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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0015

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-10-18

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dr Sir

It is a long time Since I had the Pleasure of writing to you. I have been, to the very gate of the other Mansion. My Feet had well nigh Stumbled on the dark mountains: but by the Skill of Dr Osterdike1 and the Barks wondrous Virtue, I am returned here to take two or three more Lessons of Politicks.
If your affairs will admit of your Spending Some time at Amsterdam, I should be obliged to you, if you would take an appartment in my House. The Sooner the better. I desired Mr Thaxter to write you an Invitation in my name, when I was too weak to write. He wrote but has no answer.2 How go the Politicks of the Hague? Will they ever answer my Memorial?

[salute] I am, &c

1. Nicolaas George Oosterdijk, professor of medical theory at the University of Leyden (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:224).
2. See Thaxter’s letter of 24 Sept. (vol. 11:492) and Dumas’ response of 13 Oct., above.
{ 22 } | view

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0016

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-10-18

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Thomas Beer, with his Wife and two small Children came to my House this forenoon, and presented me a Letter from Mr Coffyn of Dunkirk of the 2d. of Octr, recommending Beer to me as a Person who had been obliged to fly from England, for having assisted American Prisoners to escape; and inclosing a Copy of a Letter from your Excellency to Mr Coffyn of the 22d. of August, advising Beer to go to Holland, where your Excellency imagined there was great demand for all kind of Workmen, who are useful in fitting out Ships, and consenting that Coffyn should supply them, not exceeding ten Guineas, and requesting Mr Coffyn for the future to send the prisoners to my Care at Amsterdam, and to desire his friend at Ostend to give them the same direction.
As to Beer, I know not what to do with him. He has spent his last Guilder, and the Man, Woman and Children all looked as if they had been weeping over their distresses in deplorable misery. I gave him some Money to feed his Children a Night or two, and went out to see if I could get him Work with a Ropemaker: but I was told that your Excellency was much mistaken in supposing, that there is here a great demand for all kind of Workmen who are useful in fitting out Ships: that Navigation being in a manner stopped, such Tradesmen had the least to do of any, and particularly the Ropemakers complained of want of work more than ever, and more than any other Sett of Tradesmen. However, a Gentleman will enquire, if he can find a place for him.
I have no Objection to American Prisoners coming this way, and shall continue to do every thing in my Power, as I have done, to solace them in their distress. I have now for a Year past relieved considerable Numbers, who have escaped from England, with small Sums, and with my best Endeavours to procure them Employment and Passages: but your Excellency is very sensible I have no public Money in my hands, and that therefore, the small sums of Money, which I have been able to furnish them, must have been out of my own Pocket. This Resource is likely to fail very soon, if my Salary is not to be paid me in future.
If your Excellency would give me your Consent that I should take up small Sums of Money of Mess: Fizeaux, Grand & Co. for the purpose of assisting our Countrymen who escape from Prison, I { 24 } should esteem myself much honoured by this Trust, for none of my time is spent with more pleasure than that which is devoted to the Consolation of these Prisoners. The Masters of Vessels have hitherto been very good in giving passages, and We have made various Shifts to dispose of such as have been here, and have succeeded so as to give tolerable satisfaction; but We should do much better, if We had a little more Money.
I have often told your Excellency, that the House of De Neufville and Son had recieved a few thousand Guilders upon the Loan opened by me in behalf of the United States. I have not touched this Money, because I thought it should lie to answer Bills of Exchange upon the Draughts of Congress: but as there is so little, if your Excellency would advis[e] me to it, I would devote it to lie for the benefit of the poor Prisoners, and would make it go as far in relieving their distresses as I could.

[salute] I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

[signed] John Adams
RCin John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0017

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Coffyn, Francis
Date: 1781-10-19

To Francis Coffyn

[salute] Sir

I Yesterday received, your Favour of the 2d Of this Month by Beers who with his Wife and two Children came to me, in deplorable Distress, his Children having been Sick and detained him on the Road, untill he had Spent his last shilling.
This Man never made a greater Mistake than in coming to Holland where at Present, all Business being in a State of Stagnation, Tradesmen in General find the Times very hard, and navigation being obstructed, all occupations relative to ship building, are duller than any others—particularly the Ropemakers, who can not find Employment for their old Journeymen and Apprentices, much less think of taking new ones.
There are moreover at present, and have been Since the War between England and Holland very few American Vessells here: So that it is very difficult for a Single Man to get a Passage.
There is also at present more risque of the Ennemy, in a Passage from hence than from France, and what is worse than all the rest there is Nobody here, who has any Money in his Hands belonging { 25 } to the American Publick. I cannot therefore but approve the Reluctance against coming this Way which you Say, you find in general, in American Prisoners.
Notwithstanding this, I Shall be always ready to assist any distressed Americans, to the Utmost of my Power. There is no set of Men more meretorious, than the Prisoners who escape, and there is no occupation more pleasing to a Man of Philanthropy than to relieve them. But as The United States are not yet acknowledged by their high Mightinesses, I can receive no Assistance for the relief of my unfortunate Countrymen from this Government: and as I have not any publick Money at my disposal, the only Aid I can give them is in a private Capacity, unless, his Excellency Dr Franklin can enable me to do more by Supplying me with Money. If any Body will furnish me Money, the more of it I give to deserving and distressed Americans the better.

[salute] I have the Honour to be

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0018

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Searle, James
Date: 1781-10-20

To James Searle

[salute] Dr sir

I condole with you most affectionately and cordially in your fresh disappointment.1It is to be hoped the Tide will turn.
I have recd, Letters for You from Govr Reed, with a desire to open them in case of your being gone.2 You were gone, and I opened them and read them, with infinite Pleasure. They contain the best Account of American affairs that I have seen. The substance of them, is Advising you, very respectfully, and friendly, to come home, unless you had Succeded or Saw a Prospect of Speedy success.
I knew not where to send them with a Prospect of meeting you, and shall therefore wait your orders.3
What Judgment are We to form of the Comr and his designs? what are become of all the Letters? especially those to Congress? Congress have not recd a Letter from me these 12 months. A Charm is certainly set upon my Correspondence yet I should not think it of sufficient Importance for a Devil or a Witch to interfere. All my Letters by way of Statia, and by Several Vessells directly to America are lost. Now these by the S. C.
I have been to the Gate of death since You left me, with a malig• { 26 } nant nervous fever: but Dr. Osterdykes masterly skill and Quinquina’s wonderous Virtue have brought me back, but I am yet feeble and good for nothing. Yours in great haste affectionately & sincerely.4
1. Searle, a passenger on the South Carolina, was delayed at La Coruña, Spain.
2. On 19 Sept. John Thaxter acknowledged receipt of Joseph Reed’s letters to Searle of 14 and 21 July (vol. 11:490).
3. JA also wrote on this day to William Jackson (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:228–229). He enclosed his letters to Jackson and Searle, as well as an otherwise unidentified letter to Congress, in a letter of 20 Oct. to Joshua Johnson (LbC, Adams Papers). Johnson was directed to send off the letter to Congress and to forward those intended for Jackson and Searle to whatever French port the two men might arrive at from La Coruña.
4. This paragraph was copied by John Thaxter. In the RC (not found, but described and quoted in The Collector, Nos. 4–6, 1970) this is the only paragraph in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0019

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-20

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have the Honor of having received your Excellencys Letter of the 9th Instant, which afforded me the utmost Joy, as it gave me reason to think your Excellencys Health was somewhat reestablished, I wish it may be soon perfectly so, for your Excellencys Sake and that of the Public.
When I wrote to your Excellency last, I apprehended, that a certain Gentleman was the only one added to your Excellencys Commission, this gave me the Utmost Uneasyness, as I imagined, it would have been most Unpleasant to your Excellency, such a Studied and gross affront might have been suggested by a certain Quarter, after what has come from thence, I am glad it is otherwise, and that your Excellency approves of the measure taken by Congress.
I am Sorry your Excellency has not receivd the Books, more have been sent since, which may be lost likewise, I shall write About them. The Coin shall be transmitted in your Excellencys Name and likewise One from me; it is an halfpenny Coind for Virginia during the Reign of G 3d,1 they ought to be Kept together, and then Posterity will see the first Peice of American Money and the last English one for that Country.
The famous Spanish Jesuit, Hussey,2 who has been in Spain, is, after residing a month in this Town, gone to Vienna.
The Mr Allaire of N York, who was put into the Bastile some time { 27 } Ago, has been in Holland and after staying here sometime is gone to London, He seems to be a Tool [of] Government, but of no Account.3
Another Gentleman of the Name of Martin is now here, He says he is a Virginian by Birth that He left the Country 1773. and that He is married to a Distillers Daughter in London. He passed through this Town about 6 weeks Ago, and then said He was going express to the Hague with Letters. He has been there and at Amsterdam. I believe He proposed to wait on your Excellency, but your Excellencys Illness preventd Him. Added to what He heard of the Sentiments of Americans, whom He met with in Holland, particularly of Mr Grieve,4 who I find expressed them so clearly and so Strongly, that He had little hopes of succeeding in his Commission, which He tells me Came immediately from the Minister, it was to sound your Excellency on certain terms of Accomodation, and that if those, which He had to propose were Acceptible, He said a formale Commission would immediately follow. As far as I can at present understand they were for a seperate Peace and the Independancy neither Acknowledge or denied. I took such pains to Convince Him, that He came on a fruitless Errand, by shewing Him the Treaty with France, which to my Astonishment He seemd to be but little informed of, that He declared He was ashamd of what He had come About. I am in hopes of getting from Him the Terms intended to be proposed and the name of the Minister, from whom, He came. He is particularly Acquainted with Mr Digges, with whom He holds a particular Correspondence, and for whose Honor He is very Anxious. He Expeccts Mr D here daily.5 Your Excellency is, I assure myself, satisfied that I shall talk with this man with Caution.
I Congratulate your Excellency on the Repulse of Hoods Fleet,6 I Hope we shall soon have from Virginia most compleat Success in Consequence thereof.
Your Excellency finds that the brave Johnstone has avoided an Attack on the french Ships of War, and has fallen on the defenceless Merchantmen.7 The british Commanders now Neglect the national Honor and prosperity, and have no Object but that of plunder. How will the Prizes come Home, they must be manned out of Johnstones Squadron, this will weaken it, and may defeat the public purposes.
But what effect has this Event in Holland? Will nothing, Sir, rouse that Country to do itself Justice—I trust this blow will.
Does you Excellency Know, that Govr Pownal has got the famous { 28 } Abbé Needham to translate and publish in this Country His Memorial &c as it appeared in the second Edition? He complains of a certain publication in Holland, that it makes Him say otherwise that He did, and that it shews Him an Ennemy to his Country.8
I understand that the Count le Markes Regiment consisting of between 3 and 4 thousand Men in the pay of France is going to America. I Know it well, it is a Noble Body of Germans, I have talked with some of the officers, who seem well disposed to Stay in America, they have long wished to be there.
Your Excellency will Oblige me much if you would be so good as to send me the first Volume of the politic Hollandois. I am told there is a Greek Hymn to Ceres, supposed to be Homers lately published in Holland.9 Will Mr Thaxter give me leave to beg Him to make particular Enquiry after it?

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. Presumably the copper coins, modeled on those circulating in Ireland, that were proposed by Lord Hillsborough in 1770, approved by Virginia’s Council in 1771, and struck at the Royal Mint in 1773 (H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia, 6 vols., Richmond, 1925–1967, 6:375, 412; Percy Scott Flippin, The Royal Government in Virginia, 1624–1775, N.Y., 1919, p. 270).
2. For Thomas Hussey, see vol. 9:361.
3. Peter Allaire, a New York merchant of Huguenot descent, was committed to the Bastille on 15 Feb. 1780. He was accused of attempting to poison Benjamin Franklin and of being a British spy. While the first allegation remains unproven, the second is certain. On 24 May 1780, Allaire was released and expelled from France (Claude-Anne Lopez, “The Man Who Frightened Franklin,” PMHB, 106:515–526 [Oct. 1982]).
4. Probably George Grieve, an English radical from Alnwick, Northumberland, best known for his denunciation and prosecution of Madame Du Barry during the French Revolution (DNB). Benjamin Franklin administered an oath of citizenship to Grieve in April and in May wrote letters of recommendation to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in anticipation of Grieve’s emigration to the United States (Franklin, Papers, 34:581–582; 35:25–26, 28). Jenings met Grieve during his visit to Amsterdam in the summer of 1781 (JQA, Diary, 1:76, 79).
5. Thomas Digges did not leave London for the Continent until March 1782. See Digges’ letter of 20 March 1782, below.
6. Capt. Duncan of the frigate Medea reached London on Saturday evening, 13 Oct., with dispatches from Rear Adm. Thomas Graves concerning the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September. Graves’ account, the first received in England, appeared in a London Gazette Extraordinary of 15 Oct. and then in other London newspapers, including the London Courant of the 16th and the London Chronicle of 13–16 October.
7. Como. George Johnstone captured five Dutch East Indiamen on 21 July at Saldanha Bay, on the South African coast north of Cape Town (London Chronicle, 13–16 Oct.; Gazette de Leyde, 23 Oct.).
8. Thomas Pownall, Mémoire Adressée aux souverains de l’Europe, sur l’etat presént des affaires de l’ancien et du nouveau monde, transl. John Turberville Needham, Brussels, 1781. The Dutch publication criticized by Pownall is Pensées sur la révolution de l’Amérique-Unie, Amsterdam, 1780, a French translation of JA’s response to Pownall’s A Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, London, 1780. For a discussion of Pownall’s Memorial and JA’s re• { 29 } visions thereof, see vol. 9:157–164.
9. Hymnus in Cererem, nunc primum editus a Davide Ruhnkenio, Leyden, 1780. JA’s copy is in his library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 122). It was probably that obtained by John Thaxter at Leyden and sent to JA in late Jan. 1781 (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:69–70).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0020

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-21

From Henry Knox

[salute] <My dear Sir>

I have had the honor of receiving several Letters from your Excellency, since your departure from america, which I have duly answerd, and hope you have received them. Your ideas of the necessity of some important blow to the british power in the southern states were extremely just.1 The reasons are too obvious to be mentioned. I am happy my dear Sir, in having it in my power to announce to you the joyful event of the reduction of Lord cornwallis and his whole force in Virginia. This important affair has been affected by the most harmonious concurrence of circumstances that could possibly have happened. A fleet and troops from the West Indies, under the orders of one of the best men in the World, an Army of Americans and French troops, marching from the N. River 500 miles, and a fleet of Count De Barras, from Rhode Island, all joining so exactly in point of time as to render What has happened almost certain. I shall not enter into a detail of circumstances previous to the collection of our force at Williamsburg 12 miles distance from this place which was made on the 27th ultimo. On the 28th we marched to this camp and on the 29th and 30th we completed our investiture of York, a body of American militia the Duke Lazuns Legion and some marines from the fleet of Count De Grasse at the same time formed in the vicinity of Glocester so as to prevent any incursions of the Enemy into the Country. From the 1 of October to the 6th was spent in preparing our materials for the seige in bringing forward our Cannon and stores and in reconnoitg the points of attack. On the evening of the 6th we broke ground and began our first parrell[el] within 600 Yards of the Enemies Works undiscoverd. The first parrallel, some redouts and all our batteries finished by the 9th at 2 oClock PM when we opened our batteries and kept them playing continualy. On the night of the 12 we began our second parrallel at 300 yds distance from the Enemy, and on the night of the 14th We stormed the two redoubts which the Enemy had advanced of their main works. The gallant troops of France under the orders of Baron { 30 } Verominil and the hardy soldiers of America under the Marquis de la Fayette attacked seperate works and carried them both in an instant. This brilliant stroke was effected without any great loss on our side, The Enemy lost between one and two hundred. This advantage was important and gave us an opportunity of perfecting our 2d parall[el] into which we took the two redoubts. On the 16th just before day the enemy made a sortie and spiked up some of our Cannon but were soon repulsed and driven back to their works. The Cannon were soon cleard and the same day our batteries in the 2d parrallel began to fire and continued on without intermission untill 9 oClock in the morning of the 17 october, ever memorable on account of the Saratoga affair when the Enemy sent a flage offering to treat of a surrender of the posts of York and Glouster. The firing continued untill two oClock when Commissioners on both sides met to adjust the capitulation which was not finished and signed, untill 12 oClock on the 19th. Our troops took possession of two redouts of the Enemy soon after, and about two oClock the Enemy marched out and surrendered their Army. The whole Garrison are prisoners of War and had the same honors only as were granted to our garrison at Charleston. Their Coulors were cased and they were prohibited playing a french or American tune. The Returns are not, yet collected but including [Very?] sick and well they are more than 7000. exclusive of seamen who are supposd to amount to 1000. There are near forty five of topsail Vesells in the harbour, about one half of which the Enemy sunk upon different occasions. About two hundred peices of Cannon, nearly one half of which are brass, a great number of Arms Drums and Colours are among the trophies of this decisive stroke. The prisoners are to be sent into any part of this state, Maryland or Pennsylvania.
The consequences will be extensively beneficial, the Enemy will immediately be confind to Charleston and New York reduced to a defensive War of those two posts, for which they have not more troops in America than to form Island Garrisons.
The exalted talents of General Greene have been amply displayed in North and South Carolina—without an army without means, without any thing he has performed Wonders—he will now be reinforced with a large body of troops which will enable him to push the Enemy to the gates of Charlestown.
This Army is compos’d of French and American troops <the former on a proportion of two to one, and Commanded by the good General Rochambeau> 3000 of the former came from the West Indies, with { 31 } the whole Commanded in person by our beloved General Washington2 whose distinguished patriotism and worth rises every day, and demands the rude pen of this of some annimated republican to do him sufficient justice. The Harmony and good understanding between the American and french troops exceed all description—one soul actuates the whole mass, and all are fired with Zeal for the interests of America. The troops which came with Count De Grasse from the West Indies under the orders of Marquis St. Simon will return with him immediately. The Army which came from France under Count Rochambeau will be cantond for the present in this state. The American troops belonging to the states east of Pennsylvania will immediately depart for the north River. Those west from Pennsylvania inclusively will go to the southward. The Enemy have a post at Wilmington in North Carolina of which these troops will dispossess them and then join General Greene.
We have a very respectable [and seasoned?] force on the Hudsons River amply sufficient to Garrison the important posts in the highlands and to form a small covering army.
If I can possibly procure copies of the capitulation and returns of the troops and stores taken I will do myself the honor to enclose them.
The unequivocal testimonies which America has already received of the friendship of France induces us to hope much from the future. If it shall be found possible to have a superior french fleet before New York by the 1st of Next June to stay certainly through the operation, I should not hesitate to pronounce with as much decision as military affairs will admit that in six Weeks we should wrest that important place from the hands of the English.
My Brother will soon go to Europe and will certainly have the honor to wait on you.3 I think it would be unnecessary for me to request the favor of your civilities to him.

[salute] I have the honor to be with great esteem and respect Your Excellencys Most obedient Servant

[signed] H Knox
P.S. Since writing the foregoing his Excellency Gen Washington has informed me that he has enclosed to you authenticated copies of the capitulation and returns as far as can be collected.4
Dft (NHi:Gilder Lehrman Coll., on deposit). JA received the RC on or about 6 Dec. (to C. W. F. Dumas, 6 Dec., below), but it is not in the Adams Papers. On 13 Dec., JA wrote to Jean Luzac, below, and enclosed Knox’s letter for publication in the Gazette de Leyde. Luzac neither published the letter nor returned it to JA.
{ 32 }
1. The last letter that JA had received from Henry Knox was dated 10 Oct. 1779, and was a reply to JA’s of 19 Sept. 177 (vol. 8:194–195, 152–153). Since returning to Europe in 1779, JA had written to Knox on 28 Feb. (vol. 8:375) and 18 March 1780 (American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings, 56 [1946]:223; JA, Papers, 9:61–62). No replies by Knox to those letters nor any letter by JA commenting on the need for an “important blow” in the South have been found.
2. The remainder of this sentence was written in the left margin and marked for insertion at this point.
3. William Knox had first gone to Europe on business in 1779 and returned to America in 1780. By the date of this letter he presumably had embarked on his second business trip to Europe (Thomas Morgan Griffiths, Major General Henry Knox and the Last Heirs to Montpelier, Monmouth, Maine, 1965, p. 9). On 22 Nov. he wrote from Lorient (Adams Papers) to forward two unidentified letters to JA and congratulate him on the victory at Yorktown; no reply has been found.
4. See Washington’s letter of 22 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0021

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-10-22

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have recieved your Excellency’s Letter of the 12th.
I should be much obliged to You for your sentiments, of what is to be understood by accepting the Mediation of a Power or Powers? Is a Mediator to be an Arbitrator, and is the Power that accepts the Mediation bound to submit to the Award? Is the great question of the War submitted to the discussion and final Judgment of the Mediator? For Example, if the United States should accept of a Mediation between them and Great Britain, would this be to submit to the Judgment of the Mediator, whether America should be independent, or come again under the dominion of England? I hope We should run no Risque of a Judgment against Us, but it seems to be too much to submit. I am glad the Communication is to be postponed.
It is said that the Prince de Gallitzin has demanded a categorical Answer from their High Mightinesses concerning the offer of Mediation of his Sovereign of opening Negotiations of Peace between Holland and Great Britain: adding, that upon this Answer might depend not only the Peace of the Republick, but also certain Measures, which his Court is determined to take relative to the present Conjuncture of affairs.2
Some Persons surmise, that the meaning of these mysterious words is, that if Holland persists in reckoning herself among the Number of the Enemies of G. Britain, the Empress will think herself under The Necessity of becoming her Friend, to prevent her from being crushed. But We may as well surmise that She intends to acknowledge the Independence of America, and invite Congress to send Ministers to Vienna.
{ 33 }
I thank your Excellency for your Advice as a Physician, which I have ventured to follow, though I had taken very largely of the Bark in my illness by the Advice of Dr Osterdyke, a very able Physician at the head of his Profession in this Town.3
I thank You, Sir, for Major Jackson’s Letter.4
Pray what is to become of the Continental Goods which Gillon left here? Would it not be well for Jackson to come here and take Care of them? I suppose they are still on board Vessels chartered to transport them to America, and detained for the freight. Who is to pay this Freight?5
I had written thus far, when accidentally seeing Mr De Neufville Junr:, he mentioned to me his having recieved a Letter some time ago when I was sick, from your Excellency, referring them to me, about the affair of the Goods.6 This was the first hint I ever had of the Letter. Indeed at the time when he recieved it, I was insensible to even the Incision Knife.
I have never had, since I have been in Europe, the least Connection in business of any kind public or private with Gillon. He wrote me two very long Letters last Winter and Spring, using all the Arguments his Wit could devise to persuade me to lend him the Credit of the United States by furnishing him with some of my Obligations to answer his Necessities. I answered both Letters forthwith by a positive and final Refusal.7 These Letters both his and mine will speak for themselves. I knew nothing of his being gone to Paris, when he entered into the Contract with Collo Laurens, nor did I know of Mr De Neufvilles being there. When I recieved a Letter from your Excellency and another from Collo Laurens, requesting me to draw Bills upon your Excellency for payment for the Goods,8 I was willing to have taken trouble on myself from Respect to your Excellency and to Coll Laurens, but was relieved from this, by your Excellency’s accepting the Bills drawn, as I understand, by Major Jackson: so that never, from first to last, directly or indirectly, have I ever been consulted in this Business; I <Shall> Should9 therefore be justifiable I suppose, if I were to persevere in avoiding to give any Opinion about it. But here is at present a large Interest of the United States suffering, and Americanus sum et nil Americanium a me alienum puto.10
To all appearance, Coll Laurens has been imposed on, and Gillon has violated his Contract with him. The Goods are left here on board Vessels hired to carry them. The freight is not paid: the Goods will be held I suppose responsible. The Question is, what is to be done?
{ 34 }
Money must be advanced I suppose for the freight of the Vessels. If your Excellency cannot advance it, I presume the Goods must in part be applied to the payment of this Expence: for there is nobody in Europe has any Money belonging to the States but your Excellency, nor Credit to procure any.
I would submit it to your Excellency, whether Jackson had not better come here and finish this Business, either by selling the Goods outright, at a loss no doubt, or by selling enough of them to pay the freight of the rest, or by agreeing for the freight and paying it at your Excellency’s Expense,11 as you shall advise.
For my own part, I have no Judgment in the Prices of Freight, the Goodness of Vessels, or Masters or Mariners, and therefore if I were to interfere, it could be only by employing some Merchants to do the Business; and no Merchant here, in my Opinion, would do it with more Care or success than Jackson. Moreover, I have certainly no Authority to order the Goods or any of them sold, and without this I have no Money to discharge the freight or pay for any Expenses.
That this affair has been miserably, or rather abominably managed by Gillon seems to be past a doubt. But the question is how shall We prevent it occasioning a greater loss and more mischief than necessary? I should not have omitted a Moment to write to your Excellency upon the subject, if I had had the least Suspicion that You had referred it to me; provided I could have held a Pen, which indeed I can very badly do now. I am still very far from being a Man in Health and capable of going through much Business. Yet nothing shall suffer for want of my doing what I have strength to do.

[salute] I have the honor to be, with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Octr 22. 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. This is JA’s second letter to Franklin of this date. In the first (LbC, Adams Papers), JA indicated that he had drawn a bill for 2,000 crowns in favor of Fizeaux, Grand & Co. to discharge bills that he had accepted.
2. For the Russian offer to mediate the Anglo-Dutch war, see JA’s letters to the president of Congress, 6 Aug., calendared, and to Benjamin Franklin, 25 Aug. (vol. 11:440, 467–471). The Dutch accepted Russia’s mediation on 4 March 1782 (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 351).
3. At this point in the Letterbook is the following canceled passage: “Major Jacksons Letter[]I had a Letter, from Major Jackson,[]I had a Letter from Major Jackson, from Corunna, but not so particular as that to your Excellency. Gillon left this Place, in a manner that occasioned much Censure and Complaint. What his View can be I cant conceive. He cant return here, nor go to America, with any Prospect of a good Recep• { 35 } tion, and as to going, where Jackson Hints, his Hopes there, would not be very good.” For Jackson’s letter to JA, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:219–220.
4. See Franklin’s letter of 12 Oct., note 2, above.
5. Following this paragraph in the Letterbook is the abbreviation “Mem.” and the canceled passage “Every day convinces me more and more of the Utility and absolute necessity, some where or other in the Universe, of a [Deity?]. It is not possible to do without one.” Following this deletion is a canceled complementary closing.
6. Franklin to Jean de Neufville & Fils, 4 Sept. (Franklin, Papers, 35:437–438).
7. Gillon’s letters were dated 12 Nov. 1780 and 8 March 1781; JA’s replies were of 12 Nov. 1780 and 10 March 1781 (vol. 10:335–337; 11:186–191).
8. These were John Laurens’ letter of 28 April and Franklin’s of the 29th (vol. 11:293–296, 298–299).
9. The correction of John Thaxter’s copying error is in JA’s hand.
10. That is, I am an American and nothing American is foreign to me. This is a paraphrase of Terence, Heautontimorumenos, Act I, scene i, line 25. Dumas invoked the same passage on 1 Nov. 1780. For the complete Latin text, see vol. 10:318.
11. The following four words are in JA’s hand, and were entered in the Letterbook by John Thaxter.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0022

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-22

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

This letter together with a packet for Congress, will be delivered to you by Mr: Stephen Sayer who sets off from hence tomorrow for Amsterdam. He knows nothing from me about my business or affairs. Indeed I have had but little acquaintance with him, less than I shou’d have had, had he not been unfortunately confined by sickness almost the whole time I have been here. The account he will be able to give you touching the principal characters on the political stage here, will be, I believe, nearly the true one. My hopes however are much stronger than his. I think things are in a good train, and that we have nothing to fear but the influence of British gold upon a certain character,1 to impede them for a while.
The packet for Congress contains only duplicates of one forwarded about the 10th. of Septr: O.S. from hence by water for Amsterdam, under cover to Messrs: De Neufville & Son, which was to be submitted to your perusal, except my letter to the President of the 4/15 inst:.2 You will break it up to read that, and then be pleased to forward it by the earliest opportunity. But I shall expect you give me your sentiments in return with your wonted integrity. I stand much in need of your friendly and substantial advice. If you find any opinions which are not just, correct them with freedom. You know me too well to suppose I shall not take this in good part. You will much oblige me by some account of matters upon your last tour.3 I want to know whether they wear the same aspect in that, as I have supposed them to do in this political hemisphere. These { 36 } communications may serve to correct the notions of both of us, concerning them. When I have said The Independence of the United States was certainly the basis of the first plan of pacification, I have not grounded my assertion upon the propositions of the Mediators. I have such assurances of this fact that I do not doubt it. What I have said of the Emperor, I think myself at present equally well founded in; and I wish you may not find my conjecture about Holland true, and that she may be earlier prepared to do as she ought to do. Does not her political pendulum still vibrate between bellegerent and neutral? I have indeed more hopes of her from the spirit with which the regency of Amsterdam seem to be now supported. If you shou’d be called upon to negociate a Treaty with her, you will pardon my suggesting to you that the project sent to you is very defective.4 If the copy which Mr: Thaxter made out for me is a true one, there is no provision in it upon the following points—the right to participate in commercial priviledges granted to the most favoured nation. (The 2d. article I think does not reach this)—Not to disturb national Fisheries—ships of war &c, freely carrying their prizes whithersoever they please—foreign privateers fitting out or selling prizes in the ports of either party—free trade, except contraband articles, with an enemy—free ships free goods—description of contraband and lawful effects—sea-papers in case of one party being at war—searches at sea—searches in port. Is it to be supposed all these particulars were omitted as being against us? There is a new point which I have already mentioned to you. The abolition of the Law of Amsterdam which prohibits a Captain of a foreign Nation in that port receiving on board his vessel even one of his own Countrymen, either as passenger or mariner, without permission from the City Magistrate, under a very heavy penalty.5 This law is unjust in itself, is a snare for strangers, especially under the infamous practices of their petty officers, who employ some villainous sailors to go on board strange vessels to ship themselves, and then to come away and give information to them. Some of our Countrymen have already suffered severely under it. You will consider this Law I am sure in its proper light. There is another matter of much more consequence still, about which I am unable to give particular information, tho’ you may obtain this tis probable, from some of our mercantile Countrymen at Amsterdam. The abominable abuse at the weigh houses, where after goods are weighed, certain officers (who have a good understanding with their own merchants as some of them have confessed to me) in a most arbitrary manner not only { 37 } settle the tare, but make enormous deductions under pretence of the goods being of an inferiour quality, or damaged, and this without giving themselves the trouble of making the proper examination.6 Their decision is conclusive, or at least as things stand, upon appeal redress is sought in vain: for by this craft we make much gain, say the Dutch Merchants. Those of them to whom I have talked upon this matter, have freely acknowledged the iniquity of this practice, but say, there is no helping it at present, when we make a commercial treaty with you, it must be provided against. I know your views are so direct, that you have the real interest of our Country so much at heart, that you can never be offended at the liberty I take, or consider it as an impertinent interference in your department. We were last seperated too suddenly, and my mind was too much agitated by the weight of the business that lay before me, when compared with my abilities, to recollect these things which did not immediately concern me. I am now more at ease, tho’ I feel the want of the gentleman’s7 Company and abilities, who had flattered me that I shou’d not want them. I wish he had had the fortitude, shall I say, to face dangers, no, there were none in the way; but to dissipate his unpromising apprehensions. Pray tell him (for I have not time to tell him myself) that I have not once even in my dreams been troubled with the idea of being banished into Siberia. If my company is not welcome here, at least I shall be permitted to return to the place from whence I came, without being compelled to go from thence to the place of execution. He that attempts nothing will accomplish nothing. And if there is nothing dishonourable in the thing attempted, and some good may come out of it, why shrink from making it? Is a fear of being a little mortified by failing of success to deter one? If such personal considerations had prevailed every where, the grandest Revolution that has ever taken place in the World, cou’d never have existed. When I see such instances of indecision in Men of real abilities and worth, I think of an observation of yours, that no American however well disposed he may be towards his Country, and however sincerely he may wish it success, who has not been bred up in it, under the immediate influence, and the early perils of this Revolution, is fit to be entrusted with the management of its important affairs.
My dear Sir, I am afraid I shall become tedious to you; and besides I have room only to express my sincere wishes that you may speedily recover from the effects of your late dangerous illness, of which I was acquainted a few days since by a letter from Mr: De { 38 } Neufville. This accounts for your long silence at which I began to be surprised. I beg you to present my regards to Mr: Thaxter in a special manner and to all other friends in Amsterdam; And to believe me to remain with much respect and affection your much obliged Friend and obedient humble Servant
[signed] FRA DANA
P.S. Your Son writes you by this opportunity.8 Mr. T. must write me. Mr. De Neufville will give my address.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by CFA: “Dana Fr October 11th 1781.” LbC (MHi:Dana Family Papers, Francis Dana Letterbook, 1780–1781).
1. Dana refers to rumors that Prince G. A. Potemkin, Catherine II’s chief advisor, received subsidies or bribes from the British Ambassador Sir James Harris (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 114, 202, 297).
2. Besides Dana’s letter of 15 Oct., the packet contained duplicates of his letters of 28 July and 15 Sept. to the president of Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:773–776, 610–613, 710–714).
3. In his letterbook Dana indicated that he meant JA’s journey to Paris in July.
4. For the Dutch-American treaty plan that Congress adopted on 29 Dec. 1780, see vol. 10:451–458. Most of the articles that JA included in the treaty he proposed to the Dutch in April 1782 were taken from Congress’ plan, with a few additional ones derived from the Lee-Neufville treaty of 1778 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:789–798).
5. This issue was resolved by Art. 27 of the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce signed on 8 Oct. 1782 (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:83).
6. For the extent to which JA was able to ameliorate this problem, see Art. 28 of the Dutch-American Treaty (same, 2:84, 89–90).
7. Edmund Jenings.
8. JQA wrote letters to both his mother and father on 23 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:233–235).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0023

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-22

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have written to Messrs. Fizeau & Grand impow’ring them to draw on me at 30 Days sight for the Sums you may want from time to time to discharge the Acceptances of which you have given me Notice.
The Queen was this Day happyly delivered of a Prince, which occasions great Joy.1
Inclos’d I send you Copies of more Letters relating to the Ship South Carolina.2 Please to inform me whether the Ships she was to have taken under Convoy are sail’d or still at Amsterdam.

[salute] With great Respect I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedient, and most humble Servant

[signed] B Franklin
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); addressed: “To his Excellency John Adams Esqr Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Dr. Franklins Letter Oct. 22. ans. 27. 1781.”
{ 39 }
1. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s first-born son, Louis Joseph Xavier François, died in 1789. A second son, Louis Charles, was born in 1785. He assumed the title of Dauphin upon his brother’s death and became Louis XVII following the execution of his father, but died in captivity in 1795 Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale.
2. The three enclosures are copies of James Searle’s letter of 26 Sept. to John Jay; Alexander Gillon’s letter of 4 Oct. to Benjamin Franklin; and William Jackson’s list of bills of exchange held by Gillon, for which see Franklin’s letter to JA of 12 Oct., note 2, above. Searle, outraged by Gillon’s “knavery,” provided Jay with a detailed account of Gillon’s transgressions and asked for his assistance in correcting the situation. Gillon, in turn, defended his conduct and promised to send Franklin “a clear Account of this violent Youth’s [William Jackson’s] Rash and Imprudent Conduct, also of Lieut. Col. Searle of the Militia, his distress of Mind on his being disappointed in not succeeding in aiding Capt. Jackson.” For Gillon’s letter of 4 Oct. and his promised letter regarding Jackson and Searle that was dated 14 Oct., see Franklin, Papers, 35:562–563, 589–591.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0024

Author: Washington, George
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-22

From George Washington

[salute] sir

As the Transmission of the inclosed paper1 through the usual Channel of the Department of foreign Affairs would, on the present Occasion, probably be attended with great Delay—and recent Intelligence of Military Transactions must be important to our Ministers in Europe at the present period of Affairs—I have thought it would be agreeable both to Congress and your Excellency, that the Matter should be communicated immediately by a french Frigate dispached by Admiral deGrasse.2
Annexed to the Capitulation is a summary Return of the Prisoners and Cannon taken in the two places of York and Gloucester.3
I have added, upon the Principles abovementioned, a Copy of Genl Greene’s Report of his last Action in South Carolina.4

[salute] I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obedient and Most humble Servt

[signed] Go: Washington
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Gen. Washington 22. Oct. 1781.”
1. The British articles of capitulation, dated 19 October.
2. The frigate Surveillante carried the Duc de Lauzun to France. He reached Paris on 19 Nov. with the first official news of Cornwallis’ surrender. JA received this letter, identical versions of which also went to Benjamin Franklin and John Jay (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 23:253–254), on 30 Nov. as an enclosure in Benjamin Franklin’s letter of 26 Nov., below. JA wrote AA on 2 Dec. of the honor that Washington had done him by sending the documents and declared: “They [Washington and Greene] are in the Way to negotiate Peace, it lies wholly with them. No other Ministers but they and their Colleagues in the Army can accomplish the great Event” Adams Family Correspondence, 4:251.
3. Not found.
4. The enclosed letter from Gen. Nathanael Greene, dated 11 Sept. at “Head Quarters Martin’s Tavern near Fergusons Swamp South Carolina,” described the Battle of Eutaw Springs on 8 Sept., where Greene’s army of 2,000 men fought a nearly equal British { 40 } force led by Lt. Col. Alexander Stewart (Greene, Papers, 9:328–338). Both sides sustained heavy casualties, but Stewart held the field. The victory proved hollow because Stewart soon retired to Charleston, where his troops remained for the duration of the war. The Battle of Eutaw Springs was the last significant battle of the Revolution in the deep South (Middlekauff, Glorious Cause, p. 492–494).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0025

Author: Livingston, Robert R.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-23

From Robert R. Livingston

Duplicate

[salute] Dear Sir

The Enclosed resolution2 will advise you that Congress have thought it adviseable to new model their Department of foreign Affairs, by the Appointmt. of a Secretary, thro’ whose hands the Communications with their Ministers abroad are to pass. Tho’ they did me the honor to Elect me So long Since as August last, I but lately determined to accept, and did not Enter upon Business till Two days ago, So that you must not Expect those minute Communications, which I shall think it my duty to make you, when I have had leisure to arrange my Department, and to acquaint myself more fully with the Sentiments of Congress, which must, upon the whole, be my direction.
I can only Say in general, that we consider your Situation as Extremely delicate, the State you are in, divided by powerful Parties, and the bias that Every Man has to his own Country, naturally gives him a predilection for that which most favors its Interests. But this, tho’ the Child of Virtue, is often the greatest Obstacle to successful Negociations, it creates distrust and Jealousies, it Excites prejudices, which unfits us for conciliating the affections of those whose Assistance we require, and induces too fond a reliance upon the information of those who wish to serve us. Aristocratic Govermts. are of all others the most Jealous of popular Commotions, the rich and the powerful are Equally engaged to resist them, and nothing will, in my Opinion, So soon contribute to a peace between Great Britain and the United provinces, as the commotions which now clog the Government of the latter.
You must, Sir, be infinitely better acquainted with the interior of the State you are in, than I can pretend to be, and I rely much on Your information for lights which I cannot attain here. If I venture to give you my Sentiments, it is with the hopes that you will correct my Errors, when I have discovered them by my freedom.
The United Provinces appear to me one of those Governments, { 41 } { 42 } whose Very Constitution disposes them to peace. The ambition of making conquests either is, or ought to be, unknown to them. A War for the Extension of Commerce, is a solecism in Politicks, Since the shocks that the Established Trade sustains, infinitely Overbalances any new Accession that may be made by it. War, then, while the true Interest of the United Provinces is considered, will be the Child of Necessity. That necessity happily Exists at present, and will exist ’till Great Britain Ceases to be the Tyrant of the Ocean. We are greatly interested in its continuance, But let us always bear in mind, that the moment Great Britain makes the Sacrifices which Prudence and Justice require, the United Provinces will be drawn by the interest of Commerce and the Love of Peace, to close with them. Their Acknowledgment of our Independence would be an important and a leading Object. Success here, and the injustice and Cruelty of the British may affect it, but do not let us appear to be dissatisfied if it is delayed; They have a right to Judge for themselves, from the very nature of their Government, they must be Slow in determining. Every appearance of dissatisfaction on our parts, gives room to the British to believe the United Provinces disinclined to us, and paves the Way to Negociations which may end in a Peace which we are So much interested in preventing. Your first Object then, if I may Venture my Opinion, is to be well with the Government, your Second, to appear to be so, and to take no measures which may bring upon you a publick Affront; You will naturally treat the friends we have, with the politeness and attention that they justly merit, and even with that Cordiality, which your heart must feel for those who wish your Country well, but your prudence will suggest to you to avoid giving Offence to Government, by the appearance of intrigue. I know nothing of the refinements of Politicks, nor do I wish to see them enter into our Negociations—Dignity of conduct, the resources of our country, and the Value of our Commerce must render us respectable abroad. You will not fail to lay the foundation of your Alliances in these, by displaying them in the strongest point of View. The spirit of Injustice and cruelty which characterize the English, must also afford you advantages, of which, I dare say, you will avail yourself.
I make no Apology for the length or freedom of this, it is of the last importance to you, (and I am Satisfied you will think it So) to be intimately acquainted with the sentiments entertain’d on this Side of the Water. In return, Sir, you will let me know minutely, every thing that can in any Way be of use to us, particularly if either { 43 } of the Belligerent Powers take measures that may tend to Establish a partial or general Peace. At your Leisure acquaint me with the interior of the Government you are in, and Every thing else interesting, which you may learn relative to others. Remember that Ministers are yet to be form’d in this Country, and let them want no lights which your Situation Enables you to afford them.
I would Submit it to you, whether it would not be most adviseable to spend as much time as possible at the Hague, and to form connexions with the Ministers of the Powers not interested in our Affairs, They are frequently best informed, because least suspected, and while Your public Character is unacknowledged, and you can Visit without the clog of Ceremony, I should conceive it no difficult Task to engage the friendship of Some among them. But it is time to let you breathe, this I shall do without closing my Letter, reserving the remainder of it for the communication of the most agreeable Intelligence you ever received from America. The enclosed prints will announce one important Victory to you,3 and we are in hourly Expectation of the particulars of another which will enable you to open your Negociations this Winter, with the utmost advantage.
I Congratulate you, Sir, upon the pleasing intelligence, which, agreeable to my hopes, I am enabled to convey to you. Enclosed you have a Letter from General Washington to Congress, the Terms granted to Lord Cornwallis, his fleet and Army, and the Letters that past previous to the surrender of both.4 I make no Comments upon this Event, but rely upon your Judgment to improve it to the most advantage. Perhaps this is the moment in which a Loan may be opened, with most advantage. The want of money is our weak side, and even in the high day of success we feel its pressure. As you may not perhaps be acquainted with the Steps that led to this important Victory, I enclose also an Extract of my Letter to Dr Franklin.5 The British fleet consisting of 26 Sail of the Line, including three fifties as such, with 5000 Land forces and Genl Clinton himself on board, sailed the 19th. for the relief of Cornwallis. Count de Grasse is also out with 34 of the Line, I shall keep this open as long as possible, from the hopes of communicating an interesting Account of their Meeting.
I am under the necessity of closing this without being able to give you any other Acct. of the fleet than that the British have not yet re• { 44 } turned to New York. Nor are we certain that the Count de Grasse has yet left Chesapeake.6 If any thing in the Nature of a Court Kalender is published at the Hague, you will be pleased to Send me one or Two impressions of it, as it may be of use to us.

[salute] I am with great respect & Esteem Dear sir Your most obedient & most humble servt.

[signed] Robt R Livingston
RC and enclosure (MHi:John Adams, Embassy MSS); endorsed: “R. R. Livingston 23. Oct. 1781. Duplicate. recd 13 Feb. ansd 14. 1782 no 1”; and docketed in an unknown hand: “Oct 23 81.” For the enclosure, see note 2.
1. With this letter Robert R. Livingston, the newly appointed secretary for foreign affairs, began a contentious correspondence with JA. Livingston’s close association with the French minister at Philadelphia, the Chevalier de La Luzerne, and activities in the pro-French faction in Congress, jaundiced his opinion of JA. A comparison of the content and tone of Livingston’s letters to Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Francis Dana with those written to JA makes it clear that the new secretary was determined to set greater limits on JA’s freedom of action than the other American diplomats in Europe. It is not surprising, therefore, that this letter and those that followed, particularly that of 20 Nov., below, provoked JA to mount a spirited defense of his views on diplomacy and his conduct in the Netherlands.
2. Congress’ resolution of 10 Aug., electing Livingston secretary for foreign affairs (JCC, 21:851–852).
3. The enclosure, likely a newspaper, has not been found. It probably contained Nathanael Greene’s letter of 11 Sept. to the president of Congress reporting on the 8 Sept. Battle of Eutaw Springs. Greene’s letter reached Congress on 16 Oct. (JCC, 21:1056), and on the 17th appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette.
4. On 24 Oct. Congress received its first official word of Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown in the form of Washington’s letter of 19 Oct. to the president of Congress, with which were enclosed his correspondence with Cornwallis and the articles of capitulation (JCC, 21:1071–1072). The enclosures have not been found.
5. Filed with a copy of this letter in the Adams Papers is an extract from Livingston’s letter of 20 Oct. to Benjamin Franklin concerning military and naval activities, principally the decision to transfer the Franco-American army to Virginia as a result of de Grasse’s decision to go to the Chesapeake rather than to New York. Livingston described the opening of the siege at Yorktown and indicated that Cornwallis’ surrender was expected shortly.
6. After considerable delay, the British reached the Chesapeake on 24 October. They returned to New York almost immediately, however, without engaging the French fleet. De Grasse sailed for the West Indies on 5 Nov. (Mackesy, War for America, p. 425–426; W. M. James, The British Navy in Adversity: A Study of the War of American Independence, London and N.Y., 1926, p. 296–297; Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 184–185).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0026

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Field, Job
Date: 1781-10-24

To Job Field and Others

[salute] Gentlemen

Yours of September the 8th. I have but just received, it went a long Circuit to come to me. I am very Sorry for your misfortune, in being captured, and wish you Liberty as soon as possible, but rec• { 45 } ommend to you Patience, the only Remedy under Evils which cannot be avoided. Sufferings in so good and great a Cause, as that of our Country, are the easiest to bear, because they are honourable.
I have no public Money, at my disposal, and my own Resources, in this difficult Situation, and these hard times, are too confined to enable me to lend you from myself any considerable Sum, but I have taken Measures to furnish you with Ten Guineas, in all, that is two Guineas each, which I hope will be of Some Service to you. I am, Gentlemen, your affectionate Friend and Neighbour.
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “Job Field, Briant Newcomb, Samuel Curtis, Jeriah Bass, & Edward Savil American Prisoners in Mill Prison Plymouth.”

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0027

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-10-24

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have never answered your favor of August 22d.
As to the Letters inclosed, I can say nothing.1 I cannot advise your Friend to take much Trouble about the Affair, because I think Congress will not be able to attend much to such things until the War is over. It is wholly out of my department, and I can do nothing in it, unless it be to inclose these or any other proposals to my Constituents. I rather think however that Congress would not enter into any Treaty of such a Nature with a British Subject. They are for cutting off every Fibre that ever did or ever can serve as a Ligament between the two Countries, until the English shall come to their Senses, which will not be before the day of Judgment.
Inclosed is a Bill for ten Guineas, two of which are intended for each of the Persons to whom the Letter is addressed2 who are Prisoners in Mill Prison, Job Field, Briant Newcomb, Samuel Curtis, Jeriah Bass, Ed Savil poor fellows! Your Care of the Letter and the Bill will much oblige, Sir, your humble Servt.
[signed] J. Adams
Pray is the Abby Reynal at Brussels?3
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The enclosures, a 17 Aug. letter from Edward Bridgen to Jenings and Bridgen’s note of the same date, concerned a scheme to supply Congress with copper blanks from which coins could be minted; see vol 11:466.
2. The passage from this point through “Ed Savil” was interlined by JA and does not appear in the Letterbook.
3. In the Letterbook, immediately below this sentence, JA wrote “After writing the above I.”

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0028

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-10-25

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

I see in the London Courant, which arrived to day, an advertisement of a translation into English of the address to the People of the Netherlands:1 so that this work is likely to be translated into all Languages and read by all the World, notwithstanding the Placards against it. I have before sent that of Utrecht.2 That of Holland is as follows:
“The States of Holland and of West Friesland, to all those who shall see these presents; or hear them read, Greeting. As it is come to our Knowledge, that notwithstanding the Placards and Ordinances from one time to another issued against the Impression and Dissemination of seditious and slanderous writings, there has been lately dispersed, in various places of this Province, a certain very seditious and slanderous Libel, intituled, Aan het Volk van Nederland (To the People of the Low Countries) in which the supream Government of this Country, his most serene Highness, our Lord the Prince hereditary Stadtholder, as well as his illustrious Predecessors, to whom, under God, We are indebted for the foundation and the maintenance of our Republick, as well as of its Liberty, are calumniated in the most scandalous and enormous manner, and in which the good People are invited to an Insurrection and to seditious Commotions.
“For these Causes, being desirous to make provision in this Case, without derogating from our former placards against Lampoons and other defamatory and scandalous writings, issued from time to time, and in particular from our Renovation of the 18th. of January 1691, and our placard of the 7th. of March 1754, We have thought fit, for the Discovery of the Author or the Authors of the said seditious and slanderous Libel, intituled, Aan het Volk van Nederland, and of his or their Accomplices, to promise a Reward of a thousand Ryders of Gold (fourteen thousand florins) to him who shall give the necessary Indications, by which the Author, Writer or Printer of the said Libel, or all those who may have had a part in it in any other manner, may fall into the hands of Justice, and may be convicted of the Fact; and in Case that the Informer was an Accomplice in it, We declare by these Presents, that We will pardon him for whatever upon this occasion he may have done amiss against his Sovereign: moreover, he shall also enjoy the reward in question, and his Name shall not be pointed out, but kept secret.
{ 47 }
“Forbidding, consequently, in the most solemn manner, by these presents, every one of what Estate, Quality or Condition soever he may be, to reprint in any manner the said seditious and slanderous Libel, to distribute, scatter, or spread it upon pain of the Confiscation of the Copies, and a fine of six thousand florins, besides, at least, an everlasting Banishment from the Province of Holland and West Friesland: which fine shall go, one third to the Officer who shall make the seizure; another third to the Informer, and the remaining third to the Use of the Poor of the Place where the seizure shall be made. And Whereas some Persons, to keep their unlawful practices concealed, may be tempted to pretend, that the Libel in question had been addressed to them under a simple Cover, they know not by them,3 nor from what place, We ordain and decree that all Printers, Booksellers, and moreover all and every one, to whom the said seditious and slanderous Libel, intituled Aan het Volk van Nederland, may be sent, whether to be sold, given as a present, distributed, lent or read, shall be held to carry it forthwith and deliver it to the Officer or the Magistrate of the place of their Residence, or of the place where they may recieve it, under penalty of being held for Disseminators of it, and as such punished in the manner before pointed out. Ordaining most expressly to our attorney General, and to all our other Officers to execute strictly and exactly the present placard, according to the Form and Contents of it, without dissimulation or connivance, under pain of being deprived of their Employments. And to the End that no one may pretend Cause of Ignorance, but that every one may know how he ought to conduct himself in this regard, We order that these presents be published and posted up every where, where it belongs and where it is customary to do it. Done at the Hague, under the small Seal of the Country the 19th. of October 1781. By order of the States
[signed] C. Clotterbooke.”
Such are the severe Measures, which this Government think themselves bound to take to suppress this Libel. They will have however a contrary effect, and will make a pamphlet, which otherwise perhaps would have been known in a small Circle, familiar to all Europe. The Press cannot be restrained. All Attempts of that Kind in France and Holland are every day found to be ineffectual.
I consider the disputes in the City of Geneva,4 as arising from the progress of democratical principles in Europe: I consider this Libel, as a demonstration that there is a party here, and a very numerous { 48 } one too, who are Proselytes to democratical principles. Who and what has given Rise to this assuming Pride of the People as it is called in Europe, in every part of which they have been so thoroughly abased? The American Revolution. The Precepts, the Reasonings and Example of the United States of America, disseminated by the Press through every part of the World, have convinced the Understandings and have touched the Heart. When I say democratical principles, I dont mean that the World are about adopting simple Democracies, for these are impracticable: but Multitudes are convinced that the People should have a Voice, a share, and be made an integral part: and that the Government should be such a mixture, such a Combination of the Powers of one, the few and the many, as is best calculated to check and controul each other, and oblige all to co-operate in this one democratical principle, that the End of all Government is the happiness of the People: and in this other, that the greatest happiness of the greatest Number is the point to be obtained. These principles are now so widely spread, that Despotisms, Monarchies and Aristocracies must conform to them in some degree in practice, or hazard a total Revolution in Religion and Government throughout all Europe. The longer the American War lasts, the more the Spirit of American Government will spread in Europe, because the Attention of the World will be fixed there, while the War lasts. I have often wondered, that the Sovereigns of Europe have not seen the danger to their Authority which arises from a Continuance of this War. It is their Interest to get it finished, that their Subjects may no longer be employed in speculating about the principles of Government.
The People of the seven United Provinces appear to me of such a Character, that they would make wild Steerage at the first admission to any share in Government, and whether any Intimations of a desire of Change at this time will not divide and weaken the Nation, is a Problem. I believe rather it will have a good effect, by convincing the Government that they must exert themselves for the good of the People, to prevent them from exerting themselves in Innovations.

[salute] I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient & most humble Servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 410–413); endorsed: “Letter Octr. 25. 1781 John Adams Recd. April 22. 1782.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The London Courant of 19 Oct. announced that a translation of Aan het Volk van Nederland, to be entitled An Address to the People of the Netherlands. By an Inhabitant of Holland, was “In the Press, and speedily will be published.” It did not appear { 49 } until 1782, and then under the title An Address To The People of the Netherlands, On The Present Alarming and most Dangerous Situation Of The Republick of Holland: Showing The True Motives Of The Most Unpardonable Delays Of The Executive Power In Putting The Republick Into A Proper State Of Defence, And The Advantages Of An Alliance With Holland, France And America. By A Dutchman. Translated From the Dutch Original (T. R. Adams, American Controversy, 2:750).
2. JA included a translation of the Utrecht placard with his letter of 17 Oct. to the president of Congress, calendared above.
3. “Whom” in the Letterbook.
4. In 1781 the Natives of Geneva demanded rights hitherto reserved to the city’s Burghers. The grievances of the Natives, long a source of unrest, stemmed from the fact that while many Native families had resided in the city for generations they lacked political rights and were excluded from some occupations. After the 1781 revolt the General Council granted third-generation Natives Burgher rights. This liberalization resulted in part from the Burgher’s own grievances against the ruling oligarchy, and was seen by them as an opportunity to expand their political power. The oligarchy, however, rejected the change and in 1782 a full scale revolution erupted. It was put down by troops supplied by France, Zurich, and Bern (R. R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800, 2 vols., Princeton, 1959–1964, 1:127–129, 358–360; Orville T. Murphy, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes: French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719–1787, Albany, 1982, p. 400).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0029

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-10-25

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to inclose a Copy of a Letter I yesterday recieved from Corunna.1 I communicate it to your Excellency in Confidence. The Writer is a particular Friend of your’s. He has so good an Heart, and is so amiable a Man, that I would not expose him to the Resentment of any of the Gentlemen, and therefore pray your Excellency to keep his Letter secret. Yet his Opinion deserves some Attention. There are some Dutch Gentlemen on board the South Carolina, one of whom has written to his Friends much to the same purpose I am told, and adds; that Gillon did not cruise but was detained by contrary Winds.
Gillon when he first came to Europe brought Letters to me from Mr. Middleton and Mr. Rutledge, recommending him in very strong terms as a Man of Honor and a firm Friend to America, who had been prevailed upon to leave his Home and an independent Fortune for the sake of serving the State.2 Since I have been in Holland, I found his Reputation here very good, and he had many Friends, among whom were several of very considerable Note and Importance, and I have never observed or heard of any dishonorable Conduct until his departure. I have considered him as having been trained on from Step to Step, and from one Misfortune, Perplexity and Disappointment to another, until he had incurred an enormous Expence beyond his means. I never suspected him of any design like { 50 } that suggested by Jackson and still I cannot but hope, that the Suggestion proceeds from too much Warmth.
It is a most ruinous and affecting Affair, for I see nothing but the Ruin of the Ship, as well as the loss of the Goods left here. What can be done to prevent the one or the other.

