A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0190

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

To John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0191

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

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress, No. 66

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

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0192

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

From Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Sir

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