Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Charles Storer

From Ebenezer Crosby

To Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, 14 April 1785 Adams, John Létombe, Philippe André Joseph de
To Philippe André Joseph de Létombe
Sir Auteuil near Paris April 14 1785

The Packetts which go Monthly from L’Orient to New york are very beneficial in my humble opinion both to France and America—and I cannot say that they would be more so if any alteration were made in the Plan

But some Americans are of opinion it would be better to have them Sail from Havre de Grace as that is the sea Port of Paris the Convenience of transporting both Mails Passengers and Merchandizes would be greater to Havre: this Should be sett over against the Inconvenience of a Longer Passage sometimes and greater Risque in the Channell— I have not knowledge enough to determine even in my own Mind another thought has been mentioned viz. that the Packetts should go in the summer to Boston & the Winter to N York I beg leave to suggest this subject to your thoughts and Enquiries and to ask your opinion. the Passages I think would be Shorter and surer to Boston in May June July August and September. Perhaps in April—


I am much obliged to you for Several letters and am really ashamed to be so much in Debt but I hope to do better as my Health is much improved1

Give me leave to introduce to you one who will have no need however of my recommendation Mr Chaumont—2 Mrs Adams desires her respectfull Compliments—

I have the Honour to be sir your most obedient / and most humble servt

LbC in AA2’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr De L’Etombe / Consul De France”; APM Reel 107.


1 The most recent extant letters from Létombe, French consul at Boston, were of 20 Sept., 20 Nov. and 31 Dec. 1783, all Adams Papers; but JA’s last extant letter to Létombe was of 11 March 1781 (vol. 11:193–194).


This was Jacques Le Ray de Chaumont, son of Jacques Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, an old acquaintance of JA’s and owner of Benjamin Franklin’s residence at Passy. Known as James Le Ray upon becoming a U.S. resident after 1800, the younger Chaumont would be JQA’s traveling companion between New York and Boston in Aug. 1785, and the two would carry on an irregular correspondence through 1821 ( AFC , 6:84–85; JQA, Diary , 1:237). This letter introducing Chaumont to Létombe was one of seven similar letters by JA on this date. The others were to Samuel Adams (NN:George Bancroft Coll.), Thomas Cushing (LbC, APM Reel 107), John Hancock (same), Samuel Allyne Otis (same), William Smith (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers), and William Tudor (MHi:Tudor-Adams Correspondence). For AA’s comments on the younger Chaumont and JA’s efforts on his behalf, see her 15 April 1785 letter to Mary Smith Cranch ( AFC , 6:82–83).