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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0002

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-17

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

Since my letter of the 12th. We have no arrivals from Ama., or any thing new but what will be mentiond below. I am anxious to know if my letter to you of the 8th or 7th1 of last month got to your hands. The Behaviour of the Bearer of it to Ostend, who has been some days idling about London gives me strong suspicion that He did not do with the letter what He promisd me. I am uneasy about Him having had proofs He is a most notorious lyar and not to be depended on, and I have wrote to P——sy about Him.2
There is a mail just now arrivd at the Post office brought by a Packet from Jamaica in 37 days. Just before the sailing of this packet (which was with a fleet of upwards of 200 Merchantmen bound to England under Escort of 3 Men of War, and which fleet the packet left safe after passing the Windward Passage) an English frigate arrivd at Jamaica with the flag of the Fort of St. Juan situated on a river of that name not far from Cape Gracios a Dios and in the quarter of Nicarauga. It seems the Jamaica Expedition which Saild in March last bent its course on a Buccaneering Expedition to that part of the Main, That they found no Opposition till they got before this fort some miles up the River and before which they were near three Weeks before its surrender; During this time, it is said, an offer of four Million Piasters was made to save the Fort and Town from Plunder and which was refusd for fear the Ransom would not be paid: (a Piaster a 3s4d Sterling each makes this sum 666,000£ Sterling, much more I think than the fee simple of that whole Settlement { 5 } could be worth. The fort afterwards capitulated about the 1st June or latter end of May. This is spoke of here in the most exalted terms—as a thing of infinitely more import than Omoa—nothing but joy expressd upon the occasion. Perhaps in a few hours it may be thought nothing of and of no national consequence. The same packet brings an account that the natives and Spaniards had supprisd and taken the English Post and settlement on the Black River in the Bay of Campeachy and that most of the English had fled to the Island of Rattan.3
Another Mail from Chas. Town arrivd at same time but no letters will be out till tomorrow; Genl. Clintons last Gazette Despatches are I think the 5 or 6 June and it is said this second packet saild with Gen. Prevost but a very few days after, so that the news by Her cannot be very material; all the City however will have it that No. Carolina has submitted to the terms proposd by Gen. Clinton and that Virga. would certainly accept the Same—there is no reasoning on this Torrent of nonsence So I give it you just as it is.
A Gentleman going hence immediately to Ostend with a fair Wind gives me hopes this will be put into the post Office there tomorrow morning which will be a day or two at least before our regular tuesdays mail sets out. I forward by same opportunity a letter from one of the two Gentlemen lately come from your quarters a letter to Mr. D—a. I am on all occasions—&ce. &ce.
[signed] W.S.C.
My friend D. H. told me a day or two ago He would write You a few lines.4 He is a very honest Man and means well and right for our cause.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San Negote. Chez Monsieur Hocherau, Libraire, Pont Neuf Paris”; endorsed by Francis Dana: “Mr: Diggs's Letter dated 17th. July 1780 Recd. Septr. 4th. 1780.”
1. This letter, carried by Capt. James Barnet, was dated 8 June (above).
2. Digges also wrote to Benjamin Franklin on the 17th (Digges, Letters, p. 243–245).
3. This paragraph is a digest of reports that would appear in the London newspapers of 18 July, see, for example, the London Courant. The expedition that captured Fort San Juan had been ordered by Gov. John Dalling of Jamaica. It went first to Cape Gracias á Dios at Nicaragua's northern border and then proceeded 200 miles south to the San Juan River at the southern border. The fort controlled the river's outlet into Lake Nicaragua and capitulated on 30 April. Like Omoa in Honduras, however, the ravages of disease made Fort San Juan impossible to hold for any extended period (Mackesy, War for America, p. 335–336). The second incident was the expulsion of the British from their post at the Black River at the northern end of the Mosquito Coast. The inhabitants escaped to the island of Roatán, which, like the Black River, was on the Gulf of Honduras rather than the Bay of Campeche.
4. See David Hartley's letter of 17 July (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0003

Author: Hartley, David
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-17

From David Hartley

[salute] Dear Sir

Enclosed I send you a copy of a conciliatory bill which I moved in Parliament on the 27th of the last month.1 You will perceive by the tenor of it that it is drawn up in very general terms, containing a general power to treat, with something like a sketch of a line of negotiation. As the bill was not accepted by the Ministers in this Country, I have nothing further to say relating to it. As to my own private Sentiments and endeavours, they allways have been and ever will be devoted to the restoration of peace, upon honorable terms.2I shall be always ready, and most desirous to conspire in any measures which may lead to that end.
I am Dear Sir Your most obedt humble Servant
[signed] D Hartley
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. For the enclosed “Bill for Conciliation,” which was endorsed “Mr Hartleys Bill,” see the Titlepage of David Hartley's “Draught of a Proposed Bill for Conciliation with America,” 27 June 1780 7Descriptive List of Illustrations (above).
2. Although Hartley, who later served as one of the British peace negotiators, may have wanted a peace based on “honorable terms,” the bill that he offered on 27 June called for a settlement of the conflict short of independence. For JA's opinion of efforts at Anglo-American reconciliation in general and Hartley's initiatives in particular, see his second letter of 18 April to the president of Congress, No. 48, and note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0004

Author: Jay, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-17

From John Jay

[salute] Dear Sir

On the 4 June last I had the Pleasure of writing you a Letter acknowledging the Reciept of yours of the 15 May—since which none of your Favors have reached me.
I have just been reading the Capitulation of Charles Town. I suspect they wanted Provisions. The Reputation of the Garrison will suffer till the Reasons of their Conduct are explained. I wish a good one may be in their Power. They are severely censured here. What the Consequences of this Event may be, cannot easily be conjectured. I should not be surprized if they should eventually be in our Favor. It is difficult while invaded in the Center to defend Extremities which have little natural Strength.
I wish Ternays Squadron may touch at Halifax—the Capture of that place would reduce the English Navy in the american Seas to extreme Difficulties. The Affair of Charles Town has an unfavorable Aspect on the Expedition against New York.
{ 7 } | view { 8 }
After the Conclusion of this Campaign, I Think you will have something to do. In my opinion all the Powers at War wish for peace. The pride of the King of England will be the greatest Obstacle, and it may happen that in attempting to save his Dignity he may lose his Crown.
No News yet of Mr. Laurens—What is to become of his Bills?1 I have accepted to the Amount of between 10 and 12,000 Dollars of those drawn upon me. The Fate of the Residue is not yet fixed, but like many other Adventurers, I imagine they will have good Luck.
On a Presumption that you are acquainted with Mrs. Izard, I take the Liberty of committing the enclosed Letter for her to your Care. It has been written some time, and waiting only for the french Courier by which you will recieve this.
My family was encreased last week by the Birth of a Daughter.2 My Compliments to Mr. Dana.
I am Dear Sir with great Regard & Esteem Your most obedt. Servant
[signed] John Jay
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by Francis Dana: “His Exy. Mr. Jay's Letter dated 17th. July 1780 Recd. 27th.”
1. For the bills, see Edmund Jenings' letter of 12 April, note 2 (above).
2. This was Susan, but she died on 4 Aug. (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 236).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0005

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-07-18

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have just received yours of 15th. Mr. Gridleys News, was I suppose only The Fruit of the Tree of Cracovie. I have seen the Observations &c. in the general Advertiser. I thank you sir, for all your Trouble. The Lord knows what Compensation you will ever have for it all. I lay burthens upon you without Number, or Mercy, I think. But I cannot and will not be idle. I think We are serving our Country, in this Way.
The Labour of copying, the Translation, to send to you is but a small Part of what I have taken upon myself. You must know, that I made this Translation more than three months ago and sent it to Congress, on the 19 of April last. Since which I have copied it for you, and also have made another Copy with my own Hand for a Gentleman who is translating it into French.1 It contains what ought to be well settled and digested in the Mind of every man in Power in Europe and America.
You will not easily conceive, how my little vain heart felt, when I { 9 } first read those Words. “France, acknowledging America to be what she is, has formed Alliances with Terms of perfect Equality and Reciprocity, and behold the Ascendant to which she directly arose, from that politick Humiliation. There never was a wiser or firmer Step taken by any established Power, than that which the new states in America took, for their first footing in the Alliance. There never was more Address, Art, or Policy, shewn by any State, than France has given Proof of in the Same; when both Agreed and became allied, on Terms, which exclude no other Power, from enjoying the same benefits by a like Treaty.”2 I was personally as well as publickly too much interested in this not to feel it in every Pore.
You Say there is nothing new, in the memorial to an American who has had these great questions long in Contemplation.
It is very true Sir, that the Principles and the system has long been familiar to <me, and> to Congress, to the Most enlightened People in America, in general.
I had myself the Honour to be the first, who ventured to break the Ice in Congress, on the subject of foreign alliances. And to contend, against very great Men, whom I will not name at present, that it was the Interest and Policy of France, to Support our Independency, and to make a Treaty of Commerce, and Alliance with Us upon Terms of perfect Equality and Reciprocity. That We ought not to give to France any exclusive Priviledges in trade or any unusual Conditions whatsoever. That diminishing the Power of the natural Ennemy of France, So much as breaking off, 13 Colonies alone, was quite enough to make it her Interest to support Us, and to induce her to engage with Us provided she was convinced of the Justice of our Cause. By all the Accounts We had from France as well as all other Parts of Europe We had reason to think that the general Voice of man kind, and particularly that of France was in favour of the Rectitude of our Cause. That if We added to these motives, an equal share in our Trade and that Influence and Reputation in Europe which would be derived to any Nation in the World from an Alliance and free equal Trade with Us, We could not doubt that France and Spain at least would readily and chearfully engage with Us. That We ought, with the Utmost Firmness to resist every thought of giving to France, any unequal Advantages in our Trade even over England for it never could be our Interest to ruin England, or annihilate their maritime Power, if We could possibly save our Liberty and Independence without it.
I never had the Honour to support any Argument, in Speech or in Writing with more Applause, than this was received with in Congress. { 10 } They put me upon the Committee to draw up the Treaty and the Committee appointed me to draw it, which I did accordingly, and it now remains in Charles Thompsons Files in my Hand Writing. It was drawn in perfect Conformity to these Principles, and accepted by Congress after the most painfull scrutiny into every Part, Paragraph by Paragraph. It would fill a Volume to give You the arguments at large upon every Part, with the Speakers Names, if I were able to do it upon Memory.3
After the Treaty was finished and Dr. Franklin sent off with it, who sailed in October I went home, for a Visit to my Constituents. While I was gone in the month of December—The Terms of Enlistment of the Army expired, General Washington was obliged to retreat thro the Jersies, and some Gentlemen, saw the Necessity of foreign Alliances in a <foreign> Stronger Light, and moved for Instructions to the Commissioners to offer France some Additional Motives to engage. These Propositions had been made before and I had always combated them with success, but now they prevailed, and the Consequence of it was that a Treaty was made, without that perfect Reciprocity that I had been such an Enthusiast for. But my Countrymen will some time or other wish it had been otherwise, tho it is now unavoidable—and if my Life should be Spared I am determined Posterity shall know which was my Treaty and which was other Peoples Treaty.4 I never was more mortified in my Life, than upon finding at my Return to Congress, what they had done. I gave to the Gentlemen who had done it, my sentiments upon it very freely.
The leading Principles in the Memoir to the sovereigns, are taken precisely from the Principles of the Treaty which Congress first sent to this Court.5 They are very generally understood and firmly believed among the People in America. But Since I have been in Europe I have not found the subject understood by scarcely any Body, untill I saw this Pamphlet. You may easily judge how much I was pleased with it. I respected it the more on another Account. I have had these 20 years an Esteem for Pownal. He was a good Governor and for that very Reason removed. If all American Governors had been like Pownal, this War would not have existed. He has oddities which will ever prevent him from doing much good in this World: but he has Abilities and not a bad Heart. I write this again in Confidence to you.
If the strictures upon Galloway are not sent off, pray scratch out all the Personalities against him. It is beneath me to be personal against such a Creature. Tho a meaner, falser, heart, never circulated Blood.
{ 11 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Adams July 18. 1780.”
1. For the various versions of JA's reworking of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, including that sent to M. Addenet for translation, see A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], Nos. I and II, Editorial and Descriptive Notes (above).
2. Pownall's Memorial, p. 94, but see also A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], No. I, text at note 38 (above).
3. Although colored by his reading of Pownall's Memorial, JA gives an accurate account, here and in the previous paragraph, of his role in advocating the need for foreign assistance and the drafting of the Treaty Plan of 1776. For the progress of the Treaty Plan from JA's draft through the version adopted by Congress and sent to the Commissioners, see Plan of Treaties, 12 June – 17 Sept. 1776, vol. 4:260–302.
4. For the original instructions adopted by Congress on 24 Sept. 1776, see vol. 4:300–302; for the additional instructions adopted on 30 Dec. 1776, see vol. 5:65 and JCC, 6:1054–1058. JA's statements regarding the September instructions and the impact of those voted on 30 Dec. are misleading. He correctly states that the instructions of 30 Dec. authorized the Commissioners to offer France additional trade and military inducements, should the original treaty plan prove insufficient. He is wrong, however, in attributing those aspects of the Franco-American agreements with which he did not agree solely to the new instructions or to the Commissioners acting contrary to the spirit of the Treaty Plan. The new instructions did not require the Commissioners negotiating the Treaty of Amity and Commerce to depart from those previously received, and that treaty follows very closely the terms of the Treaty Plan of 1776. In fact, JA notes several times in his “Letters from a Distinguished American” that the Treaty of Amity and Commerce did not grant exclusive privileges to France ([ante 14–22 July], Nos. V and X, but see also the Editorial Note and Nos. III, IV, VI, VII, and IX, above). It was the Treaty of Alliance to which JA objected, but neither the new instructions nor the Commissioners' wishes had much to do with its existence. The instructions of 30 Dec. were intended to provide guidance in the event that France was unwilling to form a treaty connection with the United States solely for commercial advantage. As it turned out France was agreeable to a commercial treaty, but also wanted a political or military alliance that would insure an American commitment to the war for its duration. What JA ignores in his criticism of the Franco-American negotiations is that if the Commissioners had been unwilling to accept a Treaty of Alliance, there might have been no Treaty of Amity and Commerce, and thus no implementation of the Treaty Plan.
5. The principles set down by Pownall in his Memorial were almost certainly derived from his own experience and not, as JA seems to imply, from the Treaty Plan of 1776.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0006

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-07-18

To Edmund Jenings

I have just received the Court Gazette with Clintons Proclamations.1
I would give any Thing I had time to write you, a whole sheet about Carolina.
The Party of Horse, that galloped out—what did they meet with? By the Return of killed, and Prisoners, it must have been the most obstinate and desperate defence that ever was made, or a barbarous and diabolical Massacre—take which you will, and what is the symptom to the British Govt.?2
What think you of “the small Rebel Parties, that still linger at a { 12 } distance in the Province”?3 These small Parties will very soon be great Armies.
What think you, of those “wicked and desperate Men, who still endeavour to support, the flame of Rebellion, by authority derived from the late Legislature, and attempt by fines Imprisonments and even sanguinary Punishments, to compell the faithfull, to take Arms”?4
What think you of the cruel Exhortation to the disaffected, on the backs of the two Carolinas?
What think you of 210 Addresses out of 115 or 120 thousand white Inhabitants? When the names are concealed—and where there is known to have been near that Number banished, who have probably returnd with the Army from N. York and Savanna?5 When every Art, every Terror and every Allurement is known to be used upon those occasions to get subscribers?
I have from the Beginning of this dispute had constant Reason to honour the Sincerity the Honour the Spirit and Firmness, Bravery and Patriotism of south Carolina, as much without Exception as my own state in the Confederation.
But knowing their Embarrassment with Negroes, and their small Numbers of Militia, my Idea of that people has vastly increased by the Accounts from thence. There is hardly another state that would not have disclosed a larger Proportion of unworthy Men.
Britain! thou hast cast thy last die—Thou hast now made every Corner of the United states hostile to thee. Remember this in the day when Repentance comes.
1. The London Gazette of 8 July contained copies of an undated handbill issued by Gen. Henry Clinton immediately after the fall of Charleston, proclamations issued by Clinton on 22 May and 3 June, and an address reportedly signed by “210 of the Principal Inhabitants,” see also notes 3, 4, and 5.
2. The report to which JA apparently refers has not been found; it did not appear in the Gazette of 8 July.
3. This is an exact quotation from the handbill mentioned in note 1.
4. This is a paraphrase of a passage from Clinton's proclamation of 22 May, mentioned in note 1.
5. As printed in the Gazette and other London newspapers at the time, the address did not include the names of the signers. Not until 29 Aug. did the London Courant print the list of names, but see also Davies, ed., Docs. of the Amer. Rev., 1770–1783, 18:102–104.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0007

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-07-19

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress, No. 96

Paris, 19 July 1780. RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 201–206). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:867–869.
This let• { 13 } ter, read in Congress on 26 Dec., begins with brief reports from St. Petersburg and Copenhagen concerning preparations of the Russian, Danish, and Swedish navies to protect their merchant vessels under the terms of the armed neutrality. Adams then fulfilled the promise made in his letter of 15 July (No. 93, calendared, above) by providing the complete text of Catherine II's ordinance of 19 May establishing the duties and responsibilities of her subjects in maintaining a strict Russian neutrality in the midst of the Anglo-French naval war.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 201–206). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:867–869.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0008

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-07-19

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress, No. 97

Paris, 19 July 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 207–209). printed : Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:869–870.
In this letter, read in Congress on 26 Dec., John Adams repeated, in more detail, the reports on the Danish, Russian, and Swedish naval preparations contained in his other letter of this date (No. 96, calendared, above). He also included a report from Amsterdam on the Spanish capture of Mobile that noted its importance and the likelihood that it would lead to the fall of Pensacola, allowing Spain to combat effectively the extension of British naval power into the Caribbean. Adams observed that it was necessary for both Spain and France to challenge and diminish British naval dominance because of the British policy of going to war with any power that developed a formidable navy. For earlier statements by Adams to this effect, see his “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July], Nos. III and V (above).
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 207–209). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:869–870.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0009

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-19

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

Haveing Already wrote you pretty largely by Capt. Samson,1 this is only to Inform you that two days ago Arrived here one Mr. Mitchel with a Load of English Goods from London. This seems to be a prevailing and Encreasing Object of Commerce. One Arrived in the Spring. Little Notice was taken of it. Four More Vessels are said to be on their way here. It is certain there is one and Mr. Duncan is in her. He and Mitchel married two Daughters of Geo. Bethune.2 I dont say any thing of their political Principles. There are no Tories or Tory Connections here, we are all Whiggs, and the Man that hid himself in the heat of the day, and has never done any thing since has as much Merit as one that has been in the front of the Battle. These Men had Address enough to procure flaggs from our Council to Carry to England a Number of Prisoners, under the Pretence that they would Carry as many more to France and come out from there with a Load of Goods. Mitchel now says they would not suffer an Ex• { 14 } change for the Prisoners they Carried, and took their Ships from them but afterwards paid them for their Ships.
They came Boldly in under the Protection of Permits from Doctr. Franklin. I thought you should be Acquainted with these Circumstances. You are best Able to Judge if it be good Policy for us, and Consistent with our Connections with France, to Carry on such a Trade. If it be I think it should be publicly Avowed, if not It should be publickly discountenanced, my own Judgment is we can do very well without it, and that all Intercourse with that Accursed and Barbarous Nation should be Intirely broke of, and that we should use ourselves to the Manufactures and Merchandize of other Nations, to prevent as much as possible the hankering after those of Britain, the Leeks and onions of Egypt, when a Peace takes place.
I have had but one Letter from you since you left us and that a very short one.3 I always take pleasure in your Letters. If you can find Friends out of your own Family more pleased with your Friendship or more Sincere and Zealous in his or theirs, I will not Complain that you do not write to me oftner.

[salute] I am Yours sincerely

[signed] J Warren
RC (Adams Papers).; addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister for the American States Paris”; endorsed: “General Warren July 11. 18 ansd. Decr. 9. 1780”; by John Thaxter: “Genl. Warren 19th. July 1780 Recd. 19th. Septr.” The meaning of JA's endorsement is not entirely clear. Warren does not always indicate sentence breaks, and in some cases they have been supplied by the editors.
1. Of 11 July (above).
2. For the activities of Henry Mitchell and Edmund Dunkin, see Thomas Digges' letter of 8 June, and note 6 (above). The two men had married Mary and Susan Bethune, daughters of George Bethune, prominent Boston merchant and loyalist, and Mary Faneuil. A supporter of Thomas Hutchinson, Bethune had been appointed a justice of the peace in 1774. Following the battles of Lexington and Concord, he fled to Long Island, N.Y., and after the British occupied New York City, Bethune associated with the loyalists there, but in 1778 he quietly returned to Boston and resumed his commercial activities in association with his sons-in-law, thus explaining Warren's indignation (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 10:466–469).
3. JA had written twice since his arrival in Europe, on 16 and 18 March (both above). It is not known to which letter Warren refers.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0010

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-07-20

To William Lee

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of the 8th I received in due Course of Post. The Letter from Clinton,1 arrived first at L'orient, in a Phyladelphia Newspaper, which had been sent to Mr. Jay. Mr. Wharton I think copied it and sent it to Dr. Franklin, who communicated it. Soon after it appeared in { 15 } Boston and other Newspapers without a hint of its Want of Authenticity. Within a few days past, I have seen a Gentleman from America, who says it was a mere Jeu d'Esprit; written by an officer in the Army, upon the North river. I have been all along afraid that our Countrymen, would at length imitate their Ennemies, in this Kind of Imposition, and always thought that whenever they did, they would be ingenious at it. It must be agreed this is ingeniously done, and conveys a great deal of Solid Truth and important Instruction, under this fiction. Yet I cannot think the Ingenuity of it a Justification or Excuse. We have no need of such Aids as political Lyes. Our Character for Truth, sincerity and Candor, is more real Strength, than ever can be derived from Such Impostures however artfully performed. The Influence this Practice has upon the World in destroying Confidence, and in poisoning the morals of the People, the pure and <sole fountain> Single Source of which is Truth, ought to induce Us to discountenance the Practice by all means. The Liberty of the Press by No means includes a Right of imposing upon Mankind by such detestable Forgeries. I cannot therefore think that the Reflection you quote from the Newspaper, was too severe. All that We can do is, to write to congress and beseech them to suppress such Practices. The signature of Charles Thompson, hitherto Sacred, will no longer be credited if something is not done to discountenance, such abuses.
Don Solano has not returned to Cadiz, but what will be done in the West Indies, Time alone can discover. Whether, Mr. De Ternay, will go to the W. Indies, stay in America, or come to Europe I know not. I have not contented myself with giving my sentiments of what ought to be done, by Word of mouth, but I have stated it in Writing with my Reasons at large to more than one Minister,2 and of All this I shall inform Congress in detail, who will see, and judge who is right.
You Say that a Speedy Peace is not at present in your View. This is so far from being surprizing to me that I wonder you should ever have had any pleasing prospects of Peace, from the Ennemys suffering some capital Loss in the W. Indies. They are in such a sulky, mulish, suicidical temper, that they would not make Peace if you took every Island they have. This is my opinion. The Suppression of the Riots, Committees associations Correspondences and all, have given Ministry more giddy Confidence than even the taking of Charlestown. I fear America, must reconcile herself to the thought of growing up, in the midst of War, and find her Resources in Patience, Labour and Oeconomy, where she may have them in Sufficient Abundance. I have the Honour to be &c.
{ 16 }
1. For the forged letter from Gen. Henry Clinton and a brief history of its publication, see JA's letter of 21 May to C. W. F. Dumas, and note 1 (above).
2. That is, Vergennes and Gabriel de Sartine. See JA's letter of 13 July to Vergennes, and note 1 (above); and Vergennes' reply of the 20th (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011

The Dispute with the Comte de Vergennes

DocGroupNo:

PartCode: M

PartNo: 2

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0001

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0001-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-20

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 13. de ce mois. Je suis très sensible à la confiance avec laquelle vous m'avez communiqué vos idées sur la position actüelle des Etats-unis, et sur le besoin qu'ils ont de l'assistance immédiate de quelques Vaisseaux de ligne et frégates. M. le chev. de Ternay et M. le Cte. de Rochambau ont été expédiés précisément dans la vüe qui fait l'objet de votre lettre; ils concerteront leurs opérations avec le Congrès et M Washington; et comme le Roi ne leur a rien préscrit sur leur retour en Europe, et qu'au contraire il leur a laissé la liberté d'agir selon qu'ils le jugeront utile pour le soulagement des Etatsunis, il y a tout lieu de croire qu'ils prendront leur station, durant l'hiver prochain, dans l'Amérique septentrionale si cela convient au Congrès, et qu'ils emploïeront les Vaisseaux et les Troupes qui sont sous leur commandement, selon le plan qui aura été arrêté entr'eux et les généraux Américains.
Vous jugerez par ces détails, Monsieur, que le Roi est bien eloigné d'abandonner la cause Américaine, et que sa Majesté sans avoir été sollicité par le Congrès, a pris au contraire des mesures efficaces pour la soutenir: je me flatte, Monsieur, que des procédés aussi généreux seront sentir en Amérique, et qu'ils y prévaudront sur les mensonges que l'Ennemi commun et ses lâches adhérents y repandent pour rendre la france suspecte, et pour conduire le peuple Américain à prendre des resolutions qui consommeroient son asservissement et son déshonneur.
J'ai l'honneur d'être très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-20

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 13th of this month. I am very sensible of the confidence with which you have communicated your ideas on the present situation of the United States, { 17 } and their need for the immediate assistance of some ships of the line and frigates. The Chevalier de Ternay and the Comte de Rochambeau have been sent precisely for the purpose that is the object of your letter. They will co-ordinate their operations with Congress and Mr. Washington. And as the King has given them no precise orders regarding their return to Europe, but has left them at liberty to act as they shall judge proper for the relief of the United States, there is every reason to believe that next winter they will take their station in North America, if that shall be agreeable to Congress, and will employ the ships and troops under their command according to the plan that shall be settled between them and the American generals.
You will see from these details, sir, that the King is far from abandoning the American cause and that his majesty, without having been solicited by Congress, has taken effectual measures to sustain it. I flatter myself, sir, that such generous conduct will be appreciated in America and prevail over the falsehoods spread by the common enemy and its wicked adherents in order to render France suspect, and induce the American people to take resolutions which will consummate their slavery and dishonor.

[salute] I have the honor to be most perfectly, sir your very humble and very obedient servant.

[signed] De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Le Cte. De Vergennes 20 July 1780”; notation by CFA: “See Dipl. Corresp. Vol. 5. p. 278.” CFA's reference is to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-07-21

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have receiv'd the letter you did me the honor to write me yesterday; and am extreamly sensible of your Excellency's Confidence in communicating to me, the destination of the Armament under M. Le Chevr. de Ternay and M. Le Comte de Rochambau, and the probability that the Ships will winter in North America.
I assure your Excellency, that scarcely any News I ever heard, gave me more satisfaction; and nothing, in my opinion, can afford a more effectual Assistance to America, or make a deeper, or more grateful Impression, on the Minds of her Inhabitants.
I am infinitely mistaken if the Service of the King in the Conduct of the War, both in the West Indies and North America, does not derive such essential Advantages from this Measure, as will demonstrate its Wisdom to all the World, as well as to the English and the Americans, the King's determined Benevolence to the American Cause. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency's Most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 18 }
RC in Francis Dana's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel 1, f. 105–107); endorsed on the first page: “reflexion qu'il fait Sur la destination de M. de Ternay et de M. de Rochambeau”; additional notation: “No. 9.”; docketed by Congress: “N 9 J Adams to Vergennes July 27. 1780.” This date likely refers to JA's letter to Vergennes of that date (below), which was an additional reply to Vergennes' letter of the 20th (above). For the presence of this letter in the PCC, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0001-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-20

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 13. de ce mois. Je suis très sensible à la confiance avec laquelle vous m'avez communiqué vos idées sur la position actüelle des Etats-unis, et sur le besoin qu'ils ont de l'assistance immédiate de quelques Vaisseaux de ligne et frégates. M. le chev. de Ternay et M. le Cte. de Rochambau ont été expédiés précisément dans la vüe qui fait l'objet de votre lettre; ils concerteront leurs opérations avec le Congrès et M Washington; et comme le Roi ne leur a rien préscrit sur leur retour en Europe, et qu'au contraire il leur a laissé la liberté d'agir selon qu'ils le jugeront utile pour le soulagement des Etatsunis, il y a tout lieu de croire qu'ils prendront leur station, durant l'hiver prochain, dans l'Amérique septentrionale si cela convient au Congrès, et qu'ils emploïeront les Vaisseaux et les Troupes qui sont sous leur commandement, selon le plan qui aura été arrêté entr'eux et les généraux Américains.
Vous jugerez par ces détails, Monsieur, que le Roi est bien eloigné d'abandonner la cause Américaine, et que sa Majesté sans avoir été sollicité par le Congrès, a pris au contraire des mesures efficaces pour la soutenir: je me flatte, Monsieur, que des procédés aussi généreux seront sentir en Amérique, et qu'ils y prévaudront sur les mensonges que l'Ennemi commun et ses lâches adhérents y repandent pour rendre la france suspecte, et pour conduire le peuple Américain à prendre des resolutions qui consommeroient son asservissement et son déshonneur.
J'ai l'honneur d'être très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-20

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 13th of this month. I am very sensible of the confidence with which you have communicated your ideas on the present situation of the United States, { 17 } and their need for the immediate assistance of some ships of the line and frigates. The Chevalier de Ternay and the Comte de Rochambeau have been sent precisely for the purpose that is the object of your letter. They will co-ordinate their operations with Congress and Mr. Washington. And as the King has given them no precise orders regarding their return to Europe, but has left them at liberty to act as they shall judge proper for the relief of the United States, there is every reason to believe that next winter they will take their station in North America, if that shall be agreeable to Congress, and will employ the ships and troops under their command according to the plan that shall be settled between them and the American generals.
You will see from these details, sir, that the King is far from abandoning the American cause and that his majesty, without having been solicited by Congress, has taken effectual measures to sustain it. I flatter myself, sir, that such generous conduct will be appreciated in America and prevail over the falsehoods spread by the common enemy and its wicked adherents in order to render France suspect, and induce the American people to take resolutions which will consummate their slavery and dishonor.

[salute] I have the honor to be most perfectly, sir your very humble and very obedient servant.

[signed] De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Le Cte. De Vergennes 20 July 1780”; notation by CFA: “See Dipl. Corresp. Vol. 5. p. 278.” CFA's reference is to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0011-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-07-21

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have receiv'd the letter you did me the honor to write me yesterday; and am extreamly sensible of your Excellency's Confidence in communicating to me, the destination of the Armament under M. Le Chevr. de Ternay and M. Le Comte de Rochambau, and the probability that the Ships will winter in North America.
I assure your Excellency, that scarcely any News I ever heard, gave me more satisfaction; and nothing, in my opinion, can afford a more effectual Assistance to America, or make a deeper, or more grateful Impression, on the Minds of her Inhabitants.
I am infinitely mistaken if the Service of the King in the Conduct of the War, both in the West Indies and North America, does not derive such essential Advantages from this Measure, as will demonstrate its Wisdom to all the World, as well as to the English and the Americans, the King's determined Benevolence to the American Cause. I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect Your Excellency's Most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 18 }
RC in Francis Dana's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel 1, f. 105–107); endorsed on the first page: “reflexion qu'il fait Sur la destination de M. de Ternay et de M. de Rochambeau”; additional notation: “No. 9.”; docketed by Congress: “N 9 J Adams to Vergennes July 27. 1780.” This date likely refers to JA's letter to Vergennes of that date (below), which was an additional reply to Vergennes' letter of the 20th (above). For the presence of this letter in the PCC, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0012

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-21

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have had the Honour of receiving your Excellencys Letter of the 14th Instant: in Answer to which, I can only return your Excellency my most humble Thanks and assure you that the Confidence, with which I am honored, shall not be Abusd by me, and Care shall be taken, that it shall not be so by any One Else. I will Keep together what I receive from Your Excellency, to be returnd to You or your Order on demand, and in the mean while your Signature shall be most carefully erased from all your Letters. I have remarked, in the History of Mankind, much Abuse and Mischief resulting from the discovery of Confidential Communications and have even felt it myself in these troublesome Times, and therefore have had it in my Mind for some time to take the Liberty of suggesting to your Excellency the Expediency of writing under feignd Names.1
Your Excellencys early concern and intimate acquaintance with the great Transactors of the Times must have given you more than Ordinary Knowledge of Men and things. I am Happy, when you Communicate any thing to me relative to them; as I find my mind enlarged and Strengthned by such means. I have heard much of the Glorious Patriots, who have signalizd themselves in the Cause of their Country; but my Information has been general and therefore by no means sufficient to Satisfy me. Your Excellency however flatters me much with your promise of making me more acquainted with them. There is a Mr. Emmery here, a refugee Merchant of Boston, with whom I sometimes talk of the beginning of these troubles—He is one of the proscribed—but at the same time a Moderate and Candid Man—when He speaks of your Excellency He does it with much Respect.2
I have receivd from your Excellency five Sheets entitled a Translation, and two Letters of Observations on Mr. Galloways Pamphlet3—which I will take Care shall be sent to England; but not having yet had an Opportunity of conveying them by a safe Hand, and not { 19 } having had an Account of the receipt of Mr. Dana Character and the Letters to Mr. Wyth and the Report of the Convention &c. (at which I am Surprizd) I have hitherto deferrd it.
I agree with your Excellency, that these Things will have but little Effect in England, but to rise in Judgment against it in future, but they will operate in other places, for the Meridian of which, they are well Calculated. If I was in England, there are many things, that might be done of this Nature, which appearing at the Moment might have more Effect—for which purposes I frequently wish myself there.
I am much pleased to find it was in the Contemplation of the Northern Powers to take our part 18 Months Ago. It shews that there Conduct now is founded on something more than the present insulting behaviour of England. But if it is So, it appears to me much too irresolute and Indecisive—if they would Act with half the Peremptoriness of England, this Business would be soon finishd; at present great Advantage is taken of their Backwardness—the American Independance ought to be immediately Acknowledged, all Trade with England for Naval Stores prohibited and the English Ships now in the Baltic stopped—I trust that the Russian Fleet has orders to Act immediately in Conjunction with France Spain and Holland, or Else the Time for Action will be over.
I was surprizd at the News from Holland, that many of the English Rioters had been seized there. I thought at first it proceeded from Complaisance to England—but it turns out to be a Mere Dutch Trick. They are seized as Vagabonds, and will be sent to Batavia to settle that Province—No Uncommon Maneuvre in Holland.
Hearing that the Dutch are much alarmed at the Event of Charles Town (being imposed on by the boastings of England) I shewed to Mr. L. something I had drawn up to wipe away unfavorable Impressions. He has given the Heads thereof to be inserted in their Papers, and by the next post I shall send fuller Observations to be printed and dispersed there. I shall take the Liberty of sending to your Excellency a Copy thereof, which I trust will meet with your Excellencys Approbation.4
I am fearful that Admiral Greaves will interrupt Monsr. Ternays Operation.
I Know not whether your Excellency has sent to Madrid the Account and Description of Hussey. There is certainly a person of that Name formerly connected with the Spanish Embassadours family at London—He holds a correspondence with England. I beg He may be attended to.
{ 20 }
I am Sir your Excellencys Most Devoted & Obt. Humble servt.
[signed] E. Freeman
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jennings July 21 ansd 24.”; by John Thaxter: “1780.” No reply of 24 July has been found.
1. For Jenings' earlier suggestion that JA use a pseudonym, see his letter of 10 March 1779 (vol. 8:10, 12). JA, however, never used a pseudonym in his correspondence with Jenings.
2. This was John Amory, member of a prominent Boston mercantile family (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:332–333). In a letter to Richard Cranch of 17 June 1782, JA noted that Amory had lived for some time in Brussels and, so far as he knew, had done nothing to oppose the American cause (same, p. 332).
3. According to Jenings' letter of 15 July (above), the first four parts of the “Translation” of Thomas Pownall's Memorial had been enclosed with JA's letter of 8 July (Adams Papers). Since this letter is a reply to JA's of 14 July (above), it is likely that the fifth part of the “Translation” and the first two “Letters from a Distinguished American” were enclosed with that letter. The ten remaining “Letters” were sent under a covering letter of 22 July (Adams Papers). There JA wrote that “I have done with this Pamphlet—but I have 20 more as full of Nonsense.”
4. For Jenings' proposed newspaper piece, which he presumably showed to William Lee, see his letter of 27 July, note 2 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0013

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-07-22

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress, No. 98

Paris, 22 July 1780. Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 211–218). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:873–875.
This letter, read in Congress on 26 Dec., contains a series of newspaper reports, the first of which concerned George III's speech of 8 July proroguing Parliament, which John Adams thought did little to promote the cause of peace. For his detailed critique of the speech, see Adams' “Letters from a Distinguished American,” <ante 14–22 July>, No. XII, and notes 1 and 2 (above). The remaining reports concerned Spanish and French naval activities and the efforts of the northern powers to implement the armed neutrality. John Adams observed that while all the maritime powers were determined to resist British attacks on neutral commerce and prevent Britain from resuming its monopoly of the American trade, it was up to the United States to “fight our own battles, and bear our own Expences” in pursuit of its interests. Finally, in words very close to those used in his first letter to Edmund Jenings of 18 July (above), Adams declared that the combination of the maritime powers against England showed “the Wisdom of Congress in planning the first Treaty, which was first sent to the Court of Versailles upon the principle of perfect equality and reciprocity; granting no exclusive priviledges, and binding herself to no obligations not to admit any other and all other nations to the same: principles from which it is to be presumed We shall not depart.”
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 211–218). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:873–875.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0014

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-22

From William Gordon

[salute] My dear Sir

The beginning of March I forwarded to You and friend Dana a joint letter,1 which I hope if received will be answered by one or other of { 21 } you. The people, you will have heard before this can get to hand, have agreed upon a form of government, not so good as the Report of the Committee, but better than I expected. We begin to think of the ensuing elections. It is thought that Mr. Bowdoin or Mr. Hancock will be chosen governor. Heavens grant that it may be the former and not the latter, who is one of the most egregious triflers I know! He hath not yet settled his accounts as treasurer of the college—and probably never will by fair means.2 The corporation and overseers have the comfort to infer, that he means not any particular affront to them, from his serving every one else in the like manner. A hint has been given me, that he would serve as Lieut. Govr. under Mr. Bowdoin, but no one else; and this is not a little stoop for his ambition. I would have him kept out of the chair. He can't as Lt. Govr. do much hurt. I mean therefore to propagate the hint that has been given me; and possibly some may by that be taken off from voting for him as Govr. The most knowing and sensible I apprehend will not be for him, unless any of them should be induced by sinister views; but the common people who are ignorant of his character—his true character—and have had his name so often ding'd in their ears will be likely to pitch upon him. Should he happen to be chosen—May he do for himself before the Spring election, so as never more to be re-instated, till he is qualified! Imagine care will be taken to get [your na]me sake as one of the council of State, that so we may have an Argus to watch ov[er the M]assachusetts Palladium of liberty.3 I mean to promote among persons of the first character for honesty ability and attachment to liberty, a Massachusetts constitutional Society, designed to support government while acting agreeable to the constitution, to stand up for the privileges of the people when infringed, and to promote revisions from period to period by new Conventions. Unless future Conventions can be secured, this State will go the way of all others, and the people after a run of years will have no more liberty in New England than they have in old. Some good and sensible men are from principle against them, lest they should prove dangerous opportunities for ambitious crafty popular men: but I am persuaded it will be far more dangerous to omit them, and that after they have been omitted, tyranny will shoot out its cancerous fibres and at length possess the whole body.
We are looking out for the arrival of the remaining force destined by our good ally to our assistance,4 and promise ourselves a successful campaign. May God of his great mercy grant it; or we shall get into greater difficulties. Twelve and fifteen hundred pounds lawful a man { 22 } have been given in paper money for a three months tour of duty, reckoning from the time of their getting to the place of destination.
Intend going soon to visit good General Lincoln. That Charlestown could not be preserved longer was not his fault. May it prove like the taking of Tyconderoga; and may Genl. Gates do as effectual service in the Southern as he has done in the Northern States!
Mr. Storer goes on to increase and multiply. His wife the last monday charged another daughter to his account.5 Friends in general well. Pray my respects to Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter and [s]ons. You will oblige me by forwarding the enclosed to G.B. If you doubt my virtue, break it open and satisfy yourself, that my correspondence is harmless. I continue with much esteem your sincere friend and very humble servant
[signed] William Gordon
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Paris”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. W. Gordon 22d. July 1780 Recd. 19th. Sept.” The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of some text.
1. Of 8 March (above).
2. To honor his financial contributions, John Hancock was elected treasurer of Harvard College in 1773. Hancock, however, devoted little attention to his duties and refused to submit his accounts for an audit, thus beginning the college's long struggle to obtain an accounting of the funds under his supervision and to regain the records in his possession. In 1777 Ebenezer Storer replaced Hancock as treasurer, but the accounts were not settled and the money owed the college was not paid until after Hancock's death in 1793. Harvard finally regained the last of the records in 1936. William Gordon, as a member of the Board of Overseers, was a sharp critic of Hancock's actions as treasurer (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:75–76, 428–429, 437–439, 445; see also Gordon's letter of 28 June 1783 to JA, Adams Papers).
3. Gordon presumably means that Samuel Adams, JA's namesake, should watch over John Hancock, the ironic “Palladium of liberty.”
4. The fleet carrying Rochambeau's army reached Newport, R.I., on 11 July. Additional troops intended for the expedition had been left in France because of a shortage of transports. Although they were to be sent later, no second contingent ever arrived. See JA's letter of 18 March to Samuel Adams, and note 4 (above).
5. Gordon probably means Hannah Quincy Storer, who had married Ebenezer Storer in 1777 after the death of her first husband Bela Lincoln and his first wife Elizabeth Green. Although she reportedly had three children in her second marriage, only a daughter born in 1779 has been identified (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 12:208–214).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0015

Author: Massachusetts General Court
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Davis, Caleb
Author: Walley, Thomas
Author: Gorham, Nathaniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-07-22

Committee of the Massachusetts General Court to John Adams and Francis Dana

This Government the last Winter appointed Jonathan Loring Austin Esq. their Agent to repair to Europe and procure the Loan of One hundred and fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling, part of which he { 23 } | view was impowered and directed to invest in Goods for the use of the Officers and Soldiers belonging to the Army, as the Papers herewith inclosed will more fully inform you. Mr. Austin sailed the 22d day of last January in a Continental Packet called the Zephyr Commanded by Capt. Richard and as he has never been heard of since, it is strongly Suspected he is lost. The Government therefore have thought it absolutely necessary to dispatch the Armed Ship Mars commanded by Capt. Simeon Sampson to Nantz in order to bring the goods the Government had ordered to be purchased for the Army and have directed us to request that, in case Mr. Austin should not have arrived in Europe You would procure the Loan above mentioned agreeable to the Instructions given to Mr. Austin and that You would also purchase and Ship or cause to be purchased and Shipped by the Mars the Articles enumerated in the Schedule of Goods designed for the Army And please to omit shipping the Goods mentioned in the Second and third Schedules and instead thereof please to send to our Address by the first good Opportunity that offers, a Second Parcel of Goods consisting of the same Articles that you may Ship by the Mars and also a Third parcel of Goods by any other Opportunity that presents, consisting of the same Articles as one of the Former Invoices consisted of. The great Importance of securing Cloathing for our Quota of the Continental Army is the reason of our ordering these three different Parcels of Goods by three different Conveyances, that in Case one or two of the Vessels by which the Goods are Shipped should be Captured, we may perhaps be supplied by the Third. And provided they should all arrive and the Goods should not all be wanted by the Government they may easily be disposed off. The Reason we have to apprehend Mr. Austin has miscarried and the great Importance of Seasonably procuring Cloathing for our Quota of the Continental Army must be our Apology for giving You this Trouble and in Case your Attention to the interest of the United states will not admit of your undertaking this Matter we must earnestly Request you would employ some suitable Person to execute this Business and to supply Capt. Samson with such necessarys as he may stand in need of for the use of his Ship.1
We are with great Respect Gentlemen, Your most obedient & humble Servants
Thomas Cushing   }   Committee  
Caleb Davis  
Thos: Walley  
Nath Gorham  
{ 24 }
P.S. Whatever Goods are Shiped must be Insured and the Premium Covered Agreable to former directions, <and> in Case of Mr. Austin's Arrival and he should not have procured and Shiped the Goods Agreable to his Instruction, he will Govern himself by the Intructions given in this Letter. The Council have Agreed that the officers and men belonging to the Mars Shall have a Certain Sum advanced to them in France, you will therefore be pleased to furnish Capt. Sampson with a Sum of Money for this Purpose and also that we have agreed to Allow to him in leiu of Prizeage and for his Expences While in France.

[salute] yr M Supra

[signed] T. C.
RC , both closing and postscript in Thomas Cushing's hand (Adams Papers); addressed: “Public Service The Honble: John Adams & Francis Dana Esqr: Paris”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Letter from Messs. Thos. Cushing, Caleb Davis, Thos. Walley & Natl. Gorham to Mr. Adams & Mr. Dana. 22d. July 1780.”
1. For Jonathan Loring Austin's appointment to negotiate a loan and purchase supplies in Europe, see the Mass. Council's letter of 13 Jan. to JA and Francis Dana, and notes (vol. 8:308–309). That letter requested, as a precaution rather than the result of a resolve of the General Court, that JA and Francis Dana act in Austin's place if he was unable to execute his commission (Mass., Province Laws, 21:348–349). The present letter from the committee appointed to over see Austin's mission stemmed from the General Court's resolves of 22 June, ordering Capt. Samson to prepare the Mars for a European voyage and specifically requesting JA and Dana to act because of fears that Austin had not reached Europe (same, p. 573). JA and Dana never exercised the powers given them by this letter because Austin reached Paris in early May (to Jonathan Williams, 14 May, note 3). The Adams Papers has a manuscript copy of a letter dated 22 July from Austin to Vergennes in which Austin proposed that Massachusetts supply the French navy with masts in exchange for money and clothing. For the result of this appeal, which was apparently referred to Gabriel de Sartine, see Francis Dana's letter of 1 Aug., note 3 (below). Austin's instructions and the “schedules” enclosed with the Council's letter of 13 Jan. have not been found, but for the instructions, see Mass., Province Laws, 21:346–348.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0016

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-22

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear sir

Yesterday I had the pleasure of receiveing yours of the 16th. March last forwarded from Rhd. Isd. by the Counte de Noailles, who arrived there fourteen days past, in the Squadron, under the command, of the Chevalier de Ternay; every ship of that divison are in Port, and the Troops in tolerable health. Hope they will soon join and co-operate with Genl. Washington, in reduceing, our common Enemy to reason—who continue their depredations of robbing, burning and plundering, with unremited ardour, as you will find by the News-Papers, transmited to you, by this conveyance.
{ 25 }
I find you had received several of my Letters, which was expected, you would have had, before you left France.
By the failure of the Penobscot expedition, and the reduction of Chs. Town, our Navy is reduced to a very small number. The Alliance, Confederacy, Trumbul and Deane, are the whole, except a small ship the Saratoga of 18 Guns, now ready to sail, on her first Cruise, comprize, the whole. The 74 Gun ship building at Portsmouth, will be Launched in Sepr.1 The Bourbon Frigate building at Connecticut River, perhaps may be off this Fall.2 The disaster of the Confederacy, in the loss of her Masts, you must have known, as also the success of the Deane on Two Cruises, in taking the Thorn ship of War and many other Prizes.3 The Trumbul commanded by James Nicholson Esqr. arrived in this Harbour five Weeks past, with the loss of all her Masts, in a severe conflict, with a Letter of Marque ship from Liverpool of 32 Twelve pounders and near 200 Men, bound to Georgia. She lost her Masts also, had 92 Men killed and Wounded, was obliged to bear up for N. York where she arrived, in a shattered condition, and we are credibly informed 51 of her Men were Kill'd and since Dead of their Wounds. The Trumbul had 7 Men Killed 31 Wounded 6 of whom have since dyed of their Wounds.4 She is compleated fitted and will sail with the Deane, tomorrow or next day, for the Deleware, to join the Confederacy and Saratoga.
Shall refer you to News papers for more particular intelligence of the success of Private ships of War.
I am greatly obliged, in the pleaseing Account, given me of my Son in Febry.5 not having a Line from him since Octr. I wish he may answer the expectations of all his Friends and connexions.
I think Sir you are mistaken, in our having a quit Campain this Year, its probable it will be an active, and a bloody one. Clinton has returned from the Southward, with all his Forces, leaveing a strong Garrison at Georgia and Chs. Town and will, its thought, exert himself to save a disappointed and obnoxious Ministry.
I am with great respect sr. your most Obedt. Hble servt
[signed] Wm Vernon
RC, (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “W. Vernon Esqr. 22d. July 1780 Recd. 19th. Septr.”
1. The ship of the line America was not launched until Nov. 1782. Congress had decided in Sept. 1782, however, to give the vessel to France as a replacement for the 74-gun Magnifique, which had gone aground on Lovell's Island in early August, when it entered Boston Harbor as part of the French fleet under the Marquis de Vaudreuil (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships; Boston Gazette, 12, 19 Aug. 1782).
{ 26 }
2. The Bourbon was not launched until July 1783 and was sold uncompleted in September of that year (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships).
3. For the storm damage that caused the Confederacy to put into Martinique in Dec. 1779, thus forcing John Jay to continue his voyage to Spain on the French frigate Aurora, see Morris, Peacemakers, p. 1–7; for the exploits of the Deane, see Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships.
4. For more information on the engagement between the Trumbull and the British privateer Watt on 1 June, see Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, p. 499–506.
5. See JA's letter of 16 March (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0017

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-07-23

To the President of Congress, No. 99

No. 99. Duplicate

[salute] Sir

I have been amused sometime with dark and unintelligible hints in Letters from London of some Messenger sent from Lord North to Madrid.1
Three weeks ago, I waited on the Comte de Vergennes at Versailles to acquaint him that I had an intention of making a Journey to Amsterdam for a few weeks, as I flattered myself I might form some Acquaintances or Correspondences there and collect some Intelligence that might be useful the United States.2 His Excellency desired me to wait some time, for that in eight or ten days he believed he should have something to communicate to me. I assured him I would not go 'till I saw him again or heard further from him. This day sennight,3 his Excellency informed me that he was ready to let me know, that a Messenger from the Court of London had arrived at Madrid: that the Spanish Ministry had demanded the sentiments of the British Court concerning America. He said he was not instructed. He was told that he must previously explain himself upon that subject. He determined to send an Express to London for instructions. This the Comte de Vergennes said would take up two months, and consequently leave me time enough to go to Holland, but if any thing should happen in the mean time, he would give me the earliest Information of it.
In the Courier de l'Europe of the 14th of July is this paragraph.
“The report runs, that a person, who has been Secretary of M. le Marquiss D'Almodavar during his Embassy from the Court of Madrid to that of London, arrived here, London, some weeks ago, on board the Milford coming from Oporto: that after a stay of eight days, this Frigate had orders to transport this Person to Lisbon, accompanied by Mr. Cumberland, Secretary of Lord George Germaine, whose instructions imply, that if at the End of twenty days, he is not called { 27 } to Madrid, he is to return here immediately. As soon as this Person arrived at Lisbon he set out for Madrid, where fifteen after Mr. Cumberland was invited to go, and where he is at present.”4
There is a body of people in England, who are zealous and clamorous for Peace, and the Ministry find their Account in amusing and silencing them, by some equivocal Appearances of Negotiation. They have ever made it a part of their political System to hold out to America some false hopes of reconciliation and peace, in order to slacken our Nerves and retard our preparations. They think also that they can amuse the Courts of France and Spain, with a talk about Conferances and Negotiations, while they are secretly concerting measures to succour Gibralter, and carry on their operations the next Campaign: but serious thoughts of Peace upon any terms that We can agree I am well persuaded they never had. But if they ever did entertain any thoughts of negotiation, it must have been at the time of their Consternation for Sir Henry Clinton and their despair of his success.
The total and absolute suppression of the Tumults in London, and the triumphant success of Clinton beyond their most sanguine Expectations, has now given them such Exultation and Confidence, that the People of America will dethrone the Congress and like the Israelites demand a King, that they now think of nothing but unconditional submission, or at least of delusive proffers of terms which they know the majority of the People in America will not agree to, in order to divide Us, make a few Gentlemen Apostates, and some Soldiers deserters.
I have the honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 219–222); endorsed: “No. 99 John Adams July 23. 1780 Read Decr. 26.” LbC with closing by John Thaxter (Adams Papers); notations by Thaxter: “No. 99.” and “Paris 12th. August 1780. This day Mr. Dana delivered the originals of Nos. 91. 92 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98 & 99. & duplicates of Nos. 89 & 90 to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them by a Gentleman going to L'Orient to Capt. J. P. Jones who is at that place.” This is the final letter written by JA to the president of Congress during his residence in Paris in 1780 for which a Letterbook copy exists in Lb/JA/12 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 100). An additional letter in this Letterbook, dated 14 Aug. at Paris and numbered “100,” was inserted while JA was in Amsterdam. For that letter, see JA's letter from Amsterdam of 14 Aug. to the president of Congress, No. 1, note 1 (below). For information regarding this Letterbook, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and His Letterbooks” (above).
1. JA is likely referring to Edmund Jenings' letters of 22 May (Adams Papers), 27 May, 2 June, and 5 June (all above) in which Jenings related information received from an uniden• { 28 } tified correspondent in London concerning the Hussey-Cumberland mission to Spain. For JA's reaction to the reports and an account of the ill-fated mission, see JA's letter to Jenings of 29 May, and note 4 (above).
2. This is the earliest known letter in which JA indicates his intention to go to the Netherlands and the only letter in which he gives his reasons for doing so and that his decision had apparently been made on or about 2 July. This was immediately after his exchange with Vergennes over Congress' revaluation of its currency and prior to his correspondence with Vergennes over his mission and the need for additional French aid, but there is no indication that either confrontation significantly influenced JA's decision. In fact, there is no evidence that he planned to do anything more during his visit than is indicated in this letter or that he viewed his departure on 27 July as either permanent or a turning point in his diplomatic career. This seems borne out by his failure, except for his letters of 14, 22, and 23 Aug. to the president of Congress (Nos. 1–3, all below), to write to anyone in America concerning his departure from Paris until his letter of 4 Sept. to AA (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:409–410). Indeed, the first known letter to AA concerning JA's residence in Amsterdam was John Thaxter's of 21 Aug. (same, 3:397).
3. That is, a week ago. For the impact of the information provided by Vergennes concerning the Hussey-Cumberland mission, see JA's letter to Vergennes of 17 July, and note 6 (above).
4. This passage is an English translation of the French text in the Courier de l'Europe; opening quotation marks have been supplied. The same report appeared earlier in various other London newspapers, including the London Courant of 12 July and the London Chronicle of 11–13 July.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0018

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-24

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

You Will doubtless hear from several quarters of the arrival of admiral Greavess squadron who anchored of point Judith 4 days since.1 You have heard from better hands of the present situation of this Country, the Military Manuvers, the political opperations, the Disinterestedness of the Inhabitants and the purity of the Manners.
You have been told that the New Constitution has been accepted, that there is a Canvasing for Elections, and a sighing for the Post of Honour, which however Corrupt the times is not Yet Considered a private station. And perhaps you may hear one of the first acts under the New Establishment is a prohibition of the Trade Newly opened with Britain for the Benefit of a set of Inactive, unoffending, Innocent Men, who to be out of Harms way, have not till Lately shewn themselves in the Capital.2
But these are Matters which Lie so much out of the sphere of Female Life that I (of Late) seldom advert to them any further than is Necessary to Discharge the Duties of the Wife, the Mother, and the Friend, which occupy Every sentiment of my soul. Yet as the first I listen to the Transactions of state, or I should be unworthy of the union with your patriotic friend, and this Leads to Every attention the second Character Can Bestow on the Education and Conduct of { 29 } his sons, a Deficiency in Either would Cut me off from the Claim which Friendship makes on a small portion of your time.
But as I would not Encroach too far on Those Moments Every one of which I must suppose more usefully Employed, Brevity is the first injuction I lay on myself when I take up the pen to address Mr. Adams: who will always permit me to write from the Native Dictates of a feeling Friendly Heart unadorned with the Flatering Epithets of the Courtier or the Complimentary Style of the polished Lady Eqally pleased with the Embassadour and with Herself.
But as Man Notwithstanding his acknowledged superiority of Ability, Breaks through the Barriers of the Wisest Legislation, no Wonder a feble Woman Should Counteract her own Maxims. This must be my apology if I fill up this sheet and this I shall plead as part of my Excuse for writing a second time to a Gentleman before I have been Honoured with a Return.3
Yet perhaps a Letter wrote by a son whose welfare lies too near my Heart may not have reached you. If any Misfortune to him has prevented he will not need an introduction to you. Your affection to his Father insures him your Friendship, your Benevolence the tender offices of Civility and kindness and I hope his Modesty, Rectitude and Honour will Engage your Esteem.
But a youth of twenty-one seldom knows Either Himself, or the World sufficiently to parry the Thousand arrows which the Blushless Race, both from the toylette and the Gaming Table, Daily level at his Virtue. Yet when the Moral principles are untainted, the more he Discovers the Intriguing spirit of Man and the Duplicity of Human action, the more will he Revere that Probity which shines Conspicuous in a few and the stronger will be his Contempt for the Worthless part of his species.
Mrs. Adams writes fully by this opportunity4 which precludes the Necessity of saying more of your family on this side the Atlantic. To those on the other you will make the affectionate Regards of their and their Fathers Friend & Humble Servant
[signed] Marcia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr Paris”; endorsed: “Mrs. Warren ansd. 9. Decr. 1780”; by John Thaxter: “Mrs. Warren 24th. July 1780.”
1. Adm. Thomas Graves' fleet sailed from England on 17 May in pursuit of the French fleet under Ternay and as a reinforcement for the fleet under Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot at New York. Graves reached New York on 13 July, one day after the French had reached Newport. The combined fleet of Arbuthnot and Graves arrived off Rhode Island on 22 July, not the 20th as indicated by this letter. By then the French had fortified their posi• { 30 } tion and forestalled any British attack. Even so, the British fleet's presence curtailed any major offensive actions by the French navy (Mackesy, War for America, p. 328–329, 347–349; Stinchcombe, Amer. Rev. and the French Alliance, p. 135–137, 347–349).
2. For the “Trade Newly opened,” see James Warren's letter of 19 July, and note 2 (above).
3. Mercy Warren's previous letter was that of 8 May (above), requesting JA's assistance for her son Winslow Warren, to whom she refers in the next paragraph. For the fate of both that letter and Winslow Warren, see note 2 to the letter of 8 May.
4. Several letters by AA probably went by “this opportunity,” including those to John Thaxter of 21 July, CA and JQA of 22 July, and JA of 16 and 24 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:375–382).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0019

