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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0015

Author: Massachusetts General Court
Author: Cushing, Thomas
Author: Davis, Caleb
Author: Walley, Thomas
Author: Gorham, Nathaniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1780-07-22

Committee of the Massachusetts General Court to John Adams and Francis Dana

This Government the last Winter appointed Jonathan Loring Austin Esq. their Agent to repair to Europe and procure the Loan of One hundred and fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling, part of which he { 23 } | view was impowered and directed to invest in Goods for the use of the Officers and Soldiers belonging to the Army, as the Papers herewith inclosed will more fully inform you. Mr. Austin sailed the 22d day of last January in a Continental Packet called the Zephyr Commanded by Capt. Richard and as he has never been heard of since, it is strongly Suspected he is lost. The Government therefore have thought it absolutely necessary to dispatch the Armed Ship Mars commanded by Capt. Simeon Sampson to Nantz in order to bring the goods the Government had ordered to be purchased for the Army and have directed us to request that, in case Mr. Austin should not have arrived in Europe You would procure the Loan above mentioned agreeable to the Instructions given to Mr. Austin and that You would also purchase and Ship or cause to be purchased and Shipped by the Mars the Articles enumerated in the Schedule of Goods designed for the Army And please to omit shipping the Goods mentioned in the Second and third Schedules and instead thereof please to send to our Address by the first good Opportunity that offers, a Second Parcel of Goods consisting of the same Articles that you may Ship by the Mars and also a Third parcel of Goods by any other Opportunity that presents, consisting of the same Articles as one of the Former Invoices consisted of. The great Importance of securing Cloathing for our Quota of the Continental Army is the reason of our ordering these three different Parcels of Goods by three different Conveyances, that in Case one or two of the Vessels by which the Goods are Shipped should be Captured, we may perhaps be supplied by the Third. And provided they should all arrive and the Goods should not all be wanted by the Government they may easily be disposed off. The Reason we have to apprehend Mr. Austin has miscarried and the great Importance of Seasonably procuring Cloathing for our Quota of the Continental Army must be our Apology for giving You this Trouble and in Case your Attention to the interest of the United states will not admit of your undertaking this Matter we must earnestly Request you would employ some suitable Person to execute this Business and to supply Capt. Samson with such necessarys as he may stand in need of for the use of his Ship.1
We are with great Respect Gentlemen, Your most obedient & humble Servants
Thomas Cushing   }   Committee  
Caleb Davis  
Thos: Walley  
Nath Gorham  
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P.S. Whatever Goods are Shiped must be Insured and the Premium Covered Agreable to former directions, <and> in Case of Mr. Austin's Arrival and he should not have procured and Shiped the Goods Agreable to his Instruction, he will Govern himself by the Intructions given in this Letter. The Council have Agreed that the officers and men belonging to the Mars Shall have a Certain Sum advanced to them in France, you will therefore be pleased to furnish Capt. Sampson with a Sum of Money for this Purpose and also that we have agreed to Allow to him in leiu of Prizeage and for his Expences While in France.

[salute] yr M Supra

[signed] T. C.
RC , both closing and postscript in Thomas Cushing's hand (Adams Papers); addressed: “Public Service The Honble: John Adams & Francis Dana Esqr: Paris”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Letter from Messs. Thos. Cushing, Caleb Davis, Thos. Walley & Natl. Gorham to Mr. Adams & Mr. Dana. 22d. July 1780.”
1. For Jonathan Loring Austin's appointment to negotiate a loan and purchase supplies in Europe, see the Mass. Council's letter of 13 Jan. to JA and Francis Dana, and notes (vol. 8:308–309). That letter requested, as a precaution rather than the result of a resolve of the General Court, that JA and Francis Dana act in Austin's place if he was unable to execute his commission (Mass., Province Laws, 21:348–349). The present letter from the committee appointed to over see Austin's mission stemmed from the General Court's resolves of 22 June, ordering Capt. Samson to prepare the Mars for a European voyage and specifically requesting JA and Dana to act because of fears that Austin had not reached Europe (same, p. 573). JA and Dana never exercised the powers given them by this letter because Austin reached Paris in early May (to Jonathan Williams, 14 May, note 3). The Adams Papers has a manuscript copy of a letter dated 22 July from Austin to Vergennes in which Austin proposed that Massachusetts supply the French navy with masts in exchange for money and clothing. For the result of this appeal, which was apparently referred to Gabriel de Sartine, see Francis Dana's letter of 1 Aug., note 3 (below). Austin's instructions and the “schedules” enclosed with the Council's letter of 13 Jan. have not been found, but for the instructions, see Mass., Province Laws, 21:346–348.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0016

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-22

From William Vernon Sr.

