|My Dear Sir.||The Hague 12. May 1797|
I have received your obliging favour of the 25th: of last month. It was my wish and intention to have taken London on my way to Lisbon; but my endeavours to obtain a conveyance which should have enabled me to take that course have proved unsuccessful and I am obliged to go directly from Amsterdam. This is a great disappointment to me but I find myself obliged to bear it, like so many others.—The difficulty is not to get from here to London. There are vessels constantly [. . .] from Rotterdam. But it is to get from England to Lisbon, in the present exposed [. . . .] Navigation.—The Schooner Mary, according to your description would suit me very well. At this Season of the year, for such a passage a vessel of 50 tons, would answer my purpose as well as one of 500.—But for a Lady, used to very delicate living, and unused to the Sea, I fear it would be too unpleasant.
I know not what her determination and yours would be on this subject, and find myself therefore compelled to consider the expedient as unpracticable.—Yet I am unwilling to give up any possibility that flatters my wishes.—If therefore you can find it convenient to send the Schooner to Lisbon, and you and your lovely daughter, are willing that she should take passage in her; and she is possessed of all the proper and necessary documents to prove the vessel and cargo entirely American property, please to let me know by the return of the first Post, for which there will no doubt be time before my departure from this Country.—In that case, with the certainty of an immediate passage, and in a vessel as safe as the times can allow, I will disengage myself even if I have contracted for my passage from Amsterdam, and come immediately to London.
I cannot go in an English vessel; and if the same alarm prevails in England, as here there will be no Americans going to Lisbon this Season.— There is a Danish vessel going from Amsterdam, in which I can secure passage in the course of this or the next month. Indeed by the 10th: of June, I expect to depart, and my arrangements will leave it in my power to take either course, as I shall then find it necessary or possible.
With respect to the other subject upon which your letter intimates to me your intentions, I feel sensibly affected, by the confidence which you place in me, and shall happy to justify it in any other manner, than that for which it is my fervent prayer that for many and many years there may be no occasion. A prudent precaution may render advisable such dispositions as you think proper. [. . .] an early period of your life, and these provisions will be satisfactory to [. . . .] though superfluous.—I hope I need not assure you that any service that it may ever be in my power to render to any part of your family, will always be at their command, and among my most precious enjoyments.
It is true that the Emperor has made his Peace and it is not easy to foresee what the consequences of this Event will be.—I hope that we shall yet be able to keep out of a quarrel which we have taken so much pains to avoid, and I am prepared to enter into it with heart and soul, if it should be unavoidable.
I remain with my respects and affection to Mrs Johnson, and the young / Ladies, Dear Sir, your obliged friend & very hble: Servt.
John Q. Adams.