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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0191

Author: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-11-17

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dear Sir

I acknowlegd the Receipt of yours the 28th Octo. and 7th Instant in my last letter of the 14th. Since that day no material move with regard to our friend; but I am in consultations now and then to fix upon some mode by a motion in Parliament to have him put on parole or releasd by Bail. By the inclosd letter you will discover as much as I have yet been able to discover of the writer who appears to be Mr. L——s Secretary.1 The other papers alluded to in His letter are no where here abouts yet,2 but I will keep a look out for them knowing some of the names mentiond in the inclosd. As the inclosd has but this moment come to hand and I am rather pinchd for time by this Post, I can not further add.
You will by this time have read and heard as much as I have relative to Arnolds apostacy. Ministry have been in possession of the plan of this plot above a month (ever since Gov. Trions arrival)3 and it has been the cause of their holding out such strong assurances of success from America, and of their confidant elation. They now brag very much of a considerable disunion in W——ns army and that Knox, Skuyler, Howe, and another Genl. have come over to their Interest.4 { 356 } I do not beleive any thing of this. It is meerly held out to cover the disgrace and ruin of their dearly purchasd plots.
It is said Rodney was not to Leave Ama. till the 25th October then to go to His old Station.5 By the packet and other arrivals from N York subsequent to the Gazette accounts it appears the whole British fleet of 24 ships was blocking up Rhode Island, and no accounts whatever, in that or any other quarter, of the French or Spanish fleets. How can you account for them?
The Books lately wrote for are shippd on board the [] Captain for Amsterdam.6 Twelve or fourteen in all. The papers are sent regularly as directed. As I shall be uneasy about this inclosure please to acknowlege the Receipt of it.
The Expedition for Chesapeak is said to be saild from N York. When you get any News from the Southern army or from Virga. give me a line. What think you of the article in the inclosd mentioning the recapture of Gates's Baggage, taking Lord Cornwallis &ca.7
The Writer of the within and the Captn. Peckles will most likely be sent into Prison with their Countrymen at Portsmouth. I do not know how to help them as yet, probably Mr. L——ns friend, Mr. Manning, may be inducd to advance them a little money. Mr. Young is Mr. L——ns Secretary—and the papers said to be left with Mr. Shute were so orderd to be by Mr. L, probably to be forwarded from N foundland to some part of America.
Your Pamphlets and 2 shool books, went yesterday or this morning (13 in all) in a paper parcell directed to Messrs Q D and son. I cannot yet get the Ship or Captns name.
RC with one enclosure, (Adams Papers). For the enclosure, which has not been printed, see note 1.
1. The enclosure was a letter to Henry Laurens from Moses Young, his secretary, dated 14 Nov. on the frigate Vestal off the Isle of Wight. Young indicated that the letter was to be carried by Winslow Warren, a fellow passenger on the Vestal, who planned to go to London with Capt. Berkely, the frigate's commander, immediately upon the vessel's arrival at Spithead, the anchorage off Portsmouth. The letter was largely devoted to an account of the Battle of Camden received from a Capt. Smith, commander of the privateer brigantine Fair American, which had sailed from Ocracoke, N.C., 21 Sept. and was captured by the Vestal on 6 October. Young ended his letter with a plea for funds “to enable me to appear and act as I know Col: Laurens wishes I should.”
2. These were Henry Laurens' letters of 14 Sept. to the Committee for Foreign Affairs and his son, John Laurens. Done on the Vestal, off St. John's, Newfoundland, they reported Laurens' capture. Young indicated that a Mr. Shute had promised to forward them immediately and they ultimately reached America, by way of St. Eustatius, in early 1781 (PCC, No. 89, I, f. 201–202; South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 6:158–160 [Oct. 1905]).
3. Tryon reached London on 14 Oct. (London Chronicle, 12–14 Oct.).
4. The information provided by Digges here and in the following paragraph reflects the accounts appearing in the London newspa• { 357 } pers on or about 16 Nov.; see, for example, the London Chronicle of 14–16 and 16–18 Nov., and the London Courant of 16 November. With respect to the erroneous report of the defection of several American generals, however, the London Chronicle listed them as Gens. Knox, Sullivan, Howe, and Maxwell.
5. For the movements of Adm. Sir George Rodney and the dispatch of the expedition to the Chesapeake, noted in the second paragraph below, see Digges' letter of 14 Nov., note 3 (above).
6. The names of both the vessel and its captain were left blank in the manuscript.
7. In his account of the Battle of Camden and its aftermath, Moses Young indicated that at the end of August, a force under Gen. Richard Caswell had taken “a great Part of the Enemy's Baggage and retook the whole Baggage of Gen. Gates's Army” and that Caswell's troops had captured Cornwallis, who was later rescued. In addition, a large body of reinforcements under Gates' command was reportedly moving rapidly in Cornwallis' direction. These reports, which appeared in the London newspapers, such as the London Courant of 18 Nov., were false.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0192

