Front Page Titles (by Subject) to john adams - The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
to john adams - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
to john adams
Albemarle in Virga, Aug. 21, 1777.
—Your favor of May 26 came safely to hand. I wish it were in my power to suggest any remedy for the evil you complain of, tho’ did any occur I should propose it to you with great diffidence after knowing you had thought on the subject yourself. There is indeed a fact which may not have come to your knolege out of which perhaps some little good may be drawn. The borrowing money in Europe (or obtaining credit there for necessaries) has already probably been essayed & it is supposed with some degree of success. But I expect your applications have as yet been only to France, Holland, or such other states as are of principal note. There is however a small power, well disposed to our cause, &, as I am informed, possessed of abilities to assist us in this way. I speak of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The little states of Italy you know have had long peace, & shew no disposition to interrupt that peace shortly. The Grand Duke being somewhat avaricious in his nature has availed himself of the opportunity of collecting & hoarding what money he has been able to gather. I am informed from good authority (an officer who was concerned in the business of his treasury1 ) that about three years ago he had ten millions of crowns, lying dead in his coffers. Of this it is thought possible as much might be borrowed as would amount to a million of pounds lawful money. At any rate the attempt might be worth making. Perhaps an application from Dr. Franklin who has some acquaintance in that court might be sufficient, or, as it might be prudent to sound well before the application, in order to prevent the discredit of a rebuff, perhaps Congress would think it worth while to send a special agent there to negotiate the matter. I think we have a gentleman here who would do it with dexterity & fidelity. He is a native of that Duchy; well connected there, conversant in courts of great understanding & equal zeal in our cause. He came over not long since to introduce the cultivation of vines, olives, &c among us. Should you think the matter worth a further thought, either of the Cols. Lees to whom he is known can acquaint you more fully of his character. If the money can be obtained in specie it may be applied to reduce the quantity of circulating paper & be so managed as to help the credit of that which will remain in circulation. If credit alone can be obtained for the manufactures of the country, it will still help to clothe our armies or to increase at market the necessaries our people want.
What upon earth can Howe mean by the manœuvre he is now practicing? There seems to me no object in this country which can be either of utility or reputation to his cause. I hope it will prove of a piece with all the other follies they have committed. The forming a junction with the Northern army up the Hudson’s river, or taking possession of Philadelphia might have been a feather in his cap, & given them a little reputation in Europe. The former as being the design with which they came, the latter as being a place of the first reputation abroad & the residence of Congress. Here he may destroy the little hamlet of Wmsbgh, steal a few slaves, & lose half his army among the fens & marshes of our lower country or by the heat of the climate. I am, dear sir, yours, &c.