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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0111-0002

Author: Bicker, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-01

Hendrik Bicker to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I am much chagrined to hear that the visit you made at my suggestion was not more successful. The significant utterances, made in no uncertain terms and often repeated by this House, lead me to believe that you should give up the idea of an alliance before you start the matter at hand. I am not too surprised you did not find there as much confidence in the solidity of your United States as you would like us to have. I already had the honor to tell you that this feeling can only arise after much patience and after seeing a properly accredited person. I could tell you to go elsewhere, but encountering too many rejections can ruin an undertaking which otherwise would have excellent prospects on its own merit. The Blomberg messenger is there and we could perhaps ask him to find another party than the aforementioned (J.D.B.)1 who might gladly join such an undertaking, but before you address yourself to this task, I would like to offer you my candid opinion on his dependability and his way of thinking. In the meantime, I have the honor to be, with utmost consideration, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] H. Bicker
Under the oath of secrecy, I must tell you that the House of Staphorst2 has honored me with a visit to ask that I recommend it to you.
1. This was almost certainly Daniël Jan Bouwens, relative of Bicker and member of the Amsterdam firm of Bouwens & Van der Hoop (Pieter J. Van Winter, American Finance and Dutch Investment 1780–1805, transl. James C. Riley, N.Y., 1977, 2 vols., 1:76; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 264). In a letter of 7 Nov. (below), JA made a proposal to Bouwens and his firm for a loan.
2. The financial house of Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst was one of the three firms through which JA negotiated the first Dutch { 191 } loan in 1782 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:444–445; 3:9). JA was already acquainted with the Staphorsts, having dined with one or the other of them on 14 and 28 Aug., but there is no evidence that he entered into substantive negotiations with the firm in 1780 (JQA, Diary, 1:54, 61).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-10-02

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Sir

It is a long Time Since I had the pleasure to Address you, or receive any of your Favours. I have Letters from my Wife which acknowledge the Receipt of the Things you sent by Trash. Your Bill upon me, was presented at my House in Paris after I left it. Mr. Dana was so good as to accept it.1
I now beg the Favour of you, to Send by every good opportunity to Boston or to Newbury Port &c. to Mrs. Adams in the Same Way, to the Amount of forty Pounds sterling in each Vessell: but more Linnens And fewer Handkerchiefs,2 and draw upon me in Amsterdam or upon Mr. Grand in Paris, for the Money. Mr. Tracy has been vastly obliging in taking the best Care to send, those which you shipped before and will do me the Same favour again.3
The English Papers announce disturbances in south America. Is there any Truth in it?4
I am with great Esteem, your obliged and obt
1. JA's last known letter to Joseph Gardoqui & Sons was dated 25 May (LbC, Adams Papers), while the firm's last letter to JA was of 10 June (above). The letters from AA were probably those of 5 and 16 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:370–373, 375–377). For Dana's payment of the bill for the merchandise sent, see his letter of 27 Aug., and note 3 (above).
2. The preceding six words were interlined.
3. See JA's letter of 2 Oct. to Nathaniel Tracy (below).
4. On 26 Sept., the London newspapers printed a report from Glasgow, dated 21 Sept., that the privateer Bellona had taken the Spanish packet Cologn, bound from Buenos Aires to La Coruña. Then, or on the following day, the papers printed accounts taken from letters and other documents found on the vessel, describing the official concern at Buenos Aires over the revolt that had begun the previous March at Arequipa and Cuzco, Peru, and La Paz and Petosi, Bolivia. Reportedly the disorders resulted from increased customs duties and had led to the establishment of committees of correspondence. Significantly, while the ministerial papers, such as the London Chronicle and Lloyd's Evening Post, apparently printed all available information, the anti-North London Courant of 27 Sept. summarized the reports and concluded that they had “more the appearance of being a burlesque upon our own loss of America, than the serious air of important intelligence.” Despite such skepticism, there was serious unrest in the Spanish colonies and the March uprisings may be seen as the precursors of a general revolt led by Tupac Amaru, descendant of the Inca kings, that began later in 1780 and was brutally put down in 1783 (Hubert Herring, A History of Latin America, N.Y., 1961, p. 248–249; Cambridge Modern History, 10:267).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0113

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jackson, Jonathan
Date: 1780-10-02

To Jonathan Jackson

[salute] Sir

I have long had it in contemplation to pay my Respects to you, but a wandering Life and various avocations have hitherto prevented.
I am very happy to find that our Labours in Convention, were not in vain.1 The Constitution as finished by the Convention and accepted by the People, is publishing in all the publick Papers of Europe, the Report of the Committee having been published before. Both have been treated with much respect both in Europe and in the other States of America. The noble Simplicity of your Address to the People is much admired.2 The substitute for the Governors Negative is generally thought an Amelioration: and I must confess it is So wisely guarded, that it has quite reconciled me.3
I want to hear of the Elections. If these are made with as much Gravity, Sobriety, Wisdom and Integrity, as were discovered in the Convention and among the People, in the whole Course of this great Work, Posterity will be happy, and prosperous. The first Citizen will be, one of two, whom We know.4 Whichever it may be, I wish him Support and success. It is no light Trust.
However ambitious any may be of it, whoever obtains this Distinction, if he does his Duty will find it an heavy Burthen. There are however other great Trusts. The Governors office will be rendered more or less usefull, according to the Characters that compose the senate and the Council.
If the People are as prudent in the Choice of these, as they were in the Choice of the Convention, let the Governor be almost what he will, he will not be able to do much harm, he will be necessitated to do right.
There is nothing I dread So much, as a Division of the Republick into two great Parties, each arranged under its Leader, and concerting Measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble Apprehension is to be dreaded as the greatest political Evil, under our Constitution.
We cannot have a bad Governor at present.5 We may not possibly have the best that might be found. But We shall have a good one. One who means to do no Evil to his Country, but as much good as he can.
The Convention, I shall ever recollect with Veneration. Among other Things for bringing me, acquainted with Several Characters, { 193 } that I knew little of before, of which Number Mr. Jackson is one. I shall be much honoured, sir, if you, would be so good as to write me the state of Things. There are more opportunities from your Port to Spain and Holland, I think than from any other. I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem and Respect, Sir your most obt sert.
1. This letter may be a reply to one by Jonathan Jackson, not found, containing an “enumeration of Amendments” by the drafting committee, of which Jackson was a member, and the convention itself (to William Gordon, 26 May, and note 2, above). Jackson was the brother-in-law and sometime business partner of Nathaniel Tracy, to whom JA also wrote on 2 Oct. (below; Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 15:56–67).
2. This was the address, signed by James Bowdoin as president of the Constitutional Convention, which introduced the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 as submitted to the people. It explained the work of the convention and the delegates' reasoning in approving the constitution in the form it was offered for ratification (Journal of the Convention, p. 216–221). For Jean Luzac's September publication of the address in the Gazette de Leyde, see his letter of 14 Sept., and note 3 (above).
3. JA is referring to Chap. II, Sect. I, Art. I, of his draft of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, which gave the governor an absolute veto. The convention replaced it with a provision permitting a two thirds vote of the House and Senate to override the veto (vol. 8:242, 265). JA here seems to approve the convention's action, but in letters of 4 Nov. 1779 to Elbridge Gerry and Benjamin Rush, he had expressed serious reservations about the change because he believed that it undermined the three branches of government as he had envisioned them (same, p. 276–277, 279–281).
4. John Hancock and James Bowdoin.
5. The previous two words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tracy, Nathaniel
Date: 1780-10-02

To Nathaniel Tracy

[salute] Sir

In more than one Letter from Mrs. Adams, she has mentioned to me, your obliging Kindness to her, and to me. I am very sensible of your Politeness, Sir and beg of you, to accept of my best Thanks.1
We are now in daily Expectation of News from N. America and the West Indies, as well as from Petersbourg. The Dutch Ministers have arrived at that Court and met with a distinguished Reception.
The English Papers, give out Insurrections in South America, on Account of a new Tax, and Committees of Correspondance appointed a la Bostonnaise. Whether this is true I know not, and whether it will be usefull or hurtfull to Us, if true I am equally ignorant. I am not apprehensive of any bad Consequences to Us.
The Elections in England have gone much in favour of the Ministry, and War will undoubtedly continue, whatever Insinuations the Anglomanes may propagate among you. I am, sir your obliged and obt. sert.
{ 194 }
1. See AA's letters of 15 April and 5 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:320–323, 370–373). Nathaniel Tracy was a Newburyport merchant and shipowner, delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, and brother-in-law of Jonathan Jackson (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 17:247–251). On several occasions since arriving at La Coruña, Spain, in Dec. 1779, JA had sent merchandise to AA on vessels owned by Tracy (vol. 8:311, 337, 363; from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons, 10 June, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0115

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-02

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

By all our late Advices from America the Hopes you expressed that our Countrymen, instead of amusing themselves any longer with delusive Dreams of Peace, would bend the whole force of their Minds to find out their own Strength and Resources, and to depend upon themselves, are actually accomplished.1 All the Accounts I have seen, agree, that the Spirit of our People was never higher than at present, nor their Exertions more vigorous.
Inclosed I send you Extracts of some Letters from two French Officers, a Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel in the Army of M. De Rochambeau, which are the more pleasing, as they not only give a good Character of our Troops, but show the good Understanding that subsists between them and those of our Allys.2 I hope we shall soon hear of something decisive performed by their joint Operations, for your Observation is just that Speculations and Disputations do us little Service. Our Credit and Weight in Europe depend more on what we do than on what we say: And I have long been humiliated with the Idea of our running about from Court to Court begging for Money and Friendship, which are the more withheld the more eagerly they are sollicited, and would perhaps have been offer'd if they had not been asked. The supposed Necessity is our only Excuse. The Proverb says God helps them that helps themselves, and the World too in this Sense is very Godly.3
As the English Papers have pretended to Intelligence that our Troops disagree, perhaps it would not be amiss to get these Extracts inserted in the Amsterdam Gazette.
With great Respect I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedt. & most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
1. This statement appears in JA's letter to Franklin of 17 Aug. (above), to which this letter is a reply.
2. The two French officers remain unidentified and the enclosed letters have not been found. JA, however, apparently complied with Franklin's request that the letters be published. Their publication in the Gazette d'Amster• { 195 } dam cannot be confirmed, but the “Supplement” to the Gazette de Leyde of 10 Oct. contained two letters from officers in Rochambeau's army, dated 29 and 31 July at Newport. Both men described in some detail the friendly reception accorded the French army by the people of Newport and the good relations and understanding existing between the French and American armies. In the same issue of the Gazette de Leyde was another letter from a French officer at Newport, dated 8 August. That letter focused more on the military situation than did the two letters noted earlier, but it too confirmed the high degree of cooperation and amity existing between the allied forces.
3. For earlier expressions of Franklin's distaste for actively pursuing European alliances, see vol. 7:183, note 5; Franklin, Papers, 23:511; 27:448. Note also Franklin's elaboration upon the proverb that first appeared in the 1736 edition of Poor Richard's Almanack (Franklin, Papers, 2:140).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0116

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-03

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I am sorry to inform You that Mr. Heny. Lawrens and two other Amn. Gentlemen Prisoners in England.1 They were taken in a small packet on the banks of New foundland about 24 days ago and sent to St. Johns, where Admiral Edwards thought the capture so important as to immediately dispatch the Vestal Frigate Capt. Keppell with them, and the mail which was also taken, to England. Mr. <Adams> Laurens being very much indisposd was put on shore at Dartmouth and is now on his way to London, travelling slowly and guarded by the Lieutenant of the Ship. The frigate had but 14 days passage to England. The Ministers give out confidently they not only possess the mail, but all Mr. Laurens's papers (which is scarcely to be credited) and that they discover to them his business to Holland which was to get a loan for which France was to stand Guarantee. They also say that the mail discovers an Expedition from France was expected against Hallifax to arrive there between the 20th and the last day of Sept. There is no appearance of exultation for the taking Mr. Laurens, but they seem much pleasd with the discoverys his papers have lead to. I will take the earliest opportunity to write You when I hear more. A second Man of War is arrivd from Nfoundland Express upon the heels of the Vestal—She must bring news of some importance, and not good because it is not given to the publick. Report says She is dispatchd in consequence of discovering a small french fleet and armament near Newfoundland.
I am yrs. mo respectfully
[signed] WSC
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Ferdinand Raymond San Chez Monsr. Heny. Shorn Amsterdam”; endorsed on the first page below the body of the letter: “recd. 18th. 1780—October. Q. Where has this Letter been all this While.”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “W. S. C. Octr. 3d. 1780.”
{ 196 }
1. This is the earliest extant letter reporting Henry Laurens' capture, but it was not the means by which JA first learned of it, hence his complaint about the letter's delayed arrival. JA heard of Laurens' capture, probably from a newspaper account, on or about 11 Oct., for he mentioned it at the very end of his letter to the president of Congress of that date (No. 15, calendared, below). For JA's first detailed comment on the capture, see his letter to Digges of 14 Oct. (below).
Digges' information came from London newspaper reports appearing on or about 3 Oct., all of which contained inaccuracies, most notably Laurens' arrival on the frigate Vestal, rather than the sloop Fairy. Henry Laurens and most of his official papers were captured off the banks of Newfoundland on 3 Sept., when the Mercury packet was taken by the Vestal, Capt. George Keppel, and the sloop Fairy, Capt. Berkley. Laurens was put on the Vestal and taken to St. John's, Newfoundland, from whence he wrote on 14 Sept. to the Committee for Foreign Affairs to report his capture and imminent departure for England on the Fairy, now commanded by Keppel. The sloop departed St. John's on or about 18 Sept., and reached Dartmouth, England, on the 29th. Put ashore in the custody of Lt. Hugh Norris, the two men then set off for London, arriving there on the evening of 5 October.
Digges' mention here of two “Gentlemen” and his later reference to a second ship from Newfoundland are erroneous. The newspapers reported the capture, with Laurens, of his “Secretary [Moses Young] and another gentleman,” but did not state that they had been sent to England with Laurens. In fact, Young did not reach England until mid-November, and then it was on the frigate Vestal, in company with Winslow Warren and Capt. William Pickles of the Mercury. The reference to a second vessel stems from the erroneous report that Laurens had come in the Vestal, rather than the Fairy, for the same papers that reported the frigate's arrival also reported the Fairy's arrival at Portsmouth on the 30th, to which it had gone from Dartmouth, (London Courant, 3 Oct.; London Chronicle, 30 Sept. – 3 Oct., and 3–5 Oct.; Morning Post, 3 Oct.; Laurens, “Narrative,” p. 19–23; Davies, ed., Docs. of the Amer. Rev., 1770–1783, 18:166–157; 16:398, 408, 443; for a partial list of the documents captured with Laurens, see p. 420, 424; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:56; from Mercy Otis Warren, 8 May, note 1, above; from Thomas Digges, 17 Nov., below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0001

Editorial Note

On 28 August 1780, John Adams dined with “A Lawyer, Mr. Calcoon” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:446–447). This was a significant event in the chronicle of John Adams' diplomatic mission to the Netherlands, for “Mr. Calcoon” was Hendrik Calkoen, whom Adams described many years later as “the giant of the law in Amsterdam.” Calkoen, a member of the anti-stadholder or patriot party, was sympathetic to the American cause, but more importantly he was consumed with curiosity about the progress of the American Revolution and the ultimate success of the Americans in their struggle for independence. In the course of the dinner Calkoen posed several questions to Adams, but their lack of a common language forced the use of a translator, leading to the suggestion that Calkoen's questions and Adams' replies be reduced to writing (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 194). The result was Calkoen's letter of 31 August, containing twenty-nine ques• { 197 } tions (above), to which Adams, after obtaining an English translation, replied with twenty-six letters written between 4 and 27 October (below).
Hendrik Calkoen's letter shows clearly the degree to which he viewed the American Revolution through the filters of his Dutch or, more broadly, his European experience. It illustrates Simon Schama's observation, in his Patriots and Liberators (N.Y., 1977, p. 61), that many Dutchmen identified “America with the historical memory of the first Dutch revolt,” with the result that British efforts to subdue the Americans were seen “not merely as anti-American but anti-Dutch.” In the first seven pages of his letter Calkoen summarizes the Dutch struggle against Spain and the questions that follow are largely intended to determine the extent to which the obstacles faced by the Dutch patriots in their struggle would also hinder the Americans. The central assumption in Calkoen's letter is that, like the Dutch patriots before them, the American effort would be plagued by shifting loyalties among the principal members of the leadership and the people as a whole, conflicting class interests, and difficulties in financing the war without impoverishing the people and thereby alienating them from the cause. Implicit in Calkoen's letter was his need for assurance that the Americans would display the same fortitude as his Dutch forebears and would ultimately prevail.
Calkoen's letter provided John Adams with an opening to address directly an influential Dutch audience, but when he wrote his replies in October, the stakes were higher than they had been when the letter arrived at the end of August. In mid-September he had received his commission to act in the Netherlands until superseded by Henry Laurens, and by mid-October he had learned of Laurens' capture and imprisonment by the British (from Francis Dana, [16 Sept.], note 2, above; to Samuel Adams, 13 Oct., LbC, Adams Papers; to Thomas Digges, 14 Oct., below). As a result, by 4 October, the date of the first letter to Calkoen (below), Adams had already begun preliminary efforts to obtain a loan; by 16 October, the date of Letters Nos. 8, 9 and10 (below), he knew that the full responsibility for the loan and Dutch recognition fell squarely on his shoulders; and in Letter No. 11, dated 17 October (below), he referred specifically to the need for new foreign loans. The replies to Calkoen thus took on a new urgency, for now they would support his own, rather than another's efforts.
The way in which John Adams responded became almost as important as the response itself as he endeavored to inform without offending his Dutch readers. Adams sought to encourage a sense of republican fraternalism with the Dutch, despite the differences between the two nations and their revolutions. He stressed, therefore, that both the Netherlands and the United States were the products of a shared love of freedom and hatred for despotism. Adams made differences between the two societies both acceptable and understandable by attributing them to the effects of the New World, where the lack of societal restraints on the progress of freedom meant that many of the obstacles faced by the Dutch during their revolution did not exist, thus assuring Americans of victory in a far shorter time.
{ 198 }
In composing his replies, John Adams drew heavily upon his previous writings. The views he expressed to Calkoen are similar to and should be compared with those in Adams' reworking of Thomas Pownall's Memorial (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above), soon to be published by Jean Luzac as Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie, and his “Letters from a Distinguished American,” ([ante 14–22 July], above). Indeed, Letter No. 17 (below) is largely an extract from Pownall's work, which Adams had incorporated into his revision. Adams also used material supplied by British authorities, notably John Burgoyne and William Howe in pamphlets published in 1780 defending their activities in America (Letters Nos. 2, 6, 9, and 15, below). Since the content and tone of Adams' letters to Calkoen are quite similar to his previous efforts published in these volumes and constitute a generally accurate account of the events and progress of the Revolution, annotation has been kept to a minimum.
The major difference between the letters to Calkoen and the writings noted above is the relatively small amount of space devoted to the economic potential of the United States. Adams muted his strongly held view, shared with many others including Thomas Pownall, that the American Revolution was as much economic as political and that Americans sought to free themselves from the constraints of the British navigation acts in order to trade with all the nations of the world. This was a tactical move on Adams' part, reflecting Jean Luzac's warning, in his letter of 14 September (and note 2, above), that many were concerned about the competition that an independent America would pose to Dutch merchants, a concern that led Luzac to compose an introduction to Pensées, intended to allay those fears.
John Adams hoped his replies to Calkoen would have a beneficial influence upon their intended audience. There is no evidence, however, that when he wrote them Adams had any intention or expectation that his twenty-six letters would be published unless it was by Calkoen himself. In fact, Calkoen did not publish the letters, but rather used them to compose “a comparison between the American and Batavian revolutions,” which he then read “with applause to a society of forty gentlemen of letters who meet in a club at Amsterdam” and “by this means, this society, whose influence must be very extensive, were made hearty converts to the opinion of the impracticability of a British conquest and the certainty of American success, points very dubious in the minds of this nation in general, when I first came here.” According to Adams, Calkoen had concluded that “it was a kind of miracle that the former [the Dutch Revolt] succeeded, and it would be a greater miracle still, if the latter [the American Revolution] should not” (to the secretary for Foreign Affairs, 4 Sept. 1782, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:690; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 194; see also JA to Edmund Jenings, 27 Sept. 1782, Adams Papers). It is difficult to see how Adams could have hoped for any more satisfactory outcome.
Two years passed before Adams began to contemplate publishing his letters to Calkoen and to consider retrieving the originals for that purpose. { 199 } 27 Sept. 1782 (Adams Papers), Adams wrote to Edmund Jenings that “there are, somewhere in existence 30 Letters written to Mr. Calkoen . . . which I should be glad to have preserved . . . but there is no haste in this matter.” On 9 June 1783 (Adams Papers), Adams again wrote to Jenings and indicated his continued interest in retrieving his letters to Calkoen.
John Adams ultimately unsuccessful efforts to obtain the original letters from Calkoen may have delayed publication, for it was not until October 1786 that the letters, based on Adams' retained drafts, were printed privately in London, first under the title Letters, and then later, probably also in 1786, as Twenty-six Letters, Upon Interesting Subjects, Respecting the Revolution of America. Written in Holland in the Year 1780. By His Excellency John Adams, while He was Sole Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, for Negotiating a Peace, and a Treaty of Commerce, with Great Britain. The text of the first edition, as indicated by printer's marks on the manuscripts, was taken from twenty-four drafts in John Adams' hand (Letters Nos. 1–6 and 9–26, below), and two fair copies by John Thaxter (Letters Nos. 7 and 8, below), and is preceded by a brief preface or “Advertisement” in which Adams gives an account of the letters' origin and their use by Calkoen.
In the United States the first printing of any portion of Adams' reply to Calkoen was in New York City on 22 April 1789. There, two days after Adams reached the city to assume the office of vice president and one day before Washington's arrival for his inauguration, John Fenno printed the sixth letter (below), dealing with the inability of any one man to subvert the American Revolution, in his Gazette of the United States. In June 1789, using the same title and same text as the second London edition, Fenno printed the first of two editions that he would issue that year (Evans, Nos. 21624, 21625). The advertisement for the first New York edition appeared in the Gazette of 13 June and contained all twenty-nine questions posed by Calkoen, probably extracted from Adams' letters, rather than from Calkoen's letter itself. Fenno was not done, however, for he published the letters in order again, except for that printed the previous April, in the Gazette between 14 October and 26 December 1789.
John Adams' replies to Calkoen next appeared in print in 1809. With a letter dated 8 August of that year, Adams sent his letters, probably one of the previous printings, to the Boston Patriot. The August letter, addressed to the printers of the paper and appearing in the issue of 19 August, dealt with Adams' diplomatic activities in the Netherlands and particularly with Henry Laurens and his captivity. The last paragraph, however, contained an account of his exchange with Calkoen and his estimate of its impact on Dutch support for the American cause. The newspaper then printed the letters to Calkoen in its next ten issues, from 23 August to 23 September. Later the letter of 8 August and Adams' replies to Calkoen were collected and included under the title of the Correspondence of the Late President Adams, originally Published in the Boston Patriot (Boston, 1809[-1810], p. 185-250).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-04

1. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 1.

1st. Letter

[salute] Sir

You desire an exact and authentic Information of the present Situation of American Affairs, with a previous concise Account of their Course before, during and after the Commencement of Hostilities.
To give a Stranger an adequate Idea of the Rise and Progress of the Dispute between Great Britain and America, would require much time and many Volumes. It comprizes the History of England, and the united states of America for twenty Years; that of France and Spain for five or Six; and that of all the maritime Powers of Europe for two or three.1 Suffice it to say, that immediately upon the Conquest of Canada from the French in the Year 1759, Great Britain Seemed to be Seized with a Jealousy against the Colonies and then concerted the Plan of changing their forms of Government, of restraining their Trade within narrower Bounds, and raising a Revenue within them by Authority of Parliament for the avowed or pretended Purpose of protecting, Securing, and defending them. Accordingly in the Year 1760 orders were sent from the Board of Trade, in England to the Custom house officers in America, to apply to the Supream Courts of Justice for Writs of Assistance, to enable them to carry into a more vigorous Execution certain Acts of Parliament called the Acts of Trade,2 among which the famous Act of navigation was one, the fruit of the ancient English Jealousy of Holland by breaking open Houses, ships or Cellars, Chests, stores and Magazines, to search for uncustomed Goods. In most of the Colonies these Writs were refused. In the Massachusetts Bay the Question, whether Such Writs were legal and constitutional, was Solemnly and repeated, Argued before the supream Court by the most learned Council in the Province.
The Judges of this Court held their Commissions during the Pleasure of the Governor and Council, and the Chief Justice dying at this Time, the famous Mr. Hutchinson was appointed, probably with a View of deciding this cause in favour of the Crown, which was accordingly done. But the Arguments advanced upon that occasion by the Bar and the Bench, opened to the People Such a View of the { 201 } designs of the British Government against their Liberties and of the Danger they were in, as made a deep Impression upon the public which never wore out.
From this Moment, every Measure of the British Court and Parliament, and of the Kings Governors and other servants, confirmed the People in an opinion of a Settled design, to over turn, those Constitutions under which their Ancesters had emigrated from the old World, and with infinite Toil, Danger and Expence planted a new one. It would be endless to enumerate all the Acts of Parliament and Measures of Government, but in 1764 Mr. George Grenville moved a Number of Resolutions in Parliament which passed, for laying a vast Number of heavy duties upon stamped Paper, and in 1765 the Act of Parliament was made called the stamp Act. Upon this, there was an Universal rising of the People in every Colony compelling the stamp officers by Force to resign, and preventing the stamped Papers from being used, and indeed compelling the Courts of Justice to proceed in Business without them. My Lord Rockingham perceiving the Impossibility of executing this statute, moved by the Help of Mr. Pitt for the Repeal of it, and obtained it, which restored Peace, order and Harmony, to America, which would have continued to this Hour, if the evil Genius of Great Britain had not prompted her to revive the Resistance of the People by fresh Attempts upon their Liberties, and new Acts of Parliament imposing Taxes upon them.
In 176<6>7, they passed another Act of Parliament, laying Duties upon Glass, Paper and Painters Colours, and Tea—this revived the Discontents in America But <Parliament> Government sent over a Board of Commissioners, to over see the Execution of this Act of Parliament, and all others imposing Duties with a Multitude of new officers for the same Purpose, and in 1768 for the first Time sent four thousand regular Troops to Boston to protect the Revenue Officers in the Collection of the Duties.
Loth to commence Hostilities the People had Recourse to Non Importation agreements, and a variety of other Measures, which in 1770 induced Parliament to repeal all the Duties upon Glass, Paper and Painters Couleurs, but left the Duty upon Tea unrepealed. This produced an Association not to drink Tea. In 1770 the Animosity between the Inhabitants of Boston and the Kings Troops, grew so high, that <a kind of <<Quar>> Action took P> a Party of the Troops fired upon a Crowd of People in the streets, killing 5 or 6 and wounding some others. This raised such a spirit among the Inhabitants that in a Body they demanded the instant Removal of the { 202 } Troops, which was done the Governor ordering them down to Castle Island some miles from the Town.
In 1773 the British Government determined to carry into Execution the Duty upon Tea, impowrd the East India Company to export it to America. They sent some Cargoes to Boston, some to New York, some to Philadelphia and some to Charlestown. The Inhabitants of New York and Philadelphia, sent the ships back3 to London and they Sailed up the Thames to proclaim to all the Nation that N.Y. and Pen. would not be enslaved. The Inhabitants of Charlestown unloaded it and stored in Cellars where it could not be used and where it finally perished.4 The Inhabitants of Boston, after trying every Measure to send the ships back like N.Y. and Philadelphia, but not being permitted to pass the Castle, the Tea was all thrown into the sea.
This produced several Vindictive Acts of Parliament—one for starving the Town of Boston by shutting up the Port, another for abolishing the Constitution of the Province, by destroying their Charter, another for sending Persons to England to be tryed for Treason &c.
These Acts produced the Congress of 1774, who stated the Rights and Grievances of the Colonies and petitioned for Redress.5 Their Petitions and Remonstrances were all neglected and treated with Contempt.6
General Gage had been sent over with an Army to in force the Boston Port Bill, and the Act for destroying the Charter. This Army on the 19 of April 1775 commenced Hostilities at Lexington, which have been continued to this day.
You see sir by this most imperfect and Hasty sketch that this War is already twenty years old. And I can truly say, that the People, through the whole Course of this long Period, have been growing constantly every Year more and more unanimous and determined to resist the <Encroachments> designs of Great Britain <, upon their liberties.>.
I should be ashamed to lay before a Gentleman of Mr. Kalkoens Abilities so rude a Sketch if I had not an equal Confidence in his Candor and discretion which will induce me7 as I may have leisure to continue to sketch a few Observations upon your Questions. I have the Honour to be
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 1.”
1. This sentence was written in the left margin and marked for insertion at this point.
2. The following passage, from this point to “Holland,” was interlined.
3. The remainder of this sentence was interlined.
4. In fact, the tea that was stored underneath the Exchange at Charleston was ulti• { 203 } mately sold to finance the war effort (Robert M. Weir, Colonial South Carolina, Millwood, N.Y., 1983, p. 313).
5. For JA's role in the formulation of the “Bill of Rights; A List of Grievances,” adopted by Congress on 14 Oct. 1774, see vol. 2:144–146, 159–163.
6. This sentence was interlined.
7. The first portion of this sentence was interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0003

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-05

2. To Hendrik Calkoen

2nd. Letter.

[salute] Sir

Your first Proposition is to prove by Striking Facts, “that an implacable Hatred and Aversion reigns throughout America.”
In Answer to this, I beg leave to Say that the Americans are animated by higher Principles and better and Stronger Motives than Hatred and Aversion. They universally aspire after a free Trade with all the commercial World, instead of that mean Monopoly, in which they were shackled by great Britain, to the disgrace and Mortification of America, and to the Injury of all the rest of Europe, to whom it seems as if God and Nature intended, that So great a Magazine of Productions the raw Materials of Manufactures, So great a source of Commerce, and so rich a Nursery of Seamen as America is should be open. They despize, Sir, they disdain the Idea of being again Monopolized by any one Nation whatsoever: and this contempt is at least as powerfull a Motive of Action as any Hatred whatsoever.
Moreover Sir they consider themselves contending for the purest Principles of Liberty civil and religious: for those Forms of Government under the Faith of which their Country was planted: and for those great Improvements of them which have been made by their new Constitutions. They consider themselves not only as contending for these great Blessings but against the greatest Evils that any Country ever suffered, for they know if they were to be deceived by England, to break their Union among themselves and their Faith with their Allies, they would ever after be in the Power of England who would bring them into the most abject submission to the Government of a Parliament, the most corrupted in the World in which they would have no Voice nor Influence, at 3000 miles distance from them.
But if Hatred must come into consideration, I know not how to prove their Hatred better than by shewing the Provocations they have had to Hatred.
If tearing up from the foundation, those Forms of Government { 204 } under which they were born and educated and thrived and prospered, to the infinite Emolument of England—if imposing Taxes upon them, or endeavouring to do it for Twenty years without their consent, if commencing Hostilities upon them—burning their Towns—butchering their People—deliberately starving Prisoners, ravishing their Women—exciting Hosts of Indians to butcher and scalp them and purchasing Germans to destroy them, and hiring Negro servants to murder their Masters—if all these and many other things as bad are not Provocation enough to Hatred, I would request Mr. Calkoen to tell me what is or can be. All these Horrors, the English have practised in every Part of America from Boston to Savanna.
2. Your second Proposition is to shew that this is general, at least so general that the Tories are in so small a Number, and of such little Force, that they are counted as Nothing.
If Mr. Calkoen would believe me, I could testify as a Witness. I could describe all the sources; all the Grounds, Springs, Principles and Motives to Toryism through the Continent. This would lead me into great length: and the Result of all would be my Sincere opinion that the Tories through out the whole Continent do not amount to the twentyeth Part of the People. I will not however obtrude my Testimony, nor my opinion. I will appeal to Witnesses who cannot be Suspected. General Burgoine and General How. Burgoine has published a Narrative of his Proceedings in which he Speaks of the Tories.1 I left the Pamphlet at Paris, but it may easily be had from London.
General How has also published a Narrative relative to his Conduct in America.2 Page 49 General How says “The only attempt by Bodies of Men to form themselves in Arms, and to assist in Suppressing the Rebellion, happened in North Carolina, in the Spring of 1776, when it was absolutely impossible for me to give Assistance to the Insurrection.3 The Plan was concerted between a Settlement of highland Emigrants, and a Body of Americans in that Province, distinguished by the name of Royalists. (He should have Said Regulators).4 They engaged to obey the orders of Governor Martin, who proposed they Should operate in favour of the Troops from Europe, under Earl Cornwallis. The Loyalists promised 5000, the Highlanders 700, Men. The former insisted upon their assembling immediately; the latter urged the Expediency of waiting the Arrival of the British Troops, but yeilded to the Importunity of the Royalists, and repaired in Arms to the Rendezvous, Stronger than the stipulated Compliment. The Loyalists, instead of 5000, did not assemble a Twentyeth Part of that { 205 } Number, and two Companies of these deserted, upon the near Approach of the Rebells. The Highlanders Stood their ground, and fought bravely, but being overpowered, were defeated with considerable Loss, and forced to disperse.
“My Letter of 20 Dec. 17765 was written before the Affair of Trenton, and I could have no reason to Suspect the Fidelity of those who came in, to Us from Monmouth; but I was Soon undeceived. Many, very many, of these Loyalists, were a Short time afterwards taken in Arms against Us, and others killed with my Protections in their Pocketts. In the Pocketts of the Killed, and Prisoners, were also found Certificates of those very Men having Subscribed a declaration of Allegiance, in Consequence of the Proclamation of the Kings Commissioners for a general Indemnity. These are notorious Facts.
“Various offers of raising Men were made to me, nor did I decline any of those offers that brought with them the least Prospect of Success; but I must add, that very few of them were fullfilled in the Extent proposed.6
“Mr. Oliver Delancey,7 who was reputed to be the most likely man in New York, to induce the Loyalists of that Province to join the Kings Troops was appointed a Brigadier General, and authorized to raise three Battalions, to consist of 1500 privates, placing at the Head of each the most respectable Characters, recommended as Such by himself, and by Governor Tryon. Every possible Effort was used by those Gentlemen, not only in the districts possessed by the Kings Troops but by employing persons to go through the country, and invite the well affected to come in. Several of the officers (as I have Since been informed) anxious to complete their Corps, Sought for Recruits, even among the Prisoners, who were then very numerous, and ventured to hold out to them the Temptations of pay, Liberty, and Pardon. Notwithstanding all these Efforts and Encouragements,8Brigadier-General Delancey, at the opening of the Campain in 1777, instead of 1500, had raised only 597.
“Mr. Courtland Skinner,9 who was acknowledged to possess considerable Influence in the Jersies, where he had Served the office of Attorney General with great Integrity and Reputation, was also appointed a Brigadier General, and authorized to raise five Battalions, to consist of 2500 privates, under the command of Gentlemen of the Country, nominated by himself. The Same Efforts were made as for the raising of Delanceys Corps; but at the opening of the Campaign of 1777, Brigadier General Skinners numbers amounted only to 517, towards his expected Battalions of 2500.
{ 206 }
“In November 1777 Brigadier General Delanceys Corps encreased to 693 and Brigadier General Skinners to 859—In May 1778 their progress was so slow, that the first had only advanced to 707, the latter to 1101.
“Several other Corps were offered to be raised, and were accepted, in the Winter of 1776, making in the whole thirteen, to consist of 6,500 men, including the Brigades of Delancey and Skinner. But in May, 1778, the whole Number in all these thirteen Corps amounted only to 3,609, little more than half the proposed complement, and of these, only a small Proportion were Americans.
“Upon our taking Possession of Philadelphia, the Same, and indeed, greater Encouragements were held out to the People of Pensylvania. Mr. William Allen, a Gentleman who was Supposed to have great Family Influence in that Province—Mr. Chalmers, much respected in the three lower Counties on Delaware, and in Maryland—and Mr. Clifton, the Chief of the Roman Catholic Perswasion, of whom there were Said to be many in Philadelphia, as well as in the Rebel Army, serving against their Inclinations: These Gentlemen were appointed Commandants of Corps, to receive, and form for Service, all the well affected that could be obtained. And what was the Success of these Efforts? In May 1778, when I left America, Colonel Allen had raised only 152 rank and File—Colonel Chalmers 336—and Coll. Clifton 180, which, together with three Troops of light Dragoons, consisting of 132 Troopers, and 174 real volunteers from Jersey, under Coll. Vandyke amounting in the whole to 974 men, constituted all the Force that could be collected in Pensylvania, after the most indefatigable Exertions, during Eight months.10
“To make the Conclusion as easy as possible, I shall state a very Strong Fact, to shew how far the Inhabitants were anxious to promote the Kings service, even without carrying Arms.11
“As soon as we were in Possession of Philadelphia, my Intention was to fortify it in Such a manner, as that it might be tenable by a small Number of Men, whilst the main Army should keep the Field, and Act against General Washington. To effectuate this Purpose, I sent orders from Germantown to the Chief Engineer, to construct Redoubts and to form the necessary Lines of Communication. That the Work might be expedited and the Labour of the Soldiers Spared, I, at the Same time directed him to employ the Inhabitants, and pay them 8d a day besides a Ration of Salt Provisions each, without which I was <persuaded> convinced they could not have been persuaded to have worked at all.
{ 207 }
“Mr. Galloway, whom I had previously talked with upon the Subject had assured me there would be no difficulty in finding 500 men for this Business; and I presume he exerted himself to fulfil the Expectations he had given me. But with all the Assiduity of that Gentleman, and all the means made use of by the Chief Engineer, the whole Number that could be prevailed on to handle the Pick axe, and Spade, for the Construction of the Redoubts and Abbatis, amounted, each day, upon an average to no more than between Seventy and Eighty Men.”
I have quoted to you General Hows Words, and one would think this was Sufficient to shew how much, or how little Zeal there is for the British Cause in North America. When We consider, that in the Period, here mentioned the English Army had been in Possession of the Cities of Boston, Newport, New York and Philadelphia, and that they had marched through the Jersies, Part of Maryland and Pensilvania, and with all their Arts, Bribes, Threats and Flatteries, which General How calls their Efforts and Exertions they were able to obtain so few Recruits and very few of these Americans, I think that any impartial Man must be convinced that the Aversion and Antipathy to the British Cause is very general, So general that the Tories are to be accounted but a very little Thing.
The Addresses, which they have obtained to the King and his Generals when their Army was in Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Savanna and Charlestown shew the same Thing. It is well known that every Art of Flattery, and of Terror was always used to obtain subscribers to these Addresses. Yet the miserable Numbers they have obtained and the still more despicable Character of most of these small Numbers shew that the British Cause is held in <universal Horror> very low Esteem. Even in Charlestown, the Capital of a Province which contains two hundred thousand Whites, they were able to obtain only 210 subscribers, and among these there is not one Name that I ever remember to have heard before.12
I am Sorry I have not Burgoines Narrative, which shews in the same Point of Light, the Resources the English are likely to find in the Tories, to be nothing more than a sure Means of getting rid of a great Number of their Guineas.
I have the Honour to be, Sir, your humble sert
[signed] John Adams
To learn the present state of America, it is sufficient to read the public Papers. The present State of Great Britain and its Dependencies may be learned the Same Way. The omnipotence of the British { 208 } Parliament and the omnipotence of the British Navy, are like to go the Same Way.
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 2d.”
1. John Burgoyne, A State of the Expedition from Canada, London, 1780, 1st edn., p. 102. Thomas Digges sent this pamphlet to JA on or about 10 June (from Digges, 8 June, above), but see also note 2.
2. This is The Narrative of Lieut. Gen. Sir William Howe, in a Committee of the House of Commons, on the 29th of April 1779, Relative to His Conduct during His Late Command of the King's Troops in North America: To which are added, Some Observations upon a Pamphlet, Entitled, Letters to a Nobleman, London, 1780. The passages quoted by JA below are not taken, however, from the narrative (p. 1–34), but rather from Howe's observations (p. 35–110) on Joseph Galloway's Letters To A Nobleman, On The Conduct of the War In The Middle Colonies, London, 1779. JA was familiar with Galloway's pamphlet, having received it in a packet sent by Thomas Digges on or about 16 May that also contained Galloway's Cool Thoughts (from Digges, 8 June), and it may have given JA some satisfaction to be able to use Howe's arguments against the author of Cool Thoughts. Except for some differences in punctuation and spelling and the fact that they are not consecutive, JA's quotations are virtually verbatim renderings of Howe's comments, but see notes 3, 5, 8, and 11. In the “Advertisement” to the first 1786 edition of his letters to Calkoen, JA indicated that he undertook to publish Howe's Narrative and Burgoyne's State of the Expedition (see note 1) in the Netherlands, for which see Antoine Marie Cerisier's letter of 15 Nov. and JA's reply of the 18th (both below).
3. The paragraph here quoted is taken from Howe's Narrative, p. 49–50, in which Howe responds to the argument in Galloway's pamphlet (p. 38) that American loyalists offered military assistance to the British army.
4. The passage in parentheses is by JA. For the Regulators, and the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, described later in the paragraph, see Letter No. 7, and note 2 (below).
5. In the Narrative, p. 51, this paragraph began “This letter.” The date was taken from the passage that preceded it and where, in referring to Galloway's Letters (p. 39), Howe stated that “As another proof of my opinion of the great loyalty of the Americans, he [Galloway] adds in a note the following quotation from my letter to the Secretary of State, dated 20th Dec. 1776. 'The chain of cantonments is rather too extensive, but I was induced to occupy Burlington, to cover the county of Monmouth, in which there are many loyal inhabitants.'”
6. This and the following five paragraphs are taken from the Narrative, p. 51–53.
7. A member of the governor's council, Oliver De Lancey was the most prominent military figure in pre-revolutionary New York, and with his appointment as brigadier general became the highest ranking loyalist officer in America. In 1783, his property confiscated, he went to England where he died in 1785 (DAB).
8. At this point JA omitted the following passage: “notwithstanding the loyalty of the people, and the many thousands flying over to the British troops for protection (as attested by the author [Galloway]” (Narrative, p. 51).
9. For Cortlandt Skinner, the last royal attorney general of New Jersey, see Sabine, Loyalists, 2:305–306.
10. Of the four men listed in this paragraph, William Allen was the son of the former chief justice of Pennsylvania, William Allen, but little information has been found regarding James Chalmers of Maryland or Delaware, John Van Dyke of New Jersey, and Arthur Clifton, other than their inability to fill up their regiments (same, 1:157–158, 301; 2:496; Gregory Palmer, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, Westport, Conn., 1984, p. 886).
11. In the Narrative, p. 54–55, this and the following two paragraphs were preceded by two paragraphs in which Howe commented on a statement by Galloway on p. 40 of the Letters. There Galloway had declared that Howe could have raised a militia in Philadelphia and defended the city against any threat. In support of his own position that such was not possible, Howe set out the population of Philadelphia and then began this paragraph by stating that “whether a militia formed from { 209 } the above, could contribute to the defence of the city is submitted: and to make the Conclusion . . .”
12. For this address, see JA's letter of 18 July to Edmund Jenings, and notes 1, 3, and 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0004

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-06

3. To Hendrik Calkoen

3d. Letter

[salute] Sir

Your Third Proposition is to shew that America, notwithstanding the War, daily increases in Strength and Force.”
It is an undoubted Fact that America, daily increases in Strength and Force: but it may not be so easy to prove this to the Satisfaction of an European, who has never been across the Atlantick. However some Things may be brought into Consideration, which may convince, if properly attended to.
1. It may be argued from the Experience of former Wars, during all which the Population of that country was so far from being diminished or even kept at a Stand, that it was always found at the End of a War that the Numbers of People, had increased during the Course of it, nearly in the Same Ratio as in Time of Peace. Even in the last French War which lasted from 1755 to 1763, during which Time, the then American Colonies, made as great Exertions, had in the Field as great a Number of Men, and put themselves to as great an Expence, in Proportion to the Numbers of People, as the united States have done during this War; it was found that the Population had encreased nearly as fast as in times of Peace.
2. If you make Enquiry into the Circumstances of the different Parts of America at this day, you find the People in all the States pushing their Settlements out into the Wilderness, upon the Frontiers, cutting down the Woods and subduing new Lands, with as much Eagerness and Rapidity, as they used to do in former Times of War or Peace. This Spreading of the People into the Wilderness, is a decisive Proof of the increasing Population.
3. The only certain Way of determining the Ratio of the Increase of Population is by authentic Numerations of the People, and regular official Returns.1 This has I believe never been done generally in former Wars, and has been generally omitted in this. Yet some States have made these Returns. The Massachusetts Bay for Example, had a Valuation about the year 1773 or 1774, and again the last year 1779 they had another. In this Period of five years, that State was found to have encreased, both in Number of People and in Value of Prop• { 210 } erty, more than it ever had grown before in the Same Period of Time. Now the Massachusetts Bay, has had a greater Number of Men employed in the War, both by Land and sea in Proportion to the Numbers of her Inhabitants than any other state of the thirteen. She has had more Men killed, taken Prisoners, and died of sickness, than any other state: Yet her growth, has been as rapid as ever—from whence it may be fairly argued that all the other States have grown in the same or a greater Proportion.
4. It has been found by Calculations, that America, has doubled her Numbers even by natural Generation alone, upon an Average, about once in Eighteen Years. This War has now lasted, near six Years. In the Course of it, We commonly compute in America that We have lost by sickness and the sword and Captivity, about five and thirty Thousand Men. But the Numbers of People have not increased less than Seven hundred and Fifty thousand, souls, which give at least an hundred Thousand fighting Men. We have not less probably than seventy thousands of Fighting Men in America, more than We had, on the day that Hostilities were first commenced on the 19 of April 1775. There are near Twenty thousand Fighting Men Added to the Numbers in America every Year. Is this the Case with our Ennemy, Great Britain? Which then can maintain the War the longest?
<I have the Honour to be &c.>
5. If America increases in Numbers, she certainly increases in Strength. But her Strength increases in other respects. The Discipline of her Armies increase. The skill of her Officers, increase by Sea and Land—her skill in military Manufactures, such as those of Salt Peter, Powder, Fire Arms, Cannon, Musquets, increases. Her skill in Manufactures of Flax and Wool for the first necessity, increases—her Manufactures of salt also increases, and all these are Augmentations of Strength and Force to maintain her Independence. Further her Commerce increases every Year—the Number of Vessells She has had this Year in the Trade to the West Indies—the Number of Vessells arrived in Spain, France, Holland, and Sweeden, shew that Her Trade is greatly increased this Year.
But above all her Activity skill Bravery and success in Privateering, increases every Year. The Prizes she has made from the English this Year, will defray more than one half of the whole Expence of this Years War. I only submit to your consideration a few Hints which will enable you to Satisfy yourself by Reflection, how fast the Strength and Force of America increases.
I have the Honour to be
{ 211 }
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter. 3.”
1. See Letter No. 17 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0005

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-07

4. To Hendrik Calkoen

4. Letter

[salute] Sir

Your fourth Question is, whether America, in and of itself, by means of purchasing or exchanging the Productions of the several Provinces, would be able to continue the War, for 6, 8 or 10 years, even if they were entirely deprived of the Trade with Europe, or their Allies exhausted by the War and forced to make a Seperate Peace were to leave them.

This is an extreme case. And where is the necessity of putting Such a Supposition! Is there the least appearance of France or Spain being exhausted by the War? Are not their Resources, much greater than those of England, Seperated as she is from America? Why should a Suspicion be entertained that France or Spain will make a seperate Peace? Are not these Powers Sufficiently interested in seperating America from England? All the World knows that their maritime Power, and the Possession of their Colonies depend upon Seperating them? Such Chimaeras as these are artfully propagated by the English1 to terrify Stockjobbers, but thinking Men, and well informed Men know that France and Spain have the most pressing Motives to persevere in the War. Besides Infractions so infamous, of Solemn Treaties made and avowed to all Mankind are not committed by any nation. In short no Man who knows any Thing of the real Wealth and Power of England on one hand; and of the Power and Resources of France, Spain and America on the other, can believe it possible, in the ordinary Course of human Events and without the Interposition of Miracles, that France and Spain should be So exhausted by the War, as to be forced to make a Seperate Peace.
The other Supposition here made is equally extreme. It is in the nature of Things impossible that America should ever be deprived entirely of the Trade of Europe. In opposition to one extream I have a Right to advance another. And I Say that if all the maritime Powers of Europe, were to unite their Navies, to block up the American Ports, and prevent the Trade of Europe they could not wholly prevent it. All { 212 } the Men of War in Europe would not be sufficient to block up a seacoast of 2000 Miles in Extent, varied as that of America is by such an innumerable Multitude of Ports, Bays, Harbours, Rivers, Creeks, Inlets and Islands, with a Coast so tempestuous that there are many Occasions in the Course of the Year, when Merchant Vessells can push out and in altho Men of War cannot cruise. It should be remembered, that this War was maintained by America for Three Years, before France took Any Part in it. During all that Time the English had fifty Men of War upon that Coast which is a greater Number than they ever will have again: yet all their Vigilance was not Sufficient to prevent American Trade with Europe. At the worst Time We ever saw, one Vessell in three went and came Safe. At present there is not one in four taken. It should also be remembered that the French Navy have never untill this Year, been many days together upon the American Coast. So that We have in a sense maintained the Trade of the Continent five Years against all that the English navy could do, and it has been growing every Year.
Why then should We put cases that We know can never happen. However I can inform you, that the Case was often put, before this War broke out. And I have heard the common Farmers in America reasoning upon these Cases seven years ago. I have heard them Say, if Great Britain could build a Wall of Brass, a thousand feet high2 all along the seacoast at low Water Mark, We can live and be happy. America is most undoubtedly capable of being the most independent Country upon Earth. It produces every Thing for the Necessity, Comfort and Conveniency of Life, and many of the Luxuries too. So that if there were an eternal Seperation between Europe and America—The Inhabitants of America would not only live but multiply, and for what I know be wiser, better, and happier, than they will be, as it is.
That it would be unpleasant, and burthensome to America to continue the War for 8 or 10 Years, is certain: but will it not be unpleasant and burdensome to Great Britain too? There are between 3 and four millions of People in America. The Kingdom of Sweeden, that of Denmark, and even the Republick of the united Provinces have not each of them many more than that Number. Yet these States can maintain large standing armies even in time of Peace, and maintain the Expences of Courts And Governments much more costly than the Government of America. What then should hinder America from maintaining an Army sufficient to defend her Altars, and her { 213 } Firesides? The Americans are as active as industrious and as capable as other Men. America could undoubtedly maintain a regular Army of Twenty thousand Men forever. And a regular Army of Twenty thousand Men, would be Sufficient to keep all the Land Forces that Great Britain can send there, confined to the Seaport Towns under cover of the Guns of their Men of War. Whenever the British Army shall attempt to penetrate far into the Country the regular American Army will be joined by such Reinforcements from the Militia, as will ruin the British Force—By desertions, by Fatigue, by sickness and by the sword in occasional skirmishes, their numbers will be wasted and the miserable Remainders of them Burgoined.
I have the Honour to be &c.
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 4.”
1. The preceding eight words were interlined.
2. The preceding four words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0006

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-09

5. To Hendrik Calkoen

5th. Letter

[salute] Sir

The fifth Enquiry is, whether a voluntary Revolt of any one or more of the States, in the American Confederation is to be apprehended: and, if one or more were to revolt, whether the others would not be able to defend themselves?

