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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0012

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-05

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the honor of receiving your favor of the 27th Ultimo,1 which gives me much Satisfaction to find that England is not likely to have any foreign Assistance; I was, I must Confess, much imposed on this head, not by the common reports but by an account, which a very faithful and, in general, an intelligent Correspondent gave me.
The regular Troops in Ireland cannot possibly exceed 4000, and those chiefly Horse;2 there are besides about 40,000 Men, who have regimented themselves and already acted in Arms, contrary to Law and in violation of the freedom of Parliament. These will defend their Country against their foreign and domestic foes. England is considered in no very friendly light by them, altho the King has calld them his faithful and loyal people at a time when they have done much more, than America had, when He abused them with the name of Rebels. But his Object is to make the Irish His friends, and not the friends of England, that He may serve himself of them. For this purpose, He has courtd, and stil Courts the Body of the people composed of roman Catholics, by every possible Sacrifice of the { 16 } antient System; but by doing this, He has in general disgusted the Dissenters, who are the richest and most industrious party. They will I doubt not, leave the roman Catholics and Church Men to settle their Differences, and agree with one another, as they Can, and go to America, where they will be a valuable Acquisition. You will see by the Papers, that the bill for the repeal of Poynings Law is not yet brought into the House, the Opposition wisely endeavouring to hav it backed by the grand Juries of the several Counties, which I doubt not will be done, shoud this pass the Irish Legislature, the Council of England will be much embarrassed, it will either Acknowledge the Absolute Independence of Ireland on the Parliament of G B, or by a refusal disgust the Irish, who will plainly see that the Supreme Power is only retaind to invalidate the late Concessions. Ireland will by Consequence be very sparing in her grants, and wait for some favorable Opportunity to carry its Point. Shoud the bill pass the Council of England, the King will gain a great Party in Ireland, and the other Island will be dissatisfid at losing another of its Royalties. This internal Strength of Ireland will be great, if this Question can be settled to general Satisfaction, but she is actually so poor and exhaustd, that she cannot give much money, and be of great Assistance to England at present. Shoud Commerce be established and the Idleness of the people broke through, in Time the real Strength of G B will be much increas'd.3
I have never Known the parties of G B Act with more Consistency than at present, their Committees of Correspondence so wisely established according to the example set them by your great friend Mr Samuel Adams and yourself, gives them a force, which I hope nothing can resist. I was informed at the End of last Summer with great Joy, by a Friend, who is an active Man in Opposition, that all parties had Agreed to sacrifice their private Animosities, and give up their particular pursuits and unite for the public good and Happiness: but I was told at the same time, that with respect to our Country, there was a Constitutional Impossibility in Suffering her Independancy: this they pretendd was the Language and Sentiment of Lord Chatham, as if his words Alone were sufficient to make Law or right, but I understood at the same time this was a Language held to please the King, that He might be renderd thereby less adverse to them. I felt great Uneasiness at seeing them Court Him, by this Sacrifice of Common Sense and Common Right, in order to get into place; for these words are nonsensical and the Idea they give, if they give any, are most fatal. I have written on this Subject to them, this is certainly { 17 } a proof of some rottenness and makes me doubt of the Soundness of their principles, and duration of the present Union. However they go on well in their plans, which are well laid. The first proof of the people of England recovering themselves from their former Stupidity, and showing a degree of Sensibility was in the affair of Kepple and Palliser, the next the Choice of a new Member for Middlesex; and afterwards of Wilks as Chamberlain.4 The proceedings of the Opposition in Parliament have been likewise so well plannd and conductd, that they daily gain ground. The last Minority on the Motion for a list of Pensioners was formidable. The Confusd Conduct of Lord North renders him ridiculous, and the Consciousness of his Weakness and Danger was evident to the World, when he dared not to divide the House, with which He was threatnd by the Minority, on the putting off the reading Mr. Burkes Plan,5 which was to have come on last Thursday, and of which I am anxious to Know the fate. It is possible it will pass the Commons with Alterations and be rejectd by the Lords, for the King will not part with a Jot of his Influence, or if He does part with that Influence, which is gaind by Corruption, He will take care to maintain and increase that, which is securd by military forces. I have long seen that this was his Object, and it is now Evident to all. His Alterations in the Militia Laws, which have alterd their original Nature and Intention—his turning out the Lords lieutenants who displease Him6—his Management of the Army from his first Elevation to the Throne—the raising the fencible Men7 of Scotland, as they are calld and the admission of roman Catholics into the Army are all Proofs of his modelling the Military force for himself and against his Country: fortunately however He has weaknd it by his Corruption and his bad Choice of Commanders to such a degree that the antient Spirit of the Soldiers is much evaporated. All my late Letters, to England have Asked, whether the Opposition is prepared for the worst? Whether it is prepard for a denial of its demands, or for the Consequence of the Success it aims at? Whether if it gains the Ascendancy in Parliament it proposes to Acquiesce in the Kings will or to thwart it? I have said that it must know nothing can bend Him to its desire, and therefore there is nothing to be done but to Eat their pudding, like Slaves in Silence, or be overuld by the Army. It being the Language of Many, besides Mr. Smelt of York,8 That the Kings Power is not great enough and that if they are determind to try the great Question, greatly, they must now think of the Means. If they do not the present plan is defective. As long as Parliament is obedient this King will suffer it to meet, when it ceases to be so, He { 18 } must get Power how and where He can, his Honor, as He calls it, and the heads of his Ministers demand the Utmost for their Protection. You Ask, Sir, whether I think the people have spunk enough to resent their Injuries and do themselves Justice? I think they have no true Spunk, their antient Spunk is gone, they have by no means that Heroism they once possessed, their principles are thoroughly Corrupted, but, I think, that they may Commit and be guilty of Strong Acts. That in a fit of fury they may tear in peices many of the Oppressors, but this will not proceed from any Sense of feeling for the public, but of their particular Interests, should the trade of England suffer some Capital Blow, such as the loss of Jamaica, the public Madness will break out at Once, had the british people met half the losses, which the French and Spanyards have the Minister had been long since ruin'd. No Sense of national Honor touches them, their feelings are Selfish, but it is by this Selfishness, which is a Sign of their Depravity, that they may recover from their present Vice and folly; for Misfortune, that best Correctress of human vice and human folly may reduce them to a State of Sobriety, Check the present predominant Avarice and Ambition and learn them to feel for the Miseries of Others. For the good of them, of Us, and all Mankind, I wish it may happen soon.
I mentioned to You, Sir, that I had written to England on the Constitutional Impossibility of acknowledging the Independance of America, it makes part of a dialogue, which I suppose to have passed between the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. C. York and Lord Chatham. The occasion, which gave rise to it was a Conversation, I had with a friend on the different Manners of the Death of those Gentlemen,9 I will take the Liberty of making an Extract from it.
Mr. C. York.
“If the Reasons adducd for the Support of the Omnipotence of Parliament, and the necessity of a Supreme Power, are not sufficient for the Maintenance of the right of the Sovereingty of G B over America, does not your Lordship see a Constitutional Impossibility which forbids G B. relinquishing her claim?”
Lord Chatham.
“A Constitutional Impossibility? Pardon me, Sir, I cannot feel the Effect of Words, which give me no Ideas. A Man may reason on the Omnipotence of Parliament and on the necessity of a Supreme Power; but what Data has He to Judge of this new invented Jargon? { 19 } I am bold to say, it is meant to impose on the Imagination and not convince the Judgment, it implies not a reasonable Right, which the other pretences are made Use of to Establish, but an irresistible Necessity. This, Sir, is in politics, what Mistery is in Religion, it is the last resort of those, who cannot bring Man over to their fancies by reason, and therefore make use of Something beyond human Comprehension to mislead them. What is meant, by this Constitutional Impossibility? Is it meant, that the Independance of America violates the Saxon constitution of England, which the Barons of Old endeavourd to maintain against the Norman Tyrans, who had formd the design of governing them without their Consent in all Cases whatever? Is it Contrary to the Principles of that Constitution, which the real Patriots, who first opposed the Maxims and practices of the wretchd Race of Stuarts, and on which, the Revolution was afterwards Established? They who see that the American Opposition is founded on the true Principles of the Constitution, which Supposes an Impossibity to govern men by a despotic Power, without their Consent and for the avowd Emolument of the Governors, and not of the governed, will laugh at this new figment, and perhaps be somewhat Suspicious of those, who Adopt it, as having some conceald Object in View, which they dare not openly Express.
“This notion Sir, of a constitutional Imposibility is somewhat Stale after the Trick of a Necessity of State, which was formerly played off ineffectually against the people of G B, who were not to be imposed on by senseless Expressions, when their own dearest rights were in Question.
“But if these Words of a Constitutional Impossibility, for they are but words, are opposed by an Impossibility in fact, what Sir is to be done? It is said, that they who adopt these sounds acknowledge the Impracticability of subduing the Americans by Violence, which is the only way of establishing a despotic Power. Men who see this and stil Maintain this new invented mode of deceiving Themselves and the people will be somewhat confounded by an acknowledgd Impossibility in fact, and a groundless impossibility in Theory. The One I believe will give way to the other.
“I have spoken thus <strongly> freely against this Trick of Words, because it is industriously propagatd they fell from me, as if my Name was sufficient to give Sense to Nonsense. Is it not surprising? It would be so, if we did not Know Mankind to see people using the Name of Him to serve their purposes, whom they had attempted to ridicule for his bombastical Nonsense. They mount on the Crutches of an { 20 } infirm Old Man to hobble into place and Employment, but let them take care, they will stumble at every Step, and will fall too, if they have not a natural Strength Themselves.
“If the different Parties are willing to preserve their Country, let them fix on some solid Principle of Union, that it may be solid, it ought to be Just; in vain will they boast, that they have given up their private Animosities and particular Views, Animosities and Views, they ought never to have had, and which have disgraced them, broken the Spirit of the people of England; in Vain, I say, will they pretend they are united in one Common Cause for the good of the Empire, if the Bond of their Union is not Clear and Just when it is founded on Sounds and not on Substance, it will not last, a new Jargon will be adopted to invalidate the Old, whenever particular Views and partial Objects make a Seperation of Interests Neccessary. What merit, Sir, had the Infamous Triumvirate of Octavius Antony and Lepidus, when they sacrificed their several Friends to serve their private purposes of Ambition? They quarrelld with Each other because their Union was not found on Honesty.”
I have written to show the Actual force of England and Ireland and the destination of Walsingham.10
Have you seen a Pamphlet, entitld Facts, which has been sent me by the Author, whom I take to be Dr. Price,11 have you seen also? a Pamphlet written by a General Lloyd, who went to Paris last year as a Spy, offering himself to go to America whilst He was in the Pay of the british King?12 It is entitld a Rhapsody on French Politics and Invasions; the book was soon bought up by Government which makes me desire to see it, I have sent to England for it to be Got coute que Coute.13 I am told your Son is with you, pray make my best respects to Him.

[salute] I am, Dear Sir, with greatest Respect Your Most faithful & Obt Hble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. JA's letter of 27 Feb. was a reply to Jenings' letter of the 22d (vol. 8:369, 352).
2. With only a slight change, JA included this estimate of troops in Ireland in his first letter of 14 March to the president of Congress (No. 18, calendared, below). Jenings' other comments on British military strength were used by JA as the basis for his own evaluation in that letter.
3. For events in Ireland mentioned in this paragraph and the county association movement referred to in the next, see JA's letters to Samuel Adams and Elbridge Gerry of 23 Feb., and to Edmund Jenings of 27 Feb. (vol. 8:353–354, 357–358, 369–371).
4. For Adm. Augustus Keppel's acquittal in Feb. 1779 from charges brought against him by Hugh Palliser, which was seen as a blow to the North ministry, see JA to Francis Dana, 25 Dec. 1778 (vol. 7:316–320). Upon the death of { 21 } John Glynn, who with John Wilkes had been a radical member of Parliament from Middlesex, the electorate sought to put up George Byng, a member from Wigan, Lancashire. As a sitting member, Byng could not resign his seat and therefore applied to Lord North for the Chiltern Hundreds. This obsolete office was granted to a member of Parliament seeking to resign, thereby creating the legal fiction that he held an office of profit under the Crown and must resign. North, however, granted the Chiltern Hundreds to George Foster Tufnell, who was less odious to the ministry than either Byng or Wilkes. Since Byng was unable to stand for the Middlesex seat, the electorate turned to Thomas Wood, who defeated Tufnell and served until the next general election in Sept. 1780, when Byng was elected. Wood's election was seen as a victory over the North ministry's attempt to interfere in local elections. In 1779, after four tries, John Wilkes was elected chamberlain of the City of London, a lucrative office because the chamberlain collected the rents and revenues of the corporation. Ironically, Wilkes' election to that office effectively ended his radicalism, for during his remaining years in Parliament he generally supported the ministry (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons; OED).
5. This was “A Bill for the better Regulation of his Majesty's Civil Establishments, and of certain Public Offices; for the Limitation of Pensions, and the Suppression of sundry useless, expensive, and inconvenient Places; and for applying the Monies saved thereby to the Public Service.” Referred to as “the economical reform bill,” it was an outgrowth of the association movement. Edmund Burke introduced it on 11 Feb. after a long speech. It was scheduled for its second reading on Thursday, 2 March, but on that day consideration was postponed until the following Wednesday, 8 March (Parliamentary Hist., 21:111–137, 1–72, 150–154, 171–217). For the progress of the bill, see later letters from Jenings and others, and particularly JA's of 23 March to the president of Congress (No. 23, below).
6. For the dismissal of the lords lieutenant, see JA to Edmund Jenings, 27 Feb., and note 6 (vol. 8:370–371).
7. The fencible men or fencibles were troops raised for the defence of a particular area and not generally eligible for overseas service (OED).
8. Leonard Smelt opposed the county association movement's calls for reform in a pamphlet entitled An Account of some Particulars, which passed at the Meeting held at York, on Thursday, the 30th December, 1779, London, 1780 (Dora Mae Clark, British Opinion and the American Revolution, New Haven, 1930, p. 145–146).
9. The issue raised by Jenings here and in his dialogue between Charles Yorke and William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham, is an important one. A belief in Parliament's inability to alienate British sovereignty over the colonies was central to every effort at reconciliation short of independence, from Chatham's proposal of Feb. 1775 to Gen. Henry Seymour Conway's proposal of 5 May 1780 (Parliamentary Hist., 18:198–216; 21:570–591; JA to Edmé Jacques Genet, 17 May, and note 2, below). Jenings states in a letter of 2 May (below) that the full dialogue, presumably with passages attributed to William Cavendish, 4th duke of Devonshire, was published by a friend in London, but whether as a newspaper piece or a pamphlet is unknown. The absence of the complete, published dialogue makes any effort to clarify Jenings' reference to the deaths of the three men (all in DNB) purely conjectural and any comments upon the substance of the enclosed extract very tentative. Chatham's final speech in the House of Lords on 7 April 1778 could be seen as establishing, or at least reaffirming, the principle that Parliament could not relinquish sovereignty over a portion of the realm. Chatham had been very consistent on this point, writing on 18 Dec. 1777 to Lord Shelburne that he would “as soon subscribe to Transubstantiation as to Sovereignty (by right), in the Colonies,” and declaring in his final speech that he had come to speak “against the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy” and would “never consent to deprive the royal offspring of the House of Brunswick, the heirs of the princess Sophia, of their fairest inheritance” (Lord Fitzmaurice, Life of William Earl of Shelburne, 2 vols., 2d edn., London, 1912, 2:10; Parliamentary Hist., 19:1022–1023). In view of Chatham's position on independence and in the absence of the full dialogue, Jenings' meaning in the passages ascribed to Chatham remains unclear, but see JA's analysis of the principle of “constitutional impossibility” and Chatham's possible motives for supporting it in his reply to Jenings of 12 March (below).
10. No letter from Jenings dealing with these specific topics has been found.
11. The pamphlet by Richard Price and John Horne Tooke grew out of the association { 22 } movement and was entitled Facts: Addressed to the Landholders, Stockholders, Merchants, Farmers, Manufacturers, Tradesmen, Proprietors of every Description, and Generally to all the Subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 1780.
12. Henry Lloyd (also called Henry Humphrey Evans) was a shadowy figure of Welsh birth, who had served as a mercenary in several European armies from the 1740s to the 1770s, most recently those of Austria and Russia. The British secret service may have employed Lloyd during some portion of his residence in Belgium from 1779 until his death in 1783, but no other reference to his presence in Paris in 1779 has been found (DNB). His pamphlet was entitled A Rhapsody on the Present System of French Politics; on the Projected Invasion, and the Means to Defeat It, London, 1779.
13. That is, whatever the cost.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0013

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Moylan, James
Date: 1780-03-06

To James Moylan

[salute] Dear sir

I have but this Moment received yours of the 28 Ultimo, and am much obligd to you and Captain Jones for undertaking, my little Commission, which will give you I believe more Trouble than a little to pick up a parcel of such little dittos.1
As to the Damask Table Cloths, omit them alltogether. As to the coloured Velvet I know nothing about it, you will therefore omit that Article too, which will be a just Punishment to P. B. A.2 for giving me such an unintelligible Article. As to the Delph and stone Ware, if the Ladies will give one the Commission to purchase such Things for them they ought to tell Us what and how much. No great Quantity could be meant I believe, if it was I would not think of sending it by such an opportunity. I would not encumber C. Jones with any such Lumber. I fancy a few Dozens of Plates for ordinary Use in a family is all that could be intended. It is best to omit it, altogether.3
I am, sir with much Esteem, your obliged, humbl sert.
1. See Moylan's letter of 28 Feb. and JA's letter to Moylan of 22 Feb., notes 2 and 4 (vol. 8:378, 351).
2. Peter Boylston Adams, JA's brother.
3. For the substance of Moylan's invoice, dated 8 May (not found), and JA's reply of 14 May (LbC, Adams Papers), see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:338–339. JA entrusted the merchandise to the Alliance's surgeon, Dr. Amos Windship, but when the frigate reached Boston on 16 Aug., neither Windship nor the trunk was aboard. Moylan later found that, in the uproar over Pierre Landais' seizure of the Alliance from John Paul Jones, the goods were left at Lorient. Jones subsequently placed them aboard his ship, the Ariel, which reached Philadelphia on 18 Feb. 1781. Jones deposited the merchandise with James Lovell, who forwarded it to AA, the last item reaching her sometime between 4 Dec. 1781 and 8 Jan. 1782 (JA to John Paul Jones, 22 Feb., and note 3, vol. 8:350; Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships; Adams Family Correspondence, 4:81–83, 85–86, 88, 245, 273–274).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0014

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Dundas, T.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-07

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

Since my letter of the 3d. a Gazette Extraordinary, has announcd the arrival of dispatches from1 Adl. Digby, who is returnd with the fleet and spanish prizes from Gibraltar, and brought in with him a french 64 Gun Man of War and three store ships bound under Her Convoy from L'Orient to the East Indies. The French and Spaniards seem lately to have been totally unadvisd as to the movements of English fleets and ships, and to have placd their Convoys in tracks to be taken. This Man of War has 60,000 £ in specie on board and was most fortunately for Digby met with on the 23d Feby.2 Rodney saild from Gibr. with the fleet the 14th. and parted with it the 18th. taking four ships of the line only with Him to the Wt. Indies. A like number will probably go under Walsingham about the 20th or 25th Instant with the fleet to the West Indies. Arbuthnot has left his American station and taken the heavy ships 4 of the line with him to the Wt. Inds. Some say that he carryd some troops with Him. By every appearance there are no more troops going to No. Ama. and it looks as if Ministry meant not to continue the American War but to let it dwindle and die away. News from the Southern Expedition from N York is dayly expected. A transport with upwards of 200 Hessians on board and which was driven off in a storm is arrivd at St. Ives.3 She saild with the Expedition from N York the 26 Decr. and a few days after received considerable damage in a severe gale which it is thought seperated and dispersd the Fleet. We have no exact accounts from this vessel yet, but from what can be collected it appears the storm will save Chas Town for some little time further, and not unlikely baffle every future attempt. These uncommon instances of good fortune at Sea at least to Rodneys fleet have raisd the Spirits of the people very much, but you find but very few even in their moments of exultation who wish a continuance of the American War.

[salute] I am yr obt Sert,

[signed] T. Dundas
RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Ferdinando Raymond San, chez Monsr Hocherau Libraire Pont Neuf a Paris”; endorsed: “T. Dundas. 7. March. 80. ansd. 14th.”
1. With some alterations, JA copied the text from this point through the words “let it dwindle and die away” and included it in his first letter of 14 March to the president of Congress (No. 18, calendared, below).
2. The report on the actions of Rear Adm. Robert Digby appeared in the London Gazette Extraordinary of 6 March. The French 64-gun ship of the line Protée was taken by the Resolution, of 74 guns.
{ 24 }
This letter is largely a digest of accounts appearing in the London papers with some comments added by Digges. For example, Digges refers to the departure of Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot from New York and the prospects for the continuation of the war. In the London Chronicle of 4–7 March the following passage appears: “Admiral Arbuthnot is sailed from New York, with all his heavy ships, for the West Indies. This pretty clearly shews that the war in North America is only meant to linger on; that nothing vigorous is intended.”
3. This is the transport Anna, whose passengers underwent incredible hardship during the weeks that it took the dismasted hulk to drift across the Atlantic to St. Ives, in Cornwall (Edward J. Lowell, The Hessians and the other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, N.Y., 1884, p. 243–244; see also the London Chronicle, 4– 7 March). With minor changes, JA copied this and the following sentence and included it in his second letter of 14 March to the president of Congress (No. 19, calendared, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0015

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-08

To the President of Congress, No. 14

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I went to Court in Company with the American Minister Plenipotentiary, and had the Honor to be presented to the King, by the Secretary of State for foreign Affairs: after which, I had the Honor to go round with all the foreign Ambassadors, and make a Visit to the Queen, the King's Brothers, Sister, Aunts, and Daughter, which are all the Branches of the Royal Family, and to be presented to each of them in Turn, and after them to the Comte de Maurepas.
After these Ceremonies were over, we were all invited to dine with the Comte de Vergennes.
As Ceremonies of this Kind, are so much attended to in this, and all other Countries of Europe, and have often such important Effects, it is proper that Congress should have Information of them.1

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,

[signed] John Adams2
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 307–308;) endorsed: “No. 14 Letter from Honble. J. Adams March 8th. 1780 Read July 22 Mr. A presented at Court to the King and Family.” LbC (Adams Papers.)
1. In the Letterbook this sentence continued “especially as my public Character, is to be announced to the World, at the same time in the Gazette.” Although all indications are that JA expected his presentation to be announced in the Gazette de France, he probably decided not to mention the announcement until after it appeared and he could include an extract.
2. Except for a brief mention in his letter to AA of [ante 15 March], this is JA's only known reference to his presentation to Louis XVI in 1780 in a letter to America (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:301).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0016

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-08

To the President of Congress, No. 15

Paris, 8 March 1780.. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 311). LbC (Adams Papers); notation in Thaxter's hand: “March 10th. Delivered { 25 } the above to Mr Brown of Charlestown S. Carolina.”printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:539.
In this letter, read by Congress on 11 Sept., John Adams reported the false rumor that Louis Charles, Comte du Chaffault de Besné was to command in the West Indies and Charles Henri Théodat, Comte d'Estaing in the Channel, and enclosed newspapers from Paris, The Hague, and Amsterdam, all dating from the first week in March.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 311.) LbC (Adams Papers); notation in Thaxter's hand: “March 10th. Delivered the above to Mr Brown of Charlestown S. Carolina.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:539.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0017

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-08

William Gordon to John Adams and Francis Dana

[salute] My Dear Sirs

You are so united by commission, in mind views and principles, that there is no writing to the one without the other; for which reason I address you jointly. I rejoiced when I heard that you were safely landed upon the Terra Firma of Europe;1 and hope that you have had a secure journey over the Pyrenean mountains, which I suppose to be as high as any you ever crossed in America, tho' not so bad to pass, nor quite so woody. From the first I considered your appointments as a happy circumstance, but I have been more fully confirmed in the thought since receiving a letter from the Honle Arthur Lee. Mine to him in return I send enclosed, as he may have left Paris.2 Should He have quitted France and be upon his return to America; be pleased to open and read the same. The letters for Europe are no less precarious than those from thence; so that I am discouraged writing so frequently and fully as I should otherwise do: But I promise you to be a faithful correspondent in return to what you send me, upon the receipt of it. Friend Dana I know to be an able, but I can't add a willing and ready writer. He has established his character for being very backward at his pen. How far his secretariship may improve him can't say: but am dubious lest should he be desired to continue the correspondence in behalf of the partnership, he will plead off, by alleging that the appointment of Congress respected nothing more than the negotiation. Argue and settle the point as you may between you; if I do but hear from one or other of you I shall be satisfied; for I do not pretend to give either the preference, any further than as nature has set you one before the other, by priority of existence. I shall expect that your answer contains news, and private articles of intelligence that may be committed without danger, to one who is not troubled with a laxness, but can keep secrets even from the wife of his youth: be it also considered, that I am historiographer,3 and mean to go out of the common road by assigning reasons and motives and causes that are not known to the generality of the scribbling { 26 } tribe. You will naturally conclude, from my drawing thus upon you, that I mean to make a proportionable advance. I will attempt it: but am at a loss to judge what commodity will be reckoned most valuable: shall therefore send you an assortment.
I shall appear singular, should I not mention what every body for the present will insert, our having had a very hard winter,4 by which, many of the islands in the Bay, Rhode Island, Long Island &c. &c. have been joined to the Continent; the Sound has been frozen over; and the town of Boston has been exposed to the oppressive incursions of the country, who have extorted a hundred and a hundred and twenty pounds, lawful not old tenor,5 per cord for their wood, and who made the poor parson, the father of this production, pay the last saturday four dollars per lb. for veal, wherewith to feed—not his children—but family. The winter has been breaking up for some time; and hitherto Heaven has orderd so mercifully, that the amazing quantity of snow has been dissolved so gradually, that I have heard of no damage having been done by floods. A rapid thaw must have carried off bridges mills etc. in an abundance. The Convention is adjourned till June; and I am in good hopes that the gay cards in and out of the pack will lose the game, and that we shall at length carry it for a good constitution. There are in the Council—who want not an aberation that they may retain the chance of continuing in. There are in the House, who wish not to have an independent Senate. There are in both, honest men and real patriots. My earnest prayer is that they may be greatly multiplied. The Convention went over the report of the Committee, without making, I apprehend, any very material aberations, excepting the addition of a saving clause for the revision of the Constitution by a new Convention in 1795; which saving clause will probably prevent the rejection of the form the present may finally agree upon. I could not fall in with the proposal of my friend John Adams, a little before he left Braintree when he took his first voyage to Europe, to admit of a most notoriously defective plan that should be perpetual, tho' it was urged in the strongest terms: but tho' I may esteem the present defective and materially so, yet with this wise and wholesome proviso I will give it my utmost support.6 The Convention have ordered what they have concluded upon to be printed and circulated thro' the State, and to be considered by the people, who are to return their thoughts upon the whole and particular parts of the plan, by the time to which they have adjourned; that so they may be the better able to determine what shall come forth finally for the reception or rejection of the publick. I have never attended, but the { 27 } once you saw me at Cambridge. My informer told me that Pain, Parsons, and Lowell7 behaved well upon the whole and acted like honest men; but you will wonder where was the fore thoughts of the last, when I mention that he moved that Parsons8 should be declared ineligible—for which the dry parson of Dartmouth9 rubbed him down very cleverly. Whether Lowell was the cats-paw or—he missed his aim and lost the chesnuts. The following is a copy of what is said to have been found in Mr. Poillmans10 pulpit—“The prayers of this congregation are desired for our paper currency in a weak and low condition by reason of its depreciated and fluctuating state—that indulgent heaven would of its infinite mercy be pleased to restore it to its former value, or speedily first prepare it for its great and last change.” The subject is too serious and sad to be made a jest of; or the writer might have credit for his humor. Our money does not grow better. A convention of gentlemen from several States have met at Philadelphia upon the business of regulating trade;11 they have adjourned to April, that so there may be an opportunity of having representatives from every State. I promise myself no lasting or real advantage from regulations. I am sick of them, from past experience; and till the fact proves the contrary will not believe that the country people of N England, will ever come into one, so as to adhere to it. Our finances are in a horrid situation, heaven grant that those of G B may be proportionably bad, and that the want of cash and credit may reduce king lords and commons to submit to the acknowledgement of American Independence.
The state of the army makes it a mercy that the force of the king has been much lessened by the detachments sent off about Christmas. Our men are fully equal I suppose to our magazines. How far the Congress are loaded with business and difficulties, you will hear in a more certain and direct-way, from some of its members. My journey to Greenich to pay my respects to General Gates before he went to Virginia, prevented my seeing you before you sailed. He is returned to his own house without having met with all that respect from every Northern State, that his services entitled him to.
Mr. Dana can supply all that is wanting to complete the history of which the following is a part.12
Col. Henly called the Lords day last when I showed him the letter alluded to and took mine to Gen Washington which he promised to deliver into his own hands.13
It is long since I was at Boston; and the roads have not admitted my going to Braintree or Cambridge, I design seeing both when { 28 } travelling will admit. The Corporation have chosen Mr. Gannet Steward; at present I can scarce think that Mr. Hastings has been treated with the utmost propriety.14 I have exhausted my budget, when I have added, that I sincerely wish you direction and success in the important matters committed to your management; & am with sincere respect & much esteem, Gentlemen, your very humble servant & real friend,
[signed] William Gordon
I had purposed including a letter to Dr Lee but understanding he is recalled and expected soon, shall keep it to be forwarded by the post. Should Dr Franklin be deceased; pleased to open his letter, which you may then read, and forward what is enclosed for Mr Tabor of Rotterdam. Mr Parker's contains a state of his affairs &c. I wish it to get safe and soon to him, without being subject to the inspection of any of the British ministry or their agents.15
RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr or the Honle Francis Dana Esqr Paris”; endorsed: “Dr William Gordon March 11. 1780.”
1. Gordon probably learned of JA's arrival from the Boston newspapers. On 28 Feb. the Boston Gazette reported that Capt. James Babson of the Phoenix had arrived from Bilbao with news of JA's landing in Spain; on 6 March the Gazette printed a letter of 16 Dec. 1779, from an unidentified person, describing JA's activities at La Coruña.
2. A copy of a letter of 22 Sept. 1779 from Lee to Gordon is in PCC, No. 102, III, f. 96, but Gordon failed to inclose his intended letter to Lee (see final paragraph), and no such letter has been found.
3. Gordon was preparing his History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America, 4 vols., London, 1788.
4. See Cotton Tufts' letter to JA of 25 July 1780 for a detailed account of the winter of 1779–1780 (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:383–388).
5. Gordon is referring to various pre-1750 issues of bills of exchange that were known collectively as “old tenor.” In 1749 these bills could be exchanged for pounds sterling at the rate of approximately 10 to 1. In 1750, when Massachusetts returned to silver as the basis for its currency and the piece of eight as the measure of its value, the exchange rate fell to approximately 1:25 Massachusetts pounds lawful money per pound sterling (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775: A Handbook, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 133, 149; see also JA's second letter of 22 June to Vergennes, note 4, below).
6. The “saving clause” became Art. 10 of Chap. VI of the Constitution of 1780 (vol. 8:271, note 139). Gordon supported the addition because he had been a major critic of the rejected constitution of 1778, which contained no specific provision for revision. In four newspaper essays appearing in the Continental Journal of 2, 9, 16, and 23 April and the Independent Chronicle of 2, 9, 16, and 30 April 1778, he had attacked the constitution on a variety of points, but his most specific recommendation came in the third essay. There he offered as Art. 37 (as sent to the towns the constitution of 1778 had 36 articles) a proposal requiring that a convention be convened in April 1780 to offer amendments and that such a convention be called every 20 years thereafter. For JA's reconsideration of his position regarding the constitution of 1778 and the need for some means of revision, see his reply of 26 May, and note 4 (below).
7. Robert Treat Paine, Theophilus Parsons, and John Lowell, delegates from Taunton, Newburyport, and Boston, respectively.
8. That is, the clergy. On 5 Feb. 1780 a committee, of which John Lowell was a member, { 29 } brought in a report recommending the prohibition of certain persons from holding a seat in either house of the legislature. Among those excluded were “ordained or settled Ministers of the Gospel.” On 9 Feb. the convention rejected the proposal (Journal of the Convention, p. 65, 81–82, 93).
9. Rev. Samuel West.
10. The editors have not identified this person.
11. In Oct. 1779 representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York met at Hartford to consider price controls. To obtain the participation of additional states, the delegates recommended that another convention meet in Jan. 1780 at Philadelphia. The second convention opened on 29 Jan., and was attended by delegates from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. Additional sessions were held on 3, 5, 7, and 8 Feb., but then, in the hope that other states would send representatives, the convention adjourned until 4 April. There is no evidence that its members ever reconvened (Public Records of the State of Connecticut, Hartford, 1894– , 2:562–579).
12. Gordon here inserted the texts of three letters: Gordon to Alexander Hamilton, 15 Nov. 1779; Hamilton to Gordon, 10 Dec. 1779; and Gordon to George Washington, 29 Feb. 1780. All dealt with a dispute between Gordon and Hamilton over Francis Dana's assertion that William Gordon was the source of his reported statement that “Colonel Hamilton . . . had declared in a public coffee house in Philadelphia, that it was high time for the people to rise, join General Washington, and turn Congress out of doors.” In his letter of 15 Nov., Gordon quoted from a letter received from the source of the charge against Hamilton, repeated his earlier refusal to divulge the source's name, and threatened to submit the matter to Congress if Hamilton pursued it further. In his reply of 10 Dec., Hamilton declared that he was convinced that Gordon, himself, was “the author of the calumny,” and added that he had no objection to his “conduct being canvassed before any tribunal whatever.” In his letter to Washington of 29 Feb., Gordon sought to refute Hamilton's allegation and stated that he would now communicate “the correspondence to several of the delegates to be by them brought into Congress, if they judge it expedient.” Apparently nothing came of Gordon's threat and the matter ended with Hamilton expressing his regret that Washington had been troubled by the matter while reiterating his belief that Gordon was the real author of the “calumny” against him. For the letters enclosed by Gordon, see Hamilton, Papers, 2:222, 224, and 313–316. As sent to JA and Dana, the third letter is dated 29 Feb., but in Hamilton, Papers, is dated 1 March. The full correspondence over this controversy, in letters exchanged between Hamilton and John Brooks, Francis Dana, William Gordon, David Henley, and George Washington, is in Hamilton, Papers, 2:90–317 passim. See also note 13.
13. According to Gordon's letter to George Washington of 29 Feb., Col. David Henley had been shown a letter from the source for Gordon's charge against Alexander Hamilton (see note 12). Henley had been critical of Gordon in a letter of 1 Sept. 1779 to Alexander Hamilton, stating that “I do think, upon examination, you will find Doctor [Gordon] the cause of this mischievous and false report. The other day he was proved a liar in the public street; and had it not been for his cloth, I am sure would have been most severely dealt with. He more than once has occasioned quarrels by his conduct” (Hamilton, Papers, 2:149).
14. On 15 Dec. 1779 Caleb Gannett was named steward of Harvard College to succeed Jonathan Hastings, who had held the position since 1750. Gordon's question about the treatment of Hastings may have been due either to the apparent effort to keep news of the appointment out of the press or to the contrast between Hastings' ardent and Gannett's lukewarm whiggism (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 8:721–723; 15:394–396).
15. For the letter to Arthur Lee, see note 2. The enclosed letters to Benjamin Franklin and probably to Joseph Parker of London (Franklin, Papers, 28:467–468), and to Samuel Tabor of Rotterdam (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:130), have not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0018

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-08

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have done myself the Honor of sending You a Copy, of what was written into Holland1 and have since (the 5th Instant) taken the Liberty of giving my Idea of the Conduct of the Parties in England and Ireland, and likewise laying before you an Extrait of what I have written on the Phantastic Notion taken up of a Constitutional Impossibility of Acknowledging the Independance of America.
I receivd no Letter yesterday from England, but I cannot help observing to you, least it shoud escape your Notice that the public Papers say, that “the Dispatches taken in the American Packet, bound from France to the Congress by the Foudroyant, contain an Account of the French intended Campaign in America,” they say likewise from Belfast Feb 21. “that the Friendship, a Ship from St. Kitts to the Bristol Channel, which came North About from thence, put in here yesterday. The Master of her informs us, that He left that place on the 17th of Janry, on which Day, He heard that a fleet of Transports, under Convoy of two Ships of the Line and three frigates, had arrived at Antigua from N York, on the 14th. with Upwards of four thousand Men on Board after a passage of only Nineteen Days.”2
This Corresponds with what an English officer here has informd me.
I Hope the french Ministry are informd of these Things. I beleive the regular Troops in England do not consist of so many as 10,000 and those chiefly Horse. I have written a Letter to Mr. Lee,3 addressed to the House of Mr. Grand, I am fearful it is not receivd. Give me leave to beg of you to enquire after it and at the same Time desire Mr. Grand to let you have some things, He has left there for me. There are among other Matters some Maps, which you may perhaps find Useful.
I have picked up an Excellent Pamphlet written in the Year 1756. entitld Examen de la Conduit des Anglois.4 It is well calculatd to rouse the Dutch against the English, it being a detail of a breach of Treaties and of Injuries done to the Commerce and Flag of Holland.

