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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0219-0002

Author: Baumberg, Johann Christoph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-03-24

Johann Christoph Baumberg to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Excellency

Misfortune in my life and the misjudgment of my merits, in the past 23 years, force me to leave my fatherland, and to seek my bread and fortune in foreign countries. I would have been firmly resolved to travel by ship to the United States, if only I knew what my wife, my promising 16-year-old son, and my 17-year-old daughter would live off until I could have them follow me, and also whether I, as a true German, but also an upright (42-year-old) German, who does not lack courage, entrepreneurial spirit or diligence, and who would be prepared to do anything for a country that recognizes my achievements and merits, could be of any use there, and { 349 } whether, with the help of your Excellency, I could soon reach my desired goals. After having described my plans briefly, I bid your Excellency (whose eminent, noble and affable disposition I have the highest regard for) to consider my most obedient request, the details of which you could inform me of by means of the goodness of your correspondence, and in case you have orders, be made known to me at the below mentioned address. With eager anticipation I remain under the most obedient recommendation and put myself under your protection with complete respect of your Excellency’s Obedient Servant
[signed] Johann Christoph Baumberg
Imperial and Royal Instructor of the German Intermediate School
M. Baumberg, Professeur de l’Ecole normale, de sa Majl. Imp. et Royl. ap. à Bruxelles St. Pölten en Autriche inferieur
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “German”; and by John Thaxter: “March 24th 782.”
1. This letter from Johann Christoph Baumberg, about whom nothing else is known, is the first extant German language letter that JA received in the Netherlands. There is no evidence that he replied to this letter, which is similar to others in English, French, and Dutch requesting his aid in going to America that also often went unanswered.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0220

Author: Bondfield, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-03-24

From John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

Permit me to congratulate you on the progress which the vigorous resolves of the province of Frise informs us is taking to a publick acknowledgement of the american Independance as also of the late resolves of the British parlement.1 The Neutral Consuls at this Port construe the late Acts to a licence to their flag to transport Goods to the United States under the privalidge and restrictions observed in Europe and at present in the West Indies. I dined yesterday with the prussien Consul he is ready to embark deeply in conections with us so soon as licence is granted. We have upwards of one hundred Sail of neutral Ships in this port all which wish to be Charterd for America. The late resolves of Parlement is not a direct acknowledgement of Independance but under the present situation of Great Britain with the neutral powers a spirritted instruction from the Emperor or the King of Prussia to their Consuls would smoth the road. Every State are anxious to open Commercial Conections with us. You have brought Holland to your terms. The Confederated Neutrals are impowerd by their Union to Act without Control being satisfied there { 350 } can be no longer a doubt of Americas ever returning under the Gouvernment of Great Britain. To obtain a Cessation of Hostilities and establish a firm and speedy Peace Spirritted resolves of all the European Nations is the most certain line. But these Neutrals reap such advantages that is more probable they will add feul to the Flame than attempt any measure to bring about a Conciliation.
We expect our Great West India fleet from St Domingo dayly. We are held in suspence by the various reports transmitted of the Operations at St. Kitts from Cadiz by a vessel that left martinico 29 Jany. The French possest the Island but Brimstone Hill was stil in possession of the English.2 I have the Honor to be with due respect Sir your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] John Bondfield
1. Bondfield presumably means Parliament’s resolutions of 27 Feb. to end the further prosecution of an offensive war in America and to declare those who acted contrary to that motion to be enemies of the King. During the debate on the second motion the issue had been raised, but not decided, as to what constituted the prosecution of an offensive war (Parliamentary Hist., 22:1099). Apparently the neutral consuls believed that the seizure of neutral ships trading with America would violate the resolutions and contemplated the sort of arrangement that was negotiated with the French by the residents of Nevis and Montserrat following the fall of St. Kitts. They were allowed to act as neutrals and export their produce on neutral ships (Mackesy, War for America, p. 456). The British, however, contemplated no similar accommodation.
2. See JA’s letter of 5 March from Robert R. Livingston, and note 5, 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.