Adams Papers

From John Adams to Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 29 May 1785

To Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

Bath Hotel Westminster May 29. 1785


I am now to inform you, that I am ordered by Congress to this Country, and you will please to address your future Letters to me as Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, at the Court of Great Britain. The Relation nevertheless between you and me, is not yet dissolved, because Congress have not yet sent me a Letter of Recall, nor appointed another Minister to succeed me at the Hague, although they have resolved it will be expedient to do it.

I must now request you Gentlemen to send me all my Effects from Amsterdam, and the Hague. To this End you will please to employ proper Persons to pack up every thing which belongs to me in the “Hotel des Etats Unis” at the Hague. and make exact Inventories of every thing, House furniture of every kind, Kitchen furniture, Books Wine in the Cellar, Porcelane, Linnen, Bureaus Trunks Desks, Secretaries Cloath’s Glasses &c &c &c &c1 it will be necessary to hire a suitable Vessell at Rotterdam unless you have or know of a proper Vessell coming, to receive them all on board and bring them up the River of Thames to London. Address them all to me, as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America at the Court of His Britanic Majesty, and send them to the Care of Messrs. Pullers, or any other of your Correspondents, whom you know to be worthy of Trust. I dont suppose, that any special Permission from the States General will he necessary for the Exportation of these Effects but if it should you will please to apply to their High Mightinesses, or if the application must be made by me. I will on the first notice send a Memorial my little Trunk of plate, which is with you, I should be glad, if you could send me by some private Hand, as also the larger Trunk if this is possible; I should be willing to pay a reasonable recompence, for the Trouble but should be unwilling to be at the Expence of an Express.2

Let me beg of you to answer me by return of post if possible, and let me know how long time it will be before I may expect the arrival of the Vessell with all my effects in London. I am in great haste to receive them as I must suffer great Inconveniences of all kinds, untill they arrive. Let me pray you to keep a distinct and seperete account of every Article of Expence attending this Removal and let me have it all together, that I may be able to give you the necessary Orders to charge it to the United States whose Intention I suppose is to pay it, as they have always born the Expences of their Ministers to the Places of their destinations—

With great esteem I have the Honour / to be Gentlemen— / Your most Obed. / & most Humble serv.

John Adams

LbC in WSS’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messrs: Wilhem and Jan Willink / Nicholas and Jacob Van / Staphorst & De la Land and / Frynje—Bankers of the / United States of America / at / Amsterdam”; APM Reel 111.

1For household inventories of the legation done by John Thaxter in 1782 and Marie Dumas in 1784, all of which were also signed by Christian Lotter, see vol. 13:25–48.

2On the 29th JA also wrote to C. W. F. Dumas (NN) and Lotter (LbC, APM Reel 111). He indicated in both letters that he had written earlier that day to the consortium to request that his property at the legation be sent to him at London. He requested Dumas to oversee the packing of his books, and to send his bookshelves and ladder. JA also noted his meeting with the Marquis of Carmarthen and upcoming audience with the king. JA requested Lotter to assist in packing his effects and indicated that he would be paid for his efforts, and that he could continue to live in and serve as caretaker for the legation. The letters to Dumas and Lotter were likely enclosed with this letter, for on 3 June Nicolaas van Staphorst wrote to Du mas, enclosing JA’s letter of the 29th (from Dumas, 17 June, note 1, below).

With his letters of 29 May to the consortium, Dumas, and Lotter, JA sought to expedite the transfer of his belongings from the legation at The Hague to the new legation in London. He clearly expected the consortium to assume the overall control of the packing and transport of his effects. Dumas was to take responsibility for packing JA’s library, while Lotter would prepare everything else for the transfer and accompany the shipment to London. Unfortunately JA’s good intentions went awry, resulting in unwanted personnel issues for the consortium and bruised feelings for Dumas, his wife, Marie, and Lotter. For the unraveling of what seemed to be a straightforward plan as well as its ultimate resolution, see the letters from Lotter of 7 June, from Dumas of 17 June, note 1, and from the consortium of 17 June, all below.

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