Papers of John Adams, volume 13

From Edmund Jenings

To John Paul Jones

To Edmund Jenings, 12 August 1782 JA Jenings, Edmund


To Edmund Jenings, 12 August 1782 Adams, John Jenings, Edmund
To Edmund Jenings
Hague August 12th 1782 Sir

Your two Letters containing the Anecdote and the Preliminaries have been recd., and You have seen the use of them.1

I have at length a friendly Letter from Mr. Jay, who tells me some good News, which I must not communicate.2 I have Letters too 232from Petersbourg with other News.3 Upon the whole they are consulting upon Preliminaries at Paris, and concerting Plans elsewhere for a Congress.4 If the King of England and Lord Shelburne knew all I know, they would declare the United States of America free, independent and sovereign, if not from Wisdom, Benevolence or Policy, yet at least from sheer spight and Revenge. There is nothing in my Opinion would mortify their Enemies so much. Yet this Opinion must rest with You and not be quoted. Nothing would disappoint some of their Enemies so much. How would Spain look? How would France look? How would Neutral Nations feel? All Mankind would cry at once, Britain will obtain good Terms of Peace.

There is in the Courier du Bas Rhin of the 10th. and in Luzac's Gazette of the 13th. a Project for the Neutral Powers to help G. B. out of her Lethargy and Anarchy.5 If nobody will hearken to Voice of Benevolence, You and I can't help it. I think it would be very well to speculate in the English Papers upon the same subject. Speculations in the English Papers have the most extensive Influence, because they spread every where. Franklin I verily believe has a Number of Scribblers in his pay in London to trumpet his Fame, and to make more Reputation for him as well as support what he has. It would be well me thinks to have that Money applied to support the Honor, Dignity, Reputation and other Interests of our Country. I say I believe, but this belief is founded upon Evidence a posteriori not a priori.6 I cant account for the Zeal with which his Cause is espoused, and for the Malice with which those whom he dislikes are pursued upon any other Supposition.

I have no Inclination to a Journey to Paris nor Vienna. I don't like the manner in which the Negotiations are carried on by Vergennes and Franklin, but I cant help it.


RC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Eexceellency Mr Adams augst 12 1782.” LbC (Adams Papers).


See Jenings' letters of 24 July and 1 Aug. to JA , both above. JA's reference to his use of them remains obscure unless he is referring to A Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, ca. 5–8 July, above, which had begun appearing in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 11 August.


Jay to JA, 2 Aug., above.


Probably Francis Dana to JA, 1 July and 22 July, both above.


In the Letterbook copy, the following two sentences are underlined.


This is JA's A Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, ca. 5–8 July, above.


That is, arguing from effect to cause, rather than from cause to effect.