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with the Fate of being taken by the Enemy. Mr. Carmichael took the Dictionary and went over to France where he remaind till his late Embarkation for Portsmouth at which place he arrivd last Summer. In France he met with Mr. Dean. The Letter was opend! Who probably committed this Act, Mr. Dana can inform you as well as I can. To him I refer you. I desire you would ask him and if you please let him know that I desire it of you. He can tell you more than I chuse to trust in writing. I hope you are by this time become confidential with him. But this is Digression. I have seen the Letter. It is dated the 3d of June, '76.1 There are containd in it free Sentiments of the Minister of Spain, but such as a Man of Mr. Lee's Integrity could not withhold from the Committee. Such Intelligence, I must say, being thus pyrated, Such Secrets betrayd, Judge who "wantonly displayd his Errand," and by whose Means the Court of Spain saw Cause to distrust Arthur Lee, if they did distrust him. I say if they did distrust him, because I doubt the Fact. If they restricted him to the City of Burgos, as Mr. Dean says, I rather think it was owing to the Caution of that Court, least she should too early offend the Court of London by giving Countenance to an American Commissioner.
Mr. Dean says, "At this Place (Berlin) he (A. L[ee]) was so unfortunate as to do nothing, unless indeed he may give the Name of Business to the Loss of his Papers," by which a Discovery was made of the Secrets of his Colleagues and the British Ministry enabled to counteract the Measures taken for the Benefit of America. The Anecdote is this. In Berlin, Mr. Lee being invited and dining abroad, the British Envoy found Means to get his Closet and his Trunk forcd open and his Papers were pilferd. But Mr. Lee having Intelligence of it, immediately made Application to the Minister of Berlin and by his Interposition the Papers were returnd; as I am informd in a few Hours. Mr. Dean designs to hold up my worthy Friend in this Instance as careless of the Secrets of his Colleagues. But what Security is there against the Rape of the Lock? This indeed is the second Instance
1 Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence (Wharton), II. 95:
3 Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence (Wharton), II. 351.
of his losing his Papers. The first by the Behaviour of the Person to whom he had regularly committed them, for which I will not now give a Name; and the other by the Theft of a British Minister. If he had been as fortunate in the early discovery of the one as the other, Mr. Dean might allow "the Name of Business" to be given, if not to the Loss of his Papers, to his Activity and Address in recovering them.
It is pleasant to see Mr. Dean indulging his Talent in Insinuation to lead his Readers to conclude that A. L[ee] was secretly intriguing with the British Ministry and thereby embarrassing our Affairs in France. His Acquaintance with the Earl of Shelburne who had formerly been his Patron in England, was the Ground of Suspicion of his disclosing our Secrets; "joynd to his undisguisd Hatred and Expressions of Contempt of the french Nation in General."
I have good Grounds to be satisfied from a Conversation I have had with a Great Man who ought to be and undoubtedly is perfectly acquainted with the French Court,1 that Mr. L[ee] is thought of there differently from what Mr. Dean would have the People here think of him, and that the Insinuation "that he had given universal Disgust to the Nation whose Assistance we sollicited" is void of any just Foundation. But so long ago as "in the Summer of 1777 a Correspondence between a certain Dr. Berkenhout and the Hon Arthur Lee Esq took place." Aye, and it was Aye, and it was "on political Subjects." If Mr. L[ee] had left it to be discoverd by the Sagacity of others that there was such a Correspondence between him and Dr. Berkenhout and that Dr. B. was in the Confidence of the British Ministry, Mr. Dean might have supposd there were Grounds to suspect Mr. L[ee]'s Integrity; but unfortunately Mr. Lee told it himself to his Colleagues and related to them a Part of the Correspondence. Mr. D[eane] would here insinuate as he did in his Queries that it was a criminal Correspondence. But if it has been, would Mr. Lee have exposd himself to Mr. Dean? The Man whom he conceivd to be his mortal Enemy? Surely not. A wise Minister will endeavor to possess himself of the secret Designs of the publick Enemy. This is done by a Variety of I Gerard, the French Minister.
Means. Mr. Lee corresponds with Dr. Berkenhout (as Mr. Dean says) a Confident of the British Ministry. A shortsighted Politician believes or a prejudicd and designing Man insinuates that it is a Criminal Correspondence. If it was so, Why was not Mr. D[eane], who knew it in the Summer of 1777, so faithful as to acquaint his Constituents, the Congress, of it? To have done this would have shown the Appearance of Fidelity. He relates a Story and as he says himself "simply" thus. "A Gentleman of Character told me that his Correspondent in England" etc. (See the 3 Collumn of his piece.) Who this Gentleman of Character is, and who the Correspondent in England, it was needless to tell us; but we learn that in Mr. D[eane]'s Opinion a Gentleman of Character may have an English Correspondent. This Correspondent informd this Gentleman of Character, and because Mr. Dean tells us so, it is sufficient for us faithfully to believe it and damn Dr. Lee's Character. But I fear I have tired your Patience. Adieu. [No signature.]
