Jean de Neufville & Son to Abigail Adams
Amsterdam the 2 Sept: 1780
May we begg leave to offer our Respects to your Excellency, and to enclose here the list of some particulars His Excellency favourd us with the honour to procure, and which we hope may prove to satisfaction, or if any thing may be wanting, which never will be owing to the least inattention; we most frendly begg to be guided by your Ladyships instructions for the future; and we will pay the highest regard to Any orders we may ever find ourselfs honourd with.
We are very happy enjoying the presence of so worthy a Professor of the Liberty and the Rights of his Country as all the World must assure Mr. Adams to be, and pay him the highest Regard, so every body must and doth Love Madam your [sir?] John and young Mr. Charles, who under so worthy Parents will grow to be an ornament to their Country as they promiss already for their age, may time soon bring forth that all the worthy in America and Holland through the spirit of Liberty and the ties of humanity make butt one family.
We have the honour to be with the most profound Respect and Unfeignd Regard, Honourd Lady Your Excellencys most Obedient and Most devoted humble servants,
John de Neufville & Son1
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure missing. This letter was originally sent under cover to Isaac Smith Sr.; see William Smith to AA, 20 Nov., vol. 4, below.
1. Jean (Jan or John) de Neufville (1729–1796) was the head of an Amsterdam mercantile firm that, as the present letter indicates, was conspicuously friendly to the American cause. In Sept. 1778, acting somewhat vaguely on behalf of the Amsterdam Regency, he had met William Lee at Aix-la-Chapelle and agreed with him on the draft of a commercial treaty with the United States. This got little further in any official way, but the capture at sea by the British of a text among the effects of Henry Laurens the day after the present letter was written not only led to Laurens’ imprisonment in the Tower but was made the pretext of England’s breaking off relations with the Netherlands in Dec. 1780. Early in 1781, at the height of the Anglo-Dutch war crisis, Jean de Neufville & Son tried with little success to raise a loan for the United States. See the article on the elder de Neufville in Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek description begins P. C. Molhuysen and others, eds., Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Leyden, 1911–1937; 10 vols. description ends , 8:1211–1214; Van Winter, Het andeel van den Amsterdamschen handel aan den opbouw van het Amerikaansche Gemeenebest, The Hague, 1927–1933, passim; JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:444–445, 452–453; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot description begins Correspondence of the Late President Adams. Originally Published in the Boston Patriot. In a Series of Letters, Boston, 1809–1810; 10 pts. description ends , p. 378, 399–400; JQA, Diary, 11 Aug. 1780et seq.