Descriptive List of Illustrations
“Patriotism in the Female Sex is the Most Disinterested of All Virtues” ||facing ||
The final page of the four-page holograph letter of 17 June 1782 Abigail Adams wrote to her husband at The Hague upon receipt of his letters of 22 and 29 March. (All three letters are printed below.) John Adams' letters, dispatched upon the eve of his final success in the next month in winning recognition from the United Provinces of the Netherlands, were of a happier tenor than any received from him in Braintree for many months. But Mrs. Adams wrote under the impact of other less pleasing developments that served to temper her hopes that recognition, welcome as it was, would lead to an early peace. Of these, she mentioned Admiral Rodney's defeat and capture of Admiral de Grasse at the battle of the Saints Passage and reports of the disappointing terms for a settlement of the war being framed in Britain by the new Rockingham government. Thus confronted, despite her ardent longing for peace that would allow the return of her husband, Abigail takes her resolute position with those who oppose consideration of any peace offer “if Independance is not made the Basis”—of any peace “but upon the most liberal foundation.” Having so concluded, she reflects, in a spirit not uncommon to her, upon the sacrifices that women are called upon to make in the name of Country, the fortitude with which they bear them, and the less than justice with which they are repaid by the State.
From this high theme Portia descends in her postcript to more practical and immediate concerns which were of necessity never far from her thoughts. There she lists, as promised in the letter, “Articles upon which the best profit arrises, and which have the quickest sale.” Such lists are appended to numerous letters of hers within the span of the present volumes and reflect, as does her correspondence carried on with such firms as Gardoqui & Sons of Bilbao, de Neufville & Son, and Ingraham & Bromfield of Amsterdam, the stratagem resorted to by her through supplying from Europe the finished goods that were in demand to effect thereby the transfer from John Adams to her of funds in hard currency, a transfer difficult and expensive to accomplish in any other way. The subject is further developed in the Introduction to the present volumes.
“Inquire of the Historick Page and Let Your Own Observations Second the Inquiry” ||following ||
Complete holograph text of Abigail Adams' letter of 26 May 1781,
addressed to her son John Quincy Adams in the Netherlands. Having received no letters from either of her sons since they had left Paris for Amsterdam the previous summer, and only meager news of them through their father's short and infrequent letters, Mrs. Adams could deal with little but generalities in writing her sons, but her letter is nevertheless extremely characteristic and a model of maternal advice for the time. She hoped the well-known proclivity of the Dutch for cleanliness, industry, and other admired personal and domestic habits would have its due effect on John Quincy's own habits, and she urged him to study Dutch history because—as her husband was pointing out in his propaganda for a rapprochement between the Dutch and American republics—there were striking parallels between the revolution of the United Provinces against Spain two hundred years earlier and that of the United States against Great Britain currently.
For reasons the reader may judge for himself, the family editor, Charles Francis Adams, omitted two passages from the manuscript text of this letter on the two occasions he printed it, in 1848 and 1876. He omitted the entire fourth paragraph, in which occurs a phrase possibly offensive to Victorian gentility; and all but the first and last sentences of the last paragraph, perhaps merely to save space.
Richard Cranch Transliterates Ciphered Passages for Abigail Adams ||following ||
John Adams' Flawed Key to Lovell's Cipher ||following ||
Two efforts to decode James Lovell's cipher, a task often resisted and that seemed to Abigail and to John Adams sometimes beyond accomplishment. The cipher was built upon an acceptance by those who would use the cipher that encoding a passage involved substituting numbers (1–27) for equivalent letters, alternately from alphabets (the ampersand was included) in which the initial letters, being agreed upon, provided a key. The letters c and r constituted the key to the cipher Lovell used in correspondence with the Adamses and others, and were thus the equivalents of the number 1 in the two alphabets. Decoding should have been a simple matter in which letters from the two alphabets were substituted alternately for numbers in the coded text. The Appendix to this volume undertakes a full account of ciphers of this type and of the difficulties Lovell's cipher presented to the Adamses.
