Adams Papers

To John Adams from John Bondfield, 17 March 1781

From John Bondfield

Bordeaux 17 March 1781


As we doubt not of your having Letters by the Alliance our advices of course will serve only as repetition to relate. I shall therefore inlieu of giving request from you information. The Honble. J. L——s is he to superceed the D——r or Is his Buissness confined to a perticular object.His bringing with him Mr. Jackson1 as secretary would give room to suppose him a residence. In that case the D<octo>r will of course go back in the Alliance. She will return positively the middle of April and will take all the ships then ready under her Convoy. Could Comodore Gillon get round in time to Join them would be a great reenforceir to this little Squadron which will consist of the Alliance

The Marquis de lafayet 28 eighteen Pounder
The Luzern 18
The Aurora 20
The franklin 20
The Venus 14

beside four of five Armd Schooners and Briggs. And as the Marquis de lafayet will have what is of so much consiquence to the States the Cloathing their Arrival is of very great Moment.

The Venus will sail from hence at the end of the Month to join them.2 She goes to Boston the other Ships to Philadelphia.

We learn your Loan goes on to your Satisfaction. We are rejoiced to find the Dutch so ready to Acquiess in your demands which proves their regarding your welfare attatcht to their own. By last post we are advised they have offerd 12 milion florens to France to defray the Expence of a Stipulate Force of Ships and Men to go to the East Indies to Act in consort in them Seas against the Common Enemy.

Mr. T. Pain came passenger by [the A]lliance.3 His errand must be urgent to engage his Crossing the Atlantic at this time.

Can you point out any Line for young Vernon?4 He is a smart Youth but wants opportunity to improve should any opening offer for Petersburg or the other Northern States but particularly to that, as a secretary to an Envoy. His figure is in his favor and his Letters wish application in a line to his tast would soon be conform to his Station.

With respect I have the Honor to be Sir Your very hhb Servant

John Bondfield

We are affraid Mr. Palfrey is lost as the ship he embarked in saild from the Delaware the 21 Dcember and is not yet heard of on these Coasts.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Son Excellence John Adams Esq Ministre plénipotentiaire des Etats-unis à Amsterdam”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “John Bondfield 17th. March 1781.” A slight tear has resulted in the loss of all of one word and part of another.

1Maj. William Jackson of South Carolina was captured at the fall of Charleston in the spring of 1780 and exchanged later in the year. He then joined John Laurens on his mission to Europe, serving first as Laurens’ secretary and then as his agent charged with getting the South Carolina ready for sea. When the frigate sailed in July, Jackson was aboard and JA entrusted him with the care of CA, his fellow passenger. Jackson later served as George Washington’s secretary and as surveyor of customs at Philadelphia, but is best known as the secretary of the Constitutional Convention (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).

2The Venus would sail from Bordeaux to Lorient.

3Thomas Paine accompanied John Laurens as an unofficial secretary and returned with him to the U.S. at the end of May (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).

4Bondfield made a similar request regarding William Vernon Jr. in 1780 (vol. 9:330, 339).

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