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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0126

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-08

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

I received the letter you did me the Honour of writing to me by Mr. Andrews,1 and shall render him every Service I can in his Application.
Your Books and Trunks have been lodged here by Mr. Thaxter, and will be taken care of. They are of no Inconvenience to me.
We begin to be in pain for Mr. Laurens who was to have sailed 3 Days after M. Searle. If that took place, he has been out 10. or 11. { 259 } Weeks. I hope he did not sail so soon, otherwise it would be probable that he is either lost or taken.
I do not just now recollect my having written, as from myself, any Letter to the Grand Pensionary. I drew indeed the Letter that was sent by the Commissioners acquainting him with the Treaty of Commerce, to which we had no Answer.2 But I will search, and If I can find such a one will send you a Copy, with a Copy of the other.
I shall be glad to hear if you are like to make any Progress in the Affair of a Loan, which I understand M. Laurens was charged with. I send you enclosed a Copy of a Vote of Congress, respecting your Salaries.3 I hope you will be able to do without my Assistance. If not, I must furnish you. But I have been obliged to Accept Mr. Neufville's Bills on Account of his Acceptances of those drawn on Mr. Laurens, and I shall with some Difficulty, be able to pay them; tho' these extra Demands often embarras me excedingly.
We hear that the Alliance is arriv'd at Boston.
I beg leave to recommend to your Civilities M. Searle a Member of Congress for Pensilvania, with whose conversation you will be pleased, as he can give you good Information of the State of our Affairs when he left America.
I ought to acquaint you, a governo, as the Merchants Say; that M. Le Comte de V. having taken much amiss some Passages in your Letters to him, sent the whole Correspondence to me, requesting that I would transmit it to Congress.4 I was myself sorry to see those Passages. If they were the Effects merely of Inadvertance, and you do not on Reflection approve of them, perhaps you may think it proper to write something for effacing the Impressions made by them. I do not presume to advise you; but mention it only for your Consideration.
The Vessel is not yet gone, which carries the Papers.
With great Regard, I have the honour to be Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] B Franklin
Perhaps the Letter you desire is one I wrote to M. Dumas, who might show it to the G.P.5
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Dr Franklin. 8. Oct. 1780 by Mr Searle.”
1. Of 29 Sept. (above).
2. This is the letter of 28 April 1778 from the Commissioners to Pieter van Bleiswyck, the Grand Pensionary of Holland (vol. 6:61–62), but see Franklin's postscript.
3. This was Congress' resolution of 31 May, requiring Franklin to pay the drafts of JA and Francis Dana for their salaries (JCC, 17:476). A copy of the resolution is in the Adams Papers.
{ 260 }
4. See the letters exchanged by JA and Vergennes in June and July (above). For Vergennes' letter to Franklin of 31 July and Franklin's letter of 9 Aug. to the president of Congress, see Editorial Note, The Dispute with the Comte de Vergennes, 13–29 July (above). For JA's negative response to Franklin's advice, see his reply of 30 Nov. (below). There JA seems to indicate that he did not receive Franklin's letter until the date of his reply, despite the fact that it was carried by James Searle, who arrived in Amsterdam and met with JA on or about 23 Oct. (to Edmund Jenings, 23 Oct., below).
5. Franklin is referring to his letter of 22 Sept. 1778 to C. W. F. Dumas, for which no recipient's copy has been found. Dumas met with Pieter van Bleiswyck on 22 Oct. 1778 and gave the Grand Pensionary an extract from Franklin's letter. Dumas described his meeting with van Bleiswyck in his letter to the Commissioners of 30 Oct. 1778, and included the passage from Franklin's letter (vol. 7:179–184; see, in particular, note 5).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0127

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-09

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I reached Leide in the Scout1 at 6. o Clock, and finding it impossible from thence to get to Roterdam that night in a Scout, I took a Carriage, and rode on to that place, where I arrived between 10 and 11 Clock at night. There I luckily found a French Gentleman who was bound for Antwerp; with him I took another Carriage at Rotterdam, and tho' the road was exceedingly bad, we got on within one league of this place at 1/2 past 7. Clock last evening, the gates being then shut, we cou'd not enter till this morning. I immediately proceeded to this Hotel (Laboureur) and found Mr. Thaxter in bed, and all things safe—Nothing unfortunate has taken place.2 I have been so much fatigued in my rout, being unwell as you know when I set off, that I shall not think of leaving this place before to morrow morning, if then, and we shall proceed on leisurely without travelling at all in the night, if to be avoided.
I am, dear Sir, with much respect and esteem, your most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] FRA Dana
1. A flat bottomed, Dutch river boat (OED).
2. It is likely that Francis Dana was sent to meet John Thaxter because of JA's concern over the safety of his Letterbooks and other papers that Thaxter was bringing from Paris (to James Searle, 23 Sept., note 2, above). Dana indicates that he was back in Amsterdam by the evening of 12 Oct. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0128

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-10-10

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

Since my letter of the 6th there has been no material incident relative to Mr. H. L——s Commitment; nor is the rigour of his confinement abated. No person whatever can speak to Him but in hearing { 261 } and sight of the two attending Messengers. It is said the Secy. of States order will produce admittance to his room, but nothing else. Some of his torey relations, and a Mr. Manning a Merchant of the City and a Correspondant of Mr. L——s, have made attempts to speak to him but did not succeed.1 He is wise enough to be cautious who he Speaks to. It is generally thought this rigour will be taken off in a few days, and that His freinds, who are now backward for fear that any stir may be disadvantageous to Him, will have admittance. Almost every person here is crying out shame upon this sort of treatment of Mr. L——s.2 These people seem determind to act always in extreem and never to take the middle road. Nothing veryfys it so strongly as the present exultations for a defeat given to Genl. Gates's Army by Lord Cornwallis on the 16th Augt. An officer arrivd with the account yesterday and put the whole City in a ferment of joy. I inclose you the printed Gazette account.3 Last week, and indeed until yesterday every torey face wore an uncommon gloom and the cry was “We are all undone—We have lost America—our Army will be Burgoind—our fleets beaten &c.” and now it is directly the reverse “The defeat of Gates gives us No. and So. Carolina certain—Virginia will come in—Washington will be able to do nothing at N York—The french fleet will be blockd up—We shall conquer Ama. yet &c. &c.” This sort of nonsence makes me sick. It has been pretty confidantly talkd of lately that the Cabinet had determind to prosecute the War in America with vigour, and that 10 Ships of the line and 10,000 troops were to be sent out immediately. There seems to be as thick heads within as without the Cabinet. There is an appearance of 4 Ships of the line and some troops being intended for America immediately—most likely for the Southward; But this may be a politic measure in the ministers to give out even if they are determind to get rid of the American War.
The people generally are in fears about Jamaica and for the other Islands. No news from thence lately.
I am with great respect & Esteem your obligd & Obt Ser
[signed] WS.C
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “W.S. C Octr. 10th 1780.”
1. For the first visitors permitted Laurens, see Digges' letter of 17 Oct. (below).
2. For the printing of a French translation of the preceding report on Henry Laurens in the supplement to the Gazette de Leyde of 7 Nov., see C. W. F. Dumas' letter of that date (below).
3. The enclosed clipping from the London Gazette of 9 Oct. has not been found. The Gazette account of the Battle of Camden (see James Lovell's letter of 7 Sept, and note 2, above) was reprinted in the other London newspapers on the 10th. The report was contained in Cornwallis' letter to Lord George Germain, dated 21 Aug., at Camden. The sentiments expressed by Digges were very similar to those in the commentary appearing in the London Evening Post of 7–10 October.
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.