Papers of John Adams, volume 15

320 From Matthew Ridley, 26 October 1783 Ridley, Matthew Adams, John
From Matthew Ridley
Sir Auteuil Oct: 26th.. 1783

I now inclose you four Letters received since your departure—1

Several very heavey failures have happen’d at Paris— One of them is the House of Bost Horion & Co. for upwards of 3,000,000.₶— Some others are talkd of.— The Affairs of the Caisse D’Escompte are now pretty well settled & the Managers talk of beginning to pay in Specie in the Month of Novemr: 2

By the London papers I see that Barney arrived the 9th: of Septemr.— There is a Letter of Sr. Guy Carletons of the 17th. Augt: which appears to me a kind of half refusal to quit New-York— It is a whole one in some respects & the Generals disposition seems to me very ripe to refuse in toto.—3

I expect Mr. Barclay in a few days— Mrs. Ridley has been exceedingly ill; but I now begin to have Hopes— The rest of the Family Bravely & all desire to be remembered to you & Son— Be pleased to inform Mr Jay I was at Passy last Night & that all were well there, but Mrs. Jay a little impatient to hear of his safe Arrival.

With respect I have the Honor to be / Sir / Your most Obedient / humble Servant

Matt: Ridley

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “His Excellency Jno. Adams Esq.”


The enclosed letters have not been found, but may have been the 16 Oct. letters from C. W. F. Dumas and the consortium, both above, and those of 14 Oct. from Dumas and 25 Oct. from an otherwise unidentified Frenchman named Ducher (both Adams Papers). Dumas’ was a covering letter for a 10 Oct. letter to the president of Congress, for which see Dumas’ letter of 16 Oct., and note 1, above. Ducher, writing at Paris, inquired about letters of recommendation from JA to be used when he arrived in America.


The Caisse d’escompte had been established by royal charter in 1776 as an undercapitalized equivalent of the Bank of England. Its suspension of specie payments in September was blamed on a shortage of specie in Europe and the French government’s excessive borrowing (Morris, Papers , 8:759; Schama, Citizens , p. 230). As Ridley indicates, the crisis was on its way to being resolved, but the failure of Bost Horion & Cie. affected him directly, for several bills drawn on that firm and remitted to him by Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst were protested (Ridley to Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, 26 Oct., MHi:Ridley Letterbooks); but see also Ridley’s letter of 27 Dec., below.


Sir Guy Carleton’s letter of 17 Aug. to the president of Congress reported the arrival of his “final Orders for the evacuation of this place.” He doubted, however, if the evacuation could be completed as soon as might be hoped. He attributed any delay to the increased numbers of loyalists seeking refuge within his lines because of reprisals undertaken against them. Carleton blamed the situation on Congress’ refusal to implement the recommendatory provisions in the preliminary treaty pertaining to the loyalists (PCC, No. 52, f. 217–222).