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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0135-0005

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Politique hollandais (newspaper)
Date: 1782-01-22

IV. To Le politique hollandais

[salute] Sir

The Abby, in the 21 Page, represents the destruction of the Tea, as an excès blâmable, and the Town of Boston as a Cité coupable, which I apprehend is a Censure, unjust in itself and inconsistent, with, his own Principles, and with his whole moral and political System, in this ellegant Work.
Sydney and Lock, to name to others in England, John Jacques Rosseau, and a number of other Writers in France, have placed the Principles of Government in So clear a Light, and have produced Such demonstrations in Support of them, that no rational Creature, whose Faculties are not perverted by Superstition, and Fanaticism can read their Writings without seeing their Truth. Our author has not certainly read them without Conviction, and there is not one of the Writers I have mentioned, who could have vindicated the Principles of the american Revolution in a clear, shorter, or more elegant or masterly manner.
If then, “Qu’il n’est nulle form de Gouvernment, dont la Prerogative Soit d’etre immuable. Nulle autorité politique qui créée hier, ou, il y a mille ans, ne puisse être abrogée dans dix ans ou demain: nulle Puissance Si respectabble, Si Sacrée qu’elle soit, autorisée à regarder l’Etat come Sa proprieté.”1 If, “toute autorité dans ce monde, peut finir legitimement.” If, “Rien ne prescrit pour la Tyrannie contre la Liberté.”2
If it is true, that “Un peuple Soumis à la volonté d’un autre peuple qui peut disposer à son grè de son Gouvernment, et de ses Loix, de Son commerce; l’imposer come il lui plait; limiter Son Industrie et l’enchainer par des prohibitions arbitraires, est Serf, [v]oici il est Serf; et Sa servitude est pire que celle qu’il Subiroit Sous un Tyran.”3
If, Le Consentement des Aieux ne peut obliger les descendans, et il n’y a point de condition qui ne soit exclusive du Sacrifice de la Liberté. La liberté ne s’echange pour rien, parce que rien n’est d’un prix qui lui Soit comparable.4
If, Le Bonheur public est la premiere loi, comme le premier Devoir.5
1. Révolution de l’Amérique, p. 40. Translation: There is no form of government which has the prerogative to be immutable. No political authority, which created yesterday or a { 213 } thousand years ago, may not be abrogated in ten years time or tomorrow. No power, however respectable, however sacred, is authorized to regard the state as its property.
2. Same, p. 41. Translation: All authority in this world can justly end. There is no prescription in favor of tyranny against liberty.
3. Same, p. 43–44. Translation: A people subjected to the will of another people, who can dispose as they choose of their government, of their laws, and of their trade; tax them at their pleasure; set bounds to their industry, and enchain them by arbitrary prohibitions, are serfs—yes serfs—and their servitude is worse than they would suffer under a tyrant.
4. Same, p. 45. Translation: The consent of ancestors cannot be obligatory upon descendants, and there can be no condition which must not be understood to be exclusive of the sacrifice of liberty. Liberty is not to be bartered for anything, because there is nothing which is of a comparable price.
5. Same, p. 47. Translation: The public happiness is the first law, as the first duty.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0136

Author: Black, Thomas
Author: Green, William
Author: Williams, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-22

From Thomas Black and Others

[salute] Honoured Sire

Hoping that ÿou will Recieve Cuppele Lines in a good health this is to give Notice to your honnour of our bad Luck which we have here in this Countÿ we where engaged bÿ a Man which Sold us and brouht us aboerd a Dutch Indiesman our T[h]ree being Thomas Black from boston John Williams and William Green but Sire I Thomas Black have mÿ wife and Familÿ in America and Should rether whish to Serve the States of America then to Serve this Countrÿ we was Strange there in Amsterdam and having no Acquaintance So he took us up altogeher and confind us and brought us upon this Indie-man the Name of the Man is Henrÿ Thibout if there was now an Optunitÿ of Congres Ship we are all together willing to Serve the States of America where your honnour Pleasses to Send us and the Language of the Countrÿ does grive us being now a matter of nine months aboerd the Ship and having not recieved yet one Farthing and we arhe Used like the Slaves and whe are used like Prisonners your honnour Kan Consider that does grive us werÿ much whe Should whish us So happÿ to recieve a Cuple Lines of an Answer upon this Letter whit the first Oportunity So Soon as Possible if you pleasse to grant us that Favour whe Should think us werÿ happÿ we Should be happÿ yet once more hear of our Familÿ being now a matter of a year in this Strange Countrÿ Hoping would not take it in a ille part your honnour being in that Same time.

[salute] Your most humble and Obiant Servant

[signed] William Green
[signed] Thomas Black
[signed] John Williams
The direction is the Ship Schoonder Loo from the Kamer Delft bÿ de Oude Sluis bÿ Texel the Captains Name J. Van den Berg.1
{ 214 }
1. The three American sailors have not been further identified and there is no indication that JA did anything on their behalf. The Schoonderloo, upon which they had been impressed, was a 46-gun Dutch warship based at Delft (PCC, No. 79, IV, f. 368).
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/