Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard, 11 May 1791

To Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard

Philadelphia May. 11. 1791.


In my letter of Mar. 19. I inclosed you the Treasurer’s bill on you for ninety nine thousand current gilders, erroneously calling them ninety thousand, and after specifying what calls were to be answered from them in the first instance, I mentioned that I would at a future day send further and final instructions for the application of the whole sum. This is destined to pay the salaries of Colo. Humphreys, Mr. Short, Mr. Carmichael and Mr. Dumas, the three former being allowed four thousand five hundred dollars a year, and Mr. Dumas the sum you have heretofore paid him; as also certain contingent expences for postage, couriers &c. defined to them either in general or occasional instructions. You will therefore be pleased to answer their draughts for their salaries and contingent expences, taking on ourselves the trust in their discretion as to the amount of their draughts for contingent expences. As they may at times be charged with special commissions from other departments for disbursements not to be made out of this fund, be pleased, in arranging the epochs and forms of their draughts, to desire that the draught when chargeable on this fund must express that it is to be paid ‘for the department of state.’ My separate responsibility for this fund forbids my permitting any disbursements to enter into the account which do not belong to it. I must beg the favor of you also to make up your account to the close of the last day of June this present year, into which no expences are to enter which preceded the 1st. day of July 1790. these being the dates of the appropriation of the law. I inclose you a duplicate of the treasurer’s bill for 99,000 gilders, and am with great esteem Gentlemen Your most obedient & most humble servt.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC). FC (DNA: RG 59, DCI). Enclosure: Dupl of Treasurer’s bill, triplicates of which Coxe had transmitted to TJ along with copies of the letter of advice, suggesting that these might be “connected by wafers to the Bills for 99000 Guilders on Amsterdam” (Coxe to TJ, 19 Mch. 1791; PHi: Coxe Papers).

Letters of advice were usually, though not always, sent separately, and properly, in advance of bills of exchange, but whether TJ followed Coxe’s advice to attach them to the bills is not known. The bankers called TJ’s attention not to the error he had made in the amount but to the fact that he had failed to endorse the bill. They therefore requested that “a second properly transferred” be sent (Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard to TJ, 20 May 1791; RC in DNA: RG 59, AR; recorded in SJL as received 4 Aug. 1791). Immediately on receiving this request, TJ forwarded the bill for 99,000 guilders and added: “I hope you will have recieved my letter of May 11‥‥and that your account of this fund from July 1. 1790. to June 30. 1791. inclusive is on it’s way to me that I may recieve it in time to lay before Congress at their meeting.—Lest I should have omitted also to endorse the 1st. and 2d. of the bills for 32,175 currt. gilders, I enclose you a triplicate of that duly endorsed” (TJ to Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard, 5 Aug. 1791; PrC in DLC; FC in DNA: RG 59, DCI). In this hope TJ was disappointed. The bankers sent the account on receiving the above letter, but it reached TJ only after the adjournment of Congress and after he had written a stern admonition (Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard to TJ, 24 Oct. 1791; see TJ’s letter of 23 Jan. 1792).

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