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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0188-0001

Author: Lagoanere, Michel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-26

From Michel Lagoanere

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai crû devoir differer de repondre a la depeche que Vôtre Excellence m'a fait l'honneur de m'adresser le 18 du Courant jusqu'a ce que { 302 } je pusse rendre compte de Succès de mes demarches pour l'execution de Ses ordres. Je n'ai rien negligé pour y parvenir, mais j'ai eu la mortification d'éprouver que tous mes soins n'ont pas été suffisants a cet égard et qu'il ne m'a pas été possible de faire preparer les choses aussi promptement que Vôtre Excellence le desiroit pour Son départ.
Le Carosse qui S'attendoit de Madrid en cette ville et qu'un homme que j'avois envoyé a Betanzos2 pour l'arreter afin d'en avoir la préférence a attendu inutillement pendant deux jours3 S'en étoit retourné avant d'y arriver. II ne m a plus resté de ressource pour le remplacer que celle de Louer des chaises. J'ai envoyé a St. Jacques pour entraiter avec un particulier d'ici nommé Ramon Sanz qui en tient de Louage et qui étoit alors dans la ditte Ville et a Son arrivée je Suis convenu avec lui qu'il en fourniroit trois pour le prix de trente doublons ou quatre Vingt dix piastres fortes4 chacune jusqu'a Madrid sous les différentes conditions que contient le contrat que j'ai l'honneur de remettre a Vôtre Excellence avec la traduction.5 J'ai payé d'avance et a Compte au dit Ramon Quatre Vingt dix piastres fortes.
J'ai loué également trois mulets de selle pour les trois domestiques a trente piastres fortes chacune pour aller a Madrid ou a Bayonne sous la condition de payer une piastre forte de plus pour chaque jour que Vôtre Excellence jugera a propos de s'arretter dans la route et en outre Six reaux vellon par jour jusqu'a l'arrivée a Madrid ou a Bayonne pour raison de nourriture a chacun des deux garçons qui partent pour avoir Soïn de ces trois mules et de celle du guide que M Le Consul de France vous a procuré. Sans rien de plus, La nourriture des mules et tous autres fraix, S'il y en a, devant être a la charge des Conducteurs a qui il a été payé d'avance et a Compte quarante Cinq piastres fortes.
Le Nommé Michel Martinez qui doit vous Servir de guide, de pourvoyeur, et d'interprette dans la route jusqu'a Madrid ou Bayonne est ajusté pour le prix de cinquante piastres fortes dans lequel est Compris le Loyer et la nourriture de Sa mule qui est a Sa charge et quant a Sa nourriture personnelle il a été convenu qu'il l'a prendroit avec les Domestiques. Il a aussi reçu d'avance et a Compte Quinze piastres fortes.
J'ai encore Loué au Maragato6 nommé antoine Arecs deux mulets qui doivent Suivre les voitures et porter jusqu'a la Concurrence de Six quintaux pezant jusqu'a Astorga7 pour le prix de Dix piastres fortes et en outre deux piastres fortes qu'il a été Convenu de lui allouer pour Sa détention ici pour ne partir qu'avec les voitures et les Suivre faisant en tout Douze piastres fortes Sans rien de plus pour quelque raison que ce soit Si ce n'est dans le cas ou Vôtre Excellence jugeroit a propos de le détenir dans la route que Sa depense et celle de Ses mulets devra être { 303 } payée pendant tous le temps de Sa détention a moins qu'il ne fut lui même forcé de Se detenir par la neige ou le mauvais temps. II a reçu d'avance et a Compte 2 piastres fortes.
Monsieur Le Consul de france S'est chargé de faire embarquer les côffres et les malles que Vôtre Excellence lui a laissé Sur la premiere frégate ou Vaisseau de guerre qui sortira de ce port pour france aux adresses qui y Sont mises et j'aurai Soin d'écrire pour prevenir les personnes qui devront les retirer pour les tenir a la disposition de Vôtre Excellence.
J'ai l'honneur de remettre a Vôtre Excellence un état des debours qui ont été faits par moi qui comprend Les Deux cents piastres fortes que lui a compté le Vice Consul de france au ferrol, l'argent que je lui ay compté moi même et les payements que j'ai fait ici Le tout montant a Soixante mille reaux de veillon ou Trois mille piastres fortes, et comme je me trouve dépositaire de fonds provenants des prises faites par le Cutter La Revanche Sous le Commandement de M Gustavus Conyngham qui sont Saisir en mes mains par la justice de pays et dont la propieté d'un autre Coté est elle même contestée je laisse a la justice et a la pénetration de Vôtre Excellence de prendre les arrangements qui lui paroitront les plus convenables pour me mettre a l'abri de toute espece d'evenement soit qu'il faille justifier de l'emploi de cette quantité vis a vis des propriétaires qu'els qu'ils soient soit que je Sois forcé en justice de représenter immediatement la somme totale Saisie dans mes mains.
Je remets également a Vôtre Excellence la lettre pour MM Pre. Casamayor et Companie Banquiers a Madrid et celle pour MM Cabarrus Pere et fils Jeune negociants a Bayonne qu'elle a bien voulu me permettre d'avoir l'honneur de lui présenter.8
Il ne me reste qu'a Souhaiter a Vôtre Excellence le plus heureux voyage a lui demander Sa protection, et a desirer qu'elle veuille bien me procurer les occasions de lui prouver ma reconnoissance mon Zele et le respect profond avec lequel Je Suis Monsieur Votre tres humble et très obeissant Serviteur
[signed] Michel Lagoanere

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0188-0002

Author: Lagoanere, Michel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-26

