A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0042

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-18

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have had the Honour of receiving your Excellencys Letter of the 3d. Instant, it was full, Satisfactory and very Comfortable. I have had since the pleasure of seeing Colonel Searle, who I find is inspired with the same Sense of things, and has the same feelings for the Happiness of our Country, as your Excellency. He was therefore most Acceptable to me, and by Consequence I shewed Him every Attention in my Power for his own Sake and in Duty to your Excellencys Recommendation, for which I beg your Excellency would Accept my warmest Thanks. The making me Acquainted with this Gentleman and Mr. Dana has Confered a great Obligation on me, I find but few Such. I wish I Knew Many More of this Sort and I trust there are Thousands; there ought to be so for the Happiness of America.
The Conduct of the Empress of Russia is likely to be most Magnanimous. I congratulate your Excellency and all honest Dutchman Men thereon.
The Papers from London are not arrivd there are now four Posts due, but the Courier del Europe says, that 3 or 4 thousand french Troops Landed at Jersey and possessd themselves of the Town of St. Hellier, the Capital, which they took by Surprize, that they destroyed all the Shipping and killd 3 or 4 Hundred Men but were afterwards driven out with the Loss of 500.1 I am Sorry for the Event. But the Distrusction of the Corsairs in that Island cannot but be of great Advantage to the Common Cause. The Admiral at Portsmouth sent immediately on Advice of the Attack a Number of Ships of War. I think we shall hear some News of them for it blew about 6 days ago most violently at North, which I think will make some Havock at the Coast, which is surrounded by Rocks. I Know it Well.
I send your Excellency a printed Paper from Annapolis—You have perhaps receivd one before.2 It Contains much good news.
I have got acquainted with the Author of the Lettres Hollandoises.3 He lives in this Town. He seems most Willing to labour in the Support of the Common Cause, if your Excellency can furnish any Matter that may serve it I shall most readily Communicate it to Him. He does not understand English.
Affairs seem to be in such a Train in Holland that Mr. Searle thinks Your Character cannot be too much Known and therefore that Letters ought to be properly Addressd to your Excellency. I only wait for { 60 } your Excellencys Permission to show that Respect to your public Character, which I trust in God all the World will soon do, and especially our implacable Enemy. I am sure He cannot do better in his desperate Situation.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Faithful and Obedient Huml Sert.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jennings recd & ans. Jan. 20. 1781.”
1. This is an accurate account of the reports that appeared in the Courier de l'Europe of 9 and 12 January.
2. Since Joshua Johnson corresponded with Edmund Jenings, this may be another copy of the Maryland Gazette of 3 Nov., which Johnson had enclosed with his letter to JA of 9 Jan., above.
3. Dérival de Gomicourt, Lettres hollandoises, ou correspondance politique sur l'état présent de l'Europe, notamment de la République des Sept Provinces-Unies, 8 vols., Amsterdam, 1779–1781. Volumes 3 and 4 are in JA's library at the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0043

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-19

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Honourable Sir

I am sorry, there appeared something suspicious to you in the paragraph, mentioned in your last Letter.1 If it had been send to me by some person or other, perhaps I would make no secret of it: But I can assure you on my word, the whole paragraph is of my own frame and contains my own sentiments on the subject. Nobody whosoever had any part in it nor any notice of it: And, when I shall have given you my reasons for thinking so, as I had expressed myself, perhaps you will find them more warrantable as before, altho' I will not say, there is no mistake in my ideas.
When I consider the extent of United-America, and the present state of Georgia, an unsettled Colony, without strength, in an un-wholesome climate, and in great part conquered by the British Army, it seems to me not improbable, that in the issue of the War America, with a view of forwarding peace and public tranquillity in the world, will consent, that Georgia with the two neighbouring Floridas (especially if those last Provinces are not conquered by Spain or France) form the British Dominions in the Southern part of North-America. The History of all ages proves in my opinion, that the end of all wars is a sort of middle-way between the different aims of the two contending Party's, and that they must give up something or other from their claims in order to make peace. It would be a more than common fortune indeed, if at the end of the War it was otherwise with America. Out of the number of seventeen Provinces, which revolted { 61 } against the Spanish Yoke, no more than eight obtained the aim of their endeavours, an acknowledged Liberty and Independence. How possible is it then, that at the peace an exterior limb will be clipped of from the American Confederation?
As to Vermont, I have spoken after the opinion given by Mr. Cornell in his Letter to Governor Green; an opinion, which co-incides with the ideas of some of your own Countrymen, whom I heared speak on the matter, and (if I am not mistaken) with the secret inclinations of the New-England States, especially of Massachusetts. Massachusetts, I suppose, would not be chagrined, if the extent of New-York (in this case an usurped extent by favour of the British Government) were a little diminished. Besides, the temper of Vermont, as I see by the public News-papers, is such, that it will never renounce its claims. (I think, you shall see it by the event.) And America is too prudent to hazard a domestick schism in the present circumstances. Is it not probable also, that for the sake of good harmony the United-States will satisfy Maryland in his objections against the last Act of Confederation? Such a prudence of conduct deserves, if I am right, the praise of every well-wisher of America.
I am sincerely and with great respect, Honourable Sir, Your Excellency's Most obedient and humble Servant
[signed] J. Luzac
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. J. Luzac. ansd. 22. Jan. 1781.”
1. JA's letter regarding Luzac's commentary in the Gazette de Leyde of 26 Dec. 1780 has not been found. For his reaction to Luzac's reasoning, as explained in this letter, see his reply of 22 Jan., and note 1, below.
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.