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

I have but a Moment to write by the Mars, a Vessel belonging to this State, the Voyage having been kept secret upon political Accounts.
I congratulate you on the Arrival of the Fleet from Brest at Newport, commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay, after a Passage of about 10 Weeks: not a single Vessel of the whole Fleet missing.
You will hear before this reaches you of the Loss of Charlestown, in which Genl. Lincoln and his whole Army were made Prisoners of War, and four Continental Frigates taken. The Place it is said was well-defended: but the Enemy having Command of the Sea Coasts, and received repeated Reinforcements from N. York, and the Difficulty we found in sending Aid, occasioned it's Surrender on the 12th of May. I cannot, however, forbear to regret that more was not done, and earlier, for the Preservation of so important a Place.
This Loss, the late Irruption from New York on the Jerseys, and the Arrival of the Marquis Fayette who apprized us of the Armament coming from Brest, have awakened us. We have done not a little to reinforce the Army. This State has voted 5000 men for 6 Months, and 5000 Militia for 3 Months.1 Great Part of this Force has already join'd or is near the Army. Tho the Term is so short in which they are to serve it is at a vast Expence the Men are raised. The People, however bear their Burdens, from an Attachment to our great Cause. I am sorry that after all our Experience we still raise Men for such short Periods—But Sic se Res habent.2
The Descent upon the Jerseys was accompanied with the usual, or even greater Examples of Barbarity and Rage. Springfield was laid in Ashes: many Women abused, and the Wife of a Clergyman who had distinguished himself in the Cause of his Country, cruelly murdered. The Enemy were well opposed, and obliged at last to retire precipi• { 31 } tately by Genl. Green with an handful of Troops and the neighboring Militia. Their Loss in killed and wounded amounts we are told to 900.3
In the Midst of our Joy at the Arrival of the Fleet from France, and of our Exertions for the Campaign we received two days ago an Account that a British Fleet is off Newport, supposed to be Graves join'd with Arbuthnot. They are said to be 16 Sail or upwards; 8 of which are of the Line: The French have but 7 of the Line and few Frigates. We expect a second Division from Brest, and ardently wish for their safe Arrival; For if we have not a naval Superiority on these Coasts, I expect little from this Campaign, and that Britain will hold New York, Charlestown, and other important Ports in Spite of all the Efforts we can make.
This will be delivered to you by my Nephew Mr. Richard Cooper, in the Naval Service of his Country, and a young officer in Capt. Sampson's Ship. I long to hear from you and my dear Boys, and how they improve. Col. Johonnot was in Hopes to have embarqued for France before now, but could not arrange his Affairs for that Purpose early enough. He hopes however soon to find an opportunity of seeing you and his Son. We are both under the greatest obligations to you for your kind Care of our Boy, who I hope behaves well. His Father sent a Remittance to you, he tells me, by the last Opportunity. The Alliance is not yet arrived—nor the Letters and Accounts you mentioned to me; nor have I, or Col. Johonnot received a single Line by the Fleet.4 A few days ago a Pacquet from you was left at my House, directed to Mrs. Adams. I was not in Town, but Mrs. Cooper without the Loss of a Moment, went with it to Braintree, and delivered it to your Lady, who is well, and endures your Absence in the most important Service of your Country, with a noble Fortitude.5
Pray remember me to the Honb. Mr. Dana and all Friends. My most affectionate Regards attend the young Gentlemen your Sons.
With every Sentiment of Respect and Affection, I am Your's in every Sense
[signed] Samuel Cooper
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr. Cooper. July 25. ansd Decr. 9. 1780”; by John Thaxter: “Dr. Cooper 25th. July 1780 Recd. 19th. Septr.”
1. For resolves adopted on 5, 22, and 23 June, raising troops for three and six months service, see Mass., Province Laws, 21:519–524, 568–572, 575–577.
2. But such is our destiny.
3. For the British raids on Connecticut Farms (now Union) and Springfield, N.J., on 7 and 23 June respectively, see William Churchill Houston's letter of 11 July, and note 2 (above). Hannah Ogden Caldwell was killed during the attack on Connecticut Farms. She was the wife of Rev. James Caldwell, a noted Presbyterian minister, army chaplain, and patriot (DAB).
{ 32 }
4. In a letter of 28 Feb., JA had informed Cooper that he had written to both him and Johonnot concerning Samuel Cooper Johonnot's expenses since his arrival. Those letters, both dated 23 Feb., were to go on the Alliance (vol. 8:374–375, 355–356). See also Gabriel Johonnot's letter of 8 Sept. (below).
5. The packet delivered by Judith Bulfinch Cooper may have included JA's letters of 28 March and 3 May, which AA mentioned in her letter of 16 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:375).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0001

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams, with a Letter from Vergennes to Adams

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0001-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
From the Comte de Vergennes
J'ai recu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 17 de ce mois. Je l'ai luë avec la plus sérieuse attention, et pour rendre ma réponse d'autant plus éxacte, je l'ai placée en marge de chacun des articles qui m'a parû mériter des observations de ma part. Vous y verrez, Monsieur, que je persiste à penser que le moment de communiquer au Lord Germaine vos pleinpouvoirs, n'est pas encore venu, et vous y trouverez les motifs sur lesquels je fonde mon opinion. Je ne doute pas que vous n'en sentiez la force, et quelles ne vous déterminent à penser comme moi. Mais dans le cas contraire, je vous invite et même vous requiers au nom du Roi, de communiquer votre lettre et ma réponse aux Etats-Unis et de suspendre, jusqu'à ce que vous ayez reçu des ordres de leur part, toute démarche vis-à-vis du Ministère anglois. Je ferai passer de mon côté mes observations en Amérique, afin que M. de la Luzerne puisse en entretenir les membres du Congrès: J'ose croire que ce Senat jugera le sentiment du Ministère de france digne de quelque attention, et qu'il ne craindra pas de s'égarer et de trahir les intérêts des Etats-Unis en l'adoptant pour régle de sa conduite.1
J'ai l'honneur d'être très sincérement, Monsieur, votre tres humble et très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
Enclosure: The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams
Lettre écrite à M. le Cte. de Vergennes par M. Adams, le 17 Juillet 1780Observations sur la dernière Lettre de M. Adams du 17 Juillet 1780.
1º. I should have been very happy . . . to communicate them. Iº. Les motifs qui ont déterminé le Cte. de Vergennes à donner ce Conseil à M. Adams, sont aussi simples qu'ils paroissent péremptoires: 1º. S'occuper d'un Traité de Commerce avant d'avoir fait la { 33 } paix, c'est s'occuper de l'ornement d'un édifice avant d'en avoir posé les Fondements; 2º. Dans l'état où se trouve encore l'Amérique à l'égard de l'Angleterre, annoncer à cette Puissance que l'on a oublié son Systême d'asservissement, ses cruautés, ses perfidies, c'est lui montrer beaucoup de foiblesse, ou aumoins beaucoup de bonhommie, c'est l'inviter à croire que les Américains ont une prédilection irrésistible pour elle, c'est la fortifier dans l'opinion, où elle est, que les Américains patriotes se soumettront par lassitude ou par la crainte de l'influence prépondérante des Torys; 3º. Proposer un Traité de Commerce qui doit avoir pour baze la confiance et une liaison équivalente à une alliance, tandis que la guerre est dans toute sa fureur, tandis que la cour de Londres veut, ou détruire, ou asservir l'Amérique, n'est ce pas accréditer l'opinion où toute l'Europe a toujours été, daprés les assertions de Ministres anglois, que les Etats Unis inclinent vers une défection, et qu'ils ne seront fidèles à leurs engagemens envers la france, qu'aussi long tems que la Grande Bretagne ne leur fournira pas un prétexte pour les rompre.
2º. Your Excellency will recolect that . . . the Court of London. IIº. On peut être muni éventuellent de pleinpouvoirs sans être obligé de les exhiber avant que les circonstances permettent d'en faire usage: ce cas arrive journellement. M. Adams est chargé de trois commissions très distinctes: 1º. De prendre part aux négociations futures de la paix: 2º. de conclure un Traité de commerce avec la Grande Bretagne; et, 3º. De représenter les Etats-Unis à la cour de Londres. Il ne faut pas grand effort de génie pour démontrer que ces trois objets ne sauroient être cumulés; Il n'en faut pas davantage pour démontrer que les deux derniers ne sauroient servir d'acheminement au premier. Il faudra, avant toutes choses, obtenir de l'Angleterre qu'elle reconnoisse l'Indépendance de l'Amérique, et que cette reconnoissance serve de baze au Traité de paix: ce ne sera qu'après l'avoir obtenue que M. Adams pourra parler d'un Traité de Commerce: En proposer un, tandis que la Cour de Londres se flate encore de soumettre l'Amérique, et qu'elle fait dans cette vuë les efforts les plus extraordinaires, ce seroit, à ses yeux, lui proposer une chymère, ce seroit faire une demarche qu'elle regarderoit comme une dérision. Il en seroit de même si on lui parloit dans le moment présent d'un Ministre Plénipotentiaire des Etats-Unis destiné à résider près sa Majesté Britannique.
{ 34 }
Ainsi le seul pouvoir dont les circonstances ont pu permettre à M. Adams de faire l'annonce, c'est celui qui l'autorise à prendre part à la négociation de la paix. Ses deux autres n'auront de valeur que lorsque cette paix sera conclue; ainsi il seroit au moins inutile de les produire actuellement, ainsi M. Adams ne s'écarte pas du but et de la nature de ses pouvoirs en les cachant à la cour de Londres. Quoique le Cte. de Vergennes ignore le contenu des instructions de M. Adams,2 il est persuadé qu'elles sont analogues aux réfléxions qui viennent d'être faites et qu'elles ne prescrivent pas plus la communication immédiate des pouvoirs relatifs au Traité de Commerce qu'elles ne lui ordonnent de faire une paix séparée avec la Grande Bretagne: cette opinion est fondée sur celle que le Ministére du Roi a de la Sagacité, de la prudence et de la fidelité du Congrès.
I think also that . . . to resist them, if hostile. IIIº. On vient de l'observer, le Ministére anglois regarderoit cette communication comme une dérision; ainsi c'est vouloir s'aveugler volontairement que de suposer qu'elle l'engagera à entrer dans des pourparlers, qu'elle lui fera dire autre chose que ce que portent les résolutions du Parlement, savoir: qu'Elle écoutera et recevra les américains en grace lorsqu'ils auront reconnu leur ancienne allegeance; or il seroit au moins superflu de s'attirer une pareille réponse, et les Etats-Unis n'en ont pas besoin pour connoitre les sentiments actuels de la Cour de Londres, et encore moins pour se préparer par des conseils et des armées à y resister: Il est étonnant de parler de préparation de conseils et d'armées tandis que la guerre est dans toute sa force, qu'elle dure depuis près de six ans, et que l'Angleterre n'a pas encore fait aux américains la moindre ouverture qui puisse les autoriser à croire qu'elle veut souscrire à leur indépendance.
The english nation . . . sigh for Peace. IVº. Le Ministére anglois ne feroit aucune réponse, ou bien il en feroit une insolente: Dans cette dernier supposition, pourquoi s'exposer gratuitement à une avanie, et se rendre par là la risée de toutes les nations qui n'ont pas encore reconnu l'indépendance des Etats-Unis. Mais il y a lieu de croire que M. Adams demeureroit sans réponse parce que le Ministére Britannique croira { 35 } n'en pas devoir à un homme qui prendra une qualité que la Cour de Londres doit regarder comme un insulte. Il ne faut point perdre de vuë que cette Cour regarde toujours les Américains comme de Sujets rebelles: Comment avec cette opinion le lord Germaine pourroit-il recevoir une lettre de M. Adams, se qualifiant Ministre Plénipotentiaire des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique Septentrionale, comment ce Ministre anglois pourroit-il entendre parler d'un Traité de Commerce, lequel ne peut se faire qu'entre Nations indépendantes?
Ces observations convaincront M. Adams que la france n'a pas besoin de la tentative qu'il propose pour connoitre et apprécier les sentimens et les dispositions de la Cour de Londres, et que nous savons dès-à-présent parfaitement bien à quoi nous devons et pouvour nous attendre de sa part dans la position actuelle des choses.
Idem. Vº. Le silence ou la réponse du Ministére anglois, quelle quelle soit, n'allarmera ni ne soulevera le peuple d'Angleterre. Ce Peuple désire sans doute la paix et un accommodement avec l'Amérique: Mais l'on a entendu encore que quelques particuliers, plustôt par esprit de contradiction que par conviction, parler de l'indépendance: Il ne s'est pas fait au Parlement une seule motion tendante à accorder cette indépendance:3 Le peuple a cependant des amis et des protecteurs dans le Parlement. M. Adams peut juger par là des embarras que la notification de ses pouvoirs donneroit au Ministére.
Another consideration . . . of my powers. VIº. L'Angleterre, comme le reste de l'Europe, est parfaitement éclairée sur la nature des engagements qui subsistent entre la france et les Etats-Unis: Le Roi lui a fait déclarer Ministériellement le 13 Mars 1778, qu'il ne s'étoit fait assurer aucun privilége exclusif par le Traité de Commerce du 6 février de la même année, et Sa Majesté a confirmé cette déclaration dans un écrit publié par ses ordres ainsi le pleinpouvoir de M. Adams n'apprendra rien de nouveau à cet égard, ni à l'Angleterre, ni aux autres Puissances de l'Europe: ainsi la fausse opinion où il croit que la Cour de Londres est à cet égard ne sauroit étre un obstacle à la paix: si cet obstacle pouvoit éxister, le Ministére anglois chercheroit lui même à le lever, s'il étoit déterminé à faire dependre de là la paix.
{ 36 }
There are at present . . . its accomplishment. VIIº. Il est certain que toute la nation angloise, et les Ministres eux-mêmes désirent la paix; mais ou l'a déjà dit, il n'a pas encore été fait une seule motion en faveur de l'Indépendance de l'Amérique; le plenipouvoir de M. Adams ne changera certainement par les dispositions subsistantes à cet égard; par conséquent, la communication, qui en seroit faite, ne faciliteroit, ni n'acceleroit la conclusion de la paix.
At this moment, . . . digest their plans accordingly. VIIIº. Cette réfléxion est très sage: Elle prouve que M. Adams sent lui même quil est des circonstances qui le mettent dans le cas de céler ses plenipouvoirs: Le Ministére du Roi pense que l'on sera dans des circonstances de cette espèce jusqu'au moment où la nation anglaise se montrera disposée à reconnoître l'indépendance des Etats-Unis: Cette reconnoissance ne sera pas facilitée par l'annonce d'un Traité de Commerce, car les anglais sont tres persuadés dés-à-présent qu'ils auront un Traité pareil avec l'Amérique, quand il le jugeront à propos; ils ont d'ailleurs, ainsi que M. Adams le dit lui méme dans sa lettre du 19. février dernier, une entiére connoissance de sa Commission, ainsi la communication de son pleinpouvoir ne leur apprendroit rien de nouveau à cet égard.
Notwithstanding the suppression of . . . to Great-Britain. IXº. On vient de repondre au contenu de cet Article: Il n'est pas un anglois qui ne soit persuadé que les Etats-Unis ne soient disposés à accorder les avantages du Commerce à leur ancienne Métropole: Mais persuader, non seulement à un Anglois, mais aussi à un être pensant, qu'en accordant l'indépendance en échange de ces mêmes avantages, la Cour de Londres feroit une paix honorable et avantageuse, seroit une tâche difficile à remplir: Si tel étoit le véritable sentiment du Peuple anglais, pourquoi donc fourniroit-il depuis six ans, sans murmurer, des subsides ruineux pour soumettre l'amérique?
I am the more confirmed . . . if that was settled. Xº. Ou le Ministére anglois recherche sincérement la paix, ou il ne veut qu'amuser et pénétrer { 37 } l'Espagne. Dans le 1er. cas, il exprimera les conditions auxquelles il désire la traiter; il sera donc obligé de mettre au jour ses vuës et ses demandes concernant l'Amérique: Il n'oubliera certainement rien de ce qu'il croira pouvoir acheminer la paix, et, de'accord sur l'indépendance, son premier soin sera sans doute de demander d'être mis au niveau de la france relativement au commerce.
Si au contraire le Ministére anglais ne veut qu'amuser l'Espagne, pénetrer ses desseins, rallentir ses préparatifs de guerre, M. Adams voudra bien rendre au Ministére de Madrid la justice de croire qu'il a la sagacité nécessaire pour demêler toutes ces vuës, et assés de lumiéres et de prudence pour déterminer la conduite qu'il lui conviendra de tenir.
Idem. XIº. Si M. Adams est aussi sûr que de son éxistence que les Ministres anglois n'ont pas envie de faire la paix à des conditions également convenables à la france et à l'Amérique, à quoi bon leur communiquer à présent un pouvoir dont l'on ne pourra faire usage qu'après la paix? Comment M. Adams peut-il se persuader que la Cour de Londres sera séduite par l'appât d'un Traité de Commerce, tandis qu'Elle manifeste encore une répugnance invincible à reconnoître l'indépendance? Quand Elle voudra la reconnoître cette indépendance, Elle proposera d'Elle même les conditions qu'elle croira devoir y mettre, et M. Adams peut être assuré qu'Elle n'oubliera point le Commerce: Ce sera là le véritable moment de produire ses pleinpouvoirs; Mais en attendant il faut travailler à établir la baze de la négociation, Savoir: L'indépendance de l'amérique; Et l'on ne pourra y réussir qu'en faisant la guerre avec vigueur et avec succés.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0002

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0002-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation
I have received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 17th of this month. I have read it with the utmost attention and in order to make my reply all the more exact, I have placed in the margin each of the points which appear to merit observations on my part. You will see there, sir, that I still think that the moment to communicate your plenipotentiary powers to Lord Germaine has not yet arrived and the grounds upon which I base my opinion. I doubt not that you will feel the force of them and that they will determine you to think as I do. But if that should not be the case, { 38 } I request and require you in the name of the King to communicate your letter and my reply to the United States and suspend, until you shall receive orders from them, vis-à-vis the English ministry. I shall, on my part, send my observations to America so that M. de La Luzerne may communicate them to the members of Congress, and I am persuaded that that assembly will judge the opinion of the Minister of France worthy of some attention and will not fear that, by adopting it as the rule of its conduct, it is neglecting or betraying the interests of the United States.1

[salute] I have the honor to be very sincerely, sir, your most humble and most obedient servant.

[signed] De Vergennes
RCand enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “M. le Cte. de Vergennes 25th. July 1780 Recd. 26th.”; docketed by CFA: “A Translation published vol. 5. p. 287 Dipl. Correspondence.” CFA refers to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution.
1. For JA's response to Vergennes' request, and Congress' reaction to his proposals and Vergennes' criticism of them, see JA's reply of 26 July, note 3 (below). Vergennes enclosed copies of the letters with his instructions of 7 Aug. to the Chevalier de La Luzerne. There Vergennes stated that he had replied to JA's proposals with the frankness due any minister of an allied power, but his objections had not dissuaded JA and had brought only new evidence of his unreliability and feeble attachment to the principles of the alliance. La Luzerne was to present the matter to Congress and request that JA be instructed to attend to the views of the French government and undertake no initiatives regarding his commissions (should they remain in his hands) without prior consultation and approval. According to Vergennes, this was necessary because of JA's delusions and willingness to discard his principles and thereby compromise both the alliance and the honor of his country (Henri Doniol, ed., Histoire de la participation de la France à l'établissement des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, 5 vols., Paris, 1886–1899, 4:424–427).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0002-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
Enclosure: The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation
Letter written to the Comte de Vergennes by Mr. Adams, 17 July 1780Observations on Mr. Adams' letter of 17 July 1780
1. I should have been very happy . . . to communicate them. I. The reasons which have determined the Comte de Vergennes to give this advice to Mr. Adams are so simple as to appear preemptory: 1. To be concerned with a treaty of commerce before having made peace is to be concerned with decorating a building before laying its foundation. 2. In the situation in which America presently finds herself with regard to England, to announce to that power that its system of tyranny, its cruelties and perfidy, has been forgotten is to display too much weakness, or at least too much simplicity, and invites it to believe that the Americans have an irresistible predilection for England, and to strengthen its opinion that the American patriots will submit through weariness or dread of the preponderant influence of the tories. 3. To propose a commercial treaty, which must be founded on confidence and a union equivalent to an alliance, at a time when the war rages in all its fury and the court of London wishes to ruin or enslave America, is but to give credit to the opinion, which all Europe entertains conformable to the assertions of the English ministers, that the United States incline towards a defection and that they will be faithful to their engagements with France only until such time as Great Britain furnishes a pretext for breaking them.
2. Your excellency will recollect that . . . the court of London. II. One may be furnished with plenipotentiary powers that are eventual without being obliged to disclose beforehand the circumstances under which they may be used. This occurs daily. Mr. Adams is charged with three very distinct commissions: 1. To take part in the future peace negotiations. 2. To conclude a commercial treaty { 39 } with Great Britain. 3. To represent the United States at the court of London. It requires no great stroke of genius to show that these three objects cannot be accomplished simultaneously, nor that the last two cannot serve to advance the first. Before anything else, it is necessary to obtain from England a recognition of American independence, and that recognition must serve as the basis for a peace treaty. Until this is achieved, Mr. Adams cannot talk of a commercial treaty. To propose one while the court of London flatters itself with hopes of subduing America, and to that end is making the most strenuous efforts, would in its eyes propose a chimera, a demarche that it would regard with derision. It would be the same if one were to speak now of a minister plenipotentiary from the United States intended to reside near his Britannic Majesty.
Therefore, the only power which circumstances permit Mr. Adams to announce is that which authorizes him to take a part in the peace negotiation. The other two powers can be of value only after peace is concluded. At least it would be useless to produce them at present and consequently Mr. Adams will not depart from their purpose and nature by concealing them from the court of London. Although the Comte de Vergennes is unacquainted with Mr. Adams' instructions,1 he is persuaded that they are conformable to the foregoing reflections and do not direct him to immediately communicate his powers relative to a treaty of commerce any more than they order him to make a separate peace with Great Britain. This opinion is founded on that which the King's ministry has of the wisdom, prudence and fidelity of Congress.
I think also that . . . to resist them, if hostile. III. One can observe that the English ministry would regard such a communication as ridiculous, so that it would be to willfully delude oneself to expect that it would induce them to enter into negotiations or say anything more than is contained in the resolutions of Parliament: namely that they will listen to and forgive the Americans when they shall have acknowledged their former allegiance. But, at the very least, it would be superfluous to draw from them such a response, for the United States has no need for such an answer to know the present sentiments of the court of London, and even less to prepare with councils and armies to resist them. It is astonishing to speak of preparing councils and armies when the war is raging in all its fury, when it has now lasted nearly six years, and when America has not yet received from England the smallest overture which would permit America to believe that England would consent to its independence.
The english nation . . . sigh for peace. IV. Either the English ministry will make no response or else it will be an insolent one. In the latter case, why should one needlessly expose { 40 } himself to an insult, thereby making himself the laughing stock of all the nations which have not yet recognized the independence of the United States? But there is reason to believe Mr. Adams would receive no answer because the British ministry will not think that it owes one to a man, who assumes a character that the court of London must consider an insult. It should not be forgotten that this court considers all Americans as rebellious subjects. With such an opinion, how could Lord Germaine receive a letter from Mr. Adams styling himself minister plenipotentiary of the United States of North America? How could this English minister bear the mention of a commercial treaty, which can only be made between independent nations?
These observations will convince Mr. Adams that France has no need for his proposed attempt to discover and evaluate the sentiments and intentions of the court of London and that we are already perfectly acquainted with what we ought and may expect from it in the present situation of affairs.
Idem. V. The English ministry's silence or response, whichever may occur, will neither alarm nor arouse the people of England. Without a doubt that people desires peace and an accommodation with America, but one finds that as of yet only some private individuals speak of independence and then more from a spirit of opposition than from conviction. There never has been a single motion made in Parliament tending to grant that independence,2 yet the people have friends and patrons in Parliament. Mr. Adams can judge from this the embarrassment that the announcement of his powers would give the ministry.
Another consideration . . . of my powers. VI. England, as well as the rest of Europe, is perfectly clear regarding the nature of the engagements subsisting between France and the United States. Through this ministry on 13 March 1778, the King declared that he had not secured to himself any exclusive privilege by the Treaty of Commerce of 6 February 1778, and has confirmed this declaration in a writing published by his order, so that Mr. Adams' plenipotentiary powers can disclose nothing new in this regard, either to England or the other powers of Europe. Thus the false opinion which he believes the court of London holds in this matter can be no obstacle to a peace. If any such obstacle did exist, the English ministry, itself, would find the means to remove it, if they were determined to make peace dependent upon it.
There are at present . . . its accomplishment. VII. It is certain that the whole English nation and even the ministers themselves desire peace, but as has already been noted, there has not { 41 } been a single motion made in favor of American independence. Certainly the plenipotentiary powers of Mr. Adams will not change the present situation in this regard and consequently the communication that would be made will neither facilitate nor accelerate the conclusion of peace.
At this Moment . . . digest their plans accordingly. VIII. This reflection is very sensible. It proves that Mr. Adams himself realizes that there are circumstances which may induce him to conceal his powers. The King's ministry thinks that such circumstances will continue until the moment when the English nation shall show a disposition to recognize the independence of the United States. That recognition will not be facilitated by announcing a treaty of commerce, for the English are at present well persuaded that they will have such a treaty with America when they shall judge it proper. They have besides, as Mr. Adams has mentioned in his letter of 19 February, full knowledge of his commission, so that the communication of his powers would teach them nothing new in this regard.
Notwithstanding the supression of . . . to Great-Britain. IX. In answer to this paragraph, there is not an Englishman who is not persuaded that the United States are disposed to grant the advantages of commerce to their former mother country, but it would be a very difficult task to persuade an Englishman or any thinking being that by granting independence in exchange for these advantages the court of London would make an honorable and advantageous peace. If this was the true sentiment of the English people, why have they, for these six years past and without complaining, furnished ruinous subsidies for the subjugation of America?
I am the more confirmed . . . if that was settled. X. The English ministry either seeks peace sincerely or it means only to amuse itself and penetrate the designs of Spain. In the first case, they will express the conditions on which they wish to negotiate. It will then be obliged to disclose its views and demands concerning America. It assuredly will forget nothing which it thinks will forward peace and, upon agreeing to independence, its first care will be to demand equality with France relative to commerce.
If to the contrary, the English ministry means only to amuse Spain, penetrate its designs, and slacken its preparations for war, Mr. Adams should be so good as to do the ministry of Madrid the justice to believe that it will have the necessary sagacity to discover the British designs and have sufficient understanding and prudence to determine the conduct it ought to pursue.
{ 42 }
Idem. XI. If Mr. Adams is as sure of their existence as he is that the English ministry have no inclination to make peace on terms equally suitable to France and America, what good purpose is served by communicating at present, powers which can only be used after the peace? How can Mr. Adams persuade himself that the court of London will be seduced by the lure of a treaty of commerce, while it still manifests a steadfast unwillingness to acknowledge American independence? When Britain shall be disposed to recognize that independence, it will itself propose the conditions on which it thinks proper to grant it, and Mr. Adams may be assured that the article of commerce will not be forgotten. Then will be the proper time for him to produce his plenipotentiary powers. In the mean time, he must work to establish the basis for the negotiations, namely the independence of America, and that can only be effected by carrying on the war with vigor and success.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RCand enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “M. le Cte. de Vergennes 25th. July 1780 Recd. 26th.”; docketed by CFA: “A Translation published vol. 5. p. 287 Dipl. Correspondence.” CFA refers to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution.
1. While he had not seen JA's copy of the instructions adopted by Congress on 14 Aug. 1779, Vergennes had known of their content since the previous November. See Vergennes' letter of 30 March, note 21 (above).
3. See JA's letter of 26 July, note 5 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-07-26

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have recieved the letter which your Excellency did me the honor to write me the twenty fifth of this month.
The sincere respect I entertain for your Excellency's Sentiments would have determined me, upon the least intimation, to have communicated my letter and your Excellency's answer to Congress, and to suspend, until I should recieve orders on their part, all measures { 43 } towards the British Ministry: without2 your Excellency's requisition in the Name of the King.
I shall transmit these papers to Congress, and I doubt not, the Reasons your Excellency has adduced, will be sufficient to induce them to suspend any communication to the British Ministry, as it is undoubtedly their Wisdom, to conduct all such measures in concert with their Allies.3
There is a great body of People in America, as determined as any to support their Independence, and their Alliances, who notwithstanding wish that no measure may be left unattempted by Congress or their Servants to manifest their readiness for Peace, upon such terms as they think honourable and advantageous to all parties. Your Excellency's Arguments, or indeed your Authority, will probably be sufficient to satisfy these People and to justify me, whereas without them I might have been liable to the censure of numbers. For it is most certain that all due deference will be shewn by the People of the United States and their Servants both in and out of Congress, to the sentiments of the Ministry of France.
This deference however by no means extends so far as to agree in all Cases to those sentiments without examination. I cannot therefore agree in the Sentiment, that proposing a Treaty of Peace and Commerce4 is discovering a great deal of weakness, or that the Americans have forgotten the British System of Tyranny, Cruelty or Perfidy, or to invite her to believe the Americans have an irresistible predilection for England, or to fortify her in the opinion that the American Patriots will submit through weariness, or through fear of the preponderant Influence of the Tories.
And so far from thinking it would give credit to the opinion, if there be such an one in all Europe, that the United States incline towards a defection, and that they will not be faithful to their Engagements, it seems to me, on the contrary, that it would discredit the opinion which prevails too much in Europe that there is some secret Treaty between France and the United States, by which the former is entituled to exclusive priviledges in the American Trade.
It is very true, that the Independence of America must be acknowledged before a Treaty of Peace can be made: But the prospect of a free trade with America upon principles of perfect equality and reciprocity, like that between France and the United States, might be a powerful Inducement with the people of England to acknowledge American Independence. Indeed I do not see any other considerable motive that England can ever have to make that Acknowledgment.
{ 44 }
The Congress have given no positive Instructions respecting the time or manner of making these powers known to one Court or another. All this is left at discretion, and to a construction of the Commissions themselves.
It is very certain that all the belligerent Powers are busily occupied every winter in their Councils and preparations for the ensuing Campaign. And it is also certain that the Artifice of the British Ministry in holding up to view every winter some semblance of a design of reconciliation formerly and of Peace latterly, has been a real Engine of hostility against America, equal to a considerable part of the British Army.
Neither the people of America nor Mr. Adams have any the least dread upon their minds of an insolent answer, from one of the British Ministers, nor of the ridicule of those Nations who have not yet acknowledged the Independence of America. No man of any knowledge, justice or humanity in any of those nations, would laugh upon such an occasion: on the contrary he would feel a just indignation against a Minister who should insult a Message so obviously calculated for the good of England and of all Europe, in the present Circumstances of affairs.
I am very much mistaken, for I speak upon Memory, if the Duke of Richmond did not make a motion two years ago, in the House of Lords, and if Mr. Hartley did not make another about a Year ago, which was seconded by Lord North himself in the House of Commons tending to grant Independence to America.5 And it is very certain that a great part of the People of England think that Peace can be had upon no other terms.
It is most clear that the present Ministry will not grant Independence: the only chance of obtaining it is by change of that Ministry. The King is so attached to that Ministry, that he will not change them, until it appears that they have so far lost the Confidence of the People, that their Representatives in Parliament dare no longer to support them: and in the Course of the last winter, the Weight and Sentiments of the People were so considerable as to bring many great Questions nearly to a ballance, and particularly to carry two votes, one against the Increase of the influence of the Crown, and another against the Board of Trade and Plantations, a vote that seemed almost to decide the American Question, and they came within a very few votes of deciding against the American Secretary.6 Now where Parties are approaching so near to a ballance, even a small weight thrown into either Scale, may turn it.
{ 45 }
In my letter of the nineteenth of February7 I said, that my appointment was notorious in America, and that therefore it was probably known to the Court of London, although they had not regular evidence of it. The Question then was more particularly concerning a commission to assist in the pacification. This was published in the American Newspapers in a general way: but I have no reason to think they are particularly informed of these matters, if they were, no evil that I am aware of could result from giving them the information officially. Certainly they have no official information, and it is reported that they deny that they know the nature of Mr. Adams's Commission.
Without any great effort of Genius,8 I think it is easy to demonstrate to any thinking Being, that, by granting American9 Independence, and making a Treaty of Peace, upon principles of perfect Reciprocity, England would in the present circumstances of affairs make an honourable and an advantageous Peace. It would have been more for their honor and advantage never to have made this war against America, it is true: but having made it, all the dishonour and disadvantage there is in it, is indelible: and after thirteen Colonies have been driven to throw off their Government, and annihilate it in every root and branch, becoming independent in fact, maintaining this Independence against a force of sixty thousand men and fifty Ships of War, that would have shaken most of the States of Europe to the very foundation, after maintaining this Independence four Years, and having made an honourable Treaty with the first Power in Europe; after another power had fallen into the war in consequence of the same System; after the voice of mankind had so far declared against the Justice of their Cause, that they could get no Ally; but on the contrary all the maritime Powers are entering into a Confederacy against them upon a point which has been a principal Source of their naval Superiority in Europe: in these Circumstances, the only honourable part they can act is to conform to the opinion of mankind; and the dishonourable and ruinous part for them to act is to continue the War. For the principle, that the People have a right to a form of Government according to their own judgments and inclinations, is in this enlightened Age so well agreed in the World, that it would be thought dishonourable by mankind in general for the English to govern three millions of People against their wills by military force, and this is all they can ever hope for, even supposing, they could bribe and tempt deserters enough from our Army and Apostates from our Cause, to make it impossible for us to carry on the war. This { 46 } however I know to be impossible and that they never will get quiet possession again of the Government of any one whole State in the thirteen, no not for an hour. If England considers further, that America is now known all over Europe to be such a Magazine of raw materials for manufactures, such a Nursery of seamen and such a source of Commerce and naval Power, that it would be dangerous to all the maritime Powers, to suffer any one of them to establish a domination and a Monopoly again in America.
I know there exists in some European minds a prejudice against America, and a jealousy that she will be hurtfull to Europe, and England may place some dependence upon this prejudice and jealousy; but the motions of the maritime Powers begin to convince her, that this jealousy and prejudice do not run so deep as they thought and surely there never was a more groundless prejudice entertained among men, and it must dissipate, as soon as the Subject is considered.
America is a Nation of Husbandmen, planted on a vast Continent of wild uncultivated land. And there is and will be for Centuries no way in which these people can get a living and advance their interests so much as by Agriculture. They can apply themselves to manufactures, only to fill up Interstices of time, in which they cannot labour on their lands, and to Commerce only to carry the produce of their lands the raw materials of manufactures to the European Market.
Europe is a Country whose land is all cultivated nearly to perfection, where the People have no way to advance themselves, but by manufactures and Commerce. Here are two worlds then fitted by God and Nature to benefit each other, one by furnishing raw materials, the other manufactures, and they never can interfere. The number of the States in America; their position and extension over such a great Continent, and their fundamental Constitution that nine States must concur to war, shew that nine of these States never can agree in any foreign war, or any other but for self defence, if they should ever become powerful. But in this case, however disagreable a prospect it may open to Americans, Europe has an everlasting Warranty against their becoming dangerous to her, in the nature of Men, the Nature of her Governments and their position towards one another.
All those Circumstances serve to shew, and the people of England begin to be sensible of it, that Europe will never suffer them to regain their domination and Monopoly, even if the English were able to { 47 } extort a forced Submission. In this situation then the only honourable and advantageous Course for England is to make peace, and open Commerce with America, in perfect consistency with her Independence and her Alliances. The people of England cannot be said to furnish subsidies without murmuring; for it is certain there never was so much murmuring and such radical discontent in that nation or any other, but at the Eve of a Revolution.
I very chearfully agree with your Excellency in opinion, that the Court of Spain has Sagacity enough to penetrate and to defeat the deceitful designs of the English, and am not under other apprehensions from thence, than that the report of a negotiation with Spain, will leave some Impressions in America, where I believe the English Ministry chiefly intend it.
I have already said that from the present British Ministry I expect no Peace. It is for the Nation, and for the change of the Ministry as a step towards Peace that I thought it might have some effect to make the communication, and to satisfy these people in America, who without the most distant thought of departing from their Independence or their Alliances wish still to take every reasonable measure towards peace. Your Excellency's Letter will convince them that my apprehensions were wrong, and your Advice will undoubtedly be followed, as it ought to be, for they cannot promise themselves any Advantage from the communication equivalent to the Inconveniency, of taking a measure of the kind, which ought not to be done but in Concert, against the opinion of the Ministry of France.
I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 471–482); notation on the first page: “No. 12.” For the presence of this letter in the PCC, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above). LbC (Adams Papers); notations by John Thaxter: “Paris 12th. August 1780. This day Mr. Dana delivered Copies of Mr. Adams's Letters of the 1st. 13th. 17th. 21st. 26th. & 27th. of July to Comte Vergennes, to Dr. Franklin who was to send them by a Gentleman going to L'orient to Capt. J. P. Jones.”; and “Septr. 12th. 1780. Mr. Dana took with him to Amsterdam the duplicates of Mr. Adams's Letters of the 13th. 17th. 21st. 26th. & 27th. of July to the Cte. de Vergennes.” Although this is the last letter from JA to Vergennes to be entered in Lb/JA/11 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 99), it is preceded by JA's letter dated 27 July (below, and note 1). For information regarding this Letterbook, see the Introduction, part 2, “John Adams and His Letterbooks.”
1. The views expressed in this letter, as well as in that of 17 July (above), stemmed first from JA's reading of Thomas Pownall's Memorial Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, and more directly from his reply to Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts. In particular, JA's senti• { 48 } ments regarding Britain's interest in a commercial treaty, the desire of the European nations to end the British monopoly on trade with America, and the absence of any economic threat to Europe from American independence expressed in paragraphs 5–7, 10–12, and 14–18 of this letter should be compared with those in his letter of 16 June to the president of Congress, No. 84 (above), and in Nos. I, V, VI, VII, VIII, XI, and particularly X of “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July] (above).
2. In the Letterbook, JA wrote “with,” John Thaxter interlined “out.”
3. For Francis Dana's implementation of JA's promise, in accordance with instructions given before JA's departure for Amsterdam on 27 July, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above) and the descriptive notes to this letter and that from Vergennes of 29 July (below). When copies of the letters of 17, 25, and 26 July were received by Congress on 26 Dec., they were immediately referred to a committee composed of Thomas Burke, John Witherspoon, and James Duane. Its report was adopted on 10 Jan. 1781 and, as JA predicted, indicated Congress' agreement with Vergennes (JCC, 18:1194; 19:41–42). JA was informed by a letter of 10 Jan. that Vergennes' opinion regarding the disclosure and execution of his mission was “well founded.” Having “no expectations from the influence which the people of England may have on the British councils, whatever may be the dispositions of that nation or their magistrates towards these United States; Nor are they of Opinion that a change of Ministers would produce a change of measures, They therefore hope you will be very cautious of admitting your measures to be influenced by presumptions of such events, or their probable consequences” (Adams Papers).
4. The remainder of this paragraph is an indirect quotation, in translation, from sect. I of Vergennes' point by point rebuttal of JA's letter of 17 July enclosed with his of 25 July (both above). In his effort to refute the criticisms contained in the letter of 25 July, JA quotes extensively from that enclosure, but see, in particular, note 8.
5. JA is referring to motions by Charles Lennox, 3d duke of Richmond and Lennox, on 7 April 1778, and David Hartley on 22 June 1779 (Parliamentary Hist., 19:1012–1031; 20: 901–915). Richmond's motion provided for an address to the king calling on him to withdraw all British forces from America. It was in the course of the debate over that motion that William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham, gave his “dying” speech (see Edmund Jenings' letter of 5 March, note 9, above). Hartley's motion, which was not seconded by Lord North, called for the appointment of a peace commission that could, among other things, agree to a ten-year truce. For JA to refer to these motions is interesting because, while independence might have been the result, neither provided specifically for the granting of independence and both, at some level, foresaw an Anglo-American reconciliation. For Vergennes the references could not have been reassuring, for both motions were intended, at least in part, to dissolve the Franco-American alliance and end the war in America so that Britain could concentrate on its war with France.
6. See JA's letters of 23 and 24 March to the president of Congress, Nos. 23 and 24, and notes 4 and 1 respectively (both above).
8. At this point in the Letterbook is the canceled passage “or any other Talent than common sense.” This paragraph is an effort to refute the third point raised by Vergennes in sect. II of the enclosure to his letter of 25 July (above).
9. At this point in the Letterbook, JA wrote and then canceled “commerce.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0003

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-07-27

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

Since my Letter of the Twenty first; and upon reading over again your Excellency's Letter to me of the Twentieth, I observed one Expression which I think it my Duty to consider more particularly.
{ 49 }
The Expression I have in view is this, That the King, without being sollicited by the Congress, had taken measures the most efficacious to sustain the American Cause.
Upon this part of your Letter, I must entreat your Excellency to recollect, that the Congress did, as long ago as the year Seventeen hundred and Seventy six, before Dr. Franklin was sent off for France, instruct him, Mr. Dean, and Mr. Lee, to solicit the King for Six Ships of the Line:2 and I have reason to believe that the Congress have been from that moment to this, persuaded that this object has been constantly solicited by their Ministers at this Court.
In addition to this, I have every personal, as well as public motive, to recall to your Excellency's Recollection, a3 Letter or Memorial4 which was presented to your Excellency in the latter end of the month of December Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Eight; or the beginning of January Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Nine in which, a great variety of Arguments were adduced to show, that it was not only good Policy, but absolutely necessary to send a superiority of Naval Force to the Coasts of the Continent of America. This Letter together with your Excellency's answer acknowledging the receipt of it, I transmitted to Congress myself, and their Journals show that they received them near a year ago;5 So that the Congress, I am persuaded, rest in the most perfect security in the persuasion that every thing has been done by themselves, and their Servants at this Court, to obtain this measure, and that the necessary arrangements of the King's naval Service, have hitherto prevented it.
But if it was only suspected by Congress, that a direct application from them to the King, was expected, I am assured they wou'd not hesitate a moment to make it.6
I am so convinced by experience, of the absolute necessity of more consultations and communications between His Majesty's Ministers, and the Ministers of Congress, that I am determined to omit no opportunity of communicating my sentiments to your Excellency, upon every Thing that appears to me of importance to the common Cause, in which I can do it with propriety. And the communications shall be direct in person, or by Letter, to your Excellency, without the Intervention of any third person. And I shall be very happy, and think myself highly honored, to give my poor opinion and advice to his Majesty's Ministers, upon any thing that relates to the United States, or the common Cause, whenever they shall be asked.7
I wish I may be mistaken, but it cou'd answer no good purpose to { 50 } deceive myself; and I certainly will not disguise my sentiments from your Excellency. I think that Admiral Graves, with the Ships before in America, will be able to impede the operations of M. Le Chevr: de Ternay, of M. Le Comte de Rochambeau, and of General Washington, if their plan is to attack New-York.
If there shou'd be a Naval Battle between the Chevr: de Ternay and Admiral Graves the event is uncertain. From the near equality of Force, and the equality of bravery, and of naval science, which now prevails every where, I think we cannot depend upon any thing decisive in such an Engagement, unless it be from the particular character of Graves, whom I know personally to be neither a great Man, nor a great Officer. If there shou'd be no decission in a naval rencounter, Graves and his Fleet must lie at New-York, and de Ternay and his at Rhode Island. I readily agree that this will be a great advantage to the common Cause,8 for the reasons mentioned in my Letter to your Excellency, of the Thirteenth of this Month.
But still I beg leave to suggest to your Excellency, whether it wou'd not be for the good of the common Cause, to have still further Resources in view—whether circumstances may not be such in the West Indies, as to enable Monsr. de Guichen to dispatch ships to the Reinforcement of Monsr: de Ternay, or whether it may not consist with the King's Service to dispatch ships from Europe for that purpose, and further whether the Court of Spain cannot be convinced of the Policy of keeping open the Communication between the United States and the French and Spanish Islands in the West Indies, so as to cooperate with France and the United States in the system of keeping up a constant Superiority of Naval Power both upon the Coasts of North America, and in the West India Islands. This is the true plan which is finally to humble the English and give the combined Powers the advantage.
The English in the Course of the last War, derived all their Triumphs both upon the Continent of America, and the Islands, from the succours they received from their Colonies. And I am sure that France and Spain, with attention to the subject, may receive assistance in this War, from the same source, equally decisive. I have the honor to be with great Respect and Attachment, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in Francis Dana's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 483–487); endorsed on the first page: “M. de R.” and “rep.”; and an additional notation: “No. 13.” For the presence { 51 } of this letter in the PCC, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Although dated 27 July, the Letterbook copy of this letter precedes that of JA's letter to Vergennes of 26 July (above) and was probably written on the 26th. In the Letterbook, the space before the “7” in “27” appears to have been erased. Moreover, JA left Paris at mid-day on the 27th. This would have allowed him little time to draft the letter, revise it, and wait for Dana to copy it for his signature.
In any event, except for a letter to Mark Lynch dated, probably erroneously, 28 July (LbC, Adams Papers; see Lynch's letter of 8 July, note 1, above), this letter as dated is the last written by JA from Paris in 1780. On 26 July, JA obtained passports from Benjamin Franklin at Passy and, under cover of a letter of the same date from William Temple Franklin (Adams Papers), received Franklin's letters to be dispatched from Amsterdam. At about 1 o'clock in the afternoon of 27 July, after receiving passports from the police enabling them to leave France, JA, JQA, and CA set out for Amsterdam, arriving there on 10 Aug. (JQA, Diary, 1:35, 52). Because JA's Diary entries are brief and lacking in detail (Diary and Autobiography, 2:442–445), it is to JQA's Diary that one must turn for a full account of the journey. Fortunately, he described in great detail the country through which the Adamses passed, the stops along the way, and the people with whom they met (JQA, Diary, 1:35–52). JA would not return to Paris until July 1781, when Vergennes called him back to discuss the proposed Austro-Russian mediation.
2. On 22 Oct. 1776, Congress resolved that the Commissioners should obtain from France, “either by purchase or loan, eight line of battle ships of 74 and 64 guns” and, because of the dire need for the vessels, “the Commissioners be directed to expedite this negotiation with all possible diligence” (JCC, 6:895–896).
3. At this point in the Letterbook the text reads “<very lengthy> Letter or Memorial, <which I had my self the Honour to draw up, when I had the Honour to be one of the Ministers Plenipotentiary to this Court>.”
4. For the memorial, and JA's role in drafting it, see vol. 7:292–311.
5. Vergennes acknowledged receiving the Commissioners' memorial in a brief note of 9 Jan. 1779 (vol. 7:348). JA sent a copy of the memorial to Congress with his letter of 21 Oct. 1779, but neither that letter nor the Journals of Congress for 1 Nov., the date on which JA's letter arrived, make any mention of Vergennes' reply of 9 Jan. (vol. 8:222; JCC, 15: 1231).
6. At this point in the Letterbook are the following three canceled paragraphs. “In the months of September, October and November 1778, I intreated Mr. Chaumont, Mr. Garnier, and Mr. Genet, to represent to your Excellency <and to Mr. de Sartine> or to Mr. de Sartine, the Necessity of such a Measure, and was told by each of these in Turn, that he had done it.
“I offered to each of these Gentlemen such Reasons, as convinced them, of the Propriety, the Expediency, the Policy and the necessity of the Measure. And they each of them assured me they had been heard by your Excellency upon the subject with great Patience, Candour and satisfaction. I therefore took it for granted, that every Thing had been done which could with Propriety be done.
“The Reason why I did not apply myself, in Person or by Letter to your Excellency was this. Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lee and Myself were joint Ministers at this Court, and such was the Misunderstanding between my two Colleagues that if any one of the three attempted to conduct any Negotiations or Conference with his Majestys ministers, at that time, when it was an object of Jealousy, and it was true in Fact that <neither> no one nor any two of the three had a legal Right to make any Request or even any Representation to Court without consulting his Colleagues and procuring the Vote of his Colleagues. This was the only Cause why I did not apply in Person.”
7. Compare JA's comments in this paragraph with those in the next to last paragraph of his letter of 26 June to the President of Congress (No. 87, above).
8. At this point in the Letterbook the following passage was enclosed in parentheses and canceled: “by preventing the Ennemy from Cruising, by giving scope to Trade, by supplying the french Fleets and Armies in the West Indies, by giving an open Field to Privateers, and by distressing and terrifying the English.” In the Letterbook the remainder of the sentence was added, perhaps by Francis Dana.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0001-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
From the Comte de Vergennes
J'ai recu, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 17 de ce mois. Je l'ai luë avec la plus sérieuse attention, et pour rendre ma réponse d'autant plus éxacte, je l'ai placée en marge de chacun des articles qui m'a parû mériter des observations de ma part. Vous y verrez, Monsieur, que je persiste à penser que le moment de communiquer au Lord Germaine vos pleinpouvoirs, n'est pas encore venu, et vous y trouverez les motifs sur lesquels je fonde mon opinion. Je ne doute pas que vous n'en sentiez la force, et quelles ne vous déterminent à penser comme moi. Mais dans le cas contraire, je vous invite et même vous requiers au nom du Roi, de communiquer votre lettre et ma réponse aux Etats-Unis et de suspendre, jusqu'à ce que vous ayez reçu des ordres de leur part, toute démarche vis-à-vis du Ministère anglois. Je ferai passer de mon côté mes observations en Amérique, afin que M. de la Luzerne puisse en entretenir les membres du Congrès: J'ose croire que ce Senat jugera le sentiment du Ministère de france digne de quelque attention, et qu'il ne craindra pas de s'égarer et de trahir les intérêts des Etats-Unis en l'adoptant pour régle de sa conduite.1
J'ai l'honneur d'être très sincérement, Monsieur, votre tres humble et très obéissant serviteur,
[signed] De Vergennes

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
Enclosure: The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams
Lettre écrite à M. le Cte. de Vergennes par M. Adams, le 17 Juillet 1780Observations sur la dernière Lettre de M. Adams du 17 Juillet 1780.
1º. I should have been very happy . . . to communicate them. Iº. Les motifs qui ont déterminé le Cte. de Vergennes à donner ce Conseil à M. Adams, sont aussi simples qu'ils paroissent péremptoires: 1º. S'occuper d'un Traité de Commerce avant d'avoir fait la { 33 } paix, c'est s'occuper de l'ornement d'un édifice avant d'en avoir posé les Fondements; 2º. Dans l'état où se trouve encore l'Amérique à l'égard de l'Angleterre, annoncer à cette Puissance que l'on a oublié son Systême d'asservissement, ses cruautés, ses perfidies, c'est lui montrer beaucoup de foiblesse, ou aumoins beaucoup de bonhommie, c'est l'inviter à croire que les Américains ont une prédilection irrésistible pour elle, c'est la fortifier dans l'opinion, où elle est, que les Américains patriotes se soumettront par lassitude ou par la crainte de l'influence prépondérante des Torys; 3º. Proposer un Traité de Commerce qui doit avoir pour baze la confiance et une liaison équivalente à une alliance, tandis que la guerre est dans toute sa fureur, tandis que la cour de Londres veut, ou détruire, ou asservir l'Amérique, n'est ce pas accréditer l'opinion où toute l'Europe a toujours été, daprés les assertions de Ministres anglois, que les Etats Unis inclinent vers une défection, et qu'ils ne seront fidèles à leurs engagemens envers la france, qu'aussi long tems que la Grande Bretagne ne leur fournira pas un prétexte pour les rompre.
2º. Your Excellency will recolect that . . . the Court of London. IIº. On peut être muni éventuellent de pleinpouvoirs sans être obligé de les exhiber avant que les circonstances permettent d'en faire usage: ce cas arrive journellement. M. Adams est chargé de trois commissions très distinctes: 1º. De prendre part aux négociations futures de la paix: 2º. de conclure un Traité de commerce avec la Grande Bretagne; et, 3º. De représenter les Etats-Unis à la cour de Londres. Il ne faut pas grand effort de génie pour démontrer que ces trois objets ne sauroient être cumulés; Il n'en faut pas davantage pour démontrer que les deux derniers ne sauroient servir d'acheminement au premier. Il faudra, avant toutes choses, obtenir de l'Angleterre qu'elle reconnoisse l'Indépendance de l'Amérique, et que cette reconnoissance serve de baze au Traité de paix: ce ne sera qu'après l'avoir obtenue que M. Adams pourra parler d'un Traité de Commerce: En proposer un, tandis que la Cour de Londres se flate encore de soumettre l'Amérique, et qu'elle fait dans cette vuë les efforts les plus extraordinaires, ce seroit, à ses yeux, lui proposer une chymère, ce seroit faire une demarche qu'elle regarderoit comme une dérision. Il en seroit de même si on lui parloit dans le moment présent d'un Ministre Plénipotentiaire des Etats-Unis destiné à résider près sa Majesté Britannique.
{ 34 }
Ainsi le seul pouvoir dont les circonstances ont pu permettre à M. Adams de faire l'annonce, c'est celui qui l'autorise à prendre part à la négociation de la paix. Ses deux autres n'auront de valeur que lorsque cette paix sera conclue; ainsi il seroit au moins inutile de les produire actuellement, ainsi M. Adams ne s'écarte pas du but et de la nature de ses pouvoirs en les cachant à la cour de Londres. Quoique le Cte. de Vergennes ignore le contenu des instructions de M. Adams,2 il est persuadé qu'elles sont analogues aux réfléxions qui viennent d'être faites et qu'elles ne prescrivent pas plus la communication immédiate des pouvoirs relatifs au Traité de Commerce qu'elles ne lui ordonnent de faire une paix séparée avec la Grande Bretagne: cette opinion est fondée sur celle que le Ministére du Roi a de la Sagacité, de la prudence et de la fidelité du Congrès.
I think also that . . . to resist them, if hostile. IIIº. On vient de l'observer, le Ministére anglois regarderoit cette communication comme une dérision; ainsi c'est vouloir s'aveugler volontairement que de suposer qu'elle l'engagera à entrer dans des pourparlers, qu'elle lui fera dire autre chose que ce que portent les résolutions du Parlement, savoir: qu'Elle écoutera et recevra les américains en grace lorsqu'ils auront reconnu leur ancienne allegeance; or il seroit au moins superflu de s'attirer une pareille réponse, et les Etats-Unis n'en ont pas besoin pour connoitre les sentiments actuels de la Cour de Londres, et encore moins pour se préparer par des conseils et des armées à y resister: Il est étonnant de parler de préparation de conseils et d'armées tandis que la guerre est dans toute sa force, qu'elle dure depuis près de six ans, et que l'Angleterre n'a pas encore fait aux américains la moindre ouverture qui puisse les autoriser à croire qu'elle veut souscrire à leur indépendance.
The english nation . . . sigh for Peace. IVº. Le Ministére anglois ne feroit aucune réponse, ou bien il en feroit une insolente: Dans cette dernier supposition, pourquoi s'exposer gratuitement à une avanie, et se rendre par là la risée de toutes les nations qui n'ont pas encore reconnu l'indépendance des Etats-Unis. Mais il y a lieu de croire que M. Adams demeureroit sans réponse parce que le Ministére Britannique croira { 35 } n'en pas devoir à un homme qui prendra une qualité que la Cour de Londres doit regarder comme un insulte. Il ne faut point perdre de vuë que cette Cour regarde toujours les Américains comme de Sujets rebelles: Comment avec cette opinion le lord Germaine pourroit-il recevoir une lettre de M. Adams, se qualifiant Ministre Plénipotentiaire des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique Septentrionale, comment ce Ministre anglois pourroit-il entendre parler d'un Traité de Commerce, lequel ne peut se faire qu'entre Nations indépendantes?
Ces observations convaincront M. Adams que la france n'a pas besoin de la tentative qu'il propose pour connoitre et apprécier les sentimens et les dispositions de la Cour de Londres, et que nous savons dès-à-présent parfaitement bien à quoi nous devons et pouvour nous attendre de sa part dans la position actuelle des choses.
Idem. Vº. Le silence ou la réponse du Ministére anglois, quelle quelle soit, n'allarmera ni ne soulevera le peuple d'Angleterre. Ce Peuple désire sans doute la paix et un accommodement avec l'Amérique: Mais l'on a entendu encore que quelques particuliers, plustôt par esprit de contradiction que par conviction, parler de l'indépendance: Il ne s'est pas fait au Parlement une seule motion tendante à accorder cette indépendance:3 Le peuple a cependant des amis et des protecteurs dans le Parlement. M. Adams peut juger par là des embarras que la notification de ses pouvoirs donneroit au Ministére.
Another consideration . . . of my powers. VIº. L'Angleterre, comme le reste de l'Europe, est parfaitement éclairée sur la nature des engagements qui subsistent entre la france et les Etats-Unis: Le Roi lui a fait déclarer Ministériellement le 13 Mars 1778, qu'il ne s'étoit fait assurer aucun privilége exclusif par le Traité de Commerce du 6 février de la même année, et Sa Majesté a confirmé cette déclaration dans un écrit publié par ses ordres ainsi le pleinpouvoir de M. Adams n'apprendra rien de nouveau à cet égard, ni à l'Angleterre, ni aux autres Puissances de l'Europe: ainsi la fausse opinion où il croit que la Cour de Londres est à cet égard ne sauroit étre un obstacle à la paix: si cet obstacle pouvoit éxister, le Ministére anglois chercheroit lui même à le lever, s'il étoit déterminé à faire dependre de là la paix.
{ 36 }
There are at present . . . its accomplishment. VIIº. Il est certain que toute la nation angloise, et les Ministres eux-mêmes désirent la paix; mais ou l'a déjà dit, il n'a pas encore été fait une seule motion en faveur de l'Indépendance de l'Amérique; le plenipouvoir de M. Adams ne changera certainement par les dispositions subsistantes à cet égard; par conséquent, la communication, qui en seroit faite, ne faciliteroit, ni n'acceleroit la conclusion de la paix.
At this moment, . . . digest their plans accordingly. VIIIº. Cette réfléxion est très sage: Elle prouve que M. Adams sent lui même quil est des circonstances qui le mettent dans le cas de céler ses plenipouvoirs: Le Ministére du Roi pense que l'on sera dans des circonstances de cette espèce jusqu'au moment où la nation anglaise se montrera disposée à reconnoître l'indépendance des Etats-Unis: Cette reconnoissance ne sera pas facilitée par l'annonce d'un Traité de Commerce, car les anglais sont tres persuadés dés-à-présent qu'ils auront un Traité pareil avec l'Amérique, quand il le jugeront à propos; ils ont d'ailleurs, ainsi que M. Adams le dit lui méme dans sa lettre du 19. février dernier, une entiére connoissance de sa Commission, ainsi la communication de son pleinpouvoir ne leur apprendroit rien de nouveau à cet égard.
Notwithstanding the suppression of . . . to Great-Britain. IXº. On vient de repondre au contenu de cet Article: Il n'est pas un anglois qui ne soit persuadé que les Etats-Unis ne soient disposés à accorder les avantages du Commerce à leur ancienne Métropole: Mais persuader, non seulement à un Anglois, mais aussi à un être pensant, qu'en accordant l'indépendance en échange de ces mêmes avantages, la Cour de Londres feroit une paix honorable et avantageuse, seroit une tâche difficile à remplir: Si tel étoit le véritable sentiment du Peuple anglais, pourquoi donc fourniroit-il depuis six ans, sans murmurer, des subsides ruineux pour soumettre l'amérique?
I am the more confirmed . . . if that was settled. Xº. Ou le Ministére anglois recherche sincérement la paix, ou il ne veut qu'amuser et pénétrer { 37 } l'Espagne. Dans le 1er. cas, il exprimera les conditions auxquelles il désire la traiter; il sera donc obligé de mettre au jour ses vuës et ses demandes concernant l'Amérique: Il n'oubliera certainement rien de ce qu'il croira pouvoir acheminer la paix, et, de'accord sur l'indépendance, son premier soin sera sans doute de demander d'être mis au niveau de la france relativement au commerce.
Si au contraire le Ministére anglais ne veut qu'amuser l'Espagne, pénetrer ses desseins, rallentir ses préparatifs de guerre, M. Adams voudra bien rendre au Ministére de Madrid la justice de croire qu'il a la sagacité nécessaire pour demêler toutes ces vuës, et assés de lumiéres et de prudence pour déterminer la conduite qu'il lui conviendra de tenir.
Idem. XIº. Si M. Adams est aussi sûr que de son éxistence que les Ministres anglois n'ont pas envie de faire la paix à des conditions également convenables à la france et à l'Amérique, à quoi bon leur communiquer à présent un pouvoir dont l'on ne pourra faire usage qu'après la paix? Comment M. Adams peut-il se persuader que la Cour de Londres sera séduite par l'appât d'un Traité de Commerce, tandis qu'Elle manifeste encore une répugnance invincible à reconnoître l'indépendance? Quand Elle voudra la reconnoître cette indépendance, Elle proposera d'Elle même les conditions qu'elle croira devoir y mettre, et M. Adams peut être assuré qu'Elle n'oubliera point le Commerce: Ce sera là le véritable moment de produire ses pleinpouvoirs; Mais en attendant il faut travailler à établir la baze de la négociation, Savoir: L'indépendance de l'amérique; Et l'on ne pourra y réussir qu'en faisant la guerre avec vigueur et avec succés.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0002-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation
I have received, sir, the letter that you did me the honor to write on the 17th of this month. I have read it with the utmost attention and in order to make my reply all the more exact, I have placed in the margin each of the points which appear to merit observations on my part. You will see there, sir, that I still think that the moment to communicate your plenipotentiary powers to Lord Germaine has not yet arrived and the grounds upon which I base my opinion. I doubt not that you will feel the force of them and that they will determine you to think as I do. But if that should not be the case, { 38 } I request and require you in the name of the King to communicate your letter and my reply to the United States and suspend, until you shall receive orders from them, vis-à-vis the English ministry. I shall, on my part, send my observations to America so that M. de La Luzerne may communicate them to the members of Congress, and I am persuaded that that assembly will judge the opinion of the Minister of France worthy of some attention and will not fear that, by adopting it as the rule of its conduct, it is neglecting or betraying the interests of the United States.1

[salute] I have the honor to be very sincerely, sir, your most humble and most obedient servant.