This is a very judicious and material Question. I conceive that the answer to it is easy, and decisive. There is not the least danger of a voluntary Revolt, of any one State in the Union. It is difficult to prove a negative however: and still more difficult to prove a future Negative. Let us however consider the Subject a little.
Which State is the most likely to revolt, or Submit? Is it the most ancient Colony as Virginia or the Massachusetts? Is it the most numerous and powerful as Virginia, Massachusetts, or Pensilvania? I believe no body will Say that any one of these great States will take the Lead in a Revolt or a voluntary Submission.
Will it be the Smallest, and weakest States, that will be most likely to give up voluntarily? In order to Satisfy ourselves of this, let Us consider what has happened, and by the Knowledge of what is passed We may judge of what is to come. The Three Smallest States are { 214 } Rhode Island, Georgia, and Delaware. The English, have plainly had it in view to bring one of these States to a submission and have accordingly directed very great Forces aginst them.
Let Us begin with Rhode Island. In the latter End of the Year 1776, General How sent a large Army of near seven thousand Men, by sea under a strong Convoy of Men of War, detached by Lord How, to take Possession of Newport, the Capital of Rhode Island. Newport stands upon an Island, and was neither fortified, nor garisoned sufficiently to defend itself against so powerfull a Fleet and Army and therefore the English made themselves Masters of the Place. But what Advantage did they derive from it? Did the Colony of Rhode Island, Small as it is, Submit? So far from it, that they were rendered the more eager to resist, and an Army was assembled at Providence, which confined the English to the Prison of Rhode Island, untill the fall of the year 1779 when they were obliged to evacuate it, and our Army entered it in Tryumph.
The next little state which the English attempted was Delaware. This state consists of three Counties only situated upon the River Delaware below Philadelphia, and is the most exposed to the English Men of War, of any of the states, because, they are open to Invasion not only upon the Ocean but all along the River Delaware. It contains not more than thirty Thousand Souls. When the English got Possession of Philadelphia, and had the command of the whole Navigation of the Delaware, These People were more in the Power of the English than any Part of America ever was, and the English Generals, Admirals, Commissioners and all the Tories used all their Arts to seduce this little state. But they could not succeed. They never could get the Appearance of a Government erected under the Kings Authority. The People continued their Delegation in Congress, and continued to elect their Governors, senate and assemblies, under their new Constitution, and to furnish their quota to the continental Army, and their Proportion to the Militia, untill the English were obliged to evacuate Philadelphia. There are besides, in this little state, from various Causes more Tories in Proportion than in any other. And as this state stood, immoveable, I think We have no reason to fear a voluntary submission of any other.
The next Small state that was attempted was Georgia. This state is situated at the southern Extremity of all, and at such a distance from all the rest and such difficulties of Communication, being above an hundred Miles from Charlestown in South Carolina, that it was { 215 } impossible for the neighbouring states to afford them any Assistance. The English invaded this little state and took the Capital Savanna, and have held it, to this day: but this Acquisition has not been followed by any submission of the Province. On the contrary they continue their delegation in Congress, and their new officers of Government. This Province moreover, was more immediately the Child of England than any other. The settlement of it cost England more than all the rest: from whence one might expect they would have more Friends here than any where.
New Jersey is one of the middling Sized States. New Jersey had a large British Army in Philadelphia, which is on one Side of them, and another in New York which is on the other Side, and the British Army has marched quite through it; and the English have used every Policy of Flattery, of Terror, and severity, but all in vain and worse than in vain. All has conspired to make the People of New Jersey some of the most determined against the English and some of the most brave and skillfull to resist them.
New York, before the Commencement of Hostilities, was supposed to be the most lukewarm, of the middling states in the Opposition to the designs of the English. The English Armys have invaded it, from Canada and from the Ocean, and have long been in Possession of three Islands, New York Island, long Island and staten Island, yet the rest of that Province has stood immoveable through all the Varieties of the Fortune of War for four Years, and increases in Zeal and Unanimity, every year.
I think therefore there is not even a Possibility that any one of the thirteen States should ever, voluntarily revolt or submit.
The Efforts and Exertions of General How, in New York, long Island, staten Island, New Jersey, Pensilvania, Delaware, and Mariland, to obtain Recruits, the vast Expence that he put his Master to, in appointing new Corps of officers, even General officers, the Pains they took, to inlist Men, among all the straglers in those Countries and among many Thousands of Prisoners which they then had in their Hands. All these measures, obtaining but 3600 Men1 and very few of these Americans, according to General Hows own Account, shews I think to a Demonstration, that no voluntary Revolt or submission is ever to be apprehended.
But even supposing that Rhode Island, should submit, what could this small Colony of 50,000 souls do, in the midst of Massachusetts, Connecticutt, and New Hampshire.
{ 216 }
Supposing Delaware, 30,000 souls should submit, what Influence could it have upon the Great states of New Jersey, Pensilvania, Mary land And Virginia among which it lies.
If Georgia, at the Extremity of all should submit, what Influence could this little society of 20,000 souls have upon the two Carolinas and Virginia.
The Colonies are at such vast distances from one another, and the Country is so fortified every where by Rivers, Mountains, and Forests, that the Conquest or submission of one Part, has no Influence upon the rest.
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 5.”
1. See Letter No. 2 (above). There the number is 3,609.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0007

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-10

6. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 6

[salute] Sir

The sixth Task, is to shew that no Person, in America, is of so much Influence, Power, or Credit, that his Death, or Corruption by English Money could be of any nameable Consequence.
This question is very natural, for a Stranger to ask, but it would not occur to a native American who had passed all his Life, in his own Country: and upon hearing it proposed, he could only Smile.
It Should be considered, that there are in America, no Kings, Princes, or Nobles: no Popes, Cardinals, Patriarchs,1 Archbishops, Bishops, or other ecclesiastical Dignitaries. They are these and Such like lofty Subordinations, which place great Bodies of Men in a State of Dependance upon one, which enable one or a few Individuals in Europe to carry away after them, large Numbers, wherever they may think fit to go. There are no hereditary Offices, or Titles, in Families nor even any great Estates that descend in a right Line, to the Eldest sons. All Estates of Intestates are distributed among all the Children. So that there are no Individuals, nor Families, who have either from office, Title or Fortune any Extensive Power, or Influence. We are all equal in America, in a political View, and as much alike as Lycurgus's Hay cocks.2 All publick offices and Employments are bestowed, by the free Choice of the People, and at present through the whole Continent are in the Hands of those Gentlemen who have distinguished themselves the most, by their Councils, Exertions, and sufferings, in the Contest with Great Britain. If there ever was a War, { 217 } that could be called the Peoples War it is this of America, against Great Britain, it having been determined on by the People and pursued by the People in every step of its Progress.
But who is it in America, that has credit to carry over to the Side of Great Britain any Numbers of Men? General How tells Us, that he employed, Mr. Delancey, Mr. Cortland Skinner,3 Mr. Chalmers, and Mr. Galloway, the most influential Men they could find, and he tells you their ridiculous success.
Are they Members of Congress, who by being corrupted, would carry Votes in Congress in favour of the English? I can tell you of a Truth, there has not been one Motion made in Congress, Since the Declaration of Independancy, on the 4. of July 1776, for a Reconciliation with Great Britain, and there is not one Man in America, of sufficient Authority, or Credit to make a Motion in Congress for a Peace with Great Britain upon any Terms short of Independance, without ruining his Character forever. If a Delegate from any one of the thirteen States were to make a Motion, for Peace upon any Conditions short of Independency, that delegate would be recalled with Indignation by his Constituents as soon as they shall know it. The English have artfully represented in Europe, that the Congress have been governed by particular Gentlemen: but you may depend upon it, it is false. At one Time the English would have made it believed that Mr. Randolph, the first President of Congress, was its Soul. Mr. Randolph died, and Congress proceeded, as well as ever. At another Time Mr. Hancock was all and all. Mr. Hancock left the Congress, And has Scarcely been there for three Years: yet Congress has proceeded with as much Wisdom, Honour and Fortitude as ever. At another Time, the English represented that Mr. Dickinson, was the Ruler of America. Mr. Dickinson opposed, openly and upon Principle, the Declaration of Independancy, but instead of carrying his Point, his Constituents differed with him so materially that they recalled him from Congress, and was absent for some years: yet Congress proceeded with no less Constancy, and Mr. Dickinson lately finding all America unalterably fixed in the system of Independancy has fallen in like a good Citizen and now supports it in congress with as much Zeal as others. At another Time, the English have been known to believe that Dr, Franklin, was the essential Member of Congress: but Dr. Franklin was sent to France in 1776, and has been there ever Since, yet Congress have been as active and as capable as before. At another Time Mr. Samuel Adams, was represented as the Man who did every Thing: Yet Mr. Samuel Adams has been, absent { 218 } for the greatest Part of three Years, attending his Duty as Secretary of State in the Massachusetts Bay: yet it does not appear that Mr. Adams's Absence has weakened the Deliberations of Congress, in the least. Nay, they have sometimes been silly enough to represent your humble servant, Mr. John Adams, as an essential Member of Congress. It is now however, three Years Since Congress did him the Honour to send him to Europe as a Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Versailles, and he has never been in Congress since. Yet Congress have done better since he came away than they ever did before.
In short sir all these Pretences are the most ridiculous imaginable. The American Cause stands upon the essential, unalterable Character, of the whole Body of the People upon their Prejudices, Passions, Habits and Principles, which they derived from their Ancestors their Education, drew in with their Mothers Milk, and have been confirmed by the whole Course of their Lives, and the Characters whom they have made conspicuous by placing them in their publick Employments

are but Bubbles on the Sea of matter born

They rise: they break, and to that Sea return.4

The Same Reasoning is applicable to all the Governors, Lt. Governors, secretaries of state, Judges, senators and Representatives of particular states. They are all eligible and elected every Year, by the Body of the People, and would loose their Characters and Influence, the Instant they should depart in their public Conduct from the political system that the People are determined to support.
But are there any officers of the Army, who could carry over, large Numbers of People? The Influence of these officers is confined to the Army. They have very little among the Citizens. But if We consider the Constitution of that Army, We shall see, that it is impossible that any officer could carry with him any Numbers even of soldiers. These officers are not appointed by a King, or a Prince, nor by General Washington. They can hardly be Said to be appointed by Congress. They have all Commissions from Congress it is true; but they are named and recommended and even generally appointed by the Executive Branch of Government in the particular state to which they belong,5 except the general officers who are appointed by Congress. The Continental Army, consists of the Quotas of officers and Troops, furnished by thirteen different states. If an officer of the Massachusetts Bay forces for Example should go over to the Ennemy, he might { 219 } possibly carry with him half a dozen soldiers belonging to that state—yet I even doubt whether any officer whatever who should defect from that state could persuade so many as half a dozen soldiers to go with him.
Is it necessary to put the supposition, that General Washington should be corrupted? Is it possible that So fair a Fame as Washingtons should be exchanged for Gold6 or for Crowns? A Character so false so cruel, so blood thirsty, so detestible as that of Monk might betray a Trust. But a Character so just, so humane, so fair, so open <and> honourable and amiable as Washingtons, never can be stained with so foul a Reproach.7
Yet I am fully of opinion that if even Mr. Washington, should go over to the English which I know to be impossible, he would find none or very few officers or soldiers to go with him. He would become the Contempt and Execration of his own Army, as well as of all the rest of Mankind.
No sir! The American Cause is in no Danger from the Defection of any Individual. Nothing short of an entire Alteration in the sentiments of the whole Body of the People, can make any material Change in <Conduct of> the Councils, or in the Conduct of the Army of the United States. And I am very sure that Great Britain has not Power or Art sufficient to change essentially the Temper the Feelings, and the opinions of between three and four Millions of People, at three thousand Miles distance, supported as they are by Powerfull Allies.
If such a Change could ever have been made, it would have been seven Years ago when offices, Employments and Power in America were in the Hands of the King. But every Ray of Royal Authority has been extinguished now between four and five years, and all civil and military Authority is in Hands determined to resist Great Britain to the last.
I have the Honour to be
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 6.”
1. The preceding three words were interlined.
2. This sentence was interlined. In his life of Lycurgus, Plutarch notes the Spartan reformer's efforts to end inequality through an equitable division of land and recounts his comparison of the equality established by his plan and the identical appearance of the hay stacks in the fields (Plutarch, Lives, vol. 1).
3. Left blank in the manuscript. The name omitted was that of Arthur Clifton of Maryland, mentioned in one of the quotations taken from Howe's Narrative and included in Letter No. 2 (above), which had probably already been sent to Calkoen.
4. Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle III, lines 19–20.
5. The remainder of this sentence was interlined.
6. The remainder of this sentence was in• { 220 } terlined.
7. It was probably this and the following paragraph that led John Fenno to publish this letter in the Gazette of the United States on 22 April 1789, the day before Washington arrived in New York City for his inauguration.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0008

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-10

7. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 7

[salute] Sir

Your seventh Inquiry is, whether the common People in America, are not inclined, nor would be able to find sufficient means, to frustrate by Force, the good Intentions of the skilful Politicians?
In answer to this, it is sufficient to say, that the Commonalty have no need to have recourse to Force, to oppose the Intentions of the skillful: because the Law and the Constitution authorize the common People to choose Governors and Magistrates every year: so that they have it constantly in their power, to leave out any Politician however skillful, whose Principles, Opinions or Systems they don't approve.
The difference however in that Country is not so great as it is in some others between the Common People and the Gentlemen, for Noblemen they have none. There is no Country where the Common People, I mean the Tradesmen, the Husbandmen, and the labouring People have such Advantages of Education, as in that: and it may be truly said that their Education, their Understanding and their Knowledge is as nearly equal as their Birth, Fortune, Dignities and Titles.
It is therefore certain, that whenever the Common People shall determine upon Peace, or Submission, it will be done. But of this there is no danger. The Common People, are the most unanimously determined against Great Britain of any: it is the War of the Common People; it was undertaken by them, and has been and will be supported by them.
The People of that Country often rose in large Bodies, against the Measures of Government, while it was in the Hands of the King. But there has been no Example of this sort, under the new Constitutions, excepting one which is mentioned in General How's Narrative in the back part of North Carolina.1 This was owing to Causes so particular, that it rather serves to shew the Strength of the American Cause in that State, than the Contrary.
About the year 1772, under the Government of Tryon, who has since made himself so obnoxious to all America, there were some warm disputes in North Carolina concerning some of the internal Regulations of that Province, and a small number of People in the { 221 } back parts rose in Arms under the name of regulators against the Government.2 Governor Tryon marched at the head of some Troops, drawn from the Militia, gave battle to the Regulators, defeated them, hanged some of their Ringleaders and publishing Proclamations against many others. Those People were all treated as having been in Rebellion, and they were left to solicit Pardons of the Crown. This established in the Minds of those Regulators such an hatred towards the rest of their Fellow-Citizens, that in 1775, when the War broke out, they would not join with them. The King has since promised them pardon for their former Treasons, upon Conditions that they commit fresh ones against their Country. In 1777, in conjunction with a Number of Scotch Highlanders, they rose, and Governor Caswell marched against them, gave them Battle and defeated them. This Year they have risen again and been again defeated. But these People are so few in Number: there is so much apparent Malice and Revenge, instead of any principle in their disaffection, that any one who knows any thing of the human Heart, will see, that instead of finally weakening the American Cause in North Carolina, it will only serve to give a keenness and an Obstinacy to those who support it.
Nothing indeed can shew the Unanimity of the People, throughout America, in a stronger light than this—that the British Army has been able to procure so few Recruits, to excite so few Insurrections and Disturbances. Nay, although the freedom of the Press and the freedom of Speech is carried to as great lengths in that Country as in any under the Sun, there has never been a Hint in a Newspaper, or even in a Hand Bill, nor a single Speech or Vote in any Assembly, that I have heard of, for submission or even for Reconciliation.
I have the Honor to be, Sir, your humble Servant.
FC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter. 7.”
1. See Letter No. 2 (above).
2. Contrary to JA's account, the Regulator movement was less a nursery for loyalists than an early example of East-West conflict. Established in 1768, the Regulator movement stemmed from the desire of settlers in the Piedmont counties to control or “regulate” their local government. North Carolina's population had grown fastest in the Piedmont, but a large majority of representatives in the legislature continued to come from the older Tidewater counties. Moreover, most county officials were appointed by the governor, whom the back country settlers saw as dominated by the Tidewater interests. The movement ended in 1771 when a large group of armed Regulators was defeated at Hillsboro by a militia force under Gov. William Tryon. The same result might have been achieved without the battle, for the legislature already had enacted reforms aimed at alleviating the Regulator's grievances.
JA's account of what occurred after the battle at Hillsboro is also misleading, but probably reflects current perceptions of events in North Carolina. In fact, the Regulators did not universally support the loyalist cause and available data indicates that most were either neutral or supported the patriots. The Regulators' defeat probably led both pa• { 222 } triot and loyalist leaders to assume that the Regulators would oppose the American cause. Thus in 1776 when Gov. Josiah Martin called out the loyalists to put down the rebellion, he doubtless expected the Regulators to rally to his cause, but there is no indication that this occurred. At the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on 27 Feb. 1776, the loyalist force was composed largely of newly arrived Highland Scots and there is no evidence of a general uprising by the Regulators in 1780, following the British capture of Charleston, S.C., and the movement of British forces northward (John R. Alden, The South in the Revolution, 1763–1789, Baton Rouge, 1957, p. 153–163, 197–198; A. Roger Ekirch, “Whig Authority and Public Order in Backcountry North Carolina, 1776–1783,” in Ronald Hoffman, Thad W. Tate, Peter J. Albert, eds., An Uncivil War, Charlottesville, 1985, p. 99–124).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0009

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-16

8. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 8

[salute] Sir

The eighth Enquiry is, what England properly ought to do, to force America to Submission, and preserve her in it? How much Time, Money, and how many Vessels would be wanted for that purpose?
I assure You, Sir, I am as much at a loss to inform You, in this particular, as Lord George Germaine would be. I can fix upon no Number of Men, nor any Sum of Money, nor any Number of Ships, that I think would be sufficient. But most certainly no Number of Ships or Men which Great Britain now has, or ever can have, nor any Sum of Money, that She will ever be able to command, will be sufficient.
If it were in the power of Great Britain to send an hundred thousand Men to America, and they had Men of War and Transports enough to convey them there in safety, amidst the dangers that await now from French, Spanish and American Men of War, they might possibly get possession of two or three Provinces, and place so many Garrisons in various parts as to prevent the People from exercising the functions of Government, under their new Constitutions, and they might set up a sham Appearance of a Civil Government under the King. But I dont believe that an hundred thousand Men, could gain and preserve them the Civil Government of any three States in the Confederation. The States are at such distances from one another; there are such difficulties in passing from one to another by land; and such a multitude of Posts are necessary to be garrisoned and provided, in order to command any one Colony, that an Army of an hundred thousand Men, would soon find itself consumed, in getting and keeping possession of one or two States. But it would require the Armies of Semiramis1 to command and preserve them all.
{ 223 }
Such is the Nature of that Country and such the Character of the People, that if the English were to send ever so many Ships, and ever so many Troops, they never would subdue all the Americans. Numbers in every State would fly to the Mountains and beyond the Mountains, and there maintain a constant War against the English. In short the English, if they could conquer America, which they never can, nor any one State in it, it would cost them a standing Army of an hundred thousand Men to preserve their Conquest; for it is in vain for them ever to think of any other Governments taking place again under the King of England, but a military Government.
As to the Number of Ships it must be in proportion to the number of Troops: they must have transports enough to carry their Troops, and Men of War enough to convoy them, through their numerous French, Spanish and American Enemies upon the Seas.
As to the Sums of Money, You will easily see, that adding two hundred Millions more to the two hundred Millions they already owe, would not procure and maintain so many Ships and Troops.
It is very certain the English can never send any great Numbers more of Troops to America. The Men are not to be had: the Money is not to be had: the Seamen and even the Transports are not to be had.

[salute] I have the Honor to be

I give this to Mr. Calkoen as my private Opinion concerning the question he asks. As Mr. Calkoen observes, this is a Question that had better not be publickly answered. But time will shew the Answer here given is right. It would at present be thought Extravagance or Enthusiasm. Mr. Adams only requests Mr. Calkoen to look over this letter a few years hence, and then say what his Opinion of it is. Victories gained by the English, in taking Sea-port Towns, or in open field fighting will make no difference in my answer to this Question. Victories gained by the English will conquer themselves sooner than the Americans. Fighting will not fail in the End to turn to the Advantage of America, although the English may gain an Advantage in this or that particular Engagement.
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 8.
1. According to Greek legend, Semiramis was the daughter of the Syrian goddess Derceto and is remembered for her military feats and the construction of Babylon. Historically, Semiramis is likely based on Sammuramat, who served as regent after the death of her husband, the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad V, in the late 9th century b.c. (Oxford Classical Dictionary)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0010

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-16

9. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 9

[salute] Sir

The ninth question is, how Strong the English Land Force, is in America? How Strong it was at the Beginning? and whether it increases, or diminishes?

According to the Estimates laid before Parliament the Army under General How, General Carleton, and General Burgoine, amounted to fifty five Thousand Men, besides, Volunteers, Refugees, Tories, in short all the Recruits raised in Canada, and all other Parts of America under whatever denomination. If We Suppose that all these in Canada and elsewhere amounted to 5000 Men, the whole According to this Computation amounted to sixty thousand Land Forces.
This Estimate however, must have been made from the Number of Regiments, and must have Supposed them all to be full.
General How himself however, in his Narrative Page 45 tells Us that his whole Force, at the Time when he landed on long Island in 1776, amounted to Twenty thousand, one hundred and Twenty one Rank and File, of which 1,677 were Sick.1
By a Regular Return of General Burgoines Army, after its Captivity in 1777 it amounted in Canadians, Provincials, British and German Troops to upwards of Ten Thousand Men. We may suppose that four Thousand Men, were left in Canada for the Garrison of Quebec, Montreal and the great number of other Posts in that Province. To these Numbers if We Add the Officers, We may fairly allow the whole Land Force at that Time to be forty Thousand Combattants.
This is all the Answer, that I am able to give from Memory, to the Question how Strong the british Army was.
In order to give an Answer, to the other, how Strong it is, let Us consider
1. There has been no large Reinforcement, ever Sent to America, since that Time. They have Sent Some Troops every year: but these never amounted to more than Recruits, and probably rather fell short of filling up the Vacancies which were made in the Course of the Year, by Desertion and Death, by Sickness and by the sword. So that upon the whole I think it may be Safely Said, that the Army never has been greater than it was in 1776.
{ 225 }
But We must deduct from this Ten Thousand Men taken with Burgoine one Thousand Hessians Taken at Trenton and Prince Town,2 and indeed many more taken by two or three hundred at a Time upon other Occasions.
In the next Place We must deduct, I Suppose about Ten Thousand more sent since the French War,3 to Jamaica, St. Luce, Barbadoes and the other West India Islands.
So that upon the whole, I think We make an ample Allowance if We State the whole Number now in New York, Carolina, and Georgia, including all Refugees &c. at Twenty thousand Men, officers included.
This is in Part an Answer to the Question, whether their Force increases or diminishes. But it should be further considered, that there is a constant and rapid Consumption of their Men. Many die of sickness, Numbers desert, there have been frequent skirmishes, in which they have ever had more Men killed and wounded, than the Americans: and now, So many of their Troops are in Carolina and Georgia, where the Climate is so unhealthy that, there is great Reason to expect that the greatest Part of that Army will die of Disease. And whoever considers the Efforts the English have made, in Germany, Ireland, Scotland, and England, as well as America, for seven Years successively to raise Men the Vast Bounties they have offered: and the few they have obtained, Whoever considers the Numbers they must loose this Year by the severity of Duty and by Sickness in New York, Carolina, Georgia and the West India Islands, and the Numbers that have been taken going to Quebec, North America, the East and West Indies, will be convinced, that all the Efforts they can make will not enable them for the future to keep their Numbers good.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 9.”
1. Howe's figures are accurate and were intended to refute Galloway's charge that he had 40,874 troops under his command (Narrative, p. 45). The numbers given by Howe in his Narrative and by JA later in this letter should be compared with those from April 1775 through March 1782 in Mackesy's War for America, p. 524–525. The returns given there indicate that, counting troops in Canada and those under Burgoyne's command, the strength of the British army in North America peaked in 1778 at slightly over fifty thousand. At the time of this letter, the figure had dropped to 44,554 troops, with 33,466 committed to operations in the thirteen former colonies. Those figures remained relatively constant through the end of the war.
2. The battles of Trenton and Princeton, N.J., occurred on 26 Dec. 1776 and 3 Jan. 1777, respectively. The Hessians were captured at Trenton, the engagement at Princeton turned back Howe's counter offensive.
3. That is, since the outbreak of war between France and Britain in June 1778.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0011

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-16

10. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 10

[salute] Sir

The Tenth Head of Inquiry is, how great is the Force of America? the Number of Men? their Discipline, &c. from the Commencement of the Troubles? Is there a good Supply of warlike Stores? are these to be found, partly or entirely in America? or must they be imported?

The Force of America, consists of a regular Army, and of a Militia. The regular Army, has been various at different Times. The first regular Army, which was formed in April 1775 was inlisted for Six months only. The next was inlisted for one year. The next for three Years. The last Period expired last February. At each of these Periods, between the Expiration of a Term of Enlistment, and the Formation of a new Army, the English have given themselves Airs of Tryumph, and have done Some brillant Exploits. In the Winter of 1775, 6 indeed, they were in Boston, and altho our Army, after the Expiration of the first Period of Inlistment for Six months, was reduced to a Small Number, yet the English were not in a condition to attempt any Thing. In the Winter of 1776, 7, after the Expiration of the Second Term of Inlistment, and before the new Army was brought together the English marched through the Jersies. After the Expiration of the last Term of Inlistment, which was for three Years and ended last January or February, the English went to their old Exultations again, and undertook the Expedition to Charlestown. In the Course of the last Spring and Summer, however, it seems the Army has been renewed and they are now inlisted, in general during the War.
To State the Numbers of the regular Army, according to the Establishment, that is according to the Number of Regiments at their full Compliment, I suppose the continental Army has sometimes amounted, to Fourscore thousand Men. But the American Regiments have not often been full, any more than the English. There are in the War Office, at Philadelphia, regular Monthly returns, of the Army from 1775 to this day, but I am not able from Memory to give any accurate Account of them. It is sufficient to say, that the American regular Army has been generally Superiour to that of the English, and it would not be good Policy to keep a larger Army, unless We had a { 227 } Prospect of putting an End to the British Power, in America by it. But, this, without a naval Superiority, is very difficult, if not impracticable. The English take Possession of a Seaport Town, fortify it in the Strongest manner, and cover it with the Guns of their Men of War, So that our Army cannot come at it. If France and Spain should cooperate with Us So far as to send Ships enough to maintain the Superiority at Sea, it would not require many Years, perhaps not many Months, to exterminate the English from the United States. But this Policy, those Courts have not adopted, which is a little Surprizing because it is obvious, that by captivating the British Fleet and Army in America, the most decisive Blow would be given to their Power, which can possibly be given in any quarter of the Globe.1
What Number of regular Troops General Washington, has at this Time under his immediate Command, I am not able precisely to say. I presume, however that he has not less than Twenty Thousand Men, besides the french Troops under the Comte De Rochambeau. Nor am I able to say, how many General Gates has at the southward.
But besides the regular Army, We are to consider the Militia. Several of the Colonies were formed into a Militia, from the Beginning of their Settlement. After the Commencement of this War, all the others followed their Example, and made Laws, by which all the Inhabitants of America are now enrolled in a Militia, which may be computed at five hundred Thousand Men. But these are Scattered over a Territory of one hundred and fifty miles in Breadth, and at least fifteen hundred Miles in Length, lying all along upon the Sea Coast. This gives the English the Advantage, by means of their Superiority at Sea, to remove Suddenly and easily from one Part of the Continent to another, as from Boston to New York, from New York to Rhode Island, from New York to Cheasapeak or Delaware Bay, or to Savanna or Charles town, and the Americans the Disadvantage, of not being able to march either the regular Troops or the Militia, to such vast distances without immense Expence of Money and of Time. This puts it in the Power of the English to take so many of our Sea port Towns, but not to make any long and successfull Marches into the interiour Country, or make any permanent Establishments there.
As to Discipline, in the Beginning of the War, there was very little either among the Militia or the regular Troops. The American officers have however been industrious, they have had the Advantage of reading all the Books which have any Reputation concerning military Science, they have had the Example of their Ennemies the British { 228 } Officers, before their Eyes a long Time, indeed from the Year 1768—and they have had the Honour of being joined by British, German, French, Prussian and Polish officers of Infantry and Cavalry, of Artillery and Engineering, So that the Art of War is now as well understood in the American Army, and military Discipline is now carried to as great Perfection, as in any Country whatever.
As to a Supply of Warlike Stores, At the Commencement of Hostilities, the Americans had neither Cannon, Arms, or Ammunition, but in Such contemptible Quantities as distressed them, beyond description. And they have all along been Streightened at Times, by a Scarcity of these Articles, and are so to this Day.
They have however at present an ample Field Artillery, they have Arms, and Powder, and they can never be again, absolutely destitute, because the Manufactures of all Sorts of Arms of Cannon of all sorts, of salt Peter and Powder, have been introduced and established. These Manufactures, altho very good, are very dear, and it is difficult to make enough for so constant and so great a Consumption. Quantities of these Articles are imported every Year. And it is certain they can be imported and paid for by American Produce, cheaper than they can be made.
But the Americans, to make their system perfect, want five hundred thousand stands of Arms, that is one at least for every Militia Man, with Powder, Ball and Accoutrements in Proportion. This however is rather to be wished for than expected. The French Fleet carried Arms to America, and if the Communication between America and France and Spain, should become more frequent by Frigates and Men of War, and especially if this Republick, should be compelled into a War with England, America will probably never again suffer much for Want of Arms or Ammunition.
The English began the War against the Northern Colonies. Here they found the Effects of ancient Militia Laws. They found a numerous and hardy Militia, who fought and defeated them upon many Occasions. They then thought it necessary to abandon these and fell upon the Middle Colonies, whose Militia had not been so long formd. However after, several Years Experience, they found they were not able to do any Thing to the Purpose against them. They have lastly conceived the Design of attacking the Southern Colonies. Here the white People, and consequently the <Negroes> Militia are not so numerous, and have not yet been used to War. Here therefore they have had some apparent successes, but they will find in the End their own destruction in these very successes. The Climate will devour { 229 } their Men, their first successes will embolden them to rash Enterprizes, the People there will become enured to War, and will finally, totally destroy them. For as to the Silly Gasconade, of bringing the southern Colonies to submission, there is not even a Possibility of it. The People of those states are as firm in Principle and as determined in their Tempers against the Designs of the English as the Middle, or the northern states.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 10.”
1. It is noteworthy that here JA returns to his criticism of France and Spain for not increasing their naval presence in American waters so as to establish an absolute superiority. For his most recent exposition of his views on the subject and the consequences thereof, see JA's letter of 13 July to Vergennes, and note 1 (above); but see also Letter No. 11, and note 7 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0012

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-17

11. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 11

[salute] Sir

Your eleventh Question, will give an Opportunity of making Some Observations upon a Subject, that is quite misunderstood, in every Part of Europe. I shall answer it with great Pleasure according to the best of my Information,1 and with the utmost Candour.
The Question is.
How great is the present Debt of America? What has she, occasion for yearly, to act defensively? Are those Wants Supplied, by the Inhabitants themselves, or by other Nations? If in the latter case, what does America loose of her Strength by it? Are they not in one manner or other, recompensed, again by some equivalent Advantage? If So, in what manner? What would be required, to act offensively? And by that means shorten the War?

All Europe has a mistaken Apprehension of the present Debt of America. This Debt is of two Sorts, that which is due from the thirteen United States, in Congress assembled: and that which is owing from each of the thirteen States in its Seperate Capacity. I am not able to Say, with Precision, what the Debt of each Seperate State is. But all these added together, fall far short, of the Debt of the United States.
{ 230 }
The Debt of the United States consists of three Branches. 1. The Sums which have been lent them, by France and Spain, and by Mr. Beaumarchais and Company. These have been for purchasing some Supplies of Cannon, Arms, Ammunition, and Cloathing, for the Troops, for assisting Prisoners escaped from England, and for some other Purposes. But the whole Sum amounts to no great Thing.
2. The Loan Office Certificates, which are promissory Notes given to Individuals in America who have lent Paper Money to the Congress, and Are their Securities for the Payment of the Principal and Interest.2 These the Congress have equitably3 determined Shall be paid, according to the Value of the Paper Bills in Proportion to Silver, at the Time of their dates.
3. The Paper Bills, which are now in Circulation, or which were in Circulation on the Eighteenth day of March last. These Bills, amounted to the nominal sum of Two hundred Millions of Dollars, but the real Value of them to the Possessors, is estimated at forty for one, amounting to five Millions of Spanish Dollars, or one Million and a quarter Sterling. This is the full Value of them, perhaps more. But this estimation of them has given Satisfaction in America to the Possessors of them, who certainly obtained them in general at a cheaper Rate.
These three Branches of Debt, which are the whole, According to a Calculation made last May, and sent me by a Member of Congress,4 who has been four Years a Member of their Treasury Board and is perfect Master of the subject, amount, in the whole to five Millions sterling, and no more. The national Debt of America, then is five Millions sterling.
In order to judge of the Burthen of this Debt, We may compare it with the Numbers of People. They are three Millions. The national Debt of Great Britain is two hundred Millions. The Number of People in England and Scotland is not more than Six millions. Why should not America, with three Millions of People be able to bear a Debt of one hundred Millions, as Well as Great Britain with six millions of People, a debt of two hundred Millions.
We may compare it, with the Exports of America. In 1774 The Exports of America, were Six millions sterling. In the same Year the Exports of Great Britain were twelve Millions. Why would not the Exports of America, of Six millions, bear a national Debt of one hundred Millions, as well as the twelve millions of British Exports bear a Debt of Two hundred Millions?
We may compare it, in this manner, with the national Debt of { 231 } France, Spain, the United Provinces, Russia, Sweeden, Denmark, Portugal, and you will find, that it is but small in comparison.
We may compare it, in another Point of View. Great Britain, has already Spent in this War, Sixty Millions sterling—America five Millions. Great Britain has annually added, to her national Debt, more than the whole Amount of her annual Exports. America has not added to hers, in the whole Course of five Years war, a sum equal to one Years Exports.
The Debt of Great Britain is, in a large Proportion of it, due to Foreigners, for which they must annually pay the Interest by sending Cash abroad. A very trifle of the American Debt is yet due to Foreigners.
Lord North borrowed last Year, Twelve Millions, and every future Year of the War, must borrow the Same or a larger Sum. America could carry on this Way, an hundred Years, by borrowing only one Million sterling a year.
The annual Expence of America has not hitherto exceeded one Million a Year— that of Great Britain, has exceeded Twenty Millions, some years. America may therefore carry on this War, an hundred Years, and at the End of it will be no more in Debt in Proportion to her present5 Numbers of People and her Exports in 17746 than Great Britain is now.
There is another Consideration of some Weight. The Landed Interest in America is vastly greater in Proportion to the mercantile Interest, than it is in Great Britain. The Exports of America are the Productions of the soil, annually, which increase every year. The Exports of Great Britain were Manufactures, which will decrease every Year, while this War with America lasts.
The only Objection to this Reasoning is this, that America, is not used to great Taxes, and the People there are not yet disciplined to such enormous Taxation as in England. This is true. And this makes all their Perplexity at present. But they are capable of bearing as great Taxes in Proportion as the English, and if the English force them to it, by continuing the War, they will reconcile themselves to it: and they are in fact, now taxing themselves more and more every Year, and to an Amount that a Man who knew America only twenty year ago would think incredible.
Her Wants have hitherto been supplied by the Inhabitants themselves, and they have been very little indebted to foreign Nations. But on Account of the Depreciation of her Paper, and in order to introduce a more stable Currency, she has now Occasion to borrow a sum { 232 } of Money abroad, which would enable her to support her Credit at home, to exert herself more vigorously against the English both by sea and Land, and greatly assist her in extending her Commerce with foreign Nations especially the Dutch. America would not loose of her Strength by borrowing Money, but on the Contrary would gain vastly. It would enable her to exert herself more by Privateering, which is a Mine of Gold to her. She would make Remittances in Bill of Exchange to foreign Merchants for their Commodities, and it would enable Many Persons to follow their true Interest in Cultivating the Land instead of attending to Manufactures, which being indispensable, they are now obliged more or less to follow, tho less profitable. The true Profit of America, is the continual Augmentation of the Price and Value of Land. Improvement in Land, is her principal Employment, her best Policy, and the principal source of her growing Wealth.
The last Question is easily answered. It is. What would be required to act offensively, and by that means, shorten the War?
To this I answer, nothing is wanted, but a Loan of Money, and a Fleet of ships.
A Fleet of ships, only Sufficient to maintain a superiority over the English, would enable the Infant Hercules to Strangle all the Serpents that environ his Cradle. It is impossible to express in too Strong terms, the Importance of a few ships of the Line to the Americans. Two or three French or Dutch or Spanish ships of the Line, Stationed at Rhode Island, Boston, Delaware River, or Chesapeak Bay, would have prevented, the dreadful Sacrifice at Penobscot. Three or four ships of the Line would have prevented the whole Expedition to Charlestown. Three or four ships of the Line more, added to the Squadron of the Chevalier de Ternay, would have enabled the Americans to have taken New York.7
A Loan of Money is now wanted, to give Stability to the Currency of America—to give Vigour to the Inlistments for the Army—to add Alacrity to the fitting out Privateers—and to give an Ample Extension to their Trade.
The Americans, will labour through, without a Fleet and without a Loan. But it is ungenerous and cruel, to put them to such Difficulties, and to keep Mankind embroiled in all the Horrors of War, for Want of such Trifles, which so many of the Powers of Europe wish they had and could so easily furnish. But if Mankind must be embroiled and the Blood of Thousands must be shed, for want of a little { 233 } Magnanimity in some, the Americans must not be blamed, it is not their Fault.
I have the Honour to be &c,
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 11.”
1. This sentence originally ended at this point, the comma and the remainder of the sentence were added later.
2. The preceding three words were interlined.
3. This word was interlined.
4. JA is referring to Elbridge Gerry's letter of 5 May, which discussed Congress' revaluation of the currency on 18 March and other economic matters, but see also Benjamin Rush's letter of 28 April, and note 4 (both above).
5. This word was interlined.
6. The preceding two words were interlined.
7. Compare JA's views here regarding the consequences of inadequate French and Spanish naval support with those in his letter of 13 July to Vergennes (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0013

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-17

12. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 12th.

[salute] Sir

We are now come to your Twelfth Head of Inquiry, which is. What Countenance have the Finances? How much does the Expence exceed the Yearly Income? Does the annual Revenue, deriving from the Taxes, increase or diminish? in the whole, or in any Particulars? and what are the Reasons to be given for it?

Here I am apprehensive, I shall find a Difficulty to make my self under Stood, as the American Finances, and Mode of Taxation, differ so materially from any, that I know of in Europe.
In the Month of May, 1775, when the Congress came together, for the first Time, after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, they found it necessary, to raise an Army, or rather to adopt an Army already raised, at Cambridge, in order to oppose the British Troops and shut them up, in the Prison of Boston. But they found, that the Colonies, were but just got out of Debt, had just paid off the Debts contracted in the last French War. In the Several Treasuries of the Colonies, they found only a few Thousand Pounds. They had before them a Prospect of a Stagnation, or Interruption of their Trade, pretty universally, by the British Men of War. They had a thousand Perplexities before them, in the Prospect of passing through thirteen Revolutions of Government, from the Royal Authority to that under the People. They had Armies and Navies to form, they had new Constitutions of { 234 } Government to attend to. They had, twenty Tribes of Indians to negotiate with. They had vast Numbers of Negroes to take care of. They had all sorts of Arms, Ammunition, Artillery, to procure, as well as Blanketts and Cloathing, and subsistance for the Army, they had Negotiations to think of in Europe and Treaties to form of Alliance and Commerce, and they had even Salt to procure for the Subsistance of the Inhabitants and even of their Cattle as well as their Armies.
In this situation, with so many Wants and demands, and no Money, or Revenues to recur to, they had recourse to an Expedient, which had been often practiced in America, but no where else. They determined to emit, Paper Money.
The American Paper Money, is nothing but Bills of Credit, by which the Publick, the Community, promises to pay the Possessor, a certain Sum in a limited Time. In a Country where there is no Coin, or not enough in circulation, these Bills may be emitted to a certain Amount, and they will pass at Par, but as Soon as the Quantity exceeds, the Value of the ordinary Business of the People, it, will depreciate, and continue to fall in its Value in Proportion to the Augmentation of the Quantity.
The Congress on the 18 of March last, Stated this Depreciation at forty for one. This may be nearly the Average, but it often passes much lower. By this Resolution All the Bills in Circulation, on that day, and none have been emitted Since, amount to about one Million and a Quarter sterling. To this if you add the Money borrowed upon Loan Certificates, and the debt contracted abroad in France and Spain, the whole does not amount to but little more than five Millions.
Yearly Income, We have none, properly Speaking. We have no Imposts or Duties laid upon any Articles of Importation Exportation, or Consumption. The Revenue consists entirely in Grants annually made by the Legislatures, of Sums of Money for the current service of the Year and appropriated to certain Uses. These Grants are proportioned upon all the Polls and Estates, real and personal in the community, and they are levied and paid into the publick Treasury with great Punctuality, from whence they are issued in Payments of the demands upon the Public.
You see then that it is in the Power of the Legislatures, to raise what sums are wanted, at least as much as the People can bear, and they are usually proportioned to the publick Wants and the Peoples Abilities. They are now constantly laying on and paying very heavy { 235 } Taxes, altho for the three or four first Years of the War, the Obstructions of Trade &c. made it difficult to raise any Taxes at all. The yearly Taxes, annually laid on have increased every Year, for these three Years past, and will continue to be increased in Proportion To the abilities of the People. This ability no doubt increases in Proportion as Population increases, as new Lands are cultivated, and as Property is in any Way added to the common stock. It will also increase as our Commerce increases, and as the Success in Privateering Increases.
But by the Method of Taxing you see that it is in the Power of the Legislature to increase the Taxes every Year, as the publick Exigences may require, and they have no other Restraint or Limit than the Peoples Ability.
I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 12.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0014

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

13. To Hendrik Calkoen

13 Letter

[salute] Sir

Your thirteenth <Letter> Inquiry is, “Of what Resources might America hereafter Still make Use of?”

There are many Resources, yet untried, which would certainly be explored, if America Should be driven to the Necessity of them.
1. Luxury prevails in that young Country, not withstanding all the confident assertions of the English concerning their Distress, to a degree, that retrenching this alone would enable them to carry on the War. There are Expences in Wheelcarriages, Horses, Equipage, Furniture, Dress, and the Table, which might be Spared and would amount to enough to carry on the War.
2. The Americans might, and rather than the English should prevail against them they would be brought to impose Duties upon Articles of Luxury, and Convenience and even of Necessity, as has been done by all the Nations of Europe. I am not able at present, and upon Memory to entertain you with accurate Calculations, but in general it may be said with Certainty that if as heavy Duties were laid, upon Articles of Consumption, <Exportation> and Importation as are laid in England, or even in Holland, it would produce a Revenue Sufficient to carry on this War, without borrowing at all. I hope { 236 } however they will never come to this. I am clear they need not. Such Systematical and established Revenues are dangerous to Liberty, which is Safe, while the Revenue depends upon annual Grants of the People, because this secures publick Oeconomy.
3. If there should be hereafter any Accession to the Population of America, by Migrations from Europe, this will be a fresh Resource, because in that Country of Agriculture, the Ability to raise a Revenue will bear a constant Proportion to the Numbers of People.
4. There are immense Tracts of uncultivated Lands. These Lands are all claimed by particular States. But if these States Should cede these Claims to the Congress, which they would do in case of Necessity, the Congress might Sell these Lands, and they would become, a great Resource. No Man can Say, how great or how lasting.
5. There is a great deal of Plate in America, and if she were driven to Extremities, the Ladies I assure you have Patriotism enough, to give up their Plate to the Publick, rather than loose their Liberties or run any great hazard of it.
6. There is another Resource Still. The War may be carried on, by means of a fluctuating Medium of Paper Money. The War has been carried on in this manner hitherto, and I firmly believe, if the People could not find a better Way—they would agree, to call in all the Paper, and let it lie as a demand upon the Public, to be hereafter equitably paid, according to its fluctuating Value in silver—and emit new Bills, to depreciate and carry on the War in the Same Way. This however would occasion many Perplexities, and much Unhappiness. It would do Injustice to many Individuals, and will and ought to be avoided, if possible.
7. A Loan in Europe, however, would be the best Resource, as it would necessarily extend our Trade, and relieve the People from too great a present Burden. Very heavy Taxes, are hurtfull, because they lessen the Increase of Population by making the means of subsistence, more difficult.
8. There are Resources of Agriculture, Manufactures and Labour, that would produce much, if explored and attempted.
<I have the Honour to be with very great Esteem &c. John Adams>
9. The Resources of Trade and Privateering, ought to be mentioned again. The real Cause of our doing So little hitherto is this. The Congress in 1774, agreed upon a Non Exportation to begin in September 1775.1 This induced the Merchants in every Part of America, { 237 } to Send their ships and Sailors to England, from whence the most of them never returned.
The Consequence of which was that the Americans have been distressed for want of ships and Seamen ever since. But the Number of both has increased every Year, in Spite of all that English have taken and destroyed. The vast Number of ships and seamen taken this Year, will repair those Losses, and no man can say to what an Extent Trade and Privateering will be carried, the next and the succeeding Years.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 13.”
1. Congress adopted the resolutions regarding nonexportation on 7 and 8 Oct. 1774 (JCC, 1:57–58), but see also a proposed resolution by JA on the subject [30 Sept. 1774] (vol. 2:156–157).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0015

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

14. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 14

[salute] Sir

The fourteenth Question is “What is the Quantity of Paper Money in Circulation? What Credit, the Inhabitants have for it, in their daily Business? What designs the Inhabitants have by maintaining its Credit? What by preventing its Increase? and in what manner do they realize it?”
The Quantity of Paper Bills, in Circulation on the 18 of March last, was Two hundred millions of Paper Dollars.
The Congress then Stated the Value of it, upon an average, at forty for one, amounting in the whole to five millions of silver Dollars, or one Million and a quarter sterling. This they did by resolving to receive one silver Dollar, in Lieu of forty Paper ones, in the Payment of Taxes. This was probably allowing more than the full Value for the Paper, because by all Accounts the Bills passed from hand to hand in private Transactions at Sixty or seventy for one.
The Designs of the Inhabitants, in preserving its Credit, as much as they can are very good and laudable. The Designs are that they may have a fixed and certain Medium both for external and internal Commerce. That every Man May have an equal Profit from his Industry, and for his Commodities. That private and publick Debts may be justly paid, and that every Man may pay an equal and proportional share of the Public Expences.
And this is their Design in preventing its Increase: because it is { 238 } impossible, if the Quantity is increased to prevent the Depreciation of the whole in Circulation.
They realize it, in various Ways. Some have lent it to the Public, and received Loan Office Certificates for it, upon Interest, which are to be paid in Proportion to their Value in Silver at the Time of their Dates.
Some Purchase with it the Produce of the Country, which they export to the West Indies and to Europe, and by this means supply, the French and Spanish Fleets and Armies, both upon the Continent of America and in the West India Islands. Others Purchase Merchandizes imported with it. Others purchase Bills of Exchange upon France, Spain, &c. Others purchase silver and Gold with it—and others Purchase Houses and Lands. Others have paid their Debts with it, to such a degree, that the People of America, were never so little in debt, in their private Capacities as at present.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 14.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0016

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

15. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 15th.

[salute] Sir

Your fifteenth Quaere is “Does not the English Army, lay out its Pay, in America? at how much can the Yearly benefit be calculated? Are not the Prisoners, provided for in America? Who has the Care of their Maintenance? How was Burgoines Army supplied?”

When the English Army, was in Boston, they bought all that they could, and left considerable Sums there in silver and Gold. So they did at Rhode Island. Since they have been in New York, they have purchased every Thing they could of Provisions and Fuel, on Long Island, staten Island, New York Island, and in those Parts of the states of New York and New Jersey where they have been able to carry on any clandestine Trafick.
When they were in Philadelphia, they did the Same, and General How tells you, that he suspects that General Washington from Political Motives connived at the Peoples supplying Philadelphia, in order essentially to serve his Country, by insinuating into it, large { 239 } sums of silver and Gold.1 They are doing the Same now, more or less in South Carolina and Georgia, and they cant go into any Part of America, without doing the Same.
The British Prisoners, in the Hands of the Americans, receive their Cloathing chiefly from the English, and Flaggs of Truce are permitted to come out from their Lines, for this Purpose. They receive their Pay also from their Master, and Spend the most of it where they are. They also purchase Provisions in the Country and pay for it in hard Money.
I am not able to ascertain exactly the Yearly Benefit, but it must be considerable, and the Addition now of a French Fleet and Army, to supply will make a great Addition of Cash and Bills of Exchange, which will facilitate Commerce and Privateering.
And the more Troops and ships Great Britain and France send to America the greater will this Resource, necessarily be to the Americans.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
1. Howe, Narrative, p. 43.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0017

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

16. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 16

[salute] Sir

The Sixteenth, Inquiry is, “Who looses most by desertion? Do the English and German Deserters, Serve voluntarily and well in the American Army? How, can those who do not enter into the Army subsist?”

These Questions, I answer with great Pleasure. There has been, from the Beginning of the War to this day, Scarcely an Example of a native Americans deserting from the Army to the English. There have been in the American Army Some Scattering Scotch, Irish, and german soldiers, Some of these have deserted but never in great Numbers. And among the Prisoners they have taken it is astonishing how few they have ever been able to perswade, by all their Flatteries, Threatnings, Promisses and even Cruelties to enlist into their Service.
The Number of Deserters from them, has been all along Consid• { 240 } | view erably more. Congress have generally prohibited their officers from inlisting Deserters. For some particular services Permission has been given, and they have served well.
Those who do not inlist, into the Army, have no Difficulty to subsist. Those of them who have any Trades, as Weavers, Tailors, Smiths, shoemakers, Tanners, Curriers, Carpenters, Bricklayers, in short any trade whatsoever, enter immediately into better Business than they ever had in Europe, where they gain a better subsistance and more Money, because Tradesmen of all denomination are now much wanted. Those who have no Trade, if they are capable of any Kind of Labour, are immediately employed, in Agriculture &c., labour being much wanted and very dear.
I am not able to tell the precise Numbers that have deserted, but if an hundred thousand were to desert they would find no difficulty in Point of subsistence or Employment, if they can and will work.
Sir yours
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 16.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0018

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

17. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 17

[salute] Sir

The Seventeenth, Inquiry is “whether We have any Information that we can rely on, concerning the Population? has it increased or diminished, Since the War?”

In some former Letters, I have made Some Observations upon the Subject of the Increase of Mankind in America.1
In the Year 1774, There was much private Conversation, among the Members of Congress, concerning the Numbers of Souls in every Colony. The Delegates of each, were consulted, and the Estimates made by them were taken down as follows.2
In New Hampshire     150,000  
 Massachusetts     400,000  
 Rhode Island     59,678  
 Connecticut     192,000  
 New York     250,000  
 New Jersey     130,000  
{ 241 } | view
 Pensilvania and Delaware     350,000  
 Maryland     320,000  
 Virginia     640,000  
 North Carolina     300,000  
 South Carolina     225,000  
  Total   3,026,678  
This however, was but an Estimate, and Some Persons, have thought there was too much Speculation in it. It will be observed, that Georgia, was not represented in the first Congress, and therefore is not included in the Estimate.
In a Pamphlet published in England about a Year ago, intitled “A Memorial to the Souvereigns of Europe, on the present State of Affairs, between the old and new World,” written by Mr. Pownal, a Member of Parliament and formerly Governor of Massachusetts and Lt. Governor of New Jersey We are told that3 “The Massachusetts, had in the year 1722, 94,000 Inhabitants, 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.
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 West ward, and to other States: yet they have nearly doubled in Eighteen Years.
In New 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 South Carolina in 1750—64,000, in 1770—115,000.
In Rhode Island in 1738—15,000, in 1748—28,439.
As there never was a Militia, in Pensilvania, before this War with authentic Lists of the Population, it has been variously estimated on Speculation. There was a continual Importation for many years, of Irish and german 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. 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, { 242 } one Million and 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. Governor Pownal thinks that 2,141,307 would turn out nearest to the real Amount in 1774. But what an amazing Progress, which in Eighteen 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.
Thus you have the Estimates made by the Gentlemen in Congress in 1774, and that of Governor Pownal, for the Same Epocha. That made in Congress is most likely to be right. If in their Estimate Some states were rated too high, it has been since made certain that others were too low.
But admiting Mr. Pownals Estimate to be just, the Numbers, have grown, since 1774 So much notwithstanding the War, and the Interruption of Migrations from Europe, that they must be well nigh three Millions—if the Calculation, made by the Members of Congress was right, the Numbers now, must be nearer four millions than three millions and an half.
I have observed to you in a former Letter that, the Massachusetts Bay, has been lately numbered and found to have increased in Numbers, as much as in former Periods, very nearly.4
I now add that Delaware, which in 1774 was estimated at 30,000 but upon numbering the People Since, they appeared to be 40,000.
<Rhode Island also in 1774>. Pensilvania is undoubtedly set too low in both Estimates.
I have the honour to be, very respectfully &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 17.”
1. See Letter No. 3 (above).
2. Although the exact source for these figures is unknown, they had been published widely in America and Europe. See, for example, the Pennsylvania Gazette of 16 Nov. 1774, the London Chronicle of 3–5 Jan. 1775, and John Almon's Remembrancer for 1775, p. 163. A copy of these figures in John Thaxter's hand, together with statistics on the population of European countries and trade with the American colonies, probably compiled for use in the replies to Calkoen, appears at the end of JA/Lb/12 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 100). That JA used Thaxter's copy for this letter is indicated by Thaxter's figure of 640,000 as the population of Virginia, whereas the published sources give it as 650,000. Thaxter's figure results in a total of 3,016,678, rather than 3,026,678, the figure appearing in both this letter and previously published versions.
3. The figures provided from this point through the sixth paragraph below are from 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, p. 58–63. The text, however, is an almost verbatim rendering of that in JA's revision of the Memorial (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], { 243 } above).
4. For the figures for Massachusetts, see Letter No. 3 (above); for the 1774 figure for Delaware given in the following paragraph, see Letter No. 5 (above). The source for the revised figure for Delaware has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0019

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

18. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 18

[salute] Sir

Question 18. Does Sufficient Tranquility, Contentment and Prosperity reign, in those Places where the War does not rage? Can one Sufficiently Subsist there, without feeling the oppression of the Taxes? Does Plenty abound there? Is there more than is necessary for Consumption? Are the People well affected and encouraged to pursue the War, and endure its Calamities, or is there Poverty and Dejection?

There has been more of this Tranquility and Contentment, and fewer Riots, Insurrections and Seditions, throughout the whole War, and in the Periods of its greatest distress than there was for Seven Years before the War broke out, in those Parts that I am best acquainted with. As to subsistance, there never was or will be any difficulty. There never was any real Want of any Thing but warlike stores and Cloathing for the Army, and Salt and Rum both for the Army and the People: but they have Such Plentifull Importations of these Articles now, that there is no Want—excepting of Blanketts, Cloathing and Warlike stores for the Army.
The Taxes are rising very high, but there never will be more laid on than the People can bear, because the Representatives Who lay them tax themselves and their Neighbours in exact Proportion. The Taxes indeed fall heaviest upon the rich and the higher Classes of People.
The Earth produces Grain, and Meat in Abundance for the Consumption of the People, for the support of the Army, and for Exportation.
The People are more universally well affected and encouraged to pursue the War than are the People of England France or Spain, as far as I can judge.
As to Poverty, there is hardly a beggar in the Country. As to Dejection, I never Saw, even at the Time of our greatest Danger and { 244 } Perplexity, So much of it, as appears in England or France, upon every Intelligence of a disastrous Event.
The greatest Source of Grief and Affliction, is the fluctuation of the Paper Money, but this although it occasions Unhappinesses, has no violent or fatal Effects.
I have the Honour to be
[signed] John Adams

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0020

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

19. To Hendrik Calkoen

19 Letter

[salute] Sir

Question 19. Is not Peace very much longed for in America? might not this desire of Peace induce the People to hearken to Proposals appearing very fair, but which really are not So, which the People might be too quick in listening to, and the Government forced to accept?

The People, in all Ages and Countries wish for Peace, human Nature does not love War. Yet this does not hinder Nations from going to War, when it is necessary, and often indeed for frivolous Purposes of Avarice, Ambition, Vanity, Resentment and Revenge. I have never been informed of more desire of Peace in America than is common to all Nations, at War. They in general know that they cannot obtain it, without submitting to Conditions, infinitely more dreadful than all the horrors of this War.
If they are ever deceived it is by holding out to them false hopes of Independance and Great Britains Acknowledging it.
The People of America are too enlightened to be deceived, in any great Plan of Policy. They understand the Principles and Nature of Government too well to be imposed on, by any Proposals short of their own Object.
Great Britain has tryed So many Experiments to deceive them, without Effect that, I think it is Scarcely worth her while to try again. The History of these Ministerial and Parliamentary1 Tricks would fill a Volume. I have not records nor Papers to recur to: but if Mr. Calkoen desires it I could give him a Sketch from Memory, of these Artifices, and their success, which I think would convince him there is no danger from that Quarter.
{ 245 }
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
1. The preceding two words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0021

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-26

20. To Hendrik Calkoen

20 Letter

[salute] Sir

Question 20. Has there not been different opinions in Congress, with Regard to this, (i.e. to Proposals appearing fair, which were not so) from whence Animosities have arisen?

There has never been any Difference of Sentiment in Congress, Since the Declaration of Independancy, concerning any Proposals of Reconciliation. There has been no Proposals of Reconciliation made, Since the 4. of July 1776—excepting twice.
The first was made by Lord Howe, who together with his Brother the General, were appointed by the King, Commissioners for Some Purpose or other. The Public has never been informed, what Powers they had. Lord Howe sent a Message by General Sullivan, to Congress, desiring a Conference with Some of its Members. There were different Sentiments Concerning the Propriety of Sending any Members, untill We knew his Lordships Powers. A Majority decided to send. Dr. Franklin, Mr. John Adams and Mr. Rutledge were Sent. Upon their Report, <that they could not find that his Lor> there was a perfect Unanimity of sentiment in Congress.1
The Second was the Mission of Lord Carlisle, Governor Johnson and Mr. Eden in 1778. Upon this Occasion again there was a perfect Unanimity in Congress.
Before the Declaration of Independency, Lord North moved Several conciliatory Propositions in Parliament, in which a good deal of Art was employed to Seduce, deceive and divide. But there was always an Unanimity in Congress upon all those Plans.
There were different opinions concerning the Petition to the King in the Year 1775 and before that concerning the Non Exportation Agreement—there have been different opinions concerning Articles of the Confederation—concerning the best Plans for the conduct of the War—concerning the best officers to conduct them—concerning territorial Controversies between particular states &c. But these Dif• { 246 } ferences of opinion, which are essential to all Assemblies, have never caused greater Animosities, than those which arise in all Assemblies where there is Freedom of Debate.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
1. For JA's meeting with Adm. Lord Richard Howe on 11 Sept. 1776, see vol. 5:20–21; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:250; 3:417–431; and Adams Family Correspondence, 2:124–125. The committee's report was presented to Congress on 17 Sept. (JCC, 5:767–768). The canceled passage may indicate that JA considered quoting from the report's final paragraph containing the committee's conclusions.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0022

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-27

21. To Hendrik Calkoen

21. Letter

[salute] Sir

Question 21st. Are there no Malcontents in America? against the Government, who are otherwise much inclined for the american Cause, who may force the Nation, or Congress, against their Resolutions and Interests to conclude a Peace?

There is no Party formed in any of the thirteen States against the new Constitution, nor any opposition against the Government, that I have ever heard of, excepting in Pensylvania, and in North Carolina. These by no means deserve to be compared together.
In Pensilvania, there is a respectable Body of People, who are zealous against Great Britain, but yet wish for Some Alteration in their new Form of Government. Yet this does not appear to weaken their Exertions: it seems rather, to excite an Emulation in the two Parties, and to increase their Efforts.
I have before explained the History of the Rise and Progress, of the Party in North Carolina, consisting of Regulators and Scotch Highlanders, and General How has informed you of their Fate.1 This Party has ever appeared to make N. Carolina more stanch and decided, instead of weakening it.
The Party in Pensilvania will never have an Inclination, to force the Congress, against their Interests to make Peace, nor would they have the Power if they had the Will.
The Party in North Carolina, whose Inclination cannot be doubted is too inconsiderable to any Thing.
{ 247 }
I have the honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
1. See Letter No. 7, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0023

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-27

22. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 22. <23. 24>

[salute] Sir

Questions 22. and 23. General Monk repaired the Kings Government in England. Might not one American General or another, be able, by discontent or Corruption, to do the Same? Would the Army follow his orders on Such an Occasion? Could one or more Politicians, thro Intrigues undertake the Same, with any hopes of Success, Should even the Army assist him in Such a Case?

I have before observed that no Politicians, or General Officers in America, have any Such Influence.1 Neither the People, nor the soldiers would follow them. It was not attachment to Men but to a Cause, which first produced and has supported the Revolution. It was not attachment to officers but to Liberty which made the Soldiers inlist. Politicians in America can only intrigue with the People. Those are So numerous and so Scattered, that no statesman has any great Influence, but in his own Small Circle. In Courts Sometimes, gaining two or three Individuals may produce a Revolution: No Revolution in America can be accomplished without gaining the Majority of the People, and this, not all the Wealth of Great Britain is able to do, at the Expence of their Liberties.

