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John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778
sheet 31 of 37, 16 - 30 June 1778

your Sailors equal to the Surplus, as soon as the Agreement arrives there. There is one thing more, which We desire may be observed: We shall note in our List the names and Number of those taken in the Service of the King, distinguishing them from those taken in the Merchants Service; that in the exchange to be made, you may give adequate numbers of those taken in the Service of the States and of our Merchants. This will prevent any Uneasiness among both your Navy Men and ours, if the Seamen of Merchantmen were exchanged before them.
As it will be very troublesome and expensive, as well as fatiguing to them, to march your People from Brest to Calais, We may endeavour to get leave for your Ship to come to the Road of Brest to receive them there, or if that cannot be, We must desire from your Admiralty a Passport for the Ship that is to convey them from Brest to Calais.
If you have any of our People still Prisoners on board your Ships of War, We request they may be put into the Prisons, to take their Chance of exchange with the rest. &c.
Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams
[to] Mr. David Hartley.
This Letter to Mr. Hartley was superscribed to Hodge Esqr.


Mr. Archer a young English Gentleman of Parts and Spirit, who is going to America to serve as a Volunteer, will deliver you this. The English Fleet had not sailed the tenth. We have no News yet, of its sailing. The Spanish Flota has not arrived as We have learned The Dutch are more friendly to Us, than I was aware. Appearances indicate an immediate Rupture in Germany, between the Emperor and the King of Prussia. Ireland is very discontented and tumultuous. The English Fleet, after the most violent impresses for two Years, is miserably manned, and after all their Puffs in wretched Repair. The Stocks never were so low. In short, without an Army, Navy, Money, Allies or confidence in the justice of their cause, England is like to have France and America, at least to contend with, and I have no doubt Spain too. Even Portugal, by late Letters to Us, and by late Examples of their treatment of American Vessells, is more friendly to Us than We thought. &c.

John Adams.

[to] Isaac Smith Esq.


As We have a Prospect of an Exchange of Prisoners, you are desired to send Us with all possible dispatch, a List or Return of all the Prisoners you have in your Custody, and We shall give orders concerning them as soon as We shall be informed, to what place they are to be sent to be exchanged.

As to your future destination, We desire you, to take on board, your

Frigate, as many Arms and Cloaths, or other merchandizes, as you can without impeding her in Sailing or Fighting, and no more: with which you are to acquaint Mr. Schweighauser, who will send them on board. If Mr. Schweighauser should have a Vessell bound to America with Stores for the Public, you are to take her under your Convoy.

You are to use your best Endeavours to make Prizes, in the Course of your Passage, and in all respects to annoy the Enemy as much as you can, and are at Liberty to go out of your Way for so good a Purpose. If you can take or destroy any of the Enemies Fishery on the Banks of Newfoundland, you are not to omit the Opportunity.

As Transports are continually passing between England and Hallifax, Rhode Island, New York and Philadelphia, and from each of these Places to all the others, you will use your best Endeavours to intercept some of them.

If you should have Dispatches committed to your Care, either from the Government of this Kingdom, or from Us, you are to have them carefully encased in Lead, and, in case of Misfortune which God forbid, you are to take effectual Care, by sinking them, that they may not fall into the Enemies hands. We wish you a prosperous Cruise and Voyage and are &c.

B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams

[to] Captain Abraham Whipple of the Providence Frigate.

Passi June 23. 1778


We had this day the honour of your Letter of the 18th. of June, and are obliged to you for the Information you have given Us, concerning the freight of Ships.

We have ordered Captains Whipple and Jones to prepare their Frigates forthwith to return home, and have ordered them to take on board, as many Arms or other Stores as they can, without Obstructing them in sailing or fighting, And no more, of which they are to inform you, that you may order them on Board accordingly. There are some Arms repaired, which We wish to have sent on board those Ships, if they can take them, or any of them.

We inclose you, Resolutions of Congress concerning the distribution of Prizes, by which you will govern yourself in the distribution of those of the Providence and the Ranger. The Drake belongs wholly to the Captors. The Bounties upon Men and Guns are not to be paid by Us or by you, but by Congress in America, untill they shall order otherwise. That part of the other Prizes, which by the Resolutions of Congress, belongs to the United States, you will receive, and giving Us notice of the Value or amount of it, will carry to the Credit of the United States subject to our orders.

