Papers of John Adams, volume 9

To the President of Congress, No. 72

To the President of Congress, No. 73

From Thomas Digges, 26 May 1780 Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton JA


From Thomas Digges, 26 May 1780 Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton Adams, John
From Thomas Digges
Dr. sir 26 May 1780

I expected when I gave you the last West Inda. accounts the 9th. Instant1 that my next would be some thing about America but we have yet not a tittle from that quarter which bears the face of authenticity. The Inclosd Gazette account from Rodney is all we have new, and even Englishmen who think rightly are by no means pleasd with the account altho the writer has stiled it a defeat of the French fleet.2

I am longing for a line to know if you approve my plan of sending forward the news Papers and Pamphlets. If you can make any agreement with the post office (as I before advisd) I think it would be better, because you may get the papers more expedetiously; if not, the present mode may be persued, for there is no great trouble in it, and every 8 or 9 days a neutral vessel is sailing for Ostend. Tomorrow will be forwarded the third parcell I have sent3—it will contain news papers only, as there are no new political publications worth sending. I shall be made happy by a line when any good news arrives from Chs. Town—the bad flies quick enough. Almost every body here thinks Clinton will not succeed and many pray most cordially this may be the case.

The Wt. Inda. fleet is yet in Torbay and most likely will now stay for the N York, Quebec, and Inda. fleet. I am most respectfuly Yrs

W. S. C

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Ansd 9. June.”; docketed by CFA: “W. S. C. 26 May 1780.” No reply of 9 June has been found, but see JA's letters to Digges of 6–7? June and 28? June (both below). Removal of the seal has resulted in the loss of a portion of the dateline.


No letter of 9 May has been found.


An extract of Rodney's letter of 26 April, describing the indecisive naval battle of Martinique, appeared in the London Gazette Extraordinary of 25 May and was reprinted in various London newspapers. See, for example, the London Courant of 26 May. In its issue of the 27th, the London Courant noted that in unpublished portions of his letter Rodney had been very critical of several of his captains, charging that their failure to obey his orders had cost the chance for a decisive victory. William Lee also sent JA an account of the Gazette report in his letter of 31 May (Adams Papers).


According to the list enclosed with Digges' letter of 8 June (below), Digges did send JA a bundle of newspapers on 27 May. The list indicates, however, that it was the fourth package, rather than the third.