Papers of John Adams, volume 7

To James Lovell

To Roger Sherman

To Benjamin Rush, 6 December 1778 JA Rush, Benjamin To Benjamin Rush, 6 December 1778 Adams, John Rush, Benjamin
To Benjamin Rush
Dr Sir Passy Decr 6 1778

I had the Pleasure of a Letter from you,1 a few days before I Sailed from Boston, which I have never been able to answer.

I think I find more to do here; more Difficulty to do right and at the Same Time give Satisfaction, than I did, you know where.2

We Suffer here extreamly for Want of Intelligence from America, as We did there, and as I fear you do still for Want of it from Europe.

We have very imperfect Information concerning the State of the Army especially its Health, which you used to have the Goodness to inform me of sometimes. I hope it is better than it was heretofore.

I should be very happy to hear from you as often as you can, and to know the state of the Hospital as well as Army in General, and every Thing that relates to Government or War. There is a periodical Pamphlet in French under the Title of the Courier de L'Europe 3 Affairs D'Angleterre & De L'Amerique, in which Intelligence and Letters from America are published, for the Information of the People in Europe.

I have a Strong Curiosity to know, the Artifices, and Subterfuges, with which the Tories still keep alive each others Hopes. When England has not and cannot get an ally, and many Nations are preparing to league themselves against her. When her Merchants are breaking, her Manufacturers Starving, and they are obliged to take them into public Pay, under the Name of Militia, to prevent their Picking Pocketts, robbing on the High Ways, and plundering in Companies all before them.

I have but one Peace of Advice to give. I never had any other. “Be not deceived.” Tho B. is in a deplorable Situation, the Administration 254will neither Acknowledge our Independance nor withdraw their Troops. You must kill, Starve or take them all.4 Your Frid & sert.

John Adams

RC (CtY: Franklin Papers). LbC (Adams Papers).


JA's reference is probably to Rush's letter of 22 Jan, which was received on 6 Feb., rather than to Rush's letter of 8 Feb. The letter of the 8th could not have arrived before JA sailed for France, and there is no evidence that AA forwarded it. JA, however, had answered the letter of 22 Jan. on 8 Feb., thus making his statement in the present letter confusing (Benjamin Rush, Letters , 1:190–192, 199–200; vol. 5:402–404). It is possible that JA forgot that he had replied on 8 Feb.


Presumably in the congress.


This cancellation does not appear in the Letterbook copy, indicating that it was made from the recipient's copy and was not a draft as was often the case.


Through Rush's efforts this final paragraph, with minor changes, was printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, 25 March 1779, as an “Extract of a letter from an American Gentleman in a high position at the Court of France, dated Passy (near Paris) Dec. 6th” (Rush to JA, 19 Aug. 1779, below). It was widely reprinted, see for example the Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Nicholson), 9 April; the Connecticut Courant, 20 April; and the Boston Gazette, 26 April 1779.