Edmé Jacques Genet to John Adams: A Translation
Versailles, 17 May 1780
It is with the greatest pleasure that I will forward your correspondence, and that I accept the offers you so kindly extend to me and which perfectly match our Minister’s views.1 I can assure you of his pleasure in giving his approval to publish in the Mercure everything that shall come from such a good pen. And you must rest assured that your name will be kept a secret from all except the Comte de Vergennes. In order for you to receive, through me, the pamphlets addressed to you, Mr. Francis Bowens must, after receiving them from London, put them in a new envelope with my address, and deliver the parcels by way of Mr. de Bowens, Directeur de Postes at Ostend.2 Upon receiving them, I will not fail to send them to you. Each bundle of the bigness of an ordinary 8.° book, and but one at a time.
The account of Chevalier de la Luzerne’s first audience has appeared in the Gazette de France and the Mercure. I return to you the copy of the journal of Congress. Permit me to observe that the Mercure appears only once a week and that the space allotted to political material is necessarily limited. Therefore it would be preferable if your articles were shorter. It is best that they not be long-winded and appear more often. Our nation likes to read short things and enjoys variety. One must cater to its taste in order to convince it.
Please permit me to give my respects to Messrs. F. Dana and Thaxter, the Commodore3and the young gentlemen, on whose account we’ll never cease to tease you. I have the honor to be, with an inviolable attachment sir your very humble and very obedient servant
RC (Adams Papers; addressed: “M. J. Adams a l hotel de Valois rue de Richelieu A Paris”; endorsed: “Mr. Genet. and. 18 May 1780.”)
2. JA sent Genet’s instructions to Francis Bowens in a letter of 18 May (LbC, Adams Papers). In that letter JA persisted in addressing Bowens as “Directeur des Postes” despite Genet’s effort to distinguish Francis Bowens from another Bowens. In his reply of 25 May (Adams Papers), Francis Bowens promised to follow JA’s directions, but requested that in the future he send his letters directly to him, rather than to his brother “the post master of this town.” On the 18th (LbC, Adams Papers), JA also sent instructions to Augs. Le Sage, who, Bowens had stated in his letter of 12 May (above), was to forward from Lille, France, to Paris the packets that he would send from Ostend.
3. The preceding two words were interlined and refer to John Paul Jones. The English passage that follows may allude to JA’s visit with JQA, CA, and possibly Samuel Cooper Johonnot to Versailles on 14 May at Genet’s invitation. See Genet’s letters of 9 May (and note 2) and 11 May and JA’s letter to Genet of 10 May (all above).