Papers of John Adams, volume 8

From Thomas Tolmond, 2 February 1780 Tolmond, Thomas JA From Thomas Tolmond, 2 February 1780 Tolmond, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Tolmond
The Humble Petition of Thomas Tolmond
My Lord Bordeaux february the 2nd 1780

Humbly Sheweth that your Petitioner is a poor american just arived from Marttanico to Rochal in a french frigat.1 At my arival I got my Disscharge, and from that I travild by Land hear to, Bordeaux. A few days after I Came hear I Was taken Very Ill in the Small pox. I being a stranger in this City, not knowing Where to go, or what to do for any Quarters to Lay my Self Down in this Dissorder Which happend to me in this Contaray, I applied to the american Agant to try If it Were possable for me to get to the Hospattall. He Replied to me, that they took in no people in that Dissorder, So I was Obledge to go father. And as I was awalking along the Street A man of Some humanity I Chance to meet that took Compassion on me, altho he being a poor man, Likewise an English man. He took me in and provided Quarters for me Likewise a Doctor to atend me all on his own Expence I being Disstitute of Money when he took me in he himself being a poore man and having a great Charge on him, and I being not Capable at present to make him the Leat Satissfaction for his goodness.

I hearing of your Lordships being in town2 I humbly make my 317adress to your Lordship hoping that your goodness will take this of my great Misfourtine into Consideration, and grant me such as your Lordship Shall think nessacary for me to Satissfy the poore man Who took Compassion on me, ... I am in Duty Ever Bound to Pray

Thomas Tolmond

RC (Adams Papers).


Tolmond may have been a prisoner of the British, retaken by the French, and returned to France from Martinique. His fate and JA's response to this petition are unknown.


JA arrived in Bordeaux on 29 Jan. and left on 2 Feb. (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:433 (entry for 31 Jan. and following)).

From Baron de Heimenthal, 5 February 1780 Heimenthal, Baron de JA From Baron de Heimenthal, 5 February 1780 Heimenthal, Baron de Adams, John
From Baron de Heimenthal
Sir Valença do Minho1 the 5. of Febr: 1780

I take the liberty, to address myself to your Excellency, about a project I have send to Mr. Franklin the 20. of Septr. last;2 which contains in short the following. I propose that if I could have the honour to be admitted into the Service of the United States, with the Commission of Major, to form a small Corps of Artillery, consisting in 300. Men, divided into 6. Companies; all the particulars concerning the formation of this Corps, I explain'd very large to Mr. Franklin: the Conditions I beg'd are, that it would be allow'd to me, to provide all the officers at the formation of the Corps; a great deal of them would be of my acquaintances, Subjects of a very good instruction: for this purpose I beg'd Mr. Franklin to send me a full Power, in order to legitimate my Commission; but till this moment, I have not been favour'd with any answer: for this reason I beg you to be so good, as to communicate to me your thoughts concerning this matter, or to procure me an answer from Mr. Franklin, in order to know, if the Project would be accepted, or upon what other conditions I could have the honour to enter into the service of the United States.

I assure your Excellency, that the formation of the said Corps, would be very usefull to the service; for besides, to serve as Artillery and Infantry, the officers could be employed as Ingeneers at the same time, being instructed in Mathematics and Fortification; which allways subsist, establishing into this Corps, an Academy of Mathematics, Artillery and Fortification (like the estabishements, made by Count de la Lippe in Portugal). For this purpose I should carry with me very able Mathematicians.

The letter I wrote to Mr. Franklin, was accompanied by an anonymous one, of a Gentlemen of his acquaintance, residing some times 318ago in this country; who inform'd him of my Knowledge and capacity: the said Gentlemen is a Competent Judge in Military affairs.

I beg you to favour me with an answer, as soon as possible, and to believe that I am with the greatest Respect Sir Your Excellencys most humble and most obedient Servant

Baron de Heimenthal First Lieut. of Regt. of Artillery of Porto, into the service of Portugal

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Baron de Heimenthal. 5. Feb. 1780. recd 6. decr. 1780.”


Valença do Minho is on Portugal's northern border with Spain, sixty miles north of Porto (Oporto), and fifteen miles south of the Spanish port of Vigo.


For the baron's letter to Benjamin Franklin, as well as its enclosure mentioned later in this letter, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 2:142. There is no indication that either Franklin or JA responded to Heimenthal's proposal.