Papers of John Adams, volume 13

Contract for a Loan with Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 11 June 1782 JA Contract for a Loan with Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 11 June 1782 Adams, John
Contract for a Loan with Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje
11 June 1782

Translation from the Dutch minuted on a Seal of 48 Stivers.

(Signed.) Van Hole Notarÿ.

On the Eleventh daÿ of June in the ÿear one thousand Seven hundred and eightÿ two appeared before me Pieter Galenus van Hole Notarÿ of Amsterdam admitted bÿ the honble. court of Holland.

The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Minister plenipotentiarÿ on the part of the united States of America bÿ their high Mightinesses the Lords States general of the united Netherlands &a. &a. in qualitÿ as especiallÿ qualifÿed and authorized bÿ the above mentioned States of america in Congress assembled, for and in behalf of Said States of America to raise a Loan with anÿ person or persons States or 111 image 112 companies with Subjoined assurance in good faith to ratifÿ and fulfill all that Shall be done in this respect bÿ him Honble. Appearer according to authentick copÿ and translation of the original Commission or Power exhibited to me Notarÿ and deposited in mÿ custodÿ in behalf of the joint Moneÿ Lenders.

The Honble. Appearer residing in the Hague but being now in this Citÿ.

And the honble. Appearer acknowledged himself, in his aforesaid qualitÿ and thus in the Name and in behalf of the abovementioned States of America to be dulÿ and Lawfullÿ indebted to and in behalf of Sundrÿ Persons or Moneÿ Lenders in all a Sum of one Million guilders Dutch current Moneÿ1 arising from and on account of So much readÿ Moneÿ received bÿ him honble. Appearer in his aforesaid qualitÿ to his perfect Satisfaction from the Said Moneÿ Lenders in consequence of the receipt hereafter mentioned to be Signed bÿ the honble. Appearer under the authentick Copies hereof, expresslÿ and formallÿ disavowing the exuse of untold Moneÿs.

And the Honble. Appearer promised in his aforesaid qualitÿ to repaÿ in this Citÿ the Said Sum of one Million of Guilders free from all costs charges and damages to the abovementioned Moneÿ Lenders or their Assigns at the expiration of fifteen ÿears after the first daÿ of June 1782 and that in the following Manner to Wit:

That the abovementioned Capital Shall remain fixed during the Space of ten ÿears and that with the eleventh ÿear and thus on the first daÿ of June 1793 a fifth part or two hundred thousand guilders of the Said Capital of one Million Shall be redeemed and in the Same Manner from ÿear to ÿear untill the first daÿ of June 1797 inclusive So that the whole Capital Shall be redeemed and discharged within the abovementioned Space of fifteen ÿears.

And that for Said Capital at first for the whole and afterwards for the Residue at the Expiration of Everÿ ÿear interest Shall be paid, at the rate of five p:Cent in the ÿear commencing the first daÿ of June 1782, and to continue untill the final accomplishment and that on coupons to be Signed bÿ or for account of Said honble. Appearer in his aforesaid qualitÿ.

That the abovementioned redeeming Shall be performed bÿ drawing in presence of a Notarÿ and witnesses in this citÿ after the Expiration of the first mentioned ten ÿears in Such a Manner that the Nos. of the Obligations drawn Shall be betimes made known in the publick papers.


That the paÿment of the interests as also the redeeming of the respective Periods Shall be made at the compting houses of the hereafter mentioned Gentlemen Directors or at Such other places within this Citÿ as Shall likewise be advertized in the publick Papers.

That the Directors of this Negotiation Shall be Messieurs Wilhem and Jan Willink Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst and de la Lande & Fÿnje Merchants of this Citÿ who are bÿ these presents thereto named and appointed bÿ the Honble. Appearer in his afore Said qualitÿ.

The honble. Appearer promising and engaging in the Names of his Constituents that the amount of the interests and of the redeemings to be made from time to time of the Said capital Shall be in due Time remitted to the aforesaid Gentlemen Directors their Heirs or Successors in good Bills of Exchange America Products, or in readÿ Moneÿ without anÿ abatement or deduction Whatsoever.

That this Obligation Shall never be Subject to anÿ Imposts or Taxes alreadÿ laid or in time to come to be laid in the Said united States of America even in case (which God forbid) anÿ war Hostilities or Divisions Should arise between aforesaid united States or anÿ of them on the one Side and the States of these Lands on the other that the paÿment of the Capital or interests of this Obligation can in no wise nor under anÿ pretext whatsoever be hindered or delaÿed.

The Honble. Appearer in his aforesaid qualitÿ promising and engaging moreover for and in the Names of the Said united States that there Shall never be made bÿ them or on their Parts or anÿ of them in particular anÿ convention or treatÿ publick or private at the making of peace or otherwise bÿ which the validitÿ and accomplishment of these presents might be prejudiced or where bÿ anÿ thing Contrarÿ thereto might be Stipulated but that without anÿ Exception the contents hereof Shall be maintained in full force.