The first effort is an undated fragmentary sheet, in the hand of Richard Cranch, on both sides of which he has attempted to record horizontally, according to the key provided by Lovell, letter equivalents to the numbers constituting four ciphered passages in Lovell's letter to Abigail Adams of 26 June 1781
, below. Cranch has labeled these passages A to D, and having managed the decoding after a fashion, has then written out the transliteration satisfactorily. Although success did crown his efforts, his successive rows of substituted letters reveal one of the sources of the difficulty Lovell's correspondents ex•
perienced in reading his cipher. Here the difficulty arose from inexact alternation between the two alphabets. As an example: what Cranch calls passage B appears in Lovell's letter as 1-25-10-22-3-11-5-4-3; Cranch's top horizontal row of letters substituted for these numbers reads r-&-&-l-t-a-v-u-t. This substitution, inaccurate as it is, is achieved by beginning from the alphabet in which r
is the equivalent of 1 and continuing in alternating sequence from the alphabet in which c
is the equivalent of 1. Even with an exact observance of sequence, the result, r-&-&-x-t-m-v-f-t, would have been gibberish, and hence to be discarded. In Cranch's next row the substitution began, properly as it turned out, from the alphabet in which c
is the equivalent of i. His reading appears as c-o-l-x-e-m-g-f-e. When he broke the scheme of strict rotation at the fourth character, he was prevented, except by further tinkering, from arriving at the correct reading, c-o-l-l-e-a-g-u-e. Similar carelessness impeded his efforts to decode each of the other passages for Abigail, but it is evident from the fragment that he understood the elements of the cipher. If she shared that understanding, Abigail was perhaps justified in her later statement to her husband: “I have always been fortunate enough to succeed with it” (17 June 1782
The second effort shown is again an undated sheet, this in John Adams' hand. Across the top is an alphabet and at the left is a column of numbers from 1 to 30. From the letters a, c
, and r
of the horizontal alphabet are hung three vertical alphabets in which those letters are the initial letters. A second column of numbers is hung to parallel the r
alphabet. The whole arrangement is one that should have proved helpful in encoding or decoding the cipher. Any success in its use, however, was prevented by a basic flaw stemming from Lovell's failure to explain or John Adams' failure to grasp that the numbers 28, 29, and 30, often appearing in ciphered passages, were baulks or blinds. This misunderstanding is displayed in assigning to numbers 28, 29, and 30, as well as to numbers 1, 2, and 3, the letters c, d
, and e
in the c
alphabet, and the letters r
, s, and t
in the r
alphabet. At any use of one of the baulks, the transliteration would then be fouled beyond correction. Both the frustration felt by John Adams with the cipher from having been able “upon the whole” to make nothing of it, but “able sometimes to decypher Words enough to show, that I have the Letters right,” and his firm conviction after all attempts that “The Cypher is certainly not taken regularly under the two first Letters of that Name [Cranch]” become understandable (John Adams to R. R. Livingston, 21 February 1782, LbC
, Adams Papers
; printed in The Works of John Adams
, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856, 7:521–530; The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States
, ed. Francis Wharton, Washington, 1889, 5:192–199).
The Hutchinson-Warren House on Milton Hill ||facing ||
The early 19th-century watercolor now in the Milton Historical Society of the house on the brow of Milton (or Neponset) Hill overlooking Quincy Bay and Boston harbor probably represents the
house as it was during the years following 1771 when Gov. Thomas Hutchinson had added the impressive portico to the house he had built in 1743. Governor Hutchinson's occupancy ended with his departure for England in 1774, his ownership upon confiscation by Massachusetts in 1779 and subsequent sale of the house at auction. In early 1781 it was sold again by Samuel Broom to Gen. James Warren for £3,000. The Warrens occupied it from the time of purchase until they returned to their earlier seat at Plymouth in 1788. (Malcolm Freiberg, Thomas Hutchinson of Milton
, Milton Historical Society, 1971.)
