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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0165

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1781-03-24

To Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Gentlemen

I received last night your favour of the 22d., inclosing three Bills of Exchange which I have accepted and return inclosed. I have also received another Letter on the Affair of St. Eustatia.1 I Sincerely condole with you, on the Loss of that Island both as it affects the publick and as it must probably more or less affect your private Interest.
There is great Pains taken to represent this as a fatal Blow to the United States of America, at which I can do nothing but laugh. In my private opinion it will be better for America. The Property taken in that Island, I shrewdly suspect, belonging to English Scotch and Irish Merchants, was more than all that belong to french Americans and even Dutch, altogether. In this I may be mistaken, but in all Events the American Property there was not much.
However after the insidious Artifices of the English in holding out false appearances of a disposition for Peace, shall have amused 8 or 9 nations for a little while, when they discover themselves to have been only duped and mocked by English Impudence this outrage, with others cannot but Unite all the maritime nations in one decisive League, in support of the Freedom of Commerce, and American Independance, without which it is evident to demonstration that the Liberty of the Seas cannot longer exist.
Put American again in dependance on England, and it would be in their joint Power in twenty years, to conquer all the <Possessions> { 228 } Establishment of the Spaniards French Dutch and Portuguese in the East and West Indies in Spight of all that the rest of Mankind could do to prevent it. <With great Respect, I have the Honour to be, &c.>
I would not advise the Powers of Europe, therefore, to let America be reduced to the Necessity, of proposing Terms to Great Britain. With great Respect, I have the Honour to be &c.
1. Probably Edmund Jenings' letter of 21 March, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0166

Author: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-26

From Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Honourd Sir

May it please yoúr Excellency that we thank her for the most kind reception I had the honoúr to meet with. I am sorry my time is so múch taken úp in this moment that I could not make my visit longer and accept of the honoúr offerd me; there is no news aboút the loan; I am very much pleased Yoúr Excellency is so indifferent aboút it for the present, as I can scarcely doúbt it will do in good time. We have learnd patience and perseverance; and repeat often Horaces known system jústúm et tenacem propositi virum,1 what will bring oúr people we hope in Spirits, is the Arrival of a Vessell belonging to Boston; yoúr Nation Honourd Sir we hope will be the example to oúrs, in many respects, and we are determind never to act únworthy to both, we begg leave to join again to this present Some papers which came to oúr hands for Yoúr Excellency2 and have the honoúr to be with all devoted Regard, Honourd Sir Yoúr Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servants
[signed] John de Neufville & Son
We hope Mr. Charles will be Soon recoverd.3 May we begg oúr compliments to both the Gent. and Mr. Thaxter. Yr. Ex. be pleased so To.
After what we had the honoúr to mention, may we begg leave to add that we should not be surprised there was some idea at the Hagúe to make domesticall matters úpp,4 if so we think we shall know it, as we do suppose a certain person came on púrpose to sound me, and some others, this I thought will give yoúr Excellency pleasúre to know, butt may I begg at the Same time that it may remain the deepest Secret with yoúr Excellency own Self, as any enquiry even might Spoill the whole, I dare Say if we are not to Sanguine different opportunitys offer to serve the good Caúse, and yoúr Excellency may { 229 } depend on that we shall be and are sufficiently on oúr guard not to be Amúsed, carrying on every measúre which may promote any good in the present circúmstances.
1. The complete passage, as usually cited, reads: Iustum et tenacem propositi virum / non civium ardor prava iubentium, / non voltus instantis tyranni / mente quatit solida (Horace, Odes, Bk. III, Ode iii, lines 1–4). That is, “The man tenacious of his purpose in a righteous cause is not shaken from his firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens bidding what is wrong, not by the face of threatening tyrant” (Horace, The Odes and Epodes, with an English Translation, by C. E. Bennett, Cambridge, 1952, p. 178–179).
2. Presumably the Lettres hollandoises, for which see JA's reply of 27 March, below.
3. CA was ill from March through at least the end of May with what JA described as a “tertian fever,” a form of malaria characterized by paroxysms of fever at 48-hour intervals. John Thaxter described one of CA's paroxysms in a letter to JA of 5 April (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:97–98, 108, 121).
4. It is unclear what this reference to “domesticall matters” means, but it may be efforts to reconcile the positions of the stadholderian and patriot parties so as to mount a concerted effort against Britain.
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.