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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0201

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-09-16

From Francis Dana

[salute] My dear Sir

Your letter for recalling your son was unfortunately so long on its way that the season for sending him as you proposed is passed.1 It is almost now an equal chance that he might remain the winter in Norway. I am discouraged about the other course to Lubec also, and { 470 } am on the whole advised to send him on by Land altogether. It is possible he might have a road voyage even to Holland, but I presume you wou'd not judge it prudent for that reason to risk it. He has advertised in the papers according to the Custom here, his intended departure, so that if any occasion shou'd present of a fellow traveller, he might be ready to improve it. Possibly he may yet be detained till the sleighing season comes on about the middle of Novr: ordinarily. Whenever he departs you may depend upon receiving the earliest notice by the Post. I have suffered much on account of the loss of his time for studying regularly here. He wishes to go to his old instructor, and I beleive it wou'd be most adviseable to place him there, as soon as possible.
In my letter of the 19/30 Augt: I told you I was no longer at liberty to pursue a course like that you pointed out in your's of the 7th: of the same month—that my late instructions were clear and decided—and that I was glad of it. For had the matter been left at my discretion I shou'd have taken a course not wholly unlike that you mention. I had proposed every thing for the decisive step, and shou'd have taken it against the opinion of you know whom. Because my sentiments perfectly coincide with yours so far as they respect the dignity of the United States, which I have all along thought wou'd suffer less from a more open and firm policy; and that their views and interests wou'd be promoted and established much earlier by means of it. I venture to say that had you hearken'd to the advice that was given you when I was in Holland, not one of the United Provinces wou'd at this time have acknowledged our Independance: nay more, the present minor party wou'd have been the prevailing one, and in all probability affairs wou'd have worn a different countenance thro Europe, and we shou'd have seen, by the aid of Mediation &c, a seperate peace concluded between Britain and Holland. I am sensible as I told you before, of the difference between our situations, yet this difference does not in my opinion necessarily require a system absolutely the reverse. The same engines indeed cannot be set at work here. You say you shall wait for the advice of — in a certain case, altho you ventured to go against it in the former.2 Pray tell me by the former, do you mean your categorical demand? I want much to know this. As to that certain case, upon further reflection I hope nothing will be done upon it. I can see no good that will result to us from it. It appears to me to have been an artifice to annihilate what stood in its stead, the more to distance an object of much importance. Shall you set off for Paris, or have you such an aversion to { 471 } piddling that you choose to remain where you are? Is Mr: Jay still there, for the papers make no mention of him? Where is Mr: Lawrence? I shou'd be glad to hear you were at Paris. There is not one such soul to be found, I fear, in Europe as you speak of.

[salute] Adieu Your's &c

P.S. The letter for Mr. L. mark'd Duplicate No: 5: is the Duplicate of that you received last.3 Take care that they are sent by different opportunities.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Son Excellence Mr: Adams Ministre. Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis &c à son Hotel à la Haye”; endorsed: “Mr Dana 1/16 Sept 1782 [an]sd 10. Oct.”; stamped: “Amsterdam.” Some loss of text due to a tear in the paper.
1. This is JA's letter of 13 May to JQA (AFC, 4:322–323). The reasons for the delayed arrival of that letter and one to Dana of the same date, above, are explained in JQA's letter to JA of 6 Sept. (same, 4:378).
2. At this point Dana inserted a superscript “a,” referring JA to a note at the bottom of the page: “See your letter of the 13th: of May, not received till the 24th: of Augt: O.S.” Dana referred to France and specifically to the Duc de La Vauguyon and the Comte de Vergennes. For JA's response, see his letter of 10 Oct., below.
3. Dana's letter “No. 5” was that to Robert R. Livingston of 5 Sept. (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:700–702).

