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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0207

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-22

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

It is so very long since I had the Honor of hearing from your Excellency, that I am fearful your Excellency is out of order.1
I take the Liberty of informing your Excellency, that I shall leave this place the Tenth of next Month, in order to Conduct my Nephew2 to Nantes, where He will embark about the first of June for America. Should your Excellency have any Commands I can Answer for Him, He will execute them most Faithfully.
We have no News here. It is Supposed the Spanish fleet after having put on shore its Sick and taking refreshments the 27th. Ultimo put to sea again the 4th. Instant.
The Merchants and Traders of these Countries have laid before the Governor a memorial, wherein they state their losses by the English to amount to four Millions of Florins. Dispatches are sent to Vienna and to London on this Account.
I have reason to think your Excellency has recieved the Packet, which was negligently left at Valenciennes, and about which I was very Uneasy. I shall be glad to hear truth thereof confirmd.3
{ 286 }
I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Edm. Jenings
1. JA's last letter to Jenings was of 22 March, above.
2. Either John or Matthias Bordley, sons of John Beale Bordley, Jenings' half-brother (JQA, Diary, 1:38).
3. See JA's letter of 6 April to the president of Congress, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0208

Author: Searle, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-22

From James Searle

[salute] Sir

Having recieved so many proofs of your Friendship and Civility to me personally, and being fully convinced as I am of your Ardent desire to be usefull to your Country and to render every Service in your power to each individual State, I beg leave as Agent for the State of Pennsylvania for the purpose of procuring a Loan of money in Holland for the use of that State to ask in this manner your opinion whether my longer Stay in Europe For the purpose abovementioned is likely to be attended with the Success that might be wished. I have already communicated to you my instructions from the President, Speaker of the Assembly, and Council, and have also informed you of the Steps I have taken to comply with their Instructions by every means in my power; It woud be unnecssary to tell you that my endeavours have been altogether unsuccessfull both in Holland and France, and from any thing I can find there is not the least prospect of my Succeeding in procuring Money on Loan for the State of Pennsylvania for a long time to come, if at all in Holland, or indeed from any other part of Europe. Thus disagreably circumstanced if you shoud be of opinion that there is but little or no prospect of my Succeeding in any reasonable time, (and for my own part I am clearly of that opinion) I shall think it my duty to return by the first good opportunity to America and give an account of the Situation of matters in Europe respecting Loans of money.1
I hope Sir for your indulgence in the liberty I take with you which nothing but the distress of mind I find myself sinking under coud induce me to do. I am with every Sentiment of Respect & Veneration Dr. Sir Your most Obliged & Obedt. Servant
[signed] James Searle
1. For Searle's official account of his efforts to raise money in France and the Netherlands, in which he mentions the assistance JA provided, see his letter of 23 July 1782 to William Moore, President of Pennsylvania (Penna. Archives, Series 1, 9:589–591).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0209-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-26

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Je n'ai rien, pour le coup, de nouveau à vous marquer, Si ce n'est, que je viens d'apprendre qu un certain nombre de Marchands de la grande ville fera enfin la basse démarche auprès du Mre. Br. d'envoyer des Députés à L—— négocier la restitution de ce qui leur appartient des effets capturés à S. E. Quelques bons Patriotes, quoi, qu'ils y perdent aussi, ont refusé de souscrire à cette Députation, à la tête de laquelle Sera Mr. H—— .1 Ceux de Rm. ont refusé aussi de participer à cette petitesse. J'espere que votre démarche, dans la premiere Semaine du Mois prochain, relevera par ses bons effets le courage des autres. Je viens de mettre au net ma Traduction, pour l'avoir prête à remettre à l'Imprimeur dès que vous le jugerez à propos après la démarche faite.2 J'en suis toujours plus content; et je me persuade de plus en plus, que vous avez raison de ne pas vouloir différer davantage. Il est bon d'ailleurs que cela se fasse lorsque les Etats d'Hde. se trouveront assemblés ici: Or ils le seront le 4 du mois prochain. Ayez la bonté, Monsieur, de vouloir m'avertir quand vous quitterez Amst., et quand vous comptez de vous rendre ici pour la Démarche. J'écris ce soir à Bruxelles à une Maison dont on m'a donné l'adresse, et qui se charge ordinairement de faire venir des effets de Paris à bon compte par des Rouliers, afin de Savoir leurs conditions, et l'adresse de leur Correspondant à Paris. Dès que j'aurai réponse, je vous en ferai part; et alors vous pourrez avoir vos Coffres quand vous voudrez et sûrement. Mes respects, S'il vous plait, à Mr. Searle, et à Mr. Gillon, S'il est à Amstm. Je suis avec tout celui qui vous est voué pour toujours, Monsieur Votre trèshumble & trèsobéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas
Le Courier qu'on attend ici de Petersb. n'est pas encore arrivé.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0209-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-26

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

[salute] Sir

I have nothing new to relate to you except that I just learned that several Amsterdam merchants will make a démarche to the British minister to send deputies to London to negotiate restitution for their belongings captured at St. Eustatius. Several good patriots, even though they also suffered losses, refused to participate in the deputation, headed by Mr. H——.1 Those from Rotterdam also refused to participate in this pettiness. I hope that your { 288 } démarche, during the first week of next month, will elevate the courage of others through its goodness. I just finished my translation so that I will have it ready for the printer when you need to send it after the démarche.2 I am still very happy with it, and am persuaded more and more that you were right not to make any more changes. It is good, moreover, that this is taking place while the Dutch states are assembled here, which they will be on the 4th of next month. Have the kindness, sir, to warn me when you are to leave Amsterdam, and when you plan to come here for the démarche. Tonight I am writing a letter to an establishment in Brussels, for which I was given the address, in order to get their terms, and their Parisian correspondent's address, for transporting goods from Paris by wagon. As soon as I get a reply from them, I will tell you about it and maybe then you could have your trunks sent to you when you like. Give my regards, if you please, to Mr. Searle, and to Mr. Gillon, if he is still in Amsterdam. I am with all that is devoted to you, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
The expected courier from St. Petersburg has not arrived yet.
1. No démarche was made. “Mr. H–” remains unidentified.
2. This was Dumas' French translation of JA's memorial to the States General dated 19 April, above, but presented on 4 May. Jean Luzac was JA's original choice for translator, “but Mr. Dumas was very desirous of performing that service” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 430). Dumas' original translation has not been found. The copy that JA entered into his Letterbook includes the notation: “Traduit par ordre de S. E. à Leide le 13 avril 1781, Sur un original anglois Signé de S. E. par C. W. F. Dumas A.D.E.U.” Translation: Translated by order of His Excellency at Leyden, 13 April 1781, from the original English signed by His Excellency, by C. W. F. Dumas, Agent of the United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0210

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-04-27

To Benjamin Franklin

I have received your Excellencys Letter of the 21. and will Send you the List of the Bills, and of the times of their becoming due according to your desire, as soon as I can make it out. I will examine Mr. De Neufvilles Bill, and if it is good, accept it.
From the time I received from Congress, their orders to borrow Money here, I have constantly, in my Letters, requested that no draughts might be made upon me, untill there should be News from me that I had Money to discharge them. This Request I shall repeat. But the Cries of the Army for Cloaths, induce Congress to venture upon Measures, which appear hazardous to Us. However, by the Intelligence I have, they had grounds to expect, that the Draughts hitherto made would be honoured.1
I sometimes think, paradoxical as it may Seem, that one set of Bills protested would immediately procure Congress, a large Loan. No { 289 } Bills are in better Credit than these. There is an Appetite here, for American Trade, as ravenous as that of a shark for his Prey. And if they Saw danger of having this Trade broke up, they would do much to save it.
I have the Honour to acquaint your Excellency, that I Sometime ago, received from Congress, full Powers to conclude with the States General of the United Provinces of the low Countries, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce. And that I have very lately received a Letter of Credence as Minister Plenipotentiary, to their High Mightinesses and another to his most Serene Highness, the Prince of Orange. Being thus fixed to this Country for the present I have taken a House in Amsterdam, on the Keysers Gragt, near the Spiegel Straat, for the Convenience of our Countrymen who may have occasion to visit me, and of the Merchants who have Bills upon me, untill their High Mightinesses, shall have taken the necessary time to deliberate upon it, and determine to acknowledge the Independance of the United States, enter into Treaty with them and receive me at the Hague. If this should happen, I hope We should obtain a Credit here: but We never shall before. I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers;) endorsed: “J. Adams. April 27. 1781.”
1. It is unclear what intelligence JA possessed that indicated that Congress had grounds to expect its bills to be honored.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0211-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-04-27

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received yours of the 22. Will you be so kind as to give me the Address of your Nephew, that I may be able to convey to him, Letters for America, as I may have opportunity before he Sails.
At present I know not what to write from this Country. We are now to wait untill the 20th. of June and then see great Things.1
The Packets you mention reached me, the Sixth of this Month, after many hair breadth 'Scapes in Dilligences Post offices, and Treck Schuyts. One would conclude, by their good Fortune they were destined to do good. Time will discover, but there must be a great deal of it.
We are told that Things are in a good Way here: but I wish I could see more Proofs of it. It requires more Patience, to be here than any where.
{ 290 }
It is a misfortune that We have not the American Account of Tarletons defeat. The Militia of the Carolinas begin to feel themselves. I fancy the British Troops will have enough of them, before long.
Clinton Seems to be going down Hill. It is high time for him to publish his Apology, in Imitation of Burgoine and How.2
The Maxim of Lucullus's soldier “Let him mount Breaches who had ne'er a Groat,” is adopted by all of them.3 Cornwallis's Fortune, is to be made next. Clintons Abilities and indeed his Activity and Exertions have been much inferiour to those of Burgoine and How. And Cornwallis's when he gets the Command in Chief will be less still.
There is an hourly Expectation of News from Petersbourg which is Supposed to be good. The Empress is still believed to be firm and wise.
The English have little Consolation left, but to gnash their Teeth and cry Rebel. What a Pleasure they take in pronouncing that Word! Since it is all the Pleasure they have left, it is a Pity to envy it, to them. They now make it every other Word in all their Writings and Speeches. Rebel Rebel Rebel, Rebel.4 They remind me of a mad Woman I once saw who had no Comfort but in pronouncing the Words “oh dreadfull, dreadfull dreadfull.” She would pronounce this Word all day and all night.
I have taken an House on the Keysers Gragt near the Spiegel Straat, and am about becoming a Citizen of Amsterdam—unless their High mightinesses should pronounce me a Rebel, and expel me their Dominions, which I believe they will not be inclined to do.
Mr. Winslow Warren the son of my Friend, who would not be Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, will call upon you.5 I should be particularly obliged to you to shew him Brussells.
Inclosed are Some broken Hints, which I wish you would enlarge upon in detail, you know where.6 It is a subject at present of critical Importance. I have not time at present to digest, it, or I would be more particular.
Say what they will a Connection with America, is no indifferent thing to this People. In my Opinion their Independance, depends upon that of the U.S. Should America return to the English—or remaining independent, should this Republick despise or neglect America untill a Peace, is made between her and England this Republick would loose gradually her Manufactures her Baltick Trade her African Trade, her Greenland Fisheries and even her coasting { 291 } Trade. The Devil is in the Dutch to be so stupid and insensible to their situation, if they dont awake, they will sleep the sleep of Death.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams April 27. 1781.” Enclosure filmed at 23 April (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 354).
1. The significance of 20 June is unknown.
2. Like John Burgoyne and William Howe, who published pamphlets in 1780 defending their actions in America, Henry Clinton soon wrote his own account, entitled Narrative of Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, K.B. Relative to His Conduct during Part of His Command of the King's Troops in North-America, Particularly to that which respects the unfortunate Issue of the Campaign in 1781, London, 1783.
3. Horace, Epistles, Bk. II, Ep. ii, line 40 (Horace: Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica with an English Translation, by H. Rushton Fairclough, Cambridge, 1947). One of Lucullus' soldiers saved a sum of money, which was then stolen. After he acquired new riches through valor on the battlefield he uttered this line when asked to once again risk his life and fortune.
4. Compare JA's observations here on the British use of the word “Rebel” with those in his 12th, unpublished, “Letter from a Distinguished American” regarding the use of the word “Rebellion” (vol. 9:584–585).
5. James Warren was chosen lieutenant governor in 1780, but refused to serve under John Hancock (vol. 10:368).
6. Jenings promised to discuss the enclosure with Dérival de Gomicourt, publisher of Lettres hollandoises (from Jenings, 30 April, below). There is no evidence that the piece was published.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0211-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-04-23

Enclosure: Draft of an Article

[salute] Sir

It is often Said in this Country, “We have nothing to gain by this War.” But who is to gain? If Holland has nothing to gain, it has much to loose, and the Question now is not what is to be gained, but was it to be Saved and defended. This Republick, may loose all her Possessions in the East and West Indies: she may loose her Navigation and Commerce: she may loose her Baltick Trade: her Greenland Fishery; her African Trade; her Manufactures, her Weight in the commercial and political scales of Europe; nay she may loose her Independance, and be conquered and divided among her Neighbours. The Question is whether these Objects are worth defending?
What would be the Consequence to this nation if America should return to the Domination and Monopoly of Great Britain? What would be the Consequence, if an ungenerous Treatment of America should oblige the Congress, to purchase Peace and Independance of Great Britain by Sacrifice of the Commerce of this Republick? What would be the Consequence if the Congress should propose to the K. of G.B. “Acknowledge our Independance, and We will enter into a Treaty with you, not to trade directly or indirectly with the Dutch.” It would be better for America to do this, for the sake of a speedy Peace, than to continue to be made a Spectacle like a Match at Cock fighting or Bull or Bear Baiting, as they are to People who are almost as much interested in their Independance as they are them selves.
Notwithstanding our fond Attachment to England, her Rivalry has been a source of terrible Evils to this Country. While America was in Connection with the British Empire, it was an enormous Tree, by the side of a small shrub which extracted and exhausted the Nutrition of the soil, and prevented the Circulation of the Juices in the Bush, untill one Sprig and branch of it after another died away, and it was in danger of perishing even to the Root.
What was the flourishing state of our Manufactures forty years ago? And into what decay are they fallen now? What is the Cause of this?
Because the English, having such a vast demand for Manufactures in America, and being able to sell them there at what Price they pleased, and to get American Productions the Materials of Manufac• { 292 } tures and Commerce, as cheap as they pleased, their Manufactures received such an Encouragement, that they were able to Undersell Us, at the foreign Marketts. Have not our Numbers of seamen been diminished too, by Similar Means and those of England increased.
What is the Cause of the Decay of our Possessions in the West Indies, Surinam Coracoa &c. Was it not because they recieved no Advantage from a Commerce with the Continent of America?
Was it not because the superiority of the English Possessions in that Country, obstructed their Trade and Growth.
What was the Effect of this Rivalry or superiority in the East Indies?
What the Effect in Africa?
What would be the Effect upon all these Interests if, America were to return again to the Obedience and Monopoly of G. Britain? What would be the Effect of it upon the Baltic Trade, upon our Manufactures, our Greenland Whale Fisheries, our African Trade, or East India and West India Possessions!
There is a current opinion here, that We should wait untill England has acknowledged American Independance, and then make a Treaty with the United States. But are We sure, that America will then make a Treaty with Us? By no Means. She will have no Motive to it. On the Contrary there is great danger, that England will sooner or later offer to acknowledge America Independance, on Condition that she will agree to Sacrifice the Dutch, and in such a Case America would be a Fool if she did not Accept it.
But We will then lend her Money. I answer then she would not Accept of Money from you. The American Debt if this War should continue 20 Years, will be part of it paid off, the very first Year of Peace. Instead of borrowing Money after Peace they will instantly set about paying off the Capital, of the Debt contracted during the War.
Suppose a Peace. England has acknowledged American Independance and made a Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States, Similar to that between France and them. What Motive will they have to make one with us? None. They will tell us you meanly neglected Us and despised Us in our distress, now take your own Course. We will trade with you as much as is for our Convenience, but We will bind ourselves to nothing. We can have Hemp Cordage Sail Cloth from Russia Sweeden and Denmark, or we can take them of England. We dont want your Friendship now. And it is probable, that America, having by Treaty a Right to trade with France and England, that England and America would run away with all our Baltick Trade. Whereas, it is now in our Power, to turn this Trade { 293 } into such a Channell, by making a Treaty with America, that We should continue in Possession of it, after a Peace. We shall continue to Supply France and Spain and America with those Articles. Whereas, if We refuse it We shall very soon see American ships supplying France and Spain with stores from the Baltick.
We are lending vast Sums of Money to England, and have lent them Ships to enable them to murder Americans. We have prohibed Supplies to Americans, with a partial Rigour. And We may depend upon it if this system is pursued, this Country is undone. We are preparing Vengeance for ourselves and Posterity, which both the English and the Americans will take in full Tale.
What will become of our Greenland Fishery, if America were again joined to England? This would be undermined by degrees, like our Manufactures.
Power and Wealth, like those of G. B. united with America, grow and multiply rapidly, at the Expence of all around them. Like an overgrown mercantile House in a particular City, they draw away the Business and Profit from all inferiour Merchants.
It is in England a recommendation to an Estate in the Country, that there is no lord within ten mile. The great Fish Eat the little ones.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams April 27. 1781.” Enclosure filmed at 23 April (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 354).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0212

Author: Laurens, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-28

From John Laurens

[salute] Sir

I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency copies of a { 294 } representation made to me by Commodore Gillon on the subject of the frigate South Carolina—and a memorandum of articles settled and agreed upon between us.1 My motives for engaging in this business are That the excellence of the conveyance enables me to transmit immediately a part of the Specie destined for the United States, which would otherwise have been the object of a future and uncertain epoch. That the greatest part of her present Cargo consists in articles which I am directed to forward to America on Continental account. That She will have a considerable vacancy for an additional Cargo of the same kind. That the said Cargo can be obtained immediately in Holland—and That the arrival of a Ship of her force and peculiar good qualities on the American Coast will be a very valuable acquisition. With respect to the State of South Carolina, there is a prospect of considerable benefit to her, from having her Ship at sea in condition to profit by cruising—and She will have her share in the advantages that will result to the general interest, in common with the other Members of the Union.
Mr. J. de Neufville has engaged to provide and ship the additional Cargo, on Continental account, agreeable to an Invoice delivered him, by the 20th. of May on the most reasonable terms. The confidence placed in him by Your Excellency was my only inducement for accepting the offer of his services on this occasion.
It appeared to me adviseable both for the sake of authenticity—and in order that a controul should be placed in the most respectable hands—to trouble your Excellency with drawing the bills for the payment of the new purchases and the Cargo already on board—the former to be made payable to Mr. Neufville & Co. at six months sight—and not to be drawn until the whole of the supplies are embarked, and the proper invoices and vouchers are delivered to Your Excellency. The latter to be made payable to Commodore Gillon at six months sight, and to be drawn upon his application—the whole to be addressed to our Minister plenipotentiary at this Court.
I expect to obtain two millions of livres to arrive in Holland in time to be transmitted by the South Carolina. Two millions more will be sent in the frigate destined to reconduct me, which I hope will sail in all the next month.2 Five millions will be procured at Vera-Cruz or the Havannah to be conveyed by a frigate to be detached for that service from the french W. Indies. This is the distribution of pecuniary succours for the present moment.3 The epochs are to be fixed as near as possible for farther transmissions. Captn. Jackson, Aide de Camp to General Lincoln, An Officer of merit, intelligence, and { 295 } activity, has at my request and from zeal for the service undertaken the journey to Holland in order to accelerate as much as possible the whole of this business. I entreat your Excellency's advice to this Gentleman—and it is with the confidence inspired by your distinguished public services that I sollicit your protection and assistance as far as may be required, in a matter the success of which is so essential to the interests of the United States.
I should have had the honor of introducing myself to Your Excellency and announcing the objects of my mission by Mr. Dana, but unluckily for me he left Paris at a moment when I was closely occupied at Versailles. I have much to regret that my short stay in Europe will deprive me of an opportunity of cultivating a particular acquaintance with your Excellency, whose public and private character have inspired me with so much veneration. It will in some degree console me if your Excellency will render me in any way useful to you in America—and favor me with your particular commands for that Country.
I have the honor to be with the most profound respect Your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servt.
[signed] John Laurens
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers;) endorsed: “John Laurens Esqr. 28 April 1781. ansd. 8. May 1781.”; docketed by CFA: “John Laurens Esqr. 28. April 1781.” Following Laurens' signature John Thaxter copied JA's note of 18 June to Benjamin Franklin, below. For the enclosure, endorsed: “Agreement between Coll Laurens & Comr. Gillon”; see note 1.
1. Alexander Gillon's representation has not been found. The enclosed agreement, dated 28 April and in John Laurens' hand, documents Laurens' promise to purchase on Congress' account £10,000 worth of goods from the cargo of the frigate South Carolina, thereby enabling Gillon to pay off his creditors and sail for the U.S. In return, Gillon agreed to surrender the original invoices to Laurens' agent, provide the maximum cargo space for Congress' goods by removing all nonessential items from the frigate, load the ship expeditiously, and proceed directly to Philadelphia by the northern route around Scotland, thereby avoiding British privateers lurking in the English Channel. The agreement served the needs of both men, but it was never executed as intended because of Gillon's actions as commander of the South Carolina, and the differing expectations of Laurens and Franklin regarding the funds available for their use.
2. Laurens sailed from Brest on 1 June aboard the French frigate Résolue, in company with two transports: the Cibelle and Olimpe (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:692). The Boston Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser of 30 Aug. reported that the three vessels reached Boston on 25 August.
3. Congress charged Laurens to procure additional money and supplies for the war effort. His efforts in this regard had decidedly mixed results visàvis the financial situation of the U.S. in Europe (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:317–321, 355–356, 364–366, 382–384, 391–392, 416–417, 467–468, 484–486). The French government had already loaned the U.S. four million livres for 1781 and, responding to appeals by Benjamin Franklin, granted an additional six million livres as a gift. This money was to be used for military supplies, including those Laurens was to procure, and to pay the bills of exchange Congress drew on its ministers abroad. Laurens judged the ten million livres already provided to be insufficient and asked that additional funds be raised in France by a loan guaran• { 296 } teed by the French government. Vergennes thought Laurens' demands excessive, and refused to allow the U.S. to borrow in France where it would interfere with the government's own efforts to finance the war. The two sides finally agreed that France would guarantee a loan of ten million livres (five million florins) to be raised in the Netherlands, but to Laurens' dismay, France refused to advance him the money before the loan was completed. Moreover, the States General did not approve the project until 3 Dec. (from Dumas, 3 Dec., Adams Papers), and the funds became available only in early 1782. Even then the loan yielded less ready cash than anticipated because much of it went to replace the goods lost when the Marquis de Lafayette was taken.
The loan's delay presented Laurens with a major problem because he wished to send its proceeds, in the form of specie, to the U.S. As he indicates in this letter, two million livres were to go in the Résolue, two million in the South Carolina, and an additional five million livres to be obtained from Cuba and Mexico. Spain was to be reimbursed from the money raised in the Netherlands. When Spain refused its assistance and the loan was delayed, Laurens turned to the six million livres that Franklin had obtained. By doing so, however, Laurens precluded Franklin from paying either Congress' bills of exchange or the cost of the supplies Laurens purchased for transport to the U.S. on the South Carolina and other vessels. It is clear from Franklin's letter of 29 April, below, that he did not fully understand what Laurens was doing. When the consequences of Laurens' actions became clear in late June, Franklin wrote to William Jackson on 28 June to inform him that he was stopping the specie that was intended to go by way of the South Carolina. To do otherwise, he wrote, would be to risk “ruining all the credit of the States in Europe, and even in America, by stopping payment” of bills of exchange (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:523). See also JA's letter to Franklin of 18 June and Franklin's letter to JA of the 30th, both below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-04-29

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

The Bearer of this Mr. Winslow Warren, is the Son of my Friend Major General Warren of the Massachusetts. He is, on all Sides of Families the most ancient and honourable and meritorious of that Part of America. And the Young Gentn. himself is amiable and has Merit.1
I should be vastly obliged to you, if you would shew him Brussels.
Pray shall We have the Pleasure to see you here in a few days?2 You know it would be a very great one both on publick and private Considerations to your Fnd & Sert
[signed] John Adams
1. In a letter to Mercy Otis Warren dated 28 April—but, if JA's dating is correct, probably done on the 29th—Warren wrote, “I took leave of Mr. Adams this morning as he was just seting out for Leyden with his Coach and four, many servants, gay livery—his equipage I think much too Dutchifyed.” He also noted that when he had visited The Hague, “Mr. Adams introduced me to a Mr. Dumas a disagreable dirty old fellow—they say he is sensible: very serious, too much so” (MHi: Mercy Otis Warren Papers). JA also wrote William Temple Franklin on 29 April to introduce Warren (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
2. In a letter of 26 April, Francis Dana invited Jenings to accompany him on his mission to St. Petersburg. Replying on 3 May, Jenings accepted Dana's offer and agreed to join him at Amsterdam by the middle of the following week. Ultimately Jenings declined Dana's proposal and JQA took his place. Dana, JQA, and a servant began their journey on 7 { 297 } July. Writing to the president of Congress from Berlin on 28 July, Dana indicated that Jenings' indecision delayed his departure from Amsterdam by a month (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 2, f. 157–159; JQA, Diary, 1:89; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:610–613).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0214-0001

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-29

From Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Monsieur

L'orsque j'eus l'honneur de Vous voir dernierement a Amsterdam j'ai pris la liberté de Vous preter une Lettre et quelques papiers que Son Excell: le Gouverneur Trumbull m'avoit envoiés, et que Vous Souhaitiez de lire. Comme je Serois charmé de les avoir de retour Vous me fairiez plaisir de les remettre (quand Vous n'en aurez plus besoin) a Monsr. Tegelaar, de qui Vous apprendrez que mon role est fini, et que mon affaire restera apparemment indecise et moi exclu de la Regence pour toujours. Je Serois obligé de passer les bornes d'une lettre pour Vous donner un recit tant Soit peu circonstancié des duretés, que l'on m'a faites depuis 3 ans. L'occasion S'en presentera dans peu. En attendant je me console aisement d'etre exclu d'une Regence dans laquelle je ne Saurois plus etre utile aux Interets des deux Peuples et ou je n'ai jamais cherché aucune fortune, et c'est avec bien de Contentement, que je quitte le Monde politique ou j'ai eprouvé tant d'amertumes.
J'ai l'honneur de Solliciter la Continuation de Votre Amitié tandis que je ne cesse d'etre avec un parfaite estime de Votre Excellence le tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur
[signed] J D Van der Capellen

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0214-0002

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-29

Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

When I had the honor to see you last in Amsterdam, I took the liberty of lending you a letter and some papers that you wished to read that were sent to me by his Excellency Governor Trumbull. Since I would very much like to have them back, it would give me pleasure if you could return them (when you are finished with them) to Mr. Tegelaar, with whom I no longer have a role. Also my business will remain undecided and I will be excluded from the Regency forever. It would take much more than the limitations a letter will permit to give you a detailed account of the difficulties that I have endured for the past three years. The occasion will present itself soon. Meantime, I readily console myself from being excluded from a Regency for which I could no longer be useful to the interests of two peoples and from which I never sought any fortune. It is with much contentment that I leave the political world where I experienced so much bitterness.
{ 298 }
I have the honor to ask for the continuation of your friendship while I never cease to be, with a perfect esteem for your Excellency, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] J D Van der Capellen

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0215

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-29

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I received the Letter you honour'd me with of the 16th. Instant. I had written to you on the 21st. which I hope you have received, that I would accept and pay your Bills, only desiring you to furnish me a List of them with the Times of their becoming due, and that you would draw, not for the whole at once, but for the Sums as wanted, and thro' the House of Fitzeaux & Grand. Since the receipt of your last, I have taken Measures to be ready for the Payment of your 66 Bills due the middle of May for 10,000 £ sterg. We have obtained the Promise of 20 Millions Aid for the current Year, so that not only the Bills above mentioned will be regularly paid, but such others as you may draw on me at the Request of Col. Lawrens, to get the Indien out and compleat her Lading. But as this Sum will be swallow'd in the Bills already drawn by Congress, and the Supplies going out, it is still necessary to entreat them not to continue that distressing Practice.1
I inclose you Extracts of two Letters ministerial found in the same Pacquet with the former, written in the fond Belief that the States were on the Point of submitting, and cautioning the Commissioners for Peace not to promise too much respecting the future Constitutions.2 They are indeed cautiously worded, but easily understood when explained by two Court Maxims or Assertions, the one of Lord Granville's late President of the Council, that the King is the Legislator of the Colonies; the other of the present Chancellor3 when in the House of Commons, that the Quebec Constitution was the only proper Constitution for Colonies, ought to have been given to them all when first planted, and what all ought now to be reduced to. We may hence see the Danger of listning to any of their deceitful Propositions, tho' piqu'd by the Negligence of some of those European Powers who will be much benefited by our Revolution. I have the Honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
This will be handed to you by Major Jackson a worthy Officer in { 299 } the Service of the States, whom I beg leave to recommend to your Civilities.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Exy. Dr Franklin April 29. 1781. ansd. May 8. 1781.”
1. See John Laurens' letter of 28 April, and note 3, above.
2. For the letters taken when the Falmouth-New York packet Anna Theresa was captured, see Franklin's letter of 7 April, note 1, above. Franklin's enclosures have not been found, but they were likely letters of 7 March from Lord George Germain to the British Peace Commission headed by Sir Henry Clinton and from William Knox, undersecretary of the American Department, to James Simpson, the royal attorney general of South Carolina. Germain observed that “the narrow limits to which you have reduced your exceptions, and the generality of the assurances you have given of a restoration of the former constitutions, were, I doubt not, well considered and judged necessary and expedient; but as there are many things in the constitutions of some of the colonies, and some things in all, which the people have always wished to be altered, and others which the common advantage of both countries required to be changed, it is necessary to be attentive that either your acts or declarations preclude any disquisition of such subjects, or prevent such alterations being made in their constitutions, as the people may solicit or consent to.” Knox warned that “there is a great probability of a negociation being solicited by the inhabitants of the revolted provinces, if not by the Congress; and ... as you have so full a knowledge of the republican disposition of the Americans, and their aversion to monarchy, I doubt not that you will be able to prevail with the Commissioners not to make any concessions which may have a tendency to confirm them in those principles, and prevent any amendment of their constitutions, for the purpose of creating distinctions of ranks, and to draw them nearer to the model of the British government, which must certainly be more beneficial to the people, as it will strengthen their connection with this country, and prevent the return of the like calamities as they now suffer” (PCC, No. 51, I, f. 813–818).
3. Edward Thurlow.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0216

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-30

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear Sir

Arriving this moment, I received your Favour of 26; and am happy to find that you continue in the Same Sentiments. I am Still of the Same mind too, and I Shall call on you, tomorrow, when we will arrange all Things. I wish you would loose no time, in getting a certain Paper, well translated into Dutch.1

[salute] I am as usual, Yours

[signed] John Adams
Tr (PCC, No. 101, II, f. 181).
1. JA's memorial of 19 April, above, was translated into Dutch by Wybo Fynje, editor of Delft's Hollandsche Historische Courant and brother-in-law of Jean Luzac (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 430; Adams Family Correspondence, 4:117).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0217

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-30

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I had yesterday the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Letter of { 300 } the 27th. Instant, which afforded me the greatest pleasure, as it assured me of your Excellencys Health, which I was fearful was affected, and shewed at the same time that you were in Spirits. The natural and political Climate of the Country, where your Excellency now is, being foggy a Man must have a stout Heart and strong Body to bear up against its effects. Your Excellency has them both for

Sanctus Amor Patria del Animum et Animam.1

I shall immediately pay attention to your Excellencys Hints, and shall hold a Talk thereon with my Friend This Evening.
I doubt not but that your Excellency has receivd an Account from Paris of the whole of the affair of Tarelton and the operations of the french fleet, as a Ship is Arrivd with Dispatches from Boston.
I shall set out from Hence with my Nephew about the tenth of next Month for Nantes. Your Excellencys Letters directed to me, will be faithfully deliverd.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys most Faithful Humb. Sert.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. Sacred love of homeland, spirtual and physical.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0218

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Date: 1781-05-01

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

[salute] Sir

By the Tenth Article of the Treaty of Alliance between France and America, the most Christian King and the United States agree, to invite or admit, other Powers, who may receive Injuries from England, to make common Cause with them, and to acceed to that Alliance, under Such Conditions, as shall be freely agreed to and Settled between all the Parties.
It will be readily acknowledged that this Republick has received Injuries from England: and it is not improbable that Several other maritime Powers, may be Soon, if they are not already in the Same Predicament. But whether his Majesty will think fit to invite this Nation at present, to acceed to that Alliance, according to the Article, must be Submitted to his Wisdom.
It is only proper for me to Say, that whenever your Excellency shall have received his Majestys Commands, and shall judge it proper to take any Measures, either for Admitting or inviting this Republick to acceed, I shall be ready in behalf of the United States to do, whatever { 301 } is necessary and proper for them to do, upon the occasion. I have the Honour to be, with perfect Respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble sert.
1. Compare this letter with JA's unsent letter to La Vauguyon of 6 April, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0219

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-03

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

On the first of May I went to the Hague, and wrote to his Excellency Peter Van Bleiswick Esqr. Grand Pensionary of Holland, that having something of Importance to communicate to him, I proposed to do myself the Honour to wait on him the next Morning at half after eight, if that Time should be agreable to him: but if any other Hour was more convenient, I requested his Excellency to mention it. The Answer which was not in writing was, that half after eight should be the Time.1
Accordingly the next Morning I waited on him, and was politely recieved. I informed him that I had asked his permission to make him this Visit, in order to inform him, that I had received from my Sovereign the United States of America full Powers to treat with the States General, and a Letter of Credence, as a Minister Plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses, and another to his most Serene Highness the Prince; and that it was my Intention to communicate those Powers and Letters to their High Mightinesses and to his most Serene Highness on Friday next the fourth of May.
His Excellency said he would acquaint the States General and his Highness with it: that in his private Opinion he thought favourably of it, but that he must wait the Orders of his Masters: that it was a Matter somewhat delicate for the Republick: but I replied, as to the delicacy of it in the present State of open War between England and Holland, I hoped that it would not be any Obstacle—that I thought it the Interest of the Republick as well as of America. His Excellency rejoined one thing is certain We have a common Enemy.2
As this was a Visit simply to impart my design, and as I knew enough of the delicate Situation and of the reputed Sentiments of this Officer, to be sensible that he did not wish to enter into any very particular Conversation at this time upon public Affairs, I here arose to take my Leave. His Excellency asked me if I had any good News from America? I answered none very late. He then said he would be { 302 } very glad to form an Acquaintance with me. I answered this would be very flattering to me, and then took my Leave.
Tomorrow morning I propose to go to the President of the States General, to Secretary Fagel and to the Secretary of the Prince. This moment for the first Time I have recieved the Congress Account of General Morgan's glorious Victory over Tarleton.3
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Consideration, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 129–130).
1. JA's letter of 1 May has not been found. Dumas carried the note to van Bleiswyck and presumably delivered the grand pensionary's message to JA (Dumas to the president of Congress, 1 May – 13 July, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:393).
2. Dumas accompanied JA when he visited the grand pensionary on 2 May, probably to serve as an interpreter. His account of the meeting is virtually identical to JA's (same, 4:393).
3. On 3 May, JA apparently received an account of the Battle of Cowpens taken from a letter of 24 Jan. from Gov. John Rutledge of S.C., to his state's delegates at Congress. John Thaxter wrote to Edmund Jenings on 4 May (Adams Papers) to provide Jenings with an extract from Rutledge's letter, indicating that it had been sent by Thomas Bee, a South Carolina delegate, to an American in Paris, who passed through Leyden on 3 May. The American was probably William Jackson, who carried Benjamin Franklin's letter to JA of 29 April, above, and to whom Bee had written on 9 February. For more information on Rutledge's letter see Bee's letter of 9 Feb. to John Laurens (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 16:692– 693). An extract from Rutledge's letter appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 11 May; for the full letter see South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 18 (July 1917): 131–133.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0220

Author: Neufville, Jean de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-03

From Jean de Neufville

[salute] Honourd Sir

May I begg leave to inform yoúr Excellency of the invitation I have gott on a súdden to vizit Paris for a few days, where I had the honoúr to wait on His Excellency B Franklin, who did me the honoúr to receive and treat me with the utmost politeness. I have mentioned again the Bill which yoúr Excellency had projected that we should Accept, as belonging to the former parcell bútt Mr. Franklin said that he would write to yoúr Excellency on that matter, to Accept likewise this bill; so we doúbt not bútt this will be settled.1
I had also the honoúr to wait on Colonell Laúrens. He was so obliging as to allow me the money we advanced to Comodor Gillon and also the remainder of what the Comodor was in want for the Colonell should write to yoúr Excellency aboút it2 and we doubt not bútt on the Comodores proper application he will be assisted, as well as we, We never could have expected a more gracioús relieve for { 303 } which we certainly acknowledge Yoúr Excellencys favoúrs as we know she had been concernd in the matter, and if I had not determind in the moment I sett oút I would not have failed to ask for Yoúr Excellencys comands. My readiness to be employd in this bússiness for the Comodor brought me a reward not indifferent to my principles to see myself employd in a Comission for some supplys for Congress, Colonel Laúrens favourd my hoúse there with, and having already prepared a great part there off, I múst sett oút again to procúre the remainder, leaving my son at the head of the hoúse; I do not expect I shall be long detaind before I am able to retúrn, and then I shall not faill to pay my personall respects to Yoúr Excellency at the American Hotel in Amsterdam; with my best Wishes and exertions for all what can be noble and [respirat?] liberty I have the honoúr to be with perfect Regard and Esteem, Honoúrd Sir Yoúr Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John de Neufville
1. See Benjamin Franklin's letter of 21 April and JA's reply of the 27th, both above.
2. See John Laurens' letter of 28 April, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0221-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-06

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

La même personne1 qui m'avoit donné l'avis, que vous m'aviez en partant laissé le maître de suivre,2 me dit hier matin qu'après y avoir bien pensé, il y trouvoit un si grand inconvenient qu'il me le déconseilloit très-sérieusement, comme une démarche incompatible avec le Caractere que vous venez de déployer; en un mot qu'il ne convient pas que vous vous abaissiez à faire parvenir ainsi indirectement la piece en question, qui paroîtroit cependant manifestement venir de votre part. J'ai donc pris, avec son avis et approbation un autre parti, qui remplira également le but de faire connoître à la Nation la parole qu'on lui porte. Des 500 Exemplaires, j'en remettrai 300 au Libraire qui a soin de l'imprimer, avec permission d'en faire son profit, en les envoyant à ses Correspondants dans toutes les Provinces, et les distribuant aussi ici. En même temps j'en ferai parvenir des Copies aux Gazettiers, afin qu'ils puissent en faire usage. Il restera 200 Exemplaires, dont je vous réserva 100, et j'en garderai 100 pour en distribuer à ceux qu'il est à propos qui en aient d'abord. L'Impression sera achevée Mercedi: et j'attends l'honneur de votre prompte réponse, pour savoir si vous approuvez ce parti, que je crois le plus convenable; { 304 } afin de le mettre en exécution sans perte de temps. La même personne m'a dit, que la Délibération dans les provinces sur la note en question ne se fera pas avant 3 ou 4 semaines. Par la même raison susdite, et de l'avis de la même personne, j'ai omis la Commission: mais je la montrerai aux Amis Sûrs. Je suis curieux de savoir ce qui s'est passé entre vous, Monsieur, et la derniere personne que vous avez visitée avant de partir.3 S'il vous arrive de bonnes nouvelles, je me recommande. Permettezmoi de placer ici mes respects pour Mr. Searle, pour Mr. Dana et pour Mr. Gillon. J'aurai l'honneur de répondre à Mr. Dana demain ou après-demain.
Vous pouvez, Monsieur, faire remettre vos Coffres de hardes et Caisses de Livres, à l'adresse de Mrs. Fred. Romberg et fils à Bruxelles, chez Mrs. Hemery freres, rue St. Denys à Paris. Vous avez vu, par la Lettre de Mrs. Romberg, que je vous ai montrée, qu'ils auront soin du reste, c'est-àdire, qu'ils se chargent du transport de vos effets, de Paris à Amsterdam, moyennant £12 de France le Cent pesant. Il sera nécessaire d'écrire en même temps à Mrs. Romberg, pour les avertir, afin qu'ils sachent à qui ils doivent les envoyer à Amsterdam: car ils ignorent que c'est pour vous, et votre adresse au juste.
J'ai l'honneur d'être avec un très grand respect, Monsieur, Votre très-humble & trèsobéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0221-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-06

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

[salute] Sir

The same person1 who notified me that you left me in charge of forwarding the démarche,2 told me yesterday morning that, after much thought, he finds it contains a big drawback. He advised very seriously against submitting it because it is a démarche that is incompatible with your character. In a word, he does not believe that you should lower yourself by sending the piece in question indirectly, which evidently would appear to be from you anyway. I have therefore taken a different action, with his advice and approval, which will fulfill the goal to make the word known to the nation. Of the five hundred copies, I will send three hundred to the bookseller who is in charge of the printing, with permission to take advantage by sending copies to his correspondents in all the provinces, and by distributing them here also. At the same time, I will send copies to the gazetteers, in order that they make use of it. There will remain two hundred copies, of which I will reserve one hundred for you and keep one hundred for those who should receive it first. The printing will be done on Wednesday. I await the honor of your prompt reply, to see if you approve of this course of action, which I think is more appropriate. Then it can get under way without losing any more time. The same person told me that the deliberations in the provinces { 305 } on the piece in question will take 3 or 4 weeks. For this same reason, and because of the advice of this person, I have omitted the commission, but will show it to trustworthy friends. I am curious to know what happened between you, sir, and the last person that you visited before you left.3 You can thank me if you received good news. Please give my regards to Mr. Searle, Mr. Dana and Mr. Gillon. I will have the honor to respond to Mr. Dana tomorrow or the next day.
Sir, you can send your trunks of clothes and cases of books to the address Mrs. Fred. Romberg et fils à Bruxelles, chez Mrs. Hemery freres, rue St. Denys à Paris. You saw in the letter I showed you from Messrs. Romberg, that they will take care of transporting your things from Paris to Amsterdam for 12 French livres per hundredweight. It will also be necessary to write to Messrs. Romberg to inform them to whom and to what address the trunks should be sent in Amsterdam because they do not know that it is going to you since they are ignorant of both.
I have the honor to be with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. Dumas' advisor has not been identified.
2. Dumas refers to his translation of JA's memorial of 19 April, above.
3. The Duc de La Vauguyon.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-07

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

On the fourth of May I did myself the Honour to wait on Peter Van Bleiswick Esqr., Grand Pensionary of Holland, and presented him a Letter containing a Copy of my Memorial to the States General &c.1 His Excellency said that it was necessary for me to go to the President and Secretary of their High Mightinesses, and that it was not customary for foreign Ministers to communicate any thing to the Pensionary of Holland. I told him that I had been advised by the French Ambassador to present Copies to him, and they were only Copies which I had the Honour to offer him. He said he could not recieve them: that I must go to the President: but says he, it is proper for me to apprize You that the President will make a difficulty or rather will refuse to recieve any Letter or Paper from You, because the State You say You represent is not yet acknowledged to be a Sovereign State by the Sovereign of this Nation. The President will hear what you have to say to him, make Report of it to their High Mightinesses, and they will transmit it to the several Provinces for the deliberation of the various Members of the Sovereignty. I thanked his Excellency for this Information and departed.
{ 306 }
I then waited on the President of their High Mightinesses for the Week the Baron Linde de Hemmen, a Deputy of the Province of Guelderland, to whom I communicated, that I had lately recieved from my Sovereign, the United States of America in Congress assembled, a Commission with full Powers and Instructions to treat with the States General concerning a Treaty of Amity and Commerce: that I had also recieved a Letter of Credence as Minister Plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses, and I prayed him to lay before their High Mightinesses either the Originals, or a Memorial2 in which I had done myself the Honour to state all these facts and to inclose Copies.
The President said that he could not undertake to recieve from me either the Originals nor any Memorial; because that America was not yet acknowledged as a Sovereign State by the Sovereign of this Country: but that he would make Report to their High Mightinesses of all that I had said to him, and that it would become the subject of deliberation in the several Provinces: that he thought it a matter of great Importance to the Republick. I answered that I was glad to hear him say that he thought it important: that I thought it was the Interest of the two Republicks to become connected.
I thanked him for his politeness and retired, after having apprized him that I thought in the present Circumstances, it would be my duty to make public in print my Application to their High Mightinesses.
I had prepared Copies of my Memorial &c. for the Secretary Mr. Fagel: but as the President had refused to recieve the Originals, I thought it would be inconsistent for the Secretary to recieve Copies, so I omitted the Visit to his Office.
I then waited on the Baron de Ray, the Secretary of the Prince, with a Letter addressed to his most Serene Highness, containing a Memorial, informing him of my Credentials to his Court, and Copies of the Memorial to their High Mightinesses: the Secretary recieved me politely, recieved the Letter and promised to deliver it to the Stadtholder. He asked me where I lodged: I answered at the Parliament of England, a public House of that Name.
Returning to my Lodgings, I heard about two Hours afterwards that the Prince had been to the Assembly of the States General for about half an hour; and in about another Hour, the Servant of the House where I lodged announced to me the Baron de Ray: I went down to the Door to recieve him, and invited him to my Room. He entered and said that he was charged on the part of the Prince with his Compliments to me, and to inform me, that as the Independence of my Country was not yet acknowledged by the Sovereign of his, he { 307 } could not recieve any Letter from me and therefore requested that I would recieve it back, which I did respectfully. The Secretary then politely said he was very much obliged to me for having given him an Opportunity to see my Person, and took his Leave.3
The President made Report to their High Mightinesses as soon as they assembled, and his Report was ordered to be recorded: where-upon the Deputies of each of the seven Provinces demanded Copies of the Record to be transmitted to the respective Regencies for their deliberation and decision; or in the technical Language of this Country, it was taken ad referendum on the same day.4
The next morning I waited on the French Ambassador, the Duke de la Vauguion, and acquainted him with all the Steps I had taken. He said he still persisted in his Opinion that the Time was not the most favourable, but as the Measure was taken, I might depend upon it he would, as an Individual, support and promote it to the utmost of his Power.
It would take a large Space to explain all the Reasons and Motives which I had for choosing the present Time in preference to a later: but I think I can demonstrate, that every Moments delay would have been attended with danger and inconvenience. All Europe is in a Crisis, and this Ingredient thrown in at this Time will have more Effect than at any other. At a future Time I may enlarge upon this Subject.5

[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, f. 133–136). LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Note Feb. 20. 1782. The late Evacuation of the Barrier Towns and Demolition of their Fortifications, may Serve as a Comment on the D. de la Vauguions opinion against the Point of time but if it shews that he was right for his Country, it shews also that I was right for mine, and the Dutch only have been wrong in being blind.” The notation indicates that JA consulted his Letterbook when he wrote to the secretary for foreign affairs on 19 and 21 Feb. 1782 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:185–189, 192–199). See also note 5.
1. After forewarning van Bleiswyck of his intentions on 2 May (to the president of Congress, 3 May, above), JA returned to his residence at Leyden and set out from there on the morning of 4 May. Upon arriving at The Hague, JA met with Dumas who, as he had on 2 May, accompanied JA on his rounds, presumably to act as his interpreter. JA's account in this letter of his meetings with the Grand Pensionary, Pieter van Bleiswyck; the president of the States General, Baron Lynden van Hemmen; and William V's secretary, Thomas Isaac, Baron de Larrey, is substantially the same, although longer, than that by Dumas in his letter of 1 May – 13 July to the president of Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:393–394). See also note 4.
In a letter to Levi Woodbury, dated 20 Feb. 1835, Benjamin Waterhouse recalled JA's departure.
“I never shall forget the day and the circumstances of Mr. Adams's going from Leyden to the Hague with his Memorial to their High Mightinesses the States General dated, whether accidentally or by design April. 19! I { 308 } know not. He came down into the front room where we all were—his secretary, two sons, and myself—his coach and four at the door, and he full-dressed even to his sword, when with energetic countenance and protuberant eyes, and holding his memorial in his hand, said to us, in a solemn tone—'Young men! remember this day—for this day I go to the Hague to put seed in the ground that may produce good or evil—GOD knows which,'—and putting the paper into his side-pocket, he steped into his coach, and drove off alone—leaving us, his Juniors solemnized in thought and anxious; for he had hardly spoken to us for several days before—such was his inexpressible solicitude”
(DLC: Woodbury Papers).
2. Diplomatic propriety required that the original, not a copy, be presented to the States General, the body for which the memorial was intended and from which action was requested. The original manuscript has not been located.
3. On 8 May the Gazette de Leyde contained a brief note indicating that it had learned that JA, in his character of minister plenipotentiary to the Netherlands, had visited the president of the States General and several other gentlemen. All that could be said at present of the démarche, however, was that it offered the Republic connections with the American confederation, particularly with regard to commerce.
4. Dumas' letter of 1 May – 13 July to the president of Congress and reports in newspapers, such as the Mercure de France of 2 June, indicate that the deputies from Zeeland did not take a copy of the president's report to communicate to their constituents (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:394).
5. JA's most comprehensive statements on the memorial of 19 April, may be found in his letters of 19 and 21 Feb. 1782 to the secretary for foreign affairs. In those letters JA mounted a spirited defense of his memorial to the States General and argued that Joseph II's 1781 abrogation of the Barrier Treaty of 1715 justified his decision to present a memorial, as well as its timing (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:185–189, 192–199; and 25 Feb. 1782 to James Lovell, LbC, Adams Papers).
During the negotiations to end the War of the Spanish Succession three Barrier Treaties, each guaranteed by Great Britain, were negotiated to protect the Netherlands against invasion by France. The third, which superseded the others and was signed on 15 Nov. 1715, allowed the Dutch to garrison fortresses in the Austrian Netherlands at the towns of Namur, Tournay, Menen, Furnes, Warneton, Ypres, and Knokke, and, with Britain, maintain a joint force at Dendermonde. The outbreak of the Anglo-Dutch war in 1780 meant that Britain had neither the power nor the inclination to meet its obligations. As a result, Joseph II unilaterally abrogated the Barrier Treaty and demanded that the Dutch garrisons depart, which they did in November. Joseph II's ability to demand and enforce the evacuation, and France's unwillingness to oppose the humiliation of a potential ally, exposed the weakness of the Netherlands and was a severe blow to Dutch pride (Cambridge Modern Hist., 5:459; Orville Murphy, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes: French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719–1787, Albany, 1982, p. 405– 414; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 203; vol. 9:286).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-05-07

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear sir

I have this moment received yours of 6th.
I have no Objection against your Plan. I informed the Grand Pensionary and the President that I should think it my duty to publish my Memorial. I persist in the Same opinion. The manner is indifferent to me. I shall avow the Publication. Your omission of the Commission will be agreable to me.
I communicated to the last Person I saw at the Hague all that I had done. He still persisted in the opinion that the time was a little { 309 } too early, but this Point apart approved of every step I had taken, and promised to support it, “comme Homme.” I never had a more agreable or satisfactory Interview, with him.1
I Shall be agreably Surprized, if the Provinces determine so soon as in 3 or 4 Weeks. The Time, for them to take is their own. I shall wait it, with entire Respect, if it should be Eight or ten Weeks.
If other People will allow me to judge for myself in what I am responsible for, they will always find me willing to allow them the same Prerogative.
I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem & Respect, sir, your most obedient & most humble sert.
[signed] John Adams
RC? (Adams Papers). This letter may not have been sent.
1. The Duc de La Vauguyon.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-05-08

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour of yours of the 29th. of April, and according to your desire, have inclosed a List of the Bills accepted with the Times of their becoming due, and Shall draw for the Money to discharge them, only as they become payable, and through the House of Fizeaux & Grand.1
I Sincerely congratulate you, upon the noble Aid obtained, from the French Court for the currant Service of the Year. Aids like this, for two or three Years, while the United States are arranging their Finances, will be a most essential Service to the Common Cause, and will lay a Foundation of Confidence and Affection between France and the United States, which may last forever and be worth ten times the Sum of Money. It is in the Power of America to tax all Europe, whenever She pleases, by laying Duties upon her Exports, enough to pay the Interest of Money enough to answer all their Purposes. England received into her Exchequer four hundred Thousand Pounds sterling, in Duties upon the Single Article of Tobacco imported from Virginia, annually. What should hinder the Government of Virginia, from laying on the Same, or a greater duty on the Exportation. Europe would Still purchase Virginia Tobacco if there were 8 Pounds per Hogshead duty to be paid. Virginia alone, therefore could in this Way easily pay, the Interest of Money enough to carry on the whole War for the 13 states for many Years. The Same Reasoning is applicable to every other Article of Export.
{ 310 }
Yesterday were presented to me [by Mr. de Neufville]2 fifty Bills of Exchange, for Eleven hundred Guilders each, drawn by Congress upon me on the 27 day of January 1781 at Six Months Sight.
And on the Same day other Bills from No. 37. to No. 76 inclusively, drawn on me on the Same 27 day of January 1781, for Five hundred and Fifty Guilders each, payable at Six Months Sight, were presented, to me. I asked Time to write to your Excellency to know, if those Bills, and the others drawn at the same time, can be discharged by you. If they can not, it will be wrong to accept them, for I have no Prospect at all of getting the Money here, unless the States General, who have taken the Independance of America Ad Referendum should determine to acknowledge it.
About the Same Time that their High Mightinesses took the Acknowledgment of the Independance of the United States ad Referendum, Mr. Van Berkel demanded a Declaration of his Innocence or a Tryal,3 whether the two Affairs will aid, or counteract each other I cant tell.
I have the Honour to be, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servant
1. Fizeaux, Grand & Co. wrote to JA on 10 May to request payment of bills amounting to 77,000 ecus or 231,000 livres, which they converted into 100,340.12.8 florins at the rate of 52.125 stuivers per livre (Adams Papers). The bills paid were the 66 that Franklin approved in his letter of 29 April, above. JA wrote his reply of the same date at the bottom of the note from Fizeaux, Grand & Co., there stating that “Mr. Adams returns Compliments to Mr. Fizeaux and informs him that his acceptations are in Bank.” On 17 May the bankers returned the paid bills to JA (Adams Papers). Later on 10 May, JA wrote to Franklin to inform him of the transaction (Franklin, Papers, 35:50).
2. This interlined passage is heavily smudged.
3. Engelbert François van Berckel was removed from political office in March. See Dumas' letter of [12 Jan.], and note 8, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0225

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, John
Date: 1781-05-08

To John Laurens

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter you did me the Honour to write me, on the 28th. of April. I <most> Sincerely congratulate you, on the most essential Aid you have obtained from the Court of Versailles, who upon this Occasion have done as much Honour to their own Policy, as essential Service to the United States. By a Conduct like this, which it is easy for France to hold, and which does as much service to the common Cause as the Same Sum of Money possibly could in any other Way, a Foundation will be laid of Affection and Confidence which will last long after this War shall be finished. I wish that other { 311 } Nations had as much Wisdom and Benevolence as France, indeed as much Knowledge of their true Interests. In this Case the Burden upon France would be less.
I accept with Pleasure the Trust with which you Honour me, but I Shall not think my self at Liberty to draw any Bills in Consequence of it, untill the Invoices and Vouchers, are produced to me, to the Satisfaction of Major Jackson, who will be so good as to give me his Approbation in Writing. I am very happy to find that it is in your Power to assist Commodore Gillon upon this occasion, whose Industry, Skill and Perseverance, have merited every assistance that can be legally given him.
Major Jackson, Sir shall have every Advice and Assistance in my Power to afford him, and I am much mortified that I am not to have an opportunity of shewing you, in Person, the Respect which I have for your Character, as well as that affection which I feel for the son of one of the worthiest Friends I ever had. Alass! When will he be able to obtain his own Liberty, who has so nobly contended for that of others?1
I have communicated my Credentials to the States General, who after the Deliberations which the Form of their Constitution requires, will determine whether they can receive them or not. It will probably be long, before they decide. It is of vast Importance to obtain, if possible, an Acknowledgment of our Independance, by the maritime Powers, before the Conferences for Peace Shall be opened. Otherwise, it is not possible to foresee, how many Intrigues and how much Chicanery, We may have to encounter.
I have the Honour to be, with very great Esteem and Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servant.
1. Henry Laurens.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0226

Author: Jackson, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-10

From William Jackson

[salute] Sir

Commodore Gillon has applied to me by letter requesting that I would furnish Captain Joyner1 with bills of exchange on Paris for Twenty thousand Guilders which sum he says is required to pay the ship accounts of the South Carolina frigate, and is necessary to fit her for sea. As this sum appears to be requisite for the purposes mentioned in Commodore Gillon's letter to me, I have to request that { 312 } Your Excellency will please to grant bills to that amount, drawn in the manner stipulated by Colonel Laurens in his agreement with Commodore Gillon, with the exception of their being made payable to the order of Captain Joyner, who is authorised to receive them, and for which Commodore Gillon has made himself accountable.2
I have the honor to be, with perfect esteem and respect, Your Excellency's most obedient Servant.
[signed] W. Jackson
A set of bills of exchange for twenty thousand Guilders on that exchange, to be drawn payable to the order of Captain Joyner on His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esquire at six Months sight.3
1. John Joyner, an experienced seaman, accompanied Alexander Gillon to France in 1778. In 1781 he was captain of the frigate South Carolina under the command of Como. Gillon as flag officer of the South Carolina Navy. In May 1782, in order to avoid legal claims, Gillon gave Joyner full command of the frigate, a post he held until its capture in Dec. 1782 (Louis F. Middlebrook, The Frigate “South Carolina”: A Famous Revolutionary War Ship, Salem, 1929, p. 27; Laurens, Papers, 15:182).
2. The exchange rate for this transaction was apparently two livres per guilder or florin, for when Jackson wrote to JA on 25 May to acknowledge the bills of exchange drawn on Benjamin Franklin, it was for 40,000 livres tournois (Adams Papers). In a letter of 25 May, JA informed Franklin that the bills were being drawn on him rather than Fizeaux, Grand & Co. in Amsterdam because the bankers thought the six months wait until the bills became payable was too long (LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 470–471).
3. This sentence is written on a separate slip of paper.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0227

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-11

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I am honoured with your Excellency's Letter of the 27th. past, acquainting me with your Appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary to the States General, on which please to accept my Compliments and best Wishes for Success in your Negociations.
We have just received Advice here, that M. la Motte Picquet, met with the English Convoy of Dutch Ships taken at St. Eustatia, and has retaken 21. of them. The Men of War that were with them escaped; after making the Signal for every one to shift for himself.1
A Vessel is arriv'd at L'Orient from Philadelphia which brings Letters for the Court down to the 25 of March; Mine are not yet come up. M. de Renneval, from whom I had all the above Intelligence, tells me they contain no News of Importance.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
{ 313 }
1. The convoy from St. Eustatius consisted of 34 merchant ships protected by 2 ships of the line and 3 frigates under the command of Como. William Hotham. La Motte-Picquet's force of 6 ships of the line intercepted the convoy on 2 May and took, depending on the source, 21 or 22 of the merchant vessels. News of the disaster reached London on 15 May and caused an immediate fall in the stock market (London Chronicle, 12–15, 17–19 May; James, British Navy in Adversity, p. 305–306; Mackesy, War for America, p. 392–393).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0228-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-12

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Vous aurez reçu par Mrs. De Neufville un paquet contenant 25 Exemplaires du Meme. dans les trois Langues. Aujourd'hui je vous envoie un autre paquet sous couvert de Mr. Van Arp,1 contenant une 15ne. de chacun. J'en ai encore 60 que j'ai mis à part pour vous, et que je vous enverrai quand je saurai si vous les voulez avoir tous à Amsterdam, ou si vous aimez mieux les trouver ici ou à Leide. Moimême j'en ai distribué, et envoyé çà et là 140 ou 150; le reste, c'est le Libraire qui en a fait des Envois dans les principales villes. Nous verrons à présent la sensation que cela fera. Pour éviter toute affectation, je me suis tenu chez moi aujourd'hui, et je ne parlerai pas le premier du Mémoire, quand je verrai compagnie. Le Libraire m'a montré une Lettre où on lui apprend que le Hollandois, et peut-être aussi le François, ont été réimprimé à Amsterdam.
Il est arrivé des Lettres de Petersbourg, très-favorables pour la rep., et très-défavorables aux Anglois et aux Anglomanes; et c'est justement pour cela, m'a-t-on dit, qu'on ne veut pas que le public en sache le contenu.
Je serois bien aise de savoir quand vous quitterez Amsterdam, Monsieur, pour revenir faire un voyage à Leide ou à Lahaie; non qu'il y ait quelque chose à présent qui demande votre présence, mais parce que je me propose de faire aussi un petit tour à Amsterdam, dans quelque temps d'ici; et je ne voudrois pas y aller quand vous n'y seriez pas.
Je suis avec un grand respect, Monsieur Votre três-humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0228-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-12

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

[salute] Sir

You should have received a package from Messrs. de Neufville containing 25 copies of the memorial in three languages. Today I am sending another package under the name of Mr. van Arp1 containing 15 copies of each. I have 60 more that I am keeping for you and will send them to you when I know { 314 } you want them in Amsterdam, or if you prefer, here or in Leyden. I myself have distributed and sent out about 140 or 150. As for the remainder of the copies, the publisher sent them to the main cities. Soon we shall know the sensation it causes. To avoid any affectation, I am staying at home today and when in company, I will not be the first to mention the memorial. The publisher showed me a letter stating that it will be reprinted in Amsterdam in both Dutch and French.
Some letters arrived from St. Petersburg that are very favorable for the republic and very unfavorable for the English and Anglomanes. It is precisely for these reasons that it would be better if the contents of the letters were not made public.
I would be pleased to know, sir, when you are leaving Amsterdam for a trip to Leyden or to The Hague. Not that there is anything that demands your presence here for the moment, but rather because I am planning a trip to Amsterdam soon and I would regret missing you there.
I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. Probably either Jan or Matheus van Arp, Amsterdam merchants.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0229

Author: Greig, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-12

From Henry Greig

[salute] Sir

By a vessel to my address from Philadelphia in 40 days I received with my own Letters, the Packet I have now the pleasure herewith to transmit you. There were also under my care, four Volumes of Congress Journals for 1778, for the Honble. Dr. Franklin, Mr. Jay, Mr. Dana and yourself, together with those for November and decemr. last Year. I shall be glad to know in what manner you would chuse them forwarded, and when I do, it shall immediately be complied with.1
Capt. Magee left the Delaware in the afternoon of the 25 March, and three days before that, there had been an Engagement 'twixt the French and Engl. Squadrons off Cape Charles; but the issue was not known.2 Before He left Town, the Marquis La fayette, with 1500 Men light Infantry with some Pieces of Artillery from the Grand Army, passed Philadelphia in their way to Virginia, where the Enemy was coop'd up in Portsmouth and Cornwallis retreating in the Carolinas before Generals Green and Morgan, as fast as he advanc'd.
Can I at any time render you or Friends any Services in these parts please to Command me.
I have transacted all that business in the mercantile Line that has reached Sweden from America, Since the Commencement of the War, and am known to many of this class of Gentlemen in various { 315 } parts of the Continent—Particularly, to Rt. Morris, John Ross, T. Willing, John Wilincks Esqrs. at Philadelphia and the principal Houses at Boston. This Vessel will sail for the latter place toward the middle of next month Should You have any dispatches to forward.3
I am with due respect Sir Your most obedient and humble Servant
[signed] Henry Greig
The postage of the Packet is f3 which may be paid to messrs: John de Neufville & Sons.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “H. Greig. 12. May 1781. Gottenbourg”; notation by John Thaxter: “Letter from Mr. Lovell, inclosing two or three curious Letters.”
1. Grieg also forwarded letters to Franklin and Jay. See JA to Franklin, 23 May, below.
2. For the battle between Arbuthnot and Destouches off the Virginia capes on 18 March, see James Lovell's letter of 31 March, and note 2, above.
3. There are no further letters between JA and Greig in the Adams Papers. JQA visited Göteborg in Jan. 1783 and dined with Greig (JQA, Diary, 1:168).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0230-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-13

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Après la Lettre que j'ai eu l'honneur de vous écrire hier, n'ayant plus rien à vous apprendre, pour le présent, des affaires publiques, mon intention étoit de vous écrire à loisir la semaine prochaine seulement, sur un arrangement à prendre quant à moi personnellement, en conséquence de ce que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de me dire la derniere fois qu'il en a été question entre nous, arrangement qui j'espere vous plaira, et applanira les difficultés qui pourroient s'opposer à vos bonnes intentions pour moi.1 Ce qui me fait mettre la plume à la main aujourd'hui n'est donc que pour enveloper l'incluse que S. E. M. l'Ambr. de France vient de m'envoyer pour Vous par Son Secretaire, en me recommandant de vous l'envoyer d'abord.2 Le Nom du Ministre qui est Sur le Couvert, me fait conjecturer qu'il y a de l'interessant; et j'espere aussi qu'il n'y aura que de l'agreable pour vous. Je Suis toujours avec autant d'attachement que de respect, à la hâte Monsieur Votre très-humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas
Ayez la bonté, Monsieur, de m'accuser la reception de l'incluse.3

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0230-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-13

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

[salute] Sir

After the letter that I had the honor to send to you yesterday, my intention was not to write again until next week since there is no news to relay. This { 316 } | view exercise of personal reserve, a consequence of what you had the honor to tell me the last time this was a cause for concern, is an arrangement that I hope will please you, and will smooth out the difficulties which could oppose your good intentions for me.1 What has made me take up my pen today is the attached enclosure from his excellency the French ambassador just sent to me by his secretary, with the request that I send it to you at once.2 The name of the minister on the cover makes me believe that it is of interest and I hope it will be only good news for you. I remain, with as much attachment as respect, hastily, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
Please have the kindness, sir, to acknowledge the receipt of the enclosure.3
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Dumas 13th. May 1781.”
1. JA had last commented on Dumas' status as American agent at The Hague in his letter of 27 March, above. Dumas raised the subject again in his letter of 23 May, below.
2. Laurent Bérenger, La Vauguyon's secretary, delivered Philip Mazzei's letter of 28 March, above, the receipt of which JA acknowledged in his reply to Dumas of 19 May, below.
3. This sentence is written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0231

Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-14

From Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

I herewith take the Liberty to send you the State of your Account currt. by which you owe me 24742. 2.11.1 After you have examined it and found it right I shall be obliged to you to remitt me your draft on Dr. Franklin for the amount that we may be ballanced.
I have wrote twice to Mr. Williams at Nantz but to no Effect to Know his disbursments to the 6 Cases of Wine you have in my cellar, in order to repay them to him, and to be able to give you credit for one of the 6 Cases that I have taken for my own use.2
Constantly devoted to your service I remain with great Regard Sir Your most obt. hble. servt.
[signed] Grand
1. The enclosed account has not been found. See JA's reply to Ferdinand Grand, 19 May, below.
2. For the wine sent by Jonathan Williams, see vol. 10:323, 369–370, 414–415.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-16

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inclose Copies of the Memorials, which I had the honor to present on the fourth instant to the President of their High Mightinesses, and to the Secretary of his most Serene High• { 317 } ness.1 The former has been published in English, French and Dutch; and has been favourably recieved by the Public: but the public Voice has not that Influence upon Government in any part of Europe, that it has in every part of America, and therefore I cannot expect that any immediate effect will be produced upon the States General. They will probably wait, until they can sound the disposition of the Northern Powers, Russia particularly, and if they should not join in the War, their High Mightinesses will probably be willing to be admitted to accede to the Treaty of Alliance between France and America.
The Dutch Fleet of about ten Sail of Vessels from the Texel and the Maese has sailed. The News from the southern States of America of continual fighting, in which our Countrymen have done themselves great Honour, the Capture of half the Convoy under Hotham by de la Motte Piquet, and the destruction made at Gibralter by the Spaniards, have raised the Spirits of this Nation from that unmanly Gloom and Despondency, into which they were thrown by the Capture of St. Eustatia, Demorara and Essequibe.2 But after all, this Country at present is divided in Sentiments: it is an Alexandrine that like a wounded Snake drags its slow length along.3

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

[signed] John Adams
RC and enclosures in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 141–142). For the enclosures, see note 1.
1. In the PCC the copies of JA's memorials of 19 April to the States General and William V, both above, likely inclosed with this letter are separated, perhaps because the memorial to the States General is undated. In the PCC this letter accompanies JA's memorials to the States General of 8 March and to William V of 19 April (No. 84, III, f. 97–110, 147–148, 143– 144). JA also sent the Duc de La Vauguyon copies of his memorials under cover of a note dated 14 May (LbC, Adams Papers); the ambassador acknowledged it on the 16th (Adams Papers).
2. The encouraging news reports JA refers to all appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 15 May. British privateers had taken the Dutch settlements on the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers in Guiana in late Feb. and early March. Reports of their capture appeared in the London Gazette of 23 April and were reprinted in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 4 May.
3. Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism,” lines 356–357.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-16

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

There has been much said in the public Papers concerning Conferences for Peace, concerning the Mediation of the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia &c. &c. &c.
I have never troubled Congress with these Reports, because I have { 318 } never recieved any official Information or Intimation of any such Negotiation, either from England or France, or any other way. If any such Negotiation has been going on, it has been carefully concealed from me. Perhaps something has been expected from the United States, which was not expected from me.1
For my own part, I know from so long Experience at the first Glance of Reflection, the real designs of the English Government, that it is no Vanity to say they cannot decieve me, if they can, the Cabinets of Europe. I have fully known that all their Pretensions about Peace were insidious, and therefore have paid no other Attention to them than to pity the Nations of Europe, who, having not yet Experience enough of British Manoeuvre, are still imposed on to their own danger, disgrace and damage.
The British Ministry are exhausting all the Resources of their Subtilty, if not of their Treasures, to excite Jealousies and Divisions among the neutral as well as belligerent Powers. The same Arts precisely that they have practised so many Years to subdue, decieve and divide America, they are now exerting among the Powers of Europe: but the Voice of God and Man are too decidedly against them to permit them much Success.
As to a Loan of Money in this Republick, after having tried every expedient and made every proposition, that I could be justified or excused for making, I am in absolute despair of obtaining any, until the States General shall have acknowledged our Independence. The Bills already accepted by me are paying off as they become due, by the Orders of his Excellency Mr. Franklin: but he desires me to represent to Congress the danger and inconvenience of drawing before Congress have information that their Bills can be honoured.2 I must intreat Congress not to draw upon me, until they know I have money. At present I have none, not even for my Subsistance, but what I derive from Paris.
The true Cause of the Obstruction of our Credit here is Fear, which can never be removed but by the States General acknowledging our Independence, which, perhaps in the Course of twelve months they may do, but I don't expect it sooner.
This Country is indeed in a melancholy Situation—sunk in Ease— devoted to the Pursuits of Gain—overshadowed on all sides by more powerful Neighbours—unanimated by a Love of military Glory, or any aspiring Spirit; feeling little Enthusiasm for the Public; terrified at the loss of an old Friend, and equally terrified at the prospect of being obliged to form Connections with a new one: encumbered with a { 319 } complicated and perplexed Constitution, divided among themselves in Interest and Sentiment, they seem afraid of every thing. Success on the Part of France, Spain and especially of America raises their Spirits, and advances the good Cause somewhat: but Reverses seem to sink them much more.
The War has occasioned such a Stagnation of Business, and thrown such Numbers of People out of Employment, that I think it is impossible things should remain long in the present insipid State. One System or another will be pursued: one Party or another will prevail—much will depend on the Events of the War. We have one Security, and I fear but one, and that is the domineering Character of the English, who will make Peace with the Republick upon no other Terms, than her joining them against all their Enemies in the War, and this I think it is impossible She ever should do.

[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. 137–140); endorsed: “Amsterdam Letter 16 May 1781 J Adams Read Oct 3. —no real Intention in Gr: Br: to negotiate —despair of getting Money till the Dutch Governmt. acknowledges our Indep. —Dutch not animated at present.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation in John Thaxter's hand: “one Copy delivered Capt. Newman and another sent to Mr. Joshua Johnson at Nantes.” For letters JA sent with Capt. Joseph Newman of the Gates, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:index; for that sent to Joshua Johnson, see JA to Johnson, 24 May, below.
1. For the origins of the proposed Austro-Russian mediation of the Anglo-French war, see Francis Dana's letter of 25 Feb., note 3, above. The French government had been considering the proposal since January and had given its approval, which it conditioned on Congress' consent and American independence being non-negotiable. JA correctly assumed that the Comte de Vergennes did not wish to deal with him, but with Congress. In a letter of 9 March Vergennes ordered the Chevalier de La Luzerne to obtain Congress' approval of the mediation. More importantly, La Luzerne was to convince the Congress that it should circumscribe JA's activities as minister plenipotentiary to negotiate Anglo-American peace and commercial treaties by ordering him, in the execution of his powers, “to receive his directions from the Count de Vergennes” (JCC, 20:562–569). On 28 May, La Luzerne met with a congressional committee. The results of that meeting were Congress' adoption on 15 June of the Joint Commission to Accept the Mediation of Russia and Austria; Joint Commission to Negotiate a Peace Treaty; and Instructions to the Joint Commission to Negotiate a Peace Treaty, all below.
Vergennes' determination to avoid dealing with JA regarding the mediation is evident from his conversation with Benjamin Franklin on 10 March. There he informed Franklin of the mediation and asked him to seek Congress' concurrence. Franklin apparently was surprised by this request, for he told the foreign minister that he supposed that JA “was already furnished with Instructions relating to any Treaty of Peace that might be proposed” (Franklin, Papers, 34:445–446).
Almost three months passed until JA received any communication from the French government regarding the mediation. See Laurent Bérenger's letter of 5 June and JA's correspondence with Vergennes in July, all below.
2. See Benjamin Franklin's letter of 21 April, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0234

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-17

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 17 May 1781. LbC Adams Papers. printed: JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 455.
This letter is not in the PCC and was probably never sent. It contains a list, according to nationality, of vessels paying tolls to Denmark in 1780 for passage through the Oresund Strait connecting the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea. According to this report, published at Copenhagen, five nations—the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain, Denmark, and Russia—accounted for 7,654 of the 8,294 ships.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0235-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-18

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Depuis ma derniere du 13e. qui en renfermoit une de France pour vous, je Serois en peine de son sort, Si je ne savois que Mrs. De Neufville ont reçu le paquet qui la contenoit.
Le Mémoire est présentement Suffisamment connu par toute la République, et par toute l'Europe, tant par les Envois du Libraire, que par les Gazettiers qui l'ont répété à l'envi l'un de l'autre. Le Courier du Bas-rhin a doublé sa feuilles, pour ne pas morceler, dit-il, cette Piece interessante. Les reflexions qu'il y a ajoutées, come, que le Président a accepté le meme., et lui a servi de Parrain, Sont de son cru, et nullement du mien, qui lui ai simplement recommandé de ne rien changer.
Du reste, la Piece est généralement approuvée, même par ceux à qui elle ne fait pas plaisir: et l'homme que j'ai apposté pour me rapporter ce qu'on en dit, m'a protesté n'avoir pas entendu un mot de critique, mais beaucoup d”éloges. Quant aux suites qu'elle pourra avoir, tout le monde garde là-dessus un profond silence.
Ce Matin Mrs. d'Amstm. ont fait à l'Assemblée d'Hollde. une forte et sérieuse Remontrance, qui, parfaitement inattendue et imprévue, a consterné les uns et fait plaisir à d'autres. J'en aurai copie demain ou après-demain et ne manquerai pas de vous faire part de son contenu.1
En attendant, je dois finir malgré moi, pour ne pas manquer la poste. Je Suis avec un très grand respect Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0235-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-18

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

[salute] Sir

Since my last letter of the 13th, with the enclosure from France directed { 321 } to you, I have been somewhat troubled because I did not know that Messrs. De Neufville received the packet that contained the enclosure.
The memorial is sufficiently known throughout the republic and Europe at this time. This is due to the dispatches from the publishers as much as it is to the vying newspapers that have repeated its publication. The Courier du Bas Rhin has doubled its pages so as not to divide up this interesting piece, or so it says. The added remarks stating that the president has accepted the memorial and has also sponsored it, are replies from the editor, and have nothing to do with me, who simply recommended that nothing be changed.
Moreover, the piece has gained general approval, even with those who do not find it pleasing. The man that I sent out to report back on the public's response has not heard a critical word but rather several words of praise. As for the possible repercussions, everyone is waiting in silence.
This morning, Messrs. of Amsterdam made a strong and serious remonstrance at the Assembly of Holland, which was perfectly unexpected and unforeseen, and has dismayed some and pleased others. I will have a copy of it tomorrow or the next day and will inform you of its contents.1
Meantime, I must finish this letter so I do not miss the post. I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. For Amsterdam's remonstrance, see JA's letter of 24 May to the president of Congress, calendared below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0236

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Date: 1781-05-19

To Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Sir

I have the honour of your Letter of the twenty ninth of April, and will look up the Papers You mention as soon as possible, but I have been removing so often, that at this moment I know not where to lay my hand on them.
I am very sorry to learn that You are to be excluded longer from the Regency, where the Abilities and good Principles of the Baron Van der Capellan could not fail to be eminently useful to the Cause of his Country and of all good Men: and I hope that the Obstacles will be removed sooner than You imagine.
The political World furnishes much Vexation and little Satisfaction to a Man of Probity and Delicacy, and nothing but a strong Sense of Duty, and an ardent Philanthropy can ever prevail with such a Character, to endure the Mortification he meets at every Step of his progress, in stemming the Torrents of Corruption, which roll every where. But to such a Man, the Reflection that some Evils have been { 322 } warded off, and some Advantages obtained, will be a Consolation under many disappointments and humiliations. I should be happy in the Continuance of your Friendship, being with much Esteem and Respect, Sir, your most obedient Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (Algemeen Rijksarchief, Papers of van der Capellen, No. 29A, p. 245).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0237

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-05-19

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received two Letters from you, one covering a Letter from Leghorn.1
In the English Copy of the Memorial, there are several Errors of the Press, and one which is very material. The Word Treaties with France and Spain, instead of the Word Relations.2
Please give my Compliments to Mr. Manson the Redacteur of the Courier du Bas Rhin, for the Honour he has done to this Memorial in giving an Additional Sheet to his subscribers, for the Sake of it, and for the respectfull Manner in which he mentions it.
It has been very well received here. But whether it will ever have any other Effect than a little applause in Words I know not. One Thing I know, if it is disregarded, the Posterity of this People, will wish that their Ancestors had laid it more to heart, for it is no rash opinion that not only the Prosperity but the Existence of this Republick depends upon an early Connection with America.
This will be thought extravagant, by that national Pride and self Sufficiency, which is common to all, but those who have reflected upon the Combination of Causes and Effects in the political and commercial World, and who have looked forward to see how these must operate in Futurity, will easily see, that this Republick will be totally overshadowed and exhausted, on both Sides, that of France as well as that of England, if she does not by forming an early Connection with America, turn a share of its Commerce into this Channel. After a Peace with England it will not be in the Power of Policy to affect it. Now it might be easily done—by a Treaty and a Loan. I have the Honour to be &c.
1. These are Dumas” letters of 13 and 18 May, and Philip Mazzei's letter of 28 March, all above.
2. See JA's memorial of 19 April to the States General, and note 4, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0238

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Grand, Ferdinand
Date: 1781-05-19

To Ferdinand Grand

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I received your Favour of May 14th. inclosing my Account, which I will examine, and compare with my own, and write you about it, as Soon as I can.1 In the mean time I am puzzled about the first Article. Mr. Dana's Account and mine Should be kept Seperate, and the Writing which I gave you, in February 1780 was designed for that End, So that I would be charged with 5/7 and Mr. Dana with 2/7 of the Thousand Pounds Sterling which by the Resolve of Congress, Mr. Franklin was to furnish Us with.2
The three last Articles in the Account viz the Commission at Amsterdam of 186:14: 9 the Courtage 46:15: 9 and the Ports de Lettres 127:10: 0 I think ought not to be charged to me, but to the United States. I wish you would be So kind as to Speak to Dr. Franklin about it. I am allowed by Congress a certain Sum Per Annum, (as is Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay <and Mr. Dana>,) <out of which I am to discharge all &c.> which is to be in full to me for Services and Expences. So that I ought to receive of the United States, the whole Sum, free of all these Charges, which if necessary as I suppose they are ought to be born by the United States.
I think Dr. Franklin will be of opinion that these Articles ought to be charged to the United States and not to me. However if his Excellency is of a different opinion, the Charges must stand.
The Article of Credit of 22 Jany 1781, by Mr. Dana 2658:16:10 is right being Money that I lent him at Amsterdam.
I should be obliged to you likewise if you would Speak to Dr. Franklin, whether it is necessary for me to draw upon him, afresh, as you have my Receipts for the Money I received at Paris and as I have given two Receipts to serve for one, for each sum that I have received here of the House of Fizeaux & Grand. I should think that my Receipts produced to Dr. Franklin would be Vouchers sufficient for him to allow you those Sums. <But if his Excellency is of a different opinion, I shall comply with his.>
I have not hitherto received the Account of my Salary, and I shall never receive a farthing more than that, and therefore I should think that my Receipts for that would be sufficient. But if his Excellency is of a different Opinion, I shall comply with his.3
I have wrote to Mr. Williams too to desire him to draw upon you for the Pay for the Wine. I know not why he neglects it. <If the { 324 } Madeira is Sterling enough to drink Prosperity to the United States, and Dr. Franklin and you will accept of it, between you it is at your service.>
I want to get my Books and Cloaths the former from the Hotel de Valois, and the latter from Passy, to Amsterdam if possible. The Expence of Removal will be considerable I Suppose but this I must bear. Is there any Way to remove them without being Searched? There is nothing but Books and Baggage. But if they are visited upon the Road They will be two thirds stolen, as was the Case when my Trunks came from Brest. With great Regard to you and the Family, sir, your most obedient servant
1. The letter of 14 May, above, was from Ferdinand's son, Henry. See the revised account in the Grands” letter of 23 Nov. (Adams Papers).
2. JA set down the sums to be paid to himself and Francis Dana in a letter to Ferdinand Grand of 29 Feb. 1780 (private owner, 1982). The terms were determined by Congress” resolutions of 4 and 15 Oct. 1779 (JCC, 15:1145, 1179–1180).
3. See Franklin's letter of 11 June, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0239

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-19

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I received the Honour of yours, with an Account of the Bills you have to pay.1 I have accepted your Drafts for 77,000 Crowns, at 15 Days Date. The Shortness of the Term is inconvenient; and as our Money comes to hand by Degrees, and these unexpected Demands from Holland and Spain oblige me to anticipate our Funds, for which Anticipation I pay an Interest of five Per Cent, I wish you would for the future draw at two or three Usances; because this would ease me in providing for the Payment; and tho” the Discount is consider'd in the Rate of Exchange, yet as that is but 4 Per Cent in Holland, and is here 5. the Publick would save by it One per Cent: which in such large Transactions, amounts to a Sum worth saving. I write on this Head to Messrs. Fizeaux & Grand.
I was much surprized to find by your Letter that the Congress continue drawing so largely on you, without knowing whether you have any Funds in hand. You mention Numbers from 37 to 76 inclusively. Perhaps all the preceding Numbers, and many succeeding Ones may soon appear also. I am never informed what to expect and therefore know not what to provide for. To demand greater Sums of the Ministry than I can shew that I shall want, would have an ill { 325 } appearance, when I must be sensible of the vast Expence the War occasions, and their Difficulties in supplying it; and to be coming continually with After-claps succeeding each other without End, is extreamly disagreable to them as well as to me. They usually form their Plans at the Beginning of the Year, and appropriate their Funds; this Arrangement once made, new and unforeseen Demands disturb it, and call for new Consultations and Determinations, and means of procuring new Funds; all which give Trouble, and put Friends out of Humour. The Aid granted for this Year, is, as you observe, noble: We are purchasing with it a variety of necessary Articles demanded by Congress. But the Uncertainty of what Demands they may think fit to make by way of Bills, must oblige us to hold our Hands, and retain something to face those unimaginable Drafts; for absolutely I cannot go to the Minister for more this Year. Last Year Mr. Lovel wrote to me, that the Congress were very sensible of the Difficulties this wild Drawing subjected me to; and that if I could obtain wherewith to answer the Drafts then made, I might rely upon it no more would be issued, 'till the Congress were informed that I had Funds to answer them: I communicated this Letter to the Minister with my fresh Demand; I inclose a Copy of his Answer.2 You will by it, feel something better my Situation, when the Congress not only continue drawing on me, but all their Drafts on you and Mr. Jay come upon me for Payment. I am really afraid that by these Proceedings, we shall, as the saying is, ride a free Horse to Death. But to the Point, the Bills you mention must be paid; and if you accept them I will answer your Drafts for that Purpose as they become due. But to enable me to do this, I must as I observed before, diminish the intended Supplies; there is no other Method to be taken.
I have, with you, no Doubt that America will be easily able to pay off not only the Interest but the Principal of all the Debts she may contract this War. But whether Duties upon her Exports will be the best Method of doing it, is a Question I am not so clear in. England raised indeed a great Revenue by Duties on Tobacco. But it was by Virtue of a Prohibition of Foreign Tobaccoes, and thereby obliging the internal Consumer to pay those Duties. If America were to lay a like Duty of 5 Pence Sterling Per lb. on the Exportation of her Tobacco, would any European Nation buy it? Would not the Colonies of Spain and Portugal and the Ukraine of Russia furnish it much cheaper? Was not England herself obliged for such Reasons to drop the Duty on Tobacco she furnish'd to France? Would it not cost an immense Sum in Officers &ca. to guard our long Coast against the { 326 } smuggling of Tobacco, and running it out to avoid the Duty? And would not many even of those Officers be corrupted and connive at it? It is possibly an erroneous Opinion, but I find myself rather inclined to adopt that modern one, which supposes it best for every Country to leave its Trade entirely free from all Incumbrances. Perhaps no Country does this at present: Holland comes the nearest to it; and her Commercial Wealth seems to have increased in Proportion.
Your Excellency has done me the Honour of announcing to me your Appointment: I hope soon to return the Compliment by informing you of my Dismission. I find the various Employments of Merchant, Banker, Judge of Admiralty, Consul &ca. &c. beside my Ministerial Function, too multifarious and too heavy for my old Shoulders; and have therefore requested Congress that I may be relieved: for in this Point I agree even with my Enemies, that another may easily be found who can better execute them.3
In my last I mentioned to you, that M. De la Motte Piquet's Squadron took 22 Sail of the 34 coming to England from St. Eustatia. It is now said that a St. Malo's Privateer, having taken two more, was encouraged by the Admiral to leave the Prizes under his Care, and pursue the rest; which he did, and falling in with two American Privateers and another French Privateer, they took between them all the rest, so that not one of the 34 will arrive in England. If this be true, the Ships that convoyed them will be able to render but a poor Account of their Conduct.
I send you the late Accounts we have from America of the Action between Des Touches and Arbuthnot, Greene and Cornwallis. Your causing them to be inserted in the Dutch Papers, may prevent the Effect of false and exaggerated Reports from England.4
I shall wish to know from you, when you think it proper, the Proceedings of the States in your Affair; and have the Honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency's Most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
Col. Laurens set out yesterday for Brest on his Return. The most perfect Harmony subsisted between us during his Residence here.— I shall want as soon as possible Information of the Arrival of the Purchases you make at his Request to send in the Indienne.5
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Franklin. May 19 1781.” For enclosures sent with this letter, see notes 2, 4 and 5.
{ 327 }
1. Franklin is replying to JA's letters of 8 May, above, and 10 May (Franklin, Papers, 35:50).
2. James Lovell's letter was likely that of 7 Sept. 1780, in which he explained the circumstances that led Congress to resolve on 9, 23, and 30 Aug. to draw additional bills on Franklin and declared “I think I can venture now to assure you that not a single Draught more will be made upon you, let the Occassion be ever so pressing.” Franklin enclosed copies of that letter, another from Lovell of 15 Aug., and Congress' resolutions with his letter to Vergennes of 19 Nov. (Franklin, Papers, 33:259– 260, 193–194; 34:28). Vergennes replied on 26 Nov., and it is probably that letter that Franklin enclosed. There Vergennes expressed his exasperation at Congress' decision to draw so heavily on Franklin but promised to provide funds to preserve Franklin's credit on the assumption that Congress would hold to its pledge not to issue additional bills (Adams Papers, filmed at 26 Nov., Adams Papers Microfilms, Reel No. 353; Franklin, Papers, 34:72–73). Despite Lovell's assurances, on 19 March Congress authorized an additional issue of $55,333.33 in bills of exchange, which was equal to approximately £12,500 at the exchange rate specified in the resolution (JCC, 19:278–279).
3. Franklin wrote to the president of Congress on 12 March to request that someone be appointed in his place because of his age and infirmities. Congress rejected the request on 19 June (Franklin, Papers, 34:446–448; JCC, 20:676). See also Franklin's letter of 16 Aug., below.
4. Enclosures not found. For more information on their content, see JA's reply of 23 May, below.
5. Franklin wrote this paragraph on a separate slip of paper.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0240

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-21

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 21 May 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 151–157. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:424–427.
This letter contained an English translation of Frederick II's ordinance of 30 April regarding navigation and commerce. The preamble to the ordinance declared that Prussia would remain neutral in the war then in progress and was in agreement with the principles set down by Catherine II in her declaration of an armed neutrality. It also noted that the Northern Powers— Denmark, Sweden, and Russia—had agreed to allow Prussian ships to join their convoys. The seven articles that followed specifically set down the conditions under which Prussian subjects could trade with the belligerent powers. Of particular significance was the fact that naval stores were not to be included among the goods generally denominated as contraband, which Prussian vessels were prohibited from carrying. On 19 May, Prussia went further and signed a convention with Russia by which it acceded to the armed neutrality (Scott, ed., Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, p. 397–403).
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 151–157). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:424–427.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0241

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-23

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 23 May 1781. RC in John Thaxter's handPCC, No. 84, III, f. 159. printed: JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 465.
This letter requested Congress to offer relief to the owners of an unnamed Dutch vessel captured by a British warship or privateer, recaptured by an American privateer, and then sold. This letter may refer to the Dutch brig Union, about which John Adams had written to William Greene, governor of Rhode Island, on 9 May (LbC, Adams Papers). There Adams requested Greene's assistance for Johannes de Lover & Sons of Amsterdam, the owners of a vessel captured by { 328 } the Revenge, a British privateer commanded by a Capt. Kentith, then recaptured and taken into Providence. Unfortunately the papers enclosed with Adams' letter to Congress have not been found, and there is no additional extant correspondence between Adams, Congress, and Greene on the matter.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 159). printed: (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 465.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0242

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-05-23

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have the honour of your Letter of the 19th. with its Inclosures, and I thank your Excellency for the pains You have taken to communicate the News from America, which I think can scarcely be called bad, tho' General Green lost the Field. I had before recieved and published in the Amsterdam Gazette the same accounts. The Gazetters are so earnest after American News that I find it the shortest method of communicating the Newspapers to all.1
I have recieved from Congress, their Resolution of the third of January 1781, to draw Bills upon me in favour of Lee and Jones at six months sight for the full amount of the ballance due on the Contract made with them, for a Quantity of Cloathing for the Army. I have also a Letter from Mr. Gibson, of the Treasury Office of January 28th., which informs me that the amount of Jones and Lee's account is sixteen thousand, two hundred and forty four pounds one shilling sterling.2
I have just recieved from Gottenbourg the inclosed Letters, one to your Excellency and one to Mr. Jay.3 I recieved both unsealed with a direction to take Copies. I have put my own Seal upon that to your Excellency, and request the favour of You to put your's upon that to Mr. Jay, and to convey it in the safest manner. It contains matter of great Importance, which ought to be carefully concealed from every Eye but your's and Mr. Jays, for which reason I should be cautious of conveying it, even with the dispatches of the Spanish Ambassador, especially as there are intimations in Mr. Lovells Letter of too much Curiosity with regard to Mr. Jays' dispatches, and as Mr. Jay himself complains that his Letters opened. I hope this Instruction will remove all the Difficulties with Spain, whose Accession to the Treaty would be of great Service to the Reputation of our Cause in every part of Europe.
It seems to me of vast Importance to Us, to obtain an acknowledgment of our Independence from as many other Sovereigns as possible, before any Conferences for Peace shall be opened: because if that Event should take place first, and the Powers at War with Great { 329 } Britain, their Armies, Navies and People weary of the War and clamouring for Peace, there is no knowing what hard Conditions may be insisted on from Us, nor into what Embarrassments British Arts and Obstinacy may plunge Us.
By the tenth Article of the Treaty of Alliance, the contracting Parties agree to invite or admit other Powers who may have recieved Injuries from Great Britain to accede to that Treaty. If Russia, and the Northern Powers, or any of them, should be involved in the War in support of the Dutch, would it not be a proper Opportunity for the Execution of this Article? Or why would it not be proper, now to invite the Dutch?
I have the Honour to inclose a Memorial to their High Mightinesses. My Mission is now a Subject of deliberation among the Regencies of the several Cities and the Bodies of Nobles, who compose the Sovereignty of this Country. It is not probable that any determination will be had soon. They will probably confer with Russia and the Northern Powers about it first. Perhaps if those come into the War, nothing will be done, but in Concert with them. But if those do not come into the War, this Republick I think will readily accede to the Treaty of Alliance between France and America: for all Ideas of Peace with England are false and delusive. England will make Peace with the Dutch upon no other Condition than their joining her in the War against all her Enemies, which it is impossible for them to do even if their Inclinations were that Way, which they are not. The public Voice here is well decided against England.
I have the Honour to be much of your Excellencys Opinion respecting Duties. I mentioned Tobacco to shew what Duties America was able to bear. Whatever Sums a People are able to bear in Duties upon Exports or Imports upon the Luxuries, Conveniences or Necessaries of Life, they are undoubtedly able to raise by a dry Tax upon Polls and Estates, provided it is equally proportioned. Nay more, because the Expence of collecting and guarding against Frauds is saved.
Our Countrymen are getting right Notions of Revenue, and whenever these shall become general, I think there can be no difficulty in carrying on the War.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. May23. 1781.”
{ 330 }
1. JA refers to the Battle of Guilford Court House on 15 March. The source of his information may have been a newspaper enclosed in Joshua Johnson's letter of 8 May that has not been found, but to which JA replied on 24 May, below. The Pennsylvania Gazette of 4 April contained two letters from Gen. Nathanael Greene that were read in Congress on 31 March and ordered printed (JCC, 19:335; see also James Lovell to JA, 31 March, and note 1, above). The two letters were translated and printed in the Gazette de Leyde of 22 May as from a Philadelphia paper. The battle itself was ostensibly a victory for Cornwallis, for he defeated Greene's much larger American army and occupied the field at the battle's conclusion. He did so, however, at the cost of one quarter of his army, troops that could not be replaced. Unable to pursue Greene's force and convinced of the futility of further operations in the Carolinas, Cornwallis retreated to Wilmington, N.C., whence, on 25 April, he began his march into Virginia and ultimately to Yorktown (Mackesy, War for America, p. 406–407).
2. Neither the resolution of 3 Jan. nor the letter from John Gibson have been found. Early in 1780, Thomas Lee and John Coffin Jones, Boston merchants, contracted to provide clothing to the Continental Army. Because it was unable to pay for the goods provided, the Board of War initially refused their bill and referred it to Congress, which accepted it and ordered payment. On 3 Jan., by which time the account was over six months in arrears, Congress resolved to draw bills of exchange on JA in favor of Lee and Jones for the amount of the contract (JCC, 19:19–20).
3. The letters enclosed with Henry Greig's letter of 12 May, above, have not been identified. JA's comments in this paragraph make it likely that they were from James Lovell, but none of his letters written in March to JA, Franklin, and Jay seem to warrant JA's concerns about them. See, however, Lovell's letters to Franklin and Jay of 9 March (Franklin, Papers, 34:435–436; Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 17:44), and to JA of [ca. 15 March], above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0243-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-23

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

En réponse à l'honorée vôtre du 19e. je pourrai vous faire voir quand il vous plaira que l'expression Treaties with France and Spain est dans la Copie Angloise manuscrite que vous m'aviez remise ici, et qui a servi à l'Imprimer.1
J'ai assuré de vos complimens Mr. Manson2, en le priant de les garder pour lui: car, entre nous, il faut prendre garde que ces Messieurs ne nous exposent pas. Ils ne sont pas tous aussi discrets que Mr. Luzac, ni aussi prudents, ni même aussi sincerement nos amis: et ils font volontiers confidence au public de ce qui les flatte.
Voici ce que Mr. V——r m'a remis pour vous le faire tenir de sa part. La Traduction françoise en va paroître incessamment, et je ne manquerai pas de vous l'envoyer. Cette piece vous plaira par Sa force. Je vous informerai de ce qui s'ensuivra.3
Vous savez, Monsieur, la discretion avec laquelle j'attends depuis plus de cinq ans l'accomplissement des promesses du Congrès en consideration de mes fideles services, pour lesquels j'avois accepté avec joie les ordres positifs non sollicités. J'ai eu l'honneur de vous insinuer, dans quelles difficultés cruelles cette discrétion m'a enveloppé, et qui augmenteront Si je ne suis aidé. Vous savez la petite { 331 } allouance que je reçois de Paris; et vous êtes convenu avec moi que je devois avoir effectivement beaucoup de peine à vivre avec cela: aussi ne le puis-je; et il faut d'année en année que j'y mette du mien, et plus que du mien; ce qui me rend misérable jusque chez moi. Vous Savez aussi que le Congrès m'avoit destiné le Secrétariat de cette Légation sous Mr. Lawrens, avec 500 £. st. d'appointement. Vous me promites Monsieur, l'hiver dernier à Amsterdam, que si vous receviez une Commission pour cette Rep. comme celle de Mr. Lawrens, vous feriez à mon égard ce qu'eût fait Mr. Lawrens. Enfin vous m'avez dit ici, que sans le défaut de finances vous me feriez jouir des appointemens qui m'étoient destinés. Je crois avoir trouvé un moyen d'applanir cette difficulté, en vous proposant de me fournir 2 obligations de mille florins de l'Emprunt ouvert chez Mrs. De Neufs., et de me permettre de tirer Sur Mrs. De Neufville, pour votre compte, en un ou deux payemens, aux termes qu'il vous plaira de fixer dans le cours de cette année 1781 ce qui manqueroit de 300 £. st., déduction faite des 2000 florins en dites Obligations. De cette maniere, en continuant toujours de tirer sur Mr. Franklin ce que je Suis accoutumé d'en recevoir, je jouirai provisionnellement cette année des 500 £. St: qui m'étoient destinés; et vous ferez agréer au Congrès sans difficulté, ce qu'il avoit intention de faire, et ce que vous m'avez dit de pouvoir faire en vertu de vos pouvoirs. Ce dont votre grand crédit auprès de lui, mérité à tant de titres me confirme d'autant plus d'être assuré.
De cette maniere, l'intérêt des Obligations me mettra en état de payer celui d'une dette que j'ai été forcé de contracter dans le service des Etats unis, et pour lequel une petite Terre, la seule ressource de ma famille en cas de ma mort, est hypothéquée, et je pourrai en même temps mettre un peu plus d'aisance dans mon oeconomie ici. Je vous devrai mon repos si vous pouvez donner les mains à cet arrangement; et je ne doute pas que vous ne le puissiez. J'attens que vous ajouterez à cette faveur celle d'une prompte réponse, qui fera cesser les peines journalieres, qui me rendent, je vous le jure, la vie excessivement amere.
On m'assure que d'autres villes, et même des provinces, vont suivre l'exemple de la Remontrance d'Amsterdam. Je vous en donnerai connoissance à mesure.
Vous trouverez sur le feuillet ci joint la substance de ce que j'ai écrit à Manson, au sujet d'une sotte Traduction prétendue nouvelle et anterieure à la mienne qui a paru dans le Politique Hollandois.4
Je suis avec un très grand respect & l'attachement le plus sincere, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très obéissant Serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0243-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-23

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

[salute] Sir

In response to your honored letter of the 19th, I will show you, when you wish, that the expression Treaties with France and Spain was included in the English manuscript copy that you left with me, and that was used by the printer.1
I gave Mr. Manzon2 your compliments and asked that he keep them to himself, because, between us, we must be certain that these gentlemen do not expose us. They are not as discreet, nor as prudent, as Mr. Luzac is, and are not sincerely our friends. They would confide in whoever flatters them.
Here is what Mr. V——r gave me for you on his behalf. The French translation will appear at anytime now and I will not fail to send it to you. The strength of this piece will please you. I will inform you of what it entails.3
You know, sir, of the discretion with which I have waited more than five years for the fulfillment of promises made to me by Congress for my faithful services. Services which were positive orders gladly accepted, not solicited. I had the honor to tell you of the harsh difficulties that resulted from this discretion, difficulties that will increase if I do not receive help. You know of the small allowance that I receive from Paris, and you agreed with me that it is very difficult to live on that alone. Well I cannot, and each year I have to supplement the allowance more and more with my own money, which in turn is making me miserable at home. You also know that Congress had intended that I act as this delegation's secretary under Mr. Laurens with a 500 pounds sterling salary. You promised me, sir, last winter in Amsterdam, that if you were to receive a commission for this republic like the one for Mr. Laurens, you would do for me what Mr. Laurens would have done. Finally you said to me here that if finances were not lacking, you would give me my promised salary. I believe I have found a way to smooth out this difficulty by proposing to you that you furnish me with two obligations of a thousand florins from the loan opened by Messrs. Neufville. Then you could permit me to withdraw from your account with the Messrs. Neufville the remaining 300 pounds sterling in one or two payments according to terms set by you for the year 1781, the deduction being offset by the 2,000 florins in said obligations. By doing this, and by continuing to draw my usual amount from Mr. Franklin, I would receive the 500 pounds sterling that was promised to me as my yearly salary. By the virtue of your powers you could persuade Congress to agree to this without difficulty since this was their intention. Your great standing there, rewarded with so many titles, assures me that this will be confirmed.
By doing this, the interest of my obligations will allow me to pay a debt that I was forced to take on, in my service to the United States, by mortgaging a small parcel of land which is the only family resource in case of my death, and at the same time will help me with finances here. I would be very grateful if you could help with this arrangement; I do not doubt that { 333 } you can. I will await a prompt response from you, which will end my daily pain, which, I swear to you, is making life very bitter.
It is said that other cities, as well as provinces, will follow the example of the remonstrance at Amsterdam. I will send confirmation of this as it happens.
You will find, on the enclosed page, the substance of what I wrote to Manson regarding a foolish so-called new translation, that was done prior to my translation, and that appeared in the Politique Hollandais.4
I am with great respect and sincere affection, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Dumas May 23. 1781. ansd26.” For the enclosure, see notes 3 and 4.
1. See JA's memorial of 19 April to the States General, and note 4, above.
2. Jean Manzon, editor of the Courier du Bas Rhin.
3. The enclosure, presumably from Carel W. Visscher regarding Amsterdam's remonstrance to the States of Holland on 18 May, has not been found.
4. No. 14 of Le politique hollandais included a French translation of JA's memorial of 19 April. In the enclosure Dumas described the memorial as it appeared in Le politique hollandais as a travesty and delineated every variation from his own translation of the memorial, which was authorized by JA, published in pamphlet form, and distributed to the Gazette de Leyde and other Dutch papers for publication.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0244

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-24

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 24 May 1781. RC in John Thaxter's handPCC, No. 84, III, f. 163–168. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:431–433.
In this letter John Adams provided an English translation of Amsterdam's address of 18 May to the States of Holland. The city's deputies noted the ineffectual measures taken thus far to prosecute the war against Britain and particularly the inability of the Dutch navy to protect the nation's commerce. Such a state of affairs was unworthy of the Dutch Republic and puzzling to the Northern Powers from whom aid was being sought. The only way to correct the situation was to enter into negotiations for an alliance with France, redouble efforts to convince the Northern Powers that their assistance was absolutely necessary, and make effective use of the nation's resources against the British enemy. In his two final paragraphs (printed as one in Wharton), Adams called it a “manly address,” reflecting “the old Batavian Spirit.” It owed its appearance, Adams believed, to “the presentation and publication of my memorial to the States General, which was more universally and highly applauded than was expected by me or any one else.” Adams, like the Gazette de Leyde when it published Amsterdam's address on 25 May, noted that there was no mention of the Dutch-American treaty proposed in his memorial. He attributed the omission to ongoing deliberations, but see his letter of 26 May to Dumas, below.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 163–168). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:431–433.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0245

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Johnson, Joshua
Date: 1781-05-24

To Joshua Johnson

[salute] Dear Sir

I have recieved your obliging Letter of May 8th. with the Newspaper inclosed, for which please to accept my thanks.1 The English meet a warm reception at the Southward where they have already had reason and will have more to repent of their rashness. I congratulate You upon the Accession of Maryland to the Confederation and upon the general good prospect of Affairs. Our Country rises superiour to all her difficulties, and I hope in another Year to see her shine.
Will You please to transmit the inclosed Letter to Congress by the first opportunity?2 My Compliments to your good Family and to all the good Americans at Nantes.
With great Respect and Esteem I have the honour to be, Sir, your humble & obedient Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Johnson's letter has not been found.
2. JA's second letter of 16 May to the president of Congress, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0246-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-24

