Diary of John Adams, volume 3

vii Illustrations Illustrations

[Note: for permissions reasons, not all illustrations from the letterpress volumes are available in this digital edition.]

John Adams, Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States to the Dutch Republic, 1782 facing page 32[unavailable]

Engraving drawn from life in 1782 by the Amsterdam engraver, Reinier Vinkeles, and published by William Holtrop as a frontispiece in the Dutch translation of Adams' “Novanglus” essays (see the description under the next illustration). On a double page at the end of the volume Holtrop advertised a separate folio engraving of Adams, “met alle zulke Ornamenten als het Afbeeldsel van deezen grooten Man waardig zyn” (“with all such ornaments worthy of embellishing the likeness of this great man”). The advertisement also announced publication of a similar engraving of George Washington.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Dutch Translation of John Adams' “Novanglus” Letters, 1782 facing page 32[unavailable]

Titlepage of the Amsterdam edition of John Adams' newspaper essays signed “Novanglus,” originally printed in the Boston Gazette, 1775, in reply to Daniel Leonard's loyalist articles signed “Massachusettensis.” The present volume was the first collected edition of the “Novanglus” essays in any language. No novice in journalism and propaganda, Adams had this translation printed and circulated for the purpose of informing the Dutch of the events leading to the American war and inspiring confidence in himself as a negotiator. See the note under the Diary entry of 30 April 1775, vol. 2:161; also Adams' comment in the present volume, p. 313–314.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Huis Van Amsterdam at The Hague facing page 33[unavailable]

The 18th-century headquarters of the Amsterdam deputies to the States of Holland, the provincial assembly at The Hague. John Adams called here early in 1782 in his lobbying campaign to gain recognition as minister plenipotentiary from the United States. “I made my Visit to the House of Amsterdam and made the Communication to Mr. Vischer, who received me, like a worthy Minister of the great City,” he reported to the President of Congress, Thomas McKean, on 14 January 1782 (Adams Papers). In commenting on his lobbying activities at The Hague, Adams told Edmund Jenings: “You know some of the Ploughing and hoeing and harrowing, which has prepared the Ground. You know some of the seed that has been sown, and that it was Humphry Ploughjogger who sowed it. But the Crop has exceeded Humphry's most sanguine Expectations” (3 April 1782, Adams Papers). See Adams' Diary and note under April 1782 at p. 3–4. The building now houses the Netherlands Ministry viiiof Foreign Affairs.

Photograph courtesy of the Netherlands Government Information Service.

Huis Ten Bosch, the Stadholder's Residence near The Hague facing page 33[unavailable]

The Huis ten Bosch or Maison du Bois was built between 1635 and 1652 by Pieter Post on the design of Jacob van Campen for Princess Amelia von Solms, widow of Prince Frederick Henry of Orange. The two wings were added before the middle of the 18th century by Daniel Marot. Here John Adams was received by Prince William V of Orange after Dutch recognition of American sovereignty in 1782, and was a frequent visitor thereafter during his sojourns at The Hague. See his Diary under 14 September 1782 and note, p. 5, 9.

In June 1784 Elkanah Watson, of Providence, Rhode Island, toured the Netherlands and provided the most detailed account we have of Adams' habits as American minister at The Hague. Of a visit with Adams to the Huis ten Bosch he wrote:

“Breakfasted with Mr. Adams—after which we visited la Maison du Bois, which is situated about a mile from the Hague, in the centre of the largest natural wood in Holland, and the only one, except the wood near Haerlem.

“This palace was built by the widow of prince Henry Frederick, for a house of mourning. It is an elegant structure and entirely sequestered from the gay world, being in a manner embosomed in a grove, cut into many romantick walks leading from the palace, which has a large garden behind it. Over the gate we saw the arms of Orange Nassau, and entered by a flight of steps.

“The grand saloon, with its exquisite paintings, are the principal objects of attention, and mostly executed by those great masters, Rubens and Van der Worf, representing in very large pieces, the brilliant triumphs of Frederick Henry, who finished the fabrick of independence for his country, which was founded by his immortal father, and vigorously carried on by his gallant brother Prince Maurice. . . .