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0202

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1782-09-17

To Francis Dana

[salute] My dear friend

It grieves me when I think how long it is since I wrote you.1 But my head and hands and heart have been all full.
I sent, to the Care of the Dutch Ambassador, General Washington's miniature, for you. Should be glad to know whether you have recd. it. I have also sent along several Dispatches from our Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Have you received them?
Fitzherbert's Commission is to treat with the King of France and the Ministers “quorum cunque Principum vel Statuum, quorum interesse poterit”—and Oswald's is “to treat, consult of, agree, and conclude, with any Commissioner or Commissioners, named or to be named, by the said Colonies or Plantations, or with any Body or Bodies, corporate or politic, or any Assembly or Assemblies, or description of Men, or any Person or Persons whatsoever, a Peace or a Truce, with the said Colonies or Plantations, or any of them, or any Part or Parts thereof.” I said, his Commission—but he has none. He has only an order to the Attorney-General to make out such a Commission.
Thus you see there is yet no proof of Shelburne's sincerity. In { 472 } short nothing will be done, untill Parliament meets; nor then unless they take upon them to acknowledge the Independence of the United-States.
If Gibralter is succoured and holds out, Britain will not cede it. In short we shall have another Campaign. No peace untill 1784, if then.
What is the Story of the insurrection in the Crimea?2 What Powers of Europe are any way connected with that affair, or interested in it? Is it likely to have any Consequences? And what?
You have concluded, I hope, to stay another Winter. You must absolutely send my Son to me, by the earliest Neutral Vessell, to the Texell, in the Spring. My love to him. I have not time to write him now. He don't tell me how his Studies go on.
I shall sign the Treaty of Commerce next Week. All Articles, Words, Syllables, Letters and Points are adjusted, and nothing remains, but to write five fair Copies in Dutch and English, and to sign, seal and deliver them.3 My Loan is in Cash, better than fifteen hundred thousand Gueldres. So that we go on, you see, pretty well.
The Standard of the United-States waves and flies, at the Hague, in triumph over Sir Joseph York's Insolence and British Pride. When I go to Heaven, I shall look down, over the Battlements, with pleasure, upon the Stripes and Stars, wantoning in the Wind, at the Hague. There is another Triumph in the Case sweeter than that over Enemies. You know my meaning. It is the triumph of stubborn Independence—Independence of Friends and Foes. You know what I mean. “Monsieur, votre Fermetè a fait un tres bon effet ici”—has been repeated to me, more than once. “Monsieur, vous avez frappè le plus grand Coup de tout l'Europe. Cette Evenement fait un honneur infini a Mr: Adams. C'est lui qui a effrayè les Anglomans et rempli cette Nation d'enthousiasm &c:” These are Confessions “arracheés”—and therefore more delicious.4
I am now upon extreme good terms with the Ministers of France and Spain. I dine with both and they dine with me &c: And I meet the whole Corps Diplomatique at their Houses, as well as at Court: and might meet them, every morning, at certain Rendezvous's of Intelligence, and, every evening, at an Assembly at Cards, if I had not something else to do.

[salute] Adieu, my dear friend. Write me as often as you can.

RC in Charles Storer's hand (MHi: Dana Family Papers); endorsed: “Mr Adams's letter Dated 17th. Septr: 1782 recd. 7/18 Octr:”
{ 473 }
1. JA's last letter was of 7 Aug., above.
2. JA is responding to newspaper accounts of Russian troop movements and military operations in the Crimea (Gazette d'Amsterdam, 10, 17 Sept.). The first report, probably the one JA refers to here, attributed the revolt not to any sudden discontent, but to foreign machinations. See, however, JA's letter of 29 Sept. to Dana, and note 2, and Dana's response of 18 Oct., both below, to the questions raised in this letter and that of the 29th.
3. In fact, the treaty was not signed until 8 Oct., above.
4. This is another of JA's numerous reiterations, some in English and others in French, of the comments by the Spanish minister to the Netherlands at a dinner hosted by the Duc de La Vauguyon on 23 April (vol. 12:445, 452, 468, 469; AFC, 4:338–339).
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.