To Francis Dana
Leyden 22d. March 1781
I have recieved several Letters from You, but have been so busy signing my Name, that I could not answer.
I give You Joy of Laurens’s Arrival—it is a great Event. I hope he brought You an important Paper, which Lovel mentions in his Letter to You, and Gerry in an excellent one to me.1
I rejoice Sir in your Honour, and in the public Good, but I feel myself weakened and grieved at the present loss of a Treasure of Advice and Ability. I hope to see You here in your Route.
Pray commit to writing all your Observations on our first Errand and give them to me. I hope your old Commission is not superseded.2 In Case of Negotiation, of which however there is no likelihood for Years, I shall summon You. Mr. Laurens must have Letters and important Papers for me. I hope to have them soon. There is no one knows the banking Comn.3 but Mr. De Neufville and me—it is not more however than Precedent—but let them lye about it if they will—I am not afraid of their Lyes. Statia is gone—and the Dutch are yet dead—when they will come to life I know not.
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (MHi: Dana Family Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Jno. Adams’s Letter Dated 22d. March 1781 Recd. 1st. April (No. 9.).”
1. Following the word “Paper,” Dana placed a mark and wrote in the left margin: “My Commission as Minister Plenipo: for Russia is alluded to.” JA refers to James Lovell’s letter to Dana of 6 Jan. (see Dana’s letter of 6 March, note 4, above) and Elbridge Gerry’s letter of 10 Jan., above.
2. The “first Errand” was JA’s mission to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain, for which Dana held a commission as JA’s secretary (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774– 1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 15:1128, 1172). Congress did not revoke Dana’s previous commission; in fact, in June 1781 they appointed him secretary to the expanded peace commission in the event that negotiations began before he departed for Russia (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774– 1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 20:699).