A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0306

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1782-04-28

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of 28 March is this day recd1—the other Paper you mentioned I also recd, but after my Letter was written. Your other Letters are also recd.
You will have Seen by the Papers, that the great Point is gained here with much Unanimity, and many indifferent People think it a great Point. I may think more highly of it, than it deserves, but it has ever appeared to me, the turning Point. Be this as it will, I think all will allow that it is better to have this nation for Us than against us—this has been the question—and that question is now certainly decided. If the War continues, there will be found in this nation a Strong Spirit of Liberty, and a great deal of obstinate Valour.
It is to no Purpose to entertain you with Relations of Visits and Ceremonies, which are all finished. The Prince and Princess of orange have acknowledged American Independance as well as their H.M. The P. has recd a Letter of Credence. It was pretty to present a beautifull young Virgin World, to the Acquaintance of a fine figure of a Princess, whose Countenance showed an Understanding capable of judging and an Heart capable of feeling.
We have no News from America, a long time excepting a Line notifying the arrival of your son Charles. I am rejoiced that my dear John, pursues his studies so well. Let him pursue Cicero. But I regret extreamly his absence from Leyden, where there are such noble Advantages. I am So uneasy about this that I wish he could find a good Passage in a neutral Vessell, and return to me.2 I feel more lonely, than I used as my Health is not so good, and my Spirits still worse. I want my Wife and my Children, about me. I must go home. I cant live so—it is too much. If I should go home it would give great Pleasure to Some who dont love me. And I really feel Benevolence enough to give them this satisfaction. I am weary my Friend, of the dastardly Meannesses of Jealousy and Envy. It is mortifying, it is humiliating to me to the last degree, to see such Proofs of it, as degrade human nature.
If I should get a Treaty made I have a great Mind to go home and carry it for Ratification.
I will write to my dear Boy soon,3 I have rcd his Letters, and would have him write me as often as he can. Dont mind Postage.
{ 468 }
RC (MHi:Dana Family Papers); endorsed: “Mr: J. Adams’s Letter Dated April 28th 1782 Recd. May 11th O.S.”
1. 8 April N.S., above.
2. In his reply of 23 May (Adams Papers), Dana agreed that JQA should join JA in the Netherlands.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0307

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1782-04-28

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Your favour of the 24, is just come to Hand. Your Congratulations on the publick acknowledgment of the United States do me great Honour.
I received in its Time, your favour of 18. The Compliments you make me upon this occasion, are greater than I deserve, though they are not greater than were made me last Week, by one of the most respectable foreign Ministers at the Hague.
“Vous avez, frappé, Mosieur, (Said he to me) le plus grand Coup de tout L’Europe. C’est le plus grand Coup, qui a jamais été frappé dans la Cause Americain. C’est Vous qui a effrayé et terrassée Les Anglomanes. C’est Vous qui a rempli cette nation d’Enthousiasme. C’est Vous, qui a tournée leurs Tetes.” Then turning to another Gentleman present (Says he) “Ce n’est pas pour faire Compliment a Monsieur Adams que Je dis cela—C’est parce que, en Verité, Je crois que c’est Sa duë.”1 Such was the Diplomatique Compliment of the grave Spaniard.
Think of me, however as they will, I am not easily touched with Such Compliments. They will never turn my Head I assure you.
The Revolution which has taken Place in this nation, is the Result of a vast number and Variety of great Events, composing a great Scheme of Providence, which comprized a great part of the Earth and the nations on it, which I could no more influence, than the fly upon the Chariot Wheel could raise the Cloud of Dust.
When I recollect the Circumstances, I am amazed, and I feel, that it is no Work of mine. Mr Laurens was to be taken—Congres were to foresee it, so far as to send me a Commission to borrow Money. I was to come to Holland to see the Country and my friend Laurens. Congress were to send me full Powers. These were to be lost on the Way from Paris, and to run the Gantlet through Dilligences, Post offices and Treck schuits, and at last reach me Safe by an unknown Hand. I was to be Seized with a Fit of obstinacy and go { 469 } to the Hague, with a Memorial, in opposition to Advices, Remonstrances, and almost Menaces. Mr Van Berckel was to come forward next—then the Burgomaster of Amsterdam, the Battle of Doggersbank. France was to retake statia &c. The Barrier Towns were to be evacuated—The Emperors Toleration was to allarm the Dutch further about their Commerce. Cornwallis, Minorca st Kits were to be taken. Congress was to prohibit the Importation of British Manufactures. The Revolution was to take Place in England. What a Chain! and what Link in it, did I forge? none at all but the stubborn Memorial. All that I have done was just to throw out a few Hints for the Contemplation of the People. I need not be envyed for this—My Fevers and Swollen Legs and feeble Knees, are not envyed I dare say.
However, I had Seen and felt before So much of the Smart arising from a sordid Jealeusy and Envy, that I never can see or feel more of it—I despise it all and am determined to brave it. All their dastardly assassinations, their secret Whispers, their vile slanders, I hold in as much Contempt as I do their Persons and Characters. I disdain to Say or write a Word in my own Vindication. Let them go to the End of their Rope. I confess, I have tolerated several Things which gave me Pain and which I never suffered in any former Part of my Life on Purpose to show them how much I hold them in Contempt, and at Defyance. I am much afraid, that the dirty disagreable office of Stripping the Gilding off of one more Knave, is destined for me. I hope not—and will avoid it if I can.
But, dont believe me dazzled with my Glory—I should Embark tomorrow for the blue Hills there to live and die with more Pleasure, than I had in making fine Speeches to the Prince or Princess of orange, or the Grand Committee of their High Mightinesses. There is one Thing, I should be glad to do, if it were in my Power, which however it never will be.2

[salute] Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams April 28 1782.”
1. Translation: You have struck, sir, the greatest blow in all Europe. It is the greatest blow yet struck in the American cause. It is you who have terrified and vanquished the Anglomanes. It is you who have filled this nation with enthusiasm. It is you who have turned their heads. It is not just to make a compliment to Mr. Adams that I say this, it is because it is true and I know that it is his due.
2. One can only conjecture about JA’s meaning here. In his reply of 6 May (Adams Papers), Jenings referred specifically to this sentence, but JA did not respond with a clarification.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/