Papers of John Adams, volume 15

From Edward Bridgen, 1 November 1783 Bridgen, Edward Adams, John
From Edward Bridgen
Sir Pater Noster Row Novr: 1st: 1783

When Mr Oldfield asked me to give him leave to make use of my name when he waited on your Excellency, with a card of invitation to the Revolution Club for Tuesday Next, I did not then know that it was intended not to invite the Whigs at present in Administration, which I think necessary you Sir should be informed of.1

I have the honour to be with great respect / Yr: Excellencys / most obedt: Servant

Edward Bridgen I beg my respectful Compliments to your Son

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams.”


Oldfield has not been further identified, but the “Revolution Club” was The Society for Commemorating the Revolution in Great Britain. Also called the Revolution Society, it 335met annually on 4 Nov. to commemorate the birthday of William III and his landing at Brixham in 1688 (Roland Thomas, Richard Price, London, 1924, p. 123). In a 5 Nov. 1783 letter to Peter Jay Munro, JQA indicates that John Jay was also invited but that neither he nor JA attended (NNMus). Nevertheless, on 6 Nov. the London Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser reported that “Tuesday [4 Nov.] there was a numerous Meeting of the Revolution Society, at the Paul’s Head, Cateaton-street, to celebrate in commemoration the anniversary of King William the Third. The number were about 300 persons. Sir Watkin Lewes in the Chair, Lord Surrey on his right, and Mr. Adams, a member of the American Congress, on the left. Many loyal toasts were drank. The King, the constitution, and the Rights of the People. After this, Sir Watkin gave, Unanimity with America and Great Britain. It was received with the loudest plaudits. Sir Watkin said that a Member of the American Congress wished to address a few words to the gentlemen present.

“Mr. Adams rose, and in a very few words expressed the desire which the United Colonies had to coincide in every thing that could advance mutual commerce.

“Mr. Adams paid a compliment to the City of London in particular, and expressed his hopes that there might be an eternal bond of friendship between the two countries.

“Dr. Price, Dr. Jebb, and many more were present, and the evening ended as all other public meetings generally do.”

Essentially the same report appeared in the Gazette d’Amsterdam of 14 Nov. and in the Boston Independent Chronicle of 8 Jan. 1784. But when JA reached the Netherlands in mid-January, the Gazette of 16 Jan. reported his arrival and in its brief notice declared “il n’est vrai, comme l’ont annoncé tous les Papiers Anglois, qu’il ait prononcé une Harangue à Londres dans une espece de Club, soi-disant Patriotique. Son Excellence n’a même jamais paru dans ladite Assemblée.” That is, it is not true, as has been announced in all the English papers, that he gave a harangue in London at a sort of club, self-styled Patriotic. His excellency never appeared at the said meeting.