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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


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Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0084

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Author: Lee, Arthur
Author: Adams, John
Author: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Caracciolo, Domenico, Marchesse di Villa Marina
Date: 1778-10-09

The Commissioners to Domenico Caracciolo

[salute] Sir

We are this Moment honoured with your Excellencys Letter of the Eighth of this Month, and We thank your Excellency for the Information, that his Majesty the King of the two Sicilies, hath ordered the Ports of his Dominions to be open to the Flagg of the United States of America.1 We should be glad to have a Copy of his Majesty's Edict for that purpose, in order to communicate it to the Congress, who we are confident will be much pleas'd with this Mark of his Majesty's Benevolence.
It is with <much> Pleasure on this Occasion2 that We acquaint your Excellency, the Flagg of the United States of America, consists of thirteen Stripes Alternately red, white and blue. A small Square in the upper Angle next the Flagg Staff is a blue Field, with thirteen white Stars, denoting a new Constellation.3
Some of the States have Vessells of War, distinct from those of the United States. For Example, the Vessells of War of the state of Massachusetts Bay have sometimes a Pine Tree, and South Carolina a Rattlesnake in the Middle of the thirteen stripes.
Merchant ships have often only thirteen Stripes. But the Flagg of the United States ordained by Congress, is the thirteen Stripes and thirteen Stars as first described.
{ 123 }
The Commissions of Ships of War belonging to the United States, as well as those of Privateers, are all signed by the President of the Congress, and countersigned by the Secretary.4
Each State may have a different Method of Clearing Merchant5 Vessells outward bound, and6 a different Form in the Papers given; We therefore are not able to give your Excellency certain Information respecting all of them. The Massachusetts Bay, has only a Naval Officer in each Port who Subscribes a Register, a Clearance, and a Pass for the Castle in Boston Harbour.
We have the Honour to be with the most perfect Respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servants.
1. The remainder of this paragraph was interlined for insertion here and, like all of the interlineations noted below, was done by Benjamin Franklin in a darker ink than the rest of the letter.
2. The previous three words were interlined for insertion here. Originally they were intended to follow “that We.”
3. The description of the American flag given here is different from that in the resolution adopted by the congress on 14 June 1777 ( JCC , 8:464). The resolution provided for stripes “alternate red and white,” rather than red, white, and blue.
4. This paragraph was interlined.
5. This word was written below the line for insertion here.
6. The following eight words were interlined.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0085

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-09

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

I did myself the pleasure to write you a few Lines just before my departure from Nantes, and afterwards on my arrival at this place.1
Two Small Vessels arrived here from Baltimore a few days ago. They had both long passages, the latest dates I had by them was the 16th. of August, and the only news contained in them, That a large Number of Vessels had got into Chesapeak Bay, which occasion'd a considerable fall in Goods of almost every Sort, particularly Salt. My Freinds there had not a doubt, but that if the Bay kept clear of the Enemy during this Winter, that Goods wou'd become as plenty and cheap as they cou'd wish. The best proof I have of the plenty of the most essential Goods, is, that my orders are chiefly for Wines and Brandy's.
I understand that there has been lately sent out from Brest, 6 Men of War and Six Frigates, Ordered to <a Cruize in> three different districts to course in, two of each, in each district.2 The Bell Poulle is one of them, and has allready taken Two of the Enemies Cruizers, one of 22, the other of 14 Guns, and retaken a F. E. India-man.3
I expect shortly to receive some Bills such as you hinted at in a late { 124 } Letter4 which you did me the Honor to write me, hope matters will be better with the Honorable Commissioners when I receive them, than you then expected. Shou'd they be obliged to refuse them, it wou'd be a great disapointment, but be it as it may, must submit with patience, and wait till something more favourable may turn up.
I am with the greatest Respect Dr Sir Your very Ob. Servant
[signed] Will M.Creery
1. MacCreery's letters of 12 and 17 Sept. (above).
2. The London Chronicle of 8–10 Oct. carried a report, dated 28 Sept. from Paris, that “orders have been sent for the three following small detachments to sail, viz. the Triton of 64 guns, and the St. Michael of 60 guns, with three frigates; the Vengeur of 64 guns, with two or three frigates; and the Le Fier of 50 guns, with two frigates.”
3. The same issue of the London Chronicle noted above also reported that the 20-gun privateer Peter had taken the French East Indiaman Aquilon, but then, with its prize, had been taken by a French man-of-war.
4. JA 's letter to MacCreery of 7 Sept. (above).