Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

Richard Cranch to John Adams, 26 September 1781 Cranch, Richard JA Richard Cranch to John Adams, 26 September 1781 Cranch, Richard Adams, John
Richard Cranch to John Adams
Hond. and dear Sir Boston Sepr: 26th. 1781

Tho' I have often wrote to your Excellency, yet I have not had the Happiness of a Line from you since you left us. I have this Day heard that Mr. Codman, who had his mercantile Education under our worthy Uncle Isaac Smith Esqr, will sail tomorrow Morning for Spain.1 I therefore take the liberty of sending a few Lines by him, tho' the Conveyance be somewhat circuitous.

Our Affairs at the Southward wear a very pleasing Aspect at present. The French Fleet under the Count De Grass, consisting of twentyeight Sail of the Line arrived lately at Chessepeak-Bay, and landed three Thousand Men in James River, to reinforce the Marquis De Fayett. General Washington and the Count De Rochambeau with eight Thousand French and American Regular Troops arrived at the Head of Elk, from Rhode Island and North River about the 8th. Instant, where every thing was ready to carry them down the Bay to assist in the great Cause of taking Lord Cornwallis and his Army, and so to free Virginia and the southern States;—an Event that seems in the highest degree probable, nay, we hear from various Quarters that Cornwallis has already proposed Terms on which he would surrender, but which are not accepted. Genl. Green has driven all the Troops that remain in South Carolina, into Charlstown; so that the English hold no other Post in that State at present. Lord Rawdon himself, with a number of others, was taken Prisoner by the Count De Grass's Fleet in their Passage to Virginia: He was on board a Pacquet bound to England. The General Court, now sitting here, received Information yesterday from Genl. Parsons near N. York, that a large Embarkation is taking place at New York, but he could not learn where they were destin'd. Capt. Newman in the Brig Gates from Amsterdam arrived at Newbury Port last Week in five Weeks. Your Lady received by him your Letter of the 22d of May inclosing your excellent Address to the States General of the United Provinces. I have put it into the Press, and it will be out tomorrow.2 I had a few Days before met with the same in French, and had just finished a Translation of it when yours came to hand. I have not yet seen Mr. 218Brush who came Passenger in Capt. Newman, but I hear he brings information that your dear Johnney is gone to Petersbourg with Mr. Dana, and that Master Charles is coming home in Comr. Gellion Gillon. I want much to see Mr. Brush, that I may hear more particularly.3 Your most amiable Lady and Children were well to day, when I received a Line from her,4 dictated by unaffected Tenderness to you and the dear Little Boys, requesting me to see Mr. Brush and enquire every thing that he knows concerning you and them. I have not yet been happy enough to see him.—We have not received a Line from you since last October, except the Letter mentioned above.

The Action between the Dutch Squadron and Admiral Parker on the 5th. Ulto., is worthy the antient Batavian Spirit. I long to see that Spirit fully rouz'd. Time will not permit me to enlarge. I must however give you the Pleasure of letting you know that we are all well in the several Families of Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham &c. longing for the arrival of Comr. Gellion, Capt. Hayden, &c.; when we hope to hear more particularly from you, Cousin Thaxter, &c. In Expectation of which I remain with the highest Esteem and warmest Affection your obliged Friend and Bror.,

Richard Cranch

Please to present my kind Regards to Mr. Thaxter and tell him I have wrote to him several times, but have never received an Answer. I fear most of my Letters to You and Him have miscarried.5

P.S. Should the fate of War throw Mr. Codman in your way, and he should want your Assistance I would warmly recommend him as a young Gentleman of a good Family, and worthy of your Notice. His Brother is Partner with Cousin Billy Smith.

Thursday Morning. 8. o'Clock. As Mr. Codman is not yet gone on board I have enclos'd this day's Paper.6

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr: Minister from the United States of America to the States Genll: of the United Provinces. Residing at the Hague.”; stamped postal mark: “ASTURIAS”; endorsed: “Mr. Cranch Sept. 26. 1781.” Dft (MHi:Cranch Papers); written on both the blank and printed sides of a broadside resolve of the General Court, “State of Massachusetts-Bay. In the House of Representatives, June 8, 1779,” instructing towns to settle their accounts with the State for payment to soldiers' families. Dft omits a portion of the postscripts; see note 5. For the (missing) enclosure in RC, see note 2.


