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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0109

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-20

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear S[ir]

I am told that a Vessell will this Day sail for Holland. I know not how to neglect so fair an Opportunity of Writing, convinced that a Line from your Friend will be acceptable, if it be only to inform you that we have an Existence in America as an indepen[den]t Nation, that our Commonwealth lives, that our annual Election is Compleated, the Legislative and executive Bodies organized, That our Families and Connections are well and that the Season is truly promising having been blessed with frequent Rains. Our Crops of Grass will be great and the English Grain has a fine Aspect. Great Quantities of the Syberian wheat have been sown this year throughout the State. Hitherto it has succeeded and no blast has happened to it, since its first Introduction in the Country, it is about Six years since any of this Grain was heard of here—a few Quarts was in the Hands of [blank in MS] in Portsmouth—last year some Farmers raised 2 or 300 Bushells.1
The Scituation of our public Affairs is not at present so favourable as I could wish for. For want of naval Assistance, the Enemy have gaind many Advantages, they have bent all their Force to the Southward, have established Posts at Virginia, North Carolina &c. and are ravaging the Southern States. They have met with many severe Checks, have lost many Men and the Army at South Carolina under Gen. Cornwallis is supposed to be lessened one half—by Battles, Sick• { 156 } ness, Desertion &c. Gen. Green has opposed the Enemy with a very inferior Force and under the greatest Embarassments has kept a Body sufficient to prevent the Conquest of those Countries, he has performed Wonders.—The Depreciation of our Paper Currency has been the fatal Source of almost all the Misfortunes We have suffered for several years past. Our Enemies are continually availing themselves of every Advantage that can be obtaind from a fluctuating Currency. They have but too well succeded in their Plans. A late Shock We have sustained, by a sudden Depreciation of the old continental Emission from 75 to 200, 250 and even 300—in one Week it fell from 75 to 150. I flatter myself that this will in the End rather serve than disserve us. It has pretty generally convinced People that We must not any longer depend on a paper Medium, and such Measures are now pursuing and will I hope be carried into effect, as will enable us to conduct our affairs with Stability. It was necessary that we should be severely whipd and a whipping we have had, such as is sensibly felt and will leave a lasting impression. It will purify our Minds, open our Faculties and lead us to guard against those Evils, which must have proved our Ruin if persisted in.
This Morning a Report prevails that the French Fleet and Army under the Command of [blank in MS] have retaken St. Lucia. I think there is a great Probability of it. We have had Advice some Days agone, that on the arrival of this Fleet in the West Indies, Rodney was before Martinico, who upon their Appearance, left his Station, attacked the French, found his Fleet unable to cope with the French and ran. The French pursued and cut him off from St. Lucia, took that Opportunity of Landing 4 or 5000 Troops and laid Seige to it.
By authentic Accounts from the Southward, The Enemy have joined their several Armies at Richmond—to the Number of 6000. Marquiss of Fayette commands our Forces in that Quarter. At present his Army is much inferior to the British. The latter will triumph for a Time; but I trust their Triumphs will be short, as such Measures are taking as will with the Smiles of Providence turn the Scale. While Cornwallis has withdrawn his Army from South Carolina, Genl. Green is taking one Post after another and will soon be master of all their Fortresses except the Capital.
This day a Letter from Genl. Washington to Genl. Heath Dated New Windsor June the 15. 1781, contains the following Intelligence “Since the Enemy formed a Junction of their several Corps in Vir• { 157 } ginia, nothing material has happened in that Quarter. On the 10th of May Lord Rawden was compelled to evacuate Camden with Precipitation, leaving behind him three of his Officers and 50 Privates so dangerously wounded as to be unable to be removed. On the 11th the strong Post of Orangeburg surrendered to Genl. Sumpter: a Colenel, several Officers and upwards of 80 men were made Prisoners. On the 12th. the garrison of Fort Mott, consisting of 7 officers 12 non commissioned officers and 165 Privates, surrendered by Capitulation to Genl. Marian.
On the 15th Fort Granby capitulated to Lieut. Col. Lee, the Garrison were made Prisoners and consisted of 1 Lieut. Col., 2 Majors, 6 Captains, 6 Lieutenants, 2 Sergt. Majors, 3 Ensigns, 2 Surgeons, 17 Sergeants, 9 Corporals, and 305 Privates. Large Quantities of Provisions were captured at some of the Posts. At the same Time the Posts of Augusta and Ninety Six were invested by Gen. Pickings: and Gen. Greane on the 16th of May had determined to march the Army to expedite their Reduction.”2
I have wrote to You by 4 or 5 Conveyances but have not been so happy as to receive a Line from you since you left America. Be pleased to remember me to Mr. Thaxter to whom I have repeatedly wrote and have received but one Letter of March 1780. His Parents and Connections are well—Your Family also, on whom I called on Tuesday in my way to this Town, where I am at present stationed and have taken a Post in public Life in compliance with the Call of the Electors of the County of Suffolk.

