Papers of John Adams, volume 14

From Edward Bridgen

To Jonathan Jackson

From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, 15 November 1782 Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business) Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business) Adams, John
From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje
Sir Amsterdam 15 Novr. 1782.

We duly received the honour of your Excellencies favour dated the 5th. of this Month, with the Ratification of the bonds by Congres. We immediately have given it to the Interpreter, to procure us a Translation in Dutch, and will then show it to the Undertakers for their approbation. By which means we will be able to pay out the money.

Your Excellency desire to know what Sum is now in cash? We wrote some days past to Mr. Livingston and the notice of what we

advised him amounts to ƒ 1678.000—1
of this must be deducted the charges &c.
which we calculate, about "  78 000—
Thus the Sum actually to disposition of Congres is ƒ 1600.000—

This sum is quit ready. But Sir, we are in the necessity to ask your advice and direction, before we begin to pay it. Your Exce. will please to observe by the inclosed copy of a letter from the Treasurer Mr. Robert Morris, that he desires to keep a considerable part of the Loan in favour of Mr. Grand, and Mess Le Couteulx & Compe. at Paris, without mentioning the Limits of those credits.2 Besides he was looking out for opportunities to draw Bills upon us, again without saying for what Sum. And we remember that your Exce. advised to Congres that you was willing to dispose of part of the Loan for 60payment of the Drafts upon Mr. Laurens, and that you presumed this object could go till about ƒ 200.000—3

Now Sir, Mess. Le Couteulx & Co. by their Letter received at the same time, are speaking of two Millions of florins, and Mr. Grand desires that we should remit him about £[₶]4 400.000— and says further that his disbursement, which we are to supply, could go to a million.

Your Excellency will observe that it is impossible for us to make face with the Sum, which is now in cash, and which we may expect in a short time, to all the Said objects. It seems necessary to reserve a Sum for the Drafts on Mr. Laurens, and those which Mr. Morris may draw upon us, since certainly by no means those Drafts must be exposed. But how much shall we reserve for it. Your Exce. will oblige us to give us your directions about this point, and further how we are to devide the remainder between the two houses of Mess Grand & Le Couteulx. Since the order of Mr. Morris is so unlimited this is the only way for us to be sure that we act to the Satisfaction of our Principals, and therefore we are determined to follow your Excellencies most esteemd orders, and we will advise you further what Sums we shall receive. We beg to be assured that we will employ our best endeavours, to encourage and to promote this Loan as much as lay in our power. However it is not necessary to tell you that probably this will for the present not answer our wishes, since you are informed of the multitude of Loans, which are now in course, and money becomes every day scarser.

The Letters for Mr. Dumas shall be forwarded this evening to the Hague.5

It gives us a great pleasure to observe that the news of the connexion between our Republic, and the United States was received there with Joy and Satisfaction. We wish that it may ever prove to the benefit of both parties, and that the many obstacles, which now hinder the Trade, to be so brisk, and so regular as would be necessary, may soon be removed, and then the Public and private connexions may be extended. We shall always esteem it our duty to contribute to these views as much as will be in our power. And to execute the business, which Congres and your Excellency may trust to our care with Zeal and Candour.

We have the honour to be most respectfully / of Your Excellency / the most humble & most ob. Servants

Wilhem & Jan Willink Nics. & Jacob van Staphorst. de la Lande & fynje

RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “To his Excellency John Adams / Esqr Paris”; endorsed: “M. Willinks & Co. 15. Nov. / ansd 19. 1782.”


The consortium wrote to Livingston on 12 Nov. and included a copy of its letter to him of 16 Aug. (PCC, No. 145, f. 175–177). The consortium there indicated the monthly sums received since the opening of the loan: June, ƒ 1,314,000; July, ƒ 170,000; Aug., ƒ 93,000; Sept., ƒ 71,000; Oct., ƒ 30,000; for a total, as stated in this letter to JA, of ƒ 1,678,000. The steady monthly decline in the amounts being invested explains the consortium's pessimism about the loan's progress, its anxiety over being able to meet the demands of Le Couteulx & Co. and the Grands, and its request for JA's intervention and guidance. For JA's response, see his letter of 19 Nov., below.


It is unclear what letter from Robert Morris was enclosed, because in his reply of 19 Nov., below, JA indicated that he had not received an enclosure. The consortium may have intended to send Morris’ second letter of 24 Sept., which does mention Grand but also directs with regard to Le Couteulx & Co. “that Bills drawn by that House to whatever Amount be punctually honored and paid on Account of the United States.” However, with this letter in the Adams Papers is a copy of Morris’ second letter of 28 Sept., in which he indicated that he had “disposed of a considerable Part of it [the Dutch loan] in Favor of Mr. Grand and of Messrs. Le Couteulx and Co. of Paris” (Morris, Papers , 6:427–428, 458–459).


JA's 11 Aug. letter to the consortium (vol. 13:228–229).


That is, 400,000 livres tournois. In this and other letters to JA where the consortium uses only the pound sign to indicate livre tournois, the editors have followed it with the livre tournois symbol (₶) in brackets.


For the letters to Dumas, see JA's 5 Nov. letter to the consortium, and note 2, above.