THE LETTERS published in this volume were discovered in the course of sampling the Library of Congress's collections of foreign newspapers published during the American Revolution to ascertain the value and the feasibility of a project to enlist the cooperation of librarians and archivists in several nations to bring these newspapers under bibliographic control and to make them more accessible to students of the Revolution. The importance of Adams's letters-- virtually unknown and never reprinted -- is a testimony to the un -- tapped riches which exist in the foreign newspapers of the period. It is hoped that their publication will inspire efforts to collect and exploit these newspapers in a systematic manner.
I have supplied an essay describing the context in which Adams wrote his letters and exploring the conduit through whom they reached publication, the enigmatic Edmund Jenings. An appendix is devoted to an unknown chapter in the diplomacy of the American Revolution in which both Adams and Jenings were major participants.
Adams's letters speak for themselves and are, therefore, attended with little annotation, except that which indicates how they were "recycled," that is, how Adams included in them materials which he had already used in other connections, a common practice of the busy statesmen and letter writers of the period.