Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

Abigail Adams to Hugh Hill, 16 April 1782 AA Hill, Hugh Abigail Adams to Hugh Hill, 16 April 1782 Adams, Abigail Hill, Hugh
Abigail Adams to Hugh Hill
Sir Braintree, ante 16 April 1782 1

The day after my Son reachd home I wrote to you2 and requested you would inform me what I was indebted to you for my Sons passage. I had inquired of Major Jackson, who said he made no particular agreement respecting him; but that if I would write he would take charge of the Letter, and deliver it himself. I accordingly wrote and requested you to direct a Letter to me; to be left at Isaac Smiths Esqrs Boston but I never heard any thing from you; untill your favour of April 10th. Mr. Smith inquired respecting the other passengers, and found that 25 Guineys was the price you had demanded of them which he thought very high and much more than was given by other passengers who came from the same place at the same time.

With regard to myself I am wholy Ignorant of the customs and useages in such cases, but neither Mr. Adams or myself would wish to do otherways than was customary and reasonable nor should we have been offended if a distinction had been made between the passage of a Man and a child. It would oblige me if you would take a Bill of exchange upon Mr. Adams for the Money, as it is not in my power to pay it without inconveniency. If you will leave a Letter for me at Mr. Smiths I will send the Bills there or to Capt. Prince as you direct. Your Humble Servant,

AA 311

FC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To Capt Hugh Hill Beverly”; enclosed in AA to JA, 25 April, below.


Dated from Hill's reply, which follows.


This letter, which must have been sent about 30 Jan., has not been found.

Hugh Hill to Abigail Adams, 16 April 1782 Hill, Hugh AA Hugh Hill to Abigail Adams, 16 April 1782 Hill, Hugh Adams, Abigail
Hugh Hill to Abigail Adams
Madam April the 16th. 1782

Yours I reseved this morning and I asner you madam that twenty five Guines is the Costomry Pasage that is payd too or from uerap I apeled to Captn. Dixey that Comanded a ship of Mr. Treaseys in bilbao wher I was: You will ples to Draw me a set of bils at the present Discount Which is fiften pr cent and fored them to Captn. Job Prince: four Sets1 the Som is thirty Nin pounds at ten Dayes Sight2 now mor at present from your very homble Sert

Hugh Hill

My regards to Charls.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams in Branetree” (or “Branstree”); enclosed in AA to JA, 25 April, below. Text is printed in literal style.


Thus in MS; the meaning is not clear.


In his letter of 10 April, above, Hill stated that the charge for CA's passage was £35. Now, contradicting himself, he accepts AA's information as given in the preceding letter that the usual fare is 25 guineas, and asks that amount. But he then further confuses matters by saying that if payment is to be made in bills of exchange, they will be discounted by 15 percent, and therefore AA should pay him £39. Neither £35 nor 25 guineas plus 15 percent add up to £39. A possible or at least partial explanation may be found below in AA's letter to JA, 25 April (in which the present letters were enclosed); see note 3 there.

John Thaxter to John Adams, 20 April 1782 Thaxter, John JA John Thaxter to John Adams, 20 April 1782 Thaxter, John Adams, John
John Thaxter to John Adams
Sir Amsterdam 20th. April 1782

I have the honor to congratulate You on the final Resolution of the Generality, the News of which I received last Evening.1 This Step makes an agreable Impression here, and they pride themselves in the Unanimity and Rapidity, and I may add Velocity with which it has been carried thro'. It will indeed make a memorable Epocha in the Annals of this Country, and stand as an eternal Monument that the Vox Populi is the——.

I shall be extremely happy to hear that the Credentials are delivered. If You have time to drop hint You will oblige me exceedingly and many Friends. I received a Letter last Evening from Mr. Jenings for You, and he thinks very justly of the present Ministry, that is, 312that they are as wise and as good as their Predecessors. He professes that he is ashamed of them.2 You will do me a favor in acquainting me whether that tumor in your Neck is less troublesome than when You left me. Mr. Barclay desires his Respects to You, and is rejoiced with the News.3

I am with an invariable Attachment, Sir, &c., JT.

