Papers of John Adams, volume 11

To Edmund Jenings

To C. W. F. Dumas

From Thomas Digges, 11 February 1781 Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton JA From Thomas Digges, 11 February 1781 Digges, Thomas Church, William Singleton Adams, John
From Thomas Digges
Dr Sir Feby. 11. 1781

My long silence has not been owing to any want of regard or attention to you, but has been solely occasiond by the imprudence and folly of some young men, whose conduct has produced a general hunt after Amns., the stoppage of letters, seizure of baggage &c. &c.—and it seems as if it would never have an end. The last who went from here Mr. Warren may have explaind in part what has happend. I am sorry to say, entre nous, that the bad refugee company that He kept here was in great measure the cause of his trouble and he seemingly got what He deservd. His imprudence and that of Mr. Brailsford will most likely be the cause of Trumbulls confinement many months longer than it otherways would, and I am very sorry for Him, because He is the only prudent and discreet Amn. I have seen here for a long time back. I wish to God they were all either gone or taken up, and that my Countrymen woud not permit their fools to come abroad.

The Bearer1 will explain his case and situation to You, He seems a clever deserving man and may stand in need of Your advice and recommendation how to act in the business He is upon, which is the recovery of some debts due to Him in Holland. Please to mention Him to Mr. Jan Spuyt, to whom He may be of service.

He will explain the state of things here better than I can do in the short space I have to write. He is Captain G—— r—— sh from your neighbourhood in this kingdom. Please to appologise to Mr. Spuyt for my want of time to write Him. The times are too much against us yet to open the contraband commerce which we formerly dealt in successfully, and I do not yet know the charges of sending goods via Ostend.

I have lately forwarded you four or five parcells books by that rout. I send them to Mr. Frs. Bowens mert. Ostend2 with an under cover For Messrs. De Neufville & son which also covers another direction to Mr. Schorn. I some time ago forwarded a letter from Mr. Jones to Mr. S—— rle.3 Pray inquire of Mr. S– le if He ever got it for having no answer, there is uneasiness about it.

143 I am yrs mo Respectfully W. S. C.

I sent yesterday a small parcell pamphlets to Ostend as above.

RC (Adams Papers).


Probably Capt. Samuel Gerrish of the Aurora. Gerrish was captured in July 1780 and sent to Mill Prison at Plymouth, from which he escaped on 28 Dec. 1780 (Marion and Jack Kaminkow, Mariners of the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1967, p. 73). In view of Digges' continuing efforts to aid American prisoners and even to aid and abet the escape of fugitives from British authorities it would not have been unusual for him to entrust a letter to Gerrish's care (vol. 9:12; 10:155, 166–167, 339, 366, 399–400; from Thomas Digges, 8 March, below).


For Francis Bowens' role as an intermediary for packages from Digges, see vol. 9:273, 306–307.


Probably William Jones, a noted British lawyer and opponent of the American war. Digges probably enclosed Jones' letter to James Searle in his own letter of 14 Nov. 1780 to JA (vol. 10:314–315, 339–340).