Papers of John Adams, volume 10

Descriptive List of Illustrations Descriptive List of Illustrations

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

Descriptive List of Illustrations
Titlepage of David Hartley's “Draught of a Proposed Bill for Conciliation with America,” 27 June 1780 7[unavailable]

This unsuccessful effort at Anglo-American reconciliation was presented in the House of Commons on 27 June and enclosed by David Hartley in his letter to John Adams of 17 July (below). Hartley's bill sought the appointment of negotiators to conclude a peace that would end hostilities unconditionally, provide a ten-year period of conciliation, and suspend acts of Parliament relating to America for a like period. In seeking to end the Anglo-American conflict, Hartley, first elected to Parliament in 1774 and later one of the British peace negotiators, thought himself a kindred spirit with John Adams. But Adams, convinced of the futility of seeking to end the war short of American independence, most likely thought of Hartley and his bill in the same terms that he had used after reading Hartley's letter of 21 March to the chairman of the Committee of the County of York (to the president of Congress, 18 April, No. 48, vol. 9). Then he had described Hartley as “a Gentleman, who, to do him Justice, has long expressed an earnest desire of Peace, but who nevertheless, has never yet reflected maturely enough upon the State of America, of Great Britain and of all Europe, to get into a right Way of thinking concerning the proper Means to his End.”

From the original in the Adams Papers.

Nouvelles Extraordinaires De Divers Endroits, Leyden, Netherlands, 29 August 1780 118[unavailable]

The front page of Nouvelles extraordinaires de divers endroits, usually known as the Gazette de Leyde, of 29 August contains the first fruits of John Adams' effort to influence Dutch public opinion. The newspaper, published by Jean Luzac, supported the Dutch patriot party and generally favored the American cause. John Adams recognized that the Gazette would be a valuable outlet for American news and wrote to Luzac on 22 August (below), enclosing the act of the Massachusetts General Court of 4 May establishing the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a report of the American Philosophical Society's meeting of 21 January. According to Adams, the enclosures showed a “Tranquility of Mind in the midst of a civil War” and their publication would counter British reports of American “Distress.” Luzac agreed to publish the reports and used Adams' letter of 22 August, which he redated 15 June from Philadelphia, to introduce the enclosures. The Gazette's front page contains Adams' viiiletter, as modified by Luzac, and the first part of the act establishing the American Academy. The remainder of the material is continued on pages 2 and 3 of the newspaper. In a letter of 31 August (below), Luzac noted his publication of Adams' offerings and indicated his willingness to consider future contributions by the American. For the remainder of his mission to the Netherlands, Adams' relations with Luzac remained cordial and the Gazette occasionally printed items submitted by Adams. Luzac's refusal to publish propaganda, however, led Adams to seek additional channels for promoting the American cause, most notably Le politique hollandais that Antoine Marie Cerisier began publishing in Amsterdam in 1781 (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence , p. 122–125).

Courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum.

Joan Derk Van Der Capellen Tot Den Pol, Engraving of a Detail from a Portrait by J. A. Kaldenbach 273[unavailable]

Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol (1741–1784) is a controversial figure in Dutch history. His strong support of the American cause seemed at odds with his position in the Dutch nobility. As early as 1775, he opposed the stadholder, William V, and British military operations in America by protesting Britain's planned augmentation of its army with the Dutch-based Scots' Brigade, a unit with Scottish officers that was a relic of British intervention in the Dutch Revolt (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence , p. 19–26; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution , p. 28–33). Not surprisingly, van der Capellen began corresponding with leading Americans and several of his letters were found among the papers captured with Henry Laurens in 1780.

In October, upon learning of Henry Laurens' capture, van der Capellen wrote to John Adams to offer his assistance (from van der Capellen, 16 Oct., below). Adams welcomed van der Capellen's offer and in November made him one of the first recipients of his anonymous pamphlet, Pensées (see Illustration No. 4, below). Van der Capellen replied with a critique of the pamphlet, but also warned that while he would do all in his power to further the American cause, his many political enemies made it inadvisable to link his name too closely with Adams' efforts (28 Nov., below). Over the next three years the Dutch nobleman served as both confidential adviser and friend, as Adams maneuvered through the complex political system of the Netherlands in pursuit of Dutch recognition and a loan.

Courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum.

Titlepage of Pensées Sur La Révolution De L'Amérique-unie, Extraites De L'Ouvrage Anglois, Intitulé Mémoire, Addressé Aux Souverains De L'Europe, Sur L'état Présent Des Affaires De L'Ancien Et Du Nouveau-Monde, Amsterdam, 1780 341[unavailable]

This pamphlet, signed by John Adams at the top and assigned the erroneous publication date of 1781, is Adams' copy of Pensées, now ixamong his books at the Boston Public Library. The pamphlet was published by Jean Luzac in Amsterdam and is the French translation of John Adams' A Translation of the Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe upon the Present State of Affairs Between the Old and New World into Common Sense and Intelligible English, which would be published in London in early 1781. The two pamphlets comprise Adams' redaction of Thomas Pownall's A Memorial, Most Humbly Addressed to the Sovereigns of Europe, on the Present State of Affairs, Between the Old and New World, London, 1780, and are identical except for Luzac's preface to Pensées (see A Translation of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, 19 April — ca. 14 July , above). The preface was suggested by Luzac as a means of assuring Dutch merchants that the United States would not threaten their economic well-being. John Adams distributed Pensées in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe as part of his effort to combat ignorance of the United States and its struggle for independence. For critiques of Pensées, as well as of Thomas Pownall's Memorial, see letters from Luzac of 14 September and Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol of 28 November (both below).

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

John Adams' Commission to Conclude a Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the Netherlands, 29 December 1780 450 [page] [image]

This commission is endorsed by John Adams on the reverse: “Commission to the States General of the U.P. to make a Treaty of Commerce. dated 29. December. 1780.” Together with Adams' instructions, a plan for a Dutch-American commercial treaty (both below at 29 Dec. ), and a resolve of Congress regarding the armed neutrality, the commission was sent under a covering letter of 1 January 1781 that Adams received on or about 19 March (Adams Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:224, 313–315). John Adams was appointed commissioner to negotiate a Dutch-American treaty following Henry Laurens' capture and incarceration in the Tower of London. Congress' action meant that Adams, who already was acting under a commission of 20 June authorizing him to raise a Dutch loan in Laurens' absence (above), had full powers to deal with all matters affecting Dutch-American relations.

From the original in the Adams Papers.