[salute] I have the honor to be with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J Adams Octr 25. 1781.”
1. Benjamin Waterhouse to JA, 30 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:222–223). Waterhouse placed much of the blame for the dispute among Alexander Gillon, William Jackson, and James Searle on the shoulders of Jackson and Searle. Waterhouse believed that it was an instance where “a private pique has been tortured into a public affair.” He was “mortified, grievously mortified, that We should injure ourselves in a foreign Country by our little private Animosities.”
2. Arthur Middleton to JA, 4 July 1778 (Adams Papers) and Edward Rutledge to JA, 16 July 1778 (vol. 6:294–295).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0030

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-10-26

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I duely received your Excellencys Letter of August 6th, but have been prevented by Sickness and a variety of accidents from answering it Sooner.1
My accounts have never been mixed, with Mr Dana’s, any farther than this. Mr Dana was here last December, I believe, and was going to Paris. In order to avoid opening an account here, he desired me to lend him, Some money for the Expences of his Journey. I accordingly lent him, about an hundred Pounds, which upon his arrival at Paris he desired Mr Grand to repay me. Your Excellency therefore, has only to consider this £100 to be paid to me, by Mr Grand as so much paid by you to Mr Dana as part of his Salary, and all is right.
Your Excellency observes, that you do not think We can depend, on receiving any more money, there, applicable, to the support of the Congress Ministers.
I have no Salary, or subsistance allowed me, but in the Character of Minister for Peace. The Measure of appointing a Minister for this Purpose to reside in Europe, was recommended to Congress, by the French Minister Mr Gerard, in the name of his Court;2 it was never suggested, nor advised by me, and it was without my Solicitation, that the Choice fell upon me.
{ 51 }
Mr Gerard, the Chevalier de la Luzerne, and Mr Marbois, all concurred in opinion, that it was adviseable for me to embark immediately, and the two ministers joined in a Letter to Captain Chavagne of the Frigate the Sensible, desiring him to afford me a Passage, and the Chevalier de la Luzerne and Mr Marbois joined in their Letters to me,3 advising me to embark by that opportunity. I dont think therefore, that I am punishable or blameworthy, either for the Measure or the Choice. According to this History, if the French Court, furnish any Money to Congress, for any Purpose, this Seems as necessary as any, at least untill I can find means to return home, the only Resource that will remain to me if you refuse to pay my subsistance, for it is most indubitable that Congress will not be able to remit me the money, and there is no Probability of my obtaining any here in a public Capacity. If the Court should refuse to enable you to obey the orders of Congress, to pay me the Salary, I hope, at least they will grant me a Passage, in one of the first Frigates or Vessels of War, they Send to America, and not leave me to the necessity of Shipping myself on board a merchant Vessell to be taken by the first Privateer she meets. And accordingly I have the Honour to request the Favour of your Excellency, the Moment you take the Resolution to refuse Payment of my Salary, to apply to his Excellency the Marquis de Castries, and ask the Favour of a Passage for me, on board the first Kings ship that is sent to America. If the Favour of a Passage, on board a ship of War should be refused me too, I must in that Case take my Chance, on board the first Merchant Vessell that Sails.4
It would be to me, a gloomy Lot to be taken Prisoner, by the English: They would treat me, with a Contempt and an Insolence, beyond any which they have yet marked to any of their Prisoners. They have ancient, as well as modern Grudges against me, which every body in the World dont know of, as yet, and among the rest, there is none which irritates them more than my having it in my Power,5 as they very well know to prove that for a long Course of years, before this War broke out, I held all their Subtlest Arts of Corruption as well as their Power, at Defyance and in Contempt. But I had infinitely rather Suffer the Consequences of their malice and revenge, and lie in the Tower or in New Gate, weak, infirm and Sick as I am, than to remain here betraying the Honour of the United States, by running about to beg, or to borrow, a little money, as a particular personal Favour, from Individuals to pay for my board.
I hope for your Excellencys answer as soon as possible to this Let• { 52 } ter, that I may arrange My affairs, accordingly. I have the Honour, to be, with great Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant6
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Octr. 26. 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers). On the dateline of the Letterbook copy, JA wrote “August 6. 1781,” the date of Franklin’s letter, and then canceled the month and day and replaced it with “Oct. 4,” but then decided not to send the letter and wrote “not sent” below the dateline on the first page, and below the original closing on the second page, for which see note 4. When he decided to send the letter he wrote “altered to Oct. 26. 1781” below “Oct. 4” and canceled the two notations: “not sent.”
1. JA’s concern over Franklin’s letter of 6 Aug. (vol. 11:442) is evident from this reply as well as the fact that he had sent a copy to Congress and refers to it in other letters, including his second letter of 15 Oct. to the president of Congress, above. JA’s tone in his reply may be the reason why he did not send it on 4 Oct., but if that is so, then it is unclear what made him reconsider his decision on 26 October.
2. In the Letterbook, the remainder of this paragraph, portions of which are interlined reads, “The Measure was never suggested nor advised by me <nor was the appointment> The Choice fell upon me without my solicitation.”
3. The letters to JA from François Barbé-Marbois and the Chevalier de La Luzerne were both dated 29 Sept. 1779 (vol. 8:178, 184, calendared; JA, Works, 7:115, 116–117; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:173and174).
4. In the Letterbook this paragraph is followed by a complementary close and the notation “not sent,” all of which is canceled.
5. In the Letterbook the passage beginning with the words “and among the rest” and proceeding to this point is interlined. The remainder of the sentence, after the phrase “as they very well know,” which does not appear in the Letterbook, is written at the bottom of the page and marked for insertion at this point.
6. This paragraph is not in the Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0031

Author: Létombe, Philippe André Joseph de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-26

From Philippe André Joseph de Létombe

[salute] Sir

I have received the packet your Excellency has honored me with from Leyden on the 11. instant of last march.2 I have forwarded his Letters according to their direction and I give him thousand thanks. I have Seen Mrs. Adams at Brentree and I Send you, Sir, a packet that She has caused to forward me yesterday.3 I herein inclose a very interressing pamphlet wich causes a Lively and général joy.4 I wish for the exchange of that glorious News, you would acquaint me soon with that of géneral Peace.

[salute] I have the honour to be, with greatest Respect, of your Excellency, the most-humble and most-obedient

[signed] Servant de Létombe
P.S. I wrote just now to Mrs. Adams to assure her mind about the incredible Report respecting the Indian man Mr. Guilon Commander.5
{ 53 }
Miss Adams is here at Mr. Isaac Smith’s and her health carries rosy colours as her cheaks do.
1. On 25 Oct. Gov. John Hancock officially recognized Létombe’s commission as French consul general. The governor’s proclamation appeared in Boston newspapers, including the Boston Evening Post of 27 October.
2. Vol. 11:193–194.
3. The packet included AA’s letters of 29 Sept. and 21 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:220–222, 229–231).
4. Not identified.
5. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0032

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-10-27

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I had last night the honour of your Letter of the 22d and I most heartily congratulate the French Court and Nation, on the acquisition of a Dauphin.1
The Ships which the South Carolina, was to have taken under her Convoy, are Still here.2 I am told, that the Ships are the best that are to be had: that they are to be sold at a reasonable Rate, so reasonable that the difference, between the Purchase and the Freight is inconsiderable. So that the general opinion here, Seems to be that the best course to be taken would be to purchase the ships which on their arrival in America would Sell for more than their Cost, and Send them on, without Loss of Time. But in order to accomplish this, there must be cash to pay the Purchase; And after all, they may be taken and all lost: but it is said the Season of the year advances fast, when there will be little danger of British Cruisers, upon this Coast. There are American Masters of Vessells here, of good Reputation, who would be very glad to take the command, at least of one of them.
As this whole Transaction arose in France, under the Authority of your Excellency and Coll Laurens, I have never considered myself as having any Power over those Goods or Ships, any more than over the Casks of Gold and Silver, which were Sent here by Mr Neckar, to go by the Same South Carolina, and which that minister had given Mr Jackson an order to receive, but which notwithstanding your Excellency thought still So far under your Jurisdiction, as to give orders, that it should not be delivered to him.3
If I were to advise however my advice would be this to send Jackson here again who was sent here before to conduct the Business. If your Excellency could Spare the Money to purchase the Ships, to { 54 } do it, and send them to Sea. If not to sell part of the Goods to pay the Freight of the rest, or sell the whole and pay the Money to your Excellencys order. Or if your Excellency sees fit to give Mr De Neufville, or Messrs Fizeau & Co, or any other Person the Conduct of the Business, it will be equally Satisfactory, to, sir, your Excellencys most humble and obedient Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Octr 27. 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook JA canceled:
“and I wish that the Prince may be as good a F in when in the Course of Time which I hope however will be a long one, he shall be called to the Throne, may be as good a Friend and ally, to the United States of America, as his august Father and receive from them an equal Return of Friendship, and affection.”
2. In the Letterbook this was the first sentence of a new paragraph, the remainder of which, except for one sentence, JA canceled:
<They could not have Sailed with any rational Prospect of escaping the British Fleet before the Texell, if they had been ready: but the [ . . . ] of> The Freight is not paid, nor is any Charter Party Signed. <I am told that one of the first Points of Dispute between Mr Gillon and Mr Jackson, was who should Sign the Charter Parties. Jackson insisted that by the Contract with Coll Laurens, Gillon was to carry the Goods, and as he could not do that his Engagement obliged him to be at the Expence of the Freight. This was refused.>
3. See Franklin to JA, 30 June, and note 1 (vol. 11:399–400).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0033-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-27

From C.W.F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

N’attribuez qu’à la peine que j’ai eue de me procurer la Brochure que vous m’avez demandée,1 Si je ne n’ai pas répondu plutôt à l’honorée vôtre du 18. Certainement elle n’est pas imprimée ici, où tout le monde la méprise, et où elle n’est connue que des Libraires à qui on l’avoit envoyée pour en vendre ce qu’ils pourroient. J’ai donc été obligé d’attendre qu’elle vînt de Rotterdam, d’où on me l’a fait venir, parce que c’est là qu’elle a été publiée par quelque Anglois ou Anglomane. Vous verrez que c’est effectivement une piece à mépriser, et qui ne mérite aucune attention, encore moins une réfutation, de notre part.
I am very glad, Dear Sir, that you have found shut the gates of the other Mansion. What had you to do that way? You Know your Business is to open the Gates of general Peace, when Britain will be reduced to seek for it. I am very much obliged to Dr. Oosterdyk and the Bark, that they have not suffered your feet, stumbling on the dark Mountains: because I will have them, together with mine, when we will have pacified Europe, climb up to the Top of your Blue Mountains and crowned with oaken Boughs, survey and bless from thence the glorious Empire of Liberty, with its happy Sons and Daughters.
{ 55 }
Jeudi dernier (après s’etre amusé pendant la 15ne. précedente à délibérer, et enfin résoudre contre certaine adresse au Peuple2) on a mis sur le tapis dans le Sanhédrin la Missive du D—.3 Alcmar et Hoorn ont accédé aux 8 villes qui sont contre lui. La premiere a parlé plus vigoureusement que toutes les autres. Avec tout cela, comme j’ai vu hier matin passer devant mes fenêtres une partie de ces Messieurs, pour entrer dans leurs Yachts, j’en ai conclu qu’ils ont laissé le tapis, pour aller selon leur coutume, pendant quelques jours délibérer sur leurs Napes et Draps de Lit.
J’ai lu une Réponse de certain Peuple à certaine adresse, que je voudrois que vous pussiez lire aussi. Vous y verriez que ce peuple n’a rien à craindre de son bon Chef, par la raison que pour bouleverser un Etat, il faut être un grand homme. Vous penseriez aussi avec moi, que si jamais on attrape l’Auteur de l’Adresse, il ne pourroit mieux faire que de choisir celui de la réponse, pour le Consoler dans sa derniere heure.
Tout ceci amuse en attendant les nouvelles plus importantes, qui doivent nous venir d’Amérique.
Je suis toujours seul ici, et par conséquent attaché chez moi. Mais je crois que le mauvais temps obligera bientôt ma femme à revenir, et alors je ne manquerai pas Monsieur de profiter de votre obligeante invitation, et de regler avec vous, au coin du feu, les grands interêts des Nations.
Voici une petite Drôlerie au sujet d’une Lettre pitoyable, qui avoit été écrite contre Mr. De L—. Cela pourra vous amuser un instant.

[salute] Je suis Monsieur, toujours, & pour toujours, avec grand respect, Votre très-humble & très-obéisst. serviteur

[signed] Dumas
On m’a fait l’honneur de m’adopter Membre Extraordinaire de la Societé Amore patriæ, qui vient de publier un nouvel Ecrit très sensé, en Hollandois, sur la différence entre Anonymes et Libelles—De hoc et pluribus coram.4

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0033-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-27

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

It is only due to the difficulty I had in obtaining the brochure you asked for,1 that I did not respond earlier to your honored letter of the 18th. It certainly was not printed here, where everyone spurns it, and where it is known only to the booksellers trying to sell it. I was, therefore, obligated to wait until it came from Rotterdam because it was there that it was published by some Englishman or Anglomane. You will see that it is truly a { 56 } work to be scorned and deserves not the slightest attention, much less a refutation from us.
I am very glad, Dear Sir, that you have found shut the gates of the other Mansion. What had you to do that way? You know your Business is to open the Gates of general Peace, when Britain will be reduced to seek for it. I am very much obliged to Dr. Oosterdyk and the Bark, that they have not suffered your feet, stumbling on the dark Mountains: because I will have them, together with mine, when we will have pacified Europe, climb up to the Top of your Blue Mountains and crowned with oaken Boughs, survey and bless from thence the glorious Empire of Liberty, with its happy Sons and Daughters.
Last Thursday (after enjoying the previous two weeks deliberating and finally reaching a resolution against a certain address to the people2) the missive of D— was on the carpet in the Sanhedrin.3 Alcmar and Hoorn complied with the eight cities that are against him. The first spoke more vigorously than all the others did. With all of that I concluded, when I saw some of these gentlemen pass by my window yesterday morning to go to their yachts, that they left the carpet, according to their custom, to deliberate for several days on their bed sheets.
I read a response by certain people to a certain address, that I would like you to read also. You will see that these people have nothing to fear from their good leader, because in order to overturn a state, one must be a great man. You will agree with me, that if the author of the address were ever caught, he could not do better than to choose the author of the response for consolation in his last hours.
All of this is amusing while waiting for more important news to come from America.
I am still alone here and, because of that, at home. But I believe that my wife will come home soon because of the bad weather, and then, sir, I will take advantage of your kind invitation to come sit with you by the fire and settle the important matters of the world.
Here is an amusing thing regarding a pitiful letter that was written against Mr. De L—. It will amuse you for a moment.

[salute] I am, sir, always, and for always, with great respect, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Dumas
I was given the honor of being named extraordinary member of the Amore Patriæ Society, which has just published a very sensible new work, in Dutch, on the difference between publishing anonymously and publishing under a pen name—De hoc et pluribus coram.4
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Dumas. 27 Oct. 1781.”
1. Possibly Rijklof Michaël van Goens’ pamphlet attacking JA’s memorial to the States General, for which see JA’s letter of 21 Feb. 1782 to Robert R. Livingston, and note 4, below.
2. Aan het Volk van Nederland.
3. The States General was considering the Duke of Brunswick’s letter of 21 June responding to Amsterdam’s memorial to William V of 8 June. See JA to the president of Congress, 26 June and 29 June, calendared (vol. 11:391–396, 399).
4. About this and more things in private.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0034

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-28

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I trouble your Excellency with This to inform your Excellency, that I receved this Day the Bill of £10. on London to be applied to the Relief of five poor American Citizens. I shall write to my Friend for that purpose by the next Post. But shall not send the Bill yet, as I see that it appears on the face of it, that the value of it was paid by your Excellency, whose Name, however honored by the virtuous part of Mankind, is alarming to Tyrants, and those, who are immediately under their rod. Your Excellency Knows that the vengeance of disappointed Ambition will carry the base minded to the utmost Lengths, and that there is hardly a Man in England, who is not now under a Terror of it. My Friend is considered as an Obnoxious Man, and is therefore forced to Act with more than ordinary Prudence. I shall consider the necessity He is under of doing so, but the poor fellows Shall have immediate Relief.
The Abbé Raynal has been in this City. I have not heard of Him lately, but will make particular Enquiries about Him, and inform your Excellency of the Result of them.
I Hear there is a late Arrival from America, which Says that Cornwallis after leaving a Force at Portsmouth had marched to the South Side of James River.
Mrs Izard is gone to and is arrivd at Paris.
We shall have tomorrow three Mails due. I find that altho the Wind has been fair, it has been too high for the Packet boats to venture.

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0035

Author: Johnson, Joshua
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-10-30

From Joshua Johnson

[salute] Sir

I am this day honord with your polite favour of the 20 Idem covering two Letters one for the President of Congress and the other for Major Jackson,1 the first will go forward this day by the Sally Cap Worth for Rhode Island, the other shall be sent so soon as I can find out where Major Jackson is. You say there is no News but that of { 58 } Commodore Gillon and that I must have heard off, this is Sublime to me as I have heard not a word about him and now fear something is not well. We are extreamly anxious for some Arrivals from America, that we may have a full detail of the glorious News brought by the Media2 and the addition of Conwallaus surrender with his whole Army, a consequence that in my opinion must follow from his Situation. I expect two Vessells every moment which I know was ready, should they fortunately get in I will do myself the honor to write you immediately in the meantime I am with sincere esteem & respect Sir, Your most Obedt. Hbl. Servt.
[signed] Joshua Johnson
1. See JA to James Searle, 20 Oct., note 3, above.
2. For the news brought by the British frigate Medea, see Edmund Jenings' letter of 20 Oct., note 6, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0036

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: McKean, Thomas
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-11-01

To the President of Congress

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

It is still as problematical as ever, what is the political System of this Republick, and indeed whether it has any System at all. They talk much and deliberate long, but execute nothing. By the Violence with which they speak and write of each other, a Stranger would think them ripe for a civil War.
In the Assembly of the States of Guelderland, held to consider of the Requisition of the King of France of a negotiation of five millions of florins, under the warranty of The Republick, the debates were sustained with great warmth. Some were for an Alliance with France. The Baron de Nagel, Senechal of Zutphen, evaded the putting of the question and said among other things “that he had rather acknowledge the Independence of the Americans, than contract an Alliance with France.”
The Baron Vander Capellen de Marsch was for an Alliance with France and America too. He observed, “that nothing being more natural, than to act in concert with the Enemies of our Enemy, it was an Object of serious deliberation, to see if the Interest of the Republick did not require to accept, without further tergiversation, the Invitations and Offers of the Americans: that no Condescension for England could hinder Us at present from uniting ourselves against a common Enemy, with a Nation so brave and so virtuous; a { 59 } Nation, which, after our Example, owes its Liberty to its Valour, and even at this moment is employed in defending itself from the Tyranny of the Enemy of the two Nations: that consequently nothing could restrain Us from acknowledging the Independence of this new Republick: that our Conduct differed very much from that held by our Ancestors, who allied themselves with the Portuguese, as soon as they had shook off the Yoke of the Spaniards: that there was no doubt that the said Alliances with the Enemies of our Enemy would soon restrain his Fury, and operate a general Peace, advantageous for Us.”2
As this is the first opinion given openly, which has been published, in favor of acknowledging American Independence, it deserves to be recorded: but it will be long, very long before the Republick will be unanimously of his Opinion.

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient & most humble Servant.

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 414–417); endorsed: “Letter 1 Novr 1781 John Adams Recd April 22. 1782.”
1. JA’s next letter to Congress is dated 4 Dec., below. In his Letterbook, however, is an unfinished letter dated 2 Nov. that was almost certainly intended for Congress LbC, Adams Papers. It was to consist of an English translation of William V's proposal to the States General on 22 Oct. for the establishment of a corps of marines.
2. The source of the translation that JA quotes here is unknown. He included the same remarks, almost verbatim, in A Collection of State-Papers, 1782, p. 15–16. For a full translation of van der Capellen’s speech, see The Remembrancer . . . for the Year 1782, part 1, p. 101–104.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0037

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-07

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have been honoured with the following Letters from your Excellency during the last Month, viz. of the 4th. 10th. 18th. 22d. 22d. 25th. 26th. and 27th. which I should have answered sooner, but that I waited for a safe Opportunity, having reason to believe that all your Letters to me by the post are opened, and apprehending the same of mine to you. I send herewith the Covers and Seals of those Letters that you may judge whether the Impression of your Seal is not as I suppose it to be a Counterfeit. I shall now answer your Letters in the Order of their Dates.
Octr. 4th.1 I am pleased to find that you are of the same Opinion with me as to the proper Charges in our Accounts.
Oct. 10. I have now received the Resolutions of Congress for ex• { 60 } changing Gen. Burgoyne against Mr. Laurens, and have sent it to England, tho’ without much Hopes of Success; as I believe the Ministers there had rather at present have the General’s Absence than his Company. They would keep Mr Laurens to hang him at the Peace, if the war should end in their Favour; and they would have no Objection to Americans Recalling and hanging Burgoyne.
I wonder at your being so long without hearing from Mr. Dana, and I am afraid some Misfortune has happened to him.
I have communicated here your Observations relating to Masts, and make no doubt you have recommended to Congress the taking effectual Measures on their part to prevent that Michievous Commerce. If the English could be remov’d from Penobscot, another of their means of Supply would be cut off.
I have already acquainted you that I will help you to pay your Acceptances, as far as you have sent me an Account of them. I have even ordered a considerable Remittance into the hands of Fizeau and Grand, to facilitate those Payments. But I must repeat my Request to you not to accept any Bills with an Expectation of my Paying them, that are drawn after the End of March last; and I farther beg you would accept no more of the old ones drawn on Mr. Laurens, without first acquainting me with the Number or Value, and knowing from me whether I can provide for the Payment. If the Loan so long expected from Holland does at length take place, as I am now told it is likely to do, my Embarras occasioned by all these Demands will I hope be remov’d by it. If not I must scuffle and shift as I can. God help us all.
Octr. 18. I know nothing of Beer but from Mr. Coffyn’s Recommendation. I am afraid he is one of those poor helpless Bodies that God throws into the World to try its Charity. I had been told that the Dutch had sent to borrow such Workmen from France. I recommended it to send the escap’d Prisoners arriving at Dunkirk rather to Amsterdam than to Paris, because I think there arrive as many American Vessels in Holland as in France, wherein they might return home; and there is not one of those Prisoners who does put us to 8 or 10 Louis Expence in his Land Journey first to Paris and then to the Sea Ports, when he might go to Holland in the Track Schuyts for perhaps 1 or 2. I am sensible that you have not as you say any Public Money in your hands; and having accepted Bills for more than is in mine, my Case in that respect does not differ from yours. These poor unfortunate Men must however be relieved; unnecessary Expence in doing it being avoided we can relieve more of { 61 } them. We cannot do for them all we wish; we shall do the best we can. I think it quite right you should have Money always at command for that purpose, and am of Opinion the small Sum obtained by the Loan at Messrs. de Neufville’s will be very properly apply’d in assisting the Prisoners.2 "I therefore give my Advice frankly to use it in that Service. And when that is expended, you should undoubtedly be supply’d with more, and will have the Credit you desire at Messrs. Fizeau & Grand’s, as long as we have any.
Octr. 22. By accepting a Mediation I apprehend no more is meant, than consenting to hear and consider what a common Friend may propose towards accommodating a Difference. A Mediator is not a Judge or Arbitrator: When Arbitrators are chosen, there is commonly an Engagement to abide by their Determination. But no such Engagement is made with respect to a Mediator. Mediations are however subject to this Hazard, that the Mediator piqu’d against the party who rejects his Advice, joins with the other to compel his Acceptance of it. This perhaps was a little the case lately, in the Mediation of Spain between France and England.
I have just learnt by a Letter from Come. Gillon that Capt. Jackson has left his Ship, and is returning to France.3 I think with you that it will be proper he should proceed immediately to Holland to take care of the Goods there. But I own I have not so much Confidence in his prudent Conduct, as to wish the Business left entirely to his Discretion. I still feel the Mischief and Absurdity of his buying Goods under the Notion of only filling a Vancancy left in a loaded Ship, and doing this to such excess as to make two Ships more necessary to receive them. I had a Reluctance to any concern with Gillon; I was urg’d into it by Col. Laurens, on the Considerations that the 10,000£ Sterling’s worth he wanted to dispose of were such as the Army needed, were already shipt, and the Conveyance likely to be a safe one, &c. I consented to pay for those Goods; and for as much more as might be wanted to fill a remaining Vacancy in the Ship, not exeeding the Value of 5,000£ more. I propos’d that these Payments should be made on your Drafts, that your Excellency might have Occasion to inspect the Conduct of the Business, and be some check upon it. I wish I had impowered you or requested your Care more explicitly: I do not think the least Blame lies on you. Capt Jackson too might be ignorant of the Bulk of the Goods till they were assembled: But methinks Messrs. Neufville might have known it, and would have advis’d against so enormous a Purchase, if augmenting the Commissions, and the Project { 62 } of Freighting their own Ships had not blinded their Eyes. You will judge that it must be a monstrous Surprize to me, to have an Account brought against me of 50,000£ instead of 5,000. I agreed however to accept the Bills, on Mr. Jackson’s Representation that the Goods were bought and shipt, that the relanding and returning or selling them would make a Talk and discredit us; that they were such only as were absolutely necessary, &ca. and I accepted his Drafts instead of yours, as he said the Ship only waited his Return to sail, and the obtaining your Signature would occasion a Delay of 8 or 10 Days. Thus I was drawn in at the broad End of the Horn, and must squeeze out at the narrow End as well as I can. I find myself confoundedly pinch’d, but I deserve it in some degree for my Facility and Credulity. At present I am not sure of Money either to buy the Ships or pay their Freight as proposed in yours of the 27th. and therefore cannot engage to do either. When Capt Jackson shall arrive in Holland, your Excellency will be so good as to advise him, and I hope he will take your Advice. I should apprehend it is now too late to go North about: and to send two slow-sailing Dutch Ships down the Channel, to run the Gantlet thro’ all the Frigates and Privateers, seems to me nearly the same thing as to consign them directly to some Port in England or Jersey. It was not to give you Trouble, or to avoid it myself, that I refer’d Messrs. Neufville to you for Advice, but really because I thought you understood such Business better than myself, were on the Spot, and equally concern’d for the Advantage of our Constituents. To me it seemed, that the Vessels having contracted to go with their Cargos to America, ought not to have staid behind on pretence of a Right to more Freight because the Convoying Ship had sail’d without them. They might have protested, and have gone without Convoy: If they had a Right to more Freight I suppose they would have recovered it; and if taken, have a Claim to some Indemnification. I did not understand the Compelling a new Agreement by stopping our Goods. I thought it ungenerous in Messrs. de Neufville as well as unjust. The Regularity or Irregularity of their Proceedings being at least as I imagin’d Points of Maritime Law or Custom I had that additional Reason for Deference to your Judgement.
22 Octr.4 I accepted your Draft of the 22 for 2000 Crowns in Favour of Fizeau & Grand, and it will be duly paid.
25th. The Letter from Dr. Waterhouse, of which you were so kind as to send me a Copy, is coolly and sensibly written, and has an Effect in lessening the Force of what is written against Gillon by { 63 } Messrs. Jackson and Searle. On the whole, I hardly know as yet what to think of the Matter. If Gillon really produc’d to Jackson the 10,000£ worth of Goods, why did he keep back from him the Bills of Exchange that were to pay for them, and with which Gillon might have paid his Debts; And if he could not produce them, why did Jackson keep the Bills, carry them to Sea, and not return them to me? When we see him perhaps he may explain this. At present I am in the dark. He promised me a fuller Letter by the first Post,5 but I have not receiv’d it. Com. Gillon writes me, that Jackson and Searle are parted; that the former (with your Son and some other of the Passengers) is gone to France in an American Privateer, and the latter in the Ariel. I hope soon to hear of their safe Arrival, particularly on the Child’s and your Account: Young Cooper6 is gone to Geneva. Perhaps you may think of sending your Son there for the Winter; in which case if I can be of any Use to you, command me.
Octr 26. The Reason of my thinking we could not depend on receiving any more Money here applicable to the Support of Congress Ministers, is given in the same Letter of Augt. 6. to which yours of Octr 26th. is an Answer; viz. “That what Aids are hereafter granted will probably be transmitted by the Government directly to America.” Should that be the Case, and no Money be put into my Hands to be at my Disposal, what must I do with regard to the Salaries of Ministers? I cannot go to Versailles with a sneaking Petition requesting Money for my Subsistence, for the Subsistence of Mr. Adams, of Mr. Jay, and of Mr. Dana. I believe none of the Gentlemen would like my taking such a Step, and I think the Congress would be asham’d of it. It was therefore I thought it right to give the earliest Notice of what I apprehended might happen, that we might all join in representing it to Congress, in order to obtain the necessary Remittances. You may depend that as long as I have in my Hands disposable Money belonging to Congress I shall never refuse to obey their Orders in paying your Salary; and when I have no such Money I hope you will consider my not paying as the Effect of an Impossibility, and not as you express it a Refusal. The Congress should certainly either supply their foreign Ministers, or find such as can and will serve them gratis, or not send any at all. I hope you have written on this Subject; and tho’ I do not yet clearly see how our Money Affairs will wind up, I shall accept your Draft for another Quarter whenever you please to make it.
Octr 27th. I daily expect the Return of Major Jackson, and think, as I have said above, the Season over for sending those Goods be• { 64 } fore Winter, therefore if I understood such Affairs, I should defer a little the giving any Orders about the Ships freighted, or the Goods he has put on board them. I did as you observe stop the Money Col. Laurens was sending over in Gillon’s Ship, because I saw I should want it to support the Credit of Congress in Paying their Bills. I think you might have done the same to pay your Acceptances if I had not engag’d for them: And I believe you have an equal Right with me to take care of the Congress Property vested in those Goods, as their Minister; and being on the Spot can better judge from Circumstances of the Steps proper to be taken. I therefore request you would yourself give such Orders as you shall find necessary, and think most for the public Interest, remembring that I cannot undertake either to buy the Ships or pay the Freight. Perhaps it may be best to sell the whole, and purchase with the Money the same kind of Goods in France, which cannot but be more agreable to Government here; and probably they would arrive as soon.
I hope the coming Winter will thoroughly establish your Health. With great Esteem & Respect I have the Honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
1. JA’s second letter of 4 Oct., above.
2. See JA’s letter of 24 Nov. to Jean de Neufville & Fils, and note 3, below.
3. For Gillon’s letter of 4 Oct., see Franklin, Papers, 35:562–563.
5. For a detailed description of Gillon’s “unvaried villanies,” see Jackson to JA, 26 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:235–238).
6. Samuel Cooper Johonnot of Boston. The boy was entrusted to JA’s care during the voyage to Europe in 1779 on La Sensible. For detailed sketches of Johonnot, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:418, and JQA, Diary, 1:3.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0038

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-11-12

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

By the last Post, Letters have been recieved in this Town from Mr. Gillon and from a Passenger, Mr. Le Roy,1 by which and a note upon one of them by Mr. Lagoanere2 it appears that the South Carolina sailed form Corunna on the seventeenth of October, and that Captain Jackson and Mr. Trumbull3 are gone in an American Privateer to Bilbao, in order to take Passage from thence to America: so that the proposal I had the honor to make to your Excellency of sending Jackson here cannot take place.
The Goods remain here for Or[ders,]4 and for Cash or Credit to { 65 } buy or hire [the] Ships. If neither can be advanced by you[r] Excellency, there remains only one alternative, vizt either to sell a part to pay the freight of the rest, or let the whole remain here until Congress can give Orders concerning them. Your Excellency must be very sensible, that nobody on this side the Atlantic, except your Excellency, has Authority to give Orders to sell part of the Goods to pay the freight of the remainder.
These Goods would be such an heart-felt Comfort to our brave Countrymen in the Field the ensuing Winter, that I cannot but most ardently wish they might arrive in the Month of January or sooner, and therefore cannot but advise the sending of them, provided it is possible. The whole however must be submitted to your Excellency.

[salute] I have the honor to be,5 with great Respect, Sir your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PU:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “answd. 23d.” LbC (Adams Papers). Damage to the lower right corner of the RC resulted in the loss of parts of three words, which have been supplied from the LbC.
1. For Herman Le Roy, see vol. 10:115.
2. Michel Lagoanere was the American agent at La Coruña (vol. 8:297).
3. In the Letterbook JA canceled: “and my son.”
4. In the Letterbook JA canceled: “and for Mr De Neufville will write to your Excellency.” Jean de Neufville & Fils wrote to Franklin on 12 Nov. and advised him to buy the ships left behind by Gillon (Franklin, Papers, 36:49–50).
5. The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0039

Author: Jackson, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-12

From William Jackson

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the honor to address your Excellency by the last post, in which letter2 I informed you that we should probably sail the 16. instant—but a sudden fresh in the river, which impedes the ship’s loading, will oblige us to wait for the next spring-tide.3
By a Vessel belonging to Mr. Tracy which arrived here yesterday in four weeks from America we have received very important intelligence. Mr. Tracy writes Mr. Gardoqui that the Count de Grasse having beat the British fleet commanded by Admiral Graves had returned to the Chesapeak, and having been reinforced by Count de Barras with the Rhode-Island squadron, had stationed his whole force consisting of 36 sail of the line, and a number of frigates so as to effectually command the Chesapeak and the rivers adjacent. General Washington, having previously ordered the Count Rochambeau with his troops to the Southward, had followed himself { 66 } with the elite of our army, which joined by the Corps under Genls. Stuben, La fayette, and Wayne, and a debarkation from the fleet, formed an allied army of at least 20,000 Men. His Excellency had embarked the troops at the head of Elk, landed in the neighbourhood of Cornwallis and completely invested him at York town in Virginia, where he had fortified himself as strongly as possible. Mr. Tracy says it was reported that Cornwallis had offered to capitulate on like terms with Burgoyne, but that General Washington held him to a surrender at discretion. I most heartily congratulate your Excellency on this very favorable aspect of affairs, and I felicitate myself with a hope that your Excellency’s views in coming to Europe will soon meet their well earned honor and success. The enclosed Gazette,4 which is the latest received, will give you farther particulars. I must profit of the few minutes before the post goes to carry my letter to the office. Your dear little Boy is very well—he wrote to you this morning5 by Mr. Bromfield, who returns to Amsterdam. Coll. Trumbull offers his most respectful compliments. I beg you will present mine to Mr. Thaxter.

[salute] I am with profound respect, and real regard, Dear Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant.

[signed] W. Jackson
Should you write Mr. Dana please to present my affectionate respects to him and your Son. I shall endeavor to write Mr. D. before I leave Europe. W.J.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Major Jackson 12th. Novr. 1781”; by JA: “ansd 1. Decr. 1781.”
1. For JA’s reply to this letter, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:248.
2. Probably Jackson’s letter of 26 Oct. (same, 4:235–238).
3. The twenty-gun Massachusetts privateer Cicero, Capt. Hugh Hill, sailed from Bilbao on or about 10 Dec., and arrived at Beverly, Mass., on 21 Jan. 1782. For references to the vessel and detailed accounts of its voyage to America, see same, 4:index.
4. Not found.
5. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0040

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-14

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I trouble your Excellency at this Time to transcribe the following Letter “sent by Person of some Distinction at Paris to a Man not less so in London” the Copy of which I have just now receivd.
“Nous ne donnons pas á Monsieur Ad: une Confiance bien aveuglé; et ce n’est pas sans cause quils ont mis autour de lui des Hommes, qui l’Observent, on le croit honnête; on le scait ardent; inflex• { 67 } ible même pour sa Cause; mais il S’abonde trop dans son sens, et ne Scait donner aux convenances. Nous aimons mieux placer Confiance dans Monsr Fra.”1
I Know not from whom this Letter comes or to whom it is addressed. I will endeavour to learn one and the other.
We have reports here of an Attempt on the Emperors Life by Poison. It is said too that France is to cede Corsica to the Grand Duke for 1500,000£.2
The Council and the States of these Countries are debating on the Reception of the Emperors late Edict for tolerating the Protestants. The Churchmen are much dissatisfied therewith.3
I have read the Oaths, which the Emperor took by Proxy to the States of Brabant. It is very long but is not materially different from the former ones, taken by the Antient Dukes.4
I should be glad to Know what your Excellency proposes to do with Mr Charles Adams in his present Situation at Corunna. I am much distress’d about My Nephew.5

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. For the sense of this passage from the unidentified letter and JA’s commentary on the points raised therein, see his letter of 29 Nov. to Jenings, below; for his speculation that the Comte de Vergennes was the source of the comment, see his letter of 21 Feb. 1782 to Robert R. Livingston, note 15, below.
2. Neither of these reports was true.
3. On 12 Nov., at Joseph II’s direction, the governors general of the Austrian Netherlands, Joseph’s sister Marie Christine, and her husband Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen, issued a circular letter granting religious toleration to Protestants. This “Edict of Toleration,” which had been promulgated in other parts of the empire a month earlier, immediately aroused opposition from the Catholic authorities. The controversy was relatively brief, however, largely because the edict was of minor importance when compared to Joseph II’s later efforts at religious reform. For Joseph II’s motivation in granting religious freedom to Protestants, which had an economic dimension, and the unrest created by his reforms, see Walter W. Davis, Joseph II: An Imperial Reformer for the Austrian Netherlands, The Hague, 1974, p. 189–219.
4. The Joyeuse Entrée oath of 1356 established the rights and privileges enjoyed by the people of the Duchy of Brabant. Rulers of the Duchy, part of the Austrian Netherlands, swore to uphold its provisions upon taking office. Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen took the oath for the emperor at Brussels, the capital of Brabant, on 17 July (same, p. 14, 119).
5. John or Matthias Bordley; see Jenings’ letter of 22 April, and note 2 (vol. 11:285–286).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0041

Author: Laurens, Martha
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-14

From Martha Laurens

[salute] Sir

I take the Liberty of writing to you though I have not the honor of your personal acquaintance, and I hope that when you shall have { 68 } read my Letter, and find that I am the Daughter of the worthy but unfortunate H Laurens Esqr. sentiments of sympathy for his unhappy situation, and of pity for a Child in the deepest affliction on account of that Situation, will be more than sufficient to induce your humane heart, to pardon a step which on a less occasion might have worne the appearance of Boldness in a young Person.1 You know Sir that my dear Papa’s attachment to his Country, and zeal in her Service, had after his serving with Integrity in other important Posts, procured him the honor of being named to that, which your Excellency now fills up. You know also Sir, that on his Way to Holland he had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Enemy, and that in Consequence of this Event, he has been Prisoner during 13 Mos. in the Tower of London. Till now I had been taught to beleive, that though strictly confined he was at least treated in other respects, as all Prisoners of any Credit are while in the Power of civilised Enemies. This hope was an alleviation to the first strong Emotions wch it was natural I should feel on account of my dr Papa’s Captivity, and I wrote to my dr Brother, Mr John Laurens, when he was last in France in a public Capacity, every favorable account which I had received from Engd, with regard to our dear Parent, through the tender motive of making his mind as easy as possible. In a Letter to me from Paris, he says, that he will make use of his utmost Interest to serve our dr Father, and to procure his release, but I find however good his heart and his will may have been, his Efforts have been without success, as my dr Papa not only remains a prisoner but is treated with the greatest Cruelty. To convince your Excellency of this, I will give you an extract of a Letter, which I have just received from a near friend in London, and which by his desire I communicate to you, in hopes that you will interest yourself, in procuring my dr Father a more honorable treatment.2 Let me entreat you Sir to exert yourself to render his Situation less painful. The anguish of my mind on his account is too great to be described, but this is natural. A Daughter would feel for her Father, were he the basest of Mortals, but may I may not plead with you Sir, that a Person of my Fathers unspotted and upright Character, is an Object of Sympathy for every honest Man and merits their utmost Endeavors for his Service.
“I beg that you will write to the Ministers at Versailles3 and Amsterdam, and give them the true account of your Father’s situation, wch I am positive they have not yet received, or would have taken some measures to procure him a more honorable treatment. It is { 69 } " politic to send over the smoothest accounts, but not content with this, they invent the most infamous Lies, to inflame the minds of the People, and to induce them to beleive that the treatment which he meets with is not unmerited. It was reported the other Day that your Father had attempted to bribe his keeper, by a Bill upon an eminent Merchant in the City, but this must be false, for he is denied the use of Pen and Ink, and had when this was published, entirely exhausted his stock in Mr ——s hands.4 After 4 Months petioning the Secretaries of State for the use of Pen and Ink, he at length obtained it for half an hour, to draw for just as much Money as would suffice for his bare subsistance; wch one would have supposed no civilised Nation could have endeavord to refuse, he was reduced so far as to live five Days upon a single fowl, and two days upon 5 pennyworth of Beef. Numbers of People and friends would have supplied your Father with Money, but he has refused every offer of the kind, for he is as proud and as humble, as a Gentleman and a Man of honor ought to be. He is too honest to borrow without a prospect of repaying, and too proud to beg. Many People in this Country think your Father and Friends have no ground for Complaint supposing that he has 6s. 8d per day, (the allowance for all state Prisoners) and that his friends have constant access to him, but the truth is, Government had made no provision for him, and if one could judge from past Conduct, would starve him if they could. And during 13 Months close Confinement, have with the greatest reluctance permitted a part of Mr ——’s family to visit him 5 times.5
“I have been told that your Father would have been long since released had he had ears to hear, that is could he have acceded to Propositions, incompatible with his Sense of honor and Integrity, but these he will be forever deaf to.”
You see Sir how much reason I have to be affected, and how painful a situation my dr Papa’s must be, and I make no doubt you will do all you can to make it less so. May a kind Providence bless the endeavors you may make use of and hear my Prayers for my dr Papa’s happiness, and for a Peace to America, as firm and stable as her cause is good, and as her Sufferings have been great. May I flatter myself Sir that you will condescend to favor me with a speedy answer to this Letter, that I may know whether there are any hopes of his Exchange, or at least any attempts to make his Situation easier. Is it not a reflection on America that one of her Ambassadors a Man of Worth and Credit, should in his Prison be so miserable as to want the common necessaries of Life, and no notice taken of it.
{ 70 }
Be pleased to direct for Mlle Laurens—au Vigan en Cevenes.
In this retired place, living in the oeconomical manner wch becomes our Situation, I have past the greatest of 4 years which I have spent in France.
I am, as well as a Sister of eleven year old6 under the Protection of an only Brother of my dr and unfortunate Father. This dear Friend, who for many years past has had bad health, received a shock to his Constitution soon after my Father’s imprisonment wch it is probable will greatly contribute to shorten his Days.7He would no doubt present his most respectful Compliments to your Excellency, but his declining health, and great Sensibility for my dear Papa have induced me to hide from him the Contents of a Letter melancholy enough to produce on him some fatal Effect, and consequently the Liberty wch I have taken to write to you.
Accept Sir, my sincerest Wishes that Heaven may long preserve a Life so useful to our Country as yours is, and crown with success your Labors for her welfare.

[salute] I have the honor to be, with the profoundest Respect, Your Excellency’s, most obedient hble Servant.

[signed] Martha Laurens
Be pleased to excuse the bad writing and inaccuracies of my Letter, not to lose the Morning Post, I write in great at one o clock after midnight.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Miss Martha Laurens 14th. Novr. 1781.”; by JA: “ansd. Decr 1. 1781.”
1. Martha Laurens was 22 years old and since 1771, following the death of her mother, had lived with her aunt and uncle, Mary and James Laurens. In 1775 they went to England and then, in 1778, to Vigan in the south of France. She next saw her father in Feb. 1783, when she went to England to nurse him back to health. She returned to America in 1785 and in 1787 married the physician and historian David Ramsay (DAB; Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women, 1607–1950, a Biographical Dictionary, 3 vols., Cambridge, 1971; Laurens, Papers, 15:591).
2. The author of the letter received by Martha Laurens is unknown. The plight of Henry Laurens, however, was no mystery to the British public as is indicated by an anonymous letter published in the London Courant of 20 Oct., which covered much the same ground as in that related by Martha Laurens.
3. Martha Laurens wrote a nearly identical letter to Benjamin Franklin on this date, to which Franklin replied on 29 Dec. (Franklin, Papers, 36:52–55, 326–328).
4. This report appeared in the London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser of 23 October. The editors stated that they had been informed that Laurens “attempted lately to bribe his keeper, by a bill on an eminent merchant in the City; but the Rebel was disappointed in his scheme: he has received no other punishment than what still further proves the superiority of British magnanimity untained by rebellious principles!” On the following day the Morning Herald issued a retraction based on the testimony of Laurens’ friend, William Manning. He declared that “Mr. Laurens never drew upon him at any one time for a sum of money, sufficient to bribe even a warden; and the funds which remained in his hands before Mr. Laurens’s arrival in England, are, { 71 } at this time, absolutely exhausted.” For additional information regarding Henry Laurens’ imprisonment, see the journal and narrative of his confinement (Laurens, Papers, 15:330–404).
5. This refers to the difficulties Henry Laurens Jr. experienced in visiting his father in the Tower. For earlier accounts in letters to JA, see vol. 10:276–277, 293, 324, 333–334, 366; see also Laurens’ journal and narrative as well as extracts from the register of the Tower of London (Laurens, Papers, 15:619–622).
6. Mary Eleanor Laurens, who in 1788 married Charles Pinckney (same, 16:760).
7. Henry Laurens’ younger brother James died 25 Jan. 1784 (same, 16:373).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-11-19

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Your obliging Letter of the 7th instant I had the honor to recieve on Saturday night by Mr Fox, to whom I shall be happy to shew every Civility in my Power, according to the Recommendation of your Excellency and Mr. Franklin.1
I have recieved a Letter from Captain Jackson, and another from my Boy at Bilbao,2 which inform me of their Intention to embark for Salem in a Privateer which was to sail the 16th so that I suppose they are now at Sea bound home. I thank your Excellency however for your kind offer concerning my Son.
As to the Goods, the question still is, what is to be done with them? There is here a Capt. Grinnel,3 a sober prudent Man, who has long used this Trade, to whom I read your Excellencys Observations concerning the sending the Goods off at this season of the year. He is of your Excellency’s Opinion, concerning their going through the English Channel, but is confident that from this time till Christmas, or a little later, it is the safest time of the whole Year to go North about. He says there is no danger from Privateers or Cruisers, and that a good Vessel, taking Advantage of the first Winter East Winds, may go with the utmost safety to the Ship and Cargo, although the Master and Crew may expect a little hardship from the Cold and the Wind. He insists upon it if he had the Care of any Interest, public or private, he should chuse this season for safety in preference to any other. He knows the Vessels, and says they are very good, and that they are fast Sailors. If the Goods are to go, I should advise to give him the Command of one of the Vessels.
But the question is how We shall get the Goods into our Possession? They are now in possession of one of the Owners of the Ships, who I expect will detain them until his demands are satisfied. There is no Law that I know of which authorises him to detain the Goods, but le droit du plus fort, ou du plus subtil. But what avails a Claim { 72 } of Law in favor of the United States, in a Country where such a State is not acknowledged? It is certain no Action could be maintained in favor of the United States in any Court of Law in this Country: so that We lye at Mercy. Mr. De Neufville owns half of one of the Vessels and a Quarter of the other: but it is another of the Owners I am told, who has possession of the Goods. I am promised Information some time to day of the Terms that will be insisted on.4 Come. Gillon, I am told, engaged these Ships, and the Goods were put on board before the Charter Parties were signed. He went out of the Texel without signing them, and one of the Owners sent Orders to the Captains not to sail until they were signed, which was the Reason of their being left behind. Our Hands are in the Lion’s mouth. If the Terms shall not appear reasonable, what shall We do? To sell the Goods here at Vendue I fear would sink half their Value, but We had better lose half than the whole: and if this Measure should become necessary, I should think it most adviseable for your Excellency to desire Messrs Fizeaux and Grand to appoint some body to sell them, and recieve the Money, pay out what is necessary to be paid, and keep the rest subject to your Excellency’s Orders. Come. Gillon has not complied with his Engagements to the Owners; but this is a breech of a mere personal Obligation on his part, for which the Continental Goods are not responsible in Law or Equity: but the Owners have possession of them, and We can have no Advantage of Law to get them out of their hands: so that I suppose a Composition must be made with them.
I think it manifest that my Letters to your Excellency have been opened, which I wonder at the more as I have delivered them all to the House of Fizeaux and Grand for greater safety of Conveyance. I believe none of your Excellency’s Letters to me have been opened. The Impressions of the Seals have been all bright, smooth and fair.