Question 24. The Revolution must have made a great Change in affairs, So that many People, tho at present free of the Enemies Incursions, have lost their daily subsistance. Are the occupations, which come instead of their old ones, been Sufficient to supply their Wants?

All the Difficulties which were ever apprehended, of this Sort, are long Since past. In 1774, Some were apprehensive, that the Fishermen, Sailors, and shipwrights would be idle. But Some went into the { 248 } Army, Some into the Navy, and Some went to Agriculture. And if there had been twice as many, they would all have found Employment. The Building of Frigates and Privateers has employed all the Carpenters—Manufactures besides have been set up of Cannon, Arms, Powder, Salt Peter, Salt—Flax and Wool have been raised in greater Quantities and coarse Manufactures of Cloth and Linen been increased. In short the greatest Difficulty is that there are not hands enough. Agriculture alone in that Country would find Employment enough for Millions, and Privateering for thousands more than there are.
I have the Honour to be
[signed] John Adams
1. See Letter No. 6 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0024

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-27

23. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 2<5>3. <26>

[salute] Sir

Question 25. Do they who have lost their Possessions and Fortunes by the War, endure it patiently as Compatriots, So that nothing can be feared from them?

Loosing Fortunes in America, has not such dreadful Consequences to Individuals or Families, as it has in Europe. The Reason is obvious because the means of Subsistance are easier to be obtained, So that nobody suffer for Want. As far as I am acquainted with the Sufferers, they have born their Losses both of Property and Relations with great Fortitude and so far from producing in their Minds a desire of submission they have only served to irritate them, to convince them more fully of the precarious and deplorable Situation they should be in under the Government of the English and to make them more eager to resist it.

Question 26. How has it gone, with the Cultivation of the Land, before the Troubles at their Commencement and at present? What Change has taken Place?

{ 249 }
Agriculture ever was and will be the dominant Interest in America. Nevertheless before this War, perhaps, she run more into Commerce than was for her Interest. She depended too much perhaps upon Importations for her Cloathing, Utensiles &c. and indulged in too many Luxuries. When the Prospect opened in 1775 of an Interruption of her Commerce she applied her self more to Agriculture, and Many Places that depended upon the Lumber Trade the Fishery &c., for the Importation of even their Bread have turned their Labour and Attention to raising Corn Wool Flax and Cattle, and have lived better and advanced in Wealth and Independance faster than ever they did. For Example, the Towns in the Neighbourhood of the Sea in the Massachusetts Bay, used to depend upon the Fishery and Commerce, to import them their Wheat and Flour from Philadelphia, Maryland and Virginia and Rice from South Carolina and Georgia. The Communication being interrupted by Sea, Since the War, they have planted their own Corn.
The Eastern Parts of the Massachusetts Bay, before the War depended, on the Commerce of Lumber for the West India Market, and of Masts, Yards and Bowsprits for the Royal Navy of Great Britain, to procure them Cloaths, Meat and Strong Liquors. Since the War, they have cultivated their Lands raised their own Corn, Wool, Flax, and planted the Apple Tree instead drinking rum. In consequence of which they are more temperate, wealthy and independant than ever.
North Carolina depended upon the Commerce of Pitch, Tar and Turpentine and Tobacco, for the Importation of many Things. Since the War, they have turned their Labour, to raise more of the Things which they wanted.
Maryland, Virginia and N. Carolina, depended upon the Trade of Tobacco to import coarse Cloaths for their Negroes. Since the War they have raised less Tobacco and1 more Wheat, Wool and Cotton, and made the coarse Cloaths themselves.
So that upon the whole the Lessening of Commerce, and the Increase of Agriculture, has rendered America more independant than she ever was.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Letter 23.”
1. The preceding three words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0025

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-27

24. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 24

[salute] sir

Question 27. How was the Situation of Manufactures, manual Art and Trade in general, at the Beginning of this War? What Change have they Suffered?

Manufactures in general, never flourished in America. They were never attended only by Women and Children who could not work in the Field, and by Men at certain Seasons of the Year, and at certain Intervals of Time when they could not be employed in the Cultivation of the Lands, because that Labour upon Land in that Country is more profitable, than in Manufactures. These they could import and purchase with the Produce of their Soil cheaper than they could make them. The Cause of this, is the Plenty of wild Land. A days Work worth two shillings1 upon wild Land, not only produced two shillings in the Crop, but made the Land worth too shillings more: whereas a days work of the Same Price applied to Manufactures, produced only the two shillings.
Since the War however, Freight and Insurance have been so high, that Manufactures have been more attended to. Manufactures of Salt Peter, Salt, Powder, Cannon, Arms, have been introduced. Cloathing in Wool and Flax has been made, and many other necessary Things, but these for the Reason before given will last no longer than the War, or than the Hazard of their Trade.
America is the Country of Raw Materials, and of Commerce enough to carry them to a good Market—But Europe is the Country for Manufactures and Commerce. Thus Europe and America will be Blessings to each other, if some malevolent Policy does not frustrate the Purposes of Nature.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
1. The preceding three words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0026

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-27

25. To Hendrik Calkoen

Letter 25

[salute] Sir

Question 28. Has America gained or lost, by the mutual Capture of ships? How much is the Benefit or Prejudice of it by Calculation?

America has gained. She took early, from the English ordonnance and Ammunition ships, and supplied herself in that Way, with those Articles when she had them not, and could not otherwise obtain them. She has taken in this Way a great Number of British and German Soldiers. She has taken a vast number of Seamen, who have generally inlisted on board our Privateers. She has taken great quantities of Provisions, Cloathing, Arms, and warlike stores. She has taken every Year, more and more Since 1775, and will probably continue to take more and more every Year while the War lasts. I have certain Intelligence, that there have been this year carried into Boston and Philadelphia only, Ninety Nine Vessells in the Months of July and August. On board of these Vessells there were not less than Eight hundred Seamen, many of the ships were very rich. The Vessells the English have taken from the Americans were of Small Value—this year they have been few in Number.
I am not able to give you an exact Calculation. The Quebec ships were worth from thirty to forty thousand Pounds sterling each and there were two and twenty of them in Number.
Privateering is a great Nursery of Seamen, and if the Americans had not imprudently Sacrificed Such a Number of their Frigates and Privateers in the Attack and defence of Places, these alone, would by this Time, well nigh have ruined the British Commerce, Navy and Army.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (Public Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia). A letter of 5 Jan. 1960 from C. A. McCallum, Chief Librarian of the Victoria Public Library, indicates that in 1876 this was one of a number of manuscripts sold by James McDonald, State Librarian of Virginia, to Sir Redmond Barry, Chief Justice of the State of Victoria and President of the board of trustees of the Public Library of Victoria. How the manuscript came to be at the Virginia State Library is unknown.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0117-0027

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Calkoen, Hendrik
Date: 1780-10-27

26. To Hendrik Calkoen

26. Letter

[salute] Sir

I believe you will be pleased when I tell you that We are now come to the 29th. and last Question, which is
What are the real Damages Sustained, or still to be suffered by the Loss of Charlestown? and what Influence it has had upon the Minds of the People?

An Interruption of the Commerce of Indigo and Rice. The Loss of many Negroes which the English will steal1 from the Plantations, and send to the West India Islands for Sale. A great deal of Plunder of every sort. Much Unhappiness among the People. And several Lives of very worthy Men will be lost. But the Climate will be <a grave> Death to European Troops, and at an immense Expence of Men and Money they will ravage for a while and then disappear.
The Effect of the surrender of Charleston and the Defeat of Gates, has only been to awaken the People from their dreams of Peace.
The Artifices of the English, holding out Ideas of Peace, seems to have deceived both the Americans and their Allies, while they were only contriving means to succour Gibraltar, and invade Carolina. The People are now convinced of their Mistake, and generally roused. But these Disasters will have no more Effect, towards Subduing America, than if they had taken a Place in the East Indies.
I have the Honour to be &c.
[signed] John Adams
Dft (PU.)
1. The preceding five words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0118

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1780-10-04

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

I have just received your Favour of the 3d,1 and thank you for the early Information of the arrival of the Courier from the Plenipotentiaries of this Republick at Petersbourg. I hope that this Republick, will agree, without delay to the armed Neutrality: but I Should be glad to See a Copy of the dispatches if possible, or at least as exact an Account of their Substance as may be. I should be glad also to { 253 } learn whether the Object of the Congress is Simply to form a Plan for Supporting each other and making a Common Cause in defence of those Principles only which the three northern Powers have already adopted, or whether they have in Contemplation a more extensive Regulation of maritime Affairs.2
I dont See, how this Congress can have a Peace between the belligerent Powers, for its Object, when the Parties who comprise it have already so possitively declared for a Neutrality. I wish with all my Heart, that another Republick3 had a Minister at the Congress, or at least at the Court of Petersbourg. Neither the Cause, nor the Country of America are understood in any Part of Europe, which gives Opportunity to the English to represent Things as they choose—onesta è sempre la causa di colui che parla solo.4
I do not expect Peace So soon as next Spring. And I should dread the Interposition of the Congress at Petersbourg in the Business. They understand not the subject. It is impossible they should. America is not represented there, and cannot be heard. If they should take into Consideration, the Affair of Peace I should be apprehensive, of Some Recommendations to save the Pride, or what they would call the Dignity of England which would be more dangerous and pernicious to America than a Continuance of the War. I do not dread a Continuance of War. I should dread a Truce ten times more.
If all the Powers at the Congress at Petersbourg, would agree together to acknowledge American Independency, or agree to open a free Commerce with America and Admit her Merchant ships And Vessells of war into their Ports, like those of the other belligerent Powers this I think would be just, indeed I think that perfect Neutrality which they profess requires it. Refusing Admittance to the American Flag, while they admit that of England, is so far from a Neutrality, that it is taking a decided Part in favour of England, and against one of the belligerent Powers, a Power too which in Point of Numbers, Wealth, Industry, Capacity, military and naval Power, as well as Commerce, is quite as respectable, as several of those which are or will be represented in the Congress at Petersbourg. I have the Honour to be with great Esteem, sir your humble sert
[signed] John Adams
I am very Sorry I did not give Mr. Guild a Letter to you. He is an American of Merit and a Gentleman of Letters, Taste and sense.
RC (DLC): C. W. F. Dumas Papers; endorsed: “Amst. 4e. Octobr. 1780 Mr. J. Adams.”
{ 254 }
1. Dumas' letter of 3 Oct. (Adams Papers) noted the arrival of dispatches from St. Petersburg. He gave a more detailed account of their content in his letter of 3 Oct. to Benjamin Franklin (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:76–77 [English translation]; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:299). In that letter Dumas indicated that most of his information came from “our friend,” Engelbert van Berckel, Grand Pensionary of Amsterdam (vol. 6:51). Van Berckel had informed him that the States General had received dispatches from its plenipotentiaries at St. Petersburg, containing a convention concluded with Cathene II. The convention was based on those already concluded by Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, but had three additional articles: the first provided for the restoration of captured vessels, the second provided that if the Netherlands was attacked, the other nations would make a common cause for its defense, while the third declared that the ultimate purpose of the armed neutrality was to bring about a general peace. The dispatches also reported that Great Britain had informed Russia that it would respect the armed neutrality if the Netherlands was excluded. According to van Berckel, there was no longer any doubt that Prussia, Austria, and Portugal would join the armed neutrality. Finally, Dumas stated that he had it on good authority that Catherine II remained determined to establish the principles of the armed neutrality as part of the law of nations. With a resolution of 20 Nov., the States General formally acceded to the armed neutrality and there indicated that the dispatches had been dated 15 Sept. and received on 2 Oct. (James Brown Scott, ed., The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, N.Y., 1918, p. 325–328).
2. See Dumas' letter of 1 Nov. (below).
3. The United States.
4. JA took this quotation, meaning essentially that an honest man is a lonely man, directly from Philip Mazzei's letter of 19 Aug. (and note 3, above), and used it in the same sense as Mazzei did there.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0119

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

To the President of Congress, No. 12

Amsterdam, 5 Oct. 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 277–280). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:81–82.
Received by Congress on 29 Jan. 1781, this letter reported that on 6 Sept. the Dutch plenipotentiaries at St. Petersburg, Baron Willem van Wassenaer-Starrenburg and Baron Dirk van Heeckeren van Brantzenburg, had an audience with Grand Duke Paul, heir to the Russian throne, and his consort, Grand Duchess Sophia. It contained English translations of the formal statements by Wassenaer-Starrenburg and the Grand Duke's reply. Adams also noted the arrival at St. Petersburg, on 6 Sept., of Frederick-William, Prince of Prussia. According to Adams the dispatches from St. Petersburg removed any justification for further delay in the Dutch accession to the armed neutrality. Austria, Prussia, and Portugal, he reported, were likely to join the armed neutrality, and all the neutrals would agree to a maritime code. But he added: “this intelligence is so general, and has the Air of being so conjectural, that I know not, how much dependence is to be had upon it.”
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 277–280). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:81–82.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0120

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

To the President of Congress, No. 13

Amsterdam, 5 Oct. 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 281–282). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:82.
In this letter, received by Congress on 29 Jan. 1781, John Adams indicated that he { 255 } had no news regarding his commission to negotiate a Dutch loan, except that he continued to make inquiries regarding the best financial houses and the best terms. He indicated that he would delay any final action until Henry Laurens' arrival, but if Laurens was unduly delayed he would proceed on his own.
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 281–282). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:82.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0121

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

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I was very happy to find by your favor of the 21st. Ultimo that Mr. S. Adams still continues in the Public service and I am the more pleased at this choosing to serve in Congress rather than in any service in his particular State, for I think there is not any man that can doubt of America having very greatly suffer'd, if the continuance of the War is a sufferance by some of the States having in some instances payed too little attention to the persons that were appointed to represent them in Congress. There are rumors of an inclination in G.B. for Peace, and that a Parliamentary acknowledgement of the Independence of Ama. is to be the first public Step; but 'tis probable that these are only Ministerial givings out, in order to feel that pulse of the people and to prepare for the loss of Jamaica and the fall of Giberalter; but if Mess. Guichen and Solano, do not succeed against Jamaica, tho' Giberalter should fall, I shall much doubt of the B. Ministrys acceeding to such a peace as the Allies will accept.
I suppose you have long known of G.B. offering the two Floridas to Spain to induce her to make a seperate Peace. Since Portugal has acceeded to the system of neutrality, I know not how it will be possible for G.B. to extricate herself out of her embarrassments, if she continues the War another year.
Too rigid an Oeconomy in States will I beleive oftener prove injurious than beneficial; for when it occasions a deficiency in useful services, it makes the nation, in the event, pay twentyfold, and verifies the Proverb, of letting the Ship rot, to save a half penny worth of Tar. However, tho' in my opinion, American Agents or Ministers, wou'd not only be useful but are highly necessary during the War at most of the Courts in Europe; I think they will be unnecessary and an idle waste of Money after we have Peace, except in some few instances.
Our friend Mr. Jenings has gone to Boulogn and left a Packet for you with me which I shall forward by Mr. Searle as he passes thro' here, if no conveyance happens before.
I must congratulate with you on the favorable Account for us, of { 256 } the general situation of things in America as bro't by General Dalrymple to London from N. York which place he left the 1. of Sept.1Tho' the B. Ministers are quite silent, sundrie particulars have got abroad of which you certainly have fuller information than we have here.
With very great Esteem & regard I have the Honor to remain Dr Sir Your most Obliged & Obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] W. Lee
1. See Thomas Digges' letter of 26 Sept., and note 6 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0122

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-10-06

To the President of Congress, No. 14

Amsterdam, 6 Oct. 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 285–287). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:83–84.
Received by Congress on 29 Jan. 1781, this letter consisted of an English translation of the decree of 30 Aug. by Maria I, Queen of Portugal, forbidding privateers from entering any Portuguese port and further prohibiting any vessel, whether a privateer or warship, from bringing in its prizes.
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 285–287). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:83–84.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0123

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-06

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I am thankful for your late favor1 and shall send you the Books desird by first opportunity.
Mr. Henr. Laurens was brought to Town last night, rather in better health. He was lodgd that night in the Messengers House in Scotland Yard, and denyd all sort of communication with his friends—or those who wishd to speak to Him. He was Examined at noon at Lord G. Germains and committed by a Warrant of Justice Addington a close prisoner to the Tower—orders that no person whatever speaks to Him. These folks are so foolishly changable that most likely in a few days the severity of His confinement may be relaxd. At present two men are always in the same room with Him, and two soldiers without.2You shall hear more from me by next post.3
No news from the Westward of any sort. The general beleif is that the privy Council yesterday have determind to prosecute the war further in Ama. with vigour—perhaps the fools have concluded that as they have catchd Mr. Laurens they can conquer America. I can see no other reason for their supposition of success in the further prosecution of that war.
I am your mo ob ser
[signed] WS.C
{ 257 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsiéur Monsr. <Ferdinando Raymond San> Chez Monsiéur Henri Shorn Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S.C Octr. 6. 1780.”
1. Of 25 Sept. (above).
2. Digges' report agrees in most respects with that of Henry Laurens in his “Narrative.” There Laurens, who was committed to the Tower under a charge of high treason, gives a brief account of his examination before Lord George Germain and several others, including Lord Hillsborough and Lord Stormont (Laurens, “Narrative,” p. 24–25). A longer account of the interrogation appeared in the London newspapers (see, for example, the London Courant, 7 Oct.; London Chronicle, 7–10 Oct.). For the printing of a French translation of Digges' report in the supplement to the Gazette de Leyde of 7 Nov., see Dumas' letter of 7 Nov. (below).
3. Of 10 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-10-07

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Bowdoin, a gentleman of Virginia, is passing through Brussells in his Way to France. He is a young American of good Character here, and I have the honour to recommend him to your Notice.
Pray what think you, of the Face of affairs? According to present Appearances a year or two more, will probably deliver our country from the Ennemies within it, tho it may not bring Peace. The K. of England has so much Spirit and Firmness, that it is not to be expected he will make Peace.
The English have commenced Hostilities as usual, without a declaration of War against the Dutch in St. Martins,1 but I suppose this will be pocketed like all former Insults. The Dutch however are some what enraged at it, for the present. I have not so regular Intelligence from England here as I had in Paris, but I suppose the ministry are omnipotent in Parliament although the omnipotence of Parliament, and of the British Navy, Seems to be Somewhat reduced.
I am sir respectfully yours
[signed] John Adams
Between you and me, I shall stay here, untill the Arrival of Mr. Laurens if it is till Spring.
1. The Gazette de Leyde of 6 Oct. contained a brief report, followed by more detailed accounts in the issue of 10 Oct., of a British descent on the Dutch half of the West Indian island of St. Martin. According to the reports, seven British warships appeared off the island on 9 August. The British commander, stating that he was acting under the orders of Adm. Sir George Rodney, demanded that the Dutch governor surrender the American vessels anchored in the roadstead and, to enforce his order, landed two hundred marines and threatened to burn the Dutch settlement. Having no recourse, the governor capitulated. The report in the issue of 6 Oct. was followed by the observation that there was apparently no limit to the British navy's abuse of its power.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-10-07

To William Lee

[salute] Dear sir

The Bearer of this is a young Virginian, Mr. Bowdoin, who has been sometime here and has a good Character. I beg Leave to recommend him to your Attention.
I am in hourly Expectation of hearing of Mr. Laurens, but not without Anxiety for his Safety, as he comes only in a Packet.
The Accounts from our Country, by Way of Spain, France, England and directly to Amsterdam, are very flattering. But the one Thing needfull for a decisive Campaign, a Superiority at sea, is wanting, which takes away all Ground of sanguine Expectations. The English however will be in no very respectable Situation, and they must be much distressed. The Casualties of the Campain, and the severity of Duty will reduce their Numbers, very considerably by sickness, Desertion, and by the sword in occasional skirmishes.
What shall We hear from the West Indies?
The English threw off the Mask so unreservedly, after the reduction of Charlestown, and discovered their ill Will, their wicked Wishes and base designs, So clearly, that the Mortification to them must be double to make Peace now, to what it would have been before.
But why do I talk of Peace? I am So well perswaded, that the K. of England will see all go, rather than make Peace, and see So clearly that the King is now omnipotent, in England, that it is Scarcely worth while ever to mention it.
I have the honour to be with great regard, &c.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0126

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-08

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I received the letter you did me the Honour of writing to me by Mr. Andrews,1 and shall render him every Service I can in his Application.
Your Books and Trunks have been lodged here by Mr. Thaxter, and will be taken care of. They are of no Inconvenience to me.
We begin to be in pain for Mr. Laurens who was to have sailed 3 Days after M. Searle. If that took place, he has been out 10. or 11. { 259 } Weeks. I hope he did not sail so soon, otherwise it would be probable that he is either lost or taken.
I do not just now recollect my having written, as from myself, any Letter to the Grand Pensionary. I drew indeed the Letter that was sent by the Commissioners acquainting him with the Treaty of Commerce, to which we had no Answer.2 But I will search, and If I can find such a one will send you a Copy, with a Copy of the other.
I shall be glad to hear if you are like to make any Progress in the Affair of a Loan, which I understand M. Laurens was charged with. I send you enclosed a Copy of a Vote of Congress, respecting your Salaries.3 I hope you will be able to do without my Assistance. If not, I must furnish you. But I have been obliged to Accept Mr. Neufville's Bills on Account of his Acceptances of those drawn on Mr. Laurens, and I shall with some Difficulty, be able to pay them; tho' these extra Demands often embarras me excedingly.
We hear that the Alliance is arriv'd at Boston.
I beg leave to recommend to your Civilities M. Searle a Member of Congress for Pensilvania, with whose conversation you will be pleased, as he can give you good Information of the State of our Affairs when he left America.
I ought to acquaint you, a governo, as the Merchants Say; that M. Le Comte de V. having taken much amiss some Passages in your Letters to him, sent the whole Correspondence to me, requesting that I would transmit it to Congress.4 I was myself sorry to see those Passages. If they were the Effects merely of Inadvertance, and you do not on Reflection approve of them, perhaps you may think it proper to write something for effacing the Impressions made by them. I do not presume to advise you; but mention it only for your Consideration.
The Vessel is not yet gone, which carries the Papers.
With great Regard, I have the honour to be Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] B Franklin
Perhaps the Letter you desire is one I wrote to M. Dumas, who might show it to the G.P.5
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Dr Franklin. 8. Oct. 1780 by Mr Searle.”
1. Of 29 Sept. (above).
2. This is the letter of 28 April 1778 from the Commissioners to Pieter van Bleiswyck, the Grand Pensionary of Holland (vol. 6:61–62), but see Franklin's postscript.
3. This was Congress' resolution of 31 May, requiring Franklin to pay the drafts of JA and Francis Dana for their salaries (JCC, 17:476). A copy of the resolution is in the Adams Papers.
{ 260 }
4. See the letters exchanged by JA and Vergennes in June and July (above). For Vergennes' letter to Franklin of 31 July and Franklin's letter of 9 Aug. to the president of Congress, see Editorial Note, The Dispute with the Comte de Vergennes, 13–29 July (above). For JA's negative response to Franklin's advice, see his reply of 30 Nov. (below). There JA seems to indicate that he did not receive Franklin's letter until the date of his reply, despite the fact that it was carried by James Searle, who arrived in Amsterdam and met with JA on or about 23 Oct. (to Edmund Jenings, 23 Oct., below).
5. Franklin is referring to his letter of 22 Sept. 1778 to C. W. F. Dumas, for which no recipient's copy has been found. Dumas met with Pieter van Bleiswyck on 22 Oct. 1778 and gave the Grand Pensionary an extract from Franklin's letter. Dumas described his meeting with van Bleiswyck in his letter to the Commissioners of 30 Oct. 1778, and included the passage from Franklin's letter (vol. 7:179–184; see, in particular, note 5).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0127

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-09

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I reached Leide in the Scout1 at 6. o Clock, and finding it impossible from thence to get to Roterdam that night in a Scout, I took a Carriage, and rode on to that place, where I arrived between 10 and 11 Clock at night. There I luckily found a French Gentleman who was bound for Antwerp; with him I took another Carriage at Rotterdam, and tho' the road was exceedingly bad, we got on within one league of this place at 1/2 past 7. Clock last evening, the gates being then shut, we cou'd not enter till this morning. I immediately proceeded to this Hotel (Laboureur) and found Mr. Thaxter in bed, and all things safe—Nothing unfortunate has taken place.2 I have been so much fatigued in my rout, being unwell as you know when I set off, that I shall not think of leaving this place before to morrow morning, if then, and we shall proceed on leisurely without travelling at all in the night, if to be avoided.
I am, dear Sir, with much respect and esteem, your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] FRA Dana
1. A flat bottomed, Dutch river boat (OED).
2. It is likely that Francis Dana was sent to meet John Thaxter because of JA's concern over the safety of his Letterbooks and other papers that Thaxter was bringing from Paris (to James Searle, 23 Sept., note 2, above). Dana indicates that he was back in Amsterdam by the evening of 12 Oct. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0128

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-10

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

Since my letter of the 6th there has been no material incident relative to Mr. H. L——s Commitment; nor is the rigour of his confinement abated. No person whatever can speak to Him but in hearing { 261 } and sight of the two attending Messengers. It is said the Secy. of States order will produce admittance to his room, but nothing else. Some of his torey relations, and a Mr. Manning a Merchant of the City and a Correspondant of Mr. L——s, have made attempts to speak to him but did not succeed.1 He is wise enough to be cautious who he Speaks to. It is generally thought this rigour will be taken off in a few days, and that His freinds, who are now backward for fear that any stir may be disadvantageous to Him, will have admittance. Almost every person here is crying out shame upon this sort of treatment of Mr. L——s.2 These people seem determind to act always in extreem and never to take the middle road. Nothing veryfys it so strongly as the present exultations for a defeat given to Genl. Gates's Army by Lord Cornwallis on the 16th Augt. An officer arrivd with the account yesterday and put the whole City in a ferment of joy. I inclose you the printed Gazette account.3 Last week, and indeed until yesterday every torey face wore an uncommon gloom and the cry was “We are all undone—We have lost America—our Army will be Burgoind—our fleets beaten &c.” and now it is directly the reverse “The defeat of Gates gives us No. and So. Carolina certain—Virginia will come in—Washington will be able to do nothing at N York—The french fleet will be blockd up—We shall conquer Ama. yet &c. &c.” This sort of nonsence makes me sick. It has been pretty confidantly talkd of lately that the Cabinet had determind to prosecute the War in America with vigour, and that 10 Ships of the line and 10,000 troops were to be sent out immediately. There seems to be as thick heads within as without the Cabinet. There is an appearance of 4 Ships of the line and some troops being intended for America immediately—most likely for the Southward; But this may be a politic measure in the ministers to give out even if they are determind to get rid of the American War.
The people generally are in fears about Jamaica and for the other Islands. No news from thence lately.
I am with great respect & Esteem your obligd & Obt Ser
[signed] WS.C
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S. C Octr. 10th 1780.”
1. For the first visitors permitted Laurens, see Digges' letter of 17 Oct. (below).
2. For the printing of a French translation of the preceding report on Henry Laurens in the supplement to the Gazette de Leyde of 7 Nov., see C. W. F. Dumas' letter of that date (below).
3. The enclosed clipping from the London Gazette of 9 Oct. has not been found. The Gazette account of the Battle of Camden (see James Lovell's letter of 7 Sept, and note 2, above) was reprinted in the other London newspapers on the 10th. The report was contained in Cornwallis' letter to Lord George Germain, dated 21 Aug., at Camden. The sentiments expressed by Digges were very similar to those in the commentary appearing in the London Evening Post of 7–10 October.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-10-11

To the President of Congress, No. 15

Amsterdam, 11 Oct. 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 289–304). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:88–95.
The copy cited here was received by Congress on 29 Jan. 1781, but the original (not found) was received and read on 27 Dec. (JCC, 18:1195). The letter filled sixteen manuscript pages and consisted of a “Sketch of the [Dutch] Constitution, so far as it respects the Authority of the Stadtholder” that John Adams copied and translated from an unidentified French source. By providing Congress with such a detailed account of the stadholder's powers, Adams wanted to indicate the obstacles that William V, whose family was “connected by Blood and by ancient Habit and political Alliances to that of Hanover,” would probably place in the path of American efforts in the Netherlands. He reiterated his view that nothing could be accomplished in the absence of an American minister accredited to the States General and William V, and ended the letter by reporting that Henry Laurens had been seized and taken to England, his first mention of Laurens' capture.
Duplin John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 289–304). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:88–95.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0130

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-12

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

My last two or three Letters were by Capt. Samson,1 who if he has not Shared the ill fate of some Others, must have been handed you long before this. Three Letters went by my Son. He had the Misfortune to be taken, and carried to Newfoundland, and I suppose the Letters went to the Bottom with a great Number of Others.2 In them I Endeavoured to give you as perticular an Account of our Affairs here at the time as I could. I have no Copies, and therefore cant recollect the Contents. You must therefore be Content with a short detail of matters as they now stand. The Papers we shall send you by this Opportunity will give you a general state of the Conduct of Military Matters from the loss of Charlestown to the defection and Treachery of Arnold, and the hanging of Major Andre. You will learn that the one has fled to New York, and the other been properly treated as a Spy, and that both of them deserved Infinitely more than they have or will suffer here. If Arnold's Villany and Clintons meaness had succeeded it would have been a fatal Blow. As it is, it is hard to say which of the two has acted the most Infamous part, if one has betrayed his trust and his Country the Other has disgraced his Nation (if possible) and Mankind by stooping to a Measure that would mark a Savage with Eternal Infamy.3
Since the defeat of Genl. Gates in the South, in which the Enemy { 263 } lost more than they got, our Affairs are Constantly Assumeing a Good Countenance there. Our Army is reEstablished there, have been Succesful in several Skirmishes, and I think the Militia there will soon be good Soldiers and learn to stand both the fire and the Bayonet of the Enemy. The Grand Army by drafts &c. are said to be in as good a Condition as to Numbers &c. as at any time. We have had great difficulties in supplying them with Provisions &c. They have sometimes suffered, but I hope the measures taken by the several States will prevent in future any difficulties from that quarter. They are Acting on the defensive, watching the Enemy, and they in their turn watching them. No Enterprize or great Strokes on either side, and every thing looks like an Inactive Campaign.
The French Fleet and Army are shut up in Newport by a Superiour British Fleet. A reinforcement has been Expected all Summ. It is now time perhaps to dismiss all further Expectations of that kind, and to satisfy our selves with Speculations on some ill Management of matters somewhere. The Troops and Ships Arrived are said to be very fine, and I think if we are disappointed, they must be Mortifyed, to be reduced to a State of Inaction after Crossing the Atlantic with high Expectations must be Among the last Stages of Mortification to fine Officers of high Birth and distinction. With regard to ourselves, Penobscot is still in the hands of the Enemy who keep 4 or 500 Men there and some Armed Vessels. We keep on the Eastern Shore at different places about 600 Men to guard against their depredations. Some few Skirmishes have taken place but Nothing of Consequence.
Our Coast has not been much Infested with British Ships, and Privateers this Season. The French Fleet keep the British Men of War pretty much Collected, and from that Circumstance only great Advantages have been derived to our Trade, and perhaps in a War which seems to be a Tryal whose Purse shall hold out longest the Advantage may be general. Britain has kept up a great Force to watch that Fleet and Army and Consequently have been at great Expence.
Our Privateers have made many prizes and perticularly struck a great Stroke on the Quebec Fleet. Our Taxes are heavy, the People groan and pay them slowly, and complain of the Scarcity of Money, but Still it does not Appreciate. It stands at about 70 for one, and will be Uniformly Mysterious. A great deal of Silver is Circulateing. Bargains are almost as Common in hard as Paper Money. It is difficult to say where it all comes from, tho the French Fleet and Army Introduce a great deal.
The New Government is the Principal Topic of Conversation. The { 264 } General Court meets under the New Constitution the Week after next.4 Hancock is undoubtedly chosen Governor by A very great Majority. His Popularity is greater than ever. No Body was set in Competition with him but Mr. Bowdoin and he stood no Chance. Frequent and brilliant Entertainments strengthen his popularity, and whether it will End in Absolute Adoration, or in the Exhaustion of the Sources of profusion I cant say. He this Day feasts the French Minister (who came to Town last Evening) and the Council at the Castle.5 No Person has a Majority of Votes for a Liut. Governor. It is said Mr. Bowdoin has the greatest Number, and probably may be Chose by the two Houses.6 About 26 Senators are Chose by the several districts. Some whole Counties have made no Choice at all, Plymo. among the rest.7
The Continental Navy is reduced to four Ships and a Brigantine. The Trumbul and Dean with the Brigantine Saratoga are on a Cruize. The Confederacy is at Philadelphia, where she has lain 5 Months, and will not sail soon. The Alliance is here, and lays waiting for Money to fix her out, she came here in a distracted Situation. Landais behaves like a Madman, is Censured by a Court of Enquiry and suspended, to be tryed by a Court Martial. Barry is in Command of her. Officers and Men came here Cursing with bitterness the Managers of our Affairs in France. They have certainly been Abused by some Body or other. Your Trunk8 is not to be found on Board. If it came out it is lost. But as Docto. Winship in whose Care I understand it was left did not return in this Ship, perhaps he kept back the Trunk, and the sooner it is Enquired after the better. I have received but two short Letters from you, one by the Marquiss, the other by the Alliance.9 Do you treat all your Friends in this way, or am I the most neglected? As for the Affairs of Europe, we know but little more of them than of those in the Moon.
I had the pleasure of some Acquaintance with Doct. Lee, and learnt some things from him, but few that are pleasing. He is gone to Philadelphia. The Delegates are new Chosen. Adams, Lovel, and Ward are at Congress. Gerry, Holton, and Partridge are at Home. One is yet wanted to Compleat the Number 7. Strong and Danielson have been Chosen and refused.10 Mrs. Adams shall be Informed of this Opportunity and will doubtless write you.11 It grows late, and as I dont recollect any thing further at present Conclude with Assurances of Friendship Yours Affectionately
[signed] J Warren
Octr. 16th. The Enemy have lately made some havock among our { 265 } Privateers, and Mr. Knox is Arrived from England with a Load of Goods.12 I suppose under the Sanction of Doctr. Fs. Certificate.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Genl. Warren 12th. Octr 1780.”
1. Of 11 and 19 July (both above).
2. For the letters carried by Winslow Warren, see Mercy Otis Warren's letter of 8 May, note 2; and James Warren's letter of 11 July (both above).
3. Benedict Arnold's plot to surrender West Point was detected when Maj. John André, Arnold's intermediary with Gen. Henry Clinton, was arrested on 23 Sept. as he attempted to return to the British lines. André was tried by court martial as a spy and was hung on 2 Oct., while Arnold fled to New York where he received a British army commission as brigadier general on 9 Oct. (Carl Van Doren, Secret History of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1941, p. 300–388; Clare Brandt, The Man in the Mirror, N.Y., 1994, p. 177–230). The news of Arnold's treachery reached Boston by 5 Oct., for the Continental Journal and the Independent Chronicle of that date carried short reports on the affair. On 12 Oct., the two papers printed much longer accounts, which included the execution of André.
4. The General Court was to have convened on 18 Oct., but on 13 Oct. the Council issued a proclamation postponing the meeting until the 24th (Independent Chronicle, 19 Oct.).
5. Castle William on Castle Island in Boston Harbor. In 1779, Hancock had been appointed its commander in place of Paul Revere (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:436).
6. Bowdoin was chosen, but declined to serve. The second choice was James Warren, himself, but he refused to serve under Hancock. As a result, Thomas Cushing was elected (William M. Fowler Jr., Baron of Beon Hill, Boston, 1980, p. 244).
7. That is, Plymouth was among those that had chosen their senators. Warren had been elected to the House of Representatives from Plymouth.
8. For the disposition of JA's trunk, see his letter to James Moylan of 6 March, and note 3 (above).
9. Probably JA's letters of 23 and 28 Feb. (vol. 8:359–360, 375–376). The first had gone on the Alliance and mentioned JA's trunk, the second was carried by Lafayette. JA had also written to Warren on 16 and 18 March (both above).
10. Caleb Strong had been elected with the other six delegates on 22 Sept., Timothy Danielson had been chosen to replace Strong on 30 September. No further effort to elect a seventh delegate was made in 1780 (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 16:xix–xx).
11. AA wrote on 8, 15, and 18 Oct.; the last letter mentioned that JA's trunk had not arrived on the Alliance and contained an account of Benedict Arnold's treason (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:1–4, 6–7, 8–10).
12. Warren is probably referring to an item appearing in the Boston Gazette of 16 Oct., which reported that the Tracy, Aurora, Essex, and Hannibal had been taken and carried into New York. Rivington's Royal Gazette of 30 Sept., reported that the Aurora and Hannibal were privateers from Newbury and Salem, respectively. No information regarding the arrival of “Mr. Knox” has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1780-10-13

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

This Letter is intended to go, by Monsieur Le Veillard,1 a Young Gentleman bound to America, with Design to <travail with> engage in the service of Mr. Holker or to lay the Foundations of a mercantile House either in France or America, as Circumstances may be.
I have the Pleasure to know his Father and his Family and the young Gentleman very well: They are all worthy and amiable, and have on many Occasions been very civil to me.
I wish him therefore, success, and to this End as good Acquain• { 266 } tance as may be in our Country. I take the Liberty to recommend him to you Attention, and Civilities.
Mr. Laurens is in England—I wish he were here. I cannot yet learn with Certainty how he is treated, the Accounts are So contradictory, Some Saying he is in the Tower and others that he is not yet arrived in London. I am Sir, with much Affection and Respect, yours
1. This is Louis Le Veillard, who sailed for America in March 1781 (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 4:52). He was the son of Louis Guillaume Le Veillard, a close friend of Benjamin Franklin and keeper of the mineral baths at Passy, whom JA had met while residing with Franklin at Passy in 1778 and 1779 (Franklin, Papers, 23:542; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:303, 317; 4:47, 63, 143). The elder Le Veillard wrote to JA on 3 Oct. (Adams Papers) to request letters of recommendation for his son. In his reply of 13 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers), JA thanked Le Veillard for writing and the opportunity to send letters to America. JA also recommended the younger Le Veillard to Benjamin Rush in a letter of 13 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers). In that letter, JA reported that the British intended to prosecute the war more vigorously, but did not mention Henry Laurens' capture.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-10-14

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

Yours of 6 and 10 are received. Upon what Principle is it, that they confine Mr. L. as a Prisoner of State? After So many Precedents as have been set. Sullivan, Sterling, Lee, Lovel, and many others have been exchanged as Prisoners of War.1
Mr. L. was in England when Hostilities commenced, I believe. He came into public, in America after the Declaration of Independence, after the Extinction of all civil Authority under the Crown, and after the Formation of compleat New Governments in every State. To treat a Citizen of a state thus compleatly in Possession of sovereignty de Facto, is very extraordinary. Do they mean to exasperate America and drive them to Retaliation? Are these People governed by Reason at all, or by any Principle, or do they conduct according to any system; or do they deliver themselves up entirely to the Government of their Passions, and their Caprice? I Saw so many Contradictions in the Papers, about Mr. L. that I hoped your first Account was a Mistake, but your Letter of the 10, makes me think the first Account, right.
Pray inform me constantly, of every Thing relative to him, and let me know if any Thing can be done for him, by Way of France, or any other.
Cornwallis's and Tarletons Gasconade2 serves to Passions, and making them throw off the Mask. I dont believe that { 267 } his Advantage is half so great, nor the Americans Loss half so much as they represent. Time you know is the Mother of Truth. Audi alteram Partem,3 and wait the Consequences. Fighting is the Thing—Fighting will do the Business. Defeats, will pave the Way to Victories. Patience! Patience! Il y en a beaucoup, en Amerique.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W. S. C.”
1. The principal difference between the case of Henry Laurens, and those of James Lovell and Gens. John Sullivan, William Alexander (Lord Stirling), and Charles Lee, was that while the four latter had been captured and exchanged between 1775 and 1778, each had been taken in America, with the disposition of their cases left to the local commander (DAB). In contrast, Laurens, who had been president of Congress, was captured at sea in the character of United States minister to the Netherlands, possessed a large number of incriminating documents, and was sent directly to England. The British desire to avoid recognizing either the de facto, mentioned by JA in the next paragraph, or the de jure sovereignty of the United States had led them to refuse negotiations with Benjamin Franklin over a prisoner exchange in Europe (to Thomas Digges, 14 March, note 1, above). To have treated the Laurens case differently would have undermined that policy.
2. JA probably refers to Cornwallis' letter to Lord George Germain of 21 Aug., as printed in the London Gazette of 9 Oct., a clipping of which Digges had enclosed in his letter of 10 Oct. (note 3, above). In his letter, Cornwallis devoted considerable space to the exploits of Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Camden and elsewhere.
3. That is, hear the other side.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-10-14

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

The Extracts of Letters You was so good as to send me, have been inserted in the Papers, and I should be obliged to You, for future Communications of the same kind.1
Notwithstanding the flow of Spirits, and the vigorous Exertions of our Countrymen this Year, I am sorry to say I cannot see a prospect of any thing decisive this Campaign. The fatal defect in the plan of the Campaign, in not sending a sufficient number of Ships with M. de Ternay, or soon after him, will render abortive all the great Exertions, and immense Expences of the Year.
And at the same time Cornwallis will spread too much devastation at the Southward, where the want of numbers of Whites, the great numbers of Blacks, and above all the want of Discipline and Experience, will make the People long unhappy and unfortunate.
The ill luck of Carolina pursues her Citizens even to Sea, and to Europe I think. Can nothing be done for the Relief of Mr. Laurens? Will You be so good as to apply to Court, and see if they will lend Us somebody of Mark to exchange for him? After exchanging so many military Men as prisoners of War, it is pitifully spightfull to use Mr. { 268 } Laurens as they do: but they cannot conceal the Meanness of their Character.
I have felt the mortification of soliciting for Money as well as You: but it has been because the solicitations have not succeeded. I see no reason at all, that We should be ashamed of asking to borrow Money, after maintaining a War against Great Britain and her Allies for almost six years, without borrowing any thing abroad, when England has been all the time borrowing of all the Nations of Europe, even of Individuals among our Allies, it cannot be unnatural, surprizing or culpable or dishonourable for Us to borrow Money.
When England borrows annually a Sum equal to all her Exports, We ought not to be laughed at for wishing to borrow a Sum annually equal to a twelfth part of our annual Exports.
We may, and We shall wade through, if We cannot obtain a Loan: but We could certainly go forward with more Ease, Convenience and Safety, by the help of one.
I think We have not meanly solicited for Friendship any where. But to send Ministers to every great Court in Europe, especially the Maritime Courts, to propose an Acknowledgment of the Independence of America, and Treaties of Amity and of Commerce is no more than becomes Us, and in my Opinion is our Duty to do: it is perfectly consistent with the genuine System of American Policy, and a piece of Respect due from new Nations to old ones. The United Provinces did the same thing, and were never censured for it, but in the End they succeeded. It is necessary for America to have Agents in different parts of Europe, to give some Information concerning our affairs, and to refute the abominable Lies that the hired Emissaries of Great Britain circulate in every Corner of Europe, by which they keep up their own Credit and ruin ours. I have been more convinced of this, since my Peregrinations in this Country, than ever. The universal and profound Ignorance of America here, has astonished me. It will require Time, and a great deal of Prudence and Delicacy too to undecieve them. The Method You have obligingly begun, of transmitting me Intelligence from America, will assist me in doing, or at least attempting something of this kind, and I therefore request the Continuance of it, and have the Honour to be, with respectful Compliments to Mr. Franklin2 and all Friends, Sir, your most obedient Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Oct. 14. 1780.”
{ 269 }
1. See Franklin's letter of 2 Oct., and note 2 (above).
2. This was Benjamin Franklin's grandson and secretary, William Temple Franklin.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-10-14

To the President of Congress, No. 16

[salute] Sir

Repeated Letters from London,1 confirm the Account of Mr. Laurens's being confined to the Tower, so close a Prisoner, that neither his old Correspondents, nor even his Refugee Relations, are Suffered to Speak to him.
There have been So many Precedents of Exchanges, Mr. Lovell as well as the Major Generals Sullivan, Stirling, Lee and others having been exchanged, as Prisoners of War, that it is very extraordinary they should now treat Mr. Laurens as a Prisoner of State. It is not however merely a Proof that Passion and Caprice govern their Councils. I conceive it is intended to Signify to the Tories in America, whom they believe to be more numerous than they are and to their Officers and Troops, Serving in that Country, that now they have obtained an Election of Parliament to their Minds, they are determined to prosecute the War, with Vigour, and to bring America Still to unlimited Submission. For however our Countrymen, may have flattered themselves with hopes of Peace, there is nothing farther from the Thoughts of the King of England, his Ministers, Parliament, or Nation, for they are now all his, than Peace upon any Terms that America can agree to. There is no future Event more certain in my Mind than that they never will acknowledge American Independance while they have a Soldier in the united States. Nay, they would not do it, even after their Troops should be all driven from the Continent.
I think I see very clearly, that America must grow up in War. It is a painfull Prospect to be sure. But when I consider that there are more People in America, than there are in the United Provinces of the Low Countries: that the Earth itself produces Abundance in America both for Consumption and Exportation, and that the united Provinces produce nothing but Butter and Cheese: And that the united Provinces have successively maintained Wars, against the Formidable Monarchies of Spain, France and England, I cannot but perswade myself it is in the Power of America to defend herself against all that England can do.
The Republick where I now am has maintained an Army of an hundred and twenty thousand Men, besides a formidable Navy. She maintains at this day a standing Army of Thirty Thousand Men which { 270 } the Prince is desirous of augmenting to Fifty Thousands, besides a considerable Navy. All this in a profound Peace. What Cause phisical or political can prevent Three Millions of People in America, from maintaining for the Defence of their Altars and Firesides, as many Soldiers, as the Same Number of People can maintain in Europe, merely for Parade, I know not.
A Navy is our natural, and our only adequate Defence. But We have but one Way to increase our shipping and Seamen, and that is Privateering. This abundantly pays its own Expences, and procures its own Men. The Seamen taken generally, enlist on board of our Privateers, and this is our surest Way, of distressing their Commerce, protecting our own, increasing our Seamen and diminishing those of the Ennemy. And this will finally be the Way, by capturing their supplies, that We shall destroy or captivate, or oblige to fly, their Armies in the United States.
A Loan of Money in Europe would assist Privateering, by enabling Us to fitt out ships the more easily, as well as promote and extend our Trade, and serve Us in other Ways. I wish I could give Hopes of Speedy success in this Business, but I fear that Cornwallis's account of his Defeat of General Gates, whether true or false, will extinguish the very moderate Hopes which I had before, for a Time.
There is a Prospect however that the English will force this Republick into a War with them, and in such Case or indeed in any Case if there were a Minister here accredited to the States General and to the Prince Statholder of the United Provinces of the Low Countries, he would assist a Loan. There is another Measure which may be taken by Congress to the same End. That is sending Some Cargoes of Produce, upon Account of the united States directly here or to St. Eustatia, to be Sold for the Payment of Interest. The sight of a few such Vessells and Cargoes would do more, than many long Reasonings and Negotiations.
Another Method may be taken by Congress. Make a Contract with private Merchants in Philadelphia, Boston, Maryland, Virginia, or elsewhere, to export annually Produce to a certain Amount, to Amsterdam or St. Eustatia or both, to be sold for the Payment of Interest. The Merchants or Houses contracted with should be responsible and known in Europe, at least some of them.
This Country has been grossly deceived. It has little Knowledge of the Numbers Wealth and Resources of the united States and less Faith in their finally supporting their Independance, upon which alone a Credit depends. They have also an opinion of the Power of { 271 } England vastly higher than the Truth. Measures must be taken but with great Caution and Delicacy to undeceive them.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 305–308); docketed: “No. 116 John Adams Octr. 14. 1780 Recd. Jany. 29. 1781. Treatment of Mr. Laurens Advantage of privateering—of sending on public accot. some produce to Holland or Eustatia to discharge interest.”
1. Thomas Digges' letters of 6 and 10 Oct., but see also JA's reply of 14 Oct. to those letters (all above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0135

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-10-15

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

I have only, Time, at present to request of you, to let me know whether, “the Pamphlet” is printed.1 You gave me hopes it would be out last Week but I hear nothing of it. When it is done I should be glad to have a dozen or two of them, for which I should be glad to pay, upon the Receipt of them. I am Sir with much respect, your humble servant
1. Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie; see Luzac's reply of 19 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0136-0001

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-16

From Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Monsieur

Aiant appris que le Congress vous a muni des memes pouvoirs qu'Il avoit confié au Collonel Laurens, dont la facheuse catastrophe me desole, et qu'entre autres votre mission a pour but une negociation pour L'Amerique Unie, je prens la liberté de Vous prier de m'en envoier le plustot possible les Conditions; un Parent2 m'aiant temoigné de l'inclination d'y placer 20,000 florins de Hollande.
Si Vous cherchez quelque Correspondant à Rotterdam je puis vous recommander mon Ami Adriaan Valck,3 Negociant, demeurant, Si je ne me trompe, Sur le Leuvenhaue. Il merite toute votre confiance, et est tres zelé pour la bonne cause. Le digne Tegelaar4 vous est connû, de meme que mon Intime Van der Kemp.5 Ce dernier peut a l avenir étre de grande Utilité pour le Congress. Il a beaucoup de connoissances; de la droiture et une intrepidité, que l'on ne chercheroit pas chez un Predicateur Mennonite.
Du reste, Monsieur, Si je puis vous Servir dans ma petite Sphere, { 272 } Soiez persuadé que c'est avec un devouement parfait a la cause Americaine et la plus haute consideration pour Votre Personne que j'ai lhonneur d'etre Monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeïssant Serviteur,
[signed] J D van der Capellen6
P:S: Le dernier paquet qui m'est venu de la part du Gouvern. Trumbull à du m'etre remis par Monsieur Son Fils le Collonel. Cependant je l'ai reçu par la Voie d'Ostende. Pourriez vous, Monsieur, me donner des Nouvelles du Collonel, car je commence a m'inquie[ter] a son Sujet?7

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0136-0002

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-16

Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Having learned that Congress has given you the same powers it had given Colonel Laurens, whose sad fate grieves me, and that one of your mission's objectives is to raise a loan for the United States, I take the liberty of asking you to please send me its terms as soon as possible; a relative2 of mine having voiced interest in investing 20,000 Dutch florins in the project.
If you seek a correspondent in Rotterdam, I can recommend my friend Adriaan Valck,3 a merchant who lives, if I am not mistaken, on the Leuvenhaue. He merits your entire confidence and is very zealous for the good cause. The honorable Tegelaar4 is known by you, as is my intimate friend Van der Kemp.5 The latter could be of great use to Congress in the future. He has many connections and a rectitude and boldness one would not expect in a Mennonite preacher.
In addition, sir, if I can be of any use in my own little sphere, rest assured that it is with a perfect devotion to the American cause, and with the highest esteem for you, that I have the honor to be, sir, your very humble and obedient servant.
[signed] J D van der Capellen6
P.S. The last packet I received from Governor Trumbull must have been sent to me by his son the Colonel. However, I received it via Ostend. Could you, sir, send me news of the Colonel, for I am beginning to worry about him.7
1. A town on the Maas River approximately fifty miles southeast of Amsterdam and ten miles west of Nijmegen.
2. Van der Capellen's relative remains unidentified.
3. Valck unsuccessfully sought to become an American commercial agent and in 1783 emigrated to the United States (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 255–256).
4. Jan Gabriel Tegelaar, an Amsterdam merchant active in the Patriot movement and the editor of an anti-Orangist paper, was on JA's list of people to consult in Amsterdam (Pieter J. Van Winter, American Finance and Dutch Investment, 1780–1805, transl. James C. Riley, N.Y., 1977, 2 vols., 1:71; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:444).
5. JA apparently did not meet Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, who became one of his closest friends and advisors, until late Feb. 1781, during a visit to Leyden (JA, Diary and
{ 273 } { 274 }
6. In 1780, Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol was the most prominent Dutchman openly in favor the American Revolution. A nobleman and a major figure in the Patriot or anti-Stadholder movement, van der Capellen had corresponded with prominent Americans from the onset of the Revolution and copies of letters from him to Benjamin Franklin and Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut were among the papers seized with Henry Laurens (Davies, ed., Docs. of the Amer. Rev., 1770–1783, 16:424). He advised the Americans on appointing a minister to the Netherlands, raising a loan, and the general conduct of Dutch-American relations. Although his reputation as a radical severely limited his influence with the Dutch government, van der Capellen's connections within the Patriot movement and his enthusiasm for the American cause made him a valuable friend and advisor to JA. For assessments of van der Capellen's activities and influence, particularly as to the breadth and depth of his radicalism, see Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 21–30; and Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators, N.Y., 1977, p. 64–67.
7. Van der Capellen likely received the packet from Gov. Jonathan Trumbull in late June or early July, for his son, Col. John Trumbull, visited JA in Paris at about that time. By the date of this letter, John Trumbull was studying art with Benjamin West in London, where, in November, he was arrested for high treason, reportedly in retaliation for the execution of Maj. John André (to Vergennes, 16 June, note 2, above; DAB; see also Thomas Digges' letter of 22 Nov., and note 6, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0137

Author: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-17

From Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Sir

I was an ardent partisan of the noble cause of America, only on account of my great love for liberty. But, since I have the honour of Knowing you, I have another motive of loving America, seeing that it produces so worthy and so brave Gentlemen. When occasion has occurred, I have never been backward in serving it with my pen, the feeble but the only help which I could bring. And when this terrible war appears to last long yet, perhaps shall I contribute with my own person, to a liberty, whose fruits I hope enjoy when it is firmly established. I hope that the last action, which Lord Cornwallis has so pompously described, will have no bad consequences. But, will you give me leave to observe that this last battle appears to be a proof that undisciplined milices [militias] are not a match for European regular troops? The very same have I Observed in the wars of Netherlands. The first insurgents have been always defeated, as long as they could oppose to the Spaniards only new and undisciplined milicies.
I do not believe that France entertains hopes of recovering Canada, as it is spread. It should be, according to my opinion, a very unpolitic step: they could lose the whole fruit of this war. The French shou'd be obnoxious neighbours to you: and the least dispute could bring you to cast your looks towards England, if not for dependance, at least for a strict alliance. It should be also a very unpolitic step in the colonies to yield Canada to France in order that it should be a { 275 } match for the English in Georgia and Carolina. You must never lay down the arms, before your whole continent is free from European Yoke. Powerful neighbours at your both sides should make your independency very precarious. I shall not conceal you that my private interest prompts me to desire the independency of Canada, because it is a french settlement. I wish also that Acadia or New Scotland could be peopled, as before, with french Colonists. My greatest desire should be to live in a country where the french language and liberty should be dominant: and was I to be the [. . . gers?] of these countries, I would not that they were less free than Massachusets Bay.
I have, since my arrival, made some reflections upon the debt of America. I beg leave asking you: as not the congress in delivering the paper money made it accepted to its creditors for the very Sum which is marked. I know that the primitive value has diminished in the hands of private people: I have been Assured that now Sixty dollars paper money are worth no more than one ready money. I think there are means of annihilating and giving credit to this paper-money in the same time and by the same operation. There could be a Law to pay the public taxes, one part in ready money and the other in paper-money. All the paper-money brought to custom-houses should be torn to pieces and the congress, obliged to create new ones in order to answer the demands of citizens, Should have, by that mean, a great and inexhaustible treasure and Subsidy to supply its own Wants.
I have many other ideas on the same Subject. I propose to explain them on another ocasion, hoping that my liberty shall not displease you and that you could be so good as to accept of the testimonies of my Respect and veneration your most obedient Servant
[signed] A M Cerisier1
Je vous prie de me pardonner la petite vanité d'avoir tenté d'écrire dans une langue que je parle mal et que j'ai apprise trop tard pour pouvoir jamais la posséder à fond. Une autrefois je vous écrirai dans ma propre langue. If my expressions are barbarous in a language which I never write, and seldom have occasion to speak, I hope you shall only reguard my sentiments which <are sincere and warm> never shall change. My best compliments to your amiable young sons.
Je profite de l'occasion de Mr. Wild2 qui vous envoye toutes les nouveautés politiques, vous priant de faire remettre chez Mr. Mandrillon3 celles que vous ne prendrez pas, avec la procedure de Lord Howe4 que vous avez promis de me prêter.5
{ 276 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Guillaume Adams demeurant sur l'Agter-burgwal près de l'Eglise francoise à Amsterdam”; endorsed: “M. A. M. Cerisier ansd. 23. Oct. 1780.” In his next letter, Cerisier used JA's correct first name.
1. Antoine Marie Cerisier, a French-born writer, was active in the Patriot cause and author of Tableau de l'histoire générale des Provinces-Unies, 10 vols., Utrecht, 1777–1784, two sets of which are in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library). Sometime prior to the date of this letter, and after reading the six published volumes of Cerisier's work, JA visited him at Utrecht and was impressed by the author's enthusiasm for the American cause. Cerisier played a key role in JA's efforts in the Netherlands, particularly after he moved to Amsterdam in 1781 and established Le politique hollandais, a major conduit for JA's dissemination of pro-American and anti-British propaganda in the Netherlands. For accounts of Cerisier and his relationship with JA, see JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 255–257; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:454; Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 125–126.
2. For Bartholomé Wild, a bookseller in Utrecht and Cerisier's landlord and employer, see his letter of 20 Oct. (below); and JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 257.
3. Joseph Mandrillon was a bookseller in Amsterdam, active in the Patriot cause (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 128).
4. Probably The Narrative of Lieut. Gen. Sir William Howe . . ., London, 1780. Cerisier later translated the pamphlet and had it published in 1781 at Rotterdam and elsewhere as Campagnes militaires du Lieutenant Général Sir William Howe, en Amérique . . ., a copy of which is in JA's library (from Cerisier, 15 Nov., below; T. R. Adams, American Controversy, 2:716; Catalogue of JA's Library).
5. Translation: Let me take advantage of this occasion to ask that any unwanted political pamphlets, sent to you by Mr. Wild, be returned to Mr. Mandrillon, along with Lord Howe's narrative that you promised to lend me.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0138

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-17

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

It was not until the 14th Instant that any person Whatever was permitted to see Mr. Laurens in the Tower.1 On that day after repeated applications for admission, Mr. Manning, and Mr. Laurens Jur. (a youth of 16 or 18 who has been some years at Warrington school) was permitted to see Him. An order went signd from the 3 Secretarys of State Hillsborough, Stormont, and Germain, to the Govr. of the Tower permitting the two Gentlemen above to visit Mr. Laurens for half an hour—the Warrant expressly intimating that their visit was to be limited to that time, and that they could not a second time see Him without a new order. The Govr. of the Tower sent a note to Mr. Mannings that He had received such an order from the Secys. of State, and He with young Laurens went accordingly last Saturday Morning. They found him very ill of a lax, much emaciated, but not low spirited, and bitterly invective against the people of England for their harsh treatment of Him. He spoke very handsomely of Capt. Keppel who took him and the Lieut. who accompanyd Him to London; but from the period of his putting his foot on shore He { 277 } was treated with a brutality, which He could not even expect from Englishmen. His weakness from Sickness, and the agitation on seeing His son, took up the first ten of the thirty minutes allowd Him to converse with His friends—the rest was filld with bitter invectives against the authors of His harsh treatment. His outer room is but a very mean one, not more than twelve feet Square, a dark close bed room adjoining, both indifferently furnishd and a few books on his table. No pen and ink or news paper has been yet allowd him, but He has a pencil and memorandum book in which He occasionally notes things. The Warden of the Tower, and a Yeoman of the Guard is constantly at his elbow tho they make no attempts to stop his Conversation. Mr. Manning and His Child being the first Visitors he has had, perhaps Mr. L——ns was led to say every thing He could about the Severity of his treatment, in order that it might be known abroad, and contradict the general report of his being exceedingly well treated. He has hitherto declind any Phisical advice, or the visits of any of those Creatures near Him who may be put on with a view to pump. Mr. Penn2 is making application and will likely see him. It is doubtful if the son will again get leave. His harsh treatment being now pretty generally known, every one is crying out shame against it,3 and they accuse a great personage known by the name of WhiteEyes4 as the immediate author of it.
You have read all the news I can give you. Since the late arrivals from So. Carolina, N York, and Jamaica, every thing seems to have taken a different turn. The inactivity of the French in Europe, the West Inds., and in No. America indicates that the Campaign will end with their doing nothing very effectual for America. This has seemingly induced the Cabinet to push the War in Ama. vigorously another year. New Regiments are raising, 10 or 12,000 Men are preparing to go, and every transport Ship that can be got is actually engaging to carry troops either to No. America or the Wt. Indies.
I am yrs mo truly
[signed] WSC
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsr. <Ferdinando Raymond San> Chez Monsieur Henri Shorn a Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S.C Octr. 17th. 1780”; docketed by CFA: “W.S.C. Octr. 17th 1780.”
1. Thomas Digges' account of the visit by William Manning Sr. and Henry Laurens Jr. to the Tower on 14 Oct. is longer and more detailed than that appearing in Henry Laurens' “Narrative,” indicating that Digges may have spoken to Manning or someone else with first-hand knowledge of the meeting, for there was no published account. William Manning Sr. was Henry Laurens' London banker, father-in-law of John Laurens, and guardian of Henry Laurens Jr. In his “Narrative,” Henry Laurens indicated that the order permitting the visit had been obtained through the intervention of Brownlow North, the Bishop of Worcester and half brother of Lord North (Wallace, Life of Henry Laurens, { 278 } p. 365; Laurens, “Narrative,” p. 27, 30; DNB).
2. Probably Richard Penn, former lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and grandson of William Penn, who had carried the “Olive Branch” petition to England in 1775 and remained sympathetic to the American cause (DAB). There is, however, no evidence that he visited Laurens in 1780.
3. For the printing of a French translation, to this point, of Digges' report on Henry Laurens in the supplement to the Gazette de Leyde of 7 Nov., see Dumas' letter of that date (below).
4. From the context, this likely refers to George III; see also Digges' letter of 31 Oct.; C. W. F. Dumas' letter of 7 Nov.; and JA's reply to Dumas of 9 Nov. (all below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0139

Author: Johonnot, Samuel Cooper
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-17

From Samuel Cooper Johonnot

[salute] Respected Sir

I have found a little Inconvenience in having nobody here on the Spot, that I could call my Guardian. I spoke to Doctor Franklin of it who directed me to write to you and to inform you that if you would agree to it he would take me under his Care. I receiv'd the other Day a Letter from my Grandpappa in which he told me that my Father had sent you a large Remittance which if you receive and agree to the above Proposal, you will be so good as to transmit to Doctor Franklin and you will in the same Time much oblige Your Most humble & obedient Servant
[signed] S. Cooper1
1. See JA's reply of 24 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0140

Author: Continental Congress
Author: Thomson, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-18

Additional Instructions Respecting a Peace Treaty with Great Britain

Congress took into consideration the report of the committee on the letters of 23 and 24 March last from the honble. John Adams minister plenipotentiary for negotiating a treaty of Peace and a treaty of commerce with the king of G Britain and thereupon
Resolved That the said minister be informed it is clearly the Opinion of Congress that a short truce would be highly dangerous to these United States.
That if a truce be proposed for so long a period or for an indefinite period requiring so long notice previous to a renewal of hostilities as to evince that it is on the part of the king of Great Britain a virtual relinquishment of the object of the war and an expedient only to avoid the mortification of an express acknowledgment of the inde• { 279 } pendence and sovereignty of these United States, the said minister be at liberty with the concurrence of our ally to accede thereto provided the removal of the British land and naval armaments from the United States be a condition of it.1
That in case a truce shall be agreed on by the belligerent parties, Congress rely on his attention and prudence to hold up the United States to the world in a stile and title not derogatory to the character of an independent and sovereign people.
That with respect to those persons who have either abandoned or been banished from any of the United States since the commencement of the war, he is to make no stipulations whatsoever for their readmittance; and as to an equivalent for their property he may attend to propositions on that subject only on a reciprocal Stipulation that Great Britain will make full compensation for all the wanton destruction which the subjects of that nation have committed on the property of the citizens of the United States.2
That in a treaty of peace it is the wish of Congress not to be bound by any public engagement to admit British subjects to any of the rights or privileges of citizens of the United States; but at all times to be at liberty to grant or refuse such favors, according as the public interest and honor may dictate; and that it is their determination not to admit them to a full equality in this respect with the subjects of his most Christian Majesty unless such a concession should be deemed by the said minister preferable to a continuance of the war on that account.

