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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

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


[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).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.