From Francis Dana
I write you at present principally to communicate the following intellegence from Martinique. It is just given to me by our good Friends the two Abbés,2 who tell me it may be depended on, as they had it from Mr. Neckar’s Office.
La derniere Convoi parti du Ferrol, est arrivé ici le 14. Xbre. il manque peu de batiments—Le 4 Vaisseaux venue de St. Doming. sous les ordres de Monsr. Le Chevr. D’Albert St. Hippolite sont arriveé a St. Pierre.
L’Amiral Rodney a attaqué la nuit du 16 en 17 St. Vincent. Il avait à terre 4000 hommes compris les Troupes de Marine. Le debarquement s’est fait dans la matineé du 16. Les Anglais ont eté répoussé avèc perte et obligés de se rembarquer. M. de Blanch le Lande Lt. Colonel du Regiment de Viennois3 a defendu cette Isle contré l’amiral Rodney et le general Vaughan. Il avait pris depuis 2 jours le commandement de cette Isle. Les Carribes se sont comporté avèc beaucoup de Valeur.
Cette novelle a eté aporteé par la Frigate la Carèq [?] commandeé par le Baron de <
Bouvebelles> Bonbelles capitaine de Vaisseaux arrivé à Rochfort le 27. Janv. 1781.4
I have desired Mr. Grand to transfer from my Account to your Credit 2658.16.10 Livrs. the amount of the Note I gave you just before I left Holland; and to advise you of it, which when he shall do, you will please to cancel my Note.5 I have received Mr. Thaxter’s two Letters.6 Your bills are lodged as you desired with Mr. Grand. Please to tell Mr. Thaxter I am ready to answer his drafts for the sums he mentions, as soon as he will draw upon me for them, or any others he may have occasion for. I have heard nothing about either of them here.
Mr. Searle is now with me, and desired to be particularly remembered to you, and to assure you he is daily more and more convinced of the baneful effects of Francisco’s Silas Deane’s conversation. He is gone with his clerk for Holland, I believe by the way of Ostend.7 I beg you to present my regards not only to all our Countrymen with you, who merit them, but to all our good Friends of Holland.
I am, Dear Sir, with the most sincere respect & attachment Your most obedient humble Servant and much obliged Friend
RC (Adams Papers); filmed at , Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 354.
2. For Abbés Arnoux and Chalut, friends from JA’s residence in France and occasional correspondents, see JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 4:59.
3. “Viennois” here and “Bonbelles” in the next paragraph are written in an unknown hand.
The last convoy to leave Ferrol arrived here on 14 December, lacking only the four vessels bound for St. Domingue under the command of the Chev. D’Albert St. Hippolite, which have arrived at St. Pierre.
Admiral Rodney attacked St. Vincent on the night of 16–17 December, disembarking the 4,000 men constituting his landing force. The landing was made on the morning of the 16th. The English have been repulsed with losses and obliged to reembark. M. de Blanchelande, Lt. Colonel of the Viennois Regiment, has defended this island against Admiral Rodney and General Vaughan. He took command of this island only two days before. The Caribbeans have conducted themselves with much valor.
This news was brought by the frigate Cérès commanded by Baron de Bonbelles, Capitaine de Vaisseaux, which arrived at Rochefort on 27 January 1781.
6. Neither of John Thaxter’s letters have been found.
7. Silas Deane left Paris for the Netherlands on or about 23 Jan. and returned on 21 Feb. (Papers of Silas Deane, 1774–1790 [N.Y. Hist. Soc., Colls., vols. 19–23], 5 vols., N.Y., 1887– 1891, 4:276, 290). JA’s letter of 4 Feb. to James Searle, below, seems to indicate that Deane was traveling with his close friend Dr. Edward Bancroft (vol. 6:14).