John Thaxter to John Adams
Amsterdam 4th. May 1782
I have sent to Mr. Hodshon1 since your Departure to send the Packer, but he cannot come ’till Monday, which I suspected as this is a busy day all over the World. As soon as he comes on Monday, I will set him to work and give all the Assistance that depends on me. There is between twenty and thirty Tons of Turf, and a few Bushels of Coal, which Stephens seems very desirous of having. He does not ask it as a Gift, but imagine it would not be unacceptable.2 This lays with You, and it shall be sent forward if You choose or left to be sold. —There will be some empty Bottles, which the Wineseller had better take, paying the ordinary Price. However as You please. The Baskets will take them all I believe.
I have seen Mr. Barclay, and he is much better—desires his best Respects and wishes You better Health.
Best Compliments to Mr. Dumas and Family.
With an invariable Respect & Attachment I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient & most humble Servant,
RC (Adams Papers).
2. Joseph Stephens (sometimes Stevens), JA’s servant since JA had first come to Europe, was making plans to marry and set up a shop in Amsterdam selling silks, linens, &c., especially to American sailors and other visitors from America. He expected to obtain capital from Hodshon to buy his goods, but a little later was trying to obtain credit and/or employment from other firms. By the end of June, according to Thaxter, Stephens and “his Family” were ill and in considerable distress. See Stephens to JA, 6 Feb., 23 May (Adams Papers); JA to Willink & van Staphorst and to Ingraham & Bromfield, 13 June (LbC’s, Adams Papers); Thaxter to JA, 29 June (Adams Papers). In his recollections many years later, JA wrote that Stephens married “a very pretty English girl” and not too long afterward set sail for America, where the ship apparently never arrived (to the Editor of the Bostow Patriot, 14 Feb. 1812, published 29 April 1812). What happened to his wife and their shop does not appear.