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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0217

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1782-09-27

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Yours of 25: is just come to hand. The Letters inclosed shall be sent, with mine.
As to publishing the Letters in a Pamphlet, I have no Objection provided no Name is mentioned. But there is one Alteration necessary which runs throughout. They are now printed as if written by and Englishman. So that, England, Englishmen Britain Britons &c ought to be substituted instead of “We,” “Us,” &c. As they are announced to be by an American they ought to be consistent, in the style.
As to Corrections and Alterations, there are certain grammatical Incorrectnesses, owing to haste which a School Boy, would not commit deliberately. They were neither 9 Years in Writing nor correcting. If any one thinks them worth it, I have no objection to reprinting them. But I should think the true dates better than the supposed ones. I have not the Time to meddle with them, any more.
There are, Somewhere in Existence 30 Letters written to Mr Calkoen of Amsterdam near two Years ago, in answer to as many Questions which he put to me, about American affairs which I Should be glad to have preserved, as they will be sometime or other, not from any intrinsick Merit in them, but merely on Account of the Effect they had. They were communicated to a Society of forty Gentlemen of Letters in Amsterdam—and out of them was composed a Comparison between the Dutch Revolution and ours which was read in the Same society and contributed Somewhat to open the Eyes of People in this Country, and to our final success. But there is no need of Haste in this matter.1
If an Historian Should ever arrise, who shall think it worthwhile to compare my Negotiations here, with those of Mr Franklin and of Mr Dana, <and of Mr Jay> and perhaps of others and he Should be furnished with all the Documents which are in my Possession—he will reflect, that it is some times necessary and usefull to be “Assuming.” If After receiving Such Advice and Exhortations as I did, I had suspended opperations to request Instructions, I Should have been forbidden to do, what has been done, I should have been pegged like Ariel in a rifted oak, and this Country would now have been Seperately at Peace with England.
Thanks be to God, that he gave me Stubborness, when I know I { 495 } am right. Monsieur “Votre Fermete a fait un tres bon Effet ici” pronounced by the Same Personage who Spent five hours, to perswade me to be infirm a Year before, was a Confessien “Arrachee” that gave me Pleasure enough.2
I have Several Anecdotes to tell you, of Plans projected when our affairs were upon the critical turning Point here, which would even then have ruined Us forever, Plans projected, not I believe from ill design, at that time but merely from Indecision, Timidity Irresolution, wanting a clear Head, and a distinct View of the little nice Points upon which great affairs sometimes turn. Stubbornness, Obstinacy, L'Abondance dans Son Sens, et “L'Ignorance de se donner aux Convenances” came in Aid again and defeated all this little Plans, and Saved the American Cause here.
But now all is well Complaisance, Familiarity, Friendships and every Thing that is lovely.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams. Septr. 27h. 1782.”
1. JA's 1780 letters to the Amsterdam lawyer Hendrik Calkoen regarding the American Revolution (vol. 10:196–252) were not published in London until 1786, but for their complete publication history, see the editorial note accompanying them in vol. 10.
2. For JA's description of his meetings with the Duc de La Vauguyon on the 19th and 20th of April 1781, during which the French ambassador attempted to dissuade JA from presenting his 19 April memorial to the States General, see vol. 11:263–265.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0218

Author: Barclay, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-09-27

From Thomas Barclay

[salute] Dear Sir

I wrote you from Paris inclosing you a packet of great Consequence which I received from Mr Livingston, but for want of a Conveyance to please me, I put it into the hands of Mr. Jay who will take proper Care of it.1 I wish you had it, and if Mr. Jay had, when I was at Paris, any thing of much Consequence that he wou'd put on paper, I wou'd have sent the whole by Express. I am anxious about it, and I think at this time if it were possible that you and Mr. Jay Cou'd freely Communicate together it wou'd be much for the Advantage of our Country. I had some Conversation with him on this subject, and I am sure nothing wou'd give him more pleasure than a personal interview with you. I hinted the possibility of his meeting you at Brussells, but his situation will by no means admit of it. He says if he was not prevented by business he wou'd go to the Hague to see you. More particulars wou'd occur in two or three Conversations than a long Correspondence by letters Cou'd produce. When I left Paris Doctor Franklin Continued much indisposed with the { 496 } Gout and Gravel, and slept none at night, I think at his age such distempers are alarming, and he seems to be somewhat of the same opinion himself. I Came here to assist in forwarding to America about seven or eight Hundred Ton of supplies for our Army that have lain here several months, and I shall be obliged to go away without Effecting it. Exclusive of a scarcity of vessells there is a scarcity of money, we want the Court of France to do it, but I fear we shall have some difficulty in succeeding, However I shall do every thing that belongs to my part of the business. If it proves utterly Impossible to procure funds in France for the purpose, will you lend us some of yours to Effect it. Perhaps the Ratification of the Loan by Congress will have reach'd you, and that you will have the power of appropriating about one Hundred thousand florins to such a valuable end, as that of getting out so large a Quantity of Cloathing and other Articles as lye here, and as are wanted in America. I shall write to Doctor Franklin next post2 that I see no Certain way of forwarding them unless the Court of France step forward decidedly and do it, or enable me to do it. There is no news stirring that I know of, the St. James, Washington and Queen of France arrived at L'Orient in 34 days from Philadelphia, but I have not receivd my letters. If any thing worth Troubling you occurs on my arrival at L'Orient or at any time hence, you shall have it, mean time I remain with best wishes for your Health and happiness, and with Complims. to Mr. Dumass and Mr. Thaxter Sincerely Dear Sir your most obed Hume Serv.
[signed] Thos Barclay
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Barclay 27th April 1782.”
1. Barclay's letter of 4 Sept., above. For the material from Livingston enclosed with it, see note 1, and Livingston's letter to JA of 30 May, note 3, above.
2. On 30 Sept. (Franklin, Papers, vol. 38).
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.