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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


This note contained in document ADMS-06-13-02-0043
3. Livingston refers to the Lovell cipher, which he replaced with a nomenclator code. He may have enclosed the code only with the original of this letter, for in his reply of 6 Sept., below, JA indicated it had not arrived with the duplicate. The original, and very likely the code, were sent with numerous other letters, including that of 31 May from Livingston to Thomas Barclay. Livingston wrote to Barclay that the packet intended for JA contained “papers of great consequence, that you will keep by you, till you can be sure they will go safe to his hands without inspection at the post offices—perhaps for greater precaution it would be well to enclose them to some Banker in Amsterdam upon whom you can rely” (PCC, No. 79, I, f. 444–445). This may indicate that the code was enclosed only with the original that Barclay received, for Barclay wrote to JA on 4 Sept., below, that he was sending the packet under cover to Ingraham & Bromfield at Amsterdam. He then apparently changed his mind and gave the packet to John Jay to give to JA whenever he arrived in Paris (from Barclay, 27 Sept., below). But JA did not report receiving the code until his letter of 30 May 1783 to Livingston (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:457).
The code that Livingston sent is in the Adams Papers on two large sheets of paper, one intended for encoding and the other for decoding a document. The first contains an alphabetical list of printed words or parts of words, after which are written the code numbers. The second contains a printed list of numbers from 1 to 1,000, after which are written the words or parts of words that the numbers represent. It should be noted that the list of words is endorsed “Mr Dana's Papers.” and “Cypher Amsterdam Provinces,” while the list of numbers is endorsed “Cypher No. 1. to No. 1011.” For both documents see Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 602; for a printed version of the first document, see Ralph E. Weber, United States Diplomatic Codes and Ciphers, Chicago, 1979, p. 328–336.
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/