Adams Papers
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From John Adams to James Lovell, 4 October 1779

To James Lovell

Braintree Oct. 4. 1779

My dear Sir

I have heard much of your Deliberations concerning a Peace—and you drop Hints to me, of Apprehensions of Negotiations in Europe. I hate these Innuendoes—pray Speak out, and tell me what you mean.1Do you verily expect Peace? Do you seriously expect Negotiations for Peace?

What is at stake for Britania? What will be the Consequence to her of American Independence? Is not the Empire of the Sea at stake? Do you think that Britain had not rather loose, her West India Islands, and the Remainder of her Colonies in America by War, than by Peace? Do you think she can bear the Thought of being rivalled in Commerce and in naval Power by Us? But I am grown too easy to think, So I will save my self the Trouble of Writing and you that of reading, Stuff, and send you a little Sense in harmonious Numbers from Thompson, who Speaks the Soul of every Englishman. Britannia sings to her Sons.2

LbC (Adams Papers). The recipient is not named, but the first paragraph indicates that JA is writing to James Lovell.

1See JA to Lovell, 21 Sept., note 3 (above).

2The rest of the letter consists of lines 166–299 (end) from James Thomson’s Britannia, published originally in 1729, which alerts the British to defend liberty from the plague of luxury and protect their far-flung trade as the basis of their power.

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