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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0058

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1778-08-06

John Adams to Richard Cranch

[salute] My dear Brother

I have long wished for an Opportunity to write to you but the thousand things that have surrounded me have prevented. Mr. Williams has promised me to write you concerning your Affairs and I suppose he has done it. I am not able to inform you of anything concerning them.1
There is a Society here resembling the Society of Arts &c. in London. It is called “Le Societe libre d'emulation.” It gives Rewards to every Inventor of Improvement in Mechanicks and other Arts. I will send you by another Opportunity the Regulations of it. They have { 71 } | view done me the Honor to elect me a Member as well as Doctor Franklin and Dr. Lee. In my Case it was a meer Compliment, because my Avocations having been very different I have never turned my Thoughts much to such Speculations. If they had chosen you, the Consequence would have been Honor to the Society and Benefit to Mankind. I have thought however that if I could not gratify my Vanity upon this Occasion I might possibly become accidentally an Instrument of some good to my Fellow Men by introducing some of your Discoveries to the Society. I therefore beg of you to send me a Draught upon paper or a Model2 in Wood of your Card Machine and Spermacaeti Machine with Explanations in Words of the various parts, or any other of your Speculations that you may think fit. I will engage to introduce them to the Notice of the Society and possibly they may grant Rewards. At least you will do good. It will be for the Reputation of our Country here. It will strengthen the Connection between the two Nations and be in other Respects usefull to the World. It shall be known that I am not the Author, and it shall be known who is. The Reputation and the Benefit shall be yours, and I shall think myself very happy in being the Channell of Conveyance. Remember me with the tenderest Affection to my Sister and the Children and to all our Connections and believe me with the utmost Esteem & Affection,

[salute] Your Brother

PS I have paid Mr. Williams of Nantes 141 Livres 9 Sols for you, which you may if you please repay to my Wife. He has sent the things you wrote for to you.3
Memoire des Fournitures faites par le Roy Horloger du Roy a Monsieur Williams.
1 Grosse de clef de Cuivre en couleur prix   22    
6 douzaines & demi de ressorts de montres conformes aux echantillons a 10  10s. la douzaine   68   5  
2 Grosse de Crestaux [pour?] montre a 6  6s.   12   12  
2 douzaines de pendant de Montre & une doze: de Boucles en argent   38    
pour la Caisse & tembalage     12  
  £141   9  
Payé par Monsieur Adams
[signed] signé J Williams Jr.
RC (MHi:Cranch Family Papers); unsigned; text and appended “Memoire” in the hand of Jonathan Loring Austin, currently serving as JA 's secretary; endorsed: “Letter from the Hon. John Adams Esqr. at Passi Augt. 16th. [sic] 1778.” LbC (Adams Papers); lacks “Memoire.”
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1. Doubtless Jonathan Williams (1750–1815), grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin and an American commercial agent at Nantes; he has been identified earlier in the present series and appears frequently in JA's Diary and Autobiography .
2. This word is taken from LbC text. Austin miscopied it in RC as “Mould.”
3. This letter was acknowledged by Cranch in a reply dated 11 June 1779, below, but without mention of the watchmaker's supplies listed in the mémoire which follows; these were captured at sea, as JA reported to AA , 6 Nov. 1778, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-08-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I am desirous of conveying to you, in a manner that will not probably fail of success, and therefore have written the same Thing by many Vessells. I have ordered some Things to be shipped to you by two Opportunities. But least these should not arrive, or whether they do or not, I beg of you to draw upon me, for one hundred Pounds sterling which shall be paid at sight. Any Person who has occasion to remit Money to any Part of Europe will be glad of the Opportunity and will let you have Silver or Gold for the Bill. Your Uncle will negociate the Affair for you.
My Son is writing at the same Table with me, is very well, sends his Duty and Affection.
What would I give that the rest of my Family were here. But I dont see how they could have lived through the Passage. Yours—Yours—Yours,
[signed] John Adams
The only News I send to Congress, which is the Battle between the French and English Fleets, and the different Accounts of it by Keppell and D'Orvilliere. However, both concur to shew that the English had a drubbing.1
Birons fleet appears to have been shattered terribly in a storm. Several of his ships have returned to Europe in sad plight. The Russell has returned to England, scarcely able to swim and with upwards of 200 Men sick of the Goal Fever.—Is it Presumption to imagine that one sees the Wrath of Heaven against a Nation overloaded with Guilt. I cannot however but hope, that these Sad Things will bring the Nation to Consideration, and induce them to become just.
1. For a concise account of the indecisive engagement off Ushant, 27 July 1778, between a British fleet commanded by Admiral Augustus Keppel and a French fleet under the Comte d'Orvilliers, see W. M. James, The British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 127–136.
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