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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


This foot note contained in document ADMS-01-03-02-0001-0002-0001
1. First entry in D/JA/33, which consists of a few folded leaves containing irregular entries through 3 Oct. 1782. On 23 April, the day following his { 9 } first audience with the Stadholder, JA formally proposed to Van Citters, the current president of the States General, that negotiations be commenced for a treaty of amity and commerce between the Dutch Republic and the United States. Accordingly, “a grand Committee” of deputies from each of the Seven Provinces was appointed to confer with the American minister on this subject, and JA laid before them “a Project of a Treaty, which I had drawn up, conformable to the Instructions of Congress” ( JA to Livingston, 23 April 1782, LbC , Adams Papers; JA, Works , 7:572–73). Under Dutch constitutional procedures the projet had to be taken ad referendum to the provincial assemblies before the States General could act, but at length on 22 Aug. JA could report to Livingston that “Their High Mightinesses have . .. received their Instructions from all the Provinces, and I have this Day been in Conference with the grand Committee, who communicated to me the Remarks and Propositions in [on?] their Part. To this I shall soon give my Replication [on certain points not yet agreed on], and I hope the Affair will be soon ended” ( LbC , Adams Papers; Works , 7:614). There were further delays, however, and the treaty was not signed and sealed until 8 Oct.; the final stages are reported in JA 's Diary entries of 38 Oct., below.
Meanwhile, after some fumbling, “innumerable Vexations,” and weeks of intense effort, JA had negotiated a loan for the United States with a syndicate of Dutch banking houses. On 11 June he signed five bonds in the amount of 1,000,000 guilders each for a loan to be raised by Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, at 5 per cent interest and with a 4 1/2 per cent commission to the bankers, repayment to begin after ten years and to be completed in fifteen years. See JA to Livingston, 9 June, 5 July, letterbook copies, Adams Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 5:482–483, 594–595; a printed copy of the contract, in Dutch, is in Adams Papers, 11 June 1782. Congress ratified the contract on 14 Sept. ( JCC , 23:579–580). This was the first of four loans obtained by JA in the Netherlands (in 1782, 1784, 1787, and 1788), totalling 9,000,000 guilders, or more than $3,500,000 “which,” as Samuel F. Bemis has observed, “at first were the sole effectual support to languishing American credit and which barely enabled the government of the Confederation to survive the peace, to function until the recognition of Washington's new national government under the Constitution of 1787” ( Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution , p. 169). By far the most authoritative and detailed account of these negotiations is that by P. J. van Winter, Het aandeel van den Amsterdamschen handel aan den opbouw van het Amerikaansche gemeenebest, The Hague, 1927–1933, especially vol. 1: chs. 3, 6.