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Les Etats d'Hollde. ne pourront former une Résolution, que dans 15 jours ou 3 semaines; car ce ne sera qu'alors que sera l'Assemblée prochaine demandée à la fin de la proposition dont voici la Traduction. En attendant cette Proposition a déjà fait une grande impression, et beaucoup de peine aux Anglomanes.
J'espere, Monsieur, que vous pourrez acquiescer à ma demande d'hier; et par-là vous me tirerez à tous égards d'une peine qui m'ôte le repos, et la facilité d'agir courageusement. Il me semble aussi qu'une centaine de £. St. de plus ou de moins en argent comptant dans la dépense de l'Amérique, ne peut pas déranger sensiblement les Finances des E.U. en Europe, puisque d'ailleurs c'étoit l'intention des E.U. que je jouisse de toute la somme des 500 £. st. dont j'offre de prendre 2000 florins en obligations. Si avec cela vous avez la bonté de vous mettre entierement à la place, vis-à-vis de moi, de ce que Mr. Lawrens avoit le pouvoir de faire pour moi, en me conférant par un Acte provisionnel, en attendant que le Congrès le confirme par un Acte formel, le poste de Sécrétaire de cette Légation avec l'appoin• { 335 } tement de £ 500 £ st., vous me mettrez entierement l'esprit, et celui de ma famille en repos; je vous en aurai une obligation constante que je n'oublierai certainement jamais, et mon Zele et mon attachement pour votre personne, aussi bien que pour le service des Etats-Unis vous le prouvera constamment.
Je suis avec le respect le plus sincere, Monsieur, Votre très-humble & très obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0246-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-24

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

[salute] Sir

The States of Holland will not be able to form a resolution for another fifteen days or three weeks. This is because the next assembly finally demanded a translation of the proposal. Meantime this proposal has made a great impression and has caused the Anglomanes a lot of pain.
I hope, sir, that you will be able to acquiesce to yesterday's proposal, and by doing so you will alleviate the pain which keeps me from any rest and from acting courageously. It seems me to that £100 sterling, more or less, cannot matter much in the finances of the United States in Europe, and besides that, it was the intention of the United States that I receive a salary of £500 sterling, 2000 florins of which I offered to take as a loan. If you could act on my behalf, as Mr. Laurens would have done for me, in naming me secretary of the legation, with a salary of £500 sterling, by a provisional act until Congress formally confirms my post, this would be a great relief to me and my family. I would have a steadfast obligation to you that I would never forget, and my zeal and affection for you, as well as for the service of the United States, would continue to prove this true.
I am with the most sincere respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0247

Author: Mazzei, Philip
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-24

From Philip Mazzei

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Dana's journey to Russia (the first notice of which I have it in Mr. Favi's Letter of the 6. instant) will probably have retarded my answer to your Excellency's favour of the 18 of January. I hope Mr. Favi has forward it to you through a safe channel.1 I send this, through the french Minister at this Court, to a gentleman in the bureau of Mr. de Vergennes, who is desired to convey it safe to you without delay. I long to hear from you, my dear Sir; I am in the greatest uneasiness for our Virginian friends; I hear nothing from { 336 } them; I am almost distracted. You will probably blame me for want of spirit. Pray, excuse my feelings, or my weakness if you will term it so; but you may be assured, Sir, that I should be quite another man if I was with them. I wish I could fly. My anxiety for my dear adopted Country grows greater in proportion to my distance from it, and the improbability of getting there during the storm. Our last news here are very alarming. Do, Sir, relieve me if you can from the present state of uneasiness as soon as possible, and believe that I shall ever be thankfull to your kindness. Don't deprive me of the honour of your commands, the executing of which will at any time make me happy, and permit me to subscribe myself most respectfully, Dr. Sr., Your Excellency's most Obedt. & most humble Servant
[signed] Philip Mazzei
1. Mazzei's letter of 28 March, above, was forwarded by Laurent Bérenger to Dumas to JA (from Dumas, 13 May, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0248

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-25

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 25 May 1781. RC PCC, No. 84, III, f. 169–170. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:435–436.
John Adams provided an English translation of a convention signed at Versailles on 1 May by the Comte de Vergennes and the Dutch ambassador, Lestevenon van Berkenrode, establishing the conditions under which French or Dutch vessels recaptured from the British by privateers or warships of the respective countries would be returned to their owners. It was in Adams' view “the first Step towards more intimate Connections, between this Republick on one side and France and the United States of America, on the other.”
RC (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 169–170). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:435–436.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0249

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-05-26

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

I am honoured with yours of the 23d., and percieve by it that the Error I mentioned was not of the Press but of the Copy.1
I am very much obliged to Mr. Vr. for the proposition, which I have since read with vast pleasure in the French Translation.2 It breathes the true Batavian Spirit and must have great effects. I think it was right not to mention America, whatever the venerable Magistrates might think upon that Subject.
You mention that You have waited five Years the Accomplishment of the promisses of Congress, in Consideration of your Services. I am wholly unacquainted with any promise that Congress ever made You, and therefore can make no Answer to this part of your Letter.3
{ 337 }
You say farther, that I know that the Congress had destined You the Secretaryship of this Legation under Mr. Laurens, with 500 £ St. of Appointment: in this You are certainly mistaken. I never knew nor heard of this. Mr. Searle once mentioned to me, that Mr. Lovell had in a Letter to You, said something about 500 £ St. a Year:4 but nothing that I heard about the Secretaryship. Since the Receipt of your Letter I have enquired of Mr. Searle, and am informed by him, that the Congress appointed no Secretary of Legation under Mr. Laurens: that they voted him an Allowance of 500 £ a year for the maintenance of a Clerk or private Secretary, and accordingly he brought one over with him Major Young: but that Congress afterwards altered this and reduced the allowance for a Clerk to 350 £ St.5
You say that I promised You last Winter at Amsterdam, that if I should recieve a Commission for this Republick like that of Mr. Laurens, I would do with respect to You, what Mr. Laurens would have done.
I told You, that in my Opinion it was not probable that Congress would send me a Commission for this Republick: that Congress would undoubtedly send a Minister here now a War was broke out, but it was most likely it would be some other Gentleman. It was however possible, they might send one to me, and in such a Case, I should chearfully do for You, as far as any thing should be left to my discretion, whatever Mr. Laurens would have done.
You add, that I told You at the Hague, that if it were not for want of Finances, I would give You the Appointments that were destined You. I told You, that if there were any Money here at my discretion to spend for the public, I would pay You myself instead of leaving You as I was obliged to do, to recieve of Dr. Franklin. The Sum was to be, whatever I could discover to be the Intention of Congress, and until then, the Sum which Dr. Franklin has allowed until the farther orders of Congress. But I have not to this Hour any such money.
You speak of my grand Credit with the Congress, as being sufficient to procure a Justification of the measure You propose. But Sir, I assure You I have No Credit with Congress to boast of. If I ever enjoyed a Share of the Confidence of my Countrymen, this was acquired by a most scrupulous attention and Obedience to their principles, views and orders, and the Moment I should depart from this Line of Conduct, and presume to make arrangements and Establishments without their Orders, I should lose all—much greater services, Sacrifices and Hazards than mine, would not be a Fund of Merit sufficient to redeem me.
{ 338 }
I have also recieved your Letter of the 24th, and thank You for the Translation of the Proposition of Amsterdam.
In this Letter You repeat the Idea, that the Secretaryship of this Legation was intended for You. This Idea is entirely new to me; and it appears to be so far from well founded, that Congress are getting out of the practice of such Appointments. They have left Mr. Franklin's Legation without such a Secretary, and they have taken from me the Secretary of my Legation for making Peace:6 and as Mr. Searle informs me they never had it in Contemplation to appoint a Secretary of Legation here. I have recieved no notice or instruction of any such appointment, nor any Intimation what are the designs of Congress towards You. There is no Allowance made to me, but what was given me as Minister for Peace, and there is no Provision made for Secretary public or private, not even for a Clerk, and I maintain my own private Secretary as I ever have done at my own Expence.
Upon the whole it is absolutely out of my Power to do any thing whatsoever, with respect to You, until I have the Orders of Congress.
I have recieved a Letter from Mr. Lovell, in which he has inclosed a list of Letters recieved in Congress and among others one from You, dated Octr. 4th. and recieved January 24th., against which Mr. Lovell has marked “Concordia”: in the Letter to me Mr. Lovell says “You make no Remarks upon Mr. Dumas's Concordia.”7 These Hints may contain something to your purpose, but I dont understand them.
I have the Honour to be with much Esteem and Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. See JA's memorial of 19 April to the States General and note 3, above.
2. See Dumas' letter of 23 May and note 5, above.
3. No actions by or letters from Congress indicate that it intended Dumas to be the secretary of the U.S. minister to the Netherlands. Dumas” expectations may have been fostered by Benjamin Franklin. On 2 Oct. 1780, Franklin wrote Dumas that he should not be concerned about his position in the Netherlands, for its scope was likely to be increased, rather than diminished. On 9 Oct. Franklin indicated that James Searle would recommend to Laurens that Dumas be appointed his secretary. Franklin declared that he knew of no one more deserving or qualified for the position, but that the choice was left to the minister who was empowered to pay a salary of £500. Dumas replied to Franklin on 20 Oct., indicating that he would have accepted the secretaryship under Laurens and would do so under whoever was appointed in his place. Finally, in a letter to Franklin of 9 Nov. Dumas wrote of the secretaryship as being intended for him (Franklin, Papers, 33:354–355, 385, 435–437, 513).
4. James Searle delivered to Dumas James Lovell's letter of 10 July 1780 in which Lovell offered to do everything he could to see Dumas appointed agent of the U.S. at The Hague. Lovell mentioned neither the secretaryship nor a salary of £500 (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 15:421–422; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:452).
5. Congress set the salary for Laurens” sec• { 339 } retary at £500 on 6 Nov. 1779, but no indication has been found as to when or if it was lowered to £350 (JCC, 15:1248).
6. That is, by appointing Francis Dana minister to Russia.
7. See Lovell's letter of [ca. 15 March], and note 8, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0250

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Fizeaux, Grand & Co. (business)
Date: 1781-05-26

To Fizeaux, Grand & Co.

[salute] Gentlemen

I have the Honour of your Letter of the 17th. instant, inclosing the 66 Bills of Exchange accepted by me, amounting to Bf. 109780, which you have paid, and for which you, have debited the Account of the United States of America.1
I Yesterday received your other Favour of the 25th. instant,2 inclosing 17 Bills of Exchange, Accepted by me amounting to Bf. 16,220 which you have paid, for the United States of America, and charged to their Account.
You request my Approbation of these Payments, and it is justly due to you. You request also my Approbation of your Negotiation of my Draughts on Dr. Franklin. I take it for granted Gentlemen, that this deserves to be approved, but at present it seems to me, that this, is a Matter, that, belongs to his Excellency Dr. Franklin to judge of, and to him I Submit it. If, however it is necessary for me, to examine, that matter I will do it, but at present I am but a Tyro in the Negotiation of Bills of Exchange. I am much obliged to you for your kind Enquiry after my Health, which is much better. I have the Honour to remain, very respectfully, Gentn., your Humble servant.
1. From Fizeaux, Grand & Co., 17 May (Adams Papers). See JA's letter of 8 May to Benjamin Franklin, note 1, above. JA gives the amounts of the bills of exchange in banco florins or bank money as opposed to current money. Most foreign exchange transactions were stated in bank money, while most everyday commercial transactions were in current money. A banco florin was worth more than a florin in current money and the difference was stated as a percentage called the agio or opgelt. For example, using the average agio for 1775 of 4.70 percent, the 66 bills of exchange valued at 109,780 banco florins were worth 114,939.66 florins in current money (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775: A Handbook, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 43–44, 51).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0251

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-27

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 27 May 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 173–176. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:448–451.
John Adams provided an English translation of a report made to the States General regarding the Dutch East India Company's request for escorts for { 340 } its vessels and the supplies needed to arm them. The report noted the wretched state of the Dutch navy, the East India Company's importance to the Republic, and the consequences, including the loss of Dutch colonial possessions, if nothing were done. The report recommended purchasing or leasing additional warships to safeguard the company's ships and overseas possessions. Adams concluded his letter by stating that he transmitted
“such State Papers entire, because Congress will be able from them to collect the real State of things better than from any Remarks of mine. The State of the Republick is deplorable enough. There is but one sure path for it to pursue, that is instantly accede to the Treaty of Alliance between France and America. They see this, but have not the firmness to venture upon the measure. Indeed the military Character, both at Land and Sea seems to be lost out of this Nation. The Love of Fame, the Desire of Glory, the Love of Country, the Regard for Posterity, in short all the brilliant and sublime Passions are lost, and succeded by nothing but the Love of Ease and Money: but the Character of this People must change, or they are finally undone.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 173–176). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:448–451.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0252

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-29

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

The English, by the capture of St. Eustatia, seem to have committed the most compleat blunder of all. There was found in that Island a greater quantity of Property belonging to the Britons themselves, than to the French, Dutch, or Americans. They have broke up a Trade, which was more advantageous to them, than to any of their Enemies, as it was a Channel through which British Manufactures were conveyed to North America, and much provisions and assistance to their Fleets and Armies in the West Indies. As the British Merchants were warranted by an Act of Parliament to trade to this Island, all those who are Sufferers by its capture are clamouring against Government and especially against Rodney and Vaughan, for illegally seizing their Property, and threatning these Commanders with as many lawsuits as there are Losers. But what completes the Jest is, that De la Motte Piquet has carried safe into Brest two and twenty of the Vessels loaded with the spoils of St. Eustatia, which Rodney had sent under Convoy of Commodore Hotham and four Ships of the Line: so that Rodney after having lost his booty is like to have lawsuits to defend and very probably the whole to repay to the Owners. Thus the Cards are once more turned against the Gambler;1 and the Nation has gained nothing but an addition to their Reputation for Iniquity. This is good Justice. There is room to hope for more instances of it; because their Fleets are coming home from the West { 341 } Indies, and the Spanish Fleet of thirty Sail of the Line under Cordova is again at Sea, and it is hoped the French Fleet will soon go out again.
The English Fleets are so fully employed by the French and Spaniards, that the Dutch might do a great deal if they would: but something in this Machine is fatally amiss. The Patriots weep, but all in vain. The Fleets and Ships that sail, are said to have Orders to act only on the defensive. The Courtiers say that Amsterdam is the Cause of the War; the friends of Amsterdam say the Courtiers are corrupted by the English. Some say the Prince declares he will never do any thing against the English: others say that he has authorized the French Ambassador to assure the King his Master, that he was ready to make arrangements with him: others report sayings of the Princess that the Conduct of some of the Courtiers will be the ruin of her Family. All these Reports serve to no purpose, but to shew the Confusion and Distraction of the Country. However, there must be a Change soon for better or worse, for hunger will break down all ordinary Fences.
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. 177–178).
1. Adm. Sir George Rodney had a reputation for gambling, which, prior to his victories over the Spanish in Jan. 1780 and the sale of the prizes resulting therefrom, left him heavily in debt (vol. 8:320; DNB).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0253-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-29

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer ci-joint un numbre encore du Mémoire, de peur que vous n'en manquiez: car on m'en demande encore fréquemment, et j'en distribuerai tant qu'il m'en restera.
Je vous remercie de la maniere explicite et franche dont vous me répondez Sur ce qui me regarde. J'aurai l'honneur de vous écrire plus au long pour justifier mes deux dernieres sur ce sujet, tant à l'égard de ma situation, que sur ce que je croyois que vous en saviez.1
A la premiere occasion qui me procurera l'avantage de vous voir, Monsieur, je vous ferai lire dans mes Copies, celle de ma Lettre au Congrès, du 4 Oct. 1780, oú je rends compte des affaires politique, et de ma Situation, ainsi que de mes besoins.2 Je n'y vois, et n'y vois absolument rien qui puisse expliquer ce que Mr. Lovel entend par ces mots: you make no Remarks upon Mr. Dumas's Concordia. Tout { 342 } ce que je Sais là-dessus, et Mrs. Searle et Dana le savent aussi, c'est que mes nombreuses Lettres au Comitté étoient toujours Signées au lieu de mon nom, par le mot de Concordia, et que je ne signe mon nom que depuis que j'écris directement au Président.
Je n'attends que la dissolution de la présente Assemblée d'Hollde., pour vous aller rendre mes devoirs à Amstm. En attendant, je Suis avec tout le respectueux attachement qui vous est voué, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas
Ce paquet, Monsieur, vous parviendra par Mr. Van Arp,3 à qui j'envoie une Vingtaine du Mémoire dans les trois Langues, qu'il me demande, outre le nombre que je lui en ai déjà envoyé ci-devant.3

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0253-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-29

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

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to send you the enclosed copies of the memorial in case you do not have enough. Since I am frequently asked for them, I will distribute the remaining copies.
Thank you for the explicit and frank response to my concerns. I will have the honor to write to you at length, in order to justify my last two letters regarding my situation, and what I believe you know of it.1
Next time I see you, sir, I would like you to read my letter to Congress of 4 October 1780, in which I give accounts of political affairs, my situation, and my needs.2 I see absolutely nothing in my letter that could explain what Mr. Lovel intends by his words: you make no Remarks upon Mr. Dumas's Concordia. All that I know about it, and all that Messrs. Searle and Dana know about it, is, that in my numerous letters to the committee, I signed the word Concordia instead of my name. I only sign my name when writing directly to the president.
I await the dissolution of the current Assembly of Holland before sending news to you at Amsterdam. Meantime, I am with respectful affection, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
This packet, sir, will be delivered by Mr. Van Arp, to whom I sent about twenty copies of the memorial in the three languages. He asked for these copies in addition to the ones I sent previously to him.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “à Son Excellence Monsieur J. Adams, Min. Plenipo: des Etats-Unis, &c. &c. Amsterdam.”
1. JA's letter of 26 May responded to those from Dumas of 23 and 24 May, all above.
2. PCC, No. 93, I, f. 472.
3. Written on a separate slip of paper, this note of transmittal was probably enclosed with the memorials, but is now attached to the letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0254

Author: Fizeaux, Grand & Co.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-30

From Fizeaux, Grand & Co.

[salute] Sir

We have been honourd with your very esteemd favour of the 26th. Instant acknowledging receipt of your sundry acceptations amounting in all to Bf 126,000. and approving our payment of them for account of the United States of America.
We inclose anew your following acceptations which we have discharged for said account
4 of the 24th. Instant Amounting to   Bf 2200.    
11 of the 28th. do.   6050.    
  Bf 8250.   together  
for which we have debited the United States of America; We beg the favour of your acknowledging receipt of these Effects and approve our payment thereof.
Of your acceptations due the 28th. Instant there remains Still undischarged Bf 9888. which we expect every moment to be tenderd us for payment, this Sum with those we have already cleard, and of which we have given you the particulars, amount to Bf 144138. and the produce of your draughts on Paris to 135440.12. 8.
To balance nearly this object we take the liberty of inclosing three blank draughts on his Excellency Dr. Franklin in our favour for
Bf 2200.   }   together Bf 7000. at 2 usances.  
2300.  
2500.  
If you approve of it, we request you'll please to return them signd, and as tomorrow is the day for Negotiating on France We shall advise you as also Dr. Franklin what they'll have produced, it is at his Excellency's particular request that we have dated these draughts at 2 Usances.1
Inclosed a letter directed to us by Dr. Franklin for One Mr. Jackson, as this gentleman is perhaps better Known to you, Sir, than to us, We take the liberty of recommending it to your Care.2
We remain very respectfully Sir Your most obedient & very humble Servants
[signed] Fizeaux Grand Comp.
1. In his reply of 1 June, JA thanked the firm for its efforts on behalf of the United States and enclosed the three drafts on Franklin for Bf 7,000. He also informed Franklin in a letter of the same date (both LbC's, Adams Papers).
2. Franklin's letter to William Jackson has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0255

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-31

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 31 May 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 181–182. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:461.
John Adams provided an English translation of a memorial presented to the States General on 28 April by the Danish envoy, Mestral de Saint Saphorin. The diplomat called on the Dutch government to evacuate the Volta River forts of Creve Coeur and Good Hope and thereby end its encroachment on the Danish establishment along the African coast in present day Ghana.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 181–182). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:461.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0256

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-31

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 31 May 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 185–187>. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:463–464.
John Adams provided Congress with English translations of declarations by the cities of Dordrecht and Haarlem in support of Amsterdam's declaration of 18 May to the States of Holland. Noting the lament of the deputies from Haarlem at the silence of the other towns represented in the States of Holland, Adams ended his letter with “hearty Wishes that this dumb Spirit may be soon cast out.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 185–187). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:463–464.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0257

Author: Mazzei, Philip
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-31

From Philip Mazzei

[salute] Dear Sir

I have perused with the greatest satisfaction your most sensible and eloquent memorial to the Dutch united States, especially as it contains many things, which I much wanted to have published to the World in an occasion likely to obtain the general observation. I wish that your sound reasoning may awake the Dutch from their ignominious Lethargy, and that I may be mistaken in the opinion I always had, and still continue to have of them. If it is true that Admiral Zoutman, who was a going to sail, received a countrorder just the day before the English Convoy went by the Tezel, there remains no doubt about the mean principles in the majority of those who have the management of publick affairs. Considering the importance of that Convoy, and how easily it might have been taken by Zoutman, it seams quite clear that the british Ministry would not have ventured it with 2. fregates, if they had not been previously assured that the Dutch would not disturb it. Their Mightness have at last put to sea a fleet, which cannot resist the fire of 3 ships of the line.1 It is astonishing that people may be so blinded by avarice, as not to see that their bad policy must finally be the ruin of their private as well as publick { 345 } interest. I heartly pity those poor people there, who are in the right side of the question. Should their party be likely to gain ground, you will certainly be one of the first to know it; in which case I most earnestly beg the favour of you, Sir, to let me have the first notice of it, that I may return the compliment &S 8 ÷4эMpΔV≠6,2 through whom I am pretty well informed of the dispositions of the most interesting Powers of Europe. He one day, after having said that the Dutch had calculated more like merchants than like politicians, expressed a great desire to know what they are about, and what they really intend to do. From what I know it appears to me that the other European Powers are not displeased to see France and England weakening themselves, and that all our hopes must rest on our own firmness and perseverance, on the friendship of France, and on the ruinous state of the british finances.
As to the british finances I beg leave to trouble you with some remarks I wrote about 2 months ago to confute the false assertions and wrong conjectures of english partisans.
In the year 64; when the british national debt was 140 millions, in a conversation where several insisted that another war would unavoidably bring on a general bankerupcy, the famous Grenville in opposition to them said, that as long as England could pay the interest of her debt her credit would be good, and that from his accurate survey into the matter he could assure that she could bear an additional debt of 40. millions, which sum could not be expended in a war if they would only mind their own dominions and keep to the sea, as they had no business to trouble themselves with the Continent. The resource of England to pay the interest of a new debt is the creation of new taxes. When the Minister proposed last year in Parliament the new taxes to pay the interest of the new-borrowed money, he declared that the produce would overballance the interest, because he had calculated on the presumption that the articles newly taxed would be used, imported, and manufactured in the same quantity as usual. It was easy to forsee that there would be a considerable deficiency, as both reason and experience teach, that the use of things must diminish in proportion to the increase of price, and the more or less need the people have of them. The produce of the tax on glass has been trifling to what the minister had sat down in his account, and the deficiency on the whole amounts to a large sum, which the Minister has at last thought proper to own in Parliament. He has however declared that the new taxes shall not be onerous to the { 346 } Nation. To be sure, to answer that purpose, he must think of laying them in the Islands discovered by Cook. The presumption is more childish than impudent. How is it possible that a Nation who last year could not pay 7, will easily pay 8 in this? The trial is made; England can no more pay the interest of her debt; and when the ballance must be paid with the help of the new-borrowed money, bankerupcy is approaching with gigantick steps. There is a certain limit in every thing, beyond which is not possible to go; all new taxes will produce something, but nothing like the sum wanting by them, and the produce of the old must necessarily fall short in proportion to the increase and weight of the new. The Minister says that he wants for the present year no less than 18. millions, and that the lenders must have 7. per % profit. Supposing that he should really want no more, and that considering the profit on the lottery-tickets, and other temporary advantages, the publick should only pay 5 1/2, the annual interest will at any rate be about a million. The wealth imported by plunder is of little service to the publick. The gainers are but a few in proportion to the rest who are all sufferers, and the taxes are paid by all. The gainers may contribute some thing more than they did by the greater comsuption, but the sufferers must on the other hand be more sparing. Those who grow rich by plundering their enemies, or their own publick, don't let the publick share with them; they don't even let the publick have their money at a reasonable interest; the money men on the contrary take the advantage of the publick wants. An anecdote worth considering is the fall of the publick funds on account of the preceding war. Before the declaration in 56. the 3 per % had never been lower than 103 and 104, and only fell at 101. at the time of the declaration. After so glorious a war, so honorable a peace, and so many advantagious conquests, they never were, after the conclusion of the peace in 63, higher than 83 and 84, if we except a few months immediately after the peace. This anecdote, considering the difference of the times, joined to the monstruous increase of the national debt, offers now a very dismal prospect of the future to any englishman who is as yet in his senses. A general bankerupcy is unavoidable. It is true that many sensible people are of opinion that it will give England a new life, and it may be so; but who can forsee the consequences of so terrible a shake? Certain it is that it must pass a number of years for the remedy to produce its good effects.
As to the pretended florishing trade of England nothing can be { 347 } more false. The truth is that the few goods which are now exported from England, sell upon average about 20 per % lower than in time of peace, 'though the quantity manufactured is very small in proportion to what it was, and the necessaries of life are much dearer. I have seen at Leghorn the lists of prices, and have compared them. This piercing wound to the british manufactures, which by all appearances will be incurable, is however of a very great help to the Ministry to carry on their present extreme efforts; since a great many thousands journey-men have been obliged to enlist into the service to avoid starving, besides those who have been tempted to go to sea by the prospect of gain. The appearance of the Dutch harvest has been a great resource for the views of the british ministry. And I am of opinion that even Spain has hitherto been of service rather than disservice to them. A dissertation on the subject, if it could be decently done, would in my opinion easily confute the magnified power of England in resisting to so many enemies. And as the advantages, which the English have derived from the war with the 2 said nations, must cease, their approaching ruin is still more visible. To say that it won't be the case, because they go on still, 'though the general conjecture had not given them so long a life, is the same as to presume that a man deeply in consumption will be cured; because he did not die so soon as it had been supposed. All unprejudiced men taking the trouble to look into it, will see that the evil is incurable, but the exact time of death is not to be predicted. On the same false principle it might be said that the great financer Grenville was wrong in regard to the 40. millions, as the additional debt is already above 60, and they still go on. It is even to be supposed that Grenville in his calculation considered America as part of the british Empire, and that he rated the interest of the 40. millions at no more than 4. per %, which was the highest the publick had paid till then. But all that don't prove that he was wrong. To be sure he did not pretend to say what might be done in a state of despair. It is clear that the Ministry think only of the present, and disregard intirely what is to come. Not only a Nation, but even an individual can do wonderful efforts in any one of this actions, if he don't care to ruin, or kill himself. The efforts of a Nation actuated by the enthusiasm of liberty, 'though it be a mere illusion, will always be a great thing. But it is not possible to continue long in a stretched position. To deny the approach of National bankerupcy on the supposition that if it was so nobody would lend their money to Government; is another false argument. { 348 } We must observe that the national faith in money matter is still unstained. This is universally known; but it is not every one who will, or can see deeply enough into the matter as to be sensible of the impossibility of continuing so. The Nature of their Government is likewise very favorable to their credit, as few are those who as yet comprehend the many and great fundamental errors that are in it. But perhaps the high interest is the strongest inducement, as we dayley see in private contracts people blinded by it running the risk of losing their capital rather than to lend their money at a moderate premium on safe ground. There is even room to suppose a secret understanding between the minister, and the few large subscribers, who appear to be willing to subscribe for a much larger sum than required, 'though probably they run no risk of a farthing, and serve only to bring in a number of fools, to every one of whom they appear to transfer part of their pretended bargain out of mere friendship. It is certain that the money comes in very slowly, which would not be the case if the subscription was fair. In France on the contrary the credit is as high now as it was low in the past reign. There they go to subscribe with the money in hand, and often have obliged of late to carry it back. While I was in Paris Mr. Busoni, a banker, being ordered by some of his corrispondents in Genoa to take 900,000 livres in a new loan at 5 per %, and knowing the difficulty of getting them, he applied to Marquis Caraccioli, the Neapolitan Ambassadour, desiring that he would ask it as a favour of Mr. Necker, his intimate friend. Mr. Necker, after having promised, was obliged to beg of the Marquis to return him his word for the half of the sum, a favour he had been obliged to beg, and had obtained from other friends.3 I have been assured that the late loans have been filled with more eagerness than ever, and the Nation is not as yet taxed of a farthing more than in time of peace. These are the fundamental points, on which we can with some certainty build our notion of the future, and not certain dayley events, often accidental, which cannot bring on material consequences in the present system of things.
I beg to be excused for having troubled you so long, Sir, on a subject, with which you are, no doubt, much more conversant than I am; especially as I have only translated in broken english part of a political piece I wrote in my native language. My motive was that of employing myself in any thing, which might be of service directly, or indirectly, to our glorious Cause. If my way of reasoning should meet with your approbation, it would be very flattering for me, and would { 349 } encourage me to continue to make use of my pen in like cases. I don't intertain the least doubt about the perseverance of my new countrimen, and hope that no one of them would ever think of uniting again with a Nation, who in spite of some temporary sparks of fortune, could not help involving us in her ruin and dishonour. Notwithstanding it may not be amiss every now and then to inform our people of the actual situation of affairs, and to help them to conjecture with prudence and discretion. Permit me the honour of subscribing myself most respectfully, Dear Sir, your Excellency's most Obedient & most Humble Servant
[signed] Philip Mazzei
P.S. An accident having prevented the above being sent by the last week Courier, we have in the interval heared the fall of Mr. Necker, which in my opinion is one of the most favourable points our enemies could gain at this time.4 I apprehend the fall of the credit of the King of France in his own Dominions, and would be much obliged to you to let me know the effect it has produced, or is likely to produce in Holland. Pray, favour me with the honour of an answer as soon as your important occupations will admit of, and permit me to assure you once more of my most sincere and profound respect and esteem for your own personal great merit, exclusive of other regards.
1. The Gazette de Leyde announced on 1 May that a squadron of seven vessels under Rear Adm. Johan Arnold Zoutman's command sailed from the Texel on 27 April, only to indicate on 4 May that the report proved false and the squadron remained in port. Not until 15 May could the Gazette report with “certitude” that the squadron of one small ship of the line, five frigates, and one cutter sailed from the Texel on 9 May. That force, commanded by Capt. van Kinsbergen, was to be joined on 10 May by another small ship of the line and three frigates.
2. This is an approximation of symbols used by Mazzei. They may stand for Leopold I, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
3. Mazzei's observations on the finances of the British and French governments, to this point, were included in his letter of 8 April to Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Papers, 5:375–382). If Mazzei published this material in Italian it has not been found.
4. Jacques Necker's efforts at financial reform ultimately alienated the Comte de Vergennes and other important members of the French government. Necker resigned on 19 May, after he was refused a seat on the Council of State (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0258

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Netherlands, States General of
Date: 1781-06-01

To the President of the States General

[salute] Sir

I have received from my Sovereign, the United States of America, in Congress, their express Instructions to notify to their High Might• { 350 } inesses the States General, the compleat and final Ratification of the Confederation of the thirteen United States, from New Hampshire to Georgia, both included,1 on the first day of March last.2
I do myself the Honour to <communicate to you Sir,> inclose, an Authentic Copy, of this important Act,3 and to request the Favour of you, Sir, to communicate it to their High Mightinesses, in Such manner, as you shall judge, most convenient; as in the present Circumstances of Affairs I know of no more proper mode of discharging this Part of my Duty.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Consideration, sir your most obedient, and most humble servant4
1. The preceding seven words were interlined.
2. JA's orders to notify the States General and William V of the ratification of the Articles of Confederation have not been found.
3. See JCC, 19:213–214.
4. On this day JA wrote a nearly identical letter to the Baron de Larrey, William V's secretary, that also contained a copy of Congress' resolution of 1 March (LbC, Adams Papers). He sent the two documents and their enclosures to Dumas under cover of a letter that was also dated 1 June (LbC, Adams Papers). JA instructed Dumas to “superscribe, seal and deliver” the letters either in person or through the post, preferably the latter to avoid “all Questions and desagreements.” See Dumas' letters of 3 and 6 June, both below, for his execution of JA's orders.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0259-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-01

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Mr. Rosenblad, porteur de la présente, est le Gentilhomme Suédois, dont j'ai eu l'honneur de vous parler ici, et pour lequel vous m'avez promis de vous interesser, afin de lui procurer le passage franc en Amerique sur quelqu'un des bâtimens qui partiront pour le Continent. Les témoignages irrécusables que j'ai reç sur son sujet, ceux qu'il est en état de produire lui-même, sa personne que j'ai eu l'avantage de cultiver, et le mérite que je lui ai reconnu, me font espérer qu'il ne sera pas difficile de lui procurer la satisfaction qu'il demande, de pouvoir aller se signaler contre les Anglois, dans l'Armée Américaine, comme simple Soldat volontaire, et de payer de sa personne en la même qualité pendant le trajet. Sans parler de sa naissance, qui est distinguée, sa qualité d'Officer Ingénieur en sa patrie, rempli de connoissances, de talens, d'expérience et de sentimens, la pureté de ses moeurs et la sagesse de sa conduite, me persuadent que dans l'humble position dans laquelle il ambitionne noblement de se distinguer l'Armée Américaine fera en lui une acquisition très { 351 } estimable. Je crains, Monsieur, qu'il ne vous trouve pas de retour à Amsterdam; mais j'espere que Mr. Thaxter voudra bien suppléer autant qu'il pourra à votre absence, et lui dire aussi le jour où il pourra vous voir à votre retour.1 J'ai l'honneur d'être avec un trèsgrand respect, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0259-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-01

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

[salute] Sir

The carrier of this letter, Mr. Rosenblad, is the Swedish gentleman of whom I had the honor to speak to you here, and for whom you promised to give consideration in procuring a free passage to America on one of the ships departing for the continent. The indisputable testimonies that I have received about him, which he himself is in the process of obtaining, his character which I have come to know, and the merit that I have recognized in him, all make me hope that it will not be difficult to grant him the satisfaction that he demands, that is, to be able to distinguish himself as a simple volunteer soldier in the American army, and to sacrifice himself in the same capacity during his journey. Without speaking of his birth, which is distinguished, his rank of officer of Engineers in his own country; his full range of knowledge, talent, experience, and sentiment; the purity of his morals and the wisdom of his conduct all persuade me that the humble position he nobly strives for will be an estimable acquisition for the American army. I fear, sir, that he will not find you at Amsterdam, but I hope that Mr. Thaxter will fill in during your absence and also tell him what day he can see you when you return.1 I have the honor to be with very great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. Nicolas Rosenblad wrote to JA on 1 June (Adams Papers) requesting passage to America in order to serve in the Continental Army. On 18 July, John Thaxter wrote to Dumas, “I am afraid your friend Mr. Rosenblad will not be able to go to America in the way he wished. I have enquired for him, but know of no present opportunity” (PCC, No. 101, II, f. 202). There is no further mention of Rosenblad in the Adams Papers and no evidence that he served in the Continental Army.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0260-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-03

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai bien reçu vos ordres d'avanthier; et je ne manquerai pas de les exécuter Mardi prochain au Matin, ne le pouvant plutôt à cause des Fêtes. Un Ami très-entendu que j'ai consulté, ma conseillé de porter les Lettres moi-même; que cela est plus poli et plus décent pour les { 352 } uns comme pour les autres, et qu'on ne pourra pas les refuser. J'aurai l'honneur en son temps de vous rendre compte de mes visites.1 En attendant, je suis toujours avec un très grand respect et le plus sincere attachement Monsieur Votre très-humble & très Obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0260-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-03

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

[salute] Sir

I received your orders of the day before yesterday, and I will not fail in executing them next Tuesday morning, not being able to do so earlier because of the holidays. I consulted a well-connected friend who advised me to carry the letters personally since this would be more polite and decent for everyone, and this way they could not be refused. I will have the honor at that time to give you an account of my visits.1 In the meantime, I remain with very great respect and the most sincere attachment, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. For JA's orders to Dumas, see his letter of 1 June to the president of the States General,note 4, above. For Dumas' account of his efforts to deliver letters to the Baron de Larrey and the president of the States General that announced the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, see Dumas' letter of 6 June, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0261

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-04

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

It is some Time since I wrote to you, and much longer since I have been honoured with a Line from you.1 I have but Just got to Town. Mr. George Storer who goes by the way of Denmark is on the point of sailing and I can only Inclose two papers received from Mr. Lovel, and the Boston Papers of the day.2 I shall write you soon and if you have not forgot that there is such a Man in the world perhaps you will again write to your Sincere Friend & Humbl. Servt. J Warren3
With all my diligence I could not get the above on Board the Ship. Another Opportunity now presents. The Navy Board send you the Boston Papers, and though wish to write you a long Letter it is out of my power. I have seen a Copy of a Letter from Dr. F. to C. which I am told has been forwarded to you.4 I hope you have received it. Will This Letter meet you in Paris, Holland or Vienna?
{ 353 }
1. Warren's last letter to JA was of 19 Dec. 1780; JA's last letter to Warren was of 9 Dec. 1780 (vol. 10:424–425, 404–406).
2. It was Charles Storer, not his younger brother George, who was sailing for Europe. A 1779 graduate of Harvard, Storer was a distant relation of AA and ultimately replaced John Thaxter as JA's secretary. He did not arrive in the Netherlands until Aug. 1782. For more detailed accounts of Storer and his relations with the Adamses, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:124; JQA, Diary, 1:388. The material received from James Lovell and the Boston newspapers have not been identified.
3. JA did not write again until 17 June 1782 (MB). Warren's next letter is dated 22 July 1782 (Adams Papers).
4. Presumably Franklin's letter of 9 Aug. 1780 to the president of Congress, an extract from which Lovell enclosed with his letter of [ca. 15 March] to JA, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0262

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-05

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 5 June 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 193–195. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:468–469.
John Adams included an English translation of a statement made to the States of Zeeland by the deputies from the city of Middelburg on 14 May. The deputies, in consenting to provide higher bounties to those agreeing to serve in the Dutch navy, declared that the reasons for the unprepared and defenseless condition of the Republic should be disclosed to the States of Zeeland so that it could act with the other provinces in the States General to correct the situation and thereby provide for the adequate defense of the nation's territory, commerce, and possessions. Adams also reported that Zeeland had called on the States General to establish batteries on the coast of Flanders and that the States General had resolved to borrow twelve million florins to finance the war, an increase of four million over the sum previously voted. Finally, Adams noted that William V had traveled to Brielle, Hellevoetsluis, Goeree, and Willemstad to review troops and warships. Adams wrote in closing, “I send to Congress an account of these faint, feeble Symptoms of Life, because there is no appearance of any more vigorous. I am told that this Vis Inertia is profound Policy. If it is Policy at all, it is so profound as to be perfectly incomprehensible. However, their Property and Dominion, their Honour and Dignity, their Sovereignty and Independence are their own, and if they chuse to throw them all away, for ought I know, they have a right to do it. There is one Comfort, if other Nations have nothing to hope, they have nothing to fear from such Policy.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 193–195). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:468–469.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0263-0001

Author: Bérenger, Laurent
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-05

From Laurent Bérenger

[salute] Monsieur

Je viens de recevoir une Lettre de Mr. le Comte de Vergennes par laquelle il m'ordonne d'avoir l'honneur de vous dire, que les intérêts des Etats unis exigent votre presence à Paris, et qu'il desireroit que vous voulassiez bien vous y rendre, aussitôt que vos affaires en Hollande vous le permettront; Je vous Supplie, Monsieur, de me faire part de vos intentions à cet egard, afin que je puisse en informer, M. { 354 } le Comte de Vergennes.1 J'ose me flater que vous me donnerez cette marque de bonté, et que vous Serez bien persuadé du plaisir que j'ai à Saisir cette occasion de vous offrir l'hommage du devouement et du respect avec lesquels j'ai L'honneur d'être Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant Serviteur
[signed] Berenger
Secretaire du L'ambassade de france

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0263-0002

Author: Bérenger, Laurent
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-05

Laurent Bérenger to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I just received a letter from the Comte de Vergennes in which he gave me the honor to tell you that the interests of the United States require your presence in Paris, and that he desires that you go there as soon as your affairs in Holland permit you to leave. I ask you, sir, to inform me of your intentions regarding this matter so that I may inform M. le Comte de Vergennes.1 I dare flatter myself to think that you will grant me this kindness, and that you will be persuaded of the pleasure that I derive on this occasion in offering to you the devotion and respect with which I have the honor to be, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Bérenger
Secretary to the French Embassy
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Berenger's Letter recd the Evening of the 6. June 1781.”
1. Bérenger was acting in the absence of the Duc de La Vauguyon, who was at Paris and did not return with his family until 22 June (Gazette de Leyde, 26 June). This letter was the French government's first official communication to JA regarding the proposed Austro-Russian mediation of the Anglo-French war, despite JA's status as the sole American in Europe empowered to enter into peace negotiations. For Vergennes' reluctance to confer with him about the mediation, see JA's second letter of 16 May to the president of Congress, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0264

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-05

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have received the honour of your Letter dated the 25th. past, advising me of your Drafts for Forty Thousand Livres payable to the Order of Captain Joiner, which I shall accept when they appear.1
No specific Sum having been mentioned to me by Col. Laurens, as what would be wanted to fulfil his Orders in Holland, I think myself obliged to acquaint your Excellency that I fear my Funds will not permit my furnishing more than about 15000 £ Sterling in the whole, that is, to pay for the Purchase of the Goods that had been bought by Commodore Gillon, and such others as Col. Laurens has himself ordered.
{ 355 }
I just now hear by some intelligent Persons who left London last Tuesday, that it was understood the Indienne would sail about the Beginning of this Month, and that some Ships were ordered to cruise for her.

[salute] I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. Franklin 5th. June 1781.”
1. For JA's letter to Franklin of 25 May (LbC, Adams Papers), see William Jackson's letter of 10 May, above. JA also wrote to Franklin on 14 June that he had drawn in favor of Fizeaux & Grand bills of exchange totaling 29,500 ecus or crowns (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0265

Author: Talbot, Silas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-05

From Silas Talbot

[salute] Sir

Your Excellency will find by the date hereof that it Comes from a prisoner, and which is the cause of my present address, therefore on the Confidence of your favour, beg leave to inform you, that in October last being then in, and having the command, of the Arm'd Ship of war Called the Genl. Washington, in which Vessel I had the misfortune to be captur'd by his Brittannick Majesties Ship Culloden, and taken into N. York from whence, in consequence of orders from Admiral Rodney, Seventy others with myself mostly Capital officers of american Ships, were, put on board the Ship Yarmouth and brought to this place, whare I am deprived of every friendly Connection whereby I might receive som Relief in this my Present unhappy condition of Captivity, have therefore in consequence of your Excellencys former favors taken the liberty of thus addresing you, in hopes that you may be pleased to contribute towards my Relief, a Request which the Nature of my Situation, I trust, will sufficently apologize for, and least your Excellency should not immediately recollect my Person and Rank, beg leave to acquaint you, that am the same person, who had the honour to receive from Congress whill your Excellency was a member of that august assembly, several Considerable Promotions of Rank and Honour, in the Millitary Line, in concequence of my singular and Distinguished service, and as all Manner of Correspondance and Negotiation between this Country and the United States of America are at present stopt, and for the want of an Honorable Credit here, I am deprived of those Necessary Supplys which the peculiar nature, of my present distresed State of Captivity doth Require, am thereby induced to Request your Excellency will favor me, with a som of about Fifty pounds sterling which may be { 356 } charged to me in account of my services either in the Millitary or Navle Departments, in both of which, the United States are Considerably in Arrearages to me otherways if pleasd to advance me this som on my own Privit account. In hopes of your Excellencys, Speedy, and effectual Releif, I have the honor to be with all due Respect, Your Excellencys obliged humble and Obedient Servant
[signed] Silas Talbot1
PS. For sertain reasons please to send the money to Mr. Robert Heath, Plymouth Dock. I am Sir your servant &c
[signed] S T.
RC (Adams Papers). A copy, dated 8 June, is also in the Adams Papers.
1. Silas Talbot distinguished himself in the war, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army and then, in 1779, receiving a commission as captain in the Continental Navy. Unable to obtain a naval vessel equal to his rank, Talbot assumed command of the Rhode Island privateer General Washington, which the 74-gun Culloden captured in 1780. Talbot was confined at Mill Prison from March 1781 until he was exchanged in October. During JA's presidency, Talbot was appointed a captain in the U.S. Navy and commanded the Constitution (DAB; Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships; Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 186).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0266-0001

Author: Van der Kemp, François Adriaan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-05

From François Adriaan Van der Kemp

[salute] Monseigneur

Aÿant reçú plusieurs temoignages d'amitie et d'estime de votre Excellence, pendant votre Sejour a Leÿde, je me flatte a present, qu'il ne Sera point desagreable a vous, de recevoir de ma part une preuve de ma confiance en elle. C'est un sollicitation, Monseigneur! et j'espere, qu'elle ne vous paroitra pas trop temeraire, a cause qu'elle est par un ami; un homme de talens, qui à un jugement profond avec beaucoup d'erudition, et dont la modestie au plus haut point Zelé amateur de la liberte—d'un caractere brillant, et souffre trop dans le malheur de sa patrie, et souhaitoit d'aller en Amerique: jusque icy il est Ministre de Baptistes a Middelburg—principale ville de Zeelande— estime—honoré de tous ces paroisiens—il voudrait embrasser en Amerique le meme genre de vie, et se croyoit en etat, de precher—en Anglois—dans peu. Je taché, de lui persuader, s'il voudrait partir pour Amerique, de faire un autre emploi et des ces biens, qui ne seront point grand, et des ses talens, mais en vain. Seriez vous en etat, Monseigneur! de lui donner de recommendations a Boston, capable de le faire réussir? ce seroit un acquisition d'un vertueux, eclairé et Patriotique Bourgeois, qui se rendroit digne de l'accueil qu'on lui a fait. Peuetre, que L'indien n'a point encore un aumonier, et quoique { 357 } des soldats seront plus necessaires, que des ministres, un homme de gout, neanmoins, de courage et de Principes peut-etre d'une grande influence sur l'equipage et un agreable compagnon pour les Officers. Il pourroit faire son transport avec cet vaisseau.1
Ainsi j'ai m'acquitté de commission de mon ami, j'ai serai faché, si j'avois eu le malheur de deplaire a votre Excellence.
Le lettre du Gouverneur Trumbull est sous la presse. J'ai fini la traduction, des articles de la confoederation des Etats Unis en 1778, comme aussi du sermon de Dr. Cooper et de heads of enquiry, with the answers to it printed at Boston, comme une piece relatif au lettre du Gouverneur. Un des mes ami traduit les autres pieces, et harangues, relatifs à la constitution de Massachusetts Baÿ, et apres mon retour a Leÿde, je donnerai toutes ces papiers au Public, avec un preface, que j'ecrirai dans l'air libre d'Appeltern.2 Je serois charmé, si je servis en etat, de montrer par de faits l'interet que je prend dans la cause de L'humanite en Amerique, et de Vous persuader de l'estime, avec laquelle je suis Monseigneur! de votre Excellence le plus zelé serviteur
[signed] Fr. Ad. van der Kemp
P.S. Cet midi je pars a Appeltern chez Le Baron van der Capellen, si votre excellence me fait l'honneur de faire une reponse a cet lettre oserois-je demander d'laddresser a Mr. van der Capellen. Je me plains sincerement, d'etre si peu versé dans le Langues Francoises et Angloises, de ne me pouvoir expliquer d'une maniere plus nette et plus preçise, mais cela trouvera bien d'indulgence chez votre Excellence. Le Baron v. d. C. Seigneur de Marsch, a fait une male harangue,3 peut-etre j'aurai l'occasion d'en donner un detail plus ample.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0266-0002

Author: Van der Kemp, François Adriaan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-05

François Adriaan Van der Kemp to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Having received several expressions of your Excellency's friendship and esteem during your stay in Leyden, I flatter myself now that it will not be disagreeable for you to receive proof of my confidence in our friendship. It is a solicitation sir! I hope that it will not appear to you to be rash, because it is made by a friend; a man of talent, with profound and erudite judgment, and with the greatest modesty, a lover of liberty. He has a brilliant character and suffers greatly due to the misfortunes of his country and wishes to go to America. Up until now he has been the Baptist minister at Middelburg, the main city in Zeeland, and held in high esteem by all his parishioners. He would like to lead the same kind of life in America and believes that in a short time he will be able to preach in English. I have tried to persuade { 358 } him, because of his talents, that if he would like to go to America he could try a different job since he is of little means. But this was in vain. Would it be possible for you, sir, to give him recommendations in Boston that would help him succeed? He would be a virtuous acquisition, enlightened and patriotic, who would be worthy of the welcome he would receive. Perhaps the Indien needs a chaplain and, even though soldiers are more necessary than ministers, a man of taste, courage and principles can, nevertheless, have great influence on the crew, as well as be an agreeable companion to the officers. Maybe he could go on this ship.1
So I take leave of friend's plea and would be dismayed if I have displeased your Excellency.
Governor Trumbull's letter is at the press. I have finished the translation of the Articles of Confederation of the United States in 1778, as well as Dr. Cooper's sermon, and the heads of enquiry, with the answers to it, printed at Boston, as a document relative to the Governor's letter. One of my friends is translating other papers and speeches relative to the Massachusetts Bay constitution, and after my return to Leyden, I will write a preface to these documents that will be published at Appletern.2 I would be delighted to be of service, to demonstrate the simple fact of my interest in the humanitarian cause in America, and to persuade you of the esteem with which I am, sir, your Excellency's most zealous servant
[signed] Fr. Ad. van der Kemp
P.S. At noon today I leave for Appletern to the home of Baron van der Capellen. If your Excellency would give me the honor of a response to this letter, I dare ask you to address it to Mr. van der Capellen. I sincerely apologize for not being well versed in French and English, and for not being able to explain myself more clearly and more precisely, but I am sure your Excellency will indulge me. Baron Van der Capellen van de Marsch made a manly address.3 Perhaps, I will have an occasion to give you further details.
1. Van der Kemp's friend remains unidentified.
2. Van der Kemp's collection of tracts relating to the United States, Verzameling van stukken tot de dertien Vereenigde Staeten van Noord-Amerika betrekkelijk, was published at Leyden in 1781. He included a letter of 31 Aug. 1779 from Gov. John Trumbull to Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol describing the progress of the Revolution; the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut of 14 Jan. 1638; three accounts of the 1779 British raid into Connecticut; Connecticut General Assembly, Heads of Inquiry Relative to the Present State and Condition of His Majesty's Colony of Connecticut Signified by His Majesty's Secretary of State, in his Letter of the 5th July, 1773; With the Answers Thereto, New London, 1775; the Articles of Confederation; the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780; John Hancock's speech upon taking office as governor of Massachusetts, 31 Oct. 1780; and Samuel Cooper's Election Day Sermon, 25 Oct. 1780. For additional information regarding the publication, see Van der Kemp's letter to JA of 26 Nov. (Adams Papers), and JA's reply of 27 Nov. (PHi).
3. The speech by Robert Jasper van der Capellen van de Marsch, cousin of Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol, member of the States of Gelderland, and a strong and active supporter of the Patriot, and thus the American, cause, has not been further identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0267-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-06

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Selon vos ordres du 1er. du Courant, j'ai cacheté de mon cachet la Lettre que Vous m'avez envoyée pour M. le Président de L. H. P.1 et mis de ma main l'adresse en Hollandois, avec le nom de celui qui préside, et qui est le Baron Pallant de Glinthuisen; et je la lui portai hier matin, en lui disant que je l'avois reçue de Mr. Adams, avec ordre de la lui remettre. Il la reçut sans la décachetter, en me disant de revenir le lendemain, pour apprendre ce qu'il avoit à faire après avoir consulté là-dessus avec ceux dont il devoit prendre l'avis. Je me rendis ce matin chez lui. Il avoit à la main le Couvert décacheté, et les papiers. Il me dit que l'adresse, qu'il apprenoit être de ma main, et mon annonce que la Lettre étoit de Mr. Adams, sans ajouter Plenipo:, comme elle étoit signée, l'avoient trompé: que si l'on vouloit écrire, c'étoit à L. H. P., et comme particulier, en forme de requête, qu'on devoit le faire: qu'il ne pouvoit se charger de ces papiers: que je devois les reprendre; et sur mon refus, il les a mis dans mon Chapeau, en me disant que j'avois tort de vous aviser d'aller si vite. A moins d'attirer sur moi personnellement une noise des plus inégales, je ne pouvois que le laisser faire. J'ai cru seulement devoir lui observer, que vous ne pouviez mettre vous même une adresse que vous ignoriez; et que c'étoit par votre ordre que j'avois mis ce qui m'avoit paru convenir: qu'une preuve que je ne pensois pas à la Surprendre, c'est que je lui avois porté moi-même la Lettre; démarche, qui m'avoit paru plus franche, et plus respectueuse de ma part à tous égards, que la voie de la Poste, dont vous m'aviez laissé l'alternative: que vous ne faisiez point ces démarches de votre chef, encore moins par mon avis, mais par les ordres de votre Souverain: qu'il me paroissoit, qu'organe de la parole qu'adresse une Nation à l'autre, vous aviez saisi les seules méthodes qui, jusqu'ici, avoient été en votre pouvoir, pour la faire parvenir: qu'il me sembloit qu'une preuve authentique de la Confédération Américaine finalement complétée, et perfectionnée, devoit être regardée par la Rep. comme une Piece importante pour ellemême, et propre à l'éclairer sur les vraies dispositions des Etats-Unis contre l'ennemi de cette rep: enfin que je Vous ferois, Monsieur, un rapport fidele de ce qui venoit de se passer au sujet de ces papiers; et que j'ignorois ce que vous jugeriez à propos d'en faire ultérieurement.
La personne à qui j'avois fait tenir l'autre Lettre,2 m'a fait prier de { 360 } passer chez lui cet après-diner; et après m'avoir reçu avec beaucoup de politesse et de cordialité, m'a dit et répété expressément, que la restitution qu'il avoit ordre de faire entre mes mains, de la Lettre que vous lui aviez écrite, avoit sa raison, ainsi que celle que le Président avoit faite de ce qui lui étoit adressé, dans la qualité que Vous aviez prise de Ministre Plenipotentiaire; et que, comme votre admission, en cette qualité, étoit en délibération parmi les Provinces respectives, le Prince devoit attendre à cet égard une Résolution de L. H. P., comme Elles-mêmes devoient attendre là-dessus les Instructions de leurs Commettants: en un mot, que c'étoit une affaire de pure étiquette; que je devois bien le comprendre, et vous le faire comprendre aussi, avec les égards qu'on a d'ailleurs pour Vous, Monsieur, personnellement.
Il me reste à attendre vos ordres, pour savoir si vous jugez à propos que je vous renvoie les deux Lettres et les deux Copies, ou que les garde en dépôt; et d'ajouter que le Président m'a dit, que si la Lettre lui étoit arrivée par la Poste, il n'auroit pu que la supprimer, sans en faire aucun usage.
J'espere qu'en tout ceci vous approuverez la conduite de celui, qui est toujours avec le plus grand respect, Monsieur, Votre très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] C. W. F. Dumas3

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0267-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-06

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

[salute] Sir

According to the orders in your letter of the first of this month, I sealed the letter you sent me for the president of Their High Mightinesses1 with my own seal and addressed it in Dutch with the name of the man who presides currently, the Baron Pallant de Glinthuisen. I brought it to him yesterday morning and told him that I received it from Mr. Adams with orders to deliver it to him. He took it and without unsealing it, told me to return the next day to learn how to proceed after he consulted about the letter. This morning I went back to his home. He had the unsealed cover letter and the papers in his hand. He told me he learned that the address was in my hand, and since I announced the letter was from Mr. Adams, without adding the title plenipotentiary, as it is signed, I deceived him. He added that if one wanted to write, it should be addressed to Their High Mightinesses in the form of a request, just as for any person. He did not want to receive these papers and told me to take them back. At my refusal, he put them in my hat, telling me that I was wrong to tell you to proceed this quickly. Not wanting to engage him personally in a most unfair quarrel, I took my leave. I believed only that I was obliged to point out to him, that you could not address a letter yourself if you did not know the address; that { 361 } I was acting on your orders, and the proof that I intended no surprise was that I delivered the letter myself, a behavior which seemed to me to be more frank and respectful in all respects than sending it by post, which was my alternative; and that you were not following these procedures because of your superiors, much less because of me, but rather under orders of your sovereign state. It seems to me that you have used the only method available within your power to communicate between two nations. Authentic proof of a complete and perfected American confederation must be regarded by this republic as necessary for the enlightenment of the true intentions of the United States against the enemies of this republic. Finally, I would give you, sir, a faithful report of what just occurred regarding these papers, and I would not know how you would proceed with them later.
The person to whom I gave the other letter2 invited me to visit this afternoon, and after having received me with civility and cordiality, he said and expressly repeated, that the return of the letter you had written to him, which he placed in my hands, was for a reason. It was for the same reason that the letter to the president was returned, that is, that you wrote in the capacity of minister plenipotentiary, and by your own admission, this commission was in deliberation in the respective provinces. The prince must wait for a resolution from Their High Mightinesses, who in turn must wait for instructions from their arbiters. In a word, it was a matter of pure etiquette, that I must understand and that you must understand also, apart from any personal regards for you.
I will wait for your orders to see if you think I should send the two letters and the two copies again, or if I should retain them. I should add that the president told me that if the letter had arrived by mail, he would have had to suppress it, therefore making it useless.
I hope in all of this that you approve of my conduct, which is that of one who is always with the greatest respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] C. W. F. Dumas3
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Dumas 6th June 1781.”
1. To the president of the States General, 1 June, above. See note 4 to that letter for JA's instructions to Dumas.
2. To the Baron de Larrey, 1 June (Adams Papers). See JA to the president of the States General, note 4, above.
3. With this letter in the Adams Papers is a brief undated and unsigned note in Dumas' hand, which was probably inclosed with the letter. In it Dumas asks JA to vouch for the authenticity of Maryland's act of accession to the Articles of Confederation and approve its publication so as to counter erroneous information circulated by enemies of the United States in the States General.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0268

Author: Manley, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-06

From John Manley

[salute] Hond. Sir

I presume the Liberty of presenting to your Honor my Destressing Situation, that long Captivity has much impaired my health, and what adds still to my Misfortune, that I am deprived of every Friendly { 362 } Communication, as I have not received a Letter from America since I have been a prisoner which is almost two Years. My good Friend Mr. Diggs has been my only support And he having left this Kingdom is the reason of my giving your Honor the present Trouble of requesting your Assi[stanc]e, to send me a small supply of Cash, which [I do] not Doubt but you will be well convinced I stand greatly in need of, as I can call Heaven to Witness that I am not Master of one sixpence. The Number of Prisoners in this prison is two Hundred and Twenty Eight, Eighteen haveing this day entered into the British Service, and are still Entering, owing to their being no Exchange and the shortness of our allowance, which scarcely will give one good Repast. I can inform you that the Continent is indebted to me for Services in Seventy Six, and Seventy Seven.

