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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0087

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-02-08

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

The Bearer of this, Mr. Brailsford1 a native of South Carolina, is now on his way to America with the laudable design of serving his Country in the Feild, and being desirous of the Honor of your acquaintance I have taken the Liberty of introducing him to your Civilities, as I am sure you will take pleasure in incouraging such praiseworthy motives as carry Mr. Brailsford to America.
{ 130 }
Since my last of the 31 Ultimo I do not hear any material news to be relyed upon, we have a report from France that Rodney has been repulsed at St. Vincents with considerable loss.
I send you the debates in Parliament on the Dutch War, as perhaps you may not have seen so full an Account of them; these you will please to forward to America.
With the highest respect & regard, I have the Honor to remain Dear Sir Your most Obld. & Obed. Hble Servt.
[signed] W. Lee
Turn over.
P.S. Pray who is Mr. Sullivan the writer of the Letters.2
Sir J. Yorke embark'd yesterday at Ostend for England, which proves his having given up all hopes of success from his intrigues in Holland and Zealand.
1. William Brailsford, a Charleston merchant whom JQA mentions in his Diary for June and who later sailed with CA on the South Carolina (JQA, Diary, 1:77, 83, 88; Adams Family Correspondence, 4:223).
2. Gen. John Sullivan; see Edmund Jenings' letter of 5 Feb., and note 3, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-02-09

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have this day the Honour of yours of 5. It would be unwise in Congress, to neglect any Effort to induce other Powers of Europe to acknowledge our Independancy, and therefore I am fully of opinion that at least one Minister Should be sent to treat with the Maritime Powers, or rather the neutral Union. For these Powers will all acknowlege our Independance at once, and none of them will do it Seperately. But Spain is a horrid obstacle to every other Courts taking this Step. Spain which is more interested in it, even than France, hesitates, and Jay is hung up, there as I am here, an object of Ridicule. Congress will not exhibit more of these Objects, than are necessary. Every Body Shakes his Head and crys, why dont Spain acknowledge your Independancy? I know the Reason very well but I cant tell it.2 I think that Reason equally impolitick and ungenerous. But how can We help it? and how can We help it.
1. In his Letterbook JA did not indicate the recipient of this letter, which is incomplete and probably was never sent, but it is clearly a reply to Jenings' letter of 5 Feb., above.
2. When JA copied this letter in 1809 for publication in the Boston Patriot he italicized this sentence and in a paragraph immediately following the letter explained what he meant (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, { 131 } p. 387). “Although prudence forbad my explaining 'the reason' at that time, there is no necessity of concealing it now. I then believed, and I still believe, that the policy of the count de Vergennes, which exerted all its resources through the duke de la Vauguion, at the Hague, to embarrass me, and through the marquis of Verac to obstruct Mr. Dana at Petersburg, was employed at Madrid through the count Montmorin, to retard Mr. Jay; for his fundamental and universal principle appeared to be to keep us entirely dependent on France.”
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.