[salute] I am Dear Sir with the greatest Respect your Most Faithful & Obt Hble Servt,

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. For Jenings' letter to JA of 1 March (Adams Papers), which contained a copy of his letter to the Grand Pensionary of Amsterdam, Engelbert van Berckel, see JA's letters of { 31 } 12 March to Jenings (and note 1) and to the president of Congress, No. 17 (both below).
2. Jenings is quoting from reports that appeared in various London newspapers. See, for example, the London Chronicle of 29 Feb. – 2 March.
3. This letter has not been found.
4. This pamphlet, attributed to Louis Joseph Plumard de Dangeul and republished in 1778 with a new introduction, is Examen de la conduite de la Grand Bretagne a l'égard de la Hollande, depuis la naissance de la république jusqu'à présent, Paris, 1756; but see C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 30 Oct. 1778, and note 8 (vol. 7:179–184).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0019

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-10

To the President of Congress, No. 16

Paris, 10 March 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 313–315). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Delivered to Mr. Brown 15th March.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:541.
In this letter, read by Congress on 11 Sept., John Adams again commented on Adm. Sir George Rodney's luck in his victories over the Spanish fleets, and noted rumors that Rodney had enjoyed further success against some French vessels. He believed, however, that the admiral's good fortune was attributable directly to the French and Spanish insistence on keeping an “immense” fleet in the European theater at a time when the dispatch of even a quarter of those ships to American waters could bring a decisive victory. Finally, Adams noted with pride the reported successes of American privateers and enclosed the Courier de l'Europe of 3 March and the Gazette de France of 10 March.
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 313–315.) LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Delivered to Mr. Brown 15th March.” printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:541.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0020

Author: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-10

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr sir

A packet boat is arrivd from Jamaica which saild from thence the 29th Jany. with accounts of Fort Omoa being again in the possession of Spain, and that one of our Men of War has taken a Spanish Ship of War bound to that quarter of So America with Stores. She was piercd for 64 Guns but carryd only 52. The Jamaica fleet saild the 24th. Jany. Convoyd rather slightly only with a force of about two fiftys and as many frigates—about forty Merchantmen in all. Nothing yet from America but it is generally surmisd and beleivd that a Storm has seperated and dispersd Clintons fleet intended for the southern Expedition.1
I am wth gt regard your
RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “A Monsieur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San Negote. Chez Monsr. Hocherau, Libraire Pont Neuf Paris”; endorsed at the foot of the text: “recd 19 March,” and on the address page: “T. Dundas. Mar. 10 1780 ans 19.”
1. JA included the text of this letter, taken from reports in London newspapers, in his letter of 19 March to the president of Congress (No. 21, calendared, below). The British captured Fort Omoa on the northeast coast of Honduras in Oct. 1779. It was aban• { 32 } doned in November because of an insufficient garrison and the ravages of disease. Shortly thereafter, off Omoa, the British warship Salisbury took the Spanish privateer San Carlos (London Chronicle, 16–18 Dec. 1779, 9–11 March 1780).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0021

Author: Watson, Elkanah Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-10

From Elkanah Watson Jr.

[salute] Sir

Circumstances I flatter my self will plead my Excuse for addressing to you this letter. Agreable to the advise of my friends and my own Inclinations, I Embarked ab'd of the Mercury Packett last Augt. with an Intention of persuing my mercantile proffession (till the war is happily terminated) in France; and of travelling in Europe, previous to this resolution in the years 77 and 78, I made a compleat tour of America Even to the borders of Florida; and Establish'd Extensive mercantile connections in the several states. My alluring prospects Induc'd me to determine to unite myself mutually with Jona. Williams Esqr. of this City in business, before my departure from America, previous to which I considered with attention the necessity of being fully recommended; but as I was perticularly recommended to you Sir by Mrs. Adams, Majr. Genl. James Warren and Lady, also Robt. T. Paine Esqr.1 I repos'd my confidence in those Letters and consequently did not provide others for this quarter th'o to the other ports, of Europe I am fully supported by Letters from the most substantial merchants in New-England; the day before our departure you arriv'd in Boston, consequently I left the letters for you with Genl. Warren; Our stay then being so contracted that I came off, almost depriv'd of any letters for Nantes; however I was fortunate in being presented with a line from Mrs. Mecomb2 which I had the honour to deliver to the Honbl. Benj'n Franklin Esqr. at Passi. My motive in addressing this Epistle, is to crave the honour, of Introducing my self to you Sir and to congratulate your safe arrival in Europe. As I am at this period launched upon a stage of life, that I wish to Improve to the best advantage and as I wish to cultivate my manners before I commence my travells in Europe (or return to America). Pardon me Sir If I urge your goodness in supplying my deficiency of recommendations, by favouring me with a few Lines to your acquaintance in Nantes (agreeable to Genl. Warrens Letter which I flatter my self he communicated before your departure,) particular to Mr. Williams as I have commenc'd a connection with him, that will probably augment in proportion to his being assur'd respecting my character, family, connections etc. in America; another to Mr. Swighaiuser probable will be productive of Extending the circle of my polite Edifying { 33 } acquaintance.3 Probable you are sufficiently acquainted with my fathers circumstances to announce his affluence. etc.—besides his, be assur'd Sir I have the patronage of the principal merchants in N. England.
My father resides in Plymh.—and has depuis the war, been uniformly strenuous in support of Independence.
As my predominant ambition is to contribute to the good, and Improvement of my country I am persuaded your patriotic disposition will Even prompt you to contribute in refining and Improving those of the present generation who's first wish is to add to the Emolument of their youthfull, virtuous and bleeding country.

[salute] Your attention at this time, shall Ever be acknowledged with particular gratitude by Sir Your Most Obdt. & Very Hl. St.

[signed] Elkea. Watson Jr.4
If your Important concerns will permit, a condecension of an answer, please direct to me at Mr. Williams.
This letter [was?] forwarded once before under cover to my [friend and?] former correspondence Mr. Wharton5 he being [then at L']Orient, it return'd back to me by that rout.
The attention of mankind at this period seems to be turn'd to the Important object, of your mission, which is announc'd in the gazette's both of Europe and America. May GOD permit that you may prove the Author of preventing the further Effusion of human blood, that the present distraction of mankind may be lull'd into perfect harmony: and that we may once more Injoy the blessings of an Interupted and permanent peace, founded upon the basis of Liberty and Independence.
RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esq. Hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu à Paris Passi”; endorsed: “Mr Elkanah Watson. ansd 30. Ap. 1780.” The portion of the address directing the letter to the Hotel de Valois at Paris was written in a different ink from the rest of the letter and may not be in Watson's hand. For the need to readdress the letter see the portion dated 10 April. The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of several words.
1. Watson sailed on 4 Aug. 1779, the day after La Sensible arrived at Boston. JA, however, left the frigate on 2 Aug. and went directly to Braintree, leading Watson to give the letters intended for JA to James Warren who was apparently then in Boston. The only letter recommending Watson that has been found is James Warren's of 29 July 1779 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:400; vol. 8:98–101).
2. The letter from Jane Mecom, Benjamin Franklin's sister, was of 23 June 1779 (Franklin, Papers, 29:722–725).
3. No letters of introduction or recommendation to Jonathan Williams or J. D. Schweighauser have been found.
4. Elkanah Watson Jr., who had a long ca• { 34 } reer as a successful merchant, served his mercantile apprenticeship with John Brown, the Providence merchant, and in 1779 went to France with dispatches for Benjamin Franklin. After leaving Franklin, Watson established a mercantile firm at Nantes (DAB). With this letter Watson began a correspondence with JA that, according to the Adams Papers Editorial Files, spanned the next 45 years and produced 47 letters.
5. Samuel Wharton had gone to Lorient in early March with Arthur Lee and Ralph Izard to take passage on the Alliance for America (to Samuel Adams, 4 March, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0022

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-03-12

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have to acknowledge the Receipt of three excellent Letters—one of the first, the other of the fifth and the third of the eighth of March. Thank You for the Copy of your Letter to the Pensioner1 and for your dialogue between York and Chatham.
It is undoubtedly the Duty of every Commercial Nation, to make their Flag to be respected in all the Seas and by all the Nations, not by insulting and injuring all others, like Great Britain, but by doing Justice to all others, and by insisting upon Justice from them. But how is Holland to obtain Justice2 from the English, who take a manifest pleasure and pride, in showing her, and all Europe, that they despise her? Holland seems to be as corrupted and unprincipled, as Great Britain, but there is one great difference between them. Great Britain has a terrible naval Force, Holland has next to none. Great Britain has Courage and Confidence in her Power. Holland has none. I don't mean that the Dutch are destitute of personal Courage, but national Courage is a very different thing.
The curious Doctrine of a constitutional Impossibility of acknowledging our Independence is well exposed in your Dialogue. I suppose the Idea was taken from Lord Chatham's dying Speech, when he conjured up the Ghost of the Princess Sophia of Hanover to whose Posterity being Protestants, the Act of Settlement had consecrated the Succession to the Crown, and its Authority over all parts of the Dominions. This was a masterly Stroke of Oratory to be sure, and shows that my Lord Chatham in his last Moments, had not lost the Knowledge of the prejudices in the Character of the English Nation, nor the Arts of Popularity.3 But a more manifest Address to the Passions and Prejudices of the Populace, without the least Attention to the Justice or Policy of the Principle, never fell from a popular Orator ancient or modern. Could my Lord Chatham contend, that the Heirs of the Princess Sophia of Hanover, provided they should { 35 } be protestants, had the Throne and its Prerogatives entailed upon them, to everlasting Ages, over all parts of the British Dominions, let them do what they would, govern without Parliament, lay Taxes without Law dismiss Judges without Faults, suspend Laws, in short do every thing that the Stewarts did, and ten times more yet so long as they were Protestants, could there be no Resistance to their Will, and no Forfeiture of their Right to govern? I said this was a Figure of Rhetoric, employed by his Lordship ad captandum Vulgus.4 I believe so still, but I believe he meant it also ad capitandum Regem, and that he thought, by throwing out this Idea, that he was not for acknowledging our Independence, the King who at that Time was distressed for a Minister able in conducting a War, would call him into the Ministry. I ever lamented this black Spot in a very bright Character. I don't remember any thing in his Lordships Conduct, which seemed to me so suspicious to have proceeded from a perverted Heart, as this Flight. Allowance, however, ought to be made, perhaps he was misunderstood, and would have explained himself fairly, if he had lived.5
I have not seen the Pamphlet intituled Facts, nor that by Lloyd, nor the Examen, should be glad to see all of them. I find a difficulty in getting Pamphlets from England, but I will have a Channel to obtain them, by and by.
I went to Mr. Grand's, as soon as I received yours of the eighth. Mr. Grand, the Father,6 was out, and no other in the House knew any thing of your Letter or Maps or other things. I will speak to the Father the first Opportunity.
Mr. Lee is gone to L'Orient.
What think You of Luck? Had any Gambler ever so much as Rodney? One of our Tories in Boston, or half way Whigs, told me once, God loves that little Island of old England, and the People that live upon it. I suppose he would say now God loves Rodney. I don't draw the same Conclusion from the Successes, that the Island, or the Hero have had. I think it would be Blasphemy to say, that he loves so degenerate and profligate a Race: but I think it more probable, that Heaven has permitted this Series of good Fortune to attend the wicked that the righteous Americans may reflect in Time, and place their Confidence in their own Patience, Fortitude, Performance, political Wisdom and military Talents, under the Protection and Blessing of his Providence.
There are some who believe that if France and Spain had not interposed, America would have been crushed. There are in other { 36 } parts of Europe, I am told, a greater Number who believe, that if it had not been for the Interposition of France and Spain, American Independence would have been acknowledged a Year or two ago. I believe neither the one nor the other. I know the deep Roots of American Independency on one Side of the Water, and I know the deep Roots of the Aversion to it; on the other.
If it was rational to suppose, that the English should succeed in their Design and Endeavour to destroy the Fleets and naval Power of France and Spain, which they are determined to do, if they can, what would be the Consequence? There are long Lists of French and Spanish Ships of the Line, yet to be destroyed, which will cost the English several Campaigns and a long Roll of Millions, and after this they may send sixty thousand Men to America, if they can get them and what then? Why the Glory of baffling, exhausting, beating and taking them will finally be that of the American Yeomanry, whose Numbers have increased every Year, since this War began, as I learnt with Certainty in my late Visit Home, and will increase every Year, in spite of all the Art, Malice, Skill, Valour and Activity of the English, and all their Allies. I hope however that the capricious Goddess, will bestow some of her favours upon France and Spain, and a very few of them would do the Work. If Rodney's Fortune should convince Spain that She is attacking the Bull by the Horns, and France and Spain, that the true System for conducting this War, is by keeping just Force enough in the Channel to protect their Courts and their Trade, and by sending all the rest of their Ships into the American Seas, it will be the best Fortune for the Allies they ever had.
I long to learn Mr. J.s Success at Madrid, and Mr. Laurens's Arrival in Holland, where I will go to see him sometime in the Summer or Fall.7
I have the Honor to be etc.,
[signed] John Adams
P.S. Pray can you inform me, what Sums have been annually paid, as Subsidies by France, or England, to the House of Austria, or the King of Prussia, or other Powers, in former Wars?
RC in John Thaxter's hand, with postscript in JA's hand (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Mr Adams March. 12. 1780.” LbC, with postscript by Thaxter (Adams Papers.)
1. Jenings included an extract from his letter of 27 Jan. 1780 to the Grand Pensionary of Amsterdam, Engelbert van Berckel, in his letter of 1 March to JA (Adams Papers). Jenings expressed to van Berckel his strong views on the need for the Netherlands to oppose effectively the British navy's assault on its commerce so that its flag would be respected and its neutrality preserved. Jenings supported his argument with a long passage from Baron Ja• { 37 } cob Friedrich von Bielfeld's Institutions politiques, The Hague, 1740, on a sovereign state's obligation to compel respect for its flag on the high seas. Jenings told JA that he had “sent to another quarter for publication” both the extract from his letter to van Berckel and a passage regarding British efforts to obtain supremacy on the high seas from Gabriel Bonnot, Abbé de Mably's Des principes des négociations, pour servir d'introduction au droit public de l'Europe, fondé sur les traités, The Hague, 1767, which he included in his letter to JA. For Jenings' quotations from the works of Von Bielfeld and de Mably, as translated by JA, see JA's letter of 12 March to the president of Congress (No. 17, below).
2. In the Letterbook this sentence originally began “But how is Holland to compel G. B. to do her Justice.”
3. For the earl of Chatham's alleged doctrine of “constitutional impossibility,” see Jenings' letter of 5 March, and note 9 (above); for Chatham's “dying” speech, see Parliamentary Hist., 19:1022–1026. In the months prior to Chatham's final speech in the House of Lords on 9 April 1778, shortly before his death on 11 May, there had been much speculation that he would be included in a new cabinet. The deterioration of the military situation in America, particularly the defeat at Saratoga, seemed to make such a course possible despite George III's personal unwillingness to have Chatham serve in any ministerial capacity (O. A. Sherrard, Lord Chatham and America, London, 1958, p. 373–380). It is not surprising that JA would see Chatham's position in his final speech as a product of his well known ambition, intended to ingratiate himself with George III and thus remove any obstacles to his return to power.
4. That is, to captivate the masses and, in the following sentence, to captivate the King.
5. The following three paragraphs were set off by parentheses and preceded by the word “Omit” in pencil. “Omit” appears to be in Jenings' hand and may indicate that he sought to have an extract from this letter published. If so, the printed letter has not been found.
6. Ferdinand Grand and his son, Henry, were Paris bankers, long supporters of the American cause.
7. After Henry Laurens' capture in Sept. 1780, he was brought to England and did not reach continental Europe until Nov. 1782 (see JA to James Lovell, 19 Feb., note 3, vol. 8:334).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0023

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-12

To the President of Congress, No. 17

[salute] Sir

It is an Observation made some Years ago by a great Writer of this Nation de Mably,1 that the Project of being sole Master of the Sea, and of commanding all the Commerce, is not less chimerical, nor less ruinous, than that of universal Monarchy, on Land: And it is to be wished, for the Happiness of Europe, that the English may be convinced of this Truth, before they shall have learned it by their own Experience. France has already repeated, several Times, that it was necessary to establish an Equilibrium, a Ballance of Power at Sea: and She has not yet convinced any Body because She is the dominant Power: and because they suspect her, to desire the Abasement of the English, only that, She may domineer the more surely, on the Continent. But if England abuses her Power, and would exercise a kind of Tyranny over Commerce, presently all the States that have Vessels and Sailors, astonished that they had not before believed France, will { 38 } join themselves to her to assist her in avenging her Injuries. Principes des Negotiation. p. 90.
The present Conjuncture of Affairs resembles so exactly the Case that is here put, that it seems to be a literal fulfilment of a Prophecy.
A Domination upon the Sea is so much the more dangerous to other maritime Powers and commercial Nations, as it is more difficult to form Alliances and to combine Forces at Sea, than at Land. For which Reason it is essential, the Sovereign of every commercial State, should make his national Flagg be respected, in all the Seas, and by all the Nations of the World. The English have ever acted upon this Principle, in supporting the Honor of their own Flagg, but of late Years have grown less and less attentive to it as it respects the Honor of other Flaggs. Not content with making their Flagg respectable, they have grown more and more ambitious of making it terrible. Unwilling to do as they would be done by, and to treat other Commercial Nations, as they insisted upon being treated by them, they have grown continually more and more haughty, turbulent and insolent upon the Seas, and are now never satisfied until they have made all other Nations see that they despise them upon that Element.2
It is said by the Baron de Bielfield, that Piracies and Robberies at Sea, are so odious, so atrocious and so destructive to the interests of all the European Nations, that every thing is permitted to repress them. Providence has not granted to any People, an exclusive Empire upon the Seas. To aim at setting up a Master there, to prescribe Laws to other free Nations, is an Outrage to all Europe.3
I have quoted these Authorities, because they contain the true Principle, upon which, as I have ever concieved, the English began this War, and upon which they will assuredly continue it, as long as they can get Men and Money, which will be as long as they shall have Success. They contain also the true Principle of the Conduct of France and Spain, and Holland and all the other Powers of Europe. The Outrages committed upon the Dutch Commerce and the Insults offered to their Flagg ought to be and are alarming to all the Maritime Powers.
The late Successes of the English, will have no Tendency to allay the Fears of these Powers; on the contrary, they will increase the Alarm, by showing the precarious Situation they will all be in, if England should finally succeed, which some of them may perhaps apprehend from the late brilliant Fortune of Admiral Rodney.
One cannot but be struck with the rapid Series of fortunate Incidents for the English, which has been, published here in the Course { 39 } of about three Months that I have been in Europe. The little Affair of Omoa began it; the Repulse at Savannah succeeded with all its Consequences; the Curacao Fleet was next, Langara's fate soon followed, Gibralter was relieved, Don Gaston's Squadron was dispersed by a Storm, and Admiral Rodney had Opportunity to get safe out of Gibralter. The French East India Fleet brings up the Rear.4 There is hardly in History such a Series of Events that no human Wisdom could provide against or foresee: yet after all, the Advantage gained is by no means decisive, altho' no doubt it will raise the Ambition of the English, and in some degree damp the Ardor of their Enemies.
It must not have this Effect however upon America. Let the Maritime Powers of Europe fare as they will, we must be free, and I trust in God we shall be so whatever may be their Fate. The Events of War are uncertain, at Sea more than even at Land. But America has Resources for the final Defence of her Liberties, which Britain will never be able to exhaust, though they should exhaust France and Spain, and it may not impossibly be our hard Fate, but it will be our unfading Glory, finally to turn the Scale of the War, to humble the Pride which is so terrible to the Commercial Nations of Europe, and produce a Ballance of Power upon the Seas. To this End, Americans must be Soldiers and Seamen.
It is proper however, to keep constantly in Sight the Power, against which We have to contend.
The English have in all the Ports of England, in a Condition of actual Service, or at least given out and reported to be so, twenty Ships of the Line. In the Course of the Spring and the Month of June, eight others which are now repairing, and three new ones in the Course of the Year. The whole Squadron for the Channel will be thirty one. The Squadron of Arbuthnot at New York, consists of five —that of Jarvis at the Western Islands is two, including the Dublin, which was detached from Admiral Rodney and is now in bad Condition at Lisbon—one only at Jamaica for the Lion is too far ruined to be counted. The Fleet at the other Islands, joined by the Hector, detached from Rodney, the Triumph and the Intrepid, lately sailed from England, is Nineteen, seven of which at least are in too bad a Condition for actual Service. That of India, including two which serve for Convoys, consists of ten: two of which however are returning to be repaired or condemned. The Lenox, is a Guard Ship in Ireland.
Rodney entered Gibralter with four Spanish Ships of the Line, the Phanix of eighty Guns, the Monarca, the Princessa and the Diligente { 40 } of seventy, besides the Guipuscoa, now the Prince William, of sixty five, which he took with the Convoy on the eighth of January. He entered also with the Shrewsbury of seventy four which joined him from Lisbon. His Squadron must therefore have consisted of twenty four Ships of the Line. If he left the Panther and another at Gibralter he must have gone out with twenty two.5
Whether he is gone with this whole Fleet to the West Indies, or only with part of it, and with what part, is yet undetermined by the Public.
France and Spain however, have a vast Superiority still remaining, which, if it should be ably managed, will easily humble the English: but if it should be unwisely managed, or continue to be as unfortunate as it has been from the Moment of the Comte D'Estaing's sailing from Toulon, will even in this Case last long enough to consume and exhaust their Enemies.6
I have the Honor to inclose the Mercury of France of the eleventh of March, the Hague Gazettes of the sixth and eighth, the Amsterdam Gazette of the seventh and the Leyden of the seventh, and to be with the highest Consideration, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC (, No. 84, I, f. 317–320;) endorsed: “No. 17 Letter from J. Adams March 12. 1780 Read Septr. 11th. present naval power of Great Britain.” LbC (Adams Papers.)
1. The remainder of this paragraph is a translation of the final paragraph of chap. 6 from Gabriel Bonnot, Abbé de Mably's Des principes des négociations, pour servir d'introduction au droit public de l'Europe, fondé sur les traités, The Hague, 1767, a copy of which is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library).
2. This paragraph and the preceding two paragraphs were included almost verbatim in No. XI of “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14 – 22 July] (below).
3. This paragraph and the second sentence of the preceding paragraph are JA's translations of portions of a passage from Baron Jacob Friedrich von Bielfeld's Institutions politiques, The Hague, 1740 (part 1, chap. 15, sect. 23), contained in Edmund Jenings' letter of 1 March (Adams Papers). Although most of the preceding paragraph is not a direct translation from his work, it is faithful to the substance of von Bielfeld's comments.
4. The events indicated by JA have all been mentioned in previous letters and dealt with in the annotation, but the time span over which the almost uniformly favorable news reached England is worth noting. The reports concerning the capture of Omoa and the repulse of Estaing at Savannah reached London on 18 and 20 Dec. 1779, respectively, while the reports of Adm. Rodney's departure from Gibraltar and Adm. Digby's capture of several French East Indiamen appeared on 6 March (vol. 8:356, note 4; from Thomas Digges, 7 March, and note 2, above).
5. JA's account of the current composition and deployment of the British navy and the state of Rodney's fleet, in this and the preceding paragraph, is generally accurate and reflects newspaper reports in February and March.
6. In the Letterbook, this paragraph was written after the closing and marked for insertion at this point. For the misfortunes that befell Estaing's fleet during its presence in American waters during 1778 and 1779 and the resulting American disappointment, see vols. 7 and 8.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0024

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Goësbriand, Chevalier de
Date: 1780-03-13

To the Chevalier Goësbriand

[salute] My dear Sir

I have recieved the Letter, which You did me the Honor to write me from Brest, the twenty seventh of last Month;1 and am very sensible of your kind Remembrance of me.
The Zeal and Ambition, which You discover for the Service of your Country and her Allies, is laudable; and altho' I have small pretensions to be capable of judging of the Qualities and Abilities of a Marine Officer; yet I make no Scruple to assure You, that according to all the Observations I made, in the two Voyages I had the pleasure to make with You, and according to the best Judgment I have, You are very capable of serving your Country in an higher Sphere than that respectable one, in which I saw You.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than to find, that officers and other Gentlemen, who have been to America, have been pleased with their Reception there, and I am much obliged to You for your candid and indulgent Expressions of your Esteem for my Countrymen.
Your Request does not appear to me either unjust or ridiculous; but the Enemy have made such Havock among the American Frigates in the Course of a long War, that We have Numbers of Captains and other Officers, who have been long in Service, who are now out of Employ. We have therefore no Frigate vacant.
Your present Rank and Command in the Marine, are very respectable and your Prospects very good. You will have Opportunity to distinguish yourself by your Abilities, your Zeal and Activity, in the Service of the King who will not fail to reward your Merit in due Time. Remember me with Affection to your Brother Officers & believe me to be with much Esteem & Respect, Sir, your most obedient & most humble Servt.
[signed] John Adams
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. Chevalier de Goësbriand was the second in command of La Sensible (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:397). In his letter of 27 Feb. (Adams Papers), Goësbriand noted that his lack of seniority gave him little hope of obtaining the command of a French naval vessel and requested that he be considered for the command of a small frigate in the Continental Navy if one were available.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0025

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, Ferdinando Raymon
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Date: 1780-03-14

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

I have this Moment received yours of 7th—that of the 3d is not come to hand. I had received the Gaz. Ex. and Ad. Digby's Letter, which falls very short of what was feared, for it was reported the whole Fleet was taken. There is Scarcely an Example of Such a Series of fortunate Contingencies as that which had happened to Rodneys Fleet. But as it has been simply, good Fortune, there may be an End of it now, and the Tide may turn.
I can hardly believe that two such Expeditions of ships and Troops have gone from N: York, as it is pretendd because I find it hard to believe that Ministry intend to let the American War die away. Their Hearts have been too much fixed upon it. Yet I know not how they can continue it. The Expence of continuing it, must be very great and the Profit, of it, must be made by American Privateers. The Ministry and Nation will have none of it. So long as they maintain an Army at N.Y. cutt off as they are from all Communication with the Country and Supplying not only the Army and Navy, but the Inhabitants with Provisions and necessaries of all sorts, by sea from Ireland Quebec, Hallifax and the West India Islands, so long the American Privateers will have fine Sport.
Pray, are the Resources of the Nation, really inexhaustible, and can they raise, twenty Millions a Year, forever? One would think that Guineas grew upon Trees, like Cherries or Gooseberries. Pray how fares the Fishery? Do they make a great Profit by it? The Americans desire more Advantage by it, according to scarce Accounts than they used to do. They took last summer about one half, as some say—full one third as all agree. The N. foundland Fishery I mean. What is become of the Whale Fishery on the coast of Brasil?1 Has the Spanish War broke it up? Or have the Vessells all gone to Greenland? Or have the Men of War pressed all the Sailors?
How is the Fleet manned? Are there Men enough? Seamen enough? One would think that Seamen grew with the Grass, or were manufactured like Pins or Buttons, there seems to be Such inexhaustible Stores of them. If Guineas grow like currants in the Bushes, and Seamen Spring up, with the Spices of Grass, Woe to France and Spain, Woe to America too, but not Conquest to the latter.
The Groups of great Statesmen to whom the Nation are so deeply indebted, will have the Honour with Posterity of riding a free Horse. { 43 } Generous he is, like Bucephalus2 however vicious he may be. A dying Elephant, throws himself headlong into the thickest of the Foe and deals out death all around him. The Wounded Horse is always courageous, rushes into danger and often does great Exploits. The Whale that is lanced to the Vitals, sometimes drowns his enemy in Torrents of his own Blood, which he spurts with a sublime fury. But the vital Blood is flowing away. The Elephant the Horse and the Whale must soon expire, unless, he desists from the Warfare and stanches his Wounds.

[salute] I am yrs,

[signed] Ferdinando Raymon San
LbC (Adams Papers;) directed to: “Mr William Singleton Church Nandos Coffehouse Fleet Street London.”
1. For JA's interest in the British whale fishery, which was heavily dependent on American whalemen, see vols. 6–8.
2. This was Alexander the Great's favorite horse, for which he named the city of Bucephala, near Jhelum, Pakistan.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0026

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Date: 1780-08-14

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

I had not till This afternoon, your Favour of the third of this month. I am greatly obliged to you, sir for this and the other of the 7th. I may promise to be as faithfull a Correspondent, as the particular Situation I am in, will permit: But you must be very sensible, that I cannot be very exact in the Payment of Debts of this sort.
I really cannot devine the Principle, nor the Passion, nor the Humour upon which the Exchange of the Prisoners is refused. After exchanging between the British Government and American Authority in France after the numerous Exchanges between Boston and New York, and Between Boston and Hallifax I should think, if they were uniform even in their Whimsies, they could not refuse an Exchange between America and England. This Method was adopted more for the Ease of British subjects than American Citizens, and the rude Rejection of it, will hurt them more than Us.1
There are three French Frigates arrived, from Charlestown S.C. which sailed the 24 Jany. and left all quiet, not even expecting an Ennemy, which leaves 27 days for Clinton to have proceeded from N. York, a Circumstance which increases the Probability, that the fleet met with a storm. The french Men of War which were in Chesapeak Bay are all Safe so that Cornwallis must have failed of that Part of his Enterprise, If he ever had it in View.
I believe with you that the Committees of Correspondence in { 44 } England and Ireland must embarrass the Ministry: but will they be of any Use to Us, if the Persons who take the lead in these Correspondences Associations and Congress, should prevail and get into Power, will not their Aeconomical Projects rather injure than serve our Cause, by enabling them to command more Money, and make greater Exertions. But is there any common Principle of Union left in the Minds of the People which can be made a Foundation of Union and bind them together, against both the Terms and the Allurements of the Court? These Movements to be sure a very similar to those in America.
The Committee of Correspondence is purely an American Invention. It is an Invention of Mr. Sam. Adams, who first conceived the Thought, made the first Motion in a Boston Town Meeting, and was himself chosen the first Chairman of a Committee of Correspondence, that ever existed among men.2 They do him Honour by adopting his Discovery, but I am afraid they will do Us all Injury, by turning his Empire against Us.
If the Irish are as wise, as their first Efforts seem to indicate, they will take Advantage of this Opportunity, to obtain compleat Liberty. They show plainly that they understand what is necessary to this End and proceed towards it with a Caution that will insure them success.
It is a vast Pleasure to hear that the great and amiable Characters you mention, are clearly for American Independance. It is not all to be wondered that Minds, which have comprehended the Truth of Things from the Beginning of this Controversy should continue to see, in a just Light the Situation and the Interests of both Countries. And nothing is more certain than that all those who are for Independance, on Provisoes, will find themselves deceived and disappointed as egregiously as ever a Bernard, an Hutchinson a Gage or an How, have done. Have those who talk of America's giving up the Alliance, ever considered what they say? Would not these very Men despise her if she did it, for doing it? Would not America, if there is any Ingenuity, Modesty, Candour, Honour or Virtue of any other denomination in her forces despise herself for so doing. Would not the Universe detest her, as well as despise her? Would she not throw herself by such a Measure more absolutely into the Power of Great Britain, than she ever would have been if she had submitted to the Claims of Parliament in all Cases whatsoever. Surely Americans, have common sense, they are capable of some Reflection, they have some Knowledge of their Interests, and they have some Sentiments of what is right and fit.
{ 45 }
Those who talk of federal Alliances, with America, do they mean against France and Spain? Could England trust America, after violating her Virgin faith, with such shameless Prostitution if she were to make such a League. England might think that France would not trust her again, but England could not trust her more. I know not how such Ideas strike other Minds but to me they seem the fruit of a total Dissolution of all Principles, and all moral Sentiments and Feelings, and they suppose such a Dissolution in America, but those who suppose it will find themselves mistaken, they will find that there are Principles there which will be an Overmatch for Fire and Sword.
There are others who talk of constitutional Impossibilities of acknowledging American Independance,3 a strange unmeaning Gibberish which they have inferred from Ld Chathams observation that the Act of settlement had consecrated the Descent of the Crown, and its Authority and Preogatives over all the dominions to the Heirs of the Princess Sophia of Hanover: as if the Act of settlement was made to abolish all the Principles which produced it, and upon which it was founded.
I should be very happy to take the London Courant: and will endeavour to accomplish it. I have the Honour to be, with much Respect, sir, your most obedient servant,
[signed] Ferdinando Raymond San
LbC (Adams Papers;) directed to: “Mr William Singleton Church, Nandos Coffee House Temple Bar, London.”
1. Prisoner exchanges had occurred in April and July 1779, but no further exchanges took place in Europe for a variety of reasons. The most important was the lack of any sizable pool of English prisoners taken by American ships and imprisoned in France that could be exchanged for Americans confined in England. By March 1780 this problem had been exacerbated by the exchange of the prisoners taken by John Paul Jones from the Serapis in 1779 for French prisoners and the absolute refusal of the British government to permit Americans held in England to be exchanged for British prisoners held in America. Other obstacles to further exchanges were the anomalous position of the Americans who were not technically prisoners of war; the reluctance of the British government to negotiate with Benjamin Franklin for fear of giving even tacit recognition to the United States; and the apparent desire of the British authorities to dash any hopes that the American prisoners might have for exchange so as to encourage them to volunteer for service in the British navy (Catherine M. Prelinger, “Benjamin Franklin and the American Prisoners of War in England during the American Revolution,” WMQ, 3d ser., 32:261–294 [April 1975]; Benjamin Franklin to the president of Congress, 4 March 1780, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. 3:534–537).
2. JA refers to Samuel Adams' motion at a Boston town meeting on 2 Nov. 1772. But the committee of correspondence thereby created was not the first “that ever existed among men.” Committees of correspondence had been used extensively in America before 1772, usually during specific crises, such as that surrounding the Stamp Act of 1765–1766. Samuel Adams' conception of the committee's purpose was unique. He saw it as the nucleus for an opposition party and ultimately even the foundation for a new government. The success of the movement in Massachusetts and the other colonies led JA to wonder about its English reincarnation. If committees of { 46 } correspondence enjoyed similar success there and led to a change in government, he feared that the economic reforms advocated by those involved in the movement would enable Britain to carry on the war more effectively since the merchants and gentry objected less to the war in America than to its vast cost. Moreover, even a new government willing to end the war in America might be unable or unwilling to back down from the war with France and Spain. Then, since the United States was tied to France by treaty, the conflict would continue (Boston Record Commissioners, Reports, 18:93; Richard D. Brown, Revolutionary Politics in Massachusetts, Cambridge, 1970, p. 46–48).
3. See Edmund Jenings' letter of 5 March and JA's reply of 12 March (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0027

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-14

To the President of Congress, No. 18

Paris, 14 March 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 325–327). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:544–545.
This letter, which Congress received on 11 Sept., was based on intelligence provided by Edmund Jenings and Thomas Digges in their letters of 5 and 7 March, respectively (both above). John Adams reported on the number of troops available in England, Ireland, and Scotland; British naval movements; and the apparent intention of the British ministry to dispatch no more troops to America. For information on French intentions, Adams referred Congress to the Vicomte de Noailles, whom Adams expected would carry the letter to America.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 325–327.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:544–545.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0028

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-14

To the President of Congress, No. 19

Paris, 14 March 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 321–324). LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “NB. Nos. 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19 were delivered to Mr. Brown of S. Carolina. No. 15th on the tenth of March, the rest on the 15th. of March 1780.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:545–547.
In this letter, read in Congress on 11 Sept. and based on information taken from Thomas Digges' letters of 3 and 7 March (both above), John Adams reported on the troops sent with Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton to Charleston, naval operations, the progress of the county association and volunteer movements in England and Ireland, and events in Parliament.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 321–324.) LbC (Adams Papers;) notation by Thaxter: “NB. Nos. 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19 were delivered to Mr. Brown of S. Carolina. No. 15th on the tenth of March, the rest on the 15th. of March 1780.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:545–547.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0029

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1780-03-14

To Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

I have just received from London, the Letters, Extracts of which are inclosed.1 They may possibly contain Some particulars, of Use to your Excellency. I beg your Pardon, sir, for troubling you with Intelligence which you undoubtedly have Much sooner, in greater detail, and with more Authority than mine. But in such Times as these, great Effects are sometimes produced by, small particulars of Intelligence: for which Reason, if your Excellency will permit it, I will take the { 47 } Liberty to send you from Time to Time, the best Intelligence I can collect. I have the Honour to be with, the greatest Respect, your Excellencys most obedient & most humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
1. In his reply of 20 March (Adams Papers) thanking JA for the intelligence, Sartine referred to two extracts, probably from Thomas Digges' letters of 3 and 7 March (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0030

Author: Gillon, Alexander
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-14

From Alexander Gillon

[salute] Sir

I should have had the pleasure of answering your respectfull favour of 20th. past1 ere now had I not waited to have inform'd you what was doing here. The States are still sitting and I have reason to believe will not adjourn soon, various are the Reports of their proceedings but from what I am able to gather from there I can depend on.2 The Grand business is done between the Northern Powers on A footing very convenient to this Country as it must compel the English to quit interrupting the Trade of the Neutral Powers.3 Was I sure this Letter wou'd meet no Eye but yours I could say much on this pleasing subject but few Letters there are that pass into the direct chance without inspection. I shall however seek a private safe hand to write you fully on some very interesting matters that are now in Agitation and others that was put in Execution the 4 Instant. It gives me great pleasure to be Assurd of your Countenance and Aid and that you differ from Other Opinions on the propriety of any of the United States entering into such separate engagements as I am authorisd to make, it is A priviledge I hope every state will ever preserve pressure of enforcing their own Sovereignty. I thank you for your Advice on the Ships in Question, shall follow it and shall take the Liberty of acquainting you with the Result. I am with fervent wishes for your Wellfare Sir Your most Obdt. & most hble Servt.,
[signed] A. Gillon
1. Vol. 8:343–344.
2. The States General was debating its response to memorials presented by Sir Joseph Yorke, the British ambassador, on 22 July and 26 Nov. 1779. In the memorials Britain demanded that the Netherlands provide the 6,000 troops and 30 warships required under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch alliance of 1678 and later treaties, and declared that if the aid was refused Britain would treat the Netherlands as it did any neutral not bound to it by treaty. The British demand, like those made earlier by France, required a clear choice between belligerents, a choice the republic was unwilling and unable to make. In fact, by March 1780 any possibility that the Dutch { 48 } would accede to the British demand had almost vanished because of the Royal Navy's seizure of a Dutch convoy at the end of December. With the deliberations of the States General seemingly promising nothing, Yorke presented a third memorial on 21 March that gave the States General three weeks to reach a decision. The memorial had no effect and on 17 April Britain declared that the provisions regarding wartime navigation and commerce in various Anglo-Dutch treaties, particularly that of 1674, were suspended (Charles Jenkinson, Collection of all the Treaties of Peace, Alliance, and Commerce, between Great-Britain and other Powers, 3 vols., London, 1785, 1:214; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 134–135; see also Edmund Jenings to JA, 19 March, note 2, below). For texts of Yorke's three memorials, which were widely printed, see, for example, John Almon's Remembrancer for 1779 (p. 167– 168) and 1780 (p. 333–334); and the London Chronicle of 29–31 July and 9–11 Dec. 1779, and 28–30 March 1780. For a general overview of Anglo-Dutch relations in 1779 and early 1780, see C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 Jan. 1779, note 2 (vol. 7:384).
3. JA copied this sentence and included it in his letter of 18 March to the president of Congress (No. 20, calendared, below). Gillon is referring to the diplomatic maneuverings that preceded Catherine II's declaration, on 10 March, of the principles of armed neutrality. Not until 3 April was a Russian memorandum calling on the Netherlands to join in a league of armed neutrals presented to the States General (James Brown Scott, ed., The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, N.Y., 1918, p. 273–276; see also to the president of Congress, 10 April, No. 40, and notes there, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0031

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-03-15

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Inclosed is a Letter from London: I have recieved another from Mr. Jennings, who says he inclosed a Letter for you lately, but does not mention the Date, in one to the House of Mr. Grand, and desires me to enquire there, for some things of his, particularly some Maps which You left there.1 I have enquired of Mr. Grand and his Son Henry, but they know nothing of it.
There is Room to hope that Clinton's Army, destined to Charlestown, is defeated by a Storm. One of the Vessels is got to St. Ives in Cornwall, with one hundred and fifty or two hundred Yagers on Board. Charlestown has the Glory of defending herself twice, with great Courage and Ability, and if the Skies have defended her a third Time, it is to be hoped, She will not be again attempted. It would be hard indeed if Rodney and Digby had all the good Luck. The Cards have run strangely against Us for sometime: but Lord Sandwich's desire of having fifty Sail of the Line in the Channel, will I hope turn the Tide against him in the West Indies and North America, and if it goes against him there, it will not be much for him any where.