[salute] From your Most, Obedt. & Most Humbl. Servt.

[signed] John Manley1
P.S. If I should be so fortunate as to Obtain Any relief from you, should be glad you would Direct to the Revd. Robert Heath Plymouth.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble John Adams Esqr Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Care of Messrs J de Neufville & Son Amsterdam”; endorsed: “C. John Manley, Mill Prison recd & ansd June. 6. 1781.” JA's reply was in fact dated 26 June, see note 1. A tear caused by the removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of several characters.
1. For John Manley's capture and imprisonment, see vol. 10:62. For JA's reply of 26 June, see his letter of that date to Silas Talbot, and note 1, below. Manley wrote a similar letter to Benjamin Franklin on 4 June (Franklin, Papers, 35:121–122).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0269

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bérenger, Laurent
Date: 1781-06-07

To Laurent Bérenger

[salute] Sir

Capt. Isaac Cazneau of Boston, lately arrived here from Norway, in his passage on board a Danish Vessel, unfortunately fell in with an English Privateer belonging to Hull, called the Flying Fish, who took away his Mate who was his Brother, and a Negroe Boy of about fifteen Years of age named Pompey. The Mate the flying Fish left in Prison in Hull, but kept the Negro on board.
The Privateer is lately taken by a French Privateer the Sans Peur, and carried into Helvoetsluis with the Negro on board, who is a Native of North America, and a Freeman.
Capt. Cazneau is very anxious to obtain for him his liberty. I have the Honour to beg your Interposition in this business, in the absence of his Excellency the Duke de la Vauguion, that if it can be done with { 363 } propriety, the Boy may be discharged. It is the constant practice in France to set Americans at Liberty, who have been captured in like manner.
Capt. Cazneau is a Gentleman of good Character and well known, so that his Testimony I suppose would be sufficient to prove the facts, but other Witnesses are here, if they were necessary.1
I have the Honour to be, with great Respect Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servt.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Cazneau reached Amsterdam on or about 22 May, the date on which JA wrote to AA that the letters she had entrusted to him had arrived (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:121–122).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0270

Author: Bérenger, Laurent
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-08

To Laurent Berénger

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter which you did me, the Honour, to write me, on the fifth of this month, informing me, that you have received a Letter from the Compte de Vergennes, by which his Excellency directs you to tell me, that the Interests of the United States require my Presence at Paris, and that he should desire that I would go there, as soon as my Affairs in Holland, will permit me.
I should be extreamly obliged to you, Sir, if you would confide to me the Nature of the Business that requires me at Paris, that I might be able to form Some Judgment, whether it is of So much Importance and So pressing as to make it necessary for me to go forthwith.
His Excellency Dr. Franklin, and Coll. Laurens, have arranged Affairs in such a manner, that the Accounts of the Indian are to be produced to me and I am to draw Bills to discharge them, So that it would retard the Departure of that interesting Vessell, if I were to go now, and it is of <much> Some Importance to the Publick that I should compleat my dispatches to go to Congress by her; I am also unfortunately involved in a good deal of Business in accepting and discharging Bills of Exchange, a Course of Business which would be put into Some Confusion, if I were to go immediately, and the general Affairs of Congress in this Republick might suffer Some what by my absence. But notwithstanding all, if I were informed that it is any Thing respecting a general Pacification, or an Invitation of this Republick to acceed to the Alliance between France and the United States1 or any other Affair of Sufficient Weight to justify, my quitting this Post immediately I would do it. Otherwise, it would, as I humbly { 364 } conceive, be more for the public Interest that I should wait, untill some of the Business that lies upon me here is dispatched, and the rest put into a better order. Let me beg the favour of your sentiments, sir.2
Whenever I go, I must beg the Favour of you to furnish me with a Pasport.
I have the Honour to be, with very great Respect, sir, &c.
LbC (Adams Papers). Two copies of this letter, in French, are in the Koninklijk Huisarchief. Marked “En chiffre” in the left margin. The two documents may derive from Bérenger's translation of JA's letter that was enciphered and sent off to Paris, but which the Dutch intercepted, deciphered, and read.
1. The preceding seventeen words regarding a triple alliance were interlined.
2. For the Duc de La Vauguyon's response, see Dumas' letter of 25 June, and note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0271

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-11

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 11 June 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 197–205. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:487–491.
John Adams included English translations of a petition to the city of Antwerp by its merchants and inhabitants and of an essay by Antoine Marie Cerisier, both without date. The petition requested that the Scheldt River, closed to commerce by the 1648 Treaty of Münster, be reopened. Cerisier opposed reopening the Scheldt because Antwerp's rebirth as a port would destroy the trade of Ostend and Nieuport and create an important rival to Amsterdam in the Austrian Netherlands. Most importantly, Cerisier argued, the Dutch would lose, control of the forts at the mouth of the Scheldt if the river was opened for trade. For Britain's 1780 proposal to reopen the Scheldt, see vol. 9:282–283.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 197–205). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:487–491.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0272

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-11

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Mr. Grand has communicated to me a Letter from your Excellency to him, relating to certain Charges in your Account, on which you seem to desire to have my Opinion.1
As we are all new in these Matters, I consulted when I was making up my Accounts, one of the oldest Foreign Ministers here, as to the Custom in such Cases. He informed me, that it was not perfectly uniform with the Ministers of all Courts; but that in general where a Salary was given for Service and Expences, the Expences understood were merely those necessary to the Man, such as House keeping, Clothing and Coach: But that the Rent of the Hotel in which { 365 } he dwelt, the Payment of Couriers, the Postage of Letters, the Salaries of Clerks, the Stationary for his Bureau, with the Feasts and Illuminations made on public Occasions, were esteemed Expences of the Prince or State that appointed him, being for the Service or Honour of his Prince or Nation; and either entirely or in great Part, Expences that as a private Man he would have been under no Necessity of incurring: These therefore were to be charged in his Accounts. He remark'd that it was true the Minister's House keeping as well as his House, was usually and in some sort necessarily more expensive than those of a private Person; but this he said was considered in his Salary, to avoid Trouble in Accounts: But that where the Prince or State had not purchased or built a House for their Minister, which was sometimes the Case, they always paid his House Rent. I have stated my own Accounts according to these Informations, and I mention them, that If they seem to you reasonable, we may be uniform in our Charges by your charging in the same Manner; or if Objections to any of them occur to you, you would communicate them to me for the same Reason.
Thus you see my Opinion that the Articles you mention of Courtage, Commission, and Ports de Lettres, are Expences that ought to be borne, not by you, but by the United States. Yet it seems to me more proper that you should pay them, and charge them with the other Articles abovementioned, than that they should be paid by me; who not knowing the Circumstances, cannot judge (as you can) of the Truth or Justice of such an Account when presented; and who besides have no Orders to pay more on your Account than your Net Salary.
With Regard to that Salary, tho' your Receipts to Fitzeau & Grand shown to me, might be quite sufficient to prove they had paid you the Sums therein mentioned. Yet as these are Vouchers for them, and which they have a right to retain, I imagine that it will be clearest if you draw upon me agreable to the Order of Congress; and if this is quarterly it will be most convenient to me.
With great Regard, I have the honour to be Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Exy John Adams Esqr Amsterdam To the Care of Mess. Fizeaux & Grand.”; endorsed: “Dr Franklins Letter concerning, Charges and Expences.”; by John Thaxter: “June 11th. 1781 A. 4th. Oct. 1781.”
1. JA to Ferdinand Grand, 19 May, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0273

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-12

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 12 June 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 209–217. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:495–498.
John Adams provided an English translation of a piece that originally appeared in a Dutch newspaper, probably the Gazette d'Amsterdam, but also was printed serially in the Gazette de Leyde of 15, 22, and 29 June. The article noted the accomplishments of the recently adjourned States of Holland, which included its consent to expand the army and approval of a loan to finance the arming and protection of the Dutch East India Company's vessels. The author then turned to a petition presented to the States on 6 June by merchants of Dordrecht, Haarlem, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam trading with Surinam. The petitioners, who also sought William V's support, requested that the strongest possible efforts be made to protect the remaining Dutch colonial commerce because of its importance to the nation's economy. The article noted that the petition had been referred to the colleges of the Admiralty for consideration.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 209–217). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:495–498.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0274

Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-12

From Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

At the receit of the two Letters you honoured us with,1 I went and laid before Dr. Franklin your observations, the first of which Letters he desired me to leave with him for his Consideration. Expecting to get it back every minute I put off answering you frum day to day, for which I beg your pardon, Dr. Franklin's enclosed answer2 stops my mouth respecting both the petit charges, and the method of settling with him. I shall only propose, in order to annull the article relating to Mr. Dana, that you dont like should stand in your account, to send you a fresh account, the ballance of which will be the same with that in your hands, and in which there will be no mention made of Mr. Dana, placing to your credit the 5/7 neat. If this meats with your approbation, you be pleased to return me the state of the account you have, which wont prevent your settling meantime with Dr. Franklin, the ballances of both accounts being the Same.
In your first you desire both your Cloath at Passy and Books in Town to be sent ye and in your last you only mention the Books. I shall endeavour to give you full Satisfaction in that point, but I should have liked to have your last Resolution, to know whether Cloaths and Books are to go, or the Books only. Be kind enough as to give me your Instructions about it.
{ 367 }
I shall be very happy in rendering my services to Mr. Winston Warren3 and to evince you on all Occasions of the Sincere attachment with which I have the honour to be sir Your most obt. hble. st.
[signed] Hy. Grand
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. H. Grand June 12. 1781.”
1. JA to Ferdinand Grand, 19 May, above. The second letter has not been identified.
2. Presumably Franklin's letter of 11 June, above.
3. Winslow Warren.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0275

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-15

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

The long expected Courier has at last arrived at the Hague from Petersbourg. The Contents of his dispatches are not publick, but all hopes of immediate assistance from the armed Neutrality seem to be dissipated.1 The Question now is what is to be done next. Some are for Alliances with the House of Bourbon and America: but a thousand fears arise.
France, the Emperor and the Republick have Provinces so intermixed together in Brabant and Flanders, that it is supposed the Emperor would be much alarmed at an Alliance between France and Holland, lest they should soon agree to divide his Provinces between them. The People in these Provinces would it is supposed have no Objection. They all speak the French Language, are of the same Religion, and the Policy of France in governing conquered Provinces according to their ancient Usages, and with great Moderation, has taken away all aversion to a Change of Masters. Some People think, that an Alliance between France and Holland would occasion a general War. This I think would be a benefit to America, although Philanthropy would wish to prevent the further effusion of human Blood.
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. 220).
1. The dispatches from St. Petersburg arrived on the morning of 11 June. According to the Gazette de Leyde of 15 June, they indicated that Catherine II wished to maintain cordial relations with the Netherlands, but said nothing about Russian aid under the terms of the armed neutrality.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0276-0001

Editorial Note

Congress adopted three documents 15 June that represented a major victory for French diplomacy and demonstrated the Chevalier de La Luzerne's domination of Congress. In 1779 it had taken Congress several months to devise its peace ultimata and appoint a minister plenipotentiary to carry them out. In 1781 a congressional committee met with La Luzerne on 28 May and within eighteen days Congress voted to accept the Austro-Russian mediation, expand the number of peace negotiators in order to limit John Adams' influence, and entrust France with the ultimate power over the terms of the definitive peace treaty. For detailed accounts of the circumstances leading to Congress' reconsideration of its peace objectives and the process by which it was accomplished, see Stinchcombe, Amer. Rev. and the French Alliance, p. 153–169, and Morris, Peacemakers, p. 210–217.
The proposed mediation of the conflict by Austria and Russia offered the Comte de Vergennes the opportunity to bend Congress' will to the dictates of French foreign policy. If Congress bowed to French demands and accepted the mediation new commissions and instructions for its peace negotiator would be required. In the process either John Adams' powers could be severely curtailed or he could be replaced by someone more amenable to French policy. It is ironic, therefore, that the joint commission to accept the mediation (No. I, below), was the least consequential of the three documents printed here. On the very day that Congress formally approved it, Britain refused the mediation. Moreover, by the time Adams received the new commission in October, he had rejected the mediation, with French concurrence, owing to the uncertain status of the United States at the negotiations. For the origins of the Austro-Russian mediation, see Francis Dana's letter of 25 February, note 3, and John Adams' second letter of 16 May to the president of Congress, and note 1, both above; for Adams' rejection of American participation in the mediation, see his correspondence with Vergennes in July, below.
When La Luzerne met with the committee on 28 May, he disclosed { 369 } portions of a letter from Vergennes dated 9 March. The committee reported that the foreign minister criticized John Adams' efforts to execute his powers as minister plenipotentiary to negotiate an Anglo-American peace. Vergennes believed it “necessary that Congress should draw a line of conduct to that minister of which he might not be allowed to lose sight.” Adams should be allowed “to take no step without the approbation of his Majesty” and, in the execution of his instructions, should be ordered “to receive his directions from the Count de Vergennes” or whomever the principal French negotiator might be. Such instructions were necessary if negotiations were to take place under the mediation of Austria and Russia, for it was imperative that the French and American negotiators present a united front, leaving no hint of conflict for the common enemy to exploit. In any event, Congress needed to act quickly, for although the proffered mediation was “dilatory,” it would not remain so forever. The conference closed with La Luzerne's exhortation to prosecute the war with the utmost vigor in order to avoid a peace based on the territory then occupied by the belligerents or uti posseditis (JCC, 20:562–569).
The Congress acted with dispatch. On 1 June it sent a circular letter to the states that informed them of the Austro-Russian mediation but warned that a peace founded on uti posseditis was a distinct possibility if the war effort was not pressed with determination. On 8 June, after much debate, Congress agreed to a preliminary form of the instructions in which it accepted the mediation, set down its position regarding boundaries, and required the American negotiator to be guided by French advice. On the 9th, a Saturday, it approved an instruction authorizing a truce if such was necessary, but it rejected a proposal to expand the number of negotiators. On the 11th, after fresh consultations with La Luzerne, Congress amended the instructions to restrict further the latitude of the American negotiator and resolved to expand the number of negotiators, electing John Jay on the 13th and Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson on the 14th (same, 20:585–587, 601, 605–607, 608–610, 611–619, 625–628, 638, 648). For the specific changes made in the course of Congress' deliberations, see the notes to the instructions (No. III), below.
In just over two weeks La Luzerne persuaded Congress to retreat from the peace ultimata it had so laboriously forged in 1779. La Luzerne achieved his victory in part through his skills as a diplomat, but he was dealing with a far different Congress from that which acted in 1779. Six years of war, coupled with Charleston's fall, Cornwallis' southern campaign, British incursions in Virginia, the Franco-American army's inability to act against New York, and the collapse of American finances, all in the previous twelve months, had produced a war-weariness that made Congress amenable to peace on almost any terms. Indeed, by its votes in June 1781, Congress proved willing to eliminate “itself from any prominent role in foreign affairs for the remainder of the Revolution” (Stinchcombe, Amer. Rev. and the French Alliance, p. 169). It would be much more difficult, however, for France to enforce the terms of La Luzerne's victory on John Adams, John { 370 } Jay, and Benjamin Franklin in 1782 when, in the wake of Yorktown and the Battle of the Saints, the British presented them with peace proposals far more favorable than anyone could have expected.
The president of Congress wrote to John Adams on 20 June, below, to inform him of its action and enclosed a set of commissions and instructions. The packet of 20 June went by the same vessel that carried dispatches to Benjamin Franklin and reached Passy on 15 August. Franklin immediately forwarded the packet under a covering letter of 16 August and Adams acknowledged its receipt on the 25th (both below). The president of Congress sent another set of the commissions and instructions under a cover letter of 5 July (Adams Papers), but it is not known when John Adams received it. There are no notations on any of the enclosures to indicate which were sent with each covering letter. The copy of the instructions (No. III, below) printed in this volume is that which John Adams partially deciphered and is now with the covering letter of 5 July in the Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0276-0002

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Jay, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1781-06-15

I. Joint Commission to Accept the Mediation of Russia and Austria

The united States of America, To all to whom these Presents shall come send Greeting.
Whereas his most Christian Majesty our great and beloved Friend and Ally hath informed us by his Minister Plenipotentiary whom he hath appointed to reside near us, that their Imperial Majesties the Empress of Russia and the Emperor of Germany2 actuated by Sentiments of Humanity and a desire to put a Stop to the Calamities of War, have offered their Mediation to the belligerent Powers in Order to promote Peace.
Now know ye, that We desirous as far as depends upon us to put a Stop to the Effusion of Blood and convince all the Powers of Europe that we wish for nothing more ardently than to terminate the War by a safe and honorable Peace, relying on the Justice of our cause, and persuaded of the Wisdom and Equity of their Imperial Majesties who have so generously interposed their good Offices for promoting so salutary a Measure, have constituted and appointed, And, by these Presents, do constitute and appoint, our trusty and well beloved the Honorable John Adams late a Delegate in Congress from the State of Massachusetts, the honorable Benjamin Franklin our Minister at the Court of France, the honorable John Jay late President of Congress and now our Minister at the Court of Madrid, the honorable Henry Laurens formerly President of Congress and commissioned { 371 } and sent as our Agent to the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the honorable Thomas Jefferson Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, our Ministers Plenipotentiary, Giving and granting to them, or such of them as shall assemble, or in Case of death, Absence, Indisposition or other Impediment of the others, to any one of them, full Power and Authority in our Name and on our behalf, in Concurrence with his most Christian Majesty to accept in due form the Mediation of their Imperial Majesties the Empress of Russia and the Emperor of Germany.
In Testimony whereof we have caused these Presents to be signed by our President and Sealed with his Seal.
Done at Philadelphia this fifteenth day of June in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and eighty one, and in the fifth Year of our Independence, By the United States in Congress assembled.
[signed] Sam Huntington President
[signed] Attest Chas Thomson secy.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Commission 15 June 1781, to J. Adams B. Franklin J. Jay H. Laurens T. Jefferson.” This commission was enclosed with the president of Congress' letter of 20 June, below, and is filmed under that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 354).
1. Although approved on 15 June, the JCC does not contain the final text of the joint commission. For a draft of the commission, see the note inserted by the editors at the reference to its passage (JCC, 20:655).
2. This copy of the commission is for Russia because it refers first to the “Empress of Russia.” A second copy of the commission in the Adams Papers, also inclosed with the president of Congress' letter of 20 June, was intended for Austria because it refers to “their Imperial Majesties the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia.”

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0276-0003

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Jay, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1781-06-15

II. Joint Commission to Negotiate a Peace Treaty

The United States of America in Congress Assembled. To all to whom these presents shall come send Greeting.
Whereas these United States from a sincere desire of putting an end to the hostilities between his most Christian Majesty and these United States on the one part, and his Britannic Majesty on the other, and of terminating the same by a peace founded on such solid and equitable principles as reasonably to promise a permanency of the blessings of tranquility did heretofore appoint the honble. John Adams late a Commissioner of the United States of America at the court of Versailles, late Delegate in Congress from the State of { 372 } | view { 373 } Massachusetts, and Cheif Justice of the said State, their Minister plenipotentiary with full powers general and special to act in that quality to confer, treat, agree and conclude with the Ambassadors or plenipotentiaries of his most Christian Majesty and of his Britannic Majesty and those of any other Princes or States whom it might concern, relating to the re-establishment of peace and friendship;1 And Whereas the flames of war have since that time been extended and other Nations and States are involved therein: Now know Ye, that we still continuing earnestly desirous as far as depends upon us to put a stop to the effusion of blood, and to convince the powers of Europe that we wish for nothing more ardently than to terminate the war by a safe and honorable peace, have thought proper to renew the powers formerly given to the said John Adams and to join four other persons in commission with him, and having full confidence in the integrity, prudence and ability of the honorable Benjamin Franklin our Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles, and the honble. John Jay late President of Congress and Cheif Justice of the State of New York and our Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Madrid, and the honble. Henry Laurens formerly President of Congress and commissionated and sent as our Agent to the United Provinces of the low Countries, and the honble. Thomas Jefferson Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, have nominated constituted and appointed and by these presents do nominate constitute and appoint the said Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson in addition to the said John Adams, giving and granting to them the said John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson or the Majority of them or of such of them as may Assemble or in case of the death, absence, indisposition or other impediment of the others, to any one of them full power and Authority general and special conjunctly and seperately, and general and special command to repair to such place as may be fixed upon for opening negotiations for peace, and there for us, and in our name to confer, treat, agree and conclude with the Ambassadors, commissioners and Plenipotentiaries of the Princes and States, whom it may concern, vested with equal Powers relating to the establishment of Peace, and whatsoever shall be agreed and concluded, for us and in our name to sign and thereupon make a treaty or treaties, and to transact every thing that may be necessary for compleating securing and strengthening the great work of Pacification in as ample form and with the same effect as if we were personally present and acted therein, hereby promising in good faith { 374 } that we will accept, ratify, fulfil and execute whatever shall be agreed concluded and signed by our said Ministers Plenipotentiary or a Majority of them or of such of them as may assemble or in case of the death, absence indisposition or other impediment of the others by any one of them, and that we will never act, nor suffer any person to act contrary to the same in whole or in any part. In Witness whereof we have caused these Presents to be signed by our President and sealed with his seal.
Done at Philadelphia the fifteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty one and in the fifth Year of our Independence by the United States in Congress Assembled.
[signed] Sam. Huntington President
[signed] Witnessed this day by Attest Chas. Thomson secy.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Commission 15 June 1781 to J. Adams B. Franklin J. Jay H. Laurens T. Jefferson.” This commission was enclosed with the president of Congress' letter of 20 June, below, and is filmed under that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 354).
1. Compare this commission with that of 29 Sept. 1779, which appointed JA the sole minister to negotiate an Anglo-American peace (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:178–179). To this point the two documents are virtually the same.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0276-0004

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Jay, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1781-06-15

III. Instructions to the Joint Commission to Negotiate a Peace Treaty

Instructions to the Honble. John Adams Benjamin Franklin John Jay Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson ministers plenipotentiary in behalf of the United States to negotiate a Treaty of Peace1
Gentlemen
You are hereby authorized and instructed to concur in behalf of these United States with his most Christian Majesty in accepting the Mediation proposed by the Empress of Russia and the Emperor of Germany.2
You are to acceed to no Treaty of Peace which shall not be such as may 1st. effectually secure the Independence and Sovereignty of the thirteen United3 States4 according to the ||form & effect of the treaties subsisting between|| the said States ||& his most Christian Majesty|| and in which the ||said treaties shall not be5 ft in their|| full Force and Validity.
{ 375 } | view { 376 }
As to ||disputed boundaries and||6 other particulars we refer you to the Instructions given to Mr. John Adams dated 14 August 1779 and 18 October 17807 from which you will easily8 the Desires and Expectations of Congress ||but we think it unsafe at this disdistance to tye you up by|| absolute and preremptory directions ||upon any other subject than the two|| essential Articles ||abovementioned||.9 You are therefore ||at liberty|| to secure the Interest of the United States ||in such manner as circumstances may direct and as the state of the belligerent and disposition of the mediating powers may require||. For this purpose you are to make the most ||candid & confidential communications to thc ministers of||10 our generous Ally the King of France ||to undertake nothing in|| the Negotiations for Peace ||or truce without their knowledge & concurrence & ultimately|| to govern yourselves by ||their advice & opinion|| endeavouring in your whole Conduct11 to make ||them sensible how much we rely upon his majestys influence for effectual support in|| every Thing that may be necessary to the ||present security or|| future Prosperity of the United States of America.
If a Difficulty should arise in the Course of the Negotiations for Peace from the ||backwardness of Britain to make a formal acknowledgment of our independence|| you are ||at liberty to agree to a trucc or|| to make such ||other concessions as may|| not affect the ||substance of what|| we contend for; and provided Great Britain be not ||left in possession of any part of|| the thirteen12 States.13
[signed] Saml. Huntington President
[signed] Witnessed this day by Chas Thomson secy.
RC in James Lovell's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Instructions to J. Adams B Franklin J. Jay H. Laurens T. Jefferson”; notation: “Mr. J.A.”; enclosed with the president of Congress' letter of 5 July and filmed under that date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 355). JA apparently deciphered only parts of the enciphered text, interlining the letters above Lovell's numbers. These passages are indicated in the notes. Significant differences between the RC and the instructions as adopted by Congress are indicated in the notes.
1. Compare these instructions with those JA had previously received of 16 Oct. 1779 and 18 Oct. 1780 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:181–183; vol. 10:278–280). See also notes 2, 9, and 14, below.
2. This instruction survived intact from introduction to adoption, but had no effect because when it reached Europe the Austro-Russian mediation was no longer an option. Its presence, however, indicated a decisive change in the way in which the U.S. would participate in peace negotiations. Unlike JA's instructions of 16 Oct. 1779, the new directions from Congress did not establish as a precondition to negotiations that Great Britain treat with the U.S. as a free and independent country. It was JA's uncertainty about the status of the U.S. at any negotiations conducted under the aegis of Austria and Russia that led him to reject the mediation when he met with the Comte de Vergennes in July, for which see his correspondence with Vergennes, below.
{ 377 }
3. This word does not appear in the instructions as adopted by Congress (JCC, 20:651).
4. The text in this paragraph to this point represents the only instance in which the instructions were strengthened in the course of the congressional debates. Initially it was joined to the first instruction and read “but to accede to any treaty of peace which may be the result thereof [the Austro-Russian mediation] in which the independence and sovereignty of the thirteen United States is effectually assured to them” (same, 20:605–606).
5. JA deciphered all of the enciphered passages in this paragraph to this point. He probably stopped because James Lovell left out the next two cipher numbers. As adopted by Congress the next word should read “left.”
6. This the only passage that JA deciphered in this paragraph. This is significant because this paragraph is the most important in the instructions, containing as it does the injunction to the peace commissioners that they fully inform the French ministers of the progress of the negotiations and govern themselves by the “advice & opinion” they received therefrom. It may explain why JA did not comment on that aspect of the instructions until after he reached Paris in 1782 to join the negotiations, and it substantiates his assertion in his journal that he had never seen that instruction until he arrived at Paris (Diary and Autobiography, 3:38).
7. JA's instructions of 1779 were adopted on 14 Aug., but dated 16 Oct. (JCC, 14:956–960; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:181). Congress issued additional instructions on 18 Oct. 1780, see vol. 10:278–280.
8. At this point Lovell omitted the word “perceive” (JCC, 20:651).
9. This paragraph, to this point, is significant for two reasons. It represents an effort by Congress to avoid revisiting the question of national boundaries, a contentious issue for both interstate and Franco-American relations. On 7 and 8 June proposals to reopen the matter were rejected and the text of the instructions remained virtually the same throughout the debates; the only significant addition was the specific reference to JA's former instructions (JCC, 20:608–609, 611–613).
Of even more importance, particularly for JA, was the statement that set down independence and the sanctity of the Franco-American treaties as the only ultimata for an Anglo-American peace treaty. This was a striking departure from JA's original instructions, which declared the northern boundary of the U.S. on the Great Lakes and the western boundary on the Mississippi River to be sine qua non for any treaty. This alteration was a severe blow to southern states, particularly Virginia, that claimed land bordering the Mississippi, and it created a sectional conflict because the preservation of U.S. fishing rights on the banks of Newfoundland remained the sine qua non for the Anglo-American commercial treaty for which JA also had received a commission in 1779 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:183–184).
10. As adopted by Congress, the passage reads “candid and confidential communications upon all subjects to the ministers of” (JCC, 20:651).
11. The passage beginning with the word “ultimately” and continuing to this point was inserted on 11 June, following a conference with the Chevalier de La Luzerne (same, 20:625– 627). For a detailed description of that meeting and its results see the Editorial Note, above.
12. At this point Lovell omitted the word “United” (JCC, 20:652).
13. JA deciphered all of the enciphered passages in this paragraph.
JA's original instructions provided for the suspension of hostilities during negotiations on the condition that all British forces be withdrawn from the territory of the United States (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:183). In 1780 Congress responded to JA's request for guidance by modifying its position and authorizing a long truce if such would constitute Britain's “virtual relinquishment of the object of the war” (vol. 9:80–83; 10:278–280). This paragraph is a further modification that sets even looser parameters for a truce than the instructions of 1780.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0277

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1781-06-16

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear sir

Mr. Le Roy the Bearer of this, is a young American educated in Amsterdam where he has good Connections. He wants mercantile Connections in America.1
{ 378 }
I wish he could give you hopes of any usefull Connections between our Country and this. If he can, it is more than I am able to do.
The armed Neutrality turns out little better than a Bubble. But as We have little to hope from it, We have nothing to fear. France has settled every Thing this Year, better than ever, and much to the satisfaction of America as I hope and believe. But you must not entertain the most distant Idea of Peace while there is one British soldier alive and at Liberty in America. I am my dear sir your Frd.
[signed] J. Adams
RC (NNPM: Gilder Lehrman Coll., on deposit).
1. On 16 June JA wrote at least four more letters of introduction for Herman Le Roy. The other letters were to AA (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:148), Richard Cranch (RC offered for sale, 1951), Benjamin Rush (Old Family Letters: Copied from the Originals for Alexander Biddle, Series A, Phila., 1892, p. 20– 21), and William Tudor (MHi: Tudor Papers). For a sketch of Le Roy, who had translated Dutch documents for JA, see the letter to AA.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0278-0001

Author: Dubbeldemuts, F. & A. (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-17

From F. & A. Dubbeldemuts

[salute] Monseigneùr

Noùs sommes interressés dans ùn navire et Cargaison dont cÿ inclùs l'information,2 la qùelle noùs prennons la liberté de Voùs envoÿer avec prieres de la voùloir examiner et noùs notter en même tems vos conseils, s'il ÿ aùra qùelqùe possibilité poùr obtenir le domage; noùs voùs prions d'excùser les peinès.
Divers de nos amis sont interrés dans les navires et Cargaisons, amenés à Brest3 et il ÿ en a aùssÿ, qùi doivent recevoir des marchandises poùr Compte Americain, aùserions noùs prendre la liberté de voùs envoÿer ùn de nos particùliers amis, poùr avoir l'honneùr de voùs entretenir; ne prennez pas de maùvaise part la liberté, disposez en toùtes occasions de ceùx, qùi ont l'honneùr d'etre avec toùte l'estime possible Monseigneùr, V t H & t. O. Serviteùrs
[signed] F & A Dubbeldemuts

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0278-0002

Author: Dubbeldemuts, F. & A. (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-17

F. & A. Dubbeldemuts to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

We are interested in a ship and its cargo of which we have enclosed information.2 We are taking the liberty to ask that you examine this information and advise us as to the possibility of obtaining damages. We beg you to excuse us for causing this inconvenience.
Several of our friends are interested in the ships and cargo brought into Brest.3 We dared to take the liberty of sending to you one of these friends, who is supposed to receive goods for the American account, in order that { 379 } he have the honor to speak with you. Please do not be offended by the liberty taken to address you by those who have the honor to be, with the highest esteem possible, sir, your very humble and very obedient servants
[signed] F & A Dubbeldemuts
1. At the bottom of this letter is a note from F. & A. Dubbeldemuts dated 20 June. The Rotterdam merchants indicate that they originally sent the letter of 17 June to Leyden, but that it was returned with the information that JA's permanent residence was at Amsterdam. They, therefore, were sending the “ci jointe” or “subjoined” letter on to JA at Amsterdam with the hope that he would honor them with a response.
2. For the Dutch sloop Chester, see JA's reply of 21 June, below.
3. The British vessels captured by La Motte-Picquet's squadron on 2 May (from Benjamin Franklin, 11 May, note 1, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0279

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Jackson, William
Date: 1781-06-18

To Benjamin Franklin and William Jackson

This is a Copy of a Letter from Coll. Laurens to me, which I have given to Major Jackson, to shew to his Excellency Dr. Franklin. I should think it most adviseable for Major Jackson to lay the Accounts of the Indian before his Excellency, and pray him to authorize, Major Jackson or Mr. De Neufville to draw upon him, for the Amount, in case of my absence, from this Republick, which may become necessary before Major Jacksons Return, which will however, without doubt be expedited as much as possible, as the Ship waits for nothing else.
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
1. This note is written at the bottom of a copy of John Laurens' letter of 28 April to JA, above, and was clearly intended to be read by both Benjamin Franklin and William Jackson.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0280

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-20

From the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

You will receive herewith enclosed a letter addressed to his most Christian Majesty; with a Copy of the Same for your information.1
Also a Commission constituting the four gentlemen therein named in addition to yourself our Ministers for negotiating peace. Also another commission and duplicate Authorizing them to accept the Mediation of the Emperor of Germany and Empress of Russia, in one of which you will observe the Emperor is first named, and in the other the Empress. These are to be made use of as circumstances shall render expedient.
{ 380 }
I have also enclosed Instructions (in cypher) for your government in addition to those formerly given for negociating peace with Great-Brittain.2
No additional Instructions to your former are yet given relative to a treaty of Commerce with Great-Brittain.3
You will immediately communicate the receipt of these dispatches to Docr. Franklin and Mr. Jay to whom duplicates are also forwarded with Similar directions.
I have the honour to be with perfect Respect your humble servant
[signed] Saml. Huntington Presid.
P.S. Since writing the foregoing, for want of another conveyance, I have determind to Send this by the Same Conveyance that carries the Duplicates to Docr. Franklin, have therefore taken out, the letter to the King of France, and Copy mentioned in the foregoing.
[signed] S. H.
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble J. Adams Esq”; endorsed: “Prest. Huntington June 20. 1781.”
1. Congress' letter of 13 June to Louis XVI thanked him for the renewed military and financial support he promised the U.S. (JCC, 20:638–639). See also Huntington's postscript.
2. For the enclosures, see Commissions and Instructions for Mediation and Peace, 15 June, above.
3. For Congress' 12 July revocation of JA's commission and instructions to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty, dated 29 Sept. and 16 Oct. 1779 respectively, see the letter of 21 July from the Committee for Foreign Affairs, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0281

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dubbeldemuts, F. & A. (business)
Date: 1781-06-21

To F. & A. Dubbeldemuts

[salute] Gentlemen

I had, this morning, the Honour of your Letter of the Seventeenth of June, and have read over, attentively, the Papers enclosed.1
It does not appear, by the Record of the Tryal that any Person claimed the Vessel, or any Part of the Cargo, on behalf, of the owners; although it appears, by the Protest of the Master that his Mate was Sent, in the Sloop to Charlestown. Nor do I See, in the Papers any Evidence to determine to whom the Cargo belonged, whether to Dutch or English Merchants.
It appears, that the Privateers and their owners, belonged to Charlestown, which is now under the Domination of the English.
From all these Considerations together, I am apprehensive you will find it difficult to obtain a Remedy, as So long a time has elapsed, Since the Transaction.
However, if I can be of any Service to you in this Business, or in { 381 } the other which you mention, relative to the Vessels recaptured by M. De la Motte Piquet, it will give me particular Pleasure. Your Friend, when ever he Shall be pleased to call upon me, I Shall be very glad to See, and to consult with him, concerning any further Particulars.2
I have the Honour to be &c.
1. The documents enclosed with the letter of 17 June have not been found, but JA's comments in the following three paragraphs refer to the Dutch sloop Chester. According to the deposition of William Bray, captain of the Chester, the South Carolina privateers Experiment and Fair American took the sloop off Bermuda on 14 June 1777. Bray contended that the vessel and its cargo were Dutch and as such were not liable to capture. The case of the Chester, condemned on 14 July 1777 at Charleston, dragged on until 1787, when the U.S. Court of Appeals decided in favor of the captors. Since the real owner of the sloop, although Dutch, was a permanent resident in British territory the court ruled that the vessel and its cargo were a good prize (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 10:950–952). For additional information on the case of the Chester brought before the U.S. Commissioners at Paris in 1777 and 1778, see vol. 7:288–289.
2. In their reply of 27 June (Adams Papers), the Dubbeldemutses noted that Mr. Rocqùette, a Rotterdam merchant, wished to meet with JA at Amsterdam concerning “some goods of his frinds in America” on board the vessels from St. Eustatius that La Motte-Picquet captured and sent into Brest. Rocqùette's friends were probably Samuel Curson and Isaac Gouverneur Jr. (Franklin, Papers, 35:181). For JA's meeting with Rocqùette, see J. Rocqùette, Th. A. Elsevier, & P. Th. Rocqùette's letter of 3 July, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0282

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-21

From James Lovell

[salute] Sir

France appears to be most perfectly satisfied with the ||present mediators yet presses us|| for an Arrangement final of the most ||moderate terms. Franklin, Jay, H. Laurence and Jefferson are added to you||. You would be made very happy by such an Event being grounded on a Desire to alleviate the Distress of a great ||discretion but blush blush|| America ||consult and ultimately concur in everything with|| The Ministers of his most Christian Majesty the Independence of the United States according to the Tenor of our Alliance ||kept sole ultimatum||. I might have mentioned a Circumstance, not very material in the present Turn of Affairs ||all or less or one can conclude as plenipo||. It is a Satisfaction to me and others alike interested that your other ||parchments are untouched||. I hope therefore that we may conclude our ||haddock safe||.1 I presume you will be at very little Loss to come at the Clue of this Labyrinth. ||Gravier2 now|| persuaded of the absolute Necessity of the most cordial Intercourse between ||him and you strongly pressed for orders of that kind|| { 382 } | view and Suppleness knew not where to stop especially when under the Spur of ||at least Marbois||.3 It is needless to turn Welldiggers on this Occasion the whole is at the Superficies. I must officially convey to you some Papers. I shall use this same Cypher. I suspect that you did not before understand it from my not having said supped in Braintree. I guess I said New England.4
The President has sent the Papers before referred to.5 I furnished the Instructions in a Cypher. If any Thing prevents your coming at the Purport Doctr. Franklin can certainly decypher his. I was intended to send only one Set by one Vessel, but I think that would have added Something to the List of Oddities in this Business.
I do not despair of being able to write again by this Opportunity.
The Franklin came into the River Today. Letters from Mr. Dana are received to April 3d. Your last is still Oct. 24.6

[salute] Affectly

[signed] J L
Make 2 Columns of Letters under the rule of Sequence laid down here. Begin your 1st. Column with the first letter and your second Column with the 2d. letter of the Family Name formerly referred to. Go on to & then follow a b &c. &c. &c. Look alternately into the Columns, and so find what my Figures represent, and Vice versa to write yourself.
1   a    
2   b    
3   c    
4   d    
5   e    
6   f    
7   g    
8   h    
9   i    
10   j    
11   k    
12   l    
13   m    
14   n    
15   o    
16   p    
17   q    
18   r    
19   s    
20   t    
21   u    
22   v    
23   w    
[24]   x    
[25]   y    
{ 383 } | view
26   z    
27   &    
28   }   To be used as Baulks in the Beginning and End or within your words.  
29  
30  
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Lovels Letter June 21. 1781.” Two cipher numbers in Lovell's list were lost when the seal was removed. JA wrote the deciphered text above several of the encrypted passages.
1. Lovell is referring to JA's instructions of 16 Oct. 1779 to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:183–187; calendared vol. 8:204). His hopes were ill-founded, however, for Congress revoked JA's authority to negotiate a commercial treaty on 12 July (JCC, 20:746–747; from the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 21 July, and note 4, below).
2. Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes.
3. The Chevalier de La Luzerne and his assistant, Barbe-Marbois, pressured Congress to accede to their wishes, see Commissions and Instructions, 15 June, above.
4. In May 1780, when Lovell first sent his cipher to JA, he explained that “the key Letters are the two first of the Surname of the Family [Cranch] where you and I spent the Evening together before we sat out from your House on our Way to Baltimore” (vol. 9:270–273). Lovell's explanations of his cipher were confusing for someone, like JA, who was unaccustomed to using one. Compounding that confusion was Lovell's frequent failure to follow his own rules when encrypting letters. Compare Lovell's explanation in his 1780 letter with that given here. See also The Lovell Cipher and Its Derivatives, Adams Family Correspondence, 4:393–399.
5. From the president of Congress, 20 June, above.
6. On 29 Jan. Congress received 17 letters that JA wrote between 14 Aug. and 24 Oct. 1780. An additional 27 letters written between 3 March and 23 July 1780 reached Congress on 19 Feb. (JCC, 19:96, 174–175).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0283

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-23

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

The answer from Petersbourg, as it is given to the Public, is this.1
Her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, declares: That as much as She been satisfied with the Zeal with which their high mightinesses have accepted her mediation, so much and more has her compassionate Heart been affected with the difficulties formed by the Court of London, in referring the reconciliation with the Republic to a subsequent and general Negotiation of Peace, between all the belligerent Powers, under the combined mediation of her Imperial Majesty, and his Majesty, the Roman Emperor. As soon as this negotiation shall take place, her Majesty promises beforehand to the Republick all the assistance that depends upon her, to the End, that the Republic may without delay return into the rank of neutral Powers, and thereby enjoy entirely, and without restraint, all the rights and advantages, which her Accession to the Engagements between her Imperial Majesty and the Kings her high Allies, ought to assure to her. In this Expectation, the Intention of her Majesty is, { 384 } conjointly with their Majesties,2 to persuade that Court to that moderation, and those pacific Sentiments, which their high mightinesses on their part have manifested. The Empress flatters herself, that the times, and the events which may unexpectedly happen will bring forth Circumstances of such a nature, as will put her in a situation, to make appear, in a manner the most efficacious, her good will and her affection, of which She sincerely desires to be able to give proofs to their high mightinesses.
This answer gives great Scope to Speculation and Conjecture: but I shall trouble Congress with a very few remarks upon it.
In the first place, without insinuating her opinion, concerning the Justice or Injustice of the War between Great Britain and the United Provinces; She imputes the ill success of her mediation between them, to the Court of London, and not at all to the Republick.
2dly. She applauds the moderation and pacific sentiments of their high mightinesses, and implicitly censures the Court of London for opposite dispositions.
Thus far the declaration is unfavourable to the English, and a pledge of her Imperial honour, at least not to take any part in their favour.
3dly. It appears that the Court of London has proposed a Negotiation for Peace between all the belligerent Powers, under the mediation of the Empress and the Emperor. But, as it is certain the Court of London does not admit the United States of America to be one of the belligerent Powers, and as no other Power of Europe, except France, as yet admits it to be a Power, it is very plain to me, that the British Ministry mean nothing but Chicanery: to unman and disarm their Enemies with delusive dreams of Peace; or to intrigue them or some of them into a Peace seperately from America, and without deciding our Question.
4thly. The declaration says not that the Empress has accepted this mediation, nor upon what terms She would accept it. Here We are left to conjecture. The Dutch Ambassadors at Petersbourg wrote last winter to the Hague, that the Empress would not accept of this mediation with the Emperor, but upon two preliminary Conditions, vizt. that the Court of London should acknowledge the Independence of America, and accede to the principles of the late Marine Treaty, concerning the rights of Neutrals.3 To this She may have since added, that Holland should previously be set at Peace, and become a neutral Power, or She may have altered her Sentiments. Here We can only conjecture.
{ 385 }
5thly. It appears that the Kings of Denmark and Sweeden have joined, or are to join, the Empress in a new effort with the Court of London, to persuade it to make Peace with Holland. But how vigorous or decisive this effort is to be, or what will be the Conduct, if they should still be unsuccessful, is left only to conjecture.
6thly. There are Hints at future Events and Circumstances, which her Majesty foresees, but the rest of the World do not, which may give her occasion to show her good Will. Here is nothing declared, nothing promised; yet it leaves room to suppose, that her Majesty and her high Allies may have insisted upon Conditions from the Court of London, which accepted may give Peace to the Republick, or rejected, may oblige Russia, Sweeden and Denmark to join Holland in the War. But all this is so faint, reserved and mysterious, that no dependence whatever can be placed upon it.
I am sorry to see the Idea of a Negotiation for a general Peace held up, because I am so well persuaded it is only an insidious Maneuvre of the British Ministry, as I am that many Powers of Europe and especially Holland will be the Dupe of it. I confess I should dread a Negotiation for a general Peace at this time, because I should expect Propositions for short Truces, Uti possidetis's, and other Conditions, which would leave our Trade more embarrassed, our Union more precarious, and our Liberties at greater hazard, than they can be in a Continuance of the War, at the same time that it would put Us to as constant and almost as great an Expence. Nevertheless, if proposals of Peace, or of Conferences and Negotiations to that End, should be proposed to me, which they have not as yet from any quarter, it will be my Duty to attend to them with as much Patience and Delicacy too, as if I believed them sincere.
Americans must wean themselves from the Hope of any signal assistance from Europe. If all the Negotiations of Congress can keep up the Reputation of the United States so far, as to prevent any Nation from joining England, it will be much. But there are so many difficulties in doing this, and so many deadly Blows are aimed at our Reputation for Honour, Faith, Integrity, Union, Fortitude and Power, even by Persons, who ought to have the highest opinion of them, and the tenderest Regard for them, that I confess myself sometimes almost discouraged, and wish myself returning through all the dangers of the Enemy, to America, where I certainly could not do less, and possibly might do more for the public Good.

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

[signed] John Adams
{ 386 }
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 224–227). Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 350–353); endorsed: “Amsterdam June 23. 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The following paragraph is a translation of the French text that appeared in various Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 22 June.
2. At this point John Thaxter omitted a passage that appears in both the Letterbook and the duplicate. The Letterbook reads “to make immediately, a new Attempt at the Court of London,...”
3. See JA's letter of 11 March to Jean de Neufville & Fils, and note 3, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0284

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-23

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 23 June 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 228–230. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:515–517.
This letter consists of an English translation of a memorial that the regency of the city of Zierikzee presented to the States of Zeeland on 12 June. The regency deplored the situation in which the nation found itself with respect to prosecuting the war against Britain. Everything possible, they declared, should be done to protect the nation, its commerce and possessions, and to “annoy the enemy.” The regency also called for an investigation to determine the reasons why the nation found itself in such dangerous circumstances. “Thus We see,” Adams wrote in the final paragraph, “that two Cities of Zealand, Middlebourg and Zierikzee, are co-operating with Amsterdam, Haerlem, Dort, Delft, &c., in order to arouse the Republic to action; how many months or years may roll away before they succeed, it is impossible for me to say, because it will depend upon Events of War, Reports of Peace, and the Councils of other Sovereigns in Europe as yet inscrutable; but it will depend upon nothing more than the Fate of Clinton and Cornwallis in America.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 228–230). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:515–517.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0285

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-23

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I had the Honor to pay my respects to you the 17th. March since which I am not favord with a line from you.1 We are without any arrivals of late date from America the latest is a small schooner at Nantes from Edenton who reports Cornwallis was retreating not being able to pursue his plan of marching thro the Southern States and forming a junction with Arnold.
By Loyds list of the 7th. mention is made of a large old french ship having Artillery Stores and Cloathing on board bound from France to No. Ama. taken by the Homeward bound Jamaica Fleet. This Ship we suspect must be the Marquis de la fayett from Lorient. Should it so prove will be a most heavy loss to the United States from the { 387 } Nessessity they are in of the Goods on Board her to replace which will require time if continued in the same line.2 We rejoice to learn the Merchants in Holland are entering so spirritedly into Conections with the United States being told a small Fleet is preparing to sail under Convoy of Comodore Gillon we wish them safe to port they have a hazardous Navigation before they get free of these Seas.
The Ship in which Colonel Palfrey embarked must certainly have founderd being without advice of her arrival in Europe or America she saild from Philadelphia 21 Decr. last. That Gentleman being impowerd to transact the Commercial Affairs of the States his non Arrival will suspend the execution of further supplies to the Nomination of some other Consul or Agent. They write us from Philadelphia the loss of Statia is irreparable from the continual supplies formerly drawn from that Island and which they are unable to provide themselves Elsewhe[re] add to which many of the most enterprizing merchants are great Sufferers by the loss of [ . . . ] Ships and property at the Island. The loss of the Luzern belonging to Philadelphia bound from Lorient is also a severe Blow her Cargoe amounting to upwards of eight hundred Thousand Livres3 repeated Loss's of such consiquence will suspend the continuance of adventurers and must break in upon the conections subsisting betwixt this Kingdom and America. The chain which had taken place betwixt the Private Merchants in Holland and America will be restraind unless in such cases as the present where a Convoy so formidable as that of Mr. Gillons offers, from this City we have had no Trade with America for many Months we have a considerable Stock of Broad Cloths and other Coarse Woollens which the want of conveyances prevents us from forwarding the arrival of which in America would be of great Service.

