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The Founding Era Collection > Founders Early Access > Adams Papers: Early Access > Documents 1785–1798 and 1813 [1654 documents] > Documents > Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst & Hubbard to Thomas Boylston Adams, 9 Dec. 1795
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Wilhem & Jan Willink and Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst &

Hubbard to Thomas Boylston Adams

9 Dec. 1795

Sir! Amsterdam 9. December 1795.

After carefully perusing your favor of the 6th: Instant, teeming with many and very capital misconceptions, of the State of the Accounts between the Treasury of the United States and us; as the most likely way to root them out, We shall develope and explain to you, the whole of their situation with us, accurately and comprehensively as in our power.

Allow us however, first to lay down as a fixed principle, that our Confidence in the Ability and good will of the Government of the United States, to fulfill punctually all its Engagements, being entire and unbounded, it is perfectly equal and indifferent to us, to be without any remittances at all, as to possess only such as are not susceptible of a certain realization, or of entering into our Coffers, only after the expiration of many Months. Thus the remittance of Mr. Monroe for the Bill of $120,000:—becoming more and more precarious in our opinion, as its expedition to us is delayed, \since 18th: Augt. Last/ And the Receipt of the Balance of the Proceeds of the $535,000.—Stocks consigned us for sale, being at a very great distance. These Objects are not, cannot be deemed by us, to be efficient operative Remittances, because they do not tend to strengthen our Cash, and that the security for our advances afforded by the latter, is of no avail whatsoever; our trust in our debtor being only limited by our means: which however great they may be, are subjected to the pressure of the political and commercial events of the Times We live in.

By Account Current We furnish the Treasury under date under of 1 Instant the United States Stand debtors to us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }ƒ627,842:—.—

To which must be added our acceptance of Mr: DeWolf’s Bills on us payable the 16 & 19 January Next . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }" ƒ92,000:—.—


Deduct the payment made by you to J. Tetterode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000:—.—

Amount of our actual advance and assumed engagements for the United States ƒ716,842:—.—

Against which We have to receive, altho’ probably it will enter only many months hence, Balance of the Proceeds of $535000:. Six per cent stocks sent to London for Sale: The whole nett proceeds of which We estimate may be about . . . . . . . . . . . . . ƒ1,150,000:—.—

Off, remittances already received from London} 91,956:15.—


on Account of the Produce of said stocks...—already passed to the Credit of the US in the acct Currt

Thus after We shall be in Cash for the whole proceeds of the $535,000:—Six per Cent stocks Consigned us for sale We shall still be in Specie advance for the United States} ƒ625,000:—.—

Brought over....ƒ625,000:—.—

Now, supposing for a Moment, with you that We should receive in the Course of this Month the remittce: from Mr. Monroe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .{300,000:—.—

We even after Receipt of all the Remittances of the United States, should be in real effective advance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ƒ325,000:—.—

Which is very widely different from the very small Balance You presume would be due to us by the United States, on a final adjustment of their Account with us, after receipt of all the Remittances the Treasury has made us.

Thus circumstanced, our Assumption to discharge the ƒ270,000:—Interest due here the 1 proximo by the United States, would bring us under an actual advance for the U.S. reckoning the Proceeds of all the Stocks to be in our hands, of very near ƒ900,000"—And even of ƒ600,000:—supposing the Silver received by Mr. Monroe for the Bill $120,000:—should reach us before the expiration of the present Month.

Having perused and duly weighed, the aforegoing true statement, We are persuaded you will reason very differently upon the situation of the Accounts of the United States with us, to what you have done in your preceeding Correspondence with us.

You say, “After these Calculations Gentn: it does not strike my Conviction, that any very atrocious error has been committed, in viewing the Bill of $120,000:—as in part a provision for the January payment.” We are sure Sir, We never entitled your error an atrocious one: But after the present Statement of our accounts, you can but coïncide with us, that it was a very capital one.

