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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0017

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Coffyn, Francis
Date: 1781-10-19

To Francis Coffyn

[salute] Sir

I Yesterday received, your Favour of the 2d Of this Month by Beers who with his Wife and two Children came to me, in deplorable Distress, his Children having been Sick and detained him on the Road, untill he had Spent his last shilling.
This Man never made a greater Mistake than in coming to Holland where at Present, all Business being in a State of Stagnation, Tradesmen in General find the Times very hard, and navigation being obstructed, all occupations relative to ship building, are duller than any others—particularly the Ropemakers, who can not find Employment for their old Journeymen and Apprentices, much less think of taking new ones.
There are moreover at present, and have been Since the War between England and Holland very few American Vessells here: So that it is very difficult for a Single Man to get a Passage.
There is also at present more risque of the Ennemy, in a Passage from hence than from France, and what is worse than all the rest there is Nobody here, who has any Money in his Hands belonging { 25 } to the American Publick. I cannot therefore but approve the Reluctance against coming this Way which you Say, you find in general, in American Prisoners.
Notwithstanding this, I Shall be always ready to assist any distressed Americans, to the Utmost of my Power. There is no set of Men more meretorious, than the Prisoners who escape, and there is no occupation more pleasing to a Man of Philanthropy than to relieve them. But as The United States are not yet acknowledged by their high Mightinesses, I can receive no Assistance for the relief of my unfortunate Countrymen from this Government: and as I have not any publick Money at my disposal, the only Aid I can give them is in a private Capacity, unless, his Excellency Dr Franklin can enable me to do more by Supplying me with Money. If any Body will furnish me Money, the more of it I give to deserving and distressed Americans the better.

[salute] I have the Honour to be

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0018

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Searle, James
Date: 1781-10-20

To James Searle

[salute] Dr sir

I condole with you most affectionately and cordially in your fresh disappointment.1It is to be hoped the Tide will turn.
I have recd, Letters for You from Govr Reed, with a desire to open them in case of your being gone.2 You were gone, and I opened them and read them, with infinite Pleasure. They contain the best Account of American affairs that I have seen. The substance of them, is Advising you, very respectfully, and friendly, to come home, unless you had Succeded or Saw a Prospect of Speedy success.
I knew not where to send them with a Prospect of meeting you, and shall therefore wait your orders.3
What Judgment are We to form of the Comr and his designs? what are become of all the Letters? especially those to Congress? Congress have not recd a Letter from me these 12 months. A Charm is certainly set upon my Correspondence yet I should not think it of sufficient Importance for a Devil or a Witch to interfere. All my Letters by way of Statia, and by Several Vessells directly to America are lost. Now these by the S. C.
I have been to the Gate of death since You left me, with a malig• { 26 } nant nervous fever: but Dr. Osterdykes masterly skill and Quinquina’s wonderous Virtue have brought me back, but I am yet feeble and good for nothing. Yours in great haste affectionately & sincerely.4
1. Searle, a passenger on the South Carolina, was delayed at La Coruña, Spain.
2. On 19 Sept. John Thaxter acknowledged receipt of Joseph Reed’s letters to Searle of 14 and 21 July (vol. 11:490).
3. JA also wrote on this day to William Jackson (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:228–229). He enclosed his letters to Jackson and Searle, as well as an otherwise unidentified letter to Congress, in a letter of 20 Oct. to Joshua Johnson (LbC, Adams Papers). Johnson was directed to send off the letter to Congress and to forward those intended for Jackson and Searle to whatever French port the two men might arrive at from La Coruña.
4. This paragraph was copied by John Thaxter. In the RC (not found, but described and quoted in The Collector, Nos. 4–6, 1970) this is the only paragraph in JA’s hand.
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.