has passed upon several occasions that I depend much upon the Continuance of your Favours. An early receipt of the Journals will be a great Advantage to me, and I shall not fail to make a good Use of them.
Since I have been here, I have seen Mr. I. and mentioned to him, his famous Letter and the Use that was attempted to be made of it.1 He seemed to be very much affected, declared, that it was a private Letter to his friend which he never intended nor expected nor suspected would be laid before Congress, And that it was intended only as a pleasantry between his friend and him; a merry Exultation, between Intimates upon his having judged righter than I of the sentiments of that Body.
I beg you would inform me, of the Health etc. of the Chevalier and M. M[arbois]. <how they succeed,> whether they are esteemed, and whether there are any open or secret Attacks upon them, and from what Quarter, if any. I take a great Interest in their Success, as I think them worthy Men, and Well wishers to both Countries, without partial or sinister Views.
I must earnestly Request Authority to draw upon Passy, otherwise shall be in very great distress. The sums We are impowered to draw will be but a Sprat.2 There is no doubt at all of our draughts being paid, if orderd. If Merchandise or Bills should be remitted by Congress so much the better. We shall receive no more than our due, and the Proceeds of the Merchandise or Bills will go to the Hands of Dr. F. to discharge the public demands. On the Contrary We shall be in the most awkward Situation in the World without orders to draw, if Bills and Merchandise should fail of arriving, and there will not be wanting Persons to take Advantage of it, to put Us in a ridiculous Light, whereas orders to draw will ensure Us respect from these very Persons.
I wish I could hear of the Arrival of Messrs. Laurence's father and son.3 Mr. Jay has happily arrived in Spain, and, from the great Atten• { 334 } tion and Respect that was shewn to me, I have no doubt he will soon succeed, and that Court will support as well as receive him, and I hope afford further essential Assistance to the united states, both by their Arms and their Money.
There is a difference of sentiment here respecting the Address of Congress to the People respecting their Finances,4 some People thinking that Congress have hurt their Cause by it in Europe, others that it was a wise Measure. For my own Part I think that the Measure could not be avoided, that the Evil was so great that there must be a Remedy, and that no radical Cure could be effected without laying open to the World the Inveteracy of the Distemper. Wish to know how your Plan of Taxes succeeds, or what other Methods you may fall upon. Your Friend
[signed] John Adams
1. That is, Ralph Izard's letter to Henry Laurens of 12 Sept. 1778. For an extract from that letter, see James Lovell to JA, 14 Sept. 1779 (above). Compare JA's reporting of Izard's statement of his intentions, given below, with JA's evaluation of Izard's intentions in JA to Elbridge Gerry, 17 Oct. 1779 (above).
2. A small amount (OED).
3. JA was to have a long wait before either Laurens arrived. Although appointed to negotiate a Dutch loan on 21 Oct. and to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce with the Netherlands on 1 Nov. 1779, Henry Laurens did not sail from Philadelphia until 13 Aug. 1780. Three weeks later he was captured by the British who imprisoned him in London; he did not reach Paris until Nov. 1782 (JCC, 15:1198, 1232; DAB). His son John had been appointed Benjamin Franklin's secretary on 29 Sept. 1779, but he had declined the office in December and at the time of this letter was serving with the army in South Carolina. Captured by the British at the fall of Charleston in May 1780, he was exchanged, and in Dec. 1780 he was appointed envoy extraordinary to France. He did not arrive in Europe until March 1781 (JCC, 15:1128, 1366; DAE). It should be noted, however, that JA was only assuming, based on an enclosure in Lovell's letter of 1 Nov. 1779 (above; see also Adams Family Correspondence, 3:234), that Henry Laurens had been appointed to negotiate a Dutch loan. And although JA knew of John Laurens' appointment, he had no knowledge of his refusal of the secretaryship.
4. Addresses regarding the state of American finances had been adopted by the congress on 26 May and 13 Sept. 1779, but it is unclear to which of these JA is referring. For that of 26 May, see Jonathan Loring Austin to JA, 7 July, note 2 (above). The second address, in the form of a “circular letter,” informed the American people of the congress' resolution of 1 Sept. to limit emissions of paper money to $200,000,000. It sought to allay their fears about the ability or willingness of the congress to back its emissions and to rally their support for increased taxation and loans to support this currency. Without popular confidence in this currency and support for the measures taken by the congress to maintain its value, the address argued, final victory was in doubt (JCC, 15:1051–1062).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0215

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-19

To the President of the Congress, No. 6

[salute] Sir

Inclosed are Copies of former Letters to Congress, and I shall continue to transmit Copies until I learn that some have arrived; for { 335 } which Reason I must request the Favour that his Excellency the President, or some Committee, may be desired to acknowledge the Receipt of Letters, so that I may know as soon as may be what Letters have arrived and which have been less fortunate.
The Art of making and spreading false News, to answer political purposes is not peculiar to Great Britain: but yet She seems to possess this Art, and the Talent of giving to her Fictions the Colours of Probability beyond other Nations: at least She seems to have more Success in making her Impostures believed, than any other.
It is her annual practice in the Winter to fabricate and export large Quantities of this Merchandize, to all parts of Europe and America, and She finds more Customers to take them off her Hands than She ought, considering how illicit the Traffick is.
This Winter her Emissaries have been more assiduous than ever, in propagating Reports.
That they have entered into new Engagements with several other petty Principalities in Germany, by which they shall hire seven thousand Men, for the service of the next Campaign in America.
That by compromising with Ireland, they shall be able to take Advantage even of the Military Associations in that Kingdom: and draw from thence a large Number of regular Troops for the Service in America, depending on the Volunteer Militia, or Associators for the Defence of the Country.
That they have made a Treaty with Russia, whereby that Power has engaged to furnish them twelve Ships of the Line and twenty thousand Troops, as some say, and twenty Ships of the Line and twelve thousand Troops according to others. This Alliance, they say too, is of the more Consequence on Account of some Connection between Russia and Denmark, who it is insinuated will follow Russia into the War, and Denmark they add, has forty five Ships of the Line, not manned it is true, but England they say, can mann them.
These Tales, one would think, are so extravagant and absurd, that they would not find a Believer in the World. Yet there are Persons who believe them in all Nations of Europe, particularly in Holland, and there is no doubt the same Song will be sung in America, and many will listen to it.1
There is nothing further from the Truth. They will find the utmost Difficulty to draw from Germany Troops enough to repair the Breaches in the German Troops made in America the last Year. The same with regard to Ireland—and as to what is said of Russia, there is not even a Colour of Truth in it, but on the contrary, the same good Understanding continues between Versailles and Petersbourg which { 336 } subsisted last Winter, Spring and Summer. As to Denmark; I have no Reason to think that She is disposed to assist Great Britain; but on the contrary that She has armed to defend herself at Sea against Great Britain: but if it were otherwise, To what purpose would her Ships of the Line be unmanned, when Great Britain cannot mann the ships of the Line She already has.
France seems determined to pursue the Naval War with Vigour and Decision in the American Seas. Mr. De Guichen sailed the beginning of January with seventeen or eighteen Ships of the Line. Seven more are now preparing at Brest with all possible Expedition supposed to be for America. These, if they all happily join the twelve Ships left there by the Comte D'Estang will make a Fleet of six and thirty Ships of the Line—and the Court seems determined to maintain the Superiority in the American Seas. This will give Scope to our Privateers, to weaken and distress the Enemies of their Country, while they are enriching themselves.
There is no News of Admiral Rodney; from whence I conclude he is gone to the West Indies.2
The English have derived such a Flash of Spirits from their late sucesses, which are mostly however of the negative Kind that they talk in a Stile very different from that of Peace.
There are two Reflections which the English cannot bear: one is that of loosing the Domination of the Colonies at the Conclusion of a Peace; because they look upon this Domination as indispensible to the Support of their naval Superiority over France and Spain: the other is, that of leaving France and Spain, or either of them, in possession of a powerful Fleet, at the Peace. Their Maxim is, to make themselves terrible at Sea to all Nations, and they are convinced that if they make a Peace, leaving America independent, and France and Spain powerful at Sea, they shall never again be terrible to any maritime Power. These Reasons convince me, that Great Britain will hazard all, rather than make Peace at present.3 Thompson's Brittannia,4 which expresses the Feelings as well as the Sentiments of every Briton, is so much to the present Purpose, that I hope I shall be pardoned for referring to it, even in a Letter to Congress.

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the highest Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

[signed] John Adams
RC, with four enclosures, in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 263–266, 247–262); docketed: “No. 6. J. Adams Esr Feby. 19th: 1780. Read May 15.—Englis[h] Lyes—real Intentions of France Letters to & from the Marqs: Fayette and to & from Monsr. Genet.” These were JA's letter to Genet (above) and Lafayette (not printed, but see the letter to { 337 } Genet, note 1) of 18 Feb. and their respective replies of 20 and 19 Feb. (both below).LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “recd Congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 6.”
1. JA's account of British efforts at deception is, to this point, almost identical to that in his letter to Genet of the 18th (above).
2. JA's account of the movements of Louis Urbain du Bouexic, Comte de Guichen, and Adm. Sir George Rodney is approximately correct. Guichen's force of 17 ships of the line and numerous frigates sailed from Brest in early February, escorting a large convoy carrying supplies and troops for the reinforcement of Martinique. The leading vessels of the fleet arrived off the French island on 22 March. Rodney, following his successful relief of Gibraltar in January, sailed for the West Indies with four ships of the line, arriving off St. Lucia on 27 March. JA's conviction that France intended to establish naval supremacy in the West Indies was correct, but at the indecisive battle off Martinique on 17 April the two fleets were approximately equal, Guichen having 22 and Rodney 20 ships of the line (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 187–188; Mackesy, War for America, p. 323–331; see also JA to James Warren, 23 Feb., below).
3. In the Letterbook draft, JA wrote this sentence after the close, and marked it for insertion here.
4. For an almost identical reference to Thomson's Brittania, see JA to James Lovell, 16 Dec. 1779, and note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0216

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-02-19

To the Comte de Vergennes

Paris, 19 February 1780. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:250–251.
Responding to Vergennes' letter of the 15th (calendared above), Adams sent copies of commissions, but balked at furnishing copies of his instructions, which he thought Vergennes expected him to provide (see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:246–247). He believed such an action to be inappropriate and would state only that the instructions contained nothing inconsistent with the Franco-American treaties. Adams noted that although he had confided the nature of his mission only to Vergennes and Franklin, its character had been “notorious” in America and presumably was known in London. Thus published reports should not be considered as proceeding from him.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0217-0001

Author: Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Sir

In consequence of the orders you was pleas'd to directt us to ynvest the value of the 200. dollars in sundry goods and to ship them for America, we have now the satisfaction to enclose you an Invoice of them, being shipp'd on the Phinix Capt. James Babson who sail'd the 5th. Instant for Newburyport, where we have consign'd to our freind Mr. Nathaniel Tracy desiring of him to forward to your worthy Lady with our best respectts.
We dayly look out for the pleasure of hearing your safe arrivall at Paris, and In the mean time pray our complements to your two young Gentlemen and Mr. Thaxter wishing you all every happyness.
{ 338 } | view
Your very much esteem'd 24th. feby. say Jany.1 by the Guide was duely deliver'd us and we were vastly pleas'd to hear that the Inns to Bayonne had prov'd confortable.
Your reflections upon liberty are certainly just and consider'd the small share of it that is to be found in Europe, we are somewhat happier than other people.
You have no doubt frequent news of the Honble. John Jay, and it is with pleasure we have been ynform'd by our Brother at Madrid that he has had the satisfaction to see Mr. Carmichel who was but just arriv'd and wou'd endeavour to render him all manner of service.
Nothing new from the South except that by letters from Madrid we hear that Cordova sailed the 11th. with 28. sail of the line.2
Next tusday we shall dispatch Capt. Farris for Newburyport, so shou'd we hear of your arrivall tomorow shall comunicate it to your family.

[salute] We are with respect & unfeighn'd sincerety Sir Your most obedt. hble Servts.