The means You would have resorted to, to provide for payment of the Antwerp Interest, in case We had refused to advance it, would not in our opinion have proved successful, for Bills on America are not currently saleable in Europe. The demand for such is indeed rare, and then for very limited sums. Do you, Sir, but point out to us, purchasers for our Bills, on the Treasury of the United States at ƒ2 1/2 per Dollar, and We will chearfully assume to furnish same, for the Amount of our advance, confident, nay certain, such drafts would meet the full and unqualified approbation of the secretary of the Treasury.

The last article of your letter We have to reply to, “I am informed from another quarter, that the Antwerp Creditors have discovered some dissatisfaction at the Two Months delay occasioned by your declining to accept Mr. deWolf’s drafts upon the usual Term,”— surprizes us infinitely more than We are able to describe: it being an Universal practice, for the Drawers or Endorsers of Bills, to receive the Amount on negotiating them. Therefore Mr. DeWolf having passed his drafts on us the 16 & 19 November, was fully provided many days beforehand, to discharge the Interest due by the United States the 1t. December.

The temporary postponement We alluded to was one of the last year, as We could not suppose any in the payment of the Interest due the 1 Instant, at Antwerp, Drafts at 2 months date being equally usual as at 3 days Sight, and when drawn by good houses commanding Cash full as easily. A Truth you may be convinced of, by applying to any house versant in Trade and Exchange Business.

We are sorry Sir, to see matters so misrepresented to you. A true knowledge of them, will we flatter ourselves; induce you, to do us the justice to believe, that the cause why the Antwerp Interest was not paid the 1 Instant ought by no means to be imputed to us.

The reason of our desiring Mr. deWolf, to draw upon us at Two Months date, was in the hopes, that before those Bills fell due, We should receive the Silver so long expected from Paris, and to avoid our actual advances, being augmented by that sum, while Mr. de Wolf declined to come under any advance at all. A refusal that can but proceed, either from his want of Confidence for his Employers, or of Ability to serve them well.

Large however as was our advance, We certainly should not have insisted on Mr. deWolf’s drawing upon us at Two months, had he informed us, he could not negotiate his Bills, at that date, so as to discharge regularly the Interest due by the United States the 1 December in Antwerp: If such has been the reason, why the payment has been postponed after the day it fell due, Mr. de Wolf by his silence to us on the subject, has been the sole and only Cause of the delay.—A conduct so totally unmercantile and careless for the honor and Interest of the United States, We can scarcely believe possible. Should He however have been guilty of it, he has treated the United States extremely ill, proved himself to enjoy but slender means as well as little Credit, and evinced himself, a very improper person, to be entrusted with such important concerns.

It being quite inconvenient for us in the present circumstances, to augment our advances, notwithstanding our very great sollicitude to maintain unsullied the Credit of the United States, and that We are full aware of the consequences of a postponement, in payment of the Interest due here the 1st: proximo, We shall be under the painfull necessity to suffer such, unless previous to that time, We receive the money from Paris, or that you will make some other provision to face it: If the latter be in your power, We entreat you to furnish us same immediately. If not, We beg of you in the warmest manner possible, to spur on Mr. Monroe, to every energetic Exertion, in order to dispatch the money to us, as the last and only existing Resource to insure the regular discharge of the Interest due here the First of next Month: If We receive the Silver from him, We will pay that Interest; but if not, it must remain over till more Funds reach us.

We are with great regard / Sir! / Your mo: ob: hb: servants /

Wilhem & Jan Willink

N & J Van Staphorst & Hubbard

RC(MHi: Adams Papers); addressed: “T.B Adams Esqr / Chargé des affairs of the U.S of America / at the Hague”; internal address: “Thos. B. Adams. Esq. at the Hague.”; endorsed: “Messrs: Willink van Staphorst / & Hubbard / 9 Decr: 1795 / 11 Recd: / 20 Answd.”

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