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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-17

To the President of Congress, No. 46

[salute] Sir

Late Letters from Dantzick, imply that Commerce was become very languishing there, for Some time, excepting for Ships timber, which bore a very good Price there, on Account of the English, which they carried away, as well in their own Vessells as those of Dantzick.
The new face, which the Affairs of Europe, are about to take, from the Alliance formed between the Powers of the North, for the maintenance of an exact Neutrality, and to which, People here are fully persuaded that the Republick of the united Provinces, will agree, gives Occasion to conjectures, either that the War will be pushed this year, with more Vivacity, than ever both by Land and by Sea, or that Peace will <not> be made, without delay. They Say, even that there may have been already Negotiations commenced, on this Subject: That it is, by the Intervention of the King of Sardinia, who would manage the Accommodation between the belligerent Powers, and that his present Ambassador in France, is So much the better able to labour usefully, towards this great Work, that having resided in England, in the same Quality, he has the Advantage to know perfectly the Ministers and their System.1 However this may be, if there are Sometimes occasions, in which one may judge of future Events, by an Examination of the present, and Reflection upon the past, might one be taxed with Partiality, or temerity, if one ventured to lay it down, as a Fact, that from the Beginning of the Contest, in which Great Britain, is at present engaged, her Situation, has never appeared So { 146 } critical and So dangerous. In fact, as if it was not enough that She had quarrelled with her Colonies; as if, it was not enough that She is at War with two Powers So formidable as France and Spain in consequence of the quarrell with the Colonies: as if her intestine Troubles, were not enough, which by dividing the nation, contribute not a little to weaken it. At the End of the Perspective to See Ireland, at the first moment, make as much of it, as the Americans, in declaring herself also independant: In Spight of So many allarming Considerations, England Still Seems to Seek new Ennemies, by attacking, without Distinction the Vessels of all the neutral nations, and even of her allies. Thus, has She forced them, by this Proceeding not less arbitrary, than inconceivable, especially in her present Circumstances, to make a League with each other, for the maintenance of the Safety of the <nation> navigation of their respective Subjects, as well as of the Honour of their Flaggs for which, they plainly acknowledge at this day, that they never could have hoped for any Safety, if the English, who, embarass'd as they are, treat them nevertheless with So little Ceremony, could ever recover that Superiority, whereof We cannot deny, that they found means to put themselves in Possession, at the End of the last War.
But Such is the Fate of all human Things: To have, a Commencement, to acquire Successively an Augmentation, which ought to be expected up to certain Bounds, beyond which they must necessarily begin to decrease, untill they descend again to the Same Point from whence they began; and no human Efforts can disturb this constant, and immutable order. After this Declaration, let Us judge, whether in fact, this is not the Case of England, and We may after this predict, very nearly, the Issue, of the present Events, or of those which may take Place, in the Course of the Year.
By the English Papers Congress will See, the State of Parties in England, where the Stubble is So dry, that the Smallest Spark, thrown into it, may set the whole Field in a Blaze. Opposition, have carried tryumphantly, in the fullest house of Commons ever known, by a Majority of Eighteen Votes, against the utmost Efforts of the Ministry, the Resolutions.2 That it is necessary to declare, that the Influence of the Crown has increased, increases and ought to be diminished. That it is in the Power of the House to take Cognizance of, and to reform the Abuses, which may exist in the Employment of the civil List Revennues, as well as all other publick Revennues: And that it is the Duty of the House, to grant an effectual Redress to the Grievances, exposed in the Petitions presented to the House, by the { 147 } different Cities, Counties and Towns of the Kingdom. And by the Speech of Mr. Fox it will be Seen to what Soaring Heights this young Statesman, aspires.
Since My Arrival the last time, in Europe, I have had, Six and forty times, I think the Honour of Writing to Congress: but it seems impossible to get a Letter across the Atlantic. Many of my Letters have been waiting, long, at the seaports for a Passage, but when they will obtain it I know not. If they all arrive, and Congress should be able to see at one View the vast Chain, that is binding almost all Mankind, every day closer and faster together, in opposition to the dangerous Power, and the intollerable Passions of the English, they will see how many of the wisest Heads in the World are at Work for their Safety and Glory, and have the Utmost Cause of Gratitude to Heaven for ordering Events in the Course of his Providence, So decidedly in their favour.
I have the Honour to be, with the Sincerest Attachment, sir, your most faithfull and obedient Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 463–465;) endorsed: “No. 46 Letter from J. Adams April 17. 1780 recd. Feby. 19. 81 Influence of the northern Association upon Commerce.”
1. Nothing came of this rumored mediation by the King of Sardinia, Victor Amadeus III, under which a truce would be proposed and independence granted to only a portion of the American colonies, probably on the basis of uti possedetis. Filippo Maria Giuseppe Ottone, conte Ponte di Scarnafigi, had been the Sardinian ambassador to Britain from 1769 to 1774 and had been at Paris since 1777 (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 94, 99; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder, 3:395).
2. On 6 April, after the Commons resolved itself into a committee of the whole to hear petitions, John Dunning offered two resolutions and Thomas Pitt a third, the language of which JA accurately paraphrased in the following two sentences. The first passed on a division of 233-215 and the second and third were adopted without division. Lord North objected to the entire proceeding, but could not prevent the committee from approving Charles James Fox's motion to report the resolutions immediately to the House. Just before the vote on Dunning's first resolution, Fox reportedly charged George III with having brought about more distress to the nation than any previous sovereign, and declared that “unless the motion should be agreed to, not only the committee, but the House, ought never to sit again” (Parliamentary Hist., 21: 347, 362–364, 367–368). In a letter of 16 April, Edmund Jenings congratulated JA on the outcome of the proceedings (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-18

To the President of Congress, No. 47

Paris, 18 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 467–469). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:620–624.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams provided newspaper accounts regarding a petition by Swedish merchants calling on their King to provide protection for their commerce and the King's granting of their wish, as well as the formal communication of the declaration of armed neutrality to the French court and to the cities of Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 467–469). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:620–624.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-18

To the President of Congress, No. 48

[salute] Sir

It is my Duty to transmit to Congress, as soon as Prudence will admit, every Thing which deserves Consideration, as having either a direct or an indirect tendency to Peace, or even to Negotiation for that important Object. The inclosed Letter has been transmitted to Paris in such a Channel, that I have Reasons to believe it was particularly intended for my Inspection. It is from a Gentleman, who, to do him Justice, has long expressed an earnest desire of Peace, but who nevertheless, has never yet reflected maturely enough upon the State of America, of Great Britain and of all Europe, to get into a right Way of thinking concerning the proper Means to his End. Congress will percieve it, from the Letter itself, in which it is obvious enough.1
The first remarkable Sentiment is “We must, at all Events support our national Honor, by the most vigorous Exertions, without shrinking: but surely, in such a complicated War, as this is, if we can make any equitable Offers of Treaty to any of the Parties, common Prudence calls upon Us, to use our Endeavors, to unravel by Negotiation, the Combination of Powers now acting against Us.” In this Paragraph, I see the manifest Marks of a Mind that has not yet mastered its Subject. True Policy would have omitted every thing in this Letter, which should call up to the Minds of the People, the Ideas of National Honor. Every Man in the World, who is thoroughly acquainted with the Subject, knows, that Great Britain never can obtain a Peace, without a Diminution of her Honor and Dignity. It is impossible without Miracles, and therefore the Englishman who undertakes to plan for Peace, must be convinced of this and take it into his Plan, and consequently should avoid with the utmost Caution every Word, which should excite these Ideas in the Minds of the People. For People cannot bear the Ideas of national Disgrace. They stir Passions which make them mad.
He should have avoided with equal Solicitude, every Insinuation of a design to unravel by Negotiation, the Combination of Powers, now acting against Great Britain. This Combination, is in fact, much more extensive, much more universal, and formidable, than the Letter writer had any Idea, or Suspicion of. But if it had been no more extensive than France, Spain and America, the Impracticability of unravelling it, ought to have been too obvious and too clear; for the { 149 } Writer to have thrown out this Sentiment. By it, he proposes by Negotiation to bring those to dishonour themselves, who have certainly no Occasion for it, at the same time that he stimulates others to cherish and preserve their Honor, who have already lost it, and under an absolute Necessity, sooner or later of sacrificing it. By this Means, he only puts the Confederates more upon their Guard, and renders the Attainment of his professed Object, Peace, impossible.
The next Solecism in Politicks, that he commits, is undertaking to vindicate America from the Charge of having sought and formed this Confederacy. America wanted no such Vindication. It is folly to suppose it a Fault, for all Mankind will agree, even his Correspondents themselves, that it was Wisdom and Virtue. Surely another Turn must be given to popular Ideas, before they will be brought to petition for Peace.
Nor do I think, it was prudent in him to hold up, that America had proceeded with Regret and Reluctance to the Treaty. That this is true I know and feel to this very Moment: for although I had no such Reluctance myself, those Gentlemen with whom I had the Honor to sit in Congress at the time will remember that I had very good Reasons to be sensible that others had. But, how well soever he might be informed of the Fact, and from what Source soever he might draw his Information, it was bad Policy in him to hold it up, because he ought to have been equally sure, that America has now no Reluctance to the Treaty, nor any Inclination to violate it. He ought not therefore to have held up a Hope of this to the People.
Neither ought he to have flattered the People with Hopes, that America would not form any perpetual Alliance with France, nor that their limited Alliance might be satisfied and discharged. The Alliance already made is limited it is true, to a certain Number of Articles, but not limited in its Duration. It is perpetual; and he had no Grounds to sooth the People with Hopes either that France would give up any of the Articles of the Treaty, or that America would violate them.
He ought also to have avoided his Insinuations, that America has been so much harrassed by the War. This is an Idea too refreshing to the present Passions of the People of England, that instead of tending to dispose them to Peace, it only revives their Hopes of Success, and inflames their Ardour for War. That America has been harrassed by the War, is true, and when was any Nation at War without being so? especially when did any Nation undergo a Revolution in Government and sustain a War at the same time without it? Yet after all America has not been so much harrassed, or distressed, { 150 } or terrified, or panic struck from the Beginning, as Great Britain has been, several times in the Course of it.
But the most exceptionable Passage of all is this. “It is apparent to all the World, that France might long ago, have put an End to that part of the War, which has been most distressing to America, if She had chosen so to do. Let the whole System of France be considered, from the very Beginning, down to the late Retreat from Savannah, and I think it is impossible to put any other Construction upon it, but this, viz, that it has always been the deliberate Intention and Object of France, for purposes of their own, to encourage the Continuation of the War in America, in Hopes of exhausting the Strength and Resources of this Country, and of depressing the rising Power of America.”
Upon this Paragraph, I scarcely know what Remarks to make. But after deliberating upon it, as patiently and maturely as I can, I will clearly write my Opinion of it, for my Obligations to Truth, and to my Country are antecedent and superior to all other Ties.
I am clearly and fully of Opinion then, that the Fact is true, that France might have put an End to that part of the War, which has been most distressing to America: and I certainly knew that the means were extreamly simple and obvious, and that they were repeatedly proposed and explained and urged to the Ministry; and I should have had a terrible Load of Guilt of Negligence of my Duty upon my Conscience if it had not been done, while I had the Honor of a Commission to this Court.2 But when the Letter Writer proceeds so far as to say, that it was to encourage the Continuance of the War, in Order to exhaust the Strength and Resources of Great Britain, I cannot accompany him, much less can I join with him in the Opinion, that it was to depress the rising Power of America.
I believe on the contrary, that France has not wished a Continuance of the War, but that She has wished for Peace. The War has been attended, with too much Loss and Danger to France, to suppose that She wished its Continuance, and if She did not wish its Continuance at all, She could not wish it to depress the Power of America.
She could not wish it, in my opinion, for this End, because it is not the means to this End. It has a contrary Tendency. The longer this War is continued in America, the more will Americans become habituated to the Characters of the Soldier and the Marine. Military Virtues and Talents and Passions will gain Strength, and additional Activity every Year, while the War lasts, and the more these Virtues, Talents and Passions are multiplied, the deeper will be the Foundations of American Power be laid, and the more dangerous will it { 151 } become, to some or other of the Powers of Europe, to France as likely as any other, because it will be more likely to be ambitious, enterprising and to aspire at Conquests by Sea and Land.
This Idea however, deserves to be considered, with all the Attention that Americans can give it. Although I am convinced by every thing I see, and read and hear, that all the Powers of Europe, except perhaps the House of Austria, and I am not very clear in that Exception, rejoice in the American Revolution, and consider the Independence of America as for their Interest and Happiness, in many Points of View, both respecting Commerce and the Ballance of Europe, yet I have many Reasons to think that not one of them, not even Spain nor France, wishes to see America rise very fast to Power. We ought therefore to be cautious how we magnify our Ideas and exaggerate our Expressions of the Generosity and Maganimity of any of these Powers. Let us treat them with Gratitude, but with Dignity. Let us remember what is due to ourselves and our Posterity, as well as to them. Let us above all things, avoid as much as possible, entangling ourselves with their Wars or Politicks. Our Business with them and theirs with Us, is Commerce, not Politicks, much less War. America has been the Sport of European Wars and Politicks long enough.3
I think, however, that this Letter Writer, was very much mistaken in his Judgment, when he threw out this Language of his. It could be meant only to excite a Jealousy and a Quarrel between France and America, or rather, to feed the Yorkshire People, and the People of England with a Hope of exciting such a Quarrel. This is not the Way to come at Peace. They will never succeed in such a Plan, and every attempt towards it is false Policy.
The next Mistake is the Idea of a Reconciliation and federal Union with America. This must be intended to seperate Us from our Allies, which this Gentleman ought, before now, to have known is totally impracticable.
I have very little more Relish for the Notion of a Truce. We are in a safer Way at War. We cannot make a Truce without France. She will never consent that We should make a Truce, unless She makes Peace: and such Alterations may be made in the Constitutions of the Courts of France and Spain, and in the other Courts and political Connections in Europe, before the Expiration of the Term of the Truce, that it would be attended with too much hazard to Us. Neither France nor Spain, nor the other Powers of Europe might, after a Truce, be ready to go to War again: unforeseen Divisions may be { 152 } excited among ourselves by artful Emissaries from England. We are going on now in the sure and certain Road: if we go out of it, We may be lost.
Upon the whole; I think that this Letter Writer should have stated the true Situation of Europe, of Great Britain, Ireland and America.
From this State, his immediate Conclusion should have been, open Conferences for Peace: make Peace with all the World upon the best Terms You can—this is the only Chance You have for Salvation.
It must come to this, very soon; otherwise, there will be a total Dissolution of the British Empire.
I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC and enclosure in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 471–476, 401–404); endorsed: “Letter from J Adams Paris April 18. 1780 recd. Feb 19 81 respecting Peace.” For the enclosure, see note 1. LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “NB. The 19th. April—Nos. 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 were delivered by Mr. Adams at Passy to Mr. W. Franklin who was to deliver them to Capt. John Paul Jones.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 48.”
1. This is David Hartley's letter of 21 March to the chairman of the Committee of the County of York, a copy of which JA enclosed with this letter. The copy of Hartley's letter used by JA has not been found, but was probably that which Thomas Digges, in a letter of 6 April to Benjamin Franklin, indicated that he was sending, at Hartley's request, to Franklin under another cover (Digges, Letters, p. 185–189). Hartley's letter was published at London on or about 13 April as one of Two Letters from David Hartley, esq. M.P. Addressed to the Committee of the County of York (London Courant, 13 April). Thomas Digges sent JA a copy of that pamphlet on 25 April (from Thomas Digges, 8 June).
David Hartley was, in JA's view, a well intentioned but ineffectual member of Parliament, without the power or influence to materially effect British policy toward the war in America (see JA's letters of 23 March to the president of Congress, No. 23; and of 28 March to Edmund Jenings, both above). Despite their good intentions, Hartley and others who actually wanted to end the war in America displayed the same unwillingness to face reality that afflicted the British government and people in general and made it extremely unlikely that Anglo-American peace negotiations would occur anytime soon. For a clear expression of the position held by Hartley and others, which so frustrated JA, see the “Bill for Conciliation” that Hartley unsuccessfully sought to introduce in Parliament on 27 June (Descriptive List of Illustrations, vol. 10, below) and Hartley's letter of 17 July (below). JA's letter to Congress containing his strictures on Hartley's proposal was not published, but is similar to pieces that he wrote in May, June, and July that were printed in Paris and London (JA to Edmé Jacques Genet, 17 and 28 May; “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July], all below). All of them reflect JA's reading of Thomas Pownall's A Memorial Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the Present State of Affairs, Between the Old and New World, London, 1780, which he had received on or about 15 April (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], Editorial Note, below). The rebuttal of Hartley can be seen as the first step in a struggle to convince the British people and, through them, their government that peace would result only from an acknowledgment of American independence and that such an action, far from being detrimental to British interests, was the only means by which Britain could maintain its status among nations. From an examination of that effort it is possible to follow the development in 1780, not only of JA's attitude toward peace negotiations and the Anglo-American relationship that would result from them, but also his view of { 153 } the United States' position within the international community for the foreseeable future.
2. JA is referring to his proposal that the French greatly increase their naval presence in American waters to achieve local superiority over the British fleet. He repeatedly had urged this on the French government (see, in particular, vol. 7, Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779, and Editorial Note) and would renew his efforts in correspondence with Vergennes in July (vols. 7:292–311; 8: index; JA to Vergennes, 13 July, below).
3. This is the clearest, most succinct statement yet made by JA of what he considered the proper course of American foreign policy. He held to it steadfastly for the remainder of his life.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0112

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-18

From William Lee

Walsingham with 6 Ships of the line, the troops and the W. India fleet pass'd Plimo. the 8th. and Graves with 7 Ships of the line left St. Helens the 10th. to follow him, and as the winds have been since, Graves having only his 7 Ships and Walsingham a large fleet there is no doubt of their having join'd, but I do not learn with certainty the real destination, of Walsingham and his troops. By the Gazettes it appears that Monsr. Tiernay will be sailing about this time with only 6 Ships so that most probably he will meet Graves in his return, therefore he may chance to share the same fate as the E. India Convoy, unless he is escorted to some distance by an additional number of Ships, for Graves's Squadron consists of 90, 80 and 74 Gun Ships. I thank you for your favor of the 13th. which I received yesterday; the infatuation of our Enemies is evidently the work of Providence for their conduct is precisely that of Phaoroh with respect to the Israelites and I much doubt of a speedy Peace for the measure of their punishment is not yet full. When I was among them they appeared insensible enough, but they are now totally dead to all feeling. The Declaration of Russia and the movement of all the maritime powers of Europe, has not created, that I can perceive, a single emotion either in the ministry or opposition, therefore we have nothing to do but to beat them into their senses. If they have, or do make any overtures of Peace now it will most probably be with a design of dilaying and retarding the operations and plans of F[rance] and S[pain] 'till the Season is too far advanced to effectuate anything decisive this Campaign but I trust that our Friends have too much Sagacity to be duped by such bunglers as the B. Ministry. The conduct of Spain has arisen from various causes, which have been very evident to those that have attentively observ'd the business; but there is no occasion now for entering into those particulars; however as I am well satisfied that every material point has been thoroughly { 154 } digested long since, there can be no great field for negotiation now at Madrid on either side. It is said that the British Cabinet in pursuance of their darling system of Coercion, have resolv'd in the Cabinet not to yeild to the claim of the Irish People to a Free Constitution. As Clinton was not heard of in the W. I. the beginning of March, nor in Virga., 'tis probable that the greatest part of his fleet has arriv'd, at their destination at Tybée and that we shall hear of another attack on Chas. Town. 5 of his fleet, as far as I know, have only been accounted for, 1 driven to Engd. 2 to the W. Indias, 1 founder'd off Bermudas and 1 carried into Chas. Town.
LbC (ViHi: Lee Family Papers). The top one-third of the MS page is faded and two large X's cover portions of the dateline, greeting, and first line of text. The absence of a recipient's copy in the Adams Papers makes it unlikely that this letter was sent.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0113

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-04-19

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Dear sir

I have been informed,1 that the State of Maryland, have named Mr. Charmichael, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Williams, Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Jennings, as proper Persons, out of whom they have desired, your Excellency to choose one, in order to draw out of the English Funds a Sum of Money, they have there, for which the Agent is to have two and an half per Cent.
Mr. Charmichael, is otherwise employed, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Lloyd are all proper Persons, but perhaps they may be otherwise employed too, except Mr. Lloyd, whose fortune, both by himself and his Wife is so ample that it may be no Object.
Mr. Jennings, who is not less qualified than any of them, is a Gentleman of Learning, and Abilities, who has left his Affairs from a Love to his Country to whose service, he devotes his Time. He is now at Brussells. As he is a native of Maryland, perhaps his Pretentions may upon the whole, be superiour to those of others, or this Sentiment may be the Dictate of the Esteem and friendship I conceived for him on Account of his Candor, when I was here before.
I intreat your Excellency, not to consider this, as a desire to dictate in a matter in which I have not right nor Colour, to interfere, and therefore ought to ask your Pardon, for presuming to advise.
If your Excellencys decision should fall upon, any of the other Gentlemen I shall be perfectly content and think no more of it. I { 155 } have the Honour to be with, the greatest Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble sert.
[signed] John Adams2
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. April 19. 1780.”
1. Edmund Jenings to JA, 12 April (above).
2. JA may have sent a copy of this letter to Edmund Jenings, see Jenings' letter of 24 April, and note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0114-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-19

To Edmund Jenings

I have only time at present, to beg the favour of you, to procure the inclosed, to be inserted in all the English newspapers.2 There is not a Circumstance exagerated, and the half is not told.
RC with enclosure (Adams Papers); notation on back of enclosure: “printed in the English Papers.”
1. For the possibility that JA wrote two letters to Jenings on 19 April, see Jenings' letter of 24 April, and note 1 (below).
2. This description of JA's journey through northern Spain was printed in a slightly altered form in the London General Advertiser & Morning Intelligencer for 1 May. For JA's critique of the printed version, see his letter to Edmé Jacques Genet of 11 May (below). The account should be compared with those in JA's Diary and his Autobiography (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:400–434; 4:191–241) and his letters of 11 Dec. 1779 and 16 Jan. 1780 to the president of Congress (same, 4:195–196, 230–236204–206; vol. 8:295–296, 310–311, calendar entries).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0114-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-19

Enclosure: A Newspaper Article

Mr. Adams, Mr. Dana, and Mr. Thaxter, who are arrived, at Paris, came from Boston, in the French Frigate, the Sensible, which had the Misfortune to Spring a Leak, Soon after She Sailed, which increased to Such a degree, that they were obliged to keep two Pumps, constantly going by night and day, the passengers taking their turns, altho, the Crew consisted of Three hundred and fifty men. Captain Chavagne (who spent three months in Boston, and is highly pleased with the Reception he met there) found it necessary to make the first Land, which happening to be Cape Finisterre, he put into Ferrol, where these american Citizens met with the most cordial Reception, from the Comte de Sade, who commanded a Squadron of French Men of War, then in that harbour, and from the other officers, both French and Spanish, as well as from the French Consul and Vice Consul, and especially from Don Joseph St. Vincent, the General, who commanded, at that time the Spanish Marine at Ferrol. After Spending a few days in this place, and viewing the dry docks, Arsenals and Fortifications with the Strength and Magnificence of which the Gentlemen were very much Struck, they went to the Groin,1 where they were treated with all imaginable Politeness, by Mr. Lagoanere, the American Agent, by Mr. Detournelle the french Consul, by the Kings officers in general, particularly by the officers of the Irish Regiments, by the Administrator of the Revenue, by the Attorney General, by the Regent, or Chief Justice of the grand Audience, by the Governor of the Town of Corunna, and above all by Don Pedro Martin Cermonio, Vice Roy, of the Kingdom of Galicia. { 156 } This great officer, in whom in his Department is united all the Royal Authority, civil, political and military, accompanied, by the Kings Lieutenant, or the Governor of the Town of Corunna, and Several other officers, made a Visit to Mr. Adams at his Lodgings, the next Morning after his Arrival, to make him, his Compliments, and to offer him every Assistance in his Power. He offered to order Carriages &c to be provided; to furnish a Guide, who could Speak, English as well as Spanish and French, who understood the Roads and the manner of travelling; and to send a guard of Soldiers who should attend him, in his whole Journey, through the Kingdom: all which was declined, as the American Agent, had undertaken every Thing of this sort: and as to the Guards, they had no Apprehensions of Ennemies or Dangers in Spain. The Vice Roy Said that in any Thing that depended upon him Mr. Adams had but to command him: that all he had Said, and all that he had offered, was from himself: but he would further inform him, that in this he was pursuing his public duty, as well as his private Inclination for that he had received express orders from the King to treat all Americans who should come to that place as the best Friends of Spain. All the Gentlemen in Company, had the Honour of dining with the Vice Roy, and of frequent Visits, in all which he was extreamly, tho politely inquisitive, about every Thing that related to America, especially concerning the Union and Disposition of the People; their Sentiments towards England France and Spain; the nature of their Revenues; the Terms of their Confederation; and the forms of their new Governments; Subjects, upon which he appeared to have, very much reflected, and in which, as few Men have had more opportunities to know, than these Gentlemen, few are better qualified to give exact Information. He was further anxious to know, the Family, Age, Character, and every thing that related to Mr. Jay, the minister plenipotentiary for the Court of Madrid, concerning whom, as Mr. Adams had been intimately acquaintd with him from the Year 1774, he was able to Satisfy his Curiosity, and to give Mr. Jay, that respectable Character, that the high offices, he has held in his State and in Congress, as well as his own personal Virtues and Abilities merit.
In short they were told by many Gentlemen, that no Ambassador, from any the oldest and most powerful state in Europe, not even from France, would have been treated with more Ceremony, nor with equal Attention, Affability and Friendship, and that all this was intended to manifest to America and to the World, the Benevolence of Spain towards the United States.
{ 157 }
In their Journey, through Betanzos, Lugo, Asterga, Leon, Burgos, they met every where with Similar Attention and Respect; and particularly from the several Branches of the House of Guardoqui, at Bilbao.2 Mr. Adams received Letters and Messages, from Alicante, Asterga, Bilbao, Madrid, Bourdeaux and Bayonne, from Bankers and others, offering him any sums of Money he might Want, in the Idea that as he had been unexpectedly cast upon the Spanish Coast, and had to make the Journey to Paris by Land, with a considerable Number of Persons in his suit, he might not possibly be provided with Cash. But if they had been themselves unprovided the American Agent, was not only able and ready to supply them, but would have taken it unkindly, if they had laid themselves under obligation to any other in this respect. They were not the less sensible, however of the personal Obligations they were under, for these genteel Proposals, nor the less gratefull for the Attention of Gentlemen to the Honour of the United States.
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.
1. The English seafarers term for La Coruña (OED).
2. The final clause after the semi-colon was interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0115-0001

Editorial Note

John Adams' letter of 19 April 1780 to the president of Congress (No. I, below), constitutes his redaction of Thomas Pownall's pamphlet entitled A Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the Present { 158 } State of Affairs, Between the Old and New World, London, 1780. In July, Adams used his Letterbook copy to produce a manuscript (No. II, below) that, considerably revised from that of the letter, served as the text for two published versions: Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie, extraites de l'ouvrage anglois, intitulé mémoire, addressé aux souverains de l'Europe, sur l'état présent des affaires de l'ancien and du nouveau-monde, Amsterdam, 1780; and A Translation of the Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe upon the Present State of Affairs Between the Old and New World into Common Sense and Intelligible English, London, 1781.
The letter of 19 April and the revised, published versions of it are crucial to understanding the development of John Adams' views regarding an Anglo-American peace settlement, the Franco-American alliance, and the future position of the United States in European affairs. Almost without exception, his later writings on foreign policy and his actions as a diplomat reflect his reading of the Memorial. Adams testified to the impact of Pownall's thinking in his letter to Edmund Jenings of 18 July (below), and the truth of his assertion is evident in his published replies to speeches made in the House of Commons in early May by Gen. Henry Seymour Conway and Lord George Germain (to Edmé Jacques Genet, 17 and 28 May, both below); his “Letters from a Distinguished American,” published in 1782, but written in June and July 1780 ([ante 14–22 July], below); and his exchanges with the Comte de Vergennes in June and July over Congress' monetary policy, the exercise of his commissions, and the adequacy of French assistance to the American cause (below).
It is not an overstatement to say that the Memorial had more influence on John Adams' views of foreign policy than any other single published work. This does not mean that Pownall's pamphlet was the source of Adams' ideas concerning the relationship between the United States, Britain, France, and the European community in general. Those were the product of his evolution from a loyal subject of the British Empire to a revolutionary committed to independence and can be traced from his “Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law” of 1765 (vol. 1:103–128) through his Plan of Treaties of 1776 (vol. 4:260–302) to his experience as a diplomat since 1778. Instead, the Memorial was the catalyst that brought together the diverse threads of Adams' thinking to form a coherent and unified theory regarding the proper course for the foreign policy of the United States that, with few exceptions, he adhered to for the rest of his life.
Thomas Pownall had extensive, practical experience in colonial administration. Between 1753 and 1760, he served successively as secretary to the governor of New York, lieutenant governor of New Jersey, secretary to the commander in chief of British forces in America, and governor of Massachusetts. As governor of Massachusetts from 1757 to 1760, the climactic years of the French and Indian War, Pownall proved to be an energetic and popular executive. He vigorously prosecuted the war and, in order to gain support for his efforts, courted the popular party. This alienated conservatives, such as Thomas Hutchinson, and ultimately their complaints as well { 159 } as the perception in London that Pownall was surrendering executive prerogatives to the assembly led to his recall (DAB; DNB). Members of Massachusetts' popular party lamented Pownall's departure, and John Adams later described him as “a friend to liberty and to our constitution,” with “an aversion to all plots against either” (vol. 2:235). Thomas Pownall never again served in America as an administrator, but he drew on his experience there to produce the work for which he is most noted: The Administration of the Colonies (London, 1764, with five revised editions through 1777; Pownall presented Adams with a signed copy of the 1777 edition, Catalogue of JA's Library).
Pownall's Administration offered a prescription for solving Britain's problems in governing its American empire that was well reasoned and even farsighted. Its roots lay in the Albany Congress of 1754, at which Pownall had become convinced that some sort of colonial union was necessary. By the time he set to work on his Administration, Pownall believed that the existing system of colonial administration, unable to deal adequately with the growing economic strength of the colonies, had failed and a crisis existed.
In Administration, Pownall was clear about where he stood. Although he expressed sympathy for the colonists and confidence in their ultimate loyalty to the Crown and empire, which later led him to oppose ministerial efforts at taxation and coercion and even to advocate American seats in the House of Commons, there was no question in Pownall's mind that it was the mother country around whom the colonies revolved and for whose benefit they existed. Great Britain needed a unified system of administration to render the colonies an economic asset rather than a constant drain on its resources. It was “the precise duty of government at this crisis” to take “leading measures towards the forming all those Atlantic and American possessions into one Empire of which Great Britain should be the commercial and political center” (5th edn., 1774, p. 10).
The Memorial Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe proceeded directly from The Administration of the Colonies, with much of the text of the Memorial's opening paragraphs taken from the Administration (No. I, see note 2, below). Like the earlier work, the Memorial sought to resolve the crisis produced by the growing economic importance of North America, that is, the United States. But in his Memorial, Pownall proposed that Britain recognize that the colonies were finally and irretrievably lost and had become a sovereign, independent state of great economic potential. Only by adopting the principles of free trade and forming a commercial relationship that would return Anglo-American trade to its normal channels could Britain avoid displacement as an economic power. Finally, since Pownall saw access to the American markets as a European problem, he called for the convening of a council of European nations that would provide for the orderly integration of the new nation into the existing economic and political order by lowering the barriers to free trade and liberalizing the law of nations.
Pownall cited and quoted from the works of several authors to support { 160 } his arguments. His views on the nature and power of the state were based on his reading of Francis Bacon's unfinished essay “Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain” (No. I, notes 6, 9, 11, and 21, below). Benjamin Franklin was the source for his statistics on the population and growth of the colonies (same, note 18), while his views on the future course of American foreign policy and the commercial and political relationship between the United States and Europe reflect those of Thomas Paine writing as “Common Sense” (same, notes 26 and 28). On the issue of trade regulation he turned to Sir Matthew Decker (same, note 50); and Henry IV's “grand design” to unify Europe, as expressed in the Memoirs of Maximilien de Béthune, was the model for his plan to achieve a unified European response to the emergence of the United States as an economic power (same, notes 44 and 52). But what most sets the Memorial apart from the Administration, as well as other works of the period, is the pervasive influence of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (2 vols., London, 1776). Pownall had given Smith's work an unfavorable review in 1776, largely because at that time he was still a vigorous defender of the colonial monopoly (Thomas Pownall, A Letter from Governor Pownall to Adam Smith, LLD, F.R.S. . . ., London, 1776, p. 7–8, 26–27). By 1780 his views had clearly changed, for on page 113 of the Memorial he cites Smith as the source for a quotation, and Smith's influence is evident throughout the Memorial, not only in those sections dealing with the workings of the economic system and free trade, but also in those touching on the relationship between the colonies and the mother country (No. I, note 39, below).
John Adams agreed wholeheartedly with much of the Memorial. He could have written those sections dealing with the rise of the United States as an economic and political power, the progress of American civilization, and the new nation's determination to trade with all nations while forming political connections with none, and in fact inserted those sections into the letter of 19 April (No. I, below) and the later published versions (No. II, below) virtually without change. Moreover, when Pownall wrote of the oppressive hand of the church and the nobility on European economic and political development he echoed John Adams' own words in the “Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law” (vol. 1:103–128). This likely led Adams to write to Edmund Jenings on 20 April (below), requesting that he republish the “Dissertation” in England.
But the Memorial also differed fundamentally from other British proposals for settling the war with America. For the first time a British writer in whom Adams had confidence argued that Great Britain's economic self-interest demanded that it make peace and that it do so at once. Previous proposals had all been based on one or more of the following premises: the colonies would be exhausted by the war and sue for peace; the Anglo-American ties of language, religion, and culture would lead the Americans to renounce their French connection and return to the imperial fold; Britain would offer concessions acceptable to the Americans and the war would end. In each case it was assumed that the Americans would see that it was { 161 } in their self-interest to make peace because only disaster would result from continuing the war. Pownall, however, rejected those assumptions and argued that by declaring independence the United States had unilaterally repealed the navigation acts and opened its markets to Britain's commercial rivals, led by France. If Britain did not act, it risked permanent exclusion from those markets and thus from access to resources of the New World.
This was similar to Adams' thinking when he drafted the Treaty Plan of 1776. He believed then, and continued to believe even after the treaty of alliance was signed, that there was no need to offer France a political alliance because access to American markets formalized in a commercial treaty was incentive enough for French military and financial assistance (Plan of Treaties, 12 June–17 Sept. 1776, Editorial Note, 4:260–261). In the Memorial Adams found Pownall making a similar argument: that access to the American markets was incentive enough to force Britain to seek an immediate peace. The most compelling evidence of the Memorial's influence on John Adams is the fact that this position, as developed and refined by Pownall, formed the core of Adams' argument in his rebuttal of Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts in the “Letters from a Distinguished American” ([ante 14–22 July], below).
On only one issue did Adams clearly disagree with Pownall. This was over Pownall's call for the establishment of a council of European powers to resolve the issues raised by the American Revolution. Pownall saw the integration of the New World, with its new found economic and political power, into the existing European system as a crisis that could be resolved only by the agreement of the nations meeting in council. John Adams believed, however, that any problem resulting from the rise of the United States as a political and economic power was Britain's alone. The rest of Europe, led by France, was coming or already had come to terms with the new economic and political order. To resolve its problem, Britain needed only to recognize the United States as independent and sovereign, and form a commercial relationship with the new nation. This would bring it into step with the rest of Europe, end its isolation, and make it part of the new economic and political order of which Pownall wrote. Any council of sovereign states dealing even peripherally with political issues or setting conditions by which the United States would be integrated into the European system was unnecessary and even dangerous. This reflected Adams' long held belief, ably expressed by Pownall in his Memorial, that the United States should seek only commercial, not political, connections with Europe. The only sort of council acceptable to Adams was one that would remove trade barriers, such as the exclusion of foreign ships from the colonial trade in peacetime, or liberalize the law of nations by instituting such principles as free ships make free goods. John Adams, therefore, drastically revised the portion of Pownall's Memorial that called for a European council.
John Adams first learned of the Memorial from Thomas Digges' letter of 6 April (above, but see also Edmund Jenings' letter of 19 March, and note 3, above), in which Digges identified Pownall as the author. Digges also { 162 } indicated that he was sending a copy of the pamphlet to Benjamin Franklin, with a request that it be passed on to Adams when Franklin was finished Digges to Franklin, (6 April, Digges, Letters, p. 185–189). It seems likely, from Adams' reply of 15 April (above), that both letters of 6 April had arrived and that soon thereafter Adams borrowed the Memorial from Franklin, read it, and set to work, condensing Pownall's 127-page text to about half its size in just four days. This despite the fact that between 15 and 19 April, Adams wrote ten letters, four of them to the president of Congress, including that of 18 April in which the influence of the Memorial is clearly evident (No. 48, and note 1, above). There is no evidence that when Adams wrote his letter to the president, he had any plans to publish his text, although considering the time and effort he spent on it, such a thought may have been in the back of his mind.
The task of revising Pownall's Memorial was daunting, even if one considers only the time spent copying and recopying the text, not to mention the substantive textual changes that Adams made. The effort was necessary, however, because while Adams saw Pownall's arguments as important, he believed that the Memorial's turgid and idiosyncratic prose obscured them and diminished their impact. The letter to the president of Congress (No. I, below) fills thirteen closely written pages. The points at which Adams omitted significant blocks of the Memorial's text or made substantive changes in Pownall's prose are indicated in the notes. John Adams' Letterbook copy in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers) fills thirty-four pages and is identical to the recipient's copy except for Thaxter's copying errors and some insertions by Adams to correct them. No draft has been found and John Adams may have composed the letter to Congress directly from the Memorial.
In early July, John Adams decided to publish his revision of Pownall's Memorial. Using his Letterbook copy, he reworked and revised the manuscript (No. II, below) to produce a shorter and more clearly focused version. This became the text that appeared as Pensées and Translation of the Memorial. Adams removed material that he, upon reconsideration, thought extraneous or, in the case of Pownall's proposal for a European council, to more sharply emphasize his argument at the expense of Pownall's. It is noteworthy that Pownall's references to “the new World,” which were retained in the letter, became “America” in the manuscript and instead of “North America” being “a new primary planet,” it was the “Congress of the United States of North America,” that filled that role.
John Adams made two copies of the text that were ultimately published, but only that sent to Edmund Jenings has survived. A second copy sent by Adams to M. Addenet, a Parisian translator, has not been found, nor has the manuscript of Addenet's French translation that Jean Luzac used for Pensées. The surviving manuscript consists of five parts, each separately titled, that together fill nineteen pages. Edmund Jenings received the first four with Adams' letter of 8 July (Adams Papers), while the fifth likely was enclosed in Adams' letter of the 14th (below; but see Jenings' replies of 15 { 163 } and 21 July, both below). The manuscript, which Jenings sent off to London in mid-September (from Jenings, 14 Sept., below), contains emendations made by Jenings as he prepared it for publication and which appear in the Translation as published at London in 1781. These changes, which were editorial rather than substantive, do not appear in the text printed in this volume. Moreover, a comparison of Pensées with the manuscript indicates that the copy sent to Addenet was probably identical, with one possible exception indicated in the notes, to that sent to Jenings.
The only significant difference between the Pensées and the Translation, other than that imposed by language, was Jean Luzac's twenty-page preface. John Adams sent Luzac the manuscript in French translation on 5 Sept. and asked for his opinion (to Luzac, 5 Sept., below). Luzac replied that the work had great merit, but suggested that he act as editor and introduce the text with a preface designed to allay Dutch fears of an American threat to their commercial interests that might be aroused by the pamphlet's focus on the economic potential of the United States (see Luzac's letter of 14 Sept. and JA's reply of the 15th, both below). Pensées was published at Amsterdam in November 1780.
Historians have virtually ignored John Adams' Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial and, indeed, have paid little attention to the Memorial itself. This has been due partly to a lack of information regarding both Adams' letter to the president of Congress and its later printed versions as well as to a thorough misunderstanding over the degree to which Adams' pamphlet differed from the Memorial. The letter has been available only in the Papers of the Continental Congress or in the Adams Papers, and few libraries hold the original pamphlets. Francis Wharton did not include the letter of 19 April in the Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, and Charles Francis Adams printed neither the letter nor the Translation in the Works of John Adams. Moreover, after their publication in 1780 and 1781 respectively, Pensées and the Translation were not republished in Europe and there were no American editions.
John Adams, himself, did not inform Congress that the substance of his letter of 19 April had been published; nor is there any indication that he informed anyone of his effort to have Jenings publish the Translation in London or of the publication itself. Indeed, Adams' authorship of the Translation remains unrecognized, it being generally attributed to Edmund Jenings or even, in a contemporary review of the pamphlet in London's Monthly Review (64 [1781]:150), to Benjamin Franklin.
John Adams freely acknowledged his authorship of Pensées and widely distributed copies of it in the Netherlands. But over time, Adams' authorship of Pensées was forgotten (see DNB, 16:267). The lack of attention has been all the more unfortunate because there is no better source for John Adams' views on the rise of the United States as an economic and political power, the future conduct of American foreign policy, or his thoughts regarding an Anglo-American peace than this work.
Some explanation of the editorial treatment of the two documents pre• { 164 } sented below seems in order. The 19 April letter to the president of Congress (No. I, below) is more extensively annotated than John Adams' Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial (No. II, below). The notes to the letter deal with Adams' copying from the Memorial and seek to shed light on his decisions to include, exclude, or alter particular sections. They also consider Pownall's sources, translate Latin and French passages, and indicate major blocks of material in the letter that Adams deleted when he copied out his Translation of the Memorial. Because it is virtually identical to the published Translation, the annotation of the manuscript has been limited to matters unique to that document.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0115-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-19

