Come celebrate with us!

Visit our homepage» for more details about the engaging programs, educational activities, publications, and exhibitions we have planned throughout the year.

Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive
Next Page
Previous Page

John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778
sheet 36 of 37, 15 - 18 July 1778


any representation to you, and whether you consider them, as entitled, to obtain their demand. I have the honour to be, with the most perfect Consideration, Gentlemen, your very humble and most obedient Servant
De Sartine
[to] Messrs. Franklin Lee and Adams Deputys of the United States of America.
Lieutenant Simpson
Sir
We have long wished to accommodate Disputes among the Officers of the Ranger, and have at length the Pleasure to inclose you a Letter from Captain Jones, which has given Us much Satisfaction for several Reasons, one of which is that it has given Us an opportunity to reinstate you on board the Rangers
You are accordingly, upon the receipt of this Letter, forthwith to take the Command of the Ranger as her first Lieutenant, and to join Captain Whipple of the Providence, and observe his orders, relative to your future Cruises and Voyage to America.
As to the British Prisoners you will leave them in such place and in the Custody of such Persons, as Mr. Schweighauser shall advise.
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams
Delivered Captain Jones a Copy of  [illegible the above Letter the 5. of August, 1778.
Captain Whipple
We have ordered Lieutenant Sympson to whom the Command of the Ranger devolves, by the destination of Captain Jones to another Service, to join you and obey your orders, respecting his future Cruises and Voyage to America. We wish you to get to Sea, with all posssible dispatch Use all possible dispatch, in getting to Sea, with the Providence, Boston and Ranger.
You are to Use your utmost Endeavours, to take, burn, sink and destroy all Privateers of Jersey and Guernsey, and all other British Cruisers, within the Command of your Force, as you may have Opportunity.
You are to leave all the Prisoners in such place, and in the Custody of such Persons, as Mr. Schweighauser shall advise. We are &c.
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
Mr. Schweighauser
We have ordered the Ranger under the command of Lieutenant Simpson to put to Sea with all possible Expedition: You will be so good

as to furnish her, with the Necessaries Mr. Simpson may demand, with as much dispatch as possible.
The British Prisoners, on board of all these Frigates, are to be left behind, but We will endeavour tomorrow to obtain directions from the Ministry, in whose hands and in what place they shall be lodged. We have directed the Captains to leave them in such place and in the Custody of such Persons as you shall advise.
Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
The Honourable the Council of the Massachusetts Bay
May it please your Honours
We have the Honour to inclose a Copy of a Letter just received from Monsieur De Sartine, the Minister of State for the Marine of this Kingdom, in answer to which We have had the honour to assure his Excellency that We would embrace the first Opportunity of communicating it to your honours.
We have not the smallest doubt of the good Inclinations of the People in America to supply the Necessities of their Friends at Saint Peters and Miquelon, nor of the Abilities of those in the Northern States to do it effectually, provided the British Men of War are withdrawn from the Hallifax and Newfoundland Stations. Perhaps it may be done notwithstanding the dangers of Men of War. We hope however it will be attempted. There is no doubt that a good Price may be obtained, at the same time that an acceptable Act of Friendship and of Humanity, will be performed.
We have the Honour to request that this Letter and its Enclosure may be laid before the General Court, and that such Measures may be taken as their Wisdom shall dictate, for the accomplishment of so desirable a purpose. We have the Honour to be
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
To the President of Congress
Sir
We have the Honour of inclosing a Copy of a Letter from his Excellency Monsieur De Sartine, The Minister of State for the Marine of this Kingdom in Answer to which We have had the Honour to assure his Excellency that We would embrace the first Opportunity of communicating it to Congress.
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
Monsieur De Sartine
We have the Honour of your Excellencys Letter of the fourteenth instant, and We shall embrace the first Opportunity of writing to Congress and to the Government of The Massachusetts Bay, And enclosing Copys of your Excellencys Letter to Us, which We are persuaded will have the most powerfull Influence with them to exert themselves