To Abigail Adams having her long-time friend, Mercy Otis Warren, and John Adams' old friend, James Warren, as near neighbors was a bright promise in a generally gloomy and lonely time. She included news of the purchase of the farm in her first letter written to the Netherlands after word of it reached her (to John Quincy and Charles Adams, 8 February 1781
, below; see note there). She expressed her anticipation with warmth and directness: “I hope [Mrs. Warren] has not a doubt of the particular satisfaction and pleasure her Friend takes in the Idea of soon having her for her Neighbour” (to Mercy Otis Warren, 5 March 1781
, below). A visit to Mrs. Adams by the Warrens upon taking possession of their house was thus deeply satisfying: “Our Friends from P[lymout]h have made me a visit upon their remove to Neponset Hill
. . . . You will congratulate me I know upon my acquisition in the Neighbourhood, it is a very agreable circumstance” (to John Adams, 28 May–1 June 1781
, below). Visits between the ladies seem to have followed thereafter with some frequency, and young Abigail, as she had earlier at Plymouth, paid more extended visits to the Warren household at Milton (Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch, April 1782
General Warren, for whom acquisition of the Milton seat seemed to symbolize retirement from active participation in the political sphere, looked forward on his side to a time, as each of the Adamses often did, when a return to Penn's Hill could replace for John Adams the more distant attractions that they both expressed eagerness to forgo: “I wish to see you return to our Hills. I shall certainly take pleasure in roving with you among the Partridges, Squirrels, &c., and will even venture upon an Emulation with you which shall make his Hill shine the brightest” (James Warren to John Adams, 7 October 1782,
, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections
, 72–73 [1917–1925], 2:178).
Courtesy of the Milton Historical Society, Milton, Massachusetts.
“View Toward the Bar of Bilbao,” 1781, by John Trumbull ||facing ||
The seascape near Bilbao in ink and wash by John Trumbull, and titled by him, belongs with a number of drawings in the same medium which Trumbull completed on shipboard in August and September 1781 during the protracted and circuitous voyage of the South Carolina
, Commodore Gillon, from the Texel to the North Sea and around the British Isles before finding harbor at La Corufia in Spain. Most of these drawings, like the present one, are deposited by the
Yale University Art Gallery with the Franklin Collection in Sterling Memorial Library. They are listed at pages 114, 116–117 in The Works of Colonel John Trumbull
, ed. Theodore Sizer, revised edn., New Haven, 1967.
Trumbull drew the “View toward the Bar of Bilbao” after he and Maj. William Jackson, having determined to bear no more of Gillon, had, with Jackson's young charge Charles Adams, embarked on another vessel for Bilbao preparatory to sailing from that port for America on the Cicero of Beverly, commanded by Hugh Hill. The normally short run from La Coruña to Bilbao was extended by foul weather and misadventure to a passage of twenty-one days. The little party arrived in Bilbao not much before 26 October and remained there until about 10 December.
The circumstances which led John Adams in July 1781 to permit his son to return home in Major Jackson's custody, the successive mischances which attended the voyage both on the South Carolina
and after, and the long-delayed arrival at Cape Ann on 21 January 1782 are recounted below in a sequence of letters and their notes beginning in July 1781 and extending through January 1782. Much of the detail provided in those notes is from the colorful narrative of the whole experience in Trumbull's Autobiography, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953
, p. 74–81.
Trumbull and his companions had good reason to be interested in the bar in the river of Bilbao, aside from the pictorial possibilities it presented. Their ship, after entering the river in late October, ran up to Porto Galette at Bilbao where the process of loading was carried forward and arrangements for clearance finally completed. On 10 December, when they proceeded down river, they “found the wind at the mouth of the river, blowing fresh from the north-ward, which caused such a heavy surf upon the bar that it was impossible to take the ship over,” the water there being “so shallow, that a ship of the Cicero's size can pass over, only at spring tides.” For the sequel, in which Trumbull and others nearly missed the Cicero
when it at length did sail, see Trumbull's Autobiography
as quoted below, p. 280–281.
Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery.
