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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5


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Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0238

Author: Ellery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-22

From William Ellery

[salute] Sir

I received a few days since a Letter from my good friend William Vernon Esqr., One of the members of the Navy Board in the Eastern department; in which he informed me that he was about to send his son, William, to France; with the View of placing him in a good, reputable, mercantile house; either in Nantz, Bourdeaux or Rochelle, and desired that I would obtain Letters recommendatory of him to the honorable Commissioners at the Court of France.
It would give me great pleasure to oblige both the father and the son, and I know no way in which I could do it so effectually, if I should be so happy, as by introducing him to your favorable notice and attention.
I remember Horace's caution;1—but I think I run no other hazard in recommending young Mr. Vernon to your notice, but that of being refused a favour, which I acknowledge I have but small pretensions to ask: A hazard which I hope you will think me excuseable in running for the sake of serving a friend.
{ 393 }
He was educated at Jersey College, and at the last commencement proceded Batchelor of Arts. I have inquired into his Character of President Witherspoon and Professor Houston, who was late Dep: Secry of Congress. They both speak well of his morals and behaviour while he was at College. I have some Acquaintance with him, and think that he is an amiable Youth. If he should have the honour of going a passenger in the Ship that carries you,2 you will have an opportunity of knowing him thoroughly before you reach your destined port. Heartily wishing you a safe and pleasant passage, and that health happiness and success may attend you I am most respectfully Yrs
[signed] Wm Ellery
1. Probably a reference to Horace's letter of recommendation to Tiberius in behalf of Septimius, about 20 B.C. It was a letter Horace was not happy to write but which he felt he could not avoid. Refusal might mean that Horace was hiding the true extent of his influence, although he modestly protested that Septimius knew more of his influence than Horace himself did. The letter is well known as a model of tact (Epistle 1.9, ed. and transl. H. R. Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, 1926, p. 309–311).
2. Not only William Vernon Jr. but also Jesse Deane, son of Silas, traveled on the Boston to France with JA and JQA (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:269).