[signed] Joseph Gardoqui & Sons
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. JA's letter was of 24 Jan. (above).
2. A false report; Cordoba and his fleet remained at Cadiz until July (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 174, 193).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0217-0002

Author: Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-31

Enclosure: Invoice from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons to John Adams

Invoice of Sundries shipp'd per the Phinix James Babson master for Newburyport on Account of the Honble. John Adams Esq.
No. 1 a 2.                      
I.A.                      
1.   A Case containing                    
  4. Dozn. of tumblers     a 8.   rials     48.2          
  2. Do  Cups     8.   do.     16.       48.    
2.   a Barrell                    
  6. lb. Green tea     a 60.   rs.     360.          
  1. Dozn. Knifes           80.          
  1. Dozn. Forks           80.          
  1. Pce. of holland linen 27¼ v s.3   a 11.   rs.     299.   254        
  6. Do  Do.    150. do   8       1200.          
  6. Dozn. Barcelona Handkffs   a 104.       624.          
  12. Do  Do     102.       1224.       3867.   25  
Case, Barrell, packing and carriage paid             84.   9  
    Bal. ser               4,000.5    
    Commission                
[signed] Joseph Gardoqui & Sons
{ 339 }
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. This invoice is reproduced in vol. 3 of Adams Family Correspondence, facing p. 117.
2. An error for 32.
3. That is, 27¼ varas. The vara, a Spanish unit of measurement, equaled approximately 33 inches (OED).
4. The correct figure is 299.75.
5. Four thousand reals equals 500 pesos or, as they were also known, dollars. This is considerably more than the sum mentioned in the first paragraph of this letter, assuming that JA had given his order in terms of dollars as the equivalent of pesos.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0218

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] My Dear Sir

I cannot express the pleasure it gave me; when I heard of your Safe Arrival in Europe; permit me to congratulate you and myself thereon, and what is more our Country, whose true Interests I Know you have so much at heart. If I may trust the Common reports, you come in the Character of the blessed Peace Maker, who is always welcome to the Friends of Mankind; No one can wish you more success in your Mission, than I do, for your own honor and the general Good; and I am sure that Important business cannot be trusted in safer hands. How far the Common Ennemy may be disposed to Concur, I Know not, but at present He puts on the Appearance of more than common Insolence, having escapd this Summer from eminent danger, He thinks that Nothing can hurt Him, I trust however that He will be soon undeceivd, and find his Avarice and Ambition thoroughly Checkd.
Many reasons induced me to retire from Paris, soon after you had left Europe, and after staying some time at Boulogne to bathe in the Sea, I made a Circuit to this Town, where I have been for four Months, agitated by a thousand passions according to the Events, which have happend affecting our country.
The Seizure of the Dutch Ships is a matter that ought to touch all the Powers of Europe, I have written to Holland on the Subject to the Pensioner of the City of Amsterdam,1 in a manner which, I assure myself Sir, will meet with your approbation for tho the French may be bad; my Disposition was good. The private Views of the Stateholder, the Corruption of the Dutch, and the unprepared Condition of the States will prevent perhaps an immediate resentment from that Quarter, tho I should think in the End some good will arrive to Us from this desperate Step of the british Government.
Permit me, for it is certainly my Duty, to offer myself to execute whatever Commands you may please to lay on me here or Elsewhere; { 340 } the Conformity I found there was in our Sentiments will make that Duty pleasing to me. When I make this offer I assure myself you are satisfid of my Fidelity and Affection to my Country and the personal Esteem and respect with which I am Dear Sir Your Most faithful & Obt Hble Servt.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
Chez Monsieur Capelle
Rue des petits Carmes
Bruxelles
1. That is, to Englebert Francois van Berckel. For “the seizure of the Dutch Ships,” see Alexander Gillon to JA, 14 Feb., note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0219

Author: Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From the Marquis de Lafayette

[salute] Dear Sir

As I came but this morning from Versailles, it was not in my power sooner to answer to the letter you have honor'd me with,1 and this duty I now perform with the more pleasure that it is of some importance to the interests of America.
Since the first day when I had the happiness of making myself, and of being considered in the World as an American, I have always observ'd that among so many ways of attaking our liberties, and among the most ungenerous ones, treachery and falsehood have ever been the first weapons on which the British Nation have the most depended. I am glad it is in my power generaly to assure you, that the many Reports propagated by them and alluded to in your letter are not founded upon truth. New contracts with petty German Princes have not, I believe, taken place, and if any such Merchandise was sent to America it would at most consist of a few recruits. The troubles in Ireland if there is the least common sense amongst the first patriots in that country, are not, I hope, at an end, and it seems they now begin to raise new expectations. The Russian troops so much talk'd of in theyr gazettes I take to be mere Recruits for those thirty thousand Russians that Mr. Rivington had three years ago ordered to embark for America.2
Those intelligences, my dear sir, must be counter acted by letters to our friends in America. But as the Respect we owe to the free citizens of the United States makes it a point of duty for us never to deceive them, and as the most candid frankness must ever distinguish our side of the question from the cause of tyrranny and falsehood, I intend paying tomorrow morning a visit to the Minister of foreign affairs, and from him get so minuted intelligences as will answer your purpose.
{ 341 }
With the most sincere Regard and friendly affection I have the honor to Be Dear Sir Your most obedient humble servant
[signed] Lafayette M.G.3
P.S. On my Return from Versailles, my dear Sir, where I will settle the affair of arms that I had undertaken, I will impart you a project privately relating to me, that is not inconsistent with my sentiments for our country, America.4
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by John Thaxter: “Marquis de la Fayette 19th. Feby. 1780.”
1. This letter of 18 Feb. is not printed, but see JA's letter to Genet of the same date, note 1 (above).
2. This report appeared in Rivington's New York Gazette of 11 Oct. 1777.
3. Major General.
4. The nature of the “project” to be confided to JA is not known, but the “affair of arms” was probably a reference to Lafayette's ultimately successful effort to obtain “fifteen thousand stands of arms” for the Continental Army (Lafayette to Benjamin Franklin, 29 Feb. 1780, Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, Ithaca, N.Y., 5 vols., 1977–1984, 2:359–360).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0220

Author: Montgomery, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-19

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the Pleasure of Addressing you the 5th Currente to Which Please be Referd and Since am Honour'd With your Truly Esteem'd Letter of the 31 ultimo and am Happy to Learn your Safe Arrival at Bordeaux on your Route to Paris. Your Thanks is Much more than an Equivilante for any Services I Wished to do you At Madrid. I onley Considred that as part of My duty, as well to Serve the united States as your Good Self for Whome I Shall Ever have a Perticular Regard.
You will have had a More Cirumstancial Account of what Passed at Gibralter than I Can Give you We being Distant from thence 11 days Post; but We are assured by the Master of a Small Barque in 7 days from Algeciras that two Men of War and Several Transports, Ware saild for Mahone1 it is Reported With 2000 English Troops on board for that Garison.
I beg lave to Repate My Requst of a Letter of Introduction to Mr. Jay,2 Interm have the Honour to be with the Greatest Sincerety Dear Sir your Most Obedient and Most Humble Servent
[signed] Robt Montgomery
1. Port Mahon on the island of Minorca. Reinforcements for the garrison there had been sent with the convoy that arrived at Gibraltar in January. The needs of the besieged fortress required, however, that the troops be retained there and only { 342 } supply ships were sent on to Port Mahon (Mackesy, War for America, p. 323).
2. It is not known whether JA acceded to Montgomery's request, but this is the last letter known to have been exchanged between the two men until Montgomery wrote to JA on 26 April 1783 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dilly, Edward
Recipient: Dilly, Charles
Date: 1780-02-20

To Edward and Charles Dilly

[salute] Gentlemen

You may possibly remember a Correspondent of yours, who had six or seven Years ago the Pleasure of Writing to you sometimes and of receiving Letters from you.1 He has occasion for the Monthly and critical Reviews: the Remembrancers and annual Registers as they come out: and the Parliamentary Registers, and any other political Pamphlets of any Character that may be published in London. He requests the favour of you, to send them always by private Hands, addressed to Monsieur Antonio Ares, Negotiant chez Monsieur Hochereau, Libraire Pont neuf a Paris. For the pay for them you may draw upon him to be paid here, or he will get some Banker here to pay you in London which you please. He requests an Answer, as soon as possible and to be informed whether you will undertake to supply him or not, at what Prices and where you choose to be paid.—He wishes to know of the Welfare of Mrs. Maccauley, and of Mr. Robinson. Mr. Burgh, unhappily is no more.2

[salute] Your obliged and obedient servant

[signed] Antonio Ares3
1. At the bottom of the Letterbook copy is the notation: “Messrs. Edward and Charles Dilly, Booksellers in the Poultry, London.” The Dillys' bookshop was at No. 22 on the Poultry, a street connecting Cheapside and Cornhill (Wheatley, London Past and Present, 3:116–117). JA and Edward Dilly had corresponded in 1774 and 1775; see vol. 2:18, 171, 211; 3:2, 72. No letters from JA to Dilly are known to be extant. For a sketch of the Dillys, see Adams Family Correspondence, 1:73–74; and for a letter of 22 May 1775 from AA to Edward Dilly, see p. 200–204. Edward Dilly had died on 11 May 1779 (London Chronicle, 11–13 May 1779). A letter from Charles Dilly to JA, dated 3 Feb. 1790, is in the Adams Papers, but the editors know of no reply to the present letter.
2. Catharine Macauley, Matthew Robinson-Morris, and James Burgh were writers who favored the American cause. Burgh had died in 1775. For references to all three, see the indexes to previously published volumes of JA, Diary and Autobiography, Adams Family Correspondence, and JA, Papers.
3. This is apparently JA's first and only use of this pseudonym, and his first known use of any pseudonym in any letter not intended for publication, since his occasional use of classical names in his courtship correspondence with AA in the 1760s (see Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 1). The name “Antonio Ares” may have been suggested by “Antonio Arecs” (or “Areca”), the Spanish mule driver who accompanied JA on his journey from La Coruña to Bilbao (see Lagoanere to JA, 26 Dec. 1779, and JA to Lagoanere, 16 Jan. 1780, both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gillon, Alexander
Date: 1780-02-20

To Alexander Gillon

[salute] Sir

I had last Evening the Pleasure of your Letter from Amsterdam, of the 14th. instant and I thank you for your kind Congratulations, on my Arrival in Europe, and for your obliging Compliments. You and I have been tossed about the World, in the service of an Infant Country in distress and danger: happy and blessed indeed shall We be if all our Labours, Hasards, and Exertions, can in any degree contribute to lay the Foundation of a free and flourishing People. I am very Sorry, you have met with so many Obstacles in your Endeavours to Serve, one of the most respectable of the states, and by serving her to promote the Security and Interest of all the others. For altho I am persuaded it is not yet agreable to the general Sentiments of People in Europe, for one State to negotiate for Loans of Money, Seperately from the rest, Yet I know that each State has a legal and Constitutional Right, according to the Terms of our Confederation, to negotiate for Loans of Money distinct from the Loans made by Congress, and by Agents distinct from those Commissioned by Congress, and to build or purchase Ships of War, at their Discretion. Being convinced therefore that your Errand to Europe, is not exceptionable in a constitutional Point of View, I certainly shall not give you any obstruction, in it, but on the contrary shall favour it, as far as is consistent with my Character. But I confess to you, I have Some doubts how far it is in Character for any one who is in the service of Congress, to become an Active Instrument in any Negotiation of a particular state, because it is certain that the service of Congress and the service of particular states do Sometimes interfere with each other particularly in the Loans of Money.
You give me much Pleasure, by your assurances that the Government and People, where you are, are much altered lately in our favour. The Thing that you wish for, is probably already done, although it may be most prudent to say, <nothing of it> little of it, at present.1 I am fully of your opinion that it must come direct, and to a solid Dutch House. Am glad to hear of the Resolution for an unlimited Convoy, and that the Prince has altered his sentiments. The English went a great Way in their late demand and Threat. One would think that mankind was not to be always treated in this Style. If the Treaty talked of with Denmark and Sweeden should, make any Progress I should be glad to be informed of it, and of the Proceedings of the states General, when they meet.
The ship you mention, I believe it is the Indian, was built and sold { 344 } to the French Court, before I first came to Europe, and therefore I know nothing but by Report and by Accident. I remember the Talk of a sum paid into the Hands of our Banker for her, and according to my Remembrance it was 600,000 Livres but may be mistaken in this. She can now be purchased only of this Government, and I dont see that it is in my Power to aid you in this Purchase. If I were to apply to the Ministers you mention, the Guise would be too thin: for they are too well informed of what passes in America, particularly with respect to me, to be made to believe that I have any Thing to do with the purchase of ships. They would therefore think me to blame to meddle in such a Thing. I have known many good Plans fail of success, for want of direct application, and the only Advice I can give you, is to apply directly to the Minister Mr. De Sartine in a respectful candid Letter, let him know your whole Design, and offer the Government as much as you think is reasonable. If it is judged consistent with the Kings service your Terms will be accepted, <otherwi>. It is totally without the Line of my Duty to interpose altho as I said before I certainly shall throw no Impediment in your Way, but on the Contrary shall favour your Application as opportunities may present themselves. I am &c
LbC (Adams Papers); notation at the head of the letter: “under Cover to Messrs Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst, Merchants Amsterdam Pache freres and Co. Rue Thevenot Cul de Sac de L'Etoille the Address of the Bankers in Paris where the Letter is to be left.”
1. JA is referring to the congress' decision to appoint a representative to negotiate a loan with the Netherlands. JA, Henry Laurens, and Woodbury Langdon were nominated for the position. JA had learned of this immediately before departing from Boston for Europe, and though he expected Laurens' appointment, he had not been informed of it yet (see JA to James Lovell, 19 Feb., note 3, above; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:234).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lloyd, Richard B.
Date: 1780-02-20

