Papers of John Adams, volume 10

To James Lovell

From Thomas Digges

To Benjamin Rush, 20 September 1780 JA Rush, Benjamin


To Benjamin Rush, 20 September 1780 Adams, John Rush, Benjamin
To Benjamin Rush
Dear Sir Amsterdam sept. 20. 17801

Yours of 13 July I have received.2 Your Account of the Resurrection of the Spirit of 65 and 6,3 is very refreshing. The Ladies having undertaken, to support American Independance settles the Point. Surely no Gentleman will ever dispute it against So many of the fair. The ill bred Fellows at St. James's will continue to quarrell about it, but We knew long ago that they have no manners. If Mrs. Rush reproaches you with Lukewarmness, I am sure there must be zeal enough, for it is impossible that you should be deficient wanting in the necessary Proportion of that Quality.

Mr. Serle, is intituled to every good Office in my Power, from many Considerations.

Lloyds will afford but a sorry subscription this Year to Ld. Norths Loan for 1781. They are deeply taken in—May they soon hear of more respectable Additions to the List of their Losses.

My best respects to Mrs. Rush and desire her to move in the Assemblies of the Ladies, that their Influence may be exerted to promote Privateering. This, and Trade is the only Way to lay the Foundation of a Navy, which alone can afford a solid Protection to every Part of their Country.

If I could have my Will, there should not be the least obstruction to Navigation, Commerce, or Privateering. Because I firmly believe that one Sailor will do Us more good than two Soldiers.

Keppell is thrown out at Windsor,4 Burke and Cruger at Bristol, and your Friend Sawbridge in the City. It is necessary in England for 166a Man to be an Ennemy to his Country, in order to be popular. When this is the Case all is lost.

Your affectionate Friend

LbC (Adams Papers).


In his reply of 21 Jan. 1781, Rush stated that he found JA's comments so important that he had had the letter published (Benjamin Rush, Letters , 1:260–261). Entitled “Extract from a Gentleman in high office under the United States, dated Amsterdam, Sept. 20, 1780,” it appeared in the Pennsylvania Journal of 17 Jan. 1781, on the same page as an extract from JA's letter of 16 Sept. to the president of Congress (No. 7, and note 7, above).


Suggesting that it be published in the Gazette de Leyde, JA enclosed Rush's letter of 13 July in his to Jean Luzac of 20 Sept. (Adams Papers). Luzac did not print Rush's letter and probably returned it with his letter of 27 Sept. (below).


An inadvertence, Rush had referred to the Spirit of 1775 and 1776.


A combination of royal and ministerial influence led to Adm. Augustus Keppel's defeat by sixteen votes, in a poll of over 300, when he sought to retain his seat for New Windsor, Berkshire, but he immediately stood for Surrey and was elected by a large majority (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons ). For the others mentioned by JA, see Thomas Digges' letter of 15 Sept., and note 2 (above).