[salute] Extract from the minutes3

[signed] Chas Thomson Secy.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by Francis Dana: “Additional Instructions of Congress respecting the Negotiation of Peace Recd. Jany: 10th. 1781. at Paris”; in JA's hand: “dated Oct. 18. 1780.”; in an unidentified hand: “Oct 18. 1780 Hon J A.” In a letter dated 10 Jan. 1781, Dana informed JA of the arrival of the instructions, but indicated that he was not sending them on to Amsterdam because he feared trusting them to the regular mail. Dana's letter was written immediately below a copy of a letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs to JA of 12 July 1780, and was filmed at that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 352). In a letter of 16 Feb. 1781, Dana informed the Committee for Foreign Affairs that he still had the instructions and it is possible that JA did not receive them until Dana met him at Leyden in mid-April (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:259–260, 367).
1. This and the following paragraph respond to the points raised by JA in his letter of 23 March (No. 23, above), but it is doubtful that the instructions would have made JA's task any easier if, in fact, Great Britain had ever proposed a truce. JA's instructions of 16 Oct. 1779 had provided for a cessation of hostilities during negotiations, provided that all British troops were immediately withdrawn from the United States, but the negotiations were to be preceded by British recognition of American independence (vol. 8:203, calendared; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:181–183). The new instructions provided for a pro• { 280 } tracted truce conditioned on the withdrawal of British troops, but it is unclear how JA could have upheld the character of the United States as fully sovereign and independent if the truce was designed to permit Britain “to avoid the mortification” of acknowledging that very fact.
2. This and the following paragraph are a response to JA's first letter of 24 March (No. 24, above), and are significant because JA's original instructions made no mention of the treatment of the loyalist refugees in the peace treaty.
3. JCC, 18:948–950.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0141-0001

Author: Barbé-Marbois, François de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-18

From François Barbé-Marbois

3e.

[salute] Monsieur

Je viens de recevoir la Lettre que vous m'aves fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 1. du mois de mars dernier. J'ai appris dans le tems avec le plus grand plaisir la resolution que vous avies prise d'emener Mrs. vos fils avec vous. En suivant l'exemple1 de leur pere ils ne peuvent manquer de contracter une sincere amitié pour notre nation. Je vous prie de me rappeller au souvenir de notre petit Compagnon de voyage:2 et de l'assurer du plaisir que j'aurai a le revoir soit dans mon pays soit dans le sien.
J'ai des occasions fréquentes de m'entretenir de vous Mr. avec les amis que vous avés ici. Ils sont en Grand nombre, et les nouvelles qu'ils reçoivent de tems en tems de vous me paroissent leur faire le plus Grand plaisir.
Mr. Le Chev. de la Luzerne est actuellement à Rhode island ou peut être en chemin pour revenir à Philadelphie. Toute la famille vous présente ses Compliments; elle a resisté assés heureusement à une épidemie3 qui a désolée Philadelphie cet automne. Je n'en ai pas été entiérement éxempt; mais J'espere m'en tirer sans accident.
On nous mande que M. Laurens est prisonnier et qu'il a été conduit en Angleterre. Si la nouvelle est fondée vous la Saurés probablement plutôt que nous.
J'ai L'honneur d'être avec un respectueux attachement Monsieur Votre très humble et très obeissant serviteur,
[signed] De Marbois

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0141-0002

Author: Barbé-Marbois, François de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-18

François Barbé-Marbois to John Adams: A Translation

Triplicate

[salute] Sir

I have received the letter that you did me the honor of writing on 1 March. Since then, I have learned with the greatest pleasure of your decision to take your sons with you. By following the example1 of their father they cannot fail to develop a sincere friendship with our nation. Please remind { 281 } your little travelling companion2 of me, and assure him of the pleasure I will have in seeing him again, whether in my country or his.
I have had many occasions to talk about you to your friends here. They are many, and the news they occasionally receive from you seems to please them greatly.
The Chevalier de la Luzerne is presently in Rhode Island or perhaps on the road, returning to Philadelphia. The whole family sends its greetings. We fortunately have withstood an epidemic which has afflicted Philadelphia this fall.3 I was not completely spared, but I hope to escape without further damage.
We are informed that Mr. Laurens was made prisoner and sent to England. If this news is accurate you will probably know of it before we do.
I have the honor to be, with respectful devotion, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] De Marbois
RC (Adams Papers); marked: “3e.”; endorsed: “Mr Marbois”; docketed by CFA: “October 18. 1780.” Dupl (Adams Papers); marked: “2e”; no notations.
1. In the duplicate this was followed by the words “et les principes.”
2. JQA and JA returned to the United States in 1779 aboard La Sensible, on which Barbé-Marbois and La Luzerne were fellow passengers.
3. Probably dysentery; see Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 16:94, 96, 133.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0142

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-19

From William Gordon

O! human nature, what are thou! When one of the most noted Republicans cannot be consistent; nor be placed on an eminence without having his head affected. My former letter1 was designed for Messrs. Adams and Dana, whom I humourously considered as in partnership: but I now find that they are not partners—that they carry on business separately and that I must be at the expence of corresponding with each, tho I have not plenty, either of pen, ink, paper or time.
My Friend John Adams
Being first mentioned made the joint letter his own property; therefore I have heard nothing from his honour Francis Dana Esqr. I am obliged to his Excellency however for ordering it to be answered by his Amanuensis, and for authenticating the whole answer by his own hand writing;2 but by no operation could I find in it the name of Dana; till I had recourse to a mode of working similar to that of the trifling anagrammatist, and then from John Adams I extracted Dana, by a proper arrangement of the last letter in the christian; and the three first of the sur name. Having thus remarked by way of preface, I shall proceed to consider your favour of May 26th. orderly { 282 } and paragraphically. Paris I know and London I know to be cities; but pray what is Hotel de Valois Ruë de Richelieu? I suppose it to be some great house, in some certain street, where his Excellency resides.
I would wish my scrawl to travel in little or no company, whenever it comes to Hotel de Valois, that so it may be the most acceptable: in much, it might meet with as little notice as a court attendant at full levee.
The alterations were no amendments, but assisted in getting the plan through;3 and I am very glad that we have a new Constitution so near at hand, which though not so good as I could have wished, is much better than I feared, considering the tempers of people &c.; and vastly superiour to that paltry performance,4 which I contributed my hearty endeavours towards demolishing.
Accidental circumstances have procured the Massachusetts a compliment, that their real merit does not entitle them to. As you once said at Braintree concerning him who has been long seeking the uppermost seat,5 that the world was a stranger to his true character, so may it be said concerning your present countrymen. Many persons in power have been more desirous of securing to themselves the continuance of that power, than of establishing all the rights of the community. The person that seconded the motion for a convention in 1795, Genl. Danielson, clogged it with those terms that effectually destroyed its intention, and it was carried in the morning, that there should be a convention in 1795 in case it was desired by a majority of all the inhabitants—I am sorry that Judge Sullivan supported him in it; but some of our cloth were uneasy, the matter was debated afresh in the evening, and by the united exertions of Treat Pain, Parsons and Lowell, it was altered to the majority of voters at the town meetings.6 To please the public it was agreed, that there might be a convention, if the people desired it; but it was not fixed that there should be; and I am convinced that leading men in the convention were against having a convention in 1795, and that when the time comes practices will be given into to prevent there being a majority in the towns for a convention, however I hope that herein they will be disappointed. What passed between me and our friend Samuel7 upon the occasion convinced me that he was not for it, and several others have spoken their minds unreservedly to the same purpose: however plausible their reasons are they are not weighty in my opinion; and should you be over in that period, and the independency of the State be continued your abilities I trust will be { 283 } employed in procuring a vote of the people for the revision of the Plan of government, that so it may proceed on towards perfection, and measures be established for perpetuating the civil and sacred liberties of the Massachusetts people, and for rendering theirs the best government in the world.
You with a pritty slight of hand slip over sending me news: but should the same plea be used by all others I should be as ignorant as the rest of my neighbours, had I ever such correspondences with every part of the world. Pray don't trick me in the same way a second time: but be honest in the way of barter, and give me a quid pro quo. What you ought not to divulge, I would not wish you to write. What you may communicate with propriety in confidence, I humbly apprehend you may do with safety, as I have accustomed myself to keeping secrets, having studied Telemachas:8 but when I am to be silent as to what is wrote, or am only to conceal the writer, you must give me due notice of it.
The Irish must be purblind, if they do not perceive that the ministerial sugar plumbs will be taken from them, unless American Independency is established, and that after having been feasted with fine promises they will have sour sauce served up to them, for having forced ministry into such concessions. Nothing made a great figure in English politics a long while back: and continued to do so, does England flatter herself that America will make a separate peace and join her to revenge herself against France and Spain. Was America to do it she would vie with England in blundering politics—yea, should she be only a silent spectator. Great Britain will never have honest thoughts of peace, till she can no longer prosecute the war without subjecting herself to immediate ruin. I want some able American, on your side the water, in a concise animated way to exhibit to Holland, Sweeden, Denmark, Portugal and Russia the insolence and haughtiness of G Britain in present circumstances, and to what an intolerable height it will proceed should Britain prevail against the fleets of France and Spain, and by force or treachery prevail over the Americans. Your pen employed in this service, and urging upon the above powers the state prudence and necessity of their dictating to G Britain to make peace and acknowledge American Independency, might do essential service to your country, and bring on that particular business for which you was dispatched across the herring pond.
The manoeuvres of the combined fleets in the West Indies are at present out of my comprehension. Had they pushed their advantages, { 284 } they might have taken St. Kitts or some other Island. France and Spain must make a point of falling with a superior naval force upon the ships of G B, if they mean to finish the war gloriously. Secresy in their councils might certainly enable them to do it. The nature of their governments gives them an opportunity of keeping their schemes private beyond what the British possesses. Business must pass thro' so many hands in G B, who must be acquainted with the destination of a fleet, that it is extremely difficult to conceal it: but in France and Spain, none but the Sovereign and his right hand should be able to tell or even to conjecture, whether the armament is designed for the East Indies, the West Indies or Boston; and in fitting it out, the appearances for each should be equally strong, so as that no certain intelligence could be gained from workmen, from pilots, from commanders, or from stores. Secresy—Secresy—Secresy, is the great secret in carrying on war with advantage. By means of it the enemy is thrown upon a false scent, arising from their own misgivings and are put upon a wild goose chase. Sat sapienti verbum.9If you have no powers from Congress to make a direct application to ministers, you can improve your acquaintance with ministers.
And now Mr. Republican, what! afraid of Prince Posterity! You a Commonwealthsman, and be concerned lest a future Prince should mistake your character! Ah! what! is Character so dear, that serving your Country will not give you a quietus, unless some Historiographer tells a long tale of your leaving your wife &c., &c., &c: and blazons your patriotism: and do you threaten, that if it is not done to your satisfaction, you yourself will turn Historiographer? Methinks I have caught you, and should you attempt to rival me, have you at my mercy. Risum veneatis Amici.10 You tell me that you love your Wife and that in the countries you see you don't find anybody you like so well; prudently done; you knew that I lived in the neighbourhood of your wife and would be likely to tell her the fine thing you said of her. That impartial heathen Historians, whether malignant or not, would not allow any higher motive to govern men than ambition, is not strange—they had not the means of ascending or being wrought up to a higher. They well knew that tho' it was a maxim—dulce et decorum est pro patria mori11—yet the deaths occasioned by it were not owing to the pro patria, or the dulce but to the decorum—the character, the character that men gained by dying pro patria. The name of a Patriot fed the spirit of ambition, and wrought wonders: but who of those great Patriots that are upon record would have died in private to have saved his country, had he despaired of its ever being { 285 } known and made public. They expected to be honoured by men. Christianity however lays the foundation for better principles, and the christian historian will allow that men may act from a sense of duty, though as he will want penetration to discover the motives of any one heart but his own, he may write dubiously upon the point. What say you to that? I shall not set up for a perfect while I shall endeavour to shew myself an impartial historian: but should you turn Historiographer to tell the world what a huge Patriot you are, let me tell you, that the more you write in your own praise the less they will believe you, and that the louder you sound your trumpet the deafer they will grow. A Patriot has great charms in the esteem of many; but the friend of mankind or the christian has much greater—The first to serve his country will trample upon the rights of the rest of mankind—thus did the Roman patriotism operate—The last, tho' concerned for his country in particular wishes liberty and happiness to the world, and gives up his own little spot when the benefit of the world requires it. Let me then ever prefer the Christian, who does not, as Soame Jennings falsely teaches,12 sacrifice to his religious principles the love of this country, but regulates it so as not to admit of its setting aside his love to the whole human race; and who considers the world as his country, and his own nation as bearing that relation to the world that his own town does to his nation.
By writing as above, so lengthy a letter, you will not think I am in haste; but if you are tired you may pause here; and try your patience, by delaying to go on and read all the news that is to be communicated in the other part.
Mr. Hancock will be governour, unless Death should prevent it. I was employed by a Boston representative under the rose, to plead with Mr. Bowdoin that pro bono publico he would condescend to serve as Lt. Govr.: I urged that plea, and encourage the expectation from his not declaring off, that, if the Genl. Ct. are pritty well agreed, he will not decline. He will be a good poize, and prevent undue influence and eccentric motions.
Some time back several persons dined together with the above mentioned, the conversation turned upon old matters, a country booby of a representative said, “ay I remember we used to say that you found the money and Sam Adams the brains.” A pause commenced for some minutes before the conversation was renewed. The poor mortal, upon being afterwards spoken to upon the impropriety of his remark, apologized by pleading, it was the truth and he thought there could be no hurt in speaking it.
{ 286 }
Dr. Cooper understands steering between Scylla and Charybdis as well as most persons, but of late touched and was in danger of losing a first rate hand. Mr. Hancock being disgusted applied for a pew at Mr. Wight's, late Dr. Byles's South-end.13 By some means the application got wind, several of the heads of Dr. C's waited upon the Dr. and told him that he must make it up, which was done, in what way have not been told. The disgust was owing as I was informed to the Dr.'s advising in what order the gentlemen mentioned in the first bill brought in for an academy of arts and sciences should be ranged, and Mr. Saml. Adams being set before Mr. John Hancock. The first bill was rejected. In the second, which was passed, the house ordered that the names should be ranged in alphabetical order. The story now related concerning the Dr. is in confidence; but may be communicated to Mr. Dana in confidence. The President Dr. Langdon has resigned. The students urged on by others presented a vote testifying their dislike and desiring him to resign, the Dr. hastily complied without consulting or considering the impropriety of a resignation occasioned by such a request. I am for calling the students to an account for their disorderly proceeding, and causing them to know their proper place, but do not expect that I shall carry the point. An enquiry might occasion discoveries that some gentlemen are perhaps willing to prevent more for their own sakes or the sake of their friends, than for sake of the President.14 I had the pleasure of being in Dr. Lee's company once and again. Reforms are needful. Mr. Izzard, I have been told by those with whom he has conversed, talks with much less reserve than the Dr. The truth I trust will out, and the ruin of the country be prevented by speedy reformations both at home and abroad.15
Mr. Thomas Cushing is chosen one of the Counsellors and Senators for Suffolk. He had many votes thro' a design of getting him out of the Probate Office. Deacons Nyles and Fisher, Mr. Pitts and Mr. Sumner of Roxbury, are the rest elected by the majority for Suffolk. Mr. White of Brookline has got himself returned representative, and means I apprehend to try for the vacant senatorial seat,16 but it is most probable that the general court will fill it with a Bostonian.
The people at large appear to acquiesce in the late political manoeuvre of Congress for exchanging the old continental at forty for one new bill. Through the peculiar circumstances attending our youth, we can venture upon those extraordinary expedients, which would in an old country have produced a fit of the palsy or apoplexy: but these violences must not be repeated; or we shall ruin our { 287 } constitution and begin to decay before we have arrived at maturity. I wonder what the European Politicians say to this manoeuvre. I believe, when it is found that it goes down thro' the Continent without occasioning any convulsion, Lord North will be greatly shocked, and be more dubious of vanquishing America thro' the failure of what he has stiled our only instrument for carrying on the war.17 I intend urging upon our new managers the keeping of public faith as the sine qua non of good and prosperous government. If under a new Constitution individuals will forsake their old bad practices and in their political capacity do justly and honestly and study the good of their country, the Massachusetts may and will flourish—and may after a while establish a good national character: but if old pranks are repeated under the new Constitution, we shall make but a miserable figure in the writings of a faithful intelligent historian.
The letter dated Tappan Oct. 2. 1780, was wrote by Genl. Knox—Sentinel and the People of the Massachusett's Bay by your correspondent.18 Major Andre was taken by three of the York militia, out with others as a scouting party. When one of them sprung out from his couvert and seized Andres horse. The Major asked where he belongd. He answered to below. the Major suspecting no deceit said, so do I. When the other two joined, and he found his mistake, the confusion that followed was apparent, and they proceeded to search till they discovered the papers. Large offers were made, but did not avail. Whoever lives to read a good history of these times, should it be wrote by an impartial and intelligent hand, will be under the necessity of admitting the doctrines of general and particular providences—or the extensive efficacious and universal government of Heaven over all wordly matters. General Green in the orders of the day after the plot was discovered, inserted as follows, “The providential train of circumstances which led to it affords a most convincing proof that the liberties of America are the object of divine protection.”19
Arnold's behaviour had excited suspicions in the breasts of the officers who had the command of the scouting parties, to the amount of 800; and before this discovery, they had determined, that had Arnold came down to have ordered them nearer to the enemy, to have seized him upon their suspicions and to have had his conduct examined into.
I shall not write to our friend Mr. Dana by this opportunity, but by another from Newport in a few days. We have heard of a large capture of British ships to the amount of sixty by the French and Spaniards, so many different ways, that we promise ourselves that the good news { 288 } will be confirmed.20 Nothing but dire necessity will make the British ministry think seriously of Peace. Heaven grant that that necessity may exist soon!
Saw Mr. Cranch this morning, spoke of Mrs. Adams, no intimation but what all were well. Design myself the pleasure of seeing her soon at Braintree. My respects to Mr. Dana, Your Son or Sons, Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Gillam. The letter he received from Mr. Tabor was received safe by Mr. Browns care. Your sincere friend and very humble servant.
[signed] William Gordon
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. Gordon 19th. Octr. 1780.”
1. Of 8 March, addressed to JA and Francis Dana (above).
2. Of 26 May (above). The recipient's copy, which has not been found, evidently was in Thaxter's hand. The first nine paragraphs of this letter are a point by point reply to JA's letter, particularly those paragraphs dealing with JA's failure to provide Gordon with intelligence of events in Europe and his comments on those, such as Gordon, who would write a history of the Revolution.
3. For JA's draft of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, and the changes made to it by the drafting committee and the convention, see vol. 8:236–271.
4. The Constitution of 1778.
5. Probably John Hancock.
6. The debate described by Gordon occurred on 1 March, but as adopted, Chap. VI, Art. X, of the Massachusetts Constitution called for a two-thirds majority of those voting at the town meetings (Journal of the Convention, p. 156–159, 248–249). Since the Journal indicates only the actions taken and not the content of or participants in the debates, the roles given by Gordon to Timothy Danielson, James Sullivan, Robert Treat Paine, Theophilus Parsons, and John Lowell cannot be verified. In the end the provision had no practical effect, for in 1795 the people declined to convene a convention.
7. Samuel Adams.
8. Gordon's meaning is unclear, unless he equates his quest for information about events in Europe with that of Telemachus for news of his father, Odysseus (Oxford Classical Dictionary).
9. A word to the wise is sufficient.
10. Laugh old friend.
11. It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country.
12. Soame Jenyns, in A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion (London, 1776; Phila., 1780, Evans, No. 16812), asserted that for the true Christian neither valor nor patriotism is ethically permissible (Phila. edn., p. 23–26).
13. Mather Byles, noted poet and minister of the Hollis Street Church from its founding in 1732, was dismissed in 1776 for his loyalist sympathies and replaced by Ebenezer Wight in 1778 (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 7:464–493; George Leonard Chaney, Hollis Street Church, Boston, 1877, p. 13–14).
14. Samuel Langdon's resignation as Harvard's president was submitted to the Board of Overseers at its meeting on 7 September. Believing that John Hancock, former college treasurer, and James Winthrop, the college librarian, were behind the students' actions, Gordon acted as Langdon's advocate at the meeting of 7 Sept., and argued for his retention as president, but to no avail, for the resignation was accepted at the Board's following meeting (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 10:520–523; John Eliot to Jeremy Belknap, 11 Sept. 1780, MHS, Colls., 6th ser., 4:194–199).
15. Compare Gordon's statement regarding Arthur Lee and Ralph Izard with Edmund Jenings' more discrete remark in his letter of 19 Oct., and note 3 (below).
16. If such was Benjamin White's intention, he did not succeed. The six senators for Suffolk County were James Bowdoin, Thomas Cushing, Jabez Fisher, Samuel Niles, John Pitts, and Increase Sumner (Independent Chronicle, 2 Nov.).
17. This is a paraphrase of a passage in an account of a speech by Lord North on 19 June that appeared in the Independent Chronicle of 5 October. Gordon quoted the passage in his piece on currency regulation in the Independent Chronicle of 19 Oct., of which this paragraph is a summary; see note 18.
{ 289 }
18. Gordon was apparently sending JA copies of the Independent Chronicle at least as far back as the issue of 21 September. Henry Knox's letter of 2 Oct. from Tappen, N.Y., concerned Benedict Arnold's treachery and appeared in the issue of 12 October. Gordon's article, signed “Sentinel,” appeared in the issue of 21 Sept., and concerned the need for Americans to redouble their efforts to defeat the British or to prepare themselves for the harsh measures certain to be imposed by a victorious and vindictive British government. Gordon's article, signed “The People of the Massachusetts Bay,” appeared in the issue of 19 Oct., and concerned the measures to be taken by the new government of Massachusetts to stabilize the currency and is mentioned by Gordon in the preceding paragraph.
19. This is an accurate quotation from Greene's orders as printed in the Boston Gazette of 16 October.
20. Presumably the capture of most of the fleet bound to the East and West Indies by a combined French and Spanish fleet on 9 August. A report appeared in the Independent Chronicle of 19 Oct., but see Francis Dana's letter of 27 Aug., and note 5 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0143

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-19

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Returning the day before yesterday from Boulogne, I had the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Letter1 by the Hands of Mr. Bowdoin, to whom I shall pay every attention due to your Excellencys Recommendation and his own Merit.
Before this comes to Hand your Excellency will have heard of the Disaster in Carolina; the Consequences of which may be sensibly felt by us. However there are Matters, which appear upon the very face of the English Account, which affords some Comfort and which the Minority, if they have any Sense, ought to point out to the people of England, to check their mad Career. America will I doubt not see the Necessity of changing her Moderation; the Cause of Humanity requires, that a Stop should be put to the English Barbarity. She will retaliate on the bloody Murderers in Cold Blood. I am Shocked at the Event, there can never be a reconcilement with England. All Prospect of Peace is Vanished, and War in its Extreme will now be carried on to the disgrace of Virtue and Religion. The Detention and Treatment of Mr. Laurens is the Extreme of folly—He has a right to the Law of Nations. France ought to claim that Right, and so ought the American Minister at Paris. The Congress however will I am sure Support its Dignity, and vindicate its Rights by every Possible Measure. I will write to a friend in London, an Acquaintance of Mr. Laurens, to see Him if Possible.
I cannot but be Surprized at the Inactivity of the great Armament in the West Indias—perhaps Sickness Checks its Operations. But it is certain, the English are Equally afflicted and are proportionally weakned. At this Distance however we are not Judges; but can only { 290 } deplore the State of Things. But surely if Monsieur Guichen can do Nothing in the Islands, He will send a Reinforcement to Rhode Island and a Strong Armament to S Carolina, or why should not Monsieur Ternay accompanied by American Vessels and Troops, sail for Carolina, when the Winds drive Arburthnot from the Coasts? Let us Hope for the best and trust in God.
Mr. J Johnson writes me, that it was expected He should quit his business at L'Orient and go to Paris to examine the public Accounts, that He considers the proposal made to defeat the Enquiry; for it could not be expected by Congress, that He should do so, without any recompense. That He has laid before Congress all the Letters that have passed, and declind the business. Since which, it has been proposed to Him to Examine the disputed Accounts about the Ship Alliance and He has been offerd the Maryland Trust, about which your Excellency has had some trouble, but He declares He will not Accept it.2 If He had, He would have been caught in a Trap, and must perhaps have gone to London instead of Paris.
I Congratulate your Excellency on the Arrival of the Alliance in America. Information may now be given to Congress, that may serve the general Interest, if it is given Cooly and Manfully, it must be attended to.3 I expect however to hear of some Villainous Work.
I have had several Letters from England but containing Nothing Material. All talk of the Continuance of the War, the Inactivity of the great Armaments giving Spirited Presumption. Ministry are trying the Rockingham Party, and I think will gain Burke underhand.4 He is poor and said by some to be an Ennemy to Liberty. He will enable the Minister to Triump in all his Schemes.
After the Affair of St. Martins I expect to hear the English have sailed to the Texel and siezd on what Vessels they Please, at least I should not be Surprizd to hear that Caracao and St. Eustatia were taken.
Does your Excellency Know where Mr. Austin is? If you do pray inform Him that Mr. J Johnson writes to me that He is much wanted at Nantes. A 20 Gun Ship belonging to his State and his Address lying waiting his Determination about some Matters entrusted to Him by the State.5
I Hope your Excellency is pleased both personally and Politically with your Situation in Holland—I Hear my young Friends are in a way of Attaining all Necessary and useful Improvements. May God bless them in their Studies!
I am told there is a publication in Holland, entitled the Tryal of { 291 } three Kings. Is it, Sir, worth any thing. Your Excellency has I Hope receivd the Testament Politique de l'Angleterre.6
I take the Liberty of begging your Excellency to make my Complts. to Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter, the last of whom, I was so Unfortunate as not see, as He passed through Brussels, being then at Boulogne.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedient & faithful Humble Servt.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
PS. Give me leave to Inform your Excellency, that I have Changed my Lodgings, and Am now—Chéz Monsr. Capelle au grand Sablons.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jennings.”; and by John Thaxter: “Octr. 19. 1780.”
1. Of 7 Oct. (above).
2. For Joshua Johnson's appointment to examine the public accounts and the “Maryland Trust,” see Edmund Jenings' letter of 12 April, and notes 1 and 3 (above).
3. Jenings probably means that Arthur Lee and Ralph Izard, both passengers on the Alliance, would give Congress their views regarding its diplomatic establishment in Europe, particularly the conduct of Benjamin Franklin. See also William Gordon's comments on Lee and Izard in his letter of 19 Oct. (above).
4. Jenings' information had some substance, but by mid-October was out of date. In the aftermath of the Gordon Riots, which had pushed the Rockingham Whigs closer to the ministry, Lord North had approached the Marquis of Rockingham about forming a coalition, but Rockingham's terms, which included a ministerial position for Edmund Burke, were unacceptable to George III and the initiative died a quick death (Alan Valentine, Lord North, 2 vols., Norman, Okla., 1967, 2:219–221; Mackesy, War for America, p. 362).
5. See Jonathan Loring Austin's letter of 23 Oct. (below).
6. For the two pamphlets, see JA's reply of 23 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0144-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-19

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

De retour d'une absence de chez moi j'ai trouvé la Lettre, dont vous m'avez honoré en date de Lundi dernier.1 Je dois vous demander pardon, que je n'aie pu accélérer jusqu'ici davantage la publication du Pamphlet. Des affaires de Famille imprévuës, qui me sont survenuës depuis ce tems, particulièrement la mort d'une Parente, qui m'a causé de fréquents voyages hors de Ville, m'ont ôté une grande partie du loisir nécessaire pour la soigner avec la promtitude, que je m'étois proposé. J'espère d'en avoir davantage à présent, et vous pouvez compter, Monsieur, sur tout mon zèle pour achever la publication en peu de jours. Dès que l'impression sera finie, j'aurai l'honneur de vous envoyer le nombre d'Exemplaires desiré. Agréez en attendant mes excuses et les assurances du respect, avec lequel je suis, Monsieur, de Votre Excellence, Le très humble & très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] J: Luzac
{ 292 }
J'avois dessein de vous écrire hier au soir, lorsque la venuë de Mr. Searle m'a procuré l'occasion de vous faire parvenir la présente par ses mains.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0144-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-19

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Upon returning home, I found the letter that you honored me with of last Monday.1 Please accept my apologies for thus far being unable to speed up the publication of the pamphlet. Unexpected family matters, particularly the death of a relative, have caused me to make frequent trips out of town and have deprived me of the leisure necessary to address myself to the task as promptly as I had intended. I hope to have more time now, and you can count on my full efforts to finish the publication in a few days. As soon as it is printed, I will have the honor to send you the desired number of copies. In the meantime, please accept my apologies and the assurances of respect, sir, with which I am your Excellency's most humble and most obedient servant,
[signed] J: Luzac
I planned to write last night, when Mr. Searle's visit provided the opportunity to deliver this by his hand.
1. Of 15 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0145

Author: Mazzei, Philip
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-19

From Philip Mazzei

[salute] Dear Sir

I shall make no apology for troubling you, Sir, as you have been so Kind as to grant me that liberty. I hope you received by Mr. Celesia my preceeding letter of 19th. August, inclosed in which there was one for the Govr. of Virginia numbered 21. You will find here the following, numbered 22, which I beg you to peruse, and forward to its destination.1 You will see by it that after Mr. Celesia left Genoa I remained there some time, and had good success with the People towards disposing them in our favour. But what can I do, my dear Sir, without powers to act, and even any thing to show? I find however that in money-matter they incline more to deal with Congress, than with a separate State.
Pray, Sir, take the trouble to write to Mr. Jefferson and other Friends, and procure that I may not be Kept here inactive at the time of our greatest wants. I shall ever be obliged to you for the favour of an answer to both my letters, and would be glad to Know by which { 293 } vessels those for Virginia are sent, inclusive my private for Mr. Jefferson, which I left with you. With my best compliments to Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxtarr I have the honour to be most respectfully, Sir Your Excellcy: most Obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] Philip Mazzei
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Mazzei. Florence 19. Octr. 1780. recd. 17 Jany. and ansd. 18. 1781.”
1. For Mazzei's letters to Thomas Jefferson of 19 Aug. and 19 Oct., see Jefferson, Papers, 3:557; 4:51–52.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0146

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-20

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr Sir

The close confinement of our friend and the denyal of all visits, the use of pen, ink and Paper, as well as all newspapers, still continues with unabated rigour. No person but His Son accompanyd by Mr. Manning has yet found way to Him, and these have been peremptorily refusd a second visit. It now appears that Government find him nothing but His furnishd appartments, Mr. L ordering his own dinner every day from the Coal Exchange Tavern in Thames Street. Government allow 5/ pr day for sustenance to all State Prisoners, and He may claim this pittance or not just as He pleases at the end of His Confinement. It is a pity that His severe ill treatment is not known in America.
No news yet from America since the late Carolina accounts. There are two Ships arrivd in Scotland which left St. Kitts the 6th. and 10th. Septemr. No news transpires by them. If they brought any that was palatable to Scotsmen it would certainly have got out before this, so that from the silence I suppose there is none which can be reckond bonny.
I am your Ob ser
[signed] WSC
We have just heard of 8 or nine arrivals from Ama. at Amsterdam. These vessels must bring some late American Accounts. When you get the Amn. Account of the affair of Camden please to favor me with it.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr. Ferdinand Raymond San at Mr. Henry Shorns Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S.C. 20th. Octr. 1780.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0147

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-20

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Understanding that in Case of Mr. Laurens's Absence, you are charged with the Affair of procuring a Loan in Holland, I think it Right to acquaint you, that by a Letter from Mr. Jay of the 12th. Instant, from Madrid, we are informed that the King of Spain has been so good as to offer his Guarrantee for the Payment of the Interest and Principal of a Loan of Money for the Use of the United States.1 Mr. Grand thinks that no considerable Use can be made here of that Guarrantee, on Account of the considerable Loan Mr. Necker is about to make;2 but that possibly it may have weight in Holland. Orders will be sent to the Spanish Ambassador here, by the next Post respecting this Matter.
I regret much the taking of Mr. Laurens. His Son, I understand sailed a Fortnight after him, for France; but he has not yet arrived.3
The Ariel has been at Sea, but meeting with a terrible Storm which carried away all her Masts, has return'd into Port to refit.4
I have the honour to be with great Respect, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient & most humble Sert.
[signed] B Franklin
P.S. By a former Letter from Mr. Jay I find the Sum to be one hundred and fifty thousand Dollars, for which the King of Spain would be answerable payable in the Space of 3 Years.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Dr Franklin recd and ansd 24. Octr. 1780 Warranty of Spain for a Loan.”
1. Neither this letter from John Jay to Franklin nor that mentioned in the postscript has been found, but see Jay's letter of 16 Sept. to the president of Congress in which he conveyed the same information (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:59).
2. Raised in November, the loan totalled 36,000,000 (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 199).
3. John Laurens, appointed in December to raise a loan in France, did not sail from Boston until Feb. 1781 and reached Paris in mid-March (JCC, 18:1141; Wallace, Life of Henry Laurens, p. 480).
4. For an account of John Paul Jones' ordeal in saving the Ariel, see Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 301–306.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0148-0001

Author: Wild, Bartholomé
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-20

From Bartholomé Wild

[salute] Monsieur

Vôtre ami Mr: Cerisier m'a dit de vous envoyer quelque brochure pollitiques Sur les affaires du tems, c'est ce que je fait.
3 Destin de l'Amerique 8° à 16 Stvrs:   F   2.   81  
1 Tableau historique des Provinces Unies 12°. 6 vol.     9.   162  
{ 295 } | view
1 Advocaat pour et Contre 8°     .   113  
1 Lettres Hollandoise 4 T et T 5 No. 1 à 9.     24.   64  
1 observation et Suitte 2 parties 8°     1.   55  
1 Reponce aux memoires de York     .   46  
1 Pierre de Touche     .   47  
1 reponce au Meme. de York     .   4  
1 Mémoire de York fevrier 1777.     .   48  
1 ditto   mars 1780.     .   49  
1 Reponce de Milord Suffolk     .   410  
1 Histoire d'un poux francois     1.   1611  
1 Resolution de L.L. H.H. P.P. Les Etats Genereaux     .   1612  
1 Histoire des Collonies Anciénne     1.   513  
1 Etat present des Indes Hollandoise     .   1614  
1 Leopard Brittanique     .   1115  
Tous ce que vous ne Souhaites garder vous pouvez Librement le remettre a Mr. Mandrillon.16
Je Compte dans 15 Jours venir à Amsterdam et d'avoir l'honneur de vous voir et de vous assurer de mes respects, étant né Suisse par concequent élévé dans une Liberté parfaitte, et depuis environs 40. Ans habitant de ce Paÿs Libre (mais pas Si entierement que La Suisse) je dois natturellement etre porté pour Les Gens qui cherche aussi Glorieusement Leur independence que vous autres Messieurs Americains. Puisse Le Seigneur qui nous a tout Crée Libre, vous estre propice et vous donner Courage, force et Benediction dans vôtre Juste Guerre avec vos Tiran en les Terrassant avec leur Gloire et ambition, je l'aprendroit tousjour avec le plus Sensible plaisir, vous priant de me Croire avec toute La Sinceréte d'un homme Libre et aprés offre de mes Services, Monsieur, Vôtre très humble et obt. Serviteur,
[signed] B. Wild

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0148-0002

Author: Wild, Bartholomé
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-20

Bartholomé Wild to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Monsieur

Your friend, Mr. Ceresier, asked me to send you some political pamphlets on current affairs, and here they are:
3 Destin de l'Amerique 8° à 16 Stvrs:   F   2.   81  
1 Tableau historique des Provinces Unies 12°. 6 vol.     9.   162  
1 Advocaat pour et Contre 8°     .   113  
1 Lettres Hollandoise 4 T et T 5 No. 1 à 9.     24.   64  
1 observation et Suitte 2 parties 8°     1.   55  
1 Reponce aux memoires de York     .   46  
{ 296 } | view
1 Pierre de Touche     .   47  
1 reponce au Meme. de York     .   4  
1 Mémoire de York fevrier 1777.     .   48  
1 ditto   mars 1780.     .   49  
1 Reponce de Milord Suffolk     .   410  
1 Histoire d'un poux francois     1.   1611  
1 Resolution de L.L. H.H. P.P. Les Etats Genereaux     .   1612  
1 Histoire des Collonies Anciénne     1.   513  
1 Etat present des Indes Hollandoise     .   1614  
1 Leopard Brittanique     .   1115  
Any that you do not wish to keep may be freely returned to Mr. Mandrillon.16
In two weeks I plan to come to Amsterdam and have the honor of meeting you and presenting my respects. Having been born Swiss, and therefore raised in perfect freedom, and lived for the last forty years or so in this free country (although not quite so free as Switzerland), I am naturally drawn to people so gloriously engaged in seeking their independence as are you Americans. May the Lord who created us all free be kind and bestow on you courage, strength, and his benediction in your just war against tyrants enabling you to vanquish them with their glory and ambition. I shall always hear such news with the greatest of pleasure and please believe in the complete sincerity of a free man offering you his services, sir, your very humble and obedient servant,
[signed] B. Wild
1. [Antoine Marie Cerisier], Le destin de l'Amérique ou dialogues pittoresques dans lesquels on developpe la cause des evenemens actuels, la politique et les interets des puissances de l'Europe relativement a cette guerre, et les suites qu'elle devroit avoir pour le bonheur de l'humanité, traduit fidelement de l'anglois, London, 1779. Although the title would indicate otherwise, no evidence of an edition in English has been found. The prices given here and elsewhere are in florins and stuivers. There were 20 stuivers to the florin.
2. [Antoine Marie Cerisier] Tableau de l'histoire générale des Provinces-Unies, 10 vols., Utrecht, 1777–1784. See Cerisier's letter of 17 Oct., note 2 (above).
3. L'avocat pour et contre, ou resumé historique et philosophique de tout ce qu'on a écrit sur la liberté du commerce des munitions navales; suivi du jugement des plaideurs, Brussels, 1779.
4. [Dérival de Gomicourt], Lettres hollandoises, ou correspondance politique sur l'etat présent de l'Europe, notamment de la République des Sept Provinces-Unies, 8 vols., Amsterdam, 1779–1781.
5. These were two pamphlets by Cerisier, Observations impartiales d'un vrai Hollandois, pour servir de réponse au Discours d'un soi-disant bon Hollandois à ses compatriotes, Arnhem, [1778]; and Suite des observations impartiales d'un vrai Hollandais, sur les intérêts et l'état présent des affaires politiques de la France, de l'Angleterre, des Provinces-Unies des Pays-Bas et des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique, avec des réflexions sur les dernieres déliberations des Etats de Hollande et sur le mémoire de Mr. l'Amb. de S. M. B. à L. H. P., Arnhem, [1779]. They were, respectively, responses to anonymous pamphlets entitled Discours d'un bon Hollandois a ses Compatriotes, sur différents objects intéressants and Second Discours . . ., published at Amsterdam in 1778 and 1779, respectively.
6. There had been numerous printed responses to the memorials presented by Sir Joseph Yorke since 1777, but those referred to here and later in this list have not been identified.
7. [Antoine Marie Cerisier], La pierre de touche des ecrits et des affaires politiques ou lettres d'un François sur deux brochures seditieuses, l'une intitulée Goed Fransch, goed Patriotsch et l'autre Brieven over de Tegenwoor• { 297 } dige Tyds-Omstandigheden, 1779.
8. Mémoire présenté aux états de Hollande le 21 Février 1777 par le Chevalier York, Ambassadeur d'Angleterre, 1777.
9. Memoire de Mr. l'Ambassadeur Yorke. Avec un mémoire, que les Etats Généraux auroient pu faire présenter au Roi de la Gr. Bretagne, le 21 de mars 1780, 1780.
10. This pamphlet has not been found, but may be the reply of 19 Oct. 1778 by Lord Suffolk, Secretary of State for the Northern Department, to protests by the States General against British seizures of Dutch ships in violation of its neutral rights (C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 Oct. 1778, and notes 2 and 3, vol. 7:165–169).
11. [Delauney], Histoire d'un pou françois; ou, l'espion d'une nouvelle espéce, tant en France, qu'en Angleterre. Contenant les portraits de personnages intéressans dans ces deux royaumes et donnant la clef des principaux evènemens de l'an 1779, et de ceux qui doivent arriver en 1780, 4th edn., Paris, 1779.
12. This probably refers to a pamphlet containing one or more resolutions adopted by the States General in response to Sir Joseph Yorke's memorials or, in a more general sense, to British depredations on Dutch shipping, but the specific title has not been identified.
13. [William Barron], Histoire de la fondation des colonies des anciennes republiques, adaptée a la dispute présente de la Grand Bretagne avec ses colonies Americaines. Traduite de l'anglais. A la quelle on a ajouté trois lettres intéressantes sur la même dispute et les articles de l'Union d'Utrecht comparés aux articles de l'union des colonies de l'Amerique Septentrionale, Utrecht, 1778. This is Cerisier's translation of History of the Colonization of the Free States of Antiquity, Applied to the Present Contest between Great Britain and her American Colonies. With Reflections concerning the Future Settlement of these Colonies, London, 1777.
14. Etat présent des Indes Hollandaises, contenant une peinture vraie et fidelle du gouvernement, de l'administration, et de la conduite des Hollandais dans les Indes-Orientales; le tableau de leurs forces de terre et de mer, de leur commerce languissant, de leur navigation &c. Batavia, [1780].
15. This pamphlet has not been identified.
16. In his reply of 23 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 257), JA indicated that he wished to keep all of the pamphlets and requested that Wild send more. None of the publications in the form indicated by Wild, however, are in JA's library at the Boston Public Library. In his letter of 23 Oct., in response to Wild's final paragraph, JA also indicated that the histories of Switzerland and the Netherlands were the ones most cited by Americans in their quest for liberty.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Date: 1780-10-22

To Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Sir

I have this day recieved the Letter, which You did me the Honour to write me on the sixteenth instant. I beg You, Sir, to accept of my sincere Thanks for this Instance of your Attention to the United States of America. I have long desired the Honour of an Acquaintance with the Baron Van der Capellan, whose virtuous Attachment to the Rights of Mankind, and to the Cause of America, as founded in the clearest Principles of them, has been long known and admired in America.
I beg Leave to communicate to You in Confidence, as I have done to a very few as yet in this place, that although Mr. Laurens was destined to this Country, on an important Negotiation for the United States, yet the Congress, lest an Accident might happen to Mr. Laurens, have been pleased to send to me a Commission, in part at least of the same Import, although I had before a Commission for { 298 } another Service. I have kept my Commission secret, in hopes of Mr. Laurens's Arrival. But all hopes of this, by the barbarous Severity of the English, are now at an End, and I must set myself in earnest about the Business of my Commission.
I have not yet settled the Conditions, nor determined upon an House. I should be happy, Sir, to have your Advice in Respect to both.
You give me great pleasure, by informing me, that a Relation of yours has discovered an Inclination to place twenty thousand Florins in the American Funds. As soon as an House is chosen and the Terms fixed, I shall with pleasure accept the offer.
I shall give great Attention to the Gentlemen, You are so good as to recommend to me.
Mr. Trumbull is, as I believe in London. He will doubtless pay his Respect to You, when he comes this Way.
I have the Honour to be, with the highest Respect, Sir, your obliged and obedient Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Papers of van der Capellen, No. 29A, p. 200).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Date: 1780-10-23

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter which you did me the Honour to write me on the 17th. and I thank you for the favour as well as for your Care in procuring me, the Books. This Kind of Speculations is very entertaining to me, and I wish to have every Thing new, of the Kind that comes out. I shall keep all these Books and pay Mr. Wild for them when he comes to Amsterdam.1
Cornwallis's Victory, which We may well Suppose to be greatly exaggerated in his Letter, would not however, if it were literally true have any lasting bad Consequences. The Executions that he So barbarously threatens, may occasion Retaliations which <Humanity> Philanthropy would wish to avoid.2
The English made their first Efforts against the Northern States: there, they were able to do nothing, but shew their ill Will. They then fell upon the middle States. Here they succeeded no better than before. Now they have directed their Plans and Forces against the southern states. Georgia and South Carolina are at the Southern Extremity of the Continent, and have so few white People and are embarrassed with so many Negroes, that the English have gained { 299 } more Advantage, as they think. But it will prove in the End that the principal Advantage will be, Stealing a multitude of Negroes, and sending them to the West India Islands for Sale, and plundering other Effects for the private Emolument of some of the officers. The Militia of the Southern States, have not yet been practised to war, and are, I suppose Strangers to Discipline, but the Militia of the northern and middle states have had a good deal of Experience and are very good Troops. And it will not be long before the Militia of the southern states will be as well disciplined as any.3
I believe with you that France has no desire, to recover Canada in order to hold it—she may wish to have it, made the fourteenth state in the Confederation, and in this the other thirteen agree, as they do with you that Nova scotia might be the fifteenth. It can do no good to leave either of those Provinces in the Hands of any European Power. It will only lay a Foundation for future Wars.
I am happy to learn that you have turned your Thoughts, upon the Debt of America. It is a Subject very much misunderstood in Europe. The whole Debt of the united States, does not amount to Six millions sterling. For this Debt, they have carried on the War for near Six years. At this Rate, they might maintain the War an hundred Years, and at the End of it, be no more in debt in Proportion to the Numbers of People, and the Value of their former Exports, than Great Britain is now, even Supposing Against Fact and Experience, that the Population of America should not increase.
The Congress receive the public Taxes, either in Paper or silver at the Election of the Subject. They receive a silver Dollar in the room of forty Paper ones, which makes the Value of all the Paper Bills in circulation, about one Million and a Quarter sterling. A Loan of one Million and a quarter sterling would enable them to annihilate all the Paper Bills in Circulation and to conduct their Business in future by a fixed Medium.
One would think that a Nation of three Millions, of People whose Wealth consists in Land, Industry and the Produce of Lands, would not find a difficulty in obtaining a Loan in Europe of a Million and a Quarter, when Single Cities have Sometimes obtained as much.
Your English, sir, is very good, but if it will be easier to you, your Letters will be equally agreable in French. Your Sentiments in whatever Language conveyed, cannot fail to please and to instruct, a Republican, whose whole Life has been Spent in sincere devotion to Liberty. I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect, sir your obliged & obedient servant
{ 300 }
1. See Bartholomé Wild's letter of 20 Oct. (above).
2. Cornwallis' letter of 21 Aug. to Lord George Germain, in which he reported on the victory at Camden, contained the statement that, although the success would dampen the rebel efforts in South Carolina, he would “give directions to inflict exemplary punishment on some of the most guilty, in hopes to deter others, in future, from sporting with allegiance and oaths, and with the lenity and generosity of the British Government” (London Courant, 10 Oct.). After Camden, Cornwallis did execute several militiamen who had taken the oath of allegiance and then deserted to the enemy. Events then unfolded according to JA's prediction, for as one historian put it, “in an auction of terror the rebels could always outbid” Cornwallis (Mackesy, War for America, p. 343–344).
3. On the date of this letter JA was still working on his twenty-six letters to Hendrik Calkoen and the views expressed in this and the second, third, and fourth paragraphs below, should be compared with those in the Calkoen letters, particularly Nos. 11 and 12 (Replies to Hendrik Calkoen, 4–27 Oct., above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0151

