Papers of John Adams, volume 14

To Francis Dana, 22 February 1783 Adams, John Dana, Francis
To Francis Dana
Dear Sir Paris February 22. 1783

I was honoured Yesterday with yours of 15 Jany. O.S.1 You must have learnt, sometime that the Peace is made, and the Armistice. 286You can no longer hesitate to make known your Errand. Whether the Advice of the Marquis de Verac is for it or against it, I should think you would now go to the Minister.—2 Your Instructions are Chains Strong Chains.— Whether you shall break them or no as We have been obliged to do, you are the only judge.— There is a Vulcan at Versailles whose constant Employment it has been to forge Chains for American Ministers.— But his Metal has not been fine and strong enough, nor his Art of fabricating it, Sufficiently perfect, to be able to hold a Giant or two who have broken them in Pieces like morcels of Glass.

It is a miserable Situation however to be in, and it is a melancholly Thing for a Man to be obliged to boast that he has departed from Instructions, who has So Sacred a regard to Instructions, and who thinks them when given upon true Information binding upon him in a moral Point of View as well as a political,. But in Such Cases where We know that Instructions are given upon mistaken Information, where We know that if the Principal were upon the spot & knew the Circumstances he would be of the same mind with Us, what shall We say? What shall We do.— Must We ruin our Country in Obedience to an Instruction issued in Error, Misinformation, or Want of Intelligence.? An Admiral is ordered to Sea, the Comte D’Estang for Example with the combined Fleet of Seventy Sail of the Line. He is not to open his orders, untill he arrives in the Latitude of 20.— On his Arrival in this Latitude he opens his orders, and finds them positive And Express, to Set Fire to the Magazine of Powder, in every ship in his Fleet.— What Shall he do? go to the Bottom in good Company? No.— I will return into Port with my Fleet Says the Admiral and lie at my Masters Mercy. Some of his servants have deceived him.

I have written to Congress a Resignation, and expect the Acceptance of it, and to go home in the Spring.

your Sincere Fnd & humble sert.

J. Adams.

I have a Letter from John at Gottenburg 1. Feb.— expects to be at the Hague by the last.3

RC (MHi:Dana Family Papers); internal address: “Mr Dana”; endorsed: “Mr: J. Adams's Letter / Dated Feby: 22d. 1783. N.S. / Recd. March 16th.—O.S.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.


[26 Jan.], above.


Presumably Count Ivan Osterman, the Russian vice chancellor responsible for the day-to-day conduct of foreign affairs. See Dana's letter of [7 March], below.


A second postscript, dated 23 Feb., concerned possible treaty negotiations with Austria. JA included a verbatim transcription 287of the first two paragraphs of William Lee's 18 Feb. letter, above, and the substance of the first sentence of the second paragraph of JA's 23 Feb reply, below. JA then ended the postscript by advising Dana “immediately to communicate your Mission, to the Minister of the Emperor and the Ministers of all the other Courts which have acceded to the Armed Neutrality.” In JA's Letterbook the body of the letter is in John Thaxter's hand, but the second postscript is by JA.

To C. W. F. Dumas, 22 February 1783 Adams, John Dumas, C. W. F.
To C. W. F. Dumas
Sir Paris Feb. 22. 1783

Your favour of 13. is received, and I thank you, for the Trouble you have taken concerning my son, and I beg you to present my most hearty Thanks to the Duke de la Vauguion for the Compassion he had for me in my affliction and for the Trouble he has taken, in writing to the Minister of France at Hambourg, and to Mr D’Asp for writing to Stockholm Elsineur and Copenhagen.— I have within a few days recd a Letter from my son dated the 1. of Feb at Gottenbourg, explaining the Reasons of his delay and expecting to be at the Hage by March. This gives me great Relief.— When he arrives, let him Stay with you or go to Leyden at his Election. at present I hope to be at the Hague, not long after him.

Mr Dedem I hope is appointed. Pray how does he go to America? I Should be glad to go with him in the Same Ship. Perhaps the Prince will send a Frigate with him. he ought.1

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Dumas”; APM Reel 108.


JA's plan to return to America with a new Dutch minister soon became public, for which see Dumas’ letter of 28 Feb., note 1, below.

