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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9


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
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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 sometimes their Commands to their servant abroad.
I have great Consolation in the appointment of General Gates to the Command of the southern Army. The Affection and Confidence of the Soldier in their General, never fail to have great Effects, these have appeared, more than once, in Gates's favour, and I am persuaded will another time. I hope Charlestown will be saved, but if unhappily it should not, it will be soon regained.
A small Vessell, by which I wrote to America from Corunna, has been there, and returned to Bilbao from Newbury port, which she left 14 March. Two large Letters of Mark, which lay at Bilbao when I was there, by which I also wrote have arrived. English close shut up in N. York by Gen. Washington, Clintons fleet dispersed in a storm—no other News—not a Letter. He must have conceald his designd Voyage.1
The wise and prudent Negotiations among the neutral maritime { 233 } Powers, which will prevent the flames of War from Spreading farther, the Proceedings in Ireland and in England together with the Operations of the Armaments from Brest, and Cadiz, wherever they are destined, afford Us a Prospect, of tolerable Tranquility to our Country, how long soever the War may continue.
If you can inform me, when the Dove or any other Vessell intends to sail for America from Nantes I shall be glad to send a Letter.
I thank you, sir, for your polite Congratulations, on my late Appointment. Happy, indeed shall I be if any Endeavours of mine, should contribute to extricate our Country out of her difficulties. Every American, may do somewhat; and few on this side the Water have more oppertunities than you, which renders your obliging offers of service, very precious to me.
As I Am determined to spare no expence to obtain Intelligence, if you will write for the Printer of the Baltimore Paper to send them me, regularly, and will undertake to pay for it, I will thankfully repay you.
Please to present my Respects to Mrs. Johnson and the little family, and believe me, with much esteem, your most obedient and humble sert.
1. This paragraph as well as the fifth and seventh paragraphs were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0130

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-25

To the President of Congress, No. 52

Paris, 25 April 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 500–503).
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams included long newspaper accounts from Dublin of events in Ireland, particularly the progress of the volunteer movement, and from London of the efforts of the British ministry to bring about a resolution of the Irish problem.
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 500–503.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0131

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-25

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you for the intelligence contain'd in your favor of the 13th. and when there are any other arrivals from America you will greatly oblige me by communicating any intelligence they may bring. I confess I am uneasy to hear from Chas. Town, for there is no doubt of Clinton having design'd his principle Force against that Town; as I cannot give any credit to the surmises of some people, that the rendevouze was at Tybee, in order to be ready for an attack on some of the Spanish possessions.
{ 234 }
The infatuation of our Enemies is evidently the work of Providence therefore I have no expectation of a speedy Peace because the measure of their punishment is not yet full.
Their frenzy is turn'd into raving madness, as you will see by the proclamation against the Dutch,1 which is tantamount to a declaration of War, and the insulting language used against the Russians in the Ministerial papers; therefore as you say, we need not be surprised if they were to declare War against the whole World. This would be a favorable minute for Mr. Laurens, if he was in Holland, where no doubt his prudence will direct him to examine well his ground before he moves, for he may meet with, Characters both inimical and selfish, who under the garb of Patriotic and friendly zeal, may endeavor to lead him into error. The Dutch who are so jealous of any other nation but themselves, catching a Hering in the open Sea, think it not unreasonable or immodest to expect exclusive privileges in some part of the American trade and an equal freedom with others, to the fishery on the banks of Newfoundland.
By the last accounts from England Walsingham was not sail'd So that the fleet from Brest may get the start, if it has kept to the time appointed viz the 15th. of this month.
If you can prevail where you are to have a good look out kept to intercept the first West India fleet, which probably will be coming into the channel in June or July, I think our Enemies cannot have this year for channel service more than 30 Ships of the Line at the utmost for want of Men.2
Pray tell me if you heard before you left America, of my answer to Mr. Deanes charges having been read in Congress.3 That Gentlemans Agent and Correspondent in Holland,4 it is said, has reported there, that he is again in Congress, but I do not hear of any letters from America that mention such a circumstance.
With great regard I remain &c. Adieu.
1. This was the Order in Council of 17 April, which formally suspended the provisions of existing Anglo-Dutch treaties relating to Dutch trade in time of war and placed subjects of the Netherlands under the same restrictions as the subjects of other neutral nations with whom Great Britain had no treaties. The order was printed in various London newspapers on or about 19 April, including the London Courant and the Morning Post.
2. In fact, this estimate was too high. When Adm. Francis Geary took command of the channel fleet in May, he had but 24 ships of the line, placing him at a serious disadvantage in the event he met with a combined Franco-Spanish fleet. The number of ships committed to the channel fleet did not significantly increase in 1781 or 1782, although the balance became less lopsided in favor of France and Spain as the focus of naval activities changed to American and East Indian waters (Mackesy, War for America, p. 356; Dull, { 235 } French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 365–376).
3. This was Lee's 36-page rebuttal to Silas Deane's address of 5 Dec. 1778 “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of the United States.” Lee's response was dated 8 March 1779 and was sent under a covering letter of 17 March to the president of Congress. The two documents were received on 11 Oct. 1779 (PCC, No. 90, f. 472–507; No. 105, f. 107–110; JCC, 15:1161–1162).
4. The source of this false report was probably C. W. F. Dumas, with whom Deane had corresponded between 1776 and 1778 (Deane Papers, 3:149–150). See also Lee's letter of 10 May and JA's reply of 6 June (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-26

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

Your's of the 22d have just recieved. I wrote You a Line the 22d. Am happy to find that We agree so well in Opinion concerning the Equity of the Russian Negotiation. If that Court had gone farther, and endeavoured to abolish the whole doctrine of Contraband, excepting in Case of Siege, I should have thought it a beneficial Improvement in the Law of Nations. I can't see, that because two Nations have quarrelled, this should give them a right to meddle at all with the Vessels of Neutrals—neither of the contending Nations gain any Advantage by it, because both have an equal right to make use of Neutral Ships, and the stopping and searching of neutral Ships is a real damage and injury, and only tends to embarrass the Intercourse among Mankind, to multiply disputes, and provoke Neutral Nations to join one or other of the belligerent Powers. But this might have been too large a Stride to have taken at once.
This doctrine of free Ships making free Goods, is an old Object with the Dutch. They have aimed at it above an hundred Years, and but for England would have carried it in De Witts Time.1 When I was employed in draughting the Original Treaty, which was sent by Congress to be proposed to the Court of France, I spent a good deal of time, in searching the Books upon this Subject. I found a small Collection of marine Treaties, in the preface to which some Account is given of this Disenssion between the Dutch and English, but I found a much clearer and more ample Relation of it, in the preface of a Work in two Octavo Volumes, called I think, the Law of the Admiralty, which Mr. E. Rutledge borrowed for me of C. Justice Chew.2 I wish I could find this Book again, which I have not seen this four Years. I spoke to a Bookseller here six Weeks ago to write for it, but I hear nothing of it. The Sum of the Argument, as it appears to me, has been this—the Dutch are our Rivals in Trade—their common System is Neutrality—if we agree that free Ships make free Goods, they will run away with all the carrying Business—France and { 236 } Spain are our natural Enemies—if We suffer Neutral Ships to carry them naval Stores, France and Spain will be able to dispute with Us the Empire of the Sea—the Situation of our Island gives us an opportunity to intercept their Supplies, and it is necessary in order to maintain our Superiority that we should embrace it. This is the Reasoning of the English, and while France and Spain were odious in Europe, other Nations did not choose to decide against them: but since the Ballance of Odium has shifted, and France is pursuing a System, that all the World sees is for the public Good, and England is acting a part, which all Nations dread and abhor, they all seem to be convinced of the Rectitude of the Dutch Doctrine, and ready to decide in its favour.
I am much pleased with your Idea of obliging the belligerent Powers to subscribe to the Empress's Doctrine, and I have no doubt it will be readily done by France and Spain—the doctrine is already settled in the Treaty between France and the United States. England will not be willing to subscribe it, tho' She must conform to it in practice.
I thank You for all favors. As to your Information from England, I can only say, that whenever or wherever any Application shall be made to me, I shall think myself bound to inpenetrable Secresy towards all, but my Sovereign, and its Ally. A Bird in the hand is worth two in the Bush. Our Alliance with the House of Bourbon is a Measure that I have ever had extreamly at Heart: it ever appeared to me a natural and necessary Alliance, and I would continue the War against Great Britain an hundred Years before I would give it up. Great Britain will be our natural Enemy for the future. We shall be her Rival in Fisheries, in Carriage, in Commerce of various Sorts, nay dont think me extravagant or enthusiastic when I say, in Naval Power. She will be eternally wishing and endeavouring to destroy our Commerce and our Navy, as She is that of France and Spain. Let Us cultivate then, the Connection with these Powers, as a Rock of defence. I shall therefore communicate to this Court whatever Proposition may ever be made to me. It is most certain I have no Propositions to make, until Conferences shall be opened, if ever that should be. I am very far from being over anxious about this. I know we are marching on in a sure and certain Mode. <My> Our Country can sustain this War for thirty Years to come, better than France, Spain or England can, especially the latter, or for any other given Number of Years, more or less. It is in vain to reason. The politicians of Europe are incapable of concieving our Situation, and the great Causes now { 237 } at work must be allowed Time to produce their Effects. So far from expecting any serious, sensible proposals for Peace, I think the Parties in England will go to War with each other, and they must fight their Battle out, before we shall know, which has the national Power in its Hands to make peace with Us. They have a point to settle first, whether we shall make Peace with a British King or a British Congress.
I assure You, the picture of the British Nation at present gives me no pleasure—it is a melancholy Sight to me. It would give me as much Joy as my Nature is capable of, if She would come to her Senses, and act a just and reasonable part: but I know it is impossible. Mens minds are not suddenly changed—they will go on, and for ought I can see, will have a Civil War. The least Accident may put all in a blaze—a drunken Mob may provoke a Soldier to fire, and set the Nation all in Arms.
Clinton has arrived in Georgia with forty four Ships escaped from the Storm. The News of this will raise a flash in England, like throwing Oil on Fire: but Gates is to command against him, and Gates is a Master of his Trade, has the Confidence and Affection of the Soldier and the Citizen, and will give as good an Account of him, as he did of Burgoyne and Prescot.3 I communicate my Sentiments to You on these points in Secresy and Confidence—if you think any of them wrong, tell me. You must be sensible that is improper for me to make a Talk about these Things.
Adieu.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr A April 26. 1780.”
1. That is, during the rule of John De Witt, the grand pensionary from 1665 to 1672. In fact, following De Witt's death, the Dutch gained British acceptance of the doctrine of free ships make free goods in the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674 and its Explanatory Convention of 1675. That, however, was the very treaty that Britain suspended in 1780 in so far as its provisions relating to neutral trade were concerned. For a discussion of the treaty and convention of 1674 and 1675, see C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 13 Sept. 1778, note 5 (vol. 7:34–35).
2. The “small Collection” was probably Henry Edmunds and William Harris, comps., A Compleat Collection of All the Articles and Clauses which Relate to the Marine, in the Several Treaties Now Subsisting Between Great Britain, and Other Kingdoms and States . . ., London, 1760. The two-volume work on “the Law of the Admiralty,” borrowed from Benjamin Chew, chief justice of Pennsylvania from 1774 to 1776 (DAB), has not been identified. For the Treaty Plan of 1776 and works that JA used to draft it, see vol. 4:260–278.
3. Probably British Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-26

To the President of Congress, No. 53

[salute] Sir

At last, even the Morning Post, of the eighteenth of April, confesses, that1 the Memorial from the Empress of Russia to the States General, has dissipated all their golden dreams of an Alliance, with the Czarina. It was announced to us last Week, that a Russian Squadron had left Cronstad, with an Intention to sail to our Assistance, nay some of the public Papers went so far as to announce their Arrival at Plymouth, how sadly are we, now disappointed! instead of Alliance, we find her Czarish Majesty talks of Neutrality. So that at present it is pretty clear, that the various powers in Europe seem determined to stand off, and leave us to our fate.
In some confused Minutes of a debate in the House of Lords on the fourteenth of April, it is said that Lord Cambden expressed2 his Astonishment and regret at the Memorial from Russia, in which, contrary to the established Laws of Nations, the Empress insisted upon free Ships and free Goods: he pointed out, how injurious to the Country it must be, if neutral Vessels were permitted to supply our Enemies, whom we might blockade, with every thing they might want, and remarked, the Queen of the Seas was now deposed, and the Empress had taken possession of her Throne. In another Paper Lord Shelburne3 is represented remarking the very dangerous and alarming Situation they stand in with regard to their Wars and foreign Alliances: of the former, said his Lordship we have three, of the latter none; even the Empress of Russia, that great Potentate, who was constantly held out by the noble Lord in the green Ribbon, Lord Stormont4 to be our principal Ally, now shows to all Europe, by her late maritime Manifesto, what sort of an Ally She meant to be to England. The thought of that Manifesto made him shudder, when he first read it, particularly as he knew how this Country stood, in respect to other Powers, when Denmark must follow wherever Russia led, and when Sweeden was nearly at the Nod of France. Think of the probability of having the whole force of the Northern Powers against Us, already engaged in three Wars, and striving all we can to make a fourth with our old Friends and natural Allies, the States General.
There have appeared, few other Reflections, as yet, upon this great Event, the Russian declaration. Even Opposition seem afraid to lay it open, in all its Terms to the people. They repeat the Word Neutral• { 239 } ity, Neutrality, but it is very [nearly]5 as decisive a determination against them, as a declaration of War would have been, perhaps more so, because now there is a probability that the maritime Powers will be unanimous, whereas in the other Case they might have been divided. It is very surprising that the Peace between Russia and the Turk, and that between the Emperor and the King of Prussia, in which the Empress of Russia took a part as decided and spirited, as She has upon this Occasion, in both of which Negotiations the British Ministry ought to have known that Russia and France, acted in perfect Concert,6 should not have earlier dissipated their golden Visions: but so it is: and so it has been. England, as Governor Pownal says, cannot or will not see.7
The Improvement in the Law of Nations which the Empress aims at, and will undoubtedly establish, is hurtful to England, it is true, to a very great degree: but it is beneficial to all other Nations, and to none more than the United States of America, who will be Carriers, and I hope forever Neuters.
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. 504–507); endorsed: “Letter from John Adams April 26. 1780 recd. Feb 19. 81 Influence of the Northern Association on England.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “No. 53.”
1. Except for minor changes, the remainder of this paragraph is an exact quotation from the Morning Post of 18 April. As late as 12 April, the day after it had printed the text of the Russian memorial to the States General, the Morning Post reported “it is confidently said, that a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive is at last actually signed with Russia” and would “be announced to parliament soon after the recess.” On the 14th it declared that “the Russian declaration at the Hague has had the desired effect; the Dutch now finding how much the Czarina interests herself in favour of Great Britain, begin seriously to think of returning such an answer to Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial as may at least not irritate the Court of London to set them on a footing with other neutral powers.”
2. The remainder of this sentence is an exact quotation from the Morning Post of 15 April. In another account of the speech by Charles Pratt, 1st earl of Camden and former Lord Chancellor, that is much longer and quite different, he is reported to have stated that the Russian declaration “was totally subversive of the first principle of the law of nations, which had never went so far as to say that neutral bottoms protected the goods and effects of an enemy” (Parliamentary Hist., 21:446).
3. The newspaper from which this report of Lord Shelburne's speech in the House of Lords on 14 April was taken has not been identified. For a much fuller account of the speech, see Parliamentary Hist., 21:426–428.
4. David Murray, 7th viscount Stormont, was secretary of state for the southern department and responsible for European affairs. The “green Ribbon” signified his membership in the Order of the Thistle (DNB).
5. Supplied from the Letterbook.
6. JA is referring to the Russo-Turkish Convention of Ainalikawak signed in 1779 which clarified their 1774 Treaty of Kutschuk-Kainardji and to the Peace of Teschen which brought an end to the War for the Bavarian Succession between Prussia and Austria. In the first instance the French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire had assisted in the negotiations and in the second, France had been as eager as Russia to end the war (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 98–99).
{ 240 }
7. A reference to Pownall's A Memorial Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe. See A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July] (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0134

Author: Jay, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-26

From John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

I have at Length had the Pleasure of recieving your very friendly Letter of the 22d. Feby. last. It has been very long on the Road. Accept my Thanks for your kind Congratulations; and permit me to assure you that I sincerely rejoice in your having safely reached the Place of your Destination on a Business which declares the Confidence of America, and for an Object, in the Attainment of which, I am persuaded you will acquire Honor to yourself and Advantage to her.
The Circumstances you mention as Indications of the Disposition of Spain undoubtedly bear the Construction you give them. As the Count de Florida Blanca is I am told a man of Abilities, he doubtless will see and probably recommend the Policy of making a deep Impression on the Hearts of the Americans by a seasonable Acknowledgement of their Independence, and by affording such immediate Aids as their Circumstances and the obvious Interest of Spain demand. Such Measures, at this Period would turn the Respect of America for Spain, into lasting Attachment and in that Way give Strength to every Treaty they may form.
Sir John Dalrymple is here.1 He came from Portugal for the Benefit of his Ladys Health (as is said). He is now at Aranjues.2 He has seen the imperial Embassador, the Govr. of the City, Segnr. Campomaner, the Duke of Alva and several others, named to him I suppose by Lord Grantham3 who I find was much respected here. He will return thro France to Britain. I shall go to Aranjues the Day after tomorrow and shall form some Judgment of his Success by the Conduct of the Court towards America.
I am much obliged by your Remarks on the most proper Route for Letters and Intelligence to and from America and shall profit by them. You may rely on recieving the earliest Accounts and whatever interesting Information I may obtain, and that I shall be happy in every opportunity of evincing the Esteem with which I am Dear Sir Your most obedient Servant
[signed] John Jay
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Jay. Ap. 26. 1780 ansd. 13. May.”
1. Sir John Dalrymple, author of numerous legal, historical, economic, and scientific works, had no previous diplomatic experience and it is likely that his efforts in Spain had no { 241 } official sanction. Dalrymple's memorial to Conde de Floridablanca, in which he emphasized his close ties to the North ministry, proposed a joint guarantee of colonial possessions by Great Britain, France, Portugal, and Spain. The thirteen American colonies would remain in British hands, but with perhaps some modification in their government. Dalrymple apparently also offered to exchange Gibraltar for the Canary Islands. Floridablanca, who provided both Jay and the French ambassador with copies of the memorial, never seriously considered Dalrymple's proposals, but the existence of any negotiations was enough to make Vergennes suspicious of his Spanish ally (DNB; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:726–731; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 56, 60).
2. Aranjuez, the Spanish royal summer residence thirty miles south of Madrid.
3. Thomas Robinson, 2d baron Grantham, had been the British ambassador to Spain from 1771 to the outbreak of war in 1779 (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0135