Stephen or Richard Codman, both Boston merchants and younger sons of John Codman Sr., whose eldest son, John Jr., was a business partner of AA's “Cousin Billy Smith,” as mentioned in the postscript to this letter. See Cora Codman Wolcott, The Codmans of Charlestown and Boston, 1637–1929, Brookline, 1930, p. 63–66.


JA's Memorial of 19 April 1781 was 219printed in the Independent Chronicle of 27 Sept., p. 1–2, and a copy of that issue of the paper was enclosed in Cranch's letter, as the postscript states.


Eliphalet Brush is repeatedly mentioned as a member of the growing American circle in Amsterdam in JQA's Diary, 10 June et seq., and was present at the Fourth of July celebration held there this year. He brought JA's dispatches for Congress in the Gates and is the only passenger noted in the Boston Gazette's account of the arrival of that vessel (24 Sept., p. 3, col. 1). The Gazette identifies him as “of the State of New York.” Brush called on AA and furnished her with much-wanted family news; see AA to JA, 29 Sept., below.


Not found.


Dft ends at this point.


See note 2.

William Jackson to John Adams, 26 September 1781 Jackson, William JA William Jackson to John Adams, 26 September 1781 Jackson, William Adams, John
William Jackson to John Adams
Corunna September 26. 1781

Lest the date of my letter should alarm your Excellency, I am happy in prefacing it with an assurance that your dear little Boy, who is now at my elbow, is perfectly well.

Mr. Gillon (to the baseness of whose character no term of reproach is equal) has, after adding insult to injury landed us in Spain. I would enter into the detail of his unparalleled villainies—but the late hour at which I write obliges me to defer it until the next post.1 Colonel Searle, Colonel Trumbull, and myself propose going to France on board a frigate which will sail in twelve or fourteen days. I shall take Charles with me, and should your Excellency honor me with farther instructions respecting him, I will follow them with pleasure and punctuality. You will please to forward these instructions to your Correspondents at the different Ports in France, as it is not yet known to which the Ship goes.

I shall do myself the honor to write you fully by the next post. Your goodness must excuse my present brevity. I was unwilling to lose the first conveyance to announce our situation—and the extreme hurry in which I write will scarce admit my adding Colonel Searle's, Col. Trumbull's and my own affectionate and respectful compliments to your Excellency and Mr. Thaxter.—Be assured your Son's happiness will be my peculiar care—he has, and continues to read french and english to me daily, and is in every respect the Boy you would wish him to be, endearing himself to every-body.

I am with the most perfect esteem and respect, Dear Sir, Your most obedt. Servant and sincere friend, W. Jackson

RC (Adams Papers).


For the background of the remarkable voyage of the South Carolina, which sailed surreptitiously under the command of Alexander Gillon from the Texel on 12 Aug., with CA, Capt. Joshua Barney, William Jackson, James Searle, John 220Trumbull, and Benjamin Waterhouse, among others, as passengers, see above, Waterhouse to JA, 26 Dec. 1780, note 4; JA to AA, 11 July 1781, and note 2 there. Gillon had wandered in the North Sea for weeks, circumnavigated the British Isles, and at length put into La Coruña in Spain for want of water and provisions to make the Atlantic crossing. During one storm that was encountered, Joshua Barney had had to take command to save the vessel (John Trumbull, Autobiography, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953, p. 76). In this or another storm the vessel also suffered some damage and therefore required repairs. At La Coruña, CA, under Jackson's care, together with some of the other passengers, left the South Carolina and sought other transportation home. Waterhouse elected to continue with Gillon and had further adventures in the West Indies. These sequels will unfold in the correspondence, during the next nine months, of Jackson, Waterhouse, Capt. Hugh Hill of the Cicero (which ultimately brought CA home), and Isaac Smith Sr. with JA and AA, and between JA and AA, who both were to go months without word of CA's whereabouts.