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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


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.
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/