[salute] With great Respect, I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant5

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Novr: 19. 1781.”
1. Brief letters of introduction from William Temple Franklin, 7 Nov., and Benjamin Franklin, 8 Nov., recommended George Fox of Philadelphia (both Adams Papers; Franklin, Papers, 36:31).
2. From William Jackson, 26 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:235–238). The letter from CA has not been found.
3. Probably Capt. Richard Grinnell of the brig Sukey who, in 1782, carried merchandise to America for JA (same, 4:339).
4. See JA to Franklin, 22 Nov., below.
5. The closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0043

Author: Franklin, William Temple
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-19

From William Temple Franklin

[salute] Dear Sir

I have the honour to inclose to your Excellency some agreable Accounts of the Situation of our Affairs in America, on which I most sincerely congratulate you.1 They are forwarded to us by Mr Thos Barclay, who is lately arrived at L’Orient in the St James. This Gentleman is come to reside in France, as Consul General for the U. States; an Officer our Country has long been in need of.2

[salute] I am with every sentiment of Esteem & Respect, Sir, Your Exys. affectionate & very humble Servant

[signed] W. T. Franklin
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. The copy of a letter from Col. Richard Butler to Col. Hugh Shields, dated 29 Sept. at Williamsburg, reported on the French fleet’s control of the Chesapeake and the opening phase of the siege of Yorktown by forces commanded by Washington and Rochambeau. Butler also described Nathanael Greene’s action at Eutaw Springs on 8 September.
2. Congress appointed Thomas Barclay, a Philadelphia merchant, vice consul to France on 28 June. Selected initially to act in the absence of William Palfrey, Barclay was appointed consul in his place on 5 Oct., when it was clear that Palfrey had been lost at sea (JCC, 20:698; 21:1036). Barclay went to Amsterdam in December and remained there into the spring of 1782 in an effort to resolve the controversy over the ships and goods left by Alexander Gillon (from Barclay, 29 Dec., below). For a detailed sketch of Barclay, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:120; for JA’s longstanding interest in the appointment of a consul to France, see vols. 6:352; 7:xiv, 13, 407; 8:69, 73, 128, 143; 9:483–485, 497.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0044

Author: Livingston, Robert R.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-20

From Robert R. Livingston

No 2

[salute] sir

Since my last of the 23d of October nothing material has happened here, unless it be the return of Digby to New York, where he has relanded great part of his Troops, and as is said, proceeded to the West Indies with the Fleet, tho’ this is not fully ascertained, nor have we any authentick Accounts that the Count de Grasse sailed from Chesapeake on the 4th inst. It gives me pleasure however to mention an incident to you, which shews how much the Yeomanry of this country have improved in military discipline, and must defeat every hope that Britain Entertains of conquering a Country so defended. It has been the custom of the enemy to move a large body of Troops Every fall from Canada to Ticonderoga while a light Corps with a number of Indians entered the State from the westward, and { 74 } destroyed the frontier settlements, burning the houses and barns, and scalping the old men, women and Children. Last year, they effected the destruction of Schoharie, and most of the settlements on the Mohawk River, before the Militia could assemble to oppose them. This Year a small Body of State Troops, drafted from the Militia for three months, about sixty N Hampshire levies, part of the militia of the country, and forty Oneida Indians, to the number of four hundred and eighty in all, under the command of Colonel Willet, hastily collected upon the report of the enemy’s coming from the Westward, to oppose them, while the rest of the Militia, and some Continental Troops marched up Hudson’s River (the enemy having about two Thousand men at Ticonderoga). Willet met the Enemy which consisted of a picked corps of British Troops to the amount of six hundred and six, besides a number of Indians and Tories. He fought and defeated them twice with his Militia, killed their leaders, Major Ross and young Butler, made a number of Prisoners, and pursued them three days, ’till he had driven them into the thickest part of the wilderness, whence fatigue, and want of Provisions, will prevent many of them from returning. Those at Ticonderoga have remained inactive ever since.1
It must be a mortifying circumstance to the proudest people in the world, to find themselves foiled, not only by the american regular Troops, but by the rough undisciplined militia of the country. Admiral Zoutman’s combat must also, I should imagine, have some effect in humbling their pride, and what is of more consequence, in raising the spirits of the Dutch nation.
We find from your letters as well as from other accounts of the United Provinces that they are divided into powerful parties, for and against the War, and we are sorry to see some of the most distinguished names among what are called the Anglomanes. But your letters leave us in the dark relative to the views and principles of each party, which is no small inconvenience to us, as we know not how to adapt our measures to them. It is so important to the due execution of your mission, to penetrate the views of all parties, without seeming to be connected with either, that I have no doubt you have insinuated yourself into the good graces and confidence of the leaders, and that you can furnish the information we require, you may be persuaded, no ill use will be made of any you give, and it is expected from You.
We learn from Mr Dumas, that you have presented your credentials to the states general, we are astonished that you have not writ• { 75 } ten on so important a subject, and developed the principles that induced you to declare your public character, before the States were disposed to acknowledge it.2 There is no doubt from your known prudence and knowledge of the world, that some peculiarity in your situation, or that of the politicks and parties of the United provinces furnished you with reasons that overballanced the objections to the measure which arise from the humiliating light in which it places us. Congress would, I believe wish to have them explained, and particularly your reason for printing your memorial, I may form improper ideas of the government, interests and policy of the United Provinces, but I frankly confess that I have ||no hope that they will recognize us as an independent||3 state and ||embarrass themselves|| in making their wished for ||peace with our affairs||. What ||inducements can we|| hold out to them? ||They know|| that our own ||interest will lead us|| to trade with them, and we do not propose || to purchase their alliance by|| giving them any ||exclusive advantage in commerce||. Your business, then, I should think lies in a narrow compass. It is to “conciliate the affections of the people, to place our cause in the most advantageous light, to remove the prejudices that Great Britain may endeavour to excite, to discover the views of the different Parties, to watch every motion that leads to peace between England and the United provinces, and to get the secret aid of government in procuring a loan, which is almost the only thing wanting to render our affairs respectable at home and abroad.”4 To these objects I am satisfied you pay the strictest attention, because I am satisfied no man has more the interest of his country at heart, or is better acquainted with its wants. As our objects in Holland must be very similar to those of France, I should suppose it would be prudent for you to keep up the closest Connexion with her minister to advise with him on great leading objects, and to counteract his opinion only upon the most mature deliberation. You were informed before I came into Office that Mr Jay and Mr Franklin are joined in commission with you and have received copies of the instructions that Congress have given their commissioners. This whole business being terminated before I came down, I make no observations upon it, lest I should not enter fully into the Views of Congress—and by that means help to mislead you on so important a subject. I enclose you a resolution discharging the commission for establishing a commercial Treaty with Britain.5 This also being a business of long standing, I for the same reasons transmit it without any observations thereon.6 I would recommend it to you to be in your language { 76 } and conduct a private gentleman—this will give you many advantages in making connexions that will be lost on your insisting upon the assumption of a public character and the rather, as this sentiment prevails generally among the members of Congress, tho’ for reasons of delicacy with respect to you, I have not chosen to ask the sense of Congress to whom it is my sincere wish, as well as my leading Object in the free Letters I write you, to enable you to render your measures acceptable. A number of your letters written last winter and spring, have this moment come to hand.7
This letter will be sent to Europe by the Marquis de la Fayette, who has obtained leave of absence during the winter Season. He wishes to correspond with you, and as from his Connexions, his understanding and attachment to this Country, he may be very serviceable to you, I would wish you to write as freely to him, as you conceive those considerations may render it prudent.8

[salute] I have the honor to be, sir With great respect & esteem Your most obedient & most humble servant

[signed] Robt R Livingston
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Secretary Livingston No. 2. November 20. 1781. recd and ansd 19. Feb. 1782.” Dft (NHi:R. R. Livingston Papers). Text for the enciphered passages in the fourth paragraph has been supplied from the draft; see also note 3.
1. Livingston describes the battles between a British force led by Maj. John Ross and American militia commanded by Col. Marinus Willett on 25 and 30 Oct. at Johnstown and Jerseyfield, N.Y., respectively. He summarizes Willett’s report of 2 Nov. to Maj. Gen. William Alexander, which Congress ordered printed in the Philadelphia newspapers, including the Pennsylvania Gazette of 21 November. While Maj. Ross retreated with his troops, Walter N. Butler, the notorious commander of British forces at the Cherry Valley Massacre in 1778 and son of Loyalist Indian agent John Butler, fell at Jerseyfield (Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, 2 vols., N.Y., 1952, 2:651–652).
2. Livingston refers to Dumas’ serial letter of 1 May – 4 July that Congress received on 3 Oct., the same day on which the second of JA’s letters of 16 May arrived (vol. 11:317–319; JCC, 21:1032–1033). Dumas’ letter reported on JA’s efforts to present his memorials of 19 April (vol. 11:272–284) to the Dutch government and gave details of JA’s meetings, at which Dumas was present, with the grand pensionary, the president of the States General, and the secretary to William V (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:393–397, which prints a later version of the letter that extends to 13 July). The explanation for JA’s actions that Livingston desired was contained in JA’s letters of 3 and 7 May to the president of Congress (vol. 11:301–302, 305–308). There he explained his reasons for undertaking to present the memorials and then to publish them. Unfortunately, although both letters are in the PCC, there is no indication as to when they were received.
Livingston was not alone in his criticism of JA’s conduct in the Netherlands, as is evident from Edmund Randolph’s letter of 9 Oct. to Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Papers, 6:128–129). JA, in his reply of 19 Feb. 1782, below, and other letters written at the same time, mounted a vigorous defense of his actions. JA’s letters indicate his frustration with Livingston’s criticism and instructions that betrayed a fundamental lack of knowledge or appreciation of European politics and Dutch government and society. His exasperation was made more intense because when he received Livingston’s letter his efforts to obtain Dutch recognition of the United States seemed to be bearing fruit.
{ 77 }
3. This is the first of eight passages that were encrypted using the Lovell cipher. JA’s interlineations indicate that he deciphered the 2d, 3d, 5th, and part of the 6th passages. JA’s problem with the undeciphered passage was that whoever enciphered the text did not, with any consistency, follow the rules for enciphering text with the Lovell cipher. Thus, when JA began his decipherment he found only gibberish.
4. The source of Livingston’s quotation is not known. See his letter of 23 Oct., above, which covers much the same ground.
5. Two copies of Congress’ resolution of 12 July (JCC, 20:746–747) are with a quadruplicate of this letter in MHi:John Adams, Embassy MSS.
6. In the draft Livingston canceled: “An advertizment in the Amsterdam Gazette has been the source of much inquiry here as it leads the world to think you have made considerable loans in Holland or that you wish to impose such an opinion upon the w<orld>. I <suppose it>imagine this has been inserted without your order more particularly as it announces <your> a publick character in which you <can> would not certainly assume in the United provinces without their concurrence. You will I dare say caution your zealous friends against such imprudences in future as serve to throw an air of <contempt> ridicule on your mission.” The advertisement in the Gazette d’Amsterdam has not been found, but for the notice as it appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 27 Feb., and reports appearing elsewhere, see the Plan for the Negotiation of a Dutch Loan, [ca. 24 Feb.], note 3 (vol. 11:159–160).
7. Congress received 26 letters from JA on 19 Nov. (PCC, No. 185, III, f. 4–5). They were dated 25 and 30 Nov.; 1, 14, 18, 21, 25 (3), 26, 28, 30, and 31 Dec. 1780; 1, 4, 14, 15 (4), and 18 Jan.; 1 Feb.; and 18, 19, and 29 (2) March 1781 (vol. 10:373–374, 385–386, 390, 410–411, 419–421, 426–427, 433–439, 442–443, 458–464, 465–466; vol. 11:2, 15–17, 44–45, 49–51, 55, 96, 213–216, 238–241).
8. With this letter in the Adams Papers is a copy of Congress’ resolution of 23 Nov. regarding Lafayette’s return to France, which Livingston here summarizes in so far as it applied to JA (JCC, 21:1134–1136). This letter and its enclosure were likely sent to JA under cover of Lafayette’s letter of 1 Feb. 1782 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0045

Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-21

From Henry Grand

I have just time, sir, and no more to give you information of the good news we had all the day long yesterday.
In the morning we learnt that the english had been defeated by your troops near Charlestown where they lost 1200 Men.
In the afternoon we learnt by the Duke of Lausan that Lord Cornwallis and his whole army of 6000 Men Surrendered to the allied troops the 17th. of Oct.2

[salute] I remain most respectfully sir Your most obt. hbl st

1. Although JA knew of the Duc de Lauzun’s arrival at Paris with news of Cornwallis’ surrender by 24 Nov., he does not indicate the source of his information. His reply to Henry Grand of 1 Dec., below, suggests that it may have been this brief note.
2. The arrival of the Duc de Lauzun on 19 Nov. was announced in a Supplément to the Gazette de France dated 20 November. But Grand may have had other sources for his information because the Supplément does not mention Nathanael Greene’s engagement at Eutaw Springs on 8 Sept., and it clearly indicates that Cornwallis opened negotiations on 17 Oct. and surrendered on the 19th. It is noteworthy that official word of Cornwallis’ surrender did not reach London until 25 Nov., and was not reported in the London Gazette until the 27th.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0046

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-11-22

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Last Evening, was brought to me, the Proposals of the owners of the Ships, in the following Words. “To take from the owners of the Vessells the Liberty and the Aurora, at the Rate they shall be found to amount, not only of purchase Money, but also of all other Expences made thereon till the day of taking over the Said Vessells. Further to pay the half of the Freight Money, that are agreed, and to give Sufficient Surety to the full Satisfaction of the owners for all Costs and Damages that may be Suffered to the owners by reason of this Sale of the Said Vessells, and the delivery of the Goods that have been loaden therein or by what reason it may be concerning this matter.”
From Several Hints I had heard I had expected that the Goods would be detaind for freight or other demands: but these Proposals are more unreasonable than I ever expected. The owners affirm the goods to be answerable to them by the Laws of this Country. This I dont believe. But the question cannot be decided without a Lawsuit, and it is doubtfull whether We can maintain one. But if We could, a Lawsuit in all Countries, is a caustick Remedy, which ought never to be resorted to but in desperate Cases. It will draw the Business out into an unknown Length—in the meantime our brave soldirs are freezing for Want of Hose and Blanketts. Mr De Neufville, professes to be very fair, and Says that We may have his shares in the Vessells at any terms We think just, but the other owners, will agree to nothing but the above Proposals.
The first Thing for us to do is to get Possn. of the Goods. If We had this We might Sell them or send them in other Vessells which We could have on better Terms. Mr De Neufville, is under Embarrassments, of some sort or other and certainly has not the Forces to extricate the Goods for us. If your Excellency would impower Messrs Fizeau & Grand to consult Lawyers, bring a suit, or perhaps apply by the favour of the French Ambassador, to Authority, to have the goods restored to the Possession of Congress or their servants, or to the House of Fizeau & Grand as in the service of Congress or your Excellency, perhaps this would be the Way, to get the best Terms. If by the Laws, the Goods are answerable for any Charges these must be paid. The Goods may in that Case be sold in Part or { 79 } in the whole, for repayment, or another and better Vessell may be bought or hired to carry them home. I have the Honour to be

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0047

Author: Franklin, William Temple
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-22

From William Temple Franklin

[salute] Dear Sir

Since the Letter I had the honour of writing to your Excellency on the 19th Inst, the Duke de Lauzan is arrived at Versailles from Virginia, with the glorious News of the combined Force of America and France having forced General Cornwallis to capitulate. The English Garrison marched out of York Town on the 19th of Octr. with the honours of War, and laid down their Arms: the Troops consisted of about Six thousand: Sailors and Negroes 1800, 22 pair of Colours, and 170 Pieces of Cannon, of which 75 were of brass. Besides which, a Vessel of 50 Guns with a considerable Number of Transports some burnt. These are the only particulars which have as yet transpired of this important Event. In a few Days will be publish’d the Articles of Capitulation, when I shall immediately forward them to your Excellency.

[salute] Hoping that your Negociations may partake of the good Effect of this Victory, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellencys, affectionate & obliged humble Servant

[signed] W. T. Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “W. T. Franklin 22d. Novr. 1781.” LbC (DLC:Franklin Papers).
1. The Letterbook copy indicates that William Temple Franklin sent an identical letter to John Jay.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0048

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-23

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I congratulate your Excellency on the late great Event.
I received yours of the 12th. I wrote my Mind fully on the Subject of the Goods in mine to you by Mr. Fox, which I suppose must have come to your hands soon after that Date. Gillon wrote to me that Mr. Searle and Jackson were gone to France.1 As it is so long since, and they are not arrived, I suppose it may be true that they are gone to america. I expect the Consul, Mr. Barclay, here in a few Days. If you think his assistance relating to that Matter may be of Use, I will { 80 } | view propose his Proceeding to Holland. I can only repeat that if I have any Authority over those Goods, I transfer it all to you.

[salute] With great Respect, I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant

[signed] B Franklin
1. Probably Gillon’s letter of 4 Oct. (Franklin, Papers, 35:562–563).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0049

Author: Grand, Ferdinand
Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-23

From Ferdinand and Henry Grand

[salute] sir

Permitt me to congratulate you on your present enjoyment of the freedom of Amsterdam, as also on the habit your good Countrymen Seem to get into of never taking less than an Army at one stroke. I referr for all that relates your victories in America to my last of Novr. 21st.
I now come to the examination of your Account which for your own facility I herewith return you. The Total of my credit, by the
I now come to the examination of your Account which for your own facility I herewith return you. The Total of my credit, by the same is   115900.   3.   10  
from which deducting Mr. Bondfields Bill, which you ordered me to pay after I had given in my Account   390.   12    
        L 115509.   11s.   10  
to which adding the 12s. you creditted me less, in the £200 str paid you the 28th. of feby by Fizeaux Grand & ce.     12s    
& likewise the following Articles you ommitted giving me credit for vizt.
1780 feby 29th. your order to give fr. Dana Esqr. credit for  
6857.   3s    
Decr. 14th. The charges to your Madeira Wine   89.   4s    
        L 122456.   10.   10  
to which you’ll please also to add, to coincide with me   34.   10.    
altho you have already been debitted for the same in a former Account: as I shall make it good to you in a fresh one, it is all the same, except for the arrangemt. of my Books        
carried over   122491.     10  
Brought forward   L 122491.     10  
The total sum of my Debit, by you is   L 124801.   9.   9        
to which you must add   247.   7.   1        
to get up to L2658.16.10 which Mr. Dana desired me to credit you for instead of L2411. 9. 9 you only debit me of              
  L 125048.   16.   10        
Ballance due to you   2557.   16    
        125048.   16.   10  
{ 81 } | view
  Dr.   Cr.  
Brought forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   L 122491.  10  
The total sum of my Debit, by you is   L 124801. 9. 9    
to which you must add . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    247. 7. 1    
to get up to L2658.16.10 which Mr.      
Dana desired me to credit you for instead      
of L2411. 9. 9 you only debit me of      
  L 125048.16.10    
Ballance due to you  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    2557.16  
  125048.16.10  
I repeat I shall charge you in a fresh Account for J. Bondfields Bill for L 390.12. and give you credit for lt34.10s. charged in two different Accounts, by which means I suppose we shall stand perfectly right.

[salute] I am with due Respect sir Your most obedient & most humble servt.

[signed] F. M. Grand
[signed] Hy. Grand

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0050

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Date: 1781-11-24

To the Duc de La Vauguyon with a Letterbook Memorandum

Mr Adams presents his most respectfull Compliments to his Excellency, the Duke de la Vauguion, and begs leave to acquaint him, that by the last nights Post he received from Congress Some important Dispatches which it is his Duty to communicate to the Ambassador of France.1 Mr Adams requests his Excellency, to inform him, what Hour will be most convenient for him to wait on him at the Arms of Amsterdam. Meantime he most Sincerely congratulates his Excellency, on the glorious News from America, by the Duke de Lauzun, of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis with his whole Army, to the Arms of the allies.

memorandum

This Card I Sent by my Secretary Mr Thaxter. The Duke returned for answer, that he would call upon me at my House, between Twelve and one, to congratulate me, on the News from America. Accordingly about one, he came and Spent with me, an hour and an { 82 } half. I communicated to him my fresh Instructions and agreed to Send him a Copy of them tomorrow, or next day by the Post Waggon Charriot de Poste. He Said he had not received any Instructions from Versailles, upon the Subject, but might receive Some by next Tuesdays Poste. He asked me what Step I proposed to take in Consequence of these Instructions? I answered none, but with his Participation and approbation. That I would be always ready to attend him, at the Hague or elsewhere, for the purpose of the most candid and confidential Consultations, &c. He Said that he thought that the Subject was very well Seen (tres bien vû) and the measure very well concerted (tres bien combiné), and that it would have a good Effect at this time, to counteract the Artifice of the British Ministry, in agreeing to the Mediation of Russia, for a Seperate Peace with this Republick.
1. The dispatches included JA’s commission and instructions of 16 Aug. authorizing him to enter into a tripartite alliance with France and the Netherlands or a quadruple alliance if Spain could be convinced to join them (vol. 11:453–456).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0051

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1781-11-24

To Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Gentlemen

I have received your favour of this days date,1 together with four thousand2 florins in cash, 175 being deducted for the 7 Coopons of Interest paid being the amount of four obligations of the United States, disposed of by you. I received at the Same time two obligations with their Coopons, and Seven Coopons for the first half years Interest paid by you. I recd yesterday, by Mr. Thaxter one hundred and forty five obligations, with the Coopons, Signed by me.3
If any opportunity should present of disposing of any more, you may find them here, at any time. I should be obliged to you Gentlemen, if you would let me have the Account of your Charges, Commissions &c, which shall be paid immediately.

[salute] I have the Honour &c

1. Not found.
2. The preceding two words are in John Thaxter’s hand.
3. On 23 Nov., JA wrote to Jean de Neufville & Fils requesting that the firm give John Thaxter any obligations signed by JA that had not yet been issued to investors (LbC, Adams Papers). JA’s request may have been prompted by his desire to obtain the money raised by the loan for distribution to escaped prisoners and other Americans seeking his aid. He probably also wanted to clean up the loose ends of the troublesome and grossly undersubscribed loan.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Date: 1781-11-25

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inclose to your Excellency, a Copy of the fresh Instructions of Congress of the Sixteenth of August last which I received by the Post the 23d instant. I have also received a further Commission, from Congress, with full Powers, to confer treat, agree and conclude with the Person or Persons vested with equal Powers, by his most Christian Majesty, and their high mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, of and concerning a Treaty of alliance, between his most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United States of america.1
This Measure was apparently concerted between the Congress and the French Minister residing near them, and Seems to be very happily adapted to the present Times, and Circumstances.2
I beg Leave to assure your Excellency, that I shall be at all times ready to attend you, at the Hague or elswhere, to confer with you in the most entire Confidence, respecting this negotiation, and Shall take no material Step in it, without your approbation and Advice.
There are three Ways of proposing this Business to their High Mightinesses. 1. Your Excellency may alone propose it, in the Name of his most Christian Majesty. 2. It may be proposed jointly by the Minister of his Majesty and the Minister of the United States, or it mya be proposed, by the Minister of the United States alone and as a Consequence of his former Proposal of a Treaty of Commerce. I beg leave to submit these three Measures to your Excellencys Consideration and shall very chearfully comply with any, which you may most approve.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with great Respect Sir, your most &c

1. In this sentence JA quotes directly from his commission of 16 Aug. (vol. 11:453).
2. See the first paragraph of JA's instructions of 16 Aug. (vol. 11:454-455).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0053

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-11-26

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I presume You have a Copy from Congress of their Instructions to me of the 16th. of August: but as it is possible it may be otherwise, I { 84 } have inclosed one. I have communicated them to the Duke de la Vauguion, who says they are très bien vues, très bien combinées. I shall do nothing in the business, without communicating it beforehand to him, with the most entire Confidence, and recieving his Approbation and Advice. He informs me, that he has not yet recieved any Instructions from his Court respecting it. These Instructions have arrived in a very proper time to counteract another insidious trick of the British Ministry, in agreing to the mediation of Russia for a seperate Peace with Holland.1
With unfeigned Joy I congratulate your Excellency on the glorious News of the surrender of Cornwallis, to the Arms of the Allies. How easy a thing would it be to bring this War to an happy Conclusion, if Spain and Holland would adopt the System of France, and cooperate in it with the same Honor and Sincerity? There is nothing wanting but a constant naval Superiority in the West Indies and on the Coast of the United States, to obtain Triumphs upon Triumphs over the English, in all quarters of the Globe. The Allies now carry on the War in America, with an infinite Advantage over the English, whose Infatuation nevertheless will continue to make them exhaust themselves there, to the neglect of all their possessions in other parts of the World.
I have the honor to inclose to your Excellency some proposals made to me by the House of Ingraham and Bromfield respecting the Continental Goods.2 These are two Merchants from Boston, who have established a House here. They are industrious Men, and I believe well capable of performing what they propose, which is submitted to your Excellency. With great Respect I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant3
[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Novr. 26. 1781.”
1. For Britain’s acceptance of Russia’s mediation, see JA’s letter of 13 Dec. to the president of Congress, calendared below.
2. Not found.
3. The closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0054

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1781-11-26

To John Jay

[salute] Sir

By the last Post, I recieved from L’Orient a sett of fresh Instructions from Congress, dated the 16th. of August, and with the more { 85 } enjoined to open a Correspondence with your Excellency, upon the subject of them.
I presume You have Copy by the same Vessel; but as it is possible it may have been omitted, I shall venture to inclose a Copy, and hope it may pass unopened. I have communicated it to the French Ambassador here, who says it is “très bien vû: très bien combiné.” I shall take no Step in it, without his Knowledge and Approbation. I shall hope for your Excellency’s Communications as soon as convenient.
The Dutch have an Inclination to ally themselves to France1 and America; but they have many whimsical Fears, and are much2 embarrassed with party quarrels. In time I hope they will agree better with one another, and see their true Interests more clearly. This Measure of Congress is very well timed.
I congratulate You on the glorious News of the surrender of Cornwallis. Some are of Opinion it will produce a Congress at Vienna; but I cannot be of that sentiment. The English must have many more humiliations, before they will agree to meet Us upon equal terms, or upon any terms, that We can approve.
What is the true principle of the Policy of Spain, in delaying so long to declare themselves explicitly?3 Her delay has a bad effect here.
Mr. Dana has been gone northward these four months; but I have no Letters from him. Whether the Post is unfaithful, or whether he chooses to be talked about as little as possible at present, which I rather suspect, I dont know.
My Respects to Mr. Carmichael, and to your Family, if You please.

[salute] With great Esteem and Respect I have the Honour to be, Sir your most obedient and most humble Servant4

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (NNC:John Jay Papers); endorsed: “John Adams 26 Novr 1781 Recd. 11 Decr 1781 ansd 15 Do.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook JA canceled “Spain.”
2. In the Letterbook JA canceled “divided.”
3. In the Letterbook JA canceled “is she afraid that America, will.”
4. The closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0055

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-26

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I am honour’d with yours of the 19th. Inst. I received a Letter from Capt. Jackson dated at Bilbao the 12th.1 in which he mentions { 86 } nothing of his departing thence for America, so that I should have continued to expect him here, if he had not written positively to you of that Intention. Mr: Barclay, the Consul, too, I thought would have been here before this time, and I know not what detains him at L’Orient; thus the Affair of the Goods still remains upon our hands. You demand of me What is to be done with them? The Owners of the Ships talk of a higher Freight, of selling the Ships, of Damages, and of detaining the Goods till the Damages are paid. If I were even informed what Freight, what Price for the Ships, and what Damages they demand, I really could give no Advice on those Points, being totally ignorant of such Business: but I am furnished with none of the Data on which to found an Opinion; and can only say with you, that I think they have no Right to Stop the Goods; and I think also that the keeping us out of Possession of 50,000£ Sterling’s Worth of Goods for securing the Payment of a petty Demand for Damages, appears to me not only ungenteel and dishonourable Treatment, but a monstrous Injustice. It seems to me that it is principally with Mr. Neufville we have to do; and tho’ I believe him to be as much a Jew as any in Jerusalem, I did not expect that with so many and such constant Professions of Friendship for the United States, with which he lards all his Letters, he would have attempted to inforce his Demands (which I doubt not will be extravagant enough) by a proceeding so abominable. As it happens, my Informations from America assure me, that our Army was tolerably well cloathed, and would in a short time be compleatly so, Advice being receiv’d of great Quantities arriv’d at several Ports; Also much of the Cargo lost in the Marquis de la Fayette has already been replaced and sent off from France, and will probably arrive, if it does arrive, before any that can now be sent from Holland; and the rest is following; so that if we could get rid of the Goods there at a moderate Loss, we might at the same time get rid of the Difficulty; our Necessity for having them speedily forwarded not being so great as Mr. Neufville imagines. However, I would propose this to him. Let the Goods first be delivered to you. Then let him make his Demand for Damages, which if you think reasonable I will pay; if not, let them be settled by Arbitration. After this you will judge what Measures may be necessary for transporting them. But I would not be compelled to pay whatever he may please to demand, because he has our Goods in Possession. We have, you observe, our Hands in the Lyon’s Mouth; But if Mr. N. is a Lyon, I am a Bear, and I think I can hug and gripe him till he lets go our Hands. He has bought Goods { 87 } for us, and till he delivers them he has no equitable right to be paid for them: Should he refuse to deliver them, tho’ I have accepted Bills in his Favour to the Value, yet if you approve it, I will not pay one of them; and let him keep his Goods and seek his Remedy where he can find it.
I sent forward last Saturday some Pacquets and Letters for you, which I hope got to hand in time. Most heartily do I congratulate you on the glorious News! The Infant Hercules in his Cradle has now strangled his second Serpent, and gives Hopes that his future History will be answerable. I inclose a Pacquet which I have just received from General Washington;2 and which I suppose contains the Articles of Capitulation. It is a rare Circumstance, and scarce to be met with in History, that in one War two Armies should be taken Prisoners compleatly, not a Man in either escaping. It is another singular Circumstance, that an Expedition so complex, form’d of Armies of different Nations and of Land and Sea-Forces, should with such perfect Concord be assembled from different Places by Land and Water, form their Junction punctually, without the least Retard by cross Accidents of Wind or Weather, or Interruption from the Enemy; and that the Army which was their Object should in the mean time have the Goodness to quit a Situation from whence it might have escaped, and place itself in another from whence an Escape was impossible.
General Green has done Wonders too in Carolina. I hear that a Reinforcement was to be sent him from the Army in Virginia, and that there are hopes of him Reducing Charlestown. You have probably in the enclosed Pacquet the Account of his last great Action. Comte de Grasse sailed the 30th. with the Fleet and a Part of the Land Forces; His Destination is not mentioned.
The Seal of your last Letter has the same Appearance as the others. It may be well to change the Mode of Conveyance, use another Seal sometimes, and direct in a different Hand Writing.
I speaking of De Neufville’s Bills and of my Refusing to pay them, I have said “if you approve it,” because you can best judge whether my taking such a Step would have any bad Effect in your political Operations. If the goods are delivered to you, and you find it necessary to sell a part of them, I wish you would make the Offer of that Part to him. He bought them, and knows what they are really worth: But I imagine you will find, that he will not take them off your hands at a Discount even of 10 per Cent. and I am curious to know what he would offer. His Proposition when I first saw him, of Terms { 88 } on which he would borrow Money for us, stampt his Character on my Mind with an Impression so deep that it is not yet effaced. If you do not know those Terms I will send you a Transcript of them.
Messrs: Fizeau & Grand have sent me the enclosed Account, and desired my Approbation of it. Methinks it should be examined by you, with whom it was transacted, and I therefore send it.3

[salute] I have the honour to be, with great Respect, Your Excellency’s Most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] B Franklin
I enclose a Letter to Messrs Neufville which I request you to deliver or suppress as you may think proper.4
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. Franklin 26th. Novr: 1781.”
1. Franklin, Papers, 36:47–48; see also Jackson’s letters to JA of 26 Oct. and 30 Nov. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:235–238, 247–248).
2. From George Washington, 22 Oct., above.
3. The account, returned with his reply of 1 Dec., below, has not been identified.
4. For this letter, dated 26 Nov., see Franklin, Papers, 36:117. See also JA’s letters of 1 and 6 Dec. to Franklin, and of 3 Dec. to Jean de Neufville & Fils, all below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0056

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-26

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Give me leave to Congratulate your Excellency on the late Glorious News received from Virginia and Carolina. It seems to be of the last Importance. The English here are Confounded by it, and I should think the Court of London will not be less so, when it receives it, altho it has had for some Time reason to expect it.1 The English Minister here sent a Messenger immediately on the receipt thereof to his Master the Consequence of which may be the delaying of the delivery of the Letters by the post until after next Wednesday. However some care has been taken to Convey the News by the way of Margate that it may come a propos on the first day of the meeting of Parliament for the amusement of the Ministers, among whom, it is said, there is a great Division and Distraction. It is said, that the Bedford Party will move for the making of Peace. There is a strong party raised against Lord G Germaine.
I take the Liberty of sending to your Excellency the Receipt of the five poor fellows in Mill prison and likewise one which Mr Sawrey omitted to send to my Correspondent before.2
I am glad to find by the American Papers that Mr. Brush is arrived at Boston.3
{ 89 }
I Hope your Excellencys Health is perfectly reestablished.

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servant

[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. For the British ministry’s reaction to the news of Yorktown, see Mackesy, War for America, p. 434–435.
2. The receipt has not been found, but see Jenings’ letter of 28 Oct., above. Miles Saurey, a linen draper in Plymouth, England, had provided assistance to American prisoners since early 1778 (Laurens, Papers, 15:469).
3. Eliphalet Brush arrived at Newburyport on 27 Sept. (Boston Independent Chronicle, 27 Sept.). Brush, a New York merchant, carried JA’s dispatches for Congress and informed AA that CA had sailed for America on board the South Carolina (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:217–219).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0057

Author: Van der Kemp, François Adriaan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-26

From François Adriaan Van der Kemp

[salute] Sir

If anÿ man rejoice in the prosperity of the united States i wil hope that me shal not be denied a place amongst them, and I think it mÿ dutÿ to congratulate your Excellencÿ with the complete victorÿ of your arms in the chesapeak-baÿ and the Burgoynishing of that mighty Lord with his many thousand Slaves. Now wil the proud of the British nation be humiliated—now shal a venal and corrupt menisters learn—that the Servants of despotism must be vanquisheid by the Soldiers of libertÿ. I had Sent my warm thanks to the almighty being for this happÿ event—and praÿ him—that he wil defend and protect your Excellencies health and the cause of your countrÿ—as the cause of virtue and humanity—than will the posterity bless with me the glorious names of those heroës who delivered their countrymen from the arbitrarÿ power of Tyoan.
I wish Sincerily that my countrÿmen wil awake at last out of their lethargÿ, oppose the measures of a profligate court with vigour, and rather die gallantlÿ in the battle, than to bow their knee for a man. I fear that the Baron van der Capellen, de Marsch Shal be made the victim of his glorious opposition, as wel as his relation the Baron vd capellen, de Pol and perhaps Shal the publication of the collection of American Papers, with a preface, containing a Paralel between America and the united Provinces, with Several Strictures, in favour of the first, against the last, render mÿ ennemies an occasion to prosecute me at new.1 But America wil be my asylum If ÿ am contraint to go out a countrÿ, with wil be abandoned at length of time bÿ Liberty self, if the United States wil receive in their bosom—amongst their citisens, one of the Netherlands one, who is born— { 90 } but not educated, who lived, although he detested it, amongst the admires of an Despotic aristocraty. Perhaps wil Mr. Cerisier translate mÿ preface in French—and than shal I have Satisfaction enough—if it maÿ be favoured with your Excellencÿ’s adprobation. Was I able to Expres me more distinctly in the French language than in the English, I should chuse to translate itself—but I know, it was above my forces. I hope your Excellency wil transmit one copy to Dr. Cooper.2
One of my Friends in England writ me the following lines. I very much wish to See in French your comparative view of the States of North-America and the United Provinces—and that you maÿ have done me the Singular honour of putting in to the hands of his Excellencÿ John Adams mÿ american Sermon. (It was the Same what I had traduced in dutch—the american war lamented.)3
I know the country (he pursues) where the people Seems insensible to what-ever ought to affect and alarm them—dead for their former feelings and jealousÿ—the dupes of influence, luxurÿ and dissipation—though now in a perilous and distressed Situation. In more distant regions, I hope with you, Zealous advocates for truth and Libertÿ wil increase—and their exertions be animated by Success.
Should there be occasion, in case of necessity, to obtain the freedom of the citisens of Boston—of the protection of america in the one of other manner? In this of the other month I flatter mÿ self, that I shal have the honour to make my complement to your Excellencÿ at Amsterdam—and than shal I receive no greater Satisfaction as to persuade you that I am your Excellency’s most obedient Servant
[signed] Fr. Ad. v. d. Kemp
1. For Van der Kemp’s collection of tracts relating to the United States, Verzameling van stukken tot de dertien Vereenigde Staeten van Noord-Amerika betrekkelijk, Leyden, 1781, see vol. 11:356–358.
2. There is no indication that Antoine Marie Cerisier undertook a translation of the preface or that JA sent Samuel Cooper a copy.
3. Van der Kemp’s correspondent was Dr. Joshua Toulmin, a dissenting minister, prolific writer on religion and history, and recipient of an honorary degree from Harvard in 1794 (DNB; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 15:117–118). On learning of Toulmin’s death, Van der Kemp wrote to JA on 9 Jan. 1816 and lamented the passing of his “oldest friend” and “a guide of mÿ youth” (Adams Papers). Toulmin’s sermon, The American War Lamented: A Sermon Preached at Taunton, February the 18th and 25th 1776, London, 1776, was translated into Dutch as De Americaensche Oorlog Beweend, Amsterdam, [1776?].

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0058

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Van der Kemp, François Adriaan
Date: 1781-11-27

To François Adriaan Van der Kemp

[salute] Sir

I am this moment honoured with your Letter of Yesterdays date and I thank you for your kind Congratulations, on the News from America. May Great Britain ever Send to America, while she continues to send any, only such brave, able, active and enterprizing Generals as Cornwallis and Burgoine. Every Such General will consume them an Army of Ten or Fifteen Thousand Men, every Campain, without destroying one half the Number of Americans, which is annually wasted by Camp Distempers, when they lie in idle Quarters, watching the Motions of an Howe, shut up in Boston, New York or Philadelphia. I consider, the late defence of Fort Griswald in New London, by an handfull of Militia, as a more determined Proof of the Spirit of Freemen, than even the Surrender of Burgoine or Cornwallis. It Shews, the Temper of Resistance, which the English have to encounter, among the Inhabitants at large of those Parts of the Continent from whence they have been long Since disgracefully driven.1
I thank you Sir for your kind Prayers for my Health, which is not yet perfectly re-established, but is on the mending hand.
I Should be extreamly Sorry if the Baron Van der Capellen de Marsch Should be exposed to any Inconvenience in consequence of his patriotick Sentiments expressed with so much manly firmness, and perswasive Eloquence. Perhaps his System as well as that of his Relation the Baron Van der Capellen de Poll, may come more into Fashion in the Course of a little time. But it is necessary for Some Individual in critical Seasons, to run great Risques Submit to great Sacrifice[s] and endure Severe Sufferings. National Characters are not formed nor great publick Blessings, especially that greatest of all, Liberty but by the Patience and Steadiness of Individuals. A Man must be possessed of Benevolence to his fellow Men, Stronger than any of his Passions, Stronger than death, before he is qualified to stem the Torrent of Venality, and Servility, which opposes the Introduction of Liberty in Some Countries, and which tends to expell it from others.
I Shall be very happy to see the Publication you propose, as well as the American War lamented.
I Shall be very happy to see you at Amsterdam, and the Sooner the better, that I may have an opportunity, to express in Person the { 92 } high Esteem and Respect for so able and intrepid an Advocate for Liberty, which is entertained, by your most obedient servant
[signed] J. Adams
RC (PHi:John Adams Letters).
1. On 6 Sept. a force of 1,700 men under Gen. Benedict Arnold landed at New London, Conn., with the intention of seizing military supplies and destroying the towns of New London and Groton. The troops formed into three units. The first advanced against Fort Trumbull, the weaker of the two forts guarding the town, and achieved its objective against little resistance. The second, under Arnold, proceeded into New London. The third, commanded by Lt. Col. Eyre, attacked Fort Griswold. The fort’s garrison of 165 state troops and militia fought off two attacks, but, unable to withstand a third, was forced to surrender. The Loyalists and Hessians that made up the assault force then retaliated for their own casualties by killing a significant portion of the surviving garrison (Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, ed. John Richard Alden, 2 vols., N.Y., 1952, 2:626–628). Accounts of the defense of Fort Griswold appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 16 Nov.; see also Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 13 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:211–212).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jay, John
Date: 1781-11-28

To John Jay

[salute] Sir

I had the Honour to write you, on the 26 instant by the Post, a Conveyance which I am determined to try, untill I am certainly informed of its Infidelity, in which Case, I will ask the favour of the French or Spanish Ambassador, to inclose my dispatches.
I received by the last Post, a Duplicate of Dispatches from Congress the originals of which I received Sometime ago. I presume you have recd the Same from Congress, or from Passy, but, if otherwise, I will inclose in a future Letter, a Commission and Instructions, for assisting at the Conferences for Peace, at Vienna or else where, whenever they may take Place.1 In this Commission, Congress have added, Mr Franklin, Mr Laurens, your Excellency and Mr Jefferson, a measure which has taken off, my mind a Load, which if I had ever at anytime expected I should be called to sustain alone, would have been too heavy for my forces.
The Captivity of Cornwallis and his army, is the most masterly Measure, both in the Conception and the Execution of it, which has been taken this War. When France and Spain shall consider, the certain success, which will ever, attend them, while they maintain a naval Superiority in the West Indies and on the Coast of North America, it is to be hoped, they will never depart from that Policy. Many here, are of opinion, that this Event will bring Peace, but I am not of that Mind, although it is very true there are distractions in { 93 } the British Cabinet, a formidable Faction against Ld. G. Germaine and it is said the Bedford Party are determined to move for Peace.
The Rage of the Nation is still too violent. I hope, however, that Minorca and Gibraltar, will not be long after York and Gloucester, in their surrender, and then perhaps, when the English shall see, that all the forces of France and Spain are at Liberty to act against their Possessions in the East and West Indies they may begin to confess they have gone too far. There is great Reason to fear, that their sulky obstinacy, will hold out, untill all their dominions beyond Seas are gone. I know not whether We need regret even such an Event.
It is entertaining to see the Arts with which they amuse the Credulity of the Nation where I am. The Word Peace is the Charm, that dissolves all their Resentment and Resolution, and there is no Tale, too absurd, or too gross to obtain immediate Relief, if it tends to that End. Our late Tryumphs, nevertheless have had an Effect here. I have recd several Visits of Congratulation, in Consequence of them, from Persons of Consequence from whom I did not expect them. But there are invisible Fairies, who disconcert in the Night, all the operations of the Patriot in the Day.
There will probably be a Proposal of a tripple Alliance, between France Holland and America. If Spain would join and make it quadruple it would be so much the better.
General Greens last Action in south Carolina, in Consequence of which that state and Georgia, have both reestablished their Governments, is quite as glorious for the American Arms as the Capture of Cornwallis. The Action was sustained, even by the Militia with a noble Constancy. The Victory was compleat, and the English lost 1200 Men.

[salute] With the great Esteem and Respect, I have the Honour to be, sir your most obedient and humble servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC (NNC:John Jay Papers); endorsed: “John Adams 28 Nov 1781 Rcd 14 Decr 1781 and 15 Do.”
1. These were the joint commissions to accept the Austro-Russian mediation and to negotiate an Anglo-American peace and the instructions for the peace negotiations, all dated 15 June (vol. 11:368–377).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0060-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-28

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Depuis Samedi des affaires domestiques, et aussi quelques-unes des publiques, m’ont obligé à une course, qui m’a empêché de vous { 94 } féliciter, plutôt de la Burgoyna de 2de., qui vient d’avoir lieu en Amérique. Je le fais aujourd’hui de tout mon coeur. Je jouis à la fois de ma joie, de celle des Etats-Unis, du Roi de France, de la vôtre de celle de tous les amis et gens de bien, à l’occasion de ce glorieux évenement; et aussi du désespoir qu’il cause aux ennemis. Je pars dans une heure d’ici pour La Haie, où les Etats d’Hollde. Se sont rassemblés aujourd’hui, et j’y resterai tant qu’ils y resteront, parce qu’ils y traiteront l’affaire interessante de la démarche d’Amsterdam contre le Duc, qui une fois décidée, applanira le chemin à d’autres plus graves et plus générales. Je compte d’apprendre en arrivant le consentement de la Zélande à l’emprunt des 5 millions.1
Quand l’Assemblée se séparera, alors je profiterai de votre obligeante invitation, Monsieur; et nous causerons ensemble auprès de votre feu, de bien des choses qui vous plairont. En attendant, je vous souhaite continuation de bonne santé, et suis avec le plus sincere respect, Monsieur Votre très humble & très obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0060-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-28

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Since Saturday, my domestic affairs, as well as some of my public ones, have prevented me from congratulating you on the second Burgoynization in America. Today I do it with all my heart. I rejoice at once in this glorious event for myself, for the United States, for the king of France, for you, and for all friends and good people. Also I rejoice in the despair it will bring our enemies. I am leaving for the Hague in an hour, where the States of Holland are reconvening today. I will stay there as long as they are in session because they are discussing the interesting matter of Amsterdam’s demarche against the duke, which, once decided, will clear the way for more serious and general topics. When I arrive, I hope to learn of Zeeland’s approval of the loan for 5 million.1
When the assembly adjourns, I will take advantage of your kind invitation, sir, and we will chat by the fire about anything you choose. Meantime, I wish you continued good health, and I remain with the most sincere respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. John Laurens negotiated a ten million livre (five million florin) loan for the United States that was to be guaranteed by France and raised in the Netherlands. See Laurens’ letter of 28 April, note 3 (vol. 11:295–296).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0061

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11-28

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Altho I am fearful, that my Correspondance has lately been Troublesome to your Excellency, yet I cannot help sending the inclosed Letter from a Friend, whose Heart is sensible to every Impression of public and private Virtue.
He has been a long Time acquainted with his Excellency Mr Lawrens, and therefore esteems Him. He is touched, your Excellency will see at his present Situation, I must Confess I am so too, and therefore shall desire my Friend to Convey to Him, if Necessary, £100 to Assist him Somewhat until means are found out to render his Life tolerable. I Hope I shall not appear busy and presumptuous in this Action, which I assure your Excellency is dictated by feelings for the Public and the Suffering Individual.
The Paper, of which I send your Excellency a Copy, seems to have been written immediately after my Friends Visit in the Tower.1
I need not say any thing of the inclosed printed Paper. Your Excellency sees that it is desir’d to be conveyed to Mynheer Van Berkel by Messrs De Neufville.2

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedient & Humble Servant

[signed] Edm: Jenings
RCand enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. The enclosed letter, signed “GJ,” is in Edward Bridgen’s hand and was probably written on 23 Nov., the day on which Bridgen visited Henry Laurens in the Tower of London (Laurens, Papers, 15:384, 621). Bridgen wrote that Laurens had directed him to inform JA (referred to as AA and Mr. A in the letter) that his situation was “truly deplorable” and that a fund for his use needed to be established in London. Laurens also asked whether any thing had been done, either in England or America, to obtain his release or to insure more humane treatment for him. Bridgen ended by imploring Jenings and, by inference, JA to do everything in their power to relieve the sufferings of their friend. The only positive notes in the letter were that Laurens’ health had improved and that the “Duke of R.,” presumably the Duke of Richmond, had written to Lord Sandwich regarding Laurens’ treatment. See also Martha Laurens’ letter of 14 Nov., above.
2. Bridgen stated that the paper should be sent to Engelbert François van Berckel, “somebody here having been so kind as to make a Speech for that Gentleman, whom it is proper should be acquainted with it after he has not spoken it.” The piece has not been further identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0062

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-11-29

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have recd your favours of the 14 and of the 26.
I thank you for the Extract, and hope you will discover by whom and to whom it was written.2
That they do not give to me, a very blind Confidence is true. That they have given orders to some Persons to Spy me, may be true. That they know me to be an honest Man, and inflexible in the cause, and perhaps some times too ardent, I am certain. That I abo[u]nd too much in my own Conceit is alass I fear much too true, that I dont know how to accommodate myself aux convenances is false, that I will not accommodate myself to any thing mean that I will not be the Tool of Mistresses,3 Cornis [Cronies], and the Understrappers of Mistresses and C[r]onies is determined as the Destinies. That they place confidence in Monsr Fra. is not true. It is Mr Chaumont they confide in.4
As to their Spies, if they observe accurately like astronomers and record faithfully, they will destribe a Portrait of a Life and Conversation that deserves the Imitation of their Masters.
But my Friend, to lay aside all these minute observations, have I not Reason to abound in my own sense? When I reflect, that these their Little Miffs, are occasioned wholly, by my pointing out to them and earnestly soliciting for three Years together, a System of Policy and military operations, which they are this moment carrying into Execution with tryumphant Success. A System which if they had adopted three years ago, when I pointed it out to them in Writings which will remain and Speak for themselves and in Conversations which will not be forgotten, Charlestown had been saved, Virginia had been Saved as well as the Carolinas from all the Ravages, and the Allies would have been two years ago in as good a situation as they are now. I wish you had seen the whole Chain of a Correspondence of which you have seen some Links. You have seen enough however, to be Sensible that they are piqued at their own Impolicy in neglecting so long a Plan they have been obliged to adopt at last, and that my Letters have reduced to Writing, and to Documents of History their Impolicy for a long time and their Wisdom at last.
It is very true that Seeing as I did, the best Plans neglected for year after year Plans which had been laid before them, and Supported with irresistable Demonstrations. Plans which were not only { 97 } presented to them in Writing by me, and my Colleagues5 but urged upon them at my desire by Numbers of their own Courtiers, Seeing at the same time Charleston lost, the two Carolinas and Virginia likely to be ravaged and the blood of my Countrymen flowing like Water, merely because they would not hearken to reason,—after this I confess I felt little personal Concern about preserving their good Humour, and being ill treated in a Letter by a Minister umbone repellebatur umbo.6
This Minister is the only one, between whom and me, there every passed a severe Word in Conversation or in Writing—nor had I ever an unkind word that I remember from any body else in France. It is this Minister alone and his Confidents that I mean in this Letter.7
However all this is blown over, and let it be forgotten. I am now in high Confidence, with this Minister and, with the french Minister here.8 Let therefore all be forgotten. Your own Prudence will dictate, the necessary cautions about this Letter.
I thank you for your Care in sending me Receipts from the Prisoners. The next time I send a Bill it shall not have Upon it the Name, which gives so much offence to Friends, Foes, Allies Ennemies and all. But it will outlive all these little offences.
Pray put me into a Safe Way of Writing to your Friends at Madrid. I am determined to find a Secret and Safe Way if possible.
I wish the French Court would, adopt the Resolution to send all the supplies of Cloathing Arms &c themselves, or grant Money, for Congress to draw Bills for only. As long as American Ministers, Consuls, or Agents have Money to lay out in France, there will always be, Jealousies Envys and Questions about Confidence, that have no Relation to Merit.
Dft (Adams Papers;) notation: “not to be sent.”
1. Compare this letter with JA’s second and more circumspect letter to Jenings of this date, which he did send, below.
2. See Jenings’ letter of 14 Nov., above.
3. JA interlined the previous eight words.
4. JA interlined this sentence.
5. JA interlined the previous three words.
6. To be repelled by the boss of a shield. JA presumably means that he was well armored against any criticism Vergennes leveled against him.
7. In this and the preceding two paragraphs, JA refers to his belief that France had centered its war effort for too long on operations in European waters and the West Indies rather than on the North American coast. As a result, French aid to the United States, both naval and military, had been insufficient to achieve a decisive victory. He had expressed these views in the American Commissioners’ memorial to the Comte de Vergennes of [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (vol. 7:292–311), of which he was the principal author; and more recently in his letter of 13 July 1780 to Vergennes (vol. 9:520–529). JA’s position on French aid, together with his efforts to execute his original mission to negotiate Anglo-American peace and commercial treaties, brought him into sharp conflict with Vergennes in 1780, for { 98 } which see The Dispute with the Comte de Vergennes, 13–29 July 1780, and references there (same, p. 516–520).
8. Presumably, JA believed that his meetings with Vergennes in July and his efforts in the Netherlands, which had not been directly opposed by the French government, had improved his standing with the foreign minister. See La Vauguyon’s letter of 17 April, note 1 (vol. 11:263–265) for JA’s view of his relations with Vergennes and the French ambassador.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0063

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-11-29

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have recd your favours of 14 and 26. I thank you for the Extract, and hope you will discover by whom and to whom it was written. I dont See the Virtue nor the Wisdom, nor the Honour of writing Such Things to the English. It would be Sufficient, one should think to write them to America. However, just as they please. As long as they pursue with tryumphant success, the System, which was urged with so much Ardour as to give offence, I am very easy.
I thank you sir for your Care in sending me Receipts from the Prisoners Manley, Talbot, Field, Curtis, Bass, Savil, and Newcomb. The next time I send a Bill it shall not have my name upon it, which was unnecessarily done in this Case and against my Intention.
Pray put me into a safe Way of Writing to our Friends at Madrid.
I have, caused to be neatly bound, the first Volume of the Politique Hollandais, but have not yet found a Conveyance for it to you. The first that presents I will embrace.
We have no Mail from London, for a long time. I presume they will be kept back.
There will be much Noise in Parliament, but the Madmen will pursue their Course. Their Ennemies must have more Tryumphs yet, and themselves more Humiliations. We have yet more interesting News to hear before the Close of the Campain. The fate of Clinton and Graves, is not less problematical at present than that of Cornwallis was Six Weeks ago.
Civil Government is again established in Georgia and South Carolina, and I fancy all the southern states will have a quiet and a joyfull Winter.
Cornwallis has fared worse than Burgoine. What an Army has he sacrificed? Not less, I believe than, fifteen thousand Men. He comes I hope to take his Place among the Lords—it is very proper that America should have at least one Prisoner of War in each house of Parliament, while the English have one american a Prisoner of state in the Tower. When will the Folly and Absurdity of this nation have an End?
{ 99 }
General Greens Victory, near Charlestown, is very nearly as important in the Sum of Things, as the Capture of Cornwallis. The Cash which Cornwallis’s Army, will Spend in the Back Parts of Virginia, Maryland and Pensilvania, will be great Resource to the People. And all the Soldiers of that army who can work upon Farms or at any Kind of Trade, will be usefully employed for the united states and profitably for themselves.
Fine Crops in America and Paper Money abolished.1 Cash not scarce.

[salute] J.A.

1. JA paraphrases Cotton Tufts’ letter of 29 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:239).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0064

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Searle, James
Date: 1781-11-29

To James Searle

[salute] Dr sir

While you were at Sea I recd the inclosed dispatches with a desire to open them if you were absent, which I did, and read them with very great Pleasure.1 Mrs searle’s Letter I did not open you will receive it as I did.
I have received your kind Letter from L’orient.2 The dispatches for Congress are not now of Consequence, as Duplicates and Triplicates of them have arrived by Newman and Brown.3 You may burn them if you please, or let them lay in your Chest untill you return, but I beg you would observe a total silence about them.
I congratulate you, with great Joy on the surrender of York and Gloucester, Ld Cornwallis and his army. After this I think, We have nothing to fear.
If their H. M. would embrace this critical Moment to propose an Alliance with France and America, it would be the greatest Stroke of Policy, which they have struck this Century. But they are not to be depended on.
I have received Some very agreable dispatches from Congress of which you may hear in due time.4 They could not be better timed.

[salute] With much Esteem and respect, sir your most obedient & humb sert

[signed] J.A.
RC (PHi:Connarroe Papers); endorsed: “From Mr. Adams 19 Novr. 1781.”
1. For the enclosures, see JA to Searle, 20 Oct., and note 2, above.
2. Not found.
3. Capt. Joseph Newman of the Massachusetts privateer Gates carried JA’s letters to Congress dated 16 May (2d letter); 11, 14, 15 July; and 3 August. He reached Newburyport on 21 September. Capt. Moses Brown of the { 100 } Massachusetts privateer Minerva arrived at Cape Ann on or about 20 Oct. (vol. 11:317–319, 410–412, 418, 419–420, 436–438; Adams Family Correspondence, 4:216, 226, 239).
4. See JA to the Duc de La Vauguyon, 24 Nov., note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0065

Author: Nazro, Nathaniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-11

From Nathaniel Nazro

[salute] Sir

As a Citizen, of the Commonwealth, of Massachusetts Bay, and an individual, of the United States of America (in Captivity) I beg leave to address your Excellency being flatterd, with a hope, of meeting, your countenance and favour, in consequence of your Known goodness towards the distressd of mankind in General, Particularly those whose merit, and distinguish’d Services in the Cause of our Country, (more or less) intitle them to Excellencies Care and Protiction, it would be highly Unbecoming in me to relate anything in Praize or Commendation of myself, nor would it redound to my Honor, in least, from my own bare asertion You will Howe’re permit me, to inform Your Excellency that Having been Educated, to the Mercantile Bussiness, which I follow’d in Company, with my Bro, Jno Nazro in Boston, and at the Commencement of the Present Warr, I took an Active Part and was Honord with a Commission, and a Co. which Commission I at Present bear, but in Process of time several Regts. falling short of the Complement of Men, and drafts having taken Place, from Several of the Junior officers to make up the compt. of the Senior I was in Consequence hereof left with a Command. I[n] this Scituation, I made application, for leave to go to Sea, (which being granted for a Particular time,) I engaged, and was in the Capacity of a Capt. of marines, in a Privateer Ship fitted out of Boston mounting 26. Guns Commd: by Jer’e OBrien Esqe. when I had the misfortune to be Captur’d, in Octo. 1780. to which I owe all my Present Woes, having Suffer’d much, during a long and tedious Transportation, from N York to this place, on which Passage many of my fellow Sufferers, (thro’ Cruel Treatment) lost their lives, who were brave men and had Signaliz’d themselves in our Countrys Service. I need not relate to your Excellency the uncommon distress that is experienced, by Prisoners, (Particularly, in England) not only in want of Food, but in a long tedious and Painfull imprisonment, and you will naturally conclude, it must be much more grating to Such as have ever lived in Plenty, affluence, and a Genteel life, than [to] those who have been accustom’d, to the Hardships of Seafaring Bussiness, and as the Government of Brit• { 101 } tain has Shewn manifest, dispositions of Exchanging us, for what She terms her Royal, Subjects Captur’d under the American, Flagg. The Gent. who bears your Excellency this being Exchangd in this manner, together with many others, Some, for and against, Persons detain’d for them, in France and america. The Purport of this address is Therefore that in your Excellency’s ever wanted goodness, you would be pleas’d to have, confin’d, for my immediate redemption, the first Brittish Officer, that Shall Happen, to be brought within the dominions, of that Court at which you reside, who may be of Rank, equal, or in any respect upon an Equality, Particularly if taken under the american Flagg, As the Independence of America, has already gain’d so much ground, in Brittain, as to hold rank of Prisoners, in the fullest estimation, (Capt. Jno.1 Manley2 being Exchang’d against an English Major) and I flatter myself, Opportunities of this kind will frequently offer from the several american Privateers, that are at This time Cruising in the European Sea’s, together with the many Letters of Marque, Vessell’s belonging to America, that continually trade, to several Ports of the Different Courts of Europe, and in an Instance of this Kind, I can with confidence assure your Excellency there will be no Injustice, done to any of my fellow Prisoners here, there being none, in Senority, to me of The like Rank, or held in the Same Estimation; and Permit me to add, that if I Should be So Happy as [to] meet your favour in this respect, I could wish you as Speedy as Possible communicate it to Mr. Wm. Hodgson & Co Merchts. No. 17 Coleman street London Who acts as agent on the Part and in behalf of america.3 The obligation of gratitude, which an Instance of this Kind will lay me under, will be equal to the respect I bear your Excellency, on account of the great Abilities and unquestion’d, Integrity in those High Employmen[ts] In which you have not only, Honor’d your Country [but] have Likewise, renderd her the most Esential Service.

[salute] I have the Honor, to be with the greatest Regard Your Excellency’s most Devoted, much Obliged Humble & obt. Servant

[signed] Nathl. Nazro4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency Jno. Adams, Plenopotentiary For, the United States of America, at Present at the Court of Holland,”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Nat. Nazro Novr. 1781.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of three words and part of another.
1. Open parentheses before “Jno.” in MS.
2. John Manley was pardoned for exchange on 16 Oct. (Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 127).
3. For William Hodgson, one of Benjamin { 102 } Franklin’s agents for American prisoners, see Franklin, Papers, 31:142.
4. From Aug. 1775 until his resignation in Nov. 1778, Nathaniel Nazro served in three Massachusetts regiments (Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, 17 vols., Boston, 1896–1908, 11:298). He was captured on the ship Hannibal of Newburyport, Mass., and committed to Mill Prison in Jan. 1781. In November, Nazro was in the black hole on the 9th, tried to escape on the 16th, and was released from the black hole on the 19th (Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, p. 139, 226; Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 164). In June 1782 he signed a petition to Congress from prisoners at Mill Prison (PCC, No. 43, f. 267–270). There is no indication that he was ever exchanged or that JA took any action in response to his plea. This letter, as well as a similar one of the same date to Benjamin Franklin, may have been carried to France by John Foster Williams (Williams to JA, 15 Feb. 1782, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-12-01

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Last night I had the honor of yours of the 23d. and 26th. Ulto. If it should be convenient for Mr. Barclay to come here and take the Care of the Goods, it would be happy for me. I am also very happy to learn from your Excellency, that our Troops are tolerably well cloathed, and will be in a short time completely so. This Information will make me less anxious about a little unavoidable delay, in the Conveyance of the Goods that are here.
Your proposals to Mr. De Neufville and Son, which I have communicated to day to the Son, appear to me very reasonable: viz, to deliver the Goods to me, and then make his demand for Damages, which if thought reasonable You will pay; if not let them be settled by Arbitration.
I have not delivered your Letter to him,1 nor given him any hint of its Contents. I thought it safest to reflect upon it a little: but I believe I shall deliver it. I am under no fear of its hurting our political Negotiations here. It is not in his Power to do Us good or harm in that way. I am of your opinion that Mr. De Neufville would not take the Goods off our hands at a discount of ten per Cent, nor double that Sum. I believe he would be puzzeled in his Affairs by the Attempt to take them, but wish I may be mistaken. I should be obliged to You for a Copy of the Terms on which he offered You to borrow Money for Us. I will examine Messrs. Fizeaux Account as soon as I can: but I believe it is right.
I am much pleased with your Reflections on the glorious News. Few military plans were ever better laid or executed. It gives the English an appearance of littleness, while the Allies appear great indeed. It is a demonstration to every thinking Mind, that the pursuits of Britain are chimerical: but the affair of Trenton, of Saratoga and { 103 } a thousand others might have taught this Lesson long ago, that in a Land War America could defend herself against all the World. A very sensible Officer in the British Artillery, tho’ a violent Tory, acknowledged this to me often in Conversation nine Years ago: yet this Opinion of his has not hindered him from serving against Us all the War.
Is the Comte de Grasse gone to Newfoundland, Hallifax, New York, Charlestown or the Islands? Or is it not permitted to guess? He has behaved so well however, that I am not afraid to trust him, let him be gone where he will.
I have recieved Letters from London, most earnestly importuning that a fund may be established in London for Mr. Laurens, who is represented as suffering for want of Necessaries. I have ventured to promise an 100 £ for him out of the few Guilders that Mr. de Neufville has obtained on the Loan: but I have referred to your Excellency, who can do better for him than I. I have recieved a pathetic Letter from his Daughter too, who has been advised from London to write to your Excellency and me. I have informed her all I knew of the Measures for his Exchange, and have referred her to your Excellency.

