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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

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).
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, 2017.