Papers of John Adams, volume 13

From Jean de Neufville & Fils, 5 July 1782 Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business) JA From Jean de Neufville & Fils, 5 July 1782 Neufville, Jean de, & Fils (business) Adams, John
From Jean de Neufville & Fils
Amsterdam July 5: 1782 Sir

Agreable to Your Excellencys directions1 We have the honour to inclose two bills for acceptance viz.

No 84 in date of 6 July 1780 } drawn by F Hopkinson order J Carleton on The Honble: Col Laurens for f550 each.
85 . . . . . . . . do do

Mrs. Delalande Fynje told us some time ago it is true that they had directions to pay us 2 accounts for Your Excellency one publik and one private but how great our personal reguard be for these gentlemen, we did not Suppose it was the choice of Your Excellency 165that they Should look into these accounts—because that will be exactly as your Excellency will Chuse to direct us. We wonder a little at the observations you still are pleased to make upon these accounts—the Stamps could not have been got of the same date after the first Jany 82 and the 500 last were only ordered in December. We will restrain from any other observation or Apology. The frames we omitted on Purpose the print having been given by our friend Coll Trumbull we wished to pay Your Excellency the Compliment of the frame and we beg that it may stand as it is as to that of Young Mr Adams picture as their may not be the Same propriety we may add it to the account though its almost too trifling a matter to be remembered.

We have the honour to be Sir Your Excellencys Most Obedient & Very humble Servants

John de Neufville Son

RC (Adams Papers).


See JA to de Neufville & Fils, 3 July, above.

From Lewis R. Morris, 6 July 1782 Morris, Lewis R. JA From Lewis R. Morris, 6 July 1782 Morris, Lewis R. Adams, John
From Lewis R. Morris
No: 1 4plicate Office of foreign Affairs 6th. July 1782 Sir

The same opportunity which carries this to Europe, also conveys Bills to Doctor Franklin, for the amount of the Salaries due our foreign Ministers, from the first day of January to the first day of April 1782.

Your Salary for that time is £650 stg reduced to Dollars at 4/6 sterg. is 2.777 68/90 Doles. Exchange at 6/3 Curreny for 5. Livres is. 14.583 lt Livres, You will draw on Doctor Franklin for this sum.1

I am sorry it is out of my power to include in this account, the allowance you make your private Secretary, and the contingent Expences of your Office, but not possest of any rule to estimate either of these Charges, they must necessarily remain unsettled, till we are informed of their amount, you will be pleased to advise Mr Livingston on this subject as soon as possible, with the state of your account, that it may be settled, and the arrears if any, remitted to you.

I have the honor to be your Excellency's most obedient humble Servant.

L R Morris

RC and enclosure (MHi: John Adams, Embassy MSS); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Hague”; endorsed: “L. R. Morris 6. July 1782 relative to Salary.” This letter was written on a sheet folded to make four pages. On the third page is a duplicate of Lewis Morris' letter of 9 Aug. (Adams Papers) concerning JA's salary from 1 April to 1 July, and enclosed is a bill signed by Robert Morris and drawn on the Grands at Paris for JA's salary for that period. For other copies of this letter, see note 1, below.


The figures given by Morris in this letter are confusing. The first problem is that he entered the wrong sum for JA's salary. In 1779, Congress set the yearly salary of a minister at £2,500 sterling per year or, as in this letter, £625 per quarter ( JCC , 15:1145). In fact, Morris used that figure when he computed the sum in dollars, but the dollar amount should be 2,777 70/90 at an exchange rate of 4s. 6d. per dollar. In the second conversion to French livres tournois, Morris refers to the exchange rate between Pennsylvania currency and livres tournois. At par value, £166.67 Pennsylvania currency was worth £100 sterling. Therefore, £625 sterling equaled £1,041.67 Pennsylvania currency, which, at 6s. 3d. Pennsylvania currency per 5 , equaled 16,666 13s., rather than the 14,583 that Morris gives in this letter. However, Morris' figure is the same as that produced by using the exchange rate Congress adopted on 7 March 1783 and applied retroactively to salaries due on 1 Jan. 1783 ( JCC , 24:175–176). For the effect this had on ministerial salaries, see Laurens, Papers , 16:257.

There are two other extant copies of Morris' letter, both in the Adams Papers. One is virtually identical to this letter as printed, containing the same figures and a copy of Morris' letter of 9 Aug. on the third page. The other, designated as a quadruplicate, does not give JA's salary in pounds sterling, only the dollar amount, and gives the amount in livres tournois, converted from Pennsylvania currency, correctly as 16,666 13s. The reason for the discrepancy is unknown, since all of the copies are in Morris' hand. It should be noted, however, that when JA received his salary from the Grands, the exchange rate was 24 per pound sterling, or 15,000 for the quarter (Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, DNA: RG 39 [Microfilm], f. 190).