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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0188

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sigourney, Ingraham, & Bromfield (business)
Date: 1781-04-09

To Sigourney, Ingraham, & Bromfield

[salute] Gentlemen

I am engaged in some Affairs, which will oblige me to be absent from Amsterdam for some days if not for some Weeks, but when I return it will be necessary for me to have an House to put my Head in and Furniture, suitable for a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States to receive and entertain Company &c. not in the Style of Sir J. Y. of 80.000 Guilders a Year, but however decent enough for my Character in Europe to dine in, with a Republican Citizen.
Will You Gentlemen do me the favour to hire me an House and purchase me Furniture? You may get me the most suitable House You can find, and You need not hesitate at any Price less than 3.000 Guilders a Year. You will however use your Prudence in getting the best House that is to be had, at as cheap a Rate as may be.
As to Furniture, it will not be necessary to get every thing at once, but You must get the necessary Kitchen Furniture, Four Beds suitable for Gentlemen to lodge in, and two at least suitable for Servants. There must be Chairs Tables &c. for one large Room to receive Company, and Chairs and Tables for another Room to do Business. I shall want a prudent skillful Man Servant to take Care of the House, Kitchen and Cellar. If I could find a Man and his Wife, who would live in the Kitchen and be capable of taking the Care of every thing, it would be most agreable to me.
I beg your Answer as soon as possible. I will chearfully allow You what Commissions you please upon this Business, and I ask the favour of You to take this Trouble upon You, rather than Mr. De Neufville, who I suppose would oblige me, because You are better acquainted with American Ideas.
{ 254 }
Mr. De Neufville, or the House of Horneca, Fitzeau & Co. will I presume furnish You the Money, or I will send it to You as You choose—the sooner the better. If it does not agree with your affairs to undertake this Business, I should be obliged to You to let me know immediately, that I may desire some other to do it.1
I am Gentlemen with Esteem and Respect, your Friend & Hble Servant.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. The firm accepted JA's commission in a letter of 10 April (not found) and soon found a suitable residence. Writing to Benjamin Franklin and Edmund Jenings on 27 April, both below, and to AA on 28 April (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:108), JA announced that he had taken a house in Amsterdam “upon the Keysers Gragt ... near the Spiegel Straat.” For an engraving of the house in 1781 or 1782 and a photograph taken in 1960, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:ix, facing 322. JA resided there until May 1782, when he moved to The Hague.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0189

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1781-04-10

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Relying on your Virtues of and Graces of Faith and Hope, I accepted SSix Bills to the Amount of ten thousand Pounds Sterling, drawn in favour of Mr. Tracy.1
I have recieved Advice from Congress of more Bills drawn upon me: when they arrive and are presented, I must write You concerning them and desire You to enable me to discharge them: for I am sorry to be obliged to say, that although I have opened a Loan according to the best Plan I could, and the Plan and the Loan seems to be countenanced by the Public, yet there is little Money obtained, scarcely enough to defray the Expence of Obligations and Stamps; and it is daily more and more clear to me, that We shall never obtain a Loan here, until our Independence is acknowledged by the States— 'till then every Man seems to be afraid, that his having any thing to do in it, will be made a foundation of a criminal Process or a Provocation to the Resentment of the Mob.
The Time is very near when some of the Bills I accepted become payable. I must intreat your Excellency's Answer to this as soon as convenient,2 and to point out to me whether You choose that the House of Fitzeau & Grand & Co. or any other should pay the Money. It is a most grievous Mortification to me to find that America has no Credit here, while England certainly still has so much; and to find that no Gentleman in public Life here dare return me a Visit, or answer me a Letter, even those who treated me when I first arrived { 255 } here with great Politeness. I am entreated however to keep this secret; but have no Motive to secrete it from You. On the contrary You ought to know it.
I am told there will be great Alterations very soon, but I have seen by Experience, that no Man in this Country knows what will be in the morrow.
Let me ask the favour of You, Sir, to give my best Respects to Coll. Laurens and Mr. Franklin.
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. April 10. 1781.”
1. For the 66 bills drawn in favor of Nathaniel Tracy, see JA to Franklin, 15 Feb., above.
Franklin replied on 21 April, below.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.