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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0003

Author: Grand, Ferdinand
Recipient: American Peace Commissioners
Date: 1783-06-02

Ferdinand Grand to the American Peace Commissioners

[salute] Messieurs

Quoique la lettre que vous m’aues fait l’honneur de m’écrire le 22e du mois passé, ne me flattat pas de recevoir les Secours dont les { 6 } Finances du Congrès avoient besoin; Néantmoins, l’Espérance du Succès des Soins que j’étois bien assuré que vous donneriés, Messieurs, à un objet aussi intéressant, m’a fait parvenir à Satisfaire à tous les payemens qui Se Sont présentés, jusqu’à ce moment; qui me fait voir avec douleur le terme fatal de cesser d’honorer les Traittes du Mr Morris, Si vous ne pouvés, Messieurs, me procurer les moiens de l’éviter:1
Je regrette infiniment que les miens Soient insuffisans pour Sauver un Éclat, Sur les Suites duquel je n’ose pas Seulement réfléchir, mais ma fortune ne me le permet pas, comme vous en jugerés, Messieurs, par la Somme des besoins, ainsi que de la nécessité de prendre un parti Sur cet objet—
L’on m’a présenté depuis quelques jours pour Quatre cens vingt trois mille Livres de Traittes que je dois rendre acceptées, ou non acceptées; Depuis la publication des Lettres de Monsieur Morris au Congrès Sur Sa retraitte future, les porteurs de Ses Traittes Sont extrémement pressés de les faire accepter:2 Cette Somme n’est malheureusement qu’une foible partie de celles qui existent, puisqu’il y en a encore pour Neuf cens vingt un mille Livres dont j’ai depuis assés longtems l’avis, & qui vont paroitre Sucessivement, ce qui fait près de Quatorze cens mille Livres auxquelles il faut pourvoir, Sans compter la Loan Offices, & les autres Dépenses courrantes ou Imprévues.—
L’Idée de laisser retourner à protet les Traittes de Monsieur Morris me paroit Si révoltante, que je ne puis m’y déterminer à moins que je ne voie par la réponse que vous voudrés bien, Messieurs, me faire, qu’il ne me reste plus d’autre parti à prendre.
Je Suis avec un Respect Sincère / Messieurs / votre très humble & / très obéissant Serviteur
[signed] Grand


[salute] Sirs

Although the letter you did me the honor of writing on 22 May did not delude me into thinking that I would receive the relief that Congress’ finances require, nevertheless, hopeful of the interest that I was well assured that you would take in such a worthy cause, I have undertaken to honor all the payments that have been presented up until now. It saddens me to anticipate the fatal moment, gentlemen, when I will have to cease honoring Mr. Morris’ bills, if you cannot obtain for me the means to avoid it.1
I regret infinitely that my resources are not sufficient to prevent a { 7 } scandal, the consequences of which I do not even dare to reflect on, but my fortune does not permit me, as you may judge for yourselves, sirs, both by the sum involved and by the necessity of resolving the issue.
Several days ago I was presented with bills for 423,000 livres, which I must either accept or not. Since the publication of Mr. Morris’ letters to the Congress on his future retirement, the holders of these bills are in a great hurry to have them accepted.2 Unfortunately this sum represents only a fraction of the bills issued, as there is another of 921,000 livres that I learned of some time ago and that will be presented soon, which makes almost 1,400,000 livres that must be paid, and that does not count the loan offices and other ongoing or unforeseen expenses.
The idea of letting Mr. Morris’ bills be protested is so revolting to me that I cannot reconcile myself to it unless I see from your response, sirs, that there is no other course I can take.
I am with sincere respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Grand
RC (PHi:Franklin Papers); internal address: “Leurs Excellences / Messieurs John Adams / Benjamin Franklin / John Jay / Ministres Plénipoten- / tiares des Etats-Unis / d’Amérique”; endorsed: “Lettre de M. Grand.”
1. On 10 May the firm had written to the commissioners and noted its inability to continue meeting the demands posed by the bills issued by Robert Morris and requested their assistance (vol. 14:474–475). The commissioners replied on 22 May that they understood the problem and were sympathetic but lacked any power to intervene (JA, D&A, 3:125).
2. Grand refers to Morris’ letters to Congress of 24 Jan. and 26 Feb. concerning his decision to resign at the end of May. The letters were widely published in America and by late April had reached Europe, with summaries appearing in the London newspapers, including the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser of 24–26 April, and, on 6 May, in the Gazette d’Amsterdam. For Morris’ motives in resigning, the reaction to it, and his ultimate decision to remain in office, see Morris, Papers, 7:361–372, 462–474, 767–781.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0004

