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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0219

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-05-03

To the President of Congress

[salute] Sir

On the first of May I went to the Hague, and wrote to his Excellency Peter Van Bleiswick Esqr. Grand Pensionary of Holland, that having something of Importance to communicate to him, I proposed to do myself the Honour to wait on him the next Morning at half after eight, if that Time should be agreable to him: but if any other Hour was more convenient, I requested his Excellency to mention it. The Answer which was not in writing was, that half after eight should be the Time.1
Accordingly the next Morning I waited on him, and was politely recieved. I informed him that I had asked his permission to make him this Visit, in order to inform him, that I had received from my Sovereign the United States of America full Powers to treat with the States General, and a Letter of Credence, as a Minister Plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses, and another to his most Serene Highness the Prince; and that it was my Intention to communicate those Powers and Letters to their High Mightinesses and to his most Serene Highness on Friday next the fourth of May.
His Excellency said he would acquaint the States General and his Highness with it: that in his private Opinion he thought favourably of it, but that he must wait the Orders of his Masters: that it was a Matter somewhat delicate for the Republick: but I replied, as to the delicacy of it in the present State of open War between England and Holland, I hoped that it would not be any Obstacle—that I thought it the Interest of the Republick as well as of America. His Excellency rejoined one thing is certain We have a common Enemy.2
As this was a Visit simply to impart my design, and as I knew enough of the delicate Situation and of the reputed Sentiments of this Officer, to be sensible that he did not wish to enter into any very particular Conversation at this time upon public Affairs, I here arose to take my Leave. His Excellency asked me if I had any good News from America? I answered none very late. He then said he would be { 302 } very glad to form an Acquaintance with me. I answered this would be very flattering to me, and then took my Leave.
Tomorrow morning I propose to go to the President of the States General, to Secretary Fagel and to the Secretary of the Prince. This moment for the first Time I have recieved the Congress Account of General Morgan's glorious Victory over Tarleton.3
I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect and Consideration, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 129–130).
1. JA's letter of 1 May has not been found. Dumas carried the note to van Bleiswyck and presumably delivered the grand pensionary's message to JA (Dumas to the president of Congress, 1 May – 13 July, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:393).
2. Dumas accompanied JA when he visited the grand pensionary on 2 May, probably to serve as an interpreter. His account of the meeting is virtually identical to JA's (same, 4:393).
3. On 3 May, JA apparently received an account of the Battle of Cowpens taken from a letter of 24 Jan. from Gov. John Rutledge of S.C., to his state's delegates at Congress. John Thaxter wrote to Edmund Jenings on 4 May (Adams Papers) to provide Jenings with an extract from Rutledge's letter, indicating that it had been sent by Thomas Bee, a South Carolina delegate, to an American in Paris, who passed through Leyden on 3 May. The American was probably William Jackson, who carried Benjamin Franklin's letter to JA of 29 April, above, and to whom Bee had written on 9 February. For more information on Rutledge's letter see Bee's letter of 9 Feb. to John Laurens (Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates, 16:692– 693). An extract from Rutledge's letter appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 11 May; for the full letter see South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 18 (July 1917): 131–133.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0220

Author: Neufville, Jean de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-03

From Jean de Neufville

[salute] Honourd Sir

May I begg leave to inform yoúr Excellency of the invitation I have gott on a súdden to vizit Paris for a few days, where I had the honoúr to wait on His Excellency B Franklin, who did me the honoúr to receive and treat me with the utmost politeness. I have mentioned again the Bill which yoúr Excellency had projected that we should Accept, as belonging to the former parcell bútt Mr. Franklin said that he would write to yoúr Excellency on that matter, to Accept likewise this bill; so we doúbt not bútt this will be settled.1
I had also the honoúr to wait on Colonell Laúrens. He was so obliging as to allow me the money we advanced to Comodor Gillon and also the remainder of what the Comodor was in want for the Colonell should write to yoúr Excellency aboút it2 and we doubt not bútt on the Comodores proper application he will be assisted, as well as we, We never could have expected a more gracioús relieve for { 303 } which we certainly acknowledge Yoúr Excellencys favoúrs as we know she had been concernd in the matter, and if I had not determind in the moment I sett oút I would not have failed to ask for Yoúr Excellencys comands. My readiness to be employd in this bússiness for the Comodor brought me a reward not indifferent to my principles to see myself employd in a Comission for some supplys for Congress, Colonel Laúrens favourd my hoúse there with, and having already prepared a great part there off, I múst sett oút again to procúre the remainder, leaving my son at the head of the hoúse; I do not expect I shall be long detaind before I am able to retúrn, and then I shall not faill to pay my personall respects to Yoúr Excellency at the American Hotel in Amsterdam; with my best Wishes and exertions for all what can be noble and [respirat?] liberty I have the honoúr to be with perfect Regard and Esteem, Honoúrd Sir Yoúr Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] John de Neufville
1. See Benjamin Franklin's letter of 21 April and JA's reply of the 27th, both above.
2. See John Laurens' letter of 28 April, above.
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.