Papers of John Adams, volume 11

From Jean de Neufville & Fils

From Philip Mazzei

To John Jay, 28 March 1781 JA Jay, John To John Jay, 28 March 1781 Adams, John Jay, John
To John Jay
Sir Leyden March 28th. 1781

It is so long since I wrote You, that I am almost ashamed to recollect.1 I have been in the most curious Country, among the most incomprehensible People and under the most singular Constitution of Government in the World. I have not been able to write You, what could or would be done here, because I was not able to discover, nor did I ever yet find one Man in the Country, who would pretend to say what Course the Republic would take.

At this moment, altho' I think there cannot be a Peace between them and England; yet I dont see a probability of their being in earnest in the War for some time.

I can tell You one thing however for certain, that the Conduct of Spain has great Influence here. Her delay in acknowledging our Independence contributes amazingly to the Indecision of the Republic. If Spain had fully entered into the System this Country would soon follow.

I must therefore beg of You to communicate to me as much concerning this Subject, as You are at Liberty to do.2 All Nations it is to be feared will wait for Spain, and thus prolong the Evils of War 233to unnecessary lengths. My best Compliments to your Family, and believe me to be, with great Esteem, Sir, your most obedient Servant

John Adams

Inclose for me to Messs. De la Lande & Finje, Merchants in Amsterdam.

RC in John Thaxter's hand (NNC: John Jay Papers); endorsed: “Recd. 4 May. 1781 John Adams 28 March 1781 recd 4 May 1781.”


JA's last extant letter to Jay was dated 15 May 1780 (vol. 9:315–316).


In his Letterbook, on the page immediately following this letter, JA began, but did not complete, another letter of 28 March to an unidentified person (LbC, Adams Papers). He wrote: “The Delay of Spain, in the Business of Mr. Jay has a very bad Effect upon all Europe. If you know the Cause—or what train the negotiation is in, pray communicate it to me. I have written to Mr. Jay, to day, but shall have an Answer Sooner from you.” In fact, JA did not write again to John Jay until 26 Nov. (NNC: John Jay Papers), and Jay did not write to JA until he replied to that letter on 15 Dec. (Adams Papers).