Author: Carmichael, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-26

From William Carmichael

[salute] Sir

I did myself the honor of writing to you last Post in answer to yours of the 8th of April, at that time I had suspicions that a Sir John Dalrymple who has now been here near three weeks, was imployed by G. Britain to sound the Disposition of this Court and in the mean time to work under Ground for the interests of his own Country. I have been hitherto able to trace most of his motions, which are somewhat suspicious. He came hither from Lisbon under pretence or really on account of his Ladys bad State of health: He had a Passport from the Ministry here for that purpose as I have been informed from those who are personally imployed about him. He hath visited several of the Principal Grandees and all those who were most connected with Ld. Grantham. He hath been at Aranjuez, where the Royal family is at present, hath seen the French Embassador and as I have been told will soon set out for France. This last circumstance occasions me to give you the present Trouble. Altho I ought to have no other apprehension of his residence here or at Paris at this Crisis unless it be the singularity of the Circumstance, for I know he had at one time the Confidence of his King and at least that of part of the Administration. I have never heard that he hath done any thing to forfeit it. If he is imployed in the way I suspect He may be induced to pay you a visit if he passes thro Paris, which altho it may be unnecessary, induces me to put you on your Guard. I shall endeavor to inform you punctually of his rout and shall be always happy on every occasion of testifying to you and Mr. Dana how much I am Your humble Sert.
[signed] Wm. Carmichael
1. This place and date are derived from John Jay's letter of 26 April (above), which also provided an account of Sir John Dalrymple. Since JA answered the letters from Carmichael { 242 } and Jay on 12 and 13 May respectively, it seems likely that both were written at about the same time.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0136

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1780-04-28

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Friend

Since my Arrival in Europe I have had Reason to be very well Satisfied with my Reception, hitherto, in Spain, in France, and especially among the Americans in Europe. I have received Letters, from various Quarters of warm Congratulations and full of Professions, of Respect and offers of service. Such Letters I have had from Mr. Bondfield at Bordeaux, Mr. Williams and Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Livingston at Nantes, and from Mr. Jennings and Mr. W. Lee at Brussells.
I am much obliged to Mr. Johnson, for his kind Letter,1 and for good Intelligence. He has many Vessells, which arrive in Nantes to his Consignment from Baltimore: I wish that Congress, and Members of Congress, would sometimes send Letters and Newspapers to me that way: as also by another Way, I mean from Boston and Newbury Port, by the Way of Spain, Bilbao or Cadiz for Example, in this Case they should be directed to the Care of some particular Gentleman in those Cities, that he may inclose them, to avoid the enormous Expence of Postage, from America. The postage of large Packetts this Way would be terrible: but single Letters, containing, Articles and Paragraphs cut out from the Newspapers, will have a better Chance of coming soon this Way than any other. I give to Congress such tedious Histories of public affairs that I need not repeat, any of them to you, in my private Letters.
My Mission has been announced with so much Pomp, and there have been so many Speculations about me, that I expected, before this Time, the Gall of the Tories and Refugees, would attacked me, in the English Newspapers. I expected that Parson Bates and Parson Vardel would have been employed, to bespatter me, with their Dirt and Lyes: but You know very well that I am acquainted with these Gentlemen, and perhaps they may think that I am as able to tell a Truth, as well as their Parsons can tell lies.2 And I am persuaded they dread my Truths, more than I do their Lies. Hitherto however they have had the Philosophy, and magnanimity, to treat me with the Contempt I deserve.
If there should be any Representations to you, or in America, concerning me, let me beg you to acquaint me with it, by the surest { 243 } Channells and by several Ways. I have no reasons to Suspect any one in particular, but after, the Scraps, which were laid before the Committee of 13, I should not be surprised, if others should go.3 There is more Guise in Europe, than in America—the bad Passions are stronger, here, by habit, and necessity arising from their Luxury and Intrigues but they are more concealed. One sees the Reasons of the divine Precepts against Hipocrisy more clearly here than there.
There is an American here, of great Learning and Ingenuity, close Application, great Candour and good Judgment, who has been, more than any other, forward in testifying his Affection to me, and his Zeal for the service of his Country. It is Counciller Edmund Jennings a native of Maryland. He lives now at Bruxells. I could wish that his Character was more known in America. I suppose however, that Congress will for the future bestow their Commissions of Importance upon, Persons of whom they have had more Experience. I hope this will generally be the Case, for our greatest misfortunes abroad have arisen from employing Persons who were not known to Congress nor to America, who did not know, at least very lately America, and in whom America had not Sufficient Grounds of Confidence, and who had not sufficient Grounds of Confidence in America. It is a severe Misfortune that the Laurens's are not arrived, nor that I can learn likely to arrive. If they dont come, pray send somebody else.
Adieu.
RC (MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.); endorsed: “Paris Letter His Excellency J Adams Esq 28th. April 1780 ansd Jany 20 1781” additionally marked: “No Sig.”
1. Of 22 April (above).
2. Rev. Henry Bate (later Sir Henry Bate Dudley) was the editor of the pro-ministry Morning Post (DNB). For Rev. John Vardill, formerly a professor at King's (Columbia) College and from 1775 to 1781 a British spy, see vol. 3:55–56.
3. For Congress' “Committee of Thirteen” and its consideration of charges against American diplomats in Europe, including one by Ralph Izard against JA, see James Lovell's letters of 13 June and 14 Sept. 1779 (vol. 8:86–91, 147–152, and index).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-28

To the President of Congress, No. 54

Paris, 28 April 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 508–510). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:635–639.
In Wharton's printing, the dates for the paragraphs beginning “Hague 23. April” and “Hague 22 April” should be reversed. This long letter, which Congress received on 19 Feb. 1781, was based on newspaper accounts from Hamburg, London, and The Hague. Adams first reported the communication of Russia's declaration of an armed neutrality to the cities of Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen. The bulk of the letter consists of the texts of the British Order in Council of 17 April suspending its treaties with the Netherlands (from William Lee, 25 April, { 244 } and note 1, above); two reports by the Dutch province of Groningen, the first calling for convoys for all non-contraband goods and the second recommending that the States General refuse the assistance demanded by Britain under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674; and the resolution of 13 April by the States of Holland calling for the acceptance of the Russian invitation to join a League of Armed Neutrality. Adams also noted the decision of the Dutch province of Gelderland to call for unlimited convoys and the refusal of the aid demanded by Britain.
Reflecting on these and other events, John Adams predicted the likelihood of Britain becoming involved in a war with the Netherlands, Russia, and the other neutral powers, and observed: “When, where or in what manner, we shall see the Unravelling of the Vast Plot, that is acting in the World, is known only to Providence. Although my Mind has been full twenty Years preparing to expect great Scenes, yet I confess the Wonders of this Revelation exceed all that I ever foresaw or imagined. That our Country so young as it is, so humble as it is, thinking but lately, so meanly of itself should thus Interest the Passions, as well as employ the Reason of all Mankind in its favour, and effect in so short a Space of Time, not only thirteen Revolutions of Government at home, but so compleatly accomplish a Revolution in the system of Europe, and in the Sentiments of every Nation in it, is what no human Wisdom perhaps could foresee.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 508–510). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:635–639.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0138

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Ross, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-28

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I attend to what you mention by Capt. C.1 the 15th. Instant, and have in consequence, some days ago shippd for Ostend, in a box marked A, with a card direction to Monsr. Frs. Bowens Merchant there, sundry pamphlets and papers as you require;2 and have written to Mr. B to forward it on in the manner He may think safest, and to hereafter attend to any other parcels I may send in the same way. It may be better you write to Him and point out the mode of conveyance from Ostend to Paris which you may think best. This will be by much the best way for Books or Pamphlets when private opportunitys (which are very rare) do not offer; but it will not do so well for News papers as the ordering them immidiately yourself from the Post Masters at Paris, who, having an understanding with the Post Office here, can get any papers by post which you may want. The morning Papers you mention, and the one I have lately sent, will be sufficient, and those of the Evening, two will answer your purpose; they come out alternate. The London Evening Post, and the London Packet. I could get a friend who is concernd in the neutral Vessels and who lives near the tower, to send you a packet of these papers of every 8 { 245 } or 10 days, as the vessels may sail, directed as the Box is to Mr. Bowens, if you think this a better mode; at any rate I will do it (in order that you may be supplyd with the Papers) until I get your answer to this letter, or the fixing on any other mode. I will continue to You the Courant, because it shews every movement of the People here relative to Petitions assosiations the proceedings of the Deputies &c. &c. For this reason I sent you a bound parcell compleat from the 25 Novr. to the 18 Apr. and a few loose ones to the 26th which I had done up for the purpose of sending to a more distant quarter. I will make up another parcell of Pamphlets in a few days and forward them as the last were sent.3 I am obligd to You for the Pamphlet by Dr. L,4 when it comes to your hands revisd and as the Establishd Law, I pray You send it to me together with any papers that are worth publishing here, if the parcell is too heavy for post, send them to Mr. Bowens who will forward them by neutral vessels to the person near the Tower who will send You the papers and shipps most of my packages. By such a channell as this, (which I have long been wishing for) many useful publications may come to light. I will keep an account open for the Expence of so doing, and will apply to M. Louis Tessier (whom I have applyd to on former occasions) for my riembursement; better that Monsr. G——d should write a line to Him, for me to deliver, to pay me these sums as they are calld for. You will have annexd a list of what I have already sent you.5
We have at length got news of Gen. Clinton, which came by a packet from N York which saild from thence the 30th. March.6 It appears (tho there are no official dispatches from Clinton Himself) that the fleet after being much buffetted about by the Storm and with the loss of four or five transports, got to Tybee about the begining of Feby. and that the body of the fleet got to the Bars of Chs. Town the 9 or 10th. March, and were nearly landed the 12th. when the Russell man of War saild from thence to N York with the account. It appears they have occupied some posts 8 or 10 miles from Cs. Town particularly that of Stono ferry, but have neither attackd James fort nor fort Sullivan. By the Ministerial reports we are informd Lincolns army was between 5 and 6,000 Men well posted out of the Town, and that some strong works had been thrown up on the neck and to defend the Town. The Army of Clinton when it saild consisted of 7,500 Men and he took a Regiment with him from Georgia; every account says He will not have more than 5,500 men effectives to opperate with, and I think from the feeble flat manner the whole storey is told in the New York papers and from the accounts I have gatherd since the { 246 } packets arrival that his force is not equal to the possessing Chas. Town. He has but one ship of the line and 4 or 5 lesser men of war to act against the Forts and Town; there are 5 or 6 American and french frigates within the harbour, and if Fort Sullivan is as strong as it was in 1776, I think with the united Naval Force it will be able to give the British Ships of war a second drubbing. It cannot be many days before we have accounts here of the decided fate of the place. There are many particulars in the news papers, which you will have as soon as this, but the above is the substance of what I hear.
The late Russian Memorial for Neutrality is not at all relishd by the Ministerealists here, 'tho they attempt to palliate it by saying it is only a manoeuvere of that Court for arming their Ships, which when armd, are to join England, this is too bad to be related, but such is the conversation of some who are determind to go on blindfolded to distruction. It appears that Holland has acceeded to the wish of Russia in the substance of that memorial for neutrality and they are seemingly determind to defend their Ships at Sea against English Cruisers. If some better understanding does not soon take place between this Court and the States, it is more than probable there will soon be a dutch war. How the northern powers of Sweeden and Denmark Stand, you are better informd than I can be. Portugal most likely will acceed to it, for they seem bent upon neutrality If such a disirable state will be allowd them.
The Parliament of Ireland on the two late great national questions, has produced a majority of 39 in favour of the Court, tho directly contrary to the wishes of a great majority of the People.7 The Commons have been touchd with English Gold or English paper, and have provd themselves as corrupt as another parliament nearer me. It is most likely the disputes will not stop there but that the People will right themselves.
Every body hereabouts seems sick of the American War, but how to get rid of it is the question. The State of that war will be probably canvassd next Tuesday, when Gen. Conway is to make a motion relative to accomodation with America.8 Much secrecy is observd as to the substance of his intended motion, but some folks think He will move for some profers to be made to America on the preliminary of a truce; but then the sending this profer over to America puts at so remote a period in point of time, as to make some friends speak discourageingly of the proposition or motion. Most likely some Members of that House such as Gen. C——y and Govr. P——l, are urgd by Ministers9 to bring forth such conversations in the House in order { 247 } to feel the pulses of its members upon that topic. If they could well do it, I beleive they would try to get the opinion of Mr. J. A. (whom I understand is at Paris a Commission to speak upon peace) upon the mode of making profers to America for tho our ministers try to make people beleive they know not the nature of Mr. A——ms's Commission, yet I cannot suppose them so blind and ignorant not to know something of the nature of it.10 I am your very Obt. Servt.
[signed] Wm. Ross
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San &c. &c. Paris” docketed by CFA: “W. S. C. 28. April 1780.”
1. Isaac Cazneau.
2. According to the list enclosed with Digges' letter of 8 June (below), enumerating the packages and their contents sent to JA through 10 June, this box was dispatched on 25 April. Digges, however, indicates later in the present letter that the package contained newspapers up to 26 April.
3. According to Digges' letter of 8 June (below), the second package was sent on 6 May.
4. For the pamphlet carried by George Logan, The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, see Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 2 (above).
5. No list enclosed with this letter has been found, but see notes 2 and 3.
6. Digges' account of the situation at Charleston is essentially a digest of reports appearing in London newspapers on or about 28 April. For the British invasion fleet, the forces available to Clinton, and the opening of the siege, see Digges' letter of 3 March, note 6 (above); for a detailed account of the siege that led to the surrender of Charleston on 12 May, see Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, N.Y., 1982, p. 438–449.
7. For Ireland the two great national issues were the repeal of Poyning's Law of 1495 and the Irish Declaratory Act of 1719, thereby resulting in Irish legislative independence (to Edmund Jenings, 27 Feb., note 5, vol. 8:370–371). On 19 April, Henry Grattan moved “that the King's Most Excellent Majesty and the Lords and Commons of Ireland, were the only power competent to bind, or enact laws in this kingdom.” After a long debate the motion was postponed and never considered again. The vote to which Digges refers came at the end of the debate on an amendment to the motion which declared “the Irish to be subjects as free as the English.” The amendment was defeated 136 to 97. For the debate, see the London Courant of 27 April.
8. For Conway's motions, see Digges' letter of 2 May (below).
9. “By Ministers” was interlined.
10. JA inclosed an extract (not found) from this letter in his note of 5 May to Vergennes (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E-U., vol. 12). Vergennes' letter of 10 May and JA's reply of the 12th (both below) indicate that the extract was probably this final paragraph.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0139

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-28

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My Dear friend

This letter will be handed to you by Dr. John Foulke2 (a Graduate in our University) a young gentleman of a respectable Quaker family who goes to France to finish his Studies in Medicine. He is a youth of a fair character, and promising Abilities, and friendly to the liberties of his country.
It gave me great pleasure to hear of your safe Arrival, and favourable reception in Spain. We long to hear of your entering upon the { 248 } business of your embassy. I almost envy your Children the happiness of calling that man their father who After contributing his Share towards giving liberty and independance, will finally be honoured as the instrument of restoring peace to the united States of America.
Our Affairs wear their usual checkered Aspect. Our Governments are daily acquiring new Strength. Our Army which I saw a few weeks ago at Morristown3 has improved greatly since our former correspondence in discipline, Oeconomy, and healthiness. The number of our Soldiers is small, occasioned not by a decay of the military, or whiggish Spirit among us, but by the want of money to purchase recruits. The new Scheme of Congress for calling in the circulating money at 40 to 1, will I beleive be adopted with some Alterations by the States.4 This will We hope restore to our counsels and arms the vigor of 1775.
The french Alliance is not less dear to the true Whigs than independance itself. The Chevr. de la Luzerne has made even the tories forget in some degree, in his liberality and politeness, the Meschianzas5 of their British friends. Monsr. Gerard is still dear to the faithful citizens of America. We call him the “Republican Minister.”
Charlestown is in Jeopardy, but we beleive all things will work together for good for those who love the good old cause—the cause not to be repented off. Commerce and agriculture flourish in Spite of the power of Britain by land and water, and even Pennsylvania enjoys a temporary Security for property and life under her new Constitution.
Adieu—Compts: to Mr. Dana. Yours—yours—yours
[signed] Benjn: Rush
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble: John Adams Esqr: (of the United States) now at Paris.” endorsed: “Dr. Rush Ap. 28. ansd. 1 July.” docketed by CFA: “1780.”
1. JA enclosed an extract from this letter, probably the 3d and 4th paragraphs, in his letter of 2 July to Vergennes (below).
2. John Foulke, who remained abroad until at least 1783, was later a prominent teacher and physician in Philadelphia (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:98; Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:252).
3. Rush had been to Washington's headquarters at Morristown in March to testify against William Shippen Jr., Director General of Hospitals for the Continental Army, at his court martial (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:247–249).
4. On 18 March Congress adopted a plan that was intended to stem the runaway inflation that was crippling the economy and damaging the war effort. Under the new measure the monthly payments by the states, which had been set at $15,000,000 by a resolution of 7 Oct. 1779, would be redeemed at the rate of forty continental dollars to one Spanish milled dollar (JCC, 16:262–267, 15:1150). This had the immediate effect of revaluing the existing emission from $200,000,000 to $5,000,000, but was to result in a new emission, as the old was redeemed and destroyed over a period of approximately thirteen months, of $10,000,000. So that they would retain their value, the new bills were to be backed by both the states and { 249 } Congress and carry a five percent interest rate. The plan failed because it proved impossible for the states to remit all of the funds due Congress in the form of continental currency, with the result that by June of 1781 only $31,000,000 of the old emission had been retired. At that point the currency was valued at 500 to 1 and for all intents had ceased to exist except as a vehicle for speculation (E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 51–53, 64–66).
For the effect of Congress' action on JA's relations with Vergennes, see The Revaluation Controversy, 16 June –1 July, Editorial Note; Vergennes to JA, 21 June; JA to Vergennes, 22 June (second letter), all below.
5. For a description of the mischianza, the elaborate farewell pageant staged by Sir William Howe's officers upon his departure from Philadelphia in May 1778, see Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1972, p. 298–299.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0140

