Lot 210
Sold for £2,500 (US$ 4,202) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("John Q. Adams"), as US Minister to the Netherlands, to Rufus King, Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain, stating that he has drawn £300 in favour of Messrs W & J Willinck "agreeably to the permission you have given me, and to refund to me 300 Louis dorés, advanced by me more than two years ago, at the request of Madame de la Fayette, ...for her use", and looking forward to the arrival of his replacement, William Vans Murray, one page, wafer-seal covering one or two words, 4to, Amsterdam, 6 June 1797


  • AMERICAN AID FOR ADRIENNE DE LAFAYETTE: this letter seemingly refers to the sums advanced by the American authorities to Lafayette's greatly-admired wife during the Reign of Terror. Following his services in America, Lafayette had returned to France where he played a prominent part in the early stages of the Revolution, but in 1792 as the radical faction grew in strength attempted to flee to the United States via the Netherlands, only to be captured by the Austrians and imprisoned for five years. His wife Adrienne's grandmother, mother and sister were all guillotined in 1794 and she was arrested in Paris. Her release was secured on 22 January 1795 – seemingly the event referred to here as taking place "more than two years ago" – by American influence, notably that of Gouverneur Morris, who advanced her 100,000 livres out of his own pocket, and the Monroes. On 1 September 1795 President Monroe granted her an American passport and she travelled to Austria, where she joined her husband in prison. The family were to be released on 18 September 1797 under the terms of the Treaty of Campo Formio. The friendship between the Lafayettes and the Adams family which of course had begun when Lafayette was in America, had been cemented in the early 1780s when John Adams and his family had been regular guests at the Lafayettes' Paris salon. At the time this letter was written, John Adams was serving as President, while his son was Minister to Holland even if, as the letter shows, anxious to return to America. Relations between John and John Quincy Adams and the Amsterdam banker Wilhelm Willink went back to the time when John has been Ambassador to Holland and had in 1782 secured a loan from him of five million guilders. He was later to be an investor in the Louisana Purchase. William Vans Murray, Adams's replacement, arrived on 9 June, and Adams left the Hague on the 31st (see his diary).
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