Adams Papers

To John Adams from Edmund Jenings, 28 November 1781

From Edmund Jenings

Brussels Nor. 28th. 1781


Altho I am fearful, that my Correspondance has lately been Troublesome to your Excellency, yet I cannot help sending the inclosed Letter from a Friend, whose Heart is sensible to every Impression of public and private Virtue.

He has been a long Time acquainted with his Excellency Mr Lawrens, and therefore esteems Him. He is touched, your Excellency will see at his present Situation, I must Confess I am so too, and therefore shall desire my Friend to Convey to Him, if Necessary, £100 to Assist him Somewhat until means are found out to render his Life tolerable. I Hope I shall not appear busy and presumptuous in this Action, which I assure your Excellency is dictated by feelings for the Public and the Suffering Individual.

The Paper, of which I send your Excellency a Copy, seems to have been written immediately after my Friends Visit in the Tower.1

I need not say any thing of the inclosed printed Paper. Your Excellency sees that it is desir’d to be conveyed to Mynheer Van Berkel by Messrs De Neufville.2

I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedient & Humble Servant

Edm: Jenings

RCand enclosure (Adams Papers).

1The enclosed letter, signed “GJ,” is in Edward Bridgen’s hand and was probably written on 23 Nov., the day on which Bridgen visited Henry Laurens in the Tower of London (Laurens, Papers description begins The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., and David R. Chesnutt (from vol. 5), David R. Chesnutt and C. James Taylor (from vol. 11), and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols. description ends , 15:384, 621). Bridgen wrote that Laurens had directed him to inform JA (referred to as AA and Mr. A in the letter) that his situation was “truly deplorable” and that a fund for his use needed to be established in London. Laurens also asked whether any thing had been done, either in England or America, to obtain his release or to insure more humane treatment for him. Bridgen ended by imploring Jenings and, by inference, JA to do everything in their power to relieve the sufferings of their friend. The only positive notes in the letter were that Laurens’ health had improved and that the “Duke of R.,” presumably the Duke of Richmond, had written to Lord Sandwich regarding Laurens’ treatment. See also Martha Laurens’ letter of 14 Nov., above.

2Bridgen stated that the paper should be sent to Engelbert François van Berckel, “somebody here having been so kind as to make a Speech for that Gentleman, whom it is proper should be acquainted with it after he has not spoken it.” The piece has not been further identified.

Index Entries