Adams Papers

To John Adams from Francis Dana, 16 September 1780

From Francis Dana

Saturday Eveng: 9 o Clock [16 September 1780]1
First Bible Wormoes straat—Anthony <Carr’s> Kaa’s

Dear Sir

I am this moment arrived in Town, much fatigued, and as it is so late, you will excuse my not waiting on you this evening. You must not be surprised to find me here. I am not the messenger of any bad news from our Country. I have some dispatches from Congress, brot to Paris by Mr. Searle, one of its Members. These occasioned my coming here.2 They are not of consequence to be communicated immediately. To morrow will answer as well for this Purpose. I left Paris the 12th. at noon, and overtook Mr. Austin at Brussels. We have travelled together from thence. He left Paris the night of the ninth. I hope you and the young Gentlemen are well. I left Mr. Thaxter so.3 I am with much esteem and respect your Excellency most obedient humble Servt:


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Dana.”

1JA received this letter at about 9:30 and immediately went to Dana’s lodgings at the First Bible Inn (JQA, Diary description begins Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981–. description ends , 1:70).

2For James Searle, see Samuel Adams’ letter of 10 July, note 2 (above). Searle reached Paris on the evening of 10 Sept., and immediately sent Dana the letters and dispatches he had brought from America. After reading the dispatches and conferring at length with Searle on the following day, Dana concluded that duty required him to hand-deliver them to JA, leading to his departure for Amsterdam on the 12th (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Washington, 1889; 6 vols. description ends , 4:61–62).

The most important item carried by Dana was JA’s commission of 20 June to negotiate a Dutch loan (above). Not only did its arrival lead JA to take immediate steps to obtain a loan, it also ended his plans to return to Paris and meant that JA would remain at Amsterdam for the foreseeable future (to the president of Congress, 19 Sept.; to James Searle, 23 Sept., and note 2, both below).

3While he left John Thaxter in good health, Dana did not inform him of the reason for his abrupt departure for Amsterdam. Thaxter wrote to JA on 17 Sept., that he knew nothing of Dana’s mission and was “happy to say that my total Ignorance of it, has put it out of my Power to gratify Speculators, and has saved me an abundance of Evasions, short answers &ca. . . . and that I have once found Ignorance to be an excellent Species of saving Knowledge” (Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 3:416–417).

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