I. To the President of Congress, No. 49

[salute] Sir

A Pamphlet has been published, in England, under the Title of “a memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the present State of Affairs, between the old and new World.” It is Said to have been written by Governor Pownal, and, after an Acquaintance with his style, for more than twenty Years, I find So many quaint Words, and unintelligible Expressions, intermixed with so much Knowledge of America, and So many good Thoughts, which are all Characteristic, that I have no doubt, it is his. I will endeavor to give Congress an Account of it.
He begins with observing, very justly, that at the End of the last War, a new system was formed, both political and commercial, which is now, compleatly formed, that the Spirit of Commerce has become a leading Power, that at that Time the Center of this system was G. Britain, whose Government, might if it had been wise have preserved, the Advantage of being the Center, both of the Commerce and Politicks of the World: but being unwise they disturbed the Course of things, and have not only lost forever that Dominion which they had and might have held, but the external parts of the Empire are one after another falling off, and it will be once more reduced to its Insular Existence.
On the other hand, this new System of Power, moving round its own proper Center, which is the new World has dissolved, all the forces sent against it by the English, and has formed natural Connections with France and Spain, and other Countries. Founded in nature it is growing, by accellerated motions, into a great and powerful Empire. It has taken its equal station, among the nations of the Earth. Video Solem orientem in Occidente.1 N. America is a new primary Planet, which taking its Course in its own orbit, must have an Effect upon the orbit of every other, and shift the common Center
{ 165 } | view { 166 }
of Gravity of the whole system of the European World. She is de facto, an independant Power, and must be so, de Jure. The Politicians of Europe may reason or negotiate: the Powers of Europe may fight about it: but such Negotiations and Wars will have no Consequence on the right or the fact. It would be just as wise to fight or negotiate for the dominion of the moon, which has been long common to them all, and all may profit of her reflected light. The Independance of America is as fixed as fate: She is mistress of her own fortune, knows that she is so, and will manage that Power which she feels herself possessd of, to establish her own System and change that of Europe.2 Thus far I think Gov. Pownal Speaks like an oracle—he proceeds.
If the Powers of Europe, will see the state of Things, and act accordingly, the lives of thousands may be spared, the Happiness of millions secured, and the peace of the World preservd. If not, they will be plunged into a sea of Blood. The War, which is almost gorged between Britain and America, will extend itself to all the maritime Powers, and most probably afterwards to all the Inland Powers, and like the 30 years war, of the 16 and 17th Centuries, will not end, but by a general Resettlement of Interests, according to the Spirit of the new system which has taken Place. Why may not all this be done by a Congress of all Nations, before, as well as after the War?
Let me observe here to Congress, as I go along, that G. Pownal in this Paragraph, seems to be in that profound state of Ignorance, which all his Nation is manifestly in, of what is passing in the rest of the World. He seems to think that the maritime Powers will be divided upon the American Question, and go to War about it, whereas it is very certain that all the other maritime Powers, are unanimous about, in favour of one side, against England, and I cant think that he supposes England can maintain the 30 years War, against all the maritime Powers—G. Pownal proceeds.
The final settlement of Power, at a Peace, is never in proportion to the success of Arms. It depends upon the Interposition of Parties, who have not meddled in the War, but who come to the treaty for Peace, brought forward by Intrigue, with the Aid of Jealousy, and counteract, by negotiation the envied Effects of Arms.
The Britons have forced, the present system, into Establishment before its natural Season. They might have Secured the Attachment of their Plantations for years to come, as Spain by her caution will do: but it was a principal part of the plan, of the confidential Counsellors, in a general Reformation of the Kings Government, to reform the Constitutions of America. They were informed it would lead to { 167 } War, but they thought it would be a good measure to force the Americans to arms. Conquest, of which they were sure, would give them the Right of giving what Constitutions they thought fit, such as that to Quebec—little foreseeing what a War, it would prove,3 and still less suspecting, that France and Spain, and all the rest of the World, would interpose.
None of the Powers of Europe, and few of the most knowing Politicians, have considered, what Effect this Revolution will have on the general system of Europe. Here I believe Govr. Pownal is mistaken. Every Power in Europe, and every Politician in Europe, except those in G. Britain have digested this subject very well. The Govr. goes on. One thing is certain, that on whatever ground the War between Britain and Bourbon began, in whatever course it may take,4 however long they may continue it, to their mutual destruction, the Americans will never belong to either foedere inequale.5 Here I hope and trust in God Gover. Pownals Judgement is infallible. He goes on. The Powers of Europe, who will become Parties, before these affairs come to the Issue, will concur in no other settlement, than that these states are an independant sovereign Power, holding a free Commerce equally with all.
In order [to] shew, how these matters may, and finally will be settled, he proposes to lay before the Sovereigns, a View of the European and American Worlds; and point out what will be the natural Effects of the Seperation of them, and of the Independance of America, upon the commercial and political state of Europe, and finally to shew how the present Crisis, may by Wisdom and Benevolence, [be] wrought into the greatest Blessing of Peace, Liberty and Happiness, which the World hath yet seen.
He professes that he can look to the one and the other of these Worlds, with the same Philosophic Indifference, with which an Astronomer compares the Magnitude and Distances of Planets, free from all Habits, and Prejudices, that possess the Europeans.
He then proceeds to compare, the new and old World, in point of Magnitude, Spirit, and Power. He says6 that in measuring, the Magnitude of states too much is ascribed commonly, Extent of Territory, and fruitfulness of Soil.
That Extent of Dominion, which is most capable, of a Systematical Connection and Communication, has the most natural Greatness.
The three other Parts of the World, are naturally seperated from each other, and altho once under the dominion of the Romans, as this was an unnatural Exertion, beyond the Resources of human { 168 } nature it soon dissolved, and they seperated. Europe Asia and Africa, are not only seperated by their local Positions, but are inhabited by distinct Species of human Beings. North and south America, are in like manner naturally divided. North America, is possessed by Englishmen, and this natural Circumstance forms this division of America, into one great Society, the Basis of a great dominion. There is no where in Europe, So great and combined an Interest, communicating through so large a territory, as that in north America. The northern and southern Parts of Europe, are possessed by different nations, actuated by different Sovereignties and systems. Their Intercourse is interrupted, they are at perpetual Variance, Intercourse is difficult over Land, and by Sea. They are cutt off by intervening nations. On the Contrary, when N. America is examined, you find every thing united in it, which forms Greatness. The nature of the Coast and the Winds, renders Communication by navigation perpetual. The Rivers, open an inland navigation, which carries on a Circulation through the whole. The Country thus united, and one part of it, communicating with another, by its Extent of Territory and Variety of Climates, produces, all that nature requires, that Luxury loves, or that Power can employ. All these Things, which the Nations of Europe under every difficulty that a defect of natural Communication, under every obstruction that a perverse artificial System throws in their Way, barter for, are in N. America possessed, with an uninterrupted natural Communication and an unobstructed navigation, and an universal freedom of Commerce by one nation. The naval stores, Timber, Hemp, Fisheries, Salt Provisions of the north. The Tobacco, Rice, Cotton, silk, indigo, fruits and perhaps Wines, Resin and Tar of the South, form a reciprocation of Wants and supplies. The Corn, flour, Manufactures &c. of the middle states, fill up the Communion and compleat its system. They unite those Parts which were before connected, and organize the several parts into one whole.7
The Islands, are no doubt, naturally Parts of this North American Communion. The European Powers, may by Effects of Force, if they can agree, preserve the Property and Dominion of those Islands, for some years, perhaps an Age. But if they quarrell, about them, the whole of the Spanish, Dutch, Danish, French and British Islands, bound in Union, with North America, must become Parts of her system.8
Altho no Symptoms of Revolution at present appear in South America, yet it may be proper to inquire into those internal Circum• { 169 } stances of its natural and political system, by which it works to Independancy.
S. America is larger than North, and has more Variety of Climates, and further advanced to a natural Independance of Europe, and is growing into the largest Amplitude of Dominion that this Earth has ever yet Seen. Agriculture, has already produced, here not only an Abundance for home Consumption, but a surplus for Exportation. The Articles of Export, are Wheat, flour, barley, Wine, hemp, tallow, lard, Sugar, Cocoa, fruits, Sweetmeats, pickles, naptha, oil, cotton &c. This Progress of Agriculture has produced Manufactures and Trade. Cordage, Sail cloth of Cotton, Woolen and linnen cloth, hats, Leather, fiance, Instruments of husbandry, tools of Mechanicks &c. As the Population and Culture of Chili, shall increase, the produce of these higher Latitudes and cooler Climates, will enter into the great system, and will compleat the western Side of S. America, possessed by one nation into an object of as much greater magnitude of Wealth and Power, than the English nation possesses in N. America, as it is greater in the Variety and extent of its internal Communication, besides which it will have an uninterrupted Intercourse of East Indian Commerce. N. America has not as yet gone into an active State of manufactures, nor will it for many Years, yet N. America, is more independant in the Spirit of its People, and in Policy. It has only first Seperated from the old World. S. A. is not yet ripe for falling off, nor is it likely to be forced to a premature Revolt, as N. A. has been. As Long as the Ct. of S[pain] proceeds with the Temper, Address, and Wisdom, which it observes at present, an indolent, luxurious, and Superstitious People, not much accustomed to think of Politicks (tho much more than is generally suspected) will continue in subjection to Government, and commercial Restrictions. But the Natives increasing, beyond any proportion to the N[umber] of old Spaniards; having the executive Power, of all the inferiour Magistracies in their own hands, by their own Election of the magistrates, they have the Power of internal Government in their own hands, and the Government of the sovereign, by his Viceroys, Audiences, Clergy, Army &c., is a meer tenure at good Will. A great Country like this, so advanced in Agriculture, Manufactures, Arts and Commerce, is too large for any Government in Europe to manage by Authority, 4 or 5 thousand miles off. Bacon says, “there are two manners of Securing large territories: the one by the natural arms of every Province; and the other by the protecting arms of the principal State, in which later case commonly the provincials are disarmed. There are two dangers { 170 } incident to every State, foreign Invasion and inward Rebellion. These two Remedies of state, fall into these two dangers in case of remote provinces, for if such a state rest upon the natural Arms of the Province, it is sure to be subject to Rebellion, or Revolt: if upon protecting Arms it is sure to be weak against Invasion.”9 Spain as well as England found themselves under the necessity of repealing a Revenue Law which they had made, because they felt that they could not carry it into Execution, by Authority. The disputes between Spain and Portugal, about the Boundaries of the Brazils and the Spanish Provinces, arose from their not being able jointly, to carry into Effect a Pacification. S. America is growing too much for Spain to manage. It has Power to be independent and will be so in fact, when any Occasion shall arise. It will not be after the Manner of N. America, which has become a democratick or Aristocratic Republic. S. A. will be conducted by some injured and enterprizing Genius to Monarchy.10
He proceeds to consider, what he calls, from Ld. Bacon, the Amplitude and Growth of State11 in North America, and Says that Civilization, next to Union of System and Communication of Parts, constitute it. He compares the Civilization of America with that of Europe, and if I understand him, for he is almost unintelligible, his Conclusion, is true, and just (whatever, Smaller men than he may think of it) that the Civilization of North America is, Superior to that of Europe. When I say that this Conclusion is just I dont mean, that Architecture, Painting, Statuary, Poetry, in one Word the fine Arts, are so well understood, nor that the Mechanick Arts are so well understood and practised by any Individuals in America as they are by some in Europe, nor do I mean that the sciences those of Government and Policy particularly are so learnedly understood by any Individuals in America, as they are by some in Europe: by I mean and I say this, that Arts, sciences, Agriculture, Manufactures, Government, Policy, Commerce are better understood, by the collective Body of the People in America, than they are by that of Europe. And this is the only Way of stating the Comparison of Civilization, and in this Respect America is infinitely further removed from Barbarity than Europe.12
Governor Pownal proceeds. When the Spirit of Civilization began first in Europe, after the Barbarous Ages of the northern Invaders, the Clergy, were the blind leaders to light, and the feudal Lords, the Patrons of Liberty—what Knowledge! what Liberty!—the Instruction of the first, was more pernicious than Ignorance: the Patronage of { 171 } the last was the Benevolence of a Grazier, who fattens his Cattle, to profit of their Hides, and Bodies. The People held their Knowledge, as they did their Lands by a servile Tenure, which did not permit them to use it as their own. Such was the Source of Civilization in Europe!13
The first movement of Civilization, is the application of Labour to the Culture of the Earth, in order to raise that supply of Food which is necessary for Men in society. The Application of Labour to Architecture, Cloathing, Tools and Instruments is concommitant with this. Marketts, in which a Reciprocation of Wants and surplusses, is accomplished, succeeds. Hence arise, by a further Improvement Artificers and Manufacturers. And in succession a surplus is created beyond what is wanted by the Individuals, or the Community, which produces Commerce, by exchanging this surplus for articles of Conveniency, or Enjoyment, which the Country does not produce.
By the Violence of the military Spirit, under which Europe was a second time Peopled, the Inhabitants were divided into two Classes, Warriors and slaves. Agriculture was conducted by the latter, Wretches annexed to, not owners of the Soil, degraded Animals! Cattle, Property, not Proprietors! no Interest in their own Reasons, Labour, Time. They had neither Knowledge, nor Motive to make one Effort of Improvement.14 Improvement in Agriculture, was therefore, many hundred years at a Stand. Although in some Countries of Europe it may seem at present progressive, it is so slow that for Ages it can have no great Effect, except perhaps in England, yet even here the farmer, is absurdly and cruelly oppressed.
Manufactures, or the Labour of Men in Wool, Iron, Stone, or Leather, were held as the servile offices of Society, and fit only for slaves. These Artificers, were mere Machines of the most arrogant and ignorant Master. They would never make Experiments. So that Mechanicks and Arts, went on for Ages without Improvement.
Upon the dissolution of the Hanseatic League, the Sovereigns who had seen the Power, which arose from Manufactures and Trade, began to encourage their subjects and invite Strangers, to establish them. Civilization took a momentary start. But the Policy of the Sovereigns, held the Manufacturers, in wretched Condition, by many obstructing Regulations. The Same Policy, affecting to encourage Manufactures, gave them a false help, by setting assises in the produce of Land, which oppressed Agriculture. This Same system of Policy, confined Ingenuity, by making imposing Regulations and taxes on every Motion of Manufactures, on their coming from the Hand { 172 } of the Workman: on the Carriage: on the sale: on the Return whether in goods or Money. This Policy, was directed to draw into the Treasury of the state, all the Profit, beyond the Labourers subsistance. Commercial Legislation, was directed wholly, to make the subject sell but not buy: export Articles but import Money, of which the state must have the greatest share. Hence exclusive Property of certain Materials of Manufacture, which they called Staple Commodities—hence Monopolies—exclusive Priviledges of trade, to Persons, Articles and Places: exclusive Fisheries:—hence the notions of the ballance of Trade:—and hence the whole Train of Retaliations, restraints on Exportation, Prohibitions of Importation, alien duties, imposts—having thus rendered Communication among themselves almost impracticable, they were forced to look out for foreign settlements—hence Colonies, which might be worked like out farms for the Exclusive benefit of the metropolis, hence that wildest of wild Visions of Avarice and Ambition, the attempt to render the Ocean an Object of Property, a Claim of Possession in it, and Dominion over it. Thus Civilization was obstructed, improvement hindered, and the Light of Genius extinguished.15 Events may arise which may induce, Governors in Europe, to revise and reform, the hard Conditions of its Imprisonment, and give it Liberty.
In the new World, all the Inhabitants are free, and allow universal Naturalization to all that wish to be So, and a perfect Liberty of using any mode of Life they choose, or any Means of getting a Livelihood, that their Talents lead them to. Their Souls are their own: Their Reason is their own. They are their own masters: Their Labour is employed on their own Property, and what they produce is their own. Where every Man has the free, and full Exertion of his Powers, and may acquire any Share of Profit or Power, that his Spirit can work him up to; there an unabated Application, and a perpetual Struggle of Spirit sharpens the Wit, and trains the Mind. The Acquisition of Knowledge in Business, necessary to this Mode of Life, gives the Mind, a Turn of Investigation, which forms a Character peculiar to these People. This is called Inquisitiveness, which goes often to Ridicule, but is in Matters of Business and Commerce an usefull Talent. They are animated with the Spirit of the New Philosophy. Their Life is a Course of Experiments, and standing on as high ground of Improvement, as the most enlightened Parts of Europe have advanced, like Eaglets they commence the first Efforts of their Pinnions from a towering Advantage.
In Europe the poor Man's Wisdom is despised. The poor Mans { 173 } Wisdom, is not learning, but knowledge of his own picking up, from facts and nature, by simple Experience. In America, the Wisdom and not the Man is attended to: America is the Poor Mans Country. The Planters here reason not from what they hear but from what they see and feel. They follow what mode they like. They feel that they can venture to make Experiments, and the Advantages of their discoveries are their own. They therefore try, what the soil claims, what the Climate permits, and what both will produce to the greatest Advantage, in this way, they have brought into Cultivation, an Abundance, that no nation of the old World ever did, or could. They raise not only Plenty, and Luxury for their internal supply, but the Islands in the West Indies have been supplied from their Superabundance, and Europe, in many Articles has profited of it. It has had its fish from their seas: its wheat and flour from one part: its rice from another: its Tobacco and Indigo from another: its timber and naval stores from another: olives, oranges, Wines, are introducing by Experiments.
This spirit of Civilization, first attaches itself to Mother Earth, and the Inhabitants become Land workers. You see them labouring at the Plow, and the Spade, as if they had not an Idea, above the Earth; yet their Minds are all the while, enlarging all their powers, and their Spirit rises as their Improvements advance. Many a real philosopher, politician and Warrior, emerges out of this Wilderness, as the seed rises out of Ground.16
They have also made many improvements in Handicrafts, Tools, and Machines. Want of Tools, and the Unfitness of such as they had, have put these Settlers to their shifts and these shifts are Experiments. Particular Uses calling for some Alteration have opened many a new Invention. More new Tools and Machines, and more new forms of old ones, have been issued in the new than were ever invented in the old in the same space of time.
The new World hath not turned its labour, into Arts and manufactures, because, their labour employed in its own natural Way can produce those things, which purchase Articles of Arts and manufactures, cheaper, than they could make them, but tho it dont manufacture for Sale, the settlers find Fragments of Time, which they cannot otherwise employ, in which they make most of the Articles of personal Ware and household Use, for home Consumption. When the Field shall be filled with Husbandmen, and the Classes of Handicrafts fully stocked, as there are no Laws which impose Conditions, on which a Man is to become intituled to exercise this or that trade, or by which he is excluded from exercising the one or the other, in this or that { 174 } place: none that prescribe the manner in which, or the Prices at which he is to work, or that confine him even to the trade he was bred to: the moment that Civilization carried on in its natural Course is ripe for it: the Branch of Manufactures will take Root, and grow with an astonishing Rapidity.
Altho, the Americans do not endeavour to force the Establishment of Manufactures; yet, following the natural progress of Improvement, they every Year produce a Surplus of Profit. With these surpluses and not with Manufactures they carry on their Commerce. Their fish, wheat, flour, rice, tobacco, indigo, live stock, barrel pork and beef (some of these being peculiar to the Country and staple Commodities) form their Exports. This has given them a direct Trade to Europe, and a circuitous Trade to Affrica and the West Indies.
The same Ingenuity in mechanicks, which accompanies their Agriculture, enters into their Commerce, and is exerted in Ship building: it is carried on, not only for their own freight, and that of the West Indies, but for sale, and supply a great part of the shipping of Britain; and if it continues to advance, will supply a great Part of the trade of Europe with ships, at cheaper Rates, then they can any where, or by any means, supply themselves. Thus their Commerce, altho under various Restrictions, while they were subordinate Provinces, by its advancing Progress in ship building, hath struck deep roots, and is now shot forth into an Active Trade, Amplitude of state and great Power.
An Objection. It will be said that the Ballance of Trade, has been at all times, against America, so as to draw all the Gold and silver from it, and for this Reason it cannot Advance in Commerce and oppulence. Answer. America, even while in depressed and restrained Provinces, has advanced its Cultivation to great oppulence, and constantly extending the Channells of its trade and increasing its shipping. Tis a fallacious Maxim to judge of the general Ballance of Profit in commerce by the Motions of one Article of Commerce, the prescious metals.
These metals, will always go to that Country, that pays the most for them. That Country, which on any sudden Emergency wants Money, and knows not how to circulate any other than silver and gold, must pay the most for them. The Influx of them therefore into a Country, instead of being a Consequence, of the ballance of trade being in its favor, or the Efflux being a Mark, of the Ballance being against it, may be proof of the contrary. The ballance of trade, reckoned by the import or Export of Gold and silver, may in many { 175 } cases, be said to be against England, and in favour of those Countries to which its money goes. If this Import or Export was the Effect of a final settled account, instead of being, only the transfer of this Article to or from an Account currant, as it commonly is, yet it would not be a mark of the Ballance of Trade. England, from the nature of its Government and the Extent of its Commerce, has established a Credit, on which, on any Emergency, it can give Circulation to paper money, almost to any amount. If it could not, it must, at any rate, purchase gold and silver, and their would be a great Influx of the prescious metals. Will any one say, that this is a Symptom of the ballance of trade being in its favour? but on the contrary, having credit, from a progressive ballance of profit, it can, even in such an Emergency, spare its Gold and silver, and even make a Profit of it, as an Article of Commerce exported. Here We see, the ballance of profit creating a Credit, which circulates as money, even while its gold and silver are exported. If any Event like the late Recoinage of the Gold in England, which called in the old Coin at a better Price than that at which it was circulating abroad, should raise the Price of this Article in England, it will, for the same reason, as it went out, be again imported into England, not as a ballance of Accounts, but as an Article of trade, of which the best profit could at that moment be made. The fact was, that at that Period, quantities of English gold coin, to a great amount, were actually imported into England in bulk; and yet this was no mark of any sudden change of a ballance of trade in favour of that Country.17
The ballance of trade, reckoned by this false rule, has been always said to be against N. America: but the fact is, that their Government profiting of a Credit arising from the progressive Improvements, and advancing Commerce of it <(which all the World sees as it is)>, hath by a refined policy, established a Circulation of Paper Money, to an Amount that is astonishing; that from the immense quantity it should depreciate, is nothing to this Argument; for it has had its Effect. The Americans therefore can spare their gold and silver, as well as England, and my Information says, there is now locked up in America more than three Millions, English Money, in gold and silver, which when their Paper is annihilated will come forth. The Efflux, therefore of gold and silver, is no proof of a ballance against them. On the contrary, being able to go on without gold and silver, but wanting other Articles, without which they could not proceed in their Improvements in Agriculture, Commerce, or War, the gold and silver is in part hoarded, and in part exported for these Articles. In fact, this { 176 } objection, which is always given as an instance of Weakness in America, under which she must Sink, turns out, in the true state of it, an Instance of the most extensive Amplitude and Growth of state. It would be well for England, if while she tryumphs over this Mote in her Sisters Eye, would attend to the Beam in her own, and prepare for the Consequences of her own paper Money.
From this Comparison of the Spirit of Civilization, applied to Agriculture, Mechanicks, and Commerce, extended through a large territory, having a free Communication, thro the whole, Governor Pownal asserts, that N. America has advanced, and is every day advancing, to a Growth of State, with a constant, and accellerating Motion of which there has never been any Example in Europe.
He proceeds to compare the two Countries, in the Progress of Population. In North America Children are a Blessing they are Riches and strength to the Parents. In Europe, Children are a Burden. The Causes of which have been with decided demonstration explained in the “Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, the Peopling of Countries &c.”18 which he confirms by Examples of the actual increase,—The Mass. Bay, had of inhabitants in the year 1722, 94,000—in 1742, 164,000, in 1751—when there was a great depopulation both by War and the Small Pox 164,484—in 1761, 216,000—in 1765, 255,500—in 1771, 292,000, in 1773, 300,000.19
In Connecticut, in 1756, 129,994—in 1774, 257,356. These numbers are not increased by strangers, but decreased by Wars and Emigrations to the Westward, and to other states. Yet they have nearly doubled in Eighteen Years.
In N. York in 1756, 96,776—in 1771, 168,007—in 1774, 182,251.
In Virginia in 1756, 173,316—in 1764, 200,000—in 1774, 300,000.
In S. Carolina 1750, 64,000—in 1770, 115,000. In R. Island, 1738, 15,000, in 1748, 28,439.
As there never was a Militia in Pensilvania, which authentic List of the Population,20 it has been variously estimated on Speculation. There was a continual Importation for many Years of irish and foreign Emigrants, yet many of these settled in other Provinces: but the progress of population, in the ordinary course, advanced in a ratio between that of Virginia, and that of Mass. Bay. The City of Philadelphia, advanced more rapidly. It had in 1749—2076 houses in 1753—2300 in 1760, 2969 in 1769, 4474, from 1749 to 1753 from 16, to 18,000 Inhabitants—from 1760 to 1769 from 31,318 to 35,000.
There were in 1754 various Calculations and Estimates made of the No. on the Continent. The sanguine, made the No. one million and { 177 } an half. Those who admitted less speculation into the Calculation, but adhered closer to Facts and Lists as they were made out, Stated them at one million two hundred and fifty thousand. The Estimate said to be taken in Congress in 1774 makes them 3,026,678—but there must have been great Scope of Speculation in that Estimate. Another, after two or three Years of War, is 2,810,000. Govr. P. thinks that 2,141,307 would turn out nearest to the real amount in 1774. But what an amazing Progress, which in 18 years has added a million to a million two hundred and fifty thousand, altho a War was maintained in that Country for seven years of the term. In this view one sees a Community, unfolding itself, beyond any Example in Europe.
But the Model of these Communities, which has always taken place, from the Beginning, has enrolled every subject, as a soldier, and trained a greater Part, or 535,326 of these People to Arms, which Number the Community has, not seperate from the civil, and formed into a distinct body of regular Soldiers, but remaining united in the internal Power of the society, a national Piquet guard, always prepared for defence. This will be thought ridiculous by the regular Generals of Europe: but experience hath evinced, that for the very Reason that they are not a Seperate body, but members of the Community, they are a real and effectual national defence. He concludes with Lord Bacon, that21 the true Greatness of a State consisteth essentially in Population <and breed of Men>, and where there is Valour in individuals, and a military disposition in the frame of the Community: where all, and not particular conditions and degrees only, make profession of Arms, and bear them in their countrys defence.22
This Country now is an Independant State, that hath taken its equal Station amidst the Nations of the Earth.23 It is an Empire, the Spirit of whose Government extends from the Center to the extream Parts. Universal participation of Council, creates Reciprocation of universal Obedience. The Seat of Government will be well informed of the State and Condition of the remote and extream parts which by participation in the Legislature, will be informed and satisfied in the reasons and necessity of the measures of Government. These will consider themselves as acting in every grant that is made, and in every tax imposed. This Consideration will give Efficacy to Government, that Consensus Obedientium, on which the permanent Power of Empire is founded. This is the Spirit of the New Empire in America. It is liable to many Disorders, but young and Strong, like the Infant Hercules it will strangle these serpents, in the Cradle. Its Strength { 178 } will grow with Years. It will establish its Constitution, and perfect Growth to Maturity. To this Greatness of Empire it will certainly arise. That it is removed 3000 miles from its Enemy: that it lies on another side of the Globe where it has no Enemy: that it is Earth born and like a Giant ready to run its Course, are not the only Grounds, on which a Speculatist may pronounce this. The fostering Care with which the Rival Powers of Europe will nurse it, ensures its Establishment, beyond all doubt or danger.
When a State is founded on Such Amplitude of Territory: whose Intercourse is so easy: whose Civilization, is so advanced: where all is Enterprize and Experiment: where Agriculture has made so many discoveries, of new and peculiar Articles of Cultivation: where the ordinary Produce of bread Corn has been carried to a degree, that has made it a Staple Export, for the supply of the old World: whose Fisheries are mines producing more Solid Riches than all the silver of Potosi: Where Experiment hath invented So many new and ingenious Improvements, in Mechanicks: where the Arts, Sciences, Legislation and Politicks, are Soaring with a Strong and extended Pinion: where Population has multiplied like the Seeds of the Harvest: Where the Power of these Numbers, taking a military Form, shall lift up itself as a young Lion;24 where Trade of extensive orbit, circulating in its own shipping, has wrought up these Efforts of the Community to an active Commerce: where all these Powers have united and taken the form of Empire: I may suppose I cannot err, or give offence to the greatest Power in Europe, when Upon a Comparison of the state of Mankind, and of the Powers of Europe, with that of America I venture to suggest to their Contemplation, that America is growing too large for any Government in Europe to manage as subordinate. That the Government, of North America, is too firmly fixed in the Hands of its own Community, to be either directed by other Hands, or taken out of those in which it is: and that the Power in Men and Arms, is too much to be forced, at the distance of 3000 Miles. Were I to ask an Astronomer, whether, if a satellite should grow, untill it could ballance with its Planet, whether that globe so increased, could be held any longer by any of the Powers of Nature, in the orbit of a satellite, and whether any external Force could hold it there, he will answer me, directly, No. If I ask a father, whether, after his son is grown up, to full strength of Body Mind and Reason, he can be held in Pupillage, and will suffer himself to be treated and corrected as a Child, he must answer No. Yet if I ask, an European Politician, who learns by Hearsay, and thinks by Habit, whether N. America will { 179 } remain dependent he answers, Yes. He will have a thousand reasons, why it must be so, altho fact rises in his face to the very contrary. Politicians, instead of being employed to find out reasons to explain facts, are often employed with a multitude about them, to invent and make facts, according to predetermined Reasonings. Truth, however, will prevail. This is not said to prove, but to explain the Fact, so that the Consequences may be seen. The present Combination of Events whether attended to or not, whether wrought by Wisdom into the system of Europe or not, will force its way there, by the Vigour of natural Causes. Europe, in the Course of its Commerce, and even in the internal order and Oeconomy of its Communities, will be affected by it. The Statesman cannot prevent its Existence, nor resist its Operation. He may embroil his own Affairs; but it will become his best Wisdom, and his Duty to his Sovereign and the People, that his measures coincide and cooperate with it.
The first of the Consequences is, the Effect, which this Empire, become a great naval power, will have on the Commerce, and by Changes in that, on the political system of the old World.
Whoever understands the Hanseatic League, and its progress, by possessing the commanding Articles of the Commerce of the World; the command of the great Rivers; its being the Carrier of Europe: in consequent active naval Power, that could attract, resist, and even command the landed powers; that it was made up of Seperate and unconnected Towns, included within the dominions, of other States; that they had no natural Communication, and only an artificial Union: whoever considers not only the commercial but naval and political Power, which this League established throughout Europe; will see, on how much more solid a Basis, the Power of North America, stands: how much faster it must grow, and to what an Ascendancy, of Interest, carrying on the greatest part of the Commerce, and commanding the greatest Part of the Shipping of the World, this great commercial and naval Power, must Soon arrive. If the League, without the natural Foundation of a political Body, in Land, could grow by Commerce and navigation to such Power: if, of Parts seperated by Nature, and only joined by Art and Force, could become a great political Body, acting externally with an Interest and Power, that took a lead, and even an Ascendancy in Wars and Treaties? What must N. America, removed at the distance of half the Globe, from all the obstructions of rival powers, founded in a landed Dominion, peculiarly adapted for Communication of Commerce, and Union of Power, rise to in its Progress? As the Hanseatick League, { 180 } grew to Power, Denmark, Sweeden, Poland, and France, Sought its Alliance (under the common Veil of Pride) by offers of becoming its Protectors. England also, growing fast into a commercial Power, had commercial Arrangements by Treaty with it. Just So now, will the Sovereigns of Europe, just so have, the Bourbon Compact, the greatest Power in Europe, courted the Friendship of America. Standing on Such a Basis, and growing Up, under Such Auspices, one may pronounce of America, as was said of Rome—Civitas, incredibile est memoratu, a deptà Libertate quantum brevi creverit.25 I mark what may be, by what has been.
In the Course of this American War, all the Powers of Europe, at least the maritime powers, will one after another, as some of the first leading Powers have already done, apply to the States of America, for a share in their trade, and for a Settlement of the Terms on which they may carry it, on with them. America, will then become the arbitress of the commercial (and perhaps as the seven United Belgic Provinces were in the Year 1647) the mediatrix of peace, and of the political business of the World.
If N: America follows the Principles on which Nature has established her; and if the European Alliances which she has already made do not involve her in, and Seduce her to, a Series of Conduct destructive of that System, which those Principles lead to; She must observe, that as Nature hath seperated her from Europe, and hath established her alone on a great Continent, far removed from the old World, and all its embroiled Interests and wrangling Politicks, without an Enemy or a Rival or the Entanglement of Alliances.26 1. That it is, contrary to her Interest and the nature of her Existence, that she should have any Connections of Politicks with Europe, other than merely commercial; and even on that ground, to observe inviolably27 the Caution of not being involved, in Either the quarrells, or the Wars of the Europeans. 2. That the real State of America is, that of being the common Source of supply to Europe in general; and that her true Interest is therefore that of being a free Port to all Europe at large; and that all Europe at large should be the common Market for American Exports. The true Interest, therefore of America, is, not to form any partial connections, with any Part to the Exclusion of the rest. If England had attended to her true Interest, as connected with that of America, she would have known, that28 it is the Commerce, and not the Conquest of America, by which she could be benefited; and if she would even yet, with temper listen to her true Interest, she would still find, that that Commerce would, in a great measure { 181 } continue with the Same benefit, were the two Countries as independent of each other as France and Spain, because in many Articles, neither of them can go to a better Market. This is meant, as under their present Habits and Customs of Life. Alienation may change all this.
The first great leading Principle will be, that N. America will become a free Port to all the nations of the World, indiscriminately; and will expect, insist on, and, demand, in fair Reciprocity, a free market in all those nations with whom she trades. This will, if she forgets not, nor forsakes her real nature, be the Basis, of all her commercial Treaties. If she adheres to this Principle, she must be, in the course of time, the chief Carrier of the Commerce of the whole World: because, unless the several powers of Europe, become to each other, likewise, free Ports and free marketts, America alone will come to and act there, with an ascendant Interest that must command every Advantage to be derived from them.29
The Commerce of N. America, being no longer the Property of one Country only: her Articles of supply will come freely, and be found now in all the markets of Europe: not only moderated by, but moderating the Prices of the like Articles of Europe. The Furs and Peltry, will meet those of the north East part of Europe; and neither the one nor the other can any longer be estimated by the Advantages to be taken of an exclusive Vent. Advantages of this Kind, on Iron, and naval Stores, have frequently been aimed at by Sweeden: and the monopoly in them was more than once used as an Instrument of Hostility against England, which occasioned the bounties on these Articles, the Growth of America, which gave rise to the Export of them from America: when they come freely to the European marketts, cooperating with the Effect which those of Russia have, will break that monopoly, for Russia, by the Conquest of Livonia,30 and the Advancement of her Civilization, has become a source of supply, in these Articles, to a great Extent. All Europe by the Intervention of this American Commerce, will find the good Effects of a fair Competition, both in Abundance of Supply, and in moderation of Price. Even England who hath lost the monopoly, will be no great loser on this score: she will find this natural Competition as advantageous to her, as the monopoly, which, in bounties, and other costs of protection she paid so dear for. Ship building and navigation, haveing made such progress in America, that they are able to build and navigate cheaper than any country in Europe, even than Holland with all her Aeconomy. There will arise a Competition in this branch of com• { 182 } merce. In this branch the dutch will find a powerful Rivalry, from that maritime people the Americans.31 They will also find, in the Marketts of Europe, a Competition in the branch of the Fisheries. The Rice and Corn, which the Americans have been able to export, to an Amount that Supplied, in the European market, the defect arising from England's withholding her Exports, will keep down depressed the Agriculture of Portugal and Spain, and in some measure of France, if the policy of those Countries does not change the Regulations, and order of their internal Oeconomy. The peculiar Articles, to be had as yet from America only, which Europe so much seeks after, will give the Americans the command of the market in those Articles, and enable them, by annexing assortments of other Articles, to produce these also, with Advantage in these marketts. The refuse fish, flour, Maize, meat, live stock, lumber &c., all carried in American shipping to the W. India Islands: the African slaves, carried by a circuitous trade, in American Shipping also to the W. India marketts: taking from thence the molasses: aiding those Islands with American shipping, in the Carriage of their produce, must ever command and have the Ascendency in the Commerce of that Part of the World, if this Ascendency even Stops here. The cheap manner, in which the Americans produce their Articles of Supply: the low rates at which they carry them to Europe, Selling also their shipping there: the small Profits at which their merchants are content to trade, must lower the price of the like Articles in Europe: oblige the European merchants to be content with less profit: occasion some Reform in the Oeconomy of Europe in raising and police in bringing to market, the native Articles of supply. But further the Americans, by their Principle of being a free port in America, and having a free market in Europe; by their Policy of holding themselves, as they are remote from all the wrangling Politicks, So neutral in all the Wars of Europe: by their Spirit of Enterprise in all the quarters of the globe, will oblige the Nations of Europe to call forth within themselves such a Spirit, as must entirely change its commercial system also.
But will a people whose Empire Stands Singly predominant on a great Continent, who before they lived under their own Government, had pushed their Spirit of Adventure in Search of a N. West Passage to Asia, which as their own discovery, they meant to have claimed as their own peculiar Right, Suffer in their borders the Establishment of such a monopoly as the European Hudsons Bay Company? Will that Spirit which has forced an extensive commerce in the two bays of Honduras and Compeachy, and on the Spanish main, and who { 183 } have gone to Falklands Islands in search only of Whales, be stopped at Cape Horn, or not pass the Cape of good Hope? It will not be long after their Establishment as an Empire, before they will be found trading in the south Sea and in China. The Dutch will hear of them in Spice Islands, to which the Dutch can have no Claim; and which those Enterprising People will contest, on the very ground, and by the very Arguments, which the Dutch used to contest the Same Liberty against Portugal.32 By the Intercourse and Correspondence which there will be between Europe and America, it will be as well known, as Europe: by attention to the Winds, Currents, the Gulph Stream and its Lee Currents, the Passage will be better understood and become shorter: America will seem every day to approach nearer and nearer to Europe. When the Alarm which the Idea of going to a Strange and distant Country gives to a Manufacturer or Peasant, or even a Country Gentleman, shall be thus worn out; a thousand attractive motives respecting a settlement in America, will raise a Spirit of Adventure, and become the irresistable Cause of a general Emigration to that World. Nothing but Some, future, wise and benevolent <Spirit of> Policy in Europe, or Some Spirit of the Evil one, which may mix itself in the Policy of America can prevent it. Many of the most usefull enterprising Spirits, and much of the active property will go there. Exchange hath taught the statesmen of the World long ago, that they cannot confine money, and the Governments of Europe, must fall back to the feudal Tyranny, in which its own people are locked up, and from which all others are excluded, or Commerce will open a Door to Emigration.33
These Relations of Things—these Legesque et foedera rerum,34 are forming what Governor Pownal concieves to be the new System. The sublime Politician, who ranges in Regions of predetermined systems—the man of the World, narrowed by a selfish Experience, worse than Ignorance will not believe him: and it is but slowly, that Nations relinquish any System, which hath derived Authority from time and habit.35 Those Sovereigns of Europe, who have despised the Awkward Youth of America, and neglected to form Connections, and interweave their interests with those of these rising states, shall find the system of this new Empire, obstructing and superseding the old system of Europe, and crossing all their Maxims and measures, they will call upon their Ministers Come Curse me this people, for they are too mighty for me. The Spirit of Truth will answer, How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed? How shall I defy whom the Lord hath not defied? From the Top of the Rock I see them, from the Hills { 184 } I behold them. Lo! the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.36 On the Contrary, those Sovereigns, who shall see things as they are, and form, if not the earliest, yet the most sure and natural Connection with America, as an Independant State, the Markett of, and a free Port to Europe: as that Being which must have a free markett in Europe, will become the principal leading Power in Europe, in regulating the Courses of the rest, and in settling the common Center of all.
England is the state that is in those Circumstances and in that situation. Similar Modes of living and thinking, manners and fashions, Language and Habits, all conspire naturally to a rejuncture by Alliance. If England, would treat America as what she is, she might still have the Ascendancy in trade and navigation: might still have a more solid and less invidious power than that magni nominis Umbra,37 with which she braves the whole World. She might yet have an active leading Interest among the powers of Europe. But she will not. As though the Hand of Judgment was upon her, England will not see the things which make for her peace. France, and other States will follow the Example, acknowledging these states to be what they are, has formed Alliances with them on terms of perfect Equality and Reciprocity.38 And behold the Ascendant, to which she directly arose, from that politick Humiliation. There never was a wiser or firmer Step taken by any established power, than that which the new states in America took, for their first footing in this Alliance: there never was more Address, Art, or Policy shown by any State, than France has given Proof of in the Same; when both agreed and became allied on terms, which exclude no other Power, from enjoying the Same Benefits, by a like Treaty. Can it be supposed that other States, conceiving that the exclusive trade of England, to America, is laid open, will not desire, and have their share? They certainly will. Here then are the Beginnings of changes in the European System.
There are two Courses in which, this general Intercourse of Commerce, between Europe and N. America, may come into operation: one, by particular Treaties of commerce: the other by all the maritime States of Europe, previous to their engaging in a War, or upon the general Settlement of a Peace, meeting in Some Congress to regulate among themselves, as well as with north America, the Free Port on one Hand, and the free Markett on the other; as also general Regulations of Commerce and navigation, Such as must Suit this free trader, now common to them all, indifferently, and without preference. Such Regulations, must exclude all Monopoly of this Source { 185 } of Supply and Course of Trade; and So far make an essential Change in the commercial System: such Regulations, not having Reference only to America, but reciprocal References between all the contracting Parties, trading now under different Circumstances, and Standing towards each other in different Predicaments, must necessarily change the whole of that System in Europe.
The American will come to market in his own ship, and will claim the Ocean as Common; will claim a navigation restrained by no Laws, but the Law of Nations, reformed as the rising Crisis requires: will claim a free Market, not only for his Goods but his ship, which will make a Part of his Commerce. America being a free Port to all Europe, the American will bring to Europe not only his own peculiar Staple produce, but every Species of his produce, which the market of Europe can take off: he will expect to be free to offer to Sale in the European markett, every Species of wrought materials, which he can make to answer in that markett: and further as his commerce subsists by a circuitous Interchange with other Countries and Regions, whence he brings Articles, not Singly for his own consumption, but as exchangeable Articles, with which to trade in foreign marketts; he will claim as one of the conditions of the free markett, that these foreign Articles, as well as his own produce shall be considered as free for him to import in his own shipping: to such markett. Those states who refuse this at first, Seeing others acquiesce in it, and Seeing also how they profit by having Articles of supply and Trade brought So much cheaper to them, will be obliged, in their own defence, and to maintain their ballance in the commercial World, to acceed to the Same Liberty. Hence again, even if the American should not, by these means, become the ascendant Interest in the Carrying Trade, and in shipping and Seamen, a most essential change must arise in the European System.
The American, raises his produce, and navigates cheaper than any other can: his Staples, are Articles which he alone can Supply: these will come to market assorted with others, which he thus can most conveniently supply; and unless the same freedom of trade which he enjoys, be reciprocally given and taken by the European powers, among each other, he will come to the European market on terms, which no other can, but Europe will be affected, benefited and improved by his manner of trading. The peculiar Activity of the American, will raise a Spirit and activity among those who come to the same market. That peculiar turn of Character, that Inquisitiveness, which in business animates a Spirit of investigation to every { 186 } extent, and the minutest detail, enables them to conduct their dealings, in a manner more advantageous, than is usually practiced by the European merchant. They acquire a Knowledge not only of the marketts of Europe, i.e. of the Wants and supplies, how they correspond, and of their relative values; but they never rest, till they are possessed of a knowledge of every Article of produce and manufacture, which comes to those marketts; untill they know the establishments, the operations and the prices of labour, and the profits made on each, as well, or even better, than merchants of the Country themselves. A little before the War, several of the American Merchants, especially those of Pensilvania, sending some of their own house to England, became their own factors, went immediately to the Manufacturers in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Sheffield; to the woolen manufacturers in Yorkshire and Lancashire: to those of Liverpool: and those in the west: and opened an immediate traffic with them at the first hand. This same Spirit of Investigation and Activity, will actuate their dealings in every other country of Europe. The Effect of this, instead of being disadvantageous, to those countries, will become a general blessing, by raising a more general competition, and diffusing a more proportional share of profit, between all ranks of the industrious. While trade is solely in the hands of the merchant, he bears hard on the purchaser, by his high profit, and oppresses the manufacturer, by the little share, he allows him. The merchant grows rich and magnificent, makes a great Bustle and figure. It can never be well, where Merchants are Princes. The more the merchant can make by high profit, the less quantity will he carry to market. Whereas, when Commerce shall be free, and by the mixture of this american Spirit, trade runs, with fair competition in a broad channell the merchant must make his Way by being content with small profit, and by doing a deal of business on those small profits. The consumer and manufacturer will come nearer together. The one will save an unreasonable Advance and the other obtain a more equal share of profit. More work will be done: the profits of Industry more equally distributed, the circulation will spread thro the lesser vessels, and Life Health and Growth promoted.
If these operations take this Course, it will be needless to point out to the shrewd Speculations of the Merchants what their conduct must necessarily be: but it will behove Statesmen, to be aware, that they do not Suffer the merchant to persuade them, that the Commerce is languishing, merely because there is not the same parade of Wealth, in such dazzling Instances. Let them look to the marketts { 187 } of supply, and see if there is not plenty. Next to the rude produce which is the Basis of manufactures, and enquire, whether, while more and more Industry is daily called forth, it is not employed and more adequately paid by a free and extended Vent? While the No. and ingenuity of manufacturers increases, they do not all live more comfortably, so as to have and maintain increasing families? Whether population does not increase. Let them, in future guard against the exclusive temper of Trade. The political founders of the old System, were totally ignorant of this principle of commerce. It was Wisdom with them to render their neighbours and customers poor. By a wretched System of taxation they effectually prevented the Stock of labour and profit from accumulating. But if the Statesmen of the present enlightened Age, will follow, where Experience, leads to truth and right, they will throw the Activity of Mankind into its proper course of productive labour. When man has the liberty of exerting his Industry and Ingenuity, as he can make them the most productive, finds a free Market, and his Share of profit, then is the ground duly prepared for Population, opulence, and Strength. Then will the Sovereigns of Europe find their Interest, and their Power in their Peoples Happiness.
If the Sovereigns of Europe, should find in the Example of England, that the System of Colonies in distant regions for the Purpose of Monopolies, is at an end, and turn their Attention, to give Exertion to their own internal powers like the police of China, cultivate their waste lands, improve Agriculture, encourage manufactures, abolish Corporations: as all the remnants of Barbarism, shall be removed, the powers of the Community will create those surpluses which will become the Source, and open the channells of commerce. If they should see in the Examples of Spain and England, the Disappointments of attempts to establish a Monopoly of navigation, by the force of laws, instead of creating or maintaining it, by the Spirit of an active commerce: that all the Prohibitions by which they labour to oppress their neighbours do but depress themselves, they may come to think, that giving Freedom and Activity to commerce, is the true System of every commercial Country. Suppose them, checked in their Career of War, hesitating on the Maxims of their old system: perceiving that the Oeconomical Activity in Europe, is on the Turn to take a new Course: feeling the force of an active commerce; finding themselves under the necessity of making Some reform, should begin to Speculate, how, amidst a Number of Powers of Trade, Shifting their Scale, an even ballance may be formed, and Secured. How amidst a number { 188 } of Interests, floating on the Turn of this great Tide in the Affairs of Men, an equal level may be obtained. If on a review of their old System, they should perceive how it is prepared for change—they may find that Commerce, which might have risen by Competition, Industry, Frugality and ingenuity, hath long been an exclusive, Scrambling rivalship. Instead of being an equal, Communication concentring the Enjoyments of all regions and climates, and a Consociation of all nations in one Communion of the blessings of Providence: when actuated as it has been by a selfish Principle, it hath been to the Nations an occasion of Jealousies; alternate depressions of each others Interests, and a never ceasing Source of Wars, perhaps they may also see that treaties, of Peace have been but truces, and guarrantees so many entangling preparations for future Wars. On the other hand, they should see with pleasure, that the manners of mankind, softening by degrees have become more humanized; their Police more civilized: and altho many of the old oppressive Institutions of Government, as they respect Husbandmen, Manufacturers, Merchants, Marketts and Commerce, have not yet been formally abolished; yet that Practice, by various Accommodations, have abrogated their most mischeivious operations. That the Activity of Man finds every day, a freer Course: that there are a thousand Ways, which altho pride will not open, prudence will connive at, through which the intercourse of Marketts finds every year, a freer vent: and that the active Spirit of commerce is like the Spirit of Life, diffusing itself through the whole Mass of Europe. They will find there is an End of all their monopolizing Systems. They will see that any one of the powers of Europe, who would aim to deal with the rest of Mankind with an unequal ballance; will only find, that they have raised among their neighbours, a Jealousy that shall conspire to wrest that false ballance out of their hands, and to depress them down again, to a level with the rest of the World. The Cities of Italy, the Low Countries, Portugal, Holland, England, have all, for their period, as commercial powers, arisen above the common Level, but pressing with a Weight which was felt as unequal by those below them; they have each in its turn found, even in the moment of their highest Elevation a general rising all around them, and themselves sinking to the common level. Statesmen must see, how much it is the interest of all, to liberate each other, from the Restraints, Prohibitions and Exclusions, by which they have aimed to depress each other. They will see,39 that the most advantageous Way, which a landed nation can take, to encourage and multiply Artificers, Manufacturers and { 189 } Merchants of their own, is to grant the most perfect freedom, to the Artificers Manufacturers and merchants of every other nation. That a contrary Practice, lowers the value of their own internal Productions, by raising the prices of all things which must be bought with them: and gives to the Artificers, Manufacturers and merchants a monopoly against their own farmers. Seeing this they will encourage Population, and an universal naturalization and liberty of Conscience. If nature has so formed man, and Policy, Society, that each labouring in his line, produces a surplus of Supply, it is both perfect Justice and Policy, that men and nations should be free, reciprocally to interchange it. This communion of nations, is a right which may be enjoyed, in its genuine spirit and utmost extent, except in time of War, and even then to a great degree, without interfering in the political and civil power of the World. The Spirit of those exclusive Laws of navigation will appear as the Spirit of piracy. The common ocean, incapable of being defined, or of a Special occupancy, or of recieving exclusively the labour of any Individual, Person or state, is incapable of becoming an Object of Property—never an object of Dominion: and that, therefore, the ocean, should in policy, as it is in fact, remain common and free. Pervium cunctis Iter.40 If it should be seen that the commercial system of Europe is changing, and in Wisdom and policy ought to be changed: that the great Commerce of North America emancipated from its provincial state, not only coincides with, but is a concurring cause of this change; that the present Combination of Events form a Crisis, which Providence with a more than ordinary Interposition hath prepared: and that Heaven itself Seems to call upon sovereigns to cooperate with its gracious Providence, if they should be convinced that there is nothing so absurd as Warring against each other about an object, which as it is Seperated from Europe, will have nothing to do with its Broils, and will not belong exclusively to any of them. If listening to this Voice, which as that of an Angel, announcing Peace and good Will to mankind, summons them to leave off the endless useless operations of War: to consider the present Crisis as an object of Council and not of War and therefore to meet in Communications and Intercourse of their reasoning Powers.41
The Maritime Powers, must, before Peace respecting America, and the mixed Interests of Europe and America, can be even treated of, convene by their Consuls, Commissioners or other Ministers, in order to consider the Several points on which the War broke out—the points in Claim, and in contest, the points on which they may { 190 } safely suspend Hostilities, and those which must form the Basis of Treaty, and which will enter into the future System, and on which Peace may not only made, but established among the nations of the Atlantic ocean.42
Will not, Reason and Benevolence, then, in which true Policy and their right and best Interest is included, Suggest to their Hearts; and actuate their Councils to convene a Congress before they are engaged in further Hostilities before the devastation of War extends Ruin and misery yet farther. Some such measure, as led the great trading Bodies of Europe to convene in a Congress, which gave rise to the Hanseatic League, is not out of the Course of public business but is, what the Nature of the present crisis, in a more than ordinary necessity, requires.43 Whether Some general council, on the model of that concerted between the great Henry of France and Elizabeth of England,44 two as noble Spirits and as wise Politicians as the World hath Since Seen, should not now be proposed, not indeed a Council of Administration, for regulating and conducting a general political system of all Europe, but a Council of Commerce, for Europe and N. America exclusive of every point of Politicks. As such it should remain, a standing perpetual Council of deliberation and Advice, and a seat of Judicial Administration common to all. Also a Great and General Court of Admiralty, to take Cognizance of Disputes, and offences, which shall be committed against the general laws of trade.
Such a Council might not only prevent, a most dreadful general War, which Seems to be coming on in Europe (by the Way a very great mistake) but might be forever a means of preventing, future occasions of War, from commercial quarulls, the present vague State of the marine Law of nations, seems to be such, as creates a necessity of such a measure. At present all Principle, Rule and Law, seems to be as much lost, as if the nations were fallen back to the old State of Piracy, under their old Barbarism. Europe cannot, even in War, go on under the present Abrogation of all treaties, and all the Laws of nations.45
The Cardinal Points which will come under deliberation will be 1. how far in Right and Policy, it may be best for all to establish, the Mare liberum:46 and how far each Nation (providing for the property and Dominion, which they hold in Bays and Harbours,) may acceed to this Establishment, as a law of nations. 2. how far the universal Jus navigandi47 may be established48 3. This will lead to deliberation on the Libertas universalis Commerciorum49 Free Ports and Free Marketts. Next Port Duties and Toll Marketts. It will be best by { 191 } degrees to abolish all Port duties, and raise their revenues by Exise, Tailles, &c. and other internal Sources of finance, immediately laid on the Consumer.50 This measure would make that Country which adopted it a free port a circumstance very desirable to every well Wisher to his Country.51 They will deliberate first, on the Nature and Extent of the conditional grants of Priviledges of Trade, which, Under the Air of Protection, they shall offer to America: Under this Idea, they must settle with her, and amongst each other quite new Arrangements of Tarifs, &c.
Voila tout ce qu'on peut raisonablement, exiger. Il n'est au pouvoir, de l'humanité, que de preparer, et agir. Le Succes est l'ouvrage d'un main plus puissante. Sulli. Liv. 30.52
Finis.
In a former Letter I have given Congress, some Observations on a Letter of Mr. H. This contains an Account of the substance of a Volume of Governor Pownall, which as the Book is not my own I cannot send to Congress as I wish to do.53 Both have Relation to the Object of my Mission. These two Gentlemen have both declared themselves, in Parliament for pacific measures, but from some sentiments in these Writings, it is not very likely they will succeed. Both seem to be wholly uninformed of the State of Europe. Both seem to suppose that the Powers of Europe, the maritime Powers will go to War, with the English against us and our Allies. Congress were fully informed last August54 that there was no danger of this. The late Declaration of the Ottoman Port, of the Empress of Russia, and the measures taking by the other maritime Powers demonstrate that the Information Congress then received was right, and the Imaginations of these Writers of general Wars are groundless. There may be indeed some danger, that the Pride and Obstinacy of the English, may involve every maritime Power, in a War as well as a league against them.
I have the Honour to be, with entire Respect and Attachment, sir your most obedient and humble servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 479–494); docketed: “Letter from John Adams April 19. 1780 An account of governor Pownals pamphlet entitled 'A Memorial to the sovereigns of Europe on the present State of Affairs between the old and the New World' Recd. 19 Feby 1781.” LbC in John Thaxter's hand with corrections by JA (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “49.” The text printed here should be compared with JA's Translation (No. II, below), which is virtually identical to the Translation published at London in Jan. 1781.
{ 192 }
1. I see the sun rising in the west.
2. This and the preceding paragraph are an accurate digest of the first four and a half pages of the Memorial. As Pownall indicates in a note on page 1 of the Memorial, much of what he says in this section, some of it in quotation marks, was taken from his Administration of the Colonies (London, 1764, p. 1–10), although in the Memorial it is given a different twist. This is true of his statements regarding the evolution of a new system based on “the Spirit of Commerce,” as well as those regarding a new “Center of Gravity.” In both the Administration (p. 2) and the Memorial (p. 1), Pownall saw changed circumstances as creating a “Nascent Crisis,” but the two works presented fundamentally different solutions to the crisis. See Editorial Note (above).
3. To this point JA copied this paragraph from the Memorial (p. 8–9) with relatively few changes for the sake of style or clarity. The remainder of this sentence, however, with its explicit reference to the international consequences of waging the war in America is by JA.
4. In copying the remainder of this sentence from the Memorial (p. 9) JA made substantial changes that partially alter Pownall's meaning. In the Memorial the passage reads “however long, to their mutual ruin, they may continue the contest, by which they hope to decide, to which of them as allies, foedere inequali, the Americans shall belong, the Americans will belong to neither.”
5. As an unequal partner, a party to an unequal alliance.
6. In the Memorial (p. 11–12) Pownall attributes his views on the greatness of states to the writings of Sir Francis Bacon and then quotes (p. 12) from Bacon's unfinished work “Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain,” which formed the basis for his later essay “Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates.” The remainder of this sentence is JA's reworking of the passage from Bacon to the effect “that in the measuring and balancing of greatness, too much is ascribed to largeness of territory on one hand, and on the other too much to the fruitfulness of soil, or abundance of commodities” (par. 2, sentences 1 and 3).
7. This and the preceding two paragraphs are JA's condensation of approximately seven printed pages from the Memorial (p. 11–17). Some of JA's deletions were to improve Pownall's style, but most were intended to keep the focus of the text on North America, specifically the British colonies, and to avoid digressions on the progress of civilization or colonization elsewhere.
8. This sentence is a much condensed version of a passage in the Memorial (p. 18) in quotation marks that was taken, with some revisions, from Administration (p. 7).
9. Francis Bacon, “Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain” (par. 5).
10. This and the preceding two paragraphs, which correspond to approximately ten printed pages in the Memorial (p. 17–27), constitute the largest block of text to be omitted from the Translation. JA's motive for the omission was probably his belief that the references to the West Indies and South America were not relevant to his argument. Moreover, the discussion of the Spanish possessions in South America and their progress under Spanish rule would naturally raise the question of the impact of the American Revolution on the Spanish colonies. This at a time when the United States was seeking a treaty with a Spain already troubled by the implications of the American revolt.
11. Francis Bacon, “Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain” (par. 4).
12. Except for a word or two, this paragraph is wholly JA's with no counterpart at this point in the Memorial (p. 27), but is a kind of prelude that is reprised later in much greater detail (Memorial, p. 45–51; see also note 42). JA likely had two reasons for inserting the paragraph. The first was stylistic, to provide a smoother transition to the paragraphs on the progress of civilization in America that follow, but the second was substantive. JA wished to emphasize from the beginning a major theme in both the Memorial and the Translation: that is, that American ingenuity, born of freedom from European restrictions, was creating a civilization and a viable economic system that would soon be equal or even superior to any in Europe and was progressing at a much faster pace than anyone would have expected.
13. This and the paragraphs that follow on the progress of civilization were likely derived and expanded from what Pownall had written in Administration (p. 3–4). But they should also be compared with JA's “Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law” (vol. 1:103–128). There JA had written of the effect that freedom from the archaic European social, religious, and political system had had on American development. It is likely that one reason that JA was drawn to the Memorial was the similarity between Pownall's senti• { 193 } ments and his own regarding the legacy of the “Clergy” and “feudal Lords.” Such a conclusion is supported by JA's letter to Edmund Jenings on 20 April (below), in which he requested Jenings to obtain for him a copy of a previous English edition of the “Dissertation” and to seek its republication.
14. This paragraph is a condensation of approximately three pages of the Memorial (p. 31–33) and at this point JA entirely omitted from his copying a page and a half of text (p. 32–33). The section commented on the effect of the practices and reasoning of the “Lords” in the development of agriculture and was probably seen by JA as repetitious and a digression from the discussion of the farmer's condition.
15. This paragraph is a condensation of approximately eight pages of the Memorial (p. 34–42) and at this point JA entirely omitted from his copying two pages of text (p. 39–41). The section probably was omitted because it dealt with the reasoning behind the restrictive economic system's development, rather than with JA's primary interest: its operation and ill effects.
16. This and the following paragraphs noting the impact of American ingenuity on the progress of civilization were taken with very little change from the Memorial (p. 45–51). For JA's earlier celebration of this theme, see note 12.
17. Pownall's comments in this paragraph regarding gold and silver and the balance of trade should be compared with Adam Smith's in the Wealth of Nations, bk. 4, chap. 1.
18. By Benjamin Franklin, this piece first appeared as an appendix to [William Clarke], Observations On the late and present Conduct of the French, with Regard to their Encroachments upon the British Colonies in North America (London, 1755) and had numerous reprintings in both Great Britain and America. See also, Franklin, Papers, 4:225–234.
19. In the Memorial (p. 56–58) the text of this paragraph formed part of a much longer one that filled approximately two printed pages, three quarters of which were omitted by JA as a block. The missing text duplicated at length what was retained so that nothing of substance was lost by its omission.
20. At this point in copying from the Memorial (p. 60) JA omitted several words. In the Memorial the sentence reads “As there never was a regulated general militia in PENNSYLVANIA, which could enable those, whose business it was, to get accounts of the increase of population in that province, founded on authentic lists, it hath been variously estimated on speculation.”
21. In the Memorial (p. 65) the remainder of this paragraph was in quotation marks and was taken from Bacon's “Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain” (par. 3). Immediately preceding it in the Memorial, but not copied by JA, was another quotation from Bacon's essay to the effect that “The real greatness and strength of the State arises and consists in this 'that every common subject, by the poll, is fit to make a soldier, and not certain conditions and degrees of men only'” (par. 3).
22. In the Memorial (p. 65–67) this paragraph is followed by almost two pages of text that JA omitted as a block. The missing material was a discourse by Pownall on the inevitable loss of empire, regardless of its population or territorial extent, resulting from the absence of the necessary “spirit” to govern. JA presumably thought it irrelevant in view of the paragraph that follows and because he was far less concerned with the factors leading to the breakup of the British empire than to the reality that, for the United States, the dissolution was an established fact.
23. This paragraph and the nine that follow (see note 32) comprise approximately twenty pages of the Memorial (p. 67–86). They form the largest block of text copied by JA from the Memorial with no substantive changes in either Pownall's style or meaning.
24. In the Memorial the preceding eight words are in quotation marks and are from Numbers 23:24.
25. It is amazing to relate how quickly the state grew once it had acquired liberty (Salust Conspiracy of Catiline, 7. 3).
26. At this point in the Memorial there is an asterisk referring to a footnote citing “Common Sense” as the source for three quoted passages that follow (for the 2d and 3d, see note 28). The first passage, set off by quotation marks, was composed of two sentences designated I and II and a third ending with the words “exclusion of the rest” (p. 78–79). JA removed the quotation marks and inserted arabic numerals, but copied the three sentences almost verbatim. Although Thomas Paine's writings, particularly the section of Common Sense entitled “Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs” (Phila., 1776, p. 29–60; Evans, No. 14954), clearly influenced Pownall's views regarding the future of American foreign policy and the com• { 194 } mercial and political relationship between the United States and Europe, the editors have failed to locate the passage quoted here in any of Paine's work. This may indicate that in this instance Pownall paraphrased and combined several of Paine's observations (see Common Sense, p. 37–38), but in any case, both here and later (see note 28), some modification of Paine's statements was necessary since Common Sense was written in 1776, prior to the Franco-American treaties and the outbreak of war between Britain, France, and Spain.
27. In the Memorial this word was “invariably.” JA's substitution of “inviolably” makes it a much stronger commitment to neutrality.
28. The remainder of this paragraph, to the words “better Market,” formed a separate paragraph in the Memorial (p. 79), containing two passages in quotation marks. The first begins “it is the commerce” and ends with the word “benefitted,” while the second begins “that that commerce” and ends with the words “better market.” JA removed the quotation marks, but otherwise copied the entire paragraph almost verbatim. The quoted material, modified by Pownall, was taken from the “Appendix to Common Sense: The necessity of Independancy,” from Thomas Paine, Common Sense with the Whole Appendix (Phila., 1776, p. 126; Evans, No. 14966). As it appeared in Common Sense, the passage read “It is the commerce, and not the conquest of America, by which England is to be benefited, and that would in a great measure continue, were the countries as independant of each other as France and Spain; because in many articles, neither can go to a better market.”
29. In his letter to Edmund Jenings of 18 July (first letter, below), JA noted that one of the reasons that he was drawn to the Memorial was that it supported the very principles that had guided him when he had drafted the Treaty Plan of 1776 and which he continued to hold in 1780 (vol. 4:260–261). In fact, this and the preceding paragraph, both copied almost exactly as they appear in the Memorial (p. 77–80), constitute as definitive a statement of JA's views on the correct course for American foreign policy as exists anywhere.
30. Ceded to Russia by Sweden in 1721 under the terms of the Treaty of Nystad, Livonia now forms parts of Latvia and Estonia.
31. This sentence does not appear in the Translation. JA probably decided to omit it because the Dutch feared precisely such an outcome from American independence (vol. 7:102, 128–129, 236; see also >Jean Luzac's letter of 14 Sept., and notes, below). See, however, the following paragraph for a reference to a possible Dutch-American rivalry in the Spice Islands that was retained.
32. At this point in the Memorial (p. 86), Pownall began a new paragraph and JA completed his largely verbatim copying of approximately twenty pages of text (see note 23).
33. At this point in the Memorial (p. 88) JA omitted approximately three quarters of a page. The omitted material consisted of a closing sentence for this paragraph, which was repetitive and added little to the discussion of emigration, and a long and ponderous opening to the following paragraph.
34. These laws and agreements of things.
35. At this point JA omitted one and a quarter pages from the Memorial (p. 90–91). The missing material was a discussion of the failure of European statesmen to learn from experience.
36. From “Come Curse me” to this point, Pownall paraphrased Numbers 23:7–9.
37. Shadow of her former self.
38. For the impact on JA of this sentence in the Memorial (p. 94), see his first letter to Jenings of 18 July (below). In the Memorial the sentence read “France on the contrary, already (and other States will follow this example) acknowledging those states to be what they are, has formed alliances with them on terms of perfect equality and reciprocity.”
39. In the Memorial (p. 113) the remainder of this sentence is in quotation marks and is preceded by an asterisk. JA removed the quotation marks, but copied the passage verbatim. The footnote indicated by the asterisk cites “Dr. Adam Smith” as the source for the quotation, which is taken from Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 2 vols., London, 1778. In the second edition, London, 1778, the passage appears on 2:270.
40. An avenue, free and unlimited.
41. The remaining five paragraphs of JA's abridgement correspond to the final ten pages of the Memorial (p. 118–127). A comparison of this letter and the Memorial (see notes 43, 45, 48, and 51) indicates that JA included less than fifty percent of the Memorial's text and, in fact, that the two paragraphs preceding “Finis” condense the final five pages of the Memorial. Moreover, when JA copied out the Translation for Jenings he made additional cuts (see notes 42 and 51) so that the Translation was an even greater abridgement of this section of the Memorial than this letter. For { 195 } the significance of the cuts, see note 42.
42. As printed here this paragraph very closely follows the text of the Memorial (p. 118–119), but should be compared with the corresponding paragraph in the Translation (at note 2) which was considerably altered by JA in preparing the Translation for Jenings. JA's changes in this paragraph, his omission of portions of the Memorial's text from the remaining paragraphs of the letter to the president of Congress, and the further deletions he made when he copied out the Translation are important because they fundamentally changed the thrust of Pownall's argument calling for the establishment of a council of the sovereign states to resolve the issues raised by the American Revolution.
43. At this point JA omitted approximately three quarters of a page of text from the Memorial (p. 119–120). The section was an elaboration of Pownall's proposal to use the Hanseatic League as a model for his council, but see note 44.
44. This reference is presumably to Henry IV's “grand design” to unify Europe under his authority and leadership that was forestalled by his assassination in 1610, but with which Elizabeth I was reportedly in essential agreement. Pownall's borrowing of this as a model for his plan was probably due to his reading of bk. 30 of the Mémoires of Maximilien de Béthune, Duc de Sully, superintendent of finances under Henry IV. That work is the only known source for Henry's plan and the absence of any corroboration makes its existence debatable.
45. At this point JA omitted half a page of text from the Memorial (p. 123). The passage introduced the paragraph that follows and its omission served to tighten up the text. It ended, however, with the statement that the delegates to the council should come “with powers and instructions to form some general laws and establishment on the ground of Universal Commerce.” Taken with this paragraph and that which follows such a statement takes on some significance and to some extent explains JA's decisions as to what material to retain or delete from the Memorial. As has been noted earlier in relation to Catherine II's declaration of an armed neutrality (to the president of Congress, 10 April, No. 40, note 3, above) there was no provision in the eighteenth century for a principle, such as free ships make free goods, to become part of the necessary law of nations simply because any number of nations agreed to a particular principle, since the necessary law had its source in natural law. A principle agreed to by two or more nations became part of the stipulative law and was not binding on those that did not agree. Thus JA likely saw this portion of Pownall's proposal as he did Catherine's declaration, an opportunity to change the foundation of the law of nations in favor of the United States at the expense of Great Britain, since it was likely that any general European council would accept the principle that free ships made free goods and other alterations of the law in favor of neutral trade in time of war.
46. Freedom of the seas.
47. Freedom of navigation.
48. At this point JA deleted the following text appearing in the Memorial (p. 124): “consistent with the present national claims of the several Maritime States, or how those may be accommodated, mutually and reciprocally, so as to lead to such establishment hereafter. On this ground they will naturally meet each other, in forming at least some general system of regulations and laws, common to all, under which this universal commerce may act and be protected: So that the exercise of this right may extend wheresoever the ocean flows and be as free as the air which wafts it over that ocean in all directions.” JA certainly was in accord with the aim expressed at the end of the passage, but was undoubtedly dubious of principles “established consistent with the present national claims of the several Maritime States,” since that would undermine what he sought for the United States: complete freedom of commerce.
49. Universal freedom of trade.
50. The following sentence, considerably altered, was part of a passage taken by Pownall, with only minor changes, from Sir Matthew Decker's essay: Serious Considerations on the Several High Duties which the Nation in General, (as well as its Trade in Particular) Labours Under . . ., London, 1743; 7th edn., London, 1756, p. 31. Decker was a prosperous London merchant, governor of the East India Company, member of Parliament, and sometime writer on trade regulation (DNB). The complete quotation in the Memorial (p. 125–126) read “Add to this that it would be a means of making that country which adopted this measure, A FREE PORT; a circumstance very desireable to every well wisher of his country. See then whether it does not deserve the care of every worthy patriot to make such a scheme (if it can be), feasible and practica• { 196 } ble.”
51. The remainder of this paragraph does not appear in the Translation. The decision not to include this passage meant that JA omitted from the Translation, except for the final French quotation, the text from the final two pages of the Memorial (p. 126–127). The portion initially omitted from this letter consisted of approximately a page and a quarter and concerned the difficulties faced by the European nations in integrating the United States into the system, difficulties that JA saw existing only in the English mind. The deletion of the passage from the Translation probably reflected JA's belief that the right of the United States to trade with whomever it pleased belonged to it by right, rather than as a grant from some outside power.
52. This is all that can reasonably be demanded. Humanity can only plan and act. Success is the work of a hand more powerful. For Pownall's probable motive in quoting from bk. 30 of the Mémoires of Maximilien de Béthune, Duc de Sully, see note 44. This marks the end of both Pownall's Memorial and the Translation.
53. For JA's analysis of David Hartley's letter of 21 March to the chairman of the Council of the County of York, see his second letter of 18 April to the president of Congress (No. 48, above).
54. JA probably means his own analysis of the European political situation in his letter of 4 Aug. 1779 to the president of Congress (vol. 8:108–120).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0115-0003

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Pownall, Thomas
DateRange: 1780-07-08 - 1780-07-14

II. Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial

A Translation of the “Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe,” into common Sense and <plain> intelligible English
A Pamphlet has been published in England, under the Title of “A Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the present State of Affairs, between the old and new World.” It is said to have been written by Governor Pownal:2 and there are So many quaint Words, and dark Expressions, intermixed with So many good Thoughts and So much Knowledge of America that it seems worth translating. <into common Sense and plain English.>
The Memorialist begins, with observing very justly, that at the End of the last War, a new System was begun, both political and commercial, which is now compleatly formed: that the Spirit of Commerce has become a leading Power: that at that time, the Center of this System was Great Britain, whose Government might, if it had been wise, have preserved the Advantage of continuing the Center both of the Commerce and Politicks of the World: but being unwise, they disturbed the Course of Things, and have not only lost, forever, that dominion, which they had and might have held, but the extirnal Parts of the Empire are, one after another falling off, and it will be once more reduced to its insular Existence.
On the other hand, this new System of Power, moving round its own proper Center, which is, America, has dissolved all the Forces { 197 } Sent against it by the English. and has formed natural Connections, with France and Spain, and other Countries. Founded in Nature, it is growing, by accellerated motions, into a great and powerfull Empire. It has taken its equal Station among the nations of the Earth. Video Solem orientem in Occidente. <North America> The Congress of3 The United States of North America is a new primary Planet, which taking its Course in its own orbit, must have an Effect upon the orbit of every other, and Shift the common Center of Gravity of the whole System of the European World. The are De Facto, an independant Power, and must be so de Jure.
The Politicians of Europe, may reason; and the Powers of Europe may negotiate or fight: but such Reasonings, Negotiations, and Wars, will have no Consequence on the Right or the Fact. It would be just as wise to fight or negotiate for the dominion of the moon, which is common to them all; and all may profit of her reflected Light. The Independence of America, is as fixed as Fate. She is Mistress of her own Fortune; knows that She is So; and will manage that Power which She feels herself possessed of, to establish her own System, and change that of Europe.
If the Powers of Europe, will See the State of Things, and act accordingly, the Lives of Thousands may be Spared, the Happiness of millions Secured and the Peace of the World preserved: if not, they will be plunged into a Sea of Blood. The War, which is almost gorged, between Britain and America, will extend itself to all the maritime Powers, and most probably afterwards to all the Inland Powers, and like the thirty years War of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, will not end, but by a general Resettlement of Interests, according to the Spirit of the new System, which has taken Place. Why may not all this be done, by a Congress, of all Nations, before, as well as after the War?
The final Settlement of Power, at a Peace, is never in Proportion to the Success of Arms. It depends upon the Interposition of Parties, who have not meddled in the War, but who come to the Treaty of Peace, brought forward by Intrigue, with the Aid of Jealousy, and counteract by Negotiation the Envied Effects of Arms.
The Britons have forced the present system into Establishment, before its natural Season. They might have Secured the Attachment of the Plantations for years to come: but it was a principal part of the Plan of the confidential Counsellors, in a general Reformation of the Kings Government, to reform the Constitutions of America. They were informed it would lead to War, but they thought it would be a { 198 } good measure to force the Americans to Arms. Conquest of which they were sure, would give them the right of giving what Constitutions they thought fit, Such as that of Quebec, little foreseeing what a War it would prove, and Still less Suspecting, that France and Spain, and all the rest of the World, would interpose.
None of the Powers of Europe, and few of the most knowing Politicians have considered, what Effect this Revolution will have on the general System of Europe. (Note. Here it Should Seem, Governor Pownal is mistaken. Every Power in Europe, and every great Politician in Europe, except those in Great Britain, have digested this Subject.)
One Thing is certain, that on whatever Ground the War between G. Britain and Bourbon began, whatever course it may take, however long they may continue it, to their mutual destruction, the Americans will never belong to either Foedere inaquali. The Powers of Europe who will become Parties, before these affairs <come> shall have been brought to the Issue will concur, in no other Settlement, than that these States are an independant Sovereign Power, holding a free Commerce equally with all.
In order to Shew how these matters will finally be Settled, he proposes to lay before, the Sovereigns, a View of Europe and America, and point out, what will be the natural Effects of the Seperation of them, and of the Independence of America, upon the commercial and political State of Europe; and finally to Shew how, the present Crisis, may be, by Wisdom and Benevolence, wrought into the greatest Blessing of Peace, Liberty and Happiness, which the World hath yet Seen.
He then proceeds to compare, the new and old World, in Point of Spirit, Magnitude and Power. In measuring the Magnitude of States too much is commonly ascribed, to Extent of Country and Fertility of Soil. That Extent of Dominion, which is most capable of a Systematical Connection and Communication, has the most natural Greatness. The three other Parts of the World, are naturally Seperated from each other, and altho, once under the dominion of the Romans, as this was an unnatural Exertion, beyond the Resources of human nature, it Soon dissolved, and they Seperated. Europe, Asia, and Africa, are not only Seperated by their local Positions but are inhabited by distinct Species of the human Being. North and South America, are, in like manner naturally divided. North America is possessed, by Englishmen, and this natural Circumstance forms this division of America into one great Society, the Basis of a great { 199 } Dominion. There is nowhere in Europe So great and combined an Interest, communicating through So large a Territory, as that in North America. The northern and Southern Parts of Europe, are possessed by different nations, actuated by different Sovereignties and Systems. Their Intercourse is interrupted: they are at perpetual Variance. Intercourse is difficult over Land, and by Sea. They are cutt off, by intervening nations. On the contrary, when North America is examined, you find every Thing united in it, which forms Greatness. The nature of the coast and the Winds renders communication by navigation perpetual. The Rivers open an Inland navigation, which carries on a Circulation through the whole. The Country thus united, and one part of it, communicating with another, by its Extent of Territory, and Variety of Climates, produces all that nature requires, that Luxury loves, or that Power can employ. All those Things, which the Nations of Europe, under every difficulty, that a defect of natural communication, under every Obstruction that a perverse artificial System throw in their Way, barter for; are in North America possessed, with an uninterrupted natural Communication, an unobstructed navigation and an universal Freedom of Commerce, by one Nation. The naval Stores, Timber, Hemp, Fisheries, and Salt Provisions of the North; the Tobacco, Rice, Cotton, Silk, Indigo, Fruits and perhaps Wines, Resin and Tar, of the South, form a Reciprocation of Wants and Supplies. The Corn, Flour, Manufactures &c. of the middle States, fill up the Communication and compleat its System. They unite those Parts, which were before connected, and organize the Several Parts, into one whole.
Civilization, next to Union of System and Communication of Parts constitute, what Lord Bacon calls, the Amplitude and Growth of State. The Civilization of America, may be compared to that of Europe. It is Superiour to that of Europe. Architecture, Painting, Statuary, Poetry, oratory, and the mechanick Arts are not So well understood and practiced nor are the Sciences, those of Government and Policy particularly, So learnedly mastered by any Individual in America, as they are by Some in Europe. But Arts, Sciences, Agriculture, Manufactures, Government, Policy, War, and Commerce, are better understood by the Collective Body of the People in America than they are by that of Europe, or any nation in it. And this is the only Way of Stating the Comparison of Civilization, and in this Respect America is infinitely further removed from Barbarity, than Europe.
{ 200 }
Translation of the Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe upon the present State of Affairs between the old and the new World, into common Sense, and intelligible English, continued.
When the Spirit of Civilization began first in Europe, after the barbarous Ages of the northern Invaders; the Clergy were the blind Leaders to Light, and the feudal Lords, the Patrons of Liberty. What Knowledge! What Liberty! The Instruction of the first was more pernicious than Ignorance. The Patronage of the last was the Benevolence of the Grazier, who fattens his Cattle for the Profit of their Hides and Tallow. The People held their Knowledge, as they did their Lands, by a servile Tenure, which did not permit them to Use it as their own. Such was the Source of Civilization in Europe.
The first movement of Civilization, is the application of Labour to the Culture of the Earth, in order to raise that Supply of food, which is necessary for Men in Society. The application of Labour to Architecture, Cloathing, Tools and Instruments is concomitant with this. Marketts, in which a Reciprocation of Wants and surplusses, is accomplished, Succeed. Hence arise by a farther Improvement Artificers and Manufacturers: and in succession, a surplus is created beyond what is wanted by the Individuals or the Community, which produces Commerce, by exchanging this surplus for Articles of Conveniency, or Enjoyment, which the Country does not produce. By the Violence of the military Spirit, under which Europe was a second Time peopled, the Inhabitants were divided into two Classes, Warriours and Slaves. Agriculture, was conducted by the latter; Wretches annexed to, not owners of the Soil; degraded Animals! Cattle! Property! Not Proprietors! They had no Interest in their own Reason, Labour or Time. They had neither Knowledge nor Motive to make an Effort of Improvement. Improvement in Agriculture, was therefore many hundred Years at a Stand. Altho in Some Countries of Europe it may Seem at present progressive, it is so slow, that for Ages, it can have no great Effect, except perhaps in England, yet even here the Farmer is absurdly and cruelly oppressed. Manufactures, or the Labour of Men, in Wool, Iron, Stone, or Leather, were held as the Servile offices of Society, and fit only for Slaves. These Artificers were mere Machines of the most arrogant and ignorant Masters. They would never make Experiments—so that Mechanicks and Arts went on for Ages without Improvements.
Upon the Dissolution of the Hanseatick League, the Sovereigns, { 201 } who had Seen the Power, which arose from manufactures and Trade, began to encourage their Subjects and invite Strangers, to establish them. Civilization took a momentary Start. But the Policy of the Sovereigns, held the Manufacturers in a wretched Condition, by many obstructing Regulations. The same Policy affecting to encourage Manufactures, gave them a false help, by Setting assizes on the Produce of Land, which oppressed Agriculture. This Same System of Policy, confined Ingenuity, by making imposing Regulations, on every motion of Manufactures, on their coming from the Hand of the Workman; on the Carriage; on the Sale; on the Return, whether in goods or Money. This Policy was directed to draw into the Treasury of the State, all the Profit beyond the Labourers Subsistance. Commercial Legislation was directed wholly, to make the subject Sell, but not buy: export Articles, but import money of which the State must have the greatest share. Hence exclusive Property of certain materials of manufacture, which they called Staple Commodities—hence monopolies—exclusive Priviledges of Trade, to Persons, Articles and Places; exclusive Fisheries; hence the notions of the Ballance of Trade: and hence the whole Train of Retaliations, Restraints on Exportation; Prohibitions of Importation; alien Duties, Imposts. Having thus rendered Communication among themselves almost impracticable, they were forced to look out for foreign Settlements. Hence Colonies, which might be worked like out Farms for the exclusive Benefit of the Metropolis. Hence that wildest of all the wild Visions of Avarice and Ambition, the Attempt to render the Ocean an Object of Property; the Claim of Possession in it, and dominion over it. Thus Civilization was obstructed, the Spirit of Improvement checked, and the Light of Genius extinguished. Events may arise, which may induce, the Rulers of Europe, to revise and reform the hard Conditions of its Imprisonment, and give it Liberty.
In America, all the Inhabitants are free, and allow universal naturalization to all that wish to be so, and a perfect Liberty of using any mode of Life they choose, or any means of getting a Livelihood, that their Talents lead them to. Their Souls are their own. Their Reason is their own. Their Time is their own. They are their own Masters. Their Labour is employed on their own Property, and what they produce is their own. Where every man has the free and full Exertion of his Powers, and may acquire any Share of Profit or Power that his Spirit can work him up to, there is an unabated Application; and a perpetual Struggle of Spirits, sharpens the Wit, and trains the Mind. The Acquisition of Knowledge in Business, necessary to this mode of { 202 } Life, gives the Mind a Turn of Investigation, which forms a Character peculiar to these People. This is called Inquisitiveness, which goes often to ridicule, but is in matters of Business and Commerce an usefull Talent. They are animated with the Spirit of the New Philosophy. Their Life is a Course of Experiments; and Standing on as high Ground of Improvement as the most enlightened Parts of Europe have advanced, like Eaglets commence the first Efforts of their Pinnions from a Towering Advantage.
In Europe the poor mans Wisdom is despized. The poor mans Wisdom is not Learning but Knowledge of his own Picking up, from Facts and nature, by Simple Experience. In America, the Wisdom and not the Man is attended to. America is the Poor Mans Country. The Planters there reason not from what they hear, but from what they See and feel. They follow what mode they like. They feel that they can venture to make Experiments, and the Advantages of their Discoveries are their own. They therefore try what the Soil claims, what the Climate permits, and what both will produce to the greatest Advantage. In this Way, they have brought into Cultivation, and Abundance of what no Nation of the old World ever did, or could. They raise not only plenty and Luxury for their internal Supply, but the Islands in the West Indies have been Supplied from their Superabundance, and Europe, in many Articles has profited of it. It has had its Fish from their Seas: its Wheat and Flour from one Part: its Rice from another part: its Tobacco and Indigo from another: its Timber and naval Stores from another. Olives, oranges and Wines are introducing by Experiments.
This Spirit of Civilization first attaches itself to mother Earth, and the Inhabitants become Land Workers. You See them labouring at the Plough and the Spade, as if they had not an Idea above the Earth yet their minds are all the while enlarging all their Powers, and their Spirit rises as their Improvements advance. Many a real Phylosopher, Politician and Warriour, emerges out of this Wilderness, as the Seed rises out of the Ground.
They have also made many Improvements in Handicrafts, Tools and machines. Want of Tools and the Unfitness of Such as they had, have put these Settlers to their Shifts, and these shifts are Experiments. Particular Uses calling for Some Alteration, have opened many a new Invention. More new Tools and machines, and more new Forms of old ones, have been invented in America than were ever invented in Europe in the Same Space of Time. They have not turned their Labour into Arts and manufactures, because their Labour em• { 203 } ployed in its own natural Way can produce those Things which purchase Articles of Arts and manufactures, cheaper, than they could make them. But tho they dont manufacture for Sale, they find Fragments of Time which they cannot otherwise employ, in which they make most of the Articles of personal Ware and Household Use, for home Consumption. When the Field shall be filled with Husbandmen and the Classes of Handicraft fully Stocked, as there are no Laws, which impose Conditions, on which a Man is to become intituled to exercise this or that Trade, or by which he is excluded, from exercising the one or the other, in this or that Place: none that prescribe the manner in which or the Prices at which he is to work, or that confine him even to the Trade he was bred to; the moment that Civilization carried on in its natural Course, is ripe for it, the Branch of Manufactures, will take root, and grow with an astonishing Rapidity. Altho they do not attempt to force the Establishment of manufactures, yet, following the natural Progress of Improvement, they every Year produce a Surplus of Profit. With these Surplusses, and not with manufactures, they carry on their Commerce. Their Fish, Wheat, Flour, Rice, Tobacco, Indigo, Live Stock, Barrell Pork and Beef, Some of these being peculiar to the Country and Staple Commodities, form their Exports. This has given them a direct Trade to Europe and a circuitous one to Africa and the West Indies. The Same Ingenuity, in mechanicks which accompanies their Agriculture, enters into their Commerce, and is exerted in Ship building. It is carried on, not only for their own Freight, and that of the West Indies, but for Sale, and to Supply a great Part of the Shipping of Britain; and if it continues to advance will Supply a great Part of the Trade of Europe with Ships, at cheaper Rates, than they can any where, or by any means Supply themselves. Thus their Commerce, altho under various Restrictions, while they were Subordinate Provinces, by its advancing Progress, in Shipbuilding, hath Struck deep Roots, and is now Shot forth into an active Trade, Amplitude of State and great Power.
It will be objected, that the Ballance of Trade has been at all Times against America So as to draw all the Gold and Silver from it, and for this Reason it cannot advance in commerce and opulence. It will be answered, that, America, Even while in depressd and restrained Provinces, has advanced its Cultivation to great Opulence, and constantly extending the Channells of its Trade, and increasing its Shipping. Tis a fallacious Maxim to judge of the general Ballance of Profit in Commerce, by the motions of one Article of Commerce, the { 204 } prescious metals. These metals will always go to that Country that pays the most for them. That country, which on any Sudden Emergency wants Money, and knows not how to circulate any other than Silver and gold, must pay the most for them. The Influx of them, therefore, into a Country, instead of being a Consequence of the Ballance of Trade being in its Favour, or the Efflux being a Mark of the Ballance being against it, may be a Proof of the Contrary. The Ballance of Trade, reckoned by the Import or Export of Gold and Silver, may in many Cases be Said to be against England and in Favour of the Countries to which its Money goes. If this Import or Export, was the Effect of a final Settled Account, instead of being only the Transfer of this Article to or from an Account currant (as it commonly is) yet it would not be a Mark of the Ballance of Trade. England, from the Nature of its Government, and Extent of its Commerce, has established a Credit, on which, in any Emergency, it can give Circulation to Paper Money, almost to any Amount. If it could not, it must at any Rate, purchase gold and Silver, and there would be a great Influx of the prescious Metals. Will any one Say, that this is a Symptom of the Ballance of Trade being in its favour! But, on the contrary having Credit, from a progressive Ballance of Profit, it can, even in Such an Emergency, Spare its Gold and Silver, and even make a Profit of it, as an Article of Commerce exported. Here We See, the Ballance of Profit creating a Credit, which circulates as money, even while its gold and Silver are exported. If any Event like the Recoignage of the Gold in England which called in the old Coin at a better Price, than that at which it was circulating abroad, Should raise the Price of this article, in England, it will for the Same reason, as it went out, be again imported into England, not as a Ballance of Accounts, but as an Article of Trade, of which, the best profit could at that moment be made. The Fact was, that at that period, Quantities of English Gold Coin, to a great Amount, were actually imported into England in bulk; and yet this was no mark of any Sudden Change of a Ballance of Trade in favour of that Country. The Ballance of Trade reckoned by this false Rule, has been always Said to be against North America: but the Fact is, that their Government, profiting of a Credit arising from the progressive Improvements, and advancing Commerce of the Country hath, by a refined Policy, established a Circulation of Paper money, to an Amount that is astonishing. That from the immense quantity, it should depreciate, is nothing to this argument, for it has had its Effect. The Americans therefore can Spare their Gold and Silver as well as England, and { 205 } Information Says, there is now locked up in America, more than three millions of English money, in Gold and Silver, which when their Paper is annihilated, will come forth. The Efflux, therefore of Gold and Silver, is no Proof of a Ballance against them: on the contrary, being able to go without Gold and Silver, but wanting other Articles without which they could not proceed in their Improvements, in Agriculture, Commerce, or War, the Gold and silver is, in Part hoarded, and part exported for these Articles. In Fact, this objection, which is always given as an Instance of Weakness in America, under which, she must Sink, turns out, in the true State of it, an Instance of the most extensive Amplitude and Growth of State. It would be well for England, if, while She tryumphs over this mote in her Sisters Eye, She would attend to the Beam in her own, and prepare for the Consequences of her own Paper Money.
From this Comparison of the State of Civilization, applied to Agriculture, Mechanicks and Commerce, extended through a large Territory, having a free Communication through the whole, it appears, that North America has advanced, and is every day advancing, to a Growth of State, with a constant and accellerating motion, of which there has never been any Example in Europe.
To be continued.
Translation of the Memorial to the Souvereigns of Europe, continued.
The two Countries may be compared, in the Progress of Population. In North America Children are a Blessing. They are Riches and Strength to the Parents. In Europe, Children are a Burden. The Causes of which have been explained in the observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, the Peopling of Countries &c. Take a few Examples. The Massachusetts Bay, had, of Inhabitants in the Year 1722 Ninety four Thousands. In 1742 one hundred Sixty four Thousands. In 1751 when there was a great depopulation both by War and the Small Pox one hundred and Sixty four Thousand, four hundred and Eighty four. In 1761, 216,000. In 1765 255,500. In 1771 292,000. In 1773 300,000. In Connecticutt, in 1756 129,994. In 1774 257,356. These Numbers are not increased by Strangers, but decreased by Wars and Emigrations to the Westward, and to other States, yet they have nearly doubled in Eighteen years.
In N. York in 1756—96,776—in 1771—168,007. In 1774—182,251. In Virginia in 1756—173,316. In 1764—200,000. In 1774—300,000. In S. { 206 } Carolina in 1750—64,000. In 1770—115,000. In R. Island in 1738—15,000. In 1748—28,439.
As there never was a militia in Pensilvania, with authentic Lists of the Population, it has been variously estimated on Speculation. There was a constant Importation for many years of Irish and foreign Emigrants, yet many of these Settled in other Provinces: but the Progress of Population, in the ordinary course advanced in a Ratio, between that of Virginia and that of Massachusetts Bay. The City of Philadelphia advanced more rapidly. It had in 1749—2076 Houses. In 1753—2300. In 1760—2969. In 1769—4474. From 1749 to 1753 from 16 to 18,000 Inhabitants; from 1760 to 1769 from 31,318 to 35,000. There were in 1754 various Calculations and Estimates made of the Numbers on the Continent. The Sanguine made the Numbers, one million and an half. Those who admitted less Speculation into the Calculation, but adhered closer to Facts and Lists, Stated them at one million, two hundred and fifty thousand. The Estimate Said to be taken in Congress in 1774 makes them 3,026,678. But there must have been great Scope of Speculation in that Estimate. Another after two or three years of War is Two Million Eight hundred and Ten Thousand. 2,141,307 would turn out nearest to the real amount in 1774. But what an Amazing Progress, which in 18 years has added a million to a million two hundred and fifty thousand, altho a War was maintained in that country for seven years of the Term. In this View one sees a Community unfolding itself beyond any Example in Europe.
But the Model of these Communities, which has always taken Place, from the Beginning, has enrolled, every Subject as a Soldier, and trained a greater Part or 535,326 of these People to Arms, which number the Community has, not Seperate from the civil, and formed into a distinct Body of regular Soldiers, but remaining united in the internal Power of the Society, a national Piquet Guard, always prepared for defence. This will be thought ridiculous by the regular Generals of Europe: But Experience hath evinced, that for the very Reason, that they are not a Seperate Body, but members of the Community, they are a real and effectual Defence. The true Greatness of a State consists in Population, where there is Valour, in Individuals, and a military Disposition in the Frame of the Community: where all, and not particular Conditions and degrees only, make Profession of Arms, and bear them in their Country's defence.
This Country is now an independent State, and has been avowedly and compleatly so, for more than four Years. It is indeed Six years, Since it was so in Effect. It hath taken its equal Station among the { 207 } Nations. It is an Empire, the Spirit of whose Government, extends from the Center to the extream Parts. Universal Participation of Council, creates Reciprocation of universal Obedience. The Seat of Government, will be well informed of the State and Condition of the remote and extream Parts, which by Participation in the Legislature, will be informed and Satisfied in the Reasons and necessity of the Measures of Government. These will consider themselves as acting in every Grant that is made, and in every Tax imposed. This Consideration will give Efficacy to Government, that Consensus Obedientium, on which the permanent Power of Empire is founded. This is the Spirit of the new Empire in America. It is liable to many disorders, but young and Strong, like the Infant Hercules it will Strangle these Serpents in the Cradle. Its Strength will grow with Years. It will establish its Constitution and perfect Growth to Maturity. To this Greatness of Empire, it will certainly arise. That it is removed Three thousand miles from its Ennemy; that it lies on another Side of the Globe, where it has no Ennemy: that it is Earth born and like a Giant ready to run its Course, are not the only Grounds, on which a Speculatist may pronounce this. The fostering Care with which the Rival Powers of Europe will nurse it, ensures its Establishment, beyond all doubt or danger.
When a State is founded on such Amplitude of Territory; whose Intercourse is So easy; whose Civilization is So advanced; where all is Enterprize, and Experiment: where Agriculture has made So many discoveries of new and peculiar Articles of Cultivation: where the ordinary Produce of Bread Corn, has been carried to a degree, that has made it a Staple Export, for the Supply of the old World: whose Fisheries are mines, producing more Solid Riches than all the Silver of Potosi: where Experiment hath invented so many new and ingenious Improvements in mechanicks: where the Arts, Sciences, Legislation and Politicks, are Soaring with a Strong and Extended Pinion; where Population has multiplied like the Seeds of the Harvest: where the Power of these numbers, taking a military Form, shall lift itself up as a young Lion: where Trade of extensive orbit, circulating in its own Shipping, has wrought these Efforts of the Community to an active Commerce: where all these Powers have united and taken the Form of Empire; I may Suppose I cannot err, or give offence to the greatest Power in Europe, when upon a Comparison of the State of Mankind and of the Powers of Europe, with that of America, I venture to Suggest to their Contemplation, that America is growing too large for any Government in Europe to manage as subordinate. { 208 } That the Government of Congress and the States is too firmly fixed in the Hands of their own Community to be either directed by other Hands, or taken out of those, in which it is. And that the Power in Men and Arms is too much to be forced, at the distance of Three Thousand miles. Were I to ask an Astronomer whether, if a Satellite Should grow, untill it could ballance with its Planet, whether it could be held any longer, by any of the Powers of nature in the orbit of a Satellite, and whether any external Force could keep it there, he will answer me directly, no. If I ask a Father, after his Son is grown up to full Strength of Body, Mind and Reason, whether he can be held in Pupillage, and will Suffer himself to be treated and corrected as a Child, he must answer, No. Yet, if I ask an European Politician, who learns by Hearsay and thinks by Habit, whether North America will remain dependent, he answers, Yes. He will have a Thousand reasons why it must be So, altho Fact rises in his Face to the very contrary. Politicians, instead of being employed to find out Reasons to explain Facts, are often employed with a Multitude about them, to invent and make Facts according to predetermined Reasonings. Truth, however, will prevail. This is not Said to prove, but to explain the Fact, So that the Consequences may be Seen. The present Combination of Events, whether, attended to or not, whether wrought by Wisdom into the System of Europe or not, will force its Way there, by the Vigour of natural causes. Europe, in the course of its commerce, and even in the internal order and Oeconomy of its communities, will be affected by it. The Statesman cannot prevent its Existence, nor resist its operation. He may embroil his own Affairs, but it will become his best Wisdom, and his duty to his Sovereign and the People, that his measures coincide and cooperate with it.
The first Consequence of this Empire, is, the Effect it will have as a naval Power on the Commerce, and political System of Europe.
Whoever understands the Hanseatic League, and its Progress, in naval Power, by possessing the commanding Articles of the Commerce of the World; the command of the great Rivers; its being the Carrier of Europe; that it could attract, resist and even command the landed Powers; that it was made up of Seperate and unconnected Towns, included within the dominions, of other States; that they had no natural communication, and only an artificial Union: whoever considers, not only the commercial but naval and political Power, which this League established throughout Europe, will See, on how much more Solid a Basis, the Power of North America Stands; how much faster it must grow, and to what an Ascendancy of Interest, { 209 } carrying on the greatest Part of the Commerce, and commanding the greatest Part of the Shipping of the World, this great commercial and naval Power must Soon arrive. If the League, without the natural Foundation of a political Body, in Land, could grow by commerce and navigation to such Power: if, of Parts Seperated by nature and only joined by Art and Force, they could become a great political Body, acting externally with an Interest and Power, that took a lead and even an Asendancy, in Wars, and Treaties. What must North-America, removed at the Distance of half the Globe, from all the Obstructions of Rival Powers, founded in a landed Dominion peculiarly adapted for Communication of Commerce, and Union of Power, rise to in its Progress? As the Hanseatic League grew up to Power, Denmark, Sweeden, Poland, and France, Sought its Alliance, under the common Veil of Pride, by offers of becoming its Protectors. England also growing fast into a commercial Power, had commercial Arrangements, by Treaty, with it. Just so now, will the Sovereigns of Europe; just so have, the Bourbon Compact, the greatest Power in Europe, courted the Friendship of America. Standing on Such a Basis, and growing up under Such Auspices, one may pronounce of America, as was said of Rome Civitas incredibile est memoratu, adepta Libertate, quantum brevi creverit.
In the Course of this American War, all the Maritime Powers of Europe, will one after another, as Some of the leading ones have already done, apply to the States of America, for a Share, in their Trade, and for a Settlement of the Forms, on which they may carry it, on, with them. America, will then become, the Arbitress of the Commercial, and perhaps as the Seven united Belgic Provinces were in the Year 1647 the Mediatrix of Peace, and of the political Business of the World.
If North America follows the Principles on which nature has established her; and if the European Alliances Which She has made do not involve her in and Seduce her to, a Series of Conduct, destructive of that System, which those Principles lead to, She must observe, that as nature hath Seperated her from Europe, and established her alone on a great Continent, far removed from the old World, and all its embroiled Interests, and wrangling Politicks, without an Ennemy or a Rival or the Entanglement of Alliances.—1. that it is contrary to her Interest, and the Nature of her Existence, that She Should have any Connections of Politicks with Europe, other than merely commercial; and even, on that Ground, to observe inviolably the caution of not being involved, in either the Quarrells, or the Wars of Euro• { 210 } peans. 2. That the real State of America is, that of being the common Source of Supply to Europe in general, and that her true Interest is therefore, that of being a free Port to all Europe at large, and that all Europe, at large, Should be the common market for American Exports. The true Interest therefore of America, is, not to form any partial Connections with any Part, to the Exclusion of the rest. If England had attended to her true Interest, as connected with that of America, She would have known that it is the Commerce, and not the Conquest of America by which she could be benefited: and if She would even yet, with temper listen to her true Interest, She would Still find, that that Commerce, would in a great measure continue, with the Same benefit, were the two Countries as independent of each other as France and Spain, because in many Articles, neither of them can go to a better market. This is meant as under their present habits and Customs of Life. Alienation may change all this.
The first great leading Principle will be that North America, will become a free Port to all the nations of the World, indiscriminately; and will expect, insist on, and demand, in fair Reciprocity, a free market in all those nations with whom She trades. This will, if She forgets not, nor forsakes her real nature, be the Basis of all her commercial Treaties. If She adheres to this Principle, She must be in the course of Time, the chief Carrier of the commerce of the whole World, because unless the Several Powers of Europe, become to each other, likewise free Ports and free marketts, America alone will come to and act there, with an ascendant Interest, that must command every Advantage to be derived from them.
The Commerce of North America, being no longer, the Property of one Country only, her Articles of Supply will come freely, and be found now in all the Marketts of Europe: not only moderated by, but moderating the Prices of the like Articles of Europe. The Furs and Peltry will meet those of the North East Parts of Europe; and neither the one nor the other can any longer be estimated by the Advantages to be taken of an exclusive Vent. Advantages of this Kind, on Iron and naval Stores, have frequently been aimed at by Sweeden: and the Monopoly in them was more than once used as an Instrument of Hostility against England, which occasiond the Bounties on those articles, the Growth of America, which gave rise to the Export of them from America. When they come freely to the European Market co-operating with the Effect which those of Russia have, will break that monopoly. For Russia, by the Conquest of Livonia, and the Advancement of her Civilization has become a Source of Supply in { 211 } these Articles, to a great Extent. All Europe by the Intervention of this American Commerce, will find the good Effects of a fair Competition, both in Abundance of Supply, and in moderation of Price. Even England who hath lost the Monopoly, will be no great Looser. She will find this natural Competition as advantageous to her, as the Monopoly, which in Bounties and other Costs of Protection, She paid so dear for.
Translation &c. continued.
Ship building and navigation having made Such Progress in America, that they are able to build and navigate cheaper, than any Country in Europe, even than Holland with all their Oeconomy, there will arise a Competition in this Branch of Commerce. There will also be a Competition in the marketts of Europe, in the Branch of the Fisheries. The Rice and Corn, which the Americans have been able to export, to an amount that Supplied in the European Markett, the defect arising from Englands withholding her Exports will, when, that Export Shall again take Place, keep down depressed, the Agriculture of Portugal and Spain and in Some measure of France, if the Policy of those countries does not change the Regulations, and order of their internal Oeconomy. The particular Articles, to be had as yet from America only, which Europe So much Seeks after, will give the Americans the Command of the Markett in those Articles, and enable them, by annexing assortments of other Articles, to produce those also, with Advantage in these marketts. The Refuse Fish, Flour, Maize, Meat, Live Stock, Lumber &c. all carried in American Shipping to the West India Islands: the African Slaves, carried by a circuitous Trade, in American Shipping also to the West India Marketts: taking from thence the Molasses: aiding those Islands with American shipping in the Carriage of their produce, must ever command, and have the Ascendancy, in that Part of the World, if this ascendency even Stops here. The cheap manner, in which the Americans produce their Articles of Supply: the Low Rates, at which they carry them to Europe, Selling also their shipping there: the Small profits at which their Merchants are used to Trade, must lower the Price of the like Articles in Europe: oblige the European Merchants to be content with a less Profit: occasion Some reform in the Oeconomy of Europe, in raising and Police in bringing to Markett, the active Articles of Supply. But further, the Americans by their principle of being a free Port in America and having a free Markett { 212 } in Europe; by their Policy of holding themselves, as they are remote from all the wrangling Politicks, So neutral in all the Wars of Europe: by their Spirit of Enterprize, in all the quarters of the Globe, will oblige the nations of Europe to call forth within themselves Such a Spirit, as must entirely change its commercial System also.
But will a People whose Empire Stands Singly predominant, on a great Continent, who before they lived, under their own Government, had pushed their Spirit of Adventure in Search of a North West Passage to Asia, Suffer in their Borders the Establishment of Such a Monopoly as the European Hudsons Bay Company? Will that Spirit which has forced an extensive Commerce in the two Bays of Honduras and Campeachy, and on the Spanish main, and which has gone to Falkland's Islands in Search only of Whales, be Stopped at Cape horn, or not pass the Cape of Good Hope? It will not be long, after their Establishment as an Empire, before they will be found trading in the South Sea and in China. The Dutch will hear of them in Spice Islands, to which the Dutch can have no Claim, and which those Enterprizing People will contest, on the very ground, and by the very Arguments, which the Dutch used to contest the Same Liberty against Portugal. By the Intercourse and correspondance, which there will be between Europe and America, it will be as well known, as Europe. By Attention, to the Winds, Currents, the Gulph Stream and its Lee Currents, the Passage will be better understood, and become shorter. America will Seem every day to approach nearer and nearer to Europe. When the Alarm which the Idea of going to a Strange and distant Country, gives to a Manufacturer or Peasant, or even a Country Gentleman, Shall thus be worn out; a thousand Attractive motives respecting a Settlement in America will raise a Spirit of Adventure, and become the irresistable Cause of a general Emigration to that World. Nothing but Some future, wise and benevolent Policy in Europe, or Some Spirit of the Evil one, which may mix itself in the Policy of America can prevent it. Many of the most usefull Enterprizing Spirits, and much of the active Property will go there. Exchange hath taught the Statesmen of the World long ago, that they cannot confine money: and the Governments of Europe, must fall back to the Feudal Tyranny, in which its own People are locked up, and from which all others are excluded, or Commerce will open a Door to Emigration.
These Relations of Things; these Leges et Foedera Rerum are forming the new System. The Sublime Politician, who ranges in Regions of predetermined Systems—the Man of the World, narrowed { 213 } by a selfish Experience, worse than Ignorance, will not believe: and it is but Slowly, that nations relinquish any System, which hath derived Authority from Time and Habit. These Sovereigns of Europe, who have despized the awkward Youth of America, and neglected to form Connections, and interweave their Interests with these Rising States, will find the System of this new Empire, obstructing and Superseding the old System of Europe, and crossing all their maxims and measures. They will call upon their Ministers Come curse me this People, for they are too mighty for me. The Spirit of Truth will answer How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? How shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? From the Top of the Rock, I See them, and from the Hills, I behold them. Lo! the People shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. On the contrary those Sovereigns, who Shall See Things as they are, and form, if not the earliest, yet the most Sure and natural Connections with America, as an independent State; as the Market of and a free Port to Europe: as that being which must have a free Markett in Europe, will become the principal leading Powers in Europe, in regulating the Courses of the rest, and in Settling the common Center of all.
England is the State in those Circumstances, and in that Situation. Similar modes of living and thinking, Manners, and Fashions, Language and Habits, all conspire naturally to a Rejunction by Alliance. If England would treat America, as what She is, She might Still have the ascendency in Trade and navigation: might Still have a more Solid and less invidious Power than that Magni Nominis Umbra with which she braves the whole World. She might yet have an active leading Interest among the Powers of Europe. But She will not. As though the Hand of divine Vengeance was upon her, England will not See the Things which make for her Peace! France, who will be followed by other nations, acknowledging these States to be what they are, has formed Alliances, with Terms of perfect Equality and Reciprocity. And behold the Ascendant to which She directly arose, from that politick Humiliation. There never was a wiser or a firmer Step taken by any established Power, than that which the new States took for their first Footing in this Alliance. There never was more Address, Art, or Policy Shewn by any State, than France has given Proof of, in the Same, when both agreed and became allied on Terms, which exclude no other Power, from enjoying the Same Benefits by a like Treaty. Can it be Supposed that other States, conceiving that the exclusive Trade of England to America is laid open, will not desire, and have their { 214 } Share? They certainly will. Here then are the Beginnings of Changes in the European System.
There are two Courses, in which this general Intercourse of Commerce, between Europe and North America, may come into operation: one, by particular Treaties of Commerce the other by all the maritime States of Europe, previous to their engaging in a War or upon the general settlement of a Peace, meeting in Some Congress, to regulate among themselves as well as with north America; the Free Port, on one Hand, and the free Markett on the other, as also general Regulations of Commerce and navigation, Such as must Suit this free Trader, now common to them all, indifferently, and without Preference. Such Regulations, must exclude all Monopoly of this source of Supply and course of Trade, and So far make an essential Change in the commercial system. Such Regulations, not having Reference only to America, but reciprocal References, between all the contracting Parties, trading now, under different Circumstances, and standing towards each other in different Predicaments, must necessarily change the whole of that System in Europe.
The American will come to Markett in his own ship, and will claim the Ocean as common: will claim a navigation restrained by no Laws, but the Laws of nations, reformed as the rising Crisis requires: will claim a free Markett, not only for his Goods but his ship, which will make a Part of his Commerce. America being a free Port to all Europe, the American will bring to Europe not only his own peculiar Staple Produce, but every Species of his produce which the Markett of Europe can take off: he will expect to be free to offer to Sale in the European Markett, every Species of wrought materials, which he can make to answer in that markett: and further as his Commerce Subsists, by a circuitous Interchange with other Countries, whence he brings Articles not Singly for his own Consumption, but as exchangeable Articles, with which he trades in foreign Marketts; he will claim as one of the Conditions of the free Markett, that these foreign Articles, as well as his own Produce, Shall be considered as free for him to import in his own shipping to such Market. Those States who refuse this at first, Seeing others acquiesce in it, and Seeing also how they profit by having Articles of Supply and Trade, brought so much cheaper to them, will be obliged, in their own defence, and to maintain their Balance in the commercial World, to accede to the Same Liberty. Hence again, even if the American should not, by these means, become the ascendant Interest in the carrying Trade and in { 215 } shipping and Seamen, a most essential Change, must arise in the European System.
The American raises his produce and navigation cheaper, than any other can: his Staples are Articles which he alone can Supply. These will come to market assorted with others, which he thus can most conveniently Supply; and unless the Same freedom of Trade which he enjoys, be reciprocally given and taken by the European Powers, among each other, he will come to the European market, on Terms, which no other can: but Europe will be affected, benefited, and improved by his manner of trading. The peculiar Activity of the Americans, will raise a Spirit and Activity among those, who come to the Same market. That peculiar Turn of Character, that Inquisitiveness, which in Business animates a Spirit of Investigation to every Extent, and the minutest detail, enables them to conduct their dealings in a manner more advantageous, than is usually practised by the European Merchant. They acquire a Knowledge not only of the Marketts of Europe, that is of the Wants and Supplies, how they correspond, and of their relative Values; but they never rest, till they are possessed of a Knowledge of every Article of Produce and Manufacture, which comes to those Marketts; untill they know the Establishments, the operations and the Prices of Labour, and the Profits made on each, as well, even better, than the Merchants of the Country themselves. A little before the War, Several of the American Merchants, especially those of Pensilvania, Sending some of their own Houses to England, became their own Factors, went immediately to the Manufacturers in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Sheffield; to the woolen Manufacturers in Yorkshire, and Lancashire: to those of Liverpool, and those in the West: and opened an immediate Trafick with them at the first hand. This Same Spirit of Investigation and Activity, will activate their dealings in every other Country of Europe. The Effect of this, instead of being disadvantageous to those Countries, will become a general Blessing; by raising a more general Competition, and diffusing a more proportional Share of Profit, between all Ranks of the industrious. While Trade is Solely in the Hands of the Merchant he bears hard on the Purchaser, by his high Profit, and oppresses the Manufacturer by the little share he allows him. The merchant grows rich and magnificent, makes a great Bustle and Figure. It can never be well where Merchants are Princes. The more the Merchant can make by high Profit, the less quantity will he carry to markett. Whereas when Commerce Shall be free, and { 216 } by the Mixture of this American Spirit, trade run with fair Competition in a broad Channell, the Merchant must make his Way by being content with small profit, and by doing a deal of Business, on those Small Profits. The Consumer and Manufacturer will come nearer together—the one will Save an unreasonable Advance, and the other obtain a more equal Share of Profit. More Work will be done: The Profits of Industry more equally distributed—The Circulation will Spread through the lesser Vessells, and Life, Health, and Growth be promoted.
If these operations take this Course, it will be needless to point out to the Shrewd Speculations of the Merchants, what their Conduct must necessarily be. But it will behove Statesmen, to be aware that they do not Suffer the Merchant to perswade them, that the Commerce is languishing merely because there is not the Same Parade of Wealth, in such dazzling Instances. Let them look to the Marketts of Supply, and See if there is not plenty. Next to the rude produce, which is the Basis of manufactures, and enquire, whether, while more and more Industry, is daily called forth, it is not employed, and more adequately paid, by a free and extended Vent? While the Numbers and Ingenuity of Manufacturers increase they do not all live more comfortably, so as to have and maintain increasing Families? Whether Population does not increase? Let them in future guard against the exclusive Temper of Trade. The political Founders of the old System, were totally ignorant of this Principle of Commerce. It was Wisdom with them to render their neighbours and Customers poor. By a wretched System of Taxation they effectually prevented the Stock of Labour and Profit from accumulating. But if the Statesmen of the present enlightened Age, will follow, where Experience leads to Truth and Right, they will throw the Activity of mankind into its proper Course, of productive Labour. When Man has the Liberty of exerting his Industry and Ingenuity as he can make them the most productive; finds a free market, and his share of Profit; then is the Ground duely prepared for Population, Opulence and Strength. Then will the Sovereigns of Europe find their Interest and their Power, in their Peoples Happiness.
Translation &c
If the Sovereigns of Europe, Should find, that the System of Colonies in distant Regions, for the Purpose of monopolies, is at an End, and turn their Attention, to give Exertion to their own internal { 217 } Powers, like the Police of China, cultivate their waste Lands, improve Agriculture, encourage manufactures, and abolish Corporations: as all the Remnants of Barbarism Shall be removed, the Powers of the Community will create those Surplusses which will become the Source, and open the Channels of Commerce. If they Should See the Dissappointments of attempts to establish a monopoly of navigation by the Force of Laws, instead of creating or maintaining it, by the Spirit of an active Commerce; that all the Prohibitions by which they labour to oppress their neighbours do but depress them Selves, they may come to think that giving Freedom and Activity to commerce, is the true System of every commercial Country. Suppose them checked in their Career of War, hesitating on the maxims of their old Systems, perceiving that the Oeconomical Activity of Europe, is on the Turn to take a new Course, feeling the Force of an active Commerce, finding themselves under the Necessity of making Some Reform, Should begin to Speculate, how amidst a Number of Powers of Trade, Shifting their Scale, an even Ballance may be formed and Secured; how amidst a Number of Interests, floating on the Turn of this great Tide in the affairs of Men, an equal Level may be obtained, if, on a Review of their old System they should perceive how it is prepared for Change, they may find, that Commerce, which might have risen by Competition, Industry, Frugality, and Ingenuity, hath long been an exclusive Scrambling Rivalship. Instead of being an equal Communication, concentring the Enjoyments of all Regions and Climates, and a Consociation of all nations, in one Communion of the Blessings of Providence; when actuated as it has been by a Selfish Principle, it hath been to the nations an occasion of Jealousies, alternate depressions of each others Interests, and a never ceasing Source of Wars, perhaps they may also See that Treaties of Peace have been but Truces and Guarrantees so many entangling Preparations for future Wars. On the other Hand they Should See with Pleasure, that the manners of Mankind, Softening by degrees, have become more humanized; their Police more civilized; and altho many of the old oppressive Institutions of Government, as they respect Husbandry, Manufactures, Merchants, Marketts and Commerce, have not yet been formally abolished; yet that Practice, by various Accommodations, has abrogated their most mischievous operations; that the Activity of Man finds every day, a freer Course; that there are a Thousand Ways, which although Pride will not open Prudence will connive at; through which the Intercourse of Marketts finds every Year, a freer Vent; and that the active Spirit of Commerce is { 218 } like the Spirit of Life, diffusing itself through the whole Mass of <Life> Europe. They will find there is an End of all their monopolizing Systems: They will See that any one of the Powers of Europe, who would aim to deal with the rest of mankind, with an unequal Ballance, will only find, that they have raised among their Neighbours a Jealousy, that will conspire to wrest that false Ballance out of their Hands, and to depress them down again to a level with the rest of the World. The Cities of Italy, the low Countries, Portugal, Holland, England, have all, for their Period, as commercial Powers, arisen above the common Level, but pressing, with a Weight which was felt as unequal by those below them, they have each in its Turn found, even in the moment of their highest Elevation, a general Rising all around them, and themselves Sinking to the common Level. Statesmen must See, how much it is the Interest of all, to liberate each other, from the Restraints, Prohibitions, and Exclusions, by which they have aimed to depress each other. They will See, that the most advantageous Way, which a landed nation can take, to encourage and multiply Artificers, Manufacturers and Merchants of their own, is to grant the most perfect Freedom, to the Artificers, Manufacturers, and merchants of every other nation. That a contrary Practice lowers the Value of their own internal Productions, by raising the Prices of all Things, which must be bought with them; and gives to the Artificers, Manufacturers and Merchants a monopoly against their own Farmers. Seeing this, they will encourage Population, and an universal Naturalization, and Liberty of Conscience. If Nature has so formed man and Policy, Society, that each labouring in his Line, produces a Surplus of Supply, it is both perfect Justice and Policy that Men and nations Should be free, reciprocally to interchange it. This Communion of nations is a Right, which may be enjoyed in its genuine Spirit and utmost Extent, except in Time of War, and even then to a great degree, without interfering in the political and civil Power of the World. The Spirit of those exclusive Laws of navigation will appear as the Spirit of Piracy. The common Ocean, incapable of being defined, or of a Special Occupancy, or of receiving exclusively the Labour of any Individual, Person, or State, is incapable of becoming an Object of Property, never an Object of Dominion: and therefore the Ocean, Should in Policy, as it is in Fact, remain common and free. Pervium cunctis Iter. If it should be Seen, that the commercial System of Europe is changing, and in Wisdom and Policy ought to be changed: that the great Commerce of North America, emanci• { 219 } pated from its provincial State, not only coincides with, but is a concurring Cause of this Change: that the present Combination of Events form a Crisis, which Providence, with a more than ordinary Interposition hath prepared: and that Heaven itself Seems to call upon Sovereigns to co-operate with its gracious Providence: if they should be convinced, that there is nothing so absurd, as warring against each other about an Object, which as it is Seperated from Europe, will have nothing to do with its Broils, and will not belong exclusively to any one of them: if listening to this Voice, which as that of an Angel, announcing Peace and good Will to Mankind, Summons them to leave off the endless, useless operations of War; to consider the present Crisis as an Object of Council and not of War, and therefore to meet in Communication and Intercourse of their reasoning Powers.
The maritime Powers must before Peace respecting America, and the mixed Interests of Europe and America, can be Settled, convene, by their ministers, in order to consider the Points on which they may Safely Suspend Hostilities, and those which must form the Basis of Treaty, and which will enter into the future System and on which Peace may not only be made, but established among the nations of the Atlantic Ocean.4
Will not Reason and Benevolence, then, in which true Policy, and their Right and best Interest is included, Suggest to their Hearts, and actuate their Councils to convene a Congress, before they are engaged in further Hostilities; before the devastation of War, extends Ruin and Misery yet farther. Some Such measure, as led the great trading Bodies of Europe to convene in a Congress, which gave rise to the Hanseatic League, is not out of the Course of public Business but is what the nature of the present Crisis, in a more than ordinary Necessity requires. Whether Some general Council, on the Model of that concerted between the Great Henry of France and Elizabeth of England, two as noble Spirits and as wise Politicians as the World hath Since Seen, Should not now be proposed; not indeed a Council of Administration, for regulating and conducting a general political System of all Europe but a Council of Commerce for Europe and North America, exclusive of every Point of Politicks.
Such a Council might prevent future Occasions of War, from commercial Quarrells. The present vague State of the marine Law of Nations, Seems to be Such, as creates a necessity of Such a measure. At present, all Principle, Rule, and Law, Seem to be as much lost as { 220 } if the nations were fallen back to the old State of Piracy under their old Barbarism. Europe cannot, even in War, go on under the present Abrogation of all Treaties, and all the Laws of Nations.
The Cardinal Points which will come under Deliberation, will be 1. how far, in Right and Policy, it may be best for all to establish the Mare liberum. And how far each nation, providing for the Property and Dominion, which they hold in Bays and Harbours, may accede to this Establishment, as a Law of Nations. 2. How far the universal Jus navigandi, may be established. 3. This will lead to Deliberation on the Libertas universalis Commerciorum; free Ports; and free Marketts. It will be best by degrees to abolish all Port Duties, and raise their Revenues by Excise, Tailles &c. and other internal Sources of Finance, immediately laid on the Consumer. This Measure would make that Country which adopted it a free Port, a Circumstance very desirable to every well wisher to his Country.
Voila tout ce qu'on peut, raisonablement, exiger. Il n'est au Pouvoir de l'humanité, que de preparer, et agir. Le Succés est l'ouvrage d'un main plus puissantt. Sully Liv. 30.
Finis5
MS (Adams Papers); notation by Edmund Jenings on final page: “The Manuscript must be preserved about 54 pages”; filmed at [5 Sept. 1780], Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 352. The text presented here represents the editors' attempt to present the Translation as it appeared when JA sent it off to Edmund Jenings, and thus it does not contain editorial changes made by either Jenings or his printer, John Stockdale. Substantive changes made by JA as he prepared the manuscript are indicated in the text or notes, but annotation has been limited to matters unique to this document. For JA's preparation of the manuscript, its dispatch to Jenings, and its editorial treatment, see the Editorial Note (above). For the issues raised in the manuscript, see the notes to JA's letter of 19 April to the president of Congress (No. I, above).
1. These dates are derived from JA's letters to Edmund Jenings of 8 July (Adams Papers), with which were enclosed the first four sections of the manuscript, and of 14 July (below), with which the final section was sent; but see also Jenings' replies of 15 and 21 July (both below). The division of the manuscript into five sections, each with its own title, may indicate that JA expected his Translation to be published in the form of newspaper essays, rather than combined in a pamphlet.
2. “Pownall” appears throughout the published Translation as “P——l.” In Pensées, however, “Pownall” is retained throughout and at this point is followed by a passage identifying him as the former lieutenant governor of New Jersey and governor of Massachusetts.
3. Here JA canceled “North America,” replaced it with “The United States of North America,” and then decided to begin the sentence with “The Congress of.” The changes focused the reader's attention on the new nation, but they also substantively changed the meaning. This is particularly so of the second with its implication that United States sovereignty resided in Congress rather than in the states, probably the prevailing view in 1780.
4. Compare this paragraph with that in the letter to the president of Congress (at note 50, No. I, above).
5. The text ends in the middle of the third { 221 } page of the fifth section, but is followed by a canceled sentence that reads in part, “Dont you think the Translation has a [ . . . ] of [ . . . ].”

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0116

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-20

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Secret and confidential
My dear Sir

There is a little Pamphlet, which was written by me in the Year 1765, and published at Boston, afterwards reprinted in England, under the Title of “a Dissertation on the Cannon and the feudal Law.” It is a kind of philosophical and political Rhapsody, written when I was not very old, and when I had certainly Seen very little of this World, and knew but little of Men or Things. It was ascribed, in the time of it to Jeremiah Gridley Esq, the greatest Lawyer, that ever was in Boston, who was my Patron in my Youth. He died before the Pamphlet came over under his name or he would have publickly disclaimed it, because he was on the other side in Politicks. It was printed, or bound up in a small Pamphlet under the Tittle of the true sentiments of America, with Letters from the House of Representatives of Mass Bay, to several great Men. I want to beg the favour of you to write to England to obtain it for me, and to get it printed in the Remembrancer.2 They may put my name to it, if they please. It may be thought vanity in me, perhaps to say it, but it had an Effect upon the People of New England beyond all Imagination. It appeared to them to point out the means by which human nature had been degraded in Europe, to shew them that their Ancestors had wisely and virtuously endeavored, to Screen them from those means, and perhaps no one thing that ever was written or done contributed more than that Publication, to unite the People of New England, as one Man in the Resolution of opposing force, to the stamp Act, and of having recourse to Arms rather than submit to it. I have Reasons of a public nature to wish to see this published at this time,3 which perhaps sometime or other you may know. I shall, take occasion to let you further, into some particulars of my History, which is altogether unknown I find in Europe. You will never find me any, very great Matter, but you will find, that I have been twenty Years, in the midst of Politicks and through the whole of it, invariably constant to the same Principles and the same system, through all Opprobriums, Obloquies, Dangers, Terrors, Losses, and Allurements.
I ask your Pardon sir, for giving you so much trouble, but I take Advantage of your friendly Professions, and I assure you confidence { 222 } is a Plant of slow growth in my Bosom, Altho it was very far otherwise twenty years ago. I have not yet found in Europe another Person, to whom I can unbosom myself.
I shall put you to expence, perhaps for Postage or otherwise, which I shall be glad to repay.
Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); filmed at 20 April 1778, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 349.
1. This letter was long thought to be the first from JA to Jenings (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:355–356). It is now apparent that it was written in 1780, since Jenings' letter of 24 April (below) is clearly a reply.
2. For the text of “A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law,” together with an account of its origin, importance, and various printings, including that referred to here by JA: The True Sentiments of America, London, 1768, see vol. 1:103–128. Despite JA's request in this letter, the “Dissertation” was not reprinted until 1782 and then as part of A Collection of State-Papers, Relative to the First Acknowledgment of the Sovereignty of the United States of America, and the Reception of Their Minister . . . by . . . the states General of the United Netherlands. To which is Prefixed the Political Character of John Adams, Ambassador . . . to . . . the Netherlands. By an American. Likewise an Essay on Canon and Feudal Law, by J. Adams, Esq., London, 1782. See also Jenings' reply of 24 April, and JA's letter to Jenings of the 29th (both below).
3. JA's motivation for having the “Dissertation” reprinted was almost certainly his reading of Thomas Pownall's pamphlet, A Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, London, 1780. For the linkage perceived by JA between the “Dissertation” and Pownall's Memorial, see JA's Translation of Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], Editorial Note and No. I., note 13 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0117

Author: Wilson, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-20

From James Wilson

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

Your Inclination to oblige will excuse the Trouble, which I intend to give you. I was nominated by Mr. Gerard to be Advocate General for the French Nation in the United States, subject to the Ratification of the King.1 If his Majesty shall be pleased to honour me with his Commission, I have requested that two hundred Pounds Sterling may be appropriated for the Purchase of Books; and have taken the Liberty to mention you to Mr. Gerard, as the Gentleman, who would perform the good Office of purchasing them for me. I aim at a good Collection of Treaties, and of Books on the Laws of Nations, the Laws maritime, and the Laws of France respecting Navigation and commercial Affairs. I wish to have also some of the best Books on the History and Policy of the Kingdom. You can form the Catalogue much better than I can do. Mr. Deane will be good enough to take the Care of sending them to America.
{ 223 }
I have been favoured, by Mr. Marbois, with the Perusal of the Plan of a Constitution for Massachussets, reported by a Committee of the Convention of that Commonwealth. From the masterly Strokes of profound Jurisprudence, and of refined and enlarged Policy, which distinguish that Performance, I can easily trace it to its Author. The Constitution of every State in the Union is interesting to the Citizens of every other State; as each spreads, in some Degree, its Influence over all. For this Reason, I feel a very sensible Pleasure, when I see a Prospect that happy Governments will be established around me. This Sentiment has, in no Instance, been more highly gratified, than by the Plan reported for the Government of Massachussets.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Esteem, Sir Your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] James Wilson
Dupl (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Wilson. 20 April. Duplicate. recd. 21st. of June. and. 24. June 1780;” addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esquire Hotel de Valois Rue de Richlieu.” The intended recipient's copy, which JA received later, is also in the Adams Papers.
1. In anticipation of profiting from a greatly expanded Franco-American trade, Wilson had proposed his appointment as “advocate-general” to John Holker, French Consul-general at Philadelphia, in Dec. 1779. Although Holker and Silas Deane, after Deane's return to France in July as Wilson's agent in various matters, strongly supported his candidacy, the French court balked at Wilson's fee and did not grant him the desired appointment (Charles Page Smith, James Wilson: Founding Father, 1742–1798, Chapel Hill, 1956, p. 140–142).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0118

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-21

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Dear Sir

The Letter your Excellency did me the honour of writing to me Yesterday,1 gives me the first Information of the Resolution mentioned as taken by the State of Maryland relating to their Money in England. If there is no Mistake in the Intelligence, (which I apprehend there may be) and such a Power as is supposed should come to my Hands, I shall then take your Excellency's Recommendation, (which has great Weight with me) into Consideration. At present I can only say that I shall not name my Nephew Mr. Williams. For tho' I have a great Opinion of his Ability, and Integrity, and think that by his early Declaration and Attachment to our Cause, and Activity in its Service, he has a good deal of Merit with the States in general, I know of none that he has with Maryland in particular; and as the other four are Natives of that State, I think the Choice ought to be { 224 } from among them. Mr. Williams will however be very sensible of the Honour done him by being put into the Nomination.
With the greatest Respect, I have the Honour to be Your Excellency's most obedt. and most humble Servant.
[signed] B Franklin
1. JA's letter was dated 19 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0119

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-22

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dr sr

If you think that any thing I sent you lately is improper for publication, I hope you will stop it, or alter and correct it, by your own discretion, or delay it, till you think the time, proper.
A vessell has arrived at Bilbao, from Newbury Port, by which I wrote to Congress and to my friends from Corunna,1 she brings news that two Vessells which lay at Bilbao when I was there, have also arrived. I wrote by these also. She sailed from Newbury Port 14 March, all quiet. The English close shut up by our Army in N. York. Clintons fleet Scattered in a storm. This is every Word, I can get. This lazy fellow must not have let it be known he was coming, or I should have had Letters. I inclose you a Letter from Dr. F.2
Adieu,
RC with enclosure in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Esqr. Inclosing a copy of a Letter from B Franklin Esqr. April 22 1780.”
1. Probably the schooner Success commanded by Capt. Philip Trask. The vessel had sailed from La Coruña on 17 Dec. 1779 and arrived at Newburyport on 23 Feb. 1780 (JQA, Diary, 1:14; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:251–252, 281–283; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:410).
2. Of 21 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0120

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-22

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

This day arrived from Baltimore a small Schooner which port she left the 15 March.
General Clinton with the remainder of the transports saved from the general despersion, arrived at Savannah to the Number of 44 or 45 Ships.1 General Gates was sent to Command at Charles Town.2 No movements had been made since the Arrival of the Troops In Georgia, all the Enemys Horse were thrown overboard. The American Frigates Boston Providence & Ranger were at Charles Town, and they report every preparation were making to prevent the British Troops { 225 } penetrating into Carolina, with respect I have the Honor to be Sir your very hhb. Servt.
[signed] John Bondfield
1. This is the first definite report JA received regarding the fate of Clinton's stormtossed southern invasion force. For an account of the voyage and the early stages of the siege of Charleston, see Thomas Digges' letter of 3 March, note 6 (above).
2. This report was supplied by Capt. W. Kindy of the schooner Dove from Baltimore (from Joshua Johnson, 22 April, below). Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln was in command at Charleston until the surrender of the city and his army on 12 May. Congress did not appoint Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates commander of the southern department until 13 June and he did not take command in the field until 25 July (Robert Middlekauf, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, N.Y., 1982, p. 442–443, 448, 453; JCC, 17:508). For JA's use of the information regarding Gates, see Joshua Johnson's letter of 22 April, note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0121

Author: Carmichael, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-22

From William Carmichael

[salute] Sir

I received with much pleasure your obliging letter of the 8th. Instant and take the earliest opportunity of thanking you for the information it contained. I should have certainly commenced my correspondence with you earlier, had I thought Mr. Jay would have been constrained by various circumstances to reside so long at Cadiz. Your Observations with respect to the conduct which France and Spain ought to follow correspond with the opinions of the Swedish and Dutch Ministers here both of whom I have an opportunity of frequently seeing. The crisis seems near, when Others beside Britain may play the Part of the Bully.
If the Patriots in Ireland are content with that which they have forced G. Britain to grant them, I shall be much mistaken, and their conduct in that case will not correspond with the history of Mankind. I resided three Months in that Kingdom in the year 1768 and am well acquainted with some of the men who now appear to take a lead in their Affairs. Some of these will be for pushing things to the greatest Extremity and perhaps would succeed, if they had liberality enough to tolerate a religion against which they have the most violent animosity. A fleet of 12 sail of the Line besides frigates and other armed Vessels with 11500 men and a fine train of Artillery will sail this month from Cadiz, If it hath not already sailed, the troops embarked the 14th, I suppose that from Brest sails about the same time.1
From these Armaments you may Judge whether your Ideas of carrying the war into the American seas are not conformable to the Intentions of the Allies. We have the same news from America which you announce to me. And our Papers are as late as the 10th of March. { 226 } By several Captures taken from the Enemy it appears that Arbuthnots fleet must have suffered severely and their dispersion must have been compleat for no news of their arrival in any port was received at Newberry in Massachussets bay the 14th of March altho they sailed the 26th of December from N. York. It appears that Congress meant to leave Philadelphia the 1st of April, but to what place is not mentioned. I have advice from Bourdeaux that several letters for me arrived in the Buckskin and were sent on to Madrid. Unhappily I have not received them, which chagrins me not a little. Mr. Jay and Family present their respects to you. Most of them have been unwell since their arrival here. I beg you to make the proper Compliments for me to Mr. Dana and to beleive me Your Obliged & Humble Sert.
[signed] Wm. Carmichael
1. Carmichael accurately describes Adm. Don Josef Solano's fleet, which sailed from Cádiz on or about 2 May. After evading a British blocking force, Solano sailed to the West Indies and joined with Guichen's fleet on 16 June. The combined fleet numbered 27 ships of the line to Rodney's 18, but in fact the naval balance was little changed because the effectiveness of the disease ridden Spanish sailors was questionable at best. Carmichael's second reference was to Ternay's convoy for Rochambeau's army, which also sailed on 2 May (Mackesy, War for America, p. 328–329, 333; W. M. James, The British Navy in Adversity: A Study of the War of American Independence, London, 1926, p. 215–216).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0122

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-22

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I Hereby Acknowledge the Honor of receiving from your Excellency your Letters of the 15th, and at this Moment, of the 19th Instant; the Inclosure of the last shall be taken due Care of. The perusal thereof gives me most pleasing Sensations. To some perhaps it may be Ungrateful but they ought to see it. Others Consider themselves highly honord thereby, and I wish they saw it: they may do it in a Translation.
You ask in your favor of 16th.1 my impartial Judgment of the Declaration of Russia. I think it proceeds from the New School of Magnanimity, notwithstanding the Opinion of Lord Camden, who treats it as a violation of the Law of Nations.2 I am sure it is the Law of Nature, which ought to dictate, what is the Law of Nations. Never did I see a System of more public Utility, Justice, Right and Humanity laid down. It is entirely Conformable to the public Acts, coming from the Throne of Russia, which has lately astonishd the Admiring World. Permit me, Sir, to Suggest an Idea, which occurs to me at this Juncture, of which I entreat your Consideration. We Know the Back• { 227 } wardness of all powers to plunge themselves into War, it is a Wise and humane Spirit. The Contrary is left only to the Malice, folly and desperateness of England. Suppose that the Northern Powers confederatd and Compleatly armd, shoud before they go to Extremities, to which they are not inclind, shoud insist on the belligerent Powers on the given Day to subscribe to the Law of Nature, as laid down by the Empress or Else expect a declaration of all, not to supply such refusing State with Naval Stores. The Consequence thereof is evident. If you approve of this Idea, you will Carry it further.
The paper sent to England3 has been insertd in almost all the Gazettes, likewise Care was taken that it shoud appear in the foreign ones of which I Hope you approve. It has occasiond much Speculation and some good Observations. I have some active Friends in England, who omit Nothing in the Cause of Liberty and Mister Hartly receivd it, and I beleive gave Notice of the Day of his intended Motion on it, which is put off on account of the Speakers Illness—and Lord Albingden, his good friend, went immediately to Ld. Shelburn and others to talk of it—but I mistake much if you have not already had some applications to You, my information from England is otherwise Erroneous.
I thank you much for your obliging Disposition towards me, I know if any thing coud do me Honor was in your power, I shoud have it. Other people may Act otherwise, but I coud wish they Knew where I was, that they might not have an Excuse of Neglect.
Have you now, Sir, or have you had at Paris a General Lloyd, formerly in the <Russian> Austrian Service, I am told He is at Paris; He was there last Year, Care must be taken of Him, He is a very bad Man and a pensioner of our Ennemy. Let Him be Watchd, if He is there pray give Notice to the Minister that He may be attended to.4

[salute] I am Dr Sir your Excellencys Most Obt & Faithful Hbl Sert.

