Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 June 1787

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Amsterdam Saturday June 2. 1787

My dearest Friend

I wrote you Yesterday, that I had executed the Contract and should return to England by the Packet of Wednesday the Sixth of June. But as the Money Lenders, whether to make a mere Compliment to me, whether to shew their Patriotism, or whether from simple Caprice, made it an original Condition that my Name should be Subscribed to all the obligations, as it was in the first loan, instead of being Signed only once before the Notary Public, as it was in the last, I shall be detained till tuesday in amsterdam. Two thousand Signatures will take me two Days, for altho I once wrote my name 2500 times in one day, I would not do it again, for more Money than I ever got by all my Loans, that is to say for nothing.—1 I shall not now be able to embark at Helvoet, before Saturday or the following Wednesday.

I am grieved for Mr Barclay and his amiable Family but can give them no relief.

The two last nights have been quiet: but I am told that near thirty houses have been rifled.— Some Persons of note have decamped, and discoveries are Said to have been made, but I give little Credit to what I hear, because Reports at such times are given out, with design: and I am not in any Secret, because I will not be. I am but a Passenger.— it is given out that there will be Seven Executions this Morning. a Scene that my Nerves are not in tune to see.2

one Truth is now manifest to all, namely that the Patriotick Party, is all powerful at Amsterdam, and consequently the Prince must comply, or do worse.

My Love to Mrs Smith and her dear Boy.— I am very glad You again complyed with Mr Brand Hollis’s advice for your health is ever dear to your ever affectionate

John Adams.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “England / Mrs Adams / at the American Ministers / Grosvenor Square / London”; internal address: “Portia.”; endorsed: “Mr Adams june / 2d 1787.”

1JA probably refers to the bonds he was obligated to sign for his 1782 loan; see JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–. description ends , 13:172, 517, 528, 529.

2Newspapers reported hangings occurring during and after the riots, both as atrocities in the heat of battle and punishments in its aftermath. The London Gazetteer reported “fourteen of the Stadtholder’s adherents were seized in the streets on the second day of the rioting, and hanged by the mob of the opposite party.” Punishments were meted out to rioters beginning on 2 June 1787 as JA anticipated, but the early reports were exaggerated. Rather than seven hangings, “one of the rioters, who was caught pillaging, was hung up with very little ceremony” (London Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 8, 11 June).

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