Adams Papers

John Adams to Edmund Jenings, 10 February 1784

To Edmund Jenings

The Hague Feb. 10. 1784.

Dear Sir

Two Days to Harwich, 2 or 3 days there, 3 or 4 at Sea, and 5 or 6. more walking, riding in Boors Waggons and pulling and Hawling in Iceboats, brought me to the Hague, better off too, than to have gone by Calais, Antwerp and Breda. Here I shall stay till further orders.

A gentle Fermentation continues here, but the Republicans gain more than the Patriots do in England. You’l not forget me in my Solitude I hope, but tell me the News and Speculate as you used to do.

The News of the Ratification of the definitive Treaty, will reach you Sooner than me. I’l thank you for the first Intimation of it.1

Peace is made in the North, and now Nations have nothing to do but to dispute at home.2 Let them enjoy their Amusement. it is not to my Taste: So I wont take any Part, but enjoy a philosophical Tranquilty.3 Absit Invidia Verbis.4

I believe it is no longer problematical, whether there is more discord in England or America. I Suppose all Thoughts of any Treaty of Commerce are laid aside. So be it, if both Parties are agreed in the sentiment that it is unnecessary. Time however I am apprehensive, will convince both, when it is too late, that they have been mistaken. America, however Stands upon high Ground, much higher than she herself Seems aware of. Who pray will choose to molest her? and what will any Power get by disturbing her repose.

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Jennings.”; APM Reel 107.

1Congress approved the definitive treaty on 14 Jan. and dispatched the ratified copy to Europe in the care of Col. Josiah Harmar. Jenings wrote JA on 6 April that news of Congress’ ratification had reached London, but JA first learned of Harmar’s arrival with the ratified treaty from Benjamin Franklin’s letter of 31 March, both below. Britain ratified the treaty on 9 April, and the ratifications were exchanged by Franklin and John Jay with their British counterpart, David Hartley, on 12 May (Miller, Treaties, description begins Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, ed. Hunter Miller, Washington, D.C., 1931–1948; 8 vols. description ends 2:151).

2The dispute between Russia, supported by Austria, and the Ottoman Empire over the Crimea and, more generally, the Austro-Russian desire to expand eastward threatened to embroil Europe in war and posed serious problems for the traditional alliance system. JA presumably had seen reports, such as those in the Gazette d’Amsterdam of 6 Feb., that the Ottoman Empire had agreed to cede the Crimea and the Kuban, an adjacent area in the Caucasus. The agreement was formalized in the Treaty of Constantinople signed by the Russians and Ottomans in early 1784 (vol. 15:80, 198–199; Cambridge Modern Hist., description begins The Cambridge Modern History, Cambridge, Eng., 1902–1911; repr. New York, 1969; 13 vols. description ends 8:311).

3For the likely origin of this phrase, see JA’s 10 Feb. letter to the president of Congress, and note 2, above.

4That is, without expressing any criticism or ill will.

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