[salute] I have the honor to be, most respectfully Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] J. Adams
Since writing the above, the Account of Messieurs Fizeaux & Grand has been examined and found right supposing the Exchange to be right: so that I have returned it inclosed.
[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Dec. 1st. 1781.”
1. JA’s terms were the same as Franklin’s in his letter of 26 Nov. to Jean de Neufville & Fils (Franklin, Papers, 36:117). The letter’s tone—Franklin called the firm’s position regarding the goods left by Alexander Gillon “most ungenteel and unjust”—likely explains JA’s hesitancy to deliver it.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0067

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Grand, Henry
Date: 1781-12-01

To Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

You cannot imagine how much I am obliged to you for your early Information of the glorious News. I have Since received ample details of it from America, but your Letter reached me several days Sooner.1
I last night recd yours of 23 Novr—and will write you more fully upon it soon. We shall agree in every Thing I believe but the Article { 104 } of L 6857: 3s, which you charge me for 29 Feb. 1780, as an order to give Mr Dana Credit for this Sum. This should be charged to Mr Dana, as I Shall easily convince you, as part of his Salary.

[salute] My best Respects to the family and believe me yours

1. From Henry Grand, 21 Nov., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0068

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-12-01

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dr sir

Last night I received your favour of 28 Novr.—and shall take the proper Care of the Papers enclosed. I must beg your Pardon for not having regularly answered your Correspondence, lately as I ought, but I have had too little Health, and too many other affaires, to be punctual to pay my debts to my friends.
I thank you, Sir, for your Humanity, Patriotism and Friendship in advancing 100£ for the Use of Mr Laurens. I will repay you in behalf of Congress this hundred Pound in any Way, and at any time you point out, and Shall be obliged to you to assure the illustrious sufferer by means of your Friend, that as long as I have any thing to depend on for myself, he may depend on the Same.
Yet to tell you a Secret, I have not public Money at my disposal, Sufficient to answer the demands upon me, and it would be better for Mr L.s friends to write to Dr Franklin who is able and, willing to supply Mr Laurens, on account of Congress with what he may Want. I will write to the Dr Myself, but they had better write too.
You may assure the sufferer, that Congress have resolved to offer General Burgoine in Exchange for him, that Dr Franklin has received the Resolution and written to England about it. This I have from the Dr in a Letter within a few days past.
I fancy Mr L. will be treated better, now. If Burgoine should be refused, perhaps Congress will make other offers but this will take time.

[salute] With Esteem and affection yours

[signed] J.Adams

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0069

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Martha
Date: 1781-12-01

To Martha Laurens

[salute] My dear Miss Laurens

I was last Evening, favoured with your Letter from Vigan of the fourteenth of November, and am very much obliged to you, for writing to me, upon this occasion, a Letter, which notwithstanding your modest and amiable Apologies does the highest Honour, to the Taste and mental Accomplishments of the Writer, and to the Virtues of a Daughter worthy of my excellent friend President Laurens.
Believe me, Miss Laurens, I never had the last Intimation or Suspicion, that your Father, was in Want of Money untill, I Saw, within a few days, some Paragraphs to that Purpose in a London Paper.1
A worthy friend of mine, Mr Edmund Jennings of Bruxelles has given orders, to supply your Father with 100 £ for his present Necessities, and I have written, assurances that as long as I shall have any Resource for my own subsistance, Mr Laurens, shall have a share of it if necessary, and I have agreed to pay Mr Jennings his 100 on Account of the United states.
Notwithstanding this, I apprehend you have written to his Excellency Mr Franklin at Passy upon the Subject.2 If you have not I should Advise you to do it immediately. America has found it difficult to establish in Europe, Funds Sufficient for her necessary Services, and has not been able to afford all the Relief, she desired to her sufferings Sons and servants. She is not however so poor I flatter myself as to be unable to furnish, to so distinguished and so excellent a Citizen the Sums that he may have occasion for. Mr Franklin I am persuaded, has it in his Power and not less in his Inclination, to establish a Fund in London, equall to all the Wants of Mr Laurens. It is but a very Trifle of Money that I have at my disposal. Yet this shall be at his disposal as long as it lasts. I have advised you to write to Mr Franklin: I will do the same. And I doubt not, but you may rest assured that nothing will be omitted for your fathers Relief.
I had the Honour to serve in Congress, with your Father and for his Abilities his attachment to his Country, and his inviolable Integrity, and numerous other Virtues I conceived an Esteem for him which will never be obliterated, but I did not know untill I received your Letter that my friend had a Daughter in France.
Give me Leave to congratulate you on the glorious News from america, and in the distinguished Share, of your worthy Brother in { 106 } accomplishing that great Event. After a very honourable and a very successfull Voyage to Europe, he had the peculiar good fortune to be present and to draw up the Capitulation. Very few American young Ladies, have your Happiness Miss Laurens to have a father and a Brother at the sametime among the most meritorious servants and brightest ornaments of their Country.
Congress have resolved to exchange General Burgoine for your father, and Mr Franklin who has received the Resolution, has written to England about it. I hope it may Succeed, especially as Another army has now followed the Example of Burgoines. Indeed I Sincerely wish that the English nation would permit Mankind to retain some Part of the opinion, that was once entertained of their Generosity. But they seem determined to put it out of all dispute, that they are not the same nation.

[salute] With every sentiment of Esteem and I respect, I have the Honour to be, your most obedient &c

1. The London Courant of 20 Oct. and 1 and 9 Nov. criticized the ministry for its treatment of Henry Laurens. Then, on 21 Nov., the editor announced a new exposé, declaring that on the 22d an account of Laurens’ imprisonment in the Tower of London would appear and exhibit to all “thewanton crueltywith which it abounds, and the eternal disgraceit reflects on those MONSTERS, who in theshapeof Ministers, havedaredto inflict it upon theunfortunate victimoftheirvengeance.” The piece, entitled “MINISTERIAL VENGEANCE Displayed, appeared in the issues of 22 and 24 Nov. and stated that for his entire captivity Laurens had borne the full cost of his subsistence, but that now, owing to the Ministry’s refusal to allow him the means to draw on those who owed him money, he was destitute. On 23 Nov. the Courant published a letter signed "ONE." The author declared himself a friend of Laurens who had been denied permission to visit him in the Tower. He confirmed the Courant's account of Laurens captivity and impoverishment and warned that Congress might retaliate against British prisoners if Laurens’ treatment did not improve. Additional commentary on Laurens' condition and the injustice attending his imprisonment appeared in the Courant on 26 and 27 November.
2. For Martha Laurens' letter to Franklin of 14 Nov., and Franklin’s reply, see Franklin, Papers, 36:52–55, 326–328.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0070

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1781-12-03

To Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Gentlemen

I have no authority to interfere, in the Direction of the Continental Goods, which Mr Gillon contracted to convey to America, but Such as is derived from the Desire of Dr Franklin, to take the best care of them in my Power. I therefore hold myself obliged to observe his Excellencys advice in this Business.
In a Letter from his Excellency of the 26 Novr, he observes “The owners of the Ships talk of a higher Freight, of Selling the ships, of { 107 } Damages and of detaining the Goods till the Damages are paid. If I were informed what Freight what Price for the Ships, and what Damages they demand, I really could give no Advice in those Points, being totally ignorant of Such Business: but I am furnished with none of the Data on which to found an opinion; and can only Say with you that I think they have no right to stop the Goods; and I think also that the Keeping us out of Possession of 50,000 £ Sterlings worth of Goods for securing the Payment of a petty Demand for Damages, appears to me, not only ungeenteel and dishonourable Treatment, but a monstrous Injustice.” “If We could get rid of the Goods at a moderate Loss, We might at the Same time get rid of the Difficulty, our Necessity for having them Speedily forwarded not being so great as Mr De Neufville imagines. However I would propose this. Let the Goods first be delivered to you. Then let him make his demand for damages, which if you think reasonable I will pay; if not, let them be Settled by arbitration. After this you will judge what measures may be necessary for transporting them.” &c. “If the Goods are delivered to you, and you find it necessary to sell a Part of them, I wish you would make the offer of that Part to him. He bought them and knows what they are really worth.”
I cannot but Say that I think these sentiments of the Dr, just and his Proposals reasonable. Mr Gillon certainly contracted with Coll Laurens to carry these Goods in the South Carolina.1 He did not fullfill his Contract. He talked with the owners about these ships, and the Goods were put on board them by Mr De Neufville perhaps, but he never executed any Contract. He made signals for the Ships to come out to him at the Texell—they would not. If there were no Contract with Gillon, how can it be pretended that the Goods are answerable for the fullfillment of a Contract, if there was a Contract, it was no Part of it, that the Goods should be responsible, it was a mere personal obligation of Gillons for which the Goods are not liable in Law nor in Reason. If Mr Gillon has violated a Contract with the owners, which is far from being clear, he has certainly violated a very solemn one with Coll Laurens under his Hand and Seal, and I might as well pretend that these ships are liable for the fullfillment of that Contract.
However, I am ready to receive the Proposals of the owners, but I beg that the Damages they pretend to claim may be precisely stated. <if they are moderate> If they are Such as I cannot agree to, I am ready to choose with the owners three Sensible and impartial Merchants or others, and whatever Damages they shall award, shall be { 108 } paid according to Dr Franklins Proposal, upon the Delivery of the Goods to me or my order.
According to another desire of his Excellency I now offer for Sale the whole of the Goods to Messrs De Neufville, and beg the favour of them to let me know upon what terms they will take them, this would settle all disputes at once.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with great respect Gentlemen your most &c

1. For the agreement between John Laurens and Alexander Gillon, see Laurens to JA, 28 April, and note 1 (vol. 11:293–296).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0071-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-03

From C.W.F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Je me proposois de vous écrire ce soir, pour vous apprendre la Résolution unanime que doit se prendre ce matin aux Etats-Généraux, pour la Garantie, par L. H. P. des 5 millions de florins que la France empruntera ici pour prêter aux Etats-Unis, lorsqu’on est venu m’apporter les deux Lettres ci-jointes,1 arrivées ici par la voie d’Ostende, où je suppose qu’un Vaisseau Américain aura abordé depuis peu. Je n’ai point hésité d’en payer le port demandé et même d’y ajouter une petite douceur au Porteur de Lettres, qui croit se souvenir qu’il y a encore une Lettre pour vous au Bureau, laquelle il m’a promis de chercher, si elle y est encore, et de me l’apporter. Quant à celles-ci, je me hâte de vous les acheminer par la Barque Marchande de ce jour. J’espere que leur contenu vous donnera sureroît de contement, et que vous voudrez bien me faire part des bonnes nouvelles qu’elles peuvent vous porter. Vous verrez, en les ouvrant que le couvert de l’une a souffert du frottement. Il me paroît cependant qu’on ne l’a pas ouvert, ni pu tirer le contenu pour le lire.2
Mr. l’Ambr. de France m’a appris que vous aviez reçu de nouvelles Instructions du Congrès, pour insister sur une Réponse de cette République à votre démarche du mois d’Avril dernier,3 et concerter la Négociation avec le Ministre de France ici: qu’il n’attend que la Résolution dont je parle ci-dessus, pour se mettre en chemin pour Versailles, où il conferera, entre autres articles, sur celui-ci avec le Ministre des affaires étrangeres: qu’il vous écrira ensuite, et me fera passer ici sa Lettre pour vous. Je l’ai prévenu de mon côté, que lor• { 109 } sque l’Assemblée d’Hollde. sera séparée, ce qui aura lieu dans 19 jours ou 3 semaines, j’aurois l’honneur de passer les Fêtes avec vous; et que si, dans mon absence, on remettoit quelque chose chez moi de sa part, ma femme me le feroit parvenir exactement.
J’ai eu l’honneur dernierement, de vous écrire une court Lettre de Leide au sujet de la glorieuse Burgoynisation de Cornwallis. On ne s’occupe dans l’Assemblée ici que de l’Affaire du D—; mais de la maniere dont on s’en occupe, on sera encore longtemps avant d’en venir à quelque décision. Si je devois détailler dans une Lettre tous les incidens qui arrivent à ce sujet d’un jour à l’autre, il y auroit dequoi remplir 20 pages. Il y en a cependant de curieux, que je garde pour nos entretiens futurs à Amsterdam.

[salute] Mon Epouse et ma fille vous présentent leurs honneurs, et j’ai celui d’être avec très grand respect, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur

[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0071-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-03

Translation

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I intended to write to you this evening to inform you of the unanimous resolution that took place this morning at the States General for the loan guarantee by Their High Mightinesses for 5 million florins for France to lend to the United States. But instead, the two enclosed letters1 were just now brought in to me, by way of Ostend, where I suppose an American ship has recently arrived. I did not hesitate to pay the postage for them and even added a small gratuity for the letter carrier. He seemed to recall that there is another letter for you at the post office, which he promised to look for and bring to me, if it is still there. As for these letters, I will hasten to send them to you on today’s merchant boat. I hope you will be pleased with their content and will inform me of any good news contained in them. You will see, when opening them, that one of the cover letters was damaged. It seems to me, however, that it was neither opened nor read.2
The ambassador of France told me that you received new instructions from Congress to insist that this republic give you a response to last April’s demarche,3 and to concert the negotiations with the French minister here. He is waiting for the resolution I mentioned above before he leaves for Versailles, where, among other things, he will confer on this matter with the foreign minister. He will write to you subsequently and I will pass the letter on to you. As for me, I told you that as soon as the Dutch assembly adjourns, which will be in nineteen days or three weeks, I would like the honor of spending the holidays with you. In my absence, if anything should arrive from him, my wife will forward it to me.
Last time, I had the honor of writing you a short letter from Leyden on the subject of the glorious Burgoynization of Cornwallis. The assembly { 110 } here is only concerned with the affair of the Duke; but because of the manner in which it is being treated, it will be a long time before any decision is made. If I wrote to you about all the day to day details on this subject, the letter would fill twenty pages. There are, however, some interesting points that I will relate to you in future conversations in Amsterdam.

[salute] My wife and daughter send you their regards and I have the honor to be with very great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Dumas
1. Not identified.
2. The last two sentences of the paragraph were interlined.
3. This is the first mention of JA’s intention to seek an unequivocal r esponse from the States General to his memorial of 19 April (vol. 11:272–282) that he had presented on 4 May. JA’s instructions of 16 Aug. (vol. 11:454–456), which authorized him to conclude either a Dutch-American alliance or a wider alliance that included France and possibly Spain, did not direct him to demand a response to his memorial of 19 April to the States General. Congress was unaware that he had presented it until early October when it received C. W. F. Dumas’ account of the presentation (from Robert R. Livingston, 20 Nov., and note 2, above). Such an initiative, however, was implicit in the third of three proposals for opening discussions with the States General that JA included in his letter of 25 Nov. to La Vauguyon, above. Those proposals probably formed the basis of his conversation with La Vauguyon on the 24th, and JA likely thought that his instructions, if only by inference, required such an initiative if he was to achieve the objective that the Congress desired. For the genesis of JA’s address to the president of the States General on 9 Jan. 1782, and his communication with the French ambassador about it, see Dumas’ letter of 15 Dec., and note 1; JA to La Vauguyon, [20] Dec.; and La Vauguyon’s reply of 30 Dec., and note 1, all below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0072

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-12-04

To the President of Congress

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

I have recieved those Instructions, with which I was honoured by Congress on the sixteenth of August, and communicated them forthwith to the French Ambassador to their High Mightinesses, and to the American Ministers at Versailles and Madrid.1 The Duke de la Vauguyon was of opinion, that they were very well considered, and very well timed, to counteract another Trait of British Policy, in agreeing to the Mediation of Russia, for a seperate Peace with Holland. The British Ministry mean only to aid the Stocks and lull the Dutch.
There is no longer any talk of a Congress at Vienna. The late News of General Washington’s Triumphs in Virginia, and of the friendly and effectual Aid of the Comtes De Rochambeau and de Grasse have made a great Impression here, and all over Europe.
I shall punctually observe my Instructions, and consult in perfect { 111 } Confidence with the Duke de la Vauguion, in the Execution of my late Commission. A quadruple Alliance for the duration of the War, would probably soon bring it to a Conclusion. But the Dutch are so indolent, so divided, so animated with Party Spirit, and above all so entirely in the Power of their Chief, that it is very certain, that they will take the Proposition ad referendum immediately and then deliberate upon it a long time. This Nation is not blind: it is bound and cannot get loose. There is great Reason to fear, that they will be held inactive until they are wholly ruined. Cornwallis’s fate however has somewhat emboldened them, and I have recieved unexpected Visits of Congratulation from several Persons of Note, and there are Appearances of a growing Interest in favor of an Alliance with France and America. If I were now to make the proposition, I think it would have a great effect. I must however wait for the approbation of the Duke, and he perhaps for Instructions from Versailles, and indeed a little delay will perhaps do no harm, but give Opportunity to prepare the Way. The general Cry at this time in Pamphlets and public Papers is for an immediate Connection with France and America.
The Consent of Zealand is expected immediately to the Loan of five Millions for his most Christian Majesty. My Loan rests as it was at a few thousand Guilders, which by the Advice of Mr. Franklin I reserve for the relief of our Countrymen who escape from Prison in England in distress. I have ordered an hundred pounds for President Laurens in the Tower, at the earnest solicitations of his Daughter who is in France and of some of his Friends in England: but for further supplies have referred them to Dr Franklin.2
I sometime since had an Intimation that the British Ministry were endeavouring to form secret Contracts with traiterous Americans to supply Masts for the Royal Navy. According to my Information, the British Navigation in all parts of the World is at present distressed for Masts, especially those of the largest size. Congress will take such measures as to their Wisdom shall appear proper, to prevent Americans from this wicked and infamous Commerce. I wrote to Mr. Franklin upon the subject, who communicated my Letter as I requested at Court, and his Excellency supposes that the Comte de Vergennes will write to Congress or to the Chevalier de la Luzerne upon the subject.3
The Continental Goods left here by Commodore Gillon are detained for freight and damages and very unjustly as I concieve. I am doing all in my power to obtain possession of them, and send them { 112 } to America, or dispose of them here at as little loss as possible, according to the desire and advice of Dr. Franklin. It is not necessary to trouble Congress to read a Volume of Letters upon the subject of these Goods. All that can be done by me has been and shall be done to save the public Interest. This piece of business has been managed as ill as any that has ever been done for Congress in Europe, whether it is owing to misfortune, want of skill, or any thing more disagreable.
The Court of Russia does not at present appear to be acting that noble part, which their former Conduct gave Cause to expect. Mr. Dana is at Petersbourg: but he prudently avoids writing. If he sees no prospect of Advantage in staying there, he will be very silent I believe, and not stay very long.

[salute] 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. 422–425); endorsed: “Letter 4 Decr 1781 J Adams Read 15. March 1782.”
1. See JA’s letters of 24 and 25 Nov. to La Vauguyon, both above.
2. On 26 March 1782, Congress referred this paragraph and the paragraph concerning the goods left by Alexander Gillon in the Netherlands, below, to the superintendent of finance and the remainder of the letter to the secretary for foreign affairs (JCC, 22:150–151).
3. See John Thaxter’s letter to Franklin, 30 Aug. (vol. 11:472–473), and Franklin to JA, 5 Oct., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0073

Author: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-05

From Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Sir

We recieved a Letter which your Excellency did Us the honor of writing us the day before yesterday, observing therein that your Excellency has no Authority to interfere in the direction of the Continental Goods, which Mr. Gillon contracted to convoy to America, but such as You derived from the desire of Dr. Franklin, to take the best Care of them in your power, and that You therefore hold yourself obliged to observe his Excellency’s desire in the business.
We further note the Advice of Dr. Franklin, and inclose a Copy of the Letter which his Excellency wrote us upon the subject,1 as we wish to avoid every misinterpretation of our Conduct.
Before however we enter into the particulars of your Excellency’s Letter, we beg leave to express our surprise at a paragraph in the Doctor’s Letter to us, intending to refuse payment of the Bills. But after an Accident happens to those Goods (as it is one) since we { 113 } had shipped them on board the So. Carolina Frigate, and according to our Orders, can we be made the Sufferers for it? Can we be refused the due payment of them? even if there was not so formal an Engagement as accepted Bills. Give Us leave to say the honor of Congress is concerned therein, and the public faith would be violated: that of America We hope will never be thus sported with; and therefore as we have wrote to his Excellency B. Franklin at your Excellency’s particular desire,2 we beg leave to claim your Excellency’s protection in this matter, we are not ashamed to say for our own sake (tho’ that may be thought of little Importance) but chiefly for the honor of Congress and of every one who has had any Concerns in the shipment of those Goods. So may we now be admitted to enter on some further observations on your Excellency’s favor assuring your Excellency, that tho’ this is quite a new affair since what has befel those Goods has been after they had been regularly shipped, we shall nevertheless be happy to serve your Excellency and his Excellency B. Franklin as much as in our power, and agreable to both your directions.
We must observe that we had only orders to send the Continental Goods on board the So. Carolina Frigate, and that whatever was done with them afterwards, was done by Come. Gillon and Major Jackson, and with which we have had nothing to do, nor even well known the Contents of the Contract which was passed between Colo. Laurens and the Commodore.
When Come. Gillon applied to us for hiring Vessels, we have assisted him to the best of our power, as we had done in every other respect, but the particulars of the Charter Parties were agreed upon between him and Messs. Van Arp, themselves without our direct knowledge; and it was only at the desire of the latter Gentlemen that our L. D. N.3 carried the Charter Parties with him to the Texell under a sealed Cover to the notary of that place. We can if required produce proofs of what we advance—and as to our Shares in those Ships, we can merely say that we paid 12000 Guilders on account of our half of the one, and 8000 on account of a quarter part of the other, but know no more yet than your Excellency what the final Cost thereof will be, and as we only took those shares to promote and assist the business, we should be very glad of course if they had been accepted when we offered them sundry times to your Excellency and Major Jackson at prime Cost—so we consider ourselves merely in this business as having been employed in preference to others, though as having been employed by Congress, and become { 114 } the Shipper of the Goods in their behalf as we have shipped them conformably to the orders we recieved in the new Case. We had already the honor to observe to your Excellency, that in the management of the Ships we had absolutely the Majority against Us (as being considered by our Co owners as not impartial those of the Liberty might claim the same decision that might pass in favor of the concerned of the Aurora) and could therefore have no effect, as we already observed—however as we said before setting aside our shares in these Ships, which we have already had the honor to offer to your Excellency, we are ready to act by Law against the concerned in the Ships should it be required, tho’ we wish it may be settled agreable to your Excellency’s desire.
We have in Consequence desired Messs. van Arp the Ships Husbands to call a meeting of the Owners to lay the matter before them, and will inform your Excellency of the result.4
For our part we find with your Excellency the proposals of his Excellency Dr. Franklin very reasonable, and wish that the other Owners of the Vessels may be of the same opinion, leaving further to them to answer why the Captains did not obey Commodore Gillon’s signals to come out (as well as any other matters concerning said Vessels) tho’ both your Excellencys had they remembered that as the Charter Parties were not signed would have known they could not have come out at any rate: but this being an Observation of ours, we do not pretend to anticipate any Arguments that may be laid before the Arbitrators on either side, for on our part we repeat, that we are decidedly resolved in this Case to sacrifice our own Interest to that of Congress.
We are very happy to find these Goods will not be wanted in America so much as we imagined, otherwise it would not have been difficult to have found Opportunities here, to send them as safe and cheap at least, and even better than they generally go from France—the knowledge of which made us always desirous to form a direct Intercourse of Commerce between the two Countries. We beg excuse for this last observation, but your Excellency’s knows our sentiments and how much they are devoted to the Scope of your Embassy.
As to the further proposal of your Excellency to purchase these Goods, we can only observe that being nothing but Commissioners, we cannot but be surprised at the proposal (altho’ we thank your Excellency for it) as we can have no Opportunities of disposing of such large Cargoes in the Course of our Correspondence—otherwise { 115 } we should have no objection to take them back, without any wish that Congress in that Case should suffer any loss, being devotedly that Honorable Body’s and your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John de Neufville & Son
Copy in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “Neufville 5 Decr. 1781.” JA enclosed this copy with his letter of [8 Dec.] to Benjamin Franklin, below.
1. See Franklin, Papers, 36:117.
2. This is probably the Neufvilles’ letter to Franklin of 12 Nov., which they say in their letter of 7 Dec. to Franklin was written “at the particular desire of His Excellency John Adams.” In those letters, and in another of 10 Dec., the firm took much the same line as in their letters to JA (Franklin, Papers, 36:49–50, 212–216, 236–237).
3. Leendert de Neufville.
4. For a summary of the information conveyed in the Neufvilles’ letter of 8 Dec. (not found), see JA’s reply of the 10th, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0074

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-12-06

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear Sir

I recd. your kind Congratulations from Leyden on the glorious Captivity of Cornwallis, and have since recd. your favor of the third, inclosing two packets from America. You ask what News? I answer none. They were the Originals of Dispatches from General Washington, and General Knox, containing the Capitulation and other Papers which are public. A large Reinforcement is gone to my friend Green from G. Washington. The French Troops winter in Virginia. G. Washington returns to North River, to join the Body, which was left on the North River under General Heath. Our Countrymen will keep thanksgiving as devoutly as their Allies sing Te Deum, and I warrant You will pass the Winter as joyously and quietly.
I wrote on the 25th. Novr. to the French Ambassador, and inclosed what I promised. An Expression in your Letter makes me suspect whether the Letter has been recieved. Shall I beg the favor of You to ask the Question and let me know? If that Letter has miscarried, there is foul play. I will come in Person and deliver the Duplicate in that Case, and bring You with me to Amsterdam if You please. My new Instructions are very well timed, and We shall make it do to get an Answer I hope, and to cement a triple or quadruple Alliance in time, which may set all the Fools in Europe at defiance.

[salute] With great Esteem, your humble Servt

LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0075

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-12-06

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have delivered your Excellency’s Letter to Mr. de Neufville, and have written to him myself, making the proposals contained in your Letter to me. He answers me, that he thinks the proposals reasonable: but insists upon it, that he has not the commanding Interest in the Concern, and that nothing can be done but by the Owners at large, or by Mr. Van Harp as Ships Husband. He seemed alarmed at the Intention of stopping Payment, and will write You upon it.1 Mr. de Neufville the Son is set off this morning for Paris.
A single Bill of 550 Guilders was brought me yesterday drawn on Mr. Laurens 6th. July 1780—it is No. 61. I have asked time to write your Excellency about it, and hope for an Answer by the Return of Post. All the remaining Numbers of the Bills drawn upon me have been presented, and these I have accepted. There are not more than three or four.
The States General have unanimously guarranteed the five Millions, and I hope to have the honor before long of demanding an Answer to my former Memorial, and proposing another Matter of more Consequence still, according to a Paper which I transmitted You on the 26th, which I hope You have recieved. A Triple or Quadruple Alliance would probably accelerate the Negotiation for a Congress at Vienna—at least it would render the War more easy and secure.

[salute] I have the Honor to be,2 Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “Adams Dec 6. 1781.”
1. For the correspondence mentioned in this paragraph, see Franklin to Neufville & Fils, 26 Nov. (Franklin, Papers, 36:117); JA to Neufville & Fils, 3 Dec., above; Neufville & Fils to JA, 5 Dec., above; and Neufville & Fils to Franklin, 7 and 10 Dec. (Franklin, Papers, 36:212–216, 236–237).
2. The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0076

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-06

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I am honour’d with your Excellency’s Letters of the 22d and 26th. past. The Proposal relating to the Goods was, you say, more unreasonable than you expected. It did not so much surprise me, who { 117 } possess a former Sample exactly of the same Stile and Sentiment, and I therefore think this to be of the same Author.1 His Professions of Disinterestedness with regard to his Shares, are in my Opinion deceitful, and I think that the less we have to do with that Shark, the better; his Jaws are too strong, his Teeth too many, and his appetite immensely voracious.
The Proposals of Ingraham & Bromfield appear more reasonable. I have communicated them to Mr. Barclay, the Consul, who is arrived here with full Powers to take into his Care any Property of the United States. He sets out to day for Amsterdam in order to take Care of those Goods, and will have the honour of delivering to you this Letter. You will, I am certain, afford him your Counsel, and all the assistance in your Power: I begin to see more Daylight with regard to our Funds, and believe I may be able to furnish him with sufficient to disengage the Goods and pay their Freight: But if he judges a Part of them less immediately necessary, and that they may be sold without too much Loss, to raise the Money wanted, that Method will I think be preferable.
I thank you for the Copy of the Instructions. I had received another, and communicated it to the Count de Vergennes.

[salute] With great Respect, I have the honour to be Sir Your most obedient and most humble Servt

[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr Franklin Decr. 6. 1781.”
1. That is, Jean de Neufville.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0077-0001

Author: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-07

From the Duc de La Vauguyon

J’ay reçu Monsieur La lettre que vous m’avez fait L’honneur de m’ecrire, et la copie que vous avez bien voulu m’addresser des resolutions prises le 16 aoust dernier par le congrés des etats unis de l’amerique septentrionale. Je me flatte Monsieur que vous ne doutez pas de mon empressement a concerter avec vous Les mesures ulterieures qu’elles pourront exiger; Des que Le Roy m’y aura authorisé; mais jusques a ce que Sa Majesté m’ait fait parvenir Ses ordres a cet egard, je ne puis que vous renouveller l’assurance de mon zéle pour tout ce qui interesse la cause commune de la france et de l’amerique Septentrionale, ainsi que celle de la Satisfaction particuliere que me procureront dans toutes Les circonstances mes relations avec vous.
{ 118 }

[salute] J’ay L’honneur d’etre Monsieur avec Les Sentiments inviolables de la Consideration la plus distinguée Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur

[signed] Le Duc De La vauguyon

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0077-0002

Author: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-07

The Duc de La Vauguyon to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter which you have done me the honor to write me, and the copy which you have been so good as to address to me, of the resolutions taken on the 16th of last August by the congress of the United States of North America.
I flatter myself, sir, that you have no doubt of my earnestness to concert with you such ulterior measures as those resolutions may require, as soon as the king shall have authorized me; but until his majesty shall have transmitted to me his orders in this respect, I can only reiterate to you the assurance of my zeal for everything that interests the common cause of France and the United States of North America, as well as that of the particular satisfaction, which my relations with you will in all circumstances afford me.

[salute] I have the honor to be sir, with the inviolable sentiments of the most distinguished consideration, your most humble and most obedient servant

[signed] Le Duc De La vauguyon
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Le Duc de la Vauguion 7 Decr. 1781.”

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0078

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-12-08

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

This morning were brought me four Bills of Exchange drawn on Mr. Laurens on the 6th. of July 1780 for 550 Guilders each. I have desired time to write to your Excellency, and obtained it. But as there is a large Number of these Bills not yet arrived, and as they come in sometimes by single Bills, and generally in small Numbers at a time, it will be giving your Excellency much Trouble as well me, to write a Letter and an Answer upon every such Occasion. I should therefore be glad to have the honor of your Excellency’s general directions concerning these Bills of the 6th. of July 1780 drawn upon Mr. Laurens. It is not probable that any other Bills will ever be drawn upon me, or any one else in this department, until there is a Treaty, and an House appointed to be drawn upon with Funds ready to pay, that is in other words (notwithstanding any thing I can see to the contrary) until Doomsday.
I have delivered your Excellency’s Letter to Mr. de Neufville, { 119 } which has alarmed him very much. He has been very importunate with me to write to your Excellency in his favor. I have advised him to write himself, and have given him no Encouragement. However I ought to say that by all I can learn he has not the commanding Interest in the Vessels: that the other Owners have it in their power to overrule him; and that it will not be his fault if your Excellency’s proposals are not complied with: and I presume that your sentiments of the Equity of with holding payment of the Bills were founded on the supposition, that Mr. de Neufville had the ruling Interest in the Concern. I am much afraid that protesting these Bills would be fatal to the House, and should be very loth that such a Misfortune should be attributed to an American Affair. The Bills being accepted must sooner or later be paid, and if protested for non-payment with large additions for Interest and Damages.2 As the Bills are accepted, an Action at Law might no doubt be supported against the Acceptor, unless he should avail himself of the Prerogative of a public Minister. This I cannot but think too delicate and sacred a thing to be made use of, but in very clear Cases, and therefore upon the whole I beg leave to submit to your Excellency my humble Advice, that the Bills should be paid, at the Expiration of their Term, at all Events.
I have offered Mr. de Neufville the Goods. He says in answer that he cannot take them: that he acted only on Commission: had delivered them on board of C Gillon according to his Contract, and cannot now take them again.
To sell the Goods here would be attended with a loss of forty per Cent—such is the stagnation of business here as I am informed by disinterested Persons, and that the same Goods could not be again purchased in France without another very great loss. But to send them from hence in slow Vessels would be little better than giving them to the Enemy.
Inclosed are Copies of Mr. de Neufville’s Letter to the other Owners, their Answer, and his Letter to me accompanying them.3

[salute] I have the honor to be4 Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “Adams Dec. 8. 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The dateline is supplied from the endorsement and the Letterbook.
2. In the Letterbook the remainder of this paragraph was written following the closing and marked for insertion here.
3. The copies enclosed by JA with this letter are in the Franklin Papers at PPAmP (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. 4:325). Neither { 120 } the original documents sent to JA by Jean de Neufville & Fils nor the letter of this date in which they were enclosed has been found. See JA to Jean de Neufville & Fils, 10 Dec., below.
4. The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0079-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-08

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Votre Lettre à l’Ambr. du 25 Nov. lui est bien parvenue. Il n’étoit pas en ville à son arrivée; et voilà ce qui a causé quelque retard à sa réponse, de même les occupations qu’il a trouvées à l’occasion de la garantie de l’Emprunt résolue Lundi dernier unanimement. Au reste cette Négociation est déjà remplie; et nombre de Rentiers lambins se gratent la tête présentement, d’être venu trop tard pour en avoir. Ce matin j’ai demandé en grace à l’Ambassadeur pour 25000 fl. de ces effets en faveur d’un particulier qui m’en avoit prié: Mais Mr. l’Ambr. m’a assuré qu’il n’avoit plus une seule de ces Obligations à sa disposition, quand ce seroit pour moi-même.
Voici sa réponse à la vôtre susdite.1 Il partira la semaine prochaine, et m’a dit que ce voyage ne sera que de 15 jours.
Voici aussi deux Lettres, que j’ai retirées du Bureau: l’une venant d’Espagne; l’autre de Paris.2 La derniere avoit été envoyée du Bureau d’ici à Amsterdam, d’où on l’a renvoyée: ce qui est assez surprenant: car votre nom ne peut être inconnu au Bureau d’Amsterdam.
J’aurai l’honneur de vous écrire sous peu une autre Lettre Sur une idée qui me vient, mais qu’il faut que je pese encore avant de vous la proposer, afin de ne vous rien conseiller légerement.

[salute] Je suis toujours avec un vrai & grand respect Monsieur, Votre très-humble & très obéissant serviteur

[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0079-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-08

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Your letter of 25 November to the ambassador was received. Since he was not in town when it arrived, and since there was business at hand, regarding the loan guarantee unanimously resolved last Monday, his response to you has been delayed. Moreover, this negotiation is already finished, and many dawdling rentiers are scratching their heads now because they are too late to benefit from it. This morning I asked the ambassador for 25000 florins worth for a gentleman who asked, but Mr. Ambassador assured me he did not have a single bond at his disposal, even if it were for me.
{ 121 }
Here is his response to your aforementioned letter.1 He is leaving next week and told me that the trip will last only fifteen days.
Here are two more letters that I got from the post office. One is from Spain and the other from Paris.2 The second one had been sent from the post office here to Amsterdam, and from there, sent back. This is surprising because your name cannot be unknown at the Amsterdam post office.
I will write to you soon about an idea that I have, but first I must weigh it more carefully before consulting you so that I do not waste your time.

[salute] I am with true and great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Dumas
1. From La Vauguyon, 7 Dec., above.
2. Neither of these letters has been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0080

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Grand, Henry
Date: 1781-12-10

To Henry Grand

[salute] Sir

I have received your Favour of 23 of November, and thank you for your Congratulation on my freedom of Amsterdam, which however cost me dearer, than any Freedom ought ever to cost any Man, except the freedom of the New Jerusalem. I rejoice with you also that my Countrymen, with the masterly and magnanimous assistance of yours, have added a gallant Cornwallization, to the Burgoinization with which their military History was before decorated.
I come now to the Account, I have added to the Article of the 28 of Feb. the 12s as you propose. I have also added for the Charges on my Madeira Wine Decr 14. 89 Liv. 4s. I have also added to coincide with you L34: 10d, as you desire.
I have also added to the Debit L247: 7s: 1d to get up to 2658:16:10 which Mr Dana desired you to credit me for.
So that We are now agreed perfectly in every Thing, except the Article of 29 Feb. 1780 where you charge me with an order to give Mr Dana Credit for Liv. 6857. 3s. I shall convince you in one minute, that this is not to be charged to me, but to Mr Dana.
If you will be so good as to look over the Copy inclosed of my Card of the 29 of Feb. 1780.—you will see that it was written expressly that Mr Dana might be charged in your Books as well as those of Congress, with this sum of 6857 Livres and five thirty-fifths.
Dr Franklin was desired by Congress to advance a Thousand Pounds sterling to Me and Mr Dana, to be divided between us in Proportion to our Salaries. Dr Franklin gave orders to your House, { 122 } to hold this thousand Pounds at my disposal. But I thought it would be ungenteel in me to oblige Mr Dana to come to me for an order, whenever he wanted his own Money and I therefore with Mr Dana’s Consent wrote the Card of 29 of Feb. 1780. that Mr Dana might be able to receive his Money as he wanted it, and he did receive it accordingly. So that you have nothing to do but charge Mr Dana with it, as So much of his Salary.
This I hope will be sufficient to bring Us together, and to make the ballance due to me upon this account, exactly L9414: 19s. I should be glad of your answer as soon as convenient, because, the freedom of this City costs a Man a great deal of Money, quite as much as I have to receive according to my own Account.

[salute] With great Regard I have the Honour to be. &c

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0081

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1781-12-10

To Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Gentlemen

I have recd the Letter which you did me the Honour to write me on the 8th. instant,1 inclosing a Translation of Messrs Van Arps Proposals. Messrs Van Arps, in the Character of ships Husband, demand 60,000 ƒ. as Damages &c.
If I were convinced that the Goods of the United States of America, were responsible for any Damages at all in this Case which I am not but clearly of the contrary2 I should Still think the Demand of 60,000 Guilders, vastly too high, so that I cannot agree to this. But am still ready to Submit the whole Dispute to impartial Arbitrators.
Your repeated Proposals to me Gentlemen to take your shares of the ships it is impossible for me to agree to. <Indeed these Ships are altogether improper to carry the Goods.>
<But it is Surprizing to me that the owners have not Set a certain Price upon the ships, and also ascertained the sum for which they would.>

[salute] I have the Honour to be

1. Not found. See also JA to Franklin, [8 Dec.], and note 3, above.
2. The preceding five words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0082-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-10

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

L’interest que je prends a vous, a votre santé, a celle de votre chere famille est trop sincere et trop constant pour ne pas vous adresser de nouvelles lettres afin de vous en demander des nouvelles, et de vous reiterer les sentiments D’attachement que vous, les votres et vos compatriotes, avez si bien reussis a minspirer. Je vous ay ecrit a paris il y a quelques temps,1 vous navez pas vraysemblablement receu ma lettre, celle cy vous exprimera combien jay eté sensible aux evenements heureux et aux succés que vous venez Davoir sur le lord cornowallis. Recevez en mon compliment particulier. Si mr. de sartines, auquel j auray des obligations infinies toutte ma vie avoit resté au ministere, j aurois pu contribuer par moy même en commandant un vau. au moins une grosse fregatte au succés de ces belles et bonnes operations. Mais votre pauvre petit capitaine chavagnes ne peut obtenir ny commandements, ny congés pour aller a paris. Il vat dun vaisseau a un autre capne. en second. Je viens de quitter le bien aimé je suis sur le gros royal loüis2 pour aller je crois a cadix nous joindre aux espagnols. Une bonne paix, l’amerique bien a vous feroit bien mon bonheur et celuy de mde. de chavagnes, et encor mieux si j avois celuy de vous repasser a boston bien content, bien portant ainsi que votre chere et aimable petite famille je me fais un plaisir de me flatter que cela pourroit estre un jour. Je me porte bien par continuation et saisiray toujours les occasions, absent, comme present de vous assurer des sentiments du sincere et durable attachement avec lesquels jay lhonneur d estre Mon cher monsieur, Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
capne. des vaux. du roy
Mon adresse sera je crois a bord du dit vau. a cadix.
Mon souvenir et mes civilités a mrs. dena et taxter.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0082-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-10

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My dear sir

The interest I take in you and your health, as well as that of your dear family, is too sincere and constant to keep me from writing to you and to ask you for any news. Also, I would like to reiterate my sentiments of at• { 124 } tachment that you, yours, and your compatriots have inspired in me. I wrote you at Paris a while ago,1 but you apparently did not receive my letter, which expressed just how much I was aware of the happy events and success against Lord Cornwallis. Accept my personal congratulations. If Mr. Sartine, to whom I am infinitely obligated, had remained at the ministry, I would have been able to contribute myself by commanding a ship, or at least a large frigate, in the successful and good operations. But your poor little captain Chavagnes cannot obtain either a commanding post or a leave to go to Paris. He is going to a ship as second in command. I just left the Bien Aime and am now on the Royal Louis2 heading, I believe, for Cadiz to join the Spanish. A good peace for America will give you happiness, and will give happiness to Madame Chavagnes and me. I would be even happier if I could return you and your dear little family back to Boston, happy and healthy. If this could one day happen, it would give me great pleasure. I continue today, and will in the future, in assuring you of my sincere and lasting devotion with which I have the honor to be, my dear sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
capne. des vaux. du roy
My address is on board the said vessel bound for Cadiz.
Remembrances and compliments to Messrs. Dana and Thaxter.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Capt. Chevagne 10th. Decr. 1781.”
1. Not found.
2. The Bien-Aimé was a 74-gun ship of the line; the Royal-Louis had 110 guns (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 374).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0083

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-10

From John Paul Jones

[salute] Dear Sir

After the command of the Alliance was usurped at L’orient, I received on board the Ariel, the two packages from Mr. Moylan, containing the articles you directed him to send to your Family. On my arrival at Philadelphia, I delivered them to Mr. Lovell, agreeable to your request.1 I had, last Summer, the honor to be unanimously elected by Congress to the command of the America, and am now superintending the Building.2 I was sorry my duty obliged me to pass through Boston without paying Mrs. Adams a visit at your country Seat. If I can this Winter I will do myself that honor.3 I had the honor to see Mrs. Dana here lately: She was on a visit to her friend Miss Stevens, who is on the point of Marriage with our Parson.4 Please to mention this with my respects to Mr. Dana.
I congratulate you on the glorious capture of Lord Cornwallis and { 125 } his whole Army. That conquest sets the friendship of France in the noblest light, does the greatest honor to humanity, frees a distressed Country, and adds lusture to the combined Arms, while Victory binds the brows of our happy chiefs with her Unspotted Laurels!
Among the great events that have sprung from our glorious Revolution, The World has seen with astonishment, the Belgia5 roused from their lethargy of a Century, and forced to draw the long-reluctant-Sword, or renounce for ever all pretention to National Character. May it fall with double Death on the heads of their insolent Enemies, and never again be sheathed till, in mercy to Mankind, they are effectually humbled! If I am honored with any Letters from you, please to address under cover to the Minister of Finance Philadelphia.6 I am, Dear Sir, with great respect Your Excellencie’s most Obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] PAUL JONES
NB. I presume you are already acquainted with the bearer Major Sherburne, who lost his Leg on the Rhode Island expedition?7
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “recd 11. aug. 1782.”
1. See James Lovell’s letter of [ca. 15 March], and note 4 (vol. 11:202–204).
2. Congress appointed Jones to the command of the ship of the line America on 26 June (JCC, 20:698), but he never sailed as her captain. For the fate of the America, which was ultimately turned over to France, see vol. 10:25.
3. For AA’s description of Jones upon meeting him in 1784, during her residence in France, see Adams Family Correspondence, 6:5–6.
4. Sarah Stevens married Joseph Buckminster, minister of Portsmouth’s First or North Church, on 24 March 1782 (Dexter, Yale Graduates, 3:367).
5. The Dutch.
6. JA replied to Jones on 12 Aug. 1782 (LbC, Adams Papers).
7. Maj. John Samuel Sherburn of the New Hampshire militia lost his leg at Quaker Hill on 29 Aug. 1778 during the battle of Newport (Heitman, Register of the Continental Army).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0084

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-10

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

When some months past I desired a Copy of the Collection of American Constitutions, it was for the use of a Gentleman of Letters, actually employed in translating the several Acts of American Legislation, but who knew no other Collection of those Acts than a French translation printed at Paris.1 I wished then to keep for myself and clean the Copy, Your Excellency had made me a present of, as a testimony of your friendly attention to me. But, as the Printer was too pressing upon my Friend to allow him a delay, I determined to lend him my own Copy; and those days I have received the first part of that Dutch Translation, dedicated to Mr. Pensionary van { 126 } Berkel. Perhaps You will already have seen it; and my Friend, Mr. van der Kemp, will also have presented Your Excellency with a Translation of the Constitution of Massachusetts and some other American Tracts; a Publication, in which I have some share.
It was with the utmost concern I understood your very severe illness; and your recovery has given me the greatest satisfaction. I hope, Sir, that sickness will be to You a store of health for many years, as the former conquests and bloody Victory’s of Cornwallis were a way to American Triumph. I wish ardently to Heaven, that your Country might now soon reap the fruits of her struggles, and You, Sir, be a long time a happy witness of her glory and prosperity, the more happy as You have been one of her most illustrious Founders and Asserters.
I think, Sir, the fate of Cornwallis and his Army will make a speedy end to the warfaring in South-Carolina; and the great loss, the Brittish have suffered in the Action of the 8th September, cannot but accelerate their total overthrow and retreat from that State. But, as I mention that Action, permit me, Sir, a friendly complaint, which Yourself will not deem wholly unjust. When the struggles of America were in their infancy; when Europe despised that Country or knew it little, when no other European News-Paper mentioned ever Bostonian courage, constancy, and Patriotism; when Mr. Tronchin du Breuil, the Proprietor of the Amsterdam-Gazette, was silent on it, as the rest of public Writers, the Leyden-Gazette was the first, which faithfully adhered to that Cause, and despising an overbearance and an ill-will, not unknown to Your Excellency, boldly foretold the future grandeur of your grown Republics. Yes, Sir, I dare to say, we, in those early times (already in 1774.) contributed a great deal to awake the French Court on that subject; and Mr. Dumas, whose acquaintance we made by that only means, can bear testimony to it, as also the Abbot Desnoyers, then Chargé des affaires de France at the Hague. At present, Sir, when America is an independent State, when her atchievements attract the curiosity of the World, we see Mr. Tronchin Dubreuil preferr’d, and the Leyden-Gazette forgotten; we see him boast of his establish’d and authentic intelligence, and ourselves reduced to the copying of his defective Translations, if we will make any use at all of the American Publications, that come thro’ your hands: For, with the greatest esteem and all possible respect for Mr. Cerisier’s talents, character, and sentiments, the translating of such Pieces is not his most eminent part: And, had it not been for the publication in the Paris-Gazette, I must have omitted { 127 } the whole Letter of General Greene on the Action of Eutaw’s.2 For what, must the one of us be of necessity excluded at the prejudice of the other? But I have already said too much on that subject. I leave it to Your Excellency’s own equity and feelings, and am with due and great respect, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most obedient, faithful, and humble Servant
[signed] J. Luzac
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr J. Luzac. Decr 10. 1781.”
1. For The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America; . . . , Phila., 1781, and for its translation into Dutch, see Luzac’s letter of 6 Sept. (vol. 11:475–477) and JA to Luzac, 13 Dec., and note 1, below.
2. For Nathanael Greene to George Washington, 11 Sept., see Washington to JA, 22 Oct., and note 4, above. Luzac printed Greene’s letter in the Gazette de Leyde of 4 December.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0085-0001

Author: Mandrillon, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-12

From Joseph Mandrillon

[salute] Monsieur

En attendant que j’ai l’honneur de vous aller rendre mes devoirs ce Soir entre 5 et 6 heures, j’ai celui devour envoyer, Monsieur, La meilleure carte que l’on puisse mouver ici de l’Amérique septr. on attend d’Angleterre, celle des 13 états unis que j’ai demandé.
Je joins aussi L’Atlas de L’hist. ph. et Pol. pour vous prier de me donner votre avis sur l’exactitude des cartes de votre Republique.1
Si vous ne pouvez me reçevoir ce Sera pour une autre soirée.

[salute] J’ai L’honneur d’Etre avéc tout le respect possible Monsieur Votre très humble & très obeissant serviteur

[signed] Jh. Mandrillon

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0085-0002

Author: Mandrillon, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-12

Joseph Mandrillon to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I will have the honor of delivering my work to you this evening between five and six o’clock but in the meantime, I am sending you the best map of North America that could be found here. The map of the thirteen states that I asked for is expected from England.
I am also enclosing the Atlas de l’histoire philosophique et politique so that you may give me your opinion as to the accuracy of these maps of your republic.1
If you cannot receive me today, this will be for another evening.