[salute] With respect I am Sir your very hhb Servant

[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Son Excellence John Adams Esqr. Ministre Plénipotentiaire des Etats unis de l'amérique à Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. John Bondfield 23d. June 1781.” A torn corner has resulted in the loss of a small amount of text.
1. Bondfield wrote on 17 March and 6 April, both above.
2. For the Marquis de Lafayette and its capture on 3 May, see Bondfield's letter of 6 April, and note 1, above. The London Chronicle of 16–19 June reported that the Marquis de Lafayette carried “clothing for 43,000 troops, with a great quantity of brass and iron ordnance. It seems Congress had made as it were their last struggle, to push their credit in France far enough to enable them to procure the fitting out, and the freight of this ship; the Public, therefore may judge how distressing to the rebels the capture must necessarily prove.”
3. The London Chronicle of 19–21 April reported the capture of the Chevalier de La Luzerne.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0286

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-23

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My dear friend

The bearer Mr. George Harrison intends to spend a few years in a compting house in Amsterdam. He is the son of a Gentleman who once filled the first office of magistracy in our city, and his family still maintain the first rank among us.1 The Revd. Mr. White2 whose political Character and whose office as Chaplain to Congress I presume are well known to you is his Brother in law. I beg your particular Attention to him. He expects much from your friendship and interest in Amsterdam. He is a youth of an excellent character, and carries with him the good wishes of thousands for his prosperity and happiness.
Our Affairs in the South wear an agreeable Aspect. South and North Carolina are again free and independant—a few Sea ports excepted. The French and American troops act with great harmony in conjunction with each other. Paper money the bane of our morals, and characters has breathed its last <, most?>. Tender laws are repealed and credit both public and private begin to revive among us. Mr. Morris has accepted of the office of Financier General. You know his Abilities and industry. We anticipate the Duke of Sully's times from his exertions of them both in his new office in the service of his country.3
I beg my most respectful compts. to your late Secretary Mr. Dana—and have only to request that you would please to introduce Mr. Harrison to him.
I have the honor to be my Dr sir your faithful friend and most Hble servant
[signed] Benjn. Rush
1. George Harrison was the son of Henry Harrison, a former mayor of Philadelphia who died in 1766 (Franklin, Papers, 13:274). The younger Harrison was later a business associate of Robert Morris, who wrote to Benjamin Franklin on 22 June to recommend him (Morris, Papers, 1:167–168). On 28 Aug., following his arrival at Paris, Benjamin Franklin wrote to introduce Harrison to JA (Adams Papers).
2. Rev. William White, chaplain of the Continental Congress since Oct. 1777, had married George Harrison's sister, Mary, in 1773. White would later become the first Protestant Episcopal bishop of the diocese of Pennsylvania (JCC, 8:756; DAB).
3. Robert Morris was appointed superintendent of finance on 20 Feb. and assumed his duties on 27 June (Morris, Papers, 1:4–5). Rush compares him to Maximilien de Béthune, Duc de Sully, who was noted for his accomplishments as superintendent of finances under Henry IV of France (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0287

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Van der Kemp, François Adriaan
Date: 1781-06-24

To François AdriaanVan der Kemp,

[salute] Sir

I have received your agreable favour of the fifth of this Month, Commodore Gillon was absent, when your Letter came to hand, and for many days after. As soon as he returned, I took the first Opportunity to Speak with him, on the subject of your Friend the Clergyman. The Commodore has no Chaplain and his Crew is composed of People of various Religions, the greatest Part however are Frenchmen and Catholicks. However if your Friend would See Mr. Gillon, perhaps he might settle the Business with him.
There are in America, so many Clergymen, that I cannot give your Friend any Encouragement of Success: but if he persists in his Resolution to go I will give him a Letter of Introduction, to some Friends.
I am, much pleased at your Intention of publishing, the Pieces you mention, and I dare Say, the free Air of Appelton and the agreable Company of the Baron will give your Preface, a Force proportional to the great Cause of Liberty and Humanity, that it is intended to recommend.
Be so good as to assure the Baron of my best Respects.
Will the Republick take a more decided Part, After the Expiration of the Six months and the News from Petersbourg, or not? What Say the People of the Country? It is among the Yeomanry of every Country that We are to expect to find, the Supporters of Liberty. I am, sir with great Esteem and Respect, your obedient and humble sert.
[signed] John Adams
RC (PHi: John Adams' Letters).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0288-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-25

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Je me proposois d'avoir l'honneur de vous écrire demain. Mais S. E. M. l'Ambassadeur de France, m'ayant fait chercher dans ce moment, pour me dire de vous ecrire, que comme vous aviez demandé à Mr. De Berenger, Chargé des Affaires de France, les raisons pour lesquelles on souhaitoit votre présence et un entretien avec vous en France, il savoit ces raisons, et que si vous voulez vous donner la peine de venir ici à la Haie, il vous les communiquera.1
On m'a dit et demandé les fraix d'Impression de votre Mémoire { 390 } dans les 3 Langues. J'en vais dresser le montant, que ma premiere vous portera, et je vous demanderai la permission de pouvoir le tirer Sur vous pour Satisfaire ces gens.
J'ai l'honneur d'être avec grand respect Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas
Tornez S. v. p.
P.S. Il se passe ici des choses très-interessantes touchant l'etat interne de cette Rep., dont vous avez sans doute oui parler. C'est une vrais crise,2 qui se décidera cette semaine, ou la prochaine. Je ne crois pas sûr de confier rien de plus au papier fut une affaire aussi délicate, ou d'ailleurs l'Amérique n'est point intéressée, si ce n'est par les suites que peut avoir sa décision. Nous pourrons en causer, si vous venez ici.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0288-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-25

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

[salute] Sir

I intended to have the honor of writing to you tomorrow, but His Excellency, the French ambassador, has just this moment asked me to write to you. He says that you had asked Mr. Bérenger, French chargé des affaires, what reasons warranted your presence and an interview with you in France, and that he knows these reasons. If you can take the trouble to come here to the Hague, he will communicate them to you.1
I have been asked for the printing costs for your memorial in the three languages. I will add up the total, which my first one will bring to you, and I will ask your permission to draw on your account for it in order to satisfy these gentlemen.
I have the honor to be with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
Please turn.
P.S. Some very interesting things are happening here concerning the internal affairs of the republic, of which I am sure you have heard talk. It is a real crisis2 that will be decided on either this week or next week. I do not believe I should confide anymore to you about it on paper since it is such a delicate affair, or, moreover, America is not at all involved except that it is only by the outcome that decisions can be made. We can discuss it if you come here.
1. See the letter of 5 June from Laurent Bérenger and JA's reply of 8 June, both above. JA probably met with the French ambassador on either 28 or 29 June. JQA's Diary indicates that on those days JA was at Leyden, a short distance from The Hague. The meeting with La Vauguyon convinced JA that he had no choice but to meet with Vergennes at Versailles about the proposed Austro-Russian mediation. JA's reluctance to go is clear from his letter to Bérenger of 8 June and his comments in 1809 when he published the documents relating to his visit to Paris in the Boston Patriot. In the Patriot he stated: “I was minister { 391 } plenipotentiary for making peace: minister plenipotentiary for making a treaty of commerce with Great Britain: minister plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses the States general: minister plenipotentiary to his serene highness the Prince of Orange and Stadtholder: minister plenipotentiary for pledging the faith of the United States to the Armed Neutrality: and what perhaps at that critical moment was of as much importance to the United States as any of those powers, I was commissioner for negociating a loan of money to the amount of ten millions of dollars, and upon this depended the support of our army at home and our ambassadors abroad.
“While I was ardently engaged and indefatigably occupied in studies and efforts to discharge all these duties, I was suddenly summoned to Versailles, to consult with the Comte de Vergennes, upon something relative to peace. What should I do? My country and the world would consider my commission for peace as the most important of all my employments, and the first to be attended. I hesitated not a moment, left all other business in as good a train as I could, and set off for Paris.” He added, “Though I thought I was negociating for peace, to better purpose in Holland than I could in France, yet as I could not be responsible for that, I was obliged to depart” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 106–107).
2. On 8 June, Amsterdam's regents called on William V to dismiss Louis Ernst, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel as his chief advisor. See JA's first letter of 26 June to the president of Congress, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0289

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-26

To the President of Congress

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

The Rubicon is passed. A step has been at last taken by the Regency of Amsterdam, which must decide the fate of the Republick.
The City of Amsterdam, finding that their proposition of the 18th. of last month was not sufficient to change the conduct of administration, have ventured on another maneuvre. On the 8th. of this month, as soon as the States of Holland were seperated, two Burgomasters of Amsterdam, Mr. Temminck and Mr. Rendorp, accompanied with Mr. Visser, Pensionary of the City, demanded an Audience of the Prince Stadholder, who granted it at his House in the Grove. In this Audience, they made to the Prince by word of mouth a Representation, which they repeated in a Memorial sent on the 14th. to the Councillor Pensionary of the Province, the substance of which is as follows.1 The Gentlemen of Amsterdam said.
That their proposition of the 18th. of May last, founded perhaps upon former Examples, did not result from any Suspicions with regard to the good dispositions and intentions of his most Serene Highness, which they had no reason to distrust, although the Regency of the City of Amsterdam had learned with the most sensible grief, that evil minded persons had endeavoured to insinuate the contrary to his most Serene Highness; but that their distrust fell solely upon him, whose influence over the mind of his most Serene Highness was held for the most immediate Cause of the Sloth and { 392 } Weakness in the Administration of affairs; which, as they could not but be extremely prejudicial to the well being of the Public, they had a long time expected, but in vain, that the dangerous Circumstances, in which the Republick found itself involved, would have in the end given rise to serious deliberations upon the means, which We ought to employ in their order and with more vigour: but that these hopes had hitherto been fruitless; and, that as the Question now in agitation was concerning the safety of their dear Country, of her dear bought liberty, of that of his most Serene Highness and his House, in one word, of every thing which is dear to the Inhabitants of the Republick, the Regency of Amsterdam had judged: that they ought not any longer to render themselves guilty by their silence of a neglect of their duty; but that, altho' with regret, they see themselves obliged to take this step, and to represent to his Highness with all due respect, but at the same time with all that frankness and freedom, which the importance of the affair requires, and to declare to him openly, that according to the general opinion, the Field Marshal the Duke Louis of Brunswick Wolfenbuttel is held for the primary Cause of the miserable and defective State, in which this Country finds itself in regard to its defence; of all the negligence of Duty which has taken place respecting this subject, and of all the perverse measures which have been taken for a long time, with all the fatal Consequences which have proceeded from them; and that they could assure his Highness, that the hatred and aversion of the Nation for the person and the administration of the Duke were arisen to such an height, that there was reason to apprehend from them events the most melancholy and the most disagreable for the public prosperity and the general tranquility: that there was no doubt that the same Assertion had been made to his Highness from other quarters; but that in case this had not been, it ought to be attributed solely to the fear of the effects of the resentment of the Duke, which at the same time they dared appeal in this respect, with the firmest confidence, to the Testimony of all the Members of Government, Gentlemen of honour and frankness, that his Serene Highness would interrogate upon this Subject, after having assured them of the necessary liberty of speaking without reserve, and after having exhorted them to tell him the truth according to their duty and their conscience: that the Regents of Amsterdam had learned more than once with grief, that the Councillor Pensionary of the Province had complained, in presence of divers members of the Regency of Holland, of the misunderstanding which took place between him the Councillor Pensionary and the { 393 } Duke, as also of the influence which the Duke has upon the Spirit of his Highness, and by which his efforts for the good of the Country had often been rendered fruitless: that this discord, and this difference of views and sentiments, between the principal Councillor of his Serene Highness and the first minister of this Province, might not only have Consequences the most prejudicial, but that it furnished also a motive sufficient to make the strongest instances, to the end to remove the source of this distrust and discord, while that, without the previous re-establishment of confidence and unanimity, there remained no longer any means of saving the Republick: that nothing was more necessary for the well being of the illustrious House of his Highness, to maintain his authority, to preserve to him the Esteem and the Attachment of the Nation, and for his own Reputation with the neighbouring Powers, since they could assure, and they ought to advertise his Highness, that it is possible he may become one day the object of the indifference and distrust of the Public, instead of being and continuing always the worthy object of the love and esteem of the People and the Regencies, as they made the sincerest wishes that his Highness and his illustrious Posterity might constantly enjoy them, considering that thereon depended in a great measure the conservation of the well being of their dear Country, and of the House of Orange.
That altho' they knew very well, that the Members of the Sovereignty have always a Right, and that their duty requires them even to expose their Sentiments to his Highness and their Co Regents, concerning the state and administration of public affairs, they should however have more voluntarily spared the present measure, if there had been only the smallest hope of amendment, or alteration; but that from the aforesaid reasons they dared not longer flatter themselves, and that the necessity having arisen to the highest point, it appeared that there was no other part to take but to lay open in this manner to his Highness the real Situation of affairs, praying him most earnestly to take it into serious consideration, and no longer to hearken to the Councils and Insinuations of a Man, upon whom the hatred of the great and the little was accumulated: and whom they regard as a Stranger, not having a sufficient knowledge of our form of Government, and not having a sincere Affection for the Republick: that the Regents of Amsterdam were very far from desiring to accuse this Nobleman of that of which however he was too publickly charged, or to consider as well founded the suspicions of an excessive attachment to the Court of London, of bad faith, and of corruption; { 394 } that they assure themselves, that a Person of so illustrious a Birth and so high rank is incapable of such baseness; but that they judge, that the unfortunate Ideas which have been unhappily concieved with regard to him, and which have caused a general distrust, have rendered him absolutely useless and hurtful to the service of the Country and of his Highness: that thus it was convenient to dismiss him from the direction of affairs, from the Person and Court of his Highness, as being a perpetual obstacle to the re establishment of that good harmony so highly necessary between his Highness and the principal members of the State, while the continuation of his Residence2 would but too much occasion the distrust concieved of his Councils to fall, whether with or without reason, upon the Person and the administration of his Highness himself.
That these representations did not proceed from a principle of personal hatred or private rancour against the Duke, who, in former times, has had reason to value himself on the benevolence and real proofs of the affection of the Regency of Amsterdam: but that they ought to protest before God, and the World, that the conservation of their Country, and of the illustrious House of his Highness, and the desire to prevent their approaching ruin, had been the only motives of these representations: that they had seen themselves obliged to them, both in quality of Citizens of the Country, and as an integral Member of its sovereign Assembly, to the end, to make by this step one last effort, and to furnish yet perhaps in time a means of saving, under the blessing of the Almighty, the vessel of the State from the most imminent dangers, and conduct it to a good Port, or at least in every Case to acquit themselves of their duty, and to satisfy their Consciences, and to place themselves in safety from all reproach from the present age and from Posterity.3
To this representation, the Duke has made an answer to their high mightinesses, in which he demands an Enquiry and a Vindication of his honour, as dearer to him than his life. This answer will be transmitted as soon as possible.4 The transaction will form a Crisis, but what will be the result of this or any other measure taken in this Country, I cannot pretend to foretell.

[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, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 358–363); endorsed: “John Adams June 26, 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The text that follows is a translation of a condensed version of the memorial that was printed in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 26 June. See also JA's { 395 } letter of 17 July to the president of Congress, calendared below.
2. This word is supplied from the Letterbook.
3. William V vehemently rejected the call for Brunswick's removal and his replacement with some sort of privy council. The Duke had been his guardian and tutor from the death of his mother in 1759 until he became stadholder in 1766. Thereafter the Duke served as commander-in-chief of Dutch land forces and as the Prince's chief advisor under the still secret Acte van Consulentschap (vol. 6:99; 9:96). From William's perspective Amsterdam's demand was a personal attack on him, in which Brunswick served as a scapegoat for the failures of Dutch policy in a manner reminiscent of the events leading to Johan de Witt's assassination in 1672 (Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 209–210).
JA correctly assessed the significance of Amsterdam's initiative, which resulted in the Duke's departure from The Hague in 1782 and from the Netherlands in 1784. No longer would political debate center on the prosecution of the war with England. Rather it would focus on the nature and future of the stadholderate itself and thus question the very foundations of the Dutch political system.
In 1810, JA published this letter in the Boston Patriot. He followed it with a lengthy commentary on the significance of Amsterdam's assault on the Duke of Brunswick's position within the Dutch government:
“The duke of Brunswick, in Holland was very nearly in a similar situation with the earl of Bute, in Great Britain. The earl had been preceptor to his Majesty in his minority, and the duke to the prince of Orange in his. Both the pupils were very naturally supposed to entertain a great veneration for their tutors, to the end of their lives. It was more natural, perhaps, than reasonable, to impute to these illustrious characters alone, the measures, and especially the errors of government.
“But this representation from so large a proportion of the nation as the city of Amsterdam, had great weight, and made a deep impression. The regency had overcome their apprehension, and been wrought up to the resolution of turning the court, and denouncing the duke of Brunswick, as the prince had formerly denounced them when he produced Mr. Laurens' papers, by several incidents, which had followed one another in rapid succession.
“1. The American memorial, presented the fourth of May, though dated the nineteenth of April, had been addressed to all the members of all the regencies throughout the seven Provinces, and, consequently, published in all the gazettes: So that in two, or, at most, in three days, it was circulated through every vein of the republic. Intelligence came to Amsterdam from all the Provinces and cities, that the memorial, so far from exciting resentment against Amsterdam or America, was generally approved, and the popular cry was 'Health to Myn Heer Adams, and success to the brave Americans.' A discovery that greatly raised the spirits of the people of Amsterdam, and consequently emboldened the regency.
“2. Mr. Vanberckel came forward in the States of Holland, with his memorial in justification of himself, and demanding a trial. This also was immediately published and dispersed in all the Provinces and cities, and, instead of exciting any animosity against him, was generally approved and applauded. It displayed much magnanimity and much solid reasoning. I undoubtedly transmitted it in the newspapers to Congress, but I do not find that I translated it, or preserved any copy of it. The reason was, it was almost impossible to translate many passages of it, or even to understand them. Indeed, although Mr. Vanberckel was an able man of business and an incorruptible patriot, yet he was neither an elegant nor a clear writer. This was generally acknowledged, and was remarked by some of the foreign journalists, particularly Mr. Manson, the editor of the Courier du bas Rhin, who admired its spirit, but said the stile was in many places the most involved, embarrassed, and unintelligible he had ever read. It contributed, however, very much to animate the public cause.
“3. The deputies of the city of Middlebourg and Zierickzee, produced their declarations to the States of Zealand, which were published and dispersed. When the nation saw that the patriotic cause began to make such bold advances, even in the prince's own province of Zealand, the court began to be very much discouraged, and the patriots greatly exalted.
“4. The attack upon the duke of Brunswick which followed, now carried dismay into the enemy's camp, and the courtiers were as much alarmed as the patriots had been.
“Nevertheless a thousand fears still prevailed, and for nothing more than the state of the navy. It was in every body's mouth that their ships were old and unfit for service; that their mariners were not well disciplined and altogether unused to war; that there were but two officers in the service who had ever seen { 396 } a battle or a cannon discharged in anger on board a ship. They were afraid their fleet could not withstand a single broadside against the British navy; but these reflections soon took a sudden turn, and the general cry was, that the fleet should be forced out and try the experiment. The clamor for ordering out the fleet grew louder and louder till at last it sailed: the battle of Doggerbank soon followed and reassured the nation in itself and in the valor and skill of its officers and seamen”
4. For the Duke of Brunswick's response, see JA's letter of 29 June to the president of Congress, calendared below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0290

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-26

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

The Emperor appears to be more intent at present upon taking a fair Advantage of the present Circumstances, to introduce a flourishing Commerce into the Austrian Flanders, than upon making Treaties with England or waging War in its favour.
His Imperial, Royal, and Apostolical Majesty, has condescended to take off and break the Shackles which restrained the Commerce and the Communication of the Port of Nieuport in the Interiour of the Country, and to discharge, by his gracious Decree, the Commerce, from the Charges and Impositions, which were raised on the Canals, bordering upon the Said Port, under the Denominations of Vate Geld, Last Geld, Myle Geld &c.1 The Frequentation of the Port of Nieuport, presents also, all the Facilities which the Merchants can require.2
Thus the City of Nieuport enjoys the most extensive Priviledges, both for Storage and Transportation to foreigners: We find there good Magazines, Merchants, Factors, and Commissioners, who will all Serve faithfully and with the greatest Punctuality.
The Communications, both to the Interiour Parts of the Country and to foreigners, are free and easy, both by Land, by means of the new Causey3 of Nieuport, which communicates with all the Roads, and by Water, by means of the direct Canals of Nieuport to Bruges, to Ostend, to Ypres, to Dixmuide, to Furnes, and to Dunkirk, and from thence farther on. One passes, by the Canal from Nieuport to Bruges, nearly in the Same Space of time, that We pass, by the Canal from Ostend to Bruges. All these Canals have daily Barkes, ready, easy and convenient for Travellers, Merchandizes, and Effects. The Fishery of the Sea, both of fresh Fish, and of all sorts of Herring and Cod, is at Nieuport, in the most flourishing State, and enjoys there every Priviledge and Exemption.
The Distillery of Gin, in the Dutch Way, established at Nieuport, makes excellent Gin, the Transportation and Expedition of which enjoys the greatest facilities.
{ 397 }
And the Government, of his Imperial Majesty in the Low Countries, does not cease to grant all the Priviledges, and Facilities, which can tend to the Welbeing of the Inhabitants and of the Commerce of the City and Port of Nieuport.
I Should rejoice at these Measures, for the Benefit which American Commerce would receive from them, provided the Emperor, could oblige Americans to take their Goods from Germany, and not from England: but immense Quantities of British Manufactures, will go to America from Nieuport, Ostend and Bruges. This is a Subject, which deserves the Serious Consideration of every American. British Manufactures, are going, in vast quantities to America, from Holland, the Austrian Flanders, France and Sweeden, as well as by the Way of New York and Charlestown &c. Whether it is possible to check it, much less to put a stop to it, I know not, and whether it would be good Policy, to put an End to it, if that were practicable is made a question by many.
If the Germans, the Dutch, the French and Spaniards, or any other nations would learn a little commercial Policy, and give a Credit to Americans as the British Merchants do, and encourage in their own Countries Manufactures adapted to the Wants and Tastes of our Countrymen it is certain that in such a Case it would be our Interest and duty to put an End to the Trade in British Goods, because nothing would weaken and distress the Ennemy so much, and therefore nothing would contribute more to bring the War to a Conclusion. At present Manufactures flourish in England, and the Duties paid at the Custom houses have been increasing these two or three Years, merely owing to their recovering more and more of the American Trade, by neutral Bottoms, and by other clandestine Channels.
Any American Merchant by going over to London obtains a Credit. The Language of the London Merchants to the American Merchants is “Let Us understand one another, and let the Governments squabble.” But, Americans ought to consider, if We can carry on the War forever our Allies cannot, and without their Assistance We should find it, very difficult to do it.
I wish the Taste for British Manufactures, may not cost Us more Blood, than the difference between them and others is worth.
I have the Honour to be with great Respect, sir, your most obedient & most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 364–367); endorsed: “Amsterdam June 26 1781.”
1. The charges assessed on the cargo, tonnage, and distance traveled of the vessels plying the canals for which Nieuport was the terminus.
{ 398 }
2. The syntax and content of this and the following four paragraphs make it likely that they were translated from a Dutch or Belgian publication. Joseph II toured the Low Countries between 31 May and 27 July, spending most of his time in the Austrian Netherlands, but with a brief side trip to the Dutch Republic. For an account of this tour and its relationship to the Emperor's later efforts at reform in the Austrian Netherlands, see Davis, Joseph II, p. 114–120; see also Edmund Jenings' letter of 19 July, and JA's of 3 Aug. to the president of Congress, both below.
3. An obsolete form of causeway (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0291

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Talbot, Silas
Date: 1781-06-26

To Silas Talbot

[salute] Sir

I have received your Letter of the fifth instant, and am very Sorry, to hear of your Misfortune. I wish it were in my Power, to comply with your Request: but it is not. I have no publick Money in my Hands and therefore cannot furnish you with any on account, of Pay, due to you. I have, however Sent you, ten <Guineas> Pounds sterling, which I can only lend you out of my own Pocket, untill you may be in a Situation to repay me. Mr. F. at Passy, is the only one in Europe, who has Power to afford you relief, on publick Account, if, indeed he has, which I cannot positively Say, but should advise you to write to him, without mentioning me however, to him. I remember very well, and with great Pleasure your name, Person and Character. I must beg you, for your own Sake as well as for other reasons to keep this Letter wholly to yourself.
1. On this date JA wrote a similar letter to John Manley (LbC, Adams Papers). JA omitted only his advice to write to Benjamin Franklin and the comment regarding his knowledge of Talbot. Both Talbot and Manley wrote to Franklin on 4 June (Franklin, Papers, 35:121–123). For Franklin's assistance to the two prisoners, see Franklin, Papers, 36:61–64.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0292

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-27

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

Major Jackson has been sometime here, in pursuance of Instructions from Colo. Laurens, in order to dispatch the purchase of the Goods, and the shipping of the Goods and Cash for the United States, which are to go by the South Carolina. But when all things appeared to be ready, I recieved a Letter from his Excellency Dr. Franklin informing me, that he feared his funds would not admit of his accepting Bills for more than fifteen thousand pounds sterling:1 the accounts of the Indian and the Goods amounted to more than fifty thousand pounds, which shewed that there had not been an { 399 } Understanding sufficiently precise and explicit between the Dr. and the Colonel. There was however no Remedy but a Journey to Passy, which Major Jackson undertook, dispatched the whole business and returned to Amsterdam in seven days:2 so that I hope there will now be no more delays. Major Jackson has conducted through the whole of his Residence here, as far as I have been able to observe, with great Activity and Accuracy in Business, and an exemplary Zeal for the public Service.

[salute] I have the honor 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. 242–245); endorsed: “Letter 27 June 1781 John Adams Read 1 March 1782.”
1. From Franklin, 5 June, above. See also Franklin's letter of 30 June, below.
2. Jackson arrived in Amsterdam on 26 June (Franklin, Papers, 35:198).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0293

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-06-29

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 29 June 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 246–251. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:525–527.
This letter consists of an English translation of the letter presented to the States General on 21 June by Louis Ernst, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. The letter, which appeared in Dutch newspapers (Gazette de Leyde, 29 June), was a categorical denial of the charges made against him in the memorial that Carel Visscher, Pensionary of Amsterdam, read to William V at an audience held on 8 June. The Duke noted that the States General had appointed him field marshal and William V's tutor prior to William's assumption of the duties of stadholder. He had served the Dutch Republic for thirty years and until the appearance of Amsterdam's memorial there had never been any intimation that the States General disapproved of his actions, much less that he was despised at all levels of society. The Duke declared that a full and rigorous examination by the States General of the charges against him would reveal that they were unfounded and that it would then be incumbent upon that body to take the most decisive action against his accusers.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 246–251). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:525–527.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0294

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-30

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

This is to request that you will accept no more Bills with an Expectation of my Paying them, till you have farther Advice from me: For I find that Mr. Laurens, who went away without informing me what he had done, has made so full a Disposition of the Six Millions granted at my Request before his Arrival, that unless the Specie he { 400 } sent to Holland is stopt there, I shall not be in a Condition to pay them.1 I have the Honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
1. Franklin wrote a similar letter to William Jackson on 28 June. Despite Jackson's protests, Franklin succeeded in stopping shipment of the specie to the U.S. aboard the South Carolina. See Franklin, Papers, 35:195–196, 211–214, 219–226, 242–244.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0295-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-03

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monseiur

J'ai été mortifié dernierement, de vous trouver justement parti lorsque je passai à votre Auberge, pour vous rendre mes devoirs après avoir vu quelques patriotes. J'espere être dedommagé lorsque vous ferez une autre tournée ici. En attendant, je me hâte de vous faire passer l'incluse, non seulement pour que vous ayiez la bonté de la faire partir par premiere occasion avec vos Dépeches, mais aussi pour que vous la lisiez.
Tout ce qu'elle contient est aussi sûr qu'interessant. Le troisieme Article est encore plus directement important pour l'Amérique, et pour vous personnellement, à cause de votre Commission de Minre. Plenipo: en cas de Pacification générale. J'ai tenu en mes mains et lu toute la Dépeche, dont la mienne donne la substance.1 Ainsi je vous suis garant de la chose. J'ignore, au reste, Si les Cours belligérantes Sont déjà convenues de certains préliminaires avec les Cours Impériales, ou Si ce n'est encore qu'une négociation entamée par ces deux dernieres seules. Le temps nous développera cela.
Mes respects, S. V. p. à Mrs. Dana, Searle, Gilon et Jennings. Je suis avec bien du respect, Monsieur, Votre très humble & très obeisst. servit.
[signed] Dumas
P.S. Je vous fais mon compliment, Monsieur, sur la victoire remportée par Mr. De Grasse près de la Martinique contre Hood.2 Voilà Rodney bien mortifié. Ce brigand le mérite. Mais n'y a-t-il donc personne en Amérique qui puisse prendre et pendre la felon Arnold?
Je prends la liberté de tirer sur vous, Monsieur, à l'ordre de Mrs. De Neufv. & fils, les 20 Ducats pour les fraix de publication du Memoire dans les 3 Langues, selon le Mémoire que vous aurez trouvé dans le paquet des 150 Exemples. du Meme. en Anglois, qui doit vous avoir été remis par Mrs. De Neufville.3

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0295-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-03

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

[salute] Sir

I was mortified to find that you had just left your inn, when I came to call on you after having met with some patriots. I hope we can make up for it on your next trip here. Meantime, I hasten to give you the enclosed, not only for you to be so kind as to forward it, with your dispatches, but also so that you may read it.
Everything it contains is as reliable as it is interesting. The third article is more directly important for America, and for you personally, because of your commission as minister plenipotentiary for a general peace. I held the dispatch in my hands and read it in its entirety, of which mine gives a summary.1 As far as it is concerned, you can rely on me. Besides, I do not know if the belligerent courts have agreed on certain preliminaries with the imperial courts, or if it is still only a negotiation initiated by these last two only. Time will tell.
My respects, if you please, to Messrs. Dana, Searle, Gillon and Jenings. I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
P.S. My compliments, sir, on Mr. Grasse's victory against Hood near Martinique.2 How Rodney is mortified. That brigand deserves it. But isn't there anyone in America who can capture and hang the felon Arnold?
I take the liberty of asking you, sir, for twenty ducats, payable to Messrs. Neufville, for the publication cost of the memorial in three languages. This fee is indicated on the bill that you will have found in the package they sent to you containing 150 English copies.3
1. The enclosure was almost certainly a copy of Dumas' letter of 4 July to the president of Congress (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 2, f. 433–436). In the third paragraph of that letter Dumas refers to a dispatch from the Dutch minister at St. Petersburg that he had been shown on 3 July. Dumas indicated that the Russian government believed that although its offer to mediate the Anglo-Dutch war had been rejected, it might still be possible to settle the conflict at a general peace conference to be held at Vienna under the mediation of Russia and Austria. It would be advantageous, therefore, if the States General approved such a course of action so that efforts in pursuit of a peace settlement could proceed expeditiously. Dumas included the full text of this proposal as an enclosure in his letter of 10 July to the president of Congress (same, f. 440–442). He sent a copy of that letter as an enclosure in his letter to JA of 11 July (not found), which John Thaxter indicated on 18 July that he had copied and forwarded to JA at Paris (PCC, No. 101, II, f. 202).
2. On 29 April fleets commanded by Samuel Hood and the Comte de Grasse engaged in a battle off Martinique. It was a French victory in the sense that Grasse was able to protect his transports and get them into harbor unscathed. But as a fleet action it was indecisive (Mackesy, War for America, p. 417; Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 163–168).
3. Thaxter replied to this letter on 5 July and indicated that he had written to JA in Paris concerning the twenty ducats (PCC, No. 101, II, f. 201). Thaxter's letter to JA has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0296

Author: Rocqùette, J.,Th. A. Elsevier, & P. Th. Rocqùette, (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-03

From J. Rocqùette, Th. A. Elsevier, & P. Th. Rocqùette

[salute] Sir

In consequence of the conversation, which the writer of this had the honour to have with your Exellencey, Last Saturday,1 We now make free to entretain you aboutt the American Certificates of which we have a good number. Part of them are already due Since the beginning of this year, the others will become due in February, March and April of next year, we are at a Loss how to gett payment of them, for as there are no duplicates or Seconds of these Effects, it would be very dangerous to Send the originals to America. Especially in the present Juncture, for besides the dangers of the Sea, those of the Capture by the Ennemies, are to be feard, and the one or the other would deprive us of our property, Situated as matters are now, the Surest way in our opinion, would be that the Honble. Congres did Consent, that we Should Send by your Exellencey, authantiq Copÿ's of all the banknotes we have, and that the payment Should be done here in Europe against the delivery of the originals, which might than be sent by your Exellencey by Such Conveyance as you'll think propre to America; Some of our Friends, to who we Sold Some of the banknotes, would be willing to have the Amounts of same with the Intrest due, Converted in obligations payable in Eight or Ten years, and would Consent to Establish the Intrest of 5 per Cent per Year, provided the Honble. Congres authorised your Exellencey or who ever here in Europe, it may Judge propre, to make up the obligation and to pay the Intrest annually, and the Capital when due; We shall take it as a particular favour if your Exellencey will propose the contents of this to Congres, and to lett us know it's Resolution on the matter as Soon as your Exellencey will have an answer about our propositions;2 Give us leave to prevail ourselfs of this opportunity to make to the Honble. Congres, as well as to your Exellencey the offer of our most devoted Services, We Should be very happy to render it or for your Exellencey, any Service, having the honour to be with the most respectfull Regard, Sir, Your verÿ hùmble Servants
[signed] J. Rocqùette, Th A. Elsevier, & Brothr. Rocqùette
1. See JA to F. & A. Dubbeldemuts, 21 June, note 2, above.
2. No reply by JA has been found, nor is there evidence that he did anything regarding the proposal to convert the sum due on the pending bills of exchange into a loan.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0297

Author: Adams, John
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-07-05

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 5 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 254–261. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:540–543.
This is the first of a series of letters to Congress that John Thaxter composed in John Adams' name during Adams' absence at Paris. They are dated 5, 7 (first and second letters2), 10, 13 (first and second letters2), 17, and 21 July (all calendared below), and 24 (first and second letters2) July (both Adams Papers). Except for the two letters of 24 July, which were never sent to Congress, these letters have been calendared because, according to Adams' statement appearing immediately before this letter as published in the Boston Patriot in 1809, “During my absence, which was nearly through the whole month of July, the following state papers were translated by the gentlemen of my family, whom I left in Holland, and transmitted to Congress, or to be kept for me to sign, according to my directions after my return” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 534).
In this letter John Thaxter included a proposition by William V to the States General on 28 June and related documents printed in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 6 July. The Stadholder called on the States General to investigate why the Netherlands was unprepared to prosecute the war against Great Britain. In the course of his request, William V denied any responsibility for the lack of sufficient ground and naval forces. The States General agreed to undertake the requested investigation.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 254–261). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:540–543.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0298

Author: Adams, John
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-07-07

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 7 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 264–265. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:549.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains an English translation of a resolution that the States General adopted on 2 July, which was printed in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 6 July. The States General resolved that it was unaware of any basis for the charges made against the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel by members of the regency of Amsterdam or anyone else. The States General called on the various provinces to enact regulations to restrain those who would make unsubstantiated charges against the Duke.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 264–265). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:549.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0299

Author: Adams, John
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-07-07

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 7 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's handPCC, No. 84, III, f. 262–263. printed :Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:550.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains an English translation of an article that appeared in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 10 July. The article was an account of a meeting on 8 June between the Marquis de Vérac, the French minister at St. Petersburg, and Count Osterman, the Russian vice-chancellor. The { 404 } French diplomat declared that unless the neutral powers took stronger measures to counter British depredations on their commerce, France would be forced to base its conduct toward neutrals on the policies Britain followed. Thaxter concluded by noting that Francis Dana had departed that day for St. Petersburg without Edmund Jenings.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 262–263). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:550.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0300

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-07-07

To Benjamin Franklin

Mr. Adams presents his Compliments to Dr. Franklin and prays him to let his servant take the Trunks left at Passy to Paris. Mr. A. will do himself the Honour to pay his Respects to his Excellency, very soon.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).
1. JA left Amsterdam at ten o'clock on the morning of 2 July and reached his usual lodgings at the Hôtel de Valois on the evening of the 6th (JQA, Diary, 1:87; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:456–457). In 1809, when he published the documents concerning his meetings with Vergennes in the Boston Patriot, JA described it as a difficult journey “which, in the hands of Sterne, would make a sentimental romance.” Much of this was owing to JA's servant, Joseph Stephens, who delivered this letter to Franklin. Stephens,
“a very stout man, who had served as a soldier in Canada, and afterwards on board an American vessel of war, and had never been sick, was now conquered by the pestilential steams of the climate, and almost shaken to pieces by an intermittent fever. I had provided him with a physician and attendants, and was about taking another person to go with me; but Stephens begged so pathetically, that I would not leave him, that I could not resist his importunity, but took him in the coach with me. When his fits came on I was obliged to stop at an inn for the day, and procure him a physician and a nurse. These delays protracted the journey to twice the number of days; but the exercise and the exchange of air from the tainted atmosphere of Amsterdam to the pure breezes of France, cured him of his distemper, and he returned with me apparently well; though in a few days his fits returned with violence, continued nine months upon him, and reduced him almost to a shadow. It is indeed the destiny of every stranger who goes into Holland, to encounter either an intermittent or bilious fever within the two first years”
(JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 107, 533).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0301

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-07

From Benjamin Franklin

Dr. Franklin presents his Compliments to Mr. Adams, and sends such of his Trunks as can be got at; W.T.F. in whose Chamber it is suppos'd there may be more, being gone to Paris; and having with him Mr. F's Carriage prevents his waiting on Mr. Adams immediately as he would otherwise wish to do; but Mr. F. requests the Honour of Mr. Adams's Company at Dinner to-morrow.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0302-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-07

To the Comte de Vergennes, with a Letterbook Memorandum

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inform, you, that, upon an Intimation, from your Excellency, Signified to me by Mr. Berenger, and afterwards, by the Duke de la Vauguion, that the Interests of the United States required me here, I arrived last night in Paris,1 and am come to day to Versailles, to pay my Respects to your Excellency, and receive your farther Communications. As your Excellency, was in Council, when I had the Honour to call at your office, and as it is very possible, that Some other day, may be more agreable, I have the Honour to request you to appoint the Time, which will be most convenient to your Excellency for me to wait on you.

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

[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:304); endorsed: “M. adams [il] fait part Son arrivée [à] Paris.” LbC's (Adams Papers). JA made two Letterbook copies of his letter to Vergennes and inserted at the bottom of each the memorandum printed here. The first Letterbook copy is written on a sheet of paper and tipped into Lb/JA/16 between pages 166 and 167 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 104). The second Letterbook copy is the first entry in Lb/JA/17 (same, Reel No. 105). It is likely that JA did not bring a Letterbook to Paris and therefore copied the letters on a sheet of paper until he could procure a new one. On the assumption that it was done first, the text of the memorandum printed here is from the first Letterbook copy. Significant differences between it and the second copy are indicated in the notes. In 1809, when JA printed his letter to Vergennes and his memorandum in the Boston Patriot, he took his text from the second Letterbook copy (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 107–108).
1. See the letters from Laurent Bérenger of 5 June and from C. W. F. Dumas of 25 June, and note 1, both above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0302-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-07

Enclosure: John Adams' Memorandum

This Letter I sent by My Servant, who, waited, untill the Comte descended from the Council, when he delivered it, into his Hand. He broke the Seal read the Letter and Said “He was Sorry, he could not See Mr. Adams but he was obliged to go into the Country, immediately after dinner but that Mr. Adams, Seroit dans le Cas de voir Mr. De Raineval who lived at Such a Sign,1 in the Ruë St. Honore.” After Dinner I called on Mr. Rayneval,—Who Said M. le Duke de la Vauguion has informed you, that there is a Question of a Pacification, under the Mediation of the Emperor, of Germany and the Empress of Russia, and it was necessary that I Should have Some Consultations, at Leisure, (a Loisir) with the Comte de Vergennes, that We might understand each others Views. That he would See the Comte tomorrow Morning and write me, when he would meet me. That they, had not changed their Principles, nor their System: that the Treaties, were the foundation of all Negotiation.
I Said, I lodged, at the Hotel de Valois, where I did formerly, that I should be ready to wait on the Comte when it would be agreable to him, and to confer with him, upon every Thing relative to any Propositions, which the English might have made. He Said the English had not made any Propositions, but, it was necessary to consider certain Points, and make certain preparatory arrangements, { 406 } to know whether We were, British subjects, or in what light We were to be considered.2 I Said I was not a British subject: that I had renounced that Character many years ago forever: and that I should rather be a fugitive in China or Malebar, than ever reassume that Character.3 He repeated that he would see the Comte in the Morning and write me, where he would meet me.4
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:304); endorsed: “M. adams [il] fait part Son arrivée [à] Paris.” LbC's (Adams Papers). JA made two Letterbook copies of his letter to Vergennes and inserted at the bottom of each the memorandum printed here. The first Letterbook copy is written on a sheet of paper and tipped into Lb/JA/16 between pages 166 and 167 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 104). The second Letterbook copy is the first entry in Lb/JA/17 (same, Reel No. 105). It is likely that JA did not bring a Letterbook to Paris and therefore copied the letters on a sheet of paper until he could procure a new one. On the assumption that it was done first, the text of the memorandum printed here is from the first Letterbook copy. Significant differences between it and the second copy are indicated in the notes. In 1809, when JA printed his letter to Vergennes and his memorandum in the Boston Patriot, he took his text from the second Letterbook copy (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 107–108).
1. In the second Letterbook copy the remainder of this sentence reads “in such a Street.”
2. At this point in the second Letterbook copy JA wrote “&c. Smiling.”
3. Few statements could have caused JA more anxiety than Rayneval's suggestion that Americans might consider themselves British subjects rather than citizens of the U.S. JA's apprehensions likely were compounded when he received the Austro-Russian proposal for Anglo-American peace negotiations ([ 11 July] , below) at his meeting with Vergennes on 11 July. The first article referred to “grande Bretagne, et les Colonies américaines.” It was one thing for Austria and Russia, who had not recognized the new nation as sovereign and independent, to refer to the U.S. as colonies. It was quite another for a French official even to imply that Americans might still be considered British subjects. To do so would call into question the Franco-American treaties because by definition a treaty can only exist between sovereign states. Moreover, it might indicate that France was seriously considering the British demand that it dissolve its treaties with the American colonies prior to any negotiations. JA's response to the proposals for peace negotiations understandably focused on the status of the U.S. at any such meeting (to Vergennes, 13 July, below). For JA's later observations on this issue, see Vergennes' letter of 18 July, descriptive note, and JA's letters to Vergennes of the 19th and 21st, all below.
4. This final sentence does not appear in the second Letterbook copy.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0303

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-07

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I am not skill'd in writing introductory Letters—I must however write one to make you acquainted with a Gentleman whose conversation you will find, at least, very agreeable. In these intrigueing times, when Politicians are obliged to Speak with caution in all companies, look at all Men with a suspicious Eye, and speak to them { 407 } with reserve, an introduction becomes very Necessary, as it is apt to set each party at ease. The Barron de Poellnitz will have the Honor of delivering this Letter to you.1 He is allready an American by principal, and waits most impatiently for a favorable moment to make himself and Family so by residence, having waited above a Year at this place for that purpose. I must therefore beg of you to admit him to your confidence and Freindship, being persuaded you will find the obligation mutual.
There is an American Packet at the bottom of this River, in order to proffit of the convoy which is just ready to depart for the West India Islands. She is bound to Boston, and I purpose taking a passage in her. Shou'd I arrive according to my expectations, I shall inform Mrs. Adams that I had lately the pleasure of seeing you well.
I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect and esteem Dear Sir Your very Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Will MacCreery2
1. The Baron de Pöllnitz probably delivered this letter on 3 Sept., the date on which he wrote a brief note to JA requesting a meeting (Adams Papers).
2. For a brief sketch of William MacCreery, a Baltimore merchant, see vol. 5:299.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0304-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rayneval, Joseph Mathias Gérard de
Date: 1781-07-09

To Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval

[salute] Sir

I have this Moment the Honour of your Billet of this Days Date:1 and will do myself the Honour, to wait on his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes, at his office, on Wednesday next at Nine of the Clock in the Morning, according to his Desire. I have the Honour to be with much Esteem sir Your humble and obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:312); endorsed: “[ . . . ]na previènt de [arr]ivée et qu'il va [ . . . ]dre à Versailles.” LbC's (Adams Papers). The first of two Letterbook copies is written on the same sheet of paper as JA's letter to Vergennes of 7 July, above, tipped into Lb/JA/16 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 104). The second Letterbook copy is entered in Lb/JA/17 (same, Reel No. 105). The memorandum appears immediately below the second Letterbook copy.
1. Rayneval informed JA that the Comte de Vergennes wished to meet with him on 11 July (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0304-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-09

Enclosure: John Adams' Memorandum

Accordingly on Wednesday I went to Versailles and met the Count at his office with Mr. Rayneval at 9 o Clock, who communicated to me, the following Articles, proposed by the two Imperial Courts,1—that Spain had prepared her Answer—that of France was near ready—did not know that England had yet answered.
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:312); endorsed: “[ . . . ]na previènt de [arr]ivée et qu'il va [ . . . ]dre à Versailles.” LbC's (Adams Papers) The first of two Letterbook copies is written on the same sheet of paper as JA's letter to Vergennes { 408 } of 7 July, above, tipped into Lb/JA/16 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 104). The second Letterbook copy is entered in Lb/JA/17 (same, Reel No. 105). The memorandum appears immediately below the second Letterbook copy.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
1. See JA's copy of the Austro-Russian proposal for Anglo-American peace negotiations, [11 July], below. When JA published the articles in the Boston Patriot in 1809, he included additional information about his meeting at Versailles:
“These articles were given me in French, and they graciously condescended to let me see the original communication from the two Imperial Courts as far and no farther than these three articles extended. All the rest was carefully covered up with a book. I desired to see and have a copy of the whole; but no, that could not be permitted.
“I returned to Paris, where I was alone. Congress had taken from me my bosom friend, my fellow traveller and fellow sufferer, in whose society I always found satisfaction, and in whose enlightened counsels, ample assistance and confidence, Mr. Dana, and sent him on a mission to Russia. My private secretary, Mr. Thaxter, I was obliged to leave in charge of my family and affairs in Holland. I had therefore every thing to write, translate and copy with my own hand”
(JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 110).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0305

Author: Adams, John
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-10

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 10 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 268–269. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:556–557.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains an English translation of an article that appeared in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 10 July. The article reported that on 4 July the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel informed the States General that he was grateful for the resolution of confidence it adopted on 2 July. He requested, however, an investigation of his conduct, which was the only means to absolve him fully from the charges made against him. The States General agreed to the investigation.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 268–269.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:556–557.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0306-0001

Author: Russia
Author: Austria
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-11

Austro-Russian Proposal for Anglo-American Peace Negotiations, with John Adams' Translation

Articles pour Servir de base à la négociation du retablissement de la paix.1
Arte. Ier.
Il sera traité entre la grande Bretagne et les Colonies Américaines du rétablissement de la paix en Amérique; mais sans l'intervention d'aucunes des autres parties Belligérentes, ni même celle des deux Cours Impériales, à moins que leur médiation n'ait été formellement demandée et accordée sur cet objet.
Arte. II.
Cette paix particulière ne pourra cependant être Signée, que con• { 409 } jointment et en même tems avec celle des Puissances, dont les intérêts auront été traités par les Cours Médiatrices. Les deux paix moïennant cela, quoiqu'elles pourront être traités séparement, ne devant point pouvoir être conclües l'une Sans l'autre, on aura soin d'informer constamment les Médiateurs de la marche et de l'état de celle qui regarde la grande Bretagne et les Colonies, à fin que la médiation Soit à même de pouvoir Se régler pour la marche de celle qui lui est confiée d'après l'état de la négociation relative au Colonies; et l'une et l'autre des deux pacifications, qui auront été conclües en même tems, quoique separement, devront être solemnellement garanties par les Cours médiatrices, et toute autre Puissance neutre, dont les parties Belligérantes pourront juger à propos de reclamer la garantie.
Arte. III.
Pour rendre les négociations pacifiques indépendantes des évènements toujours incertains de la guerre, qui pourroient en arrêter, ou au moins en rétarder les progrés, il y aura, un Armistice général entre toutes les parties pendant le terme d'une année à compter du ... du mois de ... de la presente ou de ... années à compter du ... du mois de ... de l'année 1782. S'il arrivoit que la paix générale ne fût point rétablie dans le cours du premier terme. Et pendant la durée de l'un ou de l'autre de ces deux termes, toutes choses devront rester dans l'état, où elles Se trouveront avoir été au jour de la signature des présent articles préliminaires.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0306-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-11

John Adams: A Translation

Articles to Serve, as a Foundation of the negotiation, for the Re-establishment of Peace.1
Article 1st.
There shall be a Treaty, between Great Britain, and the American Colonies, concerning the Re-establishment of Peace, in America; but without the Intervention of any of the other belligerent Parties, nor even that of the two Imperial Courts, at least unless their mediation Should be formally <ask> demanded and granted, upon this Object.
Art. 2.
This particular Peace, Shall not however, be Signed, but conjointly, and at the Same time with that of the Powers, whose Interests shall have been treated by the mediating Courts. The two Peaces, by this means, although they may be treated Seperately, not being to be { 410 } concluded, the one, without the other, they Shall take care, constantly to inform, the Mediators of the Progress and the State of that which regards Great Britain and the Colonies, to the End, that the Mediation may be in a Situation to be able to regulate itself, in the Prosecution of that which is confided to it, according to the State of the negotiation relative to the Colonies; and the one and the other of the two pacifications, which shall have been concluded, at the Same time, although Seperately, Shall be Solemnly Warrantied by the mediating Courts, and every other neutral Power, whose Warranty the belligerent Parties, may judge proper, to demand.
Art. 3.
For rendering the pacifick negotiations, independant of the Events always uncertain of War, which might Stop, or at least interrupt the Progress of them, there Shall be a general Armistice, between all the Parties, during the Term of one Year, to be computed from the ... day of the Month of ... of the present Year, or of ... Years, to be computed from the ... of the month of ... of the Year 1782, if it Should happen that the general Peace, Should not be established, in the Course of the first Term. And during the continuance, of one or the other of these two terms, all Things, Shall remain, in the State, in which they shall be found to have been, on the Day of the Signature, of the present preliminary Articles.
MS (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Articles.—pour Servir de Case a la Negotiation du Retablissement de la Paix. proposees par les deux Cours Imperials.” This document was filmed with Vergennes' letter of 18 July (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 355). Translation by JA, LbC (Adams Papers). This translation appears below a French text of the proposed articles that JA copied following his memorandum to the second Letterbook copy of his letter of 9 July to Rayneval, for which see the descriptive note to that letter, above. Although JA's translation is somewhat awkward, it is accurate and is included here because it is the version of the articles that he used in the course of his conversations and correspondence with Vergennes.
1. For JA's analysis of the proposed articles, particularly the third, see his letters of 11 July to the president of Congress and 13 July to Vergennes, both below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0307

