Papers of John Adams, volume 7

To William MacCreery, 25 September 1778 JA MacCreery, William


To William MacCreery, 25 September 1778 Adams, John MacCreery, William
To William MacCreery
Sir Passi September 25. 1778

Yours from Bordeaux of the 17th I have received—and congratulate you on your agreable Accounts from America. My Accounts altho not 75quite so late as yours, are from unquestionable Authority and to the same Effect.

The Letter you mention as intercepted and published in a London Paper, has every fretfull angry Symptom of Disappointment in visionary schemes of Gain. If every Man in the service of the United States, from President Laurens down to the youngest Clerk in the secretarys office1 from General Washington down to the lowest officer in his Army, from Dr. Franklin down to the least considerable lowest servant in his Family are not liable to be called to Account by Congress, when they think proper, and especially if they have received and expended sums of Money belonging to the Public, what is to become of the United States. The Mines of Potosi2 would soon be exhausted.

There is not in the science of Government an Aphorism more essential than this That every Man should be called to an Account for public Money entrusted to him. And persons will be obliged to account with more or less3 Strictness, in exact Proportion as the Commonwealth is well or ill regulated.

This Letter has given me no Uneasiness at all. It will do no harm. A Cask of new Wine, must have its Fermentation and a little Skimmed Milk poured into it is excellent to make the Liquor perfectly fine.

There is a Thrust at me in this Letter that dont surprize me at all, because (as I never knew a Man displaced from a Trust, but his friends were some of them angry with his successor,) I did not4 expect to escape so common a Calamity. But the two A's were 500 miles off at the time when the Deed was done, and certainly had no hand in it. For my own Part I had as many thoughts of a Voyage to the Moon as to France, when I received the News of my Commission, and the Prospect of an horrid Winters Voyage, through I knew not how many British Men of War, had so not knowing how I should be received if I should against Probability be so lucky as to arrive in France had so few Charms in my Eyes that I had less Inclination to come than I have now to return, if Congress should order it.

If I brought my Brothers over with me, and was about introducing them into extensive Connections in Trade, as this would both be lawfull and laudible I suppose they would be as much disappointed and think themselves and me as much injured if Congress should recall me. But I should not be of their opinion. So much for a very frivolous Business, yours &c.

If I had been strongly against Mr. Deane, I should certainly avow it, and make no secret of it at all. I have never been used to disguise my sentiments of Men, whom I have been against, in public Life, and I certainly should not begin, with Mr. Deane, he certainly who is not 76and never was a Man of Importance enough, to make me deviate from a Rule that I have observed all my Life, vizt when obliged to be a Mans Ennemy to be openly and generously so.

So much concerning a very frivolous affair, from your most obedient

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “not sent.”


The preceding twelve words were interlined for insertion here.


A Bolivian town noted for the silver mines in its vicinity.


The preceding two words were interlined for insertion here.


This word was interlined for insertion here.

To James Lovell, 26 September 1778 JA Lovell, James


To James Lovell, 26 September 1778 Adams, John Lovell, James
To James Lovell
My dear sir Passi Septem. 26 1778

The day before Yesterday, I received yours of June 8.1 We had before received the Resolve of May 5, and the 11th and 12 Articles are agreed to be expunged altho the formalities are not yet passed.

There is no Mystery in the Fier Roderique, I believe. It is certain that the Commissioners here, had no Concern with her. The Affair of the Company of Roderique, is in a good Way of Negociation I think, if you dont take any Steps in it, before you hear from Us. We have written to the Minister and to Mr. B. largely upon the subject, and expect their answer.

You Say Mr. D's Recall is attributed to Plotts of A. L., and that I know this to be unjust. I believe it to be unjust, having never to my Recollection, heard of any Dislike between the two Gentlemen, untill my Arrival in France. What the Motives were, to his Recall, I know not, as you know I was Five hundred Miles off at home at the Time. I can only conjecture, from what I saw and heard in Congress before I left it.

In a Letter from Mr. Simeon Deane2 to his Brother, genuine or forged I know not, it is Said the two A ——s are Strongly against you. The Members of Congress who were with me any Time, know very well that I have been for him they also know very well that Some Instances of his Conduct, were very misterious to me, and that as then informed, I disapproved them: but I believe nobody knows any one Member of Congress who did approve them. At least I dont recollect one, altho all treated him and his Character with great Tenderness. I mean his extravagant Contracts with foreign officers, made without the least Authority. Made indeed at a Time, when he had no Commission from Congress. Mr The Letter Writer Says he knows not to what Lengths, the two A's intend to push their “Factions.” I dont 77know what he means by their Factions, but I suppose they would pursue their Integrity and their Duty to their Country Constituents, So far as to vote for Mr. Deans Settling his Accounts, either with Congress or Somebody appointed by Congress.

I never in my Life knew a Man displaced from a Trust, but he and his Friends were angry with his successor. I therefore expected this, and am not dissappointed. But by what Magic, Magnetism or Electricity the two A ——s and at 500 Miles distance could effect this Wonderfull Phenomenon, I leave other Philosophers to explain.

You charm me, with your Account of Mr. S. A's Arrival and the agreable Train of Things. Indeed your Proceedings, which have arrived in Europe, have pleased all your Friends and confounded your Enemies. I am told they have had a wonderfull Effect even in England.

Time will give you the best Lectures on Finance. Your Tether is limited and when you get to the End of it, Necessity will drive you to Taxation as your only Resource.

I am always vexed, when I see Paragraphs in your Newspapers or in private Letters that the Paper Money is rising in its Value. I know this to be impossible, and as it is not true it does no good. Nothing can raise the Value of it much, but calling it in and burning some of it. So much for this Lesson. I will give you another, next Letter if I dont forget it. Yours affectionately.

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “not sent.”


Vol. 6:193–194.


See William MacCreery to JA, 17 Sept., and note 2 (above).