Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Adams, 1 August 1781

From John Adams

LS:3 American Philosophical Society

Amsterdam August 1st. 1781.


Upon my Arrival here4 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.5

Inclosed is also another Number of the Politique Hollandais.6

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.7

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

J. Adams.

His Excellency Dr. Franklin.

Notation:8 J. Adams. Augt 1. 1781

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3In Thaxter’s hand.

4JA left Paris for the Netherlands on July 23: James H. Hutson, John Adams and the Diplomacy of the American Revolution (Lexington, Ky., 1980), p. 97.

5Not found.

6A journal published in Amsterdam between 1780 and 1785 by Antoine-Marie Cérisier and J. A. Crajenschot. The journal was originally devoted primarily to American affairs, and JA submitted several articles to it: Olivier Barbier et al., eds., Dictionnaire des Ouvrages anonymes (4 vols., Paris, 1872–79), III, 946; Jeremy D. Popkin, News and Politics in the Age of Revolution: Jean Luzac’s Gazette de Leyde (Ithaca and London, 1989), pp. 61, 152n.

7The South Carolina finally sailed on Aug. 12: Theodore Sizer, ed., The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, Patriot-Artist, 1756–1843 (New Haven and London, 1953), pp. 75–6. Trumbull was a passenger aboard the frigate.

8On the same page as the notation, BF jotted several mathematical computations.

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