To Richard B. Lloyd

[salute] Dear Sir

Since my Arrival in this City, I had the Pleasure of your <kind> Letter of the 28 of December, and I thank you, sir, for your kind Congratulations, on my Arrival and obliging Enquiries after my Family, whom I left in perfect Health, as I hope Mrs. Lloyd and your little Family are. I want very much to be furnished with the critical and monthly Reviews: the Remembrancers and annual Registers as they come out: the parliamentary Registers and any other political Pamphlets of any Reputation, that may be published in London. Should be much obliged to you, if you can inform me of any Channel by which I can be sup• { 345 } plied with them and at what Rates, and in what Way to pay for them. As to a Passage, <I know of><there><is here at><are at Nantes> there are Vessells, Sometimes going from the Seaports, but the Times when they will Sail are So uncertain, that it is not easy for any Body to give you exact Information: but Some Person at the Seaports will be the most likely, to inform you. All public Vessells are under the Command of you know whom,1 whose Permission must be obtained. As to News I have none at present, but what is in the Newspapers. Should be glad to know how the Pulse beat in England, particularly, the situation of the Gentry of Brompton Row.2 I am, with Sincere Esteem, Sir your most obedient servant.
1. Presumably JA means that Benjamin Franklin controlled the activities of American naval vessels in European waters.
2. JA interlined the previous nine words. Brompton, a hamlet of Kensington between Chelsea and Knightsbridge, was a center of loyalist activity in London. Brompton Row constituted two blocks of houses facing Brompton Road in which several leading loyalists lived, including Jonathan Sewall, Thomas Hutchinson Jr., and Robert Auchmuty (Wheatley, London Past and Present, 1:280–281; Mary Beth Norton, The British-Americans: the Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774–1789, Boston, 1972, p. 74–75).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-20

To the President of the Congress, No. 7

[salute] Sir

Since my Arrival in Europe I have had the Mortification to see in the public Papers a Series of little Successes which our Enemies have had in the prosecution of the War. The first was a very exaggerated Account in the English Court Gazette of their Successes against the Spaniards in South America. The next was the History of the Repulse of General Lincoln and the Comte D'Estaing at Savannah and raising the Siege of that Post. These were soon followed by the Capture of the Spanish Fleet of Transport Ships by Rodneys Squadron, and the Advantage gained by that Admiral of the Spanish Ships of War, after a most gallant Resistance however, off Gibralter.
These small Triumphs, altho' chiefly of the defensive and negative Kind and a poor Compensation for the Blood and the Millions they are annually wasting, are however, abundantly sufficient to cheer the Spirits of the British Populace, and to banish from the Minds of the Ministry all thoughts of Peace upon reasonable Terms: for the English in the present War set upon a Maxim diametrically opposite to that of the Romans, and never think of Peace upon any Event fortunate to them, but are anxious for it under every great Adversity.
{ 346 }
A report of my Appointment having also been carried to England by the Cartels from Boston and being spread in Europe by various other Ways by Passengers in the Committee,1 by French Passengers in the Sensible, of whom there were a great Number, who had heard of it, in all Companies in America, and by many private Letters; and the English ministerial Writers having made Use of this, as Evidence of a drooping Spirit in America, in Order to favour their Loan of Money, I thought it my best Policy to communicate my Appointment and Powers to the French Court, and ask their Advice, as our good Allies, how to proceed, in the present Emergency. I accordingly wrote to his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes, the Letter of the twelfth of February, Copy of which is inclosed; and recieved his answer of the fifteenth, Copy of which is inclosed; to which I replied in a Letter of the nineteenth, Copy of which is also inclosed. When I shall have recieved his Excellency's Answer, I shall do myself the Honour to inclose that.
If there is any thing in these Letters of mine, which is not conformable to the Views and Sentiments of Congress, I wish to be instructed in it; or if Congress should not concur in Sentiment with his Excellency the Comte, I shall obey their Orders with the utmost Punctuality and Alacrity.
I have ever understood that Congress were first advised to the Measure of appointing a Minister to negotiate Peace, by the French Minister then at Philadelphia, in the Name of the Comte de Vergennes: however this may have been, it cannot be improper, to have some one in Europe, impowered to think and treat of Peace, which some time or other must come.
Since my last, which was of Yesterday's Date, I have had Opportunity to make more particular Inquiries, concerning the pretended Treaty with Russia, and am informed, that the English Ministry did not long since, make a formal Application by their Ambassador to the Empress of Russia, for a Body of Troops and a Number of Ships: but that the Application was opposed with great Spirit and Ability in the Russian Council, particularly by the Minister for foreign Affairs, and rejected in Council with great Unanimity, and that the Harmony between Versailles and Petersbourg remains as perfect as when I left France.2
I have the Honor to be, with very great Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 267–270); docketed: “No. 7 J. Adams Esq Feby 20th. 1780 Duplicate <duplicate?>) Reed May 15. respectg: the Publicity of his Embassy.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 7.”
{ 347 }
1. Probably JA's misspelling of the name of a French vessel, the Comité, which had reached France from America in early Dec. 1779 (Jean Holker to William Temple Franklin, Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:24).
2. On 3 Dec. 1779 Sir James Harris, the British ambassador to Russia, had presented a proposal for an Anglo-Russian alliance. It soon shared the fate of two other such proposals made since his arrival at St. Petersburg in late 1777. By 14 Dec., Catherine II determined, as she had before, that Russia's position vis-à-vis other European powers made such a compact inadvisable (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 121–138).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0225-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-20

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

Vous avés craint d'importuner M. le Comte de Vergennes et vous m'avés fait l'honeur de vous addresser à moi1 pour savoir ce que vous devès penser de differens bruits que les anglois se sont attachés à répandre. Je suis infiniment flatté de la marque de confiance que vous avés bien voulu me donner mais j'ai cru devoir mettre votre lettre sous les yeux de ministre. Il m'a chargé de vous assurer que dans toutes les occasions il sera charmé que vous vous addressiés Directement a lui, et que vous le trouverés toujours empressé a vous Satisfaire. Il a remarque comme vous toute l'addresse que nos Ennemis mettent à faire courir de faux bruits et surtout pour faire croire à l'Europe que les américains leur font des avances pour traiter d'un arrangement avec eux. M. le Comte de Vergennes est aussi persuadé du contraire qu'il est assuré qu'il n'a point été négocié de nouveau Traité avec les Princes d'allemagne, et qu'il ne s'y fait des levérs que pour les remplacemens. Il ne juge pas plus fondée la nouvelle sur le Traité avec la Russie ni celle qui regarde la Cour de Dannemark. Il m'a dit que je pouvois avoir l'honeur de vous écrire que tous ces bruits sont faux, et que vous ne risqués rien de les présenter comme tels aux personnes sur qui vous croyés qu'ils auront pû faire quelque impression, Soit en Europe soit en Amérique.
J'ai la plus grande impatience d'avoir l'honeur de vous voir et de vous féliciter sur votre heureux retour. Comme je ne puis que rarement aller à Paris, je souhaite que vos affaires vous permettent de me faire l'honeur de venir chez moi, et accepter mon diner de famille.
J'ai l'honeur d'etre avec un respectueux attachement Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Genet

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0225-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-20

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Hesitating to bother the Count de Vergennes, you have done me the honor of addressing me1 in order to determine what to think of the var• { 348 } ious rumors that the English have taken upon themselves to circulate. I am greatly flattered by this mark of confidence that you have had the goodness to bestow on me, but thought that I should place your letter before the minister. He has directed me to assure you that he will be pleased on all occasions to have you address yourself directly to him and that you will find him always eager to give you satisfaction. He noticed, as did you, our enemies' cunning in setting about to circulate false rumors and, above all, to convince Europe that the Americans had approached them to negotiate a settlement. The Count de Vergennes is as convinced of the opposite as he is assured that no new treaty has been negotiated with the German Princes and that whatever levies have been made are only to provide replacements. Neither does he believe that there is any basis for the news regarding either a treaty with Russia or with the court of Denmark. He told me that I could have the honor of informing you that these rumors are false and that you risk nothing from presenting them as such to those persons on whom you believe they may have made some impression, either in Europe or America.
I am most eager to have the honor of seeing and congratulating you upon your happy return. Since I can only rarely go to Paris, I hope that your affairs will permit you to do me the honor of visiting me and dining with my family.
I have the honor to be, with respectful devotion, Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “M. Genet. 20. Feb. 1780. ansd 24. Feb. 1780.”
1. On 18 Feb. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0226

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1780-02-22

To John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

I most sincerely congratulate You, on your happy Arrival in Europe, which must be the more agreeable to You, for the terrible Voyages You have had. Every good American in Europe I believe suffered a great Anxiety, from the Length of Time that passed between the day when it was known the Confederacy sailed, and the Time when the News arrived of your being at Cadiz. I too have had my Hair breadth 'Scapes, and after my Arrival, a very tedious Journey, in the worst Season of the Year, by Land. Happy however shall we be, if all our Hazards and Fatigues should contribute to lay the Foundation of a free and a prosperous People.
I hope no Accident, or disagreeable Circumstance, has happened to your Family, to whom I shall be obliged to You to present my Respects.
{ 349 }
From what I saw and heard in Spain—from the strong Assurances I recieved of the good Will of the Court and Nation, and from the great attention and Respect, that was paid me by Officers of Government of the highest Rank in the Provinces thro' which I passed, I am persuaded, You will meet with the most distinguished Reception, and I hope will soon have the Honour and Satisfaction of concluding a Treaty with Spain.
You will have the Advantage of more frequent and speedy Intelligence from Home, than we can have; at least, You will have it in your Power. There are Vessels oftener arriving from America at Bilbao and Cadiz, I think, than in France. Many of these Vessels come from Boston and Newbury Port, perhaps the most of them—so that by directing your Correspondents to send their Letters that Way, You will have them much sooner, than we can commonly obtain them; and by transmitting yours to Messs. Gardoqui and Co. at Bilbao, and Mr. Montgomery, or some other at Cadiz, your Dispatches will go more speedily and more safely than ours. For we find it almost impossible to get a Letter across the Bay of Biscay from France in a Merchant Vessel, there are so many Privateers in the Route, the danger of whom is avoided chiefly by Vessels from Bilbao, keeping near the Coast and running into Harbour in Case of Danger, and wholly by those from Cadiz.
You will excuse my mentioning to You this Channel of Intelligence, which might not possibly have occurred to You, and my wishing to make some Advantage of it to myself, by asking the Favour of your Correspondence, and that you would impart to me, the Advices You may recieve through it.1
We have nothing new here at present, but what You must have had before. Pray what think You of Peace? It seems to be the Will of Heaven, that the English should have Success enough, to lead them on to final Destruction. They are quite intoxicated with their late Advantages, altho' a poor Compensation for what they cost. My Respects to Mr. Charmichael, and believe me to be, with Respect and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NNC: John Jay Papers); docketed: “John Adams 22 Feb. 1780.”
1. JA had become convinced that the ports of Cadiz and Bilbao were the best means for sending and receiving correspondence with America when, on or about 12 Feb., he received AA's letter of 10 Dec. 1779 via Cadiz (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:271–272, 275).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0227

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jones, John Paul
Date: 1780-02-22

To John Paul Jones

[salute] dear sir

I have the Pleasure to congratulate you, on your glorious success Since I left you at L'orient, and upon your Return to that Place, from whence I wish you safe to America.1
I obtained Permission from the Navy Board to send some small Matters home by an American Frigate now and then, and I have mentioned it to Dr. Franklin who has no Objection. We married men who run away from our Wives and Children must send them home something, to alleviate the Pains of solitude.
I have written to Mr. Moylan,2 and if you should be bound to Boston, and will be so good as to take a small Trunk for me, directed [by] me, to the Care of the Navy Board at Boston he will pack it up for me, and put it on board. It will much oblige me and a few of my Friends and be I hope no Inconvenience to you.3 If you cant conveniently take it, I should be glad if you would inform Mr. Moylan that he may not purchase the Things, and that I may wait another opportunity which will be probably from another Port. If you should take it and should go to Philadelphia, should be glad you would deliver it to Mr. Lovel or some other Massachusetts Delegate and pray him to send it, in the first Waggon to Boston. If you go to Boston, I hope you will do Mrs. Adams the Honour of a Visit, who will be glad to see Captn. Jones, and to hear from, him, who is with much Respect, your humble servant
1. After his victory over the Serapis in late Sept. 1779, Jones went to the Dutch island of Texel and remained there until 31 Dec. Anglo-French conflict over Dutch neutrality forced him to assume command of the Alliance when the Serapis and the other ships in his fleet were put under the French flag, and to depart from Texel for La Coruña and finally Lorient, where he arrived on 19 Feb. (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 251–252, 262–263, 269–271).
2. On this date (below).
3. In a letter of 28 Feb. (DSI: Hull Coll.) Jones agreed to carry JA's trunk. Neither Jones nor the trunk, however, went to America in the Alliance. Jones went to Paris in April and did not return to Lorient until early June. In his absence Pierre Landais, who faced a courtmartial for his actions during the battle with the Serapis, and Arthur Lee, who sought passage on the Alliance, conspired to undermine Jones' authority, with the result that, soon after Jones' return, Landais seized command and ultimately sailed for America. JA's trunk finally reached Philadelphia on 18 Feb. 1781 in the sloop Ariel, Jones' new command (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 275–276, 293–295, 301–308; James Lovell to AA, 27 Feb. 1781, Adams Family Correspondence, 4:81–83).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0228

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Moylan, James
Date: 1780-02-22