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-10-23

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] My dear Sir

Your excellent Letter of the nineteenth I have recieved.
Your feelings I find are in Unison with mine, upon the behaviour of Cornwallis, and the Treatment of Mr. Laurens. It is not however at all surprising to me. I have ever expected, whenever I have crossed the Atlantic, to be treated with the same and with greater Indignities, if I should have been so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of the English. To Tyrants, Tyranny is always very dear: they take no delight but in exercising it; and this is now and has been long the predominant Character of the People of England, as well as the Government.
Reconciliation and Peace are but dreams of Philanthropy. Let Us think of them no more, but prepare to grow up in the midst of war. Let Us not be decieved with the Idea that next Campaign will be the last: it will be no such thing.
The Treatment of Mr. Laurens will have a deep Effect upon the American Mind. He is very dear to all honest Americans. His ill Treatment will be considered as a studied Insult, to all America: it will be considered as it is intended, as a glaring proof in the Sight of all the World, of their Contempt and Hatred of all America, and of their determination to pursue Hostilities to the Last Extremity.
I rejoice with You in the Arrival of the Alliance. Mr. Austin is gone to Nantes. The Affair of St. Martins makes a deep Impression.
I have not my health here so well as in Paris: but otherwise I like my Situation here very well—here I shall stay some time. My Boys are very thankful for your Benediction, and beg me to present You their dutiful Respects.
{ 301 }
The Trial of three Kings1 I have read. Mr. Guild had the only one, I have been able to see, and that he carried to America. It is flattering to Us—it is droll and very saucy: it makes so free with many Sovereigns, that I believe it will not be very easy to procure it. The Testament Politique2 I have recieved, and thank You for it. There is a Flood of Pamphlets upon the times, all of which are favourable to our Side. Have You read the Letters Hollandoises, Le Destin de l'Amerique &c.3
It seems as if the armed Neutrality would come to something in time, if my Information is not false.
I am not without hope that De la Motte Picket, or somebody is gone to De Ternay, but dare not hope too much. However if You were to converse two Hours with Mr. Searle, You would not be distressed very much. He is the only Man I ever met in Europe, who tells, what I know about the State of our Affairs. It is a Comfort to have one Witness.
Most affectionately Your's
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Hbl. J.A. 23 Octr 1780.”
1. [Ange Goudar], Le Procés des Trois Rois, Louis XVI, de France-Bourbon, Charles III, d'Espagne-Bourbon, et George III d'Hanovre, fabricant de boutons, plaidé au tribunal des Puissances-Européénes. Par appendix, l'appel au Pape. Traduit de l'anglois, London, 1780. Although the title would indicate otherwise, no evidence of an edition in English has been found.
2. [Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville], Testament politique de l'Angleterre, Phila. [Paris], 1780.
3. See Bartholomé Wild's letter of 20 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0152

Author: Austin, Jonathan Loring
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-23

From Jonathan Loring Austin

[salute] Sir

I was duly honored with your Favor of the 2d Instant.1 Mr. Thaxter having left Paris, I applied to Mr. Grand for the twenty Louis d'ors which I received, and shall invest them in Calicoes and ship on Board the Mars as directed. In this Vessel I think to take passage myself, mortified and disappointed in all my Attempts to execute the Commission I am entrusted with, I cannot flatter myself a longer Residence here will prove more favorable to my Wishes, the Enquiries I have made and the constant Attention I have paid to the Business, convince me that future Applications will only serve to renew my Chagrin, increase my Anxiety, and terminate ineffectually; besides, my Situation since I left America has been very disagreable, more so perhaps than any who have left it on the same Errand—without Money, without a Line of Credit, or a single Remittance.
{ 302 }
The Impracticability of obtaining the Loan, has led me for some time to turn my Attention to procure, if possible the Cloathing, many of the Obstacles which occur'd in the first I experienc'd in the last Attempt, and tho' I have represented the Ability of our State in every advantageous light, yet my Rhetorick has not been sufficiently powerfull to impress the least Confidence, or procure a warm Garment for a poor Soldier. Had I been furnished with anything to work with, had I brought out with me sufficient to pay for one third of the Goods wanted, or had the Mars been loaded with some sort of Cargo its probable a small Advance would have procur'd a part, if not all the Cloathing.
On my leaving America, I was determined to prosecute the Business with the utmost Attention, in hopes of accomplishing it, tho' I have failed in my Attempts, yet I rest satisfied my Exertions have not been wanting. I have not taken it for granted, (agreeable to my Friends predictions) it could not be effected, 'till I had made every Trial. As your Excellency is well acquainted with the Steps I have taken in the Business, permit me to request a Letter from you to our General Assembly upon the Subject, with your Sentiments relative to my proceedings and whether you would advise me to return by this Ship or wait here in hopes of a more favorable Moment.2
I am with the greatest Respect Your Excellencys Most Obedient & very humble Servant
[signed] Jon: Loring Austin
PS. Please to direct to me to the Care of Mr. Williams.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr J. L. Austin October 23d 1780.”
1. JA wrote to Austin on 2 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers), requesting him to send AA calicoes valued at 20 louis d'or, the funds to be obtained from John Thaxter or Henry Grand. In a letter of 13 Oct. (Adams Papers), Grand informed JA that Austin had received the money on the 12th, and on 30 Nov. (Adams Papers), Austin wrote to inform JA that the goods had been put aboard the Mars. The Mars reached Boston at the end of Feb. 1781 (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:84).
2. For Austin's commission to raise a European loan, which authorized JA and Francis Dana to act in Austin's absence, and the dispatch of the Mars, see the General Court's letter of 22 July to JA and Dana, and note 1 (above). For JA's views regarding the prospects for Austin's mission, see his reply of 13 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0153

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-23

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear Sir

The discovery of Arnold's treachery, and the new Bennington Affair1 in the South, have given fresh hopes and Spirits to the Whigs. We had forgotten former deliverances under our late losses and mortifica• { 303 } tions. But we now find that providence is on our Side, and that our independance is as secure as the everlasting mountains. We have discovered at last that God means that we should live only from hand to mouth, to keep us more dependant upon his power and goodness.
Our Citizens are not wholly corrupted—our Officers are experienced, and our soldiers are brave. We want nothing but wisdom in our Congress to collect and direct properly the Strength of our country. The representation of Pensylvania in Assembly which had degenerated to a very low degree, has improved considerably at the last election. Our men of education and ancient influence begin to take part in our governments so that we hope soon to see the Spirit, Union and dignity of 1775 revived among us.
Our friends in Europe have nothing to fear from any thing that can now happen to us. If our Stock of Virtue should ever fail us—there are certain passions in human Nature which will form as effectual barriers against British power as our Virtue did in the beginning of the controversy. There is pride and ambition eno' in certain individuals of your Acquaintance to rescue this country from the dominion of King George, if the people Should ever incline to submit to it. But the latter is impossible. Our Streets ring with nothing but the execrations of Arnold whose treachery had for its Object the Subjugation and conquest of America.2
Your Old friend Gates is now suffering not for his defeat at Camden, but for taking General Burgoyne, a persecution from a faction in Congress.3 His Officers acquit him. They say he did his duty and deserved praise. He is to be tried for his misfortune, at a time when he is deploring the loss of his only Son (a most promising youth) who died a few weeks ago.
With respectful Compts to Mr Dana I am my Dear Sir yours most Affectionately
[signed] Benjn. Rush
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble: John Adams Esqr: at Passy near Paris Capt: Bell”; endorsed by Francis Dana: “Dr. Rush's Letter”; docketed by CFA: “October 23d 1780.”
1. Rush likely refers to the Battle of King's Mountain on 7 Oct., news of which reached Philadelphia about the date of this letter. At King's Mountain, Maj. Patrick Ferguson and 1,000 loyalist militiamen were confronted by 1,400 backcountry riflemen. In the resulting battle, Ferguson died and 300 militiamen were killed or wounded and the remaining 700 taken prisoner. This victory over a large force detached from the main British army appeared similar to Gen. John Stark's victory at the Battle of Bennington. Since Bennington helped to seal the fate of Burgoyne's army in 1777, Rush hoped that King's Mountain would do the same for Cornwallis' forces in 1780 (Mackesy, War for America, p. 345).
2. Rush may have been thinking in particular of the parade on 30 Sept., the centerpiece of which was a float designed by Charles Willson Peale on which a two-faced effigy of { 304 } Arnold was drawn through the streets of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania Gazette, 4 Oct.; Charles Coleman Sellers, Benedict Arnold: The Proud Warrior, N.Y., 1930, p. 246).
3. Presumably Rush means that Gates' victory at Saratoga raised unrealistic hopes for his command of the southern army and thus his defeat at Camden brought a backlash, magnified by the unreasonable expectations. On 5 Oct., Congress ordered Washington to convene a court of inquiry into Gates' conduct and appoint a new commander until its completion. While Nathanael Greene was named to replace Gates, the inquiry never took place. It remained a possibility, however, until the order was rescinded in Aug. 1782 (JCC, 18:906; 23:466; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0154

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-10-24

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have this moment the Honour of your Letter of the twentyeth of this Month and it is, as cold Water to a thirsty Soul.
I have been busily employed in making Enquiries, in forming Acquaintances and in taking Advice. In hopes of Mr. Laurens's Arrival, and wishing him to judge for himself, I have not decided, upon some Questions that necessarily arise. I am not able to promise any Thing but I am led to hope, for Something. The Contents of Mr. Jays Letter, will certainly be of great Weight and Use. I am assured of the good Will of a Number of very worthy and considerable People and that they will endeavour to assist a Loan.
Let me intreat your Excellency, to communicate to me every Thing you may further Learn respecting the benevolent Intentions of the Court of Madrid, respecting this Matter. I will do myself the Honour, to acquaint you with the Progress I make. I was before in hopes of assisting you Somewhat, and your Letter has raised those hopes a great deal, for the English Credit certainly Staggers here, a little.
The Treatment of Mr. Laurens is truly affecting. It will make a deep and lasting Impression on the Minds of the Americans, but this will not be a present Relief to him. You are no doubt minutely informed, of his ill Usage. Can any Thing be done in Europe for his Comfort or Relief?
I have the Honour to be, with respectfull Complim[ents] to all Friends, sir, your most obedient humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Oct 24. 1780.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Johonnot, Samuel Cooper
Date: 1780-10-24

To Samuel Cooper Johonnot

[salute] My dear Sir

I have just recieved your letter of the Seventeenth of October, and am obliged to you for writing to me, upon the subject of it.
{ 305 }
I ought to have written to His Excellency Dr. Franklin upon the subject before, but knowing His Excellencys Friendship for your Grand Papa, and that of Madame the Marquise de la Fayette, made me neglect it till now.1
You will present my respectfull Compliments to Dr. Franklin, and request his Excellency to be your Guardian, in my Absence, as it is difficult to remove you here, and you would not be pleased I think with the Change.
I have not received, any Remittance from your Papa Since We left America. It must have miscarried. As soon as I recieve any I will, write you about it. You speak French, I fancy, by this time, like a Native of Paris, and I hope you are making good Progress in all branches of Usefull Accomplishments.
With my Respects to Mr. & Mde. Pechini2 I remain yours &c.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Private owner, 1988); addressed partly by JA: “A Monsr. Mr. S. C. Johonnot chèz M. Pichingy Mtre. de Pension à Passy, au bas de la Montaigne”; endorsed: “The Hon John Adams Esqr Amsterdam Octob 24. Came to Hand Passy Oct. 28.”
1. This letter to Samuel Cooper Johonnot likely went with another of this date to Benjamin Franklin (Private owner). There JA asked Franklin to look after Johonnot and indicated that, in the absence of any remittances from Gabriel Johonnot, he would take responsibility for the boy's expenses. For Gabriel Johonnot's efforts to send JA funds to reimburse him for his expenses in acting as Samuel Cooper Johonnot's guardian, see his letter of 8 Sept. (above). In a letter of 12 Nov. (Adams Papers), Johonnot sent JA his father's bill of exchange (not found) for his endorsement. JA returned the endorsed bill with his letter to Benjamin Franklin of 7 Dec. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), and informed Gabriel Johonnot of his action in a letter of the same date (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. That is, the Pechignys, proprietors of the school attended by Samuel Cooper Johonnot, which JQA and CA had attended before leaving for the Netherlands.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0156

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-10-24

To the President of Congress, No. 17

[salute] Sir

I have recieved several Letters from London, concerning Mr. Laurens.1 It is certain that he has been treated with great Insolence by the Populace in his Journey from Dartmouth to London, and that he is confined to a mean Appartment in the Tower, denied the Use of Pen and Ink, and none of his Friends have been able to obtain Leave to visit him, excepting his Son and Mr. Manning, and those positively limited to half an Hour. He is ill of a Lax, much emaciated, and very invective against the Authors of his ill Usage. I saw last night a Letter from Mr. Manning himself,2 so that there is no doubt of the Truth of this Account. This deliberate, this studied manifestation to all the World of their Contempt and Hatred of all America, and of their final { 306 } determination to pursue this War to the last Extremity, cannot be misunderstood. The Honour, the Dignity, the essential Interests and the absolute Safety of America, require that Congress should take some Notice of this Event. I presume not to propose the Measures that might be taken because Congress are in a much better Situation to judge.3
I have waited, in hopes of Mr. Laurens's Arrival, but now all hopes of it are extinguished, I must fix upon a House and settle the Conditions, in Pursuance of my Commission. No Time has been lost: it has all been industriously spent in forming Acquaintances, making Enquiries and taking Advice of such Characters as it is proper to consult. The present State of things affords me Hopes, but from a particular Order of Men. These I have endeavoured to gain, without giving Offence to any others, and I am not without hopes of obtaining something, though I much fear it will be short of the Expectations of Congress.
I am not at Liberty as yet to mention Names: hereafter they will be known.
I cannot with too much Earnestness recommend it to Congress, to take Measures if possible, to send some Cargoes of Produce to Amsterdam or St. Eustatia, for the purpose of paying Interest—a little of this would have a great Effect.
I ought not to conclude without repeating my Opinion, that a Commission to some Gentleman of Minister Plenipotentiary is absolutely necessary.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 309–311); docketed: “No. 117 John Adams Oct 24. 1780 Recd. Jany. 29. 1781 farther account of the treatment of Mr. Laurens—and Hints of sending Produce to Holland for Payment of Interest.”
1. See Thomas Digges' letters of 3, 6, and 10 Oct. (all above).
2. Not found.
3. It is not known whether JA's plea for action regarding Laurens' captivity had any effect. But beginning on 2 March 1781, Congress considered several measures to obtain Laurens' release and on 14 June authorized Benjamin Franklin to offer Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne, on parole since his capture at Saratoga, for Henry Laurens (JCC, 19:227–228, 345; 20:620–623, 647–648). Nothing came from this proposal.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-10-27

To the President of Congress, No. 18

[salute] Sir

It seems to be now certain, that Some of Mr. Laurens Papers were taken with him. There have been Sent to his most Serene Highness { 307 } the Prince of orange, Copies of Letters from Mr. De Neufville, Mr. Gillon, Mr. Stockton and Col. Derrick,1 and a Copy of the Plan of a Treaty projected between the City of Amsterdam and Mr. W. Lee.
The Prince was much affected, at the Sight of those Papers, and laid them before their noble and grand Mightinesses, the States of Holland and Westfriesland. One Gentleman2 at least was present, who was concerned in the Transaction with Mr. Lee, who handsomely avowed the Measure. The Regency of Amsterdam, have Since given in Writing an unanimous Avowal of it, and of their determination to support it. The Letters of Mr. De Neufville and Mr. Gillon are Said to be decent and well guarded. So that upon the whole, it Seems to be rather a fortunate Event that these Papers, have been publickly produced.3 I wish I could Say the Same of Mr. Laurens's Captivity but I cannot. The Rigour of his Imprisonment, and the severity of their Behaviour towards him, are not at all abated.
I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers). There is no copy of this letter in the PCC, nor any indication in the JCC that it was ever received.
1. The last two were Samuel Witham Stockton, who had served as William Lee's secretary (vol. 6:150), and Jacob Gerard Dircks, a Dutch volunteer in the Continental Army (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 33).
2. Presumably Engelbert van Berckel; see note 3.
3. The papers seized from Henry Laurens were sent to Sir Joseph Yorke, who laid them before William V on 16 October. Chief among the documents was the treaty signed by William Lee and Jean de Neufville at Aix-laChappelle on 4 Sept. 1778 (vol. 7:5–6, 64–65; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:789–798). Since Lee had no powers from Congress to negotiate and Neufville acted only as Amsterdam's agent, the treaty had no official standing. From the British point of view, however, it was a perfect pretext for war if the Dutch did not immediately comply with British demands. William V, agreeing with the British and outraged that Amsterdam would take such a provocative step, demanded an explanation from Egbert de Vrij Temminck, Burgomaster of Amsterdam. When Temminck failed to reply to the Prince's satisfaction, William V submitted the documents to both the Provincial States of Holland and the States General on 20 Oct. (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 148–150; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 152–155).
A printed copy of the documents, in English and Dutch, submitted to the States General entitled Papieren Zyn Hoogheid ter Vergadering van hun Ed. Groot Mog. op den 20 October 1780 overgegeeven is in the Adams Papers, but see also the first volume of John Almon's Remembrancer for 1781 (p. 37–48), which purports to include all of the documents that Yorke was ordered to submit, including letters of 8 April and 6 Sept. 1778 from Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol to Henry Laurens. Included in the Dutch publication was the text of the draft treaty and letters, clearly indicating Amsterdam's role in the negotiation, from Jean de Neufville to Samuel Stockton of 28 July 1779; Samuel Stockton to John Witherspoon of 14 April 1779; Jacob Gerard Dircks to Henry Laurens of 13 Dec. 1779; and Alexander Gillon to John Rutledge of 1 March 1780. JA was mentioned in Stockton's letter of 14 April 1779, which noted that JA was to carry the letter on his return to America in 1779; and in Gillon's letter of 1 March 1780, which referred to his unsuccessful effort in Feb. 1780 to elicit JA's help in obtaining ships for the South Carolina navy (vol. 8:321–327, 343–344).
Amsterdam responded to the demands for an explanation on 25 October. The city admit• { 308 } ted its role in the negotiation of the Lee-Neufville treaty, but argued that it was only a proposal, intended to prepare the way for the Netherlands to form a commercial relationship with the United States when and if it became independent. This was essentially the same position taken by Engelbert van Berckel, the principal advocate for the treaty among the Amsterdam leadership, in his letter to the Commissioners of 23 Sept. 1778 (vol. 7:65–66). A printed copy of Amsterdam's reply, entitled Missive van Heeren Burgemeesteren en Regeerders der Stad Amsterdam, . . ., together with an English translation in the hand of Herman Le Roy, is in the Adams Papers.
Both the Papieren and the Missive were filmed at 20 Oct. 1780, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 353. The position taken by Amsterdam was clearly unsatisfactory to Great Britain as is evident from the memorial presented to the States General by Sir Joseph Yorke on 10 Nov. (to the president of Congress, 16 Nov., No. 20, below).
Although JA, in this letter and others in November and December, indicates that the disclosure of the Lee-Neufville treaty by the submission and later publication of the documents was “a fortunate Event,” his judgment was more muted in 1809, when he published this letter in the Boston Patriot. There he wrote that “although Mr. Vanberkel, with all that honor, integrity and fortitude which marked his character through the whole course of his life, frankly avowed the measure [the Lee-Neufville treaty], and although the regency of Amsterdam resolved to support it, yet it is certain, the discovery of it spread an universal consternation throughout the seven Provinces. I do not remember to have found one person who pretended to see the wisdom of it, though no man doubted the purity of the design. . . . I have always believed that the regency was importuned into this measure by Mr. De Neufville, who was then a very busy and a very popular man upon the Exchange of Amsterdam” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 261–262).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0158

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Fitzpatrick, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-27

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

Your last is of the 25 Sepr. Mr. W.S.C. lately got the annexd note1—it is Sent for your government. No news but what you will read in the papers as soon as this Letter—A great portion of the people here are hurt and as much astonishd as You can be at the treatment Mr. L—— has met with—the rigour is no ways abated. This, with Lord Cornwallis's military Executions and cool butchery of defenceless people in South Carolina, irrevocably seals the perpetual disunion between Great Britain and America. Tis to be lamented that present appearances speak peace to be far distant—come when it will, we may safely pronounce that it will be accompanyd with anguish and humiliation to the savage heart, that seems insatiate of human of Gore and the principal actor for carrying on the war.
“Tho not personally known yet I am well acquainted with your (WS.C——'s) Character and attatchments as well as with his connexions and correspondence yonder and I had letters for Him from——and——.2 Happy to be informd the Bills are taken up—there will no more appear—had reprobated the premature and dangerous step of drawing—shall be glad when possible to see you and L. De N——e.3 The present confinement is cruel—the mode and terms aggravate, but { 309 } there is no abatement on this or any other consideration, of Spirits. These are calm and composd—had these faild, the flesh under the late malady would have sunk totally. Continue to keep these friends F——and A—— informd,4 and communicate intelligence from them as speedily as possible. Should not Friends interpose for obtaining some enlargement on parole, by bail, or Exchange?—Have no hint to communicate at this moment, except that those papers said to be taken, which were intended to be Sunk, are of no importance or very little. A million of thanks to WS.C, But a snatchd moment to write all this.”
I wish you all good & am with the highest respect Yr obedt servant
[signed] Wm Fitzpatrick
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San Chez Monsieur Henri Shorn Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S.C. Oct. 27th. 1780.”
1. This note was from Henry Laurens. In a letter of 24 Oct. (Adams Papers), Digges wrote that he had “the means of communicating to Him 'tho no person is admitted as a visitor.”
2. These correspondents have not been identified, and no letters addressed to Digges or to one of his pseudonyms have been found in any list of letters captured with Henry Laurens.
3. Leendert de Neufville, son of Jean de Neufville, who had gone to London to seek the return of his father's letters that had been seized from Henry Laurens (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 148).
4. Benjamin Franklin and Adams. On this date Digges wrote an almost identical letter to Franklin (Digges, Letters, p. 309–310).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, Fernando Raymond
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-10-28

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

Give me Leave to trouble you, to Send me two Newspapers, the General Advertiser and the Morning Post, Let them be sent constantly by the Post, to the Address of Mynheer Henry Schorn, Amsterdam. I have an opportunity already of Seeing Some other Papers.
Let me beg the favour of your sending me also, General Burgoines and General Hows Narrative. When your Funds are near exhausted let me know.
It would be but Affectation in me to offer Money to Mr. Laurens, who cannot be at a Loss, if he could be, he, or you for him may command me. Where are Manly and Cunningham? If you can assist them command me.
[signed] F.R.S.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “Mr. Church.”
1. The Letterbook copy is undated, but Digges indicates in his reply of 14 Nov. (below) that the recipient's copy was dated the 28th.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0160

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-28

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

A fever that confind me to my Bed from the 15th Augt. to 20 Sept. and and absence in the Country to a few days past for my recovery deprived me the pleasure of communicating to you as subjects offerd the occurences which by many arrivals at this and the neighbouring Ports have been frequent. You will undoubtedly have recived from Ferol the Letters and papers brought by the[]1 arrivd at that Port. They left Boston the 10 September. Mr. Brush2 who went out in the Alliance is returnd Passenger and I learn this morning he is arrivd at this City. I have not yet Seen him, his inteligence of the possission of Mr. De Ternay and the Land Forces must be very Interesting. We suspect little can be undertaken until Mr. De Ternay obtains a reinforcement. So long as the English remain masters in them Seas, the Towns on the Sea Coast as Charles Town &c. will ever be a prey to their excurssions. We are without advise of Genl. Provost. It is time them troops should appear if sent to join Lord Cornwallis will make him too strong for the Carolina Militia particularly since their retreat.
The British Ministry will be at a loss how to treat Mr. Laurens in all probability he will be detaind during the War unless some Member of one of the two Houses [. . . be]comes a Captive which its not improble may happen. Capt. Jones here went out in the Arial is returnd to Lorient dismasted. Landais we are informd was put under arrest at his arrival at Boston. The number of prizes of Value sent into that Port have given a surabundance of most Nessessaries—and will probably make up for the non arrival of the Cloathing provided last Spring which I am told is yet in France. By the dismission of Mons. De Sartin,3 Monsr. Le Ray de Chaumont will find himself crampt in the operations he is engaged in. A report to his prejudice prevaild here some days past.
I do not find the two Cases of Wine you wrote me to forward have been sent.4 I shall order them by the next deligence to be prepard and forwarded.
I have the Honor to be respectfully [S]r your very hbl Serv
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Son Excellence John Adams Esqr. Hotel de Valois Rue Richlieu <Paris>”; in another hand: below the street, “A Amtresdam”; and on the reverse of the address page as folded: “presentement d'Amtresdam”; endorsed: “Mr Bondfield 8. Oct. ansd. 6 Decr. 1780.”
{ 311 }
1. Left blank in the manuscript, the vessel may have been the ship Success owned by Isaac Smith Sr. AA indicated that her letter of 3 Sept. was to go by “a Vessel of my unkles” and Eliphalet Brush reportedly posted a letter from AA at Bordeaux (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:405–407; from Francis Dana, 13 Dec.). The Independent Chronicle of 7 Sept. indicated that the Success was about to sail for Bilbao, but it could easily have put into El Ferrol.
2. JA probably met Eliphalet Brush, a New York merchant, in late Dec. 1780 or early Jan. 1781, when Brush reached Amsterdam with Francis Dana's letter written at Breda on 13 Dec. (below). For additional information about Brush and his relations with the Adamses in Europe and America, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:219; 5:151; 6:255, 256; JQA, Diary, 1:76, 84, 306, 307.
3. Gabriel de Sartine was replaced as naval minister by the Marquis de Castries on 13 October. His dismissal reflected the determination of Jacques Necker, director general of finance and opponent of the war, to enforce spending reforms and consolidate his power among the king's principal advisors at Vergennes' expense. But a more important reason may have been the need to appease Spain, which blamed Sartine for the failures that had plagued allied naval operations since January (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 199–202).
4. No letter from JA to Bondfield making such a request has been found, but for previous difficulties in shipping wine, see JA's letters to Bondfield of 24 and 25 May (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0161

Author: Lovell, James
Author: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-28

From the Committee for Foreign Affairs

[salute] Dear Sir

I shall endeavor to write largely to you, en Ami, but I will not risque the Sailing of the Vessel for that Purpose, at this moment. It is reported Mr. Searle is taken; our Affairs in Holland must in such Case be very bad as you will not have received any Powers for acting instead of Mr. Laurens who is too probably taken and carried to England from New foundland. And I also know of other Fatalities to my Letters.
Your Friend & humb Servt.
[signed] James Lovell
[signed] C of f Affs.
RC (Adams Papers); address fragment: “ance”; endorsed: “Mr Lov[ell].”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0162

Author: Continental Congress
Author: Thomson, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-28

John Adams' Authorization to Accept Bills of Exchange Drawn on Henry Laurens

Resolved, That the Honble. John Adams be and hereby is authorised and instructed to accept the bills of Exchange drawn on the Honble. Henry Lawrens in pursuance of the resolution of Congress of the 6th.2 instant in the same manner as he is authorised and instructed to accept those heretofore drawn on Mr. Lawrens according to the resolution of November 23d. 1779, and in case of the { 312 } absence of Mr. Adams the authority hereby granted be and is hereby extended to the Honble. Francis Dana.

[salute] Extract from the Minutes

[signed] Chas Thomson Secy.
MS (Adams Papers); endorsed by Francis Dana: “Resolution of Congress of Octr: 28th. 1780. respecting the Loans.”; by JA: “Mr Adams to accept the Bills drawn on Mr Laurens.”
1. Francis Dana received this resolution at Paris and enclosed it and another resolution of 2 Oct. (see note 2) in his letter of 10 Jan. 1781 to JA (Adams Papers, filmed at 12 July, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 352). For information on additional dispatches received by Dana and his letter of 10 Jan., see JA's Additional Instructions Respecting a Peace Treaty with Great Britain, 18 Oct., descriptive note (above).
2. Francis Dana placed an “X” above the “6” and at the bottom of the page and wrote “The date of reference does not agree with that of the Resolution enclosed.” The resolution of 6 Oct. had no direct bearing on JA's activities, being an administrative measure setting the procedures for issuing bills of exchange and establishing the rate of exchange at which they would be redeemed (JCC, 18:907). In his letter of 10 Jan. 1781, Dana indicates that Congress actually, and more appropriately, enclosed its resolution of 2 Oct. (Adams Papers). Like the resolution of 23 Nov. 1779, mentioned later in the resolution, that of 2 Oct. established a specific value for the bills of exchange to be drawn on Henry Laurens, in the first instance £100,000 and in the second, £10,000 (JCC, 15:1299; 18:890).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0163

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-10-31

To the President of Congress, No. 19

[salute] Sir

The British Ministry, by the terrible Examples of the Rioters, have So intimidated the Nation, and by their Success in the late Elections have So great a Majority in Parliament, that they think themselves secure for Seven Years, and Seem determined to go on, with more Vigour than ever.1
The Letters from their Generals Clinton, Cornwallis &c. shew that they are now adopting a new system. These Letters are full of Panygyricks upon the Tories and Refugees. Gage and the two Howes and Burgoine, made light of these Auxiliaries, which made Mr. Galloway their Ennemy, who has been very industrious, in exposing their Characters.2 Indeed the Ministry Seem to be wholly governed now, by Mr. Galloway, and their Generals, Seem to have adopted the Same Sentiments. The Consequence is that in America, at least where the British Army Rules the Refugees are cherished. Cornwallis in his last Letter, in which he gives an Account of his Battle with General Gates, assures the Ministry that he is determined to make some Examples among his Prisoners, and private Letters Say, that he hanged seventeen upon the Field of Battle in the Face of his Army. But none of these are more decisive Proofs of their present System than their Treatment of Mr. Laurens, whom they are holding up to that nation { 313 } in the frightfull Character of a Rebel, knowing that this Word and this Idea is enough to inflame them, beyond all degrees of Reason.
It is not only in England and America, that they mean to Spread a Terror. They think they can terrify all Nations: This in particular. They have Sent over to his most serene highness the Prince of orange, Some Copies of Letters taken with Mr. Laurens. I cannot learn that there are any but from Mr. De Neufville and Mr. Gillon, who are here. But it is propagated that there are many more—and Mr. Van berkel and the Baron Vander Capellan are named. But I have very good Reason to believe, that they have not a Line of either.3 The English are giving out as is their practice every fall, that they are determined to send, great Forces to America. Fourteen Regiments are talked of—ten thousand Men are talked of. But these Threats will be executed as usual. Fourteen Regiments if they send them will not produce, <five?> four thousand Men in America, to repair all their Losses in North America and the West Indies.
We have one Ennemy more pernicious to Us than all their Army and that is an opinion, which Still prevails in too many American Minds that there is still Some Justice, Some Honour, Some Humanity and Some Reason in Great Britain, and that they will open their Eyes and make Peace. That there are Individuals who have these Virtues cannot be doubted. Rome had many Such, even after the Ultimi Romanorum.4 But they were So few in Comparison to the whole, and had so little share in Government, that they only served, by their Endeavours to bring things back, to Make the Nation more miserable.
I am So fully convinced that Peace is a great Way off, and that We have more Cruelty, to encounter than ever, that I ought be explicit to Congress. We shall be forced to wean ourselves, from the little Remainders of Affection and Respect, for that nation—nay even from our Curiosity. I cannot think it decent, that any American should voluntarily set his Foot on British Ground, while We are treated as We are. The Practice is too common to Step over, upon Motives of Curiosity, Pleasure or Business, and I cannot but think it ought to be discountenanced.
I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers). There is no copy of this letter in the PCC, nor any indication in the JCC that it was ever received.
1. Accounts of the trials and executions of those apprehended in the Gordon Riots filled the London newspapers from late June to early August. See, for example, the London Chronicle and the London Courant.
2. For JA's comments on the controversy between Joseph Galloway and the former commanders in America, notably Gens. William Howe and John Burgoyne, over the loyalist's usefulness, see Replies to Hendrik Calkoen, { 314 } 4–27 Oct., Letters 2, 6, and 9 (above). See also Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1972; and the 1779 parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the war in Parliamentary Reg., 13:passim.
3. In this JA was mistaken; see his letter to the president of Congress, No. 18, 27 Oct., note 3 (above).
4. Presumably JA means after the fall of the Roman republic.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0164

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-31

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

We have not the least news from the Westward more than the publick papers will announce, but in hourly expectations of some from N York. Our grand fleet passd Plymo. the 27th. and these winds have probly put them on their intendd station for Cruizing. A small fleet has saild to N York—a frigate or so with 10 or a doz store Ships and Merchantmen, but no troops or any thing like any. Four Ships of the line are going soon to the Wt. Inds. They carry troops 3 to 5,000—and I guess these will be the last Expeditions or fleets in this year of our Lord 1780.1
We are all anxiety for the Speech, which some say is not to deliverd to day, but tomorrow.2 I Shall keep this letter open to a late hour to inclose it or give you any cue of the tendency of it that may be in my power to gather.
Yours of the 14th. got to hand after my letter of the 27th. was forwarded. I have in my possession one from Mr. S[ear]le to Mr. L[aurens] which I understand the substance of from the bearer of it Mr. J[o]nes,3 this shall find its way to Mr. L tho the letter may not. Please to mention this to Mr. S——le with my best wishes &c. &c. Any thing flat and smally folded will duly find its way. I only observe a caution of not doing Him any hurt by what is written. The day will come when relaxation from present severity will take place, therefore any discoverys may make confinement longer. Any hints can be securely communicated. He is made easier, and better in health by them. No one I beleive can tell upon what principle Mr. L was committed upon. Principle here, is not so much regarded as you immagine; It is generally the sudden impulse of the hour that lead our rulers in Error. I beleive they think themselves in an Error already about the Committment and ill treatment of that man, and probably they will act with more lenity soon, and sink into the other extreem. Appearances however speak that His Confinement will be a long one. The Law for suspending the Habeas Corpus to those who have embarkd and been beyond Sea, which was passd in 1777 and is I believe in force to Jany. 1. 1780, prevents Mr. L getting releasd by Bail, { 315 } | view and authorises his Enemys to keep him in confinement as long as they think fit. I will get you the Law, as well as the Arguments in Ebenezer Smith Platts case and send them You.4
It is impossible to describe why or wherefore these people act as they do; every thing seems to indicate they mean to play away the last stake with America, to exasperate Your Countrymen all in their power, and drive them to acts of retaliation. They seem to deliver themselves up intirely to the Government of their passions and their Caprice, and conduct themselves according to no system whatever. This harsh treatment of Mr. Laurens, together with Lord Cornwallis's military Executions and cool butchery of defenseless people in So Carolina, irrevocably seals the perpetual disunion between Great Britain and America. I cannot but lament that appearances speak Peace at a very great distance—Come when it will we may safely pronounce that it will be accompanyd with anguish and humiliation to the Savage Heart of “White Eyes,” that seems insatiable of human gore.
I am with the Highest Esteem Yr Obedient Servant
[signed] WSC
There was no Speech to day. But the jst of it is supposd for a Continuance of the War—that Cornwallis success shews what may be done by vigorous exertions—very Complimentary to that Genl.—assuring that the money which may be granted will be properly applyd &c. &c. &c.—
C. W. Cornwall chosen Speaker by a Majority of 31 votes5  
for Cornwall   234  
for Sr. Fletcher Norton   203  
  31  
1. This paragraph is a summary of reports appearing in the London newspapers since Digges' letter of 27 Oct. (above).
2. George III opened Parliament on 1 Nov. (Parliamentary Hist., 21:808–810). The content and tone of his speech did not differ substantially from the preview provided by Digges in his postscript to this letter.
3. This was William Jones, a distinguished British lawyer and opponent of the war in America (DNB). From mid-September to mid-October, he and John Paradise had visited Benjamin Franklin at Paris (Archibald B. Shepperson, John Paradise and Lucy Ludwell of London and Williamsburg, Richmond, Va., 1942, p. 149–152).
4. The law to which Digges refers is 17 Geo. 3, c. 9, which suspended the right to a writ of habeas corpus with regard to all those charged with and arrested for treasonous activities in the American colonies. The act was adopted in Feb. 1777 and was originally intended to expire on 1 Jan. 1778. In Dec. 1777 it was extended for the duration of the war. Digges' reference to it being in force only to 1 Jan. 1780 was presumably an inadvertence. During the parliamentary debates over both the bill's original passage and its extension, the case of Ebenezer Smith Platt, a Savannah merchant, was cited by those opposing the suspension of habeas corpus (Parliamentary Hist., 19:3–53, 461–466, 560–562). For an ac• { 316 } count of Platt's ordeal, from his arrest in 1776 through his release in 1778, see his letter of 21 April 1778 to the Commissioners (vol. 6:44–46).
5. For the actions of Sir Fletcher Norton, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, that led the North ministry to replace him with Charles Wolfran Cornwall, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, note 7 (above). Digges' figures, however, are wrong; Cornwall received 203 votes to Norton's 134, thus giving him a majority of 69 votes (Parliamentary Hist., 21:807).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0165-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-01

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Quoique j'aie eu l'honneur de vous écrire depuis la faveur de votre Lettre du 4e., je dois néanmoins me souvenir que je n'y ai proprement pas répondu. Je n'ai pu me procurer une Copie de la Dépêche de Petersbourg, parce que les Plenipotentiaires ont exigé qu'elle ne fût point communiquée.1 Mais elle porte en Substance 1º. une Convention proposée par l'Impératrice de Russie, où, aux 5 articles connus, entre les Cours du Nord, cette Princesse, dans 2 ou 3 articles de plus, sans vouloir proprement rien garantir à la République, lui assure néanmoins son secours au cas qu'elle soit attaquée en haine de la dite convention: 2º. que l'Envoyé d'Angleterre à Petersbourg a déclaré à l'Impératrice, que la Grande Bretagne respectera la navigation de la neutralité armée, pourvu que cette république ici en soit exclue: 3º. que l'Envoyé de Prusse les a assurés que le Roi son Maître accedera à la Neutralité armée: 4º. Un article séparé de la Convention, que lorsque la Neutralité armée aura pris toute sa consistence, elle pourra procurer la paix en offrant sa Médiation aux Puissances belligérantes.
Au reste, il n'y a pas encore de Congrès formé à Petersbourg; mais il n'est pas impossible qu'il s'y en forme un, lorsque les choses seront parvenues à une certaine maturité: et dans ce cas il seroit certainement nécessaire qu'il y eût, comme vous dites, un Ministre Américain, dès qu'il s'y agiroit d'une Pacification générale, c'est-à-dire, de l'ancien et du Nouveau monde. Mais, encore une fois, il n'y a pas encore de Congrès à Petersbourg, et jusqu'ici il n'en a pas même été question. Je vous ai seulement marqué, dans celle de mes Lettres qui a occasionné la vôtre, qu'il regne un concert (ou une intelligence) manifeste entre les Ministres étrangers (excepté celui d'Angleterre) et le Cabinet de Petersbourg, pour parvenir au grand but de l'Impératrice, qui est d'affranchir toutes les mers de la prétention de toute Puissance qui voudroit y dominer seule, et inquiéter la navigation des Neutres toutes les fois qu'elle seroit en guerre.
{ 317 }
J'apprendrai avec bien du plaisir, Monsieur, que vous jouissez d'une parfaite santé; et j'espere d'en être témoin oculaire, dès que l'Assemblée d'Hollande ici se sera séparée: ce qui vraisemblablement aura lieu dans peu de jours.
Au reste, vous aurez déjà appris la résolution prise par la Province d'Hollande d'accéder à cette Neutralité. Il s'agit que les 6 autres prennent la même résolution. Deux ou trois l'ont déjà fait. Mais il faut que les autres le fassent aussi, sans quoi rien ne pourra se conclure.2
Je suis, Monsieur, avec un grand respect, Votre très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] Dumas
Si vous savez quelque chose de l'état de Mr. Lawrens, depuis qu'il est enfermé à la Tour; je vous supplie de m'en faire part. Americanus sum, nec quidquam Americani a me alienum puto. Patior cum illis ita ut olim gavisurus cum iisdem.3

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0165-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-01

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

Although I have had the honor to write to you since the favor of your letter of the 4th, I now realize that I did not adequately answer it. I have been unable to procure a copy of the dispatch from St. Petersburg because the plenipotentiaries insisted that it not be distributed.1 But, in substance, it contains
1. A convention proposed by the Empress of Russia whereby, with the five known articles between the Northern Courts, this princess in two or three additional articles, without formally guaranteeing anything to this Republic, nevertheless assures it assistance in case it is attacked as a consequence of the said convention.
2. The British envoy to St. Petersburg has declared to the Empress that Great Britain will respect the navigation of the armed neutrality as long as this Republic is excluded.
3. The Prussian envoy has assured them that his Master, the King, will accede to the armed neutrality.
4. An article, separate from the convention, states that once the armed neutrality is in full operation, it will be able to pursue peace by offering to mediate between the belligerent powers.
Nevertheless, a congress has not yet been formed at St. Petersburg, but it is possible that one will be established once things have settled down; and in that case it will certainly be necessary that there be, as you stated, an American minister present during deliberations for a general peace, that is to say, between the old and the new world. But I repeat, there still is no congress in Petersburg and so far the possibility has not even been men• { 318 } tioned. I had only suggested, in the letter to which you replied, that there exists a definite consensus (or an understanding) between the foreign ministers (except that of England) and the cabinet at St. Petersburg, to achieve the Empress's great objective, which is to free all the seas from the pretensions of any power that would unilaterally dominate them and thereby disrupt the navigation of neutral nations in time of war.
I will learn with great pleasure, sir, that you enjoy perfect health, and hope to see it myself when the Assembly of Holland adjourns, which it is likely to do in a few days.
Besides, you will have already heard of the resolution taken by the Province of Holland to accede to this neutrality. The problem now is to have the other six adopt the same resolution. Two or three have already done so. But it is necessary that the others also agree, otherwise, nothing can be done.2
I am, sir, with great respect, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Dumas
If you have any information concerning the state of Mr. Laurens since his imprisonment in the Tower, please let me know. Americanus sum, nec quidquam Americani a me alienum puto. Patior cum illis ita ut olim gavisurus cum iisdem.3
1. This letter concerns the dispatch that the States General had received on 2 Oct. from the Dutch plenipotentiaries at St. Petersburg, and to which Dumas had referred in some detail in a letter to JA of 3 October. That letter has not been found, but for it, and the issues that Dumas seeks to clarify in this letter, see JA's letter of 4 Oct., and note 1 (above). In his letter to JA of 8 Oct. (Adams Papers), Dumas apologized for not yet replying to JA's letter of the 4th and then asked JA for the name of a trustworthy person in London to whom he could write for information. In his reply of the 9th (Adams Papers), JA advised Dumas to send his request through Jean de Neufville, who would forward it to his son who was then in London.
2. The process by which the States General approved the Netherlands' accession to the armed neutrality was lengthy and complex because all seven provinces had to act unanimously. The Assembly of Holland approved the accession on 19 Oct., but it was only on 20 Nov. that the full States General resolved to permit its representatives to conclude the necessary agreements, which were finally signed on 4 Jan. 1781, at St. Petersburg (Dumas to Jean de Neufville, 20 Oct., PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel 4, f. 318; James Brown Scott, ed., The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, N.Y., 1918, p. 325–328, 346–349).
3. That is, I am an American and I consider nothing American foreign to me. I suffer with him so that at another time I may rejoice with him. The first sentence is Dumas' paraphrase of a passage from Terence's play, Heautontimorumenos, Act I, scene i, line 25. There it reads “Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto” or I am a man, and I consider nothing human foreign to me.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0166

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-01

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Letter of the 23d Ultimo, acknowledging the Receipt of mine of the 19th. I am happy { 319 } to find my Sentiments of things confirmed by your Excellency. What your Excellency has said with respect to the Improbability of Peace, and Treatment of Mr. Lawrens affects me much. I have taken the liberty of writing it to England for the public Perusal and attention.1 The Higher, that inconsiderate People Talk and the more inhumanly, they Act, the more Inflexible ought we to be. They ought to know our Temper, and cease their Insolence and Cruelty, least worse fall on them.
I sent about ten days Ago the following Queries to a Gentleman of some weight and great integrity to be shown by Him to his Friends, that Use might be made thereof in Parliament, and afterwards to be publishd for the Inspiration of the People.
“Was Sir J[ohn] D[alrymple] Commissiond by them, (the Ministers) when on Account of his Ladys Illness, he Embarked for Lisbon and obtaind Permission to go from thence to Madrid, which Permission was procured from the Court under the Pretext of Consulting a celebrated Irish Physiscian in that city? Was He Authorizd to make Overtures for an accomodation, which if published, would be an Anecdote of more Curiosity, than all those, transcribed by the great Hunter of Anecdotes?
Was He instructed by the Ministers to Assure all the Confessors, Chaplains, Priests and Zealots of the Roman Catholic Religion, that his Letters from Ld. G[ermai]n or his Friends Messrs. S——2 could introduce Him to, that it was the Intention of our Gracious Sovereign and his Ministers insensibly to place his Catholic on a footing with his Protestant Subjects with respect to Civil and religious Liberty? Did they instruct Him to Endeavour to Tamper with the American Agents at that Court, and to Inspire them with a distrust and Jealousy of the Intention of the Court of Spain and even of one Another at present employed in Europe? Did they, notwithstanding this Gentlemans fruitless Negociation, afterwards send a certain Mr. C[umberlan]d the Secretary, Confident, and Friend of one3 of them, on the same Arrand, under pretext of establishing a Cartel for the Exchange of Prisoners? Did they Authorize this Gentleman to make offers of Ceding Rights and Possessions, acquired in former Wars by the Blood and Treasures of this Nation on Condition, that the Court of Spain should not Support the revolted Colonies, and should Use its Influence with France to relinquish them on certain Terms Advantageous to that Nation and humiliating to England? Did they further Authorize Him by a Secret Article of the proposed Treaty, that the King would place his Catholic Subjects in both Kingdoms on a footing with { 320 } respect to Civil and Religious Rights, as his protestant ones? To give weight to these Representations, did not a certain Personage Closet an Irish Priest4 of that Religion, whose Name this Negociation hath preservd from Oblivion, and solemnly Assure Him of his Intention to protect and employ the Members of a Religion, whom He regarded as His most faithful Subjects? and was not this same Abbé by more solid reasons induced to pave the way by his intrigues with the pious and interested for the admission of Mr. C——d on the pretext before mentiond? Have not the Overtures of these Emissaries been treated as the Visions of Madmen by the wise Councils of his Catholic Majesty? and would not the Persons employed have been long ago directed to continue their Travels, notwithstanding the pious Artifices of Mr. C——ds Coadjutor, and the Beauty and Harmony of his fair Daughters, if this Emissary had not given the Court reason to Expect still more humiliating Concessions and by those Means discovering the Abject Situation of the present Governors of this once florishing Country?”5
I Hope your Excellency will not disapprove of this Step.
I am Happy to hear the Armd Neutrallity is likely to form soon a consistent and regular Plan of Operation. I wish at least that it would try that Measure, which I had the Honor of suggesting to your Excellency.6 I have been seldom bigotted to my Opinions and fancies, but I must Confess I am very much so to this, which Step woud be very much improvd by the Acknowledgement of our Independancy. I am very much pleasd to hear reports of a Treaty between Us and Holland—the Dutch will be certainly satisfied in making Treaties, with whom they can, when England has with so much Insolence and Outrage reduced them to a State of Nature with respect to Her.7
I find by the Morning Post, which your Excellency Knows is a Ministerial Paper the following Paragraph under the Article of N York. Augst. 25th.8
“It is said our Old Acquaintance Mr. <Lee?> Izard lately returnd to America, has deliverd to the Congress his Sentiments freely on some other Cessions (respecting the American Fisheries), which have been made to his most <Catholic> Christian Majesty by Doctr. B.F.——Whose Conduct He reprobates as eminently injurious to the Rights and Dignity of the American States.”
I am with greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys most Faithful & Obedient Humble Sert
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jennings ansd. 7 Novr. 1780.”
{ 321 }
1. Neither the excerpt apparently taken by Jenings from JA's letter of 23 Oct. (above), nor its publication in an English newspaper has been identified.
2. The person or persons mentioned here have not been identified.
3. Lord George Germain.
4. Thomas Hussey.
5. The editors have been unable to identify the recipient of this piece or to discover whether it was later published. For the unsuccessful Dalrymple and Hussey-Cumberland missions to seek peace with Spain, see John Jay's letter of 26 April, and note 1, and JA's letter to Jenings of 29 May, and note 4 (both above). For Jenings' comments on the Hussey-Cumberland mission and efforts to divide the American diplomats in Spain, see JA's letter of 29 May, and Jenings' of 27 May, 2 June, and 5 June (all above).
6. Jenings may refer to his letter of 21 July (above) in which he suggested that Russia and the other nations of the armed neutrality move decisively against Britain by acknowledging American independence, stopping Britain's Baltic trade in naval stores, and acting in concert with France, Spain, and Holland. This would seem to be supported by JA's comments in his reply of 7 Nov. (below).
7. Jenings means that insofar as Britain was concerned, the Order in Council of 17 April, suspending its treaties with the Netherlands, meant that henceforth Anglo-Dutch relations were governed by the strict law of nations; that is, the law of nature applied to nations (from William Lee, 25 April, note 1, above; to the president of Congress, 13 May, No. 66, calendared, above).
8. Jenings provides an almost verbatim text of this item, which appeared in the Morning Post of 19 October. Immediately preceding it, however, was another report from the same source that makes the reference to “other Cessions” in Jenings' text more significant. According to the newspaper, “It is very positively asserted, that the Continental Congress have ceded, for ever, the port of Rhode Island, with Narraganset and sundry islands depending thereon, to their great and good ally, the King of France.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0167

Author: Sayre, Stephen
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-01

From Stephen Sayre

[salute] Sir

I make no Apology for troubling you with a Letter, because your Excellency must know me by reputation, and because the purport of it is of a public nature.1 As to myself, I trust, you must be persuaded, there is not an American, now in arms, more ardent in our cause—I am sure none can have more reason to detest the British Government. When I left Great Britain, I did it with a full determination of risqing my life in service, either by Sea or land. Unfortunately, those Gentlemen who directed our affairs on the Continent of Europe, could not agree how I should be employ'd—nor did they give me any reason to hope for release, should I have been made prisoner in my way to America. The hayzard at that time was extremely great—and I well knew that if once I fell into the hands of the English, my treatment must have been fatally cruel—the Idea of a languishing and ignominious confinement before I had opportunity of distinguishing myself, was, I own, insupportable. My former conduct, situation and suffering led me to hope that I could render my Country real Services by staying in Europe—In this my wishes have been extremely disappointed; because I have had no public support. My only consolation { 322 } is, that, tho' a private Gentleman, I have render'd our cause somewhat more respectable in many parts of Europe, by Information, as to what we really are; and what our Enemies wish to represent us. In short it requires no great abilities to convince the intelligent of Europe that they are exceedingly interested in our welfare and however I may seem engaged in a private pursuit of commerce, I never lose sight of the public good. On that ground I now give you the following Information—perhaps your powers may admit your improving it to advantage. I am now building four Ships of 900 Tons each—they are after the best English Models: for I have a Russian Carpenter who has work'd five years in Deptford Yard. They are under Russian Noblemen—will have every quality of neutrallity—will be ready to take in goods in June next—perhaps in May. They will probably proceed from hence to France with Hemp &c.—from thence to the French or Dutch Islands &c. &c. Now if you have instructions that may warrant the [ventu?]re; those Ships, or part of them might be loaded from hence, with such articles as America may demand, directly for St. Eustatia, Curasoa, Martineco, or any other West India Island. The property would be most sacredly cover'd; for the Merchants here who charge the Ship, would never know that it could be for other than Russian Account. A prince Niswisky, and General Borosdin—men of honest fame and of Influence here, are concern'd with me. The General goes in one of the Ships himself. They are promised by the Empress herself, the most decided protection in this trade: and you may suppose I could improve the begining of such a commerce to very good purpose, were I to have the ability to bigin it. Nothing would render her Majesty more pleasure—or make her more our freind.2 Your answer will greatly oblige me, whither any thing is dicided or not. I have been honor'd with the correspondence of Mr. Sam: Adams, before I left England. Shall ever esteem you[r Exce]llency's freindship. I am with all due respect your most obt. humb Servt
[signed] Stephen Sayre
Messrs. Delalande and Fynie3 are my Correspondents in Amsterdam. They are worthy your freindship.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr &c. &c. &c.”; endorsed: “Mr Sayre. 21. Oct. ansd. 6. Decr. 1780.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of portions of four words.
1. Stephen Sayre had previously written to JA on 15 June 1778, regarding his treatment by Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee. For a sketch of Sayre's career, which included a term in the Tower of London in 1775, see the note to that letter (vol. 6:209).
2. Sayre's scheme for establishing a clandestine trade covered by the Russian flag was { 323 } totally illusory. Catherine II actively opposed Sayre's efforts and was unwilling to do anything with regard to America that would compromise her neutrality or further exacerbate her relations with Great Britain (David W. Griffiths, “American Commercial Diplomacy in Russia, 1780 to 1783,” WMQ, 3d ser., 27:384–389 [July 1970]).
3. The firm of De la Lande & Fynje was one of those that participated in the Dutch loan of 1782 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:451).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0168

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Grand, Henry
Date: 1780-11-03

To Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

I have recieved your favor of Octr. 13th and thank You for your Care in sending the Letters. The News Papers may come by any Opportunity. I should be obliged to You to send the News Papers regularly to Congress. The Journal1 des Scavans and that of Mr. Linguet, You may keep or send along to me, as You please: but I shall not renew the Subscription for these.
I thank You for paying the twenty Louis to Mr. Austin and request it may be charged to me.2
I return to You a Letter from an Officer at Orleans. Mr. Williams it seems has been so good as to send me some Madeira Wine: but it seems it has met with some misfortune. I must beg the favor of You to write to the Gentleman, and let it be sent on to Paris. If You will either sell it for my Account or store it, I will answer the Expence. Perhaps, if it is in good Order, Dr. Franklin would take it. If not it must be disposed of, as well as possible, and if there is any loss it must be mine.3
My best Regards to your good Family, and believe me to be respectfully your's.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The word “Journal” is interlined in JA's hand because Thaxter miscopied it as “several.”
2. In his letter of 13 Oct. (Adams Papers), Grand indicated that, in obedience to John Thaxter's instructions, he was forwarding letters received for JA and Francis Dana, keeping the American newspapers until he found a less expensive conveyance, and sending the European newspapers, except for the two mentioned here, to Congress. In a postscript he noted the payment to Jonathan Loring Austin, for which see Austin's letter of 23 Oct. (above).
3. For the wine sent by Jonathan Williams, the letter from Orleans concerning it, and Henry Grand's effort to settle the matter, see Grand's letter of 24 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0169

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Hamilton, Alexander
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-03

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I have received your line with an inclosure the 24th. ultimo, wrote to the partys, and am now busey in putting forward four of the Horses { 324 } requird by my new Correspondant.1 By the time limited, I hope to send Him a set that will compleat His Carriage. As 17 or 18 have been sent from me since the 6th of last mo., I hope a considerable part of them will answer and give a good temporary lift. A Bundle of Books will go in a day or two coverd to Messrs. JDN and Son.2 I hope those sent the 10 Octor. have got safe.
No abatement whatever as to the person I lately wrote about—His health good, Spirits better, and communications as usual. Mr. S[ear]les letter, will be with Him tomorrow, He has had the contents of it before. The Youth3 is totally forbid further admittance and no hopes of him or any friend seeing him for some time.4 When I do not write, you may assure yourself that nothing new since the last written letter has transpird.
You see the sum and substance of the Speech and debates &ca. &ca. There was nevertheless no strong appearances in the House that the American War would be vigorously carryd on—at present no appearances of troops going there. Ten to 12,000 are likely to go in a month or two to the Wt. Inds. The Carolina fleet is to sail with that fleet, so that it is at present not easy to decide whether there are any going to Chas. Town, but I should rather suppose some were to be sent there.5
Several Ships for a week or ten days past have continued to slide away seperately from Portsmouth but whether meant, as is now reported, in order to form a part of a fleet going from the channel Squadron to Gibraltar, or as was before given out, to rienforce the fleet in the Wt. Indies, is not easy to say. I rather think they are gone for the Wt. Indies, to which quarter Sr. Saml. Hood is to follow with 5 Sail of the line. It is said troops are to go with Sr. Samuel (and I beleive some thousands are) but none appear moving towards the seaports yet except a part of Fullartons ragged Regiment6 who are a sad disgrace to every thing like a Soldier.

