Papers of John Adams, volume 8

To James Moylan

To Samuel Adams

352 From Edmund Jenings, 22 February 1780 Jenings, Edmund JA From Edmund Jenings, 22 February 1780 Jenings, Edmund Adams, John
From Edmund Jenings
Dear Sir Brusels Febry. 22. 1780

I did myself the Honor of writing to You, two days Ago1 by Mr. Brusch, to congratulate you on your Safe Arrival in Europe, and to Assure you of my Disposition and wish to Execute whatever Commands, you may lay on me here or Elsewhere.

As I Know your Attention to whatever may affect our Country, I take the Liberty of making an Extract out of a Letter I receivd yesterday from England, from the well instructd Correspondent, who gave Information of the intentd irruption into Connecticut, which unfortunately took place last year, of which I gave you Notice before you left Europe.2 He had written to me last Novr. of Englands Endeavouring to draw Russia into the War, and of the Backwardness then showed to enter into the business. He writes to me now in these Words.

“When I trod on Russian Ground, I had every reason to think, that my footing was firm and certain; I have not yet passed over the same kind of Soil, but my trusty Guide (acquainted with the Country to an Inch) bids me prepare for another Road. He is a Speculative Politician, what, said He, if the Czarina should be on the point of Changing her Mind, and hitherto refusing now grant Succour to England. If Lord North, having procurd an Immense Sum for the renewal of the East India Charter,3 shoud succesfully bribe the Court of Petersburgh with a great part of it, into an offensive and defensive Alliance, if the same spirited Statesman shoud procure similar Treaties from Russia and Denmark, if?”—He was proceeding, when I asked Him, whether these Courts woud not first Attempt to Negociate a Peace for England, certainly, He replied, I should think so. At this Moment the face of my Whimsical Casuist became more open, and I fanced that Truths were seald on his Lips.

I find that the Expedition under Boyle Walsingham from Ireland is to the West Indias.4

I should be glad Sir you would give me Mr. Carmichaels Address at Madrid. I fancy He has Letters for me.

I am Dear Sir Your Most Obedient & faithful Hlbe Servt Edm: Jenings

RC (Adams Papers).


Actually dated 19 Feb. (above).


None of the extant letters received from Jenings before JA's departure for America in June 1779 mention a planned attack on Connecticut, but see index under “Connecticut” and references there.


Any British plans to use “an Immense Sum” gained from the renewal of the East India Company's charter, which expired in 1780, to bribe Russia or for 353any other purpose were based on wishful thinking. During his presentation of the budget in 1779, Lord North had alluded to the company's charter and the use of the sums that might be realized from its renewal to balance expenditures. But his statements were premature; opposition from the company and its supporters to the ministry's proposals for a new charter made renewal in 1779 or 1780 impossible. As a result, North could obtain only an extension of the charter; it was not renewed until 1784 (Lucy S. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, Oxford, 1952, p. 343–344, see also index under statutes; Parliamentary Hist. , 20:160, 167).


This force, consisting of five ships of the line and two smaller vessels and intended to reinforce Rodney's fleet in the West Indies, was commanded by Como. Robert Boyle-Walsingham, originally of Ireland, but then a member of Parliament from Knaresborough in Yorkshire. Although Boyle-Walsingham received his sailing orders in March, he was windbound at Torbay until June, and in October he was lost in a hurricane with his flagship, the Thunderer (Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., History of Commons, 1754–1790, 3 vols., London, 1964, 3:603–605; Mackesy, War for America , p. 327–329; W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 440).