[signed] De Vergennes
RCand enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “M. le Cte. de Vergennes 25th. July 1780 Recd. 26th.”; docketed by CFA: “A Translation published vol. 5. p. 287 Dipl. Correspondence.” CFA refers to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution.
1. For JA's response to Vergennes' request, and Congress' reaction to his proposals and Vergennes' criticism of them, see JA's reply of 26 July, note 3 (below). Vergennes enclosed copies of the letters with his instructions of 7 Aug. to the Chevalier de La Luzerne. There Vergennes stated that he had replied to JA's proposals with the frankness due any minister of an allied power, but his objections had not dissuaded JA and had brought only new evidence of his unreliability and feeble attachment to the principles of the alliance. La Luzerne was to present the matter to Congress and request that JA be instructed to attend to the views of the French government and undertake no initiatives regarding his commissions (should they remain in his hands) without prior consultation and approval. According to Vergennes, this was necessary because of JA's delusions and willingness to discard his principles and thereby compromise both the alliance and the honor of his country (Henri Doniol, ed., Histoire de la participation de la France à l'établissement des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, 5 vols., Paris, 1886–1899, 4:424–427).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0001-0002-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25
Enclosure: The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation
Letter written to the Comte de Vergennes by Mr. Adams, 17 July 1780Observations on Mr. Adams' letter of 17 July 1780
1. I should have been very happy . . . to communicate them. I. The reasons which have determined the Comte de Vergennes to give this advice to Mr. Adams are so simple as to appear preemptory: 1. To be concerned with a treaty of commerce before having made peace is to be concerned with decorating a building before laying its foundation. 2. In the situation in which America presently finds herself with regard to England, to announce to that power that its system of tyranny, its cruelties and perfidy, has been forgotten is to display too much weakness, or at least too much simplicity, and invites it to believe that the Americans have an irresistible predilection for England, and to strengthen its opinion that the American patriots will submit through weariness or dread of the preponderant influence of the tories. 3. To propose a commercial treaty, which must be founded on confidence and a union equivalent to an alliance, at a time when the war rages in all its fury and the court of London wishes to ruin or enslave America, is but to give credit to the opinion, which all Europe entertains conformable to the assertions of the English ministers, that the United States incline towards a defection and that they will be faithful to their engagements with France only until such time as Great Britain furnishes a pretext for breaking them.
2. Your excellency will recollect that . . . the court of London. II. One may be furnished with plenipotentiary powers that are eventual without being obliged to disclose beforehand the circumstances under which they may be used. This occurs daily. Mr. Adams is charged with three very distinct commissions: 1. To take part in the future peace negotiations. 2. To conclude a commercial treaty { 39 } with Great Britain. 3. To represent the United States at the court of London. It requires no great stroke of genius to show that these three objects cannot be accomplished simultaneously, nor that the last two cannot serve to advance the first. Before anything else, it is necessary to obtain from England a recognition of American independence, and that recognition must serve as the basis for a peace treaty. Until this is achieved, Mr. Adams cannot talk of a commercial treaty. To propose one while the court of London flatters itself with hopes of subduing America, and to that end is making the most strenuous efforts, would in its eyes propose a chimera, a demarche that it would regard with derision. It would be the same if one were to speak now of a minister plenipotentiary from the United States intended to reside near his Britannic Majesty.
Therefore, the only power which circumstances permit Mr. Adams to announce is that which authorizes him to take a part in the peace negotiation. The other two powers can be of value only after peace is concluded. At least it would be useless to produce them at present and consequently Mr. Adams will not depart from their purpose and nature by concealing them from the court of London. Although the Comte de Vergennes is unacquainted with Mr. Adams' instructions,1 he is persuaded that they are conformable to the foregoing reflections and do not direct him to immediately communicate his powers relative to a treaty of commerce any more than they order him to make a separate peace with Great Britain. This opinion is founded on that which the King's ministry has of the wisdom, prudence and fidelity of Congress.
I think also that . . . to resist them, if hostile. III. One can observe that the English ministry would regard such a communication as ridiculous, so that it would be to willfully delude oneself to expect that it would induce them to enter into negotiations or say anything more than is contained in the resolutions of Parliament: namely that they will listen to and forgive the Americans when they shall have acknowledged their former allegiance. But, at the very least, it would be superfluous to draw from them such a response, for the United States has no need for such an answer to know the present sentiments of the court of London, and even less to prepare with councils and armies to resist them. It is astonishing to speak of preparing councils and armies when the war is raging in all its fury, when it has now lasted nearly six years, and when America has not yet received from England the smallest overture which would permit America to believe that England would consent to its independence.
The english nation . . . sigh for peace. IV. Either the English ministry will make no response or else it will be an insolent one. In the latter case, why should one needlessly expose { 40 } himself to an insult, thereby making himself the laughing stock of all the nations which have not yet recognized the independence of the United States? But there is reason to believe Mr. Adams would receive no answer because the British ministry will not think that it owes one to a man, who assumes a character that the court of London must consider an insult. It should not be forgotten that this court considers all Americans as rebellious subjects. With such an opinion, how could Lord Germaine receive a letter from Mr. Adams styling himself minister plenipotentiary of the United States of North America? How could this English minister bear the mention of a commercial treaty, which can only be made between independent nations?
These observations will convince Mr. Adams that France has no need for his proposed attempt to discover and evaluate the sentiments and intentions of the court of London and that we are already perfectly acquainted with what we ought and may expect from it in the present situation of affairs.
Idem. V. The English ministry's silence or response, whichever may occur, will neither alarm nor arouse the people of England. Without a doubt that people desires peace and an accommodation with America, but one finds that as of yet only some private individuals speak of independence and then more from a spirit of opposition than from conviction. There never has been a single motion made in Parliament tending to grant that independence,2 yet the people have friends and patrons in Parliament. Mr. Adams can judge from this the embarrassment that the announcement of his powers would give the ministry.
Another consideration . . . of my powers. VI. England, as well as the rest of Europe, is perfectly clear regarding the nature of the engagements subsisting between France and the United States. Through this ministry on 13 March 1778, the King declared that he had not secured to himself any exclusive privilege by the Treaty of Commerce of 6 February 1778, and has confirmed this declaration in a writing published by his order, so that Mr. Adams' plenipotentiary powers can disclose nothing new in this regard, either to England or the other powers of Europe. Thus the false opinion which he believes the court of London holds in this matter can be no obstacle to a peace. If any such obstacle did exist, the English ministry, itself, would find the means to remove it, if they were determined to make peace dependent upon it.
There are at present . . . its accomplishment. VII. It is certain that the whole English nation and even the ministers themselves desire peace, but as has already been noted, there has not { 41 } been a single motion made in favor of American independence. Certainly the plenipotentiary powers of Mr. Adams will not change the present situation in this regard and consequently the communication that would be made will neither facilitate nor accelerate the conclusion of peace.
At this Moment . . . digest their plans accordingly. VIII. This reflection is very sensible. It proves that Mr. Adams himself realizes that there are circumstances which may induce him to conceal his powers. The King's ministry thinks that such circumstances will continue until the moment when the English nation shall show a disposition to recognize the independence of the United States. That recognition will not be facilitated by announcing a treaty of commerce, for the English are at present well persuaded that they will have such a treaty with America when they shall judge it proper. They have besides, as Mr. Adams has mentioned in his letter of 19 February, full knowledge of his commission, so that the communication of his powers would teach them nothing new in this regard.
Notwithstanding the supression of . . . to Great-Britain. IX. In answer to this paragraph, there is not an Englishman who is not persuaded that the United States are disposed to grant the advantages of commerce to their former mother country, but it would be a very difficult task to persuade an Englishman or any thinking being that by granting independence in exchange for these advantages the court of London would make an honorable and advantageous peace. If this was the true sentiment of the English people, why have they, for these six years past and without complaining, furnished ruinous subsidies for the subjugation of America?
I am the more confirmed . . . if that was settled. X. The English ministry either seeks peace sincerely or it means only to amuse itself and penetrate the designs of Spain. In the first case, they will express the conditions on which they wish to negotiate. It will then be obliged to disclose its views and demands concerning America. It assuredly will forget nothing which it thinks will forward peace and, upon agreeing to independence, its first care will be to demand equality with France relative to commerce.
If to the contrary, the English ministry means only to amuse Spain, penetrate its designs, and slacken its preparations for war, Mr. Adams should be so good as to do the ministry of Madrid the justice to believe that it will have the necessary sagacity to discover the British designs and have sufficient understanding and prudence to determine the conduct it ought to pursue.
{ 42 }
Idem. XI. If Mr. Adams is as sure of their existence as he is that the English ministry have no inclination to make peace on terms equally suitable to France and America, what good purpose is served by communicating at present, powers which can only be used after the peace? How can Mr. Adams persuade himself that the court of London will be seduced by the lure of a treaty of commerce, while it still manifests a steadfast unwillingness to acknowledge American independence? When Britain shall be disposed to recognize that independence, it will itself propose the conditions on which it thinks proper to grant it, and Mr. Adams may be assured that the article of commerce will not be forgotten. Then will be the proper time for him to produce his plenipotentiary powers. In the mean time, he must work to establish the basis for the negotiations, namely the independence of America, and that can only be effected by carrying on the war with vigor and success.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RCand enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “M. le Cte. de Vergennes 25th. July 1780 Recd. 26th.”; docketed by CFA: “A Translation published vol. 5. p. 287 Dipl. Correspondence.” CFA refers to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution.
1. While he had not seen JA's copy of the instructions adopted by Congress on 14 Aug. 1779, Vergennes had known of their content since the previous November. See Vergennes' letter of 30 March, note 21 (above).
3. See JA's letter of 26 July, note 5 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-07-26

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

I have recieved the letter which your Excellency did me the honor to write me the twenty fifth of this month.
The sincere respect I entertain for your Excellency's Sentiments would have determined me, upon the least intimation, to have communicated my letter and your Excellency's answer to Congress, and to suspend, until I should recieve orders on their part, all measures { 43 } towards the British Ministry: without2 your Excellency's requisition in the Name of the King.
I shall transmit these papers to Congress, and I doubt not, the Reasons your Excellency has adduced, will be sufficient to induce them to suspend any communication to the British Ministry, as it is undoubtedly their Wisdom, to conduct all such measures in concert with their Allies.3
There is a great body of People in America, as determined as any to support their Independence, and their Alliances, who notwithstanding wish that no measure may be left unattempted by Congress or their Servants to manifest their readiness for Peace, upon such terms as they think honourable and advantageous to all parties. Your Excellency's Arguments, or indeed your Authority, will probably be sufficient to satisfy these People and to justify me, whereas without them I might have been liable to the censure of numbers. For it is most certain that all due deference will be shewn by the People of the United States and their Servants both in and out of Congress, to the sentiments of the Ministry of France.
This deference however by no means extends so far as to agree in all Cases to those sentiments without examination. I cannot therefore agree in the Sentiment, that proposing a Treaty of Peace and Commerce4 is discovering a great deal of weakness, or that the Americans have forgotten the British System of Tyranny, Cruelty or Perfidy, or to invite her to believe the Americans have an irresistible predilection for England, or to fortify her in the opinion that the American Patriots will submit through weariness, or through fear of the preponderant Influence of the Tories.
And so far from thinking it would give credit to the opinion, if there be such an one in all Europe, that the United States incline towards a defection, and that they will not be faithful to their Engagements, it seems to me, on the contrary, that it would discredit the opinion which prevails too much in Europe that there is some secret Treaty between France and the United States, by which the former is entituled to exclusive priviledges in the American Trade.
It is very true, that the Independence of America must be acknowledged before a Treaty of Peace can be made: But the prospect of a free trade with America upon principles of perfect equality and reciprocity, like that between France and the United States, might be a powerful Inducement with the people of England to acknowledge American Independence. Indeed I do not see any other considerable motive that England can ever have to make that Acknowledgment.
{ 44 }
The Congress have given no positive Instructions respecting the time or manner of making these powers known to one Court or another. All this is left at discretion, and to a construction of the Commissions themselves.
It is very certain that all the belligerent Powers are busily occupied every winter in their Councils and preparations for the ensuing Campaign. And it is also certain that the Artifice of the British Ministry in holding up to view every winter some semblance of a design of reconciliation formerly and of Peace latterly, has been a real Engine of hostility against America, equal to a considerable part of the British Army.
Neither the people of America nor Mr. Adams have any the least dread upon their minds of an insolent answer, from one of the British Ministers, nor of the ridicule of those Nations who have not yet acknowledged the Independence of America. No man of any knowledge, justice or humanity in any of those nations, would laugh upon such an occasion: on the contrary he would feel a just indignation against a Minister who should insult a Message so obviously calculated for the good of England and of all Europe, in the present Circumstances of affairs.
I am very much mistaken, for I speak upon Memory, if the Duke of Richmond did not make a motion two years ago, in the House of Lords, and if Mr. Hartley did not make another about a Year ago, which was seconded by Lord North himself in the House of Commons tending to grant Independence to America.5 And it is very certain that a great part of the People of England think that Peace can be had upon no other terms.
It is most clear that the present Ministry will not grant Independence: the only chance of obtaining it is by change of that Ministry. The King is so attached to that Ministry, that he will not change them, until it appears that they have so far lost the Confidence of the People, that their Representatives in Parliament dare no longer to support them: and in the Course of the last winter, the Weight and Sentiments of the People were so considerable as to bring many great Questions nearly to a ballance, and particularly to carry two votes, one against the Increase of the influence of the Crown, and another against the Board of Trade and Plantations, a vote that seemed almost to decide the American Question, and they came within a very few votes of deciding against the American Secretary.6 Now where Parties are approaching so near to a ballance, even a small weight thrown into either Scale, may turn it.
{ 45 }
In my letter of the nineteenth of February7 I said, that my appointment was notorious in America, and that therefore it was probably known to the Court of London, although they had not regular evidence of it. The Question then was more particularly concerning a commission to assist in the pacification. This was published in the American Newspapers in a general way: but I have no reason to think they are particularly informed of these matters, if they were, no evil that I am aware of could result from giving them the information officially. Certainly they have no official information, and it is reported that they deny that they know the nature of Mr. Adams's Commission.
Without any great effort of Genius,8 I think it is easy to demonstrate to any thinking Being, that, by granting American9 Independence, and making a Treaty of Peace, upon principles of perfect Reciprocity, England would in the present circumstances of affairs make an honourable and an advantageous Peace. It would have been more for their honor and advantage never to have made this war against America, it is true: but having made it, all the dishonour and disadvantage there is in it, is indelible: and after thirteen Colonies have been driven to throw off their Government, and annihilate it in every root and branch, becoming independent in fact, maintaining this Independence against a force of sixty thousand men and fifty Ships of War, that would have shaken most of the States of Europe to the very foundation, after maintaining this Independence four Years, and having made an honourable Treaty with the first Power in Europe; after another power had fallen into the war in consequence of the same System; after the voice of mankind had so far declared against the Justice of their Cause, that they could get no Ally; but on the contrary all the maritime Powers are entering into a Confederacy against them upon a point which has been a principal Source of their naval Superiority in Europe: in these Circumstances, the only honourable part they can act is to conform to the opinion of mankind; and the dishonourable and ruinous part for them to act is to continue the War. For the principle, that the People have a right to a form of Government according to their own judgments and inclinations, is in this enlightened Age so well agreed in the World, that it would be thought dishonourable by mankind in general for the English to govern three millions of People against their wills by military force, and this is all they can ever hope for, even supposing, they could bribe and tempt deserters enough from our Army and Apostates from our Cause, to make it impossible for us to carry on the war. This { 46 } however I know to be impossible and that they never will get quiet possession again of the Government of any one whole State in the thirteen, no not for an hour. If England considers further, that America is now known all over Europe to be such a Magazine of raw materials for manufactures, such a Nursery of seamen and such a source of Commerce and naval Power, that it would be dangerous to all the maritime Powers, to suffer any one of them to establish a domination and a Monopoly again in America.
I know there exists in some European minds a prejudice against America, and a jealousy that she will be hurtfull to Europe, and England may place some dependence upon this prejudice and jealousy; but the motions of the maritime Powers begin to convince her, that this jealousy and prejudice do not run so deep as they thought and surely there never was a more groundless prejudice entertained among men, and it must dissipate, as soon as the Subject is considered.
America is a Nation of Husbandmen, planted on a vast Continent of wild uncultivated land. And there is and will be for Centuries no way in which these people can get a living and advance their interests so much as by Agriculture. They can apply themselves to manufactures, only to fill up Interstices of time, in which they cannot labour on their lands, and to Commerce only to carry the produce of their lands the raw materials of manufactures to the European Market.
Europe is a Country whose land is all cultivated nearly to perfection, where the People have no way to advance themselves, but by manufactures and Commerce. Here are two worlds then fitted by God and Nature to benefit each other, one by furnishing raw materials, the other manufactures, and they never can interfere. The number of the States in America; their position and extension over such a great Continent, and their fundamental Constitution that nine States must concur to war, shew that nine of these States never can agree in any foreign war, or any other but for self defence, if they should ever become powerful. But in this case, however disagreable a prospect it may open to Americans, Europe has an everlasting Warranty against their becoming dangerous to her, in the nature of Men, the Nature of her Governments and their position towards one another.
All those Circumstances serve to shew, and the people of England begin to be sensible of it, that Europe will never suffer them to regain their domination and Monopoly, even if the English were able to { 47 } extort a forced Submission. In this situation then the only honourable and advantageous Course for England is to make peace, and open Commerce with America, in perfect consistency with her Independence and her Alliances. The people of England cannot be said to furnish subsidies without murmuring; for it is certain there never was so much murmuring and such radical discontent in that nation or any other, but at the Eve of a Revolution.
I very chearfully agree with your Excellency in opinion, that the Court of Spain has Sagacity enough to penetrate and to defeat the deceitful designs of the English, and am not under other apprehensions from thence, than that the report of a negotiation with Spain, will leave some Impressions in America, where I believe the English Ministry chiefly intend it.
I have already said that from the present British Ministry I expect no Peace. It is for the Nation, and for the change of the Ministry as a step towards Peace that I thought it might have some effect to make the communication, and to satisfy these people in America, who without the most distant thought of departing from their Independence or their Alliances wish still to take every reasonable measure towards peace. Your Excellency's Letter will convince them that my apprehensions were wrong, and your Advice will undoubtedly be followed, as it ought to be, for they cannot promise themselves any Advantage from the communication equivalent to the Inconveniency, of taking a measure of the kind, which ought not to be done but in Concert, against the opinion of the Ministry of France.
I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 471–482); notation on the first page: “No. 12.” For the presence of this letter in the PCC, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above). LbC (Adams Papers); notations by John Thaxter: “Paris 12th. August 1780. This day Mr. Dana delivered Copies of Mr. Adams's Letters of the 1st. 13th. 17th. 21st. 26th. & 27th. of July to Comte Vergennes, to Dr. Franklin who was to send them by a Gentleman going to L'orient to Capt. J. P. Jones.”; and “Septr. 12th. 1780. Mr. Dana took with him to Amsterdam the duplicates of Mr. Adams's Letters of the 13th. 17th. 21st. 26th. & 27th. of July to the Cte. de Vergennes.” Although this is the last letter from JA to Vergennes to be entered in Lb/JA/11 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 99), it is preceded by JA's letter dated 27 July (below, and note 1). For information regarding this Letterbook, see the Introduction, part 2, “John Adams and His Letterbooks.”
1. The views expressed in this letter, as well as in that of 17 July (above), stemmed first from JA's reading of Thomas Pownall's Memorial Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, and more directly from his reply to Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts. In particular, JA's senti• { 48 } ments regarding Britain's interest in a commercial treaty, the desire of the European nations to end the British monopoly on trade with America, and the absence of any economic threat to Europe from American independence expressed in paragraphs 5–7, 10–12, and 14–18 of this letter should be compared with those in his letter of 16 June to the president of Congress, No. 84 (above), and in Nos. I, V, VI, VII, VIII, XI, and particularly X of “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July] (above).
2. In the Letterbook, JA wrote “with,” John Thaxter interlined “out.”
3. For Francis Dana's implementation of JA's promise, in accordance with instructions given before JA's departure for Amsterdam on 27 July, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above) and the descriptive notes to this letter and that from Vergennes of 29 July (below). When copies of the letters of 17, 25, and 26 July were received by Congress on 26 Dec., they were immediately referred to a committee composed of Thomas Burke, John Witherspoon, and James Duane. Its report was adopted on 10 Jan. 1781 and, as JA predicted, indicated Congress' agreement with Vergennes (JCC, 18:1194; 19:41–42). JA was informed by a letter of 10 Jan. that Vergennes' opinion regarding the disclosure and execution of his mission was “well founded.” Having “no expectations from the influence which the people of England may have on the British councils, whatever may be the dispositions of that nation or their magistrates towards these United States; Nor are they of Opinion that a change of Ministers would produce a change of measures, They therefore hope you will be very cautious of admitting your measures to be influenced by presumptions of such events, or their probable consequences” (Adams Papers).
4. The remainder of this paragraph is an indirect quotation, in translation, from sect. I of Vergennes' point by point rebuttal of JA's letter of 17 July enclosed with his of 25 July (both above). In his effort to refute the criticisms contained in the letter of 25 July, JA quotes extensively from that enclosure, but see, in particular, note 8.
5. JA is referring to motions by Charles Lennox, 3d duke of Richmond and Lennox, on 7 April 1778, and David Hartley on 22 June 1779 (Parliamentary Hist., 19:1012–1031; 20: 901–915). Richmond's motion provided for an address to the king calling on him to withdraw all British forces from America. It was in the course of the debate over that motion that William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham, gave his “dying” speech (see Edmund Jenings' letter of 5 March, note 9, above). Hartley's motion, which was not seconded by Lord North, called for the appointment of a peace commission that could, among other things, agree to a ten-year truce. For JA to refer to these motions is interesting because, while independence might have been the result, neither provided specifically for the granting of independence and both, at some level, foresaw an Anglo-American reconciliation. For Vergennes the references could not have been reassuring, for both motions were intended, at least in part, to dissolve the Franco-American alliance and end the war in America so that Britain could concentrate on its war with France.
6. See JA's letters of 23 and 24 March to the president of Congress, Nos. 23 and 24, and notes 4 and 1 respectively (both above).
8. At this point in the Letterbook is the canceled passage “or any other Talent than common sense.” This paragraph is an effort to refute the third point raised by Vergennes in sect. II of the enclosure to his letter of 25 July (above).
9. At this point in the Letterbook, JA wrote and then canceled “commerce.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0020-0003

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Date: 1780-07-27

To the Comte de Vergennes

[salute] Sir

Since my Letter of the Twenty first; and upon reading over again your Excellency's Letter to me of the Twentieth, I observed one Expression which I think it my Duty to consider more particularly.
{ 49 }
The Expression I have in view is this, That the King, without being sollicited by the Congress, had taken measures the most efficacious to sustain the American Cause.
Upon this part of your Letter, I must entreat your Excellency to recollect, that the Congress did, as long ago as the year Seventeen hundred and Seventy six, before Dr. Franklin was sent off for France, instruct him, Mr. Dean, and Mr. Lee, to solicit the King for Six Ships of the Line:2 and I have reason to believe that the Congress have been from that moment to this, persuaded that this object has been constantly solicited by their Ministers at this Court.
In addition to this, I have every personal, as well as public motive, to recall to your Excellency's Recollection, a3 Letter or Memorial4 which was presented to your Excellency in the latter end of the month of December Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Eight; or the beginning of January Seventeen Hundred and Seventy Nine in which, a great variety of Arguments were adduced to show, that it was not only good Policy, but absolutely necessary to send a superiority of Naval Force to the Coasts of the Continent of America. This Letter together with your Excellency's answer acknowledging the receipt of it, I transmitted to Congress myself, and their Journals show that they received them near a year ago;5 So that the Congress, I am persuaded, rest in the most perfect security in the persuasion that every thing has been done by themselves, and their Servants at this Court, to obtain this measure, and that the necessary arrangements of the King's naval Service, have hitherto prevented it.
But if it was only suspected by Congress, that a direct application from them to the King, was expected, I am assured they wou'd not hesitate a moment to make it.6
I am so convinced by experience, of the absolute necessity of more consultations and communications between His Majesty's Ministers, and the Ministers of Congress, that I am determined to omit no opportunity of communicating my sentiments to your Excellency, upon every Thing that appears to me of importance to the common Cause, in which I can do it with propriety. And the communications shall be direct in person, or by Letter, to your Excellency, without the Intervention of any third person. And I shall be very happy, and think myself highly honored, to give my poor opinion and advice to his Majesty's Ministers, upon any thing that relates to the United States, or the common Cause, whenever they shall be asked.7
I wish I may be mistaken, but it cou'd answer no good purpose to { 50 } deceive myself; and I certainly will not disguise my sentiments from your Excellency. I think that Admiral Graves, with the Ships before in America, will be able to impede the operations of M. Le Chevr: de Ternay, of M. Le Comte de Rochambeau, and of General Washington, if their plan is to attack New-York.
If there shou'd be a Naval Battle between the Chevr: de Ternay and Admiral Graves the event is uncertain. From the near equality of Force, and the equality of bravery, and of naval science, which now prevails every where, I think we cannot depend upon any thing decisive in such an Engagement, unless it be from the particular character of Graves, whom I know personally to be neither a great Man, nor a great Officer. If there shou'd be no decission in a naval rencounter, Graves and his Fleet must lie at New-York, and de Ternay and his at Rhode Island. I readily agree that this will be a great advantage to the common Cause,8 for the reasons mentioned in my Letter to your Excellency, of the Thirteenth of this Month.
But still I beg leave to suggest to your Excellency, whether it wou'd not be for the good of the common Cause, to have still further Resources in view—whether circumstances may not be such in the West Indies, as to enable Monsr. de Guichen to dispatch ships to the Reinforcement of Monsr: de Ternay, or whether it may not consist with the King's Service to dispatch ships from Europe for that purpose, and further whether the Court of Spain cannot be convinced of the Policy of keeping open the Communication between the United States and the French and Spanish Islands in the West Indies, so as to cooperate with France and the United States in the system of keeping up a constant Superiority of Naval Power both upon the Coasts of North America, and in the West India Islands. This is the true plan which is finally to humble the English and give the combined Powers the advantage.
The English in the Course of the last War, derived all their Triumphs both upon the Continent of America, and the Islands, from the succours they received from their Colonies. And I am sure that France and Spain, with attention to the subject, may receive assistance in this War, from the same source, equally decisive. I have the honor to be with great Respect and Attachment, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC in Francis Dana's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 483–487); endorsed on the first page: “M. de R.” and “rep.”; and an additional notation: “No. 13.” For the presence { 51 } of this letter in the PCC, see the Editorial Note, 13–29 July (above). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Although dated 27 July, the Letterbook copy of this letter precedes that of JA's letter to Vergennes of 26 July (above) and was probably written on the 26th. In the Letterbook, the space before the “7” in “27” appears to have been erased. Moreover, JA left Paris at mid-day on the 27th. This would have allowed him little time to draft the letter, revise it, and wait for Dana to copy it for his signature.
In any event, except for a letter to Mark Lynch dated, probably erroneously, 28 July (LbC, Adams Papers; see Lynch's letter of 8 July, note 1, above), this letter as dated is the last written by JA from Paris in 1780. On 26 July, JA obtained passports from Benjamin Franklin at Passy and, under cover of a letter of the same date from William Temple Franklin (Adams Papers), received Franklin's letters to be dispatched from Amsterdam. At about 1 o'clock in the afternoon of 27 July, after receiving passports from the police enabling them to leave France, JA, JQA, and CA set out for Amsterdam, arriving there on 10 Aug. (JQA, Diary, 1:35, 52). Because JA's Diary entries are brief and lacking in detail (Diary and Autobiography, 2:442–445), it is to JQA's Diary that one must turn for a full account of the journey. Fortunately, he described in great detail the country through which the Adamses passed, the stops along the way, and the people with whom they met (JQA, Diary, 1:35–52). JA would not return to Paris until July 1781, when Vergennes called him back to discuss the proposed Austro-Russian mediation.
2. On 22 Oct. 1776, Congress resolved that the Commissioners should obtain from France, “either by purchase or loan, eight line of battle ships of 74 and 64 guns” and, because of the dire need for the vessels, “the Commissioners be directed to expedite this negotiation with all possible diligence” (JCC, 6:895–896).
3. At this point in the Letterbook the text reads “<very lengthy> Letter or Memorial, <which I had my self the Honour to draw up, when I had the Honour to be one of the Ministers Plenipotentiary to this Court>.”
4. For the memorial, and JA's role in drafting it, see vol. 7:292–311.
5. Vergennes acknowledged receiving the Commissioners' memorial in a brief note of 9 Jan. 1779 (vol. 7:348). JA sent a copy of the memorial to Congress with his letter of 21 Oct. 1779, but neither that letter nor the Journals of Congress for 1 Nov., the date on which JA's letter arrived, make any mention of Vergennes' reply of 9 Jan. (vol. 8:222; JCC, 15: 1231).
6. At this point in the Letterbook are the following three canceled paragraphs. “In the months of September, October and November 1778, I intreated Mr. Chaumont, Mr. Garnier, and Mr. Genet, to represent to your Excellency <and to Mr. de Sartine> or to Mr. de Sartine, the Necessity of such a Measure, and was told by each of these in Turn, that he had done it.
“I offered to each of these Gentlemen such Reasons, as convinced them, of the Propriety, the Expediency, the Policy and the necessity of the Measure. And they each of them assured me they had been heard by your Excellency upon the subject with great Patience, Candour and satisfaction. I therefore took it for granted, that every Thing had been done which could with Propriety be done.
“The Reason why I did not apply myself, in Person or by Letter to your Excellency was this. Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lee and Myself were joint Ministers at this Court, and such was the Misunderstanding between my two Colleagues that if any one of the three attempted to conduct any Negotiations or Conference with his Majestys ministers, at that time, when it was an object of Jealousy, and it was true in Fact that <neither> no one nor any two of the three had a legal Right to make any Request or even any Representation to Court without consulting his Colleagues and procuring the Vote of his Colleagues. This was the only Cause why I did not apply in Person.”
7. Compare JA's comments in this paragraph with those in the next to last paragraph of his letter of 26 June to the President of Congress (No. 87, above).
8. At this point in the Letterbook the following passage was enclosed in parentheses and canceled: “by preventing the Ennemy from Cruising, by giving scope to Trade, by supplying the french Fleets and Armies in the West Indies, by giving an open Field to Privateers, and by distressing and terrifying the English.” In the Letterbook the remainder of the sentence was added, perhaps by Francis Dana.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0021

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-27

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I received by yesterdays Post your Excellencys Additions to your Answer to certain Pamphlets,1 All of which I will take Care to Convoy to England—but they are of such Importance, that I shall be careful to whom, they are Trusted, and therefore may perhaps wait a little while, before I find a Convenient Opportunity. I have read them with much pleasure and shall do it Again with great Attention, before I Send them; Agreably, I assure myself, to your Excellencys Wishes.
Your Excellency will be pleased not to talk of giving me trouble and of your not Knowing how I can be requited for what I do. Your Excellency puts me in the way of serving the Cause of Liberty and Virtue, and that is Ample Reward and demands of me my most particular Thanks to you. I would serve my Country in a public and open Manner, if she wanted me by not having better Men, but for my own Comfort, I had rather do it in a private Manner. I Know the Misery of Ostensible Charaters and I am affraid your Excellency does so too. But it is Ones Duty to Act for the public in Any and every Capacity, and whatever happens the Conscience of doing for the best in a Glorious Cause will support your Excellency through all your Trials. May God of his Infinite Goodness, I Speak piously as well as politically, Assist your Excellency in all your Endeavours to Serve the Cause of private and public Happiness.
I think there is no doubt of the Junction of the Spanish and the French Squadron in the West. By Accounts from Holland Greaves must be much behind Monsr. Ternay or Else.
I was fearful that my Letters were Stopped—but I find my particular Friend has been ill which Accounts for his not writing.
I am Sir your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obt Hble Servt
[signed] E. Freeman
Your Excellency will be pleased to turn over.
P.S. The inclosd is a Copy of what was sent to Holland last Monday2 which I shall be Happy Your Excellency did not Object to.
I think your Excellency will have Seen the enclosd print papers3—but I cannot help sending them, least they should have Escaped your Excellencys Notice.
RC and two enclosures (Adams Papers). The first enclosure (see note 2) was likely the first of two very similar drafts in Edmund Jenings' hand: the first, unen• { 53 } dorsed, is dated “July 10 1780”; the second, endorsed by JA: “Mr. Jennings's Letter,” is undated. The two were filmed under the dates of 10 July 1780 and [Dec.? 1780], Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reels 352, 353. The second enclosure (see note 3) was a newspaper clipping.
1. This was JA's brief covering letter of 22 July (Adams Papers), enclosing the final portion of his reply to Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts. For that letter, see Jenings' letter of 21 July, note 3 (above).
2. This is likely the proposed newspaper piece mentioned in Jenings' letter of 21 July (above). Jenings' purpose in writing for a Dutch audience was to counter British reports of Clinton's capture of Charleston and thereby allay Dutch fears regarding the fate of the revolution in America. Jenings minimized the importance of Clinton's victory, declaring that its prominence in the British press reflected the ministry's need to divert attention from problems at home, notably the Gordon Riots. The capture of Charleston would benefit the British no more than their previous occupation of Boston, Newport, and Philadelphia; and, despite British claims to the contrary, loyalist support was no more enthusiastic or widespread in South Carolina than it had been in other conquered areas. JA's influence is evident from Jenings' borrowings from JA's comments on the capture of Charleston in his letter of 18 July (above), and on British distrust of their loyalist allies in “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July], No. II, 5th par., above). It is not known whether Jenings' article was published, but see his letter of 7 Aug., and note 3 (below).
3. The second enclosure was a clipping from the General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer of 20 July, containing a report on the Hussey-Cumberland negotiations in Spain and the prediction that they were unlikely to be successful.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0022-0001

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-28

From Bidé de Chavagnes

[salute] Mon cher monsieur

Occupé de vous, de mrs. Dena, taxter, de vos chers enfants et de tout cequi vous interesse par continuation, je suis bien aise D'avoir lhonneur de vous demander des nouvelles de vos santés qui m'interessent bien fort, et de vous donner des miennes auxquelles vous avez la bonté de vous interesser.1 Je me suis toujours assez bien porté depuis notre depart de brest du 13 de ce mois. Après une belle navigation de 8 jours nous sommes arrives comme par un miracle au ferol, car l'armée angloise qui sest divisée dans notre golphe profite des bons vents de la saison pour se porter partout. Elle a fait relacher un de nos vaisseaux a 3 ponts a st andero,2 et depuis 8 jours que nous sommes icy les vigies ont eus connoissance de 22 vaisseaux sur finistere dabord et depuis 2 jours sur ortegal. Le vaisseau ou je suis etant le plus mauvais marcheur de tous nos vaisseaux il est bien heureux de leurs avoir echappées. Nous avons eu de la brume et cotoyés plus de 20 lieues de la coste despagne. Nous sommes icy nombreuse compagnie reunis, 3 vaisseaux francois,3 2 espagnols un 3e. qui se prepare 4 fregattes, et un convoy de 60 batiments marchands dont la sortie et l'arrivée surtout seroint bien interessantes { 54 } pour nos colonies, mais risquer cela dans ce moment seroit je crois bien perilleux. Nous avons envoyés une fregatte a la decouverte de ces mrs. mais quoyquelle marche bien, je crains bien fort pour elle. Nous aurions grand besoin dun bon coup de vent du Sud ouest, ou bien de la visite de notre armée de cadix sur cette coste. Car je ne scay pas trop d icy a la fin D'aout comment nous ferons pour nous tirer du ferol et passer le cap de finistere une flotte comme cellecy occupe 4 ou 5 lieües de terrain. Il est difficile de n estre pas vu quand on est attendu et veillés par de petits batiments qui viennent icy jusqu'a lentrée. Comme ils marchent bien ils se moquent de nous. Jay deja bien renouvellés mes connoissances au ferol. Jay peur dy rester assez de temps pour my bien ennuyer cequi m arrive deja, mais je mange et couche toujours a bord. Le pays, et vous le scavez bien et moy aussi est trop cher. Mrs. le commandant du ferol, les consuls de la corogne et d'icy se portent bien et mont bien demandés de vos nouvelles. Nous etions destinés pour aller a cadix. Si vous vouliez my avanturer une lettre et my donner vos commissions cela me flatteroit beaucoup.4 Nous n'avons icy pour le present aucunes nouvelles interessantes. Il y fait de si grandes chaleurs que je suis tout en eau en vous ecrivant. Je vous souhaite bien de la santé ainsi qu'a tous nos chers alliés de votre famille et autres. Continuez moy vos souvenirs et amitiés, ne doutez point des sentiments sinceres du respectueux attachement avec lequel jay l honneur d estre pour la vie Mon cher monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
capne. des vaux. du roy de france
Si vous voyez monsieur de sartines je vous prierois de luy offrir mon profond respect.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0022-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-28

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My Dear Sir

My concern for you, Messrs. Dana and Thaxter, and your dear children leads me to have the pleasure and honor of inquiring after your health, which much concerns me, and to give you news of my own, since you were kind enough to ask.1 I have been feeling quite well since our departure from Brest on the 13th of this month. After eight days of smooth sailing we arrived by some miracle at Ferrol, for the British fleet deployed in the gulf is taking advantage of the season's favorable winds to roam everywhere. They have tried to cut out one of our three deckers at St. Andero,2 and during the eight { 55 } days that we have been here our look-outs have spotted twenty-two vessels heading first for Cape Finisterre and then, in the last two days, for Cape Ortegal. Since my vessel is the poorest sailor, we were very lucky to outrun them. We ran into fog for nearly twenty leagues off the coast of Spain.
We are a large company here, three French ships of the line,3 two Spanish and a third preparing for sea, four frigates, and a convoy of 60 merchant ships whose arrival should be of great importance to our colonies, but I fear that it would be too dangerous to send it off now. A frigate has been sent to reconnoiter the British fleet, but although it is fast, I fear for her. We are in great need of favorable winds from the southwest or, better yet, a visit to this coast of our fleet at Cádiz. Otherwise I do not see how we can successfully leave Ferrol and sail past Cape Finisterre before the end of August, since such a fleet would be 4 or 5 leagues long. It is difficult to avoid being seen when one is constantly beset by small vessels that come as far as the harbor entrance to watch us. Since they are so quick, they scoff at us.
I have renewed my acquaintances at Ferrol, but fear staying here long enough to become bored. This is already happening, but I always eat and sleep on board. As you know, the shore is too expensive. The commandant of Ferrol and the consuls at Corunna and Ferrol are well and have inquired after you.
We are supposed to go on to Cádiz. If you are willing to risk sending me a letter there to give me your instructions, I would be most gratified.4 We have no interesting news at the moment. It is so hot that I am drenched in sweat as I write this. I wish good health to you, as well as to your friends and family. Keep in touch and never doubt the sincere sentiments of respectful devotion with which I have the honor to be for life, my dear sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
capne. des vaux. du roy de france
If you see Mons. de Sartine, please convey to him my deep respect.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “francia A Monsieur Monsieur Jonps Adams ministre plenipotentiaire des etats unis de l'amerique septentrionalle prés <la cour de france à versailles> A <La Cour>; second address by Chavagnes: “a m. De Renneval au bau. Des affaires Etrangeres pour donner son adresse”; in another hand: “chez m. de francklin a Passy a Passy” and “Dr de Versailles a Passy”; endorsed by Francis Dana: “Cap: De Chavagne Recd. Augt: 22d. 1780.”
1. Chavagnes may be referring to JA's letter of 16 May (above), but it contained no inquiry about Chavagnes' health and had been answered on 15 June (above).
2. Probably the ship of the line Invincible of 110 guns. A report in the London Chronicle of 15–17 Aug., dated 18 July at St. Andero (i.e. Santander, a major port on the northern coast of Spain), indicated that the British squadron of 17 ships in the Bay of Biscay had chased the Invincible and the frigate Venus into the harbor at Santander. Chavagnes' account may indicate that the British tried to attack the vessel within the harbor, either with the ships from the squadron or by means of a raid with small boats.
3. It is not clear whether Chavagnes is counting his own vessel, but the Bien Aimé was accompanied by the Bretagne, Royal Louis, Alexandre, and Magnanime. Only the first four went on to Cádiz, their intended destination (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 366, 368).
4. The next letter from Chavagnes in the { 56 } Adams Papers is that of [ante 24 Jan. 1781]. It is apparently a reply to a previous letter by JA, and JA's docketing indicates that he replied to it on 24 January. No letters from JA to Chavagnes between 16 May 1780 (above) and 27 Feb. 1785 (LbC, Adams Papers) have been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0023

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Williams, Alexander
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-28

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

A Vessel from N York to Liverpoole which saild the 24th. June, brings advice that Clinton had got back to that quarter and gone up the No. River with 10,000 Men and several small boats.1 About a month ago an intimate friend shewd letters from that General mentioning that his intention was to try if Washingtons lines were forcible; I make no doubt this is the scheme he is upon—He will most likely look, and come back, which was the case with Him before.
The same Vessel brings an account of a smart action between the Trumbull frigate Cap. Nicholson and a Liverpoole Letter of Marque which got off.
A Passenger in a Ship from St. Eusa. to Holland who landed at the Downes and whom I saw this day at Loyds,2 told me He saild the 8th of June; on the 24th He was brought too by Adm. Graves's fleet of 7 sail of the Line in Latitude 34= Longitude 52= about 70 Leagues NE of Bermudas. This fleet saild the 18th June in search of Terneys Squadron after which Graves enquird very eagerly.
It appears there were no accounts of that squadron on the American Coasts at least near N York, on the 24th of June.
I am your Most Ob Ser
[signed] Alexr. Williamson
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Monsieur Monsr. Ferdinando Raymond San negote. chez Monsr. Hocherau, Libraire Pont Neuf a Paris”; endorsed by Francis Dana: “W. S. C.'s Letter Recd. 17th. Augt: 1780.”
1. At this time Clinton moved against Connecticut Farms and Springfield, N.J., and it is probably that expedition to which the report refers. See William Churchill Houston's letter of 11 July, and note 2 (above).
2. As a meeting place for marine underwriters, Lloyd's dates back to 1692 and Lloyd's Coffee House. While Lloyd's still was referred to as a coffee house in 1780, the loose gathering of underwriters had formed itself into a society in 1770, and had been located on the northwest side of the Royal Exchange since 1774 (Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present: Its History, Associations, and Traditions, 3 vols., London, 1891, 2:407–408).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0024

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0024-0001

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0024-0001-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-29

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçû, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 27. de ce mois. Lorsque j'ai pris sur moi de vous donner { 57 } une marque de confiance en vous instruisant de la destination de Mrs. de Ternay et de Rochambeau, je ne m'attendois pas à la discussion à la quelle vous avez crû devoir vous livrer sur un passage de ma lettre du 25. de ce mois: Pour en éviter de nouvelles de ce genre, je crois devoir vous prévenir que M. Francklin étant seul accrédité auprès du Roi de la part des Etats-unis, c'est avec lui privativement que je dois et puis traiter des matières qui les concernent, et particulièrement celle qui fait l'objet de vos observations.
Au surplus, Monsieur, je crois devoir vous faire remarquer que le passage de ma lettre sur lequel vous avez crû devoir étendre vos réfléxions, n'est relatif qu'à l'envoi de l'Escadre commandée par M. le Chev. de Ternay, et qu'il n'a eû d'autre objet que de vous convaincre que le Roi n'a pas eu besoin de vos sollicitations pour s'occuper des intérêts des Etats-unis.
[signed] De Vergennes
J'ai l'honneur d'être très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0024-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-29

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter which you did me the honor to write on the 27th of this month. When I took upon myself to give you a mark of my confidence by informing you of the destination of Messrs. de Ternay and Rochambeau, I did not expect the remarks that you have thought it necessary to make regarding a passage in my letter of the 25th of this month. To avoid any further discussions of this sort I think it my duty to inform you that since Mr. Franklin is the only person accredited to the King by the United States, it is with him only that I ought and can treat of matters which concern them and particularly those which have been object of your observations.
Moreover, sir, I ought to observe to you, that the passage in my letter on which you have thought it necessary to extend your remarks, concerns only the sending of the squadron commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay and had no other object than to convince you that the King had no need for your solicitation to induce him to concern himself with the interests of the United States.
I have the honor to be very perfectly, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “M. Le Cte. de Vergennes 29th. July 1780. Recd. 30th.”; docketed by CFA: “a Translation published Sparks' Corresp. Vol 5. p. 304.” CFA refers to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Paris 12th. August. 1780. This day Mr. Dana delivered Copies of the Comte { 58 } de Vergennes letters of the 30th. of June, 20th. 25th. & 29th. of July to Mr. Adams, to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them by a Gentleman going to L'Orient to Capt. J. P. Jones.” and “Sept. 12th. 1780. Mr. Dana took with him to Amsterdam the duplicates of Cte. de Vergennes letters of the 20th. 25th. & 29th. July.” This is the last letter recorded in Lb/JA/11, which contained letters to and from the French foreign ministry. For information concerning this and other Letterbooks, see the Introduction, part 2, “John Adams and His Letterbooks” (above).
1. This is the final letter to pass between JA and Vergennes until JA's letter of 7 July 1781, announcing his return to Paris and readiness to discuss the proposed Austro-Russian mediation (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:304; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:550).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0024-0001-0001

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-29

From the Comte de Vergennes

J'ai reçû, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'écrire le 27. de ce mois. Lorsque j'ai pris sur moi de vous donner { 57 } une marque de confiance en vous instruisant de la destination de Mrs. de Ternay et de Rochambeau, je ne m'attendois pas à la discussion à la quelle vous avez crû devoir vous livrer sur un passage de ma lettre du 25. de ce mois: Pour en éviter de nouvelles de ce genre, je crois devoir vous prévenir que M. Francklin étant seul accrédité auprès du Roi de la part des Etats-unis, c'est avec lui privativement que je dois et puis traiter des matières qui les concernent, et particulièrement celle qui fait l'objet de vos observations.
Au surplus, Monsieur, je crois devoir vous faire remarquer que le passage de ma lettre sur lequel vous avez crû devoir étendre vos réfléxions, n'est relatif qu'à l'envoi de l'Escadre commandée par M. le Chev. de Ternay, et qu'il n'a eû d'autre objet que de vous convaincre que le Roi n'a pas eu besoin de vos sollicitations pour s'occuper des intérêts des Etats-unis.
[signed] De Vergennes
J'ai l'honneur d'être très parfaitement, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0024-0001-0002

Author: Vergennes, Charles Gravier, Comte de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-29

The Comte de Vergennes to John Adams: A Translation

I have received, sir, the letter which you did me the honor to write on the 27th of this month. When I took upon myself to give you a mark of my confidence by informing you of the destination of Messrs. de Ternay and Rochambeau, I did not expect the remarks that you have thought it necessary to make regarding a passage in my letter of the 25th of this month. To avoid any further discussions of this sort I think it my duty to inform you that since Mr. Franklin is the only person accredited to the King by the United States, it is with him only that I ought and can treat of matters which concern them and particularly those which have been object of your observations.
Moreover, sir, I ought to observe to you, that the passage in my letter on which you have thought it necessary to extend your remarks, concerns only the sending of the squadron commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay and had no other object than to convince you that the King had no need for your solicitation to induce him to concern himself with the interests of the United States.
I have the honor to be very perfectly, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] De Vergennes
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “M. Le Cte. de Vergennes 29th. July 1780. Recd. 30th.”; docketed by CFA: “a Translation published Sparks' Corresp. Vol 5. p. 304.” CFA refers to Jared Sparks, ed., Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “Paris 12th. August. 1780. This day Mr. Dana delivered Copies of the Comte { 58 } de Vergennes letters of the 30th. of June, 20th. 25th. & 29th. of July to Mr. Adams, to Dr. Franklin, who was to send them by a Gentleman going to L'Orient to Capt. J. P. Jones.” and “Sept. 12th. 1780. Mr. Dana took with him to Amsterdam the duplicates of Cte. de Vergennes letters of the 20th. 25th. & 29th. July.” This is the last letter recorded in Lb/JA/11, which contained letters to and from the French foreign ministry. For information concerning this and other Letterbooks, see the Introduction, part 2, “John Adams and His Letterbooks” (above).
1. This is the final letter to pass between JA and Vergennes until JA's letter of 7 July 1781, announcing his return to Paris and readiness to discuss the proposed Austro-Russian mediation (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 17:304; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:550).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0025-0001

Author: Addenet, M.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-30

From M. Addenet

[salute] Monsieur

Malgré toute ma diligence je ne fais que d'achever la traduction que j'ai L'honneur de vous envoyer. Il n'étoit pas très facile d'en Concilier Les diverses parties: Cependant je Crois y être parvenu. Je desire que vous en portiez le même jugement. Il me semble que Le génie de notre langue Se refuse au titre que vous destiniez à cet ouvrage. Ne suffiroit il pas de mettre tout Simplement, abrégé d'un ecrit Anglois intitulé, Mémoire adressé &c.? Il seroit à propos d'imprimer en Caractères différents L'espèce d'introduction qui Se trouve en tête. Il seroit encore nécessaire de recommander au prote d'avoir La plus grande attention à tous Les renvois et Surcharges qui Sont en grand nombre. J'aurois bien desiré faire une Copie au net; mais j'ai Craint de vous faire attendre trop long tems.
Je Suis avec un profond respect, Monsieur Votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Addenet

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0025-0002

Author: Addenet, M.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-30

Addenet to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Despite all my diligence, I am only now finishing the translation that I have the honor to send you. It was not easy to reconcile the various parts, but I think that I have succeeded. I hope that you will agree. It seems to me that the genius of our language does not lend itself to the title that you have given this work. Would it not suffice simply to say abrégé d'un ecrit Anglois intitulé, Mémoire adressé &c.? A different typeface should be used for the introduction that precedes the text and it is also necessary to remind the printer to pay the closest attention to the numerous footnotes and emendations. I would have liked very much to send you a clean copy, but I was afraid of making you wait too long.
I am with a profound respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Addenet
{ 59 }
1. This letter was enclosed with another of 31 July from Addenet to John Thaxter (Adams Papers). In that letter Addenet repeated much of what he had written to JA, but also requested that the manuscript of his translation of JA's reworking of Thomas Pownall's Memorial be returned to him because it was the only copy and would be needed if he was to do additional work on it. Both letters were forwarded to JA with Francis Dana's letter of 31 July (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0026

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-07-30

From the President of Congress

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

Since your Arrival in Europe I have been favoured with your several Despatches of the 11. and 16. of December last, the 16. of January, the 15. 17. 19. 20. 25. 27. and 29. of February, the 8. 18. 19. and 23. of March.1
It is probable the Committee of foreign Affairs may have acknowledged the Receipt of these Despatches, and several Duplicates which have been also received.2
I presume they have given you particular Intelligence of all material Occurancies in America since your Departure, it being properly in their Department, and a Business which my present Engagements will by no Means permit me to undertake in so ample a Manner as is necessary, or would be agreeable to your Wishes.
Before this comes to hand you will have received the disagreeable Intelligence of the Capitulation and Surrender of Charles Town, in which the Brave General Lincoln with about two thousand Continental Troops (Officers included) were made Prisoners.
On the Evening of the 10th Instant the French Squadron under the Command of the Chevalier de Ternay arrived off New Port. The Compte de Rochambault has since landed his Troops on Connanicut.3
Three Days after their Arrival Admiral Graves with a British Squadron arrived at New-York, and being joined by the Ships there soon put to Sea; and we have just received Advice that Graves with his whole Squadron since their Junction is cruizing of New Port. The exact Number and Strength of his Squadron I cannot learn, but it is thought equal if not superior to Ternays.
Without a decisive Superiority of naval Strength in these Seas we cannot expect to expell the Enemy from New York this Campaign where we have been plagued with them long enough.
We have been waiting some Time in anxious Expectation of Intel• { 60 } ligence from the West Indies, but by the latest Intelligence from there, nothing Capital had been done as late as the 15th Instant.
I have the Pleasure to inform you that the State of Massachusetts have established their Constitution, a desirable and important Event.
I have the Honor to be with every Sentiment of Respect sir your most obedient servant
[signed] Saml. Huntington
Dupl (MHi: John Adams, Embassy MSS, 1779–1785); endorsed by Francis Dana: “President Huntington's Letter of July 30th. 1780.”
1. The letters of 11 and 16 Dec. 1779 had reached Congress on 27 March; that of 16 Jan. 1780 on 7 April; those of 15, 17, 19, 20, 25, 27, and 29 Feb. on 15 May; those of 8 (first letter), 18, and 19 March on 22 July; and that of 23 March on 24 July (JCC, 16:288, 335; 17:428, 653, 654). Huntington neglected to mention that JA's second letter of 3 April and three letters of 4 April had arrived on 10 July (same, 17:595).
2. In fact, this was the first letter from an official source acknowledging the receipt of any of JA's letters to Congress written since his return to Europe. A letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 11 July (not printed, but see JA's commission to negotiate a Dutch loan, [20 June], and note 1, above) had served merely as a covering letter for JA's commission.
3. Conanicut Island at the mouth of Narragansett Bay, opposite Newport, R.I.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0027