We have a prospect of exchanging the Prisoners, and have ordered returns of them all to be made to Us, that We may transmit them

to England.

Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee,John Adams.

[to] Mr. Schweighauser.

N.B. Admiral Byrons Fleet, having sailed, and probably for America, it is desired that the Notice sent of its having been countermanded, may not be sent to America.

Passi June 23. 1778


Mr. Joy Castle of Philadelphia has represented to Us, that a Barque called The Jane, William Castle Master, with her Cargo belonging to him, has been seized at Bourdeaux, by order of his Majesty as English Property, that he is a Citizen of the United States, and having been necessarily absent from America, for some time, on Account of the Sickness of his Family, but always intending to return thither, where he has an Estate, as soon as possible. That he took in a Cargo of Provisions in Ireland, sent his Vessell to Bourdeaux, in order there to load her for the United States.

We hereby certify, that the said Joy Castle has taken the Oath and subscribed the Declaration of Allegiance to the United States, and that We believe his Declaration to be true and sincere; and accordingly request your Excellency's Attention to his Case, and that his Property may be restored to him, as likewise his Vessel cleared out for the said States. We have the honor to be with the greatest respect, your Excellencys &c.

Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee,John Adams.

[to] M. De Sartine

We beg the favour of you to send Us an Account of the Prize mentioned in the inclosed Letter; that We may direct a distribution of the Produce, agreable to the resolutions of Congress.
Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee,John Adams.
Copy of Captain Jones's Letter to the Commissioners. [Enclosure.]
One of the Prizes taken last Winter by the Ranger, arrived at Bourdeaux, and was I understand sold by Messieurs S. and J. H. Dunlap [Delap]. On my return to Nantes from Paris, I wrote to that House requesting that the Captors Part of that Prize, might be immediately remitted to Mr. Williams of Nantes, so that a division might be made before the Departure of the Ranger. That House hath paid no Attention to my request, nor even condescended to answer my Letter.

Therefore to remove the Uneasiness of my Officers and Men, I beg the favour of you to give orders that the Captors Part may be forth with remitted,agreable to my first Intention &c.
We have had the honor of your Letters of June 18 and 19 referring to a former Letter respecting a Surgeons Bill, which We have received.
As to the Surgeons Bill, We leave with it wholly to you, to settle with him and allow him what you shall think just. The Account appears to Us to be too high, and We think with you, that the deduction you mention ought to be made.
We are obliged to you, Sir, for the Articles of Intelligence you have sent Us, and wish for further favours of that kind, and approve much of your Proposal of transmitting Intelligence to America by every Opportunity.
The Whalemen and other Seamen you mention, We wish may be sent to Brest or to Nantes, to serve on board our Frigates, where they will find many of their Countrymen and Comrades. At Nantes or Brest they will find Mr. Schweighauser or his Agent, who will find them Employment immediately; unless they should be willing to engage with Mr. Amiel, which We should prefer.
Inclosed with this, you have a Commission, Instructions and a Bond. The Bond We wish you to see executed with the usual Formalities, and when executed transmit it to Us. The Commission and Instructions you will deliver to Mr. Amiel. We are, Sir your most humble Servants.
Signed B. Franklin, Arthur Lee,John Adams.
[to] Francis Coffin Esq.
This Mr. Coffin was a Friend and Correspondent of Mr. Chaumont and conducted our Affairs always, as far as I ever heard with Candour, Intelligence and Fidelity.

To His Excellency Mr. De Sartine


We have the Honor of inclosing to your Excellency a Protest, relative to one of our Vessells, which was made Prize of, by the English, when under the Protection of the French Coast. As they have always reclaimed the Prizes made by our Cruisers in such Circumstances, We hope your Excellency will think it just, that We should be indemnified out of their Effects in this Kingdom. We have the Honor to be &c.

B. Franklin, Arthur Lee, John Adams.

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778, sheet 31 of 37 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 2, "Travels, and Negotiations," 1777-1778. Part 2 is comprised of 37 sheets and 7 insertions; 164 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 4 Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961.
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