Adams Papers
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To John Adams from Jonathan Williams III, 5 April 1779

From Jonathan Williams III

Nantes April 5 1779

Dear Sir

Your Flattery has effectually ingaged me in your Correspondence, for when my Services in writing can at any time amuse or inform you, You may assure your self I shall most cordially become your Volentier.1

Commodore Manly as he is called is again taken in the Cumberland by the Pomona Frigate Capt. Waldergrave.2

Compte De Stang sailed the 12 of Jany from Martinique and Byron from St. Lucie. They both met, and after they saw each other they both returned again to Port.3 This is represented by Byron as a flight, but I think the Count will have just as good grounds for His Story; tho perhaps there may not be that occasion for it, such Stories are necessary to keep up the Spirits of the People; but the French do not depend on such Bubbles. Count De Stang I hope will do something to retrieve his Name; he has been unfortunate.

Will you be so obliging Sir, as to let me know whether the Alliance, will sail directly from Brest, or come to Nantes, as Soon as it is determined.

I coud wish to perswade my Father to accompany You, and will if his engagements will admit off it.

If I do not see you again before you sail, most sincerely I wish you a pleasant, safe and short Passage.

When you arrive in America you shall constantly receive the [Stories of?] the day, thro’ my Hands. My best Respects to Mrs. Adams.

I am with real Respect Yours most affectionately

Jon Williams trd

My Father and Cousin present their Compliments to you.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “a Monsieur Monsieur J Adams Ministre Plenipotentiare des Etats unis a <Brest>,” and, for clarity, in another hand, “a Nants M. Williams”; stamped: “NANT[ES]” and “BREST”; docketed: “Jon. Williams 3d,” and in another hand: “April 5th 1779.” The letter was received by JA after his return to Nantes, where he arrived circa 12 April (to Vergennes, 12 April, below).

1Jonathan Williams III had written to JA on 28 March (Adams Papers). That letter contained essentially the same information as the letter from his cousin Jonathan Williams Jr. of the same date (above). In this paragraph Williams implies that he received an answer to his letter of the 28th; no letter from JA has been found.

2John Manley had previously commanded the Continental frigate Hancock, which was taken by the British frigate Rainbow in July 1777 (from James Warren, 7 Sept. 1777, vol. 5:283–286). Following his exchange in March 1778, Manley commanded privateers and in Jan. 1779 was taken in the Cumberland off Barbados. Soon escaping, he was back in Boston by April (Isaac J. Greenwood, Captain John Manley, Boston, 1915, p. 103–108).

3On 12 Jan., after learning that the newly arrived Adm. Byron had split his fleet between two harbors on St. Lucia, Estaing set out from Fort Royal on Martinique. Byron’s quick action in bringing the two parts of his fleet together again caused Estaing to return to Martinique (W. M. James, British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 144).

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