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. Jenings means JA's letter of the 15th (above).
2. For this speech by Charles Pratt, first earl of Camden and former Lord Chancellor, in the House of Lords on 14 April, see JA's letter of 26 April to the president of Congress, and note 2 (No. 53, below).
3. The announcement of JA's mission contained in his letter of 2 April to Jenings (above).
4. For Henry Lloyd, see Jenings' letter of 5 March, and note 12 (above). JA copied this paragraph and included it in his letter of 27 April to Vergennes (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 11).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0123

Author: Johnson, Joshua
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-22

From Joshua Johnson

[salute] Sir

Inclosed I forward you five American Newspapers which I received last Evening by the Dove Capt. W. Kindy, they will give you an Account of Clintons arrival in Georgia. I have likewise to inform you that the Capt. and a passinger informs me Genl. Gates was appointed to Command the Southern Army and that he was on his way to Join it. The same Gent. add that Vessell from Martinique had Just arrived and brought an Account that the Dean Captain Nicholson had sent in there an English Frigate Sheathed with Coper and mounting twenty Eight Gunns she struck after a severe Action.1 Had I been a ceremonious man I should have waited on you before with my Congratulations on your appointment. You will beleive me as an honest one that I am very happy my Country has shown so much wisdom, and I am not without hopes that your endeavours will extricate her out of her difficulties in which I wish you every Success and am with my sincere and very best offers of service Sir, Your most Obedt. & most Humble Servant
[signed] Joshua Johnson
1. These reports concerning Horatio Gates and the frigate Deane were both false. For that concerning Gates, see John Bondfield's letter of 22 April, note 2 (above). In regard to the Deane, no record of such a capture by the frigate in 1780 has been found. In any event, JA included both reports in his letter of 25 April to Vergennes (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 11).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-23

To the President of Congress, No. 50

Paris, 23 April 1780. LbC (Adams Papers).
Although a note to the Letterbook copy of Adams'letter of 3 May to the president of Congress (No. 58, calendared, below) indicates that this letter was sent and the Journal of Congress shows it to have been received on 19 Feb. 1781 (JCC, 19:175), no copy has been found in the PCC. With this letter John Adams enclosed newspapers from Britain, France, and elsewhere concerning events in England, “where the old Monarchy seems to be tumbling about their Heads.”

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1780-04-24

To the Comte de Sarsfield

[salute] Sir1

I have both heard and read So exalted a character of the Eloquence and Integrity of Monsieur Malesherbes, that I have a Strong Curiosity to become acquainted, with his Writings.2 I am told there are Some { 229 } of his Speeches and remonstrances when he was first president of the court of Aids, in print, and a discourse, pronounced at his Admission to the french Academy. I should esteem it a favour, if you would let me know, at what Booksellers I can find them.3 I am also informed, that there are others of his Discourses, as premier president, preserved in manuscript, but never printed. I wish to know if it is practicable to obtain the reading of them. I have heard his Eloquence compared to that of Demosthenes and his Justice to that of Aristides, and as it is rare, I think to find either of those qualities in such degrees, in this age of the World, and rarer still to find them both So remarkably united in any: you will pardon the trouble I give you, by making this Inquiry, on Account of its motive. I am, with great respect, sir, your most obedient servant
1. Guy Claude, Comte de Sarsfield, was a French officer of Irish ancestry and a would be philosophe. He became JA's friend and correspondent in 1778 (vol. 6:85), and remained so through the Adamses' residence in London from 1785 to 1788. For a detailed sketch of Sarsfield, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2: 381.
2. Chrétien-ߒGuillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, celebrated jurist, succeeded his father as president of the cour des aides, a royal tax court, in 1750. Louis XV suspended the court in 1771 and banished Malesherbes to his estate because of the jurist's famous remonstrances on behalf of the prorogued parlements. Louis XVI revived the court and upon his ascent to the throne in 1774, reinstated Malesherbes. The jurist's advocacy of moderate constitutional reform led to his resignation from the court in 1775 and from the post of minister of the royal household in 1776. Officially out of favor, Malesherbes traveled extensively in Europe and avoided political entanglements until the King recalled him to be minister of state in 1787. Confronted with a rising tide of political radicalism hostile to the monarchy, Malesherbes resigned the following year. The former jurist defended Louis XVI at the King's trial in 1792 and was himself condemned as a royalist and guillotined in 1794 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
3. Malesherbes' Remonstrances au roi au nom de la Cour des Aides en 1770, 1771, et 1774 were included in his Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire du droit public de la France, Bruxelles, 1779. His speech before the French Academy was preserved in the Discours prononcés dans l'Academie Française, le jeudi XVI février M.DCC.LXXV. à la réception de M. de Lamoignon de Malesherbes. . . ., Paris, 1775.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0126

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-24

To the President of Congress, No. 51

Paris, 24 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 495–498). printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:626–628.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams sent intelligence derived from newspaper reports originating at Stockholm, Ratisbone (Regensburg, Germany), Amsterdam, and The Hague. Included were reports on Russian demands for Swedish compliance with the principles of the armed neutrality, Russian naval preparations in the Baltic and White seas, the possibility of Estaing assuming command of a combined allied fleet, Dutch naval developments, and the progress of efforts to form a “universal Code for the Sea.” Finally, Adams provided an English translation of Hol• { 230 } land's memorial of 13 April to the States General regarding that body's reply to Prince Gallitzin's memorial.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 495–498.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:626–628.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0127

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-24

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have receivd your Excellencys Letter of the 19th Instant, inclosing the Copy of Another of the 15th Addressed to his Excellency Mr. Franklin.1 I feel in the most Sensible Manner, the Marks you give me of your Benevolence and Trust. Nothing can be more flattering, and more Animating to me to persist in these Sentiments and that Conduct, which have fortunately drawn your Notice on me. I entreat your Excellency to rely on my Faithfulness and strict Adherence to privete and public Honor.
I will make particular Enquiries after the Pamphlet, but as it was publishd 15 Years Ago it will perhaps be difficult to find it. No Endeavours however will be spared; I can trust my Friends Diligence which woud be much assistd, if your Excellency coud inform me of the Name of the Bookseller, who published it.2
I send your Excellency the inclosd Newspaper. It Contains the debate on the Contractors Bill in the House of Lords, which, being thrown out, is a strong Proof of the Absurdity of endeavouring to reform and save the adjacent Island of Corruption. It Contains too a Paragraph on a late publication, and the Sentiments and Motions of a Mr. Nichols in a County meeting.3 That Gentleman has been long esteemd by me as a Friend, for He has ever been a Friend to America.
The Astonishment is great in these Countries, to hear that England has annulld the Dutch Treaties, Oh! that Mr. Laurens was in Holland at this Instance. What an Opportunity has France to bind the States general to Her for Ever! A liberal Plan of Conduct would do it, and Holland renderd thereby more subservient to Her in War and Peace, than by the violence of Conquest and Actual Possession. Altho I am convincd, that the Moderation, Respect and Submission, that the Duch have showed towards England has encouragd that Infatuatd Country, in its arrogant and desperate Measures, Yet being scornd, as they have been, cannot but condemn the one and satisfy the other in future proceedings and imitate and Revolt the Spirit of Europe against the Aggressor.

[salute] I am with the greatest Sir Your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obd Hble Sevt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
{ 231 }
1. The “9” and the “5” in the two dates given in this sentence are written over other illegible numbers, but Jenings presumably means JA's letter of 19 April to Benjamin Franklin (above), for no letter of the 15th has been found. JA's only known letter of the 19th to Jenings, a cover for an enclosed account of JA's journey through Spain (above), makes no mention of enclosing JA's letter to Franklin.
2. For The True Sentiments of America, London, 1768, which contained “A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law” (p. 111–143), see JA's letter of 20 April to Jenings, and note 2 (above), and his reply to Jenings of 29 April, and note 1 (below).
3. The enclosed newspaper has not been found, but it was probably published on 15 April. The contractors bill, which was finally defeated on 17 April, would have prohibited any member of the House of Commons from being a party to a government contract unless the contract was put up for public bid. It was debated in the House of Lords on the 14th and reported in the London Courant and other London papers of the 15th.
The “late publication” may have been the announcement of JA's mission (to Jenings, 2 April, and note 1, above). The London Courant of 15 April contained a paragraph which reported that Lord North, upon hearing of JA's arrival in France to conclude a peace treaty, had expressed his wish that JA had come immediately to London, but that he had since learned that JA had neither confidence in him nor any desire to go to England, “having nothing at all to propose to the Court of London; neither is he in a hurry for peace.” The author of the article then stated that JA had come “with the most ample powers to treat upon, and finally to conclude (in conjunction with the Courts of France and Spain) upon a fair and honourable peace with England, on terms of perfect equality, as independent sovereign powers; and his Lordship may wait till he is much larger in the girth than he at present is, if he waits till he recieves any kind of overture from Mr. Adams—The man won't come to the mountain.”
Finally, the London Courant of the 15th also contained an account of a meeting “of the Freeholders of the County of Surry” at Epsom on 14 April at which John Nicholls, later a member of Parliament, spoke against the war in America and offered two resolutions. The first declared that the war in America stemmed “from the corrupt influence of the Crown, and the illfounded assertions of the Kings Ministers in Parliament” and was responsible for the “calamitous situation of the country,” while the second denounced further offensive operations in America. JA quoted from the portion of the article containing the resolutions in his letter of 29 April to the president of Congress (No. 55, calendared below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0128

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-04-25

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I am very much obliged by your kind Attention, in your Letter of 22d. April.
Clinton has then arrived at Georgia, where he is destined to be as well watched and guarded and finally as compleatly ruined as Burgoyne was at Saratoga or Preston at Rhode Island,1 and that favorite Child of Fortune Gates is to have the Glory of it all. I am quite easy since I know, he commands. There is an Affection for him and a Confidence in him, a kind of devotion to him, in the Mind of the American Soldier, that makes him infallible. I have also recieved your Letter concerning my Wine—the one you inclosed to Mr. L never reached me.2
{ 232 }
Pray let me know, when the Genl. Livingston and Mary Ferran will sail and for what port, and what other Vessels are going to America from Nantes, and all other News.
When may I expect the Wine you ordered me, and where must I look for it?
What think You of the Conduct of the neutral maritime Powers? what Effect will it have on England? I am with Respect Yours &c.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Probably Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott who was captured at Montreal in 1775 and again, near Newport, R.I., in July 1777 (vol. 3:374; Adams Family Correspondence, 2:285–286).
2. Of 12 April (above). See that letter also for Bondfield's letter of 2 March, sent by way of Arthur Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Johnson, Joshua
Date: 1780-04-25

To Joshua Johnson

[salute] Sir

I have this Moment, your Favour of 22. of April, inclosing, five American Newspapers. I cannot express in two Strong terms, my Thanks for this instance of your Attention and Kindness, and if upon future Occasions, you will shew me, the same Goodness, you will very much oblige me. You have, many Vessells arrive consigned to you, and your Correspondences in America, are with Persons of such Consideration and Authority, that you will frequently have Intelligence of the best Kind and from the highest Sources. I cannot but wish that Congress would avail themselves to this Channell, to convey sometimes their Commands to their servant abroad.
I have great Consolation in the appointment of General Gates to the Command of the southern Army. The Affection and Confidence of the Soldier in their General, never fail to have great Effects, these have appeared, more than once, in Gates's favour, and I am persuaded will another time. I hope Charlestown will be saved, but if unhappily it should not, it will be soon regained.
A small Vessell, by which I wrote to America from Corunna, has been there, and returned to Bilbao from Newbury port, which she left 14 March. Two large Letters of Mark, which lay at Bilbao when I was there, by which I also wrote have arrived. English close shut up in N. York by Gen. Washington, Clintons fleet dispersed in a storm—no other News—not a Letter. He must have conceald his designd Voyage.1
The wise and prudent Negotiations among the neutral maritime { 233 } Powers, which will prevent the flames of War from Spreading farther, the Proceedings in Ireland and in England together with the Operations of the Armaments from Brest, and Cadiz, wherever they are destined, afford Us a Prospect, of tolerable Tranquility to our Country, how long soever the War may continue.
If you can inform me, when the Dove or any other Vessell intends to sail for America from Nantes I shall be glad to send a Letter.
I thank you, sir, for your polite Congratulations, on my late Appointment. Happy, indeed shall I be if any Endeavours of mine, should contribute to extricate our Country out of her difficulties. Every American, may do somewhat; and few on this side the Water have more oppertunities than you, which renders your obliging offers of service, very precious to me.
As I Am determined to spare no expence to obtain Intelligence, if you will write for the Printer of the Baltimore Paper to send them me, regularly, and will undertake to pay for it, I will thankfully repay you.
Please to present my Respects to Mrs. Johnson and the little family, and believe me, with much esteem, your most obedient and humble sert.
1. This paragraph as well as the fifth and seventh paragraphs were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0130

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-25

To the President of Congress, No. 52

Paris, 25 April 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 500–503).
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams included long newspaper accounts from Dublin of events in Ireland, particularly the progress of the volunteer movement, and from London of the efforts of the British ministry to bring about a resolution of the Irish problem.
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 500–503.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0131

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-25

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you for the intelligence contain'd in your favor of the 13th. and when there are any other arrivals from America you will greatly oblige me by communicating any intelligence they may bring. I confess I am uneasy to hear from Chas. Town, for there is no doubt of Clinton having design'd his principle Force against that Town; as I cannot give any credit to the surmises of some people, that the rendevouze was at Tybee, in order to be ready for an attack on some of the Spanish possessions.
{ 234 }
The infatuation of our Enemies is evidently the work of Providence therefore I have no expectation of a speedy Peace because the measure of their punishment is not yet full.
Their frenzy is turn'd into raving madness, as you will see by the proclamation against the Dutch,1 which is tantamount to a declaration of War, and the insulting language used against the Russians in the Ministerial papers; therefore as you say, we need not be surprised if they were to declare War against the whole World. This would be a favorable minute for Mr. Laurens, if he was in Holland, where no doubt his prudence will direct him to examine well his ground before he moves, for he may meet with, Characters both inimical and selfish, who under the garb of Patriotic and friendly zeal, may endeavor to lead him into error. The Dutch who are so jealous of any other nation but themselves, catching a Hering in the open Sea, think it not unreasonable or immodest to expect exclusive privileges in some part of the American trade and an equal freedom with others, to the fishery on the banks of Newfoundland.
By the last accounts from England Walsingham was not sail'd So that the fleet from Brest may get the start, if it has kept to the time appointed viz the 15th. of this month.
If you can prevail where you are to have a good look out kept to intercept the first West India fleet, which probably will be coming into the channel in June or July, I think our Enemies cannot have this year for channel service more than 30 Ships of the Line at the utmost for want of Men.2
Pray tell me if you heard before you left America, of my answer to Mr. Deanes charges having been read in Congress.3 That Gentlemans Agent and Correspondent in Holland,4 it is said, has reported there, that he is again in Congress, but I do not hear of any letters from America that mention such a circumstance.
With great regard I remain &c. Adieu.
1. This was the Order in Council of 17 April, which formally suspended the provisions of existing Anglo-Dutch treaties relating to Dutch trade in time of war and placed subjects of the Netherlands under the same restrictions as the subjects of other neutral nations with whom Great Britain had no treaties. The order was printed in various London newspapers on or about 19 April, including the London Courant and the Morning Post.
2. In fact, this estimate was too high. When Adm. Francis Geary took command of the channel fleet in May, he had but 24 ships of the line, placing him at a serious disadvantage in the event he met with a combined Franco-Spanish fleet. The number of ships committed to the channel fleet did not significantly increase in 1781 or 1782, although the balance became less lopsided in favor of France and Spain as the focus of naval activities changed to American and East Indian waters (Mackesy, War for America, p. 356; Dull, { 235 } French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 365–376).
3. This was Lee's 36-page rebuttal to Silas Deane's address of 5 Dec. 1778 “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of the United States.” Lee's response was dated 8 March 1779 and was sent under a covering letter of 17 March to the president of Congress. The two documents were received on 11 Oct. 1779 (PCC, No. 90, f. 472–507; No. 105, f. 107–110; JCC, 15:1161–1162).
4. The source of this false report was probably C. W. F. Dumas, with whom Deane had corresponded between 1776 and 1778 (Deane Papers, 3:149–150). See also Lee's letter of 10 May and JA's reply of 6 June (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-26

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

Your's of the 22d have just recieved. I wrote You a Line the 22d. Am happy to find that We agree so well in Opinion concerning the Equity of the Russian Negotiation. If that Court had gone farther, and endeavoured to abolish the whole doctrine of Contraband, excepting in Case of Siege, I should have thought it a beneficial Improvement in the Law of Nations. I can't see, that because two Nations have quarrelled, this should give them a right to meddle at all with the Vessels of Neutrals—neither of the contending Nations gain any Advantage by it, because both have an equal right to make use of Neutral Ships, and the stopping and searching of neutral Ships is a real damage and injury, and only tends to embarrass the Intercourse among Mankind, to multiply disputes, and provoke Neutral Nations to join one or other of the belligerent Powers. But this might have been too large a Stride to have taken at once.
This doctrine of free Ships making free Goods, is an old Object with the Dutch. They have aimed at it above an hundred Years, and but for England would have carried it in De Witts Time.1 When I was employed in draughting the Original Treaty, which was sent by Congress to be proposed to the Court of France, I spent a good deal of time, in searching the Books upon this Subject. I found a small Collection of marine Treaties, in the preface to which some Account is given of this Disenssion between the Dutch and English, but I found a much clearer and more ample Relation of it, in the preface of a Work in two Octavo Volumes, called I think, the Law of the Admiralty, which Mr. E. Rutledge borrowed for me of C. Justice Chew.2 I wish I could find this Book again, which I have not seen this four Years. I spoke to a Bookseller here six Weeks ago to write for it, but I hear nothing of it. The Sum of the Argument, as it appears to me, has been this—the Dutch are our Rivals in Trade—their common System is Neutrality—if we agree that free Ships make free Goods, they will run away with all the carrying Business—France and { 236 } Spain are our natural Enemies—if We suffer Neutral Ships to carry them naval Stores, France and Spain will be able to dispute with Us the Empire of the Sea—the Situation of our Island gives us an opportunity to intercept their Supplies, and it is necessary in order to maintain our Superiority that we should embrace it. This is the Reasoning of the English, and while France and Spain were odious in Europe, other Nations did not choose to decide against them: but since the Ballance of Odium has shifted, and France is pursuing a System, that all the World sees is for the public Good, and England is acting a part, which all Nations dread and abhor, they all seem to be convinced of the Rectitude of the Dutch Doctrine, and ready to decide in its favour.
I am much pleased with your Idea of obliging the belligerent Powers to subscribe to the Empress's Doctrine, and I have no doubt it will be readily done by France and Spain—the doctrine is already settled in the Treaty between France and the United States. England will not be willing to subscribe it, tho' She must conform to it in practice.
I thank You for all favors. As to your Information from England, I can only say, that whenever or wherever any Application shall be made to me, I shall think myself bound to inpenetrable Secresy towards all, but my Sovereign, and its Ally. A Bird in the hand is worth two in the Bush. Our Alliance with the House of Bourbon is a Measure that I have ever had extreamly at Heart: it ever appeared to me a natural and necessary Alliance, and I would continue the War against Great Britain an hundred Years before I would give it up. Great Britain will be our natural Enemy for the future. We shall be her Rival in Fisheries, in Carriage, in Commerce of various Sorts, nay dont think me extravagant or enthusiastic when I say, in Naval Power. She will be eternally wishing and endeavouring to destroy our Commerce and our Navy, as She is that of France and Spain. Let Us cultivate then, the Connection with these Powers, as a Rock of defence. I shall therefore communicate to this Court whatever Proposition may ever be made to me. It is most certain I have no Propositions to make, until Conferences shall be opened, if ever that should be. I am very far from being over anxious about this. I know we are marching on in a sure and certain Mode. <My> Our Country can sustain this War for thirty Years to come, better than France, Spain or England can, especially the latter, or for any other given Number of Years, more or less. It is in vain to reason. The politicians of Europe are incapable of concieving our Situation, and the great Causes now { 237 } at work must be allowed Time to produce their Effects. So far from expecting any serious, sensible proposals for Peace, I think the Parties in England will go to War with each other, and they must fight their Battle out, before we shall know, which has the national Power in its Hands to make peace with Us. They have a point to settle first, whether we shall make Peace with a British King or a British Congress.
I assure You, the picture of the British Nation at present gives me no pleasure—it is a melancholy Sight to me. It would give me as much Joy as my Nature is capable of, if She would come to her Senses, and act a just and reasonable part: but I know it is impossible. Mens minds are not suddenly changed—they will go on, and for ought I can see, will have a Civil War. The least Accident may put all in a blaze—a drunken Mob may provoke a Soldier to fire, and set the Nation all in Arms.
Clinton has arrived in Georgia with forty four Ships escaped from the Storm. The News of this will raise a flash in England, like throwing Oil on Fire: but Gates is to command against him, and Gates is a Master of his Trade, has the Confidence and Affection of the Soldier and the Citizen, and will give as good an Account of him, as he did of Burgoyne and Prescot.3 I communicate my Sentiments to You on these points in Secresy and Confidence—if you think any of them wrong, tell me. You must be sensible that is improper for me to make a Talk about these Things.
Adieu.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr A April 26. 1780.”
1. That is, during the rule of John De Witt, the grand pensionary from 1665 to 1672. In fact, following De Witt's death, the Dutch gained British acceptance of the doctrine of free ships make free goods in the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674 and its Explanatory Convention of 1675. That, however, was the very treaty that Britain suspended in 1780 in so far as its provisions relating to neutral trade were concerned. For a discussion of the treaty and convention of 1674 and 1675, see C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 13 Sept. 1778, note 5 (vol. 7:34–35).
2. The “small Collection” was probably Henry Edmunds and William Harris, comps., A Compleat Collection of All the Articles and Clauses which Relate to the Marine, in the Several Treaties Now Subsisting Between Great Britain, and Other Kingdoms and States . . ., London, 1760. The two-volume work on “the Law of the Admiralty,” borrowed from Benjamin Chew, chief justice of Pennsylvania from 1774 to 1776 (DAB), has not been identified. For the Treaty Plan of 1776 and works that JA used to draft it, see vol. 4:260–278.
3. Probably British Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-26

To the President of Congress, No. 53

[salute] Sir

At last, even the Morning Post, of the eighteenth of April, confesses, that1 the Memorial from the Empress of Russia to the States General, has dissipated all their golden dreams of an Alliance, with the Czarina. It was announced to us last Week, that a Russian Squadron had left Cronstad, with an Intention to sail to our Assistance, nay some of the public Papers went so far as to announce their Arrival at Plymouth, how sadly are we, now disappointed! instead of Alliance, we find her Czarish Majesty talks of Neutrality. So that at present it is pretty clear, that the various powers in Europe seem determined to stand off, and leave us to our fate.
In some confused Minutes of a debate in the House of Lords on the fourteenth of April, it is said that Lord Cambden expressed2 his Astonishment and regret at the Memorial from Russia, in which, contrary to the established Laws of Nations, the Empress insisted upon free Ships and free Goods: he pointed out, how injurious to the Country it must be, if neutral Vessels were permitted to supply our Enemies, whom we might blockade, with every thing they might want, and remarked, the Queen of the Seas was now deposed, and the Empress had taken possession of her Throne. In another Paper Lord Shelburne3 is represented remarking the very dangerous and alarming Situation they stand in with regard to their Wars and foreign Alliances: of the former, said his Lordship we have three, of the latter none; even the Empress of Russia, that great Potentate, who was constantly held out by the noble Lord in the green Ribbon, Lord Stormont4 to be our principal Ally, now shows to all Europe, by her late maritime Manifesto, what sort of an Ally She meant to be to England. The thought of that Manifesto made him shudder, when he first read it, particularly as he knew how this Country stood, in respect to other Powers, when Denmark must follow wherever Russia led, and when Sweeden was nearly at the Nod of France. Think of the probability of having the whole force of the Northern Powers against Us, already engaged in three Wars, and striving all we can to make a fourth with our old Friends and natural Allies, the States General.
There have appeared, few other Reflections, as yet, upon this great Event, the Russian declaration. Even Opposition seem afraid to lay it open, in all its Terms to the people. They repeat the Word Neutral• { 239 } ity, Neutrality, but it is very [nearly]5 as decisive a determination against them, as a declaration of War would have been, perhaps more so, because now there is a probability that the maritime Powers will be unanimous, whereas in the other Case they might have been divided. It is very surprising that the Peace between Russia and the Turk, and that between the Emperor and the King of Prussia, in which the Empress of Russia took a part as decided and spirited, as She has upon this Occasion, in both of which Negotiations the British Ministry ought to have known that Russia and France, acted in perfect Concert,6 should not have earlier dissipated their golden Visions: but so it is: and so it has been. England, as Governor Pownal says, cannot or will not see.7
The Improvement in the Law of Nations which the Empress aims at, and will undoubtedly establish, is hurtful to England, it is true, to a very great degree: but it is beneficial to all other Nations, and to none more than the United States of America, who will be Carriers, and I hope forever Neuters.
I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect & Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 504–507); endorsed: “Letter from John Adams April 26. 1780 recd. Feb 19. 81 Influence of the Northern Association on England.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “No. 53.”
1. Except for minor changes, the remainder of this paragraph is an exact quotation from the Morning Post of 18 April. As late as 12 April, the day after it had printed the text of the Russian memorial to the States General, the Morning Post reported “it is confidently said, that a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive is at last actually signed with Russia” and would “be announced to parliament soon after the recess.” On the 14th it declared that “the Russian declaration at the Hague has had the desired effect; the Dutch now finding how much the Czarina interests herself in favour of Great Britain, begin seriously to think of returning such an answer to Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial as may at least not irritate the Court of London to set them on a footing with other neutral powers.”
2. The remainder of this sentence is an exact quotation from the Morning Post of 15 April. In another account of the speech by Charles Pratt, 1st earl of Camden and former Lord Chancellor, that is much longer and quite different, he is reported to have stated that the Russian declaration “was totally subversive of the first principle of the law of nations, which had never went so far as to say that neutral bottoms protected the goods and effects of an enemy” (Parliamentary Hist., 21:446).
3. The newspaper from which this report of Lord Shelburne's speech in the House of Lords on 14 April was taken has not been identified. For a much fuller account of the speech, see Parliamentary Hist., 21:426–428.
4. David Murray, 7th viscount Stormont, was secretary of state for the southern department and responsible for European affairs. The “green Ribbon” signified his membership in the Order of the Thistle (DNB).
5. Supplied from the Letterbook.
6. JA is referring to the Russo-Turkish Convention of Ainalikawak signed in 1779 which clarified their 1774 Treaty of Kutschuk-Kainardji and to the Peace of Teschen which brought an end to the War for the Bavarian Succession between Prussia and Austria. In the first instance the French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire had assisted in the negotiations and in the second, France had been as eager as Russia to end the war (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 98–99).
{ 240 }
7. A reference to Pownall's A Memorial Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe. See A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July] (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0134

Author: Jay, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-26

From John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

I have at Length had the Pleasure of recieving your very friendly Letter of the 22d. Feby. last. It has been very long on the Road. Accept my Thanks for your kind Congratulations; and permit me to assure you that I sincerely rejoice in your having safely reached the Place of your Destination on a Business which declares the Confidence of America, and for an Object, in the Attainment of which, I am persuaded you will acquire Honor to yourself and Advantage to her.
The Circumstances you mention as Indications of the Disposition of Spain undoubtedly bear the Construction you give them. As the Count de Florida Blanca is I am told a man of Abilities, he doubtless will see and probably recommend the Policy of making a deep Impression on the Hearts of the Americans by a seasonable Acknowledgement of their Independence, and by affording such immediate Aids as their Circumstances and the obvious Interest of Spain demand. Such Measures, at this Period would turn the Respect of America for Spain, into lasting Attachment and in that Way give Strength to every Treaty they may form.
Sir John Dalrymple is here.1 He came from Portugal for the Benefit of his Ladys Health (as is said). He is now at Aranjues.2 He has seen the imperial Embassador, the Govr. of the City, Segnr. Campomaner, the Duke of Alva and several others, named to him I suppose by Lord Grantham3 who I find was much respected here. He will return thro France to Britain. I shall go to Aranjues the Day after tomorrow and shall form some Judgment of his Success by the Conduct of the Court towards America.
I am much obliged by your Remarks on the most proper Route for Letters and Intelligence to and from America and shall profit by them. You may rely on recieving the earliest Accounts and whatever interesting Information I may obtain, and that I shall be happy in every opportunity of evincing the Esteem with which I am Dear Sir Your most obedient Servant
[signed] John Jay
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Jay. Ap. 26. 1780 ansd. 13. May.”
1. Sir John Dalrymple, author of numerous legal, historical, economic, and scientific works, had no previous diplomatic experience and it is likely that his efforts in Spain had no { 241 } official sanction. Dalrymple's memorial to Conde de Floridablanca, in which he emphasized his close ties to the North ministry, proposed a joint guarantee of colonial possessions by Great Britain, France, Portugal, and Spain. The thirteen American colonies would remain in British hands, but with perhaps some modification in their government. Dalrymple apparently also offered to exchange Gibraltar for the Canary Islands. Floridablanca, who provided both Jay and the French ambassador with copies of the memorial, never seriously considered Dalrymple's proposals, but the existence of any negotiations was enough to make Vergennes suspicious of his Spanish ally (DNB; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:726–731; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 56, 60).
2. Aranjuez, the Spanish royal summer residence thirty miles south of Madrid.
3. Thomas Robinson, 2d baron Grantham, had been the British ambassador to Spain from 1771 to the outbreak of war in 1779 (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0135

Author: Carmichael, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-26

From William Carmichael

[salute] Sir

I did myself the honor of writing to you last Post in answer to yours of the 8th of April, at that time I had suspicions that a Sir John Dalrymple who has now been here near three weeks, was imployed by G. Britain to sound the Disposition of this Court and in the mean time to work under Ground for the interests of his own Country. I have been hitherto able to trace most of his motions, which are somewhat suspicious. He came hither from Lisbon under pretence or really on account of his Ladys bad State of health: He had a Passport from the Ministry here for that purpose as I have been informed from those who are personally imployed about him. He hath visited several of the Principal Grandees and all those who were most connected with Ld. Grantham. He hath been at Aranjuez, where the Royal family is at present, hath seen the French Embassador and as I have been told will soon set out for France. This last circumstance occasions me to give you the present Trouble. Altho I ought to have no other apprehension of his residence here or at Paris at this Crisis unless it be the singularity of the Circumstance, for I know he had at one time the Confidence of his King and at least that of part of the Administration. I have never heard that he hath done any thing to forfeit it. If he is imployed in the way I suspect He may be induced to pay you a visit if he passes thro Paris, which altho it may be unnecessary, induces me to put you on your Guard. I shall endeavor to inform you punctually of his rout and shall be always happy on every occasion of testifying to you and Mr. Dana how much I am Your humble Sert.
[signed] Wm. Carmichael
1. This place and date are derived from John Jay's letter of 26 April (above), which also provided an account of Sir John Dalrymple. Since JA answered the letters from Carmichael { 242 } and Jay on 12 and 13 May respectively, it seems likely that both were written at about the same time.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0136

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1780-04-28

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

Since my Arrival in Europe I have had Reason to be very well Satisfied with my Reception, hitherto, in Spain, in France, and especially among the Americans in Europe. I have received Letters, from various Quarters of warm Congratulations and full of Professions, of Respect and offers of service. Such Letters I have had from Mr. Bondfield at Bordeaux, Mr. Williams and Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Livingston at Nantes, and from Mr. Jennings and Mr. W. Lee at Brussells.
I am much obliged to Mr. Johnson, for his kind Letter,1 and for good Intelligence. He has many Vessells, which arrive in Nantes to his Consignment from Baltimore: I wish that Congress, and Members of Congress, would sometimes send Letters and Newspapers to me that way: as also by another Way, I mean from Boston and Newbury Port, by the Way of Spain, Bilbao or Cadiz for Example, in this Case they should be directed to the Care of some particular Gentleman in those Cities, that he may inclose them, to avoid the enormous Expence of Postage, from America. The postage of large Packetts this Way would be terrible: but single Letters, containing, Articles and Paragraphs cut out from the Newspapers, will have a better Chance of coming soon this Way than any other. I give to Congress such tedious Histories of public affairs that I need not repeat, any of them to you, in my private Letters.
My Mission has been announced with so much Pomp, and there have been so many Speculations about me, that I expected, before this Time, the Gall of the Tories and Refugees, would attacked me, in the English Newspapers. I expected that Parson Bates and Parson Vardel would have been employed, to bespatter me, with their Dirt and Lyes: but You know very well that I am acquainted with these Gentlemen, and perhaps they may think that I am as able to tell a Truth, as well as their Parsons can tell lies.2 And I am persuaded they dread my Truths, more than I do their Lies. Hitherto however they have had the Philosophy, and magnanimity, to treat me with the Contempt I deserve.
If there should be any Representations to you, or in America, concerning me, let me beg you to acquaint me with it, by the surest { 243 } Channells and by several Ways. I have no reasons to Suspect any one in particular, but after, the Scraps, which were laid before the Committee of 13, I should not be surprised, if others should go.3 There is more Guise in Europe, than in America—the bad Passions are stronger, here, by habit, and necessity arising from their Luxury and Intrigues but they are more concealed. One sees the Reasons of the divine Precepts against Hipocrisy more clearly here than there.
There is an American here, of great Learning and Ingenuity, close Application, great Candour and good Judgment, who has been, more than any other, forward in testifying his Affection to me, and his Zeal for the service of his Country. It is Counciller Edmund Jennings a native of Maryland. He lives now at Bruxells. I could wish that his Character was more known in America. I suppose however, that Congress will for the future bestow their Commissions of Importance upon, Persons of whom they have had more Experience. I hope this will generally be the Case, for our greatest misfortunes abroad have arisen from employing Persons who were not known to Congress nor to America, who did not know, at least very lately America, and in whom America had not Sufficient Grounds of Confidence, and who had not sufficient Grounds of Confidence in America. It is a severe Misfortune that the Laurens's are not arrived, nor that I can learn likely to arrive. If they dont come, pray send somebody else.
Adieu.
RC (MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.); endorsed: “Paris Letter His Excellency J Adams Esq 28th. April 1780 ansd Jany 20 1781” additionally marked: “No Sig.”
1. Of 22 April (above).
2. Rev. Henry Bate (later Sir Henry Bate Dudley) was the editor of the pro-ministry Morning Post (DNB). For Rev. John Vardill, formerly a professor at King's (Columbia) College and from 1775 to 1781 a British spy, see vol. 3:55–56.
3. For Congress' “Committee of Thirteen” and its consideration of charges against American diplomats in Europe, including one by Ralph Izard against JA, see James Lovell's letters of 13 June and 14 Sept. 1779 (vol. 8:86–91, 147–152, and index).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-28

To the President of Congress, No. 54

Paris, 28 April 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 508–510). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:635–639.
In Wharton's printing, the dates for the paragraphs beginning “Hague 23. April” and “Hague 22 April” should be reversed. This long letter, which Congress received on 19 Feb. 1781, was based on newspaper accounts from Hamburg, London, and The Hague. Adams first reported the communication of Russia's declaration of an armed neutrality to the cities of Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen. The bulk of the letter consists of the texts of the British Order in Council of 17 April suspending its treaties with the Netherlands (from William Lee, 25 April, { 244 } and note 1, above); two reports by the Dutch province of Groningen, the first calling for convoys for all non-contraband goods and the second recommending that the States General refuse the assistance demanded by Britain under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674; and the resolution of 13 April by the States of Holland calling for the acceptance of the Russian invitation to join a League of Armed Neutrality. Adams also noted the decision of the Dutch province of Gelderland to call for unlimited convoys and the refusal of the aid demanded by Britain.
Reflecting on these and other events, John Adams predicted the likelihood of Britain becoming involved in a war with the Netherlands, Russia, and the other neutral powers, and observed: “When, where or in what manner, we shall see the Unravelling of the Vast Plot, that is acting in the World, is known only to Providence. Although my Mind has been full twenty Years preparing to expect great Scenes, yet I confess the Wonders of this Revelation exceed all that I ever foresaw or imagined. That our Country so young as it is, so humble as it is, thinking but lately, so meanly of itself should thus Interest the Passions, as well as employ the Reason of all Mankind in its favour, and effect in so short a Space of Time, not only thirteen Revolutions of Government at home, but so compleatly accomplish a Revolution in the system of Europe, and in the Sentiments of every Nation in it, is what no human Wisdom perhaps could foresee.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 508–510). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:635–639.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0138

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Ross, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-28

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I attend to what you mention by Capt. C.1 the 15th. Instant, and have in consequence, some days ago shippd for Ostend, in a box marked A, with a card direction to Monsr. Frs. Bowens Merchant there, sundry pamphlets and papers as you require;2 and have written to Mr. B to forward it on in the manner He may think safest, and to hereafter attend to any other parcels I may send in the same way. It may be better you write to Him and point out the mode of conveyance from Ostend to Paris which you may think best. This will be by much the best way for Books or Pamphlets when private opportunitys (which are very rare) do not offer; but it will not do so well for News papers as the ordering them immidiately yourself from the Post Masters at Paris, who, having an understanding with the Post Office here, can get any papers by post which you may want. The morning Papers you mention, and the one I have lately sent, will be sufficient, and those of the Evening, two will answer your purpose; they come out alternate. The London Evening Post, and the London Packet. I could get a friend who is concernd in the neutral Vessels and who lives near the tower, to send you a packet of these papers of every 8 { 245 } or 10 days, as the vessels may sail, directed as the Box is to Mr. Bowens, if you think this a better mode; at any rate I will do it (in order that you may be supplyd with the Papers) until I get your answer to this letter, or the fixing on any other mode. I will continue to You the Courant, because it shews every movement of the People here relative to Petitions assosiations the proceedings of the Deputies &c. &c. For this reason I sent you a bound parcell compleat from the 25 Novr. to the 18 Apr. and a few loose ones to the 26th which I had done up for the purpose of sending to a more distant quarter. I will make up another parcell of Pamphlets in a few days and forward them as the last were sent.3 I am obligd to You for the Pamphlet by Dr. L,4 when it comes to your hands revisd and as the Establishd Law, I pray You send it to me together with any papers that are worth publishing here, if the parcell is too heavy for post, send them to Mr. Bowens who will forward them by neutral vessels to the person near the Tower who will send You the papers and shipps most of my packages. By such a channell as this, (which I have long been wishing for) many useful publications may come to light. I will keep an account open for the Expence of so doing, and will apply to M. Louis Tessier (whom I have applyd to on former occasions) for my riembursement; better that Monsr. G——d should write a line to Him, for me to deliver, to pay me these sums as they are calld for. You will have annexd a list of what I have already sent you.5
We have at length got news of Gen. Clinton, which came by a packet from N York which saild from thence the 30th. March.6 It appears (tho there are no official dispatches from Clinton Himself) that the fleet after being much buffetted about by the Storm and with the loss of four or five transports, got to Tybee about the begining of Feby. and that the body of the fleet got to the Bars of Chs. Town the 9 or 10th. March, and were nearly landed the 12th. when the Russell man of War saild from thence to N York with the account. It appears they have occupied some posts 8 or 10 miles from Cs. Town particularly that of Stono ferry, but have neither attackd James fort nor fort Sullivan. By the Ministerial reports we are informd Lincolns army was between 5 and 6,000 Men well posted out of the Town, and that some strong works had been thrown up on the neck and to defend the Town. The Army of Clinton when it saild consisted of 7,500 Men and he took a Regiment with him from Georgia; every account says He will not have more than 5,500 men effectives to opperate with, and I think from the feeble flat manner the whole storey is told in the New York papers and from the accounts I have gatherd since the { 246 } packets arrival that his force is not equal to the possessing Chas. Town. He has but one ship of the line and 4 or 5 lesser men of war to act against the Forts and Town; there are 5 or 6 American and french frigates within the harbour, and if Fort Sullivan is as strong as it was in 1776, I think with the united Naval Force it will be able to give the British Ships of war a second drubbing. It cannot be many days before we have accounts here of the decided fate of the place. There are many particulars in the news papers, which you will have as soon as this, but the above is the substance of what I hear.
The late Russian Memorial for Neutrality is not at all relishd by the Ministerealists here, 'tho they attempt to palliate it by saying it is only a manoeuvere of that Court for arming their Ships, which when armd, are to join England, this is too bad to be related, but such is the conversation of some who are determind to go on blindfolded to distruction. It appears that Holland has acceeded to the wish of Russia in the substance of that memorial for neutrality and they are seemingly determind to defend their Ships at Sea against English Cruisers. If some better understanding does not soon take place between this Court and the States, it is more than probable there will soon be a dutch war. How the northern powers of Sweeden and Denmark Stand, you are better informd than I can be. Portugal most likely will acceed to it, for they seem bent upon neutrality If such a disirable state will be allowd them.
The Parliament of Ireland on the two late great national questions, has produced a majority of 39 in favour of the Court, tho directly contrary to the wishes of a great majority of the People.7 The Commons have been touchd with English Gold or English paper, and have provd themselves as corrupt as another parliament nearer me. It is most likely the disputes will not stop there but that the People will right themselves.
Every body hereabouts seems sick of the American War, but how to get rid of it is the question. The State of that war will be probably canvassd next Tuesday, when Gen. Conway is to make a motion relative to accomodation with America.8 Much secrecy is observd as to the substance of his intended motion, but some folks think He will move for some profers to be made to America on the preliminary of a truce; but then the sending this profer over to America puts at so remote a period in point of time, as to make some friends speak discourageingly of the proposition or motion. Most likely some Members of that House such as Gen. C——y and Govr. P——l, are urgd by Ministers9 to bring forth such conversations in the House in order { 247 } to feel the pulses of its members upon that topic. If they could well do it, I beleive they would try to get the opinion of Mr. J. A. (whom I understand is at Paris a Commission to speak upon peace) upon the mode of making profers to America for tho our ministers try to make people beleive they know not the nature of Mr. A——ms's Commission, yet I cannot suppose them so blind and ignorant not to know something of the nature of it.10 I am your very Obt. Servt.
[signed] Wm. Ross
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San &c. &c. Paris” docketed by CFA: “W. S. C. 28. April 1780.”
1. Isaac Cazneau.
2. According to the list enclosed with Digges' letter of 8 June (below), enumerating the packages and their contents sent to JA through 10 June, this box was dispatched on 25 April. Digges, however, indicates later in the present letter that the package contained newspapers up to 26 April.
3. According to Digges' letter of 8 June (below), the second package was sent on 6 May.
4. For the pamphlet carried by George Logan, The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, see Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 2 (above).
5. No list enclosed with this letter has been found, but see notes 2 and 3.
6. Digges' account of the situation at Charleston is essentially a digest of reports appearing in London newspapers on or about 28 April. For the British invasion fleet, the forces available to Clinton, and the opening of the siege, see Digges' letter of 3 March, note 6 (above); for a detailed account of the siege that led to the surrender of Charleston on 12 May, see Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, N.Y., 1982, p. 438–449.
7. For Ireland the two great national issues were the repeal of Poyning's Law of 1495 and the Irish Declaratory Act of 1719, thereby resulting in Irish legislative independence (to Edmund Jenings, 27 Feb., note 5, vol. 8:370–371). On 19 April, Henry Grattan moved “that the King's Most Excellent Majesty and the Lords and Commons of Ireland, were the only power competent to bind, or enact laws in this kingdom.” After a long debate the motion was postponed and never considered again. The vote to which Digges refers came at the end of the debate on an amendment to the motion which declared “the Irish to be subjects as free as the English.” The amendment was defeated 136 to 97. For the debate, see the London Courant of 27 April.
8. For Conway's motions, see Digges' letter of 2 May (below).
9. “By Ministers” was interlined.
10. JA inclosed an extract (not found) from this letter in his note of 5 May to Vergennes (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E-U., vol. 12). Vergennes' letter of 10 May and JA's reply of the 12th (both below) indicate that the extract was probably this final paragraph.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0139

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-28

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My Dear friend

This letter will be handed to you by Dr. John Foulke2 (a Graduate in our University) a young gentleman of a respectable Quaker family who goes to France to finish his Studies in Medicine. He is a youth of a fair character, and promising Abilities, and friendly to the liberties of his country.
It gave me great pleasure to hear of your safe Arrival, and favourable reception in Spain. We long to hear of your entering upon the { 248 } business of your embassy. I almost envy your Children the happiness of calling that man their father who After contributing his Share towards giving liberty and independance, will finally be honoured as the instrument of restoring peace to the united States of America.
Our Affairs wear their usual checkered Aspect. Our Governments are daily acquiring new Strength. Our Army which I saw a few weeks ago at Morristown3 has improved greatly since our former correspondence in discipline, Oeconomy, and healthiness. The number of our Soldiers is small, occasioned not by a decay of the military, or whiggish Spirit among us, but by the want of money to purchase recruits. The new Scheme of Congress for calling in the circulating money at 40 to 1, will I beleive be adopted with some Alterations by the States.4 This will We hope restore to our counsels and arms the vigor of 1775.
The french Alliance is not less dear to the true Whigs than independance itself. The Chevr. de la Luzerne has made even the tories forget in some degree, in his liberality and politeness, the Meschianzas5 of their British friends. Monsr. Gerard is still dear to the faithful citizens of America. We call him the “Republican Minister.”
Charlestown is in Jeopardy, but we beleive all things will work together for good for those who love the good old cause—the cause not to be repented off. Commerce and agriculture flourish in Spite of the power of Britain by land and water, and even Pennsylvania enjoys a temporary Security for property and life under her new Constitution.
Adieu—Compts: to Mr. Dana. Yours—yours—yours
[signed] Benjn: Rush
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble: John Adams Esqr: (of the United States) now at Paris.” endorsed: “Dr. Rush Ap. 28. ansd. 1 July.” docketed by CFA: “1780.”
1. JA enclosed an extract from this letter, probably the 3d and 4th paragraphs, in his letter of 2 July to Vergennes (below).
2. John Foulke, who remained abroad until at least 1783, was later a prominent teacher and physician in Philadelphia (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:98; Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:252).
3. Rush had been to Washington's headquarters at Morristown in March to testify against William Shippen Jr., Director General of Hospitals for the Continental Army, at his court martial (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:247–249).
4. On 18 March Congress adopted a plan that was intended to stem the runaway inflation that was crippling the economy and damaging the war effort. Under the new measure the monthly payments by the states, which had been set at $15,000,000 by a resolution of 7 Oct. 1779, would be redeemed at the rate of forty continental dollars to one Spanish milled dollar (JCC, 16:262–267, 15:1150). This had the immediate effect of revaluing the existing emission from $200,000,000 to $5,000,000, but was to result in a new emission, as the old was redeemed and destroyed over a period of approximately thirteen months, of $10,000,000. So that they would retain their value, the new bills were to be backed by both the states and { 249 } Congress and carry a five percent interest rate. The plan failed because it proved impossible for the states to remit all of the funds due Congress in the form of continental currency, with the result that by June of 1781 only $31,000,000 of the old emission had been retired. At that point the currency was valued at 500 to 1 and for all intents had ceased to exist except as a vehicle for speculation (E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 51–53, 64–66).
For the effect of Congress' action on JA's relations with Vergennes, see The Revaluation Controversy, 16 June –1 July, Editorial Note; Vergennes to JA, 21 June; JA to Vergennes, 22 June (second letter), all below.
5. For a description of the mischianza, the elaborate farewell pageant staged by Sir William Howe's officers upon his departure from Philadelphia in May 1778, see Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1972, p. 298–299.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0140

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-04-29

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

Do you think it worth while to work into your next Article, from London, the following Observation of Lord Bolinbroke?
“The precise Point, at which the Scales of power turn, like that of the Solstice, in either Tropic, is imperceptible to common Observation; and, in one case, as in the other, Some progress must be made, in the new direction, before the change is perceived. They who are in the sinking Scale, for in the political ballance of power, unlike to all others, the Scale that is empty Sinks, and that which is full rises; they who are in the Sinking Scale do not easily come off, from the habitual prejudices of Superiour Wealth, or power, or Skill, or courage, nor from the Confidence, that these Prejudices inspire. They who are in the rising Scale, do not immediately feel their Strength, nor assume that Confidence in it, which successfull Experience gives them afterwards. They who are the most concerned to watch the Variations of this ballance, misjudge often, in the Same manner, and from the Same Prejudices. They continue to dread a Power no longer able to hurt them, or they continue to have no apprehension of a Power, that grows daily more formidable. Spain verified, the first Observation, when proud and poor, and enterprizing and feeble, she Still thought, herself a Match for France, France verified the Second Observation, when the tripple Alliance, Stopped the Progress of her Arms, which Alliances much more considerable, were not able to effect afterwards. The other principal powers of Europe, in their turns, have verified the third Observation in both its parts.”1
Sketch of the History and State of Europe.
These Observations were never more remarkably verified, than in these times. The English proud and porr, and enterprising and feeble, { 250 } Still think themselves a Match for France and Spain, and America2 if not for all the World, but this delirium cannot last long.
France and Spain and Holland continue to dread, a Power no longer able to hurt them, but this will be over as Soon.
England continues to have Small Apprehensions of Powers, that grow daily more formidable but these Apprehensions will increase every day.
Your Correspondant from London or Antwerp, among his Lamentations over the Blindness and Obstinacy, and Madness of the Ministry, may introduce these Observations with Propriety enough.
The Ballance of Power, was never perhaps Shifted, in So remarkable a manner, and in So short a Space of Time. If the Minds of the French and Spaniards had grown in Confidence, in proportion to the Growth of their power; and if the Confidence of the English, had decreased in proportion to the diminution of theirs, it would have been all over, with England, before now.
You know very well, that Lord Bolinbroke was the most eloquent Writer, that England ever produced. His political Writings, particularly, are more admired than any in that Language. His Name and Authority, added to the obvious Truth of these Observations, and their apposite Application to the present times, will make an Impression upon many minds, in all the nations at War. If you think so, and that it will increase the Spirit of our Friends, and diminish the Insolence of our Ennemies, as it ought, you will make Use of it, in your own excellent manner. If not, burn it.
Your Friend
1. This quotation is from letter 7, “A Sketch of the State and History of Europe, from the Pyrenean Treaty in 1659, to the Year 1688,” in Henry St. John, viscount Bolingbroke, Letters on the Study and Use of History, 2 vols., London, 1752, 1:259–261. Genet printed the piece, together with JA's comments on it, in the Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles” (p. 128–129), of 20 May.
2. The preceding two words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-29

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Confidential & secret
Dear Sir

Thank you for yours of 24. The Pamphlet, was printed by Almon, at the Desire of a Mr. Hollis who took <an extravagant> mild fancy to the dissertation on the cannon and feudal Law, had it printed and { 251 } bound in an elegant manner, and sent it as a present to Harvard Colledge in Cambridge, with a Compliment written in it with his own Hand. It was a long story, but it began with these Words “this is the finest Production that has ever appeared from North America, the author of it was said to be Jeremy Gridley Esq. but I find that the Author of it happily, still lives.” He wrote to his Correspondant Dr. Elliot to enquire, who wrote it. Elliot at last heard from a Gentleman that knew that it was John Adams. He came to me to know. I told him it was no secret who wrote it, he desired I would give him leave to mention my name. I told him I had rather be excused for the present. Hollis wrote over immediately that the Province ought to choose me their Agent at the Court of St. James's, and 20 other Extravagancies of the like sort.1 The thing itself is indeed but a Bagatelle: but the Time when it was written and the Effect it certainly produced at the Time, make it of some importance, in a public View as a document of History, but of more Importance to me, and my Children, as a family Memorial.
Thank you for the Newspaper, and am of your mind, that all Endeavours in parliament to reform, will be ineffectual. Reformation must be made in a Congress if any Way. Corruption has too many hereditary, and legal Supporters in Parliament. Whether it has or not out of parliament is the question. Whether there is enough of Unanimity and Firmness among the people, to struggle against this formidable phalanx? But one thing seems clear, that either the remaining Virtue in the Nation must overcome the Corruption, or the Corruption will wholly exterminate the remaining Virtue. I see but one Alternative and no middle Way. Either Absolute Monarchy, or a Republic and Congress. I am happy to see that York, Surrey and Hertford have resolved against the American War. We shall see whether these Examples will be followed.
The Astonishment is great Every, where, at the Proclamation against the Dutch, which is in Effect, little Short of a Declaration of War against Holland, and Russia. Russia has said I will. England has said you shall not. We shall see, how this question will be decided. The Lady has on several occasions discerned a Spirit that is not to be trifled with. Do you know the Character of Panin?2 We see in the Instance of England, what has been observed in a Multitude of Examples, before that nations do not easily come off, from the Prejudices, of Superiour Wealth, or Power, Skill or Courage, nor from the Confidence which these prejudices Inspire.3 We see in the Examples of France Spain and Holland, that they who are on the rising { 252 } Hand do not immediately feel their Strength, nor assume that confidence in it, which Successfull Experience gives them afterwards. They continue to dread a power, no longer able to hurt them. Observations which were applied to Spain, and the nations at War with her heretofore, when she was in a situation, very similar to the present Case of G. Britain. But her Pride came down and so must that of G. Britain. I am afraid Mr. Laurens is not coming. I see he was chosen, by Carolina, a Delegate to Congress, in January, I think.4 Your Friend Gates will have the Honour of, ruining Clinton yet.
Adieu
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Mr <Genet.> Jenings.” In the Letterbook JA's letter of 29 April to Edmé Jacques Genet was the second letter after that to Jenings.
1. For the pamphlet, True Sentiments of America, London, 1768, see JA to Jenings, 20 April, and note 2; and Jenings' reply of 24 April, and note 2 (both above). For the letters of 27 Sept. and 17 Oct. 1768 from Rev. Andrew Eliot, then minister of Boston's New North Church, to Thomas Hollis identifying JA as the author of the “Dissertation,” see MHS, Colls., 4th ser., 4 [1858]:426–427, 434. Hollis' reply in which he recommended JA's appointment as Massachusetts' agent in England was dated 10 May 1769 (MHi:Thomas Hollis Papers).
2. The preceding two sentences were interlined. Count Nikita Ivanovitch Panin was Catherine II's chancellor, responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs as president of the college of foreign affairs (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 17–18).
3. In this and the following five sentences JA is paraphrasing a passage from Viscount Bolingbroke's Letters on the Study and Use of History that he quotes exactly in his letter of 29 April to Edmé Jacques Genet (above).
4. Before assuming his post as commissioner to negotiate a commercial treaty and loan with the Netherlands, Henry Laurens returned to South Carolina to seek reelection to Congress as an endorsement of his mission. He was reelected on 1 Feb. (Wallace, Life of Henry Laurens, p. 353; Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 14: xxiii).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-04-29

To William Lee

[salute] Dear sir

I have the Honour of yours of the 25th. and am in equal pain with you for Charlestown, especially Since the Arrival of A Vessell at Nantes from Baltimore, which brings a certain Account of Clintons Arrival the latter End of February, at the southward, with forty five Ships, escaped from the Wreck of the Tempest. There is no certain Account of his Landing nor of the precise Place where he intended to land. G. Gates was appointed to command in the southern department, and was gone thither, but am not certain that he was arrived. Gates is a Master of his Profession, and possesses the Confidence and Affection of the American soldier and Citizen, So that, if Clinton should get in Possession of Charlestown, it will be but the Tryumph of a day, serve to give the Ministry a momentary Ecclat, and damp { 253 } the Ardour of <Committees> Associations for a few days: but it will serve the Cause of Patriotism in the End, by exhausting the ministerial forces in that Part, by leaving more scope for the Armaments from Brest and Cadiz, wherever they are destined.
Nil admirari,1 is my Maxim in Politicks. I am not surprised at the Proclamation, annulling all Treaties with the Dutch. This ministry leave themselves no other Resource but such desperate measures. They pledge themselves, ignorantly and blindly, in such a manner, that when Events turn up, ever so much against their Plan, they are bound in honour to go on. They cannot retract nor receed. And So sure, as they now exist they will go on, untill Force and Arms, obstruct them at home.
I wish with you, that Mr. L. was in Holland, but I fear he is not coming. I see by an American Paper that in Jany. I think he was reelected into Congress, which looks As if, he was not only there, but did not intend to come. The Dutch may expect what they please, but they will expect to all Eternity, if they expect, one Iota of an exclusive Priviledge in American trade. I wonder in Gods name what obligation We are under to the dutch? Nor can I conceive what Pretensions they can have to the Fishery, on the Banks of Newfoundland.
I dont remember to have heard particularly, of your answer being read in Congress. I heard your Brothers was, from Several Quarters, and I doubt not yours was.2 I know nothing of that Gentlemans being in Congress, there was a paragraph inserted in a Fish Kill Newspaper, that the following are the Delegates for Connecticut, and then mentioned that Gentlemans name and Eleven others. But it appeared to me a manifest fiction. I am myself persuaded, he is not, and will not soon be. I wish I knew the name of that Gentlemans Agent and Correspondent in Holland.
Adieu
1. Nothing astonishes. These are the opening words of the sixth letter in bk. 1 of Horace's Epistles.
2. Arthur Lee's answer of 10 Feb. 1779 to Silas Deane's address “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of the United States” was read on 16 July 1779 (JCC, 14:843). For William Lee's answer to the same document, see his letter of 25 April, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0143

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-29

To the President of Congress, No. 55

Paris, 29 April 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 3–5). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); marked: “55.” printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640–642.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, { 254 } John Adams provided information that had appeared in London newspapers between 11 and 18 April. He included the names of the newly appointed commander and principal officers of the channel fleet and summarized reports from Portsmouth regarding mutinies by the crews of the Invincible and Resolution over pay. Both vessels were part of the Rear Adm. Thomas Graves' fleet that was intended to intercept the French fleet under Ternay (see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 5, above). Adams quoted from resolutions opposing the war in America adopted on 14 April by a meeting of “the freeholders of the county of Surry” (see Edmund Jenings' letter of 24 April, and note 3, above). In a postscript, not printed by Wharton, Adams quoted from resolutions adopted by the County of Hertford on 17 April to the effect that the war in America, “by obliging Us to carry all our Forces to that Quarter puts us out of a Condition to resist with Vigour, As We might otherwise do, the united Efforts of France and Spain while the Said War produces no other Effect upon the Americans than to add to the Enmity, which has but too long subsisted between Us: an Enmity, of which We have felt, the fatal Effects, and which by putting an obstacle to our Union, threatens England, with a Ruin as compleat as it is inevitable.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 3–5). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); marked: “55.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640–642.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-29

To the President of Congress, No. 56

Paris, 29 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 1–2). LbC (Adams Papers); marked: “56.” printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640.
Congress received this letter on 16 October. Relying on newspaper accounts, John Adams reported on the number and size of the warships forming the fleets commanded by Como. Robert Walsingham and Rear Adm. Thomas Graves and their departure on 8 and 11 April respectively. He then estimated the strength of the British West Indian fleet if the vessels under Walsingham and Graves were joined with those commanded by Rodney and Vice Adm. Sir Hyde Parker, the British commander in the West Indies. Adams noted, however, that there were conflicting rumors about Graves' destination. Finally, he told of the return of the fleet under Walsingham, reportedly because a French fleet was in its path (see Edmé Jacques Genet's letter of 29 April, below).
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 1–2). LbC (Adams Papers); marked: “56.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0145-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-29

From Edmé Jacques Genet

J'ai l honneur d'envoyer à Monsieur Adams une Notice Sûre des Flottes parties de Brest dans le tems où Walsingham a eu avis que l'Escadre francoise paroissoit a l'ouvert de la manche, et qu'une terreur panique l'a fait retourner à Plimouth, quoi qu'il eût le vent bon pour continuer Sa route. Il Seroit amusant de voir ces détails dans les papiers anglois, et qu'ils y fussent présentés comme bien autentiques.1

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0145-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-29

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

I have the honor to send Mr. Adams a reliable account of the fleet which left Brest at the same time that Walsingham was informed that the French squadron would appear at the entrance of the Channel and, in total panic, returned to Plymouth, despite having a favorable wind to continue his voyage. It should be amusing to see these details in the British newspapers, particularly if presented as authentic.1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “M. J. Adams rue de Richelieu.”
1. JA included this report regarding Como. Robert Walsingham's fleet in his second letter of this date to the president of Congress (No. 56, calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0146

Author: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-29

From the Comte de Sarsfield

Count Sarsfield thinks, that, though in fact it is an injury done to his friendship for Mr. Adams, Mr. Adams doth not Know him so thoroughly as not to suspect him of having neglected the commission he gave him about Mr. de Malesherbes's remonstrances.1
He will most likely wonder at their being prohibited, nothing however is more true there is a [Very?] great difficulty to get them. Count Sarsfield [bestirs?] him Self, has given orders and till now could not succeed.
Perchance Mr. Adams could succeed better as a foreigner. He must apply to one Mos. Amaury a bookseller Au palais (the Palais is our Westminster Hall) but if he finds them there, he is desired to give forthwith notice of his good luck to Count Sarsfield to avoid getting two copies of those performances as there is a man searching for one in every corner of the town.
Count Sarsfield wishes to Know if this note was understood, for if not he will write another in french. Begs Mr. Adams and Mr. Dana to be persuaded of his most Sincere Attachment.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “a Monsieur Monsieur Adams ministre Plenipotentaire des Etats Deunis D'Amerique a l hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu” endorsed: “Comte Sarsefield” in another hand: “1780.”
1. See JA's letter of 24 April to Sarsfield (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Watson, Elkanah Jr.
Date: 1780-04-30

To Elkanah Watson Jr.

