John Adams to William McCreery
Passi April 15. 1778
I have to thank you for your obliging Politeness to me at Bourdeaux and to request that you would give my most respectfull Compliments, and most hearty Thanks to Mr. Delap1 for his kind present of Wine, which was very good, and afforded us an abundant Supply the whole Journey.
I have another Thing to mention to you, which is, that in unpacking my Baggage, I miss a pair of coarse homespun Breeches, which my little son wore in the Passage. If they are at your House, I should be obliged to you if you would rip open the Waistband in which you will find a few Guineas, 8 at least. The Breeches you may give to the first Child that wants them. The Guineas, you may send to me, or ship the Value of them, deducting your Commissions in any Thing you please, to Mrs. Adams at Braintree near Boston, to the Care of Isaac Smith Esqr., Queen Street Boston. Linnens, or Cambricks, I suppose would be as acceptable as any Thing. If you ship any Thing let it be in some Vessell, bound to Boston, or at least to some Eastern Port.
I am with much Esteem, your Friend & set.,
RC (PHi:Dreer Coll.); endorsed: “Paris 15 Apl. 1778 Honbl. J. Adams Answd.”; at foot of text: “Given to me by S. M. Shoemaker Esq. of Balt[imore] 1852. F. J. Dreer.”
1. S. & J. H. Delap were United States commercial agents at Bordeaux.
2. McCreery replied from Bordeaux, 3 May (Adams Papers):
“I have made all possible search and enquiry for the Breeches you mention belonging to your Son, containing the Money, but have not been able to get any tidings of them. I do not remember having seen any such at the time you were here. I know that many things were left carelessly loose by the Servants, and am affraid that some of the Porters have got hold of them. I really do not expect that they will be found in this House, after the search that has been made.”
From this JA concluded that the guineas had been lost or stolen “upon the road” between Bordeaux and Paris (to McCreery, 14 May, printed in JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 4:98), and entered them in the column of expenditures in his Accounts for 1778–1779 (same, 2:326). The “Breeches” having become “a Garment” in these Accounts, they were further transformed in the final resolutions of Congress by which JA was reimbursed. In these the pertinent entry reads: “Money lost which was sewed in the lining of a Coat which was stolen” (enclosure in James Lovell to AA, 14 May 1780, printed below).