[salute] I am with great Esteem, Sir, your most obedient Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.) For an explanation of how this letter came to be in the Adams Papers, see JA to Arthur Lee, 10 Oct. 1778, descriptive note (vol. 7:127–128).
{ 49 }
1. The letter from London has not been identified, but that from Jenings was of 8 March, to which JA had replied on the 12th (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0032

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Richard Henry
Date: 1780-03-15

To Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My Dear Sir

After my last Embarkation for Europe, Your Letter of October the eighth1 was brought me on Board the French Frigate the Sensible, just upon the point of sailing, so that I had no Opportunity to answer it in America, and since my Arrival in Europe, I have gone through a Land Journey from Ferrol in Spain to Paris little short of four hundred Leagues, in the dead of Winter, in such Roads and such Accomodations, as almost wore me out. I have scarcely recruited myself enough to recollect what I had to do.
I thank you, Sir, for your kind Congratulations, on my Return to my Family and Country, both which I had the inexpressible Pleasure to find in perfect Health.
My Countrymen are so nice and so difficult to please, in the Choice of a Constitution of government, that I cannot say how long it will be, before they will adopt one, but of this I am very certain, that they have one at present which is very tolerable, and that the Temper and Genius of that People will not endure a bad one.
You recommend to me to continue in public Life, but You practise the Reverse yourself.2 How is this? are not the same Obligations upon You that You think lie upon me?
You and I have had Experience enough of public Life, to be very well convinced, that there are great Trials of our Patience, very little pleasure, and no Satisfaction at all to be found in it. I was never very fond of public Life, myself, but on the contrary, I avoided it with the utmost Care for many Years. But stepping into the midst of civil Dissentions, when I first entered on the Stage of Life, it was impossible for me to avoid having an Opinion of my own, and Principles like those of the Majority of my Countrymen, these Principles I frankly professed at all Times and in all Circumstances, however critical and dangerous, which involved me in an unavoidable Necessity, when the Times grew more tempestuous, to step on board the Ship and take my Fortune with the Crew. It is and will ever be the sweetest Reflection of my Life, that I did so. But I have ever been thoroughly sensible of the Instability, of a public Career, and I have ever endeavored to preserve my Mind prepared to return to my Rocks { 50 } and Forrests, with Tranquility, which I am perfectly sure at present, that I could do, and with pleasure too. Yet I assure You I begin to fear that Habits will steal upon me, by length of Time, which I shall find it hard to break, when the Time shall come that I must retire. This time will certainly arrive with the first Moment that I cannot serve the public with Honor and some prospect of Advantage and I have many Reasons to suspect, that the Time is not very distant.
The Chevalier de la Luzerne, I have Reason to think from an agreeable Acquaintance with him in the Course of a Passage to America of forty seven days, from some Knowledge of him that I had before and after, is a candid and impartial Man, possessed of no Principles or Views inconsistent with his public Character, and very able to do service to his Country and ours. The same of Mr. Marbois. I lament most sincerely the unhappy Contests that preceeded his Arrival and wish that they may be extinguished, but I know too well the Circumstances to expect that they will.
As to my Negotiations, our Sons or Grandsons have a better Chance of completing them, than I have. There is, or at least there was a System of Policy and of military Operations, that if it had been pursued, might have given me something to do.3 It is not my fault, nor the fault of America that it was not.
The Fishery and the Navigation of the Missisippi are Points of such Importance, that your Grandson, when he makes the Peace, I hope will secure them. I am sure, he will omit nothing in his Power to do, for that purpose.
You will hear before You read this of a Series of good Fortune, which has happened to Rodney and his Fleet. But the Allies will be superior by Sea in America and the West Indies, so that We may hope, that the Tide will turn. England will remain without Allies altho' Denmark has done a foolish Thing by restoring to the English some Prizes sent into Norway by the Alliance. She seems to be sorry that She did it. It was upon the Principle, that they had not acknowledged our Independence, and that all Powers were their Enemies, with whom they had no Treaty, a Principle long since exploded, and of which they are at present ashamed.4 Ireland and England are following our Example: and if France and Spain act with sufficient Vigour in America and in the West Indies, all is ours, with an ordinary Success, otherwise all will be aback. But We must persevere. The more Success Great Britain has, the more Reason We have to dread her, and we ought to be more determined to hold out forever.
{ 51 }

[salute] I am with great Esteem, Sir, your Friend & humble Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP;) endorsed: “John Adams 1780 March 15th,” and in another hand, “John Adams.”
1. Vol. 8:192–194.
2. Lee had resigned as a delegate to Congress in May 1779 and did not serve again in that capacity until 1784 (DAB).
3. Probably a reference to JA's long-standing plan for an increased French naval presence in American waters.
4. During the Bonhomme Richard expedition in 1779, the Alliance took the Betsy, Union, and Charming Polly. The prizes were sent to Bergen, Norway (then under Danish rule), where British pressure caused Denmark to return the vessels. Benjamin Franklin protested this action in a letter of 22 Dec. 1779 to the Danish foreign minister (PCC, No. 82, I, f. 211–217; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 355– 356). In support of his position Franklin cited Emmerich de Vattel's The Law of Nations, or Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns to the effect that the “ancients” had not acknowledged any obligation to nations with whom they had no treaty, but that the progress of civilization had caused the abandonment of that principle (bk. II, chap. 1, sect. 20).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0033

Author: Gardoqui, Joseph & Sons (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-15

From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Hond. Sir

We have in course been honour'd with your much esteemed 25th. Feby.1 and 1st Instant and are happy to hear of your safe arrivall at your place of residence where most sincerely wish you all manner of success.
We expected 'ere now to have had the pleasure of giving you some agreable intelligence from America, from whence we dayly expectt some arrivalls, but none has apear'd to this day, however you may depend that whenever it does, will immidiatly comunicate you, assur'd that we shall with great pleasure ship duplicates and triplicates of the same sort goods sent per Babson and the next oportunities that shou'd offer, taking proper care that the ships and Masters are such as may produce the desir'd effectt.
Give us leave to beg that you wou'd not mention the Commission any more, we are happy whenever we can be of service to any private person of your States, so that you may hereby infer our degree of satisfaction in rendering you any, so pray be free of comand.
We have postly advises from our brother at Madrid of Mr. Carmiachael's wellfare, and of their being dayly companions, and by yesterday's letter we find they soon expectt to see there his Excellency John Jay Esqr. whom they expect to meet at Aranjuez which is 7. leagues beyond Madrid, so that whatever intelligence we can gett of his Excellency's success, you may depend to be inform'd by those who { 52 } beg leave to return you many thanks for mentioning to said Minister. We hope with you to see soon a solid and lasting treaty between your Constituents and this Kingdom being our heartiest wish. It is with pleasure we hear of the strong armament preparing at Brest, and if we have some further hints of their being bound to America, for which parts an equal armament is preparing at Cadiz, and there is some Accounts that mention that they are to be joyn'd, so that it must precisely produce some good effectt towards you, however we shou'd be glad to hear that they are bound that way. You may rest assur'd that no oportunity will be lost in comuniting your worthy Lady of your wellfare and everything else that may tend to make her eassy in your absence.
In expectation of your further comands we beg leave to add our respectts to the Honble. F. Dana Esqr. and the rest of the Gentlemen and subscrive with the greatest esteem, Hond. Sir Your most obt. & obliged Servts.
[signed] Joseph Gardoqui & Sons
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Gardodqui. 15. March ansd. May. 14.” For JA's reply of 14 May, see the letter of 13 May from Gardoqui & Sons, notes 1 and 4 (below).
1. Vol. 8:363–364.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0034

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-15

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

By the bursting of the Lock of one of my trunks on the journey, I was so unfortunate as to lose the packet of M. Gerards Letters; among which was that you copied, and of which I must beg you to send me an authenticated Copy.1
Since my arrival here, I receivd a Packet from Congress which came by the Confederacy. In that is the Copy of one of the most false and wicked Papers I have read upon the subject, given in to Congress by Mr. Carmichael. In that He says, “I have frequently declard that Mr. A. Lee had not the confidence of the Court of France. My reasons for this declaration are among others, the Chevalier Grand and his Brother Mr. Grand, Gentlemen who at various times acted as secret Agents between the Commissioners and the Court of France, in whose assertions I placd confidence because I saw that the Court entrusted them with secrets of the highest importance, and because I never found myself deceivd by these Gentlemen in any other information I had the honor to receive from them while employd by the Commissioners abroad. I was informd and beleive that this want of { 53 } confidence arose from information given by M. Garnier chargé des affairs for the Court of Versailles at London.”2
You will oblige me much, if you will show this Extract to Mr. Grand and M. Garnier, and write me what they say to it. I always entertaind and do still entertain too high an opinion both of Mr. Grand's veracity and discretion to beleive he ever told Mr. Carmichael what he here asserts. But I shall change my opinion if he refuses to contradict this assertion, since it has been made with a manifest design of injuring me and imposing upon Congress.
As Mr. C. coud not know that these Gentlemen were entrusted with Secrets of the highest importance by the Court, unless they communicated those Secrets to him, I do not see how any other conclusion can be drawn from what Mr. C. says of them, but that either they were not so trusted or that they betrayd their trust in such communication to him. I cannot determine whether Mr. Deane or Mr. Carmichael is the most contemptible Liar. And I confess to you Sir, that it astonishes me that such contemptible and manifestly malignant performances shoud have had the smallest influence on any one man of common sense or common honesty in, or out of Congress.
We have no news here, nor is it likely we shall sail this month. I beg my comts. to Mr. Dana.

[salute] With the greatest esteem, I am dear Sir yr most Obedt. Servt.,

[signed] A. Lee
RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Jean Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis de l'America a Paris”; endorsed: “Mr A. Lee March 15th ansd March 31, 1780.”
1. This letter has not been identified, but was probably from Conrad Alexandre Gérard to one or more of the American Commissioners (Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee) in 1777 or early 1778. JA had made a copy of the letter and in his reply of 31 March (below) states that he made another. This indicates that the letter was probably among the Commissioners' papers in Franklin's custody at Passy and may be one of the Gérard letters in the Franklin Papers at the American Philosophical Society (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 1:316, 358, 359; 4:227, 233, 245).
2. William Carmichael made his charge on 3 May 1779 in a written statement to Congress, a copy of which was probably enclosed in James Lovell's letter to Lee of 6 Aug. (MH-H:Lee Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:288–289). In providing this extract from Carmichael's statement, Lee changed it from the third to the first person and altered the beginning of the second sentence, which originally read: “His [Carmichael's] reasons for this declaration are among others, that he was repeatedly told this by Messrs. De Beaumarchais, Ray de Chaumont, the Chevalier Grand.” In the portion of the statement not transcribed, Carmichael indicated that Lee's friendship with Lord Shelburne was the primary reason for the lack of confidence.
In his reply of 31 March (below), JA refused Arthur Lee's request to approach Charles Jean Garnier and Ferdinand Grand. Lee, however, wrote to Ralph Izard on 15 March, apparently making the same request of him that he had made of JA. On 21 March Izard replied that he had approached Garnier who had denied { 54 } privately being the source for Carmichael's statement, but refused to make his denial officially or in writing. Izard recommended that Lee write to Grand because his own relationship with Grand was such that he had “nothing to say or do with him” (MH-H:Lee Papers). For the results of Lee's application to Grand, see his letter to JA of 12 April (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0035

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-03-16

To James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received, Since my Arrival here, your Favour of the Sixteenth of November 1779. I shall take proper Notice of your Remarks upon the 19 and 13 Articles of the Treaty.1 They are, both of Importance and as to the last I wish for an Instruction upon it, because there is no doubt to be made, that whenever a Serious Negotiation shall be commenced, great Pains will be taken for the banished, altho little Attention is paid to them now. I learned Yesterday that they have received no Payment of their Pensions these 18 Months. The Delay is coloured with a Pretense of Waiting for Some funds for Quebec, which have been Stopped by the Interruption of that Trade. They are Still bitter, as I am told, and are firmly persuaded that America cannot hold out Six months longer.
You assure me, that I shall not be without the orders and Credit, I mentioned in a Letter of mine.2 I thank you for this assurance, which is conceived in such strong Terms, that one would think you did not expect any opposition to it, at least any effectual opposition. I wish there may not be: but I am not without Conjectures, I will not call them suspicions upon this Head. Denying them, however would be, virtually recalling me and Mr. Dana, and in a manner the most humiliating and disgracful. Indeed I dont know how We shall get away from our Creditors. You know what Sort of Minds cannot bear a Brother near the Throne, and So fair, So just, so oconomical a Method would not escape Minds of so much Penetration, as a Refusal to lend Money without orders.3 I am not sure, however that the Measure would be hazarded, in the present Circumstances, by Persons by whom I have been treated politely enough, Since my Return.
I should be glad to know what the Board of Treasury have done with my accounts? Whether they have passed upon them? Or whether there are any Objections to them, and what they may be. I dont know but I was indiscreet in Sending all my original Vouchers, because if any of them should be lost I may be puzzled to explain Some Things. However I know by a Letter from Gerry that they were received and I presume they will be preserved.4
{ 55 }
I wish to know your private Opinion whether Congress will continue Mr. Dana and me here, at so much Expence, with so little Prospect of having any Thing to do, for a long time, an uncertain Time however: or whether they will revoke our Powers and recall Us? Or what they will do with Us. A Situation so idle and inactive, is not agreable to my Genius, yet I can submit to it, as well as any Man, if it is thought necessary for the public Good. I will do all the Service I can, by transmitting Intelligence and in every other Way.
You must have observed, that in all my public Letters, and indeed in a great Measure in my private, I have cautiously avoided giving Accounts of the state of our Affairs, in France.5 I had many Reasons for this Caution. In general, I was Sure it would do no good, and I doubted the Propriety of Stating Facts, and remarking upon Characters, without giving Notice of it to the Persons concerned, and transmitting the Evidence. There is no End of conceiving Jealousies, but I am Sure Officers of Government, especially foreign Ministers ought not to attack and accuse, one another upon Jealousies, nor without full Proof, nor then neither without notifying the Party to answer for himself.
Thus much let me say, however that the Present Plan of having a distinct Minister in Spain, another in Holland, and another to treat with Great Britain, and having Secretaries independant of Ministers is a good one. I pray you to stand by it, with the Utmost firmness if it should be attacked, or undermined. If you revoke the Powers of a Seperate Minister to treat with the King of Great Britain, you ought to revoke the former Powers of treating with all the Courts of Europe, which were given to the Commissioners at Passy, for under these, Authority will be claimed, of treating with the English if my Powers are revoked. The Powers of treating with all other Courts ought to be Seperated from the Mission to this. Your Friend,
1. Vol. 8:289–290. JA, as Lovell had in his letter, is referring to Arts. 13 and 19 in the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce as negotiated, rather than as ratified with Arts. 11 and 12 removed. Thus JA means Arts. 11 and 17. Lovell was concerned about the use of the Franco-American treaty as a model for an Anglo-American commercial treaty. He feared that the inclusion of Art. 11, dealing with the disposition of property in the respective countries, would provide the loyalists with a means to regain their confiscated property. Art. 17 established the right of French and American vessels to bring prizes into each other's ports. Its inclusion in an Anglo-American treaty would give Great Britain a right that it was precluded from exercising in American ports under the terms of the prior treaty with France, which took precedence over any later ones (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:11–12, 16–17).
2. Of 4 Nov. 1779 (vol. 8:277–278).
3. A reference to Benjamin Franklin, who never followed the course feared by JA. JA { 56 } had already raised the issue of compensation for himself and Dana in letters of 16 Dec. 1779 and 19 Feb. 1780 to Lovell, as well as in that of 17 Feb. to the president of Congress (vol. 8:297–299, 333–334, 330–331). For Congress' resolution of the problem see the letter to the president of 17 Feb., note 1.
4. Of 12 Oct. 1779 (vol. 8:197–199).
5. For more candid accounts that JA did not send, see his letters to Samuel Adams and Lovell of 4 March (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0036

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vernon, William Sr.
Date: 1780-03-16

To William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear Sir

Since my Arrival, here, I have recieved yours of the 17th of December 1778, and 10th of April 1779.1 The News of so many Captures made by our Navy would have been useful Intelligence, if I had recieved it here in Season. I beg You however, to continue me your favors in the same Kind; for there is no News more agreeable, or interesting than the Success of your Board,2 and our Privateers. It is by You and them that the Foundation of our Navy must be laid.
The beginning of February, as I passed through Bordeaux in my Way from Ferrol in Spain to Paris, I had the pleasure to see your Son,3 in perfect health, and to find that he had pursued his Studies to such purpose as to speak French very well; what proficiency he has made in other Branches of Knowledge and Business, I had not an Opportunity to know, but as the Youth, who makes an handsome progress in one thing seldom fails to do so in more, and in all the things that he aims at, I doubt not he is proportionably advanced in Commerce. There are such Numbers bound from hence to America, that You will have all the News, in detail. We have nothing from America since Christmas.
In all probability America will have an easy Summer. The War will rage in the West Indies, which I hope will give Scope both to Trade and Privateering.

[salute] I have the Honor to be with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (RNHi: Vernon Papers;) endorsed: “John Adams Esqr Paris 16th March 80.”
2. The Navy Board for the Eastern Department.
3. William Vernon Jr.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0037

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1780-03-16

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Letter of the 13th. of June last,1 is not answered—not recieved 'till my Arrival here. You will be so overloaded with News about the Time this will reach You, that I will not add to the Heap. We have none from America a long Time—none since Christmas. You say I was envied—perhaps so: but they would not have envied me in the Gulph Stream, nor when chased forty eight Hours by three British Frigates, nor when Sailing in a Ship, leaking seven Feet of Water in an Hour, in a Gale of Wind that blowed the poor Courier de L'Europe, our fellow Voyager, to the Bottom with all her People, nor when devoured by Vermin in Company with Mules, Hogs, and Poultry, on the Mountains of Gallicia. They would not envy Mr. Jay in the dismasted Confederacy &c. They would not envy Us here, at least they ought not, for it is not an enviable Situation: to see things go wrong for want of adopting the simplest and most obvious plans in the World. However, I have seen enough of Envy to know, that it will have its perfect Work. Let it. It is a Distemper, that I hope will never seize me. I had rather of the two have another, which is sometimes they say contracted here by an Acquaintance with the elegant Nymphs of the Boulevards. But enough of this.
The People of England have done me the Honor to talk lately a great deal about me. They have pleased themselves with the Tales that the Ministry propagated, that I was coming to London. Lord North said he wished I had come in the Cartel Ship. I believe him. But they have no Thoughts of Peace upon my Terms, ie. upon American Terms. Ireland however will make herself independent before ours will be acknowledged: and England will have a Congress very soon. Ireland and England have learned our Policy, and are treading in our Steps. Holland is very angry, and will not always bear. Yet England cannot learn Wisdom. She will fall like the strong Man. I should be very glad She would come to her Reason: but She will not a long time.

[salute] Your's

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.;) endorsed: “Mr J Adams Lettr March 1780.”
1. Vol. 8:91–94.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0038

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-17

From William Lee

[salute] Dr. Sir

I understand the our Enemies have now in contemplation, the offering of some terms to America, which go no farther than a Truce; probably, somewhat similar to the propositions made last year by Spain to Great Britain.1
Tho' I am not inform'd of the terms of Peace with which you are charged, nor whether your powers are discretionary, I trust you will not think it an intrusion in me to offer my sentiments on such a proposition as a Truce for America, supposing it shou'd be made.
A Truce with America, must of course accompany a Peace in Europe, in that case our Enemies, after recovering from their present exhausted state, having their hands clear of European troubles wou'd have their whole strength to employ against America; for I conceive, that with such a prospect before them, there wou'd not be the most distant probability of agreeing on a Peace before the expiration of the Truce.
In America we must keep up a great Military and Naval establishment, to prevent our being taken by surprize, at nearly as great an expence, as we are now at in War, and besides risk the dreadful misfortunes which have almost universally attended standing Armies and a heavy load of debt on the State. I can't suppose it possible that France and Spain wou'd consent to a Truce with America while the War is to continue between G. Britain and them; but if they shou'd, wou'd it be wise in America to accept of a Truce on such terms, and to let our Allies run the hazard of being destroyed, that we may become an easy prey afterwards?
These are some of the evident objections to a truce in any shape, nor can I see one possible argument in its favor tho' I know there are some Americans, tho' well intention'd, but visionary genius's, whose heads, run much on the Idea of a Truce; but I hope nothing will be attended to, unless they are fair, open and honorable propositions for a substantial and lasting Peace, in which blessed Work, I most heartily wish you speedy and full success.
The Dutch are in a very disturbed State—as yet there does not seem to be a probability of their taking a decided and open part with us in the War. The influence and power of the Prince of Orange is unfortunately too great to permit them to adopt those measures which their Honor and interest direct, and which I beleive, a great majority { 59 } of the People wish. The Prince is retain'd against us by the flattering prospect of Marrying his Daughter to the Prince of Wales;2 but in Europe where every thing is bo't and sold, France and Spain may do great things, for the confident and director of the Prince,3 is as mercenary a wretch, as can be found in England or even in Scotland.
We shall probably see Mr. Laurens here in his way to Holland, but if he does not pass thro' this Town I shall be much obliged to you for giving me any interesting public Intelligence that he brings.
Be pleased to present my respects to Mr. Dana and if I can be of any service here in promoting the great work you have in hand, or in rendering any services to our Country, I shall be always happy in receiving your commands, being with great esteam Dear Sir, Your most Obliged & Obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] W. Lee
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “W. Lee. March 17. 1780. recd 21. and. 21.”
1. In its ultimatum to Great Britain in April 1779, at the climax of its abortive mediation effort, Spain proposed a long truce between Britain and its colonies during negotiations, based on the principle of uti possedetis: that is, with the armies left in place. In the months following the failure of the Spanish effort, Russia and Austria each offered to mediate, and it could be assumed that a truce based on uti possedetis would be part of the mediation. JA's instructions, however, empowered him to agree to a truce only during negotiations that were preconditioned by the recognition of the United States and the withdrawal of British forces (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 172–180). Given his instructions, it is unlikely that JA could have agreed to any truce in the form likely to be proposed, but he did request that Congress consider the matter and send him new instructions if it wished (to the president of Congress, No. 23, 23 March, below).
2. Such groundless rumors had been current since 1777 (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 22).
3. For the “confident and director,” Louis Ernst, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, see vol. 6:99, note 7, and William Lee to JA, 30 March, note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0039

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1780-03-18

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

This will be sent or delivered by the Viscount de Noailles, a Son of the Duke D'Ayen a Brother of the Lady of the Marquis de la Fayette, an amiable and gallant young Nobleman as full of military Ardour as the Marquis.2
We have this Moment the News of the safe Arrival, of a Convoy and sixty Sail of Merchant ships of St. Domingo, which is a great Event, for this Country, and for Ours.3
It is also reported that Ten Spanish Ships of the Line, with Ten Battallions of Land Forces have sailed, conjectured to be for N. America.
An Armament is preparing at Brest, of which I ought not to give { 60 } any other Account than one taken from the Amsterdam Gazette of 14 March: it is this.4 The Comte du Chaffaut de Besné, Lieutenant General of the naval Armies, has had the Honnour to take Leave of the King at Versailles, on Wednesday last, being presented to his Majesty by Mr. De Sartine, Secretary of State.
The Report runs that orders have been expedited on the 29 of Feb. for the Officers who are here of all the Regiments which are upon the Coasts to join their Regiments by the 15 of March and that Eight Regiments of Infantry are to embark under the Command of the Comte de Rochambeau. These Regiments are that of Anhalt, whereof the Marquis of Bergen is Colonel in second: Auvergne, Coll Commandant, the Viscount de Laval, and in second the Comte de Lameth; Bourbonnois, Colonel Commandant, Le Marquis de Laval, and in second the Viscount de Rochambeau; Neustrie, Colonel Commandant le Comte de Guibert, and in second the Viscount le Veneur; Rouergue, Colonel Commandant the Viscount des Custine, and in second, the Marquis de Ludie; Royal Corse Colonel Commandant the Marquis du Luc and in second the Count de Pontever; Royal-Deux-Ponts, Colonel Commandant the Comte de Deux-Ponts; Saintonge, Colonel Commandant the Viscount de Beranger, and in second the Marquis de Themines. It is asserted, that there will be added a Detachment of Artillery, and that the Baron de Viomenil the Comte de Chattelux and the Comte de Witgenstein, will embark with these Troupes, and they say that the Duke de Lauzun will have the Command of a Body of Twelve hundred Volunteers, and that he will be joined to the Armament under the Command of the Comte de Rochambeau. All these Troupes, as it is believed, will embark at Brest, and will go out, under the Convoy of the Comte du Chaffaut de Besné. They Add that he will have, more than Thirty Seven ships of the Line, under his Command, destined for an Expedition, whereof the genuine Object is yet unknown. Many other Regiments have also orders, to march down nearer to those upon the Sea coast, and there are many Vessells taken up, upon Freight, for the Service of the King, in different Ports of the Kingdom. The Freight at Havre is 30 Livres a Ton, on Condition that the owner furnish his Vessell for 12 Months. They say that the Prince de Condé will go and command upon the Coast of Britany, with the Comte de Vaux.
These Rumours, presage well, and indicate that the Courts of France And Spain begin to see, that their true Policy lies in transferring their Exertions across the Atlantick, where they will have great Advantage and make Business brisk, and give fair Play to our Priva• { 61 } teers. I hope every Body will exert themselves in Privateering. This is our Part of the War.
But I suppose General Washington in the Course of Things will be calld to cooperate, and he will no doubt be supported and enabled.

[salute] Affectionately yours

[signed] John Adams
RC (NN: George Bancroft Coll.;) endorsed: “Paris Mar 18 1780 Copied & ExC.”
1. For a second letter of this date to Samuel Adams (LbC, Adams Papers), see JA to James Warren, 18 March, note 1 (below).
2. Louis Marie, Vicomte de Noailles, was the son of Philippe de Noailles, Duc de Mouchy. He married Louise de Noailles, sister of cousin Adrienne de Noailles, Lafayette's wife. In 1780 he was second in command of the Soissonnais regiment and sailed with Rochambeau's army in May (Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, 5 vols., Ithaca, N.Y., 1977– 1983, 1:xliv–xlv).
3. This and the following three paragraphs were included, almost verbatim, in JA's letter of 18 March to the president of Congress (No. 20, calendared, below).
4. The account of the expeditionary force under Rochambeau assembling at Brest is a mixture of fact and rumor, reflecting more closely the force as originally intended than as actually sent. The convoy carrying the army sailed in May, escorted by 7 ships of the line, 2 frigates, and 2 smaller warships, rather than 37 ships of the line. The naval force was commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay, rather than Louis-Charles, Comte du Chaffault de Besné, whose career had been effectively ended by wounds at the battle off Ushant in 1778. Rochambeau intended to embark an army of 8,000 men, but a shortage of shipping forced its division into two sections, only the first of which went to America. The army that sailed for America thus totaled approximately 5,500 men: 500 from the Duc de Lauzun's private legion and the remainder from the Soissonais, Bourbonnais, Saintonge, and Royal-Deux-Ponts regiments (two battalions from each). Baron de Viomenil and Chevalier de Chastellux went to America as maréchals de camp, the former serving as Rochambeau's second in command. The Anhalt and Neustrie regiments and the remainder of Lauzun's force remained at Brest as part of the second section under the command of Comte de Wittgenstein (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 190–191; Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; Doniol, Histoire, 5:331–333). There is no evidence that the Auvergne, Royal Corse, or Rouergue regiments were intended for service under Rochambeau.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0040

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gates, Horatio
Date: 1780-03-18

To Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear sir

The Marquis de la Fayettes Brother, the Viscount de Noailles tells me, he should be glad to take Letters to America, and I dont know to whom I can give him a Letter with more Propriety than to the General of Saratoga.
I should be proud to return any Civilities you may shew him to any of your Friends, who may travell to Paris.
I want very much to know, what Scope the Ennemy have from New York, what supplies of Provisions, &c. they do and can derive from New Jersey, New York or Connecticutt. If you can find Leisure, to inform me you will much oblige, sir your Friend and humble sert.
[signed] John Adams
{ 62 }
I want too the best Plan for attacking New York, how many ships and how many Troops, and what Number of Land forces you can depend upon having from the united states. I hope N.Y. will be ours in the Course of this Campain: but if it should not I should be glad to have these Things to contemplate upon next Winter.1
RC (NHi: Gates Papers;) endorsed: “Paris March. 18th. 1780. John Adams rec'd. 28th. Augst.”
1. The letter to Gates is one of eight letters written on 18 March to past or current general officers of the Continental Army in which JA requested intelligence on the progress of the war. The others were to Nathanael Greene (below), Alexander McDougall (NSchU: McDougall Papers), Johann Kalb, Henry Knox, Samuel Holden Parsons, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, and John Sullivan (all LbC's, Adams Papers). The letters to Greene, McDougall, Knox, Parsons, and Sullivan also served as letters of introduction for Vicomte de Noailles, while in those to Kalb and von Steuben, as he did in this letter to Gates, JA specifically requested information regarding an attack on New York.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0041

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1780-03-18

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Give me Leave, by the Opportunity of the Viscount de Noailles, to take this Method of reviving a Correspondence, which has been interupted almost three Years, but was one of the most pleasing I ever had.1
It is unnecessary to say any thing of the Expedition with which this Letter is intended to go, because I hope it will reveal itself to You, in Accounts which will make themselves heard and understood by all the World.
As there is a probability, that there will be more frequent Communication, with America this Summer, than there ever has been, let me beg the favor of your Sentiments both upon Subjects of Policy and War.
Every Operation of your Army has its Influence upon all the Powers of Europe in France, Spain, England, Ireland, Holland, Sweeden, Denmark, Russia, Prussia, Portugal, and even in the German Empire.
America is the City, set upon a Hill,2 I do not think myself guilty of Exaggeration, Vanity or Presumption, when I say, that the proceedings of Congress are more attended to, than those of any Court in Europe, and the Motions of our Armies than any of theirs. And there are more political Lies made and circulated about both, than all the rest: which renders genuine Intelligence, from good Authority, the more interesting and important.
{ 63 }
There is a great Variety of Policy on foot, in England, Ireland, Holland, and among the Northern Powers, all tending to favor the Cause of America, which is promoted by nothing more than by prompt and accurate Intelligence.
I am, Sir, as much as ever, your Friend and Servant
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. The last known letter from JA to Nathanael Greene is of 7 July 1777 and, since that letter may not have been sent, the last letter known to have been received by Greene is of 2 June 1777 (vol. 5:213–214, 238–241). Greene's last known letter to JA is of 28 May 1777 (vol. 5:206–208). For a possible explanation of the long gap in the correspondence, see the annotation to JA's letter of 7 July 1777. This letter did not lead to an immediate resumption of the correspondence, for Greene did not reply until 28 Jan. 1782 (Dft, DLC: Greene Papers).
2. Matthew 5:14; see also John Winthrop, “A Modell of Christian Charity,” The Winthrop Papers, Mass. Historical Society, 6 vols. to date, 1929– , 2:295.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-18

To the President of Congress, No. 20

Paris, 18 March, 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 329–332). printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:557–558.
The first two-thirds of the letter, which was read in Congress on 22 July, was taken from the Gazette d'Amsterdam and included almost verbatim in John Adams' letter to Samuel Adams of this date (above). The remainder of the letter was based on Alexander Gillon's letter of 14 March (above) and a report in the Mercure de France and concerned the advent of the League of Armed Neutrality and the policies of the Netherlands and Sweden.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 329–332.) printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:557–558.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0043

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1780-03-18

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

Monsieur Jean Baptiste Petry Secretary to the Comte de Chatelet, a Marshall of the Camps and Armies of the King of France, is, as he says, going to America, and as he is connected with some Gentlemen to whom I am much obliged, I cannot but comply with his Desire, and give him a few Letters of Introduction. He is represented to be a worthy, sensible and agreable Man.1
The Marquis de la Fayette sailed about 10 March from Rochelle, and will be in Boston as We hope by the 10th. of April. He will explain to Congress and to General Washington, what I cannot explain to you. The Bearer will give you further Commentaries. This Court will by little and little be convinced of the true system, after which I hope they will be less unfortunate. In all human probability they must be, if they do not neglect it too long.
Rodneys Fleet seems to have been the favourite of Fortune, but { 64 } you know she is a great Changeling, and frowns upon one, sometimes in half an Hour after having lavished upon him her Smiles and Favours. We are anxious to know the Fate of Charlestown, which we hope was saved by a Storm.
Faucitte2 vapours in a Leiden Gazette that he has obtained 40,000 Men of the Langrave of Hesse. This Soul selling Langrave, as they call him in Germany, has hardly 40,000 men in his Dominions. This is the Fruit of the Cracovie. Now I must write more or you won't understand me. Craquer, Signifies, in a kind of familiar cant Style, to lie, and Craqueur is a Lyar. There is a Tree, in the grand Alley of the Palais Royal at Paris, which they call the Tree of Cracovie, from the Name of a City in Poland and its Similitude to the word Craque. L'Arbre de Cracovie. The News Mongers of Paris assemble commonly under this Tree. So that it is become proverbial to call false News, Les Nouvelles de L'Arbre de Cracovie. News from the Tree of Cracovie.3 I have spent a Multitude of Words in Explanation of this Trifle, which does not deserve them.
Pray introduce, Mr. Petry to Madame Warren the most accomplished Lady in America, next to one whom I will not mention, but whose Preogative of being the first I can never give up.

