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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

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


[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.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.