Papers of John Adams, volume 9

To Jonathan Williams, 30 April 1780 JA Williams, Jonathan To Jonathan Williams, 30 April 1780 Adams, John Williams, Jonathan
To Jonathan Williams
Dr. sir Paris April 30. 1780

I have, this day recieved your favour of the 25th.,1 which gave me the first Intimation I had of your Intentions for Home.2 I am glad to learn that Captain Snelling delivered the Letters to you. I will endeavour to Send Some more, by Captain Jones or Some other Safe hand: but are you not Suspicious of your Passage? Be Sure to keep with your Convoy: for my own part I hardly see a Possibility of an unarmed Vessells geting safe over, without. We were surrounded by 5 or 6, very sawcy Privateers at a time, when I went home, and nothing but our twelve Pounders saved Us and the Convoy. I wish you, a safe and agreable Passage, and an happy sight of your Friends. You could not have a better month to sail. Pray do you take Mrs. Williams, to America? I have never had opportunity to wish you and Mrs. Williams happy, in Words, I have ever done so in my Heart. My Respects to your Father, and your Unkle and all Frids. I am with much respect & Esteem yr most obt. servant


LbC (Adams Papers).


Not found.


JA learned from a subsequent conversation with Benjamin Franklin that the letter of 25 April was not from Jonathan Williams, Franklin's nephew and the person to whom this letter is addressed (to Williams, 14 May, below). Williams, who married Mariamne Alexander in 1779, did not return to America until 1785 ( DAB ). Nor was the letter from JA's former law clerk, Jonathan Williams III. He had already left for America where he died on 1 May ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:390).

From François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury, 1 May 1780 Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de JA From François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury, 1 May 1780 Fleury, François Louis Teissèdre de Adams, John
From François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury
My dear sir Brest 1st. May 1780

I expected for writting to you, that I could tell, the wind serves, we sail to Morrow for your dear Country, and in six weeks hence, I shall see Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Dana, but since twenty days that we are on board, the wind has been Constantly to the south-west; it is only since this morning that we expect it will Come to the north, or est.

To Morrow, I hope, we shall sail, for ——xxx you know it better than I; but I can neither suppose or desire, that our expedition be entended for N. York. I think sooner, we go at New port, and our squadron, will at the meantime Cruze before Sandy Hook, to starve the british in their inexpugnable Lines. We are too few, for any thing else, and if we do attempt Rashly any important attacks, we may find an other Savanah.1

Whatever may be the place of our Landing in America, I hope to find means of forwarding, your Letters, to your familly and friends, and if it is Rhode Iland, I shall my self go to Braintree et Cambridge, and be the bearer of your packets.

Farewell. Be happy as much I desire & you deserve it, & believe me with a Respect equal to my gratitude for your kindness, your most obedient humble servant.

L. Fleury2

My best Respects to Mr. Dana, & your familly.

RC (Adams Papers).


A reference to Estaing's failed siege of Savannah, Ga., in September and October 1779. See Arthur Lee to JA, 24 Sept. 1779, note 2 (vol. 8:169–170).


For a sketch of Fleury, who had served as a volunteer in the Continental Army between 1776 and 1779 and who returned to America with Rochambeau's army in 1780, see Adams Family Correspondence , 3:317. Fleury carried JA's letter of 24 March and two small packages to AA, which were received on 23 July (same, 3:316–317, 381; 4:1).

To the President of Congress, No. 57, 2 May 1780 JA Huntington, Samuel President of Congress To the President of Congress, No. 57, 2 May 1780 Adams, John Huntington, Samuel President of Congress
To the President of Congress, No. 57

Paris, In this letter, 259which Congress received on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams included an English translation of a memorial presented by the French ambassador to the States General on 26 April (given as 10 April in Wharton) that announced the repeal of the fifteen percent tariff levied by France on most Dutch goods by various decrees in 1778 and 1779, together with the return of all duties collected on Dutch goods that had entered France while the tariff was in effect. Adams also reported that news from The Hague as late as 26 April indicated that the various Dutch provinces and the States General were prepared to reject British demands for assistance under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch treaties; to grant unlimited convoys for Dutch merchant ships except those carrying goods explicitly labeled as contraband in existing treaties; and to accept Catherine II's invitation to join in a league of armed neutrals. He then communicated the substance of an instruction that the provinces of Holland and West Friesland proposed be sent by the States General to its ambassador in London totally rejecting Lord Stormont's justification of Como. Charles Fielding's seizure of the Dutch convoy. John Adams then noted Sweden's authorization of convoys, general European support for the French and Russian diplomatic position, and the general consensus in Europe that Britain now would seek peace. He disagreed with the last point, stating that “Signal Success on the part of the Allies, might compel them to it but signal Success in favor of the English, would urge them giddily on, no one can say to what lengths.” Finally, he gave the substance of a “speculative Article from Brussells” on the positions of Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands with regard to the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality and how it might effect the duration and outcome of the war.

RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 7–14). printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 3:644–648.)