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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

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
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.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.