Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

John Adams to Richard Cranch, 17 June 1782 JA Cranch, Richard John Adams to Richard Cranch, 17 June 1782 Adams, John Cranch, Richard
John Adams to Richard Cranch
The Hague, 17 June 1782

“I can tell you no secrets about Peace—a Mr. Forth, a Mr. Aswald Oswald and a Mr. Greenville1 have been at Paris, to sound the Dispositions, but I cannot learn that they have sufficient Powers, or that they have made any serious Propositions. The work of Peace is very difficult to accomplish. The pretentions of so many Nations, are to be adjusted, that my Hopes are faint. It serves the Stocks to keep up the Talk, but I fear the English Nation is not yet sufficiently humbled, to satisfy Spain, Holland, France, the armed Neutrality and America.


“Pray how is the News received of the new Alliance with the Dutch? —Is it represented as of no Importance? At least it will be allow'd of importance to prevent this Nation from taking Part against us. Their Fleet would have been much more powerfull against us than it is for us. As it is, it makes a Diversion in our favour.

“We shall however feel the Benefit of this new Connection in every part of the World. I hope the World will one Day see, when my Head shall be in the Dust, the Measures that have been taken to accomplish it, and the Intrigues from England, Russia, Denmark &c. &c. &c. to prevent it—I should be very sorry to add—but “Suum cuique Decus Posteritas rependit.”2

“It is a Protestant, a Republican and a commercial Nation. The Hand of Providence was never more visible, than in bringing this Business to a Conclusion. A number of Circumstances have conspired, in a very remarkable manner. We shall see the Consequences of it, which will not soon come to an End.—Men and Nations have Reason to seek Assistance sometimes against the extravagant Pretensions of Friends, as well as against the Malice of Enemies. While we stood acknowledged only by one Power, a Branch of the House of Bourbon and a Catholick, we stood exposed to the Jealousy of the Enemies of that House and that Faith. This Passion will be at least diminished by this Alliance. It is our Policy to seek and obtain the Friendship of all the Powers of Europe if possible; by which means we may be neutral. We may even keep England in Awe and at Peace with us by this means but by no other. I confess it is the Object I have had most at Heart; and, it being accomplished, I wish most ardently to come home.

“I have been desired to write a Word concerning Mr. Amory. He has lived long at Brussells and wishes to return; I have never seen him, but I believe if any one has a Claim, it is he. You know his amiable Character, and that he was never properly a Tory. He was rather a moderate Whig. I cannot advise in this matter, but I really wish he could be admitted. He has not done any thing I believe against us“.3

Early Tr (MHi:Smith-Carter Papers); in the hand of Richard Cranch and captioned by him: “Extract of a Letter dated at the Hague June 17th 1782.” Obviously prepared by Cranch for newspaper publication, but no printing has been found. Cf. below, JA to Cranch, 2 July, esp. the descriptive note there.


Nathaniel Parker Forth, Richard Oswald, and Thomas Grenville. For their various quasi-official and official roles in opening peace negotiations, see Morris, Peacemakers , passim.


Posterity allows every man his true value. Tacitus, Annales, IV, 35.


John Amory (1728–1803), mem-333ber of a well-known mercantile family in Boston, went to England in 1774, ostensibly on business, but his wife dying and he lingering there, he was proscribed as a loyalist refugee. During the war, however, he moved to Brussels, returned to America at the close of it, after some difficulties was restored to citizenship in Massachusetts, and died a wealthy man. See Gertrude E. Meredith, The Descendants of Hugh Amory, London, 1901; Sabine, Loyalists , 1:162–163.

