Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To John Jay

From Paul R. Randall

To John Adams from the Marquis de Lafayette, 22 February 1786 Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Adams, John
From the Marquis de Lafayette
My dear Sir Paris february the 22d 17861

I Have Been Honoured with Your favour By Mr̃ Joy to Whom I Will Readily Render Every Service in My power, and am also to thank You for the Valuable Books You took the trouble to Collect for me—in the Cause of My Black Brethren I feel Myself Warmly interested, and Most decidedly Side, so far as Respects them, Against the White part of Mankind— Whatever Be the Complexion of the Enslaved, it does not, in my opinion, Alter the Complexion of the Crime Which the Enslaver Commits, a Crime Much Blaker than Any Affrican face— it is to me a Matter of Great Anxiety and Concern to find that this trade is Some times perpetrated under the flag of liberty, our dear and Noble Stripes, to which Virtue and Glory Have Been Constant Standard Bearers— Inclosed I Beg leave to Send a letter for mr̃ Sharp with Aknowledgements for His Attention—

No Event of Great Importance in Paris— Cardinal de Rohan’s Afair Has Produced Many Memoirs— Which of the different tales is the Right one, I do not pretend to Say— the Cardinal Has Been Either a Rogue or a fool, the later Seems the More probable—2 all the farms Have Been Renewed with an Augmentation of Revenüe—that of tobacco Excepted, and on this as well as Every other point I stand a warm Opposer to the Principles of the farm—3 on this Side of the Channel, When Good deeds fail, You will at least find Good Intentions—in England Neither— While Policy is the Result of Passion not of Reason, Every Sensible Calculation is at an End, and it is Still a Matter of doubt with me, However Strange it Appears, if they will Give up the forts, or let us Have the pleasure to Walk into those formidable Works on our Saratoga tune of Yankee doodle.

My Best Respects Wait on the Ladies to Whom as Well as to You Md̃e de Lafayette and our little family present their Affectionate Compliments— Remember me to My friend Colonel Smith— with Every Sentiment of Affection and Regard I Have the Honour to Be— / My dear Sir / Yours


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by AA2: “the Marquis de la Fayette / Feb 22d—”; and by JA: “1785.”


Lafayette wrote again on 26 Feb. (CtY: S. W. Jackson Coll.). There he replied directly to JA’s 31 Jan. letter, above, praising C. W. F. Dumas’ service to the United States, and asking for JA’s opinion, presumably as U.S. minister to the Netherlands in absentia, on Dutch political unrest.


For the Diamond Necklace Affair, a French court scandal perpetrated by Louis René Edouard, Cardinal de Rohan, and his mistress, Jeanne de La Motte, see vol. 17:341. After their sensational trials, and in tandem with several popular accounts issued by minor participants or observers of the plot, La Motte published Mémoire pour dame Jeanne de Saint-Rémy de Valois, Paris, 1785, and Rohan wrote Requête de monsieur le Cardinal de Rohan au Parlement, Paris, 1785.


For Lafayette’s opposition to the Farmers General and his unsuccessful efforts to have it abolished, see his 16 June 1786 letter, and note 2, below.