To James Warren
Paris March 18 1780
Monsieur Jean Baptiste Petry Secretary to the Comte de Chatelet, a Marshall of the Camps and Armies of the King of France, is, as he says, going to America, and as he is connected with some Gentlemen to whom I am much obliged, I cannot but comply with his Desire, and give him a few Letters of Introduction. He is represented to be a worthy, sensible and agreable Man.1
The Marquis de la Fayette sailed about 10 March from Rochelle, and will be in Boston as We hope by the 10th. of April. He will explain to Congress and to General Washington, what I cannot explain to you. The Bearer will give you further Commentaries. This Court will by little and little be convinced of the true system, after which I hope they will be less unfortunate. In all human probability they must be, if they do not neglect it too long.
Rodneys Fleet seems to have been the favourite of Fortune, but you know she is a great Changeling, and frowns upon one, sometimes in half an Hour after having lavished upon him her Smiles and Favours. We are anxious to know the Fate of Charlestown, which we hope was saved by a Storm.
Faucitte2 vapours in a Leiden Gazette that he has obtained 40,000 Men of the Langrave of Hesse. This Soul selling Langrave, as they call him in Germany, has hardly 40,000 men in his Dominions. This is the Fruit of the Cracovie. Now I must write more or you won’t understand me. Craquer, Signifies, in a kind of familiar cant Style, to lie, and Craqueur is a Lyar. There is a Tree, in the grand Alley of the Palais Royal at Paris, which they call the Tree of Cracovie, from the Name of a City in Poland and its Similitude to the word Craque. L’Arbre de Cracovie. The News Mongers of Paris assemble commonly under this Tree. So that it is become proverbial to call false News, Les Nouvelles de L’Arbre de Cracovie. News from the Tree of Cracovie.3 I have spent a Multitude of Words in Explanation of this Trifle, which does not deserve them.
Pray introduce, Mr. Petry to Madame Warren the most accomplished Lady in America, next to one whom I will not mention, but whose Preogative of being the first I can never give up.
RC (MB;) endorsed: “Mr J. A Lettr March 1780.”
1. For Petry, who probably did not go to America at this time, see Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 4:13, 17–18. On this date, counting this letter to James Warren and another to AA (Adams Papers), JA wrote nine nearly identical letters of introduction for Petry to friends in Boston and Philadelphia. The others were to Samuel Adams, James Bowdoin, Samuel Cooper, Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Huntington, Benjamin Rush (all LbC’s, Adams Papers), and William Tudor (MHi: Tudor Papers).
2. Maj. Gen. Sir William Fawcett had been sent to Germany in 1775 on a special mission to obtain troops from the various German princes and, in the case of Hesse-Cassel, continued in that role until 1781 (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1900; 63 vols. plus supplements. description ends ; Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, &c., 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends , 3:156, 157, 164, 181). For agreements concluded by Fawcett, see Edmund Jenings to JA, 18 March, note 7 (below). Ultimately, through the efforts of Fawcett and others, 29,166 German troops went to America (Mackesy, War for America description begins Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775–1783, Cambridge, 1965. description ends , p. 62).
3. JA’s letter to Benjamin Rush (see note 1) was written in French and contained this passage regarding the “Tree of Cracovie.” That letter also informed Rush of the death of his friend Jacques Barbeau Dubourg.