Adams Papers

From John Adams to Benjamin Franklin, 12 November 1781

To Benjamin Franklin

Amsterdam November 12th 1781


By the last Post, Letters have been recieved in this Town from Mr. Gillon and from a Passenger, Mr. Le Roy,1 by which and a note upon one of them by Mr. Lagoanere2 it appears that the South Carolina sailed form Corunna on the seventeenth of October, and that Captain Jackson and Mr. Trumbull3 are gone in an American Privateer to Bilbao, in order to take Passage from thence to America: so that the proposal I had the honor to make to your Excellency of sending Jackson here cannot take place.

The Goods remain here for Or[ders,]4 and for Cash or Credit to buy or hire [the] Ships. If neither can be advanced by you[r] Excellency, there remains only one alternative, vizt either to sell a part to pay the freight of the rest, or let the whole remain here until Congress can give Orders concerning them. Your Excellency must be very sensible, that nobody on this side the Atlantic, except your Excellency, has Authority to give Orders to sell part of the Goods to pay the freight of the remainder.

These Goods would be such an heart-felt Comfort to our brave Countrymen in the Field the ensuing Winter, that I cannot but most ardently wish they might arrive in the Month of January or sooner, and therefore cannot but advise the sending of them, provided it is possible. The whole however must be submitted to your Excellency.

I have the honor to be,5 with great Respect, Sir your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant

J. Adams

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PU:Franklin Papers); endorsed: “answd. 23d.” LbC (Adams Papers). Damage to the lower right corner of the RC resulted in the loss of parts of three words, which have been supplied from the LbC.

1For Herman Le Roy, see vol. 10:115.

2Michel Lagoanere was the American agent at La Coruña (vol. 8:297).

3In the Letterbook JA canceled: “and my son.”

4In the Letterbook JA canceled: “and for Mr De Neufville will write to your Excellency.” Jean de Neufville & Fils wrote to Franklin on 12 Nov. and advised him to buy the ships left behind by Gillon (Franklin, Papers description begins The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, William B. Willcox (from vol. 15), Claude A. Lopez (vol. 27), Barbara B. Oberg (from vol. 28), Ellen R. Cohn (from vol. 36), and others, New Haven, 1959– . description ends , 36:49–50).

5The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.

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