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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 6

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0190

Author: Simpson, Thomas
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-03

Thomas Simpson to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

I am to Acknowledge the receipt of your favor from Passi of the third of last month,1 for which, and your kind interposition in my behalf, I return you my most sincere thanks, Captain Jones has released me from Prison, and has permitted me to go for America, but holds me suspended until called upon by a court martial to meet him face to face: a copy of the Parole brought to me in the prison by Captain Jones, which I signed the evening before I was honoured with the receipt of your letter, I have hereunto annexed for your inspection.2 Immediately on my release, I wrote to Mr. Williams at Nantes whose clerk in his absence, answered, and informed me of several Vessels bound to Virginia, and South Carolina which places are at too great a distance from Portsmouth in New Hampshire, the place of my abode, especially as I have recieved no money since my being in the service for myself, and Servant, an able Seaman, who is now dead of his wound recieved in the action with the Drake, except about thirty eight crowns prize money for a brig sold in Nantes last winter, therefore cannot afford such a considerable expence. Mr. Cutler wrote me that Captain Whipple had generously offered me a passage in the Providence, provided she was bound to the Northern States of America; I have since wrote Capt. Whipple and am now expecting his answer, holding myself ready to go immediately for Nantes, if necessary.3 Captain Niles4 arriving this morning, an express vessel in the continental service, with whom, if no other opportunity offers before his return, I can conveniently go and be very welcome, being a person known to me long since. I beg your Honours excuse for this trouble—a line in answer by the return of Captain Niles, sooner, if your Honours think proper, will be confirming a further obligation, on Gentlemen, Your most Obedient, and very humble Servant
[signed] Thom Simpson
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “Honourable, the Commissioners for the United States of America at Paris. favor of Capt. Niles”; docketed: “Lt Simpson”; in another hand: “July 3d. 78.”
1. For this letter see the Commissioners to John Paul Jones, 3 June (calendared above).
2. Simpson's parole of 10 June (not printed) resulted from pressure exerted on John Paul Jones by the Commissioners. Despite the parole, problems apparently remained with the Ranger's crew and by 4 July, Jones was willing to go further. In a letter to the Commissioners of that date (ViU: Lee Papers), after stating that his instructions permitted him to appoint one of { 256 } his lieutenants to command the Ranger, Jones declared that “Lieutenant Simpson has certainly behaved amiss; yet I can forgive as well as resent and upon his making a proper Concession, I will, with your Approbation, not only pardon the past but leave him the Command of the Ranger.” The Commissioners were, however, still not satisfied and, according to JA, “with a great Exercise of Patience, We prudently brought him at last to write Us” a letter “which terminated all Difficulties for the present” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:166). In that letter of 16 July, which Jones later declared to be “Involuntary” (Jones to the Commissioners, 15 Aug., below), he dropped his demand for a formal admission of error by Simpson and stated that “I am willing to let the dispute between Us drop forever, by giving up that Parole, which will entitle him to command the Ranger” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:165).The Commissioners immediately wrote to Simpson, appointing him to the command of the Ranger and enclosing a copy of Jones' letter (same, 4:162).
3. Simpson, writing to the Commissioners on 18 July (PPAmP: Franklin Papers), reported that he had gone to Nantes to board Whipple's vessel, the Providence, for passage to America. It was at Nantes that Simpson received word of his appointment to the Ranger.
4. Of the Spy ; see Jonathan Trumbull to the Commissioners, 29 May and notes (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0191

Author: Tucker, Samuel
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-03

Samuel Tucker to the Commissioners

[salute] Gentlemen

These may Serve to acquaint your Honours of my arrival at this port, after a short Cruze of twenty four Days. While on the Cruze I took four Prizes one of which I sent for Boston in Charge of a Carefull Prize Master and seven Men she being a Brig from Venus [Venice] her Cargo chiefly Medicine. The others I Ordered for this Port, two of their Cargos fish the other Coles [coal?] and Bottles, all of little Value.1 I would inform your Honours the Reason I came in so soon was on Account of Capt. Alexander Murry in the Brig Saratoga from Baltimore that I spoke with June 25th in the Longitude 25″00. West, who told me he had on Board many dispatches for your Honours in General and for the Court of France and many other Letters of Importence to our States.2 I sent my Boat, on Board he show'd them to my Officers and send me a Line or two, then I bore away to Conduct him Clear of the Cruzers in the Bay as far as I was able too, but unluckly on the 28th last att 10 AM. I saw a Sail to the Southward. I then haild Capt. Murry told him to stear his Course and I would overtake him in the Afternoon but could not come up with my Chase and loath to quit untill 5 PM then haul'd to the Northward for Capt. Murry, att 6 fell in with two Sail a Snow from Sweeden, and a Brig from Scotland, the former I past, the Latter I took, and by the Time I maned her it was very Dark. I went again in Persuit of Capt. Murry and carried all the Sail I possible { 257 } could to overtake him, when, coming in by Ushant I saw a Cutter of fourteen Guns coming from the Northward, gave her chase but could not come up with her, at Dark gave over Chase and made for Capt. Murry but had not the Good Fortune to see him after except I saw him Yesterday when I was coming in to the Eastward of me, and as he told me he was bound to Nantz I suppos'd it to be him, but was not so near as to be certain.
Gentlemen Mr. Livingston my 2d Lieutenant who presents this will give your Honours a just account of the Situation of my Ship in every respect whatever. His waiting on your Honours, prevents my Writing of many Circumstances as the Gentleman will give you a just detail of the whole. Pray Gentlemen inform me if I must Carry the Prisoners to America. If I am to carry them I shall build a Prison in the forepart of my Ship, for them and some who I have Entered on Board, who has appeared very Disaffected on the Cruize and two I've on Board confined. When meeting Capt. Whipple or Jones will try them, or carry them to America in their present Situation.
I would inform your Honours that Mr. Livingston acted in the above state like a Good man and must confess I am very sorry to part with him, but his Health is so Imperfect I am sure he Cannot endure the Fatigues of a Cruize, and Especial in my Situation, he will be able to give you the best Account off. I should be very glad to Accompany Capt. Whipple for my Future Cruze. I am Gentlemen with Respect Your Honours Most Obedt. Humble Servt.
[signed] Saml. Tucker
NB. Three Days after sailing from this Port I fell in with 7 Large Ships two and 3 Deckers Supposing them to be the English Fleet made way from them. The 16th. June I saw them.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Captn. Tuckers Letter”; in another hand: “July 3. 78.”
1. The four prizes, together with the dates on which they were taken, were the brigs John and Rebecca, 19 June; Britannia, 24 June; Elizabeth, 25 June; and an unidentified Scottish brig, 29 June. The John and Rebecca, carrying medicines and sent to Boston, was recaptured by the H.M.S. Porcupine on 8 July (Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, Captain Samuel Tucker, Salem, 1976, p. 50–51, 104). The dates given in Tucker's log (MH-H) for the capture of the Scottish brig and the meeting with Capt. Murray are one day later than those in this letter.
2. The Saratoga arrived at Nantes on 3 July with dispatches from the congress that apparently did not include copies of the ratified treaties with France. Those arrived at Brest on the same day in the Spy.
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.