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-31

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Appleton sets off to morrow for Holland, and I shall deliver this enclosing a copy of a letter to you, from the Comte De Vergennes of the 29th. instant, to his care. It was received yesterday. I thought it most adviseable to keep the original. I wrote to Mr. Genet acquainting him of the receipt of the letter, of your departure for Holland, and that I shou'd forward that, or any others which might be sent here, to you.1
I hope you, master John, and mon Fils2 have had a pleasant tour to Brussels, where I expect you will choose to reside some time. I shall hope for the pleasure of hearing from you, as often as will suit the convenience of one, who ought to consider himself travelling, in part at least, for relaxation from business, and in quest of better health.
Not one word of news of any sort to communicate. No arrivals from America—I have received one vol: of your Treaties, together with a few pamphlets, and a Letter supposed to be written by W.S.C.3, accompanied with a short one conjectured to be from a friend now near at hand.4 These I shall not forward to you, as it does not appear necessary to be done.
This moment has come to hand the translation of Governour { 61 } Pownal's pamphlets, and a letter to you from the Translator.5 As I know not your particular intention concerning this Translation, whether you wou'd wish to print it in Holland or not, and having an opportunity to send it to you without expence, I commit them likewise to the care of Mr. Appleton, and shall desire him, if you shou'd have left Brussels at his Arrival, to place them in the hands of Mr. Jennings, there to wait your further direction, unless Mr. Jennings shou'd think it adviseable for Mr. Appleton to carry them on to Amsterdam, where he may probably meet you, or if not, lodge them in the hands of Messrs. de Neufville and Son of that place, for you. For this purpose they will be put up separately. A billet to Mr. Thaxter from the Translator is also sent with his letter; the purpose of which you will readily perceive.
Capt: Manly writes you from Mill Prison; his principal object seems to be to procure some money to enable him to bribe his keepers, but poor Man, he has applied to the wrong house for that precious mettal—He mentions the arrival of Capt: Cuningham in that prison, sick, but on the Recovery.6
Mr. Williams writes “I have ordered your Bordeaux, so you will soon have some excellent wine to give your friends. I have been so particular in this, that if you only say, it is as good as any body has, I shall be disappointed, I mean it to be better. The white wine I am fining, and in a few days it shall be ready” &c.7 This sounds well, I wish the wine may taste accordingly.
Again, this moment, another Letter has arrived, dated Hammersmith 25th. July, 80. and sign'd T. Williamson. Among other things, the writer, says, “The report now is, that only 7. of the Spanish Ships remained with Guichen, the other 5 having gone to Leeward with the Trade. This however gives such a decided superiority over Rodney, that we are all much in the dumps and shou'd be exceedingly so, were it not for several peices of good news of yesterday and to day. A large baltic fleet which had been thought in great danger, from several captures being made in the No. Seas, have got safe into the River, and sundry other ports—The Jamaica Fleet, upwards of 150 sail, are all arrived without the Loss of a Ship.” “This day an Express arrived from India with the account of the taking of Puna the Capital of the Marrattas, in which there were considerable riches.” The reflexion of the writer is “Thus England is loosing in the West Indies, what she seems getting but a small compensation for in the East Indies.” He adds, “Not a word from America, and the furor about other Colonies coming in, seems much abated.” This is undoubtedly { 62 } W.S.C.8 For my own part, if it is true; that Solano has detached 5 Ships to the Leeward, I expect Walsingham will join Rodney time enough to prevent any thing of consequence being done in that quarter—Graves follows so close in another Course, that the same imbecility of operations will take place there—Geary with a fleet vastly inferiour to his Enemies, by seizing upon the occasion, has had the honor of parading before Brest, and besides, has not only captured the greater part of the St. Domingo Fleet (14 out of 25) but has completely covered the great and invaluable Jamaica Fleet. He may now, as he doubtless will, retire before the mightier combined Fleets, without loss of honor: And all Europe will perhaps in the End, see them after having paraded up and down the Channel, during the continuance of the gentle Zephyrs, returning into port as triumphantly as they did the last year—When the English will again put to Sea; and strike some brilliant stroke or other. I look for Success only from the Spaniards in the Floridas, notwithstanding the mighty preparations of this Year—It may be said of Fortune as of the Law, Vigilantibus non dormientibus.9 I am, dear Sir, with the greatest Respect and Esteem, your much obliged friend and very humble Servant
[signed] FRA Dana
1. The copy of Vergennes' letter of 29 July (above) enclosed by Dana is with the recipient's copy of that letter in the Adams Papers. Dana's account of his letter of 30 July to Edmé Jacques Genet (DLC: Genet Papers) is accurate, but it also commented on a piece in the Gazette de France of 28 July concerning events at Charleston following its surrender.
2. That is, CA.
3. This letter is probably from Thomas Digges of 17 July (above), but the volume of “Treaties” and the other material is mentioned in Digges' letter of 12 July, which JA received on the 24th (above).
4. Probably Edmund Jenings' letter of 27 July (above), although with its enclosures it was quite lengthy. Dana assumed that JA would see Jenings at Brussels.
5. M. Addenet's letter of 30 July (above). See note 1 of that letter for Addenet's letter of 31 July to John Thaxter, mentioned later in this paragraph.
6. Capt. John Manley's letter of 16 July (Adams Papers) was enclosed in Jonathan Williams' letter of 25 July (see note 7). Manley, captain of the privateer Jason, was captured in Sept. 1779 and was finally exchanged in 1781 (DAB; Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 127). Manley recounted his capture and harsh treatment by his captors, including a period in the black hole after an escape attempt, and requested a small sum of money from JA. At the end of the letter, he briefly mentioned Capt. Gustavus Conyngham's arrival at Mill Prison at Plymouth.
7. The quotation is from the second paragraph of Williams' letter of 25 July (Adams Papers). The letter also commented on the situation of John Manley and Gustavus Conyngham at Mill Prison, French and Spanish naval movements, and the transportation of the wine to Paris.
8. The passages included by Dana are taken almost verbatim from Thomas Digges' letter of 25 July (Adams Papers), which was a digest of reports appearing in various London newspapers between 21 and 25 July. See, for example, the London Courant.
9. In law the complete phrase is “vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt” or, the law aids those who are vigilant, not those who sleep on their rights.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0028

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-01

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have just received four letters from Nantes, one from Mr. Johnson, two from Mr. Williams, and one from Mr. Watson.1 They are short, and I will give you the substance of them in a few words. Mr. de Francey (Agent for Beaumarch) arrived at Nantes on the evening of the 28th. ultimo from, one letter says, Maryland, and another, Virginia, which he left on the 14th. of June, in the Fier Roderigue which is arrived at the Isle of Rhé, after seeing her Convoy of 18 Sail safe in the River of Bordeaux, except the Jane who foundered at Sea, a Ship with <370> 320 Hdds. of Tobacco. The Fier Roderigue took two rich prizes, “one a ship with 370 Hdds. Tobacco from the West Indies for London, the other a West India Man”—Mr. Dean came passenger in the Roderigue, and is gone to Bordeaux.2 One letter says “Our people are not in that state of despondency on account of the loss of Charlestown, as has been represented, they are no doubt sorry for it, but they are as firm as ever, and will always support the Cause.” Another says, “The People were much deprest at the capture of Charlestown, but they have recovered, and are determined to perish or succeed in the support of their Liberty.” They had heard nothing of De Ternay—A vessel is said to be chased on shore near Rochelle, and to have left New London the 28th. of June, they had not then heard any thing of De Ternay there. No letters having come to Town can give no particulars. Thus much from these Letters. I shall go to Passy in the morning to see if there are letters for us, or any further intelligence. I am Dear Sir with much esteem and respect your friend and humble Servant
[signed] FRA Dana
P.S. Mr. Austin has receivd an answer to his memorial from Monsr. De Sartine who tells him, among other things, that His Majesty's Ships are well supplied with Masts, but that this matter is in Comte Vergennes Department.3
1. Of the four letters mentioned by Dana, only that from Elkanah Watson can be tentatively identified, but, since Dana did not forward them to JA, it is possible that all four letters have been lost. In his letter of 27 July (Adams Papers), Watson requested information on British naval movements that could be sent on to John Brown, the Providence merchant, to aid in the deployment of his privateers. Dana, however, does not quote from that letter so its identification remains conjectural. Jonathan Williams' last known letter was that of 25 July, but Dana dealt with that letter and its enclosure in his letter of 31 July (above). No letter from Joshua Johnson has been found, but Edmund Jenings' account of a letter received from Johnson in his letter of 5 Aug. (below) makes it likely that { 64 } the information given later in this letter concerning the arrival of the Fier Roderigue was taken from Johnson's letter.
2. J. B. L. Theveneau de Francy, Beaumarchais' agent in the United States, and Silas Deane, whom JA had replaced as Commissioner in 1778, were fellow passengers on the Fier Roderigue (Deane Papers, 4:171, 175–176). Deane was returning to Europe to reconcile his complex financial dealings as Commissioner and finally settle his accounts with Congress. For Deane's departure from France in 1778, his subsequent activities in America, and JA's unfavorable opinion of him, see the index to this volume as well as those to volumes 6 and 8.
3. For Austin's memorial of 22 July addressed to Vergennes, see Committee of Mass. General Court to JA and Dana, 22 July, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0029-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-03

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai la Satisfaction de pouvoir vous informer, qu'il est arrivé un Courier des Plenipotentiaires de la Republique à Petersbourg, avec des Dépeches qui ôtent tout prétexte plausible aux temporiseurs, pour reculer l'accession de cette republique à la neutralité armée; et qu'il y a grande apparence que le Portugal, le Roi de P., et l'Empereur s'y joindront aussi. Il est apparent que tout cela a pour but, non seulement de procurer aux nations un Code maritime respecté et salutaire à tous pour l'avenir, mais aussi la paix entre les puissances belligérantes, peut-être avant le printemps prochain. Je Suis avec un grand respect, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0029-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-03

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure to inform you that a courier from the republic's plenipotentiaries at St. Petersburg has arrived with dispatches that remove any plausible pretext for the temporizers to delay the accession of the republic to the armed neutrality and indicate the likelihood that Portugal, the King of Prussia, and the Emperor will also join. It is apparent that the purpose of all this is not only to procure for all the nations a respected and salutary maritime code for the future, but also to bring peace between the belligerents, perhaps before next spring. I am, with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); directed to: “Amsterdam A Son Exc. Mr. J. Adams, M. P. des E. U.”
1. On 3 Aug., JA and his party were just leaving Brussels; the address to this letter indicates that Dumas was aware that JA had left Paris for Amsterdam. Dumas first met JA at The Hague upon his arrival there on 7 Aug. (JQA, Diary, 1:39, 46).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0030

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-05

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have followed your Excellence to this Town in hopes of seeing you before your departure.1 I should follow you stil, if I could flatter myself with having the pleasure of overtaking you. However having met with a Gentleman on my route, who has promised to find you out if Possible at Rotterdam I shall return tomorrow to Brussels.
The End of my Journey was to inform your Excellency, that I received yesterday a Letter from Mr. Johnson,2 which informd me that the Fier Roderigue is arrivd at Bourdeaux from Virginia and has convoyed 17 Ships safely in. She took two Ships on her passage, one of 370 HHds. of Tobacco and the other a West Indiaman. She left Virginia the 14th of June, and says that the people were much struck with the Capture of Charles Town at first but they have recovered themselves and are perfectly United. A Monsr. Francis3 is arrivd and as Mr. Deane. A Ship from New London is run ashore at New Rochefort. She left the Country the 28th of June—and her Letters were not come up when Mr. Johnson wrote. Nothing had been heard of D Estaing [i.e. Ternay] the 14 of June. It was imagind that He was gone to Quebec. Johnson has promised to write again if there is any thing perticular which I shall Communicate Immediately to your Excellence. It is said the French have lost an East Indiaman—it is said that D Estaing has been overturnd in his chaise on his Route the other side of Bourdeuax.
I Hope your Excellency will excuse the Paper and writing. I write without Eyes and on such paper, as I can get. I beg my little Friends woud accept my best wishes for their Health and Happiness.
I am Sir your Excellencys Most faithful & Obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
P.S. The Gentleman, who Charges Himself with this is of Holland and now resides at Brussells is of Scoth Extraction. His Name is Douglas—He is Sensible and Agreable—has been in the East Indias, and having got wherewithal is contentd to live retird, without mixing further in the wold.
1. By 5 Aug.JA and his party had reached Rotterdam (JQA, Diary, 1:40).
2. For the letter from Joshua Johnson, see also Francis Dana's letter of 1 Aug. (above).
3. J. B. L. Theveneau de Francy; see Francis Dana's letter of 1 Aug., and note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0031

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-08-06

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Letter from Antwerp, of the 5th. which I received last night by Mr. Douglas, was very agreable. The News it contains is very good. But there must be Letters and Papers, with all the Particulars, by such a Number of Vessells. The arrival of all these Vessells is a great Event to the French and American Commerce, and I hope in Time will convince both Parties of the importance of it, and of the proper Method of conducting it. A few Convoys, would do more good than many great Fleets have done, and intercepting a few of the Ennemies Fleets of Merchantmen would affect them and Us too more than, many drawn Battles, tho these, will do the Business in the End.
I have been to hear a sensible English sermon,1 and a very good Prayer, excepting a <Prayer> very unnecessary <Prayer> Petition for a certain King, that he might have Health and long Life and that his Ennemies might not prevail against him, instead of joining in which I put up, an Ejaculation, which was very sincere that he might be brought to Consideration and Repentance and to do Justice to his Ennemies, and to all the World.
Tomorrow or at farthest next morning I go to the Hague. Direct your Letters, to be left with Mr. Dumas, at the Hague—and Mr. De la Neuffeville at Amsterdam. Compliments to the Circle at Brussells.
Yours.
The two young Gentlemen desire me to send their duty, to Mr. Jennings.2
1. For brief accounts of the sermon, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:445; JQA, Diary, 1:41.
2. This sentence was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0032

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-07

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Having receivd a Letter from Nantes, datd the 29th Ultimo,1 I followed your Excellency to Antwerp to impart the Contents thereof, but on my Arrival there on Friday, I found you had quitted the Town early in the morning. I was much baulked that I was deprived of a few hours conversation; but shoud have followed your Excellency to Rotterdam, had I not been Apprehensive that the same dispatch with which you left One City, might have carried you from the other, and { 67 } had I not met, at the same time, with a <Scotch> Dutch Gentleman of the Name of Douglas, who promised to Use his best Endeavours to deliver into your Excellencys Hand any Letter, I might think proper to entrust Him with or return it to me here.
I accordingly wrote One, which informed your Excellency that the Fier Rodorigue saild from Virginia the 14th. of June and had convoyed 17 Ships to Bordeaux, that She had taken two Ships, one loaded with 370 HHds. of Tobacco and the other a West Indiaman. That Mr. Deane and Mr. Francis arrivd in her, that No News was then had of Monsr. de Ternay, who it was imagind was gone to Quebec, that the people of the States had recovered of their Uneasiness at the loss of Charles Town and were firmly united and that a Ship, which left New London the 28th of June was driven Ashore at Rochelle. Her Letters were Supposed to be Safe, but were not come up. I Know not, Sir, whether this letter has come to hand, and therefore I make this recapitulation.
I have now to inform your Excellency that a Mr. Appleton of Boston called on me yesterday Morning with Letters, delivered to Him by Mr. Dana for your Excellency. He was instructed to leave one of them with me and convey the others to your Excellency.2 On the Whole, I thought it more Adviseable as the Gentleman canot fail meeting with your Excellency, That He shoud take the Charge of all, and deliver them into your own hands, especially as I propose going next Wednesday to Boulogne for my Cloaths left there last Summer. I Shall be back again in a fortnight. I have begged Mr. Appleton to make particular Enquiries for your Excellency at Rotterdam, the Hague, and Leyden and of Monsr. de Neufville at <>Rotterdam> Amsterdam. He Himself proposes to go to One Car or Kaars in the last Mentioned Town, where it is probably He may be heard of. He leaves this place this Morning.
I wish your Excellency a pleasant Tour to yourself and an Advantageous One to our Country. You will find Commodore Gillon in Holland. He has made use of and altho not printd the Paper sent Him, of which your Excellency has a Copy.3
I have a Letter from London of an Old date, which Informs me, that Mr. Hollis proposes to send me One of the Copies of the Book, He has published relative to his late Friend, so that your Excellency will have an Opportunity of seeing it.4 I am told it is a fine publication in itself. It will certainly be most Valuable to me on many Accounts.
Seeing your Excellencys Coach at Antwerp I opened the door, and found a Sword a travelling Book and Some other Things, which I had { 68 } put in the Box, under the seal, and conveyd into the Hostesses Apartment for Safety. Mr. Appleton will give you a pair of Scisors, which I took with me for fear, they might be purloind.
I am Sorry your Excellency did not take with you No Maps, I thank your Excellency for the Books, in which I find you have inserted my Name. I have read the first Volume and find in it a short but Excellent description of the Germanic Government and character of Charles the 5th. and the whole made Useful to such as have a general Idea of the Times treated of.5
The Letter to Mr. Wythe and the Report of the Convention are receivd in England.
I beg to be rememberd to the Young Gentlemen in the most friendly Manner.
I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys Most faithful & Obedient Humble servt.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Jennings. Aug. 7. 1780.”
1. From Joshua Johnson, quoted by Jenings here and in his letter of 5 Aug. (above).
2. This was the letter from M. Addenet of 30 July (above) and his French translation of JA's reworking of Thomas Pownall's Memorial. See Francis Dana's letter of 31 July (above).
3. This is probably Jenings' proposed newspaper piece enclosed with his letter of 27 July and summarized in note 3 to that letter (above).
4. This was the two-volume work by Francis Blackburne, Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, London, 1780. The Memoirs were done under the patronage of Thomas Brand Hollis as a memorial to his friend Thomas Hollis, antiquary, collector, benefactor of Harvard College, and partisan of the American cause. Thomas Brand Hollis, who had taken Hollis' name upon inheriting his estate in 1774, befriended the Adamses during their residence in England from 1785 to 1788 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:188).
5. The books given to Jenings by JA have not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0033

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-08-14

To the President of Congress, No. 1

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

On the twenty seventh of July. I set out from Paris on a Journey to Amsterdam. I left Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter at Paris, who will regularly transmit to Congress whatever shall occur of Importance to the United States to know—they will also inclose all the English, French and Dutch Gazettes.
They are exerting themselves in this Republick, to mann their Ships of War, in which they have great Success, as they give very great premiums for Seamen, as far as sixty Ducats a Man.
The Russian Men of War are arrived and anchored in sight of the { 69 } Texell, and several of their Officers have been ashore in this City. The Plenipotentiaries are gone to Petersbourg. Sweeden and Denmark have adopted the Declaration of Russia. It is whispered that the Dutch Ministers to the Congress at Petersbourg are shackled with instructions, to insist on a Warranty of their Possessions in the East and West Indies, previous to their acceding to the Confederation of the Maritime Powers, but this Instruction produced a protest of the City of Amsterdam, with such reasons against it, that it is thought the opposite Party will not venture to take upon themselves the Consequences of a refusal to join in the Confederation so that it is expected the Treaty will take place.2
It is universally considered, as a great misfortune to Us, by all whom I converse with here, that Mr. Laurens is not arrived. Some prudent Person, authorised by Congress, is earnestly desired here. He would not be publickly recieved, at least until the States shall take a decided part with the other Maritime Powers against England: This Case however may soon happen: But, there is not in Europe a better Station to collect Intelligence from France, Spain, England, Germany, and all the Northern Parts; nor a better Situation from whence to circulate Intelligence, through all parts of Europe, than this. And it may be depended on, that our Cause has never suffered from any thing more, than from the failure of giving and recieving Intelligence. A Minister here from Congress would be considered as the Centre of Communication between America and this and many other Parts of Europe: and I have since my Arrival here been more convinced than ever, that Congress might open a considerable Loan here, and be supplied from hence with Stores, and with Cloathing, and at the same time be gradually extending the Commerce between this Country and America to the great Advantage of both.
I have had a great deal of Conversation upon the Subject of a Loan and shall have more. I am sure, that a Loan might be obtained, by any one, with Powers from Congress. But there are no Powers as yet arrived in Europe, that will ever succeed here.
We are still in daily hope and expectation that Mr. Laurens will arrive, but should he decline to come, or in Case any Accident has befallen him, I most earnestly recommend to Congress, the appointment of some other Gentleman, with a proper Commission, with full powers, and especially to borrow Money, and to sign proper promissory Notes for the payment of it.
The King of Sweeden is at Spa, from whence in the Letter of the thirtieth of July the public are informed,
{ 70 }
That his Majesty, who the first, during the present Maritime War, has given Validity to the Rights of Neuters, by means of the Declaration, which he caused to be made the last year, to the belligerent Powers, and by means of the protection, which he granted from that time to the Commerce and the Navigation of his Subjects, in sending out from his Ports a numerous Squadron, has manifested the Consistency of his Sentiments and Disposition in this respect, by a new Declaration, lately made to the Courts of Madrid, Versailles and London, an authentic Copy of which here follows, viz.3
From the Commencement of the present War, the King has taken Care to make known his fashion of thinking, to all Europe: he has prescribed to himself a perfect Neutrality, he has discharged the Duties of it, with a scrupulous exactness: he has thought himself intituled to enjoy in Consequence of it, the Rights attached to the quality of a Sovereign absolutely neuter. Notwithstanding, his trading Subjects have been obliged to demand his protection; and his Majesty has found himself under a necessity of granting it to them.
To fulfil this Object, the King caused to be armed the last year, a certain number of Vessels: one part of them, he employed upon the Coasts of his Kingdom; and the other has served to convoy the Sweedish Merchant Vessels, in the different Seas, where the Commerce of his Subjects called them to navigate: he communicated these Measures to the belligerent Powers; and he prepared himself to continue them, in the Course of the present Year, when other Courts, which had equally adopted a Neutrality, communicated to him the dispositions which they had made, conformable to those of the King, and tending to the same End. The Empress of Russia caused to be presented a declaration to the Courts of London, Versailles and Madrid, by which She informed them of the Resolution She had taken, to defend the Commerce of her Subjects, and the universal Rights of Neutral Nations. This Declaration was founded upon principles so just, that it did not appear possible to call them in question. The King has found them entirely conformable to his own Cause, to the Treaty concluded in 1666, between Sweeden and England, and to that between Sweeden and France; and his Majesty has not been able to excuse himself from acknowledging and adopting these same principles, not only with regard to the Powers, with whom the said Treaties are in force, but also with relation to those who are already involved in the present War, or who may become so in the sequel, and with whom the King has no Treaty to appeal to. It is the universal Law; and in default of particular Engagements, this { 71 } becomes obligatory upon all Nations. In Consequence of which the King declares, once more, that he will observe in future, the same Neutrality, and with the same Exactness, which he has observed heretofore. He will forbid his Subjects, under severe Penalties, to deviate in any manner whatsoever, from the Duties, which a similar Neutrality imposes; but he will protect their lawful Commerce by all means possible, when they shall conduct it conformably to the principles abovementioned.
From Hamborough the first of August, We have the following Article viz.4
All Nations, and all Commercial Cities being interested, in the Liberty of the Seas, and the Safety of Navigation attacked and violated in our days, in a manner whereof History furnishes few Examples, We have not learnt here, with less joy than in the rest of Europe, (if We except perhaps Great Britain) the generous Resolution, which the three Powers of the North have taken, to protect by an armed Neutrality, the Commerce of their Subjects, and at the same time the Rights of all Nations, Rights immemorial, which Honour and Justice alone ought to cause to be respected, without having occassion to recur to the Sanction of Treaties. The Court of Denmark has adopted these principles into the declaration which after the example of Russia, She has made to the belligerent Powers, and which is concieved in these Terms, viz
“If a Neutrality the most exact and the most perfect, with a Navigation the most regular and an inviolable respect for Treaties, had been sufficient to place the freedom of Commerce of the Subjects of the King of Denmark and Norway in a state of Safety from those misfortunes, which ought to be unknown to Nations, who are at Peace, and who are free and independent, it would not be necessary to take new Measures, to insure them this liberty, to which they have a Right the most incontestible.
The King of Denmark has always founded his Glory and his Grandeur, upon the Esteem and the Confidence of other People: he has made it a Law to himself, from the Commencement of his Reign, to manifest to all the Powers his friends, a Conduct the most capable of convincing them of his pacific Sentiments and of his sincere desire to contribute to the general prosperity of Europe. His proceedings the most uniform, and which nothing can conceal, are a proof of this. He has not hitherto addressed himself, but to the belligerent Powers themselves to obtain the Redress of his Grievances; and he has never failed of mediation in his demands, nor of gratitude, when they have { 72 } had the success which they ought to have. But the neutral Navigation has been too often molested, and the most innocent Commerce of his Subjects too frequently disturbed, for the King not to think himself obliged to take at present, measures proper to assure to himself, and to his Allies, the safety of Commerce and Navigation, and the maintenance of the indispensable Rights of Liberty and Independence. If the duties of Neutrality are sacred; if the Law of Nations has also its Decrees adopted by all impartial Nations, established by Custom, and founded in Equity and Reason, an independent and neutral Nation does not lose by the War of another, the Rights which it had before that War, because that Peace continues for her; with all the belligerent People, without recieving, and without having to follow, the Laws of any of them. She is authorized to make, in all places (the Contraband excepted) the Traffic which She would have a Right to make, if Peace existed in all Europe, as it exists for her. The King pretends to nothing beyond that which Neutrality intitles him to. Such is his Rule, and that of his People, and his Majesty not being able to avow the principle, that a belligerent Nation, has a right to interrupt the Commerce of his States, has thought it a duty which he owed to himself and to his People, faithful observers of his Regulations, and to the Powers at War themselves, to lay open to them the following principles which he has always had, and which he will always avow and maintain in Concert with her Majesty the Empress of all the Russias, whose Sentiments he acknowledges to be entirely conformable to his own.
1. That neutral Vessels may navigate freely, from Port to Port and upon the Coasts of Nations at War.
2. That the effects belonging to the Subjects of the Powers at War, may be free upon neutral Vessels, excepting merchandizes of Contraband.
3. That nothing be understood by this Denomination of Contraband, but that which is expressly defined as such in the third Article of the Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain in the Year 1770, and in the twenty sixth and twenty seventh Articles of his Treaty of Commerce with France in the Year 1742 and the King will equally avow, that which is fixed in these Articles, towards the Powers with which he has no Treaty.
4. That We should consider as a Port blocked, that into which no Vessel can enter without an evident danger, by reason of Ships of War Stationed to form very near an effectual blockade.
5. That these principles serve as a Rule, in all proceedings: and { 73 } that Justice be rendered with dispatch, and according to the documents of the Sea, conformably to Treaties and to received Usages.
His Majesty does not hesitate to declare, that he will maintain these principles as well as the Honour of his flag, and the Liberty and Independence of Commerce and of the Navigation of his Subjects; and it is to this End, that he has caused to be armed a part of his fleet, although he desires to preserve with all the Powers at War, not only the good Intelligence, but even all the Intimacy which a Neutrality can admit. The King will not deviate from this, without being forced: he knows the duties and the Obligations of it. He respects them as much as his Treaties, and desires nothing but to maintain them. His Majesty is also persuaded that the belligerent Powers will do justice to these motives: that they will be as far as he is himself, from every thing, which oppresses the natural Liberty of Men, and that they will give to their Admiralties and to their Officers, orders conformable to the principles here announced, which evidently tend to the prosperity and the Interest of all Europe.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 231–237); docketed: “No. 101 John Adams Aug. 14. 1780 Recd. Jany 29. 1781 The declarations of Sweden & Norway for an armed neutrality.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation by Thaxter: “No. 1.” This is the first letter recorded in Lb/JA/13 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 101). For information regarding this Letterbook, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and His Letterbooks” (above). Although Congress designated this letter as “No. 101,” the editors will continue to follow the numbering as indicated in the Letterbooks, but see note 1.
1. A second letter of this date to the president of Congress, with the text and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 223–229) is designated a “Duplicate,” dated “Paris August 14th. 1780,” and docketed: “No. 100 John Adams Paris. Aug. 14. 1780 Read Decr. 26.” A Letterbook copy in John Thaxter's hand is the final letter recorded in Lb/JA/12 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 100) and bears the notations by Thaxter: “No. 100” and “NB. Sept. 12th. 1780. This day delivered to Mr. Dana to convey to Amsterdam Duplicates of Nos. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99 and the original of No. 100.” This letter has not been printed because its text consists of English translations of the same Danish and Swedish declarations found in JA's letter from Amsterdam. The translations, however, are from a different source from those in the Amsterdam letter and likely represent a coincidental effort by Thaxter and Dana to collect useful intelligence for Congress in JA's absence. Upon finishing the original, duplicate, and Letterbook copies of the letter, Thaxter dispatched the duplicate and sent JA the original for his signature.
2. JA's account of the instructions given to the Dutch plenipotentiaries is inaccurate. In a resolution adopted on 29 June, Amsterdam demanded that any Dutch accession to the armed neutrality be predicated on a guarantee of Dutch overseas possessions. The instructions given to the negotiators contained such a provision, but when it became clear that Russia would not agree to such a commitment under any circumstances, it was { 74 } dropped (Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 146–150; De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 231–232).
3. This introductory paragraph was not included in the letter of this date from Paris (see note 1); it introduces the Swedish declaration as printed in the Gazette de Leyde of 4 Aug., indicating that that paper may have been JA's source. The Swedish declaration of 21 July was widely printed, both in continental Europe and in England; see, for example, the English translation in the London Courant of 12 August.
4. The following declaration of 8 July, appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 8 Aug., and in the London newspapers of the 12th; see the London Courant of that date.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0034

Author: Hartley, David
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-14

From David Hartley

[salute] Dear Sir

I take the liberty to introduce to your acquaintance my friend and relation Mr. Saml. Hartley. Some business carries him to Paris and he is desirous of that opportunity of being made known to you. Give me leave at the same time to tell you on my own account that I wish not to lose any occasion of expressing my personal respects to you. I heartily wish likewise that any fortunate events might bring us together in the negotiation of public and universal peace. All my political thoughts and views are comprised in that one word Peace. I understand that that is the object of your Appointment and a most honorable one it is. I heartily wish success to it and in my limited situation I should be happy to assist and to Concur in that end. War cannot last for ever I will not therefore despair. Let peace and friendship return hand in hand together.
I am Dear Sir with the greatest respect Your most obedt. Servt.
[signed] D Hartley

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0035

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-08-17

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your Letter of the 1. of this month and the Packetts you Sent with it, by Mr. Appleton. The arrival of the Convoy, at Bourdeaux is a fortunate Circumstance for Commerce: but I want to know the News and whether any of those Vessells were upon public Account, and whether any thing is sent to Us.
I have taken a cursory View of Brussells, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Delft, the Hague, Leyden, and Amsterdam. They are Cities very well worth Seeing. But the Air of this Country is not so Salubrious, as that of France.
{ 75 }
There are Some Americans here, particularly Mr. Davis1 a Son of Soloman who left Boston the 20 of June, and the Chev. de Ternay was not arrived, So that the Account from London is premature.2
Manleys Letter, I wish you would answer and show to Dr. Franklin. How much money does he want? I would run a Risque to let him and Cunningham have a little if the Dr. declines.
I expect Soon to get into a Way of receiving the Papers, but the Winds have been So long contrary, that nothing has come from London except Some Stockjobbers expresses. Here is a great Body of Jews who are very busy in the English Stocks. If America would establish Funds, and a Stockjobbing System, she would Soon make a Figure among the Israelites. But this Kind of Bubbles, I hope she will avoid.
There are many respectable People here, who profess a Regard for America: but I hear many curious Doctrines and Prophecies among the Politicians. One set Says America will quit France; another that France and Spain, will desert America, a third that Spain will desert France, and America, a fourth, that America has the Interest of allmost all Europe against her, a Fifth that America, will become the great manufacturing Country, and thus distress Europe, a Sixth that America will become a military and naval Power, which will be terrible to Europe.
In short I never heard So many crude Speculations, in my Life. Recommend me to one of our Town meeting orators, for sound Judgment and true foresight, in preference to the learned and ingenious, and enlarged and refined, and profound Politicians of this World.
Will you be So good as to present my Compliments and Thanks to Mr. Addenet, and ask him what Compensation I must make him, for all the Trouble I have given him?
My Love to Mr. Thaxter, and tell him to write me.
I am &c.
Direct to me, chez Mr. Henry Schorn, Amsterdam.3
LbC (Adams Papers). This is the first letter recorded in Lb/JA/14 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 102). For information regarding this Letterbook, see part 2 of the Introduction: “John Adams and His Letterbooks” (above).
1. This was Capt. Edward Davis of the Dolphin. On his return voyage he was entrusted with merchandise and letters for AA, but threw the letters overboard when chased by an American privateer flying a British flag as a deception (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:425; 4:14).
2. This account appeared in various London newspapers, including the London Courant, on 3 August. It announced that Ternay's fleet had reached Boston on 20 June and was met by “illuminations and great rejoicings.” In { 76 } fact, the French fleet reached Newport in early July.
3. From mid-Aug. 1780 through Feb. 1781, JA lived at “Agterburgwal by de Hoogstraat” and his landlady was Agatha Marchand Schorn, widow of Henrich Schorn. For an extensive account of his new residence, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:450, 451, 456.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0036

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-08-17

To Thomas Digges

[salute] Sir

I am lodged at Mr. Henry Schorns in this City, to which place you may direct your Letters, for Some Weeks to come. You may continue to Send the Pamphlets to Paris, or Send them here, which you please.
The Bearer will tell you all the News I know. Pray what do the Politicians on your Side the Water think of the Plan of Russia, Sweeden and Denmark? Do they think the dutch will acceed to it? These last have contended an 100 years, for the Principle of free ships free goods; is it thought they will refuse it now? Do they find much comfort in the news from America? Are the People ripe to declare for England? is the Capture of Charlestown the Conquest of the States? Is the American mind wholly Subdued? have they lost Sight of the Pleasures of Self-government? do they begin to despize a free Trade? do they begin to think the ministry, just, honest, wise and good? The Parliament uncorrupt? the nation virtuous? the national Debt no Burthen? the French Alliance a Calamity? how is all this? Is my Lord North prepared with his Ways and means, for next Winter? how many millions are proposed to be borrowed next? What Interest is to be given? Are the Israelites all ready? how is Gibraltar to be Supplied next? how are the Granadas and Floridas to be got back again? do the Politicians See their Way, clear out of the Labyrinth? Is the American Trade quite annihilated with France, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweeden, the West Indies? how fare the Fisheries this year? which gets most the English or Americans? Does the nation Still adore the Administration for their Wisdom, their Sublime plans and their wonderful Success?
LbC (Adams Papers); directed to: “W. S. C.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0037

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-08-17

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I never was more amuzed with political Speculations, than Since my Arrival in this country. Every one has his Prophecy, and every Prophecy is a Paradox. One Says America will give France the Go By. { 77 } Another that France and Spain, will abandon America. A Third that Spain will forsake France and America. A Fourth that America, has the Interest of all Europe against her. A Fifth that She will become the greatest manufacturing Country, and thus ruin Europe. A Sixth that she will become a great and an ambitious military and naval Power, and consequently terrible to Europe.
In short it Seems as if they had Studied for every Impossibility, and agreed to foretell it, as a probable future Event.
I tell the first, that if the K. of France would release America from her Treaty and England would agree to our Independance, on condition we would make an Alliance offensive and defensive with her, America ought not to accept it and would not, because She will in future have no security for Peace even with England, but in her Treaty with France. I ask the Second, whether they think the Connection of America of So little Consequence to France and Spain, that they would lightly give it up? I ask the third, whether the Family compact added to the Connection with America is a trifling Consideration to Spain? To the fifth, that America will not make manufactures enough for her own Consumption, these 1000 years. To the sixth that We love Peace and hate War So much, that We can Scarcely keep up an army necessary to defend ourselves against the greatest of Evils, and to secure our Independance which is the greatest of Blessings; and therefore while We have Land enough to conquer from the Trees, Rocks and wild Beasts We shall never go abroad to trouble other nations.
To the fourth, I Say that their Paradox is like several others, viz. that Bachus and Ceres did mischief to mankind when they invented Wine and Bread, that Arts, Sciences and Civilization have been general Calamities &c.
That upon their Supposition all Europe ought to agree, to bring away the Inhabitants of America, and divide them among the nations of Europe to be maintained as Paupers, leaving America to grow up again, with Trees and Bushes, and to become again the Habitations of Bears and Indians, forbidding all navigation to that quarter of the globe in future. That Mankind in general, however are probably of a different opinion, believing that Columbus as well as Bachus and Ceres did a service to mankind, and that Europe and America will be rich Blessings to each other, the one Supplying a surplus of manufactures, and the other a surplus of raw materials, the Productions of Agriculture.
It is very plain, however, that Speculation and disputation, can do { 78 } Us little service. No Facts are believed, but decisive military Conquests: no Arguments are seriously attended to in Europe but Force. It is to be hoped our Countrymen instead of amusing themselves any longer with delusive dreams of Peace, will bend the whole Force of their Minds to augment their Navy, to find out their own Strength and Resources and to depend upon themselves. I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Augt. 17. 1780.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0038

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-18

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir

Since I had the honor of writing You last, nothing material has occurred excepting the Declarations of the Danish and Sweedish Courts; which are entered in the Book, and will be forwarded by the first Opportunity to America.1 We sent off a few days agone a large Packet of Newspapers and all the letters by a Gentleman who came to Passy from L'Orient, and who returned thither immediately.2 I have wrote Mrs. A. of your health and safe arrival at Brussells, which I hope will render the rest of a prolix Letter less tedious to her in reading.3
Yesterday morning for the second time since your absence we recieved the English Papers. The Occasion of the delay I know not. You have undoubtedly seen them.
In the Gazette of France of this day there is an Extract of a letter from Colonel Laurens late President of Congress, respecting the Surrender of Charlestown—it is as follows.
“La défense qu'a faite le major Général Lincoln, a la tête d'une garnison composée de 1800 hommes de Troupes reglées, et de 1400. tant Miliciens que Mariniers, contre le Chevalier Clinton, commandant 12000 Anglois, et contre l' Amiral Arbuthnot, qui avoit sous ses ordres 10 vaisseaux de guerre, a été terminée par une capituation honorable, après 30 jours d'une canonnade et d'un bombardement continus, tandis que les habitans de la ville éprouvoient le besoin de vivres et de beaucoup de munitions nécessaires: cette défense ne peut que faire le plus grand honneur aux armes Américaines. Jusqu'alors nous avions différé de faire partir des renforts pour la Caroline méridionale; mais il vient de se réunir une Armée nombreuse, qui pourra bientôt aller inquiéter les Anglois dans leur nouvelle prise de { 79 } possession.”4 This Letter is without date, and to whom it was directed the Gazette does not mention—it was brought to Cadiz by the Peggy Capt. Bryan from Wilmington N. Carolina. I have copied this Extract, lest you should not meet with the Paper. The Printers of the foreign Gazettes begin to publish more reputable, and therefore more true Accounts of the firmness of our Country, than they have done of late. Even Monsr. Linguet has found room for one line in honour of American fortitude.
I should be happy to hear of the receipt of the Packet I sent to You by Dr. Plunket,5 and of your Health as well as of that of your two dear Sons to whom I send much Love.
Mr. Dana is well and desires his Respects to You—his Love to Master John, and also to son fils Charles.
I have the honor to be, with the most perfect Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John Thaxter
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Thaxter. ansd. Aug. 30.”; docketed by CFA: “Aug. 7th & 18th 1780.” CFA's docketing refers to this letter and Thaxter's earlier one of 7 Aug. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:388). JA's answer has not been found, but for some indication of its content, see Thaxter's reply of 4 Sept. (same, 3:411).
1. The “Book” referred to by Thaxter is Lb/JA/12 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 100) containing JA's letters to the president of Congress. The Danish and Swedish declarations comprised the final letter, designated “No. 100,” in that Letterbook (to the president of Congress, 14 Aug., No. 1, note 1, above).
2. This was done on 12 Aug., but the person to whom they were entrusted has not been identified (to the president of Congress, 23 July, No. 99, descriptive note, above).
3. The earliest known letter in which Thaxter informed AA of JA's journey to Amsterdam is that of 21 Aug. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:397).
4. No other information concerning this letter, reportedly by Henry Laurens, has been found, but see Francis Dana's letter of 19 Aug. (below). The following is a translation of the extract:
General Lincoln's defense, at the head of a garrison of 1,800 regulars and 1,400 militiamen and sailors against a force composed of 12,000 English troops under Gen. Clinton and 10 warships under Adm. Arbuthnot, has ended in a honorable capitulation after 30 days of continuous cannonading and bombardment during which the inhabitants suffered from lack of food and, more importantly, sufficient munitions. This defense can only bring the greatest honor to American arms. For the moment we have deferred sending reinforcements to South Carolina but eventually a large army will be formed that will greatly disturb the English in their new found possession.
5. Probably a reference to the material sent with Thaxter's letter of 7 Aug. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:388), but Dr. Plunket has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0039

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-19

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I did not expect yesterday when Mr. Thaxter wrote you, that I shou'd have been able to have done myself that honor, by this oppor• { 80 } tunity, as I was much engaged in a particular business. I desired him to send you a transcript of part of a letter in the Gazette de France, said to be written by our worthy friend the late President Laurens; which he tells me he has done. I shall add, least the Gazette shou'd not come to your hands, the account there given from the Captain of the Pacquebot.1
Le Capitaine du Peggy, homme digne de foi, et qui s'est trouvé à Charlestown pendant la plus grande partie du siége de la place, dit de plus que les Anglois ne parviennent à passer la barre, qu'à la faveur d'un vent de S O violent, et qu'ils y perdirent un de leurs plus riches transports, qui étoit un ancien vaisseau de la compagnie des Indes. Il ajoute qu'aprés trois mois de siége, et d'un feu toutjours soutenu, les Américains ne pensèrent à capituler qu'aprés que la troisième ligne de circonvallation formèe, eut amené l'Ennemi à la portée du fusil, et lorsque perdant chaque jour un nombre de citoyens, par les suites funestes d'une petite vérole épedémique, et n'ayant plus pour se soutenir q'un peu de riz, ils ne puvent même conserver la moindre éspérance d'aucun secours. C'est dans cette situation que le Gouverneur Rutledge, et le Conseil, se replièrent dans l'intérieur de la Province, où ils firent tous les efforts pour reunir quelques troupes. Au départ du Capitaine Bryan, un détachement de 4,000 Royalistes, commandés par le General Martin,2 se partoit du côté de la Caroline Septentrionale; mais on sait de ce Capitaine que les Americains, loin d'être découragés par la perte de Charlestown, se disposoient avec la plus grande activité, a mettre obstacle à tous progrès ultérieurs de l'Ennemi, et à se venger de la perte qu'ils venoient de faire.
On the 7th. instant I received, via Amsterdam, a letter from Mr: Hastings of the Post-Office Boston, dated 10th. May: nothing new of course. He says he has sent me a form of our Constitution, but it has not reached me. I learn from several quarters that it is generally approved by the People, and that they will probably ratify it. This makes me more desirous to obtain this Copy. Pray enquire at Amsterdam of every American you meet, whether he had the care of this same letter, and the plan of the Constitution—the Newspapers sent also with it, I have received.
Mr: Gardoqui has drawn a bill upon you for about 900 Liv: in favour of Mr: Grand, which I accepted for you.3
Mr. Dean arrived at Passy about 3 or 4 days since. He has not called here. It is doubtful with me whether he will at all—at least till after your return. If you shou'd see Como: Gillon, please to present my thanks to him for his very obliging letter, and also the letters of { 81 } Introduction which he was so good as to procure for me. If I ever take that route, I shall make use of them.
I am anxious to hear from you, and particularly whether you have received my letter, enclosing a copy of one from the Comte de Vergennes to you.4 It was sent, together with others, by Mr: Appleton who cou'd not have reached Brussels before you left it. I hope master John, and mon fils are well. Please to give my love to them, and believe me to be with much respect and affection Your most obedt: humble Servt.,
[signed] Fra Dana
P.S. Since writing the above Mr: Dean has made me a visit.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Dana. ansd 30. Aug.”; docketed by CFA: “Augt. 19th 1780.”
1. The extract provided by Dana is a continuation of the account from the Gazette de France of 18 Aug. provided by John Thaxter in his letter of 18 Aug. (above). The following is a translation of the extract: The captain of the Peggy, a reliable source who was at Charleston through most of the siege, said that before the English crossed the bar they were met by a violent gale from the southwest that resulted in the loss of one of their most valuable transports, an old East India Company vessel. He added that the Americans considered a capitulation only after three months of siege under constant, sustained fire; after the British had constructed their third line around the town which permitted their guns to bear; when each day a number of citizens fell to a disastrous small pox epidemic; they had nothing to sustain themselves but a little rice; and they could not retain even the slightest hope of relief. It was in this situation that Gov. Rutledge and the council retired to the interior of the province, where they devoted all their efforts to raising some troops. At the departure of Capt. Bryan, a detachment of 4,000 royalists under the command of Gov. Martin set off for the coast of North Carolina, but one learns from the captain that the Americans, far from being discouraged by the loss of Charleston, prepare with the greatest activity to obstruct the further progress of their enemy and to avenge the loss that they have suffered.
2. Josiah Martin, last royal governor of North Carolina, had joined the expedition against Charleston and served under Cornwallis until departing for England in 1781 (DAB).
3. Although stated there in terms of Spanish currency, this may be a reference to the bill for goods sent to AA enclosed in the letter of 10 June from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons (above).
4. This is Dana's letter of 31 July enclosing Vergennes' of 29 July (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0040

Author: Mazzei, Philip
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-19

From Philip Mazzei

[salute] Dear Sir

The inclosed,1 which you will be so Kind as to peruse, seal, and send to its destination, will inform you with my situation, my views, and my wants. Among the last I have thought proper not to mention the money necessary to bear my expences, as they know that I live on what I can raise on my own credit, which cannot honorably continue too long. You see, Sir, in what need I am of information. I wish Mr. Dana had lent me the journals of Congress; they would have { 82 } been of great use. Pray, be at the trouble of sending me a true account of our affairs as soon as you can, that I may be able to satisfy the Grand-Duke,2 which is a point of great consequence. They have no other accounts of American affairs in this Country, but such as they receive from England. A prudent and wise nobleman in this City observed to me, with great reason founded on experience, that “Onesta è sempre La causa di colui che parla solo.”3
The bearer of this is Mr. Celesia, the very person to whom I told you I intended to open my bosom, which I have done with that confidence, which is to be placed in those few beings, who to an exquisite mind join the most excellent heart. He intends to spend about 2 months in Paris, then to come home, where I hope to meet him on my return from Florence. As he is modesty itself, and almost as reserved as you are, I think proper to warn you that you will find in him profound common-sense, and general knowledge. He is an ornament to his Country, and his opinion is highly esteemed. I therefore would have desired the favour of you to furnish him with the best accounts you can relative to our glorious Cause, exclusive of the mutual satisfaction, which I am happy in procuring you both of conversing with each other. If you have an opportunity I wish you will introduce to him our friend Mr. Favi, to whom you will please to give any letters or papers for me, as I don't chuse to trust to the incorruptibleness of clerks in Post-Offices. With my respects to Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxtarr I have the honour to be with respect & esteem, Dr. Sr. Your Excellency's most Obedient & most Humble Servant
[signed] Philip Mazzei
1. The enclosure was likely Mazzei's letter to Thomas Jefferson of this date (from John Thaxter, 23 Sept., below). Mazzei mentions such a letter, which concerned his efforts to raise a loan for Virginia, in his “Representation” of 1784, but the letter has not been found (Jefferson, Papers, 3:557).
2. Presumably Leopold I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, later Leopold II, emperor of Austria.
3. That is, an honest man is a lonely man. For JA's use of this quotation in essentially the same sense as Mazzei does here, see his letter of 4 Oct. to C. W. F. Dumas, note 4 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0041

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-20

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Jenings having gone out of Town, has left in my care a packet for you that came to him last Monday by the Post; by the marks on it, I fancy it has come from Antwerp. You will please to direct, whether it shall be forwarded to you in Holland or kept here 'till your return.
{ 83 }
We have not any certain advices of Monsr. Ternay, but it appears that orders are already sent out to prosecute the War with vigor in N. Carolina and Virginia, the ensuing Fall, Winter and Spring for which purpose Genl. Provost has sail'd, or is now about to sail, on his return to that quarter and I understand is to carry some Frigates to aid their operations on Cape Fear River: If there are any opportunities from where you are, it will be well to put America on her guard against this plan. It is said that the Enemy are sounding the disposition of the house of Bourbon, thro' the medium of Sardinia1 and have thrown out some loose propositions for accommodation; the basis of which is, the sacrifice of Ama. to scotch resentment; thus on all sides they are attempting to divide and of course to accomplish their views against all the parties.2 I wish you an agreeable Journey and with my respects to your Sons, I have the honour to remain with very great regard Dr. Sir Your most Obedt. Hble: Servt.
[signed] W: Lee
P.S. Can't you prevail where you are to have a Convoy sent with some Dutch Merchant Ships to America. Such a measure would be of more utility and more decisive, than a simple acknowlegement of our Independence.
1. For an earlier report on the proposed Sardinian mediation, see JA's letter of 17 April to the president of Congress, No. 46, and note 1 (above).
2. To this point, this paragraph served as the basis for the second paragraph of JA's letter of 23 Aug. to the president of Congress (No. 3, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-08-22

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

At a Time, when the English Emmissaries are filling all Europe with their confidant Assertions, of the Distress of the Americans, the enclosed Papers shew that both at Philadelphia and at Boston, the People are so much at their Ease, As to be busily employed, in the Pursuits of the Arts of Peace, and in laying Foundations for future Improvements in Science and Literature. It is perhaps the first Instance, of Such Tranquility of Mind in the midst of a civil War.
If you think, it worth while to publish these Proceedings they are at your Service.2 I have received also the new Constitution of the Massachusetts Bay. If you think it of any Use to translate it, and publish it it is at your Service.3
If you dont think proper to publish the Proceedings of the Mass. { 84 } in establishing an Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, in electing a number of new members, I should be obliged to you, for the Return of these Papers to me, because I have no other. Please to direct to me, at Mr. Henry Schorns in Amsterdam. I am with great Respect, your humble servant
[signed] John Adams
1. This is JA's first letter to Jean Luzac, publisher of the Gazette de Leyde, and sympathetic friend to the American cause. The Adams Papers Editorial Files contain thirty-six letters exchanged by the two men from this date through 24 May 1805. Particularly during the first months of JA's residence in the Netherlands, he used Luzac to convince Europeans that the United States was determined to achieve independence and to explain the operation of its economic and political systems (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 121–124). In addition to printing the items offered by JA in this letter (see note 2), Luzac proved particularly valuable to JA as the publisher of the French translation of JA's reworking of Pownall's Memorial: Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie, Amsterdam, 1780 (Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], Editorial Note, above).
2. In the Gazette de Leyde of 29 Aug., Luzac, using the text of JA's letter as the basis for his introductory comments, printed the act establishing the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that had been adopted by the General Court on 4 May 1780 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:1194–1196), and the text of a report of the meeting of the American Philosophical Society on 21 Jan. at which George Washington, JA, and numerous others were elected to membership. The newspaper account indicated that the material was taken from a letter dated 15 June at Philadelphia, but no such letter has been found in the Adams Papers, despite Luzac's return of this letter's enclosures with his letter of 31 Aug. (below). A printed copy of the act establishing the American Academy (Evans, No. 16841) is in the Adams Papers. JA copied a small portion of the text from the Gazette into Lb/JA/14 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 102). It appears immediately after his letter of 28 Aug. to Joseph Gridley (not printed, but see Gridley's letter of [post 28 Aug.], below) and is followed by eleven blank pages, indicating that JA probably intended to copy the entire article. For JA's role in the establishment of the American Academy, see vol. 8:233, 260, 270–271; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:225–226. For JA's election to the American Philosophical Society in 1780 and then again in 1793, see Adams Family Correspondence, 3:299–300.
3. For Luzac's publication of the Massachusetts Constitution, see his letter of 14 Sept., and note 3 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0043

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-08-22

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress, No. 2

Amsterdam, 22 Aug. 1780. RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 241–244). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:36–38.
This letter, read by Congress on 20 Nov., began with France's reply of 4 Aug. to the Swedish declaration of 30 July acceding to the armed neutrality, the text of which had formed part of John Adams' letter of 14 Aug. to the president of Congress (No. 1, above). The French court declared that so long as Sweden complied with the law of nations and observed a strict neutrality, France would do nothing that would infringe on neutral rights. The remainder of the letter consisted of five questions posed to Russia by Sweden concerning the operation of the armed neutrality and the Russian reply that had appeared in a London newspaper of 15 Aug. (see London Courant). Following a particular reply to { 85 } each of Sweden's questions, the Russian court declared that by observing a strict neutrality and acting in concert for the protection of their trade, the members of the armed neutrality would further establish the rights of neutrals under the law of nations and force their observance by the belligerent powers. No report by the committee to which this letter and that of 23 Aug. (No. 3, below) were referred (JCC, 18:1072) has been found.
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 241–244). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:36–38.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0044

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-23

To William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have just now received yours of 20. Please to Send the Packet along here to me, chez Mr. Henry Schorn Amsterdam by the first Post.
There are opportunities enough here by which I shall put Ama. on her guard against the plan, you mention.
The Plan of dividing, which they have been constantly pursuing these 15 years, has Succeeded most admirably. It has succeeded So far as to divide all mankind decisively from them excepting Holland and Lisbon, and these keep aloof because they dare not come near. These however are unable to do more than they do. One lends money the other affords a harbour. But it is our Negligence that We dont take away the Money from the former.
Pray, have you heard, that Denmark has made St. Thomas's, a free Port?
I have the Honour to be with most respectful Compliments to the Family and all Frnds, &c.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0045

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-08-23

To the President of Congress, No. 3

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

The Errand of Mr. Cumberland to Madrid, is a mere finesse of the British Ministry, intended to aid the Stockjobbers, keep up the Stocks, aid the Loan and the Canvas for an Election, and lull the belligerent Powers, while they prepare their measures for future Enterprizes and another Campaign. They have carried this Plot so far, that I see some paragraphs in the foreign Papers, which seem intended to counteract it.
The Truth is, according to my Information,1 that Orders are already { 86 } sent out by the British Cabinet to prosecute the War with Vigour in North Carolina and Virginia the ensuing Fall, Winter and Spring. General Prevost is about to sail, with some Frigates to aid their Operations on Cape Fear River. It is said at the same time they are sounding the House of Bourbon, through Sardinia, and have made some loose propositions of Accommodation, the Ground work of which is the Sacrifice of America and there is no doubt, they would yield to France and Spain very great things, to carry their point against America who may depend upon the utmost Exertions of their Malice and Revenge. But all this will not do. France and Spain are now responsible for their Conduct to the rest of Europe, especially the Northern Powers: and besides this, the Seperation between America and England, is an Object of more pressing Importance to France and Spain, than any Concessions, that England can make them. So that America need not be under any Apprehensions of being deserted.
If however, She were to be deserted by all the World, She ought seriously to maintain her Resolution to be free. She has the means within herself. Her greatest misfortune has been, that She has never yet felt her full Strength, nor considered the Extent of her Resources.
I cannot but lament however, that there is no Representation of Congress in this Republick, vested with Powers to borrow Money. This would be a double Advantage. We should avail ourselves of a Loan, and at the same Time lessen the Loan of England. A Loan once begun here, would rapidly increase so as to deprive the English of this Resource. This is the Method, in which Commerce may be extended between the two Republicks, and the political Sentiments and System of Holland changed. I fancy that several very solid Houses here might be persuaded to become Security for the payment of Interest and that Contracts might be made with them to send them Remittances in produce, either to Europe, St. Eustatia, St. Thomas, &c. to enable them to discharge the interest. Might not Merchants be found in Philadelphia, Boston, and many other places, who would enter into Covenant with the public, to remit such a Sum as should be agreed on in the produce of the Country to such Houses here? This Method, if Congress should think it expedient to fall into the way of sending Fleets of Merchantmen under Convoy, would easily succeed. The safe Arrival of the Fier Roderigue, with so large a Number of Vessels under her Care, gives great Encouragement to this Plan.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
{ 87 }
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 245–247); docketed: “No. 103 John Adams Aug 23. 1780 Recd. Jany 29. 1781 Errand of Mr Cumberland to Court of Spain Design of the British to prosecute the war. Sending troops under Prevost agt. No Carolina.” LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “Recd. in congress. Nov. 20.” The original, signed copy of this letter, presumably in JA's hand, has not been found although the JCC (18:1072) indicates that it was received on 20 Nov. and referred to committee.
1. JA's source for this and the following two sentences is William Lee's letter of 20 Aug. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0046

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-08-24

To the President of Congress, No. 4

[salute] Sir

I have only time by this Vessell to inclose the declarations of Sweeden and Denmark;1 but the chance of her going safe is so small that I should not send any thing very material, if I had more time. I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “recd in congress Decr. 3.” According to the Journal of Congress, this letter was read on 4 Dec. (JCC, 18:1116), but it is not in the PCC.
1. See JA's letter to the president of Congress of 14 Aug., No. 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0047

Author: Dalton, Tristram
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-24

From Tristram Dalton

(Duplicate)

