Adams Papers

From John Adams to Thomas Barclay, 25 November 1782

To Thomas Barclay

Paris. Novemr: 25th: 1782

My dear sir,

Your favr: of the 17th. & the letters accompanying it are come safe to hand. I recd. too a letter at the Hague, but had not time before my departure to answer it—another here, but have been so much occupied as not to answ: that. Thus you have a Confession of my Sins of Omission—1

Congress has given to Mr: Morris so entire an Authority over all monies, that I am fully Rilieved fm. all deliberations on that subject— At this I rejoice, because it is the root of all evil in my mind, whatever others may think of it— Perhaps I might think better of it, if I knew how, cleverly, to get a good deal of it—

Make my Compts. to Grinnell & desire him to let me know, if he is going to Amsterdam before he returns, & if he will not take a Dutch Gouda Pipe with me at Paris, before he goes fm. you—2

They have lately struck in Amsterdam, an elegant Medal in Commemot. of the great event of 19th. April. 1782. America & Holland are represented by 2. fine figures of warlike Amazons, embracing each other. Their swords & Spears & Cap of liberty are not forgotten & America is treading on the head of the Leopard— On the reverse, is an Unicorn rushing head long agst: a monstrous Rock—his horn snaps short off to his head, & he falls stunned & confounded— Tyrannis libertati repulsa—3

One wd. think that, the horn being broken & the head crushed, it were time for the leopard & Unicorn to think of Peace; but I can’t give you any strong hopes of this: On the contrary, dispositions seem to be making on all sides for another Campaign, with too much ardor, to admit of much doubt that we shall have one—

Mr: Van Berckell & Van der Capellan de Poll are restored to their places & it is said Pinto has disappeared in Consequence of the Capture of a Packett-boat.4 If war continues, our dearly-beloved Mynheers will do something next year—

Compts: to yr: family &c: &c:—

LbC in Charles Storer’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr. Barclay.”; APM Reel 108.

1No letter of 17 Nov. from Barclay, the U.S. consul to France, has been found. The last extant letter from Barclay is that of 27 Sept (vol. 13:495–496). This may be the letter that JA refers to as having been received at The Hague, for no reply has been found.

2Capt. Moses Grinnel (misidentified as Richard in vol. 12) of the Sukey, who had carried letters and merchandise from and to JA in the Netherlands and provided useful advice during the early stages of JA’s effort to raise a loan in 1782. On his current voyage to Europe, Grinnel carried a note from AA2 to John Thaxter and letters to JA from AA, Isaac Smith Sr., and Richard Cranch of 8, 9, and 10 Oct., respectively (vol. 12:71, 72, 434–435; 13:137, 138, 225, 520–522; AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 5:4–8, 10–11).

3For a reproduction of Jean George Holtzhey’s medal as described by JA, see vol. 13:538.

4JA does not mention it, but he likely enclosed C. W. F. Dumas’ serial letters of 27 Sept.–7 Nov. and 15–18 Nov. to Robert R. Livingston for Barclay to forward to America by the first opportunity, as he had been instructed in Dumas’ letters of 8 and 19 Nov., both above. From those two letters to Livingston, JA learned about the political rehabilitation of Baron van der Capellen tot den Pol and Engelbert François van Berckel. The captured packet may have been the Dolphin, Capt. Flynn, bound from Hellevoetsluis to Harwich and taken on 4 Nov. by the Dutch privateer Goede Verwagting, Capt. John Sextron. Both Dutch and English newspapers carried reports about the capture and fate of the mail on board, but no mention of the missing “Pinto” has been found (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 5, 8, 22 Nov.; London Chronicle, 9–12 Nov.; Parker’s General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer, 13 Nov.).

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