Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Thomas Barclay

From Philip Mazzei

From the Board of Treasury, 5 September 1785 Treasury, the Board of Adams, John
From the Board of Treasury
Sir, Board of Treasury New York 5th. September 1785.

Your Letter of the 2d. July last has been received by me in the absence of my Colleague Mr. Osgood, who has gone for a few days to Boston. I laid it immediately before Congress and adopted those measures for securing the Interest of the United States, which are suggested in your Letter.—1 You will oblige the Board in transmitting all the information you can obtain as to the Connection which existed between Mr. Geyer of London, and De la Lande and Fynje; as I think it highly probable, that attempts will be made in this Country to Cover the Property of De la Lande and Fynje, under the shelter of Mr. Geyers Name.


I do myself the honor of transmitting under your Address, a Duplicate Letter to Monsieur Grand, Banker to the United States at Paris—As it covers a Bill of Exchange of Four hundred thousand Livres Tournois, which is Remitted by the Board for the payment of the Interest due for the Year 1785, on the Loan of Ten Million of Livres:2 It is of importance that it should be forwarded, with safety and dispatch (the Interest accruing on the fifth of November next) I have therefore taken the Liberty of recommending it to your particular care.

I have the honor to be, / with great respect & esteem, / Your most Obedt. / Humble Servt.

Walter Livingston

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. / Minister Plenipotentiary to the / Court of / London.”


Walter Livingston received JA’s letter on the morning of 2 Sept., but he first learned of De la Lande & Fynje’s bankruptcy the previous evening from a “Respectable” New York “mercantile House.” Taking immediate action, he dispatched an agent to attach Duncan Ingraham Jr.’s property in Philadelphia, sent an express to Samuel Osgood at Boston notifying him of the event and of William Foster & Co.’s property there, and initiated legal action against the property of the New York firm of Shaler & Sebor. Livingston informed Congress of the bankruptcy and his actions respecting it in a letter of 2 Sept., which was read on the 5th (PCC, No. 140, II, f. 55–57).


This is the 1781 Dutch-American loan that had been guaranteed by France. JA sent the Board’s letter, dated 30 Aug. 1785, and its enclosed bill of exchange to Thomas Jefferson under a covering letter of 11 Oct. (LbC, APM Reel 111; Jefferson, Papers , 8:476). The Board’s action resolved the issue raised by Ferdinand Grand with Jefferson over the payment of the interest from American funds in the Netherlands, for which see Jefferson’s letter of 4 Sept., note 5, above.