Gerard Brantsen, Dutch Envoy, by Benjamin Wolff, 1803 245
“The States General have chosen Mr Brantzen Minister to negotiate for Peace,” John Adams wrote to John Jay on 17 August 1782
“Yesterday he did me the honour to dine with me. He is represented to me to be a good Man and well fixed in the true System.” A day later, Adams communicated the same news to Henry Laurens
, adding of Brantsen: “Blessed are the Peace makers. Dont you wish yourself one?” (both below).
The good reports Adams had heard about Gerard Brantsen (1735–1809) were borne out during the negotiations. “I have the Honour to be more particularly acquainted with Mr. Brantzen, who is certainly a very able Man, and universally acknowledged to be So by all who know him,” Adams wrote to C. W. F. Dumas five months later. “The Arguments which I know he has used with the British Minister, are such as can never be answered, both upon the Liberty of Navigation and the Compensation for Damages. He is an entire Master of his Subject, and has urged it with a Degree of Perspicuity and Eloquence that I know has much struck his Antagonists” (1 Jan. 1783, LbC
, Adams Papers
Brantsen was burgomaster of Arnhem in 1760 and had represented Gelderland in the States General before his 1782 peace mission to France. This oil portrait by Benjamin Wolff (1758–1825) is now owned by the Brantsen van de Zyp Foundation and hangs in the Brantsen ancestral home, the House Zypendaal in Arnhem, a museum administered by the Gelderland Trust (
Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek
; Johan Carel Bierens de Haan, Gelderse Gezichten: Drie Eeuwen Portretkunst in Gelderland, 1550–1850
, Zwolle, 2002, p. 165–168).
Courtesy of the Brantsen van de Zyp Foundation, in loan to the Gelderland Trust, House Zypendaal, Arnhem; and the Iconografisch Bureau, Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague.