Adams Papers

Carolina Wilhelmina Haren van Hogendorp to John Adams, 8 February 1784

From Carolina Wilhelmina Haren van Hogendorp

La Haye Ce 8 Fevrier 1784


Je N’ai pas l’honneur d’etre Connuë de Vous Mais la Cruelle inquiettude ou je Me trouve au Sujet de Mon fils M’enhardit a M’adresser a Vous Monsieur, Sauriez Vous Quelque Nouvelle du Vaisseau de Guerre Le Erfprins Capne. Aberson a bord du Quel se trouve Mon Cher fils, Ce jeune homme auquel Vous accordates plus d’une audience au Mois de Mars passé—auquel Vous avez bien Voulu donner des letters de recommandation1 pour les Quelles marques de bonte de votre part Monsieur je Ne Suis pas Moins Sensible Que Si Mon Cher Enfant eut ete a Meme d’en faire Usage— Mais Helas Monsieur la Cruelle incertitude ou je Suis au sujet de Ce bon et brave Garcon de Ce digne fils Ne S’exprime pas, au Nom de Dieu Si Vous avez ou recevez Quelque Nouvelle relative a Ce Vaisseau faites Moi la Grace de Songer a Moi qui ai l’honneur d’etre avec Une estime tante particuliere / Monsieur / Votre tres humble / et affligée servante

C: W: de Hogendorp
Nee de Haren


The Hague, 8 February 1784


I have not the honor of being known to you, but the cruel apprehension in which I find myself on the subject of my son emboldens me to write to you, sir. Would you have any news about the warship the Erfprins, Captain Aberson, on board which is my dear son, the young man to whom you granted more than one audience last March, and to whom you were so kind as to give letters of recommendation.1 For such kindnesses on your part, sir, I am no less grateful than if my dear child were able to make use of them. But, alas, sir, the cruel uncertainty that I am in regarding this good and brave boy, this worthy son, cannot be expressed. In the name of God, if you have or if you receive any news related to this vessel, please do me the favor of thinking of the one who has the honor of being with a very particular esteem, sir, your very humble and afflicted servant

C: W: de Hogendorp
Nee de Haren

RC (Adams Papers).

1Gijsbeert Karel van Hogendorp, for whom JA had written letters of introduction to John Hancock and James Warren on 26 May 1783, had sailed for America on 26 June 1783 with the Dutch squadron carrying Pieter Johan van Berckel, Dutch minister to the United States. Van Berckel reached Philadelphia on 9 Oct. after an uneventful voyage, but Hogendorp’s experience was very different. On 21 Nov. the 56-gun Erfprins foundered off the coast of Massachusetts, and while Hogendorp and 39 others were saved, 303 members of the crew were lost (vol. 14:490, 497). For accounts of the tragedy, owing to damage sustained during the voyage, see the Boston Independent Chronicle, 27 Nov., and the Boston Gazette, 1 December. In his reply to Madame van Hogendorp of 9 Feb. 1784, JA wrote that he had no news of the Erfprins or the fate of her son but would inform her immediately if any information arrived (Nationaal Archief:Hogendorp Family). The Gazette d’Amsterdam first reported the warship’s loss on 17 Feb., with additional accounts in the issues of 20 Feb. and 2 March. Hogendorp’s survival was mentioned in the 17 Feb. and 2 March reports.

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