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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

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.”

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0089

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-02-09

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

Colonel Johonnot who sails in the Frigate Alliance, I expected would have tarried with us a day or two longer. His sudden and unexpected Call to go on Board this Ship which now lies at some Distance from the Town allows me but a Moment to write you. The Colonel can give you all the News. Colonel Laurens who goes in the same Vessel upon some secret and important Errand of Congress is capable of stating to you the present Situation of our Affairs. The raising an Army during the War, goes on more slowly than I could wish; I hope we shall compleat this Business in Time, but Republican Governments, tho the best in the World upon the whole, are not remarkable for Decision and Energy in military Matters. Money is now our great Desideratum. The general Court have made new Arrangements in pecuniary Matters, by a small Majority in the House and a large one in the Senate, and have repealed all Tenders except in hard Money or Paper Equivalent, and gone into other Methods adapted to restore public Credit.1 We cannot pay the Charges of the War in the Year, and are sensible of the Necessity of Loans. The Resources of this Country are a sure Fund for them; and as they must increase every day, the principal as well as the Interest may be easily paid in a moderate Term of Time upon the Restoration of Peace; It would be to the Advantage of our Allies, and the Neutral Powers to entertain this Idea of us, and aid us in the present Pinch; Without which I am afraid we shall not be able to act in the common Cause as our Friends expect and we wish. Colonel Johonnot goes to France upon a Plan of Business; Your Friendship to him in this will oblige us both. He will see you upon the Affairs of his Son.2
Please to accept a Copy of the Discourse delivered by me at the Commencement of a Constitution so much your own.3 The Call for the Departure of the Colonel is given, and I must subscribe myself, With every Sentiment of Respect and Friendship, Your obedient humble Servant
[signed] Saml: Cooper
{ 132 }
1. See William Tudor's letter of 5 Feb., and note 8, above.
2. Gabriel Johonnot was going to France to join Samuel Cooper Johonnot, his son and Cooper's grandson, who was then living with Benjamin Franklin at Passy. See also AA's letter of 8 Feb. to JQA and CA (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:77–79).
3. A Sermon Preached Before His Excellency John Hancock, Esq; Governour, ... October 25, 1780. Being the Day of the Commencement of the Constitution, and Inauguration of the New Government, [Boston, 1780] (Evans, No. 16753). See also Edmund Jenings' letter of 1 Jan., and note 4, above.
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.