Papers of John Adams, volume 12

From Thomas Digges

From Edmund Jenings

To Robert R. Livingston, 24 April 1782 JA Livingston, Robert R.


To Robert R. Livingston, 24 April 1782 Adams, John Livingston, Robert R.
To Robert R. Livingston
No. 8.1 Hague 24th. April 1782 2 Sir

On the 24th. day of April I had the Honor to be introduced to the Princess, from whom I met a very gracious Reception. As it is necessary to say something upon these Occasions, I could think of nothing better than what follows:3


Je suis ravi d’avoir l’honneur de presenter une Republique Vierge, un Monde Enfant à la Bienveillance et à la Protection de votre Altesse Royale; d’une Princesse aussi illustre par ses Perfections et Vertus personnelles, que par Sa Connection avec la Maison d’Orange, si révérée en Amerique, et avec l’un de ces grands Monarques4 dans le Siecle desquels on se fait un honneur de vivre.

Votre Altesse Royale me permettra de faire des Vaux, pour que ses 459serenissimes Enfans et leur Postérité, puissant jouir parmi les Generations les plus reculées de l’Amerique, de la même Vénération profonde, qui y a toujours été entretenue pour leurs Ancêtres.

Her Royal Highness thanked me for the Compliment, and promised to do what depended upon her to render my Residence at the Hague agreable to me, and then asked me several Questions similar to those of his most Serene Highness.

I have the Honor to be,5 Sir your most obedient servant J. Adams

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, No. 84, IV, f. 73–74).


The numbers JA and Thaxter assigned JA’s letters to Livingston correspond to the order in which they were entered in the Letterbook. Letter No. 8 was entered immediately following letter No. 7 of 2 3 2 April, above, in Lb/JA/18 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 106).


In the Letterbook copy, JA left a blank space for the date in both the dateline and the first sentence that John Thaxter filled in later.


When JA published this letter in the Boston Patriot of 10 April 1811, he included the following English translation of his conversation with Wilhelmina, princess of Orange:

“Madame—I am happy to have the honor of presenting a virgin republic and an infant world, to the benevolence and protection of your royal highness; a princess as illustrious for her perfections and personal virtues, as by her connection with the house of Orange, so much revered in America, and with one of those great monarchs, with whom it is esteemed an honor to live in the same century.

“Your royal highness will permit me to pray that your most serene children and their posterity, may enjoy to the latest generations in America, the same profound veneration, which has always been entertained there for their ancestors.”


Wilhelmina was the niece of Frederick the Great.


The remainder of the closing and the signature are in JA’s hand.