Papers of John Adams, volume 14

From Francis Dana, 23 March 1783 Dana, Francis Adams, John
From Francis Dana
Dear Sir St: Petersbourg March 12th. 1783. O.S. [23 March N.S.]

In the Gazette of Amsterdam of the 4th: of March which has this day come to hand, we read, On débite que les Etats-Unis de l’Amerique nommeront un nouveau Ministre auprès de cette République, à la place de Mr: Jean Adams, qui se trouve actuellement à Paris, et qui aussitot après avoir reçu la ratification du Congrès, reviendra ici pour prendre congé, et partira ensuite avec Mr: Van Berkel à bord d’un vaisseau de Guerre pour se rendre en Amerique.1 I pray you to inform me how much of this is true, and if you really intend to return to America, that you wou'd let me know as nearly as may be, the time of your proposed departure, the place, and manner. that if it is practicable for me I may join you, and that we may return as we came together. Our Country is now most happily in peace: that you who have contributed so greatly to its freedom and happiness, shou'd wish to spend the rest of your days there with your agreable family is not to be wondered at. It has had my constant good wishes if no more, and from a firm persuasion that it will not be in my power to render it here any other service than by making a good treaty of Commerce, if I may be able to effect it, I shall rejoice in the moment when I quit this Country to return to our own, and to my family and friends— I am sick, sick to the heart of the delicacies and whims of European Politicks— A nobler field for glory was never opened before a Souvereign— A Sovereign never loved or sought glory with more zeal—yet—


When we shall meet again we will talk over these things

I have not heard from your Son since he wrote me from Gottenbourg as I have before informed you; nor can I yet learn that he has taken up any money upon the credit I procured for him. I hope he is safe with you before this time. If you leave Europe before me, pray desire Mr: Thaxter to take any papers, books, or other things he may have under his care for me to America with him, provided you shou'd sail for Boston, and to deliver them to Mrs: Dana on his arrival there. If you sail for Philadelphia he may put them into a trunk, first sealing up the papers, and leave it in the care of Messrs: Ingraham and Bromfield, subject to my directions—

I am dear Sir with much esteem & respect your Friend and / obedient humble Servant


P.S. Let Mr: T. immediately destroy the Copies of all such Letters he may have on hand, as I have already received.

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency J: Adams / Minister Plenipotentiary &c.”; endorsed: “Mr Dana. March 12 OS. / recd & ansd. April 18. 1783.” Filmed at 12 March.


For a summary of the report in the Gazette d'Amsterdam of 4 March, see Dumas’ letter of 28 Feb., note 1, above.

To Francis Dana, 24 March 1783 Adams, John Dana, Francis
To Francis Dana
Dear sir, Paris. 24th. March. 1783

I have received your favor of 14th. February1—and am not without hopes of receiving from Congress, in a few days, directions for advancing the money to you: But five thousand Pounds sterling is an enormous sum, and, in the opinion of some, more than the Treaty, in the present Circumstances will be worth. Dr: Franklin started to me a doubt, whether you had not been imposed upon, and told of a Custom, which never existed.— I have no doubt you have informed yourself exactly on this, as on all other occasions; but I should advise you to procure a Certificate, from the French & Dutch Ambassadors, that it is an usage, and indispensable to pay such a sum of money— If you draw on Messrs: Wilhem & Jan Willinks, Nicholas & Jacob Van Staphorsts, and de la Lande & Fynje, I will advise them to pay it, & have no doubt they will do it—2

Nothing, my dear friend, surprizes me. I have seen so extensive & long continued a system of Imposture practised upon Congress and their Ministers, and have So long smarted under the torment of it, 359that no fresh instance can surprise me. I suspect that the design is now to defeat you by forming a Congress here, in order to have all your business done by the “Pacificateur de l’Europe.”3 I hope you will no longer wait a single moment, but communicate your mission to the Minister of every neutral Court, or at least of every Court within your Commission, let the advice given you be what it will. For my own part I have resigned all,4 & shall go home; and have some hopes of opening the eyes of our Countrymen in some particulars: But, to stay in Europe with my veins tingling with contempt & detestation of the odious impositions practised upon us, is impossible— I had rather drive a Trucks in the Town of Boston.—

I have a letter from John, at Hamburgh the 14th. of this month, in good health. He will be at the Hague in a few days. I had a letter from him at Gothenbourg, and another at Copehagen—5

I have particular reasons, my friend, to beg of you, in Confidence, the Character of a Mr: Tyler, who once studied with you.6 What is his moral Character, as well as his literary abilities? Will he ever make anything at the Bar? Don't spare him in the least.—

With great affection & esteem, I am, dear Sir, / Your humle: servt:

J. Adams.7

RC in Charles Storer's hand (MHi:Dana Family Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur / Monsr. Francis Dana / à / St. Petersbourg.”; internal address: “Mr: Dana”; endorsed: “Mr: Jerh: Allen's Letter / Dated Riga” and “Mr: Jno: Adams's Letter / Dated March 24th. 1783. / recd: May 21st.—O.S. / Bankers.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.


[25 Feb.], above.


In a letter written on [1 June] (Adams Papers, filmed at 21 May), Dana indicated that when a treaty was concluded, four signers were generally appointed and each was paid 6,000 rubles. The fee was “so settled a Custom,” according to Dana, that each of the nations acceding to the Armed Neutrality had paid it. It was not until 13 May (LbC, APM Reel 108) that JA formally requested that the consortium provide Dana with the credit, for which see the consortium's reply of 22 May, below.


Vergennes; see JA's reference to him in that sense in his 21 March letter to James Warren, above.


In the Letterbook JA wrote then canceled “my little occupations” at this point.


For JQA's letters from Hamburg of 12 March, Göteborg of 1 Feb., and Copenhagen of 20 Feb, see AFC , 5:86–87, 97–98, 104–105.


Royall Tyler began boarding at the Braintree home of Richard and Mary Cranch in April 1782 and embarked on an ill-fated courtship of AA2 during the summer. Dana responded to JA's request for information on [3 June] 1783: “I can conjecture, I think, the particular reasons which induce you so earnestly to enquire into the moral Character, and literary abilities of a certain young Gentleman— You have a Daughter, Sir, Am I right?” Dana reported that Tyler studied in his law office for two or three months and that while he was said to have literary abilities he was lax in his studies. “Dissipation seemed to be his capital foible. He is, I think, good tempered; of a frank, and open disposition: and one of those Characters of whom tis commonly said. They are their own greatest Enemies, but the Enemies of no one else” (Adams Papers; filmed at 23 May). See also AFC , 4:335–337, 5:54–59.


Signature in JA's hand.