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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-11-02-0123
3. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Dana on 2 March and enclosed a copy of the cipher that James Lovell had sent to him on 24 Feb. 1780. Franklin's included a passage from Lovell's letter to him of 4 May 1780, which he had “try'd in vain” to decipher. Dana successfully decrypted Franklin's letter, but his success did him little good with regard to Lovell's letter of 6 January. The difficulty, which he indicated in his letter to JA of 16 March, below, that he had overcome, was that each cipher had a different key (Franklin, Papers , 34:412; 31:520–522; 32:354–355; JA, Papers , 9:270–273; Weber, Codes and Ciphers , p. 31–34, 590). The recipient's copy of Franklin's letter of 2 March, with its accompanying cipher key, is in the Adams Papers. It was probably among the documents that Dana sent under the care of a Mr. Themmen, presumably the “good private opportunity” mentioned earlier in this letter (from Francis Dana, 16 March, below).