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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0041

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-20

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Jenings having gone out of Town, has left in my care a packet for you that came to him last Monday by the Post; by the marks on it, I fancy it has come from Antwerp. You will please to direct, whether it shall be forwarded to you in Holland or kept here 'till your return.
{ 83 }
We have not any certain advices of Monsr. Ternay, but it appears that orders are already sent out to prosecute the War with vigor in N. Carolina and Virginia, the ensuing Fall, Winter and Spring for which purpose Genl. Provost has sail'd, or is now about to sail, on his return to that quarter and I understand is to carry some Frigates to aid their operations on Cape Fear River: If there are any opportunities from where you are, it will be well to put America on her guard against this plan. It is said that the Enemy are sounding the disposition of the house of Bourbon, thro' the medium of Sardinia1 and have thrown out some loose propositions for accommodation; the basis of which is, the sacrifice of Ama. to scotch resentment; thus on all sides they are attempting to divide and of course to accomplish their views against all the parties.2 I wish you an agreeable Journey and with my respects to your Sons, I have the honour to remain with very great regard Dr. Sir Your most Obedt. Hble: Servt.
[signed] W: Lee
P.S. Can't you prevail where you are to have a Convoy sent with some Dutch Merchant Ships to America. Such a measure would be of more utility and more decisive, than a simple acknowlegement of our Independence.
1. For an earlier report on the proposed Sardinian mediation, see JA's letter of 17 April to the president of Congress, No. 46, and note 1 (above).
2. To this point, this paragraph served as the basis for the second paragraph of JA's letter of 23 Aug. to the president of Congress (No. 3, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-08-22

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

At a Time, when the English Emmissaries are filling all Europe with their confidant Assertions, of the Distress of the Americans, the enclosed Papers shew that both at Philadelphia and at Boston, the People are so much at their Ease, As to be busily employed, in the Pursuits of the Arts of Peace, and in laying Foundations for future Improvements in Science and Literature. It is perhaps the first Instance, of Such Tranquility of Mind in the midst of a civil War.
If you think, it worth while to publish these Proceedings they are at your Service.2 I have received also the new Constitution of the Massachusetts Bay. If you think it of any Use to translate it, and publish it it is at your Service.3
If you dont think proper to publish the Proceedings of the Mass. { 84 } in establishing an Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, in electing a number of new members, I should be obliged to you, for the Return of these Papers to me, because I have no other. Please to direct to me, at Mr. Henry Schorns in Amsterdam. I am with great Respect, your humble servant
[signed] John Adams
1. This is JA's first letter to Jean Luzac, publisher of the Gazette de Leyde, and sympathetic friend to the American cause. The Adams Papers Editorial Files contain thirty-six letters exchanged by the two men from this date through 24 May 1805. Particularly during the first months of JA's residence in the Netherlands, he used Luzac to convince Europeans that the United States was determined to achieve independence and to explain the operation of its economic and political systems (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 121–124). In addition to printing the items offered by JA in this letter (see note 2), Luzac proved particularly valuable to JA as the publisher of the French translation of JA's reworking of Pownall's Memorial: Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie, Amsterdam, 1780 (Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], Editorial Note, above).
2. In the Gazette de Leyde of 29 Aug., Luzac, using the text of JA's letter as the basis for his introductory comments, printed the act establishing the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that had been adopted by the General Court on 4 May 1780 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:1194–1196), and the text of a report of the meeting of the American Philosophical Society on 21 Jan. at which George Washington, JA, and numerous others were elected to membership. The newspaper account indicated that the material was taken from a letter dated 15 June at Philadelphia, but no such letter has been found in the Adams Papers, despite Luzac's return of this letter's enclosures with his letter of 31 Aug. (below). A printed copy of the act establishing the American Academy (Evans, No. 16841) is in the Adams Papers. JA copied a small portion of the text from the Gazette into Lb/JA/14 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 102). It appears immediately after his letter of 28 Aug. to Joseph Gridley (not printed, but see Gridley's letter of [post 28 Aug.], below) and is followed by eleven blank pages, indicating that JA probably intended to copy the entire article. For JA's role in the establishment of the American Academy, see vol. 8:233, 260, 270–271; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:225–226. For JA's election to the American Philosophical Society in 1780 and then again in 1793, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:299–300.
3. For Luzac's publication of the Massachusetts Constitution, see his letter of 14 Sept., and note 3 (below).
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.