Papers of John Adams, volume 9

To Jeremiah Allen, 3 May 1780 JA Allen, Jeremiah To Jeremiah Allen, 3 May 1780 Adams, John Allen, Jeremiah
To Jeremiah Allen
Dear Sir Paris May 3. 1780

I yesterday received yours of 28. Ultimo. Thank you for the Information of the Brig bound to Boston, beg you would send the inclosed by her.1 Had yesterday a Letter from Mr. Smith2 by Way of Holland 26 Feb. mentions Trash's Arrival and Letters from you. Incloses a Boston Gazette of 21. Feb. containing an Account of Captn. Waters in the Thorn,3 taking three Privateers, after obstinate Engagements—two of them at once from New York—one of the most glorious Actions 266of this War. You will Soon See the Account at large in the public Papers.

By Mr. S's Letter the Convention had been Sitting almost two months, and had got well nigh through the Constitution, which they have not very materially altered from the Report. This Report is publishing in the Courier de L'Europe,4 and there are some Compliments upon it in the English Papers, and more still in the private Conversations in Paris.

The Confederation among the maritime Powers, the Politicks of Ireland, the Associations in England added to the military Exertions of France, Spain and America, would in time, one would think, be Sufficient to bring England to reason, and make her think of Peace. I should be obliged to you for News as it arrives, and hope to have the Pleasure of Seeing you Soon, a l'hotel de Valois Ruë de Richelieu. Mr. D. Mr. T. and the young Gentlemen send Respects. Yours &c.

LbC (Adams Papers).


Allen's letter of 28 April has not been found, but the brig referred to may have been that mentioned by Joshua Johnson in his letter of 2 May (above). The letter enclosed by JA was probably that of 3 May to AA, which she received on 16 July ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:336, 375).


This was Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb., of which JA gives an account in this and the following paragraph. JA's letter to Vergennes of 1 May (Arch. Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., E.-U., vol. 12), indicates that Smith's letter arrived on that date, rather than the 2d as JA seems to indicate here (see note 3).


On 25 Dec. 1779, Capt. Daniel Waters of the Thorne successfully engaged the New York loyalist privateers Governor Tryon and Sir William Irskine, capturing the first and sinking the second; and on 13 Jan. 1780, he captured the Liverpool privateer Sparling. Seeking to have the Boston Gazette's account of the Thorne's exploits published in France, JA enclosed both it and an extract from Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 26 Feb. in his letter to Vergennes of 1 May (see note 2) and took up the matter in more detail in his letter of 3 May to Edmé Jacques Genet (below). In a further effort to publicize the incident, JA enclosed an extract of the account in the Boston Gazette in a letter of 4 May to Trouchin Dubreuil, publisher of the Gazette d'Amsterdam, requesting that he insert it in his newspaper (LbC, Adams Papers).


For the publication of The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Courier de l'Europe, see Thomas Digges' letter of 14 April, note 2 (above).

To Edmé Jacques Genet, 3 May 1780 JA Genet, Edmé Jacques To Edmé Jacques Genet, 3 May 1780 Adams, John Genet, Edmé Jacques
To Edmé Jacques Genet
Dear Sir Paris May 3. 1780

I had, two days ago the Honour to inclose to the Minister a Boston Gazette of 21 February, in which is a Relation of a glorious Combat and Cruise of my Countryman Captain Waters of the Thorn. Let me beg of you sir, to insert this Account in the Gazette and the Mercure.1 There has not been a more memorable Action this War, and the Feats of our American Frigates and Privateers have not been Sufficiently 267published, in Europe. It would answer valuable Purposes, both by encouraging their honest and brave Hearts, and by exciting Emulations elsewhere, to give them a little more than they have had, of the Fame that they have deserved. Some of the most Skillful, determined, persevering, and successfull Engagements, that have ever happened upon the Seas, have been performed by American Privateers against the Privateers from New York. They have happened upon the Coast and seas of America, which are now very well swept of New York Privateers2 and have seldom been properly described and published even there, and much seldomer ever inserted in any of the Gazettes of Europe, whether it is because, the Actions of single and small Vessells and these Privateers are not thought worth publishing, or whether it has been for Want of some Person, to procure it to be done.

Yours most sincerely John Adams

RC (CLjC). LbC (Adams Papers). Due to fire damage, the dateline and greeting have been supplied from the Letterbook copy.


Genet promised to print the account, which appeared on 13 May in the Mercure de France, “Journal Politique de Bruxelles,” p. 75–77 (from Genet, 4, 10 May, Adams Papers).


The preceding ten words were interlined.