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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0009

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-19

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

Haveing Already wrote you pretty largely by Capt. Samson,1 this is only to Inform you that two days ago Arrived here one Mr. Mitchel with a Load of English Goods from London. This seems to be a prevailing and Encreasing Object of Commerce. One Arrived in the Spring. Little Notice was taken of it. Four More Vessels are said to be on their way here. It is certain there is one and Mr. Duncan is in her. He and Mitchel married two Daughters of Geo. Bethune.2 I dont say any thing of their political Principles. There are no Tories or Tory Connections here, we are all Whiggs, and the Man that hid himself in the heat of the day, and has never done any thing since has as much Merit as one that has been in the front of the Battle. These Men had Address enough to procure flaggs from our Council to Carry to England a Number of Prisoners, under the Pretence that they would Carry as many more to France and come out from there with a Load of Goods. Mitchel now says they would not suffer an Ex• { 14 } change for the Prisoners they Carried, and took their Ships from them but afterwards paid them for their Ships.
They came Boldly in under the Protection of Permits from Doctr. Franklin. I thought you should be Acquainted with these Circumstances. You are best Able to Judge if it be good Policy for us, and Consistent with our Connections with France, to Carry on such a Trade. If it be I think it should be publicly Avowed, if not It should be publickly discountenanced, my own Judgment is we can do very well without it, and that all Intercourse with that Accursed and Barbarous Nation should be Intirely broke of, and that we should use ourselves to the Manufactures and Merchandize of other Nations, to prevent as much as possible the hankering after those of Britain, the Leeks and onions of Egypt, when a Peace takes place.
I have had but one Letter from you since you left us and that a very short one.3 I always take pleasure in your Letters. If you can find Friends out of your own Family more pleased with your Friendship or more Sincere and Zealous in his or theirs, I will not Complain that you do not write to me oftner.

[salute] I am Yours sincerely

[signed] J Warren
RC (Adams Papers).; addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister for the American States Paris”; endorsed: “General Warren July 11. 18 ansd. Decr. 9. 1780”; by John Thaxter: “Genl. Warren 19th. July 1780 Recd. 19th. Septr.” The meaning of JA's endorsement is not entirely clear. Warren does not always indicate sentence breaks, and in some cases they have been supplied by the editors.
1. Of 11 July (above).
2. For the activities of Henry Mitchell and Edmund Dunkin, see Thomas Digges' letter of 8 June, and note 6 (above). The two men had married Mary and Susan Bethune, daughters of George Bethune, prominent Boston merchant and loyalist, and Mary Faneuil. A supporter of Thomas Hutchinson, Bethune had been appointed a justice of the peace in 1774. Following the battles of Lexington and Concord, he fled to Long Island, N.Y., and after the British occupied New York City, Bethune associated with the loyalists there, but in 1778 he quietly returned to Boston and resumed his commercial activities in association with his sons-in-law, thus explaining Warren's indignation (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 10:466–469).
3. JA had written twice since his arrival in Europe, on 16 and 18 March (both above). It is not known to which letter Warren refers.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0010

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-07-20

To William Lee

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of the 8th I received in due Course of Post. The Letter from Clinton,1 arrived first at L'orient, in a Phyladelphia Newspaper, which had been sent to Mr. Jay. Mr. Wharton I think copied it and sent it to Dr. Franklin, who communicated it. Soon after it appeared in { 15 } Boston and other Newspapers without a hint of its Want of Authenticity. Within a few days past, I have seen a Gentleman from America, who says it was a mere Jeu d'Esprit; written by an officer in the Army, upon the North river. I have been all along afraid that our Countrymen, would at length imitate their Ennemies, in this Kind of Imposition, and always thought that whenever they did, they would be ingenious at it. It must be agreed this is ingeniously done, and conveys a great deal of Solid Truth and important Instruction, under this fiction. Yet I cannot think the Ingenuity of it a Justification or Excuse. We have no need of such Aids as political Lyes. Our Character for Truth, sincerity and Candor, is more real Strength, than ever can be derived from Such Impostures however artfully performed. The Influence this Practice has upon the World in destroying Confidence, and in poisoning the morals of the People, the pure and <sole fountain> Single Source of which is Truth, ought to induce Us to discountenance the Practice by all means. The Liberty of the Press by No means includes a Right of imposing upon Mankind by such detestable Forgeries. I cannot therefore think that the Reflection you quote from the Newspaper, was too severe. All that We can do is, to write to congress and beseech them to suppress such Practices. The signature of Charles Thompson, hitherto Sacred, will no longer be credited if something is not done to discountenance, such abuses.
Don Solano has not returned to Cadiz, but what will be done in the West Indies, Time alone can discover. Whether, Mr. De Ternay, will go to the W. Indies, stay in America, or come to Europe I know not. I have not contented myself with giving my sentiments of what ought to be done, by Word of mouth, but I have stated it in Writing with my Reasons at large to more than one Minister,2 and of All this I shall inform Congress in detail, who will see, and judge who is right.
You Say that a Speedy Peace is not at present in your View. This is so far from being surprizing to me that I wonder you should ever have had any pleasing prospects of Peace, from the Ennemys suffering some capital Loss in the W. Indies. They are in such a sulky, mulish, suicidical temper, that they would not make Peace if you took every Island they have. This is my opinion. The Suppression of the Riots, Committees associations Correspondences and all, have given Ministry more giddy Confidence than even the taking of Charlestown. I fear America, must reconcile herself to the thought of growing up, in the midst of War, and find her Resources in Patience, Labour and Oeconomy, where she may have them in Sufficient Abundance. I have the Honour to be &c.
{ 16 }
1. For the forged letter from Gen. Henry Clinton and a brief history of its publication, see JA's letter of 21 May to C. W. F. Dumas, and note 1 (above).
2. That is, Vergennes and Gabriel de Sartine. See JA's letter of 13 July to Vergennes, and note 1 (above); and Vergennes' reply of the 20th (below).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.