Pieterskerk, the Cathedral Church, Leyden ||facing ||
This “Gezigt van de St. Pieters Kerk,” reproduced from a colored engraving in a series of Dutch views apparently dating from the late 18th century, shows the shops and houses then abutting the Gothic structure. The church, built 1294–1339 and the largest in the city, is in the oldest part of Leyden, had a number of American associations, and was geographically central to the Adamses' activities while they were in Leyden. John Robinson, pastor of the English Separatist congregation that settled in Leyden in 1608, lived in a house on the Kloksteeg (Bell Lane) facing the Pieterskerk, and he was buried within the church in 1625, five years after a substantial part of his congregation sailed to America and founded Plymouth Colony. The names of Robinson and his Pilgrim followers evoked feelings of piety among all the Adamses, although their historical and topographical
information about the Pilgrims' sojourn in Leyden was, like that of many Americans who have visited there since, faulty. See below, John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 21
, 22 December 1780
, and notes there. Most helpful for topographical orientation is the diagram in Henry Martyn Dexter and Morton Dexter, The England and Holland of the Pilgrims
, Boston and New York, 1905, p. 531.
The Adams boys while in Leyden, December 1780 – June 1781, lived on a narrow curving street called the Lange Brug (Long Bridge) behind the great church and must therefore have often passed through the Pieterskerkhof and by the former Pilgrim colony back of Robinson's house (where the exiles' worship was conducted) on their way to and from the University, which was just across the Rapenburg [canal] from these sites. See No. 9 below.
Courtesy of L. H. Butterfield.
The French Embassy on the Prinsessegracht, The Hague, 1764 ||facing ||
Painted and engraved by P. C. La Fargue and dated 1764, this view shows the Nieuwen-Uitleg (New Extension) into a wooded area of a residential street on which the façade of the French Embassy on the Prinsessegracht (Princess' Canal) appears prominently. In a letter of 1 April 1782
(below), John Adams wrote his wife from Amsterdam that “The French Ambassadors House . . . has been burnt, which I regret very much, more on Account of the Interruption of his Thoughts and Exertions in these critical Moments, than for the Value of the Loss which is however considerable. The Due de la Vauguion is an able Minister and my very good Friend.”
A year earlier La Vauguyon, who served as French ambassador at The Hague from 1776 to 1784, had, as instructed from Versailles, taken a decided stand against Adams' making overtures to the States General for recognition. Adams' account of his protracted tussle with the ambassador, an influential figure in the Netherlands, occupies several pages in The Correspondence of the Late President Adams . . . in the Boston Patriot, Boston, 1809[–1810]. Following the American military successes later in 1781, La Vauguyon gave Adams good advice and strong backing in his successful negotiations with the Dutch in 1782.
Courtesy of the Gemeente-Archief, The Hague.
View Across the Rapenburg to the University, Leyden, 1763. ||following ||
From a colored engraving, probably a modern restrike, after a painting by Abraham Delfos dated 1763 and a drawing by Joannes Jacobus Bylaerd (or Bylaert), entitled “Gezigt op de Academie, te Leyden,” which is to say the University of Leyden as seen from across the Rapenburg, and showing the bridge which continued the Kloksteeg, spoken of under No. 7, above. A version of this engraving appears in Frans van Miers, Beschryving der Stad Leyden, Leyden, 1770, of which the Widow of A. Honkoop and A. Kallewier were apparently both engravers and publishers.
The University (long commonly called the Academy), dating from 1575, is the oldest in the Netherlands and remains a major center of learning in Europe. In its early centuries it was preeminent in law and medicine and attracted many students in both these fields from England, Scotland, and England's overseas colonies. As an international center of medical education it yielded to Edinburgh only after the death of the illustrious Dr. Hermann Boerhaave in 1738. John Adams was little less than ecstatic when he learned from Benjamin Waterhouse (who had just taken his medical degree at Leyden and was attending lectures on international law) that arrangements could be made for John Quincy and Charles Adams to be privately tutored in Leyden and perhaps attend lectures by some of the distinguished professors. See Waterhouse to John Adams, 13
, and 26 December 1780
; John Adams to Abigail Adams, 18 December 1780
; all below. John Quincy matriculated on the following 10 January, and Charles, by special dispensation on account of his age, matriculated on 29 January. Many letters among the Adams circle in the Netherlands deal with the boys' studies and diversions at Leyden. Their father never tired of asking questions about their reading and their professors, and he visited them as often as he could in order to observe their progress. It was in the boys' lodgings at Leyden that he composed his epochal Memorial to the States-General
in the spring of 1781 and whence he set out for The Hague to deliver it; see Waterhouse's account of this incident, under John Adams to Abigail Adams, 28 April 1781
Courtesy of L. H. Butterfield.
