A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 6

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0156

Author: Bingham, William
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-16

William Bingham to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble Gentn

It is a long time Since I have had the honor of receiving any of your Commands, and am the more surprized at it, as a Packet Boat has arrived with Dispatches for the General,1 informing him of a Treaty of Alliance and Commerce being concluded on betwixt the Court of Versailles and the United states of America.
Should this Treaty cause any material Change in the political or commercial System of Affairs; Should it stipulate any new Advantages for the French Commerce; or Should it entitle our Trade to a more free and full Indulgence in their Ports, and a more open Protection from their Flag; Should it determine any new Line of Conduct with regard to Foreign Powers, or the reciprocal Services to be expected of each other; Should any common object employ the Attention of the contracting Parties, which requires their acting in Concert, I humbly think that I should be made acquainted with its Contents, that I might act in { 213 } Conformity thereto, and as far as my Small Influence will reach, cooperate accordingly.
As Agent for the United States of America in the West Indies, every Circumstance that regards the Country that I represent, and that forms a Subject of Controversy, immediately falls under my Notice and Attention;—but how shall I govern myself with any Degree of Prudence or Precision, or according to the Terms that the Treaty prescribes, when I am entirely ignorant of what it contains.
I have taken the liberty of laying these Thoughts before you Gentlemen, from the Impulse of a Motive which you cannot but think commendable from a Sincere desire of obtaining Such Information as is essentially necessary to the Discharge of my Trust with Reputation to myself, and Credit to my Employers. I have the honor to be with unfeigned Respect Honbl. Gentn. Your most obedt. & very hble Servant
[signed] Wm Bingham
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “William Bingham”; in another hand: “June 16. 78.”
1. Comte d'Argout, the governor of Martinique (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:288).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0157

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-16

John Bondfield to the Commissioners

[salute] Honble. Sirs

I had the Honor to write you the 13.13 and 14th Instant.1 Mr. Emery receiv'd letters from Capt. Cunningham at Corrunha advising their Arrival at that Port from Cadiz having made four Prizes in the Passage.2 We have it reported the Boston fell in with two privateers, one of eighteen Guns she took, the other got off.3 I cannot trace it so as give implicite faith.
The Jersey Privateers stil continue upon the Coast of Spain they have taken a vessel belonging to Bayenne having Tobacco on board from the Cape and a small schooner with eighty hhds from Edenten.
Letters from Lisbon mention the arrival of a Vessel at that Port from the Western Islands that fell in with the Fleet under Comte D'Estaing near to Tercera4 the 23 May.
Captain de Siau is come down, A suitable vessel is purchased to mount 24 nine pounders two hundred and forty men and a small tender is on the stocks which together are to be compleatly equipt and at Sea by the 20th July. I am with due respect Your honors Most Obedient H Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
{ 214 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “The Honble Benj. Franklin. Arthur Lee John Adams Esqr. Commissioners from Congress at Paris”; docketed: “Mr. Bondfield 16 June 1778.”
1. Neither the second letter of the 13th nor that of the 14th has been printed here. For the former, see the first letter of the 13th (note 1, above); for the latter, see Joy Castle to the Commissioners, 22 June (note 2, below).
2. John Emery, a Bilbao merchant, in writing to Arthur Lee from Bordeaux on 10 June (MH-H: Lee Papers), had referred to a letter from La Coruña of 18 May reporting the capture of four prizes by Gustavus Conyngham and the Revenge. Although four prizes were mentioned, only three, all captured on 4 May (the brigs Maria, Dispatch, and Siren), can be identified as likely to have been mentioned in a letter of 18 May (Cruises of Conyngham, ed. Neeser, table facing p. 152).
3. Punctuation for this sentence editorially supplied. The report was erroneous; no mention of such an encounter appears in Samuel Tucker's log for the Boston (MH-H).
4. That is, Terceira, an island in the central Azores.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.