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-11

To the President of Congress

Triplicate1

[salute] Sir

I have only time, by Major Jackson,2 to inform Congress, that upon Information from the Comte de Vergennes, that questions concerning Peace, under the Mediation of the two imperial Courts,3 were in { 411 } agitation that required my Presence,4 I undertook the Journey and arrived here last Friday Night the 6th. of the month, and have twice waited on the Comte de Vergennes at Versailles,5 who this day communicated to me the inclosed Propositions.6
These Propositions are made to all the belligerent Powers by the Courts of Petersbourg and Vienna,7 in consequence of some wild propositions made to them by the Court of London, that they would undertake the Office of Mediators upon Condition that the League, as they call it, between France and their Rebel Subjects in8 America should be dissolved, and these left to make their terms with Great Britain, after having returned to their Allegiance and Obedience.
France and Spain have prepared their Answers to these Propositions of the Empress and Emperor, and I am desired to give my Answer to the Articles inclosed. It is not in my Power at this time to inclose to Congress my Answer, because I have not made it nor written it,9 but Congress must see that nothing can come out of this Maneuvre, at least for a long time. Thus much I may say, that I have no Objection to the proposition of treating with the English seperately, in the manner proposed, upon a Peace with them and a Treaty of Commerce10 consistent with our Engagements with France and Spain: but that the Armistice never can be agreed to by me. The Objections against it are as numerous as they are momentous and decisive. I may say farther, that as there is no Judge upon Earth of a sovereign Power, but the Nation that composes it, I can never agree to the Mediation of any Powers however respectable, until they have acknowledged our Sovereignty so far11 at least, as to admit a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States as the Representative of a free and independent Power. After this We might discuss Questions of Peace or Truce with Great Britain, without her Acknowledging our Sovereignty,12 but not before.
I fancy however that Congress will be applied to for their sentiments, and I shall be ever ready and happy to obey their Instructions, because I have a full Confidence that nothing will be decided by them, but what will be consistent with their Character and Dignity.
Peace will only be retarded by Relaxations and Concessions, whereas Firmness, Patience and Perseverance will insure Us a good, and lasting one in the End.
The English are obliged to keep up the talk of Peace to lull their Enemies and to sustain their Credit. But I hope the People of America will not be decieved. Nothing will obtain them real Peace, but skillful and successfull War.
{ 412 }
I have the honor to be with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient and humble Servant.
[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand, enclosure in JA's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 272–277); endorsed: “Letter July 11. 1781 Paris J Adams. Read Oct 3 Propositions of the mediating to the belligerent Powers.” For the enclosure, see note 6, below. Congress received a second copy of this letter, written by JA at Paris, on 1 March 1782 (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 471–474). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. This word is in JA's hand.
2. William Jackson was at Paris to confer with Benjamin Franklin regarding the latter's decision to stop the specie that John Laurens had intended to send to the U.S. on the South Carolina. See Franklin's letter of 30 June, and note 1, above.
3. In the Letterbook the preceding eight words are interlined.
4. At this point in the Letterbook, JA originally wrote “at Paris,” but then replaced it with “here.” In the copy received by Congress in March 1782, JA wrote “here.”
5. In the Letterbook the preceding two words are interlined.
6. The enclosure, written in French, was the proposed articles for an Austro-Russian mediation of the Anglo-American war. See the Austro-Russian proposal, [11 July] , above.
7. In the Letterbook this sentence originally began: “These propositions are made by the two Imperial Courts.”
8. In the Letterbook the preceding four words are interlined and, later in the sentence, JA replaced “America” with “these.”
9. JA apparently was engaged in drafting his answer. In his Letterbook this letter to the president of Congress interrupts JA's first Letterbook copy of his response. See JA to Vergennes, 13 July, descriptive note, below.
10. In the Letterbook the preceding five words were interlined.
11. In the Letterbook, the remainder of this sentence originally read: “as to admit me as the Representative of a free and independent Power.”
12. In the Letterbook the preceding five words are interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0308

Author: Adams, John
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-13

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 13 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 287–288. LbCAdams Papers. printed:JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 544–546.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It provided an English translation of a placard issued by the States of Utrecht on 4 July. The placard deplored the publication of “scandalous reflexions and malicious insinuations” against the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and declared that henceforth anyone who composed, printed, or distributed such materials would be fined one thousand florins.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 287–288). LbC (Adams Papers). printed: (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 544–546.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0309

Author: Adams, John
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-13

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 13 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 283–285. LbCAdams Papers. printed: JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 546–549.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains an English translation of a resolution of the States General dated 28 June that amended their policy of awarding premiums to privateers.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 283–285). LbC (Adams Papers). printed: (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 546–549.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0310-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-13

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to inclose, to your Excellency Some Remarks, upon the Articles to Serve as a Basis of the negotiation for the Re-establishment of Peace, which you did me the Honour to communicate to me.
As I am unacquainted, whether you desired my Sentiments upon these Articles, merely for your own Government, or with a design to communicate them to the Imperial Courts I should be glad of your Excellencies Advice concerning them. If you are of Opinion there is any Thing exceptionable, or which ought to be altered, I should be glad to correct it. Or if I have not perceived the Points or Questions, upon which you desired my Opinion, I shall be ready to give any farther Answers.
I have the Honour to be, with great Respect your Excellencys most obedient and most hum Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:380); endorsed: “M. Adams Sa observations Sur les articles qui doivent Servir de base à la negociation sur la paix.” Enclosure (LbC's, Adams Papers). In the French archives only a French translation of JA's observations has been found. The text of the enclosure, therefore, is taken from JA's second and final Letterbook copy. In the second Letterbook copy, JA wrote the proposed preliminary articles for mediation (see [11 July] , above) in French in the left-hand side of the page and his comments opposite them on the right-hand side. Significant differences between the two Letterbook copies, the first of which JA dated 11 July and canceled, are indicated in the annotation.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0310-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-13

Enclosure: Draft of Peace Negotiation Articles

Answer of the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, to the Articles to serve as a Basis to the Negotiation, for the Re-establishment of Peace.
Art. 1.
The United States of America, have no Objection provided their Allies have none to a Treaty with Great Britain, concerning the Re-establishment of Peace in America, or to another concerning the Re-establishment of Commerce, between the two nations, consistent with their Obligations to France and Spain; without the Intervention of any of the other belligerent Parties, and even, without that of the two Imperial Courts, at least unless their Mediation, Should be formally demanded and granted upon this Object, according to the first Article communicated to me.
Art. 2.
The United States, have nothing to Say provided their Allies have not, against the Second Article.
Art. 3.
To the Armistice, and the Statu quo, in the third Article, the United { 414 } States have very great Objections; which indeed are So numerous and decisive and at the Same time So obvious, as to make it unnecessary to State them in detail.
The Idea of a Truce, is not Suggested, in these Articles; but, as it is mentioned in Some observations Shewn me, by his Excellency the Comte de Vergennes it may be necessary for me to add, that the United States, are So deeply impressed, with an Apprehension, that any Truce whatsoever, would not fail to be productive of another long and bloody War, at the Termination of it, and that a Short Truce, would be, in many Ways, highly dangerous to them, that it would be with great Reluctance that they Should enter into any discussion, at all, upon Such a Subject. Two express Conditions, would be, indispensable Preliminaries to their taking into consideration, the Subject of a Truce at all. The first is, that their Allies agree, that the Treaties now Subsisting remain in full Force, during and after the Truce, untill the final Acknowledgment of their Independance by Great Britain. The Second is, the antecedent Removal of the British Land and naval Armaments, from every Part of the United States. Upon these two express Conditions as Preliminaries, if a Truce Should be proposed, for so long a Period, or for an indeffinite Period requiring So long notice, previous to a renewal of Hostilities, as to evince that it is, on the Part of Great Britain a virtual Relinquishment of the Object of the War, and an Expedient only to avoid the mortification of an express Acknowledgment of the Independence and Sovereignty of the United States, they, with the concurrence of their Allies might acceed to it.1
It is requisite however to add. 1. That the United States cannot consider themselves bound by this declaration, unless it Should be agreed to before, the opening of another Campain.2 2. That it is not in the Power of the Crown of Great Britain, by the constitution of that Kingdom, to establish any Truce, or even Armistice, with the United States, which would not be illusory without the Intervention of an Act of Parliament, repealing or Suspending all their Statutes, which have any Relation to the United States or any of them. Without this, every officer of the Navy, would be bound by the Laws, according to the Maxims of their Constitution, to Seize every American Vessel, that he Should find, whose Papers and destination Should not be found conformable to those Statutes, and every French, Spanish, Dutch or other foreign Vessel, which he Should find going to or coming from America; notwithstanding any Convention, that it is in the Power of the Crown to make.
{ 415 }
After all: the greatest difficulty does not lie in any Thing as yet mentioned. The great question is, in what Character are the United States to be considered?
They know themselves to be a free, Sovereign and independent State, of right and in Fact. They are considered and acknowledged, as Such, by France. They cannot be represented in a Congress of Ministers, from the Several Powers of Europe, whether their Representative is called Ambassador, Minister or Agent, without an Acknowledgment of their Independence, of which the very Admission of a Representative from them, is an Avowal. Great Britain, cannot agree with their Representative, upon a Truce, or even an Armistice, without Admitting their Freedom and Independence.
As their is upon Earth, no Judge of a Sovereign State, but the Nation that composes it, the United States can never consent, that their Independence, Shall be discussed or called in question, by any Sovereign or Sovereigns, however respectable, nor can their Interests be made a question, in any Congress, in which their Character is not acknowledged, and their Minister admitted. If therefore, the two Imperial Courts, would acknowledge, and lay down as a Preliminary, the Sovereignty of the United States, and admit their Minister to a Congress: after this, a Treaty might be commenced, between the Minister of Great Britain, and the Minister of the United States, relative to a Truce, or Peace and Commerce, in the manner proposed, without any express Acknowledgment of their Sovereignty by Great Britain, untill the Treaty should be concluded.
The Sovereigns of Europe have a right to negotiate, concerning their own Interests and to deliberate concerning the Question whether it is consistent with their Dignity and Interests, to acknowledge expressly the Sovereignty of the United States, and to make Treaties with them, by their Ministers in a Congress or other wise; and America could make no Objection to it. But neither the United States nor France can ever consent, that the Existence of their Sovereignty, Shall be made a question in Such Congress: because, let that Congress determine as it might, their Sovereignty with Submission only to divine Providence never can, and never will, be given up.
As the British Court, in first Suggesting the Idea of a Congress to the Imperial Courts, insisted upon the Annihilation of the League as they were pleased to call it, between France, and their Rebel Subjects, as they were pleased again to phrase it, and upon the Return of these to their Allegiance and Obedience, as Preliminaries to any Congress, or Mediation; there is too much Reason to fear, that the { 416 } British Ministry, have no Serious Intentions or Sincere dispositions for Peace, and that they mean nothing but Amusement. Because, the Support of the Sovereignty of the United States, was the primary Object of the War, on the Part of France and America: The Destruction of it, that of Great Britain. If therefore the Treaty between France and America, was annulled, and the Americans returned to the Domination and Monopoly of Great Britain, there would be no need of troubling all Europe with a Congress to make a Peace. All Points between France, Spain and Great Britain, might be easily adjusted among themselves.3 Surely the affairs of Great Britain, are in no Part of the World so tryumphant nor those of any of their Ennemies so adverse, as to give this Ministry any Serious hopes, that France and America will renounce the Object of the War. There must therefore be some other View.
It is not difficult to penetrate the design of the British Ministry, upon this, any more than upon many former Occasions. They think, that a Distrust of them, and a Jealousy, that they would not adhere with good Faith to the Propositions of Reconciliation, which they have made from time to time, were, in the Minds of the Americans, the true cause, why those Propositions, were not accepted. They now think, that, by prevailing on the two Imperial Courts, and other Courts to warranty to the Americans, any Similar Terms, they may propose to them they Shall remove this obstacle: and by this means, although they know, that no publick Authority in America, will agree to Such Terms, they think they shall be able to represent Things in such a Light as to induce, many desertions from the American Army, and many Apostacies from the American Independence and Alliance. In this Way, they would pursue their long practised Arts of Seduction, deception and division. In these again as in So many former Attempts, they would find themselves disappointed, and would make very few Deserters or Apostates. But it is to be hoped, that the Powers of Europe will not give to these Superficial Artifices with which that Ministry have so long destroyed the Repose of the United states, and of the British Dominions at home and abroad, and disturbed the Tranquility of Europe, So much Attention as to enable them to continue, much longer, Such Evils to Mankind.4
[signed] J. Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:380); endorsed: “M. Adams Sa observations Sur les articles qui doivent Servir de base à la negociation sur la paix.” Enclosure (LbC's, Adams Papers). In the French archives only a French translation of JA's observations has been found. The text of the enclosure, therefore, { 417 } is taken from JA's second and final Letterbook copy. In the second Letterbook copy, JA wrote the proposed preliminary articles for mediation (see [11 July] , above) in French in the left-hand side of the page and his comments opposite them on the right-hand side. Significant differences between the two Letterbook copies, the first of which JA dated 11 July and canceled, are indicated in the annotation.
1. In the first Letterbook copy the corresponding paragraph does not set the continuation of the Franco-American treaties as a condition for agreeing to a truce. In its entirety, it reads: “The Idea of a truce, is not Suggested in these Articles, and therefore it may be unnecessary to Say any Thing on that Subject, but as it is mentioned in Some observations, which your Excellency shewed me, it may be proper for me to add, that a Short truce, would be highly dangerous to the United States: but if a Truce Should be proposed, for so long a Period, or for an indefinite Period, requiring So long notice previous to a Renewal of Hostilities as to evince that it is, on the Part of the King of Great Britain, a virtual Relinquishment of the Object of the War, and an Expedient only to avoid the mortification of an express Acknowledgment of the Independence and Sovereignty of the United States, they, with the Concurrence of their Allies might acceed to it: but upon this express Condition, of the previous Removal of the British Land and naval Armaments, from the United States, and upon no other.”
2. This sentence does not appear in the first Letterbook copy.
3. The following two sentences do not appear in the first Letterbook copy.
4. In the first Letterbook copy JA marked three additional sentences for insertion at this point that are not included in the second Letterbook copy. Had he used them, the final paragraph would have concluded:
“Indeed it is Surprizing that the Powers of Europe should have so many delicacies about acknowledging american Independence explicitly. Switzerland Portugal, Holland, and even Oliver Cromwell and the long Parliament, I had almost said that the Corsicans and Pascal Paoli, Scarcly found so many delicacies. Whereas the United states of America, who have displayed Talents and Virtues, in a civil, political, military and commercial Point of View, equal to almost any Nation ancient or modern, whose Numbers, Industry, Territory, Agriculture Navigation and Commerce are <equal> superiour to that of most of the Powers of Europe and who have filled the whole Earth with their Fame, are treated as if they did not deserve a station among the nations.”

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0311

Author: Bridgen, Edward
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-13

From Edward Bridgen

[salute] Sir

By the direction of our Mutual Friend Mr. Jennings I have sent to Ostend to the Care of Messrs. Theodoor Van Moorsel & Co. there, a Small packadge of Books Viz: Two Parliamentary Registers. The principles of Law and Goverment,1 and (by Mistake) a Novell called the Revolution2 which I was not apprized of untill too late.
You will also find 2 large 4to. Volumes of the Memoirs of Thos. Hollis Esqr. sent you by a Friend to Man.3 2 Small Pamphlets called the Means of National defence by a Free Militia4 those I beg your Acceptance of. One also by a Friend5 of these you may have as Many as you please if you think they will be acceptable to your Friends.
Be pleased to know that the friend Edmond Jenings takes the liberty to assure you, Sir that I am allways at your command Yr. very huml. Servt.
[signed] Edwd: Bridgen6
{ 418 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Bridgen 13th. July 1781”; notation by Bridgen: “To A A”; for which, see Jenings to JA, 19 July, below.
1. Principles of Law and Government, with An Inquiry into the Justice and Policy of the Present War, and the Most Effectual Means of Obtaining ... Peace, London, 1781, is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library).
2. An advertisement for The Revolution, A Novel that appeared in the London Chronicle of 14–16 June stated that “the moral of this Work is founded on the situation of the kingdom with respect to America and the common enemy.” A notice in the Chronicle of 3–5 July added that “this work is written on the plan of an epic poem.”
3. Francis Blackburne, Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, 2 vols., London, 1780. Thomas Brand Hollis, Thomas Hollis' heir and Blackburne's patron sent the volumes to JA, but they did not arrive (vol. 10:67–68; see also Edmund Jenings to JA, 17 Sept., below). Only the second volume is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library).
4. Probably [Granville Sharp], Tracts Concerning the Ancient and Only True Legal Means of National Defence, by a Free Militia, London, 1781. A copy of the 3d edn., London, 1782, is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (same).
5. Neither the friend nor the pamphlet have been identified.
6. For Edward Bridgen, a North Carolinian and partner in the London mercantile firm of Bridgen & Waller, see vol. 9:10, 12.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0312

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-14

To the President of Congress

Triplicate1

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inclose Copy of a Letter to the Comte de Vergennes, and Copy of Articles and an Answer.2
Peace is so desirable an Object, that humanity as well as Policy demands of every Nation to hearken with Patience and Sincerity to every Proposition which has a tendency to it, even only in appearance. I cannot however see any symptoms of a sincere disposition to it in the English. They are endeavouring to administer soporificks to their Enemies: but they will not succeed. Peace however will never be made by the English while they make any Figure in the United States.
I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] J. Adams
RC and enclosures in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 375–407); endorsed: “Letter July 14. 1781 Paris J. Adams Read Octr. 3. Covering a Discussion of the Propositions of the mediating Powers”; “Paris July 14 1781. J. Adams.” A second copy of this letter and enclosure (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 291–312), written by JA at Paris, reached Philadelphia on 1 March 1782. For the enclosures that went with the two letters, see note 2.
1. This word is in JA's hand.
2. The recipient's copy is accompanied by JA's letter to Vergennes of 13 July and its enclosed response, above, and also by JA's letters to Vergennes of 16, 18, 19, and 21 July and Vergennes' letter of 18 July, all below. The second copy, written at Paris, is accompanied only by copies of JA's letter to Vergennes of 13 July and its enclosed response.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0313

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-15

To the President of Congress

Triplicate1

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inclose Copy of a Letter to the Comte de Vergennes and of certain Articles and their Answers.2
The British Court proposed to the Imperial Courts a Congress upon two preliminary Conditions, the Rupture of the Treaty with France, and the Return of America to their Obedience. The two Imperial Courts have since proposed the inclosed Articles. Spain and France have prepared their Answers. England has not answered yet,3 and no Ministers are yet commissioned or appointed by any Power. If She accepts the terms, I should not scruple to accept them too, excepting the Armistice and Statu quo: but I mean I should not insist upon a previous explicit Acknowledgment of the Sovereignty of the United States, before I went to Vienna. I see nothing inconsistent with the Character or Dignity of the United States, in their Minister going to Vienna at the same time4 when Ministers from the other Powers are there, and entering into Treaty with a British Minister, without any Acknowledgment explicitly of our Independence before the Conclusion of the Treaty. The very Existence of such a Congress would be of use to our Reputation: but I cannot yet believe that Britain will wave her Preliminaries. She will still insist upon the Dissolution of the Treaty, and upon the Return of the Americans under their Government. This however will do no honor to her Moderation and pacific sentiments, in the opinion of the Powers of Europe.
Something may grow out of these Negotiations in time; but it will probably be several Years before any thing can be done. Americans only can quicken these Negotiations by decisive strokes. No depredations upon their trade, no conquests of their possessions in the East or West Indies will have any effect upon the English to induce them to make Peace, while they see they have an Army in the United States, and can flatter themselves with the hope of conquering or regaining America; because they think that with America under their Government, they can easily regain whatever they may lose now in any part of the World.
Whereas the total Expulsion or Captivity of their Forces in the United States would extinguish their hopes, and persuade them to Peace, sooner than the loss of every thing else. The belligerent Powers { 420 } and the Neutral Powers may flatter themselves with the hopes of a Restoration of Peace, but they will all be disappointed, while the English have a Soldier in America. It is amazing to me that France and Spain do not see it, and direct their forces accordingly.
I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 408–410); endorsed: “Paris Letter July 15. 1781 J. Adams. Read Octr. 3. Two Preliminary Articles proposed by Britain”; in another hand: “John Adams July 15. 1781.” A second copy of this letter (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 315–318), written by JA at Paris, reached Congress on 1 March 1782.
1. This word is in JA's hand.
2. See JA's letter of 13 July to Vergennes, above. The enclosures, however, have not been found with this letter in the PCC.
3. Unknown to JA, Britain had rejected the Austro-Russian proposals on 15 June. In its response to the mediation proposals, the British government declared that “on every occasion since the commencement of the war with France whenever there has been a question of negotiation, the King has constantly declared that he could never admit in any manner, nor under any form whatsoever, any interference between foreign powers and his rebellious subjects.” Moreover, “the King would derogate from his rights of Sovereignty should he in any wise consent to admit to his Congress any person whatever delegated by his rebellious subjects, this admission being absolutely incompatible with their quality of subjects. For this same reason, the conciliatory measures employed to put an end to the rebellion ought not to be intermixed either in their commencement, or conclusion, with a negotiation between sovereign states” (PCC, No. 59, II, f. 205–209).
4. Thaxter omitted this word in copying.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0314

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-16

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

Since my Letter of the thirteenth, upon further Reflection I have thought it necessary to explain myself a little more particularly in some Points to your Excellency.
If I comprehend the Facts, the British Court first proposed to the Imperial Courts, a Congress, and a Mediation, upon two Conditions
1. The Dissolution of the Treaties between France and the United States.
2. The Return of the Americans, under the British Government.
In Consequence of this Proposal from St. James's, the two Imperial Courts have made a Proposition of the Articles, which were Shewn to me, to the Courts of France, Spain and England, neither of whom, has as yet given an Answer. Their Imperial Majesties have omitted the two Conditions, which the British Court insisted on, as Preliminaries, and mean to admit a Representative of the United States to the Congress, to negotiate Seperately, with the British Minister, { 421 } without ascertaining the Title or Character of the American Representative, untill the two Pacifications Shall be accomplished.
In my own mind, I am very apprehensive, though I devoutly wish I may be mistaken, that the British Court in their Answer to the Articles, will adhere to their two Preliminaries. If they Should there is an End of all Thoughts of a Mediation, or a Congress.1
It is very convenient for the English to hold up to public View, the Idea of Peace: it serves to relieve their Credit, at certain times, when it is in distress; and to disconcert the Projects of the neutral Powers, to their disadvantage. It enables their Friends in the United Provinces to keep the Dutch Nation in that State of Division, Sloth and Inactivity, from which they derive So much Plunder, with so much Safety:2 and it answers many other of the[ir] Purposes. But I cannot perswade myself, that they will Soberly think of Peace, while they have any military Force in the United States, and can preserve a Gleam of hope of conquering, or regaining America. While this hope remains, no depredations on their Commerce, no loss of Dominion in the East or West Indies, will induce them to make Peace: because they think, that with America reunited to them, they could easily regain whatever they may now loose. This opinion of theirs may be extravagant and enthusiastical and they would not find it easy to recover their Losses: but they certainly entertain it, and while it continues, I fear they will not make Peace.
Yet, it seems they have negotiated themselves into a delicate Situation. If they Should obstinately adhere to their two Preliminaries, against the Advice of the two Imperial Courts, this might Seriously affect their Reputation if they have any, for moderation and pacifick dispositions, not only in those Courts, but in all the Courts, and Countries of Europe, and they would not easily answer it to their own Subjects who are weary of the War.
Peace is so desireable an Object, that Humanity, as well as Policy, demand of every nation at War, a Serious Attention to every Proposition, which Seems to have a tendency to it, although there may be grounds to Suspect, that the first Proposer of it, were not Sincere.
I think that no Power can judge the United States unreasonable, in not agreeing to the Statu quo, or the Armistice. But, perhaps I have not been Sufficiently explicit, upon another Point. The Proposal of a Separate Treaty between the British Minister, and the Representative of the United States, seems to be a benevolent Invention to avoid Several Difficulties; among others 1. That England may be allowed to Save her national Pride, by thinking and Saying that the { 422 } Independence of America was agreed to voluntarily, and was not dictated to her by France, or Spain. 2. To avoid the previous Acknowledgment of American Independance, and the previous Ascertaining of the Title and Character of the American Representative, which the Imperial Courts may think would be a Partiality, inconsistent with the Character of Mediators, and even of Neuters, especially as England has uniformly considered, any such Step as an Hostility against them, 'tho I know not upon what Law of Nations or of Reason.
I cannot See, that the United States, would make any Concession, or Submit to any Indignity, or do any Thing inconsistent with their Character, if their Minister should appear at Vienna, or elsewhere, with the Ministers of other Powers, and conduct any negotiation, with a British Minister, without having the Independance of the United States, or his own Title and Character, acknowledged or ascertained, by any other Power, except France, untill the Pacification Should be concluded. I dont perceive that America would loose any Thing by this, any more than by having a Minister in any Part of Europe, with his Character unacknowledged, by all the Powers of Europe. In order to remove every Embarrassment therefore as much as possible, if your Excellency should be of the same opinion and advise me to it, I would withdraw every Objection to the Congress on the Part of the United States, and decline nothing, but the Statu quo and the Armistice against which Such Reasons might be given, as I think must convince, all Men that the United States, are bound to refuse them. If your Excellency Should think it necessary for me, to assign these Reasons particularly, I will attempt some of them: but it is Sufficient for me to Say to your Excellency, that my positive Instructions forbid me, to agree, either to the Armistice or Statu quo.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] J. Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:411–412). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. This sentence does not appear in the Letterbook.
2. The remainder of this sentence does not appear in the Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0315

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-17

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 17 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 319–329 printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:584–588.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains a full English translation of the memorial that the burgomasters and pensionary of Amsterdam presented to William V on 8 June. It { 423 } appeared in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 17 July. Thaxter also noted that on 6 July the States General had revoked their order requiring merchant ships to remain in whatever port they found themselves upon learning of the war with England.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 319–329). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:584–588).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0316-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-18

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçû, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 13. de ce mois. C'est par une Suite de la confiance que je mêts dans vos lumières et dans votre Zèle pour votre Patrie, que je vous ai confié les propositions des deux Cours Impériales, et que je vous ai prié d'y faire les observations dont vous les jugeriez susceptibles. Les choses ne sont pas encore assez avancées pourqu'elles puissent être communiquées aux deux Cours Médiatrices: Comme vous l'avez vû dans notre projet de réponse, il est des préliminaires à remplir à l'égard des Etats-unis,1 et tant qu'ils ne le seront pas, vous ne sauriez paroître, ni par conséquent vous permettre le moindre acte ministériel vis-à-vis des deux Médiateurs: en le faisant vous vous exposeriez au risque de compromettre en pure perte le caractère dont vous êtes revêtu.
J'ai l'honneur d'être très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0316-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-18

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter which you did me the honor to write to me the 13th of this month. It was owing to the confidence I placed in your judgment and zeal for your country that I entrusted to you the propositions of the two imperial courts and requested that you would make such observations as you might think them susceptible of. Things are not yet sufficiently advanced to admit of communicating them to the mediating courts. As you have seen in the sketch of our answer, there are preliminaries to be adjusted with respect to the United States,1 and until they are, you cannot appear and consequently you cannot transact anything officially with respect to the two mediators. By so doing you would hazard and expose the dignity of the character with which you are invested.
I have the honor to be very perfectly, sir, your most humble and most obedient servant
[signed] De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Le Cte. De Vergennes. 18 July. 1781. recd at five O Clock afternoon Same day.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “This Letter was { 424 } addressed in these Words A monsieur, Monsieur Adams, Agent des Etats Unis de l'Amérique Septentrionale à l'hotel de valois, rüe de Richelieu a Paris. C. de Vergennes.—all in the Hand Writing of the Clerk who wrote the Letter. The Letter was signed by the Comte, de Vergennes.” In 1809 JA published a translation of this letter in the Boston Patriot. There he copied the notation and continued: “Whether the word 'agent' was a blunder of the clerk, or the art and design of the Comte, is of no consequence now. He knew I was a minister plenipotentiary, both for peace, and to the states of Holland: but what reason he had for avoiding to acknowledge it, I know not. It excited some reflections and suspicions at the time, because it seemed to be conformable to the views of the mediating courts, which the court of France ought not to have countenanced” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 122–123).
1. In JA's translation in the Boston Patriot, the passage from the previous comma was italicized.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0317

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-18

To the Comte de Vergennes

I have received the Letter, Sir, which you did me the honour to write me of this Days Date: and I assure your Excellency I never had a Thought of appearing upon the Scaene, or of taking ministerially or otherwise any Step towards the two mediators. I must confess to your Excellency, that I have too many Jealousies of the motives, and too many Apprehensions of the Consequences of this Negotiation, to be willing to take any Part in it without an express vocation. The English are in such a temper, and are tottering on such a Precipice, that they will not hesitate at any measure, which they think can excite every latent Passion and awaken every dormant Interest in Europe, in order to embroil all the World. Without looking much to Consequences, or weighing whether the quarrels they wish to excite, will be Serviceable to them or not, they Seem to think the more Confusion they make, the better, for which reason, my Fears from the proposed mediation are greater than my hopes.
Nevertheless, if properly called upon, it will be my duty, respectfully to attend to every Step of it: but there are many questions arising in my mind, upon which, in due time, I Should wish to know your Excellency's opinion.
The two Imperial Courts, have proposed, that there Should be an American Representative at the Congress. This is, not merely by implication, but expressly acknowledging, that there is a belligerent Power in America of Sufficient Importance, to be taken notice of by them, and the other Powers of Europe. One would think, after this, the two Imperial Courts, would have communicated their Propositions to Congress. The Propositions, they have made, and communicated to the Courts of France Spain and England, imply that America { 425 } is a Power, a free and independent Power, as much as if they had communicated them also to the Congress, at Philadelphia. Without Such a formal Communication and an Invitation to the United States in Congress, or to their Representative here, made by the mediating Courts, I dont perceive how an American minister, can with Strict Propriety, appear, at the proposed Congress at Vienna, at all. I have never heard it intimated, that they have transmitted their Propositions to Philadelphia. Certainly I have received no Instructions from thence, nor have I received any Intimation of Such Propositions from any minister of either of the mediating Courts, although, as my mission has been long publick and much talked of, I Suppose it was well known to both, that there was a Person in Europe, vested by America with Power to make Peace. It Seems, therefore, that one Step more, might have been taken, perfectly consistent with the first, and that it may yet be taken, and that it is but reasonable to expect that it will. How is the American Minister to know, that there is a Congress, and that it is expected, that he Should repair to it? and that any minister from Great Britain, will meet him there? Is the British Court, or their Ambassador, to give him notice? This Seems less probable, than that the mediators Should do it.
The Dignity of North America, does not consist in diplomatick Ceremonials, or any of the Subtilities of Etiquette: it consists Solely in Reason, Justice, Truth, the Rights of Man kind, and the Interests of the nations of Europe, all of which well understood, are clearly in her favour. I shall never, therefore make unnecessary difficulties on the Score of Etiquette, and Shall never insist upon any Thing of this kind, which your Excellency, or some other Minister in Alliance does not advise me to, as indispensible. I Shall go to Vienna, or elsewhere, if your Excellency Shall invite or advise me to go. But as these Reflections occurred to me, upon the Point of Propriety, I thought it my duty to mention them to your Excellency.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:425.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0318

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-19

To the Comte de Vergennes

In my Letter, Sir, of the Eighteenth, I had the Honour to mention Some Things which lay upon my Mind: but am Still apprehensive { 426 } that in a former Letter, I have not conveyed my full meaning to your Excellency.
In my Letter of the Sixteenth, I Submitted to your Excellencys Opinion and Advice, whether an American Minister, could appear at the Congress at Vienna, without having his Character acknowledged, by any Power, more expressly than it is now.
This was Said upon the Supposition, and taking it for granted, that it was the Intention of the mediating Courts, to admit a Representative of the United States to the Congress, with Such a commission, and Such a Title as the United States Should think fit to give him: and that during his whole Residence and negotiations at Vienna, whether they Should terminate in Peace or not, he Should enjoy all the Prerogatives which the Law of nations has annexed to the Character, Person, Habitation and Attendants of Such a minister. It is impossible, that there should be a Treaty at Vienna, between Great Britain and the People of America, whether they are called United States of1 American Colonies, unless both nations appear there, by Representatives, who must be authorised by Commissions or full Powers, which must be mutually exchanged and consequently admitted to be, what upon the Face of them they purport to be.
The Commission, from the United States, for making Peace, which has been in Europe, almost two Years, is that of a Minister Plenipotentiary, and it authorises him to treat only with Ministers vested with equal Powers. If he were to appear at Vienna, he certainly would assume, the Title and Character of a Minister Plenipotentiary and could enter into no Treaty nor Conference, with any Minister from Great Britain, untill they had mutually exchanged, authentick Copies of their full Powers. This, it is true, would be an implied Acknowledgment of his Character and Title, and those of the United States too: but Such an Acknowledgment, is indispensable, because without it, there can be no Treaty at all. In Consequence, he would expect to enjoy all the Prerogatives of that Character, and the moment they Should be refused him, he must quit the Congress, let the Consequences be, what they might.
And I rely upon it, this is the Intention of the two Imperial Courts: because otherwise, they would have proposed the Congress, upon the Basis of the two British Preliminaries, a Rupture of the Treaty, with France, and a Return of the Americans to their Submission to Great Britain, and because I cannot Suppose it possible, that those Courts, could believe the Americans capable of Such infinite Baseness, as to appear upon the Stage of the Universe, to acknowledge themselves { 427 } guilty of Rebellion, and Supplicate for Grace. Nor can I Suppose, that they meant to fix a Brand of disgrace, upon the Americans, in the Sight of all Nations, or to pronounce Judgment against them: one, or all of which Suppositions must be made, before it can be believed that those Courts did not mean to protect the American Minister, in the Enjoyment of the Priviledges attached to the Character which he must assume. And because, otherwise, all their Propositions would be to no Effect; for no Congress at Vienna can make either one or the other of the two proposed Peace's, without the United States.
But, upon looking over again, the Words of the first Article, there Seems to be room for dispute, which a British minister, in the present State of his Country, would be capable of taking Advantage of. The Terms used, Seem to be justly exceptionable. There are no “American Colonies” at War with Great Britain. The Power at War, is The United States of America. No American Colonies, have any Representative in Europe, unless Nova Scotia or Quebeck, or Some of the West India Islands may have an Agent in London. The Word Colony in its usual Acceptation, implies a Metropolis, a Mother Country, a Superiour Political Governor, Ideas, which the United States, have long Since renounced for ever.
I am therefore clear in my own opinion, that a more explicit declaration ought to be insisted on; and that no American Representative, ought to appear, without an express assurance, that while the Congress lasts, and in going to it and returning from it, he shall be considered as a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, and entituled to all the Prerogatives of Such a Minister from a Sovereign Power. The Congress might be to him and his Country but a Snare, unless the Substance of this is bona fide intended: and if it is intended there can be no Sufficient Reason for declining to express it, in Words.
If there is a Power upon Earth, that imagines that America, will ever appear, at a Congress, before a Minister of Great Britain, or any other Power, in the Character of repenting Subjects, to Solicit or receive an Amnesty or a Warranty of an Amnesty, that Power, is infinitely deceived. There are few Americans, would hold their Lives upon Such Terms, and I know of none, who would not rather choose to appear, upon a Scaffold in their own Country or in Great Britain. All Such odious Ideas ought to be, forever laid aside by the British Ministry before they propose mediations, or talk of Peace. The bare mention of them by Great Britain to the United States, would be { 428 } considered, only as another Repetition of Injury and Insult.2 The Proposal of a Rupture of the Treaty is nothing less to France.
But it is possible, that in the future Course of this negotiation, there may be a Proposal of a Congress of Ministers, of the Several mediating and belligerent Powers, exclusive of the United States, to deliberate on the question, in what Character, the United States are to be considered, and whether a Representative from them can be admitted, and what Shall be his Title and Priviledges.
All that I can Say, to this Case, at present, is this. The United States have assumed their equal Station among the nations:3 they have assumed a Sovereignty, which they acknowledge to hold only from God and their own Swords. They can be represented only as a Sovereign and therefore, although they might not be able to prevent it, they can never consent that any of these Things Shall be made questions. To give their Consent, would make the Surrender of their Sovereignty their own Act. France has acknowledged all these things, and bound her Honour and Faith to the Support of them, and therefore, although She might not be able to prevent it, She cannot consent that they should be disputed. Her Consent would make the Surrender of the American Sovereignty her Act. And what End can it answer to dispute them, unless it be, to extend the Flames of War? If Great Britain had a Colour of Reason, for pretending that France's Acknowledgment of American Independance, was an Hostility against her the United States would have a Stronger Reason to contend that a denial of their Sovereignty was a declaration of War against them. And as France is bound to Support their Sovereignty, She would have Reason to Say that a denial of it, is an Hostility against her, if any Power of Europe has an Inclination to join England, and make War against France and the United States, there is no need of a previous Congress to enable her to do it, with more Solemnity, or to furnish her with plausible Pretexts. But, on the other Hand, if the Powers of Europe are persuaded of the Justice of the American Pretensions, and think [it the] duty of Humanity4 to endeavour to bring about Peace, they may easily propose that the Character of the United States shall be acknowledged, and their Minister admitted.
I cannot but persuade myself that the two Imperial Courts, are convinced of the Justice of the American Cause, of the Stability of the American Sovereignty and of the Propriety and necessity, of an Acknowledgment of it, by all the Powers of Europe. This I think may be fairly and conclusively inferred, from the Propositions themselves. Was there ever an Example of a Congress of the Powers of Europe { 429 } to exhort, to influence, to overawe, the rebellious subjects of any one of them into Obedience? Is not every Sovereign adequate to the Government, Punishment or Pardon of its own criminal subjects? Would it not be a Precedent mischievous to Mankind, and tending to universal Despotism, if a Sovereign, which has been proved to be unequal to the Reformation or Chastisement of the pretended Crimes of its own Subjects, should be countenanced in calling in the Aid, of all or any of the other Powers, to assist him? It is quite Sufficient, that Great Britain has already been permitted to hire Twenty thousand German Troops for seven Years, and to fill them up yearly by fresh Recruits, in Addition to her own Force: it is quite Sufficient, that She has been permitted to corrupt innumerable Tribes of Savages, in Addition to both, to assist her in propagating her System of Tyranny, and in committing her Butcheries in America, without being able to succeed. After all this, which is notorious to all Europe, it is impossible to believe that the Imperial Courts mean to give their Influence, in any degree, towards bringing America to Submission to Great Britain. It seems to me, therefore most certain, that the Imperial Courts, perceive that American Independance must be acknowledged, and if this is so, I think there can be no Objection against ascertaining the Character of the American Minister, before any Congress meets, So that he may take his Place in it, as soon as it opens.
But if any Sentiments of Delicacy, Should induce those Courts to think it necessary to wait, for Great Britain to set the Example of Such Acknowledgment, one should think it necessary to wait untill that Power Shall discover some Symptoms of an Inclination that Way. A Congress, in which she should appear and France and the United States not be represented, would have no tendency to give her Such a disposition, but on the contrary afford her an Opportunity of forming Parties, blowing up the Coals of War, and propagating Prejudices and Partial Notions.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:427–428); endorsed: “M. de R.” LbC (Adams Papers); text completely canceled. Dft (Adams Papers); notation by CFA: “Draught of letter to the Count de Vergennes.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent by my servant J. Stephens 21. July. to Versailles.” The three Adams Papers documents are listed in the order in which they presumably were written. They have been used to confirm or correct doubtful readings in the recipient's copy. Note, however, that JA made additional changes in the recipient's copy.
{ 430 }
1. “Or” in the second Letterbook copy.
2. The first Letterbook copy ends at this point.
3. A direct reference to the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. JA used the same words, for much the same purpose, in his memorial of 19 April to the States General, above.
4. In both the draft and the second Letterbook copy, the text from the previous comma to this point reads “and think it their duty to Humanity.”

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0319

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-19

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I think your Excellency will not be Surprized to find that I am stil at Amsterdam.1 Mr. Dana is so well Accompanied on his Route, that it was quite Unnecessary any one Else should attend him; and the Difficulties daily arising in the Dispatch of the South Carolina take from me any certainty of leaving this Place yet awhile. Tis true we are told that she will go on such a day and such a day. But Most have hitherto been deceivd so much, that they are sick of talking of it. The Comdor. is now at the Texel to see to the Loading of another Ship taken up by Messrs. De Neufville. This is supposed will be done in four or five days and then—
I am Happy to hear your Excellency is in good Health and Good Spirits at Paris. We have had news here from Lorient, which I suppose your Excellency has heard, Relative to our Affairs in S. Carolina, that rejoices every one.2 We have been in a Bustle for 3 or four Days [On Account?] of the Emperors Visit his Behaviour was as usual Condescending to all, and therefore he has gaind the Admiration of all. It is said He had a long Conversation with Mr. <Randolph> Rendorp who is quite content with what passed between them. His disposition towards England being sounded He said, He could by no means take part with the Ennemies of his Friends—Mr. Le Roy told me yesterday, that He is well assured, that He expressed a Desire to see your Excellency.3 There seems to have been but one Man here who committed a Sottise4 towards Him. It was a Broker, who having an Obligation on that Part of Silesia, that was conquered and is now possessd by the King of Prussia, presented it to Him for payment. He mildly said He must apply to his prussian Majesty. Others report that He told the Man that it required three or four hundred thousand men to recover the sum demanded.
They talk of some resolutions that Frieseland has come to, which are very interesting. Among them are a recomendation of entering into Engagements with France and Acknowledging the Independancy of America.5
{ 431 }
I have receivd a Letter from my Friend at London informing me that He has sent a parcell of Books to Segourney, marked A.A.
I wish your Excellency much Health and a Continuation of Good Spirits whilst at Paris.
I am with the greatest Respects Sir Your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Sert.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. Francis Dana had invited Jenings to accompany him to Russia (to Edmund Jenings, 29 April, note 2, above).
2. The news from Lorient has not been identified. However, the Gazette de Leyde of 24 July reported actions by forces under Nathanael Greene, Francis Marion, and others against British detachments in North and South Carolina at Camden, Ninety Six, Hobkirks Hill, and Fort Watson. While these were not all victories, their cumulative effect was to drive the British from the interior of the Carolinas (Middlekauff, Glorious Cause, p. 488–490).
3. Joseph II visited Amsterdam 12–15 July. On the day of his departure he met for a half hour with Joachim Rendorp, burgomaster of Amsterdam at l'Hotel d Ville (Gazette de Leyde, 20 July). For another account of the Emperor's purported desire to see JA, see JA's letter of 3 Aug. to the president of Congress, below.
4. A foolish insult.
5. See JA's letter of 21 July to the president of Congress (calendared below).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0320

Author: Adams, John
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-07-21

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 21 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 331–332. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:596–597.
John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains an English translation of an article appearing in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 20 July. The article reported that the quarter of Westergo and a portion of that of Sevenwoude, two of the four chambers forming the States of Friesland, had protested against a plurality in the provincial states in support of the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. In a letter of 24 July (Adams Papers), the last written by Thaxter to Congress before John Adams' return from Paris, he referred again to events in Friesland and explained that the States of Friesland, “which strangers often confound with West Friesland, or North Holland,” was composed of four chambers or quarters: Oostergo of eleven districts; Westergo of 9 districts; Sevenwoude of 10 districts; and a fourth chamber composed of the deputies from the province's eleven cities.
RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 331–332). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:596–597.)

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0321

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1781-07-21

To the Comte de Vergennes

Since my Letter of the nineteenth, Sir, another Point has occurred to me, upon which it seems necessary, that I Should Say Something to your Excellency, before my Departure for Holland, which will be on Monday Morning.2
An Idea has, I perceive been suggested, of the several States of { 432 } America, choosing Agents seperately, to attend the Congress, at Vienna, in order to make Peace, with Great Britain, so that there would be thirteen instead of one.3
The Constitution or Confederation of the United States, which has been Solemnly adopted and ratified by each of them Seperately and by all of them jointly has been officially and authentically notified to their Majesties the Kings of France and Spain, and to their High Mightinesses, the States General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries, and communicated to all the other Courts and Nations of the World, as far as the Gazettes of Europe are able to Spread it: So that it is now as well and universally known as any Constitution of Government in Europe.
By this Constitution, all Power and Authority, of negotiating with foreign Powers is expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.4 It would therefore be a publick Disrespect and Contempt offered, to the Constitution of the Nation if any Power Should make any Application, whatever, to the Governors, or Legislatures of the Separate States. In this respect the American Constitution is very different from the Batavian.
If the two Imperial Courts Should address their Articles to the States Seperately No Governor or President of any one of those Commonwealths, could even communicate it to the Legislature. No President of a Senate could lay it, before the Body, over which he presides. No Speaker of an House of Representatives could read it to the House.
It would be an Error, and a Misdemeanour, in any of these officers, to receive and communicate any Such Letter. All that he could do would be, after breaking the Seal and reading it, to Send it back. He could not, even, legally transmit it to Congress. If Such an Application, therefore, Should be made and Sent back, it would consume, much time to no Purpose, and perhaps have other worse Effects.
There is no method for the Courts of Europe, to convey any Thing to the People of America but through the Congress of the United States, nor any Way of negotiating with them, but by means of that Body. I must therefore intreat your Excellency, that the Idea of Summoning Ministers from the thirteen States may not be countenanced at all.
I know very well, that if each State, had in the Confederation, reserved to itself a right of negotiating with foreign Powers, and Such an Application Should have been made to them, Seperately upon this { 433 } occasion, they would all of them Seperately refer it to Congress, because the People universally know, and are well agreed, that all Connections with foreign Countries, must, in their Circumstances, be under one Direction. But all these Things, were very maturely considered in framing the Confederation, by which, the People of each State, have taken away from themselves, even the right of deliberating and debating upon these Affairs, unless they should be referred to them by Congress for their Advice, or unless they should think proper to instruct their Delegates in Congress, of their own Accord.
This matter may not appear to your Excellency, in so important a Light as it does to me: and the Thought of such an Application to the United states may not have been seriously entertained: but, as it has been mentioned, though only in a Way of transient Speculation, I thought I could not excuse myself from Saying Something upon it, because I knew it would be considered in so unfavourable a Light, in America, that I am persuaded Congress would think them selves bound to remonstrate against it, in the most Solemn manner.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:441); endorsed: “M de R.”
1. In 1809, when he published this letter in the Boston Patriot, JA preceded it with the following explanation of his motives for writing his final letter to Vergennes. “I lived in daily and hourly hopes and expectation of an answer to some of my letters and communications, or of an invitation to some personal conference, in which I might be favored with some intimations of his excellency's sentiments of approbation, or disaprobation, or his advice, criticisms or corrections of any thing he might think required any alteration. But nothing appeared. All was total silence and impenetrable mystery. Such a dead reserve, such a fixed determination not to commit himself to any thing; not even to an acknowledgment of the obligations of his own treaty with the United States, appeared to me to be poor encouragement to us, to be over communicative with the French ministry. I waited till the twenty first of the month, when, being very anxious to return to Holland, where I had reason to believe I could negociate for peace with Great Britain, much more rapidly than in France, I wrote the following letter” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 130).
2. 23 July.
3. It is not known how JA learned of this proposal. He received full confirmation of it several months later via Francis Dana in St. Petersburg. Dana provided copies of letters he had received from the Marquis de Verac dated 2 and 12 Sept. regarding the general peace conference (LbC's in French, Adams Papers; English translations, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:684–685, 705–707).
Count Panin, Catherine II's chancellor, first posed the idea of inviting American state delegates during preliminary discussions concerning a Russian mediation of the Anglo-French war in 1780. Prince Kaunitz, the Austrian chancellor, raised the plan again in April 1781 in talks with the French ambassador at Vienna concerning the Austro-Russian mediation. Both men believed that Britain was more likely to negotiate with the individual states than with Congress because it would have the opportunity to split the rebellious colonies and retain a portion of its American empire. Moreover, this plan would allow Britain to avoid { 434 } recognizing the U.S. as sovereign and independent.
Vergennes favored the proposal. In a memorandum to Louis XVI of Feb. 1781, the foreign minister reasoned that the only means to end the war might be for the U.S. to accept a long truce based on uti posseditis. France would guarantee American independence during the term of the truce, but if Britain negotiated with the separate states the likely effect would be the partition of the U.S.
Whether due to JA's forthright representations or to the improving military situation in the U.S., Vergennes' reply to the mediators in August rejected their intervention principally because of uncertainty over the status of Congress' negotiator at any peace conference (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 245, 328; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 169–171, 179– 183, 208–210).
In 1809, when he published this letter in the Boston Patriot, JA credited his letters to Vergennes for the defeat of the mediation. There he wrote: “The answer to the articles relative to America, proposed by the two imperial courts, and the letters to the Comte de Vergennes, ... I have the satisfaction to believe, defeated the profound and magnificent project of a Congress at Vienna, for the purpose of chicaning the United States out of their independence.
“It moreover established the principle, that American Ministers Plenipotentiary were not to appear without their public titles and characters, nor to negociate but with their equals after an exchange of full powers” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 133).
4. See the Articles of Confederation, Art. 6 (JCC, 19:216–217).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0322-0001

Author: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-21

From the Committee for Foreign Affairs

[salute] Sir

I do not find by President Huntington's Letter Book that he has forwarded the within Resolve of July 12th. respecting your Powers of Sept. 29th. 1779 therefore I take the Opportunity of two Vessels which are to sail in a few Hours, to communicate it doubly.