[salute] Sir

Your Letter of the 10th. of March, I recieved but Yesterday. I recollect that General Warren mentioned to me, his having given You Letters to me, but I cant recollect seeing those Letters. I am obliged to You for writing to me, and if it should be in my power to be of any Service to You, it will give me pleasure to do it, altho' I have not the Satisfaction to know You personally. I have been so long from home and so much longer from Plymouth, that it is impossible for me to say any thing of your Character, but this that I doubt not it is good, having no Cause to suspect otherwise. Your Family I know very well to be one of the most respectable in the County of Plymouth. Your Father, I had the Honor to know very well,1 and I know that he was, in those days universally respected to have an independent hereditary Fortune which I have no doubt he still possesses undiminished, very probably, with large Additions to it, by the profits of Business. [I knew] too, that in ancient Times (for I must talk to [you like] an old Man), when the Friends to the American cause were not so numerous, nor so determined as they are now, we always found your Father firm and consistent, as a friend to his Country. This I know, for more than ten Years before the Commencement of the War, and therefore have no difficulty in believing, that he has been since that period uniformly strenuous in Support of Independence.
You tell me, Sir, You wish to cultivate your Manners, before You begin your Travels; and since You have had so much Confidence in me, as to write to me upon this Occasion, permit me, to take the Liberty of advising You to cultivate the Manners of your own Country, not those of Europe. I don't mean by this that You should put on a long face, never dance with the Ladies, go to a play, or take a Game of Cards. But you may depend upon this, that the more decisively You adhere to a manly Simplicity in Your Dress, Equipage, and Behaviour, the more You devote yourself to Business and Study, and the less to Dissipation and Pleasure, the more You will recommend yourself to every Man and Woman in this Country whose Friendship or Acquaintance is worth your having or wishing. There is an Urbanity without Ostentation or Extravagance, which will succeed every where, and at all Times. You will excuse this freedom, on account of my friendship for your Father, and consequently for You, and because { 257 } I know that some young Gentlemen have come to Europe with different Sentiments, and have consequently injured the Character of their Country as well as their own both here [and at home.] All Europe knows that it was [American manners] that have produced such great [Effects from that] young and tender Country. I should [be glad to] hear from You, as often as You please [and shall be glad to] recieve from You any Intelligence, [from America] or elsewhere, and to wait on You in [Paris. You] may show this Letter in whole or in Part, to Mr. Williams and Mr. Schweighauser, to both of whom You will please my Compliments, and to any others that You think proper.

[salute] I am with much Respect, Sir, your most obedient & humble Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (N:Elkanah Watson Papers); notation between the dateline and greeting in Watson's hand: “(Letter from John Adams I was then 22 years of Age at the College at Ancenis on the Rivre Loire 24 Miles E. of Nantes in France).” LbC (Adams Papers). The recipient's copy is damaged with the loss of a number of words, particularly on the third page, which have been supplied from the Letterbook.
1. JA probably knew Elkanah Watson Sr. from visits to Plymouth. He had also represented him in the case of Watson v. Caesar in 1771 (JA, Legal Papers, 2:50).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0148

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1780-04-30

To Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dr. sir

I have, this day recieved your favour of the 25th.,1 which gave me the first Intimation I had of your Intentions for Home.2 I am glad to learn that Captain Snelling delivered the Letters to you. I will endeavour to Send Some more, by Captain Jones or Some other Safe hand: but are you not Suspicious of your Passage? Be Sure to keep with your Convoy: for my own part I hardly see a Possibility of an unarmed Vessells geting safe over, without. We were surrounded by 5 or 6, very sawcy Privateers at a time, when I went home, and nothing but our twelve Pounders saved Us and the Convoy. I wish you, a safe and agreable Passage, and an happy sight of your Friends. You could not have a better month to sail. Pray do you take Mrs. Williams, to America? I have never had opportunity to wish you and Mrs. Williams happy, in Words, I have ever done so in my Heart. My Respects to your Father, and your Unkle and all Frids. I am with much respect & Esteem yr most obt. servant
{ 258 }
1. Not found.
2. JA learned from a subsequent conversation with Benjamin Franklin that the letter of 25 April was not from Jonathan Williams, Franklin's nephew and the person to whom this letter is addressed (to Williams, 14 May, below). Williams, who married Mariamne Alexander in 1779, did not return to America until 1785 (DAB). Nor was the letter from JA's former law clerk, Jonathan Williams III. He had already left for America where he died on 1 May (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:390).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0149

Author: Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-01

From François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury

[salute] My dear sir

I expected for writting to you, that I could tell, the wind serves, we sail to Morrow for your dear Country, and in six weeks hence, I shall see Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Dana, but since twenty days that we are on board, the wind has been Constantly to the south-west; it is only since this morning that we expect it will Come to the north, or est.
To Morrow, I hope, we shall sail, for ——xxx you know it better than I; but I can neither suppose or desire, that our expedition be entended for N. York. I think sooner, we go at New port, and our squadron, will at the meantime Cruze before Sandy Hook, to starve the british in their inexpugnable Lines. We are too few, for any thing else, and if we do attempt Rashly any important attacks, we may find an other Savanah.1
Whatever may be the place of our Landing in America, I hope to find means of forwarding, your Letters, to your familly and friends, and if it is Rhode Iland, I shall my self go to Braintree et Cambridge, and be the bearer of your packets.
Farewell. Be happy as much I desire & you deserve it, & believe me with a Respect equal to my gratitude for your kindness, your most obedient humble servant.
[signed] L. Fleury2
My best Respects to Mr. Dana, & your familly.
1. A reference to Estaing's failed siege of Savannah, Ga., in September and October 1779. See Arthur Lee to JA, 24 Sept. 1779, note 2 (vol. 8:169–170).
2. For a sketch of Fleury, who had served as a volunteer in the Continental Army between 1776 and 1779 and who returned to America with Rochambeau's army in 1780, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:317. Fleury carried JA's letter of 24 March and two small packages to AA, which were received on 23 July (same, 3:316–317, 381; 4:1).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-02

To the President of Congress, No. 57

Paris, In this letter, { 259 } which Congress received on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams included an English translation of a memorial presented by the French ambassador to the States General on 26 April (given as 10 April in Wharton) that announced the repeal of the fifteen percent tariff levied by France on most Dutch goods by various decrees in 1778 and 1779, together with the return of all duties collected on Dutch goods that had entered France while the tariff was in effect. Adams also reported that news from The Hague as late as 26 April indicated that the various Dutch provinces and the States General were prepared to reject British demands for assistance under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch treaties; to grant unlimited convoys for Dutch merchant ships except those carrying goods explicitly labeled as contraband in existing treaties; and to accept Catherine II's invitation to join in a league of armed neutrals. He then communicated the substance of an instruction that the provinces of Holland and West Friesland proposed be sent by the States General to its ambassador in London totally rejecting Lord Stormont's justification of Como. Charles Fielding's seizure of the Dutch convoy. John Adams then noted Sweden's authorization of convoys, general European support for the French and Russian diplomatic position, and the general consensus in Europe that Britain now would seek peace. He disagreed with the last point, stating that “Signal Success on the part of the Allies, might compel them to it but signal Success in favor of the English, would urge them giddily on, no one can say to what lengths.” Finally, he gave the substance of a “speculative Article from Brussells” on the positions of Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands with regard to the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality and how it might effect the duration and outcome of the war.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 7–14). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:644–648.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0151

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I am this day honord with your favor of the 25th. The post of this day from Rochfort brings advice of the arrival at Isl deé1 of a Small Vessel from Baltimore that left the Bay the 28 March. The Commandant at Bell Isl writes the advices brought by the Sloop are that Clinton had receved in Georgia a Compleat defeat and Genl. Washington with 14000 Man had open'd the Seige of New York. I give you the Channel by which we came at this inteligence of its authenticity you will if it be real in a day or two have the fullest information.
They write from Cadiz 10000 Troops are orderd to embark imediately on board the Fleet fitting at that port destind for the West Indies others give out they are to join the Fleet fitted out at Brest under Mr. de Ternay of the Madeiras and the Combind Fleets are to proceed to the United States.
The delay the french Fleet has sustaind at Brest is said to spring { 260 } | view from a want of Funds to form the Military Chest for the Expedition it is scarce probable but it is given as the true Cause. What has L. R de C2 to say in the Naval Department. Mr. Williams while I remaind at Nantes sent off by order of that Gentleman a very considerable supply of Cloathing and Broad Cloths. If for the American Army it is a very exelent method of transporting them in French Men of War.3
Having offerd our Ships to The Doctor who referd us to Mr. Le R de C. our terms were found too high which answer we received thro' Mr. Williams conveyed to him by Mr. De C. and as the Capital is too considerable to send over for one House we are constraind to alter our plan and propose taking the freight offer'd by this Government for their Islands. We are sorry to be forced to renounce sending our ships to America but the premiums are so exorbitant we cannot sail in that Trade without Loss in Ships of value.
The wine you was pleased to Commissio[n] me was forwarded by our friend Mr. Tesier4 last friday. He assures me the quality will be found to your wishes inclosed you have the Cost and charges amounting to 390. 12s which I have past to your debit.
We wait with anxiety the arrival of saturdays post that we may see the Steps Holland will pursue in virtue of the declaration of England. Affairs are ripening it cannot be long before some very extraordinary sceens must take place in Great Britain. We have a report of Mons. De Luxemburg5 being gone to England in a private line, this has given cause to many Speculative Sentiments at any rate we expect to see a very vigerous Campaign.
We are told the Docter has been very Sick I have not been honord with a line from him of some time. Wi[th] due respect I have the Honor to be Sir [yo]ur very hhb Sert
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esq Hotel Valois Rue Richelieu Paris” endorsed: “Mr Bondfield 2 May. 1780.” Portions of three words on the third page were lost when the seal was removed.
1. Bondfield likely means the Ile de Ré opposite La Rochelle and northwest of Rochefort. His mention of a letter by the commandant at Belle Ile probably indicates that the sloop put into Belle Ile, which is considerably north of Rochefort opposite St. Nazaire, before proceeding on to its final destination.
2. Le Ray de Chaumont.
3. Acting under Benjamin Franklin's orders, Jonathan Williams had collected large quantities of clothing and blankets at Brest between 21 March and 15 April for shipment to the Continental Army. Williams, however, managed to place only a small portion of the merchandise aboard a single transport in Ternay's convoy (Jonathan Williams to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 6 April and 25 July, PCC, No. 90, f. 601; No. 78, XXIV, f. 217–222).
4. Probably Pierre Texier, a merchant whom JA had met in Bordeaux in April 1778 and with whom he dined when he passed through Bordeaux in Jan. 1780 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:294, 433; 4:38–39, 239; see also JA to Bondfield, 10 June, below).
5. “Mons. De Luxemburg” remains unidentified.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0152

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Russell, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr Sir

You will have read, before this can reach you, the Gazette account of the Chas. Town Expedition; which is universally esteemed here rather a disagreeable account for Government, and plainly indicative of very great doubts if Clinton will succeed or not.2 I am perswaded by all I can hear He will be a second time disgraced and baffled in his attempts on that place.
A parcell containing Pamphlets and papers to the amount of 3. 5. 9d was lately forwarded to you via Ostend3 directed to M Francis Bowens Merchant there, who has orders to forward them on in the safest and best manner he can. He is made acquainted with the contents of the box, and has direction to forward in like manner to you any other parcell which may reach his hands (with or without any accompanying letter) markd A . It may be not be improper for you to write Him a line how and by what conveyances He is to forward you any thing else in future.4 My motive for sending you the whole of the Courants is because that paper contains every petition, address, Remonstrance, County meetings &c. &c. that are agitated in this Country, and is of itself a history of all the movements of the people as to obtain a reform in the Constitution.
The English Papers ie the Londn. Evg. [Post]5 and London Packet, will be sent on with the Courant in future until I have your orders to stop them; which, you had better do when you can fix a mode with the Paris post office how to get them by Post. A small paper parcell of other Pamphlets and the News papers will be forwarded you about this day week.
There are accounts in the City today that the Jason Man of War and her Convoy about 15 sail transports (which is given out were bound up the North Seas to bring the Hessian recruits said to be 1500 Men to England) have been met by two french frigates and dispersd, several of the transports are put into Scarborough, the others and the Man of War still missing and supposd to be taken.6
Genl. Conways motion relative to Ama. was put off today for some future period, Hartleys stands for fryday the substance of which you will have in the Genl. Advertiser of the 1st of May.7 Some deviltry has got into Conways head for He seems to think there is yet a door open for Peace with Ama. short of Independence, than which nothing can be so falacious and absurd. How the Devil he can inbibe such notions { 262 } I cannot think, but I am told He is much in the circle of a Scotch acquaintance and some times talks to Refugees such as Mr. Galloway, Allen8 &c. I cannot account for it otherways than that He is looking up to the Command of the Army.
I should be glad, when you see and read the Debates upon those motions to know what you think thereof. I am on all occasions Your Obedt. Servant
[signed] Wm Russell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Flanders A Monsieur Monsieur Ferdinando Raymond San Negotiant Chez Monsr. Hocherau Libraire pont neuf Paris” docketed by CFA: “W.S.C. 2 May 1780.”
1. A borough of London.
2. This was an extract from a letter of 9 March from Clinton that appeared in the London Gazette of 1 May and which was reprinted in other London papers. That it was seen as “a disagreeable account” was probably owing to Clinton's reports of his losses during the fleet's stormy passage, the formidable defenses thrown up by the defenders, and, in a postscript, the arrival of 2,000 troops to reinforce the rebel army.
3. For the contents of this package sent on 25 April, see the list enclosed with Digges' letter of 8 June (below).
4. JA did so on 5 May (below), but in reference to Digges' letter of 28 April (above).
5. See Digges' letter of 28 April (above).
6. The London Courant of 3 May reported that three French privateers had attacked the frigate Jason and its nine-ship convoy, taking one transport and damaging the frigate.
7. On 1 May David Hartley declared in the House of Commons that he intended to introduce three motions concerning the war in America. The first sought a declaration that hostilities against America were enormously expensive, futile, and ruinous to the empire; the second proposed an address to the King, requiring a change of ministry, reconciliation with America, and a united military campaign against France and Spain; and the third called for passage of a bill appointing commissioners with sufficient powers to settle the American dispute. Hartley was followed immediately by Gen. Henry Seymour Conway who indicated his desire to introduce a bill for reconciliation. It was Conway's bill, however, that was introduced and debated on 5 May. Hartley's proposals in the form of resolutions were not introduced until 11 May, and his bill to end the war did not appear until 27 June (Parliamentary Reg., 17:606, 650–670, 696, 753; for Hartley's “Bill for Conciliation” of 27 June, see the Descriptive List of Illustrations, vol. 10, below). For Conway's bill and the progress of Hartley's proposals, together with JA's comments thereon, see JA's letters of 13 May to Thomas Digges, [17 May] to Edmé Jacques Genet, and 7 July, No. 90, to the president of Congress (all below).
8. Probably Andrew Allen, son of former chief justice of Pennsylvania William Allen (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0153

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have receivd your Excellencys Letters of the 22d and 26th of last Month, I find myself much honord by both. I took the Liberty of writing to you on the 24th inclosing therein News Paper from England. The Paper receivd was sent immediately to be made as public as possible.1 The Benevolence of Spain and the Gratitude of America cannot be made too public; they will shew the ground of Union is Solid, for they will shew an Excellent Disposition in both Parties to maintain it.
{ 263 }
I have sent for the Treatise on the Admiralty Laws, I well remember the Agitation of the Question of free Bottoms making free Goods, during the last War. The writings on the Subject were Voluminous, I read many of the best, and One of the worst, written and given me by Sir James Marriot, the present Judge of the Admiralty.2 Upon the whole I was of Opinion, (altho with all my English prejudices About me, for I had them then) that the contrary doctrine was false, and that the ground of the English System was that of convenience and force. Natural Law and the combined force of Europe will I trust now totally defeat this insulting and dangerous procedure of the Common Ennemy.
The last resolutions of the States General are clear and Manly. They give us room to expect much if England persists in her Plan. Has your Excellency seen Linguets last Number of his Annales politiques &c. it treats of the present State of Affairs, it may had at Paris.3
I congratulate your Excellency on the total defeat of the Opposition, their Mad Virtue is checked in Parliament, and other proceedings must now be taken, if England would Escape that Pit, which She had diggd for others. I agree with your Excellency, that Slight Matter will give Occasion to the burst of Civil War—the whole is inflameable and there are many more appearances of internal Tumult, than those remarkd by Lord Clarendon in his Unhappy Time,4 but then there are also more Probability of Success on the part of the Crown then in his days, for the King has much more Influence and force.
I most sincerely concur with your Excellency in Opinion with respect to England. Her Conduct will be during this Mans Life Malicious to Us, and she will ever after be our rival in Trade, and our natural and enragd Ennemy. We must therefore be ever distrustful of Her, the American Alliance with France is for the Interest and Honor of Both. I trust it will ever be Kept up with the Utmost Liberallity; I assure your Excellency it has ever been my opinion, that every suspicion and doubt of it ought to be discountenancd, and I have done it on more Occasions than One, and that too with some Warmth, for I know nothing more dangerous to Friendship of every Sort, than harbouring Jealousies, and even hearing Insinuations against those, we have a natural Affection to or with whom we have an Interest and Duty to be well with. You know Too that it has always been my opinion, that there cannot be too great a Shew, or indeed I ought rather to say too much real Candour and Openess towards our great and good Ally. On the Contrary it is the Sistem of England to bring { 264 } on a distrust of One that she may ruin both. I Hope both will be wisher than to give into her Snares!
It is said, that Parliament will be soon prorogued and dissolved in October and another Chosen in a Hurry. Hartly seems fearful that he shall not be supportd in his Motions, this may bring Conway and Pownal to make theirs. I wish some one woud do it, that we might get at the present sense of the Minister.
I am Anxious to hear what has been done and is now doing at Charles Town and N York. There will be much Blood Spilt in both Places.
I sent the Dialogue5 to a Friend in England. He has thought proper to publish it. I take the Liberty of sending the first part to your Excellency.

[salute] I am Sir with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obd Hble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. A reference to JA's account of his journey through Spain, which he had enclosed in his letter of 19 April (above, for its publication, see note 2).
2. This was Sir James Marriott, judge of the court of admiralty from 1778 to 1799 (DNB). Jenings likely is referring to Marriott's The Case of the Dutch Ships, Considered, London, 1758, in which he defended British seizures of neutral ships bound to enemy ports and denied any basis under the law of nations for the doctrine that free ships made free goods. For Marriott's ruling in the case of a Dutch ship seized from the van Bylandt convoy in late Dec. 1779, in which he took essentially the same position, see JA's letter of 6 April to the president of Congress (No. 37, calendared, above).
3. Simon Nicolas Henri Linguet was a brilliant but eccentric lawyer, journalist, and author. During a self-imposed exile in England and in various places in continental Europe, he began the publication of the Annales politiques, civiles et littéraires du dix-huitième siècle, 19 vols., London, 1777–1792 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale). The specific issue of the Annales to which Jenings refers has not been found, but for JA's evaluation of Linguet, see his letter of 15 May to Jenings, and notes 1 and 2 (below).
4. Edward Hyde, 1st earl of Clarendon, was a trusted advisor of both Charles I and Charles II. A strong royalist, he was an equally ardent supporter of rule according to constitutional principles, but was unwilling to adapt his policies to the changed circumstances brought on by the civil war (DNB). Jenings probably refers to Clarendon's views as expressed in his personal narrative of the events in which he participated, his History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, Begun in the Year 1641, 3 vols., London, 1702–1704. In 1766, JA adopted “Clarendon” as a pseudonym in a newspaper controversy over the Stamp Act (“Clarendon to Pym,” 13–27 Jan. 1766, vol. 1:155–170).
5. No printed version of Jenings' “Dialogue,” whether as a newspaper piece or a separate pamphlet, has been found, but for an extract from the work, see Jenings' letter of 5 March, and note 9 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0154

Author: Johnson, Joshua
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From Joshua Johnson

[salute] Sir

I am duly honord with your very polite and Freindly favour of the { 265 } 25th. Ultimo for which I pray your acceptance of my best thanks. I hasten to inform you the Dove will be ready to depart the latter end of next Week and any Commands that you have to convey by her shall be taken particular care of and delivered safe in America if she is fortunate enough to arrive safe, if not I can rely on the prudence of the Capt. to destroy them.1 A Small Brig departs from this Tomorro for Boston2 she first touches at L'Orient for the protection of the Alliance, hereafter I will give you timely notice of the Sailling of every America Vessell and will with pleasure receive and forward your Dispatches. I have directed my Freinds to forward me the Maryland News Papers and you may rely on my forwarding you them immediatly on their Arrival and every other interesting Inteligence that comes to my knowledge, in turn I have only to solicit the favour of you to drop me a hint if any thing should be proposed that may affect the price of Tobacco for in this article I am much interested being one of the largest holders in Europe, you may rest assured that I will not abuse your confidence. Mrs. Johnson begs your acceptance of her thanks for your remembrance and kind Inquirys, she presents you and the Young Gentlemen with her respectfull Compliments, and I am with the most sincere regard and esteem Sir, Your Most Obedt. & most Hbl. Serv
[signed] Joshua Johnson
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Johnson 2 May. ansd. 16. by [but] the answer not copied. inclosed in it a Letter to Congress, with the Decn. of Russia. to be sent by first Vessel” docketed by CFA: “1780.” The letter to Congress is that of 10 April (No. 40, descriptive note, above).
1. JA's reply of 16 May (not found) was answered by Johnson in a letter of the 20th (Adams Papers), in which he reported that the enclosed letter to Congress would be carried to America by the Dove.
2. JA was first informed of this brig in a letter from Jeremiah Allen of 28 April (not found), but see JA's reply to that letter of 3 May, and note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Allen, Jeremiah
Date: 1780-05-03

To Jeremiah Allen

[salute] Dear Sir

I yesterday received yours of 28. Ultimo. Thank you for the Information of the Brig bound to Boston, beg you would send the inclosed by her.1 Had yesterday a Letter from Mr. Smith2 by Way of Holland 26 Feb. mentions Trash's Arrival and Letters from you. Incloses a Boston Gazette of 21. Feb. containing an Account of Captn. Waters in the Thorn,3 taking three Privateers, after obstinate Engagements—two of them at once from New York—one of the most glorious Actions { 266 } of this War. You will Soon See the Account at large in the public Papers.
By Mr. S's Letter the Convention had been Sitting almost two months, and had got well nigh through the Constitution, which they have not very materially altered from the Report. This Report is publishing in the Courier de L'Europe,4 and there are some Compliments upon it in the English Papers, and more still in the private Conversations in Paris.
The Confederation among the maritime Powers, the Politicks of Ireland, the Associations in England added to the military Exertions of France, Spain and America, would in time, one would think, be Sufficient to bring England to reason, and make her think of Peace. I should be obliged to you for News as it arrives, and hope to have the Pleasure of Seeing you Soon, a l'hotel de Valois Ruë de Richelieu. Mr. D. Mr. T. and the young Gentlemen send Respects. Yours &c.
1. Allen's letter of 28 April has not been found, but the brig referred to may have been that mentioned by Joshua Johnson in his letter of 2 May (above). The letter enclosed by JA was probably that of 3 May to AA, which she received on 16 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:336, 375).
2. This was Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb., of which JA gives an account in this and the following paragraph. JA's letter to Vergennes of 1 May (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12), indicates that Smith's letter arrived on that date, rather than the 2d as JA seems to indicate here (see note 3).
3. On 25 Dec. 1779, Capt. Daniel Waters of the Thorne successfully engaged the New York loyalist privateers Governor Tryon and Sir William Irskine, capturing the first and sinking the second; and on 13 Jan. 1780, he captured the Liverpool privateer Sparling. Seeking to have the Boston Gazette's account of the Thorne's exploits published in France, JA enclosed both it and an extract from Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb. in his letter to Vergennes of 1 May (see note 2) and took up the matter in more detail in his letter of 3 May to Edmé Jacques Genet (below). In a further effort to publicize the incident, JA enclosed an extract of the account in the Boston Gazette in a letter of 4 May to Trouchin Dubreuil, publisher of the Gazette d'Amsterdam, requesting that he insert it in his newspaper (LbC, Adams Papers).
4. For the publication of The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Courier de l'Europe, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0156

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-03

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear Sir]

I had, two days ago the Honour to inclose to the Minister a Boston Gazette of 21 February, in which is a Relation of a glorious Combat and Cruise of my Countryman Captain Waters of the Thorn. Let me beg of you sir, to insert this Account in the Gazette and the Mercure.1 There has not been a more memorable Action this War, and the Feats of our American Frigates and Privateers have not been Sufficiently { 267 } published, in Europe. It would answer valuable Purposes, both by encouraging their honest and brave Hearts, and by exciting Emulations elsewhere, to give them a little more than they have had, of the Fame that they have deserved. Some of the most Skillful, determined, persevering, and successfull Engagements, that have ever happened upon the Seas, have been performed by American Privateers against the Privateers from New York. They have happened upon the Coast and seas of America, which are now very well swept of New York Privateers2 and have seldom been properly described and published even there, and much seldomer ever inserted in any of the Gazettes of Europe, whether it is because, the Actions of single and small Vessells and these Privateers are not thought worth publishing, or whether it has been for Want of some Person, to procure it to be done.

[salute] Yours most sincerely

[signed] John Adams
RC (CLjC). LbC (Adams Papers). Due to fire damage, the dateline and greeting have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.
1. Genet promised to print the account, which appeared on 13 May in the Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles,” p. 75–77 (from Genet, 4, 10 May, Adams Papers).
2. The preceding ten words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-03

To the President of Congress, No. 58

Paris, 3 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 15–17). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “N.B. Nos. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58 were delivered the 7th of May by Mr. Adams to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them with his own Dispatches to Captain John Paul Jones.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:648–649.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams sent the terms of an Anglo-French cartel for the exchange of prisoners, signed at Versailles on 12 March and at London on 28 March, noting that the agreement brought honor to both sides.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 15–17). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “N.B. Nos. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58 were delivered the 7th of May by Mr. Adams to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them with his own Dispatches to Captain John Paul Jones.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:648–649.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-03

To the Comte de Sarsfield

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour of your Billet1 and thank you for the Pains you have taken, to procure me the Remonstrances. I went to the Palais, but was too late. I employed a Bookseller, but without Success. It is astonishing to me, that there should be So total a Suppression of Such a set of finished Models of oratory, and such golden monuments of public Virtue, as I have heard them represented to be. Your Billet { 268 } in English was very well understood, because it was very well written: but, another time, let me beg you to write in french, because I suppose it is more familiar to you to write in that language, and it is quite as easy for me to read. The Gentlemen with me present their respects. I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem, sir your most obedient servant
1. Of 29 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0159-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-04

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

Quoyque depuis bien du temps je n aye pas eu l'honneur ny le plaisir de vous demander des nouvelles de votre santé et de celle de votre chere famille,1 je nay pas moins eté occupé de vous et d'eux, et je ne vous oublieray jamais ainsi que vos compatriottes leurs bontés et amitiés et les votres particulierement pour moy. Et si vous ne jouissez pas dans notre patrie de toutte la santé et le bonheur que vous puissiez desirer, cest que les voeux que je fais en consequence ny peuvent rien. L'interest que je prends a vous et aux votres etant bien vif et bien sincere. Vous avez du avoir bien des affaires depuis votre arrivée a notre cour. Pour moy depuis 2 mois que l'on a bien voulu me laisser passer auprès de madame de chavagnes qui est bien sensible a votre souvenir depuis notre depart de l'orient et qui en consequence vous presente ses compliments. Jay tasché par une vie douce et tranquille de me dedommager des peines de corps et d'esprit de notre traversée humide de boston en europe. Je me las rappelle cependant avec plaisir mayant procuré celuy de vous y avoir ramené et de continuer a notre partie l'avantage d'avoir un negotiateur honneste comme vous lestes. Me voila au moment de retourner a brest. Bien portant mais ne scachant ce a quoy l'on m'employera. Je nay point demandé a monsieur de sartines a commander. 1°. Cest que arrivé aussi tard En france jay imaginé que le ministre devoit estre obsedé de demandes, de commendements, que je les ay trouvés presque tous donnés et quil ne faut pas estre indiscret. 2°. Cest que javois besoin de me reposer 2 ou 3 mois et de reparer un peu ma bourse qui sans estre absolument depourvue a eté cependant un peu maltraitée surtout au ferol. Vous scavez cequi en est. Jay envoyé a mr le docteur francklin une petite caisse. A mr de sartines ceque javois pu sauver des petits canards de boston ainsi que le tableau du general { 269 } ancohk.2 Je nay pas eu connoissance de la reception D'aucuns de ces effets. Jay revu icy avec bien du plaisir monsieur alain chez mr o williams.3 Cen est toujours un pour moy de revoir vos compatriottes et si vous pouviez pour votre compte nous negotier une bonne paix je me croirois bien heureux de vous reconduire a boston dont je cheris bien sincerement tous les habitants et habitantes et avec raison car je me trouvois tres bien et honorablement employé la etant en chef au lieu que actuellement quoyque toujours bien dans tous les genres de service ou je seray. Je ne dateray pas de grandes choses. Avec un peu de patience jauray peutestre quelquechose un jour. Je desirerois de tout mon coeur que mon service put me permettre l'hyver prochain d aller a paris ou jay bien quelques petites affaires. Jy aurois bien du plaisir a vous y revoir et les votres, a vous y demander la continuation de votre amitié et a vous y reiterer de vive voix lassurance des sentiments du plus sincere et respectueux attachement avec lequel jay lhonneur d'estre Mon cher monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes capne. des vaux du roy
J'embrasse de tout mon coeur les chers jony et carly le petit couppers. Mille compliments et souvenirs a mrs dena et taxter. De vos nouvelles je vous prie, mais a brest je vais partir.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0159-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-04

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My Dear Sir

Although for some time I have had neither the honor nor the pleasure of inquiring after your health and that of your dear family,1 I, nevertheless, have been thinking about you and them, and, at the same time, shall never forget the kindnesses and friendship shown me by you and your countrymen, particularly by you. And if you do not enjoy, in our country, all the health and happiness that you could desire, it is because all my wishes to that end have come to nothing. The interest that I take in you and yours is most lively and sincere. Much must have happened to you since your arrival at our court. As for myself, I have kindly been allowed to spend the last two months with Madame de Chavagnes, who remembers you fondly from our departure from Lorient and who consequently sends her regards. I have tried to lead a pleasant and tranquil life to compensate for the physical and mental exertions of our wet crossing from Boston to Europe. I remember it with much pleasure, however, since I was returning you so as to continue for our side the advantage of having an honest negotiator amongst us. I am now ready to return to Brest. I am in good health, but do not know how I will be employed. I did not ask M. de Sartine for a command because: 1. I came { 270 } back so late to France that I assumed the minister would be swamped with requests for commands with most of them already filled, and I did not want to be indiscreet; 2. I needed to rest for two or three months and replenish my purse which, although not completely depleted, had been somewhat battered, particularly at El Ferrol. You know how it is. To Dr. Franklin I sent a small chest and to M. de Sartine what I had preserved of the Boston papers and the portrait of General Hancock.2 It was with great pleasure that I met Mr. Allen again at Mr. O. Williams'.3 I am always happy to meet one of your compatriots and if you yourself could negotiate a good peace settlement, I would consider myself the happiest of men in bringing you back to Boston, whose men and women I sincerely cherish. And with good reason, since I was very well and very honorably employed there, in command, instead of the position in which of course I always find myself: that of jack-of-alltrades. I will not leave my mark on big things. But with a little patience something might come my way some day. I desire with all my heart that my duties will take me to Paris next winter, where I have to take care of some small matters. I would be most happy to see you and your family again, and to renew our friendship and have the pleasure of reiterating, in person, the assurances of my sincerest and most respectful devotion, with which I have the honor to be your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes capne. des vaux du roy
I embrace with all my heart your dear Johnny and Charley and the young Cooper. A thousand regards and fond memories to Messrs. Dana and Thaxter. Send me news of yourselves, but I am about to leave for Brest.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “ansd. 16. May.”
1. Chavagnes' last known letter to JA was of [ca. 2 March] (above).
2. For Chavagnes' letter to Franklin concerning the small chest, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:332. The portrait of John Hancock has not been identified.
3. Probably Jeremiah Allen and Jonathan Williams, both of whom were at Nantes.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0160

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-04

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

The Bearer Mr. Mease is Brother to the late Cloathier General and is intimately connected with an Irish Gentleman here for whom I have great Regard as a zealous Republican and Friend to America.1 It is more on Account of that Connection with my Friend than of any personal Acquaintance that I have been led to introduce Mr. Mease to your Civilities. His Care of sundry Pacquets for you would indeed alone have been sufficient to merit your Attention.
I chiefly rely on them and his Conversation to what ought to be the Task of the Committee of foreign Affairs if that Committee was { 271 } | view not a mere Shadow without a Quorum a Secretary or Clerk. I send regularly to Mrs. Adams the News Papers and Journals for you that she may not be without some Informations of that kind herself during your Absence. She sends them to the Navy Board, doubtless with the Addition of Something still more agreable to you individually considered.
This Testimony of my affectionate Remembrance of You will reach your Hand at all Events as I mean it to be useful to Mr. Mease whatever may be his Lot as to a safe Passage.
If you receive any Thing from me in Cyphers it will be upon the same Mode as that which I have communicated to Doctr. Franklin and which will serve great Numbers with equal safety. It is the Alphabet squared as on the other Side and the key Letters are the two first of the Surname of the Family where you and I spent the Evening together before we sat out from your House on our Way to Baltimore.2

[salute] Your affectionate humble Servant

[signed] James Lovell
All your Letters from Spain came safely. Give my Love to your Family, to Mr. Dana in particular and tell him I imagine all his came safely too though no Body at Philada. knows any thing about them.
1   a b c  
2   b c d  
3   c d e  
4   d e f  
5   e  
6   f  
7   g  
8   h  
9   i  
10   j  
11   k  
12   l  
13   m  
14   n  
15   o  
16   p  
17   q  
18   r  
19   s  
20   t  
21   u  
22   v  
23   w  
24   x  
25   y  
26   z  
27   &  
Make use of any of the perpendicular columns according to your key Letters. You may reply to me by the use of any new ones. For Instance you may refer to the 2 3 4 &c. Letters of a Word 1st. 2d. 3d. 4th. &c. in a Paragraph of any one of your Letters of such an such a date known to have been received by me, or you may say “reverse the Letters you have chosen,” or “add one more to those you have used,” or by any such like Direction you may give me the Key of your Answer.
I will give you a Specimen as follows. You submitted your Accounts with a Confession of your arithmetical Antipathies in that particular Line, and a Supposition of Errors. The Chamber of Accounts reported specially, not being in Capacity to judge of the Propriety of the Charges. Their Report was committed and the Result was from Mr. Forbes Mr. { 272 } Mathews and Mr. Houston such as I imagine you yourself would have determined, on a like Committee! to you.3
“That they do not find any Vote or Proceeding of Congress, nor are they informed of any general or received Custom on which the Charge of Monies for the ||education of the son|| of the Accomptant can be admitted; and though the same is inconsiderable, they are of Opinion it ought to be rejected, that a precedent be not established.
That they are of opinion the Charge ||for books|| ought to be admitted on the ground of a practice which has obtained in different Nations respecting their public ministers and which is mentioned by Mr. Adams in the Explanations attending his Vouchers.
That they find the several Charges in the said accounts conformable to the strictest principles of Oeconomy, and that, as far as Mr. Adams has been intrusted with public money the same has been carefully and frugally expended.”
Congress agreed to the said Report.
Bal. due 2511.12. 6.4
You ought to use Cyphers in your public Letters but you should communicate your Key to Mr. Thompson to serve in my Absence.5
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Lovel. 4 May ansd. 24 June 1780 a Cypher. My Accounts &c.”
1. This was Robert Mease, brother of James Mease, the clothier general from early 1777 until his resignation in Sept. 1778 (vol. 5:374;JCC, 12:937). The “Irish Gentleman” was Dr. Hugh Shiell. According to Elbridge Gerry's letter of 5 May (Adams Papers), Mease was involved in the plan of Shiell and others to bring their property to America from Ireland.
2. Lovell's cipher consisted of an alphabetical square composed of 27 columns and 27 numbered rows, the 27th character being the ampersand. To encipher a letter one would take letters from a key word, and read down the corresponding columns to the desired letter and substitute the number of the row for the letter. In JA's case, since he and Lovell had stayed with the Richard Cranch family on their way to Baltimore in 1777, the letters were “C” and “R” from the key word “CRANCH.” According to Lovell's instructions, JA would first read down the “C” column to encipher the first letter of a passage and then read down the “R” column to encipher the second letter. He would then alternate between the “C” and the “R” columns until the encipherment of the passage was completed. Each new passage would begin with the “C” column. To decipher a passage the process was reversed.
Lovell's cipher was not in itself complex, but his explanation did much to make it so. Had he been satisfied to explain the system just as it was sent to JA, it seems likely that JA would have understood the process. By indicating variations in the system, such as using different letters from the key word; the possibility of devising a new key word; and failing to note that numbers higher than 27 were blinds; Lovell managed only to confuse, a confusion magnified by Lovell's own tendency to make errors when he used the cipher. In any event, JA's replies of 24 June (below) indicated that neither he nor Franklin, who had also received a copy of the cipher in a letter of this same date (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:245), could understand Lovell's system. The reproduction of JA's flawed key to the cipher and a more detailed explanation of the Lovell cipher are in Adams Family Correspondence, 4:viii, 188, 393–399. The first extant letter to JA in which Lovell used his cipher was that of 14 Dec. (below).
{ 273 }
3. JA submitted his accounts to the Board of Treasury under a covering letter of 19 Sept. 1779 (vol. 8:154). The committee that considered the accounts reported on 15 Dec. 1779 and its report was adopted on 15 April 1780 (JCC, 15:1363–1364; 16:368–369). Except for minor differences, Lovell quotes the report exactly.
4. This figure was inserted by Lovell, it was not in the report. It is derived from subtracting the expenditure of 1,861 livres 1s for JQA's education from 4,372 livres 13s 6d, the balance due JA before the deduction. For the audit of JA's accounts, see Lovell's letter to AA of 14 May (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:343–346). AA ultimately received the money in September (same, 3:415–416).
5. This sentence was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0161

Author: Bowens, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-05

To Francis Bowens

[salute] Sir

A Gentleman in London,1 who corresponds with you sometimes, writes me, 28 April that he had, a few days before Sent to your Care, a Box marked A, containing a few Pamphlets and Newspapers, for me, with a desire that you would forward it on to me in the manner you should think Safest, and that you would hereafter attend to any other Parcell that he may send in the Same Way.
I am not well acquainted with the Usages and Regulations in France, or in Ostend which may obstruct or embarrass this Channell of Communication. But in the first Place I shall order nothing of a religious or irreligious nature, which might allarm the Church, or militate against any Regulations which there may be against irreligious or heretical Writings. They will be merely Newspapers and Pamphlets relating to the present State of public Affairs, and the Course and Tendency of the present War.
I should esteem it as a favour, sir, if you would inform me, what is the best Channel of Conveyance from you to me, and in Case I should have any Papers or Pamphlets to send to the same Gentleman in London from me to you—and whether there is any thing for me to do, or to pay, and what it may be to facilitate a Communication of this Nature. I should be glad also to know, by what Conveyance you sent the Packet marked A, and when I may expect it. I am, sir, with Respect, your most obedient servant
1. Thomas Digges.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0162

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-05

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

It gave me great Pleasure to learn by Your Letter of the 11th. Decr.1 { 274 } that You had safely arrived, and had met with so agreable a Reception in Spain: and I hope soon to have the Satisfaction of hearing from You at Paris.
Mr. Lovell informs me that he shall transmit You the Journals of Congress and News Papers by the latter of which You will perceive that the Enemy have invested Charlestown, and that it is defended by General Lincoln with about four or five thousand Men, the greatest part whereof are continental Troops. General DeKalb with the whole of the Maryland Corps, consisting as I am informed of between two and three thousand Men, is ordered to Charlestown from the main Army, and has by this Time probably crossed the Cheesapeak: Reinforcements of Militia are also on the March from Virginia and North Carolina, all of which should Charlestown hold out about a Month or five Week's must I think make a formidable Army, in the rear of the Enemy. The Garrison by the best Accounts are supplied with five or six Months provission, and have a sufficiency of military Stores; and altho the General in his publick Letters is exceedingly modest and confines himself to States of Facts, yet in one of his private confidential Letters he expresses his Hopes and Expectations of being able to defend the City, or of making the Acquisition expensive to the Enemy.2
The Resolutions of Congress for calling in and cancelling the two hundred Million of Dollars emitted by them, have in general been well received.3 The Depreciation is stopd, and Specie, which before the passing of the Resolves was sold for upwards of 70 for 1, is now current at 60 and has been lately @ 55. The Advantage of this Plan will be great to the Landholders, inasmuch as the national Debt including Certificates and foreign Demands does not now much exceed five Million sterling, which is but a trifling Sum compared with the two hundred Millions sterling due from G Britain. Another Benefit resulting from it, is a Supply of five Million Dollars of the new Emission, every Dollar of which is equal to 40 Dollars of the old Emission; indeed this must be called in before that can be realized, nevertheless, there is a greater Demand amongst all Ranks for continental Money, than there has been since the Commencement of the War, and Specie is no longer hoarded by the disaffected or timid. So much for the Value and Stability of the Medium. With Respect to our Resources Congress are at present much in Want of Money, and it is a happy Circumstance; for, their Oeconomy is in proportion to their Wants. The Demands on the Treasury are generally answered by Warrants on the several States which are careful by some Means { 275 } or other to discharge the Draughts. The Taxes are indeed very heavy, but the Collection goes on, and I doubt not that the Army will be well fed and paid. Military Stores of Cloathing must however be procured on Credit in Europe, as well as a considerable loan to serve as a Fund for drawing in Case of Necessity. Since the Treasury, Admiralty, and Court of Appeals have been put in Commission, Congress have not been troubled much with their respective Concerns, and for several Days past have adjourned before the usual Time from a Want of Business.
Trade and privateering are brisk, and there is aplenty of Goods of every Kind (excepting military),4 but no Money to purchase them. This is easily accounted for, since the whole Sum in Circulation as Congress have fixed it, is only five Million Dollars, and these are not one third of what are necessary for a Medium for the several States. Our privateers and Commerce have nevertheless lately suffered much by the Cruisers of the Enemy, who have the <entire> Command of the Coast. It is much to be wished that the Court of France would order a squadron superior to the Enemy to be stationed in some part of the united States, as the best and only Means of putting a speedy End to the War. It is almost impossible to conceive the Havock that our privateers made of the Enemy's Cruisers and Transports during the Time that the Count D'Estaign was at Rhode Island and Charlestown, but our Losses at present nearly equal our Captures. Indeed that worthy Officer aware of those and other Advantages5 ordered the Count de Gras to be stationed at the Cheesapeak, but his plan was defeated by the Tempestuousness of the Weather: had the latter arrived with his squadron, Charlestown could not have been beseiged and three or four of our Frigates which are now in Ashley River and will probably be destroyed, would have been employed in intercepting the Enemy's Transports.
We have had a very severe Winter and backward Spring, but the prospects are not unfavorable.
I had forgot to mention a Resolution of Congress to pay off the Continental Certificates according to the Value of Money at the Time of their being respectively issued. This is but Justice, and will undoubtedly be satisfactory to Foreigners.6
Bills of Exchange are now at 45 for one, and will be higher, in Consequence of the great Risque of sending Vessels from the eastern States to the southern for produce.
I have had the pleasure of a Line from Portia,7 whose Sentiments are sufficient proof of a Mens sana in Corpore sano.8 Poor Don Juan { 276 } de Merailles lately died at Camp, on a Visit with the Minister of France to General Washington.9 I have many Things more to say to You but the Vessel is to sail immediately and I have scarcely Time to send my sincere Regards to brother Dana or to assure You that I remain sir with every Sentiment of Esteem & Respect Your affectionate Friend
[signed] E Gerry
Mr Lovell will give You the necessary Information respecting your Accounts.10 The recruiting goes on, and it will be less difficult to find Men than to pay and subsist them.
1. Vol. 8:294–295.
2. Charleston fell on 12 May. For an account of the siege, see Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, N.Y., 1982, p. 441–449.
3. See Benjamin Rush's letter of 28 April, note 4 (above).
4. Gerry interlined “(excepting military).”
5. The preceding three words were interlined.
6. The resolution was adopted on 18 April and proceeded from Congress' consideration of a report on the redemption of loan office certificates presented on 25 March. The means by which the resolution was to be implemented were not adopted until 28 June (JCC, 16:374–375, 287–288; 17:566–569).
7. AA to Gerry, 13 March (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:297–300).
8. A healthy mind in a healthy body.
9. Don Juan de Miralles, a Cuban merchant, served as the unofficial Spanish representative in America from early 1778 until his death at Washington's camp on 28 April (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 88).
10. See James Lovell's letter of 4 May, and note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0163

Author: Watson, Elkanah Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-05

From Elkanah Watson Jr.

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I was honour'd with an answer to my Epistle;1 for which permit me Sir with gratitude to acknowledge your goodness, I flatter my self it will be attended with perticular advantages in my present, and perhaps future persuits in Europe: I cannot However, but regret the leaving my letters for you behind; as that loss renders the propriety of your assertaining my character Impracticable. It affoards me no little pleasure Sir that you are so well acquainted with my fathers circumstances, because you are sensible, money, and address are great objects of recommending one to mankind in this Old corrupted Continent: without letters, and without being known to be Intituled to the former claim, I have fortunately However, been politely recieved into Several of the best familys. I have spent the winter 21 miles from this;2 where by close application I have attain'd a considerable profficiency in their language, and other connissance; which my mercantile persuits prevented me from acquiring before. I shall { 277 } conduct your friend Mr. Allin for the same place tomorrow, where he proposess to remain the summer.
I am Extreamly oblig'd to you Sir also in pointing out to me maxims founded upon the dictates of reason and nature; which I wish invariably to persue: Impartial reason will Ever prefer the honest simplicity, of manners to vain Empty ceremony: I am persuaded the Easy address of a frenchman added to the honest candour of an American, is necessary to form a system of manners perfect which I hope will be gradually Introduce'd in America, but not their little follies.
It affords me a sensible consolation that you have condesended to favour me with your advise; I am conscious of my inability and inexperience; I am launch'd upon the theatre of life at an Early age, independent of controul: all my conduct of consequence must be govern'd by the natural Impetuosity, and inexperience of youth without a patron to councel, or a reason to vanquish these Impulsess: I am happy in being fav'd with the resourse of your councel, as my Ideas are Elevated beyond Idolizing l'arshent[l'argent] tho' taught in the proffession; and as I wish in prefference as far as my circumstances will permit, to travel and to gain Knowledge of the world and mankind <(as far as my circumstances will permit,)> the advise of one so well acquainted with both as yourself, will most certainly be the standard of my persuits, If you'l continue your Kindness, and give it without reserve, notwithstanding I have not the honour to be personally acquainted with your Excellency.
The day before I left Plymo. Mrs. Warren in the most pathetic manner Injoyn'd me, If I heard or saw any thing of her wandering, miserable son;3 in this Eastern world, to write her and to relieve his distresess: I have not, nor cannot write to do justice to incontestible facts without adding to her pain; from the most promising of youths, he is now degenerated into the most beastly of sots: his ridiculous Excesses has impair'd and shatter'd, his wreck'd constitution to such a degree, that he has of late been very dangerously Ill at l'Orient, but malheuresment for himself and family he is yet permitted to possess a worthless Existance.
Having attain'd a very considerable Knowledge of the commerce of this country, and as my present object is commerce; perhaps you may find it not incompatiable to throw into my hands some affairs of business which may not only be beneficial; but will tend to the more Effectuall Establishment of my reputation.
I reciev'd a letter from America yesterday, via Holland which gives me Information that the Mercury Packett Captn. Sampson arriv'd at { 278 } Plymo. the 17th. [February o]n a passage of 3 months and 2 days—no news—fortunately for me, for the 1st. commencement I ship'd 20,000 L. aboard of that Packett.4
If their is no Impropriety (as the main object of my success in commerce depends upon grappling the close of the war) it would be perticularly advantageous to me to be Inform'd when their is a solid prospect of Peace, but If their is, I beg you'l Excuse this freedom.
I have the Honour to be most respectfully Your Excellencys Very Hl. St.
[signed] Elkh. Watson Jr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esq. à la Paris Hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu à Passi” endorsed: “M. Elk. Watson 5. May” docketed by CFA: “1780.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of two words, which are supplied in brackets.
1. This was JA's reply of 30 April to Watson's letter of 10 March (both above).
2. At Ancenis. See JA's letter of 30 April, descriptive note (above).
3. James Warren Jr. was a marine lieutenant on the Alliance, then at Lorient (Charles R. Smith, Marines of the Revolution, Washington, 1975, p. 475).
4. The month of the Mercury's arrival is supplied from Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb. to JA (Adams Family Correspondence, 3: 284). In the remainder of the sentence Watson, who reached France in the fall of 1779 as a passenger on the Mercury (Watson to JA, 10 March, above), presumably means that at the “1st. commencement” of his commercial activities at Nantes he had shipped goods worth 20,000 livres on board the Mercury, which according to the data given on the length of its voyage would have sailed for America in mid Nov. 1779.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0164

Author: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-06

From the Comte de Sarsfield

[salute] Dear sir

Not for your Sake but for mine I make use of the english language when I do my Self the honour of writing to you. When man ceases to Acquire in matter of learning, he begins to lose. Let my Stock of english be what it may, it is very dear to me; And so I have laid a tax upon the Kindness of my friends which is to allow me the liberty of writing to them in english. I am Sometimes gone so far as to desire them to make corrections. That agreement we Could make, with advantage to both.
As to the book which you wish to have,1 you have but to send me one of your servants tomorrow morning and I will deliver it to him how I could get it you shall learn the first time where I will have the pleasure to See you. I can Say only that you have it on the Cheapest terms possible as you have nothing to pay.
My compliments to Messrs. Dana & Thaxter and Believe me Sir Your &c.
I take off compliments and invite you to do the Same.
{ 279 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams ministre plenipotentiaire des etats reunis d'amerique a l'hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu” endorsed: “Comte Sarsefield.”
1. For the book, see JA's letter of 24 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0165-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-06

To the Comte de Sarsfield

J'ai reçu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire, hier.1 Je vous fais mes remerciemens Sincéres, pour le Soin que vous avez pris, de me procurer le livre. J'accepte avec Empressement, la proposition que vous avez fait, de vous ecrire en francois, pour l'Avantage de vos corrections et Je permets d'entreprendre la Correction de votre Anglois. L'Amour propre est la seule Motif de cet accord, parce que, vous ecrivez deja tres bien en Anglois; et Moi, Je ne puis pas ecrire, point du tout, en francois. Vous avez proposé de laisser tous Complimens; mais Je ne puis pas en convenir; parce que mon francois sera mauvais, Sans quelques Complimens. Au lieu de “I am Sometimes gone so far &c” I have Sometimes gone So far &c—pour “When I will have the pleasure” lisez When I shall have the pleasure. Avec ces petits changemens, votre lettre Sera parfaitement exact. J'envoye mon domestic, avec mille Complimens, pour le livre, et J'ai l'honneur d'etre tres parfaitement, Monsieur votre &c
[signed] John Adams

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0165-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-06

John Adams to the Comte de Sarsfield: A Translation

Yesterday I received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write.1 I thank you sincerely for the trouble you have taken to procure the book for me. I enthusiastically accept your proposal that I write to you in French so that I may profit from your corrections and that I should presume to correct your English. Friendship can be the only motive for this accord, since you already write so well in English, whereas I cannot write at all in French. You have proposed to lay all courtesies aside, but to that I cannot agree, for without them my French would be very poor indeed. Instead of “I am sometimes gone so far etc.,” I have sometimes gone so far etc.—for “When I will have the pleasure,” read, When I should have the pleasure. But for these minor changes, your letter is perfectly correct. I send, with a thousand thanks, my servant for the book, and have the honor to be most perfectly, sir, your &c
[signed] John Adams
1. Of [ante 6 May] (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0166

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-06

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

The Spirritted resolves of the Dutch alters the Face of the War.1 Russia and Holland with the other Northern Powers that will naturaly Acceed to the Confederacy will either bring on the said Confederate Nations to declare open War or by their protection defend their Trade from interuption and thereby procure the means to prolong the War. England appears to have divided her Naval Force into divissions which must greatly reduce her Consequence in the Channel. By the recapitulation of their Navy they will not have for their grand Fleet upwards of Forty Sail.2 Graves in all probability will be orderd to follow Monsr. De Ternay as Walsingham will otherways be so inferior as only to consult the means to preserve himself. These Westerly Winds is a cruel retard if the French Fleet are intended for Quebec they will be very late to get up the River St. Laurence they ought at this day to be in the Gulph of St. Laurence, some invisable Imp cloggs the Wheels. All is not clear to Day, the day the Marquis de Lafayette Embarked the Fleet should have been ready.3 Lord North appears upon the decline the Opossion carey all before them. Monsr. Stormont may meet with a fall he dont stand on solid Ground but if the War is to be continued it is better they remain than the reins to change hands.
The Spanish Armament at [Cadiz] is realy formidable and if intended to Cooperate in the West Indies or in the United States will most certainly turn the Scale on whatever part they take in favor of the Allies. No Arrivals from America with due respect I have the Honor to be Sir Your very hhb Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esq Hotel de Valois Rue Richlieu Paris” endorsed: “Mr. Bondfield. ansd. May 14” docketed by CFA: “1780.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of a word.
1. This was the States General's long delayed decision to provide unlimited convoys for Dutch ships; it was finally adopted on 24 April. It resulted from Britain's seizure of the Dutch convoy on 31 Dec. 1779 and its suspension of the existing Anglo-Dutch treaties earlier in April. See C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 Jan. 1779, note 2 (vol. 7:384).
2. See William Lee's letter of 25 April, note 2 (above).
3. Lafayette sailed from France on 20 March, but the convoy for the first contingent of Rochambeau's army was not fully assembled until mid-April and did not sail for America until 2 May (Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, 5 vols., Ithaca, N.Y., 1977–1983, 3:3; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 190).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-07

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you for the Loan of the inclosed Paper.1 I think there is room to hope that Clinton will meet with a Reception that will not be agreable to him, even to hope that he will not succeed. But there is great danger. The Loss of the Frigates will give an Additional Sting to that of the Town.
It is truely deplorable that these Devils should be allowed to commit such Ravages and do Such intollerable Mischiefs, with so few ships of Small size, when should Multitudes of French and Spanish Men of War, lie idle, in European Harbours, Spending more money and loosing more lives, than if they were in Action. So much for Franchise,2 entre nous.

