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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


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Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0003-0002

Author: Capellen tot den Pol, Joan Derk, Baron van der
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-05-02

Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I received your letter of the 6th of April. The reasons cited by your excellency have convinced me that it would be impossible toemploy, in this country, my friend Valck1 in the service of Congress. Because of this, he decided to emigrate, and I can assure your excellency that we are losing an enlightened and worthy citizen. I will greatly miss him.
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Mr. Jan Hendrick Christiaan Heineken, son of a fine minister I know, is planning on leaving for Philadelphia in a few days on the General Greene, Captain Edward Bacon. This young man, raised in the world of commerce by his uncle, Heineken, was a philosophy professor in Deventer and then an Amsterdam merchant who had the unfortunate bad luck of finding himself in St. Eustatius and being stripped of all of his possessions. A group of merchants has put him in charge of a commercial endeavor and, even though I have made it a rule never to inconvenience anyone with a solicitation, I cannot refuse to do so because of the urgent entreaties made to me by his father and others, and therefore ask your excellency to honor him with a letter of recommendation, so that they will know in America that he is not an adventurer, and that they can take an interest in him. Before his departure, he will take the liberty of getting instructions from your excellency.2
Mr. Hodshon gave me the plans for the new negotiation. I ask that your excellency withhold sixteen numbers for as much as 1,000 florins that I will supply before June 1st. I was just about to give this money to Mr. de Neufville, not knowing that your excellency has favored Mr. Hodshon with this commission. America's credit is rising. There are several people from my province who are going to invest in the new republic, and I thank God to see it finally recognized and tied to our country!
My cousin de Marsch is, from all accounts, being sent to America. It is a political move. They want to get rid of him, while they try to prevent Mr. van Berckel's rehabilitation as well as my own. Only public indignation can save us. Besides the Lord de Marsch, four other noblemen from Gelderland discussed my expulsion quite vigorously as a concern for all noblemen. Mr. Marsch and Mr. Zuilen have done so in writing in Zutphen and Velue. Messrs. Nyvenheim, the father and two sons, have done the same by word of mouth in Nijmegen. In spite of all this, I think it will not result in anything.3
Would your excellency believe that my antagonists at the last assembly could have been driven too eagerly by the Zwolle districts and have taken advantage of my criminal correspondence with America in order to have a new pretext for quarreling about me! I have been assured that it is still a fact. I again suffer for the Scottish brigade!
In a few days, the Overijssel states are assembling, apparently to make a resolution conforming to Holland's resolution regarding mediation. Some noblemen from Gelderland gave an English sympathizer, who refused to drink to American independence, a thorough dressing down. It was the burgomaster from Nijmegen, Tingendonck, Mr. Fagel's nephew! Capellen de Marsch played the leading role in this farce, and no sooner did the bourgeoisie follow his lead than Mr. Tingendonck saw fit to exit.
I count on being in Amsterdam before the end of the month to remit to your excellency the aforementioned money in person and to assure you that I am, with the most profound respect, your excellency's very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] The Baron de Capellen de Pol
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “V. Der Capellen de Pol.”
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1. For Adriaan Valck, later Dutch consul for Maryland and Virginia, see van der Capellen's letter of 5 April (vol. 12:383–385).
2. Heineken was apparently sent to the United States as an agent in the case of the Prussian ship Minerva, which had been captured by the British and then retaken by the Massachusetts privateer Grand Turk. On 4 Oct. 1783 he presented a memorial to the Congress calling for the return of the vessel and cargo to its owners (PCC, No. 41, IV, f. 199–202). In 1784 the States General appointed Heineken the Dutch consul for Pennsylvania and Delaware (same, No. 128, f. 55–62). No letter of introduction for Heineken has been found.
3. In this and the following two paragraphs, Capellen expresses his continued outrage at being expelled from the States of Overijssel in the wake of his impassioned 1775 speech opposing Britain's request for the loan of the Scots Brigade for use in America. His reinstatement was unlikely because his prominence as a supporter of the American cause and his letters to various American patriots found among Henry Laurens' captured papers—his “correspondance criminélle”—made him a pariah to supporters of the stadholder (vol. 10:274, note 6, 380–381). If Capellen's cousin Robert Jasper van der Capellen van de Marsch or Mr. de Zuilen published statements supporting Capellen's reinstatement, they have not been found, but in its issues of 3 and 7 May, the Gazette d'Amsterdam published addresses by the two men to the States of Overijssel strongly supporting Dutch recognition of the United States, urging that the war against Britain be prosecuted more vigorously, and opposing any Anglo-Dutch peace negotiations.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0004

