A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive

John Adams diary 33, 14 September - 3 October 1782

Supped last Night at Court in the Maison du Bois. M. Boreel told me he had been to Paris which he quitted 8 days ago. That M. Franklin had been sick. It was at first reported that he had been struck with an Apoplexity. Then it was said he had a billious Cholick, and afterwards a Retention of Urine. But that he had got well before he left Paris.
Fell into Conversation naturally with Don Joas Theolonico de Almeida, Envoy Extraordinary of Portugal. . . . He said to me, the Peace is yet a good Way off. There will be no Peace this Winter. There will be another Campain, and no Peace untill the Winter following . . . Spain will be the most difficult to satisfy, of all the Powers. Her Pretensions will be the hardest for England to agree to. As to the Independance of America, that is decided. I said to him, it is reported that Portugal is about to open her Ports to American Vessells. -- I have not yet received says he any Intelligence of that.
The Comte Montagnini de Mirabel, Min. Plen. of the King of Sardinia, asked what was the Principle of the Indecision of G. Britain? Why dont they

acknowledge your Independance? They must have some Intelligence, that is not publick. -- I answered I dont believe there is any Principle, or System in it. It is merely owing to their Confusion. My Lord Shelburne, in complyance with the Will of his Master, refuses to do what all the World sees to be necessary. -- Perhaps says the Comte they mean to annex certain Conditions, to the Acknowledgment of your Independance. -- But says I, what if We should annex Conditions too? What if We should insist on an Acknowledgement of our Independence as a Preliminary Condition to entering into any Treaty or Conference? -- Ay, says he, in that Case you may have work enough.
Mr. Magis said to me afterwards, I see you often in Conversation with Mr. de Mirabel. He is a great Politician. He is very well informed of all affairs in General, but particularly with the Affairs and political System of Germany.
Mr. De Llano, the Spanish Plenipo., said to me afterwards, do you know that Man, you have been in Conversation with this Evening so much, Mr. De Mirabel? -- Very well says I. -- The Baron de Thulemeyer, who was by, said Yes I see Mirabel often Attacks him. -- I am

told says I, that he is a great Politician. -- Ay says Llano I see you know him -- but he knows nothing else.
Mr. Boreel, The Baron de Linden de Hemmen, and the President of the grand Committee, all Members of the Assembly of their H. M. [High Mightinesses], told me, that five Copies of the Treaties would be made out, according to my Desire, the English and Dutch Side by Side upon every Page, and the Treaty would be signed next Week.
The Baron de Thulemeyer chatted with me about riding on Horseback. Says he rides always in the Morning, at any Hour between 9 and Dinner, but never after Dinner.
They shewed me this Evening the Lady who holds at her House an Assembly every Evening, where the whole Corps Diplomatick assists. The Lady, who used to preside at Sir Joseph Yorks Table, and see that all was in order there.
The Comte de Welderen came as usual and made his Compliment to me. -- The Rhin Grave de Salm, Colonel Bentink, M. Van der Duesn, and other officers. In short I never spent so social an Evening at Court. Party was stronger this Evening, Mirabel and Bentink never play, and there were several others in the same Case.
The Comte Sarsefield went with me and returned in my Carriage. The Duke de la Vauguion was not there.

Ag. [Agreed] with Lt. Gen. Van der Dussen to ride with him this Morning at 9.
Chatted at Supper with one of the Ladies of Honour, Madamoiselle Starembourg, in English, French and Dutch.
At 9 took my Ride with Mr. Vander Dussen Lt. General of Cavalry. He was mounted upon a noble English Horse, with an embroidered Housing and a white silk net, and with his sword. A servant behind him in Livery, upon another fine Horse with a white silk net. We made a long Ride, of three of four Leagues. In our Way We saw People digging Turfs out of Heaps of Sand. Upon observing more Attentively, I found that they dug away the sand hills to the Depth of 15 or 20 feet, and then came to bodies of Peat or Turf, which they cutt up to sell and to burn. The General says, at the Depth of 10, 15 or 20 feet, they find this layer of Turf which is also some times 10 or 15 feet deep and then come to a fine Soil, upon a Level nearly with the general surface of the Meadows. The Generals Hypothesis is this. -- Before the Dykes were built, there were frequent Inundations in Consequence of storms which are still frequent.

