Diary of John Adams, volume 2

[Miscellaneous Memoranda in Amsterdam, August–September 1780.] <a xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0" href="#DJA02d553n1" class="note" id="DJA02d553n1a">1</a> JA [Miscellaneous Memoranda in Amsterdam, August–September 1780.] Adams, John
Miscellaneous Memoranda in Amsterdam, August–September 1780. 1

H. Grotius, de Jure Belli ac Pacis.2

C. van Bynkershoek

G. Noodt Opera

Apologeticus eorum qui Hollandiae praefuerunt ab H. Grotio Considerations sur l'Etude de la Jurisprudence par M. Perrenot. Janiçon Republik der Vereenigde Nederlanden3 Ploos Van Amstel, the first Lawyer of Holland. Mr. Calkoen the next.

Heerens Gragt, pres Vissel Straat. Burgomaester Hooft.

Q. A Society or Academy for the dutch Language, in Germany, Russia, Sweeden, Denmark. The Italian Academy.

2000 Plants and Trees, many Americans.

38,000 florins for the Seat, 216 Acres of Land, between 30 and 40 thousand Vessells pass in a Year in Sight. Velserhooft.

Muyden. Sluices

Weesop. G in Hogs.4

De Geen. Fine? Seats


Hofrust. Muyderberg. Mr. Crommelin.

Mr. Crommelin Op de Keyzers Gragt, over de Groenlandse Pakhuyzen. On the Keyzers Gragt opposite the Greenland Warehouses.

M. Van Berckel. Upon the Heerens Gragt, by de Konings Plein.

M. Bicker. Opposite.

M. Hooft—op de Heerens Gragt, by de Vyselstraat.

M. Vanhasselt at M. Wm. Hoofts on the Keysers Gragt, near the Amstel.

M. John Gabriel Tegelaar op de nieuwe Maart.

M. Nicholas Vanstaphorst, op de Cingel, about 50 doors from Jacob.

De La Lande & Fynje—op de Cingel.5

Questions. Is it necessary, or expedient to make any Representation, Communication, or Application to the Prince? or States General?

2. Is it prudent to apply to the City of Amsterdam, their Regency or any Persons, concerned in the Government?

3. To what Persons is it best to make the first Communication of my Commission? To Mr. Hooft, Mr. Vanberckel?

4. What House would you advise me to choose? or Houses?

5. Whether it is probable that any Number of Houses would unite in this Plan? and what Houses?

6. Whether any Number of Houses, might be induced, to become responsable for the punctual Payment of the Interest?

7. How much per Cent Interest must be given?

8. How much per Cent Commission to the Banker, or Bankers, House or Houses?

9. Whether it will be necessary to employ Brokers? What Brokers, and what Allowance must they have?

Jan and Dirk van Vollenhoven. Sur le meme Canal avec M. Berckel.

un Courtier. Maakalaar.6

Gulian Crommelin; at Mr. John Gasquet on the Rookin opposit the New Chapel.7

The Theatre of the War in N. America with the Roads and Tables of the superficial Contents, Distances &c. by an American. Annexed a compendious Account of the British Colonies in North America.

Van Arp. Maakalaar. Next to Mr. Matthes, op de Verweelé Burgwal, over de Lombard


What is the manner of doing Business with the Brokers?

What must be given them?

2100 Guilders, double Rect. to receive for one, 400 Ducats8

Monitier & Merckemaer. Brokers in Loans9-13


Messrs. Curson & Gouvernieur Continental Agents at St. Eustatia9-13

Monitier & Merckemaer Brokers in Loans.

In het Rondeel op de hoek van de doele Straat9-13

Demter dans le Pijlsteeg9-13

Daniel Jan Bouwens, op de Heeregragt, by de Reguliersgragt.9-13

Reguliers Gragt

Verlam Printer. Verlem in de graave Straat. Printer of the North holland Gazette.

Daniel Jan Bowens, op de Heeregragt, bij de reguliers Gragt over de hoofd Officier.

In 1708
La Gueldre 4 1/2
La Hollande 55 1/2
La Zelande 13 1/2
   Utrecht 5 3/4
LaFrise 11 1/2
L'Overyssell 2 3/4
Groningue & les Ommelandes 6 1/214

8 feet long.

9 Inches diameter of the Mirour.

L'Angle aggrandit 300 fois, the least.

Jacobus van de Wall, over de laaste molen op de Overtoomseweg15

Mr. Ploos van Amstel Makelaar

B te Amsterdam

In de Kalverstraat bij Intema & Tiboel boekverkoper. Een Frans en Duits , van het werk door Ploos v. Amstel

Agterburgwal by de Hoogstraat16

Mr. Wilmart Prince Gragt.

Mr. McCreery lodges, a Pension



These memoranda are undated and are probably not in chronological order. The “Questions” must have been formulated after JA received, 16 Sept., his temporary commission of 20 June to procure a loan in the Netherlands; see also note 8. A number of the entries, indicated by notes below, were written by persons other than JA, no doubt at his request when he wished to get unfamiliar names, addresses, and other information correctly recorded.


This and the following three entries are in an unidentified hand, perhaps Hendrik Calkoen's. For works by the eminent legal writers Hugo Grotius, Cornelis van Bynkershoek, and Gerard Noodt eventually acquired by JA, see Catalogue of JA's Library under their respective names.


JA later acquired an edition in French of Janiçon's Etat present de la république des Provinces-Unies ..., 4th edn., The Hague, 1755; 2 vols. ( Catalogue of JA's Library ).


Thus in MS. What JA meant by it is unknown to the editors.


The firm of De la Lande and Fynje was the third of the three Amsterdam banking houses (the others being the Van Staphorsts and the Willinks) that joined to raise the first Dutch loan to the United States in 1782.


Courtier (French) and makelaar (Dutch) are equivalent to the English word broker.


This entry is in an unidentified hand.


This entry can be explained and precisely dated from an isolated entry in LbJA/14 reading: “1780 Septr. 21. Reed, of Messrs. Fizeau Grand & Co. Four hundred Ducats or Two Thousand one hundred Guilders, for which I gave a double Rect. to serve as one. This I reed, on Account of M. F. Grand at Paris.”


These entries are in various unidentified hands.


This table, on a page by itself, doubtless represents the proportions of revenue paid into the common treasury by the seven provinces of the United Netherlands in 1708.


This and the following four entries are in various unidentified hands.


This was JA's own address, written down for him by someone who knew how to spell it, from mid-August 1780 to Feb. 1781. The Agterburgwal was a street on a canal “behind the city wall,” and JA lived on it “near High Street.” His landlady was “Madame La Veuve du Mr. Henry Schorn” (JA to Francis Dana, 18 Jan. 1781, LbC, Adams Papers). In his letters to the Boston Patriot JA remembered that there had been some “remarks” and “whisperings” among the Dutch and among Americans in Amsterdam “that Mr. Adams was in too obscure lodgings,” but he considered that these originated with “English spies” ( Corr. in the Boston Patriot , p. 346). Whatever it may have been then, this section of Amsterdam, near the harbor and railroad station, is anything but respectable now, being on the edge of the area reserved for licensed prostitution. The most prominent landmark nearby is the Oude Kerk.


James Searle of Philadelphia, a member of the Continental Congress, who arrived in Europe in Sept. 1780 to try to obtain a foreign loan for Pennsylvania. See Mildred E. Lombard, “James Searle: Radical Business Man of the Revolution,” PMHB , 59:284–294 (July 1935).