Papers of John Adams, volume 16

John Adams to William Smith, 19 July 1784 Adams, John Smith, William
To William Smith
Dear Sir The Hague July 19. 1784.

I have rec’d your’s of the 13th and 16th: the last contains the most agreeable News I have heard a long time.—1 If Mrs: Adams should arrive, I believe it will be the most prudent thing she can do, to purchase as strong and decent a Coach of four Places, as can be had for 150 Guineas, in this she may come to the Hague, and go in it with me to Paris if I should have occasion to go there—I would not have it purchased untill she arrives. can you make Enquiry about it and get a Friend to make the Purchase, who is a Judge and will be sure, to have a strong one, capable of performing long Journeys upon paved Roads, with an Imperial upon the Top, for carrying Ladies Baggage &c. on as reasonable Terms as may be.

I cannot write untill Lyde arrives, to my Friends in America, because I know not what to write. if my Girls dont come, I will go to 283 them. But then they must let me know it by the French & English Packet and by every opportunity that I may not sail west while they are sailing East. My kindest Regards to all friends in America.

LbC in JQA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr: Smith.”; APM Reel 107.


Neither letter from Smith, son of Isaac Smith Sr., has been found, but that of the 16th reported that AA would be arriving on the Active, Capt. Nathaniel Byfield Lyde. AA and AA2 landed at Deal on 20 July and by the 23d were in London, where William Smith and Charles Storer had secured them lodgings at Osborne’s Hotel, from whence AA wrote to JA to announce their arrival. JA replied on the 26th, declaring that “your letter of the 23d. has made me the happiest Man upon Earth. I am twenty Years younger than I was Yesterday.” For “a Variety of Reasons” he could not come to London, but instead was sending her “a son who is the greatest Traveller, of his Age, and without Partiality, I think as promising and manly a youth as is in the World” ( AFC , 5:371, 384, 397–400). But the younger Adams probably did not leave until 27 July, the date of JA’s letter to the London bankers Richard & Charles Puller directing them to supply his son with money (LbC, APM Reel 107). On 30 July AA wrote to JA that “I was this day made very happy by the arrival of a son” ( AFC , 5:408). JA soon reconsidered his decision to remain at The Hague and set off for London on 4 August. For his trip to London, reunion with AA and AA2, and subsequent journey to Paris, see his 3 Aug. letter to the loan consortium, and note 2, below.

John Adams to Wilhem & Jan Willink, 20 July 1784 Adams, John Wilhem & Jan Willink
To Wilhem & Jan Willink
Gentlemen The Hague July 20. 1784

In Answer to your Favour of Yesterday,1 I have to inform you, that I have received my Trunks, brought by the Express, and approve of your paying him the Sum of an hundred Ducats for all Charges and charging the Same to the United States of america. You will please to mention in your Article of Charge that it is for an Express Sent to Paris to carry a Quantity of Bills of Exchange to Mr Barclay and to bring back Papers and Effects belonging to the United States and to me. I am obliged to you, Gentlemen for the Trouble you have had in this Affair and am with great Regard &c

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messrs Wilhem and John Willink”; APM Reel 107.


No 19 July letter from the Willinks has been found. The loan consortium did write on that date (Adams Papers), but in response to JA’s letter of the 17th ordering it to pay Samuel and Moses Meyers ƒ550 to honor a bill of exchange dated 15 Feb. 1780 (LbC, APM Reel 107).

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 24 July 1784 Jefferson, Thomas Adams, John
From Thomas Jefferson
Dr: Sir On board the Ceres off Scilly. July 24. 1784.

When I did myself the honor of writing you on the 19th. Ult. it was my expectation that I should take my passage in the French 284 packet which was to sail the 15th. of this month, and of course that I should not be in Paris till the middle or last of August. it had not then been suggested to me, & being no seaman it did not occur to myself, that even from a London-bound vessel I might get ashore off Ushant or elsewhere on the coast of France. on receiving this information I took my passage with mr̃ Tracy in this vessel, leaving Boston the 5th. instant and having had a most favourable run am now as you will see above, and on the lookout for a vessel to take me off. my wish is to land at Brest, Morlaix or elsewhere on that part of the coast, in which, if I succeed, I shall go by the way of L’Orient & Nantes to Paris where I shall probably be a fortnight after the date of this letter.1 Colo. Humphries, Secretary to the legation, having failed getting to Boston in time, I suppose he will pass in the French packet.2 however our business need not await him as I am possessed of the papers relative to that. in a situation which hardly admits writing at all, & in hopes of seeing you in Paris as soon as your convenience and that of mr̃s Adams will admit, who I hope is now safe with you, I have the honor to be with the most perfect esteem Dr Sir / Your most obedt. / & most humble sert

Th: Jefferson

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble / John Adams / Minister plenipoty. for the United States / now at London / or the Hague.”; endorsed: “Mr Jefferson July 22 / 1784.”


Jefferson was unsuccessful in finding a vessel to take him to France and was forced to land at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, and from there go to Portsmouth, from whence he sailed for Le Havre on 31 July. He arrived at Paris on 6 Aug. (Jefferson, Papers , 7:364).


As Jefferson expected, David Humphreys sailed from New York on 15 July aboard the French packet the Courier de l’Europe. He reached Paris on 18 Aug. (Frank Landon Humphreys, Life and Times of David Humphreys, 2 vols., N.Y., 1917, 1:307; JQA, Diary , 1:209).