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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0307

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jenings, Edmund
Date: 1782-04-28

To Edmund Jenings

[salute] Sir

Your favour of the 24, is just come to Hand. Your Congratulations on the publick acknowledgment of the United States do me great Honour.
I received in its Time, your favour of 18. The Compliments you make me upon this occasion, are greater than I deserve, though they are not greater than were made me last Week, by one of the most respectable foreign Ministers at the Hague.
“Vous avez, frappé, Mosieur, (Said he to me) le plus grand Coup de tout L’Europe. C’est le plus grand Coup, qui a jamais été frappé dans la Cause Americain. C’est Vous qui a effrayé et terrassée Les Anglomanes. C’est Vous qui a rempli cette nation d’Enthousiasme. C’est Vous, qui a tournée leurs Tetes.” Then turning to another Gentleman present (Says he) “Ce n’est pas pour faire Compliment a Monsieur Adams que Je dis cela—C’est parce que, en Verité, Je crois que c’est Sa duë.”1 Such was the Diplomatique Compliment of the grave Spaniard.
Think of me, however as they will, I am not easily touched with Such Compliments. They will never turn my Head I assure you.
The Revolution which has taken Place in this nation, is the Result of a vast number and Variety of great Events, composing a great Scheme of Providence, which comprized a great part of the Earth and the nations on it, which I could no more influence, than the fly upon the Chariot Wheel could raise the Cloud of Dust.
When I recollect the Circumstances, I am amazed, and I feel, that it is no Work of mine. Mr Laurens was to be taken—Congres were to foresee it, so far as to send me a Commission to borrow Money. I was to come to Holland to see the Country and my friend Laurens. Congress were to send me full Powers. These were to be lost on the Way from Paris, and to run the Gantlet through Dilligences, Post offices and Treck schuits, and at last reach me Safe by an unknown Hand. I was to be Seized with a Fit of obstinacy and go { 469 } to the Hague, with a Memorial, in opposition to Advices, Remonstrances, and almost Menaces. Mr Van Berckel was to come forward next—then the Burgomaster of Amsterdam, the Battle of Doggersbank. France was to retake statia &c. The Barrier Towns were to be evacuated—The Emperors Toleration was to allarm the Dutch further about their Commerce. Cornwallis, Minorca st Kits were to be taken. Congress was to prohibit the Importation of British Manufactures. The Revolution was to take Place in England. What a Chain! and what Link in it, did I forge? none at all but the stubborn Memorial. All that I have done was just to throw out a few Hints for the Contemplation of the People. I need not be envyed for this—My Fevers and Swollen Legs and feeble Knees, are not envyed I dare say.
However, I had Seen and felt before So much of the Smart arising from a sordid Jealeusy and Envy, that I never can see or feel more of it—I despise it all and am determined to brave it. All their dastardly assassinations, their secret Whispers, their vile slanders, I hold in as much Contempt as I do their Persons and Characters. I disdain to Say or write a Word in my own Vindication. Let them go to the End of their Rope. I confess, I have tolerated several Things which gave me Pain and which I never suffered in any former Part of my Life on Purpose to show them how much I hold them in Contempt, and at Defyance. I am much afraid, that the dirty disagreable office of Stripping the Gilding off of one more Knave, is destined for me. I hope not—and will avoid it if I can.
But, dont believe me dazzled with my Glory—I should Embark tomorrow for the blue Hills there to live and die with more Pleasure, than I had in making fine Speeches to the Prince or Princess of orange, or the Grand Committee of their High Mightinesses. There is one Thing, I should be glad to do, if it were in my Power, which however it never will be.2

[salute] Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “His Excellency Mr Adams April 28 1782.”
1. Translation: You have struck, sir, the greatest blow in all Europe. It is the greatest blow yet struck in the American cause. It is you who have terrified and vanquished the Anglomanes. It is you who have filled this nation with enthusiasm. It is you who have turned their heads. It is not just to make a compliment to Mr. Adams that I say this, it is because it is true and I know that it is his due.
2. One can only conjecture about JA’s meaning here. In his reply of 6 May (Adams Papers), Jenings referred specifically to this sentence, but JA did not respond with a clarification.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0308

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lacoste, Jn. Pas., & Courtiau (business)
Date: 1782-04-29

To Jn. Pas. Lacoste & Courtiau

[salute] Gentlemen

I have recd. the polite Letter, which You did me the honor to write me on the 26th with the Letter from St. Petersbourg.1 Let me beg of You to give me a minute of the Postage of this and any other Letter You may recieve for me, that I may repay You.
You do me too much honor in ascribing the late glorious Event to me.2 It is the Result of a vast Combination of Causes which have been operating in several Nations and various Quarters of the Globe, in which I had very little more Influence than the Fly upon the Chariot Wheel in raising the Dust.
I do not however rejoice in it the less. It appears to me a foundation for Prosperity and Security to both Nations, whom may God bless.

