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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0194-0002

Author: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-15

Antoine Marie Cerisier to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Several days ago we received the English gazettes which I have the honor to send to you. Since they could not be for our agency, I presumed that they were part of those that we ordered for you. Please forgive me for the delay in sending them to you. We waited for someone to claim them and thought that perhaps you would come to our city soon.
I would be flattered to know what you think of the last issues of the Politique Hollandais.1 I would be even more delighted if you had any observations to make to me from which my subsequent issues might profit. Perhaps you could hint to Mr. Luzac to make mention of my work in his gazette in order to get subscribers outside of this country.
Someone observed that I am neither a good Englishman nor a good Frenchman and that I am a better American than Dutchman. What I know is that the principles of liberty are deeply imbedded in my heart and that I would never betray this cause nor ever disguise my sentiments.
I have the honor to be, with respect and veneration for your excellency, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] A. M. Cerisier
1. The first issue of Cerisier's Le politique hollandais was published on 12 February. JA made numerous contributions to this pro-Patriot and pro-American publication which appeared in six volumes through 12 Jan. 1784. JA's library at the Boston Public Library contains vols. 1–4 (Catalogue of JA's Library; for additional information on Le politique hollandais, its publication and influence in the Netherlands, see Handelingen en Mededeelingen van de Maatschappij der Nederlandsche Letterkunde te Leiden over het Jaar 1882, W. P. Sautijn Kluit, “Le Politique Hollandais,” p. 1– 36). The most recent issue, that of 9 April, compared the Dutch and American Revolutions, much as JA had done in his replies to Hendrik Calkoen in 1780 (vol. 10:196–252). In the course of his remarks on the American Revolution, Cerisier stated “c'est le peuple collectivement qui donne le mouvement à toute la masse: Ce n'est ni Washingthon, ni Gatès, ni Lée, ni les deux Adams &c. qui ont animé ce vaste corps: Ils ont eux-mêmes reçu leur impulsion de la grande machine, dont ils se sont trouvés, par leurs talens seuls, les principales parties....” Translation: It is the whole people who have given the movement its mass; it is neither Washington, nor Gates, nor Lee, nor the two Adamses &c. who have animated the vast body: they, themselves, have received their direction from the great machine, of which they find themselves, by their talents, the leaders.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0195

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-04-16

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I yesterday had the honour of your's of the seventh. The letter inclosed is a bitter satire on the nation which produced it. Is it possible that Arnold should shew his Face among Men after such a Letter? If it is not a bribe it is robbery committed in the American Service: for it is well known, that Arnold had no such Sum when the War began. He is now employed in stealing Tobacco and Negroes— { 261 } so is Cornwallis: a fair employment for Peers—for Arnold is the Peer of them all. I think the Southern States will have the Honour after all, of putting the Continent in a right Way to finish the Business of the War.
All the Papers English, French and Dutch assure the World that I have succeeded in a Loan. I wish they would prove their Words. I am told it will do by and by: so I am that the nation will act vigorously by and by. I wish both may prove true: but I have not one Grain of your Faith nor Hope.
There are Capitalists who believe Us able and honest to pay, and that We shall prevail, and they have Inclinations enough they say, to the Loan: but the true motive of their Conduct is fear of being pointed out to Mobs and Soldiers, as Persons who have contributed to the Commencement or Continuance of the War with England.
I wrote You some days ago that I had not succeeded at all and requesting your Orders how the Bills accepted should be paid.1 Some of them become payable the beginning of May, and on the fifteenth of that Month, the sixty six Bills amounting to ten thousand pounds sterling, which were drawn in favor of Mr. Tracy, become due. I congratulate You on your Success at Versailles. If Spain would make a Treaty with Mr. Jay it would assist Us here. Every body asks, why does Spain delay? You and I know very well but cannot tell. But so it is—one always negotiates ill when one is not in a Condition to make oneself feared. If America could dissemble enough to threaten other Nations with a return to Great Britain they would be ready to hang themselves to prevent it: but America is too honest and sincere to play this Game. England would have all the Mountains of Mexico and Peru in a few Years if America should join her. Yet We are slighted. God forgive them, and enable America to forget their Ungenerosity.
America has fought Great Britain and Ireland for Years and not only Great Britain, but many States of Germany, many Tribes of Indians, and many Negroes their Allies. Great Britain has been moving Earth and Hell to obtain Allies against Us, yet it is improper in Us to propose an Alliance. Great Britain has borrowed all the superfluous Wealth of Europe in Italy, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and some in France to murder Us, yet it is dishonourable in Us to propose to borrow Money. By Heaven I would make a Bargain with all Europe, if it lay with me. Let all Europe stand still, neither lend Men nor Money nor Ships to England nor America, and let them fight it out alone. I would give my Share of Millions for such a Bargain. America is treated unfairly and ungenerously by Europe. But { 262 } thus it is. Mankind will be servile to Tyrannical Masters and basely devoted to vile Idols.

[salute] With Great Respect, Sir, Your obedient Servant.

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams April 16. 1781.”
1. Of 10 April, 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.