“The floors are black walnut, covered with rich carpets. In one of the apartments we saw a valuable India japanned railing, enclosing the princess's bed; which is inlaid with the mother of pearl, and cost twenty eight thousand guilders. In another apartment was shewn us a flower piece, the work of a Flemish master, and valued at fifteen thousand florins. I was so enraptured with the paintings, that after a full hour's eager examination, I left them with regret.

“Mr. Adams then discharged his carriage, and we walked two hours more about the forest, which was very pleasing to me, not-withstanding the roads were heavy and sandy. The lofty oaks seemed to be so promiscuously thrown together, that it revived in my breast a lively picture of many such situations I had seen in the course of my tour through the United States of America, some years since. Our eyes were delighted with the fine plumage of the birds, whose sweet melody reechoed through the woods” (A Tour in Holland, in ix MDCCLXXXIV, Worcester, 1790, p. 78–81).

Photograph courtesy of the Gemeente-Archief, The Hague.

Residence and Office of the Van Staphorst Banking Firm in Amsterdam facing page 64[unavailable]

Now the Odeon Gebouw, Singel No. 460, this was the home and business headquarters of one of the principal banking houses that raised money for successive loans to the United States beginning in 1782. John Adams was in touch with Nicholas and Jacob van Staphorst, ardent supporters of the Patriot party and of the American cause, immediately upon his arrival in Amsterdam in 1780 and called on them often. See the List of Persons and Firms to be Consulted in the Netherlands, July–August 1780, vol. 2:444–445.

Photograph by George M. Cushing Jr.

Truce Chamber at The Hague Where John Adams Signed the Dutch-American Treaty of 1782 facing page 64[unavailable]

The Trèveszaal in the Binnenhof at The Hague where John Adams signed the Treaty of Commerce with the Dutch Republic on 8 October 1782. The room was built from designs by Daniel Marot in 1697. Portraits of the Stadholders, including William III of England, line the walls; the ceiling is painted with an allegorical representation of the union of the Seven Provinces by Theodorus van der Schuer. In a letter to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Robert R. Livingston, written on the day that the treaty was signed, Adams reported that he was “conducted into the Chamber of Business (Chambre de Besogne) an appartment adjoining to the Truce Chamber (Chambre de Treve) where were executed the Treaty of Commerce and the Convention concerning Recaptures, after an Exchange of Full Powers” (Adams Papers). The Trèveszaal is in that part of the Binnenhof now occupied by the Netherlands Ministry of Traffic and Waters. See the Diary entry of 8 October 1782 and note, p. 16–17.

Photograph courtesy of the Netherlands Government Information Service.

Fluwelen Burgwal, Site of the Hôtel des États-Unis at The Hague, the First American Foreign Legation Building facing page 65[unavailable]

Engraving, about 1830, of the “Velvet Makers' (or Merchants') Wall Street” and the canal that traversed it, the location of the first building acquired by the United States as a foreign legation. The structure, which was torn down between 1824 and 1830, stood on the site of the one-story wall and doorway to the left of the center of the engraving. When Elkanah Watson arrived at The Hague in 1784, he immediately sought out the American minister at “the grand hôtel belonging to the thirteen United States of America, lately purchased by Mr. Adams, for the residence of our future ambassadors. It is decently furnished, has a large library, and an elegant little garden” ( A Tour in Holland, in MDCCL-x XXXIV, Worcester, 1790, p. 71–72). The site is now occupied by the Netherlands Government Printing Office. See the note under Adams' Memorandum of Visits Made and Received at The Hague following Dutch Recognition of American Independence, April 1782, p. 4–5.

From an engraving in the Adams Papers Editorial Files.

Medal Commemorating Dutch Recognition of American Independence, 19 April 1782 facing page 65[unavailable]

Silver medal by the Amsterdam medalist, Joan George Holtzhey. The obverse side reads: “LIBERA SOROR / SOLEMNI DECR. AGN. / 19 APR. MDCCLXXXII” (“A free sister, acknowledged by solemn decree, 19 April 1782”). The reverse side reads: “TYRANNIS VIRTUTE REPULSA / SUB GALLIAE / AUSPICIIS” (“Tyranny repelled by valor under the auspices of France”). See C. Wyllys Betts, American Colonial History Illustrated by Contemporary Medals, New York, 1894, p. 290–291. Two allegorical figures, representing America and the Netherlands, grasp hands near a burning altar under the rays of the sun. America, in an Indian headdress, rests her foot on the head of a lion. On the reverse a unicorn, one of the supporters of the arms of England, lies wounded after breaking its horn against a precipitous rock.

