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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


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/