ALS as president, one page, 8 x 9.75, February 22, 1799. Letter to Dutch radical leader and Mennonite minister Francois Adriaan Van der Kemp in New York, in full: "I have just received your favour of the 20th of January: and am sensibly touched with the Remembrance of our learned & ingenious Friend whom I saw at the Red Lyon in Leyden. I thank you for his poems. Whether you will find Purchasers for the Edition of his juvenile Poems you meditate I cannot say.—My Countrymen I fear do not sufficiently attend to Greek & Latin after they leave Colledge—perhaps not there." Professionally inlaid into a slightly larger sheet. In fine condition, with slight splitting along intersecting folds.
After leading the Dutch Patriot movement throughout the 1780s, Van der Kemp emigrated to New York in 1788. He maintained an extensive correspondence and friendship with Adams throughout the 1780s and 1790s, and was well-known by the likes of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and Hamilton. With his January 20th letter to Adams, Van der Kemp sent some of the works of the classical scholar Laurens van Santen, who passed away in 1798. Adams had been introduced to van Santen at the Golden Lion Hotel in Leiden in 1781, where they conversed on the merits of ancient Greek statesman and orator Demosthenes. At that time, Adams was serving as the ambassador to the Dutch Republic, where he laid an enduring foundation for Dutch-American friendship by securing official recognition of the United States in 1782; the Netherlands became the second country in the world, after France, to recognize America’s independence. A wonderful letter from Adams’s presidency connected to his intellectual curiosity and his important early days as a diplomat.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.