On 14 May 1782, two days after John Adams moved into the new American legation, John
Thaxter inventoried the household furnishings. On 16 Oct., the day before Adams left
The Hague for Paris and the peace negotiations, Thaxter likely reviewed his inventory,
focusing on the glass- and dinnerware, to determine what had been added since 14 May
or was missing or broken (see No. I, note 1, below). Thaxter's inventories are not as detailed as those done by Marie Dumas,
the housekeeper at the legation and C. W. F. Dumas' wife, on 22 and 24 June 1784. Although the inventories were done at different times over a period of
about two years and must contain items obtained after the move to the legation, they
are printed here because it is likely that many of the items described by Marie Dumas
in her inventories were present but not included by Thaxter in his 1782 inventories.
For the nature of the document from which the inventories are taken, see the descriptive
note to John Thaxter's inventories (No. I, below). Note that French and Dutch words or phrases used by John Thaxter in his
inventories have been translated in brackets following the entry in which they are
used, while Marie Dumas' inventories have been translated in full following the format
for translations of other foreign language documents.
The inventories provide an excellent account of the furnishings of an eighteenth-century
residence, in this case the American legation at The Hague. Marie Dumas' 1784 inventories
likely include all or most of the furnishings that were moved in 1785 from The Hague
to the new American legation at Grosvenor Square in London. Unfortunately the lack
of a corresponding inventory for the London legation makes it impossible to know precisely
what was transferred from The Hague to London. Nor is it possible to know definitively,
solely from the descriptions in the inventories, what furnishings originally at The
Hague were retained by the Adamses when they returned to the United States in 1788
and may now be at the Adams National Historical Park.
Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1782-05-14 - 1782-10-16
I. John Thaxter's Inventories of Household Furnishings
A true copy of the Inventory made by Mr. John Thaxter
Alle the Beddings received as in the Lÿst mentioned
(Was Signed) F: Lotter.
52 Draps [52 sheets]
13 nappes fines [13 fine tablecloths]
5 nappes pour la cuisine [5 tablecloths for the kitchen]
53 <nappes> serviettes fines dito 3 more [53 fine napkins ditto 3 more]
11 Essuimains [11 towels]
3 petits dito [3 small ditto]
19 toits de lits [19 canopies]
4 tablier pour Les Domestiques [4 aprons for the servants]
34 grosse Serviettes, [34 large napkins] (ceci nest pas sur Linventaire de mr. J. Thaxter) [This is not on Mr. J. Thaxter's inventory].
7 Russen sloopen [Russian pillow-cases]
6 white waiscoats and 3 pair of breeches.
received all Well (was signed) F: Lotter.
FC in an unknown hand (Adams Papers) This document consists of fourteen numbered pages and was done sometime after 24
June 1784. It is a compendium of four inventories of the household goods of the U.S.
legation at The Hague that were taken by John Thaxter and Marie Dumas between 14 May
1782 and 24 June 1784, the originals of which have not been found. John Thaxter's
inventories are dated 14 May and 16 Oct. 1782 and appear on pages 1 through 6 of the
FC. Since they cannot be definitively distinguished from each other, they are printed
here as one document. Marie Dumas' inventories of 22 and 24 June 1784 (Nos. II and
III, below) appear, respectively, on pages 7 through 12 and 13 and 14 of the FC. Where Thaxter uses a French or Dutch term to describe an item and it can be identified,
a translation has been provided in brackets.
1. In this and other entries where it is indicated that items are broken or missing,
the first portion was likely part of the original 14 May inventory, with the remainder
resulting from Thaxter's review on 16 October.
2. Lotter's name, usually F. Lotter, appears throughout the inventories. He is otherwise
unidentified but was presumably related to Christian Lotter who served as JA's steward at The Hague from 1784 or earlier (AFC, 6:197).
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.