Adams Papers

To John Adams from Benjamin Rush, 19 August 1779

From Benjamin Rush

Philada. Augt 19. 1779

My Dear sir

The same Opinion of your Abilities and Zeal for our country which made me rejoice in your accepting of an embassy to France, leads me to rejoice with most of your countrymen in your Safe return to your native Shores. I am sure you cannot be idle nor unconcerned ’till the Vessel in which our All is embarked is safely moored. We stand in greater Need than ever of men of your principles. You may be much more useful here than you could have been in the cabinet of Lewis 16th. I reprobate the time and manner in which you were recalled. But I have seen — and felt too much of the indelicacy of the Congress to their faithful Servants to be surprised at their behaviour to you.1 It is to be hoped that2 All is for the best. And that all will end well.

I beg leave now to Acknowledge the receipt of two letters from you, the One just before you sailed from Boston and the Other dated at Passy in France. The last contained intelligence of an interesting nature which I published,3 and which the conduct of the Court of Britain has proved to be true. I was not unmindful of you in your Absence— But had the misfortune of hearing that a very long and particular letter which I wrote to you last winter4 was thrown into the Sea to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy. I would have wrote a second and a third time, but knowing Something of the cabals of Congress respecting their commissioners, I was afraid my letters would have reached Paris while you were on your passage to America.

I congratulate you upon the present favourable complexion of our Affairs both in Europe and in this Country. Divine providence has saved us in Spite of all that we have done to ruin Ourselves. It would require a Volume to give a history of the political proceedings within and out of doors last winter in our city. The Continental money is now breathing its last among us. Our committees have added their illegal and unconstitutional Violence to the ignorance and negligence of the Congress in order to destroy it.5 Nine tenths of our Contracts now are in gold and silver—Sterling money — or the produce of the Country. The laws of the state prohibiting the circulation of hard money are as much trambled on as the regulations of our committees.

With best compts. to Mrs. Adams I am my Dear sir your sincere and Affectionate friend

Benjn. Rush

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr. at Braintree near Boston”; franked: “free E Gerry”; docketed: “Dr. Rush Aug 19. 1779.”

1Rush is probably lamenting here the failure of the congress to act upon his recommendations for improving hospital service, which led finally to his resignation as physician general in Jan. 1778 (vol. 5:318–319; Benjamin Rush, Letters description begins Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Princeton, 1951; 2 vols. description ends , 1:199–200).

2The previous six words in this sentence and “that” in the following sentence were interlined.

3Those of 8 Feb. 1778 (vol. 5:402) and 6 Dec. 1778 (above, and see note 4).

4Presumably that of 27 Oct. 1778 (above).

5A reference to popular committee actions to curb price rises and stop the monopolization of goods as a way to protect the currency. In Pennsylvania these efforts were mounted by those who supported the state’s extremely democratic constitution. Rush was a vigorous opponent of that document (Robert L. Brunhouse, The Counter-Revolution in Pennsylvania, 1776–1790, Harrisburg, 1942, p. 68–72). As “Leonidas” in the Pennsylvania Packet, 3 July 1779, Rush lectured the congress on the shortcomings of its fiscal policies (Benjamin Rush, Letters description begins Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Princeton, 1951; 2 vols. description ends , 1:229–237).

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