Papers of John Adams, volume 17

To John Jay

To John Jay

A Memorial to the Marquis of Carmarthen Concerning Richard Low, 17 October 1785 Adams, John
A Memorial to the Marquis of Carmarthen Concerning Richard Low
A Memorial. done at Westminster the 17. day of October 1785 1

The Subscriber, Minister Plenipotentiary, from the United States of America, to his Britannic Majesty, has the honour to represent to the British Ministry, that the said United States in Congress assembled, have received Information, that a number of their Citizens are Still detained, in the Service of his Majesty; and particularly, that Richard Low, who, in the Year 1776, was captured in an unarmed merchant Sloop, by his Majestys Frigate the Niger brought to England and Sent to Jamaica, where, after remaining some Years, he was removed to another Ship in which he sailed a Second time to 515England, where he was draughted, with a number of other Americans, and put on board the Defence, and in her carried to the East Indies, and was in 1784 in Bombay, and is now probably returned to England. That the said United States have judged it proper, to direct their Minister at this Court, to lay before the British Ministry, the Copy of a Letter from Jno. Carter hereto annexed, and to apply for the discharge of his Fellow Citizens.2

The Subscriber therefore, in the Name and behalf of the said United States of America, and by their Orders, has the Honour to require, that Orders be immediately given, for the Release and discharge, of the said Richard Low, and of all Such Soldiers, Seamen and Citizens of the said United States, as having been captured during the late War, may yet be detained in his Britannic Majesty’s, Prisons, Garrisons, Armies and Ships.

John Adams.

RC and enclosures (PRO:FO 4, State Papers, vol. 3, f. 339–341). LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 111.


Although dated 17 Oct., this memorial, together with the enclosures described in note 2, was presented to Carmarthen on the 20th, for which see JA’s letter to John Jay of 21 Oct., below. For appeals from Rhode Island on behalf of Low, see letters from William Greene of 25 July and Jabez Bowen of 27 July, both above. JA replied to Bowen on 8 Sept., above, and to Greene on the 9th, for which see note 1 to the letter to Bowen. For the outcome of JA’s efforts on behalf of the Americans, see the 21 Oct. letter to Jay, note 2.


This was a 19 April letter from John Carter of Providence, R.I., to David Howell, a Rhode Island member of Congress, concerning the plight of Low as related to him by Low’s father, Col. John Low of Warwick (PCC, No. 78, VI, f. 283–286). Jay enclosed it with his second letter of 3 Aug., for which see his first letter of 3 Aug., note 3, above. JA also enclosed John Lyddiard’s 20 July appeal for release from service on the British ship of the line Powerful, above.