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-03

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

No answer as yet. There is another point touching the Treaty mentioned in my last, of much importance. That is to secure the same advantages for our proper productions when imported into the British Dominions in Europe, as is given upon the importation there of similar articles from their own Colonies on the Continent. At least secure the same advantages upon our proper productions, when imported there in our own bottoms, as if imported in their bottoms, to prevent Alien Duties &c.1 This was also in the same Bill of Mr: Pitt’s. If we can extend it to all Naval Stores Hemp in { 8 } particular, this Country may be made to repent of the present plan of Conduct towards the United States. I throw out these as hints to you upon the supposition you are authorised to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great-Britain. But enô of this matter.
I had a letter from Mr: Allen at Riga by the last post, where he arrived on the 27th. of May N.S. I find by it he is charged with a Packet for me deliver’d to him by Mr: Dumas, which he will bring on, I hope, as he intends coming here.2
I am relieved from much anxiety to learn by your Letter, as well as by Mr. Allen’s that your Son has at last arrived safely in Holland. The time he has spent on his route is unaccountable to me. I have been greatly concerned least this as well as the expence consequent upon it, might be disagreable to you. But on the other hand, it is some consolation, that your Son has a Mind capable of making much improvement upon such a route as he has made; and has now seen the greatest part of Europe. He has every where given a most favourable impression, as being possessed of very promising abilities; and I venture to say this opinion of him is well founded. But, my Friend, he is young, full of life, and spirit, and seems to feel a certain superiority about himself. Your vigilance is necessary to controle and govern this disposition. You will remember I am writing to you as one Father wou’d write to another his particular Friend, touching a favourite and deserving Son. I have no where heard of any misconduct on his part; but an education in Europe rarely contributes to the establishment of a good moral principle in the heart: and this I know in your opinion, is of more worth than the most shining abilities, accompanied with all the graces about which a Chesterfield makes so much parade. He is arrived nearly to that critical period which often fixes the complexion of a Man’s whole Life. I used to tell him if he did not cultivate carefully this moral principle, whatever his abilities might be, he shou’d never have my vote in Congress for a Minister of the United-States— He will be able to give you an account of some things here worth notice, and about which I have never written to you. You will caution him to speak of them to no one else— As to his Expences of which you desire an Acct: I am not able to give them to you with certainty, because the value of the Bills sold to discharge his second & last receipt at Hamborough is not yet known to my Bankers. I have paid to Mr: Payron of this City. 671. Ro: at 42 3/4d sterlg:, for the money he took up at Stockholm of Messrs: Brandenburg & Co: And to my Bankers 352–56. Ro: at the same rate; for his first receipt at { 9 } Hamborough. The second is yet unpaid, for the above reason. The Note he carried with him from hence of Expences which were almost entirely for Cloaths (an extravagant article in this Country, but most of them I believe are still in being and will answer for his younger Brother) as will appear from his Account may be averaged at 45d. sterlg: a Rouble, as I received them from 47 1/2 to 44. I have ordered the Cloaths and Books which he left here, to be put up. They will be sent for Holland soon, to the care of Messrs: Ingraham and Bromfield, unless I shou’d learn from Mr: Allen that we shall have some American Vessels here from Massachusetts; in which case I shall send them directly for America.3
