Papers of John Adams, volume 13

From Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst

From Joseph Stephens

From Francis Dana, 23 May 1782 Dana, Francis JA


From Francis Dana, 23 May 1782 Dana, Francis Adams, John
From Francis Dana
St. Petersbourg May 12/23 1782 Dear Sir

I had the pleasure of yours of the 28th. of April1 yesterday, in which you acknowledge the receipt of mine of the 28th. of March, as well as of the paper I had enclosed you in blank, and of my three letters to Mr: Livingston.2 I hope you will be kind enõ to transmit copies of those papers to Congress, as I do not think it prudent to hazard duplicates of them. I desired the three to Mr: Livingston to be forwarded by the same opportunity, because one of them was a duplicate, and the other two made up only one letter which, for greater safety, I had seperated and sent on to you thro different hands. I wrote to Mr: T. on the 5/16 March by a private hand to whose care I had committed four Court Almanacks and a Russian Grammer to be disposed of as mentioned in the letter. Of these I have yet heard nothing. Mr: T. makes no mention of them in his letter of the 26th. of April. Pray tell him I shall notice that letter shortly.3 Since mine of the 28th. of March I have wrote you twice viz. on the 12/23 of April, and on the 29th. of April O.S.4 The great importance of the point you have gained in Holland, will be every where felt and acknowledged, except by those to whom you allude when you speak of the “dastardly meanesses of jealousy and envy.” Your character will receive no lasting stain from their vile artifices. They may occasion some mortification for a while, but publick and private virtue will soon triumph over such Enemies. After the business you mention may be happily finished, you must remember there is another not less important still remaining, which, nothing but an absolute necessity, must induce you to think of quitting.5 I feel your situation or condition, for my own is not altogether unlike it. The difference however is against me. If I had succeeded in the main point, I shou'd not hesitate a moment to put in execution the plan you talk of for yourself. This I shou'd infallibly have done had I obtained that end: And how long my patience will hold out is uncer-74tain; but it is my present determination not to pass another Winter here. Tho I have not taken the official measure heretofore mentioned, yet I have lately taken another which may possibly be productive of the same end, and in a way unattended with any hazard. I cant now explain myself further than to say, I have undertaken the task spoken of in my letter of the 12/23 of April. I have found the way open for this.

I am happy to learn that my Son6 has arrived in safety. I have been equally anxious with you about Master John. I must really say I think it wou'd be adviseable that he shou'd return in the way you mention to Leyden, or America; perhaps it might be best if you shou'd continue in Holland for him to go to Leyden. You will feel for my cruel situation if he shou'd leave me. When I reflect upon it myself, I almost determine this shall not be; and that at all events I will press on my business to a speedy conclusion, and quit this Country with him. You will write me more decidedly upon this subject by the return post.7

I am dear Sir, with much respect and esteem your much obliged Friend, & humble Servt.


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Dana 12/23 April 1782.”


Vol. 12:467–468.


Dana's letter was of 8 April N.S. (vol. 12:395–398). For the three dispatches to the secretary for foreign affairs, see note 2 to that letter. For the “paper” that Dana had sent JA, see his letter of 21 Feb. N.S. , and note 1 (vol. 12:259–261).


The letterbook copy of Dana's letter to John Thaxter of 5/16 March indicates that Dana asked Thaxter to send three of the court almanacs to Livingston and to retain one for JA's use, but it contains no mention of a Russian grammar (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook). Thaxter's letter of 26 April had communicated the States General's 19 April resolution recognizing the United States and JA as its minister. Thaxter wrote to Dana on 25 June but did not mention either the almanacs or the grammar. Not until 22 July did Thaxter specifically reply to Dana's letter of 5/16 March, and he wrote there that he had sent three of the almanacs to America but again made no mention of the Russian grammar (all MHi: Dana Family Papers). Dana's next letter to Thaxter was dated 8 July O.S. or 19 July N.S. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook).


That is, 10 May N.S. , above.


JA indicated in his 28 April letter that he was considering leaving Europe once the Dutch-American Treaty was completed. The work “still remaining” presumably refers to negotiation of an Anglo-American peace treaty (vol. 12:467–468).


That is, CA.


JA did not reply to this letter until 7 Aug., below.