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Thomas Boylston Adams to John Quincy Adams

3 May 1796

My dear Brother. The Hague 3d: May 1796.

I enclose you some letters this day received from our friends in America. You will observe that I have enforced the law of retaliation towards them, not because I disapproved of the precedent given in the instance of my friend Quincy’s letters; but because I am well content it should be permanent.

In my last, 28th: ult: I acknowledged the receipt of your letter & packets by Doctor Romagne, so that we are now nearly if not quite at a balance in point of number.

My letters from Quincy are of the 10th: & 12th: of March: friends were all well; Dr: Welsh’s letters are the latest, but nothing of consequence is said of our public affairs, except that the Spanish, Algerine & British Treaties had reached America & the latter was laid before Congress on the 1st: of March. The Centinels have not yet come to hand.

A Circular letter from our Minister at Lisbon addressed to you, was some time since recd: here; it contains in substance, that it being doubtful whether the pecuniary engagements of the U.S. could be performed in sufficient Season to give satisfaction to the Dey & Regency of Algiers & thereby prevent a renewal of Hostilities, you were requested to give information of this intelligence to all Citizens of the U.S. to whom it should be in your power to communicate the same; & to assure them of the danger to which they might expose themselves by Mediterranean Navigation, until notice should be given by the Government of the U.S. that such danger had ceased. &ca:

I have sent Copies of this letter to our Consuls & Agents within this vicinity, desiring them to make it public within the limits of their jurisdiction.

The commencement of Hostilities upon the Rhine has been for some time expected, but it is now said with some confidence that a longer continuance of the Armistice is proposed. Instead of a prospect of peace in any quarter, there seems to be a much fairer one of an universal European war. The Turks, the Swedes & perhaps the Danes are threat\e/ned on the side of the Empress. Affairs in that quarter wore a serious aspect for some time; what concessions have been made to appease the Monsters rage, is more than we have yet been told, but nothing less than submission to the double yoke of female despotism, or unconditional celibacy, can apparently extricate the young Swedish Monarch from the dire embarrassment.

Prussia is marching a formidable force to guarantee the line of demarcation. You know what such movements mean in this Country;—they have already produced an effect.

I begin to think with more confidence than I have done hitherto, that our Country may yet escape, & as the prospect of an extension of the calamity in Europe becomes more serious, our exemption from it seems to derive a greater probability. The reverse of this opinion was prevalent at home by the last accounts, but the recent occurrences on this side the water, will I presume both lessen the danger of our situation, & consequently confirm a profitable Neutrality.

I am my dear Brother affectionately yours

Thomas B Adams

P.S. Mr: Bourne is gone upon his long meditated excursion to Paris; he has probably not recd: your letters by Dr: R— as he passed through this place the day after that Gentleman went to Amsterdam.

I met the Baron at the play last evening. He bemoans your absence during this fine season: You will miss the Fair here; it is to be very brilliant.

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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