Adams Papers

1779 Ap. 28. Wednesday.
[from the Diary of John Adams]

1779 Ap. 28. Wednesday.1

Went up to Nantes from Minden2 or St. Nazare, before Wind and Tide in 4 Hours. This Morning by C[aptain] Landais who came on board I received a Letter from Dr. F. inclosing one from M. de Sartine, both expressing a Desire, that the Alliance might not sail for some Time, and that I would take my Passage home, with M. Le Chevalier de la Luzerne, the new Ambassador, in one of the Kings Frigates.3

This is a cruel Disappointment.—To exchange May for July, and the Alliance for another Frigate, is too much.

Lodged at the Hotel de St. Julien, where I find the Accommodations better than at L’hotel de la Comedie....4

Dined at the Hotel, with a Number of Navy Officers, several with the Cross of St. Louis. Drank Tea, at Mrs. Johnsons. Had much Conversation with him about Consuls, Agents. He thinks one Consul enough for the Kingdom with Power of Deputation. This [also,] that a Duty of so much per Ton [should be levied] on all Ships, entering a french Port, for the Relief of unfortunate Americans, Prisoners, Shipwrecked Persons, &c.5 That no Man should be discharged from a Ship but by the Consul. That six, ten, or twelve Merchants should be appointed to inspect the Consuls accounts, once in 3 Months, &c.

1From this point on, through 31 July 1779, the entries are in D/JA/29.

2Pointe du Mindin, where the Alliance lay at anchor, is across from Saint Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire.

3Sartine’s letter, dated 20 April 1779, was addressed to Franklin; it requested on behalf of the King that the Alliance be ordered to Lorient (Adams Papers). The Alliance was soon afterward joined to John Paul Jones’ squadron. Franklin’s letter, 24 April, enclosing Sartine’s, pointed out for JA’s consolation that he would be traveling more safely and would have the company of the Chevalier de La Luzerne, “who appears to me a most amiable Man and of very sensible and pleasing Conversation” and “who is to set off in a few Days” (Adams Papers; JA, Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 7:93–94). On the contrary La Luzerne and his party did not arrive at Lorient until 11 June; see entry of 12 June, below. There is a careful study, based mainly on records in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by William E. O’Donnell of The Chevalier de La Luzerne, French Minister to the United States, 1779–1784, Bruges and Louvain, 1938.

4Suspension points in MS.

5The words in brackets have been supplied by the editors to make sense of a defective sentence.

Index Entries