Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4


Fleury to Abigail Adams

The French Embassy on the Prinsessegracht, The Hague, 1764 facing 380[unavailable]

Painted and engraved by P. C. La Fargue and dated 1764, this view shows the Nieuwen-Uitleg (New Extension) into a wooded area of a residential street on which the façade of the French Embassy on the Prinsessegracht (Princess' Canal) appears prominently. In a letter of 1 April 1782 (below), John Adams wrote his wife from Amsterdam that “The French Ambassadors House . . . has been burnt, which I regret very much, more on Account of the Interruption of his Thoughts and Exertions in these critical Moments, than for the Value of the Loss which is however considerable. The Due de la Vauguion is an able Minister and my very good Friend.”

A year earlier La Vauguyon, who served as French ambassador at The Hague from 1776 to 1784, had, as instructed from Versailles, taken a decided stand against Adams' making overtures to the States General for recognition. Adams' account of his protracted tussle with the ambassador, an influential figure in the Netherlands, occupies several pages in The Correspondence of the Late President Adams . . . in the Boston Patriot, Boston, 1809[–1810]. Following the American military successes later in 1781, La Vauguyon gave Adams good advice and strong backing in his successful negotiations with the Dutch in 1782.

Courtesy of the Gemeente-Archief, The Hague.