[salute] Yours sincerely

[signed] John Adams
1. In a letter of 5 May (Adams Papers), Genet sent JA a fragment from a newspaper containing a letter from Sir Henry Clinton of 9 March. For Clinton's letter, see Thomas Digges' letter of 2 May, and note 2 (above).
2. That is, so much for candor.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0168

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-07

From Edmund Jenings

(Secret)

[salute] Sir

I yesterday received your Excellencys Letter of the 30th of last Month,1 inclosing Advice, relative to the fortunate Arrival of the Transports at their destined Ports, which shall be made the proper Use of to Confound and Laugh at our Ennemies: it Contains too the purport of his Excellencys at Passy Conversation with you, He told your Excellency, “that the Marylands Act directd Him first to write to the Commissrs in London (who formerly had the Trust of the Money,) to draw it out and transfer it into the Hands of a Banker in Paris or Amsterdam; but if they refuse then his Excellency is to choose one out of the Persons mentiond to Him; so that, He shall write to the Commissioners and if they refuse, He shall after that determine, which shall have the Trust.”
I was sensible, that the Notice, which my Native Country took of me was small indeed, so if I may Judge of your friendly Expressions was your Excellency, I was however pleased with it, but If I under• { 282 } stand the business rightly, it is now by no means so pleasant to me. That the Choice out of several shoud be left to some one of a Known character and public Trust, was natural, for the State might not be acquainted with the Avocations and Existence of the persons nominated, but that these people shoud be of the State itself, or at least Americans was Natural, and neither of them coud be Affronted (I am sure I was not) that one such Man shoud be considered, as Equal in Independancy, Integrity, disinterestdness and Affection to his Country to another. At this Distance it is Impossible for the State to Know every ones Comparative Merit, but to have a Banker of a foreign Country prefered to a Native is not Agreable. If I understand the business right, shoud the Commissioners transmit the Money to a Banker in Paris or Amsterdam, there is no Employment for the American Agent. If they will not, an American is then to be nominated; What to do? to force three London Merchants to transfer to Him the public Money of the Country declared in Rebellion. Parbleu! this will require much Law, or a greater Army than America Glories in, and that France herself has upon her Coasts Opposite to England, and what American could present himself publickly before these interestd, Obstinate and perhaps treacherous Commissioners, except Mr. L.L.2 He is the only American that I Know, who can appear publickly in the Streets of London. I may Mistake this Affair and therefore beg your Excellency to give me your Ideas of it. I shoud be glad to be correctd being most unwilling to think my Country has treatd me with Contempt. If She does, I have not deserved it, and must endeavour to Convince them of it by my future Actions, since the past has made no Impression—Can your Excellency get the Words of the Act.
Every thing seems to tend to the Ruin of England, Her own folly towards her proper Subjects and towards those, who were once so, makes the Conduct of her Ennemies appear with the Utmost Liberality. The Declarations of France and Spain in favor of the Commerce of Holland are at this Juncture highly politic, and cannot but have the greatest Consequences.3 England must I think Lower her Insolence to foreign Powers, or plunge into inevitable destruction. They talk in Holland of laying an Embargo in Holland on the Shipping, this will prevent the immediate depredations of her Ennemy and tend to Man her fleet.
I am sorry to hear Rumors of Attempting the opening the Navigation of Antwerp;4 and the Difficulty of doing it is great, it shews however a disposition in the Emperor to quarrel with the Dutch for { 283 } such a Measure cannot but bring on a Misunderstanding between them. I am convincd this Idea is Suggested by the English for the worst purposes.
I am much obliged to your Excellency for the Attention Shown me, least the postage of Letters shoud Cost too much, let me beg of your Excellency not to think of it, but impart to me at all Times your Commands, which I shall abways execute with the Utmost Alacrity and faithfulness, out of Respect to You and Duty to my Country.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir, Your Excellencys most faithful & Obligd. Humble Servt
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Jennings. ansd. May 15” by John Thaxter: “1780.” Filmed under the date of 4 May (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 351).
1. This letter (Adams Papers) has not been printed, but see Jenings' letter of 12 April, and note 3 (above).
2. This person remains unidentified.
3. Jenings is probably referring to the memorial presented by La Vauguyon to the States General on 26 April that disclosed the terms of a French decree of 22 April removing restrictions on Dutch shipping, and to a Spanish regulation of 13 March that liberalized Spanish treatment of neutral vessels. JA sent translations of both to Congress in his letters of 2 and 8 May (Nos. 57 and 62, calendared above and below).
4. Navigation of the Scheldt River to Antwerp, part of the Austrian Netherlands, had been closed in 1648 by the Treaty of Münster. In 1780 Britain sought to have Austria reopen the port, but Joseph II refused because of his unwillingness to involve Austria in the Anglo-French war. The Scheldt was not reopened until 1792 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:641–642; 8:300–301).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0169

Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-07

From Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My dear Sir

I should have paid my respects to you before now had I known where to have directed my letters, for at this time I have no other method than to inclose the present to our friend Mr. Lovell at Philadelphia, who I trust will know the best manner of conveying it. The enemy appear to have abated very little of their pride, however much their power may be lessened. It may be expected nevertheless that the former will shortly be compelled to yield to the very great abatement of the latter, and therefore that you will next winter have something to do in execution of your commission. It would seem by the present manoeuvres of the enemy, that they mean to possess themselves of as many strong holds in different States as they can in order to go full handed to a treaty. With this view they are now making great efforts for Charles Town in South Carolina, and our Portsmouth in this State is next threatened.1 We are now opposing them at { 284 } Charles Town with great vigor, and we shall endeavor to disappoint their views upon us—but the events of war are uncertain—from the number and spirit of our troops at Charles Town I am persuaded that they will not get the place but at a very great expence of blood—it is strongly fortified and powerfully protected. Our foes indeed have great advantage in their command of the sea, as they can with canvass wings fly swiftly from place to place with succors, whilst great delays on our part do necessarily arise from long marches thro this wide extended continent. A few Line of Battle ships would do us unspeakable good.
Should the fate of war give them Portsmouth in this State, I think that the powers of Europe that wish our independance on commercial principles will not agree that they shall continue in that possession after a peace, as it will effectually command the entrance into Chesapeake bay and controul the commerce of the two only tobacco producing states, Virginia and Maryland. The small quantity of Tobacco that grows in North Carolina, and indeed a great part of their commerce in other articles passes thro the Capes of Virginia. These states are also among the first for their export of wheat, flour, and Indian corn, exclusive of many other articles. It will therefore be indispensable to the freedom of this commerce that the British possess not Portsmouth altho the chance of war should accidentally put it into their hands. Delegates from Georgia have lately passed thro this state to Congress, from whom we learn that the enemy possess only Savannah and its environs in that State—the independant government being fully exercised in other parts of that country. There will be a general effort this summer to restore our money to its proper value, which we hope may succeed—the plan recommended by Congress is, to call in with taxes by April 1781—180 millions of dollars, which is to be destroyed and a twentieth part issued in a new kind of paper which is to be funded, redeemable in 6 years with specie; whilst the war is to be chiefly supported by specific aids from every state according to its produce and commercial ability.2 This would seem to be effectual, if we can come up to such very extensive taxation, for which I believe every nerve will be strained. Colo. Francis Lee and myself are recommencing our tour of duty in the Assembly of this our native State—it will make us happy to hear from you when ever it is convenient for you, and it will certainly delight us much to know that you are likely to succeed in your mission. I hope your efforts will not be wanting to secure us the free navigation of Mississippi—I expect much more sown from such efforts than from { 285 } any other—without this free Navigation our vast back country will be so distressed as to lay the foundation of future wars and dissention from the necessity of having an outlet to market. Our State hath already dispossessed the English of their holds on the river Illenois, we have great numbers of people settled on the Ohio, and we are now taking a post at the mouth of that river at its confluence with Mississippi—all these places being within our Charter limits.3 Remember me with much esteem to my friend Mr. Dana—I am dear Sir your most affectionate and obedient Servant
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Richard H. Lee Esqr. 7th. May 1780. recd. 19th. Septr.”
1. Clinton intended to seize Norfolk, rather than Portsmouth, the object of a British raid in 1779 (Mackesy, War for America, p. 342; J. L. Austin to JA, 7 June 1779, note 3, vol. 8:78). The capture of either town as a base of operations to support Cornwallis, however, could have had the effect envisioned by Lee. The arrival of Rochambeau's army forced the abandonment of the plan.
2. See Benjamin Rush's letter of 28 April, and note 4 (above).
3. George Rogers Clark had seized the British posts in what was then known as the Illinois country in the summer of 1778 and later that year the Virginia legislature adopted a plan for the government of the area. Fort Jefferson was the post referred to by Lee (Clarence Walworth Alvord, The Illinois Country 1673–1818, Springfield, Ill., 1920, p. 326–335, 345).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 59

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 31–33). (LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:663–664.
In this letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams noted that “the English have a faculty of deceiving themselves,” and included a translation of an article from the Gazette de La Haye of 1 May. The author of the piece declared that, however much moderate British politicians might rationalize the intent of the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality, it was an attack on the British position vis-à-vis maritime law and an indication of Russia's intention to pursue its own interests despite any commercial ties with Britain. Adams then inserted the text of Lord Stormont's letter of 17 April to Count Walderen communicating the Order in Council suspending the Anglo-Dutch treaties. John Adams saw Stormont's note as another example of Britain's arrogance, new evidence of its confidence “that no other Nation of Europe understands its own Interest.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 31–33). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:663–664.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0171

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 60

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 27–30). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:660–663; extracts in various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 27 Dec. 1780 and the Boston Gazette of 15 Jan. 1781.
In this letter, { 286 } read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams provided newspaper accounts of the Swedish admiralty's ordinance declaring its determination to provide convoys for Swedish ships; the text of the British reply to Catherine II regarding her declaration of an armed neutrality; and Maj. Gen. Sir William Fawcett's efforts to raise troops in Ansbach and Hanau (see to James Warren, 18 March, note 2; and from Edmund Jenings, 18 March, note 7, both above). The British response to Russia denied any past violations of the established law of nations and promised to adhere to its dictates in the future. John Adams noted that while the British statement was somewhat conciliatory, it did not address the fundamental issue of whether Britain intended to establish real or only paper blockades. Adams believed that, if Britain was forced to accept the Russian interpretation of a blockade, it would put “an End forever, to the naval Superiority of G. Britain.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 27–30). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:660–663; extracts in various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 27 Dec. 1780 and the Boston Gazette of 15 Jan. 1781.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 61

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 19–22). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:652–656.
The letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., opens with the text of a resolution by the States General of Holland and West Friesland protesting the seizure of goods, particularly ship building materials from Adm. Lodewijk van Bylandt's convoy in violation of the existing Anglo-Dutch treaties, and demanding convoys to enforce the provisions of the treaties. Next Adams inserted the text of a resolution of the States General intended to insure that foreign vessels trading with the Dutch West Indies paid the required duties to the Dutch West India Company and transported goods from the Indies solely to ports in the Netherlands. He then included similar resolutions from the provinces of Gelderland, Zeeland, and Friesland, which strongly supported Catherine II's declaration of an armed neutrality. Adams closed by reporting talk in Holland of setting up an embargo, and rumors that Britain was trying to get the Emperor to open the port of Antwerp.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 19–22). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:652–656.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 62

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC(PCC, No. 84, II, f. 23–26). LbC in John Thaxter's hand(Adams Papers). In the Letterbook this letter begins on the page following that of 11 May, numbered 64. printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:656–660.
In this letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams communicated the Spanish declaration regarding its conduct toward neutral vessels that was dated 10 March and issued on 13 March. Much of the declaration was devoted to the actions to be taken by Spain toward neutral vessels passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, as part of its effort to blockade the British fortress there, but the text also set down its policy toward neutrals in the rest of the world. The declaration appeared to conform to principles set down in the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality and Adams prefaced his rendering of the text with the statement that “at the same time, that the Conduct of Great Britain towards the { 287 } neutral powers, is marked by a Severity, that is without Example, that of France and Spain, is distinguished by a Moderation and Liberality, that deserves to be imitated.” Adams concluded with the caution that he had obtained many state documents from foreign newspapers, but that the hasty translations sent to Congress might contain errors when compared with the originals.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 23–26). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). In the Letterbook this letter begins on the page following that of 11 May, numbered 64. printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:656–660.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0174

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-08

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I now put a letter of introduction into the hand of a son,2 who agreeable to your polite and friendly invitation waits on you on his first arrival at Paris. I believe I may venture to say he is a youth, who, will by no part of his conduct, disgrace the recommendations of the friend, or disappoint the expectations of the parent. Yet whoever enters at an early period amidst a world of strangers, ought to be well acquainted with himself, as well as the history of man, while he traverses a stage, where art not nature reigns. Even thus guarded, without the aid of experience, he may be liable to many inconveniences in a country, where politeness assumes the air of friendship, where refinement is wrought up to the extreme of elegance, and luxury digested into a systematical desire to please.
I am too well acquainted with your disposition, to think it necessary to ask your philosophic hints, which united with his own good sense, I have no doubt will lead him through with approbation.
I esteem myself very happy, in the full confidence of friendship with a gentleman, at once so competent to advise, direct, and aid, and so ready to point the youthful ardour of early years to that line of conduct which only can lead to happiness.
The views of this young gentleman whose felicity lies so near my heart, are chiefly of a commercial nature. Yet properly improved by industry and observation it may be a happy opportunity of qualifying for more extensive usefulness.
I have no idea that the morals of youth will suffer much by leaving Boston, for any part of Europe; though once I should have trembled for the safety of a son, in the morning of expectation, in the zenith of warm hope, stepping into the larger theatres of luxury, business, and intrigue, but the change of manners in this country has brought me to bid defiance to any disagreeable consequences from a change of place.
Maternal tenderness would lead out the mind to a thousand things { 288 } on this occasion, which civility to you, and an attention to your public avocations forbid. Mr. Warren will write you more fully on this subject, and with regard to the present situation of your beloved country he will not be negligent.
Baptists, Deists, Quakers, Priests, and Politicians, have laboured assiduously to expunge all religious establishments in the new Constitution of Government.3 But I believe (spite of the whole group) the form of Godliness, will yet be kept up among us, though it may have little influence on the moral character, at least so long as our depreciating currency continues to deaden the nobler feelings of the soul; and the easy acquisition of the means of luxury improves the taste for the most expensive and enervating pleasures.
The celebrated Abbe Raynal has observed that “even among a free people, friends to humanity, the thirst for money, the most cruel and tormenting of all passions, has frequently given rise to a pernicious and destructive government.”4 But though the spirit of accumulation is rampant among us, and checks the desire of improvements more agreeable to reason and nature, yet this baneful passion is not the only danger that threatens an infant republic.
When the luxuries of Europe are adopted by a people, who push all their purposes with a degree of enthusiasm characteristic of the North American, it must raise the taste for elegance and the most refined pleasures to the highest pitch, and consequently subvert every principle of that republican spirit which requires patience, probity, industry, and self denial for its support, virtues, which already sit solitary in our land; which vanity, ignorance, and supercilious folly, cloathed with the plumage of sudden acquisition, tinctured with the crude opinions of the mimic Deist, thrust forward the self important visage, and take the lead in the theory of religion and government, in the adjustment of the ceremonies of the drawing room, or in the misteries of the gaming table, and in the secret councels of the political cabinet.
But we have yet some virtues among us, and gratitude is none of the least. It was remarkably displayed on the return of the Marquis La Fayette to this place.5 A general satisfaction was diffused through each countenance, and every expression of respect manifested on his arrival. And while the heroic character of this accomplished young nobleman, engages universal esteem and admiration, his easy manners, his affable demeanor, and his polite address, win him the hearts of all who have the honour of his acquaintance. Yet, when I hear him converse, I cannot but waft a sigh across the Atlantic for his most { 289 } amiable lady, as well as for the many others who by the cruel necessity of the times are obliged to suffer the interruption of domestic felicity.
But these may be the antiquated notions of the last century, which the polish of modern days has rubbed to so briliant a standard that there are few who cannot be as happy in the society of others as with those to whom they are connected by the strongest tie. Yet, I am far from being singular; you have a friend at Braintree, that will accede to every sentiment. I purpose to call on her in a few days, and if possible prevail with her to go to Plymouth with me. I expect on my way to be entertained with the perusal of some of your letters. When you recieve this, I shall have a claim as usual on your politeness, and call for one in my own right.
My son does not propose to stay long in France, but he will open his own plans when he has the honour of seeing you, who I am sensible will, even without an application from me, do all that friendship and generosity dictate, to prevent his disappointment in this tour—and to render his pursuits successful.
You will Sir, remember me with tenderness to my young friends Messieurs John and Charles; then will I subscribe with every sentiment of respect, and esteem your obliged and very Humble Servant
[signed] M Warren
Tr (MHi: Mercy Warren Letterbook). The Letterbook is not in Mercy Warren's hand and was done years later from copies not now extant. Comparisons of recipient's copies of previous Mercy Warren letters with the transcripts in the Letterbook have shown significant differences. See, for example, Mercy Warren's letter of 15 Oct. 1778, descriptive note and notes 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8 (vol. 7:141–144). It is unlikely, therefore, that the present transcript is identical to the lost recipient's copy.
1. The loss of this letter at sea (see note 2) led Mercy Warren to copy, with numerous changes, its first five paragraphs into her letter of 15 Nov. to JA (below). There, however, she indicated that this letter was of 15 May. Whether this was simply an inadvertence or indicates that the copy she used, as opposed to the transcript printed here, was dated 15 rather than 8 May, is not known.
2. Winslow Warren sailed for Europe on the Massachusetts privateer Pallas in late June. The vessel, however, was soon captured and he did not reach England until mid-November 1780 or meet with JA at Amsterdam until March 1781. Warren's capture resulted in the loss of a number of letters, including this one, several from AA, and at least three from James Warren. For Winslow Warren's interrupted voyage and the loss of the letters he carried, see his letter to AA, 26 May, and notes (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:358–360); and James Warren to JA, 12 Oct.; Thomas Digges to JA, 17 Nov. (both below). Mercy Warren also wrote to AA on 8 May regarding her son's imminent departure (Adams Papers). For that letter, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:359.
3. This is a reference to the controversy over the inclusion of Art. III of the Declaration of Rights in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. This article, not drafted by JA, provided for the public support of religion and was vigorously debated at the convention. It was also the object of numerous exchanges in the newspapers, with its most noted opponent being the Baptist leader Isaac Backus. In the end the article was declared ratified despite failing to receive the required two-thirds ma• { 290 } jority (vol. 8:231, 238, 262–263; Samuel Eliot Morison, “The Struggle over the Adoption of the Constitution of Massachusetts, 1780,” MHS, Procs., 50 (1916–1917):353–411; Ronald M. Peters Jr., The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780: A Social Compact, Amherst, 1978, p. 31–34, 81–87).
4. The source of this quotation from a work by Abbé Raynal remains unidentified.
5. Lafayette arrived at Boston on board the French frigate Hermione on 28 April and set off for Washington's camp at Morristown, N.J., on 2 May (Independent Chronicle, 4 May).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-09

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you for your Note of yesterday and the Papers inclosed. The Proposals for a general Pacification, by the Dean of Gloucester, whether they were written by him, or another, were probably intended to feel the pulse, of France, or Spain, or America, nay it is not impossible that they might be intended to Sound, So inconsiderable a Portion of Existence as Mr. John Adams: but it must be Something rather more plausibly written: Something a little more consonant to Reason, and to common Sense, which will draw out of Mr. Adams, his sentiments on the great Work of Pacification, if ever he should enter into any detail upon this subject, before general Conferences take place, which he at present believes he shall not do.1
Concealing however my Name, you may take these few observations upon these Proposals.
1. England may be heartily sick of the imprudent Part she has taken.2 This Point I shall not dispute with the Dean of Gloucester. Yet I wish she would give some better proofs of it, than she has done, hitherto. But of America, I can Speak with Confidence and Certainty, and So far from being Sick of the part they have taken, they look upon the past Madness of Great Britain, which has compelled them to overcome all the Prejudices, and weak Passions, which heretofore bound them to her, and to become independant as the greatest Blessing which Providence, ever bestowed upon them from the first Plantation in the new World. They look upon it, that a Council of the wisest statesmen and Legislators, consulting together on the best means of rendering America, happy, free, and great, could not have discovered and digested a system so perfectly adapted to that End, as the one which the folly and Wickedness of Britain has contrived for them. They not only See and feel, and rejoice in the <glorious> Amelioration of their Forms of Government, but in the Improvement of their Agriculture, and their Manufactures, and in the discovery that all the Omnipotence of British Talents, has not been able to { 291 } prevent their Commerce, which is opening and extending every year, as their Population is increasing in the Midst of the War.
To suppose that France is Sick of the <War> the Part she has taken3 is to suppose her to be sick of that Conduct which has procured her more Respect and Consideration in Europe than any step she ever took. It is to suppose her sick of that system which enabled her to negotiate the Peace between Russia and the Ottoman Port, as well as the Peace of Teschen:4 that system which has enabled her to unite in sentiment and affection all the maritime Powers, even the United Provinces, in her favour and against England. It is to suppose her sick of that system, which has broke off, from her rival and natural Ennemy, the most solid Part of his Strength. A strength that had become So terrible to France and would soon have been So fatal to her. I dont mean to enlarge.
As to the Propositions themselves it would be wasting time to consider them. Of all the malicious Plans of the English against America, none has ever been more so than this. Tis calculated only to make America the Sport of Britain, in future, to put it in her Power, to be forever fomenting Quarrells and Wars. And I am well persuaded, that America, would sooner vote for a <Thirty><Thousand> hundred Years War.5
I may be thought, again too sanguine. I have been too sanguine these twenty Years, constantly <too> Sanguine: yet eternally right.

[salute] Adieu

[signed] John Adams
I dont see Captain Waters's Engagement yet in any <other> of the Papers.6 I would have sent it to England and Holland for Publication, if I had known it could not be printed here.
1. Genet's note of 8 May (Adams Papers) enclosed peace proposals from an unidentified issue of the London General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer (from Genet, 11 May, below); they were also printed in the May issue of Gentleman's Magazine (50:221–222) under the heading of “Proposals for a General Pacification. By the Dean of Gloucester.” For the specific proposals, which included the partition of America, with Britain retaining the territory between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers and the land below North Carolina, and the cession of Gibraltar to Spain, see JA's letter of 9 May to the president of Congress (No. 62, below). Such proposals were being considered in the spring of 1780 in the course of informal contacts between the British and French governments (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 101–102).
Although JA's doubts as to whether the plan was by Josiah Tucker, dean of Gloucester, proved groundless, they may have stemmed from the apparent variance of the specific proposals made by Tucker from his previous writings. In both The True Interest of Great-Britain set forth in Regard to the Colonies (London, 1774; reprinted at Philadelphia in 1776, Evans, No. 15119) and Dispassionate Thoughts on the American War Addressed to Moderates of All Parties (London, 1780), Tucker had argued that it was in Britain's economic self-interest to withdraw completely { 292 } from the colonies and give them the independence they so desired. Such action would remove the expense of maintaining a colonial presence, but would not mean the loss of the American markets or sources of raw materials, for even as independent states the former colonies would be drawn economically to their former mother country. Tucker's position in his pamphlets, therefore, does not seem dramatically different from Thomas Pownall's in his Memorial or from JA's position in his reworking of Pownall's pamphlet (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above).
2. In introducing the proposals, Tucker began “all the powers at war are heartily sick of the imprudent parts they have taken.”
3. The preceding five words were interlined.
4. For the Treaty of Kutschuk-Kainardji (1774) and the Convention of Ainali-Kavak (1779), and the Treaty of Teschen (1779), see vol. 8:index, under Treaties.
5. In a letter of 10 May (Adams Papers), Genet thanked JA for his observations on the peace proposals, but stated that he had decided not to publish them so as to avoid the appearance of paying too much attention to the Dean of Gloucester's “Agri Somnia.” That is, the empty visions of a sick man.
6. See JA's letter of 3 May to Genet, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-09

To the President of Congress, No. 62

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose to Congress, Proposals for a general Pacification, by the Dean of Gloucester.1
Proposed to the English, Americans, French and Spaniards, now at War.
1. That Great Britain Shall retain Newfoundland, with the Desert Coasts of Labradore, also Canada Nova Scotia, and the Country bordering on the Bay of Fundy, as far as the Bay and River of Penobscot.
2. That all the Country from the Penobscot River to the River Connecticut, containing almost all the four populous provinces of New England, Shall be ceded to the Americans.
3. That all the Country from the Connecticut to the River Delaware, containing the whole of New York Long Island, and the Jersies with Some parts of two other Provinces indenting with them, shall return to Great Britain.
4. That all the Country from the Delaware to the Northern boundary of South Carolina, containing the greatest part of Pennsylvania, all Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, shall be ceded to the Americans.
5. That all the Country from the Northern boundary of South Carolina to the extreme point of the eastern Florida, containing three whole Provinces, shall be retained by Great Britain.
6. That West Florida, chiefly barren Sand, and the Fortress of Gibralter (totally useless) Shall be ceded to Spain, in order to Satisfy { 293 } the Punto2 of that nation, and that the Spaniards shall give Porto Rico in Exchange—an Island, on which they seem to set no Value, and which indeed is of no Use to them, though large in itself, Stored with good ports, well situated, and capable (in the Hands of the English) of great Improvements.
7. Lastly that the English Shall give up the Conquests they have made on the French in the East Indies who shall do the like to the English in the West Indies.
I shall make no Remarks upon this Plan. But there is no Englishman thinks of a wiser, or at least who dares propose one. All who talk of Propositions, throw out something as absurd, and idle as this, which will convince Congress that We shall have no Peace for Sometime.
The French Armament which sailed from Brest the second of May, under the Command of M. De Rochambeau of the Troops and M. de Ternay of the Fleet—and the Armament from Cadiz of twelve ships of the Line besides Frigates and other armed Vessels, with Eleven thousand five hundred Land Forces, with a fine Train of Artillery which were to sail about the same time or earlier,3 both destined for America, as it is supposed, will I hope bring the English to think of some Plan a little more rational.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with great Regard, sir your most obedient servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 35–36); endorsed: “No. 63 Letter from J Adams May 9. 1780 Read Sept 20 Dean of Glocester's plan of pacification.” LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “No. 62.”
1. For the source of these proposals and additional comments by JA on them, see his letter of 9 May to Genet, and note 1 (above).
2. That is, to satisfy Spanish honor.
3. The Spanish fleet commanded by Como. José Solano sailed from Cádiz on 28 April and arrived at Guadaloupe on 9 June. Its twelve ships of the line convoyed 146 transports and other vessels carrying 11,000 troops (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 188–189).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0177-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

From Edmé Jacques Genet

J'ai l honneur de vous envoyer ci joint un Lond. Ev. post du 6. que je vous prie de me renvoyer sur le champ. Je vous comuniquerai un London Courant où il y a un long détail de la reception qui vous a été faite en Espagne.1
J'apprens par les gazettes que mr. le Cap. Paul Jones loge avec vous. Vous nous ferés grand plaisir de nous l'amener dimanche.2 Ce sera { 294 } un jour très heureux pour moi et nous boirons a la prosperité et à la gloire des Etats unis.
J'ai demandé des places pour vous et votre compagnie à la chapelle pour voir la Cérémonie.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0177-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

I have the honor to send you enclosed a London Evening Post of 6 May, but I must ask you to return it immediately. I will send you a London Courant, containing a detailed account of your reception in Spain.1
I learn from the gazettes that Captain Paul Jones lodges with you. It would give us great pleasure if you would bring him with you Sunday.2 That will be a most happy day for me and we will drink to the prosperity and glory of the United States.
I have requested seats at the chapel for you and your party to watch the ceremony.
1. The report of JA's reception in Spain has not been found in the London Courant or any other London newspaper except the General Advertiser of 1 May. For the account and its publication, see JA's letter to Edmund Jenings of 19 April, and note 2 (above). In his letter of 10 May (Adams Papers), Genet indicated that if the account in the General Advertiser was correct, he would publish it in a future issue of the Mercure, and he did so in the issue of 27 May (“Journal Politique de Bruxelles,” p. 158–161). See also JA's letter of 11 May to Genet (below).
2. This report that John Paul Jones resided with JA appeared in various London newspapers, including the London Chronicle of 6–9 May and the London Evening Post of 6–9 May, but actually Jones lived with Edward Bancroft at Passy (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 275). In his letter of 8 May (Adams Papers), Genet had invited JA and his entourage to breakfast at Versailles on Sunday, 14 May, and afterwards to witness the investiture of the Chevaliers du St. Esprit. JA described the ceremony in his letter of 15 May to AA (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:347).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0178-0001

Author: Kemtenstrauss, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

From De Kemtenstrauss and Others

[salute] Monsieur

Une Societé de Gens aises a formé le Déssein d'établir une Colonie Dans les Etats Unis de l'amerique Septentrionale, Offre qui ne tendrait qu'a donner de Nombreux, de fideles d'utiles et Vertueux Sujets a cette puissante République; Guides par le Désir de réaliser un Project si Sage et avantageux, et encoûrages par la Solidité Du present offert, Les Membres de cette Societé osent s'addresser à Vôtre Excellence, et la Supplier, De bien voûloir prendre ces Emigraux soûs sa haûte Protection et les favoriser en leur faisant savoir s'ils peuvent être assurés d'obtenir Des Etats independans et unis d'amèrique.
{ 295 }
1.) Une Entiere Liberté De Conscience.
2.) Un Mille géometrique quarré en friche dans une Coutrée temperee, fértile, et Salubre.
3.) La Joûissance de toûs les Priviléges accordes aux aûtres habitans des Etats unis.
4.) L'administration interieure de ses affaires Domestiques, sans l'Intervention d'une Authorité législative quelquonque si non en Cas du Droit de Vie et de Mort.
De l'aûtre Coté toûs les Membres de la Colonie Susditte s'engagent â une Soûmission inviolable et eternelle aux Loix generales et fondamentales de la République, qui ne seront cependant pas immediatement opposes aû 1. 3. et 4. Des Articles cÿ dessus marqués.
C'est dans l'Esperance d'être honnoré De Vôtre Excellence D'une Reponse prompte et favorable sous l'addresse
à Monsieur Monsieur
De Kemtenstrauss—Chevalier Du St. Empire
Poste restante A Munie
par Strasboûrg

[salute] que la Societé réquerante reste avec un tres profound Respect Monsieur De Vôtre Excellence Les tres humbles et tres Obeissants Servitrs

[signed] Les Membres de la Societe réquerante1

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0178-0002

Author: Kemtenstrauss, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

De Kemtenstrauss to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

A society of well-to-do men has formed a plan to establish a colony in the United States of North America, an offer which cannot fail to provide this powerful republic with a number of loyal, useful, and virtuous subjects. Prompted by the desire to accomplish such a wise and advantageous project, and encouraged by the soundness of the present effort, the members of this society dare to address themselves to your excellency and implore him, from his good will, to take these immigrants under his strong protection and favor by informing them whether they can be assured of obtaining from the independent and United States of America:
1. Complete freedom of conscience.
2. A square mile of fallow land in a temperate, fertile, and healthful country.
3. The enjoyment of all the privileges accorded to the other inhabitants of the United States.
4. The internal conduct of domestic affairs without the intervention from a legislative authority except only in the case of taxes or life and death.
{ 296 }
On the other hand, all the members of the aforesaid colony pledge themselves to an inviolable and eternal submission to the general and fundamental laws of the republic insofar as they do not directly oppose 1, 3, and 4 of the articles indicated above.
It is in the hope of being honored by your excellency with a prompt and favorable response addressed
à Monsieur Monsieur
De Kemtenstrauss—Chevalier Du St. Empire
Poste restante A Munie
par Strasboûrg

[salute] that the petitioning society remains with a very profound respect, sir, your excellency's very humble and very obedient servants.

[signed] The Members of the Petitioning Society1
RC (Adams Papers). Because of the way in which the date was written, the letter was filed and filmed at 5 Nov. 1780 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 353).
1. No further information has been found regarding either De Kemtenstrauss or the society of which he was a member, nor is it known whether the plan to establish a settlement was realized, but see JA's reply of 10 June (below). A similar letter was written to Benjamin Franklin on this same date (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:311).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0179

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-10

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I have communicated your Invitation to Commodore Jones.1 He will go to Versailles a Sunday, but I believe is engaged to dine. I will have the Honor of waiting on You with Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter, on Sunday: but I believe, it will be best to leave my little Sons, and give them another Opportunity of availing themselves of your Goodness.
Sir John Dalrymple is at Madrid, and coming this Way, from Portugal, on Account of his Lady's Health as it is given out.
The Slanderer of Algernon Sidney will do no good in Spain, France or any where else.2
Adieu
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. See Genet's letter of 9 May, and note 2 (above).
2. For the report concerning Dalrymple, see letters from John Jay andWilliam Carmichael of 26 and [ca. 26] April respectively (both above). JA's reference to Dalrymple as “the Slanderer of Algernon Sidney” stems from Dalrymple's Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, From the Dissolution of the Last Parliament of Charles II, Until the Sea-Battle off La Hogue, 2 vols., London, 1771–1773; a 3-volume edition published at Dublin in 1773 is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library). There Dalrymple presented evidence implying that Sidney's revolutionary activities were motivated in part by payments he received from France. Ardent whigs such as JA saw this as an effort to { 297 } blacken the reputation of their heroic precursor (Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth Century Commonwealthman, N.Y., 1968, p. 46, 360).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0180

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-10

To the President of Congress, No. 63

Paris, 10 May 1780. RC(PCC, No. 84, II, f. 39–40). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:668–669.
In this letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams described Henry Grattan's effort in the Irish House of Commons on 19 April to overthrow Poyning's Law (10 Hen. 7, ch. 22) and thus establish legislative independence for the Irish Parliament. Although the attempt failed, Adams believed that popular support for the measure was so strong “that no magistrate will venture to execute any Act of the English Parliament.” Adams also provided extracts from two statutes, 4 Phil. & Mary, ch. 4 and 6 Geo. 1, ch. 5, which set down the meaning of Poyning's Law.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 39–40). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:668–669.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0181

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-10

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 29th. Ultimo, since which the Enemy have furnish'd us with such intelligence relative to affairs at Chas. Town and New York as they choose to publish, but I understand in General, that they are very greatly alarm'd for the very defenceless State in which N. York has been left and the extreme doubtfulness of Clintons success in his attempt against Chas. Town. It is tho't, that if the American Naval Force and Fort Sullivan can prevent the Enemies Ships of War from approaching the Town, Clinton will be obliged to relinquish the attempt; however the operations in the South must be concluded by this time, and if Genl. Washington and the Eastern States are not alert in commencing their operations against N. York, the Enemy may get back there before any thing effectual is done.
I shall be happy to hear that Monsr. Teirnay has not met with Graves and Walsingham, as they all sail'd with the same wind; for the latter have nearly double Monsr. Teirnays force in Ships of the Line.1 The British channel fleet for this year is reckon'd at 34 to 37 Ships of the Line, but I think it very certain that they cannot have 30, if their first West India fleet does not get home safe, without molestation as usual. I cannot conceive how a ship of the line, a 50 Gun Ship and 5, or 6, Frigates cou'd be better employed than in cruising pretty far in the Bay of Biscay and somewhat North [South?] of Cape Clear, to intercept the W. India Fleet.
We shall soon see whether there is any true metal left in England for after the late proceedings in the H. of Commons and Lords, if { 298 } they continue quiet, I think all the world must allow, that their Liberties and the popular part of their constitution are totally gone.
They talk, loudly every where of Peace with America, in the old foolish strain, on condition of America uniting with them against F. and S.
When a whole People can talk so ridiculously, it is a decisive proof that they have as little common sense, as common virtue and honesty among them, and nothing but some hearty drubings can bring them to reason.
The Dutch it seems are not unanimous about the measures they ought to take; for the Province of Zealand according to Custom, is somewhat restive. One would be apt to think, these People were of a very mulish nature, that is the most apt to stand still, the more they are kick'd and cuff'd. Surely Spain will exert its influence to prevail on Portugal to shut her Ports against all Ships of War and arm'd vessels, of every Nation, for under her present system of neutrality the Ports of Portugal are as advantagious to our Enemies as most of the ports of G. Britain and infinitely more injurious to the trade of Spain; while they are of no kind of use to France, Spain or America. If Portugal will not agree to this, it seems to me that it would be proper in Congress, as a prelude to more serious measures, to prohibit by a public resolution, any productions of Portugal from being admitted or consum'd in any of the United States.2
I have the Honor to be Dr. Sir yrs. &c.
P.S. I fancy you know the Name of the Gentlemans Correspondent at the Hague, that you wish to be informd of, because I beleive you correspond with the same person.3
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Lee 10. May ansd 6 June” docketed by CFA: “Wm” between the “M.” and “Lee,” and “1780.”
1. With some stylistic changes, the remainder of this paragraph and the portion of the final paragraph dealing with Portugal formed the substance of JA's letter of 15 May to John Jay (below).
2. Portugal's longstanding alliance with Britain, troubled relationship with Spain, and treatment of American ships made it a continuing problem for American diplomacy. In 1776 Congress instructed its Commissioners to propose an alliance with France and Spain that included an American declaration of war against Portugal, but nothing came from the offer. The need to resolve differences remained, however, and in June 1780, John Jay was instructed to make overtures to Portugal to ascertain whether an amicable settlement might be achieved (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 52–53; JCC, 6:1057; 17: 542).
3. This was C. W. F. Dumas. Although Dumas corresponded with the American Commissioners at Paris while JA served as a Commissioner in 1778 and 1779, the two men had not yet begun a personal correspondence, but see JA's letter to Dumas of 21 May, note 2, and his reply to Lee of 6 June, note 2 (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0182-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-10

From the Comte de Vergennes

Je vous dois des remerciemens, Monsieur, pour les differentes communications que vous avez bien voulu me faire.1 Si les notions que renferme la lettre qui vous a êté confiée, Sont exactes, vous ne devez pas tarder à en avoir la preuve, et dans ce cas il faudra voir quelles ouvertures on jugera à propos de vous faire. Je pense que vous ne devez point refuser de les entendre.

[salute] J'ai l'honneur d'etre très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obeissant Serviteur

[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0182-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-10

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I must thank you, sir, for the various communications you have been kind enough to send me.1 If the information contained in the letter sent to you proves accurate, you will, no doubt, shortly receive further proof, and if so, we would have to examine the offers they deem appropriate to make to you. I believe you should not refuse to hear them out.

[salute] I have the honor to be very perfectly, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.

[signed] De Vergennes
1. Vergennes is almost certainly referring to JA's letters of 1 and 5 May (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12). For the enclosures contained in the former, see JA's letter of 3 May to Jeremiah Allen, and note 2 (above). The letter of the 5th contained an extract (not found) from Thomas Digges' letter of 28 April (and note 10, above). For JA's opinion of possible overtures from the British government alluded to in Digges' letter, see his reply to Vergennes of 12 May (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-11

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I have just recieved your Card of the 10th.1 I agree with You that the Dean's propositions are too absurd to be noticed.
As to the History of my peregrinations in Spain,2 and I find it is true as far as it goes; altho' the half is not told, excepting in the following particulars. They have called the American Agent at Corunna, Mr. Laurens, whereas his Name is Mr. Lagoanere. They have called, the first Justice of the Grand Audience “the Rixent,” Whereas they should have called him the Regent. It is moreover said that the { 300 } Gentlemen dined frequently with the Vice Roy, which is not exactly true—they dined with him but once.
In every other punctilio, this Narration is true, and far from being exaggerated.
I had indeed, my dear Sir, as much Reason, to be pleased with the good Will and Affection of the Spaniards, as I had to be mortified, at the Inconvenience of travelling in their Country and the bad Accommodations upon the Roads.
This Relation shews the Benevolence of Spain on one hand, and the Gratitude of America on the other; and consequently the excellent disposition in both to maintain the new Connection: it has consequently a Tendency to put the English into a proper Temper of Repentance of their folly and their Crimes—a Temper to which they must be brought, before they will make Peace. For this Reason I wish to see it as public as possible and consecrated to Immortality in your Mercury.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Not printed, but see JA's letters to Genet of 3 May, note 1, and 9 May, note 5, and Genet's letter of 9 May, note 1 (all above).
2. The critique is of the version printed in the General Advertiser of 1 May. For JA's original account, see his letter of 19 April to Edmund Jenings, and note 2 (above). It is notable that Genet was apparently unaware that JA was the source of the account and that JA did not inform him of the fact in this letter. See Genet's letters of 9 May (above) and 10 May (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0184

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-11

To the President of Congress, No. 64

Paris, 11 May 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 43–45). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:670–671.
In this letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams sent the text of three motions respecting the American war proposed by David Hartley in a speech to the House of Commons on 1 May. For the speech and Hartley's motions, see Thomas Digges' letter of 2 May, and note 7 (above). Adams concluded his letter with a reference to Gen. Henry Seymour Conway's subsequent announcement that on 2 May he would lay before the House a bill to establish “the foundations of a Treaty of Peace and Reconciliation” with America.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 43–45). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:670–671.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0185-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-11

From Edmé Jacques Genet

Nous serions bien fachés, Monsieur de ne pas avoir dimanche the young gentlemen. C'est un jour fait pour eux, puis qu'il y a une { 301 } cérémonie1 qui ne se repete pas souvent, et j'ai pris les précautions nécessaires pour qu'ils la voyent à leur aise. Nous les attendons et nous vous Supplions de ne point tromper notre attente. Le Commodore Jones nous fera sûrement lhoneur d'accepter le break fast chez nous. J'y aura de bon Thé qui n'a point été taxé par l'angleterre. Le commodore vous accompagnera à la chapelle pour voir la cérémonie et vous serés tous bien placés. J'espere bien que les young gentlemen viendront encore plus d'une fois, car il ne faut pas pretendre que tout se voit ici en un jour. Mais celui de dimanche is a Special one.
Je connois Sir J. Dalrymple; Et je puis vous assurer, qu'on ne Sera plus aussi complaisant ici pour lui qu'on l'a été dans d'autres tems. Ceux qui depuis lui ont demandé les mêmes faveurs n'y ont pas été bien reçues.
Vous êtes bien le maitre d'envoyer au Congrez les propositions du Doyen:2 Elles Sont tirées du general advertiser, which I reckon to be ministerialist
[signed] Genet

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0185-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-11

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Dear Sir

We would be most unhappy not to see the young gentlemen Sunday. It is a day made for them since the ceremony1 is not repeated often, and I have taken the necessary steps so that they can see it comfortably. We are expecting them and beg you not to disappoint us. Commodore Jones will surely honor us by accepting our invitation to breakfast. I will serve good tea which has not been taxed by England. The Commodore will accompany us to the chapel to see the ceremony and you will all be well placed. I hope that the young gentlemen will repeat their visit, for one cannot hope to see everything in one day. But this Sunday is a special one.
I know Sir John Dalrymple; and can assure you that he will not be as well treated here as he has been in the past. Those who since then have asked him for the same favors have not been well received.
You are perfectly welcome to send to Congress the Dean's proposals:2 they were taken from the General Advertiser, which I reckon to be ministerialist.
[signed] Genet
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “M. J. Adams hotel de Valois rue de Richelieu a Paris.”
1. The investiture of the Chevaliers du St. Esprit held on 14 May.
2. In a note of [ca. 9 May] (Private owner, 1957), JA requested permission to send alleged proposals of the Dean of Gloucester to Congress. See JA's letter of 9 May to the president of Congress, No. 62 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Carmichael, William
Date: 1780-05-12

To William Carmichael

[salute] Sir

I had, two days ago the favour of yours without a date,1 and thank you for the History of Sir John Dalrimple, whose Memoires2 would be sufficient to put me upon my guard, if I knew no more of him. He has seen the Imperial Ambassador. Pray, do you discover any of the Sentiments of the Austrian Family where you are. The old Rivalry, between that and Bourbon, the old Friendship and alliance with England. The new Ecclat and Power of an old Ennemy, and the declining forces of an old Friend, are circumstances that cannot escape the Notice, of the Sensible and aspiring Chief of that great House. The family alliance with France, is a lucky Circumstance at this time.3
I have received a few Journals, by the Way of Amsterdam.4 Young Coll Laurens has refused to come to Europe, I Suppose Smitten with the Charms of military Glory, and foreseeing the War was turning to his Town. You will See in the public papers before this reaches you all the News from America. We are waiting, with no Small Anxiety, the Arrival of News from Charlestown.
De Ternay Sailed the Second, and We hope Soon to have the News that the Armament from Cadiz, is Sailed. De Rochambeau is too weak wherever he is gone. He should have had more <Men> Force. The Spanish Force is very great. But, would it not be better Policy, both for France and Spain to send more ships and fewer Troops. The British Possessions in America, both upon the Continent and the Islands, depend upon the Sea for their Existence. According to the Bull in the English Play,5 the strongest Ground, or the only Ground they Stand upon is the Ocean. By a decided Superiority of naval force, upon the American Coasts and among the Islands, under active, vigilant and enterprizing Commanders, who will not think it beneath them to cruise for and watch the motions of transports and Merchantmen, the trade of America and the Islands would flourish, and the Supplies of the English totally cutt off. A few, french or Spanish Men of War, cruising in the Mass. Bay. A few more lying at anchor in the Harbour of Rhode Island and cruising occasionally, a few more lying in the mouth of the Delaware, a few more in Cheasapeak Bay—Say 3 ships and three frigates in each. This would make 12 ships of the Line and twelve frigates. These would, by cruising themselves occasionally and giving full scope to our privateers, more { 303 } certainly ruin the British Power <in America>, than four times that force in Europe. But Suppose there was only one ship of the Line and two Frigates Stationed in each. This would be only 4 ships and 8 frigates. These would either totally destroy the british Army, in America, by starving it, or compell the English to keep more than double their number in the North American station. This would weaken them so much in the W. I. Islands that the french and Spanish Forces there, would do whatever they pleased.
I know not the Reason of it, but the English dont seem to take Spain into their Account at all. They make their calculations, to equal or exceed the french a little, but reckon the Spaniards for nothing. A very little Activity on the part of these, would terrify the English beyond Measure. I suppose, but it is only conjecture that the Floridas are the Object of the Force from Cadiz. Gibralter occupies another immense force. These forces however, or the amount of their Expences, employed, in the American seas and kept constantly in Motion, would more certainly ruin the whole British Power, and consequently more certainly obtain the Floridas Gibralter or whatever else is desired of, than direct Attacks upon these Places. Attacking these places is endeavouring to lop of single Limbs, securing the Dominion of the American Seas, is laying the Ax to the Root of the Tree. But enough of my small Politicks. Adieu.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “<Mr> The Honourable Wm. Charmichael Secretary, to the American <Commission> Legation at Madrid.”
1. [Ca. 26 April] (above).
2. For Dalrymple's Memoirs and JA's objections to them, see his letter of 10 May to Genet, and note 2 (above).
3. JA means the marriage of Marie Antoinette, sister of Austrian Emperor Joseph II, to Louis XVI.
4. On 10 May JA had received American newspapers, congressional journals, and AA's letter of 26 Feb. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:281–283) by way of Amsterdam. He sent the newspapers and journals to Vergennes under cover of a letter of 11 May (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12), to which Vergennes replied later the same day (Adams Papers).
5. Probably a reference to John Arbuthnot's The History of John Bull, 5 vols., London, 1712, much of which was in the form of a dialogue.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0187

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-12

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have received the letter which you did me the honor to write me on the 10th. of this month. Altho' the writer of the letter, an extract of which I had the honor to enclose to you,2 may be right in his conjecture that the British Administration wish to know more than they do at present of3 my sentiments upon the great subject of a { 304 } pacification, yet I have had too long experience of their principles views and tempers, and I know that they are too well acquainted with mine, for me to expect that they will directly convey any propositions to me. When we hear them affirm in Parliament that America is upon the point of returning to an Allegiance to the King of England; and that they seriously believe America will return to such an Allegiance: When the Members of opposition, even those who are most inclined to peace, such as Mr. Hartley, General Conway &c. discover plainly by their motions and arguments, that their object is a seperate peace with America, in order to be the better able to gratify their revenge against France and Spain, I can have no expectations that they think of applying to me, because I think they must be convinced of this at least that I shall make no seperate peace.4
I thank your Excellency however, for your sentiments, that I ought to hear them, in case any overtures shou'd be made to me; I shou'd in such a case endeavour to hear them with decency and respect, but it wou'd require much Philosophy to hear with patience such absurd and extravagant propositions as are published in pamphlets and News-papers, and made in Parliament, even by the Members of Opposition who profess to be most zealous for Peace.5
Our Alliance with France is an honor and a security, which have ever been near my heart. After reflecting long upon the geographical situation of the old world and the new, upon the agriculture, commerce, and political relations [of] both; upon the connections and oppositions among the Nations of the former, and the mutual wants and Inter[ests] of both, according to such imperfect lights as I was able [to] obtain; the result has long since been this, that my Country in case she shou'd once be compelled to break off from Great-Britain, wou'd have more just reasons to depend upon a reciprocity of good offices of Friendship from France, Spain, and the other Sovereigns who are usually in their system; than upon those in the opposite scale [of] the ballance of Power. I have ever thought it therefore a natural Alliance, and contended for it as a Rock of Defence. This object I pursued in Congress with persevering assiduity, for more than a year, in opposition to other Gentlemen of much greater Name and Abilities than mine, and had at length the satisfaction to find my Countrymen very generally to fall into the same sentiment, and the honour to be appointed to draw the first Treaty which was sent to this Court.6 These facts have been well known in America even to the Tories, and the utility and importance of this Alliance being known to be deeply imprinted on my mind and heart, I suppose was a principal cause { 305 } why the present Trust was confided to me by my Countrymen.7 These facts, altho' they may have been unknown in France, yet having been well known to the Tories in America, I cannot suppose they are ignorant of them at the Court of St. James'. I therefore think that neither Administration nor Opposition in England, will ever think of applying to me, untill they are brought into such a situation as shall compel them to sue for peace with all the Powers at War; which to be sure does not appear to be the case at present, nor likely to be; at least before the end of this Campaign, nor then neither, without some notable good fortune on the part of the Allies in the progress of the War. I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in Francis Dana's hand (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12); endorsed at the top of the first page: “18 Mai” and “Reçu.” LbC (Adams Papers). Bracketed material is supplied from the LbC. This is the first letter for which Francis Dana acted as JA's secretary. It may indicate that Dana played a significant part, as he did later with JA's letter of 22 June to Vergennes (below), in revising the Letterbook copy.
1. The differences between the recipient and Letterbook copies of this letter are striking. In the Letterbook, JA took considerable pains to allay Vergennes' apprehensions about the conduct of his mission, while leaving his options open. Before JA's revisions (see notes 4 and 5) the Letterbook text contained a clear commitment to refuse any British offer of a separate peace. JA stated that his instructions permitted him only to participate in negotiations for a general peace. He also declared that his attachment to the Franco-American alliance was such that whatever efforts he might make to achieve a peace, he would do nothing to undermine the alliance. The recipient's copy, however, does not clearly define the scope of JA's powers, nor does it declare the alliance to be sacred under any and all conditions. Here JA does not commit himself to reject automatically a settlement that recognized American independence and satisfied the other parts of his instructions, but which amounted to a separate peace.
This letter played an important role in the evolution of JA's thinking in regard to the exercise of his powers and the nature of the peace settlement that he might negotiate. It should be compared with his letters of 17 and 26 July to Vergennes (both below), and considered also in light of his later efforts to publish his revision of Pownall's Memorial, and the “Letters from a Distinguished American” (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above; “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July], below), both of which indicated an inclination, had acceptable terms been offered, toward the conclusion of a separate peace.
2. Vergennes' letter of 10 May (above) was a reply to JA's of the 5th (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12), in which he had enclosed an extract from Thomas Digges' letter of 28 April (above).
3. In the Letterbook the preceding seven words are interlined.
4. In the Letterbook this paragraph concludes with the following canceled sentence: “In Truth my Powers are to join in a general Pacification and I have no Authority to make a particular one.”
5. At this point in the Letterbook JA canceled the letter's original conclusion which follows:
“Of one thing your Excellency, may be assured, that no overtures have as yet been made to me, So whenever any shall, if indeed that should ever happen I shall communicate them without Loss of Time, and without Pretense to you.
“Our Alliance with France is <a Benefit> an Honour and a Security, which I have ever had near my Heart. After reflecting as maturely as I could, for twenty Years, upon the geographical situation of the two Worlds, upon the Ag• { 306 } | view riculture and Commerce, of both as well as their political Relations, upon the political Connections and oppositions among the powers of Europe, the Result of the whole has long been this, that my Country in case she should once be compelled to break off from Great Britain, would forever after have more just reason to depend upon a Reciprocity of the good offices of Friendship from France and Spain, and the Nations who are usually in their system, than upon the opposite Scale, of the Ballance of Power. I have ever thought it therefore a natural Alliance, and have contended for it as a rock of defence. I may be excused upon this occasion if I open my sentiments to your Excellency a little more and inform you that I had the Honour to pursue this object in Congress, for more than a Year, with constant attention and assiduity, <and for a great Part of the Time> in opposition to other Gentlemen of much greater Name and abilities than mine, that I had at last the good fortune to carry this point and to be the Person who drew the Treaty which was first sent to the Court of Versailles. I take the Liberty to mention these facts to your Excellency, in order to shew that our Alliance is a Point, that I shall never injure, that I have just Ideas of its Importance, and that <I believe this to have been a principal that> it is <perfectly> well known in America that these Ideas are deeply imprinted on my mind and Heart which was probably, the true Cause, why Congress thought proper to confer upon me, my present Commission. I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, your excellencys, most obedient and humble servant.”
6. JA's description of his efforts on behalf of a treaty with France in this and the following two sentences should be compared with those in the Editorial Note to the Treaty Plan of 1776 (vol. 4:260–265) and JA's letter to Edmund Jenings of 18 July (below).
7. In the Letterbook this sentence ended the paragraph. The following sentence, the first of a new paragraph, originally read “These Facts having been known to the Tories in America, altho they may have been unknown in.”

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0188

Author: Bowens, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-12

From Francis Bowens

[salute] Gentleman

I am honourd with your allways respectable Letter of the 5 Instant. The little Box you mention and markd 'A' wich Mr. Digges of London has send me, was handed in good Condition a few Days ago, and as pampletts, Books and all such goods are admitted in french without any Difficulty. I have forward sayd Box the Day by a Carriage for Lille and have recommand to my Correspondant of the sayd Town Mr. Augs. Le Sage1 who will take the particularist Care for and forward to you by the Diligence.2 The little expences and Charges I have pay'd, will be put on Account of Mr. Digges. You may be persuaded Gentleman that I schall take allways the greatest Care possible for all Kinds of Articles you schould send to my Care, and that all your Orders will be follow'd with all the prudence and secrecy possible.
I schall be certainly Gentleman very flatterd in receiving your Orders and will be happy if you will grant me your protection and confiance.3 I will give you in all Occasion, proofs of the greatest regard and respect with wich I remain, Gentleman! Your most humble & obedient Servant
[signed] F Bowens
{ 307 }
1. JA received Bowens' letter on 16 May; on the 18th he wrote to Le Sage asking him to send the package as quickly as possible (LbC, Adams Papers). On 12 June, in response to a letter from Le Sage of 11 May (not found), JA sent an aquit de caution or customs house bond for the box (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. The “Diligence” was an express stagecoach (OED). On the next to last page of his Letterbook No. 8 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 96), JA wrote “Bureau du dilligence de Lille Ruë St. Dennis. au grand cerf.”
3. For JA's reply to Bowens of 18 May, see Edmé Jacques Genet's letter of 17 May, note 2 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0189

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, Fernando Raymond
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Date: 1780-05-13

To Thomas Digges

I have to acknowledge, one of 14 Ap. and one 2d. May. The Parcells, have not yet seen nor heard of.1 You may Stop the London Evg. and the London Packet for the future, but send on the courant if you please. Have not yet received, the debate upon C[onway]s motion. I have seen the paper and read the debate.2 It is the scene of the Goddess in the Dunciad reading Blackmore to her Children.3 The Commons are yawning, while the Ministry and Clinton, are cementing the Union of America, by the blood of every Province, and binding all to their Allies, By compelling them to shed theirs. All is well that ends well. These wise folk are giving F. and S. a Consideration in Europe too, that they had not, and are throwing away their own as nothing worth. Sweden and Denmark, are in the Same System with Russia and Holland. Indeed if the Ministry, had only common Information, they would have known that this Combination of the maritime powers, has been forming these 18 Months, and was nearly as well agreed a year ago as it is now. But when a Nation is once, fundamentally wrong, thus it is. Internal Policy, external defence, foreign negotiations, all go away to gether. The bad Consequences of a Principle essentially Wrong, are infinite. The Minority, mean only to try if they can make peace with America Separately, in order to revenge themselves, as they think they can upon F. and S., but this is as wrong and as absurd, and impracticable as the plans of the ministry. All Schemes for reconciliation with America short of Independance, and all plans for Peace with America, allowing her Independance, Seperate from her allies, are visionary, and delusive, disingenuous, corrupt and wicked. America has taken her equal Station, and she will behave with as much honour, as any of the nations of the Earth.4 To Say that the Americans are upon the Poise, are ballancing, and will return to their Allegiance to the King of England, is as wild as bedlam. If Witnesses cannot be believed, why dont they believe the nature of things. Ask the Newspapers, which are so free, { 308 } that nothing is Spared, Congress, and every body is attacked. Yet never a Single paragraph, even hinting in the most distant manner, a wish to return. Ask the Town meetings. Those assemblies which dared readily enough, to think as they pleased and say what they would, dared attack the King, Lords Commons, Governors, Councils, Representatives, Judges and whole armies, under the old Government, and that attack, every body and every thing that displeases them of this day. Not one Vote, not one Instruction to a Representative, not one Motion, nor so much as one Single Speach, in favour of returning to the Leeks of Egypt.5 Ask the grand and petit Juries, who dared to tell the Judges to their faces, they were corrupted, and that they would not serve under them because they had betrayed and overturn'd the Constitution.6 Not a single Juror, has ever whispered a Wish to return after being washed7 to their wallowing in the mire. The Refugees you mention never did know the Character of the American people, but they knew it now less than ever. They have been long away. The Americans of this day, have higher notions of themselves than ever. They think, they have gone through the greatest Revolution that ever took Place among Men, that this revolution is as much for the benefit of the generality of Mankind in Europe, as for their own. They think they should act a base and perfidious part towards the World in general, if they were to go back, that they should manifestly counteract the designs of providence, as well as betray themselves, their posterity and mankind. The English manifestly think Mankind and the World made for their Use. Americans dont think so. But why proceed. Time alone can convince.