On 2 November 1782 John Adams wrote Holtzhey to thank him for “the Present of a Medal, in Commemoration of the great Event of the 19th of April 1782,” which he found “ingeniously devised and . . . very beautiful.” He thought Holtzhey “would find a Sale for many of them at Boston and Philadelphia,” and promised that upon his return to Holland “I shall be glad to purchase a few of them to give to my friends” (Adams Papers). On Adams' advice Holtzhey marketed a number of the medals through John Stockdale in London. When, on 24 March 1784, Adams sent a “Couple of Medals” to Charles Spener, a Prussian bookseller, he stated that “These Medals were not Struck by any publick Authority” but were “the Invention and Execution of the Medalist Holtzhey of Amsterdam solely” (Adams Papers). Concerning this and other medals associated with John Adams' mission to the Dutch Republic, see, further, Henry K. Pasma, “Dutch Fireworks—And Our Own,” National Historical Magazine (a publication of the National Society of the D.A.R.), 73 (1939), No. 7, p. 8–11.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The American Commissioners at the Preliminary Peace Negotiation with Great Britain, Paris, 1782 facing page 256[unavailable]

Unfinished painting (or more correctly, a sketch for a larger painting) by Benjamin West of the American commissioners and their secretary at the negotiation which resulted in the Preliminary Treaty with Great Britain which was signed on 30 November 1782. The painting was to have included the British representative, Richard Oswald, and his secretary, Caleb Whitefoord, but remains unfin-xiished for reasons given by John Quincy Adams after a talk in London with the artist on 6 June 1817:

“Mr. West then told me that he had in the year 1783 made a sketch for a picture of the peace which terminated the war of the American Revolution, which he would send me to look at the next morning, as he accordingly did. I then recollected having seen it before, at the time when my father was sitting to him for his likeness in it. The most striking likeness in the picture is that of Mr. Jay. Those of Dr. Franklin, and his grandson, W. T. [William Temple Franklin], who was Secretary to the American Commission, are also excellent. Mr. Laurens and my father, though less perfect resemblances, are yet very good. Mr. Oswald, the British Plenipotentiary, was an ugly-looking man, blind of one eye, and he died without leaving any picture of him extant. This Mr. West alleged as the cause which prevented him from finishing the picture many years ago. Caleb Whitefoord, the Secretary of the British Commission, is also dead, but his portrait exists, from which a likeness may be taken. As I very strongly expressed my regret that this picture should be left unfinished, Mr. West said he thought he could finish it, and I must not be surprised if some day or other it should be received at Washington. I understand his intention to be to make a present of it to Congress” ( Memoirs , ed. Charles Francis Adams, 3:559).

Courtesy of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.

Signatures and Seals on the Definitive Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, Signed at Paris in September 1783 facing page 256[unavailable]

Last page of a duplicate original retained by John Adams; there are two originals of the Definitive Treaty in the Department of State Treaty File. See Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, Washington, 1931–1948, 2:151–157. On 5 September 1783 Adams reported to the President of Congress, Elias Boudinot: “On Wednesday, the third day of this Month, the American Ministers met the British Minister at his Lodgings at the Hotel de York and signed, sealed and delivered the definitive Treaty of Peace between the United States of America, and the King of Great Britain. Although it is but a Confirmation or Repetition of the Provisional Articles, I have the Honour to congratulate Congress upon it, as it is a Completion of the Work of Peace, and the best that We could obtain” (Adams Papers). John Thaxter, John Adams' secretary, returned to America shortly thereafter and brought one of the original copies of the Treaty to Congress. See the note under Adams' Diary entry of 7 September 1783, p. 142.

From the original in the Adams Papers.

The Adams Family's Residence in Auteuil, 1784–1785 facing page 257[unavailable]

Photograph of Rue d'Auteuil Nos. 43–47, from Fernand Girardin, Maisons de plaisances françaises, parcs et jardins, Paris [1920]. xiiThis was the residence of John Adams during an illness in the fall of 1783 and of the Adams family from August 1784 to May 1785. See Adams' Diary under 14 September–6 October 1783 and notes, p. 143–144; 17 August 1784, p. 171. For an illustrated description of the house, accompanied by richly detailed letters by Mrs. Adams about the family's life there, see Howard C. Rice Jr., The Adams Family in Auteuil, 1784–1785, Boston, 1956.