Benjamin Waterhouse in 1776, by Gilbert Stuart ||following ||
Benjamin Waterhouse (1754–1846), who became one of America's best-known but perennially controversial physicians, and Gilbert Stuart, the greatest American portrait painter of his generation, were schoolmates in Newport, Rhode Island, in the 1760's. In 1776, though they had traveled different routes, they found themselves together again in London, where Stuart painted this highly attractive portrait of his friend. Whether it is the same as that which, according to Waterhouse's rambling memories furnished years later to William Dunlap, was commissioned by Dr. John Fothergill “as a delicate mode of giving the young American artist ten guineas,” is not clear, because Waterhouse said he had no idea what happened to that portrait (William Dunlap, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, ed. Frank W. Bayley and Charles E. Goodspeed, Boston, 1918, 1:204). See also Lawrence Park, comp., Gilbert Stuart: An Illustrated Descriptive List of His Works, New York, 1926, 2:790–791.
The relations between Waterhouse and the Adams family, beginning in the Netherlands in 1780, were close and enduring. A summary account of them has been given in a note on Waterhouse's letter from Leyden to John Adams, 13 December 1780
, q.v. below, with references there. Other Waterhouse letters also appear here, and hundreds more survive that were exchanged, respectively, with John Adams and John Quincy Adams for sixty years thereafter. Still
others were evidently destroyed by Waterhouse heirs. The selection in Worthington C. Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend
: Correspondence of John Adams and Benjamin Waterhouse, 1784–1822
, Boston, 1927, though valuable, is the merest sampling.
Courtesy of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island.
Jean Luzac, “The Terror of the Oppressors, the Comfort of the Oppressed,” by Ludwig Gottlieb Portman ||following ||
From an engraving on copper, published in Leidens Ramp (The Disaster of Leyden) by Willem Bilderdijk and Matthijs Siegenbeek, Amsterdam, 1808.
Dutch patriot, legal, classical, and historical scholar, sometime Rector Magnificus of the University of Leyden, and publisher of Nouvelles extraordinaires de divers endroits (more commonly known as the Gazette de Leyde and one of the most influential European newspapers of its time), Jean Luzac (1746–1807) became an early, warm, and extremely helpful friend to John Adams during the latter's Dutch mission. He kept a kindly eye on the Adams boys while they studied at Leyden in 1781, printed in generous measure documents and news furnished him by Minister Adams to the advantage of the American cause, and instigated petitions among merchants and others favoring the recognition of American independence.
The ties of the Adams family with Luzac were renewed when John Quincy Adams returned to the Netherlands as American minister in the 1790's, and a substantial correspondence between them ensued. “Last week at Leyden,” John Quincy wrote his father from The Hague, 3 December 1794, “I saw our old friend professor Luzac, who is at this time Rector Magnificus of the University. He received us with great cordiality, and I found him in his political sentiments moderate and rational. The instance is rare, and accordingly he suits neither of the parties in this Country. 'The Tories call him Whig, and Whigs a Tory,' because he neither wishes to be the slave of the ruling power, nor to see his Country liberated by means of being conquered” (Adams Papers
). As a result of his outspokenness during the French regime Luzac had to give up all his university connections, and shortly thereafter the Gazette de Leyde
was suppressed. In retirement he continued his scholarly and literary labors, but in January 1807 he and other members of his family were killed by the devastating explosion of a powder ship stationed in the Rapenburg near his house.
