Adams Papers

From John Adams to Benjamin Franklin, 24 November 1780

To Benjamin Franklin

Amsterdam Novr. 24th. 1780


The Letter which your Excellency did me the Honour to write me on the thirteenth is recieved, and I have accordingly accepted the Bills,1 and shall draw upon your Excellency about the Time they become payable, for Money, to enable me to discharge them, provided I should not succeed in my Endeavours to borrow it here.

I have hitherto no prospect at all. When I first arrived here, I had such Informations as made me believe that a Sum of Money might be had, upon the Credit of the United States: but the News from Carolina, and New York and the West Indies, but above all the Affair of the Burgomaster and Sir Joseph Yorke’s Memorial have struck a Panic which must have Time to wear off. At present I meet with only one Gentleman,2 who thinks any thing can be done, and I fear that he decieves himself.

I hope by this Time, your Excellency’s Health is restored, and have the Honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant

John Adams

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed by William Temple Franklin: “J. Adams Nov. 24. 1780.”

1Franklin’s letter of the 13th (above) probably arrived on the 23d, for on that date JA accepted bills valued at 16,220 guilders and by the end of 1780 had accepted bills totalling 57,446 guilders. These transactions are recorded in a folio volume, containing a full record of JA’s transactions for the years 1780 through 1784. Its title, in JA’s hand, is “An Account of Negotiations of Bills of Exchange in Holland in behalf of the United States by John Adams,” and beside the entries for 23 Nov. JA wrote “Amsterdam Nov. 23. 1780. In the Absence of Mr Laurens, and for the Honour of the United States accepted by John Adams” (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 192, f. 4–11).

2In 1809, when this letter was published in the Boston Patriot, JA identified this person as Jean de Neufville (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. 278–279).

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