Papers of John Adams, volume 12

From Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, 26 October 1781 Létombe, Philippe André Joseph de JA From Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, 26 October 1781 Létombe, Philippe André Joseph de Adams, John
From Philippe André Joseph de Létombe
Boston 8ber 26. 17811 Sir

I have received the packet your Excellency has honored me with from Leyden on the 11. instant of last march.2 I have forwarded his Letters according to their direction and I give him thousand thanks. I have Seen Mrs. Adams at Brentree and I Send you, Sir, a packet that She has caused to forward me yesterday.3 I herein inclose a very interressing pamphlet wich causes a Lively and général joy.4 I wish for the exchange of that glorious News, you would acquaint me soon with that of géneral Peace.

I have the honour to be, with greatest Respect, of your Excellency, the most-humble and most-obedient Servant de Létombe

P.S. I wrote just now to Mrs. Adams to assure her mind about the incredible Report respecting the Indian man Mr. Guilon Commander.5


Miss Adams is here at Mr. Isaac Smith’s and her health carries rosy colours as her cheaks do.

RC (Adams Papers).


On 25 Oct. Gov. John Hancock officially recognized Létombe’s commission as French consul general. The governor’s proclamation appeared in Boston newspapers, including the Boston Evening Post of 27 October.


Vol. 11:193–194.


The packet included AA’s letters of 29 Sept. and 21 Oct. ( Adams Family Correspondence , 4:220–222, 229–231).


Not identified.


Not found.

To Benjamin Franklin, 27 October 1781 JA Franklin, Benjamin To Benjamin Franklin, 27 October 1781 Adams, John Franklin, Benjamin
To Benjamin Franklin
Amsterdam October 27. 1781 Sir

I had last night the honour of your Letter of the 22d and I most heartily congratulate the French Court and Nation, on the acquisition of a Dauphin.1

The Ships which the South Carolina, was to have taken under her Convoy, are Still here.2 I am told, that the Ships are the best that are to be had: that they are to be sold at a reasonable Rate, so reasonable that the difference, between the Purchase and the Freight is inconsiderable. So that the general opinion here, Seems to be that the best course to be taken would be to purchase the ships which on their arrival in America would Sell for more than their Cost, and Send them on, without Loss of Time. But in order to accomplish this, there must be cash to pay the Purchase; And after all, they may be taken and all lost: but it is said the Season of the year advances fast, when there will be little danger of British Cruisers, upon this Coast. There are American Masters of Vessells here, of good Reputation, who would be very glad to take the command, at least of one of them.

As this whole Transaction arose in France, under the Authority of your Excellency and Coll Laurens, I have never considered myself as having any Power over those Goods or Ships, any more than over the Casks of Gold and Silver, which were Sent here by Mr Neckar, to go by the Same South Carolina, and which that minister had given Mr Jackson an order to receive, but which notwithstanding your Excellency thought still So far under your Jurisdiction, as to give orders, that it should not be delivered to him.3

If I were to advise however my advice would be this to send Jackson here again who was sent here before to conduct the Business. If your Excellency could Spare the Money to purchase the Ships, to 54do it, and send them to Sea. If not to sell part of the Goods to pay the Freight of the rest, or sell the whole and pay the Money to your Excellencys order. Or if your Excellency sees fit to give Mr De Neufville, or Messrs Fizeau & Co, or any other Person the Conduct of the Business, it will be equally Satisfactory, to, sir, your Excellencys most humble and obedient Servant

John Adams

RC (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Octr 27. 1781.” LbC (Adams Papers).


In the Letterbook JA canceled:

“and I wish that the Prince may be as good a F in when in the Course of Time which I hope however will be a long one, he shall be called to the Throne, may be as good a Friend and ally, to the United States of America, as his august Father and receive from them an equal Return of Friendship, and affection.”


In the Letterbook this was the first sentence of a new paragraph, the remainder of which, except for one sentence, JA canceled:

They could not have Sailed with any rational Prospect of escaping the British Fleet before the Texell, if they had been ready: but the of The Freight is not paid, nor is any Charter Party Signed. I am told that one of the first Points of Dispute between Mr Gillon and Mr Jackson, was who should Sign the Charter Parties. Jackson insisted that by the Contract with Coll Laurens, Gillon was to carry the Goods, and as he could not do that his Engagement obliged him to be at the Expence of the Freight. This was refused.


See Franklin to JA, 30 June, and note 1 (vol. 11:399–400).