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entitle us to the patronage of our great and generous Protector. This was not the sentiment, or language, that commenced the revolution, and I can pledge myself it is not the sentiment or language that will bring it to a happy issue. But there seems to be no public here to appeal to. Sordid pursuits and servile attachments have apparently absorbd all the Faculties of our fellow Citizens. In the last resort, I hope the jealousy of G. Britain and of the other Powers in Europe will prevent France from abusing the power which we have thus basely and imprudently confided to her.
Spain has behavd towards us with very little wisdom or decency; but it is much to be suspected that the French are at the bottom of it; insomuch that a well-informd person on the spot, writes thus: "I have many reasons for believing that the french Court does not wish to see us declard independent by other Nations, lest we shoud become less manageable as we become less dependent on her for support." I have endeavord to inculcate this truth into those to whom it woud be useful, and yet they constantly act in opposition to it.
The rapacity of a certain person after power and profit, and the little caution or wisdom that governs appointments are the reasons for the accumulation of Offices in an unprincipled and suspected Individual. The distress of our Finances which he has the art of colouring high, and plentiful promises of relief from his wonderful abilities, operate like a charm upon weak minds.
I beg you will make my best & most respectful wishes acceptable to Mrs. Warren, and believe [me] always, with the most perfect esteem, Dear Sir, your most sincere friend.
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARREN
THE HAGUE, 2 July, 1782
DEAR SIR,- It is a long time since I had a Line from you, and from Sickness, and various Engagements it is long since I had the Pleasure of Writing to you. I suppose that Milton Hill, furnishes
you with Amusement enough, in your beloved Science and Practice of Agriculture. I wish I had Fortune enough to purchase me an equal Farm upon Pens Hill, and enter into an Emulation with you, which should make his Hill shine the brightest. I find that the various Combinations of Street Dust, Marsh Mud and Horse dung, furnish a more delicate Employment, than the foul Regions of Machiavillian Politicks. but when Honest Wisdom tryumphs over its opposite, as is sometimes the Case, Politicks themselves afford an exquisite Entertainment, to a well regulated Mind.
It is a Problem at present whether the English will evacuate N. York and Charlestown or not. it is very probable they would if they could, but how to get away, a great Number of Transports must be had, these must be protected by a superior Fleet. If Pigot, who succeeds Rodney should go with the whole Fleet, the French and Spaniards may do Mischief in the West Indies in the meantime.
It is supposed, that Carleton has orders to make Propositions to Congress but what can they be? Reconciliation, Seperate Peace, even upon an express Acknowledgement of our Independence, can never be thought of. We must keep our faith and not violate our Treaties. it is whispered too that the Garrisons of N. York and Charlestown are to be removed to Rhode Island, which is to be fortified as a Place of Arms, etc. This Policy is beyond my Comprehension. There is but one sensible System for the English, and it is amazing to me, they dont see it, that is evacuate the United States and declare them by an Act of Parliament independent. Then, they might defend themselves better against France and Spain and other European Powers, would wish them success, and aid them by Negotiation to obtain more favourable Terms of Peace. But the present British Ministry have forced themselves into Power, partly by decrying the Capacity and Activity of the old Ministry and partly by Promises to the King and Nation that they had Address enough to make a seperate Peace with America and Holland. Both these Professions were false. They now appear to be so, and the Ministry know not what to do.
The present Ministry therefore, as I conjecture will languish
away the time undecided what to do, untill they become as unpopular as the past, unless the Parliament should be dissolved, and a new Election should give them a more decided Majority, ready to vote for American Independence, the Principles of the Armed Neutrality; Fisheries to France and Spain, Restitutions to Holland, Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain &c &c &c.
Thus it is that an Empire has, in a Frenzy, committed Suicide upon itself, almost as suddenly, as one of its Individuals could have swallowed a Pistol Bullet.
They have succeeded in propagating a general opinion in Europe that Peace will be soon made, and that their Stocks will rise after a Peace which opinions have actually raised them before the Peace, 5 or 6 Per Cent, by foreigners sending over considerable Sums to purchase in. if the Conferences for Peace should be broken off, the Stocks will fall again. Both sides will be loth to break off: but I really dont expect that any thing will come of them this year. My most profound Respects to your good Lady. Adieu. [No signature.]