It is supposed that the whole Country was originally level and covered over with thick and heavy Forrests of Woods. In great Storms, the Waves of the Sea threw up vast Heaps of Sand, and carried them sometimes several Miles in upon the Land. By which means the Forrests of Trees were thrown down, or at least covered up, with Mountains of Sea Sand. That the Wood of these Trees in the Course of many hundreds perhaps some thousands of Years, has putrified and dissolved into Peat or Turfe. So that you have nothing to do, but to dig through the Sand Hills first, and the Turf Beds next to come to the original Surface of the Earth which is yet very fertile. Many fine Meadows have been made, in this Way.
In passing over the Spot of Downs between the Hague and Leyden, We saw three or four Hunters, Gunners, in search of Hares and Rabits and other Game, this being the Season of the Chase. The General seemed very apprehensive of these Sportsmen that they would not keep a good Look out but might be so eager for their Game, as to be inattentive to Travellers and fire upon our Bodies. This was a fear that never occurred to me, and I never felt it after it was mentioned.
The General was inquisitive after the American Savages and a great Part of our Conversation consisted in his Questions

and my Answers concerning them. The Roads, the Woods, the Forests in America also, occasioned many Questions. -- The General is a Relation as he told me, of the Minister of the same name at the Conferences of Gertruydenbourg.
Upon Inquiry to day I find that the Lady, who was so intimate at Sir Joseph Yorks, as to oversee his Entertainments, is named Madame de Boetzelaar. She holds an Assembly every Night, at her House, to which resort all the Corps diplomatique. There they Play. She paints but is horridly ugly.
The Baron de Kruyningen holds an Office of Intelligence, where the Ministers or Secretaries meet of Mornings as at a Kind of Coffee house to exchange with each other the News, and compare Notes.
Mr. Magis holds such another. What these People get by their Assemblys and Offices, is a Question. Perhaps nothing more than a Reputation, an Acquaintance with foreign Ministers, and now and then an Invitation to dinner.
The Foreign Ministers here all herd together, and keep no other Company, but at Court and with a few in this Way. -- It is not from Choice but necessity.

There is no Family, but Mr. Boreel that ever invites any of them, to breakfast, dine or sup. Nor do any of the Members of the States General, the States of Holland, Bleiswick, Fagel, any of the Lords of the Admiralty, Gecommitteerde Raaden, Council of State, high Council of War, or any Body, ever invite Strangers or one Another.
Hospitality and Sociability are no Characteristicks here.
This Day Mr. Van Asp made me a Visit. This Gentleman is Charg d'Affairs of Sweeden since the Departure of The Baron D'Ehrenswerd for Prussia. He is a solid prudent Man. He very much admired my House, and its Situation. I said smiling it was very well for a Beginning, and that I hoped We should have an House at Stockholm e'er long. He smiled in return, but said nothing. His Visit was not long. There is not a more sensible, manly, happy, or prudent Countenance in the whole Diplomatick Body. He has desired Mr. Dumas to inform him as soon as the Treaty is signed, that he may write itt to his Court before it arrives in the News papers.

Went to the Comedy. Saw the Sage dans sa Retrait, and Le Jugement du Midas -- both well represented. The Musick was good, and the Show upon the Stage splendid. The Princess and all her Children were there. The foreign Ministers chiefly.
Dined with Mr. Boreel a Deputy to the States General from the Province of Holland, with Lt. General Van derdussen, Mr. De Llano, Mr. Thulemeyer, Mr. Renovallis, Mr. Visher, Mr. of the Council of State for the City of Amsterdam, Mr. a Gentleman of the Court &c. The Dinner was elegant and a splendid Shew of Plate, as We see at the Tables of the rich Dutch Families.
A little Pleasantry with Mr. De Thulemeyer, about the Conduct of the Prussian Minister at Madrid in notifying to Mr. Charmichael, as Charge des Affairs des Etats Unis de L'Amerique, his Presentation to the King and Royal Family.
Note. This is the Effect of the Step I took in notifying my Presentation, to all the foreign Ministers.

Walked Yesterday to the House in the Woods in the rain. To day will dine with me Comte Sarsefield, Mr. Vischer and Mr. Gyselaer. -- Received Yesterday a Volume of the Journals of Congress with some News papers by the Post from L'orient which cost me 37 Guilders. -- The Comte, Mr. Vischer and Mr. Gyselaer, dined here. The Comte Sarsefield began as usual when We were alone to give me a Lesson of Etiquette. This is a Trait in his Character. No Man more attentive to the Rules of Ceremony, and Formality. No Man more precise. He says, that when I make an Entertainment, I should have placed the Ambassador of France, at my right Hand, and the Minister of Spain at my left, and have arranged the other Principal Personages. And when I rose from Table I should have said Messieurs, voudriez vous &c. or Monsieur Le Duc voudriez vous &c. -- All this every one sees is a la Francaise. But it is very little regarded here. And it was because it is generally neglected here that I neglected it. But the Comte in every Affair of Dress, Billets, Rank &c. has from my first Acquaintance with him, ever

discovered such a minute Attention to little Circumstances. How is it possible to reconcile these trifling Contemplations of a Master of Ceremonies, with the vast Knowledge of Arts, Sciences, History, Government &c. possessed by this Nobleman. An habit of living in the World, however, is necessary -- a facility of living with Men. L'Habitude de vivre avec des hommes.
It is the Fashion among the Dutch, to arrange all the Company, by putting a Card with the Name of each Gentleman and Lady, upon the Napkin in the Plate. This I never saw practiced in France. Indeed, they Attend but to one Person in France. The Feast is made in honour of one Person. That is the Ton.
Mr. V. being told by the C. [Comte] that he and I were to dine tomorrow with General Vanderdussen, appeared surprized and said that the General, altho he had dined with me and rode with me, on horseback, would not have dared to have invited me, if he had not met me at Mr. Boreels.
I saw the other day Joachimi Hoppii [Hopperi] Commentatio Succincta, ad Institutiones Justinianas, at Mr. Luzacs.