[salute] I am with high Esteem Yr very obligd & Ob ser

[signed] Alexr. Hamilton
1. Digges' meaning here and in the following two sentences is unclear. None of JA's extant letters seem likely candidates for that received on 24 Oct., but Digges may be referring to a brief covering letter by JA for an enclosure (not found) from Digges' unidentified “new Correspondant.”
2. Jean de Neufville & Son.
3. Henry Laurens Jr.
4. To this point, this paragraph was translated and printed in the Gazette de Leyde of 14 November.
5. The figures on reinforcements for America, given by Digges here and in earlier letters, are in line with the requests of Gens. John Vaughan and Henry Clinton, the former for the Leeward Islands. The appeals, however, notably Clinton's for 10,000 troops that reached London in late September, were far beyond the means of the North ministry to { 325 } meet, particularly with the French and Spanish capture in August of a convoy to the Indies carrying a sizable contingent of troops. Only with great difficulty did the ministry find six battalions in England and Ireland that, with recruits for regiments already in place and additional German troops, meant 6,000 additional men for Clinton. Of those, however, the Germans would not go out until the spring and three battalions were intended first for the West Indies and would only reach Clinton in Sept. 1781. Those going to the West Indies sailed with Sir Samuel Hood in late November, the remainder, except for the Germans, left for Charleston in Jan. 1781 (Mackesy, War for America, p. 375–377).
6. William Fullarton's regiment was intended for use against Spanish possessions in the Pacific, but the shortage of transports resulting from the capture of the English convoy in August (see note 5) caused its departure to be postponed. With the outbreak of war against the Netherlands the regiment was used against the Dutch in South Africa and India (from William Lee, 30 March, and note 7, above; Mackesy, War for America, p. 376).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-11-04

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Mr. De Neufville, this morning brought to me, a number of Bills of Exchange, drawn upon Mr. Laurens, in the Month of July, amounting to seven or eight hundred Pounds Sterling, and informed me that your Excellency had declined becoming responsible for them and referred him to me.
I have enquired of Mr. Searle who informs me there are about twenty thousand Pounds in such Bills now on their Way.
If there were only seven or eight hundred Pounds, I would accept them for the Honour of the United States, and run the Venture of being able to pay them by borrowing or some way or other: but twenty thousand Pounds is much beyond my private Credit.1
I have been and am pursuing, all those Measures to which I am advised by Gentlemen, in whose Judgment I can justify placing Confidence, and am not without hopes of succeeding in some Measure: but I have not as yet been able to obtain any Money, nor any Certainty of obtaining any in future.
I write this therefore to your Excellency, that if You could see your way clear to become responsible for these Bills for the present, I will engage to see them paid with the Money I may borrow here, if I borrow enough before the Term for their payment expires, or as much of them as I shall be able to borrow: but in this Case if I should not succeed in obtaining the Money, your Excellency will be answerable.2
I should be sorry that the Credit of the United States should suffer any Stain, and would prevent it if I could: but at present it is not in my power.
The Successes of the English at the southward,3 added to the many Causes that obstructed our Credit in this Republick before, some of { 326 } | view which it would not be prudent to explain, will render a Loan here difficult: but I still hope not quite impracticable.
I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient & most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Novr. 4. 1780.”
1. Stated here in terms of pounds sterling, the transactions ultimately undertaken by JA would be done in guilders, at the rate of approximately £100 to 1,111 guilders (to Benjamin Franklin, 24 Nov., and note 1, below; John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775: A Handbook, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1978, p. 44). While the sums mentioned by JA are large relative to his available funds, they constituted only a small portion of the £100,000 (1,111,000 guilders) in bills of credit authorized by Congress on 23 Nov. 1779 to be drawn on Laurens (JCC, 15:1299). The inability of its representatives abroad to raise sufficient funds ultimately forced Congress to use only a small portion of the authorized bills (Ferguson, Power of the Purse, p. 55–56).
2. See Franklin's reply of 13 Nov. (below).
3. That is, at Charleston and elsewhere in the Carolinas.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0171

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hendrik, Bicker
Date: 1780-11-06

To Hendrik Bicker

[salute] Sir

Mr. Blomberg is so ill, that he cannot Speak, upon Business,1 which obliges me, to beg the Favour of your Advise, whether I ought to give more than according to the following Plan.
A     Interest   5 Pr. Cent Pr. Annum for 10 years.  
    To the House for negotiating the Capital   1 Pr. Cent.  
    To the Undertakers to furnish the Capital   1 Pr. Cent  
    Brokerage   ½ Pr. Cent.  
    And for the Yearly paying off of 10 Pr Cent.    
    To the House, of the Loan   1 Pr. Cent  
B   }   To the Undertakers   1 Pr. Cent  
C   Brokerage   ¼ Pr. Cent  
I had the Pleasure of half an Hours Conversation with Mr. Bowens, who desired me to consult with M. Blomberg and Send him my Conditions.
A Gentleman of great Worth and Skill, advised me, not to give more than four Per Cent Interest. America, is willing, however, to give a { 327 } | view just Interest, and all other reasonable Terms but She would not, like a young Spendthrift Heir, give any Thing, to get Money.
I am Sorry to give you, So much Trouble, amidst the Sickness in your Family. But the Sickness of Several Persons, upon whom I depended, obliges me to do it, and to request your answer as Soon as convenient. With great Respect, your humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
1. This letter resulted from JA's visit earlier in the day to Hendrik van Blomberg, who had been acting as his broker in obtaining an agent, Daniël Jan Bouwens, to undertake an American loan. Van Blomberg's illness made it imperative that JA consult with Bicker. For JA's correspondence with van Blomberg that led to a meeting with Bouwens on the afternoon of 4 Nov., and the subsequent formulation of the plan contained in this letter, see JA's brief letter of 3 Nov. to van Blomberg (LbC, Adams Papers), and van Blomberg's equally brief reply of the 4th (Adams Papers). For the plan as altered by Bicker's advice in his letter of 7 Nov., see JA's letter to Bouwens, also of the 7th (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bouwens, Daniël Jan
Date: 1780-11-07

To Daniël Jan Bouwens

[salute] Sir

I waited on Mr. Blomberg yesterday, but found him to ill to speak upon Business: I must therefore request You to recommend to me another Broker for the present, one who speaks French or English if possible. I dont mean to quit Mr. Blomberg, whom I esteem very much, but I suppose it will not be amiss to have two. Messrs. Mortier and Merckemaer have been mentioned to me.
Mean time I will venture to propose to Mr. [Bouwens']1 Consideration the following Plan.
Interest   5 Per Cent pr. Annum for ten Years.  
To the House for negotiating the Capital}   1. Per Cent.  
To the Undertakers to furnish the Capital}   1. Per Cent.  
Brokerage   ½ Per Cent.  
For the Yearly paying off of 10 per Cent.    
To the House of the Loan   1. Per Cent.  
To the same for paying off the annual Interest}   1. per Cent of the Interest.  
I should be glad of your Sentiments, as soon as may be convenient. I am with great Respect, Sir, your very humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 328 }
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “My Letter to Mr. Bowens.”; and “Novr. 10. 1780 returned to me, on the 10th. of November at one O Clock by Mr. Bowens's Book keeper, with an Answer that he had made Some Enquiries, and could not see any hopes of Success, and therefore declined the Trust.”; notation in an unknown hand: “Christian Tenkate Mrs. Van Vlooten.” Those two names were the recommendations of either Bouwens or his bookkeeper to act as JA's broker in place of van Blomberg and appear on a slip of paper accompanying this letter in the Adams Papers. Immediately upon the return of this letter on 10 Nov., JA wrote to Bicker (Adams Papers), informing him of Bouwens' decision and asking his opinion of Ten Kate and van Vlooten. Bicker replied on the 11th (below).
1. The name was cut out of the letter. The proposal contained in this letter stemmed from the advice given by Hendrik Bicker in his letter of 7 Nov. (below), which JA had received earlier in the day.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, Fernando Raymond
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-11-07

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

Yours of the 24. 27 and 31. Ultimo came altogether last night. The Note in that of 27 is of <much Use> much Importance to me. I wrote, Sometime ago, to see if any Thing could be done by Way of Exchange.2
If a certain Sett, are governed wholly by Passion, it must be confessed they have as constant a gale of it, as a Tempest so furious, will in the ordinary course of Nature admit of. C'en est fait—as you Say. There are Letters here for a certain Friend,3 can you find out what is to be done with them?
I will bring my Boys acquainted with the young Gentleman you mentioned in a former Letter,4 whose father does them much honour. Will you, indulge the Feelings of a Father so far as to send me Lillys Grammar and Clarks latin Exercises,5 for the use of these young folks. Have you Seen the Publication of the Burgomasters?6 what do the wise ones think of it?
The English nation Seems in a fine Way. Such Characters as my Lord Hilsborough and Loughborough, with a long list of &cas. shooting up, perpedicularly, in Government, and Burke, Pownal, Hartley &c. unable to obtain Seats even in the Commons. People and Government Seem wonderfully cordial and harmonious.
With great Esteem
[signed] F.R.S.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W. S. C.”
1. The date is in John Thaxter's hand.
2. For Digges' letter of 24 Oct., not printed, and the note in his letter of 27 Oct., see that letter, and note 1 (above). For JA's letter regarding Henry Laurens' exchange, see that of 14 Oct. to Benjamin Franklin (above).
3. Presumably Henry Laurens.
4. Probably the son of Richard Champion; { 329 } see Digges' letter of 26 Sept., and note 7 (above).
5. These were William Lily, A Short Introduction of Grammar . . . of the Latin Tongue, and John Clarke, An Introduction to the Making of Latin; comprising . . . the Substance of Latin Syntax, both of which were standard texts, with numerous editions. Digges' letter of 14 Nov. (below), indicates that he was sending off the books, but JA's letter of 17 Dec. (below) reported that they had not yet arrived. In fact, JA may never have received them because of the outbreak of the Anglo-Dutch war in December. For copies of Lily and Clarke owned by JQA, but probably not obtained through Thomas Digges, see Worthington C. Ford, ed., A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenaeum. With Notes on Books, Adams Seals and Book-Plates, by Henry Adams, Boston, 1938.
6. For this, see JA to the president of Congress, 27 Oct., No. 18, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0174

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-11-07

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have recieved yours of the first. Will You be so good as to explain to me, what is meant by “Instructions to endeavour to inspire American Agents at Madrid, with Distrust and Jealousy of one another, at present employed in Europe?”
What the armed Neutrality will come to, I know not.1 I believe it would have been much easier to have negotiated all the Maritime Powers of Europe into an Acknowledgment of American Independence, and even into a War in support of it, than it will be to accomplish the Armed Neutrality. Who the real Author of this Idea was, I know not: but he did the English a favour by it, for all that have agreed to the Armed Neutrality might have been as easily persuaded, to take a decided part against England, and even Holland and Portugal would have joined them in that Measure at least as soon as in this.
At present they have pledged themselves to a Neutrality, so that they cannot decide with Honour. I wish however that Congress had a Minister at Petersbourg, at least to try if any thing could be done or any discoveries made.
The Bruits of a Treaty between the United Provinces and United States, are as true as most of the Bruits.
This Moment your favour of the sixth was delivered me. I am very much obliged to You for the Sight of Mr. Lees Letter. His Arrival in America will have considerable Consequences, and upon the whole will do much good both to himself and his Country. He wanted to see his Countrymen face to face, and make his Observations upon the Spot. I am very glad to find his Reflections so philosophical. I had not learnt before your Letter that General Green had left the { 330 } Army. Green is my Friend and I am his. I have had a long Correspondence with him, and never one Word or Look unfriendly. Notwithstanding this, the Time has been in Congress, when I would have given my Vote for his Dismission from the Service: and if it is true that he wrote lately a Letter to Congress that I have heard of, I hope Congress have dismissed him.2
There is at times a Turbulence in some of the Officers, that must be suppressed. It does no harm to dismiss them when there is Cause. The Cause and Country are strengthened by it. They go home, converse with their Neighbours, learn better Principles, and get into a better Temper, are obliged to march out with the Militia, and are chosen into Offices at Home &c.
De Guichen returning with 22 Ships!3
Farewell.
[signed] John Adams
RC (in John Thaxter's hand Adams Papers); endorsed: “Hl. J.A. 7 Nov. 1780.”
1. Compare JA's assessment of the League of Armed Neutrality here with that in his letter to Jenings of 15 April (above).
2. Jenings' brief letter of 6 Nov. (Adams Papers) contained an extract from a letter to Jenings from Arthur Lee. Since it contained a reference to Nathanael Greene's resignation it may have been written at about the same time as Lee's letter of 10 Sept. to JA, for that letter also mentioned the incident (above).
3. Guichen had reached Cádiz on 22 Oct. (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 189); JA probably learned from newspaper reports that he was returning from the West Indies, for the Gazette de Leyde carried a report to that effect on 10 November. JA, of course, would have preferred that Guichen either remain in the West Indies or, reinforced by Ternay's fleet, mount an expedition against the British forces at New York or Charleston.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0175-0001

Author: Bicker, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-07

From Hendrik Bicker

[salute] Monsieur

Je suis bien aise que vous aiés eú un Entrevue avec Monsieur Bouwens, mais mortifié que son Courtier Blomberg se troúve si mallade, que voús vous trouvés obligés d'avoir recoúrs a un autre, sur qúoi vous me permettrés de voús conseiller de demander conseil a Monsieur Boúwens meme ou bien que son Teneur de Livre voús en troúve un sur Le Compte de qui vous pouves prandre des informations, s'ils s'en trouvent qui parlent Le Francois ou L'Anglois je L'ignore car ils sont rare. Mortier et Menkema [Merckemaer] sont des premiers en repútation, mais ils servent Messieurs Staphorst pour Mr. A. G.2
Voici de retour vos conditions avec quelques remarqúes que je soumets aux considerations de celui ou de ceux qui aúront un jour l'honneúr de devenir vos Emploies, scavoir
{ 331 }
A L'Interet de 5 Pour cent a mon avis n'est pas trop, puisqúe tous Les grands Monarqúes ainsi que ceúx dú Nord en cherchent avec aviditté a ce prix.
B-C deux conditions a moi jusqúes ici inconnús et superflús par conseqúent, et qu'aparament voús serant súgerré par quelqu'Ame venable ou trop interressée.
En revange je n'y trouve rien de specifié pour le paiement des Interets annuels, l'article qui occupe le plús, qui meritte bien la recompanse D'un pour cent, je m'explique Les Nautes d'un Million font Cinquante Mille de quoi 1 Pour Cent ne fait que Cinq Cents florins, meme on m'en a toujours du paier sur ce pied 2 pour Cent.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec beaucoup d'estime Monsieur V S. tres humble et ob. serviteur,
[signed] H:Bicker

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0175-0002

Author: Bicker, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-07

Hendrik Bicker to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I am glad that you were able to meet with Mr. Bouwens, but mortified that his broker, Blomberg, is so ill that you have to resort to another one. Please allow me to suggest that you ask Mr. Bouwens' advice or let his bookkeeper find you one whose references you can check. You may not be able to find one who speaks French or English for they are rare. Mortier and Merckemaer have the best reputation, but they are at the service of the Staphorsts for Mr. A. G.2
Here are your conditions, with a few remarks which I submit to the attention of those who one day will have the honor of being employed by you, to wit
A A five percent interest, in my opinion, is not too much, since all the great monarchs, including the northern ones, are eagerly looking for such a price.
B-C Two conditions, so far unknown to me, and therefore superfluous, but which apparently will be suggested to you by some venial or grasping soul.
However, I found nothing specific concerning the payment of the annual interest, a most important matter which well merits the payment of one percent. Let me explain. The notes of one million produce fifty thousand, of which one percent is only five hundred florins. And even on this basis, they always had to pay me two percent.
I have the honor to be, with much esteem, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] H:Bicker
1. In this letter Bicker is advising JA with regard to the plan contained in JA's letter of 6 Nov. (above). For JA's use of Bicker's advice, see his letter to Daniël Jan Bouwens of 7 Nov. { 332 } (above).
2. That is, Alexander Gillon, was seeking financial help from the firm of Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst in order to outfit the frigate South Carolina.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0176-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-07

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Vous aurez pu voir par le Supplément de la Gazette de Leide de ce jour, que je vous ai ponctuellement obéi, en faisant insérer les Extraits concernant Mr. Lawrens.1 On a seulement omis les 2 ou 3 dernieres Lignes, où White-Eyes est chargé de la bassesse du traitement indigne qu'éprouve Mr. Laurens: parce qu'on n'auroit pu les mettre sans s'exposer.
Du reste je vous Suis très-obligé, Monsieur, de cette communication, dont j'ai fait bon usage ici avant que cela ait paru en public: ce qui n'est pas indifférent. Je me recommande pour cette raison, et aussi pour la part intime que je prends au sort de Mr. Lawrens, à la continuation de votre bonté, à mesure que vous recevrez de ses nouvelles; et je vous promets de les publier ou supprimer, selon que vous le jugerez nécessaire pour le bien de Mr. Lawrens, dont la mauvaise santé est ce qui m'inquiete le plus. J'espere de pouvoir faire un petit voyage à Amsterdam, et de vous y voir en parfaite santé; en attendant je suis avec un très-grand respect, Monsieur Votre trèshumble et très-obeissant serviteur,
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0176-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-07

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

You will have seen from today's supplement to the Gazette de Leyde that I followed your instructions to the letter and had the extracts concerning Mr. Laurens inserted.1 Only the last two or three lines, where White-Eyes is charged with the ignominious treatment inflicted upon Mr. Laurens, have been omitted, for including them would have risked exposing ourselves.
Moreover, I am very grateful, sir, for this communication, of which I have made such good use prior to its publication here, which makes a difference. For this reason, as well as my personal interest in the fate of Mr. Laurens, I ask for your continued generosity in sharing any further news you receive. I promise to publish or suppress it, depending upon what you judge necessary for the welfare of Mr. Laurens, whose ill health concerns me the most. I hope to make a small trip to Amsterdam and see you there in perfect health. In the meantime, I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Dumas
{ 333 }
1. With his letter of 3 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers), JA had sent Dumas extracts from Thomas Digges' letters of 6, 10, and 17 Oct. (all above). For copies, apparently by Dumas, of JA's letter and the extracts, see PCC, No. 101, I, f. 109–113.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0177

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1780-11-09

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour of yours of the 7. Inclosed are a few more Extracts, concerning the Treatment of Mr. Laurens. You will publish Such Parts as you judge proper.1 This Event will have more Serious and lasting Consequences than are immagined. It is therefore proper that the facts should be preserved. It may be prudent to observe a delicacy concerning White Eyes. But Europe in general is much mistaken, in that Character. It is a pity that he should be believed to be so amiable. The Truth is far otherwise. Nerone Neronior,2 is nearer the Truth. I shall be very happy to see you at Amsterdam—and am with much respect, your humble sert.
1. For the extracts previously sent to Dumas and printed in the Gazette de Leyde, see Dumas' letter of 7 Nov., note 1 (above). The extracts enclosed with this letter were likely from Thomas Digges' letters of 20, 27, 31 Oct., and 3 Nov. (all above), but the Gazette of 14 Nov. contained only a brief excerpt, in French, from the letter of 3 November.
2. More like Nero than Nero.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0178

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Fitzpatrick, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-10

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

Nothing material occurring, I did not write you on the last post day.1 Things were then in a train for other communications and I am in hopes to add something to this letter in the Evening before I seal it, from our friend.2 Mr. S[ear]les letter and some late ones from home via Nantes got to Him.
Mr. L——ns treatment remaind with usual and unabated rigour till the 8th Instant. His Son and Mr. Manning were unexpectedly on that day allowd to pay Him another half hours visit, which the Deputy Governor permitted to be extended to one whole hour; and the same day He got an order to be permitted to walk round the Tower whenever He chose to apply to the Deputy Governor to do so.3 His Son and friend were watchd as before by two Warders, as He will continue to be whenever He walks out. His health and spirits are good. During the first part of His illness, and while He was very bad, He had a visit from the Lords Hillsborough and Stormont—a Jesuitical visit no { 334 } doubt, and with a visible meaning to pump and get out of Him what they could. This circumstance without any particulars of the visit has got out to me, the prisoner expressing the extreem Complaisance of His ministerial visitors, particularly in the point of the cringing Complimentary offers of services from Lord H——, in which I dare answer, the Scotchman4 was not behind hand. I cannot account for this sudden lenity toward the prisoner in no other way (for they very lately peremptorily and rudely refusd the son a second visit to His Father) but from a Whisper going about that the Opposition meant to take up the ill treatment shewn Mr. L, and to move Parliament for a mittigation of the severity shewn him, that He be permitted parole on giving bail &c. &c. This was in agitation, and I had some conversations with particular men about it. Its getting to the ears of ministers would be enough for them to give one lenitive order to Mr. L., and the granting him to walk out for air in the Tower, might be brought in argument that He is not a Close Prisoner or rigorously treated. These wretches tho they seldom look further than their noses after great national concerns, are nevertheless clever enough at these little kind of tricks.
We have no News but what you will see in the papers. Our grand fleet when last heard of was somewhere about Scilly. The Carola. and Wst. Inda. fleet to sail in 10 or 12 days, also one from Cork with transports to carry about 7 or 8000 men, the portion of 2000 or 2,500 of which are intended for Chas. Town, and I see no likelyhood of any others going to other parts of the Continent.
I am with very great regard yrs
[signed] W. Fitzpatrick
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mynheer De Heer Ferdinand Raymond San Ten huyze van de Heer Hendrick Shorn Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. W. S. C. 10th. Novr. 1780.”
1. The post day was probably the 7th, Digges' last letter was of the 3d (above).
2. Henry Laurens.
3. The permission to walk about the Tower was reported in the London newspapers around 10 Nov., see the London Courant of that date. In his “Narrative,” Laurens indicates that he was informed of the order on 8 Nov., but he does not mention a visit by his son and William Manning on that day, nor does he indicate any visit by Lord Hillsborough and Lord Stormont since his confinement in the Tower on 6 Oct. (Laurens, “Narrative,” p. 25–29).
4. That is, David Murray, viscount Stormont.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0179-0001

Author: Bicker, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-11

From Hendrik Bicker

Monsieur, Les Courtiers ten Kate du temps que j'etais dans les Affaires ont eu l'entree Libre chez moi, je les crois capables, Mais je { 335 } les ai trouves si interressables pour Eúx memes que je ne pouvais jamais terminer avec Eux, quand au Sieur van Vloten je crois que sa Residance est a Utrecht et qu'il a des bonnes occasions pour placer de L'argent des Habitants de cette Province qui pourtant ne sont pas des Capitalistes pour donner dú branle a la Negotiation en question.
J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec beaucoup d'estime Monsieur Votre tres humb & Ob. Serviteur,
[signed] H: Bicker

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0179-0002

Author: Bicker, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-11

Hendrik Bicker to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

The brokers Ten Kate, had free entry at my house when I was in business. I think them capable, but I found them so liable to influence through their own interests that I never could close with them. As to Mr. van Vlooten, I think his residence is at Utrecht, and that he has fair opportunities of placing the money of citizens of that Province, who are not, however, capitalists enough to set in motion the negotiation in question.
I have the honor to be, with much esteem, sir, your very humble and obedient servant,
[signed] H: Bicker
1. Bicker is replying to JA's letter of 10 Nov. (Dft, Adams Papers) informing him of Daniël Jan Bouwens' refusal to act on JA's behalf and requesting his opinion of brokers Ten Kate and van Vlooten recommended by Bouwens or his clerk to serve in place of Hendrik van Blomberg. See also JA to Daniël Jan Bouwens, 7 Nov., descriptive note (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0180

Author: Gillon, Alexander
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-12

From Alexander Gillon

[salute] Sir

A Fever having confind me to my lodgings some days, debar'd me of the pleasure of waiting on your Excellency, and of making a Verbal instead of A written application to you in behalf and for the use of the State of South Carolina.
Your Excellency has been partly a Witness to the unavoidable delays I have met with here, proceeding from a three months spell of Easterly winds and not sufficient Water to get the South Carolina Frigate over the Shoals of Sixty a Seventy Miles distant from each other ere she would lay a Float, those delays caus'd numerous expences, which added to the extraordinary expences attending such an undertaking of getting a Ship in deep Water that has hitherto been deem'd impracticable without the Assistance of the Camillas [camels], has expended all the Funds I had of the State of So. Carolina, besides a quantity of Goods I sold, in hopes that their proceeds would pay all demands, but on collecting the accounts I find I still need { 336 } about thirty A forty Thousand Guilders, which I allways suppos'd I could have procur'd on the Security of the State of So. Carolina, but the late advices from that State, have fixd an Erroneous impression on the minds of those whom I applied to, which I cannot as yet efface, and as my property is in that State, my usual proposal of becoming responsible in my own Name, does not produce the effect it did on similar occassions, thus it is to your Excellency I now must unbosom my situation and crave your Aid; I know some of the obstacles, but I flatter my self when your Excellency recollects that this Ship may prove A benefit to America in General, you will deem her in America's service as well as in the service of a particular State, and therefore facilitate her departure for the Continent, by aiding me to procure on Account of the State of So. Carolina, the ballance I may want to get the said Ship to Sea, I know not the urgent demands you may foresee from the Honble the Continental Congress for their Monies, but I humbly conceive your friendly acquiescence can cause no umbrage at Home, as it is for the purposes of what America most needs, A Navy, and the particular favorable construction of this Ship renders her A very essential object, that may readily not only repay her disbursements, but procure what America much wants, some of the English Frigates that are annoying our Coast and Trade; admit me to observe that the State of So. Carolina has never been slow in lending to Congress any sums requested when in her power to comply, and as it is in your Excellencies power to aid them without any Inconvenience to yourself or Congress, I flatter myself with the Hopes that you'll be pleas'd to grant me your permission, to Assure them that will lend me the Monies, I need as beforemention'd, that you will in behalf of Congress sign the agreements I will make with them, said agreement propos'd is for twenty five A fifty Thousand Guilders, payable in five, Ten, A fifteen Years, with an Intrest of five pr Ct. pr Annum, and a trivial Commission to the Merchant, but with this exception that the State is at liberty to pay it off at any time within the time limited; it will give me pleasure to receive your Excellencies early reply hereto, as my friends have the monies ready that are so much wanted to dispatch the Frigate ere the Winter sets in. With all due respect & very much Esteem I have the Honour to be Your Excellencies Most Obedt. & most hble Servt,
[signed] A. Gillon
Commodore of the Navy of the State of South Carolina

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0181

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gillon, Alexander
Date: 1780-11-12

To Alexander Gillon

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter which you did me the Honour to write me the 12 of Novr.
It would give me great Pleasure to do any thing in my Power consistant with the duty I owe to my Constituents to assist you. But the Advices you allude to are as great an Obstruction to you as to me.
I have left no Measure unattempted, that Prudence could justify: but have neither procured any Money nor obtained the least Hope of obtaining any.
I have heretofore entertained hopes of obtaining so[mething.] But these hopes are all at an End.
There are Bills of Exchange already here, that must I fear be protested, and others on their Way that must share the Same Fate, as Mr. Franklin cannot accept them and no one else has any Prospect.
In this Situation, I should be criminal, to comply with the request in your Letter.
Indeed, if there was Money of the United States here at my disposal, and more than enough to answer the Bills drawn, and to be drawn, I could not justify lending it to any particular state, without express Instructions. There are Commissioners now in Europe from Virginia Pensilvania and the Massachusetts, who would have similar Reasons for requesting my Aid. But a President of this sort should never be set, without the highest Authority for it. If there could be any State for which I should hazard such an Irregularity, it would be S. Carolina, on Account of her suffering Situation.
I have the Honour to be with great Esteem and Respect, sir your most obedient & humble sert.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0182

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Austin, Jonathan Loring
Date: 1780-11-13

To Jonathan Loring Austin

[salute] Sir

I have received your Letter,1 and very Sorry you have found So little Success in your affair for the Massachusetts. You have this Consolation, however that you have had as good Luck as any one else.
{ 338 }
The Series of Events for the last twelve months, which the English represent so favourable to them, and so unfortunate for Us, Seems to have extinguished the little Remains of Credit that We had before. And I must confess my self as much in despair as you, of obtaining any Thing considerable.
Our Countrymen, will build upon Sandy foundations if they depend upon any Thing, but their own Industry and Resources.
I cannot advise you whether to return in the Mars or stay longer. I see no Prospect of Advantage, from remaining in Europe. We have no Reason to expect any News this year, that will make any considerable Change in our Credit. Even the Burgoining of Cornwallis would not. The Obstinacy of Great Britain terrifies Europe, tho it will make a contrary Impression on Americans.
I am perswaded you have done, as much as any one could have done. I have Seen your Industry and been made Acquainted with many of your Proceedings and I know not what further or better could have been done. And the best Way is to explain the whole to your Constituents with the Utmost Frankness and Simplicity.
I am sir, with great Regard, your humble sert.2
N.B. I have a Trunk, for Mrs. Adams either at L'orient or on board of Commodore Jones. I should be very glad to get it on board the Mars, if possible.3
1. Of 23 Oct. (above).
2. Austin acknowledged this letter on 30 Nov. (Adams Papers), but see also his letter of 23 Oct., note 1 (above).
3. For the history of the trunk on board the Ariel, see JA's letter of 6 March to James Moylan, and note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0183

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-13

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I am honour'd by your Excellency's Letter of the 4th Instant, relating to the Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens. I recommended their being presented to you, as I understood you supply'd his Place during his Absence, and I thought it more reputable to our Affairs, that they should be accepted by you for him, than that their Credit should depend on the Good Will of a Dutch Merchant, who, except a few of the first, does not accept them but as I guarrantee their Payment, and will perhaps besides making a great Merit of it, charge 5 P Cent { 339 } Commission for his Service. I therefore still wish you would accept them, and if you should not before they become due be enabled otherwise to pay them, you can draw on me so as to be furnished in time with the Money.1 I have other Letters from your Excellency to answer, which I must at present postpone, as I continue ill with the Gout and write this in my Bed with Difficulty.2
With great Respect, I have the honour to be Sir, Your Excellency's most obedt & most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Ex. Dr Franklin 13 Nov. desiring me to accept the Bills”; in John Thaxter's hand: “1780.”
1. For JA's acceptance of the bills, see his reply of 24 Nov., and note 1 (below).
2. In a letter of 6 Nov. (Adams Papers), William Temple Franklin had informed JA that his grandfather's illness would delay his answers to JA's letters.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0184

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-14

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. sir

Your favors of the 28th ultimo and 7th Instant came both to hand since mine of the 10th and I began from yesterday to forward the two news papers as directed. You need not apologise for any trouble given me of this sort, for I shall be always glad to serve You. The Books you request in both these last letters will be forwarded by a Ship to Amsterdam to sail in a few days; there are other political Pamphlets put up with them, and I hope you got those parcells forwarded by Mr. Bromf——d1 the 26 Sepr. and by a Ship to Amsterdam, the Content Capt. Nanne Ibetts, which Saild the 10th or 12th of Octor. I shall continue to forward any thing politically new as it comes out and inform You when I want Cash.
Poor Manly and C[onyngha]m whom you enquire after and offer to help, are still in a miserable situation in Mill Prison Plymouth and very severe'y treated. A Sum remitted them thro me from Dr. F and the few guineas they get from Me (which by the bye I can very ill afford) has been of material benifits to them, and kept them in a manner from sinking under the severity of ill treatment. I mean by ill treatment the Confinement of a dungeon and fed on bread and water only for 40 days, whenever the agent thinks fit to inflict this punishment. They have both undergone it twice, for threatening severe retaliation on the English whenever the chances of war puts it in their power. This is also a punishment for every attempt to break Goal.
{ 340 }
I am glad to hear the note annexd to my letter of the 27th ultimo got safe to your hands.2 Mr. L——s confinement still continues as on the 10th Instant and nothing new since—better spirits on account of some late communications; and I hoped by this nights post to inform You what our friend wishd done with some letters mentiond by You, but I must wait till next opportunity.
The Papers will inform You of Genl. Arnolds apostacy and his attempts to ruin the American Army by Treachery. The Toreys here do not exult at all at this acquisition, nor at the news brought by the late Dispatch vessels from N York or the Wt. Indies. Adml. Rodney by every account arrivd the 10th Sept. lookd into Rhd. Island, did nothing—went into N York and was to sail again for his station the day after the Dispatch frigate left N York. Not a word about Monr. Guichens fleet or any rienforcements to Ternay—where the Devil these french and Spanish Ships are no one knows. They seem to be doing nothing at the very time their superiority of numbers promises every thing. I wish they may not play the game of protraction too refinedly for the Interests of America.3
You see what Lord G. Germaine expressd when calld upon to explain what He meant by saying this Country could treat with America whenever she pleasd on the footing of Indepency—He gave up the idea of Conquering the Country, yet said the War must be prosecuted thro the sides of America to bring France to terms, and to accomplish this detatchments must be sent to carry destruction into different parts of America open to the sea such as Virginia &c. &c.4 This diabolical scheme will be probably be put in execution too if the Allies of Ama. out of their abundance of Ships do not find means to stop these naval Expeditions.
I inclose You a letter from a valuable friend for Mr. Searle to whom, tho unknown, I beg my best wishes and respects.
I am with great respect Your mo Obet Servt.
[signed] W:S:C
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “MynHeer De Heer Ferdinando Raymond San ten huyze Van de Heer Hendrick Schorn a Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. W.S.C. 14th. Novr. 1780. Ansd. 19th. Novr.”
1. Henry Bromfield Jr.; see Digges' letter of 29 Aug., and note 3 (above).
2. That is, from Henry Laurens.
3. These accounts are taken virtually verbatim from London newspapers published on or about 14 Nov.; see, for example, the London Courant of the 14th. Adm. Sir George Rodney, however, did not reach New York until 14 Sept., and did not return to the West Indies until 16 November. During that period, rather than making a futile assault on the entrenched French army at Newport, Rodney provided a covering force for 2,500 troops under Gen. Alexander Leslie sent by Clinton to the Chesapeake to draw American forces away from Cornwallis (Mackesy, War for
{ 341 } { 342 }
America, p. 351–352; W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 218, 237).
4. On 6 Nov., during the debate in the House of Commons over the “Address of Thanks” for George III's speech opening the session of Parliament, Lord George Germain, according to one account, stated that “the people in power in America were not the allies, but the subjects and dependants of France: in order, therefore, to open a way for a treaty with America, the war must be carried on with vigour, and France be humbled through the sides of America.” Germain also declared: “allow America her independency, and Congress would treat tomorrow,” but said he “would not be the man to treat with America on this condition” (Parliamentary Hist., 21:839–841; for a somewhat different account of Germain's speech, see the London Courant of 8 Nov.). On the 7th, Charles James Fox asked Germain whether, in stating that “if this country would grant independence to America, we might treat with her tomorrow,” he meant that “America, in case we granted her independence, would treat with us separately and distinctly from France?” Germain replied that he meant only “that America was ready to treat with us, in case we allowed her independence, though he did not think she could ever make peace with us without the concurrence of France” (London Courant, 8 Nov., but see also William Lee's letter of 15 Nov., note 1, below, for a statement by Winchcombe Henry Hartley not reported in the Courant).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0185-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-14

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai été bien fâché d'avoir vu trainer si longtems l'impression de la Brochure en question, d'abord par le refus du Libraire, auquel je m'étois d'abord adressé, et sur lequel j'avois compte, ensuite par les lenteurs continuelles de l'Imprimeur. Là voilà enfin achevée: J'ai l'honneur de vous en envoyer ci-joint deux Exemplaires:1 J'en ai demandé une douzaine gratis pour votre usage,2 et je vous en expédierai encore dix par la Barque Marchande. Si vous en souhaitez davantage, aïez la bonté de me le mander.
Oserois-je vous prier de présenter mes très-humbles respects à Mr. Searle et par occasion aussi à Mr. Dumas, ainsi que d'être persuadé de tous les sentimens, avec lesquels j'ai l'honneur d'être Monsieur, de Votre Excellence, Le très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] J: Luzac

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0185-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-14

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I am very sorry that the publication of the pamphlet has been so long delayed, first by the refusal of the bookseller to whom I had sent it and on whom I had counted, and then by the continual delays of the printer. Now it is finally done, and I have the honor to send to you the two enclosed copies.1 I have requested a dozen free for your use2 and I will send another ten by the Barque Marchande. If you need more, please let me know.
Dare I ask you to pay my very humble respects to Mr. Searle and, if the opportunity presents itself, to Mr. Dumas, and at the same time to be { 343 } persuaded of all the sentiments with which I have the honor to be, sir, your excellency's most humble and most obedient servant.
[signed] J: Luzac
1. That is, Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie . . ., Amsterdam, 1780, of which there is a copy in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library). See the Descriptive List of Illustrations, Titlepage of 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 Et Du Nouveau-Monde, Amsterdam, 1780 341No. 4 (above).
2. These copies were inclosed with Luzac's letter of 16 Nov. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0186-0001

Author: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-15

From Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Monsieur

Comme vous connaissiez l'ardeur et la Sincérité de mes sentimens pour la cause de la liberté, jugez avec quelle reconnaissance j'ai reçu l'honneur de votre confiance par Votre lettre du 23 octobre. Je regrette Seulement de ne pouvoir consacrer toutes mes forces et tous mes talens à la défense de cette noble cause. Les occupations dont je suis a présent accablé, me laissent à peine un instant libre. Cela ne m'a cependant pas empêché de lire avec la plus exacte attention le narrative de Sir William Howe. Quoiqu'il S'y trouve beaucoup de longueurs et de particularités qui ne peuvent intéresser que les personnes qui ont part aux affaires, je vous assure, cependant, que je n'ai rien lu qui m'ait paru aussi important, aussi décisif sur un point essentiel, savoir l'impossibilité de reduire l'Amérique Quoique Ce ministere Anglois ait depuis six à [sept?] ans, trompé toutes les années l'attente de la nation Britannique sur cet objet; il ne laisse pas d'y avoir dans ce pays et dans plusieurs autres, quantité de personnes qui Croyent encore aveuglément a l'infaillibilité du Conclave de Londres. “Il est trop éclairé, disent-ils, pour poursuivre cette guerre. S'il n'avait pas des esperances solides et légitimes de triompher à la fin. La plus grande partie des Américains sont bien affectionnés pour l'Angleterre; et il n'est pas douteux qu'ils s'estimeront trop contens de pouvoir faire leur accomodement aux dépends de leur prétendue indépendance.” Les préjugés que la cour de Londres travaille sans relâche à perpétuelle sont trop enracinés, pour qu'on ne tache pas de les détruire. Je vois tous les jours des gens qui passent pour sensés, qui en sont infectés. J'ai donc cru que rien n'était plus propre à les détromper que le Compte rendu par Sir William Howe, [lui-?]même, c'est à dire par un Général qui [s'est?] trouvé à portée de voir les choses de [propres?] et d'en donner un tableau fidel. En conséquence j'ai déterminé un libraire de Rotterdam à en entreprendre la traduction que j'ai faite moi-même.1 Ainsi vous ne trouverez pas mauvais que j'aye retenu si longtems l'exemplaire que vous avez { 344 } eu la bonté de me faire passer. J'ai eu soin, comme vous verrez de faire mettre en italiques tous les passages qui peuvent servir à détruire les fausses opinions. Comme on a distr[ibué] l'ouvrage à deux imprimeurs pour qu'il [soit] fini plûtôt, je ne puis vous envoyer que la premiere feuille des lettres à un Gentilhomme. Je n'en ai encore point reçu du narrative: je ferai précéder le tout par un avertissement où je montrerai l'impossibilité de conquérir l'Amerique
1° par la difficulté des lieux
2° par les dispositions des Habitans.
Je crois qu'une pareille piece servira, très à propos, de préparatoire à une autre que je pro[pose] sur la confiance et le crédit que merite un peuple, dont l'indépendance est fondée sur une base aussi solide et les ressources sur les productions du pays le plus fertile et le plus étendu, qui ne peut qu'accroître en richesses et en industrie.
Vous voyez mon plan; je ne doute pas q[ue] vous ne m'aidiez de vos Secours.
Mr. Wild m'a dit que vous aviez accepté tous les livres qu'il vous avait envoyés. Il m'ajouta alors qu'il devait faire, dans peu, le voyage d'Amsterdam. Je ne sais pas encore s'il y est allé. Je n'ai pas même le tems d'aller demander s'il a quelque chose à vous faire dire.
Mon adresse est toujours chez Mr Mandrillon à Amsterdam ou dans le lang-nicus Straat à Utrecht.
J'ai l'honneur d'être avec dévoumen[t] et vénération Monsieur votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] A. M. Cerisier
Si vous avez d'autres pamphlets propres au même objet et surtout la procedure du General Bourgoine que vous m'avez promis, j'espere que [vous] voudrez bien les communiquer: car on ne peut de les procurer à Utrec[ht.]
Vous me demandates à Amsterdam, si je connaissais une bonne maison d'Education pour Messieurs vos fils: Si vous aviez quelque envie de les envoyer à utrecht où l'air est excellent, je vous en indiquerai une où j'espere qu'ils seraient très bien.2

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0186-0002

Author: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-15

Antoine Marie Cerisier to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Since you know the ardor and sincerity of my feelings for the cause of liberty, you can understand my gratitude at receiving the honor of your trust in the letter of 23 October. I regret only that I cannot devote all my powers and abilities to the defense of this noble cause. The duties with which I am burdened at present leave me scarcely a free moment. This did not prevent { 345 } me, however, from reading, with the utmost attention, Sir William Howe's Narrative. Despite its prolixity and details of interest only to those involved, I assure you that I have read nothing which seemed so consequential and decisive on one crucial point: understanding the impossibility of conquering America. Yet it is on this point that the English ministry has failed to meet the expectations of the British nation and there are still some, in this country and in others, who blindly believe in the infallibility of the London conclave: “It is too enlightened,” they will say, “to pursue this war, if it did not have solid and legitimate hopes for ultimate victory. The majority of Americans are well disposed toward England; and there is no doubt that they would be quite content to make an accommodation at the expense of their pretended independence.” The prejudices which the court of London works so relentlessly to perpetuate are so deeply rooted that we must try to destroy them. Every day, I see supposedly reasonable men who are infected. I thought, therefore, that nothing could be more proper to set them straight than the account by Sir William Howe, himself; that is to say, by a general who discovered what the real situation was and provided an accurate account of it. As a result, I have selected a publisher at Rotterdam to take on my translation.1 So I hope you will not object to my having kept so long the copy you were kind enough to send me. I was careful to mark in italics all the passages which might help destroy the false opinions. Since the work was sent to two printers, so that it might be finished sooner, I can only send you the first sheet from the letters to a gentleman. I have not yet received any of the Narrative. I will precede the whole with a preface in which I will demonstrate the impossibility of vanquishing America:
1. Because of the difficulties of the terrain.
2. Because of its inhabitants' dispositions.
I think that such a piece will serve very well as preparation for another which I propose, on the confidence and credit due a people whose independence is founded on a solid base and its resources on the production a large and fertile country, which can only increase in wealth and industry.
You see my plan; I am sure you will want to help me.
Mr. Wild told me you had accepted all the books he had sent you and that he was about to make a trip to Amsterdam. I do not know if he has left yet. As for myself, I do not even have time to go and check if there are any messages for you.
My address is still at Mr. Madrillon's in Amsterdam or in the Lang-nicus Straat in Utrecht.
I have the honor to be, with devotion and veneration, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] A. M. Cerisier
If you have other pamphlets on the same subject, and especially the proceedings of General Burgoyne that you promised me, I hope you will be kind enough to send them, for one cannot get them at Utrecht.
In Amsterdam you asked me if I knew of a good school for your sons. If you wish to send them to Utrecht, where the air is excellent, I know of one which I think they would find congenial.2
{ 346 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur John Adams sur l'Agter burgwal près de l'Eglise Français à Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Cerisier 15th. Novr. 1780 Ansrd. 19th. Novr.” There is considerable loss of text where the seal was both cut and torn away.
1. For Cerisier's translation of Howe's Narrative, see his letter of 17 Oct., note 4 (above).
2. Because of lack of space on the page, this paragraph was squeezed in between the closing and the previous paragraph, but was clearly intended as the final paragraph of the postscript.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0187

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-15

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

A severe attack of a dangerous dysentery, a sick Family ever since Mr. Searle left us, and above all, having nothing material to communicate, have prevented me from writing to you for some time past and indeed my principal object now, is to enquire after the health of yourself and your Sons, as it will give me sensible pleasure to hear that you have escaped the contagion of the late very unhealthy season.
It seems that the rigor with which Mr. Laurens was at first confin'd, has been a good deal relaxed and he is now permitted to walk abroad within the Tower Walls for the benefit of the Air; from what cause this has proceeded one can't precisely say, but it appears, there is a party in the Ks. Cabinet who are heartily sick of the War and wish for Peace with America on any Terms, but as the King is absolute, his Will, must be obey'd; therefore every effort is to be made to send 10,000 men immediately to Ama., which number I apprehend, they will find infinite difficulty in procuring; unless they send every regular Soldier from G. Britain and Ireland. 'Tis some years since I knew three Systems were hatch'd at Passy, all originating in Selfishness, Pride and personal malice and resentment. 1st., that America had no kind of occasion for Ministers or Agents any where else but in France and Spain. 2dly, That it would not be of any advantage for all the Powers of Europe to acknowlege the Independence of Ama., since France having done it was amply sufficient. 3dly, That it was very immeterial what became of the Southern States, or whether they were annex'd to G. Britain or not, as the 4 New England States were fully capable by their own efforts, to maintain and support their Independency against all the power of G. Britain. Designing Men are never at a loss for arguments, however unsubstantial and unfounded, to propagate their doctrines and unfortunately for America the two { 347 } first systems have been adopted. It has given me much concern to find Ideas similar to the last re-echoed from the environs of Congress; but I conceive it merits the most serious consideration of the Northern States, as I am convinced that ruin and destruction to the whole, must inevitably follow any division or seperation among the 13 States.
Monsieur Guichens return with his fleet and convoy will no doubt prove a cordial to the French Merchants and proves also that the last Campaign has ended like the two preceeding ones—An immense expence, a great deal of noise and bustle and nothing done. The capture of the Quebec Fleet was however very fortunate, as it may in some measure releive our Army that must have otherwise suffer'd immensely for want of supplies; for I understand that those which were ready and ought to have left Europe last Winter or early in the Spring, are at this time in the Ports of France.
The conversation in the H. of Commons the 7th instant and the resolves of the Westminster Committee of the 2d are worthy of attention.1 One can't help feeling astonishment and indignation at the conduct of some of the branches of the power where you are—can the corrupted part mean to subjugate the whole to their Rival and Bitterest Enemy? A union with the Northern powers would take away even the shadow of danger as they can, by only with holding their Naval Stores, in one or two Years annihilate the fleets of G. Britain. But at all events I do not see what the Dutch have to apprehend from a War with G. Britain more than they now suffer—Their Ships are taken in all parts of the World where met with and condemn'd; their Territory invaded; their independency as a sovereign Power in fact denyed, and insult heaped upon insult; without a means of redress, while their present conduct is pursued.
I beg you to present my best Compliments to your Sons & to be assured that I am with the highest Esteem & Respect Yr. most Obliged & Obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] W: Lee
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “William Lee Esqr. Nov. 15th. 1780 Ansd. 19th. Novr.”
1. The most notable exchange in the House of Commons on 7 Nov. was probably that between Charles James Fox and Lord George Germain (see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 Nov., and note 4, above). In his letter of 29 Nov., however, Lee indicated that he was referring to a statement by Col. Samuel Hartley, actually Winchcombe Henry Hartley, that came immediately after the Fox-Germain exchange, to the effect “that we ought to treat on any terms with America, could it be effected without concluding at the same time a peace with France” (Morning Post and Daily Advertiser, 8 Nov.).
For the resolves adopted by the Westminster Committee of Association on 2 Nov., see the London Courant of the 3d. In its resolutions, the committee denied assertions that { 348 } the association movement had been responsible for the Gordon Riots and would foment future unrest; called for an immediate end to the American war; praised Sir George Saville for his efforts on behalf of parliamentary reform; and sought the reintroduction of Edmund Burke's “economical reform bill.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0188

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-15

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

I put a Letter of Introduction into the Hand of a son who has since unfortunately been made a prisoner by the Portland Man of War, and though held as an Hostage till the fulfilment of Certain Conditions Mentioned in a Cartel sent to Boston, he has been treated with great Humanity and politeness by Admiral Edwards, and by late letters I find he purposes to pursue his Voyage to Europe, and if he meets with no New Disappointment in England, it will not be long before he will reach Paris, where agreable to your friendly and polite invitation he will immediatly wait on you.1
I beleive I may Venture to say he is a youth who will by no part of his Conduct disgrace the Recommendations of his Friends, or disappoint the Expectations of the parent. Yet whoever Enters at an Early period, amidst a World of strangers, to traverse a stage where art, not Nature Reigns, ought to be well acquainted with himself as well as with the History of Man, to parry the Intrigues laid for Innocence. And Even thus Gaurded, 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 into the Extream of Elegance, and luxery Heightned by a systematical desire to please.
I am sir too well acquainted with your dispotition to think it Necessary to ask your philosophic Hints, which united with his own Good sense I trust will lead him through with approbation.
Shall I again Repeat that I think myself 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 arder of Early Years to that line of Conduct which leads to Happiness.
His Views are Cheifly of a Commercial Nature, but improved by Industry and Observation, it may be a Happy Opportunity of Qualifying for more Extensive usefulness. I once thought I should have trembled for the safety of a son, in the Morning of Expectation, in the Zenith of Warm hope, steping into the larger theaters of Intrigue, Bussiness, and luxuriant taste.
But I have now no Idea that the Morals of youth can suffer much { 349 } by leaving Boston for any part of Europe, and the Change of Manners in this Country has brought me to bid Defiance to any disagreable Consequences from a Change of place. A thousand things on this occasion might flow from the Lip of Maternel tenderness, did not Civility to you, and an attention to your public Avocation, forbid.
I shall therefore only add on this subject if my son Reaches Your Residence, whither it be in France or Holland, I am sure of a New proof of your Friendship to the Father, in the Explicit opinions you will occasionally give, both of Men, and Manners, and the kind assistance you will Confer (if Necessary) to the prosperity of a Beloved son. As I understand he Destroyed most of his Letters on the Capture of the Pallas, the above is Nearly a Copy of a few lines Designed for you Dated May 15th 80.2 In that was Hinted the situation of your Country, the Various Opinions of priests, polititians, statsmen, soldiers and Courtiers, with Regard to the Establishment of Civil Goverment in the Common Wealth of Massachusets. The Arrangment of officers under the New Constitution you will have from other hands, and a Detail of the administration, as well as opperation, of a system so Compleat in all its parts, that the Wishes of all parties are Concentered in one Great Object, and Whigs and Tories, Infidels and Religionists all agree that some portion of Idolitry is Necessary for the support of the political Machine. Of Course the Daily Incense is offered in the Capital, and the Guilded puppet3 placed in the public Theater a few years ago (for Certain purposses) is Become the Idol to whom the supple Homage of Adulation is paid, by a people once Disinterested, Firm, Discerning, and Tenatious of their Rights. That tinture of Enthusiasm which is perhaps Characteristic of the North American is now heated with the Emulation of Exhibiting the Highest Instances of Worship. Yet the Image whose Feet are of Clay, May in a short time become as the Chaff of the summer Threshing Floor, unless like another Pisastratus,4 for the sake of prolonging his power, He should Govern according to the Minutest Forms of the Constitution.
Forgive this little sally. Was you sir in this City you would not Wonder. Addresses, Assemblys, Entertainments and Balls have ushered in the Happy Era of Republicanism. If this Infant Common Wealth can thus stand in its pupilage—when Time has Matured its strength, and the Horrors of War are Dispeled, will it not become the Wonder of the World. But I forbear.
I Intended no political observations when I began, least amidst the Complicated scenes arround us, I might be led to say something to { 350 } the Disadvantage of my Country, if it should Chance to be perused by any Eye but Yours.
I Wish to be Remembered with Friendship by Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter, Mr. Johnny, and my little Favorite.
Mr. Warrens Letters by this Conveyance will Give you much Inteligence, Mrs. Adams's much pleasure, and if a Momentary Amusement Can be added by her, it will always be a Gratification to Sir your assured Friend & Humble Servant
[signed] Marcia Warren
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mrs. Warren 15th. Novr. 1780.”
1. Winslow Warren was in London (from Thomas Digges, 17 Nov., note 1, below).
2. This letter is printed from a transcript under the date of 8 May (above), and see note 1 there. The material copied, with numerous changes, constituted the first five paragraphs of that letter.
3. John Hancock.
4. Pisistratus, twice tyrant of Athens (561–556, 546–527 b.c.), was noted for the length of his rule and his retention of the forms of the Solonic constitution (Oxford Classical Dictionary). Compare Mercy Warren's allusion to Pisistratus with her husband's in his letter of 22 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0189

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-11-16

To the President of Congress, No. 20

[salute] Sir

On the 10th of this month, Sir Joseph York, presented to the States General, the following Memorial.1

[salute] High and mighty Lords.

