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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0281

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dubbeldemuts, F. & A. (business)
Date: 1781-06-21

To F. & A. Dubbeldemuts

[salute] Gentlemen

I had, this morning, the Honour of your Letter of the Seventeenth of June, and have read over, attentively, the Papers enclosed.1
It does not appear, by the Record of the Tryal that any Person claimed the Vessel, or any Part of the Cargo, on behalf, of the owners; although it appears, by the Protest of the Master that his Mate was Sent, in the Sloop to Charlestown. Nor do I See, in the Papers any Evidence to determine to whom the Cargo belonged, whether to Dutch or English Merchants.
It appears, that the Privateers and their owners, belonged to Charlestown, which is now under the Domination of the English.
From all these Considerations together, I am apprehensive you will find it difficult to obtain a Remedy, as So long a time has elapsed, Since the Transaction.
However, if I can be of any Service to you in this Business, or in { 381 } the other which you mention, relative to the Vessels recaptured by M. De la Motte Piquet, it will give me particular Pleasure. Your Friend, when ever he Shall be pleased to call upon me, I Shall be very glad to See, and to consult with him, concerning any further Particulars.2
I have the Honour to be &c.
1. The documents enclosed with the letter of 17 June have not been found, but JA's comments in the following three paragraphs refer to the Dutch sloop Chester. According to the deposition of William Bray, captain of the Chester, the South Carolina privateers Experiment and Fair American took the sloop off Bermuda on 14 June 1777. Bray contended that the vessel and its cargo were Dutch and as such were not liable to capture. The case of the Chester, condemned on 14 July 1777 at Charleston, dragged on until 1787, when the U.S. Court of Appeals decided in favor of the captors. Since the real owner of the sloop, although Dutch, was a permanent resident in British territory the court ruled that the vessel and its cargo were a good prize (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 10:950–952). For additional information on the case of the Chester brought before the U.S. Commissioners at Paris in 1777 and 1778, see vol. 7:288–289.
2. In their reply of 27 June (Adams Papers), the Dubbeldemutses noted that Mr. Rocqùette, a Rotterdam merchant, wished to meet with JA at Amsterdam concerning “some goods of his frinds in America” on board the vessels from St. Eustatius that La Motte-Picquet captured and sent into Brest. Rocqùette's friends were probably Samuel Curson and Isaac Gouverneur Jr. (Franklin, Papers, 35:181). For JA's meeting with Rocqùette, see J. Rocqùette, Th. A. Elsevier, & P. Th. Rocqùette's letter of 3 July, below.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0282

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-21

From James Lovell

[salute] Sir

France appears to be most perfectly satisfied with the ||present mediators yet presses us|| for an Arrangement final of the most ||moderate terms. Franklin, Jay, H. Laurence and Jefferson are added to you||. You would be made very happy by such an Event being grounded on a Desire to alleviate the Distress of a great ||discretion but blush blush|| America ||consult and ultimately concur in everything with|| The Ministers of his most Christian Majesty the Independence of the United States according to the Tenor of our Alliance ||kept sole ultimatum||. I might have mentioned a Circumstance, not very material in the present Turn of Affairs ||all or less or one can conclude as plenipo||. It is a Satisfaction to me and others alike interested that your other ||parchments are untouched||. I hope therefore that we may conclude our ||haddock safe||.1 I presume you will be at very little Loss to come at the Clue of this Labyrinth. ||Gravier2 now|| persuaded of the absolute Necessity of the most cordial Intercourse between ||him and you strongly pressed for orders of that kind|| { 382 } | view and Suppleness knew not where to stop especially when under the Spur of ||at least Marbois||.3 It is needless to turn Welldiggers on this Occasion the whole is at the Superficies. I must officially convey to you some Papers. I shall use this same Cypher. I suspect that you did not before understand it from my not having said supped in Braintree. I guess I said New England.4
The President has sent the Papers before referred to.5 I furnished the Instructions in a Cypher. If any Thing prevents your coming at the Purport Doctr. Franklin can certainly decypher his. I was intended to send only one Set by one Vessel, but I think that would have added Something to the List of Oddities in this Business.
I do not despair of being able to write again by this Opportunity.
The Franklin came into the River Today. Letters from Mr. Dana are received to April 3d. Your last is still Oct. 24.6

[salute] Affectly

[signed] J L
Make 2 Columns of Letters under the rule of Sequence laid down here. Begin your 1st. Column with the first letter and your second Column with the 2d. letter of the Family Name formerly referred to. Go on to & then follow a b &c. &c. &c. Look alternately into the Columns, and so find what my Figures represent, and Vice versa to write yourself.
1   a    
2   b    
3   c    
4   d    
5   e    
6   f    
7   g    
8   h    
9   i    
10   j    
11   k    
12   l    
13   m    
14   n    
15   o    
16   p    
17   q    
18   r    
19   s    
20   t    
21   u    
22   v    
23   w    
[24]   x    
[25]   y    
{ 383 } | view
26   z    
27   &    
28   }   To be used as Baulks in the Beginning and End or within your words.  
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Lovels Letter June 21. 1781.” Two cipher numbers in Lovell's list were lost when the seal was removed. JA wrote the deciphered text above several of the encrypted passages.
1. Lovell is referring to JA's instructions of 16 Oct. 1779 to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:183–187; calendared vol. 8:204). His hopes were ill-founded, however, for Congress revoked JA's authority to negotiate a commercial treaty on 12 July (JCC, 20:746–747; from the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 21 July, and note 4, below).
2. Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes.
3. The Chevalier de La Luzerne and his assistant, Barbe-Marbois, pressured Congress to accede to their wishes, see Commissions and Instructions, 15 June, above.
4. In May 1780, when Lovell first sent his cipher to JA, he explained that “the key Letters are the two first of the Surname of the Family [Cranch] where you and I spent the Evening together before we sat out from your House on our Way to Baltimore” (vol. 9:270–273). Lovell's explanations of his cipher were confusing for someone, like JA, who was unaccustomed to using one. Compounding that confusion was Lovell's frequent failure to follow his own rules when encrypting letters. Compare Lovell's explanation in his 1780 letter with that given here. See also The Lovell Cipher and Its Derivatives, Adams Family Correspondence, 4:393–399.
5. From the president of Congress, 20 June, above.
6. On 29 Jan. Congress received 17 letters that JA wrote between 14 Aug. and 24 Oct. 1780. An additional 27 letters written between 3 March and 23 July 1780 reached Congress on 19 Feb. (JCC, 19:96, 174–175).
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.