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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

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.
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.