Author: Mends, C.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-05-02

From C. Mends

[salute] Most honorable Sir

In Feby last, my Son B. Mends took the liberty of sending yr Excellency a few Lines, with a Petition from the poor American prisoners, in which yr Excellency was inform'd of the good intentions of Coll. Richardson to apply to Docr Franklin in Paris, which he did, as I was inform'd by a Letter from him just as he was going to America: in which he inform'd me his Excellency seem'd rather Cool, and behaved not according to his expcetation, and that when he cd. get to America he shd lay the distressed state of the Americans in England before Congress, and do all in his power to procure some relief for them:1 But as a favourable opportunity now offers by favor of Mr. Fjasink [Pjasink], Agent to the States of Holland, a Worthy Gentleman who has on all Occations lay'd out him self to assist the miserable, I wd embrace the opportunity to address yr Excellency on the subject, and of entreating you to take into consideration.
I have greatly injured my self and Family by relieving of them about five Years, and my circumstance being rather low, have to my sorrow been Obliged to with hold that benevolence I wd otherways have chearfully administred. Many of those unhappy sufferers were forced into the Kings Service; and some of them when unfit for duty, were inhumanely discharged as Invaleeds, without mony, Clothes, and Friends in a Strange Country; and many others, who { 8 } made their Escape from Prison in the most deplorable state. I have represented their state to many American Gentlemen Who were in the very same predicament, they promisd to do all in their power to procure some relief but to no avail. I am at a loss to conceive the reasons why some provision is not made for those useful men who have nobly venter'd their Lives in behalf of their Countrie's Just Cause, and the more so, as the small sum of one, or two Hudred pounds wd. have enabled their Friends here to relieve them who were poor and have sent them safe to Holland, Ostend, and other Ports, who thro' necessity were left exposed to those miseries which God and themselves only know. Some of them have been forced back to Prison again, and others ready to perish wth. Hunger in the Streets—I doubt not but yr Excellency will consider those Worthy sufferers as an object worthy of attention—We hope the Prisoners will soon be exchanged, Yet as there are so many Americans dischrgd from the Hospital as Invaleeds, and others who escape from the Service into which they were forced, whose necessity calls for assistance, that yr. Excellency will make some provision for them. Whatever sum may be judged nessary to this purpose may be sent to Mr. Pjasink.2 But I can't conclude with out congratulating yr Excellency upon the pleasing prospect of Peace which our new Ministry labor to accomplish. May the God of Empires put his omnipotent Arm to the work, and hush the [tumu]lt of the People into a perpetual calm. I had [the pleasure o]f a visit from his Excellency Mr. Lowrance when [ . . . ] and expect to have a Letter from him in a Post [ . . . ] he was in high spirits, and in a fair way of recovery.3
I have the honor to be yr. Excellencies most Obedient & humble sert
[signed] C Mends
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Right Honoúrable John Adams, Esqúire Ambassador of the United States of America, Residing at the Coúrt of their High Mightenesses the States General of the United Provinces at the Hague. Plymouth May 5th 1782 forwarded by Your most humble and most Obedient Servant Gl Fjasink Late the Commissary to the States General of the Unit'd Provinces”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. C. [Mends] 2d. May [1782].” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. See Benjamin Mends' letter of 27 Feb., and notes (vol. 12:277–278). Nothing beyond what C. Mends says here is known about William Richardson's conversation with Benjamin Franklin concerning prisoners.
2. No reply by JA to this letter or specifically to Mends' appeal has been found. Jean de Neufville & Fils wrote to JA on 24 May, below, and enclosed a letter from Mr. Pjasink, identified as the Dutch consul at Plymouth, containing an account of funds expended on Americans held in Mill Prison. Note that very different spellings of Pjasink's name appear elsewhere in this volume and are accompanied by this form in brackets. Although the letter from Mends is not mentioned, it may also have been enclosed in the de Neufvilles' letter. JA received a final ac• { 9 } counting of expenditures on the prisoners in a letter from the de Neufvilles, 14 June, below.
3. This is presumably a reference to a visit Henry Laurens made to Plymouth on 31 March or 1 April (Laurens, Papers , 15:475).