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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-20

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 13th of this month. I am very sensible of the confidence with which you have communicated your ideas on the present situation of the United States, { 17 } and their need for the immediate assistance of some ships of the line and frigates. The Chevalier de Ternay and the Comte de Rochambeau have been sent precisely for the purpose that is the object of your letter. They will co-ordinate their operations with Congress and Mr. Washington. And as the King has given them no precise orders regarding their return to Europe, but has left them at liberty to act as they shall judge proper for the relief of the United States, there is every reason to believe that next winter they will take their station in North America, if that shall be agreeable to Congress, and will employ the ships and troops under their command according to the plan that shall be settled between them and the American generals.
You will see from these details, sir, that the King is far from abandoning the American cause and that his majesty, without having been solicited by Congress, has taken effectual measures to sustain it. I flatter myself, sir, that such generous conduct will be appreciated in America and prevail over the falsehoods spread by the common enemy and its wicked adherents in order to render France suspect, and induce the American people to take resolutions which will consummate their slavery and dishonor.

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

[signed] De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Le Cte. De Vergennes 20 July 1780”; notation by CFA: “See Dipl. Corresp. Vol. 5. p. 278.” CFA's reference is to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-07-21

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have receiv'd the letter you did me the honor to write me yesterday; and am extreamly sensible of your Excellency's Confidence in communicating to me, the destination of the Armament under M. Le Chevr. de Ternay and M. Le Comte de Rochambau, and the probability that the Ships will winter in North America.
I assure your Excellency, that scarcely any News I ever heard, gave me more satisfaction; and nothing, in my opinion, can afford a more effectual Assistance to America, or make a deeper, or more grateful Impression, on the Minds of her Inhabitants.
I am infinitely mistaken if the Service of the King in the Conduct of the War, both in the West Indies and North America, does not derive such essential Advantages from this Measure, as will demonstrate its Wisdom to all the World, as well as to the English and the Americans, the King's determined Benevolence to the American Cause. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency's Most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 18 }
RC in Francis Dana's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel 1, f. 105–107); endorsed on the first page: “reflexion qu'il fait Sur la destination de M. de Ternay et de M. de Rochambeau”; additional notation: “No. 9.”; docketed by Congress: “N 9 J Adams to Vergennes July 27. 1780.” This date likely refers to JA's letter to Vergennes of that date (below), which was an additional reply to Vergennes' letter of the 20th (above). For the presence of this letter in the PCC, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.