Adams Papers
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To John Adams from François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 25 July 1788

From François Adriaan Van der Kemp

New-york 25. Jul. 88.

Sir!

Being returned at New-york, after a yourneÿ of five weeks in the countrÿ, to take a view of the land, I wished to employ this moment to inform your Hon. of the issue— I was about 70 miles above albanÿ— Saw differents tracts of Land— Probably, if the price be not to high—our choice wil be the circuits of kingston, where we have Seen two farm, who Suided to our circumstances.1 In two or three weeks we wil know it with certainty—during that time I Shal paÿ a visit at Philadelphia and Mount vernon, intendng to go to the first place, next fridaÿ with the Stage. a Strong desire to See Philadelphia and B. Franklin, a wish to pay my obliged Compliments to Esqr. John Ross. who was So polite to refuse ten guineas for the passage of my two Childres, and a invitation of America’s late Commander at chief are mÿ motifs!2 I congratulate Massachusetts People with your election at Congres, and hope they wil in respect to you follow the Romans Example in respect to Cicero, being Sure that they wil never be disappointed by you in the Same manner—

your Saying Sir! in the gold Lion at Leyden.3 of Some European Court—, theÿ “love not these democratical principles,[”] must be proved for an unbeliever, thoug I never doubted of it— Some-times— that theÿ, by theer own intrest, would consider Sinceritÿ in Engagements as a dutÿ—but I Saw a new proof of a people’s miserÿ, who needs the adsistance of forein power to defend theer liberty—

Be So good Sir! to inform me what the best and accuratest compilation is of the events of the late American War? there is published Some work of the Marquis deChastellux—and another in four volumes of T. Andrews?4 what is the real value of bo[ok]s your defence of American Independence accomplished in two vol. or wil they be joined with a 3th? maÿ I know it before I go to the countrÿ? Permit me, to recommend mÿ and mÿ familÿ to your favour, and be Sure that I am, with due respect / Sir! / Your much obedient / and Obliged Servant

F. Adr. vandrKemp

P. S adres bÿ Mrs. M. and H. Oudenaarden Hanover Square N. 18 New-york.5

RC (Adams Papers).

1Van der Kemp left Le Havre on 25 March with his wife, Reinira Engelbartha Johanna Vos Van der Kemp, traveling to New York on the frigate L’Henriette, Capt. Benjamin Weeks; they arrived on 4 May. Van der Kemp wrote to JA on 5 Sept. (Adams Papers) to report that he had purchased “a Small farm … two miles from Esopus,” near Kingston, N.Y., where his wife’s relatives, the Beeckmans, had settled (Van der Kemp, Autobiography description begins Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 1752–1829: An Autobiography, Together with Extracts from His Correspondence, ed. Helen Lincklaen Fairchild, New York and London, 1903. description ends , p. 111, 116–117).

2Philadelphia merchant John Ross (1729–1800) was one of the owners of the frigate on which Van der Kemp and his family sailed to America; upon their arrival, Ross “ordered that no charge should be made” for the passage of Van der Kemp’s two children and requested that he stay in touch. Van der Kemp visited Ross and Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia, then traveled on to see George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, “where simplicity, order, unadorned grandeur, and dignity, had taken up their abode.” Overall, Van der Kemp preferred the company of Martha Washington: “I was infinitely better pleased by the unassuming, modest gentleness of the lady, than with the conscious superiority of her consort” (J. Ross and B. Franklin, “Memoir of John Ross, Merchant, of Philadelphia,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , 23:77, 84 [April 1899]; Van der Kemp, Autobiography description begins Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 1752–1829: An Autobiography, Together with Extracts from His Correspondence, ed. Helen Lincklaen Fairchild, New York and London, 1903. description ends , p. 111, 112, 114–117).

3JA lodged at the Lyon d’Or Inn.

4Van der Kemp likely meant the Chevalier de Chastellux’s Travels in North-America in the years 1780, 1781, and 1782, 2 vols., London, 1787; and John Andrews’ History of the War with America, France, Spain, and Holland: Commencing in 1775 and Ending in 1783, 4 vols., London, 1785–1786.

5That is, New York City merchants Marinus and Henry Oudenaarde (New York Daily Advertiser, 23 April).

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