Michel Lagoanere to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I thought that I should postpone answering the letter of 18 December, which Your Excellency did me the honor to send, until I could give you an account of the success of my efforts in the execution of your orders. I neglected nothing, but am mortified to find that all my pains have been insufficient and it has been impossible to prepare things as promptly as Your Excellency wished for his departure.
{ 304 }
Anticipating the coach from Madrid, I sent a man to Betanzos2 to intercept and reserve it. He waited for two days, to no avail,3 and returned before its arrival. My only recourse then was to rent chaises. I sent to St. Jacques to negotiate with Ramon Sanz, a man from here who rents them and was then in the said town, and on his return we agreed that he would furnish three chaises at thirty doblons or ninety pesos fortes4 each to go to Madrid in accordance with the various stipulations in the contract, which I have the honor to remit to Your Excellency with a translation.5 I paid the said Ramon, in advance and on account, ninety pesos fortes.
I have also rented three saddle mules for the three servants at thirty pesos fortes each, to go to Madrid or Bayonne on condition of paying one additional peso for each day Your Excellency stops along the way and another six reals de vellon per day until your arrival at Madrid or Bayonne to feed the two boys in charge of the mules, and the guide obtained by the French consul. That is all, the feeding of the mules and other expenses that might occur being the responsibility of the boys, who were paid in advance and on account forty-five pesos fortes.
Michel Martinez, who is to serve as your guide, supplier, and interpreter on the road to Madrid or Bayonne, has agreed to the sum of fifty pesos fortes, which includes the rental and feeding of his mule and, in regard to his own food, he has agreed to take his meals with the servants. He also has received, in advance and on account, fifteen pesos fortes.
In addition, I rented from a Maragato,6 Antoine Areca, two mules, which will follow the chaises and carry up to six quintals as far as Astorga,7 for the price of ten pesos fortes and an additional two pesos fortes has been agreed upon to allow for his remaining here until the departure of the chaises, and then to follow them, making in all twelve pesos fortes with no additional charges, unless Your Excellency wishes to stop on the road in which case he will be reimbursed for his own expenses and for his mules during the period of his detention unless he, himself, was detained because of snow or bad weather. He has received, in advance and on account, two pesos fortes.
The French consul has taken it upon himself to put the chests and trunks Your Excellency left with him aboard the first frigate or man-of-war leaving this port for France and the addresses marked on them, and I will write to ensure that the people who receive them will hold them for Your Excellency's disposition.
I have the honor to remit to Your Excellency a statement of disbursments made by me, which includes the two hundred pesos fortes furnished by the French vice consul at Ferrol, the money I provided, and the payments that I have made here, the whole amounting to sixty thousand reals de vellon or three thousand pesos fortes. And as I find myself custodian of the funds arising from the prizes taken by the cutter Revenge, Captain Gustavus Conyngham, which were entrusted to me by { 305 } the courts of the country, and of which the ownership is being contested, I leave to Your Excellency's justice and sagacity the arrangements which will seem to him most appropriate to protect me from any difficulties that might arise were we forced to justify the use of these funds to the owners, whoever they may be, and were I forced to produce in court these funds, which are known to be in my hands.
I send also the letters for Messrs. Pre. Casamayor and Company, bankers in Madrid, and for Messrs. Cabarrus, father and son, merchants at Bayonne, which you wished me to convey to you.8
It only remains for me to wish Your Excellency the happiest of trips, ask God's protection, and hope that you will give me every occasion to prove to you my gratitude, zeal, and the profound respect with which I am, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Michel Lagoanere
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lagoanere 26. Decr. 1779.” For enclosures see notes 5 and 8.
1. On this day at “half after two” in the afternoon, JA and his party set off for Paris, where they arrived on 9 Feb. 1780. Lagoanere accompanied the party to its first stop at Betanzos. For accounts by JA and JQA of this long and arduous journey, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:415–435 ; 4:213–240 ; JQA, Diary, 1:19–32 ; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:258–260 . John Thaxter's letters to AA, Adams Family Correspondence, 3:267, 276–278, and Francis Dana's Journal, 1779–1780, MHi, supplement these accounts.
2. About fifteen miles southeast of La Coruña, this town, the ancient capital of Galicia, was the first stop on the road to Madrid.
3. Lagoanere interlined “a attendu inutillement pendant deux jours.”
4. Since 1686 Spain had possessed two money systems. The first, the more valuable of the two and referred to here as “forte,” was the moneda de plata antigua, which was the money used to settle accounts. The second was the moneda devellon, which was used for everyday commercial transactions. In this passage Lagoanere is referring to both types of money in terms of their different values and is, for the most part, careful to distinguish between them. The relation between a doblon and a peso was one doblon to four pesos, but, according to Lagoanere, three pesos fortes equaled one doblon de vellon. Approximately the same difference in value can be seen later in the letter when Lagoanere gives the total of the disbursements made by him on behalf of JA and his party. There he refers to 60,000 reals de vellon equaling 3,000 pesos fortes. The relation between the peso and the real was 1:32; thus, had the transaction been conducted wholly in moneda de plata antigua, the amounts would have been 3,000 pesos fortes or 96,000 reals fortes (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 98–100).
5. Not found.
6. The Maragatos, who lived in La Maragateria region just west of Astorga, were thought to be descendants of the original Celtiberian inhabitants. For JA's brief description of them, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:420, 421.
7. This city is about one hundred and forty miles southeast of La Coruña, more than a third of the way to Madrid. It was there that JA decided not to continue to the Spanish capital, but to proceed directly east and north to France (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:421–22; 4:231 ; JQA, Diary, 1:23).
8. The first of these letters is in the Adams Papers and was not used because JA did not go to Madrid (see JA to Pedro Casamayor & Co., 31 Jan. 1780, below). The second letter has not been found, presumably because it was presented to the merchants at Bayonne (JA to Lagoanere, 24 Jan. 1780, below).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/