Mr. Gyselaer informed me that the Committee, for examining the Administration of the Marine, were tomorrow to announce their Authority to the Prince. I told him he must make an harrangue, in order to give Dignity and Solemnity to his Commission. He said it was a delicate Thing to make a Speech upon the Occasion. This I agreed.
I gave the Gentlemen an Account of the Practice of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts when they first formed their Army. D Warren, their President, made an Harrangue in the form of a Charge in the Presence of the Assembly, to every Officer, upon the Delivery of his Commission, and that he never failed to make the Officer as we as all the Assembly shudder, upon those Occasions. C.S. appeared struck and affected with this Anecdote. I dare say he has it in his journal.
C.S. told me the News of the Destruction of the Spanish floating Batteries, by the English red hot Bullets. He seemed much affected Said all Europe would laugh at them and that they deserved it, for attempting

a Thing so evidently impossible. -- No Governments say he but Monarchies are subject to this kind of Misfortunes from absurdity. In France a Madame Pompadour or de Barry may ruin Kingdom. In Spain an absurd Prist Priest, the Father Confessor of a superstitious King, may so far gain his Confidence, by working upon his conscience and superstitious Fears as to lead him into such foolish Councils. -- How much Mischief says I, has Spain done in this just Cause.
Dined with Mr. Vanderdussen, Lt. General of the Cavalry, in Company with Mr. De Llano Minister of the King of Spain and Mr. De Renovalis, Secretary of his Legation, Mr. and Madame Boreel, Mr. and Madame Geelvink, Madam Dedel, the Rhinegrave de Salm, Mr. Saumase, a descendant of the famous Salmasius whom John Milton disputed with. Mr. Boreel is a Deputy to the States General for the Prov. of Holland. Mr. Geelvink is a Member of the Council of State for Amsterdam.
Gen. Vanderdussen told me he must ask me to

take a Family Dinner with him one of these days in order to present me to a Couple of his Friends; one was his Brother and the other was Gen. Ponce; both zealous Americans he said. -- I told him he would do me great Honour and give me much Pleasure.
Mr. Boreel desired me to send him the American Gazette which contains the Resolution of their High Mightinesses, acknowledging me as Minister, with his Name to it.
I forgot Mr. Magis, who said to me, entre Nous, Sir, if I were young I would endeavour to serve a great Power, because one has a Chance to be Something: but when one serves a small Power one is sure never to be any Thing.
Madame Boreel next to whom I sat at Table asked me if I understood the Dutch. I answered, very little, but that I began to learn it. That I had with me two ingenious young Gentlemen with whom at Breakfast, I every Morning attempted with the Aid of a Dictionary to read the Dutch Gazettes, and that We began to comprehend some Paragraphs. Madame Boreel mentioned to the Company that I read the Dutch Gazettes.

Mr. Geelvink called out to me, pleasantly enough, leese Mynheer de Diemer Meerche Courant. -- Yea well, Mynheer says I, en de Hollandche Historische Courant oke.
The Dutch Part of this Company, were all high, in Office and Service, and therefore attached to the Court.
The Gen. Vanderdussen said laughing that he was ready to wish and to do any Thing to the English for they had almost ruined him. He was Governor of Ipres or Ypres one of the Barrier Towns, so that he has lost his Government, by the Demolition of the Barriers. I believe too they have done him some Damage in some Estates in the West Indies &c.
Mr. Boreel promised me to speak to Mr. Fagel and let him know that I wish to have the Treaty signed, that I might be able to send it by several Vessells now ready to sail at Amsterdam.
Somebody at Table said to C. Sarsfield that the Americans had laid aside the Use of Mr. Franklins Conductors. The C. appealed to me. I said by no means, on the Contrary the Use of them increased, and they were found very useful.

Questions. -- What are the Powers of the Council of State? -- how many Members? who appoints them? -- Are they for Life, or Years, or at Will? When do they sit? -- What Objects of Administration have they.? Is their Power Legislative, Executive or judiciary? -- Is the Council of State, the same Body, with the Gecommitteerde Raaden. -- [or] are they two.
Answer. The Council of State, and the Council of Commissioners, are two distinct Bodies. -- De Raad van Staaten en de Gecommitteerde Raaden. -- The 1. is for the 7 Prov. -- the last for the Province of Holland only.

Page 16
[Blank page -- no image available]

Cite web page as: John Adams diary 33, 14 September - 3 October 1782 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams diary 33, 14 September - 3 October 1782. Folded sheets without cover (15 pages, 1 additional blank page). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 3. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.