To James Moylan

[salute] Dear sir

As the Alliance is bound to America, and probably will go to Boston, I wish to avail myself of the Opportunity to send a few Necessaries to my Family, and a black Coat or two to a few Parsons in my Neighbourhood, whose Salaries are so reduced by the Depreciation of our Paper Currency that they cannot afford to buy a black Coat nor a Band1 at home.
I will inclose you the Minutes of the Things I wish to have sent.2 I have Authority from the Navy Board at Boston to send any little Matters of this Kind by any American Frigates that may be bound that Way, or I could obtain Permission, I suppose from Dr. Franklin if that were necessary, I have mentioned it to him and he made no Objection.
I wish you would be so good as to mention it to Captn. Jones,3 and if he expects to go first to an Eastern Port and will be so good as to take the Charge of them, you may direct them to the Address of John Adams of Braintree and to the Care of the Navy Board at Boston, who will see them deliverd.
I should be glad if you could distinguish the Parcels,—for Mr. Wibirt, for Mr. Shute4 and for Mr. P. B. Adams for Mr. Cranch5 and for me. Let each be seperated from the other but all packed up in one Chest or Box, and I suppose a very small one will contain the whole. If Captain Jones declines taking them, you need not take the Trouble to put them up. If he takes them, please to charge your Commissions, transmit me an Invoice and inclose another Invoice in English with the Goods. And your Orders upon me for the money shall be paid upon demand. I am sir, with much Esteem, your most obedient
1. Two strips of material hanging from a clergyman's collar (OED).
2. No invoice has been found, but see Moylan's reply of 28 Feb. (below) and JA's letter to Moylan of 6 March (LbC, Adams Papers). For a detailed account of what was sent, see James Lovell's description of the goods that he received from the Ariel in his letters to AA of 27 Feb. and 1 March 1781 (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:81–83, 85–86).
3. See JA's letter to Jones of this same date (above).
4. These were Rev. Anthony Wibird of Braintree and Rev. Daniel Shute of Hingham. They, as well as Peter Boylston Adams, had supplied JA with bills of exchange before his departure for France, presumably to pay for goods such as JA was sending (“Memorandum of Bills of Exchange,” Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 96, last page on reel).
5. “For Mr. Cranch” is interlined in John Thaxter's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0229

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-22

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I did myself the Honor of writing to You, two days Ago1 by Mr. Brusch, to congratulate you on your Safe Arrival in Europe, and to Assure you of my Disposition and wish to Execute whatever Commands, you may lay on me here or Elsewhere.
As I Know your Attention to whatever may affect our Country, I take the Liberty of making an Extract out of a Letter I receivd yesterday from England, from the well instructd Correspondent, who gave Information of the intentd irruption into Connecticut, which unfortunately took place last year, of which I gave you Notice before you left Europe.2 He had written to me last Novr. of Englands Endeavouring to draw Russia into the War, and of the Backwardness then showed to enter into the business. He writes to me now in these Words.
“When I trod on Russian Ground, I had every reason to think, that my footing was firm and certain; I have not yet passed over the same kind of Soil, but my trusty Guide (acquainted with the Country to an Inch) bids me prepare for another Road. He is a Speculative Politician, what, said He, if the Czarina should be on the point of Changing her Mind, and hitherto refusing now grant Succour to England. If Lord North, having procurd an Immense Sum for the renewal of the East India Charter,3 shoud succesfully bribe the Court of Petersburgh with a great part of it, into an offensive and defensive Alliance, if the same spirited Statesman shoud procure similar Treaties from Russia and Denmark, if?”—He was proceeding, when I asked Him, whether these Courts woud not first Attempt to Negociate a Peace for England, certainly, He replied, I should think so. At this Moment the face of my Whimsical Casuist became more open, and I fanced that Truths were seald on his Lips.
I find that the Expedition under Boyle Walsingham from Ireland is to the West Indias.4
I should be glad Sir you would give me Mr. Carmichaels Address at Madrid. I fancy He has Letters for me.

[salute] I am Dear Sir Your Most Obedient & faithful Hlbe Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. Actually dated 19 Feb. (above).
2. None of the extant letters received from Jenings before JA's departure for America in June 1779 mention a planned attack on Connecticut, but see index under “Connecticut” and references there.
3. Any British plans to use “an Immense Sum” gained from the renewal of the East India Company's charter, which expired in 1780, to bribe Russia or for { 353 } any other purpose were based on wishful thinking. During his presentation of the budget in 1779, Lord North had alluded to the company's charter and the use of the sums that might be realized from its renewal to balance expenditures. But his statements were premature; opposition from the company and its supporters to the ministry's proposals for a new charter made renewal in 1779 or 1780 impossible. As a result, North could obtain only an extension of the charter; it was not renewed until 1784 (Lucy S. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, Oxford, 1952, p. 343–344, see also index under statutes; Parliamentary Hist., 20:160, 167).
4. This force, consisting of five ships of the line and two smaller vessels and intended to reinforce Rodney's fleet in the West Indies, was commanded by Como. Robert Boyle-Walsingham, originally of Ireland, but then a member of Parliament from Knaresborough in Yorkshire. Although Boyle-Walsingham received his sailing orders in March, he was windbound at Torbay until June, and in October he was lost in a hurricane with his flagship, the Thunderer (Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., History of Commons, 1754–1790, 3 vols., London, 1964, 3:603–605; Mackesy, War for America, p. 327–329; W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 440).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0230

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-23

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

You will see by the public Papers, that your Committee of Correspondence is making greater progress in the World, and doing greater things in the political World than the Electrical Rod ever did in the Physical.1 Ireland2 and England have adopted it, but mean Plagiaries as they are, they do not acknowledge who was the Inventor of it.
Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard will go with this Letter in the Alliance, and probably go to Boston. They will be able to inform You of every thing of a public Nature, much better than I can do, as I have scarcely had Opportunity to look about me as Yet. They will give You few Hopes of Peace, at least very speedily.
The Associations of Counties and Committees of Correspondence in England, are very ominous to our old Acquaintances, the Refugees, as they attack unmerited Pensions in the first place—but they must do greater things than distressing these Gentry. They must necessarily produce great Commotions in the Nation. The Speakers of these Meetings go great Lengths, some of them openly justifying and applauding the Americans, and others even applauding France and Spain for stepping in to our Assistance.3
The Court here seems determined more than ever, to pursue the War with Vigour, especially by Sea, and above all in the American Seas. They have already sent seventeen Ships of the Line under M. de Guichen to reinforce M. de la Motte Piquette, and seven others are preparing at Brest. They are sending out Cloathing and Arms for fifteen thousand Men for our Army, and seem confident that the next { 354 } Campaign will be better than the last. I hope the Spirit of Privateering among Us will increase, because I think this is the Way, in which we can do the most Service to the Common Cause.
I hope You will be so good as to inform me of what passes, particularly what progress the Convention makes in the Constitution. I assure You it is more comfortable making Constitutions in the dead of Winter at Cambridge or Boston, than sailing in a leaky Ship, or climbing on foot or upon Mules over the Mountains of Gallicia and the Pyranees. My Respects to Mrs. A. and Miss H.,4 and believe me your Friend and Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NN: George Bancroft Collection); docketed in different hands: “Paris Feb 23 1780” and “Copied & Ex. C.”
1. See JA to Elbridge Gerry of this date, and note 3; and JA to the president of the congress, 25 Feb. (both below).
2. For events in Ireland, see the letter to Gerry of this date, and note 4 (below).
3. Led by Rev. Christopher Wyvill, the county association movement began formally with a meeting in Yorkshire on 30 Dec. 1779. By the Yorkshire association's next meeting, on 28 March 1780, Parliament had received 39 petitions from similar groups in various counties, cities, and towns. Although the associations were linked by committees of correspondence and many of their petitions expressed opposition to the continuation of the war, they were only indirectly emulating the earlier American example and indicating sympathy for the American cause. The primary motivation for most of the petitioners was the war's great cost, which was inflicting hardships on merchants and landholders, and a desire for parliamentary reform. In pursuit of these objectives the petitioners proposed solutions ranging from the relatively conservative, in the outlying counties, to the quite radical, espoused by the Westminster association.
The association movement was able to generate considerable popular support; at its height it was estimated that up to one-fifth of the very limited electorate had signed petitions. Numerous bills were brought before Parliament, the most significant being that, “For the better Regulation of His Majesty's Civil Establishments, and of certain public Offices; for the Limitation of Pensions, and the Suppression of sundry useless, expensive, and inconvenient Places; and for applying the Monies saved thereby to the Public Service,” which was introduced by Edmund Burke on 11 Feb. 1780. Initially Burke's bill enjoyed some success, the high point being the passage of the section abolishing the Board of Trade by a margin of eight votes on 13 March. Eventually, though, the ministry was able to force the withdrawal of the entire bill, thus dooming any chances for success that the association movement may have had in 1780. The character of its supporters, however, gave legitimacy to the movement for parliamentary reform, and by 1782 their dissatisfaction was a significant force in the fall of the North ministry (Ian R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyvill and Reform, London, 1962, p. 68–99; Dora Mae Clark, British Opinion and the American Revolution, New Haven, 1930, p. 143–151; Allen Valentine, Lord North, 2 vols., Norman, Okla., 1967, 2:191–201; Colin Bonwick, English Radicals and the American Revolution, Chapel Hill, 1977, p. 131–143; see also Almon's Remembrancer for 1780, which contains the proceedings of many local meetings). JA offered a more detailed but less optimistic analysis of the association movement in his letter to the president of the congress of 27 Feb. (below).
4. Hannah Adams, Samuel Adams' daughter by his first marriage.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0231

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-23

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear sir

I knew not when I undertook so readily to take the Care of your Grandson what I was about, little foreseeing a Journey of near four hundred Leagues by Land, in the Extremity of Winter, over the worst Roads and the vilest Accommodations and at the same time the most expensive of all Europe.1
I think myself very happy however to have at length reached Paris, without any essential Injury to the Health of any one of the Company, although all were at several times in the Utmost danger of fatal Colds and Fevers.
I have had the Honour to pay and Receive Visits, and to dine with the Comte D'Estaing, Since my Arrival. He is much your Friend, and takes a great Pleasure in shewing certain Pictures. His Wounds are much better, and We are wishing to see him again in Command.2 He is very popular in France, as many Symptoms have shewn, in many Places, particularly in the Feast which was made at Bourdeaux, in honour of him, and lately at the opera, when an Actor attracted an Applause of a Quarter of an Hour, resounding like Thunder by going up to the Comtes Lodge and offering him a Crown of Lawrel in a Place where the Piece had offered such a Crown to an Hero.
We cannot to this day ascertain, with Precision, whether Rodney is in Gibrater or gone to the West Indies—nor whether done Gasten has joined Don Cordova—from whence I conclude that Rodney is gone to the West Indies, and upon the whole I believe Cordova and Gasten are joined.3
The Blow to D'Estaing at Savanna, that to Langaras Squadron, the succours thrown into Gibraltar, the Capture of the Caracca fleet, added to the Affair of Omoa,4 will banish all Thoughts of Peace from many Minds, which would otherwise have entertained hopes of it in England. The Ministers would not have thought of it, if all these Events had gone against them, at least that is my Opinion. In great Haste your Friend and sert
1. On this date JA also wrote to Cooper's son-in-law, Gabriel Johonnot (LbC, Adams Papers), regarding the expenses incurred by his son, Samuel Cooper Johonnot, during the journey from El Ferrol to Paris. He noted that Johonnot had given him a bill of exchange for 1,398 livres to cover his son's expenses in Europe, but that 985 livres, 7 sous had been spent in the course of the trek through Spain and France, leaving a balance of 412 livres, 13 sous. Believing that this sum would { 356 } soon be expended, JA requested that Johonnot send additional funds for his son's use.
2. Francis Dana's journal for 1779–1780 (MHi: Dana Family Papers) indicates that JA visited Estaing on 11 Feb. and dined with him on the 13th. Since the journal ends with an entry for 14 Feb., it is not known when Estaing called on JA or whether there were later visits by JA. Estaing had been wounded during the unsuccessful effort to storm the British defenses at Savannah in Oct. 1779 (Mackesy, War for America, p. 278).
3. Most of Don Miguel Gaston's fleet had reached De Cordoba by 4 Feb. (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 178).
4. Rodney's victories over the Spanish and subsequent relief of Gibraltar were important, but of even more significance in stiffening the resolve of the ministry were the earlier reports concerning the capture of Omoa, a port on the northwest coast of Honduras, and the successful defense of Savannah. News of those events, both occurring in October, reached London on the 17th and 20th of December respectively and represented the first reports of British military success in some time (Mackesy, War for America, p. 316–317; see also the London Chronicle of 16–18 and 18–21 Dec. 1779).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dalton, Tristram
Date: 1780-02-23

To Tristram Dalton

[salute] Dear Sir

Since my Arrival in this City, which was on the 9th. of this Month I had the Pleasure of your Letter concerning your Vessel which was sunk in the West Indies.1 I immediately waited on Dr. Franklin who informed me that he had received a similar Letter from you and in the Time of it applied to Court and obtained an order for your Compensation, which he transmitted to you, and which I hope you have received—if not upon Intimation of it, a Duplicate or a Repetition of the order may be obtained at any Time.
If at any Time I can be usefull to you, you have but to Command me. I hope the good Work of Privateering goes on with Spirit. I hope that those who have done so much service to their Country and to themselves in that Way will not be diverted, or relaxed in their Cause by any Syren songs of Peace, which the more charming they are the more delusive they are likely to be, as the English beyond all controversy will be encouraged by their late Successes, to prosecute the War for some time longer. These successes, which are rather of the defensive and negative Kind and a poor Compensation for the immense Cost of them, are however sufficient to chear the Populace, and embolden the Minister to proceed, not with standing the formidable associations, and Correspondences,2 which have made So great Progress, a la manière Americaine, both in Ireland and England. I am, sir with great Esteem, your old Friend and humble servant
{ 357 }
1. For Dalton's vessel, the Fair Play, see his letter to JA of 13 May 1779, and note 1 (above).
2. See JA's letter to Samuel Adams of this date, and note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1780-02-23

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend1

The Boston Committee of Correspondence, and the Military Associations which grew out of it, are likely to prove the greatest Engines for pulling down Tyranny, that were ever invented. The Electrical Rod, which deprives the Clouds of their Thunder, does it not so effectually, as these Committees wrest the Iron Rod out of the Hands of a Tyrant.3
Ireland has already obtained, purely by the Use of this Machine, great Advantages, and as She has not yet laid it down, She will obtain more, or give England further Trouble.4 The Counties in England are generally laying hold of it, as you will see by the public Papers.
I recieved your Letter relative to Mr. Dalton's Vessel that was sunk, since my Arrival in this City.5 Dr. F. applied in the Time of it, as he tells me, to the Minister, and obtained an Order for Compensation, which I hope Mr. Dalton has recieved. But if the Order miscarried, a Repetition of it may be obtained at any Time. Let me beg of You, to write Me by every Opportunity.

