A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


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, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-17

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I Hope this will find Your Excellency's Health well established, and that your Disorder has not left the Remains usually attendant on it, but that your wonted Spirit and Fortitude are continud, for indeed, they are necessary to you at this Juncture, if I am rightly informed of a late transaction in America, which has grievd and Confounded me above Measure. The Hints given me of it are imperfect, but I suppose, the fact is clear, that his Excellency at Passy is made Coadjutor with your Excellency in the great Work of Peace, and this at a Time, when He had declared that the Multiplicity of business was too great for his Old Shoulders. The Design of this Measure is Manifest but suffer it not, let me entreat your Excellency, to succed. Keep firm in your place, and if you cannot do any good, Struggle hard to prevent Mischief. Should your Excellency retire, which I Know you are too much disposed to, I shall almost Dispair.
Has your Excellency receivd the Books. My Correspondents Friend has been here, and has done every thing in his Power to find out, where they are stopped: in his inquiries, He found out those that were addressed to me, they were detained at Bruges for some Petty Duties. I have receivd them, and least yours should not have come to Hand, give me leave to make the following extracts from Mine, which I do with much Pleasure, as they are relative to, and make honorable mention of your Excellency.1
“The Latter End of this Year (1765) procured to be printed in the London Chronicle, 'a Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law,' during the ferment Occasioned by the Stamp Act. This Excellent performance passed for a long while for the Work of Jeremy Gridley Esqr. Attorney Gen. of the Province of Massachusets Bay, Member of the general Court, Colonel of the first regiment of Militia and grand Master of the Free Masons, who died at Boston Sept. 10. 1767. { 486 } This Mr. Hollis had noted at the End of Dr. Chaunceys Sermon on the repeal of the Stamp Act.
“But He was afterwards better informed, and accordingly wrote at the End of his Copy of this Dissertation, printed by Almon 1768. 'This Dissertation on the Canon and feudal Law was written by John Adams Esqr. a young Gentleman of the Law, who lately removed from the Country to Boston. He has a large Practice and will probably be soon at the Head of his Profession.2
“We Suppose till we have better Information, this is the Gentleman, who has made so consequential and conspicuous a figure in the Congress of the United States of America. Perhaps only the Son of that Patriot. Be that as it may, whoever reads the Dissertation itself with Attention and a proper Comprehension of the Subject, will not Scruple to Acknowledge, that the Author was very capable of assisting with effect in the formation of a New Republic upon the Principles professed by the Colonists.” Vol 1st. p. 291.
“In the Year 1765 was published in the Boston Gazette 'a Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law' the Author of which was supposed to be Jeremy Gridley Esqr. Attorn. Gen. &c. of Massachusets Bay, as mentioned Above.
“The Author, however, was discovered at length to be the Individual John Adams, whose exertions in Opposition to the Vindictive and precipitate measures of Britain, hath greatly contributed to rescue America from the Influence of Tory Politics, and thereby to save his Country from the Pillage and Oppression of a set of wretched Counsellors and their Tools, whom to the Astonishment of the World, the Men of England still suffer to misguide their Councils, with a Patience, for which it would be in Vain to look for Examples among her Ancestors.
“This Year, 1768, Mr. Hollis Prevaild on Mr. Almon in Piccadilly to print a Collection of Letters sent from the House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusets Bay to several persons of high Rank in this Kingdom, containing the true Sentiments of America; at the End of this Collection was added the Dissertation On the Canon and Feudal Law and a Letter, which appeared in a London Paper Janry. 7th. 1768 written by the same Mr. Adams.3
“Soon after this Collection came out Dr. Elliot first informed Mr. Hollis, that the Dissertation was the Work of Mr. Adams. Part of Mr. Hollis's Answer is as follows