Upon resigning his rectorship in 1795 Luzac pronounced a Latin Oration on Socrates as a Citizen
, which was published the following year and dedicated to John Adams with a warm tribute to Adams' political and intellectual services to his country. A copy of the pamphlet is in the Adams Papers
, together with a manuscript English translation in an unidentified hand (Microfilms, Reel No. 226), probably as prepared for publication in the Port Folio
, the Philadelphia journal in which a translation appeared serially in April–May 1803. “He is one of the sound hearts and choice Spirits, that I most loved and esteemed in this World,” John Adams told his friend Van der Kemp, who had also known Luzac before emigrating to America.
To this, Adams added a little later: “My Wife, My Daughter and my two Sons all knew him and revered him. He is a large Portion of the Salt of the Earth, and if it were not for a few such Lotts, it seems to me, the whole Sodom [of Europe] must soon be burn'd up.” (Letters of 30 April 1806, 29 January 1807, both in Historical Society of Pennsylvania.)
The quotation characterizing Luzac in the caption of the present entry is a translation of the inscription on a small but impressive memorial in the Pieterskerk (see No. 7 above) erected by friends to Luzac's memory in 1809. The University of Leyden and the Gemeente-Archief (Municipal Archives) of that city have for some time been engaged in searching out fugitive Luzac documents to add to or record in the large collection of the papers of this famous scholar and editor now in the University Library.
Courtesy of the Prenten-Kabinet, Leyden (University of Leyden Art History Center).
Passport Form Bearing Boylston Arms Issued by John Adams Following Dutch Recognition, April 1782 ||facing ||
The satisfaction with which John Adams could order inscribed: “Nous John Adams, Ecuyer, Ministre Plénipotentiaire des Etats Unis de l'Amérique, auprès de leurs Hautes Puissances, les Etats Généraux des Provinces Unies des Pays-Bas,” was to be measured by the difficulties that had beset him as he pursued his long and lonely campaign for recognition that had ended in triumph in April 1782.
The prerogative of a minister from the American states to a nation of Europe to issue passports of his own devising to American citizens traveling in the country to which he was accredited was exercised as early as 1780 by Benjamin Franklin in Paris. The form Franklin devised and several times issued bore a coat of arms in the lower left-hand corner (Randolph G. Adams, The Passports Printed by Benjamin Franklin at his Passy Press, Ann Arbor, 1925). The form which John Adams had occasion to devise at The Hague, modeled on that of Franklin, survives among the family's papers in a unique example that for a time was used as a wrapper for insurance policies. The coat of arms it bears is that of John Adams' mother's family, the Boylstons. The woodblock apparently used in the printing of the coat of arms is in the Massachusetts Historical Society and is illustrated in A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenaeum, ed. Worthington C. Ford, Boston, 1938, facing p. 136.
The circumstances which determined John Adams' choice of the Boylston arms for passports issued by him, as well as his subsequent use of the Boylston seal in affixing his signature to the Preliminary Treaty with Great Britain are not entirely clear. Perhaps no further explanation need be sought than that he had that seal with him in Europe. Whether in setting out for Europe he had taken the seal which family tradition has him inheriting from his mother, or whether the Boylston “arms” he had received while in Europe from his cousin John Boylston was in the form of a seal, cannot be determined. However, the possession of the seal permitted the cutting of the woodblock.
For a description of the Boylston arms, the uses to which John
Adams put the arms for passport and treaty-signing, the later adaptations effected in the arms by John Adams and his descendants to commemorate its use in the Treaty, and what can be known of the origin of the seal he used, see below, John Boylston to John Adams, 31 August 1781, note 5
; also Henry Adams 2d's note on “The Treaty Seal,” in the Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams
, p. 136 ff.
John Quincy Adams' First Bookplate, 1781, Hand-Lettered and Engraved ||facing ||
The simple bookplate which John Quincy Adams, not yet fourteen, designed and executed by hand is the first of the many that members of the Adams family used to identify as theirs the multitude of volumes that were the fruits of their avid book-collecting. In Henry Adams 2d's note on “The Seals and Book-Plates of the Adams Family” it bears the designation “Book-Plate A” (A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athensaeum, Boston, 1938, p. 135–136; another specimen of the plate is illustrated there, facing p. 45). The slips themselves were printed from a wood engraving made from John Quincy's drawing. They served his needs, apparently, until 1783, when, in London with his father, he caused a second bookplate to be made, this one bearing the Boylston seal (see No. 12, above).
