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John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson

13 Sep. 1796

Dear Sir. The Hague September 13. 1796.

I received two days ago, your favour of the 2d: instt: and shall in future enclose my letters for you to Mr: Delius requesting him to forward them. The direct conveyances from Rotterdam are seldom so expeditious, though at a smaller distance.

I understand that the french Government have disavowed any intention of intercepting our trade to English Ports, and particularly the capture of the Mount Vernon.—I had hoped that all attempts to overturn the neutral policy of our Country and its legitimate advantages had been abandoned. I believe that none of them will succeed. France and England will both have enough upon their hands without insisting upon a quarrel with us.—We wish to quarrel with no one.

Some of the observations contained in my letter of July 11th: have been made unnecessary by subsequent Events.—But I find it necessary to remain here for the present, and shall probably not go from hence before the Spring.—I hope that at that period all danger and apprehension will be removed from the Country to which I shall be bound.—My stay in London, if I am permitted to take that Course will be no longer than will be necessary to enable me to proceed.—It will perhaps not be possible or eligible for me to go through England, and France too, and therefore I must expect to take a Water passage from England.—In an English vessel I cannot go. I must therefore sollicit you to have the goodness to let me know whether there is any direct trade between England and Lisbon in American or any other \neutral/ vessels, and whether it is probable I might find it practicable to embark in the course of the winter or spring ensuing in such a vessel.—There are frequent opportunities of that kind from Amsterdam, but you know, and I hope approve the motive of my preferring to go if possible from England.—On this subject it is impossible for me to speak with absolute confidence untill I shall have it in my power to fix upon the period of my departure from this place.

The situation of England is more precarious than that of any other Country. Low as the national credit has fallen, it will undoubtedly fall much lower. As to their chance for an invasion, I have nothing to say on that point.

I am very happy to hear that the Harvest in America has been so abundant. It has been equally fine in the principal part of Europe, so that whatever calamities are to befall the human race, they are not at present in danger of starving.

It gives me great pleasure to hear that Coll: Trumbull is chosen as the fifth Commissioner upon the settlement of the controversies that have arisen from the commercial depredations. The task is indeed an unpleasant one, but this choice gives me hopes of a more favourable issue to the Commission than I had contemplated.—Who are the English Commissioners?

The books which Mr: Hall left for me, I believe were some for which I sent at the request of one of my friends here. As I expect to remain here at present I should wish to have them forwarded by the first convenient opportunity.—I have not the pleasure of any late Letters from my friend Hall; but I know that his avocations are numerous, and he has been very kind to forward me the papers and books.

Mr: Bourne has at length determined to postpone his tour to America, and to fix himself for the present at Amsterdam, where he has taken a house. I hope he will find his interest in it, as I have a great regard for him, and think him very deserving.—The American trade here has again become quite brisk, and through the whole of this Season scarce a day has past without bringing one or more arrival at Amsterdam from the several parts of our Country.

I am very sorry to hear that Mrs: Johnson has been unwell, and hope that long before this she is perfectly recovered. I beg to be remembered with respect and affection to her and to all the young Ladies, and remain, Dear Sir, most / sincerely your’s

John Q. Adams.

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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