[salute] Dear Sir

This week honor'd me with Your kind favors of 23d Febry.1last, for which acknowledge myself much obliged.
With respect to the Vessel sunk in the W Indies, I took the liberty to address You, in July, from Boston—when the Owners, supposing your public important Commission not to permit any particular attention to such private business, forwarded to the Honble. Mr. Dana every paper they thought necessary, for renewing their Application to the Court of France, for redress2—begging leave to refer You to my said Letter on that Subject, be pleased to accept my sincere thanks for Your polite Offers of Service—which You'll permit me to value, chiefly, because I esteem them really meant—and let me add, my happiness will be doubled if you will put it in my power to render Yourself, or Connections, here, or abroad, any good Offices.
Friendship founded, in those early Years, when neither fashion or selfinterest sway the heart, produce the most lasting Fruits—As you are pleased to recognize that which was formed in our early days, I { 88 } embrace with Earnestness, the claim, and wish, as Opportunities, in our different Professions, permit, to experience and prove, that the Blessings which flow therefrom are the Result, and not the Germs, as is common in Contractions of later life when the World appears too designing and vitious, almost, to be trusted.
Your Opinion respecting Peace must be of great Service in the plans of the mercantile Line. Some Gentlemen, from expecting peace, have neglected the equipments of Vessels of War—but most are now convinc'd that, while any successes can pacify the people of Britain by any representations the Minister makes of them, that Nation will be so infatuated as to push the war; tho' the wisest cannot see with what rational Expectations. The conquest of America must appear ideal—the Chastisement of the House of Bourbon as much so; especially, considering the apparent disposition of the other powers of Europe. Under these sentiments of their Conduct, the Merchants, having pretty well recovered from their deplorable Loss at Penobscot, as also on account of their prodigious Success in capturing such a Number of the Fleet bound to Quebec;3 ten of which are brought in to this County, are pushing into the privateering Business, to the extent of their capitals. I have, thro' the war, kept largely in this business, which, however profitable, nothing but the Service it has done the Country, in the present Contest, would fully justify to my Disposition.
My success has been very various—like the tossing of the Sea, sometimes up to a good Height—sometimes engulphed, I yet carry good Sail, and hope the close of the war may leave me in that Situation, wherein I can best serve my Country and Mankind. But how I am interrupting your valuable Moments! Excuse me, & permit me to acknowledge myself to be, with true Esteem, Dear Sir Your obliged Friend & most humble Servant
[signed] Tristram Dalton
Shall I presume, by P.S., to ask the Favor of any Intelligence which may affect the disposition of the mercantile Interest, so far as is consistent with your every Consideration?
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Duplicate Mr. Dalton 24th. Augst. 1780.” Since the Adams Papers contain only the duplicate it is likely that Dalton's original copy was either not received or was lost. No reply to this letter has been found and Dalton's next letter to JA is dated 25 May 1782 (Adams Papers).
1. Vol. 8:356.
2. The brigantine Fair Play had been sunk inadvertently by a French battery at Guadaloupe in Jan. 1779. Dalton had requested JA's assistance in obtaining compensation from the French government for the loss in a letter of 13 May 1779 (vol. 8:59–60), to which JA's letter of 23 Feb. 1780 was a reply. For the loss of the vessel and the efforts to obtain compensation, see the letter of 13 May, and note 1. { 89 } No letter from Dalton to JA in July has been found, nor have the documents sent to Francis Dana been located in his papers. However, on 15 and 17 Oct., Francis Dana wrote to Dalton from Amsterdam that he had received Dalton's letter of 21 Jan. containing documents concerning the Fair Play and, after consulting with JA, had decided to visit Paris in an effort to resolve the matter. In a letter of 8 Feb. 1781 from Paris, Dana reported on the efforts that he and Benjamin Franklin had made and were making to obtain adequate compensation (all in MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook).
3. Reports of the attack on the supply ships bound for Quebec in the Boston Independent Ledger of 7 Aug. and the Independent Chronicle of 10 Aug. indicate that several Massachusetts privateers were involved, probably including the Essex, Junius Brutus, America, and Saucy Jack, and that nineteen vessels, approximately half the fleet, were captured. For the British account of the attack, which is somewhat different and indicates that it occurred on 12 July, see Thomas Digges' letter of 29 Aug., note 5 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0048

Author: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-24

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I wrote you a few lines on the 18th and 22d Instants1 chiefly to inform you the news of those days, but as they were forwarded by the usual conveyance of Post (my not knowing you were then in Holland) I suppose they will not get to hand earlier than this letter; which is born by a particular friend Mr. Saml. Hartley a relation of D. Hartleys. He is a considerable Merchant of this place and goes abroad on some commercial business to Holland (I beleive in the neutral-flag way) which will also lead Him to Paris. He has ever shewn himself an open friend to the cause of our Country, and as I dare say He would be glad to express it to any of our publickly employd Men abroad, I beg leave to recommend Him to your notice should chance bring you together either in Holland or France. As Mr. Hartley is perfectly well acquainted with the publick movements of this Country and well informed as to the news of the day and the beating of the pulses of the people generally, I take the liberty to refer you to Him for particulars. The late news of the Capture of a whole outward bound East and West India Fleet by the combind fleet of France and Spain,2 has thrown a gloom upon the minds of the people which you can much more easily guess than I can describe. It has been a black week at Loyds, and well it may, for one half of the underwriters that walk that Coffee House, will likely be ruind by such a vas[t] and unexpected Capture. The general uneasiness among all ranks, is not a little heighten'd by the dark prospect of things in the west Indies, and the flying reports of Rodneys defeat with the loss of several ships. The accounts from Amera. too are not the most favorable for the accomplishment of the desird object unconditional Submission. The Expedition into the Jerseys under Neiphausen has been { 90 } repulsd and was nearly surrounded; and that check it is said prevented Clinton from trying any thing up the No. River.
The Ministerial runners however still give out with a degree of impudence and falseness that is astonishing, that they are shure of No. Carolina, Virga., and Maryland “comeing in” as they term it to the feet of this Country. The torrent of folly which reignd ever since the capture of Chs. Town on the subject of this “comeing in” of all southern Ama., has subsided very generally among the thinking people within this week or two. There are those among the great however who still keep it up and exult exceedingly about the state of Affairs in Ama.; but I never suffer myself to be dejected by the triumphs of a People so easily and suddenly elated. God Governs, and I trust the second “hour of their Insolence” will be of as short duration as the first.
I am with the highest esteem Dr Sir Yr Obligd & Obt Ser
[signed] W S. C
1. No letters of these dates from Digges have been found, although Digges does refer in his letter of 25 Aug. (below) to this letter as being of the 22d, rather than the 24th. For an indication of the content of the letter of the 18th, however, see Digges' letter of that date to Benjamin Franklin, since he often wrote similar letters to the two men on the same day (Digges, Letters, p. 247–251).
2. This report and those that follow are taken largely from the London newspapers of 23 and 24 Aug. (see for example the London Courant), but see also William Lee's letter of 27 Aug. (below) for an account of the capture of the convoy bound for the Indies.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0049

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-25

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

Since I wrote you the 22d (by a friend Mr. S. H——l——y)1 nothing material has transpird and the arrival of news by a small Vessel from Boston to Bristol has not removd in any measure the gloom on the generality of countenances here in consequence of the late disaster to the outward bound East and West India Fleet. Tho I have seen J[ohn] T[emple] we have no exact accounts by this vessel to Bristol. She appears to have been purchasd by Mr. R. Temple to bring to Europe His Family, He meaning to settle in Ireland for His Health.2 She had 32 days passage which brings the day of Her sailing to about the 21st or 22d July. The accounts by Her are that Monsr. Ternays Squadron had arrivd safe at Rhode Island where he had debarkd His troops and sent them on the Continent. Three of the Transports had { 91 } seperated and put into Boston but the Troops had been immediately marchd over land to Providence.
There was no accounts of the arrival of Adml. Greaves or the least item of any Expedition up the No. River under Clinton. No other passengers but Temples Family, and the above is all I can gather about the vessel or the news she brings. If any occurs you shall have it by next post.
I am with very great Esteem Dr sir Yr Ob Ser
[signed] W S. C
The vessel arrived at Bristol the 23d.
1. The reference to Samuel Hartley indicates that Digges is referring to his letter of 24 Aug. (above), that he had initially dated the 22d. In that letter Digges had indicated that he had written on the 22d, but no letter of that date has been found.
2. John and Robert Temple, both from Massachusetts, were well known to JA. Digges' report on the vessel that carried Robert Temple and his family to Bristol, where it had arrived on 23 Aug., and the information derived from its passengers is almost identical to the account that appeared in the London Courant of 26 August. In a further report on 28 Aug., the London Courant declared that it was well known that Robert Temple had “nothing to communicate that will be very pleasing to our half-mad ministers, concerning the state of affairs in the country he is come from.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0050

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-25

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My Dear friend

Behold the fruits of the french Alliance! Our young men no longer look upon Great Britain as their home or Mother Country, but turn their eyes entirely to France for all the purposes of business and knowledge. The bearer of this letter Mr. Wm. West1—a young merchant of excellent character, and of a respectable Quaker family waits upon you with a proof of this assertion, I beg leave to recommend him to your particular notice and patronage. He will thank you for Advice and information in every thing that relates to his business or company.
We are exhibiting to the world a new phenominon in the history of nations. We are carrying on a war without its Sinews. We raise—cloathe—and feed whole Armies without money. This must be ascribed in part to our patriotism, and in part to the force of our governments—both of which circumstances have a favourable Aspect upon the permanency of liberty in our Country. We wait only for the Arrival of the 2nd. division of the french fleet to open the Seige of New York. It is reported that it has been twice seen off the banks of { 92 } Newfoundland. Our troops live with the french Army as brothers—a thing unknown to Britons and Americans when they fought together.
General Gates who you know is used to creating Armies is doing wonders in the Southern states. We expect every day to hear of Lord Cornwallis being confined to the Sands of Charlestown.2
Commerce and Agriculture flourish among us in Spite of Embargoes and the regulation of prices. Nothing but a premature peace can ruin our country.
Adieu, from your most Affectionate humble servt
[signed] Benjn. Rush
PS: As you associate with Academicians, I must give you a word for them. The heat of the Weather in the Shade has been for several days from 93—up to 95° of Farenheits thermometer within these three weeks. Many have died from drinking cold water, and a few have expired suddenly without labour or exercise from the excessive heat.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Dr. Rush 25th. Augst. 1780.”
1. William West remains unidentified.
2. Rush's hopes were doomed to disappointment, for on 16 Aug. Gates suffered a disastrous defeat at Camden, S.C., and as a result, he was replaced by Nathanael Greene as commander of the southern army (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0051

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-27

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have been made very happy by the letters you forwarded to me. I presume you must have been also, by those you wou'd receive by the same hand. Pray give my regards to Mr: Guild.1 You make no mention whether you have paid Messrs: de Neufville and Son the £60 sterling agreable to our proposal, nor whether there are any vessels going from Amsterdam for Massachusetts.2 If so I shall give further orders to those Gentlemen immediately. I enclose a short memorandum of Messrs. Gardoquis draft on you.3 I carried the Drs: last draft in your favour to Mr. Grand, and desired him to carry the whole to your Credit, which was done accordingly. I yesterday waited on the Dr: to beg for myself, and very readily procured a draft in my own favour; so that you will consider the last you obtained; as appropriated solely to your use. I have th'ot it adviseable to give you this information that you may order your affairs accordingly. Please to give my love to the Children. Admiral Geary went into Port with his whole Fleet, except two, on the 18th instant. This Mr. Genet communicated to me in the time of it.4 The combined Fleet sail'd from Cadiz the 30th. ultimo and you see what has taken place on the { 93 } 9th. instant.5 Perhaps we may receive some few deductions. But it is a very happy stroke on many accounts which will be obvious to you. No news yet from our poor Country. God bless it, and soon put an end to all its distresses. I remain, Sir, with the greatest respect and most sincere friendship Yours, &c,
[signed] Fra Dana
RC (Adams Papers). This letter occupies the fourth page of a four-page document, endorsed “Mr Dana August 27th 1780.” The first three pages contain letters, neither of which are printed, from the Abbés Chalut and Arnoux of 26 Aug. and John Thaxter of 27 August. The abbés visited Thaxter on the 26th and probably left their letter with him to be sent on to JA. Since their letter filled only part of the first page, Thaxter and Dana used the remainder for their letters. The abbés' letter expressed their regret at receiving no news of JA and his sons and their hope that he would soon return to Paris. For Thaxter's letter, see note 5.
1. Benjamin Guild delivered numerous letters from AA, AA2, and others to JA, JQA, and CA at Amsterdam on 19 Aug. (JQA, Diary, 1:57; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:326, 334–335, 361; from Samuel Cooper, 23 May, note 6, above). Guild also carried letters for Francis Dana, one of which was of 26 May from Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant. Dana acknowledged this in a letter of 22 Sept. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook), and indicated that he had received the letters carried by Guild on 25 Aug., but no letter from JA forwarding them has been found.
2. In a letter of 25 July to Jean de Neufville & Son, which was carried by JA to Amsterdam, Dana had indicated that JA would pay them for goods shipped to America at Dana's order (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook), but see JA's letter of 2 Sept. (below).
3. In a letter to Joseph Gardoqui & Sons of 20 Aug., Dana acknowledged receiving a letter from the firm to JA and indicated that he had paid the enclosed bill (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook). The last known letter to JA from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons was of 10 June (above), but it is unlikely that Dana refers to that letter, since in his letter he refers to a letter of 5 Aug. directed to him. If that is the case then neither the letter nor the memorandum referred to by Dana has been found, but a partial account of JA's expenses for the period from Dec. 1779 to 10 June 1782 indicates that a bill from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons for 928L was paid on 19 Aug. 1780 (MH-H: Schaffner Collection).
4. This information was apparently contained in a note from Edmé Jacques Genet of 24 Aug. that Dana acknowledged in a letter of 25 Aug. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook).
5. This refers to the French translation of the London Evening Post's (22–24 Aug.) account of the capture of a large portion of the British convoy bound for the East and West Indies by the combined French and Spanish fleet on 9 Aug. that was contained in John Thaxter's letter of 27 Aug. (not printed, see descriptive note). There Thaxter indicated that Dana had just received the report from Edmé Jacques Genet, but see also William Lee's letter of 27 Aug. (below). The total loss was enormous: 61 ships valued, with their cargoes, at £1,500,000, and 3,000 prisoners (Mackesy, War for America, p. 357).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0052

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-27

From William Lee

[salute] Dr Sir

As you desire in yours of the 23. I now send you the Packet and least the English mail should be detain'd by the wind from you as it has been here I send you the contents of a letter from Mr. Stephens Secratary of the Admiralty to LLoyds Coffee House for the information of the Merchants—which is dated the 22 instant.1
{ 94 }
Mr. Stephens says he has received a letter dated Augt. 9. from the Capt. of the Thetis Frigate who in company with the Ramillies was convoy[ing?] the West India fleet of 54 Sail with Genl. Rainsfords Regiment on [ . . . ] 25 East India Men, which informs him that in the evening of [the?] 8th in Lat: 36.40 and Longit: 15 West, they unfortunately fell in with the United fleet from Cadiz and he fear'd that almost the whole convoy had fallen into the Enemys hands. This I hope is only the begining of good News.
'Tis certain that Congress has not paid that attention to the Dutch that they merited, or that the interest of America requir'd; and it is not a little unfortunate that other powers have been treated with the same neglect, since it is more than probable that at this period, by proper management, a general acknowlegement [of our] Independence might be obtain'd, which would in a great [mea]sure remove the principal objection that the Enemy [preten]d to have against making Peace. For my own part, I cou'd [wish to] see Portugal treated as she deserves, by all the United Powers [declar]ing War upon her, when she cou'd not do us half the injury [that] she does now under the flimsy pretext of Neutrality.
Be pleased to send me, if you can procure them, the particulars of the plan, by which St. Thomas's is constituted a Free Port.
Our best Compliments attend your Sons and I have the Honor to remain with very high respect Dear Sir Your most Obliged & Obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] W. Lee
RC (Adams Papers). LbCViHi: William Lee Letterbook. The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of several words. In the third paragraph the missing text has been supplied from the Letterbook copy. The first two paragraphs, as well as the closing paragraph, are not in the Letterbook.
1. Philip Stephens' letter of 22 Aug., was printed in various London newspapers on the 23d, together with information about the convoy's capture that had been received in the meantime. The source for Lee's report, which combines a paraphrase of Stephens' letter with some additional information, may have been the London Morning Post, for, of the newspapers consulted, only that paper identified the regiment as Gen. Charles Rainsford's. It was believed that fifty-two out of the fifty-four vessels in the convoy were taken, the escorts having escaped, but see Francis Dana's letter of 27 Aug., note 5 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0053

Author: Gridley, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-28

To Joseph Gridley

Mr. Adams's Compliments to Mr. Gridley, and desires to know whether there is in Print, either in English or French, any particular description of the islands of St. John—the two Misere's, the Isles { 95 } Percée Bonaventure and Magdalen, Miqulen and St. Peters, in short of all the Islands in and about he Gulph of St. Laurence? If there is what is the Title of the Book? What is the best Map extant of those Seas and Islands. If there is neither Book nor Map, will Mr. Gridley do Mr. Adams the favour to give him a <short> description in Writing as particular as Mr. Gridley's time will Admit?

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0054

Author: Gridley, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-28

From Joseph Gridley

[salute] Sir

There is a very compleat Survey of the Gulph of the River Saint Lawrence, done by Capt. Holland, it takes in, the whole of the Shore from Gaspee, down to Cape North, Westerly, likewise the North and Easterly Shore down to the Labradore, including all the Islands in the Gulph, excepting part of Newfoundland, which indeed is not compleat, but is Nevertheless Mark'd out. You will be able to find all the Survey, in the New Atlass.1
There are seperate Maps of the different Islands, which may be had in England, and those Maps give a very particular description of the Harbours, Soundings, Rocks and Shoals round about each Island, but I never have seen any Book published, only one, Capt. Holland wrote to induce Inhabitants to settle on his Estate at the Island St. Johns, the Title of this Book I really cannot recollect.2
I am sir Your most obedt. Humble Servt.
[signed] Joseph Gridley
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency the Honble. John Adams Esqr. Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Mr Gridley.”
1. The maps to which Gridley refers are those by Capt. (later Maj.) Samuel Johannes Holland, a Dutch native and British army officer, who had been appointed surveyor general of Quebec and the northern part of North America in 1764 (Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 13 vols. to date, Toronto, 1966–, vol. 5). The atlas to which Gridley refers cannot be positively identified, but it may have been Thomas Jefferys' The American Atlas, London, 1775, which contained maps by Holland and other cartographers.
2. The book reportedly written by Holland on the island of St. John (later Prince Edward Island) has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0055

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-29

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I am much obligd to you for a letter and some news papers by a friend.1 I have not yet seen the principal person2 concernd in the Flag { 96 } to Bristol, he not having yet got to Town but hourly expected. A Townsman of Yours also a passenger in that vessel Has been with me, and mentioning to him that I was about to write to you, and asking if he had any news or letters from your particular freinds, He answerd me He had not; that all things were well in the quarter of Boston, and indeed in every part north of Carolina, and likely to stand so. The picture he gave me of things generally was very comforting. His name is Br——mf——d and he is on his way to Holland.3 He says He saw your Daughter a day to two before He saild (the 21st July) and that She was very well as were all your friends. No other passengers in this ship save the Capn. and Supercargo of a Ship lately taken bound from Corke to N. York. The Flag has hitherto been respected, and present prospects indicate that the vessel will be in no way stopt. The Capn. means to return with Her to Boston. It is wonderful how Government have relaxd lately in their persecutions and conversations against Americans. They certainly begin to see that it is all over with them in America, and the more open the communication and intercourse between the two Countries the better for them. If ships under this discription are allowd to pass, they will soon be better informd of the actual state of things in America.4 There are many American violent Torey Refugees at Bristol, all from about Boston, those Gentry soon informd themselves how affairs stood in that quarter, and some of them have written up to their worthy Brethren here, That affairs certainly stand differently in America to what has been industriously put forth by Ministry and their runners ever since the capture of Chas. Town; some of them go as far as to say that America must and will be Independant. They begin to find that the American mind cannot be subdued, and that our people are not so tired of the Tyranny of Congress as they had reason to hope. Authentic news was yesterday Brought to Loyds that the outward bound Quebec fleet had been met near New Foundland the 12th July by an American frigate (supposd the Confederacy)5 and two Brig Privateers, and that they had capturd twelve of the remaining sixteen. This fleet was attackd soon after they left Corke about six weeks ago by three French men of war who only snapt up two and those were retaken soon after—well done Yankee say I. The news coming immediately upon the back of the important Capture of a Whole outward Bound East and West India Fleet, cast a damp upon the phizes in the City which I have not discoverd heretofore. These accounts together with the general ones receivd by a N York packet which saild the 11th July, put the whole merchantile race, and every torey news { 97 } monger, more into the dumps than you can immagine; for a little while the cry was all is over with us now in America, when the paltry cruizers of that Country, and their gallic Allies, capture our fleets and repulse our Armies. This day we are again in spirits at Loyds—The Leeward Island fleet, The Oporto Fleet, and two India men are reported to be all safe arrivd at Falmouth. Therefore we are yet Lords paramont at Sea, and Rodney is superior in the Wt. Indies or these fleets could not sail. Such is the conversation tho not a word of intelligence authentic has been received from either of these fleets. This however is encouragement enough for a universal wish that England would immediately declare war against Russia, Denmark, Sweeden, and Holland, which last they accuse as being at the bottom of all the northern mischeif—Free Ships shall not be allowd to make free Goods or England will be undone—this is our language and the ministry have been accusd of pusilanimity for not seizing the 13 Russian Men of War which lately anchord in the Downs, tho there were not so many English Ships of War to do this job then in the Channel.6
There has been much conversation since the arrival of the N York packet about a letter said to be written by Sr. H. Clinton to some of his Friends, about the state of things in America—some people go so far as to say that He expressd the same in His publick Letter to Lord G. G——e.7 That it is full, intelligent, and explicit on the state of English affairs in America and very highly disagreeable to the Cabinet Council before whom it was read. It is said to give an account of the repulse with considerable loss of Genl. Knephausens party of 5,000 men who went into the Jerseys to route Master Washington. That Genl. Clinton himself had lookd at the American Army from another quarter, and after several reconnoitering plans had returnd to N York and given His opinion that He could not effect any thing with the Army He now has, against such formidable lines and so strong a position: That many skirmishes on foraging partys had happend, and none of them provd successfull; That on the arrival upon the Coast of Ama. of Ternays squadron (which was first heard of in N York the 5th July) He had drawn in some of His out posts, and was in hopes Adml. Graves woud arrive to protect the port &ca. &ca.
All these accounts, in some measure corroborated by private people, as well as the N York papers down to the 11th July, give much uneasiness to the friends of Government here, and might if they would but apply it right be a good lesson to them to try to make some accomodation or Peace with America; but the fates have seemingly { 98 } decreed that the war shall go on still further and that a nation of unthinking people shall be further blinded and led into deeper ruin.
I am with the highest Esteem Dr Sir Your obligd & Obt Servt
[signed] W. S. C
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Monsieur Monsieur Ferdinando Raymond San Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “W. S. C. 29. August 1780.” The address is heavily canceled.
1. The letter was of 17 Aug. (above), but the bearer remains unidentified.
2. Robert Temple. For the “Flag to Bristol,” see Digges' letter of 25 Aug. (above).
3. This was Henry Bromfield Jr. of Boston, who had set off for England and France in July to settle his father's accounts (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:272). Bromfield reached Amsterdam in early 1781 and there formed part of the mercantile firm of Sigourney, Ingraham, & Bromfield, which JA later commissioned to obtain a house suitable for the American legation (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:453–454).
4. The remainder of this letter consists largely of a digest of accounts in the London newspapers since Digges' last letter of 25 Aug. (above). For reports and commentary favoring the United States, see the London Courant; for those supporting the ministerial views, particularly in regard to the arrival of the Leeward and Oporto fleets, see the Morning Post.
5. This report concerning the Quebec convoy, even to the parentheses around the erroneous reference to the Confederacy's involvement in the attack, appeared in almost all the London papers. Compare this account with that in Tristram Dalton's letter of 24 Aug., and note 3 (above).
6. On 10 Aug. the first unit of a Russian fleet (five ships of the line and a frigate) anchored in the Downs, the roadstead off Deal in the Strait of Dover, and was soon joined by two squadrons with an additional thirteen vessels. Although much was made of the Russian fleet, which had departed by 21 Aug., its presence in the Downs was most likely due to the stress of weather, rather than any designs against Great Britain (London Courant, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21, and 23 Aug.; London Chronicle, 15–17 Aug.).
7. This is probably Clinton's letter of 4 July to Germain, of which Digges gives a generally accurate account (Davies, ed., Docs. of the Amer. Rev., 1770–1783, 18:112–114).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0056

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-08-30

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received yours of 19. I have your Form of the Constitution and Some News Papers, none later than those you have. These I shall send by the first private opportunity. I forwarded your Letters by the last Post or two. The Constitution will probably be accepted, at least that is the opinion of all the Americans here.
Last night I had an Account of Mr. Stephens's Letter to Lloyds Coffee house. I hope the French and Spanish Fleet have taken them all. This will be somewhat of very clever, if the French and Spanish Men of War should make the important discovery that it is in their Power, and that it is worth while to take British Merchant Men, as they have proved to the World that they can fight and maneuvre as well as the English, this War would last but a very little while.
I Spend my Time very agreably here, and in very good Company: { 99 } and find So much good will to our cause and country, that I cannot but regret, that Mr. L is not here. I wish Congress had a Minister, at the Hague, at Petersbourg, Copenhagen and Stockholm.
With much affection yours

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0057-0001

Author: Calkoen, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-31

From Hendrik Calkoen, with a Contemporary Translation

[salute] Weledele Heer

Het spijt mij, dat ik niet langer mijne gedagten over het bewúste onderwerp kan laaten gaan. Uwedele zal zich dús gelieven te vreede te hoúden met een en andere aanmerking, zo als die mij in de gedagten komen, 't geen wel eens oorzaak zijn zal dat deeze of geene bedenking, die vroeger geplaatst hadt moeten worden, laater komen zal.
Om het algemeen Crediet voor de Vereenigde Staaten van N.A., hier in Holland, zoveel mogelijk, op te beúren en úit te breiden, zoú voor alle dingen noodig zijn een naúwkeúrig, aúthenticq en waarachtig Bericht van den tegenwoordigen staat haarer zaaken, gepaard, of voorafgegaan van een kort doch zaakelijk verslag van den loop derzelven voor, op en na de Troúbelen, tot heden toe; daar het nood ware, gemúnieerd met de aúthentiqúe Docúmenten en bewijzen. Men zoú het kunnen vervatten in een Brief aan den Edelen Lord Germain, om het belaggelijke of onwaarschijnelijke zijner Vantises,1 wegens de op handen zijnde Reconciliatie met America, in het parlement2 gedaan, ten toon te stellen, hetzelve al verder in eenen schertzenden toon inrichtende; op dat het daardoor te meer in ieders handen geraaken zoú. Uit dien tegenwoordigen staat zoú men vervolgens moeten afleiden wat het natúúrlijk gevolg zijn zal van deezen Oorlog—Dan dewijl men van den presúmtive úitslag der zaaken met nog meerderen waarschijnlijkheid oordeelen kan úit vergelijiking van hetgeen in een soortgelijk geval gebeúrd is, zoú een júiste en gepaste vergelijking en paralelle van den staat der zaaken zo als die bij onze Revolútie was met die van Noord America, hier, van een allerbyzonderste úitwerking zijn, en tevens zeer gewichtige aanmerkingen aan de hand geven—Dewijl ik meer onderrigt ben van onzen oorlog voor de vrijheid met den aankleeven van dien, zal ik zo tot infomatie daar van als tot staaving mijner bovengemelde Remarques hier van een korte schets meede-deelen.3
{ 100 }
Onze Revolútie moet niet als ééne doorgaande Revolútie maar als twee verschillende, ja misschien drie de een úit de ander gebooren, geconsidereerd worden—De erste, onder het geleide der Edelen, het bekende Smeekschrift4 overleeverende, en zich onderling aan elkanderen Verbindende, aangevangen, mislúkte geheel en al, hoe zeer Oranje,5 in den Raad van de onderliggende partij, dat is van de Oppositie zijnde, dit verbond onder de hand bewerkt en bevorderd hadt. De oorzaak was, dat de gemeente stoút geworden op dit verbond en zich daardoor gerúgsteúnd achtende, doldriftig voortholde, een Beeldenstorm,6 plúndering en berooving van Kerken en andere heiligdommen, door het gantsche land aanzegtende, waar door de voorzichtige, staatkúndige en patriottische Oogmerken van de welmeenende partij den bodem ingeslagen wierden. De Roomsche Edelen, met reden bedúgt, dat men toeleg maakte, om hunnen Godsdienst geheel en al te vernietigen, scheúrden zich van't verbond, dat zij geteekend hadden, hún zoen met het Hoff maakende, 't geen hún gemakkelijk viel, omdat men daar begreep, gelijk het ook inderdaad was, dat door deeze scheúring het gantsche Bondgenootschap vaneen gereeten zoú zijn—Gelijk ook, alleen door de Italiaansche Staatkúnde van de Landvoogdesse Margaretha en haar Raadslieden, gebeúrde; alles zich tot onderwerping schikkende, zonder dat er eenige Vreemde soldaaten in 't Land waaren, of daartoe gebezigd behoefden te worden. Zelfs zo verre dat Margaretha7Schreef, en met Waarheid na Spanje schrijven kon, dat de opstand gedemt was, en dat alles zich tot onderwerping schikte.
Hadt de Koning toen afgezien van het zenden van een Leger, Alva8aan het hoofd hebbende, de Nederlanden zoúden nog in slavernij zijn. Ja, indien hij slegts goedgevonden hadt Oranje, Egmond en Hoorne ongmoeid te laaten,9 zou denkelijk het zelfde gebeúrd zijn, dewijl Oranje als dan hoogst waarschijnelijk zich de zaak niet langer aangetrokken zoú hebben. Maar de Koning, verkeerdelijk begrijpende, dat de gelegenheid nú te schoon stondt, om zich van een onbepaalde opperheerschappij meester te maaken, zondt Alva herwaarts, aan 't hoofd van een vrij aanzienelijke leegermagt en taste gemelde Hoofden van de Oppositie in persoon, goederen, eer en leeven aan; zich tevens genoegzaam gelijktijdig van het gantsche Land, grensvestingen etc. meester maakende.
Oranje hier door tot wanhoop gebragd vatte de wapenen op, kwam in 't Jaar 1568 af met een leger, waar mede hij niets úitrigten kon, zelfs zo, dat het, bij gebrek van betaaling, van zelfs verliep.
Alva was en bleef dús van alles meester. De Landzaat voelde zich, { 101 } in weerwil van zijne neiging en moed, genoodzaakt, zich geheel te onderwerpen. Hadt hij toen, slegts met eenige krijgsmans gemaatigheid, de zaaken bestierd, zoú de nú ten tweede maale gedempte opstand nimmer weder het hoofd hebben dúrven opsteeken. Maar, door geweld, vúúr en staal, zijne overheersching willende Cementeeren, veroorzaakte de toevallige en gantsch onberaadene aanval en inneeming van den Briel,10 door eenige waanhoopige Nederlanderen úitgevoerd, dat de twee provintien, Holland en Zeeland, grootendeels, tegen hem opstonden, waardoor Oranje eindelijk in weerwil van de Spaansche legermagt, voet in het Land kreeg, waarúit hij nú reets verscheide jaaren als balling verdreeven geweest was. De afval van de eene stad na de andere, door dit onverwagt evenement veroorzaakt, bedremmelde Alva vrij wat, niet weetende werwaarts zich, tot demping van den opstand, het eerst te wenden. De Groot overmagt echter deedt hem gedúúrende 1573 en 1574 aanmerkelijke voordelen behaalen. Hij Conqúesteerde op nieúw verscheidene afgevallen steden, en alles zoú zich ten derde maale tot onderwerping hebben moeten schikken voor al onder zijn opvolger Reqúésens11 die, met veel meer gemaatigdheid te werk gaande, verbaazende vorderingen maakte, en die het Hof gewis zoú hebben doen zegpraalen indien hij niet, zeer onverwagt, zonder orde op de regeering gesteld of een súccesseúr ad interim benoemd te hebben, was komen te overlijden. De Raad van Staaten moest toen natúúrlijker wijze bij voorraad de Regeering in handen neemen. De Nederlanders, daar in zittende en zo afkeerig als ooit van een vreemd júk, gebrúikten deeze gelegenheid zeer behendig; naamen de Spaansch gezinde Raaden gevangen, terwijl het onbetaald laaten der Spaansche troepen, deeze aan 't múiten deet slaan, die in plúndering en Roof van vriend en vijand eindigende, alle de provintien, die met Spanje tegen Holland en Zeeland in daadelijken Oorlog waren, vereenigde, om het gemeene Vaderland van vreemd geweld en overlaste te bevrijden—Men riep Oranje na Brabant en bragt binnen zeer korten tijd de beroemde Pacificatie van Gend12 tot stand, waardoor niet alleen de vreede met Holland en Zeeland gemaakt was, maar waarbij men zich tevens verbond, om, blijvende onder de Koninglijke gehoorzaamheid, als van oúds, alle vreemde magt úit het land met vereende krachten te zúllen verjaagen. Holland en Zeeland inmiddels tot ademtogt geraakt en Spanje meer en meer vijanden op zijnen hals habbende, kreegen de zaaken wel een gúnstiger plooi, maar alles was en bleef zeer wankelbaar. Verschil van Godsdienst, de ambitie van eenige Nederlandsche grooten, met nijdige oogen ziende, dat Oranje in achting en liefde bij het volk { 102 } toenam, de ook driftige ijver der geestelijken; deeze en veele andere toevalligheden maakten den Staat der zaaken zeer lange ongewis; kleine evenementen voor en tegen waren van gewigtige gevolgen verzeld. Oranje, úit een en ander bespeúrende, dat het onmogelijk was, alle de provintien eenzelven lijn op den dúúr te doen trekken, was daarom reeds bij voorraad op het slúiten eener nadere Unie te Utrecht13 bedagt geweest, om ten minsten een gedeelte der Nederlanden voor onderwerping te beveiligen; indien eens het kwaad dat die Schrandere man voorzag, daadelijk gebeúren mogt.
Hier zoú men met de vergelijking kúnnen eindigen, met deeze úitzondering, alleen, dat de moord van Willem den 1e. zo onverwagt gebeúrende,14 in 't midden van achterúitgaande krigsbedrijven van de zijde det Nederlanderen, hún wel van hún grootsten steún beroofden, maar dat nog deeze gebeúrtenis nog de jonkheid van Maúrits,15 nog de verwarringen, die Leicester16 Stookte, aan een Krijgsman van naam als Parma17 eenige gelegenheid verschaft hebben, de Nederlanders weder tot onderwerping te dwingen, gelijk úit den loop der zaaken gebleeken is. Ondertússchen is het lot des oorlogs voornamentlijk ter Zee beslist, als wordende van tijd tot tijd stoúte en gelúkkige togten op Zee gedaan; waar in Nederland alleen boven America eenig voordeel schijnt gehad te hebben; de Spaansche Zee magt in vergelijking tot onse toenmaaligen minder overwigt hebbende, als die van Engeland thans over die van America heeft.
Uit deeze korte schets van den staat der zaaken, die in alle bijzonderheiden gelijkende is, nú kan omweder ter zaake te komen meer dan eene aanmerking, tot het bewúste oogmerk dienende, getrokken worden. Er blijkt úit het zeer aanmerkelijk ondersheid tússchen ons en America, waarin van de zijde van America over het geheel, groot voordeel bespeúrd wordt. Want 1e. America moet nog geconqúesteerd en dan bewaard worden. Stel Engeland wierdt het meester, dan zal Engeland eerst recht beginnen en kúnnen beginnen, daar Spanje begonnen is. En de moeijte van bewaaring zal dan, alle andere Consideratien eens daar gelaaten, zoveel grooter zijn, als het Land zelve grooter úitgebreid heeft, dan ons kleine Land. Heeft nú Spanje, hoe zeer door het staande leger, in het land zelve in bezetting leggende, als andersins, volstrekt meester van het land; Meester van Grensvesten, Oorlogstúig; finantie weezen, en wie weet wat al meer? Heeft Spanje, dat in evenredigheid tot Nederland ten minsten magtiger dan Engeland met relatie tot America is, die zelfde Nederlanden, onderling door allerlei Godsdienstige en andere politiqúe partijschappen, Cabalen elendig verdeeld, niet kúnnen behoúden of bewaaren, heeft { 103 } de haat die de natie tegens Spanje en den Spaanschen naam droeg, de Spanjaards verjaagd behoeft men dan wel profeet te zijn, om te voorspellen dat, zo het al eens mogelijk ware, dat America geheel geconqúesteerd wierdt, en daadelijk búkken moest, het bewaaren en behoúden van het zelve, voor Engeland, met het overschot haarer door de Conqúesteering úitgepútte krachten, onúitvoerlijk zijn zal.
Dit Argúment, deeze vergelijking en paralelle in al zijn bijzonderheeden door eene kúndige hand úitgewerkt, zoú voor kúndigen en onkúndigen een krachtig argúment zijn. Om het aan te dringen, zoú men zich van de volgende zaaken, geheel of gedeeltelijk kúnnen en moeten bedienen.
1. Met Spreekende daaden bewijzen, dat er eene onverzoenelijke haat en afkeer in America heerst.
2. Dat deeze algemeen is, of ten minsten, zo algemeen, dat de Koningsgezinden partij zo gering in getal en magt is, dat die als niets te tellen is.
3. Dat America, in weerwil van den Oorlog, in wezentlijke sterkte en macht toeneemt.
4. Dat America ten minsten dan nog in en van zich zelfs, door middel van wederzijdsche Koop of trokkeering van de prodúcten der Respective Provintien, ten minsten gedúúrende een gerúimen tijd, bestaan zoú kúnnen en den Oorlog 6–8–10 Jaar sleepende hoúden, al wierdt zij zelfs van alle Commercie met Eúropa beroofd, en van haare Bondgenooten, om dat die afgeoorlogd waren, door het maaken eener particúliere vreede verlaaten.
5. Dat er geen vrijwillige afval, of afscheiding van een of meer provintien te dúgten is, en zo dit al van een of meer gebeúrde, de ovrige altoos zich zelve alleen zoúden kúnnen beschermen.
6. Dat niemand in America van zoveel invloed, magt, of Credit is, dat zijn dood, of Corrúptie door Engelsch geld eenige noemenswaardige gevolgen hebben kan.
7. Dat de gemeente in America not gezind is, nog genoegzaame gronden vinden zoú, om door geweld en daadelijkheden de welmeenende en kúndige Politiken in de war te helpen, gelijk bij ons de beeldenstorm, die alle maatregelen van Oranje en anderen geheel den bodem insloeg.
8. Wat Engeland eigentlijk zoú moeten doen, om America tot onderwerping te brengen en daar in te hoúden. Wat daartoe vereischt zoúde worden?
Hoe veel tijd, geld, volk en schepen daar toe noodig zoúden zign? (NB. Men begrijpt wel dat dit alleen zoú moeten geschieden met { 104 } achterhoúding van wezentlijke geheimen van staat; welke aanmerking hier eens voor al gezegd zij).
Hier úit zoú men de onúitvoerelijkheid van de Engelsche oogmerken moeten afleiden.
9. Hoe sterk het Engelsche Leger te Lande is, dat actúeel tegen America de waapenen draagd? Hoe sterk het bij den aanvang was? Of hetzelve in een toeneemende of altoos afneemende sitúatie is?
10. Hoe groot de effective macht van America daar tegen, zo wel met relatie van getal als geoffendheid van 't leger zo wel bij den aanvang als zedert tot nú toe? Is men van genoegzaame Krijgsvoorraad voorzien, kan men die geheel of gedeeltelijk in America zelfs vinden of moet men die van elders haalen?
11. Hoe groot is de Schúld van America daadelijk?
Wat heeft zij Jaarlijks noodig om defensief te Ageeren worden deeze kosten bij de Landzaaten zelve genooten en verdiend, dan wel door andere Natien? zo het laatste geval wat verliest America daar door van haare krachten? worden deeze niet wederom op de een of andere wijze door tegen overstaande voordeelen gecompenseerd? zo ja door welke?
Wat zoú er noodig zijn, om offensief te werk te gaan, en de oorlog daar door te bekorten.
12. Hoedanig is de staat van het finantie weezen?
Hoeveel súrpasseren de úitgaave of depences de inkomsten? Neemen de Impositien jaarlijks toe of af? met andere woorden brengen de Taxen en Impositien van tijd tot tijd meer op, of wel minder? over het geheel of in sommige bijzonderheeden en welke rendenen zijn daar van te geeven?
13. Van welke Resoúrces zoú America nog in 't vervolg gebrúik kúnnen maaken?
14. Hoe groot is het qúantúm, van het gemaakte en in Circúlatie gebragte papiere geld? Welk Credit heeft men daar voor in den dagelijkschen handel binnen Lands? Welke vúes heeft men, om het zelve in Credit te hoúden, die zelfs vermeerdering, zo veel mogelijk, voor te kommen, en hoedanig zal men het realiseeren?
15. Brengt zelfs het Engelsche Leger 't geen in America is en zijne soldijen zo niet geheel ten minsten grootendeels aldaar verteeren moet, geen vermeerdering, zelfs in weerwil van Engeland, in het númeraire en effective geld van America voort? Zo ja, op hoe veel begroot men dit voordeel bij Calcúlatie jaarlijks? Worden niet de meeste wederzijdsche krijgsgevangenen in America gevonden? wie zorgt voor het onderhoúd derzelven? De Mogenheid, die zij gediend { 105 } hebben of wel die geen, die hen krijgsgevangenen gemaakt heeft? Zo de Mogenheid, dien zij gediend hebben, is de Vraag geschied dit van wegen America door aan dezelve geld of wel Levensmiddelen en noodwendigheeden toe te zenden? Hoe geschied dit met betrekking van het leger van Boúrgonge? Zo dit, het geen het noodig heeft, met geld koopt en betaaldt, moet er door dit middel vrij wat Goúdt en Zilver in handen van de Americaanen komen en also het gebrek aan geld merkelijk vervúllen—Wat is hier van?
16. Wie verliest het meest aan Deserteúrs Engeland of America? Dienen de Engelsche Deserteúrs vrijwillig en wel in het Americaansche Leger? Kan men er eenige staat op maaken? Op wat wijze kúnnen zij, die geen dienst in 't Leger neemen, aan de kost komen? Hoe groot is het getal van deezen? Lijden zij kommer en gebrek of kúnnen zij behoorlijk bestaan.
17. Heeft men eenige berigten, waar op genoegzaam staat te maaken is, wegens de bevolking?
Gaat die voor of achterúit, of is die genoegzaam in dezelfde staat als bij het begin van den Oorlog?
18. Heerscht er op plaatsen, daar de oorlog niet daadelijk gevoerd wordt genoegzaame rúst, te vreedenheid en welvaart? Kan men er genoegzaam bestaan, zonder dat de Lasten te sterk drúkken?
Heerscht er zelfs overvloed, dat is meer dan het noodzaakelijke, en is het volk dús welgemoed en gehartigd, om den Oorlog, is 't nood, door te zetten en deszelfs Calamiteiten te verdúúren. Of is er armoede, en moedeloosheid?
19. Haakt men in America niet sterk na Vreede en zoú dit geen aanleiding kúnnen geeven, dat men somstijds aan schijnschoone voorslagen, al te greetig het oor zoú willen of moeten leenen?
20. Zijn er ten deezen opzichte in het Cabinet geene verschillende Opinien en daarúit ontstaande partijschappen?
21. Zijn er in America geen Malcontenten over het púplicq bestúúr, die hoe Americaans gezint anderzins ook, de natie of het Congres tot beslúiten zoú kúnnen noodzaaken tegen haar Inzichten en belangen?
22. De Generaal Monk18 heeft in Engeland de Koninglijke Regeering hersteld—Zoú een of ander Americaanses Generaal, úit misnoegen of door Corrúptie hiertoe overgehaald, dit zelfde ook kúnnen úitvoeren? Zoú het leger hem in zúlk een geval volgen.
23. Zoú een of meer politikenen door Cabaleeren en intrigeeren hetzelfde, met eenige hoop van súcces, kúnnen doen? En zoú in zúlk een geval, het Leger hem volgen?
24. Dewijl de opgekomene Revolútie een aanmerkelijke verander• { 106 } ing van zaaken gemaakt moet hebben, en wel zo dat zeer veele lieden, zelfs zonder daadelijk den vijand op den hals te hebben, hún kostwinning of bestaan verlooren hebben; zijn de bezigheden, die in de plaats gekomen zijn, toereikende geweest, om de ophoúding van het bestaan van deezen en geenen te kúnnen vervúllen, en zijn de zaaken ten dien opzichte nú reets op eenen zo bestendigen nieúwen voet gebragd, dat úit dien hoofde alleen geene Armoede of gebrek van belang meer geleden wordt?
25. Lijden die geenen, die, bij den oorlog, hún bezittingen en fortúin verlooren hebben, dat verlies, over het geheel, gedúldig en patriottisch, zo dat ook van deezen niets van eenig belang te vreezen is?
26. Hoe is het gegaan met den Landboúw, voor de troúbelen, bij derzelver aanvang, en tegenwoordig? Welke verandering vermeerdering of vermindering heeft die ondergaan op plaatsen daar de oorlog niet daadelijk gevoerd is, of wordt?
27. Hoedanig was de staat der Manúfactúúren Handwerken en Koophandel in 't gemeen bij het opvatten der Wapenen en welke verandering vermeerdering of vermindering is daar in gekoomen?
28. Heeft America, bij het wederzijds neemen van schepen gewonnen of verlooren? Hoe veel is het voor of nadeel van dien bij Calcúlatie?
29. Welke zijn de wezentlijke nadeelen door het verlies van Charlestown geleden, of nog te lijden, en welken invloed heeft dit over het geheel op de gemoederen gehadt?
Zie daar Weled. Heer en vriend! eenigszins omstandig mijne gedagten over dit onderwerp voorgesteld.
Ik begrijp zeer klaar, dat men alle de gedaane vraagen niet kan en zelfs niet públicq beantwoorden moet ook is de een meer gewigtig als de andere. Het positief bewijs van deeze en geene zaaken zal bovendien in zeer veele gevallen moeielijk, ja dikwils onmogelijk zijn, maar men kan zich dan nog al met negative bewijzen behelpen en redden—Bij voorbeeld—Art. 14 wegens het papiere geld; dit en derzelfs mis Credit is misschien indien ik, zonder locaale kennis te hebben, oordeelen mag, het voornaame zwak van America. Zo men hier van geene voldoende oplossing geeven kon, zoú men het onderzoek negative moeten toúrneeren in een onderzoek van het Engelsche Finantie weezen en stellen het zwak daar van voor, waartoe men vooral gebrúik zoú moeten maaken van de aanmerkingen van Húme,19 wegens de públicqúe schúld, dat tevens aan het Credit van Engeland een gewisse neep geeven zoú, dewijl Húme daarover zúlke verschrikkelijke { 107 } en vrees verwekkende profetien gedaan heeft, dat men er eene aanmerkelijke ontroering van gevoeld, alleen op de bloote Lectúre van zijne aanmerkingen, al heeft men geen, of geen groot deel in de Engelsche Fondsen.
Heb de goedheid indachtig te zijn, en te effectúeren dat ik de Origineele acte van Independtie leezen kan, want ik worde hoe langer hoe meer, overtúigd, dat de Engelsche Nieúwspapieren ook daarmede een toúr gespeeld en ik een gesúborneerd stúk geleezen heb. Ik verlange daarom een echt stuk van zoveel gewigt met aandagt te leezen en te herleezen.
Inmiddels noeme mij met ware achting Wel Edele Heer! U. E. M. Dienaar
[signed] H. Calkoen