[salute] I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, your obliged and obedient humble Servant

LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers).
1. The letter enclosed with Lacoste & Courtiau’s of 26 April (Adams Papers) may have been that of 8 April from Francis Dana, above. The Amsterdam firm forwarded letters from St. Petersburg on several occasions; see its letters of [18] and 22 July (Adams Papers) and JA’s reply of 14 Oct. (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. In their letter Lacoste & Courtiau congratulated JA on the glorious event, which they attributed to his sublime genius and profound wisdom.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0309

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bondfield, John
Date: 1782-04-30

To John Bondfield

[salute] Sir

Yours of 13 is duely recd: I congratulate you, on Gillons Success and hope that his Prizes, and those he may make hereafter will defray the enormous Expence of that outfit. All his Patience Activity and Perseverance, were necessary, to carry that affair through: and the Cost was immense.
I am not able to answer your Question, concerning the fate of a Vessell of yours, which should be carried into England by a Privateer: because I am not able to comprehend nor to penetrate the System of the New Ministry. Perhaps it may, devellope itself, soon.
It is with Pleasure I am able to inform you, that, the Sovereignty of the United States of America has been Acknowledged, in the most Solemn, unanimous and glorious manner, by the Bodies of Artisans, Merchants, Professions Citizens, and Colledges by the Cities { 471 } Provinces, States General, Prince and Princess of orange. A more manly and decided Honour has never yet been done to our Country. I need not entertain you with a detail, of the Difficulties, Discouragements, and Mortifications, through which We have had the good Fortune to arrive at this honourable Result. I should be Sorry to tell them to the present Age, and think it almost a Pity they should be known to Posterity.
Whatever the World may Say, this nation has great Qualities. They lie deep it is true: but when an occasion presents which calls them forth, they show themselves with great Eclat.

[salute] With much Esteem, I have the Honour to be Sir your most obedient humble sert

[signed] J. Adams
RC (private owner, 1963).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0310

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Fizeaux, Grand & Co. (business)
Recipient: Hodshon, John, & Son (business)
Recipient: Crommelin, Daniel, & Son (business)
Recipient: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business)
Date: 1782-04-30

To Fizeaux, Grand & Co. and Others

1. If the Houses of Fizeaux Grand & Co. John Hodshon & Son Mess. Crommelin, Mess. Van Staphorst, Mess. De la Lande & Fynje and Mr. John de Neufville & Son, will all join together in an American Loan, Mr. Adams will open it without demanding any Stipulations for any certain Sum.
2d. If the first Proposition is not agreed to, Mr. Adams will open a Loan with as many of these Houses as will agree together, and enter into a Stipulation with him to furnish the sum of Five Millions by the Month of August.
3d. If no Number of Houses will join, Mr. Adams will open the Loan with any One that will first undertake and contract to furnish that Sum.
4d. Mr. Adams proposes that all those Gentlemen should meet and consult upon the Matter and propose their Thoughts.1
Tr (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 4, f. 700). This copy was enclosed by Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst in their letter of 24 Nov. 1785 to John Jay, for which see note 1.
1. With this letter JA sought to bring banking firms allied to the Patriot party into the effort to raise an American loan. His intention was to increase the loan’s chances for success by appeasing those critical of his choice of John Hodshon & Zoon for the task, most notably Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst, for which see John Thaxter’s letter of 22 April, and note 2, above. This letter, however, did not achieve JA’s purpose. In their letter of 24 Nov. 1785 to Jay the van Staphorsts offered a critical assessment of JA’s financial dealings in the Netherlands: “We received a Note from him, a Copy whereof { 472 } We take the Liberty to inclose you [see descriptive note], proposing a Junction of Houses, the like of which was never known here, and that was therefore refused by all solid Persons. We at this time waited upon him, and presumed to call to His Remembrance all what we had told him, which had been confirmed by the Event; But as we spoke the Language of Men accustomed to Truth, and not as insinuating Flatterers, We met with no success, We were on the contrary treated as People, who had occasioned the Miscarriage of his inconsiderate Efforts with Mr. Hodshon, and were shewn the door with Rudeness. From which time We should not have waited any more upon Mr. Adams. Had we not been intreated to it by a Person of great Consideration since dead, Who promised us that in this Conjuncture Mr. Adams would in a proper Manner, propose to employ us in the Negotiation of a Loan. Hereupon We returned to him, when he proposed to us the Junction, which was afterwards fixed upon.” On 11 June 1782JA received a letter from the firms of Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje discussing the loan’s terms (Adams Papers). The names of the firms are given here in the order of their signatures on the letter, which presumably reflected their standing within the consortium.
Although John Hodshon was displaced from the American loan his relationship with JA continued. Hodshon assisted JA in the move from his residence in Amsterdam to the Hôtel des Etats Unis at The Hague (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:321). And on 13 June (LbC, Adams Papers) JA wrote that “Justice and Gratitude will forever oblige me to Say, that your Conduct through the whole affair [the loan], was that of a Man of Honour, a Gentleman and a true Friend of the United States of America.”

