Adams Papers

To John Adams from John Bondfield, 28 October 1780

From John Bondfield

Bordeaux 28 8bre 1780


A fever that confind me to my Bed from the 15th Augt. to 20 Sept. and and absence in the Country to a few days past for my recovery deprived me the pleasure of communicating to you as subjects offerd the occurences which by many arrivals at this and the neighbouring Ports have been frequent. You will undoubtedly have recived from Ferol the Letters and papers brought by the 1 arrivd at that Port. They left Boston the 10 September. Mr. Brush2 who went out in the Alliance is returnd Passenger and I learn this morning he is arrivd at this City. I have not yet Seen him, his inteligence of the possission of Mr. De Ternay and the Land Forces must be very Interesting. We suspect little can be undertaken until Mr. De Ternay obtains a reinforcement. So long as the English remain masters in them Seas, the Towns on the Sea Coast as Charles Town &c. will ever be a prey to their excurssions. We are without advise of Genl. Provost. It is time them troops should appear if sent to join Lord Cornwallis will make him too strong for the Carolina Militia particularly since their retreat.

The British Ministry will be at a loss how to treat Mr. Laurens in all probability he will be detaind during the War unless some Member of one of the two Houses [. . . be]comes a Captive which its not improble may happen. Capt. Jones here went out in the Arial is returnd to Lorient dismasted. Landais we are informd was put under arrest at his arrival at Boston. The number of prizes of Value sent into that Port have given a surabundance of most Nessessaries—and will probably make up for the non arrival of the Cloathing provided last Spring which I am told is yet in France. By the dismission of Mons. De Sartin,3 Monsr. Le Ray de Chaumont will find himself crampt in the operations he is engaged in. A report to his prejudice prevaild here some days past.

I do not find the two Cases of Wine you wrote me to forward have been sent.4 I shall order them by the next deligence to be prepard and forwarded.

I have the Honor to be respectfully [S]r your very hbl Serv

John Bondfield

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Son Excellence John Adams Esqr. Hotel de Valois Rue Richlieu <Paris>”; in another hand: below the street, “A Amtresdam”; and on the reverse of the address page as folded: “presentement d’Amtresdam”; endorsed: “Mr Bondfield 8. Oct. ansd. 6 Decr. 1780.”

1Left blank in the manuscript, the vessel may have been the ship Success owned by Isaac Smith Sr. AA indicated that her letter of 3 Sept. was to go by “a Vessel of my unkles” and Eliphalet Brush reportedly posted a letter from AA at Bordeaux (Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 3:405–407; from Francis Dana, 13 Dec.). The Independent Chronicle of 7 Sept. indicated that the Success was about to sail for Bilbao, but it could easily have put into El Ferrol.

2JA probably met Eliphalet Brush, a New York merchant, in late Dec. 1780 or early Jan. 1781, when Brush reached Amsterdam with Francis Dana’s letter written at Breda on 13 Dec. (below). For additional information about Brush and his relations with the Adamses in Europe and America, see Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 4:219; 5:151; 6:255, 256; JQA, Diary description begins Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981–. description ends , 1:76, 84, 306, 307.

3Gabriel de Sartine was replaced as naval minister by the Marquis de Castries on 13 October. His dismissal reflected the determination of Jacques Necker, director general of finance and opponent of the war, to enforce spending reforms and consolidate his power among the king’s principal advisors at Vergennes’ expense. But a more important reason may have been the need to appease Spain, which blamed Sartine for the failures that had plagued allied naval operations since January (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence description begins Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence: A Study of Arms and Diplomacy, 1774–1787, Princeton, 1975. description ends , p. 199–202).

4No letter from JA to Bondfield making such a request has been found, but for previous difficulties in shipping wine, see JA’s letters to Bondfield of 24 and 25 May (both above).

Index Entries