Adams Papers

To John Adams from Thomas Dawes, 27 April 1789

Boston April 27th. 1789


I am afraid that I have not the honour of a sufficient acquaintance with your Excellency fully to justify the application contained in this Letter It however not being for myself, I rely upon your goodness for an apology and am confident you will not enroll me in the degrading list of Seekers; because I am proposing for office another man.

Yet even this I feel to be an awkward business, one I am quite unacquainted with, and which I should not undertake but <from> for the importunity of friends and from motives that I hope are not improper.

My Wife’s Brother Mr James Greenleaf merchant, now of Amsterdam, is the gentleman whom I am requested by his friends there and here to mention to your Excellency as a person who might do honour to the United States in the character of resident or consul at the Hague. He is of the house of Watson and Greenleaf of the city of New York, and his character can be ascertained in that city, and I have been told that Mr. Vanberkel is among those of Holland who fully know Mr Greenleafs reputation in that country. I believe that the family <there> into which he married is very high and has influence there: which circumstance I do not mention as relative to the personal merit of Mr. Greenleaf, but as a circumstance which might make him more powerful to serve his native country when added to his own good qualities, if such he possesses. As a merchant I believe he has a bright and steady genius, and by which at an early age he has acquired a handsome property. Touching general information, I believe he is far before most commercial men of his age. He is said to be perfectly acquainted with the Dutch & French languages and his reading in English I know to be very considerable. That he is an American at heart and a Republican I am persuaded. He is indeed settled at Amsterdam, which consideration however is in favour of his future influence there: but Boston is his natural home, and he is son of a man whom your Excellency may possibly remember was one of the first committee of correspondence. I mention this only to shew the probability that his first habits are right.

After all I have said I have no wish that Mr. Greenleaf should receive an appointment meerly for his benefit; but only that, if such an office should be tho‘t necessary, he might be considered among the candidates; in which case I know that if he should not be found qualified another would be & ought to be preferred.

I would not have your Excellency troubled with answering this, as I am sensible you must be crowded with public business and as I shall wait in person upon your Excellency, having business that will call me soon thro’ New York.

In the mean time I am your Excellencys most respectfull / humble Servant

Thomas Dawes Junr.

MHi: Adams Papers.

Index Entries