“The two discourses of Mr. Adams appear to me to be among the best publications produced by North America, and as the Author is { 487 } possessed of Learning, Industry, Spirit, is, it is apprehended, Young; and the Times are likely to run very, very, very base, He, and such as He, cannot be too much encouraged. In the minds of a few, not in Numbers, doth the Safety felicity of States, depend. Crown Him with Oak Leaves, especially ye Men of Massachusets, when festivating on a Gaudy Day, under the Tree of Liberty, for having asserted, maintained the Wisdom of your Ancestors in their prime Law, the fixed Settlement of a Grammarian, that is a Man of Approved Character and Virtue in all their Townships.
“To this your whole Spirit is owing and with me, less a Calamity it would be, the present Slaughter of ten Thousand of your Wisest Stoutest Men, than the Destruction of that Law.4
“The passage alluded to by Mr. Hollis is to be found p. 126 of Almons Edition of the Dissertation of the Canon and Feudal Law, and is worth transcribing.
“But the Wisdom and Benevolence of our Fathers restd not here. They made an Early provision by Law, that every Town, consisting of so many Families, should be furnished with a grammar School. They made it a Crime for such a Time to be destitute of a Grammar School Master for a few Months, and subjected it to a heavy penalty. So that the Education of all Ranks of People was made the Care and expence of the public in a Manner, I believe, that has been unknown to any other people antient or modern.5
“This Period, and that which went before it, and that which followed it appeared in the London Chronicle July 28 with the following Address
To Katharina, Elexiuna,6 Empress of all the Russias Ever Magnanimous
“The following Extract from a Dissertation on the Canon and feudal Law written at Boston in N England in the Year 1765 then printed there and since reprinted here, is with all respects tendered by An Englishman.” 1 Vol. p. 400[–401].
“May the 10th. 1769 Mr. Hollis writes to his reverend Friend at Boston: 'Doctr. Coleman in his Sermon supposes this Law (for establishing Grammar Schools) gives you a great Superiority over the parent Kingdom. It is a Just Remark, I do not recollect to have read of any such a Law as yours among the Antients, however Obvious and Excellent. That Law, it is supposed, you owe to the truly reverend Mr. Cotton whose Abstract shews great Abilitys under some particularities, and a Subject in his Day, not in all respects, it may be investigated and discussed.
{ 488 }
“In the same Letter He writes, 'the Agent for the Province of Massachusets should always be a native of that Province, of a decent Family, liberally bred to Government and to Law especially; should be sent out for three years, being first Solemnly harangued, sworn by the prime Fathers of the Land to Trustiness and Magnanimity, maintaind Amply, then certainly recalled to Honor and Emolument at Home, or to contempt and Infamy. Men of this Cast were Smith and Cheke, Secretaries to that wonderful Young King Edw. 6th. Their Lives are now sent to Harvard College; and of all Statesmen, worthies during the Long Glorious reign of Queen Elizabeth, and Men of like Cast, I am Confident, are now among you. John Adams Esqr. for Example, young too and Active, as ingenuous. The Times are great, and your and our Necessities; and nations rise and fall by Individuals, not numbers, as all History, I think, fully proves.
“You see I Scribble boldly; yet rather with some Idea, that it will not prove altogether unacceptable to you, that I do so.
“The Agent thus outlined to you is nearly the Kind of Person, which the Venetian Senate usually sends out on Real business to States and Princes, though still more Liberal.
“We apprehend this Character of a Colony Agent, was partly intended as a Contrast to the Character of the Author, (supposed to be Mauduit) of the Controversy between Great Britain and her Colonies reviewed,7 who it seems had been intrusted with the Agency for the Colonies some time before.” Vol. 1st. p. 416.
Surely your Excellency cannot be displeased at this Judgment passed on your Work, and this public Testimonial of your Merit given by so worthy and so sagacious a Man, as the late Mr. Hollis. I protest to your Excellency, that if I could gain the Approbation of such an Individual, I should not be Anxious of any public Applause for that I Know is frequently given most undeservedly, and as frequently withheld most ungratefully. It is too precarious for any Man to rest his Comfort on. Mr. Hollis's Esteem was not Easily Obtained, but when it was so, it was ever much prized, for it was Known to be well founded.
