Adams Papers

From John Adams to Edward Rutledge, 4 July 1782

To Edward Rutledge

The Hague July 4. 1782

Dear sir

I do my self the Honour to inclose these Papers relative to the Chester, to you, and to beg the Favour of your Attention and Advice, to the Gentleman who bears them.1

The owners are very confident that Injustice has been done them. There was no Claim; and they say that the Privateers, contrary to their Bonds, Sent away the Master, and other Persons who could have claimed for them. That no British Subject, had directly or indirectly any Interest in Vessell or Cargo. The owners are very respectable People and I should be very happy to have them convinced, that no Injustice has been done them, if that is the Case, or to obtain Justice for them if they have been wronged. If the Privateers went contrary to their Bonds, those Bonds may be put in suit, for the Benefit of the Injured, or I suppose an Action for Damages would lie against the Commanders.

I congratulate you most Sincerely, on your Restoration to Liberty,2 and live in hopes of sometime meeting you, again in Congress.

With great Esteem &c

LbC (Adams Papers).

1The person carrying this letter has not been identified, but JA’s purpose in writing is to introduce him to Rutledge as a Charleston lawyer well qualified to represent the owners of the Chester, a Dutch sloop captured by the South Carolina privateers Experiment and Fair American in 1777. The case ultimately was settled in favor of the captors in 1787. For previous references to the Chester, particularly the letter of 17 June 1781 from F. & A. Dubbeldemuts, Rotterdam merchants with an interest in the vessel, which may have included the otherwise unidentified documents included with this letter, see vols. 7:288, 289; 11:378–379, 380–381.

2Rutledge had been captured at the fall of Charleston in May 1780 and held at St. Augustine from Sept. 1780 until he was exchanged in July 1781 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1964; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ; Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Paul H. Smith and others, Washington, D.C., 1976–2000; 26 vols. description ends , 17:434).

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