Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

Benjamin Waterhouse to John Adams, 21 December 1780 Waterhouse, Benjamin JA


Benjamin Waterhouse to John Adams, 21 December 1780 Waterhouse, Benjamin Adams, John
Benjamin Waterhouse to John Adams
Respected Sir Leyden 21st. Decemr. 1780

I have the satisfaction of informing you that Mr. Thaxter and your Sons are now settled in their lodgings in the same house with me. I could wish the rooms were better as well as larger, but they think they answer very well, and seem well pleased with their situation. Tomorrow we are to converse with the teacher of Latin and Greek, and to make our terms &c. with him, this person teaches the Sons of the Griffier Fagell 1 and gives great satisfaction. I imagine your eldest must attend him a while before he attends the public lectures on the greek, the master however can judge of that when he examines him. The Christmas vacancy commences this day, but that makes no difference with these private-teachers. I think with Mr. Thaxter and several others that Charles is too young to attend any of the publick lectures yet. The Lectures on Grotius and the Law of nature are what I imagine you wish them to attend, one is given in the forenoon, the other in the afternoon by the same Professor. I am in hopes by Monday next we shall get fairly under:way. The gentlemen came into their lodgings but last night, and to day have been visited by all those gentlemen who call themselves the english-Society only because they speak our languague. The English-clergyman2 came to see us this morning and to tell us how glad he was to have this addition to his little flock. Tomorrow we are invited to Mr. Luzac's,3 and that finishes our visits. I had sent me a day or two since a number of questions concerning this University, they were written at Boston, or Jamaica-plains by I guess Mr. G.4 I have answered them as well as I could and sent them to the gentleman who transmitted them to me, they were dated No-44vember 4th 1780. The history of this University is I find almost too intricate for a stranger to unravell.

I believe Mr. John reather wishes me to propose to you his learning to ride. I can only say I would not have missed those few lessons I have had for ten times the sum they cost me besides the advantages resulting from the exercise, and the company we generally find there; Mr. Luzac and his brother ride twice a week with us, more for exercise than instruction. We pay, for the first 16. Lessons 30. guilders: for every 16. after 20 Guilders; and generally take three lessons a week. I imagine Mr. Thaxter from what he already sees thinks they three can live here for the sum, that it would cost for one at Amsterdam, that may however not be, yet I am confident a person can live here for half the sum he pays at Amsterdam provided he lives and takes his rooms as a student.

Mr. Luzac desires his compliments to you. I am with great respect your friend & Countryman, Benjn. Waterhouse

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Son Excellence Monsieur Adams Ministre Plenipotentiare des Etats Unis de l'Amerique Chez Monsieur Henry Schorn a Amsterdam”; postal marking, stamped(?) in script characters: “Leyden”; endorsed: “Dr. Waterhouse Decr. 21. Leyden,” to which CFA added “1780.”


Hendrik Fagel (1706–1790), griffier (secretary or “graphiary”) of the States General, a leading figure in the Dutch government and at the court of the Stadholder ( Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek , 3:390–391). JA was to have important relations with him, not always of the pleasantest sort because Fagel was a strong adherent of the House of Orange and hence of the pro-English party in the Netherlands; see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:1, 5, and passim.


William Mitchell; see note 3 on JQA to JA, this date, above.


Jean Luzac (1746–1807), legal and classical scholar, later rector magnificus of the University of Leyden, and for many years editor of Nouvelles extraordinaires de divers endroits, better known as the Gazette de Leyde, a Dutch newspaper with an international circulation. An apostle of the Enlightenment and a deeply interested observer of events in America, Luzac was one of JA's first and firmest friends in the Netherlands, and their friendship long survived JA's mission there. See Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek , 1:1290–1294; JA, Diary and Autobiography , vols. 2–3 passim. There is extensive correspondence of both JA and JQA with Luzac in the Adams Papers.


Presumably Rev. William Gordon of Jamaica Plain near Boston, on whom see the editorial note and references at 1:229–230.