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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0042

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-04-28

From William MacCreery

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Letter of 14th Instant1 from Nantes reached me to Day only. It was but very lately that I heared of your having left the Metropolis, and but now of your intentions of going to America.
I have written to Doctor Franklin on the Subject you allude to, and have had the pleasure of an Answer from him, by which I perceive that at Paris they are not well acquainted with the Duties and imposts which clog Some branches of Commerce at this Port, which do not exist in others, from its being a Conquored Province.2 I have given him as much information as my time permitted of: having a large Ship loading here for Baltimore, in which I purpose embarking, I have of late, and am still kept buisey. We expect to Sail about the 10th or 15 of May, will carry 22 Nine and 6 four Pound Guns, and have near one Hundred Men.
I presume you purpose going home in the Alliance, in which, (or indeed in any other) case, I shou'd be very glad to be in Your Company. They talk of a Fleet being to Sail about the time we expect to be ready, which we shall aim at going with, and have no doubt but you will be of it.
We have no News here save what comes from the N. E. which relates to Captures and arrivals favourable to us. I am very happy to find that the Count D'Esg. appears to be in a much better Posture than we { 50 } had reason to expect of late. I sincerely wish you a happy sight of Your Freinds on t'other side the Water, & am very truely and Respectfully Dear Sir Your obt. Servant
[signed] Will MacCreery
1. Not found, but probably an answer to MacCreery's letter of 5 March (above).
2. Bordeaux was in the province of Guyenne, which, with Gascogne, had formed Aquitaine and had come under English rule in the mid-twelfth century. Not until the middle of the fifteenth century, when Charles VII conquered the English possessions in southwest France, did it return to French rule.
MacCreery's letter to Franklin may be that of 6 March. Franklin's reply has not been found, but MacCreery's answer to it, apparently alluded to below, was probably that of 17 April, which supplied information about duties on the export of salt from various ports in France ( Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 2:38, 63).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0043

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1779-04-29

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I had, Yesterday, the Honour of yours of the 24th inclosing a Letter from his Excellency M. de Sartine, expressing his Majestys Desire that the Alliance Should be retained here a little longer.
As my Baggage was on board, and every Appearance promised that We should be under Sail in three or four days for America, in a fine ship and the best Month in the Year, this Intelligence, I confess, is a Disappointment to me. The Alliance has now a very good Crew, and the little Misunderstandings between the officers and their Captain Seem to have Subsided.
The public service, however must not be obstructed for the private Convenience of an Individual, and the Honour of a Passage with the new Ambassador, should be a Compensation to me for the Loss of the prospect of So Speedy a Return home. I cannot but hope, however that the Frigate will go to Some Eastern Port, for I had rather remain here some time longer, or even take my Lott with the Alliance in her Cruise, than go to Chesapeak or even Delaware.
I shall go round to L'orient in the Alliance, and if the Frigate which is to carry the Chevalier de la Luzerne, Sails soon, shall accept with Gratitude to his Majesty, of his obliging offer of a Passage, but I hope that his Excellency, M. De Sartine, will give the necessary orders, for this Purpose to the Frigate, otherwise I may be under an Embarrassment still.
I Sincerely join with you in your Wishes that the Alliance may make Prisoners enough to redeem our brave and honest Countrymen who have So long Suffered in English Prisons, and make Prizes enough to reimburse the Charges of refitting.
{ 51 }
I wish M. Dumas's Information may be well founded, and indeed it Seems to be favoured by a general Expectation from all Quarters.
A Vessell is arrived at Morlait and another at L'orient from Virginia—the latter brings nothing that I can learn, tho some favourable Bruits have been propagated, concerning Affairs in Georgia, as from her. As the former has brought Some Virginia and Philadelphia News-papers, I hope she may have brought, public Dispatches at least some good News. If any of either comes to your Hand proper to be communicated I should be obliged to you, for a share of it.
In a Newspaper of the 1st March, it is said that Mr. Deane has asked Leave of Absence,1 and this is all the material News, that I recollect in it excepting, indeed, G. Maxwells Letter2 giving an Account of the Affair of Elizabeth Town, by which it appears that the English were repulsed, and lost the Cattle and Horses they had taken, and if they had not fled with uncommon Dexterity, they would have been burgoinisès, a technical Term which I hope the Accademie will admit into the Language by lawful Authority.

[salute] I have the Honour, to be with great Respect, sir, your most obedient, humble sert

[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Jonh Adams Nantes 29 avril 1779.”
1. JA is referring to information contained in a piece by Thomas Paine signed “Common Sense” that appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet of 2 March. There he wrote that “Mr. Deane now wants to get off the Continent and has applied to Congress for leave of absence,” but Paine questioned whether Deane should be permitted to go in view of his unsettled accounts and the charges made by him. Even before Deane left France he had indicated his intention of returning as early as October or November (Deane to JA , 8 April 1778, vol. 6:10–13). His plans, however, went awry because the congress, in the face of the Deane-Lee controversy, required Deane to appear before it in August and December and refused to make a final determination in the case and thus excuse him from further attendance ( JCC , 11:787, 789, 802, 826; 12:1240, 1246, 1247, 1258, 1265). On 11 Sept., Deane, impatient at the delay, began a series of appeals to the president of the congress. The last one previous to Paine's letter was of 22 Feb., asking that he be informed of the congress' demands so that he might fulfill them and then return to France (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:710; 3:57; see also Deane's letters of 22 Sept., 12 Oct., 19, 30 Nov., 4 Dec. 1778, and 21 Jan. 1779 in same, 2:736–738, 761–762, 841–842, 845, 847; 3:29). Deane's pleas for action were to no avail, for not until 6 Aug. 1779 was it resolved that he could “be discharged from any further attendance on Congress” ( JCC , 14:930). Deane did not return to France until the summer of 1780, and then as a private citizen. For additional comments on Deane's rumored return, see Jenings to JA , 15 May, and JA to Jenings, 22 May (both below).
2. Brig. Gen. William Maxwell's account of his successful action against a British force that had landed near Elizabeth, N.J., on the morning of 25 Feb. was contained in a letter of 25 Feb. to George Washington. That and a covering letter by George Washington were received by the congress on 1 March, and extracts of both appeared in the Philadelphia papers, including the Pennsylvania { 52 } Gazette of 3 March and the Pennsylvania Packet of 4 March. A letter from Maxwell to Washington of 27 Feb., which was not printed, indicated that the British force had been composed of approximately 1,000 men under the command of Lt. Col. Thomas Sterling, and had as its objective the seizure of Gov. William Livingston at his home near Elizabeth. When it was discovered that Livingston was not there, the British force returned to its boats (PCC, No. 169, V, f. 202–206).