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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


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

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

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

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

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

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

From Francis Dana

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

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

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

Enclosure: Key for a Code System

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

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0356

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

From Job Field and Others

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0357

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

John Thaxter to C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0358

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

From Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0359

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

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0360

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

John Thaxter to Joseph Reed

[salute] Sir

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

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

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

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

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

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

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

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0362

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

John Thaxter to C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

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