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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 4

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[Commissioners to David Hartley]

[salute] Sir

We2 received yours of the fifth instant, acquainting Us, that the Ministers have at length agreed to an Exchange of Prisoners.3—We shall write to Captain Jones, for the List required, which will be sent you, as soon as received. We understand there are at least two hundred. We desire and expect that the Number of ours, shall be taken from Fortune4 and Plymouth in Proportion to the Number in each place, and to consist of those who have been longest in confinement, it being not only equitable that they should be first relieved, but this Method will prevent all Suspicion, that you pick out the worst and weakest of our People to give Us in Exchange for your good ones. If you should think proper to clear your Prisons at once, and give Us all our People, We will give you our solemn Engagement, which We { 139 } are sure will be punctually executed, to deliver to Lord Howe in America, or his order, a Number of your Sailors equal to the Surplus, as soon as the Agreement arrives there. There is one thing more, which We desire may be observed: We shall note in our List the names and Number of those taken in the Service of the King, distinguishing them from those taken in the Merchants Service; that in the exchange to be made, you may give adequate numbers of those taken in the Service of the States and of our Merchants. This will prevent any Uneasiness among both your Navy Men and ours, if the Seamen of Merchantmen were exchanged before them.
As it will be very troublesome and expensive, as well as fatiguing to them, to march your People from Brest to Calais, We may endeavour to get leave for your Ship to come to the Road of Brest to receive them there, or if that cannot be, We must desire from your Admiralty a Passport for the Ship that is to convey them from Brest to Calais.
If you have any of our People still Prisoners on board your Ships of War, We request they may be put into the Prisons, to take their Chance of exchange with the rest. &c.
[signed] Signed B. Franklin,
[signed] Arthur Lee,
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. David Hartley

Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/