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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0028

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Date: 1781-01-14

To C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Dear Sir

Last night, on my arrival home, I found your Favour and Thank you for the Intelligence it contains, which I shall transmit, as you desire.1
The English have captured a great number of Dutch Ships: The Dutch however are still flattering themselves, with Hopes that the quarrell will be made up: that the English will []2 all these Ships.&c. &c. &c. So little do they Know the Character of the King, Ministers and People with whom they are at War—Time a little Time will Shew them their Error, but the Discovery will cost them too dear. So dear that I confess I am not enough acquainted with their Character to foresee what will be the Consequence.
I am told that 10,000 Men are ordered into Zeeland.
I have a Letter from Bourdeaux a Vessel arrived there the 1 Jany. from Anapolis in Chasepeaks Bay—the News she brings is, that Leslie entered the Bay and landed at Hampton. They retreated a few days after, leaving their Camp Kettles and other Baggage in Camp. Their precipitate Retreat, was given out to have been from advices, received of the Landing of a considerable Body of French Troops, at George Town in S. Carolina. Cornwallis was also obliged to call in all his out Posts to avoid being cutt off, and was confined to a small Circuit round Charlestown. These French Troops are supposed to be a detachment from the Cape. Mention is also made of some Ships being taken off, Charlestown, by the Squadron that transported these Troops. Thus Mr. Bondfields Letter to me.3
But I do not give much Credit, to this Report of French Troops, it was probably a Fiction given out by the English officers, to appologie their Soldiers for a precipitate Retreat from Hampton.
Another Vessell is arrived at L'orient from Philadelphia, with News of Cornwallis's Retreat to Charlestown, and Leslies from Virginia. There is a Letter from Mr. Izard at Philadelphia of the 27 Octr. in which he says, that he found the whole Country he pased thro in a high State of Cultivation, and the People universaly united in their Resolution, so that he was now more convinced than ever, of the utter Impossibility that any Part of the States should ever be again united with G. Britain.4
C. Jones sailed in the Ariel from L'orient the 18 of Decr.
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Your Letter was found in good Condition so that you may write freely.

[salute] Adieu

[signed] John Adams
Tr (PCC, No. 101, I, f. 138, 141).
1. This was Dumas' letter of [12 Jan.], the information from which JA included in his letter of 14 Jan. to the president of Congress, both above.
2. Left blank in the transcript.
3. Of 2 Jan., above.
4. No letter by Ralph Izard of 27 Oct. 1780 has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0029

Author: Searle, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-14

Code Used in Correspondence between John Adams, Francis Dana, and James Searle

Mr. Dana and J. Searle Cyphers2
AZ. Congress
D.D.J—Franklin Junr.
De Novo—De Castres
Grex—States General
Steady—Mr. Adams
Funn—J. Searle
Dortje—Regency of Ams.
<N> Knobb—Van Berkle
Swivel Eye J. D. Neufville
V—Arthur Lee
Brux—Mr. Izard
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Fornicatio—Sr. Jos. Yorke
MS in James Searle's hand (Adams Papers); endorsed in an unidentified hand: “Cyphers. Dana & JS”; filmed with Ciphers and Cipher Keys, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 602.
1. This date derives from Dana's letter of 1 Jan. and JA's endorsement on that letter (descriptive note, and note 4, above). The letter of 1 Jan. was the first in which Dana used the code. He stated that James Searle, who was then at Amsterdam, would supply JA with a key. JA indicated in his endorsement that he replied to Dana's letter on 14 Jan. (not found), making it likely that he received it either on 14 Jan. or on the previous evening when he returned from a tour of the principal cities of the province of Holland (to the president of Congress, 14 Jan.; to C. W. F. Dumas, 14 Jan., both above). Since the manuscript is in Searle's hand, and he arrived in Brussels on 15 Jan., on his way back to Paris (from William Lee, 17 Jan., below), it seems likely that Searle wrote out the key for JA on or about 14 Jan. before he left Amsterdam.
2. Although attributed to Dana and Searle, the code probably originated with C. W. F. Dumas who used the code word for Congress as early as Oct. 1779 (Weber, Codes and Ciphers, p. 63–64).
3. Possibly William Alexander Jr., an intimate of Franklin who lived in the village of Auteuil, next to Passy. Alexander's daughter, Mariamne, was married to Jonathan Williams (vol. 8:170).
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.