From Jonathan Williams
Nantes March 28. 1779
I have not written to you since your Departure because I have not before had anything to communicate, and now it is probable you will have already heard what I have to say.
The last accounts from England inform us that Pondicherry and Chandanargor in the East Indies are taken by the English, after above two months Seige.1 The Papers say also that a french Man of War and a Frigate are lost on the Cape of Good Hope.2 Senegal is taken by the French,—the Garrison at Fort James was so weakened by Sickness that it fell an easy prey.3
We have had besides the above a great many Bruits, but as they seem to have been calculated only pour faire du Bruit, I shall not trouble you with any account of them.4
Jon Williams J.
Remember me to Master Jack—est il content de la Comedie, <
a Brest> aprés avoir vu la belle Salle de Nantes, celle de Brest ne doit pas lui plaire; tout le monde n’est pas de cet avis, mais il faut souvenir que notre salle a eu le Merite d’etre consacrée aux cheveaux, quoiqu’il n’y va aujourdhui que des ânes.5
RC (Adams Papers).
1. According to reports in the London Chronicle of 16–18 March, Pondicherry was taken by troops of the British East India Company in Oct. 1778. Chandernagore, a French settlement near Calcutta, had been taken earlier.
2. The London Chronicle of 18–20 March contained a report that “the Phelizburg, a French man of war of 74 guns, and the Orleans frigate, were both lost near the Cape of Good Hope, the 27th of Aug. last, in their passage from Toulon to Pondicherry.” No mention has been found, however, of any French naval vessels with those names. See, for example, Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence description begins Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence: a Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774–1787, Princeton, 1915. description ends , apps. B, C, and D.
4. One example of such rumors was the report in the London Chronicle of 20–23 March that “Advice is reported to have been received from Paris, by some respectable houses here [London], that one of the American Plenipotentiaries at the Court of France, has been put under arrest for having carried on a correspondence with the English Ministry.”
5. Translation: Is he content with the Comedy <
at Brest>. After having seen the fine hall at Nantes, that of Brest cannot please him; everyone is not of this opinion, but he should remember that our hall had the honor to be dedicated to horses, although only asses go there now.