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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0119

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-07-22

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

We have received here with uncommon Pleasure the Accounts of the Success of your important Negotiations in Holland notwithstanding the Opposition and Traversings of a pow'rful British Party in that Country. By the last Vessel from France, which left Nants the Beginning of June, we are told, that the Independence of these States has been acknowledged by all the States of Holland, and your Excellency recieved in Form as their Minister Plenipotentiary, and all our Accounts agree that these Events would, without doubt, take place in May; upon which I most sincerely congratulate you and my Country. It gives us also great Pleasure to learn that the new Ministry of England are like to succeed in their Design of a separate Treaty with Holland no better than their Predecessors, and that this last Power has made a common Cause with the Enemies of Britain. If this may be depended on the Court of London may soon find itself obliged to seek Peace upon a broad and fair Bottom, and with such Concessions as shall establish the Security and Repose of Europe and America. Perhaps, however, their late Success in the West Indies may inspire them with other Sentiments, and the new Ministry may follow what they blamed in the old, the Continuance { 194 } of a War ruinous to themselves, upon partial and accidental Encouragements.
I have been highly pleased with the Disposition discovered by my Country upon the Change of the British Ministry,1 the Arrival of Genl. Carleton at New york, and the prevailing Apprehension that he was come to detach us from our Allies and prepare the Way for a separate Peace with England. The Idea of such a Proposal was every where received with just Indignation and Contempt, manifested in private Conversations, in the public Newspapers, and in the Resolves of the Legislatures of these States, with which our own has concurred.2
Our Finnances, particularly in this State, labour: The Accounts of our Treasury, it is said, are deranged: We have paid our full Proportion, if not more towards the Expence of the War, but from the present Perplexity of our public Accounts cannot make this appear in a Light it ought to do at Congress. Our Legislature have been much divided respecting Measures for removing our Difficulties upon so capital a Point; an Assistant Treasurer has lately been chosen, (Mr Ivers) who is esteemed an excellent Accomptant. It is acknowledged the States have a great Financier in Mr Morris; He has made great Savings to the States by his new Arrangements, and to the Surprize of every one has amidst all our pecuniary Perplexities established a National Bank upon firm Credit.3 Personal and local Prejudices have sometimes appeared respecting these Arrangements; but they are to be expected in human Affairs; and are not likely at present to rise so high as to do any essential Injury to the public Welfare.
Some Uneasinesses have lately risen in the Counties of Hampshire and Berkshire about paying Taxes, fomented it is said by the old Tories in that Quarter: and Persons under Custody of Authority have been violently rescued. Government is now trying Ancient Methods, and Mr Saml Adams, Genl. Ward, and Mr Gorham Speaker of the House are going this day as a Committee from the Court to inquire into these Matters, and rectify the Mistakes of the People, which we hope will prevent any Necessity of a severer Exertion of Civil Authority.4
This will be deliver'd to you by Mr Rogers, who married a Daughter of Col. Henry Bromfield. Mrs Rogers accompanies her Husband in this Voyage to Europe, in Hopes of reestablishing her Health which has for a long Time been much impair'd. Your Acquaintance with the Character and Connections of this Gentleman and Lady leaves no Room for me to say any Thing respecting them.5 I am { 195 } much interested in their Welfare, and warmly wish them every Thing happy. The Departure of the Lady in such infirm Health produces a particular Tenderness towards her in the Bosom of all her Friends.
I am with every Sentiment of Respect and Affection, your Excellency's most obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] Saml. Cooper
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. Cooper 22d. July 1782.”
1. That is, the fall of the North government in Britain in March; word had not yet reached Boston of Rockingham's death.
2. On 4 July the Massachusetts General Court resolved that there should be no deviation from the Franco-American alliance or any negotiations with Britain and that the war should be continued until American independence was recognized and established (Mass., Acts and Laws, 2:243–244).
3. Thomas Ivers (1730–1787) first was appointed assistant treasurer of Massachusetts in place of the treasurer, Henry Gardner, who was ill, and then elected treasurer in October after Gardner's death (Mass., Acts and Laws, 2:287). Ivers served until his death in 1787. For Robert Morris' establishment of the Bank of North America, which was formally incorporated on 31 Dec. 1781, see vol. 12:181, 183, 197, 199.
4. In April 1782, Samuel Ely was found guilty of “seditious and disorderly behaviour” in Springfield, Mass., for speaking out against the 1780 state constitution and encouraging a mob to prevent the courts from sitting. In June, a mob broke Ely out of jail; government troops were brought in to quell the mob but more rioting ensued. The Boston newspapers reported on these events in late June, taking their stories from the 20 and 27 June issues of the Worcester Massachusetts Spy. On 2–3 July, the Massachusetts General Court resolved to create a committee of Samuel Adams, president of the Senate; Nathaniel Gorham, speaker of the House of Representatives; and Gen. Artemas Ward to go to Hampshire County and “enquire into the grounds of dissatisfaction—to correct misinformations—to remove groundless jealousies,” then report back (Mass., Acts and Laws, 2:238, 241). For more on Ely and the riots, see James Sullivan to JA, 24 July, below; Robert E. Moody, “Samuel Ely: Forerunner to Shays,” New England Quarterly, 5:105–134 (Jan. 1932); and Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 119–120.
5. This was Daniel Denison Rogers, a Boston merchant, and his wife Abigail Bromfield Rogers. Besides Cooper's letter they also carried AA's of 17 July to JA. Later, when AA and JA were both in London, the Rogerses were frequent visitors (AFC, 4:343, 348; 6 and 7:index). For a portrait of Abigail Bromfield Rogers, who returned to America in 1786, see AFC, 7:38.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0120

