Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 14 May 1782 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 14 May 1782 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend The Hague May 14 1782

On the Twelfth, I removed into this House which I have purchased for the United States of America. But, it will be my Residence but a little while.1

I must go to you or you must come to me. I cannot live, in this horrid Solitude, which it is to me, amidst Courts, Camps and Crowds. If you were to come here, such is the Unsteadiness of the Foundation that very probably We should have to return home again in a Month or six Weeks and the Atlantick is not so easily passed as Pens hill. I envy you, your Nabby, Charly and Tommy, and Mr. Dana his Johnny who are very well. A Child was never more weary of a Whistle, than I am of Embassies. The Embassy here however has done great Things. It has not merely tempted a natural Rival, and an imbittered, inveterate, hereditary Ennemy, to assist a little against Great Britain but it has torn from her Bosom, a constant faithfull Friend and Ally of an hundred Years duration.

It has not only prevailed with a Minister or an absolute Court to fall in with the national Prejudice: but without Money, without Friends, and in Opposition to mean Intrigue it has carried its Cause, by the still small Voice of Reason, and Perswasion, tryumphantly against the uninterrupted Opposition of Family Connections, Court Influence, and Aristocratical Despotism.


It is not a Temple forming a Triple Alliance, with a Nation whose Ruling Family was animated as well as the whole Nation, at that time, with even more Zeal than De Witt in the same Cause.

But you will hear all this represented as a Thing of Course, and of little Consequence—easily done and not worth much.—Very well! Thank God it is done, and that is what I wanted.

Jealousy is as cruel as the Grave, and Envy as spightfull as Hell— and neither have any regard to Veracity or Honour.

RC (Adams Papers).


This proved a true prediction. Although JA remained in Europe for six more years, his only steady occupancy of the American legation at The Hague was from mid-May through mid-October 1782. He made some use of it during his later returns to the Netherlands in 1784, 1787, and 1788 to obtain further loans from Dutch bankers to the United States, but much of his business on those occasions was in Amsterdam rather than The Hague.

There is an account extant of the furnishings of the Hôotel des Etats Unis at The Hague, as JA liked to call it in the current diplomatic style, in a document dated and filed in the Adams Papers under 14 May 1782. The first six pages of this fourteen-page paper have the descriptive heading “A true copy of the Inventory made by Mr. John Thaxter,” the original of which was presumably compiled when Thaxter supervised the moving of the goods from JA's house in Amsterdam (see Thaxter to JA, 6 May, above). The listing bears notations “received in good order,” “Wanting,” “broken,” &c., apparently in the hand of F. Lotter, who signed it at the end and probably made the copy and comments on 16 Oct. 1782, another date that appears on the document and that was in fact the day before JA and party left The Hague for the peace negotiations at Paris.

The last eight pages of this document are another inventory of the furnishings in The Hague legation, compiled by Mme. Marie Dumas and dated 22 June 1784, shortly before JA left the Netherlands for London and reunion with his family there that summer. This too is attested by F. Lotter.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 June 1782 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 June 1782 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Hotel des Etats Unis a la Haye June 16. 1782

I find that the Air of the Hague, and the Return of warm Weather, tho later than was ever known, is of great Service to my Health. I mount on Horseback every Morning, and riding is of Use to me.

I have not escaped the “Influenza,” as they call it, which began in Russia and has been epidemical, in all Europe. Mr. Thaxter too has at last submitted to this all subduing Climate and had a Fever, such as Charles had, but is growing well.

You can scarcely imagine a more beautifull Place than the Hague. Yet no Place has any Charms for me but the Blue Hills. My Heart will have in it forever, an acking Void, in any other Place. If you and 325your Daughter were here! But I must turn my Thoughts from such Objects, which always too tenderly affect me, for my repose or Peace of Mind. I am so wedged in with the Publick Affairs that it is impossible to get away at present. I would transmit a Resignation of all my Employments but this would occasion much Puzzle and be attended with disagreable Consequences. If I thought it probable I should stay in Europe two or three Years, I would certainly request you to come here, but this is opening a scaene of Risque and Trouble for you that I shudder at.—But all is uncertain. I am not properly informed of what passes in Congress, and I know not their Designs. If they would send out another in my Room it would be the most happy News to me, that ever I heard.

The American Cause has obtained a Tryumph in this Country more signal, than1 it ever obtained before in Europe. It was attended with Circumstances, more glorious than could have been foreseen. A Temple, a D'Avaux, a D'Estrates, had more masterly Pens to celebrate their own Negotiations, and Hearts more at Ease, to do it with Care.2 Your Friend will never have Leisure, he will never have the Patience to describe the Dangers, the Mortifications, the Distresses he has undergone in Accomplishing this great Work. It is better that some of the Opposition and Intrigues he has had to encounter should be buried in Oblivion.

After all, it will be represented in America as a Thing of Course and of no Consequence. Be it so. It is done—and3 it is worth as much as it is.

My dear Nabby and Tommy how do ye? Charles you young Rogue! You had more Wit than all of Us. You have returned to a happy Spot. Study earnestly, go to Colledge and be an Ornament to your Country. Education is better at Cambridge, than in Europe. Besides every Child ought to be educated in his own Country. I regret extreamly that his elder Brother is not to have his Education at home. He is well and so is his Patron.

Adieu, Adieu, Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers).


MS: “that.”


Sir William Temple (mentioned with some frequency earlier in the Adams Family Correspondence ”), Jean Antoine de Mesme, Comte d'Avaux, and Godefroi, Comte d'Estrades, all conducted diplomatic negotiations in the Netherlands, and each wrote accounts of them. For editions of their published works owned by JA and now in the Boston Public Library, see Catalogue of JA's Library , p. 242, 17, 86.


MS: “at.”