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARREN
PASSY, Decr. 2, 1778
MY DEAR SIR, — Last Night, I recd. your Letter of Octr. 7th by a Special Messenger from M. De Sartine, who writes me that he knows not how where nor by whom it arrived. I mention this that it may Serve as an Answer in some Measure to the Complaint in your Letter, that neither you nor my other Friends have heard from me. I have wrote very often, to you and them but there is Strange Management with Letters and most that We write are sunk in the Sea.
I sincerely grieve for my Country in the News that you are not of either House. But it is some Comfort to me to think that I shall be soon a private Farmer, as well as you, and both pursueing our Experiments in Husbandry. The longer I live and the more I see of public Men, the more I wish to be a private one. Modesty is a Virtue, that can never thrive, in public. Modest Merit! is there such a Thing remaining in public Life? It is now become a
Maxim with some, who are even Men of Merit, that the World esteems a Man in Proportion as he esteems himself, and are generally disposed to allow him, to be what he pretends to be. Accordingly, I am often astonished at the Boldness with which Persons make their Pretensions, a Man must be his own Trumpeter, he must write or dictate Paragraphs of Praise in the News Papers, he must dress, have a Retinue, and Equipage, he must ostentatiously publish to the World his own Writings with his Name, and must write even some Panegyrics upon them, he must get his Picture drawn, his Statue made, and must hire all the Artists in his Turn, to set about Works to spread his Name make the Mob stare and gape, and perpetuate his Fame. I would undertake, if I could bring my Feelings to bear it, to become one of the most trumpeted, admired, courted, worship'd Idols in the whole World in four or five Years. I have learned the whole Art, I am a perfect Master of it. I learnd a great deal of it from Hutchinson and the Tories, and have learned more of it since from Whigs and Tories both, in America and Europe. if you will learn the Art I will teach you.
I have not yet begun to practice this. there is one Practice more which I forget. He must get his Brothers, Cousins, Sons and other Relations into Place about him and must teach them to practice all the same Arts both for them selves and him. He must never do any Thing for any Body who is not his Friend, or in other Words his Tool.
What I am going to say, will be thought by many to be practicing upon some of the above Rules. You and I have had an ugly Modesty about Us, which has despoyld Us of almost all our Importance. We have taken even Pains to conceal our Names, We have delighted in the shade, We have made few Friends, no Tools, and what is worse when the Cause of Truth, Justice, and Liberty have demanded it We have even Sacrificed Those who called themselves our Friends and have made Enemies.
No Man ever made a great Fortune in the World, by pursuing these Maxims. We therefore do not expect it, and for my own Part I declare, that the Moment, I can get into Life perfectly private, will be the happiest of my Life.
The little Art and the less Ambition with which I see the World full disgusts and shocks me more and more. And I will abandon it to its Course, the Moment I can do it with Honour and Conscience.
Remember me, Sir, in the most respectfull Manner to your good Lady, whose Manners, Virtues, Genius, and Spirit will render her immortal, notwithstanding the general Depravity. I am, her and her and your Friend,
Barnett val It's
PASSY, December 5, 1778
MY DEAR SIR, - On the twenty first of May, I wrote you a very long letter upon the subject of foreign affairs in general, and particularly in this Country: on the twenty eighth of July, I wrote you another very lengthy letter, on the seventh of August I wrote you again, in answer to yours of 21 June, on the 27 of November I wrote you again. I hope some of these letters have reached you, but so many vessells have been taken that I fear some have miscarried.
I wish I could unbosom myself to you, without Reserve, concerning the state of our affairs here. But you know the Danger. The two Passions, of Ambition and Avarice, which have been the Bane of Liberty, and the great Curse of human kind in all ages and countries, are not without their Influence upon our affairs here. But I fancy the last of the two, has done the most Mischief. Where the Carcas is, there the Crows will assemble, and you and I have had too much Experience of the Greediness, with which the Continental Treasury has been aimed at by many, to expect that the Coffers of the American Banker here, would not make some Mens Mouths water. This appetite for the Bankers Treasures I take to have been the source of most of the Altercations and Dissentions that have happened here. Your old Friend1 I take to be a Man of Honour and Integrity, yet to be very frank he cannot
I Arthur Lee.