The King, my Master, has discovered, during the whole Course of his Reign, the most Sincere desire, to maintain the Union, which has Subsisted for more than a Century, between his Crown and this Republick. This Union rests, upon the immoveable Basis, of reciprocal Interest, and as it has contributed much to the Prosperity of the two nations, the natural Ennemy of both, employs all the Resources of his Policy to destroy it: For Some Time past this Ennemy, has not laboured but with too much Success, being Supported by a Faction, which Seeks to govern the Republick, and which is always ready to Sacrifice the General Interest, to private Views. The King has Seen with as much Surprize as Regret, the little Effect, which has been produced, by his repeated demands of the Succours Stipulated by the Treaties and the Representations of his Ambassador, concerning the daily Violations of Engagements the most Solemn.
The Moderation of the King has induced him to attribute this Conduct of your High Mightinesses to the Intrigues of an overbearing Cabal, and his Majesty would Still perswade himself, that your Justice and your Intelligence, will determine you to fullfill your Engagements { 351 } towards him, and to prove by all your Proceedings your Resolution to put in Vigour, the System formed by the Wisdom of your Ancestors, and the only one, which can insure the Safety and Glory of the Republick. The Answer of your High mightinesses, to this Declaration, which the subscriber makes by the express order of his Court, will be the Touch Stone of your Sentiments and Intentions towards the King. His Majesty has had, for some Time, Indications, without Number of the dangerous Designs of an unbridled Cabal: But the Papers of Mr. Laurens, who calls himself a President of a pretended Congress, have made a discovery of a Conspiracy, without Example, in the Annals of the Republick. It appears by these Papers, that the Gentlemen of Amsterdam, have commenced a clandestine Correspondance, with the Rebels of America, from the Month of August 1778, and that there were Instructions and full Powers given by them, relative to the Conclusion of an indissoluble Treaty of Amity, with these Rebels, Subjects of a Souverain, to whom the Republick is bound by Engagements the most Strict.2 The Authors of this Conspiracy pretend not to deny it: on the contrary, they avow it, and endeavour in vain to justify it. It is in these Circumstances, that his Majesty, depending on the Equity of your high mightinesses, demands a formal Disavowal of a conduct So irregular, not less contrary to your Engagements the most Sacred, than to the fundamental Laws of the Batavian Constitution. The King demands also a prompt Satisfaction proportioned to the offence, and an exemplary Punishment of the Pensionary Van Berkel, and of his Accomplices, as Disturbers of the Publick Peace, and Violators of the Law of Nations. His Majesty perswades himself, that the Answer of your High Mightinesses, will be prompt and Satisfactory, in all respects: but if the Contrary should happen; if your High Mightinesses, refuse a demand so just, or endeavour to evade it, by Silence, which will be considered as a Refusal, in that Case, the King, will not be able to consider the Republick itself, but as approving of Misdemeanors, which it refuses to disavow, and to punish; and after Such a Conduct, his Majesty will See himself in the Necessity of taking Such Measures as the Maintenance of his Dignity, and the essential Interests of his People, demand. Done at the Hague the 10. November 1780.
[signed] Signed Le Chevalier Yorke.
Whether Sir Joseph York, after 20 Years Residence in this Republick is ignorant of its Constitution, or whether knowing it, he treats it, in this manner, on purpose the more, palpably to insult it, I know not.3 { 352 } The Sovereignty resides in the States General. But who are the States General? Not their High Mightinesses, who assemble at the Hague to deliberate. These are only Deputies of the States General. The States General, are the Regencies of the Cities, and the Bodies of Nobles, in the several Provinces. The Burgomasters of Amsterdam, therefore, who are called the Regency are one Integral Branch of the Sovereignty of the seven United Provinces, and the most material Branch of all, because the City of Amsterdam is one quarter of the whole Republick, at least in Taxes.
What would be Said in England, if the Count de Welderon, Ambassader at the Court of London, had presented a Memorial to the King, in which he had charged, any integral Part of their sovereignty, as the whole House of Lords, or the whole House of Commons, with Conspiracies, Factions, Cabals, Sacrificing general Interest to private Views, and demanded examplary Punishment upon them. The Cases are in Nature precisely Parellel, altho there are only three Branches of the Souvereignty in England, and there are a greater Number than three in Holland.
There are Strong Simptoms of Resentment, of this outrageous Memorial in Amsterdam; but whether the whole, will not evaporate <in Smoke> I know not. Many Persons however, are of opinion that a War is inevitable, and Insurance, cannot be had, even to St. Eustatia, Since this memorial was made publick under 20 or 25 Pr. Cent.4
This Memorial is So like the Language of my Lord Hilsborough and Governor Bernard, that I could Scarcly forbear Substituting Boston for Amsterdam, and Otis or Hancock or Adams for Van Berkel as I read it.5 I should not wonder if the next Memorial should charge the Republick with Rebellion and except, two or three from Pardon.6 I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation by John Thaxter: “No. 20.” There is no copy of this letter in the PCC, nor any indication in the JCC that it was ever received, but see JA's first letter of 25 Nov. to the president of Congress, note 1 (No. 22, below).
1. This is JA's translation of the Memorial from the French, but it does not differ in any significant way from the numerous other versions published at the time. See, for example, the London Chronicle, 18–21 Nov.; London Courant, 21 November.
2. For the documents captured with Henry Laurens, in particular the Le-Neufville treaty of 1778, see JA's letter of 27 Oct. to the president of Congress, No. 18, note 3 and references there (above).
3. Compare JA's analysis here with Francis Dana's in his letter of 11 Nov. to Jonathan Jackson (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:151–153).
4. In 1809, when he published this letter in the Boston Patriot, JA included an additional comment on the impact of Yorke's Memorial on the Netherlands: “If the prince's [William V, Prince of Orange] denunciation had spread a great alarm, the thunder of Sir Joseph York, when it had time to reach the ears of the whole nation, excited shudderings and amazement, like that of Mount Sinai, among the { 353 } camp of the Hebrews. The nation had scarcely known a war for three quarters of a century, and a near prospect of it, though only probable, was very terrible to them all” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 271–272).
5. JA refers to the opposition by Massachusetts to the Townshend Duties following their adoption in 1767, and specifically to the circular letter proposed by James Otis and Samuel Adams and adopted by the Massachusetts House on 11 Feb. 1768 and to the riots resulting from the customs' seizure of John Hancock's ship Liberty on 10 June 1768. Lord Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies, responded to the circular letter by ordering Gov. Francis Bernard to inform the Massachusetts legislature it must either rescind the letter or be dissolved. When the legislature refused to act in accordance with Bernard's demand, and in direct response to the riots, Hillsborough took the even more provocative step of dispatching troops to Boston (Peter D. G. Thomas, The Townshend Duties Crisis, Oxford, 1987, p. 76–93; see also JA to Thomas Digges, 19 Nov., below).
6. This refers to Gen. Thomas Gage's proclamation of 12 June 1775, which declared martial law and offered pardons to all who would lay down their arms except for John Hancock and Samuel Adams (vol. 3:49).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0190

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-11-17

To the President of Congress, No. 21

[salute] Sir

From the Time, of the Arrival of my Commission, I have been constantly employed in forming Acquaintances, making Inquiries and asking Advice; but am Sorry to be obliged to Say that I hitherto See no certain Prospect of borrowing any Money, at all.
For Some Years past, all the Information I could obtain from this Country1 led me to think, that America had many Friends in this Republick, and that a considerable Sum might be borrowed here, provided Application was made to Dutch Houses, of old Families and numerous Connections. And after my Arrival here, I had the opinion of Persons who, I had every Reason to think, knew best, that if proper Powers should arrive from the thirteen united States, Money might be had.
But, now that all agree that full Powers have arrived, I do not find the Same Encouragement. This Nation has been so long in the Habit, of admiring the English and disliking the French: so familiarized to call England the natural Ally and France the natural Ennemy of the Republick, that it must be the Work of Time to eradicate these Prejudices, altho the Circumstances are greatly altered. Add to this the little Decission and Success, which has appeared in the Conduct of the Affairs of America and her Allies, and the Series of Small Successes which the English have had for the last twelve months.—The Suspence and Uncertainty in which Mans Minds have been held respecting the Accession of the Dutch to the armed Neutrality: and at last the Publication of some Papers taken with Mr. Laurens, the Part the Statholder has acted and the angry Memorial of Sir Joseph { 354 } York, concerning them;2 all these Things together have thrown this Nation into a State of Astonishment, Confusion and Uncertainty, to such a degree that No House that I have as yet thought it prudent to apply to, dares to undertake the Trust. The Times are now critical indeed. The Question will be decided in a few Days, whether the Republick shall join the armed Neutrality or not. Four Provinces have voted for it—two others, have voted in such a manner that their Deputies may agree to it; and most Men Say it will be decided by the Plurality.
The King of England demands a Disavowal of the Amsterdam Treaty, and the Punishment of the Regency. They will not be punished nor their Conduct disavowed.
The King of England therefore must take such Measures, as he shall think his Dignity, and the essential Interest of his People require. What these will be Time alone can discover. Many think he will declare War—but more are of a different opinion.
Congress who have been long used to contemplate the Characters and the Policy of this King and his Ministers, will see that they are now pursuing towards this Republick the Same Maxims which have always governed them. Their Measures in America for many Years, were calculated to divide the many from the Few in the Towns of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charlestown—next to divide the Provinces from their Capitals—and then to divide the rest of the Continent from those Provinces, which took the earliest a decided Part.
Their Plan now is to divide, the People of Amsterdam from their Burgomasters, and to Single out Mr. Van Berkel, for the Fate of Barnevelt, Grotius or De Wit.3 To divide the other Cities of Holland from Amsterdam—and the other Provinces of the Republick from Holland. But they will succeed no better in Holland than in America. And their Conduct bids fair to make Mr. Vanberkel, the most respected and esteemed of all the Citizens.
In the present critical state of Things a Commission of a Minister Plenipotentiary, would be usefull here. It would not be acknowledged, perhaps not produced, except in case of War. But if Peace should continue, it would Secure its Possessor the External Respect of all. It would give him a Right to claim and demand the Prerogatives and Priviledges, of a Minister Plenipotentiary, in case any thing should turn up, which might require it: it would make him considered as the Center of American Affairs, and it would assist, if any thing would, a Loan.
{ 355 }
I cannot conclude without observing that I cannot think it would be Safe for Congress to draw for Money here, untill they shall receive certain Information, that their Bills can be honoured. There are Bills arrived, which, if Mr. Franklin cannot answer, must, for what I know be protested. I have the Honour to be
LbC (Adams Papers); notation by John Thaxter: “No. 21.” There is no copy of this letter in the PCC, nor any indication in the JCC that it was ever received, but see JA's first letter of 25 Nov. to the president of Congress, note 1 (No. 22, below).
1. JA is likely referring to C. W. F. Dumas' many letters to the American Commissioners between April 1778 and Feb. 1779, the period during which JA was a Commissioner. Dumas' letters emphasized the support for the American cause by the members of the “patriot” or anti-stadholder party. See vols. 6 and 7.
2. Of 10 Nov., see JA's letter of 16 Nov. to the president of Congress (No. 20, above).
3. JA means that Engelbert van Berckel, Grand Pensionary of Amsterdam, was to be sacrificed for opposing William V, the Stadholder, with regard to Great Britain and the American war. In 1619, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, advocate of the States of Holland, had been executed and Huig de Groot [Hugo Grotius], pensionary of Rotterdam, imprisoned for opposing Maurice of Nassau, the Stadholder, and his powers and position in the religious conflict between the strict and more moderate Calvinists, the Gomarists and the Arminians. Johan de Witt, councilor pensionary of the States General, was murdered by a mob in 1672, largely because he opposed restoring William III, and the House of Orange, to the stadholdership (Parker, Dutch Revolt, p. 251–253; Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 46–51, 112–130).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0191

Author: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-17

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dear Sir

I acknowlegd the Receipt of yours the 28th Octo. and 7th Instant in my last letter of the 14th. Since that day no material move with regard to our friend; but I am in consultations now and then to fix upon some mode by a motion in Parliament to have him put on parole or releasd by Bail. By the inclosd letter you will discover as much as I have yet been able to discover of the writer who appears to be Mr. L——s Secretary.1 The other papers alluded to in His letter are no where here abouts yet,2 but I will keep a look out for them knowing some of the names mentiond in the inclosd. As the inclosd has but this moment come to hand and I am rather pinchd for time by this Post, I can not further add.
You will by this time have read and heard as much as I have relative to Arnolds apostacy. Ministry have been in possession of the plan of this plot above a month (ever since Gov. Trions arrival)3 and it has been the cause of their holding out such strong assurances of success from America, and of their confidant elation. They now brag very much of a considerable disunion in W——ns army and that Knox, Skuyler, Howe, and another Genl. have come over to their Interest.4 { 356 } I do not beleive any thing of this. It is meerly held out to cover the disgrace and ruin of their dearly purchasd plots.
It is said Rodney was not to Leave Ama. till the 25th October then to go to His old Station.5 By the packet and other arrivals from N York subsequent to the Gazette accounts it appears the whole British fleet of 24 ships was blocking up Rhode Island, and no accounts whatever, in that or any other quarter, of the French or Spanish fleets. How can you account for them?
The Books lately wrote for are shippd on board the [] Captain for Amsterdam.6 Twelve or fourteen in all. The papers are sent regularly as directed. As I shall be uneasy about this inclosure please to acknowlege the Receipt of it.
The Expedition for Chesapeak is said to be saild from N York. When you get any News from the Southern army or from Virga. give me a line. What think you of the article in the inclosd mentioning the recapture of Gates's Baggage, taking Lord Cornwallis &ca.7
The Writer of the within and the Captn. Peckles will most likely be sent into Prison with their Countrymen at Portsmouth. I do not know how to help them as yet, probably Mr. L——ns friend, Mr. Manning, may be inducd to advance them a little money. Mr. Young is Mr. L——ns Secretary—and the papers said to be left with Mr. Shute were so orderd to be by Mr. L, probably to be forwarded from N foundland to some part of America.
Your Pamphlets and 2 shool books, went yesterday or this morning (13 in all) in a paper parcell directed to Messrs Q D and son. I cannot yet get the Ship or Captns name.
RC with one enclosure, (Adams Papers). For the enclosure, which has not been printed, see note 1.
1. The enclosure was a letter to Henry Laurens from Moses Young, his secretary, dated 14 Nov. on the frigate Vestal off the Isle of Wight. Young indicated that the letter was to be carried by Winslow Warren, a fellow passenger on the Vestal, who planned to go to London with Capt. Berkely, the frigate's commander, immediately upon the vessel's arrival at Spithead, the anchorage off Portsmouth. The letter was largely devoted to an account of the Battle of Camden received from a Capt. Smith, commander of the privateer brigantine Fair American, which had sailed from Ocracoke, N.C., 21 Sept. and was captured by the Vestal on 6 October. Young ended his letter with a plea for funds “to enable me to appear and act as I know Col: Laurens wishes I should.”
2. These were Henry Laurens' letters of 14 Sept. to the Committee for Foreign Affairs and his son, John Laurens. Done on the Vestal, off St. John's, Newfoundland, they reported Laurens' capture. Young indicated that a Mr. Shute had promised to forward them immediately and they ultimately reached America, by way of St. Eustatius, in early 1781 (PCC, No. 89, I, f. 201–202; South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 6:158–160 [Oct. 1905]).
3. Tryon reached London on 14 Oct. (London Chronicle, 12–14 Oct.).
4. The information provided by Digges here and in the following paragraph reflects the accounts appearing in the London newspa• { 357 } pers on or about 16 Nov.; see, for example, the London Chronicle of 14–16 and 16–18 Nov., and the London Courant of 16 November. With respect to the erroneous report of the defection of several American generals, however, the London Chronicle listed them as Gens. Knox, Sullivan, Howe, and Maxwell.
5. For the movements of Adm. Sir George Rodney and the dispatch of the expedition to the Chesapeake, noted in the second paragraph below, see Digges' letter of 14 Nov., note 3 (above).
6. The names of both the vessel and its captain were left blank in the manuscript.
7. In his account of the Battle of Camden and its aftermath, Moses Young indicated that at the end of August, a force under Gen. Richard Caswell had taken “a great Part of the Enemy's Baggage and retook the whole Baggage of Gen. Gates's Army” and that Caswell's troops had captured Cornwallis, who was later rescued. In addition, a large body of reinforcements under Gates' command was reportedly moving rapidly in Cornwallis' direction. These reports, which appeared in the London newspapers, such as the London Courant of 18 Nov., were false.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0192

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Date: 1780-11-18

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Sir

I have recieved the letter which You were so good as to write me on the 15th. of this Month. The Translation of the Narrative of Genl. Howe cannot fail to have a good Effect at this critical Moment.
The final Independence of America is as certain, as a decree of the Destinies. The only Question is, how much Blood shall be shed and how long Mankind shall be unnecessarily embroiled in the quarrel, and how many Nations shall be injured and insulted by one. It is plain, that Genl. Howe studiously avoids giving any Information to the rest of Mankind, which can shew the Weakness of his Country and the Strength and Unanimity of America, but what was absolutely necessary for his own Vindication. Yet enough appears, to shew his Opinion and to convince any impartial Reader. It is astonishing that any sensible Man, should still be of Opinion, that there is either Light or Integrity in the British Ministry. The whole History of the Court of St. James's for these twenty Years proves that they have had the narrowest views, and been actuated by the meanest Passions. They have betrayed a total Ignorance of the Temper, Character, Principles, and Views of America, France, Spain, Holland, Russia, Sweeden and Denmark. They have discovered a constant Contempt of Truth, Justice, Liberty and Humanity—in short they have shewn themselves ignorant of every thing that Statesmen ought to know, except the Character of their Master, and the Degree to which Corruption might be carried in their Nation, and this last Knowledge has been or will be the Ruin of themselves, their Master and Nation altogether.
Your Advertisement, and your Observations on American Credit, I shall expect with Impatience, as they will undoubtedly throw much { 358 } light upon our Affairs. You may depend upon me, Sir, for any little Assistance I may be able to afford You, in your virtuous Labours, in the Cause of Mankind. I have written for G. Burgoyne's Narrative, but have not yet recieved it. As soon as it comes it shall be sent.
This <Opportunity> Republick2 will very soon have its Eyes opened upon its Interest and its Duty. I have had too long and too painful Experience of the British Cabinet, and their Conduct, not to know, that when they use a Language like that of Sir Joseph Yorke's Memorial, they mean a great deal. It will not long be in the Power of any Man to think so favourably as some do or pretend to do.
I should be obliged to You if You would let me know upon what Terms my Sons might go to the School you mention and whether Greek as well as Latin is taught at it.
I am Sir, with very great Respect and Esteem your H. Servt.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The letter printed here is JA's second of this date to Cerisier. In the first (LbC, Adams Papers), JA thanked Cerisier for his letter of the 15th (above) and his translation of Howe's Narrative, and promised to write at greater length soon. JA also enclosed two pamphlets, one of them probably Pensées, and some papers “written in great haste.” The enclosures cannot be more fully identified, for no replies by Cerisier to either of the letters of 18 Nov. have been found, probably because his employer, the Utrecht bookseller Bartholomé Wild, had him thrown into prison for breach of contract. See Joseph Mandrillon's letter of 20 Dec. (below).
2. “Republick” is in JA's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0193

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, Fernando Raymond
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-11-19

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr Sr.

The Bundle by Mr. B[romfield] I received, and one or two Parcells since. Yesterday I received the N. Papers and yours of the 14th.
I wish to know, how Sir. J. Y. Mem. is considered among you. Will they declare this Republick in Rebellion, or not? Whenever my Lord H—h has charged Faction and Cabal, it has been followed Soon by outlawry, and Charges of Rebellion and War.1
Poor Arnold! Where are his Laurels?—So much for attempting to convert the Tory Ladies.2 I dont wonder, there is no Exultation. A poor crippled, Piece of frail Mortality, hobbling on Crutches can no longer be an active Soldier. Will he go out? If he does he will meet Riflemen, and Hunters.
This Defection is not So shocking, as the Example of the Son of the Count of Egmont, delivering up to the Spaniards that very Brussells where the Citizens dipt their Hankerchiefs in his Fathers Blood in order to preserve the prescious Drops.3
{ 359 }
It must have been a Bargain to march a Body of Men into Some Position to be Surrenderd up. As to a Body of 3000 Men, or their Officers being corrupted, I know better.4
Can you discover, whether Mr. [Laurens] had a Commission as Plenipo. or only to negotiate a Loan. This is a material Question.
Mr. Searle's desires his Respects to you.5
With great Regard yrs
[signed] F.R.S.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W. S. Church.”
1. See JA's letter of 16 Nov. to the president of Congress, No. 20, and note 4 (above).
2. For JA's previous reference to the “Tory Ladies,” see his letter of 14 July to Edmund Jenings (above).
3. The Duke of Alva executed Lamoral, Count of Egmont, in Brussels' main square on 5 June 1568. His son, Philip of Egmont, initially supported the Orangist rebellion, but ultimately returned his allegiance to Spain and in June 1579 led an assault on Brussels. The effort failed and he was forced to withdraw as the townspeople, who remembered his father, jeered (Gordon Griffiths, William of Hornes, Lord of Hèze and the Revolt of the Netherlands, Berkeley, 1954, p. 14–15, 30, 43, 59, 69–70, 80).
4. The London newspapers of 14 Nov., which Digges presumably enclosed with his letter of that date (above), carried the first reports to reach England of Benedict Arnold's treason. Although it has not been found, JA refers here to one of those reports.
5. Both this sentence and the dateline are in John Thaxter's hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-11-19

To William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I am honoured with yours of the 15 and congratulate you on your Recovery, and that of your Family, mine have all luckily escaped hitherto.
The Relaxation of Mr. L.s Confinement is owing intirely to the Ministry getting Information that the opposition intended to make a Motion about him. This would have made so much Noise and excited so many Speculations, that they had reason to dread it.
Ten Thousand Men, if to be found will not repair the Waste made by sickness and the sword in N. A. and the W. I. last Year. But they will not obtain half the Number.
There cannot be three greater Absurdities, than the three Systems you mention. As to the last, I believe you are mistaken. I never Suspected any such System. I am Sure the Conduct was not calculated upon any Such Principle.
A Zeal for the Union of the 13 States, is in my opinion one of the first Duties of every American Citizen. For altho I am myself of opinion, that All the 13 would maintain their Independancy, if they were rent into two or three Divisions—yet there would be too much { 360 } Hazard of Britains prevailing over some—and if she should not prevail over any, yet the different divisions of the continent, would soon be at War, with each other.
The Resolves of the Associations merit Attention, but I Scarcely think the Debates worth reading. Even the Idol Fox is as crude, indigested, and little to be depended on in American affairs as the Ministry. Nothing in England merits the Attention of an Honest Man or a Lover of Liberty but the Committees, yet so many ignorant and unprincipled Men get Credit there, that I see no Prospect of their doing any Thing well.
Sir J. Y. Mem. is a Master Piece. It is a curiosity. We shall See how this Measure will end. Whether the Republick will join the armed Neutrality I know not, if they do not, it will be wholly owing to this memorial, and the British Ministry will have answered their End. But this will not content them. The King of England having declared War, against Mr. V. Berkel and the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, must go on, and Support the Dignity of his Character. If any Man or Men whom he has charged with Faction, Cabal, Sacrificing general Interests to private Views, Violations of the Law of Nations, Disturbance of the Peace &c. are ever forgiven, I shall be mistaken.
Is not Arnold an Acquisition—a Cripple, hobbling on Crutches, charged with Peculation, reprimanded at the head of the Army, and likely to be prosecuted at common Law, flying from Vengeance. Nothing can be a fuller Proof of Weakness, than such miserable shifts of Bribery and Treachery. The meanness of it, will make them despized by all Men. With great Regard, your humble sert.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0195

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Date: 1780-11-20

To Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inclose, a Smal Pamphlet1 lately published, which in this critical Moment may do Some good.
The Hour draws nigh, when this Republick is to determine, whether it will acceed to the armed Neutrality: but let their determination of that question be as it will, if they do not disavow the Conduct of Amsterdam, and punish Mr. Van berkel and the Burgomasters, the King of Great Britain has threatened, and if I am not deceived by his past Conduct, he will attempt to carry his Threats into Execution. If he declares War, or which is more probable, commences hostilities { 361 } without a declaration it will be on pretence of an Insult and an Injury, committed by beginning a Correspondence and a Treaty with his Subjects in Rebellion, altho they were at that Time as compleatly in Possession of an Independance and a Sovereignty de Facto as England or Holland were.
I hope for the Honour of your Answer to the Proposal I made you,2 by the Time limited and am with the Utmost Respect, Sir your most obt. sert.
1. Pensées; see van der Capellen's reply of 28 Nov. (below).
2. The exact nature of JA's proposal to van der Capellen, probably made in person sometime after JA's letter of 22 Oct. (above), is unknown, but for van der Capellen's reply, see his letter of 28 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0196

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-11-20

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

I have received your obliging Letter and a dozen Copies of the “Pensees.” I am much obliged to you Sir, for these Copies, and for an excellent Preface, which is worth more than the Book.
I Should be glad to pay for a Couple of Dozens more of these Pamphlets. They come out, in the critical Moment to do good, if ever. If the Impression they make now should not be deep, it will sink deeper e'er long, for I See plainly by “a certain Memorial,”1 that the King of England and his Ministers, have in their Hearts War against this Republick. Join or not join the armed Neutrality, it will come, if After a long Experience of those Characters I have not mistaken them. They do not charge Faction and Cabal &c. &c. &c. but in Earnest.
I am sir, with great Esteem, your hml srt.
1. Sir Joseph Yorke's of 10 Nov., see JA to the president of Congress, 16 Nov., No. 20 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0197

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-20

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Your Excellencys Letter of the 7th Instant came duly to Hand.
The Queries, sent to England, came to me from Madrid; that which regards Instructions to inspire the American Agents with distrust of one Another, has not been explained to me, and therefore I know not { 362 } what Suggestions have been, and were to be used for that purpose, perhaps none were, but only directions given for it, as is Usual in drawing up political Instructions. However I will write to Know what was said and done in pursuance thereof, and Immediately do myself the Honor of Communicating the Answer to your Excellency.
I do not know your Excellencys opinion of the King of Englands Speech, and the proceedings of Parliament thereon, but to me the same leaven of Malice is mixed therein, as in the former Conduct of that King and People, under whom we have suffered so much. However, I think I observe, that they bear with greater Patience the Talk of our Independancy, and when Any One declares, that the Sense of the Nation is Against the American War, it passes without Contradiction. This is little, but it is Something, considering the former Obstinacy and Insolence. It was with pleasure I read that the Absurdity of Pulteneys Opinion, that the war became Just, when the Americans refused to Negociate was Answered in some degree by Mr. Fox.1 A fuller Answer might have been given, such a One, as might have touched the Man himself, but this would have rendered Him, if possible, more perverse and Obstinate, for Fools and Knaves are never convinced by Reason, but are made more foolish and Knavish by Conviction.
I observe that Col. Hartley, Cosin to David, has given Notice of a Motion to address the King to make peace with America upon any Terms.2
My Anxiety is great at this Moment about the Conduct, which the States General may hold in their present Situation. Never surely were a people treated with more Outrage and Insult than the Dutch. The Proceedings of the King of England cannot be Accounted for, but on a Supposition, that He Knows, He has so strong a Party among them, that He shall Oblige the whole to be subservient to his purposes, and that He will by a desperate blow enable himself by the seizure of the Dutch Property in the English Funds, to carry on the War at their Expence. The personal Attack on the Pensioner Van Berkel is, I imagine, a Party business to give Weight to those, who Evidently concur with Sir J York, and to ruin the true friends of the Republic. If Minheer Van Berkel is sacrificed—this will be the Effect, but this cannot be done without debasing at the same Time the Dignity and endangering the Liberty of Holland. All Europe will then see and Act Accordingly, it will see that there is no Insult, or Outrage, which the Dutch will not put up with to save the triffling Comperative Interests of Individuals. I doubt not that the Dutch Money in the English { 363 } Funds is the Object of the English Kings Threats—his Avarice will seize it—but will the Punishment of Monsieur van Berkel answer all the purposes of England? The ruin of the Patriotic Party may be Attained by it, and this is an Object with those in Holland who evidently Act in Concert with the English Minister, to whom I doubt not they have suggested this Malicious Measure, to serve their purposes against the public Freedom, but the whole of the English Kings Designs will not be compleated thereby. I am sure it has been determind some time to seize the Dutch Interest in the Funds with or without reason, and it is with this View, that He has endeavoured by repeated Outrage and Insult to force them to some strong Acts to give a color to his Unwarrantable Policy. The Violation of their Independancy at Home and Abroad and in particular the Affair of St. Martins cannot be accounted for on other Grounds. Whether Obedience is paid to the Order, (for such it appears to all Europe) to punish an Individual will little Signify. Fresh Occasions will be taken and made, until this avaritious Necessity of England is satisfied, and therefore let not the Dutch Think they can ward off the premeditated Blow, let them take those Measures which their true and Solid Interests demand. Let them Act with Vigor or the King of England will govern them in all Cases whatever.
To this End, there is one Thing most Obviously to be done. They ought to draw their Money immediately out of the Funds as silently as possible, and never trust them Again, that they may not in future be led into Temptation to Sacrifice the public Interest to partial and Selfish Views. The States themselves ought to take measures to secure the Virtue of the People by preventing them putting themselves in a Situation, that may induce them to fear more for a private than the general Interest.
The Dutch have done Noble Actions—I wish the Recollection of them would reanimate their Minds. They opposed Lewis the 14th a formidable Power in the Heigth of his Strength and Glory, who attempted to render them subservient to his purposes: they then Acted bravely and Magnanimously in Support of their Independancy. They sacrificed all private Interest and Property, and the very Soil, on which they Stood to defeat their Ennemy. Can they not now bear to Sacrifice the pecuniary Interest of a few Individuals to preserve their public Independancy. They contend for a greater Interest than a specifyed Sum of Money. They contend for a continued encreasing wealth, which flows from extended Commerce and at the same time, for their Honor and Liberty and that too Against a desperate weakned { 364 } and disgraced People, who have ever been their Rivals and are now their avowed Ennemies and insulting Masters.
All Men must see, that England is in such a desperate State, that She will not stick at any thing, that may serve to extricate Herself from her present Danger. She will not and thinks she ought not to Keep any Faith, where the Breach of it may tend to save Her from Ruin. She will Justify herself on this ground to her People, Salus Populi est Suprema Lex,3 and they, blinded by their Avarice and Ambition, will approve of the Doctrine and the Measures taken in Consequence thereof altho they must Eventually be fatal to themselves, for the Seizure of the Dutch Property will destroy all future Credit with Foreigners—it will at the same Time shake it much at Home. Hitherto public Credit has never been violated, when it is violated in any one Instance, under any pretence and for any purpose, it may, and will be violated in others. This must be Obvious to all, it will be felt and acted upon by many and by Consequence the raising the Supplies as Usual will be much embarrassed, if not totally put a stop to by a general Distrust.
I am shocked and grievd beyond Measure at the Defection of Arnold.
I beg your Excellency to Excuse my sending to you for your perusal and conveyance in the Safest Manner two Pacquets from Mr. Amory.4 He seems to be a repentant Sinner and deserving of our forgiveness—if your Excellency thinks so, I am Confident you will render Him a most essential Service in putting his Papers in the Way of being Transmitted to Boston. If your Excellency does, let me beg that you would make a Note by what ships they may go.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys most Faithful & Obedient Humbl Sert.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Jennings 20th. Novr. 1780.”
1. This exchange between William Pulteney and Charles James Fox occurred on 6 Nov. during the debate over an address of thanks to George III for his speech of 1 Nov. opening Parliament. Pulteney declared that he had originally thought the American war unjust, but had changed his mind, for the war was now conducted to aid Britain's many friends in America. Fox considered the war and asked whether Pulteney thought “that the Americans, once driven by our injustice to assert their independency, ought, in justice, to relinquish that independence, and to alter their established government, and rely on our word for the performance of our promises?” (Parliamentary Hist., 21:825, 835).
2. Jenings mistakenly refers to Samuel Hartley, about whom David Hartley had written to JA on 14 Aug. (above). It was David Hartley's half-brother and member from Berkshire, Winchcombe Henry Hartley, who announced his intention to address the King on 13 Nov. (London Courant, 14 Nov.; Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, 2:594).
3. The people's safety is the highest law.
4. John Amory, of the well known Boston mercantile family, went to England in 1774 and was subsequently proscribed as a loyalist. { 365 } By the date of this letter he had apparently moved to Brussels, from which he returned to America at the end of the war and ultimately saw his Massachusetts citizenship restored (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:332–333).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0198

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: San, Fernando Raymond
Date: 1780-11-22

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dear Cozen

I understood from seeing a letter lately from Paris there had appeard at a Dutch Bankers in that City sundry seconds of Bills for acceptance the first of which had been paid by regular indorsements to Vieve Babet and Co., Nantes, which seconds of Bills appeard to have been taken among Mr. L—s papers and forwarded to Paris unindorsd for acceptance. This causd some uneasiness at Paris; the Bills were tracd to a Dutch Bankers who had them in remittance from Messr. Hopes. This transaction appearing rather too mean even for my Countrymen the English, I probd the matter to the bottom, and find it was all done for the best. A particular friend of a person2 who has frequently been the subject of my late letters, got the bills above alluded to, slipt into His hands during a first and watchd interview, and they were that way forwarded to prevent any unfair method being used of obtaining their value in another way. This affair has been cleard up by the friend of Our friend both in Yours and a neighbouring Country.3
No news from abroad save a disagreeable account of the dispersion of the expected Jamaica fleet. I fear I shall be ruind by it for the produce of my valuable Estate in that Island is on its way uninsurd.4
Since the news of Adjut. Genl. Andre's Execution in the Rebel Washingtons Camp nothing has been talkd of here but “making Examples,” acts of retaliation, &ca. &ca. A person of the name of Trumbull was taken up for high Treason on Sunday night and committed Irond to Prison. A search has been made after a Companion of His a Mr. Tyler who I am told got away some days ago. Many people were also carryd before the Magistrate who accidentally calld to visit either of these Gentlemen on Monday. Many names are talkd of in this last list. Mr. De Neufville a Dutch Merchant, Mr. Digs, Mr. Stewart a Limner of Rhode Island, Mr. H. Laurens Jur.,5 and sundry others, but nothing as I can learn was got out of them and it is impossible to say to what lengths they will go against Mr. Trumbull—report says that the affadavits of two Refugee N. England men and his own papers are quite sufficient to hang Him, and hang him they certainly will if they can, for my Countrymen seem to thirst after blood most exceedingly since Andre's execution.6
{ 366 }
Many others Americans are threatend, but as I know none of them having no connexion with that Country I realy forget their names. I can assure you Sir from present conversations and dispositions for revenge which is dayly <expected> expressd, my Country has become exceedingly disagreable to live in, and I heartily wish I could live among people fonder of Philosophy and philanthropy.
Adieu Yrs Affecy &ca.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Myn Heer De Heer Ferdinand Raymond San Ten Huyze De Heer Hendrick Shorn Amsterdam”; endorsed: “W.S.C. Novr 22d 1780.”
1. This letter, as well as those of 8 Nov. [i.e. Dec.], 22 and 26 Dec. (all below), are notable for Digges' attempt to conceal his identity because of his concern over the arrest of John Trumbull for treason (see note 6). He tried to produce a letter that clearly was not by an American, and certainly not by Thomas Digges. Opening his letter with “Dear Cozen,” he refers to the English as “my Countrymen” and England as “my Country,” implies that Trumbull is unknown to him, and even lists “Mr. Digs” among those questioned about Trumbull's activities. Digges had reason to be apprehensive. Newspaper accounts of Trumbull's arrest mentioned Digges as a sympathizer, and possible agent, for the American cause and the person who, under the alias of Mr. Waters, forwarded at least one of the letters seized from Trumbull (London Morning Post and Daily Advertiser, 24 Nov. and 1 Dec.; London Chronicle, 21–23 Nov.). Digges' role in this affair is unclear, but he surely had some direct or indirect contact with Trumbull and his three December letters indicate that he probably helped John Steele Tyler escape from England.
2. The “person” was Henry Laurens, and the “friend” was William Manning Sr., who, with Henry Laurens Jr., was allowed to visit Laurens after his commitment to the Tower (from Thomas Digges, 17 Oct., and note 1, above). The letter from Paris was that of 7 Nov. from Benjamin Franklin, for which see Digges' letter to Franklin of 21 Nov., and notes, Digges, Letters, p. 335–337.
3. The Netherlands and France.
4. For the misfortunes that befell the Jamaica fleet, see the London Chronicle of 21–23 November. The reference, however, is apparently another effort by Digges to conceal his identity, since there is no evidence that he owned property on the island.
5. These were Leendert de Neufville, son of Jean de Neufville; Digges, himself; Gilbert Stuart, a member of Benjamin West's household; and Henry Laurens' son.
6. John Trumbull and John Steele Tyler visited JA at Paris in June and then, despite the two men's service in the Continental Army and Trumbull's status as son of the governor of Connecticut, went on to London in July, Trumbull to study painting under Benjamin West. They informed the ministry of their arrival and plans to reside in London, apparently expecting no interference in their affairs, but the Morning Post of 17 Aug. noted their arrival and declared that “if such persons are suffered to be at liberty in England another conflagration may soon happen.” The loyalists did not forget and with the arrival of news of the arrest and execution of Maj. John André as a spy a new opportunity presented itself, for as the Morning Post of 24 Nov. pointed out in its lengthy account of Trumbull's arrest, Trumbull and André had held identical ranks in their respective armies. But the original warrant for high treason was issued for Tyler, although orders were given to secure the person and possessions of Trumbull. Tyler was warned of his impending arrest by Winslow Warren and escaped, leaving John Trumbull to face the charges. Trumbull was arrested early on the morning of 20 Nov., with the first report appearing in the Morning Post of 21 Nov., but see also the issues of 22, 23, and 24 Nov., as well as the London Courant of the 22d. Trumbull remained in custody until June 1781, when he was released on bail and set off for America. For Trumbull's account of his journey to London, imprisonment, and eventual release, see The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953, p. 60–72.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0199

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-22

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

Two days ago I received your favour of the 18th. March, without ever hearing before of, or seeing since the Gentleman there recommended.1 When I have an opportunity I shall most certainly pay proper respect to your recommendations, by takeing proper Notice of him.
My last to you was by a French frigate from Newport with a Copy of what went by Capt. Hayden from here to Amsterdam.2 I beleive I gave you a General State of our Affairs here, and as you will doubtless get one of them, I shall not trouble you with repetitions. Since that our New Goverment has taken place. The Papers will tell you, who are the Governing Powers, that Compose the Administration, it is only necessary for me to tell you that it is now perfectly Systematic. The Influence here is as Uniform and Extensive as in England, and the Criterion to determine the Qualifications for Office much the same as in the most Arbitrary Goverments, or in the most servile Nations. How long this will last I dont know. Whether Pisistratus3 will be able to Establish himself Perpetual Archon, or whether he will be Able to Convey that Honor and rank to his Family by hereditary right Time must determine. He has no Guards, yet Established, but he has unbounded Adulation, and Submission and that may Effect here all the purposes for which Guards were necessary at Athens. It is certain there is a greater Influence and a more unlimited Confidence here than is Consistent with a Republican Goverment. That Influence has already Effected here what Hutchinson was never Able to do, it has not only removed S. A. from all Share in the Govt. but taken from him his Bread, and given the Secretaryship to Mr. Avery Son in Law to the Leut. Govr.4—Your Friend Gerry is the next Object and who among you that at Congress Committed the unpardonable Sin, of opposeing or not submitting to his Measures, is uncertain. Perhaps the Extent of the Atlantic may secure you and Mr. Dana for a while. We have no public News. Our Troops have gained some Advantages in Carolina, but there is no prospect of any great and decisive Strokes. Clinton is Landed in Virginia with about 3500 Troops.5 What will be the Issue is uncertain. Chesepeak is a fine Trap, if policy and spirit should dictate to the French in the W. Indies an Expedition there. The State of Vermont as they stile themselves grow Troublesome. I beleive it is certain they have made a Truce with the Gov. of { 368 } Canada for a Number of days, and it is said they are on this Occasion makeing peremptory demands on Congress, to Acknowledge their Independence, within a certain Time.6 The French Fleet and Army still at Newport, and the several States Employed in ways and means to fill up their Army dureing the War and in Arrangeing their finances to pay and supply them. If any Body asks how long the War is to Continue, I shall refer them to you, who can tell much better than I can. Mrs. Warren writes to you,7 and may make her own Acknowledgements for the Compliment you make her. My Compliments to Mr. Dana and the Young Gentlemen.
I am Your Friend & Humbl. Servt.
[signed] J Warren
P.S. We hear that Mr. Laurence is taken and carried to Newfoundland, and that you are at Amsterdam. I wish you success and Happiness whereever you are.
No Advice yet of the Trunk Committed to Doctr. Winship, and perhaps never will unless you Catch him in France.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Genl. Warren 22d. Novr. 1780.”
1. Jean Baptiste Petry, see note 1 to the letter of 18 March (above).
2. Warren's last letter was of 12 Oct. (above); the duplicate, sent under a covering letter of 18 Oct. (Adams Papers), has not been found.
3. John Hancock, see Mercy Otis Warren's letter of 15 Nov., and note 4 (above).
4. John Avery, former deputy secretary of the Council of the Provincial Congress, was elected secretary of the commonwealth on 27 October. Warren clearly believed that the job should have gone to Samuel Adams, clerk of the House of Representatives from 1766 to 1775 and provincial secretary since 1775, but Adams, himself, apparently bore Avery no illwill over his election. Avery's father-in-law, Thomas Cushing, had been elected lieutenant governor on 14 November. What Warren does not reveal in the course of his criticism of John Hancock is that on 7 Nov., following James Bowdoin's refusal to serve, he, Warren, had been elected lieutenant governor, but on the 10th had declined the office (E. M. Bacon, ed., Supplement to the Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, Boston, 1896, p. 54–59; Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 10:420–465; 14:384–389; John C. Miller, Sam Adams, Boston, 1936, p. 105; Warren-Adams Letters, 2:144–145, 148–149; William M. Fowler Jr., Baron of Beacon Hill, Boston, 1980, p. 244).
5. This force of 2,500 troops was led by Gen. Alexander Leslie; Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton remained at New York. See Thomas Digges' letter of 14 Nov., note 3 (above).
6. Vermont declared its independence in 1777, but did not become a state until 1791. Congress' indecisiveness toward Vermont during the revolution was owing to the claims of New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to all or part of the state and to large-state fears that statehood for Vermont would set a precedent that a state might be dismembered by congressional action. The matter had not been resolved when debate ended in early October because the powers of Vermont's agents had expired. During the debates, Vermont had threatened to go over to the British and in 1781 did confer with British authorities, but the rapprochement ended with Cornwallis' surrender (Charles T. Morrissey, Vermont, A History, N.Y., 1981, p. 89–98; Larry R. Gerlach, “Connecticut, the Continental Congress, and the Independence of Vermont, 1777–1782,” Vermont History, 34:188–193 [July 1966]; JCC, 18:908–909; James Duane to George Clinton, [7 Oct.], Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 16:160–161; Ira Allen and Stephen Bradley to the president of Congress, 2 Oct., PCC, No. 40, I, f. 579).
7. On 15 Nov. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0200

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-11-24

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

The Letter which your Excellency did me the Honour to write me on the thirteenth is recieved, and I have accordingly accepted the Bills,1 and shall draw upon your Excellency about the Time they become payable, for Money, to enable me to discharge them, provided I should not succeed in my Endeavours to borrow it here.
I have hitherto no prospect at all. When I first arrived here, I had such Informations as made me believe that a Sum of Money might be had, upon the Credit of the United States: but the News from Carolina, and New York and the West Indies, but above all the Affair of the Burgomaster and Sir Joseph Yorke's Memorial have struck a Panic which must have Time to wear off. At present I meet with only one Gentleman,2 who thinks any thing can be done, and I fear that he decieves himself.
I hope by this Time, your Excellency's Health is restored, and have the Honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed by William Temple Franklin: “J. Adams Nov. 24. 1780.”
1. Franklin's letter of the 13th (above) probably arrived on the 23d, for on that date JA accepted bills valued at 16,220 guilders and by the end of 1780 had accepted bills totalling 57,446 guilders. These transactions are recorded in a folio volume, containing a full record of JA's transactions for the years 1780 through 1784. Its title, in JA's hand, is “An Account of Negotiations of Bills of Exchange in Holland in behalf of the United States by John Adams,” and beside the entries for 23 Nov. JA wrote “Amsterdam Nov. 23. 1780. In the Absence of Mr Laurens, and for the Honour of the United States accepted by John Adams” (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 192, f. 4–11).
2. In 1809, when this letter was published in the Boston Patriot, JA identified this person as Jean de Neufville (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 278–279).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0201

Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-24

From Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

After the receit of the Letter you honoured Me with the 3rd of this Month I immediately wrote to Messrs. Ve. J. Fleury & Desmadieres at Orleans, to send up the Wine Mr. Williams had procured you; and following the Circumstances it shall be disposed of in the best Manner possible.1
Respecting the News Papers for America, they have till now been { 370 } most regularly shipped. I have not been so fortunate in Opportunities for Amstrm. which I am very Sorry about.
We have no other News but that the Courrier de l'Europe has been pleased to give us, concerning André and Arnold. Count d'Estaing is not yet arrived.
Mr. Dana has wrote me2 that he was a coming and not to send on his Letters but Keep them, there is none. And I shant answer him expecting to do it by word of mouth. In case he be not yet gone you will oblige me particularly in giving him my best Respects, and several Compliments to Mr. Thaxter.
The family joins with me in assurances of true Attachment and great Consideration. I have the honour to be sir Your most obt hble sert
[signed] Hy. Grand
1. In his reply of 7 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers), JA indicated that John Bondfield might also have sent wine and requested that if either Williams or Bondfield drew upon Grand for payment, he comply and charge it to JA.
2. Probably Francis Dana's letter of 10 Nov. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook). Dana left Amsterdam on 1 Dec. and arrived at Paris on the 28th (from Dana, 13 Dec., below; and 1 Jan. 1781, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0202-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-24

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer ci-joint encore deux Exemplaires sur du Papier à écrire des Pensées: Je n'en ajoute pas un plus grand nombre, parce que vous pouvez l'avoir actuëllement plus facilement à Amsterdam même, chez les Libraires indiqués dans l'Avis, qui se trouve dans notre Gazette d'aujourd'hui.1 Je suis bien aise, que vous approuviez la Préface, qui néanmoins est audessous de l'épithète, que vous voulez bien lui donner.2
Je suis de votre avis relativement aux intentions des gens, dont vous parlez. J'espère que, si elles se réalisent, l'on fera la Guerre à bon escient; that it will not be a mock-war, calculated to crush the Commercial interest of our Country and to increase by our defeats the influence of those, who cry that our friendship with Britain is our salvation. En attendant je m'apperçois, que la publication des Papiers de Mr. Laurens opère contre le voeu de ceux qui en ont fait tant d'éclat.
J'ai l'honneur d'être avec les sentimens les plus respectueux, Monsieur, de Votre Excellence, Le très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] J: Luzac

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0202-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-24

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to enclose two more copies of the Pensées. I am not including more because you can get them more easily in Amsterdam from the booksellers listed in the advertisement appearing in today's Gazette.1 I am very glad that you approve of the preface which is, however, far beneath the encomium that you bestow upon it.2
I agree with you regarding the intentions of the people whom you mention. I hope, if they are realized, that it will be a real war: that it will not be a mock war, calculated to crush the commercial interest of our country and to increase by our defeats the influence of those, who cry that our friendship with Britain is our salvation. In the meantime, it appears that the publication of Mr. Laurens' papers works against the wishes of those who made such an uproar over them.
I have the honor to be, with the most respectful sentiments, sir, your excellency's very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] J: Luzac
1. See the Gazette de Leyde of 24 Nov., which indicated that Pensées was being sold by four Amsterdam booksellers.
2. Contained in JA's letter of 20 Nov. (above), to which this letter is a reply.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0203

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-11-25

To the President of Congress, No. 22

[salute] Sir

It is now certain that the States General, have by a Plurality of five Provinces determined to acceed to the armed Neutrality. Zealand and Guelderland, have agreed to it likewise, but upon Condition of a Warranty of the Possessions of the Republick.2 If the Intention of Sir J. Yorks Memorial, was to intimidate their high mightinesses from this measure, he has missed his aim. Nor will the Conduct of the Burgomasters of Amsterdam be disavowed, nor Mr. Van Berkel nor his accomplices punished. We shall see, how the British Ministry will disentangle themselves from this Perplexity.
All these Things however, so far from aiding our Affairs, in this nation Seem to have put an entire Stop to them for the Present. The Nation is trembling for their Commerce, their Money in the British Funds, their East and W. India Possessions; and no Man dares engage in a Measure that may in some degree, increase the Allarm.
The Bills upon Mr. Laurens, I have accepted, those of them at least, that have arrived, upon an assurance from Dr. Franklin that in case I should not be able to borrow the Money by the Time they become payable, that I may draw upon him for it.3 I think Congress { 372 } will perceive the danger of drawing any more, untill they shall receive Intelligence from me that the Money is ready.
The Choice of an House is a Point of So much Importance that I could not justify making it, without the most mature Inquiry and Reflection. Not only the success of the Negotiation will depend upon it but the political Consequences of it will be important. I have made every Inquiry, and Several Proposals, but all have been politely declined. There are two Houses which I believe would accept it, but these, altho respectable are so far from the first Rank, that I should be <ashamed> Sorry to fix upon either, if I could <obtain a more> See a Prospect of gaining one of higher Rank. I am told that opening the Loan now would injure Us exceedingly: but I know not what to judge. I have found So many opinions, mistaken, that in this Country I cannot judge which are well founded.
Fear is ever the Second Passion in minds governed by Avarice: as long therefore as the English misrepresentations can make People here believe that there is a Possibility of conquering America or of our returning to the Government of England, so long We shall find little Credit here.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation by John Thaxter: “No. 22.” There is no copy of this letter in the PCC, nor any indication in the JCC that it was ever received, but see note 1.
1. Immediately preceding this letter in the Letterbook is the notation by John Thaxter: “Amsterdam 25th Novr. 1780. Delivered Mr. Wilkinson an English Gentleman, Originals of 16th. 17th & 25th Novr. and Duplicates of some of prior date, to go to St. Eustatia, by the Cariolanus Aletta, Captn. Magnus.” Apparently these letters were lost for neither this first letter of 25 Nov., nor those of 16 and 17 Nov. (both above) were received by Congress.
2. The resolution, adopted on 20 Nov., had been reported in the Gazette de Leyde of 24 November. The five provinces voting affirmatively were Holland, Utrecht, Friesland, Overijssel, and Groningen; the two remaining provinces, Zeeland and Gelderland, acquiesced in the decision (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 158). The purport of the resolution was that the Dutch representatives at St. Petersburg could, with minor modifications, accede to the conventions already concluded by Russia with Denmark and Sweden on 9 July and 1 Aug. respectively. The formal accession took place at St. Petersburg on 4 Jan. 1781, a significant date in terms of the operation of the armed neutrality with regard to the Dutch, for Britain declared war against the Netherlands on 20 December. For the Dutch resolution of 20 Nov., the conventions of 9 July and 1 Aug., and the Dutch accession of 4 Jan. 1781, see James Brown Scott, ed., The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, N.Y., 1918, p. 325–328, 299–304, 311–316, 346–349; see also JA's letters to the president of Congress, 25 Dec., No. 29, and note 3; 28 Dec., No. 33, and note 2 (both below).
3. See Benjamin Franklin's letter of 13 Nov. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0204

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-11-25

To the President of Congress, No. 23

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

The Prince was ill advised, when he undertook, what he was not obliged to do, in producing Mr. Laurens's Papers, which he did too in a manner justly offensive to the United States. It was the part of Sir Joseph Yorke, to have produced them, not to the Prince, but to their High Mightinesses. His Serene Highness, therefore, in this Work of Supererogation, gave himself the Air of an Instrument of Sir Joseph, which has not all recommended him to the Dutch Nation.
But Sir Joseph, or his Master, have committed a greater Mistake, in presenting that intemperate Memorial. It is said that he pleads positive Orders, but many believe, that if he had such Orders, he procured them from his Court and that the Memorial was prepared at the Hague, and adjusted to the State of Parties and Politicks in the Republick.
Be this as it may, both the Prince and the Ambassador have missed their Aim and the Publication of Mr. Laurens's Papers, has had a contrary Effect from what they expected and intended.
The Republick however, is in an embarrassed Situation. The Prince has a decided Inclination for England. He has the Command of Armies and Navies, and the Gift of so many Offices, that his Influence is astonishing among the Nobility, and all the higher Families: besides this, the Clergy are very generally devoted to him, and their Influence among the Populace is very great. So that there is great danger, that the Republick will not be able to exert its real Strength, even in Case England should continue their Hostilities—I say continue because it is certain, that by repeated Violations of Territory, as well as by innumerable Captures of innocent Vessels, Hostilities have been long since begun.
It is the Opinion of many here, that without the Discovery of Mr. Laurens's Papers, the Republick would not have acceeded to the Armed Neutrality, as this great Confederation is now determined on. We shall see what will be its Effects. The Empress of Russia is not of a Character to be trifled with: yet I think the English will not respect the new Arrangement. They will violate the Principles of it, at least towards the Dutch, and risque a War with all the Maritime Powers of the World, at once, rather than relinquish America, and agree to the Principle of free Ships, free Goods.
{ 374 }
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 313–316); docketed: “Letter Novr. 25. 1780 John Adams Read 19 Novr. 1781”; and “Letter from the Honble. John Adams. Novr. 25th. 1780. Read Novr. 19th. 1781. (Duplicate).”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, Fernando Raymond
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-11-27

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I have received yours of the 17. with its Inclosure and that of the 22d.—and thank you for both.
Things are coming to an Extremity, that Philanthropy would wish to avoid: but thus it ever was, in Similar Cases. A free Nation corrupted, becomes <an Hell,> a Society of Devils. Angells fallen, retain nothing but immortal Hate. Come out of her, my People! Says a good old Book.1
This Republick has determined to acceed to the armed Neutrality. But most of the Provinces and indeed most of the cities of Holland will disavow the <Treat> Negotiation of the Regency of Amsterdam: but they cannot punish Van Berkell and his Acomplices, because they are a Limb of the Sovereignty.
Singleing him out will make him, the most conspicuous and the most respected of the Citizens. But this is the ministerial Method of making great Men. In this Way Wilks, Hancock, and Adams were made famous.2
What will Govt. do about the armed Neutrality? Will they charge Russia, Sweeden, and Denmark with Faction, Sedition, Cabal, and Rebellion? Why dont they Demand that Panin and his Accomplices should be punished?
Adieu affectionatly
[signed] F.R.S.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W. S. C.”
1. With this reference to Revelations 18:2–4, JA compares Great Britain to Babylon.
2. For the persecution of John Wilkes, which made him a hero to JA and other American whigs, see vol. 1:xiii–xiv, 214–216. For John Hancock and Samuel Adams, see JA's letter of 16 Nov. to the president of Congress, No. 20, and note 5 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0206-0001

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-28

From Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Monsieur

J'étois Sur le point de Vous écrire lorsque je me vis honoré de votre { 375 } Lettre du 20 du Courant. Je Vous ai beaucoup d'obligation de la brochure Francoise,1 que Vous avez eu la bonté de m'envoier. Elle ne manquera pas de guerir bien de prejugés; mais aussi, a ce que j'ai deja remarqué, elle allarmera les Peuples Commerçans, qui craigneront quils ne Seront pas en etat de Soutenir la Concurrence des Americains ni dans les Pecheries, ni dans le Commerce de Cabotage et de Fret, ni dans celui des Indes. C'est une remarque qu'un Ami tres eclairé me fit apres la lecture de la dite Brochure.
Quant a la proposition, dont Vous m'avez honoré;2 J'en ai pesé le Pour et le Contre avec cette prevention en faveur du premier, qui est l'effet naturel de mon zele pour le bonheur des deux Peuples, et de mon desir ardent de les voir Se rapprocher, Se lier, S'unir, malgré les efforts de Ceux, qui, malheureusement avec trop de Succes, necessent d'accumuler obstacle Sur obstacles, afin de prevenir, pour toujours, S'il leur est possible, un evenement Si desirable. J'ai con sulté Surcette affaire delicate mes meilleurs Amis, et le resultat a eté: qu'entamer ouvertement en mon nom une Negociation en faveur des Etats Unis Seroit donner de gaieté de Coeur dans les embuches que mes ennemis ne cessent de dresser sous mes pas. Et Surement, Monsieur, la persecution entamée Contre Monsieur Van Berckel et Ses Complices, c'est a dire contre tous ceux qui ont eu quelque correspondance avec les Americains,3 montre ce que jaurois a attendre, Si je me rendois coupable de ce que le Roi d'Angleterre ne manqueroit pas de faire valoir comme un acte, par lequel j'aurois favorisé et soutenu la Rebellion dans ses Etats. Quelle ne Seroit pas la Satisfaction, que l'on demanderoit d'une part, et que, Sans hesiter, l'on donneroit de l'autre contre un Magistrat obligé de maintenir les Traités avec la grande Bretagne, que notre Republique, cherissant Ses fers, n'a pas encore trouvé bon de revoquer; contre un Individu, qui deja l'objet de la haine la plus effrenée, reclamant depuis Si longtems vainement la protection des Loix, Seroit Seul responsable de ses Actions, Sans pouvoir, comme Monsieur Van Berckel et autres, se retrencher sur les ordres de Ses Superieurs, d'ont ils n'ont été que les executeurs.
Dailleurs, Monsieur, je Suis persuadé que mon nom ne contribueroit en rien a la reussite. Jamais le Credit de l'Amerique n'a eté Si bas qu'a cette heure. La prise de Charlestown, l'invasion de la Georgie et de la Caroline Meridionale; la defaite du General Gates, échecs que les Americains non pas encore compensés par aucun avantage de quelque consideration; l'inaction des Flottes combinées de Solano et Guichen; la Superiorité decidée des Anglois aux Indes { 376 } Occidentales et a New York; la defection d'Arnold revue, corrigée et augmentée par les nouvellistes Anglois. Voila plus qu'il n'en faut pour faire chanceler un credit etabli. Ajoutez a ceci la crainte d'etre enveloppé comme complice de Monsieur van Berckel, et, ce qui restera a jamais un obstacle chez bien de gens dans ce pais, la peur que l'on a de desobliger le P——ce d'O——ge . . . et calculer S'il ÿ a pour le present la moindre esperance pour la reussite d une negociation, a laquelle je me serois preté, S'il eut été faisable, avec tout le zele dònt je Suis animé pour la cause de la liberté generale du genre Humain. J'avois meme tracé un plan, qui auroit beaucoup facilité l'entreprise. Monsieur T——aar auroit administré la Comptoir General et je vous aurois proposé d'emploier Trois ou quatre personnes d'influence et de probité dans les differentes Provinces pour ÿ recevoir les deniers de l'emprunt et ÿ paÿer deux fois par an les interets. Pour les profits je les aurois cedés entierement aux Emploiés, me contentant d'un Simple dedommagement. Mon plan de conduite dans le Monde Politique exige ce renoncement, afin de tenir, comme je l'ai pu faire jusquicÿ, mes ennemis dans l'impossibilité de m'attribuer les motifs, par lesqu'els ils agissent eux memes.
Cependant, Monsieur, Je Vous prie de ne pas trop presser votre depart.4 Les affaires de la Republique Sont dans une violente crise. Le Tems Seul pourroit dans peu lever une grande partie des empechemens Susdits. Le C——ss lui meme peut ÿ contribuer beaucoup en ne nous laissant pas, comme jusqu'icÿ, Sans informations authentiques touchant le veritable état des affaires de l'Amerique. C'est d'elles que depend tout Son credit. Il n'acquerera Jamais de la consistance dans ce Païs, Si longtems que l'on n'ÿ Sera point gueri de Ses prejugés touchant la foiblesse de l'Amerique et en faveur de la Toute Puissance de la Grande Bretagne. Le C—ss devroit envoier regulierement une ou deux fois par mois de petits paquetbots, uniquement afin de ne jamais laisser le champ libre au Nouvellistes Anglois. Lorsque Henri IV fit arreter le Marechal de Biron5 il envoia des Couriers par toute l'Europe—et jusqu'icÿ (d'autant que je sache) l'on n'a de la defection d'Arnold que les recits surement exagérés du Ministere Britannique!
Je crains d'abuser de votre attention; mais je ne saurois, avant de finir, m'empecher de Vous avertir de Vous méfier de la jalousie qui devore les Negocians de ce Païs. Rabattez toujours quelque chose des informations que l'on Vous donne a leur Sujet. Je Suis Sur que la reûssite de la Negociation ne depend pas autant que l'on veut vous persuader du Choix de la Maison, qui S'en charge, que des causes Susmentionnées. Il est tres indifferent pour les preteurs de qui ils { 377 } recoivent les Contracts, Signés dailleurs en forme requise, et les Interets. Ce qui les interesse plus cest que ce Soit le plus pres possible du lieu de leur demeure pour eviter les frais de transport. Vous connoissez mieux que moi les affaires de Mr. T——aar. Mais Si celui cÿ ne convient pas (ce dont je ne Saurois juger) je ne vois aucune objection pour ne pas confier l'entreprise a Monsieur J: de Neufville. Il a fait autrefois de fortes depenses. Il a essuié des pertes, mais avec tout cela il est entré dans le Commerce avec un million de florins. Il a fait de grandes affaires et les fait aujourdhui plus grandes que jamais. Il est un des plus anciens et des plus zelés Amis de l'Amerique. Il jouit de la confiance et de la consideration de la Regence d'Amsterdam. La confiance qu'elle a eue en Lui de l'emploier a cette negociation Secrette6 Lui donne du Relief, lequel joint a un peu d'imprudence de sa part Lui attire de la jalousie, et peut etre de l'envie.
La Maison qu'il Seroit le plus naturel d'emploier Seroit celle de Fizeaux et Grand. Mais la connection du dernier avec un General Anglois servant en Amerique merite surement reflection.7
Quant a la conduite des Anglois. Je crains que leur but (outre celui en general d'amuser la Republique par des negociations et des memoires de part et dautre) ne Soit de nous entrainer en guerre avant d'etre admis a la Neutralité Armée, afin de donner occasion aux Puissances Confederées de pouvoir nous refuser comme n'aiant pas la qualification requise, Savoir, d'etre une Puissance Neutre; ou bien, si cela leur manque, de nous faire la guerre sous le pretexte Specieux d'avoir violé la Neutralité par notre correspondance avec les Rebelles de la Couronne, afin de fournir aux Puissances Liguées une anse pour pouvoir, S'ils le veulent ou Si l'influence des Anglois les ÿ porte, nous refuser les Secours Stipulés Sous pretexte de la non existence du Casus foederis. La Republique, meme la Province de Hollande, a ce que l'on debite, va faire un desaveu formel de ce que la Ville d'Amsterdam a fait. C'est tout ce que je crois étre en son pouvoir, car de faire punir les Complices de ce complot est au dessus de leurs forces. Si donc le Memoire de Monsieur Y——ke n'est pas une Simple Rodomontade la guerre est inevitable et une guerre quasi vero8 pour un demelé, qui n'est pas du ressort de la Neutralité Armée. J'espere de retourner a Amsterdam dans 3 semaines et je suis en attendant avec tout le respect possible Monsieur votre tres humble et tres obeïssant serviteur,
[signed] C——n de P——l
P.S. Je prens la liberté de vous offrir un exemplaire de mon discours { 378 } ou Avis Sur la Brigade Ecossoise. La Resolution des Etats y jointe n'est quun petit échantillon des procedés étranges tenus a mon egard.9 Lon a commencé par Le defaire de mes discours et l'on a fini par le defaire de ma personne, le tout Sans forme de proces, et pour des causes ou le droit, la justice, l'équité le devoir etoient notoirement de mon coté. L'on a cherché de Statuer un exemple, et vraiement Vestigia terrent!10
La garnison de cette Ville vient de recevoir ordre hier au Soir de se rendre dans la Nord Hollande. Il semble que lon apprehende les menaces des Anglois!
Oserois je vous charger de mes complimens pour Monsieur Gillon et de Lui dire que j'ai recu La lettre que je communiquerai demain en personne a mon Cousin le Seigneur de Marsch.11

