Papers of John Adams, volume 9

To C. W. F. Dumas, 6 June 1780 JA Dumas, Charles William Frederic


To C. W. F. Dumas, 6 June 1780 Adams, John Dumas, Charles William Frederic
To C. W. F. Dumas
Sir Paris Hotel de Valois Ruë de Richelieu Sir June 6. 1780

I thank you, for your Letter1 in answer to mine of 21. May, and for your kind congratulations on my arrival here.

Mr. Brown, with whom you took your Walks in the Neighbourhood of Paris, has been gone from hence, Some Weeks, on his Way home. I Should have had much Pleasure, if I had been one of the Party. I have rambled, in most of the Scenes round this City, and find them very pleasant, but much more in debted to Art than to Nature. 381Philadelphia, in the Purlieus of which, as well as those of Baltimore, and York Town, I have often sought Health and Pleasure, in the same way in Company with our venerable Secretary Charles Thompson, will in future Times, when the Arts shall have established their Empire in the new World, exhibit scenes much more Striking. But Boston above all, around which I have much oftener wandered in Company with another venerable Character,2 little known in Europe, but to whose Virtues and public Merit in the Cause of Mankind, History will do Justice, will one day exhibit Scenes of Grandeur and Beauty, Superiour to any other Place I have ever yet seen.

The Letter of G. Clinton, when I transmitted it to you, was not suspected to be an Imposition. There are some Circumstances, which are sufficient to raise a question, but I think, none of them are conclusive, and upon the whole I have little doubt of its Authenticity. I shall be much mortified if it proves a fiction. Not on account of the importance of the Letter, but the Stain that a Practice So disingenuous, will bring upon America. When I first left America such a fiction with all its Ingenuity, would have ruined the Reputation of the author of it, if discovered, and I think that both he and the Printer would have been punished. With all the freedom of our Presses I really think that not only the Government, but the Populace would have resented it. I have had opportunities of an extensive Acquaintance, with Americans, and I must Say in Justice to my Country men, that I know not a Man that I think capable of a Trick at once So able and so base. Truth is indeed respected in America, and So gross an affront to her I hope will not, and I think cannot go unpunished.

Whether it is genuine or not, I have no doubt of the Truth of the Facts, in general. And I have reasons to believe, that if the Secret Correspondences of Bernard, Hutchinson, Gage, How, and Clinton, could all be brought to light the World would be equally surprized at the whole Thread of it. The British Administration and their servants have carried on from the beginning a System of Duplicity, in the Conduct of American Affairs that will appear shocking to the Public, whenever it shall be known.

You have seen A. Rodneys account of the Battle of the 17th. of April. The Scepter of the ocean, is not to be maintained, by such Actions as this, and Birons and Keppells. They must make themselves more terrible upon the ocean to preserve its dominion. Their Empire there is founded only in fear—no nation loves it. We have no other News.

382 image 383 image 384

I have the Honour to be . . . 3 most obedient and most humble servant

John Adams

RC (MHi: Hoar Autograph Collection). LbC (Adams Papers). The recipient's copy is heavily damaged, with the loss of a significant amount of text which has been supplied from the Letterbook.


Of ante 30 May (above).


In the Letterbook this person was identified as “Mr. Thatcher,” probably Oxenbridge Thacher Jr., who had died in 1765 and whom JA ranked second only to James Otis in the early movement toward revolution (vol. 1:98).


Because JA abbreviated the closing paragraph in the Letterbook, it has been impossible to supply the two or three words missing at this point.

To Edmund Jenings, 6 June 1780 JA Jenings, Edmund


To Edmund Jenings, 6 June 1780 Adams, John Jenings, Edmund
To Edmund Jenings
Dear Sir Paris June 6. 1780

Yours of June 2d., I have just now received that of 27. May I duely received and the other1 inclosing—the curious Mess from London I received—all safe, in time and untouched. I have never missed a Letter from you. They all come Safe—and the seals in good order. You may write freely I am persuaded.

It was, haste, or Inattention that I did not acknowledge them in the one of 28 ultimo.2 I am sometimes, so engaged, that I cant answer Letters, regularly by the Post. But I assure you I have no reason to think that one Letter to me, or from me has been stopped. I have written to London, Amsterdam, Hague, Nantes, L'Orient, Bourdeaux, Ostende, Lille, and Spain and received answers very punctually, so that I think you need not fear. I have 2 Letters from your neighbour Mr. Lee not yet answered3—and a great Bundle before me—from others. I really believe that Letters addressed directly to me, will come as safely as any Way.4 I wrote you on the 29th. again I think, and by that you will see that I had received all. The short Letter, inclosing the one from London, I sat down to answer, on the spot, and wrote a good deal—but was irresolute about sending it. I could not Satisfy myself what to say. I was very uneasy. Propagating such Distrust is the D—l if it is without foundation, as I verily believe it is. But if it has foundation what then. Why the hottest region in the hot country is too cool. Still I know not, whether I understand it.

RC (Adams Papers).


For this letter of 22 May and its enclosure, see Jenings' letter of 27 May, and note 1 (above).


Not found, but see Jenings' letter of 2 June, and note 1 (above).


These are William Lee's letters of 10 May (above) and 31 May (Adams Papers), which JA answered on 6 June (below).


The remainder of this letter concerns JA's answer of 29 May (above) to Jenings' letter of 22 May (Adams Papers).