[salute] I am with sincere Regards Yr. affectionate Friend & H Sert,

[signed] C.T.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr. Tufts 20. June 1781.”
1. Sentence thus punctuated in MS.
2. Washington's letter to Maj. Gen. William Heath, 15 June, is printed in full in Washington's Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 22:217–218.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0110

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-22

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Bror:

I wrote you by Doctor Dexter on the 28th Ulto. which I hope will come safe to hand. Tho' I have not had the Happiness of a Line from you since you left America yet I shall gladly embrace the Oportunity that now offers (by a Ship bound to Denmark) to write you a few Lines. We have just received Letters from Spain giving an account of the very great successes against the English in India by Hyder { 158 } Ali &c.—'Tis remarkable to observe how far the Destruction of the Indian Weed at Boston a few Years ago, has operated towards the loss of the very Country itself from whence the Pride of Britain has been so fed and fostered. I mentioned in my last that the Enemy in the southern States were making their Efforts with various success. By a Letter from Genl. Washington to Genl. Heath received yesterday by Express, (which the General was so kind as to read to me) it appears that Genl. Green about the 15th Ulto. had made himself Master of the Enemy's Strong Post at Camden and three other of the strongest Posts that the Enemy held in South Carolina, together with their Stores of Provisions, Cannon and Baggage; and had taken seven or eight Hundred Prisoners. The numbers of Field Officers, Subalterns and Privates are mention'd, but I do not recollect them exactly. Genl. Washington mentions in the same Letter the junction of the Enemy's Forces in a part of Virginia, as being what would give them room to make some partial Depredations at first, but as what will finally prove destructive to them. Genl. Washington has call'd upon this State to fill up its Battallions immediately, which the Court has accordingly order'd to be compleated by the last of this Month. Three Thousand Melitia are also call'd upon from this State for “supporting Communications and for other Purposes,” together with Beef &c. for their Support. Above two hundred and fifty Yoke of Oxen and Carriages are now taken up here in this Neighbourhood for transporting Large Mortars and heavy Battering Cannon, and other Warlike Stores from this Place which will set out immediately, some of them this Day; and the like Movements are making in other Parts of this State. What the Plan of our illustrious General is, may be infer'd from the following Passage in his Letter to this Government, dated Weathersfield May 24th 1781.
“In consequence of a Conferance held between his Excellency the Count De Rochambeau and my self at this Place, the French Army will march as soon as Circumstances will admit, and form a junction with the American on the North River. The accomplishment of this Object which we have in contemplation is of the utmost importance to America, and will in all probability be attained unless there be a failure on our Part in the number of Men which will be required for the Operation, or the Enemy should withdraw a considerable part of their Force from the Southward. It is in our own Power by proper Exertions to prevent the first—and should the last take place, we shall be amply repaid our Expences by liberating the Southern States where we have found by Experience we are only vulnerable.“—”The Enemy { 159 } counting upon our want of Abillity or upon our want of Energy, have, by repeated Detachments to the southward, reduced themselves in N: York to a situation which invites us to take advantage of it.”1
We have heard that you have succeeded in Holland in a Loan, thro' the House of Messrs. Deneufville and Son, of about 100,000 Pounds Sterlg.2 If by means of that Loan you should want to have any Publick Business transacted in this Place I should be glad to be assisting in it. Or if any of your Friends should be inclined to make a Tryal of sending any Merchandize this way on Commission, I should be glad to transact Business in that way for them with the greatest care and Dispatch, and on the most reasonable Terms. I suppose any Goods that are vendable in this Country, and are well bought in Europe, will fetch here double their first Cost in Gold and Silver or Bills of Exchange by the large quantity together; and in smaller quantities such as single Pieces of Linnen &c. three for one. My meaning is that an Invoice of well chosen Goods, that amounted to one hundred Pounds Sterling first Cost at the usual wholesale Price in Europe, would fetch here, from two Hundred to three hundred Pounds of the same Sterling Money in Specie, or in good Bills of Exchange.
I know that the transacting of those Matters lays entirely out of your Line, as well as out of your Inclination; but as you must sometimes mix with the Mercantile World, should a Hint of this kind be drop'd by you it might be of Service to me. Verbum sat &c.
I expect every moment when the Vessell will be under Sail, so that I must in haste conclude, with Love to your dear little Boys and Mr. Thaxter (to whome I wrote two Letters by Doctor Dexter) your affectionate Bror. and humble Servt.,
[signed] Richard Cranch
A French Fleet of Transports from Brest under convoy of several Frigates is arrived here within about ten Days past. I hear that all but one are arrived safe, and that one, (being the ship that had most of the Wine on Board) is drove on Shore not far from Plymouth, whether she will be got off or not I dont learn, nor do I know exactly where she is. The Troops that came in this Fleet march'[d] about a Week ago.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr: to the Care of Messrs: De Neufville and Son, Merchants in Amsterdam.”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Cranch 22d. June 1781.” Dft (MHi:Cranch Papers); endorsed: “Rough Draft of a Letter to Bror. Adams June 22d 1781.”
1. These are extracts from Washington's circular letter to the New England States, 24 May, printed in full in his Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 22:109–11.
2. This effort had failed; see above, Lovell to AA, 21 May, and note 2 there.
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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/