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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


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).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/