To Henry Laurens
Braintree February 4. 1778
I had this Moment the Honour of yours of the 15. Ultimo and I thank you for your Kindness to Mr. Thaxter of whom I had not before heard, Since he left this Place.
The Act of Congress inclosed in your Letter,1 I will take with me to Europe, for which Country I hope to embark in five Days in the Boston Frigate, not without Regret at having been delayed So long.
I was disappointed in not finding, any Mention of the State of Burgoines Arms, which it Seems were damnified and unfit for Service; and Bayonettes and Swords which were without Scabbards; Circumstances which seem to be material; because those Injuries must have been done after the Convention, and in Violation of it, for no doubt the Intention of the Contracting Parties was, that all those Things Should be Surrendered without Injury.
Your Account of the Trick, played upon Dispatches to Congress, is indeed alarming, and naturally excites Jealousies. If Mr. Lovell has received from me an Extract of a Letter, I received from Nantes,2 he may possibly have a similar Suspicion to mine, which does not ascribe this Trick to Ld. Stormont or his Emissaries.
Certainly too much Vigilance and Caution cannot be used, in communicating Intelligence, between Congress and their Agents abroad. I am sir, in great Haste having many Things to think of and to do, in Preparation for my Voyage, with the sincerest Respect and Esteem your most obedient, and most huml sert
P.S. Mr. Burgoine, is much agitated with the order to suspend his Embarkation. He has requested, an Interview with Mr. Hancock and Mr. S. Adams. The latter was ill and unable—the former by Advice of the House of Representatives, I hear is to meet him.3
RC (ScHi); addressed: “Honourable Henry Laurens Esqr President of Congress York Town”; franked: “on public service”; docketed: “John Adams 4 Febry 1778 Recd 8 March.”
1. According to Laurens, he had not been able to obtain a copy for JA of the congressional resolution of 8 Jan. that forbade the embarkation of Burgoyne and his troops. JA did receive from Gen. Heath, however, one of the copies sent to him (Heath to JA, 4 Feb., Adams Papers).
2. The only known letter from Nantes in this period is that of 29 Sept. 1777 from William MacCreery (above). See James Lovell to JA, 8 Feb., note 2 (below). JA may be implying that Thomas Morris was somehow involved in the trick played on Capt. Folger.
3. Hancock was named with two others as a committee to join with appointees of the Council to consider what should be done about the congressional order of 8 Jan., but the Journals of the House make no mention of a meeting between Hancock and Burgoyne (Mass., House Jour. description begins Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts [1715-], Boston, reprinted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1919-. (For the years for which reprints are not yet available, the original printings are cited, by year and session.) description ends , 1777–1778, 5th sess., p. 173).