From the President of Congress
Philadelphia July 30 1780
Since your Arrival in Europe I have been favoured with your several Despatches of the 11. and 16. of December last, the 16. of January, the 15. 17. 19. 20. 25. 27. and 29. of February, the 8. 18. 19. and 23. of March.1
It is probable the Committee of foreign Affairs may have acknowledged the Receipt of these Despatches, and several Duplicates which have been also received.2
I presume they have given you particular Intelligence of all material Occurancies in America since your Departure, it being properly in their Department, and a Business which my present Engagements will by no Means permit me to undertake in so ample a Manner as is necessary, or would be agreeable to your Wishes.
Before this comes to hand you will have received the disagreeable Intelligence of the Capitulation and Surrender of Charles Town, in which the Brave General Lincoln with about two thousand Continental Troops (Officers included) were made Prisoners.
On the Evening of the 10th Instant the French Squadron under the Command of the Chevalier de Ternay arrived off New Port. The Compte de Rochambault has since landed his Troops on Connanicut.3
Three Days after their Arrival Admiral Graves with a British Squadron arrived at New-York, and being joined by the Ships there soon put to Sea; and we have just received Advice that Graves with his whole Squadron since their Junction is cruizing of New Port. The exact Number and Strength of his Squadron I cannot learn, but it is thought equal if not superior to Ternays.
Without a decisive Superiority of naval Strength in these Seas we cannot expect to expell the Enemy from New York this Campaign where we have been plagued with them long enough.
I have the Pleasure to inform you that the State of Massachusetts have established their Constitution, a desirable and important Event.
I have the Honor to be with every Sentiment of Respect sir your most obedient servant
Dupl (MHi: John Adams, Embassy MSS, 1779–1785); endorsed by Francis Dana: “President Huntington’s Letter of July 30th. 1780.”
1. The letters of 11 and 16 Dec. 1779 had reached Congress on 27 March; that of 16 Jan. 1780 on 7 April; those of 15, 17, 19, 20, 25, 27, and 29 Feb. on 15 May; those of 8 (first letter), 18, and 19 March on 22 July; and that of 23 March on 24 July (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 16:288, 335; 17:428, 653, 654). Huntington neglected to mention that JA’s second letter of 3 April and three letters of 4 April had arrived on 10 July (same, 17:595).
2. In fact, this was the first letter from an official source acknowledging the receipt of any of JA’s letters to Congress written since his return to Europe. A letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 11 July (not printed, but see JA’s commission to negotiate a Dutch loan, , and note 1, above) had served merely as a covering letter for JA’s commission.
3. Conanicut Island at the mouth of Narragansett Bay, opposite Newport, R.I.