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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


This foot note contained in document ADMS-04-04-02-0033
4. Alexander Gillon (1741–1794), said to have been born in Rotterdam but long established in Charleston as a merchant and shipowner, had introduced himself to JA on the road between Paris and Nantes in the spring of 1779. He held the title of commodore of the South Carolina navy and had come to Europe to obtain ships, stores, and funds to launch this navy. When JA arrived in Amsterdam in Aug. 1780, Gillon was readying a vessel, renamed the South Carolina, and supplies he had obtained on credit, and he proved helpful as an interpreter and in finding lodgings for JA and his family at the Widow Schorn's. In Aug. 1781, when Gillon finally sailed with great secrecy from the Texel in order to escape his creditors, two of the passengers on board the South Carolina were CA and Benjamin Waterhouse. Gillon's route was highly circuitous, quarrels broke out between him and some of his passengers, and in the end CA crossed the Atlantic in another vessel, from La Coruña in Spain. See Biog. Dir. Cong. , under Gillon; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:446–447; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot , p. 178, 267–268, 345–346, 572; JQA , Diary, 1112 Aug. 1780; Gillon to JA , 12 Nov. 1780 (Adams Papers); John Trumbull, Autobiography, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953, p. 75–77; D. E. Huger Smith, “Commodore Alexander Gillon and the Frigate South Carolina,” So. Car. Hist. & Geneal. Mag., 9 (1908): 189–219; Madison, Papers, ed. Hutchinson, 4:111–113; also letters later in the present volume touching on CA 's voyage, especially AA to JA , 29 Sept. 1781, and Waterhouse to JA , 30 Sept. 1781.