Adams Papers

From John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas, 6 June 1780

To C. W. F. Dumas

Paris Hotel [de Valois Ruë de] Richelieu Sir June 6. 1780


I thank you, for y[our Letter1 in an]swer to mine of 21. May, and for your kind con[gratulations on my] arrival here.

Mr. Brown, with whom [you took] your Walks in the Neighbourhood of Paris, has been [gone from] hence, Some Weeks, on his Way home. I Should have had much Pleasure, if I had been one of the Party. I have rambled, in most of the Scenes round this City, and find them very pleasant, but much more in debted to Art than to Nature. Philadelphia, in the Purlieus of which, as well as those of Baltimore, and York Town, I have often sought Health and Pleasure, in the same [way] in Company with our venerable Secretary Charles Thompson, [wi]ll in future Times, when the Arts shall have established their Empire in the new World, exhibit scenes much more Striking. But Boston above all, around which I have much oftener wandered in Company with another venerable Character,2 little known in Europe, but to whose Virtues and public Merit in the Cause of Mankind, History will do Justice, will one day exhibit Scenes of Grandeur and Beauty, Superiour to any other Place I have ever yet seen.

The Letter of G. Clinton, [when I transmitted it] to you, was not suspected to be an Imposition. [There are some Circum]stances, which are sufficient to raise a question, but I th[ink, none of them] are conclusive, and upon the whole I have little [doubt of its Authenticity.] I shall be much mortified if it proves a fiction. Not [on account of the i]mportance of the Letter, but the Stain that a Practice [So disingenuous, will] bring upon America. When I first left America such a fict[ion with all its] Ingenuity, would have ruined the Reputation of the author of [it, if discov]ered, and I think that both he and the Printer would have been punished. With all the freedom of our Presses I really think that not only the Government, but the Populace would have resented it. I have had opportunities of an extensive Acquaintance, with Americans, and I must Say in Justice to my Country men, that I know not a Man that I think capable of a Trick at once So able and so base. Truth is indeed respected in America, and So gross an affront to her I hope will not, and I think cannot go un[punis]hed.

Whether it is genuine or not, I have [no] doubt of the Truth of the Facts, in general. And I have reasons to believe, that if the Secret Correspondences of Bernard, Hutchinson, Gage, How, and Clinton, could all be brought to light the World would be equally surprized at the whole Thread of it. The British Administration and their servants have carried on from the beginning a System of Duplicity, in the Conduct of American Affairs that will appear shocking to the Public, whenever it shall be known.

You have seen A. Rodneys account of the Battle of the 17th. of April. The Scepter of the ocean, is not to be maintained, by such Actions as this, and Birons and Keppells. They must make themselves more terrible upon the ocean to preserve its dominion. Their E[mpire there] is founded only in fear—no nation loves it. We have [no other News.]

I have the Honour [to be . . .]3 most obedient and most humble servant

John Adams

RC (MHi: Hoar Autograph Collection). LbC (Adams Papers). The recipient’s copy is heavily damaged, with the loss of a significant amount of text which has been supplied from the Letterbook.

1Of [ante 30 May] (above).

2In the Letterbook this person was identified as “Mr. Thatcher,” probably Oxenbridge Thacher Jr., who had died in 1765 and whom JA ranked second only to James Otis in the early movement toward revolution (vol. 1:98).

3Because JA abbreviated the closing paragraph in the Letterbook, it has been impossible to supply the two or three words missing at this point.

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