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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


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Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0176-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-30

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

I have received the honor of your letter of the 27th and am indebted to you for your obliging intentions which prompted you to write me.
I have not been able to see anyone to find out what is going on because no one has been in and also because I have been indisposed for the past two days. I will go out this evening to try to learn something.
If you go to Amsterdam, have the kindness, sir, to inform me of your departure date, and the length of time that you will be absent from Leyden. It is a necessary precaution these days, since some event may present itself that I must come to tell you of at Leyden and for which I would not like to make a useless trip.
When you write to me through the post, it is only necessary to write my name on the address because everyone knows it. But if the letter is carried by boat, it is good to add chez Made. la Veuve Loder.1 Otherwise the letters risk being lost.
{ 242 }
They are currently building ships of war for the Admiralty of Amsterdam in private shipyards. A shipbuilder in Zaandam offered to build six. I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. Dumas' wife Marie, whose first husband was named Loder (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence , p. 48).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0177

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-31

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I send you a few Prints and the last monthly Journals yet from the Press.1 The Enemy will give you one of the most candid accounts of the naval Engagement on the 16th. that I have at any time seen in Rivington's royal Gazette. Our Allies have conducted most gallantly: a Fog which seperated their Ships a few days before the Engagement deprived them of the Opportunity of giving an immense Turn to our southern Affairs. However, their proved Zeal and Activity have so impressed the Enemy, that the british Fleet has not ventured to remain in Cheseapeak to push the Advantages which had fallen to them by the Chance of War.2 We have some pretty possitive Information of a severe Cannonade of three hours at Sea on the morning of the 24th. after the british had gone down the Bay of Cheseapeak, at present I suspect that both the Severity and Continuance are heightened by Imagination from some single Engagement between two Frigates. It cannot be the Rhode Island Squadron.
I have not heard from your Lady of late. I shall have Opportunity in a few days, I think, to send what Jones brought for her.
We impatiently wait for your Comments upon the british Conduct at St. Eustatia and the Manner in which Their H. Ms. of the U Provinces receive it.

[salute] I am affectionately yours

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams Minister Plenipoy. of the U Ss. of America now in Holland”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Lovell. 31st. March 1781.”
1. Besides the enclosed prints and journals that have not been identified, this letter may have contained copies of two letters from Nathanael Greene to the president of Congress, dated 10 and 16 March respectively. The first described Greene's preparations for and anticipation of an engagement with Cornwallis' army; the second described the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on 15 March. There are copies of these letters, in a clerk's hand, in the Adams Papers under the date of 31 March, the day on which they were read in Congress ( JCC , 19:335).
2. James Rivington's New York Royal Ga• { 243 } zette of 28 March contained a detailed account of the battle on 16 March off the Virginia Capes at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay between fleets commanded by Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot and Como. Destouches.
The battle was not as decisive as Lovell indicates. Destouches obtained a tactical advantage and severely damaged three of the British vessels, thereby obtaining superiority over the British. He did not, however, press his advantage and, instead, returned to the French base at Newport. This permitted the British to retire to Lynnhaven Bay, just inside the Virginia Capes, and maintain control over access to the Chesapeake while they repaired their ships and regrouped (Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence , p. 170–174).