Papers of John Adams, volume 11

From William McCarty

To C. W. F. Dumas

205 From Francis Dana, 16 March 1781 Dana, Francis JA From Francis Dana, 16 March 1781 Dana, Francis Adams, John
From Francis Dana
(No. 13.) My dear Sir Paris March 16th. 1781 Hotel Valois, Rue Richelieu

The dispatches you will receive with this, were sent to me by Colo. Lawrens, last evening, some of them he brought from America, the others came in the Duke of Leinster directly from Philadelphia.1 If I have not a good oportunity before, I will send them on, next week, by Mr. Searle, who will then certainly set off for Amsterdam, unless he shou'd be too sick to travel. His indisposition has prevented his leaving this City earlier. I shall not be long after him. I hope to be with you, before the Commodore sails. I have additional reasons for returning to America, but with the view of remaining there, in the character of a private Citizen. If Colo. Lawrens does not clear up some difficulties in my mind, I think, my own honour will require it, sure I am, that my Interest will. I have not yet seen him. He arrived at Passy yesterday noon, and set off with the Dr. early this morning for Versailles. I am very sorry I had not an opportunity to talk with him before he went there: but so it has happened.2 I hope you and the whole family are well. I am at present much engaged in writing to America, and must beg you to excuse my breaking off abruptly. I am, dear Sir, your much obliged friend and obedient humble Servant


P.S. I have at last discovered the key to both of friend Jemmy's Cyphers. The dispatches I shall commit to Mr. Themmen, a Dutch young Gentn. who was introduced to me by one of our Countrymen—he setts off for Holland tomorrow after noon, and goes thro' Amsterdam. I have no doubt but he will deliver them safe: in your absence he is instructed to deliver them to Mrs. De Neufville & Son.3 I am loth to detain them unnecessarily one moment. My own trust prevents my bringing them. I shou'd otherwise have done now, as before, with those brought by Mr. Searle. Dont write me except to advise one of Your receiving these dispatches; lest I shou'd have set off before your letter can reach here.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Dana. Paris. 16. March 1781.”


Among the letters Dana sent were Congress' of 9 Jan., above, with which were enclosed JA's letters of credence of 1 Jan. to the States General and to William V, both above; Congress' brief covering letter of 9 Jan. (Adams Papers), a duplicate of its letter of 1 Jan., above, and the letters enclosed therein; and possibly letters from James Lovell of 6 and 8 206Jan. and the president of Congress of 10 Jan., all above. He may also have included his letter from Benjamin Franklin of 2 March, with which was enclosed a key to the Lovell cipher (Adams Papers), for which see Dana's letter of 6 March, and note 3, above.


Dana probably wanted to speak with John Laurens before he came too much under the influence of Benjamin Franklin and the Comte de Vergennes.


Dana wrote to Jean de Neufville & Fils on 17 March, introducing Themmen and requesting that they forward the letters if JA was not at Amsterdam (MHi: Dana Family Papers, Francis Dana Letterbook, 1780–1781).