A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0060

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-01

From John Thaxter

There is this day a Confirmation of the News of the taking the fleet mentioned in my Letter1—with this addition that there is 62 instead of 55 taken—they had great quantities of provisions and warlike Stores on board, a considerable quantity of Brass Ordinance also, which they were carrying to their fleets and Armies—this Event is very unhappy for the English, and has sunk their funds. The Number of Sailors I know not—whether any soldiers or not I am equally uncertain—it is however probable that there are many of both.
I have said in the same Letter that the Cte. D'Estaing was to command the Combined fleets—I am not certain of that—there is no End to the Reports—that he is in Spain is certain—every thing else of him and the destination of the combined fleets is envelopped in Mysteries more perplexing than the prophecies. This being the Case, all one has to do is, to pray for more wisdom, and for the prosperity and success of him and the fleets.
The Description of the Exchange in London upon the Confirmation of the News of the loss of the fleets mentioned in my letter.
“The long faces, the gloomy Shades of discontent, the motley of painful Attitudes, the Concert of murmurs, Sighs and yawnings upon different Tones, the stupid Aspects, the fuller silence of some, the stifled laughter of others, the bursts of fury of certain Groupes, the { 121 } deafening Imprecations of some others, in general the convulsive Agitation of this Multitude, which resembled an Ant's Nest disturbed by the first stroke of a Spade, forms a Picture more easy to be imagin'd than described, and well worthy the pen of an Addison and the pencil of an Hogarth.”2
This Picture is taken from the life, but not yet published according to Act of Parliament.
I have transcribed the above for your Amusement, and hope I shall not fail of my Object.
NB. The Soldiers and Sailors amounted to nearly 4.000—the loss is computed at a million and an half Sterling.
[signed] J. T.
1. Thaxter reported on the capture of a large portion of the British convoy bound for the East and West Indies on 9 Aug. in his letter of 27 Aug. (not printed), but see Francis Dana's letter of that date, and note 5 (above).
2. Thaxter's source for this quotation has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-09-02

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of 27 Ultimo came to hand last night. Mr. Bradford informs me that he Sent to Paris by Post a Packet from Dr. Cooper to me.1 Have you heard nothing of it?
Upon my first Arrival I told Mr. De Neufville, that I had orders to pay him 60£ st. for you and offered to do it then; but he has put it off.
There are no Vessells here going to Massachusetts—but there is one going to Rhode Island, and one to Virginia. There is one also in which Mr. Cabot is interested. I thank you for accepting Mr. Gardoqui's Bill. The News of the Captures made off St. Vincents by the combined Fleets has not yet gained full Credit here. There is neither Letter nor Newspaper from London later than the 18 of August.
I came this moment from paying Mr. De Neufville, and inclose you his Recipt for Sixty Louis D'ors. The News of the Captures off St. Vincents is confirmed in Abundance from London, and We have News at Same Time of an American Frigate and two Privateer Brigs taking most of the Quebec Fleet.
A Vessell has arrived from Virginia and another from Philadelphia. Mr. Robert Temple and his Family, are arrived at Bristol from Boston. { 122 } All these Vessells agree in their Accounts that Things are very well. But no Letters.2 You will see G. Washingtons and Greens Accounts of Kniphausens Defeat and Retreat from the Jersies. There are Associations for forming Banks at Philadelphia and another talked of at Boston. The Mass Constitution is accepted by more than 2/3 of the People and is to take Place the first of October. My Loves to M. T[haxter]. and my dear Friends the Abbys Chalut and Arnoux. My Thanks also to Mr. Grand for his genteel Letters of Recommendation and Credit.3 With much affection your Friend
1. For Samuel Bradford and the packet, probably Samuel Cooper's letter of 11 May (Adams Papers), see Cooper's letter of 23 May, note 6 (above) and Francis Dana's letter of 9 Sept. (below).
2. The recently arrived ships may not have carried any letters, but that from Philadelphia likely brought newspapers, namely the Pennsylvania Packet of 1 July and the Pennsylvania Journal for 5 and 12 July. These issues are referred to in the Gazette de Leyde of 8 Sept., and Jean Luzac's letter of 7 Sept. (below) thanked JA for sending three American newspapers. The Pennsylvania Packet of 1 July contained the letters from Gens. Greene and Washington, dated 24 and 25 June respectively, the first reporting on the defeat of Lt. Gen. Knyphausen's expedition into New Jersey and the second transmitting the report to Congress. The two issues of the Pennsylvania Journal contained the reports on efforts to establish banks at Philadelphia and Boston and on the Massachusetts Constitution.
3. An undated note by Ferdinand Grand, probably written on or about 1 Aug. (Adams Papers), served as a covering letter for four letters of credit and recommendation, of which only three are with Grand's note in the Adams Papers. The three letters, each dated 28 July, are directed to Frederick Romberg & fils at Brussels, Pierre Cornabé & fils & Cie. at Leyden, and Henry Dusauzet at The Hague. The presence of the three letters in the Adams Papers probably indicates that they were not used and make it likely that the missing fourth letter was used and was directed to a firm in Amsterdam.
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.