Papers of John Adams, volume 9

To the Comte de Vergennes

To the President of Congress, No. 69

328 To Edmé Jacques Genet, 20 May 1780 JA Genet, Edmé Jacques


To Edmé Jacques Genet, 20 May 1780 Adams, John Genet, Edmé Jacques
To Edmé Jacques Genet
May 20. 1780

Thanks for this Paper.1 Ld George Gordon I think will be the Oliver Cromwell, after all. He seems the only Man of Common sense, and he begins with Religion. Burke, Barry, Fox, Conway, &c and all the rest appear but small Boys to Lord George.

RC (Private owner, 1972). Fire damage has resulted in the loss of the first word and possibly the greeting, although the absence of a closing and signature suggests that it was a hastily written note, lacking the usual formalities. Genet is nowhere mentioned, but the note appears to be one of the letters from JA to Genet that suffered varying degrees of fire damage.


The paper mentioned by JA has not been identified, but it may have been the Gazette de La Haye from which JA obtained the text of Conway's speech of 5 May introducing his bill intended to end the American war that JA sent to the president of Congress in his second letter of 20 May (No. 70, calendared, below). The paper presumably also contained the speech of 5 May by Lord George Gordon, opposition member and leader of the Protestant Association, who within a few weeks would stand accused of fomenting the riots that swept London in early June. For the riots and Gordon's role in them, see Thomas Digges' letter of 8 June, and note 8 (below); for the speeches in response to Conway's bill, see JA's first letter of 20 May to the president of Congress (No. 69, calendared, below). Gordon rose both to second and to criticize Conway's motion, saying that because it lacked any provision for granting independence to the colonies, Conway's plan would fail, and thus share the fate of all previous efforts to end the American war ( Parliamentary Hist. , 21:578–579). JA may have seen Gordon as the one opposition member willing to face reality and follow the only possible path to an Anglo-American peace.