A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0147

Author: Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-08-13

From Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst

[salute] Sir

Inclosed we have the honour of sending to your Excellency an Account, which your Bookseller has given us Some days ago, please to tell us if we are to pay the Same.1
We also take the liberty of troubling your Excellency with a more interesting matter, the Rafaction on the Tobaccos, having observed with much pleasure, that your Excellency hinted this point in the Conferences about the Treaty, Since we are fully convinced, that it's absolutely necessary to bring it upon a better and reasonable footing.2
We have the honour to inform your Excellency, that already Some months ago, jointly with Messrs. Crommelin, Mess. De Neufville &ca. we've presented a Petition to our Magistrates for that purpose. But as Some Tobacconists were consulted upon the matter, who being well satisfied with the present Customs opposed against any alterations, this has occasioned; that hitherto no Resolution has been taken.
But being informed now, that the States General will answer your Excellency, that this point being only relatif to the Domestick Institutions of the Different Towns, your Excellency may be pleased to converse about it with the Magistrates; we therefore beg the favour of your Excelly. to apply yourself particularly for that purpose, either to the Pensionary or the Deputates of this Town, who may be now present at the Hague, desiring them to represent to their Principals your Complaints about it, in order they may look out for a proper expedient to give Such Instructions to their officers as may answer { 240 } to the purpose and the general benefit of the Trade, and that they will converse about it with the merchants who are already concerned in the matter; by which joint endeavours we are in hopes of bringing it to a happy Conclusion.

[salute] With the utmost Respect we have the honour to be Sir! Your Excellency's most obedt. & humble Servants.

[signed] Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst Co.
1. Not found, but see JA's reply of 28 Aug., below.
2. For JA's attempt to deal with the issue of refraction in Art. 30 of his draft treaty of amity and commerce and the result, see The Negotiation of the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 22 Aug. – 8 Oct., Nos. II, III, and VIII, below. JA was responding to complaints by merchants that officials at the weigh house arbitrarily reduced the tare or net weight of an imported commodity. For an explanation of the practice and reasons why it should be prohibited, see Francis Dana's letter of 22 Oct. 1781 (vol. 12:35–38).

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0148

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bracht, Herman van
Date: 1782-08-15

To Herman van Bracht

[salute] Sir

I yesterday recd. the polite Letter You did me the honor to write me on the 12th. of this Month, together with a very acceptable Present from Mr. Wanner of the second Volume of the Translations of the American Constitutions into the Dutch Language.
The Dedication does me great honor in many Respects, but in none more than in placing me in Company with those illustrious Assertors of the Rights of Mankind, the Van Berckels, Van der Capellens and Gyselaers.

[salute] Let me beg the favor of You to present my best thanks to Mr Wanner, and to accept the same yourself, from, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-13-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1782-08-15

To Henry Laurens

[salute] Dear Sir

By a certain anonimous Letter you have had a Specimen of the infernal Arts which have been and are practised, to create Misunderstandings among American Ministers. There has been an uninterupted succession of them ever since I have been in Europe. Whether they are to be attributed to Inventions of Our Ennemies or to Still baser Intrigues of pretended Friends, or to impudent { 241 } Schemes of interested Candidates and Competitors for the little favours which American Ministers have Sometimes to bestow, or to all of these to gether I know not. The latter Supposition is most probable.1 Enough of this however.
It Seems that your Friend Oswald2 is Still at Paris and Fitzherbert has taken the Place of Grenville. He is Said to be authorised to treat with the four Powers at War with G. B.3 Pray what is your Opinion of this? Ought We to accept of Such Powers? Can We, consistently, treat with any Man who has not full Powers to treat with the Ministers of “the United States of America.”?4 I have one Thing to propose to you, Sir, in Confidence. It is, if you approve it, to endeavour to get Mr Jennings appointed Secretary to the Commission for Peace. I wish Congress would appoint him.5
I can give you no News from hence, except that I have been happy enough to obtain a little Money for Congress So that <by Christmas> they may draw immediately as soon as they Send their Ratification of my Contract, for about Thirteen or Fourteen hundred Thousand Guilders. This, you may mention to Congress, or to any body else in America if you write. They Money is in hand of Messrs Willinks &c but cannot be drawn out, but by Congress, after the Receipt of the Ratification.
The Treaty of Commerce, will probably pass the States of Holland this day.

[salute] With invariable Esteem and Respect, I have the Honour to be, dear sir, your most obedient and most humble sert

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “chez Madame Babut et Labouctiere a Nantes.”
1. For the anonymous letters, see that of 20 May, that JA received from Monitor and note 1, above; also, compare JA's suspicions as to the source of the letters expressed here with those in his letter of 7 June to Edmund Jenings, above.
2. Henry Laurens and Richard Oswald were longtime business associates, and Oswald had been of assistance during Laurens' captivity in the Tower of London (Laurens, Papers, 15:478–480).
3. See this report in the Gazette d'Amsterdam of 13 August.
4. See Laurens' reply of 25 Aug., below.
5. That is, JA wanted Jenings appointed rather than Benjamin Franklin's grandson, William Temple Franklin, the person who ultimately served in that capacity.
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.