Adams Papers

To John Adams from Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 31 January 1784

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

Amsterdam 31 Jany 1784


We are favoured with the honour of your Excellency’s letter of 29 of this month, whch. should have compiared Yesterday With us.

Mr. Wm Willink did himself the honour to wait on your Excellency the night before your departure, to inform you of the unsuccessfullness of all our repeated endeavours, and notwithstanding the favourable dispositions of our Regency, Considerations of so much importance with them opposed their good intentions, that they Could not be prevailed upon disposing favourable on our request.

We have however since not been quiet, but daily occupied we are in conference with the undertakers, by offering them an extraordinary premium on the remainder of the 2 Millions, and as they’ll meet Monday morning with us to make some demands, we Should wish to receive in answer to this your Excellencies order, if we Should conclude with them, in case we could Succeed with a sacrifice of 4 to 5 Per C: on that amount, for all the extraordinary gratifications and allowances, whch. we Suppose preferable in this Juncture above a tentamen of negotiating a new Loan against Six Per C: intrest, whch. however your Excellency Seems to consider, (So as we Surely have always done) preferable to the return of the bills, if however receiving your Excellency’s authorisation to the mentioned proposals. we could not succeed, it is very well you consent to our consulting with the undertakers. abt. a new Loan, with whom we Should by no means do any thing but on Security of getting the money.1

but we want to observe to your Excellency, that the intrest of 6 Per C: is in favour of the money Lenders, and can by no means bear the charges on the Loan, So the charges must not only be payed besides the intrest, but we are in real apprehension, that instead of having been 4 1/2 Per C. in all, would amount by the Juncture of the time to 6 Per C: all together, to whch. it Should be necessary to submit, and therefore we Should be of opinion to allow rather the extraord: premium of 4 to 5 Per C. on the remainder obligations in our hands; but we Submit with respect our Judgment to your Excellencies more enlightened understanding.2

moreover we press the undertakers Seriously because we got information that the bank of philada. Stops payment, on acct. of false banknotes brought in circulation, whch. circumstance how prudent occasioned confusion there, and if it becomes publick, before we are able to conclude the matter, we are really fearfull, all our endeavours shall entierly miscarry, Some consider that for this fatal event, we must conclude the Sooner the better if possible, and not Stand on a triffle of a Percent more or less, whch. we Submit all to your Excelly’s. consideration, and beg the favour of your advice, if any thing of this Circumstance is known to you, as we should yet doubt of the veracity of this advice dated 9 dec:3

We have the honour to remain with great esteem / Sir / Your most Humb & Most / Obedient servants

Wilhem & Jan Willink

Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst

de la Lande & fynje

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excellency / John Adams Esqr / Hague”; endorsed: “Messrs Willinks & Co / 31. Jany. recd & ansd / 1. Feb. 1784.”

1In his reply of 1 Feb., JA authorized the consortium to proceed with its negotiations for a new loan (LbC, APM Reel 107).

2The terms offered should be compared with those in the proposed loan described in the 4 Feb. letters from the consortium (Adams Papers) and Wilhem & Jan Willink (JA, Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 8:175) and in the contract for the second Dutch-American loan of 9 March (Adams Papers). In the course of their negotiations, the consortium managed to diminish the ultimate cost of the loan by lowering the stated interest rate from 6 percent to 4 percent but allowing the purchasers of the notes a larger “gratification” or “gratuity” than might otherwise have been the case.

3This is a reference to the Bank of North America established by Robert Morris at Philadelphia in 1781. There were numerous instances of counterfeiting during this period, but there is no indication that the bank stopped payment on its bank notes as a consequence (Morris, Papers description begins The Papers of Robert Morris, 1781–1784, ed. E. James Ferguson, John Catanzariti, Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, Mary A. Gallagher, and others, Pittsburgh, 1973–1999; 9 vols. description ends , 1:66–68; 7:28; 8:300–303; 9:308).

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