Compts. to Mr. D. and Family.

RC (Adams Papers).


The “final Resolution of the Generality” was the action of the States General of the United Provinces, 19 April 1782, one year from the day JA had signed his original Memorial to that body. A MS in Dutch, signed by Willem Boreel as president of the week and attested by Hendrik Fagel, as griffier or secretary of the States General, is in Adams Papers. An English text is printed in JA's Collection of State-Papers, 1782, p. 92, and reads as follows:

“Deliberated by Resumption, upon the Address and the ulteriour Address, made by Mr. Adams the 4 May 1781, and the 9 January of the currant year to Mr. the President of the Assembly of their HighMightinesses, to present to their HighMightinesses his Letters of Credence in the name of the United States of North-America; and by which ulteriour Address the said Mr. Adams hath demanded a categorical answer, to the end to be able to acquaint his Constituents thereof; it hath been thought fit and resolved, that Mr. Adams shall be admitted and acknowledged in quality of Ambassador of the United States of North-America to their High-Mightinesses, as he is admitted and acknowledged by the present.”

Two days later this was followed by a further resolution reporting the reception of JA with his credentials as minister plenipotentiary to the States General in “a Letter from the Assembly of Congress, written at Philadelphia the first of January 1781.... Upon which, having deliberated, it hath been thought fit and resolved, to declare by the present: 'That the said Mr. Adams is agreable to their High-Mightinesses; that he shall be acknowledged in quality of Minister Plenipotentiary; and that there shall be granted to him an Audience, or assigned Commissioners, when he shall demand it.'” This resolve was signed by W. van Citters, president of the week, and likewise attested by Fagel. MS in Dutch (Adams Papers); English translation printed in Collection of State-Papers , p. 93.

This same day, 22 April, JA “was introduced by the Chamberlain to his most Serene Highness the Prince of Orange.” No one else was present, and at JA's request they spoke in English. JA voiced the proper formal sentiments, and the Stadholder answered “in a Voice so low and so indistinctly pronounced, that I comprehended only the Conclusion of it, which was, that “he had made no Difficulty against my Reception.'” However, some “familiar Conversation ... about indifferent things” followed, and the audience passed agreeably enough. So JA told R. R. Livingston in a letter written before the day was over (PCC, No. 84, IV, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 5:319–320; LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works , 7:571–572).

Next day, 23 April, JA met with President van Citters and presented a brief memorial proposing a treaty of amity and commerce between the two powers. He was then introduced to “a grand committee” of the States General and laid before it the project of such a treaty, which was taken under consideration (and was to bear fruit six months later). See JA to Livingston, 23 April (PCC, No. 84, IV, printed in Wharton, 5:325; LbC, Adams Papers, printed in Works , 7:572–573). But meanwhile, as he told Livingston in the letter just cited, “The greatest Part of my Time for several Days has been taken up in recieving and paying of Visits from all the 313Members and Officers of Government, and of the Court, to the Amount of one hundred and fifty or more.” There is a partial listing of these in JA's Diary and Autobiography , 3:1–3; and although JA did not keep daily entries in his diary at this period, his correspondence during the following days and weeks is crowded with references to ceremonial and social events growing out of his public recognition. See also Sister Mary Briant Foley, The Triumph of Militia Diplomacy, Loyola Univ. doctoral dissertation, 1968, p. 244 ff.


Edmund Jenings to JA, 18 April (Adams Papers).


Thomas Barclay (1728-1793), a Philadelphia merchant who had recently come to Europe to serve as American consul (later consul general) in France. He was in Amsterdam endeavoring to make a settlement for the goods abandoned by Alexander Gillon. JA was to be a guest in Barclay's house at Auteuil when ill in the fall of 1783, and Barclay later served as an American diplomatic agent in Morocco. See a documented sketch of him in JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:120.