Adams Papers

From John Adams to the President of Congress, 15 January 1781

To the President of Congress


Amsterdam January 15th. 1781


Congress will not expect me to write upon the Subject of Peace at this time, when the Flames of War are spreading far and wide, with more rapidity than ever: and I have no comfortable Tidings on the Subject of Money.

In the first place, I believe there is not so much Money here as the World imagines: in the next place, those who have what there is, have no Confidence in any Nation or Individual. All Credit seems at a Stand.

The Republick will want a Loan. The Northern Neutral Powers will want Loans, and even a Loan will be wanted to support the Credit of a Number of Houses in the Mercantile Way, which are affected by the violent and sudden Revolution of the times, and by the pyratical depredations of the English.1 I hope Therefore that Congress will not venture to draw here, untill they have certain Information that they may draw with Safety.2

I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.

John Adams

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 234–235); endorsed: “Letter Jany 15. 1781 John Adams Read 19 Novr.” MS (MdHi); endorsed: “Amsterdam Jany. 15. 1781.” The manuscript at the Maryland Historical Society is likely the intended recipient’s copy.

1JA’s comments regarding finances in general and the situation of the Dutch mercantile houses in particular may be the result of his visit on this date to the Amsterdam merchants Jean de Neufville and Daniel Crommelin (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:455).

2In the Maryland Historical Society copy, JA follows this sentence with: “At Present there is not a Single Ducat nor a Prospect of one.”

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