[salute] Affectionately yours

[signed] John Adams
RC (MB;) endorsed: “Mr J. A Lettr March 1780.”
1. For Petry, who probably did not go to America at this time, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:13, 17–18. On this date, counting this letter to James Warren and another to AA (Adams Papers), JA wrote nine nearly identical letters of introduction for Petry to friends in Boston and Philadelphia. The others were to Samuel Adams, James Bowdoin, Samuel Cooper, Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Huntington, Benjamin Rush (all LbC's, Adams Papers), and William Tudor (MHi: Tudor Papers).
2. Maj. Gen. Sir William Fawcett had been sent to Germany in 1775 on a special mission to obtain troops from the various German princes and, in the case of Hesse-Cassel, continued in that role until 1781 (DNB; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder, 3:156, 157, 164, 181). For agreements concluded by Fawcett, see Edmund Jenings to JA, 18 March, note 7 (below). Ultimately, through the efforts of Fawcett and others, 29,166 German troops went to America (Mackesy, War for America, p. 62).
3. JA's letter to Benjamin Rush (see note 1) was written in French and contained this passage regarding the “Tree of Cracovie.” That letter also informed Rush of the death of his friend Jacques Barbeau Dubourg.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0044

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-18

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I Have the Honor of having receivd your Favor of the 12th Instant, which flatters me much in informing me of your Approbation of my { 65 } Letters of the first the fifth and the Eigth. I beg the Continuance of your Partiallity, and that You woud Command me in all things.
I now set down to Answer your Enquiry into the “Sums paid Annually, as Subsidies by France or England to the House of Austria or the King of Prussia or other Powers in former Wars?”
Offensive and defensive Treaties enterd into between the great European Princes are Seldom carried into Execution by Subsidies. I shoud think therefore, that neither Austria, France Spain or England have ever been subsidizd, or if any of them have been, it has been stipulatd by secret Articles, which have never transpird. Their Power in Men and Money sets them nearly on an Equallity, and had always made them principals in the War they have engagd in together, and as principals, they have generally agreed on a certain reciprocal assistance according to their Abilities of Men and Money, and indeed of the Whole force of their States, as the Occasion may have demanded. There coud not be any Subsidy between France and the Emperor, for as they have been long Rivals, until the last War, they was never any Connection between them. Spain indeed might furnish France with Money, which their Common Interest requird: but I Know not, that she did. With Respect to GB and these grand Powers, I do not find there is any thing of a Subsisting or has been any subsidiary Treaty properly so calld.
There was no Subsidy stipulatd in the Treaty of Alliance, calld the grand Alliance, between the Emperor the King of GB and the States General in 1689, or in that between GB and the States General in the same year; None in the first partition Treaty in 1698, none in the Alliance between King William 3d Charles 12th and the States General, in 1700. None in the second Partition Treaty in the same year, and none in the second grand Alliance in 1701.1
In 1701, a Treaty of Alliance was enterd into between the King of GB and the States General with the King of Denmark, in which, it was stipulatd, that the King of GB and the States shoud pay the full sums, which was stipulatd to be paid by a Treaty of Alliance which had been enterd into in the Year 1696, one half at the March of the Troops, consisting of 3000 Horses 1000 Dragoons and 8000 foot and another within 6 Months after. I Know not the amount of this Sum, but they were to pay 300000 Crowns Subsidy every year the war Continud, if, the war did not take place and the Troops be on their March, the Charge of raising these Troops was to be paid as follows, 80 Crowns for every Trooper, 60 for every dragoon and 30 Crowns for { 66 } every foot Soldier. Half of the Money to be paid on their March, and the other on their Arrival at the place of Action.
In the Treaty of Alliance 1703 between the Emperor Queen Anne and the States General and the King of Poland,2 the Latter was to raise 23000 foot and 5000 horse 11000 of the foot And 2000 of the horse was to be Armd by the other Confederates, for the Expence of these 13000 Men, they were to give a Milion of Petacoons3 (of which I Know not the Value) over and above they were to pay 500000 petacoons for Accountring [accoutering] the Army.
In 1717, in a Treaty of Alliance between the Kings of France and GB and the United Provinces for the Maintenance of the Treaty of Utrecht, it was agreed, that the two Kings shoud furnish 8000 foot and 2000 Horse and the States General 4000 foot and 1000 horse in Case either of the Allies shoud be attacked; but if money was preferd that the foot should be valued at 10000 Livres per Month for Each 1000 Men, and 1000 horse at 30000 Livres per Month.
By the Quadruple Alliance 1718, wherein the Emperor the King of GB and the King of France agreed to furnish 8000 foot and 4000 Horse, and the States general 4000 foot and 2000 Horse, if either Party was Attackd, it was stipulatd, that if the Money was chosen by such Party, 1000 foot shoud be valued at 10000 florins of Holland per Month, and 1000 Horse at 30000 florins.
In the treaty of Alliance, enterd into in the Year 1725, between the King of GB the King of France and the King of Prussia, the two first Kings stipulate to furnish 8000 foot and 2000 horse Each,4 and the King of Prussia 3000 foot and 2000 horse, and in Case Money was preferd, the 1000 foot was to be valued at 10000 Dutch Guilders by the Month, and 1000 horse at 30000 Guilders of the same money by the Month.
In the Treaty of Alliance, between GB, France and Denmark5 the Latter Prince agreed to Keep on foot 24000 Men, officers, Equipages and Artillery, together with another Body of 6000 Men to reinforce the former if necessary, for this the King of France Agreed to pay to Denmark 350000 rix dollars,6 current Money of Denmark, the same to be paid by way of Advance.
In 1742, a definitive Treaty was enterd into between his Britannic and her Imperial Majesty of Russia. It was Agreed, that her Imperial Majesty shoud send in Case of an Attack on GB 10000 Infantry, and 2000 Calvalry, and that GB shoud furnish Russia with 12 Ships of the Line carrying 700 Guns and 4560 Men, according to a list, given in, { 67 } of Each Ship, and in Case Money was rather Chosen, the Sum of 500000 Roubles a Year was to be paid to the respective Power Attacked demanding it.
This treaty was confirmd by another 1755, wherein it was stipulatd, that Russia shoud keep in readiness on her Frontiers 55000 Men, of which 40000 was to be Infantry and 15000 Cavalry and likewise 40 or 50 Gallies, in Consideration of which, the King of GB engaged to pay to the Empress 500000 Sterling per Ann.
In 1755 a treaty was enterd into also between the King of GB and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, in which, the Latter agreed to hold for the Service of GB 6600 foot and 1400 Horse, with necessary Artillery. The foot was to be paid for at the rate of 30 Crowns per Man, and the Horse at 80 Crowns: besides this a Subsidy of 150000 Crowns was to be paid per Ann., until the said Troops should March, and then the Subsidy was to be augmentd to 300000 Crowns per Ann, the King of GB to pay for the recruiting the Men and for the loss of Cannon. The Prince of Hesse likewise agreed to Augment this body of 8000, if necessary, to 12000 with proper Cannon, and for this 12000 Men 450000 were to be paid Annually so long as they were at the Charge of the Prince, and 225000 when they were at the Charge of the King of GB.
Beside these foregoing treaties with Russia and Hesse, there was one at the End of the war of 1741, by virtue of which, Russia marchd into the Empire and produced the Treaty of Aix le Chapelle and on which this of 1755 seems to have been formed, and there is one now existing with Hesse for troops to go to America. I have not got a Copy thereof, but it is likely to be found in the Annual Register,7 together with the treaties with the Princes of Brunswic, Anholt and Anspach for the like Infamous purposes they are of a most Extravagant Nature.
There are more Subsidiary Treaties, the preceding Ones are not strictly so, but pertake much of this Nature, but what shall we say of the Treaty enterd into with the King of Prussia,8 whereby GB agreed to pay at one time and that immediatly, 670000 Pounds to Prussia, to be disposed of as He pleased for the Common Cause. This is the Shortest, the Simplest and most succesful Subsidiary Treaty ever made, it was a Sum nobly given, and wisely and bravely disposed of; and was necessary and by no dishonable or the King of Prussia to receive, for tho, He is a great Prince in himself the Powers of his States are weak.
France has generally Subsidized Sweden and many of the Ecclesi• { 68 } astical and Temperal Princes on the Rhine, the Terms of which may be seen in the collection of Treaties9 where may be found too her perpetuate Alliance, founded on Subsidies with the Swiss Cantons.
I Know not, Sir, whether the foregoing short Abstract will give you any Satisfaction, be pleasd to mention your future doubt, and I will make a stricter Enquiry.
I am affraid the Enemy has stil unmeritd Success, a Gentleman, who left London last Monday, says, that it was reportd that great News had arrivd, but whether from the Continent or the Islands, He could not tell, but that He heard the Tower Guns firing, and a German Colonel in the french Service has receivd a Letter, which He woud not mention the Contents of but said it was a severe blow on the french. Be so good as to let me hear from you on this Subject, and indeed whatever public News may come to your Knowledge, whether good or bad, that I may, by the Truth, Check the numberless idle and designing Reports of this Town.
I am obliged to You for enquiring at Mr Grands for the Maps and my nephews Things, but Mr Lee has since informd me, that He left them with the Mistress of the Hotel de Vendome dans le Rue des petits Augustras where He Lodged, who will deliver them, when calld for. Give me leave to beg the Favor of You to send for them.
David Hartley is to make a Motion this week relative to America, the purport of which may be guessed at by Sir G Savilles Saying He wished He might be Able to inform his Constituents when he went into the Country, that matters were accomodatd with America.10 I long to hear how the Motion was receivd.
I have heard in a round about way that Mr Js. reception is in a good Train.

[salute] I am Dear Sir with the greatest your most Obt & faithful Hble Servt,

[signed] Edm: Jening
1. The information regarding these and other treaties mentioned in this letter was likely taken from John Almon's A Collection of all the Treaties of Peace, Alliance and Commerce between Great Britain and Other Powers, 2 vols., London, 1772, which Jenings indicated, in his letter of 6 [April] (below), was in his possession. The work is also in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library).
2. The treaty was with King of Portugal Peter II (Almon, Collection, 1:51–61).
3. Patacoon is the anglicized form of pataca, patagon, or patacao, the Portuguese dollar (Webster, 2d ed.; OED).
4. In the treaty this is given as 8,000 foot and 4,000 horse (Almon, Collection, 1:378).
5. Of 1727 (same, 1:394–404).
6. Or Rigsdaler.
7. Instead of the Annual Register, Jenings may mean the Parliamentary Register. The Annual Register for 1776 does give an account of the debates attending the placing of the German treaties before Parliament on 29 Feb. { 69 } 1776, but does not include the texts of the treaties. Volume 3 of John Almon's Parliamentary Register, 17 vols., London, 1774–1780, however, provides translations of the treaties signed with the Duke of Brunswick at Brunswick on 9 Jan. 1776, the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel at Cassel on 15 Jan. 1776, the Prince of Hesse-Cassel at Hannau on 5 Feb. 1776, and the Prince of Waldeck at Arolsen on 20 April 1776 (3:287–310, 504–508). Later volumes include the convention signed with the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel on 11 Dec. 1776 to augment the forces provided by him, the treaty with the Margrave of Brandenburgh-Anspach signed at Anspach on 1 Feb. 1777, and the convention with the Prince of Hesse of 10 Feb. to augment his forces (6:152–156; 7:44– 53). In each case the agreement was signed, on behalf of Great Britain, by William Fawcett (see JA to James Warren, 18 March, and note 2, above).
8. This was of 1756 (Almon, Collection, 2: 168–174).
9. See Jenings' letter of 6 [April] (below).
10. These statements were made during a debate in the House of Commons on 7 March, an account of which Jenings had probably seen in an English newspaper. According to the London Chronicle of 7– 9 March, Hartley planned “on Thursday next to call upon the Ministry for a full explanation of what they meant by the war.” Sir George Saville reportedly declared that “he wished he could tell his constituents at the next recess, that he had brought them home one great saving in consequence of their Petitions, the saving of the American war.” There is no indication that Hartley carried through on his promise on the day indicated, but he did offer three resolutions on the war in America on 11 May. For their content, see Thomas Digges' letter of 2 May, note 7 (below). JA included Jenings' report in his letter of 23 March to the president of Congress (No. 23, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0045

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, F. R.
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Date: 1780-03-19

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Dear Sir

The Convoy, with sixty Sail of Merchantmen from St. Domingo, is arrived safe, which shows that Rodney's good Fortune is not to comprehend all things, and gives great Spirits in this Country.
Pray what foundation do You find for the Report of a Quintuple Alliance, between Sweeden, Denmark, Russia, Prussia and the United Provinces for the reciprocal Protection of their Flags from Insults?
What do You find to be the true Cause why the Court of Denmark ordered American Prizes that were carried into Norway to be restored? Simple Hebetude! or Affection for the English? or fear of them? or what?
Is there any Truth in the Report that the Sweedish Ambassador demanded Restitution of the Sweedish Vessels with Indemnification for Losses, upon pain of taking Leave?
Am more curious and inquisitive about every thing that passes in England than usual. The Ministry seem driven to great Extremities—thwarted in the East India Company, and pressed in Parliament to a degree, that must ruin them to all Appearance.

[salute] With Regard,

[signed] F. R. San
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.) In the Letterbook, the recipient of this letter is not given, but the signature indicates that it was to Thomas Digges.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0046

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1780-03-19

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

The British Admiralty sent Orders to Portsmouth the 21st. Feby., for the Departure of a small Squadron of Frigates, which accordingly sailed on the 28th, under the Command of Captain Marshall of the Emerald of 32. Guns: The others are the Hussar of 32, the Surprize of 28, the Squirrel, and the Heart of Oak of 20: the Sloops the Beavers Prize of 14, the Wolf and Wasp of 8, with the Cutters the Nimble and the Griffin. It is believed that this little Squadron, is gone to make a Cruise upon the Coast of France, to hinder the Transports, assembled in different ports from going out, or even to destroy them, if it should be found possible.
The English boast much in their Papers, that Capt. Jarvis of the Foudroyant of 80. Guns, who has been out upon a Cruise in the Mouth of the Channel, with a Division, has returned to Plymouth, and gone to London to deliver himself to Government Dispatches, of great Importance of the Court of France, to the Congress, found on Board a Sloop, which going to Philadelphia, fell into his Hands. It is asserted, that these Dispatches contain a very ample Detail of the Operations, concerted between the Court of Versailles and Dr. Franklin, among which the most probable is the Attack of Hallifax, which is to be made by a Body of Troops from New England, and a Detachment of French Forces, very considerable both by Land and Sea.1
This Tale smells very strong of the Tree of Cracovie, for they have such a Tree in London, as well as Paris. Dr. Rush will give You the Natural History of this Tree, which flourishes in all Seasons of the Year, and bears an abundance of Fruit.2
Let me beg of You to inform me, what the Treasury Board have done with my Accounts: and whether there is any Objection to them or Difficulty about them, and what it is. For my own part I wish they might have the Accounts of other Gentlemen before them, before they pass upon mine.
I am with a strong Attachment, Your Friend,
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. JA included this and the preceding paragraph in his letter of 19 March to the president of Congress (No. 21, calendared, below). There JA indicated that they were taken from a newspaper of 10 March. Since the reports had appeared in the London newspapers at the beginning of March, JA's source was likely a continental paper, perhaps the Gazette de Leyde, which in a supplement to its issue of 10 March contained the reports ex• { 71 } actly as given by JA, except that they were in French. See also, the London Courant for 1 and 2 March; and the London Chronicle for 29 Feb. – 2 March.
2. JA included an account of the “tree of Cracovie” in his letter of 18 March to Benjamin Rush (not printed), but see his letter to James Warren of the same date (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0047

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-19

To the President of Congress, No. 21

Paris, 19 March, 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 333–335). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:560–561.
In this letter, read in Congress on 22 July, John Adams repeated, almost verbatim, the newspaper accounts of British naval movements and the capture of dispatches intended for Congress contained in his letter to Elbridge Gerry of 19 March (above), and added the reports on the capture of Fort Omoa and the sailing of the merchant convoy from Jamaica contained in Thomas Digges' letter of 10 March (above).
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 333–335.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:560–561.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0048

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-19

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I did myself the Honor of answering, by a preceding Post,1 that part of your obliging Favor of the 12th. Instant, which enquird into the Subsidiary Treaties, which have been enterd into between the Powers of Europe; and now set down to give you my Thoughts on that part of your Letter, wherein you Ask, how the Dutch, debased as their natural Courage, is supposed to be, and weak as they are at this moment, from neglecting their Marine, can Obtain Justice from the English, who have a formidable Naval force, and great national Confidence: amounting to an Insolent and outrageous Presumption in themselves, and an insufferable Contempt of others?
The Question Supposes the Dutch have a right and I suppose it is their Interest and Duty, to repress the Arrogance of G B. who has treatd them with Contempt in the Eyes of Europe, by insulting their Flag, and thereby violating their Independancy, and even changing their Existance as a Nation; but it at the same Time Supposes, that the Danger is too great for Holland to Attempt doing herself Justice, and moreover she is too Corrupted to think of those bold Measures, which the Necessity of the Times require.
National Courage, Sir, is seldom founded on Virtue, That of G B at this Day we Know is not so. It is frequently founded in Selfishness and not Honor. This Selfishness, when predominant, will carry Men through fire and Water, and makes them desperate to Attain what they consider as essential to their Interests; if freedom of Commerce is so to the Dutch, being deprivd of it by outrage and with Contempt, { 72 } there is not any thing, which they will not do either as Individuals or as a Nation, to reclaim and vindicate it for the future; if they have not a true Sense of Honor, they have a Strong one of their Interest, and have Strong Marks of a Sulky Pride, which will not brooke an Injury or a Contempt. Bring them to Action with England on the present important Question, and England will feel, what Men can do, who fight for what they think most dear to them. But Dutch Courage is phlegmatic, and true Courage in Individuals or a Nation has the Appearance of it, because it is always prudent, and Prudence will ever instruct us to count the Charges and reckon the Cost, before we begin an Enterprize, or give way to the Justest resentment; if the Dutch do this, they will plainly see, that as a Freedom of Commerce is their vital Spring, they cannot exist as a Nation, if ever it is cut off, and that therefore there is no risk, too great to run, to secure its uninterrupted and perpetual Course. But what risk will they run? England is Strong and the Dutch are weak. I doubt both one and the other. The Dutch have the Strength, which abundant Men and Money give, and we Know that Men and Money are the Sinews of War. And as they have Men and Money, we Know too they have every Means of raising a naval force, in a more Expeditious Manner than any Nation besides, and a naval force is the only thing wantd now. Relying on the Honor, the Duty and the Friendship of G B, they have hitherto neglectd gaurding themselves against her injustice, her viciousness and her Enmity, because they did not Suspect she would Ever break out as in the present desperate Measure, she has done. But seeing now how far her Rivalship in Trade, and her domineering Spirit will Carry her, it is Impossible, but That Holland should Always be prepared for the worst that Avarice and Ambition, these disturbers of private and public Repose, can produce in the King and Parliament of G B, a King, a Parliament and people the most avaritious and ambitious, that now Exist. The resources of Holland are great, its Obstinacy, in a Matter that touches itself, is equally so. And what can touch them more than the present? But they are unused to and unprepard for War, are they, Sir, more so than our dear Countrymen were? We cannot surely but recollect, what they did in the early Times of their Commonwealth, when certainly they had not the Means of defence and offense, they now have. They then struggld nobly, for the Sake of Commerce, against the corruptd wickedness of Charles the second, as they had done against the insolent usurpation of Cromwell. They will, I trust, do it Again at this time, when they are Attacked on the same Principles, and for the same Ends, and when { 73 } they Have greater Means, or they will submit themselves patiently and Cowardly to the Commands of Arrogance, without any Attempt to do themselves Justice, but by a few ineffectual Memorials. But stil Great Britain is too strong, it is better to submit to a little Evil; than run the risk of a greater. Is this a little Evil? Is the dread of having their Commerce somewhat impaird by War, for I suppose England is Capable of doing Mischief, sufficient to prevent their Acting, to Maintain their Existence and support the Honor of the National Flag? Yes, the Power of G B is irresistible. I said before I doubtd much of the Actual Power of this insolent Nation, but if her Power is formidable Now, what will it be, and how will she exertd it, when she has extricatd herself from her present Embarassement? If She can now direct, in violation of Treaties, the Commerce of Holland, what will she do in future? What will She do when she has Confessedly lost America? She will certainly domineer over the seven unitd Provinces in the Manner she formerly did over the 13 unitd States of America; and will, with much political Wisdom think she has made, as was said on a former Occasion, an happy exchange of distant, poor and Sturdy Colonies; for a neighbouring, rich and Passive Nation.
But Consider, Sir, all National Strength is Comparative. G B therefore that might have been strong against one Prince, may not be so against a formidable Combination of Powers, an addition to which, even a Small one, a Holland is not so, will be Comparatively Great. The Strength, that G B shows at present, which is supposd to frighten the Dutch, is only proper to frighten Women and Children; it is the Strength of a Man in a Convulsion, which for a Time throws Him into violent Distorsions, and afterwards renders Him weak indeed, it is the force and fury of a desperate Madman, which it is for the Safety of all, and more especially so of the weakest and the nearest to Him, to restrain and bind down.
I cannot, therefore, think that G B is so formidably Strong, and Holland so miserably weak, at this Juncture, as has been supposed, but if Holland is Weak, she is so from the same Cause, that gives the Appearance of Strength to G B. There is a faction in one, that drives her to the most insulting and desperate Actions, and in the other, that Keeps Her from doing herself Justice it would be well for the Sake of both Countries, that these factions were driven out, and then both would enjoy a greater degree of civil and political Freedom.
If I have not tired You, Sir, I would examine how Holland ought to Conduct herself at this Momentous Period. I think your Civility and Patience bid me go on. I would say then that a direct Declaration of { 74 } War, when the Dutch Ships were seizd and carried to Portsmouth,2 woud have been unadvised, much less ought that to have been done, which the King and Parliament did, when they Echoed backwards and forwards high indignant Expressions against France, at the Time her Rescript was presentd, and not dard to make the natural and consequential Declaration of Hostility; they found their folly and Madness had got the better of their Wit, and Stopped but they were fools in that which they did, and did not do. The Temper of the Dutch is Phlegmatic and the situation of their affairs requires it should be so. But they might have actd, in two Instances, differently from what they have done. Their Admiral Byland did right in not hoisting his Flag without orders after it had been forced down, but He did Wrong in Saluting the English. He seems to have actd freely and without Constraint after that, when He went to Portsmouth. And the States General ought to have recalled their Embassadour after such an Insult was offered to their Country, as evidently took away its Independance and its Existance as a Nation, in the Eyes and Consideration of England at least. The Embassador ought to have retird immediately from Court and droping all Communication with the Minister, waited for orders, these orders ought to have been sent immediately to return home until Reperation had been done to the Honor of his Country, and existence of the people of Holland as a nation acknowledged thereby. For until that is done no Minister has a power or even a right to represent an Independant State, the functions and Object of his Commission Cease, when He cannot protect the property of his Countrymen, and the Honor of the National Flag. This might have been remonstratd cooly and firmly, and if the English Minister had demanded, as He would perhaps have had the Impertinence and Assurance to do, whether He was to look on this Step in an inimical and Hostile Vein, He might have answered, that He had no Instructions on that Head, but that He supposed Holland was as well inclind to G B as G B was to Holland. In the mean Time every Measure ought to have been taken to put the unitd Provinces in a State of Defence, the Number of their Ships ought to be increasd, and Mannd with the Utmost Expedition, and there is no State can do it sooner, her Posts in the East and West Indias put on their Gaurd, and their force, particularly those in the East, trebld; Applications ought to have been made at the same Time to all the Powers of Europe to make theirs a Common Cause, to restrain the Insolence of a too predominant Power, to the Outrage of which they were all exposed. But they ought especially to have concerted and cooperated with the { 75 } House of Bourbon, and by such concert and cooperation given a double Strength to the Confederacy. This would have intimidatd England, or reduced her by force to do justice. If after all, the Policy of Holland prevents her taking any hostile Steps, there is nothing she will not be justified in doing to diminish the Influence, the Interest and the force of G B by countenancing and assisting her Ennemies, she might in particular either acknowledge openly or treat our Country as an Independant State, and make its Independancy a Common Cause against GB, who denies it to both. The freedom of the American Commerce which rests on her Independancy being of the greatest Consequence to Holland; the Object of the Act of Navigation, which establishd the former Monopoly in favor of England, having been particularly Levelled against the Commercial Interest of the Dutch. But if it is thought not adviseable to take this open Step, Holland might do much better for us with less danger, and more profit to itself by giving, or what is more in the Dutch way, lending us a considerable Sum of Money, which I trust we should use most Advantageously for the public Good. Individuals would certainly find their Account in this Measure, and therefore would give into it for private gain, and as it is Necessary in a public light, it is the Duty of the States general to Countenance and promote it. I am Confident you, Sir, Agree with me in this, and I heartily wish every success to Any Application, that maybe made for this purpose.
I suppose Mr Laurens is arrived, and that He will soon pass this Way. I shall be proud of being Known to him by your means.
I hear there is a book published in France and addressed to the Princes of Europe, recommending our Interests to them pray what is the Title?3
I have some Thoughts of making a particular address to the Dutch on the present situation of their affairs, I certainly would do it, if I had your Approbation and could get it well translatd.

[salute] I am Dr Sir with the greatest Respect, your Most Obt & faithful Hble Servt,

[signed] Edm Jenings
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Jennings Mar. 19. Ansd. 28. 1780.”
1. Of 18 March (above).
2. On 27 Dec. 1779 a combined fleet, one section intended for the West Indies and the other for France and Spain, sailed from Texel under the protection of a Dutch naval force commanded by Adm. Lodewijk van Bylandt. Among the vessels going to France and Spain were several carrying hemp, tar, and other shipbuilding materials not excluded from convoy by the States General's resolution of 19 Nov. 1778. Several others, that carried ships timbers, sailed with the convoy at their own risk. Note, however, that none of the materials for the construction or maintenance of ships, including ships timbers, whether under van Bylandt's protection or not, were counted as contraband under Art. 3 of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674. On 31 Dec. 1779, a Brit• { 76 } ish force commanded by Como. Charles Fielding met van Bylandt's fleet off the Isle of Wight. Fielding demanded permission to search the ships of the convoy for contraband and, when van Bylandt refused, used his superior force to compel van Bylandt's acquiescence. After seizing a number of ships, Fielding ordered and obtained a salute to the British flag. Refusing to proceed with the convoy, van Bylandt followed the captured vessels into the anchorage at Spithead, near Portsmouth, where he remained until told by the States General to return to Texel with the warships under his command. In March the ships carrying hemp, tar, and other naval stores under the convoy's protection were ordered confiscated by the British admiralty court, while those carrying ships timbers at their own risk were returned after their cargoes had been purchased.
The interception of the Dutch convoy and seizure of ships legally under its protection represented a violation of the undoubted right of a nation to protect ships sailing under its flag. Its implication for the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674 was of even greater importance. Britain intended to do everything in its power to stop the Franco-Dutch trade in naval stores even if it meant unilaterally abrogating those sections of the treaty of 1674 defining contraband. Although the assault on the convoy caused considerable agitation in the Netherlands, little was done beyond the delivery of protests to the ministry in London and to Sir Joseph Yorke at The Hague. No clear alteration of the Dutch position vis-à-vis either Britain or France occurred until April and then it was at Britain's initiative in retaliation for the lack of response by the States General to its demands (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 129–136). For more information on the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1674, the controversy over convoys for Dutch ships, and the deterioration of Anglo-Dutch relations, see vols. 7:34–35, 169, 205, 384; 8:59.
3. Jenings is probably referring to 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, published at London by John Almon in 1780, but see Thomas Digges' letter of 6 April (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0049

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-20

To the President of Congress, No. 22

Paris, 20 March 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 337–338). LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “No. 22 delivered Mr. Izard.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:561.
With this letter, read in Congress on 1 Aug., John Adams sent copies of the London General Advertiser and the London Morning Post. The newspapers, which he promised to send regularly and had received from Edmé Jacques Genet (see JA to Genet, 22 March, note 1, below), represented the views of the opposition and the ministry respectively. He also commented on the disputes between the various factions in Great Britain, a probable delay in the sailing of Rochambeau's army, and Lafayette's return to America.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 337–338)). LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “No. 22 delivered Mr. Izard.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:561.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0050

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gillon, Alexander
Date: 1780-03-21

To Alexander Gillon

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I recieved yours of the 14th. which came very safe. I thank You for the News about the Northern Powers, but should have been glad you had been more particular. There are Reasons to suspect that some Letters are opened, but as the friends of our Country must communicate with each other, it will not do to interrupt Correspondences for fear our Letters shall be opened. We may write so as to { 77 } serve our Country rather than hurt it, by the Opening of our Letters. Let those take the Shame of it, who take these unworthy Methods of coming at Secrets and Knowledge they have no right to.
I hope very soon to recieve the Performance of your Promise to write me on some interesting Matters in Agitation, and others that were put in Execution the 4th. instant.
Should be much obliged to You, to know the Names of the principal Mercantile Houses in Amsterdam, which have been and are reputed to be friendly to the Claims and Pretensions of the United States.
I have the Honor to be respectfully Your's
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0051

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-03-21

To William Lee

[salute] Dr Sir

I have just received your Favour from Brussells of the 17th. of this Month, and I thank you for this Instance of your Attention to me.
Considering the State of Ireland, and the Spirit which Seems to be rising in England, which has already attained Such an Height, as to baffle the Minister in the East India Company, and to carry many Votes in the House of Commons almost to a Ballance with him and even Some against him, I should not be at all surprised, if Terms such as you mention should be offered to America; nor should I be Surprised if another Rumour which was propagated at the Palais Royal this day, should prove true, that a great Change is made or to be made in the Ministry, and that the Lords Shelbourne, Rockingham, Burke &c are in. Yet I have no proper Accounts of either.
Whatever may be my Powers, or Instructions, or whether I have any or not, I am very much obliged to you for your Sentiments on such a Proposition as a Truce for America, supposing it should be made. Your Arguments are of great Weight, and will undoubtedly be attended to by every one, whoever he may be, who shall be called to give an Opinion upon Such a great Question. You will not expect me, at present to give if it is proper for me even to form, any decided Opinion upon it. Yet thus much, I may venture to say, that having had so long Experience of the Policy of our Ennemies, I am persuaded from the whole of it, if they propose a Truce it will be not with an Expectation or desire that America should accept it, but { 78 } merely to try one Experiment more to deceive, divide, and Seduce, in order to govern.
You observe that the Heads of Some, well intentioned tho visionary Americans, run much upon, a Truce. I have, Seen and heard enough, to be long Since convinced that the Americans in Europe are by no means, an Adequate Representative of those on the other side the Water. They neither feel nor reason like them in general: I should therefore upon all Occasions hear their Arguments with Attention, weigh them with Care, but be sure never to follow them when I know them to differ from the Body of their Countrymen, at home.
You say the Duch are disturbed. Do you wonder at it? They have been kicked by the English as no reasonable Man would kick a Dog: they have been whipped by them, as no sober Postilion would whip an hackney Coach Horse. Can they submit to all this upon any Principle which would not oblige them to submit, if the English were to bombard Amsterdam, or cutt away their Dykes!
I wish I knew the Name of the principal Confidant and Director of the Prince, whom you mention.
I am very anxious to hear of the Arrival of Mr Laurens, but suspect you will learn it first.
Mr Dana returns his Respects to you.
I thank you, sir for your offers of service: nothing can oblige me more, than to communicate to me any Intelligence, of the designs of our Enemies in Politicks or War, their real and pretended Forces by Sea and Land. Pray what is the foundation of the story of a Quintuple Alliance between Holland, Sweeden, Russia, Prussia, and Denmark? I am with great Esteem, sir, your hul Set.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-03-21

To the Comte de Vergennes

In the letter which you did me the honour to write me the 24th. of February your Excellency proposed that the principal object of my Mission1 shou'd be inserted in the Gazette of France, when it shou'd make mention of my presentation to the King and Royal Family. In the answer to this letter which I had the honour write on the 25th. { 79 } of February, I informed your Excellency that I shou'd not think myself at liberty to make any publication of my powers to treat of Peace, untill they shou'd have been announced in the Gazette.2
It was on the 7th. of March, that I had the honour to be presented to the King and Royal Family, but no notice has been taken of it in the Gazette of France. Whether this omission is accidental, or whether it is owing to any alteration in your Excellency's sentiments, I am not able to determine.3 Your Excellency will excuse the trouble I give you upon this occasion, as it arises wholly from a desire to be able at all times, to render an account to my Sovereign, of the motives and reasons of my own conduct. I have the honour to be with the most perfect consideration your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol. E.-U., vol. 11:337); endorsed: “21 mars M. Adams rep. le 30 mars.” LbC (Adams Papers.)
1. To this point, JA copied this letter (from the Letterbook) into his Autobiography where it forms the abrupt end to that work (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:254).
2. In the Letterbook, this sentence was written below the closing and marked for insertion at this point. For the letters of 24 and 25 Feb., as well as JA's comments regarding them, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:251–254 and calendar entries, vol. 8:362–363, 367.
3. In the Letterbook, this sentence was written and then revised as follows: “Whether this omission is accidental, or whether it is owing to any Alteration in your Excellencys <Opinion> sentiments, <arising from any Change of Circumstances, which may have since happend> I am not able to determine.”

