To Henry Laurens
Paris November 6. 1782
I have the Honour to inclose a Resolution of Congress of the 17 of September, enjoining upon us all, Attendance on the Negotiations for Peace, and if it were not Presumption to Suppose, that any Thing could be added to So pressing a Desire of Congress, I would beg Leave to add my most earnest Entreaties that you would be so good as to join Us as soon as possible.1 It would give me the highest Pleasure, and be a constant Support to have your Judgment and Advice upon the great Questions which are under Consideration.
I know not how to mention, the melancholly Intelligence by this Vessell, which affects you so tenderly.— I feel for you, more than I can or ought to express.— Our Country has lost its most promising Character, in a manner however, that was worthy of her Cause.—2 I can Say nothing more to you, but that you have much greater Reason to Say in this Case, as a Duke of ormond said of an Earl of Ossory. “I would not exchange my son for any living Son in the World.”3
With the most affecting Sentiments, I have the Honour to be, dear Sir, your most obedient and humble Servant
RC (ScL [ScU]:Kendall Coll.); internal address: “His Excellency Henry Laurens Esq.”; endorsed: “His E. John Adams. Paris 6th Nov / Received & Answered the 12th.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.
1. For this resolution, which Robert R. Livingston enclosed in the letter that he began on 15 Sept. and completed on the 18th, see vol. 13:465–468.
2. This letter was the means by which Henry Laurens learned of the death of his son, Col. John Laurens, on 27 Aug., for which see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 1, above, and Laurens, Papers description begins The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., David R. Chesnutt, C. James Taylor, and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols. description ends , 15:605.
3. JA refers to the comment by James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, on the death of his son Thomas, the Earl of Ossory, in 1680. When in his condolences an English nobleman asked how Ormande could bear the death of his son, the duke responded, “my loss, indeed, sits heavy on me, and nothing else in this world could affect me so much . . . yet I thank God, my case is not so deplorable as that Nobleman’s; for I had much rather have my dead son, than his living one” (Thomas Carte, An History of the Life of James, Duke of Ormonde, 3 vols., London, 1735–1736, 2:507). A copy of vol. 3 of Carte’s biography is in JA’s library at MB (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 ).