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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0224

Author: Heyman, Herman
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-17

From Herman Heyman

[salute] Sir.

I had the satisfaction to lay before Your Exellency by the Letter, I took the Liberty to address your Exellency the 31 July last, a Plan of a Glass Manufactory which I intended to Establish in one of the United Provinces of Nord America for your Consideration and beg’d most Humbly from Your Exellency the favor to grant me your Skilful Advise on that head, but am hetherto deprived of the honour to receive any Reply from Your Exellency, but this does not prevent me to venture again to address of Your Exellency a second Letter, flattering myself that what ever concerns the Prosperity and Extension of Your good Country will be agreabel received from Your Exellency and there fore have the honour to inform you that three other { 461 } Gentlemen with me Considered most Earnestly on that Plan all the time since and taking every things back and forwards find that it can’t but be very avantageous as well to Your good Country, as likewise to the Concerners to Errect a Glass Manufactory in some part of the United States, and we chased Maryland to be the properest Country for it, beeing a spot of Land where by all the Discription we Read it groes the most plenty of Wood, one of my three friends Mr. John fried: Amelong who had the Manage of a Glass manufactory here in Germany will go himself in the spring by the first Vessell over to Baltimore and take the Direction of the intended Establishing Glass-Manufactory, he Carries besides him 80 more families all Experiented to our purpose in the Vessell for Baltimore,2
I can’t but Expect that our Ardent wishes to encrease our Connection with the United States can’t but be satisfactory to Your Exellency, and this gives me the agreabel Aspects that you’ll grant us Your Kind Assistance and Protection in our Undertaking, and inform us to who our friend Mr. Amelong must make his first Aplication at Baltimore or in the State of Maryland, to Errect the Manufactory and to receive some part of Land fit for the Establishment directed and Your Exellence Opinion would be the best Guide for us if we may Expect that Government will grant us every Assistance and give certain Priviledges, and a part of Land at rent to it, or if we must purchase the latter and perhaps not find the Reception to full fill our wishes, and according as such Considerabel Undertaking merits, I can’t but expect it by what I Know that the Congress wishes are to enlarge, and Populate the United States and I am assured Our small transport or may I call it establishing Colonie will give both Pleasure to the Congress and Honnor to us, as they are all People of the best Conduct Virtue, and understanding, and not like many others which [. . .] in America, beeing Rejected in Germany, I shall there[fore] most Humbly beg from Your Exellency the favor to grant our Mr. Amelong some of the best Letters of Introduction & Recommandation for the states of Maryland that he may meet a agreabel Reception, and not be detained at his arrival to bring our Speculation to an Accomplishment and Perfection, and through this exposed to a very Considerabel loss by mentaining the many families with out Emploiing them to our Intention
Give me leave to assure your Exellency of my most devoted Respects and of my sincere Regard with I have the honnour to Remain / Sir / Your most Obedt humbl Servt.
[signed] Herman Heyman
{ 462 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To / his Excellency John Adams Esq / Ambassador of the 13 United / States of Nord America / residing at the / Hague”; endorsed: “Mr Herman Heyman / ansd Jan. 30. 1784.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 19 Jan., Heyman wrote a nearly identical letter to Benjamin Franklin and for the same reason (PPAmP:Franklin Papers). That is, Franklin had not yet replied to his previous letter of 31 July 1783.
2. John Frederick Amelung (1741–1798) is one of the most noted early American glassmakers. Having previously worked at his brother’s mirror-glass factory in Grünenplan, Germany, Amelung sailed for America in 1784 with 68 German glassmakers and associated equipment. He established his glass-house near Frederick, Md., calling it the New Bremen Glassmanufactory. There he produced window glass and other products, but he is best known for his signed and dated engraved presentation pieces. Following a stroke in 1794, he ceased his glassmaking activities, and in 1795 he went bankrupt (Grove Dicy. of Art). In his pamphlet, Remarks on Manufactures, Principally on the New Established Glass-House, Near Frederick-Town, in the State of Maryland [Frederick, Md.], 1787, Evans, No. 20189, Amelung gave a brief history of glassmaking and the establishment of his factory and, as Heyman did, sought public support for the undertaking. There Amelung also noted that he went to America with letters of recommendation from JA and Franklin to leading figures in Maryland. In JA’s case this probably refers to his 30 Jan. 1784 reply to Heyman, below, which JA said Amelung could take with him as an introduction.

