Papers of John Adams, volume 11

From Joshua Johnson, 9 January 1781 Johnson, Joshua JA


From Joshua Johnson, 9 January 1781 Johnson, Joshua Adams, John
From Joshua Johnson
Sir Nantes 9 Jany. 1781

My last was on the 29 July1 since which I am deprived of any of your ever esteemed favours. Inclosed I forward you an American News Paper of the 3d. November which contains matter of the greatest consequence to us and which I most seriously hope will proove true.2 I most certainly should have addrest you before this on a subject interesting to myself had I been furnished with your address on your arrival in Holland and for which at present I am indebted to my very worthy Friend Mr. Jenings, on hearing from you in reply to this and knowing that my Letters will reach you safe, I will trouble you on that subject. The Lady Lee, by whom I rec'ed the Inclosed Paper will return in a few Weeks for Annapolis, if you have any Letters to send forward them and every care shall be taken of them. Capt. Dashiel commander of the aforesaid Vessell informs me that he left the Capes of the Chesapeak on the 15 Novem. and that the Enemy had embarked from Portsmouth and returned to New York.

I am in expectation of the Doves Arrival every Day by her I hope 29for a confirmation of the News from the Southward and which you may depend upon my handing you by the first Courier in the mean time I am with the greatest respect & esteem Sir Your most Obedt. Hbl. Serv.

Joshua Johnson

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Amsterdam.”


Not found.


Since Johnson indicates that the Lady Lee was returning to Annapolis, it is likely that the enclosed newspaper was the Maryland Gazette. The issue of 3 Nov. contained several items that would have interested Johnson and JA, most notably the account of the American victory at King's Mountain on 7 Oct., an erroneous report that 6,000 French troops had landed at Sunbury, Ga., and that Cornwallis was in full retreat. It is likely that JA sent the newspaper to Jean Luzac for publication in the Gazette de Leyde, for the issue of 23 Jan. contained the account of the French landing taken from the “Gazette de Maryland” of 3 Nov., while that of 26 Jan. included the report on King's Mountain taken from the same source. For the publication of these items and other material received by JA in mid-January, see Jean Luzac's letter of 22 Jan., below.

From the President of Congress, 10 January 1781 President of Congress Huntington, Samuel JA


From the President of Congress, 10 January 1781 President of Congress Huntington, Samuel Adams, John
From the President of Congress
Sir In Congress January 10: 1781

Congress consider your correspondence with the Count de Vergennes on the subject of communicating Your Plenipotentiary Powers to the Ministry of Great Britain as flowing from your Zeal and Assiduity in the service of your country: but I am directed to inform you that the Opinion given to you by that minister relative to the time and circumstances proper for communicating your powers and entering upon the execution of them is well founded.1

Congress have no expectations from the influence which the People of England may have on the british councils whatever may be the dispositions of that nation or their Magistrates towards these United States: Nor are they of Opinion that a change of Ministers would produce a change of measures, they therefore hope you will be very cautious of admitting Your measures to be influenced by presumptions of such events or their probable consequences.

I am, Sir, with great respect Your humble servant, (By order of Congress) Sam. Huntington President

RC (Adams Papers).


On 26 Dec. 1780 Congress received copies of eight letters that JA and the Comte de Vergennes exchanged the previous July dealing with the sufficiency of French aid and JA's desire to execute his mission to negotiate Anglo-American peace and commercial treaties. These were JA's letters of 13, 17, 21, 26, and 27 July (vol. 9:520–529; 10:1–4, 17–18, 42–51) and Vergennes' of 20, 25, and 29 July (vol. 10:16–17, 32–42, 56–58). Congress was most concerned with JA's of 17 and 26 July and Vergennes' of 25 July dealing with JA's mission and accordingly referred them to a committee, the report of which resulted in this letter ( JCC , 18:1194; 19:41–42). For an overview of the correspondence between JA and Vergennes, see The Dispute with the Comte de Vergennes, 13–29 July 1780 (vol. 9:516–520).