Adams Papers

L. de Chavannes de la Giraudière to John Adams, 23 February 1784

From L. de Chavannes de la Giraudière

Amsterdam ce 23 fevrier 1784

Monsieur

Le politique Hollandais est mort, et le Mercure Hollandais vient reprendre sa place. J’ai l’honneur d’envoyer à Votre Excellence le premier No de cette feuille nouvelle. Vous pourrez vous procurer les suivantes chez les Libraires de la Haie qui débitent le Courrier van Europa. J’espere que le public n’aura pas à regretter M. Cerisier pour le zele et le patriotisme, mais moi je regretterai bien fort que Votre Excellence ne se trouve plus à Amsterdam pour y recevoir vos instructions.1

Je vous prie de vouloir me faire passer tout ce qui pourra concerner l’Amérique, et trouver place dans un papier public. Le Chantre de l’Amérique a quelque droit me semble à défendre les intérêts des Treize Etats-Unis, et il doit le premier-être instruit après Votre Excellence de ce qu’il veut savoir au public en ce pays, avant même la Gazette de Leyde, tout patriote et bien ententionnée qu’elle soit.2

Mon adresse, pour tout ce qui peut concerner le Mercure Hollandais, est à l’Auteur de cette feuille chez Holtrop Libraire dans le Kalvestraat.

J’attends toujours la réponse à ma derniere lettre,3 et suis avec le dévoûment et le respect que vous me connaissez, / Monsieur / De Votre Excellence / Le très-humble, très-obéissant Serviteur

De Chavannes de la Giraudiere

TRANSLATION

Amsterdam, 23 February 1784

Sir

Le politique hollandais is dead, and the Mercure hollandais has taken its place. I have the honor of sending to your excellency the first issue of this new leaf. You can buy the subsequent issues from the booksellers at The Hague who sell the Courier de l’Europe. I hope the public will not miss Mr. Cerisier’s zeal and patriotism, but as for me I will greatly miss your excellency’s being in Amsterdam so I can receive your instructions there.1

I beseech you to send me all that concerns America and would fit in a public paper. The Chantre de l’Amérique has some right, it seems to me, to defend the interests of the thirteen United States, and it must be the first after your excellency to be informed about what the public wants to know in this country, even before the Gazette de Leyde, as patriotic and well intentioned as it may be.2

My address in all matters concerning the Mercure hollandais is in care of the author of this publication at the Holtrop bookseller on Kalvestraat.

I am still awaiting a reply to my last letter,3 and remain with the devotion and respect that you know in me, sir, your excellency’s very humble & very obedient servant

De Chavannes de la Giraudiere

RC (Adams Papers).

1The last extant issue of Le politique hollandais is of 12 Jan. 1784. Antoine Marie Cerisier’s role as the paper’s editor, however, likely ended much earlier, with the issue of 11 Aug. 1783, the result of his struggle over control of the journal with the paper’s publisher, Amsterdam bookseller Jacobus Adrianus Crajenschot (vol. 14:300–301). Crajenschot’s assumption of control is evident from the notice appearing at the end of the 18 Aug. issue: “J. A. Crajenschot, Editeur & seul propriétaire de cette feuille”; and the signed “Lettre du Libraire, Editeur & Propriétaire de cette Feuille à ses Confreres” that appeared in the issue of 25 August. That letter denied Cerisier’s claim to be sole editor and declared that Crajenschot’s role had been at least as important, if not more so. Cerisier’s ouster as editor may explain his 3 Sept. 1783 letter to JA requesting his assistance in obtaining a position in the French foreign ministry (vol. 15:244–245). Nothing is known of the Mercure hollandais beyond what Chavannes de la Giraudière says in this letter, and the copy sent to JA has not been found.

2The reference to Chantre de l’Amérique remains obscure, but that to the Gazette de Leyde, edited by Jean Luzac, is of some interest. Until the latter part of 1781, Luzac’s Gazette had been JA’s principal means for disseminating news from and about America. That role ended only when JA sought the wider audience offered by the Gazette d’Amsterdam and Le politique hollandais. For Luzac’s complaint about JA’s shift to other papers, see vol. 12:125–127, 128–130. It is also worthy of note that C. W. F. Dumas obtained a position for Cerisier with the Gazette de Leyde (from Cerisier, 10 Aug. 1786, MB).

3Having learned from JA of the land office that Joseph Ward had opened in Boston (vol. 15:350–352), Chavannes de la Giraudière wrote on 26 Jan. 1784 to propose opening a branch in Europe and to ask for assistance in setting up a partnership with Ward and his associates (Adams Papers). In his reply of 30 Jan. (LbC, APM Reel 107), JA enclosed a copy of Ward’s brochure but declared that he could give no more aid to such a private venture. In his reply of 4 March (LbC, APM Reel 107), JA referred to his earlier letter and repeated that he was unable to help further. By the time Chavannes de la Giraudière wrote again, on 9 Aug. (Adams Papers), he was residing in Amsterdam and intended to move to the United States. Having been promised land in Virginia and passage across the Atlantic, he sought from JA money and letters of recommendation. In a last letter to JA, dated 23 Sept. (Adams Papers), Chavannes de la Giraudière reported that he and his family had been stranded in Amsterdam after the vessel that was to carry them to the United States had been seized by the owner’s creditors, and he expressed his resolve to take his children to London and seek free passage across the ocean there. JA apparently made no reply to either of these later letters. For a full account of Chavannes de la Giraudière’s flight from France and removal to the United States, see his letter to George Washington of 10 July 1787 in Washington, Papers, Confederation Series description begins The Papers of George Washington: Confederation Series, ed. W. W. Abbot and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1992–1997; 6 vols. description ends , 5:252–256.

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