Papers of John Adams, volume 10

From John Bondfield, 28 October 1780 Bondfield, John JA From John Bondfield, 28 October 1780 Bondfield, John Adams, John
From John Bondfield
Sir Bordeaux 28 8bre 1780

A fever that confind me to my Bed from the 15th Augt. to 20 Sept. and and absence in the Country to a few days past for my recovery deprived me the pleasure of communicating to you as subjects offerd the occurences which by many arrivals at this and the neighbouring Ports have been frequent. You will undoubtedly have recived from Ferol the Letters and papers brought by the 1 arrivd at that Port. They left Boston the 10 September. Mr. Brush2 who went out in the Alliance is returnd Passenger and I learn this morning he is arrivd at this City. I have not yet Seen him, his inteligence of the possission of Mr. De Ternay and the Land Forces must be very Interesting. We suspect little can be undertaken until Mr. De Ternay obtains a reinforcement. So long as the English remain masters in them Seas, the Towns on the Sea Coast as Charles Town &c. will ever be a prey to their excurssions. We are without advise of Genl. Provost. It is time them troops should appear if sent to join Lord Cornwallis will make him too strong for the Carolina Militia particularly since their retreat.

The British Ministry will be at a loss how to treat Mr. Laurens in all probability he will be detaind during the War unless some Member of one of the two Houses . . . becomes a Captive which its not improble may happen. Capt. Jones here went out in the Arial is returnd to Lorient dismasted. Landais we are informd was put under arrest at his arrival at Boston. The number of prizes of Value sent into that Port have given a surabundance of most Nessessaries—and will probably make up for the non arrival of the Cloathing provided last Spring which I am told is yet in France. By the dismission of Mons. De Sartin,3 Monsr. Le Ray de Chaumont will find himself crampt in the operations he is engaged in. A report to his prejudice prevaild here some days past.

I do not find the two Cases of Wine you wrote me to forward have been sent.4 I shall order them by the next deligence to be prepard and forwarded.

I have the Honor to be respectfully Sr your very hbl Serv

John Bondfield

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Son Excellence John Adams Esqr. Hotel de Valois Rue Richlieu Paris”; in another hand: below the street, “A Amtresdam”; and on the reverse of the address page as folded: “presentement d'Amtresdam”; endorsed: “Mr Bondfield 8. Oct. ansd. 6 Decr. 1780.”

311 1.

Left blank in the manuscript, the vessel may have been the ship Success owned by Isaac Smith Sr. AA indicated that her letter of 3 Sept. was to go by “a Vessel of my unkles” and Eliphalet Brush reportedly posted a letter from AA at Bordeaux ( Adams Family Correspondence , 3:405–407; from Francis Dana, 13 Dec.). The Independent Chronicle of 7 Sept. indicated that the Success was about to sail for Bilbao, but it could easily have put into El Ferrol.


JA probably met Eliphalet Brush, a New York merchant, in late Dec. 1780 or early Jan. 1781, when Brush reached Amsterdam with Francis Dana's letter written at Breda on 13 Dec. (below). For additional information about Brush and his relations with the Adamses in Europe and America, see Adams Family Correspondence , 4:219; 5:151; 6:255, 256; JQA, Diary , 1:76, 84, 306, 307.


Gabriel de Sartine was replaced as naval minister by the Marquis de Castries on 13 October. His dismissal reflected the determination of Jacques Necker, director general of finance and opponent of the war, to enforce spending reforms and consolidate his power among the king's principal advisors at Vergennes' expense. But a more important reason may have been the need to appease Spain, which blamed Sartine for the failures that had plagued allied naval operations since January (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence , p. 199–202).


No letter from JA to Bondfield making such a request has been found, but for previous difficulties in shipping wine, see JA's letters to Bondfield of 24 and 25 May (both above).

From the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 28 October 1780 Lovell, James Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee JA From the Committee for Foreign Affairs, 28 October 1780 Lovell, James Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee Adams, John
From the Committee for Foreign Affairs
Dear Sir Oct. 28th. 1780

I shall endeavor to write largely to you, en Ami, but I will not risque the Sailing of the Vessel for that Purpose, at this moment. It is reported Mr. Searle is taken; our Affairs in Holland must in such Case be very bad as you will not have received any Powers for acting instead of Mr. Laurens who is too probably taken and carried to England from New foundland. And I also know of other Fatalities to my Letters.

Your Friend & humb Servt.

James Lovell C of f Affs.

RC (Adams Papers); address fragment: “ance”; endorsed: “Mr Lovell.”

John Adams’ Authorization to Accept Bills of Exchange Drawn on Henry Laurens, 28 October 1780 Continental Congress Thomson, Charles JA John Adams’ Authorization to Accept Bills of Exchange Drawn on Henry Laurens, 28 October 1780 Continental Congress Thomson, Charles Adams, John
John Adams' Authorization to Accept Bills of Exchange Drawn on Henry Laurens
In Congress 28th Octor. 17801

Resolved, That the Honble. John Adams be and hereby is authorised and instructed to accept the bills of Exchange drawn on the Honble. Henry Lawrens in pursuance of the resolution of Congress of the 6th.2 instant in the same manner as he is authorised and instructed to accept those heretofore drawn on Mr. Lawrens according to the resolution of November 23d. 1779, and in case of the 312absence of Mr. Adams the authority hereby granted be and is hereby extended to the Honble. Francis Dana.

Extract from the Minutes Chas Thomson Secy.

MS (Adams Papers); endorsed by Francis Dana: “Resolution of Congress of Octr: 28th. 1780. respecting the Loans.”; by JA: “Mr Adams to accept the Bills drawn on Mr Laurens.”


Francis Dana received this resolution at Paris and enclosed it and another resolution of 2 Oct. (see note 2) in his letter of 10 Jan. 1781 to JA (Adams Papers, filmed at 12 July, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 352). For information on additional dispatches received by Dana and his letter of 10 Jan., see JA's Additional Instructions Respecting a Peace Treaty with Great Britain, 18 Oct., descriptive note (above).


Francis Dana placed an “X” above the “6” and at the bottom of the page and wrote “The date of reference does not agree with that of the Resolution enclosed.” The resolution of 6 Oct. had no direct bearing on JA's activities, being an administrative measure setting the procedures for issuing bills of exchange and establishing the rate of exchange at which they would be redeemed ( JCC , 18:907). In his letter of 10 Jan. 1781, Dana indicates that Congress actually, and more appropriately, enclosed its resolution of 2 Oct. (Adams Papers). Like the resolution of 23 Nov. 1779, mentioned later in the resolution, that of 2 Oct. established a specific value for the bills of exchange to be drawn on Henry Laurens, in the first instance £100,000 and in the second, £10,000 ( JCC , 15:1299; 18:890).