Adams Papers

From John Adams to Edmund Jenings, 3 August 1782

To Edmund Jenings

Aug 3. 1782


Your Favour with the Anecdote and that with the Preliminaries, I have recd.1 Be So good as to Send me every Thing of this Sort, which I will not fail to make a good Use of.

The Imprudence of Ld shelburne in keeping open the question of American Independence, appears, every day more glaring to me and I find it is Seen in the Same light generally in Europe. The Kings Mulish Stubbornness, may cost him very dear. What a dreadfull Curse to have a Mule for a King or a Statholder! What a fine Excuse they furnish to Spain and France? who need no other Justification than british Indiscretion is sure to afford them.

The Court Gazettes in this Country are growing more patriotick, one of them told me lately, “Monsieur, Vous Serez plus content de notre Gazette a l’avenir”2 and he has kept his Word. Indeed Frisland and Zealand and even Holland are taking Steps, which are alarming to these Gentry. Calling for Orders and Letters, means more than an attack upon the Duke, and has had an Effect accordingly.3

I long to See Mr Days Pamphlet. Pray what and who is this Mr Day?

Can you tell me the Names of the monthly and critical Reviewers in London? Franklin and Bancroft have Connections ancient and modern with those Writers, and indeed with most of the Printers and Booksellers in London, which enable them to get a million of Wickednesses and Follies, published, to answer their Views, and to prevent Somethings which would serve a better Purpose, from being published.4

Will you be so good as to get Something like this inserted in some of the Papers, absolutely without its being known to any body but yr friend to whom you may send it, that it comes from you.5

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams augst 3d 1782.”

124 July and [ca. 1 Aug.], both above.

2Sir, you will be very satisfied with our journal in the future. The newspaper referred to has not been identified but may have been the Gazette de la Haye. JA had met with a M. Du Cange who wrote for the paper and reportedly was to meet with its editor (from Du Cange, 23 July, above).

3JA is presumably referring to the calls for the Dutch Navy to take a more aggressive role against the British, including combined operations with the French Navy. JA likely had seen the proposals from the provinces as printed in the newspapers. See, for example, the Gazette d’Amsterdam of 26, 30 July and 2 August. JA saw such efforts as more productive than efforts to dismiss the Duke of Brunswick as William V’s chief advisor. For the controversy over Brunswick, see the indexes to vols. 11 and 12; for earlier comments on the effort as a diversion from more important national issues, see Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol’s letter of 6 Jan. and JA’s reply of 14 Jan. 1782 (vol. 12:172–175, 184–186).

4Jenings never responded directly to JA’s request, but see his comments on the “puffs” that he had seen in the London newspapers in his letter of 22 Aug., below.

5JA probably refers here to his longstanding desire to have his response to Joseph Galloway’s Cool Thoughts, later known as the “Letters from a Distinguished American,” published in London. At least that is apparently what Jenings took him to mean in his reply of 11 Aug., below.

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