Papers of John Adams, volume 15

The President of Congress to the American Peace Commissioners, 1 November 1783 President of Congress American Peace Commissioners
The President of Congress to the American Peace Commissioners
Gentlemen, Princeton 1. Nov. 1783

I am honored by the commands of Congress to transmit you a set of instructions in consequence of your joint and seperate letters of the months of June and July last, by Captain Barney, which I do myself the honor to enclose. These were not finished till the 29th. ult. after having undergone the most mature deliberation and fullest discussion in Congress.1

338 339

Yesterday we received from Colo. Ogden the news of the signature of the definitive Treaty on the 3d. of September, and that Mr. Thaxter was on the way with the official news. We long for his arrival tho’ we have no doubt of the fact, which is also announced by the post this day from Boston.

I do most sincerely congratulate you, Gentlemen, on this most important and happy event, which has diffused the sincerest Joy throughout these States; and the terms of which must necessarily hand down the names of its American Negociators to Posterity with the highest possible honor. May the Gratitude of your Country ever be the fair reward of all your labours.

New-York is not yet evacuated, but Sir Guy Carleton has informed our Commander in Chief, that he shall get clear of it in all this month, tho’ I think they will not dare to stay much beyond the 15th. instant.2

Your &c.


FC (PCC, No. 16, f. 261–262); internal address: “The Honorable / The Ministers Plenipotentiary / of the United States of America / Paris—”


See the enclosed instructions at 29 Oct., above.


Sir Guy Carleton informed George Washington of his timetable for the evacuation of New York in a message delivered orally by Daniel Parker in early October. The last British troops departed from New York City on 25 Nov. (Smith, Letters of Delegates , 21:71, 157).

From John Dudley, 2 November 1783 Dudley, John Adams, John
From John Dudley
sir poultry Compter Cheapside London 2nd. November 17831

With all due deference—I beg Leave to Lay before you the following facts— Necessity is the motive—that frequently obliges me to actions contrary to my Inclination—hope it will Be admited to pleade in Excuse for the Liberty I take in soliciting your Intrest in my Behalf—without previous Leave— my case is as follows) I am a native of America N Carolina—was an officer in the Service of the united States—and in may 1781 was on the Lines opposite New York—had my Retreat cut of by a party of Refugeas under the command of a Mr Blawvelt2—was wounded and taken prisnor—caried in to new York from thence Sent to England—and By my Arrival the wound I had Recieved togather with hard fare I met with had got so Bad that I was obliged to Suffer the Amputation of my Left Leg— which Rendered me Incapible of Returning to my native country till 340I was Entangled in Debt for common Necessaries of Life— Notwithstanding—I have made frequent applications—to this government— for that Releaf my unhappy situation had an immediate call for—and which I had Reson to Expect—and sorry I am to Say my applications—was of Little Effect— I waited in pirson on the Right Hble. Lord Sydney Late principal Secretary of State &c—and only obtained 10£ Bank Bill—and a passport to go from thence to france— which Sum would not Discharge my Board and Lodgings—my creditors finding that my Situation—immediately arrested me for a Ballence of 40£ and Being in a Strange country could not find Bail But was obliged to go to prison where I still Remain—in a State of missery and Distress—3 I have Been for three months past without one penney to Support me But Live Entirely on the prison Allowence which is only one penney Bread pr. Day—and have Been obliged to pledge Every Stich of cloathing But what is at present on my Back to Discharge my Lodgings on the Masters Side of the prison—or must Be turned on the common Side of the prison amongst the fellows where thier is no place to Ley Down on But the coald Boards I have Rote to Genl. Conway and was Honored with an Interview By his Aidecamp—and do Expect Something Done for me— But the immediate call I have for Some Assistence for present use Drive me to Look up to you for pity and commisseration—and if convenient to Honor me with an Intervew—that I may communicate the particulars of my unhappy Situation— I shall take it one of the greatest favours in Life—as I am—in prison Hungry without food (Naked without Raiment—and must Say I have not Language to Express my Sufferings— pray Dont fail—if you cannot conveniently Do me the Honor to call on me your Self—for gods sake consider my Distress and Send Some gentleman that will Be So friendly as to Attend to my case—as Speedy as possible—as term Begins this week and if I cannot find Some assistence Between this and tuesday I shall Be plunged further into Missery if possible it can Be So— the Barer of this will wait at the Doar for A verbal answer—and will Return again to me— I most Humbly pray you will Excuse my plain Language—as I can Assure you Distress Render me allmost incencible— your Humanity sir in considering my Distressed Situation—will Lay an Everlasting Obligation on me—and Shall Be most Gratfully Acknowledged—when Ever I can Effect that much wished for object of Returning to my Native country—By— / sir / Your Most Devoted / Much Distressed / Very Hble Servt. &c

John Dudley

RC (Adams Papers).


This is the first of four letters from Dudley recounting his harrowing experiences as a prisoner. The others are dated 14 Nov. (Adams Papers), and 19 Nov. and 30 Dec., both below. Dudley has not been identified beyond the information supplied in his letters and military records, for which see his 30 Dec. letter, and note 3, below. There are no extant replies by JA to Dudley’s appeals for assistance. This may be, as Dudley indicates in his 19 Nov. letter, because JA doubted whether he had served in the Continental Army. However, Dudley’s letter of 30 Dec. indicates that he likely met with JA, who advised him on the sorts of proofs necessary to authenticate his case. For Dudley’s most detailed account of his captivity, see the enclosure to his letter of 30 Dec., below.

For other appeals to JA by former prisoners, see those from Robert Ford and A. Moore of 10 and 11 Nov., respectively, both Adams Papers. Ford was captured in 1777 on board the Continental brigantine Lexington. In 1779 he apparently was pardoned for service in the Royal Navy, but in 1783 he sought JA’s assistance in being freed from the service (Marion and Jack Kaminkow, comps., Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 67). Moore, allegedly from Boston, had been captured by the British in command of a French privateer and imprisoned on suspicion of being English. He sought JA’s assistance in obtaining compensation for losses during his confinement and a berth in a new vessel.


Probably Tunis Blauvelt or Blanvelt, an active loyalist irregular (Sabine, Loyalists ), but see also the account enclosed with Dudley’s letter of 30 Dec., below.


That is, he was sent to Poultry Compter, a prison maintained by the sheriff of London ( London Past and Present , 3:117–118). Dudley, however, did not remain there much longer, for which see his letter of 19 Nov., note 1, below.