I can conjecture, I think, the particular reasons which induce you so earnestly to enquire into the moral Character, and literary abilities of a certain young Gentleman— You have a Daughter, Sir, Am I right? The cause is immaterial. He fell under my immediate observation but a short time, two or three months, if I remember right, as I went on to Congress: And before my return he left Cambridge without saying one word before or since upon the subject to me. Did he not go to Braintree from thence? I have some loose recollection that he did. I left him finally however with Mr: Hitchbourn. As to his literary abilities, they may be considerable, as far as I know. He had the Name of possessing such at College. But he wanted stability or application to his studies most certainly: and where this is the case, ’tis difficult to say what ones real abilities are, or whether he will make any thing at the Bar. That science is not obtained by inspiration. To answer your question therefore, I must ask another. Has he changed in this respect, and became assiduous to his Studies? If he has, I believe, he will succeed tolerably well— Idleness in youth commonly leads to some sort of immoralities. But dissipation seemed to be his capital foible. He is, I think, good tempered, of a frank, and open disposition: and one of those Characters of whom tis commonly said, They are their own greatest Enemies, but the Enemies of no one else. Take this sketch—I have not spared him— I hope I have not injured him. I give it to you in Confidence, and must therefore pray you to destroy this Letter after you have read it. It may otherwise thrô your inattention to such things (if I conjecture Right) fall into his hands: which wou’d be a disagreable circumstance.4
Yours &c &c,
[signed] D.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Exy. J: Adams.” Filmed at 23 May.
{ 10 }
1. This sentence was an afterthought, written in the left margin here and in Dana’s letterbook, but with no indication where it should be inserted (MHi:Francis Dana Letterbooks, Private, 1782–1784). The editors have placed it at this point as the most likely location.
2. For Jeremiah Allen, a Boston merchant who would sail for America with Dana in September, see vol. 14:149, and Dana’s letter of 29 Sept., below. Dana received the packet carried by Allen on 18 June and acknowledged it in a letter to C. W. F. Dumas of [20 June] (MHi:Francis Dana Letterbooks, Private, 1782–1784).
3. In this paragraph Dana is referring to JA’s letter of 1 May, which announced JQA’s arrival at The Hague and indicated JA’s apprehensions about expenditures during JQA’s journey from St. Petersburg (vol. 14:464–465). JQA wrote to Dana on 12 May and supplied him with an account of his expenditures (MHi:Photostat Coll.). Dana replied to that letter, and another of 20 June (not found), on [14 July], repeating there in less detail much of what he says here about JQA’s promise and character. He particularly lamented the length of JQA’s journey and “the time you had been taken off from the regular pursuit of your studies” (Adams Papers). Dana noted the arrival of JQA’s 12 May letter in his next to JA of [6 June], below. Regarding the money advanced to JQA, Dana enclosed a full account with his letter of 12 Dec. 1784 (Adams Papers).
4. The “young Gentleman” was Royall Tyler, and Dana correctly surmised the reason for JA’s request in his letter of 24 March (vol. 14:358–359). Tyler had begun his courtship of AA2, the onset of which was described by AA in letters of 23 and 30 Dec. 1782 (AFC, 5:54–59, 61–63). Replying to those letters on 4 Feb. 1783, JA indicated that he did not “like the Trait in his [Tyler’s] Character, his Gaiety” and thought AA had “favoured this affair much too far, and I wish it off.” Nevertheless, being absent and without additional information, JA lamented that “I must Submit, my Daughters Destiny, to Her own Judgment and her own Heart, with your Advice” and that of the rest of her family (same, p. 88). But on 13 July, probably after receiving this letter from Dana, JA wrote “I hope there is an End of it [the courtship]. I hope never to be connected with Frivolity. Youths must Study to make any Thing at the Bar. The Law comes not by Inspiration. An Idler I despise” (same, p. 199). AA2 finally broke off the relationship in Aug. 1785 (same, 6:262).
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.