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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0303

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-26

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Sir

You have long since known, that the American Navy is reduced to Two Ships only, viz The Alliance John Barry Commander, now in France and the Deane Samll Nicholson Comr. that sailed on a Cruise to the Southward, about seven weeks past, no intelligence from her since her departure.1
This low state of our Navy, has caused the dissolution of the Admiralty and Navy boards, by resolve of Congress on the 7th of Sepr. last,2 devolving the whole business of the Marine department upon the Honorable Robt. Morris Esqr., until an Agent shall be appointed for that purpose, by Congress. All those boards, was immediatly closed, except ours, which was continued, until the above Ships (then in this Harbour) were compleated for Sea, then to terminate and finally end, with the delivery of all the remaining Stores, Papers, Books &c &c, in the possession of the Navy Board Eastn Dept. to the Order of the Superintendant of Finances.
This requisition has been made by John Brown Esqr. late Clerk to the Admiralty Board appointed by Mr M— to receive the same, leaving our numerous Debts unpaid, subjecting us to litigious Law suits and perplexities, disgraceful to the Office, and highly degradeing to the Servants of the Public, conceiveing ourselves subjected to reproach and every evil, that injured Creditors are but too apt to through out, we have refused to comply with, until Congress shall point out the mode of exonerating our Office with honor, and reputation, thereby freeing us from the perplexities that we must unavoidably be involved in. It is uncertain wheather my Son, returns to America this Year, or remains in Europe,3 I am perswaded Sir, in every instance he will receive such favors from you, as his conduct { 464 } and behavior may merit, more I would not wish to ask. I am with perfect esteem, The honor to be Sr. Your most Obedt. Humble servt.
[signed] Wm Vernon
1. The Boston Independent Chronicle of 23 May reported the return of the Deane from a nine week cruise, during which it had taken five prizes. Shortly thereafter, because of Silas Deane’s apparent treachery, the Deane’s name was changed to the Hague, presumably in honor of Dutch recognition of American independence (Morris, Papers, 5:337–338).
2. JCC, 21:943.
3. Despite the efforts of his father, who ultimately disowned him, William Vernon Jr. did not return to America until 1797 (Richard A. Harrison and others, eds., Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary, 5 vols., Princeton, 1976–1991, 3:120–126).
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/