Adams Papers

From John Adams to Antoine Marie Cerisier, 13 May 1783

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

Paris May 13. 1783

Dear Sir

I had not Seen for many Months, any one Number of the Politique hollandois, until Yesterday, when a Friend Sent me Several Numbers of them up to the 22 of April.— Will you be So good as to desire Mr Crayenschot to Send them to me Weekly, and address them by the Post to Monsieur Mathew Ridley, Rue de Claire No. 60.— Let him Send them every Monday as soon as they come out.

I always read them with great Pleasure, and I find they have lost none of their Elegance, their Wisdom or their Spirit. You will continue them I hope at least untill the final Establishment of the Peace.—

The Confusions in England, and the Interruption of News from America, have kept me here much against my will for a long time, and I have Reason to fear that the Conferences for the definitive Treaty will be drawn out into greater Length than will be convenient to my Wishes or Feelings.

Your Countrymen the Dutch are determined to draw back their Constitution to its first Principles and to remount their Liberties, by which Means they will derive from the American War civil and political Benefits more than enough to indemnify them for all that has been plundered from them, besides Securing their full share in American Commerce.— May their Liberties be perpetual.

Pray what have you done with the Essay on the Cannon Law &c.?

You ask my opinion concerning some late English Pamphlets.— The Controversy between Clinton and Cornwallis, cannot be less interesting to you as an Historian than that between Burgoine and How and Galloway.1 There are also some Pamphlets upon the Peace, worth reading.

You See, by my Seal, that the benign Influences of the thirteen Stars Still Shine, on the Noble Sports of Hunting and Fishing, for the Purposes of Navigation.—2

With great Esteem I have the Honour to be, Sir your obliged and obedient Servant

John Adams.

RC (private owner, 1990); addressed: “A Monsieur / Monsieur Alexandre Marie Cerisier / sur le Cingel, Vis a Vis la Tour / de la Monnoie / A. Amsterdam”; internal address: “Mr Ceresier.”

1Generals Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis were engaged in a pamphlet war over their respective roles in the American Revolution. In the first four months of 1783 three of their pamphlets were published in London by John Debrett: Narrative of Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, K.B., Relative to His Conduct during Part of His Command of the King’s Troop in North America; An Answer to That Part of the Narrative of Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton, K.B. which Pertains to the Conduct of Lieutenant-General Earl Cornwallis; and Observations on Some Parts of the Answer of Earl Cornwallis to Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative (AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 4:266; Laurens, Papers description begins The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., David R. Chesnutt, C. James Taylor, and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols. description ends , 16:191). For the controversy between Joseph Galloway and Generals William Howe and John Burgoyne, see vol. 10:312–314.

2Only a remnant of the seal remains on this letter, but JA had recently commissioned an engraved seal to commemorate his efforts to secure the fisheries and the western boundary in the peace negotiations. For a representation of the seal, which features a pine tree, deer, and fish surrounded by thirteen stars, portions of which were later incorporated into a bookplate by JQA, see Catalogue of JQA’s Books description begins Henry Adams and Worthington Chauncey Ford, A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenæum with Notes on Books, Adams Seals and Book-Plates, Boston, 1938. description ends , p. 140–144.

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