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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0001

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

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Sir

Your favor of the 30th., I had the honor to recieve yesterday, with Mr. Nolet's Letter and your Answer.1
What shall I say to this affectionate as well as polite Invitation to dine at Schiedam? I am now and shall be a long time exceedingly <engaged> fatigued with the Affair of a Loan, which takes up my Attention and Time, in the greater part. The Treaty of Commerce is also You know under Consideration, and the Merchants of the American Coffee House have proposed a public Dinner here, but I have begged to be excused. You see the difficulties, for which Reasons I earnestly wish that our kind Friends of Scheidam would be so good as to excuse Us: but I will leave the whole to You, and if We cannot be excused, I will conform to the day You agree upon.2 But there is another Affair, which not only perplexes me in this Business of the Dinner, but in many other matters of Importance. There is a serious Negtiation going on for Peace between the Courts of London and Versailles and Dr. Franklin, who has sent me the whole and invited Mr. Laurens, Mr. Jay and me to Paris to consult and treat.3 This may make it necessary to go at a short Warning, and has altered my Plan of removing to the Hague, as my House here, is not let, for the present.
I hope You are in possession of the House at the Hague, and advise You to live in it. Your Answer to Mr. Nolet is very just. Mr. Thaxter is my Secretary and all the Secretary that I have, and all the little Consolations that belong to that very small Character are certainly his Due, as they have been dearly very dearly earned.
Notwithstanding this, it is my Opinion, with submission to Congress, that it is the Interest and Duty of the United States to send You a Commission to be Secretary of this Legation and Chargé des { 2 } Affaires with a Salary of five hundred pounds sterling a Year, during the Time that there is a minister here, and at the Rate of a thousand a Year when there is not, and You have my Consent to transmit this Opinion to Congress by sending an Extract of this Letter or otherwise by as many Ways as You please. I shall write the same myself. I wrote as much more than a Year ago, but know not whether the Letter has been recieved as a vast Number of my Letters have been thrown overboard and many taken.4
If the Dinner at Schiedam should be agreed on, there will be no difficulty in finding a Way for Mr. Dumas Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Adams to go altogether. All that is before said about the Negotiation for Peace You know must be kept secret: but if I go to Paris I shall break up my House here entirely, dismiss all my Servants and take Mr. Thaxter with me.

[salute] I have the honor to be, with Compliments to the Ladies, Sir, &c.

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Neither of the enclosures to Dumas' letter of 30 April are printed, but for their content, see that letter and note 1 (vol. 12:474–475).
2. See Dumas' Address to the City of Schiedam, [8 May], below, where he declined the merchants' invitation on JA's behalf.
3. See Benjamin Franklin's letter of 20 April (vol. 12:432–433).
4. JA kept his promise to Dumas in his letter of 16 May to Robert R. Livingston, secretary for foreign affairs, below. JA's earlier recommendation of Dumas was in his letter of 4 Jan. 1781 to the president of Congress (vol. 11:15–17). Dumas enclosed a copy of this letter of 2 May with his of 10 May to Livingston (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:408–410).

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1782-05-02

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I am honoured with your Favour of the 20 of April, and Mr. Lawrens's Son proposes to carry the Letter to his father, forth with. The Instructions by the Courier from Versailles came Safe, as all other Dispatches by that Channell, no doubt will do. The Correspondence by Mr Hartly I recd by Capt Smedley, and will take the first good opportunity by a private Hand, to return it, as well as that with the E. of S.1
Mr Laurens and Mr Jay will, I hope be able to meet at Paris, but when it will be in my Power to go, I know not. Your present Negotiation about Peace falls in, very well to aid a Proposition which I am instructed to make, as soon as the Court of Versaills shall judge proper of a tripple or quadruple alliance. This matter, the Treaty of Commerce which is now under deliberation, and the Loan will ren• { 3 } der it improper for me to quit this station, unless in Case of Necessity. If there is a real Dissposition to permit Canada to acceed to the american association I should think there could be no great difficulty in adjusting all things between England and america, provided our allies are contented too. In a former Letter I hinted that I thought an express Acknowledgment of our Independence might now be insisted on:2 but I did not mean that we should insist upon such an Article in the Treaty. If they make a Treaty of Peace with the United States of America, this is Acknowledgment enough for me. The affair of a Loan gives me much anxiety and Fatigue. It is true I may open a Loan for five millions, but I confess I have no hopes of obtaining so much. The Money is not to be had. Cash is not infinite in this Country. Their Profits by Trade have been ruined for two or three Years: and there are Loans open for France, Spain, England, Russia, Sweeden, Denmark and Several other Powers as well as their own national, provincial and collegiate Loans. The Under takers are already loaded with Burthens greater than they can bear, and all the Brokers in the Republick are so engaged, that there is Scarcely a Ducat to be lent but what is promised.
This is the true Cause why We shall not Succeed; yet they will Seek an hundred other Pretences. It is considered Such an honour and Such an Introduction to american Trade to be the House, that the Eagerness to obtain the Title of american Banker is prodigious. Various Houses have Pretensions, which they set up very high, and let me choose which I will, I am Sure of a Cry and a Clamour. I have taken some measures to endeavour to callm the Heat and give general Satisfaction, but have as yet3 Small hopes of success. I would Strike with any House that would insure the Money, but none will undertake it, now it is offered although Several were very ready to affirm that they could, when it began to be talked of. Upon Enquiry they dont find, the Money easy to obtain4 which I could have told them before. It is to me personally perfectly indifferent which is the House, and the only Question is, which will be able to do best for the Interest of the United States. This question however Simple is not easy to answer. But I think it clear, after very painfull and laborious Enquiris for a Year and an half, that no House whatever, will be able to do much. Enthusiasm, at Some times and in Some Countries, may do a great deal: but there has as yet been no Enthusiasm in this Country, for america, Strong enough to untie many Purses. Another Year, if the War should continue, perhaps We may do better.
{ 4 }

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

1. See Franklin's letters of 13 April, and note 1, and 20 April, and note 2, for his correspondence with David Hartley and William Petty, 2d Earl of Shelburne (vol 12:407–408, 432–433).
2. This was JA's letter of 16 April in which he described his meeting with Henry Laurens on the 15th (vol. 12:410–413).
3. The words “as yet” were interlined.
4. The remainder of this sentence was interlined.
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.