Papers of John Adams, volume 12

Bidé de Chavagnes to John Adams: A Translation

From Jean Luzac

From John Paul Jones, 10 December 1781 Jones, John Paul JA From John Paul Jones, 10 December 1781 Jones, John Paul Adams, John
From John Paul Jones
Portsmouth, N. Hampshire Decr. 10th. 1781 Dear Sir

After the command of the Alliance was usurped at L’orient, I received on board the Ariel, the two packages from Mr. Moylan, containing the articles you directed him to send to your Family. On my arrival at Philadelphia, I delivered them to Mr. Lovell, agreeable to your request.1 I had, last Summer, the honor to be unanimously elected by Congress to the command of the America, and am now superintending the Building.2 I was sorry my duty obliged me to pass through Boston without paying Mrs. Adams a visit at your country Seat. If I can this Winter I will do myself that honor.3 I had the honor to see Mrs. Dana here lately: She was on a visit to her friend Miss Stevens, who is on the point of Marriage with our Parson.4 Please to mention this with my respects to Mr. Dana.

I congratulate you on the glorious capture of Lord Cornwallis and 125his whole Army. That conquest sets the friendship of France in the noblest light, does the greatest honor to humanity, frees a distressed Country, and adds lusture to the combined Arms, while Victory binds the brows of our happy chiefs with her Unspotted Laurels!

Among the great events that have sprung from our glorious Revolution, The World has seen with astonishment, the Belgia5 roused from their lethargy of a Century, and forced to draw the long-reluctant-Sword, or renounce for ever all pretention to National Character. May it fall with double Death on the heads of their insolent Enemies, and never again be sheathed till, in mercy to Mankind, they are effectually humbled! If I am honored with any Letters from you, please to address under cover to the Minister of Finance Philadelphia.6 I am, Dear Sir, with great respect Your Excellencie’s most Obedient and most humble Servant,


NB. I presume you are already acquainted with the bearer Major Sherburne, who lost his Leg on the Rhode Island expedition?7

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “recd 11. aug. 1782.”


See James Lovell’s letter of ca. 15 March , and note 4 (vol. 11:202–204).


Congress appointed Jones to the command of the ship of the line America on 26 June ( JCC , 20:698), but he never sailed as her captain. For the fate of the America, which was ultimately turned over to France, see vol. 10:25.


For AA’s description of Jones upon meeting him in 1784, during her residence in France, see Adams Family Correspondence , 6:5–6.


Sarah Stevens married Joseph Buckminster, minister of Portsmouth’s First or North Church, on 24 March 1782 (Dexter, Yale Graduates , 3:367).


The Dutch.


JA replied to Jones on 12 Aug. 1782 (LbC, Adams Papers).


Maj. John Samuel Sherburn of the New Hampshire militia lost his leg at Quaker Hill on 29 Aug. 1778 during the battle of Newport (Heitman, Register of the Continental Army ).