Papers of John Adams, volume 15

To Benjamin Franklin

To the President of Congress

From Charles Storer, 13 September 1783 Storer, Charles Adams, John
From Charles Storer
Sir, London. 13th. septemr: 1783.

By Mr: Thaxter I ought in duty to have written you, and, not having done it, I fear you may be inclined to lay some neglect to my 293Charge. I have only to say in apology that our time, from our arrival to Mr: Thaxter’s departure, was constantly employed—and I hope to his satisfaction, as that was our object here.—

My motive in writing to you is particular. I have acknowledgements to make for many kindnesses and Civilities. If in any measure I have been happy enough to have rendered you some service in return, the reflection will be abundantly satisfactory. I was young to be indulged with your Confidence; but was not insensible of the honor conferred upon me—and hope I have not merited your disapprobation: If, on the contrary, I may have imbibed any patriotic Sentiments, or obtained any little insight into the field of Politics & Negotiation, the Credit they may hereafter gain me shall be ever accompanied, Sir, with a gratefull remembrance of your late Indulgence.—

Enclosed I take the liberty to send you a few peices of Massachusetts & New-York Newspapers, which perhaps you may not have seen. They contain some Instructions to Representatives, & Resolves.—1

Port-Rosaway in Nova-Scotia seems to have become the Asylum of the Refugees. ’Tis said 30,000 have embarked from NYork for that place, & many are going from this Kingdom to settle there.2 They talk of their having carried a million & an half of property with them—much more than they are worth, I imagine— The Government here are about giving them every Encouragement, & Bounties; so that ’tis said they must soon outrival the New-England States— Too feeble attempts of miserable men!—

Some British Merchants have recd. letters from their old Correspondents in America, who write that they were able at the Commencement of the war to pay their debts—but that the war had so reduced them, that they could now pay only their Principal: And it has been said that the Merchants were going to remit their Interest money.— Mr: Hartley, I am told, arrived in Town last Evening, with our Definitive Treaty, & I hear your idea has been adopted, vizt. the re-signing the Provisional Treaty.—

Mr: Fitch & family, whom I saw yesterday, desire their respectfull Compts: to you & Master John, to which I would beg leave to add mine, and to assure you I shall be ever ready & happy to receive any Commands you may please to honor me with.

I have the honor to be, Sir, / Your Oblig’d, humle: servt:

Chas: Storer.

RC (Adams Papers).


The enclosed newspapers have not been found. However, the instructions and resolves referred to may have pertained to Art. 5 of the preliminary treaty, concerning the return of loyalists, the restoration of their property, and the payment of compensation, to which whole communities registered their aversion in the spring of 1783. See, for example, the Boston Independent Ledger of 14 April, the Boston Gazette of 5 May, the Worcester Massachusetts Spy of 22 May, the Boston Independent Chronicle of 29 May, and the New York Gazetteer of 9 and 30 June. For a more detailed account of the protests, see James Warren’s 24 June letter, and note 3, above.


Port Roseway (now Shelburne), Nova Scotia, is approximately 130 miles southwest of Halifax. While it was considered a desirable destination for the loyalists, the number cited by Storer is wildly inflated. The first wave, which landed in May 1783 under the auspices of the Port Roseway Associates, consisted of 3,000 refugees. By mid-1784 the population was about 7,500 but was in decline (Neil MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil, Kingston and Montreal, 1986, p. 5, 17, 38).