Jacques Le Maire to John Adams: A Translation
Nantes, 10 November 1778
My departure being fixed at the end of this month by the contract made by Mr. Lee with Mr. Bonnefil1 to transport the goods here belonging to Virginia, I dare, sir, to solicit a letter of recommendation from you in my favor for the Governor of Virginia. Also be so kind as to send me the reply to the letter I delivered to you from him.2 I apply to you all the more eagerly knowing that your generosity and sense of justice will justify the zeal that I have exercised in the faithful fulfillment of my mission. Without prejudice I venture to recognize in my conduct an inviolable and disinterested attachment to the service of the United Provinces to which I am entirely devoted, and I am very happy if I can prove to you the truth of the sentiments of which I pray you know me to be imbued.
I have the honor to be, with deep respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
Rue de la Casserie in Nantes
RC (Adams Papers).
1. That is, Bondfield. William Lee reported to Gov. Thomas Jefferson on 24 Sept. 1779 and 15 Aug. 1780 that Arthur Lee had chartered the ships that carried Virginia’s property to America and that, so far as he knew, it had all gone by the Governor Livingston, the Hunter, and the Mary Feron (Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen (from vol. 21), and others, Princeton, 1950– description ends , 3:90–93, 551). According to John Bondfield’s letter to the Commissioners of 23 Jan. 1779 (below), those three vessels were wholly owned by himself, William Haywood, and James Price.
2. JA did not respond to this letter, nor did he mention it in his reply of 8 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers) to a second letter from Le Maire of 3 Dec. (Adams Papers). Le Maire’s second letter again asked for JA’s reply to Gov. Patrick Henry’s letter of 5 March (vol. 5:408–410), but did not request a recommendation. As a result, JA’s reply of 8 Dec. was essentially a covering letter for his to Patrick Henry of the same date (below).