Adams Papers

From John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, 29 April 1799

29 April 1799

The day after I wrote you last; I received yours of 17 Jany: brought by Mr. McHenry, and which in Chronological order should have come to hand first. My present object is only to say something relative to my own affairs.

By letters from our mother written before your arrival, I learnt how Charles had conducted, with regard to my property....To comment upon his proceedings would be useless, but it leads me to [offer] to you, that what I have committed to you, I consider as in every respect a trust, for which I consider you as responsible as I should any other agent, and that I expect you will never have the least idea, that you have the right to dispose of it, as if your own property, or in any other manner than for my use and conformably to my directions. I require of you regular, formal annual accounts of my property, and hope you will never [. . .] wasting the means of future subsistence which I am endeavouring to provide for my family, add the [. . .] insult of saying, that instead of legal documents and deeds, you will become personally liable for the amount.—You will never think yourself entitled to betray my confidence because I am your brother, or to ruin me, because I cannot take the law of you.

In November last Charles wrote to our mother, and promised to pay, by the 1st: of January, [. . .] at home the interest due upon my monies in his hands. This promise he did not perform. With respect to the Interest, I wish you to neglect no opportunity to obtain the payment of it; (I do not mean however by legal process) by the amount every year that the interest accumulates, the whole debt will become more desperate.

I find by the same letters from our mother that Dr. Webster had delivered over my papers in his hands to mr. Smith. But unaccompanied by any account, only saying that he had sent an amount to me. But I have received none, though his Son has lately received letters from him. The last account from him I received by his Son, and it comes down to July last. I enclose herewith a copy of it, and together with the former accounts it charges up to the thirteenth assessment upon [. . .] inclusively, as paid. It acknowledges then a balance of 293 dollars 28 1/2 cents in his hands, and after that he must have received three quarters Rent, amounting to 162 dollars and 50 cents, from Mrs. [. . .]. Yet I learn that when he delivered up the papers, there were two hundred dollars due of assessment upon my share. The 30th assessment [. . .] 10th: of July 1798 [. . .] the assessments were only of 5 dollars for each Share, and payable only once a month, during the summer Season, it appears improbable that 200 dollars could be due upon five shares between the 10th: of July and the time when the Doctor delivered over my papers. I am afraid therefore that he has charged my account with payments which he had not made, and that the balance of cash due from him to me will be larger than I had apprehended. Let me know [. . .] what number of assessments had been paid by him before he gave up the papers, and send me a list of the papers themselves which he delivered.

In your Letter of 28. Jany: you observe that the exchange was unfavourable for drawing upon Europe, and that you intended to enquire whether you could not receive the [. . .] for which I had authorised you to draw. I wish you had done it, as I presume [. . .] been no difficulty [. . .]. I have received the Secy: of States credit upon the House of Bird Savage [. . .] you would perhaps draw, in my [. . .] discharge your bills which they assured me, they would [. . .] you have not already received the money, you may either [. . .] draw for it upon Bird Savage and Bond, as you shall [. . .].

I should [. . .] had you employed this from in the [. . .] duty to [. . .] saved in its Service to the Government [. . .] purchasing an house in Boston [. . .] respect there is no [. . .] precipitation.

With respect to [. . .] in Holland I believe [. . .] them there, and with their produce purchase other [. . .] at [. . .]. If you think this [. . .] I will withdraw from Holland the proceeds of the sale, and you may receive the amount by an order from me upon Mr. [. . .] because I can employ the [. . .] in Holland for my own [. . .] from time to time and thereby have my Salary to be drawn by you. Write me whether you think this better. We have enough in this respect, because the next Interest upon the obligations is payable on the 1st: of June, which [. . .] you cannot receive, as there is not time to make the transfer before that period; and afterwards we have a year before us to make the arrangements. If you like my plans you may receive from Mrs. Pickering on account of my Salary 2000 dollars on the 1st: of September, November, and January [. . .] three payments will be equivalent to the whole amount of our obligations... And one of them will of course be for yourself. Upon the sale of your obligations there will doubtless be a [. . .] of 7 or 8 [. . .] but you may nevertheless draw the full sum of 2000 dollars from Mr. Pickering and consider the difference as your compensation for purchasing new securities with my part of the proceeds, and otherwise for your attention to my business. In this case as in all others I wish you to be well paid for agency, as I [. . .] rigorous discharge of an agent’s duty—

So much for my business. Yours that you have left here is not as I could wish—Your horse [. . .] and there never has been made an offer of more than 16 Louis dors for him. The last Season for grain and fodder was extremely scanty, so that the price of Oats and Hay and [. . .] has nearly twice doubled since you went away. This rise in forage has occasioned a proportionate fall in the value of horses. Whitcomb says he has not sold yours because you forbad him to think of taking so little as 16 [. . .]. I for my part know of old what horse dealing is. I am afraid your’s in the end will [. . .] you [. . .]. I once had the honour of owning, and which I suppose you remember.

Your caution to me in your letter of January respecting my communications I do not fully understand, and the explanation in the next letter, renders it [. . .] more intelligible.

Your’s most faithfully,

MHi: Adams Family Papers, Letterbooks.

Index Entries