[salute] I have the honor to be with all possible respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Jh. Mandrillon
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Son Excellence Monsieur J. Adams ministre plenip. des Etats unis près Le E. Généraux A Amsterdam”; endorsed: “M. Mandril• { 128 } lon 12. Dec. 1781”; filmed at 12 Dec. 1783 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 362).
1. Rigobert Bonne, Atlas de toutes les parties connues du globe terrestre, dressé pour l’histoire philosophique et politique des établissemens et du commerce des européens dans les deux Indes . . . , Geneva, 1780. This volume was designed to accompany the Abbé Raynal’s Histoire.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-12-13

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam 13 December 1781. RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 426–429). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:43–44. This letter, read in Congress on 15 March 1782 and acted upon on 26 March (JCC, 22:150), contained the English text of Lord Stormont’s acceptance of Russia’s mediation of the Anglo-Dutch war. Formulated in early September, Stormont’s answer to I. M. Simolin, the Russian minister, reversed Britain’s refusal, in March, of Russia’s first mediation offer and proceeded from the joint representations made at the end of August by the Russian, Swedish, and Danish ministers in London (to the president of Congress, 6 Aug., 1st letter, calendared, vol. 11:440). In his acceptance, Stormont recited British grievances against the Netherlands, but pointedly rejected any Swedish or Danish role in the mediation. He did so to avoid legitimizing the League of Armed Neutrality, the Dutch accession to which was the real, if unstated, reason for Britain’s declaration of war against the Netherlands. Stormont did not inform the Russian minister of Britain’s terms for reaching a settlement. Those were sent to St. Petersburg by a separate courier and included provisions requiring the Dutch to provide financial assistance in the war against France and cease the sale of munitions and naval stores to Britain’s enemies (from Jean de Neufville, 2 March, note 2 and references there, vol. 11:172–173; De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 337–340, 346–351).
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 426–429). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:43–44).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0087

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1781-12-13

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

I have received your friendly Letter of the 10th of this month. The new Translation of the american Constitutions, into the Dutch Language, I have not yet Seen, but intend to embrace the first opportunity of Sending Some Copies of it, to be placed in the principal publick Libraries in America, and the more willingly for the Dedication of it to Mr Vanberckel, a Gentleman whose great merit and long Services, have been but ill requited, by as base and false Accusations, as were ever laid to the charge of injured Innocence.1
Mr Van der Kemp, had the goodness to leave at my House two Copies of the new Translation, of the Constitution of the Massachu• { 129 } setts, and the other Pieces accompanying it, for which I am much obliged to him and to you. I regret, very much, my Inability to read, the Comparison between the Constitution of this Republick and that of Mass. and the more because the Author, who has the Reputation of one of the best Writers has given Encouragement to hope, for a Comparison, between the Belgic and American Revolutions.2
I thank you Sir for your friendly Simpathy with me in my Sickness, and for your obliging Wishes for the Happiness of my Country. My Country, Sir, is happy, and it is not in the Power of all her Ennemies to make her otherwise. Whether I shall live to See her in Peace, and in the full Enjoyment of that Grandeur and Glory, which will inevitably be, the Speedy Consequence of it, is a matter that I very chearfully Submit to higher Powers. Whether a Constitution which was never firm Shall Succumb under those Exertions to which the Times have called it, a little Sooner or a little later, is not a Thing of much Consequence, Since, as long as it lasts I shall have the Consolation to reflect that no Mans Forces were ever employed in a better cause.
Inclosed is a Letter from General Knox, which contains Some Things worth publishing, but does not give Us very Sanguine hopes of possessing Charlestown, this year.3
Now, Sir, to the Subject of your friendly Complaint. I very readily acknowledge, your constant Attachment to the Principles of the american Revolution, and the Respect which has been long paid, and the Services renderd to the American cause, in Europe, by the Leyden Gazette, and therefore I shall not forgette it, nor its Author. But it is not in my Power to do it much Service, nor does it Stand in need of my assistance. It has nothing to fear from any other Gazette. Its Extensive correspondence, its exact Method, and its accuracy of Style, as well as other Advantages, will effectually Secure it, against the Rivalry of any other.
It is very rarely, that I receive any Intelligence, Sooner than you do. Generally mine arrives after you have given the Same Things to the publick. The reason is, that almost all my Letters, come by the Way of Cadix Bilbao, Nantes, L’Orient or Brest, and are obliged to go to Paris in Company with Similar dispatches for the French Court and to Dr Franklin in their Way to me. By this means the Post commonly brings you, in the Spanish and french Publications, the News, Sooner, than my Letters arrive to me. In two or three Instances indeed it has been otherwise, but in the Case of General Greens Letter, it was nearly so.
{ 130 }
When News Papers come to me, or Letters with any Intelligence of Importance, here are generally fifteen or twenty American Travellers in this Town who think, they have a right to the News from me. If I were to Send them off to Leyden, immediately, they would think it hard. Wheras I can give them to a Printer in this Town, who will return them, at any Moment when called for. Besides this, you will allow that it is of some Importance to the publick Cause, that the french Gazette of Amsterdam, Should be in the good System and that it should have Some Reputation. Mr. Tronchin is a total stranger to me. Mr Cerisier’s Talents and Sentiments I esteem very much, and am very Sure it is in his Power, and think it is in his Inclination to do Signal Service to the Cause of Truth. Yet, I agree with you that he is not so accurate, as some others. He writes too much and has too many calls upon him to be always correct. I wish in a late Instance of Greens Letter he had eat his Chicken, without crying Roastmeat. He has no right from me to boast of any established Correspondence with America, for I have promised him nothing. He has taken Pains I know, for the last twelve months to form Acquaintances among the American here, who may have agreed to correspond with him. From them he may sometimes get News here, for they generally receive News Papers with their Letters.
If I were to send every Piece of fresh News to Leyden, I suppose he would make me a friendly complaint too. How shall I settle it? shall I give it to him upon Condition that he sends it to you as soon as he has translated it? shall I send it to you, upon Condition that you send it to him, as soon as you have copied it? The publick Service and my duty requires of me, that I should communicate it to the publick, as soon as possible without giving it to any body to husband it, and deal it out by little and little for their private Interest or the Reputation of the Gazette. I assure you I never had a thought of excluding you to your Prejudice, nor shall I ever countenance any such Thing. I have Scarce Room left to subscribe, myself, sir your Friend & servant
[signed] J. Adams
RC (PWacD:Feinstone Coll., on deposit at PPAmP).
1. 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, comp. and trans. Herman van Bracht, Dordrecht, 1781. A second volume, also published at Dordrecht, appeared in Aug. 1782 (from van Bracht, 12 Aug. 1782, Adams Papers). Two copies of the two-volume work are in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library).
2. See François Adriaan Van der Kemp’s letter of 26 Nov., and note 1, above.
3. From Henry Knox, 21 Oct., above. Luzac did not publish it in the Gazette de Leyde.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-12-14

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

The first public Body, which has proposed a Connection with the United States, is the quarter of Oostergo, in the Province of Friesland. The Proposition is in these words:
“Every impartial Patriot has a long time percieved, that in the direction of affairs relative to this War with England, there has been manifested an inconcievable Lukewarmness and Sloth: but they discover themselves still more, at this moment, by the little Inclination which in general the Regencies of the Belgic Provinces testify to commence a Treaty of Commerce and Friendship with the new Republick of the thirteen United States of North America; and to contract Engagements, at least during the Continuance of this common War, with the Crowns of France and Spain. Nevertheless, the Necessity of those measures appears clearly, since, according to our Judgments, nothing was more natural, nor more conformable to sound Policy, founded upon the Laws of Nature the most precise, than that this Republick, immediately after the formal declaration of War by the English (not being yet able to do any thing by military Exploits, not being in a state of defence sufficiently respectable to dare, at Sea, to oppose one Fleet or Squadron to our perfidious Enemy) should have commenced by acknowledging by a public Declaration, the Independence of North America. This would have been from that time, the greatest step to the humiliation of England, and our own Re-establishment, and by this measure, the Republick would have proved her firm Resolution to act with Vigor. Every one of our Inhabitants, all Europe who have their Eyes fixed upon Us, the whole World, expected, with just Reason, this Measure from the Republick. It is true that before the formal Declaration of War by England, one might perhaps have alledged some plausible Reasons, to justify in some degree the backwardness in this great and interesting Affair. But, as at present Great Britain is no longer our secret but declared Enemy, which dissolves all the Connections between the two Nations; and as it is the duty not only of all the Regencies, but also of all the Citizens of this Republick, to reduce, by all imaginable Annoyances, this Enemy so unjust to Reason, and to force him, if possible, to conclude an honorable Peace; why should We hesitate any longer to strike, by this Measure so reasonable, the most sensible blow to the common Enemy? Will not this delay occa• { 132 } sion a Suspicion, that We prefer the Interest of our Enemy, to that of our Country? North America, so sensibly offended by the refusal of her offer; France and Spain, in the midst of a War supported with Activity, must they not regard Us as the secret friends and favourers of their and our common Enemy? Have they not Reason to conclude from it, that our Inaction ought to be less attributed to our Weakness, than to our Affection for England? Will not this opinion destroy all Confidence in our Nation heretofor so renowned in this Respect? And our Allies, at this time natural, must they not imagine, that it is better to have in Us declared Enemies, than pretended Friends; and shall We not be involved in a ruinous War, which We might have rendered advantageous, if it had been well directed? While, on the other hand, it is evident, that by a new Connection with the States of North America, by Engagements at least during this War with France and Spain, We shall obtain not only the Confidence of these formidable Powers, instead of their Distrust, but by this means We shall moreover place our Colonies in safety against every Insult: We shall have a well grounded hope of recovering, with the aid of the allied Powers, our lost possessions, if the English should make themselves Masters of them, and our Commerce, at present neglected, and so shamefully pillaged, would reassume a new Vigor; considering that in such Case, as it is manifestly proved by solid Reasons, this Republick would derive from this Commerce the most signal Advantages. But, since our Interest excites Us forcibly to act in concert with the Enemies of our Enemy; since the thirteen United States of North America invite Us to it long ago; since France appears inclined to concert her military Operations with ours, altho’ this Power has infinitely less Interest to ally itself with Us, whose Weakness manifests itself in so palpable a manner, than We are to form an Alliance the most respectable in the Universe: it is indubitably the Duty of every Regency to promote it with all its Forces, and with all the Celerity imaginable. To this effect, We have thought it our Duty to lay it before your Noble Mightinesses, in the firm persuasion, that the Zeal of your Noble Mightinesses will be as earnest as ours, to concur to the accomplishment of this point, which is for Us of the greatest Importance; that consequently your Noble Mightinesses will not delay to co-operate with Us, that upon this important Object there be made to their High Mightinesses a Proposition so vigorous, that it may have the desired success: and that this affair, of an Importance beyond all Expression for our common Country, may be resolved and de• { 133 } cided by unanimous suffrages, and in preference to every particular Interest.”1
Mr. Vander Capellen de Marsh was the first Individual, who ventured to propose in public a Treaty with the United States,2 and the Quarter of Oostergo the first public Body: this indeed is but a part of one branch of the Sovereignty. But these Motions will be honored by Posterity. The whole Republic must follow. It is necessitated to it by a Mechanism, as certain as Clock Work: but its Operations are and will be studiously and zealously slow. It will be a long time before the Measure can be compleated.

[salute] 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. 430–433); endorsed: “Letter 14 Decr. 1781 John Adams Read 18 March 1782.” For Congress’ action of 26 March regarding this letter, see JCC, 22:150–151.
1. The provincial states of Friesland was composed of 4 chambers or quarters: Oostergo of 11 districts, Westergo of 9 districts, Sevenwouden of 10 districts, and a fourth chamber composed of the deputies from the province’s 11 cities (to the president of Congress, 24 July, Adams Papers). JA’s source for the English text of Oostergo’s proposal was likely a French translation appearing in a Dutch newspaper. When he printed the proposal in the Gazette de Leyde of 7 Dec., Jean Luzac indicated that Westergo and Sevenwouden thought that the recognition of American independence posed too many difficulties at present, but had approved the remainder of Oostergo’s recommendation. Friesland voted on 26 Feb. 1782 to recognize the United States and thereby became the first province to do so; see JA to Robert R. Livingston, 27 Feb., below. JA included the English text of Oostergo’s proposal given in this letter, virtually without change, in A Collection of State-Papers, 1782, p. 17–20.
2. For an excerpt from Robert Jasper van der Capellen van de Marsch’s address, see JA to the president of Congress, 1 Nov., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1781-12-14

To Francis Dana

[salute] My dear Sir

This day was brought me, your kind favour of August 28th. the first Line I have received from you, Since We parted. A Line from my dear Son, aug. 21. O.S. which I recd 3 days ago, was the first from him.1
The publick News from America, you have before now. It is grand and I congratulate you upon it, with a gratefull Heart. Our allies have this year adopted a System, which you and I have long prayed for, and have cause to be thankfull for its tryumphant Success.
Soon after my Return from Paris, I was Seized with a malignant nervous Fever, which well nigh cost me a Life. The consequences of it are not yet gone off. Still weak and lame, I am however better, but { 134 } almost incapable of that attention to Business which is necessary. Your son Charles2 Sailed with Gillon, put into Corunna, went from thence to Bilbao, by Water, and is about Sailing in the Cicero, with Major Jackson for home. Mr Thaxter has escaped, with a very Slight touch of a fever.3 So much for the Family.
I have lately received from ||Congress||4 a new Commission and Instructions to this Republick, to propose a tripple or quadruple alliance, with the Consent and approbation of ||the French Court||. This measure pleases me extreamly, and nothing could be better timed, but I must beg you to conceal it. I have received a new Commission for Peace in which ||John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, John Jay||, and Mr Jefferson, are the Ministers. I have recd also a Revocation of my Commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with ||Great Britain||. These last novelties, I Suppose, would nettle Some Mens Feelings, but I am glad of them. They have removed the cause of Envy, I had like to have Said but I fear I must retract that, Since ||John Adams|| Stands before ||Benjamin Franklin|| in the Commission. You can easily guess from what quarter this whole System comes. They have been obliged to adopt our Systems of War and Politicks in order to gain Influence enough, by means of them to lessen us. But I will consent upon these Terms to be diminished down to the Size of a Lillipution, or of an Animalcule in Pepper Water. There is no present Prospect of Peace, or Negotiation for it, and I confess I never expect to be called to act in Consequence of any of these Commissions about Peace, and therefore may be the more indifferent. When I was at Paris the articles of the mediating Courts were given me, and my Sentiments desired which I gave in detail, in a Correspondence which ||Congress|| has received from me, in two different Ways, So that they will have no Expectations of a Congress at Vienna unless the late Cornwallization Should excite them anew. In what Light does Nerone Neronior appear, by his last Speech, and by his answers to the addresses of both Houses in consequence of it! Clapping his Hands to his Hounds and Mastiffs, to persevere in worrying the innocent, although he must know they have nothing to hope for but death.5
This Evening was brought me, your dispatches to ||Congress|| of 4/15 of sept. with all the Papers inclosed in very good order.6 I Shall Send them by Dr Dexter by the Way of France, as there is no prospect of a Conveyance from hence Sooner. I am exceedingly pleased with this Correspondence, and hope that you Still harmonize, with your noble Correspondent. I am afraid he is too right in his Conjec• { 135 } tures, but am happy to find that your Sentiments upon the articles, were the Same, which I had expressed in my Letters to the C. de. V. upon the Subject. The articles however are not Sufficiently explicit. You have before now Seen the answers ||France and Spain|| to ||Russia and Austria||. Pray Send me Copies of them, if you can obtain them. I was told the Substance, but have no Copies. I was happy to find ||France, Spain, and America|| So well agreed in Sentiments.
I am very glad to find you can make any use of your Ward. I leave to your Judgment every Thing concerning him. Make him write to me, every Week by the Post.7 I am pleased with his observations in his Travels and with his cautious Prudence in his Letters.
We must have Patience, and must humour our Allies as much as possible consistent with our other Duties. I See no near Prospect of your being recd, any more than myself. But if, without being recd, we can gain and communicate Information We Shall answer a good End. I am at present apparently and I believe really upon good terms with the D. de la V. and the Miffs at Versailles and Passy Seem to be wearing away.
Let me intreat you to write me as often as possible. Our Country by all accounts is in great Spirits, Paper Money wholly stopped, every thing conducted in silver. Trade flourishing, although many Privateers and Merchant Vessells taken. Crops the finest ever known. G. B. has not lost less than 20,000 Men, the last twelve months in America. They will not be able to send 10. but if they could send 20, they would only give opportunities for more Cornwallizations and Burgoinizations.

[salute] With every Sentiment of affection and Esteam, your obliged Frid & sert

[signed] no matter for the name
P.S. Decr. 15. To day Mr S. arrived with your other Letters.8 I shall take the best care and shall answer you soon. I am still more happy to find you Still patient and in good Spirits. We shall do very well. I think you may expect some good News from me, eer long.
RC (MHi:Dana Family Papers); endorsed: “Mr: Jno: Adams’s Letter Dated Decr: 14th. 1781 Recd. Decr: 30th.—O Stile Answerd Jany: 2/13th. 1782.” and “Answd: Decr: 31./Jany. 11 1781,2.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Dana’s letter was of [8 Sept. N.S.] vol. 11:478–482. JQA’s was of [1 Sept. N.S.]. JA replied to that letter on 14 Dec.Adams Family Correspondence, 4:206–207, 263).
2. CA. For Dana’s previous references to CA as “mon fils,” see vol. 10:60, 81, 138; see also his letter of 17 Dec. to JA, below.
3. Thaxter’s good fortune lasted until the end of May 1782 when he became severely ill, probably with malaria (from Nicolaas & { 136 } Jacob van Staphorst, 22 May, Adams Papers; to Benjamin Franklin, 24 May, to Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 24 May, both LbC’s, Adams Papers.
4. This is JA’s first use of the code that Dana likely enclosed with his letter of [8 Sept.] (vol. 11:478–482). Dana began using the code in his letter of 17 Dec., below.
5. That is, George III was more like Nero than Nero himself. In his speech at the opening of the new session of Parliament on 27 Nov., George III lamented that the war continued, “prolonged by that restless ambition which first excited our enemies to commence it.” But, he noted, “no endeavours have been wanting on my part to extinguish that spirit of rebellion which our enemies have found means to foment and maintain in the colonies, . . . but the late misfortune in that quarter calls loudly for your firm concurrence and assistance, to frustrate the designs of our enemies, equally prejudicial to the real interests of America and to those of Great Britain.” The House of Commons, in their reply, remained “fully persuaded, that the principal view of the confederacy of our enemies, was to foment and maintain the rebellion in North America; . . . but your Majesty may rely on our steady assistance to second your Majesty’s endeavours to defeat the dangerous designs of our enemies, equally prejudicial to the real interests of America and to those of Great Britain” (Parliamentary Hist., 22:634–751).
6. With his letter to the president of Congress of 15 Sept. (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:708–714), Dana enclosed copies of his correspondence with the French minister at St. Petersburg, the Marquis de Vérac, notably Vérac’s replies of 2 and 12 Sept. to Dana’s letters of 1 and 4 Sept. (same, 4:684–685, 705–707, 683–684, 695–699). Vérac cautioned Dana against seeking to execute his mission to obtain Russian recognition of the United States because of its certain failure. He also revealed France’s acquiescence in the conditions set by Austria and Russia for U.S. participation in the peace conference under their mediation, namely that the Americans would be present as colonists, negotiating separately for the restoration of peace with Great Britain. Vérac’s letters, copies of which are in the Adams Papers, confirmed JA’s views of French policy and the futility of the Austro-Russian mediation. See also Dana to JA, [8 Sept.]8 Sept. (vol. 11:478–482); and, for JA’s views on American acceptance of the Austro-Russian mediation, see his July 1781 correspondence with Vergennes, also in vol. 11.
7. In the Letterbook is the canceled passage: “if you can employ him in Copying, for you, I am very willing he should have a private Master to teach him any Thing, you think proper never forgetting Latin Greek and Mathematicks.”
8. Stephen Sayre brought Dana’s letter of 22 Oct., above, and duplicates to Congress, but he also carried JQA’s letters to AA and JA of 23 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:233–235).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0090

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-14

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I duly received your Excellency’s Favour of the 1st. and 6th Instant.
I wrote to you by Mr Barclay,1 who went from hence some Days since, and I hope is with you by this time, and that he will with your Assistance be able to settle every thing relating to the Goods. I have receiv’d a long Letter from Messrs. Neufville, the Purport of which is, that they are willing for their Parts to deliver the Goods to you but that they cannot controul the other Owners of the Ships, who have a Right by the Laws and Customs of Holland to detain the Goods for the Damage done by Capt. Gillon’s refusing to sign the { 137 } Charterparties, &c and hoping that I will not on Acct of the Conduct of the other Owners, refuse to pay the Bills, especially as such a Refusal would be derogatory to the Honour of the United States &c.2 I may be wrong, but my present Thoughts on the Subject are, that if by the Laws of Holland our Goods may be detained in the Hands of the Ship Owners for the Fault of Mr Gillon, by the same Laws the Property of one of those Owners may be detained in our Hands for the Fault of his Partners: And that it as much concerns the Honour of Holland that our Goods should be delivered to us, as it concerns the Honour of America that we should pay for them when delivered. And I farther think that if a Merchant in Holland happening to have of my Property in his Possession may by the Laws of his Country detain the same till I pay him whatever he shall please to demand as Indemnification for an Injury suppos’d to be done him by some other Person Holland is by no means a safe Country for Americans to trade with, nor a Dutch Merchant a safe Depository for the Property of a Stranger, or to be the Consignee of Merchandise sent into his Country.
You desire a Copy of the Terms on which he offer’d to borrow Money for us. At present I only send you an Extract, of the principal Points, much of the writing being Matter of Form.3 The first Proposition is, “That for the Security of this Loan of Two Million Gilders, Holland Currency, we engaged and hypothequed (his Words) to said Mr John de Neufville and Son of Amsterdam, or their Representatives, as we do engage and hypotheque to them in the Name of the whole Congress of the Thirteen United States of North America, generally all the Lands, Cities, Territories and Possessions of the said Thirteen States, so which they have and possess at present, as which they may have or possess in the future, with all their Income, Revenue and Produce, until the entire Payment of this Loan and the Interests due thereon.”
My Observation upon this was, that it demanded an extravagant Security for a trifling Sum; that it was lending little more than a Gilder on each Inhabitant’s Estate, and that it was absurd to require a Mortgage on my Estate for the Loan of a Gilder. He answer’d that this was usual in all Loans made in Holland to foreign States, and that the Money could not otherwise be obtain’d.
The Second Proposition was (verbatim, as the first) “That out of the Produces again through all those Thirteen States of America shall be send over and shipp’d to Europe, and chiefly or as much as possible to the Port of Amsterdam during the ten Years of this Loan { 138 } the Double of one Tenth Part of this Loan, to the Value of Four hundred Thousand Gilders, which as far as is possible they’l come to Amsterdam, shall be sold there by Mr. John de Neufville and Son, and what goes to other Ports by their Correspondents, and the Money kept at their Disposal for the Use of Congress at least during the first five Years; and during the last five Years of this Loan One half of this Money is to serve to decharge every year one Tenth Part of the Money borrowed, engaging that before the End of the Tenth Year there will be remitted in such a Manner, and left in Hands of said Mr John de Neufville & Son of Amsterdam, a sufficious Sum of Money to decharge this whole Loan with the Interest due thereon.”
You will observe that this Article is obscurely express’d; I was oblig’d to demand Eclaircissements in Conversation. The Conversation was also difficult to understand; Mr de N’s English not being then of the clearest. But from the whole after much Discourse, I gather’d, that we were to send over every Year for the first Five Years, in Tobacco, Rice, Indigo, Codfish, Oil, &c &c. the Value of 400,000 Gilders, to be sold by Messrs J. de N. & Son, for our Use, on a Commission, of Five per Cent; and that the Money was to remain in their Hands to enable them to pay off in the last 5 Years the Principal of the Loan, tho’ one half of it, was to remain in their Hands till the End of the Term. A subsequent Article (the 6th) also provided that 100,000 Gilders more should be annually sent over in Produce to them, and sold, &c. to discharge the Interest.
My Objections were, That if we were able to purchase Produce, in valu Two Millions of Gilders to lodge in the Hands of Messrs de N. & Son, we might use that Sum in our Affairs at home, and should have no Occasion to borrow it in Holland. That if we were to buy up this Value of Produce with the Money borrowed, and to lodge it in the Hands of Those Gentlemen; it would be borrowing Money to give them the Use of it for a Number of Years without Interest, while we were paying Interest for it ourselves. One would think this Project if it could take, might be sufficiently profitable for these Gentlemen; but in another Paper part French part English, propos’d for me to sign, it was to be stipulated, that after exchanging for the new Promesses all those transacted by Messrs Fizeaux & Grand to the amount of 40 or 50,000 Guilders, which Exchange was to be made without Charge, “pour le Reste de cet Emprunt il leur (Messrs de N. & Fils) sera alloué, outre les Conditions d’Interet, &c. contenus dans les Termes y stipulées, 1 per Ct. d’Interet, savoir { 139 } 10 per Ct une seule fois sur les Sommes qu’ils negocieront; et en outre 2 per Ct. encore y compris toutes les Allouances ordinaires et extraordinaires fraix a faire, et toute Commission, sans qu’ils pourront jamais rien exiger de plus a ce Sujet.”
Very gracious Terms these! by which after Stopping a Tenth Part of the Sum borrowed, they would be content with two per Ct. upon the Rest to defray Charges.
Besides this, I was led to understand, that it would be very agreable to these Gentlemen, if in acknowledgment of their Zeal for our Cause and Great Service in procuring this Loan, they could be made by some Law of Congress the general Consignee of America, to receive and sell upon Commission by themselves and Correspond- ents in the different Ports and Nations, all the Produce of America that should be sent by our Merchants to Europe. On my remarking the Extravagance and Impossibility of this Proposition, it was modestly reduc’d to the following, wherein I am suppos’d to say and sign,
“Je veux bien encore, pour les engager (Messrs de N. & Fils) à suivre avec le même Zêle qu’ils y ont employé jusqu’ici (pour) les Interets de l’Amerique, appayer de mes Recommendations leur Solicitations auprés du Congrés, pour qu’il leur soit accordé pour la Suitte, le Titre de Commissioners for Trade and Navigation, and Treasurers of General Congress, and every private State of the Thirteen United States of North America, through the Seven United Provinces; dont il leur sera alloué les Commissions regulieres et usitées de Commerce, Payement, et Emprunt, tels que d’honnetes negociants pourront les passer, sans en pretendre jamais d’autre Appointement. Donné a Passy le &c.”
By this time I fancy your Excellency is satisfy’d, that I was wrong in supposing J. de Neufville as much a Jew as any in Jerusalem, since Jacob was not content with any per Cents, but took the whole of his Brother Esau’s Birthright; and his Posterity did the same by the Cananites, and cut their Throats into the Bargain, which in my Conscience I do not think Mr. J. de Neufville has the least Inclination to do by us,—while he can get any thing by our being alive.
Dft (PPAmP:Franklin Papers).
1. From Franklin, 6 Dec., above.
2. Franklin is paraphrasing passages from Neufville & Fils’ letter of 7 Dec. (Franklin, Papers, 36:212–216).
3. Compare the terms given here by Franklin with those in the draft loan contract that Jean de Neufville & Fils offered to JA on 22 Jan. (vol. 11:72–75).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0091

Author: Brackett, Joshua
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-15

From Joshua Brackett

[salute] Dear Sir

A Nephew of mine, a lad of fifteen years Old, by Name Benjamin Brackett, went out a Cruize in the Ship of War of 20 Guns, Call’d the Scourge, from Salem, Commanded by Timothy Parker, was returning in a Prize to said Ship, fell in with the British Frigate Call’d the Chatham in this Bay, at the time she took the Megetion, took him and Carried him to Hallifax put him on Board the Prison ship, not many days after he was on board Came An Officer from the Attalanta Sloop of War, took him by Force, and Compell’d him to go On Board, the Attalanta Sloop of War, Notwithstanding the repeated intreaties of a Gentleman who was on Board the Prison ship, and the said sloop saild imediately for London, about three months since. If it should be in your Exelencys Power to get him Exchanged You will lay me under the Greatest Obligations, every Expence shall be most Chearfully paid your Order.1
I most Heartily Congratulate your Exelency On the Glorious Capture of Lord Cornwallis, and his Army, and the Happy Prospect there is of your Exelencys soon reaping the rewards of your great Exertions in securing the Independance of your Country.

[salute] I am with the Utmost Respect your Exelencys most Obedient Huml. Servt.

[signed] Joshua Brackett
NB I had my information from a man in this Town that was at that time on Board the prison with my Nephew.
1. JA probably received this letter in Feb. 1782 and then enclosed it with his to Edmund Jenings of 21 Feb., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0092-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-15

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Comme l’Assemblée d’Hollde. se séparera aujourd’hui en huit, je prends mes précautions domestiques, pour pouvoir aller passer le reste du mois, et une partie du suivant, à Amsterdam avec vous Monsieur, Si je ne vous incommode pas; et pour partir d’ici, pour cet effet, Samedi ou Dimanche 22 ou 23 du Courant. En attendant, je crois qu’il ne seroit pas mauvais Monsieur, que vous vinssiez pas• { 141 } ser la Semaine prochaine ici; outre que ce petit changement d’air, pourra, selon moi, être favorable à votre santé, je voudrois vous faire faire connoissance personnelle avec deux personnages du pays, afin que vous pussiez juger vous-même par leurs discours, de la marche qu’il Sera à propos de tenir, pour avoir enfin une réponse cathégorique. Nous irions alors ensemble à Amsterdam, Si vous pouviez rester jusqu’à Samedi ou Dimanche ici. Mais il faudroit venir ici Lundi ou Mardi prochain, afin que je pusse ménager l’entrevue chez moi avec ces Messieurs, qui ne sont pas sûrs d’avance du jour precis dont ils pourroient disposer.
Peut-être ne serez-vous pas faché, Monsieur, de faire aussi une visite à L’Ambr. de Frce., et d’avoir un entretien avec lui dans cet intervalle.1 Je ne l’ai point vu depuis huit jours au moins; et l’on ne sait Si son voyage pour Paris aura lieu ou non.
Voici une Drôlerie, dont la communication fera certainement plaisir à Mr. Cerisier.2 Je vous prie seulement, Monsieur, de ne point lâcher mon Ecriture mais de lui permettre seulement d’en prendre Copie, s’il veut.

[salute] Je suis toujours avec le plus sincere respect Monsieur Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur

[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0092-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-15

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Since the assembly of Holland will adjourn in a week, I am taking my domestic precautions in order to spend the rest of this month, and part of the next, with you in Amsterdam. If it is agreeable to you, perhaps we could leave from here on Saturday the 22nd or Sunday the 23rd. Meantime, I believe that it would be good for you, sir, to spend next week here. In addition to it being a chance to take some fresh air that might be beneficial to your health, it would also give me the opportunity to introduce you personally to two countrymen. Then you can judge for yourself, through their discourse, just what steps they propose to make to obtain, at last, a categorical response. If you can stay here until Saturday or Sunday, we will be together in Amsterdam. But you must come here next Monday or Tuesday, so that I can arrange the meeting with these gentlemen at my house. They are not sure ahead of time which day will be suitable for them.
Perhaps you would be so kind, sir, also at this time, to pay a visit to the French ambassador for a meeting.1 I have not seen him for a week and I do not know if he is going to Paris or not.
I have enclosed something amusing which I am sure will please Mr. { 142 } Cerisier.2 I only ask that you do not give it to him, but rather allow him make a copy of it, if he so chooses.

[salute] I am with the most sincere respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Dumas
1. Upon receiving this letter, JA decided to go to The Hague on 18 Dec. to consult with members of the government and the French ambassador about demanding a categorical response from the States General to his memorial of 19 April (vol. 11:272–282). Dumas, however, wrote to JA on the 16th (Adams Papers) to inform him that the Duc de La Vauguyon was going to Amsterdam and would meet with him there. As a result, JA postponed until the 19th his journey to The Hague (to the president of Congress, 18 Dec., below) where, in addition to meeting with the Dutch officials, he again met with the French ambassador (to La Vauguyon, [20] Dec., below). JA probably returned to Amsterdam on 22 or 23 Dec. in the company of Dumas, for in a letter of 7 Jan. 1782 to the president of Congress, Dumas indicated that he had been with JA over the “vacation time” and would accompany him to The Hague on the 8th to demand a categorical answer from the States General to JA’s memorial of 19 April 1781 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:86).
2. Not identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0093

Author: Jay, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-15

From John Jay

[salute]

The two last posts brought me your Favors of the 26 and 28th. Ult. It really gives me great Satisfaction at Length to see a prospect of a regular Correspondence between us. The Failure of my former attempts had almost discouraged me, tho’ from the frequent miscarriage of Letters to and from me, I had Reason to impute your Silence more to that than to any other Cause.
I have not recd. a Syllable from Congress nor from any of its members by the vessel which brought you the Instructions of the 16 augt.,1 but I by no means infer from thence that they did not write; for on more than one occasion I know that Letters for me have been put into the post Office which never came to my Hands, and I advise you never to write to me but under a Persuasion that your Letter will be inspected before I recieve it.
As to the Instructions—I had neither seen nor heard of them till the Rect. of your Letter. They appear to me to be wise, and I shall be happy to see the Object of them fully and speedily attained.
As to the Progress of my negociations here—I can only inform you that tho’ the last offers of america were made so long ago as July last, the Court has not as yet found it convenient to give me an answer. I could give you a particular History of Delays, but it would be useless. I could also communicate to You my Conjectures as to the real Causes of them, but by the Post it would be improper. In a { 143 } Word, it is not in my power to write any thing of Importance, but what I ought not to write by such a Conveyance, unless in Cypher.
Delay is and has long been the System, and when it will cease, cannot be devined. Mr Del Campo the ministers first and confidential Secretary has been appointed near three months to confer with me, and yet this appointment was not announced to me till the last week. I have not yet had a Conference with him. He has been sick, and it seems is not yet sufficiently recovered to do Business, &c &c &c.2
It will not be necessary to send me Copies of the Commission and Instructions you mention.3 The originals, intended for me, were brought by Majr. Franks in September last. I think it probable that Duplicates for me accompanied those you have recd, and I am the more inclined to this opinion from having lately recd. a Packet directed by Secy. Thomson, in which I found nothing but his Cypher endorsed in his Hand writing, but no Letter or Line from him or others. It was committed to the Care of Mr Barclay our Consul in France. He sent it to me by the post, and on comparing the Date of his Letter to me from LOrient, with the Time I recd. it, I find it was 13 Days on the Way; it had evident Marks of Inspection.
I am very much of your opinion, and for the same Reasons, that Peace is yet at a Distance; and therefore that I cannot soon expect to have the pleasure of seeing you, which I much desire for many Reasons.
As to Gibralter and minorca, it is difficult to conjecture when, or in what manner, the operations against them will terminate. For my own part I think their fate will remain in Suspence for some Time yet.
The Dutch certainly do not want Spritit, and I ascribe their want of vigour more to the Embarrassments they experience from the nature of their Government, and the anglican Connections of the ruling Family, than to any other Cause. A national Convention under the Protection of France would in my opinion be the most effectual Remedy for these Evils.
General Greene’s late action does great honor to him as well as to the american Arms. This, and the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, are most joyful and interesting Events. I am anxious to know what Influence they will have on the british Counsels.
If the alliance in agitation should promise to take Effect and draw near to a Conclusion, it would have much Influence here, and elsewhere.
{ 144 }
You shall have immediate advice of the first Change that may happen in our affairs here.
My Expectation are not very sanguine, but I confess to you, that it would not surprize me if the various Delays practiced here, should in the End prove more advantageous than injurious to our Interests.

[salute] I have the Honor to be with great Respect & Esteem Your Excellencys most obt. & most hble Servant

[signed] John Jay
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Jay 15th. Decr. 1781.”
1. JA’s instructions from Congress, 16 Aug., to conclude a triple alliance between the United States, France, and the Netherlands or, should Spain agree to participate, a quadruple alliance (vol. 11:454–456).
2. For more detailed accounts of Jay’s efforts since July to persuade the Spanish government to recognize the United States and conclude a treaty, see his letters to the president of Congress of 3 Oct. 1781 and 6 Feb. 1782 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:738–765; 5:150–151) and Morris, Peacemakers, p. 241–243. Jay was all the more frustrated because in July, in accordance with Congress’ instructions, he had removed the most serious point of conflict between the United States and Spain by renouncing American claims to the navigation of the Mississippi River.
3. On 29 Aug., Jay received the Joint Commission to Negotiate a Peace Treaty and Congress’ Instructions to the Joint Commission to Negotiate a Peace Treaty, both 15 June (vol. 11:371–377). On 20 Sept., Jay wrote to the president of Congress to register a vigorous protest against the provision requiring the American negotiators to be governed by the “advice and opinion” of the French ministers and essentially invited Congress to replace him as one of its peace commissioners (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:716–718).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0094

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-12-16

To Benjamin Franklin

I have at last recieved Letters from Mr. Dana. Mr. Sayer arrived in town yesterday with Letters to me, and dispatches for Congress, which I shall transmit by the best opportunity. Three days before I had recieved a Letter which came by Sea, but had been almost four Months upon the passage.1
Mr. Dana appears to be in good Spirits. He has communicated himself to the Marquis de Verac, and has been very candidly as well as politely treated by that Minister. He had not communicated to the Russian Ministry his Mission, on the 4th of October the date of his Letter. But he finds friends there, and is in a Way to procure very important Information concerning the Politicks of all the Northern Courts. His opinion of Dutch Policy is not raised by his Journey to the North. But he speaks with great Respect of the Dutch Minister at Petersbourg, as a Patriot in the only good and true system in these times. He speaks prudently of the Prince de Potemkin, the Comte de Panin and the Comte D’Osterman. The { 145 } Comte de Panin is in the Privy Council, but has not yet reassumed his Office, as Chief Minister of foreign Affairs, altho’ he has returned to Court. The Court has recieved the Answers of Versailles and Madrid to the Articles, and he hopes soon to know the Reply of that Court. Can’t We obtain a Copy of the Answer of Versailles?
Is not the last Speech of the King of England and his Answers to the Addresses especially that of the Commons, rather inflammatory? This King’s Ministers and Governors, some ten or fifteen Years ago, used to charge me with making “inflammatory Harrangues.” I think I have now a good Right to recriminate upon their Master. He seems to be a very Boutefeu.2 But it must be confessed that his Ministers manage Holland and some of the Northern Powers with a great deal of Art and Address. The Answer of Lord Stormont to Mr. Simolin accepting the Mediation of Russia, between England and Holland is a Master piece.3 Its supream Excellence consists in its matchless Effrontery, which is certainly not to be imitated by any other Court or People under Heaven. Such extraordinary things sometimes have an effect directly contrary to what one would naturally expect, and therefore it is possible this may succeed. It will not however most certainly, if a certain Proposition, which I am instructed to make, should be made in time as I hope it will.

[salute] I have the honor to be,4 most respectfully, Sir your most obedient and most humble servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Dec 16. 1781.”
1. From Dana, 22 Oct., above, and [8 Sept.]8 Sept. (vol. 11:478–482).
2. An incendiary or firebrand.
3. See JA to the president of Congress, 13 Dec., calendared above.
4. The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0095

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-17

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have been long waiting with great impatience to hear directly from you, my disappointment has been owing in part without doubt, to your late illness, from which I hope you have entirely recovered. This climate agrees very ill with my health; for more than a month past, I have been almost constantly visited with a very severe headach, perhaps it is to be attributed in some measure to the stove fires, of which I have given a particular account in my letter to Mr: Thaxter.1 Mr: Stephen Sayer who has probably arrived in your City before { 146 } this time, has the care of a packet for you. I sent another under cover to Mr: De Neufville, by water, the vessel sailed from hence about the middle of Septr.—passed the Sound sometime in Octr: and yet Mr: D. in his letters to me of the 20th. and 27th. of Novr: makes no mention of it. This makes me very anxious about my letters. The vessel was a Russian bottom, and the Capt: was charged to deliver them with his own hand, by his owners. Every precaution in my power was taken, and they must take their fate. Shou’d they come to hand I hope you will give me the earliest information of it.
I want to write to you upon a special matter which it wou’d not be prudent to do, till we have settled our Cyphers. Don’t neglect the scheme I sent you. I am convinced it wou’d with a little use, be attended with very little trouble to you. I am fully convinced also that even upon a supposition that my principal business shou’d not succeed, it will be no disadvantage to us that I have come on. I flatter myself I have already acquired some useful informations. My ideas of things here have been much corrected. I have seen something of the policy of Friends and Foes, at this Court. And shall at least know what we have to expect from the one and the other.
I live here on very good terms with ||Minister of Holland|| and find considerable advantage in this connection. I now see that ||Comte de Panin|| has no weight, and ||Comte D’Osterman|| is of less consequence still if possible. The Marq: De Verac told me the day before yesterday that Congress had appointed four Commissioners to negotiate a peace when the time shall come. He did not tell who they were, and for particular reasons I did not choose to ask him. I hope they are good Men and true. If he is not mistaken I shall doubtless soon hear of it from you. You must give yourself some trouble to keep me well informed of what is going on. I hear you have presented a second memorial.2 I wish it may have the desired effect. We received the great news of the surrender of Ld. Cornwallis and his Army on the 2d. inst:.3 Thus the very first rational plan which has been formed, has happily been crowned with the most ample success. The world in general must now see that nothing has been wanting to distroy the whole British Force in America but the proper direction of that of their Enemies. There is no saying yet what impression this great event may make here. The consequence in America, I think, will be the evacuation of Charlestown and all the British posts in Carolina, which will not only set that State free, but Georgia also. The British will not surely hazard such distant posts another Campaign; besides, they will want to { 147 } strengthen their principal post New-York. That they will hold to the last moment, at every hazard. But what think you of Peace, has this event brought it nearer? Will the British now think that France means seriously to co-operate with the United States? And will this conviction seriously incline the British Cabinet to Peace?
To give you my own sentiments, I think they will still affect to brave it out. I hope indeed they will. Our time has not yet come. The coming over to the Continent of Ld: Mansfield with his whole family, as is said, is matter of speculation. Has his Lordship who has been the Chief adviser of this wicked war, out of which indeed great good has come, now stepped forth as the Harbinger of a Peace? Or has his sagacity, foreseeing this capital event of the total loss of a second British Army, taught him to dread consequences fatal to his person and connections and to fly from them?
I am sorry to learn that mon Fils is again in Spain. How comes this about. Colo. Searle and Majr: Jackson I am told are there too. Your Son is very well and wou’d have wrote to you if this had been a private opportunity. I have not got an Instructor for him, nor are there any good ones to be had here. He pursues his Latin as well as he can. [I shall] change my lodgings in a few days. Mr: De Neufville will give [you the] address: though it is more expensive it may yet be adviseable, to write under cover.

[salute] I am, dear Sir, with the greatest esteem & respect, your much obliged Friend & obedient humble Servant

[signed] FRA DANA
P.S. My best regards to Mr: Thaxter and all friends near you. If Capt: Bell who went over to England while I was in Holland, has not bought the Abbe Raynal’s History of the Indies (in English), and Smith Wealth of Nations, for me, pray give the necessary directions to Messrs: Sigourney & Co: to send for the last Editions of both works, on my account, and to forward them in my name by the first good opportunity to Mr: Jona: Jackson. Mr: Thaxter will make the necessary enquiry about this Business. I have forgot whether I desired Bell to leave that with you, or with Messrs: Sigourney & Co:.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “à Son Excellence Mr: Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats-Unis à Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Mr Dana. Decr 6/17 1781.” Some damage to the text where the seal was removed has resulted in the loss of four words.
1. Not found.
2. JA had not presented a memorial since 4 May when he tried to present those of 19 April to the States General and William V (vol. 11:272–284).
3. Or, 13 Dec. N.S. Among Dana’s papers is an undated note informing him of Cornwallis’ surrender endorsed: “Account of the { 148 } capture of Ld. Cornwallis and his Army, recd. at St: Petersbourg Decr. 2d. O.S. written by the King of Prussia to the Count de Goetz his Minister, and by him communicated to me” (MHi:Dana Family Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0096

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-17

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have received the Packet, containing the Correspondence relating to the Goods. I suppose that Mr Barclay is there before this time, and the Affair in a way of Accomodation. Young Mr Neufville is here, but I have thought it best not to give him as yet any Hopes of my Paying the Bills unless the Goods are delivered. I shall write fully by next Post. This serves chiefly to acquaint you that I will endeavour to pay the Bills that have been presented to you, drawn on Mr Laurens. But you terrify me, by acquainting me that there are yet a great Number behind. It is hard that I never had any Information sent me of the Sums drawn, a Line of Order to pay, nor a Syllable of Approbation for having paid any of the Bills drawn on Mr Laurens Mr Jay or yourself. As yet I do not see that I can go any farther, and therefore can engage for no more than you have mention’d. With great Esteem, I have the honour to be Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0097

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-12-18

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

Having recieved an Invitation to the Hague, in order to have some Conversation with some Gentlemen in the Government concerning the further Steps proper for me to take in the present Conjuncture, I had determined to have undertaken the Journey to day: but the Arrival in Town of the Duke de la Vauguyon, determined me to postpone it until tomorrow. At noon to day, his Excellency did me the honor of a Visit, and a long Conversation upon the State of affairs, at my House. He informed me, that upon the Communication I had made to him, when he was here last in Person, and afterwards by Letter, of my new Commission and Instructions, he had written to the Comte de Vergennes; had explained to that Minister his own sentiments; and expected an Answer. His own Idea is, that I should go to the Hague in some Week, when there is a President whose Sentiments and Disposition are favourable, and demand an Answer { 149 } to my former Proposition, and afterwards that I should go round to the Cities of Holland, and apply to the several Regencies. He thinks that I may now assume an higher Tone, which the late Cornwallization will well warrant. I shall however take Care not to advance too fast, so as to be unable to retreat. His advice is, to go to the Hague tomorrow and meet the Gentlemen, who wish to see me there, and this I shall do.
I have been very happy hitherto, in preserving an entire good Understanding with this Minister, and nothing shall ever be wanting on my part, to deserve his Confidence and Esteem.
I have transmitted by two opportunities, one Capt. Trowbridge from hence, another by Dr. Dexter by the way of France, Dispatches from Mr. Dana at Petersbourg, by which Congress will percieve, that material Advantages will arise from that Gentleman’s Residence in that place, whether he soon communicates his Mission to that Court or not.
The English Papers, which I forward by this opportunity, will inform Congress of the state of things and Parties in England. The ministry talk of a new System. Perhaps they may attempt Rhode Island once more in Exchange for Charlestown, and try their Skill at intercepting our Trade.

[salute] I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

[signed] John Adams1
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 434–437); endorsed: “Sec for F. Affs.” and “Letter 18 Decr 1781 M Adams Read 18 March 1782.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. When JA published this letter in 1810, he followed it with the observation that “this conference with the French Ambassador convinced me that he was either well read in the negotiations of D’Avaux or that he had been counselled by the Dutch patriots—my friends: perhaps both” (Boston Patriot, 1 Sept. 1810). For the writings of Antoine de Mesme, Comte d’Avaux, see JA to the president of Congress, 15 Oct., 2d letter, and note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0098

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-18

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

The Marquis de la Fayette is so obliging as to take the Care of this Letter, which, for the Sake of him, the Count de Noailles and others our french Friends, who take Passage with him in the Alliance, I hope will arrive safely. In the same Conveyance, there is a Packett intended for you from Congress,2 by which you will doubtless be informd of what has been doing there. It is six Months since { 150 } I left Philadelphia. You cannot therefore expect that I should give you any of the Intelligence of that City. I presume Mr L makes known to you every thing that is interesting.3 I wrote to you frequently while I was there, and suppose all my Letters have miscarried, as well as yours, if you have written to me, for I have not receivd one for many Months, except a Line by the Seiur de la Etombe,4 to whom I pay great Attention, both on Account of your Recommendation and his Merit. I give you Credit for a Packett of Gazzettes lately receivd, because I knew the Direction on the Cover was your hand writing.
Matters go on here just as you would expect from your knowledge of the People. Zealous in the Great Cause, they hesitate at no
Labor or Expence for its Support. Anxious to have a Code of Laws for the internal Government, adapted to the Spirit of their new Constitution, the General Court have appointed the Supreme Judges, with Mr Bowdoin who is at present perfectly at Leisure, to revise the Laws, and report necessary or proper Amendments.5 The two great Vacancies in the offices of President, and Professor of Mathematicks in our University are filled with Gentlemen of Learning and excellent Characters, the Revd Mr Willard of Beverly and the Rev Mr Williams of .6 The Accademy of Arts and Sciences is in a flourishing Way. A new Society is incorporated by the Name of the Medical Society.7 And this Metropolis has lately appointed a Committee to consider the present Arrangement of the Schools and report what further Improvements may be made; in which the better Education of female Children is designd to be comprehended.8 All these things, I know are pleasing to you. Our People treat Foreigners of Merit who come among them with Good Humour and Civility; being desirous of adopting the virtuous Manners of others and ingrafting them into our Stock. Laudable Examples on their Side and ours will be productive of mutual Benefit. Indeed the Men of Influence must form the Manners of the People. They can operate more towards cultivating the Principles and fixing the Habits of Virtue, than all the Force of Laws. This I think is verified by the Experience of the World; and should induce those People who exercise the Right of electing their own Rulers, to be circumspect in making their Choice. You are well enough acquainted with the Character of our first Magistrate,9 to judge what Effects his Influence may have upon Manners.
Inclosd are some of the Proceedings of a late Town Meeting, which I send to you as a private Citizen, for your mere Informa• { 151 } tion.10 The Meeting was called in Consequence of a Letter receivd by our Selectman from Marblehead, in which it was proposd that the Subject should be considerd in a Convention of the Maritime Towns. But this Town judgd it more proper to lay the Matter before the General Court, and have accordingly instructed their Representatives, and recommended it to the others to take the same Method. They could not think it becoming in them to write to you, though a fellow Citizen, on a Subject which concerns the American Republick, altho they have an intire Confidence, in your Attachment to the Interest of the United States, and to this Commonwealth which is an essential Part of them.
Please to pay my due Regards Mr Dana, Mr Thaxter &c. I rejoyce to hear of the Welfare of one of your Sons, whom we had almost given up as lost. The Count de Noailles tells me, he has a Letter for you from your Lady.11
Mrs Adams sends Compls. Miss has changed her Name and left her Fathers House.12

[salute] Your affectionate

[signed] Saml Adams
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr S. Adams. ansd March 2. 1782.” Filmed at [ante 2 March 1782] (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 356). For the enclosure see note 10.
1. This date is derived from Samuel Adams’ second letter to JA of this date, below.
2. See the letter from Robert R. Livingston, 20 Nov., and note 8, above.
3. Samuel Adams left Congress in late April (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 18:xvii). He probably refers to James Lovell, whose last extant letter, other than a brief note of 3 Oct. introducing a Mr. Gibbs of Salem (Adams Papers), was of 21 June (vol. 11:381–383).
4. JA to Samuel Adams, 11 March (vol. 11:194, note 1).
5. The General Court commissioned James Bowdoin, William Cushing, Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant, David Sewall, James Sullivan, Robert Treat Paine, and John Pickering as members of the committee to revise the laws in a resolution of 30 Nov. 1780 (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1780–1781, Oct. 1780 sess., ch. 98).
6. Joseph Willard was installed as president of Harvard on 19 Dec. (Boston Independent Chronicle, 27 Dec.), at which time he announced that the college had awarded honorary doctorates to the Chevalier de La Luzerne, Arthur Lee, and JA; see also Adams Family Correspondence, 4:242–243. Samuel Williams of Bradford, Mass., was installed as the Hollis Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy on 2 May 1780 (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 15:135–137).
7. The General Court granted a charter to the Massachusetts Medical Society in November (Walter L. Burrage, A History of the Massachusetts Medical Society . . . 1781–1922, Norwood, Mass., 1923, p. 63–67).
8. On 14 Dec. the Boston Town Meeting voted to form a committee chaired by Samuel Adams to “take into consideration the present arrangement of the publick Schools in the Town; and to Report what further improvements—may be made thereon, as soon as may be.” This committee apparently made no report and no further mention of educational reform has been found until 23 Sept. 1789, when a new committee was formed of which Samuel Adams was also a member. As a result of that committee’s work, the town meeting adopted a “new System of education” on 16 Oct. 1789 that explicitly provided for the education of “both Sexes” (Boston Record Commissioners, 26th Report, p. 220; 31st Report, p. 205–206, 208–210).
9. Gov. John Hancock.
10. The enclosure, filmed at 14 Dec. (Adams Papers, Microfilms, { 152 } Reel No. 355), consists of extracts from the minutes of Boston Town Meetings held on 11 and 14 Dec. (Boston Record Commissioners, 26th Report, p. 220; 31st Report, p. 214–217, 219). On the 11th the Town Meeting voted instructions to the town’s representatives in the General Court “to procure an Application to Congress, that they would give positive Instructions to their Commissioners for negotiating a Peace to make the right of the United States to the Fishery an Indispensible Article of the Treaty.” On the 14th the Town Meeting approved a circular letter to the maritime towns in which it set down the reasons why it had instructed its representatives regarding the fisheries and called on them to do the same.
11. From AA, 9 Dec. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:255–261).
12. Samuel Adams’ daughter Hannah married Thomas Wells on 1 June (Boston Record Commissioners, 30th Report, p. 448).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0099

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-18

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I have already written to you this Day by the Marquis de Lafayatte. This passes thro the Hands of Count de Noailles whom you did me the Honor to introduce to me.1 I duly acknowledgd the Receipt of your Favor which he brought me; but the Loss of my Letter was attended with an infinitely greater, that of Collo Palfrey. I wrote to you largely by him.
The Son in Law of one of our good Friends has lately arrivd here from England, which gives great Disgust to more Persons than his near Relations conceive of.2 On his Arrival, the Governor and Council directed him to state his Reasons for going to England and returning hither without the Leave of Government. He stated his Reasons; which in general were to render Service to the United States, particularly by removing the Ideas which the British Ministry had conceivd, of the Attachment of nine tenths of the Americans to that Government, and their Wishes to return to it. However frivolous this may appear to others, his nearest friends speak of it, can you beleive me, in a high Tone, and Mr — told me that Mr — was happy in being conscious not only of Innocence, but of great Merit. Those who hope for a Change of Person in our first Magistrate next Spring will be much embarrassd by this Circumstance.

[salute] Adieu my Friend

[signed] S A.
1. To Samuel Adams, 18 March 1780 (vol. 9:59–61).
2. For JA’s observations on the return of John Temple, James Bowdoin’s son-in-law, to America and an account of his fate when he reached Massachusetts, see JA to the president of Congress, 16 Aug., 1st letter, and note 1 (vol. 11:449–452); see also Richard Cranch to JA, 3 Nov. (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:240–243). For the summons issued by the Mass. Council on 26 Oct. ordering Temple to appear before it and Temple’s response, see MHS, Colls., 6th ser., 9 (1897):464–469.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Date: 1781-12-20

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

[salute] Sir

It has been insinuated to me, that the Spanish Ambassador, here, has Instructions from his Court, to enter into Negotiation with their high mightinesses, concerning an alliance between Spain and the Republick. If this fact has come to your Excellencies Knowledge, and there is no Inconvenience nor Impropriety in communicating it to me, I Should be very much obliged to you, for the Information, not from Curiosity merely but for my Government in the Steps I may have to take.
By my late Instructions, of which your Excellency has a Copy, I am to inform myself, concerning the Progress of American Negotiations, at the Court of Spain, and if an alliance Shall have been entered into, between his Catholic Majesty and the United States to invite his Catholic Majesty into the alliance proposed between France their High mightinesses and the Congress: if no Such alliance Shall have been formed; to receive his Catholic Majesty, Should he manifest a disposition to become a Party, &c.
Congress have wisely enjoined it upon me, to confer in the most confidential manner, with your Excellency, and I have made it a Law to myself, to take no material Step in this Negotiation, without your approbation: but my Instructions Seem to make it necessary to take Some measures, at least to Sound the disposition of the Spanish Ambassador. I would therefore beg Leave to propose to your Consideration and to request your opinion whether you think it adviseable for me to do myself the Honour of making a Visit to the Spanih Ambassador, and communicating to him the Substance of my Instruction as far as it relates to the Court of Madrid; or whether it would be better to communicate it by Letter, or whether Your Excellency will be so good as to take upon yourself, to make this Communication, and inform me of the Result of it.
I am advised here to wait on the President of their high Mightinesses, as soon as possible, and demand a categorical answer, to my former Proposition, and then to wait on the Grand Pensionary, and Mr Secretary Fagel, and in turn upon the Pensionaries of all the Cities of Holland, to inform them of the demand made to the President. But I Submit it to Consideration whether it will not be expedient, to communicate the Project of a triple or Quadruple alliance to some confidential Members of the States, in order to2 give more { 154 } Weight to my Demand, to the Pensionaries of Dort Harlem and amsterdam for Example with Permission to them to communicate it, where they shall think it necessary.3
The Court of Great Britain, are manifestly, availing themselves of the Mediation of Russia in order, to amuse this Republick and restrain it from exerting itself in the War and forming Connections, with the other belligerent Powers, without intending to make Peace with her upon any Conditions which would not be ruinous to her. It is therefore of the last Importance, to Holland, as well as of much Consequence to the other belligerent Powers to draw her out of the Snare, which one should think might be now easily done, by a Proposition of a tripple or quadruple alliance.
Tomorrow Morning at ten, I propose to do myself the Honour of waiting on your Excellency, if that hour is agreable, in order to avail myself, more particularly of your sentiments upon these Points.4 In the mean time, I have the honour to be, with the most perfect Respect and Consideration, sir, your most obt
Dft (Adams Papers). Filmed at (Dec. 1781, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 355).
1. This date is derived from La Vauguyon’s reply of 20 Dec. confirming JA’s meeting with him the next morning (Adams Papers).
2. To this point this sentence was interlined. The remainder of it was written in the left margin and marked for insertion here.
3. The following paragraph was written after the closing and marked for insertion at this point.
4. Apparently, JA never made any representations to the Spanish ambassador. Regarding the plan to seek a categorical reply from the States General to JA’s memorial of 19 April, see La Vauguyon’s letter of 30 Dec., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0101

Author: Vinton, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-20

From Thomas Vinton

[salute] Dear Sir

I am Sorry to Acquant you that I am Now Confined in this Prison I was taken the 10th of June Last by the Queen Charlotte Priveteer Belonging to London and was Striped of all my Cloaths And Left Nothing only what I had on. Excuse my Freedom in Writeing to you for alitle Cash to Supply my Pesent Wants as I Reayly Stand in Great Need for it and if it should be my Lot to Come to france I make no Dout but I Shall be able to make you amends for it and if I Should not I am well Assured that my Fathe will Make you ample Satisfaction for it When I Left home your Family was all well Like wise your Father in Law and his Family.
{ 155 }
I have had Lately the Small Post and a heavy fit of Sickness after it but thank god I have got the Great Deal the Better of and hope to be Restored to my former Strength again.
I am Mr Thomas Vinton’s Son Liveing about a Mile and a half of you house my Sitwation wont pemit me to Write at Large So I Must Conclude With Whiching this few Lines may find You in a Perfect State of health So I Remain Your Humble Servant
[signed] Thomas Vinton1
This leater that you find in hear is to my father and I Shall Bee very much oBlige to you if you would Send it the first Chance that you have.
thomas Vinton
1. Thomas Vinton was one of several Braintree and Milton natives captured on the Salem privateer Essex. For the most detailed account of JA’s efforts on the prisoners’ behalf, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:255–261.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0102

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1781-12-24

To Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Gentlemen

I have received your favours of the 21. and 23d,1 and have now to inform you that Mr Barclay Consul General of the United States is arrived in Town, and his commercial Knowledge as well as the nature of his office, make it proper, that I should relinquish to him, as I do, all the Care, that I might before have had of the continental Goods, as Dr Franklin has done. He will endeavour to finish this Business with the utmost dispatch.
I think however that the United States have great Reason to complain of the Rejection of a Proposal So reasonable as that, of an arbitration. Mr Barclays first object will be I presume to get the Possession of the Goods. Before the Goods are delivered to him, it will be impossible for me to make any Representations to Passy.
You have never yet Stated what was the first Cost of the Vessells. I beg that the accounts may be made up immediately that We may know how many Guilders are demanded of us.