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-04-29

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

Do you think it worth while to work into your next Article, from London, the following Observation of Lord Bolinbroke?
“The precise Point, at which the Scales of power turn, like that of the Solstice, in either Tropic, is imperceptible to common Observation; and, in one case, as in the other, Some progress must be made, in the new direction, before the change is perceived. They who are in the sinking Scale, for in the political ballance of power, unlike to all others, the Scale that is empty Sinks, and that which is full rises; they who are in the Sinking Scale do not easily come off, from the habitual prejudices of Superiour Wealth, or power, or Skill, or courage, nor from the Confidence, that these Prejudices inspire. They who are in the rising Scale, do not immediately feel their Strength, nor assume that Confidence in it, which successfull Experience gives them afterwards. They who are the most concerned to watch the Variations of this ballance, misjudge often, in the Same manner, and from the Same Prejudices. They continue to dread a Power no longer able to hurt them, or they continue to have no apprehension of a Power, that grows daily more formidable. Spain verified, the first Observation, when proud and poor, and enterprizing and feeble, she Still thought, herself a Match for France, France verified the Second Observation, when the tripple Alliance, Stopped the Progress of her Arms, which Alliances much more considerable, were not able to effect afterwards. The other principal powers of Europe, in their turns, have verified the third Observation in both its parts.”1
Sketch of the History and State of Europe.
These Observations were never more remarkably verified, than in these times. The English proud and porr, and enterprising and feeble, { 250 } Still think themselves a Match for France and Spain, and America2 if not for all the World, but this delirium cannot last long.
France and Spain and Holland continue to dread, a Power no longer able to hurt them, but this will be over as Soon.
England continues to have Small Apprehensions of Powers, that grow daily more formidable but these Apprehensions will increase every day.
Your Correspondant from London or Antwerp, among his Lamentations over the Blindness and Obstinacy, and Madness of the Ministry, may introduce these Observations with Propriety enough.
The Ballance of Power, was never perhaps Shifted, in So remarkable a manner, and in So short a Space of Time. If the Minds of the French and Spaniards had grown in Confidence, in proportion to the Growth of their power; and if the Confidence of the English, had decreased in proportion to the diminution of theirs, it would have been all over, with England, before now.
You know very well, that Lord Bolinbroke was the most eloquent Writer, that England ever produced. His political Writings, particularly, are more admired than any in that Language. His Name and Authority, added to the obvious Truth of these Observations, and their apposite Application to the present times, will make an Impression upon many minds, in all the nations at War. If you think so, and that it will increase the Spirit of our Friends, and diminish the Insolence of our Ennemies, as it ought, you will make Use of it, in your own excellent manner. If not, burn it.
Your Friend
1. This quotation is from letter 7, “A Sketch of the State and History of Europe, from the Pyrenean Treaty in 1659, to the Year 1688,” in Henry St. John, viscount Bolingbroke, Letters on the Study and Use of History, 2 vols., London, 1752, 1:259–261. Genet printed the piece, together with JA's comments on it, in the Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles” (p. 128–129), of 20 May.
2. The preceding two words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-04-29

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Confidential & secret
Dear Sir

Thank you for yours of 24. The Pamphlet, was printed by Almon, at the Desire of a Mr. Hollis who took <an extravagant> mild fancy to the dissertation on the cannon and feudal Law, had it printed and { 251 } bound in an elegant manner, and sent it as a present to Harvard Colledge in Cambridge, with a Compliment written in it with his own Hand. It was a long story, but it began with these Words “this is the finest Production that has ever appeared from North America, the author of it was said to be Jeremy Gridley Esq. but I find that the Author of it happily, still lives.” He wrote to his Correspondant Dr. Elliot to enquire, who wrote it. Elliot at last heard from a Gentleman that knew that it was John Adams. He came to me to know. I told him it was no secret who wrote it, he desired I would give him leave to mention my name. I told him I had rather be excused for the present. Hollis wrote over immediately that the Province ought to choose me their Agent at the Court of St. James's, and 20 other Extravagancies of the like sort.1 The thing itself is indeed but a Bagatelle: but the Time when it was written and the Effect it certainly produced at the Time, make it of some importance, in a public View as a document of History, but of more Importance to me, and my Children, as a family Memorial.
Thank you for the Newspaper, and am of your mind, that all Endeavours in parliament to reform, will be ineffectual. Reformation must be made in a Congress if any Way. Corruption has too many hereditary, and legal Supporters in Parliament. Whether it has or not out of parliament is the question. Whether there is enough of Unanimity and Firmness among the people, to struggle against this formidable phalanx? But one thing seems clear, that either the remaining Virtue in the Nation must overcome the Corruption, or the Corruption will wholly exterminate the remaining Virtue. I see but one Alternative and no middle Way. Either Absolute Monarchy, or a Republic and Congress. I am happy to see that York, Surrey and Hertford have resolved against the American War. We shall see whether these Examples will be followed.
The Astonishment is great Every, where, at the Proclamation against the Dutch, which is in Effect, little Short of a Declaration of War against Holland, and Russia. Russia has said I will. England has said you shall not. We shall see, how this question will be decided. The Lady has on several occasions discerned a Spirit that is not to be trifled with. Do you know the Character of Panin?2 We see in the Instance of England, what has been observed in a Multitude of Examples, before that nations do not easily come off, from the Prejudices, of Superiour Wealth, or Power, Skill or Courage, nor from the Confidence which these prejudices Inspire.3 We see in the Examples of France Spain and Holland, that they who are on the rising { 252 } Hand do not immediately feel their Strength, nor assume that confidence in it, which Successfull Experience gives them afterwards. They continue to dread a power, no longer able to hurt them. Observations which were applied to Spain, and the nations at War with her heretofore, when she was in a situation, very similar to the present Case of G. Britain. But her Pride came down and so must that of G. Britain. I am afraid Mr. Laurens is not coming. I see he was chosen, by Carolina, a Delegate to Congress, in January, I think.4 Your Friend Gates will have the Honour of, ruining Clinton yet.
Adieu
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Mr <Genet.> Jenings.” In the Letterbook JA's letter of 29 April to Edmé Jacques Genet was the second letter after that to Jenings.
1. For the pamphlet, True Sentiments of America, London, 1768, see JA to Jenings, 20 April, and note 2; and Jenings' reply of 24 April, and note 2 (both above). For the letters of 27 Sept. and 17 Oct. 1768 from Rev. Andrew Eliot, then minister of Boston's New North Church, to Thomas Hollis identifying JA as the author of the “Dissertation,” see MHS, Colls., 4th ser., 4 [1858]:426–427, 434. Hollis' reply in which he recommended JA's appointment as Massachusetts' agent in England was dated 10 May 1769 (MHi:Thomas Hollis Papers).
2. The preceding two sentences were interlined. Count Nikita Ivanovitch Panin was Catherine II's chancellor, responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs as president of the college of foreign affairs (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 17–18).
3. In this and the following five sentences JA is paraphrasing a passage from Viscount Bolingbroke's Letters on the Study and Use of History that he quotes exactly in his letter of 29 April to Edmé Jacques Genet (above).
4. Before assuming his post as commissioner to negotiate a commercial treaty and loan with the Netherlands, Henry Laurens returned to South Carolina to seek reelection to Congress as an endorsement of his mission. He was reelected on 1 Feb. (Wallace, Life of Henry Laurens, p. 353; Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 14: xxiii).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-04-29

To William Lee

[salute] Dear sir

I have the Honour of yours of the 25th. and am in equal pain with you for Charlestown, especially Since the Arrival of A Vessell at Nantes from Baltimore, which brings a certain Account of Clintons Arrival the latter End of February, at the southward, with forty five Ships, escaped from the Wreck of the Tempest. There is no certain Account of his Landing nor of the precise Place where he intended to land. G. Gates was appointed to command in the southern department, and was gone thither, but am not certain that he was arrived. Gates is a Master of his Profession, and possesses the Confidence and Affection of the American soldier and Citizen, So that, if Clinton should get in Possession of Charlestown, it will be but the Tryumph of a day, serve to give the Ministry a momentary Ecclat, and damp { 253 } the Ardour of <Committees> Associations for a few days: but it will serve the Cause of Patriotism in the End, by exhausting the ministerial forces in that Part, by leaving more scope for the Armaments from Brest and Cadiz, wherever they are destined.
Nil admirari,1 is my Maxim in Politicks. I am not surprised at the Proclamation, annulling all Treaties with the Dutch. This ministry leave themselves no other Resource but such desperate measures. They pledge themselves, ignorantly and blindly, in such a manner, that when Events turn up, ever so much against their Plan, they are bound in honour to go on. They cannot retract nor receed. And So sure, as they now exist they will go on, untill Force and Arms, obstruct them at home.
I wish with you, that Mr. L. was in Holland, but I fear he is not coming. I see by an American Paper that in Jany. I think he was reelected into Congress, which looks As if, he was not only there, but did not intend to come. The Dutch may expect what they please, but they will expect to all Eternity, if they expect, one Iota of an exclusive Priviledge in American trade. I wonder in Gods name what obligation We are under to the dutch? Nor can I conceive what Pretensions they can have to the Fishery, on the Banks of Newfoundland.
I dont remember to have heard particularly, of your answer being read in Congress. I heard your Brothers was, from Several Quarters, and I doubt not yours was.2 I know nothing of that Gentlemans being in Congress, there was a paragraph inserted in a Fish Kill Newspaper, that the following are the Delegates for Connecticut, and then mentioned that Gentlemans name and Eleven others. But it appeared to me a manifest fiction. I am myself persuaded, he is not, and will not soon be. I wish I knew the name of that Gentlemans Agent and Correspondent in Holland.
Adieu
1. Nothing astonishes. These are the opening words of the sixth letter in bk. 1 of Horace's Epistles.
2. Arthur Lee's answer of 10 Feb. 1779 to Silas Deane's address “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of the United States” was read on 16 July 1779 (JCC, 14:843). For William Lee's answer to the same document, see his letter of 25 April, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0143

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-29

To the President of Congress, No. 55

Paris, 29 April 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 3–5). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); marked: “55.” printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640–642.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, { 254 } John Adams provided information that had appeared in London newspapers between 11 and 18 April. He included the names of the newly appointed commander and principal officers of the channel fleet and summarized reports from Portsmouth regarding mutinies by the crews of the Invincible and Resolution over pay. Both vessels were part of the Rear Adm. Thomas Graves' fleet that was intended to intercept the French fleet under Ternay (see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, and note 5, above). Adams quoted from resolutions opposing the war in America adopted on 14 April by a meeting of “the freeholders of the county of Surry” (see Edmund Jenings' letter of 24 April, and note 3, above). In a postscript, not printed by Wharton, Adams quoted from resolutions adopted by the County of Hertford on 17 April to the effect that the war in America, “by obliging Us to carry all our Forces to that Quarter puts us out of a Condition to resist with Vigour, As We might otherwise do, the united Efforts of France and Spain while the Said War produces no other Effect upon the Americans than to add to the Enmity, which has but too long subsisted between Us: an Enmity, of which We have felt, the fatal Effects, and which by putting an obstacle to our Union, threatens England, with a Ruin as compleat as it is inevitable.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 3–5). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); marked: “55.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640–642.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-04-29

To the President of Congress, No. 56

Paris, 29 April 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 1–2). LbC (Adams Papers); marked: “56.” printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640.
Congress received this letter on 16 October. Relying on newspaper accounts, John Adams reported on the number and size of the warships forming the fleets commanded by Como. Robert Walsingham and Rear Adm. Thomas Graves and their departure on 8 and 11 April respectively. He then estimated the strength of the British West Indian fleet if the vessels under Walsingham and Graves were joined with those commanded by Rodney and Vice Adm. Sir Hyde Parker, the British commander in the West Indies. Adams noted, however, that there were conflicting rumors about Graves' destination. Finally, he told of the return of the fleet under Walsingham, reportedly because a French fleet was in its path (see Edmé Jacques Genet's letter of 29 April, below).
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 1–2). LbC (Adams Papers); marked: “56.” printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:640.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0145-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-29

From Edmé Jacques Genet

J'ai l honneur d'envoyer à Monsieur Adams une Notice Sûre des Flottes parties de Brest dans le tems où Walsingham a eu avis que l'Escadre francoise paroissoit a l'ouvert de la manche, et qu'une terreur panique l'a fait retourner à Plimouth, quoi qu'il eût le vent bon pour continuer Sa route. Il Seroit amusant de voir ces détails dans les papiers anglois, et qu'ils y fussent présentés comme bien autentiques.1

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0145-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-29

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

I have the honor to send Mr. Adams a reliable account of the fleet which left Brest at the same time that Walsingham was informed that the French squadron would appear at the entrance of the Channel and, in total panic, returned to Plymouth, despite having a favorable wind to continue his voyage. It should be amusing to see these details in the British newspapers, particularly if presented as authentic.1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “M. J. Adams rue de Richelieu.”
1. JA included this report regarding Como. Robert Walsingham's fleet in his second letter of this date to the president of Congress (No. 56, calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0146

Author: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-29

From the Comte de Sarsfield

Count Sarsfield thinks, that, though in fact it is an injury done to his friendship for Mr. Adams, Mr. Adams doth not Know him so thoroughly as not to suspect him of having neglected the commission he gave him about Mr. de Malesherbes's remonstrances.1
He will most likely wonder at their being prohibited, nothing however is more true there is a [Very?] great difficulty to get them. Count Sarsfield [bestirs?] him Self, has given orders and till now could not succeed.
Perchance Mr. Adams could succeed better as a foreigner. He must apply to one Mos. Amaury a bookseller Au palais (the Palais is our Westminster Hall) but if he finds them there, he is desired to give forthwith notice of his good luck to Count Sarsfield to avoid getting two copies of those performances as there is a man searching for one in every corner of the town.
Count Sarsfield wishes to Know if this note was understood, for if not he will write another in french. Begs Mr. Adams and Mr. Dana to be persuaded of his most Sincere Attachment.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “a Monsieur Monsieur Adams ministre Plenipotentaire des Etats Deunis D'Amerique a l hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu” endorsed: “Comte Sarsefield” in another hand: “1780.”
1. See JA's letter of 24 April to Sarsfield (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Watson, Elkanah Jr.
Date: 1780-04-30

To Elkanah Watson Jr.

[salute] Sir

Your Letter of the 10th. of March, I recieved but Yesterday. I recollect that General Warren mentioned to me, his having given You Letters to me, but I cant recollect seeing those Letters. I am obliged to You for writing to me, and if it should be in my power to be of any Service to You, it will give me pleasure to do it, altho' I have not the Satisfaction to know You personally. I have been so long from home and so much longer from Plymouth, that it is impossible for me to say any thing of your Character, but this that I doubt not it is good, having no Cause to suspect otherwise. Your Family I know very well to be one of the most respectable in the County of Plymouth. Your Father, I had the Honor to know very well,1 and I know that he was, in those days universally respected to have an independent hereditary Fortune which I have no doubt he still possesses undiminished, very probably, with large Additions to it, by the profits of Business. [I knew] too, that in ancient Times (for I must talk to [you like] an old Man), when the Friends to the American cause were not so numerous, nor so determined as they are now, we always found your Father firm and consistent, as a friend to his Country. This I know, for more than ten Years before the Commencement of the War, and therefore have no difficulty in believing, that he has been since that period uniformly strenuous in Support of Independence.
You tell me, Sir, You wish to cultivate your Manners, before You begin your Travels; and since You have had so much Confidence in me, as to write to me upon this Occasion, permit me, to take the Liberty of advising You to cultivate the Manners of your own Country, not those of Europe. I don't mean by this that You should put on a long face, never dance with the Ladies, go to a play, or take a Game of Cards. But you may depend upon this, that the more decisively You adhere to a manly Simplicity in Your Dress, Equipage, and Behaviour, the more You devote yourself to Business and Study, and the less to Dissipation and Pleasure, the more You will recommend yourself to every Man and Woman in this Country whose Friendship or Acquaintance is worth your having or wishing. There is an Urbanity without Ostentation or Extravagance, which will succeed every where, and at all Times. You will excuse this freedom, on account of my friendship for your Father, and consequently for You, and because { 257 } I know that some young Gentlemen have come to Europe with different Sentiments, and have consequently injured the Character of their Country as well as their own both here [and at home.] All Europe knows that it was [American manners] that have produced such great [Effects from that] young and tender Country. I should [be glad to] hear from You, as often as You please [and shall be glad to] recieve from You any Intelligence, [from America] or elsewhere, and to wait on You in [Paris. You] may show this Letter in whole or in Part, to Mr. Williams and Mr. Schweighauser, to both of whom You will please my Compliments, and to any others that You think proper.

