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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

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).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.