Adams Papers

Hendrik Bicker to John Adams: A Translation, 1 October 1780

Hendrik Bicker to John Adams: A Translation

Vellerhoost, 1 October 1780


I am much chagrined to hear that the visit you made at my suggestion was not more successful. The significant utterances, made in no uncertain terms and often repeated by this House, lead me to believe that you should give up the idea of an alliance before you start the matter at hand. I am not too surprised you did not find there as much confidence in the solidity of your United States as you would like us to have. I already had the honor to tell you that this feeling can only arise after much patience and after seeing a properly accredited person. I could tell you to go elsewhere, but encountering too many rejections can ruin an undertaking which otherwise would have excellent prospects on its own merit. The Blomberg messenger is there and we could perhaps ask him to find another party than the aforementioned (J.D.B.)1 who might gladly join such an undertaking, but before you address yourself to this task, I would like to offer you my candid opinion on his dependability and his way of thinking. In the meantime, I have the honor to be, with utmost consideration, your very humble and very obedient servant,

H. Bicker

Under the oath of secrecy, I must tell you that the House of Staphorst2 has honored me with a visit to ask that I recommend it to you.

RC (Adams Papers).

1This was almost certainly Daniël Jan Bouwens, relative of Bicker and member of the Amsterdam firm of Bouwens & Van der Hoop (Pieter J. Van Winter, American Finance and Dutch Investment 1780–1805, transl. James C. Riley, N.Y., 1977, 2 vols., 1:76; 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. 264). In a letter of 7 Nov. (below), JA made a proposal to Bouwens and his firm for a loan.

2The financial house of Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst was one of the three firms through which JA negotiated the first Dutch loan in 1782 (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; 3:9). JA was already acquainted with the Staphorsts, having dined with one or the other of them on 14 and 28 Aug., but there is no evidence that he entered into substantive negotiations with the firm in 1780 (JQA, Diary description begins Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981–. description ends , 1:54, 61).

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