Papers of John Adams, volume 12

To Francis Coffyn

From Edmund Jenings

To James Searle, 20 October 1781 JA Searle, James To James Searle, 20 October 1781 Adams, John Searle, James
To James Searle
Amsterdam Oct. 20. 1781 Dr sir

I condole with you most affectionately and cordially in your fresh disappointment.1It is to be hoped the Tide will turn.

I have recd, Letters for You from Govr Reed, with a desire to open them in case of your being gone.2 You were gone, and I opened them and read them, with infinite Pleasure. They contain the best Account of American affairs that I have seen. The substance of them, is Advising you, very respectfully, and friendly, to come home, unless you had Succeded or Saw a Prospect of Speedy success.

I knew not where to send them with a Prospect of meeting you, and shall therefore wait your orders.3

What Judgment are We to form of the Comr and his designs? what are become of all the Letters? especially those to Congress? Congress have not recd a Letter from me these 12 months. A Charm is certainly set upon my Correspondence yet I should not think it of sufficient Importance for a Devil or a Witch to interfere. All my Letters by way of Statia, and by Several Vessells directly to America are lost. Now these by the S. C.

I have been to the Gate of death since You left me, with a malig-26 nant nervous fever: but Dr. Osterdykes masterly skill and Quinquina’s wonderous Virtue have brought me back, but I am yet feeble and good for nothing. Yours in great haste affectionately & sincerely.4

LbC (Adams Papers).


Searle, a passenger on the South Carolina, was delayed at La Coruña, Spain.


On 19 Sept. John Thaxter acknowledged receipt of Joseph Reed’s letters to Searle of 14 and 21 July (vol. 11:490).


JA also wrote on this day to William Jackson ( Adams Family Correspondence , 4:228–229). He enclosed his letters to Jackson and Searle, as well as an otherwise unidentified letter to Congress, in a letter of 20 Oct. to Joshua Johnson (LbC, Adams Papers). Johnson was directed to send off the letter to Congress and to forward those intended for Jackson and Searle to whatever French port the two men might arrive at from La Coruña.


This paragraph was copied by John Thaxter. In the RC (not found, but described and quoted in The Collector, Nos. 4–6, 1970) this is the only paragraph in JA’s hand.