and to recommend to their Fellow Citizens to engage in Expeditions for the relief of the Inhabitants of St. Peters and Miquelon. There is not the smallest doubt of their Ability to supply the Wants of their Friends at those places provided the British Men of War are should be withdrawn from the Newfoundland and Hallifax Stations, but if there should remain as many Ships of War on those Stations as there have been for the last two Years, the difficulty will be very great.
We have the honour to inclose to your Excellency a Copy of a Letter just received from Mr. Schweighauser, whereby your Excellency will see the difficulties that still embarrass our Frigates, in relation to their Prizes. We entreat your Excellencys further Attention to the Subject and that orders may be given for the Releif of our Officers and Men from their Embarrassments.
We have the Honour to request your Excellencys Attention to another Subject, that of the British Prisoners made by our Frigates, the Providence, Boston, and Ranger and all others in future. As it is necessary for those Frigates forthwith to proceed to Sea, and as We have some hopes of an Exchange of Prisoners in Europe We request your Excellency that We may have leave to confine them in your Prisons, to be maintained there at our Expence untill exchanged or sent by Us to America and that your Excellency would give the necessary Directions accordingly. We have the Honor to be with the greatest respect, your Excellencys most humble and obedient Servants
B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.
Gentlemen
At the time when I took Lieutenant Simpsons Parole I did not expect to be long absent from America, but as Circumstances have now rendered the time of my return less certain, I am willing to let the dispute between Us drop forever, by giving up that Parole, which will entitle him to command the Ranger. I bear no Malice. And if I have done him an Injury, this will be making him all the present Satisfaction in my Power. If, on the contrary he hath injured me, I will trust to himself for an Acknowledgment. -- I have the Honor to be, with Sentiments of due Esteem and respect Gentlemen your obliged, very obedient and humble Servant.
Signed Jno. P. Jones.
[to] Honble. Commissioners.
By the preceeding Papers it will be seen that Jones had been so elevated

by his Success in taking Prizes and especially by the Glory of capturing the Drake that he had acted a very high handed and presumptuous Part upon many Occasions, which gave Us a great deal of trouble, from several Sources. One of the greatest was, that We most heartily applauded his Bravery, and were desirous of avoiding every thing that might disgrace, or discourage him or any other Officer or Man of the Navy. Another was, he was manifestly one of the Deane party and countenanced, perhaps stimulated by the wholeChops Corps of Satelites of Mr. De Sartine at least, perhaps of the Count de Vergennes, perhaps of the Treasurer of the Queen. Chaumont, Monthieu,Beaumarchais and Bancroft and Holker and all their Subordinates in Nantes,L'Orient, Brest, Paris, and every where were blowing the Trumpets of Fame for Le Capitaine Jones, and a refusal of the most unreasonable demand he made or could make, would be unpopular with the Cabal of Paris. His Conduct however was so compleatly unjustifiable that Franklin could not approve it, nor excuse it. He accordingly assented to all our measures. With a great Exercise of Patience, We prudently brought him at last to write Us the above Letter, which terminated all Difficulties for the present.
The true Source of the dispute on board the Ranger, I suppose was the same which produces most of the Quarrells among Naval Officers, the division of the Glory. The Captain was thought to be desirous of monopolizing the honor of conquering the Drake. The Officers and Men, although they allowed that the Captain was a Man of desperate Courage, yet unanimously affirmed that the Lieutenant was an abler Seaman and more skillful in Battle, and that the Victory was in a greater degree due to him. The partiality of the Crew for their Countryman the Lieutenant was natural enough: but I have no doubt the Captain had his full share of Merit, in that Action.
This day We received the Letter of which the following is a Translation.
I receive, Gentlemen, Letters from L'Orient, on the Subject of Differences, which have arisen, between the Commander of the American Frigate the Boston and some Frenchmen who made a part of his Crew, some in the Character of Volunteers, and others in the quality of Sailors. According to what is written to me, upon this Subject, whatever means have been employed to effect a reconciliation, they have not been able to  [illegible obtain it. And they have been obliged to disembark a Number of twenty Eight, twenty five of whom are volunteers and three Novices. It appears that the discontent of these People was not against the Captain of the Ship, nor against that of the Volunteers, but that it was not the same with the first Lieutenant, and two other Officers, from whom, it appears, they had received very ill Treatment. These are Facts which have come to the Knowledge of the Commissary of the Classes at L'orient, as well as of Monsieur De La Touche de Treville Chef D'Escadre, who being at L'orient


Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778, sheet 36 of 37 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778. Part 2 is comprised of 37 sheets and 7 insertions; 164 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 4 Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961.
Next Page
Previous Page