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0311

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Luzac, Jean
Date: 1782-04-30

To Jean Luzac

[salute] Sir

I ought to make an apology, for delaying So long to answer your Favour of the Sixteenth accompanied with Some printed Copies, of the Address of Thanks from the Body of Merchants and Manufacturers of the City of Leyden, to the great Council.
The great Qualities, which this Nation has always displayed upon occasions proper to call them Forth, appear with too much Splendour upon this occasion to be mistaken.
Dft? (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “John Adams 1782.”
1. The next extant letter from JA to Luzac is 18 Feb. 1783 (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0312

Author: Bracht, Herman van
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-30

From Herman van Bracht

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to return you, with many thanks the collection of the constitutions of America, which you was So obliging as lend me, the translation of the pieces I wanted to compleat the whole, is finishd, and the printer Mr. F wanner of this city, is making all possible diligence with the Impression, So that I hope it will be publish’d in a month or two.1
The readiness and politeness with which you acquiesed to my { 473 } former request encourages me to ask Some more favours from you. It appears to me that the Treaty of commerce now on the carpet between the States of America (and which I presume will be Soon concluded) and this Republic, would form a very proper appendix to the present publication, if it Strikes you in the Same light, and you Should think it Sufficiently advanced to insert it, I would request a copy of it as Soon as possible. But This I must leave intirely to your discretion—but another request I have to make, in the printers name as well as my own, as it depends intirely upon your Self, I hope you will not refuse: as the first part of the work was dedicated (I think with great propriety) to the pensionary Van Berkel and with his permission, it Will afford the printer and me great Satisfaction, if he may be allowd to dedicate this part to you.2
I observe by the 11 Article of the Treaty of commerce with France that the plenipitentiaries have taken care that the Americans Should not become liable to the Droit daubaine and Droit le Detraction. This induces me to take the liberty of informing you that a Similar unjust Law prevails in the cities of Holland, by which they have a right to demand (and this not less than 10 perCt) upon all heritages, as well abintestato as extestamento which, fall within and are carried out of their Jurisdictions, an act of Injustice founded upon a remnant of that enormous power possess’d by the old Courts of Holland, and however adapted it may have been to those feudal times, I am persuaded it is at present impolitic; Indeed most of the cities are So Sensible of this, that they have mutually desisted from this right upon each other, but Foreigners are Still liable to it, It is calld het regt van Exu or Exu geld.3
Congratulating you Sir on your admission as Envoy plenipitentiary by the States, assuring you of my constant esteem en Sincere offers of my Service I remain Sir Your Most obed: Servt.
[signed] Herman van Bracht
1. Van Bracht returned The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America; . . . , Phila., 1781, that JA lent him in February (to van Bracht, 1 Feb., above). Translated into Dutch, it formed the second volume of Verzameling van de Constitutien . . . van Amerika, . . . , 2 vols., Dordrecht, 1781–1782, which appeared in August (from van Bracht, 12 Aug., Adams Papers). Two sets of the edition are in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library).
2. JA replied on 3 May (LbC, Adams Papers), indicating that he thought it inappropriate to publish the Dutch-American treaty prior to its ratification, but consenting to the proposed dedication so long as “nothing be said offensive to any one.”
3. The droit d’aubain was the right of the French king to seize the property of deceased foreigners. The droit de detraction was a tax paid on property moved out of France. Americans were exempted from both by Art. 11 of { 474 } the Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:10–11). An exemption, similar to that in the Franco-American treaty and presumably intended to cope with such laws as mentioned by van Bracht, was included as Art. 6 of Congress’ plan of [29 Dec. 1780] for a treaty with the Netherlands (vol. 10:452), and was included as Art. 6 in the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded on 8 Oct. 1782 (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:65–66).

