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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Date: 1781-04-06

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to acquaint your Excellency, that I have received from Congress a Commission, to their High Mightinesses with full Powers and Instructions to <treat with their high mightinesses, concerning> to conclude a Treaty of Amity and Commerce.
I have also received Letters of Credence as a Minister Plenipotentiary to <their High Mightinesses>, the states General, and to <his Most Serene Highness the> Prince of Orange,1 and have made all the Communication to <both that is in my> their high Mightinesses and { 249 } to his most Serene Highness, that is in my Power, untill it is determined whether I shall be received or not.2
By the 10 Article of the Treaty of Alliance, between the King and the United States3
I do my self the Honour to communicate this to your Excellency for your Information, that if any Circumstances should occur, in which the United States may be of service to the common Cause, your Excellency may know where to apply, and that you may have an Opportunity of knowing the sentiments of his Majesty if you judge proper. I shall always be ready to concur with your Excellency whenever it is necessary or proper, that the United States should be made Parties, in any Transactions for the common Good. I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Consideration, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant
LbC (Adams Papers); notations at the top and bottom: “not sent nor copied.” When JA decided not to send this letter he drew a line through the text.
1. JA incorporated the text to this point into his letter of 16 April to La Vauguyon, below.
2. The second half of this paragraph indicates that JA considered announcing his commissions to the States General and William V without first seeking the advice of the French ambassador.
3. JA presumably intended to insert here the text of Art. 10, which provided for admission to the alliance of other powers “who may have received injuries from England” (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:39). JA had long seen this provision as a means to persuade France to aid the U.S. in obtaining recognition and assistance from other powers. He had considered taking it up with La Vauguyon in a letter of 19 Feb., above, which he did not send, and would take it up in earnest in his letter of 1 May, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0184

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-04-06

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

Letters from Cadiz inform us of the arrival of a Vessel at that port from Baltimore she left the Bay the 16 february. The Capt. reports more than we can well Credit, that Arnold had made great distruction in the circuit he had taken which had rouzed the Virginians that a Body of Six Thousand Men had got betwixt him and his Shiping and they were in dayly expectation of his being Burgoign'd. The Americans had gaind a considerable advantage over the Enemy in So. Carolina, and that the affairs in general were in a flurishing State the New Emissions were Current without depreciation and the Royal Interest every where declined. The Ann and Luzern saild from Lorient the 27th. as did the Alliance and the Marquis de la fayet, the 29th. The safe arrival of the two last ships will give great satisfaction to the States the Marquis de la fayet having on Board all the Clothing provided by J. Williams consisting of eight Thousand Suits made up { 250 } and cloth to make up 4000 more a quantity greatly short of that mentiond by Genl. Sulivan in his intercepted Letter which if it containd what realy the States expect so great a difficientcy will be a provoking disapointment.1
We flatterd ourselves Holland would have created a divertion in the North Seas we do not find a single Ship yet at Sea. Letters from Madrid of the 30th. mention the appearance of the Spanish Fleet off Cadiz. Spain has not force to oppose to the Fleet under Darby who will enter Gibraltar without Oppossien. The french Fleet from Brest Saild the 23 of course only a day After the English Fleet left Silly2 a rencontre of them Fleets is not improbable.3 With respect I have the Honor to be Sir your very hbb Serv
[signed] John Bondfield
1. John Sullivan's letter of 15 Nov. 1780 to Meshech Weare was intercepted and subsequently printed in London newspapers (from Edmund Jenings, 5 Feb., and note 3, above). Sullivan complained that the army was “almost Naked” because of the unaccountable failure to send uniforms purchased in France for 49,000 troops (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 16:339).
The Marquis de Lafayette, a French ship purchased by Leray de Chaumont in 1780 and then chartered by Jonathan Williams, was to transport approximately 500 tons of clothing and military supplies to America. Although it sailed with the Alliance, the Marquis de Lafayette became separated from the frigate on 29 April and four days later the British frigate Endymion captured it after a three-hour battle. For a detailed history of the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin's efforts to send the supplies purchased in France to the U.S., see Claude A. Lopez, “Benjamin Franklin, Lafayette, and the Lafayette,” Amer. Philos. Soc., Procs., 108 (1964):181–223.
2. The Isles of Scilly.
3. Bondfield's hopes for an engagement between Grasse and Darby were not fulfilled. The French fleet sailed from Brest on 22 March, at which time Darby was still waiting off the Irish coast for the victualers to join him from the depot at Cork. Darby's fleet reached Gibraltar on 12 April and, although the supply ships unloaded under fire, accomplished the relief with relative ease because the Spanish fleet elected to remain in Cádiz (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 222–225; Mackesy, War for America, p. 388–389).
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, 2017.