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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0005

Author: Montgomery, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-03-06

From Robert Montgomery

[salute] Dear Sir

I am Honourd with your Much Esteem'd Letter of the 24th, Nov. Since Which Should have had the Pleasure of Addressing you My Respects often but Was by the loss of a Vessel Unexpectedly Called to one of the Out Ports on this Coast Where I have been Kept more than two Months without being Able in that time to write to My House More than once on Account of the Very bad Convayance for Letters thro' Most Parts of this Countrey.
I Observe that the Proceedings of Governor here as well as that of Cartagena and Cadiz Respecting Vessels of War belonging to the Belligreant Powers have Strong Simptoms of the Nuteral disposition of the Court of Spain, of which we have Several Proofs in Prises Brought in here by French Privateers and on the Prisioners Declareing that they Ware taken Within the Protection of the Spanish Coast as being Nuteral the Prises have been Embargoed and the Cruisers obledged to give Security for the Damages and the Cause brought to a Tryal in the Tribunals of the Countrey. This Matter is Not Confined to one Porte where a Perticular Partiality Might be Shewn but it has hapned in Malaga Cartagena here and at Barcelona. There are None of the Causes yet Determind but it is Generaly Suposed it will be given in favour of the English.1
On the Other hand the Vast Naval Armament Now in Actual Commission in Ferrol 12 Sail of the Line in Cadiz 50 and in Cartagena 2 with Orders to Refit all that Are found in the Arsenal of that Place with all Expidition Possible Give Room to Supose Spain Either fears or Meditates Something of Importance and as their Attention is Not turnd Materially towards their Land Force Which is Very Wake Indeed we Can't Supose they Intend any Enimity to France wich is the Only Power that they Are to Fear by Land.
Notwithstanding thos Preparations by Sea Our freind2 at Madrid has { 6 } often Assuerd us we have no Room to believe that Spain Will take Any Active Part in the present Contest.

[salute] I am Sir With the Greatest Respect your Most Obedt. humble Servt.

[signed] Robt. Montgomery
1. On 3 April, Montgomery wrote again concerning the problems faced by those bringing prizes into Spanish ports (Adams Papers). There he stated: “I begin to think that the Spanish Lawyers, will make More Prizes on this Coast, than the French Privateers, as Rearely Any Prize Comes in here [Alicante] that is not litigated.”
2. The “freind” has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0006

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1779-03-07

To Arthur Lee

[salute] Sir

I should be obliged to you to let Mr. Franklin take a Copy of our Letter to the Comte De Vergennes, relative to sending a Naval Force to America.2
The original Draught you have, which I should be obliged to you to send to me at Nantes after Mr. Franklin has taken a Copy of it, as I have no Copy of it, at all. I am with great Respect, your humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); docketed by Arthur Lee: “This letter was deliverd to me open by young Mr. Franklin in the presence of Henry Grand at Passy March the 20th. 1779. Informing me at the same time that it was a letter from Mr. Adams desiring a Copy of that letter which the Commissioners wrote to Count de Vergennes relative to sending a < [several?] Ships> naval force to America. Paris. March. 20. 1779.” Below this passage there appears an “A” and the signature “H. Ford.” The “A” is apparently by Arthur Lee, but the reason for Hezekiah Ford's signature is unclear unless he was acting as a witness to verify Lee's docketing.
1. This is the last letter that JA is known to have written at Passy. On 8 March he and JQA set out for Nantes, where they arrived on the 12th (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:356). In preparation for their journey Benjamin Franklin had issued a passport on 2 March for JA 's books (PHi), and a second on 7 March to provide safe passage for JA and JQA (CtY: Franklin Papers). The reason for the delay in presenting this letter to Arthur Lee is uncertain, but it may have been because 20 March marked Lee's first visit to Passy since JA 's departure.
2. The Commissioners to Vergennes, [ante 20] Dec. 1778 – [ante 9] Jan. 1779 (above). It is unclear to what draft JA is referring. It could be to Arthur Lee's original draft (MH-H: Lee Papers) or to one that is no longer extant. There is no indication that Lee ever complied with JA 's request. For the various drafts and copies, see the editorial and descriptive notes to that letter.
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