Adams Papers

To John Adams from Arthur Lee, 26 March 1780

From Arthur Lee

L’Orient March 26th. 1780

Dear Sir

I have but one moment to thank you, for your favor1 with one from London enclosd which I received on my return from Brest. We are likely to be detaind here by the prize-money for the Serapis &c. not being paid, without which the Crew of the Alliance threaten a Mutiny.2

If, as I apprehend it may, the application I requested you to make to Mr. G[rand]3 should at all interfere with your plan, which I think very prudent, of keeping as free as possible from these disputes, which indeed are a reproach to us, I beg you will think no more of it. What has been Gerards conduct since his arrival and what his reception. He is a man to be observd narrowly. I dont mean on any account but on that of the public to which I think he will yet do much mischief, if he is listend to.


RC (Adams Papers.)

1Of 15 March (above).

2The Alliance’s officers and men had not received their prize money from the Bonhomme Richard expedition because of delays in the sale of the prizes and the refusal of the prize agent, Le Ray de Chaumont, to advance the money. Not until April did Benjamin Franklin provide them with one month’s pay, the first they had received since sailing from America. The crew placed the blame for their situation squarely on John Paul Jones’ shoulders. Ultimately Arthur Lee was able to use that discontent to displace Jones and put Pierre Landais in command (Morison, John Paul Jones description begins Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones, a Sailor’s Biography, Boston and Toronto, 1959. description ends , p. 274, 294–295; see also John Bondfield to JA, 12 April, below).

3In Lee’s letter of 15 March (above).

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