Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

John Adams to William McCreery, 15 April 1778 JA McCreery, William John Adams to William McCreery, 15 April 1778 Adams, John McCreery, William
John Adams to William McCreery
Dear Sir Passi April 15. 1778

I have to thank you for your obliging Politeness to me at Bourdeaux and to request that you would give my most respectfull Compliments, and most hearty Thanks to Mr. Delap1 for his kind present of Wine, which was very good, and afforded us an abundant Supply the whole Journey.


I have another Thing to mention to you, which is, that in unpacking my Baggage, I miss a pair of coarse homespun Breeches, which my little son wore in the Passage. If they are at your House, I should be obliged to you if you would rip open the Waistband in which you will find a few Guineas, 8 at least. The Breeches you may give to the first Child that wants them. The Guineas, you may send to me, or ship the Value of them, deducting your Commissions in any Thing you please, to Mrs. Adams at Braintree near Boston, to the Care of Isaac Smith Esqr., Queen Street Boston. Linnens, or Cambricks, I suppose would be as acceptable as any Thing. If you ship any Thing let it be in some Vessell, bound to Boston, or at least to some Eastern Port.

I am with much Esteem, your Friend & set., John Adams2

RC (PHi:Dreer Coll.); endorsed: “Paris 15 Apl. 1778 Honbl. J. Adams Answd.”; at foot of text: “Given to me by S. M. Shoemaker Esq. of Baltimore 1852. F. J. Dreer.”


S. & J. H. Delap were United States commercial agents at Bordeaux.


McCreery replied from Bordeaux, 3 May (Adams Papers):

“I have made all possible search and enquiry for the Breeches you mention belonging to your Son, containing the Money, but have not been able to get any tidings of them. I do not remember having seen any such at the time you were here. I know that many things were left carelessly loose by the Servants, and am affraid that some of the Porters have got hold of them. I really do not expect that they will be found in this House, after the search that has been made.”

From this JA concluded that the guineas had been lost or stolen “upon the road” between Bordeaux and Paris (to McCreery, 14 May, printed in JA, Diary and Autobiography , 4:98), and entered them in the column of expenditures in his Accounts for 1778–1779 (same, 2:326). The “Breeches” having become “a Garment” in these Accounts, they were further transformed in the final resolutions of Congress by which JA was reimbursed. In these the pertinent entry reads: “Money lost which was sewed in the lining of a Coat which was stolen” (enclosure in James Lovell to AA, 14 May 1780, printed below).

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 18 April 1778 Thaxter, John AA John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 18 April 1778 Thaxter, John Adams, Abigail
John Thaxter to Abigail Adams
Dear Madam York Town Feby. April 18th. 1778

Since I had the pleasure of addressing you last, I have found in the office a Narrative respecting Count Pulaski, a copy of which is inclosed.1 He is a great Character. Congress, in confidence of his military skill and prowess, and attachment to the American Cause, have authorised him to raise sixty eight Horse and two hundred Foot.2 The Horsemen are to be armed with Lancets, and the Foot in the manner of Light Infantry. This Corps is called Count Pulaski's Legion. He is the Brigadier general of it. Many gentlemen, distinguished for military Experience, affirm, that this Legion will be very serviceable in harrassing the Enemy, in private expeditions &c.


Pulaski is a Hero in Grain. He inherits his Ancestors Love of and inflexible attachment to, the Liberties of Mankind, as well as their martial Virtues. He was very active last campaign at the head of some light Horse. His post becoming very disagreeable to him on account of some difficulties, which originated from no better principle than envy, he resigned. He is now provided for in a mode agreeable to his wishes.

While I am upon a military subject I will add some thing further, which may give origin to great Speculation, but I hope serious deliberation also—viz., Whether some provision at the close of the war should not be made for officers, who hazard their Lives in bravely defending their Country's Cause? Secondly, whether that provision should be for Life or a term of Years? Thirdly, Whether some provision should not be made for the Wives of those who may be slain in Battle? And Fourthly, Whether some further Compensation or reward should not be given to Soldiers at the end of the War? These Questions will shortly, I believe, come before the several States, for their Consideration. They are questions of great importance to any Country but more especially to a young one. The establishment of Pensions is a serious matter. To the propriety of which I shall not presume to speak. I am unqualified. If American Independence does not negative the measure, there may be no Impropriety in it perhaps—I cannot determine. Thus much one may venture to affirm, that it is a matter, in the determination of which, every inhabitant of these States is deeply interested.

A Contract has been entered into lately between an Agent of a certain House and the Commercial Committee of Congress.3 I have seen it, and I think we may expect a full supply of Cloathing, military Stores and Money in Consequence thereof. It is suspected that two powers hitherto friendly are at bottom. This, from its nature, Madam, you will consider is not known to many, nor that respecting a future provision for Officers and Soldiers. I am perfectly safe in committing it to your prudence.

A vessel has lately arrived at South Carolina with a valuable Cargo of Cloathing and military Stores. Congress had the first offer. Proper measures have been adopted to transport the Cargo, in Consequence of their accepting the offer.

I would inform you that I have got through your agreeable favor of Feby., which from its length you imagined would discourage me.4 I hope, from the length of time, I shall be honoured (if my Scrolls do not interrupt you) with several Sheets of the production of your Ingenuity. I seldom hear of our Braintree friends, tho' They are nearly 14overwhelmed with an inundation of letters from me. I am always happy in hearing of their Welfare, and flatter myself that tho' out of sight they have not forgotten, Madam, your very humble Servt.,


PS Please to remember me to all friends.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “April 18.” For the enclosure see note 1.


“An exact narrative concerning Count Pulaski of Poland,” copy, 2 pages, in Thaxter's hand, attached to his letter but here omitted. This high-flown account of Casimir Pulaski's family and military feats ends as follows: “This we certify at Paris May 30th. 1777. Signed Roderigue Hortales & Co.” The paper was docketed “Pulaski” by JA in old age, and by CFA with its date.


Congress took this action on 28 March ( JCC , 10:291).


The famous contract offered by Beaumarchais' fictitious firm of Roderigue Hortales & Cie., agreed to by Congress on 7 April, and reported on the 16th as executed between Beaumarchais' agent in Philadelphia, J. B. L. Theveneau de Francy, and the Commercial Committee of Congress ( JCC , 10:316–321, 356).


AA to Thaxter, 15–18 Feb., vol. 2, above.