Papers of John Adams, volume 14

To Antoine Marie Cerisier, 15 February 1783 Adams, John Cerisier, Antoine Marie
To Antoine Marie Cerisier
Sir Paris Feb. 15. 1783

The Morceau inclosed, is translated from a Pamphlet lately published in London, in which this Piece is inserted.

It is curious in itself, but considering the time and Place when and where it was first published, it is a document of History, for it was a political Machine, which had great Effects.

As Such I should be obliged to you, if you would insert it at length in the Politique Hollandais, but if you cannot, or do not choose to do that, you may print it in a Pamphlet by itself, or give it to Mr Holtrop, who will be glad to print it, with a french Translation of the History of the Rise, and Progres of the Disputes with America.1

I sent you, Some days ago, a few Lines with seven Papers inclosed.2 I should be glad to know if you have recd them as well as this. You see I confide much in your Discretion.

What do you think of our Peace? Is it well made? Will it last?

your most obedient

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr A. M. Cerisier.”; APM Reel 110.


The enclosed “Morceau” is JA's “A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law,” which was included in the London edition of A Collection of State-Papers in late November 1782 (vol. 13:258, note 3). JA had apparently had the “Dissertation” translated into French and is here indicating that if Cerisier did not publish it in Le politique hollandais, Willem Holtrop, an Amsterdam bookseller and publisher, could publish it as part of a French edition of his Geschiedenis van het geschil tusschen Groot-Britannie en Amerika, zedert deszelfs oorsprong, in den jaare 1754, tot op den tegenwoordigen tijd. Door . . . John Adams, Amsterdam, 1782. That volume was an abridged edition of JA's 1775 Novanglus letters, which had originally appeared in John Almon's Remembrancer for 1775 (p. 24–32, 45–54). JA's History of the Dispute with America; From Its Origin in 1754. Written in the Year 1774 was published in London in 1784. The only significant difference between 267the Dutch and English versions was the inclusion in the former of two letters dated 21 Jan. and 10 Feb. 1775 to a “Friend in London,” which Almon had printed separately (p. 10–12). For Cerisier's proposal to publish the “Dissertation,” see his reply of 26 Feb., below; and for the “Dissertation,” the unabridged Novanglus letters, and those to a “Friend in London,” see vol. 1:103–128; 2:214–215, 216–387, 391–393.


These “seven Papers” comprised the “Parcell” that JA sent to Cerisier under a brief covering letter of 24 Jan. (LbC, APM Reel 110). JA wanted them published in Le politique hollandais, but without revealing his identity and “without any Preamble or Remarks.” The documents cannot be identified with certainty because JA never indicated what he sent nor Cerisier what he received. However, prefaced by Cerisier's note that he had received several documents relating to the Anglo-American peace negotiations that had not appeared in any public paper, Le politique hollandais for 17 (p. 11–16) and 24 Feb. (p. 17–29) contained the following seven items: JA's 29 Sept. 1779 commission to negotiate an Anglo-American peace treaty; JA's 29 Sept. 1779 commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty; the 15 June 1781 joint commission to negotiate an Anglo-American peace treaty; Congress’ resolution of 12 July revoking JA's commission to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty; Richard Oswald's 21 Sept. 1782 commision to treat with the United States; the 30 Nov. 1782 preliminary Anglo-American peace treaty; and the 20 Jan. 1783 declarations of the Anglo-American suspension of arms and the cessation of hostilities.