[salute] I have the Honour to be

1. Not found. This may indicate that JA gave them to Barclay.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0103

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-24

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I receivd your Excellencys Letters of the 29th ultm.1 and 1st Instant yesterday and (not before) to my great Surprize and Yesterday was out of the Course of the Dutch post which arrivd to day. I was fearful that your Excellency had not quite recovered of your Illness in the Summer, the Nature of which is to Continue some time without great care. That your Excellency has been very busy I can well conceive, for I am sure you Are never Idle in the public cause.
I am happy to find that the Liberty I took in respect to the Illustrious Sufferer meets with your Excellenys approbation. Your Excellencys offer to reimburse the Sum proposed to be offered was unnecessary on many Accounts, but I thank you greatly for the manner in which you did it.
My Friend has a Communication with our Excellent Countryman, and has imparted to me what He said to the Governor of the Tower, videt.
“When I was in prosperity I thought myself and was generally esteemd an honest Man, Adversity hath discovered to me a Secret, I am very proud. I Hope however my pride is Laudable and becoming, I am too honest to borrow and too proud to beg.”
These are the Sentiments of a great Mind. With respect to the offer made to Him by a person unknown to Him. He says:
“I have often heard of E J. and always in Terms respectful and honorable tell Him how Much I feel myself obliged by His benevolent attention, which I Hope to relate in America. Explain my Case to Him, and say: that all I requird was permission to make Use of my own funds, or in Case of refusal, a Suitable Provision to be made for my Subsistance. While they refused or Shamefully neglected to do either, my circumstances and prospects were extreamly unpleasent but you my Friend are Master of the Subject, I have seen no Exaggeration, on the Contrary will if Ever it shall become Necessary add much to the late publications.” (Meaning those in the Courant began the 23 of Novr. and Ending the 28th.)2
Your Excellency will excuse the vanity I shew in transcribing the above passage as far as it relates to me, but I was forced to do it for the Sake of what followed.
Mr L says on the 5th Instant.
“Altho I am Very sick, yet somewhat more Composed than yester• { 157 } day, the fever has intermitted except there remains a deadly Heavyness in my Head. I continue to take the bark, and this Evening shall Submit to another Plaister of Flies. I do not feele as If I was in any Danger, but want of Sleep, of appetite and other wants and pains may very soon make me feele this is the first Time I have been able to use my pencil for some days, nor have I been able to read (my chief amusement) for many: Gods will be done.”
Your Excellency sees by the Above that He has refused the offer made Him. He has between 800 and 1000£ in the hands of Mr John Nutt.3 He says that He has a Hint given Him that his Enlargement is not far off—my Friend doubts it, but it is possible.4 He shall Know your Excellencys feelings for his Scituation by the next post.
The London Gazettes says that Kempenfelt has taken Eleven Transports containing 1000 men out of Guichens fleet.5
The most violent Englishmen here are exceedingly dejected.
I write to Madrid under Cover to Messrs Drouichets & Co banquiérs. The last letter says that Court is the same as ever, your Excellency understands how that is, better than I do.6 But I guess not too Good, Wise or active.
I trouble your Excellency to make my Compliments to Mr Thaxter and to beg Him to enquire after a Greek Hymn published at Amsterdam and supposed to be Homers.

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Sert.

[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jennings. 24. Decr Ansd 26. 1781.”
1. JA wrote two letters to Jenings on 29 Nov., both the first and second letters areabove. The first was never sent.
2. Henry Laurens’ letters quoted by Jenings here and later in this letter have not been further identified, but for Laurens’ comments regarding his treatment and financial situation, see Laurens, Papers, 15:380, and passim. For the accounts emphasizing the harshness and injustice attending Laurens’ captivity published by the London Courant, 22–27 Nov., see JA to Martha Laurens, 1 Dec., and note 1, above. On 28 Nov. the Courant was devoted almost wholly to George III’s speech to Parliament the previous day and the subsequent debate.
3. For Laurens’ attempts to obtain the release of funds held by John Nutt, a London merchant, see Laurens, Papers, 15:370–371, 377, 379–382, 408–409, 453–454.
4. Edmund Burke was actively promoting the exchange of Laurens for John Burgoyne during this time. Edward Bridgen, Jenings’ “Friend,” probably was aware of Burke’s efforts (Laurens, Papers, 15:389, 418, 432–434).
5. On 12 Dec., Adm. Richard Kempenfelt’s fleet of 12 ships of the line encountered 19 French ships of the line convoying over 100 merchant men. Because of the disparity between the strengths of the two fleets, Kempenfelt declined battle but managed to capture 14 transports carrying stores and 1,000 troops because of a tactical error by the French commander, Guichen. Reports of the encounter appeared in the London newspapers, including the London Courant and the Morning Herald, on or about 18 December. For an examination of Kempenfelt’s actions and the charge that he was sent to sea with too few ships, see Mackesy, War for America, p. 446–448.
{ 158 }
6. The letter to which Jenings refers has not been otherwise identified but was probably from either John Jay or William Carmichael. See John Jay’s letter of 15 Dec., above, for his comments on the Spanish court.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-12-25

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 25 December 1781. RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 438–441). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:70–71). In this letter, which Congress received on 18 Sept. 1782, JA provided the text of Lord Stormont’s announcement of 8 Sept. to the Swedish minister at London that Britain had accepted Russia as the sole mediator between itself and the Netherlands. It constituted Britain’s formal rejection of the joint mediation offered by Russia, Sweden, and Denmark in August and thereby precluded even an implied role for the armed neutrality in resolving the Anglo-Dutch war (to the president of Congress, 6 Aug., 1st letter, calendared, vol. 11:440). Stormont briefly summarized British grievances against the Netherlands that led to hostilities between Britain and its former ally. He noted that Britain refused Russia’s first offer of mediation because at the time there seemed little likelihood of success. Circumstances had changed, however, and the Dutch now seemed amenable to a separate peace. Britain would now accept Russia as the sole mediator because that nation had been the first to offer its assistance in resolving the Anglo-Dutch conflict. For Stormont’s formal acceptance of Russia’s mediation, see JA to the president of Congress, 13 Dec., calendared above.
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 438–441)). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:70–71)).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-12-25

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 25 December 1781. RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 442–444). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:71–72. This letter consists of an English translation of Prussia’s declaration of 8 Dec., intended to remove any questions about the identity of Prussian ships trading in accordance with its previous ordinances of 30 April and 3 November. For the ordinance of 30 April, which stated that Prussia would maintain a strict neutrality according to the principles set down in the declaration of the armed neutrality, see JA to the president of Congress, 21 May, calendared (vol. 11:327). For the 3 Nov. ordinance establishing rules for identifying Prussian ships, see Scott, ed., Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, p. 414–417.
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 442–444). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.), 5:71–72.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1781-12-26

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favour of the 24 was brought to me last night. It is true that I am not quite recovered of my Illness, I have Weaknesses and a { 159 } Lameness that is new to me. Ill Health is no Novelty to me, but Disobedience in my Legs and Feet, was unknown to me, untill I had the late Fever. I walk, however every day and find that I grow better, though but slowly.
Laurens has most certainly an honest soul. I think he must have his Liberty e’er long. Congress have it in their Power to imprison a whole Army, and Surely there is no stronger Reason for confining Mr L. than Mr Lovell or Gen. Lee.1
The Hymn to Ceres, I bought Sometime ago at Leyden, and have hunted for it every where in order to Send it you. But it is lost. I have not yet found it in this Town, will procure it, as soon as I can. I sent the 1st Vol of Pol. Holl. by Dr Dexter, and will send 2d Vol as soon as it is finished.
The Dutch will not accept the Mediation of Russia, but upon two preliminary’s 1. The Enjoyment of all the Rights of the maritime Neutrality. 2d a compleat Indemnification, for all the Losses, Sustained in the War. The English will never agree to either. So this little Bubble will burst like the great one of Vienna. But when will the Powers, leave off, this boyish Sport of blowing Bubbles with Tobacco Pipes and soap suds?
You Say the most violent Englishmen are exceedingly dejected: So, I am told they are here. They look as malicious as the Devil. But why do they not quit the Career, in which they will never find an End of their Mortifications?—a Career in which every Appearance of success, is a Misfortune and every Signal Defeat a Blessing?
It is no such Miracle. There are in England and Scotland five Millions and an half of Inhabitants—there are in the United States, four Millions. The former were at the Commencement of the War 140 Millions in Debt the latter not a farthing. The former were undone with Luxury and Corruption the later not quite. There is no Marvel therefore, in the Issue, They should have considered these Things twenty years ago, but they would not. G. Britain carries on the War, and pays her Interest and maintains her Govt at an Expence of <ten or fifteen> 25 or 30 Millions a Year America does not Spend two. This cannot last always. But many Reasons might be given in support of this opinion that the longer it lasts the better it will be for America in the End. If the Lion is killed Young Hercules will have the Skin. He does not want it however because he can be warm and comfortable without it.

[salute] With great Respect, I have the Honour to be, &c

[signed] J. Adams
{ 160 }
1. For another comparison between Henry Laurens’ situation and the earlier captures and exchanges of James Lovell and Gen. Charles Lee, see JA to Thomas Digges, 14 Oct. 1780 (vol. 10:266–267).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0107

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1781-12-26

To Jean de Neufville & Fils

[salute] Gentlemen

I recieved the Letter with which You honored me yesterday.1
Mr. Barclay’s Office gives him full Authority in the Affair of the Goods, and his Abilities and Experience enable him to do every thing that can be done: so that I shall with great pleasure leave the whole affair to him, ready however at all times to render him any service in my power.
It gives me great pleasure to learn that the affair is in a way to be settled. Mr. Barclay has written to his Exy. Dr. Franklin, and his Representation will be more proper and more effectual than any thing could have been from me. My own Sentiments concerning the Bills I had sometime ago written to his Excelly., and he has recieved them.

[salute] I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Gentlemen, your most obedient & humble Servant

LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers).
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Searle, James
Date: 1781-12-26

To James Searle

[salute] Dr Sir

Your two favours of Decr 3 and that of December 14, are before me.2 Mr Barclay is arrived, to my great Relief: His office and Character as well as your Recommendations entitle him to every Respect and Civility from me.
You favour from L’orient I answered, and transmitted under Cover to Mr Cummings, Some Dispatches from Gover Read. I condole with you, under the Loss of Mrs Searle:3 But Such is the Constitution of the World, and Under the Loss of Friends Fortunes, &c all We have to do is to Submit. Your Resolution to Spend the Remainder of your Days in Europe, may not prove to be a Law of the Medes,4 whether, however in Europe or America, I wish you success and Prosperity.
{ 161 }
Mr Bondfield has acted hitherto, for the Public at Bourdeaux, and has ever behaved well, as far as I have known. I Suppose that he will expect to be continued in the Service and to be Vice Consul or Consul, if Congress should appoint Such an officer for that Place. But perhaps Congress will, not appoint any but the Consul General and leave him to employ Such Persons as his Agents in other Cities as he pleases.
The Secretaryship for the Mission to Versailles, I am convinced will never be filled up, while the present Minister lives, unless it should be with the young Gentleman.5 The Commission for Peace is new modelled. The Ministers to Versailles and Madrid, Mr Laurens in the Tower and Mr Jefferson in America, are added in the new Commission: and there is no Secretary appointed. Mr Dana, is Still at Liberty to Act in it, in certain Circumstances, which however will not happen, because the Commission itself will not be called to Act a long time.
Portugal is but an English Colony, and never in my opinion will have any Thing to do with america while the War lasts. Thus you See, that I have no great Expectations, of your Succeeding in any Thing of a public Nature in Europe at present. Your Wish to be Vice Consul or Consul in Case another Should be appointed, is modest enough to be sure but you know that Congress have always many applications, and they weigh the Pretensions of all, very carefully. Your appointment would be very agreable to me, but all I can do in it, is to mention it to some of my friends. <But you know that my particular Friends in Congress are influenced by nobody, and no Consideration but the public good.>
As to your Sic Vos non Vobis Vellera fertis oves.6 It is true that I am a sheep and that I have been fleeced, but it gives me some Pleasure to reflect that my wool makes others warm. No I had rather Say I am a Bird, that my feathers have been plucked and worn as ornaments by others. Let them have the Plumage if they will it is but a Geugaw. However away with all this. It would be more just to say that We are all too much Addicted to disputing for the Feathers before We are quite in Possession of the Bird.
What do you mean by Ebenezer Kennersley?7 I dont Understand you. Your Sprightly Wit is a Proof to me that your Health is better, and it has a friendly effect upon mine.

[salute] I am with much Esteem, your Frd & hul sert

{ 162 }
1. The recipient’s copy of this letter was intercepted when the brig Betsey, bound from Nantes to Philadelphia, was captured and taken into New York (New York Royal Gazette, 3 July 1782). The letter was printed in the Royal Gazette of 10 July. A copy of the letter as reprinted in the Philadelphia Freeman’s Journal, 7 Aug., is in the Adams Papers (filmed at 30 April 1782, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 356). When JA published this letter in the Boston Patriot, 12 Sept. 1810, he noted, “this insignificant letter was intercepted by the enemy, and the ministry thought fit to print it in the newspapers; no doubt with the generous design of exciting miffs among Americans. Among those seized at St. Eustatia were some of more importance, but those they carefully suppressed.”
2. Neither of these letters has been found.
3. Ann Smith Searle died on 23 Sept. (Pennsylvania Gazette, 17 Oct.).
4. JA may be referring to Daniel, 6:15, “Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree or statute which the king establisheth may be changed”; but similar statements appear in Daniel, 6:8, 12, and Esther, 1:19.
5. William Temple Franklin.
6. That is, you sheep have fleeces not for yourselves (attributed to Virgil).
7. Presumably Rev. Ebenezer Kinnersley, Baptist minister and Franklin’s friend and associate in his electrical experiments (DAB; Franklin, Papers, 4:192). Without Searle’s letter, the meaning remains unclear.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0109

Author: Livingston, Robert R.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-26

From Robert R. Livingston

No 3
1st. Copy

[salute] Dear sir

It is very long since we have had the pleasure of hearing from you. Before this you will probably have received two Letters of mine and a duplicate of the last goes with this.1
Nothing material has happened since the date of that, except the Evacuation of Wilmington,2 which was, as you know, a very important port, as it checked the trade of North Carolina, and kept up a dangerous connection with almost the only Tories on the continent who have shewn spirit enough to support their principles openly. This new sacrifice by Britain, of their partizans conspiring with that made by the capitulation of York must open their eyes, and teach them what the experience of ages should have taught, that those friendships are weak which arise from a fellowship in guilt. Our army and the French troops are in quarters, the first in the Jersies, and upon Hudson’s river, the last in Virginia. General Greene will be reinforced by about eighteen hundred men under st. Clair.3 The Enemy are shut up in New York, savannah and Charlestown. Tho’ I believe they may yet have one or two posts near the latter, which they will keep ’till st Clair joins Greene. Count de Grasse is in the West Indies with so formidable an armament as promises the most important success, as during the winter when joined by the force { 163 } that has sailed from Brest, and So many of the Spanish fleet as are prepared to co-operate with him, he will have about fifty Sail of the line under his command.
I enclose several resolutions of congress, which will convince you that their late successes have not rendered them supine or negligent—the spirit which animates them will pervade most of the States.4 I need not suggest to you the use that should be made of this information, You will see at once that it should not be buried or paraded, that it should be discovered, but not displayed. I am persuaded that your own knowledge of the World and the particular situation of the Government you are in, will direct you to the best means of rendering it useful to this Country. I also enclose an ordinance relative to captures and recaptures, lately passed by Congress,5 you will observe that it is formed upon the plan recommended by the armed neutrality, it does credit in that view to our moderation, perhaps the conduct of Britain, and the neglect of the neutral powers to enforce their own regulations, may render the policy of the measure doubtful, this however gives new force to the deductions drawn from it in favor of our moderation and justice. You will also observe that it uses means to put an entire stop to all kind of commerce with Britain or in British manufactures. In consequence of this, new habits and new fashions must be introduced, wise nations will not neglect this favorable moment to render them subservient to the interest of their own commerce and manufactures. This affords you a topic which you need not be urged to enlarge upon. I am very fearful that you will not fully understand the cyphers in which my last Letters are written. I had them from the late committee of foreign affairs, tho’ they say they never received any letters from you in them. Mr Lovell has enclosed what he thinks may serve as an explanation. I would recommend it to you to write to me in Mr Dumas his cypher, till I can send you, or you send me one by a safe hand.6 Should you be at Paris, Doctor Franklin has Dumas’s cyphers. And now, sir, for all this american intelligence, let me receive from you a full return in European commodities of the same kind; I do not hesitate to impose this task upon you, because I know it is one that you have never neglected, and that you fully impressed with the idea of its importance to us. Among other things, I am persuaded Congress would wish to know the success of your loan, and your prospects. The disposition of the government and the strength of the marine of the united Provinces, { 164 } its objects and preparations for the ensuing campaign—the negociations which may be carrying on at present either for peace or War. The designs, finances and marine of Russia—I shall also apply to Mr Dana for information on this subject, but it will be much more practicable to correspond with him thro’ you, than to get Letters to him at this season of the Year from here. I shall however attempt both. I am too well acquainted with your industry and patriotism to think that you will repine at any trouble that this may give you. You know that Congress have a right to the fullest information from their ministers, and that their ministers have similar demands on them. I shall endeavour as far as lies in my power, to satisfy the last in future, since that charge has now devolved to me. I enclose a number of newspapers, they may afford you some information and amusement.

[salute] I have the honor to be sir, with great respect & esteem Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble servant

[signed] Robt R Livingston
RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “No. 3. 1st. Copy Secretary Livingston containg a No. of Res. of Congress 26th. Decr. 1781.” For the enclosures, see notes 4, 5, and 6.
1. Of 23 Oct. and 20 Nov., both above.
2. Wilmington, N.C., Cornwallis’ former base of operations, was evacuated on 14 November. Its garrison, together with a large number of Loyalists, went to Charleston (Greene, Papers, 9:634–635).
3. Gen. Arthur St. Clair’s force joined Greene’s army on 4 Jan. 1782 (same, 10:157).
4. The enclosed resolutions are dated 30 Oct., 2 and 23 Nov., and 10 December. The first called on the states to provide their quota of the eight million dollars appropriated for the war department and civil list, while the second established the precise quota for each state. The third resolution recommended that the states establish courts to punish infractions of the law of nations, including violations of safe conducts or passports; hostilities toward nations friendly or allied with the United States; contravention of the immunities of diplomatic representatives; and the failure to honor provisions of treaties to which the United States was a party. The last resolution requested that the states supply their quota of men for the army by 1 March 1782, each soldier to serve for three years or the duration of the war (JCC, 21:1087–1088, 1090–1091, 1136–1137, 1163–1164).
5. Enclosure not found. On 4 Dec., Congress adopted an ordinance, to come into force on 1 Feb. 1782, that established “what captures on water shall be lawful” and revoked all previous regulations on the subject. With regard to neutral trade, it brought American maritime practice into accordance with the provisions of the armed neutrality and the Franco-American commercial treaty by establishing the rule that free ships made free goods, except in the case of contraband or ships going to a blockaded port. It also provided that from 1 March 1782 all British merchandise, with very limited exceptions, would be “liable to capture and condemnation” if found within three miles of the coast (same, 21:1153–1158).
6. For Lovell’s renewed effort to explain his cipher, see his letter of 26 Dec., below. For Dumas’ 1775 cipher, see Weber, Codes and Ciphers, p. 23–24, 580–587.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0110

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-26

From James Lovell

[salute] Sir

I have not yet been made certain, that you comprehend that Cypher which I used in my Letters to you, and which will yet awhile be used.
You are to form Alphabets equal in number and of the same commencement and Range, as the Letters of the first sixth part of the family Name where you and I supped last with Mrs. Adams, and you are to look alternately into those constructed Alphabets opposite to my figures, for the Elements to spell with, some figures however I may have used as Baulks.1
[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esquire.” Sent as an enclosure in Robert R. Livingston to JA, 26 Dec., above.
1. For Lovell’s previous efforts to explain his cipher, see Lovell to JA, 21 June, and references in note 4 (vol. 11:381–383).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1781-12-29

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 29 December 1781. RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 446–450). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:77–79. This letter consists of English translations of a brief note announcing Austria’s accession to the armed neutrality and the formal act of accession signed at Vienna on 9 Oct. that Baron von Reischach, the Austrian minister to the Netherlands, presented to the States General on 11 December. The act reaffirmed the principles of Catherine II’s original declaration of 10 March 1780 (vol. 9:121–126) and indicated the joint measures that Austria and Russia would take to maintain a strict neutrality and to protect their merchant vessels from undue interference by the belligerent powers. In comments at the end of the letter, JA called particular attention to article 5, which stated that Austria and Russia would inform all the powers actually at war of their joint undertaking. On 30 Oct., in a document almost identical to Joseph II’s, Catherine accepted the Austrian accession (Scott, ed., Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800, p. 406–409).
JA ended his letter with an evaluation of the Austro-Russian action. He wrote that
“By the 5th. Article the two Imperial Courts ought to notify this to Congress, for it is most certain that the United States are one of the Powers actually at War. Whether they will or no time must discover: but by the Articles, to serve as a Basis of Peace at the proposed Congress at Vienna, these two Courts have certainly acknowledged the American Colonies to be a Power at War, and a Power sufficiently free to appear at Vienna, and make Peace with Great Britain.
{ 166 }
“The Confederation, for the liberty of Navigation of neutral Nations, is now one of the most formidable that ever was formed in the World. The only Question is, whether it is not too complicated and various to be managed to effect. The Conduct of the Empress of Russia towards this Republick, and especially in offering her Mediation for a seperate Peace between England and Holland, has excited some Jealousies of her Sincerity or her Constancy. But I think it will appear in the End, that She intends that Holland shall enjoy the full benefit of this Confederation, which will effectually deprive England of that Sovereignty of the Sea, which She so presumptuously claims and boasts. But if it should appear, which I do not expect, that the Empress should advise the Dutch to give up the right of carrying naval stores, after the example of Denmark, her Glory will suffer no small diminution, and I presume that Holland, humble as She is, will not submit to it, but make immediately common Cause with the Enemies of her Enemy.”
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 446–450). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:77–79).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0112

Author: Barclay, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-29

From Thomas Barclay

[salute] Sir

I shou’d have waited on you myself, but seeing some Carriages at your door I Concluded you were engaged. I have seen Mr. Van Arp, who says there is no other way of your giving a Guarrentee, that will have any force in it, but doing it before a Notary and Evidences. I am of opinion that to remove all shaddow of objection you had better do it in their own way; and if you think with me, the Notary will wait on you at any hour you please to appoint. If you incline to see me in the Meantime please to let me know. When the papers are signed and witness’d, I think they had better remain with you untill I get them from you. I have the honor to be with great respect your Excellencys most obed sert.
[signed] Thos Barclay
I send you inclosed the original paper, with the two Copy’s drawn by the Notary.1
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Barclay 29th. Decr. 1781 respecting Con. Goods.”
1. Presumably a reference to an agreement, dated 27 Dec., written and signed by JA on behalf of the United States “to indemnify Messieurs Van Arp and Company as Directors and Part owners of the ships the Liberty and Aurora, and all the other owners of the Said, ships from all Claims and Demands whatsoever which may be made on them, on Account of the Delivery of the Goods Specified . . . to the Honourable Thomas Barclay . . .” (PHi: Dreer Coll.). No notarized copies of this document have been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0113-0001

Author: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-30

From the Duc de La Vauguyon

Vous avez desiré Monsieur que des que je serois arrivé a Versailles je communiquasse a Monsieur Le Comte de Vergennes La disposition que vous avez a faire La demarche qui vous a eté conseillée par plusieurs membres bien intentionés des etats d’hollande, et que je lui fasse Connoitre en meme tems La resolution que vous avez prise de vous en abstenir S’il La desapprouve; ce Ministre me Charge de vous mander qu’il ne trouve aucun inconvenient a la visite que vous vous proposez de faire au president de l’assemblée des etats generaux aux ministres de La Republique et aux deputés des principales villes ce la province d’hollande pourveû que Sans laisser aux uns ni aux autres aucun écrit ministeriel vous vous borniez a leur demander si Le memoire que vous avez remis il y a quelques mois a eté l’objet des deliberations de Leurs hautes puissances et quelle est La reponse que vous pouvez transmettre au congrés des etats unis de l’amerique Septentrionale.
Je ne Scais pas encor precisement Monsieur quand je pourrai etre de retour a la haye mais je ne prevois pas que mon absence soit plus longue que je L’avoit projetée. Recevez Monsieur une nouvelle assurance des sentiments Inviolables de la Consideration tres distinguee avec lesquels J’ay Lhonneur d’etre Votre tres humble et tres obeissant Serviteur
[signed] Le Duc De la vauguyon1

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0113-0002

Author: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-12-30

The Duc de La Vauguyon to John Adams: A Translation

You have desired, sir, that as soon as I should be arrived at Versailles, I should communicate to the Comte de Vergennes the disposition you have to take a step that has been recommended by several well intentioned members of the States of Holland, and that I should give him to understand at the same time the resolution which you have taken to abstain from it, if he disapproves it. That minister charges me to acquaint you that he perceives no inconvenience in the visit which you propose to make to the president of the Assembly of the States General, to the ministers of the republic, and to the deputies of the principal cities of the province of Holland, provided that, without leaving with one or the other any ministerial writing, you confine yourself to demanding of them, whether the memorial which you presented some months ago, has been an object of the delibera• { 168 } tions of their high mightinesses, and what is the answer which you may transmit to the congress of the United States of North America.
I do not yet precisely know, sir, when I shall be able to return to The Hague; but I foresee nothing to prolong my absence beyond the time I at first projected. Receive, sir, fresh assurance of those inviolable sentiments of the most distinguished consideration, with which I have the honor to be your most humble and most obedient servant,
[signed] Le Duc De la vauguyon1
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Le Duke de la Vauguyon 30th. Decr. 1781.”
1. JA published this letter in English in the Boston Patriot of 19 Sept. 1810. He introduced it by stating that
“In the latter end of December, 1781, I concluded to present myself a second time to the president of their high mightinesses, for an answer to my former memorial, and drew up a memorial in English and French; but as I had reason to believe the Duke De La Vauguion and the Comte De Vergennes would not now oppose me, but on the contrary would be pleased by being consulted, I communicated my design to the Duke, who encouraged the project, and I believe went to Versailles, chiefly to consult the Comte on the subject. He soon wrote me, according to his promise, a letter, of which the following is a translation.”
Immediately following the letter JA commented on its effect on his subsequent actions.
“When I received this letter, and indeed before the Duke left the Hague, I had prepared my memorial in English and French; but I had no objection to substituting the Comte De Vergennes’s plan, which I thought however rather too tame and timid. I was therefore determined to consult my own privy council of Dutch patriots, who had never deceived me; who had never concealed from me any danger or difficulty, but who had always communicated to me every information, without exaggeration, which could afford me encouragement or hope. These were unanimously in favor of my memorial and against the Comte De Vergennes’s project. I asked them whether I ought not to strike out the epithet ‘categorical.’ Oh! no. By no means; that is the best word in the whole memorial. Our nation likes such hints: They think them manly. That word will excite more attention than all the rest, and you are sure now of the current in your favor. But if it should do no good, it will certainly do you no harm. We think you have hit the taste of our people.—I took this advice and proceeded as is detailed in my next letter to congress.”
For JA’s request for a categorical answer to this memorial of 19 April, see the Address to the President of the States General, [ante 9 Jan. 1782], below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0114

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-02

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have the Honor of receiving your Excellencys Letter of the 26th Ult. An american Gentleman passing through this Town had deliverd to me before the 1st volume du politique Hollandois, for which I humbly thank your Excellency, as I must do for your Intention to send me the second Vol. but as I have taken in all the numbers thereof and shall continue to have them as they come out, I must beg your Excellency not to give yourself that trouble. I have reced too the Pamplet relative to the Taxes of France and England,1 { 169 } which I have read with Attention and as I think it ought to be seen by others, I have put it into the Hands of a Friend here, to be made Known in his way. I think it will operate among the Capitalists here, as I doubt not it has done in Holland. I do not Know whether your Excellency has recd Mr Hollis’s Book.2 The volume of the Politique Hollandais, destined for that Gentleman shall be sent Him.
I have several publications from England for your Excellency which shall be conveyed to you by the first opportunity.
I think your Excellencys has been somewhat amused of late by the debate in the English Parliament.
The Ministry seem too much puzzled and too much divided among themselves to speak out. The meetings of the Counties and the State of Ireland will Confound them more. I trust that the french Fleet has escaped the fury of late winds, and then its operation may serve to bring them at last to their Senses. The English Minister here thinks that Barbadoes is taken. It will be a Happy Event to the Inhabitants, who I find have been tyrannizd over by their Governor Cunningham.3
I have lately recd the following extract from London.
“There is a Scheme now in Agitation, and I have no doubt, but it will be adopted by the minister, of encouraging the Growth of Tobo. in this Country.4 Some of the Produce of last Year I have seen, the Sort is Excellent and in a quantity to the value of £7000 worth is sold privately.
“the Plan
“Every Tobo Ground to be entered as the Hop Grounds are, and a Duty of 6d pr pd to be collected by the officers of Excise.
“If exported then 5d draw back to be allowed in that Case it will be sold by the Grower from 1 1/2 to 2d pr pd and yield a better profit than wheat or any other grain.
“The above £7000 worth was grown from 100 Acres only you are not to look on this as a visionary and impracticabl Scheme, but to make immediate Use of it as authentic.
“It is calculated that this Scheme will bring one Million and in time £1750,000 pr Ann. calculating on the constant demand, that is 30000 HHdds for home Consumption and 60,000 for exportation.”
Many observations might and have been made on this Scheme. One is that it shows the English begin to think that they have no more to do with the tobacco States, and are therefore wisely en• { 170 } deavouring to live without them. If they once imagine the rest of the States are no longer Necessary to them they may perhaps be induced to part with them without reluctance or delay.
I Know not whether your Excellency has seen the inclosed Letter.5 If not it is perhaps worthy of your Excellencys perusal. If your Excellency has seen it, and have no occasion to Keep it, I should be glad your Excellency would return it to me.
I have receivd to day a Letter from Mr Ridley a Gentleman of Maryland, who tells me, that He had thoughts of going to England with an order to endeavour to procure the exchange of Mr Lawrens and a general one for our prisoners, but it has been thought adviseable that He should not trust Himself in the Hands of the English. Perhaps Mr Deans Son has the Commission, as Mr Lee tells me that He certainly went to England about a month ago.6 His Father who is at Ghent conducted Him to Ostend.
I think I informed your Excellency that the Abbê Raynal resided here. If your Excellency has any Commands to Him, I should be proud to deliver them, as it will serve me as an Introduction to Him.
I Hope your Excellencys Health will be soon established in the most perfect manner.
Does your Excellency Know why Mr Jefferson does not arrive?
I Know not whether it appears to your Excellency, that Cornwallis has violated the Capitulation in sending the Virginia and other Traytors to n York in the Bonetta sloop.7

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt

[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Jenings 2d. Jany. 1782.”
1. Not identified.
2. Thomas Brand Hollis sent JA a set of Francis Blackburne, Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, 2 vols., London, 1780, via Edward Bridgen, but the volumes miscarried (from Bridgen, 13 July 1781, vol. 11:417–418). Jenings ultimately sent JA his own copy of the work (from Jenings, 29 May, Adams Papers).
3. Barbados was not taken. The island’s lower house had sent a memorial to the king to protest the actions of Gov. Cunningham and the upper house in “Establishing new and oppressive fees to be paid to the Secretary of the Island, for the use of the Governor, upon all writs, orders, processes, and papers issued by him, or in his name, in the Courts of Justice, Ordinary, Council, as Commander in Chief.” In the view of the London Courant, this indicated that the “baneful Scotch system of despotism and rapine, which made the colonies in America revolt from the other country, is securely exercised in the Island of Barbadoes.” For the memorial and extensive editorial commentary, see the London Courant of 6 and 7 December.
4. The source of this plan has not been found.
5. Not identified.
6. Matthew Ridley had been at Paris since early December on a mission to raise a loan for Maryland. On 13 Dec. Benjamin Franklin proposed giving Ridley powers to exchange Henry Laurens for Gen. Burgoyne and enter into a general exchange of all American prisoners in England. Franklin prepared the { 171 } papers necessary for the mission, but on the 26th Ridley informed Franklin that he believed it too risky for him to go to England (MHi: Matthew Ridley Diaries). Jesse Deane, son of Silas Deane, did not replace Ridley.
7. The Bonetta sloop was the British vessel designated in the articles of capitulation to carry the news of Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown to Gen. Clinton at New York. The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of 17 Dec. 1781 reported that “the Loyalists captured at York Town, with Lord Cornwallis, were put on board a sloop, and sent to New York, where they all arrived in perfect safety.” In fact, the captain of the Bonetta, Ralph Dundas, was criticized severely for refusing passage to Loyalists seeking to escape from Yorktown (Davies, ed., Docs. of the Amer. Rev., 1770–1783, 19:207–208, 209, 234, 241, 247, 268, 275).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0115

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1782-01-03

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Yesterday were presented to me two other Bills of Exchange on Mr. Laurens drawn 6th. July 1780, Numbers 40 and 41 for 550 Guilders each, which I wait your Excellency’s orders to accept. I have never been informed of the exact amount of the Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens on that day; but there are by the Numbers which have appeared probably many not yet arrived.
I have the honor to make your Excellency the Compliments of the Season, and to wish that the Year coming may be as prosperous as the past, and as much more so as You please.
The States will not probably accept the Mediation of Russia, but upon a preliminary, that the Treaty of maritime Neutrality be the Basis of it, and other Conditions which will render the Negotiation quite safe.1

[salute] I have the honor to be,2 Your Excellencys most obedient humble servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “Adams Jany. 3d. 1782.”
1. For the Dutch acceptance of Russian mediation, see Dumas’ letter of 14 Feb., below.
2. The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0116

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé
Date: 1782-01-05

To the Abbé Raynal

[salute] Dr Sir

I have the Honour to transmit you, the Revolution of America, translated into the Sublimest Language of Europe, if we are to believe the People of the Netherlands, who alone understand it. The Compliment paid to four Characters among whom I am Supposed to be one in this History, no doubt induced the Editor to dedicate it { 172 } to me: be this however as it may, I would not exchange the Small Share which belongs to me in that pathetic Testimony from So distinguished a Friend of Truth, Liberty and Humanity, for a Statue of Bronze or Marble to be erected in honour of me, by the first Monark of the World in the Market street of Philadelphia.1
I am however, very unhappy to find so many Mistakes in Point of Fact, because coming from so great an authority they will be taken for certain, and have an ill Effect.2
My Friend Edmund Jennings Esqr, a Gentleman whose Principles Sentiments and Disposition I think will be agreable to you, will have the Honour to deliver you this Letter.3 He resides at Brussells, and is very agreable Company.
1. Abbé Guillaume Thomas François Raynal, Staatsomwenteling van Amerika. Uit het Fransch, Amsterdam, 1781. Two copies are among JA’s books at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library). For the various printings and translations of Raynal’s work, see vol. 10:405. The dedication reads, “Zyner excellentie John Adams schildknaap gevolmagtigden staatsdienaar der vereenigde staaten van Amerika, edelmoedigen bevorderaar van de onafhanklykheid dier volkplantingen, wordt dit werk onderdaanigst opgedraagen, door zyner excellentie’s Zeer eebiedigenden Dienaar willem holtrop.” Translation: To his Excellency, John Adams Esqr., plenipotentiary officer of the United States of America, noble proponent of the independence of those colonies, this work is most humbly dedicated, by his Excellency’s very respectful servant Willem Holtrop. Raynal’s attribution of the leading roles in the adoption of the Declaration of Independence to John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and the two Adamses appeared on p. 76 of the Dutch edition.
2. See On the Abbé Raynal’s Révolution de l’Amérique, 22 Jan., below.
3. JA enclosed this letter in one to Jenings that has not been found (from Raynal, 18 Jan., below).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0117-0001

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-06

From Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

Votre Excellence Saura de Monsr. de Neufville que j’ai l’intention de placer encore 12 mille florins dans les fonds de l’Amerique.1 Peut etre que je Serai en etat dÿ ajouter encore 5 mille; mais cecÿ n’est pas encore decidé. Je prefere l’Emprunt, d’ont votre Excell: est chargé, a celui qui Se fait Sous la garantie de la France et de cette Republique, parce que je ne pretends pas etre Si ridicule que mes Compatriotes, qui jusqu a cette heure n’oseroient confier leur argent a l’Amérique Sans une telle caution! Aussi puis je assurer Votre Excell: que leur conduite, a tout egard, commence a me choquer. Je commence a me Sentir pour eux plus que de l’indifference. J’ai honte d’etre Hollandois et je Suis faché de la peine, que j’ai Si Sou• { 173 } vent prise, meme avec cette chaleur, qui fut l’effet de mon attachement pour les deux Peuples, afin de prevenir que Votre Excell: ne Se format une idée, que je croiois alors trop desavantageuse, du Caractere de la Nation. Je vois que j’aurois plustot du me rappeller la Reponse de Statilius a Brutus: Sapientis non esse propter malos et Stultos in periculum et turbas Se dare.2 Je ne regrette point le Sacrifice d’une des plus belles occasions pour faire une fortune eclatante. Je ne veux point de fortune. Mais je regrette le Sacrifice de mon repos et cela propter malos et Stultos! Voila tous ces Marchands, qui jadis firent tant de bruit, et qui par leurs Serieuses requetes pourroient forcer la faction Angloise, du moins l’embarrasser extremement. Voila cette Classe de Citoiens laquelle Seule est en possession de S’assembler pour deliberer Sur leurs interets communs, Sans que l’on ose leur en faire un crime—ne voit on pas tous ces Negocians meme ceux qui Sont ruinés Se taire comme S’ils avoient des cadenats a la bouche. Si un petit reste d’attachement pour un Païs, que je crois perdu Sans ressource, pourroit encore me faire Souhaiter quelque evenement, qui put Servir en guise de remede, que l’on donne a un mourant, ce Seroit de voir Votre Excellence demander d’un ton convenable a la Grandeur de l’Amerique Unie et a l’Indignité de l’acceuil, que l’on a fait a Son Ambassadeur, une reponse categorique au Memoire, que Votre Excell: a presenté de Sa part a leurs Hautes Puissances. Un tel pas, dans les circonstances actuelles, feroit eclat. Beaucoup de gens eclairés le Souhaitent, et, vraiment, il n’est plus tems de temporiser. C’est en toujours temporisant que certaine grande Ville n’a jamais fait rien qui vaille. Sa conduite, Surtout durant cette guerre, me paroit tres peu politique. Comme les Espagnols devant Gibraltar. Elle S’epuise et perd Son tems en de vains efforts contre certain Gros Personage, au lieu qu’avec beaucoup moins de ces memes efforts elle auroit pu nous procurer Une Alliance avec la France et l’Amerique,3 mesure dont la necessité est reconnue de tout le Monde, tandis qu’il ÿ a toujours eu des gens, qui etoient bien eloignés d’approuver cet autre pas. D’ailleurs la retraite de ce certain Personage auroit été une Suite necessaire d’une telle Alliance. Messieurs de la Grande Ville ont donc, a mon avis, tiré leur poudre aux moineaux! Mais il Sied tres mal a un Expolitique de Se meler des affaires d’Etat. Je demande pardon d’avoir Si longtems occupé votre Excellence et jai l’honneur detre avec tout le respect possible de Votre Excellence le tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] J D van der Capellen

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0117-0002

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-06

Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol to John Adams: A Translation

Your Excellency will know, through Mr. de Neufville, that I intend to place 12 thousand florins in the American funds.1 Perhaps I will be in a position to add an additional 5 thousand, but we will see. I prefer a loan, made chargeable to your Excellency, rather than a loan made under the guarantee of France and of this republic. I say this because I will not pretend to be as ridiculous as my compatriots, who, up until this hour, would not dare entrust their money to America without such a precaution! I assure your Excellency that their conduct, in all respects, begins to shock me. I am beginning to feel more than indifference toward them. I am ashamed to be Dutch and I am angry at the effort I have often made, with this same intensity, because of my devotion to these two countries, so that I might prevent your Excellency from forming unfavorable ideas about the character of the nation. You see, I would rather recall the response of Statilius to Brutus: Sapientis non esse propter malos et Stultos in periculum et turbas Se dare.2 I do not regret sacrificing one of the best occasions to make a brilliant fortune. I do not want a fortune. But I do regret sacrificing my peace of mind and this is because of knaves and fools. Look at all of the merchants, who formerly made a lot of noise, and who, through their serious petitions, could have overridden the English faction, or at least hindered it exceedingly. This is the only class of citizens that has the ability to assemble to deliberate their common interests, without anyone daring to make a crime of it. Don’t we see these merchants, even those who are ruined, keeping their mouths closed as if they were padlocked. If a small remainder of devotion for a peace, which I believe lost without resources, could make me hope for some event, which could serve as a remedy for the dying, it would be this: I would like to see your Excellency ask for, in a tone appropriate to the grandeur of the United States and to the shameful reception made to its ambassador, a categorical response to the memorial, as presented by your Excellency to their high mightinesses. Such a step, under the present circumstances, would create a commotion. Many enlightened men wish for it, and truly there is no more time for stalling. A certain great city never did anything worthwhile because it is still stalling. Like the Spanish before Gibraltar. It exhausts itself and loses time through vain efforts against a certain great personage, instead of, with much less effort, being able to produce for us an alliance with France and America.3 The necessity for this measure is known by everyone, even though there are always people too far removed to approve of this step. Moreover, the retreat of this personage would have to be a necessary consequence of such an alliance. Gentlemen of the great city have, in my opinion, spent their credit on trifles. But it is not proper for an Expolitique to get involved in affairs of the state. Please forgive me, your Excellency, for occupying so much of your time, and I have the honor { 175 } to be with all possible respect for your Excellency, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] J D van der Capellen
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “The Baron Van der Capellen ansd. Jany. 14. 1782.”
1. Van der Capellen previously expressed interest in investing in an American loan; see vol. 10:272.
2. Plutarch, Life of Brutus, ch. 12. For JA’s translation, see his reply of 14 Jan., below.
3. That is, Amsterdam should have concentrated on matters vital to the national interest rather than attempting to overthrow William V’s chief advisor, the Duke of Brunswick, for which see JA to the president of Congress, 26 June 1781, 1st letter (vol. 11:391–396).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0118

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Santheuvel, Bartholomeus van den
Date: 1782-01-09

Address to the President of the States General

On the fourth day of Last May, I had the Honour, of a Conference with the President of their High Mightinesses, in which I informed him that I had received a Commission <from my Sovereign> from the United States of America, with full Powers and Instructions, to propose and conclude a Treaty of Amity and Commerce, between the United States of America and the United Provinces of the Netherlands. At the Same Conference I had the Honour to demand an Audience of their High Mightinesses in order to present to them my Letters of Credence and full Powers.
The President assured me that he would make Report of all that I had Said to him, to their High Mightinesses, in order that it might be transmitted to the Several <Provinces and Branches> Members of the Sovereignty of this Country for their deliberation and Decision. I have not yet been honoured with an answer.
I now do myself the Honour, to wait on you sir, to demand as I do, <a cate><to be informed what answer, I am to write to the United States in Congress.> a categorical answer that I may be able to transmit it to my Sovereign.
LbC (Adams Papers); followed by a French translation in C. W. F. Dumas’ hand. For the French text, see JA to the president of Congress, 14 Jan., below.
1. For JA’s presentation of this address to the president of the States General, Bartholomeus van den Santheuvel, on 9 Jan., see his letter to the president of Congress, 14 Jan., below.
JA later recalled drafting the address “in the latter end of December, 1781” (from La Vauguyon, 30 Dec. 1781, note 1, above). The address, however, is entered in Lb/JA/16 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 104) between letters to Benjamin Franklin, 3 Jan., and from La Vauguyon, 30 Dec. 1781, which, along with the revisions made to the final sentence of the address, may indicate that JA composed the address in early January after receiving La Vauguyon’s letter. With minor changes in wording and entitled “Ulteriour Address,” JA included a copy of his address in A Collection of State-Papers, 1782, p. 21.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0119

Author: Livingston, Robert R.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-09

From Robert R. Livingston

No 4

[salute] Dr Sir

I write merely to put you on your guard against any Falsehoods the Enemy may think it necessary to publish, about the time of opening their Budget. All is well here. There has been no action to the Southward. Many of the Tories in North Carolina, enraged at being deserted, have joined our army, and as is said, Executed some of their Leaders.
The Enemy have drawn all their Troops into Charleston and our advanced parties are as low down as Hadrials point.1
I congratulate you upon the Brilliant Expedition of the Marquis de Bouille,2 it does him the highest honor, and his subsequent conduct forms such a Contrast to that of the English, as must, I should suppose, have great influence upon the minds of the people with you and forward your negotiations. The one fighting to oppress and enslave a free people. The other to establish their rights, the one attempting to Tiranize over the Ocean, and fetter the Commerce of the Wor[l]d, the other resisting that Tyranny, and rendering Trade as free as nature made it. The one, insulting, plundering and abusing an old Friend and ally in the midst of profound Peace, the other extending in War Mercy to her bitterest Enemies; and Marching to conquest with domestic Peace in their Train. The one burning defenceless Towns and peaceful Villages where they have been hospitably entertained—the other guarding from violence with scrupulous attention the fire sides of their inveterate Foes. The one murdering in cold Blood, or more crully by Want and Missery in Prison Ships, those who speak the same Language, profess the same Religion, and spring from the same ancestors. The other forgetting difference of Religion, Language and heriditary enmity, spare the vanquished administer to their wants, offer consolation to their distress, and prove more by their conduct, than by their professions, that they are armed in the cause of humanity. The one without regard to truth or decency, boasts of victories they never gained, and ostentatiously exaggerating the little advantages which superior numbers have sometimes given them, while the other leaves the debility of their Enemy, to express the Brilliancy of their actions. The one—but I should never have done, if I were to make the points in which the British differ from a brave humane and polished nation. The recap• { 177 } ture of St Eustatia in all its circumstances, and the disgraceful defence of york Town, prove that they are no longer the people we once thought them; if ever they were brave and generous they have lost those virtues with the Spirit of freedom. Adieu my Dear Sir, may your exertions in the Cause of your Country be attended with all the success they merit.

[salute] I have the honor to be &c. &c

Tr (PCC, No. 79, I, f. 365–367). A second transcript (PCC, No. 118, f. 85–87) indicates that Livingston sent copies on three vessels bound to Europe, but the absence of a RC in the Adams Papers or any extant reply may mean that JA never received this letter.
1. Haddrell’s (Haddrel’s) Point is across the harbor from Charleston, approximately three miles east of the city.
2. On the night of 25 Nov. the Marquis de Bouillé, governor of Martinique, landed 500 troops on St. Eustatius and on the 26th surprised and defeated a much larger British garrison. Although the recapture of the Dutch islands of St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Martin was celebrated in America and the Netherlands, its effect was minimal, because the islands were no longer of commercial importance. The French held them as Dutch property to be returned at the end of the war (Ronald Hurst, The Golden Rock: An Episode of the American War of Independence, 1775–1783, London, 1996, p. 185–193; Edler, Dutch Republic and Amer. Rev., p. 188–189).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0120

Author: Velde, John van de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-09

From John van de Velde

[salute] Honourable Sir

I have the honour of writing you these few Lines trusting on your natural Kindness, to Excuse the Liberty I make bold to take, to inquire from you, Iff y can Safely purchase on reasonable terms the Two Inclosed Congres bills on Nottes of 8 february 1779
No   2348 Letter L   }   due 8e february 1782, with 6 pC Intrest per  
  2349 Letter M  
annum each value Dollars one thousand payable to samuel Curson or bearer, to inable me to go safely in the business.1 I must hope you will do me the favour to give me your answer on the following points.
1e. The value of these dollars, or if these dollars are of the same value of such which the Congress when it draws on france pays at the rate of five Livres french money.
2e Iff these notes are reimbursed at Sight to the bearer when presented to the congres, or iff they must be Endorsed by him in whose favour they have been made.
3e Iff by Keeping them till quiet Times comes, the Intrest there of { 178 } will be continued to be payd, altho’ the time of reimbursement is Expired.
Your Kind and Speedy answer on my request will be Confering a favour I Shall ever Esteem and highly Value, having the honour to be with deep regard Honorable sir Your most Obeid servant
[signed] John: van de Velde
1. For Samuel Curson and Isaac Gouverneur Jr., continental agents at St. Eustatius who were captured and imprisoned by the British in 1781, see JA to the president of Congress, 6 Aug. 1781, 2d letter (vol. 11:440–442). The two notes presented by van de Velde were probably among those that Congress authorized to be paid to Curson on 3 Feb. 1779 (JCC, 13:139–140).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0121

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-11

From Francis Dana

[salute] My Dear Sir

Your letter of the 14th. Decr: which I received the last evening has made me very happy on many accounts, but especially as it has relieved me from the anxiety I have suffered for several weeks past about the fate of my first despatches. Those by Mr: Sayer I have had no concern about: I am glad however to learn that these also have come to hand. On some parts of their contents I wish to communicate freely with you, but it is by no means prudent to attempt this unless another private opportunity shou’d offer, of which their is no present prospect. I have wrote you once since, if I am not mistaken, on the 6/17th Decr:, after we had received the glorious news of the surrender of Cornwallis and his army which was sent post haste by ||The King of Prussia||. I was very soon favoured with a copy of this account. But this sub rosa. It seemed to make a lively impression here among those who are not our Enemies, and they are exceedingly crest fallen, and they have good reason to be so. The British Nation has fallen indeed, never to rise again, as Woolsey said of himself.1 As to the speech &c of the British King, their contents have not surprised me, they are exactly such as I expected, and serve but to confirm the opinion I have entertaind of that personallity, obstinacy, and cruelty with which he has resolved upon, and pursued the war in America. Indeed had peace been his sincere wish, perhaps his language wou’d not have been very different. But of that he will never entertain a sincere thought till his own subjects roused by dispair, make his Throne tremble, and his Crown to totter { 179 } on his head. What think you of the resolutions of London Westminster, and Southwark to petition the King to put an end to the war in America?2 Will they not be followed by many others, and, if so, is there a probability that the Nation in general can be awakened by them from their lethargy, and be roused to action? I think not, because the popular Leaders stumble at the threshold. Their pride is not yet sufficiently brought down. They are aiming at a seperate peace still with America: the Ministry may affect to close with them, if hard driven, upon this ground, well knowing that it is impracticable to succeed in such an attempt. The failure they woud not fail to improve to their own advantage by enkindling anew the passions of the Nation for the prosecution of the War. Time will show us with certainty the issue of these things. I think it no wild conjecture that England must suffer the misiries of a civil War before she finishes her foreign Wars. But let us leave this devoted Nation whose sufferings for their iniquities have scarce yet a begining, and say a few words about our own Country whose cup of bitterness I pray may soon be removed. It seems by your letter that high political matters have lately been transacted there, and on the whole, with you, I heartily acquiesce in them. I am pleased that so worthy a character as your friend in the south, is at last to take a part on a certain theatre.3 But I am at some loss who you mean by ||Mr. Laurens||. I intended the Father and not the Son by that number. I presume the former remains in statu quo, and therefore that you intend the latter by it. They are both good men and true. As to the revocation respecting ||Britain||4 it may probably have a good effect; they will come to the knowledge of it somehow or other, it may startle and alarm them; they, I believe, have considered themselves secure on that side: this therefore will be an unexpected attack, and a serious one, as it is a marked alienation. Touching the feelings of some folks, I can only say that it is not of much importance how they feel, a certain little circumstance will cut deep.
I perceive ||Mr. Adams|| has placed ||Mr. Dana|| almost on the topmost round of the ladder by the side of himself, whereas in fact he stands no higher if I may make use of that term, than on the very lowest round of it. However I think I know his disposition so well, that though he is not wholly destitute of pride, yet he wou’d stand and keep his watch there very contentedly so long as there was a prospect of doing any good there, and he had a reasonable ____ which last is not the case with him, and experience has fully shown it, as he says, and that necessity will oblige him, not to kick away { 180 } the ladder, but quietly to step off of it, without saying any thing to any body about it. I wish however that you might see him before he goes, indeed he cant possibly go yet a while. I shall certainly advise him to call upon you on his way, because I am persuaded he cou’d make some important communications. I am certain he will endeavour to do his principal business first. He has opened his design to me pretty fully.
I am much satisfied with your approbation of a certain correspondence.5 There are a few passages in my part of it that I shou’d have changed a little was it to be gone over again; but it was conducted in a hurry, and I am totally destitute of the counsel of any friend; and you know ones sentiments and expressions do not always appear in the same light upon further reflection. We are happily on very good terms, and I hope nothing will interrupt this harmony. To preserve it however I have judged it expedient to remain in statu quo awhile longer; especially since he has shown me the replication of ||The Empress|| and ||The Emperor|| to ||France||. My reflection upon it, which you will fully understand, is that there is no reasoning upon principles, where there is no system formed and pursued. No man can certainly tell how the wind will blow tomorrow by the course it takes to day. You are afraid he is too right in his conjectures. I have said he may be perfectly right, but still I doubt it exceedingly in some points. Patience is I am sensible very necessary, and some folks must be humoured, and since they have adopted a more rational system of war and of politicks I am quite content to humour them. I am more satisfied now than I have ever before been. Things will go right if ||Congress|| is not thrown off their guard.
I think ||the United States|| can’t suffer much from the instability of ||Russia|| though he shou’d continue fluctuating through the whole peice. He will at last ’tis probable settle down about half right. He is at present roving about enquiring Who will shew me the way to glory? And as to what relates to the general concerns is a good deal indifferent, though he keeps one distant and some call it a chimerical object steadily in view. Of this I may say more hereafter. I cant send you the copy you desire. ||France||, ||Spain||, and ||Congress|| as you observe seem well agreed in main points, relative to a certain subject, but if ||Mr. Adams|| and Compy. ever get together they will find difficulties upon the points, you and I have frequently talked upon. I had no doubt that our Countreymen wou’d be in great spirits. I am pleased to hear that there is at last an end of our paper money. This circumstance alone must be full evidence { 181 } that the United States have grown rich amidst an universal War. Mr: Ellery writes me from Philadelphia that we have established a national Bank which is like to succeed well.6 So that Trade flourishing, Crops abundant, whole armies captured, must surely put all good whigs and good Christians into good spirits and good humour. A Clitonade the next season shou’d crown the whole. Mr: E’s letter is dated the 28th. of June two days after my first despatches had arrived at Philadelphia as I find by a paper of the 27th., yet he makes no mention of them. He says only “the great politics of the day you will find in the public despatches which have lately been sent to Europe.”7 He is again in Congress. But as I have not seen, nor indeed am likely to see these public despatches he alludes to, so I shall remain ignorant of their contents unless you favour me with them. He supposes, from a Letter he has recd. from Mrs: D, that I shall not proceed for this place. I hope you will not fail to send me by the earliest opporty: some account of every event of importance which may take place in our Country. I shou’d have been much gratified to have received from yr: hand the account of Cornwallis’s Capture by the first post. As it happened, even the French Minister had no account of it till several days after it had come in the way I have mentioned. You know what an awkward situation this places one in.—I have found myself exceedingly out of health for a considerable time past, much afflicted with severe pains in my head, and an almost constant dizziness. Writing much is therefore very detrimental to me, but yet I cannot avoid doing it. You must excuse me therefore if I am not so punctual a correspondent as you might expect. I hope your own health is better established by this time. My ward is not troublesome to me. I shou’d be unhappy to be deprived of him, and yet I am very anxious about his education. Here there are neither schools, instructors, or Books. A good Latin Dictionary is not to be got in this City.8 Had he finished his classical studies I shoud meet with no difficulty in his future education. I wou’d superintend and direct that in the course you wou’d choose and point out. I cou’d not indeed do without him unless a certain person9 cou’d replace him; and you will find by what is said above that it cannot be made worth his quitting his present station so perhaps some body else must quit his—but more on this subject at another time. By the way, you must be exceedingly cautious till you adopt our Cyphers what you right to me, for every letter of which they have the least suspicion is intended for any person in public character will be opened. If therefore you shou’d have any Letters of { 182 } an uncommon size to pass between Merchant and Merchant, please to divide them, and send part under cover to the particular friends of the Gentlemen through whose hands you receiv’d my first despatches, and a part through the same channel with your last.10 If any letters for me from America shou’d happen to contain pamplets, News-papers &c, please to open them and to retain the printed papers but be careful to seal the letters up again. Some of those I have just received came open to the hands of the Gentn: here to whom they were addressed, particularly Mr: Jackson’s11 letters with our private accounts of his supplies for my family, and my remittances to him. You will be so kind as to make a Memd: of the expence of the postage of my letters; some of these last have travelled on to you from Spain, and one from Gottenburg to Paris, and from thence to Amsterdam, as I suppose. I dare to trust my Letters to your honour. Should there be any thing worth transmitting contained in the papers ’tis easy to cut it out and send it along. This same Liberty I extend to our worthy friend and companion who is with you.12 As I cannot write Mrs: D. or Mr: Jackson by this post I must beg you to desire Mr: Thaxter to write by several opportunities Mrs: Da. to thank Mr: J. for his kind attention to forward me our News-Papers, but as I am now at the extremity of the World he may save himself the trouble of transmitting them: and also the trouble of making out accounts between us—that it will answer all my purposes for him to say—Advances to your family so much Remittances so much, as the case may be at the time he writes, which I hope will be as often as he has leisure—the same for Mr: Tracey.
I believe with you that we shall have no general negociation for a peace suddenly, and I suppose that at present on foot between Holland and Britain will soon vanish away. Had Great Britain been wise for herself perhaps she shou’d have acquiesced in the propositions made by the August Mediators. Her feelings were as tenderly treated as the nature of the case cou’d possibly admit. All the world must have long been convinced that Britain has forever lost her Dominion over every part of the United-States. Those propositions were therefore calculated to let her down very gently, but she has obstinately and haughtily rejected them. I did expect that this rejection wou’d have induced the illustrious Mediators to have proceeded further, and with less ambiguity in favour of the United-States; and that it might have issued in a general agreement of the Neutral Confederated Powers to declare them a free and sovereign State; and to open their ports to America, without further regard to the chimerical pre• { 183 } tensions of G: Britain. If she had presumed to regard this as an hostile Act, the Confederated Powers wou’d have nothing to do to bring her quick to reason, but to turn the key of the Baltic upon her. Just and feasible as such a procedure wou’d be, for some reason or other, the Mediators seem to have come to a stand, perhaps they may think G: Britain will herself be presently obliged secretly to solicite the very Mediation she has just rejected, and to save her honour wou’d be glad to see the Neutral Powers united in a manner to compel her to peace by a tacit acknowledgment, at least, of the Independence of the United States. We must wait patiently and see what the event will be. Our Independence is now laid on a Rock.