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0053-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-03-22

To Edmé Jacques Genet

Mr. Adams fait mille Complimens sinceres a Monsieur Genet et Remerciamens pour les Gazettes Angloises. Monsieur Genet est prié de la part de M. A. de vouloir bien l'informer, quand, et a qui, le payment pour ces Gazettes doit etre faite.
Au Surplus, M. A. souhaite de scavoir, si le Bruit qui etoit repandu hier, de quelque Changement dans le Ministere Anglois, ait quelque fondement. Et l'autre, qui concerne un Traite quintuple entre les Puissances du Nord et L'Holland &c et l'autre que les Angloises vont fair quelques propositions trompeuses et insidieuses encore a L'Amerique.
Voila la punition de Monsieur Genet, pour avoir ecrite a M. A. en Anglois.1

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0053-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-03-22

John Adams to Edmé Jacques Genet: A Translation

Mr. Adams sends his sincere compliments to Mr. Genet and thanks him for the British gazettes. Mr. Adams would like Mr. Genet to please inform him when, and to whom, the payment for these gazettes should be made.
In addition, Mr. Adams would like to know if the rumor spread yesterday concerning some change in the British ministry has any foundation. Also the rumor concerning a quintuple alliance between the northern powers and Holland &c. and yet another that the British are once more about to make false and insidious proposals to America.
Such is Mr. Genet's punishment for having written to Mr. Adams in English.1
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. Under cover of a brief note of 18 March, written in English (Adams Papers), Genet had sent JA copies of the Morning Post and the General Advertiser. For JA's original request to Genet to write to him in French, see JA to Genet, 1 Aug. 1778 (vol. 6:337–338).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0054

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-23

To the President of Congress, No. 23

[salute] Sir

I have the Honor to inclose the English Papers of the eleventh thirteenth and fourteenth of March. The Courier de L'Europe and the Hague, Leiden and Amsterdam Gazettes.
We are in hourly Expectation of great News from Holland, Ireland, England, Spain, and above all from America and the West Indies. I have not a Letter from America, since I left it, except one from my Family of the tenth of December;1 and indeed, although several Vessels have arrived, I can hear of no Letters or News.2
By the English Papers Congress will percieve the violent Fermentation in England, which has arisen to such an Height, as to produce a Congress3 in Fact, and it will soon be so in Name. The Proceedings in the House of Commons on the fourteenth, which were terminated by a Resolution of the Committee of the whole House, to abolish the Board of Trade and Plantations, carried against the Ministry after a very long and warm Debate by a Majority of Eight Voices,4 is not only the most extraordinary Vote which has passed in the present Reign, but it leads to very extensive Consequences.
I believe it is very true, that this Board has been the true Cause of the Quarrel of Great Britain against the Colonies, and therefore may be considered as a natural Object of national Resentment; but a { 81 } Resentment of this kind alone, would not probably have produced this Effect.
Whether it is the near Approach of an Election, that has intimidated the Members of the House of Commons; or whether the Committees, Petitions, Associations and Congress have alarmed them; or whether the Nation is convinced that America is indeed lost forever, and consequently that the Board will in future be useless, I dont know.
Be this as it may, the English Nation, and even the Irish and Scotch Nations—all parts of the World will draw this Inference from it, that even in the Opinion of the House of Commons America is lost. The free and virtuous Citizens of America,5 and even the slavish and vicious, if there are any still remaining of this Character, under the Denomination of Tories, must be convinced by this Vote, passed in the Heyday of their Joy for the Sucesses of Admiral Rodney's Fleet, that the House of Commons despair of ever regaining America. The Nations, subject to the House of Bourbon, cannot fail to put the same Interpretation upon this Transaction. Holland, and all the Northern Powers, with the Empress of Russia at their Head, who are all greatly irritated against England for their late Violences against the innocent Commerce of Neutral Powers, will draw the same Consequences. The Politicians of Great Britain are too enlightened in the History of Nations, and the Rise and Progress of Causes and Effects in the political World, not to see that all these Bodies of People will, in Consequence of this Vote, consider the Colonies as given up for lost by the House of Commons; and they are too well instructed not to know the important Consequences that follow, from having such points as these, thus settled among the Nations. I cannot therefore but consider this Vote, and the other respecting the Secretary of State for the American Department, which arose almost to a Ballance as a most important Declaration of the Sense of the Nation.
The first probable Consequence of it, will be one further Attempt, by offering some specious Terms, which they know we cannot in Justice, in Honor, in Conscience accept, to deceive seduce and divide America, throw all into Confusion there, and by this Means gain an Opportunity to govern.
There is nothing more astonishing than the Inconsistencies of the Patriots in England. Those, who are most violent against the Ministry, are not for making Peace with France and Spain, but they wish to allure America into a seperate Peace, and persuade her to join them against the House of Bourbon. One would think it impossible, that { 82 } one Man of Sense in the World could seriously believe, that we could thus basely violate our Faith, thus unreasonably quarrel with our best Friends, thus madly attach ourselves to our bitterest Enemies. But thus it is.
Sir George Saville threw out in the House, that he wished to carry home to his Constituents the News of an Accommodation with America, and Mr David Hartley has given Notice of his Intention to make a Motion relative to Us.6 But I confess I have no Expectations. Mr Hartley's Motions and Speeches have never made any great Fortune in the House, nor been much attended to; from whence I conclude, if the present great Leaders of Opposition in the House, were seriously disposed to do any thing towards a Pacification, which we could attend to, they would not suffer Mr. Hartley to have the Honor of making the Motion.
The Heads of many People run upon a Truce with America, and Mr. Hartley's Motion may tend this Way: but a Truce with America cannot be made without a Peace with France and Spain; and would America accept of such a Truce? Give Great Britain time to encroach and fortify upon all our Frontiers? To send Emissaries into the States and sow the Seeds of Discord? To rise out of her present exhausted and ruined Condition? Suffer France and Spain to relax? Wait for Alterations by the Deaths of Princes, or the Changes in the Characters of Princes or Ministers in the System of Europe? I ask these Questions, that Congress may give me Instructions if they think necessary. At present I dont believe that my Powers are sufficient to agree to a Truce, if it was proposed; nor do I believe it would be for our Interest or Safety to agree to it, if I had. I dont mean however to give any decided Opinion upon such a great Question, in this hasty Letter. I am open to Conviction, and shall obey the Instructions of Congress with the most perfect Respect.7

[salute] 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. 345–348); endorsed: “Letter from honb J Adams Paris March 23. 1780 Read July 24. 1780 Referred to com of foreign Affairs to report Aug 3d. 1780 Quire as to a Truce Referred to M Lovell, M McKean, M Henry, M Madison, M Scott.” LbC (Adams Papers;) notation: “No. 23d delivered Coll. Fleury 24th. March 1780.”
2. This and the following six paragraphs were published in various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 26 July and the Boston Gazette of 7 August.
3. JA is referring to the meeting of delegates from various county and city associations at London's St. Alban's Tavern between 11 and 20 March. On 29 Feb. circular letters signed by Christopher Wyvill, the driving force be• { 83 } hind the association movement, were sent to county and municipal associations calling on them to send delegates to a meeting for the purpose of discussing a plan of association. This assembly, attended by representatives from only eleven counties and four cities, agreed to recommend the formation of a general association that would strive to promote economical reform, diminish the Crown's influence, add at least 100 county members to the House of Commons, and institute annual parliaments. The general association envisioned by Wyvill and proposed by the St. Alban's meeting never materialized, largely because of the ideological gap between the relatively conservative members of the county associations and the radicals controlling the counterpart organizations in the cities, most notably London. The county members strongly supported economical reform, but were much less interested in parliamentary reform, particularly the institution of annual parliaments. When it became clear that the radicals in and about London saw the cause of parliamentary reform as of equal if not greater importance than control of expenditures, the willingness of the county associations to join an umbrella organization diminished (Ian R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyvill and Reform, London, 1962, p. 89–95, 99–115).
4. The abolition of the Board of Trade formed part of Edmund Burke's economical reform bill. The debate on the provision began on 13 March and ended the next morning at quarter past two with the vote reported by JA (Parliamentary Hist., 21:233–278). The victory marked the high tide of support for Burke's proposal, which was finally nullified when the entire bill was withdrawn.
5. The phrase was taken from the title of Silas Deane's address “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of America” (Pennsylvania Packet, 5 Dec. 1778), which JA saw as “one of the most wicked and abominable Productions that ever sprung from an human Heart” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:345). Believing that the address undermined the ability of Congress and its representatives in Europe to conduct foreign policy, JA had even written to Vergennes on 11 Feb. 1779 in an effort to counteract its effects (vol. 7:401; 8: index).
6. For the statements by Saville and Hartley, see Edmund Jenings' letter of 18 March, and note 10 (above).
7. As the endorsement indicates, this letter was read on 24 July and referred to the Committee for Foreign Affairs. On 3 Aug., however, the letter was transferred to another committee, composed of James Lovell, Thomas McKean, John Henry Jr., James Madison, and John Morin Scott, that had been formed on 1 Aug. to consider JA's letter of 24 March (No. 24, below; JCC, 17:654, 691, 685). Additional instructions regarding a truce were adopted by Congress on 18 Oct., and received by Francis Dana at Paris on or about 10 Jan. 1781, but may not have reached JA until mid-April. For the delay, see the descriptive note to the instructions of 18 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0055

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-24

To the President of Congress, No. 24

[salute] Sir

Mr. Burke's Bill not being as yet public, we are not yet informed of the Extent of it. But as it already appears, that it strikes at the Department of Secretary of State for America, at the Board of Trade, there seems to be little Reason to doubt that it goes further and strikes at the American Board of Commissioners, at all the American Judges of Admiralty, Governors of Provinces, Secretaries and Custom House Officers of all Denominations—at least if this should not be found to be a part of the Bill, there are stronger Reasons if possible for abolishing this whole System of Iniquity, together with all the Pensions granted to the Refugees from America, than even for taking { 84 } away the Board of Trade; and from several late Paragraphs in the Papers, and from Mr. Fox's severe Observations in the House of Commons upon Governor Hutchinson, calling him in Substance, “The Firebrand” that lighted up all the Fire between the two Countries, it seems pretty clear, that it is in Contemplation to take away all these Salaries and Pensions.1
If such a Measure should take place, exiled as these persons are from the Country which gave them Birth, but which they most ungratefully have endeavoured to enslave, they will become melancholy Monuments of divine Vengeance against such unnatural and impious Behaviour.
Nevertheless, as these Persons are numerous, and have some Friends, in England as well as in America, where they had once much Property, there is a probability, I think, that whenever or wherever Negotiations for Peace may be commenced, they and their Estates now almost universally confiscated, will not be forgotten: but much Pains and Art will be employed to stipulate for them in the Treaty, both a Restoration of their Property, and a Right to return as Citizens of the States to which they formerly belonged. It is very possible, however, that before a Treaty shall be made, or even Negotiations commenced, these Gentlemen will become so unpopular and odious, that the People of England would be pleased with their Sufferings and Punishment: but it is most probable that the Court will not abandon them very easily.
I should therefore be very happy to have the explicit Instructions of Congress upon this Head, whether I am to agree, in any Case whatsoever, to an Article which shall admit either of their Return, or the Restoration of their forfeited Estates. There are Sentiments of Humanity and of Forgiveness which plead on one Side, there are Reasons of State and political Motives, among which the danger of admitting such mischievous Persons as Citizens is not the least considerable, which argue on the other. I shall obey the Instructions of Congress with the utmost pleasure; or if for any Reasons they choose to leave it at Discretion, if I should ever have the Opportunity, I shall determine it, without listening to any Passions of my own of Compassion or Resentment according to my best Judgment of the public Good.
There is another Point of very great Importance, which I am persuaded will be aimed at by the English Ministers, I am sure it will by the People of England, whenever Terms of Peace shall be talked of. For facilitating the Return of Commerce, they will wish to have { 85 } it stipulated by the Treaty, that the Subjects of Great Britain shall have the Rights of Citizens in America, and the Citizens of the United States the Rights of Subjects in the British Dominions. Some of the Consequences of such an Agreement to them and to Us, are obvious, and very important: but they are so numerous, and it is so difficult to determine, whether the Benefits or Inconveniences prevail, that I should be sorry to have so great a Question left to my determination: if however, contrary to my Inclinations, it should fall to my Lot to decide it, without Instructions, it shall be decided according to my Conscience and the best Lights I have.2

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with a Sincere Attachment, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 349–351); endorsed: “No. 24 Letter from John Adams Esqr March 24th: 1780 receivd July 31st: 1780 Two Points for Instructions Read <J> Aug 1. Referred to M Lovell M McKean M Henry M Madison M Scott.” LbC (Adams Papers.)
1. Edmund Burke's economical reform bill abolished the third secretary of state, for the colonies, and the Board of Trade and Plantations, but it did not seek to examine or eliminate existing pensions, only to reduce the funds available for future pensions. On 2 March, during the debates over whether to consider Burke's bill on that day or postpone it until the following Wednesday, Charles James Fox reportedly declared that “he hoped, that as the thirteen colonies were now actually lost, . . . the public was to have a great saving, and he hoped to hear that the pensions given to the American governors would be discontinued, and particularly that granted to governor Hutchinson, who had been the fore-runner and very firebrand of the rebellion on the other side of the Atlantic” (Parliamentary Hist., 21:111–112, 118–122, 153; Ian R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyvill and Reform, London, 1962, p. 87–88).
2. For Congress' additional instructions to JA in response to his questions, see its resolution of 18 Oct. (below), and JA's letter of 23 March to the president of Congress, and note 7 (No. 23, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0056

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-24

To the President of Congress, No. 25

Paris, 24 March 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 353–356). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 24 & 25 deliverd Mr. Izard 25th. March 1780.” printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:570–572.
In this letter, received by Congress on 31 July and read on 1 Aug., John Adams, using information in British newspapers, analyzed the events leading to Rodney's victory over the Spanish and his relief of Gibraltar. He then described resolutions taken by an Assembly at Dublin on 22 Feb., which called on Irish legislators to deny the right of the British Parliament to legislate for Ireland. Adams believed that this and similar disputes were evidence of the British Empire's decline.
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 353–356.) LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 24 & 25 deliverd Mr. Izard 25th. March 1780.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:570–572.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0057

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-26

To the President of Congress, No. 26

Paris, 26 March 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 357–360). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:573–576.
In this letter, received by Congress on { 86 } 31 July and read on 1 Aug., John Adams used material taken from British newspapers to describe the celebrations on 2 March at Dublin over the passage of the Irish Trade Bill and summarized in detail the addresses of both Houses of the Irish Parliament thanking the King for approving it. He also included the text of the instructions of 7 March from the “Freeholders of the County of Dublin” to their representatives, requiring them to seek the repeal of Poyning's Law and concluded with a summary of other events showing Ireland's determination to be free of domination by the British Parliament. For a discussion of Poyning's Law, see vol. 8:370–371.
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 357–360.) printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:573–576.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0058

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-26

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have but one moment to thank you, for your favor1 with one from London enclosd which I received on my return from Brest. We are likely to be detaind here by the prize-money for the Serapis &c. not being paid, without which the Crew of the Alliance threaten a Mutiny.2
If, as I apprehend it may, the application I requested you to make to Mr. G[rand]3 should at all interfere with your plan, which I think very prudent, of keeping as free as possible from these disputes, which indeed are a reproach to us, I beg you will think no more of it. What has been Gerards conduct since his arrival and what his reception. He is a man to be observd narrowly. I dont mean on any account but on that of the public to which I think he will yet do much mischief, if he is listend to.
Farewell
1. Of 15 March (above).
2. The Alliance's officers and men had not received their prize money from the Bonhomme Richard expedition because of delays in the sale of the prizes and the refusal of the prize agent, Le Ray de Chaumont, to advance the money. Not until April did Benjamin Franklin provide them with one month's pay, the first they had received since sailing from America. The crew placed the blame for their situation squarely on John Paul Jones' shoulders. Ultimately Arthur Lee was able to use that discontent to displace Jones and put Pierre Landais in command (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 274, 294–295; see also John Bondfield to JA, 12 April, below).
3. In Lee's letter of 15 March (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-27

To the President of Congress, No. 27

Paris, 27 March 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 361–364).
In this letter, received by Congress on 31 July and read on 1 Aug., John Adams wrote that war “is now generally considered as a Contest of Finances; so that the Nation which can the longest find Money to carry on the War, can generally hold out the longest.” Adams believed that Great Britain, because of its { 87 } heavy taxation since 1774, had nearly reached the end of its resources. In support of his claim, Adams included a British newspaper account of the proposals for new taxes that Lord North had presented to Parliament on 15 March. The additional revenue was intended to pay the interest on the twelve million pound loan to support the current budget that had been approved on 6 March (Parliamentary Hist., 21:154–171).
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 361–364.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0060

Author: Allen, Jeremiah
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-27

From Jeremiah Allen

[salute] Dear Sir

Some Villain, has reported, and it is almost universally Creditted by the people of this place, that the Americans, have concluded a peace with Great Britain, and notwithstanding the absurdity of the report, and all the reasons, that I could give them, such as, the impossibillity of concluding peace, in so short a time, and from the disposition of the people when I left America—also that no one, could possibly have powers from Britain to Accede to peace, still they pretend something about the paper money &c. And look on a Virginia Gentleman and myself with as much coldness, as tho it was a fact, and, that we where the persons who had Brought it, about. As I have been treated, with the greatest, poliness heretofore, and the present behavoiur, is Occasiond by this report, which is lilkwise curculated at Bordeaux, I must beg it, as a favour to be Indulged, with a line or two from you, by the next post, to prove the falseness of the report. I sometime ago, wrote Mr. Thaxter, but as I only directed for Paris, I suppose the letter is in the office now, as I had no Answer. Please to present my Regards to the Honorable Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter and the Young Gentlemen—if they are with you at Paris. I have to ask pardon, for troubling you, with this letter, when matters of so much more Consequince no doubt, Demand your attention. But that friendship, which you was pleased to Express for me, must be my Excuse.

[salute] I am Dear Sir with great Respect and Esteem your most Obedient humble Servt,

[signed] Jeremiah Allen1
1. Allen, a fellow passenger on La Sensible in Nov.–Dec. 1779, was a Boston merchant seeking to establish himself in Europe (vol. 8:300).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-03-28

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I am almost ashamed to acknowledge, after ten days, the receipt of your favor of the 18th, and to thank You for the pains You have taken in searching the Treaties for Examples of Subsidies.
I had understood that the House of Austria, altho' one of the most powerful in Europe, and the constant Rival of that of Bourbon, not being a maritime and commercial Power, had always occasion for Money, to pay and support their Troops in Time of War, and that She had in many former Wars, derived Subsidies for these purposes from England, and in the last War from France. It is very possible it might be by secret Convention. You mention a Collection of Treaties: I should be obliged to You for the Title and Description of that Work at large.
I believe the News you mention, of the English having further unmerited Success, is premature.
I have this day been to Mr. Lee's Lodgings and got the Maps, and a small Bundle for You; both of which shall wait your Orders.
I am sorry that Motions relative to America are left to Mr. Hartley, whose plans never make any great fortune in the House. Whenever there shall be, a serious Intention, of doing any thing to purpose, Mr. Hartley will not be the Man to make the Motion. Some other more illustrious, able and decided Character will have the honor of it. His Dispositions and Intentions seem to be good: but so small a Pebble, never spreads a great Circle, where it falls.
I have a Letter from Spain, the 15th1 by which it appears, that Mr. Jay was expected to be at Madrid, by that day, as Mr. Charmichael and some other Gentlemen were going out to meet him at Aranjuez2 seven Leagues from Madrid.3 Same Letter informs, that an Armament is preparing at Cadiz equal to that at Brest, and conjectured to be for the same destination.
I can do no more than acknowledge the Receipt of your other favor of the 19th. and agree with You in Opinion, that the Dutch will be brought to the Necessity of taking some part, in this War, which is rendered still clearer by the British Ambassador's Memorial to the States General the 21st. of this Month, as well as by the Condemnation of the Dutch Prizes. The English seem to consider their Ruin as already compleat, and to think it quite indifferent what they do. Plunder and Rapine are their only Objects at present. If they can get { 89 } any thing, any how, right or wrong, well—they can loose nothing. This is the Principle of their Councils, if there is any.
There is a Briton, of High Rank and Office now in Paris, who, in a late Conversation with a Dutchmen, told him, that his Country would declare War against Holland before next October. We are ruined, says he, that is plain. As to the Americans, it is certain they will have their Independence. But God d—n them, why should they wish to rip up our Belly, the Belly of their Mother? I should have answered, why did the Mother pluck the Nipple from the boneless Gums, even when the Infant was smiling in her Face, and dash the Brains out?
Mr. Laurens is not arrived, when he does, I shall certainly have the Honor and pleasure of bringing to the Knowledge of each other, two so good Men, as him and Mr. Jennings.
I have made some Enquiry after the Book, addressed to the Princes of Europe, and recommending our Interests to them: but can hear nothing of it.4
I hope to see your particular Address to the Dutch. I am sure it must be good. They must be addressed and must arouse themselves, or they will be undone. There is Vengeance preparing for them, by those whose ruling Passion is Revenge and Plunder.
What will be the Consequence, and what is the design, in the Abolition of the Board of Trade? It is true it has done all the Mischief—it was the Engine of Bernard, Hutchinson, Paxton and all the Bout-de-Feu's,5 that first kindled the Blaze. Do they mean to express Resentment at it, and confess that the Plantations are lost?

[salute] I am, with great Affection, Sir, your most obedient humble Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “J Adams Esqr March 28. 1780.”
1. From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons (above).
2. This word is in JA's hand.
3. This sentence, with minor stylistic changes, forms the substance of JA's very brief letter to the president of Congress of 28 March (No. 28, calendared, below).
4. See Jenings' letter of 19 March, note 3 (above), and Thomas Digges' letter of 6 April (below).
5. That is, firebrands. For a specific reference to Thomas Hutchinson as such, see JA to the president of Congress, 24 March, No. 24, and note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0062

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-28

To the President of Congress, No. 28

Paris, 28 March 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 365–366).
With this letter, received by Congress on 31 July and read on 1 Aug., John Adams sent newspapers and reported on John Jay's arrival in Spain. See Adams to Edmund Jenings, 28 March, and note 3 (above).
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 365–366.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0063

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-28

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

I am obligd to You for a letter the 14th Instant.1 My writing to You is from the motive of making You acquainted from time to time with any material movement or particular news from this quarter, which may be interesting or serving in any way the business you are engagd in; Your particular situation must put it out of your power to write when even you may wish to do so, and I by no means expect regular Answers to Letters I send You. I should be happy to render you any services here, and if You can spare but a few minutes when any thing favorable from America reaches Paris, (for bad news flies quick enough) to inform me thereof, it is all I can expect from You.
We have got accounts here from the Windward Islands so late as the 20th Feby. and from Jamaica the 4th Feby. Nothing material from the last mentiond place, save that the former accounts we had of the Spaniards possessing Pensacola seem not to be true at least that place was not taken the 3d Jany.
The fleet which saild the 26 Decr. for Barbados was arrivd Gen. Vaughan and about 4,000 Men was with it and were preparing about the middle of Feby. for an Expedition against Grenada. A secret Expedition saild from Jamaica about the last Jany. 800 Men, one Man of War and 5 or six armd Ships, supposd for the Coasts of South America nearest to Guatimala.
A Passenger by the last Ship from Barbadoes, says, that two transports of Clintons Expedition had been blown to the West Indies (Antigua), but this is not publickly known or put forth by Gazette Authority. If it is true, that expedition must have faild in its purpose against Charles Town.
There are strong reports that ministry having received intelligence very lately that a Squadron of 5 or 6 Ships were going directly from France to North America, have orderd six men of war under Adml Greaves to the New York Station. The West India fleet which have been some time at Ports are still detaind as well on account of the Winds, as the waiting for some additional men of war to see them safe and out of the reach of the Brest fleet. They will sail with about 20 Ships of war, only 3 or four to proceed on to the West Indies, which it is said will make the summer West India Fleet about 32 sail of the Line.2
Altho we have so recent accounts from the West Indies and many { 91 } quick voyages from thence, there is not a tittle from N York or America since of 26 Decr.3

[salute] I am very respectfully yrs,

[signed] W. C.
RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “A Monsieur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San, Negotiant chez Monsr. Hocherau Libraire Pont Neuf a Paris”; endorsed: “W. S. G. 28 March 80 ansd. Ap. 6.”
1. Probably JA's second letter of 14 March in reply to Digges' letter of the 3d (both above). There JA promised to be a faithful correspondent.
2. The information provided by Digges appeared in London newspapers on or previous to the date of this letter. See, for example, the London Chronicle of 25–28 March, and London Courant of 27 and 28 March.
3. JA made a verbatim transcript of this and the preceding four paragraphs and enclosed it in a letter of 4 April to Sartine (Arch. de la Marine, Paris, Campagnes B4, vol. 182), to which there are apparently two replies (both Adams Papers). In the first, which is dated 5 April and does not mention the letter of the 4th, Sartine wrote in his own hand that he already had the information supplied by JA, but thanked him for his consideration. The second letter, dated 15 April and in a clerk's hand, mentions the letter of the 4th, and thanks JA for the information that he has provided.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0064

Author: Livingston, Muscoe
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-28

From Muscoe Livingston

[salute] Dear Sir

Permit me, late as it is, to congratulate you on your Safe arrival one More to this Country, after the very disagreable passage you must have had, Owing to the distress of the frigate you was on board of.
You was so Good as take Charge of a Letter for Governor Livingston from me at Lorient last year; nay did you See him or did you send the Letter to him.1
I am happy to tell you, that I have all most Recovered My health; and as there is a fleet of French Men of war going out to America, I am Exceedingly Anxious to profit of such an Opportunity; can you and will you be so Good as to procure me a passage in one of them; Should they be destined for Virginia I can be of some Service to them, on that coast which I should be happy to do.
I wish Much, to have had the happiness to See you, before I left this country, as I have Many things to Say, that in those days of[]2 amongst us it would be imprudant to trust to paper.
Should I be So lucky as Git permition to go, in One of the Men of war for America; and you have any dispatches for the Continant, I beg leave to Offer you My best Services, on the delivery of them, as any thing Else, that I have the power of doing. Plan to direct to me, Au Soins de Mons. Schweighauser, I have the Honor to be with Much Respect Dear Sir, your most Obd H Ser,
[signed] M. Livingston3
{ 92 }
1. See Livingston's letter to JA of 17 June 1779 (vol. 8:95), and JA's reply to this letter of 10 April (below).
2. Thus in the manuscript.
3. For Livingston, former lieutenant on the frigate Boston and, with John Bondfield and William Haywood, shareholder in the privateer Governor Livingston, see vols. 6 and 8.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0065

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-03-29

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend

The States of the Province of Friesland, have come to a Resolution, that it was certain that Byland was not the Aggressor, but that Fielding, had not hesitated, to make Use of Force to visit the dutch Ships under Convoy, to stop those that were found loaded with Hemp, and to insult the Flagg of the Republic. That this Proceeding shows, that the Complaisance hitherto employed towards England, in depriving the ships loaded with Masts and ship timber, of the Protection of the State, in leaving them to sail alone and without Convoy, has had no Effect: and consequently the States judge that a similar Condescention, ought no longer to take Place: but on the Contrary, all Merchandizes whatsoever, which the Treaties do not expressly declare to be contraband, ought, without the least difficulty, to be admitted under Convoy, and enjoy the Protection of the state, and to this Effect, his most serene Highness ought to be requested to give orders to the Commanders of the Men of War and of the Squadrons of the Republic, to protect, as heretofore, all Merchandizes. This Resolution was taken 29 Feb. and laid before the states General, who, after deliberating upon it determined to require the deputies of the other Provinces, to obtain as soon as possible the Decisions of the other Provinces, upon the same subject. Thus two Provinces Holland and Friesland have decided for unlimited Convoys.
Sir Joseph Yorke, on the 21. of March laid before their High Mightinesses another Memoire insisting on the Aid, which he had demanded before, upon Condition, in Case of Refusal, that his Master would after 3 Months, consider all Treaties between the two Nations as null.1
In short it looks as if England would force the Dutch into the War, but if they take a Part it will be certainly for Us. Oh that Laurens was there. Oh that Laurens was there! <Oh that I was Home>
This will go by Mr. Izard, if the Alliance comes to Philadelphia, I { 93 } must beg you to take Care of a Trunk for my Wife, which Captn. Jones will deliver you.2
Adieu
1. To this point, the text was inserted almost verbatim into JA's letter of 29 March to the president of Congress (No. 29, calendared, below). In his reference to Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial, JA made two errors that were repeated in his letter to the president. The grace period was to be three weeks, not three months, and, although the effect would be the same, the treaties were to be suspended rather than nullified or abrogated. See also, Alexander Gillon's letter of 14 March, note 2 (above).
2. See JA to James Moylan, 6 March, and notes 1 and 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-29

To the President of Congress, No. 29

Paris, 29 March 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 369–372).LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 26, 27, 28 & 29 were delivered to Mr. Izard 29th. March 1780.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:578–580.
This letter, received by Congress on 31 July and read on 1 Aug., represented John Adams' effort, in the absence of an American representative at The Hague, to analyze the prospects for an Anglo-Dutch war and Dutch preparations for such an eventuality. He even reported the unfounded rumor that the Netherlands had signed a treaty with Russia and Sweden to make their defense of neutral rights against British depredations “a common Cause.” In support of his analysis, Adams included the portions of his letter of 29 March to James Lovell (above) giving accounts of Friesland's resolution of 29 Feb. and Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial of 21 March. Not in the Lovell letter, but noted here, was Yorke's reference to the favorable Dutch treatment of John Paul Jones' squadron at Texel in 1779 as a grievance. Finally, he cited the provisions in the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1667 regarding neutral commerce and contraband as evidence of the extent to which Britain was in violation of its treaty obligations.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 369–372.) LbC (Adams Papers;) notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 26, 27, 28 & 29 were delivered to Mr. Izard 29th. March 1780.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:578–580.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0067

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-30

To the President of Congress, No. 30

Paris, March 30 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 383–384). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:581–582.
Read by Congress on 11 Sept., this letter contained an account of a confrontation in February between several corps of Irish volunteers and a body of British regulars at Dublin that resulted in the regulars being forced to give way to the volunteers to avoid bloodshed. Adams saw the outcome as an indication of the volunteers' confidence in their own strength and compared the confrontation to similar ones in Boston before the Revolution.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 383–384.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:581–582.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0068

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-03-30

To the President of Congress, No. 31

[salute] Sir

I have the Honor to inclose to Congress Copies of certain Letters, { 94 } which I have had the Honor to write to the Comte de Vergennes, and of others which I have recieved from him.1
It seems that the Presentations of the American Commissioners and Ministers Plenipotentiary have not been inserted in the Gazette, which occasioned some Uneasiness in the Minds of some of our Countrymen, as they thought it a neglect of Us, and a distinction between our Sovereign and others. The inclosed Letters will explain this Matter, and show that no Distinction has been made between Representatives of the United States and those of other Powers.
I ought to confess to Congress that the Delicacies of the Comte de Vergennes about communicating my Powers, are not perfectly consonant to my manner of thinking: and if I had followed my own Judgment, I should have pursued a bolder Plan, by communicating immediately after my Arrival, to Lord George Germain, my full Powers to treat both of Peace and Commerce:2 but I hope Congress will approve of my communicating first to this Court my Destination, and asking their Advice and then pursuing it, because3 I think no doubt can be made that it is my Duty to conduct my Negotiations at present in Concert with our Ally as I have hitherto done. I have the Honor to be, with perfect Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 381–382;) docketed “No. 30 Letter from J. Adams March 30. 1780 with 3 Papers Read Septr. 11th. concerning his Presentations at Court & the announcing of it in the Gazette of France vid Feb. 20. 25 [23] March 8.” The dates at the end of the docketing are those of letters to the president of Congress (vol. 8: 345–347, 358–359, calendared; No. 14, above). LbC (Adams Papers;) notation by Thaxter: “No. 30 & 31. Delivered Capt. Landais 1st. April 1780.”
1. The docketing indicates that JA enclosed three “Papers,” but only Vergennes' letter of 30 March and his reply of the same date (both below), can be readily identified. Copies of those two letters appear immediately before this letter in the PCC (No. 84, I, f. 373–374, 377–378). The third letter may have been JA's to Vergennes of 21 March (above), but JA indicated at the bottom of his Letter-book copy of the letter to Vergennes of 30 March that “all the past Leters have been sent to Congress,” making it unnecessary to include them with this letter.
2. Although JA here indicates that he would reluctantly defer to Vergennes' wishes that he not officially disclose his powers to the British ministry, the issue was not settled. For the renewal of the debate between JA and Vergennes over the matter, see Editorial Note, The Dispute with the Comte de Vergennes, 13–29 July; JA to Vergennes, 17 and 26 July; Vergennes to JA, 25 July (all below).
3. At this point in the Letterbook JA deleted the following: “the Ministers of this country must be supposed in things of this Kind to understand better than We, the Humours of Europe, and know better how to address themselves to them. But whether this be so or not.”

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0069

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-30

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had the Honor of Receiving yours of the 21st. instant. The Name of the person you wish to know is, the Duke of Brunswick, Brother to Prince Ferdinand, Field Marischall and Commander in cheif of the Dutch Land Forces. He is not liked by his Family as they conceive, he is too much attach'd to the House of Austria.1
The Quintuple Alliance that you mention, I conceive is only the conjecture of some Politicians, for there is not in Fact, any solid appearance of the D-tch resenting like Men, or an independent Nation, the cruel Injuries and insults, (that wou'd be intolerable to any other People) which they have received from the English. The P[rince] of O[range] the better to deceive, and perhaps reflecting on the fate of DeWit,2 pretended to resent highly the insult offer'd to his Flag, but you will agree with me that it must be only a pretence, when you know that Admiral Byland is to be Honorably acquitted,3 and in consequence it is expected, that the best Capt. in the Dutch Navy will resign.4
I hope you did not construe my last into any design of drawing from you any of the secrets of your mission, for beleive me I have no such curiosity being quite satisfied with that information respecting it, which the World is, and has been a long time in possession of; and besides, I know too well how extremely necessary circumspection and secresy are to procure success to a Negotiation.
Diffidence and distrust of an Enemy is always warrantable, but particularly so, when one has had repeated experience of their Duplicity and treachery the fatal experience of the Dutch in the Negotiations at Geertruydenberg,5 as well as many other Examples, teach us, that distrust and resentment, shou'd not be carried to unreasonable lengths.
A great and good Man has wisely observ'd that the best time to make Peace is, when your Enemy wishes for it, and I hope the affairs of Ireland with vigorous and well directed operations on our part this Campaign will reduce our Enemies to wish for Peace in earnest before this year ends; altho' they seem to be getting the better of the opposition at home, which it appears they are determin'd to do, either by fraud or violence, as the papers will tell you how narrowly the Life of Ld. Shelburne has escaped one of the Scotch Assassins.6
With infinite pleasure I shall communicate to you what informa• { 96 } tion I may receive in my retirement, of the nature you require, but I apprehend that a few hundred pounds Sterling p. An: properly applied might procure you such intelligence as would be worth Millions to America; for in our Enemies quarters, every thing goes by Purchase and Sale, therefore it was high time for us to have done with them.
We have no intelligence of the arrival of Mr. Laurens, tho' there are Letters which mention his being embarked.
The Spaniards will do well to keep a watchful Eye, on the Buccaneering Expedition now preparing in England, against their Possessions in South America.7
I have the Honor to be with very great respect and esteem Dear Sir Your most Obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] W: Lee
P.S. I shall always thank you for any American News.
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “M. W. Lee ansd Ap. 2d 1780 dated March 30th.” LbC (ViHi: William Lee Letterbooks.)
1. Louis Ernst, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, was commander-in-chief of the Dutch army, while his brother, Ferdinand, was a former Prussian field marshall, the victorious commander at the Battle of Minden in 1758. The Duke's family probably believed that he remained attached to Austria, as opposed to Prussia, because of prior service as an Austrian field marshall. Their displeasure with the Duke is understandable in view of Ferdinand's allegiance to Prussia and the fact that one of the Duke's sisters was the wife of Frederick the Great and another the wife of Frederick's brother Charles (Alice Clare Carter, The Dutch Republic in Europe in the Seven Years War, London, 1971, p. 27–28; Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
This and the following paragraph were paraphrased and included in JA's second letter of 3 April to the president of Congress (No. 33, calendared, below).
2. John De Witt, grand pensionary from 1654 to 1672, had been assassinated when he lost popular support in the face of a humiliating defeat by the armies of Britain and France (Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 126–130).
3. Adm. Lodewijk van Bylandt was acquitted on 7 April (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 132, note 3).
4. At this point in the Letterbook the following passage was canceled: “I agree with you in Opinion that the Americans on this side the Ocean, Feel and Reason differently from Our Countrymen on the other side; for the first, viz their difference of feeling is natural and therefore easily accounted for, but their Reasoning or thinking differently is a misfortune to be lamented, as it has already been the cause of great Mischiefs to our Country and may possibly occasion many more. I suppose it is no secret in America. I am sure it ought not to be one to Congress, that our Enemies had determined to treat with us, allowing Independence for the basis, which determination were prevented from being carried into effect; by the speedy advise they got of the Dessensions rising in, and against Congress in the latter end of 1778.”
5. In the winter of 1709–1710, negotiations to end the War of the Spanish Succession were held at Geertruidenberg in the Netherlands. The talks were finally broken off in the summer of 1710, partly because the Dutch representatives insisted on terms unacceptable to France. In 1713, faced with the withdrawal of its British ally, without whom it would be unable to continue the war, the Netherlands was forced to accede to the treaties of Utrecht, containing terms far less favorable than those that could have been obtained at Geertruidenberg in 1710 (George Edmundson, History of Holland, Cambridge, England, 1922, p. 293–297).
6. In January, William Fullarton, a Scotsman and member of Parliament, submitted a plan to the cabinet for a privateering expedition (mentioned by Lee in the final paragraph of this letter and further described in his letter of 9 April, below) against the Spanish colonies on the western coast of South Amer• { 97 } ica by way of the Cape of Good Hope and India. When he and a friend, Thomas Mackenzie Humberston, received commissions as lieutenant colonels to raise regiments for the expedition, Fullarton was immediately attacked by Lord Shelburne in the House of Lords as unqualified to hold such a command. This resulted in a duel on 22 March in which Shelburne was wounded. The expedition was finally approved in August, but as an undertaking by the government, rather than a private enterprise. The outbreak of war with the Netherlands, however, caused the force to be diverted for service, first at the Cape of Good Hope and then in India (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, 2:475; Mackesy, War for America, p. 373, 380).
At this point in the Letterbook the following passage was canceled: “I apprehend with you, the chief dependence is on Sir Edward Newenham relative to Irish affairs for which reason it may be proper to inform you that his understanding is not rated very high by his Party, who adopt their plans before he is in the Secret. I presume you regularly receive the English Gazettes therefore it will be unnecessary to mention what I may chance to see in them, and in my retirement, I can't often expect to get frequent particular intelligence, but when anything material comes to my knowledge, you may be assured of my communicating it to you immediately: however I should suppose, that a few hundred pounds sterling per annum properly laid out, might command all the intelligence you would wish to have.”
Lee's reference is to Sir Edward Newenham, a member of the Irish Parliament who favored parliamentary reform (DNB). Newenham may have been mentioned by another of Lee's correspondents and when Lee realized his mistake he canceled the passage.
7. Lee was speaking of William Fullarton's plan (see note 6), but that proposal had been preceded by another put forth by Sir John Dalrymple, baron of the Scottish Exchequer. It too proposed to attack the Spanish colonies from the west, across the Pacific, but was abandoned when the government took over Fullarton's plan as its own (Mackesy, War for America, p. 373). JA made a verbatim transcription of this paragraph and enclosed it in his letter to Gabriel de Sartine of 4 April (Arch. de la Marine, Paris, Campagnes B4, vol. 182). For Sartine's replies, see Thomas Digges' letter of 28 March, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0070-0001-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-30

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 21 de ce mois. Je me rappelle très bien de vous avoir dit que votre présentation seroit insérée dans la gazette de France; Mais d'après les informations que j'ai prises, je me suis convaincu que jamais les présentations, soit des ambassadeurs, soit des Ministres Plénipotentiaires, n'ont été annoncées dans notre Gazette, en sorte qu'il y auroit de l'affectation à y insérer la vôtre.1 Pour y supléer j'en ferai faire mention, si vous désirez, dans le Mercure de France, et vous pourrez sans aucun inconvénient prendre des mesures pour qu'elle soit répétée dans les gazettes étrangéres.
J'ai l'honneur d'être très sincérement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes
P:S: Je joins ici le projet d'article que je me propose de faire mettre dans le Mercure; Je ne l'enverrai qu'après que vous m'en aurez dit votre sentiment.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0070-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-30

Enclosure: Draft of an Article

Le S. Adams que le Congrès des Etats Unis de l'Amérique a désigné pour assister aux conférences pour la paix lorsqu'il y aura lieu, est arrivé depuis quelque tems ici et a eû l'honneur d'être présenté au Roi et à la famille royale.1

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0070-0002-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-30

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 21st of this month. I recall very well having told you that your presentation would be inserted in the Gazette de France. But further investigation has convinced me that never have the presentations of either ambassadors or ministers plenipotentiary been announced in our Gazette, so that to do so in your case would indicate an unwarranted partiality.1 As an alternative, if you wish, I will have it mentioned in the Mercure de France, and you can, without any inconvenience, undertake to have it repeated in the foreign gazettes.

