A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0122-0002

Author: Chalut, Abbé
Author: Arnoux, Abbé
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-06

Abbé Chalut to John Adams: A Translation

Mr. Searle delivered to us, our dear and estimable friend, the letter that you put in his charge for us.1 He should have written to you that we have { 178 } been very eager to do whatever we can for him and that he had a long discussion with one of the heads of the farmers general. It seems to us that he was satisfied with this farmers general. We know that the latter was satisfied with him. You know that we are at your service for anything that may depend upon us and that anyone that you direct to us will find in our friendship for you, your zeal to serve them.
We had the pleasure of dining a few times with Messieurs Searle and Dana. We asked them to extend this cordiality, which you know is an honor for us, whenever their affairs permit them to do so.
Mr. Searle is a good and wise republican who is worthy of his country, and the cause that you defend with such virtue and success. He told us that he will be joining you soon, and we congratulated him on this good fortune since we sincerely wish circumstances would allow us the pleasure of seeing you again.
Mr. Necker's report has undoubtedly reached you.2 Here it has created an agreeable sensation for the happiness of France. This work reveals the genius and courage of a virtuous administrator. The French who love their country admire the talents and virtues of this minister of finance. All the ambassadors of the European powers who live in Paris are eager to send several copies of the report to their respective courts. We think it will be translated into every language. The English will pale when they read it, and will not believe their eyes. They will learn that France, because of its good financial state and because of the genius of its administrator, can again support campaigns at the end of which England will only find itself exhausted. Since this piece appeared, sensible people have exclaimed that Mr. Necker will accelerate the return of peace. The English have, until today, made only feeble attempts. Reflection will bring about reason, and with the state of affairs, they will sacrifice with regret their master plans of greatness, which will cost them their political life if they continue to destroy themselves in order to achieve it. It is true that through their greed they will see with despair the advantages shared between the different maritime powers in Europe. This plague and humiliation will know no compassion, since a proud and tyrannical domination can hardly be belied. Rome and Carthage fell from abuse of contemptuous power. Such will be the fate of these islanders, if enlightened Europe acts according to its interests.
Here we finish our reflections, so as not to occupy ourselves with sentiments other than those which you have inspired in us; we love you still. We continue to hold your talents and virtues in high esteem, to send love and tenderness to your two children, and to assure you of the friendship with which we remain the abbé Chalut and abbé Arnoux
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Abbés Chalut & Arnoux. 6th. March 1781.”
1. Not found.
2. This was Compte rendu au Roi par M. Necker, directeur général des finances, Paris, 1781. Faced with the increasingly difficult task of financing the war with England, Jacques Necker sought to make France more credit { 179 } worthy. Necker indicated in the preamble that to accomplish his task it was necessary to disclose the actual state of French finances and thereby remove the “mystère” surrounding them. He pointed to the enormous credit Britain enjoyed and attributed it largely to its form of government and the requirement to present the national budget each year to Parliament for approval. This made clear to potential creditors the resources that Britain had available to service a loan. Necker's Compte created an immediate sensation because of its sharp departure from past practice and thus was much in demand. The Gazette de Leyde of 2 March contained the preamble, included an additional excerpt in its issue of 6 March, and on 16 March announced that a new printing soon would be available for two florins.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0123

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-06

From Francis Dana

(No. 12.)