The Memoirs of Mr. Thomas Hollis are comprised in two Volumes large Quarto. The Print of them is most beautiful and the Engravings of the Heads of Milton, Lock, Bulstrade, Sidney, Doctr. Mahon8 &c. &c. are done most Elegantly indeed. The Work is such, and treats of such Matters, that give me leave to say your Excellency must have it; and therefore, if that, which the Publisher, meant for your Excellency, does not come to Hand Mine is at your Excellencys Service.9
{ 489 }
The Memoirs mention the Money coined in N England 1652, which the Author supposes a professed Antiquary will in some remote period seek for with avidity. The present Mr. Hollis has not one of the peices, but is an antiquary and a professed Friend to N England and therefore will certainly be glad of one. I have a Peice of that Coin; but should your Excellency have one, and are willing to part with it, I am confident it will be receivd from you with more than ordinary Respect. If your Excellency has not one, I will send mine to the Man, whom I esteem so much.10
By a Letter from Madrid I find that his Excellency Mr. Jay is in a poor State of Health and that it is supposed the Emperor intrigues Covertly in favor of Britain.
Has your Excellency heard of the Northern Travellers? I will not trouble your Excellency with writing of the Conduct of the combined fleet of 49 Vessels of the Line.
I beg your Excellency would make my best Respects to Mr. Thaxter, to whom I have been lately much obliged for his Correspondence.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most Devoted and Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. The following quotations are taken from Francis Blackburne's Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, Esq., 2 vols., London, 1780, 1:291, 400–401, 416–417. JA copied them on a separate sheet which he enclosed in his letter of 21 Oct. to AA (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:232). The enclosure is now in MHi: Cranch Family Papers, where it is dated 1781. They concern JA's “A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law” (vol. 1:103–128), a series of anonymous essays written and first published in 1765 in the Boston Gazette. Hollis was so impressed with the “Dissertation” that he procured its republication in the London Chronicle of 23, 28 Nov., 3, 26 Dec. 1765 and later in a pamphlet entitled The True Sentiments of America, London, 1768, p. 111–143.
2. Hollis was informed of JA's authorship of the “Dissertation” in letters from Andrew Eliot of 27 Sept. and 17 Oct. 1768 (MHS, Colls., 4th ser., 4 [1858]:426–427, 434).
3. The letter published in the London Chronicle and reprinted in True Sentiments (p. 143–158) was not by JA, but by Benjamin Franklin. It is usually referred to as his “Causes of the American Discontents before 1768” (Franklin, Papers, 15:3–13).
4. The following two paragraphs are an almost verbatim quotation of a passage in the Memoirs that itself was taken from Thomas Hollis' letter of 1 July 1768 to Andrew Eliot (MHi: Thomas Hollis Papers). Hollis, in fact, wrote to commend “the two discourses of Rev. Amos Adams,” rather than JA's “Dissertation.” Hollis referred specifically to the minister's Religious Liberty, An Invaluable Blessing: Illustrated in two Discourses Preached at Roxbury, Decr. 3, 1767, being the day of General Thanksgiving ..., Boston, 1768. The Rev. Amos Adams (Harvard, 1752) was JA's distant cousin and the minister of the First Congregational Church of Roxbury (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:178–186).
5. As indicated in the following two paragraphs, this “period” or paragraph was taken verbatim from True Sentiments, along with the paragraphs that immediately preceded and followed it, and, with a dedication to Catherine the Great, were printed in the London Chronicle of 26–28 July 1768. For the corresponding text from the “Dissertation” as originally published in the Boston Gazette, see vol. 1:120.
6. “Alexievna” in the London Chronicle.
7. This pamphlet, published at London in 1769, has at various times been attributed to Israel Mauduit, then the Massachusetts colo• { 490 } nial agent in London. It was, however, most likely the work of William Knox assisted, perhaps, by George Grenville (DNB). For a discussion of the authorship of the pamphlet, see T. R. Adams, American Controversy, 1:126–127.
8. Dr. Jonathan Mayhew.
9. When the copy sent by Thomas Brand Hollis did not arrive, Jenings sent JA his own copy (from Jenings, 29 May 1782, Adams Papers).
10. Memoirs, 1:397–398. JA asked Jenings to send Hollis the New England shilling and offered to replace it with two of the same (9 Oct., Adams Papers). He then wrote AA and requested that she procure for him several of the coins (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:232, 273).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0360