[salute] I am, my dear Sir, your very sincere Friend & obedient humble Servant

I have this day received a large budget alluded to above, part of this sheet being wrote to day, as I missed one post. Mr: Thaxter shall hear from me soon. I wait your promised letter with impatience. I desired M T. to subscribe for me for the Amsterdam Gazette to be deliverd here. I wrote to him to obtain it earlier, but it seems time has been lost by it. He says he is looking out for an opportunity to send me my Gazettes and the Politique Holl:. It will not answer to send such things by post. I presume he means here those he has already on hand, if so there is time enough to send by water, shou’d I remain here in the Spring.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Dana. Decr 31 Jan. 11. ansd Feb. 5.”; docketed by CFA: “1781–2.”
1. Shakespeare, Henry the Eighth, Act III, scene ii, lines 371–372: “And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again.”
2. On 6, 8, and 10 Dec. 1781, respectively, meetings in Westminster, Southwark, and the City of London approved petitions to the King calling for an end to the American war (London Courant, 7, 10, 11 Dec. 1781). Although these meetings were held under aegis of the association movement, their purpose, in the wake of Yorktown, was neither parliamentary nor economic reform. Rather they were the tools by which the opposition, notably the Rockinghamites and Charles James Fox, hoped to overthrow the North ministry (Ian R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyville and Reform, London, 1962, p. 136–137).
3. Dana refers to JA’s letter of 14 Dec. 1781, above, and Thomas Jefferson’s appointment to the expanded peace commission.
4. The revocation of JA’s commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty.
5. For Dana’s September correspondence with the Marquis de Vérac, see JA to Dana, 14 Dec., and note 6, above.
6. Congress, following the recommendation of Robert Morris, resolved on 26 May 1781 to establish a national bank (JCC, 20:546).
7. Dana’s letters of 24, 28, and 31 March; and 2 and 4 April 1781 to the president of Congress written from Paris and concerning his proposed mission to St. Petersburg arrived on 22 June 1781 (same, 20:688; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:325–327, { 184 } 333–334, 344–345, 349–351). Ellery’s reference to “the great politics of the day” was probably to the joint commissions to accept the Austro-Russian mediation and to negotiate a peace treaty that Congress adopted on 15 June 1781 (vol. 11:368–377), and, perhaps, Dana’s appointment on 26 June 1781 as secretary to the peace commission until such time as he could proceed to St. Petersburg “either in a public or private character, without risking the interest or dignity of the United States” (JCC, 20:699). Rhode Island elected William Ellery, Dana’s father-in-law, as a delegate to Congress in May 1781; he did not attend until August (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 17:xxiv).
8. In letters of 12 and 13 Jan. to JA and John Thaxter respectively, JQA commented on the absence of dictionaries and schools in St. Petersburg (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:277, 279).
9. Probably Edmund Jenings, who contemplated accompanying Dana to Russia (vol. 11:296–297).
10. Dana’s first letter from St. Petersburg was directed to Jean de Neufville & Fils. He requested that JA send his reply “under cover” to the St. Petersburg bankers Strahlborn & Wolff (vol. 11:478–482).
11. Jonathan Jackson who, like Nathaniel Tracy mentioned at the end of the paragraph, was a Newburyport merchant with whom Dana corresponded.
12. John Thaxter.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0122

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-11

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Your Excellency will see by the within1 the Situation I am in, and will thence judge how far it may be proper for you to accept farther Drafts on Mr Laurens, with any Expectation of my enabling you to pay them, when I have not only no Promise of more Money, but an absolute Promise that I shall have no more. I shall use my Endeavours however, but am not sure of Succeeding, as we seem to have done what I long fear’d we should do, tir’d out our Friends by our endless Demands to pay Drafts unexpected and boundless. With the Million mentioned I can continue paying to the End of February, and then, if I get no more, must shut up Shop. I have the honour to be, with great Respect, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr Franklin 11. Jan. 1782 ansd 26.—inclosed is a Letter from M. Le Cte. De Vergennes.”
1. Vergennes to Franklin, 31 Dec. 1781 (Franklin, Papers, 36:347). Vergennes agreed to supply Franklin with one million livres, but refused further assistance, stating that any additional funds would have to come from the Dutch loan guaranteed by France.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0123

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Date: 1782-01-14

To Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

[salute] Sir

Returning last Evening from the Hague I had the Pleasure to find your kind Favour of the Sixth of this month, and am very glad to hear of your Intention to place 12 thousand Florins in the american { 185 } Funds. I am also much pleased to find that you prefer, the Loan with which I am intrusted, to that made under the warranty of France and this Republick, because it is a more frank and manly Acknowledgment of our just Pretensions, and it is treating America more in her true Character.
From the decent Reception I met with in the Course of the last Week from all the Ministers of the Republick, and the Deputies of all the Cities of Holland, and the affectionate and friendly Reception, from Several of them, I am much encouraged to believe, that the final Resolutions of the States, allthough they may be too long delayed, will yet be finally just, both towards this Country and America. I hope I may not be mistaken. The longer a Decision is delayed, the less important it will be to America most certainly, and the more important to the Republick, for it may be depended on that the Cause of America, will grow every day Stronger and that of her Ennemies every day weaker, whenever, or however, this nation may declare itself.
Is the answer of Statilius to Brutus, perfectly just? Is it not the Duty of a wise Man Sometimes to expose himself to Dangers, even for the good of Fools and Knaves? Is not the Sentiment in another ancient Writing, more just, that an whole City is worth Saving for the sake of ten honest Men, for five, or even for two?1 It is certain that a Statesman can never do good to his Country or City, without conferring a Benefit upon Some of very worthless and even of detestable Character. I am however, far from thinking that worthy Men are in this nation so rare. It is most certain that the Time approaches very fast, when the Republick must decide. I agree perfectly with you, that a certain great City might have accomplished a Treaty with France and America with half the Efforts which they have made in vain against a certain Personage. I am a Stranger to the great City, and to the Characters that govern it, but if common Fame is not more than commonly impudent upon this occasion, Self Love, is the Same there as I have often Seen it elsewhere, and the private Ambition of an Individual, is every where capable of obstructing for a Time the wisest Plans and most generous Efforts of disinterested Men.2 Yet I have generally observed, that well disposed Men have redoubled their ardour and Exertions, upon finding themselves embarrassed by such Motives of Individuals.
A Gentleman has had the goodness to read to me in French, the Preface to a certain Collection lately printed in Dutch, which is a masterly Composition.3
{ 186 }

[salute] With great Esteem and Respect, I have the Honour to be, sir your most obedient and most humble servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC (Algemeen Rijksarchief, Papers of van der Capellen, No. 29A, p. 266).
1. An allusion to the biblical story of the Lord’s decision to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis, 18:26–32).
2. Perhaps a reference to Joachim Rendorp, one of the burgomasters of Amsterdam, for which see JA to the president of Congress, 14 Jan., note 4, below.
3. Probably the first volume of Herman van Bracht’s Verzameling van de Constitutien der Vereenigde Onafhanglijke Staaten van Amerika.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1782-01-14

To the President of Congress

No. 1.

[salute] Sir

Having recieved the Advice of several Gentlemen, Members of the States, and also the Opinion of the Duke de la Vauguyon and the Comte de Vergennes, I went to the Hague on Tuesday the 8th. day of this Month, and the next Morning at ten waited on the President of their High Mightinesses, Mr. Van den Sandheuvel of Dort, a City of Holland, to whom I made a verbal Requisition in the following words, the French being the Language of the Court.1
“Le quatre de May dernier, j’eus l’honneur d’une Conference avec Monsieur Le President de Leurs Hautes Puissances, dans laquelle, je l’informai d’une Commission que j’avois reçue des Etats Unis d’Amerique, avec plein-pouvoirs et instructions pour proposer et conclure un Traité d’Amitié et de Commerce entre les Etats Unis d’Amerique et les Provinces Unies des Pays Bas.
“Dans la même Conference, j’eus l’honneur de demander une Audience à Leurs Hautes Puissances, afin de pouvoir leur presenter mes Lettres de Creance et plein-pouvoirs.
“Monsieur Le President m’assura, qu’il feroit rapport à Leurs Hautes Puissances de tout ce que je lui avois dit, afin que la chose pût etre transmise aux divers Membres de la Souveraineté de ces Pays, pour etre soumise à leur deliberation et à leur decision.
“Je n’ai pas encore été honoré d’une reponse; et j’ai, par cette raison, l’honneur de m’adresser à vous Monsieur, pour vous demander, comme je demande, une reponse cattégorique, laquelle je puisse transmettre à mon Souverain.”
The President assured me, that he would not fail to make Report to their High Mightinesses. After this, I sent a Servant to the Grand Pensionary Bliswick, to know at what Hour I should have the Hon• { 187 } or of a little Conversation with him. The Answer returned to me, with the Compliments of the Grand Pensionary, was, that he was sick, unable to attend the Assembly of the States, and to recieve any Visits at home from any body: but if my Business was of a public Nature, I might communicate it to his Secretary, which would be as well as to himself. Upon this I requested Mr. Dumas to call upon the Secretary, and communicate my Intentions to him, which he did.
I went next morning at ten to the Secretary of their High Mightinesses, Mr. Fagel, and communicated to him the Step I had taken the day before, who told me that he had already been informed of it, for that the President, according to his promise had made his Report to their High Mightinesses: that it was true that the Baron de Linden de Hemen had made his Report to their High Mightinesses, on the fourth of last May, of my Proposition to him, and that it had been forthwith taken ad referendum by all the Provinces, but that no Member of the Sovereignty had yet returned any answer at all, either in the affirmative or negative: that my Proposition of yesterday had in like manner been taken ad referendum by all the Provinces, and that it was necessary to wait to see what Answer they would give. The Secretary, who is perfectly well with the Court as his Ancestors and Family have been for a long Course of Years, and who is as complaisant to England as any Man in this Country,2 recieved me with perfect Politeness, and when I took Leave insisted upon accompanying me through all the Antichambers and long Entries quite to my Chariot Door in the Street, where he waited, until We entered and drove off. After this, I went to the House of Dort, the Pensionary of which City, Mr. Gyselaer, recieved me with Confidence and Affection; told me, that all he could say to me in his public Character was, that he thanked me for the Communication I had made to him, and would communicate it to the Deputation and to the Regency of his City, and that he hoped I should have as friendly an Answer as I desired, for that he personally saw me with great pleasure, and very readily acknowledged my Character and that of my Country.
I went next, at the Hour agreed on, to the House of Haerlem, where I was recieved by the whole Deputation, consisting of two Burgomasters, two Schepins and a Pensionary. Here passed a Scene, which really affected my Sensibility, and gave me great pleasure. The five Gentlemen were all aged and venerable Magistrates, who recieved me with an Affection and Cordiality, which dis• { 188 } covered in their Air and Countenance the Sincerity and Satisfaction they felt in the Words of their Pensionary when he told me, that they were only Deputies, that by the Constitution of Haerlem like all the others in the Republick, the Sovereignity resided in their Constituents the Regency: that they thanked me for the Communication I had made to them, that they would communicate it to the Regency of their City, and that for themselves they heartily wished it success, for that the United States, as Sufferers for and Defenders of the great Cause of Liberty, might depend upon the Esteem, Affection and Friendship of the City of Haerlem, and that they heartily wished a Connection between the two Republicks, and they congratulated Us on the Capture of Lord Cornwallis, to which We returned to them a Congratulation for the Recapture of St. Eustatia, and took our Leave.
At the House of Leyden We were recieved by the Pensionary, who told Us he had the Orders of his Burgomasters to recieve me, to thank me for the Communication and to promise to communicate it to their Regency.
At the House of Rotterdam We were recieved by the whole Deputation, consisting of two Burgomasters, two Schepins or Judges and the Pensionary. We recieved thanks for the Communication, and a promise to lay it before the Regency. At the House of Gouda and the Brille, the same Reception and the same Answer. At another House, where the Deputies of five small Cities lived together, the same Answer. At the House, where the Deputies of Allimaar and Enkhuisen reside, We were recieved by the whole Deputations, recieved the same Answers with the Addition of Professions of Esteem and Wishes, that in time there might be a closer Connection between the two Nations.
Thus I had been introduced to the Ministers of the Republick, and to the Deputies of all the Cities of Holland except Amsterdam.3 In my Messages to the Deputations I had followed the Order of the Cities, according to the Rank they held in the Confederation. I had sent to the House of Amsterdam in its Course. The Messenger the first time found only one of the Burgomasters at home, Mr. Rendorp,4 who returned for Answer that the Gentlemen were not then together, but that they would send me word at what time they would recieve me: but no Answer came for a day or two. I sent again. The Messenger found only the same Burgomaster, who returned the same Answer. On Friday Morning, having no Answer, I sent a third { 189 } time. The Answer from the same Burgomaster was, that the Gentlemen were then setting off for Amsterdam, being obliged to return upon business, and could not then see me, but would send me word. Upon this I concluded to return to Amsterdam too, and to make the Communication there in writing to the Regency: but reflecting that this Step would occasion much Speculation and many Reflections upon Amsterdam, I desired Mr. Dumas to wait on Mr. Vischer, the Pensionary, who remained in Town, and consult with him. The Result was, that I made my Visit to the House of Amsterdam, and made the Communication to Mr. Vischer, who recieved me like a worthy Minister of the great City.
It may not be amiss to conclude this Letter by observing, that every City is considered as an independent Republick. The Burgomasters have the Administration of the Executive like little Kings. There is in the great Council, consisting of the Burgomasters and Councillors, a limited legislative Authority. The Schepins are the Judges. The Deputies are appointed by the Regency, which consist of the Burgomasters, Councillors and Schepins; and in the large Cities, the Deputies consist of two Burgomasters, two Schepins or Councillors, and one Pensionary. The Pensionary is the Secretary of State, or the Minister of the City. The Pensionaries are generally the Speakers upon all Occasions, even in the Assembly of the States of the Province.
These Operations at the Hague have been recieved by the Public with great appearance of Approbation and Pleasure, and the Gazettes and Pamphlets universally cry against the Mediation of Russia, and for an immediate Alliance with France and America. But the Leaders of the Republick, those of them I mean who are well intentioned, wish to have the two Negotiations, that for Peace under the Mediation of Russia, and that for an Alliance with France, Spain and America, laid before the States and the Publick together, not so much with an Expectation of accomplishing speedily an Alliance with Bourbon and America as with a hope of checking the English Party, and preventing them from accepting a Peace with England, or the Mediation of Russia to that End upon dangerous or dishonorable Terms.
If it was in any other Country, I should conclude from all Appearances, that an Alliance with America and France at least would be finished in a few Weeks: but I have been long enough here to know the Nation better. The Constitution of Government is so compli• { 190 } cated and whimsical a thing, and the Temper and Character of the Nation so peculiar, that this is considered every where as the most difficult Embassy in Europe. But at present it is more so than ever: the Nation is more divided than usual, and they are afraid of every Body—afraid of France, afraid of America, England, Russia and the Northern Powers, and above all of the Emperor, who is taking Measures that will infallibly ruin the Commerce of this Country, if they do not soon change their Conduct.

[salute] 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. 452–457).
1. For the address in English, see the address to the president of the States General, [ante 9 Jan.], above. C. W. F. Dumas accompanied JA and on 15 Jan. reported to the president of Congress that “his excellency having made his requisition, I repeated it, that the president might understand it exactly, in the same terms as are to be seen in the Leyden Gazette, here sent, where I have got them inserted” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:102–103). The address appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 15 Jan., under the heading “De La Haie, le 12 Janvier.” The Gazette identifies JA as “Ministre-Plenipotentiaire des Etats-Unis,” a significant distinction.
Reports of JA’s initiative, together with the text of his address, soon appeared in London newspapers. “In general it is agreed, that the step taken by the American Minister could not have been better timed. For, in fact, the capture of Eustacius raises obstacles to the project of a particular peace with England, which are very favourable to the forming of political connections with a State with which we bear such a strong resemblance, and can contract the strongest ties of interest” (Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, 22, 23, 24 Jan.; London Evening Post, 19–22, 22–24 Jan.; London Chronicle, 22–24 Jan.; London Packet; or, New Lloyd’s Evening Post, 21–23 Jan.).
The address was also published by Antoine Marie Cerisier in Le politique hollandais on 21 January. In the issue of 28 Jan., Cerisier effusively praised JA as a man unwavering in his opposition to Britain and untiring in his labors to establish American independence and forge a Dutch-American alliance, which similarities in history, interests, and institutions made a natural one. To show JA’s standing, even among Britons, Cerisier cited Francis Blackburne’s Memoirs of Thomas Hollis (2 vols., London, 1780), quoting a passage praising JA that is so similar to one in Edmund Jenings’ letter of 17 Sept. 1781 (vol. 11:485–490) that it seems possible that JA supplied him with Jenings’ letter. Cerisier followed his selection from the Memoirs with a brief biography of JA.
The effort in Le politique hollandais of 21 and 28 Jan. to promote JA was continued in later issues. It, however, was not received with universal acclaim. Benjamin Franklin received an anonymous letter signed “W.R.,” dated 31 Jan. at Amsterdam, that sharply criticized JA (Franklin, Papers, 36:499–501). Although “W.R.” was a pseudonym used by Thomas Digges, the letter received by Franklin is not in Digges’ hand and there is no reason to believe that he sent the letter. The author wrote that he had once thought that JA’s propaganda efforts in the French press in the Netherlands would have a good effect and still would “if he had not lost sight of his plan the end of wch. he now defeats, particularly in his number [of Le politique hollandais] of this week which distressd me prodigiously on his account! Good god what can he mean? Others as well as myself almost from the first appearance of the poulitique hollandais, heard it as no secret that all that concern’d America in that paper was litterally translated from his own writing, and he was not sorry then the world should know him to be the author! What can then possess him now? Has his late fever impaired his intellects.” The author concluded that JA wholly lacked the qualities possessed by Franklin that were necessary to succeed with { 191 } the Dutch and to take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves. Two copies of this letter, one in JA’s hand, are in the Adams Papers, but there is no indication as to when he learned of it.
2. For Hendrik Fagel’s pro-British sympathies, see vol. 7:169, note 5. Members of his family had served as griffier or secretary to the States General since the appointment of Casper Fagel to the post in 1670 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek).
3. JA does not mention visiting the delegation from Delft. In an undated note in the Adams Papers, Delft’s representatives informed JA that they were returning directly home at the end of the session and would be unable to meet with him at The Hague (filmed at [1782], Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 359).
4. When this letter appeared in the Boston Patriot of 19 and 22 Sept. 1810, JA followed it with a brief note on the behavior of Joachim Rendorp. “I did not explain to congress in this letter, the oddity in the conduct at the hotel d’Amsterdam: but in 1810 it may be noted that the whole was owing to the intrigues of the ambitious burgomaster Rendorp, who secretly flattered the court in hopes of obtaining an embassy to Russia. This was not the first nor the last of his maneuvres, to obstruct and embarrass me.” For a more charitable view of Rendorp’s motives, see Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 187–188.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1782-01-15

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 15 January 1782. RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 458–459). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:111.
In this letter, JA provided the English text of a note presented by the Russian minister, Prince Gallitzin, to Hendrik Fagel, secretary to the States General, on 10 January. The Russian diplomat wrote that, in order to avoid delays occasioned by correspondence, Catherine II thought it essential that instructions designed to meet all contingencies with regard to belligerent depredations on the commerce of the allied neutral powers be issued to the ministers of Russia, Sweden, and Denmark at the belligerent courts. She also recommended that the States General issue similar instructions. JA wrote that
“I have transmitted this, as well as all other State Papers relative to the maritime Confederation, because I hope it will be finally established, as it appears to be for the good of Mankind in general and of the United States in particular. The Dutch are so attached to it, that I think they will not give it up, and if the Empress has it sincerely at heart She will not consent that the Dutch should relinquish it.”
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 458–459). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:111).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0126

Author: Grand, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-15

From Henry Grand

[salute] sir

I have before me the two Letters you honoured me with in date of Decr. 1st. and 10th. and am made sensible by what you are pleased to tell me that you have L6857.3 to claim, not of me however, as I have given you credit and M. Dana by your order, for the whole sum Dr. Franklin charged me to pay to you personally the 12th. feby 1780, as appears by the inclosed Copy of his order.1 But as M. Dana in his Accounts with Congress, no doubt given in to Dr. Franklin, must { 192 } have acknowledged haveing received L6857.3 it makes it plain, the Doctor not having paid them, nor given an order on me for the same, that he is indebted to you for it.
Beside your giving credit to Congress for   L24000.    
Mr. Dana for   " 6857.   3  
makes a sum of   L30857.   3  
exceeding of the difference due to you, Doctor franklin’s order for L24000.
I am going to Passy to settle that Matter if possible, at all rates please to write to M. Franklin by return of Post, to make an end of it;2 I shall also take on me to demand a fresh order on account of your Appointments, imagining the Freedom of Amsterdam must be kept up and ravituaillée as every where else.

[salute] I remain most respectfully sir Your most obt. hble st.

[signed] Grand
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Son Excellence Monsieur Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats unis a Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Grand 15th. Jany. 1782.” For the enclosure, see note 1.
1. Grand copied Franklin’s order of 12 Feb. 1780 on the third and otherwise blank page of the letter. Grand was directed to pay JA 24,000 livres to the value of 1,000 pounds sterling, the payment to be carried on the general accounts. For the record of payments to JA and Francis Dana from 12 Feb. 1780, see DNA:RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, p. 266.
2. No letter to Benjamin Franklin on this matter has been found, but see Grand’s letter of 11 March, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0127

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hanson, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1782-01-16

To the President of Congress

RC (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 462–465). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:114–116. In this letter JA included English translations of two items that appeared in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 8 and 11 January. The first was the representation made on 31 Aug. by the Swedish minister at London, in company with the representatives of Denmark and Russia, to jointly mediate the Anglo-Dutch war so as to avoid further belligerent depredations on neutral trade. See also JA’s letters to the president of Congress of 6 Aug., 1st letter, calendared (vol. 11:440), and 13 Dec. 1781, calendared above. The second item concerned the British attempt to stop and search a convoy protected by the Swedish frigate Jeramis. The Swedish government rejected Britain’s claim that it had the right to search, even under the provisions of the armed neutrality. Sweden argued that such a right existed only for vessels not under convoy, in all other cases the sovereign flag served to guarantee the nature of the cargo and its ownership. A dispatch dated 14 Dec. at St. Petersburg reported that the Russian government approved the Swedish position and ordered its ministers at the belligerent courts to take like action in similar situations without waiting for specific orders to do so.
RC (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 462–465). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:114–116.)

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0128

Author: Laurens, Martha
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-16

From Martha Laurens

[salute] Sir

Your very kind and polite Letter, which I received in its proper time, deserved my earliest and most hearty ackowledgements, but the hopes of receiving some Intelligence from London with regard to my dear Papa, worth Communicating, joined to some other Circumstances, have been the means of my delaying a duty, which finds itself most strictly united with my satisfaction, as it is undoubtedly more agreable to me to write to you under the Title of my dr Papa’s friend, than when I addressed you only as an American Minister. My mind is at present in a state directly opposite to what it was when I first had the honor of writing to your Excellency. You will not be surprized at this Sir, when I tell you that I have just learned, by a Gazette indeed, that this worthy and inestimable Parent is at Liberty.1 I sincerely thank you Sir, for all that you have done to serve my dear Father during the time of his Confinement, and shall take a pleasure in informing him of it, as well as of your Civility to his Daughter. I thank you also Sir for your Congratulations on the late great Victory gained in America, and on the part which my dr Brother has had in it. I am happy to hear that he acts in such a Manner as to gain public Approbation, and am persuaded, that he has nothing more at heart, than to be useful to his Country.

[salute] I have the honor to be, with sincere good Wishes & great Respect—Your Excellency’s—most obliged humble Servant.

[signed] Martha Laurens
1. On 31 Dec. Henry Laurens was called before Lord Mansfield and admitted to bail. He “was much emaciated, and so heavily afflicted with the gout as to be obliged to make use of crutches” (London Packet, 31 Dec. 1781 and 2 Jan. 1782). According to his own account of the event, Laurens went from the hearing to lodgings in Norfolk St. and on the third day set out for Bath to restore his health (Laurens, Papers, 15:396–398; see also Morris, Peacemakers, p. 265). Moses Young, Laurens’ secretary, wrote from Nantes on 19 Jan. to inform JA that he planned to join Laurens at Bath and offered to carry any messages that JA might have for the freed prisoner (Adams Papers).
Laurens’ release on bail was controversial because of questions about the role he could play in peace negotiations. Wishful thinkers in England believed that Laurens, even after Yorktown, might convince the United States to settle the war without receiving full independence. The Morning Chronicle reported that “it is generally believed, that upon Mr. Laurens’s return from Bath, he will be appointed a mediator between Great Britain and Congress; and it is said, the most flattering expectations of a reconciliation between the mother country and her colonies are founded upon this gentleman’s negociation” (1 Jan.). Such reports, together with Laurens’ status as a prisoner free on bail, made it impossible for JA, or any other member of the peace commission, to have { 194 } official dealings with him regarding an Anglo-American peace (to Benjamin Franklin, 16 April, below). Such limitations did not mean, however, that when Laurens, with Shelburne’s permission, met with JA in April their discussions were not meaningful and accurate. In fact, Laurens served as a conduit to Shelburne for the official negotiating position of the United States as expressed by JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bernhard, J.
Date: 1782-01-18

To J. Bernhard

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter which you did me the Honour to write me, Yesterday from Leyden and it would give me Pleasure, if it were in my Power to give you a Satisfactory answer. But it is not. I am So far from having any Authority, from Congress to encourage officers, to go to America from Europe, with a View of obtaining service in the American Army, that my orders are quite the Contrary.
This War has continued in America, seven years, and the Army has been new formed So often upon the Expiration of the Term for which it was engaged, that there are at this day, a vast Number of officers, Natives of america, who cannot obtain service. Which will shew you, in a clear Light, the Impracticability, of my recommending any officer to Congress or General Washington for Service. All that I can do in such Cases is, when any officer is determined to go to america, at his own Expence and risque in order to see Service, to give him a Letter of Introduction to a Friend, who might shew him a personal Civility.1

[salute] I have the Honour to be, sir, your

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “to be left with Mr F. J. Landman Merchant Amsterdam.”
1. Bernhard, a former captain in the Dutch Army, wrote on 17 Jan. (Adams Papers) to request JA’s assistance in joining the Continental Army at his former rank. Bernhard wrote again on 20 Jan. (Adams Papers) to thank JA for his consideration and to request a letter of recommendation to take to America. No reply by JA has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0130

Author: Clark, Gregory
Author: Horton, William
Author: Glover, Lewis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-18

From Gregory Clark and Others

[salute] Most respected Sir

Having full assurance of your assiduous attention, to Such of your unhapy Countrymen, as have had the misfortune to be Capturd. and shut up felons, In Brittish prisons, and of being Instrumental In their relief We now laboring under the unhappy Circumse { 195 } of Confinement, far distant from friends or Money, do most humbly implore your assistance In Supplying us with Some Money, to palliate In Some Degree the horrows of a long tedious Confinement. We are Sorry at the Same time to trouble your Excellency with Letters upon Such a Subject; But the Scantiness of our daily Sustinance, being barely Suffient to preserve Life much more to render it agreable, Compels us Contrary to our Inclinations to So disagreeable a request. If your Excellency Can See it in you way to grant the above request we Shall ever Look upon ourselves In Duty bound to make you ample Satisfaction, when ever it Shall please God to give us an oppertunity.

[salute] We are with the greatest respect your most obedient humble Servants under Confinement.

[signed] Gregory Clark
[signed] Wm Horton of milton
[signed] Lewis Glover
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Ambassidor at France”; in other hands: “à Paris”; “28. fev.”; “rue de richelieu”; “Ché monsieur le grand banquer”; stamped: “MORLAIS”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Lewis Glover 18th. Jany. 1782.”

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0131

Author: Guild, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-18

From Benjamin Guild

I had the happiness of arriving here safe in the Alliance, evening before last, after a passage of twenty three days. In her came passengers the Marquis de la Fayette, Vis-Count de Noalles, Genl. du Portail, several other French officers and their suits. The Marquis and Vis-Count went on for Paris this morning and will probably arrive there on Sunday.
We left Nantasket road Christmas-day and shaped a direct course to this port and scarce saw a sail till we arrived. My conclusion to return to Europe was so sudden, least I should lose so favorable an opportunity, that I had not a single day or scarcely a single hour at command till I went on board. This prevented my waiting upon Mrs Adams in person and receiving any commands from her. By the detention of the ship a short time unexpectedly I however had an opportunity of giving her information of my design and receiving a letter directed to my care.1 I enclose it, together with those to Mr Dana, and suppose it contains information respecting your family and connexions who I understood were all very well.
{ 196 }
I have been so little time in America and been so constantly confined to business that perhaps many things may have escaped my attention. But I am happy to inform you that universal prosperity and contentment are so apparent in that country that it is impossible to mistake their vissage.
It is true that a large number of our private armed ships to the Eastward have been taken in the course of the last season, but in every other respect we have been successful. And indeed we have captured a number of valuable ships belonging to the enemy.
I was extremely pleased to find that our State had in a great measure reassumed its ancient happy aspect. I had reason to believe that civil government was never stronger and was told by some on whose judgment I could rely, that the State was never more powerful or in a more respectable situation than the present.
It would be endless for me to enlarge upon all the particulars that would give pleasure to any one so sincerely attached to his country as your Excellency. I shall take the liberty to send from Paris, or by the first private conveyance, our state register for this year,2 with which, by your knowledge of characters, you may be entertained. All appear perfectly peaceable and tranquile in the Northern states except those who interest themselves in the affairs of Vermont. Since the Congress have granted the people in that terratory their first request they have made an additional demand of the two upper counties in New-Hamshire. Debates and disputes have run high in some instances. From some towns East of the River there is a representative at each general court; but as the disposition of all parties is far from joining or favoring Great Britain we have nothing more to apprehend than what one might naturally expect from the settlement of such a matter.
Our frontiers are now peopling with amazing rapidity notwithstanding all the commotions and discouragements arising from the war.
Col. Willett has not long since scoured that part of the country, defeated and dispersed a party of six or seven hundred that came over the lakes commanded by Major Ross. He has killed and taken some of their leading characters; among the killed is that pest and terror to harmless families the infamous Butler.
It was reported that an expedition would be undertaken this winter over the lakes under General Schuyler, but of this I am somewhat doubtful.
Upon my arrival in America I was happy to find that the continen• { 197 } tal circulating currency had expired, and even without a sign or a groan. It has astonished our part of the world and perhaps may astonish some on this side the water that it should make its exit without being attended with alarming consequences and scarce have a single mourner to lament its fate. I was informed that a monument was erected after its expiration in some part of New-England, on which was an emblem of the old emission pointing at that of the new with this motto “Be ye also ready.” The new emission has however revived and encreased in value above 100 pr cent since the death of the old.
Our financies appear in a much better, indeed in a very promising situation. The bank is not only opened but kept open night and day; and the bank notes never below par.3
Large quantities of Specie have been imported from the Spanish dominions by private merchants, beside what has been sent from France. Mr Morris imported in one ship eight tuns of dollars and the trade opened by the Spaniards has been found advantageous. The Americans are shewing every day some tokens of an enterprizing disposition by forming new schemes and pushing into some new channels of commerce.
I attempt not a detail of particulars either political, commercial or social, as the Marquis and Vis-Count are gone on to Paris and probably with dispaches and letters whose contents may be published or forwarded to your Excellency.
I have been amazed to find what harmony has subsisted universally between the Americans and their allies, and that they have with unanimity and spirit uniformly pursued the common object.
I have not been long enough in Europe to form any conjecture respecting the continuance of the war. It was thought by many to be near a close when I left Boston, but I believe they will not in the least relax in their preparations for the prosecution of it. I was happy to find that not only political and commercial, but that literary matters have attracted the attention of my countrymen.
A medical society has been lately incorporated in Massachusetts—The University I think much more florishing—A public commencement was celebrated in the usual stile last summer. President Willard was publicly installed the week we sailed and a public entertainment given. Govenor Hancock was present, seated him in the chair and besides delivering the parchments, keys &c. made an address pro more Accademiæ.
By the register when forwarded you will see the appointment of { 198 } officers in our state. None has raised so much clamor as that of the justices: and when you see it you may perhaps determine the justice of that.
I do not recollect any late elections or appointments of which you have not probably been informed, unless it be some of the following;
  • General Lincoln secretary at war
  • John Hanson Esq. of Maryland President of Congress
  • Thos. Nelson Esq Governer of Virginia
  • Nathan Brownson Governor of Georgia
Members of Congress for New-York, James Duane, Wm Lloyd [Floyd], Ezra L’Hommedieu, John Moria [Morin] Scot, and Egbert Benson. For Maryland, Danl Carroll, Saml Chase, and Turbutt Wright. For Georgia Edward Telfair, Noble Wimberly Jones, Wm Few, and Saml S[t]irk.
The fate of my fellow passenger Mr T. was not decided when I left Boston. I was told he had given bonds for good behavior and appearance when called for by the state’s attorny, and that the whole matter was left in the attorney’s hands where it is not improbable it may rest forever.4
I expect to spend some weeks in France and then proceed to Amsterdam where I shall be happy in waiting upon your Excellency and enquiring after little Charles, who we heard arrived safe in Spain several weeks before I sail’d, but of whom we have heard nothing since.
Be kind enough to present my compliments to Mrs Charbonel and family, and let her know that her brother Le Roy was well about six or seven weeks ago.
Please also to present my compliments to Mr Thaxter and inform him that his friends are well and that I have a letter or two for him which I was desired not to forward by post, but shall bring, or send by first good conveyance.
Mrs Adams was happy to hear that Charley had arrived safe, altho in Spain, and is desirous of his return.
I have Boston papers to 24th Dec. but as they contain nothing important except what you have undoubtedly had, I shall not attempt to forward them.

[salute] I have the honor to be your Excellency’s most obedient and very humble servant

[signed] Benj. Guild
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Guild. Jan. 18. L’orient. 1782.”
{ 199 }
2. Probably Thomas and John Fleet’s A Pocket Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1782 . . . , Boston, 1781, which included “A Register for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” (Evans, No. 17154).
3. The Bank of North America was incorporated on 31 Dec. 1781 (JCC, 21:1187–1190). For Robert Morris’ establishment of the bank, his use of it to finance the government’s operations, and his success in having the bank’s notes pass at par with specie, see E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse: A History of American Public Finance, 1776–1790, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 135–139.
4. Guild and John Temple were passengers on the Minerva. For Temple’s bond, dated 24 Dec. 1781, see MHS, Colls., 7th ser., 6 (1907):6.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0132-0001

Author: Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-18

From the Abbé Raynal

[salute] Monsieur

Monsieur jennings ma venus votre lettre du 5 janvier avec la traduction hollandoise de la revolution de lamerique.
Je suis tres aise que le peu que jai dit de vous, monsieur, ne vous ait pas deplu. Mieux instruit, je me serois etendu davantage; mais je nen sçavois pas asses pour sortir des generalites.
Si vos occupations vous permetoient de lire avec attention ce que jai ecrit sur lamerique septentrionale, vous me feries plaisir de mavertir des erreurs ou je dois etre tombé.1 J honnore vos talens, je respecte votre caractere et jaime votre personne. Ces sentimens vous assurent de ma docilité.

[salute] Jai lhonneur detre avec respect, Monsieur, votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur,

[signed] Raynal

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0132-0002

Author: Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-18

Abbé Raynal to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Mr. Jenings forwarded your letter of 5 January to me with the Dutch translation of the Révolution de l’Amérique.
I am relieved that you were not displeased with the little I said about you. Better informed, I would have been more elaborate, but I did not know enough to state anything more than general points.
If your time allows you to read carefully what I wrote about North America, perhaps you could do me the favor of pointing out any errors that I might have made.1 I honor your talents, and have respect and admiration for your character. These sentiments will assure you of my obedience.

[salute] I have the honor to be with respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Raynal
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur J Adams à Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Abbé Raynal. 18th. Jany. 1782.”
1. See On the Abbé Raynal’s Révolution de l’Amérique, 22 Jan., below.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0134

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-21

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I beg your Excellency would Accept my Thanks for the publications, which I have lately had the Honor of receiving from you; and for your Letter to the Abbé Raynal, who receivd me in Consequence thereof with the utmost Politeness and Attention. He spoke of your Excellency with the Greatest Cordiallity and respect, and seemed concerned, that you was not quite satisfied with the facts, as laid down in his Revolution de l’Amerique; but being open to Conviction, He repeatedly desired your Excellency would be so good, as to point out those Parts of his publications, with which you were not entirely satisfied. I suppose He has urged this in the letter, which I have now the Honor of transmitting to your Excellency. The Abbé talks of going into Germany soon. I fancy there is not sufficient wit, genius or liberallity of Sentiment Here for Him.
I congratulate your Excellency on the Enlargement of your illustrious Friend, is it not possible that your Excellency should see Him between this and the first Day of Easter Term?1 The Declaration that He made in the most public Manner, was Manly and necessary in his Situation, my Friend writes to me of it, and says that He wishes it was universally Known. “He declared He owed to; nor, Acknowledged any Allegiance whatever to this Realm, ie GB; nor was He subject to any other Country, than to the free and Independant States of N America.” My Friend, who is gone to Bath with Mr L, put it in the Papers and vouches for its Truth.2
I sent to your Excellency a supposed Letter from Mr D three or four others have been since inserted in the English Papers.3 Will not Enquiry be made into their authenticity? and should they prove authentic Can Congress, or any one entrusted by it, doubt how to behave to the author. Mr L4 assures me, that Ds Son is gone to England, I have since heard He was accompanied by his Secretary. For Godsake and for Our Countrys Sake, Sir, let this Man be detected and exposed, if He is Guilty. Those who trust Him ought to be warned at their Peril against continuing their Confidence in Him. I wish the Letters were translatd and sent to the french Minister. He will then see the Temper of those, whom He trusts to so much. My Correspondent at Madrid5 Complains that I am not open with Him; and indeed his former Connection with D now alarms me.
{ 202 } { 203 }
I saw with pleasure your Excellencys Demand of a Categorical Answer to your former memorial to the States, and without astonishment their sending it ad referendum. I should think the Conduct of Holland surprizing, if I had not read Her proceedings in former Times. I have lately read the History of the Treaties of Nemeguen and of the triple alliance with more than ordinary attention, and considering the present appearence of Things and the innate and inveterate Temper of the Dutch, I see I think, their fate almost without Pity.
Can your Excellency tell me what the King of Prussia is about? Will He not break out in the Spring.
The Captn of the Ship, who was to have carried the Books to your Excellency pretends He has deliverd them. Mr H. is very uneasy about them. He has received the Coin with many thanks in return, I expect to Hear daily from Him.
The English here suppose that Ld G G has retired, and that Ld Hilsborough is to do the business of the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies, which is abolished, and well it may.
It is impossible, that Rodney can have sailed. The Disaster to the french Fleet will change it is probable the plan of the ensuing Campaign, perhaps for our Benefit.
I have had the pleasure of a Letter from Col Searle, with the strongest private and public Feelings. He went to Passy to talk about the treatment, which Mr L had met with, but was by no means satisfied with the Reception given Him.
I find I am indebtd to Messrs de Neufville Eight Ducats, will your Excellency give me Leave to beg the favor of you to pay Mr De Neufville that sum, which I will take care to reimburse to your Excellency.
The English post informs us that Rodney has taken refuge in Torbay depend on it his ships must be much damaged not in their masts alone but their bodies.6 The wind stil continues high. De Grasse has a fleet sufficient to do much before the English Fleet can arrive in the West Indies.
It is said that one Clinton is coming over in Company with Bragadier General Arnolde.

[salute] I am with the greatest Consideration Sir your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servt,

[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers;); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Jenings 21st. Jany. 1782.”
{ 204 }
1. The condition of Henry Laurens’ release on bail was that he appear in the Court of Kings Bench on the first day of the Easter term. The bail was discharged and he finally was freed on 27 April (Laurens, Papers, 15:397).
2. Laurens’ statement appeared in the London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser of 2 January. Jenings’ friend was probably Edward Bridgen.
3. The letter was probably Silas Deane to Jeremiah Wadsworth, 13 June 1781, which appeared in the London Chronicle of 27–29 Dec. 1781. The letter was reprinted from the New York Royal Gazette, 31 Oct. 1781. It was one of a series of “intercepted” letters from Deane that appeared in the Royal Gazette between 24 Oct. and 12 Dec. 1781. All were dated at Paris between 10 May and 15 June and were written to American correspondents, including Wadsworth, William Duer, Robert Morris, Samuel Holden Parsons, Charles Thomson, Simeon Deane, Thomas Mumford, James Wilson, Benjamin Harrison, Jesse Root, and Benjamin Talmadge. For the origin of the letters and their publication in the New York paper, see Julian Boyd, “Silas Deane: Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?” WMQ, 3d ser., 16:167–168 (April 1959). Unfortunately for Deane, his letters, which called on Americans to end the war and reconcile with England, appeared almost simultaneously with news of the U.S. victory at Yorktown and cast him into the role of traitor in the struggle against England. Deane’s letters to Wadsworth and Robert Morris appeared serially in Le politique hollandais of 4, 11, and 25 March. Antoine Marie Cerisier prefaced the letter to Wadsworth with the observation that it was clearly written to discredit the American cause in Europe. Deane’s letters to Wadsworth, Morris, Samuel Holden Parsons, and William Duer were printed in The Remembrancer . . . for the Year 1782, pt. 1, p. 71–86.
4. Probably William Lee.
5. Presumably William Carmichael with whom Jenings had corresponded in the past (from Jenings, 27 Sept. 1780, vol. 10:182–183).
6. Rodney sailed from Torbay with twelve ships of the line on 14 Jan. (Mackesy, War for America, p. 450).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0135-0001

Editorial Note

Disturbed by errors in the Abbé Raynal’s Révolution de l’Amérique, London, 1781, and encouraged by the abbé himself, John Adams set about composing a point by point rebuttal of Raynal’s work (to Raynal, 5 Jan.; from Raynal, 18 Jan., both above). Adams clearly intended to publish the following series of letters in Le politique hollandais. The fourth installment (No. IV, below), however, ends abruptly, and Adams abandoned his plan to submit any of the letters for publication. This is the first time the letters have appeared in print.
In 1780 and 1781, Adams launched several efforts to present European readers with accurate accounts of the origins, progress, and nature of the { 205 } American Revolution. His critique of Raynal’s pamphlet should be compared with A Translation of Thomas Pownall’s Memorial, “Letters from a Distinguished American,” and Replies to Hendrik Calkoen (vol. 9:157–221, 531–588; 10:196–252); as well as the memorial to the States General, 19 April 1781 (vol. 11:272–282). Indeed, the letters to Le politique hollandais are largely an expansion of Adams’ first letter to Hendrik Calkoen, in which he responded to Calkoen’s request for an account of American affairs “before, during and after the Commencement of Hostilities” (vol. 10:200–203).
We may never know exactly why Adams set aside his evaluation of Révolution de l’Amérique. An obvious assumption is that he simply decided that it would be impolitic to openly criticize a respected public figure who supported the American Revolution. Nonetheless, Raynal would not escape criticism in the pages of Le politique hollandais. Later in 1782 Cerisier published extracts from Thomas Paine’s A Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal on the Affairs of North-America. In which the Mistakes in the Abbe’s Account of the Revolution of America are Corrected and Cleared Up (Phila., 1782). Paine’s work had numerous reprintings in London and elsewhere, including a Brussels edition in 1783 “augmentées d’une préface et de quelques notes, par A. M. Cerisier” (T. R. Adams, American Controversy, 2:833–836).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0135-0002

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

I. To Le politique hollandais

[salute] Sir

The Mistakes of Gazettes and fugitive Pamphlets, may pass unnoticed, because they are not expected to be correct, are not read by many and are Soon forgotten: but the Inaccuracies of a Writer, so distinguished by his Genius and Eloquence as the abby Raynal, in a work embellished with ornaments to captivate every Man of Taste and Letters, and enriched with Such a Variety of usefull knowledge, to secure its Immortality, ought to be corrected in Season, lest they Should be found to injure that great Cause of Truth Liberty and Humanity, to which this Writer has devoted his Life and Labour.
It is not at present intended to remark upon any other Part of the Philosophical and political History of the Europeans in the two Indies, than that which relates to North America, in which probably there are more Errors than in any other. We shall begin with the Revolution of America as printed in the last Edition,1 reserving all the rest for the Subject of future Speculations, if ever Leisure should be found to pursue them.

[salute] J’ai l’honnour &c.

{ 206 }
1. Révolution de l’Amérique first appeared as a section in a new edition of Raynal’s Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements, et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes (5 vols., Geneva, 1780, 4:376–459). It was published seperately in London in 1781. The page numbers provided by JA in Nos. II, III, andIV, below, and by the editors in the notes, are taken from the London edition.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0135-0003

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

II. To Le politique hollandais

[salute] Sir

The abby Raynal in his History of the American Revolution p. 19. Speaking of the Repeal in 1770 of the Act of Parliament which imposed Duties on Glass, Paints, Paper, Tea &c says “on n’en excepta que le Thé encore cette reserve n’eut elle pour objet que de pallier la honte d’abandonner entiérement la Superiorité de la métropole Sur Ses colonies: car ce droit ne fut pas plus exigé que les autres ne l’avoient été.”1
With all the Defference that becomes us, to the opinion of an author of such distinguished Talents and Reputation, it is presumed that the true Motive both of the Repeal of the Duties upon other articles and the Exception of that of Tea are here represented in a Light too favourable to the Ministry for the Truth of History. The Repeal was not made, to give Satisfaction to the Colonies, nor the Exception, to palliate the Humiliation of the Nation. A Repeal of the Statute without any Exception, would not have been abandoning the Superiority of the Metropolis.
Nor can it be properly Said that the Duty upon Tea was not exacted, more than the others had been, because all the Duties that upon Tea as well as those upon the other Articles had been exacted. They were not paid, in very large Sums it is true but this was not because the duties were not exacted, but because the Articles were not imported. Upon all the articles which were imported the Duties were both exacted and paid.
The real Motive of the Ministry, for repealing the Duties upon Glass &c was the apparent Impracticability of obtaining them. The Act of Parliament imposing these Duties, was passed in the latter End of the year 1766 or the Beginning of 1767. In 1768, the Ministry Sent over, a new Board of Commissioners of the Customs consisting of five Members, with a Swarm of Subordinate officers, for the express Purpose of overseeing the Collection of the Revenue, and Sent at the Same Time about four Thousand Troops, with the express Purpose of protecting the Board of Commissions and their Subordinate officers in the Collection of the Revennue.
{ 207 }
This new Board, and this army for their Body Guards, were a new Phenomenon in America, and convinced all discerning Men of the decided Intentions of the British Ministry to pursue, to the last Extremities, their Plan of a Revenue. The americans held in Detestation the Idea of a Revenue, to be imposed and collected by foreign authority. They held in <greater> Horror <Still> a Standing Army, in time of Peace for the Support of any authority much more a foreign Power. Accordingly all these Jealousies and apprehensions, had produced a general Consent, a kind of tacit association, throughout all the Collonies, against the Importation of the Articles upon which the Duties were laid. This association was adopted in Boston and all the maritime Towns of the Massachusetts, in New York, in Philadelphia, in Charlestown and in all the other Collonies. This association was, well observed in all the Collonies, except in the Town of Boston. Here a few Persons, 8 or 10 in Number, corrupted by the favours, and the Hopes of favours from the British Government, added to the Prospect of great Gain and protected as they were in the Town of Boston by an Army had the Effrontery and obstinacy to expose themselves to the universal Hatred of their fellow Citizens, by constantly importing the Taxed articles, against the general association of all america. This occasioned continual Discontent, and quarrells, between the Inhabitants and these Importers, between the Same Inhabitants and the Custom house officers, and the Soldiers. Discontent which finally broke out into an Outrage, on the night of the 5th of March 1770, when a Party of Soldiers fired upon a Crowd of Inhabitants, and killed 5 or 6 upon the Spot and wounded several others. This produced a Whirlwind. All Men, but the few Tories, were determined to deliver the Town of Boston from these Tyrants in red Coats. Accordingly twelve thousand Men assembled every day for near a Week, in the old South Church, opened a negotiation with the Governor and the Commander of the Troops, and obliged both to consent to order both Regiments out of Town to the Barracks upon Castle Island. These were Such Symptoms of War, that the Ministry thought it necessary to retreat for a Time, as they had done before in the affair of the stamp act, and she rather, because the Dispute with Spain about Falkland Islands, happening at that time, they expected a War with the House of Bourbon, and they always knew very well how much soever they may have disguised it, that the Colonists if dissatisfied would not fail to connect themselves with the Ennemies of Britain in Case of War.
{ 208 }
It was therefore the fear of War with the Colonies and the House of Bourbon together that induced the English to repeal the Duties upon Glass, &c in 1770, and the Duty upon Tea was left unrepealed, not to avoid the shame of giving up, their authority, but to divide the People in america. They were taught by their Creatures in america, that the People had recourse to a thousand Inventions to supply the Place of the Dutied articles. Glass houses were set agoing to make Glass. Paper Mills were set up. The Entrails of the Mountains were searched for okers to make Paints and Colours. A Thousand Substitutes were invented for Tea and a general association not to use the genuine Indian herb. All these Things together convinced the Ministry that they could not carry their Point but by Some Artifices to deceive and divide the People. They repealed the other Duties and presevd that upon Tea. The Duty upon this, was to be paid upon Landing, would not alarm the Country People, and the attachment to this refreshment was such, that they thought, they could succeed upon this single article, preserve the Principle, and make Use of this as a President upon future occasions. The Event shewed, that they were not wholly mistaken. They did succed in Part in deceivg and dividing the People.
The Merchants of New York were the first to Swallow the Bait, and pretended as the abby Raynal, now pretends that the Duty upon Tea was only preserved, to Save the Dignity of Government and was never intended to be collected. Accordingly they renounced the Non Importation association, as far as it respected, the other articles, and continued it only upon Tea. Their Example was followed, by other Places. This Soon produced full Proof, that the object of the Ministry was Division and Deception, not Reconcillation. Indeed the Continuance of the Board of Commissioners, whose Essence was Revennue, and of the Standing army, in Boston, and in the Castle, whose Single Distinction was Tyrany, had all along convinced the most penetrating and the best Intentioned, that not Peace but deception was the object. But, Soon afterwards, the Permission given to the East India Company, to export their Tea directly to the Colonies, as they did, to Boston New York Philadelphia and Charlestown, their appointment of agents to sell it in those Places, who were Men devoted to the British Ministry, and the determined orders and Measures that followed, soon awakened, all America out of a Delusion, to which even at this late day, the Philosophical and political Historian, has given his Countenance. We have found that the English nation have rather chose to loose thirteen Colonies in• { 209 } depended and incur a War with France Spain and Holland, rather than not exact in all its vigour the actual Payment of the Duty upon Tea. If they had only waived the actual Collection of the Duties, this War would never have taken Place.
There was but one wise and honest Part, to take that was to repeal the Statute totally and absolutely, as they had before done their stamp act. The Repeal of the Stamp act, had given perfect Satisfaction, and instead of injuring the superiority of the Metropolis, had produced, an universal disposition, to comply with all the Desires and Requisitions of Great Britain which could be possibly reconciled with the Liberty of the subject, and in particular, a greater disposition than ever to consent to every Regulation of Parliament which could come under, the Denomination of a Regulation of Trade. A total Repeal of the Tea Act, would have had a similar Effect. But the Board of Commissioners, and the army, must have been removed too, in order to restore perfect good Humor. The Board, was very justly associated with the Idea of Corruption, the army with that of Compulsion, and it may be depended on, the americans had too much real Virtue and of the Delicacy and Pride, that is essentially connected with it, to bear with Patience the appearance of a Design to corrupt them or to dragoon them out of their opinions of their rights and their notions of Liberty.
<I have the Honour>
The Impartiality of History demands, that the real Motives of action Should be developed, and there are two many incontestible Proofs that those of the British Ministry have always been Deception, Division and Seduction, never that of Reconciliation, or Peace.

