Papers of John Adams, volume 8

Massachusetts Council to John Adams and Francis Dana, 13 January 1780 Massachusetts Council Powell, Jeremiah JA Dana, Francis Massachusetts Council to John Adams and Francis Dana, 13 January 1780 Massachusetts Council Powell, Jeremiah Adams, John Dana, Francis
Massachusetts Council to John Adams and Francis Dana
Gentlemen Council Chamber Boston January 13th. 1780

The General Assembly having for many Reasons, and for purposes appearing to Them advantagious, taken the Resolution to negociate a 309Loan of One hundred and fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling in Europe,1 to be conducted agreeable to the enclosed Instructions given to the Agent Jonathan Loring Austin Esqr. appointed for that purpose.2

The Success of this undertaking is important to This State, and We Wish to guard against every Event that may take place to defeat it. The Consequences in Case of his Death or Captivity, we design to guard against, by this Application to you. If he arrives he will want the Assistance of your Advice and Influence. If he does not, We beg you to undertake, and transact this Business (if consistent with your present Character and Engagements) otherwise appoint some suitable Person for that purpose—That the Expectations of this State be not disappointed, for which we consider this Letter as vesting either of you with sufficient Powers.

I am, In the Name & behalf of the Genl. Assembly With great Esteem, Gentn. Your most Obedt hble Servt Jer: Powell Presidt

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Hon'ble John Adams & Francis Dana Esqrs. Paris”; notation: “(Public Service)”; docketed by John Thaxter: “President Powell to Mr. Adams & Mr. Dana 13th. Jany. 1780. Respecting a Loan for Massachusetts.”


Twenty thousand pounds were to be used to clothe the troops needed to fulfill Massachusetts' quota for the Continental Army. An additional sum, not to exceed twenty thousand pounds, was to be spent on goods suitable for the Massachusetts market, both purchases to be sent in the ship Protector. The remaining amount of the loan was to be held for drawing bills of exchange against or for future purchase of goods (Mass., Province Laws , 21:326–327).


The enclosure has not been found, but Austin's instructions are in same, 21:346–348. Austin was appointed on 11 Jan., and immediately set out for Europe, but was captured by a Jersey privateer, taken to England, and thrown into prison. He was soon released and by May was at Paris where he lodged with Francis Dana. It proving impossible to raise the needed loan, Austin returned to America in the fall of 1781 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 16:306).

To M. Detournelle, 16 January 1780 JA Detournelle, M. To M. Detournelle, 16 January 1780 Adams, John Detournelle, M.
To M. Detournelle
Sir Bilbao January 16. 1780

The United States of America have experienced so much Friendship from the French Court and Nation, and I have myself as their Representative heretofore received so many Civilities from many Gentlemen of your Nation, that those I had the Honour to receive from you at Ferrol and Corunna, Instances of Politeness and Attention from a french Gentleman were nothing new to me: But the particular Marks of Attention that I had the Honour to receive from the French Consul at Ferrol and Corunna, was Marked with so much Kindness, that I think it my ought to return you my best Thanks, which I beg Leave 310to do in this manner, and to request you to accept them as the only Return I am at present able to make you.

I shall ever have an agreable Remembrance of the Social Hours, I was so happy as to pass with you at Ferrol and Corrunna as well as on the Way from the one to the other: and a grateful one of that Assiduity with which you exerted yourself for my Assistance. If it should ever be in my Power either in Europe or America, of returning to you or any of your Friends, similar Civilities, and Assistance, I beg you would command me, and believe me to be with great Esteem and Respect, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.

LbC (Adams Papers).