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

[signed] De Vergennes
P.S. I enclose a draft of the article that I propose to insert in the Mercure. I will not send it until you have given me your opinion.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers.)
1. The Gazette de France was the official journal of the French government. An announcement in the Gazette of JA's mission and his presentation to the King, especially if such represented a sharp departure from past practice, would have carried the implication that France, as well as the United States, was eager to initiate peace negotiations. In early 1780 such an inference would have been wrong, particularly in view of France's obligations to Spain. No such implication would be attached to such a notice in the Mercure de France. That publication, ostensibly a literary journal, had a section paginated separately from the rest of the issue and entitled “Journal Politique de Bruxelles.” This section, although controlled by the French foreign ministry and edited by Edmé Jacques Genet as the successor to his Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amerique, had no overt connection with the French government and thus no status as an official purveyor of French policy.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0070-0002-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-30

Enclosure: A Draft of an Article: A Translation

Mr. Adams, whom the Congress of the United States of America has appointed to participate in the peace conferences whenever they may occur, arrived here sometime ago and has had the honor of being presented to the King and the royal family.1
1. This notice, which appeared virtually without change in the 8 April issue of Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles” (p. 88), was the second of two very different versions considered for publication. The first, in the form of a canceled draft, reads “Le S. Adams a été présenté au Roi le [] de ce mois. Le Congrés l'avois nommé eventuellement, Plenipotentiaire pour prendre part aux négociation de paix qui parois• { 99 } soiens devoir s'ouvir sous la mediation de Sa Majesté Catholique, et il a fixé son séjour à Paris en attendant que la circonstance le mettens en mesure de [] faire usage de se plenipouvoir” (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 11). Translation: Mr. Adams has been presented to the King the[]of this month. The Congress has named him eventual plenipotentiary to take part in the peace negotiation which will take place under the mediation of His Catholic Majesty [the King of Spain], and he has established himself at Paris in the expectation that circumstances will permit him to make use of his full powers.
The first draft is worded very curiously. JA's powers were eventual only in the sense that they became operative when and if Great Britain agreed to negotiate a peace treaty with the United States and to recognize it as sovereign and independent in advance of negotiations. The beginning of negotiations under the mediation of the King of Spain had no bearing on JA's powers, for they did not contemplate or permit his participation in a mediation by Spain or any other power.
By 30 March, Vergennes knew the full extent of JA's powers. Conrad Alexandre Gérard had included JA's instructions in a letter of 14 Aug. 1779, that Vergennes had received on 6 Nov. (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 846–850).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0071

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-03-30

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have the honour of your Excellency's letter of this day, in answer to mine of the 21st. of this month. Untill the receipt of it, I had taken it for granted that the presentation of every Ambassador was regularly inserted in the Gazette of France; and untill very lately, several days since the date of my letter to your Excellency of the 21st. of this month, I had supposed that the presentations of Ministers Plenipotentiary were constantly inserted likewise. The information that your Excellency has given me, that the presentations neither of Ambassadors nor Ministers Plenipotentiary have ever been inserted, has perfectly satisfied me, and I doubt not will equally satisfy my Countrymen who have heretofore been under the same mistake with myself. I approve very much your Excellency's proposition of inserting my presentation, in the Mercury of France, and I shall take measures to have it repeated in the foreign gazettes.1 I have the honour to be with the most entire consideration 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. 11;) endorsed: “30 Mars Article a ete envoyé au Mercure.” LbC (Adams Papers;) notation by John Thaxter: “N.B. all the past Letters have been sent to Congress.” That is, all of the letters exchanged with Vergennes since JA arrived at Paris.
1. Although JA states that he is satisfied with the announcement to be inserted in the Mercure de France, his letters of 2 April to Jeremiah Allen, John Bondfield (first letter), Edmund Jenings (and note 1), and William Lee (all below) indicate that he did not believe the announcement in the Mercure to be explicit enough concerning his powers to negotiate. For the clearest indication of JA's rejection of the Mercure piece as a guide for announcements in “foreign gazettes,” see his letter to Jenings of 2 April (and note 1, be• { 100 } low), which formed the basis for the announcements that appeared in various London newspapers during the second week of April.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0072

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-03-31

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have recieved your's of the 26th, and that of the 15th. of this Month. I inclose a Copy of the Letter You desire.1
Mr. Garnier is gone into the Country, and I have not seen him since I arrived here. Mr. Iz. however has seen him and will give You a satisfactory Account of what he says.2
If I were to apply to the other Gentleman,3 You know what would be the Consequence. It would fly very soon to you know where,4 and I should have only the Credit of meddleing unnecessarily with Disputes, which I have kept out of, as much as I could, and which it is certainly now the public Interest and consequently my Duty to keep out of as much as I can. I had therefore rather be excused. The Gentleman himself would probably give You the same Answer to a Letter from You directly to him, as he would give to me, unless I should use Arts with him, which would be unworthy of You as well as me, and which I cannot use with any Body.
I shall have enough to do to steer my little Bark, among the Rocks and Shoals. I shall have perplexities enough of my own which I cannot avoid, and Dangers too. These I shall meet with a steady Mind, and perhaps none of them will be greater than that which I think my Duty of avoiding things that dont belong to me.
Scarcely ever any Minister executed a Commission for making Peace, without ruining his own Reputation, in a free Government. No Minister that ever existed had a more difficult and dangerous Peace to make, than I have.5 Add to this, we who are and have been in Trusts abroad are all envied. I shall be envied more than any other. To be Minister at the Court of St. James's, is an Object that will tempt Numbers who would not care much about any other. Nothing less than this is the Amount of my present Commission. I was not envied when shipwrecked in the Gulf Stream, nor when chased for forty eight hours by three British Men of War at a time, nor when sailing in a Ship that leaked seven feet of Water in an hour, nor when devoured with Vermin, among Mules and Swine upon the Mountains of Gallicia: but the Idea of my residing in London, and approaching the exalted Steps of the British Throne, I know can never be patiently born by some People.
{ 101 }
The Malice and Madness of the British Court, however, will protect me from this Envy a long Time; perhaps longer than my Constituents will confide to me the Trust. But the Idea of my having such a Trust, the thought that so much Confidence is now placed in me, will naturally stir Passions enough, to make me take Care, how I conduct myself, and particularly to keep out of the Departments of others, and above all from meddling in personal Disputes, that have no Relation to mine.
The Gentleman6 you mention has hitherto been very still, but he has been well recieved, by all that I have learnt.

[salute] Adieu

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.) LbC (Adams Papers;) notation by Thaxter: “Delivered Capt. Landais 1st of April 1780. Hotel de Valois Rue Richelieu.” For an explanation of how this letter came to be in the Adams Papers, see Arthur Lee to JA, 10 Oct. 1778, descriptive note (vol. 7:127–128).
1. The enclosure has not been found, but see Lee's letter of the 15th, and note 1 (above).
2. This and the following paragraph refer to Lee's dispute with William Carmichael. See Lee's letters of 15 March, note 2 (above), and 12 April (below).
3. Ferdinand Grand.
4. Probably Benjamin Franklin.
5. The remainder of this paragraph and all of that which follows do not appear in this letter as edited by Jared Sparks (Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, 12 vols., Boston, 1829–1830, 4:448–449), CFA (JA, Works, 7:142), and Francis Wharton (Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:584). JA's statement is the first indication that he saw his commission as establishing him as the likely American minister to Great Britain and that the opening of negotiations for treaties of peace and commerce would confirm him as such in fact.
6. Conrad Alexandre Gérard.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Allen, Jeremiah
Date: 1780-04-02

To Jeremiah Allen

[salute] Dear Sir

Last night I received yours of the 27 of March from Libourne, which gave me great Pleasure, and relieved my Mind from a Burthen as I had been under Anxiety least you should have been sick, as I had made many Enquiries after you, and could hear nothing, not even where you was. Mr Thaxter never received your letter.
The Report you mention is but one of a Million lies, that are circulated by Artfull People for various Purposes. I have had particular Reasons for concealing my public Character hitherto, but you knew it sufficiently before you came from America, altho you never knew it from me. But I have now no longer any Reasons for secreting my Mission. I have the Honour to be, a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America vested with full Powers, to treat and agree, with the Ambassadors or Plenipotentiaries of France England, { 102 } or any other states whom it may concern, relating to the Reestablishment of Peace1 and have had the Honour, in this Character to be presented to the King and Royal Family at Versailles. There is no other Person in Europe who can make a Peace on behalf of America, and you may be assured, and so may all who enquire of you, that I have not made Peace, and that I shall not and cannot make Peace untill France <and England> shall do the same.2 You may assure them too that Congress have not, because England has never empowerd any body to treat with them, and if she had or should,3 congress could not make Peace without France. You will make a discreet Use of this Letter. Direct for me, a l'hotel de Valois Ruë de Richelieu, a Paris. Pray write me, the Productions, Manufactures, Commerce and Remarkables of the Place where you are.
I hope soon to have the Pleasure of seeing you in Paris, and showing you some of its Curiosities. I am with great Regard, sir your most obt. servant.
1. The remainder of this sentence was interlined for insertion at this point.
2. A reference to Art. 8 of the Franco-American treaty of alliance, which prohibited either party from concluding a separate peace (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:38–39).
3. Comma supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0074

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-04-02

To John Bondfield

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had particular Reasons, which rendered it my Duty, to say little about my Mission to Europe, until lately, when these Reasons were all removed, by the settlements of certain Points, needless to mention.
I am now therefore at Liberty to inform You that I have the Honor to be a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, vested with full Powers to treat and conclude with the Ambassadors and Plenipotentiaries of France, England, and all other States whom it may concern, the Great Work of Pacification.1
I took this Method, Sir, to inform You of this that You may obviate the idle and designing Reports that are propagated, at Bordeaux, I hear,2 as well as in other places, that America has or intends to make Peace seperately, than which nothing can be more false and injurious.
My Embassy was not the Effect of any sudden Elevation or depression of Spirits, any sanguine Hopes or desponding Fears, arising from any Incidents in the Course of the War, prosperous or adverse, but { 103 } the Result of long deliberations upon a plan of Policy, which had been more than a Year under Consideration of Congress. It was thought to be necessary to have a Minister in Europe, whose business it should be to think of Peace, to hear all propositions that should be made, tending to that great and desirable End, and empowered to enter into Conferences, Negotiations and Treaties without Loss of Time, whenever the Belligerent Powers should be disposed to them.
In this public Character I have had the Honor to be presented to the King and Royal Family, at Versailles on the seventh day of last Month, which is the more proper to be mentioned to You, because I have recieved from the Comte de Vergennes, an Account, in a Letter3 of the Reason why it was not inserted in the Gazette of France, vizt. that it was the established Custom, never to insert in the Gazette the presentation neither of Ambassadors nor Ministers Plenipotentiary, which is also the Reason why the presentation of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee were not inserted.4 I can rely upon your Discreetion to make no Use of this Letter that will be hurtful to the public, or your most obedient humble Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. This is a paraphrase of a portion of JA's 29 Sept. 1779 commission to negotiate a peace treaty (calendar entry, vol. 8:185; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:178–179).
2. From Jeremiah Allen's letter of 27 March (above).
3. Of 30 March (above).
4. Probably a reference to the presentation of Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and Silas Deane on 20 March 1778 (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 65).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0075

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-04-02

To John Bondfield

[salute] Dear Sir

I have Occasion for a Cask of Bordeaux Wine, of the very best Quality, such as You sent Us, when I was at Passy.1 I wish You would be so good, as to send it me, as soon as possible, as I am in great distress for want of it, having none, and being able to get none so good for daily Consumption. Your Bill for the Money shall be paid punctually.
Another favor I have to ask of You, and that is a list of the various Sorts of Bordeaux Wines, their Names, Qualities and Prices, and what is the difference between the Price of new Wine and old of each Sort, per Ton, what Quantity there is in a Ton—per Hogshead or Pipe and what Quantity there is ordinarily in each.2
I am &c.
{ 104 }
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. See Bondfield's letter of 3 Oct. 1778 to the Commissioners (vol. 7:103–104).
2. Using almost identical language, JA asked for the same information in letters of this date to B. de Cabarrus Jeune, a Bordeaux merchant, and to William Vernon Jr. (both LbC's, Adams Papers). JA's only significant addition to those letters was his statement that he had “particular Reasons for making this Inquiry and to request exact Information.” Cabarrus and Bondfield replied on 8 and 12 April respectively (both below), but Vernon's reply, which JA acknowledged in a letter of 15 April (LbC, Adams Papers), has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0076

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-02

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

After Settling a Point or two here, I now think myself at Liberty to inform you, that I have indeed the Honour, to be a Minister plenipotentiary from the United States of America, “vested with full Powers and Instructions to confer, treat, agree and conclude with the Ambassadors or Plenipotentiaries of his most christian Majesty and of his Britannic Majesty, and those of any other Princes or states, whom it may concern, vested with equal Powers, relating to the Reestablishment of Peace and Friendship, and whatever shall be so agreed and concluded to Sign, and make a Treaty or Treaties and to transact every Thing that may be necessary for compleating, the great Work of Pacification.”1 This you may affirm, without making Use of my Name as your Authority, at present unless to particular Friends.
My Mission was not the Effect of any sudden Joy or Sorrow, Hope or fear arising from any Event of War prosperous or Adverse: but a measure more than a year under Consideration of Congress, and it was thought very proper to have a Minister residing in Europe, Solely for the Purpose of attending to Propositions for Peace. Their Deliberations were long upon the Commission and Instructions, which were at last concluded, and the Choice to my utter astonishment fell upon me, by the Votes of Eleven states, twelve only being present.
This Unanimity, after all the Struggles and Divisions about our foreign Affairs, and the Certainty of still greater Divisions, which I was assured would be the Consequence of my Refusal, determined Me, to put myself once more to sea from a quiet and an happy Harbour. It is a situation that is and will be envyed. And I have Seen enough of what there is in human Bosoms to know that Envy is a formidable Ennemy. It is however more justly to be dreaded than envyed. I assure you it appalls me, when I reflect upon it. The Immensity of the Trust, is too great for every Thing but an honest { 105 } Heart, and for that too, without a sounder Understanding, and profounder, sublimer and more extended Views, than I have any Pretentions too.
I should esteem it as a favour if you would take Measures, to have Some Paragraphs inserted in the English Newspapers, announcing the Purport of my Mission. The Nature of them I shall leave to your Discretion. I am with much affection yours,
[signed] John Adams
1. Although set off by quotation marks (closing supplied), the passage is an accurate paraphrase of a portion of JA's commission of 29 Sept. 1779 to negotiate a peace treaty (calendar entry, vol. 8:185; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:178–179). With minor stylistic changes and the addition of some introductory material, this passage formed the basis for the announcements of JA's mission that appeared in various London newspapers, including the General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer and The Morning Post and Daily Advertiser of 12 April and the London Chronicle of 11–13 April. The notice appearing in the General Advertiser was copied by John Thaxter and forms one entry in a twelve page document that JA endorsed: “Paragraphs <in> Public Prints”; and which contains items from various British and continental newspapers for the period from 5 April to 4 July. Immediately following the piece from the General Advertiser of 12 April, Thaxter copied another that appeared on 13 April in the same paper. “We can venture to assure the Public from respectable Authority, that Mr. Adams, the Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to the Court of France, is not arrived in Europe for the purpose of offering Terms to Great Britain; and that he has only recieved Instructions to listen, conjunctively with France, to the Overtures of the King of England and his Ministers for Peace.” On 18 April the General Advertiser again commented on JA's mission in an article copied by Thaxter and of which a clipping is in the Adams Papers (Microfilms, Reel No. 604). There, after noting that the declining position of Great Britain vis-à-vis the European powers made peace a necessity, the author stated that “we have the fullest authority to declare, that the paragraph in the public prints, mentioning the powers with which Mr. Adams, the Minister from the United States to the Court of France, is absolutely invested, ought to be relied on as a certain fact. Time will soon discover, whether it be the inclination of those who govern us to put a period to the national calamities, or to increase them beyond the hope of remedy.” For a possible explanation for these additional statements regarding JA's status, see Edmund Jenings' letter of 24 April, note 3 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-04-02

To William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favour of the 30th. of March, is just come to Hand, and I thank you for it.
I did not <Suspect> construe any Thing in your last into a design of drawing from me, any of the Secrets of my mission, indeed there is no secret in it, but my Instructions, which will I hope <forever> remain so, untill they are executed if that time should ever come.
I have had Reasons, however for saying nothing till now, about my Commission, but those Reasons exist no more. I have indeed the { 106 } Honour to be Minister Plenipotentiary, with full Powers with the Ambassadors or Ministers from France and Great Britain and all other Princes and states whom it may concern, to enter into Conferences Negotiations and Treaties for Peace.
When our Ennemy will wish for Peace, So far as to think of it in earnest I know not. Peace concerns her more than any of the belligerent Powers. America, even, can Sustain the War, although it will be irksome and greivous, infinitely better than England.
America grows more powerful, more numerous, more brave, and better disciplined every Year of the War, and more independant too both in Spirit and Circumstances. Their Trade it is true does not flourish as it did, but their Agriculture Arts, and Manufactures increase in Proportion to the decline of their Trade. England is wasting away, not withstanding the violence of her convulsive Struggles, both in Wealth in Commerce, in Manufactures, in Sailors Soldiers Population <and every Thing else. Nothing[ . . . ]> and above all in political Consideration among the Powers of Europe, every day. Her Reputation1 which is a more durable Source of Power, and a more constant Cause of Prosperity, to states as well as individuals, declines amidst all her Activity, Exertions and successes. The Hopes and Fears of other Nations are turning by degrees from her to other People, and these She will find it harder to regain than even the good Will of America, which is also leaving her, every day. The English2 Nation dont seem to me to <consider> see any thing in its true Light or weigh any thing in a just ballance. The Points already gained by Ireland, dont appear to be understood in England in their Consequences. If she should carry the other Points she aims at, she will become a dangerous Rival to G. B. in Trade, and even in political Power, and dangerous to her even in military. And she must and will carry those Points if this War is continued. Yet the predominant <Passion> Temper, drowns all, in England. Their Pride, Revenge and Habits of domineering will not suffer them to listen to any Thing that does not sooth those lively Passions.
The Fury that appears among the Members of Paliament, convinces me that the opposition is more formidable than you Seem to think it. The Committees go on, and, altho I dont found my Expectations, upon Characters that now appear, I know that those Committees will bring up others to public View, who will do the Work. When a society gets disturbed Men of Great Talents and great Qualities are always found, or made.
I wish you had been more particular concerning the Buccaneering { 107 } Expedition, which you say is preparing in England against the Spanish Possessions in S. America.
Nothing from America, nor from Mr Laurens. Adieu
I think I am perfectly sure of my self, that I shall never be led much astray by my Resentment against the English however Strong they may have been, and however justly founded. Distrust of them I have, quite seperate from all Resentment, So fixed by 20 Years incessant Attention to their Policy, that it is very possible they may be in earnest about Terms of Peace, before I shall beleive it. But this Error I hope will do neither them nor me any harm.3
1. The preceding fifteen words were interlined for insertion at this point.
2. This word was interlined.
3. This paragraph was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0078

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-03

To the President of Congress, No. 32

Paris, 3 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 395–400). LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “No 32 delivered Capt. Landais 3d. April.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:593–596.
In this letter, which was read in Congress on 11 Sept., John Adams began by observing that while “the Fermentation in England” had alarmed the ministry and influenced some members of the House of Commons, he thought it was largely due to the impending election. Adams then provided the texts of resolutions adopted by the meetings of the county and city associations at St. Alban's Tavern from 11 to 20 March (see JA to the president of Congress, 23 March, No. 23, note 3, above) and those adopted on 15 and 19 March by the Westminster committee. The St. Alban's resolutions served to justify a general association for parliamentary reform, those of the Westminster committee focused on the inequities of parliamentary representation. Adams indicated that he had included the texts of the resolutions because he believed the association movement to be of great importance and that if wisdom and virtue prevailed, its objectives would be accomplished, thereby bringing fundamental change to the government and policies of Great Britain. If the movement was unsuccessful, however, Adams believed that it would “probably be the last rational Effort made in favor of Liberty, and Despotism will range at large.” Furthermore, if George III concluded an immediate peace, the movements in England and Ireland would lose momentum and his conflicts with the Netherlands and Spain would largely disappear. If he continued the war and was successful, at least his problems in England and Ireland would be dissipated. But if he continued the war and was unsuccessful, “the new Sovereignty will probably prevail against him, after involving the three Kingdoms in Confusion and in Blood.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 395–400.) LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “No 32 delivered Capt. Landais 3d. April.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:593–596.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0079

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-03

To the President of Congress, No. 33

Paris, 3 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 387–394). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:588–592.
John Adams began this letter, which was read in Congress on 10 July, by paraphrasing the first portion of William Lee's letter of 30 March (above), regarding the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and the Netherlands. He then provided English translations of a petition of 25 Feb. to the States General calling for the outfitting of fifty-two warships; Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial of 21 March demanding that the States General reply within three weeks to his previous memorials for support of Great Britain's war efforts, or face suspension of the Anglo-Dutch treaties insofar as they related to neutral commerce; the States General's reply of 24 March requesting additional time; and a paraphrase of Yorke's rejoinder that he was unable to satisfy that request.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 387–394.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:588–592.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0080

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

To the President of Congress, No. 34

Paris, 4 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 405–408). printed: various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 12 July and the Boston Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. 1780.
In this letter, which was read in Congress on 10 July, John Adams paraphrased the resolutions praising Henry Grattan for his efforts on behalf of Ireland in the Irish Parliament adopted at a meeting of Dublin merchants on about 20 March. He then noted a proposal made in Dublin to raise funds for warships to give Irish shipping the protection which the British were neglecting to provide, and reported the speculation that this effort could lead to an Irish navy. Adams also included the texts of Grattan's reply of 24 March in which he vowed to continue his efforts to modify Poyning's Law; the reply of Luke Gardner, member of the Irish Parliament for Dublin, to his instructions in which he promised to work to modify Poyning's Law; and the reply of Edward Newenham, another member from Dublin, to the same effect. Adams ended by apologizing for “stating so particularly proceedings, which must have such momentous Consequences. These are foundations of another Revolution, and will effect a total Independence of Ireland on England. If England should resist these demands, and at the same Time continue the War with America and the House of Bourbon, Congress may have an Ambassador at the Court or Congress of Ireland, in a very short Time.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 405–408.) printed: (various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 12 July and the Boston Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. 1780.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0081

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

To the President of Congress, No. 35

Paris, 4 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 409–410). printed: various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 12 July and the Boston Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. 1780.
In this letter, which was read in Congress on 10 July, John Adams provided { 109 } the text of a resolution adopted by the City of London on 22 March concerning the maintenance of a correspondence with the various committees named by the counties, cities, and towns regarding the general association.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 409–410.) printed: (various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 12 July and the Boston Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. 1780.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0082

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

To the President of Congress, No. 36

Paris, 4 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 413–414). LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 33, 34, 35 & 36 were delivered Capt Snelling on the 8th April 1780 at the Hotel de Valois by Mr Adams.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:596–597; various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 12 July and the Boston Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. 1780.
In this letter, which was read in Congress on 10 July, John Adams related a report from Malaga concerning an unprovoked attack on the Swedish frigate Illerim by an English privateer from Minorca, which resulted in the death of the frigate's captain.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 413–414.) LbC (Adams Papers;) notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 33, 34, 35 & 36 were delivered Capt Snelling on the 8th April 1780 at the Hotel de Valois by Mr Adams.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:596–597; various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 12 July and the Boston Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. 1780.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-06

To the President of Congress, No. 37

Paris, 6 April 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 417–423).
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams provided Congress with a substantial extract from Sir James Marriott's decision in the case of La Sybellina Hillegonda, one of the Dutch vessels seized by Como. Charles Fielding from the convoy under the protection of Adm. van Bylandt. Marriott condemned the ship because the convoy of the vessel to a French port and the resistance put up by van Bylandt violated the existing Anglo-Dutch treaties, but also because necessity required that neutral vessels carrying naval stores to an enemy port be stopped regardless of any treaty provision. Adams included a list of the other Dutch vessels, with a summary of their cargoes, seized and condemned for the same reasons.
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 417–423.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0084

Author: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-06

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I have wrote you by Common post the 20th1 and 28th of last Month, and Capt Cozeneau,2 whom you know something of, and who goes to Dr. F on the business of the Cartel which He conducted from Boston to Pensance gives me an oppertunity of sending this letter, to gether with the news papers of the day and some pamphlets and papers which may open to you a little of the state of politicks here. I wish your attention to the Pamphlet entitled “A memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe on the state of Affairs between the old and New World.” It is the production of Govr. Pownall who with many specious { 110 } appearances too frequently acts and writes under the all-powerful sunshine of Ministry. I have directed the parcell to Dr. F and desird Him to send them to you after perusal, my present confind circumstances induces me to be thus aeconomical or I would send you duplicates.3
The movements among the people of this Country as to Assosiations Committees of Correspondence, meeting of the Deputies &c. &c., still continue and go on with Spirit, but I do not discover any common principle of Union left in the Minds of the People, which can be made a foundation of Union, and bind them together against the terrors and allurements of the Court. The People in general seem bent upon a reform in the Constitution and representation, and so great a majority seem to speak for triennial, that I do not think there will be another septennial parliament in England. These movements and the critical state of Affairs in Ireland embarrass Ministry and the Torey party very much, and I think it cannot fail of being in a great measure servicable to Us; for 'tho the pride and haughtiness of many of the active leaders of the popular party may be averse to or displeasd with the declard and absolute Independence of America, there are very many worthy and high Characters among them who wish it most cordially; and I am sure there is a universal wish among the People for giving up the American War, and for withdrawing the Army on any terms however humiliating. I beleive Ministry themselves have thoughts of getting away the army, but it will be a difficult point to accomplish, and the leaving totally abandond in that Country those Americans who call themselves friends to Gt. Britain weighs very much. Experience might point out to them that the Expence of keeping the British Army three months in America, would give to these unhappy traitors to the cause of their Country a handsome subsistence for life.
Even yet there is no news arrivd of Clintons Expedition tho the lye of the day is, that He made a Landing the 17 February in Georgia. The West India fleet is yet detaind for a fair wind. There are upwards of 200 Merchantmen to be convoyd by Commodore Walsingham with four of the Line, one frigate, one twenty Gun Ship, and two or three fire Ships. When this fleet and those of France arrive in the West Indies it is supposd the fleets for the summers Campaign will stand 30 or 31 English against 35 french exclusive of Spanish.
There are strong rumours here that the last Brest fleet with troops &c. is bound to Hallifax (some say Quebec). The Courtiers talk of that place as their destination, and in consequence thereof Adm. { 111 } Graves will be sent with six or seven Ships (not sooner than 15 or 20 days hence) to the North American Station.
There is not the least likelyhood that any more troops not even recruits are going there and that there will be no Offensive operations to the North Ward.
If you have any late News papers which contain matter worthy of publication in the Remembrancer or News papers I should be glad to have them by return of Capt Cozeneau, sometimes American publications are very useful to be reprinted here.
I refer You to the Bearer and the Papers sent for any domestic News and am with the greatest esteem Dr Sir Your Obedt. Servant,
[signed] T D
I should be much obligd to You to put the inclosd Letter in the post for Nantes.4
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “recd & ansd by Cazneau. 15 Ap.”
1. Not found.
2. Capt. Isaac Cazneau had carried letters to Philadelphia for AA in 1776 and had dined with JA and others at Lorient in the spring of 1779 while JA awaited passage to America. Later he served as captain of the ship Bob, one of the two cartel ships that reached England in Dec. 1779. The Bob carried prisoners taken in the capture of two Falmouth packets (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:69, 72, 83; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:369–371; William Bell Clark, “In Defense of Thomas Digges,” PMHB, 77:407 [Oct. 1953]; London Chronicle, 23–25 Dec. 1779). See also Digges' letters of 3 March, and note 4 (above); and 8 June, and note 6 (below).
3. Digges sent 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, to Benjamin Franklin with his letter of 6 April (Digges, Letters, 185–189). JA used that copy to produce his Translation of the Memorial. For the significance of JA's revision of Pownall's work and its later publication at Amsterdam and London, see A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], Editorial Note (below). JA probably received the copy of Pownall's Memorial that is now in his library at the Boston Public Library as part of a package containing newspapers and pamphlets that Digges sent on or about 25 April (Catalogue of JA's Library; from Thomas Digges, 28 April and 8 June, both below).
4. This letter has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0085

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-06

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

You have done me a great deal of Honour, in communicating to me the Object of your Commission which is certainly of the most honorable and important Nature in itself, and has been confered on you in a manner the most flattering. I sincerely Congratulate you thereon, and most earnestly Wish, that the Envy of the Times may not Thwart your Intentions for the publick Good, but that you may be Able to Establish to the latest Period the Independance and Happiness of our Country and by Consequence your own Glory.
{ 112 }
You Know, Sir, that I have long thought that such a Mission was absolutely Necessary,2 it therefore gave me great pleasure, when it was first suggested, by common report, that it would take place, and that you was the Person, whom the Congress had adjudged most proper to be intrusted with the dearest Interests of America. It is from Duty to my Country and Attachment to You, that I Again offer my poor Services in this important Business. I will take immediate Care, that your Ministry is properly announced to the people of England, and carried to the Ear of Majesty itself, that may not plead Ignorance of the proper Channel to peace. Perhaps I could be of Service in England at this Juncture, if you think so, I beg to receive your Commands.
The most important and fullest Collection of Treaties is by Rousset it is entitld Recueil historique des Actes &c. et le Corps diplomatique de Dumont avec ses Suppliments.3 I have two Volumes published by Almon, entitled a Collection of all the Treaties of Peace, Alliance and Commerce between GB and other powers, from the Revolution 1688 to the present Times; it is an useful Compilation but defective; in particular there is not one treaty inserted, made between GB and the Empress Queen relative to the Succession War in 1741, and therefore I do not know of any Subsidies being then paid to Austria, but it might be easily Known from the Parliamentary and History of England, as England cannot well give a Subsidy, that is not public. I find however, that there was a naval Subsidy of 200000 £ given in 1743 to Sardinia by England; and the Empress gave to the King of Sardinia certain districts, that lay convenient for Him, the late King of Sardinia,4 gaind much Credit by the whole of this Transaction, his Wisdom in planning and faithfulness in Executing it were much admird.
It seems almost Unnecessary for a private person to Attempt to rouse the Dutch. The King of England provokes and touches them so nearly every day, that if they are not insensible Indeed, they must resent his repeatd insults and Injuries.
Enquiries have been made as to publications on these Matters in Holland and I find it will be difficult and dangerous to take a Part therein until the States have come to some Resolution and when they have done it it will then perhaps be Unnecessary.
I purpose to go to Boulogne de Mer for my Baggage, which I left there last Summer. I shall return in a fortnight if in the Mean Time you have any Commands for me a Letter directed to that Town, post restant,5 will come to Hand.
{ 113 }

[salute] I am Dear Sir with the Greatest Respect your Most Obd and faithful Hble Servt,

[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Mr Jennings. ansd Ap. 15. 1780.”
1. This is clearly a reply to JA's letter of 2 April (above).
2. See Jenings' letters of 10 March and 25 April 1779 and JA's replies of 13 April and 4 May 1779 (vol. 8:7–12, 45–47, 34–35, 54–56).
3. These are Jean Rousset de Missy, Recueil historique d'actes, négociations, mémoires et traitéz, The Hague, 1728–1754, 21 vols. in 23; and Jean Dumont, comp., Corps universel diplomatique du droit des gens; contenant un recueil des traitez d'alliance, de paix, de trève, de neutralité, de commerce, d'échange . . ., Amsterdam, 1726–1739, 14 vols. in 15. Both are among JA's books at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library). JA purchased the Dumont compilation on 13 April (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:438).
4. Jenings' information regarding this treaty was taken from John Almon's A Collection of all the Treaties of Peace, Alliance and Commerce between Great Britain and Other Powers, 2 vols., London, 1772, 2:52–68.
5. That is, general delivery.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-07

To the President of Congress, No. 38

Paris, 7 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 425–431) printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:599–602.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, Adams provided accounts of the arrival of Russian couriers at The Hague on 30 March with Catherine II's declaration of an armed neutrality and an invitation to the Dutch to join (see JA to the president of Congress, 10 April, No. 40, below); the determination of the Turks to resist belligerent depredations on their ships or the vessels of other nations trading with Turkish ports; and the Russian reaction to the British attack on the Dutch convoy under the protection of Adm. van Bylandt.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 425–431). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:599–602.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0087

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Carmichael, William
Date: 1780-04-08