In the Adams Papers
are two examples of Bookplate A, each affixed to a bound manuscript in the hand of John Quincy Adams and dating from the first half of 1781. The first of these is a treatise on the Greek language in 104 folios which John Quincy, in writing of it to his father (3 February 1781
, below), credited to Professor Hemsterhuis of the University of Leyden but which is attributed to his disciple and successor Valckenaer in its title: Dictata Celeberrimi Valckenarii ad Analogiam Linguae Graecae
(Adams Papers, Microfilms
, Reel 217). The dates in the manuscript indicate that the copy was begun on the 21st and concluded on the 31st of January 1781. The second is of 100 folios containing a translation into French of five books of Phaedrus' Fables
, dated at its beginning 10 February, and at its end 11 May 1781 (Adams Papers, Microfilms
, Reel 218; facing the Prologue to Book 1 and Fable 1 are verse translations in English in John Quincy Adams' mature hand, dated 12 and 17 May 1831). When, a week after completing it, John Quincy offered to send it to his father to read he wrote of it as “a fair copy of Phaedrus bound,” and as “My Master's Translation,” by which he apparently referred to his language master, Wensing or Wenshing (19 May 1781
, below, and note
Card of Invitation to the “Celebration of the Anniversary of Independence” in Amsterdam, 4 July 1782 ||facing ||
The invitation to supper on “Thursdag next the 4th of July” issued to John Thaxter by the American Society in Amsterdam was to its
celebration of the 4th in 1782 (a Thursday). Thaxter was prevented by illness from attending that observance, and we know nothing of it beyond the information contained on the card of invitation. However, it may be, though their High Mightinesses had recognized the United States during the intervening year, that the occasion differed but little from the celebration held the year before. Of that observance, we have a detailed account. In 1781 Thaxter did attend the supper at the Nieuwe Stads Herberg hotel, as did Francis Dana before his departure on the 7th with John Quincy Adams for St. Petersburg, Maj. William Jackson, Col. James Searle, Edmund Jenings, Messrs. Sigourney, Ingraham, and Bromfield, and others of the American community in the Netherlands who appear in the pages of the present volumes. Minister Adams did not attend, having left on 2 July for Paris.
Thaxter, writing to Abigail Adams a little later (21 July
, below), noted of the “Celebration of the Anniversary of Independence” that “Every thing was conducted with the utmost order and decency—in one word, We were merry and wise.” With his letter he enclosed an account of the observance that had appeared in the local press (not now in the Adams Papers
). It may be that that account was the same as that which was printed in the Boston Gazette
, 24 September 1781, p. 3, cols. 1–2, as from “foreign papers” and datelined “Amsterdam, July 5”:
“At the rising of the sun, the American ship Apollo hoisted Continental colours, and saluted the day with 13 Cannon, and at Two o'clock she fired 13 more, when the flags of the United States of America, and the Seven United Provinces, were displayed from the top of the house where the . . . gentlemen assembled. . . .
“At six o'clock the two flags were struck, 13 cannon fired, and the company repaired to the . . . luxurious supper . . . given by those gentlemen in a large and magnificent hall, decorated with the following emblematical devices:
“1. The genius's of the two Republics, in characters of women reciprocally tendering each other their trade and commerce.
“2. A ship crossing the western ocean from America to Holland.
“3. America and her inhabitants represented in their different branches of commerce, offering their staple commodities to the subjects of the Seven United Provinces.
“4. The Seven United Provinces accepting the products of America in exchange for their principal manufactures.
“5. The colours of the two Republics, with the motto Liberty.
“The evening insensibly passed in social mirth and gaiety—Joy and satisfaction appeared in every countenance. Thirteen patriotic toasts were drank, and at twelve o'clock the company peaceably retired, much satisfied with their festival meeting.”
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.