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0057-0002

Author: Calkoen, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-31

Hendrik Calkoen to John Adams: A Translation

I am Sorry that the time does not permit my reflecting any longer, upon the Subject in question, you will therefore be so kind as to content your self with those few remarks, so as they may arise in my thoughts, which will perhaps cause the one or other recollection to appear, that ought to have been placed something Sooner.
To encourage and Establish as much as possible the general credit of the United States of North America here in Holland, would be above all things necessary an exact authentic and True information of the present Situation of her affairs, accompanied by a previous, Short, tho real account of their course, before during and after the commencement of the troubles, till this day; Where with if it was necessary, to be provided with the genuine Documents and demonstrations. One might be able to resume it in a letter to the Right Honourable G. Germain, to expose <by that means> his ridiculous or improbable Vantises1 presented in the House of Parliament,2 concerning the appraching reconciliation with America, by composing the same further, in an ironical tone, that it might be that means pass the more thro Every bodies hands. But of this present state of affairs, might one further foresee, what the natural consequence of this War must be, because one can judge with more probability of the presumtive issue of affairs; by comparing them with any other event of the like that has happened. Would not a Just and fitted comparison and parallel of the situation of affairs, so as they were at our Revolution, with those of North America be of very great effect, and { 108 } produce some new observations of consequence, because I am better informed of our war before its independency and adherency, I shall therefore inform you of it, as likewise confirm my abovementioned remarks, by the following Scetch Viz:3
Our Revolution must not pass as one continual Revolution, but as two different ones, yes perhaps three, considered as deriving from each other. The first under the conduct of the Nobility, delivering the known Petition,4 commencing at the same time mutual engagements, which were miscarried intirely, tho the Prince of Orange5 in the Counsel of the party in Suffrance, that is of the opposition, had made up and advanced secretly this League; the reason was that the Commonalty becoming bold upon this convention, Esteemed themselves properly fortifyed, went furiously at Work Beeldstorming6 plundering, depriving the Churches and other Sanctuaries of their Ornaments, throughout the whole Country, by which means the designs of the prudent and well meaning Native Politicians were intirely frustrated, the apprehention with reason of the Roman Catholic Nobility, that the intire abolishment of their Religion was aimed at, induced them to Seperate from the league, that they had already Signed, and returned to the Court party, which they with much facility gained, because it was thought, so as it in reality was, that by means of this division, the whole convention would be torn; it likewise happened too, thro the Italian Policy of the Governess Margaretha7 and her Counselors; Everything disposing itself for Submittance and that without a foreign Soldier in the Country, nor the least require made for any, indeed so far to the contrary, that Margaretha wrote to Spain and could write with truth, “that the Rebellion was Stopt and that every thing was preparing with Speed for Subjection.”
Had the King but then put aside his resolution of sending an Army, with Duke d'Alba8 at the head, the Netherlands would be still in Slavery, yes even if he had judged proper to have left Orange, Egmond, and Hoorn unmolested,9 likely should the same have happened, because the Prince of Orange would then by all probability not have mentained the affair any longer, but the King preversly comprehending, that the occasion was now too fair to invest himself with an unlimitted Sovereignty, Sends Duke d'Alba hither at the head of a mighty Army, and attacks the abovementioned Ringleaders of the opposition, in person, goods and honour, depriving them of their lives and by making himself master at the same time, of the Whole Country, frontiers &c.
{ 109 }
The Prince of Orange meeting with such barbarious treatment, brought him to dispair, took recourse to Arms, and came off in the year 1568 with an Army, that he could perform nothing with, even of such little consequence, that it, thro want of pay, diminished of its own self.
Duke d'Alba was, and continued by that means master of all, the Inhabitants with Repugnancy to their inclination of Courage, found themselves under the necessity of submitting intirely. Had he then even with a little Soldiers moderation gouverned the affairs, the Second extinguished Rebellion, would never have dared, to have raised its head again, but, thro violence, fire and Sword, would he cement his Sovereignty, which occasioned the accidental, and intire unadvised Assault and conquest of the Briel,10 executed by a few desperate Netherlanders; That stroke induced mostly, the two Provinces, Holland and Zeeland to rise against him; it gave at last the Prince of Orange an oppertunity, of Setting his feet in this Country again, from where he had been banished for Severall Years. The revolt, of one Town after the other, occasioned by this unexpected event, puzled Duke d'Alba vastly, which place to attack first, and extinguish by that means, the flames that were increasing with great rapidity. His Supiriority during the Year 1573 and 74, favoured him in recovering Severall advantages. He conquerd anew Several of the revolted Towns, and every thing would have been forced a third time, to Submission; above all under the Government of his Successor Requesens,11 who, with much more temperament, went to work, and who would without the least doubt, have rendered the Court Victorious, had he not most unexpectedly died, even without Establishing any form of Gouvernment, or having Chosen a Successor ad interim.
The Counselors of State were naturally obliged, by provision to invest themselves, with the Gouvernment of affairs. The Netherlanders having the Tiller in their hands, and as averse as ever of a foreign Yoke, made a very dextrous use of this opportunity; by imprisoning the Counselors of the Spanish party, whilst the unpaid Spanish Soldiers were revolting, which ended with plundering and Prey of friend and Enemy; All the Provinces that were till thus far with Spain in War, against Holland and Sealand, united to defend the Mother Country against all foreign forces and importunitys.
The Prince of Orange was ordered to Braband, the famious Paciffication of Gend12 was established in a short time after, in a proper Situation, by which means not only the peace with Holland { 110 } and Sealand was concluded, but likewise a Convention, to remain as formerly, under the King's authority, and to join each other in Expelling any foreign forces that might attempt returning into this Country.
Holland and Sealand in the mean While recovering their former Strenght, and Spain obtaining from day to day more and more Enemies, gave the affairs here a favourable appearance, tho they remained in an unstable Situation. Difference of Religion, Ambition of a few Dutch Noblemen, with Jealousy seeing, that the Prince of Orange was daily increasing in the Esteem of the Commonalty, the furious Zeal of the Clergymen; those and many other casualties rendered the Situation of affairs, of a very long uncertainty; Small events for and against the cause, were accompanied by important consequences. The Prince of Orange remarking by all those difficulties, that it was impossible to draw all the Provinces under one line, occupied himself by times in concluding a new Union at Utrecht,13to prevent by that means the Submission of a party of Netherlanders that might incline to it; If even the evil that, that Skilful man foresaw, had instantly brooken out.
One might make an end of the comparison at this period, with the only exception, of the unexpected assassination of William 1st.14 in midst of the Netherlands decaying situation of affairs, deprived them intirely of their greatest Support; but neither this change, the Youth of Maurits,15 nor the Confusion that Leicester16 kindled, could give an officer by name, of Parma,17 the least occasion to Subject the Netherlands again, so as has appeared by the course of affairs. In the meanwhile the principallest decision of the War has been at Sea, executing from time to time audacious and fortunate expeditions at Sea, by which it seems alone that Netherland has had more advantages in, than America; The Spanyards Supiriority at Sea, by comparing the same with ours at that time, is much the same, as that of England is at present, with America.
Out of this short Schetch of the Situation of affairs, which resemble much each other in all particularities; but to return to the affairs again, there can be more than one remark drawn from them, that can be of service to the one in question. The great difference between us and America is very evident, as likewise are the great advantages in general that has been perceived there during this War. For America must be Conquered yet, and then afterwards preserved. Suppose England was to become Master of it, then England shall begin first where Spain began, the trouble of preservation shall than (all other considerations layed aside) be so much the greater, as the land it self { 111 } is in proportion, much larger than our little Country. Has now Spain, with a Strong army in this Country, in total possession of the whole, as likewise of the frontiers, Ammunition, financies and God knows what more? Has Spain, that proportion to Netherlands at least, Mightyer, than what England is with regard to America, the same Netherlands were at that time devided into different sorts of animosities, tho withall that, they have not been able to preserve them, the hatred that the Nation had against Spanyards or a Spanish name. Expelled them all. Need one therefore be cautious in foretelling also, that if even America was once to be intirely conquered, and forced to Submit, its preservation and Salvation, would be imperformable for Engeland, with her exausted forces.
This argument, this comparison and parallel well effected in all its particularities by a Skilfull hand, would be a strong argument both for Skilful and unskilful people. To urge it, one would be under the necessity of making use partly or totally, of the following <questions> things.
1. To prove with Speaking facts that an implacable hatred and aversion reigns throughout America.
2. That this general is, or at least so general, that the Tories are in so Small a number, and of such little force, that they are counted as nothing.
3. That America, not withstanding the War, daily increases in Strenght and force.
4. Whether America then in or of itself thro means of purchaseing or exchanging the productions from their respective Provinces, would be able to continue the war for at least 6, 8 or 10 Years, even if they were intirely deprived of the trade with Europe, or their Allies Exausted by the war, and forced to make a Separate peace, were to leave them.
5. That there is no voluntary revolt of one or more of the Provinces to be apprehended, and if even it was to happen, of one, or more, Whether the others would not be able to defend themselves.
6. That no Person in America is of so much influence, power, or credit, that his death, or thro corruption of English money, could be of any nameable consequence.
7. That the Commonalty in America are not inclined, nor would be able to find Sufficient fundaments to frustrate by force the good intentions of the Skilful Politicians, even as the Beeldenstorm did, notwithstanding all the wise measures, that the Prince of Orange had taken.
{ 112 }
8. What England properly ought to do, to force America to Submittance, and preserve her in the Same, what should be required to do it? How much time, money and Vessels, would be wanted for that purpose?
(N.B. One comprehends, that this must only be performed, by reserving the essential Secrets of State; which remark is here once for all explained.)
Out of this might, and must be proved the imperformable view of England.
9. How strong the English land force is, that actually carry Arms against America? How strong it was at the beginning of those troubles? Whether the Same is in an increasing, or always diminishing Situation?
10. How great the Effective force of America is, that's in opposition to it, as well relative to the number of men, as their discipline, from the Commencement of the troubles, till thus far? Is there a good Supply of Warlike Stores, are they to be found partly or intirely in America, or must they be imported?
11. How great is the present debt of America? What has she yearly use of to act defensively, are those wants Supplied by the inhabitants themselves or by other Nations? If in the latter case, what does America loose of her Strenght by it? are they not in one manner or the other recompenced again by some other equivalent advantage? If so, thro which? What would be required to act offencively, and by that means shorten the War?
12. What countenance has the Situation of the financies? how much does the expences excel the Yearly income? does the annual Revenue, deriving from the Taxes, increase or diminish? over the whole or in some particularities, which are the reasons to be given for it?
13. Of What resources might America hereafter, Still make use of?
14. What is the quantity of the made, and in circulation Paper Money? What Credit the inhabitants have for it in their daily business? What designes they have by maintaining its Credit, by preventing as much as possible its increase and in what manner theyll realize it?
15. Does not the English army itself, thats in America, lay out its pay, or at least the greatest part; must in spite of England cause a great circulation of effective money? If so, at how much can the yearly benefit, be calculated at? Are not the greatest part of the mutual Prisoner found for in America? Who is it that has the care of { 113 } their maintainance? The Power, that they have Served, or well that one, Who made them Prisoners? If it is the Power that they have served, the question is, whether America then Supplies them with money, or does it by furnishing them with provisions and other necessaries? How does that happen with regard to Bourgoyn's Army? If they buy and pay the Commodities they are in want of with effective money, great quantities of Gold and Silver must by that Means circulate among the Americans, and also fulfill Vastly their urging want of Money—pray whats your opinion of this reflection?
16. Who looses the most by desertion, America or England? Do the English deserters serve voluntarily and well in the American army? Upon what footing can they, who do not enter into the Army, Subsist? how great is their number? do they Suffer under any difficulties of want, or can they properly Subsist?
17. Have they any informations, that one can rely upon concerning the Population? does it increase or diminish? or is it almost in the same Situation, as it was, at the beginning of the War?
18. Does Sufficiant tranquility, contentment, and prosperity reign in those places where the rage of War is not effectual? can one Sufficiantly Subsist there, without feeling the oppression of the Taxes? does plenty abound there, that is, more than is needful, and are the People well affected and encouraged to persue the war and endure its calamities, or is there poverty and dejection?
19. Is not Peace very much longed for in America, might not that perhaps give some inducement of hearckning to proposals appearing very fair (but which are in reality to the contrary) which one might be too quick in listning too, and forced to accept?
20. Has there not been different opinions in Congress with regard to this, and from which animosities have arisen?
21. Are there no Malcontents in America, over the public government, tho much inclined otherways for the American cause, who might force the Nation or Congress against their Resolutions and interests to conclude a Peace?
22. General Monk18 repaired the Kings government, in England, might not one American General or the other, be able, by way of discontent, or drawn thro Corruption, to perform the Same? Should the Army follow his orders on such an occasion?
23. Should one or more Politicians thro Intrigues, undertake the same, with any hopes of Success, should even the Army assist him in Such a case?
24. The new arisen Revolution must certainly have made a great { 114 } change in the affairs, and even so, that a vast many people, tho at present free of the Enemies incursions, have with all that lost their daily Subsistance; are the occupations which came instead of their old ones, been till thus far Sufficient to Supply their want? and are the affairs already to that respect brought upon a new durable footing, that no Want or poverty of consequence can be Suffered on that account alone?
25. Do they, who have lost their possessions and fortunes by the War, endure the same in general patiently as compatriots, in so far that nothing can be feared of them?
26. How has it gone with the Cultivation of the land, before the troubles, at their Commencement, and at present? What change of increase or diminish have those places undergone where the War has not in long raged?
27. How was the Situation of Manufactures, manual art, and trade in general at the beginning of this War, what change of increase or diminish have they met with, during the Same?
28. Has America gained or lost, by the mutual capture of Ships? how much is the benefit or prejudice of it, by calculation?
29. Which are the veritable damages Sustained, or Still to be Suffered, by the loss of Charlestown, and what influence the same has had over the minds in general?
See there Dear Sir, my thoughts over the Subject, in some degrees circumstantially proposed.
I conceive very clear, that all the made questions, cannot nor must not be publicly answered. Also is the one of more consequence then the other, the positive proof of these and other affairs, shall above all in Severall cases fall very difficult, yes often be impossible, but one can then take for assistance and relief a Negative demonstration, by Example Article 14 concerning the Paper money, its miscredit is perhaps if I may Judge, without having a local knowledge of it, the principal inability of America. If no Satisfactory Solution could be given of it, the inquest must be turned negatively in an inquiry of the English financies prescribing their depretiated Situation, for which purpose one must above all things make use of Humes19 remarks concerning their public debt, which would at the same time be a feeling pinch for their Credit. While Hume has made such dreadful fear exciting predictions about it, that at a Simple lecture of his remarks, one feels a remarkable perturbation, even if one has none, or but very little concern in their funds.
I Humbly beg youll be mindfull in procuring me the lecture of the { 115 } Original Act of Independency, because I am from day to day more and more persuaded, that the English Newspapers are also deceived, and that I have likewise read a Counterfeited peace.
I am therefore very desirous to read with attention, a real peace of so much consequence.
In the mean while I have the honour to remain with much Esteem.
RC (Adams Papers). Translation in Herman Le Roy's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Calkoens Questions.” Herman Le Roy, son of the Rotterdam merchant Jacob Le Roy, was born in America, but since the early 1770s had lived in Amsterdam. Returning to America in 1782, he became a leading New York merchant. For an account of Le Roy and the relations between his family and the Adamses, see Adams Family Correspondence, 4:148. For a discussion of Calkoen's letter and JA's response to the questions posed by the Dutch lawyer, see Replies to Hendrik Calkoen, 4–27 Oct., Editorial Note (below).
1. The editors do not know the meaning of this word.
2. Calkoen is probably referring to Germain's speech of 5 May, to which JA had replied in a letter of [28 May] to Edmé Jacques Genet (above). For the publication of JA's response in both France and England, see the letter to Genet, note 1, and Edmund Jenings' letter of 9 July, and note 2 (above).
3. What follows is a rambling, but generally accurate, account of the late sixteenth-century revolt by the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands against Spanish rule. The ten southern or Catholic provinces, now forming parts of France and the nations of Luxembourg and Belgium, ultimately returned to the Spanish fold, but the seven northern or Calvinist provinces combined to form the Dutch Republic, and it is with these that Calkoen is most concerned. Although he notes the assassination of William I, Prince of Orange, in 1584 and the later intervention by Elizabeth I of England, Calkoen's narrative centers on the years 1566 to 1579. It opens with the petition, known as the “Request,” presented to Margaret, Duchess of Parma and Governess General of the Netherlands, on 5 April 1566 and ends with the Union of Utrecht of 23 Jan. 1579, by which the seven northern provinces agreed to act as a single political entity.
As Calkoen indicates, the Dutch Revolt really comprised three separate uprisings. The first, spanning the years 1565 to 1568, was against the Spanish monarch Philip II's efforts to enhance his ability to govern the Netherlands by reducing the rights and privileges of the provinces, towns, and nobles and imposing the Inquisition. It failed because of the religious divisions within the ranks of the rebels and William I's inability to create an effective military force to defeat the forces of the Duke of Alva. The second revolt raged from 1569 to 1576 and was directed against the despotism of the Duke of Alva and, in particular, his effort to raise revenue by imposing a 10 percent value added tax. This uprising, like the first, was hampered by divisions within the rebel forces and the strength of Alva's army, but a base of operations within the northern provinces was established when the rebels captured the port of Brielle in 1572. The third revolt lasted from 1576 to 1581 and was fought, at least by the northern provinces, to establish a national state and ended when the United Provinces formally declared their independence from Spain. The war with Spain, as opposed to the Revolt, however, did not end in 1581. Fighting continued until the Twelve Years' Truce of 1609, was resumed in 1621, and ended only in 1648 with the Peace of Munster. Only then, over eighty years after the Dutch had first taken up arms, was Dutch independence finally and formally established.
Because Calkoen's history of the Dutch Revolt is reliable, annotation has been limited to brief identifications of major figures and events. Perhaps the best modern account is Geoffrey Parker, The Dutch Revolt, rev. edn., N.Y., 1985. See also Charles Wilson, The Transformation of Europe, 1558–1648, Berkeley, 1976, which stresses the revolt's European context and argues that efforts to suppress it destroyed Spain as a major power; and Herbert H. Rowen, The Princes of Orange: The Stadholders in the Dutch Republic, Cam• { 116 } bridge, Eng., 1988, which contains an excellent short biography of William I, Prince of Orange, and examines the development of the stadholder system.
4. This petition, known as the “Request,” was presented on 5 April 1566 by 300 armed nobles who forced their way into the presence of Margaret, Duchess of Parma, the Governess General of the Netherlands and half-sister of Philip II. She was to inform Philip of the Dutch opposition to the Inquisition and request its retraction and, in the meantime, was to suspend its operation. Lacking the power to resist the nobles effectively, Margaret replied on 9 April with a proposal known as the “Moderation.” Noting her inability to act without specific instructions from Madrid, she nonetheless agreed to suspend the prosecution of heretics while awaiting new instructions. The “Request” and the resulting “Moderation” undermined Margaret's authority and diminished what little ability she had to control events. Dutch hopes were raised, but Philip was unwilling to make the concessions, thus making new challenges a certainty (Parker, Dutch Revolt, p. 69–72).
5. William I, Prince of Orange (William the Silent), was a leader of the Dutch nobility in 1565 and became the driving force behind the Dutch Revolt until his assassination in 1584. Although he proved unequal to the task of uniting all seventeen provinces, he never lost confidence in a final victory over Spain (Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 8–31).
6. That is, iconoclasm or the breaking of images. Inspired by itinerant Calvinist preachers and encouraged by the “Moderation” of April, the iconoclasts began their work in Steenvoord, Flanders, in August, and by mid-September churches had been sacked as far north as Groningen. Local authorities were unable or unwilling to maintain order and Margaret at first lacked the means to compel obedience to the central government. The iconoclasm was one of the major factors in Philip's decision to send a Spanish army under the Duke of Alva to restore order (Parker, Dutch Revolt, p. 74–84).
7. Margaret, Duchess of Parma, who was replaced as Governess General by the Duke of Alva in 1567 (same, p. 44, 106).
8. In the spring of 1567, Philip II dispatched an army under Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva, to restore royal authority. Alva reached the Netherlands in August and immediately established Spanish garrisons in Brussels and surrounding towns. Then, by means of the “Council of Troubles” or, as referred to by the Dutch, the “Council of Blood,” he began the wholesale condemnation and execution of heretics and opponents of Spanish rule. He served until 1573 (same, p. 99–117). “Alva” became a synonym for tyrant, as can be seen from JA's 1774 use of “Alva Gage” to describe Thomas Gage, last royal governor of Massachusetts (vol. 2:206, but see also 2:232 and 7:58, 235).
9. Lamoral, Count of Egmont, and Philip de Montmorency, Count of Hornes, leaders of the Dutch opposition, who had imprudently placed themselves within reach of the Duke of Alva, were executed in the great square at Brussels on 5 June 1568. This despite Egmont's distinguished military record in the Spanish service and the fact that both men were Catholics who never irrevocably broke with Philip II. William of Orange, unwilling to test Alva's benevolence, went into exile in his German possessions and was condemned in absentia, his property confiscated, and his son, Philip William, Count of Buren, seized and sent to Spain (same, p. 50–52, 106, 108, 110).
10. This is the capture, in April 1572, of Brielle, Zeeland, by the “Sea Beggars,” essentially pirates operating under letters of marque from William and preying on the towns and commerce along the Dutch coast. It established what had been lacking before, a permanent base of operations for the forces loyal to William I (same, p. 131–134).
11. On 29 Nov. 1573, Don Luis de Requesens, governor of Lombardy, was sworn in as the Duke of Alva's replacement. Requesens maintained military pressure on the rebels, but, unlike Alva, was willing to negotiate with William's representatives. His death in March 1576 ended the possibility of a settlement, but the lack of a successor created a power vacuum that the Dutch rebels were quick to exploit (same, p. 163–171).
12. Signed on 8 Nov. 1576, the Pacification of Ghent ended the second revolt. The agreement between the Prince of Orange and the provinces of Holland and Zeeland as well as the States General representing the other provinces provided for an end to fighting between the provinces and the expulsion of Spanish troops from the Netherlands. When that had been accomplished, a States General of the seventeen provinces united by Charles V in 1548 would meet to settle religious and national issues (same, p. 176–178).
13. The Pacification of Ghent, to which all { 117 } seventeen Dutch provinces were a party and which included at least a nominal recognition of Spanish rule, reflected William I's intention to unify the Low Countries, but by 1579 religious differences combined to make a north-south division permanent. On 6 Jan. 1579 the provinces of Hainaut and Artois joined in the Union of Arras and by February were joined by the Walloon provinces. This combination of the southern, Catholic provinces opened negotiations and ultimately was reconciled with Philip II. On 23 Jan. 1579 the northern, Protestant provinces, led by Holland and Zeeland, signed the Union of Utrecht. This agreement provided the territorial and political foundation for the Dutch Republic, and insured that it would continue the struggle against Spain (same, p. 194–195).
14. Spain had long encouraged plots to assassinate William of Orange, but none were successful until 10 July 1584, when a young Catholic zealot, Balthazar Gérard, shot William twice at his Delft residence (same, p. 207; Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 30).
15. This is Maurice of Nassau, son of William of Orange, who was sixteen years old when his father died. By 1589, Maurice was Stadholder of five provinces and commander of the United Provinces' southern military forces. It was in his military rather than his political capacity that he had the most impact. Maurice was a gifted commander and it was largely through his efforts that the United Provinces were cleared of Spanish forces and the Twelve Years' Truce of 1609, which he personally opposed, was made possible (Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 32–55).
16. Foreign assistance had long been seen as necessary in the struggle against Spain. After William's death, the States General approached both France and England. France refused, but Elizabeth I agreed to send an army commanded by Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester. Leicester landed at Flushing in Dec. 1585 and was appointed governor general of the United Provinces. His administrative and military incompetence, however, soon made him unpopular and brought little change in the Dutch situation vis-à-vis Spain. Leicester's accomplishments were few, but by the time of his recall in 1587 Dutch independence was fully established (same, p. 34–36; Parker, Dutch Revolt, p. 216–221).
17. This was Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, son of the former governess general. Parma served as governor from 1578 to his death in 1592 and was the architect of the Union of Arras. A skilled military leader, he might well have reconquered the northern provinces, at least to Holland's border, had he not been sent to France in 1590 to oppose Henry of Navarre, or had he received adequate support from Philip II (Parker, Dutch Revolt, p. 193–195, 208–216, 221–230).
18. George Monck, 1st duke of Albemarle, had a long and distinguished military career. He began in the service of Charles I, but later served Oliver Cromwell, whom he greatly admired. Upon Cromwell's death, however, Monck became convinced that the nation's welfare demanded that the monarchy be reestablished and he became a principle instrument for the restoration of Charles II in 1660 (DNB).
19. Probably a reference to David Hume's Political Discourses, Edinburgh, 1752, which had considerable influence on Adam Smith. The volume included essays on a variety of economic topics, including “Of Public Credit.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0058-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-31

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai l'honneur de vous renvoyer ci-joint les Papiers, que vous aviez eu la bonté de nous communiquer; et vous verrez par l'Exemplaire ci-joint de notre Gazette de Mardi dernier l'usage que j'en ai fait.1 Je vous suis infiniment obligé de l'attention, que vous nous avez témoignée à cet égard; et vous me trouverez toujours prêt à vous prouver tout le cas que je fais des Pièces, que vous nous commiquerez. Quant à la Constitution de Massachusett's-Bay, j'aurois été
{ 118 } { 119 }
charmé de pouvoir être le premier à la donner au Public; mais il y a trois mois que le Courier du Bas-Rhin en a publié le commencement: Et aujourd'hui je vois, que la Gazette Françoise d'Amsterdam en a déjà inséré une grande partie, d'où celle d'Utrecht a déjà commencé à la copier. Cependant je serois bien-aise d'en avoir l'Original.
Mes Père et Oncle me chargent de vous présenter leurs devoirs;2 et j'ai l'honneur d'être avec les sentimens les plus respectueux, Moieur, de votre Excellence Le très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] J: Luzac

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0058-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-31

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have the honor to return to you the enclosed papers, which you were kind enough to send me, and you can see from the enclosed gazette of last Tuesday the use that I made of them.1 I am infinitely obliged for the attention that you have paid to me in this regard and you will always find me ready to consider anything that you may communicate. As to the constitution of Massachusetts Bay, I would have been delighted to have been the first to publish it, but three months ago the Courier du Bas-Rhin published the first part of it and I see that today the French gazette of Amsterdam has published a lengthy section, which the gazette at Utrecht has already begun to copy. Nevertheless, I would be very pleased to have the original.
My father and uncle have directed me to present their regards2 and I have the honor to be, sir, with the utmost respect, your excellency's most humble and most obedient servant.
[signed] J. Luzac
1. For the items printed by Luzac in the Gazette de Leyde of 29 Aug., see JA's letter of 22 Aug., and note 2 (above).
2. Luzac's father was Jean Luzac, former rector of a gymnasium at The Hague; his uncle was Etienne Luzac, who had retired in 1775 as editor of the Gazette de Leyde, leaving the younger Jean Luzac in control (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 1:1290).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-09-01

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

I have received a Copy of the Constitution of the Massachusetts of which I beg your Acceptance. It has not yet been published in Europe, as it now appears accepted by the Convention, altho the Report of the Committee, was printed in the Courier de L'Europe, Some Months ago, and in the Remembrancer, as well as the Newspapers in London.1
{ 120 }
I find many Gentlemen here are inquisitive, concerning the American Forms of Government: So that if you could find room to print it, by Small Portions at a Time in your Paper, you would not only gratify the Curiosity of many of your Readers, but perhaps do a public Service to a Cause, which is honoured with your Approbation.
To tell you the Truth, as I had Some share in the formation of this Constitution, I am ambitious of Seeing it translated by the Editor of the Leyden Gazette, which without a Compliment I esteem the best both in Point of Style and Method in Europe. I have the Honour to be, Sir your most obedient servant
[signed] John Adams
1. For the appearance of portions of the Report in the London newspapers and The Remembrancer, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April to JA, and note 2 (above); and for Luzac's printing of the constitution as adopted, see his letter of 14 Sept., note 3 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0060

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-01

From John Thaxter

There is this day a Confirmation of the News of the taking the fleet mentioned in my Letter1—with this addition that there is 62 instead of 55 taken—they had great quantities of provisions and warlike Stores on board, a considerable quantity of Brass Ordinance also, which they were carrying to their fleets and Armies—this Event is very unhappy for the English, and has sunk their funds. The Number of Sailors I know not—whether any soldiers or not I am equally uncertain—it is however probable that there are many of both.
I have said in the same Letter that the Cte. D'Estaing was to command the Combined fleets—I am not certain of that—there is no End to the Reports—that he is in Spain is certain—every thing else of him and the destination of the combined fleets is envelopped in Mysteries more perplexing than the prophecies. This being the Case, all one has to do is, to pray for more wisdom, and for the prosperity and success of him and the fleets.
The Description of the Exchange in London upon the Confirmation of the News of the loss of the fleets mentioned in my letter.
“The long faces, the gloomy Shades of discontent, the motley of painful Attitudes, the Concert of murmurs, Sighs and yawnings upon different Tones, the stupid Aspects, the fuller silence of some, the stifled laughter of others, the bursts of fury of certain Groupes, the { 121 } deafening Imprecations of some others, in general the convulsive Agitation of this Multitude, which resembled an Ant's Nest disturbed by the first stroke of a Spade, forms a Picture more easy to be imagin'd than described, and well worthy the pen of an Addison and the pencil of an Hogarth.”2
This Picture is taken from the life, but not yet published according to Act of Parliament.
I have transcribed the above for your Amusement, and hope I shall not fail of my Object.
NB. The Soldiers and Sailors amounted to nearly 4.000—the loss is computed at a million and an half Sterling.
[signed] J. T.
1. Thaxter reported on the capture of a large portion of the British convoy bound for the East and West Indies on 9 Aug. in his letter of 27 Aug. (not printed), but see Francis Dana's letter of that date, and note 5 (above).
2. Thaxter's source for this quotation has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-09-02

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of 27 Ultimo came to hand last night. Mr. Bradford informs me that he Sent to Paris by Post a Packet from Dr. Cooper to me.1 Have you heard nothing of it?
Upon my first Arrival I told Mr. De Neufville, that I had orders to pay him 60£ st. for you and offered to do it then; but he has put it off.
There are no Vessells here going to Massachusetts—but there is one going to Rhode Island, and one to Virginia. There is one also in which Mr. Cabot is interested. I thank you for accepting Mr. Gardoqui's Bill. The News of the Captures made off St. Vincents by the combined Fleets has not yet gained full Credit here. There is neither Letter nor Newspaper from London later than the 18 of August.
I came this moment from paying Mr. De Neufville, and inclose you his Recipt for Sixty Louis D'ors. The News of the Captures off St. Vincents is confirmed in Abundance from London, and We have News at Same Time of an American Frigate and two Privateer Brigs taking most of the Quebec Fleet.
A Vessell has arrived from Virginia and another from Philadelphia. Mr. Robert Temple and his Family, are arrived at Bristol from Boston. { 122 } All these Vessells agree in their Accounts that Things are very well. But no Letters.2 You will see G. Washingtons and Greens Accounts of Kniphausens Defeat and Retreat from the Jersies. There are Associations for forming Banks at Philadelphia and another talked of at Boston. The Mass Constitution is accepted by more than 2/3 of the People and is to take Place the first of October. My Loves to M. T[haxter]. and my dear Friends the Abbys Chalut and Arnoux. My Thanks also to Mr. Grand for his genteel Letters of Recommendation and Credit.3 With much affection your Friend
1. For Samuel Bradford and the packet, probably Samuel Cooper's letter of 11 May (Adams Papers), see Cooper's letter of 23 May, note 6 (above) and Francis Dana's letter of 9 Sept. (below).
2. The recently arrived ships may not have carried any letters, but that from Philadelphia likely brought newspapers, namely the Pennsylvania Packet of 1 July and the Pennsylvania Journal for 5 and 12 July. These issues are referred to in the Gazette de Leyde of 8 Sept., and Jean Luzac's letter of 7 Sept. (below) thanked JA for sending three American newspapers. The Pennsylvania Packet of 1 July contained the letters from Gens. Greene and Washington, dated 24 and 25 June respectively, the first reporting on the defeat of Lt. Gen. Knyphausen's expedition into New Jersey and the second transmitting the report to Congress. The two issues of the Pennsylvania Journal contained the reports on efforts to establish banks at Philadelphia and Boston and on the Massachusetts Constitution.
3. An undated note by Ferdinand Grand, probably written on or about 1 Aug. (Adams Papers), served as a covering letter for four letters of credit and recommendation, of which only three are with Grand's note in the Adams Papers. The three letters, each dated 28 July, are directed to Frederick Romberg & fils at Brussels, Pierre Cornabé & fils & Cie. at Leyden, and Henry Dusauzet at The Hague. The presence of the three letters in the Adams Papers probably indicates that they were not used and make it likely that the missing fourth letter was used and was directed to a firm in Amsterdam.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0062

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-09-02

To William Lee

[salute] Dr Sir

I am much obliged to you, for your care of my Packet which I recieved with your favour of 27 of August, containing the News of the Confirmation of it, So far as an Extract from two London Gazettes could confirm it, but it is Still with much difficulty credited here.1 There is no Letter nor Newspaper in this City from London, Since the 18 of August, which is to me inexplicable. I should have thought that Intelligence would have been here many Ways, not with standing the contrary Winds. I think there must be Something in the News, but expect to have great deductions to make. A Packet has arrived at Bilboa, from America with news of the Arrival of Deternay at Rhode Island, at least this Account was received last night in a Letter from Mr. Gardoqui. A Vessell has arived here yesterday from { 123 } Philadelphia and another from Virginia. I have not seen any body from them as yet, but hear that the Ennemy have retreated from New Jersey to New York driven back by the Militia, and that the People are in high Spirits. Trade very brisk and Privateering successfull. I am &c.
I am So much of your opinion that I wish Congress had a Min. Plen. at the Hague, Petersbourg, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
1. That is, the capture of the British East and West Indian convoy by the combined French and Spanish fleet on 9 August.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0063-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-03

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Je vous felicite de tout mon coeur de la bonne nouvelle que nous venons de recevoir, de la prise des Flottes Angloises or. et occid. par la Flotte combinée Fr. et Espagnole. Prenons cela comme un Avantcoureur d'heureux augure, pour ce qui doit s'être passé de la part de Mrs. De Ternay, Rochambaut, Guichen et Solano. Je voudrois être en ce moment la de mon favori Virgile: pernicibus alis hoc ipsa nocte volarem caeli medis, terraque per umbram stridens, nec dulci declinarem lumina somno; Luce sederem turribus altis America, gaudens hinc, veri nuncius, recreans fratres, inde territans tyranos.1
J'ai vu avec un très-grand plaisir, dans la gazette, l'article de l'Académie Americaine des Arts et des Sciences, dont vous êtes digne Membre, ainsi que de la Société philosophique Américaine.2
Je me suis jusqu'ici flatté en vain d'être honoré de vos Lettres, comme vous me l'aviez fait espérer, Monsieur, en nous quittant à Leide. Je serois bien aise, Monsieur, de savoir quelques jours d'avance celui où vous vous proposez de revenir dans ces quartiers ici, non seulement afin de ne point m'absenter en ce temps-là de cette ville, mais aussi pour aller à votre rencontre à Leide. Il y a un Seigneur Hollandois, ami de l'Amérique, à qui j'ai inspiré une bonne envie de vous connoître, et qui m'a prié de vous amener dîner chez lui à Sa Campagne, qui n'est qu'à 2 lieues d'ici. Sur un billet que je lui écrirois, il nous enverroit Sa voiture, Soit à la Haie, Soit à Leide. Il m'a promis que vous serez incognito pour tout le reste de sa famille.3
J'espere, Monsieur, que vous jouissez d'une parfaite santé, et de toutes sortes d'agrémens, à Amsterdam, avec Mrs. vos fils, que j'embrasse de tout mon coeur, ainsi que ma famille. Je serois charmé { 124 } d'apprendre comment vous plait le séjour d'Amsterdam. Les Etats d'Hollande vont s'assembler ici après-demain. A vue de pays, il ne se passera rien de fort important dans cette Assemblée. Nos Anglomanes, pour se consoler du dernier désastre, réchauffent leurs anciens contes d'un prochain racommodement entre l'Amérique et l'Angleterre.
Mon Epouse vous présente ses honneurs. Je suis avec beaucoup de respect, Monsieur, Votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0063-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-03

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] sir

I congratulate you with all my heart on the good news that we have received of the capture of the English East and West Indian fleets by the combined French and Spanish fleets. Take this as a happy portent of the exploits of De Ternay, Rochambeau, De Guichen, and Solano. I would like to be at this moment Fama from my favorite Virgil: pernicibus alis hoc ipsa nocte volarem caeli medis, terraque per umbram stridens, nec dulci declinarem lumina somno; Luce sederem turribus altis America, gaudens hinc, veri nuncius, recreans fratres, inde territans tyranos.1
I have seen with great pleasure the article in the gazette concerning the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of which you are a distinguished member, and also that on the American Philosophical Society.2
So far I have waited in vain to be honored by the letters that you promised when we parted at Leyden. I would appreciate knowing a few days in advance when you plan to return to this quarter, so that I will be in town and able to meet you at Leyden. There is a Dutch gentleman, a friend of America, whom I have inspired with a desire to meet you and who has asked me to bring you to dinner at his country house, which is only two leagues from here. Upon receiving my note he will send his carriage for us, either at The Hague or at Leyden. He has promised me that you will remain unknown to the rest of his family.3
I hope, sir, that you are enjoying perfect health and the many pleasures of Amsterdam with your sons, whom I and my family embrace with all our hearts. I would be delighted to learn what you think of your stay in Amsterdam. The States of Holland will meet here on the day after tomorrow and at first glance it appears that nothing of importance will occur in the assembly. Our Anglomanes, in an effort to console themselves over the latest disaster, will rehash their old stories of an imminent Anglo-American reconciliation.
My wife sends her regards. I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Dumas
{ 125 }
1. The Latin is Dumas' adaptation of Virgil, aeneid 4. 180-187, and reads: on swift wings would I fly on this very night, shrieking through the gloom mid-way between heaven and earth, nor would I let my eyes rest in sweet sleep. By day I would sit on America's high towers, finding joy in this, a messenger of truth and refreshment to my comrades, so bringing terror to tyrants.
2. Dumas is probably referring to the article in the Gazette de Leyde of 29 Aug., but see JA's letter of 22 Aug. to Jean Luzac, and note 2 (above).
3. The discreet Dutchman has not been identified, nor is there any indication in later letters that the proposed meeting took place.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0064

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-04

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress, No. 5

Amsterdam, 4 Sept. 1780. RC (MdHi: Gilmor Papers).
A note attached to this letter by Robert Gilmor, a Baltimore merchant, indicates that he received it from Jared Sparks on 24 Dec. 1827. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:45. In this letter, received by Congress on 3 Dec., John Adams sent the substance of London newspaper reports regarding the captures, on 9 Aug. and 12 July respectively, of large portions of the British convoys bound to the East and West Indies and to Quebec.
RC (MdHi: Gilmor Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0065

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1780-09-05

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] dear Sir

I have this moment the Pleasure of yours of the 3d instant, and I thank you for your kind Congratulations on the glorious News of the Capture of the British Fleets for the East and West Indies, by the combined Fleets of France and Spain. The Value of the Property the Number of Soldiers and Seamen, and especially the Dissappointment to the English Fleets and Armies, in the East and West Indies and in North America, give a great Importance to this Event—But when We consider it, as a Precedent, it is more interesting Still. This is the only wise Method of Warring with Great Britain. When France and Spain shall adopt the Policy, of convoying their own Commerce and cruising for that of the Ennemy, this War will Soon be brought to a Conclusion. Such a capital Success, in one of their first Essays will be likely to convince the two Courts, as well as their marine officers, of the Utility of this measure and induce them to pursue it, which I wish with all my Heart.
America would rejoice at your News, as well as at the Sight of the Messenger: but by a Letter from London of the 29th, it Seems that her own Cruisers have done a Similar favour to the Quebec Fleet.1
Two Vessells are arrived here one from Virginia and one from Philadelphia. Their Accounts are favourable. Kniphausen has been defeated in the Jersies, and has retreated to New York, as you will See by the Letters of General Washington and Green.2
{ 126 }
I saw with Pleasure the Revival of the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, and the Establishment of an Academy of Arts and Sciences at Boston. In a new Country, and a young Society Such Institutions are perhaps more usefull and necessary, than in older nations. But in order to render them more usefull to the World, would it not be proper to promote Some Connection and Correspondence, between them and the Academies of Europe. Would it be unworthy of any Academy in Europe to send, these infant Societies a set of their printed Memoirs or Transactions? Science, and Literature are of no Party nor Nation, they belong to the Great Commonwealth of Mankind. I hope that one of the first Objects of the new Societies in America, will be the formation of botanical Gardens, and Collections of the Birds, Beasts and Fishes as well as Trees, and Plants which are peculiar to that Country in order to a natural History of it. An ample field this.
I am very happy, sir, at Amsterdam—and uncertain when I shall leave it. When I return I promise myself the Pleasure of Seeing you, at the Hague, but I shall be likely to come upon you by surprize.
Is it not wonderfull, that it does not occur to the Friends of England, in the United Provinces, that the best Method they can take to shew their Friendship to her is to convince her of her Error. She is rushing like a madman down a Precipice. Is it Humanity or Friendship to Spur her on?
I am amazed that Avarice itself does not Stimulate the Misers who lend her Money, to Stop their Hands. If this War is continued but two Years longer, these Misers will loose their Money. The only Chance English Credit has for Salvation is to stop short, make Peace, acknowledge American Independance and Secure as great a share as they can of American Commerce before it becomes established in other Channels. In two years more, it will import little to American Commerce whether Great Britain exists or not.
Can it be Friendship to England, to fill the Universe with the most abominable Lies in order to keep up a false Idea of her Power, and the Weakness of America?
I am sir, with Sincere Esteem, your Friend and most obedient servant.
1. JA is referring to Thomas Digges' letter of 29 Aug. (and note 5, above). JA had acknowledged that letter and one of 25 Aug. (above) in a brief note dated 4 Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. See JA's letter of 2 Sept. to Francis Dana (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-09-05

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

Inclosed is an Abridgment of a Pamphlet, published in London last Winter. I beg your Attentive Perusal of it and your candid opinion, whether it would be of service to our cause, which is the Cause of Man Kind and especially of Europe, to publish it, and in what manner. You will please to return it to me, if you do not make any Use of it, because there is not, in the World, another Copy.1
It is an abridgment of a real Pamphlet. This you may depend on.

[salute] Yours respectfully.

1. This is M. Addenet's French translation of JA's reworking of Thomas Pownall's Memorial (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July]; Addenet to JA, 30 July; Francis Dana to JA, 31 July, all above). For Luzac's reaction to JA's effort and his publication of it in November as Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie, see his letters to JA of 7 and 14 Sept. and 14 Nov. (all below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0067

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-05

To the President of Congress, No. 6

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

As Eloquence is cultivated with more Care in free Republicks, than in other Governments, it has been found by constant Experience that such Republicks have produced the greatest purity, copiousness and perfection of Language. It is not to be disputed that the Form of Government has an Influence upon Language, and Language in its Turn influences not only the Form of Government but the Temper, the Sentiments and Manners of the People. The admirable Models, which have been transmitted through the World, and continued down to these days, so as to form an essential part of the Education of Mankind from Generation to Generation, by those two ancient Towns, Athens and Rome, would be Sufficient without any other Argument, to shew the United States the Importance to their Liberty, Prosperity and Glory of an early Attention to the subject of Eloquence and Language.
Most of the Nations of Europe, have thought it necessary to establish by public Authority, Institutions for fixing and improving their proper Languages. I need not mention the Academies in France, Spain, and Italy, their learned labours, nor their great Success. But { 128 } it is very remarkable that although many learned and ingenious Men in England have, from Age to Age, projected Similar Institutions for correcting and improving the English Tongue, yet the Government have never found time to interpose in any manner so that to this day, there is no Grammar nor Dictionary, extant of the English Language, which has the least public Authority, and it is only very lately that a tolerable Dictionary has been published even by a private Person,1 and there is not yet a passable Grammar enterprised by any Individual.
The Honour of forming the first public Institution for refining, correcting, improving and ascertaining the English Language, I hope is reserved for Congress. They have every Motive that can possibly influence a public Assembly to undertake it.2
It will have an happy effect upon the Union of the States, to have a public Standard for all persons in every part of the Continent to appeal to, both for the Signification and Pronunciation of the Language.
The Constitutions of all the States in the Union are so democratical that Eloquence will become the Instrument for recommending Men to their fellow Citizens, and the principal means of Advancement, through the various Ranks and Offices of Society.
In the last Century, Latin was the universal Language of Europe. Correspondence among the learned, and indeed among Merchants and Men of Business and the Conversation of Strangers and Travellers, was generally carried on in that dead Language. In the present Century, Latin has been generally laid aside, and French has been substituted in its place; but has not yet become universally established, and according to present Appearances, it is not probable that it will. English is destined to be in the next and succeeding Centuries, more generally the Language of the World, than Latin was in the last, or French is in the present Age. The Reason of this is obvious, because the increasing Population in America, and their universal Connection and Correspondence with all Nations will, aided by the Influence of England in the World, whether great or small, force their Language into general Use, in spight of all the Obstacles that may be thrown in their Way, if any such there should be.
It is not necessary to enlarge further to shew the Motives which the People of America have to turn their thoughts early to this Subject: they will naturally occur to Congress in a much greater detail, than I have time to hint at.
I would therefore submit to the Consideration of Congress, the { 129 } Expediency and Policy of erecting by their Authority, a Society under the Name of “The American Academy, for refining, improving and ascertaining the English Language.”
The Authority of Congress is necessary to give such a Society Reputation, Influence and Authority, through all the States and with other Nations.
The number of Members of which it shall consist: the manner of appointing those Members: whether each State shall have a certain Number of Members, and the Power of appointing them: or whether Congress shall appoint them: whether after the first Appointment the Society itself shall fill up vacancies—these and other Questions will easily be determined by Congress.
It will be necessary, that the Society should have a Library consisting of a compleat Collection of all Writing, concerning Languages of every sort ancient and modern. They must have some Officers, and some other Expences, which will make some small Funds indispensibly necessary. Upon a Recommendation from Congress, there is no doubt but the Legislature of every State in the Confederation, would readily pass a Law making such a Society a Body Politick, enable it to sue and be sued and to hold an Estate real or personal of a limited Value in that State.
I have the Honour to submit these Hints to the Consideration of Congress,3 and to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient & most humble servt.
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 253–256); docketed: “No. 106 John Adams Sept 5. 1780 Recd. Jany 29. 1781 Expediency of establishing an Academy under the Authority of Congress for improving perfecting & fixing the Language.” LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “No. 6.”
1. Probably a reference to Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language, London, 1755.
2. The impetus for this proposal came from Hendrik Calkoen at dinner on 28 August. According to JA's Diary, Calkoen observed “that English would be the general Language in the next Century, and that America would make it so. Latin was in the last Century, French has been so in this, and English will be so, the next.” JA followed this account with the statement that “it will be the Honour of Congress to form an Accademy for improving and ascertaining the English Language” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:446). Congress received this letter with a number of others on 29 Jan. 1781, but there is no evidence that it discussed or took any action regarding the suggestion contained therein (JCC, 19:96).
The establishment of such an institution was in line with JA's intent when he drafted the language that became Chap. VI, Sect. II of The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, 1779 (vol. 8:260, 270–271), and was the basis for creating the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Indeed, JA had just received news of the establishment of the Academy and the revival of the American Philosophical Society and his enthusiasm for those events is evident in letters to various correspondents at this time, especially that of 5 Sept. to C. W. F. Dumas (above). When JA sent this letter to the Boston Patriot for publication in 1809, however, he prefaced it by saying that “though the idle sport of imagination { 130 } in my next letter was as little to my purpose then, as it is now, yet whimsical as it is, I will not suppress it” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 160). For further comments on JA's proposal, see his letters of 23 Sept. to Edmund Jenings and 24 Sept. to the president of Congress (both below).
3. At this point in the letterbook copy is the canceled passage: “and to hope that there is nothing in them that can give offense to them or their Allies.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0068

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-07

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Your many Letters to Congress up to June 2d.1 have been read with Pleasure and I have received two from you—March 16. 29 received July 20th. Mr. Lee is not yet in Philada. perhaps he may have another for me. You will not learn any agreable Things respecting your native Country. However, the defeat of Genl. Gates on the 16. of Augst. was not so bad as we at first had reason to think. Perhaps Baron de Kalb is mortally wounded; the others who were said to be killed are safe. I mean Genls. Guest, Smallwood, Stephens, Rutherford, Butler and Gregory so is Col. Gunby. The Militia all scandalously fled at the first fire though two deep against a single sparse file of the Enemy; all except one Regt. of Nth. Carols. commanded, on the occasion by a continental Col. Dixon. These with the Regulars bravely stood and pushed Bayonets to the last. When overpowered by Numbers they retreated well and being pursued by Horse repulsed and compleatly vanquished them. A Wounded officer is confident that only two of the Party escaped. Col. Sumpter who had been successful in taking a Party of the Enemy a day or two before with 40 Amunition Waggons was overtaken by Horse and lost all again with some Muskets into the Bargain.2 Govr. Nash and Govr. Jefferson write most agreably as to the Spirit with which this Defeat is repairing.3 Ten such are nothing if—if there is enough of Virtue to support a paper Currency, while the new money is as silver and Gold eastward it is far otherwise here. I cannot attribute the Conduct of these People to a settled Enmity to our Cause but to a damnably debauched Temper, too much riveted, which was generated by a depreciating Medium, if solid Coin only was in this Quarter it would require much time to correct the most exorbitant Disposition of the People who chop and change.
No decision is yet made upon those Parts of your Letters which demand one. I have before told you that the Disposition here is the same as you discover upon all the Points but a definite order cannot be passed to govern you under all Contingencies considering how opposite to one another they may prove in a short Space of Time.4
{ 131 }
I have not lately heard from Mrs. Adams. Doctr. Holten writes me Aug. 21 that he had not seen Mr. Lee who was gone to visit Mrs. A at Braintre.5 I have sent her Bills of Exch: on Doctr. F at 60 days Sight for 500 Dollars 501 1/4 having been decided as the Balance of the Account.6
I have told you that R I charges in a Lump 1600 Louis per Annum Expences and that his Balance was paid. He said he did not go to Vouchers of Barbers and Taylors and Bakers Bills in his private and therefore not in his public Concerns.7 Which of the Precedents already set the other Gentlemen will follow may be easily guessed.
My own family was in a distressed Condition Wife only Daughter and oldest Son in Bed the whole family a Sacrifice to Extortion and much involved. I have sold myself for 14 years, I imagine, by staying here almost 4, even if the same generous Allowance should be made to me as was to you for Service. Being here and master of Books files and Dates I will not seriously think of quitting till A. L. is as far gone as R. I.8
Give my Love to all your Connexions. I suppose Gerry will write often by way of Gardoqui from Marblehead or Boston. The Army is to have pay made good. The Genl. Officers are to have a 7 years provision proportionate to their pay and to receive Lands also proportionate. Widows and Children to have the Benifit of late Husbands and Fathers.9 In short we had once an Army fighting for Republicans but they say they are now fighting the battles of Asiatic speculators and must be so considered.
New York having ceeded Western Claims it is recommand to all who have them to do likewise and our Sister Maria is coaxed to finish the Ratification of the Confederation. If the Accomplishment of that as it now stands will give you Pleasure I think you may count upon it. She discovered that she wished to be coaxed.10
A Tax of 3 Millions hard is called for to be compleated by the last of Decr.11
We are at a Stand if we have not a Supply12 of money. Before we get what we ask for in Estimates the People have cursed it down to a quarter of its Value. We Estimate all in hard now.
[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “ansd. 7. decr. 1780”; in CFA's hand: “Septr. 7th.”
1. JA's two letters dated 2 June (both calendared, above) were the 77th and 78th written to the president of Congress since JA's arrival at El Ferrol, Spain, in Dec. 1779. They were received by Congress on 5 Sept. (JCC, 17:803).
2. Tactically the Battle of Camden was a catastrophic defeat for Horatio Gates and the army he commanded. Strategically, however, it was of little consequence. The Americans could replace the troops lost in the battle with relative ease, but Gen. Cornwallis, the British { 132 } | view commander, could not. Camden, therefore, is less significant as an American defeat than it is as the beginning of the slow attrition of Cornwallis' army that ended only at Yorktown in 1781 (Mackesy, War for America, p. 343–344).
Of the ten men mentioned by Lovell, only the first three were Continental Army officers. Maj. Gen. Johann Kalb was killed, while Brig. Gens. Mordecai Gist and William Smallwood were commended by Congress on 14 Oct. for their actions during the battle. Of the remaining seven, Brig. Gen. Edward Stevens was from the Virginia militia and Brig. Gen. Thomas Sumter was from the South Carolina militia, while Brig. Gens. Griffith Rutherford (wounded and captured), John Butler, and Isaac Gregory, Col. John Gunby, and Lt. Col. Henry Dixon were of the North Carolina militia (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 192, 249, 500–501, 519, 528, 478, 137, 262, 198; JCC, 18:924; N.C., State Records of North Carolina, 30 vols., Raleigh and elsewhere, 1886–1914, 19:995; 15:v–vi, 168).
3. The letters from Govs. Abner Nash of North Carolina and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia were dated 23 Aug. and 3 Sept. respectively and were received on 7 Sept. (PCC, No. 72, f. 97–100; Jefferson, Papers, 3:589–590; JCC, 18:809).
4. It is uncertain to which of JA's letters to the president of Congress Lovell is referring, but likely candidates are those of 20 Feb. (No. 7, vol. 8:345–346) and 23 and 24 March (Nos. 23 and 24, above). The first concerned the announcement of his mission and his relations with Vergennes, while the other two requested instructions on the proper response to an offer of a truce and the treatment of loyalists in a peace treaty. No letter from Lovell containing statements resembling those in this and the second paragraph below has been found.
5. Arthur Lee visited AA on 20 Aug., and again on 6 Sept. (Isaac Smith to JA, 21 Aug., AA to JA, 3 Sept., Adams Family Correspondence, 3:396–397, 405–407; from Arthur Lee, 10 Sept., below).
6. Lovell sent the bills of exchange to AA with his letter of 3 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:409). Lovell states the figure in dollars, but the sum voted by Congress on 5 Aug. was 2,511.12.6 (JCC, 17:701; but see also Lovell's letter of 4 May, above).
7. The figure given by Lovell is equal to 38,400, but the amount voted by Congress on 11 Aug. was 52,113, which is equal to approximately 2,171 louis d'ors (JCC, 17:722). Lovell's source for the statement attributed to Ralph Izard has not been found.
8. Lovell is presumably referring to Arthur Lee and Ralph Izard, but his meaning is unclear.
9. On 24 Aug. Congress resolved to confirm its resolution of 15 May 1778, which extended seven years of half pay to all officers who served to the end of the war and extended the provision to include the widows and orphans of officers killed (same, 17:771–773). The resolution as adopted made no mention of providing land as compensation.
10. On 13 Feb., New York had ceded its western land claims to Congress. This partially fulfilled Maryland's condition for acceding to the Articles of Confederation, namely that all states claiming western lands cede those claims to Congress. The next major obstacle to Maryland's accession was the claims of Virginia. On 6 Sept. the committee to which New York's cession, Maryland's conditions, and Virginia's protest against the assertion of congressional control over the western lands had been submitted, presented its report. The committee congratulated New York on its action, urged Maryland to approve the Articles, and implored the other states to follow New York's example. Finally, on 2 Jan. 1781, Virginia ceded her claims to lands north of the Ohio River and one month later Maryland acceded to the Articles (Thomas Perkins Abernethy, Western Lands and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1959, p. 242–245; JCC, 17:806–808).
11. For this tax, approved on 26 Aug., see JCC, 17:783.
12. The remainder of this letter, including the signature, was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0069-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-07

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai bien reçu successivement la Constitution de Massachusett's, { 133 } les trois Feuilles Américaines, et la Brochure manuscrite, que vous avez eu la bonté de m'envoyer.1 Je suis très-sensible à l'attention et à la confiance, que vous me témoignez itérativement, et je m'honore de l'approbation, que vous donnez à mon travail. L'Edition originale de la Constitution, dont vous m'avez gratifié, m'a été infiniment agréable; et je compte insérer la Pièce traduite en François aussi promtement que la place le permettra: Pour le moment l'abondance des matières, particulièrement par l'arrivée des trois Malles de Londres, me l'a fait différer malgré moi: Mais j'ai fait en attendant usage des Feuilles Américaines; et, si je n'ai pas l'honneur de vous les renvoyer avec remercîmens dès aujourd'hui, c'est qu'il s'y trouve encore quelques Pièces, que je me propose de faire copier pour en donner la traduction ou l'Extrait d'abord que j'aurai les bras un peu plus libres. Ainsi c'est avec votre permission, j'espère, que je les garde jusqu'à la semaine prochaine.
J'aurai aussi alors l'honneur de vous répondre au sujet de la Brochure. Mes occupations multipliées ne m'ont permis encore que de la parcourir en partie: je desire la lire toute entière avec réflixion, pour pouvoir vous en dire mon sentiment (puisque vous voulez bien me le demander) avec connoissance de cause. Autant que j'en ai vu, elle est écrite avec sang-froid et fondée sur des principes, qui doivent être avoués par tous les Amis de l'Humanité.
Je suis avec respect et un parfait dévouement, Monsieur, de Votre Excellence Le très-humble & très-obeissant serviteur,
[signed] J: Luzac

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0069-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-07

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I received successively the Massachusetts Constitution, the three American papers, and the manuscript pamphlet that you were kind enough to send me.1 I am very sensible of the attention and confidence that you have repeatedly shown me and am honored by your approval of my work. The original edition of the constitution, with which you have favored me, I find infinitely agreeable and I plan to insert a French translation of it as soon as space permits. For the moment, the abundance of material, particularly from the arrival of the three mails from London, has forced me to postpone it. In the meantime, I have made use of the American papers and my only reason for not returning them today, with my thanks, is that I have found some additional pieces that I propose to copy and translate or summarize as soon as I am free to do so. With your permission, therefore, I would like to keep them until next week.
I will then also have the honor to respond to you regarding the pamphlet. { 134 } My multiple occupations have permitted me thus far only to peruse a portion of it. I wish to read it in its entirety with close attention in order (as you have had the goodness to request) to give you my fully informed opinion. From what I have seen, it is sensibly written and founded on principles that ought to be avowed by all friends of humanity.
I am with respect and a perfect devotion, sir, your excellency's most humble and most obedient servant,
[signed] J: Luzac
1. For the three newspapers and Luzac's publication of items from them, see JA's letter of 2 Sept. to Francis Dana, and note 2 (above). For Luzac's publication of the Massachusetts Constitution and his further comments on JA's revision of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, see Luzac's letter of 14 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0070

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-08

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

Being Just inform'd of an opportunity of writing to you by the Way of Bilboa, I snatch my Pen, to give you a laconic Account of Things here. Last Monday1 all the Towns in this State assembled for Choice of a Governor, Lt. Governor, and Senators, according to the New Constitution, of the peaceable Establishment of which, I gave you some Account in my last.2 In this Town, for Governor Mr. S. Adams had 1 Vote; Mr. Bowdoin 64. Mr. Hancock 853. This last Gentleman, contrary to the Opinion of almost every one, had a large Majority of Votes even in the County of Essex, as well as thro the State, and will, there is no doubt, be the Governor of it. The Pleas employed in his Favor, were, the early, open, and decided Part he took in the Opposition to the oppressive Measures of Britain: the Risque he incurr'd by this of his Life and Fortune; the Employment of his Money for promoting the Revolution: To these Reasons it was added, that we ought to make it appear to the World that we are now the same People we were when the Contraversy began, by giving our first Honors to those who distinguish'd themselves at that Time, and that a contrary Conduct would disappoint our Friends in Europe, and gratify our Enemies. These Things were urged in Conversation and in Print. In short, the Popular Interest of Mr. H. appears from this Choice to be much greater in the State than even his Friends imagined. No Lieutenant Governor is like to be chosen by the People; in some Towns Mr. S. Adams has almost an unanimous Vote for that Office; in others Genl. Ward, Warren, &c.3
Arthur Lee arrived here some Weeks ago, and is still in Town. He has been much noticed by the principal Gentlemen among us: The { 135 } Captain of the Alliance, Landais, who brought Dr. Lee, did not hold his Command of that Ship thro the Voyage; It was either relinquished by him, or wrested from him. He treated the Dr., and all the Passengers brutally. A Court of Inquiry upon this Affair is now sitting: and among others the Dr. gave in to the Court a pointed Evidence against him, which finally imported that he must be insane.4
President Langdon has resigned the Chair of our University. Affairs in that Society are not yet settled.5 I had the Honor of waiting on Dr. Lee to Cambridge, and of introducing to Mrs. Dana. He seem'd pleased with every Thing he met with there.
The Chevalier de Ternay, soon after his Arrival with the Fleet from Brest at Newport, was blocked up by the British Squadron from New York, that had just been reinforced from England; at the same Time Clinton embarqued his Troops, and made an Appearance of coming thro the Sound to attempt R. Island. This gave an Opportunity of discovering the Alertness of our Militia, and their Zeal to act in Conjunction with our good Allies. At the Call of the Count Rochambeau, many thousands were soon on or near Rhode Island, which gave great Satisfaction to the General and Admiral France, and was very handsomely acknowledged by them. Clinton, however, never came down the Sound.6
We have lately reinforced Genl. Washington's Army at an high Bounty and Wages: This Reinforcement is only for six Months7—and as the British Fleet is still near Newport, unless Ternay is strengthned by the second Division from Brest, or from some other Quarter, in a short Time, all our Hopes from the present Campaign will vanish. Eighteen or twenty of the Fleet from England with Supplies for Canada, have been captured, chiefly if not wholly by the Cruizers from this State; an important Blow to the Enemy, and an happy Supply to ourselves.
Your last Letter to me is of the 23'd of Feby:8 The Account it gives of the Honors done to the Count D'Estaing is greatly pleasing to me, as I have the highest Opinion of that Commander; of his ardent, intrepid, enterprizing Spirit; and at the same Time, his Sagacity, Prudence, and Self Command. I have known Occasions wherein all these great Qualities have been remarkably displayed.
Col. Johonnot writes you by this opportunity;9 accept my renewed Thanks for your kind Care of my Boy;10 and remember me in the most respectful and affectionate Manner to Mr. Dana, and all Friends. With every Sentiment of Friendship and Respect, I am, Sir, Your obedient humble Servant
[signed] Saml: Cooper
{ 136 }
1. The remainder of this paragraph, with some minor editorial changes, was translated into French and printed in the Gazette de Leyde of 28 November.
2. Cooper presumably means his letter of 23 May, not that of 25 July, which did not mention the Massachusetts Constitution (both above).
3. The minutes of the Boston town meeting held on 4 Sept. show that John Hancock received 858 votes rather than the 853 indicated by Cooper. In the election for lieutenant governor, the leading Boston vote getters were Jeremiah Powell with 167 votes out of the 339 cast, Thomas Cushing with 49 and James Bowdoin with 30 votes. Among the other candidates, Artemas Ward received 14 votes and James Warren only 1 (Boston Record Commissioners, Reports, 26:150–151). When no one received a majority of the votes for lieutenant governor in statewide balloting and James Bowdoin refused to serve under John Hancock, the House of Representatives chose Thomas Cushing (Stephen E. Patterson, Political Parties in Revolutionary Massachusetts, Madison, 1973, p. 246–247).
4. As a result of the court of inquiry, which recommended his court martial, the Navy Board for the Eastern Department suspended Pierre Landais from the command of the Alliance on 18 Sept. (PCC, No. 193, II, f. 747). For the proceedings of Landais' court martial, which lasted from 20 Nov. 1780 to 6 Jan. 1781 and resulted in his dismissal from the navy, see same, I, f. 451–596.
5. Samuel Langdon had resigned on 30 Aug., but the severe financial problems faced by Harvard College delayed the installation of Joseph Willard as president until 19 Dec. 1781 (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 10:521–523; 16:256).
6. For Clinton's failure to attack the French and American forces at Newport, see Mackesy, War for America, p. 346–349.
7. For the “Resolves for raising 3,934 six-months' men for reinforcing the Continental Army,” see Mass., Province Laws, 21:519–524.
8. Vol. 8:355.
9. Of 8 Sept. (below).
10. His grandson Samuel Cooper Johonnot.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0071

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-08

From Francis Dana
(No. 5.)1

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the pleasure of your's of the 30th. of last month, on the 4th. instant but my eyes being again in a bad state, and being otherwise unwell, I desired Mr. Thaxter to acknowledge the receipt of yours.2 My first misfortune I have not yet intirely recovered from nor do I expect it, till I shall be able wholly to lay aside both the book and the pen, for a considerable length of time. I had begun upon the business you mentioned sometime before your departure,3 and had made considerable progress in it, but my eyes have obliged me to stop short of my purpose. This misfortune (without a pun) frequently casts a gloomy shade over my future prospects. 'Tis really the source of much melancholy contemplation: but I will trouble you no more with it.
Mr. Thaxter communicated to you all our intelligence of a public nature, but as this letter will be handed to you by Mr. Austin, who sets off to morrow evening for Amsterdam, I shall communicate some other parts of Mr.——letter to me.4 “You doubtless know that Mr: { 137 } Cumberland, one of Ld. George Germain's Secretaries, has been here sometime—His mission as well as admission, has given room to many conjectures.5 I am not apprehensive that Spain will make a seperate Peace; but I by no means think it prudent to receive the Spies of Britain into their Capital, and even into their Palaces. There are a great many wheels in our business, and the machine wont move easily, unless the great wheel be turned by the Waters of the Mississipi, which I neither believe, or wish will be the Case. Successes in America wou'd give it motion.” “My Adventurers” (you well understand him here) “are in a most perilous suspence. God grant them a happy deliverance.”6 You will want no Comments upon these Texts. I shall only say, Spain having secured to herself a free Commerce with America, hath now nothing to ask of her. Behold the effects of precipitate concession!7 If a young politician of a young Country, might presume to give his opinion upon matters of such high importance, he wou'd say, that shou'd America in the end, feel herself constrained to comply with the claims of Spain, that alone wou'd be cause of bringing on the exstinction of the Spanish Dominion on the East of the great River; As a Spaniard therefore he shou'd think it unsafe, and highly impolitic, to urge the claim, or even to accept of the exclusive right. It is to be hoped that the late important success of the combined Fleets over the Commerce of Britain, will not only teach them that similar ones are easily to be obtained, but that they are also among the most eligible, as they most effectually distress and disenable the common Enemy. Such however is the force of habit, that he who shou'd urge such policy, might be told, you are but of yesterday, and know nothing.
I am happy to learn you spend your time so agreably in Amsterdam, and find so much good will to our Cause and Country; and I lament with you that our worthy Friend8 has not arrived there. Ministers at the Courts you mention, wou'd doubtless render the Councils and Influence of our Country, more extensive and more independent; but these are things rather to be wished for than expected.
I am glad to hear you have my form of our Constitution: when you have done with it, please to forward it by the first private hand. I have a letter from that worthy character Judge Sargeant; among other things he says. “In the course of our travelling we have the pleasure to find a remarkable Candour in the people with respect to the new form of Government, excepting the 3d. article about Religion. There will be, as far as we can learn, almost an unanimous vote in favor of it; and more than 2/3ds in favor of that. This appears to be the case { 138 } at the Westward and Southward; and in the middle Counties where we have been; and the eastward Counties, were always in that disposition.”9 Thus, Sir, I hope we shall have cause to rejoice in the candour and good sense of our Countreymen, and in seeing them happy under a generous and free Constitution of Government.
I am, dear Sir, with much respect and esteem your much obliged Friend and obedient humble Servant
[signed] FRA DANA
P.S. My Love to the Children—mon Fils10 seems to have forgotten me.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Dana Sept. 8.”; docketed by CFA: “1780.”
1. Dana numbered his Letterbook copies, but except for this letter, did not number the recipient's copies of his letters to JA (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook). This is the fifth letter since Dana's of 31 July (above).
2. Thaxter's letter was dated 4 Sept. and included a passage from John Jay's letter of 19 Aug. to Francis Dana (see note 4) in which Jay commented on Henry Laurens' mission. Thaxter also related the news of the Franco Spanish capture of a British convoy going to the East and West Indies and asked JA what his plans were for returning to Paris (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:411–412).
3. The task undertaken by Dana has not been identified.
4. The quotation below, together with that in John Thaxter's letter of 4 Sept. (see note 2), comprise approximately one third of John Jay's letter of 19 August. The rest of Jay's letter consists of comments on American and European affairs and an expression of satisfaction that JA had gone to the Netherlands (MHi: Dana Papers).
5. For the Hussey-Cumberland mission, see JA to Edmund Jenings, 29 May, note 4 (above).
6. Although Dana and JA may have divined Jay's meaning here, the editors have been unable to do so.
7. Since Spain enjoyed unrestricted trade with the United States without a treaty, a “precipitate concession,” there was little incentive to conclude one, particularly if it meant making concessions regarding western lands or the free navigation of the Mississippi River. The situation was somewhat similar to that which existed after the war in regard to British trade with the United States and which doomed JA's efforts to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty. But compare Dana's statement here with JA's in his letters of 8 April to William Carmichael, and note 3; and 13 April to William Lee, and note 3 (both above).
8. Henry Laurens.
9. This quotation is probably taken from Nathanael Peaslee Sargeant's letter of 26 May (not found), which Dana answered on 22 Sept. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook). Sargeant referred to Art. III of the “Declaration of Rights,” which provided for public support of religion. Not drafted by JA, it was the most controversial article in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 (vol. 8:238, 262–263).
10. CA.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0072