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0313-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-30

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Dans l’embarras de notre déménagement, qui aura lieu demain, je n’ai plus qu’un coffre sur lequel je puisse vous écrire la présente. Vous verrez par l’incluse de Mr. Nolet de Schiedam, et par la copie de ma réponse provisionnelle, ce que vous jugerez à propos de leur répondre Vous-même.1 En vous souvenant cependant, que vous avez accepté un Déjeuner chez Mr. et Made. Boreel ici, le 6e de May. On m’a dit, que ces Messieurs de Schiedam donneront un repas de 100 couverts, et qu’il y aura beaucoup de personnes de Rotterdam. Je dois vous faire souvenir aussi, que ces Messieurs voudroient savoir le jour une semaine d’avance, à cause des préparatifs. Si vous pouviez donc, dès à présent, leur fixer un jour de la 2e semaine du mois de may, vous leur feriez grand plaisir. Je pense que le meilleur seroit, Monsieur, que vous leur indiquassiez l’heure où vous serez à Delft dans votre voiture, afin que vous puissiez entrer là dans leur Yacht, si vous ne voulez pas qu’il vienne vous prendre ici; ce qui, selon moi vaudroit encore mieux. Vous prendrez après cela le parti qui Sera le plus de votre goût. Quant à moi, je n’ai pas la moindre objection ni repugnance à rester ici ce jour-là, et tenir compagnie à ma femme et à ma fille, pendant la fête, à laquelle nous serons charmés d’apprendre la satisfaction que vous y aurez eue, ainsi que Mr. Thaxter que nous saluons cordialement.

[salute] Je suis avec un grand respect, Monsieur Votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur

[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0313-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-04-30

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

With all the commotion of moving tomorrow, I have only a trunk on which to write this letter to you. You will see from the enclosed letter from Mr. Nolet of Schiedam, and from the copy of my provisional reply, what will be necessary in your own response.1 Meantime, I would like to remind you that you have accepted a dinner invitation at Mr. and Mrs. Boreel’s home here on the 6th of May. I was told that the people from Schiedam { 475 } are preparing a meal composed of 100 dishes, and that there will be many people from Rotterdam there. I must also remind you that you need to choose a date one week in advance, because of all the necessary preparations. Now, if you could choose a date during the second week of May, they would be greatly pleased. I think it would be best, sir, if you indicate the time that you will be in Delft in your carriage, so you can continue on in their yacht if you do not want them to come here to get you. I think this would be better. You can decide, after that, to do whatever pleases you. As for me, I do not have the least objection or reluctance to stay here on that day, in the company of my wife and daughter, during the celebration. We will be delighted to learn of the pleasant time you will have had there, as well as Mr. Thaxter, to whom we send our cordial regards.

[salute] I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Dumas
RC and two enclosures (Adams Papers). Filmed at (3 April 1782 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 356).
1. In a letter of 29 April addressed to Dumas as JA’s secretary (JA, Works, 7:577–578), Jacobus Nolet invited JA to a dinner in his honor to be given by the merchants of Schiedam in the first or second week of May. Dumas replied on 30 April (Adams Papers) that he was an American agent in correspondence with Congress and that John Thaxter was JA’s secretary. Thaxter was thus the proper person to apply to with regard to the proposed dinner. Nonetheless Dumas indicated that the pressure of events and business would likely prevent JA’s attendance. JA replied to Dumas on 2 May (||available in Papers of John Adams, vol. 13; ||Works, 7:578–579), indicating his desire to be excused from the “affectionate, as well as polite invitation do dine at Schiedam,” but he left the matter in Dumas’ hands. On 8 May, Dumas informed the city of Schiedam that JA would be unable to attend but that he was fully sensible of the honor and friendship for himself and the United States manifested by the invitation (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 2, f. 470).
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/