Papers of John Adams, volume 7

The Commissioners to J. D. Schweighauser

From John Boylston

From Samuel Cooper, 4 January 1779 Cooper, Samuel JA From Samuel Cooper, 4 January 1779 Cooper, Samuel Adams, John
From Samuel Cooper
My dear Sir Boston 4th. Jany. 1779 1

Four days ago I received the Favor of your Letter of Aug: 12th.,2 and it gave me the highest Pleasure to hear you were well. The Marquiss de la Fayette will do me the Honour to take the Charge of this Letter who carries with him the Esteem and Affection of the Army and the States. His Intrepidity and Discretion, his Conduct in the Field, in Council, and in all private Circles have gained him an uncommon Reputation. He has done our Country no small Service, and reflected no little Honour upon his own with which at this trying Season we are so happy as to be allied.


You will know before this reaches you the Affairs of the Count d'Estaing, who is in my Opinion an Officer of great Ability and Merit, and accomplished every Thing that human Prudence and Fortitude could effect in his Circumstances. The Winds and Weather were against him; and tho he felt his Disappointments most sensibly, he commanded himself greatly upon every trying Occasion, and conducted with equal Wisdom and Resolution. He did every Thing in his Power for the Service on which he was sent, and tho not equal to what would have been done, had he arrived sooner, it was yet much. I had the Pleasure of spending a day, not long before he left us with your good Lady and a Number of the Count's Officers at Col. Quincy's in Braintree.3 All admired the good Order, and polite Behavior of the Officers of the Fleet of which the Count gave the Example as well as the Orders Injunction.

You will see by our Papers that Mr. Deane has opened a public Contest here. He attacks the Family of the Lee's—and is supported by a Number of Pens. Common Sense4 defends them—Congress seem to be divided upon this Point5—I have had no Letters from any of our Friends there, and know little more than the public Papers. As Mr. Deane is to have an Hearing before Congress,6 of which he complains he has been denied, the Matter may perhaps be stopped, and7 the Discussions in the Papers cease. At present we form no Judgement here, and take no Side, waiting for further Information and the Decision of that Body.8 We must expect Altercations and Divisions of this Kind, and perhaps by awakening in the People a more particular Attention to our public Affairs, they may produce common Good.

Our Enemies still keep a Garrison in New York and Rhode Island, and the Count it is supposed is now in the West Indies. Byron has been torn to Pieces with Storms, and wasted by Sickness, and was not able to follow the Count till six or seven Weeks after his Departure; The latter had all the Appearance of a good Season off, having escaped by Detention here, the Storm that shatter'd Byron's Fleet, and obliged him to repair from this Coast to Newport, in Order to refit9—Referring you to the Papers, that go by this Opportunity, and to the Marquiss for Details of News, I am, my dear Sir, with the warmest Respect and Attachment, Your most humble servant

Saml: Cooper

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr Cooper”; in another hand: “4 Jan'y 1779.”


Under this date, with the heading “Lettre de M. Samuel Cooper (Pasteur de la principale Eglise de Boston) à M. *** à P——y,” and with some alterations (see notes 5, 7, 8, and 9), this letter was printed in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (“Lettres,” vol. 13, cahier 65, p. clxxvii–clxxix). It, together with letters340 from Samuel Adams of 25 Oct. and Richard Henry Lee of 29 Oct. 1778 (both above), was sent with JA's letter to Edmé Jacques Genet of ca. 14 Feb. (below).


Vol. 6:367–368.


It is impossible to determine when Cooper was in company with AA at Col. Josiah Quincy's house, but for her meetings with Estaing and other French officers, see her letters to JA of 21 and 25 Oct. 1778 , and that from Isaac Smith Sr. to JA of 9 Nov. 1778 ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:108–111, 117–118).


In a series of articles in the Pennsylvania Packet (15, 29, 31 Dec. 1778, and 2, 5, 7, 9 Jan. 1779), Thomas Paine answered Deane's address “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of America,” which had appeared in the Packet of 5 Dec. 1778.


In Affaires Cooper's comments on the newspaper controversy, beginning with “He attacks the Family” and proceeding to “this Point,” were omitted.


The date of Deane's hearing was to have been 7 Dec. 1778; but on that day, because of the uproar over his address, he was ordered to put his report in writing. On 22, 23, and 31 Dec., Deane read his account before the congress, which then informed him that he would be notified of further orders. Although Deane was not again called before the congress, it was not until 20 Aug. 1779 that he was released from attending it ( JCC , 12:1192, 1200–1201, 1265–1266; 13:930).


The preceding fourteen words were omitted from the translation in Affaires.


This sentence was omitted from the translation in Affaires.


In Affaires the remainder of this paragraph and the signature were omitted and there the printed letter ends as follows: “Si la lenteur de sa marche, qui l'a fait arriver en Amerique deux jours trop tard, a été contraire à ses desseins, en revanche nous avons bien lieu de nous féliciter des circonstances qui ont fait retarder son depart de deux jours. Voila comme la Providence sait nous faire adorer la profondeur de ses desseins.” Translation: If the slowness of his passage, which made him arrive in America two days too late, was contrary to his plans, in compensation we have good reason to congratulate ourselves for the circumstances that delayed his departure by two days. See how Providence makes us worship the profundity of His designs.