Papers of John Adams, volume 16

Ratification of the Second Dutch Loan, 1 February 1785 Lee, Richard Henry
Ratification of the Second Dutch Loan
Duplicate [1 February 1785]1

Be it remembered that the within Contract or engagement entered into by the Honourable John Adams Esquire Minister Plenipotentiary of the United states of America to their High Mightinesses the Lords—the States General of the United Netherlands, in behalf of the said states with Messieurs Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob Van Staphorst and de la Lande & Fynje and their Successors and assignees for a Loan of Two Millions of Guilders dated at the Hague, March the ninth 1784 hath been read in Congress, approved and ratified and declared obligatory on the United States of America.—

Done in the City Hall in the City of New York by the United States in Congress assembled this first day of February in the Year 512 of our Lord One thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty five, and in the Ninth Year of our Sovereignty and Independence.—

Richard Henry Lee. P. Cha Thomson secy:

Dupl (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Ratification 1. Feb. 1785 / of / my Loan of 9. March 1784.” Tripl (Adams Papers). Both filmed at [9 March 1784].


The contract, to which this instrument of ratification was attached, is at [9 March 1784], above. For the arrival of the original ratification, the duplicate printed here, and a triplicate, see John Jay’s letter of 11 Feb. 1785, below.

The almost eleven-month delay between the contract’s signing and notarization and its ratification was owing to a variety of circumstances. Congress knew of JA’s new loan by early May 1784, when it received Robert Morris’ letter of 4 May wherein he announced the new loan, disclosed its terms, and indicated that the consortium had opened it on 18 Feb. (from the consortium, 16 Feb., note 2, above). The consortium, however, did not dispatch copies of the signed, notarized contract until sometime in mid-March, and then they were presumably addressed to Morris rather than to Congress. When Morris received the contracts, he apparently enclosed them in a letter dated 30 Sept., his final day as superintendant of finance. By then, however, Congress had adjourned and its day-to-day business was being overseen by the Committee of the States. Not until 1 Dec., after Congress had reconvened at Trenton, N.J., was Morris’ letter entered in its dispatch book, and, owing to the turmoil caused by Congress’ move from Trenton to New York City, where it met in early Jan. 1785, nothing was done about the contracts until 17 January. Then a grand committee was formed to consider Morris’ letter of 30 Sept. 1784 (misidentified in the Journals of Congress as being of 30 Aug.). It reported on 1 Feb. 1785 and offered the resolution contained in the instrument of ratification (from Wilhem & Jan Willink, 9 March 1784, above; Morris, Papers , 9:536–537; PCC, No. 185, III, f. 104; JCC , 28:5, 27–28).