Papers of John Adams, volume 13

To Edmund Jenings, 28 August 1782 JA Jenings, Edmund To Edmund Jenings, 28 August 1782 Adams, John Jenings, Edmund
To Edmund Jenings
28 August 1782 Dr Sir

I have recd your Favour with the Slip from the Gen Adr1 I dread the Sight of the Thing it was so slovenly dressed, but I dont much care about dress you know. I have also recd your favour with the Extract from our Friend at Nantes,2 and I confess it puzzles me Somewhat. I really Scarcly know what to conclude from it—whether he has an Inclination to come here or not, if you candidly, between you and me think he has I will Send a Resignation, and request that he may be appointed.

When he was last here,3 he Said that he had come to look after the Loan, if it was necessary, but that he had no Commission, (I understood him that he had sunk his Comn. at the time of his Captivity.) I told him that the Affair of a Loan was finished, that I had made a Contract with 3 Houses and that every Thing was done and doing in it, that I could do, and explained to him in detail what was done and doing. He was pleased to say, that it appeared to be well done and with prudent Caution. This was all that passed. Without a Commission You see he could do nothing. He never had any other Commission as I understand it, than to borrow Money. Pray give me your Advice upon this.

Our Friend has reason to observe that he had recd no Letters from me. But it was tenderness for him which prevented my Writing. While he was in England, one Line from me, falling by Accident into improper Hands would have excited Jealousies and suspicions against him there wh would have been very inconvenient to him.

I wish with all my Soul he would agree to act in the Commission for Peace. It would be an infinite satisfaction to me to correspond with him upon that subject. I have written him twice lately.4 When he was here he told me that upon the most mature deliberation he had resigned declined to act in the Comn for Peace, as I understood him on Account of his ill health, and I Supposed that the same Reason had determined him to return to America. I had then no suspicion that he had the least Inclination to be here.

The Courier de L'Europe Says, an Acknowledgement of American Independance is a breach of the Neutrality.5 This I deny. I think it clear from the Reason of Things, as well as the Practice of Sovereigns that it is not. But if an Acknowledgment is a Breach, it will 401follow that a Denial is a Breach too; so that by this Doctrine the two Empires, and four Kingdoms, have pledged their Faith not to deny American Independance. I should not be sorry to have this Doctrine prevail—But I wish this Point thoroughly examined. Think of it. If I was not distracted with other Things that are Trifles in Comparison, I would Seach this Matter through all the Books as you Lawyers express yourselves. Sovereigns are under a Necessity of following the Powers that be, and cannot pretend to judge of the right, which belongs exclusively to the Nation and their God—and whenever a sovereign, denys the Powers that be it Sacrifices the rights and Laws of Nations and Nature. This has been done—but it is a diplomatic Sin, and the most common Practice has been otherwise. Let Us keep up this Ball and Set all the litterary Sportsmen in Europe to play with it—it can do no harm and may do great good. K of France recd Ambassaders from Cromwell, even when the exiled Family was at his Court. L. 14. recd Ambassader from K. W. 3. When J. 2 was at st. Germains, acknowledged K of England. The Swiss were acknowledged by many Nations in Peace with Austria before, they were acknowledged by the House of Austria. Holland and Portugal were acknowledged by many Powers at Peace with Spain, before she was acknowledged by Spain. The English are setting up a Doctrine which will not bear Examination. Let us attack them.

I wish that petit Projet, which has been printed in the Courier du Bas Rhin the Leyden Gazette and Courier de L'Europe were translated into the English Papers. The Politicians in England, studiously conceal from their public every Thing which tends to familiarize the People and the World with the Idea of American Independance. I want to have certain State Papers which you hint at, inserted in the English Papers and in the Remembrancer and annual Register.6 This is the way for Fox and his Train to carry their Point, but they dont seem to know what they are about. They publish every Kind of Trash for Remplissage7 and neglect every Thing that is to the Purpose.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed on the first page: “Recd. Augst. 28th. 1782.”; on the fourth page: “His Excellency Mr Adams Augst. 28 1782.”


See Jenings' letter of 22 Aug., and note 4, above.


Of 11 Aug., above, containing extracts from Henry Laurens' letter of 5 Aug. to Jenings.


For Laurens' visit to Jenings in June, see JA's letter of 5 June to Jenings, note 2, above.


