Decoding Revolutionary Correspondence

Diplomatic correspondence compiled in Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States often omits lines in cipher/code.

I used code tables printed in Ralph E. Weber, United States Diplomatic Codes and Ciphers to decode some of those lines in code/cipher.

Afterwards, I noticed that many of these translations were readily available in manuscript sources. I hope my pages are still of some interest for learners of historical cryptography.

Decoding Deane-Jay Corresponence
(WE033) Livingston to Jay (November 1, 1781)
(WE007) Livingston to Jay (November 28, 1781)
(THE=227', presumably Palfrey's code) Livingston to Jay (November 28, 1781)
(WE007) Livingston to Jay (December 13, 1781)
(WE007) Livingston to Jay (April 16, 1782)
(WE007) Livingston to Jay (April 28, 1782)
(WE008) Livingston to Jay (August 8, 1782)
(WE008) Livingston to Franklin (August 9, 1782)
(WE008) Livingston to Franklin (September 5, 1782)
(WE008) Livingston to Franklin (September 18, 1782)
(WE008) Livingston to Franklin (November 21, 1782)
(WE008) Livingston to Jay (November 23, 1782)
(WE008) Livingston to Franklin (December 3, 1782)
(WE031) Dana to Livingston (April 17, 1783)
(WE004/WE003) Franklin-Dumas-Jones (1779-1781)
(WE041) Franklin to Dumas (August 16, 1781)
(WE028) [Marquis Yrujo to Madison] (July [2], 1803)
(WE028) Madison to Marquis Yrujo (July 7, 1803)
(THE=972) Armstrong to Madison (30 August 1808)
(Substitution by 1-29) Cornwallis to Wemyss (October 7, 1780)


Reconstructed plaintext is displayed in yellow box.
Lines in pale brown are taken from Wharton mostly without collation with the manuscript.
Lines in dark brown are written in plaintext in the manuscript but omitted in Wharton.
Lines in blue are the decoded lines.
Capitalization and punctuation are mine.

Verification Dump
Original code numbers and corresponding letters/syllables are displayed in blue box to facilitate peer verification.
Occasionally, an "e" suffix is indicated by a dot or a bar over a code number, which is represented by an apostrophe in verification dump. Similarly, an underdot indicates an "s" suffix and is represented by a period in the dump.
Brackets [ ] either (1) show alternative plaintext in the code table or (2) mark the author's editing. The latter may also be shown by blue text. Roman numerals show notes, while mere correction or modernization of spelling may not be noted. Rather frequent omission of "e" or "s" may have been caused by the transcriber's omission of a dot or a bar.

Correction of Code Tables

The published code tables seem to contain some probable errors. The following corrections have been made in my decoding. These corrections are supported by more than a few instances of these code numbers I have come across thus far.
50 li, ly should read 50 ti,ty (384 is assigned to li, ly)
429 len, leen should read ten, teen
39 tha may read 39 tho [not yet sufficient evidence]
95 fifty should read 95 fi, fy

©2008 S.Tomokiyo
First posted on 23 September 2008. Last modified on 31 August 2015.

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