Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Nicolas & Jacob van Staphorst, 19 September 1785

From Nicolas & Jacob van Staphorst

Amsterdam 19 September 1785

We are honored with Your Excellency’s esteemed Favor of 31 July and are much Obligated by the very particular and satisfactory Manner in which you have furnished your Opinion of the Value of the different species of Public Funds in America. The Settlement of the Concerns of Mess. De la Lande and Fynje in any other possible Way than by Acceding to Mr. Daniel Parker’s Proposal presenting numberless difficulties, great delay and very considerable Losses, The Trustees have judged it to be for the General Advantage to enter into a Treaty with Mr. Parker, of which we forwarded Intelligence to the Honorable The Commissioners of the Board of Treasury of the United States of America ⅌ inclosed Copy of Mess. W. & J. Willink and Our joint Letter on the Subject, Whereto we beg your Reference, entreating Your Excellency’s Sentiments relative to our Proceedings in this Business.

We have now the Pleasure to communicate that the Trustees of the Estate of De la Lande and Fynje have agreed with Mr. Parker upon the principal Conditions on which that Gentleman is to take over all the remaining Goods and debts in America due to the society of Geyer, De la Lande and Fynje &c. so that there is not any thing of Consequence to be further argued except some Points of Regulation, Which are not of a Nature to endanger the Plan.

It is with sincere satisfaction We can assure you Mr. Parker’s Conduct throughout has been manly, candid, and explicit, Which joined to the Idea we entertain of his Character And the Informations we have had of his past Situation and Circumstances, tranquilize us about his Intention and Ability to fulfill his Engagement And thereby terminate satisfactorily a Transaction attended with this very singular Circumstance: That at same time the Concerned in the Estate of de la Lande and Fynje will benefit in a very extensive degree By the Transfer to Mr. Parker, That Gentleman will reap considerable Advantages by being able to raise a large Sum of Money upon a deposit, so peculiarly situated that at present it would not admit of a Conversion into specie but thro’ an enormous sacrifice.

Should your Excellency please to favor us with your Advice or any Hints you may judge necessary, They will be received and attended to with the greatest Attention. Having the Honor to be with Sincere Respect and Regard Your Excellency’s Most obdt. & very hble. Servs.,

Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst

RC (DLC); endorsed. Enclosure: Copy of W. & J. Willink and N. & J. van Staphorst to commissioners of the treasury, without date, concerning the affairs of the estate of De la Lande & Fynje whose trusteeship they have assumed; they hope the commissioners will approve of Daniel Parker’s proposal to take over from the estate all the goods shipped to America at their original prices and discharge the full value in twelve to fifteen years, depositing as collateral “Double the Amounts of the Goods in Continental Funds bearing an Interest of six ⅌ Cent.,” plus 5 per cent interest until the whole obligation is liquidated; they think almost all of the creditors in Europe will approve the plan and added: “We would hesitate more in case it appeared to be mysterious how Mr. Parker will make his Accounts, but this we think is clear to a Man who knows that from the present scarcity of Money the most solid Continental debts must necessarily sell in America with difficulty and under their real value and that probably this will change very much in the Twelve or Fifteen years after which Mr. Parker will be obliged to discharge his Bonds, and Consequently he will at the same time have the command of the money proceeding from the sales and the Prospect of the Rise of his Stock. This Consideration makes us believe that his Proposal is fair and honest”; from “the many infamous Reports by the Way of England” concerning public and private business on the Continent, together with the failure of American houses in Europe, American credit had sunk below what it was during the war: “Now we beg you to consider what a new stroke it would receive in case Congress should decline to accept a Security for its own Engagements for double the Amount of a Debt due to it‥‥and on the Contrary What will be the Consequences of its Accepting the Proposals. It will persuade People here of the Solidity of the Union and the sacredness of their Engagements and May contribute to restore the American Credit, Which will operate advantageously upon any new Loans Congress may wish to raise when more favorable Junctures shall offer” (Tr. in DLC: TJ Papers, 17: 3059–60).

TJ’s letter of 31 July is dated 30 July in SJL, SJPL, and PrC.

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