Papers of John Adams, volume 18

From Thomas Jefferson

To David Humphreys

To John Adams from Isaac Stephens, [7 February] 1786 Stephens, Isaac Adams, John
From Isaac Stephens
Sir algirs febry the 7th 179[6] [1786]

Supposing Som one gentleman to be charged with the affairs of the united States of america in London I take the Liberty to write1

The Bearrer of this Letter Doctor warner2 his Brittanick Majestys Doctor in algirs and a gentleman that is able To give you any 152 intelligence That you may want as To the affairs in algirs and allso as to our mortifying State of Slavery and has bin the means of Saveing many of your Countrymen Lives and our only Doctor Since in algirs By order of Count D Espilly When he was in algirs and Had the Care of us for the Spaniards had Rather have a Dog in their hospitle then a prodestant & I Could wish for the honour of My Country that Doctor Warner might be justly Paid for he has Don the Christian Benevolent part to all the americans in algirs Nither would thay give us medicine without pay and Som has bin at Deaths Door and obliged to Leave the hospitle & Doctor warner has Taken them in hand and they are well and My Self has bin Two months under his Care for the Billious Dissorder But thank god im Better—

if you Can give us any intelligence consarning our Redeemption I shuld be Exceeding glad Doctor warner is the English Doctor at algirs and will Soon Return again to algirs our pay has bin Stoped for five months on account that Mr Carmichael Could pay the money that the Spanish Consul had advanced we Have wrote Mr Carmichael Several Times on the Subject and No answer as yet which adds hunger to afflictions a Line from you will be Kindly acknowledged from your humle Servent

Isaac Stephens

Sir if you would be So good as to Extend your Charity a Little and Due me and your Countrymen a great favour in Sending me the history of america3 if old no matter and Som Late magazins By Doctor warner he will Bring them as we have No Books to amuse our Selves in this Calamitious Situation as we Expect to Stay in Slavery all our Life time as the Sum is So great an objict to our Country

god Bless the foederal States of america

per Stephens

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr / John Adams Esqr or / Gentleman who may be is Charged / With the affairs of the united / States of america / in London”; endorsed: “Capt. Stephens”; notation: “per favour Doctr. / Warner.” Filmed at [1785–1788]. Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.


Capt. Isaac Stephens of the American merchant schooner Maria, who was captured and enslaved along with the crew of the Dauphin by Algerian corsairs in Aug. 1785, was freed in Sept. 1795 and left Algiers the following July (vol. 17:xv–xvi; AFC , 11:553–554).


Dr. Phillip Werner (Warner), surgeon to the British consulate at Algiers, met with Thomas Jefferson in early 1788 and gave a detailed account of his three years’ experience there. Werner offered assessments of the Algerian treatment of foreign prisoners and of John Lamb’s behavior as the negotiator sent to liberate Stephens and other American sailors. Werner described the mismanagement of British consular affairs by the “drunkard” Charles Logie; the diplomatic implications of the elderly dey’s ill health; and the uneven nature of the country’s military force. Werner’s insights formed the core of Jefferson’s [ca. Jan. 1788] memorandum concerning Algiers and the resulting report that he sent to John Jay on 5 Feb. (Review of An Account of Two Cases of the Diabetes Mellitus, by John Rollo, The British Critic, 10:264 [Sept. 1797]; Jefferson, Papers , 12:549–551, 565).

153 3.

Probably William Robertson’s three-volume History of America, then entering a fourth edition in London. The third edition of 1780, along with two earlier French editions, is in JA’s library at MB ( Catalogue of JA’s Library ).