Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Paul R. Randall, 18 November 1785 Randall, Paul R. Adams, John
From Paul R. Randall
Sir Baÿonne, Novr. 18th. 1785.—

I have not had the Honor of writing to you, since I have embarked in this Business, as you must have received Intelligence more satisfactory from other Quarters. Our detention in Paris was unhappy considering the Season, however we wished to make up for it by a speedy Journey—being but eight days on the Road. Our Progress is now retarded for Want of Mules, as there are many Travellers across the Mountains the Close of this Month.— We hope to proceed the 21st. but have no Assurances of arriving in Madrid, in less than twelve days from our departure. There will be very few Inducements to occurr on any Stay on this Road—so that in a short Time—we may expect to announce our Arrival at Madrid—1 This is a very advantageous Market for american Produce—though not much frequented by the Americans at present.— There are no political or commercial Occurrences sufficiently interesting to communicate— My Companion offers his most respectful Compliments— I take the Liberty of adding mine to Mrs: & Miss Adams—and in tendering my humble Services to yourself—

I am / Your most obt. sert.

P R Randall

My Companion wishes me to say in his Behalf—that he would have had the Pleasure of writing—but the danger of Miscarriage— 586and some of his Letters from America having been intercepted—he must wait a sure Opportunity.—

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency / John Adams Esqr. / Grovenor Square”; endorsed: “P. R. Randall Esqr / Bayonne Nov. 18. 1785.”


John Lamb and Randall left Paris on 6 Nov. and reached Madrid by 10 Dec. (Jefferson, Papers , 9:128).

From Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, [1]8 November 1785 Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business) Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business) Adams, John
From Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst
Sir Amsterdam Novem [1]8 1785.1

We acknowledge the Receit of Your Esteemed Favoúr of the 12th. Instt. advising ús your further acceptances of

£100.– }
″100.– drawn by Mr. Barclay Order Mr Grand
″150.– } drawn by Mr. John Lamb Order Mr Grand.

Which Will duely be discharged When dúe by Mess: C & R Puller in London—2

Mr. Jefferson has in Consequence of a Credit of £1000— Stg. Lodged by yoú in his Favoúr dated 19 May 1785. drawn on Messrs. Van den Yver £6500lt3 & Shall undoubtedly dispose of the Whole Credit on them; as yoúr Excelly. has not given ús the least notice of this Credit, We have not been able to advice Sd. Gentlemen thereof, Whereby Such drafts might Run great hazard not to be paid, to prevent Such mistakes, We must beg your Excelly. to favoúr ús With an Exact and timely Notice of all his transactions.4

We have the Honoúr to Remain Very Respectfully. / Sir / Your Excelly. mot Obedt. / Humble Servants.

Wilhem & Jan Willink Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To His Excelly. John Adams Esqr. / London.”


The date is derived from this being a response to JA’s 12 Nov. letter, for which see note 2.


In his 12 Nov. letter JA indicated that he had accepted five bills, totaling £600, drawn by Thomas Barclay and John Lamb on Richard & Charles Puller to the account of the United States. The same day JA informed the Pullers that he had accepted the bills and that they would be paid by the consortium (both LbC’s, APM Reel 111).


Despite the English pound sign, the figure given is, as the consortium indicates, in livres tournois.


In his 13 Dec. reply (LbC, APM Reel 111) JA took issue with the consortium’s account of the transaction and his failure to inform them of it. There he wrote that he could not 587have given “Notice of a Credit which I never gave” and attributed the bankers’ comments to “some mistake in your figures.” JA noted that he had drawn “once for 6 or 7000 thousand Guilders for Mr. Jefferson & gave a Credit to Coll Humphry’s for £1000 stg: to pay for honorary swords & medals for our Generals &c But I have never given any other Credit.” For the credit of ƒ6,000 that JA drew on the consortium in Thomas Jefferson’s favor, see JA’s 10 Oct. 1784 letter to the consortium, vol. 16:339–340, wherein he also inquired whether there was sufficient money in the consortium’s hands to pay “about a Thousand Pounds sterling” to David Humphreys to enable him to “execute Some orders of Congress.” The consortium replied that there were sufficient funds, but JA did not then draw on it for the sum (same, p. 359). Then, seven months later, on 19 May 1785, he wrote to Jefferson (Jefferson, Papers , 8:157) and to Van den Yver Frères & Co. (private owner, 2008) that the draft for Humphreys would be honored, but he apparently never informed the consortium.