To William Carmichael

[salute] Sir

I have this moment, the Honour of your Letter, from Madrid of the 29 of February1 as I suppose, altho the month is not mentioned. I thank you, Sir for commencing a Correspondence which I have Sometime wished to begin. I wrote to Mr Jay at Madrid the 22d of February,2 and wish to know if he has received the Letter. It is certainly proper, that those who are intrusted abroad, Should maintain a Correspondence, and cultivate a good understanding with each other, because altho their departments are in some respects seperate yet in others they are intimately connected together. From all that I heard in Spain, I expected you would meet an agreable Reception at Madrid, and I am much pleased to learn from you, that I was not mistaken.
I have sometimes wondered at the slowness of Spain, in making a { 114 } treaty with Us, but when I reflected upon a certain secret Article, my surprise ceased. We are already bound in a Treaty to her, but she is not bound to Us.3 It would be ungenerous in her, however to hold Us, long in this situation. The Treaty notwithstanding all that has been justly said, of the Advantages to Us, in it, is not less advantageous to our allies. The single Article, that binds Us to exclude, all armed Vessels of the Ennemies of our Allies in all future Wars from our Ports,4 is worth more millions, to them, than this War will cost, nay it will be a severer loss to Great Britain, than all that she has Spent in it. Whether G. B. has considered this or not, I dont know, but she will sometime or other discover it, and feel the inconvenience of it.
You ask for news from America. A Vessell from Baltimore is arrived at Bourdeaux. Not a single Letter to Dr Franklin or me. Two or three Balimore newspapers, one as late, as 15 Feb. A hard Winter deep snows, uncommon frosts, frozen over from Connecticut to Long Island, and from N. Jersey to Staten Island. Ld Sterling went over to Staten Island with a Party on the Ice, burnt a few Vessells and a Guard House, took a few Prisoners, and brought off, a few deserters. Some N. Jersey People went over at the same time and plundered, without mercy. Finding the Communication open with N. York, which had been supposed to be obstructed by the Ice he returned.5 An Article from a Fish Kill Paper says that Clinton and Cornwallis sailed 26 December, with 7000 men for the W. Indies but that the Storm which happend soon after their departure, was supposed to have done him a mischief. A ship, Brig and schooner lost in the storm on Cape Cod, unknown who or whence, all perished. Congress had recommended to all the states to regulate Prices at 20 for one, which by the Speculations in the Papers, was not well liked.6 Govr Johnson a Delegate for Maryland, General Ward for Massachusetts in the room of Mr Dana, who desires me, to return you, Compliments and respects. The other delegates as last year. This is all the News I can recollect, having seen the Papers only a few minutes, in a large Company.
The general State of affairs, appears very well. I see no Probability of Englands attaining an ally. On the Contrary there are many Symptoms of an approaching Combination of the maritime Powers, to protect neutral ships from searches and Insults. Ireland is in the full Career of Independance. England seems determined to force Holland into a War against her that she may have an opportunity to plunder her. The Correspondences and Associations in England, distress the { 115 } Ministry very much, and if the War continues and they should not be very successfull, it seems likely that they will save Us the Trouble, of dispatching them. I wish however that France and Spain were more convinced of the Advantages they have in America and the West Indies. The more ships they send into those seas, the more they force England to send there. The more she sends there the weaker she is in Europe, and the less she is dreaded and respected. Holland Ireland, the opposition in England, and the other maritime Powers, all feel a Confidence rising in proportion to the diminution of British naval Force in Europe. Besides the innumerable Advantages, the french and Spaniards have in supporting the War in the American Seas over the English, which they have not in Europe. But I am apprehensive of being tedious. My Compliments to Mr Jay, and his family. I am with much respect, your most obedt. & humble st.
1. In that letter Carmichael proposed a correspondence with JA, reported on his hospitable reception by Spanish officials at Madrid and the Spanish war effort, and asked JA to send him any news from America (Adams Papers).
2. Vol. 8:348–349.
3. JA is referring to the “Act Separate and Secret,” signed on 6 Feb. 1778 in conjunction with the Franco-American treaties of alliance and commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:45–46). The “Act” provided for Spain's accession to the treaties whenever it “shall judge proper.” This commitment was and continued to be one-sided, for in discussions with American representatives Spain never obligated itself to form a treaty connection with the United States or even to recognize American independence.
Although there is no indication that he had any knowledge of its content, specific or otherwise, JA might just as well have been referring to an article of the secret Convention of Aranjuez, signed by France and Spain on 12 April 1779. The provisions of that agreement, which brought Spain into the war and set down the war aims of the two nations, conflicted with those of the Franco-American treaties on several points, but from the standpoint of JA's concern over the lack of a quid pro quo the most important article would have been that obligating France to continue the war until Gibraltar had been returned to Spain. Taken in conjunction with the prohibition against a separate peace in the Franco-American Treaty of Alliance, this meant that no Anglo-American peace treaty could be concluded until Gibraltar had been conquered, while Spain had no obligation either to recognize American independence or to make such recognition a sine qua non of a peace settlement (Henri Doniol, ed., Histoire de la participation de la France à l'établissement des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, 5 vols., Paris, 1886–1899, 3:803–810; Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:38–39).
4. JA could be referring to either Art. 17 or Art. 22 of the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:16–17, 19–20).
5. The attack by an American force under the command of William Alexander, Lord Stirling, occurred on 15 January. The report in the Baltimore paper was presumably taken from Stirling's report to George Washington of 16 Jan., which Washington sent to Congress on the 18th (PCC, No. 152, VIII, f. 347–350; JCC, 16:74). JA sent essentially the same information to Thomas Digges in a letter of 6 April (LbC, Adams Papers).
6. This recommendation was contained in resolutions adopted on 19 Nov. 1779. The proposed regulations were to go into effect on 1 Feb. 1780 (JCC, 15:1289–1293).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-08

To the President of Congress, No. 39

Paris, 8 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 433–435). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:602.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams provided a list of forty-six British naval vessels lost for a variety of reasons since the beginning of the war.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 433–435.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:602.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0089-0001

Author: Cabarrus, B. de, Jeune
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-08

From B. de Cabarrus Jeune

[salute] Monseigneur

Jay reçu la Lettre que Vôtre Excélence m'a fait L'honneur de m'écrire Le 2 du courant.1 Je Suis bien Sensible, aux remerciements qu'elle à la bonté de me faire; elle à bien voullu avoir égard a mes disposition. Je me trouverai toujours trés heureux d'avoir des occasions à pouvoir Luy étre utille.
Votre Excélence me demande un detail des differentes qualités de vins de cette province; nous en avons de plusieurs espéces, et qui différent de beaucoup suivant Le terrein, ou on Les receuille.
Les vins propres pour L'amérique Sont des vins de palus, de mont ferran, d'ambés, et autres endroits circonvoisins, ils se sont vendus cette année depuis 180 jusques a 240 . Le tonneau, composé de 4 barriques, chaque barrique contenant 250 bouteilles mesure de Paris, ces sortes de vins sont trop durs et trop couverts, pour L'ordinaire d'une maison, ils Se dépouillent et Se bonnifient, dans Le trajet pour L'amérique.
Les vins de graves Sont plus légers et plus délicats, ils peuvant même Suporter Le trajet de La mer, ils se sont vendus, cette année, depuis 60 Jusque à 80 écus2 Le tonneau, il s'en trouveroit du vieux depuis 400 jusques a 600 .
Les vins blancs de grave qui sont tres estimés Se Sont vendu, nouveaux, depuis 240. jusques a 300 Le tonneau. Les vieux de 3. 4. 5. et 6 ans, vaudrirent depuis 500. Jusques à 800 .
Les vins blancs de Sauterne des premiers crus vallent Les nouveaux, 300 . Je viens d'en acheter à le prix. Les vieux de 5 ans jusques a 10 ans depuis 600 . jusques a 1000 . Le tonneau.
Les vins vieux du medoc qui ne sont potables que dans 4. 5. et 6 ans, Seroient du prix de 1200 . à 1800 Le tonneau. Suivant Les crus, d'hautbrion de St julien, de chatteau margaux; Le vin vieux de Saint émilion de 600 à 1000 Le tonneau. Nous avons des crus, qui ne Sont pas aussi renommés qui donnent d'excélent vins. Les vins nouveaux du médoc, de cette année du bons crus, Se sont vendus depuis { 117 } | view 400 . jusques à 600 ; mais L'entretien pendant 5 ou 6 ans, jusques à ce qu'ils Soient potables, Les rend fort chers Si Le vin que j'ay eu L'honneur d'offrir à votre Excélence pour Son voyage, et qui est d'un du premier cru de St julien de L'année 1775. à été trouvé bon. Je pourrai Luy en procurer à raison de 1500 Le tonneau, ou à 35s La bouteille verre compris. Il en reste au proprietaire environ 20 pièces, qui pourroient bien luy étre enlivées avant de recevoir La réponse de votre excélence. Elle n'aura qu à me désigner Le prix à peu près qu'elle voudra mettre dans Les vins dont elle aura besoin, J y employerai toute L'économie Sans que cela prejudicie a La bonne qualité.
Les vins de Sauterne, Preignac, et Barsac, blancs, Sont à peu près de La meme qualité, ils portent un gout de Liqueur, et par vetusté, Le gout et La coulleur du vin de Canaries. Le vin blanc de graves est plus Sec, et ne roussit point comme Les autres il à ordinairement La coulleur du Laurier. On peut mettre Le vin, dans les caisses de 50 bouteilles et c'est l'usage, pour celui que L'on auroit à Paris, on Les conditione de façon, qu'il n'arrive aucune avarie par Les routtiers, il en couttera, 10 a 13 par quintal Suivant que les routtiers Sont rares ou communs. Nous avons dans L'entre deux mers, qui est le pays, qui est entre La garonne et La dordogne, beaucoup de petits vins blancs, qui Se vendent pour Le nord, Le prix en est depuis 50 a 60 écus Le tonneau, ce seroit d'excelent vin, pour L'amérique Septentrionale, ils sont de bon gout, et se conservent Longtemps.3
J'avois pris La Liberté de faire part a votre Excelence du malheureux événement arrivé a Portsmouth à mon navire Le Soucy. Mess. Sabatier et Dupréx interessés dans cette expédition auront peut être deja eu L'honneur de vous en entretenir et de vous demander votre protection pour L'objet que nous divise avec Mr. Simon Deane qui agéré La cargaison de ce navire, J'espere que votre Excelence, voudra bien S'interisser affin que La Justice nous soit rendüe.4

[salute] Je Suis avec Respect Monseigneur de votre excelence Le trés humble & obt Serviteur,

[signed] De Cabarrus, Jeune

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0089-0002

Author: Cabarrus, B. de, Jeune
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-08

B. de Cabarrus Jeune to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have received the letter that your Excellency did me the honor to write of 2 April.1 I am very grateful for the compliments you were kind enough to bestow on me and the regard that you have for my opinions. I will always be very happy to find occasion to be useful to you.
{ 118 } | view
Your Excellency requested an account of the different qualities of wine in this province. We have numerous varieties, which greatly differ according to the soil from which they come.
The wines suitable for America are those of the Palus, Mondferrand, Ambés and adjoining areas. They sell this year at from 180 to 240 per tun, each tun composed of 4 barrels, and each barrel containing 250 bottles in Parisian measure. These wines are too harsh and cloudy for ordinary consumption, but will clear up and improve during the voyage to America.
The wines from Graves are lighter and more delicate, but can also withstand an ocean voyage. They sell this year at 60 to 80 ecus2 per tun, with some older wine at 400 to 600 per tun.
The white wines of Graves are highly esteemed and are sold new from 240 to 300 per tun. Those of 3, 4, 5, and 6 years are worth 500 to 800 .
The white wines of Sauterne of the first growth cost, when young, 300 per tun, at which price I have just bought some. Those from 5 to 10 years old sell from 600 to 1,000 per tun.
The old wines of Medoc, from Haut Brion, St. Julien, or Chateau Margaux and drinkable only after 4, 5, or 6 years would cost 1,200 to 1,800 per tun, depending on the growth. The old wine of Saint Emilion costs 600 to 1,000 per tun. There are some growths that are not so well-known, but which provide excellent wines. The new Medoc wines of this year are a good vintage and are selling at 400 to 600 per tun, but the need to maintain them for 5 or 6 years, until they are drinkable, makes them very expensive. If the wine I had the honor to send your Excellency for his trip and which is the first growth of St. Julien, 1775, was judged good, I could get you more, at 1,500 per tun or 35s per bottle, the price of the glass bottle included. The owner still has about 20 tuns left, which might be sold before receiving your Excellency's reply. Just give me an idea of the price range within which you are willing to purchase your wines and I will get you the best value, without sacrificing quality.
The white wines of Sauterne, Preignac, and Barsac are of nearly the same quality and have the taste of liqueur. Through aging, they acquire the flavor and color of Canary Island wines. The white wine from Graves is drier and does not redden like the others, usually having the color of laurel. The wine can be shipped in cases of 50 bottles each, the usual practice for that going to Paris, and in this condition should arrive without being damaged in transit. It will cost 10 to 13 per quintal, depending upon the availability of transportation. In the Entre Deux Mers, the region between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, there are many little white wines, sold in the north, at from 50 to 60 ecus per tun, and which would be excellent wines for North America. They taste good and keep for a long time.3
I took the liberty of informing your Excellency of the misfortune which befell my vessel Le Souci at Portsmouth. Mr. Sabatier and Mr. Dupréx, who also were interested in this expedition, may already have spoken to you about it and requested your support in our dispute with Mr. Simeon Deane who { 119 } supervised the cargo of this vessel. I hope that your Excellency will have the goodness to interest himself in this matter so that justice will be done.4

[salute] I am, with respect, Sir, your excellency's very humble and obedient servant,

[signed] De Cabarrus, Jeune
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “M. Cabarrus a Bourdeaux. ansd 13 Ap. 1780.”
2. At the bottom of the page is a note: “lecu de 3 .” It indicates that here, and in the fourth paragraph below. Cabarrus is quoting his price in terms of the half ecu of three livres tournois.
3. Cabarrus' account of wine production in Bordeaux provides an excellent example of French wine classification in terms of both quality and price. Such information was codified by Napoleon III in 1855 and in later classifications (Alexis Lichine, Guide to the Wines and Vineyards of France, N.Y., 1979, p. 15–101). See also John Bondfield's letter of 12 April (below).
4. No information regarding either the vessel Le Souci or the transaction between Simeon Deane and the Paris mercantile firm of Sabatier Fils & Despréx (Deprés or Depréz) has been found, but see JA's reply of 13 April (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0090

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-09

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you for your favor of the 2d. instant. The Commission you have is certainly very highly important and Honorable, and I doubt not of your executing it properly; taking care that the shafts of envy and malice, which have already began to show themselves, shall not divert your attention from the great object you have in view, which I have no reason to think at present will be speedily accomplish'd.
The well known chicane and duplicity of our Enemies will surely well warrant a fix'd determination not to treat on the most trivial point unless it is in writing.
The Buccaneering expedition I meant, is that preparing under Fullarton. I understand it is to be composed of about 1000 Soldiers and 3 Ships of 40 Guns; a French East India prize is already purchased to be fitted out for this purpose.1
You say very truely that, “when a Society gets disturb'd, Men of great Talents and great Qualities are always found or made,” for it is certain that there are always in the World, many more great Men, than great Occasions; but the first Architect that ever liv'd cou'd not erect a tolerable edifice, with rotten Straw only. The whole mass of the people in England is too corrupt and putrid to produce anything in the least sound and wholsome from the triffleing fermantation that appears at present, therefore in my opinion, the Irish, tho' much debauch'd and profligate as to Politics, are much more worthy of attention and assurances of support than the English. Wou'd it not { 120 } be good Policy in France to have a good stock of muskets and other Military Stores lodged at Dunkirk and other sea Ports ready to throw into England at a short warning if circumstances there should ever require such a measure.
The West India fleet was lying at St. Helens ready to sail under convoy of Comre. Walsingham the 2d. of April waiting only for a fair wind.2 It is given out in England that Walsingham who will have 6000 Troops with him is to go first to Africa and then to the W. Indias; but some people suspect that he is going straight to N. America for it is certain that he carrys out the recruits for the several Regiments that are now in N. America.
I hear that a vessel is arriv'd at Bourdeaux which left America the 2d. of March, will you be so good as to tell me from what port in America she sail'd and what intelligence she brings.
You will see the declaration of Russia with respect to a Neutrality and her propositions to Holland. Sweden Denmark and Portugal to join her in a League for that purpose; Time must discover what effect this will have on the haughty and wrongheaded islanders.
With great respect I am at all times Yrs. Adieu
P.S. We see that the Independence of America was proclaimed publicly by beat of Drum at New Orleans the 19. of August last,3 therefore I suppose Mr. Jay, must have been received with open Arms at Madrid.
1. For William Fullarton's expedition, see Lee's letter of 30 March, and notes 6 and 7 (above).
2. The convoy, intended for Jamaica and including four regiments under the command of Brig. Gen. George Garth, was at St. Helen's on the Isle of Wight, waiting for Como. Robert Walsingham's squadron, which was windbound at Torbay from March until June (Mackesy, War for America, p. 317, 325, 327–329).
3. This erroneous report appeared in a letter, dated 15 Dec. 1779 at Pensacola, from Maj. Gen. John Campbell to Lord George Germain. Campbell announced the Spanish capture of Baton Rouge on 21 Sept., and blamed the British defeat on the extensive preparations for war undertaken by the Spanish officials in Louisiana before the official notification of hostilities between Britain and Spain arrived in America. The letter was printed in the London Gazette of 1 April, and reprinted in various other London newspapers.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0091

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Muscoe
Date: 1780-04-10

To Muscoe Livingston

[salute] Sir

I received your favour of the 28 March, some days ago, and thank you for your kind Congratulations on my <safe> arrival. Your letter to { 121 } Governor Livingston I sent along to him, with other Letters I carried to America. I had not the Pleasure of seeing him, as I had not an opportunity to travel that Way. I am glad to hear that you have recovered your Health, and if you go to America, wish you an agreable Passage. It is not in my Power to procure you a Passage in one of the Men of War, but it is very probable you may obtain one nearer where you are by an Application to the proper Persons, who have Authority for it, if indeed these Vessells are bound to North America, because your Acquaintance with the Coast may be of service to them. Please to present my respects to Mr Schweighauser and family. I have the Honour to be with respect, sir your most Obedient and humble sert
LbC (Adams Papers;) directed to: “Mr. Moses Livingston, au soins de Monsieur J. D. Schweighauser at Nantes.” Muscoe Livingston, who always signed his name as “M. Livingston,” had written to the Commissioners and to JA in 1778 and 1779, and is mentioned in letters from other correspondents in those years (see vols. 6–8).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0092

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-10

To the President of Congress, No. 40

[salute] Sir

Duplicate
The Memoire of the Prince Gallitzin, Envoy Extraordinary of all the Russias to the States General, presented the third of this Month, is of too much Importance to the United States of America, and their Allies, to be omitted to be sent to Congress.1 It is of the following Tenor.
High and Mighty Lords.,
“The Undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary of her Majesty the Empress of all the Russias, has the Honor to communicate a Copy of the Declaration, which the Empress his Sovereign has made to the Powers actually at War. Your High Mightinesses may regard this Communication, as a particular Mark of the Attention of the Empress, to the Republic equally interested in the Reasons which have given Birth to this declaration.
He has, moreover, orders to declare, in the name of her Imperial Majesty, that how much soever She may desire, on the one hand, to maintain during the present War, the strictest Neutrality, She will nevertheless maintain, by means the most efficacious, the Honor of the Russian Flag, and the Safety of the Commerce and the Navigation of her Subjects, and will not suffer that any Injury should be { 122 } done to it, by any of the belligerent Powers. That, to avoid on this occasion all Misunderstanding, or false Interpretation, She has thought it her Duty to specify in her Declaration, the Terms of a free Commerce, and of that which is Contraband: that if the definition of the former, is founded upon Notions the most simple, the most clear and the most determinate by the Law of Nature, that of the latter, is taken by her literally from the Treaty of Commerce, of Russia with Great Britain: that by this She proves incontestibly her good Faith, and her Impartiality, towards both Parties that She thinks, consequently, that She ought to expect, that the other commercial Powers will be earnest to accede to her manner of thinking, relative to the Neutrality. In persuance of these Views her Majesty has charged the Subscriber, to invite your High Mightinesses to make a Common Cause with her, insomuch that this Union may serve to protect Commerce and Navigation; observing at the same time the most exact Neutrality, and to communicate to You the measures which She has taken in Consequence: Similar Invitations have been already made to the Courts of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Lisbon, to the End that by the common Cares of all the neutral maritime Powers, a natural System founded on Justice, and which by its real Utility, may serve as a Rule for future Ages, may be established and made legal, in favor of the commercial Navigation of neutral Navigations [i.e. Nations]. The Subscriber makes no doubt, that your High Mightinesses will take into Consideration the Invitation of her Imperial Majesty, and concur in making without delay a Declaration to the belligerent Powers founded upon the same principles, with those of the Empress his Sovereign, by explaining your Sentiments at the same time upon the Subject of the protection of your Commerce, of your Navigation, and of the Nature of contraband Goods conformably to the Terms of your particular Treaties with other Nations. Moreover, the Subscriber has the Honor to assure your High Mightinesses, that if, for establishing solidly a System, equally glorious and advantageous, to the good prosperity of Navigation in general, you will commence a Negotiation with the neutral Powers abovementioned, to the End to establish a particular Convention upon this Subject, the Empress his Sovereign will be ready to engage in it.
Your High Mightinesses will readily percieve the Necessity of coming to a Resolution upon Subjects equally important and advantageous to Humanity in general: the Subscriber requests the favor that your High Mightinesses would furnish him with a speedy Answer.”2
Declaration of her Majesty the Empress of Russia, made to the { 123 } Courts of Versailles, Madrid and London, mentioned in the foregoing Memorial.
“The Empress of all the Russias, has manifested so visibly the Sentiments of Justice, Equity and Moderation which animate her, and has given, during the whole Course of the War maintained against the Ottoman Porte, such convincing Proofs of her Attention to the Rights of Neutrality, and the Freedom of Commerce in general, that in this Respect She may appeal to the Testimony of all Europe. This Conduct, as well as the scrupulous Exactness; with which She has observed the Rules of Neutrality, during the Course of this War, have given Room to hope, that her Subjects would peaceably enjoy the fruits of their Industry, and the Advantages which belong to all neutral Nations. Experience has, however, taught her the contrary. Since neither these Considerations, nor the regard due, to what the Law of Nations in general prescribes, have been able to hinder, the Subjects of her Majesty from being oftentimes troubled in their Navigation, or interrupted and retarded in their Commerce, by the Subjects of the Belligerent Powers. These Interruptions, having come upon Business in general, and that of Russia in particular, are of a Nature to awaken the Attention of all the neutral Nations, and oblige her Majesty the Empress to seek to deliver herself from them, by all means suitable to her Dignity, and the well-being of her Subjects: but before She shall put them in Execution, and being filled with a sincere desire to prevent all subsequent Acts of Violence; She has thought that it was consistent with her Equity, to lay open to all Europe, the principles which will govern her, and which are indispensible to prevent all Misunderstanding, as well as all which might give Occasion to it. To this She has determined herself with so much the more Confidence, as these Principles are drawn from the primitive Law of Nations, adopted by all Nations, which the belligerent Powers themselves cannot enervate, at least but by violating the Laws of Neutrality, and contemning the fundamental Rules, which they themselves have adopted, in divers Treaties and Alliances now existing.
Art. 1st. That all neutral Vessels ought to navigate freely, from one port to another, as well as upon the Coasts of the Powers now at War.
Art 2d. That the Effects belonging to the Subjects of the belligerent Powers, shall be free, in neutral Ships, except always, contraband Goods.
Art. 3d. That her Imperial Majesty, in Consequence of the Limits above fixed, will adhere strictly, to that which is stipulated by the { 124 } tenth and eleventh Articles of her Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain concerning the manner, in which She ought to conduct towards all the belligerent Powers.
Art. 4th. That as to what concerns a Port blocked, we ought not in Truth to consider, as such, any but those, which are found so well shut up, by a fixed and sufficient Number of Vessels belonging to the Power which attacks it, that one cannot attempt to enter into such Port, without evident danger.
Art. 5th. That these Principles, above laid down, ought to serve as a Rule in all proceedings, whenever there is a Question concerning the Legality of Prizes.3
From these Considerations, her Imperial Majesty, makes no difficulty to declare that wishing to insure the Execution of that which is herein before declared, to maintain at the same time the honor of her flag, as well as the Safety of the Commerce of her States and also to protect the Navigation of her Subjects, against all those whom it may concern, She has given Orders, that a considerable Portion of her maritime Forces, shall be put to Sea, with no other Intention, than to insure the Observation of the most exact and the most strict Neutrality, which her Majesty proposes to keep as long as She shall not see herself absolutely forced to depart from that System of Moderation and of perfect Neutrality, which She has adopted: in such Sort, that it will not be but in the last Extremity, that her Fleet will exercise her final Orders, to go, wherever the Necessity and the Circumstances may require.
It is then, by assuring the belligerent Powers in the most solemn manner, and with all that Rectitude and Sincerity, which form the distinguishing Character of her Imperial Majesty; that She declares to them, that She proposes to herself no other Thing, than to convince them of the Sentiments of Equity with which She is animated, as well of the Tendency of her salutary Views towards the well-being of all Nations in general, and particularly of those now at War, and that consequently her Imperial Majesty, will provide her Admiralty, as well as her Generals, with Instructions relative to this System, extracted from the Code of Nations, and which they have so often taken for Rules in their Treaties.”

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

[signed] John Adams
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel 1, f. 55–58;) endorsed: “Duplicate John Adams April 10. 1780 Recd. Septr. 1. Russian Memorial.” LbC { 125 } (Adams Papers;) notations: “No. 40”; by Thaxter: “N.B. 16th. May 1780. This day sent a duplicate of the above to Nantes to Mr. Johnson Triplicate, to John Hodshon of Amsterdam, and another to Mr. Ross of L'Orient who are to forward them to Congress.” Since a letter from Joshua Johnson also reached Congress on 1 Sept., it was the duplicate sent to Johnson that first reached Congress (JCC, 17:798).
1. JA correctly assesses the importance to the United States of Prince Dmitry Alekseyevich Gallitzin's memorial of 3 April and Catherine II's declaration of the principles of an armed neutrality of 10 March. The Russian initiative was the most significant yet undertaken by a European power and in succeeding letters JA analyzed its impact on the American cause and the reactions of the neutral and belligerent powers.
The two documents are relatively straightforward explanations of the motives that were the immediate cause of Catherine's undertaking. Contrary to the tenor of the declaration, however, its principles, particularly Art. 2, were not then nor were they likely to become in the near future part of the established law of nations (see note 3). Moreover, Catherine hoped that by maintaining a strict neutrality and placing herself at the head of a league of neutral powers she could achieve her long held ambition to mediate between France and Great Britain and thereby enhance the position of Russia within the European political system. Finally, in using the term belligerents, Catherine meant European belligerents, not the United States. Since Russia did not recognize the United States as a sovereign state, but rather as a group of British colonies in rebellion, the provisions of the declaration did not apply to trade with the United States. Since such trade was illegal under British law, all ships, neutral or belligerent, were subject to seizure (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 140–145).
These caveats are important when considering statements by JA and other Americans about the armed neutrality. Almost universally they accepted the proposition that the declaration's principles were or were about to become part of the law of nations and that the declaration indicated a growing sympathy for the American cause. On the other hand, they saw as irrelevant, if they considered them at all, the declaration's European context and Catherine's long-term objectives. For JA the armed neutrality and the principles that it ostensibly sought to establish took on a special importance because they fit very neatly into his concept of what should be the longterm foreign policy of the United States that he had envisioned when he wrote the Treaty Plan of 1776 and which would become further defined through his reading and revision of Thomas Pownall's Memorial (vol. 4:260–302; Gregg L. Lint, “Law of Nations and the American Revolution,” in Lawrence S. Kaplan, ed., The American Revolution and “A Candid World,” Kent, Ohio, 1977, p. 117–119; David M. Griffiths, “American Commercial Diplomacy in Russia, 1780–1783,” WMQ, 3d ser., 27:380–382 [July 1970]; Edmund Jenings to JA, 12 April, below; A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April —[ca. 14 July], below).
2. The States General replied to the memorial on 24 April, but did not accede formally to the system proposed by Catherine II until 20 Nov. 1780 (James Brown Scott, ed., The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, N.Y., 1915, p. 325).
3. Of the five principles set forth, the first and fourth are relatively unexceptionable. The first confirmed the existing right of neutrals to trade with all belligerents, subject to local laws, the right of belligerents to stop and search neutral ships for contraband, and the prohibition against entering a blockaded port. The fourth was, perhaps, a more rigorous definition of a blockade than was set down by the authorities on the law of nations, but it did no more than explicitly state what was already implied (Emmerich de Vattel, The Law of Nations, or Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, bk. III, chap. 7, sects. 111–114, 117).
The same cannot be said for the second, third, and fifth articles. Their content, together with the statements in the memorial and the declaration regarding the nature of the law of nations and the means by which its provisions became established, indicated a departure from previously held theories about the law's origin. In the eighteenth century the law of nations had two distinct parts. The first, called the necessary law of nations, was founded on and indistinguishable from the law of nature; its principles were self-evident to anyone obeying the dictates of right reason. Binding on all nations, its tenets were immutable, not subject to human intervention. { 126 } The second part was the positive law of nations, which included the stipulative law or law of treaties. The stipulative law permitted modifications of the necessary law in treaties, but such alterations were binding only on the signatories. Where no treaty provision existed, interstate relations were governed wholly by the dictates of the necessary law.
The memorial and the declaration, however, implied that the Russian government expected that the adoption of the declaration's principles by the neutral powers and their observance by the belligerents would establish those principles as part of the necessary law. Such an interpretation of the two documents was furthered by the sentence immediately preceding the five articles in which note was taken of the fact that each of the belligerents had agreed, in one or more treaties, to the principles set down in the declaration and thus could not reject them “but by violating the Laws of Neutrality, and contemning the fundamental Rules, which they themselves have adopted, in divers Treaties and Alliances now existing.” This implies that a provision could become part of the necessary law, not because it was a law of nature, but rather because it was accepted by a large number of nations. No eighteenth-century authority supported such a conception of the law or envisioned any circumstance by which a treaty provision at variance with the accepted law of nature could be incorporated into the necessary law, regardless of how many nations had agreed to it in their treaties.
Art. 2 was the most controversial of the five because the doctrine that it proposed to establish—free ships make free goods—lacked any standing under the necessary law of nations and its inclusion largely determined European and American perceptions of the declaration. In the eighteenth century the established principle among writers on the law of nations was that enemy goods could be seized wherever found, while neutral property was free, even if found on an enemy ship. Indeed, when JA wrote this letter the United States observed the established rule toward neutral and enemy property, except in regard to France because of the establishment of the principle that free ships made free goods in the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce. It did not begin to apply the doctrine that free ships made free goods to neutral vessels until the adoption of new instructions to the captains of warships and privateers on 27 Nov. 1780, largely in response to the Russian declaration (JCC, 18:1097– 1098). Had the doctrine that free ships make free goods gained universal acceptance and become part of the law of nations as Catherine seemed to desire, the greatest impact would have been on Great Britain because it would have nullified the advantage enjoyed by Britain from its naval superiority. As a result, although there is no indication that this was Catherine's intention, the declaration was perceived in Europe and America as being specifically directed against Britain.
Controversy over the third article was due largely to its misinterpretation. Both the memorial and the declaration stated that the definition of contraband contained in Arts. 10 and 11 of the Anglo-Russian treaty would guide Russian actions, but that other neutrals should define contraband in accordance with their existing treaties with the belligerents. Despite this, the article was widely seen as an effort to obtain universal acceptance of the definition set down in the Anglo-Russian treaty (see, for example, JA to the president of Congress, 14 April, No. 44, calendared, below; and JA to Edmund Jenings, 15 April, below). Under the necessary law of nations contraband goods were defined broadly as those useful in war. Included under such a designation were arms and ammunition, naval stores and ships timbers, and even provisions in some instances. Over time, however, more limited definitions were included in various treaties, particularly in regard to naval stores, which the Anglo-Russian treaty did not list as contraband. This was significant because of the Anglo-Dutch dispute over the carrying of naval stores by Dutch ships that had reached its climax with the British interception of a Dutch convoy at the beginning of 1780 and the suspension of all provisions in Anglo-Dutch treaties relating to neutral trade in April. From Britain's perspective the universal adoption of such a list of contraband would have had much the same effect as the adoption of the doctrine that free ships make free goods, namely to reduce or eliminate the fruits of its naval superiority (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 172–180, 445– 446). See also Sir James Marriott's ruling in the case of La Sybellina Hillegonda, one of the Dutch ships seized from Adm. Lodewijk van Bylandt's convoy, in JA's letter of 6 April to the president of Congress (No. 37, calendared, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0093

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-10

To the President of Congress, No. 41

Paris, 10 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 441–442).
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams provided the text of the British ministry's statement to the Dutch Ambassador, Comte de Welderen, that there would be no extension of the three week time limit given the States General to answer Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial of 21 March.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 441–442.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0094

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-10

To the President of Congress, No. 42

Paris, 10 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 443–446). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:604– 606.
Received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, this letter included a series of newspaper accounts of events at Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris, Malta, Frankfort, Amsterdam, and London. Among the matters dealt with were the treatment of neutral ships by Spain and Great Britain, Russia's proposal for a League of Armed Neutrality, the imminent dispatch of a Spanish fleet and army to America, and the Dutch response to Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial of 21 March.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 443–446.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:604– 606.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-11

To the President of Congress, No. 43

Paris, 11 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 447–450). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:610– 611.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, Adams listed twenty-five English counties and nine cities and towns that had, between Dec. 1779 and 30 March, held meetings and agreed to submit petitions in support of economic and parliamentary reform. As the best expression of the association movement's goals, Adams included a partial text of the principles agreed to on 28 March by a Yorkshire meeting. He also referred to articles in London's Morning Post of 1 and 3 April.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 447–450.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:610– 611.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0096

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-12

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I am honord with your obliging and interesting favors of the 2 Instant. The arrival of our two Ships the Governor Livngston and Mary Fearen from Virginia at Nantes obliged me to repair to this Town to see to the discharge and disposal of their Cargoes and the reequiptment of the Ships. This has prevented my replies in the course you had a right to expect, as your Letters were forwarded to me and only came to hand last Post. I have given Orders to forward by the Turgotine1 one hhd of the best vin de lafitt and as it will be { 128 } | view some days after its arrival before it will be in a proper State to draw off I have order a Case of fifty Bottles to be also forwarded that will be fit for emediate Use. There are as many various qualities of Wines in the presses of Bordeaux as there are parishes. Each have their peculiar tact [tack?], flavor and the Country to which their consumption is particularly preferd them. The most esteemed for private Use of the first second and third qualitys are:2
Vin de Segeur ou lafit sells in peaceable times 2000″ [livres] per Ton
Chatteau Magot   }     from 800 a 1200″  
St. Julien    
Cannon    
Medoc comprehending various qualities     400 a 800″  
Vin Blanc—   de Bersac   }     360″ a 400″  
de La Grave    
The above are the qualities fit for private Use rated as new wines. The price encreases in proportion to age from 20 to 50 per Cent.
A Ton comprehends four hogsheds, each hogshed two hundred and fifty Bottles. This I supose is in substance what you desire to be informd of. If any further explainations I shall most chearfully enter into a further detail.
I have heard of the reports you mention to have been propagated, but always treated them as many others of the like Nature; as the fanthome of a discontented individual, raised purely without other intent than to give vente to a passion, created by the loss of a Ship or other incedant occurence. In this Kingdom are many State Jobbers who lay out and patch up as their imaginations suggest without either ground or probability and without even a single Correspondent. I have rarely far to travel before I find the source of most reports, and emediately give the Credit due the distributer which at Bordeaux are pretty well known to me.
I wrote you 2 March under Cover to our freind A L. as he left Paris about that time. I suppose the Letter must have been sent after him and he has omitted to forward it to you if got to his hand.3
By advices from Lorient I learn Cap Jones has difficulty with his Officers and men who all Unitedly require a settlement of Prizes taken during their former Cruizes. LeRay de Chaumont holds them at short allowance. So long as that Man has the management of the American affairs there will raise perpetually difficulties. His private { 129 } undertakings involves him in difficulties and causes him to blend them independent to become subservient to his momentary cravings. I sincerely pity Mess Lee and Izard who are forced [to] pay attendance to his pleasure, they must wait at Lorient til it suits his conveniences to settle the Seamens Claims.4 I should have been glad our terms Suited Mr. De Chaumont for the transport of the Publick Goods by our Ships as we could have easily and Agreably accomodated them Gentlemen in One of them. Our offers were rejected, and the Goods bought by Mr. Ross three years past with many others may posibly remain some time before they get forwarded.5 With due respect I have the Honor to be Sr. your very hhb Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
My Compliments if you please to Mr. Dana.
1. A public transportation system for the conveyance of freight and official dispatches within France established in 1775 by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, controller-general of finances (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
2. Compare Bondfield's comments regarding the wines of Bordeaux with those by B. de Cabarrus Jeune in his letter of 8 April (above).
3. This letter has not been found and apparently never reached JA (to Bondfield, 25 April, below).
4. For Le Ray de Chaumont and the Alliance, see Arthur Lee to JA, 26 March, and note 2 (above).
5. In 1778 John Ross, a Philadelphia merchant and sometime European agent of Willing, Morris & Co., had been involved in a bitter dispute with the American Commissioners over his accounts and their obligation to reimburse him for supplies purchased under orders from the Secret Committee of Trade (see vols. 6 and 7; Papers of Robert Morris, ed. E. James Ferguson and John C. Catanzariti, Pittsburgh, 1973– , 1:169). It is not known when or if the goods referred to by Bondfield were sent to America.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0097

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-12

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I Congratulate your Excellency, on the Russian Memorial; on its face, it promises much, (as it has something, that tends to a general Coalition). Surely the Independance of America is essential to the freedom of Commerce, I wish it was generally thought so; however the Invitation to Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and Holland leads to an immediate formidable Confederacy against the overgrown, and consequently insolent Power of England.
I congratulate your Excellency too that Nothing was heard, in Maryland, of Clinton with his 8000 Men the 2d of March, I trust we shall hear no more of Him.
I received yesterday a Letter from Mr Joshua Johnson at Nantes, wherein He expresses an Earnest desire of being permitted to Lay { 130 } before you such Information, as may come to his Knowledge, and have your Correspondence and Confidence. Give me leave Sir, to recommend Him to your Excellency, as a Gentleman highly worthy of both. He has accepted, from a Sense of Duty to our Country, the painful and invidious Business of Auditing the public Accounts, and promises a Strict and faithful Discharge of that important Office.1 This I am sure will be most pleasing to You, and serve to recommend him better to your Notice, than All I can say; it is Sometime Since He Signified his Acceptance of the Employment, but has not receivd an Answer. He tells me, that Congress has said, that they intend to draw bills at 6 Months Sight for £200,000 Sterling, the buyer to pay 25000 Currency for £1000 Sterling, and to lend Congress £25000 more, which is to go in the Sinking fund, and for which they are to receive 6 per Cent Interest.2
He tells me too, that the State of Maryland, having some Money in the English Funds, have named Mr Carmichael, Mr Williams, Mr R B LLoyd, Himself and me as fit persons, out of whom His Excellency Mr Franklin is to chuse one to sell and receive and transmit the same, for which He is to have 2 1/2 per Cent.3 I am much pleasd with the Notice, that my Native Country has taken of me, and therefor, altho I am not ambitious of the Employment I shall think it my Duty in Obedience to the State to accept it if the Choice falls on me, (of which I am told there is little probability) however I must first beg your Advice and directions, Should his Excellency nominate me and you shoud approve of my Acceptance, I shall be obligd to you to make known to Him my present Residence.
Mr Carmichael writes from Madrid, that He is much satisfied with the Frankness of those, with whom He treats. He wishes my Correspondence and Every information, for altho He has written several Letters to Paris within these six weeks, He has received no Answer.
I had proposed to have gone to Boulogne, for my Baggage left there last Summer before this, as I took the Liberty of Informing your Excellency, but shall now stay here, until I have the Honor of receiving your Direction, whether it will be necessary for me to Attend yours and his Excellencys Mr Franklins Command at Paris.