[salute] I am with much Respect, Sir, your most obedient & humble Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (N:Elkanah Watson Papers); notation between the dateline and greeting in Watson's hand: “(Letter from John Adams I was then 22 years of Age at the College at Ancenis on the Rivre Loire 24 Miles E. of Nantes in France).” LbC (Adams Papers). The recipient's copy is damaged with the loss of a number of words, particularly on the third page, which have been supplied from the Letterbook.
1. JA probably knew Elkanah Watson Sr. from visits to Plymouth. He had also represented him in the case of Watson v. Caesar in 1771 (JA, Legal Papers, 2:50).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0148

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Williams, Jonathan
Date: 1780-04-30

To Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dr. sir

I have, this day recieved your favour of the 25th.,1 which gave me the first Intimation I had of your Intentions for Home.2 I am glad to learn that Captain Snelling delivered the Letters to you. I will endeavour to Send Some more, by Captain Jones or Some other Safe hand: but are you not Suspicious of your Passage? Be Sure to keep with your Convoy: for my own part I hardly see a Possibility of an unarmed Vessells geting safe over, without. We were surrounded by 5 or 6, very sawcy Privateers at a time, when I went home, and nothing but our twelve Pounders saved Us and the Convoy. I wish you, a safe and agreable Passage, and an happy sight of your Friends. You could not have a better month to sail. Pray do you take Mrs. Williams, to America? I have never had opportunity to wish you and Mrs. Williams happy, in Words, I have ever done so in my Heart. My Respects to your Father, and your Unkle and all Frids. I am with much respect & Esteem yr most obt. servant
{ 258 }
1. Not found.
2. JA learned from a subsequent conversation with Benjamin Franklin that the letter of 25 April was not from Jonathan Williams, Franklin's nephew and the person to whom this letter is addressed (to Williams, 14 May, below). Williams, who married Mariamne Alexander in 1779, did not return to America until 1785 (DAB). Nor was the letter from JA's former law clerk, Jonathan Williams III. He had already left for America where he died on 1 May (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:390).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0149

Author: Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-01

From François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury

[salute] My dear sir

I expected for writting to you, that I could tell, the wind serves, we sail to Morrow for your dear Country, and in six weeks hence, I shall see Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Dana, but since twenty days that we are on board, the wind has been Constantly to the south-west; it is only since this morning that we expect it will Come to the north, or est.
To Morrow, I hope, we shall sail, for ——xxx you know it better than I; but I can neither suppose or desire, that our expedition be entended for N. York. I think sooner, we go at New port, and our squadron, will at the meantime Cruze before Sandy Hook, to starve the british in their inexpugnable Lines. We are too few, for any thing else, and if we do attempt Rashly any important attacks, we may find an other Savanah.1
Whatever may be the place of our Landing in America, I hope to find means of forwarding, your Letters, to your familly and friends, and if it is Rhode Iland, I shall my self go to Braintree et Cambridge, and be the bearer of your packets.
Farewell. Be happy as much I desire & you deserve it, & believe me with a Respect equal to my gratitude for your kindness, your most obedient humble servant.
[signed] L. Fleury2
My best Respects to Mr. Dana, & your familly.
1. A reference to Estaing's failed siege of Savannah, Ga., in September and October 1779. See Arthur Lee to JA, 24 Sept. 1779, note 2 (vol. 8:169–170).
2. For a sketch of Fleury, who had served as a volunteer in the Continental Army between 1776 and 1779 and who returned to America with Rochambeau's army in 1780, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:317. Fleury carried JA's letter of 24 March and two small packages to AA, which were received on 23 July (same, 3:316–317, 381; 4:1).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-02

To the President of Congress, No. 57

Paris, In this letter, { 259 } which Congress received on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams included an English translation of a memorial presented by the French ambassador to the States General on 26 April (given as 10 April in Wharton) that announced the repeal of the fifteen percent tariff levied by France on most Dutch goods by various decrees in 1778 and 1779, together with the return of all duties collected on Dutch goods that had entered France while the tariff was in effect. Adams also reported that news from The Hague as late as 26 April indicated that the various Dutch provinces and the States General were prepared to reject British demands for assistance under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch treaties; to grant unlimited convoys for Dutch merchant ships except those carrying goods explicitly labeled as contraband in existing treaties; and to accept Catherine II's invitation to join in a league of armed neutrals. He then communicated the substance of an instruction that the provinces of Holland and West Friesland proposed be sent by the States General to its ambassador in London totally rejecting Lord Stormont's justification of Como. Charles Fielding's seizure of the Dutch convoy. John Adams then noted Sweden's authorization of convoys, general European support for the French and Russian diplomatic position, and the general consensus in Europe that Britain now would seek peace. He disagreed with the last point, stating that “Signal Success on the part of the Allies, might compel them to it but signal Success in favor of the English, would urge them giddily on, no one can say to what lengths.” Finally, he gave the substance of a “speculative Article from Brussells” on the positions of Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands with regard to the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality and how it might effect the duration and outcome of the war.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 7–14). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:644–648.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0151

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I am this day honord with your favor of the 25th. The post of this day from Rochfort brings advice of the arrival at Isl deé1 of a Small Vessel from Baltimore that left the Bay the 28 March. The Commandant at Bell Isl writes the advices brought by the Sloop are that Clinton had receved in Georgia a Compleat defeat and Genl. Washington with 14000 Man had open'd the Seige of New York. I give you the Channel by which we came at this inteligence of its authenticity you will if it be real in a day or two have the fullest information.
They write from Cadiz 10000 Troops are orderd to embark imediately on board the Fleet fitting at that port destind for the West Indies others give out they are to join the Fleet fitted out at Brest under Mr. de Ternay of the Madeiras and the Combind Fleets are to proceed to the United States.
The delay the french Fleet has sustaind at Brest is said to spring { 260 } | view from a want of Funds to form the Military Chest for the Expedition it is scarce probable but it is given as the true Cause. What has L. R de C2 to say in the Naval Department. Mr. Williams while I remaind at Nantes sent off by order of that Gentleman a very considerable supply of Cloathing and Broad Cloths. If for the American Army it is a very exelent method of transporting them in French Men of War.3
Having offerd our Ships to The Doctor who referd us to Mr. Le R de C. our terms were found too high which answer we received thro' Mr. Williams conveyed to him by Mr. De C. and as the Capital is too considerable to send over for one House we are constraind to alter our plan and propose taking the freight offer'd by this Government for their Islands. We are sorry to be forced to renounce sending our ships to America but the premiums are so exorbitant we cannot sail in that Trade without Loss in Ships of value.
The wine you was pleased to Commissio[n] me was forwarded by our friend Mr. Tesier4 last friday. He assures me the quality will be found to your wishes inclosed you have the Cost and charges amounting to 390. 12s which I have past to your debit.
We wait with anxiety the arrival of saturdays post that we may see the Steps Holland will pursue in virtue of the declaration of England. Affairs are ripening it cannot be long before some very extraordinary sceens must take place in Great Britain. We have a report of Mons. De Luxemburg5 being gone to England in a private line, this has given cause to many Speculative Sentiments at any rate we expect to see a very vigerous Campaign.
We are told the Docter has been very Sick I have not been honord with a line from him of some time. Wi[th] due respect I have the Honor to be Sir [yo]ur very hhb Sert
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esq Hotel Valois Rue Richelieu Paris” endorsed: “Mr Bondfield 2 May. 1780.” Portions of three words on the third page were lost when the seal was removed.
1. Bondfield likely means the Ile de Ré opposite La Rochelle and northwest of Rochefort. His mention of a letter by the commandant at Belle Ile probably indicates that the sloop put into Belle Ile, which is considerably north of Rochefort opposite St. Nazaire, before proceeding on to its final destination.
2. Le Ray de Chaumont.
3. Acting under Benjamin Franklin's orders, Jonathan Williams had collected large quantities of clothing and blankets at Brest between 21 March and 15 April for shipment to the Continental Army. Williams, however, managed to place only a small portion of the merchandise aboard a single transport in Ternay's convoy (Jonathan Williams to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 6 April and 25 July, PCC, No. 90, f. 601; No. 78, XXIV, f. 217–222).
4. Probably Pierre Texier, a merchant whom JA had met in Bordeaux in April 1778 and with whom he dined when he passed through Bordeaux in Jan. 1780 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:294, 433; 4:38–39, 239; see also JA to Bondfield, 10 June, below).
5. “Mons. De Luxemburg” remains unidentified.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0152

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Russell, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr Sir

You will have read, before this can reach you, the Gazette account of the Chas. Town Expedition; which is universally esteemed here rather a disagreeable account for Government, and plainly indicative of very great doubts if Clinton will succeed or not.2 I am perswaded by all I can hear He will be a second time disgraced and baffled in his attempts on that place.
A parcell containing Pamphlets and papers to the amount of 3. 5. 9d was lately forwarded to you via Ostend3 directed to M Francis Bowens Merchant there, who has orders to forward them on in the safest and best manner he can. He is made acquainted with the contents of the box, and has direction to forward in like manner to you any other parcell which may reach his hands (with or without any accompanying letter) markd A . It may be not be improper for you to write Him a line how and by what conveyances He is to forward you any thing else in future.4 My motive for sending you the whole of the Courants is because that paper contains every petition, address, Remonstrance, County meetings &c. &c. that are agitated in this Country, and is of itself a history of all the movements of the people as to obtain a reform in the Constitution.
The English Papers ie the Londn. Evg. [Post]5 and London Packet, will be sent on with the Courant in future until I have your orders to stop them; which, you had better do when you can fix a mode with the Paris post office how to get them by Post. A small paper parcell of other Pamphlets and the News papers will be forwarded you about this day week.
There are accounts in the City today that the Jason Man of War and her Convoy about 15 sail transports (which is given out were bound up the North Seas to bring the Hessian recruits said to be 1500 Men to England) have been met by two french frigates and dispersd, several of the transports are put into Scarborough, the others and the Man of War still missing and supposd to be taken.6
Genl. Conways motion relative to Ama. was put off today for some future period, Hartleys stands for fryday the substance of which you will have in the Genl. Advertiser of the 1st of May.7 Some deviltry has got into Conways head for He seems to think there is yet a door open for Peace with Ama. short of Independence, than which nothing can be so falacious and absurd. How the Devil he can inbibe such notions { 262 } I cannot think, but I am told He is much in the circle of a Scotch acquaintance and some times talks to Refugees such as Mr. Galloway, Allen8 &c. I cannot account for it otherways than that He is looking up to the Command of the Army.
I should be glad, when you see and read the Debates upon those motions to know what you think thereof. I am on all occasions Your Obedt. Servant
[signed] Wm Russell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Flanders A Monsieur Monsieur Ferdinando Raymond San Negotiant Chez Monsr. Hocherau Libraire pont neuf Paris” docketed by CFA: “W.S.C. 2 May 1780.”
1. A borough of London.
2. This was an extract from a letter of 9 March from Clinton that appeared in the London Gazette of 1 May and which was reprinted in other London papers. That it was seen as “a disagreeable account” was probably owing to Clinton's reports of his losses during the fleet's stormy passage, the formidable defenses thrown up by the defenders, and, in a postscript, the arrival of 2,000 troops to reinforce the rebel army.
3. For the contents of this package sent on 25 April, see the list enclosed with Digges' letter of 8 June (below).
4. JA did so on 5 May (below), but in reference to Digges' letter of 28 April (above).
5. See Digges' letter of 28 April (above).
6. The London Courant of 3 May reported that three French privateers had attacked the frigate Jason and its nine-ship convoy, taking one transport and damaging the frigate.
7. On 1 May David Hartley declared in the House of Commons that he intended to introduce three motions concerning the war in America. The first sought a declaration that hostilities against America were enormously expensive, futile, and ruinous to the empire; the second proposed an address to the King, requiring a change of ministry, reconciliation with America, and a united military campaign against France and Spain; and the third called for passage of a bill appointing commissioners with sufficient powers to settle the American dispute. Hartley was followed immediately by Gen. Henry Seymour Conway who indicated his desire to introduce a bill for reconciliation. It was Conway's bill, however, that was introduced and debated on 5 May. Hartley's proposals in the form of resolutions were not introduced until 11 May, and his bill to end the war did not appear until 27 June (Parliamentary Reg., 17:606, 650–670, 696, 753; for Hartley's “Bill for Conciliation” of 27 June, see the Descriptive List of Illustrations, vol. 10, below). For Conway's bill and the progress of Hartley's proposals, together with JA's comments thereon, see JA's letters of 13 May to Thomas Digges, [17 May] to Edmé Jacques Genet, and 7 July, No. 90, to the president of Congress (all below).
8. Probably William Allen, former chief justice of Pennsylvania (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0153

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have receivd your Excellencys Letters of the 22d and 26th of last Month, I find myself much honord by both. I took the Liberty of writing to you on the 24th inclosing therein News Paper from England. The Paper receivd was sent immediately to be made as public as possible.1 The Benevolence of Spain and the Gratitude of America cannot be made too public; they will shew the ground of Union is Solid, for they will shew an Excellent Disposition in both Parties to maintain it.
{ 263 }
I have sent for the Treatise on the Admiralty Laws, I well remember the Agitation of the Question of free Bottoms making free Goods, during the last War. The writings on the Subject were Voluminous, I read many of the best, and One of the worst, written and given me by Sir James Marriot, the present Judge of the Admiralty.2 Upon the whole I was of Opinion, (altho with all my English prejudices About me, for I had them then) that the contrary doctrine was false, and that the ground of the English System was that of convenience and force. Natural Law and the combined force of Europe will I trust now totally defeat this insulting and dangerous procedure of the Common Ennemy.
The last resolutions of the States General are clear and Manly. They give us room to expect much if England persists in her Plan. Has your Excellency seen Linguets last Number of his Annales politiques &c. it treats of the present State of Affairs, it may had at Paris.3
I congratulate your Excellency on the total defeat of the Opposition, their Mad Virtue is checked in Parliament, and other proceedings must now be taken, if England would Escape that Pit, which She had diggd for others. I agree with your Excellency, that Slight Matter will give Occasion to the burst of Civil War—the whole is inflameable and there are many more appearances of internal Tumult, than those remarkd by Lord Clarendon in his Unhappy Time,4 but then there are also more Probability of Success on the part of the Crown then in his days, for the King has much more Influence and force.
I most sincerely concur with your Excellency in Opinion with respect to England. Her Conduct will be during this Mans Life Malicious to Us, and she will ever after be our rival in Trade, and our natural and enragd Ennemy. We must therefore be ever distrustful of Her, the American Alliance with France is for the Interest and Honor of Both. I trust it will ever be Kept up with the Utmost Liberallity; I assure your Excellency it has ever been my opinion, that every suspicion and doubt of it ought to be discountenancd, and I have done it on more Occasions than One, and that too with some Warmth, for I know nothing more dangerous to Friendship of every Sort, than harbouring Jealousies, and even hearing Insinuations against those, we have a natural Affection to or with whom we have an Interest and Duty to be well with. You know Too that it has always been my opinion, that there cannot be too great a Shew, or indeed I ought rather to say too much real Candour and Openess towards our great and good Ally. On the Contrary it is the Sistem of England to bring { 264 } on a distrust of One that she may ruin both. I Hope both will be wisher than to give into her Snares!
It is said, that Parliament will be soon prorogued and dissolved in October and another Chosen in a Hurry. Hartly seems fearful that he shall not be supportd in his Motions, this may bring Conway and Pownal to make theirs. I wish some one woud do it, that we might get at the present sense of the Minister.
I am Anxious to hear what has been done and is now doing at Charles Town and N York. There will be much Blood Spilt in both Places.
I sent the Dialogue5 to a Friend in England. He has thought proper to publish it. I take the Liberty of sending the first part to your Excellency.

[salute] I am Sir with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obd Hble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. A reference to JA's account of his journey through Spain, which he had enclosed in his letter of 19 April (above, for its publication, see note 2).
2. This was Sir James Marriott, judge of the court of admiralty from 1778 to 1799 (DNB). Jenings likely is referring to Marriott's The Case of the Dutch Ships, Considered, London, 1758, in which he defended British seizures of neutral ships bound to enemy ports and denied any basis under the law of nations for the doctrine that free ships made free goods. For Marriott's ruling in the case of a Dutch ship seized from the van Bylandt convoy in late Dec. 1779, in which he took essentially the same position, see JA's letter of 6 April to the president of Congress (No. 37, calendared, above).
3. Simon Nicolas Henri Linguet was a brilliant but eccentric lawyer, journalist, and author. During a self-imposed exile in England and in various places in continental Europe, he began the publication of the Annales politiques, civiles et littéraires du dix-huitième siècle, 19 vols., London, 1777–1792 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale). The specific issue of the Annales to which Jenings refers has not been found, but for JA's evaluation of Linguet, see his letter of 15 May to Jenings, and notes 1 and 2 (below).
4. Edward Hyde, 1st earl of Clarendon, was a trusted advisor of both Charles I and Charles II. A strong royalist, he was an equally ardent supporter of rule according to constitutional principles, but was unwilling to adapt his policies to the changed circumstances brought on by the civil war (DNB). Jenings probably refers to Clarendon's views as expressed in his personal narrative of the events in which he participated, his History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, Begun in the Year 1641, 3 vols., London, 1702–1704. In 1766, JA adopted “Clarendon” as a pseudonym in a newspaper controversy over the Stamp Act (“Clarendon to Pym,” 13–27 Jan. 1766, vol. 1:155–170).
5. No printed version of Jenings' “Dialogue,” whether as a newspaper piece or a separate pamphlet, has been found, but for an extract from the work, see Jenings' letter of 5 March, and note 9 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0154

Author: Johnson, Joshua
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From Joshua Johnson

[salute] Sir

I am duly honord with your very polite and Freindly favour of the { 265 } 25th. Ultimo for which I pray your acceptance of my best thanks. I hasten to inform you the Dove will be ready to depart the latter end of next Week and any Commands that you have to convey by her shall be taken particular care of and delivered safe in America if she is fortunate enough to arrive safe, if not I can rely on the prudence of the Capt. to destroy them.1 A Small Brig departs from this Tomorro for Boston2 she first touches at L'Orient for the protection of the Alliance, hereafter I will give you timely notice of the Sailling of every America Vessell and will with pleasure receive and forward your Dispatches. I have directed my Freinds to forward me the Maryland News Papers and you may rely on my forwarding you them immediatly on their Arrival and every other interesting Inteligence that comes to my knowledge, in turn I have only to solicit the favour of you to drop me a hint if any thing should be proposed that may affect the price of Tobacco for in this article I am much interested being one of the largest holders in Europe, you may rest assured that I will not abuse your confidence. Mrs. Johnson begs your acceptance of her thanks for your remembrance and kind Inquirys, she presents you and the Young Gentlemen with her respectfull Compliments, and I am with the most sincere regard and esteem Sir, Your Most Obedt. & most Hbl. Serv
[signed] Joshua Johnson
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Johnson 2 May. ansd. 16. by [but] the answer not copied. inclosed in it a Letter to Congress, with the Decn. of Russia. to be sent by first Vessel” docketed by CFA: “1780.” The letter to Congress is that of 10 April (No. 40, descriptive note, above).
1. JA's reply of 16 May (not found) was answered by Johnson in a letter of the 20th (Adams Papers), in which he reported that the enclosed letter to Congress would be carried to America by the Dove.
2. JA was first informed of this brig in a letter from Jeremiah Allen of 28 April (not found), but see JA's reply to that letter of 3 May, and note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Allen, Jeremiah
Date: 1780-05-03