[salute] Your Friend & humble Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.); docketed: “Paris Letter His Excellency John Adams Esq Feby 23 1780 ansd Jany 10th 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Immediately after the greeting in the Letterbook copy is the canceled passage: “I will take the Liberty to inclose to you, for your private Use, and in Confidence, Copies of a few Letters I have written and received Since my Arrival. They may be of some Use.”
2. This may not be JA's first effort at a letter to Gerry in 1780. Several pages earlier in the Letterbook is an incomplete letter, dated 19 Feb., for which no recipient is given. The fragment, which like this letter begins “My dear Friend,” consists of one paragraph in which JA promised to send intelligence and the first sentence of a second paragraph in which he noted that the disposition of the European powers was the same as described in his letter of 4 Aug. 1779 to the president of the congress (above). An examination of the Letterbook and extant recipients' copies indicates that JA used this greeting only for letters to James Lovell and Elbridge Gerry. Since the Letterbook copy immediately preceding the fragment is that to James Lovell of 19 Feb. (above), it seems likely that the unfinished letter was intended for Gerry. If this was so, JA's reason for not completing the letter may have been that in content, following the opening lines, it would have been similar to the letters of the 19th to James Lovell and to the president of the congress (both above), which JA would assume Gerry would see.
3. One may view this sentence as an effort by JA to puncture what he saw as Benjamin Franklin's inflated reputation, for it is clearly a paraphrase of the epigram attributed to Turgot and attached to several portraits of Franklin in this period: “eripuit calo fulmen, sceptrumque { 358 } tyrannis,” “he snatched the lightning from heaven and the scepter from tyrants” (vol. 6:174).
4. JA refers to the volunteer and nonimportation movements in Ireland, which were founded on deeply felt grievances and resurgent Irish nationalism. There was considerable sympathy for America in Ireland, thus making JA's comments on the Irish use of American models more justified than his comments in this and previous letters regarding the English county association movement (see JA to Samuel Adams, 23 Feb., above). The expectations of JA and others that the movements in Ireland, and to a lesser degree in England, could undermine the North ministry, however, were doomed to disappointment. The perspective of Paris and Versailles led to a misapprehension as to the origins and aims of the movements and, in the case of Ireland, the ability and willingness of Britain to deal effectively with Irish grievances.
The volunteer movement was reminiscent of the American minuteman companies and resulted from the lack of any sizable body of British troops to defend Ireland. The need for extraordinary measures became clear in 1778, when John Paul Jones captured the HMS Drake at Cerrickfergus, and was made even more urgent in 1779 when a Franco-Spanish invasion seemed likely. In mid-1778, therefore, the recruitment of volunteer companies began and ultimately over 40,000 troops were raised. Catholics and Protestants alike supported the effort, but the government at London and Dublin regarded the volunteers as an extralegal force that could as well be used to seek redress of grievances as for defense.
The nonimportation movement too had American roots. Always heavily circumscribed by British restrictions, Irish trade was almost destroyed when the outbreak of war in America cost Ireland the only profitable market for its linens. The chronically depressed Irish economy thus grew worse, with thousands facing starvation. To dampen growing Irish unrest, Lord North introduced a series of trade bills on 2 April 1778 that would have ended many of the barriers to Irish trade. Opposition from British manufacturers, however, forced North to retreat, and in the end only minor changes were made. In the absence of the relief that the trade bills would have provided, the Irish economy continued to deteriorate until, at a meeting at Dublin in late April 1779, a nonimportation agreement was adopted. The movement soon became widespread and was effective in limiting Anglo-Irish trade.
The volunteer and nonimportation movements altered Ireland's relationship with Great Britain. Although the volunteer companies showed no disloyalty to the crown, they became, as the British authorities had feared, a political force in support of nonimportation and free trade. Together the two movements forced the North ministry in late 1779 and early 1780 to introduce measures that finally permitted Ireland to enjoy a relatively free trade within and without the empire. With these measures and a relaxation of restrictions on Catholics and dissenters, the North ministry successfully defused the situation and, although many in Ireland remained sympathetic to the American cause, any hope that Irish unrest would materially effect Britain's ability to carry on the war ended (W. E. H. Lecky, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols., N.Y., 1878–1890, 4:520–542; Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:495–498; for the Irish trade bills, see Parliamentary Hist., vols. 19 and 20).
5. Gerry's letter of 12 May 1779 (Adams Papers) concerning the destruction of the Fair Play has not been printed, but see Tristram Dalton to JA, 13 May 1779, and note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0234

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-23

To the President of the Congress, No. 8

Paris, 23 February 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, I, f. 279; docketed: “No. 8 Feby. 23. 1780 Letter from J. Adams recd. Oct. 16. sends News Papers &c.” LbC Adams Papers; { 359 } notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15.”; by Thaxter: “No. 8.” and “In No. 8 were inclosed Triplicates of all the former Letters to Congress, and also a Copy of a Letter to the Marquiss de la Fayette, & his Answer, & a Copy of one to Mr. Genet and his Answer.”
Adams sent copies of and comments on the Mercure de France (the successor to Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique), Courier de l'Europe, Gazette de France, and Gazette de la Haie. He noted that the Courier was thought to be influenced by the British ministry; that the Gazette de France was published by the French government, but was noted for its integrity; and that the Gazette de la Haie was a vehicle for British falsehoods. Regarding the Dutch paper, see vol. 6:215.
RC ( in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, I, f. 279); docketed: “No. 8 Feby. 23. 1780 Letter from J. Adams recd. Oct. 16. sends News Papers &c.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in Congress Oct. 15.”; by Thaxter: “No. 8.” and “In No. 8 were inclosed Triplicates of all the former Letters to Congress, and also a Copy of a Letter to the Marquiss de la Fayette, & his Answer, & a Copy of one to Mr. Genet and his Answer.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:514.)

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0235

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1780-02-23

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

The French Court seem to be now every day more and more convinced of the good Policy, and indeed the Necessity of prosecuting the War with Vigour in the American Seas. They have been and are making great Preparations accordingly, and are determined to maintain a clear Superiority.
M. de la Motte Piquet has with him, the Hannibal, the Magnifique, the Diadem, the Dauphin Royal, the Artesien, the Reflechi, and the Vengeur, and if M. de Grace [Grasse] has joined him from Chesapeak Bay, the Robuste, the Fendant and the Sphinx, in all ten Ships of the Line.
M. de Guichen is gone to join him, with the Couronne, eighty Guns, the Triomphant, eighty, the Palmier, seventy four, the Victoire, the Destin, the Conquerant: the Citoyen, the Intrepide, the Hercule, the Souverain, all of seventy four—the Jason, the Actionaire, the Caton, the Julien, the Solitaire, the St. Michel, the Triton, all of sixty four. The Frigates the Medee, Courageuse, Gentille and the Charmante all of thirty two. He had above an hundred Sail of Vessels under his Convoy, and the Regiments of Touraine and Enghien, of more than thirteen hundred Men each, and the second Battalion of Royal Comtois and of Walsh of seven hundred men each—making in the whole more than four thousand Troops. Besides these, there are seven more preparing at Brest to sail.1
Messrs. Gerard, Jay and Charmichael are arrived at Cadiz in a French Frigate—the Confederacy having been dismasted and driven to Martinique. The Alliance carries this with Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard, who will no doubt be treated with all Respect at Boston.
{ 360 }
Notwithstanding the Commotions in England and Ireland, the Success of Prevost at Savannah, and of Rodney off Gibralter, and even the silly Story of Omoa in South America, is enough to embolden the Ministry to go on with a Debt of two hundred Millions already contracted, to borrow twelve or fourteen Millions a Year in the Beginning of a War with France and Spain—each having a greater Navy than they ever had, each discovering a greater fighting Spirit than they ever did before,2 and obliging the English to purchase every Advantage at a dear Rate.
The Premiums and Bounties, that they are obliged to give to raise Men, both for the Service by Sea and Land, and the Interest of Money they borrow, are greater than were ever given in any former Wars, even in the last Year of the last War. This cannot always last, nor indeed long. Yet I dont expect to see Peace very soon.
I have sent a Trunk to the Care of the Navy Board, for my dear Mrs. A., in which is something for Mrs. W. Pray write me as often as possible, and send the News papers to me.

[salute] Your Friend and Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J Adams Lettr Feby. 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. JA's information regarding the naval force available to the French in the West Indies, as well as the ships and troops convoyed by Guichen to Martinique, is substantially correct. With the exception of the ships of the line Hannibal, Diadem, Dauphin Royal, Reflechi, Conquerant, Jason, and Julien and the frigate Charmante, all of the vessels named participated in the battle against Rodney's fleet off Martinique on 17 April. The four ships of the line under La Motte-Piquet that were not available for the battle had left Martinique before Guichen's arrival to escort to St. Domingo merchant ships returning to France. The absence of La Motte-Piquet and his ships on the 17th may have denied Guichen a decisive victory, for their presence would have given Guichen a margin of 26 ships of the line to 20 for Rodney (W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 441–442; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 187–188).
2. In the Letterbook copy, a draft, JA wrote: “each discovering a fighting Spirit, which they never did before,” and then altered it to the text given here.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0236

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Date: 1780-02-24

To Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Dear Sir

I had last Evening the Honour, of your Letter from Brest, of the 16th. of this Month, and I thank you, sir for your kind Enquiries after our Health. Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter, the three Children and myself, are very well at present. Mr. Allen We left, in good Health at Bordeaux. We were all much incommoded with violent Colds and { 361 } threatned with dangerous Fevers in Spain, arrising from bad Weather, much fatigue and vile Accommodations, but the Salubrious Air, the innumerable delights of France, have restored Us all to very good Health and Spirits. We are all much rejoiced to hear of your Welfare and that of your Officers, to whom We request you to present our Respects.
I feel So much Affection for the good Old Sensible, that I take a Pleasure in learning that she was able to perform the Voyage to Brest and that she is still uncondemned, but not so much as to wish that Lives of Officers and People that I so much respect should be risqued in her too long.1
I hope the Minister, to whom I have had the Pleasure of expressing my Gratitude to you and your Officers for your Goodness to me and my Suite in both Passages, both by Word of Mouth and by Letter,2 will agree to your Wishes for a short Relaxation: and you may assure Madam Chevagne of our Respect and that We have not yet ceased to drink her Health, and yours at the same time.
I thank you for your Care of our Trunks, and I hope that Mrs. Gerard de Malherbes et Allain, will transmit them to me at the Hotel De Valois Rue de Richelieu.
When I shall have Occasion to return to America I dont know, but whenever that time shall come, nothing would give me so much Pleasure, as to return with you. And it is very far from being impossible or unlikely that <We> I may have once more the good Luck to navigate the Atlantic with you. I have the Honour to be with much Respect and Affection, sir your very humble and obedient servant
1. The voyage from El Ferrol to Brest was La Sensible's last as a warship. In April it and two other frigates were ordered converted to transports (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 358).
2. See JA to Sartine, 13 Feb. (calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0237

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-24

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received the Letter, that you did me the Honour to write me the 20th. of this Month.
I was cautious of troubling the Minister, with an Application directly to him upon a Subject like that of my Letter to you: but I thank you, for the Trouble you have taken in laying it, before him. The kind { 362 } Expressions of his Excellencies Confidence, and his Readiness to receive any Applications directly from me, do me great Honour, and I shall not fail of paying my Respects to him upon proper Occasions.
I am happy to have his Excellencies Authority, to counteract, the delusive Artifices of our Enemies: and he may be equally assured that the Reports of Advances made by the Americans, towards an Arrangement with the English are equally groundless.
I hope to have soon the Honour of paying my Respects to you at Versailles. In the mean Time, I have a favour to request of you, which is your Assistance in procuring, some News Papers from England. I am told Dr. Franklin, and other Americans here have been under Obligations to you for procuring them by the Way of Ostend, and that they pay for them to the Post Master at Ostend. You are better acquainted with the Character and Merit of the English Papers than We are. We should be much obliged to you therefore, if you would give orders for two setts of Papers, one for Mr. Dana and one for me: one on the Court side of the Question and the other on the Country Side. Papers which commonly contain the best Intelligence.
We will pay the Expence whenever and to whomsoever you direct. And We shall be very glad to pay for your sending them to Us, in the same manner you did to Mr. Izard. I have the Honour to be with great Esteem and Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “Monsieur Genet Premier Comis de Affaires etrangeres, Rue Royal a Versailles.” The text is taken from the Letterbook copy because the RC (J. G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958) exists only as a fragment, with extensive fire damage and the signature cut out.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0238

