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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-03-29

To the President of Congress


[salute] Sir

It is of Importance to the People of America to observe how much lighter their own Burthens are than those of their Enemies, and for this Reason, I have every Year since I have been in Europe taken Notice of the new Taxes laid annually in Perpetuity upon the People of Great Britain by Parliament, in Support of Tyranny, in addition to all former Debts and Taxes.1 One sixth Part of the new Taxes of this Year, would be more than sufficient to pay the Interest of the whole Sum which America will this Year expend in Support of Liberty.
The new Taxes consist in an additional duty of five per Cent upon all Articles subject to the duty of Excise, except Malt, Soap and Candles and green Leather, valued at   150,000   £ Sterlg.  
Seven per Cent upon the Drawbacks at the Custom house.   167,000    
role="text"an additional Duty of one Penny three farthings upon each Pound of Tobacco   61,000    
a Duty of an half penny upon each Pound of Sugar   326,000    
The Interest of the new Loan is said to amount only to   660,000    
which leaves a Surplus of   44,000    
{ 240 }
There cannot be a more striking Contrast than that between the Conduct of Lord [North] and Mr. Neckar. The abilities of the former as a Financier consist wholly in laying on new Taxes without End: those of the other lie in finding Resources for vast Expences without laying any new Burthens on the People. Mr. Neckar is laying a foundation for a Credit in France as solid as that of Great Britain, by stating to the Public, the Expences and Revenues. This is the only solid Foundation of public Credit. America will never obtain a Credit of any Consequence in Europe, until She has a Credit at Home. It is demonstrable that the People of America are able to lend to Congress every Year, more than Money enough to carry on the War and pay all Expences. What is the Reason they do not? The Reasons are plain: first, they have not known that the public Money was expended by any fixed Rule, so that they could judge how much it amounted to: secondly, they did not see any certain Prospect of the punctual Payment of Interest or Principal at a fixed Value. All the Art of financieering in America lies in ascertaining with precision, by a fixed Standard, how much our Expences are: next ascertaining what our Income is: thirdly, how much must be borrowed: fourthly, how to assure the Payment of Interest and Principal.
If Taxes could be laid by Congress upon Exports and Imports, and upon the Consumption of Articles of Luxury, Convenience and Necessity as they are in Europe, America would be able to raise more every Year in Taxes, than She has ever Spent in one Year. Nay We might oblige Foreigners to pay all the Expences of the War, and establish a Credit much more solid than that of Great Britain, because We have not such a debt to begin with. But without recurring to this System, which might injure our Commerce as well as our Liberties, it is unquestionably owing entirely to Regulations of Prices, Embargoes, and stamping an arbitrary Value upon what had no Value, that has hitherto ruined our Credit. But when all these Systems shall be totally abolished in the several States, and Measures shall be taken to lay annual Taxes of a certain Value, and those Taxes mortgaged for the Payment of Interest, there is not a doubt but every State may obtain Credit enough for the Necessities of its Inhabitants.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 123–126); endorsed: “Letter 29 March 1781 John Adams Read 19 Novr.”
1. For previous reports by JA on the British budget and the loans and taxes necessary to support it, see his letters to the president of Congress of 1 March 1779 (vol. 8:1–2) and 27 March 1780 { 241 } (calendared, vol. 9:86–87). The new taxes described in this letter are those Lord North presented to Parliament on 14 March in support of his budget. The figures are in the form in which they appeared in the various London newspapers, such as the London Chronicle of 13–15 March.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0176-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-30

From C. W. F. Dumas

J'ai bien reçu l'honneur de votre Lettre du 27e. et vous suis trèsredevable de l'obligeante intention qui vous a engagé à me l'écrire.
Je n'ai pu voir encore personne pour savoir ce qui se passe, n'ayant pas trouvé les gens chez eux, et aussi parce que j'ai été indisposé depuis deux jours. Je sortirai ce soir pour tâcher de m'instruire.
Si vous allez à Amsterdam, ayez la bonté, Monsieur, de m'avertir du jour de votre départ, et du temps que vous serez absent de Leide: c'est une précaution nécessaire dans ces temps, ou il se peut présenter d'un jour à l'autre quelque évenement qui puisse m'engager à aller vous parler à Leide; et je ne voudrois pas faire de course inutile.
Quand vous m'écrivez par la poste, mon nom seul suffit sur l'adresse, parce qu'il est connu là. Mais par les barques, il est bon d'y ajouter chez Made. la Veuve Loder;1 autrement des Lettres risquent de se perdre.
On fait bâtir actuellement pour l'Amirauté d'Amsterdam des Vaisseaux de guerre sur des Chantiers privés. Un seul Constructeur à Sardam a offert d'en bâtir Six. Je suis avec un grand respect Monsieur, Votre très-humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0176-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-30

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

I have received the honor of your letter of the 27th and am indebted to you for your obliging intentions which prompted you to write me.
I have not been able to see anyone to find out what is going on because no one has been in and also because I have been indisposed for the past two days. I will go out this evening to try to learn something.
If you go to Amsterdam, have the kindness, sir, to inform me of your departure date, and the length of time that you will be absent from Leyden. It is a necessary precaution these days, since some event may present itself that I must come to tell you of at Leyden and for which I would not like to make a useless trip.
When you write to me through the post, it is only necessary to write my name on the address because everyone knows it. But if the letter is carried by boat, it is good to add chez Made. la Veuve Loder.1 Otherwise the letters risk being lost.
{ 242 }
They are currently building ships of war for the Admiralty of Amsterdam in private shipyards. A shipbuilder in Zaandam offered to build six. I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. Dumas' wife Marie, whose first husband was named Loder (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 48).
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.