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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

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    
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 Correspondence, 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 Correspondence, 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 Correspondence, 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

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.
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 Correspondence, 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 Correspondence, 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 Correspondence, 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, 2018.