Berlin, 10 June 1800
My dear brother
I have remitted to Mr. King in London five hundred pounds sterling, for which I have informed him that I should authorize you to draw upon my account, and which he will accordingly discharge upon bills drawn by you.
I wish you to take the first opportunity of a favourable exchange upon London, to draw for this moneys which you will employ for me as you shall see most expedient In the same manner, and upon the same terms as you have hitherto [. . .] cases since your return to America.
I believe that the period when the exchange upon England is the most advantageous for drawing, is in the months of September and October, which I suppose will be about the time when you will receive this letter—You may draw at thirty days, or even a shorter sight if you can get more for the bill thereby—I have no particular directions to give concerning the employment of the money, only that you will do it with your usual prudence and attention to my interest—I wish you likewise to keep always as little money <
as possible> unemployed at any time, as you conveniently can; but whenever you receive for interest more than will be called for any probable demand to put it out again The consideration that when I return to America, the funds in your hands will be in a manner my sole dependence for the subsistence of my family, will excuse to you the repeated prudential cautions which I give upon this subject.
You do not mention in your letters, whether you had done any thing further, concerning the additional balance due to me by Dr. Welsh, by his having charged me in his accounts with five assessments upon my shares in the Middlesex Canal more than he had really paid—It makes a difference of 125 dollars, which ought to be added to his note, whatever the value of that may be When I reflect in this instance, to what things the want of money can lead such a man as I am sure Dr. Welsh was, I feel myself involuntarily grow a miser. I am convinced no one who has not suffered it knows what the operation of want would be upon his moral character, nor to what actions its pressure might reduce him. Such things ought not to make us distrust all human virtue, but how deeply ought they to impress upon our minds the duty of avoiding whatever might on our own part contribute to place us in such a condition, as to put our virtue to the test of such extremities?
I observe that Dr. Tufts had made a small addition to the little I hold in the Union bank. I should like to have the balances of interest you may receive the next two half years, employed in the same manner But this only in case you should go to Boston; so as to transact the business yourself, or that you should deduct the 2 per cent which Dr. Tufts charges from the 5 per cent which you charge for receiving and again employing my interests otherwise I should pay 7 per cent for charges of agency upon the same sum—whereas my intention has always been to pay only 5, and it has been always so understood between us.—Yet Dr. Tufts’s charge is perfectly reasonable, and on the other hand I should be sorry to have any deduction made from your’s
I remark further in his account, with several charges for repairs upon my house in Boston; by my lease with Mrs. Whitwell I was not to be chargeable with any repairs at all—But as that lease expired last October, and I find you have renewed it, at an advance of rent, perhaps that clause may have been omitted in the new lease. The charges in the account, amount in the whole to almost one quarter’s rent, but as the heaviest falls at a date subsequent to the expiration of my lease, I hope the increased rent will prove an indemnity for it.
I have received your letter of 1 April, with the enclosed copy of Jacob Mark’s letter to you—I am sorry that Mr Engel’s debt is in such a desperate condition for the poor man’s dependence for a subsistence for himself his wife and children, was all there as he assures me—Other people are unfortunate in their choice of Agents I see, as much as I have been, but few are so lucky in the same particular, as I now am.
Your affectionate brother
John Q. Adams
MHi: Adams Papers.