Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Thomas Cushing, 3 July 1785 Cushing, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Cushing
Sir Boston July. 3. 1785

This will be delivered you by The Sieur De le Tombe Consull General of France for the four New England Governments, who during his Residence here have behaved to universal Acceptance, I recommend him to your kind Attention.

I embrace this opportunity to trasmit you an Authenticated Copy of an Act passed the General Court of this Commonwealth at their present Session entituled an Act for the Regulation of Navigation & Commerce,1 I have not time to make any Observations upon this Act, as the Vessell is just upon Sailing, but presuming it would be agreable to you to have a sight of it as soon as possible I determined not to miss the Oportunity & should be glad to be favoured with your Sentiments upon it; It is apprehended simular Measures will 218be adopted by the Other States: Other Acts & measures are now under the Consideration of the Assembly for the promotion of Trade and Commerce Which as soon as determined upon I design to forward to you: I conclude with my best Respects to yourself and Mrs Adams / Your most Obedient humble Servt

Thomas Cushing

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “[Hi]s Excellency John Adams Esqr.” Some loss of text due to a cut manuscript.


The enclosure has not been found, but for the act of 23 June and subsequent unrest in Boston, see William Smith’s letter to JA of 2 May, and note 2, above.

From Joseph and Isaac Saportas, 5 July 1785 Saportas, Joseph Saportas, Isaac Adams, John
From Joseph and Isaac Saportas
Sir London 5th. July 1785

We are Sorry we happend to be from home when your Excellency entended us the honour of a visit, and hope we may flatter ourselves with that Satisfaction, on future Opportunities Which may Call your Excellency in our part of the Town,

finding that your Excellency had Received previous information Concerning the detention of An American vessel at Mogadore, we think it needless to trouble your Excellency with a repetion of the particulars, but apprehending the Captain Still Continues under Some difficulties, we Are desirous of Contributing our Mite towards his Relieve, which may be Accomplished by Recommending the matter to Some of our particular friends, residents there tho’ not directly in Situation able to interfere officialy in his behalf, in the intrem beg Leave to trouble your Excellency with the inclosed 3 Letters—from the Said Captain to be forwarded thro’ your Excellency’s means as the Safest Conveyance,—1

Our Brother Samuel of Amsterdam desires to assure your Excellency of his best Respects and Joins in repeating our offers of humble Service to your Excellency on all occasions, we have the honour to Remain with every Sentiment of attachment & high Regard, / Sir / Your Excellencies Most / Devoted Humble Servants

Joseph & Isaac Saportas2

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr.”; endorsed: “Jos. & Is. Saportas / 5. July. 1785.”


These letters cannot be identified, but they were written by Capt. James Erwin of the American brig Betsy. The Betsy was captured in Oct. 1784, at the order of Sultan Sidi Muhammad ibn Abdallah, to express his frustration over American delays in concluding a commercial agreement with Morocco. With the aid of Spanish diplomatic intervention, 219the Betsy’s crew was released in March 1785 (Robert J. Allison, The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776–1815, N.Y., 1995, p. 4–5). See also Erwin’s earlier letter to JA, dated 17 Jan. at Mogador (now Essaouira), Morocco, vol. 16:490–491.


Joseph and Isaac Saportas of No. 5, Great Crescent Minories, had called on JA earlier to present a letter of introduction, dated 17 June, from their brother, the Amsterdam broker Samuel Saportas (Adams Papers; JA, D&A , 3:179). JA had consulted with Samuel, in April 1782, regarding his participation in a Dutch-American loan (vol. 12:446).