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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0097

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1782-07-05

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

Soon after my publick Reception by their High Mightinesses The Body of Merchants of the City of Schiedam, were pleased to send a { 158 } very respectable Deputation from among their Members, to the Hague, to pay their Respects to Congress and to me as their Representative, with a very polite Invitation to a publick Entertainment in their City, to be made upon the occasion.1 As I had Several other Invitations from various Places and Provinces about the Same Time, and had two many Affairs upon my Hands to be able to accept of them, I prevailed upon all to excuse me, for Such Reasons as ought to be and I Suppose were Satisfactory. The Deputies from Schiedam requested me to transmit from them to Congress, the inclosed Compliment, which I promised to do. I was much affected with the Zeal and ardour of these worthy Gentlemen and their Constituents, which with many other Things of a Similar Kind, convinced me, that there is in this Nation a strong Affection for America and a Kind of religious Veneration for her just Cause.2
With great Respect, I have the Honour to be sir, your most obedient & most humble sert
[signed] J. Adams
RC and enclosure (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 113–122); endorsed: “a Letter from Mr Adams, July 5th: 1782.”
1. See C. W. F. Dumas to JA, 30 April, note 1 (vol. 12:474–475), and JA to Dumas, 2 May, and Dumas' Address to the City of Schiedam, [8 May], both above.
2. The enclosed “compliment” was addressed to JA, dated 24 April, and signed by six deputies appointed by the merchants and traders of Schiedam. Therein was recounted the Dutch struggle for independence against Spanish tyranny, the remembrance of which required Dutch support for the American cause. The merchants congratulated JA on being the representative of “l'Illustre Congrès Américain” and celebrated that “Jour Glorieux” when the Netherlands recognized the United States and cemented a lasting relationship between the two nations. The address ended with the merchants' expressing their hope that the products of Schiedam could be imported into the United States without being subjected to heavy duties. For an English translation of the address, see Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:596–597.

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Livingston, Robert R.
Date: 1782-07-05

To Robert R. Livingston

[salute] Sir

I have the honour to inclose Copies in Dutch and English of the Negotiation, which I have entered into, for a Loan of Money.1 My Commission for borrowing Money, promises to ratify what I should do;2 and the Money Lenders, require Such a Ratification, which Messrs Willinks, Van Staphorsts, and De La Lande and Fynje, have engaged Shall be transmitted. Authentic Copies of the original Contracts, in Dutch and English, are inclosed for the Ratification of Congress, which I must intreat them to transmit forthwith, by various opportunities, that We may be Sure of receiving it, in time; for I { 159 } Suppose, the Gentlemen will not think it Safe, for them to pay out, any considerable Sum of the Money, untill, it arrives.3
Although I was obliged to engage with them, to open the Loan for five Millions of Guilders, I dont expect We Shall obtain that Sum for a longtime. If We get a Million and an Half, by Christmas it will be more than I expect.
I Shall not venture to dispose of any of this Money, except for Relief of escaped Prisoners, the Payment of the Bills heretofore drawn on Mr Laurens, which are every day arriving, and a few other Small and unavoidable Demands, but leave it entire to the Disposition of Congress, whom I must intreat not to draw, untill they receive Information from the Directors of the Loan, how much Money they are Sure of; and then to draw immediately upon them.
These Directors are three Houses, well esteemed in this Republick Messs Wilhem and Jan Willink, Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst and de la Lande and Fynje.
I have made the Contract, upon as good Terms as I could obtain—Five Per Cent Interest—Two Per Cent to the House or rather to the Society of Houses—Two Per Cent to the undertakers—and half Per Cent for Brokerage and other Charges. This four and an half Per Cent, together with one Per Cent for receiving and paying off, the annual Interest, is to include, all the Expences of the Loan of every Sort. These are as moderate Terms, as any Loan is done for. France gives at least as much, and other Powers much more.4
I must beg, that the Ratifications of the Obligations may be transmitted immediately by the way of France, as well as Holland by Several opportunities.
The Form of Ratification, must be Submitted to Congress. But would it not be Sufficient to certify, by the Secretary in Congress, upon each of the Copies inclosed in English and Dutch, that they had been received and read in Congress, and thereupon resolved that the original Instruments, executed by me, before the Said Notary be, and hereby are ratified and confirmed.
The Form of the obligations is Such, as was advised, by the ablest Lawyers and most experienced Notaries, and is conformable to the usage when Loans are made here for the Seven Provinces. It is adapted to the Taste of this Country, and therefore lengthy and formal, but it Signifies no more, in Substance, than, “that the Money being borrowed, must be paid.”
With great Respect and Esteem, I have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient & most humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
{ 160 }
RC and enclosure (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 95–112); enclosure endorsed: “Copy Contract with certain money lenders in Holland.”
1. Enclosed with this letter were five copies in Dutch and English of JA's loan contract with Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, [11 June], above. This letter and the contracts in turn were enclosed with the loan consortium's letter of 11 July to Robert R. Livingston (PCC, No. 78, XIV, f. 523–526). For JA's transmission of the letter printed here, together with four additional copies of it, to the consortium, see his letter of 10 July to Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, below.
2. See JA's commission of 20 June 1780 to negotiate a loan (vol. 9:452–453).
3. For the consortium's explanation to Congress of how the money would be paid out, see the 11 July letter from Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, note 4, below.
4. Compared to the 5 percent interest rate paid by the United States, Britain was borrowing at 3.25 percent and France at nearly 6 percent. For an evaluation of the loan and the terms obtained by JA, see James Grant, John Adams: Party of One, N.Y., 2005, p. 272–276.
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/