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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

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
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).
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.