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Reed, Joseph
Date: 1781-09-19

John Thaxter to Joseph Reed

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that Mr. Adams has for sometime past been confined to his Bed with a Fever; and tho' at present upon his Recovery, yet is still too feeble to write. He has therefore directed me to acknowledge the Receipt of your Excellency's two Letters of 14th. and 21st. July to the Honorable Mr. Searle,1 who sailed about a month since in the South Carolina, Commodore Gillon.
Mr. Adams has requested me to present his Respects to your Excellency, and to assure You, Sir, that he is very sensible of the Confidence which You have reposed in him, and that the utmost Care shall be taken of those Letters and Papers. Mr. Adams is the more particularly obliged to your Excellency in addressing them to him, as they contain more clear and satisfactory Accounts of the State of public affairs, than any Letters or Papers he has as yet seen from America.
He hopes Mr. Searle, who left no reasonable measure unessayed to accomplish the purpose of his Mission, will soon be with your Excellency to explain in Person the Reasons why he has not succeeded.2
I have the honor to be &c.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The letters from Reed, President of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, to James Searle have not been found, but for their content, see JA's letter of 20 Oct. to James Searle (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. For Searle's comments regarding his failure to raise a European loan for Pennsylvania, see his letter of 22 April, and note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0361-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-19

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

Quoyque je ne puisse scavoir par personne positivement si vous estes a paris de retour de vos voyages, l envie que jay de scavoir de { 491 } vos cheres nouvelles, de celle de vos chers enfants et patriotes, mengage a avoir lhonneur de vous ecrire cette lettre, quand elle devroit voyager aprés vous. Je desire fort que votre santé nait point souffert des longues et dures courses que vous avez fait, et que vous ayiez terminé avantageusement vos affaires personnelles et celles de votre patrie qui ne peut estre en meilleures mains. Pour moy je suis un peu fatigué de mes courses maritimes, sans estre et avoir eté malade jarrive de cadix avec mrs. les espagnols, notre croisiere n'a pas eté aussi heureuse que celle que nous avons faits avec mr. de la mothe piquet, car je suis il est vray, depuis la sensible, placé en second sur le plus mauvais voilier de tous nos ports. Nous n'avons pas pus joindre un seul batiment marchand de la flotte. Jen ay eu cependant ma bonne part. Jay bien envie de quitter ce vaisseau, mais je ne scay si je pourray y reussir ainsi qu'a aller voir madame de chavagnes. Jay fait une grande perte dans mr. de sartines que je regrette votre petit capne. chavagnes a bien peu de credit actuellement. Je nay pas eu celuy de pouvoir vous aller voir a paris. Je demanday lhyver dernier un congé en consequence, cela me fut refusé. Aussi je desire bien fort la paix ou une trève pour quitter tout a fait mon etat que jay aimé. Si encor avant que de prendre ce parti, jetois destiné a vous reconduire et tous les votres a boston. Cela me feroit un plaisir inexprimable. Etant a même de vous demander de vive voix la continuation de votre estime et amitié que je cheris beaucoup, et en même temps de vous reiterer lassurance du sincere et respectueux attachement avec lequel jay lhonneur d'estre pour ma vie, Mon cher monsieur, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur,
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
[signed] capne. des vaux. du roy de france

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0361-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-09-19

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My dear Sir

Although no one could tell me positively if you were in Paris back from your journeys, I felt a desire to find out any news from you, your dear children and patriots. It is for this honor that I have engaged myself to write to you, even if the letter has to travel to find you. I hope very strongly that your health has not suffered from the long and hard course that you have had, and that you have terminated your personal affairs advantageously as well as those of your country, which could not be in better hands. As for me, I am a bit tired of my maritime journeys. Without being or having been ill, I arrived at Cádiz with the Spanish gentlemen. Our crossing was not as { 492 } happy as the one we made with La Motte-Picquet, because, since La Sensible, it is true that I have been given second rank on one of the worst sailing ships of all of our ports. We have not been able to join a single merchant ship in the fleet. I have taken it in good part however. I would like to leave this ship, but I do not think I could succeed in doing so except to visit Madame Chavagnes. I have ruined myself in the eyes of M. de Sartine and I regret that your little captain has little influence now. I do not have any that would enable me to go to see you in Paris. As a result of this, I asked for leave last winter, but I was refused. I truly wish for peace or a truce so that I may leave this life that I have loved. But first, before leaving, I would like to be the one to take you back to your loved ones in Boston. This would give me the most indescribable pleasure. I ask for the continuation of your esteem and friendship, which I cherish very much, and at the same time I reiterate the assurance of my sincere and respectful attachment with which I have the honor to be for life, my dear sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
[signed] capne. des vaux. du roy de france

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0362

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-09-24

John Thaxter to C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

I had the honour of your favor without date this morning.1
I have a particular Satisfaction in assuring you, Sir, that the health of Mr. Adams has greatly recovered. I have shewn him your Letters. He is much obliged by your Kind attention, and has charged me to present you his Respects, and to inform you, that he should be very happy to See Mr. Dumas at Amsterdam, whenever it Shall be convenient for him to come. His Sickness has been Short, but very violent, and I am happy to say that his Recovery is more Speedy than could have been expected.
We have nothing of great Importance from America of late, excepting that our affairs in every part wear an agreable complexion.
My best Respects to Madame Dumas and Daughter.
In Expectation of the honor of soon Seeing you here, I have that of being with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient & most humble Servant.
[signed] J. Thaxter
Tr in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 101, II, f. 211.)
1. Not found.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/