Papers of John Adams, volume 12

To Benjamin Franklin

From Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol

To the Abbé Raynal, 5 January 1782 JA Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé


To the Abbé Raynal, 5 January 1782 Adams, John Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé
To the Abbé Raynal
Amsterdam January 5. 1782 Dr Sir

I have the Honour to transmit you, the Revolution of America, translated into the Sublimest Language of Europe, if we are to believe the People of the Netherlands, who alone understand it. The Compliment paid to four Characters among whom I am Supposed to be one in this History, no doubt induced the Editor to dedicate it 172to me: be this however as it may, I would not exchange the Small Share which belongs to me in that pathetic Testimony from So distinguished a Friend of Truth, Liberty and Humanity, for a Statue of Bronze or Marble to be erected in honour of me, by the first Monark of the World in the Market street of Philadelphia.1

I am however, very unhappy to find so many Mistakes in Point of Fact, because coming from so great an authority they will be taken for certain, and have an ill Effect.2

My Friend Edmund Jennings Esqr, a Gentleman whose Principles Sentiments and Disposition I think will be agreable to you, will have the Honour to deliver you this Letter.3 He resides at Brussells, and is very agreable Company.

LbC (Adams Papers.)


Abbé Guillaume Thomas François Raynal, Staatsomwenteling van Amerika. Uit het Fransch, Amsterdam, 1781. Two copies are among JA’s books at MB ( Catalogue of JA’s Library ). For the various printings and translations of Raynal’s work, see vol. 10:405. The dedication reads, “Zyner excellentie John Adams schildknaap gevolmagtigden staatsdienaar der vereenigde staaten van Amerika, edelmoedigen bevorderaar van de onafhanklykheid dier volkplantingen, wordt dit werk onderdaanigst opgedraagen, door zyner excellentie’s Zeer eebiedigenden Dienaar willem holtrop.” Translation: To his Excellency, John Adams Esqr., plenipotentiary officer of the United States of America, noble proponent of the independence of those colonies, this work is most humbly dedicated, by his Excellency’s very respectful servant Willem Holtrop. Raynal’s attribution of the leading roles in the adoption of the Declaration of Independence to John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and the two Adamses appeared on p. 76 of the Dutch edition.


See On the Abbé Raynal’s Révolution de l’Amérique, 22 Jan., below.


JA enclosed this letter in one to Jenings that has not been found (from Raynal, 18 Jan., below).