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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: President of Congress
Date: 1780-05-02

To the President of Congress, No. 57

Paris, In this letter, { 259 } which Congress received on 19 Feb. 1781, John Adams included an English translation of a memorial presented by the French ambassador to the States General on 26 April (given as 10 April in Wharton) that announced the repeal of the fifteen percent tariff levied by France on most Dutch goods by various decrees in 1778 and 1779, together with the return of all duties collected on Dutch goods that had entered France while the tariff was in effect. Adams also reported that news from The Hague as late as 26 April indicated that the various Dutch provinces and the States General were prepared to reject British demands for assistance under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch treaties; to grant unlimited convoys for Dutch merchant ships except those carrying goods explicitly labeled as contraband in existing treaties; and to accept Catherine II's invitation to join in a league of armed neutrals. He then communicated the substance of an instruction that the provinces of Holland and West Friesland proposed be sent by the States General to its ambassador in London totally rejecting Lord Stormont's justification of Como. Charles Fielding's seizure of the Dutch convoy. John Adams then noted Sweden's authorization of convoys, general European support for the French and Russian diplomatic position, and the general consensus in Europe that Britain now would seek peace. He disagreed with the last point, stating that “Signal Success on the part of the Allies, might compel them to it but signal Success in favor of the English, would urge them giddily on, no one can say to what lengths.” Finally, he gave the substance of a “speculative Article from Brussells” on the positions of Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands with regard to the Russian declaration of an armed neutrality and how it might effect the duration and outcome of the war.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, II, f. 7–14). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:644–648.)

Docno: ADMS-06-09-02-0151

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-02

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

I am this day honord with your favor of the 25th. The post of this day from Rochfort brings advice of the arrival at Isl deé1 of a Small Vessel from Baltimore that left the Bay the 28 March. The Commandant at Bell Isl writes the advices brought by the Sloop are that Clinton had receved in Georgia a Compleat defeat and Genl. Washington with 14000 Man had open'd the Seige of New York. I give you the Channel by which we came at this inteligence of its authenticity you will if it be real in a day or two have the fullest information.
They write from Cadiz 10000 Troops are orderd to embark imediately on board the Fleet fitting at that port destind for the West Indies others give out they are to join the Fleet fitted out at Brest under Mr. de Ternay of the Madeiras and the Combind Fleets are to proceed to the United States.
The delay the french Fleet has sustaind at Brest is said to spring { 260 } | view from a want of Funds to form the Military Chest for the Expedition it is scarce probable but it is given as the true Cause. What has L. R de C2 to say in the Naval Department. Mr. Williams while I remaind at Nantes sent off by order of that Gentleman a very considerable supply of Cloathing and Broad Cloths. If for the American Army it is a very exelent method of transporting them in French Men of War.3
Having offerd our Ships to The Doctor who referd us to Mr. Le R de C. our terms were found too high which answer we received thro' Mr. Williams conveyed to him by Mr. De C. and as the Capital is too considerable to send over for one House we are constraind to alter our plan and propose taking the freight offer'd by this Government for their Islands. We are sorry to be forced to renounce sending our ships to America but the premiums are so exorbitant we cannot sail in that Trade without Loss in Ships of value.
The wine you was pleased to Commissio[n] me was forwarded by our friend Mr. Tesier4 last friday. He assures me the quality will be found to your wishes inclosed you have the Cost and charges amounting to 390. 12s which I have past to your debit.
We wait with anxiety the arrival of saturdays post that we may see the Steps Holland will pursue in virtue of the declaration of England. Affairs are ripening it cannot be long before some very extraordinary sceens must take place in Great Britain. We have a report of Mons. De Luxemburg5 being gone to England in a private line, this has given cause to many Speculative Sentiments at any rate we expect to see a very vigerous Campaign.
We are told the Docter has been very Sick I have not been honord with a line from him of some time. Wi[th] due respect I have the Honor to be Sir [yo]ur very hhb Sert
[signed] John Bondfield
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esq Hotel Valois Rue Richelieu Paris” endorsed: “Mr Bondfield 2 May. 1780.” Portions of three words on the third page were lost when the seal was removed.
1. Bondfield likely means the Ile de Ré opposite La Rochelle and northwest of Rochefort. His mention of a letter by the commandant at Belle Ile probably indicates that the sloop put into Belle Ile, which is considerably north of Rochefort opposite St. Nazaire, before proceeding on to its final destination.
2. Le Ray de Chaumont.
3. Acting under Benjamin Franklin's orders, Jonathan Williams had collected large quantities of clothing and blankets at Brest between 21 March and 15 April for shipment to the Continental Army. Williams, however, managed to place only a small portion of the merchandise aboard a single transport in Ternay's convoy (Jonathan Williams to the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 6 April and 25 July, PCC, No. 90, f. 601; No. 78, XXIV, f. 217–222).
4. Probably Pierre Texier, a merchant whom JA had met in Bordeaux in April 1778 and with whom he dined when he passed through Bordeaux in Jan. 1780 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:294, 433; 4:38–39, 239; see also JA to Bondfield, 10 June, below).
5. “Mons. De Luxemburg” remains unidentified.
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.