John Adams to Abigail Adams
Amsterdam June 1. 1787
My dearest Friend
We are lodged in our old Chamber at Amsterdam, and Sleep as soundly as if there were not a dozen houses plundered every night. The two nights before the last were very Seditious. last night was quiet, and the Precautions which Secured the Peace then, will be continued, so t[hat] all will be still.— dont be anxious for Us, nor believe half the Reports that will be circulated. Such Events are often exaggerated at first. Mr Cutting and myself are very Safe. The Party for the Prince, appears to be so feeble in Amsterdam, that every thing will be quieted, very soon.1
I cannot Say when We shall return, but I believe We Shall recross from Helvoet to Harwick, by next Wednesdays Packet, so that you may expect Us by Friday or Saturday. Yet We may be detained a Week longer.
I have accomplished the Business I came upon, and have this Day signed the Contract for a Million of Guilders at five Per Cent. so that Congress will be at ease for another year.2 My Love to Mrs Smith, and a Kiss for my Grand Boy.
My Libel is much applauded here. They call it “The Breviary of Liberty, Safety and good order” a Compliment more flattering to me, than all the Ingenuity of my own Self Love & Vanity, could have invented. I am forever yours
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “England / Madame / Madame Adams / chez Le Ministre des / Etats Unis De L’Amerique / Grosvenor Square / London”; internal address: “Portia.”; endorsed: “Mr Adams june / 1 1787—”; docketed by WSS: “JA— to Mrs. A / June 1st 1787.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 21 April throngs of Patriots occupied Amsterdam’s Dam Square and ousted regents who supported Stadholder William V. After supporters of the expelled officials challenged the validity of these actions, Patriots rampaged on the night of 29 May. The deliberate destruction of bridges to the center of the city made it difficult for troops loyal to the stadholder to reach the affected area, leaving Patriots free to ransack the homes and businesses of their opponents over several days. When a semblance of order was restored through military force, many of Amsterdam’s wealthy families fled the city (Schama, Patriots and Liberators description begins Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813, New York, 1977. description ends , p. 115–117).
2. JA signed a contract with the Amsterdam banking firms of Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst and Wilhem & Jan Willink for a loan to the United States of one million guilders, to be paid back over fifteen years at 5 percent interest. This was the third loan JA negotiated on behalf of the United States, the first two of which included the firm of De la Lande & Fynje along with the Staphorsts and Willinks. An initial borrowing of five million guilders was made in 1782, and a second loan of two million guilders was taken out in 1784. JA would negotiate a fourth loan in March 1788, on the eve of the Adamses’ departure from Europe, of one million guilders, also with the Staphorsts and Willinks (Winter, Amer. Finance and Dutch Investment description begins Pieter J. van Winter and James C. Riley, American Finance and Dutch Investment, 1780–1805, New York, 1977; 2 vols. description ends , 2:1086–1089; JA to AA, 14 March 1788, below). For more on JA’s first loan from the Dutch, see JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–. description ends , 13:passim.