The honble. Appearer in his aforesaid qualitÿ likewise promises engages and binds himself bÿ these presents that this engagement Shall be ratifÿed and approved as Soon as possible bÿ Said States in congress assembled and that authentick Copÿ Translation of Said ratification with the original Shall be deposited in custodÿ of me Notarÿ to be there kept with Said authentick copÿ translation of the Commission or Power of Him Honble. Appearer and the engrossed hereof for the Securitÿ of the Moneÿ Lenders untill the abovemen-114tioned Capital and interests as aforesaid Shall be redeemed and paid off.

And there Shall be made of this Act (as the Honble. Appearer in his aforesaid qualitÿ consents) above and besides the abovementioned engrossed one thousand authentick Copies which Shall be of the Same force and value and have the Same Effect as the engrossed one, under everÿ one of which copies Shall be placed a receipt of one thousand guilders dutch current Moneÿ either on Name or in blank at the choice of the Moneÿ Lenders to be Signed bÿ him Honble. Appearer, and which Receipts Shall be respectivelÿ numbered from No. 3001 to 4000 inclusive and countersigned bÿ abovementioned Gentlemen Directors and dulÿ attested bÿ me Notarÿ as a testimonÿ that no more than one thousand obligations are numbered in virtue of this Act.

All which authentick copies with the Receipts hereunder placed Shall at the redeeming of the capital be restored bÿ the Bearers.

On failure of prompt paÿment as well of the capital as of the interests at the appointed Periods, the Capital or residue thereof maÿ be demanded bÿ the Gentlemen Directors in behalf of the Moneÿ Lenders who Shall be then interested therein and the aforesaid Principals and committents of Him Honble. Appearer Shall in that case be held and bound to redeem and discharge immediatelÿ in one Sum the remaining capital with the interests and charges.

For the accomplishment and performance of all the abovewritten the Honble. Appearer binds in his aforesaid qualitÿ and thus in the Names and on the Part of the abovementioned united States of America the Said united States of America jointlÿ and each of them in particular together with all their Lands, chattels Revenues and Products together with Imposts and Taxes alreadÿ laid and raised in the Same or in time to come to be laid and raised and thus of all the united States of america jointlÿ and of each of the Same in particular for the Whole.

He the Honble. Appearer renouncing in the Names as above for that purpose expresslÿ beneficium divisionis as likewise de duobus vel pluribus reis debendi2 Signifÿing a retribution of debts and that when two or more are indebted, each of them can Satisfÿ with the paÿment of their Portion, the honble. Appearer promising in his aforesaid qualitÿ never to have recourse to the Said or to anÿ other Evasions whatsoever.

This being pass'd (after Translation into English was made hereof, and which likewise is Signed bÿ the honble. Appearer and 115 116 deposited in the custodÿ of me the Said Notarÿ) within Amsterdam aforesaid in the presence of Gidion Victor et Cornelis Marchant Witnesses.

Coll: (Signed.) P: G: van Hole Notarÿ

Faithfullÿ translated from the Dutch

Amsterdam this 17th: daÿ of june 1782. Joannes Vergeel & Son Sworn Translator.

MS (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Form of my Obligations in the Holland Loan” and “No. 4.”


This contract represents one of five that were prepared, each for the sum of one million guilders. It reflects the decision by JA and the bankers not to issue a single contract for five million guilders, as originally planned, because the amount was thought to be too large for a loan with doubtful prospects for success. Instead, the initial offering was to be for three million guilders, with the other two million to be raised later if there was sufficient investor interest. Although the Dutch version of the contract was notarized on 11 June and the English translation was finished on 17 June, the contracts were not sent to Congress until 11 July and then as enclosures in a letter from Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje to Robert R. Livingston (PCC, No. 78, XIV, f. 523–526). The delay was caused by the need to prepare 25 copies of the contract in both Dutch and English, five of which were sent to Livingston by five different conveyances. For the transmission of the contracts, see JA's second letter of 5 July to Livingston and his letter of 10 July to Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, both below.


Both of these phrases refer to the right of one of several borrowers to pay only its prorated share of the debt. In other words, JA was affirming that the states were collectively responsible for the whole debt rather than that individual states were responsible for only that part that might be apportioned to them.

To Benjamin Franklin, 13 June 1782 JA Franklin, Benjamin To Benjamin Franklin, 13 June 1782 Adams, John Franklin, Benjamin
To Benjamin Franklin
The Hague June 13. 17821 Sir

I had Yesterday, at Amsterdam, the Honour of receiving your Excellencys Letter of June 2.

The Discovery that Mr Grenvilles Power, was only to treat with France does not Surprize me, at all. The British Ministry, are too much divided among themselves, and have too formidable an opposition against them, in the King and the old Ministers, and are possessed of too little of the Confidence of the Nation, to have the Courage to make Concessions, of any Sort, especially Since the News of their Successes in the East and West Indies.2

What their Pride will end in, God only knows. For my own Part, I cannot See, a Probability, that they will ever make Peace, untill 117their Financies are ruined and such Distresses brought upon them as will work up their Parties into a civil War.

