Papers of John Adams, volume 11

To the President of Congress, 7 July 1781 JA Thaxter, John President of Congress Huntington, Samuel


To the President of Congress, 7 July 1781 Adams, John Thaxter, John President of Congress Huntington, Samuel
To the President of Congress

Amsterdam, 7 July 1781. RC and signature in John Thaxter's handPCC, No. 84, III, f. 262–263. printed :Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:550.

John Thaxter wrote this letter during John Adams' absence at Paris. It contains an English translation of an article that appeared in Dutch newspapers, including the Gazette de Leyde of 10 July. The article was an account of a meeting on 8 June between the Marquis de Vérac, the French minister at St. Petersburg, and Count Osterman, the Russian vice-chancellor. The 404French diplomat declared that unless the neutral powers took stronger measures to counter British depredations on their commerce, France would be forced to base its conduct toward neutrals on the policies Britain followed. Thaxter concluded by noting that Francis Dana had departed that day for St. Petersburg without Edmund Jenings.

RC and signature in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, No. 84, III, f. 262–263). printed : (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:550.)

To Benjamin Franklin, 7 July 1781 JA Franklin, Benjamin


To Benjamin Franklin, 7 July 1781 Adams, John Franklin, Benjamin
To Benjamin Franklin
Hotel de Valois July. 7 17811

Mr. Adams presents his Compliments to Dr. Franklin and prays him to let his servant take the Trunks left at Passy to Paris. Mr. A. will do himself the Honour to pay his Respects to his Excellency, very soon.

RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers).


JA left Amsterdam at ten o'clock on the morning of 2 July and reached his usual lodgings at the Hôtel de Valois on the evening of the 6th (JQA, Diary , 1:87; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:456–457). In 1809, when he published the documents concerning his meetings with Vergennes in the Boston Patriot, JA described it as a difficult journey “which, in the hands of Sterne, would make a sentimental romance.” Much of this was owing to JA's servant, Joseph Stephens, who delivered this letter to Franklin. Stephens,

“a very stout man, who had served as a soldier in Canada, and afterwards on board an American vessel of war, and had never been sick, was now conquered by the pestilential steams of the climate, and almost shaken to pieces by an intermittent fever. I had provided him with a physician and attendants, and was about taking another person to go with me; but Stephens begged so pathetically, that I would not leave him, that I could not resist his importunity, but took him in the coach with me. When his fits came on I was obliged to stop at an inn for the day, and procure him a physician and a nurse. These delays protracted the journey to twice the number of days; but the exercise and the exchange of air from the tainted atmosphere of Amsterdam to the pure breezes of France, cured him of his distemper, and he returned with me apparently well; though in a few days his fits returned with violence, continued nine months upon him, and reduced him almost to a shadow. It is indeed the destiny of every stranger who goes into Holland, to encounter either an intermittent or bilious fever within the two first years”

(JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot , p. 107, 533).

From Benjamin Franklin, 7 July 1781 Franklin, Benjamin JA


From Benjamin Franklin, 7 July 1781 Franklin, Benjamin Adams, John
From Benjamin Franklin
Saturday July 7.—PM.

Dr. Franklin presents his Compliments to Mr. Adams, and sends such of his Trunks as can be got at; W.T.F. in whose Chamber it is suppos'd there may be more, being gone to Paris; and having with him Mr. F's Carriage prevents his waiting on Mr. Adams immediately as he would otherwise wish to do; but Mr. F. requests the Honour of Mr. Adams's Company at Dinner to-morrow.

RC (Adams Papers).