Papers of John Adams, volume 14

To Philippe Jean Joseph Lagau

From Duncan Ingraham Jr.

Sir The Hague, 13 February 1783

I have received your two esteemed letters of 5 and 7 February, the latter arriving on Tuesday evening directly and the former this morning via Amsterdam.

I share your anxiety regarding your son. But in view of the steps I have taken, I trust you will soon be reassured. I have given an extract from your letter of 7 February, together with a note signed by me, to the Duc de La Vauguyon. He is going to send it to the French minister at Hamburg, who is instructed to make the necessary inquiries in Hamburg, L├╝beck, and Stralsund. I gave the same extract and note to Mr. Asp; he too will write to Stockholm, Elsinore, and to the Swedish minister at Copenhagen. In my note, your son is required to write back to me and leave at once for The Hague. I only regret that you did not put me to work sooner, to spare yourself this worry, which distresses me.1

You need fear no indiscretion on my part, sir, with regard to your letter of 5 February. The person you expressly exclude will know nothing of the matter, I swear.2 I have entrusted the contents to Mr. Van Berckel, Mr. Gyselaar, and Mr. Visscher; they have just left my house, sworn to secrecy, and I am sure of them all. The business of the freedom of the seas will have to be settled to everyone's satisfaction; otherwise, it will be a Pandora's box, entangling one power after another without fail.

I shall repay your confidence with another, but for your eyes only: the republic's minister to America will be Mr. Dedem, cousin of Mr. Capellen tot den Pol. This gives me high hopes for the future relations between our two republics, for our patriots are sure of him. They will work to see he is put forward by this province, which has reserved to itself3 the resolution on this subject.4

I am, sir, with great respect, your excellency's very humble and very obedient servant


In another letter I hope soon to tell you confidentially and5 with certainty who we are working to have nominated as the republic's ambassador to London; for it will not be Mr. Van Welderen.6

P. S. Mr. Dedem is no longer a secret. He will be put forward. Mr. Brantsen is aware of this too.