Papers of John Adams, volume 13

174 From Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 11 July 1782 Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business) Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business) JA From Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 11 July 1782 Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business) Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business) Adams, John
From Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst
Amsterdam 11 July 1782 Sir

We have before us your esteemed favour of 10 inst: with a letter for Messrs. Ravekes van Keulen, to whom we Shall pay f 1281s12. for half a years rent in arrear, and for the loss and expences upon the present year, and up the Lease, and their receipt to remit to your Excellency, to charge Said Sum to the account of the United States of America.

We Shall hand Mr Hodshon the f 37:12 to place on said account, on which we've charged f 2373s 7. payd to Messrs. de Neufville & son according to the inclosed account and receipt.

We've also to Said Gentlemen the ballance of your Excellency's acc. f 1412: 5: 8 of whch. We in close the account and receipt whch. Sum we charge Your Excellency's account with us.1

We have well received the Second thousand obligations Signed by your Excellency, and Mr. Barclay handed us the three dispatches to Congress, together with two other copies of your letter,2 forwhch. we get two Similar dispatches ready, whch. shall serve for Quintuplicates to be Sent by different Vessels, so as we already practised with one by Captn: and one by Capn. 3 in order to receive the ratification on time.

We conveyed Said dispatches with a letter to Congress, by which we respectuously confirmed your Excellency's letter for the Conditions of the Loan, and advised to have already in cash more than one Million of Guilders.4

In consequence of Your Excellency's writing we Shall henceforth be cautious with our further advices to Congress about it and remember the drafts on Mr Laurens which Shall be payable in 5 a 6 month hence, against whch. time, we don't doubt, but we'll have Sufficient money in cash, as we are in a more favourable opinion for the Loan than your Excellency seems to be, in the mean while we beg leave to inform us, of about the Sums, the drafts on Mr. Laurens may amount to.

We have the honour to be with respectfull regard Sir Your Excellencys most humble and Obedient Servants

Wilhem & Jan Willink Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst 175

Messrs de La Lande & Fynje not being home, is the reason of their not signing this letter and of not mentioning, the names of the Capns., whch. they did not yet told us, So we mention it to your Excellency by our first Letter.

RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Letter. from Messes Willinks & Van Staphorst 11. July 1782.”


This receipt is with this letter in the Adams Papers, but the receipt referred to in the previous paragraph is not.


JA's second letter of 5 July to Robert R. Livingston, but see also JA's letter to the consortium of 10 July, note 3, above.


This appears to indicate that the consortium sent off two of the dispatches earlier in the day before they received JA's letter but after they had written their letter of 11 July because the dispatches went as enclosures with the consortium's letter of that date to Livingston (PCC, No. 78, XIV, f. 523–526). For the vessels by which the consortium sent the dispatches, see the letter of 8 Aug. from Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, below. The first of the dispatches to arrive was the original sent on the Heer Adams, Capt. Samuel Smedley, which reached Philadelphia on 11 Sept. (James Madison to Edmund Randolph, 11 Sept. [2 letters], and Samuel Osgood to John Lowell, 13 Sept., Smith, Letters of Delegates , 19:150–153; from Robert R. Livingston, 15 Sept., below).


In their letter the members of the consortium indicated their acceptance of the conditions stated in the contract and their hope that Congress would ratify it as soon as possible. They also indicated the need for specific instructions from Congress regarding the use of the funds raised. They noted that a group of investors had engaged for 1,600,000 guilders, but that in return for that commitment, the consortium was to hold the money in their possession until Congress' ratification had been received. This led them to insist that no bills drawn by Congress be sent to Europe before the ratification because they would be unable to honor them and that would have a bad effect on the prospects for the loan. Finally, as they indicate in this letter, they informed Congress that they already had received over a million guilders, an assertion that ran counter to JA's cautionary note in his letter of the 10th, but which is a further indication that the consortium had written its letter prior to receiving that from JA. Incredibly, given the difficulty of getting letters to the United States, the five dispatches containing the loan contracts, each with the covering letter of 11 July from the consortium, reached Congress (PCC, No. 78, XIV, f. 523–526; No. 145, f. 173–176; PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel 4, f. 648–651, 652–655, 656–659).

