Adams Papers

From John Adams to Benjamin Franklin, 1 August 1781

To Benjamin Franklin

Amsterdam August 1st. 1781


Upon my Arrival here I found your Letter of the 30th. of June. Copy of which had been sent along to me by Mr. Thaxter to Paris, but by some unaccountable means sent back without being delivered to me.

Many Bills had been presented in my Absence, and at first I was at a loss whether to accept them, until further Advice from You. But considering they had lain here near a Month, and that detaining them longer unaccepted would occasion some disagreable Speculation here, and observing by your Letter, that the stopping of the Specie in Holland was the Condition upon which You meant to pay them, I have ventured to accept them all. Inclosed is a List of all the Bills hitherto accepted since the former list transmitted to You.1

Inclosed is also another Number of the Politique Hollandais.

The Ship is not yet sailed, but We are now told She is to sail in a few days, which at least I hope will prove true.2

I have the Honor to be, your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant.

J. Adams

RC in John Thaxter’s hand (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. Augt 1. 1781.” On the page containing the endorsement is a series of calculations.

1Neither the enclosed list of bills nor the copy of Le politique hollandais mentioned in the following paragraph has been found. The previous list of bills that JA accepted and sent to Franklin was dated 14 June (LbC, Adams Papers). On 17 July Fizeaux, Grand & Co. wrote to present 43 bills totaling 35,726 florins (Adams Papers).

2In a letter of 7 Aug. to Jean de Neufville & Fils, William Jackson wrote that Como. Alexander Gillon had weighed anchor that morning, crossed the shoals, and was at sea off the Texel (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 4, f. 517– 518). Gillon had gone to sea, at least in part, to avoid his creditors and was anchored outside the jurisdiction of the Dutch courts (Louis F. Middlebrook, The Frigate South Carolina: A Famous Revolutionary War Ship, Salem, Mass., 1929, p. 4–5). The South Carolina apparently sailed for America on or about 12 Aug., for which see William Jackson’s letter of that date, below.

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