Author: Johonnot, Gabriel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-08

From Gabriel Johonnot

[salute] Sir

I Received your letter by the Frigate Alliance bearing date the 23d. Feby. last,1 Inclosing an Account of my son's Expences, on his Journey from Ferrol in Spain to Paris, and feel myself not a little Affected, that you should Intimate the most distant Idea, of the Necessity of { 139 } a Voucher for your Account. I could wish to be held in that view with you Sir, that not only every Expence you may be at, should be cheerfully repaid, but that I feel a most Gratefull sense of your Attention to my Child, and shall not fail in every Instance in my power fully to Manifest it.
By the Briggantine Pallas which sailed from this Port in June last, on board which Vessell I fully Intended to Embark for Europe, but fortunately as Circumstances are was prevented, and consequently saved myself from falling into the Enemies hands, as she was captured soon after sailing, by her to the care of Mr: Warren,2 I wrote you and Enclosed a bill for 600 livres, but as that Gentleman still remains with the British Admiral Edwards, who has Invited him to go to Europe in his ship, and it will probably be a long time before he gets over to France, I have herein Enclosed a second bill of the same sett, for Six Hundred livres, and a first bill of Another sett, for three Hundred livres, which I presume will be sufficient untill I have the Honor of seeing you, which I promise myself will be very soon, as I understand the Hermione Frigate has Orders to be in Readiness to go to Europe on the Shortest Notice. I go to Newport in a day or two to Obtain a Passage in her. Should any thing either prevent my going in her or her not going I will Embrace the first Opportunity to remit.3
I have Inclosed the Papers for several Weeks Past which will Inform you of every Intelligence worthy Notice.
I am with the Highest Esteem & Respect Your Most Obedient Most Hble: Servt:
[signed] Gabl: Johonnot
1. For this letter (LbC, Adams Papers), see JA's letter to Samuel Cooper of 23 Feb., and note 1 (vol. 8:355–356).
2. For Winslow Warren's capture on the privateer Pallas, see Mercy Otis Warren's letter of 8 May, and note 2 (above).
3. No further letters from Gabriel Johonnot have been found, but he did not embark on the French frigate Hermione. Samuel Cooper's letter of 9 Feb. 1780 [i.e. 1781] states that Johonnot was about to sail on the Continental frigate Alliance (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0073

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-09

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

Just as I had finished the above1 yours of the 2d. came to hand. The packet mentioned by Mr. Bradford from Dr. Cooper to you, was a single letter, and has been receiv'd long since; it contains nothing of real consequence. I did not therefore forward it. I had your express { 140 } directions to open all letters to you, even Mrs. Adams's; her's however I shall not open, but deliver them to Mr. Thaxter. You will please to forward all you may receive for me without loss of time. You enclosed a blank sheet of paper instead of Mr. De Neufvilles Receipt. I have his acknowledgement of the payment in a letter at the same time. I have not yet seen Genl. Washington's or Genl. Green's letter which you mention—A check only, not a proper defeat depend upon it. Things look better than my fears, Congress have appointed Gates to the Southern Army. No brilliant stroke this Campaign without naval reinforcements. 'Tis wispered they will go from the West Indies. I wish they may—I am rejoiced exceedingly to hear of the acceptance of our Constitution. It's rise, progress, and final Establishment, exhibit a strange but glorious phenomenon in the political Hemisphere. I venerate the good sense and the public virtue which have brôt forth this great work.
Mr. Allen has come to Paris, he desires his respects to you Mr. Thaxter his most sincere regards.
Yours as above
[signed] FRA DANA
1. Presumably Dana means his letter of 8 Sept. (above), which immediately precedes this letter in his Letterbook (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0074

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-10

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have but one moment to tell you, that I left Mrs. Adams your Children, General and Mrs. Warren in good health four days ago. I shall soon set out for Philadelphia. Hancock is chosen Governor, owing cheifly to your absence. I paid a visit to Mrs. Dana at Cambrige, who with her Children are well. Please to remember me to her Husband. Mr. S. A. is at Congress, which is very thin. They have lately resolved to redeem the Paper at 40 for 1, and made some reform in the Quarter-master general's department which has occasiond Genl. Green's resignation.1 This, together with the Clothing not having been sent from France, has excited much discontent in the Army. Nineteen of the Quebec fleet having been taken by our Privateers, cheifly from this State, has glutted the market with foreign goods; and together with the depretiation of Paper, made trade stagnate exceedingly. The french fleet and Army are blockt up at Rhode { 141 } Island, and that of Genl. Washington, tho' recruited, cannot act alone. Great complaints of the Tories.
Farewell.
1. Owing to complaints about Thomas Mifflin's administration, Congress had reorganized the quartermaster's department in March 1778 and named Nathanael Greene the quartermaster general. On 15 July 1780, responding to new charges that the quartermaster's department was being run inefficiently, Congress again reorganized the department, but retained Greene as quartermaster general. Greene saw the new system as evidence of a lack of confidence in his administration and angrily submitted his resignation on 26 July. The tone of Greene's letter of resignation angered many members of Congress, but not nearly so much as his response to a request by Congress' Committee at Headquarters that he continue in office as an emergency measure to support impending operations by Washington's army. His refusal to serve under any circumstances unless the reorganization was repealed led to an uproar in Congress and proposals that he be stripped of his rank of major general. The controversy soon subsided, however, and by the date of this letter Greene's relations with Congress had improved significantly. For detailed accounts of Congress' reorganization of the quartermaster general's department in 1778 and 1780, and the controversy surrounding Greene's resignation on 26 July, see The Papers of Nathanael Greene, ed., Richard K. Showman, 6 vols. to date, Chapel Hill and London, 1976–, 2:307–313; 6:150–158.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0075

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-10

From William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your favor of the 2d. and thank you for the American Intelligence; indeed in all quarters the prospect seems favorable to our cause. The dissolution of Parliament1 being decided on immediately after the intelligence of the capture of their E. and W. India Fleet, (which you find are all safe in Cadiz harbor), of Kniphausens defeat in the Jersies, of Ternay's safe arrival at Rhode Island and of Guichen's having sail'd on his plan of conquest, of the extreme distress of Giberaltor and Ireland on the eve of a civil commotion, gives room for various conjectures some of which are for Peace, and others for a continuance of the War. The latter seems probable from a continuance of their Piratical violence of all neutral ships particularly at this crisis seizing a Russian Merchant Ship bound to Nantes, and carrying her as a prize into Plymouth, which extraordinary circumstance I wonder at the Dutch Gazetteers omitting to select out of the English papers.2
As you agree with me in opinion about the propriety of having American Ministers at the different European Courts I trust you will press the matter on the consideration of Congress and not omit Prussia for I can certainly assure you that the cabinet of Berlin has { 142 } much more influence than any other, on the Political machinery in Europe and America should never forget that if she means to be Independent, she must act Independently; for a servile obedience to the dictates of A. is as dangerous to Liberty as a Slavish submission to B.
I hope you will get for me the plan on which Danmark has establish'd the Island of St. Thomas, a free Port.3 I have just read with much pleasure the final address to the People at Large from the Convention appointed to draw up a form of Government for Massachusets Bay, as it gives me an Idea of their new Constitution, of which I had before only seen some detach'd parts in different Newspapers. From the principles layed down by the Convention and the general description they give of the Constitution I conclude it to be a well digested one and more likely to be permanent than most of those that have been hitherto establish'd in America; but I am sorry to see that Mr. Saml. Adams has declin'd serving as a representative in Assembly for the Town of Boston;4 for it is to be wish'd, that those characters which at the begining stood foremost in the cause of their Country, shou'd continue to direct its Councils, until a solid Peace is establish'd to confirm and consolidate that Liberty and Independence which has been so nobly contended for; for it seems pretty clear that those Characters had in general, only the good of their Country in view; which may be much doubted with respect to some that are now on the Stage, since lately there seems to have been too much contention about dividing the Lions skin, before they took care to kill the Beast.
Our best Compliments attend your Sons & with very great respect I have the Honor to be Dr. Sir Your most Obliged & Obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] W: Lee
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. &c. &c. &c. Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Hon. W. Lee Septr. 10. 1780.”
1. The 14th Parliament, which had its last meeting on 8 July, was dissolved on 1 September. The 1st session of the 15th Parliament began on 31 Oct. (Parliamentary Hist., 21:766–768).
2. Probably the Vryheit (Vreyheight), a Russian snow carrying hemp and iron from Riga to Nantes. According to the London Courant of 31 Aug., it was captured by the privateer Alligator, but was carried into Falmouth, rather than Plymouth. The Gazette de Leyde published this item in its issue of 12 Sept., noting that the Russian response was awaited with some suspense, particularly in view of the recent departure of a Russian fleet from its anchorage in the Downs, off Deal in the Strait of Dover (from Thomas Digges, 29 Aug., note 6, above).
3. JA had mentioned this in his letter of 23 Aug. (above), but, as he indicates in his reply of 21 Sept. (below), had no further information about it.
4. At the Boston town meeting held on 16 May, Samuel Adams was elected as one of { 143 } Boston's representatives to the General Court, but he immediately declined to serve because of his intention of returning to the Continental Congress (Boston Record Commissioners, Reports, 26:135–137).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0076

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-09-12

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

This will be delivered you by Mr. Samuel Hartley, who is recommended to me by Mr. Digges and Mr. David Hartley.1 I should be obliged to you for any Civilities you may shew him. Mr. Digges recommends him as an open Friend to the American Cause.
There is no News here but what you will see in the Leyden Gazette which is my Vehicle for conveying the News. Pray write me if you have any. I shall not probably set out from this Place untill the Beginning of November. You will not mention this. What Say you of residing in Holland? or Brussells?2 Is there no Letter for Us, or other News from Congress? or America? We have no English Papers or Intelligence Since the 1st of Septr.—which is a good Symptom. They take Care to send bad News very soon by Expresses.
With Sincere friendship yours
1. For Samuel Hartley, see Thomas Digges' letter of 24 Aug. and David Hartley's of 14 Aug. (both above).
2. This is the first extant letter in which JA intimates that he might not return to Paris, but see also his letter to James Searle of 23 Sept., and note 2 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hartley, David
Date: 1780-09-12

To David Hartley

[salute] Sir

I am obliged to you for a Letter of the 14th of August, which was this day delivered me, by your Friend.1
You was not misinformed when you heard that the Object of my Appointment, was Peace; nor do I differ from your Opinion that this Appointment was honourable; altho I See no Prospect at all, of ever acting in Virtue of it. War, will not last forever it is true: but it will probably last long enough to wear you and me out, and to make Room for our Sons or Grandsons, to become the blessed Peace makers.2
Peace will never come but in Company with Faith and Honour; and when these can be allowed to live together, Let Friendship join the <Social Choir.> amiable and venerable Choir.
Peace Seems to be flying away. The New Parliament will drive her to the distance of Seven Years at least, and every Year of the Continuance of War will Add some new humiliation to the Demands upon a { 144 } certain Country. So the Fates have ordained, and We Mortals must Submit. I have the Honour to be, with very great Respect, Sir, your most obedient humble sert.
1. Samuel Hartley.
2. Compare this statement with that in JA's letter of 15 Marchto Richard Henry Lee (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0078-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-14

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Honoré de la vôtre du 5e. Je suis parfaitement d'accord avec vous sur la justesse de la Politique qu'il y auroit, à s'attacher principalement à protéger le Commerce de la France et de l'Espagne, et à désoler celui de l'ennemi; et je souhaite avec vous que l'on adopte et poursuive ce systême. Il faut convenir, d'un autre côté, que les Anglois ont eu par le passé une succession étonnante d'heureuses chances à cet égard, et les autres une suite de contretemps. Selon les regles du jeu cela doit tourner; et il paroît que cela commence à tourner, et que les Anglois à leur tour auront contre eux les vents, les marées et les hazards.
Il ne se passe rien ici à l'Assemblée des Etats d'Hollande, sinon qu'on accordera vraisemblablement la franchise du transit aux matieres navales que Mr. Tessier &c. fait passer par les canaux de Flandres en France. L'inaction des Etats Généraux est encore plus grande. On attend d'apprendre que les plénipotentiaires sont arrivés à Petersbourg, et n'y ont rien fait.
Ce qui s'est passé à N. Jersey, et la capture d'une partie de la Flotte de Québec, sont pour moi d'agréables avantgoûts de ce qui doit s'être passé ensuite. Béni soit le Genl. Green et ses braves troupes. Je suis bien content de la maniere dont ils ont défendu leurs postes pouce à pouce contre les incendiaires de Springfield. Les meilleures troupes Européennes n'eussent pu mieux faire. Joignez à cela que Clinton a manqué Son coup, qui étoit d'empêcher les opérations combinées du Genl. Washington et du secours Européen, en attaquant et tâchant de déloger le premier, avant l'arrivée de l'autre. Si vous apprenez quelque chose d'ultérieur, Monsieur, par l'arrivée de quelque nouveau Vaisseau Américain, je vous supplie de m'en faire part d'abord, afin que je puisse l'apprendre à certains personnages avant la Gazette: ce qui leur fait plaisir, et n'empêche pas que la nouvelle soit publiée dans la Gazette; car j'ai la facilité de faire parvenir des Lettres à Leide à toute heure du jour.
{ 145 }
Je m'étois proposé de faire à la fin de cette semaine un petit tour à Amsterdam. Mais un abscès qui s'est formé à ma tête, et qui me fait souffrir beaucoup, me retardera, je crains, de plusieurs jours.
Je serois bien charmé de pouvoir faire un petit voyage en Amérique, pour voir, avant de mourir, votre noble république, et connoître personnellement tous ses grands hommes et bons citoyens. Je tâcherois de rendre un tel voyage aussi utile au Congrès, par les lumieres que je puis donner, tant Sur cette republique que Sur les Puissances de l'Europe en général, qu'avantageux au rétablissement de ma santé, qui depuis un an n'est pas des meilleures. Si vous pouviez m'aider à faire naître une telle occasion, je vous en serois bien obligé.1
On ne guerira jamais, Monsieur, par le raisonnement, la fureur de nos rentiers à placer de l'argent en Angleterre: ils le feroient quand même cette republique seroit en guerre avec la Gr. Bretagne. Il faut que celle-ci fasse une fois banqueroute. Alors tout sera dit. Tant que l'Angleterre conservera son crédit en payant exactement les intérêts, leur confiance continuera; et ils préfereront le gain présent à toute autre considération. J'ai vu cependant cette fureur plus grande avant cette guerre. Elle est certainement rallentie, et ne se maintient que parce que l'Angleterre accorde un plus grand bénéfice aux prêteurs, surtout aux Maisons souscrivantes: et ce qui prouve ce rallentissement, c'est que le prix des biens fonds, et notamment des terres en ce pays, est considérablement augmenté. Ajoutez à cela celui du papier de crédit de cette republique, qui malgré la petitesse d'un intérêt de 2 1/2 et de 3 pourcent au plus, est monté à un prix exorbitant.
Comment va l'affaire du Vaisseau l'Indien? Avance-t-il? Sortira-t-il bientôt? Mr. G——est-il content? Je le souhaite de tout mon coeur.
Je suis bien charmé, Monsieur, que vous soyiez content de votre séjour à Amsterdam. Je me ferai toujours une vraie fête de vous revoir, et de vous prouver par mes services le respect Sincere avec lequel je Suis, Monsieur, Votre très humble & très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] Dumas
Ma famille Monsieur vous présente ses respects.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0078-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-14

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I am honored by your letter of the 5th, and wholly agree with you on the { 146 } appropriateness of a policy focused on protecting French and Spanish commerce and destroying the enemy's, and wish that such a policy be adopted and pursued. On the other hand, it should be noted that the English have experienced an astonishing run of good luck, while the others have seen only continued misfortunes. According to the rules of the game, however, things must change, as they appear to be doing now, and the British in their turn will suffer from the vicissitudes of the wind, the tide, and fate.
There is little to report from the meeting of the States of Holland except that it will likely grant to Mr. Texier &c. the franchise for transporting naval stores through the canals of Flanders to France. The inactivity of the States General is even more pronounced. One expects to learn that the plenipotentiaries have reached St. Petersburg and have done nothing.
That which has occurred in New Jersey and the capture of part of the Quebec fleet are for me but a pleasant foretaste of that which is to come. Blessed are General Greene and his troops. I am very pleased at the manner in which they defended their positions, inch by inch, against the arsonists of Springfield. The best European troops could not have done better. Consider also that Clinton failed in his effort to foil the combined operations of General Washington and his European reinforcement by attacking and attempting to dislodge the former before the arrival of the latter. If you learn anything further from a newly arrived American vessel, sir, please send it to me at once so that I can inform certain important people before the news appears in the gazette. This pleases them and does not interfere with the later publication of the news in the gazette, for I can send letters to Leyden at any hour of the day.
I had planned to make a short trip to Amsterdam at the end of this week, but a very painful abscess has formed in my head and, I fear, will delay me for several days.
I would be delighted if I was able to make a short voyage to America before I die in order to see your noble republic and meet personally all its great men and fine citizens. I also would endeavor to render such a trip useful to Congress by the insights that I could provide on this republic and the European powers in general. It would have the additional advantage of helping to re-establish my health, which has not been good for the past year. I would be most obliged if you could aid me in making such an event a reality.1
One will never cure by reason, sir, our investors' mania for investing their money in England. They would do so even if this republic were at war with Great Britain. It would have to go bankrupt first, then it would be all over. So long as England maintains its credit by promptly paying interest, their confidence will continue, for they prefer the present gain to any other consideration. I have seen, however, this mania even greater before this war. It is certainly slowing and is only sustained because the English provide such large profits to the lenders, particularly to the financial houses. One proof of this slowdown is that the price of real estate, particularly the land in this country, has greatly increased. One should also add that, despite the { 147 } small 2 ½ to 3 percent interest, the value of the republic's bonds has risen to an exorbitant price.
How goes the affair of the Indien? Does it progress? Will it be sailing soon? Is Mr. Gillon content? I hope so with all my heart.
I am delighted, sir, that you are enjoying your stay in Amsterdam. I will always be very happy to see you again and prove to you by my services the sincere respect with which I am, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Dumas
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Dumas, 14. Sept. 1780.”
1. Dumas never visited the United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0079

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-14

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

On my Arrival in Town from Spa and Aix La Chapelle, where I staid longer than I intended to drink the Waters, I found Mr. Austin in his Way to Holland. I now take the Opportunity He offers me to Congratulate your Excellency on the Reception, Approbation and Confirmation of that Plan of Government, which does your Excellency so much Honor in forming, and which, I trust, will perpetuate the Happiness of the People, who have adopted it. It is republishing in England to imprint on the minds of the people there over and over Again, that there is something more than Common Sense in America1—the Translation of Pownal and the other papers are got safe to my Friends Hands and He is preparing to publish them together and then proposes to retail it out in the News Papers.2
I Congratulate your Excellency too on the Capture of the Quebec West and India Fleets, it is a blow, which if followed up by two or three others of like Nature may have great and good Effects but Above all permit me to Congratulate your Excellency on the Affairs in Jerseys—the Letter written by General Greene on the Subject makes great Impression—it shews to all Europe that the Americans can fight with Bravery and Knowledge too.
During my Intercourse with foreigners at Spa and Aix, it was with pleasure that I found an Attention to America and that I removed with the greatest Ease the Ideas of her Weakness and Unfaithfulness, which England had endeavoured to give. I had much respect shewn to me as an American, while the English were treated in General with coldness, and since my return hither, I have been congratulated on the present State of Affairs with more than ordinary Warmth—All this is Well.
{ 148 }
Our Ennemies are now all Drunk; they are Chusing their Members of Parliament, they ought to be Attentive to what they are about, for this may be the last Election in England; for Parliaments will be either be laid aside at the End of seven years or the ensuing One will be perpetuated by a Short Vote. It is said the Minority will be succesful; but what is it to Us, who is in or out. Until England is thoroughly beat, She will be always be foolish or Knavish.
I shall set out the beginning of next week for Boulogne and return in fortnight, when I Hope to receive your Excellencies Commands.
I Hear Mr. D gives a Miserable Account of our Affairs in America—this Marks a dissatisfid Man.3 Mr. J Johnson for reasons that I Know not, has written to Congress to desire them to Appoint another Agent for the Examining the public Accounts.4 I believe He is dissatisfid with Passy. I beg to be most Kindly remembered to my young Friends.
I am Sir your Excellencys Most Obedient & faithful Humble servant
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. That is, that Thomas Paine was not the only American political thinker and writer of substance. No republication of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 in the London newspapers has been found, but for the earlier publication of TheReport of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, note 2 (above). Jenings may, however, have learned of John Almon's plans to publish the constitution in The Remembrancer. On 2 Oct., the publication of part 4 of vol. 10 (p. 193–257 of the 2d vol. of The Remembrancer for 1780) was announced in the London Courant, with the constitution appearing on p. 202–222.
2. These are JA's revision of Thomas Pownall's Memorial (A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April – [ca. 14 July], above), and possibly his letters responding to Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts, but see the Editorial Note to “Letters from a Distinguished American,” [ante 14–22 July] (above).
3. By 1781, Silas Deane's pessimism led him to write from Paris to friends in America proposing reconciliation, and to submit his letters to the British government, which in turn sent them to America for publication, ostensibly as intercepted letters. Unfortunately for Deane, the letters reached New York and were published just as Americans were celebrating the victory at Yorktown (Julian Boyd, “Silas Deane: Death by a Kindly Teacher of Treason?,” WMQ, 3d ser., 16:167–168 [April 1959]).
4. Joshua Johnson had written to the president of Congress on 20 July to request that a new agent be appointed in his place (PCC, No. 78, XIII, f. 146–150). He did so rather than leave Nantes to conduct his business at Passy as Benjamin Franklin had requested in a letter of 22 June.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0080-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-14

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

Je viens d'achever la lecture de la Brochure, au sujet de laquelle vous avez bien voulu demander mon avis.1 La partie du style est excellente: Il me paroit seulement, que dans les huit ou dix premiers Feuillets il y a des fautes de langage, faciles à corriger mais néan• { 149 } moins trop remarquables. Quant aux choses, elle est fortement pensée; et, quoiqu'une brillante imagination puisse avoir porté l'Auteur à orner peut-être un peu trop le tableau des effets de la Révolution Américaine, je suis convaincu pourtant, que le fond de ses idées est trèsvrai, et que ses principes ne méritent pas moins l'attention des Philanthropes que ses vuës sur l'avenir. Ainsi je pense, qu'elle mérite à tous égards d'être renduë publique par l'impression, et que cette publication ne peut qu'inspirer des sentimens favorables aux intérêts de l'Amérique. Je ne sçaurois néanmoins vous dissimuler un petit scrupule, que j'ai à ce sujet. L'Auteur trace avec un pinceau vigoureux la révolution, que l'Indépendance de l'Amérique opérera dans le Système Commercial de l'Europe: Mais, en faisant ce tableau, il peint la Russie dépouillée de son Commerce exclusif du Bois de construction et des autres Munitions Navales, la Suède de celui du Fer, la Hollande de son Cabotage et de son Monopole d'Epiceries &c. Je crains, que cette perspective n'effarouche les esprits. L'auteur tâche ensuite, il est vrai, de prouver, que cette concurrence, cette Liberté générale, cette réduction de toutes les Nations à un niveau commun seroient un bien; que la possession de Colonies lointaines est un mal; que l'avantage d'un Commerce exclusif n'est qu'un préjugé &c. Mais, Monsieur, ces préjugés sont trop profondement enracinés pour qu'ils n'opérent pas encore en ce moment. Moi-même, en plaidant la Cause de l'Amérique et en soutenant, que l'Europe étoit intéressée à son Indépendance, j'ai vingt fois rencontré cette objection de la part de Personnes sensées et instruites. “Oui, mais si l'Amérique devient libre, elle fera un jour la Loi à l'Europe: Elle nous enlevera nos Isles et nos Colonies de la Guyane; elle s'emparera de toutes les Antilles; elle engloutira le Mexique, le Pérou même, le Chile, et le Brésil; elle nous enlevera notre Commerce de fret; elle payera ses Bienfaiteurs d'ingratitude &c.” J'y ai toujours répondu dans les mêmes principes que notre Auteur; mais je n'en suis pas moins resté persuadé, que cette jalousie influë ici sur beaucoup d'esprits; et quiconque connoît the selfishness, qui malheureusement ne fait que trop la base de la Politique, pourra craindre, qu'elle n'ait aussi son effet chez les Puissances du Nord. Il seroit néanmoins dommage, qu'on touchât à la Brochure en la châtrant; mais il me semble, qu'on pourroit dans une Préface jetter un voile sur ces vérités trop nuës et dont certains yeux pourroient s'offenser.2 Si vous le souhaitez, Monsieur, je me chargerai bien volontiers du Poste d'Editeur; et je trouverai aisément un Libraire: Mais dans ce cas, s'il se pouvoit, je serois charmé d'avoir aussi entre les mains la Brochure originale.
{ 150 }
Je demande pardon de ne vous pas renvoyer encore les Gazettes de Pensylvanie. Il nous en est venu quelques autres d'un autre côté; et, comme notre Feuille ne peut tout contenir à la fois, je me propose d'en faire successivement usage d'une manière, qui, à ce que je me flatte, ne vous sera pas desagréable. Vous en verrez quelques échantillons dans les Feuilles ci-jointes, ainsi que le commencement de la Traduction de l'Adresse de la Convention de Massachusett's-Bay.3
M. le Comte de Sarsfield, qui nous a fait l'honneur de venir nous voir, m'a chargé de vous faire parvenir l'incluse.4 Ma Famille vous présente ses devoirs; et je vous prie d'être persuadé de la considération respectueuse et particulière, avec laquelle je suis, Monsieur, de Votre Excellence, Le très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
[signed] J: Luzac

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0080-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-14

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have finished reading the pamphlet, about which you asked my opinion.1 The style is excellent and it is only in the first eight or ten pages that I found some obvious, but easily correctable errors in language. As to content, it is well reasoned and, although the author's vivid imagination may have led him to exaggerate somewhat the consequences of the American Revolution, I am nevertheless convinced that at their heart his ideas are sound and that his principles, no less than his views on the future, deserve the attention of the Philanthropes. I believe, therefore, that this pamphlet fully merits publication and that it can only inspire favorable sentiments toward the interests of America. I would be less than honest, however, if I did not disclose to you a slight misgiving that I have on this subject. The author depicts with bold strokes the revolution that American independence will bring to the European commercial system, but in the picture that he paints Russia is deprived of its exclusive trade in ships timbers and naval stores; Sweden of its trade in iron; and Holland of its carrying trade and monopoly of spices &c. I fear that many might be frightened by this prospect. It is true that the author endeavors to prove that this competition, this general liberty, this reduction of all nations to a common level would be beneficial; that the possession of distant colonies is detrimental; that the advantages attributed to exclusive trade stem only from a prejudice, etc.; but, sir, these prejudices are too deeply ingrained not to remain a powerful force today. I, myself, in pleading the cause of America and emphasizing Europe's interest in its independence, have encountered, twenty times at the very least, the following argument from sensible, well educated people: “Yes, but if America becomes independent it will one day dictate the law to Europe; it will strip us of our islands and our colonies in Guiana, take all of the West Indies and swallow up Mexico, even Peru, Chile, and Brazil; it will take over our { 151 } carrying trade; it will repay its benefactors with ingratitude etc.” I have always responded with the same principles as our author, but I nevertheless remain convinced that this jealousy influences many people here, and whoever understands the selfishness that unfortunately forms the basis for so much policy will fear that it may have its effect on the northern powers. It would be a pity, however, to emasculate the pamphlet, for it seems to me that in a preface one could cast a veil over the naked truths that might offend certain eyes.2 If you are agreeable, sir, I would gladly assume the post of publisher and could easily find a bookseller. But in that case I would appreciate, if possible, having the original pamphlet.
Please forgive me for not yet returning the Pennsylvania gazettes. We received some others from another source and, as our paper cannot print everything at once, I plan to publish them sequentially in a manner that I trust that you will approve. You will find some examples in the enclosed sheets, together with the beginning of the translation of the address of the convention of Massachusetts Bay.3
Count Sarsfield, who has honored me with a visit, requested that I send the enclosed letter.4 My family presents its respects and I pray that you will be persuaded of the respectful and particular consideration with which I am, sir, your excellency's most humble and most obedient servant.
[signed] J: Luzac
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Luzac. 14. Septr.”; in another hand: “1780.”
1. JA's letter of 5 Sept., but see also Luzac's reply of the 7th (both above).
2. Jean Luzac sought to drive home two points in his “Préface de l'Editeur” to Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie (p. iii–xxii). First, American independence was of vital interest to Europe in general and the Netherlands in particular. Second, European and Dutch commerce would not suffer from American competition. In both instances his thinking paralleled JA's, and was influenced by JA's reply of 15 Sept. (below).
Luzac saw Britain's effort to subdue its American colonies as but another instance of its determination to establish and maintain itself as the dominant maritime power to the detriment of all other maritime nations. According to Luzac, this had been the focus of British policy since “l'usurpation de Cromwel” (p. v). The American Revolution and the support given it by France and Spain were aimed at overthrowing Britain's domination, an outcome of the utmost interest to the Netherlands as a commercial rival of Great Britain.
In view of this, Luzac saw the favorable opinion that many Dutchmen held toward the existing Anglo-Dutch alliance as unrealistic and contrary to Dutch interests. It was an unnatural alliance, the result of the threat posed by Louis XIV earlier in the century. But the policies of Louis XVI were not those of Louis XIV and it was time for the Dutch to join with France and its allies, the United States and Spain, as well as the League of Armed Neutrality under Catherine II, in their efforts to establish the rights of all nations to trade freely on the high seas.
Luzac's second point aimed at allaying the fears of Dutch and European merchants caused by Pownall's, and JA's, “imagination ardente,” which led them to exaggerate the speed with which the United States would emerge as a commercial and manufacturing power in competition with Europe (p. xix). Using material from JA's letter of 15 Sept., Luzac argued that contrary to what the author of the pamphlet might say, the American economy would remain agricultural for the foreseeable future. Americans would have little incentive to devote time to manufactures because of the vast areas still unsettled, the high cost of labor, and the expense of carrying such goods to Europe. Thus the United States would remain dependent on Europe for manufactured goods and markets for its raw materials.
But even if an independent United States { 152 } did become a powerful commercial rival, would it be less so as part of the British Empire? This question was appropriate, for if Britain was victorious it would stand as the dominant power in Europe and the unchallenged master of the sea, able to control trade as it saw fit. But the United States, even if it posed a commercial threat, would have no incentive to involve itself in the political affairs of Europe and would share with the Europeans the interest in freedom of navigation. “La Paix sera son système” in order to cultivate the arts and sciences and serve as a haven from European luxury and corruption, permanent asylum for all those who sought liberty (p. xxi). He ended with a quotation, in English, from James Thomson's Britannia, lines 194–197:

A State, alone, where Liberty should live,

In these late times, this evening of Mankind,

When Athens, Rome, and Carthage are no more,

The world almost in slavish sloth dissolved.

3. This was the Gazette de Leyde of 12 Sept., containing the opening portion of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention's address to the people. The rest of the address appeared in the issues of 15, 19, and 22 September. Beginning with the issue of 3 Oct., Luzac began printing the text of the ratified constitution and continued, as space permitted, through the issue of 8 Dec., which included the final four articles of Chap. 2, Sect. 1, setting down the powers of the governor. The remainder of the constitution did not appear in the Gazette.
4. This letter has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0081

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1780-09-15

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

I have just now received yours of the 14. and I wish I had Time to write you a Sheet or two upon the Subject of it.
I am very glad to find that you will undertake to be the Editor and I beg the favour of you to place Such a Preface as you like and to correct the Language, wherever it has Occasion.1 I hope to see it public as soon as possible.
I have met often in Europe with the Same Species of Reasoners that you describe; but I find they are not numerous. Among Men of Reflection, the sentiment is generally, different, and that no Power in Europe has any Thing to fear from America.2 The Principal Interest of America for many Centuries to come, will be Landed, and her chief Occupation, Agriculture. Manufactures and Commerce will be but Secondary Objects, and always Subservient to the other. America will be the Country to produce raw Materials for Manufactures, but Europe will be the Country of Manufactures, and the Commerce of America can never increase, but in a certain Proportion to the Growth of its Agriculture, untill its whole Territory of Land is filled up with Inhabitants, which will not be in Some hundreds of Years.
Russia and the northern Powers are too well informed to fear that America will interfere with them, in the Articles of their Commerce. America will demand of them in Hemp, Duck, Cordage, Sailcloth, Linens and other Articles, much more than they will ever interfere { 153 } with them in the Trade of Tar, Iron and Timber. In fact, the Atlantic is so long and difficult a Navigation, that the Americans will never be able to afford to carry to the European Markett, great Quantities of these Articles. They have other Productions of greater Profit in a Smaller Compass in Such numbers and Variety, that they never can interfere with the northern Powers.3 As to Iron We shall import it in Bars from Sweeden, as We ever did. We used to import Sweedish Iron from England.
But Supposing We should interfere. Should We interfere less, under the Government of England than under our own Government?4
I have not the original Memoire to the Sovereigns of Europe but I can get it from London.
The Question to your Antagonists should be, Can Europe prevent the Independance of America? If United, perhaps they might, but can they be united? If Europe cannot prevent; or rather if any particular nation of Europe, cannot prevent the Independance of America, then, the Sooner her Independance is acknowledged the better: the less likely she will be to become warlike, enterprizing and ambitious. The Truth is however, that America can never unite in any War but a defensive one.
I have been much obliged to you for your favourable Representation of the News from America, and of our affairs in general, and am with great respect and Esteem, sir your most obt. sert.
1. For a summary of Luzac's preface to Pensées sur la révolution de l'Amérique-Unie (p. iii–xxii), see his letter of 14 Sept., note 2 (above).
2. Luzac translated and expanded the remainder of this paragraph and used it in his preface to rebut the claim that an independent United States would immediately become a serious commercial and manufacturing rival of Europe (p. xvi–xvii).
3. Luzac translated and inserted this and the preceding sentence virtually verbatim into his preface (p. xix).
4. The sentiments expressed by JA in this sentence and the second paragraph below, formed the substance of the concluding sentence of the closing paragraph of Luzac's preface (p. xx–xxii). Luzac, however, was not as blunt there as JA is here.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0082

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-15

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. sir

We are all so very busy in Election bustles that hardly anything political is talked of. The Ministry seem to be going on swimingly in getting in Creatures of their own so that their majority in the next will be more decided than in the last Parliament. The Poll has ended { 154 } for the City and the members are Hayley, Kirkman, Bull, and Newnham. The last tho a Torey beat Sawbridge by 79 Votes. Rodney and Fox will get Westminster, and Burke and Cruger will be thrown out by two toreys in Bristol.2 Whispers are going about from the high flighers of the Court Party, that the new Parliament will early go upon accomodation if not declaration of Independence to America, this is either put forth to serve Election purposes, or to help up the Stocks; for I do not think the ministers are yet grown wise enough to adopt such a politic measure. If misfortunes and the appearance of gloomy accounts arriving from all quarters, save that of the East, would be a means of bringing them to their sences, one would think they had enough of these.
The various accounts from Ama. by the Cartel to Bristol which I lately wrote you about,3 and by two or three Vessels lately taken, (part of a fleet of 11 Sail which left Chesapeak bay about the 1st of Augt. bound to Amsterdm.) have alterd the minds of the people wonderfully lately, and they now begin again to think that the affairs of Engd. in America are in a deplorable way. I find there are several passengers in this fleet but luckily none of them in the ships that are taken, so that I have reason to think that by this time some of them have got to Amsterm. The names recited to me are all from Maryland vizt.—Mr. Ridout of Annapolis, Mr. Cheston a Merchant of ditto and a Mr. Dorsey from Elk Ridge. I hope they will be able to give you satisfactory accounts of the State of things in the West.
The Boyne Man of War is arrived in a very shattered Condition at Plymouth, She with the Preston was convoy to the Leeward Island 1st of Augt. Fleet about 80 Sail in all. On the 3d Instant the fleet was dispersd by a violent Storm which lasted 3 days and it is feard many of the ships are lost as none came in with their Convoy or are since arrivd—three of this fleet arrivd some days ago but they lost the Convoy nine days before this storm happend. The West India accounts do not place the situation, supplys and health of Rodneys fleet as in an enviable situation. Altho the late Gazette mentions nothing of ten of his ships being sent down to rienforce the Jamaica Squadron It is lookd upon here that they did go. We have yet no authentic news of Greaves's arrival out or any late accounts from N York—The People here rather laugh at a Seige of N York, and still persist Hallifax or Quebec is the object of the combind force of France and America. If Ternays object is to block up Sandy Hook it is an hundred to one if the Whole N York fleet which saild About 5 weeks ago does not fall into His hands; at any rate that fleet is in much risque and may { 155 } probably produce a third great blow to the underwriters at Loyds—the late losses among these Gentry will effectually prevent their 1781 Subscription of millions to the Minister for carrying on the War.
The Cartel Ship to Bristol is yet detaind for want of getting the necessary protection for men to conduct Her to Bilboa. The Exchange of an equal number of American Prisoners is peremptorily refusd. It is astonishing to her that they know no better in Boston than to expect an Exchange here—Mr. Dunkins and Mr. Mitchells Vessels had both been refusd as Cartels in December last. One of the Ships found its way back to Boston long ago, and Mitchell himself was in Boston four of five days before this Vessel saild the 21st July. The former two Vessels brought 90 Prisoners and this 11 so that upwards of an hundred men are lost to Us, and so will thousands be if the United States allow their prisoners thus to come away. To my great greif the capture of these two American Vessels mentiond before will add near 80 more Prisoners to our list already amounting to 280 or 290. I have made a push to get a part of these sent over gratis in Temples Cartel to France to stand in Account, but it was to no effect; These people seem determin'd to do nothing in good nature or what has a tendency to Conciliation. Their audacity and impudence in publick offices seem to encrease with their impotence.
I am Dr sir Yr Ob sert.
[signed] W.S.C
1. This letter is largely a digest of reports from London newspapers of 15 Sept., and the days immediately preceding. During this period most of the news concerned the general election then in progress.
2. The general election of 1780 resulted from the North ministry's dissolution of Parliament on 1 Sept., and its expectation that popular enthusiasm over Clinton's victory at Charleston and reaction to the Gordon Riots offered an opportunity to increase its parliamentary majority. While this would have little effect on the conduct of the war, since the ministry already enjoyed a substantial majority on that issue, it would prevent a recurrence of the opposition victories in the spring of 1780 in the wake of Edmund Burke's introduction of his economic reform bill. Contrary to the ministry's expectations, however, the election turned out badly and its majority was reduced. This was largely due to poor organization and a failure to appreciate the extent to which economic reform and local issues had taken hold with the electorate.
Digges clearly believed that the ministry was succeeding in its effort to build a more substantial majority. But the election results, which he supplied from newspaper reports, reflect the successes of the opposition rather than the ministry. George Hayley, John Kirkman, Frederick Bull, and Nathaniel Newenham were elected to Parliament from the City of London. But Newenham, if not as radical as John Sawbridge, was opposed to the war and consistently voted against the ministry. Moreover, Sawbridge, although defeated in the general election, was named to replace John Kirkman, who died shortly before the polls closed on 15 Sept., at a by-election in November. Edmund Burke withdrew his name prior to the election in Bristol, but was returned to Parliament in December from Malton, Yorkshire, while Henry Cruger regained his seat in the general election of 1784. The election of Adm. Sir George Rodney and Charles James Fox by substantial margins from Westminster had less to do with any action by the ministry or the opposition than { 156 } to their own popularity with the electorate (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons; London Courant, 15, 16, and 18 September).
3. For the cartel ships from Boston to Bristol, mentioned here and in the third paragraph below, see Digges' letters of 8 June, note 6, and 25 and 29 Aug; and James Warren's letter of 19 July, note 2 (all above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-16

To the President of Congress, No. 7

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to send by this Opportunity, a few Pamphlets and Papers. The Pamphlets relate to Subjects which interest the United States, and therefore ought to be communicated to Congress, for their Consideration.1
The Attention of Mankind is now turned next to the Congress of America upon that at Petersbourg. The last Letters from London say they have Information that one of the first Measures of this Confederation, will be an acknowledgment of American Independence.2Whether this is true or not I am not able to say. The Councils of the Sovereigns of Europe are not easily penetrated but it is our duty to attend to them, and throw into View such Information as may be in our Power, that they may take no Measures inconsistent with their and our Interests for want of light, a misfortune that may easily happen.
In this View, I could wish that the United States had a Minister at each of the Maritime Courts, I mean Holland, Russia, Sweeden and Denmark, and as the Cabinet of Berlin has much Influence in the Politicks of Europe, Prussia.
I say this upon Supposition that Congress can devise Means of defraying the Expence, which to be sure would amount to a large Sum. I have heard that Mr. Searle has arrived at Brest, but am not informed of his Destination, nor whether he has dispatches for me.3I am anxious to learn from Congress, what their Intentions may be respecting me. I have yet recieved no Authority to draw upon any fund whatever for my Subsistence, nor to borrow Money, for that or any other purpose. I see no prospect of my Commission being of any Utility. Although many Persons here think that Peace will be made in the Course of the ensuing Winter or Spring, yet I must confess I am of a different Opinion. The Idea that France will dictate the Conditions of Peace if it is made now, cannot be born by Englishmen as yet, they are not yet sufficiently humbled, although probably every { 157 } year will add some fresh Humiliation to the demands upon their Country.
The English Privateers have taken some Russian Vessels loaded with Hemp and Iron, which must bring the Question to a legal decision. The Admiralty will probably discharge them, and the Ministry will give up the Point of free Ships free Goods, provided the Dutch agree with the Northern Powers, for they will not venture upon a War with all the World at once—besides the military Force, which they could not stand against, they would not be able to obtain any Stores for their Navy.4
But the great Question now is, whether the Dutch will agree? Their Deputies are instructed to insist upon a Warranty of their East and West India Dominions. Whether the Northern Powers will agree to this Condition is a Question. The States General however are sitting, and will wait for dispatches from Petersbourg, and will probably be much governed by Events. What Events have happened in the West Indies and North America, We shall soon learn. Digby is sailed with a part of Gearys late fleet, whether for another Expedition to Gibraltar, or whether for the West Indies or North America is unknown.5 The Success of these Operations will probably influence much the deliberations both at Petersbourg and the Hague. This Time only can discover. It is said however that Mr. Le Texier will be exempted by the States General from the payment of Duties upon his Masts, Hemp, Iron and other Naval Stores that he is sending over Land, to the French Marine.
The Capture of fifty five Ships at once, so much wealth, so many Seamen and Soldiers, and such Quantities of Stores, is a severe Stroke to the English and cannot but have the most excellent Effects for Us both in the West Indies and North America.6 The right Vein is now opened and I hope that the Courts of France and Spain will now be in earnest in convoying their own Commerce and cruising for that of their Enemies. This is a short, easy, and infallible Method of humbling the English, preventing the Effusion of an Ocean of Blood and bringing the War to a Conclusion. In this Policy I hope our Countrymen will join, with the utmost Alacrity. Privateering is as well understood by them as any People whatsoever, and it is by cutting off Supplies, not by Attacks, Seiges or Assaults that I expect Deliverance from our Enemies. And I should be wanting in my Duty, if I did not warn them against any relaxation of their Exertions by Sea or Land, from a fond Expectation of Peace. They will decieve { 158 } themselves if they depend upon it. Never, Never will the English make Peace, while they have an Army in North America.7

[salute] I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 257–260); docketed: “107 John Adams Sept 16. 1780 Recd. Jany. 29. vid Decr. 26th. first recd. Arrival of Searle at Brest Capture of Russian vessel by English Advantage of privateering.” The copy received by Congress on 26 Dec. 1779 has not been found (JCC, 18:1194).
1. The pamphlets have not been identified.
2. The letters from London, probably as published in Dutch newspapers, have not been identified, but an item in the London Chronicle of 16–19 Sept., dated 14 Sept. at Amsterdam, reported that “the confederate Powers are on the point of acknowledging the independence of the United States of America.”
3. See Francis Dana's letter of [16 Sept.] (below).
4. Among the Russian vessels seized were the Vryheit (see William Lee's letter of 10 Sept., note 2) and the Alexandre, bound to Bordeaux from St. Petersburg with a cargo of hemp and iron (London Chronicle, 7–9 Sept.). JA's analysis of the probable course of British policy was accurate as executed, but not as enunciated. At no time during the war did Great Britain formally recognize the expansion of neutral rights under the law of nations contemplated by Russia and the other members of the armed neutrality. This was particularly true of the principle that free ships made free goods. In practice, however, the exigencies of the war, a lack of allies, the possible cut off of naval stores, and the threat posed by the combined navies of the League members forced Britain to be ambiguous as to the principles upon which it based its policy and to become increasingly lenient toward neutral ships (De Madariaga, Armed Neutrality of 1780, p. 361–386).
5. Adm. Robert Digby's fleet sailed from Portsmouth on 28 Aug. and consisted of twelve ships of the line and two frigates. According to newspaper reports, it was to protect homeward bound commerce from North America and the West Indies (London Chronicle, 29–31 Aug.; London Courant, 31 Aug.).
6. This was the convoy seized by the combined French and Spanish fleets on 9 Aug., see the letters of 27 Aug. from Francis Dana and William Lee and notes 5 and 1, respectively (both above).
7. This paragraph, presumably taken from the copy of the letter that reached Congress on 26 Dec. (see descriptive note), appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 10 Jan. and the Pennsylvania Journal of 17 Jan. (see JA to Benjamin Rush, 20 Sept., and note 1, below), and in numerous other American newspapers, including the Boston Independent Chronicle of 25 January.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0084

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-16

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I am this moment arrived in Town, much fatigued, and as it is so late, you will excuse my not waiting on you this evening. You must not be surprised to find me here. I am not the messenger of any bad news from our Country. I have some dispatches from Congress, brot to Paris by Mr. Searle, one of its Members. These occasioned my coming here.2 They are not of consequence to be communicated immediately. To morrow will answer as well for this Purpose. I left Paris the 12th. at noon, and overtook Mr. Austin at Brussels. We have { 159 } travelled together from thence. He left Paris the night of the ninth. I hope you and the young Gentlemen are well. I left Mr. Thaxter so.3 I am with much esteem and respect your Excellency most obedient humble Servt:
[signed] FRA DANA
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Dana.”
1. JA received this letter at about 9:30 and immediately went to Dana's lodgings at the First Bible Inn (JQA, Diary, 1:70).
2. For James Searle, see Samuel Adams' letter of 10 July, note 2 (above). Searle reached Paris on the evening of 10 Sept., and immediately sent Dana the letters and dispatches he had brought from America. After reading the dispatches and conferring at length with Searle on the following day, Dana concluded that duty required him to hand-deliver them to JA, leading to his departure for Amsterdam on the 12th (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:61–62).
The most important item carried by Dana was JA's commission of 20 June to negotiate a Dutch loan (above). Not only did its arrival lead JA to take immediate steps to obtain a loan, it also ended his plans to return to Paris and meant that JA would remain at Amsterdam for the foreseeable future (to the president of Congress, 19 Sept.; to James Searle, 23 Sept., and note 2, both below).
3. While he left John Thaxter in good health, Dana did not inform him of the reason for his abrupt departure for Amsterdam. Thaxter wrote to JA on 17 Sept., that he knew nothing of Dana's mission and was “happy to say that my total Ignorance of it, has put it out of my Power to gratify Speculators, and has saved me an abundance of Evasions, short answers &ca. . . . and that I have once found Ignorance to be an excellent Species of saving Knowledge” (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:416–417).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Houston, William Churchill
Date: 1780-09-17

To William Churchill Houston

[salute] Sir

Last night Mr. Dana arrived here, from Paris and brought me your Favour of the 11. of July. You cannot imagine, Sir how much Pleasure, this Letter gave me. I shall make a good Use of this and every other authentic Information, in order to prevent the unfavourable Impressions, you are aware of.1 It has been my greatest Affliction Since I have been in Europe that I have had so seldom Letters from my friends, or Intelligence from America of any Kind. That Business which is every Bodeys, is never done. Most of the Letters I receive tell me, “you will be so fully informed, both officially, and by your other Friends, that I shall not trouble you with public Affairs.”2 And thus it is that I learn, nothing. My Friend Lovel, indeed remembers me, now and then, and considering his indefatigable Labours in other Things, is very good. Heaven reward him for his Virtues, Exertions and sufferings! And Earth too Say I!
General Greens Report, of Kniphausens Exploit is much admired in Europe. Yet I am almost wicked enough to wish that even my friend Green had been beaten, because his defeat would have insured the Captivity of Kniphausen and all his Banditti.
{ 160 }
The late Accounts from America, from all Quarters, have had a good Effect in Europe. And the Capture of 55 ships at once by the combined Fleets of France and Spain, with the Captures by Don Barcelo3 and that of the Quebec Fleet, have cast down the English Cause to such a degree, as to put them upon the compassionate List, even with some who detest their Tyranny.
You will not mistake this for a Promise or an Hope of Peace. This cannot be. The Heads of a King and Ministers is at Stake, in the negotiation for Peace, at least they Suspect so. The new Parliament, will not alter the System, unless it should make it more insidious.
As to Money, I can promise nothing but my Utmost Exertions to procure it. It is lucky that I had been here 4 or 5 Weeks before my Commission arrived, because I have had an opportunity to reconnoitre the Country.
Mr. Searle, shall have every Attention and Assistance, from me that may be in my Power.
I most earnestly request the Continuance of your Correspondence, and remain, with the highest Esteem, sir your very humble servant
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. Suggesting that it be published in the Gazette de Leyde, JA enclosed Houston's letter of 11 July in his to Jean Luzac of 20 Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers). Luzac did not print Houston's letter and probably returned it with his letter of 27 Sept. (below).
2. This passage has not been found in any recent letter to JA, but see letters from Samuel Adams, Jonathan Loring Austin, and James Warren written in 1778 and 1779 (vol. 7:158; 8:77, 91). Indeed, the letters of July from Houston and others that JA was answering in mid-September were the first that he had received since several, dated in late April and early May, had arrived in July.
3. Don Antonio Barcelo commanded the Spanish squadron blockading Gibraltar. The Gazette de Leyde of 5 Sept. reported his capture of 4 ships attempting to run the blockade, while that of 8 Sept. indicated that he had captured 7 ships.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-19

To the President of Congress, No. 8

Duplicate

[salute] Sir

The day before yesterday, Mr. Dana arrived here from Paris with the dispatches which came by Mr. Searle.
I am very sensible of the Honour that is done me by this Appointment and yesterday morning I set myself seriously about discharging the Duties of it; and this day I have been some Leagues into the Country upon the same Service. There are good Reasons for concealing the Names of the Gentlemen to whom I have applied for Advice { 161 } and Assistance: but they are such as Congress I think would have approved if they had themselves been here.1
I was told very candidly, that I might possibly be much mistaken in my Information: that possibly I might think that Money was plentier here than it is: that America had more Friends than She has: and that the difficulty of negotiating a Loan here, was less than it is: that it was mysterious that Congress should empower any Gentleman to negotiate a Loan, without at the same time empowering the same or some other to negotiate a political Treaty of Alliance and Commerce consistent with the Treaties already made with other Powers; that a minister Plenipotentiary here would be advised to apply directly to the Prince and the States General; that he would not be affronted or ill treated by either: and whether recieved publickly or not, would be courted by many respectable Individuals, and would greatly facilitate a Loan.2
I was however encouraged to hope, that I might have some small Success, and was advised to a particular Course, in order to obtain it, that cannot as yet be communicated.
I must however apprize Congress, that there are many delicate Questions, which it becomes my duty to determine in a short time, and perhaps none of more difficulty than what House shall be applied to or employed. I have no Affections or Aversions to influence me in the Choice. And shall not depend upon my own Judgment alone without the Advice of such persons, as Congress will one day know to be respectable. But Offence will probably be taken, let the Choice fall upon whom it may by several other Houses, that have pretensions and undoubted Merit. As this may occasion Censure and Complaints, I only ask of Congress, not to judge of those Complaints, without hearing my Reasons, and this Request I presume I need not make.3
I have only to add, that the Moment Mr. Laurens shall arrive, or any other Gentleman vested with the same Commission, I will render him every Service in my Power, and communicate to him every Information I may possess. But I ought not to conclude without giving my opinion that it is absolutely necessary that Mr. Laurens, or whoever comes in his place, should have a Commission of Minister Plenipotentiary. If that Gentleman was now here with such a Commission, it would have more Influence, than perhaps any Body in America can imagine, upon the Conduct of this Republick, upon the Congress at Petersbourg and upon the Success of Mr. Jay at Madrid.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant
{ 162 }
Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 261–263); endorsed: “No. 108 John Adams Sept. 19. 1780 Recd. Jany. 29. 1781 read Decr. 26 Rect. of Dispatches sent by Mr Searle Measures taken in consequence.” The copy received by Congress on 26 Dec. 1779 has not been found (JCC, 18:1194). LbC (Adams Papers).
1. When JA published this letter in the Boston Patriot in 1809, he followed it with an account of his early efforts to raise a loan. There he identified his principal advisor as Hendrik Bicker. JA had dined with Bicker on 30 Aug., and described him as “a patriot without alloy of French or English influence,” who “was to me a sincere friend and faithful counsellor, from first to last” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 171; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:448). Bicker was a member of the Amsterdam mercantile firm of Andries Pels & Sons and a friend of Engelbert van Berckel, Grand Pensionary of Amsterdam. He had already shown his support for the American cause by pledging 30,000 florins to a loan that the American Commissioners had unsuccessfully sought to raise in 1778 and 1779 (Pieter J. Van Winter, American Finance and Dutch Investment 1780–1805, transl. James C. Riley, 2 vols., N.Y., 1977, 1:32; see vols. 6–8).
2. At about this time, to facilitate his efforts, JA compiled a list of nine questions to ask those from whom he sought advice (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:449). The content of the observations and advice that JA relates in this paragraph would seem to indicate that he made use of that list in his consultations.
3. In the Letterbook is the following canceled passage:
“The first Question is which houses are too much connected with the English Ministry, these cannot be chosen. But I am assured that I must ask other Questions vizt. what Houses have other <Fren [?]> Connections that would be equally likely to hinder or defeat the Loan. I have the Hon.”
JA omitted the canceled material from the letter as published in the Boston Patriot, but gave its substance in his comments that followed and identified Hendrik Bicker as the question's source. JA stated that, after cautioning him against financial houses tied to England, Bicker warned him that he should also consider the attachments of other houses “that would be equally likely to hinder or defeat the loan?” Bicker meant “houses too much connected with the French ministry, and other houses whose solidity and credit were not sufficiently established; and he cautioned me in confidence particularly with regard to Mr. John De Neuville” (p. 171). It may have been the warning about Neufville's firm that made JA apprehensive about criticism of his choice of a house, for Jean de Neufville had long been associated with the American cause and was thus a logical candidate for the commission to raise a loan. Bicker recommended the house of Jan and Dirk van Vollenhoven, an institution “of unquestionable solidity, wholly Dutch, biassed neither by France nor England” (same; see also JA's letter of 25 Sept. to the president of Congress, No. 10, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0087

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-20

To Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Favour of the 10th. of July, is received.2 Mr. Searle, who is yet at Paris, I hope to see soon here. Am happy to learn that the People of Massachusetts have accepted the Constitution: May they be wise in the Choice of their Rulers, and happy under them. The Constitution, and the Address to the People have much Respect Shewn them in Europe.
The Accounts from various Parts of the Activity and Ardour of the People, are very pleasing and promise good Success. But I fear, that, without a clearer Superiority of naval Strength, nothing decisive will be done. The Accounts of Embargoes distress me, because they { 163 } discourage Trade and Privateering, and I expect more benefit from them than from Exertions at Land. Nothing will ever be done to effect, untill the Allied Powers, apply all their Attention to the destruction of the British Commerce, Transports and Marine. I hope soon to see M. Laurens with a Commission of Plenipotentiary to their high mightinesses. This would be a great political Stroke, and have great Effects, many Ways.
The English are now all drunk. The Run of Elections indicate Continuance of War, and the most desperate obstinacy. The Nation however is impotent. The Loss of their E. and W. India fleets is a severe Blow. May they Soon have Repetition upon Repetition of such strokes.
Yours affectionately
[signed] John Adams
Mr. Lee and M. Izard are both with you, eer now I presume. My Regards to them, if you please. Mrs. Izard and Mr. W. Lee's Family are well.3
RC (NN: George Bancroft Coll.); endorsed: “From Mr J Adams Paris Sept 20 1780.”
1. In addition to this letter and those to Samuel Cooper, Samuel Huntington, and Benjamin Rush (all below), JA wrote to Joseph Reed (LbC, Adams Papers) in reply to Reed's letter of 10 July, introducing James Searle (Adams Papers).
2. Suggesting that it be published in the Gazette de Leyde, JA enclosed Samuel Adams' letter of 10 July (above) in his to Jean Luzac of 20 Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers). Luzac translated and printed a portion of the letter in the Gazette de Leyde of 29 September.
3. This sentence was written in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-20

