Adams Papers

1779. July 16. Fryday.

1779. July 16. Fryday.

Since I have been in this Ship I have read Robertsons History of America in 4 Volumes, in French,1 and four Volumes of the Observateur Anglois, in a series of Letters from my Lord All Eye to my Lord All Ear.2

I am now reading Les Negotiations De Monsieur Le President Jeannin.3 He was Ambassador from Henry the fourth, at the Hague, at the Beginning of the Seventeenth Century, and is reputed one of the ablest and faithfullest Ambassadors that France ever had. Dossat, Jeannin and D’Estrades are the 3 first....4 I am pleased with this Work, as well because of the Similitude between the Circumstances of the united Provinces at this Time and those of the united States at present, as on account of the Wisdom, the Prudence, and Discretion and Integrity of the Minister.

The Observateur Anglois is extreamly entertaining but it is ruined, by an Intermixture of Debauchery and licentious Pleasure. It is vastly instructive to a Stranger, in many curious Particulars of the political state of France—gives Light upon many Characters. But probably has much Obloquy.

1Among JA’s books in the Boston Public Library are two French editions of this work, Paris, 1778, and Amsterdam, 1779, each in 4 volumes (Catalogue of JA’s Library description begins Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917. description ends ).

2An anonymous work by M. F. P. de Mairobert, first published, with a pretended London imprint, 4 vols., 1777–1778, and continued by another hand or hands; the whole (in 10 vols., 1777–1786) was given the title L’espion anglois; ou, Correspondance secréte entre Milord All‘Eye et Milord All’Ear, of which a partial set (vols. 2–5) remains among JA’s books in the Boston Public Library (LC, Catalog description begins A Catalog of Books Represented by Library of Congress Printed Cards, Ann Arbor, 1942–1946; 167 vols. Supplement, Ann Arbor, 1948; 42 vols. description ends , under Mairobert; BM, Catalogue description begins The British Museum Catalogue of Printed Books, 1881–1900, Ann Arbor, 1946; 58 vols. Supplement, 1900–1905, Ann Arbor, 1950; 10 vols. description ends , under “All’Eye, Milord, pseud.”; Catalogue of JA’s Library description begins Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917. description ends , p. 157).

3A copy of Jeannin’s Négotiations is in MQA; see JA’s Autobiography under 8 July 1778 and note 9 there. Pierre Jeannin had negotiated the momentous twelve-year truce between Spain and the Low Countries in 1609. C. A. Gérard wrote Vergennes from Philadelphia, 7 May 1779, that he had sounded “plusieurs Délégués [in Congress] des plus éclairés et des mieux intentionnés” on the important subject of peace terms. “Je leur ai fait lire les Lettres du Président Jeannin que j’avois apportées avec moi dans l’espérance d’en faire usage. lls sont convenus que la même méthode de terminer leur querelle auroit certains avantages et pourroit meme devenir indispensable” (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions description begins Despatches and Instructions of Conrad Alexandre Gérard, 1778–1780: Correspondence of the First French Minister to the United States with the Comte de Vergennes, ed. John J. Meng, Baltimore, 1939. description ends , p. 626–627).

4Suspension points in MS.

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