[salute] Your humble Servant

[signed] James Lovell
for the Comte. of for. Affrs.
private
The whole of the Proceedings here in regard to your two Commissions, are I think, ||Ill judged but|| I persuade myself no ||dishonour was for you int||ended, the Business greatly in every view ||chagrins me||. This you will have learnt from my former Letters written in an half light.1
By her own Account your Lady was well June 30th.2 Your last to us is of Oct. 24.3
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams Holland or”; notation: “Forwarded by Yr. most hble Servt J Nesbitt”; endorsed: “Mr Lovels Letter July 21 1781”; notation on the second page of the letter: “Mr. J.A.”
1. Presumably Lovell's letters of 21 June and [ca. 15 March], both above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0322-0002

Author: Continental Congress
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-07-12

Enclosure: A Resolution on a Treaty of Commerce

By the United states in Congress assembled
Resolved That the commission and instructions for negotiating a treaty of Commerce between these United states and Great Britain given to the honorable John Adams on the twenty ninth day of Sep• { 435 } tember one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine be and they are hereby revoked.1
Extract from the minutes
[signed] Cha Thomson secy.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams Holland or”; notation: “Forwarded by Yr. most hble Servt J Nesbitt”; endorsed: “Mr Lovels Letter July 21 1781”; notation on the second page of the letter: “Mr. J.A.”
1. See JCC, 20:746–747. The resolution to revoke JA's commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty proceeded directly from Congress' revision of the peace ultimata in its instructions of 15 June to the expanded peace commission. Under the new instructions a western border on the Mississippi River was no longer the sine qua non for any Anglo-American peace treaty, while the preservation of Newfoundland fishing rights remained a requirement for the Anglo-American commercial treaty. For the new peace instructions, their relationship to the resolution of 12 July, and Congress' effort to resolve the resulting sectional conflict, see Commissions and Instructions for Mediation and Peace, 15 June, No. III, and note 9, above. Regarding Congress' 12 July resolution, JA would write to the president of Congress on 5 Feb. 1783 that he had never received any “explanation of the motives to it, or the reasons on which it was founded” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:242–247).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0323

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-08-01

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Upon my Arrival here I found your Letter of the 30th. of June. Copy of which had been sent along to me by Mr. Thaxter to Paris, but by some unaccountable means sent back without being delivered to me.
Many Bills had been presented in my Absence, and at first I was at a loss whether to accept them, until further Advice from You. But considering they had lain here near a Month, and that detaining them longer unaccepted would occasion some disagreable Speculation here, and observing by your Letter, that the stopping of the Specie in Holland was the Condition upon which You meant to pay them, I have ventured to accept them all. Inclosed is a List of all the Bills hitherto accepted since the former list transmitted to You.1
Inclosed is also another Number of the Politique Hollandais.
The Ship is not yet sailed, but We are now told She is to sail in a few days, which at least I hope will prove true.2
I have the Honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient humble Servant.
[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Augt 1. 1781.” On the page containing the endorsement is a series of calculations.
1. Neither the enclosed list of bills nor the copy of Le politique hollandais mentioned in the following paragraph has been found. The previous list of bills that JA accepted and sent { 436 } to Franklin was dated 14 June (LbC, Adams Papers). On 17 July Fizeaux, Grand & Co. wrote to present 43 bills totaling 35,726 florins (Adams Papers).
2. In a letter of 7 Aug. to Jean de Neufville & Fils, William Jackson wrote that Como. Alexander Gillon had weighed anchor that morning, crossed the shoals, and was at sea off the Texel (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 4, f. 517– 518). Gillon had gone to sea, at least in part, to avoid his creditors and was anchored outside the jurisdiction of the Dutch courts (Louis F. Middlebrook, The Frigate South Carolina: A Famous Revolutionary War Ship, Salem, Mass., 1929, p. 4–5). The South Carolina apparently sailed for America on or about 12 Aug., for which see William Jackson's letter of that date, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0324

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-03

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inclose Copies of some Papers which passed between the Comte de Vergennes and me, lately at Paris.1 The Conjecture, that the British Court would insist upon their two Preliminaries, is become more probable by the publication of the King's Speech at the Prorogation of Parliament.2
“The Zeal and Ardor which You have shewn for the Honor of my Crown,” says the King; “your firm and steady support of a just Cause, and the great efforts You have made to enable me to surmount all the difficulties of this extensive and complicated War, must convince the World, that the ancient Spirit of the British Nation is not abated or diminished.”
“While I lament the continuance of the present Troubles, and the Extension of the War, I have the conscious satisfaction to reflect that the constant aim of all my Councils has been to bring back my deluded subjects in America to the happiness and liberty they formerly enjoyed, and to see the tranquility of Europe restored.”
“To defend the dominions, and to maintain the rights of this Country, was on my part the sole Cause and is the Object of the War. Peace is the earnest wish of my heart; but I have too firm a Reliance on the spirit and resources of the Nation; the powerful Assistance of my Parliament, and the Protection of a just and all ruling Providence, to accept it upon any other terms or conditions than such as may consist with the honor and dignity of my crown, and the permanent interest and security of my people.”
We all know very well what his meaning is, when he mentions “the honor and dignity of his crown, and the permanent interest and security of his people.” Could the Minister, who composed this Speech, expect, that anybody would believe him when he said, that the constant Aim of all his Councils had been to bring back the Americans to the happiness and liberty they formerly enjoyed?
{ 437 }
The whole of this Speech is in a Strain, which leaves no room to doubt that the Cabinet of St. James's is yet resolved to persevere in the War to the last Extremity, and to insist still upon the Return of America to british Obedience, and upon the rupture of the Treaty with France, as Preliminaries to the Congress at Vienna. Thus the two Imperial Courts will find themselves trifled with by the British. It is not to be supposed that either will be the voluntary bubble of such trickish Policy. The Empress of Russia is supposed to be as sagacious as She is spirited: yet She seems to have given some attention to the pacific professions of the English. If She should see herself intentionally decieved, She will not probably be very patient. The Emperor, in his late Journey through Holland, made himself the Object of the Esteem and Admiration of all: affable and familiar, as a great Sovereign can ever allow himself to be with dignity, he gave to many Persons unequivocal Intimations of his sentiments upon public affairs. Patriotism seemed to be the object, which he wished to distinguish. Whoever espoused with zeal the honor and interest of his own Country, was sure of some mark of his Approbation: whoever appeared to countenance another Country in preference to his own, found some symptom of his dislike: even the Ladies French or Dutch, who had any of the English Modes in their Dress recieved from his Majesty some Intimation of his disapprobation of their taste. Every body here, since his departure, is confident of his entire detestation of the principles on which the English have conducted this War, and of his determination to take no part in it, in their favor. His Sentiments concerning America are inferred [from] a very singular Anecdote, which is so well attested, that it may not be improper to mention to Congress.
His Majesty condescended in a certain Company to enquire after the Minister of the United States of America to their high Mightinesses—said he was acquainted with his Name and Character, and should be glad to see him: a Lady in Company asked his Majesty if he would drink Tea with him at her House? He replied in the affirmative in the Character of the Comte of Falkenstein.3 A Lady in Company undertook to form the Party: but upon Enquiry, the American was at Paris. It is supposed with good reason that there could be nothing personal in this Curiosity, and therefore that it was intended as a political signification of a certain degree of complaisance towards America.
Thus it is, that the Words, Gestures and Countenances of Sovereigns are watched, and political Inferences drawn from them: but { 438 } there is too much Uncertainty in this Science, to depend much upon it. It seems however that the Emperor made himself so popular here, as to excite some appearance of Jealousy in Prussia.
For my own part, I think that the greatest political stroke, which the two Imperial Courts could make, would be, upon recieving the answer from England adhering to their Preliminaries, immediately to declare the United States independent. It would be to their immortal honor: it would be in the Character of each of these extraordinary Genius's: it would be a blessing to Mankind: it would even be friendship to England.
I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 343–346); endorsed: “Letter Aug 3. 1781 Amsterdam J Adams Read Oct 3. Britain will probably insist on her two Preliminaries Conduct of the Emperor of Germany while in Holland.” LbC (Adams Papers). The RC is damaged at one point and the missing word supplied from the Letterbook.
1. Enclosures not found. Presumably JA enclosed copies of his complete correspondence with Vergennes in July.
2. JA's source for George III's speech of 18 July was likely an English newspaper; he provides a virtually verbatim transcription of the 3d, 8th, and 9th paragraphs of the speech as it appeared in the London Chronicle of 17–19 July.
3. The pseudonym Joseph II used when traveling or acting incognito (Gazette de Leyde, 13 July). A meeting between JA and Count Falkenstein would have had no official implication, particularly with regard to Austrian recognition of the U.S. as independent and sovereign.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0325

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-04

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

I should Scarcely be credited, if I were to describe the present State of this Country. There is more Animosity against one another, than against the common Ennemy. They can agree upon nothing. Neither upon War, nor Peace: neither upon acknowledging the Independency of America, nor upon denying it. Hopes of a general Peace, which flatter all Parties, are continually kept up by Tales and Artifices, which are too gross to impose upon any Man who has the free Use of his Reason. There is yet as much fear of provoking England, as if she was their Freind, or their Protector.
The naval force of England, is held in check, by her other Ennemies in Such a manner, that the Ships of the Republick, would be able to do a great deal, if they were employed: but they do nothing: and there is as little done, by Individuals in Privateering, as by the national Marine.
{ 439 }
They however, or Somebody for them do their full Share with the other Powers of War in writing Paragraphs in the Gazettes, in which their Forces and Efforts are exagerated.
It will be three or four Years, according to every present Appearance before this nation will get warm enough to do any Thing, and therefore Americans, I think have no ground at all to expect any Kind of Assistance or Encouragement from hence. The Dutch Officers would fight, if they had opportunity: and the English are not without Apprehensions from them, So that probably they will think themselves obliged to keep more of their Forces at home, than they would if the Dutch were not in the War. This is all the Advantage, that We shall derive.
I have taken some Pains to discover the true Motives and Causes of that Aversion, which prevails, against acknowledging American Independence,—to consider it, in the Strongest Light, even as the English themselves consider it, it is but an Hostility against an open Ennemy. The English themselves are laughing at them for their Blindness and Timidity, in not doing it. The immediate Advantages from it, in Trade, War, and Policy are obvious: The Disadvantages, no Man can see <, but a Dutchman>.
I never could get any other Answer to my Questions Why dont you acknowledge America? What Reasons have you against it? What are you afraid of? What harm could it do you? than this. We are Small and weak. We have no desire to do a brillant Action. We ought to avoid coming to Extremities with England, as long as possible. We ought not to provoke England. England must See, and know that she can never prevail in America, and therefore, if We were to provoke her, She will withdraw her Fleets and Armies from thence, fall upon this Republick and tear it to Pieces. This is So weak, that it is impossible, they should be in Earnest. There must be Some other View. None of them will avow it: but I take the Secret to be, they think they may be brought low by the English, and in such Case they might be able to purchase Peace by the Sacrifice of America. In this they are deceived again: but if they were not, there is a baseness of Soul in it that would disgrace Shylock the Jew. Thanks be to God it is <neither> not in <the> their Power <of Jews or Dutchmen> to Sacrifice America.
In Short the Nation has no Confidence left in its own Wisdom, Courage, Virtue or Power. It has no Esteem nor Passion, nor desire for either. It loves and Seeks Wealth and that alone. The depravation of the human heart, is more Striking and Shocking in this nation { 440 } than it is, in France, or even England, because there is preserved more of an external show of Regularity, Morals and Religion which adds the odium of Hypocrisy, to that of Profligacy, and Corruption. Before I came to this Country I hoped it was not so bad as Some others: but I have learned enough to convince me, that although external Appearances differ somewhat, the Corruption of the Heart, and the debasement of the Understanding is very nearly equal in all the nations of Europe, and therefore that America can never be too much upon her Guard against them all.
I have the Honour to be
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “not Sent.”

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0326

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-06

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 6 August 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 347–350. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:623..
In this letter, which was read in Congress on 16 Nov., John Adams provided an English translation of a report dated 13 July at St. Petersburg. Taken from the Gazette d'Utrecht of 6 Aug., it disclosed that the Russian government had instructed its minister in London to join with the Swedish and Danish ministers in representations concerning Britain's declaration of war against the Netherlands. The report also indicated that the British minister at St. Petersburg had received his government's answer to the preliminary articles proposed for the Austro-Russian mediation, but that its contents remained unknown. The same report appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 10 August. Adams indicated that one need only look to experience and George III's speech on 18 July to know the likely nature of Britain's response. He then declared: “Thus all Europe is to be bubbled by a species of Chicanery, that has been the derision of America for a Number of Years. In time the Courts of Europe will learn the nature of these british tricks by Experience, and receive them with the Contempt or the Indignation they deserve.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 347–350). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:623).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0327

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-06

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

In several of the London Newspapers of July 26th. appeared the following paragraph.
“An order has been sent from Lord Hillsborough's Office for bringing Curson and Governieur, whom We sometime ago mentioned to have been confined by Command of Sir George Rodney and General Vaughan for having carried on a traiterous Correspondence with the Enemy at St. Eustatia, to Town to be confined in Newgate to take their Trial for the Crime of High Treason. The whole Circumstances { 441 } of their Case and all their Correspondence has been submitted to the Inspection of the Attorney and Solicitor General, and they consider the Offence in so serious a light, that a direct refusal has been given to a Petition from Mr. Curson to be indulged with the priviledge of giving Bail for Appearance on account of the ill health which he has experienced on board the Vengeance, where he and his Colleague have been for some Months confined, and which is now lying at Spithead. It has been discovered from an Inspection of their Papers, that Mr. Adams, the celebrated Negotiator to Holland, was the Man, with whom they held their illicit Correspondence, and it is said that the Appearance of Proof against them, has turned out much stronger, than was originally supposed.”1
Last Fall Mr. Searle informed me, that Messieurs Curson and Governieur were Continental Agents at Statia, and advised me to send my Dispatches to their Care, as worthy Men, a part of whose Duty it was to forward such things to Congress. I accordingly sent several packets of Letters, Newspapers and Pamphlets to their Address, accompanied only with a Line simply requesting their Attention to forward them by the first safe Opportunity.2 I never saw those Gentlemen, or recieved a Line from either. It must have been Imprudence, or Negligence, to suffer my Letters to fall into the hands of the Enemy. I have looked over all the Letters, which I wrote about that time, and I find no Expression in any that could do Harm to the Public if printed in the Gazettes; yet there are some things which the English would not choose to publish I fancy. What other Correspondences of Messieurs Curson and Governieur might have been discovered I know not.
The British Ministry seem to be growing outrageous. The more they dispair, the more angry they are. They think not at all of Peace. America should think of it as little: sighing, longing for Peace, will not obtain it. No Terms short of eternal disgrace and irrecoverable ruin would be accepted. We must brace up our Laws, and our military Discipline, and renounce that devoted and abandoned Nation forever. America must put an End to a foolish and disgraceful Correspondence and Intercourse, which some have indulged, but at which all ought to blush as inconsistent with the Character of Man.
I have the honor 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. 351–352).
1. For an example of this report, see the London Courant of 26 July. With regard to Curson and Gouverneur, the same newspaper noted on 2 Aug. that “To pervert the meaning { 442 } of any statute, is to destroy it. . . . if they were English subjects, it was unjust to seize their property along with the other inhabitants; if they were Dutch, and the seizure of their property was a legal measure, the detaining and imprisoning them, on a charge of high treason, for corresponding with the American Congress, or the French, is the most arbitrary stretch of the law that can be imagined—much as we have been used of late years to perversion and misinterpretation.”
2. On 23 Oct. 1780, JA wrote a first and second lettertwo letters to the firm presumably covering identical packets going by different vessels (both LbC's, Adams Papers). JA indicated that the packets contained dispatches for Congress, but the specific letters enclosed have not been identified. In a letter of 1 Sept. (Adams Papers), Curson & Gouverneur reported that they forwarded the packets. No other correspondence between JA and the firm has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0328

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-06

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I some time since gave Orders as you desired to Mr. Grand, to furnish you with a Credit in Holland for the Remainder of your Salary to November next. But I am now told that your Account having been mixt with Mr. Dana's, he finds it difficult to know the Sum due to you. Be pleased therefore to State your Account for two Years, giving Credit for the Sums you have receiv'd, that an Order may be made for the Ballance.
Upon this Occasion it is right to acquaint you that I do not think we can depend on receiving any more money here applicable to the Support of the Congress Ministers. What Aids are hereafter granted, will probably be transmitted by the Government directly to America. It will therefore be proper to inform Congress, that Care may be taken to furnish their Servants by Remittances from thence.1
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); notation: “I have only Time to transmit to Congress, this Copy, for their Consideration, it requires no Comments from their most obedient Servant J. Adams. Amsterdam Aug. 15. 1781.” This note, in JA's hand, also appears on a copy of Franklin's letter in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 355–356); endorsed: “from Docr Franklin to Mr Adams 6th Augt 1781.”
1. On 5 March 1782 the secretary for foreign affairs, Robert R. Livingston, wrote JA that he had submitted Franklin's letter to Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:219–222). There is no indication as to what specific action, if any, Congress took on 12 Nov. regarding Franklin's letter. But on 2 Jan. 1782, Congress ordered Livingston to provide it with the estimated expenses of its ministers and their secretaries. At the same time, it instructed the superintendent of finance to supply the ministers and secretaries with their salaries. Under the schedule submitted at that time, JA's salary was £2,500. His secretary, when one should be appointed, would receive £500 (JCC, 22:1–2).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0329

Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-06

From Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

After due Consideration we agreed upon sending your two trunks of Books, by land, which I have had executed, having first had them plumbed,1 by which means all Visitation is prevented. I have consigned them à la Veuve Desmeth à Anvers who will send them on to Fizeaux Grand & ce. pursuant to your desires, you have here inclosed the Note of my charges thereto, for which I place 34 10 to your Debit.
I suppose you put order yourself while at Paris, to some other Commands you had wrote me about formarly concerning some trunks of Cloaths &c., at all events I am at your Service.
With regard to your Account, you were hardly gone but I went and applyd to Dr. Franklin to urge him to a settlement concerning your Appointments, he then gave me an order in your favour for two years Salaries from Novr. 1779 to Novemb. 1781. amounting to 120,000, enjoining me to deduct out of said Sum what Money had been paid you and already charged to the Publick. Carefull of your Interets I represented to the Doctor, that out of the former orders he had given you, and that I had charged to the Publick, you had had some part of it, carried to Mr. Dana's account and which I thought it was proper to replace in yours, as Mr. Dana enjoyd a Separate Salary at that time of a £1000 [str.]2 Upon this Consideration the Doctor desired me to write you, in order to give in an account shewing what Sums you have had carried from your Account to Mr. Dana's; to spare you part of that Trouble I inclose you a State of those Transactions which I have extracted from my Books, and also another of what Sums Mr. Dana has had transferr'd from his Account to yours, the whole for your Consideration.3
I also inclose a fresh State of your account currant, and by means of all these Documents I hope you will soon put me in the way of stating your Finances in a regular way as I do ambition to get your Excellency's approbation in my Quality of Director General of your Finances.
You'll be pleased to lett me Know whether we do agree in point of the Ballance due to me of
I have the Honour to be sir Your most obt. hble st. for M. Grand4
[signed] Hy. Grand
{ 444 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “J. Adams Esqr. Amsterdam”; endorsed: “August 6. 1781. Mr Grands Letter.”
1. To plumb a trunk was to have it sealed with lead.
2. The abbreviation Grand used is difficult to read. Congress granted Dana a salary of £1000 sterling on 4 Oct. 1779 (JCC, 15:1145).
3. The enclosures noted here and in the following paragraph have not been found. See JA's reply of 15 Aug., below.
4. Henry's father, Ferdinand.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0330

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-07

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

We have many American Vessels arrivd within these five or six days past most of them belonging to No. Carolina but last from the West Indies, the situation of the Army's preventing their return and will detain them in a foreign Trade til a change takes place, the latest advices we have by them are of May consiquently them at hand Via London are later and more circumstial.
Our letters from Spain advice the Fleet left Cadiz the 20th. the Men of War stood to the Westward and the Transports under Convoy of two Ships and some frigates enterd the Streight,1 some letters mention the Station of the Combind Fleets off Lisbon to Intercept all Outward bound Fleets destind to India, the West Indies, or the Southern States we shall in a Post or two be certain at any rate they have little to apprehend from Darby2 whose force included the Ships destind for New York under Digby makes together only 28 sail who were left the 28 of last month in the Channel.3
We have a singular report from Spain of England having ceeded Minorca to Russia to prevent the execution the present Spanish Expedition from Cadiz is intended against that Island.4
Two American privateers Cruising in the Bay of Biscay discoverd a Cutter whose superior sailing put it out of their power to take her to decoy her they engaged each other the one under English the other under American Colours the Cutter bore down to take part with the supposed English privateer came under her Quarter so soon as out of the power of the Cutter to escape each Privateer bore round her and obliged her to strike she proved a Packet from Rodney with dispatchs which the officer destroyd we shall be informd on Thursday of the perticulars they have been able to colect from the Officers on board. The Cutter is carried into Bilboa.
On advice of the Loss of the Marquis de la fayett I wrote Doct. Franklin offering a considerable supply of Cloathing which should { 445 } have been on this on board the Ships bound for the United States I have not been honor'd with an Answer had my offers been Accepted we have ready for Sea conveyences direct on Moderate Terms.5
With respect I have the Honor to be Sir Your most obedient H Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams. Esq Minister Plenipoty. from the United States of America at Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Mr. Bondfield. 7. Aug. 1781.”
1. On 18 Aug. the fleet landed 14,000 Spanish and French troops at Minorca. The 2,700 man British garrison withstood a siege until 5 Feb. 1782, when disease forced its surrender (Mackesy, War for America, p. 397, 438).
2. The combined fleet sailed on 23 July to cover the expedition to Minorca. It remained at sea only until 5 Sept. and took no action against Darby's outnumbered Channel fleet (same, p. 397; James, British Navy in Adversity, p. 307).
3. The strength of Darby's fleet given by Bondfield is approximately correct. It sailed from Spithead near the end of July to protect incoming West Indian convoys. For part of its voyage the fleet was accompanied by three ships of the line under the command of Adm. Digby, Adm. Arbuthnot's successor as commander in chief in American waters. When Darby learned that the Franco-Spanish fleet was at sea, he abandoned his mission and by 25 Aug. was at Torbay preparing to defend the Channel (Mackesy, War for America, p. 397; James, British Navy in Adversity, p. 306).
4. During the Hussey-Cumberland negotiations in 1780, Spain called for the cession of Gibraltar and Minorca in return for Oran and Mers el Kébir on the Barbary Coast, but Britain summarily rejected the proposal. In early 1781 Britain offered Minorca to Russia as a means to forestall Russian intervention in the Anglo-Dutch war, rather than to counter a Spanish attack on the island (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 54; Mackesy, War for America, p. 383–384).
5. Neither Bondfield's letter to Benjamin Franklin nor any reply by Franklin has been found. See Bondfield's letter of 11 July to the Committee for Foreign Affairs (PCC, No. 92, f. 451–454).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0331

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-08

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

This People must have their own Way. They proceed like no other. There cannot be a more striking Example of this, than the Instructions given to Privateers and Letters of Mark.
The Commander is ordered to bring his Prizes into some Port of the United Provinces, or into the Ports or Roads of the Allies and Friends of this Republick, especially France, Sweeden, North America, or Spain: and the Ship shall be at liberty to join, under a written Convention, with one or more Privateers or other similar Ships of War, belonging to Hollanders, Zealanders, French, Americans or Spanish, to undertake jointly any thing advantageous &c.
This is not only an Acknowledgment of the Independence of North America, but it is avowing it to be an Ally and Friend. But I suppose, in order to elude and evade, it would be said that these are only the { 446 } Instructions given by Owners to their Commanders: yet these Instructions are required to be sworn to, and produced to the Admiralty for their Approbation.
It is certain that the King of Spain, when he declared War against Great Britain, sent orders to all his Officers to treat the Americans as the best Friends of Spain, and the King's Pleasure, being a Law to his Subjects, they are bound by it.
But what is there to oblige a Citizen of the United Provinces to consider the Americans as the Friends of the Republick? There is no such Law, and these Instructions cannot bind. Yet it is very certain, that no Dutchman will venture to take an American.
I have the honor 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. 364–365).
1. In a letter of 9 Aug. from Jean de Neufville & Fils to the president of Congress, the firm reported that JA was shown the admiralty instructions given to two privateers that they had freighted to America. JA observed that the instructions were “an Acknowledgement of Independance of America; the admiralty by their Avowd instructions mentioning in particular, France America and Spain, as our allies and friends” (PCC, No. 145, f. 76). The two privateers were the Liberty and the Aurora, for which see JA's letter of 22 Nov. to Benjamin Franklin (Franklin, Papers, 36:95– 96).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0332

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-11

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

On my return to this Town I found a Letter from London informing me that the 20£ was paid according to order.1 The Gentleman, who executed this Commission is named Bridgen and his address is Bridgen & Waller London, putting a little, b thus under the Seal, which prevents his Partner opening the Letter. He sent me the inclosed Copies of an Ode.2 I find in his letter the following Paragraph: “I hear that the new chariot, which your Nephew has just stept into, is in the highest stile. I Hope He wont drive too fast, least a wheel should fly off but that is his Business.” I fancy this alludes to A Lee, who I suppose has gained the Post, for which He was a Candidate.3
I do not Know whether your Excellency has read a little Work, called the Pou Francois. It is a sad libel on the Old Gentleman at Passy and others. I have no doubt that it is written by Tickel the Author of the Cassette Verte and Anticipation.4 We have reports here of an Engagement between the Dutch and English fleets, but nothing distinctively.5
I did myself the Honor of sending to your Excellency two Books { 447 } published 5 or 6 years ago on public Happiness the Gentleman promised to deliver them safely.6
I find Mr. Lee7 a great deal Better. He desires his Respects to your Excellency.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. See Edward Bridgen's letter of 13 July, above, and JA's reply to Jenings of 18 Aug., below.
2. This enclosure has not been identified.
3. Arthur Lee was Jenings' second cousin. On 17 Jan. Lee was nominated to be secretary for foreign affairs, the post to which Robert R. Livingston was elected on 10 Aug. (JCC, 19:65; 21:851–852).
4. JA received a copy of [Delauney], Histoire d'un pou françois; ou, l'espion d'une nouvelle espéce, tant en France, qu'en Angleterre. Contenant les portraits de personnages intéressans dans ces deux royaumes et donnant la clef des principaux evènemens de l'an 1779, et de ceux qui doivent arriver en 1780, 4th edn., Paris [i.e. London], 1779, the previous fall (vol. 10:296–297). For JA's opinion of the pamphlet, see his reply to Jenings of 18 Aug., below. The work may have been attributed to Richard Tickell because, like Tickell's La Cassette Verte de Monsieur de Sartine, Trouvée chez Mademoiselle Du Thé, The Hague [i.e. London], 1779, its title was in black and red and it was sold by T. Becket of the Strand, London (T. R. Adams, American Controversy, p. 624–625, 678). Tickell's most celebrated work was his parody, Anticipation: Containing the Substance of His M---y's Most Gracious Speech to both H---s of P---l---t, on the Opening of the approaching Session, together With a full and authentic Account of the Debate which will take Place in the H---e of C---s, on the Motion for the Address, and the Amendment, London, 1778. See L. H. Butterfield, Anticipation by Richard Tickell. Reprinted from the First Edition, London, 1778 With an Introduction, Notes and a Bibliography of Tickell's Writings, N.Y., 1942.
5. For the Battle of the Dogger Bank fought on 5 Aug., see JA's letter of 18 Aug. to the president of Congress, below.
6. A copy of François Jean, Marquis de Chastellux, An Essay on Public Happiness, 2 vols., London, 1774, is in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library).
7. William Lee.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0333

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-12

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Since my last of the 6th. Instant there have been several Arrivals in France from America. I have Letters from Philda. of the 20th. June, tho' none from Congress. The Advices are, that General Green has taken all the Enemy's Out Posts in So. Carolina and Georgia, and that their Possession in those Provinces is reduc'd to Charlestown and Savannah. In North Carolina they also have Wilmington. Their Great Force is now under Cornwallis in Virginia, where they are ravaging and burning as usual, M. de la Fayette not being in force to repress them: But Genl. Wayne was on his March to reinforce him, and had passed Annapolis.
I have received the Letter from your Excellency inclosing a List of the Bills you have lately accepted.1 I think you did right in accepting { 448 } them, and hope they are the last that the Congress will draw, 'till they know you have Funds to pay them.
I have the honour to be, with Respect, Sir, Your Excellency's Most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
1. To Benjamin Franklin, 1 Aug., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0334

Author: Jackson, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-12

From William Jackson

[salute] Sir

Could I have supposed that Your Excellency would have returned to Amsterdam before the Ship sailed, I should certainly have done myself the honor and agreeable satisfaction of waiting upon you before I left this Country—but this pleasure is denied me—and I am scarce allowed time by Mr. Thaxter's immediate departure to bid Your Excellency farewell in this abrupt manner1—but I lean with confidence upon a hope that your candor will consider it as the imposition of necessity, not the result of inclination—for, if I may be permitted the expression, my regard and esteem for your private worth and personal character, is not exceeded by my respect for the deserving representative of my Country—I beg that your Excellency will be persuaded of my most perfect attachment—that you would at all times honor me with a proof of that confidence in laying your commands upon me in America, which I will gratefully and chearfully execute—and would you admit my correspondence, I will seize every occasion to communicate whatever transaction may occur in the military line worthy your attention.
I most sincerely wish you every happiness, which in an absence from your family and Country you can enjoy—to which I likewise wish you an early, happy, and honorable return—with every good wish—I am, most respectfully, and sincerely, Your Excellency's obliged and obedt. Servant.
[signed] W Jackson
1. John Thaxter presumably brought CA on board the frigate to be entrusted to Jackson's care for the voyage to America.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0335

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Grand, Ferdinand
Date: 1781-08-15

To Ferdinand Grand

[salute] Sir

Your Letter of May 14. with your Account inclosed I received: I { 449 } | view have also received your Letter of August the 6th., with the Account inclosed in that.1
I will endeavour to explain, myself, as well as I can upon the Several Things mentioned in them.
In the first Account you have given me Credit for 24000 and charged me with 2/7 of it upon my order to Credit Mr. Dana. This Amounts to the Same Thing as if you had credited me with 5/7 of the 24000 and charged me with nothing credited to Mr. Dana. So that I have no Objection to this matter.
The Article of the 22 of January of 2658:16:10, which Mr. Dana desired you to pay me—it is no more than this. Mr. Dana desired me to lend him that sum, when he was here, and going to Paris, to bear his Expences, which I did, <by giving him an order of the House of Fizeaux & Grand>, when he arrived at Paris he desired you to pay me. So that this Article stands right in your Account. There has been no other Connection between Mr. Dana and me, in Money Matters.
Inclosed is an Account currant, which, I pray you to examine and, finish, if you please as soon as convenient by adding, what you have paid or may pay Mr. Williams. Mr. Williams's Account I presume is right. The Wine, I left you will allow me, just what you please for.
I must further beg you to pay Mr. Chavagne, Thirty One Livres four Sous for, a Box of Newspapers he sent me and charge it to my Account.2
1. JA is acknowledging Henry Grand's letters 14 May and 6 Aug., both above.
2. Presumably De Chavannes de La Giraudiere, who wrote to JA on 25 July (Adams Papers) to bemoan the fact that when he called at the Hôtel de Valois JA had already departed and to note that he was sending some newspapers and books. He wrote again on 23 Sept. that he had not yet been paid and was in need of funds because of the illness of his son (Adams Papers). La Giraudiere wrote once again on 20 Oct. and there confessed that he had presented duplicate “mandats,” or orders for payment, to Grand and that both had been paid. He regretted his actions, which were due only to his desperate situation, and awaited JA's judgment on the matter (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0336

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-16

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

Mr. Temple has held offices of such Importance, and a Rank so considerable in America, before the Revolution, that his Return to his native Country at this time, cannot fail to cause much Speculation, and it is to be feared some diversity of sentiments concerning him. As he came from London to Amsterdam and did me the honor of a visit, in which he opened to me his design of returning, and his { 450 } sentiments upon many public affairs, it will be expected in America by many, although it is has not been requested by Mr. Temple; that I should say something concerning him.
I was never before personally acquainted with this Gentleman, but I have long known his public Character and private Reputation. He was ever reputed a Man of very delicate sentiments of Honor, of Integrity and of Attachment to his native Country, although his Education, his long Residences in England, his numerous Connections there, and the high offices he held under the British Government did not ever admit of a general opinion, that his sentiments were in all respects perfectly conformable to those of the most popular Party in the Colonies. Nevertheless he was never suspected to my Knowledge of concurring in or countenancing any of those many Plots which were laid by other Officers of the Crown against our Liberties, but on the contrary was known to be the object of their Jealousy, Revenge and Malice because he would not. He was however intimate with several Gentlemen who stood foremost in opposition, particularly Mr. Otis, who has often communicated to me Intelligence of very great Importance which he had from Mr. Temple, and which he certainly could have got no other Way, as early I believe as 1763 and 1764 and onwards.
I cannot undertake to vindicate Mr. Temple's Policy in remaining so long in England: but it will be easily in his power to shew, what kind of Company he has kept there: what kind of Sentiments and Conversation he has maintained, and in what Occupations he has employed his time.
It is not with a View to recommend Mr. Temple to Honors or Emoluments, that I write this. It would not be proper for me, and Congress know very well, that I have not ventured upon this practice, even in Cases, where I have much more personal knowledge than in this. But it is barely to prevent, as far as my poor opinion may go, Jealousies and Alarms upon Mr. Temple's Arrival. Many may suspect that he comes with secret and bad designs, in the Confidence of the British Ministry, of which I dont believe him capable.
Mr. Temple, it is most certain, has fallen from high Rank and ample Emoluments, merely because he would not join in hostile designs against his Country. This I think should at least entitle him to the quiet Enjoyment of the Liberties of his Country and to the Esteem of his fellow Citizens, provided there are no just grounds of suspicion of him. And I really think it a Testimony due to Truth to say, that after a great deal of the very freest Conversation with him, I see no { 451 } | view { 452 } Reason to suspect his Intentions. I have taken the Liberty to give Mr. Temple my own sentiments concerning the suspicions which have been and are entertained concerning him, and the Causes of them, and of all parts of his Conduct which have come to my knowledge with so little disguise, that he will be well apprized of the disappointments he may meet with, if any. I hope however, that he will meet a more friendly Reception in America, and better prospects of an happy Life there than I have been able to assure him.
Whether any services or sufferings of Mr. Temple could support any Claim upon the Justice, Gratitude or Generosity of the United States, or of that of Massachusetts in particular, is a Question, upon which it would be altogether improper for me to give any opinion, as I know not the facts so well as they may be made known, and as I am no Judge, if I knew the facts. But this I know, that whenever the facts shall be laid before either the Great Council of the United States or that of the Massachusetts, they will be judged of by the worthy Representatives of a just, grateful and generous People, and therefore Mr. Temple will have no Reason to complain if the decision should be against him.1
I have the honor 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. 366–369); endorsed: “Letter Aug 16. 1781 John Adams Read Novr 12.—Relative to Mr Temple.”
1. It is unknown when Temple met with JA. In an undated note JA agreed to meet with Temple at six o'clock. Immediately below JA's signature, Temple wrote “Mr. Adams Invited Mr. Temple to pass a second day with him, without the Company of any other person, but Mr. T happened to be engaged, but sent him word that he would come at 6, and chat with him till 11 oClock, which he did” (MHi: Winthrop Papers).
John Temple was a Boston native, James Bowdoin's son-in-law, and a former customs official. In 1773 he moved to England, but in 1778 and 1779 visited the U.S. in pursuit of a peace settlement based on reconciliation. His actions then, coupled with the Crown offices he had held previously, raised questions as to whether he truly supported the U.S. cause. He was, however, equally at odds with the ministerial forces in England and had been vilified in the London press for his support of the U.S. (vol. 10:418). The tone of JA's letter indicates that he, like Cotton Tufts in 1782, thought that any “Toryism” Temple displayed was nothing more serious than “Don Quixotism” (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:386–387).
Temple was at the center of controversy immediately upon his arrival at Boston in late October. The Mass. Council closely examined him and in 1782 he engaged in a “paper war” with James Sullivan that probably owed as much to the rivalry between John Hancock and James Bowdoin as to issues concerning Temple's loyalty. Congress resolved on 27 Feb. 1782 that JA's letter should not influence the Mass. Council's determination as to whether Temple constituted a threat to the U.S. In late 1783, Temple and his family returned to England. In 1785 he took up residence at New York as the British consul general (same, 4:240, 242, 386–387; 5:271; 6:80–81; JCC, 22:101–102). For Samuel Adams' comments on Temple's arrival, particularly as it effected the relations between Hancock and Bowdoin, see his second letter to JA of 18 Dec., Writings of Samuel Adams, ed. Harry Alonzo Cushing, 4 vols., N.Y., 1904–1908, 4:267–268.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0337

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-16

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 16 August 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, No. 84, III, f. 370–373. printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:640.
This letter, read in Congress on 12 Nov., contains an English translation of a “verbal insinuation” to the Dutch minister at St. Petersburg, proposing to settle the Anglo-Dutch war at a general peace conference at Vienna. For the text of the translation, see John Adams' letter to Benjamin Franklin, 25 Aug., below. Adams did not believe that Russia, in making the offer, had shared the proposed articles for the negotiations with the Dutch minister. He concluded “I must confess, I like this Insinuation very much, because it may be in time an excellent Precedent for making such an Insinuation to the Minister of the United States of America.”
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 370–373.) printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:640).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0338

Author: President of Congress
Author: McKean, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-16

Commission to Conclude a Tripartite Alliance with France and the Netherlands

[salute] The United States in Congress Assembled
To all who shall see these Presents send Greeting,

Whereas a union of the force of the several powers engaged in the War against Great Britain may have a happy tendency to bring the said War to a speedy and favourable issue, and it being the desire of these United States to form an Alliance between them and the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
Know Ye therefore that We confiding in the integrity prudence and ability of the honorable John Adams have nominated, constituted and appointed and by these presents do nominate, constitute and appoint him the said John Adams, our minister Plenipotentiary, giving him full powers general and special to Act in that quality, to confer, treat agree and conclude with the Person or Persons vested with equal powers by his most Christian Majesty and their High Mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands,2 of and concerning a treaty of Alliance between his most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United States of America, and whatever shall be so agreed and concluded, for us and in our name to Sign and thereupon to make such treaty, Conventions and agreements as he shall judge conformable to the ends we have in view; hereby promising in good faith that We will accept ratify and execute whatever shall be agreed, concluded and { 454 } signed by him our said Minister. In Witness whereof We have caused these presents to be signed by our President and sealed with his Seal.
Done at Philadelphia this Sixteenth day of August in the Year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and Eighty One and in the Sixth Year of our Independence By The United States in Congress Assembled
[signed] Attest Chas. Thomson secy.
[signed] Tho. M:Kean President
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Commission of 16. August 1781.—to negotiate a triple or quadruple Alliance.”
1. The Committee for Foreign Affairs sent this commission and the accompanying instructions of the same date, below, under cover of a letter of 1 Sept. (PCC, No. 79, I, f. 286; Wharton ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:683). JA received the letter and its enclosures on the evening of 23 Nov. (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:868).
2. JA's instructions of 16 Aug., below, provided for Spain's accession to the treaty.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0339

Author: President of Congress
Author: McKean, Thomas
Author: Thomson, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-16

Instructions to Conclude a Tripartite Alliance with France and the Netherlands

By The United States in Congress Assembled.
The report of the Committee on the communications of the honble. the Minister Plenipotentiary of France was taken into consideration,2 and thereupon—
Resolved, That the Minister Plenipotentiary of these United States at the Court of Versailles, be directed to inform his most Christian Majesty that the tender of his endeavours to accomplish a coalition between the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and these States, hath been received by Congress, as a fresh Proof of his solicitude for their interests: that previous to the communication of this, his most christian Majesty's friendly purpose, Congress impressed with the importance of such a connection had confided to Mr. John Adams full powers to enter, on the part of the United States, into a treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United Provinces, with a special instruction to conform himself therein to the treaties subsisting between his most Christian Majesty and the United States;3 that Congress do, with pleasure, accept his most Christian Majesty's interposition, and will transmit further powers to their Minister at the Hague, to form a treaty of Alliance; between his Most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces, and the United States, having for its object, and limited in its duration to, the present war with Great { 455 } Britain; that he will be enjoined to confer on all occasions, in the most confidential manner, with his most Christian Majesty's Minister at the Hague; and that Provisional authority will also be sent, to admit his Catholic Majesty, as a party.
Resolved, That the Minister plenipotentiary of these United States at the Hague, be, and he is hereby instructed to propose a treaty of Alliance, between his most christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United States of America, having for its object, and limited in its duration to, the present war with Great Britain,4 and conformed to the treaties subsisting between his most Christian Majesty, and the United States.
That the indispensible conditions of the Alliance be, that their High Mightinesses, the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, shall expressly recognize the Sovereignty and Independence of the United States of America, absolute and unlimited, as well in matters of Government as of Commerce: That the War with Great Britain shall be made a common Cause, each party exerting itself according to its discretion in the most effectual hostility against the common Enemy; And that no party shall conclude either truce or peace with Great Britain without the formal consent of the whole first obtained, nor lay down their arms until the Sovereignty and Independence of these United States shall be formally, or tacitly assured by Great Britain in a treaty which shall terminate the War.
That the said Minister be, and he hereby is farther instructed to unite the two Republics by no Stipulations of Offence, nor Guarantee any possession of the United Provinces: To inform himself, from the minister of these United States at the Court of Spain, of the progress of his negotiations at the said Court; and if an Alliance shall have been entered into, between his Catholic Majesty and these United States, to invite his Catholic Majesty into the Alliance herein intended; if no such Alliance shall have been formed, to receive his Catholic Majesty, should he manifest a disposition to become a party to the Alliance herein intended, according to the Instructions given to the said Minister at the Court of Spain.
That in all other matters not repugnant to these instructions, the said Minister at the Hague do use his best discretion.
Resolved, That the Minister Plenipotentiary of these United States at the Hague, be, and hereby is instructed to confer in the most confidential manner, with his most Christian Majesty's Minister there.5
Ordered That the foregoing resolutions be communicated to our { 456 } Ministers at the Courts of Versailles and Madrid, that they may furnish every information, and aid in their power, to our Minister at the Hague in the Accomplishment of this business.
Extract from the minutes
[signed] Cha Thomson secy.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Instructions of Aug. 16. 1781. Holland.”
1. For the dispatch of these instructions and their arrival, see JA's commission, 16 Aug., note 1, above.
2. On 20 July the Chevalier de La Luzerne requested the appointment of a congressional committee to confer with him about the Anglo-Dutch war and the establishment of a Dutch-American alliance. The Committee reported on 23 July that the French minister indicated that the state of Anglo-Dutch affairs “presented a favourable opportunity for a union of the two republicks” and “that Congress ought not to neglect to send to Holland a prudent and able man, with full powers.” By 13 Aug. the committee had prepared draft instructions that, unlike those adopted on 16 Aug., provided for a bilateral treaty (JCC, 20:769; 21:778–780, 859). There is no record of any further discussions with La Luzerne. Art. 10 of the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Alliance, however, permitted France and the United States to “invite or admit other Powers who may have received injuries from England to make common cause with them, and to accede to the present alliance under such conditions as shall be freely agreed to and settled between all the Parties” (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:39). JA had long believed that Art. 10 could serve as the best means to widen the recognition of the United States as independent and sovereign, and further isolate Great Britain.
3. For JA's commission and instructions of 29 Dec. 1780 respecting a treaty of amity and commerce with the Netherlands, see vol. 10:447–449.
4. The limitation of the alliance to the duration of the war and the refusal to guarantee Dutch possessions mentioned two paragraphs below were the principal differences from the Franco-American alliance. The Franco-American Treaty of Alliance was a perpetual, defensive alliance against British aggression and Arts. 11 and 12 established the basis for a mutual guarantee of possessions (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:39–40).
5. For JA's implementation of this instruction, see his letters of 24 and 25 Nov. to La Vauguyon, and of 4 Dec. to the president of Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:868; 5:3, 36–38).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0340

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-16

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inform your Excellency that I yesterday received Dispatches from Congress, refusing for the present, the Dismission I had requested, and ordering me upon an Additional Service, that of being join'd with yourself and Messrs. Jay, H. Lawrence and T. Jefferson, in Negociations for Peace.1 I would send you a Copy of the Commission, and of another which authorizes us to accept of the Mediation of the Emperor, and the Empress of Russia, but that I suppose you may have them in the enclosed Packet. I shall be glad to learn from your Excellency what Steps have already been taken in this important Business.2
With great Regard, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B. Franklin
{ 457 }
1. For Franklin's attempted resignation, see his letter of 19 May, and note 3, above. The commissions and instructions of 15 June for the joint peace commission were sent to JA under cover of a letter of 20 June from the president of Congress, all above.
2. See JA's reply of 25 Aug., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0341

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-08-17

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

The Day before Yesterday, were brought to my House, Fifty one Bills of Exchange, amounting to 40958 B.f. all drawn on the 22 June 1781 at Six months Sight, on the Honble. Henry Laurens Esqr. in favour of Mr. John Ross.
This is a Phaenomenon which none but you Philosophers can explain, at least I can think of but one Hypothesis, which might account for it. It is, that they had <Settled it in their Minds> received Information that I had gone to Vienna to make Peace; had made it, and thereby obtained Mr. Laurens's Liberty, and his Removal to Holland, and gone over to the Court of St. James's myself to be presented to the King of G. Britain. Say! do I reason like one of the initiated? I am glad they made this discovery, because by this means, I am almost out of the Scrape, and should have been wholly So, had not an unlucky Letter from Mr. Ross been produced, Copy of which is inclosed, in which Mr. Ross desires Messrs. Larwood Van Hasselt and Van Suchtelen “to present them for Acceptance to the Honble. John Adams Esqr. Representative at present from the United States at your Place, or to any of the Agents employed by him” &c.1
Probably this may be, in Payment of the Debt to Mr. Morris and Mr. Ross which you found due to them upon Settlement. However all conjecture are fruitless, as I have no Letter of Advice, or any Intimation concerning them. The Bills are drawn by Mr. Hopkinson and countersignd by Mr. Smith, like former ones, are indorsed by Mr. Ross, and have all the appearances of Genuineness.
Messrs. Larwood & Co. have agreed to wait, untill I could write to your Excellency, to know whether you could pay them, and whether you would choose that I, or any other should accept them. If you cannot pay them they must be protested, for my Loan is exactly in the State it was, when I had the Honour to give your Excellency an Account of it at Paris. And although the Dutch have beat the English,2 they dont yet venture to lend Money to America. I have the Honour to be
{ 458 }
1. The letter from John Ross has not been found. Ross became embroiled with the U.S. Commissioners in 1778 over payment for supplies procured on their behalf. He returned to the U.S. in 1780 to settle his accounts and pressed Congress for payment. On 20 June, Congress ordered Robert Morris to make a partial payment in bills of exchange; that is, in bills drawn on Henry Laurens and John Jay. The Congress did so in accordance with Morris' advice that “it is not necessary to wait for the absolute knowledge of funds being specially appropriated for payment of them in Spain and Holland.” In a diary entry for 23 June, Morris indicated that he issued Ross an order on the loan officer for the bills, which were apparently dated 22 June (vol. 6:28, 80, 379; vol. 7:16–17, 85–86, 119–121, 186; JCC, 20:680–682; Morris, Papers, 1:168, 169). See also Franklin's reply of 31 Aug., and note 1, below.
2. For the Battle of the Dogger Bank, see JA's letter of 18 Aug. to the president of Congress, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0342

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1781-08-18

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I have received your favour of August 7. with much pleasure, and thank you for the agreable News it contains. The Dutch have at last, Sent off Parker with a Flea in his Ear1—pardon a very homely Expression. There is an End, sir, from this Moment of British Tyranny upon the Sea. The Heart and Spirit of the English Navy is certainly broke, and their Skill and Courage gone. They have lost their Courage in finding that the other maritime Powers have equal skill with themselves.
Pray Sir, am I not in your Debt—pray send your Account to Mr. Grand without a Moments loss of Time and draw upon him for Your Money.2 I am about settling Accounts with him and wish to have your Account included in it.
I have the Honour to be
1. For the Battle of the Dogger Bank, see JA's letter of 18 Aug. to the president of Congress, below.
2. Bondfield apparently sent his account directly to JA, for in a letter of 12 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers), JA informed Ferdinand Grand that Bondfield was owed £390 12s.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0343

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-18

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

We have recieved at last Parkers Account of the Action with Admiral Zoutman: according to which, the Battle was maintained with a continual fire for three Hours and forty Minutes, when it became impossible to work his Ships.1 He made an Attempt to recommence the Action, but found it impracticable. The Bienfaisant had lost his { 459 } | view Main-Top-Mast, and the Buffalo her Mizzen Yard, and the other Vessels were not less damaged in their Masts, Rigging and Sails. The Enemy did not appear in a better Condition. The two Squadrons remained some time over against each other; at length the Dutch retired, taking with their Convoy the Course to the Texel. He was not in a Condition to follow them. The Officers, and all aboard, behaved with great Bravery: and the Enemy did not discover less Courage. He incloses the particulars of the killed and wounded, and of the Damages, which the Vessels have sustained. The last is prudently suppressed by the Ministry.—List of the killed and wounded in the Action of the 5th. of August.
  killed.   wounded.   total.    
Fortitude   20   67   87    
Bienfaisant   6   21   27    
Berwick   18   58   76    
Princess Amelia   19   56   75    
Preston   10   40   50    
Buffalo   20   64   84    
Dolphin   11   33   44    
  104   339   443    
The Dutch List is   killed.   wounded.   total.    
Admiral De Ruyter   43   90   133    
Admiral General   7   41   48    
Batavier   18   48   66   besides Capt. Bentink  
Argo   11   87   98    
Holland       64    
Admiral Piet Hein   9   58   67    
      4762    
I have the Honor 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. 374–377) endorsed: “Letter 18 Aug 1781 John Adams Read 12 Novr.”
1. At dawn on 5 Aug. Vice Adm. Sir Hyde Parker's squadron with a merchant fleet from the Baltic sighted Rear Adm. Johan Arnold Zoutman's squadron, also with a merchant fleet, outbound from the Texel. The resulting Battle of the Dogger Bank was conducted at half-musket shot and resulted in extraordinary casualties for the number of vessels engaged. They exceeded, for example, those in the 1778 battle off Ushant in which thirty ships of the line fought on each side. The Dutch proved that they could fight the British navy on equal terms. The battle did much for their morale and was hailed as a victory. The action, however, left the status quo unchanged and was a British victory in the sense that { 460 } Parker's convoy went on to England, while Zoutman's put back into port (Mackesy, War for America, p. 395; Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 189–194). The account given here by JA is from a French translation of Parker's report of 6 Aug. that appeared in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 21 August. See also the report in the English newspapers, such as the London Chronicle of 9–11 August.
2. It is unclear where JA got his casualty figures. While the listing of British casualties agrees with official sources, that for the Dutch is incomplete and understates their losses. The figures accepted by most authorities, and which appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 21 Aug., put the Dutch losses at 142 killed and 403 wounded for a total of 545.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0344

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-08-18

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dr. Sir

I have received your favour of 11. will take measures to repay the 20£. The ode is very fine. I shall be happy if the News is confirmed, that your Nephew has Succeeded. But have no News from America.
The Pou, I read, nine months ago with Contempt and Disgust. I would not have gone through it, if it had not been merely to know that I had read it, as I think it a Duty to read every Thing which relates to America.
An Engagement there has been, in the old Style. A good Hint this to our Ennemies. It would bring them to reason, if they were what they are not, rational Creatures.1 Parkers own Account is enough to shew that the Dutch did their Duty: But will not Parker be shot, for not doing his?
The Empress of Russia has invited their High mightinesses to the Congress qui doit etre a Vienne.2 But what Says the King of England?
I thank you Sir for the Books on publick Happiness, which I received safe, but have not Seen the Gentleman. Have not yet received the Books from Ostend. My Regards to Mr. Lee.3

[salute] Adieu

[signed] A A.4
1. In both the recipient's and Letterbook copies the remainder of the paragraph is interlined. For the Battle of the Doggerbank, see JA's letter of 18 Aug. to the president of Congress, note 1, above.
2. See JA's letter of 16 Aug. to the president of Congress, calendared above.
3. In the Letterbook this paragraph is followed by one that JA canceled: “I feel that there is not a motion made by an American upon the Continent but what is immediately known in London, among certain Circles, and bandied about in Such a manner, that the Ministry know it, as well as they. There is not a paragraph, which is inserted in the London courant, but what is directly told from what quarter it comes. Your Name and your Neighbours, are mentioned.” The editors have been unable to find any reference in the London Courant to Jenings or his associates in Brussels, including William Lee and Alice DeLancey Izard.
4. It was very unusual for JA to sign a letter with a pseudonym; AA was Edward Bridgen's designation for JA in his letter of 13 July, descriptive note, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0345