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear sir

Yours of May 23,1 I received but 3 days ago, and am happy to find so agreable an Intercourse of good offices between the People and the french Gentlemen who have been lately there.
The final Accomplishment of the great Work of a civil Constitution, I hope soon to hear is followed by a wise and Satisfactory Choice of Officers to administer the Blessings of it. If the People are not happy under this Government I shall despair of finding happiness under any, for no one was ever formed by any People with so much deliberation, or I believe more Integrity: no one existing in the World <has more Admirers> is more esteemed by such as ought to be good Judges. It may truely be Said to be the Admiration and the Envy of the most enlightened Part of Mankind.
{ 164 }
I have done My Utmost Endeavour, that your Grandson should be supported with all the Frugality that decency and Comfort will allow. But the Expence, has been vastly greater than I expected, which I am very sorry for, altho it has not been in my Power to avoid it.
We are in daily Expectation of News from N. A., the W. I., and from the Northern Congress. If these should all be unfavourable to England, she will not nevertheless, make Peace.
1. Suggesting that it be published in the Gazette de Leyde, JA enclosed Cooper's letter of 23 May in his to Jean Luzac of 20 Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers). Luzac translated and printed a portion of the letter in the Gazette de Leyde of 29 September.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-20

To Samuel Huntington

[salute] Sir

Your Excellencys Letter of 12 July, I have received and thank you, sir, for recommending this Gentleman to me.1 And shall on all future occasions be obliged to you for recommending to me such Persons as you shall think proper coming to Europe.
The Current of popular Hopes and Fears in Europe has been lately much turned by the favourable News from America. But the public opinion is of no Consequence at this Time. A bloody minded and desperate Administration in England, hold the publick opinion in Contempt and Derision and will pursue their fatal system to the utter Destruction of their Country. Their Tools, now give out that the new Parliament will turn their Thoughts to Peace. But this is permitted, by the most malicious and deliberate deception, merely to influence Elections, keep Up the stocks, and amuze their Ennemies, while they prepare some Sly Expedition against them like that of Rodney to Gibraltar and that of Clinton to Charlestown. I have the Honour to be
1. JA is referring to Huntington's letter (Adams Papers) recommending James Searle.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0090

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-09-20

To James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of 10 July1 is before me. Mr. Searle and every other Gentleman that you recommend to me, shall be treated with all the respect possible. I hope to see him but fear it will not be soon. I hope you { 165 } will send Mr. Laurens here Minister Plenipotentiary. We have not shewn so much Attention and Respect to this Republick as it deserves, or as their Interest and ours requires. A Minister here, would be able to do a great deal of good. He would have a great Influence upon the publick opinions of several Nations. If Mr. Laurens declines, which I hope he will not, pray send some other. We daily expect News from Petersbourg, which if it should be unfavourable I shall forever think it owing to our Neglect in not having a Minister at the Hague.
Yours affectionately.
1. Not printed, see Samuel Adams' letter of 10 July, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0091

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1780-09-20

To Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear Sir

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 { 166 } a Man to be an Ennemy to his Country, in order to be popular. When this is the Case all is lost.
Your affectionate Friend
1. 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).
2. 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).
3. An inadvertence, Rush had referred to the Spirit of 1775 and 1776.
4. 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).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0092

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-20

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

A Servant of the De Neufvilles going to Amsterdam early in the morning gives me an opportunity of sending a letter to you for Mr. Ridley1 in Maryland which I beg you to give to the first safe hand bound to America.
We are still without any authentic accounts from N. York or the quarters of the British Army tho the general Town report is that Ministry have been some days in possession of bad accounts from Sir H. Clinton. Many people are possessd of an opinion that Ternays fleet with an Army of French and Americans are to opperate against Hallifax and this opinion arrises from an account said to be transmitted from Sir Jo Yorke about a week ago, which He discoverd by some Emissarys in France.2 I have had opportunitys lately in doing the business for the Cartel to Bristol which brought over Mr. Temple to discover a little of the disposition in the Office of Admiralty and board of Sick and Hurt, and I discover a wonderful alteration this two months. They are much more civil than usual and discover many tokens to indicate they look upon their affairs in America in a very bad way indeed—Last week, they could not think of releasing on any account one or more Rebels from Prison to stand against those parole prisoners who came over in the Flag to Bristol—To day on an application for Capn. Manlys release (to stand against a Capn. Scott of the Golden Eagle Privateer taken in June by the Pickering American { 167 } Privateer and carryd into <Boston> Bilboa) they say it certainly shall be granted and that orders shall be sent down for his discharge in a day or two, so that I hope you may see Him in a few days.3
We are still in the bustle of Elections. There is a more than usual cry out from all partys against the American War—some ministerial Candidates have addressd their Electors on that score—this theme must be given them from the older hounds of the pack or they would hardly venture to nose it. The Cry however is very general “Our evils have all arisen from the American War. We shall be ruind if it is not put a stop to &ca. &ca.” Many people are of opinion, and speak it out, that the Cabinet have determind to abandon it and get the Troops away as well as they can. Some folks, on the side of ministry too, go so far as to say that they would give it up directly could they bargain with Amca. to hold possession of the Ports of N. York, Chas. Town &ca. for a little while, a few Years only, and these ports to be equally open and free to Ama., in order that by holding them they might prevent the French and Spaniards from Possessing all the Wt. Inda. Islands, but this is only talk, and they better talk not about possessing Ports if they really mean to get peace with Ama. I may be sanguine, but I really think their fears have put them very near making some proffers for peace with America.
A Privateer is arrived in a short time from the mouth of the Tagus and has given an account that there was an Embargo laid there on all English vessels. The news is not relishd in the City at all as the affairs of Europe indicate that Portugal if she is obligd to declare at all will join the side of Bourbon. The Portugue Envoy set out yesterday for Lisbon but I believe He only goes on his private affairs. The Envoy from His Court at the Hague is arrivd here to be in his place till his return to England. This departure of the Envoy happening at the same period with the account of the Embargo is much talkd of and supposd by many to prognosticate a War between England and Portugal.4 I am obligd to break off hastily the person waiting for my letter.
I am with the highest regard Yrs.
[signed] WS.C
Mr. Ap——l——ns best Compliments.5
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr. J. A to the care of Mr De Neufville”; endorsed: “W. S. Church 20. Septr. 1780.”
1. For Matthew Ridley, see vol. 7:85.
2. See the London Chronicle of 14–16 September.
3. Despite Digges' optimism, the effort by Robert Temple and himself to obtain Capt. John Manley's exchange was unsuccessful, for Manley was not freed until 16 Oct. 1781 (Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the { 168 } American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 127), but see also Digges, Letters, p. 279.
4. The report of the embargo was received on 20 Sept., but was almost immediately discounted as being “premature” (London Courant, 21 Sept.; London Chronicle, 19–21 Sept.). Luíz Pinto de Balsamão, the Portuguese minister, left London for Falmouth on 20 Sept. and was replaced by the Portuguese envoy to the Netherlands, Agosto Antonio de Souza Holstein (London Courant, 21 Sept.; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder, p. 317, 318). The reassignment of Souza Holstein seems to indicate that Balsamão was to be away for an extended period, but by 14 Oct. he had returned to the legation in London, never having proceeded farther than Falmouth. According to the newspaper report he had been called back “by Government on some important remonstrance, now on the tapis” (London Chronicle, 12–14 Oct.).
5. For John Appleton, see Jonathan Williams' letter of 23 May, note 2.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0093

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, William
Date: 1780-09-21

To William Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favour of the 10th. is <just come to Hand> yet unanswered. I am fully of your opinion, that the British Cabinet are determined on a Prosecution of the War. It is not So much the Demands of America perhaps, as those of France and Spain which decide them. The English are not yet enough humbled to give up Gibraltar and the Floridas to Spain; and Liberty to Dunkirk and a more ample Extension to the Fishery on the Grand Bank to France, in Addition to American Independance: Nor are France and Spain So tired of the War, as to agree to less. Nor can the English yet think of free ships free Goods. Yet in all human Probability, if the War continues every year will add fresh demands, upon England.
The Dutch Gazetteers in general are not fond of Selecting News unfavourable to England. The Reason I Suppose is that it is not profitable.
I wish, for my own Part that Congress had a Minister at the Court of every maritime Power, and at Berlin and Vienna too. But the Expence of maintaining them is I assure you, a Serious Affair at present. Congress cannot remit to Europe: and they have not yet been able to borrow, in Europe enough to procure Cloaths and Arms and Stores for their Troops.
The Plan on which St. Thomas's is a free Port, I am not able at present to send you. Two Sensible Friends of mine from Boston who came directly from Copenhagen inform me that they there learn'd this Intelligence, but no particulars of the Plan.
I am happy to find that the Constitution of Mass. has your Approbation. I have a kind of Mixture of parental Affection and filial Veneration for it. You will See it, at large in the Leyden Gazette, in Time.
{ 169 }
Mr. Adams's2 Reason for declining to Serve the Town of Boston was good. He was going to Congress, intending to Spend the Year there; and therefore could not serve the Town. <H>We <do> ought not to hold the Doctrine of Sinecures, honorary or lucrative, in <the Mass.> America. I have myself once resigned a Seat in Council, and at another Time the Office of Chief Justice of the State, for the Same Reason, vizt because my Constituents would not excuse me from Serving in Congress, and I was determined I would not hold Offices at four hundred Miles distance from the Duties of them and deprive the public, by this means, of the services of others. When Mr. Adams returns from Congress at the End of the Year, he will be again chosen by the Town and then, if he designs to stay at home he will serve. But this you may depend upon that whether at Philadelphia, or at Boston, in Congress or in Council, or senate or House of Representatives, all his Time and Thoughts will be employed in the service of the Cause.
<There are, who have Served this Cause, through every Danger and at every Expence, for a long Course of Years. These I agree with you, understand the Subject better and are more to be depended on, than Some others, who are younger in the service and who instead of Sacrificing have made Fortunes by it. But We are not to expect, that these will always preserve their Influence. We ought to be prepared to meet the Neglect, the Contempt and even the Hatred of those We have devoted our Health, Liberty Fortune and Lives to serve. I know of no other Security, which a Man in public Service in <popular> any Government has, for his Happiness.>
1. The cancelations here and in the first sentence indicate this letter was written on 12 September. The blank page following it in the Letterbook suggests that JA put it aside with the intention of writing more, perhaps expanding on the views expressed in the canceled passage at the end of the letter. For the points made by JA in this letter, which are in direct response to those raised by Lee in his of 10 Sept., see that letter and notes (above).
2. Samuel Adams.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0094

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Vollenhoven, Jan van
Recipient: Vollenhoven, Dirk van
Date: 1780-09-22

To Jan and Dirk van Vollenhoven

A Stranger, having particular Occasion to Speak with the Broker, who, Some time Since, negotiated in this City, a Loan of Money, for the City of Dantzick, begs the Favour of Mr. Van Vollenhoven to communicate his Name and Place of Abode, <in a written Billet Sealed, by the Bearer> in Writing to the Bearer.1
{ 170 }
1. This is the first extant document in JA's effort to raise a loan in the Netherlands. JA sought the name of a broker through whom he would deal with the Dutch financial houses, including that of Jan and Dirk van Vollenhoven, which had been recommended by Hendrik Bicker (to the president of Congress, 19 Sept., No. 8, above). Attached to the draft is a slip of paper upon which is written in pencil the name JA requested: “Hendrik van Blomberg op de Clomgraat.” Although no letter has been found, JA apparently wrote immediately to van Blomberg, for in a brief reply dated 22 Sept. (Adams Papers), van Blomberg agreed to act on JA's behalf. For his initial efforts, see van Blomberg's letter of 25 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1780-09-23

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Dear Sir

I have received your Favour,1 written after your Return from Spa and am very glad you had so pleasant a Tour and found So agreable a Reception.
I find that my Friend in Philadelphia, reprinted the Letters on the Spirit and Resources of Great Britain: after which they were again printed in Boston, and much admired. A Gentleman from Boston, tells me, he heard there, that they were written by one Mr. Jennings.2 I wish his Countrymen knew more than they do about that Same Mr. Jennings.
I take a vast Satisfaction in the general Approbation of the Massachusetts Constitution. If the people are as wise and honest in the Choice of their Rulers, as they have been in framing a Government, they will be happy, and I shall die content with the prospect for my Children, who, if they cannot be well under Such a Form and Such an Administration, will not deserve to be at all.
I wish the Translation might appear as Soon as possible. Because, it may have Some Effects here. It certainly will: for there are many Persons here attentive to Such Things in English whether in Pamphlets or Newspapers. I wish it was published in a Pamphlet and I could get a dozen of them.
I begin to be more fond of propagating Things in English, because the People, the most attentive to our Affairs, read English, and I wish to encrease the Curiosity after that Language and the students in it. You must know, I have undertaken to prophecy that English will be the most respectable Language in the World, and the most universally read and Spoken in the next Century, if not before the Close of this.
American Population will in the next Age produce a greater Number of Persons who will Speak English than Any other Language. And these Persons will have more general Acquaintance and Conversation { 171 } with all other nations than any other People, which will naturally introduce their Language every where, as the general medium of Correspondence and Conversation among the Learned of all Nations, and among all Travellers and Strangers, as Latin was in the last Century and French has been in this. Let Us then encourage and advise every Body to study English.
I have written to Congress a serious Request, that they would appoint an Accademy for refining, correcting improving and Ascertaining the English Language.3 After Congress shall have done it, perhaps the British King and Parliament may have the Honour of copying the Example. This I Should admire. England will never have any more Honour, excepting now and then, that of imitating the Americans.
I assure you, Sir, I am not altogether, in jest. I see a general encreasing Inclination after English in France, Spain and Holland, and it may extend throughout Europe.
The Population and Commerce of America will Force their Language into general Use.
I am, my dear sir, most affectionately yours
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams Septr 23 1780.”
1. Of 14 Sept. (above).
2. Despite JA's statements in this paragraph, the editors have been unable to find any American publication, either in Philadelphia or Boston, of Edmund Jenings' twelve letters entitled “The Spirit and Resources of Great Britain Considered.” They were printed in the second volume of John Almon's Remembrancer for 1778 (p. 210–227) and Jenings had sent them to JA with his letter of 25 April 1779. JA apparently took no further action until just before his return to France in Nov. 1779, when he sent the letters to Elbridge Gerry in Philadelphia with the request that they be published (vol. 8:45–47, 83–84, 283). No evidence has been found that Gerry, presumably the “Friend” mentioned in the first sentence, executed JA's request. The “Gentleman from Boston” was probably a recent arrival at Amsterdam, but has not been otherwise identified.
3. See JA's letter of 5 Sept. to the president of Congress (No. 6, above), and his additional comments in his letter of 24 Sept. to the president (No. 9, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0096

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Searle, James
Date: 1780-09-23

To James Searle

[salute] Sir

I received, by the Hand of Mr. Dana, the Letters and Dispatches, which you brought for me, from Congress.1
I should have been very happy, to have been at Paris, at your Arrival; and to have had the Honour to do what ever might have been in my Power, to render your Residence in that Capital agreable, or to assist you in the Purpose of your Mission; But I am not able to foresee, { 172 } when I shall return.2 If you should come this Way, I Shall have the Honour to pay you my Respects, without Loss of Time.
Your Relation of the State of Things in our Country, as repeated to me by Mr. Dana, is very pleasing and promises much good.
I shall obey the Commands of Congress with great Pleasure: but with what success Time only can discover. I have the Honour to be, with very great Esteem & Respect &c.
1. See Francis Dana's letter of [16 Sept.], and note 2 (above).
2. This and another letter of 23 Sept. to John Thaxter (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:423–424) indicate that in the week since Francis Dana's arrival with the dispatches, JA had decided to remain at Amsterdam for the foreseeable future, rather than return to Paris. JA ordered Thaxter to proceed to Amsterdam with his “Letters, Letter Books, Account books and papers,” exercising particular care with “the most valuable Papers, which you will easily distinguish.” Thaxter wrote to his father on 1 Nov. that he left Paris on 30 Sept., and on 12 Oct. arrived at Amsterdam “where I believe I am to spend the Winter” (MHi: Thaxter Family Papers). For JA's concern over his papers and other property at Paris, and Thaxter's safe arrival at Amsterdam, see his letter to Benjamin Franklin of 29 Sept., and Francis Dana's letter of 9 Oct. (both below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0097

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-23

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir

The inclosed Letter has this moment been delivered by Mr. Celesia.1 I have thought it my duty to forward it to You. The letter, which Mr. Mazzei mentions to be inclosed in his, is to his Excellency the Governor of Virginia—am I to forward it to You, or to seal it and forward it to the Governor, first taking a Copy thereof? I wish to have your directions, Sir.2
Capt. Sampson3 has informed me, that Mitchel and Duncan, that went in the Cartel to England about the time we sailed from Boston, had arrived with about £15,000 sterling's worth of Goods at Boston—that the Vessel was seized per order of the Navy Board and libelled, and that it was the general Opinion She would be condemned.4
He mentions that a Cartel had arrived at Boston from New York just before he sailed—that she had to the amount of £1500 sterling's worth of Goods, for some Gentlemen and Ladies in Boston—that he had seized and libelled her by order of the Board of War in behalf of the State, himself and Crew.5 I cannot but wish very sincerely that these Cargoes may be condemned, and that this perversion of Cartels to the purposes of private Commerce and Emolument may be prevented.
When Capt. Sampson sailed, Bills of Exchange were to be bought { 173 } at the rate of fifty two for one—one fortnight before they were at seventy five for one. Even Col: Quincy himself is puzzled to account for these curious changes in the Currency—it has mounted and fallen like the Mercury.
Hard money, he says is offered to sale—that one third of our proportion of the debt was assessed or to be assessed about the time of his sailing.
He has politely and obligingly offered to take any family Articles for You and Mr. Dana, when he returns, and desired me to mention it. He leaves Paris to day. Mr. Watson6 who is with him, as well as himself desire their Respects to You.
My Respects, if you please, to Mr. Dana and Love to the young Gentlemen.
I have the Honor to be, with the most perfect Respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Thaxter 23. Septr.”; docketed by CFA: “1780.”
1. This was Philip Mazzei's letter of 19 Aug. (above), which introduced and was carried by Pietro Paolo Celesia.
2. This was Mazzei's letter to Thomas Jefferson of 19 Aug., which has not been located. For a brief statement of its contents, see Jefferson, Papers, 3:557. No instructions to Thaxter regarding it have been found.
3. Capt. Simeon Sampson, of the Massachusetts armed ship Mars, arrived at Paris on 19 Aug. with numerous letters for both JA and Francis Dana. For the letters directed to JA, as well as additional information provided by Sampson, see Thaxter's letter to JA of 19 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:419–421).
4. For the cartel ships owned by Edmund Dunkin and Henry Mitchell, see Thomas Digges' letter of 8 June, and note 6; and James Warren's of 19 July (both above). The vessel referred to here was the brigantine Adventure owned by Mitchell. A legal notice in the Independent Chronicle of 3 Aug. indicated that the vessel had been libelled and that the Admiralty Court for the Middle District of Massachusetts would meet at Salem on 23 Aug. to determine whether it should be condemned as a good prize.
5. This was the brigantine Trial (Independent Chronicle, 3 Aug.).
6. Probably Elkanah Watson Jr.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-24

To the President of Congress, No. 9

[salute] Sir

Since the Receipt of the Dispatches, by the Honourable Mr. Searle I have been uninteruptedly employed in attempting to carry into Execution the Designs of Congress.
The first Inquiry, which arose, was, whether it was prudent to make any Communication of my Business, to the States General, or to the Prince. Considering that my Errand was Simply an Affair of Credit, and that I had no political Authority, I thought, and upon consulting Gentlemen of the most Knowledge, best Judgment, and fullest Incli• { 174 } nation for a Solid and lasting Connection between the two Republicks, I found them of the Same opinion, that it was best to keep my designs Secret as long as I could. The Same Reasons determined me, to communicate nothing to the Regency of Amsterdam, or any other Branch of Government, and to proceed to seek a Loan upon the Foundation of private Credit. I have accordingly made all the enquiries possible for the best and most unexceptionable House, and Tomorrow I expect an Answer to Some Propositions which I made Yesterday.1
This Business must be conducted with So much Secrecy and Caution, and I meet so many difficulties for Want of the Language, the Gentlemen I have to do with not understanding English, and not being very familiar with French that it goes on slower than I could wish. Commodore Gillon, by his Knowledge of Dutch and general Acquaintance here has been as usefull to me as he has been friendly. I never Saw the national Benefit of a polished Language generally read and Spoken, in So Strong a Light, as Since I have been here. The Dutch Language is understood by nobody but themselves: the Consequence of which has been, that this Nation is not known. With as profound Learning and Ingenuity, as any People in Europe possess, they have been over looked, because they were Situated among others more numerous and powerfull than they. I hope that Congress will profit by their Example, by doing what they have lost so much Reputation and Advantage by neglecting; I mean by doing every Thing in their Power to make the Language they Speak respectable, throughout the World. Seperated as We are from the British Dominion, We have not made War against the English Language,2 any more than against the old English Character. An Accademy instituted by the Authority of Congress, for correcting, improving, and fixing the English Language would Strike all the World with Admiration and Great Britain with Envy. The Labours of Such a Society, would unite all America, in the Same Language, for Thirty Millions of Americans to Speak to all the Nations of the Earth by the Middle of the Nineteenth Century.3 I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect, your Excellencys most obedient and humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 265–267); endorsed: “Letter from [ . . . ] Amsterdam Sepr: 24: 1780 Read Novr. 27 Referred to Mr. Root Mr. Mathews Mr. Lovell—Respectg. a Loan in Holland and cultivating our own Language advised not to communicate his Powers to the States General or the Stadholder.” LbC (Adams Papers).
{ 175 }
1. See Hendrik van Blomberg's letter of 25 Sept. (below).
2. At this point in the Letterbook is a canceled passage with which JA originally intended to end the letter: “in the Propagation as well as Improvement and Refinement of which an Accademy established by Congress would have great Effects. I have the Honor to be &c.”
3. For additional comments by JA on the need for an academy, see his letters of 5 Sept. to the president of Congress, No. 6; and 23 Sept. to Edmund Jenings (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Author: San, Fernando Raymond
Recipient: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Church, William Singleton
Date: 1780-09-25

To Thomas Digges

The People on your Side, Seem determined to revenge themselves for the Loss of their Power, on those who have done all they could to Save it. I should not Say, all they could. They have never made an opposition upon Any Principle or System. The Man who condemns a Minister in one Breath for the American War, and in the next condemns him for not doing more in it, and not succeeding in it, will never make any great Hand of it. One who applauds the Americans for their Resistance and then condemns The French for coming in Aid of that Resistance and the Americans for accepting that Aid, will never make any great Figure. An Admiral who cannot serve against America and yet will Serve against the French in the American War, may well expect Keppells Fate.1 Mankind are not governed so. If a Man would lead others to a good End, he must lay down his Principle and his Plan; he must let others into it, and obtain their approbation of it, and then pursue it, through all its variety of Fortune and all its Consequences. But what is this to Us, who is in, or who out? The Nation will go to the End of its Tether, as Governor Bernard did, let who will be in or out.2 We know the worst of it, and are prepared. Let it come. The weaker our Ennemies before they make Peace, the Safer We shall be, and the longer the Peace will last. As to the Friendship of Great Britain towards America, it is gone to all Eternity. She can never forgive Us the Injuries she has done us.
Will you be So good as to send me, two or three Copies of the Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, and a Copy of Dr. Prices Population &c.
With great Regard yours
[signed] F.R.S.
LbC (Adams Papers) directed to: “Mr Church.”
1. Adm. Augustus Keppel, a Rockingham whig and avowed political enemy of Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, opposed the war in America and refused to serve against the Americans. He had no such scruples about fighting the French and in 1778 was given command of the Channel fleet and led it in the indecisive battle against the { 176 } French fleet off Ushant in July of that year. Keppel's failure to achieve a decisive victory resulted in his court-martial, which was seen by many as an effort by the ministry, and particularly Lord Sandwich, to make Keppel the scapegoat for their own failure (Mackesy, War for America, p. 202–211, 239–243; vol. 7:317–320).
2. JA refers to Francis Bernard, former governor of Massachusetts, who managed to alienate the initial goodwill of Massachusetts citizens toward him by going to extremes in the implementation of British colonial policy.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-25

To the President of Congress, No. 10

[salute] Sir

There are Persons, in this Republick, who have been Attentive to this War, and who know somewhat of the History of the Rise and Progress, of the united States of America: but it is Surprizing that the Number Should be So Small. Even in the City of Amsterdam, which is the most Attentive to our Affairs, and the best inclined towards Us there are few, who do not consider the American Resistance, as a desultory Rage of a few Enthusiasts, without order, Discipline, Law or Government. There are Scarcely any who have an adequate Idea of the Numbers, the increasing Population, or the growing Commerce of America.
Upon my Arrival here Some Gentlemen were inquisitive, about our Governments: I asked if they had Seen them in Print? and was answered No. Upon this I made it my Business to Search in all the Booksellers shops for the Collection of them, which was published in French, two or three Years ago, but could find only two Copies, which I presented to the Gentlemen who made the Enquiry. Nothing would Serve our cause more than having a compleat Edition of the American Constitutions, correctly printed in English, by order of Congress, and sent to Europe, as well as Sold in America. The Rhode Island and Connecticutt Constitutions ought not to be omitted, altho they have undergone No Alteration, and it would be proper to print the Confederation in the Same Volume. This Work would be read by every Body in Europe, who reads English, and could obtain it, and Some would even learn English for the sake of reading it. It would be translated into every Language of Europe, and would fix the Opinion of our Unconquerability, more than any Thing could, except driving the Ennemy wholly from the united States.1
There has been nobody here, of Sufficient Information and Consideration to turn the Attention of the Publick towards our Affairs, to communicate, from Time to Time to the Publick, in a Language that is understood, Intelligence from America, France, England &c. { 177 } But on the Contrary, there have been Persons enough employed and well paid by our Ennemies, to propagate Misinformation, Misrepresentation, and Abuse.
The ancient and intimate Connection between the Houses of orange, and Brunswick, the Family Alliances, and the vast Advantages which the Princes of orange have derived from them in creating, establishing and at last perpetuating the Stadhouderat against the Inclination of the Republican Party, and the Relyance which this Family Still has upon the Same Connection to support it, have attached the Executive Power of this Government in such a manner to England, that nothing but Necessity could cause a seperation.
On the Contrary, the Republican Party, which has heretofore been conducted, by Barnevelt, Grotius, De Wit and other immortal Patriots, have ever leaned towards an Alliance with France, because she has ever favoured the Republican Form of Government in this Nation. All Parties, however, agree, that England has been ever jealous and envious of the Dutch Commerce, and done it great Injuries: that this Country is more in the Power of France, if she were hostile than of England: and that her Trade with France, is of vastly greater Value than that with England. Yet England has more Influence here than France. The Dutch, Some of them at least now see, another commercial and maritime Power arising, that it is their Interest to form an early Connection with. All Parties here see, that it is not their Interest that France and Spain, Should Secure too many Advantages in America, and too great a Share in her Commerce, and especially in the Fisheries in her Seas. All Parties too, See, that it would be dangerous to the Commerce and even Independance of the united Provinces, to have America again under the Dominion of England: and the Republicans See, or think they see that a change in this Government and the Loss of their Liberties would be the Consequence of it too.
Amidst all these Conflicts of Interests and Parties, and all these Speculations, the British Ambassador with his Swarms of Agents, are busily employed in propagating Reports, in which they are much assisted, by those who are called here stadthouderians, and there has been nobody to contradict, or explain any Thing. This should be the Business in Part of a Minister Plenipotentiary. Such a Minister, however, will not have it in his Power, to do it, effectually, without frequent and constant Information from Congress. At present this Nation is So ignorant of the Strength, Resources, Commerce and Constitutions of America: it has So false and exagerated an Imagina• { 178 } tion of the Power of England: it has So many Doubts of our final Success: So many Suspicions of our falling finally into the Hands of France and Spain: So many Jealousies that France and Spain will abandon Us or that We shall abandon them: So many Fears of offending the English Ministry: the English Ambassador: the great mercantile Houses, that are very profitably employed by both: and above all the Stadtholder and his Friends: that, even a Loan of Money will meet with every obstruction and Discouragement possible. These Chimeras and many more are held up to People here, and influence Mens Minds and Conduct to such a degree that no Man dares openly and publickly to disregard them.
I have, this day received an Answer to Some Propositions, which I made last saturday, to a very respectable House, declining to accept the Trust proposed.2 I do not however despair. I hope still to obtain Something: but I am fully persuaded, that without a Commission of Minister Plenipotentiary, and without Time and care to lead the publick opinion into the Truth, no Man living will ever Succeed to any large Amount.3
Those Persons who are both able and willing to lend Us Money, are the Patriots, who are willing to risk British and Stadthouderian Resentment for the Sake of extending the Commerce, Strengthening the political Interests, and preserving the Liberties of their Country. They think that lending Us Money, without forming a political Connection with Us will not answer these Ends. That Cause, Stands very insecurely which Stands upon the shoulders of Patriotism in any Part of Europe. And in such Case if Patriotism is left in a state of doubt whether they ought to sustain it, the Cause must fall to the Ground.
I have the Honour to be, with perfect Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 269–272); endorsed: “Letter from Honble. J. Adams Amsterdam. Sept 25. 1780 Read Nov 27. Refd to Mr. Root Mr. Mathews Mr. Lovell Remarks on the Language of Holland & the Ignorance of our Affrs. there.—the different Interests—Recommendn. <of a Society for cultivating our Language>.—to print the Constitutions of these States & the Confederatn. respecting a Loan and minister Plenipotentiary for a Treaty of Commerce.”
1. The collection that JA sought in the bookstores was probably Recueil des loix constitutives des colonies angloises, confédérées sous la dénomination d'Etats-Unis de l'Amérique-Septentrionale . . ., Paris, 1778. In May, JA had purchased fourteen copies of this work, which was composed of texts originally printed in Edmé Jacques Genet's Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Amérique (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:442).
JA's request that Congress publish the American constitutions and the Articles of Confederation bore fruit, for on 29 Dec. James Lovell moved and Congress voted to have 200 copies of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Franco-American treaties, and the state constitutions printed and “bound together in { 179 } boards” (JCC, 18:1217). For a bibliographical account, beginning with the first Philadelphia edition of 1781, see JCC, 21:1201–1203; for an earlier effort by JA to have Congress make the American forms of government more widely known in Europe, see vol. 8:376–380.
2. See Hendrik van Blomberg's letter of 25 Sept. (below).
3. JA's description of his efforts to raise a Dutch loan in this letter and that of 24 Sept. (No. 9, above), particularly his statement here that the business could be conducted successfully only by a minister plenipotentiary, had important results. They led directly to JA's appointment as minister to the Netherlands on 29 Dec. (JCC, 18:1204), the same day on which Congress also approved his instructions and commission, as well as a plan for a Dutch-American treaty (all below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0101

Author: Blomberg, Hendrik van
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-25

From Hendrik van Blomberg

[salute] Sir

Messrs. van Vollenhoven, not with standing all the credit they have for the United States of North America Cannot accept of the Commission, Which You have done them the honour to propose, for Reason that their Branch of Comerce being fixt to the Baltick, they Cannot Wel extend it so far as North America.1 I have the honour to be with great Your most h: Servt.
[signed] H V Blomberg
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Van Blombergs Billet Septr. 25. 1780.”
1. Writing in 1809, JA ascribed the rejection of his proposal to the van Vollenhovens to their being “too rich to hazard so dangerous an experiment” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 171). For the reaction of Hendrik Bicker, who had recommended the van Vollenhovens, see his letter of 1 Oct. (below). For JA's apparent refusal to see the van Vollenhoven's initial rejection as final, see van Blomberg's note of 26 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0102

Author: Blomberg, Hendrik van
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-26

From Hendrik van Blomberg

[salute] Sir

I Waited Yesterday for a Second him [time?] on Messr. Van Vollenhoven after the recpt of your favour.1 The affair in question is to Extended to decide it by letters, for Which reason I beg the favour of You to do me the honour to Cale on me this Evening at 6 o'Clock, When I shall take Care to have a Person With me, witt wohm we Can speak in Confidence.2 I am With great regard Sir! Your Most ob. Servt.
[signed] H V Blomberg
RC, with JA's reply (Adams Papers).
1. No letter from JA to either van Blomberg or the van Vollenhovens has been found.
2. At the bottom of the page JA wrote: Sir
I received the Honour of your Billet of this Morning and will with Pleasure wait on you this Evening at six o Clock. I am sir, your most obt.
The person with whom JA and van Blomberg were to meet is unclear, but he may have been Anthony Mylius. See Mylius' letter of 29 Sept. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0103

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Dundas, T.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-26

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

My Friend Mr. B——1 will give you the news by the Cartel I some time ago mentiond to you to have arrivd from Boston at Bristol, as well as the proceedings here relative to that Cartel. I send you also by Him a Book and seven lately publishd Pamphlets. There has been a dearth of these sort of publications during the summer, but probably by the meeting of Parliament several political writers will put forth their works.
I mentiond to you in my late letters2 that the receivd opinion here was the Cabinet had determind to abandon the American war, for several days past the reports and conversations among a certain description of men seems to give weight to this opinion; most likely it is the general state of things in this Country and not their will which assents to such a measure.
Some little alarm was given a few days ago by the arrival of a Privateer from Lisbon, which reported an Embargo had been laid on all English Ships in the ports of Portugal—this could not be accounted for here, consequently it was not beleivd. Today they are a little more alarmd and fearful for a general prevailing report, that a French Squadron had arrivd at Lisbon to demand of that court an acquiesence to the northern Confederacy or immediately declare which side they would take in the present war.3 People who are unwilling to beleive any thing say that the numerous insults offerd by Commodr. Johnson4 to neutral ships and the captures carryd into Lisbon may provoke some such desperate measure. I do not know how it effected the Stocks or the wise acres about Loyds Coffee House coming so immediately upon the back of what they all term unfavorable news from America. If Englishmen would speak candidly they should say England ought to trust as little as possible to the fidelity and firmness of a power situated as Portugal is, subject to the immidiate controul and even compulsion of arbitrary, powerful and daring Enemys—most likely the account may be premature, yet there may be some foundation for it from the Complexion of things between Spain and Portugal.
Every day produces some new instance of the wretched State both of the English army and navy in the Leeward Islands. The English fleet seems fixd to the quarter of St. Christophers inactive till some rienforcements are sent thither. Eight Ships are preparing to go there { 181 } with all expedition, and Sir Hugh Paliser is talkd of as the Commander—this fleet goes in consequence of intelligence being received that a like number of French were dispatchd there about 5 weeks ago.
The Virginia Frigate is arrivd express from N York with Dispatches born by a Coll. Dalrymple, and a Navy Officer and is said to have brought passengers—Gov. Tryon, Genl. Matthews and others. The account only getting out this afternoon, there is no getting at the truth and probably we never shall for no bad accounts are now given to the publick in the Gazette. If there is one given tonight Mr. B. will carry one. By every Torey phisiognomy and appearance the news is lookd upon as bad; and reports state it that the frigate saild the 30th Augt. and that an attack was expected upon N York the next day, Washington with the French Army having possessd the heights of Brooklyne, the fleet of France off the hook5 and other movements from the quarters of Kings bridge and the Jerseys; also that they had certain intelligence the French fleet from the West Indies was hourly expected to join that of Ternay. This frigate is said to bring bad tidings also from Chas. Town—such as that a large body of Americans who had joind the British having taken an opportunity had securd a number of Officers who commanded them and gone off to the side of their Country, that there was excessive want and sickness in the Town &ca. &ca.6 There are innumerable other reports, all of which from their corroboration, and the remarkable silence on the part of the Kings friends and ministerial people is sufficient to indicate the news is bad, and I wish them their belly full of it.
There is a lad (son to a good friend Mr. Champion7 of Bristol) living at the House of Mr. Martin's in Amsterm. who is finally meant to fix in America. The Father, who is a very valuable Man, hearing you had two Sons about his age in Amsm., is anxious they should know each other and begs of me to be a means of making them acquainted, that his may hereafter find some acquaintance in America and imbibe some of the Political Sentiments which He supposes your boys to inherit from the Father. I submit this to you, and subscribe myself with the highest Esteem Dr Sir Yr obligd & Obt. Ser.
[signed] TD
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Church Septr. 26.”
1. Henry Bromfield Jr.; see Digges' letter of 29 Aug., note 3 (above). The book and pamphlets carried by Bromfield have not been identified.
2. Of 15 and 20 Sept. (both above).
3. This false report appeared in the London newspapers of 26 Sept. and indicated that the Comte d'Estaing, representing France and { 182 } Spain, had arrived at Lisbon in the ship of the line Terrible. His mission was to convince Portugal to join the war against Great Britain or, if it did not, to declare war against Portugal on behalf of France and Spain (London Courant, 26 Sept.; London Chronicle, 23–26 Sept.).
4. Como. George Johnstone, formerly of the Carlisle Commission, commanded a small squadron that operated off the Portuguese coast for most of 1780 (DNB).
5. That is, Sandy Hook at the mouth of New York Harbor.
6. Clinton's quartermaster general, Brig. Gen. William Dalrymple, carried the dispatches (David Syrett, Shipping and the American War, 1775–83, London, 1970, p. 228). Digges' account of the news brought by the vessel generally agrees with reports published in the London newspapers on or about 27 Sept., including the unfounded rumors regarding Washington's capture of Brooklyn Heights and the French fleet at Sandy Hook (London Courant, 27 Sept.; London Chronicle, 26–28 Sept; but see also Digges' letter of 29 Sept., below).
7. Probably Richard Champion (JQA, Diary, 1:204). Digges wrote again on 22 Oct. (Adams Papers), indicating that Champion's son would call on him, but see JA's letter of 7 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0104

Author: Jenings, Edmund
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-27

From Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

I have just this Moment receivd your Excellencys Letter of the 23d. Instant, it Honors and flatters me much and is a fresh Proof of your Excellencys Partiallity for me. Your Wishes that I was better known to my Countrymen proceeds from your Goodness to me—I well Know that you have taken every pains in your Power, that I should be so, but whether they are acquainted with me or not I shall serve them faithfully and affectionately.
I am happy to see the Massachusetts Constitution translate in all the foreign Papers—it must necessarily draw the Attention of Europe to the new Legislators. It must see with Admiration that the Science of Government, founded on the Nature of Man is so well understood in the New World. They will Confess that the English Know nothing of it, and if your Excellencys Recommendation is Attended to, the Americans will improve the very language of that haughty People.
I will press to have the Translation come out as Soon as possible and beg to have some Copies thereof.
I yesterday receivd a Letter from Mr. Carmichael of the 11th Instant—Things go Slowly there. He tells me I shall soon hear of an Agreable Change in a certain Quarter—I suppose He means Portugal.1
Give me leave to send to your Excellency a Couple of Letters to be transmitted to the Carolinas—I shall send them by Mr. Serle, whom I am told will pass through this Town in About ten days. I shall send too by him some Pamphlets, which your Excellency may make what Use of you please.2
{ 183 }
I flattered myself much when I saw Mr. Dana here that you woud soon return through this Town and have waited with much Impatience, however I shall set off tomorrow for my long intended Journey to Boulogne sur Mer. I shall be Absent About a fortnight.
I beg my best Respects to Mr. Dana.
I am Sir your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Edm: Jenings
1. William Carmichael's letter has not been found, but in his letter of 9 Sept. to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, he had mentioned the report that Portugal was about to close its ports to all belligerent warships (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:51–54).
2. Neither the letters nor pamphlets to be carried by James Searle have been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0105-0001

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-27

From Jean Luzac

[salute] Monsieur

Vous faisant des remercîmens très-sincères des la communication, que vous avez eu la bonté de nous faire successivement de plusieurs Papiers intéressans, j'ai l'honneur de vous en renvoyer ici une partie, vous priant de permettre que je garde le reste encore quelques jours, parce que le tems ne m'a pas permis de les copier toutes à la fois, et que je me propose de les employer à mesure que la place le permettra. J'ai déjà pris Copie des deux Lettres de Philadelphie, dont je n'ai pu donner jusqu'ici l'Extrait au Public.1 Je me flatte, que vous agréerez l'usage que j'ai fait de ces différentes Pièces; et que les informations, qu'elles contiennent, serviront à détromper l'Europe de plusieurs fausses idées, qu'on lui a fait prendre sur l'état des affaires.
J'ai fait copier pour la presse la Brochure, que je tiens de votre main; et je compte, que l'impression pourra se commencer la semaine prochaine.
J'ai l'honneur d'être avec le plus grand respect, Monsieur, de Votre Excellence Le très-humble & très-obéissant Serviteur,
[signed] J: Luzac

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0105-0002

Author: Luzac, Jean
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-27

Jean Luzac to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

Our sincere thanks for your kindness in sending us several interesting documents. I have the honor to send you back a few, and of asking your permission to keep the rest for a few more days, because I did not have enough time to copy them all at once, and I intend to use them as space will permit. The two Philadelphia letters have already been copied, but I was unable to publish their extracts.1 I hope that you will approve of the { 184 } use I have made of these various pieces and that the information they contain will help rid Europe of a few of its misconceptions as to the state of things.
I had a copy made of the pamphlet you gave me for the press, and I am expecting that it will go to print next week.
I have the honor to be, with utmost respect, sir, your excellency's very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] J: Luzac
1. Probably letters of 11 and 13 July from William Churchill Houston and Benjamin Rush, respectively (both above), that JA had sent to Luzac with his letter of 20 Sept. (LbC, Adams Papers). But see also JA's letters of 17 Sept. to William Churchill Houston, and 20 Sept. to Samuel Adams, Samuel Cooper, and Benjamin Rush (all above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-09-28

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress, No. 11

Amsterdam, 28 Sept. 1780. Dupl (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 273–276). printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:72.
Received by Congress on 29 Jan. 1781, this letter contained the statements exchanged by Baron Willem van Wassenaer-Starrenburg and Catherine II, when Wassenaer-Starrenburg and his fellow minister plenipotentiary, Baron Dirk van Heeckeren van Brantzenburg, presented their credentials at St. Petersburg on 5 September. The Dutch minister noted the importance of the impending negotiations regarding mutual efforts to protect the neutral rights of Russia and the Netherlands under the armed neutrality and expressed his hope for their successful conclusion. Catherine replied that she appreciated the States General's action in sending representatives to St. Petersburg and that she too hoped for a successful outcome. John Adams presumably copied and translated the statements as they appeared in the Dutch newspapers. See, for example, the Gazette de Leyde of 29 September.
Dupl (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 273–276). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:72.)

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0107

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-28

From Arthur Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

Having come here to converse with the worthy Governor, an opportunity of his Dispatch is afforded me of writing you a single line to inform you of my having left Mrs. Adams and all your friends well a few days since.1 Mr. Hancock is chosen Governor, much owing to your absence and the in-attention of those who wish well to their Country and will probably repent of their inactivity.
Measures are taking to support our credit and supply the Army, to augment which and give it permanency, notwithstanding the patriotic objections seems to be a prevailing doctrine as the only method of meeting our Enemies effectually. But I can assure you that unless our Ally and friend will contrive to send us a million sterling in specie, { 185 } they will run a great risque of rendering all our efforts vain and forcing us from inevitable necessity to an accommodation.
The loss from our defeat under Genl. Gates is much less than was imagind, and we have reason to beleive the Enemy sufferd exceedingly as they have not advancd a step. Genl. de Kalb who was mortally wounded is the only Officer of rank lost. Genl. Gates is reforming his Army fast, and the Militia being put under continental Officers, it is hopd will all fight as well as the Regiment of N. C. militia under Colonel Dixon, which stood and fought bravely while their fellows were shamefully flying.2
My Compts. to Mr. Dana the Abbés & other friends.
Farewell.
1. Lee was in Lebanon, Conn., to visit Gov. Jonathan Trumbull and had left AA on or about 6 Sept. (from Arthur Lee, 10 Sept., above).
2. For the Battle of Camden and its results, see James Lovell's letter of 7 Sept., and note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1780-09-29

To Benjamin Franklin

Mr. Samuel Andrews, formerly of Boston lately of Demarara, is going to Paris upon Business, respecting a Vessell taken by the French and carried into Martinico.1
He will lay before you his Papers, and hopes for your Countenance, in the Prosecution of his Appeal, altho he claims as a Dutchman.
I have the Honour to recommend him to your Excellencys Notice.
I have written to Mr. Thaxter to ask the Favour of you to take into your Custody my Books and Trunks of Cloaths.2 I dont know but I asked too much. Perhaps you may not have Room, without Inconvenience. If so, Mr. Thaxter will lock all up in Trunks and get, some store for them.
My Affairs will oblige me to say here, if Mr. Laurens dont Arrive: and if he does, it will be proper for me to stay untill I can communicate all that I know to him, at least.
I have heard often mention of a Letter from your Excellency to the Grand Pensionary of Holland, about a Year ago. It is much esteemed here—but I cant get a sight of it. I should be glad to support the sentiments in it, as far as I have learned them, but could do it to better Purpose if I Could obtain a Copy, which if there is no material objection to I request of your Excellency.3
{ 186 }
What this Republick will do in the Northern Confederation is a Question that divides all Parties. Neither stadhouderians nor Republicans. Neither Anglomanes nor Francomanes are agreed. Time will shew.
I have the Honour to be, &c.
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams Sept 29 1780.”
1. Andrew's vessel was the ship Sally. For his correspondence with Benjamin Franklin and the presentation of his case to the Council of Prizes in 1782, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:449, 453; 3:533; 4:368.
2. On 23 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:423–424), but see also JA's letter of 23 Sept. to James Searle, and note 2 (above).
3. For this letter, see Franklin's reply of 8 Oct. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0109

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-29

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr Sir

I hope my letter of the 26 By Mr. H——y B——m——d and a parcell of Books will get safe to your hands. Since that period, the arrival of news from N York by the Virginia Packet, which Saild the 1st Instant has depressd the spirits of the people and put them deeper into the dumps than they were ever before Elated. Every thing hare is in extreem. Nothing could exceed the folly of Exultation about the taking of Charles Town. I predicted the “hour of their Insolence” would not be of very long duration. The general cry ever since Wednesday morning is that we are undone and ruind—all is over—We always had hopes till now—Our Army in N York and Chas. Town will be Burgoind &ca. &ca. &ca. The affairs in N York were in such a Situation as to induce Gen. Clinton to send away a packet, much out of time, on the 28th. August which is not yet arrivd. A very few days after the Virginia Frigate was dispatchd at a very few hours notice, with other alarming intelligences and that Washingtons Army was approaching towards N York. Her arrival has thrown a remarkable damp upon the spirits of the Court, the Ministry, their out Runners, and their advocates. The Substance of the news brought by this Vessel, which I have collected from the best quarters of information is, That Monsieur Ternays fleet arrivd on the 10 July and the French troops landed the 12th. This arrival nor the landing was unknown to Clinton for nine days after—Admiral Greaves arrivd nearly about the period it reachd New York, and His fleet was Cruising between Rhode Island and Sandy Hook when this Dispatch Frigate Saild. As soon as Clinton heard of the arrival he determind on an Expedition to attack { 187 } the French at Rhode Island, and Embarkd a large portion of his Force on board Transports at N York. Admiral Arbuthnot (who is superior to Graves) did not think the measure prudent, for reasons that there was not provision enough to Victual the transports (there being scarcely sufficient for six weeks at short allowance and no supplys soon expected) and that by such an Embarkation the Garrison might be so weakend that Genl. Washington might attack and take the City. This last reason only founded in speculation was soon realizd into Fact; for after the troops had been many days embarkd Genl. Washington passd the No. River and approachd by regular March towards N York with 16,000 Men. The British Troops were in consequence all disembarkd and the Expedition laid aside; on hearing this Gen. W. halted a little and retreated some miles back—Dalrymple (who bears the dispatches) says that his Army consists of upwards of 20,000 effective men exclusive of French. The French Admiral had issued a Proclamation in the name of the Congress and King of France, assuring the People they should receive every support, and that the King his master had resolvd upon the Conquest of Canada and of ceeding that Province to the United States, and that He was in dayly expectation of considerable rienforcements. Before the Virga. Frigate saild Sir H. Clinton had received advices of a late date from Lord Cornwallis, informing that His detatchd partys had had several Skirmishes with Detatchments from Genl. Gates's Army and had been repulsd in all of them; That the People of Carolina who had taken up arms in the royal Cause, had revolted and joind Gen. Gates, to whom they had given up all their Officers. In consequence of these disasters, Lord Cornwallis had determind to abandon all the interior Country of So. Carolina and retire within the lines of Chas. Town; In which place, during Lord Cornwallis's absence, there had been an insurrection of the People against the Soldiery, which had been quelld at the Expence of 4 or 500 Americans killd and wounded and with the loss of 80 Soldiers.
A Sloop from the West Indies, which arrivd at N York the day before the Virginia saild, brought accounts that Monsr. Guichens fleet had been seen the 28 July steering for Jamaica and not far from it—His fleet consisted of 32 of the line; several frigates and lesser Vessels, making in the Whole 76 sail and having 16,000 troops on board. There are various other intelligences by this vessel of lesser note, among them, that Monr. Rochambeau had entrenchd himself strongly on Rhode Island and that the June and July packets from England had been both taken by American Privateers very near to Sandy Hook.
{ 188 }
The Quebec spring fleet which saild in June from England were met on and near the Banks of New foundland by several American Privateers, which took twenty two out of the 30 Sail. The list of twenty of them is markd on Loyds Book as arrivd in New England and the account is brought by London by a Super Cargoe on board one of them, who got permission to leave Boston to come to N York and so on in the Virginia Frigate to England. This is a much greater blow to Loyds than the West India Capture, As more money was done in that Coffee House upon them, near 400,000£ having been insurd there. I am told most of these Ships are worth from 30 to 35,000£ and many of them considerably above forty. O Rare Yankee! Well done Yankee! A report is very prevalent to day that a similar fate has happend the Provision fleet for Quebec which Saild from Cork the 1st July. As well as that seven homeward bound East Inda. men are capturd near the Entrance of the Channel—it cannot rain but it pours.1
The Cry is very much against ministry. I am pretty sure the Cabinet had a month ago abandond the principles of the American War and were fixd on making peace even at the Expence of Declaring Ama. Independent. This news may accelerate it; I am sure if it does it will be good news for Great Britain, for all ranks and descriptions of men now begin to see the mischeifs to England from this wicked and unnatural war. I am with the highest Esteem Dr Sir Yr obligd & Obt Servant
[signed] W S. C
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Ferdinando Raymond San Chez Monsieur Henry Shorns a Amsterdam”; endorsed: “M. Church 29 Septr. 1780.”
1. The information provided by Digges concerning events in America expands on that contained in his letter of 26 Sept. (above), and apparently was derived from reports appearing in the London newspapers between 27 and 29 September. See, for example, the London Courant for 27, 28, and 29 Sept., and the London Chronicle of 26–28 and 28–30 September.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0110-0001

Author: Mylius, Anthony
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-29

From Anthony Mylius

Mr. Mylius's Compliments to the Honourable Sir Adams, Whereas Mr. van Blomberg is out of the City and doth not returns before Munday next coming, and hath ordered his Clerk to bring any word which might come from You Sir to me, So I did take the Liberty to open your Billet for Mr. van Blomberg and Saw thereby that you desired another Evenings Conversation in Company only with me,2for which Honour I am much obliged to You, whereupon I can Say { 189 } | view that I think it will be next Tuesday Evening the time nearer to be appointed.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Mylius's Billet 29. Sept. 1780.”
1. According to a letter from Anthony Mylius of 6 April 1782 (Adams Papers), JA employed Mylius as a notary and translator.
2. The previous conversation between Mylius and JA may have occurred at a meeting held on the evening of 26 Sept., which Hendrik van Blomberg requested in his letter of that date (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0110-0002

Author: Mylius, Anthony
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-29

Enclosure: Calculations Respecting a Loan

Calculations Respecting a Loan
When the Loan is of 3/millions Guilders than is the provision for negociating the Capital   f   2 pr. Ct.  
for the Undertakers to furnish the Capital   "   2 pr. Ct.  
 brokerage   "   ½ pr. Ct.  
 Expences of Stamp'd paper for the Bonds printing & protocollating the Same &ca.   "   ½ pr. Ct.  
  f   5 pr. Ct.  
And for the Yearly paying off of 10 pr. Ct. so as is Stipulated and which Should be prolonged or continued again for 10 Years for provision to the house of the Loan   f   1 pr. Ct.  
  the Undertakers   f   1 pr. Ct.  
   brokerage     ¼ pr. Ct.  
  2 ¼ pr. Ct.  
And in Case there might be more negociated than the prolongatie of 10 pr. Ct. than the expences of that greater part are as above     5 pr. Ct.  
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Mylius's Billet 29. Sept. 1780.”

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0111-0001

Author: Bicker, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-01

From Hendrik Bicker

[salute] Monsieur

Je suis bien mortifié de voir que la Visitte que vous avés été faire a mon insinúation n'a pas eú un meilleur succes. Les Expressions significantes, positives, et reiterées dont cette Maison a fait usage, me font croire qui vous devés abandonner l'idée de vous Lier avec Elle pour [ne entamer?] l'affaire en question. Il ne m'etonne pas que vous n'aies pas trouvé chez Elle, autant de confiance dans la solliditté de vos Etats unis, que vous voudries bien nous endosser, j'ai eú deja l'honneur Monsieur de vous le dire cela ne peut naitre qu'avec { 190 } beaucoup de patience et apres avoir vu paroitre une Personne accredittée comme il le faut. Je voudrais pouvoir vous addresser ailleurs, mais decouvrir trop des Refus gatte souvant une Affaire exellante par soi meme. Le Courier Blomberg y est, on pourroit Lui dire s'il ne [sçauroit?] trouver peut etre une Autre que celle Nommée (J.D.B.)1qui voudroit epoúser une pareille Affaire avec challeur, et avant que vous vous y appliqueés, je vous offre mon avis desinterressé sur Sa solliditté et sa façon de panser, entretemps j'ai l'honneur d'etre avec la plús parfaitte consideration Monsieur Votre tres humble & tres obeissant Serviteur,
[signed] H. Bicker
Sous le sceaú du Secret je dois vous dire que la Maison de Staphorst2 m'a honorée d'une Visitte pour me solliciter de vous la recommender.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0111-0002

Author: Bicker, Hendrik
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-01

Hendrik Bicker to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I am much chagrined to hear that the visit you made at my suggestion was not more successful. The significant utterances, made in no uncertain terms and often repeated by this House, lead me to believe that you should give up the idea of an alliance before you start the matter at hand. I am not too surprised you did not find there as much confidence in the solidity of your United States as you would like us to have. I already had the honor to tell you that this feeling can only arise after much patience and after seeing a properly accredited person. I could tell you to go elsewhere, but encountering too many rejections can ruin an undertaking which otherwise would have excellent prospects on its own merit. The Blomberg messenger is there and we could perhaps ask him to find another party than the aforementioned (J.D.B.)1 who might gladly join such an undertaking, but before you address yourself to this task, I would like to offer you my candid opinion on his dependability and his way of thinking. In the meantime, I have the honor to be, with utmost consideration, your very humble and very obedient servant,
[signed] H. Bicker
Under the oath of secrecy, I must tell you that the House of Staphorst2 has honored me with a visit to ask that I recommend it to you.
1. This was almost certainly Daniël Jan Bouwens, relative of Bicker and member of the Amsterdam firm of Bouwens & Van der Hoop (Pieter J. Van Winter, American Finance and Dutch Investment 1780–1805, transl. James C. Riley, N.Y., 1977, 2 vols., 1:76; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 264). In a letter of 7 Nov. (below), JA made a proposal to Bouwens and his firm for a loan.
2. The financial house of Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst was one of the three firms through which JA negotiated the first Dutch { 191 } loan in 1782 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:444–445; 3:9). JA was already acquainted with the Staphorsts, having dined with one or the other of them on 14 and 28 Aug., but there is no evidence that he entered into substantive negotiations with the firm in 1780 (JQA, Diary, 1:54, 61).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gardoqui, Joseph, & Sons (business)
Date: 1780-10-02

To Joseph Gardoqui & Sons

[salute] Sir

It is a long Time Since I had the pleasure to Address you, or receive any of your Favours. I have Letters from my Wife which acknowledge the Receipt of the Things you sent by Trash. Your Bill upon me, was presented at my House in Paris after I left it. Mr. Dana was so good as to accept it.1
I now beg the Favour of you, to Send by every good opportunity to Boston or to Newbury Port &c. to Mrs. Adams in the Same Way, to the Amount of forty Pounds sterling in each Vessell: but more Linnens And fewer Handkerchiefs,2 and draw upon me in Amsterdam or upon Mr. Grand in Paris, for the Money. Mr. Tracy has been vastly obliging in taking the best Care to send, those which you shipped before and will do me the Same favour again.3
The English Papers announce disturbances in south America. Is there any Truth in it?4
I am with great Esteem, your obliged and obt
1. JA's last known letter to Joseph Gardoqui & Sons was dated 25 May (LbC, Adams Papers), while the firm's last letter to