To F. & A. Dubbeldemuts
Amsterdam June 21. 1781
I had, this morning, the Honour of your Letter of the Seventeenth of June, and have read over, attentively, the Papers enclosed.1
It does not appear, by the Record of the Tryal that any Person claimed the Vessel, or any Part of the Cargo, on behalf, of the owners; although it appears, by the Protest of the Master that his Mate was Sent, in the Sloop to Charlestown. Nor do I See, in the Papers any Evidence to determine to whom the Cargo belonged, whether to Dutch or English Merchants.
It appears, that the Privateers and their owners, belonged to Charlestown, which is now under the Domination of the English.
From all these Considerations together, I am apprehensive you will find it difficult to obtain a Remedy, as So long a time has elapsed, Since the Transaction.
However, if I can be of any Service to you in this Business, or in the other which you mention, relative to the Vessels recaptured by M. De la Motte Piquet, it will give me particular Pleasure. Your Friend, when ever he Shall be pleased to call upon me, I Shall be very glad to See, and to consult with him, concerning any further Particulars.2
I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The documents enclosed with the letter of 17 June have not been found, but JA’s comments in the following three paragraphs refer to the Dutch sloop Chester. According to the deposition of William Bray, captain of the Chester, the South Carolina privateers Experiment and Fair American took the sloop off Bermuda on 14 June 1777. Bray contended that the vessel and its cargo were Dutch and as such were not liable to capture. The case of the Chester, condemned on 14 July 1777 at Charleston, dragged on until 1787, when the U.S. Court of Appeals decided in favor of the captors. Since the real owner of the sloop, although Dutch, was a permanent resident in British territory the court ruled that the vessel and its cargo were a good prize (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 10:950–952). For additional information on the case of the Chester brought before the U.S. Commissioners at Paris in 1777 and 1778, see vol. 7:288–289.
2. In their reply of 27 June (Adams Papers), the Dubbeldemutses noted that Mr. Rocqùette, a Rotterdam merchant, wished to meet with JA at Amsterdam concerning “some goods of his frinds in America” on board the vessels from St. Eustatius that La Motte-Picquet captured and sent into Brest. Rocqùette’s friends were probably Samuel Curson and Isaac Gouverneur Jr. (Franklin, Papers description begins The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, William B. Willcox (from vol. 15), Claude A. Lopez (vol. 27), Barbara B. Oberg (from vol. 28), Ellen R. Cohn (from vol. 36), and others, New Haven, 1959– . description ends , 35:181). For JA’s meeting with Rocqùette, see J. Rocqùette, Th. A. Elsevier, & P. Th. Rocqùette’s letter of 3 July, below.