Papers of John Adams, volume 13



Dedication of Verzameling van de Constitutien to John Adams, 1782 237[unavailable]

“As to the Compliment You propose to me, I am obliged to You for it, and shall consent to it,” John Adams wrote to Herman van Bracht on 3 May, accepting Van Bracht's proposal that the second volume of his Verzameling van de Constitutien . . . van Amerika be dedicated to Adams. Van Bracht was returning a favor to Adams, who had lent him a copy of the Continental Congress' 1781 publication The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America to be translated into Dutch and published as Verzameling van de Constitutien . . . van Amerika (Dordrecht, 2 vols., 1781–1782). The first volume had been dedicated to Engelbert François van Berckel (to Van Bracht, 3 May, and from Van Bracht, 12 Aug., both below).

The publication of the translation, Van Bracht had written Adams on 26 January 1782, would ensure that “all Netherlanders would be able to know on what a beautiful and pure basis the aforementioned government and liberty of America has been established.” Adams himself had in 1780 convinced Congress to publish the compilation of American constitutions, writing that “this Work would be read by every Body in Europe, who reads English, and could obtain it, and Some would even learn English for the sake of reading it. It would be translated into every Language of Europe, and would fix the Opinion of our Unconquerability, more than any Thing could, except driving the Ennemy wholly from the united States” (vols. 12:219; 10:176).

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.