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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


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Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0310

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Fizeaux, Grand & Co. (business)
Recipient: Hodshon, John, & Son (business)
Recipient: Crommelin, Daniel, & Son (business)
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1782-04-30

To Fizeaux, Grand & Co. and Others

1. If the Houses of Fizeaux Grand & Co. John Hodshon & Son Mess. Crommelin, Mess. Van Staphorst, Mess. De la Lande & Fynje and Mr. John de Neufville & Son, will all join together in an American Loan, Mr. Adams will open it without demanding any Stipulations for any certain Sum.
2d. If the first Proposition is not agreed to, Mr. Adams will open a Loan with as many of these Houses as will agree together, and enter into a Stipulation with him to furnish the sum of Five Millions by the Month of August.
3d. If no Number of Houses will join, Mr. Adams will open the Loan with any One that will first undertake and contract to furnish that Sum.
4d. Mr. Adams proposes that all those Gentlemen should meet and consult upon the Matter and propose their Thoughts.1
Tr (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 4, f. 700). This copy was enclosed by Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst in their letter of 24 Nov. 1785 to John Jay, for which see note 1.
1. With this letter JA sought to bring banking firms allied to the Patriot party into the effort to raise an American loan. His intention was to increase the loan’s chances for success by appeasing those critical of his choice of John Hodshon & Zoon for the task, most notably Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst, for which see John Thaxter’s letter of 22 April, and note 2, above. This letter, however, did not achieve JA ’s purpose. In their letter of 24 Nov. 1785 to Jay the van Staphorsts offered a critical assessment of JA ’s financial dealings in the Netherlands: “We received a Note from him, a Copy whereof { 472 } We take the Liberty to inclose you [see descriptive note], proposing a Junction of Houses, the like of which was never known here, and that was therefore refused by all solid Persons. We at this time waited upon him, and presumed to call to His Remembrance all what we had told him, which had been confirmed by the Event; But as we spoke the Language of Men accustomed to Truth, and not as insinuating Flatterers, We met with no success, We were on the contrary treated as People, who had occasioned the Miscarriage of his inconsiderate Efforts with Mr. Hodshon, and were shewn the door with Rudeness. From which time We should not have waited any more upon Mr. Adams. Had we not been intreated to it by a Person of great Consideration since dead, Who promised us that in this Conjuncture Mr. Adams would in a proper Manner, propose to employ us in the Negotiation of a Loan. Hereupon We returned to him, when he proposed to us the Junction, which was afterwards fixed upon.” On 11 June 1782 JA received a letter from the firms of Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje discussing the loan’s terms (Adams Papers). The names of the firms are given here in the order of their signatures on the letter, which presumably reflected their standing within the consortium.
Although John Hodshon was displaced from the American loan his relationship with JA continued. Hodshon assisted JA in the move from his residence in Amsterdam to the Hôtel des Etats Unis at The Hague ( Adams Family Correspondence , 4:321). And on 13 June ( LbC , Adams Papers) JA wrote that “Justice and Gratitude will forever oblige me to Say, that your Conduct through the whole affair [the loan], was that of a Man of Honour, a Gentleman and a true Friend of the United States of America.”

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0311

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1782-04-30

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

I ought to make an apology, for delaying So long to answer your Favour of the Sixteenth accompanied with Some printed Copies, of the Address of Thanks from the Body of Merchants and Manufacturers of the City of Leyden, to the great Council.
The great Qualities, which this Nation has always displayed upon occasions proper to call them Forth, appear with too much Splendour upon this occasion to be mistaken.
Dft ? (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “John Adams 1782.”
1. The next extant letter from JA to Luzac is 18 Feb. 1783 ( LbC , Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0312

Author: Bracht, Herman van
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-30

From Herman van Bracht

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to return you, with many thanks the collection of the constitutions of America, which you was So obliging as lend me, the translation of the pieces I wanted to compleat the whole, is finishd, and the printer Mr. F wanner of this city, is making all possible diligence with the Impression, So that I hope it will be publish’d in a month or two.1
The readiness and politeness with which you acquiesed to my { 473 } former request encourages me to ask Some more favours from you. It appears to me that the Treaty of commerce now on the carpet between the States of America (and which I presume will be Soon concluded) and this Republic, would form a very proper appendix to the present publication, if it Strikes you in the Same light, and you Should think it Sufficiently advanced to insert it, I would request a copy of it as Soon as possible. But This I must leave intirely to your discretion—but another request I have to make, in the printers name as well as my own, as it depends intirely upon your Self, I hope you will not refuse: as the first part of the work was dedicated (I think with great propriety) to the pensionary Van Berkel and with his permission, it Will afford the printer and me great Satisfaction, if he may be allowd to dedicate this part to you.2
I observe by the 11 Article of the Treaty of commerce with France that the plenipitentiaries have taken care that the Americans Should not become liable to the Droit daubaine and Droit le Detraction. This induces me to take the liberty of informing you that a Similar unjust Law prevails in the cities of Holland, by which they have a right to demand (and this not less than 10 perCt) upon all heritages, as well abintestato as extestamento which, fall within and are carried out of their Jurisdictions, an act of Injustice founded upon a remnant of that enormous power possess’d by the old Courts of Holland, and however adapted it may have been to those feudal times, I am persuaded it is at present impolitic; Indeed most of the cities are So Sensible of this, that they have mutually desisted from this right upon each other, but Foreigners are Still liable to it, It is calld het regt van Exu or Exu geld.3
Congratulating you Sir on your admission as Envoy plenipitentiary by the States, assuring you of my constant esteem en Sincere offers of my Service I remain Sir Your Most obed: Servt.
[signed] Herman van Bracht
1. Van Bracht returned The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America; . . . , Phila., 1781, that JA lent him in February (to van Bracht, 1 Feb., above). Translated into Dutch, it formed the second volume of Verzameling van de Constitutien . . . van Amerika, . . . , 2 vols., Dordrecht, 1781–1782, which appeared in August (from van Bracht, 12 Aug., Adams Papers). Two sets of the edition are in JA ’s library at MB ( Catalogue of JA ’s Library ).
2. JA replied on 3 May ( LbC , Adams Papers), indicating that he thought it inappropriate to publish the Dutch-American treaty prior to its ratification, but consenting to the proposed dedication so long as “nothing be said offensive to any one.”
3. The droit d’aubain was the right of the French king to seize the property of deceased foreigners. The droit de detraction was a tax paid on property moved out of France. Americans were exempted from both by Art. 11 of { 474 } the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties , 2:10–11). An exemption, similar to that in the Franco-American treaty and presumably intended to cope with such laws as mentioned by van Bracht, was included as Art. 6 of Congress’ plan of [29 Dec. 1780] for a treaty with the Netherlands (vol. 10:452), and was included as Art. 6 in the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded on 8 Oct. 1782 (Miller, ed., Treaties , 2:65–66).