To Jeremiah Allen

[salute] Dear Sir

I yesterday received yours of 28. Ultimo. Thank you for the Information of the Brig bound to Boston, beg you would send the inclosed by her.1 Had yesterday a Letter from Mr. Smith2 by Way of Holland 26 Feb. mentions Trash's Arrival and Letters from you. Incloses a Boston Gazette of 21. Feb. containing an Account of Captn. Waters in the Thorn,3 taking three Privateers, after obstinate Engagements—two of them at once from New York—one of the most glorious Actions { 266 } of this War. You will Soon See the Account at large in the public Papers.
By Mr. S's Letter the Convention had been Sitting almost two months, and had got well nigh through the Constitution, which they have not very materially altered from the Report. This Report is publishing in the Courier de L'Europe,4 and there are some Compliments upon it in the English Papers, and more still in the private Conversations in Paris.
The Confederation among the maritime Powers, the Politicks of Ireland, the Associations in England added to the military Exertions of France, Spain and America, would in time, one would think, be Sufficient to bring England to reason, and make her think of Peace. I should be obliged to you for News as it arrives, and hope to have the Pleasure of Seeing you Soon, a l'hotel de Valois Ruë de Richelieu. Mr. D. Mr. T. and the young Gentlemen send Respects. Yours &c.
1. Allen's letter of 28 April has not been found, but the brig referred to may have been that mentioned by Joshua Johnson in his letter of 2 May (above). The letter enclosed by JA was probably that of 3 May to AA, which she received on 16 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:336, 375).
2. This was Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb., of which JA gives an account in this and the following paragraph. JA's letter to Vergennes of 1 May (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12), indicates that Smith's letter arrived on that date, rather than the 2d as JA seems to indicate here (see note 3).
3. On 25 Dec. 1779, Capt. Daniel Waters of the Thorne successfully engaged the New York loyalist privateers Governor Tryon and Sir William Irskine, capturing the first and sinking the second; and on 13 Jan. 1780, he captured the Liverpool privateer Sparling. Seeking to have the Boston Gazette's account of the Thorne's exploits published in France, JA enclosed both it and an extract from Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb. in his letter to Vergennes of 1 May (see note 2) and took up the matter in more detail in his letter of 3 May to Edmé Jacques Genet (below). In a further effort to publicize the incident, JA enclosed an extract of the account in the Boston Gazette in a letter of 4 May to Trouchin Dubreuil, publisher of the Gazette d'Amsterdam, requesting that he insert it in his newspaper (LbC, Adams Papers).
4. For the publication of The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Courier de l'Europe, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0156

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-03

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] [Dear Sir]

I had, two days ago the Honour to inclose to the Minister a Boston Gazette of 21 February, in which is a Relation of a glorious Combat and Cruise of my Countryman Captain Waters of the Thorn. Let me beg of you sir, to insert this Account in the Gazette and the Mercure.1 There has not been a more memorable Action this War, and the Feats of our American Frigates and Privateers have not been Sufficiently { 267 } published, in Europe. It would answer valuable Purposes, both by encouraging their honest and brave Hearts, and by exciting Emulations elsewhere, to give them a little more than they have had, of the Fame that they have deserved. Some of the most Skillful, determined, persevering, and successfull Engagements, that have ever happened upon the Seas, have been performed by American Privateers against the Privateers from New York. They have happened upon the Coast and seas of America, which are now very well swept of New York Privateers2 and have seldom been properly described and published even there, and much seldomer ever inserted in any of the Gazettes of Europe, whether it is because, the Actions of single and small Vessells and these Privateers are not thought worth publishing, or whether it has been for Want of some Person, to procure it to be done.

[salute] Yours most sincerely

[signed] John Adams
RC (CLjC). LbC (Adams Papers). Due to fire damage, the dateline and greeting have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.
1. Genet promised to print the account, which appeared on 13 May in the Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles,” p. 75–77 (from Genet, 4, 10 May, Adams Papers).
2. The preceding ten words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-03

To the President of Congress, No. 58

Paris, 3 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 15–17). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “N.B. Nos. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58 were delivered the 7th of May by Mr. Adams to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them with his own Dispatches to Captain John Paul Jones.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:648–649.
In this letter, received by Congress on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams sent the terms of an Anglo-French cartel for the exchange of prisoners, signed at Versailles on 12 March and at London on 28 March, noting that the agreement brought honor to both sides.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 15–17). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “N.B. Nos. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58 were delivered the 7th of May by Mr. Adams to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them with his own Dispatches to Captain John Paul Jones.” printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:648–649.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-03

To the Comte de Sarsfield

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour of your Billet1 and thank you for the Pains you have taken, to procure me the Remonstrances. I went to the Palais, but was too late. I employed a Bookseller, but without Success. It is astonishing to me, that there should be So total a Suppression of Such a set of finished Models of oratory, and such golden monuments of public Virtue, as I have heard them represented to be. Your Billet { 268 } in English was very well understood, because it was very well written: but, another time, let me beg you to write in french, because I suppose it is more familiar to you to write in that language, and it is quite as easy for me to read. The Gentlemen with me present their respects. I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem, sir your most obedient servant
1. Of 29 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0159-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-04

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

Quoyque depuis bien du temps je n aye pas eu l'honneur ny le plaisir de vous demander des nouvelles de votre santé et de celle de votre chere famille,1 je nay pas moins eté occupé de vous et d'eux, et je ne vous oublieray jamais ainsi que vos compatriottes leurs bontés et amitiés et les votres particulierement pour moy. Et si vous ne jouissez pas dans notre patrie de toutte la santé et le bonheur que vous puissiez desirer, cest que les voeux que je fais en consequence ny peuvent rien. L'interest que je prends a vous et aux votres etant bien vif et bien sincere. Vous avez du avoir bien des affaires depuis votre arrivée a notre cour. Pour moy depuis 2 mois que l'on a bien voulu me laisser passer auprès de madame de chavagnes qui est bien sensible a votre souvenir depuis notre depart de l'orient et qui en consequence vous presente ses compliments. Jay tasché par une vie douce et tranquille de me dedommager des peines de corps et d'esprit de notre traversée humide de boston en europe. Je me las rappelle cependant avec plaisir mayant procuré celuy de vous y avoir ramené et de continuer a notre partie l'avantage d'avoir un negotiateur honneste comme vous lestes. Me voila au moment de retourner a brest. Bien portant mais ne scachant ce a quoy l'on m'employera. Je nay point demandé a monsieur de sartines a commander. 1°. Cest que arrivé aussi tard En france jay imaginé que le ministre devoit estre obsedé de demandes, de commendements, que je les ay trouvés presque tous donnés et quil ne faut pas estre indiscret. 2°. Cest que javois besoin de me reposer 2 ou 3 mois et de reparer un peu ma bourse qui sans estre absolument depourvue a eté cependant un peu maltraitée surtout au ferol. Vous scavez cequi en est. Jay envoyé a mr le docteur francklin une petite caisse. A mr de sartines ceque javois pu sauver des petits canards de boston ainsi que le tableau du general { 269 } ancohk.2 Je nay pas eu connoissance de la reception D'aucuns de ces effets. Jay revu icy avec bien du plaisir monsieur alain chez mr o williams.3 Cen est toujours un pour moy de revoir vos compatriottes et si vous pouviez pour votre compte nous negotier une bonne paix je me croirois bien heureux de vous reconduire a boston dont je cheris bien sincerement tous les habitants et habitantes et avec raison car je me trouvois tres bien et honorablement employé la etant en chef au lieu que actuellement quoyque toujours bien dans tous les genres de service ou je seray. Je ne dateray pas de grandes choses. Avec un peu de patience jauray peutestre quelquechose un jour. Je desirerois de tout mon coeur que mon service put me permettre l'hyver prochain d aller a paris ou jay bien quelques petites affaires. Jy aurois bien du plaisir a vous y revoir et les votres, a vous y demander la continuation de votre amitié et a vous y reiterer de vive voix lassurance des sentiments du plus sincere et respectueux attachement avec lequel jay lhonneur d'estre Mon cher monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes capne. des vaux du roy
J'embrasse de tout mon coeur les chers jony et carly le petit couppers. Mille compliments et souvenirs a mrs dena et taxter. De vos nouvelles je vous prie, mais a brest je vais partir.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0159-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-04

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My Dear Sir

Although for some time I have had neither the honor nor the pleasure of inquiring after your health and that of your dear family,1 I, nevertheless, have been thinking about you and them, and, at the same time, shall never forget the kindnesses and friendship shown me by you and your countrymen, particularly by you. And if you do not enjoy, in our country, all the health and happiness that you could desire, it is because all my wishes to that end have come to nothing. The interest that I take in you and yours is most lively and sincere. Much must have happened to you since your arrival at our court. As for myself, I have kindly been allowed to spend the last two months with Madame de Chavagnes, who remembers you fondly from our departure from Lorient and who consequently sends her regards. I have tried to lead a pleasant and tranquil life to compensate for the physical and mental exertions of our wet crossing from Boston to Europe. I remember it with much pleasure, however, since I was returning you so as to continue for our side the advantage of having an honest negotiator amongst us. I am now ready to return to Brest. I am in good health, but do not know how I will be employed. I did not ask M. de Sartine for a command because: 1. I came { 270 } back so late to France that I assumed the minister would be swamped with requests for commands with most of them already filled, and I did not want to be indiscreet; 2. I needed to rest for two or three months and replenish my purse which, although not completely depleted, had been somewhat battered, particularly at El Ferrol. You know how it is. To Dr. Franklin I sent a small chest and to M. de Sartine what I had preserved of the Boston papers and the portrait of General Hancock.2 It was with great pleasure that I met Mr. Allen again at Mr. O. Williams'.3 I am always happy to meet one of your compatriots and if you yourself could negotiate a good peace settlement, I would consider myself the happiest of men in bringing you back to Boston, whose men and women I sincerely cherish. And with good reason, since I was very well and very honorably employed there, in command, instead of the position in which of course I always find myself: that of jack-of-alltrades. I will not leave my mark on big things. But with a little patience something might come my way some day. I desire with all my heart that my duties will take me to Paris next winter, where I have to take care of some small matters. I would be most happy to see you and your family again, and to renew our friendship and have the pleasure of reiterating, in person, the assurances of my sincerest and most respectful devotion, with which I have the honor to be your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes capne. des vaux du roy
I embrace with all my heart your dear Johnny and Charley and the young Cooper. A thousand regards and fond memories to Messrs. Dana and Thaxter. Send me news of yourselves, but I am about to leave for Brest.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “ansd. 16. May.”
1. Chavagnes' last known letter to JA was of [ca. 2 March] (above).
2. For Chavagnes' letter to Franklin concerning the small chest, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:332. The portrait of John Hancock has not been identified.
3. Probably Jeremiah Allen and Jonathan Williams, both of whom were at Nantes.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0160

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-04

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

The Bearer Mr. Mease is Brother to the late Cloathier General and is intimately connected with an Irish Gentleman here for whom I have great Regard as a zealous Republican and Friend to America.1 It is more on Account of that Connection with my Friend than of any personal Acquaintance that I have been led to introduce Mr. Mease to your Civilities. His Care of sundry Pacquets for you would indeed alone have been sufficient to merit your Attention.
I chiefly rely on them and his Conversation to what ought to be the Task of the Committee of foreign Affairs if that Committee was { 271 } | view not a mere Shadow without a Quorum a Secretary or Clerk. I send regularly to Mrs. Adams the News Papers and Journals for you that she may not be without some Informations of that kind herself during your Absence. She sends them to the Navy Board, doubtless with the Addition of Something still more agreable to you individually considered.
This Testimony of my affectionate Remembrance of You will reach your Hand at all Events as I mean it to be useful to Mr. Mease whatever may be his Lot as to a safe Passage.
If you receive any Thing from me in Cyphers it will be upon the same Mode as that which I have communicated to Doctr. Franklin and which will serve great Numbers with equal safety. It is the Alphabet squared as on the other Side and the key Letters are the two first of the Surname of the Family where you and I spent the Evening together before we sat out from your House on our Way to Baltimore.2

[salute] Your affectionate humble Servant

[signed] James Lovell
All your Letters from Spain came safely. Give my Love to your Family, to Mr. Dana in particular and tell him I imagine all his came safely too though no Body at Philada. knows any thing about them.
1   a b c  
2   b c d  
3   c d e  
4   d e f  
5   e  
6   f  
7   g  
8   h  
9   i  
10   j  
11   k  
12   l  
13   m  
14   n  
15   o  
16   p  
17   q  
18   r  
19   s  
20   t  
21   u  
22   v  
23   w  
24   x  
25   y  
26   z  
27   &  
Make use of any of the perpendicular columns according to your key Letters. You may reply to me by the use of any new ones. For Instance you may refer to the 2 3 4 &c. Letters of a Word 1st. 2d. 3d. 4th. &c. in a Paragraph of any one of your Letters of such an such a date known to have been received by me, or you may say “reverse the Letters you have chosen,” or “add one more to those you have used,” or by any such like Direction you may give me the Key of your Answer.
I will give you a Specimen as follows. You submitted your Accounts with a Confession of your arithmetical Antipathies in that particular Line, and a Supposition of Errors. The Chamber of Accounts reported specially, not being in Capacity to judge of the Propriety of the Charges. Their Report was committed and the Result was from Mr. Forbes Mr. { 272 } Mathews and Mr. Houston such as I imagine you yourself would have determined, on a like Committee! to you.3
“That they do not find any Vote or Proceeding of Congress, nor are they informed of any general or received Custom on which the Charge of Monies for the ||education of the son|| of the Accomptant can be admitted; and though the same is inconsiderable, they are of Opinion it ought to be rejected, that a precedent be not established.
That they are of opinion the Charge ||for books|| ought to be admitted on the ground of a practice which has obtained in different Nations respecting their public ministers and which is mentioned by Mr. Adams in the Explanations attending his Vouchers.
That they find the several Charges in the said accounts conformable to the strictest principles of Oeconomy, and that, as far as Mr. Adams has been intrusted with public money the same has been carefully and frugally expended.”
Congress agreed to the said Report.
Bal. due 2511.12. 6.4
You ought to use Cyphers in your public Letters but you should communicate your Key to Mr. Thompson to serve in my Absence.5
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Lovel. 4 May ansd. 24 June 1780 a Cypher. My Accounts &c.”
1. This was Robert Mease, brother of James Mease, the clothier general from early 1777 until his resignation in Sept. 1778 (vol. 5:374;JCC, 12:937). The “Irish Gentleman” was Dr. Hugh Shiell. According to Elbridge Gerry's letter of 5 May (Adams Papers), Mease was involved in the plan of Shiell and others to bring their property to America from Ireland.
2. Lovell's cipher consisted of an alphabetical square composed of 27 columns and 27 numbered rows, the 27th character being the ampersand. To encipher a letter one would take letters from a key word, and read down the corresponding columns to the desired letter and substitute the number of the row for the letter. In JA's case, since he and Lovell had stayed with the Richard Cranch family on their way to Baltimore in 1777, the letters were “C” and “R” from the key word “CRANCH.” According to Lovell's instructions, JA would first read down the “C” column to encipher the first letter of a passage and then read down the “R” column to encipher the second letter. He would then alternate between the “C” and the “R” columns until the encipherment of the passage was completed. Each new passage would begin with the “C” column. To decipher a passage the process was reversed.
Lovell's cipher was not in itself complex, but his explanation did much to make it so. Had he been satisfied to explain the system just as it was sent to JA, it seems likely that JA would have understood the process. By indicating variations in the system, such as using different letters from the key word; the possibility of devising a new key word; and failing to note that numbers higher than 27 were blinds; Lovell managed only to confuse, a confusion magnified by Lovell's own tendency to make errors when he used the cipher. In any event, JA's replies of 24 June (below) indicated that neither he nor Franklin, who had also received a copy of the cipher in a letter of this same date (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:245), could understand Lovell's system. The reproduction of JA's flawed key to the cipher and a more detailed explanation of the Lovell cipher are in Adams Family Correspondence, 4:viii, 188, 393–399. The first extant letter to JA in which Lovell used his cipher was that of 14 Dec. (below).
{ 273 }
3. JA submitted his accounts to the Board of Treasury under a covering letter of 19 Sept. 1779 (vol. 8:154). The committee that considered the accounts reported on 15 Dec. 1779 and its report was adopted on 15 April 1780 (JCC, 15:1363–1364; 16:368–369). Except for minor differences, Lovell quotes the report exactly.
4. This figure was inserted by Lovell, it was not in the report. It is derived from subtracting the expenditure of 1,861 livres 1s for JQA's education from 4,372 livres 13s 6d, the balance due JA before the deduction. For the audit of JA's accounts, see Lovell's letter to AA of 14 May (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:343–346). AA ultimately received the money in September (same, 3:415–416).
5. This sentence was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0161

Author: Bowens, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-05

To Francis Bowens

[salute] Sir

A Gentleman in London,1 who corresponds with you sometimes, writes me, 28 April that he had, a few days before Sent to your Care, a Box marked A, containing a few Pamphlets and Newspapers, for me, with a desire that you would forward it on to me in the manner you should think Safest, and that you would hereafter attend to any other Parcell that he may send in the Same Way.
I am not well acquainted with the Usages and Regulations in France, or in Ostend which may obstruct or embarrass this Channell of Communication. But in the first Place I shall order nothing of a religious or irreligious nature, which might allarm the Church, or militate against any Regulations which there may be against irreligious or heretical Writings. They will be merely Newspapers and Pamphlets relating to the present State of public Affairs, and the Course and Tendency of the present War.
I should esteem it as a favour, sir, if you would inform me, what is the best Channel of Conveyance from you to me, and in Case I should have any Papers or Pamphlets to send to the same Gentleman in London from me to you—and whether there is any thing for me to do, or to pay, and what it may be to facilitate a Communication of this Nature. I should be glad also to know, by what Conveyance you sent the Packet marked A, and when I may expect it. I am, sir, with Respect, your most obedient servant
1. Thomas Digges.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0162

