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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


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Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0050

Author: Jones, John Paul
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-05-13

From John Paul Jones

[salute] Sir

You will confer on me a singular Obligation by favoring me with your Opinion and Advice respecting the unhappy misunderstanding { 61 } which I am told prevails on board the Alliance. I ask your advice because, tho I am determined to preserve Order and Disciplin where I command, yet I wish to reprove with moderation and never to punish while there remains a good Alternative. It appears that there is a fault at least in one of the parties, and I wish much to know where the fault lies, for without harmony and general good will among the officers I cannot proceed with a good prospect.
I beseech you to favor me with an Answer as soon as possible.1 When I have the honor of seeing you Ashore I will put into your hands a letter2 which I have received—in the meantime if you require it I will promise to keep your Answer a Secret.
I have the honor to be with sentiments of great respect Sir Your very Obliged very Obedient humble Servant
[signed] Jno. P. Jones
RC (Adams Pacers).
1. Jones, at Lorient preparing for the planned assault on the English and Irish coasts (see Benjamin Franklin to JA , 24 April, note 1, above), lost no time in consulting JA , who had arrived on the previous day in the Alliance (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:369). JA indicated that he continued to hold the opinion expressed in his letter to Benjamin Franklin of 13 April (above) and then stated that “these little unhappinesses appear to me to be so little essential, that I fancy the shortest and surest way to cure them is to get to Sea, and find something else to think of.” ( JA to Jones, 13 May, offered for sale by Anderson Galleries, First Editions, Autograph Letters and Manuscripts, cat. 4135, N.Y., 1934, p. 4. The current location of this letter is unknown to the editors.)
2. The letter is unidentified, but Jones may have shown it to JA when the two men dined together on 13 May. JA 's Diary entry for that day contains a description of the dinner and a brief character sketch of Jones ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:370–371).

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0051

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1779-05-14

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

The Day before Yesterday, We arrived here, in two Days from Nantes, all well.
There is a Frigate now turning into this Port, which is said to be Le Sensible, and if this is true, I hope, it will not be a long Time before We get to sea.
The Chevalier de La Luzerne I hope is sensible of the Value of every Moment in the last half of the Month of May towards a Voyage to America. If We wait untill the Middle of June, We May very well chance to have a Passage of Eleven or Twelve Weeks.
In my last Letter I mentioned my Hope that the Chevalier would go to the Northward. It is true that I am much interested in this, but I hope my own share in this Buisiness, did not entirely suggest that Wish. The greatest Concourse of British Men of War is undoubtedly at { 62 } present between the West India Islands and those Parts of America which lie between Rhode Island and Georgia. Captain Jones in a Vessell from Baltimore, whom I saw at his arrival in <Nan> at St. Nazare which was last sunday night in a Passage of Thirty days told me there were three British Frigates cruising in the Mouth of Cheasapeak Bay. As We have had no Arrival from Philadelphia so long there is great Reason to believe that there is more than one Vessell of War of the Line or Frigates cruising in Delaware Bay. Therefore I think the Chance of getting safe into Port, is ten Times greater at Boston than Philadelphia, and I presume the Chevalier, wishes to avoid a Captivity as well as myself, altho in such an unfortunate Case he would probably be treated with more Politeness than I should.
The Transportation of his Baggage by Land, as well as that of Mr. Gerard is a Thing that deserves Attention to be sure—But it had better go by Land, to Boston than by sea to New York. As to Mr. Gerards I presume, he will bring nothing to Europe with him but what is absolutely necessary, as every Thing he has will fetch in America twice as much as would replace it in Europe—and in this Way Insurance and Risque will be avoided.
Mr. Chaumont gave Us the Pleasure of his Company this Morning at Breakfast. His son made Us a Visit before. Both are very well.
I should be obliged to you, if you would present my Compliments to his Lady and Family, and now I have begun with the Ladies, if you think it worthwhile you will oblige me much by making my Compliments acceptable to Madame Bertin, Madame Brillon and Madame Helvetius, Ladies for whose Characters I have a very great Respect.1 I have the Honor to be with great Respect sir your humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Jonh Adams L'Orient may 14 1779.”
1. While at Passy, JA had dined and conversed with these women, all friends of Franklin. See JA, Diary and Autobiography , 4:94–95, 47–49 , 58–59.