John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia Feb. 2. 1795
My dearest Friend
This Morning I received your favour of the 21st. of January. I am Sure your People do a great deal of Work, So dont be concern’d— I am very well Satisfied with your Agricultural Diary.
The venerable Governor made the best Speech he ever made—but the old Leaven ferments a little in it.—
I wonder you had not recd two Letters from Thomas which I inclosed to you. I now inclose you one from Mr Jay, which shews that our sons were arrived in Holland and had passed through their Ceremonies at the Hague and gone to Amsterdam, to look as I Suppose after the imprudent Van staphorst, and American Money in his Hands.1
The inclosed Postscript to Dunlap will shew you, that the Expectation of a Treaty, hourly to arrive, will not allow me to leave my Chair till the fourth of March—2 I shall be charged with deserting the President, forsaking the secretary of State, betraying my friend Jay, abandoning my Post and Sacrificing my Country to a weak Attachment to a Woman and a weaker fondness for my farm, if I quit at this moment. so be thou thankful alone, that thou hast a good Husband here, that thy Children are safe and in Honour in Europe, and that thy Daughter has given thee a fine Granddaughter; besides innumerable Blessings to thy Country. I will be thankful and joyous here all alone.—
We momently expect the Treaty: but it may not arrive this month.— When it does I expect to see wry faces as well as smiling ones.— Perhaps much Debate may take Place— Let Us know what it is first however before We oppose, or criticise or applaud or approve.
Your son John says it is better than War—that is all I know about it.—
Keep all the Letters relating to our Sons.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Febry 2. 1795.”
1. John Jay, in a letter of 24 Nov. 1794 (Adams Papers), informed JA that he had received two letters from JQA, of 14 and 21 Nov. (Windsor Castle, Royal Archives:Autographs from Correspondence of Chief Justice Jay, 1776–1794; NNC:John Jay Papers).
JA’s critical opinion of Nicolaas van Staphorst likely stemmed from the banker’s recent flight from Amsterdam to Hamburg. A member of the Dutch republican movement, Van Staphorst in Oct. 1794 publicly petitioned for revolution should either the English, retreating from Belgium, be welcomed in the city or action be taken against the encroaching French forces. He escaped prosecution by temporarily fleeing to Hamburg, thereby leaving the banking firm in the hands of remaining partner Nicolaas Hubbard. Van Staphorst would shortly return, however, to assume a prominent place in the government established after the French invasion (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 1:526–527; Schama, Patriots and Liberators, description begins Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813, New York, 1977. description ends p. 176–177, 179, 190). For TBA’s account of these events, see M/TBA/2, 16 Nov., APM Reel 282. Reports of Van Staphorst’s petition first appeared in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 7 Jan. 1795.
In his letter to JQA of 11 Feb., below, JA expressed concern about the impact of Van Staphorst’s actions on American credit. In his answering letter of 4 May, JQA assured JA that “the political sufferings of Messrs: Van Staphorst had no more effect to the detriment of our credit than their present power has in its favour. It did not indeed affect their personal credit or property. Mr: Nicholas Van Staphorst, who on my arrival here had privately withdrawn from the pursuit of the then Government, is now a member of the States-General, and employed in some of the most important executive Committees. He is one of the most respectable men, engaged in the public affairs at present” (Adams Papers).
2. On 2 Feb. the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser published a two-page supplement summarizing the London newspapers through 3 Dec. 1794, which had arrived aboard the brig Columbia. Two of the extracts confirmed the successful conclusion to Jay’s treaty negotiations with the British, with one further noting that the messenger Jay had dispatched to deliver the news to America had sailed prior to the Columbia.