Adams Papers

From John Adams to John Jay, 22 September 1787

Grosvenor Square, London Sept. 22. 1787

Dear Sir—

Yesterday, I was honoured with yours of the thirty first of July, and the Instructions of Congress and other Papers enumerated in it. This Packet comes at a very fortunate Moment: and altho there is no Act of the great States of Virginia and South Carolina, in consequence of the circular Letter of Congress of the thirteenth of April, there are Proceedings of so many others as to furnish Something Solid to Say to this Court. The Injunctions of Congress shall be obeyed and there is some reason to believe, that the British Ministry will listen at this time with Attention. This Country is now in a critical situation. The Courts of London and Berlin, have been advised by their Ministers at the Hague, to hold their heads very high, and Speak in a high Tone, in favor of the Prince and Princess of Orange, in order to encourage their Friends and intimidate the Opposition to them, in full Confidence that the internal State of Politicks and Finances in France, will not permit the Court of Versailles to interfere. in this Sanguine Expectation they may possibly be disappointed, and by their precipitate Proceedings find themselves involved in a War, they never intended. The Probability if not Certainty of War, between the three Empires, and the Romantists quarrel to revenge an Irreverance to a Princess, as Silly a Tale as the Trojan Warr on Account of Hellen, have opened So Serious a Prospect to this nation that there is room to hope, that the Ministry will be more attentive and more equitable towards America. The French Court are Sending out the Comte De Moutier, a Minister to Congress. You will have no difficulty to believe that this movement has been dictated by Wisdom and a prudent Foresight. if the British Cabinet have equal Circumspection, they will See the Same Neccessity. But no dependence can be placed upon the Judgment of the present Cabinet. The Unitd States of America will take coolest Precautions, while they fulfill their Engagemnets with honour, to maintain their Neutrality inviolate. if a general and lasting War in Europe Should ensue, and America preserve her Peace, She will be, at the close of it, the first Country in the World, in Point of Affluence and Prosperity if not in real Power.—in Case of a War, my Situation here, will be extreamly delicate. The United States and their Ministers stand in certain Relations to France and Holland, from whence result Duties which must in all Events be fullfilled. There are other Duties too towards England. to reconcile these among all the jarring Interests and inflamed Passions in a State of War will be Somewhat difficult. But I flatter myself it may be done, for the few Months that remain before the Expiration of my Commission.

With the truest Esteem and / Regard, I have the Honour to be, dear Sir / your most obedient and most humble / Servant

John Adams.

DNA: Papers of the Continental Congress.

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