Papers of John Adams, volume 15


From the Comte de Sarsfield

To C. W. F. Dumas, 5 June 1783 Adams, John Dumas, C. W. F.
To C. W. F. Dumas
Sir, Paris June 5th. 1783.

I have recd. your favor of 30. ulto.— I am very apprehensive that the Gentleman you conversed with concerning the Loan is decieved, as his worthy Brother was on a former occasion, by whose Advice chiefly I was led to open the Loan with those three Houses.1 He was then of opinion, that even ten Millions might be obtained; whereas the three Houses have not been able to obtain in a year, so much Money as Mr. Hodshon would have obtained in a Month, if not in the first day.2

I hope that the first Ships will bring my Letter of Recall from that Republick, & another Minister to take my place with power to borrow Money. In that Case, the new Minister will be at liberty to open a new Loan if he thinks it prudent. I have a great Esteem for the Messieurs Willinks, & have no Objection to your conversing with them upon the Subject. I wish you would with all Secrecy.—

I waited last Evening on Mr. Laurens with your Postscript, 17respecting the Purchase of Lands in South Carolina— Mr. Laurens will give me his Sentiments of it.3

My Regards to your Family & to your Ward. / your’s respectfully.—

LbC in John Thaxter’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr. Dumas.”; APM Reel 108.


In his letter of 30 May (vol. 14:508–511), Dumas recounted a conversation with Pieter Johan van Berckel in which the newly appointed Dutch minister to the United States proposed a new loan to be raised solely through the firm of Wilhem & Jan Willink, thus bypassing the three-firm consortium then raising the loan. JA may have seen the proposal as ironic, since Pieter Johan’s brother, Engelbert François, had been a major influence on JA’s decision to choose the consortium. JA reported the proposal to Robert R. Livingston in a letter of 23 July, below, suggesting that it be discussed when the Dutch minister reached Philadelphia. But even if JA thought the proposal promising, he was not free to act. In May 1782, while negotiating the terms of the loan, he promised not to open a new loan in the Netherlands until the current f5 million loan was complete (vol. 13:58–60). The promise, however, was binding only on him, which explains his call in the second paragraph of this letter and in his letter to Livingston for the appointment of a new minister who would be free to act as he saw fit.


John Hodshon, an important Amsterdam banker who had been JA’s first choice to raise a loan for the United States in the Netherlands. He ultimately was deterred from choosing Hodshon by pressure from members of the pro-American Patriot Party who thought the banker too pro-British (vol. 12:434–435).


The postscript to the 30 May letter requested information on the purchase of land on the Saluda River near the Ninety-Six District of South Carolina by members of an Amsterdam synagogue (vol. 14:511–512). No response by Henry Laurens, who owned 13,000 acres in the District, has been found (Laurens, Papers , 16:660).