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0206-0002

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-28

Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I was on the verge of writing you when I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 20th instant. I am much obliged to you for the French pamphlet1 that you were good enough to send me. It will not fail to heal many prejudices; but, as I have previously remarked, it will alarm the commercial nations, which may fear that they may not be in a condition to withstand the competition of the Americans whether in fisheries, the coasting trade and the commerce of freight, or that of the Indies. A very enlightened friend made this observation to me after reading the aforementioned pamphlet.
As to the proposition with which you have honored me;2 I have weighed the pro and con with that predisposition toward the former which is the natural effect of my zeal for the well-being of both nations, and of my ardent desire to see them draw nearer, form ties, and unite, despite the efforts of those who, unfortunately with too much success, interminably pile obstacle upon obstacle so as to prevent forever if they can, so desirable an event. Concerning this delicate matter I have consulted my best friends, and the result was: that to enter openly in my own name into a negotiation in favor of the United States would be to plunge blithely into the traps that my enemies are forever placing in my path. And surely, sir, the persecution launched against Mr. van Berckel and his confederates that is, against all those who have had some correspondence with the Americans,3 shows what I should have to expect, if I were to make myself guilty of what the King of England would not fail to portray as an act, whereby I should allegedly have encouraged and supported the rebellion in his states. What satisfaction might not be demanded on one side and unhesitatingly granted on the other against a magistrate obliged to uphold treaties with Great Britain, which our Republic, cherishing its irons, has not yet seen fit to revoke, against an { 379 } individual, already the object of the fiercest hatred and having for so long demanded in vain the protection of the laws, who would be solely responsible for his actions and unable to claim, as Mr. van Berckel and others do, the protection of acting on the orders of his superiors, of whose will they have been merely the executors.
Furthermore, sir, I am convinced that my name would in no way contribute to success. Never has the credit of America stood so low as it does at this hour. The capture of Charlestown, the invasion of Georgia and South Carolina; the defeat of General Gates, failures that the Americans have yet to compensate by any advantage worthy of consideration; the inaction of the combined fleets of Solano and Guichen; the decisive superiority of the English in the West Indies and in New York; the defection of Arnold, revised, corrected, and amplified by English pamphleteers. All this is more than is needed to undermine even a well-established credit. Add to this the fear of being counted among the confederates of Mr. van Berckel, and, what will forever remain an impediment for many people in this country, the fear one has of disobliging the Prince of Orange . . . and calculate whether, for the time being, there is the slightest hope of success for a negotiation, to which I should have lent myself, had it been feasible, with all the zeal that animates me in the cause of the general liberty of the human race. I had even sketched out a plan, which would have greatly facilitated the undertaking. Mr. Tegelaar would have administered the general treasury and I would have proposed that you employ three or four persons of influence and probity in the various provinces to receive the proceeds of the loan and to pay interest on it twice a year. As for the profits, I would have surrendered them all to the employees, contenting myself with a simple commission. My plan of conduct in the political world requires this renunciation of me, so that I might continue as I have done hitherto, making it impossible for my enemies to impute to me the motives by which they themselves act.
Nevertheless, sir, I beg you not to hasten your departure unduly.4 The affairs of the Republic are in a violent crisis. Time alone may in short order remove a great many of the aforementioned impediments. Congress itself can help a great deal by not leaving us, as it has done hitherto, without authentic information concerning the true state of America's affairs. It is on such information that all its credit depends. It will never acquire solidity in this country, as long as people here are not cured of their prejudices concerning America's weakness and in favor of the omnipotence of Great Britain. Congress should send small packet boats regularly once or twice a month, solely in order that the field might never be left uncontested to the English pamphleteers. When Henri IV had Maréchal de Biron arrested,5 he sent couriers all over Europe, whereas until now (so far as I know) the only accounts of Arnold's defection have been the surely exaggerated ones from the British ministry!
I fear that I am abusing your attention; but I cannot close without warning you to beware the jealousy that devours this country's merchants. Always discount to a degree whatever information you receive about them. I am { 380 } certain that the success of the negotiation depends not so much, as some would have you believe, on the choice of the house which will assume the burden as on the aforementioned considerations. It is of no concern whatsoever to the lenders from whom they receive the contracts, duly signed in any event, and the interest. What concerns them more is that it should be as close as possible to their place of residence in order to avoid the costs of transportation. You know more about Mr. Tegelaar's business than I do. But if he be unsuitable (something of which I cannot judge), I see no objection to entrusting the enterprise to Mr. J. de Neufville. He has made large expenditures in the past. He has suffered losses, yet even with all that he began in commerce with a million florins. He has concluded some large affairs and is involved in even larger ones today. He is one of America's oldest and most zealous friends. He enjoys the confidence and consideration of the Regency of Amsterdam. The confidence that it showed by using him in this secret negotiation6 has given him prominence, which coupled with some minor imprudence on his part has earned him jealousy, and perhaps envy.
The house that would be the most natural to employ is Fizeaux and Grand. But the connection of the latter with an English general serving in America surely deserves reflection.7
As to the conduct of the English. I fear that their goal (apart from the general goal of diverting the Republic by means of innumerable negotiations and memorials) is to draw us into war before being admitted into the armed neutrality, in order to allow the confederated powers to refuse us for lacking the requisite qualification, namely, that of being a neutral power; or else, if they fail at that, to make war on us on the specious pretext of having violated neutrality through our correspondence with the rebels to the crown, so as to provide the leagued powers with a handle in order that, if they so wish or if the influence of the English so induces them, they may refuse us the stipulated assistance on the pretext of the non-existence of the casus foederis. The Republic, and even, according to reports, the Province of Holland, will shortly issue a formal disavowal of what the City of Amsterdam has done. That is all, I believe, that is within its power, for it is not within their strength to punish the accomplices of this plot. If, then, Mr. Yorke's memorial is not mere rodomontade, war is inevitable and a war quasi vero8 for a quarrel that is not within the purview of the armed neutrality. I hope to return to Amsterdam in three weeks, and in the meantime I remain, sir, with all possible respect, your most humble and obedient servant.
[signed] C——n de P——l
P.S. I take the liberty of sending you a copy of my speech or warning on the Scots' Brigade. The attached resolution of the States is but a small sample of the strange proceedings concerning me.9 It began with a dismantling of my speech and ended with a dismantling of my person, all without due process, and in matters where right, justice, equity, and duty were clearly on my side. They tried to legislate an example, and truly vestigia terrent!10
{ 381 }
The garrison of this city was ordered last night to proceed to North Holland. It appears that the English threats have been apprehended!
May I ask you to convey my compliments to Monsieur Gillon and tell him that I received the letter and will communicate its contents tomorrow in person to my cousin, the Lord of Marsch.11
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “B. V. Copellen.”
1. Pensées, but see van der Capellen's letter of 24 Dec., and note 1 (below).
2. Although van der Capellen provides some information about JA's proposal, its exact nature is unknown. See JA's letter of 20 Nov., and note 2 (above).
3. A reference to the documents captured with Henry Laurens, among which were letters from van der Capellen to Benjamin Franklin and Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut (from van der Capellen, 16 Oct., note 6, above).
4. There had been no indication in JA's correspondence with van der Capellen or anyone else that he planned to leave the Netherlands.
5. Charles de Gontaut, the Duc de Biron, one of Henry IV's most brilliant generals, was appointed maréchal de France by that monarch in 1594. In 1599 he entered into a secret agreement with Spain against Henry. In 1602 his treachery was discovered and he was arrested and beheaded for treason (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
6. The Lee-Neufville treaty.
7. Chevalier George Grand was the father-in-law of Gen. Augustine Prevost, who had formerly been in East Florida and was currently commander of British troops in Georgia (DNB, under Sir George Prevost; Mackesy, War for America, p. 267, 275, 277–278).
8. That is, ostensibly.
9. Van der Capellen enclosed a copy of his speech to the States of Overijssel of 16 Dec. 1775: Avis door Jonkheer Johan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol over het verzoek van zijne Majesteit den Koning van Groot-Brittanië, Raakende het leenen der Schotsche Brigade . . .; and possibly a copy of a resolution of 14 March 1777, by which the States of Overijssel removed van der Capellen's “Avis” from its records. The Scots' Brigade, originally comprised of Scotsmen and permanently quartered in the Netherlands, was a relic of British intervention in the Dutch Revolt. In 1775 Britain asked to borrow the brigade, which had been used in the past to augment the regular British army and seemed a logical source for additional troops for America. William V favored the request and the States General ultimately approved it, but with conditions that made the brigade's use in America impossible. On 16 Dec. 1775, as the States of Overijssel considered its position on the British request, van der Capellen made an impassioned speech in opposition, arguing that allowing the brigade to depart would not only compromise Dutch neutrality, but also be serving an unjust cause: Britain's denial of American independence. The speech did not sway the States of Overijssel, which approved the British request, but it did establish van der Capellen as the highest ranking Dutch supporter of the American Revolution in opposition to the Stadholder and the Dutch establishment (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 19–21, 25–26; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 28–33).
10. Literally, they feared the footprints, but van der Capellen presumably means that the States of Overijssel feared the future that he represented.
11. Robert Jasper van der Capellen tot de Marsch. The nature of Gillon's business is not known.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0207

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-29

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I am honor'd with your favor of the 19th. and am happy to hear that you and your Sons have escaped the general contagion of the Season.
{ 382 }
I flatter myself with the Idea that Arnolds Apostacy will not be attended with any inconvenience to America, but I cannot help regretting that a Man who has render'd essential service to his Country and laid a solid foundation for permanent and substantial Glory, shou'd blast the whole by a baseness and profligacy that wou'd disgrace, even our Enemies. On the whole, I feel much easier about the fate of America than I have done for some time past, hoping that as the plot is discover'd, the principal agents will be found out and meet exemplary punishment; for there seems to be little doubt of Arnold having been only a subaltern in the business. The most superficial observer may now be able to see from what source have sprung all the dissensions and mischeifs that have for some years distress'd and nearly ruin'd America.
By the vessel arrived in France from N. England I presume you will have a full and particular account of this business, of which we know nothing here but what we learn from the English papers.
I agree with you that the three systems I formerly mention'd are highly absurd and I will add that they appear to me highly wicked, however as two of them have been hitherto adopted, it is one melancholy proof among many others, that well meaning and honest men, are too often deceived by the wicked and artful into their measures; but it may teach them hereafter to weigh with caution whatever comes recommended or insinuated from the same quarter. The conquest of Canada is said to be a favorite object with the Eastern States; in this I shall heartily agree with them at a proper season, but an attempt of that sort while the Enemy is in possession of any part of the territory of the 13 States, appears to me begining at the wrong end; however I shall submit my judgement readily to those on the spot, who have seldom determin'd wrong when their councils have been unclouded with faction.
The packet with the English mail of the 21. being taken and that of the 24 being not arriv'd, tho' due two days and fair winds, leaves us without any late papers, but the B. Minister it seems gives out that Gates has obtain'd a considerable advantage over Ld. Cornwillis and that the latter was in a disagreeable and precarious situation. As the States General have agreed to enter into the system of the arm'd neutrality, the English must either adopt pacific measures or determine on a War with all the Maritime powers of Europe and in their present state of phrenzy I should not be surprized at their choosing the latter; but in the meantime it might be of essential service if the associated powers cou'd be induced to agree on jointly acknowleging { 383 } the Independence of Ama. Tho' G.B. may not be able to send all the reinforcements that they propose to Ama., it seems to me quite proper that our friends on the other side of the Water should be advised of their intentions, that preparations may be made against the worst that can happen. I refer'd to the debates on the 7th instant only relative to what fell from Colo. Hartly.1 With high Esteem & respect I am Dr. Sir Yr. most Obedt & Hble Sert.
[signed] W. Lee
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Son Excellence Monsieur John Adams a Amsterdam”; endorsed: “H.W. Lee. recd & ansd. 6 decr. 1780”; docketed by CFA: “Novr 29th.”
1. See Lee's letter of 15 Nov., note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0208

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-11-30

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have already accepted Bills drawn upon Mr. Laurens, to the Amount of Thirty four Thousand three hundred and fifty Eight Guilders. How many more will arrive I know not. I shall inform your Excellency from Time to Time, as they appear, and I accept them.
This Republick is in a violent Crisis. If a certain Party prevails, We Shall raise no Money here. If they do not We shall raise very little. Patience is recommended to me and Delay in hopes of a Turn of affairs. I am advised to do nothing: to attempt nothing: not even to choose an House, at present.
I am vexed and grieved beyond measure at the Fate of poor Trumbull and Tyler. It will have one good Effect, however. It will be a Warning. It will break up a weak Communication that common Discretion ought to have prevented long ago. I have the Honour to be, Sir, your respectfull humble sert

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0209

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-11-30

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I was duly honoured with your Excellency's Letter of the eighth of October by Mr. Searle.
I thank You, Sir, for inclosing the Resolution of Congress respecting my Salary and Mr. Dana's. I wish I could see a prospect of relieving You from this Burthen, as well as that of the Bills of { 384 } Exchange drawn upon Mr. Laurens, but at present there is not a prospect of obtaining a Shilling. What Turn Affairs may take, it is impossible to foresee. Some Gentlemen tell me that a few Months or indeed Weeks may produce Events which will open the Purses to me; but I think that our Want of Credit here, is owing to Causes that are more permanent. I never had any just Idea of this Country until I came here; if indeed I have now.
I have recieved Money of the House of Horneca, Fitzeau and Grand, on account of Mr. F. Grand of Paris, for my Subsistence, and if You have no Objection, I will continue in this Way.1
Mr. Searle's Conversation is a Cordial to me. He gives a charming sanguine Representation of our Affairs, such as I am very well disposed to believe, and such as I should give myself, if interrogated, according to the best of my Knowledge. But We have an hard Conflict to go through yet.
The Correspondence You mention, between his Excellency the C. de V. and me, I transmitted regularly to Congress in the Season of it from Paris, and other Copies since my Arrival in Amsterdam, both without any Comments.2
The Letter I mentioned, I believe was from your Excellency to M. Dumas, who informs me, that there has been none to the Grand Pensionary, but the one which your Excellency wrote when I was at Passy, which I remember very well.3
The Republick, it is said, for it is hard to come at the Truth, have on the one hand acceeded to the Armed Neutrality, and on the other have disavowed the Conduct of Amsterdam. This it is hoped will appease all Nations for the present, and it may for what I know. We shall see.
I should be the less surprised at Great Britain's treating the United Provinces like an English Colony, if I did not every day hear the Language and Sentiments of English Colonists. But if She treats all her Colonies with equal Tyranny, it may make them all in time equally independent.
A Gentleman here has recieved a Commission from England, to hire as many Vessels as he possibly can, to carry Troops to America. This I have certain Information of. It is also given out, that Sir Joseph Yorke has demanded and obtained Permission of the States to do it, but this I believe is an English Report. It is also said that the Burgomasters of the City have signified abroad that it would be disagreable, if any body should hire the Ships. But this may be only { 385 } | view Bruit. It shews the English want of Shipping—their Intention to send Troops, and their Cunning to get away from this Nation both their Ships and Seamen.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed by William Temple Franklin: “J. Adams Nov. 30. 1780.”
1. On 4 Nov. JA received 6,812.14. 3 from Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. for his own expenses and on 28 Nov. the firm supplied him with an additional 2,400 for Francis Dana (Accounts, Dec. 1779 – 10 June 1782, MH-H: Scheffner Coll.).
2. In 1809, when this letter appeared in the Boston Patriot, JA italicized this paragraph and stated that “the lines in Italics, Messieurs Printers, . . . would require one of your proposed numbers of forty pages to explain them.” But in far less space, JA sought to do just that, writing that “the count de Vergennes, who had courted and forced me into conferences and correspondence with him, on the abolition of paper money, of the 13th [18th] of March, 1780, and had insisted that congress should discriminate Frenchmen from all other nations, and even from their own citizens, by paying them for the bills they possessed, in silver and gold, at their full nominal value. I had demonstrated the injustice and impracticability of this project, though with perfect civility and decency, in so clear a light, that the count was pleased to take offence. . . . I was offended in my turn, and returned him irony for irony, and sarcasm for sarcasm, determined to put an end to such a style of negociation with me, or put an end to my existence as an ambassador.” Vergennes “finding that I would not, or could not say at his bidding, that two and two made five, determined to ruin me at home: and try if he could not get some other person appointed in the commission for peace, who would be more complaisant” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 283–286).
3. See Franklin's letter of 8 Oct., notes 2 and 5 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0210

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-11-30

To the President of Congress, No. 24

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

The State of Parties in this Republick is still critical. Many anonymous Pamphlets appear on both Sides. Those which proceed from the English Party, are virulent against Mr. Van Berkel.
The Republick itself wavers, according to Events and Causes which are impenetrable. A few days ago, the Plan appeared to be to acceed to the armed Neutrality, in order to satisfy one Party, and to disavow the Conduct of Amsterdam, in forming with Mr. Lee the Project of a Treaty, in order to appease the other. Fifteen Cities, even in the Province of Holland, have disavowed this Measure: Haerlem and Dort are the only two, which have approved it. The Grand Pensionary of Holland has sent after the Courier, who had been dispatched to the Plenipotentiaries at Petersbourg, and brought him back to the { 386 } Hague. What Alteration is to be made is unknown.1 It is now given out, that they have determined to increase the Fortifications of the Maritime Towns, and augment their Garrisons.
I see every day more and more of the inveterate Prejudices of this Nation in favour of the English, and against the French, more and more of the irresistible Influence of the Stadtholder, and more and more of the Irresolution, Uncertainty and Confusion of the Nation. How the whole will conclude I know not.
One thing however is certain, that Congress can depend upon no Money from hence. I have, confiding in the Assurances of Dr. Franklin, accepted all the Bills drawn upon Mr. Laurens, which have yet been presented to me, amounting to thirty four thousand, three hundred and fifty eight Guilders: but I have no prospect of discharging them, or even of deriving my own Subsistence from any other Source than Passy. Congress will therefore I presume desist from any further draughts upon Holland, at least until they recieve certain Information, that Money has been borrowed, of which I see no present prospect.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 317–320); docketed: “Letter Novr. 30. 1780 John Adams Read 19 Novr 1781.”
1. JA need not have worried about a change in the States General's resolution of 20 Nov. providing for the accession of the Netherlands to the armed neutrality. The courier was recalled to receive a copy of the resolution adopted by the States of Holland on 23 Nov., which condemned Amsterdam for its part in the Lee-Neufville negotiations. When the courier resumed his mission, he was ordered to wait at the town of Voorschoten for a similar resolution adopted by the States General on 27 November. Although adopted in response to Sir Joseph Yorke's memorial of 10 Nov., neither resolution provided for the punishment of Engelbert van Berckel and thus failed to meet the conditions set down by Yorke as necessary to avoid punitive measures by Great Britain (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 159–160).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0211

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-11-30

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

Your kind Favour of the 24 with the two elegant Copies of the Pensees I have received, with Gratitude.
The Republick appears to be, at this Time, in a violent Crisis. It is to be hoped, that the effect of the Fermentation will be Salutary. If it is indeed true, that the Republick has acceeded to the armed Neutrality, and the Nations engaged in that Confederation, are in earnest to make a common Cause, the commercial Interest of this { 387 } Country, will be protected: because England will not venture to take Ships which will be redemanded by Such a formidable Combination. Reprisals ordered by four Nations or perhaps five or Six in addition to three with whom they are already at War would be too dangerous for England, or if she should be desperate enough to hazard it, the confederated Powers would easily obtain Compensation, for it may, I think be depended upon that England is not omnipotent nor infallible. England owes the Existence of her maritime Power at this moment to the Inactivity, whether accidental or political of her present Enemies. This Inactivity may not always continue. Perhaps it has been Studied on Purpose to accomplish the armed Neutrality. I can easily conceive that the Councils of France and Spain might think it, prudent to give Time to the neutral nations, to accomplish their Confederation.
If delays were necessary to compleat, the neutral System, I should rejoice in those delays, because I esteem that, an excellent Effect for the good of Mankind Springing out of the American Revolution.
The English are degenerating in the Conduct of the American War into greater and greater Degrees of Cruelty and Barbarism. But there is a kind of Consolation in Seeing that they pursue the Same Maxims towards other nations, which they pursued, first towards Us. When all Nations shall see that they have become Tyrants towards them, they will at length believe that they have been Tyrants in America.1
The Honourable Francis Dana Esq., formerly a Member of Congress, now a Secretary to one of their Legations, will do me the favour to deliver this. He has an Inclination to see Leyden, and I should esteem myself, under particular obligations to you, Sir, if you could give him an opportunity of Seeing in your City, whatever is worthy the Attention of a Traveller. I am, Sir with much Esteem your obliged sert.
1. This paragraph was written after the closing and marked for insertion at this point.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0212

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-30

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have had a severe Fit of the Gout which has confined me six Weeks; but it is now going off, and I flatter myself that it has done me a great deal of Good.
{ 388 }
I have just received a Letter from Dr. Ezra Stiles, of which the inclosed is an extract. Please to communicate it to Mr. Searle, and then give it to M. Dumas if you judge it proper for Publication.1 I have also a large and particular Account of Arnolds Treachery. There is not time to transcribe it for this Post, but you shall have it per next. I have the honour to be with great Esteem Sir Your Excellency's most obedt & most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
Enclosed is a Letter for you which came by the same Ship.2
1. The enclosed extract has not been found, but it was from Stiles' letter to Franklin, dated 10 Oct. at Newport. An extract from this letter, containing Stiles' commentary on Benedict Arnold and his treason, appears in The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, ed. Franklin Bowditch Dexter, 3 vols., N.Y., 1901, 2:473–474. A somewhat longer extract, presumably submitted by JA, appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 15 December. There Jean Luzac took issue with Stiles' characterization of Maj. John André as “the Seducer,” attributing it to the author's attachment to the American cause. According to Luzac, impartial observers mourned André's loss as a victim “des fureurs de la Guerre.”
2. Probably Arthur Lee's letter of 28 Sept. (above), which JA answered on 6 Dec. (2d letter, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0213

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-30

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I did myself the Honor of writing to your Excellency the 20th of this Month and inclosing some Papers from Mr. Amory of Boston. I now take the Liberty of sending you a Letter, receivd this Day from Mr. L. for your Excellency's Perusal—give me leave to beg that your Excellency would return it and the former one from the same Gentleman, if your Excellency has no further Occasion for them.1
There have been reports at Paris that a Part of Monsr. De Ternays Squadron is burnt at Rhode Island. Perhaps there is no foundation for them; but I trust there is great reason to Imagine that General Gates Troops have had several succesful Skirmishes at Carolina against the Ennemy. The English Resident here seems to credit them.
I Hope your Excellency takes good Care of your Health. The Damp Climate of Holland requires much Additional Cloathing—it is Experience that makes Dutchmen wear six Waistcoats, and I Know not how many pair of Breeches.
I have expected particular Advices from England, but one of the Packets is taken.
I see the Translation is published in Holland.2 Has your Excellency seen the Letters of Monsr. Joly?3 I beg to know your Excellencys { 389 } Opinion of them. They are I believe just published in Holland. Does the Subject regard Us?
I beg to be rememberd to my young Friends.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. These letters have not been found, making it impossible to positively identify “Mr. L.,” but he may have been Arthur Lee, with whom Jenings corresponded while Lee was in Europe. See JA's reply of 6 Dec. (below).
2. JA's Pensées.
3. This person cannot be positively identified, but may be Joly de Saint Valier, author of Mémoire du Sieur Joly de St. Valier, lieutenant colonel d'infantrie, ou Exposé de sa conduite avant et depuis qu'il a quitté la France pour venir offrir ses services à sa Majesté le roy d'Angleterre, London, [1780]. No reference to a Dutch edition has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0214

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-12-01

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear sir

I thank You for your favour of the 20th. of November.
I am really weary of reading such Follies as Motions to address the King for Peace. They are only delusions to the People of England, the People of America, and all the other Nations of the Earth. The Case of Mr. Laurens, and those of Mr. Trumbull and Tyler, among Millions of other Incidents shew, with whom We have to do.
The States General have acceeded to the Armed Neutrality, and disavowed the Conduct of Amsterdam, which I suppose is intended to trim between the two Parties in the Republick, and between the belligerent and Neutral Powers. Whether they will keep themselves in Peace by it, Time will shew.
I dont see the practicability of the British Ministry seizing upon the Dutch Money in their Funds. How can they distinguish it?
Arnold's Desertion is no loss to Us nor Gain to our Enemies. I am shocked and grieved however, as well as You, that such an Example should be exhibited to the World, of so much Bravery and so much Baseness, in the Character of a Native of America. He had forfeited the Esteem of his Country: he had incurred her Displeasure and her Censure, and then he sold himself to her Enemy, wounded, maimed and mutilated as he is. Much good may do them. I wish to God, that every such Plunderer, would go over after him. I expect that several others will. We shall be purified and strengthened by it.
Mr. Amory's Packet I have sent by the Way of St. Eustatius: the Duplicate I will send by a better Opportunity.
I think We must prepare our Minds and Hearts for another Scene { 390 } of Exultation and Triumph among our Enemies. We shall soon have the News, I fear, that they have taken Post at Portsmouth in Virginia—and by this means the Nation will be thrown into a fermentation of Joy—they will believe that all the Trade of Cheseapeak Bay, will be their's—that Virginia and Maryland will be theirs in addition to Georgia and the two Carolinas &c. &c. &c.
This will be delivered You by my Friend Mr. Dana,1 whom You will [find]2 worthy of your Friendship.
Affectionately your's
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency John Adams Dcr. 1. 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. On this dayJA also wrote to William Lee at Brussels to introduce Francis Dana (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. A copying omission, supplied from the Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0215

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-12-01

To the President of Congress, No. 25

Amsterdam, 1 Dec. 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 321–324). LbC almost entirely in JQA's hand (Adams Papers). printed:Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:176–177.
This letter, received by Congress on 19 Nov. 1781, contained the order of battle of the combined French and Spanish fleets at Cádiz. The information, probably taken from the Gazette de Leyde of 1 Dec., was copied into the Letterbook by JQA immediately below JA's brief opening paragraph. It is the first known instance where JQA, acting as his father's secretary, copies a letter to Congress.
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 321–324) LbC almost entirely in JQA's hand (Adams Papers). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:176–177.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0216

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1780-12-06

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I have received your Favour of 28 of Octr. and am very glad to hear of your Recovery from Sickness.
The Non Arrival of the Cloathing, is a great Disappointment and Misfortune in America.
The British Ministry are never at a Loss. You see they were very ready to discover how Mr. Laurens was to be treated. They will easily know how to treat Mr. Trumbull and Mr. Tyler. If Americans had understood their Parts as well, Mr. Trumbull and Tyler would never have trod British Ground, nor Mr. Laurens have been trusted in a cock boat. Live and learn.
The Wine I hope you have not sent, as I shall not have occasion for it. If it is gone, I must beg you to write a Line to Mr. Henry Grand, and desire him to take the Care of it.
{ 391 }
The Changes in the Marine Department,1 will I hope have good Effects, in many Points of View, but not knowing the Character of the new Minister, must wait for Time to bring forth Truth. I am with great Esteem yours
1. That is, Gabriel de Sartine's replacement as naval minister by the Marquis de Castries; see Bondfield's letter of 28 Oct., and note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0217

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1780-12-06

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Sir

I have received your very agreable Letter of the 8th of September.1
Nothing could give me more Satisfaction than to learn the peaceable Establishment of the New Constitution. I Sincerely wish Mr. Hancock happy in his important office. Much will depend upon the Wisdom and Firmness of the first Governor, and much upon the Impartiality, and Liberality with which he hearkens to the Advice of Such, as have Abilities and Dispositions to give the best. There are Characters, in the Massachusetts very able, if they draw together, to conduct the State through every Perplexity and Danger: but if any little or great Animosities should estrange them from each other, the Consequences will be disagreable. They may be very pernicious.
I am impatient to see the Lists of Council, senate, and Assembly. The Attention of Nations is turned to the Massachusetts more than ever. That Commonwealth has a great Trust in its Hands, and I hope will be able to give a good Account of it. It has hitherto answered the highest Expectations.
Their high mightinesses have at length determined to acceed to the armed Neutrality. The K. of Prussia, will acceed to it. It is believed that his Letters to the Prince of Orange, induced his most serene highness to relax his opposition, because it is Supposed that he had Influence enough to have prevented the Republick from acceeding if he had been determined.2 At present however, the Dutch are much intimidated. They are afraid of every Thing. But above all Things, of giving Us a Credit.
As to Peace there is not a Thought nor a Word Spent about it. The War will last Several Years. If America were to seek Peace or even Reconciliation, and even if France would consent that she should, Great Britain would grant her no other Terms than unlimited Submission. Depend upon it, there never was more Malice, or deceit, { 392 } nor more wicked Designs than that whole Nation entertains against Us at this moment.
Adieu.
1. JA received this letter (above, and note 1) sometime prior to 28 Nov., for on that date a portion of Cooper's letter appeared in the Gazette de Leyde.
2. JA's statement reflects rumors exaggerating Frederick II's influence on William V regarding the League of Armed Neutrality. Certainly Frederick favored a Dutch accession to the league, but the decisive factor for both William V and the States General was the continued British assault on Dutch commerce (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 146). Prussia acceded to the armed neutrality in May 1781 (James Brown Scott, ed., The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, N.Y., 1918, p. 397–403).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0218

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-12-06

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I congratulate you, on the Return of your Health and thank you for the Extract from Dr. Styles, which I have communicated to Mr. Searle and Mr. Dumas as you desired. Shall be happy to See, the detail of Arnolds Conduct.
As long, as Congress and Courts Martial inflict So gentle Punishments upon flagrant Criminals, and then entrust them with Commands and Employments as if nothing had happened, So long we may expect to see Examples of Treachery, Desertion, and every other Villany. What an Instance of Bravery, and Baseness, this Man has exhibited.
There is one Measure, however, that would Scatter more Knaves than all the Discipline of the Army, or than all Committees of Enquiry, which ever Sat. It is a civil Action. Let the united States Sue, at common Law, every Man who has abused the publick Confidence, and let a Jury determine. I warrant you, a Jury would turn many a one out of his Chariot, into the Dirt. Arnold was accused of Plunder, or Peculation rather, by the Executive Council of Pensilvania. He ought to have been sued. If he had, he would never have had a Command again.
There are confused Rumours of Gates's having obtained Advantages of Cornwallis, but as We have nothing from England for three or four Posts know not their origin, or Credibility.
It is said in the Papers that M. Rochambeau, is come to Solicit for more Troops. More Troops would do no harm, that I know of, but they are not wanted. All We want is Money and ships. Men We have enough, and willing ones too. Without ships, Troops will do no good { 393 } at all. Untill the Courts of France and Spain, shall see the Policy and Necessity of keeping a naval superiority in the American Seas, one little rascally Nation, will continue to make Sport of all the Nations of the Earth.1
I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem, sir your most obedient sert
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Dec. 6. 1780.”
1. In fact, JA's hope was about to be realized. The Gazette de Leyde of 5 Dec. reported the arrival of the Vicomte de Rochambeau, son of the French commander in America. He brought the results of his father's conference with George Washington, held at Hartford on 20–21 September. Their request for additional troops was denied, but a fleet under the Comte de Grasse was dispatched on 22 March with instructions to aid the allied army if possible and through that means control of the Chesapeake was established in Oct. 1781 and Cornwallis' defeat assured (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 238–246; Arnold Whitridge, Rochambeau, N.Y., 1965, p. 99–104).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0219

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-12-06

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank you, for yours of 30 Nov. I return the two Letters from Mr. L. I had the Honour of one, from him, by each of those opportunities, nearly to the Same Purpose.1
Your kind concern for our Health is very obliging. I shall cover me with Flannels and Furs, like a Dutchman. A Mans Feelings, Soon remove all the Ridicule of it.
The “Pensees” will Serve to excite a Curiosity after the Memorial.2Many have read it, with Pleasure. But the Narrative of General How has made the greatest Impression here. All who have read it Say, that it is a demonstration of the Universal Abhorrence of British Govt. and of the Impracticability of Subduing or gaining America.
The Letters of Joly, I have never heard of.
G. Washington was at Bergen, very near N. York on the 9th of October.
We expect within a few Weeks to hear from Petersbourg that the neutral Confederation, is compleated and that the King of Prussia has Signed it. His Letters to the Prince probably brought this Republick into it. What Part will England Act, towards it? Rush on the thick Bosses?3
How many Troops will England be able to Send out in all? To the Islands, the Continent, Quebec, &c.? And by what Time will they be ready?
If France and Spain Should keep their whole combined Fleet in { 394 } the Channell next Year, will not the English Merchant Fleets be in some danger?
If they should send a Superiour Fleet to N. America, would not the whole British Power be in danger?
If American Commerce and Privateers, should extend themselves next year, farther than they ever have done would not the English suffer, Somewhat? What have they got last year, but Preservation from total Ruin by a series of Miracles? Can they be sure that such a series will continue?
Adieu.
1. The letters that JA enclosed with this letter have not been found, but “Mr. L.'s” letters to him were probably those of 10 and 28 Sept. from Arthur Lee (both above), to which JA wrote his first and secondseparate replies on 6 Dec. (both below).
2. That is, Thomas Pownall's Memorial.
3. That is, to throw itself against the shield raised by the armed neutrality (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0220

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-12-06

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your Favour of September 10th and am very glad to hear of your Visit to Braintree and Plymouth. I have traced your Path as far as Governor Trumbulls at Lebanon. I hope you found, Things in the Eastern States, as well as all others agreable. Govr. Trumbulls son and Mr. Tyler, are taken up in England and committed for high Treason. This will cure the Silly Itch of running over to England, but how shall We relieve these Gentlemen, who behaved as prudently in England as any body could. Mr. Laurens's Confinement is relaxed only by one Walk in the Yard, a day.
The States General have acceeded to the armed Neutrality. It is Said that the Prince was induced to acquiesce, by Letters from the King of Prussia, who convinced him that he would make himself too responsible, if he held out against it. The States of Holland excepting Harlem and Dort, have disavowed the Treaty between Amsterdam and your Brother. Sir Josephs Memorial is not yet answered.
The Disasters in Carolina, the Inactivity of France and Spain, the Desertion of Arnold, the rough Treatment of Mr. Laurens, &c., but above all, the Publication of Mr. Laurens's Papers, and Sir Josephs Memorial, have totally annihilated our Credit here, at least for the present. No Man, dares any Thing, least he should be charged with aiding and abetting and comforting Rebellion. We have nothing to depend upon but ourselves, and Providence.
{ 395 }
The English are making a Bluster, about Sending Troops. They talk of Ten Thousand—and are trying to hire Transports here. But, We know, how they annually execute these Threats. Shall be always glad to hear of your Welfare and the News from our Country, from want of which We suffer very much.
Adieu.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1780-12-06

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours from Lebanon 28 Sept. is just come to hand. I wish the Mass. happy in their Governor. It would not have been otherwise, as you Suggest, had an Absent Citizen been at home. Popularity is a Witch. The Gentleman chosen has long been So, to a great degree. The Absent one could Scarcely ever be Said to be so.1
So it has ever been. Objects must be set up for popular Admiration, Confidence, and Affection, and when the Habit is formed, it is impossible to wean it, tho it may become dangerous, or even pernicious. It is So in the freest Governments, and even in the most virtuous. I hope however, in this Instance, We shall do well—and have no Reason to think otherwise. More Penetration, Knowledge, and Steadiness might have been found, perhaps. But the Meaning is good, as I believe.
I hope that effectual Measures will be taken to support Credit: but I doubt whether our Allies, will Lend us a Million. You know the Difficulty, We always had to get any Money. As to borrowing in Holland, our Credit is not worth a Guinea.
How can We expect Credit abroad when We have it not at home? It is most assuredly in the Power of the People of America, to pay in Taxes, and lend to the Publick Money for our Necessities. But nobody will lend.
I have now made Experiments in Person, and I know that Money cannot be borrowed here, altho on my first Arrival I was deceived into an opposite opinion, by People who thought by a few fair Words to get a great deal of Trade. Depend upon it the Friendship for Us in this Country goes no further, than an Inclination after our Commerce.
As to our being forced to an Accommodation, God forbid. We can gain no Accommodation but unconditional submission. No Propositions the English ever made Us had any Sincerity, or meant any Thing { 396 } more than to deceive, divide and betray Us. Malice is in all their Thoughts towards Us.
No Man or Nation in my opinion can do a more fatal Injury to America, or lead her into a more ruinous Error, than by countenancing an opinion, that England will ever give Us Terms. No sir! War We must have and that for many Years, or Slavery without Alloy. My most friendly Respects to your Brothers &c.
Adieu.
1. In this paragraph JA refers to John Hancock and himself.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-12-06

To William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 29th. Ultimo is before me. Arnold's Apostacy shews the Necessity of nipping Dishonesty in the Bud. Congress must assume a more decided Authority, and must punish Crimes, and in other Ways do Justice to the Public.
If Arnold had been sued at Common Law for the Money or Goods of the Public that he had defrauded the Public of, he would never have had another Command. Juries are the Support of Government. Committees and Courts Martial alone will never do. Such Turpitude would disgrace any Highwayman it is true, but We shall see more of it, if Juries are not appealed to.
I am curious to see, what the Behaviour of Britain will be, in Relation to the Confederated Neutral Powers. I dont know that the Eastern States are more fond of the Conquest of Canada than any other. I have heard nothing of it—indeed all wish Canada a fourteenth State, but none wish a Conquest of any Body but the English in it. This will follow of Course, when the Enemy is driven from the thirteen States. I believe France wishes for it more than any body.
The Revolt of all the English Colonies, after the Independence of the thirteen States, is most certain. The People will never bear their Government, if they can be admitted into the Confederation. And the Revolt of the British Islands too: but the States would not undertake their Protection perhaps. They would never admit them into the Confederation.
All these are but Wanderings of Imagination. As You say, our Business at present is, to drive the English out of the thirteen States; and build a Navy I say.
{ 397 }
A Navy is our only Defence—more necessary for Us than for Great Britain. By this alone can We defend a long Coast, and transport Troops from one Place to another. We need not march Armies nine hundred Miles, if We had a Navy.
Adieu.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sayre, Stephen
Date: 1780-12-06

To Stephen Sayre

[salute] Sir

I received the Letter, which you did me the Honour to write me on the 21 of October,1 but a few days ago.
I am much obliged to you, for the Information it contains; altho I have neither Instructions, nor Powers by which I can improve it, in any other Way than in Speculation.
I am, however, extreamly pleased with the Idea of opening a Trade between Russia and North America. It may be done, intermediately, by the Way of the French or Dutch Islands: but I cannot but wish to See a direct Commerce between the two Countries. There was formerly Such a Trade, and I know Some Familys in Boston who have made handsome Fortunes by it, Sufficient to shew that the Trade was profitable.2
America will be one of the best Customers in the World for Leather, Copper, Linnen, Flax, Hemp, Sail Cloth, Druggs, Lintseed Oil, Feathers, Musk, Rhubard, &c., which if she had a free Trade she could pay for either in Produce or cash, and therefore I am certain, that whenever it shall be permitted there will be a very extensive Commerce in these Articles with Russia. I should be obliged to you Sir, if you would inform me, what American Articles, would find a Markett in Russia.3
There is at present Such a Demand, in America, especially in Philadelphia and Boston, for Hemp and Duck &c. that they cannot be sent to any Markett upon Earth that will give one <half>, quarter Part so much for them.
Pray what should hinder your ships from going directly to Boston or Philadelphia?
The Neutral Powers, Surely have a Right to navigate to America and to trade with the Inhabitants. Have they not?
How long will all the Nations of the Earth, bear with the Unreasonable Pretensions of England?
{ 398 }
I presume We shall Soon hear, important News, however from St. Petersbourg. The Neutral Confederation, I hope will bring our Ennemies to Reason, for Surely so many great Nations are not to be trifled with. I have the Honour to be
1. Nov., N.S. (above).
2. Boston families that prospered in Russian-American commerce were those of Nicholas and Thomas Boylston, first cousins of JA's mother. The two brothers sent off their first ships in 1763 and 1765, respectively (Norman E. Saul, “The Beginnings of American-Russian Trade, 1763–1766,” WMQ, 3d ser., 26:596–600 [Oct. 1969]).
3. Sayre replied on 30 Dec., O.S., with a long letter (Adams Papers). There, in addition to answering the questions posed here and elsewhere in this letter, he expressed his regret that JA lacked the power to assist him, particularly since Benjamin Franklin refused to do so. He indicated Catherine II's determination to maintain a strict neutrality, noted the British ambassador's intrigues against him, and commented on the prospects for a Russian trade with the United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, William Temple
Date: 1780-12-07

To William Temple Franklin

[salute] Dear Sir

I duly recieved your favour of the 6th of November, and ought to have acknowledged it before.
I am glad to find by his Excellency's late Letter,1 that his Health has returned. The Gout I fancy has done the Business of a Physician, and laid the foundation for fine Health and Spirits, for the ensuing dull Winter.
I could wish for the Gout too, or any thing else, to make the Scene agreable to me, who in this Capital of the Reign of Mammon, cannot find the Air of Passy, nor the Amusements of Paris. Here are Examples of Industry, Simplicity and Oeconomy, which I should think worthy to be translated to our Country, provided I could see any thing like public Spirit in them. But here, these are only private Virtues and begin and end in Self. Pray give Us the News when there is any, that We may not faint. Mr. Thaxter and the younger Gentry desire to join their Respects to those of your very humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “Honble. J. Adams Esqr. 7 Decr. 1780.”
1. Of 30 Nov. (above). JA also wrote to Benjamin Franklin on 7 Dec. (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), for which see JA's letter of 24 Oct. to Samuel Cooper Johonnot, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0225

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-12-07

To James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I am this Moment finishing the Year, Since my last Arrival in { 399 } Europe. And the dullest Year, it has been, that I ever Saw. I hope I shall never see Such another. The last Year has compleatly finished our Credit in Europe, Unless France and Spain should lend Us Money there is none to be had. As to the Olive Branch the Seed is not yet Sown which is to produce the Tree which will bear it.
I have received your kind favour of the 7. of Sept.—and hope Soon to receive more. We hope to hear that Cornwallis is checked.
The Dutch are pleasing themselves with, hopes from the Armed Neutrality. They have Sent off Expresses to the several Courts to inform them of their Accession. But they dare not attempt any Thing else.
If you ask what is become of Ireland, it was Silenced by the Loss of Charlestown. What of the Committees in England? Frightened by the Executions of the Mob.1 What is become of our Credit in Holland? Annihilated, by Sir Joseph Yorks Memorial and the Defeat of G. Gates—thus you see how mankind are governed in this Hemisphere.
I send you, a Pamphlet lately published here, and am most affectionately yours
1. The executions of those arrested during the Gordon Riots.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0226

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-12-08

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 17 with an inclosure to JT,2 as well as one of the 27th both got safe which was particularly satisfactory, as a friend who is now a fellow Citizen of yours and who left me about the 24th Ultimo may have before now explaind.3 He could explain to You every thing that I for the present wish explaind. Things are not worse, but insults and aggravation increase. Nothing can exceed the folly and infatuation of the day. To attempt to describe it would be impossible—they have got to the very paroxism of folly, aggravation, and resentment. An opinion generally goes forth thus—America is ours still; If a reasonable Man does not willingly give into this opinion, He is insulted and contemnd. You may form some sense of this by the publications of the day, which I hope you get regularly. You may write to me as usual—I wish for a line to put to the test whether it gets safe, and tell me in it how the papers come to hand &ca. &ca.
J. T—— got away the 2d Instant to O[osten]d and will I hope see you. { 400 } On no account whatever risque his coming here again—he parted rather reluctantly and talkd strangely—more of this hereafter. I wish your Countrymen kept all their fools and—more to themselves and not suffer them to expose others. Much is the mischief which has arrisin from that quarter. I will write you more particularly soon.
We Englishmen not only think we can war successfully with all the world, but we are now actually possessd of an opinion that America is ours again. Nothing now remains but a small force of men and ships to be sent in the spring are wanted and these are actually intended to be sent in the spring. The Virga. Expedition there is great expectation from—but more from defection of principal men in the American Army.
I am with great respect Yrs &ca. &ca.
[signed] S.W.C
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S.C. 8th. Novr. 1780”; filmed at 8 Nov., Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 353.
1. This letter was not written on 8 Nov., for the events recounted by Digges took place or were reported after that date. Digges' reference to “J.T.” in the second paragraph, for example, is most likely to John Steele Tyler, who avoided arrest for high treason when John Trumbull was taken on 20 November. See Digges' letter of 22 Nov. and notes 1 and 6 (above). The letter's style—the effort to make the author appear English rather than American—conforms with Digges' letter of 22 Nov. as well as the others written on 12, 22, and 26 Dec. (all below).
2. No letter of 17 Nov. with an enclosure, likely to John Trumbull, has been found, but for another possible reference to it and its enclosure, see Digges' letter of 12 Dec. (below).
3. This person is not known.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0227

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1780-12-09

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

I wrote to you and Coll. Johonnot a few days ago,1 but have Since found a Letter, from you of 25 July which I am afraid is not acknowledged.
The promised Reinforcement is not yet Sailed from France and when it will be ready I know not. I hope they will Send more ships. But you will hear more from France. I left it the 27 of July and know not when I shall return.
I Sincerely wish myself, at home. Peace will not be made these twenty Years, in my deliberate opinion. And to what Purpose I should Stay here I know not. In America I could do some good, if I could get there without going after Mr. Laurens.
Our unthinking Countrymen, never from the Beginning appeared to me to be Sufficiently sensible of the Difficulty and Danger of the Work they were about. They seem now to think, that they have { 401 } nothing to do but call upon Nations of Europe to their Aid. Many think that they have only to propose Peace, and there will be Peace. Only ask for Accommodation, and they shall have it.
Depend upon it, <neither Peace nor> Accommodation <are> is not at the Disposal of America, on any other Terms whatsoever than unconditional Submission to G. Britain, and a War with France and Spain, and how little soever France and Spain are disposed to assist Us, We should find them a very different Ennemy from what they were the last War. Their marines, and Finances are as much more formidable as those of Great Britain are less.
I know not the Reason, but our Countrymen never appeared to me to have considered Seriously what it was to commit Hostilities against Great Britain. They seem to think the English still their Friends. But they will find themselves the Dupes of their own good Nature and unsuspicious Temper. There is not in England one half the Malice and Rancour against Frenchmen and Spaniards that there is against Americans. The King and Ministry have found means and had the Art to inspire even the Populace with a Hatred of Us, as bitter as that of the common Soldiers who are employed to butcher Us in America.
The Mob themselves would pull the Ministry to Pieces, if they were to make Peace with Us. If We do not in Time find out G.B. to be our Ennemy and, that we must renounce all Ideas of Connection, Correspondance and Intercourse with her, I shall be mistaken.
The Dutch Politicians, after the two Invasions of their Republick by Louis the 14 and Louis the 15.—published little Books containing short and Simple narrations, adapted to the Capacities of the common People of the Devastations, Cruelties and Brutalities of the french Armies, committed in the Republick, intermixed with little Prints representing many of the most detestible of those Scaenes. The Books were intituled French Tyranny, and they were read by every body, and they contributed to excite an universal Hatred and Horror of that nation which runs through every Vein to this day.2 The English Ministry are representing Americans, in Prints and Caracatures, in a light equally odious to the People of England. Yet the Gentlemen in America seem to be afraid, to represent the British Conduct towards them, lest it should alienate the Affections of the People. If there is ever any affection again between Americans and Britains it will be miraculous indeed.
Our officers too are continually expressing their Admiration of British Officers, Troops, Navy, Discipline &c., as if they thought the Way to make their soldiers fight was to represent the Ennemy as { 402 } terrible. It will not be at all wonderfull, if Militia fly, and continental Troops too as long as this is the Case.
Pray put our Countrymen into a more able Way, of managing the best Cause and working with the best materials. If between 3 and 4 millions of People, inhabiting such a Country as ours, and in a manner out of Debt, cannot defend themselves, against between five and six millions 3000 miles off, and 200,000,000, in debt, it will be the most shamefull Discovery that ever was made.
Most affectionately & respectfully yours
1. The letter to Cooper was of 6 Dec. (above); for that of 7 Dec. to Gabriel Johonnot (LbC, Adams Papers), see JA's letter to Samuel Cooper Johonnot of 24 Oct., note 1 (above).
2. Louis XIV invaded the Netherlands in 1672, Louis XV did so in 1747. JA may be referring to a pamphlet entitled De Fransche Tyrannie . . ., Amsterdam, 1674. No later printing has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0228

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Date: 1780-12-09

To Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter, which you did me the Honour to write me, on the 28. Ultimo. The Pamphlet, which I took the Liberty to Send you, may possibly excite in Some Minds a Curiosity, to read the original Memoire,1 and turn the attention of many to a Subject that deserves a Serious Consideration. It is very probable that Mr. Pounal, meant to allarm, this Republick and perhaps other nations, by Several Things which he has inserted in his Work: for he is by no means a Friend of America. The Truths he tells in her favour, dont come from a willing Witness.
These little Allarms, and Jealousies of Merchants or of Nations are not much to be regarded. The American Question, one of the greatest which was ever decided among Men, will be determined by the Cabinets of Europe, according to great national Interests. But let these decide as they will, America will be independent. It is not in the Power of Europe to prevent it. Little mercantile Apprehensions, and less Family Competitions and Alliances among Princes, may light Up a general War in Europe. It is possible that a Jealousy of the House of Bourbon, may inkindle a War of several Powers against those Nations who follow the several Branches of that Family. But this would promote rather than retard American Importance. American Independance is no longer a Question with one Man of Sense in the World, who understands any Thing of the Subject.
{ 403 }
That Merchant must be a very <shallow> superficial Thinker indeed who dreads the Rivalry of America, independant, in the Fisheries, in Freight, and in the Coasting Trade, and yet, would not be afraid of it, connected with Great Britain. The Possibility of Americas interfeering, with any Nation in any of those Things will certainly be retarded by her Independance.
I believe with you that the Credit of America, was never lower in the Low Countries than at this Hour: but I am unfortunate enough to differ, from Your Opinion concerning the Causes of it. The Tales of Gates and Arnold, and the French and Spanish Fleets &c. are ostensible Reasons. The true one is, the apparent Obstinacy and Fury of England, manifested several Ways particularly in the Treatment of Mr. Laurence and the Rage at the Discovery of his Papers. These have intimidated every Body. Every one dreads the Resentment of the <Stadthouderian and the> English Party, <which are the Same,> and no one dares Stand forth in opposition to it. So be it—Let them go on, lending their Money and hiring their Ships to England to enable her to murder People of whom neither the Lender nor the Borrower are worthy. Time will Shew them, how much Wisdom there is in their unfeeling Sacrifice of every Sentiment and every Principle upon the Altar of Mammon. The Less America has to do with such People the better it will be for her.
As to Authentic Informations, Sir. No Information from America would alter Sentiments, which are formed upon Motives, which lie altogether in Europe. No Information from America, could alter the Constitution of this Republick; give the stadtholder less decisive Influence in it, or destroy the Relations between the Families of Hanover and Orange. I should not think it therefore, Wise, nor honest in me to deceive America with any kind of Hopes of Assistance in any Way from this Republick.
There are a few very few Individuals, among the foremost of whom, You, sir will ever be rememberd who would wish from generous Motives to do us Service, but they are So overborn by the opposite Party that they never will be able to do much, excepting in a Case, in which We should have no need of their Assitance. I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem, Sir your most obt &c.
1. Thomas Pownall's Memorial, upon which JA's pamphlet, Pensées, was based.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0229

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1780-12-09

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Friend

Your Favours of July 11. and 19. are before me. They were received at Paris in my Absence and it is not long Since I received them. I have led Such a wandering Life that I have not had Time to answer them, till now.
We expect every day, to receive the Lists of the new Administration, the Speech at opening the first General Court &c.—a high regale they will be.
I am of your Mind concerning the Flaggs to England and the Importations from thence. Poor Trumbull and Tyler as well as Mr. Laurens, will convince our Countrymen I hope. Great Britain, has become litterally, in the Language of old Authors concerning Atilla “The Scourge of God and the Plague of Mankind.” She must be abandoned and renounced forever. There has been too much weak Communication with them which must be cutt off.
I can tell you little News from this Country. The Designs of France and Spain, you will learn from others. You cannot have them from me because I know them not. The Design of the Dutch is to keep Peace if possible. No Resentments of Injuries, or Insults—No Regard to national Honour or Dignity, will turn them out of their pacific Course. They will lend Money and hire Transports to the English, and sell Goods to America and naval stores to France and Spain. In short, get Money out of all Nations but go to War with none. They will not lend Us any Money, nor do any thing, to favour Us, but get Money out of Us, lest England should declare War against them for aiding, abetting, and comforting Rebellion, against Treaties which the English have long Since declared void, but the Dutch still hold Sacred, as their Honour and their Religion.
Such a Nation of Idolaters at the Shrine of Mammon never existed I believe before. The English are as great Idolaters, but they have more Gods than one.
The Republick, however, has acceeded to the armed Neutrality, and We expect in the Course of five or Six Weeks to know, the Principles and the system of it, how many nations have joined in it, and what We may expect from it. The Principle, that free ships shall make free Goods, will assist Us in procuring present Supplies, and will be more usefull to America hereafter, When she as I hope will be neutral, altho other Nations may be at War, than to any nation of Europe. { 405 } But I dont expect that any sensible Advantage will result, from it to Us, very Soon. The Prince of orange, and the States General will proceed So slowly, not to say will affect So many Delays, that it will be Some Years before any great Thing will result from it.
My eloquent Friend, the Abby Raynal, whose History you mention is publishing a new Edition of that Work