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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0283

Author: Adams, John
Author: F. R. S.
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Date: 1780-06-28

To Thomas Digges

Yours of 26 and 29 Ultimo I have received and another with the Court Gazette with the Capitulation of Charlestown and also that of 8th. instant.2 I have also received the Box of Books, and all the Bundles of Newspapers and Pamphlets. I thank you most Sincerely for your Care. I beg you Pardon, sir, for sending you, half of the Report of the Committee.3 I thought it entire when I sent it. It is now printed, in the Papers, so that there is no Necessity of sending another if I had it—but I have none left.
The Pamphlets have been a Feast to me. But what can be said of those written by—Such a Mass of Falsehood! The cool Thoughts on the Consequences of American Independence, should have been intituled a Demonstration that it is the Interest and Duty of America { 480 } to support her Independence at all Events: and that it is equally the Interest and Duty of all the rest of Europe to support her in it.4 It Seems as if Providence intended to give success enough to lead on the English Nation to their final and total destruction. I am sorry for it. I wish it not. But it must come if they pursue this War much farther. The Conquest of Charlestown will only arouse America to double Exertion and fourfold Indignation. The English Nation knows not the People they have to do with and that has been the fatal Course of their Misconduct from first to last.
Governor Pownal knows them altho he dares not say in Parliament what he knows. It is the Deuce of the Destinies that the southern Parts of the Continent, should be brought to as much Experience in War as the northern. This will remove the only Cause of Jealousy and Strengthen the Union, beyond a Possibility of Breaking it.
It will make them taste equally too the bitter Cup of British Inhumanity. In short the English So far from gaining any Thing by the Acquisition of Charlestown, will only double their Expense. Their army will moulder away. And they will be in danger of loosing both that and New York. Those who imagine that this will discourage any Body in America, have no Idea of that People.
The blubbering Babies in Europe, who give up all for lost, upon every Disaster, are no Americans. The last are Men. Yours with great regard. &c.
[signed] F. R. S.
LbC (Adams Papers;) directed to: “W. S. Church.”
1. In the Letterbook, JA left this letter undated. The date of 24 June was supplied by John Thaxter, probably because this letter followed a series of letters dated the 24th. It, however, was probably written on 28 June, because JA's endorsement on Digges' letter of 8 June indicates that he replied on the 28th and this letter is clearly an answer to the letter of the 8th (from Digges, 8 June, descriptive note, above).
2. Digges' letter of 29 May has not been found. Neither has that which enclosed the “Court Gazette,” but it was probably dated on or about 15 June, the date of the London Gazette carrying news of Charleston's surrender.
3. See Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 2 (above).
4. For this specific comment regarding the effect of Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts, see JA's letter to the President of Congress, 16 June, No. 84 (above) and“Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July], No. I (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0284-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-06-29

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inclose a Copy of the letter of the Comte De { 481 } Vergennes, to me, of the 21st. of this Month, and a Copy of my Answer to his Excellency of the 22d.1
This Correspondence is upon a subject, that has lain much out of the way of my particular pursuits, and therefore I may be inaccurate in somethings, but in the principles I am well persuaded I am right. I hope that things are explained so as to be intelligible, and that there is nothing inconsistant with that decency which ought in such a Case to be observed.
If your Excellency thinks me materially wrong in any Thing, I shou'd be much obliged to you to point it out to me, for I am open to Conviction.2
This Affair in America is a very tender and dangerous business, and requires all the Address, as well as Firmness of Congress to extricate the Country out of the Embarrassments arising from it: And there is no possible System, I believe, that cou'd give universal Satisfaction to all, but this appears to me, to promise to give more general satisfaction than any other that I have ever heard suggested. I have the honor to be with much Respect Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
I have added Copies of the whole Correspondence.
RC in Francis Dana's hand except for signature and postscript (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). LbC, with postscript in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. For the letters enclosed by JA, see his letter of 26 June to the president of Congress, No. 87, and notes (above). Copies of these letters are in the Franklin Papers (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:305, 307, 308), but some, particularly JA's 2d letter to Vergennes of 22 June (above), may have been included among the copies sent to Franklin by Vergennes with his letter of 30 June (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:827).
2. No reply by Franklin to this letter or any document indicating his position regarding the revaluation has been found. In response to JA's letter of [22] June (above), Franklin wrote to Vergennes on 24 June to request that La Luzerne's instructions on the matter be rescinded or delayed, but did not reveal his own position on the issue (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). Vergennes, in his reply to Franklin of 30 June, denied the request and enclosed his correspondence with JA. Vergennes also indicated his confidence that Franklin's position regarding the revaluation's application to Frenchmen was directly opposed to JA's and requested Franklin to write to Congress in support of the French position and enclose the letters that had passed between Vergennes and JA on the question (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:827). In fact, Franklin did not write to Congress until 9 Aug. and then did not send off the letter until sometime in October (same, 4:21–25; from Franklin, 8 Oct., and note 4, below). While he enclosed therein the letters exchanged by JA and Vergennes in June, the focus of his remarks was on the letters from JA to Vergennes in July; he did not mention the revaluation (same, 4:21–25). Franklin's failure to act as Vergennes desired, particularly his delay in writing and then in sending off the letter of 9 Aug., may indicate that he, like JA, thought that any effort to persuade Congress to revise the revaluation in favor of Frenchmen was futile, and perhaps that he was more sympathetic to JA's view of the matter than Vergennes imagined.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/