Docno: ADMS-06-15-02-0225

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-19

From John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir,

’Tis two Months this day since I arrived at New York— I delivered the Treaty & Dispatches on the 22d. Novr. to General Mifflin, the President of Congress, then at Philadelphia— One delay & another prevented my reaching home ’till the middle of December— I am ashamed that I have omitted writing so long—but Visits & Sickness have prevented.—
Mr. Gerry wrote you so largely upon the general state of Affairs & the projects of Parties that I could have nothing to add— He wrote in November by Mr. Reed of Philadelphia—since which time I have not heard a syllable from Congress or any of its Members.—1
The Impost recommended by Congress & the Commutation with the Officers of the Army have not as yet met with the Approbation of the States of Connecticut & Rhode Island— ’Tis very probable however that Connecticut will soon consent to the Impost & make Provision for the Officers— I was told so at least— Rhode Island must then fall in— ’Tis rather unfortunate, that these Matters have been so long delayed,—or that some new plan has not been adopted— Because it renders very precarious the punctual payment of the Interest of our foreign Debts, & keeps in an unhappy Suspence a Class of Men to whom the different States are indebted— I { 463 } mean our Officers— But all will go right in time— Our Countrymen commonly feel right—& will act right; but chuse to take their own time.
Various Opinions are entertained respecting the Cincinnati—Some think it will tumble of itself—others the reverse—some suppose it the Child of Resentment—the fruit of a supposed Neglect of the Army.— ’Tis most certainly an Institution without the Sanction of the Confederacy or any particular State— Whether it is a domestic or foreign Plant I know not—but it may become a very rank & poisonous Weed in the state Garden. ’Tis planned upon a great Scale—its honors are hereditary; but only in the Families of the Officers— Foreigners may be admitted as honorary Members. I don’t see either its Necessity or Utility— One of its Objects is the support of the exalted Rights of human Nature— It is very melancholy indeed, if, just after a Revolution, one of whose professed Objects was the Recovery and Establishment of the Rights of America, a Society, consisting of Military Characters & subjects of an absolute Monarchy, should become necessary for the further support & Maintenance of those Rights.— I wish well to our officers, believe them very deserving— I am confident they spurn the Idea of an Injury to America— But what their successors may be, ought not to be trusted to Chance, nor should they have it in their Power by any Institution to become dangerous to Society.— If my Ideas are wrong, I wish to be corrected & set right— I speak but for myself.— I think I have seen enough of hereditary honors & distinctions to convince me they are hereditary Poisons.—
The Judges of our supreme Court put on their Robes next Term— and the Barristers their Gowns—2 The Court have lately made some new Barristers—Mr. Morton, I think, is the youngest.3 I mean to attend the next Session, which will be in February—& in the Spring to quit this County. The Bar is now crouded, & more are coming on— I am fortunate in being single, & hope to scrabble at least as a Batchelor— A single Man, if industrious, need not starve in our Country.—
I forwarded your Letter to our Governor, & have since had the honor of paying my Respects to him— He recieved & treated me politely—mentioned the Contents of your Letter & wished to render me every Service in his Power.— You will permit me here, Sir, to express again my sincere thanks to you for the friendly Letters you have written in my behalf—4 I wish my Merit was equal to your { 464 } favorable Opinion. Whatever it may be in a political view is the fruit of your excellent Example & Instruction— Your different Negotiations were admirable Lessons in Politicks to me. I shall ever consider myself as having been highly benefited in falling under your Tuition both in Law & Politicks— My Improvements were not equal to my Advantages— I am not blind to my Infirmities— I boast only of my Fidelity while connected with you & employed in the Service.
I had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. A. & Daughter very well last Evening on my Return from Boston— They propose to join you in the Spring. I wish you that Happiness most sincerely— They have acted very wisely in putting off their Embarkation ’till the Spring— Winter Passages are commonly rough & unpleasant.—