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-05

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

It gave me great Pleasure to learn by Your Letter of the 11th. Decr.1 { 274 } that You had safely arrived, and had met with so agreable a Reception in Spain: and I hope soon to have the Satisfaction of hearing from You at Paris.
Mr. Lovell informs me that he shall transmit You the Journals of Congress and News Papers by the latter of which You will perceive that the Enemy have invested Charlestown, and that it is defended by General Lincoln with about four or five thousand Men, the greatest part whereof are continental Troops. General DeKalb with the whole of the Maryland Corps, consisting as I am informed of between two and three thousand Men, is ordered to Charlestown from the main Army, and has by this Time probably crossed the Cheesapeak: Reinforcements of Militia are also on the March from Virginia and North Carolina, all of which should Charlestown hold out about a Month or five Week's must I think make a formidable Army, in the rear of the Enemy. The Garrison by the best Accounts are supplied with five or six Months provission, and have a sufficiency of military Stores; and altho the General in his publick Letters is exceedingly modest and confines himself to States of Facts, yet in one of his private confidential Letters he expresses his Hopes and Expectations of being able to defend the City, or of making the Acquisition expensive to the Enemy.2
The Resolutions of Congress for calling in and cancelling the two hundred Million of Dollars emitted by them, have in general been well received.3 The Depreciation is stopd, and Specie, which before the passing of the Resolves was sold for upwards of 70 for 1, is now current at 60 and has been lately @ 55. The Advantage of this Plan will be great to the Landholders, inasmuch as the national Debt including Certificates and foreign Demands does not now much exceed five Million sterling, which is but a trifling Sum compared with the two hundred Millions sterling due from G Britain. Another Benefit resulting from it, is a Supply of five Million Dollars of the new Emission, every Dollar of which is equal to 40 Dollars of the old Emission; indeed this must be called in before that can be realized, nevertheless, there is a greater Demand amongst all Ranks for continental Money, than there has been since the Commencement of the War, and Specie is no longer hoarded by the disaffected or timid. So much for the Value and Stability of the Medium. With Respect to our Resources Congress are at present much in Want of Money, and it is a happy Circumstance; for, their Oeconomy is in proportion to their Wants. The Demands on the Treasury are generally answered by Warrants on the several States which are careful by some Means { 275 } or other to discharge the Draughts. The Taxes are indeed very heavy, but the Collection goes on, and I doubt not that the Army will be well fed and paid. Military Stores of Cloathing must however be procured on Credit in Europe, as well as a considerable loan to serve as a Fund for drawing in Case of Necessity. Since the Treasury, Admiralty, and Court of Appeals have been put in Commission, Congress have not been troubled much with their respective Concerns, and for several Days past have adjourned before the usual Time from a Want of Business.
Trade and privateering are brisk, and there is aplenty of Goods of every Kind (excepting military),4 but no Money to purchase them. This is easily accounted for, since the whole Sum in Circulation as Congress have fixed it, is only five Million Dollars, and these are not one third of what are necessary for a Medium for the several States. Our privateers and Commerce have nevertheless lately suffered much by the Cruisers of the Enemy, who have the <entire> Command of the Coast. It is much to be wished that the Court of France would order a squadron superior to the Enemy to be stationed in some part of the united States, as the best and only Means of putting a speedy End to the War. It is almost impossible to conceive the Havock that our privateers made of the Enemy's Cruisers and Transports during the Time that the Count D'Estaign was at Rhode Island and Charlestown, but our Losses at present nearly equal our Captures. Indeed that worthy Officer aware of those and other Advantages5 ordered the Count de Gras to be stationed at the Cheesapeak, but his plan was defeated by the Tempestuousness of the Weather: had the latter arrived with his squadron, Charlestown could not have been beseiged and three or four of our Frigates which are now in Ashley River and will probably be destroyed, would have been employed in intercepting the Enemy's Transports.
We have had a very severe Winter and backward Spring, but the prospects are not unfavorable.
I had forgot to mention a Resolution of Congress to pay off the Continental Certificates according to the Value of Money at the Time of their being respectively issued. This is but Justice, and will undoubtedly be satisfactory to Foreigners.6
Bills of Exchange are now at 45 for one, and will be higher, in Consequence of the great Risque of sending Vessels from the eastern States to the southern for produce.
I have had the pleasure of a Line from Portia,7 whose Sentiments are sufficient proof of a Mens sana in Corpore sano.8 Poor Don Juan { 276 } de Merailles lately died at Camp, on a Visit with the Minister of France to General Washington.9 I have many Things more to say to You but the Vessel is to sail immediately and I have scarcely Time to send my sincere Regards to brother Dana or to assure You that I remain sir with every Sentiment of Esteem & Respect Your affectionate Friend
[signed] E Gerry
Mr Lovell will give You the necessary Information respecting your Accounts.10 The recruiting goes on, and it will be less difficult to find Men than to pay and subsist them.
1. Vol. 8:294–295.
2. Charleston fell on 12 May. For an account of the siege, see Robert Middlekauff, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, N.Y., 1982, p. 441–449.
3. See Benjamin Rush's letter of 28 April, note 4 (above).
4. Gerry interlined “(excepting military).”
5. The preceding three words were interlined.
6. The resolution was adopted on 18 April and proceeded from Congress' consideration of a report on the redemption of loan office certificates presented on 25 March. The means by which the resolution was to be implemented were not adopted until 28 June (JCC, 16:374–375, 287–288; 17:566–569).
7. AA to Gerry, 13 March (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:297–300).
8. A healthy mind in a healthy body.
9. Don Juan de Miralles, a Cuban merchant, served as the unofficial Spanish representative in America from early 1778 until his death at Washington's camp on 28 April (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 88).
10. See James Lovell's letter of 4 May, and note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0163

Author: Watson, Elkanah Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-05

From Elkanah Watson Jr.

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I was honour'd with an answer to my Epistle;1 for which permit me Sir with gratitude to acknowledge your goodness, I flatter my self it will be attended with perticular advantages in my present, and perhaps future persuits in Europe: I cannot However, but regret the leaving my letters for you behind; as that loss renders the propriety of your assertaining my character Impracticable. It affoards me no little pleasure Sir that you are so well acquainted with my fathers circumstances, because you are sensible, money, and address are great objects of recommending one to mankind in this Old corrupted Continent: without letters, and without being known to be Intituled to the former claim, I have fortunately However, been politely recieved into Several of the best familys. I have spent the winter 21 miles from this;2 where by close application I have attain'd a considerable profficiency in their language, and other connissance; which my mercantile persuits prevented me from acquiring before. I shall { 277 } conduct your friend Mr. Allin for the same place tomorrow, where he proposess to remain the summer.
I am Extreamly oblig'd to you Sir also in pointing out to me maxims founded upon the dictates of reason and nature; which I wish invariably to persue: Impartial reason will Ever prefer the honest simplicity, of manners to vain Empty ceremony: I am persuaded the Easy address of a frenchman added to the honest candour of an American, is necessary to form a system of manners perfect which I hope will be gradually Introduce'd in America, but not their little follies.
It affords me a sensible consolation that you have condesended to favour me with your advise; I am conscious of my inability and inexperience; I am launch'd upon the theatre of life at an Early age, independent of controul: all my conduct of consequence must be govern'd by the natural Impetuosity, and inexperience of youth without a patron to councel, or a reason to vanquish these Impulsess: I am happy in being fav'd with the resourse of your councel, as my Ideas are Elevated beyond Idolizing l'arshent[l'argent] tho' taught in the proffession; and as I wish in prefference as far as my circumstances will permit, to travel and to gain Knowledge of the world and mankind <(as far as my circumstances will permit,)> the advise of one so well acquainted with both as yourself, will most certainly be the standard of my persuits, If you'l continue your Kindness, and give it without reserve, notwithstanding I have not the honour to be personally acquainted with your Excellency.
The day before I left Plymo. Mrs. Warren in the most pathetic manner Injoyn'd me, If I heard or saw any thing of her wandering, miserable son;3 in this Eastern world, to write her and to relieve his distresess: I have not, nor cannot write to do justice to incontestible facts without adding to her pain; from the most promising of youths, he is now degenerated into the most beastly of sots: his ridiculous Excesses has impair'd and shatter'd, his wreck'd constitution to such a degree, that he has of late been very dangerously Ill at l'Orient, but malheuresment for himself and family he is yet permitted to possess a worthless Existance.
Having attain'd a very considerable Knowledge of the commerce of this country, and as my present object is commerce; perhaps you may find it not incompatiable to throw into my hands some affairs of business which may not only be beneficial; but will tend to the more Effectuall Establishment of my reputation.
I reciev'd a letter from America yesterday, via Holland which gives me Information that the Mercury Packett Captn. Sampson arriv'd at { 278 } Plymo. the 17th. [February o]n a passage of 3 months and 2 days—no news—fortunately for me, for the 1st. commencement I ship'd 20,000 L. aboard of that Packett.4
If their is no Impropriety (as the main object of my success in commerce depends upon grappling the close of the war) it would be perticularly advantageous to me to be Inform'd when their is a solid prospect of Peace, but If their is, I beg you'l Excuse this freedom.
I have the Honour to be most respectfully Your Excellencys Very Hl. St.
[signed] Elkh. Watson Jr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esq. à la Paris Hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu à Passi” endorsed: “M. Elk. Watson 5. May” docketed by CFA: “1780.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of two words, which are supplied in brackets.
1. This was JA's reply of 30 April to Watson's letter of 10 March (both above).
2. At Ancenis. See JA's letter of 30 April, descriptive note (above).
3. James Warren Jr. was a marine lieutenant on the Alliance, then at Lorient (Charles R. Smith, Marines of the Revolution, Washington, 1975, p. 475).
4. The month of the Mercury's arrival is supplied from Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb. to JA (Adams Family Correspondence, 3: 284). In the remainder of the sentence Watson, who reached France in the fall of 1779 as a passenger on the Mercury (Watson to JA, 10 March, above), presumably means that at the “1st. commencement” of his commercial activities at Nantes he had shipped goods worth 20,000 livres on board the Mercury, which according to the data given on the length of its voyage would have sailed for America in mid Nov. 1779.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0164

Author: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-06

From the Comte de Sarsfield

[salute] Dear sir

Not for your Sake but for mine I make use of the english language when I do my Self the honour of writing to you. When man ceases to Acquire in matter of learning, he begins to lose. Let my Stock of english be what it may, it is very dear to me; And so I have laid a tax upon the Kindness of my friends which is to allow me the liberty of writing to them in english. I am Sometimes gone so far as to desire them to make corrections. That agreement we Could make, with advantage to both.
As to the book which you wish to have,1 you have but to send me one of your servants tomorrow morning and I will deliver it to him how I could get it you shall learn the first time where I will have the pleasure to See you. I can Say only that you have it on the Cheapest terms possible as you have nothing to pay.
My compliments to Messrs. Dana & Thaxter and Believe me Sir Your &c.
I take off compliments and invite you to do the Same.
{ 279 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams ministre plenipotentiaire des etats reunis d'amerique a l'hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu” endorsed: “Comte Sarsefield.”
1. For the book, see JA's letter of 24 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0165-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-06

To the Comte de Sarsfield

J'ai reçu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire, hier.1 Je vous fais mes remerciemens Sincéres, pour le Soin que vous avez pris, de me procurer le livre. J'accepte avec Empressement, la proposition que vous avez fait, de vous ecrire en francois, pour l'Avantage de vos corrections et Je permets d'entreprendre la Correction de votre Anglois. L'Amour propre est la seule Motif de cet accord, parce que, vous ecrivez deja tres bien en Anglois; et Moi, Je ne puis pas ecrire, point du tout, en francois. Vous avez proposé de laisser tous Complimens; mais Je ne puis pas en convenir; parce que mon francois sera mauvais, Sans quelques Complimens. Au lieu de “I am Sometimes gone so far &c” I have Sometimes gone So far &c—pour “When I will have the pleasure” lisez When I shall have the pleasure. Avec ces petits changemens, votre lettre Sera parfaitement exact. J'envoye mon domestic, avec mille Complimens, pour le livre, et J'ai l'honneur d'etre tres parfaitement, Monsieur votre &c
[signed] John Adams

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0165-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sarsfield, Guy Claude, Comte de
Date: 1780-05-06

John Adams to the Comte de Sarsfield: A Translation

Yesterday I received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write.1 I thank you sincerely for the trouble you have taken to procure the book for me. I enthusiastically accept your proposal that I write to you in French so that I may profit from your corrections and that I should presume to correct your English. Friendship can be the only motive for this accord, since you already write so well in English, whereas I cannot write at all in French. You have proposed to lay all courtesies aside, but to that I cannot agree, for without them my French would be very poor indeed. Instead of “I am sometimes gone so far etc.,” I have sometimes gone so far etc.—for “When I will have the pleasure,” read, When I should have the pleasure. But for these minor changes, your letter is perfectly correct. I send, with a thousand thanks, my servant for the book, and have the honor to be most perfectly, sir, your &c
[signed] John Adams
1. Of [ante 6 May] (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0166

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-06

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

The Spirritted resolves of the Dutch alters the Face of the War.1 Russia and Holland with the other Northern Powers that will naturaly Acceed to the Confederacy will either bring on the said Confederate Nations to declare open War or by their protection defend their Trade from interuption and thereby procure the means to prolong the War. England appears to have divided her Naval Force into divissions which must greatly reduce her Consequence in the Channel. By the recapitulation of their Navy they will not have for their grand Fleet upwards of Forty Sail.2 Graves in all probability will be orderd to follow Monsr. De Ternay as Walsingham will otherways be so inferior as only to consult the means to preserve himself. These Westerly Winds is a cruel retard if the French Fleet are intended for Quebec they will be very late to get up the River St. Laurence they ought at this day to be in the Gulph of St. Laurence, some invisable Imp cloggs the Wheels. All is not clear to Day, the day the Marquis de Lafayette Embarked the Fleet should have been ready.3 Lord North appears upon the decline the Opossion carey all before them. Monsr. Stormont may meet with a fall he dont stand on solid Ground but if the War is to be continued it is better they remain than the reins to change hands.
The Spanish Armament at [Cadiz] is realy formidable and if intended to Cooperate in the West Indies or in the United States will most certainly turn the Scale on whatever part they take in favor of the Allies. No Arrivals from America with due respect I have the Honor to be Sir Your very hhb Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esq Hotel de Valois Rue Richlieu Paris” endorsed: “Mr. Bondfield. ansd. May 14” docketed by CFA: “1780.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of a word.
1. This was the States General's long delayed decision to provide unlimited convoys for Dutch ships; it was finally adopted on 24 April. It resulted from Britain's seizure of the Dutch convoy on 31 Dec. 1779 and its suspension of the existing Anglo-Dutch treaties earlier in April. See C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 Jan. 1779, note 2 (vol. 7:384).
2. See William Lee's letter of 25 April, note 2 (above).
3. Lafayette sailed from France on 20 March, but the convoy for the first contingent of Rochambeau's army was not fully assembled until mid-April and did not sail for America until 2 May (Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, 5 vols., Ithaca, N.Y., 1977–1983, 3:3; Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 190).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-07

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you for the Loan of the inclosed Paper.1 I think there is room to hope that Clinton will meet with a Reception that will not be agreable to him, even to hope that he will not succeed. But there is great danger. The Loss of the Frigates will give an Additional Sting to that of the Town.
It is truely deplorable that these Devils should be allowed to commit such Ravages and do Such intollerable Mischiefs, with so few ships of Small size, when should Multitudes of French and Spanish Men of War, lie idle, in European Harbours, Spending more money and loosing more lives, than if they were in Action. So much for Franchise,2 entre nous.

[salute] Yours sincerely

[signed] John Adams
1. In a letter of 5 May (Adams Papers), Genet sent JA a fragment from a newspaper containing a letter from Sir Henry Clinton of 9 March. For Clinton's letter, see Thomas Digges' letter of 2 May, and note 2 (above).
2. That is, so much for candor.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0168

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-07

From Edmund Jenings

(Secret)

[salute] Sir

I yesterday received your Excellencys Letter of the 30th of last Month,1 inclosing Advice, relative to the fortunate Arrival of the Transports at their destined Ports, which shall be made the proper Use of to Confound and Laugh at our Ennemies: it Contains too the purport of his Excellencys at Passy Conversation with you, He told your Excellency, “that the Marylands Act directd Him first to write to the Commissrs in London (who formerly had the Trust of the Money,) to draw it out and transfer it into the Hands of a Banker in Paris or Amsterdam; but if they refuse then his Excellency is to choose one out of the Persons mentiond to Him; so that, He shall write to the Commissioners and if they refuse, He shall after that determine, which shall have the Trust.”
I was sensible, that the Notice, which my Native Country took of me was small indeed, so if I may Judge of your friendly Expressions was your Excellency, I was however pleased with it, but If I under• { 282 } stand the business rightly, it is now by no means so pleasant to me. That the Choice out of several shoud be left to some one of a Known character and public Trust, was natural, for the State might not be acquainted with the Avocations and Existence of the persons nominated, but that these people shoud be of the State itself, or at least Americans was Natural, and neither of them coud be Affronted (I am sure I was not) that one such Man shoud be considered, as Equal in Independancy, Integrity, disinterestdness and Affection to his Country to another. At this Distance it is Impossible for the State to Know every ones Comparative Merit, but to have a Banker of a foreign Country prefered to a Native is not Agreable. If I understand the business right, shoud the Commissioners transmit the Money to a Banker in Paris or Amsterdam, there is no Employment for the American Agent. If they will not, an American is then to be nominated; What to do? to force three London Merchants to transfer to Him the public Money of the Country declared in Rebellion. Parbleu! this will require much Law, or a greater Army than America Glories in, and that France herself has upon her Coasts Opposite to England, and what American could present himself publickly before these interestd, Obstinate and perhaps treacherous Commissioners, except Mr. L.L.2 He is the only American that I Know, who can appear publickly in the Streets of London. I may Mistake this Affair and therefore beg your Excellency to give me your Ideas of it. I shoud be glad to be correctd being most unwilling to think my Country has treatd me with Contempt. If She does, I have not deserved it, and must endeavour to Convince them of it by my future Actions, since the past has made no Impression—Can your Excellency get the Words of the Act.
Every thing seems to tend to the Ruin of England, Her own folly towards her proper Subjects and towards those, who were once so, makes the Conduct of her Ennemies appear with the Utmost Liberality. The Declarations of France and Spain in favor of the Commerce of Holland are at this Juncture highly politic, and cannot but have the greatest Consequences.3 England must I think Lower her Insolence to foreign Powers, or plunge into inevitable destruction. They talk in Holland of laying an Embargo in Holland on the Shipping, this will prevent the immediate depredations of her Ennemy and tend to Man her fleet.
I am sorry to hear Rumors of Attempting the opening the Navigation of Antwerp;4 and the Difficulty of doing it is great, it shews however a disposition in the Emperor to quarrel with the Dutch for { 283 } such a Measure cannot but bring on a Misunderstanding between them. I am convincd this Idea is Suggested by the English for the worst purposes.
I am much obliged to your Excellency for the Attention Shown me, least the postage of Letters shoud Cost too much, let me beg of your Excellency not to think of it, but impart to me at all Times your Commands, which I shall abways execute with the Utmost Alacrity and faithfulness, out of Respect to You and Duty to my Country.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir, Your Excellencys most faithful & Obligd. Humble Servt
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Jennings. ansd. May 15” by John Thaxter: “1780.” Filmed under the date of 4 May (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 351).
1. This letter (Adams Papers) has not been printed, but see Jenings' letter of 12 April, and note 3 (above).
2. This person remains unidentified.
3. Jenings is probably referring to the memorial presented by La Vauguyon to the States General on 26 April that disclosed the terms of a French decree of 22 April removing restrictions on Dutch shipping, and to a Spanish regulation of 13 March that liberalized Spanish treatment of neutral vessels. JA sent translations of both to Congress in his letters of 2 and 8 May (Nos. 57 and 62, calendared above and below).
4. Navigation of the Scheldt River to Antwerp, part of the Austrian Netherlands, had been closed in 1648 by the Treaty of Münster. In 1780 Britain sought to have Austria reopen the port, but Joseph II refused because of his unwillingness to involve Austria in the Anglo-French war. The Scheldt was not reopened until 1792 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:641–642; 8:300–301).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0169

Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-07

From Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My dear Sir

I should have paid my respects to you before now had I known where to have directed my letters, for at this time I have no other method than to inclose the present to our friend Mr. Lovell at Philadelphia, who I trust will know the best manner of conveying it. The enemy appear to have abated very little of their pride, however much their power may be lessened. It may be expected nevertheless that the former will shortly be compelled to yield to the very great abatement of the latter, and therefore that you will next winter have something to do in execution of your commission. It would seem by the present manoeuvres of the enemy, that they mean to possess themselves of as many strong holds in different States as they can in order to go full handed to a treaty. With this view they are now making great efforts for Charles Town in South Carolina, and our Portsmouth in this State is next threatened.1 We are now opposing them at { 284 } Charles Town with great vigor, and we shall endeavor to disappoint their views upon us—but the events of war are uncertain—from the number and spirit of our troops at Charles Town I am persuaded that they will not get the place but at a very great expence of blood—it is strongly fortified and powerfully protected. Our foes indeed have great advantage in their command of the sea, as they can with canvass wings fly swiftly from place to place with succors, whilst great delays on our part do necessarily arise from long marches thro this wide extended continent. A few Line of Battle ships would do us unspeakable good.
Should the fate of war give them Portsmouth in this State, I think that the powers of Europe that wish our independance on commercial principles will not agree that they shall continue in that possession after a peace, as it will effectually command the entrance into Chesapeake bay and controul the commerce of the two only tobacco producing states, Virginia and Maryland. The small quantity of Tobacco that grows in North Carolina, and indeed a great part of their commerce in other articles passes thro the Capes of Virginia. These states are also among the first for their export of wheat, flour, and Indian corn, exclusive of many other articles. It will therefore be indispensable to the freedom of this commerce that the British possess not Portsmouth altho the chance of war should accidentally put it into their hands. Delegates from Georgia have lately passed thro this state to Congress, from whom we learn that the enemy possess only Savannah and its environs in that State—the independant government being fully exercised in other parts of that country. There will be a general effort this summer to restore our money to its proper value, which we hope may succeed—the plan recommended by Congress is, to call in with taxes by April 1781—180 millions of dollars, which is to be destroyed and a twentieth part issued in a new kind of paper which is to be funded, redeemable in 6 years with specie; whilst the war is to be chiefly supported by specific aids from every state according to its produce and commercial ability.2 This would seem to be effectual, if we can come up to such very extensive taxation, for which I believe every nerve will be strained. Colo. Francis Lee and myself are recommencing our tour of duty in the Assembly of this our native State—it will make us happy to hear from you when ever it is convenient for you, and it will certainly delight us much to know that you are likely to succeed in your mission. I hope your efforts will not be wanting to secure us the free navigation of Mississippi—I expect much more sown from such efforts than from { 285 } any other—without this free Navigation our vast back country will be so distressed as to lay the foundation of future wars and dissention from the necessity of having an outlet to market. Our State hath already dispossessed the English of their holds on the river Illenois, we have great numbers of people settled on the Ohio, and we are now taking a post at the mouth of that river at its confluence with Mississippi—all these places being within our Charter limits.3 Remember me with much esteem to my friend Mr. Dana—I am dear Sir your most affectionate and obedient Servant
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Richard H. Lee Esqr. 7th. May 1780. recd. 19th. Septr.”
1. Clinton intended to seize Norfolk, rather than Portsmouth, the object of a British raid in 1779 (Mackesy, War for America, p. 342; J. L. Austin to JA, 7 June 1779, note 3, vol. 8:78). The capture of either town as a base of operations to support Cornwallis, however, could have had the effect envisioned by Lee. The arrival of Rochambeau's army forced the abandonment of the plan.
2. See Benjamin Rush's letter of 28 April, and note 4 (above).
3. George Rogers Clark had seized the British posts in what was then known as the Illinois country in the summer of 1778 and later that year the Virginia legislature adopted a plan for the government of the area. Fort Jefferson was the post referred to by Lee (Clarence Walworth Alvord, The Illinois Country 1673–1818, Springfield, Ill., 1920, p. 326–335, 345).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 59

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 31–33). (LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:663–664.
In this letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams noted that “the English have a faculty of deceiving themselves,” and included a translation of an article from the Gazette de La Haye of 1 May. The author of the piece declared that, however much moderate British politicians might rationalize the intent of the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality, it was an attack on the British position vis-à-vis maritime law and an indication of Russia's intention to pursue its own interests despite any commercial ties with Britain. Adams then inserted the text of Lord Stormont's letter of 17 April to Count Walderen communicating the Order in Council suspending the Anglo-Dutch treaties. John Adams saw Stormont's note as another example of Britain's arrogance, new evidence of its confidence “that no other Nation of Europe understands its own Interest.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 31–33). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:663–664.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0171

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 60

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 27–30). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:660–663; extracts in various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 27 Dec. 1780 and the Boston Gazette of 15 Jan. 1781.
In this letter, { 286 } read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams provided newspaper accounts of the Swedish admiralty's ordinance declaring its determination to provide convoys for Swedish ships; the text of the British reply to Catherine II regarding her declaration of an armed neutrality; and Maj. Gen. Sir William Fawcett's efforts to raise troops in Ansbach and Hanau (see to James Warren, 18 March, note 2; and from Edmund Jenings, 18 March, note 7, both above). The British response to Russia denied any past violations of the established law of nations and promised to adhere to its dictates in the future. John Adams noted that while the British statement was somewhat conciliatory, it did not address the fundamental issue of whether Britain intended to establish real or only paper blockades. Adams believed that, if Britain was forced to accept the Russian interpretation of a blockade, it would put “an End forever, to the naval Superiority of G. Britain.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 27–30). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:660–663; extracts in various American newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 27 Dec. 1780 and the Boston Gazette of 15 Jan. 1781.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 61

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 19–22). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:652–656.
The letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., opens with the text of a resolution by the States General of Holland and West Friesland protesting the seizure of goods, particularly ship building materials from Adm. Lodewijk van Bylandt's convoy in violation of the existing Anglo-Dutch treaties, and demanding convoys to enforce the provisions of the treaties. Next Adams inserted the text of a resolution of the States General intended to insure that foreign vessels trading with the Dutch West Indies paid the required duties to the Dutch West India Company and transported goods from the Indies solely to ports in the Netherlands. He then included similar resolutions from the provinces of Gelderland, Zeeland, and Friesland, which strongly supported Catherine II's declaration of an armed neutrality. Adams closed by reporting talk in Holland of setting up an embargo, and rumors that Britain was trying to get the Emperor to open the port of Antwerp.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 19–22). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:652–656.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-08

To the President of Congress, No. 62

Paris, 8 May 1780. RC(PCC, No. 84, II, f. 23–26). LbC in John Thaxter's hand(Adams Papers). In the Letterbook this letter begins on the page following that of 11 May, numbered 64. printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:656–660.
In this letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams communicated the Spanish declaration regarding its conduct toward neutral vessels that was dated 10 March and issued on 13 March. Much of the declaration was devoted to the actions to be taken by Spain toward neutral vessels passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, as part of its effort to blockade the British fortress there, but the text also set down its policy toward neutrals in the rest of the world. The declaration appeared to conform to principles set down in the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality and Adams prefaced his rendering of the text with the statement that “at the same time, that the Conduct of Great Britain towards the { 287 } neutral powers, is marked by a Severity, that is without Example, that of France and Spain, is distinguished by a Moderation and Liberality, that deserves to be imitated.” Adams concluded with the caution that he had obtained many state documents from foreign newspapers, but that the hasty translations sent to Congress might contain errors when compared with the originals.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 23–26). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). In the Letterbook this letter begins on the page following that of 11 May, numbered 64. printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:656–660.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0174

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-08

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I now put a letter of introduction into the hand of a son,2 who agreeable to your polite and friendly invitation waits on you on his first arrival at Paris. I believe I may venture to say he is a youth, who, will by no part of his conduct, disgrace the recommendations of the friend, or disappoint the expectations of the parent. Yet whoever enters at an early period amidst a world of strangers, ought to be well acquainted with himself, as well as the history of man, while he traverses a stage, where art not nature reigns. Even thus guarded, without the aid of experience, he may be liable to many inconveniences in a country, where politeness assumes the air of friendship, where refinement is wrought up to the extreme of elegance, and luxury digested into a systematical desire to please.
I am too well acquainted with your disposition, to think it necessary to ask your philosophic hints, which united with his own good sense, I have no doubt will lead him through with approbation.
I esteem myself very happy, in the full confidence of friendship with a gentleman, at once so competent to advise, direct, and aid, and so ready to point the youthful ardour of early years to that line of conduct which only can lead to happiness.
The views of this young gentleman whose felicity lies so near my heart, are chiefly of a commercial nature. Yet properly improved by industry and observation it may be a happy opportunity of qualifying for more extensive usefulness.
I have no idea that the morals of youth will suffer much by leaving Boston, for any part of Europe; though once I should have trembled for the safety of a son, in the morning of expectation, in the zenith of warm hope, stepping into the larger theatres of luxury, business, and intrigue, but the change of manners in this country has brought me to bid defiance to any disagreeable consequences from a change of place.
Maternal tenderness would lead out the mind to a thousand things { 288 } on this occasion, which civility to you, and an attention to your public avocations forbid. Mr. Warren will write you more fully on this subject, and with regard to the present situation of your beloved country he will not be negligent.
Baptists, Deists, Quakers, Priests, and Politicians, have laboured assiduously to expunge all religious establishments in the new Constitution of Government.3 But I believe (spite of the whole group) the form of Godliness, will yet be kept up among us, though it may have little influence on the moral character, at least so long as our depreciating currency continues to deaden the nobler feelings of the soul; and the easy acquisition of the means of luxury improves the taste for the most expensive and enervating pleasures.
The celebrated Abbe Raynal has observed that “even among a free people, friends to humanity, the thirst for money, the most cruel and tormenting of all passions, has frequently given rise to a pernicious and destructive government.”4 But though the spirit of accumulation is rampant among us, and checks the desire of improvements more agreeable to reason and nature, yet this baneful passion is not the only danger that threatens an infant republic.
When the luxuries of Europe are adopted by a people, who push all their purposes with a degree of enthusiasm characteristic of the North American, it must raise the taste for elegance and the most refined pleasures to the highest pitch, and consequently subvert every principle of that republican spirit which requires patience, probity, industry, and self denial for its support, virtues, which already sit solitary in our land; which vanity, ignorance, and supercilious folly, cloathed with the plumage of sudden acquisition, tinctured with the crude opinions of the mimic Deist, thrust forward the self important visage, and take the lead in the theory of religion and government, in the adjustment of the ceremonies of the drawing room, or in the misteries of the gaming table, and in the secret councels of the political cabinet.
But we have yet some virtues among us, and gratitude is none of the least. It was remarkably displayed on the return of the Marquis La Fayette to this place.5 A general satisfaction was diffused through each countenance, and every expression of respect manifested on his arrival. And while the heroic character of this accomplished young nobleman, engages universal esteem and admiration, his easy manners, his affable demeanor, and his polite address, win him the hearts of all who have the honour of his acquaintance. Yet, when I hear him converse, I cannot but waft a sigh across the Atlantic for his most { 289 } amiable lady, as well as for the many others who by the cruel necessity of the times are obliged to suffer the interruption of domestic felicity.
But these may be the antiquated notions of the last century, which the polish of modern days has rubbed to so briliant a standard that there are few who cannot be as happy in the society of others as with those to whom they are connected by the strongest tie. Yet, I am far from being singular; you have a friend at Braintree, that will accede to every sentiment. I purpose to call on her in a few days, and if possible prevail with her to go to Plymouth with me. I expect on my way to be entertained with the perusal of some of your letters. When you recieve this, I shall have a claim as usual on your politeness, and call for one in my own right.
My son does not propose to stay long in France, but he will open his own plans when he has the honour of seeing you, who I am sensible will, even without an application from me, do all that friendship and generosity dictate, to prevent his disappointment in this tour—and to render his pursuits successful.
You will Sir, remember me with tenderness to my young friends Messieurs John and Charles; then will I subscribe with every sentiment of respect, and esteem your obliged and very Humble Servant
[signed] M Warren
Tr (MHi: Mercy Warren Letterbook). The Letterbook is not in Mercy Warren's hand and was done years later from copies not now extant. Comparisons of recipient's copies of previous Mercy Warren letters with the transcripts in the Letterbook have shown significant differences. See, for example, Mercy Warren's letter of 15 Oct. 1778, descriptive note and notes 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8 (vol. 7:141–144). It is unlikely, therefore, that the present transcript is identical to the lost recipient's copy.
1. The loss of this letter at sea (see note 2) led Mercy Warren to copy, with numerous changes, its first five paragraphs into her letter of 15 Nov. to JA (below). There, however, she indicated that this letter was of 15 May. Whether this was simply an inadvertence or indicates that the copy she used, as opposed to the transcript printed here, was dated 15 rather than 8 May, is not known.
2. Winslow Warren sailed for Europe on the Massachusetts privateer Pallas in late June. The vessel, however, was soon captured and he did not reach England until mid-November 1780 or meet with JA at Amsterdam until March 1781. Warren's capture resulted in the loss of a number of letters, including this one, several from AA, and at least three from James Warren. For Winslow Warren's interrupted voyage and the loss of the letters he carried, see his letter to AA, 26 May, and notes (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:358–360); and James Warren to JA, 12 Oct.; Thomas Digges to JA, 17 Nov. (both below). Mercy Warren also wrote to AA on 8 May regarding her son's imminent departure (Adams Papers). For that letter, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:359.
3. This is a reference to the controversy over the inclusion of Art. III of the Declaration of Rights in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. This article, not drafted by JA, provided for the public support of religion and was vigorously debated at the convention. It was also the object of numerous exchanges in the newspapers, with its most noted opponent being the Baptist leader Isaac Backus. In the end the article was declared ratified despite failing to receive the required two-thirds ma• { 290 } jority (vol. 8:231, 238, 262–263; Samuel Eliot Morison, “The Struggle over the Adoption of the Constitution of Massachusetts, 1780,” MHS, Procs., 50 (1916–1917):353–411; Ronald M. Peters Jr., The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780: A Social Compact, Amherst, 1978, p. 31–34, 81–87).
4. The source of this quotation from a work by Abbé Raynal remains unidentified.
5. Lafayette arrived at Boston on board the French frigate Hermione on 28 April and set off for Washington's camp at Morristown, N.J., on 2 May (Independent Chronicle, 4 May).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-09

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you for your Note of yesterday and the Papers inclosed. The Proposals for a general Pacification, by the Dean of Gloucester, whether they were written by him, or another, were probably intended to feel the pulse, of France, or Spain, or America, nay it is not impossible that they might be intended to Sound, So inconsiderable a Portion of Existence as Mr. John Adams: but it must be Something rather more plausibly written: Something a little more consonant to Reason, and to common Sense, which will draw out of Mr. Adams, his sentiments on the great Work of Pacification, if ever he should enter into any detail upon this subject, before general Conferences take place, which he at present believes he shall not do.1
Concealing however my Name, you may take these few observations upon these Proposals.
1. England may be heartily sick of the imprudent Part she has taken.2 This Point I shall not dispute with the Dean of Gloucester. Yet I wish she would give some better proofs of it, than she has done, hitherto. But of America, I can Speak with Confidence and Certainty, and So far from being Sick of the part they have taken, they look upon the past Madness of Great Britain, which has compelled them to overcome all the Prejudices, and weak Passions, which heretofore bound them to her, and to become independant as the greatest Blessing which Providence, ever bestowed upon them from the first Plantation in the new World. They look upon it, that a Council of the wisest statesmen and Legislators, consulting together on the best means of rendering America, happy, free, and great, could not have discovered and digested a system so perfectly adapted to that End, as the one which the folly and Wickedness of Britain has contrived for them. They not only See and feel, and rejoice in the <glorious> Amelioration of their Forms of Government, but in the Improvement of their Agriculture, and their Manufactures, and in the discovery that all the Omnipotence of British Talents, has not been able to { 291 } prevent their Commerce, which is opening and extending every year, as their Population is increasing in the Midst of the War.
To suppose that France is Sick of the <War> the Part she has taken3 is to suppose her to be sick of that Conduct which has procured her more Respect and Consideration in Europe than any step she ever took. It is to suppose her sick of that system which enabled her to negotiate the Peace between Russia and the Ottoman Port, as well as the Peace of Teschen:4 that system which has enabled her to unite in sentiment and affection all the maritime Powers, even the United Provinces, in her favour and against England. It is to suppose her sick of that system, which has broke off, from her rival and natural Ennemy, the most solid Part of his Strength. A strength that had become So terrible to France and would soon have been So fatal to her. I dont mean to enlarge.
As to the Propositions themselves it would be wasting time to consider them. Of all the malicious Plans of the English against America, none has ever been more so than this. Tis calculated only to make America the Sport of Britain, in future, to put it in her Power, to be forever fomenting Quarrells and Wars. And I am well persuaded, that America, would sooner vote for a <Thirty><Thousand> hundred Years War.5
I may be thought, again too sanguine. I have been too sanguine these twenty Years, constantly <too> Sanguine: yet eternally right.