[salute] Adieu

[signed] F. R. S.8
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W: S. Church Nandos Coffee house fleet street.”
2. In this and the previous sentence JA probably means that he has read the newspaper account of the debate of 1 May in which David Hartley and Henry Seymour Conway indicated their intention to introduce motions for ending the American war, but has not seen the debate over Conway's motion which took place on 5 May. See Digges' letter of 2 May, and note 7 (above).
3. JA alludes to Alexander Pope's Dunciad, most likely to bk. 2, lines 368–370, where the goddess of Dullness states:
I weigh what author's heaviness prevails; Which most conduce to soothe the soul in slumbers,
My Henley's periods, or my Blackmore's numbers.
John Henley, known as “Orator Henley,” wrote church oratory, theology, and grammars; while Sir Richard Blackmore was noted for his voluminous epic and heroic poems (DNB).
4. Although textually similar to the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, this sentence, here slightly expanded, is from Thomas Pownall's Memorial. There it appears { 309 } on pages 4 and 67, and was retained by JA in his Translation (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above).
5. JA refers to Numbers 11:5, which depicts the Israelites' memories of plentiful food in Egypt.
6. In 1773 and 1774 Massachusetts was torn by controversy over the independence of judges, leading the House of Representatives to seek the impeachment of Chief Justice Peter Oliver. Then, and later as government under the charter broke down and was replaced by nothing of equivalent authority, juries refused to permit the courts to function under conditions thought to be of doubtful constitutionality. For these events, and JA's leading role in them, see vols. 1:252–309; 2:7–17; 4:184, 186, 222–225.
7. The preceding three words were interlined.
8. This is JA's first known use of the pseudonym Ferdinando Raymond San as a signature.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0190

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1780-05-13

To John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

I had two days ago the pleasure of yours of the 26th. of April, and am very happy, to have at least1 recieved from your Hand an Account of your safe Arrival in that Capital.
The C. de F. Blanca, is agreed to be a Man of Abilities, but somehow or other, there is something in the European Understanding different from those We have been more used to. Men of the greatest Abilities, and the most Experience, are with great difficulty brought to see, what appears to Us, as clear as day. It is habit, it is education, prejudice, what You will, but so it is. I can state a very short Argument, that appears to me a demonstration, upon French and Spanish Principles, alone, that it is more for their Interest, to employ their naval force in America than in Europe, yet it is in vain that You state this to a Minister of State, he cannot see it, or feel it, at least in its full force, and until the proper point of Time is past and it is too late. So I think it may be demonstrated, that it is the Interest of France and Spain to furnish America with an handsome Loan of Money, or even to grant them Subsidies, because a Sum of Money thus expended would advance the Common Cause, and even their particular Interests, by enabling the Americans to make greater Exertions, than the same Sums employed any other Way. But it is in vain to reason in this manner, with an European Minister of State. He cannot understand You. It is not within the Compass of those Ideas that he has been accustomed to.
I am happy however that at length we have a Minister at Madrid. I am persuaded that this will contribute vastly to opening the Eyes both of France and Spain. I shall be obliged to You for Intelligence, especially concerning your progress in your Affair.

[salute] I am with much Esteem, dear Sir, your Servant.

[signed] John Adams
{ 310 }
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NNC: John Jay Papers); endorsed: “Jno. Adams 13 May 1780 Recd. 29 Inst.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook the word is “last.”

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0191

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-13

To the President of Congress, No. 66

Paris, 13 May 1780. RC(PCC, No. 84, II, f. 47–49). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “NB. May 16th 1780. This day delivered to the Chevr. la Colombe Nos. 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, & 66—also three packets of News papers.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:674–676.
This letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., opens with a translation of the official French reply to Catherine II's declaration of an armed neutrality. France declared its support for the principles set down in the Russian initiative, while noting that existing French maritime regulations, based as they were on the law of nations, offered few obstacles to neutral trade. According to Adams, the French declaration's “Simplicity, Openness, Sincerity, and Truth” was in “striking Contrast to the Dissimulation and Insincerity” of the corresponding British reply of 23 April, which he inserted in his letter of 8 May to the president of Congress (No. 60, calendared above). In a postscript, Adams sent a translation of a Copenhagen newspaper account of 29 April, which reported the arrival of couriers from St. Petersburg, the rumored accession of Denmark to the armed neutrality, and the outfitting of two Danish ships of the line. Finally, Adams included an extract from the instructions of 19 April to British warships and privateers. A direct result of the Order in Council of 17 April suspending the Anglo-Dutch treaties (to the president of Congress, 28 April, No. 54, calendared above), they authorized the seizure of Dutch ships carrying enemy goods and merchandise designated as contraband under the strict law of nations; that is the law as it applied to nations with no treaty connection. Adams noted that the British had already seized five vessels under this new order.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 47–49). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “NB. May 16th 1780. This day delivered to the Chevr. la Colombe Nos. 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, & 66—also three packets of News papers.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:674–676.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0192

Author: Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-13

From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Sir

Last night arriv'd safe the Packett Active Capt. Corbin Barnes belonging to the Navy Board Eastern Department from Boston and New London, by whom have received the enclos'd letters for your good self and the rest of the Gentlemen to whom pray our complements.2
Capt. C. Barnes putt into Coruna about 10. days ago, and we hear he putt some letters in that post office, but as he is not come ashore as yet we cant ynform you who they were for. We are sorry that another Brig belonging to the same Board that sailed the 22d. Jany has not been hear'd of on this side.3
{ 311 }
The Active is to return with sundry articles for the navy, but as we also sent letters to the Honble. John Jay Esqr. we dont Know whether he will have occassion to detain her, otherwise will soon be dispatch'd. Said Gentleman is well at Aranjuez and has already taken up a house at Madrid, so sincerely wish that every thing may prosper.
Capt. Trash sailed in company with a 20. gun privateer, so hope he will gett along safe, but time does not permitt us to send you the Invoices of what shipp'd on your Account4 and that of our good freind the Honble F. Dana Esqr. to whom pray our complements and being what present haste permits subscrive respectfully Sir Your most Obt. Hble servts.
[signed] Joseph Gardoqui & Sons
1. This is the first extant letter from Gardoqui & Sons since that of 15 March (above), although letters by JA of 14 and 18 May (both LbC's, Adams Papers) indicate that he also received letters from the firm dated 8 April and 6 May. The latter probably arrived on 17 May and enclosed letters from AA to JA of 1 March and to JQA and John Thaxter of 2 March (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:292–294, 351–353). JA had last written to Gardoqui & Sons on 16 March (LbC, Adams Papers) to request that they keep him informed of the arrival of vessels from America and news of John Jay and William Carmichael.
2. Neither the enclosed letters nor those mentioned in the following paragraph as posted at La Coruña can be positively identified, but see JA's letter to William Gordon of 26 May (below).
3. In his reply of 25 May (LbC, Adams Papers), JA indicated that this vessel, carrying Jonathan Loring Austin, had been captured. Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April (above) identifies it as the Zephyr, but states that it sailed on the 29th.
4. In his letter of 14 May, JA requested that Gardoqui & Sons send no more merchandise to America until they received further word from him, but in a letter of 18 May, which was probably not sent, he urged them to send a triplicate order by the first means possible. For the action taken by the firm, see their letter of 10 June (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0193

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-05-14

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

Yours of 6 May, from Bourdeaux, I have received. The Negotiations on foot among the maritime neutral powers, are very favourable to America and her Allies, and they ought to convince England, a Posteriori, of which a very simple Proscess of Reasoning a Priori, might have made clear to them, many years ago, on it, that it is the Interest of all the Maritime Powers, to Secure the Independance of America, and to reduce the dangerous Domination of Great Britain upon the seas. But they think all Mankind made for their Use, and that there is no Providence, for any other nation. Quite as selfish and as blind as the Jews, there is no present probability of their opening their Eyes to their true Interest, and safety.
The News however which both they and the french, have received { 312 } from the West Indies, is very discouraging to them. Piquet, has not suffered Parker and Rowley, to get any Advantage of him. He has run about the seas there as he pleased in Spight of them. Has fought with inferiour force, and got the better, tho wounded. He has protected his Convoys. Guichen is arrived. The English Expedition is disconcerted, and the Utmost terror Spread thro all their Islands,1 and Clinton on 29 March had not Charlstown. The french and Spanish Armament will thicken the Plot, and compleat their confusion. This will give additional Spirits to the maritime Powers, to Ireland, to the Committees and Associations in England, and if not produce Peace, make the War easy to the Ennemies of Britain.
I know how to pity, Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard, because I know by Experience a little of the feelings.2 I underwent a similar operation last year, for a longer time. I bore it with as much Patience and Philosophy as I could. But every body will not always bear.
My wine is not yet come.3 I am, sir, your obliged humble servt.
1. Rear Adm. Sir Hyde Parker, with Rear Adm. Sir Joshua Rowley as second in command, commanded the Leeward Islands station between the departure of Vice Adm. John Byron in Aug. 1779 and the arrival of Adm. Sir George Rodney on 27 March 1780. Although Parker's fleet was much larger than the squadrons of either La Motte-Picquet or Grasse, which had been left behind when Estaing returned to Europe, he was unable to bring either to battle. The arrival of a convoy carrying troops in February led Parker to undertake an expedition against St. Vincent, an effort that he canceled upon learning of the appearance of Guichen's fleet. That fleet arrived at Martinique on 22 March, thus changing the naval balance, but Rodney's arrival five days later made it possible for the two fleets to meet on relatively equal terms (W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 196–197; Mackesy, War for America, p. 329–330). For the forces available to each side at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April, see JA's letter to the president of Congress, No. 6, 19 Feb., note 2, and to James Warren, 23 Feb., note 1 (vol. 8:337, 360).
La Motte-Picquet's squadron was primarily occupied with convoying vessels to and from Martinique. On 20 March, while engaged in that activity, he encountered a force approximately equal to his own under the command of Capt. William Cornwallis. The action lasted into the next day and ended in stalemate, but the French convoy had been protected (Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 153–155).
2. For JA's impatience with his own wait for passage to America in 1779, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:356–380, and vols. 7 and 8.
3. See Bondfield's letter of 12 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1780-05-14

To Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dear sir

I have received yours of the 9th.1 I received a Letter signed Jna Williams, as I thought, but it seems it was Jno. Williams.2 I did not discover my Error, untill after my Answer was gone, when inquiring of Dr. Franklin, I found I must have been mistaken.
{ 313 }
I have lost, I know not how much, but believe a great deal, in several large Packetts, one from Congress another from the Council of Mass. Bay, a third from my family besides many Single Letters from my friends, all of which Mr. Austin was obliged to cast into the Sea after he was taken.3 So that I have only received a few Scattering Letters by the Way of Spain and Holland, which contain no other News than you have heard before.
They have received at Versailles, from the West Indies directly from M. De la Motte Piquet, and by the Way of the London Papers, very important news from the W. Indies, which you will have immediately in the Papers. Guichen is arrived. An Expedition that was filling out is disconnected. Piquet had defeated Parker, so far as to secure his Convoy.4 On the 29 of March Clinton had made no Impression on Charlestown. There is no certain Account yet of Walsinghams sailing. The Ct. of St. James's have suppressed Arbuthnots Letter entirely,5 which gives room to suppose that the fleet suffered more than they are willing should be known.
I thank you sir, for your Assurances, that you will communicate to me, the News. Every Circumstance from our Country is interesting. I pray you to make my Compliments to Mrs. Williams, and am with, much Esteem, your humble and obt. sert.
1. Not found.
2. For the confusion over the letter, which was apparently dated 25 April (not found), see JA to Jonathan Williams, 30 April, and note 2 (above).
3. Jonathan Loring Austin was captured in February while on a mission to Europe to obtain a loan for Massachusetts. Soon released, he reached Paris sometime prior to 12 May (Mass. Council to JA, 13 Jan., note 2, vol. 8:309; JA to AA, 12 May, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:338).
4. Compare the news here with that in JA's letter to John Bondfield of 14 May, and note 1 (above). La Motte-Picquet fought a force under Capt. William Cornwallis, not Rear Adm. Hyde Parker.
5. The source of JA's information is not known nor is it clear to exactly what he is referring. The London newspapers of 1 May had carried letters from Lt. Gen Sir Henry Clinton of 9 March, Lt. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen of 27 March, and Maj. Gen. William Pattison of 22 Feb. reporting on the military situation in America. Clinton's letter described the progress of his efforts against Charleston and mentioned in passing the very difficult voyage from New York (see Thomas Digges' letter of 3 March, and note 6, above). There was no letter from Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot, commander of the fleet carrying Clinton's army. The absence of any communication from Arbuthnot was remarked upon as “extraordinary” in the London Courant of 1 May, but no evidence has been found that such a letter existed or that it was suppressed by the ministry.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0195

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-15

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear sir]

I have engaged a Person in London1 to s[end] me all the political Pamphlets, as they come out and some necessary Books as I shall order them.2 He has sent me already one Box and one Packet, at least to a Mr. Francis Bowens Merchant in Ostend. I should be once more obliged to You, if You could inform me, in what Way I can soonest get them from thence, and whether there are any Regulations which may obstruct this Communication. I suppose there are Regulations to prevent the Introduction of religious or irreligious Books. But I shall have none sent me, either for or against Religion: My Bundles will be nothing but Politicks, and a few Books that relate to them. If I can get the English Pamphlets in this Way, I may promise to be of some little Use to You, now and then, in your Way. The English have an Advantage of Us, in one point. Their Newspapers propagate every thing favourable to them, all over Europe, immediately, whereas, the Limitations upon the Press, in this Country, prevent Us from much of this Advantage. Their Generals and Admirals calculate their Dispatches, [for the Eye of Europe, for the People, and they adjust them so as to make an Impression upon the Hopes of their frie]nds and the Fears of their Enem[ies, and in this cons]ists full one half of their Power.3
All Governments depend upon the good Will of [the] People. The popular Tide of Joy and Hope and Confidence carries away Armies and Navies to great Exertions4 for officers and Armies and Navies are but People. On the contrary, the Ebb of Sorrow, Grief and Despair damp the Ardour and Activity of Officers and Men, even the Tradesmen and Artificers, Labourers—even the Mortals adjudged to the Gallies, are benumbed by it.
The English excite the Ardour of their People, and of their Fleets and Armies, by Falsehood and Fiction, their Enemies have no Occasion for any thing but the Truth. This would be enough if it were known, but the English find means to hide it, even from their own Eyes.
There is not a more delusive thing in the World, than their last dispatches from New York—fabricated entirely to impose upon the Credulity of Friends and Enemies. I see thousands of these things every day, that might be counteracted. I dont wish You to publish any thing against your Rules, and if ever I propose any thing of that Sort { 315 } it will be from Ignorance or Inattention, and I rely upon your Knowledge and Prudence to check it. But as I am likely to have a [little more Leisure than I have had a long time, if you will give me leave, I will assist you a little in] your Labours for the [public good.]
I forgot, whether the first Audi[ence of] the Chevalier de la Luzerne has been published in Europe.5 I inclose it to You, that You may print it, if You judge proper but whether You do or not, I should be glad you would return it as soon as convenient, because I have no other Copy of the Journal of those days. The publication of such things confirms the Minds of People in their Notions of the Alliance, and gradually reconciles all to it. The People of England even are gradually familiarised to it in this Way, and brought to consider it as unalterable, and a thing to be submitted to.

[salute] My best Compliments to your amiable Family.

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Private owner, 1972). 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 Letterbook copy.
1. Thomas Digges.
2. See Genet's reply of 17 May (below).
3. In the Letterbook, JA wrote the following two paragraphs between the closing and the signature and marked them for insertion at this point.
4. In the Letterbook, JA interlined the remainder of the sentence.
5. La Luzerne's first meeting with Congress occurred on 17 Nov. 1779 (JCC, 15:1278–1284). It was announced in the Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles,” of 26 Feb. (p. 172–173), but no reference to it has been found in the Gazette de France. See also Genet's reply of 17 May (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0196

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1780-05-15

To John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

I shall not always stand upon Ceremonies, nor wait for Answers to Letters, because useful Hints may be given, which would be lost if one were to wait Returns of Posts.1
The British Channel Fleet is reckoned this Year at from thirty to thirty seven Ships of the Line, but it is well known that they depend upon Seamen to be pressed from their first2 West India Fleet, in order to make up this Computation, without which they cannot make thirty. It is therefore of great Importance that this first West India Fleet should be intercepted. It will come Home the latter End of June or Beginning of July, certainly not before the middle of June. A Ship or two of the Line, with a fifty Gun Ship or two with five or six Frigates, would have a great probability of intercepting this fleet. Is there any Service, upon which such a Number of Vessels could be better employed, than in cruising pretty far in the Bay of Biscay, and { 316 } somewhat North [South?] of Cape Clear, with this View? It is really astonishing that France and Spain, should be so inattentive to the English Convoys. The safest, easiest, surest way of reducing the Power and the Spirits of the English, is to intercept their Trade. It is every Year exposed: yet every Year escapes; by which means, they get Spirits to indulge their Passions, money to raise Millions and Men to mann their Ships.
Pray is it not necessary to think a little of Portugal? Should not Spain, France, and America too, use their Influence with Portugal, to shut her ports against the armed Vessels of all Nations at War, or else admit freely the armed Vessels of all? Under her present System of Neutrality as they call it, the Ports of Portugal are as advantageous to England, as any of her own, and more injurious to the Trade of Spain and America, if not of France, while they are of no Use at all to France, Spain, or America. This little Morsel of a State ought not to do so much Mischief so unjustly. If She is Neutral, let her be neutral—not say She is neutral and be otherwise. Would it not be proper for Congress [to discover]3 some Sensibility to the Injuries the United States recieve from these States4 such as Denmark and Portugal? I think they should remonstrate cooly and with Dignity: not go to war, nor be in a Passion about it, but show that they understand their Behaviour. Denmark restored Jones's and Landais Prizes to England without knowing why.5 Why would it not do to remonstrate, then prohibit any productions of Portugal from being consumed in America.
The prospect brightens in the West Indies. De Guichen has arrived. De la Motte Piquet has defended himself very well, secured his Convoys, fought the English even with inferiour Force, and got the better. De Guichen's Appearance dissipated all thoughts of their Expedition, and threw the English Islands into great Consternation. But You will see in the public prints all the News, which the two Courts have recieved, Versailles and London. The Force from Brest which sailed the second and that from Cadiz, which I hope sailed as soon or sooner, will not diminish the Terror and Confusion of the English in America and the Islands.
[signed] J. A.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (NNC: Jay Papers); endorsed: “Mr. J. Adams 15 May 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers.)
1. The following two paragraphs, with some changes in style and emphasis, are taken from William Lee's letter of 10 May (above).
2. In the Letterbook, this word is interlined.
3. These two words are supplied from the Letterbook.
4. The Letterbook reads “these (little) states.”
5. For Denmark's return of these prizes to England, see JA's letter of 15 March to Richard Henry Lee, and note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0197

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-05-15

To Edmund Jenings

Secret

[salute] Dear sir

I am ashamed to acknowledge that yours of 2 and 7th. are yet unanswered.1 I never read Linguet, till yours of 2d. I went and subscribed. He is ingenious, but a sort of Nat. Lee, I think.2 The English have trumpeted their omnipotence, till they have put his Imagination in a Turmoil, as well as many others. The English Powers, really consist more in the fears of their Ennemies than any thing else. But I am very much mistaken, if We dont see those fears, subside, together with the Confidence of the English themselves, before two campains more are at an End, dont be surprized at my talking of two campains. I take more than that into my Account. The English find the Carolina Rebells the most obstinate of all. Clinton had not Charlstown 29 March. If the Court had not concealed Arbuthnots Letter, perhaps We should have had more grounds of hope. De la Motte Piquet has gained more laurels in the W.I. Guichen arrived. The English in Trouble and the french in a good Way. But you have seen the Papers, e'er now.
You did not mistake the purport of the Conversation.3 Indeed I ever considered this as a desperate business. I always thought, it must depend wholly, on the good Will of the Persons in England who were in Possession of the papers. I wish M. may get her money, but have fears. Your Country, certainly did not mean to treat you with contempt. She meant to show her respect, and I wish she may do it, in some more effectual Way. As to getting at the Words of the Act, I dont see how it can be done. If I can however I will. But you have the sense of it, I am perswaded very neatly.
I have long expected that the House of Austrial, would discover some Symptoms of Impatience, under the Prosperity of an old Ennemy, and the declension of an old friend. Family alliances dont always reconcile national Interests, nor even always family Affections.4 The Hints of opening the navigation of Antwerp, dont surprise me, tho they excite my Curiosity.5 It will not do. Prussia will join the maritime powers, if the Emperor Stirs, so that old England will get nothing by sending millions as subsidies, into Germany. It will not do—it will make bad worse. I see a long History of my Pilgrimages, in the Neighbourhood of St. Iago;6 I went near enough to become a Knight of his order, at least to have a right to wear the decoration, { 318 } tho I did not go to the Cathedral. Thank you. I did not mean simply postage but did not know but you was at Expence to get some things inserted. What are the Terms on which they insert things in the Amsterdam, Leyden, Hague and London Gazettes? One and another has made such a racket about me, that I expected the Refugees in London would have discovered their Spleen e'er now. They knew me, very well, some of them, better than any body else in Europe. They have hitherto only called me Rebel Plenipo, and Chieftain. If they knew any Evil of me, they would tell it. I wonder they have not ventured to make some. They are not restrained by a regard to truth, sure, all of them,7 if they are, they are better than I thought them, at least not so bad. The dialogue of the dead, I shall inclose to Congress, and take the Liberty to guess who is the Writer.8 Adieu.
1. On 6 May JA began, but did not finish or send, a reply (LbC, Adams Papers) to Jenings' letters of 24 April and 2 May (above). In his unfinished letter, after thanking Jenings for sending newspapers and promising to send Jenings' dialogue to Congress (see note 8), JA wrote: “Linguets Pamphlet I never Saw, untill I read your Letter of the 2d. I went immediately, and subscribed for it. The last Number has several ingenious Observations; but he is such an excentric Mortal that I fancy he wont do much good. He seems to have no Information but from Newspapers, and no fixed system. His point Seems to be to make popular declamations to sell, and to care very little, for any Nations or system of Policy, but what answers this purpose. He is frequently seized With extravagant Ideas of English omnipotence<,>,. <which consists wholly in the sloth, Ignorance and Folly of her Ennemies>.”
2. The seventeenth-century English dramatist Nathaniel Lee was known for his brilliance combined with recklessness and mental instability (DNB). JA's opinion of Linguet and his Annales politiques did not prevent him from writing to Linguet on 23 May (LbC, Adams Papers) to offer material for publication, for which see JA's letter of 21 May to C. W. F. Dumas, and note 1 (below).
3. That is, a conversation between JA and Benjamin Franklin regarding Maryland's effort to obtain control of its funds invested in the Bank of England. See Jenings' letter of 12 April, note 3 (above).
4. In the Letterbook, this sentence was interlined.
5. For the opening of the port of Antwerp, see Jenings' letter of 7 May, note 4 (above).
6. Santiago de Compostella, 35 miles south of La Coruña. For JA's description of the town and its famous shrine, the supposed burial site of St. Iago or St. James, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:418;4:217–218. The “long History” was the account of JA's reception in Spain that JA had sent to Jenings for publication with his letter of 19 April (above).
7. The preceding three words were interlined in the Letterbook.
8. See JA's letter to the president of Congress, 27 May (No. 73, calendared, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0198

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Date: 1780-05-16

To Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] My dear Sir

I have two agreable friendly Letters from you, unanswered. The last is dated the 4th.1 I am much obliged, by your kind Remembrance of me. I hope to have the Pleasure to see you Some day or other at Paris, and to introduce you, to the Gentleman you mention.2
{ 319 }
As to making Peace, the Time is not yet come. We must wait, untill you have well beaten the English, and it would not be well to deprive you of the opportunity of acquiring Laurels. According to all Appearances, however the English will go to leward this Campain. Their affairs in the West Indies, are in a bad Way, in the french prosperous. It will not be altered in favour of the English by the Squadrons from Brest and Cadiz.
For the Soul of me, I can learn nothing of my Trunks. Pray write me what is become of them.3 Mr Dana Mr Thaxter and the young Gentlemen all well, desire me to send their respects to you. I am, my dear sir, with great Esteem &c.
1. Chavagnes' last known letter prior to that of 4 May was of [ca. 2 March] (both above).
2. Benjamin Franklin.
3. For JA's efforts to obtain his baggage sent on La Sensible from El Ferrol, see Chavagnes' letter of [ca. 2 March], and note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0199

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dohrman, Arnold Henri
Date: 1780-05-16

To Arnold Henri Dohrman

[salute] Sir

I have recieved the Letter which You did me the Honor of writing to me, the 11th. of April, in which You inform me, that more than six hundred of my unfortunate Countrymen have recieved Succours from You, without which they must have been reduced to Despair, or forced to engage on Board the Vessels of their Enemies.1
In this, Sir, you have distinguished yourself by Efforts of Humanity, which do You great Honor, and which deserve more Imitation in Countries, where it is a pity there is so much Occasion for them. There would not be so much Occasion for them in Portugal, give me leave to say, if it was not for the free Admission of British Men of War and Privateers into their Harbors, and for the rigorous and impolitic, and I must add, unjust Exclusion of American Men of War and Privateers from those Ports. Americans have done no Injury to Portugal, to deserve a Treatment so <hostile> partial; on the contrary, the long and free Intercourse of Commerce between America and that Kingdom give them a Right to have expected a Treatment less hostile.
My Countrymen however, ought not to be less thankfull to You for your Generosity; on the contrary, they ought to prize it the higher. You will please to accept of my Thanks as an Individual, who feels { 320 } himself obliged to every Gentleman of whatever Country, who is good enough to assist his unfortunate Countrymen.
I shall take the Liberty, to inclose your Letter to Congress or a Copy of it; but least mine should miscarry, I should advise You to write to the President of Congress yourself, and send your Letter by some of the Americans who may be at Lisbon.
I am very sorry for Captain Cunningham's Captivity,2 who has deserved well of his Country. I was informed of it, by a Letter from Lisbon before from Mr. Calf, to whom I would write if I did not suppose him gone from Lisbon. I waited on his Excelly. Dr. Franklin immediately to inform him, who tells me he has taken such Measures as were in his Power for the Relief of Captain Cunningham. I am with much Respect, your obliged & obedient humble Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Although later in this letter JA promised to send Dohrman's letter of 11 April to Congress, no copy has been found in either the Adams Papers or the PCC. For earlier letters by Dohrman regarding his efforts on behalf of Americans stranded in Portugal, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:413, 502. Other testimonials to Dohrman's activities were received by Congress, however, and on 21 June it appointed Dohrman its agent at Lisbon (JCC, 17:541).
2. For the exploits of Capt. Gustavus Conyngham, see vol. 6:40. Conyngham and the Revenge returned to America in Feb. 1779, but two months later, operating as a privateer, he and his vessel were captured by the British frigate Galatea. Because of past exploits against British shipping, Conyngham was sent to England and thrown into Mill Prison at Plymouth under particularly harsh circumstances. He escaped to the Netherlands in Nov. 1779, but was recaptured in March 1780, when the vessel on which he was returning to America was taken, and by July he was back in Mill Prison (Robert Wilden Neeser, ed., Letters and Papers Relating to the Cruises of Gustavus Conyngham, N.Y., 1915, p. xlvi–li; Francis Dana to JA, 31 July, and note 6, below). No letter from a “Mr. Calf” has been found and he remains unidentified.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0200

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-16

To the President of Congress, No. 67

Paris, 16 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 51–52). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:680.
This brief dispatch, read in Congress on 11 Sept., served as a covering letter for a number of letters and three packets of newspapers entrusted to the Chevalier de La Colombe, former aide-decamp to Lafayette and John Adams' fellow passenger from Boston to El Ferrol, who was returning to America on the Alliance. See also JA to the president of Congress, 13 May (No. 66, calendared above). In his letter, Adams noted the rumored reopening of the port of Antwerp and a report that Austria was outfitting three warships to protect its Mediterranean trade from the Barbary pirates. The information regarding Antwerp was taken from Edmund Jenings' letter of 7 May (above), while that concerning the Austrian warships came from the Gazette de France of 16 May. Adams speculated whether British influence was behind either move.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 51–52). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:680.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0201

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-17

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Sir]

[Genl. Con]way in his Speech in the House of Commons, on the 6th. [of May,1 affirms that] the Alliance between France and the United States is not natural. [Whether it] is or not, is no doubt a great question. In order to determine, whether it is or [no,] one should consider, what is meant by a natural Alliance. And I know of no better general Rule than this, when two Nations, have the same Interests in general they are natural Allies, when they have opposite Interests, they are natural Ennemies. The general Observes 1st. that Nature, has raised a Barrier between France and America, but Nature has raised no other Barrier, than the Occean, and the Distance, and this Barrier is equally great between England and America. The General will not pretend that nature in the constitution of American Minds or Bodies, has laid any foundation for friendship or Enmity, towards one nation more than another. The General observes further that Habit, has raised another Barrier between France and America. But he should have considered, that the Habit of Affection or of Enmity between nations, are easily changed, as Circumstances vary, and as essential Interests alter. Besides the fact is that the horrible Perfidy and Cruelty of the English, towards the Americans, which they have taken care to make universally felt, in that Country for a long Course of years past has allienated the american mind and Heart from the English, and it is now much to be doubted whether any nation of Europe is So universally and so heartily detested by them. On the contrary most of the other Nations of Europe have treated them with Civility, and France and Spain with Esteem, Confidence, and Affection, which has greatly changed the Habits of the Americans in this respect. The 3d. material of which the Generals Barrier is created is Language. This no doubt, occasions many difficulties in the Communication, between the Allies, but is lessening every day. Perhaps no Language was ever studied at once, by So many persons at a time, in Proportion as french is now studied in America. And, it is certain that English was never [so much studied in France, as since the Revolution, so that the difficulties of understanding one another are lessening every day. Religion is the fourth part of the Barrier—but let it be considered first, that there is not enough of Religion of any kind among the Great in England, to] make the Americans, very fond of them. [2d. that what Religion there is in] England, is as far { 322 } from being the Religion of America as that [of France.] The Hierarchy of England, is quite as disagreable to America, as that of any other Cou[ntry.] Besides the Americans knew very well, that the Spirit of propagating any Religion by Conquest, and of making Proselytes by force or by Intrigue is fled from all other Country of the World, in a great measure, and that there is more of this Spirit remaining in England, than any where else. And the Americans had, and have still more reason, to fear the Introduction of a Religion that is disagreable to them, at least as far as Bishops and an Hierarchy go, from a Connection with England than any other nation of Europe. The Alliance with France, has no Article respecting Religion, France neither claims nor desires any Authority, or Influence over America in this respect: whereas England claimed, and intended to exercise Authority, and force over the Americans, at least So far as to introduce Bishops, and the English society2 for propagating the Gospel in foreign parts, has in fact for a Century sent large sums of Money to America to support their religion there, which really operated as a Bribe upon many minds and was the principal source of Toryism. So that upon the whole the alliance with France is in fact more natural, as far as religion is concerned than the former Connection with Great Britain, or any other Connection that can be formed.
Indeed whoever considers, attentively this Subject will see, that these 3 Circumstances, of Habit Language and religion will for the future operate, as natural causes of Animosity between England and America, because they will facilitate migration. The Loss of Liberty the decay of religion, the horrible national debt, the decline of Commerce, and of political Importance in Europe and of maritime power, which cannot but take place in England will tempt numbers, of their best people to emigrate to America, and to this fashions, Language, and religion, will contribute. The British Government will therefore see themselves obliged, to restrain this, by many Ways, and among others by cultivating an Animosity and Hatred in the minds of their People against the Americans. [Nature has already sufficiently discovered itself, and all the World sees, that the British Government have for many Years, not only indulged in themselves the most unsocial and bitter passions against Americans, but have systematically encouraged them in the People.]
[After all; the] Circumstances of Modes, Language and Religion, have much less [Influence in deter]mining the friendship and Emnity of nations, than other more essential I[nteres]ts. Commerce is more { 323 } than all these and many more such Circumstances. Now it is easy to see that the Commercial Interests, of England and America will forever hereafter be incompatible. America will take away or at least diminish the Trade of the English in ship building, in Freight, in the Whale fisheries, in the Cod Fisheries in Furs and Skins, and in other particulars too many to enumerate. In this respect America will not interfere with France, but on the Contrary will facilitate and benefit the french Commerce and marine, to a very great degree. Here then will be a perpetual rivalry and Competition between England and America, and a continual source of Animosity and War. America will have Occasion for the Alliance of France, to defend her against this ill Will of England, as France will stand in Need of that of America, to <defend> aid her against the natural and continual Jealousies and Hostility of England.
The Boundaries of Territory, will, also be another constant source of disputes. If a Peace should unhappily be made leaving England in Possession of Canada, Nova Scotia, the Floridas or any one spot of Ground in America, they will be perpetually encroaching upon the states of America: whereas France, having renounced all territorial Jurisdiction in America, will have no room for <dispute> Controversy.
The People of America therefore, whose very Farmers appear to have considered, the Interests of nations more profoundly than General Conway, are therefore universally of opinion that from the time they declared themselves independent, England became their natural Ennemy, and as she has been for Centuries and will be, the natural Ennemy of France, and the natural Ally of other natural Ennemies of [France, America became the natural Friend of France, and She the natural friend of the United States—Powers naturally united against a Common Enemy, whose Interests will] continue long to be, [reciprocally secured and promoted], by mutual friendship.
It is very Strange that the English should thus dogmatically judge of the Interests of all other nations. According to them the Americans are and have been many years acting directly against their own Interest; France and Spain, have been acting against their own Interests, Holland is acting against her own Interest—Russia and the northern Powers are all acting against their own Interests—Ireland is acting against hers &c. So that there is only that little Island of the whole World that understand their own Interest—and of the Inhabitants of that, the Committees and Associations and Assemblies, are all in the same Error with the rest of the World: So that there remains { 324 } only the Ministry and his equivocal, undulating Majority among all the People upon the face of the Earth who act naturally, and according to their own Interests.
The rest of the World however, think they understand themselves very well, and that it is the English, or scottish Majority that are mistaken.3

[salute] Your Friend

[signed] John Adams
RC (CLjC) LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). Fire damage to the RC has resulted in the loss of a substantial number of words, which have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.
1. Gen. Henry Seymour Conway introduced his bill on reconciliation with America in a speech on 5 May; reports of it appeared in London newspapers on the 6th. The newspaper accounts varied and the version sent byJA to Congress in his letter of 20 May (No. 70, calendared, below) was a retranslation into English of a French text taken from the Gazette de La Haye. For what is probably the most accurate text, see Parliamentary Reg., 17:650–655; or Parliamentary Hist., 21:570–576.
Conway believed that ministerial blunders had forced the Americans to seek independence against their will, but that by 1780 they were war weary and disillusioned with their “unnatural alliance” with France. The Americans, therefore, could be expected to return to their former allegiance if concessions offered by the British government were sufficiently conciliatory. JA's reply, heavily influenced by his reading of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above), indicates his conviction that Conway's speech was but another indication that the opposition was as deluded in its belief that the American war could be ended short of independence as the ministry was in its pursuit of military victory. It was to overcome such delusions that JA wrote his “Letters from a Distinguished American,” in which he incorporated the major themes of this letter, most notably those regarding the effect of distance, language, religion, and habits on Anglo-American and Franco-American relations (“Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July], Nos. VIII and IX, below). JA's reply to Conway should also be compared with his response to the speech of Lord George Germain, given during the same debate, in his letter to Edmé Jacques Genet of 28 May (below).
2. The words “society” here and “Toryism” at the end of the sentence, as well as “undulating” and “Majority” in the final two paragraphs, were underlined by Genet because he was unable to read them. He returned this letter to JA with a covering letter of 26 May (Adams Papers) in which he requested that JA decipher the four words. JA complied in a note dated 27 May, written at the bottom of this letter, and there he promised “I will never send you another so badly written.”
3. With the exception of the greeting, date, and closing, a French translation of this letter was printed in the Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles,” 3 June, p. 22–27. There it began “le Général Conway, ecrit un Américain, a assuré dans son discours à la Chambre des Communes, le 6 Mai, que l'alliance entre la France et les Etats-Unis, n'est pas naturelle.” JA copied the text of the French translation into Lb/JA/10 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 98), between letters of 2 and 4 June to the president of Congress (Nos. 78 and 79, calendared, below). JA included his reply to Conway's speech, virtually unchanged, in letters of 20 May to the president of Congress (No. 70, calendared, below) and 30 May to Edmund Jenings (Adams Papers). The latter has not been printed, but for it and the publication of the reply to Conway in England, see Jenings' letters of 5 May [i.e. June], and note 2; and 9 July, and note 2 (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0202-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-17

From Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Monsieur

C'est avec le plus grand plaisir que je faciliterai votre correspondance et que j'accepte les offres que vous voulès bien me faire qui entrent completement dans les vües de notre Ministre.1 Je vous répons du plaisir avec lequel il donnera Son approbation, pour l'impression dans le mercure, à tout ce qui nous viendra d'une aussi bonne main. Et vous ne devès pas douter du Secret qui Sera gardé Sur votre nom pour tout autre que pour Msgr. le Ct. de Vergennes. Pour avoir par mon canal les pamphlets qui vous Seront addressés: Il faut que M. Francis Bowens aprez les avoir reçus de Londres, mette une nouvelle enveloppe avec mon addresse, et remette les paquets à Mr. de Bowens, Directeur des postes à Ostende.2 Aussitôt que je les aurai reçus je ne manquerâi pas de vous les faire passer. Each bundle of the bigness of an ordinary 8.° book, and but one at a time.
Les détails Sur la premiere audience du Che. de la Luzerne ont paru dans la gazette de France et dans le mercure. Je vous renvoye le cahier du journal du Congrez. Permettés moi de vous observer que le mercure ne paroit qu'une fois la semaine et que la place que la politique doit y occuper n'est pas fort considérable. Ainsi il conviendra que vos Essays Soient de peu de longueur. Il vaut mieux qu'ils ne Soient pas de longue haleine et qu'ils paroissent plus souvent. Cette nation ci lit tout ce qui est court et elle aime la variété. Il faut Saisir Son goût pour parvenir à la persuader.
Voulès vous bien permettre que M. F. Dana et M. Taxter, the Commodore3and the young gentlemen, on whose account we'll never cease to tease you, trouvent ici nos hommages. J'ai l honeur d'etre avec un inviolable attachement Monsieur Votre trés humble et trés obeissant serviteur Genet

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0202-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-17

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

It is with the greatest pleasure that I will forward your correspondence, and that I accept the offers you so kindly extend to me and which perfectly match our Minister's views.1 I can assure you of his pleasure in giving his approval to publish in the Mercure everything that shall come from such a good pen. And you must rest assured that your name will be kept a secret from all except the Comte de Vergennes. In order for you to receive, through me, the pamphlets addressed to you, Mr. Francis Bowens must, after receiv• { 326 } ing them from London, put them in a new envelope with my address, and deliver the parcels by way of Mr. de Bowens, Directeur de Postes at Ostend.2 Upon receiving them, I will not fail to send them to you. Each bundle of the bigness of an ordinary 8.° book, and but one at a time.
The account of Chevalier de la Luzerne's first audience has appeared in the Gazette de France and the Mercure. I return to you the copy of the journal of Congress. Permit me to observe that the Mercure appears only once a week and that the space allotted to political material is necessarily limited. Therefore it would be preferable if your articles were shorter. It is best that they not be long-winded and appear more often. Our nation likes to read short things and enjoys variety. One must cater to its taste in order to convince it.
Please permit me to give my respects to Messrs. F. Dana and Thaxter, the Commodore3and the young gentlemen, on whose account we'll never cease to tease you. I have the honor to be, with an inviolable attachment sir your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Genet
RC (Adams Papers; addressed: “M. J. Adams a l hotel de Valois rue de Richelieu A Paris”; endorsed: “Mr. Genet. and. 18 May 1780.”)
1. This letter is a reply to JA's of 15 May (above).
2. JA sent Genet's instructions to Francis Bowens in a letter of 18 May (LbC, Adams Papers). In that letter JA persisted in addressing Bowens as “Directeur des Postes” despite Genet's effort to distinguish Francis Bowens from another Bowens. In his reply of 25 May (Adams Papers), Francis Bowens promised to follow JA's directions, but requested that in the future he send his letters directly to him, rather than to his brother “the post master of this town.” On the 18th (LbC, Adams Papers), JA also sent instructions to Augs. Le Sage, who, Bowens had stated in his letter of 12 May (above), was to forward from Lille, France, to Paris the packets that he would send from Ostend.
3. The preceding two words were interlined and refer to John Paul Jones. The English passage that follows may allude to JA's visit with JQA, CA, and possibly Samuel Cooper Johonnot to Versailles on 14 May at Genet's invitation. See Genet's letters of 9 May (and note 2) and 11 May and JA's letter to Genet of 10 May (all above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0203

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-19

To the President of Congress, No. 68

Paris, 19 May 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 53– 56). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:688–690.
In this letter, read in Congress on 11 Sept., John Adams provided the substance of Spain's response to the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality. After placing the blame for any violations of neutral rights on British actions, Spain promised to defer to those neutral nations that protected “their Flags,” but reiterated that its blockade of Gibraltar would be strictly enforced. See also Adams' letter of 8 May to the president of Congress (No. 62, calendared, above). Adams provided an account of the confrontation between the Dutch ambassador, Count Welderen, and the British secretary of state, Lord Stormont, over the seizure of van Bylandt's convoy. Adams then reviewed recent events in Ireland, arguing that Ireland, despite the Irish Parliament's postponement { 327 } of any further attack upon British parliamentary supremacy until September, had “not yet finished her Role upon the Stage.” He closed with an apology for the absence of British newspapers after 5 May due to the French capture of the London-Ostend packet.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 53– 56). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:688–690.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0204

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-19

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inclose a few Newspapers, recieved the last Post, from Boston by the Way of Bilbao. There is very little News. I have Letters as late as the twenty seventh of March.
The remarkable thing in the Pensylvania Gazette is, that the Great Seal of the Province of Pensylvania, was brought into the House of Assembly, of that State, and by order of the House defaced and cut to Pieces1—which to be sure is no proof of a desire to go back to their old Government. I dont see how they could have expressed a stronger Contempt of it.
In the independent Chronicle of the ninth of March, is a list of Prizes made by the Privateers of the middle District of Massachusetts Bay only, since the last Session of the Court of Admiralty. They amount to nineteen Vessels, which shews that Privateering flourishes in those Seas, and also shews what Havock may and probably will be made, among the English Transports, Provision Vessels and Merchantmen, when the Superiority of the French and Spanish Fleets, comes to be as clear as it will soon be, perhaps as it is now, and has been since the Arrival of Mr. de Guichen.
In a private Letter of the twenty seventh of March2 I am told, that two Prizes had just then arrived, one with four hundred Hogsheads of Rum, and another with four thousand Barrels of Flour, Pork and Beef, Articles much wanted by the Enemy, and not at all amiss in Boston.
The Convention had gone through the Constitution of Government, and accepted the Report of the Committee, with some few unessential Amendments.
I have the honor to be, with great Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12; endorsed: “reçu le 24 may.”)
1. This item regarding the great seal of Pennsylvania has not been found in the Pennsylvania Gazette, but it did appear in almost the same form as given here in the Pennsylvania Packet of 10 February.
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-20

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[Tha]nks for this Paper.1 Ld George Gordon I think will be the Oliver Cromwell, after all. He seems the only Man of Common sense, and he begins with Religion. Burke, Barry, Fox, Conway, &c and all the rest appear but small Boys to Lord George.
RC (Private owner, 1972). Fire damage has resulted in the loss of the first word and possibly the greeting, although the absence of a closing and signature suggests that it was a hastily written note, lacking the usual formalities. Genet is nowhere mentioned, but the note appears to be one of the letters from JA to Genet that suffered varying degrees of fire damage.
1. The paper mentioned by JA has not been identified, but it may have been the Gazette de La Haye from which JA obtained the text of Conway's speech of 5 May introducing his bill intended to end the American war that JA sent to the president of Congress in his second letter of 20 May (No. 70, calendared, below). The paper presumably also contained the speech of 5 May by Lord George Gordon, opposition member and leader of the Protestant Association, who within a few weeks would stand accused of fomenting the riots that swept London in early June. For the riots and Gordon's role in them, see Thomas Digges' letter of 8 June, and note 8 (below); for the speeches in response to Conway's bill, see JA's first letter of 20 May to the president of Congress (No. 69, calendared, below). Gordon rose both to second and to criticize Conway's motion, saying that because it lacked any provision for granting independence to the colonies, Conway's plan would fail, and thus share the fate of all previous efforts to end the American war (Parliamentary Hist., 21:578–579). JA may have seen Gordon as the one opposition member willing to face reality and follow the only possible path to an Anglo-American peace.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0206

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-20

To the President of Congress, No. 69

Paris, 20 May 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 57–62). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:693–696.
In this letter, read in Congress on 11 Sept., John Adams reported on the speeches supporting and opposing Gen. Conway's bill of 5 May for ending the American war. Conway's own speech and JA's reaction to it were included in a second letter of this date (No. 70, calendared, below). Adams began by summarizing the speech of Robert, Earl Nugent, a former opponent of conciliation, who now supported Conway's bill. Although Adams was willing to concede that Nugent, like Conway and others, had finally accepted the impossibility of winning the American war, he believed that they had not accepted the reality of an altered world in which Great Britain was in decline and the United States in the ascendancy. He then reported the pro-ministry speech of William Eden, which he found witty and empty. Speeches by other members of the opposition, such as Lord George Gordon, Henry Cruger, and Thomas Pitt, ridiculing the ministry's refusal to acknowledge American independence and calling for its resignation, led Adams to note the opposition's “Hunger for the Loaves and Fishes” of office and their lack of a sincere interest in peace, but see his comments regarding Gordon in his note to { 329 } Edmé Jacques Genet of 20 May (above). Adams reserved his sharpest criticism for the speech by Lord George Germain opposing Conway's bill. Germain, he wrote, indulged in absurdities by stating as fact that the misery of the American people would soon put an end to congressional tyranny and prompt the states to come to terms. Adams soon greatly expanded this criticism of Germain's speech, including it in his letters of 28 May to Edmé Jacques Genet (below) and of 2 June to the president of Congress (No. 77, calendared, below). In a postscript, Adams reported that Denmark had acceded to the armed neutrality, and on 28 April had urged Sweden to do the same. Sweden was expected to announce its accession shortly.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 57–62). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:693–696.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0207

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-20

To the President of Congress, No. 70

Paris, 20 May 1780. RC partly in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 63– 69). LbC partly in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
In the recipient's copy the account of Conway's speech is in John Adams' hand, while the criticism of the speech is in Thaxter's. In the Letterbook the portions by Thaxter and Adams are reversed. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:691– 693. This letter was read in Congress on 11 September. Due to the capture of the packet bringing the London newspapers to the continent, John Adams provided a retranslation of the text of Gen. Conway's speech of 5 May as it appeared in the Gazette de La Haye and followed it with a lengthy analysis. For a virtually identical text of Adams' rebuttal to that part of Conway's speech attacking the Franco-American alliance, see Adams' letter of 17 May to Edmé Jacques Genet, and notes (above).
RC partly in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 63– 69). LbC partly in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0208

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-20

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

Arrived this morning a Brig from Philadelphia. By her are Letters for Mr. De Vergenne and Le Ray de Chaumont. No mention of the Operations in Carolina our Letters are 24 Mars she was detaind many days in the River as she left the Bay of Delawar the 23 or 24 April.
Congress has assignd a short period for calling in the whole of their Emissions in lieu of which the different States are to Issue Money upon Specific Securities for its redemption. It is impossible to know the precise effect this Measure will have but it must tend to the appreciation of the Currency as the New Emissions are to have as Substantial a foundation as can be given them.
I have recievd Bills on the Minister plenepotentiary at the Court of Madrid drawn by Congress. It proves a Fund is obtaind from that Court.1 The American Empire begins to take a permanent Lead and from appearances of the Sentiments of all the European Courts promises to place you 'ere long in a sceen of Action the most Con• { 330 } spicuous that ever yet was allotted to a Minister in the clear, explicite and inteligent execcution of this sacred trust [on which] depends the Welfare Peace and Happiness of Millions. Happy we are in our opinions of the Well placed trust.
I hope the Wine got Safe to your pray my respectful Compliments to Mr. Dana. If any Commands to Baltimore the ship we expect will be ready in the Course of Twenty or thirty Days. I have the Honor to be with due respect Sir your very hhb Serv
[signed] John Bondfield
If you had any opening where the services of young M Vernon2 could be made useful he is a promising youth has engaging qualities but wants to see and obtain a knowledge of the world. The high Sphere in which you act might posibly tend to render his services in future useful to the province in which he may reside by being thus early in life placed in the political Line.
RC (Adams Papers; addressed: “The Honbl. John Adams Esq Hotel de Valois Rue Richlieu Paris”; endorsed: “Mr Bondfield recd and ansd May 24.”; docketed by CFA: “1780.”)
1. In Dec. 1779, Congress had authorized £100,000 in bills of exchange to be drawn on John Jay (from Edmund Jenings, 12 April, note 2, above), but Spain had not yet supplied Jay with any funds by the date of this letter (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 224–229).
2. JA had offered William Vernon Jr. a position as clerk to the American Commissioners in Sept. 1778, but Vernon had declined (vol. 7:35, 80–81).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0209

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1780-05-21

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

His Excellency, Dr. Franklin, lent me the inclosed Letter from Sir Henry Clinton to Lord George Germain,1 upon Condition, that I would send a copy of it to you.2 A privateer from Boston had the good Fortune to take the Packet bound to London, and the Mail, in which among others this letter was found. It was sent from Boston to Philadelphia and there published in a Newspaper of the 8th of April. One of these papers arrived, within a few days, at L'Orient in a Vessel from Philadelphia.
It is a pity, but it should be published in every News paper in the World, in an opposite Column to a late Speech of Lord George Germain,3 in the House of Commons, as his Document in Support of his Assertions.
{ 331 }
I have the Honor to be, with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient & humble Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). The recipient's copy has not been located, but the enclosure (see note 1), in both JA's and Thaxter's hand and endorsed by Dumas: “Savànah 30e. Janvr. 1780 Prétendue Lettre du Genl. Clinton au Lord G. Germaine,” is at the Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeling, Dumas Coll., Inventaris 3, f. 87–94.
1. Dated 30 Jan. at Savannah and labeled “Private, No. 15.,” this letter was a forgery. JA's enthusiasm is understandable, for the letter painted a dismal picture of British prospects. It emphasized the inadequacy of the British forces ranged against a rebel army that was growing in strength and determination, making the continued occupation of New York difficult and an assault on Charleston a doubtful undertaking at best. Even the Continental currency's collapse was deemed of little significance, since the rebels could be expected to continue the war despite it. The letter first appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet of 8 April, probably the Philadelphia paper from which it reportedly was copied and sent to Benjamin Franklin by Samuel Wharton, likely as an enclosure in his letter of 15 May from Lorient (to William Lee, 20 July, below; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:249). Dumas had the letter serially published in the Gazette de Leyde of 30 May, 2 June, and 6 June, but expressed doubts about the letter's authenticity in his reply of [ante 30 May] (below). Not until early July would JA admit that the letter was a fraud, indicating then that he had been told that the letter was the work of a “General Howe,” probably Maj. Gen. Robert Howe of North Carolina (to Edmund Jenings, 4 July, and note 1, below).
Dumas was not alone in receiving a copy of the letter from JA. He sent one to Edmund Jenings, William Lee, and Alice De Lancey Izard at Brussels—as “an article of Entertainment” (note of 22 May, Adams Papers, enclosure not found); and enclosed another, for publication in the British newspapers, in a letter of 30 May to Edmund Jenings (RC and enclosure, Adams Papers). The publication of the forged dispatch in London, however, was probably not the work of Jenings for it appeared in, among others, the London Courant of 31 May and the London Chronicle of 30 May – 1 June. While the London Courant printed the letter without comment, the London Chronicle placed a disclaimer at the end stating that “there is little doubt that this Letter has been fabricated by the Congress,” because for the dispatch to be number fifteen, it “must have been written above two years ago.” The most recent of Clinton's dispatches published in the London papers, and about which there could be no doubt, was No. 84, dated 9 March (London Chronicle, 29 April – 2 May). For additional comments on the forged dispatch, see JA's correspondence with Dumas, Jenings, Arthur Lee, and William Lee (below).
2. Although Dumas exchanged numerous letters with the American Commissioners during JA's tenure in 1778 and 1779 (see vols. 6 and 8:indexes), this is the first letter known to have been written to Dumas by JA alone. The correspondence between the two men developed into one of the most extensive in the Adams Papers, totaling over 300 letters by 1795, the great majority from 1781 to 1783.
3. For JA's comments on Lord George Germain's speech of 5 May, see his letter of 28 May to Edmé Jacques Genet (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0210-0001

Author: Chapeaurouge, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-21

From M. de Chapeaurouge

[salute] Monsieur

Je me suis presenté Chez vous pour avoir l'honneur de vous voir et j'ai eu le malheur de n'avoir pu vous rencontrer après avoir eu le regret de ne pouvoir pas profiter de vôtre obligeante invitation.
{ 332 }
Je desirois m'entretenir avec vous sur le dessein que vous avez d'envoyer Messrs vos fils faire leur education a Geneve, et vous offrir derechef tous les Services dont je suis Capable: J'en avoir un aussi à vous demander, Monsieur, pour les deux jeunes gens Dont j'eux l'honneur de vous parler et qui enflammés de l'amour de la liberté ont quitté leur Patrie pour aller servir une peuple qui combat si glorieusement pour la sienne; ils sont actuellement à Nantes ou ils attendent une occasion pour s'embarquer pour Philadelphie; et je vous aurois bien de l'obligation si vous vouliez leur accorder vôtre protection, et quelques lettres de recommandation pour un pays ou vôtre nom seul en seroit une, L'un de ces Mrs. s'apelle De Gallatin et apartient à une des premières familles Patricienne de nôtre Republique, et l'autre qui s'apelle Serre1 en est un Cytoyen très bien né. Ce n'est point par libertinage qu'ils ont quitté nôtre pays, c'est par un veritable enthousiasme; car a L'age De 19 à 20 ans, ils l'etoient déja distingués par leurs progrès dans les sciences et par leurs bonnes moeurs: J'ay une occassion pour leur faire parvenir les Lettres que vous pouries me procurer pour eux; et je vous assure d'avance de leur reconnoissance ainsi que de la mienne.2
J'ay L'honneur d'être avec une parfaite Consideration Monsieur vôtre très humble et très obeissant serviteur. De Chapeaurouge hotel et rue de Richelieu

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0210-0002

Author: Chapeaurouge, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-21

M. de Chapeaurouge to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I went to your residence in the hope of having the honor of seeing you, but unfortunately did not succeed. This after having failed to take you up on your obliging invitation.
I wished to speak with you about your intention of sending your sons to Geneva for their education, and once again to offer you all possible assistance. I also had a favor to ask of you, sir, for the two young men of whom I already have had the honor to mention and who inflamed with the love of liberty, have left their country to join a people fighting so gloriously for its own. They are now in Nantes awaiting the opportunity to embark for Philadelphia and I would be much obliged if you could provide them with your patronage and a few letters of recommendation for a country where your name alone would suffice. One of these gentlemen is named De Gallatin and belongs to one of the foremost patrician families of our Republic, while the other, named Serre,1 is also a very well-born citizen. It was not from dissoluteness that they left their country, but from a genuine passion; for at the ages of 19 and 20, they have already distinguished themselves by their progress in the sciences and their good moral conduct. { 333 } I could forward the letters you would be kind enough to give me for them and can assure you in advance of their gratitude, as well as mine.2
I have the honor to be, with the utmost consideration, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant De Chapeaurouge hotel et rue de Richelieu
RC (Adams Papers; addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams Esr hotel de valois A Paris”; endorsed: “M. de Chapeau rouge”; docketed by CFA: “21 May. 1780.”)
1. The words “qui s'appelle Serre” were written at the bottom of the page and marked for insertion at this point.
2. No earlier letters between JA and the unidentified Chapeaurouge have been found. The two young men for whom he sought JA's assistance were Albert Gallatin, secretary of the treasury under Thomas Jefferson and JQA's colleague in negotiating the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, and Henri Serre. The two men sailed from Nantes on 27 May and reached Boston in mid-July (DAB; Raymond Walters Jr., Albert Gallatin, N.Y., 1957, p. 9–11). There is no evidence that JA complied with Chapeaurouge's request for letters of introduction. Chapeaurouge wrote again on 26 May (Adams Papers) to thank JA for a copy of the letter purported to be from Clinton to Germain of 30 Jan. (JA to C. W. F. Dumas, 21 May, and note 1, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0211

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1780-05-23

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

The Baron de Arundl, desires a Letter of Introduction to some Gentleman in Congress from me, and I dont know to whom to write upon this occasion better than to you. I inclose you some of our Constitutions.1
A vessell has arrived at L'orient, with a Paper of 8 April, and there are Letters to the Comtess de la Lucerne, and others perhaps as late as the 15th. but not a Line from Congress to any one that I can hear of—certainly none to me. I want very much to get some Correspondent who will send me the Newspapers and the Journals by every Vessell—from Baltimore or Philadelphia. The Court here, have all these Things from their Ministers and Consuls &c. &c. But We get nothing. They communicate nothing of this kind to any body, not to me nor to Dr Franklin, nor to any indeed of their own nation.2 It is inconsistent with the Maxims of this Government that they should. They communicate nothing to the Public the People being of no Consideration in public Councils,—they leave the public to pick up intelligence in scraps from England Holland, America, Spain any where and any how. So that if you intend that We shall be informed of any Thing you must, assist us.
What am I to do for Money? Not one Line have I received from Congress or any Member of Congress, since I left America.
Clintons Letter is a great Curiosity. I have written more to Con• { 334 } gress, since my arrival in Paris than they ever received from Europe put it all together since the Revolution. Whether any Thing has reached them I know not.