Du Simitière's Designs for a Medal to Commemorate the Evacuation of Boston, 1776 facing page 257[unavailable]

Pierre Eugène Du Simitière's drawing of the obverse and sketch for the reverse of a gold medal to be presented by Congress to George Washington to commemorate his “wise and spirited conduct in the siege and acquisition of Boston.” On 25 March 1776 John Adams was appointed to a committee “to prepare ... a proper device for the medal.” “I am put upon a Committee to prepare a Device for a Golden Medal to commemorate the Surrender of Boston to the American Arms,” he wrote his wife on 14 August. “There is a Gentleman here of French Extraction, whose Name is Du Simitiere a Painter by Profession whose Designs are very ingenious, and his Drawings well executed. He has been applied to for his Advice. I waited on him yesterday, and saw his Sketches. For the Medal he proposes Liberty with her Spear and Pileus, leaning on General Washington. The British Fleet in Boston Harbour, with all their Sterns towards the Town, the American Troops, marching in” (Adams Papers). On the reverse, in pencil, an all-seeing eye casts rays over a naked sword, held upright by a hand, and the whole is surrounded by thirteen shields bearing the names of the states. These designs were superseded by those of a French medalist some years later. See Adams' Autobiography and note, p. 375–376.

Courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Grosvenor Square, London, in 1789 facing page 288[unavailable]

Engraving of Grosvenor Square by Robert Pollard, 1789, after a drawing by Edward Dayes, the water colorist. This view from the northwest corner looks toward the earliest American legation building in London (see the following illustration), at Duke and Brook Streets in the northeast corner of the Square.

Courtesy of the British Museum.

The First American Legation Building in London, Corner of Duke and Brook Streets, Grosvenor Square facing page 288[unavailable]

The Adams family resided in this late 18th-century house from July 1785 until February 1788. “We shall live more as if we were a part of the World,” Abigail Adams 2d informed her brother, John Quincy Adams, immediately after moving into the house, “than when in France and we already find ourselves better pleased” (letter of 4 July–11 August 1785, Adams Papers). See the note xiiiunder John Adams' Diary entry of June–July, 1785, p. 180–181.

Photograph by George M. Cushing Jr.

“Aerostatic Experiments” in Paris, 1783 facing page 289[unavailable]

French colored engraving of a balloon flight in 1783. John Quincy Adams described the current enthusiasm for aerial navigation in a letter from Auteuil to his friend Peter Jay Munro, 10 November 1784 (Museum of the City of New York): “Messieurs Roberts made their third experiment, the 19th of September, and with more success than any aerostatic travellers have had before. They went up from the Thuileries, amidst a concourse of I suppose 10,000 persons. At noon, and at forty minutes past six in the Evening they descended at Beuory in Artois fifty leagues from Paris. This is expeditious travelling, and I heartily wish they would bring balloons to such a perfection, as that I might go to N. York, Philadelphia, or Boston in five days time. M.M. Roberts have publish'd a whole Volume of Observations upon their Voyage, or Journey or whatever it may be called, but I judge from the abstracts I have seen of it that they have taken a few traveller's Licenses, and have given some little play to their Imaginations. . . . They have established somewhere in Paris, a machine which they call une tour aërostatique where for a small price, any curious person may mount as high as he pleases, and so ‘look down upon the pendent world.’ ”

From an original in the Adams Papers.

John Adams' Arithmetic Book facing page 289[unavailable]

Titlepage of John Adams' copy of Edward Cocker's Decimal Arithmetick, 3d edition, London, 1703. This volume remains among his books in the Boston Public Library. “My School master neglected to put me into Arithmetick longer than I thought was right, and I resented it,” Adams remembered in his Autobiography (p. 258). “I procured me Cockers I believe and applyd myself to it at home alone and went through the whole Course, overtook and passed by all the Schollars at School, without any master. I dared not ask my fathers Assistance because he would have disliked my Inattention to my Latin.” Cocker's Arithmetick was published posthumously by John Hawkins in 1678 and attained a record of approximately a hundred English editions in the following century. Though often imported, the work appears never to have had an American printing. See Louis C. Karpinski, Bibliography of Mathematical Works Printed in America through 1850, Ann Arbor, 1940, p. 4–5.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.