Adams Papers

From Thomas Boylston Adams to John Quincy Adams, 23 September 1799

No 10
9 Septr: 9th:

Germantown 23d: September 1799

My dear Brother

Two days after the date of my last letter, I received your’s of the 9th:—13th: July, by which I learn, that two of your favors viz. 30th: May & 1st: July are yet missing, a circumstance of considerable regret & mortification to me, as I particularly wish to know how far my transactions, relative to your affairs, have met your approbation, and what further instructions you may have given in consequence of my letter of March to which your’s of July 1st: is an answer. We have reason to fear, that some of your letters have failed in the passage, for our parents have none from you later than 13th. May; indeed so many of our vessels have been captured this Summer, that it would be more than fortunate if all escaped, which bear letters from you. I must solicit duplicates whenever you write on business, and copies of all letters, which shall appear to be lost, as soon as you are informed thereof. For my own part, I preserve only extracts from my letters to you, but they are always those parts of them, that relate to your affairs.

With your favor of 13th: July I received the papers relative to the Jew Bluch’s property and am very happy, that my enquires, as desired in a former letter from you, render all further interference in the business, superfluous. It must be a pretty handsome fee that would induce me to wade through the original documents which you took the trouble to copy. If the Cabinet Ministers of his Prussian Majesty were informed, that business of this nature belongs to professional men, who must get a living by their trade, perhaps they would adopt a method of engaging their Services more effectual than that which they pursue. For my own part, I do not covet their patronage, nor will I give myself much trouble; gratuitously to accommodate their fellow subjects. The State Department has nothing to do with the disputes of individuals for property, unless justice is denied in the regular way; this, I remember you told the Swedish Minister, and to prevent useless trouble, it might be well to inform the Prussian Cabinet of the same fact. To oblige you I will make any & what enquiries you ask, but I will never decypher a page of German writing without payment or the prospect of it. It begins to cost me money merely to profess myself a lawyer and I should very soon be insolvent if I practised it without reward or the hope of it.

If the Graetz’s of whom I enquired relative to Bluch’s property, did not lie, Bluch, or some body for him, must have received remittances, made by his friends, (in consequence of the sale of his property) to a mercantile house in Altona, more than 18 months ago. They read me their letter to Bluch on the subject and told me they had received an acknowledgment from their correspondents of their first remittance; that they had further remittances to make on the same account, as they had sold the land in question on a credit and all the instalments were not yet paid.—Such is the account I received from Messrs: Graetz, which I wrote you in my letter of 26th: June and now repeat lest that should not reach you. Unless there be fraud therefore, somewhere or other, it is inconceivable how these applications should be reiterated. The right of Bluch to the proceeds of sale is not contested & even assurances are given, which are not easily contradicted, that the remittances have been made, as the payments became due. I think Messrs. Graetz informed me, that they had retained the first instalment, to pay charges of administering & settling the deceased Bluch’s estate.—I do not remember the name of the house to which the remittances were made.

As I have not received your previous letter with an acct: against Mr: Leuffer, I shall be careful to do nothing in the business when it arrives. If occasion should offer, I will enquire for Mr: Halberstadt.

I thank you for the intellectual portion of your favor of the 9th: July, which has supplied me & others with accurate details of European affairs. We are very well satisfied with the difficulties & dangers that our good friends the Ex Directors & Ex Ministers are contending against with so much desperation. Their day of account is a serious one to them & presages, encore une grande operation de plus, pour épurer la grande nation. Our friend Perrigord defends himself manfully—Rewbell says he never approved the Egyptian expedition—Lacroix intimates that its object was changed from the original design, which he glories in having planned. La Garde swears that he has but seven horses instead of eleven & that the fitting up of his apartments did not cost 150,000 livres. These are all the defences I have yet seen, but these are enough to prove, that unless the accused have better protections than these, the roll of their equipage will soon be sensibly diminished and utterly ineffectual against total condemnation of hull & cargo.

I have an idea that Boulay de la Meurthe distinguished himself in the revolution of fructidor on the side of the Directory, and am at a loss to discover the motive for his activity in vindicating the authority of the so long degraded Legislative Councils. Amidst these convulsions are we to expect the recall of Carnet, Barthelemi & Co: or is it a revival, pure & simple of the reign of terror? What dispositions will our new Commissioners have to encounter upon their arrival? They have not yet sailed from this Country, though Talleyrand says they had already reached France when he published his defence. The Coalition, it is apprehended here will attempt again a restoration of the Monarchy & for this purpose will endeavor to make an impression upon the french territory. The failure of this project is already predicted with confidence. Holland is menaced with an invasion by sea & it is generally thought that the means of defence will prove inadequate. The Colony of Surrinam has fallen into the hands of the British.

You may hear of the resignation of Truxton & his abandonment of the naval service in disgust. He was too proud to serve in the rank, which has been judged to belong to him. Our cruisers on the West India Station are numerous & useful, but our seamen and trade are harrassed by the British in too many instances, if we may credit the publications on this head. The Commissioners under the 6th: article of the Treaty have suspended their proceedings in consequence of a dispute of construction and the probability of a speedy renewal is small.

Since you have changed your purpose with respect to your Dutch Obligations, I [. . .] conform to your last proposal, and send you herewith a letter for the Willinks, requesting [. . .] hold to your order the five Obligations belonging to me with the interest which accrued upon them last June. I shall apply, in your name, for two thousand dollars in January, as authorised. Though you have made up your mind to retain these obligations, I am convinced you might save the sacrifice upon the sale of them, by employing the money here. You are the best judge however of this.

I wrote you respecting some money I left with Pitcairn & requested an exchange if it suited your convenience. I still retain the same disposition, though I wish only the regular course of exchange in my favor. I hope to get your answer to the proposal e’re long.

Since my last letter a favorable change has taken place in the health of the City and we hope to return in safety by the middle of next month. I have a letter from my Father of the 14th: instt: at which time himself and the family were well.

Present me kindly to your Louisa and all friends and believe me with the truest affection Your brother,

T. B. Adams

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