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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0300

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

To the President of Congress, No. 90

Paris, 7 July 1780. Dupl, both text and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 173–176). LbC with postscript in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); { 501 } notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 89 & 90 delivered to Mr. Gridley going to Amsterdam. July 8th. 1780.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:837–838.
This letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, consists largely of an English translation of the French text of the bill that David Hartley sought unsuccessfully to introduce in the House of Commons on 27 June (see Thomas Digges to JA, 29 June, and note 3, above; David Hartley to JA, 17 July, below; the Descriptive List of Illustrations, vol. 10). John Adams made his translation from the Courier de l'Europe of 30 June because he could not obtain his usual London newspapers. Adams also included the Courier's account of the parliamentary proceedings relating to the bill and its criticism of Hartley for seeking to empower George III to make peace, a power he already had by virtue of being King. Only Parliament's refusal of funds to carry on the war could force him to seek peace. Adams noted that there could be no hope for peace until efforts to seek a reconciliation short of independence were abandoned. He predicted that events in America and the West Indies would soon dampen the elation caused by the capture of Charleston. Finally, Adams noted Sir George Saville's unsuccessful motion to condemn the war in America, made immediately after the defeat of Hartley's motion.
Dupl, both text and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 173–176.) LbC with postscript in Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Nos. 89 & 90 delivered to Mr. Gridley going to Amsterdam. July 8th. 1780.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:837–838.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0301

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

To the President of Congress, No. 91

Paris, 7 July 1780. Dupl, both text and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 177–180). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:839.
This letter, read by Congress on 26 Dec., contains the text of a petition that Amsterdam merchants trading with the West Indies had presented to the States General on 21 June. The merchants noted Britain's violation of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674–1675 by its seizure of Dutch vessels trading between the Dutch and French West Indian colonies. They demanded that the States General dispatch warships to protect the trade and order the Dutch minister in London to make representations so as to stop the seizures and obtain restitution.
Dupl, both text and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 177–180.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:839.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0302

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-08

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have been prevented by indisposition, otherwise shou'd have had the honor of writing to you sooner on a subject which appears to affect the honor of America, of Congress, and of its Agents in Europe. The copy of Genl. Clintons letter that was intercepted which you sent here to Mr. Jenings having afterwards appear'd in most of the public papers,1 there was a formal contradiction of its authenticity first in the Hague Gazette, and inserted in such a manner as to make the World believe that this contradiction came from Sir Joseph Yorke the English Minister. The Leyden Gazette confirm'd in some measure { 502 } this contradiction in which it was follow'd by the Courier du Bas-Rhin, tho' it had before given the letter at length as having been originally publish'd by order of Congress; but after the intelligence of the surrender of Chas. Town, this same Gazetter viz the Courier du Bas-Rhin, in No. 51. of June 24. 1780. positively states that letter to have been a Forgery, and concludes in these injurious terms, “donc il vaut mieux se bien defendre et se bien battre que de supposer des lettres qui ne peuvent abuser le public qu'un moment.”2 You must be sensible of the injury it will bring to America and the cause of Liberty if the World is permited to be impress'd with the Idea that Congress and its Agents are base enough to be guilty of such a mean and pitiful Conduct as to forge and publish the grossest falsehoods, as solid Truths.
Mr. Dumas who is styled by Doctr. Franklin and Mr. Deane the American Agent at the Hague and who is actually paid with the money of America, has a particular connection with the Editor of the Leyden Gazette3 and I have reason to beleive has a correspondence with the Bas-Rhin, therefore one wou'd naturally immagine, as it was his Duty, he wou'd have taken some measures to prevent such a censure on America etc. from spreading farther than in the small circle in which the Hague Gazette circulates. The Bas Rhin Gazette as well as that of Berlin is generally looked on as a Prussian Court Gazette being printed in the Capital of the Prussian Dominions on the Rhin, and I have no doubt if the Prussian Minister at Paris was spoken to on the subject a repetition of such conduct would at least be prevented in the Editor of that Gazette.
As Don Solano has return'd to Cadiz with his Squadron4 leaving only 4 Ships of the line to convoy the fleet to the W. Indias all my pleasing prospects of Peace from the hopes of the Enemy suffering some capital loss there in this campaign, are totally vanish'd; for on the arrival of Graves and Walsingham, who have been permited to go unmolested, the superiority of the Enemy at Sea will be so decided, that France will be fortunate if she looses no more than those islands she has before taken from the English. Hitherto Rodney has only shown his superiority in the art of boasting which is certainly his Forte.
The original Force intended to go under Monsr. Ternay having unhappily been diminish'd one half, no effectual offensive operations can be expected from that expedition, and if 'tis true as 'tis reported, that in the Fall, Monsr. Ternay goes to the W. Indias, the progress of the Enemy Northward from So. Carolina may be greater during the { 503 } fall, winter and spring than most people immagine; when in the course of a campaign or two the 4 Eastern States and France may too late repent, one for supporting and the others for not crushing in the bud the dangerous and alarming designs that began to appear in Philadelphia and Congress 18 Months ago. If it is expected that Monsr. Ternay is to render any effectual service to America, it is most clear to me that he ought to winter in Chesapeak Bay in Virga.; where, with very great ease he may be secure against a very superior force, and prevent any attempt of the enemy for enlarging their quarters Northward from Carolina. If the Court of Versailles shou'd approve of such a plan, orders accordingly cannot be sent out too soon to Monsr. Ternay and if the squadron in the W. Indias is to be reinforced or releiv'd, that shou'd be done with clean and fresh Ships from Europe.
From this you will perceive that a speedy peace is not in my view. Indeed it is not. I know the Enemy too well; they will not seriously think of Peace (tho' they will never cease in their attempts to divide and disunite the parties, which I well know they are endeavoring at now) while they have the least glimmering of hope left; unless it is, on the terms of America again submiting to the British Yoke and France relinquishing the Islands she has taken. Such a Peace I presume will never take place; I am sure it cannot, while America continues united.
It is said that young Mr. Laurens was gone from Carolina to Congress and as Mr. Laurens the elder, has not yet arrived there seems to be too much reason to apprehend his having met with some unhappy accident at Sea.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] W. Lee
RC (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “Mr W. Lee July 8. ansd 20”; in CFA's hand: “1780.”
1. JA enclosed the forged letter from Clinton to Lord George Germain in his letter to Edmund Jenings of 30 May (Adams Papers, enclosure not found). For a brief publication history of the Clinton letter, see JA's letter of 21 May to C. W. F. Dumas, note 1 (above).
2. Therefore it [Congress] has determined upon on such letters as this, which cannot deceive the public for a moment, to better advance its war effort.
3. Jean Luzac.
4. A false report.
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, 2016.