[salute] I am affectionately yours

[signed] John Adams
RC (CtY.)
1. “Baron de Arundl” remains unidentified, but he did forward this letter and a pamphlet to Gerry as is indicated in Gerry's reply of 10 Jan. 1781 (Adams Papers). The pamphlet presumably contained “some of our Constitutions,” but has not been identified.
2. Compare JA's statements in this letter with those in his letter o Gerry of 5 Dec. 1778, and tnote 2 (vol. 7:248–251) regarding the reluctance of the French government to share intelligence.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0212

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-23

To the President of Congress, No. 71

Paris, 23 May 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand with postscript by JA (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 71–73). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:698–699.
In this letter, read in Congress on 21 Aug., John Adams sent extracts from newspaper accounts originating in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Hamburg, and London between 2 and 12 May. Sweden and Denmark were reported to have acceded to the armed neutrality and to be in the process of fitting out warships to protect their trade, while it was speculated that Portugal might soon follow their example. There were conflicting reports as to whether the Netherlands had joined with the other neutral states or was about to reach an amicable settlement with Britain over the seizure of ships from van Bylandt's convoy by Como. Fielding. In a postscript Adams noted rumors that additional French forces were preparing to sail from Brest.
RC in John Thaxter's hand with postscript by JA (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 71–73). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:698–699.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0213

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-23

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

The Marquiss de la Fayette did me the Honour to deliver me the Letter you kindly wrote by Him.2 As his arrival diffused a general Joy, every Expression of it was given here that circumstances would allow, and particular Respects were paid by the Government as well as the People at large to this prudent and gallant young Nobleman who keeps the Cause of America so warm at his Heart. In these Respects Mr. Corny had his Share,3 as well as Capt. la Touche Commander of the Frigate in which the Marquiss arrived:4 The former, a Gentleman of Letters as well as great Politeness, who acquired much Esteem in this Town in a little Time, is gone on to Head Quarters, and from thence to Congress; the latter who offer'd his Service to the Government of this State in the true Spirit of the Alliance has just returned from a shoot Cruize on our Coast, undertaken at the Desire of the { 335 } Council. He has visited Penobscot, taken a near View of the Fort at Baggaduce, made two British Sloops of War commanded by Mawett who burnt Falmouth,5 retire up the River, brought us an acurate Plan of the Fortress, and done every Thing Time and Circumstances would allow for our Service. The Presence of this Frigate, under the Command of so brave an Officer and so well affected to the common Cause will be of great Advantage to the Trade of this State, and particularly to the Supply of this Town with Wood. Such Instances of Friendship and Aid make the most agreable Impressions on the Minds of the People, and cultivate the Alliance; and I cannot but observe with Pleasure evident Marks of the growing Friendship between the two Nations.
Mr. Bradford to whom I give this Letter, can tell you all the News respecting Charlestown, the West Indies &c. but as he goes to Gottenberg in his Way to France, and another Vessel will soon sail to Holland, or France, which may probably be an earlier Conveyance than this, I shall do my self the Pleasure to write you more particularly by that.6
The proposed Plan of a Constitution is like to be ratified by the Consent of the People; in this Town it was unanimously accepted, in every Article but the 3'd in the Bill of Rights respecting Religion.7 In our late Choice of Representatives for this Capital, Tudor was left out, and Lowell chosen, who has distinguish'd himself in the Convention.8 The late Measures of Congress respecting the Currency are as agreable as could be expected on such a Subject; and our Court have pass'd an Act to call in all the Paper Dollars by a Tax in the Course of a Year, and to raise £75000 in hard Money.9
I think with Concern on the Trouble my Grandson10 may have given you, and am extremely obliged to you for the very kind Care you have taken of him; an obligation I can never forget. The Alliance, tho daily expected, is not yet arrived, nor any Account of his Expences; but Col. Johonnot proposes to imbarque in the Hermoine, or if she should be detained here for the Summer, which at present is uncertain, he will embrace the first opportunity of going to France, and assures me he will most cheerfully make every Provision for his Son.
With every Sentiment of Esteem and Affection, I am, my dear Sir, Your's
[signed] Saml. Cooper
We mean our Boy should be Supported with all the Frugality that Decency and Comfort will allow.
{ 336 }
1. JA enclosed this letter in his to Jean Luzac of 20 Sept. (Adams Papers) and the first and third paragraphs of the text, with the greeting and date, appeared in French in the Gazette de Leyde of 29 September. It should also be noted that the first and second paragraphs are almost identical to the first and last paragraphs of Cooper's letter to Benjamin Franklin of 23 May (The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin, ed. John Bigelow, 10 vols., N.Y., 1887–1888, 7:60–62).
2. Of 28 Feb. (vol. 8:374–375).
3. Dominique Louis Ethis de Corny served as a commissary charged with the responsibility of purchasing supplies for Rochambeau's army (Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, 5 vols., Ithaca, N.Y., 1977–1983, 3:23).
4. Louis René Madeleine Le Vassor, Comte de La Touche-Tréville, commander of the Hermione, offered his services to the Mass. Council in a letter of 2 May, to which the Council replied on the 13th, requesting that he cruise from Boston to Penobscot Bay. The Hermione accomplished this mission between 14 and 21 May (same, 3:33). The Council's enthusiastic acceptance of La Touche's offer and the effect of its success in raising the people's spirits is understandable in view of the fact that the British navy's operations along the New England coast had gone largely unchallenged since the destruction of the American fleet at Penobscot in July and Aug. 1779 (vol. 8:31). The impact of a single frigate could also be seen as justifying JA's continued calls for the dispatch of additional French naval vessels to American waters (see JA's letters to Vergennes of 13, 21, and 27 July, all below; and vol. 8:index, under JA—Military Interests). Cooper's account of La Touche's expedition to Penobscot Bay and the fort at Bagaduce (now Castine, Maine) later in this paragraph is very similar to the report that appeared in the Independent Chronicle of 25 May.
5. Capt. Henry Mowat, who had burned the town of Falmouth (now Portland, Maine) in Oct. 1775, commanded the British naval forces at Penobscot Bay, notably the sloops Albany and Nautilus (vol. 3:251–252; Independent Chronicle, 25 May).
6. “Mr. Bradford” was probably Samuel Bradford, whom JA had met in Europe in 1779 and who, according to a letter from his father John Bradford to Benjamin Franklin, was returning there in 1780 (vol. 7:356, 357, 424; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:307). Cooper had also written to JA on 11 May (Adams Papers) to introduce Benjamin Guild, former tutor at Harvard and future husband of AA's cousin Elizabeth Quincy, who was sailing on the same ship as Bradford. For a sketch of Guild, and an extract from Cooper's letter, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:322. Although Cooper states that the vessel was going to Göteberg, Sweden, both men were in Amsterdam by mid-August (JQA, Diary, 1:52, 57). Cooper did not write again until 25 July (below).
7. The proposed Massachusetts Constitution, particularly Art. 3 of the Declaration of Rights, was debated at Boston town meetings from 3 through 12 May (Boston Record Commissioners, 26th Report, p. 125–135). For specific objections raised to Art. 3, see the Boston Gazette of 22 May.
8. John Lowell was elected to the Mass. House on 16 May in place of William Tudor (Boston Record Commissioners, 26th Report, p. 62, 136).
9. Adopted on 5 May, the first and tenth sections of the act provided for a special tax of £5.6 million to remove paper currency from circulation and an annual tax of £72,000, to be collected for seven years and payable in specie or specified goods, for the redemption of new interest-bearing bills of credit whose aggregate face value would not exceed £460,000 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:1178–1183; see also Adams Family Correspondence, 3:326, 328).
10. Samuel Cooper Johonnot. See the letter from his father, Gabriel Johonnot, of 8 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0214

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-23

From Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your much esteemed Favour of the 14 Instant, and find by it that the Error about my departure for America is sett right: { 337 } My Uncle1 is, if not already sailed, ready to depart from L'Orient, and I hope your Letters by him will arrive safe.
I thank you very much for the news you give me and I wish I could in return say something decisive about Clinton, but my last Letters from America give me nothing later than 18 March from Carolina. I have received Letters to day from Boston by the way of Bilboa brought by Mr. Appleton, who I suppose to be the Son of my Friend Mr. Nat Appleton of the Loan Office.2 My last Dates are in March and I have no more News about military affairs than if we had not an Enemy in our Country.
A Dutch man is arrived here who says he saw Walsingham's Fleet standing to the Westward from the Entrance of the Channel on the 18 Instant. Greaves I understand is not with him.
I send you inclosed a News Paper, not on account of the News it contains but to show you the Pensylvania Acts, and part of one of Congress incorporated therin which perhaps you may not yet have seen.3 I observe Congress estimation of the Currency seems to be at 40 for one, for they propose to receive one hard Dollar in payment of 40 paper ones for the Taxes, yet they speak of the punctual redemption of their Bills. I am sorry to observe that all the Events which it was supposed would make the appreciation of our money as rapid as its Depreciation has been, have not had the desired Effect, and I cant see when the Evil will stop. I am for my own part an exceeding great Sufferer in this Business, but I should not regret any Loss I might suffer if it tended to relieve my Country and contribute to the public Disburse, but on the Contrary I see with Concern a number of speculators who keep our money in disgrace from imaginary Causes, and make Fortunes by their Countrys distress, for were our money to rise to its original value, or near it, these People who possess large Property bought at an extravagant Rate, would by the Consequent reduction of prices, be less affluent. Thus like Hottentots they are Feeding on the Entrails of their Neighbors.
I see by the English Papers that Genl. Conway and Mr. Hartly are for making propositions of Peace. I am surprized they think America will be guilty of such base ingratitude as to join them against the House of Bourbon.
I am with the greatest Respect & Esteem Dear Sir Your most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] Jona. Williams
RC (Adams Papers; endorsed: “M. Williams May 23. ansd. 10. June.”; docketed by CFA: “1780.”)
{ 338 }
1. The letter of the 14th (above) referred to Jonathan Williams III (d. 1 May 1780), but he was the cousin of the author of this letter rather than his uncle.
2. This was John Appleton, son of Boston merchant and commissioner of the Continental Loan Office Nathaniel Appleton. He later delivered letters to JA in the Netherlands (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:390).
3. Williams is referring to a preliminary version of “An Act for funding and redeeming the Bills of Credit of the United States of America . . .,” which the Pennsylvania General Assembly ordered printed in the various newspapers for public comment prior to its second reading and which was adopted in its final form on 1 June (Pennsylvania Gazette, 29 March; Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Phila., 1782, p. 389– 397; Evans, No. 17656). The act was the Pennsylvania counterpart of the Massachusetts bill mentioned by Samuel Cooper in his letter of 23 May (and note 9, above). The act adopted by Congress on 18 March prescribing the redemption of Continental bills of credit at the rate of 40 to 1 served as the preamble to Pennsylvania's bill, which provided for the continuation of taxes levied to meet continental requisitions, the taxes to be paid either in bills of credit or in specie at the rate of one Spanish milled dollar to forty dollars in currency. The bills obtained were to be retired and replaced by a new issue redeemable in specie after six years at an interest rate of five percent. For the congressional act of 18 March and the ultimate failure of the redemption scheme, see Benjamin Rush's letter of 28 April, note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0215

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-05-24

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

This day I had the Pleasure of yours of the 20th. By the arrival of so many Vessells, at Bilbao, Bourdeaux Nantes, L'orient, and Amsterdam, I think We may fairly conclude that the British Vessells of War have other occupations than cruising, and that the Commerce of our Country is opening and extending in an agreable manner. But as these Vessells bring so few Letters to the Politicians I begin to fear our Countrymen are turning too much of their attention to Trade, from what is as yet, perhaps of more importance to their Safety, Policy and War. There is an elegant masterly Letter however from Sir H. Clinton, which will Supply a Volume from lesser, or even from more friendly Authorities, which you will soon see.
Congress are taking great and bold Steps in the management of their Finances. They are indeed necessary. I hope they build upon good foundations. But if they do not, Things cannot be much worse, before they will be better. The Measure they have ventured on is Evidence of a Vigour and an Activity that will work its Way.
I believe there has hardly been an Example of Such Unanimity, in the Sentiments of the European Courts upon a great question, as in that of American Liberty. It is no wonder. There has been no object in which they have been So universally interested, and there has been no point so obviously just, reasonable and humane. This Unanimity will Secure our Liberty and Safety, but I fear not very soon our peace. { 339 } I Suspect the Ministry are now shut up in the House of Commons plotting some new System of delusions.
The Trust you mention is Sacred indeed, So much so that it is never thought of by me, without Reverence. Your approbation of its being placed where it is, does me honour, and gives me great pleasure.
The Wine is not yet arrived. I send every day to the Bureau, but can hear nothing of it. I suffer for want of it, every day. I will send, a Letter or two to go by your Vessell. I am, with much esteem,

[salute] sir

Mr. Vernon is a young Gentleman for whom I have much esteem. But as my authority is confined to one object, it is not in my power to place him, in any situation that would be agreable to him.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0216-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-24

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçu, Monsieur, les deux lettres que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire les 12. et 19. de ce mois. Je n'avois pas besoin de votre apologie pour rendre justice aux sentiments patriotiques qui vous animent: vous connoissez les interêts et les engagements de votre patrie: je suis certain que vous n'aurez jamais d'autre objet que de consolider les uns et les autres. Vous pourrez juger par là, Monsieur, de la confiance que nous mettons dans vos principes, et de la sécurité que nous avons d'avance par raport à la conduite que vous tiendrez dans le cas où la Cour de Londres vous feroit parvenir des ouvertures de conciliation.
Je vous fais mes remerciments, Monsieur, pour les gazettes américaines que vous avez bien voulu me communiquer; j'aurai soin qu'elles vous soient renvoyées, exactement.
J'ai l'honneur d'être très-sincerement, Monsieur, votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0216-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-24

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I had the honor to receive your two letters of the 12th and 19th of this month. I did not need your apologia defending your patriotic sentiments: you are highly aware of the interests and commitments of your country. I am sure that you will never have any other motive but to consolidate them. { 340 } You may judge by this letter the confidence that we place in your principles and, therefore, of the trust that we have in your conduct should the Court of London undertake conciliatory overtures.
I thank you for the American gazettes you were kind enough to send me. I will make sure that they are returned to you.
I have the honor to be very sincerely, Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0217

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-05-25

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I wrote you once before this day1—but it is necessary I should write again. After sending my french servant, a monstrous number of Times, all over the City after my Wine I can learn nothing of it. Upon looking over the Invoice and your Letters, and showing them to the Abbé's my friends,2 they say that my Wine, was sent by a private Waggon, and that that Waggon belongs to a private Person in the Country, where I know not—and that the Wine is only marked J. A. and Addressed to Mr. John Adams at Paris. They say that it should have been addressed to me, by my name and quality and the Hotel and street where I live. So that I dont expect to get a Glass of this Wine to the lips of any of my Friends these six weeks, not then without writing many Letters and sending many Messages. I have Six or seven Trunks of Baggage belonging to me, Mr. D. Mr. T. my Children and our servants, which have been at Brest this four Months, and I have written many Letters and taken more pains about them than they are worth, and cannot get them. I have a Box And a Bundle of Papers and Books &c from London, of which I have had Letters of Advice from London and Ostend long long ago. I have sent every day for a long time to the Bureau, but can hear nothing of them. I am told all this is for Want of my Address being written on my Letters and Packetts &c. There is not a Being upon Earth who has a greater Contempt for all kind of Titles than I have in themselves, but when I find them in this Country not only absolutely necessary to make a mans Character and Office respected, but to the transaction of the most ordinary Affairs of Life, to get a glass of Wine to drink a pamphlet to read or a shirt to put on, I am convinced of their Importance and necessity here. By the Etiquette of all the Courts in Europe a minister Plenipotentiary has the Title of Excellency, and the wise men of Europe cant believe it possible a Man { 341 } should be one without it. I therefore request that for the future, you would address every Letter, Packet, Bundle Case and Cask, for me A Son Excellence, Monsieur Monsieur John Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis De L'Amerique, Hotel de Valois, Ruë de Richelieu a Paris.
1. No other letter from JA to Bondfield dated 25 May has been found. Although JA may have written without making a Letterbook copy, his concern for his wine in this letter suggests that he was referring to his letter of 24 May (above).
2. For the abbés Arnoux and Chalut, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:59.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0218

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-05-25

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Your kind favour of April 12th. is yet unanswered. With nothing at all to do, I am as busy as ever I was in my Life. Whether any good will result from it time must discover. I have undertaken to inform Congress, a little more particularly than they are want to be informed, of Some Things that have passed in Europe, which will ultimately affect them: but I find it is in vain to put my Eyes out by writing for when Letters are written, We cant get them across the Water.
I have however Sworn and I will perform, if it is possible to get Letters to them by the way of Spain or Holland, or any other Way, let the Expense be what it will they shall go.
I have a very good opinion of Count Sarsefield, and have the Honour to see him Sometimes, tho not So often as I wish. Too many unsuitable Characters it is very certain have been permitted to meddle in our Affairs, but when or how it will be remedied, God only knows. In a Country where every Thing goes and is done by Protection, and where the Maxims of Government are the direct opposites of ours, I see no Prospect of having it otherwise let who will be in or out.
As to Jobs, I never had, and never will have any Thing to do in any, let the Consequence to me, and my family be what it will. The Trusts with which you and I have been honoured by our Country are too sacred, to be tarnished, by the little selfish Intrigues, in which the little Insects about a Court are eternally buzzing. If I had neither a sense of Duty nor the Pride of Virtue, nor any other Pride—if I had no higher Principle or Quality than Vanity, it would mortify this, in an extream degree, to sully and debase so pure a Cause, by any such Practices.
{ 342 }
On the Characters you mention, I shall never condescend, to bestow my Confidence nor my Resentment nor Contempt. They have ever been treated by me and ever will be, with Justice and Civility, but they will never be my Friends.
I have received a Letter by the Way of Bilbao for you which I do my self the Honour to inclose.
I was in hopes you would have been at Congress before now. Your situation must be disagreable, but I know by Experience it can be born.
Pray how do you relish Clintons Letter. I think the Policy of France and Spain is pointed out by it, in sunbeams. I hope they will profit by it. They Seemed to be convinced of it, before this Letter arrived. They have now the Testimony of our Ennemy to the Truth and Justice of what you and I had the Honour to represent to them, in Conjunction with our Colleague last January was twelve Months.1

[salute] I am with much Esteem &c yours

[signed] John Adams
I have a Letter from Mr. S. A. and Dr. Gordon2—both desire to be remembered to you. No News from either, only respecting our Constitution which it seems the Convention have adopted, without any essential Alterations. They have published their Result for the Remarks and objections of the People, after which they are to revise it. If two thirds of the People in 95 shall desire a Convention, to revise and alter as Experience shall find necessary it is to be done. Mass. very intent on filling up their quota of the Continental Army.
RC (Adams Papers;) docketed by CFA at the top of the first page: “To Arthur Lee.” For an explanation of how this letter came to be in the Adams Papers, see JA to Arthur LeeArthur Lee to JA, 10 Oct. 1778, descriptive note (vol. 7:127–128).
1. JA is referring to the Commissioners' appeal to Vergennes for an increased French naval presence in American waters. See the Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (vol. 7:292–311).
2. These were letters from Samuel Adams of 15 March (Adams Papers) and William Gordon of 8 March (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0219

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gordon, William
Date: 1780-05-26

To William Gordon

[salute] Dear sir

I am much obliged to you, for your Letter of the 8 and 11. of March, which is the more prescious for being in so little Company, having not a line from any other, except a kind Card from Mr. S. Adams.1
I thank you for your account of the Proceedings of Convention, and am happy to learn, that they have gone through the Report of { 343 } the Committee. Mr. Jackson,2 has obliged Us, by an enumeration of the Amendments made, which if they do not improve the Plan, I am persuaded will contribute much to its acceptance, and upon the whole, I think the Constitution will be very good. The Report of the Committee, has been published in the Courier de L'Europe,3 and exceedingly applauded. The Article respecting Religion, is more admired, here than I expected. They compliment the Mass. with having outdone all other outdoings, in this respect.
Your Friend J. A. by advising an Acquiesence in the first Essay,4 meant well. But his Countrymen, who mean equally well, Saw further, as they have often done. J. A. thinks the Massachusetts are exhibiting a Phenominon in the political World, that is new and Singular. It is the first People, who have taken So much Time to deliberate upon Government—that have allowed such Universal Liberty to all the People to reflect upon the subject, and propose their objections and Amendments—and that have reserved to themselves at large, the right of finally accepting or rejecting the form. It forms a Kind of Epocha, in the History of the Progress of Society. I doubt not their final determination will be wise. The explicit5 Reservation of a Right to call a Convention in 1795, I think is judicious—for altho the right of the People to call a Convention at any time cannot be denied; yet they might be less likely to think of it, in Earnest if it had not been mentioned.
You demand, Something in the way of Barter for the News you sent me. I acknowledge the Justice of it. But you have now such Correspondences, with various Parts of the World, that you will probably have from other Quarters, all I can send you, before mine will arrive.
I have written to my Masters, every Thing, that has happend in Europe, that they are interested in, but whether they receive it I dont know. The substance of the whole detail is, that France and Spain appear convinced of the Policy and6 Necessity of pursuing the War in America, especially be Sea: that they are exerting themselves with Vigeur to this End—that 12 ships of the Line 5 frigates &c with 11,500 Troops have Sailed 28 April from Cadiz. 8 ships of the Line, besides frigates and 6,000 Troops have Sailed from Brest, 2 May. That a second division is to follow from Brest. That Ireland, is not composed to rest, notwithstanding the duplicity, or the Temperisation of their Parliament. That Committees, associations and a Congress are going on, with some timidity and Irresolution however, in England. That all the Maritime Powers, Holland, Sweeden Denmark, Portugal,7 with Russia at their Head, have formed a Confederation to support a { 344 } Neutrality, and the right of neutral Powers with arms in their Hands. That however the English, still flatter themselves with the submission of America, or at least that She will make a Separate Peace, and join England to revenge her against France and Spain, or at least be a silent Spectater of their Vengence—but no honest Thoughts of Peace.
Now, Mr. Historiographer, please to tell, Prince Posterity, one Truth, for me, and that is, that I love my Wife, and that I have left her, to see Countries where I dont find any body I like so well, to serve my Country. Pray what Motive will you impute it to? Ambition I suppose and the Love of Glory, like Tacitus and the rest of the malignant Run of impartial Historians, who will never allow any higher motive to govern Men. But if you dont tell the Prince aforesaid, that I had not enough of this Taste for Glory, to make me leave my Wife and Children, and that nothing but a sense of duty, added to all the taste I could have produced this Effect, you will want penetration8 to discover the Motives of one Heart, and I will undertake to tell Posterity my self that you are not a perfect Historian. And this Prince, will believe me, as soon as you. <&c?> I suspect, I shall be obliged to turn Historiographer too. So let us both take Care least We give the other any thing improper to say. Adieu in Haste.
1. Gordon's letter of 8 March, with an addition dated the 11th, was also directed to Francis Dana, while that from Samuel Adams was of 15 March (Adams Papers).
2. Presumably Jonathan Jackson, Newbury merchant and shipowner, delegate to the Mass. Constitutional Convention, and one of JA's colleagues on the drafting committee (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 15:56–67; Journal of the Convention, p. 9, 28). No letter from Jackson containing an “enumeration of Amendments” has been found, but see JA's letter to Jackson of 2 Oct. (below).
3. Only the covering letter signed by James Bowdoin, the preamble, and the declaration of rights from the Report were printed in the Courier de l'Europe of 18 April, and the London Courant of the same date. For an explanation of why the remainder of the constitution was not printed, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, note 2 (above).
4. By “first Essay” JA means the constitution of 1778 that was rejected. See Gordon's letter of 8 March, and note 6 (above).
5. This word was interlined.
6. The preceding two words were interlined.
7. Despite rumors to the contrary, Portugal did not join the armed neutrality until 1782 (to the president of Congress, 23 May, No. 71, calendared, above; De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 381).
8. JA wrote the remainder of the letter in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0220

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-26

To the President of Congress, No. 72

Paris, 26 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 75–77). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:702–706.
John Adams began this letter, which was read in Congress on 11 Sept., by quoting from the addresses exchanged by “the gentlemen of the law” of Dublin and Henry Grattan on 30 April as { 345 } Grattan was accorded honorary membership in the bar for his efforts on behalf of Irish liberty. Adams provided information regarding British naval activities, including a possible new relief of Gibraltar by Adm. Thomas Graves and the reported availability of only twenty ships of the line for duty with the fleet in the English Channel. The letter also contained accounts from Hamburg, London, Paris, Brest, and The Hague that were dated between 8 and 21 May and reported on the continuing support for the armed neutrality by the neutral powers, as well as the contrasting French and British positions regarding it. Adams noted the rumors concerning the imminent dispatch from Brest of additional troops and supplies to reinforce the army and fleet already sent to America and included Conde de Floridablanca's protest to the Dutch ambassador at Madrid alleging collusion between British warships and Dutch merchantmen for the supply of Gibraltar. Finally, he indicated the British ministry's latest resolve, reported in London on 19 May, to continue the war to preserve its supremacy of the seas and “bring back the Colonies of America to their ancient relations of interest.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 75–77.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:702–706.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0221

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-26

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. sir

I expected when I gave you the last West Inda. accounts the 9th. Instant1 that my next would be some thing about America but we have yet not a tittle from that quarter which bears the face of authenticity. The Inclosd Gazette account from Rodney is all we have new, and even Englishmen who think rightly are by no means pleasd with the account altho the writer has stiled it a defeat of the French fleet.2
I am longing for a line to know if you approve my plan of sending forward the news Papers and Pamphlets. If you can make any agreement with the post office (as I before advisd) I think it would be better, because you may get the papers more expedetiously; if not, the present mode may be persued, for there is no great trouble in it, and every 8 or 9 days a neutral vessel is sailing for Ostend. Tomorrow will be forwarded the third parcell I have sent3—it will contain news papers only, as there are no new political publications worth sending. I shall be made happy by a line when any good news arrives from Chs. Town—the bad flies quick enough. Almost every body here thinks Clinton will not succeed and many pray most cordially this may be the case.
The Wt. Inda. fleet is yet in Torbay and most likely will now stay for the N York, Quebec, and Inda. fleet. I am most respectfuly Yrs
[signed] W. S. C
{ 346 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Ansd 9. June.”; docketed by CFA: “W. S. C. 26 May 1780.” No reply of 9 June has been found, but see JA's letters to Digges of [6–7? June] and [28? June] (both below). Removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of a portion of the dateline.
1. No letter of 9 May has been found.
2. An extract of Rodney's letter of 26 April, describing the indecisive naval battle of Martinique, appeared in the London Gazette Extraordinary of 25 May and was reprinted in various London newspapers. See, for example, the London Courant of 26 May. In its issue of the 27th, the London Courant noted that in unpublished portions of his letter Rodney had been very critical of several of his captains, charging that their failure to obey his orders had cost the chance for a decisive victory. William Lee also sent JA an account of the Gazette report in his letter of 31 May (Adams Papers).
3. According to the list enclosed with Digges' letter of 8 June (below), Digges did send JA a bundle of newspapers on 27 May. The list indicates, however, that it was the fourth package, rather than the third.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-27

To the President of Congress, No. 73

Paris, 27 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 78–80). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers; notation by Thaxter: “NB. Nos. 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73 were delivered to Come. Gillon on the 30th. May, with several packets of Newspapers & private Letters.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:734–735.
In this letter, read in Congress on 11 Sept., John Adams noted the extensive writings by Americans in the 1760s and 1770s on the application of the British Constitution to the constituent parts of the empire. In his view, these writings had played a significant role in the American Revolution and were behind recent events in Ireland. He then inserted the text of an article from the London General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer of 13 May, regarding petitions from several districts in India calling for relief from the extraordinary powers assumed by English colonial judges. Adams declared that he was not surprised by this evidence of unrest and predicted that the continuation of the war would produce additional protests, for Britain held India “by a slender Thread and by the good Will only of a few Individuals.” He also enclosed a copy of Edmund Jenings' dialogue between William Pitt and Charles Yorke, part of which had been included in Jenings' letter of 5 March (above).
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 78–80.) LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “NB. Nos. 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73 were delivered to Come. Gillon on the 30th. May, with several packets of Newspapers & private Letters.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:734–735.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0223

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-27

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have enclosed by a former Post an Extraordinary Letter received from London. Your Excellency will perhaps understand it better than I do. I have written for an Explanation of it and the grounds and proofs, if possible to be had of the Suggestions therein. I have an opinion of my Correspondent, or should not have troubled your Excellency with his Letter.1
I cannot think that Austria is inclind or can Act against us at this Juncture; the Treaty lately made with France, relative to their mutual { 347 } possessions in Flanders, shows her disposition to remove all causes of dispute, that might arise from an Intermixture of Territory, and therefore she would not surely oppose the great Interest, which France has in the Independancy of America, which woud inevitably bring on a Rupture between them. The Emperors great Views are turnd towards, what may affect the King of Prussia either in Poland or Silesia; for this purpose He pegs his Course to the Empress of Russia and wishes perhaps an alliance with the Holstein family, and to make a King of Poland founded on that Alliance. This it is said is the object of the Journey, He is now making to meet the Empress; whether He will be able gain Her to his purposes or not is doubtful; if He does, I cannot think we can be affectd by it, but as it may embarrass England the more. But England is not now an object to Him, for she cannot spare the Money, He may want; and without it Austria cannot Act, and with it whatever He does must be done for his own proper <Advantage> Interest without serving England, unless France coud be drawn off from the pursuit of her present important War by either making Her a principal Friend or foe. This will be as difficult now, as it was on account of the Bavarian Sucession—the opening the Port of Antwerp and bringing the Trade Thither from Holland must be a work of Time to any Government, and particularly so to this. It is difficult to turn the Channels of Commerce especially of such an Oeconomical Commerce, as that of the Dutch. The Attempt must be made by Degrees and cannot be enforced by War, and therefore Holland will not take an immediate Alarm thereat, and break out into Excesses, but practice those Arts, which Her Knowledge and long possession of Commerce give Her. I have reason to think that France paid the Emperor 24 Millions per ann: as a Subsidy, but I believe there was no Treaty publishd thereof, and She took, as a caution of his good faith, The Towns of Ostend and Neuport in her Hands. This was Acting more politically than England, who gave her Money to <Russia> Prussia, without any Security, that the object of the Treaty should be fulfilled.2
By what I hear from Holland every thing goes on there, as one Coud wish; it is said, that the german Recruits for Canada are stopped in her Ports, until England makes Reparation for Damages, and to the wounded National Honour, in seizing Bylands Squadron.3 If this step is taken, it is a decisive one. I hear, that a Bill is arrived in Europe, drawn on Mr. Laurens; by this one would imagine, that He had left America, and may be soon expected. Oh! that He was Here. He might urge that Idea, which I had the Honor of laying { 348 } before your Excellency of not shipping naval stores to England from any of the Northern Powers, He might assist in prevailing on the Dutch to <Act> Acknowledge our Independancy on one and the same day, that other States did, and He might borrow Money.
I know not, whether your Excellency has seen the Debates on Conways Motion, if I understand them rightly, they show the folly of England is deeply rootd. The Opposition was as backward, as the Minister in Acknowledging our Independancy, or taking the Necessary or any steps towards peace—in fact they expect, if they thus fall in with the Humor of the King, to have Advances made to them this Summer to come into place. Thank God, America is Above the Malice of her inveterate Ennemies, and her Selfish pretended Friends.
Thus far, Sir, I had written, when I recived your Excellency's Favor of the 22d instant.4 Your Communication of a Copy of Clintons Important Dispatch gave those, to whom it was addressed, the most heartfelt Joy. They return your Excellency their Utmost Thanks for the trouble, taken therein. I partook of this pleasure, and had my own at hearing of the improving situation of our Country, and the miserable Condition of the Foe. I have been since much employed in Copying it, for the Amusement of friends and the Confusion of Ennemies.
Ought not, Sir, the present State of Affairs in America be made as public, as possible, throughout Europe? Nothing surely can give an higher Idea of our Country, and a more Contemptible one of England. This is the Moment for urging all those Powers, who have been insulted, (and who has not been so.)—by the common Ennemy, to Acknowledge our Independancy. Would not the Dutch do it, when they have been thus outragd and forced by an Abolition of Treaties into a state of nature with England? Woud not the Northern Powers do it, who have certainly an Interest therein? Will not Spain do it, who is well disposed to Us, and at War with our Ennemy? Will the King of Prussia Refuse? who was and is perhaps inclined to our Causes, and who personally dislikes the british Monarch. Can there be a Measure more effectual to force England over the Stumbling block of Independancy, which prevents a general Peace. This Step woud Compel our Ennemy to acquiesce in or adopt the same Measure, or render her Obstinacy indifferent to Us. Does any thing appear better calculated to Shew a Contempt for and to Humble an Insolent domineering Power? Unacquaintd as I am with the true State of Politics, I can only reason from general and public Ideas, but nothing seems to be so likely to attain our great Object as this Step, which { 349 } woud be easily and safely taken by such a formidable Concurrence; and being taken, it woud be an assurance, that they woud not in future do any thing, for the Service of England, in Contradiction of their Declaration and open Acknowledgement.
I did not mean to recommend to your Excellency subscribing for Linguets periodical productions, He is a silly and injudicious writer as I ever read—but He is much read, and cried up by foreigners for his spiritd Stile and some adopt the Absurdity of his Principles. For my part, shoud any one ask me what I found in his Words, I shoud answer in the Language of Hamlet Words, Words, Words.5 However in the number I had the Honor of recommending to your Excellency to borrow, there are Ideas, which might be correctd and improved.
It is said that Greaves saild the 17th. Instant, I doubt whether He can make a great Progress, the Winds having been much at the SW, and W ever since. If He goes to America, his force will be formidable, and He will get there time enough to Embarrass Monsr. Ternay, shoud He be gone there. Should neither the [one] or the other be gone there, but both to the West Indies, which is perhaps the true Object, France in Junction with Spain will be much Superior. He may indeed have saild to Gilbraltar to attack the Spanish fleet and then either return to England or go to into the Mediterranean. I Hope every possible Event is provided for.
I think with your Excellency, that it is probable, that the Trustees of the State of Maryland may refuse to pay the money standing in their Names, but they must do it at their Peril, we have effects in our Power, that may Answer the Consequences.
My Correspondent in London says, speaking of the Motions of Conway Hartley and Pownal, “that these proposers of Peace have no firm ground to stand upon, but totter and grope their way About like Sickely invilids, who have been left in Solitude and the dark.” Nothing can mark the Caracters of these Men better. The inclosed are the Productions of my Friend, who going to the Masquarades, once as a Cook, and another Time as a Tallow Chandler, distributd copies thereof to the public.6 I think your Excellency will see some humor in them. He tells me the Laws of the Admiralty are <repr> out of Print and He cannot hear of the other Pamphlet, but will Continue his Search.
I have written to Spain two or three Letters, but have receivd no answer, I suspect Correspondence is stopt. Can your Excellence put me in the way of writing there safely?
The Insertion of Important Matters in the public Papers cost { 350 } nothing, the Publishers receive Information with many thanks and therefore your Excellency will have no Concern on that Head.
I hope your Excellency will Keep the purport of the Letter, I had the Honor to send, a Secret, until I have heard further About it from London.

[salute] I am Sir your Excellencys most Faithful & Obedient Hble Servant.

[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M Mr Jennings. ansd. 28 April and June 6.”; docketed by CFA: “1780.” JA's reference to “28 April” is probably an oversight and should probably be “28 May.”
1. Jenings wrote to JA on 22 May (Adams Papers), enclosing a letter that he had received “from my Confidential Friend in London” and requesting JA's comments on it. JA returned the enclosure with his reply of 29 May (below). Jenings' “Friend” or “Correspondent,” as he is referred to in this letter, has not been identified, nor has any copy of the enclosure been found, but for its probable content and JA's comments on it, see his letters to Jenings of 29 May, 6 June, and 11 June; as well as Jenings' letters of 2 June and 5 May [i.e. June] (all below). The remainder of this letter is largely a reply to JA's of 15 May (above).
2. France and Austria were allies under the terms of the first and second treaties of Versailles of 1756 and 1757. The first was a defensive alliance providing a mutual guarantee of European possessions, with each party promising to provide the other with 24,000 troops if the territories of either were invaded by a power (i.e. Prussia) allied with Great Britain. The second treaty, agreed to following the Prussian invasion of Saxony, provided for the dispatch of additional French troops and the payment of a 12 million florin subsidy to Austria in return for which France would occupy several frontier towns of the Austrian Netherlands, including Ostend and Nieuport. In 1780, despite his irritation at the French refusal to aid Austria under the terms of the treaties during the War of the Bavarian Succession, Joseph II had no intention of overturning the alliance with France and allying himself with Britain. The meeting with Catherine II at Mogilyev in early June was instigated by Joseph as an effort to create a foundation of good relations between the sovereigns and to initiate exploratory discussions of a possible alliance. Although no substantive action was taken at the meeting, progress was made toward an alliance that for Austria would forestall Prussian interference in the East, and for Russia would obtain Austrian assistance in its efforts against the Turks (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:336–339; De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 216– 219, 313–315). Jenings' mention of the Holstein family in connection with Catherine II is in reference to her connections to a branch of that family, but it had no relevance to the upcoming meeting (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:657).
3. This report appeared in the London papers and was attributed to a letter from Sir Joseph Yorke. See, for example, the London Courant, 13 May.
4. This letter (Adams Papers) was directed to “Mr. Jenings, Mr. Lee, and Mrs. Isard” and transmitted a copy of the fabricated letter from Clinton to Germain of 30 January. JA enclosed another copy of the fabrication in his letter to Jenings of 30 May (Adams Papers) which is not printed, but see JA's letter of 21 May to C. W. F. Dumas and note 1 (above). William Lee wrote to JA on 31 May (Adams Papers) to thank him for sending the “Clinton” letter.
5. Hamlet, II, ii, line 194.
6. No enclosures have been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-28

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Sir]

When a great Minister, of an ancient [and powerful nation, which { 351 } has been renowned] for its Wisdom and Virtue, as well as Power,2 arises, in a popu[lar assembly, which] is the most conspicuous Theater in the World, and declares, a[s it were in the] face of the Universe, and with an Air of Reflection, of delibera[tion, and of so]lemnity, that, Such and Such, are his own opinions of the Trut[h of Facts and] the Probability of future Events, one cannot call in question, his go[od faith,] although We may know his Information to be false, and Judgm[ent errone]ous.
Lord George Germaine, in the debate in the house of Commons, on the Sixth [of this] month, declar'd that “he flattered himself, the completion of the chief [Wish of] his Heart, Peace with America, on what he thought, good and honourable [Terms] for Great Britain, was not far off. That he verily believed, and his Belief [was not] merely Speculative, but founded, on recent Information, that the moment of con[ciliation] was near. His Lordship described the misery, which the Americans felt at this [time,] and Stated, that the greatest majority of the People there, were ready, and desi[rous to] return to their Allegiance, but that they were prevented by the Tyranny of th[ose who] had got the power of Government into their hands. He did not believe, the Co[ngress] would ever treat for peace: but from the Condition of Affairs, in America; fr[om the] depreciation of their paper currency; from the poverty, and distress of the Coun[try] from the great debt, it groaned under; from the dissatisfaction which all Rank[s of] people expressed at the Alliance with France; from the little benefit America h[ad de]rived from that Alliance; from all these considerations, he did believe, that the [people] of America, the Assemblies of America, would Soon come to terms.”3
In the Phrase “good and honourable Terms for great Britain,” there may be some [am]biguity: but there can be no reasonable doubt, that his Lordship meant, either to [return] to their allegiance to Great Britain, or at least, to make a Peace with her separ[ate] from France.
Whether the Americans ever will agree to Such Terms, or not, being a question con[cern]ing a future Event, cannot be decided by Witnesses, nor in any other Way, than by p[ro]bable Arguments. There is one Argument, which his Lordship does not appear to h[ave] considered. It is of some Weight. It is this. That in order to return to their A[lle]giance, to the King of England, or make a Peace with him; Separate from France[,] they must involve themselves, in a certain War, with France and Spain, at least[,] and, indeed, according to present appearances, with Russia, Sweeden, Denmark[, and H]olland and Portugal; for every one of these appears to be as decided, against { 352 } [the Claims, Pretensions and Usurpations of Great Britain, upon the Seas as France and Spain, are. There is not an American Merchant, Yeoman Tradesman, or Seaman, but what knows this or will know it very soon. Ameri]cans must therefore be des[titute of that common share of Reason which God] has given to Men, to exchange the Friendship [of all the nations of the Wor]ld for their Enmity, merely for the Sake of returning to a Con[nection with Great Britain, which] could not protect them, and which they have the best reasons [to dread as the g]reatest Evil that could befal them, from the unheard of Tyrannies [and Cruelties] they have already experienced from her. His Lordship is desired to co[nsider this,] and to ask himself, if he was an American, whether he would wish to [run un]der the broken, falling Fragments, of an Empire that is dashed to [Pieces, li]ke a China Vase,4 and commence a fresh War,5 against a Combination [of all the] nations of the World, who now discover a degree of Esteem and regard [for Am]erica?
[If the A]mericans are as miserable as his Lordship represents them, will they be likely [to incre]ase that misery, and make it indefinite or perpetual,6 by espousing the [Cause of] a ruined Empire, and going to War, with half a dozen, that are not [ruined]?
[If We] believe the Testimonies of Witnesses, who come from all parts of America, We sha[ll be con]vinced7 that his Lordship deceives himself. Every Man from that country [who kn]ows, the Principles and opinions of the People, declares, that they are, with an [Unani]mity that is unexampled in any other Revolution, firmly determined, to ma[intain t]heir Sovereignty, and their Alliances, and that there is nobody in America [that] whispers a Wish of returning to the Government of Great Britain, or of m[aking] a Seperate Peace. But if his Lordship was a candid Enquirer after Truth, [and] had a mind Sufficiently enlightened to discover the means that are in the [Power] of all men, of obtaining it, he might detect<ed> his Error. There are certain [Mar]ks, by which the opinions, Inclinations, and Wishes of a People may, with [infa]llible Certainty be discovered, without recurring to Witnesses, or to remote [arg]uments.
[Th]e Press; the Towns; the Juries; and the Assemblies, to mention, no more [are] four Sources, from whence an unerring demonstration of the true Sen[ti]ments of the People of America, may be drawn.
[Th]ere is not in any nation of the World, So unlimited a Freedom of the Press, as is now established in every State of America, both by Law and Practice. Every Man in Europe, who reads their Newspapers, must See it. There is nothing, that the People dislike, that they { 353 } dont attack. They attack Governors and Magistrates of every denomination, officers and Generals of the Army of every Rank, assemblies and Councils, Members of Congress and Congress itself, whenever they dislike their Conduct. But I appeal to every Newspaper, upon the Continent, whether one Paragraph, one Wish,8 or one H[int of] returning to the Government of Great Britain, or making a Seperate Peace, has ever ap[peared. The Towns, in America, are small districts of Territory, on an Average, perhaps Six miles Square by the ancient Laws of the Country, which are Still in force, any Seven Inhabitants] of one of these Towns [have a right to demand of the Magistrates a public] assembly, of all. There are necessarily, [several of these Townmeetings, ev]ery year—and generally, a great number of them. In th[ese assemblies every] Man, high and low; every Yeoman, Tradesman, and even [day Labourer, as well] as every Gentleman and public magistrate,9 has a right to vo[te] and [to speak his senti]ments of public Affairs; to propose measures; to instruct their Repr[esentatives in the] Legislature &c. This right was constantly, and frequently, used, under [the former] Government, and is now, much more frequently used, under the new. T[he World has] Seen some hundreds of Sets of these Instructions to Representatives, under the [former Gov]ernment, wherein they enjoined, an open Opposition to Judges, Governors, [Acts of Parlia]ment, King, Lords and Commons of Great Britain. What is there now, to [prevent] them from opposing Congress? Nothing. Has a Single Vote of one of these T[owns been] read, or one Speech heard, proposing, or uttering a Wish to return to the Go[vernment] of Great Britain? Not one. Is not this then a demonstration of the Sen[timents] of the People?
Juries, in America, were formerly, another organ, by which the Sentiments [of the] People were conveyed to the Public. Both grand Juries and petit Juries, have ex[pressed] themselves, in Language, Sufficiently bold and free, against Acts of Parliament[, and] the Conduct of Great Britain: but has any one ever uttered a Word against Co[ngress,] or the Assemblies, or the Judges under their new Governments, or a Wish to [return] to the Obedience of England? Not one.
But it is said, that the Paper money, embarrasses Congress. What then? Does [this] tend to make them dissolve their Union? to violate their Alliances? Would [the] Paper Money embarrass Congress, less, if they had a War to maintain aga[inst] France and Spain, than it does now? Would not the Embarrassment be much [greater.] Does { 354 } the Paper money, prevent the Increase and the Population of the States? [No.] Does the War prevent it? No. Both the Population and the Property, have [increased,] every Year, Since the War began. And all the Efforts of Great Britain, cannot pr[event] it. On the Contrary, has the Wealth and Population of Great Britain increas[ed?] has her Commerce increased? has the political Weight of the nation in the Sc[ales] of Europe10 increased? Let a melancholly Briton tell.
His Lordship talks about the Misery, of the People, in America. Let him look at home and then Say, where is Misery—11 where the hideous Prospect of an internal civil War, is added to a War with all the World? The Truth is that Agriculture and Manuf[actures,] not of Luxuries but of Necessaries, have been so much increased, by this War, in America that it is much to be doubted whether they ever fed and cloathed themselves more easi[ly or] more comfortably. But besides this, the immense depredations they have made up[on the British Trade, have introduced vast quantities, of british Merchandizes of every Sort—and in Spight of all the Exertions of the British fleet, their Trade is opening and extending with various Countries] every year, and [Britain herself is forced to aid it, and will be more and] more, a recent Proof of which, is the [Permission to import American Tob]acco into the Kingdom, from any Part of the World in [Neutral Bottoms. The great debt is also] mentioned. Do the Americans pay an Interest for this debt? Is [. . .] necessary of Life12 taxed to Perpetuity to pay this Interest? Is the [whole debt, equal] in Proportion to their Abilities, to the Debt of England? Would the debt [be rendered] less, by joining Great Britain against France and Spain? Would the War [against] France and Spain be shorter? less bloody? or less expensive than the War [against] England? By returning to England, would not their debt, be ten times more [burdenso]me? This Debt, is as nothing to America, give her Peace. Let the Americans[, trade fre]ely with one another, and with all other nations, and this debt, would be [but a f]eather. Let them come under Great Britain again, and have the Co[mmunica]tion between one Colony and another obstructed as heretofore, and their Tra[de confined] to Great Britain as heretofore, and this Debt would be an heavier Mi[lstone] about their Necks, than that of England is about hers.
[A gener]al Repugnance to the Alliance with France is mentioned. A greater Mist[ake was ne]ver made. On the contrary, every Step of Congress, every Proceeding of every [assem]bly upon the Continent; every Speculation in the Newspapers, demonstrates [the h]igh Sense { 355 } they have of the Importance of this Alliance. It is said that this [allianc]e has been of little Utility. Has it not employed the British Army? has it not [cut ou]t work enough for the British navy? has it not wasted for England her [annu]al twenty millions? has it not prevented all these from being employed [agains]t America? has it not given Scope to American Privateers? has it not [protec]ted American Trade? has it not hurt13 that of Great Britain? has it not [enga]ged Russia, Holland, Sweeden, Denmark and Portugal, at least to a Neutralit[y, at] least has it not contributed much to these vast Advantages to America?14 has it not taken away from Great Britain the Dominion of the Sea?15 It is true the alliance might have been of more Utility,16 with the Same Expence, if France [and] Spain had sooner adopted the Policy, of sending more of their Forces to America. [But] they are now so well convinced of it, that unless Miracles are wrought to prevent it <the World> America and great Britain too will see more of the Effects [of] this Alliance. Let Britain tremble for the Consequences of her own Folly and her own [Crimes].
[His]17 Lordship Says that the People, would return to their Allegiance, if they were not prevented by the [Ty]ranny of those, who have seized upon Power. This is only proper to raise a Smile. What [Po]wer have they seized? in a Country, where every Man between Sixteen and Sixty Years of Age [be]longs to a legal established Militia, and has Arms in his Hands. Where this Militia is go[ver]ned Only by Men that this very Militia choose every Year. Where the Assemblies [Sen]ates and Governors are chosen every Year, by this very Militia. Where the Congress18[is also elected every year by these asemblies and can be removed by them at any time, holding only such power as is granted it by that militia? It is said that the Congress is maintained in its power by the army, but his Lordship in his wisdom] represents the Continent[al Army as too weak to match the British] army? What would become of it then, [if a major part of the militia were] to join the British army? With or without the British [if the militia we]re to turn their arms against the Continental Army, they could [crush their opponent bes]ides the Continental Army, only occupies, a few Spots of two or thr[ee states and is devoted to restricting t]he British Army to their Fortresses and to the Protection of their [men of war and can have] no Influence upon 9 or 10 whole states, which have none of [their troops.]
[Hi]s Lordship concludes with a distinction, if possible less founded than his asser[tions. H]e says that Congress will never treat, but the assemblies will. Where does his Lordship find [the Ground { 356 } of] the Difference, between the Congress and the Assemblies? Are not the members of [Congress] made of the same Clay? Are they not themselves, Members of the Assemblies? Are [they not] the Creatures of the assemblies? Are they not annually created? Are they not dep[endent ev]ery moment upon the Assemblies for their Existence? have not the Assemblies a [ri]ght to recall them, when they please and appoint others?19 have not the Asse[mblies a C]onstitutional Right to instruct them, how to act? if they do not obey these [Instructions, c]annot the Assemblies displace them, and appoint others, who will be more obe[dient? if] the Assemblies desired a Reconciliation, with Great Britain, could they not [appoint a] Congress who desired it, too?20 if the People desired such a Reconciliation cou[ld not th]ey appoint Assemblies that would endeavour to effect it?
But I have been too long. His Lordship betrays such21 Misinformation of Facts; [such an] Inattention to those obvious Marks of the Feelings of a People, which are infallib[le Ind]ications of their designs; and such a Want of knowledge of the Laws and Co[nstitu]tions of the united States of America; as excite Astonishment in an im[partial Exa]miner, and a real Commisseration for the unhappy nation, which Seems devo[ted to] destruction from his Errors and Delusions.22
I have the Honour to be, with great Regard, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC: Genet Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Genet Premier Commis des Affaires etrangeres A Versailles”; note immediately below the address: “The Papers, which have Duplicates Mr. Genet is requested, if he thinks proper to send to Holland—the rest he may keep. John Adams.” LbC (Adams Papers). The top, left, and right margins of all five pages of this letter have been damaged by fire, with the loss of the dateline, salutation, and other text. The missing text has been supplied in brackets from the Letterbook copy except in the case of the fourth paragraph from the end, which does not appear in the Letterbook. There the text has been reconstructed from the French translation that appeared in the Mercure de France (see notes 1, 17, and 18). Substantive differences between the Letterbook and recipient's copies are described in the notes.
1. In his brief reply of 31 May (Adams Papers), Genet thanked JA for his letter, as well as for the newspapers enclosed with it, and stated that he believed that Vergennes would want to see the letter printed in the Mercure de France. The letter, except for the greeting, date line, and closing, was translated and printed as part of the “Journal Politique de Bruxelles” in the Mercure of 17 June (p. 116–125). JA copied the text of the letter as it appeared in the Mercure into Lb/JA/12 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel 100), between his letters to the president of Congress of 29 June (No. 88, below) and 6 July (No. 89, calendared, below). For other printings of JA's analysis of Germain's speech, in Great Britain and the United States, see JA's first letter of 2 June to the president of Congress (No. 77, calendared, below) and Edmund Jenings' letter of 9 July, and note 2 (below).
2. The preceding four words do not appear in the Letterbook.
{ 357 }
3. Lord George Germain's speech formed part of the debate over Gen. Henry Seymour Conway's motion for reconciliation that occurred on 5 May and was reported in the London newspapers of the 6th. For Conway's motion and JA's analysis of it, see his letter to Edmé Jacques Genet of 17 May (above). JA's source for this quotation has not been identified, but the account of the speech given here is very close to that in the Parliamentary Reg., 17:661. Like his reply to Conway's speech, JA's response to Germain shows the impact of his reading of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above) and the arguments made in it point toward those used in JA's “Letters from a Distinguished American” (“Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July], below). Unlike the rejoinder to Conway, which sought to remove the delusions of the supposed friends of America that reconciliation could take place short of Britain acknowledging American independence, JA's answer to Germain was intended to dampen any confidence that the ministry or its supporters might have that military victory was close at hand or that Americans would ever agree to the restoration of the Anglo-American relationship that existed before the war.
4. In the Letterbook the preceding four words were interlined.
5. In the Letterbook the preceding five words were interlined to replace “for Shelter.”
6. The Letterbook reads “increase that misery ten fold, and make it perpetual.”
7. The passage in the Letterbook from the previous comma reads “We shall believe.”
8. In the Letterbook the next two words were “one Sigh.”
9. In the Letterbook the preceding eight words were interlined.
10. In the Letterbook the preceding five words do not appear. “Scales” is supplied from JA's letter of 2 June to the president of Congress (No. 77, calendared, below). In the Mercure this was translated as “balance du pouvoir.”
11. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence was interlined.
12. In the Letterbook this sentence begins “Is every necessary and Convenience of Life.”
13. In the Letterbook “hurt” was inserted to replace “almost ruined.”
14. In the Letterbook there follows a canceled passage: “Has not France in her Turn received benefits from this alliance with Europe.”
15. In the Letterbook this question was interlined, and the remainder of the paragraph is crowded into the available space indicating that it may have been an afterthought.
16. In the Letterbook “Utility” is followed by “to all the allies.”
17. This paragraph does not appear in the Letterbook. In the recipient's copy it begins at the bottom of the fourth page and continues at the top of the fifth. Some portions of words were lost due to damage to the left and right margins of page four; the missing material has been restored here through consideration of the context of the word, except in the case of “[Sen]ates,” which is taken from the translation in Mercure. Damage at the top of page five resulted in the loss of a considerable amount of material. The text of this paragraph as printed has been reconstructed by consulting the French translation in the Mercure, but because it is a translation the reconstruction can be only conjectural and thus the French text provided in note 18 should be consulted. It should also be noted that in the reconstruction, allowance has been made for the space available in the manuscript to accommodate the reconstructed text. The reconstruction should also be compared with the text of corresponding paragraphs, the third and fourth from the end, that is provided with the calendar of JA's letter of 2 June to the president of Congress (No. 77, calendared, below). A comparison of the two versions seems to indicate that when JA composed the letter to Congress he used the Letterbook copy of the Genet letter and thus at this point was forced to draft the paragraph anew.
18. From this point the remainder of the translated paragraph in the Mercure reads “où le Congrès est pareillement élu tous les ans par les assemblées et peut étre révoqué par elles au premier moment, aucun corps peut-il s'emparer d'un pouvoir quelconque qui lui soit conféré par cette malice? Dira-t-on que le Congrès se soutient par l'armée Continentale. Mais, selon the Lord G., cette armée est si foible qu'il lui est impossible de se mesurer avec l'armée Britannique. Que deviendroitelle donc si la majeure partie de la malice, qui n'est autre chose que la Peuple, se joignoit á l'armée Britannique? Mais, sans cette réunion, la malice suffit seule pour écraser l'armée Continentale. D'ailleurs cette armée n'occupe que quelques espaces de terreins très-bornés { 358 } | view dans deux ou trois états pour cerner l'armée Britannique dans les points qu'elle y occupe, et pour protéger les vaisseaux de guerre Américains, et il lui est impossible d'avoir la moindre influence sur neuf ou dix grands Etats qui n'ont pas dans leur territoire une seule compagnie de l'armée Continentale.”
19. In the Letterbook this sentence ends as follows: “by Law and the Constitution?”
20. The remainder of this paragraph does not appear in the Letterbook. Instead JA wrote “But I have been too long—it is tedious to expose Things that are so plain. So many Views of such a subject present themselves, that it is difficult to be concise.”
21. In the Letterbook this was followed by “a total.”
22. The Letterbook copy ends at this point.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0225

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-28

To the President of Congress, No. 74

Paris, 28 May 1780. LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). Although a letter from John Adams of 28 May was read in Congress on 11 Sept. (JCC, 18:817), no letter of that date is in the PCC. Notations on the Letterbook copies of Adams' letters of 1 and 5 June (Nos. 75 and 80, calendared, below) indicate, however, that the original and a duplicate were sent off on 1 and 23 June respectively.
This letter included a digest of British newspaper reports concerning the appointment of Adm. Francis Geary to command the Channel fleet, the long delayed departure of Adm. Graves' and Como. Walsingham's squadrons for America, the reported dispatch from Havana of a Franco-Spanish fleet for an attack on Pensacola, the situation of the French and Spanish fleets in the West Indies, and the uncertain state of Rodney's health. John Adams devoted the most space, however, to an extract from a letter by the Russian ambassador at Istanbul to his counterpart at The Hague. The Russian diplomat refuted rumors of an impending Russo-Turkish war, emphasizing instead that Russo-Turkish relations had rarely been better and that Ottoman policy clearly favored the interests of the European neutrals.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). Although a letter from John Adams of 28 May was read in Congress on 11 Sept. (JCC, 18:817), no letter of that date is in the PCC. Notations on the Letterbook copies of Adams' letters of 1 and 5 June (Nos. 75 and 80, calendared, below) indicate, however, that the original and a duplicate were sent off on 1 and 23 June respectively.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0226

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-28

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I am honord with your favor of the 14th. my last of the 20th. handed you the inteligence then at hand since which we are wit