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-24

From the Comte de Vergennes

Replying to John Adams' letter of 19 Feb. (calendared above), Vergennes noted that Adams' account of his commissions agreed with that of Conrad Alexander Gérard and that the most important aspect of his mission, the negotiation of a peace treaty, would be announced in the Gazette de France. Adams might also publicize the peace commission in the Dutch papers, but should first send Vergennes a copy of any such article. Regarding Adams' commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty, Vergennes advised him not to disclose it to anyone and in particular to do everything possible to prevent the British ministry from learning of it. Finally, Vergennes declared that since he was certain that Adams' instructions were in conformity with the Franco-American treaties, there was no need for him to see them.
Years later Adams analyzed Vergennes' motives for offering him the { 363 } advice in this letter. He noted that although he had seen no reason “for concealing one of my Commissions more than the other,” he had thought it prudent to follow Vergennes' counsel. He believed, however, that the letter was early evidence of Vergennes' determination to have the commission to negotiate a commercial treaty annulled. According to Adams, Vergennes' success in that undertaking indicated that it was France's policy “to keep Us embroiled with England as much and as long as possible, even after a Peace” (same, 4:252–253).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0239

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-02-25

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Gentlemen

I have not had opportunity, Since my Arrival at Paris, to pay my Respects to you, and to inform you, that We all happily arrived, on the 9th. of this Month. We have now a little Leisure to look back upon the Scenes we have passed thro Since our Arrival in Europe, and I assure you, that I reflect upon none with more Pleasure than those at Bilbao.
I find that Vessels arrive oftener, there and at Cadiz than in France, from our Part of America, and I believe I must now and then trouble you with a Letter to send Congress,1 from your Port, and request my Friends in America to write me, by the Same Channel,2 as Intelligence between the two Countries is So much wanted, and is So often interrupted.
Mr. Dana informs me that you sent a few Things to my Family by Captain Babson.3 But these will go but a little Way in the support of a large Family, even if they arrive Safe, which is very uncertain. I have therefore to request your House to Send Duplicates of the Same Things, by the next Vessell that goes to Mr. Isaac Smith of Boston, or Mr. Jackson or Tracy, or indeed any other good Man in the Massachusetts Bay, directed in the Same manner, provided you think that the Season of the Year, the Sailing of the Vessell and the Character of the Master is such as to give a fair Chance of Arriving safe. I would not Send any Thing in a wrong Season, by a dull Sailor or an absurd Captain. If you will send such Duplicates, and then Triplicates, by the next opportunity which you may think equally good, and draw upon me, for the Money, in Paris your Bills shall be punctually paid.4
Pray inform me the News of Mr. Jay, and his Reception at Madrid. I am &c.
1. See JA's letter to the president of the congress of this date, descriptive note (below).
2. See JA to John Jay, 22 Feb., note 1 (above).
3. JA had not yet received the letter { 364 } from Gardoqui & Sons of 19 Feb. (above), informing him of the goods sent in Capt. Babson's vessel. When that letter was received on 1 March, JA immediately wrote to the firm with additional instructions (LbC, Adams Papers).
4. JA originally intended to end his letter at this point, for immediately following this sentence is his usual stylized closing, which has been canceled.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0240

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-02-25

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have this Moment your Letter from Brussells of the 19th of this Month, and I thank You for your kind Congratulations on my safe Arrival. Whether I come in the amiable and blessed Character, as You say You have heard, with the Olive Branch in my Hand, and surrounded with Doves, Lambs and Angels or not, You will learn, in due Time. At present, the common Enemy shews a Picture, of a very different Kind.
I was much disappointed on my Arrival in Paris to find that You had left it, because I had promised myself much pleasure in your Conversation, after two tedious Voyages by Sea, and a Journey by Land, in the dead of Winter, through Spain and France, infinitely more disagreeable than either, and a painful Application at Home for three Months to a difficult Subject, the Formation of a Civil Constitution in the Convention of the Massachusetts.
I left the general and particular Governments in America in great Vigour, and the Spirits of the People very high, and their Temper extreamly firm. The Paper Money gives Trouble and does Injustice to Individuals, but it has little Effect1 upon the public Mind respecting the general Cause. Indeed I percieved no more Symptoms of Doubt of the final Independence of America, than if it had been acknowledged and guaranteed by all the World. The Seizure of the Dutch Ships is a desperate Step indeed, and must touch all the Powers, as well as the Dutch, very sensibly. I should be much obliged to You for a Copy of what You wrote to the Pensioner of Amsterdam upon the Subject.2
One sees the Powers at War in different Lights, when one views them from different Cities, as I have often had Opportunity to experience, and you will have Opportunities of gaining Intelligence from Brussells, that I cannot at Paris, from England especially. You will oblige me therefore very much, and render an useful Service perhaps to our Country, by informing me of all You may learn, concerning the Designs of the English Court, their intended Expeditions, and their { 365 } Force by Sea and Land. As to Thoughts of Peace, they will never have any, while they have any little Successes, as they conduct themselves on a Maxim, diametrically opposite to that of the Romans.3
I am well persuaded, Sir, of your Fidelity and Affection to your Country, as well as of your Abilities to serve it, and have taken the Liberty to mention as much and more too to some Gentlemen in Congress, to whom I transmitted the twelve Letters on the Spirit and Resources of Great Britain.4 I also transmitted your Letter to General Gates, and had a Letter from him, acknowledging the Receipt of it, before he had the pleasure of marching into Newport, and cutting off the British Army from great Quantities of Wood, Forrage, Canon and Merchandizes, which they intended to have carried away with them, not expecting that he would have the Hardiness to take possession of the Town before, they were gone from the Harbour.5

[salute] I am, my dear Sir, your faithful and affectionate Servant.

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); docketed: “<A> Mr A Feb 25. 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook copy, JA first wrote “no Effect,” and then canceled it in favor of “little Effect.”
2. In his reply of 1 March (Adams Papers) Jenings provided the text of his letter of 27 Jan. to van Berckel, the pensionary of Amsterdam.
3. See JA to the president of the congress, 20 Feb. (above).
4. See Jenings to JA, 25 April 1779, and note 2.
5. See Jenings to JA, [ca. 6?] June, and Gates to JA, 20 Aug. 1779 (both above). Gates was at Newport on 27 Oct. (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0241

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-25

To the President of the Congress, No. 9

[salute] Sir

Since my Letter of the twentieth, I have recieved another Letter from his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes dated the 24th. of February, to which I answered this Day; Copies of both Letters are inclosed.
I have also the Honour to inclose a Gazette, and an Application from M. Comyn of Marseilles to be a Consul for the Ports of Provence and Languedoc.1 I know nothing of this Gentleman, but what he says of himself.
By the inclosed Gazette, as well as by many others, Congress will see, of what wonderful Efficacy in pulling down Tyranny, a Committee of Correspondence is likely to be. Ireland have done great things by means of it. England is attempting great things with it, after the Example, of the Americans, who invented it, and first taught its Use: Yet all { 366 } does not seem to produce the proper Gratitude in the Minds of the English towards their Benefactors. However the Glory of the Invention is as certainly ours, as that of Electrical Rods, Hadley's Quadrant, or Inoculation for the Small Pox.2

[salute] I have the Honour to be; with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,

RC is an unsigned Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 39); docketed: “John Adams Feb. 25. 1780” and “dupl No. 9 J. Adams Esqr 25th Feby. 1780 Read May 15. 1780—Publicity of his Embassy.” Intended RC in Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 281); docketed: “No. 9 Feb 25th. 1780 Letter from J Adams recd. Oct 16. Publicity of his Embassy Mr. Comin's Memorial vid Feb. 20 vid March 30.” Tripl, unsigned, in Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 29–31); docketed: “No. 9 Tripl: Feb. 25. 1780 Letter from J Adams rec'd. Oct: 16th. 80 Publicity of his Embassy Mr. Comin's memorial.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “No. 9” and “recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate”; by Thaxter: “March 31st. 1780. The Letters were delivered to M. de la Fayette on board the Hermion Frigate by Dr. Bancroft ie. those <that were delivered> him by Mr. W. Franklin.”; “Feby. 26th. 1780. This day delivered to Mr. A. Lee Triplicates of all the Letters to Congress—also a Triplicate of the Comte De Vergennes Letter of the 24th. of Feby. and the answer to it of the 25th. inclosed in the Triplicate of Number 9., and also a Number of private Letters”; and “Delivered to Mr. W. Franklin, Duplicates of all the Letters to Congress to be by him sent to Dr. Bancroft to carry to Nantes.” The Letterbook notation for 31 March was interlined between the last line of text and the notation for 26 Feb. JA wrote to Edward Bancroft on 26 Feb. (LbC, Adams Papers), requesting that, since Bancroft was reportedly leaving for Nantes on the following day, he take charge of the packet and, from there or some other port, send it by a safe conveyance to America. Lafayette reached Philadelphia on 15 May with the duplicates, and Lee on or about 16 Oct. with the triplicates. Nothing is known of the route taken by the packet containing the intended recipient's copy and its enclosures, but JA may have sent it with his letter of 25 Feb. to Joseph Gardoqui & Sons (above), who delayed forwarding it, with the result that it did not arrive until 16 Oct.
1. Neither Comyn's letter of [ante 25 Feb.] nor JA's answer of 25 Feb. (RC and LbC, Adams Papers) have been printed. In his reply JA promised only to send Comyn's application to the congress.
2. In the Letterbook this paragraph clearly was an afterthought. Written immediately below the formal closing, it was marked for insertion following the paragraph mentioning Comyn's application. JA refers, in addition to Franklin's lightning rods, to: the navigational quadrant named after its English inventor, John Hadley, but also invented, apparently independently and with some improvements, by Thomas Godfrey, a Philadelphian, in 1730; and to the pioneering work of Boston's Zabdiel Boylston, the first American physician to inoculate against smallpox, in 1721. As with Godfrey, Boylston's work followed that of English doctors by a few months, but was developed independently from African and Turkish practices. Boylston was JA's great-uncle (Raymond Phineas Stearns, Science in the British Colonies of America, Urbana, Ill., 1970, p. 514; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0242

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-02-25

To the Comte de Vergennes

Replying to Vergennes' letter of the 24th (calendared above), John Adams expressed his appreciation for his upcoming presentation at the French court. He also agreed to avoid publicizing his peace commission before its announcement in the “Gazette,” to submit any announcement that he might seek to have published in the Dutch papers, and to keep secret his commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty. This is the last complete letter included in JA's Autobiography.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0243-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-25

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

Je ne manquerai point de rendre compte a monseigneur le Comte de Vergennes de la lettre dont vous venés de m'honorer.1
Je vais écrire aussi à Ostende pour qu'on vous fasse venir Sous mon couvert deux gazettes les plus renommées dans chaque parti. Suivant moi c'est dans celui de l'Opposition le General advertiser imprimé par W. Parker—et dans celui du Ministere le Morning post. Ce sont les deux que je demanderai et je vous les ferai passer régulierement. En attendant je vous en prêterai des miennes quand je le pourrai. Je joins ici le general advertiser du 17. Vous me le renverrés à votre loisir. Je vous ferai connoitre les votres quand ils viendront pour qu'ils vous restent.
Oserois je vous demander des nouvelles de Mr. votre fils, et S'il est revenu avec vous. Le mien part dans huit jours pour l'allemagne.2 Je vous prie de faire agréer mes hommages à Mr. Francis Dana.
Vous êtes vous Souvenu de moi pour les nouvelles constitutions que je n'avois pas pû me procurer. Si vous n'avés pas eu le terns de les recueillir, etant resté fort peu en Amérique, cela vous est encore possible par vos amis et je vous en Serai obligé.
J'ai l'honeur d'etre avec un inviolable attachement Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Genet

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0243-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-25

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I will not fail to inform the Count Vergennes of the letter with which you have honored me.1
I will also write to Ostend to ask them to send, under my name, two gazettes, the most influential in each party. To my mind they are, for the Opposition, the General Advertiser, published by W. Parker—and { 368 } for the Ministry, the Morning Post. These are the two that I will request and forward to you regularly. In the meantime, I will lend you some of my own copies when I can. I am enclosing the General Advertiser of the 17th, which you can return at your convenience. I will inform you when your own copies are sent so that you may keep them.
Dare I ask you for news of your son and whether he returned with you? My own leaves for Germany in eight days.2 Please give my regards to Mr. Francis Dana.
Did you remember my request for copies of the new constitutions I was unable to obtain? If you did not have time to gather them, being only briefly in America, you might still do so through your friends, and I would be grateful to you.
I have the honor to be, with an unshakable attachment, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Genet 25th. Feby. 1780 ansd. 26th Feby. 1780.”
1. Of 24 Feb. (above).
2. Edmond Charles Genet, later first minister from the French Republic to the United States and known then as “Citizen Genet.” In 1780 he was 17 years old and, after studying at Geissen and Berlin and serving on the staff of the French ambassador at Vienna, became head of the foreign ministry's translation bureau upon his father's death in 1781 (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0244

