Adams Papers

From John Adams to Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 19 November 1782

To Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje

Paris November 19. 1782


Your Favour of 15th. Instant is this moment come to Hand. Mr Le Couteulx & Mr Grand called upon me last Evening upon the Same subject.— I told them both what I now repeat to you “That I have no Right, Power or Authority, whatsoever to give any orders, Directions or Advice in this Matter, Mr Morris alone, having the Authority of Congress to dispose of the Money.”—1 But if my opinion as a Man and a private Citizen would give them any Satisfaction it was, that Mr Le Couteulx should draw upon you at present, only for one Million of Florins, and leave the rest after Mr Grand Shall have drawn out the 400,000 Livres for the Interest of the Money borrowed by the King of France, in Holland, to pay the Draughts of Mr Morris as they may arrive, or to be paid hereafter to Mr Le Couteulx or Mr Grand, according as Necessities may appear.2

There was no Copy of Mr Morris’s Letter inclosed in yours to me. I Should be glad if Mr Dumas would hasten in all the Accounts of Repairs to the House, and let them be paid off.

I know not, when the Obstructions to Trade will all be removed by a Peace.— But if the Nations of the armed Neutrality Should all follow the Example of the King of Great Britain, in acknowledging our Independence, and protect their own Ships in going and coming to and from our Ports, I think the Impediments to Trade between Holland and America, would be lessened. I have the Honour to be, with much Esteem, Gentlemen, your most obedient and humble Servant

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Messs Wilhem and Jan Willink, Nicholas and Jacob / Van Staphorst and De la Lande and Fynje.”; APM Reel 108.

1Closing quotation marks supplied.

2JA refers to Congress’ resolutions of 27 Nov. and 3 Dec. 1781, and 14 Sept. 1782, copies of which Morris enclosed with his letter of 25 Sept. (vol. 13:491–492). They gave Morris full power to dispose of all money raised in Europe. Despite his lack of formal authority, JA’s recommendation may have had some effect. Beginning with a remittance on 28 Nov. and continuing with additional ones on 5, 6, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, and 30 Dec. 1782 and 2 and 16 Jan. 1783, the consortium sent Le Couteulx & Co. ƒ 958,083.16.8 that, with the addition of the agio of 4 3 / 8 percent (the premium for bank money over current money), equaled one million florins. In addition, in Feb. and March 1783 two payments were made to Grand totaling ƒ 373,499 (DNA:RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, Microfilm, Reel 1, f. 63, 293).

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