From Edmund Jenings
Brussels Augst 22d. 1782
I Have received your Excellencys Letter of the 12th Instant. I am rejoiced that your Excellency has Got Satisfactory news from Paris and Petersbourgh. I shall Know what it is in good Time, in the mean while confiding myself on your Excellencys Contentment, I am Easy.
I wish the measure recommended in the Leiden Papers1 was adopted the Effect upon England and other Powers would be Obvious. Nothing in the great Line can be expected from Lord Shelburne. He has too great an Idea of his own Artifice to think of adopting a liberal Plan. His sending Vaughan to Passy is an affront and not a Compliment. Vaughan was a patriot of Old and while He pretended to be so offered to bribe the Duke of Grafton to give Him a place under Governments.2 The transaction was made public and both parties became ridiculous.
I have read some of the puffs in the English newspapers and have always Laughed at them, there is nothing either of Policy or Philosophy in them. Did I want Proofs of the baseness of a Man the Arts made use of to set Himself off and tarnish the reputation of others, would be sufficient.
I have had delivered to me certain State Papers;3 They alone are sufficient, even as they now are, to give a Preeminence in the Eyes of Posterity to your Negociaters, but when they shall be accompanied by a recital of what has privately passed (and surely they will be so one time or other,) your Excellencys Mission will have the greatest Eclat.
I send inclosed a Paper, received by the last Post, which shews that something will be done with the long lost performance. I wish it may be published to your Excellencys Satisfaction. It is to be looked for in the General Advertiser.4
Mr Barclay and Mr Ridley left me Yesterday I have had the greatest Satisfaction in their Company. We talked of your Excellency much and with mutual pleasure.5 I am particularly Happy that my Friend Mr Ridley has had your Excellencys Confidence. His Respect and Esteem for your Excellency are equal to my Wishes and expectations.
I beg leave to ask whether your Excellency has receivd a Letter wherein I gave you an extract of a letter from Mr Laurens.6
I am with the greatest Respect Sir your Excellencys most Obedient Humbl Sert
RC (Adams Papers).
2. Jenings’ reference to this person as a “patriot of Old” makes it more likely that he means Samuel Vaughan, an English merchant with interests in the West Indies, than Vaughan’s son Benjamin who had been born in 1751 and was then at Paris as Shelburne’s agent (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, repr. edn., New York and London, 1959–1960; 22 vols. description ends ). If so, then the incident mentioned likely occurred during Grafton’s service as first lord of the treasury from 1766 to 1770 or as lord privy seal from 1771 to 1775.
3. Probably JA’s A Collection of State-Papers, Relative to the First Acknowledgment of the Sovereignity of the United States of America, and the Reception of Their Minister Plenipotentiary, by Their High-Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands, The Hague, 1782. This pamphlet was published in August, although there is no evidence to that effect other than this letter and JA’s reply of , below. In his letter of 1 Sept., below, Jenings promised to send the “State Papers” to London for publication. His effort likely resulted in the late November publication of A Collection of State-Papers . . . to Which Is Prefixed, the Political Character of John Adams, Ambassador Plenipotentiary from the States of North America, to Their High Mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. By an American. Likewise, an Essay on Canon and Feudal Law, by John Adams, Esq., London, 1782. For announcements of the pamphlet’s publication, see Parker’s General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer and the Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser of 20 and 21 Nov., respectively.
4. Probably the notice, likely by Edmund Jenings, that appeared in Parker’s General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer on 16 Aug. and announced the forthcoming publication of the “Letters from a Distinguished American,” the first number of which appeared on 23 Aug. (vol. 9:545).
5. Ridley and Barclay arrived in Brussels on 16 Aug. and left for Paris on the 22d; during their visit they dined several times with Jenings. In his journal entry for 17 Aug., Ridley indicated that Jenings said that JA had informed him (12 Aug., above) that he had finally received a letter from John Jay that he found hopeful (MHi).