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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0211-0002

Author: Chavagnes, Bidé de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-16

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] My dear sir

If I have not had the honor of writing to you since my arrival at Brest it is because, having understood at La Coruña that your plan was to go to Madrid, I thought at the very most you would have arrived at Paris or Versailles. However, I take too strong and sincere an interest in your health, and that of your children and Messieurs Dana and Allen, not to ask you for news while reiterating my wishes for their happiness, and that they did not suffer too much from the length and duration of your travels, and the feelings of gratitude and affection that you have inspired in me for all the citizens of Boston.
My health and that of my crew remains excellent, although it took ten days to get from La Coruña to Brest against very strong, contrary winds and heavy seas. The poor Sensible could not help but take on water, but far less than previously. I have left all this behind. I dare to hope the Minister will be kind enough to grant me a month or six weeks to rest a little, visit my wife who can provide me with news of all that has happened, and put some order in my affairs.
I expected on my arrival at Brest that there would be an American agent, but was informed that there was not. I, therefore, turned to the Intendent, Mr. De La Porte, who assured me that, if I directed your trunks and belongings to Messrs. Gerard, de Malherbes and Allain, you would receive them. I delivered them with all due precaution, very glad to have found additional occasions to be useful to you and, likewise, your compatriots to whom I hope to have the pleasure of returning you some day. I know not where I will be sent this year, but wherever I am destined to go, as soon as I know, it will give me great pleasure to be informed of your news and to receive your orders and commissions. I pray that you are well pursuaded that nothing can equal the sentiments { 330 } of sincere and respectful devotion with which I have the honor to be for life, my dear sir, your very humble and very obedient servant.
[signed] Bidé de chavagnes
Captain of the Vessels
of the King of France
Many respectful regards to Messrs. Dana and Allen. I embrace the dear children.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “a Monsieur Monsieur Labbé Arnoux chez M. de chalut”; docketed: “ans. 24.”; by John Thaxter: “1780” and “Captn. Chevagne 16th. Feby. 1780.” The letter was addressed to Abbe Arnoux at Abbé Chalut's because, as the first sentence of the letter indicates, Chavagnes was unsure whether JA had arrived at Paris.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0212

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1780-02-17

To the President of the Congress, No. 5


[salute] Sir

It is necessary that I should inform Congress, in what manner I have been able to procure Money to defray my Expenses, in my long Journey through the greatest Parts of Spain and France, to this City.
On my Arrival at Ferrol, I was offered the Loan of Money by the French Consul Mr. De Tournelle, but at the same Time told me there was a Gentleman at Corunna Mr. Michael Lagoanere, who had heretofore acted as American Agent at that place, and who would be very happy to supply me. On my Arrival at Corunna, Mr. Lagoanere did me the Honour of a Visit, and offered me every Assistance in Cash and otherwise, telling me at the same Time, that he had some Money in his Hands, which he supposed belonged to the United States, being Part of the Proceeds of some Prizes heretofore made by Captain Cunningham—that this Money however had been attached in his Hands by some Spanish Merchant, who had commenced a Lawsuit against Captain Cunningham. I accordingly received three thousand Dollars for myself and Mr. Dana, and a Letter of Credit on the House of Cabarus at Bayonne, for as much more as I should have Occasion for. On our Arrival at Bayonne, Mr. Dana and I recieved of that House Fifty Louis D'Ors, and a Bill of Exchange on another House of the same Name and Family at Bordeaux for the like Sum, our Expences having exceeded all our Computations at Corunna, as our Journey was necessarily much longer than we expected on Account of the uncommon bad Weather and bad Roads. This Bill was paid upon Sight. So that in the whole, we have recieved the Amount of seventeen thousand four { 331 } hundred Livres, all on Account of Mr. Lagoanere of Corunna. Of this Sum Mr. Dana has recieved the Amount of four thousand nine hundred and seventy one Livres and fifteen Sols, and I have recieved twelve thousand and four hundred and twenty eight Livres and five Sols for which Sums we desire to be respectively charged in the Treasury Books of Congress.
As this Money is expended, if Mr. Lagoanere should draw upon us for it, all the Authority we have to draw upon his Excellency, the Minister here, will not enable us to pay it, and if Mr. Lagoanere should be so happy as to avoid the Attachment, and leave us to account with Congress for this Money, the small Sum we are impowered to recieve from his Excellency will go a very little Way in discharging our Expences.
We must therefore pray that Congress would forward us Authority to draw upon his Excellency for the Amount of our Salaries annually, which, without all doubt, will be paid.1

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the highest Respect and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

Dupl in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, I, f. 247); docketed: “No. 5. J. Adams Esqr Duplicate of Feby. 17th: 1780, original recievd, same time Recd. May 15. 1780 monies received.” The original has not been found. LbC (Adams Papers); notations: “recd in Congress. Oct. 15 Triplicate.”; and by Thaxter: “No. 5.”
1. At this point in the Letterbook, JA continued the sentence: “as his Excellency,” and then struck out the phrase. This letter was received on 15 May; on the 31st the congress resolved to accept the solution proposed by JA. It ordered Benjamin Franklin to pay the drafts of JA and Dana “to the amount of their respective salaries” (JCC, 17:428, 476).
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, 2018.