On 15 and 18 Aug., both above.


This observation appeared in the Courier de l'Europe of 20 Aug. and was made with reference to the appearance in some foreign papers of JA's A Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, ca. 5–8 July , above. There the editor promised to publish the 402memorial—the “petit project” that JA mentions in the final paragraph—and did so in the Courier of 23 August.


Presumably JA's A Collection of State-Papers , for which see Jenings' letter of 22 Aug., note 3, above.


That is, for filling, rather than for substance.

To Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 28 August 1782 JA Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business) To Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 28 August 1782 Adams, John Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
To Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst
The Hague August 28 17821 Gentn

I recd in due Time your Favour of the 13. The inclosed Account of 13f.14s. I return with my Request that you would be So good as to pay and charge it to my private Acct with your Society, which I will pay when I come to Amsterdam. Inclosed also is another little Account of f.7.16s due to a Copper Smith, which I pray you to pay and charge it in the Same manner. Inclosed also is a third Account for 40 f.1 which you will also be so good as to pay and charge it in the Same manner. You will be so good as to take Receipts upon all these Accounts.

The other Matter respecting the Refracteries shall be attended to. I have endeavoured to procure all the Attention to it, which I could and I believe it will be stipulated that it shall be regulated by the magistrates in the most equitable manner.2

I have the Honour to be &c

LbC (Adams Papers).


JA wrote two additional letters to the Staphorsts on this date, both LbC, Adams Papers. The first requested that the firm transmit a letter from Tristram Dalton to William Armstrong that Dalton had enclosed in his to JA of 25 May, above, and if he could be found, provide him with assistance. The letter is canceled and likely was not sent, perhaps because JA had received Dalton's letter of 19 July, above, indicating that Armstrong had escaped. The second letter requested that the firm provide assistance to Silas Talbot and Josiah Haynes, who were imprisoned at Plymouth's Mill Prison.


This, in fact, was the way in which the treaty finally dealt with this question of refraction. See the revised Art. 30 in JA's draft and Art. 28 in the final version of the treaty signed on 8 Oct. (The Negotiation of the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 22 Aug. – 8 Oct., Nos. II, III, and IX, above).

To Samuel Adams, 29 August 1782 JA Adams, Samuel To Samuel Adams, 29 August 1782 Adams, John Adams, Samuel
To Samuel Adams
The Hague August 29. 1782 Dear Sir

The King of England has Sent Mr Fitzherbert to Paris with a Commission to treat of Peace, with his dear Brother the King of France and with the Ministers of the states General, and of all other Principum et Statuum quorum interesse poterit. The States General 403have appointed Mr Brantzen to make Peace too but in concert with France and the other belligerent Powers. Mr Brantzen is not yet gone but he told me two days ago that he should set off in a few days. The Object is to see if they can agree upon Preliminaries at Paris, previous to a general Congress. Dr Franklin and Mr Jay are to inform me by Expresses of what passes. But the Earl of Shelburne, is very Secret and misterious. He is afraid of opposition at home.

The Success will depend upon Events, the Fate of Gibraltar, the East Indies, New York &c. Mr Laurens declines acting in the Commission for Peace for which I am very Sorry as well as that Mr Jefferson is not arrived.

The English are humbled and depressed to a degree, but not unanimously So. There is a great Body that still blusters and vapeurs, and the Refugees are indefatigable in irritating these, to recommence offensive Hostilities in America. Any Signal Success would enable them to carry the Point, but there is no Probability of Such success. Releiving Gibraltar which would be a brilliant Event, would however not have the Effect because tho a great Thing would be saved, Yet nothing would be positively gained by it.

It is not possible to Say how long England may hold out: but her Distresses increase and new Embarrassments are rising up. Scotland is now in Motion—all Such Things however operate slowly and faintly, in reducing the Fury of the Nation, and Still more so in convincing the King, to whose will Shelburne seems as much devoted as ever North was.

Means are still found to bouy up, the Hopes of a Party, that Some Conquest or Conciliation may yet be effected with America, and it will never cease to be so, while they have so many hired Lyars in their Pay, who stick at nothing however gross and nothing is too gross to impose.

With my best Respects to your Family, I am, my dear sir Yrs

RC (NN: George Bancroft Coll.); endorsed: “Letter from JA Hague 29 Augt 1782.”