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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0035

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-08-17

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your Letter of the 1. of this month and the Packetts you Sent with it, by Mr. Appleton. The arrival of the Convoy, at Bourdeaux is a fortunate Circumstance for Commerce: but I want to know the News and whether any of those Vessells were upon public Account, and whether any thing is sent to Us.
I have taken a cursory View of Brussells, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Delft, the Hague, Leyden, and Amsterdam. They are Cities very well worth Seeing. But the Air of this Country is not so Salubrious, as that of France.
{ 75 }
There are Some Americans here, particularly Mr. Davis1 a Son of Soloman who left Boston the 20 of June, and the Chev. de Ternay was not arrived, So that the Account from London is premature.2
Manleys Letter, I wish you would answer and show to Dr. Franklin. How much money does he want? I would run a Risque to let him and Cunningham have a little if the Dr. declines.
I expect Soon to get into a Way of receiving the Papers, but the Winds have been So long contrary, that nothing has come from London except Some Stockjobbers expresses. Here is a great Body of Jews who are very busy in the English Stocks. If America would establish Funds, and a Stockjobbing System, she would Soon make a Figure among the Israelites. But this Kind of Bubbles, I hope she will avoid.
There are many respectable People here, who profess a Regard for America: but I hear many curious Doctrines and Prophecies among the Politicians. One set Says America will quit France; another that France and Spain, will desert America, a third that Spain will desert France, and America, a fourth, that America has the Interest of allmost all Europe against her, a Fifth that America, will become the great manufacturing Country, and thus distress Europe, a Sixth that America will become a military and naval Power, which will be terrible to Europe.
In short I never heard So many crude Speculations, in my Life. Recommend me to one of our Town meeting orators, for sound Judgment and true foresight, in preference to the learned and ingenious, and enlarged and refined, and profound Politicians of this World.
Will you be So good as to present my Compliments and Thanks to Mr. Addenet, and ask him what Compensation I must make him, for all the Trouble I have given him?
My Love to Mr. Thaxter, and tell him to write me.
I am &c.
Direct to me, chez Mr. Henry Schorn, Amsterdam.3
LbC (Adams Papers). This is the first letter recorded in Lb/JA/14 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 102). For information regarding this Letterbook, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and His Letterbooks” (above).
1. This was Capt. Edward Davis of the Dolphin. On his return voyage he was entrusted with merchandise and letters for AA, but threw the letters overboard when chased by an American privateer flying a British flag as a deception (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:425; 4:14).
2. This account appeared in various London newspapers, including the London Courant, on 3 August. It announced that Ternay's fleet had reached Boston on 20 June and was met by “illuminations and great rejoicings.” In { 76 } fact, the French fleet reached Newport in early July.
3. From mid-Aug. 1780 through Feb. 1781, JA lived at “Agterburgwal by de Hoogstraat” and his landlady was Agatha Marchand Schorn, widow of Henrich Schorn. For an extensive account of his new residence, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:450, 451, 456.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0036

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-08-17

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

I am lodged at Mr. Henry Schorns in this City, to which place you may direct your Letters, for Some Weeks to come. You may continue to Send the Pamphlets to Paris, or Send them here, which you please.
The Bearer will tell you all the News I know. Pray what do the Politicians on your Side the Water think of the Plan of Russia, Sweeden and Denmark? Do they think the dutch will acceed to it? These last have contended an 100 years, for the Principle of free ships free goods; is it thought they will refuse it now? Do they find much comfort in the news from America? Are the People ripe to declare for England? is the Capture of Charlestown the Conquest of the States? Is the American mind wholly Subdued? have they lost Sight of the Pleasures of Self-government? do they begin to despize a free Trade? do they begin to think the ministry, just, honest, wise and good? The Parliament uncorrupt? the nation virtuous? the national Debt no Burthen? the French Alliance a Calamity? how is all this? Is my Lord North prepared with his Ways and means, for next Winter? how many millions are proposed to be borrowed next? What Interest is to be given? Are the Israelites all ready? how is Gibraltar to be Supplied next? how are the Granadas and Floridas to be got back again? do the Politicians See their Way, clear out of the Labyrinth? Is the American Trade quite annihilated with France, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweeden, the West Indies? how fare the Fisheries this year? which gets most the English or Americans? Does the nation Still adore the Administration for their Wisdom, their Sublime plans and their wonderful Success?
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W. S. C.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0037

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-08-17

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I never was more amuzed with political Speculations, than Since my Arrival in this country. Every one has his Prophecy, and every Prophecy is a Paradox. One Says America will give France the Go By. { 77 } Another that France and Spain, will abandon America. A Third that Spain will forsake France and America. A Fourth that America, has the Interest of all Europe against her. A Fifth that She will become the greatest manufacturing Country, and thus ruin Europe. A Sixth that she will become a great and an ambitious military and naval Power, and consequently terrible to Europe.
In short it Seems as if they had Studied for every Impossibility, and agreed to foretell it, as a probable future Event.
I tell the first, that if the K. of France would release America from her Treaty and England would agree to our Independance, on condition we would make an Alliance offensive and defensive with her, America ought not to accept it and would not, because She will in future have no security for Peace even with England, but in her Treaty with France. I ask the Second, whether they think the Connection of America of So little Consequence to France and Spain, that they would lightly give it up? I ask the third, whether the Family compact added to the Connection with America is a trifling Consideration to Spain? To the fifth, that America will not make manufactures enough for her own Consumption, these 1000 years. To the sixth that We love Peace and hate War So much, that We can Scarcely keep up an army necessary to defend ourselves against the greatest of Evils, and to secure our Independance which is the greatest of Blessings; and therefore while We have Land enough to conquer from the Trees, Rocks and wild Beasts We shall never go abroad to trouble other nations.
To the fourth, I Say that their Paradox is like several others, viz. that Bachus and Ceres did mischief to mankind when they invented Wine and Bread, that Arts, Sciences and Civilization have been general Calamities &c.
That upon their Supposition all Europe ought to agree, to bring away the Inhabitants of America, and divide them among the nations of Europe to be maintained as Paupers, leaving America to grow up again, with Trees and Bushes, and to become again the Habitations of Bears and Indians, forbidding all navigation to that quarter of the globe in future. That Mankind in general, however are probably of a different opinion, believing that Columbus as well as Bachus and Ceres did a service to mankind, and that Europe and America will be rich Blessings to each other, the one Supplying a surplus of manufactures, and the other a surplus of raw materials, the Productions of Agriculture.
It is very plain, however, that Speculation and disputation, can do { 78 } Us little service. No Facts are believed, but decisive military Conquests: no Arguments are seriously attended to in Europe but Force. It is to be hoped our Countrymen instead of amusing themselves any longer with delusive dreams of Peace, will bend the whole Force of their Minds to augment their Navy, to find out their own Strength and Resources and to depend upon themselves. I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Augt. 17. 1780.”
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.