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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1782-08-19

To Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

The present Minister, Shelburne I remember disgusted me by an unintelligible, misterious and Equivocal Letter or Number of Letters and in general by the Conduct he held, fifteen or Twenty years ago, and I recollect some disputes I had with Mr Otis upon his Lordships subject at that time.1 His Lordship appears to be the Same Character at this day. He is a good Proof of personal Identity. His Court have lately Signified, in, this Style to the two Imperial Courts and to Versailles, that his Majesty pretended not to prejudge any question, nor to hinder any Person from entering a Congress, whether it was a question of the States General, or whether they would make enter there the American Colonies. The Commission to Mr Fitzherbert, is to treat of Peace with the Ministers quorum cun que Statuum quorum interesse poterit.
Now if St James's means by this, the United States why not Use the Words? If they do not mean them, We ought not to be decoyd by Such Artifices. There Seems to be Something like an Endeavour in Earnest to agree upon Some Preliminaries, but what will be the Success I know not. Charles Fox has shewn himself the greatest Statesman in G. Britain, and if his Idea had been adopted he would have really served his Country.
I See, by the Papers, the Massachusetts goes on very consistently and Steadily—the Same Govr. Lt, and President of the senate. I wish myself often with you, and hope, sometime or other to be so, for I am weary of So insipid an Existence as I hold in Europe. I am wearing myself out, to little visible Purpose. I came within an Hairsbreadth of { 253 } Succumbing under this dutch Mission, but thank God it is terminated happily, and I look upon it, the very critical Pivot upon which our System turned in Europe, and Our Sons will see, if We do not the Importance of it. This being accomplished I see nothing more for me to do in Europe, as to Peace I despair as Things now are of doing so much good, as I could do at home, with infinitely more Satisfaction.
This State is thinking of Sending a Minister to Philadelphia if he should land at Boston I hope he will be taken proper Notice of. But the Step here is too Slow, and it is very difficult to quicken it.

[salute] Affectionately yours.

RC (NN: George Bancroft Coll.); endorsed: “from J Adams Esq Hague Aug [19] 1782.”
1. JA is likely referring to an incident during Shelburne's tenure as secretary of state for the southern department, when he was responsible for the American colonies from Aug. 1766 until the Earl of Hillsborough was appointed American secretary in Jan. 1768. Although it is unclear to what he is specifically referring, one possibility is the controversy in Massachusetts over Gov. Francis Bernard's conduct during the Stamp Act crisis. For a reference by JA to Shelburne in that regard, see his diary entry for 24 Dec. 1766 (JA, D&A, 1:326–329). There is no indication as to the nature of JA's dispute with James Otis.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0156

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Date: 1782-08-19

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Dear Sir

I dare not venture to send the Comte's Manuscript. If You will come here, You shall have the use of it as long as You please, and all the Accomodations You can desire. Pray quote the Reflections You mention from the Courier de Bas Rhin. I shall be glad to see yours in addition—there is ample Room for many.
The Treaty of Commerce is not yet arranged. I have recd. a Card from the G. Pensionary, to confer with him tomorrow morning on the subject.1 I hope it will be soon finished.
Your Bookseller is not active enough. We should have the Politique Hollandois here on Mondays or Tuesday Morning at latest: wheras they never come till Wednesday afternoon. You have made the Scribbler look laughably enough. He will not soon forget.
I am very anxious to have the publick Attention turned pointedly to the Admission of the United States into the armed Confederacy. There are very particular Reasons for it.
I will favor Negotiations which Mr. Dana is making and will make, 'tho' his Name should not be mentioned.
I wish this subject could be considered as it relates to the Emperor and the King of Prussia, as well as the Empress of Russia. I wish { 254 } that some hints might be thrown out, concerning the Propriety of the Ambassadors of this Republick and of France promoting such a Step at the Neutral Courts. It might be suggested to the Consideration of their High Mightinesses, whether it would not be proper for them as one Member of the Neutral Confederation, to interpose in this Matter, at least by instructing their Ambassadors to promote it.
It would have an excellent effect to have this Subject kept up in the attention of the publick for many Weeks to come, by having always something in the Papers about it.
If there is any foundation for the Idea that is suggested in some late Pamphlets of a brilliant Incoherence in the present general System of Europe, or if there is or should be any Jealousy between the Northern Powers of Europe and the Southern, this Measure is the most natural and simple Remedy. It is the surest Way to cure every Evil of that sort, by opening the Way for rendering America useful to all the Neutral Powers, as well as those at present in War, and useful to all the Northern Powers as well as the Southern.
These are only intended for broken Hints to set your Imagination and Invention at Work.

[salute] Adieu

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. From Pieter van Blieswyck, 19 Aug., below.
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.