[salute] Adieu

[signed] John Adams
I dont see Captain Waters's Engagement yet in any <other> of the Papers.6 I would have sent it to England and Holland for Publication, if I had known it could not be printed here.
1. Genet's note of 8 May (Adams Papers) enclosed peace proposals from an unidentified issue of the London General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer (from Genet, 11 May, below); they were also printed in the May issue of Gentleman's Magazine (50:221–222) under the heading of “Proposals for a General Pacification. By the Dean of Gloucester.” For the specific proposals, which included the partition of America, with Britain retaining the territory between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers and the land below North Carolina, and the cession of Gibraltar to Spain, see JA's letter of 9 May to the president of Congress (No. 62, below). Such proposals were being considered in the spring of 1780 in the course of informal contacts between the British and French governments (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 101–102).
Although JA's doubts as to whether the plan was by Josiah Tucker, dean of Gloucester, proved groundless, they may have stemmed from the apparent variance of the specific proposals made by Tucker from his previous writings. In both The True Interest of Great-Britain set forth in Regard to the Colonies (London, 1774; reprinted at Philadelphia in 1776, Evans, No. 15119) and Dispassionate Thoughts on the American War Addressed to Moderates of All Parties (London, 1780), Tucker had argued that it was in Britain's economic self-interest to withdraw completely { 292 } from the colonies and give them the independence they so desired. Such action would remove the expense of maintaining a colonial presence, but would not mean the loss of the American markets or sources of raw materials, for even as independent states the former colonies would be drawn economically to their former mother country. Tucker's position in his pamphlets, therefore, does not seem dramatically different from Thomas Pownall's in his Memorial or from JA's position in his reworking of Pownall's pamphlet (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above).
2. In introducing the proposals, Tucker began “all the powers at war are heartily sick of the imprudent parts they have taken.”
3. The preceding five words were interlined.
4. For the Treaty of Kutschuk-Kainardji (1774) and the Convention of Ainali-Kavak (1779), and the Treaty of Teschen (1779), see vol. 8:index, under Treaties.
5. In a letter of 10 May (Adams Papers), Genet thanked JA for his observations on the peace proposals, but stated that he had decided not to publish them so as to avoid the appearance of paying too much attention to the Dean of Gloucester's “Agri Somnia.” That is, the empty visions of a sick man.
6. See JA's letter of 3 May to Genet, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-09

To the President of Congress, No. 62

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose to Congress, Proposals for a general Pacification, by the Dean of Gloucester.1
Proposed to the English, Americans, French and Spaniards, now at War.
1. That Great Britain Shall retain Newfoundland, with the Desert Coasts of Labradore, also Canada Nova Scotia, and the Country bordering on the Bay of Fundy, as far as the Bay and River of Penobscot.
2. That all the Country from the Penobscot River to the River Connecticut, containing almost all the four populous provinces of New England, Shall be ceded to the Americans.
3. That all the Country from the Connecticut to the River Delaware, containing the whole of New York Long Island, and the Jersies with Some parts of two other Provinces indenting with them, shall return to Great Britain.
4. That all the Country from the Delaware to the Northern boundary of South Carolina, containing the greatest part of Pennsylvania, all Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, shall be ceded to the Americans.
5. That all the Country from the Northern boundary of South Carolina to the extreme point of the eastern Florida, containing three whole Provinces, shall be retained by Great Britain.
6. That West Florida, chiefly barren Sand, and the Fortress of Gibralter (totally useless) Shall be ceded to Spain, in order to Satisfy { 293 } the Punto2 of that nation, and that the Spaniards shall give Porto Rico in Exchange—an Island, on which they seem to set no Value, and which indeed is of no Use to them, though large in itself, Stored with good ports, well situated, and capable (in the Hands of the English) of great Improvements.
7. Lastly that the English Shall give up the Conquests they have made on the French in the East Indies who shall do the like to the English in the West Indies.
I shall make no Remarks upon this Plan. But there is no Englishman thinks of a wiser, or at least who dares propose one. All who talk of Propositions, throw out something as absurd, and idle as this, which will convince Congress that We shall have no Peace for Sometime.
The French Armament which sailed from Brest the second of May, under the Command of M. De Rochambeau of the Troops and M. de Ternay of the Fleet—and the Armament from Cadiz of twelve ships of the Line besides Frigates and other armed Vessels, with Eleven thousand five hundred Land Forces, with a fine Train of Artillery which were to sail about the same time or earlier,3 both destined for America, as it is supposed, will I hope bring the English to think of some Plan a little more rational.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with great Regard, sir your most obedient servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 35–36); endorsed: “No. 63 Letter from J Adams May 9. 1780 Read Sept 20 Dean of Glocester's plan of pacification.” LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “No. 62.”
1. For the source of these proposals and additional comments by JA on them, see his letter of 9 May to Genet, and note 1 (above).
2. That is, to satisfy Spanish honor.
3. The Spanish fleet commanded by Como. José Solano sailed from Cádiz on 28 April and arrived at Guadaloupe on 9 June. Its twelve ships of the line convoyed 146 transports and other vessels carrying 11,000 troops (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 188–189).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0177-0001

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

From Edmé Jacques Genet

J'ai l honneur de vous envoyer ci joint un Lond. Ev. post du 6. que je vous prie de me renvoyer sur le champ. Je vous comuniquerai un London Courant où il y a un long détail de la reception qui vous a été faite en Espagne.1
J'apprens par les gazettes que mr. le Cap. Paul Jones loge avec vous. Vous nous ferés grand plaisir de nous l'amener dimanche.2 Ce sera { 294 } un jour très heureux pour moi et nous boirons a la prosperité et à la gloire des Etats unis.
J'ai demandé des places pour vous et votre compagnie à la chapelle pour voir la Cérémonie.

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0177-0002

Author: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation

I have the honor to send you enclosed a London Evening Post of 6 May, but I must ask you to return it immediately. I will send you a London Courant, containing a detailed account of your reception in Spain.1
I learn from the gazettes that Captain Paul Jones lodges with you. It would give us great pleasure if you would bring him with you Sunday.2 That will be a most happy day for me and we will drink to the prosperity and glory of the United States.
I have requested seats at the chapel for you and your party to watch the ceremony.
1. The report of JA's reception in Spain has not been found in the London Courant or any other London newspaper except the General Advertiser of 1 May. For the account and its publication, see JA's letter to Edmund Jenings of 19 April, and note 2 (above). In his letter of 10 May (Adams Papers), Genet indicated that if the account in the General Advertiser was correct, he would publish it in a future issue of the Mercure, and he did so in the issue of 27 May (“Journal Politique de Bruxelles,” p. 158–161). See also JA's letter of 11 May to Genet (below).
2. This report that John Paul Jones resided with JA appeared in various London newspapers, including the London Chronicle of 6–9 May and the London Evening Post of 6–9 May, but actually Jones lived with Edward Bancroft at Passy (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 275). In his letter of 8 May (Adams Papers), Genet had invited JA and his entourage to breakfast at Versailles on Sunday, 14 May, and afterwards to witness the investiture of the Chevaliers du St. Esprit. JA described the ceremony in his letter of 15 May to AA (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:347).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0178-0001

Author: Kemtenstrauss, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

From De Kemtenstrauss and Others

[salute] Monsieur

Une Societé de Gens aises a formé le Déssein d'établir une Colonie Dans les Etats Unis de l'amerique Septentrionale, Offre qui ne tendrait qu'a donner de Nombreux, de fideles d'utiles et Vertueux Sujets a cette puissante République; Guides par le Désir de réaliser un Project si Sage et avantageux, et encoûrages par la Solidité Du present offert, Les Membres de cette Societé osent s'addresser à Vôtre Excellence, et la Supplier, De bien voûloir prendre ces Emigraux soûs sa haûte Protection et les favoriser en leur faisant savoir s'ils peuvent être assurés d'obtenir Des Etats independans et unis d'amèrique.
{ 295 }
1.) Une Entiere Liberté De Conscience.
2.) Un Mille géometrique quarré en friche dans une Coutrée temperee, fértile, et Salubre.
3.) La Joûissance de toûs les Priviléges accordes aux aûtres habitans des Etats unis.
4.) L'administration interieure de ses affaires Domestiques, sans l'Intervention d'une Authorité législative quelquonque si non en Cas du Droit de Vie et de Mort.
De l'aûtre Coté toûs les Membres de la Colonie Susditte s'engagent â une Soûmission inviolable et eternelle aux Loix generales et fondamentales de la République, qui ne seront cependant pas immediatement opposes aû 1. 3. et 4. Des Articles cÿ dessus marqués.
C'est dans l'Esperance d'être honnoré De Vôtre Excellence D'une Reponse prompte et favorable sous l'addresse
à Monsieur Monsieur
De Kemtenstrauss—Chevalier Du St. Empire
Poste restante A Munie
par Strasboûrg

[salute] que la Societé réquerante reste avec un tres profound Respect Monsieur De Vôtre Excellence Les tres humbles et tres Obeissants Servitrs

[signed] Les Membres de la Societe réquerante1

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0178-0002

Author: Kemtenstrauss, M. de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-09

De Kemtenstrauss to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

A society of well-to-do men has formed a plan to establish a colony in the United States of North America, an offer which cannot fail to provide this powerful republic with a number of loyal, useful, and virtuous subjects. Prompted by the desire to accomplish such a wise and advantageous project, and encouraged by the soundness of the present effort, the members of this society dare to address themselves to your excellency and implore him, from his good will, to take these immigrants under his strong protection and favor by informing them whether they can be assured of obtaining from the independent and United States of America:
1. Complete freedom of conscience.
2. A square mile of fallow land in a temperate, fertile, and healthful country.
3. The enjoyment of all the privileges accorded to the other inhabitants of the United States.
4. The internal conduct of domestic affairs without the intervention from a legislative authority except only in the case of taxes or life and death.
{ 296 }
On the other hand, all the members of the aforesaid colony pledge themselves to an inviolable and eternal submission to the general and fundamental laws of the republic insofar as they do not directly oppose 1, 3, and 4 of the articles indicated above.
It is in the hope of being honored by your excellency with a prompt and favorable response addressed
à Monsieur Monsieur
De Kemtenstrauss—Chevalier Du St. Empire
Poste restante A Munie
par Strasboûrg

[salute] that the petitioning society remains with a very profound respect, sir, your excellency's very humble and very obedient servants.

[signed] The Members of the Petitioning Society1
RC (Adams Papers). Because of the way in which the date was written, the letter was filed and filmed at 5 Nov. 1780 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 353).
1. No further information has been found regarding either De Kemtenstrauss or the society of which he was a member, nor is it known whether the plan to establish a settlement was realized, but see JA's reply of 10 June (below). A similar letter was written to Benjamin Franklin on this same date (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:311).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0179

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-10

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I have communicated your Invitation to Commodore Jones.1 He will go to Versailles a Sunday, but I believe is engaged to dine. I will have the Honor of waiting on You with Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter, on Sunday: but I believe, it will be best to leave my little Sons, and give them another Opportunity of availing themselves of your Goodness.
Sir John Dalrymple is at Madrid, and coming this Way, from Portugal, on Account of his Lady's Health as it is given out.
The Slanderer of Algernon Sidney will do no good in Spain, France or any where else.2
Adieu
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. See Genet's letter of 9 May, and note 2 (above).
2. For the report concerning Dalrymple, see letters from John Jay andWilliam Carmichael of 26 and [ca. 26] April respectively (both above). JA's reference to Dalrymple as “the Slanderer of Algernon Sidney” stems from Dalrymple's Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, From the Dissolution of the Last Parliament of Charles II, Until the Sea-Battle off La Hogue, 2 vols., London, 1771–1773; a 3-volume edition published at Dublin in 1773 is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library). There Dalrymple presented evidence implying that Sidney's revolutionary activities were motivated in part by payments he received from France. Ardent whigs such as JA saw this as an effort to { 297 } blacken the reputation of their heroic precursor (Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth Century Commonwealthman, N.Y., 1968, p. 46, 360).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0180

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-10

To the President of Congress, No. 63

Paris, 10 May 1780. RC(PCC, No. 84, II, f. 39–40). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:668–669.
In this letter, read in Congress on 20 Sept., John Adams described Henry Grattan's effort in the Irish House of Commons on 19 April to overthrow Poyning's Law (10 Hen. 7, ch. 22) and thus establish legislative independence for the Irish Parliament. Although the attempt failed, Adams believed that popular support for the measure was so strong “that no magistrate will venture to execute any Act of the English Parliament.” Adams also provided extracts from two statutes, 4 Phil. & Mary, ch. 4 and 6 Geo. 1, ch. 5, which set down the meaning of Poyning's Law.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 39–40). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:668–669.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0181

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-10

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 29th. Ultimo, since which the Enemy have furnish'd us with such intelligence relative to affairs at Chas. Town and New York as they choose to publish, but I understand in General, that they are very greatly alarm'd for the very defenceless State in which N. York has been left and the extreme doubtfulness of Clintons success in his attempt against Chas. Town. It is tho't, that if the American Naval Force and Fort Sullivan can prevent the Enemies Ships of War from approaching the Town, Clinton will be obliged to relinquish the attempt; however the operations in the South must be concluded by this time, and if Genl. Washington and the Eastern States are not alert in commencing their operations against N. York, the Enemy may get back there before any thing effectual is done.
I shall be happy to hear that Monsr. Teirnay has not met with Graves and Walsingham, as they all sail'd with the same wind; for the latter have nearly double Monsr. Teirnays force in Ships of the Line.1 The British channel fleet for this year is reckon'd at 34 to 37 Ships of the Line, but I think it very certain that they cannot have 30, if their first West India fleet does not get home safe, without molestation as usual. I cannot conceive how a ship of the line, a 50 Gun Ship and 5, or 6, Frigates cou'd be better employed than in cruising pretty far in the Bay of Biscay and somewhat North [South?] of Cape Clear, to intercept the W. India Fleet.
We shall soon see whether there is any true metal left in England for after the late proceedings in the H. of Commons and Lords, if { 298 } they continue quiet, I think all the world must allow, that their Liberties and the popular part of their constitution are totally gone.
They talk, loudly every where of Peace with America, in the old foolish strain, on condition of America uniting with them against F. and S.
When a whole People can talk so ridiculously, it is a decisive proof that they have as little common sense, as common virtue and honesty among them, and nothing but some hearty drubings can bring them to reason.
The Dutch it seems are not unanimous about the measures they ought to take; for the Province of Zealand according to Custom, is somewhat restive. One would be apt to think, these People were of a very mulish nature, that is the most apt to stand still, the more they are kick'd and cuff'd. Surely Spain will exert its influence to prevail on Portugal to shut her Ports against all Ships of War and arm'd vessels, of every Nation, for under her present system of neutrality the Ports of Portugal are as advantagious to our Enemies as most of the ports of G. Britain and infinitely more injurious to the trade of Spain; while they are of no kind of use to France, Spain or America. If Portugal will not agree to this, it seems to me that it would be proper in Congress, as a prelude to more serious measures, to prohibit by a public resolution, any productions of Portugal from being admitted or consum'd in any of the United States.2
I have the Honor to be Dr. Sir yrs. &c.
P.S. I fancy you know the Name of the Gentlemans Correspondent at the Hague, that you wish to be informd of, because I beleive you correspond with the same person.3
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Lee 10. May ansd 6 June” docketed by CFA: “Wm” between the “M.” and “Lee,” and “1780.”
1. With some stylistic changes, the remainder of this paragraph and the portion of the final paragraph dealing with Portugal formed the substance of JA's letter of 15 May to John Jay (below).
2. Portugal's longstanding alliance with Britain, troubled relationship with Spain, and treatment of American ships made it a continuing problem for American diplomacy. In 1776 Congress instructed its Commissioners to propose an alliance with France and Spain that included an American declaration of war against Portugal, but nothing came from the offer. The need to resolve differences remained, however, and in June 1780, John Jay was instructed to make overtures to Portugal to ascertain whether an amicable settlement might be achieved (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 52–53; JCC, 6:1057; 17: 542).
3. This was C. W. F. Dumas. Although Dumas corresponded with the American Commissioners at Paris while JA served as a Commissioner in 1778 and 1779, the two men had not yet begun a personal correspondence, but see JA's letter to Dumas of 21 May, note 2, and his reply to Lee of 6 June, note 2 (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0182-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-10

From the Comte de Vergennes

Je vous dois des remerciemens, Monsieur, pour les differentes communications que vous avez bien voulu me faire.1 Si les notions que renferme la lettre qui vous a êté confiée, Sont exactes, vous ne devez pas tarder à en avoir la preuve, et dans ce cas il faudra voir quelles ouvertures on jugera à propos de vous faire. Je pense que vous ne devez point refuser de les entendre.

[salute] J'ai l'honneur d'etre très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obeissant Serviteur

[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0182-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-10

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I must thank you, sir, for the various communications you have been kind enough to send me.1 If the information contained in the letter sent to you proves accurate, you will, no doubt, shortly receive further proof, and if so, we would have to examine the offers they deem appropriate to make to you. I believe you should not refuse to hear them out.

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

[signed] De Vergennes
1. Vergennes is almost certainly referring to JA's letters of 1 and 5 May (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12). For the enclosures contained in the former, see JA's letter of 3 May to Jeremiah Allen, and note 2 (above). The letter of the 5th contained an extract (not found) from Thomas Digges' letter of 28 April (and note 10, above). For JA's opinion of possible overtures from the British government alluded to in Digges' letter, see his reply to Vergennes of 12 May (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Genet, Edmé Jacques
Date: 1780-05-11

To Edmé Jacques Genet

[salute] Dear Sir

I have just recieved your Card of the 10th.1 I agree with You that the Dean's propositions are too absurd to be noticed.
As to the History of my peregrinations in Spain,2 and I find it is true as far as it goes; altho' the half is not told, excepting in the following particulars. They have called the American Agent at Corunna, Mr. Laurens, whereas his Name is Mr. Lagoanere. They have called, the first Justice of the Grand Audience “the Rixent,” Whereas they should have called him the Regent. It is moreover said that the { 300 } Gentlemen dined frequently with the Vice Roy, which is not exactly true—they dined with him but once.
In every other punctilio, this Narration is true, and far from being exaggerated.
I had indeed, my dear Sir, as much Reason, to be pleased with the good Will and Affection of the Spaniards, as I had to be mortified, at the Inconvenience of travelling in their Country and the bad Accommodations upon the Roads.
This Relation shews the Benevolence of Spain on one hand, and the Gratitude of America on the other; and consequently the excellent disposition in both to maintain the new Connection: it has consequently a Tendency to put the English into a proper Temper of Repentance of their folly and their Crimes—a Temper to which they must be brought, before they will make Peace. For this Reason I wish to see it as public as possible and consecrated to Immortality in your Mercury.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Not printed, but see JA's letters to Genet of 3 May, note 1, and 9 May, note 5, and Genet's letter of 9 May, note 1 (all above).
2. The critique is of the version printed in the General Advertiser of 1 May. For JA's original account, see his letter of 19 April to Edmund Jenings, and note 2 (above). It is notable that Genet was apparently unaware that JA was the source of the account and that J