[salute] Dear sir

Yesterday I had the pleasure of receiveing yours of the 16th. March last forwarded from Rhd. Isd. by the Counte de Noailles, who arrived there fourteen days past, in the Squadron, under the command, of the Chevalier de Ternay; every ship of that divison are in Port, and the Troops in tolerable health. Hope they will soon join and co-operate with Genl. Washington, in reduceing, our common Enemy to reason—who continue their depredations of robbing, burning and plundering, with unremited ardour, as you will find by the News-Papers, transmited to you, by this conveyance.
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I find you had received several of my Letters, which was expected, you would have had, before you left France.
By the failure of the Penobscot expedition, and the reduction of Chs. Town, our Navy is reduced to a very small number. The Alliance, Confederacy, Trumbul and Deane, are the whole, except a small ship the Saratoga of 18 Guns, now ready to sail, on her first Cruise, comprize, the whole. The 74 Gun ship building at Portsmouth, will be Launched in Sepr.1 The Bourbon Frigate building at Connecticut River, perhaps may be off this Fall.2 The disaster of the Confederacy, in the loss of her Masts, you must have known, as also the success of the Deane on Two Cruises, in taking the Thorn ship of War and many other Prizes.3 The Trumbul commanded by James Nicholson Esqr. arrived in this Harbour five Weeks past, with the loss of all her Masts, in a severe conflict, with a Letter of Marque ship from Liverpool of 32 Twelve pounders and near 200 Men, bound to Georgia. She lost her Masts also, had 92 Men killed and Wounded, was obliged to bear up for N. York where she arrived, in a shattered condition, and we are credibly informed 51 of her Men were Kill'd and since Dead of their Wounds. The Trumbul had 7 Men Killed 31 Wounded 6 of whom have since dyed of their Wounds.4 She is compleated fitted and will sail with the Deane, tomorrow or next day, for the Deleware, to join the Confederacy and Saratoga.
Shall refer you to News papers for more particular intelligence of the success of Private ships of War.
I am greatly obliged, in the pleaseing Account, given me of my Son in Febry.5 not having a Line from him since Octr. I wish he may answer the expectations of all his Friends and connexions.
I think Sir you are mistaken, in our having a quit Campain this Year, its probable it will be an active, and a bloody one. Clinton has returned from the Southward, with all his Forces, leaveing a strong Garrison at Georgia and Chs. Town and will, its thought, exert himself to save a disappointed and obnoxious Ministry.
I am with great respect sr. your most Obedt. Hble servt
[signed] Wm Vernon
RC, (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “W. Vernon Esqr. 22d. July 1780 Recd. 19th. Septr.”
1. The ship of the line America was not launched until Nov. 1782. Congress had decided in Sept. 1782, however, to give the vessel to France as a replacement for the 74-gun Magnifique, which had gone aground on Lovell's Island in early August, when it entered Boston Harbor as part of the French fleet under the Marquis de Vaudreuil (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships; Boston Gazette, 12, 19 Aug. 1782).
{ 26 }
2. The Bourbon was not launched until July 1783 and was sold uncompleted in September of that year (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships).
3. For the storm damage that caused the Confederacy to put into Martinique in Dec. 1779, thus forcing John Jay to continue his voyage to Spain on the French frigate Aurora, see Morris, Peacemakers, p. 1–7; for the exploits of the Deane, see Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships.
4. For more information on the engagement between the Trumbull and the British privateer Watt on 1 June, see Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution, p. 499–506.
5. See JA's letter of 16 March (above).
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.