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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


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Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0292

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-22

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir

I was duly honor’d with your favor of the 20th,1 and its Contents gave me sincere pleasure, and its Injunctions shall be observed.
Mr. J. Van Staphorst has called upon me this Afternoon, and acquainted me with his great distress respecting the House engaged for the Loan:2 that the Man is an Anglomane or at least very lately converted: that he has within these six Weeks indulged himself in very indecent Expressions against America: that it makes a Noise in the American Society and upon the Exchange, that a Man of his Character should be preferred to old experienced Friends—that it will do much Injury on both Sides, and be a disservice to the Cause: that if it is possible, he hopes that House may be prevented from opening it: that many well-wishers and Friends are astonished and could hardly have believed it: that he has recieved a Letter from the Baron3 upon the Subject, who would not write his Opinion to You unasked: that it gives great Uneasiness to several of the—&ca &ca &ca. I observed to him, I could make no Answer, having nothing to do in the Business, and prayed him to communicate his sentiments to You. He declined and requested me to mention them to You, which I have done in substance. He would esteem it an Honor most certainly to be employed, but would never open his Lips if a House was engaged which was known to have been uniformly friendly to America. He hinted as if Messr. Hope might be behind the Curtain—it was a Conjecture only. He thinks the Loan will not succeed with honor and Reputation, as it now stands, and that You will find his Sentiments as I have given them above to be well grounded upon Enquiry.
It is not my Business to make any Comment, nor express any Sentiment but Sorrow if all this is true, as I must believe.

[salute] With a Respectful & an invariable Attachment, I have the honor to be &c

{ 450 }
1. Not found.
2. Jacob and Nicolaas van Staphorst repeated their complaints about John Hodshon and JA ’s initial decision to place the loan with his firm in a letter to John Jay dated 24 Nov. 1785 (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 4, f. 684–699). In their letter, which indicates they met personally with JA , the van Staphorsts wrote that they informed JA that conditions favored opening a loan, to which JA replied that he was negotiating with John Hodshon on the matter. The van Staphorsts continued, “We took the Liberty to tell him, this was another impolitic Measure; as this Gentleman altho’ a Rich and able Merchant and a Person well qualified for the Direction of a Loan, was not looked upon in a good Light by this Nation and especially by the Patriotic Part to whom this Loan was to owe its Support and Success. This had no Weight with Mr. Adams, and while he pretended to believe Our Counsel proceeded from Self-Interest, We had the Mortification to hear from him, that in his Opinion John Hodshon was as good a Republican and as great a Lover of Freedom as ourselves.” JA obstinately “thought fit in spite of the Counsel of his best Friends, and among others of the Pensionary Van Berckel, to have the Loan opened publicly by Mr. Hodshon, With no other Effect than that he raised from the Well Affected to the American Cause great Complaints against his Proceedings, And finally after the Loss of a great deal of precious time, he was forced to withdraw the Order from Mr. Hodshon.” For more comments by the van Staphorsts, see JA to Fizeaux, Grand & Co., 30 April, note 1, below. See also vol. 11:103, note 4, for the van Staphorsts’ criticism of JA ’s attempt in 1781 to raise a loan through Jean de Neufville & Fils.
3. Since Thaxter refers only to “the Baron,” he probably means Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol. The editors have no evidence, however, that van der Capellen opposed Hodshon’s role in raising the loan. Indeed, on 2 May he wrote to JA of his intention to subscribe to Hodshon’s loan (Adams Papers). This may have reflected his desire to support the American cause, regardless of who was raising the loan.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0293

Author: Livingston, Robert R.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-23

To Robert R. Livingston

No. 9

[salute] Sir

On the 23d. of April I had the Honor of a Conference with Mr. Van Citters, President of their High Mightinesses, to whom I presented the following Memorial.1

[salute] Hauts & Puissants Seigneur

Le Soussigné, Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis d’Amerique a l’honneur d’informer Vos Hautes Puissances, qu’il est chargé par les Instructions de son Souverain, de proposer aux Etats Généraux des Provinces Unies des Pays Bas, un Traité d’Amitié et de Commerce, entre les deux Républiques, fondé sur le Principe d’un Avantage égal et reciproque, et compatible avec les Engagemens déjà pris par les Etats Unis avec leurs Alliés, ainsi qu’avec tels autres Traités qu’ils ont l’intention de former avec d’autres Puissances. En Consequence, le Soussigné a l’honneur de proposer à Vos Hautes Puissances de nommer quelque Personne ou Personnes, avec pleins pouvoirs de conferer et traiter avec lui sur cet important Sujet.2
{ 451 }
Their High Mightinesses on the same day appointed a grand Committee to treat, to whom I was introduced with great Formality by two Noblemen,3 and before whom I laid a Project of a Treaty, which I had drawn up conformable to the Instructions of Congress. I prayed the Gentlemen to examine it, and propose to me their Objections, if they should have any, and to propose any further Articles, which they should think proper. It has been examined, translated, printed and sent to the Members of the Sovereignty.4
The greatest Part of my Time for several Days has been taken up in recieving and paying of Visits, from all the Members and Officers of Government, and of the Court, to the Amount of one hundred and fifty or more.5

[salute] I have the Honor to be,6 with great Respect, sir your most obedient & most humble servant

[signed] J. Adams
RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 75–76).
1. There is no copy of the memorial that JA presented to the States General in the Adams Papers nor is it certain that the copy that JA handed to Willem van Citters is extant. In the archives of Hendrik Fagel, griffier or clerk of the States General, there is a “Copie” in C. W. F. Dumas’ hand that is signed by JA (Algemeen Rijksarchief). The address is printed in the Resolutiën van de Hoogh Mogende Heeren Staten Generaal der Vereenigde Nederlandsche Provinciën, 129 vols., The Hague, 1677–1796, vol. 1782, p. 362–363.
Lb/JA/16 contains what may be an untitled and undated draft of this address (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 104, f. 353–354). While substantively the same, the draft is more flowery than the address. JA wrote the draft in French, except one canceled passage in English that is followed by a French translation.
2. When JA published this letter in the Boston Patriot of 6 April 1811, he provided the following translation: “The undersigned minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, has the honor to inform your high mightinesses that he is charged by the instructions of his sovereign, to propose to the States General of the United Provinces of the low countries, a treaty of amity and commerce between the two republics, founded on a principle of equal and reciprocal advantage, and compatible with the engagements already taken by the United States with their allies, as well as with such other treaties as they have an intention to form with other powers. In consequence, the undersigned has the honor to propose to your high mightinesses to name some person or persons with full powers to confer and treat with him upon this important subject.”
3. Baron Derk Jan van Heeckeren van Brandsenburg and Baron Charles Bigot, deputies to the States General from Utrecht and Friesland respectively (Gazette de Leyde, 30 April).
4. No copy of the English text of the treaty JA presented to the committee of the States General has been found, although research in the Algemeen Rijksarchief at The Hague indicates that the States General received an English version. A printed extract of the draft treaty in Dutch, dated 26 April, from the Resolutiën van de Hoogh Mogende Heeren Staten Generaal der Vereenigde Nederlandsche Provinciën, in broadside form, is in the Fagel Coll. (Algemeen Rijksarchief). Since no further action regarding the treaty took place in April, it will be dealt with in detail in vol. 13 at 22 Aug. when the Dutch formally presented JA with the changes that they desired in the treaty’s text and substantive negotiations began. The treaty was signed on 8 Oct. (Miller, ed., Treaties , 2:59–88).
5. For JA ’s memorandum of visits made and received during this period, see Diary and Autobiography , 3:1–3.
6. The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA ’s hand.