From Matthew Ridley, 13 July 1782 Ridley, Matthew JA From Matthew Ridley, 13 July 1782 Ridley, Matthew Adams, John
From Matthew Ridley
Amsterdam July 13h. 1782 Sir

I did not write you last Tuesday as I had it not in my power to inform you with any certainty on the Subject my Letter was intended for.1 I can now assure you the Marquis de la Fayette will not leave home this summer. Monsieur de la Touche with the Eagle2 and some other Frigates have by this time sailed, with sundry Vessels under Convoy, having on board Stores Cloathing &ce for both Armies. A number of Officers are also gone.

Monsieur de Guichen has arrived off Ushant. They have taken 18 sail of Quebec Vessels and a small Frigate.3


The business of peace drag'd on very slowly. There was no probability of doing any thing this summer. This was before the late sudden change in England.4 I think a person may venture to pronounce now that it will drag on yet more heavily if not be entirely broke off. We have it here that Mr. Fox's open declaration for an avowal of American Independancy in a clear and explicit manner: and saying the Cabinet were unanimously of the same opinion was the occasion of his Resignation. Both the King and Lord shelburne denied the latter part. I have a Letter from there telling me several more Resignations were talkd of and that every thing was in great confusion.

I have the honor to be with great respect Your Excellency's Most obedient & most humble Servant

Matt: Ridley

RC (Adams Papers).


Tuesday was 9 July. Ridley went to The Hague on Sunday, 7 July, and returned to Amsterdam the next day. Ridley and JA had a long conversation over tea on the afternoon of the 7th, recorded in Ridley's journal (MHi), during which he may have promised JA that he would write upon his return to Amsterdam. At their meeting on the 7th, JA indicated, based on what he had learned from Franklin's letter of 2 June (above), that Grenville had received new powers to negotiate with the belligerent powers but not specifically with the United States, and that Grenville had been informed that those powers were insufficient. JA was also critical of William Alexander's visit to London in the winter of 1781–1782, during which Alexander stated that formal recognition of American independence was not required as a preliminary to Anglo-American peace negotiations. JA believed that Alexander, a bankrupt who was arrested during his visit, had been sent by Franklin as his agent to sound out the British government regarding peace negotiations, and that Alexander's statement regarding recognition reflected Franklin's position. Ridley indicated that he was “realy amazed” at this, but JA responded that it was true, for “Dr F had sent him Letters relating to it.” The letters JA referred to were those between Franklin and David Hartley that Franklin enclosed with his of 13 April to JA (vol. 12:407–408, and references there; see also, Morris, Peacemakers , p. 303–304). It was also during his meeting with Ridley that JA apparently first learned of John Jay's arrival at Paris, leading him to writeto Jay on 8 July, above.


This was the forty-gun frigate Aigle. The Gazette d'Amsterdam reported on 12 July that the Aigle was carrying a number of French officers to America but that Lafayette was not, as previously thought, among them. Upon its arrival in America in September, with British warships in close pursuit, the frigate ran aground in the Delaware River and was lost, but its dispatches and passengers were saved (Franklin, Papers , 37:539–540; from Robert R. Livingston, 15 Sept., below).


Guichen's vessels were part of the combined fleet then patrolling off Ushant at the mouth of the English Channel. The Gazette d'Amsterdam of 12 July reported the capture of eighteen vessels of a convoy bound to Newfoundland and Quebec, and on the 16th it provided a list of the captured vessels taken from Guichen's report dated 27 June. No frigate is listed as taken.


The Marquis of Rockingham died on 1 July after a long illness, bringing to a close a ministry established only four months earlier. George III immediately named the Earl of Shelburne to form a new ministry. For the controversy over the change in ministries, particularly Charles James Fox's resignation from the cabinet, see JA's letter of 17 July to Edmund Jenings, and note 3, below.