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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0051

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-27

From Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

I have been made very happy by the letters you forwarded to me. I presume you must have been also, by those you wou'd receive by the same hand. Pray give my regards to Mr: Guild.1 You make no mention whether you have paid Messrs: de Neufville and Son the £60 sterling agreable to our proposal, nor whether there are any vessels going from Amsterdam for Massachusetts.2 If so I shall give further orders to those Gentlemen immediately. I enclose a short memorandum of Messrs. Gardoquis draft on you.3 I carried the Drs: last draft in your favour to Mr. Grand, and desired him to carry the whole to your Credit, which was done accordingly. I yesterday waited on the Dr: to beg for myself, and very readily procured a draft in my own favour; so that you will consider the last you obtained; as appropriated solely to your use. I have th'ot it adviseable to give you this information that you may order your affairs accordingly. Please to give my love to the Children. Admiral Geary went into Port with his whole Fleet, except two, on the 18th instant. This Mr. Genet communicated to me in the time of it.4 The combined Fleet sail'd from Cadiz the 30th. ultimo and you see what has taken place on the { 93 } 9th. instant.5 Perhaps we may receive some few deductions. But it is a very happy stroke on many accounts which will be obvious to you. No news yet from our poor Country. God bless it, and soon put an end to all its distresses. I remain, Sir, with the greatest respect and most sincere friendship Yours, &c,
[signed] Fra Dana
RC (Adams Papers). This letter occupies the fourth page of a four-page document, endorsed “Mr Dana August 27th 1780.” The first three pages contain letters, neither of which are printed, from the Abbés Chalut and Arnoux of 26 Aug. and John Thaxter of 27 August. The abbés visited Thaxter on the 26th and probably left their letter with him to be sent on to JA. Since their letter filled only part of the first page, Thaxter and Dana used the remainder for their letters. The abbés' letter expressed their regret at receiving no news of JA and his sons and their hope that he would soon return to Paris. For Thaxter's letter, see note 5.
1. Benjamin Guild delivered numerous letters from AA, AA2, and others to JA, JQA, and CA at Amsterdam on 19 Aug. (JQA, Diary, 1:57; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:326, 334–335, 361; from Samuel Cooper, 23 May, note 6, above). Guild also carried letters for Francis Dana, one of which was of 26 May from Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant. Dana acknowledged this in a letter of 22 Sept. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook), and indicated that he had received the letters carried by Guild on 25 Aug., but no letter from JA forwarding them has been found.
2. In a letter of 25 July to Jean de Neufville & Son, which was carried by JA to Amsterdam, Dana had indicated that JA would pay them for goods shipped to America at Dana's order (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook), but see JA's letter of 2 Sept. (below).
3. In a letter to Joseph Gardoqui & Sons of 20 Aug., Dana acknowledged receiving a letter from the firm to JA and indicated that he had paid the enclosed bill (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook). The last known letter to JA from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons was of 10 June (above), but it is unlikely that Dana refers to that letter, since in his letter he refers to a letter of 5 Aug. directed to him. If that is the case then neither the letter nor the memorandum referred to by Dana has been found, but a partial account of JA's expenses for the period from Dec. 1779 to 10 June 1782 indicates that a bill from Joseph Gardoqui & Sons for 928L was paid on 19 Aug. 1780 (MH-H: Schaffner Collection).
4. This information was apparently contained in a note from Edmé Jacques Genet of 24 Aug. that Dana acknowledged in a letter of 25 Aug. (MHi: Francis Dana Letterbook).
5. This refers to the French translation of the London Evening Post's (22–24 Aug.) account of the capture of a large portion of the British convoy bound for the East and West Indies by the combined French and Spanish fleet on 9 Aug. that was contained in John Thaxter's letter of 27 Aug. (not printed, see descriptive note). There Thaxter indicated that Dana had just received the report from Edmé Jacques Genet, but see also William Lee's letter of 27 Aug. (below). The total loss was enormous: 61 ships valued, with their cargoes, at £1,500,000, and 3,000 prisoners (Mackesy, War for America, p. 357).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0052

Author: Lee, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-27

From William Lee

[salute] Dr Sir

As you desire in yours of the 23. I now send you the Packet and least the English mail should be detain'd by the wind from you as it has been here I send you the contents of a letter from Mr. Stephens Secratary of the Admiralty to LLoyds Coffee House for the information of the Merchants—which is dated the 22 instant.1
{ 94 }
Mr. Stephens says he has received a letter dated Augt. 9. from the Capt. of the Thetis Frigate who in company with the Ramillies was convoy[ing?] the West India fleet of 54 Sail with Genl. Rainsfords Regiment on [ . . . ] 25 East India Men, which informs him that in the evening of [the?] 8th in Lat: 36.40 and Longit: 15 West, they unfortunately fell in with the United fleet from Cadiz and he fear'd that almost the whole convoy had fallen into the Enemys hands. This I hope is only the begining of good News.
'Tis certain that Congress has not paid that attention to the Dutch that they merited, or that the interest of America requir'd; and it is not a little unfortunate that other powers have been treated with the same neglect, since it is more than probable that at this period, by proper management, a general acknowlegement [of our] Independence might be obtain'd, which would in a great [mea]sure remove the principal objection that the Enemy [preten]d to have against making Peace. For my own part, I cou'd [wish to] see Portugal treated as she deserves, by all the United Powers [declar]ing War upon her, when she cou'd not do us half the injury [that] she does now under the flimsy pretext of Neutrality.
Be pleased to send me, if you can procure them, the particulars of the plan, by which St. Thomas's is constituted a Free Port.
Our best Compliments attend your Sons and I have the Honor to remain with very high respect Dear Sir Your most Obliged & Obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] W. Lee
RC (Adams Papers). LbCViHi: William Lee Letterbook. The removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of several words. In the third paragraph the missing text has been supplied from the Letterbook copy. The first two paragraphs, as well as the closing paragraph, are not in the Letterbook.
1. Philip Stephens' letter of 22 Aug., was printed in various London newspapers on the 23d, together with information about the convoy's capture that had been received in the meantime. The source for Lee's report, which combines a paraphrase of Stephens' letter with some additional information, may have been the London Morning Post, for, of the newspapers consulted, only that paper identified the regiment as Gen. Charles Rainsford's. It was believed that fifty-two out of the fifty-four vessels in the convoy were taken, the escorts having escaped, but see Francis Dana's letter of 27 Aug., note 5 (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.