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-22

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

The Constitution of this Country is such, that it is difficult to discover the general Sense. There have been all along Circumstances in which it might be discerned; but these were so feeble, and so susceptible of Contradiction and Disguise, that some extraordinary Exertions were necessary to strike out unquestionable proofs of the Temper and Opinion of the Nation. Last Spring, the Part of this People, which was most averse to War, was for making Propositions and Concessions to England in order to obtain Peace: This Policy was not only injudicious but would have been fruitless, because the English would have made Peace upon no other Terms, than this Nation's joining them against France, Spain and America, which would have been its Ruin. Nevertheless, if the Party had prevailed, and sent Ambassadors to London to solicit Peace, the Court of London would have found so many Arts and Pretences for spinning out the Negotiation, and would have obstructed the Commerce of Holland so much, as to bring on a discouragement and dispair among the People. In these critical Circumstances, something uncommon was necessary to arouse the Nation, and bring forth the public Voice. The first Step of this kind was the Proposition of the United States of America to their high Mightinesses, which being taken ad referendum became a subject of deliberation in every City of the Republick, and the publication of the Memorial of the nineteenth of April 1781, which made the American Cause the primary Object and main spring of the War, the Topick of Conversation in every private Circle, as well as in every public Assembly. This Memorial gave all Parties an Opportunity to know with Certainty the public opinion: and accordingly such a general and decided approbation was discovered every where, that the few who detested it in their hearts never dared to open their Mouths. Emboldened by this Mr. Vanberkel came forward with his Application to the States for a vindication of his Character, and altho' he has not obtained an Answer, yet it has been discovered that his Enemies have not been powerful enough either to condemn nor to censure him.1 Not long after followed the manly Proposition of the Regency of Amsterdam, for an Enquiry into the Causes of the Inactivity of the State, and in Course their direct Attack upon the Duke of Brunswick.2
The American Memorial has not obtained, and probably will not { 462 } obtain for a long time; an acknowledgment of American Independence, but it discovered with absolute Certainty the Sentiments of the Nation. Mr. Vanberkel's Petition has not procured him a formal Justification, but it has proved that his Enemies are too weak to punish or to censure him. The Proposition of Amsterdam has not obtained an Enquiry into the Causes of the Sloth of the State, nor the Appointment of a Committee to assist the Prince: but it has occasioned an universal Declaration of the People's Sentiments, that the State has been too inactive, and the Councils of the Court too slow. The Application of Amsterdam against the Duke has not procured his Removal, but it has procured an universal Avowal, that the public Councils have been defective; and an universal Cry for an Alteration, and has obliged the Court to adopt a different System.
When the public Councils of a Country have taken a wrong bias, the public Voice, pronounced with Energy, will sometimes correct the Error, without any violent Remedies. The Voice of the People, which had been so often declared by the late sea Action, was found to be so clear, that it has produced many remarkable effects. Among which none deserve more Attention, than the following Declarations of the Prince. The first was inserted by order in the Newspapers in these words.
“As Pains are taken to draw the Public into an Opinion, that the Vessels of the Meuse (Rotterdam) and of Middlebourg (Zealand), which at first had Orders to join the Squadron of the Texel, (only those of Amsterdam) had afterwards recieved counter orders, as it is given out in some Cities almost in so many Words, and which is propagated (God knows with what design), it is to Us a particular Satisfaction to be able to assure the Public, after authentic Information, and even from the supream Authority, that such Assertions are destitute of all foundation, and absolutely contrary to the Truth: that the orders given and never revoked, but on the contrary repeated more than once to the Vessels of the Meuse, to join the Convoy of the Texel, could not be executed, because it did not please Providence to grant a Wind and the other favorable Circumstances necessary to this effect, while the Province of Zealand, threatened at the same time with an Attack from an English Squadron, would not willingly have seen diminished the Number of Vessels, which lay at that time in their Road. It is nevertheless much to be regretted, that Circumstances have not permitted Us to render the Dutch Squadron sufficiently strong, to have obtained over the Enemy a Victory as useful, as it was glorious.”3
{ 463 }
On the 14th. of August the Prince wrote the following Letter to the Crews of the Vessels of the State.
“Noble, respectable and virtuous, our faithful and well-beloved.
We have learned with the greatest Satisfaction, that the Squadron of the State, under the Command of Rear Admiral Zoutman, altho' weaker by a great deal in Ships, Guns and Men, than the English Squadron of Vice Admiral Parker,4 has resisted so courageously, on the fifth of this month, his Attack: that the English Squadron, after a most obstinate Combat, which lasted from eight o Clock in the morning to half after Eleven, has been obliged to desist and to retire. The Heroic Courage, with which Vice Admiral Zoutman, the Captains, Officers, petty Officers, and common Sailors and Soldiers, who have had a part in the Action, and who under the blessing of God Almighty have so well discharged their duty in this naval Combat, merit the praises of all, and our particular approbation: it is for this Cause, We have thought fit, by the present, to write to You, to thank publickly in our name the said Vice Admiral, Captains, Officers, petty Officers and common sailors and soldiers, by reading this Letter on board of each ship which took part in the Action, and whose Captains and Crews have fought with so much Courage and Valour, and to transmit by the Secretary of the fleet of the State an authentic Copy, as well to the said Rear Admiral Zoutman, as to the Commanders of the Ships under his Orders, of the Conduct of whom the said Rear Admiral had reason to be satisfied: testifying, moreover, that We doubt not, that they and all the other Officers of the State and Soldiers, in those Occasions which may present, will give proofs that the State is not destitute of Defenders of our dear Country, and of her Liberty, and that the ancient heroic Valour of the Batavians still exists, and will not be extinguished: Whereupon, Noble, Respectable, Virtuous, ever faithful and well beloved, We recommend You to the divine Protection.” Your affectionate Friend
[signed] William Prince of Orange
[signed] T. J. De Larrey5
Thus altho' the Enemies of England in this Republick do not appear to have carried any particular point against the opposite Party, yet it appears that they have forced into Execution their System, by means of the national Voice, and against all the Measures of the Anglomanes. The national Spirit is now very high: so high that it will be dangerous to resist it. In time all things must give way to it. This { 464 } will make a fine diversion, at least for America and her Allies. I hope in time, We may derive other Advantages from it: but We must wait with Patience here, as We are still obliged to do in Spain, and as We were obliged to do in France, where We waited Years before We succeeded.
I have the honor 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. 382–385).
1. For the results of Engelbert François van Berckel's appeal, see Dumas' letter of [12 Jan]., and note 8, above.
2. For Amsterdam's address of 18 May protesting the nation's unpreparedness and its memorial of early June calling for the removal of the Duke of Brunswick, see JA's letters to the president of Congress of 24 May (calendared) and 26 June (first letter), both above.
3. The French text of this announcement appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 17 August.
4. In fact, Zoutman's squadron had a slight advantage, being composed of eight ships of the line with 460 guns as opposed to Parker's squadron of seven ships of the line and 446 guns (Mackesy, War for America, p. 395).
5. The French text of this letter appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 21 August.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0346

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Date: 1781-08-22

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

The late glorious Victory, obtained by Admiral Zoutman over Admiral Parker, is wholly to be ascribed to the Exertions of Amsterdam.
Pretences and Excuses would have been devised, for avoiding to send out the Fleet, and indeed for avoiding an Action, when at Sea, if it had not been for the Measures which have been taken to arouse the Attention and animate the Zeal of the Nation. The Officers and Men of the Army, and especially of the Navy appear to have been as much affected and influenced by the proceedings of the Regency of Amsterdam, as any other parts of the Community. Notwithstanding the apparent ill success of the Enterprizes of the great City, it is certain that a flame of Patriotism and of Valour has been inkindled by them, which has already produced great effects, and will probably much greater.
It is highly probable however that if the Regency of Amsterdam had taken another Course, they would have succeeded better. If instead of a Complaint of Sloth in the executive department, and a personal Attack upon the Duke, they had taken the Lead in a System of public measures, they would have found more zealous Supporters, fewer powerful Opposers,1 and perhaps would have seen the Ardor of the Nation increase with equal Rapidity. For Example, as the { 465 } Sovereignty of the United States was a Question legally before them, they might have made a Proposition in the States of Holland to acknowledge it, and make a Treaty with them. This Measure would have met with general Applause among the People throughout the seven Provinces, and their Example would have been followed by the Regencies of other Cities, or they might have proposed in the States to acceed to the Treaty of Alliance between France and America.
However, We ought to presume, that these Gentlemen know their own Countrymen and their true Policy better than Strangers, and it may be their Intention to propose other things in Course.
It is certain that they have animated the Nation to an high degree, so that a seperate Peace, or any mean Concessions to Great Britain cannot now be made. The good Party have the upper hand, and patriotic Councils begin to prevail.
I have the honor 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. 378–381) endorsed: “Two Letters Aug 12. 1781 John Adams.—Read Nov 12.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook the remainder of this sentence was interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0347

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-22

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Letter, of the 18th. Instant, This Day.
Indeed, Sir, the Dutch have Acted Nobly. They have astonished their Friends and confounded their Ennemies and have shewn that the contempt, in which they have hitherto been held, did not result from the Body of the people. But whilst this Engagement in the old stile may serve as an Hint to the English ought it not likewise to be a Hint to the French? We should then have Sea Engagements more decisive than they are.
I think one may Easily see that a Congress to be held at Vienna will not be a very expeditious One. The Grand Segnior at Constantinople will finish the Procés des trois Rois as Soon.1
I am Sorry that your Excellency has not yet Receivd the Books. If Mr. Segourney would write to the Merchant at Ostend, to whom they are consigned; it might hasten the dispatch of them.
I received by this days Post the inclosed Letter <s> which I send to { 466 } your Excellency, for whose perusal they are intended.2 It is not necessary for me to make any Observations on it, but can assure your Excellency, it comes from a well meaning faithful Man.
I find by the Duke de Crillons having passed the Straits of Gibralter, that I was much mistaken in my political Guess.3 But I stil think my Idea was right whatever the Fact may be. Minorca if taken, is no Object in this War, or indeed in any War if Gibraltar falls. This Measure will Keep the Combind fleets Cruising about Cadiz at the Straits Mouth, while it ought to be near the Coasts of Ireland to intercept the Homeward bound Fleets. France must see this, but I suppose she is obliged to Humour Spain.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers). For the enclosures, which were filmed at 17 Aug. (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 355,) see note 2.
1. A reference to [Ange Goudar], Le procès des trois rois ..., London, 1780, which JA read the previous year (vol. 10:301).
2. Jenings enclosed a letter he received from Edward Bridgen dated 17 August. Bridgen desired JA to consider his plan to supply Congress with copper to produce coins, an idea he previously discussed in detail with Benjamin Franklin (Franklin, Papers, 30:355–356, 429–431; 31:129–130). Also enclosed was the following note by Bridgen:
“Augt. 17 1781 The terms on which EB proposes to furnish AA.
“He will furnish the following pieces of Copper in any quantity of the best quality; The Sizes as follow—Of the weight and Size of the Tower Virginia half penny. 4 to an Ounce. The weight and size of the English Tower half penny. 3 Peices of double the weight of each as well as peices of half the size of the half pence but for these last there may be some small addition the Ct. weight for extra trouble.
“All the Blanks to be smooth at the Edge with a smooth Surface.
“To be packed and delivered free of all Charges on Board at £ 10s per Ton. And to engage to deliver Sixteen Tons every Ten Weeks. Provided he has liberty to draw for the Amount at 2 Months the Bills of Lading Accompanying the Invoices. Copper may be considerably lower again and expect it will.”
On 24 Oct.JA wrote Jenings that Bridgen's proposal was “wholly out of my department” and that Congress was unlikely to enter into such an agreement with a British subject (Adams Papers).
3. The Duc de Crillon commanded the combined French and Spanish expedition to Minorca, for which see John Bondfield's letter of 7 Aug., note 2, above. What Jenings' “political Guess” was is unclear, for he had not mentioned Minorca in any previous letter to JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0348

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-08-23

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I am desired to inclose, the within Copies to your Excellency: although I doubt not you have received the original, and although I know not what may be in your Power to do, for the Relief of Messrs. Curson and Governeur.1 Their pretended offence, is Sending warlike Stores to America altho the London Papers Say, it was corresponding with me. I never received a Line from either of those Gentlemen, nor { 467 } ever wrote to them more than a Line, Sometime last fall, to request them to Send Some Letters and Gazettes to Congress. I have lately looked over those Letters, and find nothing in them of Consequence, excepting Strong Warnings to our Countrymen not to expect Peace, and Some free Stricktures upon the Conduct of Sir J. York, towards this Republick, for which Reasons the British Ministry, will take Care not to publish them.
I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient Servant
[signed] J. Adams
RC (TxU: T. E. Hanley Coll.)
1. JA likely refers to copies of the Committee for Foreign Affairs' letter of 9 May to Benjamin Franklin (Franklin, Papers, 35:48–49). The committee requested that Franklin give his “particular Attention” to obtaining the exchange of the two men. For JA's correspondence with Samuel Curson and Isaac Gouverneur, see his second letter of 6 Aug. to the president of Congress, note 2, above; and the letter of 1 Sept. from Curson and Gouverneur, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0349

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-08-25

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Last Evening I recieved your Excellency's Letter of the 16th. of this month, accompanied with a Letter from the President of Congress containing the Commissions You mention.2
You desire to know what Steps have already been taken in this business.3 There has been no Step taken by me, in pursuance of my former Commission, until my late Journey to Paris at the Invitation of the Comte de Vergennes, who communicated to me certain Articles, proposed by the mediating Courts, and desired me to make such Observations upon them, as should occur to me. Accordingly I wrote a Number of Letters to his Excellency of the following Dates, July 13th. inclosing an answer to the Articles, 16th. 18th. 19th. 21st.4 I would readily send You Copies of the Articles and of those Letters, but there are matters in them, which had better not be trusted to go so long a Journey, especially as there is no Necessity for it.
The Comte de Vergennes will readily give You Copies of the Articles and of my Letters, which will prevent all risque.
I am very apprehensive that our new Commission will be as useless as my old one. Congress might very safely I believe permit Us all to go home, if We find no other business5, and stay there some Years: at least until every British Soldier in the United States is killed or captivated. Till then Britain will never think of Peace, but for the purposes of Chicanery.
{ 468 }
I see in the Papers, that the British Ambassador at Petersbourg has recieved an Answer from his Court to the Articles.6 What this Answer is, We may conjecture from the King's Speech. Yet the Empress of Russia has made an Insinuation to their high Mightinesses, which deserves Attention. Perhaps You may have seen it: but lest You should not, I will add a Translation of it, which I sent to Congress in the time of it, not having the original at hand.7
“The Affection of the Empress to the Interests of the Republick of the United Provinces, and her desire to see re established, by a prompt Reconciliation, a Peace and good Harmony between the two maritime Powers, have been sufficiently manifested by the Step which she had taken, in offering them her seperate Mediation.
“If She has not had the desired Success, her Imperial Majesty has only been for that Reason the more attentive to search out means capable of conducting her to it. One such mean offers itself in the combined Mediation of the two Imperial Courts, under the Auspices of which it is to be treated at Vienna (il doit être traité a Vienne) of a general Pacification of the Courts actually at War. It is only necessary for the Republick to regulate itself in the same manner. Her Imperial Majesty, by an effect of her friendship for it, imposing upon herself the Task of bringing her Co-mediator into an Agreement, to share with her the Cares and the good Offices, which She has displayed in its favor As soon as it shall please their high Mightinesses to make known their Intentions in this regard to Mr. the Prince de Gallitzin, the Envoy of the Empress at the Hague, charged to make to them the same Insinuation: this last will write of it immediately to the Minister of her Imperial Majesty at Vienna, who will not fail to take with that Court the Arrangements which are prescribed to him, to the end to proceed in this affair by the same formalities, which We have made use of with the other Powers. Her Imperial Majesty flatters herself, that the Republick will recieve this Overture, as a fresh proof of her Benevolence, and of the Attention which She preserves, to cultivate the Ties of that friendship and of that Alliance which subsists between them.”
I must beg the favour of your Excellency to communicate to me whatever You may learn, which has any Connection with this Negotiation, particularly the French, Spanish and British Answers to the Articles, as soon as You can obtain them. In my Situation, it is not likely I shall obtain any Information of Consequence, but from the French Court. Whatever may come to my Knowledge, I will communicate to You without delay.
{ 469 }
If Britain persists in her two Preliminaries, as I presume She does, what will be the Consequence? Will the two Imperial Courts permit this great plan, of a Congress at Vienna, which is public and made the common talk of Europe, to become another sublime Bubble, like the armed Neutrality? In what a light will these mediating Courts appear, after having listened to a Proposition of England, so far as to make Propositions themselves, and to refer to them in many public Acts, if Britain refuses to agree to them? and insists upon such Preliminaries as are at least an Insult to France and America, and a kind of Contempt to the common Sense of all Europe.
Upon my word I am weary of such round about and endless Negotiations, as that of the armed Neutrality and this of the Congress at Vienna. I think the Dutch have at last discovered the only effectual Method of Negotiation, that is by fighting the British Fleets, until every Ship is obliged to answer the Signal for renewing the Battle by the signal of distress. There is no Room for British Chicanery in this. If I ever did any good since I was born, it was in stirring up the pure Minds of the Dutchmen, and setting the old Batavian Spirit in motion, after having slept so long. Our dear Country will go fast to sleep, in full Assurance of having News of Peace by Winter, if not by the first Vessel. Allass! what a disappointment they will meet.8 I believe I had better go home and wake up our Countrymen out of their Reveries about Peace. Congress have done very well to join others in the Commission for Peace.9 My Talent, if I have one lies in making War. The Grand Segnior will finish the Proces des trois Rois sooner than the Congress at Vienna will make Peace, unless10 the two Imperial Courts act with Dignity and Consistency upon the occasion, and acknowledge American Independency at once, upon Britain's insisting on her two insolent Preliminaries.
I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Augt. 25 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. This is the last letter JA wrote until 4 October. During the intervening 39 days he suffered from a “nervous fever of a very malignant kind, and so violent as to deprive me of almost all sensibility for four or five days.” He recovered only through the “wondrous Virtue” of the “all-powerful” Peruvian bark and the ministrations of his faithful secretary John Thaxter and Dr. Nicolaas George Oosterdijk of the University of Leyden's medical faculty (to the president of Congress, 15 Oct., Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:776–779; to C. W. F. Dumas, 18 Oct., LbC, Adams Papers). JA wrote to Benjamin Franklin on 4 Oct. that it was “the first Time that I have taken a Pen in hand to write to any body, having been confined and reduced too low to do any kind of business” (Franklin, Papers, 35:556–558). Not until mid-Nov. did the volume of JA's correspondence approach its pre• { 470 } vious levels; on 14 Dec. he informed Francis Dana that he was recovering but remained “weak and lame” (MHi: Dana Family Papers; JA, Works, 7:493–495).
It cannot be said definitively what illness JA suffered from, for any diagnosis done more than two hundred years after the fact must in the end rest largely on speculation. Many of the medical terms current in the eighteenth century are either no longer used or have meanings different from those in JA's day. Dr. Oosterdijk's notes and testimony of his examination are unavailable and JA's own descriptions, those of a layman, lack precision.
The inherent difficulty of diagnosing JA's illness has not deterred some biographers from making the attempt. Peter Shaw, in the Character of John Adams (Chapel Hill, 1976, p. 150–152), and James H. Hutson, in John Adams and the Diplomacy of the American Revolution (Lexington, Ky., 1980, p. 97–98), see JA as mentally unstable, even paranoid, and conclude that his illness was psychosomatic. John Ferling, in John Adams, A Life (Knoxville, 1992, p. 237–238), wrote that JA contracted malaria, a view David McCullough shared in his John Adams (N.Y., 2001, p. 264–266). But Ferling, in an article entitled “John Adams' Health Reconsidered” that he co-authored with Lewis E. Braverman (WMQ, 3d ser., 55:83–104 [Jan. 1998]), declared that JA was likely a victim of Graves' disease, so that his “behavior was not, as many have thought, the result of problems in his head or his heart, but in his thyroid.”
The editors believe JA's illness was physical and most likely indigenous to the Netherlands. JA wrote to Ferdinand Grand on 12 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers) that he was the victim of “an Amsterdam Fever, which they call an Introduction to the Freedom of the City,” implying that it was normal for one foreign to Amsterdam to fall ill in the course of acclimating himself to the locale. Indeed, on 5 Oct. Benjamin Franklin wrote: “I hope this Seasoning will be the means of securing your future Health, by accommodating your Constitution to the Air of that Country” (Adams Papers; Franklin, Papers, 35:565–567). And JA later wrote that it was “the destiny of every stranger who goes into Holland to encounter either an intermittent or bilious fever within the two first years” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 533).
A diagnosis of malaria is attractive because it was endemic to the Netherlands, particularly in North Holland. Physicians would have been familiar with the symptoms and with the prescribed treatment: Peruvian bark or quinine. Moreover, from their reported symptoms it is likely that JA's son CA, his servant Joseph Stephens, and his secretary John Thaxter all suffered from malaria.
But JA's descriptions of his illness are at variance with the classic symptoms of malaria. Malaria is a periodic fever, that is, the victim suffers severe chills and then a fever that reaches a peak and then subsides, only to return two or three days later. In the intervals between the fever, the patient may appear and feel in good health. JA, however, nowhere describes his fever as periodic or “tertian,” as he does CA's in the spring of 1781 (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:108). Instead, he states that he suffered a high fever of at least five days' duration and was unable to work for well over a month.
JA's repeated statements that he suffered from a “nervous fever” present another possibility. The term “nervous fever” is another name for typhus in medical reference books of the time (Quincy's Lexicon Physico-Medicum, 8th edn., N.Y., 1802; Robert Hooper, A Compendious Medical Dictionary, Boston, 1801; The Philadelphia Medical Dictionary, Phila., 1808). Typhus causes a rapidly rising fever that peaks at 102 to 105 degrees during the first two or three days and is then sustained for another five. In the course of the fever the patient experiences delirium and, on or about the fifth day, a dark red rash of elevated spots appears. Thereafter the fever falls rapidly, assuming that the outcome is favorable (Cambridge World History of Human Disease, ed. Kenneth F. Kiple, N.Y., 1993, p. 1080–1081). The use of Peruvian bark would have reflected contemporary medical practice for typhus, because while quinine was used for malarial fevers, it was used also “for most patients who had been debilitated by continued fevers” (J. Worth Estes, Dictionary of Protopharmacology, Therapeutic Practices, 1700–1850, Canton, Mass., 1990, p. 48). These are approximately the symptoms and the treatment JA described in his letters, particularly those of 9 Oct. to his wife (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:224), and 15 Oct. to the president of Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:776–779).
A diagnosis of typhus is intriguing, but no less speculative than others that have been proposed. Ultimately all that can be said is that JA had a serious, debilitating illness in 1781 that severely curtailed his activities for months. Its precise nature is unknown.
2. From the president of Congress, 20 June, { 471 } above.
3. At this point in the Letterbook is the following canceled passage: “Upon my first arrival at Paris with a Commission to join in Conference for Peace, I presented a Copy of it to the Comte de Vergennes, and from that Time no one step whatever has been taken by me.” For JA's initial exchange with Vergennes over the original peace commission, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:243–245, 250–254; and vol. 8:320–321, 328, 337, 362–363, 367.
4. All above.
5. At this point in the Letterbook is the canceled passage “but makin Peace.”
6. See JA's first letter of 6 Aug. to the president of Congress, calendared above.
7. JA included the following translation in his second letter of 16 Aug. to the president of Congress, calendared above. See that letter for JA's comments; for the source of the translation and the document itself, see C. W. F. Dumas' letter of 3 July, and note 1, above.
8. In the Letterbook JA originally ended the letter at this point, but then canceled his closing, inserted the final sentence of this paragraph, and added a new closing. After further reflection, he wrote the three sentences beginning “I believe” below the new closing and marked it for insertion at this point.
9. In the Letterbook this sentence ends “who have Some faculties for it.”
10. At this point in the Letterbook is the canceled passage “of which I have no hope.”

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0350

Author: Warren, Winslow
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-29

From Winslow Warren

[salute] Sir

Mr. Mason here has received letters from his Father in Virginia to the 3 of June1 which inform him that at that time the Marquis la Fayette's force consisted of about 4000 men 1200 of which were Continental troops. That he would be joined in few days after that by Genl. Wayne with 12 or 1500 Men which would make his force superiour to Genl. Cornwallis but that the British had so much the advantage over the American troops upon Account of the facility with which they were Enabled to transport their troops from place to place that by the time the Militia had collected to oppose any sudden inroad they had made they had as suddenly reimbarked Carrying with them every thing they Conveniently could and what they could not they with their usual Barbarity Wantonly distroyed and rendered useless. That Very Many of the inhabitants from the highest state of affluence are by this conduct reduced to beggary. He further informs that the Militia have turned out with the Greatest Alacrity at all times but are without Arms or Ammunition for the Greater part of them. But that 1200 of them under Genrl. Muhlenburg had Maintained a desperate Action in an open field with Very Near twice their number for two hours and finally retreated carrying of [wi]th them all their wounded, artillery, &c.2 A party of the British had penetrated to Genrl. Washingtons Estate and stripped it of Negroes &c. He discribes the desolated state of the Country were the British are and have been in Very Affecting terms and also of the Countries between Charlestown and the Roanoke to be intirely ruined. He pays the { 472 } highest encomiums to the Military Abilities of Genrl. Greene. He concludes his letter with his wishes to meet his Son soon but he hopes Never to Meet him unless they meet as free Men.
The Continental Currency their—and my Father informs me it is the same in Boston is reduced to the last stage of wretchedness which introduces confusion in Commerce and produces every evil Work. But I immagine you have letters from Boston which give you every information about the Situation of Affairs their—but have taken the Liberty of Giving you some extracts from Mr. Masons letters Not supposing it probable your intelligence was so regular from the Seat of War. Mr. Mason [says?] they want Nothing but Arms and Ammunit[ion] and a loan of Money to drive the British intirely from that Country. I will send to your Excellency by Doctr. Faulke some American Papers if I can obtain them. I hope you arrived safe in Amsterdam after an agreable Ride and am with the Highest Respect yr: Excellencys most Obedt: & very Hum: servt:
[signed] Winslow Warren
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency Hon: John Adams Esqr: Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Winslow Warren 29th. August 1781.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of some text.
1. For George Mason's letters to his son, George Mason Jr., see The Papers of George Mason, 1725–1792, ed. Robert A. Rutland, 3 vols., Chapel Hill, 1970, 2:689–695. Although Winslow Warren based much of his account on two letters of 3 June, some of his references are to matters that do not appear in those letters, such as the battle the militia fought under Brig. Gen. John Peter Muhlenberg's command, the British sacking of Mt. Vernon, and the statement attributed to Mason that all that was needed to defeat the British was arms and a loan. This makes it likely that one or more additional letters from Mason to his son have not been found.
2. The Battle of Petersburg occurred on 24 April and matched 1,000 militia, commanded by Brig. Gen. John Peter Muhlenberg, against 2,500 British regulars, commanded by Maj. Gen. William Phillips. The British drove the Americans from the field, but they retreated in an orderly fashion after a spirited resistance (Henry A. Muhlenberg, The Life of Major General Peter Muhlenberg of the Revolutionary Army, Phila., 1849, p. 247–252).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0351

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-08-30

John Thaxter to Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that Mr. Adams has been much indisposed for three weeks past with the fever of this Country, and is now so ill with it as to be confined to his Bed, and unable to write. In a few days however it is probable that the Violence of the Fever will abate. In the meantime, he has desired me to advise your Excellency that he has recieved Information, that the British Government are endeavouring to make secret Contracts by their { 473 } Agents with the Americans for Masts, Yards and Bowsprits, of which they are in want, and for which they offer very great Prices.2
He submits it to your Excellency's Consideration, whether it would not be proper to consult the French Court on this Occasion to know whether they would have any Objection to Congress laying an Embargo on the Exportation of those Articles. Mr. Adams is of opinion, that if an Exportation of them is permitted, those Agents will find methods to accomplish their End, and give effectual Aid to the British Marine at this Juncture.
I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Thaxter
RC (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 18:175); endorsed: “30 aout 1781.”
1. This is the first of four extant letters that John Thaxter wrote on behalf of JA during his illness. The others are of 10 and 24 Sept. to C. W. F. Dumas and 19 Sept. to Joseph Reed, all below. For an indication that there may have been others, now lost, see the letters of 6 and 17 Sept. from Jean Luzac and Edmund Jenings respectively, both below.
2. JA's source of information is unknown. Franklin did send the letter to Vergennes, thus explaining its presence in the French archives. For Franklin's views on the matter, see Franklin, Papers, 35:566–567; 36:24. JA communicated the information to Congress in a letter of 4 Dec. (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:36–38), but there is no indication that any action was taken.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0352

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-08-31

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I duly received the Letter you did me the honour of writing to me the 17th. Instant inclosing a Copy of one from Mr. John Ross, acquainting me with the Presentation to you of 51 Bills Drawn in his Favour the 22 June last on Mr. Henry Laurens; for the Sum of 40,950 Guilders; and desiring to know whether I will pay them.
I have already paid or provided for the Payment of all the former Congress Bills on Mr. Laurens, on Mr. Jay, and on yourself and me, drawn upon us when we had no Funds in our hands to pay them. I have been exceedingly embarrass'd and distress'd by this Business; and being obliged to apply repeatedly for Aids to this Court, with one unexpected Demand after another, I have given Trouble and Vexation to the Ministers, by obliging them to find new Funds for me, and thereby deranging their Plans. They have by their Minister at Philada. complain'd of these irregular unfounded Drafts, to Congress; and I am told that he receiv'd a Promise about the End of March last, that no more should be issued. I have been obliged lately to apply for more money to discharge such of these Bills as I had engag'd for and were { 474 } yet unpaid; and for other Purposes, and I obtained it on a Promise not to accept or engage for any that should be drawn after the End of March, if such should be drawn, which was not expected, as the Congress had Promis'd not to draw but upon known Funds. I have received no Advice or Orders relating to those Bills of Mr. Ross. I cannot conceive why they were drawn on Mr. Laurens known to be a Prisoner in the Tower. You will see by the enclosed Copy of a letter from M. de V. that I am told very fairly and explicitly, that if I accept any more such Bills I am not to expect any Assistance from him in Paying them.1 I am therefore obliged to be explicit with you. I cannot accept, nor have any thing to do with the Acceptance of them. I have obtain'd what you see mentioned in the Count's Letter, which I was almost asham'd to ask and hardly expected. I cannot worry such good Friends again for these new Drafts. Mr. Ross's demand was near 20,000£ Sterling. I suppose these Bills will be followed by more. You once wrote to me that you thought a few Protests of such Bills might be of Service to our Affairs in Holland.2 Perhaps none can arrive that may bear a Protest with less Inconvenience. And I think the Practice will never cease, if not stopped by Protesting. The Bills are not drawn upon you, nor recommended to your Care by Congress, and unless you have reason to believe, that in the Term of Six months, you may by earnest Application obtain Remittances to discharge them, I cannot advise your accepting them.3
I have the honour to be, with great Respect, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister from the United States of America Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. Franklin 31st. Augst. 1781.” For the enclosure, see note 1.
1. In a memorial of 24 March, the Chevalier de La Luzerne declared that he was persuaded that the Congress, taking into consideration what it could reasonably expect from its French ally, would “from this moment ... abstain from that ruinous measure of drawing bills of exchange without the previous knowledge and consent of his majesty's ministers.” This resulted in Congress' resolution of 10 April by which it declared that no additional bills drawn on its ministers in Europe would be sold without its “special direction” (JCC, 19:310, 368). Franklin enclosed a copy of a letter from Vergennes dated 23 Aug. in which the foreign minister stated that France predicated its aid, including that for the replacement of the goods lost on the Marquis de Lafayette, on Franklin accepting only those bills of exchange dated “antérieures au 1er. Avril de cette année” (Franklin, Papers, 35:395). La Luzerne, citing a letter from Vergennes of 27 July, told Congress much the same thing in a memorial of 24 Sept., which also included an account of the funds supplied for use in 1781 (JCC, 21:1001–1006). For an additional comment by Franklin regarding his apprehensions over the presentation of bills of exchange in the absence of funds to pay them, see Morris, Papers, 2:261–263.
2. Probably a reference to JA's letter of 27 April, above.
3. In accordance with this letter, the bills Larwood, Van Hasselt & Van Suchtelen presented were not paid in 1781. The firm, how• { 475 } ever, did not end its efforts to collect, and on 14 Feb. 1782 wrote directly to Franklin to request his influence in obtaining their acceptance. Soon thereafter additional funds became available and Franklin authorized JA to accept the bills (Franklin, Papers, 36:575–576, 686). On 21 March, Larwood, Van Hasselt & Van Suchtelen wrote to Franklin to inform him that the bills were paid (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:463). Franklin wrote Robert Morris on 30 March that he had paid the bills and avoided their being protested and that he was then engaged helping John Jay pay protested bills drawn on him (Morris, Papers, 4:486–489).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0353

Author: Curson, Samuel
Author: Gouverneur, Isaac
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-01

From Samuel Curson and Isaac Gouverneur

[salute] Sir

We had the pleasure to receive several letters from you before we left St. E– the contents of which were properly attended to, our answers have good reason to think did not reach you. Since that period our sufferings have been very great, but for prudential reasons must be silent thereon. Beg to refer you to Mr. Jno. Witherspoon,1 who take the liberty of introducing to you. With the greatest respect we are, Sir Your most obt. huml. serts.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excel. Jno. Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipoteny. Holland”; in another hand: “te amsterdam”; endorsed: “M. Curson & Governieur 1 sept. 1781.”
1. The son of Rev. John Witherspoon, president of the College of New Jersey and a member of the Continental Congress, John Witherspoon Jr. had served as surgeon on the privateer De Graaf. The British captured him at St. Eustatius with Curson and Gouverneur, but released him soon after his arrival in England (Franklin, Papers, 35:48, 439–440).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0354-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-06

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

Ce fut avec la plus grande satisfaction et reconnoissance, que je reçus, il y a quelque tems, de la part de Votre Excellence, le Recueil des Constitutions et autres Actes fondamentaux de la République Fédérative, qui s'est formée dans le Nouveau-Monde.1 J'en ai témoigné ma gratitude à Mr. Thaxter; mais il est de mon devoir de présenter à Votre Excellence même mes vifs et sincères remercîmens. Si cette Collection est par elle-même un Monument, digne d'être conservé par tout Ami de la vraye Liberté et du bonheur de l'Humanité, l'Exemplaire, que j'en possède, m'est encore plus précieux par la main, qui a bien voulu m'en gratifier. En effet, Monsieur, je suis infiniment flatté de le tenir d'un de ceux qui se sont distingués parmi les Législateurs de l'Amérique et de voir le Frontispice orné d'un Nom, qui passera à la Postérité avec la Révolution la plus mémorable, dont les Annales du Monde nous offrent le souvenir.
{ 476 }
Par le prix que j'attache à cet Exemplaire vous verrez la raison, Monsieur, de la prière que j'ose vous adresser. Un Homme de Lettres de ma connoissance s'occupe actuellement de la Traduction Hollandoise de tous les Actes, qui servent de fondement à la Constitution tant de l'Amérique-Unie en général que de chaque Etat en particulier.2 La Collection étoit déjà même sous presse, lorsqu'il s'adressa à moi pour me demander, si j'avois quelques Pièces, qui pussent lui être utiles: Je vis, qu'il suivoit une Collection Françoise, imprimée à Paris en 1778.3 Je l'avertis donc, qu'il y avoit plusieurs Actes postérieurs, notamment le nouvel Acte d'Union de 1778.4 qui ne se trouvent pas dans ce Recueil. Enfin je lui fis voir celui que je tenois de votre bonté. Il se repentit alors de la besogne, qu'il avoit déjà faite; et il me pria avec instance de lui céder mon Exemplaire. Avant que d'y consentir, je me suis chargé d'écrire à Votre Excellence, pour vous demander, si vous pourriez vous passer d'un Exemplaire en sa faveur, ou du moins le lui prêter pour quelque tems. On ne sçauroit en faire d'usage plus utile que de faire connoître à nos Compatriotes les excellens principes, qu'on a suivis en Amérique pour assurer la Liberté Politique, Civile, et Religieuse. L'on travaille aussi actuëllement ici à un autre Recueil Hollandois de Pièces Américaines, qui, j'espère, vous fera plaisir.
J'ai été extrèmement fâché d'apprendre ces jours-ci, que votre santé étoit un peu dérangée: Je souhaite d'en apprendre bientôt des Nouvelles plus agréables. Agréez les assurances des sentimens respectueux, avec lesquels j'ai l'honneur d'être, Monsieur, de Votre Excellence Le très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] J: Luzac
Mr. Thaxter voudra bien recevoir ici mes très-humbles amitiés.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0354-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-06

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

It was with the greatest satisfaction and gratitude that I received, some time ago from your Excellency, the collection of constitutions and other fundamental acts of the federative Republic formed in the New World.1 I expressed my gratitude for this to Mr. Thaxter, but it is my duty to express my great and sincere thanks to your Excellency. If this collection is by itself a testament worthy of being preserved by every friend of true liberty and happiness for humanity, then the copy that I possess is even more precious because of the one who was so kind as to honor me with it. Indeed, I am infinitely flattered to receive it from one who is distinguished among Ameri• { 477 } can legislators and to see the frontispiece adorned with a name that will pass into posterity along with the most memorable revolution that the annals of the world will record for us.
By the value I have attached to this copy, you will see, sir, why I have a request to ask you. I know a man of letters who is currently working on a Dutch translation of all the proceedings that the federal constitution and the state constitutions are based on.2 The collection was already at the press, when he asked me if I had any pieces that would be useful to him. I saw that he followed a French collection, printed in Paris in 1778.3 I warned him that there were many subsequent acts, notably the new act of Union of 1778,4 that were not part of this collection. Finally, I showed him what I had due to your kindness. He regretted the work he had already done and asked me insistently to give him my copy. Before consenting to it, I took it upon myself to write to your Excellency to ask if you could send him a copy, or at least lend him one for a time. It could not be of greater use than to show to our compatriots the excellent principles that are followed in America to ensure political, civil, and religious liberty. There is also work being done here now on another Dutch edition of American works, which, I hope, will please you.
I was extremely distressed to hear that you are not in good health. I hope to hear more agreeable news of this soon. Please accept the assurance of my respectful sentiments, with which I have the honor to be, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] J. Luzac
Best regards to Mr. Thaxter.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr J. Luzac. ansd. 27. Nov. 1781”; by John Thaxter: “John Luzac Esqr. 6th. Septr. 1781.”
1. The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America; the Declaration of Independence; the Articles of Confederation between the said States;..., Phila., 1781. In a letter of 25 Sept. 1780, JA recommended that Congress publish a collection of American constitutions for distribution in Europe, and on 29 Dec. 1780 the Congress resolved to print two hundred copies of such a compilation at its expense (vol. 10:176, 178–179; JCC, 18:1217). The resulting publication went through numerous American and British editions (same, 21:1200–1203). Congress presumably sent JA copies for distribution in Europe, but when or how this was accomplished is unknown. Nor is there any indication in the Adams Papers as to when JA gave Luzac a copy.
2. Luzac refers to Herman van Bracht and his Verzameling van de Constitutien der Vereenigde Onafhanglijke Staaten van Amerika, benevens de Acte van Onafhanglijkheid de Artikelen van Confederatie, en de Tractaaten tusschen Zijne Allerchristelijkste Majesteit en de Vereenigde Amerikaansche Staaten, 2 vols., Dordrecht, 1781–1782. The first volume was dedicated to Engelbert François van Berckel and the second to JA. See Luzac's letter of 10 Dec. (Adams Papers), JA's reply of the 13th (JA, Works, 7:490–493), and van Bracht's letters of 26 Jan. and 30 April 1782 (both Adams Papers).
3. [Claude Ambroise Régnier], Recueil des loix constitutives des colonies angloises, confédérées sous la dénomination d'Etats-Unis de l'Amérique-Septentrionale ..., Paris, 1778. Five copies of this work, which was dedicated to Benjamin Franklin, are in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library).
4. The Articles of Confederation.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0355-0001

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-08

From Francis Dana

[salute] My Dear Sir

It is not through want of attention that I have omitted to this time, to acquaint you of our arrival in this City. We reached it, after some perils, on the 27th. of Augt. N.S. sufficiently fatigued I assure you. For from Leipsic I began to travel day and night, and continued this practise all along the remaining distance. At Berlin we rested, or were rather stopped, nine days by the unfortunate accident of our voiture's being overthrown and broken into peices, between Leipsic and Berlin, the first time I attempted to travel in the night. I there bought a new one, which was warrantd to carry us to St. Petersbourg and back again, in the utmost safety. This however failed in essential parts, and required many repairs on the way. Notwithstanding the above accident, I found our advance so slow, through the abominable defects of Germans Posts, that I resolved to risk all again, and persist in travelling in the night; fortunately nothing of the like kind happened to us. We rested afterwards a day or two, at the following places, Dantzick, Konigsberg, Memel, Riga, and Narva, at most of which stages our voiture demanded repairs. This gave me an opportunity, perhaps not wholly unprofitable to our Country, to make enquiries into the commerce of these Towns; for they are all of them Ports. On the whole from Amsterdam to this City, we were fifty one days. Mr. Jennings gave me all Augt. to get in; but for the accident to my first voiture, and some detentions for the repairs of my second, I wou'd have accomplished my journey 12 or 14 days sooner with equal fatigue.1 After all, you will not be surprised to learn I am told, in effect, that I am here too soon—that the proper time is not yet come. In the name of common sense, I was about to ask you, what this Gentry can mean; but I believe we are at no loss to answer this question. I am promised however in the most flattering terms, every assistance in matters touching the joint or common interests of the two Houses, yet I am told not to expect it in matters that may be injurious to one, without being advantageous to the other.2 Such frivolous reasons appeared to me to have been assigned to show the time is not yet come, that I have presumed to question them. This I imagine may give offence, when I wou'd not wish to do it. But must an implicit faith but put in all things which may come from a certain quarter? Happily all our communications have hitherto been in writing: so { 479 } that they, whose right it is to judge each of us, may do it understandingly. I am not disappointd in this difference of sentiments upon my main business, yet I am somewhat shocked that I have been here 12 days, since he knew in a proper way, of my being in Town, and have not received the least mark of attention from our friend,3 except what may be contained in civil words only. The reason of this, we may conjecture, and perhaps we shall not be far from the Truth. I suspect Ishmael4 may have been a little instrumental in this conduct. It cannot be without design, I think. I have candidly, and I believe decently given my own sentiments upon the subject, and told our friend, what measures I intended to pursue, to endeavour at least to come at the end in view. He received my letter on the evening of the 25th. [5 Sept. N.S.]5 but I have yet had no answer. It was a long one, it is true, and he not understanding English, must have it translated; so that I do not absolutely conclude that he will not answer it. He communicated to me in confidence, what had been communicated to me before in the same way, touching a proposal made, to speak in plain English, by the Mediators, agreable to our utmost wishes: He did not tell me, as the other person6 had done, that the Mediation was rejected on account of that proposition by the Court of London. This I suppose to be the truth, though not a lisp of it is to be heard yet without doors here. I wish soon to receive a confirmation of it from your hand: when I can make that use of it I now want exceedingly to make of it. I take it to be a matter of great consequence to our Interests, and I build many hopes upon it in aid of my business. It seems to open the real good disposition of those Sovereigns for our Cause. I have made use of an argument of this sort to our friend in my last—Do not withold from me a moment, any information which you think can be improved to our advantage. Let no supposition that I may be otherwise informed of it, stay your hand. What comes from you, I shall think myself at liberty to make use of, at my discretion. You must have gained informations on your late tour, which will be of importance to me.
Your Son is still with me at the Hotel de Paris. He is desirous of my procuring him a private Instructor. I shou'd like this very well, as I shou'd be fond of having him with me, but I cannot yet obtain proper information upon this head—I shall endeavour to do the best with him. Your sentiments on this point may not be amiss—I beg you to write me under cover to Messieurs Strahlborn & Wolff Banquiers à St. Petersbourg. I had like to have forgot our news of the Action between the Dutch and English. The former it is agreed here acquit• { 480 } ted themselves most nobly: but why were they sent out so feeble upon so important a business?
My best regards to Mr. Thaxter, and all our Amsterdam friends, pray tell him he must write me all the publick news, especially from our Country. This is the finest City I have seen in Europe, and far surpasses all my expectations: Alone, it is sufficient to immortalize the memory of Peter the first. More of the real grandure of this City and Empire hereafter. In the mean time I beg to assure you of the continuance of that high respect and warm affection I have entertained for you long since Your Friend & much obliged Humble Servant
[signed] FRA DANA
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed on the first page: “recd Decr 14.1781” by John Thaxter on the fourth page: “Augt 28th. 1781.” RC filmed at 28 Aug. (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 355). Enclosure: notation by JA on the first page: “[Stra]hlborn and Wolff, Banquiers a St. Petersbourg”; notation by Francis Dana on the fourth page: “Cyphers J.A. & F.D.” filmed with Ciphers and Cipher Keys (same, Reel No. 602). A corner of the folded enclosure is torn, resulting in the loss of a number of words on pages one through three.
1. For detailed accounts of Dana's and JQA's journey to St. Petersburg, see Francis Dana Journal, Amsterdam to St. Petersburg, 1781 (MHi: Dana Family Papers); and JQA, Diary, 1:89–101. Dana's Journal has not been published in full, but W. P. Cresson quotes substantial portions of it in, Francis Dana: A Puritan Diplomat at the Court of Catherine the Great, N.Y., 1930, p. 157–166. For letters recounting the journey, see Dana's of 28 July and 15 Sept. to the president of Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:610–613, 710–714); and JQA's of 1 and 19 Sept. to JA and John Thaxter, respectively (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:206–207, 214).
2. Dana wrote to the Marquis de Verac, the French minister at St. Petersburg, on 30 Aug. to announce his arrival and received a reply, likely of the same date, in which Verac indicated that the Comte de Vergennes had written to prepare him for Dana's arrival. Dana wrote again on 1 Sept. to inform the French diplomat more particularly of his reasons for coming to Russia. Verac replied on the following day and, in this and the previous two sentences, Dana gives the substance of Verac's letter (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:681, 683–685). That Verac was enunciating French policy is clear from the Chevalier de La Luzerne's remarks to a congressional committee on 28 May. There he declared that “the appointment of Mr. Dana, therefore, appears to be at least premature; and the opinion of the council is that this deputy ought not to make any use of his powers at this moment” (JCC, 20:562–563). Dana enclosed copies of his correspondence with Verac with his letter of 15 Sept. to the president of Congress and it was only after they arrived that Congress, on 27 May 1782, resolved that he should not “present his letters of credence...until he shall have obtained satisfactory assurances that he will be duly received and recognized in his public character” (same, 22:301).
3. The Marquis de Verac.
4. This person remains unidentified.
5. In his letter of 4 Sept. to Verac, Dana provided additional information about his mission and his views regarding its implementation. In his reply of 12 Sept., Verac went into greater detail than previously concerning his views of Dana's mission, as well as the proposed peace conference and the participation of American negotiators (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:695–699, 705–707). For the significance of Verac's letters of 2 and 12 Sept. insofar as they clarified the nature of the proposed peace negotiations and French policy regarding them, see JA's letter of 21 July to Vergennes, note 3, above.
6. Probably one of the Dutch diplomats at St. Petersburg. In his letter of 15 Sept. to the president of Congress, Dana indicated that his other source of information about the mediation was “a public minister” in St. Petersburg (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:710–714), and in his letter of 17 Dec., Dana informed JA that he had derived “considerable advantage” from his good relationship with the Dutch minister (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0355-0002

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-08

Enclosure: Key for a Code System

No.
1. The Empress. or Russian.
2. The Emperor—Austrian
3. The King.
4. The Minister—Ministry.
5. Prussia—Prussian.
6. Sweden—Swedish.
7. Denmark—Danish
8. Holland—Dutch.
9. France—French.
10. Spain—Spanish.
11. Britain—British.
12. Congress—America
13. United States—American.
14. Prince de Potemkin.
15. Comte de Panin.
16. Comte D'Ostermann.
17. Dr. Franklin.
18. Mr. Adams.
[19.] Mr. Jay.
[20.] Mr. Laurens.
[21. M]r. Dana.
[22. M]r. Carmichael.
Examples.
3, 5. gives new life to the Confederation
The King of Prussia gives &c.
{ 481 }
4, 8. I believe, is our sincere Friend.
The Minister of Holland, I believe, &c.
4, 7. has been superseded.
The Minister of Denmark, has &c.
7, 4. is a perfect Faction.
The Danish Ministry, is &c.
9, 4. make the most of their Favours.
The French Ministry, make &c.
Thus reversing the numbers gives the Terms in the second Column.
For words in general, take Entick's new spelling Dictionary printed by Edw. & Chas. Dilly in the Poultry London 1772.2 This book is paged throughout, and printed two columns a page. The common course is to give the p[age,] next the column of that page, and lastly t[he place?] in the column in which the word in[tended is?] to be found. Thus No. 71. 1. 15. that is [page] 71. first column and 15th. line you will [find the?] word which was intended viz. Co[nfederation].3
But to be still more secure [you may choose?] to give the page opposite to t[he one intended?] and to reckon the columns from the right to the left, 1, 2, 3, 4. across both pages, and the lines from the bottom of the Column. Thus, to give the same word, No. 70. 2. 23. You pass over to the opposite page which is 71. and reckon the columns from the right, instead of the left, and counting up from the bottom of the second column to the 23d. word, you will find it the same. The 3d. column by the same rule, will give the word Conders, and the 4th. Concord.
This method will hold in all but the first page, which has no opposite, will render the decyphering extremely difficult, if not impracticable, for a person acquainted with the general method, by seeing that neither the page or the number of the Columns cited, agree with the book will conclude the reference made to some other. It is at the same time, I think, equally easy [an]d attended with very little trouble. Those [cyphers?] J.L. has sent you, are exceeding trou[bleso]me and tedious. I know you dislike [corresp]onding in Cyphers, but it may be [at times?] highly expedient. I shou'd have [ . . . ] upon a certain matter which has [ . . . ], but I dare not trust it.
P.S. Mr. E. Jennings has one of those books of the E[ . . . ]4
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed on the first page: “recd Decr 14.1781” by John Thaxter on the fourth page: “Augt 28th. 1781.” RC filmed at 28 Aug. (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 355). Enclosure: notation by JA on the first page: “[Stra]hlborn and Wolff, Banquiers a St. Petersbourg”; notation by Francis Dana on the fourth page: “Cyphers J.A. & F.D.” filmed with Ciphers and Cipher { 482 } Keys (same, Reel No. 602). A corner of the folded enclosure is torn, resulting in the loss of a number of words on pages one through three.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
1. It seems likely that this document was enclosed with the present letter. Evidence is provided by JA's reply of 14 Dec. (MHi: Dana Family Papers). There Adams indicated that the letter of 8 Sept., which had arrived that very day, was the first that he had received since Dana's departure. Then, in the fourth paragraph of his reply, JA began using the code supplied to him by Dana. It is significant that this very lengthy paragraph was done prior to JA's announcements, in the fifth paragraph, that he had received, “this Evening,” Dana's letter of 15 Sept. to the president of Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:710–714) and, in a postscript dated 15 Dec., that he had just received Dana's letter of 22 Oct. (Adams Papers).
2. John Entick, The New Spelling Dictionary, London, 1772. Although Dana explains very clearly how to use a dictionary code, there is no evidence that Dana or JA ever used it in their correspondence.
3. Supplied from Entick's Dictionary as directed by Dana.
4. Dana wrote the postscript vertically in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0356

Author: Field, Job
Author: Newcomb, Briant
Author: Curtis, Samuel
Author: Bass, Jeriah
Author: Savil, Edward
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-08

From Job Field and Others

[salute] Dear Sir

We Are Extreamly Sorry To Troughble you with A Letter of this Kind, But Our Unfortunate Situation In A Kingdom Remote From All Our friends And Distitute of Cash, Drives Us to the Necessity of Requesting You for the Sake of our Parents Wich Ware Your Neighbours and Acquaintances To Supply Us With Some Small Sums of Cash—Wich You may Either Carge to Our Parents, or Our Selfs, And the Same Shall be faithfully Paid to Mrst. Adams In Brantree, Who Was In Good Health On the 22th. of April Last, When We Left our Native Place—We Wrote You A Letter Some time Past on this Same Subject, But Immagin It Miscarryd, We Can Not Point out any Person For Your Purpouse of Sending to—We Leave It To Your Judgment, and Would Conclude Beging of you As Our Only friend, Not to forget Your Unfortunate Friends—And Neighbours1
[signed] Job Field
[signed] Briant Newcombe
[signed] Samuel Curtis
[signed] Jeriah Bass
[signed] Edward Savil
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “M[r] John Adams Embasador At Paris”; in another hand: “chez m grand Banquire”; endorsed: “Job Fields. Letter. Septr. 8. 1781 ansd. Oct. 24.”
1. This is the first of over twenty letters JA exchanged over the next twelve months concerning twelve of his neighbors from Braintree and Milton. All had been captured in June on board the Salem privateer Essex, Capt. John Cathcart, and committed to Mill Prison in July. In addition to the five men who signed the letter, the prisoners included Nathaniel Beale, an unnamed Beale, Gregory and Lemuel Clark, Lewis Glover, William Horton, and Thomas Vinton. For the most detailed and informative account of JA's efforts on behalf of the prisoners, see AA's letter of 9 Dec., and note 3 (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:255–261); and for criticism of the aid JA provided, see Isaac Collins' letter dated March 1782 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0357

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-09-10

John Thaxter to C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

I had the honor of your favor of yesterday's date this morning.1
I blush to aknowledge that I have not given you a more early Intimation of Mr. Adams's Return from Paris: but I hope you will pardon it.
Mr. Adams has had a very severe nervous Fever, and is now recov• { 484 } | view ering, but still too weak to see company, he has charged me to present his compliments to you, and to acquaint you, that altho' he should be happy in your company, yet he finds himself too feeble, at present to enjoy the pleasures of it. You may rely upon it, Sir, that I will acquaint you when his Health is better established. I wish to keep his mind and attention as much diverted from political affairs as possible for the present moment.
My best Respects to Madame Dumas and your Daughter if you please.
I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most humble Servant.
[signed] J. Thaxter
Tr in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 101, II, f. 210.)
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0358

Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-14

From Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

At the receit of your Letter1 I imparted your observations, concerning your Account, to Dr. Franklin, for the consideration of which he demanded a few days, it is but lately that he answered me verbally, “that he had allowd and payd to Mr. Fr. Dana all that was due to him for his Salaries, and that he was doing the Same with respect to you by means of his order to give you credit for 120.000, and moreover that in case you had paid some thing to Mr. Dana you might claim it, I mean charge it to Congress, or get it reimbursed from Mr. Dana.”
This answer I craved to have upon Paper, they promised to send it me at first leisure, by means of which I have made out the State of your Account with me, which I herewith include and the Ballance of which is 2557.16 I owe you and which I have ordered Messrs. Fizeaux Grand & Ce. to pay you on requisition. I also return the State of Account you made, to give you more facility in the Examination of mine, and you will be so Kind as to inform me how you have found it.2
Herewith you will find Copy of Mr. J. Williams wine Bill for which I paid him pursuant to your desires 1032.10 as you will see in your Account which I charged of as much.
It has never happened, I dare Say, Sir, that publick Felicity was a Nuisance to you; it is the case, however for the Wine you have in my Cellar. The Crop proves to be a most abundant one, so much so that Wine is at present very cheap, which makes me fear you will be the loser for that part remaining, and altho I drink plenty and often to your good Health yet am fraid not to make a quick end of it.
{ 485 }
Please to give my best Compliments to your Son and Mr. Thaxter; for Mr. Dana I believe he is no longer one amongst you.
I remain with due Respect Sir your most obt. hble. st.
[signed] Hy. Grand
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Grand. Septr. 14. ansd Oct. 12. 1781.”
1. To Ferdinand Grand, 15 Aug., above.
2. Neither of the accounts mentioned here has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0359

Author: Jenings, Edmun