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-07-22

From Francis Dana

[salute] My Dear Sir

Uncertain whether you have seen the paper from which I send you enclosed an Extract I do myself the pleasure to forward that to you by the earliest opportunity. It was put into my hands by one of my friends here; who I told you in a late letter desired his complements to you,1 too late for the last post. The whole has not yet been communicated; as I am told, to any one here, but will be in a day or two, when I hope to have the perusal of it. My Correspondent for some reason, I know not what, has not communicated so important a peice of intelligence to me. This communication on the part of { 196 } G. Britain has been made to both the Imperial Courts, and to that of Versailles; and it seems to me must revive the old mediation on the grounds and principles required by the latter in its last answer to the mediating Courts. You will therefore be probably called upon to repair to Vienna much sooner than you had expected: But I have information which I have little reason to doubt, that the preliminaries are in a state of forwardness, and will be adjusted at Paris. Independance, it is said, is our only object, and the obstacle to that seems now to be removed by the above communication. I fear much they will be there settled upon that ground, and you know my reason for this sentiment. The great object, for independance I do not consider as such that being long ago fully established, will be staved off to a future period, and wn: that shall arrive, we may be told the Estate is held in common and undivided, and that no new tenant can be admitted without the consent of all, because the profits of all may be effected by such a step. I may be too apprehensive in this case, but I cannot help my apprehensions.2 As I am upon this subject I will now also inclose to you a copy of King James's Grant of Nova Scotia to Sr: Wm: Alexander, of which mention is made in the papers in your hands. I meet with it in a pamphlet here.3 If you compare the limits with the Chart of N. Scotia by Jeffereys, No: 14 in the American Atlas, you will find that the line North from the Bay of St: Mary will strike the River St: John, and not the River St: Croix.4 To account for this, if I am not much deceived, I have somewhere found that the first River formerly bore the latter Name, tho I think there is no mention of this circumstance in the report which you have. But perhaps you will meet with something to clear up this point among the papers I received just before my last departure from Paris, and left with you. I did not peruse them. They were sent by the Secretary of our State in consequence of our application to him for further information upon that subject.5
I beg, if it is practicable, to be furnished with a Copy of your Treaty as soon as it may be finished in French or English, or both. Have you an authentick Copy of the last Marine Regulations of Congress which have been published in the Amsterdam Gazette? I have not the whole as a part was published before I took the Gazette here.6 As these must in some part enter into our Treaties, I am astonished at the negligence of some people in omitting to furnish me with them. Can you do it? Your industrious and faithful friend I find is about to leave you.7 I suppose he will carry the Treaty for { 197 } Ratification. Pray request him, for I forgot it when I wrote him by the last post, to leave in your posession The copies he took for me from the old Colo: relative to the limits of N. York &c. &c. Your Son is in good health, but I can't persuade him to write you.8

[salute] Adieu my dear Sir, I am with the highest esteem & warmest affection your friend & obedient humble Servant

Copy of the Extract mentioned above.
Sa Majesté Britannique dit
“Qu'il ne préjugé, ni ne veut préjuger aucune question quelconque, et qu'il ne prétend exclure personne de la negociation, qu'on a en vüe, qui pourrait s'y croire interessé, soit qu'il soit question des Etats Generaux, soit qu'on y veuille faire entrer les Colonies Americaines.”9
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Dana July 11. 1782.”
1. Johan Isaac de Swart. See Dana to JA, 10 May, note 5, above.
2. At this point in the letterbook version (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook, St. Petersburg, 1782–1784), Dana indicated for insertion the following note written vertically in the left-hand margin: “The Newfoundland Fishery is here alluded to: And the Intrigues of the French Cabinet prove beyond all question that those apprehensions were but too well founded.”
3. King James I granted Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander, a Scottish nobleman and explorer, in 1621. The pamphlet has not been identified.
4. See Thomas Jefferys, The American Atlas: or, A Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America, London, 1778. The original grant puts the boundary line between New England and Nova Scotia “thence northward [from St. Mary's Bay] by a straight line, crossing the entrance, or mouth, of that great roadstead which runs toward the eastern part of the land between the countries of the Suriqui and Etechemini . . . to the river generally known by the name of St. Croix” (Edmund F. Slafter, Sir William Alexander and American Colonization, Boston, 1873 [repr. New York, 1966], p. 129). Using Jefferys' map of the region would move the easternmost border between Maine (Massachusetts) and Canada considerably further east.
5. With letters of 17 Oct. 1780 and 2 Jan. 1780 [1781], John Avery, the secretary of the Commonwealth, enclosed charters and other material related to the boundaries. The covering letters and the documents are in M/JA/13–14 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 191). JA used the material, together with other documents that he had brought with him in 1779, during the peace negotiations in November.
6. Congress approved “An ordinance relative to the capture and condemnation of prizes” on 27 March 1781 (JCC, 19:314–316). The Gazette d'Amsterdam printed a French translation on 22 May 1781.
7. John Thaxter had written to Dana of his intention to return to America. See Dana to Thaxter, 8 July O.S. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook, St. Petersburg, 1782–1784).
8. JQA did, however, write to John Thaxter on this date (AFC, 4:352–353).
9. His British Majesty said “that he does not prejudge, nor does he want to prejudge any question whatsoever, and that he does not claim to exclude anyone from the pending negotiation who are interested in it, whether it be the question of the States General, or the admission of the American colonies.” Johan Isaac de Swart's source for this extract is unknown.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.