[salute] Dear Sir

I desired Mr. Searle when he wrote you a few days since, to present my best regards to you, and to acquaint you that I wou'd write in a few days. I have consulted D.D. ||Benjamin Franklin|| upon the resolution of AZ||Congress||, agreable to your desire, and he says, he thinks, it might be adviseable to communicate it to her Minister near you—that there is none now here to whom he cou'd communicate it.1 I went a little beyond my commission, and brought on some conversation touching a certain instruction, with which he was charged, not very distantly related to your's; I enquired what had been done upon it, and was answered, nothing—that he had communicated it, but as he supposed the matter which it concerned, was at a distance, he had not thought it worth while to press on a determination; and he seemed to think it wou'd be time enough when the period hinted at approached.2 I have obtained a copy of the Cyphers: this I shall not forward by post, as I expect a good private opportunity next week: When they were delivered to me, the Gentleman said, he had never been able to comprehend them. Whether I shall be able to do it, is uncertain. However I will make the attempt. I received the last evening a letter of the 6th. of Jany. a copy of which I will send enclosed. It is impossible to decypher it, because I cannot recollect the person whose family name is alluded to.3 I wish our friend had given a more modern instance for his clue. The list of letters received shall accompany his letter.4 I find an Account of your Loan is published in the Amsterdam Gazette of the 2d. instant:—Is the one Million already subscribed, and how much do you allow the Banker? I have a very special reason for this last part. Some people here, say it can't succeed. I know well what motives influence their opinions, or rather their declarations. Mr. Searle received your's of the 27th. of last { 180 } month, the last evening.5 It is a long while since I have been honoured with one from you. I was in hopes you wou'd have advised me of the Loan, so that I might have sent an account of it from hence to AZ||Congress||. Opportunities now offer more frequently from hence, than from your ports. I wrote you 8 or 10 days since, as I took no copy of that letter I am uncertain about its date.6 Colo. Lawrence's commission will probably take up about one half of the matter which lies upon my mind, hinted at in my last. I hope to have the satisfaction of seeing him here shortly. It is certainly of the utmost consequence that something shou'd be done. Appearances alone will not answer. Things grow more and more serious, and they must have a suitable attention paid to them. Steady's ||John Adams'|| Family perceive generally that this has not been done. As I shall write you again next week, I will close this, after begging your acceptance of my most sincere regards.
[signed] FRA DANA
P.S. Mr. S. will write you soon,7 and now desires his best regards.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Dana. 6th. March 1781.” To the right of the endorsement is a note from the Abbés Chalut and Arnoux: “Le abbés Chalut et Arnoux ont pré M. Dana de leur donnes une loine de se lettre pour faire milles tendres compliments à M. Taxter.” Translation: The Abbés Chalut and Arnoux have requested Mr. Dana to allow them the use of his letter to render a thousand tender compliments to Mr. Thaxter. For the enclosure, see notes 3 and 4.
1. Because Russia was represented at Paris only by a chargé d'affaires, Franklin believed it would be better to communicate Congress' resolution of 5 Oct. 1780 regarding U.S. accession to the armed neutrality to Prince Gallitzin at The Hague (Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder, 3:354; to Francis Dana, 8 Feb., above).
2. Probably a reference to Art. 10 of the Franco-American alliance providing for the accession of other nations to the alliance. JA had referred to it in letters to Edmund Jenings, C. W. F. Dumas, James Searle, and the president of Congress of 31 Jan., 2, 4, and 7 Feb., respectively, all above.
3. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Dana on 2 March and enclosed a copy of the cipher that James Lovell had sent to him on 24 Feb. 1780. Franklin's included a passage from Lovell's letter to him of 4 May 1780, which he had “try'd in vain” to decipher. Dana successfully decrypted Franklin's letter, but his success did him little good with regard to Lovell's letter of 6 January. The difficulty, which he indicated in his letter to JA of 16 March, below, that he had overcome, was that each cipher had a different key (Franklin, Papers, 34:412; 31:520–522; 32:354–355; JA, Papers, 9:270–273; Weber, Codes and Ciphers, p. 31–34, 590). The recipient's copy of Franklin's letter of 2 March, with its accompanying cipher key, is in the Adams Papers. It was probably among the documents that Dana sent under the care of a Mr. Themmen, presumably the “good private opportunity” mentioned earlier in this letter (from Francis Dana, 16 March, below).
4. In the enclosed letter of 6 Jan. to Dana, Lovell acknowledged Congress' receipt on 20 Nov. 1780 of JA's letters of 22 and 23 Aug.; on 27 Nov. those of 12 (2), 16, 17 (2) and 29 June, and 24 Sept.; on 30 Nov. that of 26 June; on 4 Dec. those of 24 Aug. and 4 Sept.; on 26 Dec. those of 7, 14, 15 (3), 19 (2), 22 and 23 July, 14 Aug., 16 and 19 Sept., 8 and 11 Oct. 1780. For these letters see vols. 9 and 10.
5. Not found.
6. From Dana, 25 Feb., above.
7. Searle's next letter was dated 14 March (Adams Papers); see Francis Dana's letter of that date, note 1, 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.