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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1782-08-29

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

The King of England has Sent Mr Fitzherbert to Paris with a Commission to treat of Peace, with his dear Brother the King of France and with the Ministers of the states General, and of all other Principum et Statuum quorum interesse poterit. The States General { 403 } have appointed Mr Brantzen to make Peace too but in concert with France and the other belligerent Powers. Mr Brantzen is not yet gone but he told me two days ago that he should set off in a few days. The Object is to see if they can agree upon Preliminaries at Paris, previous to a general Congress. Dr Franklin and Mr Jay are to inform me by Expresses of what passes. But the Earl of Shelburne, is very Secret and misterious. He is afraid of opposition at home.
The Success will depend upon Events, the Fate of Gibraltar, the East Indies, New York &c. Mr Laurens declines acting in the Commission for Peace for which I am very Sorry as well as that Mr Jefferson is not arrived.
The English are humbled and depressed to a degree, but not unanimously So. There is a great Body that still blusters and vapeurs, and the Refugees are indefatigable in irritating these, to recommence offensive Hostilities in America. Any Signal Success would enable them to carry the Point, but there is no Probability of Such success. Releiving Gibraltar which would be a brilliant Event, would however not have the Effect because tho a great Thing would be saved, Yet nothing would be positively gained by it.
It is not possible to Say how long England may hold out: but her Distresses increase and new Embarrassments are rising up. Scotland is now in Motion—all Such Things however operate slowly and faintly, in reducing the Fury of the Nation, and Still more so in convincing the King, to whose will Shelburne seems as much devoted as ever North was.
Means are still found to bouy up, the Hopes of a Party, that Some Conquest or Conciliation may yet be effected with America, and it will never cease to be so, while they have so many hired Lyars in their Pay, who stick at nothing however gross and nothing is too gross to impose.

[salute] With my best Respects to your Family, I am, my dear sir Yrs

RC (NN: George Bancroft Coll.); endorsed: “Letter from JA Hague 29 Augt 1782.”

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0168

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1782-08-29

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear sir

I have a great Mind to envy your Situation or to wish myself with you in Congress where I Should have less Anxiety and more health, if not an opportunity to do more good.
{ 404 }
The Mynheers have overcome most of their Terrors and are now well fixed, in the good System. They will hearken to no Seperate Proposals, and therefore will make an important Diversion in our favour although they Should not Succeed in their Endeavours, to excite the Court to more Strenuous Exertions.
We have Succeeded, to obtain a Small Loan. There is near a Million and an half of Guilders obtained, to be paid upon the rect of the Ratification of the Contract.
The Deputies of the Provinces have generally re[ceive]d their Instructions concerning the Treaty of Commerce, and I am daily in Conference upon the subject. It is slow Work but in time it will be finished, to mutual satisfaction as I believe.
Fitzherberts Powers are to treat with France, the states Gen. and the Ministers of all other Principum et statuum quorum interesse poterit.
Mr Brantzens Powers are to treat in concert with France and all the other Powers at War with England but to agree to no Peace or Truce but in Concurrence with them.
I dont like, very well, the Idea of any Conferences before, a British Minister has Powers to treat with the Ministers of the United states in so many Words: and think that if We had refused, to treat till that time Shelburne would have been forced to come into Fox's Plan. Possibly however they may agree upon Preliminaries. But I have not very Sanguine hopes of it.
I should be very glad to hear from you as often as your important Engagements will permit1
RC (Adams Papers). This is one of twelve letters from JA to Arthur Lee that Lee's grandnephewgrandson, Richard Henry Lee, returned to JQA after using them in his Life of Arthur Lee, LL.D. (2 vols., Boston, 1829). For additional information on the return and JQA's reaction, see vol. 7:127–128.
1. This letter was originally written on a sheet folded to make four pages. At some point, probably after the letter was returned to JQA, the third and fourth pages were removed, thereby losing the letter's final sentence and the signature. As printed in the Life of Arthur Lee, LL.D., 2:244–245, the letter ends, “Meantime I have the honour to be, with great esteem, your most obedient, John Adams.”
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.