Adams Papers

From John Adams to John Marshall, 21 August 1800

Quincy, Aug. 21, 1800.

Dear Sir:

I received last night your letter of the 16th. I am well satisfied with all its contents. The only thing which requires any observation from me, is the proposed instruction to Mr. King. As far as I am able to form a conjecture, five millions of dollars are more than sufficient, provided the British creditors are at liberty to prosecute in our courts, and recover all the debts which are now recoverable. I agree, however, with the heads of department, that it is better to engage to pay by instalments, or otherwise, as may be agreed, the whole sum, than to be puzzled and teased with a new board and two or three years’ incessant wrangles. I should be for instructing Mr. King to obtain the lowest sum possible, but to go as far as five millions rather than fail. I wish Mr. King may be furnished with as many reasons as can be thought of for reducing the sum. I pray you to prepare a letter to Mr. King, as soon as possible; and as we are all so well agreed in all principles, I do not think it necessary to transmit it to me, &c &c.

Printed Source--Charles R. King, ed. Life and Correspondence of Rufus King. 6 vols. (New York, 1894-1900)..

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