Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

Richard Cranch to Abigail Adams, 17 August 1780 Cranch, Richard AA Richard Cranch to Abigail Adams, 17 August 1780 Cranch, Richard Adams, Abigail
Richard Cranch to Abigail Adams
Dear Sister Thursday Afternoon, Aug. 15th. i.e. 17 17801

The Alliance arriv'd yesterday after a Passage of about 36 Days.2 I went this Morning to see Mr. A. Lee (who came in her) but he was engag'd in Writing and could not be spoke with, his Nephew inform'd me that Mr. Adams and the Children were well, as were also Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter. Mr. Blodget bro't a Letter from Mr. Adams for you.3 I sent it (just before Peter4 came) by Mr. Seth Spear, who promised to leave it at our House. I have spoke to Uncle Smith who will take care of any thing that may be on board for you.


There has been a great Mob in London headed by Lord Gordon: Marshall Law was proclaim'd, great numbers kill'd, and others hang'd without Judge or Jury, as 'tis said. Gordon is taken and put in the Tower. A Captain of a Vessell from Holland says that the Hopes of Amsterdam inform'd him that in their Opinion War was inevitable with England. The French knew nothing of Admiral Graves being come to America, and Mr. Lee was surprized when he heard of it. He brings no news of a second French Fleet from France. I propose to see Mr. Lee in the Morning when I shall receive your Letters if he has any; He dines out to Day so that I cannot see him soon enough to let you know to night.

The Interest on your Note is not yet due, I will return it to you. I have not seen Mr. Newell, he has been out of Town. Pardon haste and blunders from Yours affectionately,

R. Cranch

RC (Adams Papers).


Cranch's misdating appears to be a mere inadvertence. Thursday of this week fell on the 17th, and all accounts agree that the Alliance arrived on Wednesday the 16th; see the following note.


“Yesterday arrived here the Continental Frigate Alliance, Capt. Landais, in 40 days from L'Orient, in France, in whom came passengers the Hon. Arthur Lee, Esq.; and his two nephews &c.” (Boston Continental Journal, 17 Aug. 1780, p. 3, col. 2).


This particular letter has not been identified, but AA actually received numerous letters from JA via the Alliance; see her letter to him of 23 Aug., below.


Probably a servant in the Adams household.

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, 21 August 1780 Smith, Isaac Sr. JA Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, 21 August 1780 Smith, Isaac Sr. Adams, John
Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams
Boston August the 21st. 1780

I received your favor of the 16 March sometime Ago. The fleet and Army are still att Rd. Island by the arrival of Admiral Graves the british are superior. There intention Against Rd. Island seems to be laid aside. The french fleet and Spanish were att the Cape about 20 days Ago. We were in hopes they were bound to Jamaica.

Several privateers belonging to Salem, Cape Ann And Newbury have made a haul upon the Quebeck fleet, have taken about 16 that they have got in, some wholly with goods and some with provisions. On an Average supposed to be worth £15,000 sterling.

The Alliance Arrived here a few days Ago. Mr. Lee is come in her. He has been to see Mrs. Adams.1

Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Cranch are gone to Plymouth so you may judge they are well.

The french General has exprest great satisfaction to the Councel 397on Account of the readiness in going to Aid him on the late Apprehension of there being Attackt att Rd. Island, and mentions a circumstance which suppose was very striking to him, That of one Mr. Thatcher who lives near Rd. Island, who went Over with Three Sons and headed is whole parish, which being something not ever seen before was the more pleasing.

Mr. Cranch and my self are going Over to Charlestown with Mr. Lee to show him were the battle was fought. Mr. Brown I have seen and has been to drink Tea with us.

I dont recollect any thing worth your Notice & Are Yr. Most hume. servant,

Isaac Smith

Ps. Itt seems the Conduct of the Captn. of the Alliance was such As that the ship came in here under the charge of the Lt.2

RC (Adams Papers).


Probably on Sunday, 20 Aug.; see AA to JA, 3–4 Sept., below.


On this voyage Captain Landais “became irrational and was removed by his lieutenants” ( Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships , 1:33). Concerning the controversial Pierre Landais, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , passim, particularly the brief sketch, with references to biographical accounts, at 2:366. The record of Landais' court-martial, Nov. 1780–Jan. 1781, is in PCC, No. 193, II.