From Herman Heyman’s Sons, 22 February 1783 Sons, Herman Heyman’s Adams, John
From Herman Heyman's Sons
Sir Bremen the 22 February 1783

It is with the greatest Satisfaction that we Obser. by the Publik papers the Declaration of Independence from Great Brittan to the United States, a Situation which we have heartely wished to the Latter for many years past, and by which means our Country will be now abel to enter in the most Friendly & Advantageous Alliance with the same.

To Convince the United States from our Wishes to accept the first Opportunity to enter in Connection with them we purchased a Vessell and made and Expedition of the Products of our Country by the same in the Latter end of last year for Nord America, and such 288is now quite Compleated so that the Vessell will Sail by the first fair Wind; our Partners in this Speculation are Mr Henry Talla & Mr Arnold Delius of our Place; the Latter is going along with the Cargo in the Rank as Supper Cargo; but at his arrival he'll make some Stay in Nord America, to establish if possibel an uninterrupted traid between the United States and our Place; which will be Caried on under the Firm of Heymans Talla Delius & Co., our First intention has been to send the Vessell to St Thomas to Sell that part of her Cargo which Consisted of Provisions, and not answered so Well in Nord America, and to take an opportunity to proceed with the Remainding to Philadelphia or Boston, but now the Declaration of Independency & the Prelimenares of Peace beeing signed from great Brittan; made a material alteration in the Destination of the Vessell, and we are Determened to send it now Direct to Nord America.

We conceive that our Reception in a Country which never had any Direct Dealing with our part of the World might at first be some what Cool, and traid not be Carried on in such a Spirit and Confidance as Merchands which have been all ready in Connection before; we should therefore be infinitly Obliged to your Exelency to favor us with some Letters of Introduction & Recommandations as well to the First houses in the most principal traiding Places of the United States, as likewise to the Congress or Regency of the same; it would be against Delicacy to say you much of the Security of our House, but we may say without Vanity that it is of the first Rank at our Place so the other two Interested Gentlemen above mentioned enjoy likewise the first Credit, may we still take the Liberty to beg of you the favor to address yourselfs by Messrs Fiezeau Grand & Co Messrs Hope & Co & Messrs Luden & Co at Amsterdam Messrs Girardot Haller & Co Messr Cottin fils & Jauge at Paris; and you'll get Convinced that you Introduce People to your Good Country, which honesty & Good Caracter as well theyr Security intitles them to receive the best Reception in the United States; we formerly Received at our house alone every Year 5 or 6 Cargos of Rice & 3 of Tobacco as the Products of Nord America by way of England, and our Port at least Imported of the first 20 and of the Latter about 15 Cargos.

Youll excuse our Liberty to trouble you with the present, but the assurance of your Patriotism & Uninterrupted Zeal for your Country, makes us flatter ourselfs that you'll take such in the Light, that our Sincere Wishes and our only Views are to make both our Countries become in mutual Avantageous and the most Amicabel Connections, we are Convinced that it lays in your power to promote 289such, and to procure us and our City all such Benefices or Emoluments, which are granted to other Powers, may we there fore Request from you these assistances, and that you will favor us with such Letters as Necessary to fullfill our most Earnest Wishes, in Particular that to Congress; that we may receive theyr Protection and enjoy all the Benefice which they grant to other Nations.

We have the Honour to remain with the most Sincerest Regard / Sir / Your most Obedt humbe Servts

Herman Heymans sons1

Your Speedy answer will infinitly Oblige us

RC (Adams Papers).


With the voyage of Die Drey Freunde described in this letter, Bremen merchants Herman Heyman's Sons, Heinrich Talla, and Arnold Kaufmann Delius opened trade between Germany and the United States. Unfortunately, damage to the cargo during a stormy crossing made this first effort a commercial failure, but the initiative laid the foundation for a flourishing trade as other merchants followed their lead (Sam A. Mustafa, “Arnold Delius and the Hanseatic ‘Discovery’ of America,” German History, 18:40–42, 51–56 [Jan. 2000]). In his reply of 11 March, JA wished Heyman's Sons well and enclosed letters of recommendation for Delius to Isaac Smith Sr. in Boston (both LbC, APM Reel 108), and Robert Morris in Philadelphia (Morris, Papers , 7:555). This letter is virtually identical to the firm's 17 Feb. letter to Benjamin Franklin (PPAmP:Franklin Papers).