I wish their Ennemies could by any means be perswaded to carry on the War against them in Places where they might be sure of Tryumphs, instead of insitsing upon pursuing it, where they are Sure of Defeats. But We must take Patience, and wait for Time to do, what Wisdom might easily and Soon do.

I have not as yet taken any Engagements with the Dutch not to make a Peace without them, but I will take such Engagements, in a moment if the Dutch will take them, and I believe they will chearfully. I shall not propose it however untill I have the Concurrence of the Duke de la Vauguion who will do nothing without the Instructions of his Court. I would not delay it, a moment from any Expectation that the English, will acknowledge our Independence and make Peace with Us, because I have no such Expectations. I confess, it would be with infinite Reluctance that I should see a Peace made between England and any of her Ennemies, unless it is made with all. If France, Spain and America should make Peace with England, and leave Holland alone at War, she would be at Mercy, and she would find the tenderest of it, Cruelty.

The permanent and lasting Friendship of the Dutch, may be easily obtained by the United States; that of England never. It is gone with the days before the Flood. If we ever enjoy the Smallest degree of Sincere Friendship again from England I am totally incapable of Seeing the Character of a Nation or the Connections of Things, which however may be the Case, for what I know. They have brought themselves by their Frenzy into Such a Situation. Spain has such Pretensions, Holland has Such Pretensions, America has Such Pretensions, the Armed Neutrality has Such Pretensions, that where is the English Minister, or Member of Parliament that dares to vote for the Concession to them? The Pretensions of France I believe would be so moderate that possibly, they might be acceeded to. But I fear that Spain who deserves the least will demand the most. In Short the Work of Peace appears So impracticable, that I am happy in being restrained to this Country by my Duty and by this means excused from troubling my Head much about it. I have a Letter from America which informed me that Mr Jay had refused to Act in the Commission for Peace:3 but if he is on his Way to Paris, as you suppose I presume, my Information must be a Mistake, which I am very glad of. Mr Laurens, did me the Honour of a very short Visit, in his Way to France, but I was very Sorry to learn from 118him, that in a Letter to your Excellency he had declined Serving in the Commission for Peace. I had vast Pleasure in his Conversation, for I found him possessed of the most exact Judgment respecting our Ennemies, and of the Same noble Sentiments in all things, which I Saw in him in Congress.

What is the System of Russia? Does she Suppose that England has too many Ennemies upon her, and that their demands and Pretensions are too high? Does she Seek to embroil affairs and to light up a general War in Europe? Is Denmark in Concert with her, or any other Power? Her Conduct is a Phenomenon. Is there any Secret Negotiation or Intrigue on Foot, to form a Party for England among the Powers of Europe, and to make a Ballance, against the Power of the Ennemies of England?

The States of Holland and several other Provinces have taken the Resolutions, against the Mediation for a Seperate Peace, and this nation seems to be well fixed in its System and in the common Cause.

My best Respects and Affections to my old Frid Mr Jay, if you please.

LbC (Adams Papers).


With the exception of a letter of 23 July (LbC, Adams Papers; Franklin, Papers , 37:664), this is the last letter that JA wrote to Benjamin Franklin until his letter of 1 Nov. (Franklin, Papers , vol. 38), after he arrived in Paris, and that was a reply to Franklin's of 15 Oct., below. JA's letter of 23 July concerned accounts that Franklin had enclosed with his letter of 22 April (vol. 12:447, see note 1).


A reference to Rodney's victory at the Battle of the Saints on 12 April and the defeat of Haidar Ali, ruler of Mysore, by Gen. Eyre Coote the previous summer, reports of which appeared in the London newspapers in late May and early June. The London Chronicle, 30 May – 1 June 1782, reported that “dispatches were received at the India House, from Lieutenant General Sir Eyre Coote, K. B. containing the important advice of his having gained a complete victory over Hyder Ally. The engagement was brought on by a skirmish, in which 400 of the enemy were made prisoners; soon after which the action became general, when Hyder Ally's army was totally routed, leaving 1,500 killed, 4000 prisoners, together with the loss of the whole train of artillery, &c. &c. In consequence of this brilliant advantage, two important settlements immediately surrendered to the British arms.” For an account of events from the Indian perspective, see B. Sheik Ali, British Relations with Haidar Ali (1760–1782), Mysore, 1963, p. 258–268.


JA likely refers to AA's letter of 17 March in which she wrote that “the minister at Madrid has done himself and country Honour by refuseing to take part in the New instructions” ( AFC , 4:293). John Jay wrote to Thomas McKean, president of Congress, on 20 Sept. 1781, to express his reservations about accepting the role of peace commissioner, given Congress' instructions to defer all major decisions to France in the negotiations, and to indicate his desire that Congress relieve him of this position ( Richard Robert B. Morris, ed., John Jay: The Winning of the Peace, Unpublished Papers 1780–1784, N.Y., 1980, p. 104–106).