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-26

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Sir]

I have just now recieved the [Letter,] which You did me the Honor to write me yesterday[, and I] thank You, Sir, for the Loan of the English Paper[s, which I] shall carefully return, and beg the Loan of the oth[ers, as y]ou can spare them, until those shall arrive, which [you] have ordered for me: for the Trouble you have taken [in] ordering those Papers; for your kind Enquiries after my Son, who has accompanied me in all my Peregrination[s, a]nd is now at M. Pechinis Pension at Passy,1 with another [of] my Sons, and a Granchild of Dr. Cooper's, whose Name and Character You know, all three of whom I brought with me, through a dangerous Voyage and a wearisome Journey, for the Sake of giving them an early Acquaintance with this Country, its Language &c. I wish your worthy Son a good Voyage and all possible Success.2
I have made your Compliments to Mr. Dana, who desires me to return You his Respects.
I shall inclose with this, [a Projected Constitution for] the Massachusetts Bay,3 which is [now under the Consider]ation of the Conven• { 369 } tion of that State, in [which you will] see a full and true Account of all my publi[c, and most] of my private Occupations during my short [Residence] at Home. My fellow Citizens were pleased, on my [Arrival] to elect me into the Convention, whose Deliber[ations wi]th those of their Committees and Sub-Committe[s,4 took up] all my Time, until I recieved Orders to return to [Europe.]
I was not able to make a compleat Collection of American Constitutions, while I was at Hom[e:] but if You will inform me, which of the Constitutions you have not, I will write immediately to Philadelphia, and even to Congress, upon the Subject, and I dare an[swer] for it, You will be furnished with them as soon as possi[ble.]
I am, Sir, with an affectionate Attachmen[t,] your most obedient Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand with additions by JA (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958) LbC (Adams Papers). Fire damage to the RC has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied from the Letter book copy.
1. For the school of M. Pechigny, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:272–273, and JQA, Diary, 1:34.
2. This sentence was entered on the recipient's copy by JA after John Thaxter had copied the text from the Letterbook. The addition was then recorded in the Letterbook, perhaps by Thaxter.
3. This was one of the several copies of The Report of a Constitution, [ca. 28–31 Oct. 1779] (above), that JA had brought to Europe for distribution.
4. In the Letterbook copy this word is either “subcommittes” or “subcommittee.”

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0245

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-02-27

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I received to day, yours of the 22d. That by Mr. Brush I answered as soon as received.2
You cannot oblige me more sir, than by communicating Intelligence from E.
I have been a Witness, these 6 Years, of the annual Reports Spread by England to make it believed in America that the Russians were to interpose, and I have heard a vast deal of it, since my Arrival in Paris, in so much that I have set myself directly to Search out the Truth, and I have as high Authority as any in this Kingdom to assure you, and every other on whom that political Lye has made any Impression whether in Europe or America, that it is false, both with respect to Russia and Denmark.
I did not want this Authority for myself. I was So well persuaded of { 370 } the Interest of Russia, and Denmark and their disposition, before that I was easy.
But, indeed, it would move me, very little, if Russia, and Denmark too were to declare for G.B.—it would instantly determine Powers more momentous than both, to join Bourbon and America.3
I will thank Russia and Denmark with all my soul, however, if they will bring about a Peace, an honest Peace I mean.
There is an Expedition preparing at Brest, to ballance that of Boyle Walsingham, perhaps, so that I am not in pain about that.
Mr. Carmichael, is Secretary to the American Embassy at Madrid. His Residence I know not, but your Letter cant miscarry.
Can you inform me, how many Troops, Walsingham has, how many ships.4 Can you inform me how many regular Troops there are in Ireland? Who are the real Planners, of the late Correspondences and Associations in Ireland, and the real Leaders—and the ostensible. For in Europe, I take it the ostensible Leader is not the real one.
We have an high Story to day, of the Repeal of Poynings Law, of a Declaration of the Independancy of the Irish Legislature, on any others, and forbidding all Appeals from their House of Lords to the English House of Lords—it comes from England.5
What think you? Is there Spunk enough in the Counties to do any Thing? Or will the Cry of Sedition and Rebellion, and the Disgrace of a few Lord Lieutenants,6 frighten them, into Tranquility. Some of them Seem a little in Earnest and they go on, regularly enough, to be sure more Americans.7 The Committee of Correspondence, which my Friend Sam. Adams invented, refined it first and showed its Use, as much as Swift did the Irony, Seems to have the Same wonderful Efficacy. Heaven grant it success. Its Invention will make an Epocha in the History of the Progress of Society, and of the human Understanding.

[salute] I am with much Attachment yours

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The dateline is in John Thaxter's hand; the remainder of the recipient's copy is by JA.
2. Presumably JA is referring to Jenings' letter of 19 Feb., which he had answered on the 25th (both above). Mr. Brush, who apparently carried the letter of the 19th, remains unidentified.
3. Probably Prussia and Austria.
4. In his reply of 5 March (Adams Papers), and in considerable detail, Jenings answered this and other questions posed by JA in this letter.
5. This report was false and, according to JA's letter to AA of 28 Feb., had been supplied by Benjamin Franklin (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:291–292). In the wake of Parliament's grant of a measure of economic independence (see JA to Elbridge Gerry, 23 Feb., note 4, above), there was renewed agitation for legislative independence through the repeal or modi• { 371 } fication of Poyning's Law of 1495 and the Irish Declaratory Act of 1719. The first provided that all previous general statutes that had not specifically been applied to Ireland were to be in force and enabled the Privy Council in England to “initiate, supervise, reject, or amend all bills” enacted or considered by the Irish Parliament. The second formally provided for the British Parliament to legislate for Ireland (Henry Campbell Black, A Law Dictionary Containing Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English jurisprudence Ancient and Modern, 2d edn., St. Paul, Minn., 1910; R. Coupland, The American Revolution and the British Empire, London, 1930, p. 58–59). These efforts came to nothing, and at the time that this letter was written the Irish Parliament had not yet considered the issue. Not until 19 April did Henry Grattan, noted Irish statesman and orator, introduce a resolution calling for legislative independence; after a fifteen-hour debate, the measure was postponed and never revived (DNB; Coupland, American Revolution and the British Empire, p. 125–128; W. E. H. Lecky, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols., N.Y., 1878–1890, 4:550–551).
6. A reference to the removal of Henry Herbert, 10th earl of Pembroke, and Francis Osborne, marquis of Carmarthen (later 5th Duke of Leeds), as lords lieutenant of Wiltshire and the East Riding of York, respectively, because of their refusal to oppose the demands of the county associations. Both were restored to office by the Rockingham ministry in 1782 (DNB). Pembroke, and presumably also Carmarthen, received notice of his dismissal in a letter from Lord Hillsborough of 14 Feb., to which Pembroke replied on the same day. For the two letters, which were widely reprinted, see the London Chronicle of 29 Feb. – 2 March.
7. Thus in both the recipient's copy, where JA interlined “to be sure,” and the Letterbook copy.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0246

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-27

To the President of the Congress, No. 10

[salute] Sir

No. 10.
There are so many Gentleman of Rank going out to America, that there can be no doubt Congress will be fully informed of the State of public Affairs.
Mr. Lee, Mr. Izard, the Marquiss de la Fayette, Mr. Wharton, and many others, are going by different Vessels.
Besides these Monsieur de L'Etombe, who is appointed Consul General of France for the Northern District of America, as Mr. Holker is for the middle, and I have not yet learned who for the Southern, will go soon.1
There is an Armament preparing with the greatest Expedition at Brest, which is to be commanded by Monsieur de Ternay, and to consist of eight or ten Ships of the Line and Frigates. Six of the Line and several Frigates, as it is said, perhaps it is not yet certain nor determined, exactly how many of either, with several thousand Men, all Numbers are mentioned from six to ten thousands, under the General Officers, de la Rochambeau and Jaucourt.2 Whether this Force is destined to the Continent or the West Indies, Time will discover, at present it ought not to be known.
{ 372 }
On the other Hand, I see a Paragraph in a London Paper of the sixteenth of this Month, that the Thunderer, Torbay, Ramilies, Royal Oak, Triumph, and Egmont, are ordered for the West Indies under Captain Walsingham, the Southampton, St. Albans and Winchelsea, which were talked of to go with him, are found unfit for Service, and in so bad a Condition as to be ordered to be paid off.
Thus the French are likely to be drawn into the American Seas in sufficient force, where they have great Advantages in carrying on the War. It is much to be wished that the Spaniards could be drawn into the same Field of Battle,3 for Gibralter must be taken in America, if ever.
There are some Persons, however, who think, that the English will avenge the French, the Spaniards, and above all the Americans, upon one another, and it is certain that Parties in England are working up to a Crisis. The Petitions of the Counties, their numerous Committees of Correspondence, their Hints of Associations have most certainly alarmed the King and his Ministers to a great degree—to such a degree, that for some Time their Conduct was equivocal, giving Hopes at Times to the People, that the Crown would favour the desired Reformation, in the Expenditure of Money. But upon the News of Rodney's Success, they grew bolder, and determined, to exert all the Authority of the Crown, to suppress the Meetings of the People. Accordingly the Cry, of Faction, Sedition and Rebellion was set up in Parliament by the Majority, and the King was advised to dismiss those Lieutenants of Counties, who had favoured the Meetings of the People, Advice which he has certainly taken.
This is a decisive Measure. It will either discourage, and suppress these Meetings, Petitions, Correspondences and Associations altogether; or it will give them greater Force.
By a Debate in the House of Commons on the fourteenth of this Month, one would think that the Nation was really at the Brink of a Civil War.4 Yet I confess, I cannot think that there are any Characters at present, in whom the Nation have sufficient Confidence, to venture themselves any Lengths under their Guidance. And I believe that this spirited Conduct of the King, will defeat the Measures of the Counties, unless indeed in the Course of the next Campaign, his Arms, especially by Sea, should meet with any signal Defeat, which would re-animate perhaps, the People.
But, even supposing the People go on, and succeed so far as to effect a Change in the Ministry: the Question is, whether this would be an Advantage to Us or our Allies? I am myself, very far from being convinced that it would. There are none, of the principal Leaders of the { 373 } People, that avow any fixed Principle, that We can depend upon. None that avow a design of acknowledging our Independence or even of making Peace.
By5 Letters I have recieved from Brussels and Holland since my Arrival,6 I am told that the late desperate Step of the English in seizing the Dutch Ships, has made a great Change in the Minds of the People there, and the Government too, in our Favour. Even the Prince, declares that he has been decieved by the English, and that he will promote unlimited Convoys: that an American Minister is much wished for, who, altho' he might not be yet publickly recieved, would be able to do as much Good as if he was: that Money might be borrowed there, by such a Minister directly from Congress applying directly to solid Dutch Houses. I hope every Hour to hear of Mr. Laurens's arrival.
I have subscribed for the English Papers, but have not yet recieved any, which I am sorry for, because I can get none to inclose. As fast as they come to me I will send them. I have the Honour to inclose another Mercure de France, and to be, with the most perfect Attachment, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, 1, f. 291–294); docketed: “No. 10. Letter from J. Adams Paris Feby 27. 1780 Read May 15.—french & english Armaments preparing for the American Seas Disputes in England no prospect of serious Articles of Peace. Affairs of Holland.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “No. 10.”
1. The three consuls were Philippe André Joseph de Létombe at Boston, John (or Jean) Holker the younger at Philadelphia, and Charles François, Chevalier d'Anmours, at Baltimore (JA to AA, 27 Feb. 1780, and note 3, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:286–287). On 29 Feb., Ralph Izard wrote to JA (Adams Papers) concerning a meeting between Izard, JA, and Létombe on the following day. It is not known if the meeting took place.
2. When it sailed on 2 May the fleet under the command of Chevalier de Ternay consisted of seven ships of the line, two frigates, and two smaller warships; it escorted thirty-two transports and cargo ships carrying 5,500 troops under the command of Comte de Rochambeau. The force reached Newport in July (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 190–191). Jaucourt remains unidentified.
3. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence reads: “for <in my Opinion> Gibraltar must be taken in America, if ever.”
4. The debate on 14 Feb. was ostensibly over a proposal put forth by Isaac Barré to establish a committee of accounts to oversee public expenditures. This was one of the demands of the county association movement, and the debate largely centered on the propriety of that movement. During the debate George Onslow attacked the Duke of Richmond for his support of the county associations and strongly implied that Richmond was making military preparations to support their demands for reform. As reported in the London Chronicle of 12–15 Feb., Onslow stated at one point that “associations were the commencement of rebellions.” See also Parliamentary Hist., 21:74–83.
5. In the Letterbook this paragraph was written below the formal closing and marked for insertion at this point.
6. These were the letters from Edmund Jenings of 19 Feb. and Alexander Gillon of 14 Feb. (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0247

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-28

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

The Marquiss, who loves Us, will deliver You this. He will tell You every thing.
Arbuthnot, Rodney and Walsingham are to be pitted against de la Motte Piquet, Guichen and Ternay in the West Indies. So that I hope, You will be pretty quiet. Prepare however to co-operate and rout them out of the Continent if possible. Above all let me beg of You to encourage Privateering.
The French will be superior in the American Seas this Campaign, or I am misinformed, and I have it from good Authority. Oh that Spain could be persuaded that Gilbralter is to be conquered in America. It is certainly true, and I believe only there. I have written You by Mr. Lee1 who goes in the Alliance, and took my Pen now, only to give the Marquiss a Letter to put into your Hands.

