Adams Papers

Johann Christoph Baumberg to John Adams: A Translation, 24 March 1782

Johann Christoph Baumberg to John Adams: A Translation

St. Pölten near Vienna in Lower Austria
24 March 17821


Misfortune in my life and the misjudgment of my merits, in the past 23 years, force me to leave my fatherland, and to seek my bread and fortune in foreign countries. I would have been firmly resolved to travel by ship to the United States, if only I knew what my wife, my promising 16-year-old son, and my 17-year-old daughter would live off until I could have them follow me, and also whether I, as a true German, but also an upright (42-year-old) German, who does not lack courage, entrepreneurial spirit or diligence, and who would be prepared to do anything for a country that recognizes my achievements and merits, could be of any use there, and whether, with the help of your Excellency, I could soon reach my desired goals. After having described my plans briefly, I bid your Excellency (whose eminent, noble and affable disposition I have the highest regard for) to consider my most obedient request, the details of which you could inform me of by means of the goodness of your correspondence, and in case you have orders, be made known to me at the below mentioned address. With eager anticipation I remain under the most obedient recommendation and put myself under your protection with complete respect of your Excellency’s Obedient Servant

Johann Christoph Baumberg
Imperial and Royal Instructor of the German Intermediate School

M. Baumberg, Professeur de l’Ecole normale, de sa Majl. Imp. et Royl. ap. à Bruxelles St. Pölten en Autriche inferieur

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “German”; and by John Thaxter: “March 24th 782.”

1This letter from Johann Christoph Baumberg, about whom nothing else is known, is the first extant German language letter that JA received in the Netherlands. There is no evidence that he replied to this letter, which is similar to others in English, French, and Dutch requesting his aid in going to America that also often went unanswered.

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