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 23 June 1782 Thaxter, John AA John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 23 June 1782 Thaxter, John Adams, Abigail
John Thaxter to Abigail Adams
Madam Amsterdam 23d. June 1782

Since my last an important Revolution has taken place here respecting our Country. A formal Acknowledgment of our Sovereignty and Independence in the Admission and Reception of your dearest Friend is what I allude to. But You will have heard of the Event long before this reaches You, with many of its Circumstances. At present I am too feeble to enter into a detail of Matters, being upon my Recovery from the vile Fever and Ague. Ask your dear Charles if he remembers the tertian Fever at Leyden? I had the same at the Hague, (where We now live), with a Touch of the Rheumatism. However it went off with the Fever. I was never so sick and weak, and could any thing have been necessary to add to my disgust to this Country, this last Bout would have effectually done it. I hope to quit it in six or eight Weeks and take my Passage for Boston or Philadelphia. I pray You, Madam, not to mention this, as it may be longer before I embark, and my Friends might be uneasy if I did not arrive according to their Calculations. I have not hinted any thing of it to my Father in my Letter to him. I hope in a few days to be completely established in my Health. My Friends will excuse my not writing to them—indeed I have not strength enough as yet. Remember me particularly to your Family and to all Friends.

I have the Honor to be, with an invariable Respect, Madam, your most obed. Servt., J Thaxter Junr.

RC (Adams Papers).

John Boylston to John Adams, 28 June 1782 Boylston, John JA John Boylston to John Adams, 28 June 1782 Boylston, John Adams, John
John Boylston to John Adams
Dear Sir London June 28th 1782

I am now most happy to felicitate you and our Parent Country on the fortunate Event which has attended your unwearied efforts for obtaining the Dutch accession to the American Independency and that you are accepted by them as fully empowered for the final accomplishment of this glorious Aera.


Indeed when I reflect on the injustice and savage cruelty of the late Administration I much wonder that all Europe have not united in chastising such vindictive measures. However that Being to whom Vengeance belongs appears to have been greatly displeas'd by involving them in such a labyrinth of difficulties from which no human Agency can extricate them; Yet deeply penetrated as I am with a sense of the injuries done my Native Land I most ardently wish for a happy peace, but nothing short of an intire independency.—Observing in the publick Papers that you are solliciting a Loan for America I would willingly contribute my Mite thereto provided that I might be secure of Receiving my interest in Europe as at my Period of 72 it is rather too late to cross again the Atlantick, although I might the British Channel for the pleasure of seeing and conferring with you on some personal affairs which cannot be as well discuss'd by letter.

I was much mortify'd in not receiving by my most worthy Friend the Honble G. W. Fairfax one Line in answer to what I wrote you sometime since relating the American Prisoners,1 but with the greatest pleasure now find my wishes answer'd in their embarkation for their native homes.—In some of the late London Papers I find myself highly dishonour'd in being class'd by some malevolent Knave among a List of Amer ican refugees said to be printed at Boston but which has fail'd of giving me the least disquiet conscious that it is well known there, that I have ever been constantly and invariably attach'd to the cause and interest of my native Country for which have incurr'd the Odium of great Numbers here and expended near One hundred Guineas for the releif of our distress'd Captives.

The favour of a Line address'd for me at Messrs. Maitlands Esqr. Colman Street London will much oblige me. I shall remain here about fourteen days before my return to Bath.

That all happiness may attend you and Heaven prove propitious to your endeavours for procuring a happy and lasting peace is the sincere and ardent wish of, Dr. Sr. Yr. Most Obt. Servt,

John Boylston

P. For safe conveyance I have prevail'd with my good friend Mr. Brigden2 to inclose you this in his Pacquet, and to whose care (if agreable) You may return a Line in answer.

RC (Adams Papers).


See above, Boylston to JA, 31 Aug. 1781, and references there. George William Fairfax, formerly of Virginia but currently of Bath in England, had evidently been in the Netherlands recently; see JA's reply to Boylston, 5 July below. For a sketch of Fairfax, see Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 1:5, and numerous letters and references following.


Thus in MS, but very likely Edward Bridgen is meant. Bridgen was a London 335artisan and sometime alderman who seems to have kept up a clandestine correspondence with Americans and American sympathizers on the Continent throughout the war. See JA, Diary and Autobiography , index; correspondence between JA and Bridgen in Adams Papers; Cal. Franklin Papers in A.P.S.