[salute] Your Friend in great Haste.

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NN: George Bancroft Coll.); docketed: “Letter from J A Paris 28 Feb. 1780”; and in another hand: “Copied & ExC.”
1. On 23 Feb. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0248

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-28

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] dear sir

This will be delived you by the Marquis your Friend. Your Grandson is well and very contented. He has seen the World, to be sure,—such a Part of it, that none of the rest can ever be superlatively disagreable to him hereafter.
Spain is a fine Country—or as my Parson Bryant said of Hezekias, he would be the best Man in the World if he had no Religion,1 so I can say that Spain would be one of the finest Countries if it had no Religion nor Government.
But enough of this: I was treated with great Distinction there in Honour of my Country but this could not make good Roads, nor comfortable Taverns. Windows and Chimneys, are necessary to this.
I have written by the Alliance, concerning your Grandsons Expences,2 which were very high: but he has seen the World.
Instead of Wishing and hoping for Peace, my dear Countrymen must qualify themselves for War, and learn the Value of Liberty by the Dearness of its Purchase. The Foundations of lasting Prosperity are laid in great military Talents and Virtues. Every sigh for Peace, untill it { 375 } can be obtained with Honour, is unmanly. If our Enemies Can be Obstinate and desperate in a wicked and disgracful Cause, surely We can be determined and persevering in the most just, the most honourable, and the most glorious Cause that ever was undertaken by Men. I am with-great Affection &c
1. On Rev. Lemuel Briant, his use of this expression in a different context, and JA's reaction to it, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:262, and JA, Works, 10:254.
2. For JA's letter to Gabriel Johonnot of 23 Feb., not printed, see his letter of the same date to Samuel Cooper, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0249

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Knox, Henry
Date: 1780-02-28

To Henry Knox

[salute] Dear sir

Your Friend the Marquis, with whom I have sometimes had the Honour to drink your Health after that of General Washington, will deliver you this. His Love of Glory is not diminished, nor his affection for America, as you see by his Return. He has been indefatigable in endeavours to promote the Welfare and Comfort of our Army, as well as to support their Honour and Character, and has had success in both.
He has had a share in convincing this Court of the Policy and Necessity of transferring their Exertions into the American seas and I hope, he will in time assist in bringing Spain into the same system. But Time is necessary to bring Nations to comprehend new systems of Policy, and every Body has some time or other an Opportunity of throwing in Light. France and Spain are not yet habituated to reasoning Upon the new Connection, nor are they yet Sensible of all the Advantages they might derive from it in the Prosecution of the War. France however is more convinced of it this Year than last. But I have not time to say more except that I am as usual your Frd

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0250

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1780-02-28

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I have written so fully to Congress and to particular Friends before, and have so little Time now, that I have little more to do than make up a Letter, for the Bearer to deliver You.
{ 376 }
The Marquiss de la Fayette is going to Boston in a Frigate, and surely he wants no Recommendation of mine—his own Merit and his Fame are enough. He has been the same Friend to Us here that he was in America. He has been very assiduous to procure Cloaths and Arms for our Army, and to promote our Interest in every other Way, within his Circle.
I can tell You nothing from Madrid as yet. But I hope Mr. Jay will succeed.
England may possibly try to get Russia and Denmark to negotiate for Peace, but She will not succeed, because She will not consent to such Terms as every American holds indispensible. Holland is very angry, but does not resent. She has been very ill treated, but cannot avenge herself. I beg that every Word I say to You about Peace, may be kept secret, because, I shall write to Congress upon that Subject all that is proper for me to say to any Body in America.
I have written You by the Alliance,1 which will sail soon. Landais is at Paris. Jones goes in the Alliance. Your Son is on Board, by2 this Time enured, I suppose, to the Sea, and to War. We have not yet learned who are our Delegates this Year, nor how the Constitution goes on.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (DNA: RG 217, First Auditor's Accounts, Misc. Treasury Accounts, Account No. 99166); docketed: “Mr J Adams Feby. 1780.”
1. JA's letter to Warren of 23 Feb. (above).
2. At the top of the first page of the letter James Warren wrote: “See last paragraph.” A line was drawn in the left margin beside this paragraph and the preceding six words referring to Warren's son James Jr. were underlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0251-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai écrit à Ostende pour les deux gazettes en question. En attendant je continuerai à vous en prêter des miennes, toujours le plutôt qu'il Sera possible. Je Suis charmé de Savoir que mr. votre fils est de retour en bonne Santé à Passy. Quelque jour de ce printems il faut que vous me l'envoyés avec Mr Cooper's grand child, et mr. votre autre fils. Je leur ferai voir Versailles, et je ferai en sorte qu'ils S'en retournent Satisfaits. Mon fils ne pourra point les recevoir: il part pour l'allemagne dans 4. jours et y restera un an. Mais a Son retour il aura l'honeur de faire leur connoissance. Je vous remercie des Souhaits que vous voulés { 377 } | view bien faire pour lui.—Je vous fais mes remerciemens De votre Excellent projet de constitution pour votre patrie. Je l'ai parcouru rapidement: il me paroit propre à prevenir toutes difficultés. Je le ferai traduire pour le publier tel qu'il est, et on y ajoutera les changemens, en bien ou en mal, qui auront été faits, et dont je vous prierai de me donner connoissance. Voici ci joint la liste des Constitutions qui me manquent. Je vous Serai obligé de tâcher de me les procurer.1 J'ai l'honeur d'etre avec un inviolable attachement Monsieur Votre trés humble et très obéissan[t] serviteur
[signed] Genet
Constitutions demandées par Mr Genet
Massachusetts      
New Hampshire      
Connecticut   }   if the former ones, he has them.2  
Rhode Island  
N. Carolina      
Georgia      

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0251-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have written to Ostend for the two gazettes in question. In the meantime, I will continue, always as soon as possible, to lend you mine. I am very happy to hear that your son has returned in good health to Passy. Some day this spring you should send me him, together with Mr. Cooper's grand child and your other son. I will show them Versailles and ensure they return satisfied. My son will be unable to receive them, as he is leaving for Germany in four days and will remain there a year. But on his return, he will have the honor of making their acquaintance. I thank you for the good wishes you sent him. I thank you also for your excellent project for a constitution for your state. I scanned it quickly and it appeared to me well suited to prevent all difficulties. I will have it translated in order to publish it as it is, and then add the changes that will be made, for better or worse, and of which you will undertake to inform me. Please find enclosed the list of the constitutions that I lack. I will be obliged if you would try to obtain them for me.1 I have the honor to be, with an unshakable attachment, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
Constitutions requested by Genet
Massachusetts      
New Hampshire      
Connecticut   }   if the former ones, he has them.2  
Rhode Island  
N. Carolina      
Georgia      
{ 378 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr. J. Adams Hotel de Valois rue de Richelieu”; docketed: “M. Genet. 28. Feb. 1780. ansd. 29.”
1. JA did so in his letter of 29 Feb. to the president of the congress (calendared, below). There he stated that Genet had “already translated and published the Constitutions of New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.”
2. This sentence is in Genet's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0252

Author: Moylan, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-28

From James Moylan

[salute] Dear sir

I received your much esteem'd letter of the 22d. with the memorandums it inclosed of the articles you wish to send to Boston by the Alliance. Captain Jones, on my application to him to permit those goods to be loaded on his vessel, immediately consented and told me he wou'd write you by this post,1 in consequence of which I shall prepair them and distinguish the property as you direct.
In Mrs. Adams's memorandum is mention'd half a Dozen: Damask Table Cloaths. Those, are not to be purchased in this Kingdom without the Napkins, say twelve to every Table cloath, and this, which the French call a sett, cost from 120 to 250 livres according to their quality. I shou'd be glad of your advice what is to be don in this case as well as to Know what colour'd velvet is meant in Mr. P. B. Adams's list and the Delph and stone ware in that of Mrs. Adams's and what quantity. You will have full time for this explination as I shall lay in the other goods in the mean time.2

[salute] I remain with much respect Dear sir Your most obedient & humble Servant

[signed] James Moylan
P.S. This letter gos under cover to my Banker as you forgot to mention the street and as I Know there are more than one Hotel de Valois in Paris.
1. Jones' letter of 28 Feb. is not printed, but see JA's letter to Jones of 22 Feb., note 3 (above).
2. JA replied on 6 March (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0253

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-02-29

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear sir]

I have this Moment your[s of the 28. I] thank You, Sir, for your kind Invitation to my [three Sons,] to come some time in the Spring, and spend a day [at Ver]sailles, which will be very agreeable to them, and [to me.]
{ 379 }
I am happy to find that the [Report of] the Committee has your Approbation; and shall [be very g]lad to see it translated and printed as it is. [Every] Attempt of this kind may be worth preserving, and [will be a] Gratification at least to Posterity to see the gradual [Pro]gress of Society, and the slow March of the human Un[der]standing in the Science of Government.
On the Moment of the Receipt of your Letter I have written to Congress, requesting their Aid in procuring the Constitutions of Georgia and of North Carolina.1 That of the Massachusetts is at present accord[ing] to their late2 Charter: that of New Hampshire is the same.3 As soon as the Massachusetts shall have established a [new one, New Hampshire will follow their Example, and I shall undoubtedly have Copies of them as soon as they can cross the sea, and] I will send them without [Loss of time to you.]
Rhode Island and Connecticut ha[ve made no Alte]rations in their Governments, but proceed [according to] their Charters, which You already have.
The Convention of the Massachusetts[, had receive]d the Report of the Committee which I sen[t you and] had considered and agreed to the Declaration of [Rights wi]th very little Alteration, before I took my Lea[ve of them.] They then adjourned to the first of January. [I was ver]y happy to observe the Temperance, Wisdom and [Firm]ness of this Assembly, and hope they will accomplis[h their] great Work with Success. I assure You, it was [mo]re comfortable building Constitutions of Governmen[t at] Cambridge, than sailing in a leaky Ship, or4 climb[ing] over the Mountains, or lodging in the Chimneyless [and] Windowless Taverns of Galicia, Leon, Castile or [ev]en Biscay and Guipuscoa. Yet I shall look back with equal pleasure upon both, if they contribute [to lay the Foundations of a free and prosperous People.]

[salute] [I am with sincere Affection yours]

[signed] [John Adams]5
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). LbC (Adams Papers). Fire damage to the recipient's copy has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.
1. In his letter to the president of the congress of this date (calendared, below), JA wrote: “there is so great a Curiosity throughout all Europe to see our new Constitutions; and those already published in the Languages of Europe have done Us so much Honor, that I thought I should be excuseable, in making a direct Request to Congress for their Assistance in procuring those, which Mr. Genet still desires.”
2. In the Letterbook copy, a draft, JA deleted “old” in favor of “late.”
3. JA was in error; New Hampshire was governed under its unusually concise constitution of 5 Jan. 1776. In 1784 New { 380 } Hampshire inaugurated a much more elaborate constitution based on the Massachusetts model (Thorpe, ed., Federal and State Constitutions, 4:2451–2470).
4. In the Letterbook copy JA interlined “sailing in a leaky ship or.”
5. The signature is supplied. Although it has been lost from the recipient's copy and does not appear on the Letterbook copy, there can be little doubt that JA signed the letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0254

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-02-29

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend

I cannot let the Marquis go off, without a Line to you. He took leave of the King a few days ago, in the Uniform of an American Major General, and attracted the Eyes of the whole Court more than ever. He had on no doubt his American Sword2 which is indeed a Beauty, and which he shews with great Pleasure, upon proper Occasions. The workmanship is exquisite, and there are Emblems on it, representing him, in all the most remarkable Situations he has been in in America. He goes out in a Frigate of the King the Hermione from Rochfort, he carries with him Cloaths enough for the Army to make him welcome to them, if they had not known him before.
I must break off. Yours
[signed] J. Adams
Excuse one hint more about orders to draw upon you know whom,3 without which We shall be ridiculous.
1. On this date JA wrote an almost identical letter to Elbridge Gerry (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. On 21 Oct. 1778 the congress resolved that Benjamin Franklin “be directed to cause an elegant sword, with proper devices, to be made and presented, in the name of the United States, to the Marquis de la Fayette” (JCC, 12:1035). Franklin presented the sword in Aug. 1779 (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:134).
3. That is, to draw upon Benjamin Franklin; see JA to the president of the congress, 17 Feb., and note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0255

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-29

To the President of the Congress, No. 11

RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, I, f. 295; docketed: “No. 11 J. Adams Esqr Feby. 29th. 1780 the Gazette mentioned, not inclosd. Read May 15th. requests the Constitutions of each State particularly Georgia & North Carolina.” LbC Adams Papers; notations: “Recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 11.”
Responding to a request from Edmé Jacques Genet, John Adams asked for copies of American constitutions. See Genet's letter of 28 Feb. and Adams' reply of 29. Feb (both above).
RCin John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 295); docketed: “No. 11 J. Adams Esqr Feby. 29th. 1780 the Gazette mentioned, not inclosd. Read May 15th. requests the Constitutions of each State particularly Georgia & North Carolina.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd in congress Oct. 15. Triplicate.”; by Thaxter: “No. 11.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:527.)
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/