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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0136

Author: Black, Thomas
Author: Green, William
Author: Williams, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-01-22

From Thomas Black and Others

[salute] Honoured Sire

Hoping that ÿou will Recieve Cuppele Lines in a good health this is to give Notice to your honnour of our bad Luck which we have here in this Countÿ we where engaged bÿ a Man which Sold us and brouht us aboerd a Dutch Indiesman our T[h]ree being Thomas Black from boston John Williams and William Green but Sire I Thomas Black have mÿ wife and Familÿ in America and Should rether whish to Serve the States of America then to Serve this Countrÿ we was Strange there in Amsterdam and having no Acquaintance So he took us up altogeher and confind us and brought us upon this Indie-man the Name of the Man is Henrÿ Thibout if there was now an Optunitÿ of Congres Ship we are all together willing to Serve the States of America where your honnour Pleasses to Send us and the Language of the Countrÿ does grive us being now a matter of nine months aboerd the Ship and having not recieved yet one Farthing and we arhe Used like the Slaves and whe are used like Prisonners your honnour Kan Consider that does grive us werÿ much whe Should whish us So happÿ to recieve a Cuple Lines of an Answer upon this Letter whit the first Oportunity So Soon as Possible if you pleasse to grant us that Favour whe Should think us werÿ happÿ we Should be happÿ yet once more hear of our Familÿ being now a matter of a year in this Strange Countrÿ Hoping would not take it in a ille part your honnour being in that Same time.

[salute] Your most humble and Obiant Servant

[signed] William Green
[signed] Thomas Black
[signed] John Williams
The direction is the Ship Schoonder Loo from the Kamer Delft bÿ de Oude Sluis bÿ Texel the Captains Name J. Van den Berg.1
{ 214 }
1. The three American sailors have not been further identified and there is no indication that JA did anything on their behalf. The Schoonderloo, upon which they had been impressed, was a 46-gun Dutch warship based at Delft (PCC, No. 79, IV, f. 368).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Date: 1782-01-25

To Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

Your Letter of the 11. with the Copy of that from M. Le Comte de Vergennes of 31. of Decr. I had the Honour to receive by the last post. By, your leaving it to me to judge how far it is proper for me to accept further Draughts on Mr Laurens, with any Expectation of your enabling me to pay them, I am Somewhat embarrassed. If I accept any Bill at all it must be in full Confidence of your paying it, for there is not a Possibility, of my getting any Money here.
I lately applied to one of the first Houses, an old Dutch House, which has traded to america an hundred years, and whose Credit is as clear and Solid as any one in the Republick.1 I asked him, frankly if he would undertake a Loan for me. His answer was, sir I thank you for the Honour you do me. I know the Honour and the Profit that would accrue to any house, from such a Trust. I have particular Reasons of my own, of Several sorts, to be willing to undertake it, and I will tell you frankly, I will make the necessary Enquiries and give you an answer, in two days. And if I find it possible to Succeed, I will undertake it. But there are four Persons, who have the whole affair of Loans through the Republick under their Thumbs, these Persons are united, if you gain one you gain all, and the Business is easy, but without them there is not one house in this Republick can Suceed in any Loan.
After the two days, he called on me, to give me an account of his Proceedings. He Said he first waited upon one of the Regency, and asked him if it was proper for him to put in a Requete and ask leave, to open Such a Loan. He was answered he had better Say nothing to the Regency, about it, for they would either give him no answer at all, which was most probable, or say, it was improper for them to interfere, either of which answers would do more hurt than good. It was an affair of Credit, which he might undertake, without asking Leave, for the Regency, never interfered to prevent Merchants from getting Money. With this answer he went to one of the undertakers, whose answer was, that at least untill there was a Treaty, it would be { 215 } impossible to get the Money. As soon as that Event should happen he was ready to undertake it.
I have been uniformly told that these four or five Persons had such a despotick Influence over Loans, I have heretofore sounded them in various Ways, and the Result is that I firmly believe they receive ample Salaries, upon the express Condition that they resist an american Loan. There is a Phalanx, formed by British Ministry Dutch Court, Proprietors of English stocks and great mercantile Houses in the Interest of the British Ministry,2 that Support these undertakers and are supported by them.
We may therefore reckon boldly that We shall get nothing here, unless in the form of the late five millions, lent to the King of France and warranted by the Republick, untill there is a Treaty.
I believe however I shall venture to accept the Bills, of which I have given you notice in hopes of your Succeeding better than your fears.
Yesterday was brought me, one more Bill drawn on Mr Laurens on the 6. July 1780 for 550 Guilders, No. 145. I have asked time to write to your Excellency about this too, and shall wait your answer before I accept it.

[salute] I have the Honour to be

1. The mercantile house has not been identified.
2. When this letter appeared in the Boston Patriot of 3 Oct. 1810, JA inserted at this point the following passage: “(at the head of whom was the house of Hope).” For Hope & Co., see vol. 11:53, note 2.
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.