Papers of John Adams, volume 16

From Thomas Barclay

From John Jay

Jonathan Jackson to John Adams, 27 April 1784 Jackson, Jonathan Adams, John
From Jonathan Jackson
Sir London 27th Aprl 1784

To the care of Doctr Parker who I am told will be a safe conveyance, & who has promised to deliver ’em himself, I inclose you two Letters from America—one of which particularly from Mr S Adams I was desired to keep ’till I could see you or trust it only in safe hands—the other is from Mr Dalton—1

I heard upon my first arrival in Ireland which was in Feby that you were in England, & hoped to have had the honour & pleasure of seeing you here— it would have been a great satisfaction to me, & a great advantage in my mercantile affairs to have learnt from you what were likely to be the Determinations of this Court respecting commercial Arrangements with America— perhaps you would answer me that they have no determinations at all— I am rather inclined to think so from the little I have learned of their Politics since my Arrival—

My Friend Mr Stephen Higginson desired me to enquire of you whether anything & what had been done with respect to their Claims for Losses at St. Eustatius by Rodney’s Misconduct—2 a line directed for me to the care of Messrs Rogers & Bromfield here would oblige me—3

I hope every day to hear of a Commission from Congress in which you may be appointed with full powers to finish a commercial Treaty with this Court— I may then hope for the pleasure of seeing you before I leave England—which I don’t much expect to ’till July—

Our Politics at home must be miserably confounded if they suffer any Faction or Party longer to prevail to the Exclusion of deriving all advantages with the other Powers of Europe which our present Circumstances & Situation may afford, because F——e may wish to keep us all to herself—

I take the liberty to inclose you several Letters giving Mr Higginson’s & my name as connected in Business at Boston—4 your distributing ’em among any of your valuable commercial Acquaintance 178 may do us a singular Service, & I hope will apologize for the freedom taken—

I have the honour to be Dear Sir with great / respect & esteem / your faithfull Friend / & very obedient Servant

Jona. Jackson

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Honble Mr J Adams”; endorsed: “Jona Jackson Esq. / 27. Ap. Ansd. 1. May / at / Messrs Rogers and / Bromfield 1784.”


These letters, carried by a Dr. Parker about whom nothing further is known, were Samuel Adams’ of 4 Nov. 1783 and Tristram Dalton’s of 5 Dec. (vol. 15:341–344, 388–392), which JA answered on 1 and 2 May 1784, respectively, below.


Stephen Higginson, like Jackson, was a merchant and former member of the Continental Congress. The two men had been in commercial partnership since 1778 ( DAB ). For Adm. Sir George Rodney’s Feb. 1781 capture of the Dutch island of St. Eustatius, which was heavily involved in clandestine trade with America, see vol. 11:221. Higginson’s inquiry concerned merchandise, worth several million pounds sterling, confiscated by Rodney. A sizable portion of Rodney’s seizure belonged to British merchants, who sued for its return and ultimately brought about Rodney’s financial ruin.


For Daniel Denison Rogers and Henry Bromfield Jr., see JA’s 17 Feb. 1785 letter to Charles Sigourney, and note 2, below.


JA enclosed the printed bills advertising the Higginson-Jackson partnership in a 6 May 1784 letter to the consortium, requesting that it distribute them “among the most respectable Merchants of your City” (LbC, APM Reel 107).