Papers of John Adams, volume 15

To Robert R. Livingston, 9 June 1783 Adams, John Livingston, Robert R.
To Robert R. Livingston
Sir Paris June 9. 1783

The enclosed No. 121 of the Politique Hollandais, having translated a few Sentences of mine, and the Author intending to insert 24more, as he has already inserted a good deal of the Same Correspondence, I think it proper to transmit You, a Short Relation of it.

In 1780, at Paris, a Number of Pamphlets of Mr Galloway were sent me from England. I wrote to a Friend an Answer to them. He Sent it to London to be published. But whether the Printers were afraid, or from what other Motif I know not I heard nothing of them untill the Spring and Summer of 1782 when Some of them appeared in Print in Parkers General Advertiser, under the Title of “Letters from a distinguished American &c” but with false dates.

There are in those Letters so many of the Characteristick Features of the Provisional Treaty of 30 Nov. 1782, that the Publication of them in England, at the Time when they appeared, may be Supposed to have contributed, more or less, to propagate such Sentiments as the more private Circulation of them before had Suggested to a few.

And as they were written by one of your Ministers at the Conferences for Peace, who repeated and extended the Same Arguments to the British Ministers in the Course of the Negotiation, it is proper that you should be informed of them.— Whether I have in any former Letter mentioned this subject or not, I do not recollect.1 if I have I pray you to excuse the Repetition, and have the Honour / to be with very great Esteem, sir your / most obedient and most humble servant

John Adams.

RC (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 399–402); internal address: “Mr Secretary Livingstone.”; endorsed: “Letter June 9. 1783 / J Adams / Read Oct 15. 1783.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.


In three letters to the president of Congress dated 16 and 17 (2) June 1780, JA commented on Joseph Galloway’s Cool Thoughts. Those letters served as the basis for JA’s “Letters from a Distinguished American,” but JA did not indicate then or later his intention to publish his response to Galloway in the London newspapers (vol. 9:418–427, 434–442, 531–584). JA’s only prior reference to the “Letters” in a letter to a correspondent in America—and it was a very cryptic one— was in his letter of 8 Nov. 1782 to Jonathan Jackson, which was originally intended for Livingston (vol. 14:44–45, 46).

To Edward Augustus Holyoke, 10 June 1783 Adams, John Holyoke, Edward Augustus
To Edward Augustus Holyoke
Sir, Paris June 10th. 1783.

Upon an Intimation from my Friend Dr. Tufts of Weymouth, that the Medical Society, of which you are President, desired to extend its Connections in Europe, I ventured to apply to the Chiefs of the Royale Société de Médecine at Paris, and met with a more complaisant Reception than I expected.


Enclosed are Copies of Letters which have passed upon the Occasion, and of the Diploma, which is the Result of them.1 The Originals I shall bring with me, or send by a careful Hand.

I hope the Medical Society will pardon my Presumption in going so far without their Authority— But the Proposition once hinted at was recieved with so much Earnestness, that I could not recede.

With great Respect, I have the honor to be, / Sir, / your most obedient & / most humble Servant.

John Adams.2

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (MBCo:Bowditch Book); addressed: “Edward Augustus Holyoke Esqr. / President of the Medical Society established in Boston. / residing at / Salem. / Massachusetts.—”; internal address: “Edward Augustus Holyoke Esqr. / President of the Medical Society / Massachusetts.—”; endorsed: “From his Excellency / Jno Adams Esqr. to. the Presid.LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 110.


For the enclosed letters that JA exchanged with Etienne Louis Geoffroy, Joseph Marie François de Lassone, and Félix Vicq d’Azyr between 20 Dec. 1782 and 8 March 1783, see vol. 14:142–143, 144, 232–234, 303, 518, 521. The final letter from Lassone is of 3 June, above. JA recorded all of them, including this letter to Holyoke, on p. 9–14 of Lb/JA/22, APM Reel 110. The original letters from the French correspondents are all in MBCo:Bowditch Book, containing the early records of the Massachusetts Medical Society. JA also enclosed the diploma that made the relationship between the two societies official and probably a copy of the Royal Society’s Journal de médecine militaire, both of which he received with Félix Vicq d’Azyr’s letter of 3 Feb. (vol. 14:232–234). The former is among the records of the medical society; the latter, while received, has not been found. For the medical society’s response to JA’s efforts on its behalf, see Holyoke’s letter of 6 Nov., below.


In JA’s hand.