Adams Papers

To John Adams from Edmund Jenings, 11 August 1781

From Edmund Jenings

Brussels Augst. 11. 1781


On my return to this Town I found a Letter from London informing me that the 20£ was paid according to order.1 The Gentleman, who executed this Commission is named Bridgen and his address is Bridgen & Waller London, putting a little, b thus under the Seal, which prevents his Partner opening the Letter. He sent me the inclosed Copies of an Ode.2 I find in his letter the following Paragraph: “I hear that the new chariot, which your Nephew has just stept into, is in the highest stile. I Hope He wont drive too fast, least a wheel should fly off but that is his Business.” I fancy this alludes to A Lee, who I suppose has gained the Post, for which He was a Candidate.3

I do not Know whether your Excellency has read a little Work, called the Pou Francois. It is a sad libel on the Old Gentleman at Passy and others. I have no doubt that it is written by Tickel the Author of the Cassette Verte and Anticipation.4 We have reports here of an Engagement between the Dutch and English fleets, but nothing distinctively.5

I did myself the Honor of sending to your Excellency two Books published 5 or 6 years ago on public Happiness the Gentleman promised to deliver them safely.6

I find Mr. Lee7 a great deal Better. He desires his Respects to your Excellency.

I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Faithful & Obedient Humble Servt.

Edm: Jenings

RC (Adams Papers).

1See Edward Bridgen’s letter of 13 July, above, and JA’s reply to Jenings of 18 Aug., below.

2This enclosure has not been identified.

3Arthur Lee was Jenings’ second cousin. On 17 Jan. Lee was nominated to be secretary for foreign affairs, the post to which Robert R. Livingston was elected on 10 Aug. (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774– 1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 19:65; 21:851–852).

4JA received a copy of [Delauney], Histoire d’un pou françois; ou, l’espion d’une nouvelle espéce, tant en France, qu’en Angleterre. Contenant les portraits de personnages intéressans dans ces deux royaumes et donnant la clef des principaux evènemens de l’an 1779, et de ceux qui doivent arriver en 1780, 4th edn., Paris [i.e. London], 1779, the previous fall (vol. 10:296–297). For JA’s opinion of the pamphlet, see his reply to Jenings of 18 Aug., below. The work may have been attributed to Richard Tickell because, like Tickell’s La Cassette Verte de Monsieur de Sartine, Trouvée chez Mademoiselle Du Thé, The Hague [i.e. London], 1779, its title was in black and red and it was sold by T. Becket of the Strand, London (T. R. Adams, American Controversy description begins Thomas R. Adams, The American Controversy, A Bibliographical Study of the British Pamphlets About the American Disputes, 1764–1783, Providence and New York, 1980; 2 vols. description ends , p. 624–625, 678). Tickell’s most celebrated work was his parody, Anticipation: Containing the Substance of His M---y’s Most Gracious Speech to both H---s of P---l---t, on the Opening of the approaching Session, together With a full and authentic Account of the Debate which will take Place in the H---e of C---s, on the Motion for the Address, and the Amendment, London, 1778. See L. H. Butterfield, Anticipation by Richard Tickell. Reprinted from the First Edition, London, 1778 With an Introduction, Notes and a Bibliography of Tickell’s Writings, N.Y., 1942.

5For the Battle of the Dogger Bank fought on 5 Aug., see JA’s letter of 18 Aug. to the president of Congress, below.

6A copy of François Jean, Marquis de Chastellux, An Essay on Public Happiness, 2 vols., London, 1774, is in JA’s library at the Boston Public Library (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 ).

7William Lee.

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