Papers of John Adams, volume 8

To Samuel Cooper

From James Lovell

To Oliver Wendell, 14 November 1779 JA Wendell, Oliver To Oliver Wendell, 14 November 1779 Adams, John Wendell, Oliver
To Oliver Wendell
Novr. 14. 1779

Mr. Adams, has this Moment Mr. Wendells Billet,1 and in answer Says, that Mr. Brattle came to Paris when I was there, soon after my Arrival and spent some Weeks there. He was in Company with Mr. Joseph Waldo. Mr. Brattle expressed on all occasions, the best affections to the American Cause, and was treated with Civility by the Commissioners. During the whole Time of my Residence at Paris, I frequently heard of Mr. Brattle in London, and of his Piety to his Country and Charity to many American Prisoners. I was well informed that several of these were relieved from great Distress by Mr. Brattle at a considerable Expence, from his private Purse. If this may be of any Use, Mr. Brattle is very welcome to it, being all that I know.2

John Adams

RC (M-Ar: vol. 185, p. 12.)


Oliver Wendell, Boston merchant and at this time conservator of loyalist property, had received two letters from Thomas Brattle inquiring whether he could be accepted as a citizen of Massachusetts once again. Brattle's sister Catherine was the widow of Wendell's brother, John Mico Wendell (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 13:370–371; Mass., Province Laws , 21:274). JA had recommended Wendell to AA as a merchant who could assist her in financial transactions in his absence, and AA soon took advantage of this opportunity; see Adams Family Correspondence , 3:241–242 3:241, 242 .


Despite his known services to American prisoners, Thomas Brattle continued to be thought of as a refugee from the Revolution (he had gone abroad because of the decline of trade), and the Massachusetts General Court refused to permit his return. Staying in Rhode Island, where he had arrived from England in Nov. 1779, he served on Gen. Varnum's staff and performed useful services for the French, which brought him a commendation from Louis XVI. After the war, through resort to the courts, Brattle obtained recognition of his citizenship rights in Massachusetts and the return of property confiscated from his loyalist father, William, and inherited by Thomas. His estate in Cambridge became famous for its horticulture and landscaping (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 14:568–572).