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARREN
MY DEAR SIR, -There is now an Harmony so entire between France America and Holland, that I think Affairs must come to a good Conclusion. if they do not it will I am perswaded be our Fault. But I am determined it shall not be mine, and I dont believe it will be Mr. Jay's.
Spain is now inclined to make a Treaty with Us, as I am informed, and the Comte d'Aranda is authorized to treat with him at Paris. This however, must not be made publick tho it may be communicated in Confidence. Mr. Dana seems weary, and I dont wonder. You have no Conception of the Torments that Mr. Jay and he and I have endured.
However the Foundations of great Things are never laid without Patience and long suffering.
Shelburne and Fox have split upon a nice Point and the lat
ter hass hewn himself I think a profound Statesman: the later [former] a selfish, and equivocal Character. He must come finally and with an ill Grace to the Idea of the other, or he will put the last hand to the ruin of that Country.
The Plan seems to be now to agree if they can upon some, Preliminaries at Paris and then have a Congress to settle the Treaty, after discussing every Thing.
If Gibraltar falls and the English have no signal Sucess, the national Discouragement will increase, so as to force a Peace perhaps. if they relieve Gibraltar, which will be very hazardous, if they have good News from the East Indies, and especially if they have any naval Advantages they will struggle for another Campaign or two. Naval Victories intoxicate them to Frenzy. But these are but Drams to a Man in an Hectick. If there should be serious Negotiations for Peace, We shall have many Ugly Questions to debate. I dont intend to be answerable for any bad decision of them, but I cannot answer that they will not be badly decided. Canada, Nova Scotia, Boundaries, Tories, Fisheries, are Bones to pick. But the Pretensions of France, Spain and Holland will not be more easily adjusted, nor the Pretensions of Neutrals, in short the Field is so vast, and the objects of such Magnitude, that the first Glance of the Eye affrightens one, but I have looked at it so long that it has lost its Terror to me. Why should one be anxious, it is easy for a Man to do his Duty. He always has this in his Power and this is as much as he ought to have.
I hope Mrs. Warren will give my Dutch Negotiation a Place in her History. it is one of the most extraordinary, in all the diplomatic Records. But it has succeeded to a Marvel. Adieu.1
I A letter from John Adams to James Warren, September 6, 1782, is in Writings of John Adams, 1x. 513.
JAMES WARREN TO JOHN ADams
MY DEAR SIR, - Your Letters of the 17th June and 2d of July have given me great pleasure, perhaps more, because they were unexpected. A Spirit of Jealousy, founded on a long Intermission, had made me suppose you had totally forgot me, and never intended again to write a single Line. I hope the reasons you give for so long silence are by the fine Air of The Hague and by Exercise removed and that I shall again frequently hear from you in this way. one thing you may be assured of, that you cannot write to a more sincere and determined Friend. I like my new Allies the Dutch very well, and when my Imagination roves into futurity, and speculates and combines, I can suppose they may do us as much real service as some others, and from Motives quite as disinterested; and I like the Alliance perhaps the better because it has been formed by an Independent Statesman in spite of the false politics of his own Country and the designing politics of others. and I trust he will be regarded even by the present Generation, in spite of the rascally Venality or Envy of those who from their Exalted Stations have a greater Opportunity of doing him Justice. But, my Friend, the divine Science of Politics is composed of the same Materials here as in Europe. there is, indeed, something exceedingly singular in your Country. None ever ran with more rapid strides or was more distinguished by its virtue and public spirit, and no Country ever Catched the Vices of others and degenerated so fast. I will not prevent your singing or laughing by Attempting a description or saying more on this Subject. I wish for Peace, but what kind of one must we have had, if it had been made this Year? I wish to see you return to our Hills. I shall certainly take pleasure in roving with you among the Partridges, Squirrels, etc., and will even venture upon an Emulation with you which shall make his Hill shine the brightest, tho' I conceive I should fail in the Attempt. I expect, notwithstanding all your great Engagement and the great Game you have to Play, the Splendor of Courts and the Entertainments of Princes and Princesses, that you will bring with you great Improvements