Papers of John Adams, volume 9

From John Bondfield

From Edmund Jenings

261 image From Thomas Digges, 2 May 1780 Digges, Thomas Russell, William JA


From Thomas Digges, 2 May 1780 Digges, Thomas Russell, William Adams, John
From Thomas Digges
Dr Sir Wandsworth1 2d. May 80

You will have read, before this can reach you, the Gazette account of the Chas. Town Expedition; which is universally esteemed here rather a disagreeable account for Government, and plainly indicative of very great doubts if Clinton will succeed or not.2 I am perswaded by all I can hear He will be a second time disgraced and baffled in his attempts on that place.

A parcell containing Pamphlets and papers to the amount of 3. 5. 9d was lately forwarded to you via Ostend3 directed to M Francis Bowens Merchant there, who has orders to forward them on in the safest and best manner he can. He is made acquainted with the contents of the box, and has direction to forward in like manner to you any other parcell which may reach his hands (with or without any accompanying letter) markd A . It may be not be improper for you to write Him a line how and by what conveyances He is to forward you any thing else in future.4 My motive for sending you the whole of the Courants is because that paper contains every petition, address, Remonstrance, County meetings &c. &c. that are agitated in this Country, and is of itself a history of all the movements of the people as to obtain a reform in the Constitution.

The English Papers ie the Londn. Evg. Post 5 and London Packet, will be sent on with the Courant in future until I have your orders to stop them; which, you had better do when you can fix a mode with the Paris post office how to get them by Post. A small paper parcell of other Pamphlets and the News papers will be forwarded you about this day week.

There are accounts in the City today that the Jason Man of War and her Convoy about 15 sail transports (which is given out were bound up the North Seas to bring the Hessian recruits said to be 1500 Men to England) have been met by two french frigates and dispersd, several of the transports are put into Scarborough, the others and the Man of War still missing and supposd to be taken.6

Genl. Conways motion relative to Ama. was put off today for some future period, Hartleys stands for fryday the substance of which you will have in the Genl. Advertiser of the 1st of May.7 Some deviltry has got into Conways head for He seems to think there is yet a door open for Peace with Ama. short of Independence, than which nothing can be so falacious and absurd. How the Devil he can inbibe such notions 262I cannot think, but I am told He is much in the circle of a Scotch acquaintance and some times talks to Refugees such as Mr. Galloway, Allen8 &c. I cannot account for it otherways than that He is looking up to the Command of the Army.

I should be glad, when you see and read the Debates upon those motions to know what you think thereof. I am on all occasions Your Obedt. Servant

Wm Russell

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Flanders A Monsieur Monsieur Ferdinando Raymond San Negotiant Chez Monsr. Hocherau Libraire pont neuf Paris” docketed by CFA: “W.S.C. 2 May 1780.”


A borough of London.


This was an extract from a letter of 9 March from Clinton that appeared in the London Gazette of 1 May and which was reprinted in other London papers. That it was seen as “a disagreeable account” was probably owing to Clinton's reports of his losses during the fleet's stormy passage, the formidable defenses thrown up by the defenders, and, in a postscript, the arrival of 2,000 troops to reinforce the rebel army.


For the contents of this package sent on 25 April, see the list enclosed with Digges' letter of 8 June (below).


JA did so on 5 May (below), but in reference to Digges' letter of 28 April (above).


See Digges' letter of 28 April (above).


The London Courant of 3 May reported that three French privateers had attacked the frigate Jason and its nine-ship convoy, taking one transport and damaging the frigate.


On 1 May David Hartley declared in the House of Commons that he intended to introduce three motions concerning the war in America. The first sought a declaration that hostilities against America were enormously expensive, futile, and ruinous to the empire; the second proposed an address to the King, requiring a change of ministry, reconciliation with America, and a united military campaign against France and Spain; and the third called for passage of a bill appointing commissioners with sufficient powers to settle the American dispute. Hartley was followed immediately by Gen. Henry Seymour Conway who indicated his desire to introduce a bill for reconciliation. It was Conway's bill, however, that was introduced and debated on 5 May. Hartley's proposals in the form of resolutions were not introduced until 11 May, and his bill to end the war did not appear until 27 June ( Parliamentary Reg. , 17:606, 650–670, 696, 753; for Hartley's “Bill for Conciliation” of 27 June, see the Descriptive List of Illustrations, vol. 10, below). For Conway's bill and the progress of Hartley's proposals, together with JA's comments thereon, see JA's letters of 13 May to Thomas Digges, 17 May to Edmé Jacques Genet, and 7 July, No. 90, to the president of Congress (all below).


Probably Andrew Allen, son of former chief justice of Pennsylvania William Allen ( DAB ).