[salute] I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect your Excellencys Most Obedient and Faithful Servt.

[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Mr. Jennings recd & ansd. Ap. 15. 1780.”
1. For Johnson, a merchant and JQA's future father-in-law, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:300. Johnson was nominated on 28 Sept. 1779, along with Jenings and a “Mr. Labouchere,” to examine the public accounts and was elected by Congress the next day { 131 } (JCC, 15:1114–1115, 1126).
2. Johnson was referring to Congress' resolutions of 23 Nov. 1779 directing that £100,000 sterling in bills of exchange be drawn on John Jay in Spain and a like sum on Henry Laurens in the Netherlands, “payable at six months sight” and sold “at the current rate of exchange.” The details of the required loan of an amount equal to the purchase price of the bills of exchange were finally set on 27 Dec. (JCC, 15:1299–1300, 1315–1316, 1326–1327, 1404– 1405, 1412–1413). Although Congress prepared the bills for sale, most were never used because of the unlikelihood that sufficient funds would be available for payment in either Spain or the Netherlands (E. James Ferguson, Power of the Purse, Williamsburg, 1961, p. 55–56).
3. In Nov. 1779 the Maryland Assembly, seeking to obtain funds for the redemption of its bills of credit, authorized Benjamin Franklin (or John Jay, in Franklin's absence) to order the pre-Revolutionary trustees of Maryland's stock in the Bank of England, resident in Britain, to sell the stock and transfer the funds to a bank in Paris or Amsterdam. If the trustees refused, Franklin was to appoint a trustee from among the five men named by Jenings in his letter. The new trustee would then go to London and through some unspecified means take control of the state's funds. JA later discussed the matter with Franklin and on 30 April forwarded to Jenings the substance of the legislation (Adams Papers). As events transpired, the pre-war trustees refused to act and Franklin apparently named William Carmichael as trustee, but he never took up his post. Maryland did not finally obtain access to its funds until 1806, after much negotiation and litigation (Kathryn L. Behrens, Paper Money in Maryland, 1727–1789, in Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Baltimore, 1923, Ser. 41, No. 1, p. 88–94; Archives of Maryland, Baltimore, 1883– , 43:50–51).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0098

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-12

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I am obliged to you for yours of the 31st. which I received by Capt. Landais. You will have perceived by my last,1 that what you write relative to an application to Mr. Grand was what struck me upon reflection. Far from wishing to involve you with such People, I am clearly of opinion that it never will be for your honor or interest, or those of the public, to have any connection with them. The character you are in, will introduce you to the best families in Paris; and if you shoud ever want their advice or influence in transacting the public business, I am sure they will give it. There is not a man upon earth of more honor, worth, and wisdom, than Count Sarsfield; nor any one who woud more readily promote the success of your Mission for the benefit of our Country. The Men who have hitherto been permitted and encouraged to meddle with our affairs, and even presume to direct them, are fit only for such dirty and dishonest jobs as fitting out the Bon Homme Richard, or robbing dispatches.2 And as I am very sure you will have no such jobs for them, I am most convinced, and my regard for you and the public makes me venture to offer it as my opinion, that you will with difficulty escape the injuries which I have experienced, if you have any society or connection with them. Your character places you in a Sphere far above them; and beleive { 132 } me, your honor and success are greatly concernd in not discending from it as others have done.
I wrote to Mr. Grand himself, and, with a very puppyish preamble, received the following answer, “Je suis faché de ne pouvoir vous donner une explication telle que vous la desireriez, parceque je ne puis vous dissimuler, ni a moi, qu'il etoit connu que vous n'aviez pas la confiance de la Cour, je puis même en être convenu sans avoir cru vous faire tord, avec gens qui le savoient aussi bien, et peut être meux que moi; mais ce n'etoit pas une chose assez agréable pour la dire, et encore moins l'ecrire sans avoir une vocation expresse.”3
We have not yet any prospect of the Crew being paid their wages and prise money; nor of our going this three weeks.
My Compliments to Mr. Dana.

[salute] Adieu

[signed] A. Lee
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Mr Lee. ansd. 25. May”; and docketed by CFA: “Arthur Lee April 12th. 1780.”
1. Of 26 March (above).
2. Presumably Le Ray de Chaumont, certainly one of those whom Arthur Lee would describe in the terms used in this letter. Chaumont had been the chief agent of the French government during the outfitting of the Bonhomme Richard squadron in 1779 and Lee suspected that he had been involved in the 1777 theft of the Commissioners' dispatches to Congress carried by Capt. John Folger (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 192–193; vol. 6:320; 7:134–135).
3. The extract from Ferdinand Grand's reply of 8 April (ViU: Lee Papers) to Arthur Lee's letter of 30 March (PCC, No. 102, III, f. 170–171) is accurate, aside from slight variations in spelling and punctuation. As translated the passage reads: I am displeased not to be able to give you an explanation of the sort you desire, because I cannot conceal from you or from myself that it was known that you did not have the confidence of the Court, I myself can be in sympathy with people who knew it as well and perhaps better than myself, without having knowingly wronged you; but it is too unpleasant a thing to discuss, much less write about without having an express purpose.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cabarrus, B. de, Jeune
Date: 1780-04-13

To B. de Cabarrus Jeune

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter, which you did me, the Honour to write to me, the 8th of this month, and I thank you, sir, for So ready an Answer to my Request, and for so clear, So full and So intelligible an Account, of the Several Sorts of Wines, which go, in general under the Denomination of Bourdeaux. It is a Branch of Knowledge, which like many others, is much wanted in America, where I shall take the Liberty to Send it.
I will venture to request you to send me, four or five Cases of fifty Bottles each, of some Wine of the best Quality. I shall leave it to you, { 133 } to choose for me, and to fix the Price, only let me beg that it may be well corked and Sealed, and that the Wine may be good. Your draught upon me, for the Pay, shall be punctually honoured.
Neither Mr. Sabatier nor Mr. Despres, has Spoke to me, on the Subject you mention. You may depend upon every Thing that may depend upon me, that Justice may be done. I am sir, with great respect, your obliged, humble sert.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-04-13

To William Lee

[salute] Dear sir

I received yesterday, your favour of the 9. The Vessell you inquire after, is from Baltimore. What day she Sailed I dont know, she brought, very large Bundles of Newspapers a Year and an half old, and only three modern ones. These are all Baltimore Papers, and the latest of them is 15. Feb. Not a Scratch of a Pen to Dr. Franklin or me.
All the News in these Papers, is, they have had an hard Winter, deep Snows and uncommon Frosts, such as made a Bridge of Ice from Connecticutt to Long Island, and from N. Jersey to Staten Island, to which last Lord Sterling went over, with a Party, burnt a few Vessells and a Guard House, took a few Prisoners, and afforded his Protection to a few deserters. Some N. Jersey People went over at the Same time and plundered, in a manner that displeased their General. Finding the Communication open with N. York he return'd. A Paragraph from a Pokeepsie Papers Says, that Clinton and Cornwallis with 7000 troops, Sailed the 26. December for the W. Indies, but that the storm which happend, a day or two after their Departure, was supposed to have injured them very much. A ship, Brigg and Schooner lost in the storm on Cape Cod, unknown who or whence, all perished.
Congress had recommended to all the states to regulate Prices at 20 for one, which by the Speculations in the Papers was not well relished. Govr Johnson a Delegate in Congress for Maryland, General Ward for Mass Bay in the Room of Mr Dana.1 There is also an Account in the Papers, of Mr. Gerards taking Leave of Congress, and of their Votes containing in full and strong Terms an Approbation of his Conduct, and a request that he would sit for his Picture to be { 134 } taken, by my old Friend Peel and preserved, as the Representative of the first foreign Minister to the United States.2
The Tale of the Proclamation of our Independence at New Orleans the 19 of Aug. by Beat of Drum must be an idle one. Mr. Jay nevertheless, has as I believe met, an affectionate and respectfull Reception, and after the Count de Florida Blanca shall have negotiated out of him, the best Terms he possibly can, and Mr. Jay shall have negotiated out of the Count the best Terms, that the Circumstances of our Country in Mr. Jays opinion, will admit of his insisting on, I have no Doubt a Treaty will be made. It is not att all surprizing to me, that Spain has been cool to Us, apparently so. The Truth is, she made a Treaty with us, the 6 <March> Feb. 1778. or in other Words, We bound ourselves to her, in a Treaty sufficiently advantageous to her in all Conscience, with out, her being bound to us at all.3
Is it not a Judgment of incensed Heaven, against the Islanders, that should have blinded, and stupified them to such a Degree, as not only to permit us, but drive Us to the Necessity, of binding ourselves, by our unsullied and unalterable Virgin Faith, in such a manner to their Ennemies. But it would not be at all surprising to me, if continuing in this course of blindness, they should declare War, against Holland, Prussia, Sweeden, Denmark Russia, Portugal and the Ottoman Port, and at the sametime, undertake to suppress the 60,000 Men in Arms in Ireland by Force, and to disperse the Meeting of Committees in England by setting the Military to fire upon them. There would be nothing in all this more unjust, more inhumane, more impolitick, extravagant, or mad, than in what they have, invariably been ingaged in these many Years.
Adieu
1. The information provided by JA to this point in the letter was copied, with relatively few changes, from the Letterbook copy of his letterto William Carmichael of 8 April. See that letter and notes 5 and 6 (above).
2. On 3 Sept. 1779, Congress resolved to ask Conrad Alexandre Gérard to sit for a portrait before he left Philadelphia. Charles Willson Peale undertook the commission and by 18 Sept. Gérard had apparently completed his sittings. For reasons that remain obscure, however, Congress never took possession of Peale's painting (Charles Coleman Sellers, Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale, Phila., 1952, p. 86, 297; Sellers misidentifies the portrait as being of Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval, the brother of Conrad Alexandre). The portrait is now in the Independence Hall Collection at Philadelphia.
3. José Monino, Conde de Floridablanca, Spanish prime minister and foreign minister from 1777 to 1792, provided some clandestine financial support to the American cause, but opposed American independence because it posed a threat to Spanish possessions in North America. As a result, he refused to receive Jay officially, much less to negotiate a Spanish-American treaty or to accede to the Franco-American treaties of 1778 under the provisions of the “Act Separate and Secret” (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 41, 56, 104).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: MacCreery, William
Date: 1780-04-13

To William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I never heard a Word of your Arrival, untill this Day.1 I sincerely congratulate you upon it, and hope the fine Cargo you have brought will Set you at your Ease. Pray how did you leave all Friends and all Things at Baltimore, and in the rest of America? What is become of my old Friends Johnson, Paca, Chase, and many others?2
Baltimore flourishes, it [seems?] in trade, which I wish may be increased, as I doubt not it will. Almankind seem against the English and Scotch, Ireland is clear, and one half of England Seems to be against Scotland and the other half.
It is very strange that it should require a Combination of all the Nations of the Earth, with America, Ireland and the Whigs in England, to bring to reason, Scotland and the Tories. Yet so it is. And it seems it must take a good deal of time for the whole Combination to succeed. Have you any News of Mr. Laurens Father or Son?3 Do you know the designs of Congress relative to Holland? Can you give me a more particular Account of the storm the first of the Year. An hurricane of 15 days, is a new Phenominon in America? What must have become of Clintons Fleet?
Adieu
1. JA and MacCreery, a Maryland native and merchant, had exchanged numerous letters in 1778 and 1779. In a letter of 28 April 1779, MacCreery had informed JA of his imminent departure for America. JA may have learned of his return from Benjamin Franklin, to whom MacCreery had written from Bordeaux on 8 April (vol. 8:49; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:235).
2. Thomas Johnson, William Paca, and Samuel Chase were all prominent Maryland politicians.
3. JA initially ended the letter at this point, for the remainder of the text is written around the closing “Adieu.”

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0102

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-14

To the President of Congress, No. 44

Paris, 14 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 451–455). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:612–614.
This letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, included reports from Constantinople, Copenhagen, London, and The Hague concerning the determination of neutral nations, including the Ottoman Empire, to resist the depredations of the belligerent powers on their commerce either by their own efforts or under the aegis of a league of armed neutrality. Noting the progress toward such a league, John Adams declared “for my own part, I think, that { 136 } the Abolition of the whole Doctrine of Contraband, would be for the Peace and Happiness of Mankind, and I doubt not, as human Reason advances, and Men come to be more sensible of the Benefits of Peace, and less enthusiastic for the savage Glories of War, all neutral Nations will be allowed by universal Consent, to carry what Goods they please in their own Ships, provided they are not to places actually invested by an Enemy.” This statement reflects a uniquely American view of the proposed league's purpose and the nature and evolution of the law of nations.
Adams ended his letter with the following passage: “The Reflection from Amsterdam, after relating the Affair of Captain Ankerloo, in the Sweedish Frigate the Illerim, is very proper to conclude this Letter. To judge of things the most impartially, no Man can doubt, that Proceedings so violent, and so contrary to the natural Rights of Nations, will make the Neutral Powers feel, how much it imports them to set Bounds to the intolerable Excesses, to which their Vessels sailing under the Faith of Treaties are daily exposed, by the Ships of one Party in the present War.” The first sentence of this passage was not included by Wharton. On the Illerim, see Adams' letter of 4 April to the president of Congress (No. 36, calendared above).
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 451–455.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:612–614.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0103

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-14

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dear Sir

I am obligd to You for the Book forwarded me by Mr. L–g–n,1 but unfortunately there is a sheet wanting in the most material part of it, that of the description and powers to the Senate, from Page 16 to 25 the leaves are wanting or rather page 17 to 24 inclusive. This however is of no material consequence as the book is but the report and not the Established new Constitution of the Massachusetts. When such should get to Your hands I should be extreemly glad of it for other reasons than those of merely making myself acquainted with the Constitution of the different States of our Country.2Monsr. Francois Bowens Negociant Ostend3 will forward such to me or any other parcells you may have to send, and thro him I can contrive to get you any publications from hence. The way to get News Papers in the safest way is to agree for them at the Post Officers in Paris who have a means of getting them from the same office here.
A Ship from St. Kitts the 5 March brings no other accounts than that La Mothe Puquets Squadron (as it was here currently reported to be blockd up in Guadaloupe by Adl. Parker) has saild from thence and made a junction with the other Ships at Martinico, where the numbers were 14 of the line the 1st. March, so that when Monr. Guichens Squadron gets out and the other small squadron the number of French will be 36 to about 31 English.4
{ 137 }
The W. India fleet saild the 8th. and Greaves ships after a very serious mutiny on board some of them are gone to sea (said to be for America) the 11th Instant. No Men of War was intended for that Station but those were hastily got ready in consequence of hearing a fleet was soon to go from Brest with troops on board to N. America. Most people here suppose that fleet bound to Quebec or Hallifax.5
Every day seems to produce more advocates or wishers for withdrawing the troops from America or giving up an offensive war in that Country.
A Motion was to have been made this day in the Commons relative to the State of the War in that Country and to push the Ministry for the giving up the principles of that War and to go seriously to some accomodation.6 The voice of the majority of the People are decidedly for some such accomodation, but there is no one who can devise the means by which it can be done; tho most of my parliamentary acquaintance are for giving the Independence none of them seem bold enough to stand forth and move it in the house. The time is certainly not yet arrivd when it would go down there but I do not think it very distant, and I am sure had the topic been debated to day there would have appeard a manifest disposition in the House to abandon the principles of the War in America, and it seems as if Ministry wishd to feel the pulses of the House upon that subject. A new and unexpected matter put off the whole affair; the Speaker without appearing to be very ill, stood up and declard a wish to resign from not being Able thro illness to go on with the Business of the House. It appeard as much a political as a real illness and I dare say some new movements perhaps in the Administration may be the consequence. He has not however resignd and the House is adjournd for the benefit of his health till next Monday week; perhaps it may be then too late to renew the intended motion about America or the State of the War there.7 The possession of Charles Town if but for a week or the taking two or three men of War from their Enemys may make these wise-heads think their arms invincible and that they may have some better success by prosecuting the War a little further.
There is with me a Mr. Jonathan Loring A–s–n8 who left Boston the 29th. Jany. and was taken in Zephir Packet in the Bay. He leaves me to day and will soon be nearer You; He expects some letters to your or rather Mr. D[an]as care by the Protector, which vessel would sail about the 1st. March.
There is a second Paul Jones alarm near the Coast of Hull. An Express has arrivd to day that four or five Ships of the Enemy have { 138 } got to that quarter and taken 2 or 4 prizes they appear to be french frigates and the Hull people can spy very clearly the Countess of Scarborough9 (which once belongd to that port) to be one of the Squadron. I wish you every success and happiness and am with very great regard Your Obedt. Servant,
[signed] Wm. S. C.
RC (Adams Papers;) addressed: “Monsieur Monsr. Fernando Raymond San negot chez Monsr. Hocherau Pont Neuf Paris”; endorsed: “Mr. Digges”; docketed by CFA: “14 April 1780”; calculations in JA's hand, probably in livres: 7.″5 + 114.19 = 122.4 / <7.″5 + 1.16 = 9.1>.
1. George Logan.
2. This was The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, 1779 (vol. 8:236–261), several copies of which JA distributed to European officials and correspondents. The missing pages noted by Digges make it likely that the first British printings of a portion of the constitution in the London Courant and the Courier de l'Europe of 18 April were derived from his copy. The pages missing from Digges' copy, 17 to 24, contained most of Chap. II, Sect. I, Art. III dealing with the General Court; all of Chap. II, Sect. II, describing the Senate; and all of Chap. II, Sect. III, Art. I and part of Art. II dealing with the House of Representatives. The portion of the constitution printed in the London Courant contained James Bowdoin's prefatory letter transmitting the Report to the constitutional convention, the Preamble, and Chap. I, the Declaration of Rights. In the Report, which is paginated from the titlepage, the Declaration of Rights ends on page 15, with the initial portions of Chap. II occupying the remainder of the page and all of the following page. In the London Courant the Declaration of Rights ends with the note: “We are in hopes in a short time to lay before our readers the whole frame of the government of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, of which the foregoing is not more than a quarter part.” It was not until early June that the missing portion of the Report was received and was printed in the London Courant of 6, 7, and 8 June; and the Courier de l'Europe of 9, 13, and 16 June. In the London Courant the text was preceded by the statement that “we have, since that time [18 April], had the good fortune to obtain a complete copy of that report.” The delay forced John Almon to use the portion printed in the London Courant of 18 April in the first volume of The Remembrancer for 1780 (p. 377–381). The remainder of the constitution appeared in the second volume of The Remembrancer for 1780, but there it was taken from the text of the constitution as ratified, not the committee report (p. 202–222).
3. For Francis Bowens as intermediary for packages from Digges to JA, see the letters exchanged by JA and Bowens of 5 and 12 May, respectively, and Edmé Jacques Genet's letter of 17 May (all below).
4. A rumor without substance, either as to the movement of La Motte Picquet or the number of vessels that would be available to each side when the French and British fleets finally met off Martinique on 17 April. See JA's letters to the president of Congress of 19 Feb., note 2, and to James Warren of 23 Feb., (vol. 8:337, 359–360).
5. Although various London newspapers (see, for example, the London Chronicle, 11– 13 April) reported that Como. Robert Walsingham's convoy of the West Indies merchant fleet and Brig. Gen. Garth's troops had sailed on the 8th, adverse winds soon forced it back into Torbay where it remained until June (William Lee to JA, 9 April, note 2, above; Edmund Jenings to JA, 22 Feb. and note 4, vol. 8:352–353). The squadron under Rear Adm. Thomas Graves was ordered to intercept Ternay's convoy of Rochambeau's army, but because of delays in resupplying his vessels, demands by his sailors for their pay, and contrary winds which prevented him from entering the English Channel, Graves was unable to leave Plymouth until 17 May, over two weeks after Ternay left Brest (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 191; Mackesy, War for America, p. 326–329).
6. No such motion was made on 14 April, although in the course of the debates Gen. Henry Seymour Conway indicated that a motion concerning America “stood for that day” (Parliamentary Reg., 17:529). The intended motion or motions were probably those long { 139 } contemplated by David Hartley that had been announced as early as 7 March (same, 17:223– 224). On 10 April Hartley again indicated his intention to introduce several propositions concerning America, but only on 1 May did he disclose their substance and not until 11 May were they formally introduced as resolutions (same, 17:485, 606, 695–696). For their content, see Thomas Digges' letter of 2 May, and note 7 (below).
7. The view that Sir Fletcher Norton's illness, which led to the adjournment of the House of Commons until 24 April, was as much political as physical was widespread. Norton became the Speaker in 1770 and, according to his speech of 13 March 1780, the Duke of Grafton had promised him that in return for serving he would ultimately be appointed to a high judicial position. In 1780 the chief justiceship of the Court of Common Pleas was vacated, but instead of Norton, Lord North appointed Alexander Wedderburn. North's failure to honor his predecessor's promise estranged Norton from the ministry, leading him to abandon the Speaker's traditional neutrality and even to oppose the ministry on important votes, most notably in regard to sections of Edmund Burke's economical reform bill and John Dunning's resolutions of 6 April to diminish the influence and prerogatives of the crown. Given the apparent resurgence by mid-April of the ministry's ability to frustrate the opposition's efforts at reform, the Speaker's illness and the subsequent adjournment could be seen as an effort to allow the opposition forces time to regroup and form a new strategy. When a new parliament met in Oct., Lord North replaced Norton with Charles Wolfran Cornwall (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons; Parliamentary Reg., 17:319–333, 461–465; for contrasting views of Norton, his illness and resignation, see the London Morning Post and Daily Advertiser for 17, 18, 19, and 21 April; and the London Evening Post for 15–18, 18–20, and 20–22 April).
8. For Jonathan Loring Austin, appointed by the Massachusetts General Court to seek a European loan, see Mass. Council to JA and Francis Dana, 13 Jan., and note 23 (vol. 8:308–309).
9. This report appeared in various London newspapers, including the London Courant of 15 April, but it was almost certainly not the sloop of war Countess of Scarbourough that was observed. In April the sloop, which had been captured by the Pallas during the battle between the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis, was most likely at Dunkirk (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 239, 266; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:207, 251).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Date: 1780-04-15

To Thomas Digges

Yours of April 6. I have this day received. That of 28 Ultimo received. That of 20th not.1
Let me beg of you to send me duplicates, of Pamphlets, as they come out,2 when you send Letters to another Gentleman. Any Banker in London who will draw upon, Me or Mr. Grand the Banker for the Expence of them, shall be punctually paid, or I will get Mr. Grand to desire some Banker of his Correspondence to pay you, or the Bookseller if any one, will undertake to send them to me. Political Pamphlets I mean respecting the present War, and the actual State of Things. It is of much Importance to me, and perhaps to others, that I should have all these Things as soon as possible and that they should be my Property that I may have the Use of them to myself as long as I please, and send them where, and as soon as I please. If Almond, will send me his Newspaper, by you, I will pay him or you { 140 } in the manner I mentioned above. I want also that Vol. of Remembrancer called prior Documents in which is the History of the rise and Progress of the disputes with Amer.3 I wrote you, on the 6th of Ap. by Post, an Account, of some News from America. Since which have seen a Letter from a Passenger. The Account he gives of the storm or rather Hurricane that happened to Clinton, i.e so soon after his departure, that it is impossible he should have escaped it, is terrible, it makes Humanity shudder, even in this Case, which is the least entitld to its feelings of any Disaster of the Kind that ever happend. It is impossible by this account, that one of his Ships should be upon the Amer. coast. They must be all driven off, somewhere. Time will discover. I sent you a Pamphlet by Dr. L.4 Have no Papers of present. When I have you shall have them, or the substance. I wish to know, the Effect in England of another storm from the North?5
Adieu
Least the other method should not succeed, I send you four Guineas to pay for Pamphlets and Papers.6 I take already, regularly by another Channel, the general Advertiser and Morning Post.7 You need not therefore send me these, but subscribe for as many other Papers as you think proper, and send them always by private Hands, with all the Pamphlets that can through any light on the great systems of Business now in Agitation. Send me a note of the Expence, and it shall be remitted without delay. I am determined to Spare no Expence of this Sort, insert the inclosed in all the Papers if you please. It is of Importance, that I should, in my present situation be known to be faithfull to our Allies and Alliances, and in good Understanding with this Court. To this End I pray you to publish this Extract, of a Letter, in the original, or translated as you think proper, and with such an Introduction as you think proper.8
5 O Clock
I have since found means to accomplish, that if you call on Mr. Teissier old Broad Street, he will pay you, the Money for what you send of Papers and Pamphlets.
LbC (Adams Papers;) directed to: “W. S. C.” The portion of this letter dated 16 April was written in the Letterbook on the second page following that dated the 15th, but Digges' reply of 28 April (below) makes it clear that the two parts were sent as a single letter.
{ 141 }
1. This letter has not been found.
2. For a list of pamphlets sent by Digges to JA between 25 April and 10 June, see the enclosure to Digges' letter of 8 June (below).
3. John Almon's newspaper was the London Courant, and the Westminster Chronicle, which Digges had mentioned in his letter of 3 March (above). Almon also published a compilation of documents relating to the progress of the war entitled The Remembrancer, or Impartial Repository of Public Events, 16 vols., London, 1775–1784. In 1777 Almon issued a supplementary volume to The Remembrancer entitled A Collection of Interesting, Authentic Papers, Relative to the Dispute between Great Britain and America; shewing the Causes and Progress of that Misunderstanding, from 1764 to 1775, also known as “Prior Documents.” See, however, JA's letter to Digges of [6–7? June] (below).
4. George Logan. For the “Pamphlet,” see Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 2 (above).
5. This sentence was interlined and refers to Catherine II's proposed armed neutrality.
6. For this payment see JA's account of personal expenditures from Feb. through July 1780 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:438). There the entry is dated 26 April. See also Digges' letter of 8 June (below).
7. The General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer favored the opposition, while The Morning Post and Daily Advertiser supported the North ministry.
8. For the extract and its publication, see Vergennes to JA, 21 Feb. 1779, and note 1 (vol. 7:423–424).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-15

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 6 and 12 of April are before me. The last received to day. I thank you, sir, for so readily, undertaking to announce &c. As to going to England upon any Errand for me, the Time is not yet come. I must avoid every Thing of that Kind yet.
The Memorial from Russia, refutes at once all the Lyes of Seven Years growth, which is one Point.1 It does more. It threatens, an Union of all Mankind except the H[ouse] of Austria against England.
Pray what is your impartial opinion of this Measure of the Empress. That it is useful to Us, and destructive to England is most certain: but laying all this out of the Scale, is it not, useful, equitable, reasonable, and humane? Is it not for the Interest of Mankind, that neutral ships should make free goods, and that Ports blocked up, should be strictly construed, to mean only those which are besieged, and shut up by force? The contrary Doctrine seems to have been chiefly English, and they have grounded it always, on the selfish Principle of their insular Situation, and of the Power which they had from that Cause, and the necessity they were under, to make Use of it. The British Interpretation of the Law of Nations, not only tends to Spread the flames of War far and wide, when two maritime Powers are engaged, but it necessarily involves all other commercial Nations in the solicitudes, Dangers, and Losses of the War. The Russian Interpretation appears to me, to be So much for the good of Mankind though it thwarts a little, the Ardour for the barbarous Glories of War, { 142 } that I doubt not it will be adopted by all Nations, as a great Improvement in the Droit publique.2
I had the Pleasure of Some personal Acquaintance with Mr. Johnson at Nantes and the Honour of many Civilities from him, when I was there, this time twelve months. I conceived much esteem for him, and should hold myself under Obligations to him, for any Communications he may be so good as to make to me. He has a numerous Correspondence, in America, with Persons too who have the best Information, and as they are in a Part of the Continent, where I have very few, it will freequently be in his Power to give me very refreshing and usefull Intelligence. I am glad he has accepted the Trust, which is honourable, tho it will probably be troublesome. I doubt not he will execute it, with Honour and Fidelity.
I had heard before, of the Intention of Congress to draw, but not having the whole of their Plan, and not knowing their funds, whatever may be my private Conjectures, I can form no decided opinion about it.3
I rejoice, sir that your native Country has taken honourable Notice of you, and I wish they had appointed you, without any Refinement, or Condition or Competition. Mr. C[armichael] is otherwise employed. Mr. Johnson, Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Williams, may be all fit Persons for any Thing I know. Who will be appointed, I cannot conjecture. It is a Speculation. There are so many Arguments, on one side and the other, that I can conceive will occur to the judge, that I rather think it will be a long time before, it can be accurately, and mathematically determined, in which Scale the preponderating Weight will lay. If I could be convinced that I could throw any Weight into the Scale, I should be at no loss, into which to cast it.
I received a few Lines the 8. of April from Mr. Charmichael, which I answered and deliverd to the Hand he pointed out the same day. I wrote to Mr. Jay, the 22d feb.4 and have received no answer. I should cultivate this Correspondence with Pleasure.
Hard hearted as I am against England I assure you I feel the stirrings of Humanity for Clintons fleet and army. I had infinitely rather your Friend Gates should have taken them all Prisoners.
But I feel an Anxiety of another Kind for the two Laurens's, and for our Country, whose Interests suffer by their absence.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Esteem Dear sir, your faithful sert

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “J.A. April 15. 1780.”
{ 143 }
1. For the texts of the Russian memorial and the declaration of an armed neutrality, see JA's letter of 10 April to the president of Congress (No. 40, above). The “Lyes of Seven Years growth” were the recurring rumors that Russia was about to supply troops and/or naval vessels to Britain for use against the Americans. JA had noted such reports as early as 15 March 1775 in a letter to James Warren (vol. 2:405), but in the end such fears proved groundless. The shifting currents of European politics made any new Anglo-Russian alliance impossible, despite British overtures to Catherine II as recently as Dec. 1779 (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 4–5, 121–139; see also JA to the president of Congress, 20 Feb., No. 7, and note 2, vol. 8:346–347). For the end of such rumors, see JA's letter of 26 April to the president of Congress, (No. 53, below).
2. Compare this observation on the impact of the armed neutrality with that in JA's letter of 14 April to the president of Congress (No. 44, calendared above).
3. See Jenings' letter of 12 April, and note 2 (above).
4. Vol. 8:348–349.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-15

To the President of Congress, No. 45

Paris, 15 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 455–461). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:615–618.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams included newspaper accounts from Hamburg, Leghorn, Madrid, Paris, and London on a variety of subjects, including the League of Armed Neutrality, Russia's formal declaration of armed neutrality in major European capitals, preparations for a military expedition from Cádiz, and Adams' own arrival in Europe to negotiate peace with Great Britain. The bulk of the letter, however, was devoted to a London newspaper article advancing a “Plan of Pacification,” said to be sponsored by the Rockingham Whigs and aimed at ending the American war, and another London article opposing Rockingham.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 455–461). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:615–618.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0107

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sartine, Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de
Date: 1780-04-16

To Gabriel de Sartine

[salute] Sir

I have received the two Letters which your Excellency did me the Honour to write me, on the fifth and on the twelfth of this Month.1
I do not mean to give your Excellency the Trouble of answering, these Letters of mine, which contain Extracts of Letters from abroad, or simple News. This would be giving your Excellency too much trouble and taking up too much Time. Indeed, I think it will very probably be often if not always, unnecessary, because, your Excellencies Information must be, beyond all Comparison earlier more exact and more particular than mine. Yet as it is, possible that sometimes a Circumstance, of importance may escape, one Channel of Intelligence and yet pass in another, I thought it my duty sometimes to send your Excellency an Extract. In this View I have the Honour to send your Excellency, another Extract from a Letter of the 6th. of { 144 } this Month.2 I pray your Excellency not to take the trouble to answer it. I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Consideration, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
1. JA probably means Sartine's letter of 15 April (Adams Papers), since no letter of the 12th has been found. For the letter of 15 April as well as that of the 5th (Adams Papers), both of which were replies to JA's letter of 4 April (LbC, Adams Papers), see Thomas Digges to JA, 28 March, note 3; and William Lee to JA, 30 March, note 9 (both above).
2. The extract has not been found, but the content of Thomas Digges' letter of 6 April (above), makes it likely that it was taken from that letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0108

Author: Logan, George
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-16

From George Logan

[salute] Dear Sir

I arrived safe in London after an agreeable journey of 7 Days. I delivered the paper you entrusted with me to Mr. Diggs, but am sorry to inform you that it was found imperfect, that part respecting the upper House being lost.1 This was certainly an original defect, as I was careful to deliver it in the manner received from you. Several Gentlemen of both Houses have been favored with a sight of it, and are much pleased with the liberal, and just principles on which it is founded.
I should send you the Papers and some political pamphlets by this opportunity but Mr. Diggs informs me, he has sent you those meriting your attention. With respect to Public affairs I may inform you, that they have a prosperous aspect for America. It is most probable the troops will be withdrawn from that Country. This however is not certain, as a continuance of the war is still a favourite object with the Ministry. The people daily become more resolute in their demands that if America should rest tranquil and carry on a defensive war in America as last year, it is probable the good people of this Country will finish the business for them here.
I spoke to Mr. Alman to send you the political publications that appear in this Country, regularly. I expect he will write you on this subject. I have sent you his paper of yesterday. You will there observe the very impolitical conduct of the Lords. This paper may answer your expectation better than any other should you wish to receive them regularly.
As I wish to be in America as soon as possible, I am not determined, whether I shall again return to Paris, or go by the St. Eustatia.
{ 145 }
Pray remember my best Comps. to Mr. Dana and believe me Your Freind & Hble. Servt:
[signed] Geoe Logan2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esqr: Rue Richleu Hotel Valois Paris pr favor of Dr. Plunket”; endorsed: “Dr. Logan”; docketed by CFA: “April 16. 1780.”
1. For the copy of The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sent to Digges by JA, see Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 2 (above).
2. Dr. George Logan, a Pennsylvania Quaker, received his medical degree at Edinburgh in June 1779 and reached Paris in the winter of 1779–1780, during a European tour. There he soon became a friend of Benjamin Franklin and a strong supporter of the American cause. When he departed for London to obtain passage to America he carried letters for Franklin as well as JA. Soon after writing this letter and one of the 15th to Franklin, Logan sailed for home. George Logan is known best for his unauthorized diplomatic activities in 1798 that resulted in passage of the Logan Act prohibiting private American citizens from engaging in diplomacy (DAB; Frederick B. Tolles, George Logan of Philadelphia, N.Y., 1953, p. 39–42; Cal.Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:238).

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