You will hear of the Death of Dr. Cooper before this reaches you— ’Tis a great loss to the Parish & Town— I found that I brôt a Letter for him from Dr. F—but it was inclosed to a Gentleman in Philadelphia, ’tho I was bound directly to Boston5 Dr. F derived his Information, I fancy, respecting the Reports that prevailed about him in the Negotiation for Peace, from Coll: Q— I am told he wrote the Dr. about them, & enquired if they were true?— He wrote the Dr. fully, what was said about him here— It was very natural for one so anxiously concerned for the Reputation of his Friend—6
I hope something considerable will be done in the Fisheries this year— Ship building is carried on briskly— Three Vessells are fitting out for China— This discovers an enterprizing Spirit—but will carry off too many hard Dollars.—
I am very happy to hear that you have so well recovered of your Fever— Accept, Sir, my best Wishes for a Continuation of your Health— Please to present my most respectful Compliments to Mr. Jay & Lady—& affectionate Regards to Master John.
With the greatest Respect, Sir, / your most humble Servant.
[signed] J. T.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excelly. Mr. Adams.”; endorsed: “Mr Thaxter / 19. Jan. 1784.”
1. From Elbridge Gerry, 23 Nov. 1783, above.
2. The use of English-style attire in Massachusetts courts was discontinued during the Revolution but briefly resumed in the postwar years. The Supreme Judicial Court opened on 17 Feb. 1784 with a procession of judges in scarlet robes and barristers in black silk gowns. The Boston Continental Journal viewed the ceremony as a patriotic occasion: “Some British Officers who were in town, it is said, muttered invidious expressions on this occasion, and have since secreted themselves to avoid that resentment which their impotent malice would have certainly brought on them from a spirited populace!” The use of a tertiary system in which Massachusetts lawyers were styled “attorney” { 465 } for their first two years of practice, “counselor” for their next two years, and “barrister” thereafter was discontinued after the 1784 ceremony (Boston Continental Journal, 19 Feb.; Arthur M. Alger, “Barristers at Law in Massachusetts,” NEHGR, 31:206–208 [April 1877]).
3. Thirty-two-year-old Boston lawyer Perez Morton was among those graduating to the rank of barrister in the 17 Feb. ceremony (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 17:555–557).
4. JA wrote to John Hancock on 5 Sept. 1783, introducing Thaxter and stating further that “His Behavior has been uniformly agreable to me, & his Industry, Fidelity & Zeal exemplary and uncommon” (LbC, APM Reel 108). He wrote similar recommendations to the president of Congress on 1 and 14 Sept., Elbridge Gerry on 6 and 8 Sept., Robert Morris on 14 Sept., and Benjamin Rush on 14 Sept., all above. Thaxter was familiar with the content of at least the Gerry letters, as the 6 Sept. Letterbook copy and the 8 Sept. recipient’s copy are in his hand.
5. Thaxter carried Benjamin Franklin’s “too long letter . . . respecting Mr. A.’s calumnies,” not found, to which Franklin referred in his 26 Dec. letter to Samuel Cooper (DLC:Franklin Papers). For more on the correspondence between Franklin and Cooper concerning JA’s criticism of Franklin’s conduct during the Anglo-American peace negotiations, see Franklin’s letter of 10 Sept., and note 1, above.
6. Thaxter also carried Franklin’s 11 Sept. letter to Col. Josiah Quincy of Braintree (Franklin, Writings, 9:93–96). Franklin was belatedly replying to Quincy’s letters of 25 May and 17 Dec. 1781, neither of which has been found. Franklin there mentions recent criticism of his actions as peace commissioner, but his comments seem to indicate that Quincy in 1781 was concerned about Franklin’s involvement in JA’s conflict with the Comte de Vergennes over Congress’ revaluation of its currency and the execution of his diplomatic mission (vol. 9:427–430, 516–520). Franklin had written to the president of Congress on 9 Aug. 1780, enclosing copies of the correspondence between JA and Vergennes and noting the sharp differences between JA and himself on how to deal effectively with the French government (Franklin, Papers, 33:160–166; Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:18–19). Quincy likely learned of the controversy from copies of Franklin’s letter sent to people in Massachusetts, including AA, or even directly from AA, who was enraged at the aspersions cast by Franklin on her husband (AFC, 4:172–180, 190–193).
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.