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cerisier, Antoine Marie
Date: 1780-11-18

To Antoine Marie Cerisier

[salute] Sir

I have recieved the letter which You were so good as to write me on the 15th. of this Month. The Translation of the Narrative of Genl. Howe cannot fail to have a good Effect at this critical Moment.
The final Independence of America is as certain, as a decree of the Destinies. The only Question is, how much Blood shall be shed and how long Mankind shall be unnecessarily embroiled in the quarrel, and how many Nations shall be injured and insulted by one. It is plain, that Genl. Howe studiously avoids giving any Information to the rest of Mankind, which can shew the Weakness of his Country and the Strength and Unanimity of America, but what was absolutely necessary for his own Vindication. Yet enough appears, to shew his Opinion and to convince any impartial Reader. It is astonishing that any sensible Man, should still be of Opinion, that there is either Light or Integrity in the British Ministry. The whole History of the Court of St. James's for these twenty Years proves that they have had the narrowest views, and been actuated by the meanest Passions. They have betrayed a total Ignorance of the Temper, Character, Principles, and Views of America, France, Spain, Holland, Russia, Sweeden and Denmark. They have discovered a constant Contempt of Truth, Justice, Liberty and Humanity—in short they have shewn themselves ignorant of every thing that Statesmen ought to know, except the Character of their Master, and the Degree to which Corruption might be carried in their Nation, and this last Knowledge has been or will be the Ruin of themselves, their Master and Nation altogether.
Your Advertisement, and your Observations on American Credit, I shall expect with Impatience, as they will undoubtedly throw much { 358 } light upon our Affairs. You may depend upon me, Sir, for any little Assistance I may be able to afford You, in your virtuous Labours, in the Cause of Mankind. I have written for G. Burgoyne's Narrative, but have not yet recieved it. As soon as it comes it shall be sent.
This <Opportunity> Republick2 will very soon have its Eyes opened upon its Interest and its Duty. I have had too long and too painful Experience of the British Cabinet, and their Conduct, not to know, that when they use a Language like that of Sir Joseph Yorke's Memorial, they mean a great deal. It will not long be in the Power of any Man to think so favourably as some do or pretend to do.
I should be obliged to You if You would let me know upon what Terms my Sons might go to the School you mention and whether Greek as well as Latin is taught at it.
I am Sir, with very great Respect and Esteem your H. Servt.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The letter printed here is JA's second of this date to Cerisier. In the first (LbC, Adams Papers), JA thanked Cerisier for his letter of the 15th (above) and his translation of Howe's Narrative, and promised to write at greater length soon. JA also enclosed two pamphlets, one of them probably Pensées, and some papers “written in great haste.” The enclosures cannot be more fully identified, for no replies by Cerisier to either of the letters of 18 Nov. have been found, probably because his employer, the Utrecht bookseller Bartholomé Wild, had him thrown into prison for breach of contract. See Joseph Mandrillon's letter of 20 Dec. (below).
2. “Republick” is in JA's hand.
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.