[salute] I have the Honour to be

1. Translation: Only tea was excepted. But the object of this exception was only to palliate the shame of wholly abandoning the superiority of the metropolis over its colonies, for this duty was not more forcibly exacted than the others had been.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0135-0004

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

III. To Le politique hollandais

[salute] Sir

Page 21. The Abby Raynal Says “Les Habitants de Boston detruisirent, dans le Port meme, trois Cargaisons de Thé qui arrivoient d’Europe.”1
As the opposition to the landing, and Consumption of the Tea and { 210 } the Payment of the Taxes upon it, was the immediate occasion of this War, and all the vast Chain of great Events, which have succeeded, this Business ought to be Stated in <great> detail, and with the utmost Exactness, by any Writer who undertakes the History of the American Revolution. The History in question is very general, it is true, but it is humbly apprehended that this affair of the Tea ought to have been more particular. There is no Mention of any opposition to it, but in Boston, whereas the opposition was in reallity universal, throughout all America. Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charlestown, conducted the opposition in concert.
Several Ships arrived at New York: the Inhabitants assembled to deliberate and determined that the Ships should return loaded as they were to London. The Consignees of the East India Company to whom the Tea was addressed, were informed that it was the universal Expectation of their fellow Citizens that they Should resign their appointments, which they did.
At Philadelphia, Several other Vessells arrived with Tea from the East India Company, consigned to distinguished Inhabitants of that City. Upon Similar assemblies of the People, and Similar Resolutions taken, the Consignees resigned and the ships returned to London.
Thus all the Tea ships, which had been to New York and Philadelphia were Seen Sailing up the River Thames, on their return in the Sight of the Nation a Spectacle which might have convinced the British Ministry of the total Impracticability of their pernicious Systems, if they had been men capable of Reflection, capable of Seeing the Character of the People of america, the State of the three Kingdoms, or that of Europe. But they were not.
At Charlestown, other Vessells arrived, the Inhabitants assembled there. The Result was, an agreement that the Tea should be landed, and Stored but none of it Sold. And this agreement was religiously observed, the Tea remaining in stores and Cellars, untill it was all spoiled.
At Boston, upon the arrival of the ships, the People met—applied to the Consignees to resign, who refused, relying upon the Protection of the army, which was then numerous in Boston, although there was none in N. York, Philadelphia or Charlestown. They applied to the owners and Masters of the ships, they were willing to return. But how to pass the Castle, where were a row of two and forty Pounders capable of Sinking the ships at a shot, and a British Garrison, to play them, and no Vessell suffered to pass, without a Certificate from the Governor. The Governor, Hutchinson was ap• { 211 } plied to, he refused to give the Certificates. Thus no alternative remained, but for the Town of Boston to give over the opposition, basely betray their Brethren in New York, Philadelphia and Charlestown, and dastardly resign their Liberties and those of their Posterity, or take a decided step. They did not hesitate a Moment, upon this alternative, and the next Mornings Sun was Saluted, with the Fragrance of Bohea, Soucheng and Hysen, from every Part of the Harbour. This detail is indispensably necessary to show, that the opposition to the Tea was a national opposition,—and the storing of it in Charlestown, the obliging the Consignees to resign, the sending the ships back from Philadelphia and New York, and the Drowning of that in Boston were all national Acts done in concert between all the United Colonies, as really so as the raising an Army, Building a Navy, forming a Confederation, or declaring themselves independent, by Congress have been Since.
During the whole Time of the deliberations, concerning the Tea, there were constant Correspondences going on between Merchants, Lawyers, Statesmen and even the Artificers and Mechanicks, in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charlestown and, all other considerable Places on the Continent. The sentiments of the People were expressed in Gazettes, Pamphlets, and in the Resolutions of Towns, Cities and Smaller Circles; So that no Principle was adopted, no material Measure ventured on, untill the People knew each others Sentiments, from one End to the other of the Colonies.
<I have the Honour to be>
Our great Historian then does too much Honour to the Town of Boston, or too little to Charlestown Philadelphia and New York when he says “cette grand Ville avoit toujours paru plus occupée des ses droits que le Reste de L’Amerique.”2 The only Difference was this, the ministry had created a Crowd of worthless officers of Revenue in Boston, more than in other Cities—they had sent an army there to protect them—and they practiced more Tyranny there and consequently more resistance than any where: but the same Causes in all the other Cities, have ever produced the same Effects.

[salute] I have &c

1. In Révolution de l’Amérique, this passage begins “Ses habitans detruisirent.” Translation: The inhabitants of Boston destroyed in their own port three cargos of tea which arrived from Europe.
2. Révolution de l’Amérique, p. 221. Translation: This great town had always appeared more occupied by a sense of its rights than the rest of America.

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).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1782-01-25

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Your Letter of the 11. with the Copy of that from M. Le Comte de Vergennes of 31. of Decr. I had the Honour to receive by the last post. By, your leaving it to me to judge how far it is proper for me to accept further Draughts on Mr Laurens, with any Expectation of your enabling me to pay them, I am Somewhat embarrassed. If I accept any Bill at all it must be in full Confidence of your paying it, for there is not a Possibility, of my getting any Money here.
I lately applied to one of the first Houses, an old Dutch House, which has traded to america an hundred years, and whose Credit is as clear and Solid as any one in the Republick.1 I asked him, frankly if he would undertake a Loan for me. His answer was, sir I thank you for the Honour you do me. I know the Honour and the Profit that would accrue to any house, from such a Trust. I have particular Reasons of my own, of Several sorts, to be willing to undertake it, and I will tell you frankly, I will make the necessary Enquiries and give you an answer, in two days. And if I find it possible to Succeed, I will undertake it. But there are four Persons, who have the whole affair of Loans through the Republick under their Thumbs, these Persons are united, if you gain one you gain all, and the Business is easy, but without them there is not one house in this Republick can Suceed in any Loan.
After the two days, he called on me, to give me an account of his Proceedings. He Said he first waited upon one of the Regency, and asked him if it was proper for him to put in a Requete and ask leave, to open Such a Loan. He was answered he had better Say nothing to the Regency, about it, for they would either give him no answer at all, which was most probable, or say, it was improper for them to interfere, either of which answers would do more hurt than good. It was an affair of Credit, which he might undertake, without asking Leave, for the Regency, never interfered to prevent Merchants from getting Money. With this answer he went to one of the undertakers, whose answer was, that at least untill there was a Treaty, it would be { 215 } impossible to get the Money. As soon as that Event should happen he was ready to undertake it.
I have been uniformly told that these four or five Persons had such a despotick Influence over Loans, I have heretofore sounded them in various Ways, and the Result is that I firmly believe they receive ample Salaries, upon the express Condition that they resist an american Loan. There is a Phalanx, formed by British Ministry Dutch Court, Proprietors of English stocks and great mercantile Houses in the Interest of the British Ministry,2 that Support these undertakers and are supported by them.
We may therefore reckon boldly that We shall get nothing here, unless in the form of the late five millions, lent to the King of France and warranted by the Republick, untill there is a Treaty.
I believe however I shall venture to accept the Bills, of which I have given you notice in hopes of your Succeeding better than your fears.
Yesterday was brought me, one more Bill drawn on Mr Laurens on the 6. July 1780 for 550 Guilders, No. 145. I have asked time to write to your Excellency about this too, and shall wait your answer before I accept it.

[salute] I have the Honour to be

1. The mercantile house has not been identified.
2. When this letter appeared in the Boston Patriot of 3 Oct. 1810, JA inserted at this point the following passage: “(at the head of whom was the house of Hope).” For Hope & Co., see vol. 11:53, note 2.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0138

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-25

From Francis Dana

[salute] My dear Sir

I answered your letter of the 14th. of Decr: on the 2/13th.1 inst: by post. I have also wrote to Mr: T. through the same channel, and enclosed the paper from ||France|| which you desired I wou’d send you.2 I have no copy of ||Spain||’s. I have seen ||Russia|| and ||Austria|| to ||France|| but ’tis not probable I cou’d obtain a copy of that if I asked for it; I am loth to make a request there, which may not be granted, as it wou’d give him uneasiness to refuse it; yet I want exceedingly to have it. I will feel about, and try if I cannot be gratified with it. If I am, you shall have it by the earliest opportunity. All as yet stands well between us, and if I had the language I wou’d cultivate { 216 } the acquaintance with more assiduity. There are some persons about him exceedingly agreable—I am in statu quo. I believe there is no mischief plotting against us, and therefore I am the more patient. Sometime past I intimated to you that I wished to communicate a matter of some consequence to you but that I dared not to do it unless by a private opportunity. I shall bear it in mind and give it to you as soon as it may safely be done. In my opinion ’tis a clue to the conduct of the Gentleman to whom you say you gave your sentiments in detail on a certain occasion, so far, at least, as respects the advice I received from him but did not follow.—Mr: T. speaks of the particular mediation between Britain and Holland under the sole conduct of the illustrious Sovereign of this Empire: but, it is my opinion, that all her kind offices to affect a reconciliation between two Nations seperat’d by political objects of such magnitude, will be exerted in vain, unless Britain shou’d be much more humbled than at present: so that I believe the matter will never come to what he calls “one of their short referendums.” However another Russian Minister will be with you upon that business shortly.3
I wait with some impatience for your promised letter;4 but upon this subject I must give some further cautions. It will be adviseable for you to write upon paper nearly similar to this (you have some of the same) and to fold up your letters after the same manner, and seal them with wafers only, and then cover them as before. But besides if you have any letters to forward to me of a different size and fold than what commonly passes between Merchant and Merchant, after covering them to Messrs: Strahlborn & Wolf, direct them to Messrs: de Bruyn & Co: at Riga with a request to forward them under their cover and seal to those Gentlemen. Some of my last letters came in this way (as they tell me) forwarded by Messrs: de Lande & Finje of Amsterdam. Though the expence of postage will be considerably greater yet there is a very particular reason for pursuing this course.
Mr: T. has enclosed me the answer of the Gentn:5 you consulted upon a certain matter for me. He has stated as moderately as I expected, his present benefits vize at abt 218. or 220£ sterlg: a year. He has not said what sum he shou’d expect from me, but has said, I believe very truly, that his affairs become daily more advantageous and solid—that he shou’d expect to have some hopes of a maintenance and of preferment in case. The latter you know I cou’d not procure for him; and indeed there cannot be the least prospect of its taking place, Congress from principles perhaps of œconomy, I believe, will not make any such appointments in future, and in this I think they { 217 } are right. A maintenance he most certainly wou’d have, for living with me, his apparel washg. &c woud be his principal expences. I shou’d not hesitate to give him £150. or 200£ sterlg: a year. But as I hinted to you in my last, I cou’d not give him any encouragement even of this, while my own stipend remains as it does. If therefore Congress shou’d not explain themselves upon my letter written from Paris (which I shew to you) to my advantage, my stay here will not be long. I cou’dn’t entertain the least thought of inviting him to my assistance. He will therefore not think of the matter any further unless he hears directly from me upon the subject. He may rely upon it I shall always treat him with candour and shall make my propositions openly to him, whenever it will suit my own circumstances. He will then judge whether they will agree with his. May I beg you to present him my regards and to assure him he has much of my confidence and esteem not only for the services he has already rendered our Country but on account of his great personal worth, and that I shou’d really be happy to have an occasion to reward his Merit.
I hope you will be so kind as to permit a copy to be taken of General Washington’s Miniature picture for me. Mr: T. will readily seek out the Limner who took one for Mr: Parker, if a better is not to be found.6 That I think, was well executed. I shou’d be glad this might be done as soon as may be, and that some safe opportunity may be sought out to forward it to me. Let it be put into a little case as your’s.
Your Son is in high health, he pursues his Latin—has translated Corn: Nep:7 throughout, and is just begining upon Cicero’s Orations. Do you think ’tis time for him to read History, and which shou’d you prefer? I have subscribed to the British Library here where there is a good collection of English Authors.8 Wou’d it not be adviseable that he shou’d compose in French, and to that end that he shou’d write you in French?9 You will please to give him such directions as you think best for the persuit of his studies.

[salute] I am, my dear Sir, with much esteem & regard your friend & obedient, humble Servant

P.S. When you address to me pray omit titles, especially such as do not belong to me. I have no right to any other than I brought to Europe with me.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “à Son Excellence Mr: Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats-Unis de l’Amerique à Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Mr Dana Jan. 14./25. 1782.” For the three documents with this letter in the Adams Papers, see note 2.
{ 218 }
1. From Dana, 11 Jan., above.
2. The item enclosed in Dana’s letter to John Thaxter has not been positively identified. It was probably one of the first two documents (all three of which are in JQA’s hand) that accompany Dana’s letter to JA in the Adams Papers. 1. “Reponse de S.M.T.C. à la replique des deux cours médiatrices.” 2. “Extrait de la reponse de La Cour de France aux propositions faites au Sujet du retablissement de la Paix par les Cours de Petersbourg et de Vienne.” 3. “Projet de Réponse aux trois Cours belligérantes.” Filmed at January 1782 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 356) is an incomplete copy in Thaxter’s hand of the first and third documents.
3. Catherine II appointed Arkady Markov to assist Prince Gallitzin at The Hague in promoting Russia’s mediation of the Anglo-Dutch war. He also reportedly was instructed to oppose any alliance between France and the Patriot party in the Netherlands (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 350). Markov arrived at The Hague on 2 March (Gazette de Leyde, 5 March).
4. In his letter of 14 Dec., JA promised to write soon. His next letter to Dana is dated 5 Feb., below.
5. Presumably Edmund Jenings.
6. The miniature has not been identified.
7. Cornelius Nepos, De viribus illustribus. JQA read the work prior to his departure for Russia. He purchased a 1771 Latin and French edition at St. Petersburg on 29 Oct. 1781. JA preferred that JQA read and translate “higher Authors” than Nepos (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:113–114, 144; Catalogue of JQA’s Books).
8. For JQA’s sixteen recorded visits to the English Library between 27 Jan. and his departure from St. Petersburg on 27 Oct., as well as an account of the books that he was reading from that and other sources, see JQA, Diary, 1:103–152.
9. JQA did not write to his father in French, except when he quoted from a French source. He, however, did exchange letters in French with John Thaxter (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:275–278, 269–270, 278–279, 299–300, 352–353).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0139-0001

Author: Bracht, Herman van
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-26

From Herman van Bracht

[salute] Wel Edel Gestrenge Heer

Het is nu omtrent een Jaar geleden dat de Heer Dana de beleestheid had, om aan myne nieuwsgierigheid te voldoen, my uit Parys toetezende de fransche uitgave, der verzamelde constitutien van de Amerikaansche staten: Eenige vrienden nevens my, alle hoogagters van en welwenschers aan die volken, vonden goet dat dat werkje vertaald wierd, op dat alle nederlanderen zoude kunnen weten op wat schoonen en zuiveren grond de voers regering en vryheid van Amerika zig gevestigdt had; de Heer Wanner boekhandelaar ter dezer plaads, ondernam het werk; maar doe het stuk genoegzaam was afgedruckt, vernamen wy dat het Edel congres, een volledige zamenstel van haar constitutien en tractaten had doen uitgeven, hier om was die drukker genoodsaakt de Tytul van zyn neerduitsche uitgave te veranderen, en dat stuk, als een eerste deel int ligt te doen verschynen, In hoop van met er tyd het ontbrekende te zulle kunne magtig worden, en dan dat waarlyk schoon werk volledig zyn landgenoten aan te bieden.1
Nadien nu het E. Congres alleen maar 200 exemplaren heeft doen drukken, en het werk dus niet te bekomen is, dan door hun aan wien { 219 } t zelve door ’t E. Congres is toegezonden, zoo neme Ik de vryheid my zelve hier over regtstreeks tot uweledlgst te wenden, met Ernstig verzoek, dat uwel ed Gest mogt goet vinden, ter bevordering van bovengemeld oogmerk, my voir eenige maanden een exemplaar toe te vertrouwen. Dit werk In’t nederduits volledig vertaald te zien, kan niets dan van nut zyn zoo voor Amerika als voor deze provintien een yder die lust heest, kan dan het schon En vast fundament, waar op Amerikaa’s vryheid onwrikbaar rust, beschouwen, Ik denk ook dat het nog veele zal aanmoedigen de zaak van Amerika meer en meer toegedaan te zyn, nadien er nog zeer velen zyn In dit land die geen denkbeeld altoos van de aangename Constitutie van Amerika hebben, en egter niet zonder Invloed op onze regering zyn.
Neem het my niet kwalyk wel ed Gest Heer dat Ik my In dit verzoek tot u hebbe gewend; uw alsins bekende beleestheid zal my wel wille verschonen, dat Ik eenige oogenblikken van uw tyd, die Gy tot veel wigtiger bezigheden nodig hebt, uw hebbe doen verliezen.
Biddende den Almagtigen dat Hy uwel ed Gest pogingen zegene, en dat het In’t kort my en Anderen, tot welzyn der byde landen, zal mogengegunt zyn, uwel ed Gestrenge te mogen adresseren, als zyn Excellentie de geaccrediteerden Minister der vrye staten van Amerika by onzen souveryn, t geen hartelyk wenscht die de Eer heest zig, met aanbieding van zyn geneugen dienst, te noemen Wel Edel gestr. Heer Uweled gestr ond. Dienaar
[signed] Herman van Bracht

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0139-0002

Author: Bracht, Herman van
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-26

Herman van Bracht to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Dear Sir

It is now about a year ago that Mr. Dana was so kind as to satisfy my curiosity by sending me from Paris the French edition of the collected constitutions of the American states: Some friends, as well as myself, all well-wishers and with a high opinion of those people, thought it a good idea that that work be translated, so that all Netherlanders would be able to know on what a beautiful and pure basis the aforementioned government and liberty of America has been established; Mr. Wanner, a bookseller in this place, undertook the work; but when the piece was practically fully printed, we learned that the honorable Congress had had a complete collection of its constitutions and tracts published; for this reason the printer was obliged to alter the title of his Dutch edition, and to have that piece appear as the first volume, in the hope to get hold of the missing volume eventually, and then to offer that truly beautiful work to his countrymen completely.1
Now because the honorable Congress only had 200 copies printed, and the work is unobtainable except through those to whom the honorable { 220 } Congress has sent it, for that reason I take the liberty to turn to your honor directly about this, with the earnest request, that your honor might approve of entrusting a copy to me for several months, for the achievement of the aforementioned goal. To see this work completely translated into Dutch can only be useful both for America and also for these provinces, everyone who desires can see the beautiful and firm foundation on which America’s freedom steadfastly rests. I think also that it will encourage many more to support America more and more, because there are still very many in this country who as yet have no concept of the agreeable constitution of America, and nonetheless are not without influence on our government.
Do not hold it against me, your honor, that in this request I have turned to you; your well-known politeness will forgive me that I have made you lose some moments of your time, which you need for much more important activities.
Praying the Almighty, that He bless your honor’s attempts, and that soon it may be permitted to me and others, to the benefit of both countries, to address your honor as his Excellency the minister of the free states of America accredited by our sovereign, which is heartily desired by him who has the honor, with the offer of his sincere service, to call himself, honorable sir, your honor’s obedient servant,
[signed] Herman van Bracht
1. The two collections are Recueil des loix constitutives des colonies angloises, confédérées sous la dénomination d’Etats-Unis de l’Amérique-Septentrionale . . . , Paris, 1778, and The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America; . . . , Phila., 1781. For their translation and publication by van Bracht as Verzameling van de Constitutien . . . van Amerika, . . . , 2 vols., Dordrecht, 1781–1782, see Jean Luzac’s letters to JA of 6 Sept. (vol. 11:475–477) and 10 Dec. 1781, above; and JA’s reply to Luzac of 13 Dec., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0140

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-28

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Our correspondence has been long broken off. I had the honor of a line from you by the Count de Noel; but I was at a loss to tell whether I was indebted to you or to him for it.1 However in that letter you express a wish to renew our correspondence. I should have readily complied with your desire, but as the correspondence had droped from your disinclination and not mine, and as my situation at the time I was favored with your letter could not make my correspondence more valuable, or of more importance than it ever had been, I was [resolved not to open] one, untill I could do it to [more { 221 } advantage on] my side that I might [convince you of m]y esteem and regard. I [was well informed y]ou had let in some prejudices to my disadvantage, such as my being more influenced by men than measures and that in the field I had neither activity or enterprise. However mortifying these things were, my pride would not permit me to undeceive you; and such was my situation at that time that it would have been difficult, if not impracticable had I attempted it. That I have a very great respect to men, I readily confess, but politically, no further than they are necessary to measures. The good of my country has ever been my first and great object, and I defy malice itself, to fix upon a single instance wherein I have departed from this line in consideration of private attachments. I honor virtue where ever I find it, wh[ether in civil or] military life. I love [my Friends but I] have been taught to be[leive no Man is at] liberty to sacrifice the pub[lick good to private] friendship.
My military conduct must speak for itself. I have only to observe that I have not been at liberty to follow my own genius ’till lately, and here I have had more embarrassments than is proper to disclose to the world. However the american arms have gained some advantages. My public letters will have given you some idea of it; but the previous measures which led to important events and the reasons for these measures must lay in the dark, untill a more leisure hour. Let it suffice to say that this part of the United States have had a narrow escape. I was seven months in the field without taking my cloths off one night. We have now compleat [possession of t]he country and the in[habitants in]finitely more determined [to free themse]lves from british [Dominatio]n than ever they have been. The advantages we have gained here added to the capture of the british in virginia we flatter ourselves will work some important advantages for us in Europe, and we are impatiently waiting to hear of the effect should we be disappointed the people are determined to defend themselves from age to age rather than give up their independence.
If you still feel the same inclination that you expressed in your letter by Count de Noel I shall be happy to correspond with you and I shall take a pleasure in communicating every thing important from this department.2

[salute] I am [&c.]

[signed] N Gr[eene]
FC (MiU-C:Greene Papers). LbC (DLC:Greene Papers). A corner of the FC is missing, resulting in the loss of a considerable amount of text, which has been supplied from the LbC.
{ 222 }
1. JA’s letter of 18 March 1780 was carried by the Vicomte de Noailles (vol. 9:62–63).
2. This is the last letter known to have passed between Adams and Greene. The absence of a recipient’s copy in the Adams Papers may indicate that JA never received it. Greene sent the letter to James Lovell, instructing him to forward it to JA. Lovell wrote to Greene on 2 April 1782 and promised to send the letter to JA (Greene, Papers, 10:587), but no letter from Lovell enclosing Greene’s letter has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: UNKNOWN
Date: 1782-01-31

To Unknown

[salute] To all whom it may concern

Mr John Adams, to whom the printed Paper herewith enclosed, is directed, certifies that he has the Honour to be a Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to their High Mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces, of the Low Countries, and as a public Minister of a Sovereign State, intituled to an Exemption from the Payment of Such Duties.1
Certified at Amsterdam the 31. of January 1782
[signed] By John Adams Minister Plenipotentiary
1. The enclosed printed paper has not been identified. Its effect, since JA’s diplomatic status had not yet been recognized, is unknown.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bracht, Herman van
Date: 1782-02-01

To Herman van Bracht

[salute] Sir

I have this Day received, the Letter, you did me, the Honour to write me, on the 26 of Jany.
I wish it were in my Power, to send you the inclosed Volume as a Present, but as I am not possessed of any other Copy, and as it is necessary for me, to have it by me, I can only lend it you, for the Time you desire.
Be pleased, Sir, to accept my Thanks for your care, in translating, the american Constitutions into the Dutch Language, and for your good Dispositions towards, the americans which I hope in time may become universal.

[salute] With great Respect, I have &c

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0143

Author: Pope, Jacob
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-02

From Jacob Pope

[salute] To the Right Honourable John Adams

Sir I have Taken this Opportunity of writing to You to lett you know of my Unhapy Situation here as Sir I was Captured on My Voyage to Portaprince In the westindeas att which Time I was Deprivd. of Both Cloths. and Money And Sent Here into Prison Destitude of both Cloths. and Money And no Acquaintanc to Suply me with Any Untill I could be relievd. from Home Which I dont Expect Any Suply This Six or Seaven Months Although I have wrote to my Owners Different Tims. Since my Arrival Here And Cannot Expect Any Answr. or Relief for Six or Seaven Months To Come Which is to long A time for one in the Distrissd. Situation that I am in att Preasent. Sir I have Commandd. A company in The Continental Army Dureing Which Time I fought Thirteen Battels in the Defince of my Country And Have Been Eaver Since in Pursuit of The Enemy by Sea Untill this Unlucky Voyage that I had the Misfortune of Being Capturd. Sir as I have no Corrispondence in france And Cannot be relivd. from Home this Considerable time to Come I realy on Your Honour and Goodness And Expect You will be Pleasd. to Procure Some Man for my Exchange or Send Me Some Trifling sum of Money to Suply my wants here And buy A little Cloths for me and a little boy of A son of Mine who is along with me Here And you may Realy on it it Should be paid to You or Your family in America with Double Interest Togeathr. with being an Everlasting Obligation on me and You May Realy on it I will be near Dessetient of Gratitude Enough Dureing my life to Esteem it as the Greatest favour I Eaver mett with So my Distressd. Situation Obligs. me to Expect Your Honours. Compliance in my reaquest which I hope will be Rewardd. You by God Which will be the Continual Prayers And Sincear wel wishes of Your Honours Most Obidient And Most Humble. Sirt & Contryman
[signed] Jecob Pope1
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed in John Thaxter’s hand: “Jacob Pope 2d. Feby. 1782.”
1. Jacob Pope of Dighton, Mass., was captured on board the Massachusetts privateer Twin Sisters in June 1781 and committed to Mill Prison in Jan. 1782 (Jeremiah Colburn, “List of Americans Committed to Old Mill Prison, England, During the War,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 19:212 [July 1865]). There is no evidence that JA provided the requested assistance.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1782-02-04

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Yesterday was presented to me another Bill of Exchange for 1100 Guilders, drawn on Mr Laurens 25th. Feby. 1780. I have, as usual, asked time to write to your Excellency, to know if You can be responsible for the payment: if not, they must be protested, for there is no Money to be had here.
Indeed, if there was a probability of obtaining any small Sum here, quare, whether it would not be impolitick to start the subject at this critical moment, when the Republick is seriously thinking of an Alliance with France and America. There are great appearances of Anxiety for the Return of the Duke de la Vauguyon, and great Expectations are formed from his Presence.1
I think it certain, that the States will not make a separate Peace, nor accept the Mediation of Russia, but upon Conditions which France shall acquiesce in. Upon such Conditions, I presume England will not make a separate Peace, nor even accept the Mediation: so that I am well persuaded there will be no Peace nor Mediation. These points once settled, there is great reason to believe they will make a Treaty with France and America. Indeed an apprehension prevails, that France is not fond of an Alliance, and this apprehension damps the Ardor of the Favourers of such a Measure.
If the Proposition suggested in my Instructions should be now made, I think it would succeed;2 but I may be mistaken, and it is now under the Consideration of abler Judges, whose Determination I shall wait very respectfully.
This moment six other Bills drawn on Mr. Laurens 6th. July 1780 are brought to me. Nos 83. 86. 92. 132. 136. 137—all 550 Guilders each. Without your Excellency’s Consent to discharge them, they must be protested.

[salute] With great Respect I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] J. Adams3
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Amsterdam Feby. 4. 1782.”
1. The Duc de La Vauguyon returned to The Hague on 6 Feb. (Gazette de Leyde, 12 Feb.).
2. An alliance between the Netherlands and the United States as proposed in JA’s instructions of 16 Aug. 1781 (vol. 11:454–456).
3. The closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0145

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-04

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I have received yours of the 25th. past, in which you acquaint me with the Reasons you have for being fully of Opinion that no Loan is possible to be procured by you, till there is a Treaty. Our only Dependance then appears to be on this Court; and I am happy to find that it still continues dispos’d to assist us. Since mine of the 11th. past, tho’ I have obtain’d no positive assurances of determined Sums, I think I see more Light, and will venture undertaking to answer your acceptances of the Bills you mention. Before you receive this, you will be inform’d of my having sent wherewith to answer your Engagements for the present Month; and I beg to know how much is yet to be provided for. With great Respect, I have honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Son Excellence Monsieur John Adams en son Hotel à Amsterdam.”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. Franklin 4th Feby. 1782.”

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0146

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1782-02-05

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favor of Decr. 31st/Jany. 11th 1781.2 I recieved Yesterday, and in an hour or two after the Letters inclosed were sent in to me.1 As I have not recieved any of my Letters by the Viscount de Noailles or the Marquiss, I was very anxious to know the News and took Advantage of your Permission to open the Letters. That from Mrs. gave me vast pleasure—it put me in Spirits for the whole day. The other was wholly upon Business. You may depend upon it, I shall make use of the Liberty you allow me with great delicacy. The Accounts from America are very favorable—rather too confident that the War is nearly at an End, but not relaxing the string of a Bow. You have seen in the Papers a Requisition to the States, which made a lively Sensation. If the Negotiation for a separate Peace should pass away, there is a Probability of a Connection with the other Enemies of England: but You know this People.
To the Enquiry who will shew me any Glory, the Answer is easy, because there is but one Way to it—Send an Ambassador to the United States of America—Acknowledge their Sovereignty—invite { 226 } them to a Congress at Vienna with the other belligerent Powers. What can be more simple and certain of success? This would be the brightest Ray of all her Glory: this would endure to all Generations: this would give Peace to Mankind—for every other Power of Europe would follow the Example immediately.
It was the Father I meant, who is now at liberty, by 20.2
Have You seen certain Letters of Mr. D. in the Morning Post?3 Honesty always turns out right. Iniquity never makes Joints and Squares. An honest Man has never any thing to do for his Justification, but to wait for the Testimonies of his Enemies.
I will send a Dictionary to my dear Boy by the first Vessels that go in the Spring.4 I pity him, to be obliged to make Brick without Straw.

[salute] My dear Sir, your’s—

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (MHi:Dana Family Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Letter Dated Feby 5th. 1782. Recd. 17/28th.”
1. JA probably forwarded letters to Dana from Elizabeth Ellery Dana, 14 Dec. 1781, and Jonathan Jackson, 18 Dec. 1781. Dana answered Jackson’s letter on 28 Feb. and that from his wife on 24 April (MHi:Dana Family Papers, Francis Dana Letterbook, St. Petersburg, 1782–1784).
2. Henry Laurens.
3. For Silas Deane’s “intercepted” letters, see Edmund Jenings’ letter of 21 Jan., and note 3, above. The issues of the London Morning Post and Daily Advertiser in which Deane’s letters appeared have not been identified.
4. JQA forgot his English and Latin dictionary in Amsterdam. He asked his father to send him that volume or another English and Latin or French and Latin dictionary (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:234).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0147-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-05

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Si je n’ai pas eu l’honneur de vous écrire plutôt,1 c’est que mon intention étoit de passer chez vous la semaine derniere pendant l’absence de nos amis ici. Mais des affaires domestiques m’on ont empêché d’un jour à l’autre: et voici les amis de retour, qui demandent ma présence.
Jeudi passé huit jours, avant l’ajournement, peu s’en fallût que le concert avec la Fce. ne fût résolu. La seule ville de Brille, opinant avec la Noblesse pour qu’on résolût en même temps l’acceptation de la Médiation, rompit l’unanimité, et empêcha de rien résoudre alors. Avant de se séparer, Dort et 6 autres des principales Villes firent insérer une protestation très forte contre la maniere inconstitutionelle dont L. h. p. ont tenu la correspondance avec la Cour de V—, au sujet de l’abolition du Traité de Barriere et de la démolition { 227 } des Villes de ce Traité, sans consulter là-dessus les Provinces; menaçant, Si l’on continuoit de procéder ainsi, de rappeller leurs Députés aux Etats-Générx. Cette démarche inattendue a beaucoup humilié et effrayé ces derniers; et l’on espere qu’elle les rendra moins complaisants à l’avenir, et plus circonspects. Probablement cette semaine décidera de l’affaire du concert, et ensuite celle de la Médiation, qui ne sera acceptée qu’avec de bonnes limitations, qui déconcerteront les vues Anglomanes.2
C’est dommage que nous ne sachions pas encore quand vous aurez votre premiere Audience. Il y a une très belle maison à vendre ici, qui vous conviendroit parfaitement, Monsieur, qui vaut au moins 16000 fl., et qu’on pourroit avoir peut-être à 12000 fl. par le besoin du vendeur. Elle fait ƒ 1000 de loyer. Je l’ai été voir par curiosité. Elle est dans un beau quartier et des plus sains: Spacieuse, élégante, réguliere et moderne: et cela seroit bien plus profitable que de louer. Ce seroit certainement un hôtel digne d’un Mine. Amn.: et il ne sera pas facile de trouver une pareille rencontre, Si celle-ci échappe. Si nous étions plus près du dénouement, je vous aurois conseillé de la venir voir vous-même: elle vous auroit plu; et nous aurions un Hôtel Americain à Lahaie à bon marché.3
J’ai donné commission à un Libraire ici, selon vos ordres, de faire venir d’Allemagne, l’excellent Dictionaire Latin de Robertus Stephanus augmenté et rendu parfait par Gesner, comme aussi le Fabri Thesaurus Lingue latinæ du même Editeur; qui Sont les deux ouvrages les plus accomplis en ce genre.4 Je l’ai chargé aussi de la commission des trois Livres que je vous ai prêtés.
On attend d’un moment à l’autre l’arrivée de Mr. l’Ambassadr. de fce.
Il se passera certainement des choses interessantes cette semaine et l’autre; et j’aurai l’oeil au guet pour vous en faire part.
J’ai reçu une Lettre de Mr. Rob. R. Livingston Secretaire des affaires Etrangeres,5 que je vous ferai lire quand nous nous rejoindrons: ce que je desire fort.
Permettez que je salue ici bien cordialement Mr. Thaxter.

[salute] Je suis avec un grand respect, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obeissant serviteur

[signed] Dumas
L’on se dit ici à l’oreille, que le Pce. a déjà promis l’Ambassade d’Amérique à deux personnes successivement, d’abord à Mr. Van Citters, Député de Zélande aux Etats-Généraux, et puis à Mr. Rendorp; et l’on ajoute que ce sera ce dernier qui l’aura. Je n’ai pour { 228 } cela encore que des autorités subalternes. Il se peut que le Prince ait fait ces promesses par plaisanterie.6
Dans ce moment l’on m’apporte la Lettre que voici pour vous Monsieur.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0147-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-05

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

The reason that I did not write sooner1 is that I had planned to spend last week with you during our friends’ absence here. But my domestic affairs prevented me from leaving, for one reason or another, and now our friends have returned, which requires my presence.
A week ago Thursday, before the adjournment, the resolution with France very nearly happened. Only the town of Brille, which agrees with the nobility that the resolution should come at the same time as the acceptance of the mediation, prevented a unanimous vote. Nothing was resolved as a result. Before dispersing, Dordrecht and six other principal cities protested very strongly against the unconstitutional conduct of the high mightinesses by maintaining correspondence with the Court of Vienna regarding the abolition of the treaty of barriers and demolition of the cities in this treaty, without consulting the provinces on this point. They threatened to recall their deputies to the states general if this action continues to move forward. This unexpected proceeding humiliated and scared the deputies. Perhaps it will make them less complaisant and more circumspect in the future. This week, the accord will probably be decided upon, as well as the mediation, which will only be accepted with strong limitations, and which will thwart the views of the Anglomanes.2
It is unfortunate that we do not yet know when you will have your first audience. There is a very nice house for sale here that would suit you perfectly, sir, and that is going for 12,000 florins but is worth at least 16,000. The rent for it is ƒ1000. I saw it out of curiosity. It is in a nice neighborhood that is one of the most desirable. It is spacious, elegant, well appointed and modern, and would be more profitable to buy than to rent. It certainly would be a house fit for an American minister, and if it goes, it will be hard to find another one that is comparable. If we were closer to a denouement, I would advise you to come see it for yourself. You would like it very much and we would have an American residence at the Hague for a good price.3
According to your orders, I have commissioned a bookshop here to obtain Gesner’s edition of Robert Stephanus’ excellent Latin dictionary from Germany. I also asked for Fabri’s Latin thesaurus by Gesner. These two works are the best of their kind.4 I also asked that they obtain the three books that I lent to you.
We are awaiting the French ambassador’s arrival any moment now.
I am sure that something interesting will happen here in the next weeks and I will keep my eyes open for anything to pass on to you.
{ 229 }
I received a letter from Mr. Robert R. Livingston, secretary for foreign affairs,5 that I would very much like you to read when we see each other.
Please extend my cordial wishes to Mr. Thaxter.

[salute] I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Dumas
It is whispered here that the Prince has already promised the American ambassadorship to two people successively, first, to Mr. Van Citters, Zeeland’s deputy to the states general, and then, to Mr. Rendorp. It is being said that the latter will have it. But I only have inferior sources for this information. It could be that the Prince is joking with these promises.6
At the present moment, it is time for this letter to you, dear sir, to be sent.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “à Son Excellence Monsieur Adams, Ministre Plenipo: des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, sur le Keyzersgragt près du Spiegelstraat, Amsterdam.”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Dumas 5th. Feby. 1782.”
1. Dumas’ last letter was of 15 Dec. 1781, above.
2. See Dumas’ letter of 14 Feb., below.
3. This is the first mention of Dumas’ actions on JA’s behalf in the purchase of a house at The Hague. On the Fluwelen Burgwal, it was the first legation building owned by the United States. For an illustration of the site about 1830, just before the house was razed, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:ix–x, 65.
4. The works by Robert Estienne (Latinized to Robertus Stephanus) and Basilius Faber that are mentioned in this letter had long been available in a variety of editions. Dumas specifically refers to the versions edited by Johann Matthias Gesner, which appeared at various times and places, of Estienne’s Thesaurus Linguae Latinae and Faber’s Thesaurus Eruditionis Scholasticae. JA purchased an edition of Estienne’s work in March 1780 and it is in JA’s library at MB (Diary and Autobiography, 2:437, 441; Catalogue of JA’s Library). Editions of Faber’s work are in both JA’s and JQA’s libraries (same; Catalogue of JQA’s Books).
5. Livingston to Dumas, 28 Nov. 1781 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:30–32). Livingston approved of Dumas’ efforts on behalf of the United States, called for his continued correspondence, remarked on the absence of letters from JA regarding the presentation of his memorial to the States General, and noted the opportunities offered the Dutch by the victory at Yorktown. Livingston also informed Dumas that Congress would not increase his allowance.
6. The first Netherlands minister to the United States, Pieter Johan van Berckel, was appointed in May 1783 (PCC, No. 129, f. 21; Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 252–253).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0148

Author: Vinton, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-05

From Thomas Vinton

[salute] Please Your Excellency

Allthough I am Uncertain wheather you Retain The Youth that now Adresses You Yet I am Certain of Your Honours Being Aquaintd. with my parents Which Embouldens me to Take the liberty of laying My Distressd. Situation Before your Honour. Sir My Fathers name is Thoms. Vinton and lives in Brantree. So as it was my Misfortune to be Capturd Att Sea on the 10th Day of June last on Board the { 230 } Esex Priveteer Commandd. by Capn. John Kethcart And Brought to This Prison where I Suffer a great Deal for the want of Both Cloths. and Money on Account of my Being Deprivd of Both when I had The Misfortune of Being Captivatd. Therefore Sir I Expect You will be Pleasd to Compassionate My Distressd. Situation in Regard of Sending of me A small Suply of money which you May Realy on it Will be Reimbursd. if not To you to Some of Your family att Home in America Who were all well when I had the pleasure of Seeing of them last which was on the fifteenth Day of April last. I Realy on your Honour and Goodness And Expect youl not Disapoint my Expectation in Regard of Sending me Eavr so Small a Suply as I am in A most Distressd Situation and You May be Assurd. Ile Neavr. be Defitient of gratitude Enough to Esteem it as an Ever lasting Obligation togeathr. with paying you or yours as Soon as Possiable Your Compliance in my Reaquest I hope will be Rewardd. by god which Will be the Continual Prayers and Sincear well wishs. of Yr. Most Obd. Humble Sirt
[signed] Thoms. Vinton

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0149

Author: Stephens, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-06

From Joseph Stephens

[salute] Most Hond Sir

I have now Served your excellency more then four year as faithfully as was in my power and have done as much to take care of your intrest at all times as though it had Been my own; and with as much fidelity—now if your excelly. will be kind enough to pass your word for me to Mr Hodshon I can soon get into a good way of busness with success can Soon get advanst a little in the world; and while I am young is the only time for me to try my Luck; and as I intend to marry here in amsterdam if please god I Shall keep a Shoop if possible; of Silk handerchief linnens muslin cambricks chince, &c. And in a place where all the americans french and all other nations Land from their Ships and as the american captins and sailors by many good of that kind by retail I Should be almost sure to have all their custom; therefore if your excelly will be So good as to Speak a good word for me to mr Hodshon he will furnish the Shoop with goods; Mr Hodshon will informe you who the young woman is and of her caricter; I hope to have your excellys approbation as marrying makes young people Steady and more contented then to Live { 231 } unmarried and runing here and there night and day; I would not leave your excellency while you stayd in europe unless you chose that I Should; for the young woman whome I hope to marry has alredy Larned to keep Shop and is capable of takeing good care of a shoop; and to advantage, therefore when Mr Hodshon waits upon your ecelly if you will be kind enough to Speak for me I Shall be ever bound in duty to you and as I regard honesty as my birth right haveing no other I hope to maintain it as such never forgeting my own country and that Jewel Liberty and freedome;—to Set a mill agoing it requires a considerable courent of water; therefore I hope to have your kind consideration and approbation;
[signed] Joseph Stephens1
1. For Stephens’ efforts to start a business in Amsterdam, see his letter of 23 May to JA (Adams Papers) as well as Adams Family Correspondence, 4:321, and JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:274.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0150

Author: Neufville, Jean de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-07

From Jean de Neufville

[salute] Sir

Agreable to Yoúr Excellencys permission, I took the Liberty to introdúce by those few Lines Monsr. Giraúd the painter who copied the greatest Genal. of this age for me,1 may he be favourd to procúre me the pourtret of the greatest American Minister in that of yoúr Excellency; it will add to the obligation yoúr Excellency conferred on ús.2 Begging leave to assúre your Excellency of the highest regards with which I have the honoúr to be sir! Yoúr Excellency’s most obed & humb servt.
[signed] John de Neufville
1. In 1780 John Trumbull completed and gave to Leendert de Neufville a portrait of George Washington done from memory. The following year Valentine Green issued an engraving in mezzotint of Trumbull’s work. Known as the “De Neufville Washington,” the portrait is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Theodore Sizer, The Works of Colonel John Trumbull: Artist of the American Revolution, rev. edn., New Haven, 1967, p. 81, fig. 90; Gustavus A. Eisen, Portraits of Washington, 3 vols., N.Y., 1932, 2:470–471, 586). Although no copy of Trumbull’s portrait has been identified, Giraud may have copied it for Jean de Neufville.
Neufville apparently presented JA with a portrait or print of Washington by Trumbull (from Neufville, 5 July 1782, Adams Papers). Similarly an inventory of the furnishings of the U.S. legation at The Hague completed in June 1784 includes an otherwise unidentified portrait or print of Washington (filmed at 14 May 1782, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 357).
2. There is no evidence that Giraud painted JA’s portrait.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0151

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-12

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I received the honour of yours dated the 7th.1 Inst. acquainting me with the Presentation of several more Bills drawn on Mr Laurens. I think you will do well to accept them, and I shall endeavour to enable you to pay them. I should be glad to see a compleat List of those you have already accepted. Perhaps from the Series of Numbers, and the Deficiencies, one may be able to divine the Sum that has been issued, of which we have never been informed as we ought to have been. Ignorance of this, has subjected me to the unpleasant Task of making repeated Demands which displease our Friends by seeming to have no End. The same is the Case with the Bills on Mr. Jay and on myself. This has among other things made me quite sick of my Gibeonite office, that of drawing Water for the whole Congregation of Israel.2 But I am happy to learn from our Minister of Finance, that after the End of March next no farther Drafts shall be made on me, or Trouble given me by Drafts on others.
The Duke de Vauguyon must be with you before this time. I am impatient to hear the Result of your States on the Demand you have made of a categoric answer &c. I think with you that it may be wrong to interrupt or perplex their Deliberations by asking Aids during the present critical Situation of affairs.
I understood that the Goods had all been delivered to Mr. Barclay, and I punctually paid all the Bills. That Gentleman now writes me that those purchased of Gillon are detained on pretence of his Debts.3 These new Demands were never mention’d to me before. It has been and will be a villanous affair from beginning to End.

[salute] With great Esteem and Respect, I have the honour to be Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] B Franklin
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr Franklin Feb. 12. 1782.”
1. A slip of the pen, see JA to Franklin, 4 Feb., above.
2. Because they sought to deceive Joshua and the tribes of Israel, the Gibeonites were condemned to serve as gatherers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation of Israel (Joshua, 9:27).
3. Thomas Barclay to Franklin, 3 Feb. (Franklin, Papers, 36:530–532).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0152

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1782-02-14

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Dear Sir

Yesterday the Duplicate of your Letter of the 23d. of October was brought to me, the Original not yet arrived.
It is with great pleasure I learn that a Minister is appointed for foreign Affairs, who is so capable of introducing into that Department an Order, a Constancy and an Activity, which could never be expected from a Committee of Congress so often changing and so much engaged in other great Affairs, however excellent their Qualifications or Dispositions. Indeed, Sir, it is of infinite Importance to me to know the Sentiments of Congress; yet I have never known them in any detail, or with any Regularity, since I have been in Europe. I fear Congress have heard as little from me since I have been in Holland. My dispatches by the Way of St. Eustatia and by several private Vessels, and by the South Carolina have been vastly unfortunate.
My Situation, Sir, has been very delicate: but as my whole Life from my Infancy has been passed through an uninterrupted Series of delicate Situations, when I find myself suddenly translated into a new one, the View of it neither confounds nor dismays me. I am very sensible however, that such an Habit of Mind borders very nearly upon Presumption, and deserves very serious Reflections.
My health is still precarious. My Person has been thought by some to have been in danger: but at present I apprehend nothing to myself or the Public. This Nation will have Peace with England, if they can obtain it upon honorable Terms;1 but upon no other. They cannot obtain it upon any other, without giving Offence to France, and England will not make Peace upon such Conditions. I shall therefore probably remain here in a very insipid and insignificant state a long time, without any Affront or Answer.
In the Parties which divide the Nation I have never taken any Share. I have treated all Men of all Parties whom I saw alike, and have been used quite as well by the Court Party as their Antagonists. Both Parties have been in bodily Fear of popular Commotions, and the Politicks of both appear to me to be too much influenced by alternate Fears and I must add Hopes of popular Commotions. Both Parties agree in their Determinations to obtain Peace with England, if they can: but Great Britain will not cease to be the Tyrant of the { 234 } Ocean until She ceases to be the Tyrant of America. She will give up her Claims of Empire over both together.
The Dutch have an undoubted Right to judge for themselves, whether it is for their Interest to connect themselves with Us or not. At present I have no Reason to be dissatisfied. I have in pursuance of the Advice of the Comte de Vergennes and the Duke de la Vauguyon, added to that of several Members of the States, demanded an Answer. I was recieved politely by all Parties—though You will hear great Complaints from others that I am not recieved well. They have their Views in this: they know that this is a good String for them to touch. I stand now in an honorable light, openly and candidly demanding an Answer in my public Character. But it is the Republick that stands in a less respectable Situation, not one Member of the Sovereignty having yet ventured to give an Answer in the Negative. The Dignity of the United States is therefore perfectly safe, and if that of this Republick is questionable, this is their own fault not ours.
Your Advice to be well with the Government and to take no Measures which may bring upon me a public affront, is perfectly just. All appearance of Intrigue, and all the Refinements of Politicks have been as distant from my Conduct, as You know them to be from my natural and habitual Character.
Your Advice to spend much of my time at the Hague, I shall in future pursue, though I have had Reasons for a different Conduct hitherto. As to Connections with the Ministers of other Powers, it is a Matter of great delicacy. There is no Power but what is interested directly or indirectly in our Affairs at present. Every Minister has at his own Court a Competitor, who keeps Correspondences and Spies to be informed of every Step; and open Visits to or from any American Minister are too dangerous for them to venture on. It must be managed with so much Art, and be contrived in third Places and with so much unmeaning Intrigue, that it should not be too much indulged, and after all nothing can come of it. There is not a Minister of them all that is intrusted with any thing, but from time to time to execute positive Instructions from his Court.
A Loan of Money has given me vast anxiety. I have tried every Experiment and failed in all; and am fully of Opinion, that We never shall obtain a Credit here until We have a Treaty. When this will be I know not. If France has not other Objects in View of more Importance, in my Opinion She may accomplish it in a short time. Whether She has or not, time must discover.
{ 235 }
Mr. Barclay is here doing his utmost to dispatch the public Effects here: but these will turn out the dearest Goods that Congress ever purchased, if they ever arrive safe.
It has been insinuated, I perceive, that I was privy, to the Purchase of a Parcell of English Manufactures among these Goods. This is a Mistake. It was carefully concealed from me, who certainly should not have countenanced it, if I had known it. Mr Barclay will exchange them all, for the Manufactures of Germany or Holland, or sell them here. The ordonnance of Congress against British Manufactures, is universally approved as far as I know as an Hostility against their Ennemies of more Importance, than the Exertions of an Army of Twenty thousand Men.2

[salute] With great Esteem and Respect, I have the Honour to be Sir, your most obedient and most humble sert

[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand, except for the final two paragraphs, which are in JA’s hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 466–469). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. In the Letterbook JA interlined “honourable” before “Terms” and, at this point, canceled “that France Shall not oppose.”
2. JA refers to Congress’ resolutions of 16 March 1781 to end “all commercial intercourse between the inhabitants of the United States of America and the subjects of the king of Great Britain” (JCC, 19:270–272), a prohibition that JA strongly supported. But there is no indication as to the source of the insinuations against which he defends himself.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0153

Author: Curtis, Samuel
Author: Bass, Jeriah
Author: Savil, Edward
Author: Newcomb, Briant
Author: Field, Job
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-14

From Samuel Curtis and Others

[salute] Sir

Being duly Sencible of the many favours wee have received from you Since wee have been in Captivity which favours have Contributed greatly towards our Suport therefore we think it our indispencible duty to return you our hearty thanks for Such Extroadinery favours wee was favoured with your last kindness about Six weeks past and the enclement Season of the year and many other dificulties we have to Surmount in our Long and tedious Confinement Expends our money very fast neighther of us haveing any friend in this kingdom to releave our distreses we theirfore dear Sir take Courage to request one favour more from you for our money is all Exhausted and wee must uavoidably Suffer in our Captivity unless our distreses are releived there fore dear Sir wee Earnestly beg you would take our deplorable and distresed Circumstances into your candid consideration and be bountifully disposed to grant our request by Supplying us with a little more money and in So do• { 236 } ing wee Shall think our Selves in duty bound to render you all the Satisfaction that may be in our powers to do when Ever wee are liberated from our Captivity wishing you health wealth and properity we Close with Subscribeing our Selves your freinds and unfortunate neighbours
[signed] Samuel Curtis
[signed] Jeriah Bass
[signed] Edward Savil
[signed] Bryant Newcomb
[signed] Job Field

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0154-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-14

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Ce matin le Concert avec la France, et la Mediation ont été résolus aux Etats d’Hollde en même temps.1 C’est une Singuliere Cuisine qui peut assaisonner, et un singulier Estomac qui peut avaler et digérer des choses si peu compâtibles. La Médiation est acceptée saufs les droits de la rep. à la neutralité armée; selon la resolution, on doit aussi donner connoissance de la Négociation pour la paix aux autres Puissances belligérantes. J’ignore encore les autres particularités de la Résolution: mais je les saurai demain. Wentworth2 est fort visité ici par le Parti Anglomane. Il a été ce matin à 11 heures en conférence chez l’Ambr. Russe. Il fait déjà le petit Ambassadeur. Mundus vuit decipi, ergo decipiatur.3 Allons notre chemin. Nous rirons les derniers.
Mrs. Barclay et Thaxter ont vu ce que vous savez; et je crois qu’après leur rapport vous aurez vu que je n’avois rien exagéré, et que l’emplette seroit très-bonne. Il ne faudroit pas trop tarder après cela à vous déterminer, Monsieur, afin de n’être point prévenu par d’autres qui acheteroient ou loueroient. On pourroit provisionellement acheter sous mon nom. Tantum pour aujourd’hui car la poste va partir. Je Suis avec le plus sincere respect Monsieur Votre très-humble & très obeissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0154-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-14

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

This morning, the accord with France and the mediation were resolved in the states of Holland.1 It is a singular cuisine that can season two things { 237 } so incompatible and a singular stomach that can swallow and digest them. The mediation was accepted with the exception of the republic’s rights to the armed neutrality. According to the resolution, the belligerent powers must be notified about the peace negotiation. I do not know any other particulars of the resolution, but I will know more tomorrow. Wentworth2 was sent here by the British government. At eleven o’clock this morning he was in a meeting with the Russian ambassador. He is presenting himself as the little ambassador. Mundus vuit decipi, ergo decipiatur.3 We will remain honest. We will have the last laugh.
Mr. Barclay and Mr. Thaxter have seen you know what. I believe that by their report you will realize that I have not exaggerated and it would be a good purchase. You must not take too long to decide, sir, because someone might buy it or rent it soon. I could buy it for you provisionally under my name. Tantum4 for today because the mail is about to leave. I am, with the most sincere respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. For French and English translations of the resolutions, see the Gazette de Leyde, 21 Feb.; The Remembrancer . . . for the Year 1782, pt. 1, p. 249–250.
2. Paul Wentworth, a British agent, arrived at The Hague on 1 Feb., ostensibly to arrange a prisoner exchange. In fact, the North ministry, at least partly to mollify the opposition, had sent him to sound out the Dutch government about a separate peace. It was a mission doomed to failure. The British conditions, which included a commitment by the Dutch not to recognize the United States and to expel JA, proved unacceptable. Just as unacceptable to the British were the Dutch demands that the free ships make free goods provision of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674 be reaffirmed, that captured Dutch possessions be returned, and that the Netherlands be paid an indemnity for its maritime losses (Edler, Dutch Republic and Amer. Rev., p. 199–200; Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American Revolution: The Foundations of American Diplomacy, 1775–1823, N.Y., 1935, p. 168).
3. The world wishes to be deceived, and let it be deceived.
4. So much.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0155

Author: Williams, John Foster
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-15

From John Foster Williams

[salute] Sir

From a personal Knoledge of your Excellency’s Sencere Attachment to the true intrest of your Country and those individuals who have Distinguish’d themselves theirin, leades me to address you at this time, I was Capturd in May last, and haveing ben Honnourd with the Command of the State Ship protector, was Transported from New York to these Disagreable Mansons, and Commited to Mill prison 22d July last where I found Numbers of my Country men and Towns Men in distress, but finding, the Brittish Ministry inclin’d to Exchange us provided Notice Sufficant was taken, I im• { 238 } mideatly maid application to Mr John Joy1 late Inhabitant of the Town of Boston, who, Interpos’d in my behalf and has finally Effectd. my Immideate Exchange.
Inclos’d is a Letter from a Gentn: who I have Just left in Captivity, in Mill prison at plymouth in England from which place I am Exchang’d together with several others, to wit Capt John Manly and a Capt Talbot and several others the Former of which is Exchang’d against an English Major, the Latter against an Officer of equel rank detained for him in America, I am happy to Inform you that the Independance of our Country is now so far allowed off in Britain that thay hold Rank of Officers in the Estermation, tis in consequence of this that the Writer of the Enclosed, Capt N. Nazro2 has addressed you on his behalf, and you will please permit me to Recommend him to your perticular pateronage and protection, as a Gentleman of merit and distinction, whose Services, entitle him to the notice and favor of his Country, he was late in the Capacity of a Capt of Merines in a privat Arm’d Vessell of War of 20 Guns Belonging to Boston, and is I believe the only Officer of the like rank in that line in the same prison where he is confined, I am fully of opinion, that was their aney British Officer in any Respect upon an equality with particularly a Captive to the American flag and Confined for him either in Europe or America, that the same would immediately effect his liberation, and in this manner also may many others Officers now in confinement in the same prison be liberated, haveing done that Justice which is due to the Merits of this my Fr[iend as] well as several others American Captains. I beg leave to subscribe myself what I really wish to be Your Most humble and Most devoted obedient Servant
[signed] John Foster Williams3
RC (Adams Papers). Removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of one word and part of another. Enclosure not found.
1. John Joy, a loyalist and former Boston housewright, went to Halifax in 1776 and then on to England (Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, with an Historical Essay, 2 vols., Boston, 1864, 1:596).
2. This may be Nathaniel Nazro’s letter of Nov. 1781, above.
3. John Foster Williams of the Massachusetts navy, was taken in May 1781 when the Protector, the state’s largest vessel, was captured by the British warships Roebuck and Medea. Williams was pardoned for exchange in Nov. 1781 (DAB; Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 208, 232).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0156-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-18

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

J’ai fait ce matin les démarches dont j’ai eu l’honneur de vous parler. L’effet en question sera mis demain 19e. en vente publique, pour savoir qui en offrira le plus. Nous laisserons offrir, sans nous en mêler. J’ai envoyé un Expert, dont le rapport est satisfaisant quant à l’essentiel: C’est-à-dire que l’Effet est bon et sain; qu’il a seulement été négligé, et que les réparations comme peinture double, et autres, pour remettre l’Effet dans tout l’état requis, pourront aller de 600ƒ à 1000ƒ selon qu’on voudra étendre ou borner ces réparations. La taxe publique ordinaire de l’Eff