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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10


Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0048

Author: Digges, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-24

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

I wrote you a few lines on the 18th and 22d Instants1 chiefly to inform you the news of those days, but as they were forwarded by the usual conveyance of Post (my not knowing you were then in Holland) I suppose they will not get to hand earlier than this letter; which is born by a particular friend Mr. Saml. Hartley a relation of D. Hartleys. He is a considerable Merchant of this place and goes abroad on some commercial business to Holland (I beleive in the neutral-flag way) which will also lead Him to Paris. He has ever shewn himself an open friend to the cause of our Country, and as I dare say He would be glad to express it to any of our publickly employd Men abroad, I beg leave to recommend Him to your notice should chance bring you together either in Holland or France. As Mr. Hartley is perfectly well acquainted with the publick movements of this Country and well informed as to the news of the day and the beating of the pulses of the people generally, I take the liberty to refer you to Him for particulars. The late news of the Capture of a whole outward bound East and West India Fleet by the combind fleet of France and Spain,2 has thrown a gloom upon the minds of the people which you can much more easily guess than I can describe. It has been a black week at Loyds, and well it may, for one half of the underwriters that walk that Coffee House, will likely be ruind by such a vas[t] and unexpected Capture. The general uneasiness among all ranks, is not a little heighten'd by the dark prospect of things in the west Indies, and the flying reports of Rodneys defeat with the loss of several ships. The accounts from Amera. too are not the most favorable for the accomplishment of the desird object unconditional Submission. The Expedition into the Jerseys under Neiphausen has been { 90 } repulsd and was nearly surrounded; and that check it is said prevented Clinton from trying any thing up the No. River.
The Ministerial runners however still give out with a degree of impudence and falseness that is astonishing, that they are shure of No. Carolina, Virga., and Maryland “comeing in” as they term it to the feet of this Country. The torrent of folly which reignd ever since the capture of Chs. Town on the subject of this “comeing in” of all southern Ama., has subsided very generally among the thinking people within this week or two. There are those among the great however who still keep it up and exult exceedingly about the state of Affairs in Ama.; but I never suffer myself to be dejected by the triumphs of a People so easily and suddenly elated. God Governs, and I trust the second “hour of their Insolence” will be of as short duration as the first.
I am with the highest esteem Dr Sir Yr Obligd & Obt Ser
[signed] W S. C
1. No letters of these dates from Digges have been found, although Digges does refer in his letter of 25 Aug. (below) to this letter as being of the 22d, rather than the 24th. For an indication of the content of the letter of the 18th, however, see Digges' letter of that date to Benjamin Franklin, since he often wrote similar letters to the two men on the same day (Digges, Letters, p. 247–251).
2. This report and those that follow are taken largely from the London newspapers of 23 and 24 Aug. (see for example the London Courant), but see also William Lee's letter of 27 Aug. (below) for an account of the capture of the convoy bound for the Indies.

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0049

Author: Digges, Thomas
Author: Church, William Singleton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-25

From Thomas Digges

[salute] Dr. Sir

Since I wrote you the 22d (by a friend Mr. S. H——l——y)1 nothing material has transpird and the arrival of news by a small Vessel from Boston to Bristol has not removd in any measure the gloom on the generality of countenances here in consequence of the late disaster to the outward bound East and West India Fleet. Tho I have seen J[ohn] T[emple] we have no exact accounts by this vessel to Bristol. She appears to have been purchasd by Mr. R. Temple to bring to Europe His Family, He meaning to settle in Ireland for His Health.2 She had 32 days passage which brings the day of Her sailing to about the 21st or 22d July. The accounts by Her are that Monsr. Ternays Squadron had arrivd safe at Rhode Island where he had debarkd His troops and sent them on the Continent. Three of the Transports had { 91 } seperated and put into Boston but the Troops had been immediately marchd over land to Providence.
There was no accounts of the arrival of Adml. Greaves or the least item of any Expedition up the No. River under Clinton. No other passengers but Temples Family, and the above is all I can gather about the vessel or the news she brings. If any occurs you shall have it by next post.
I am with very great Esteem Dr sir Yr Ob Ser
[signed] W S. C
The vessel arrived at Bristol the 23d.
1. The reference to Samuel Hartley indicates that Digges is referring to his letter of 24 Aug. (above), that he had initially dated the 22d. In that letter Digges had indicated that he had written on the 22d, but no letter of that date has been found.
2. John and Robert Temple, both from Massachusetts, were well known to JA. Digges' report on the vessel that carried Robert Temple and his family to Bristol, where it had arrived on 23 Aug., and the information derived from its passengers is almost identical to the account that appeared in the London Courant of 26 August. In a further report on 28 Aug., the London Courant declared that it was well known that Robert Temple had “nothing to communicate that will be very pleasing to our half-mad ministers, concerning the state of affairs in the country he is come from.”
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/