Manuscript retained letterbook of the Boston merchant firm William Foster & Company, comprising their correspondence with Dutch firm Geyer, De la Lande & Fynje. Foster, William Company.
Manuscript retained letterbook of the Boston merchant firm William Foster & Company, comprising their correspondence with Dutch firm Geyer, De la Lande & Fynje
Manuscript retained letterbook of the Boston merchant firm William Foster & Company, comprising their correspondence with Dutch firm Geyer, De la Lande & Fynje

Manuscript retained letterbook of the Boston merchant firm William Foster & Company, comprising their correspondence with Dutch firm Geyer, De la Lande & Fynje.

Boston: February 27, 1783 - November 17, 1785.

50pp., manuscript throughout. Folio. Contemporary quarter calf and marbled boards, with "Letter Book" stamped in gilt on red leather label on upper cover. Covers detached and contents loose and some leaves chipped at edges. Once used as a scrapbook with some remnants, but entirely legible Item #315277

"On 30 Aug. 1783, with Anglo-American hostilities having ceased and eager to profit from the commercial opportunities offered by the Dutch-American Treaty, De la Lande & Fynje signed a five-year contract with Boston merchant and loyalist Frederick William Geyer (d. 1803). The new entity of Geyer, De la Lande & Fynje sought to maximize long-term English credit while pursuing trade with American markets. The Dutch firm granted Geyer, then a refugee in London, sole control over the management of accounts and the purchase of goods for export. Along with several other Amsterdam banking houses, Geyer and his partners then established the North American Trade Association, with De la Lande & Fynje drawing on proceeds from the sale of American securities for the initial capital. Geyer spent £113,000 on merchandise—far more than he could ever hope to sell to the import-glutted markets of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City. Payment for the few goods sold was often slow to arrive, and the trade association quickly suffered. By July 1785, as American business slackened and firms across Europe failed, De la Lande & Fynje asked to suspend payment on the trade association’s private transactions. Oversight of De la Lande & Fynje immediately splintered, as the Willinks, the Staphorsts, Clicquet & Co., and Couderc & Brants took on the firm’s private affairs. Four other banking houses—those of Etienne Lespinasse, Isaac ten Cate & Gebroeders Kops, and Christiaan van Eeghen—assumed supervision of the trade association. Since De la Lande & Fynje used proceeds from the sale of American securities, the United States faced a potential loss of ƒ112,000. [John Adams] was equally concerned about the plight of three American investors associated with Geyer’s defunct firm: Duncan Ingraham Jr., of the Philadelphia firm Sigourney, Ingraham & Bromfield, which had an outpost in Amsterdam; the New York City partnership of Shaler & Sebor; and the Boston merchant William Foster" (John Adams Papers, “From John Adams to the Board of Treasury, 2 July 1785,” Founders Online, National Archives, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/06-17-02-0120).

This letterbook comprises the retained correspondence by Foster & Co. to Geyer, De la Lande & Fynje, concerning the sale of goods, news of various ships, bills and cargo received, letters of recommendation, and other financial matters. The letters begin February 1783 and go through November 1785, with approximately 40 letters present. The final letter present is dated November 17, 1785, reflective of their deteriorated relationship: "Your general term of your wanting seasonable remittance from your friends in America does not give us that credit we think ourselves entitled to, for its our real opinion that had they all done their part so well as we think we have your situation would not at this time have been so embarrass'd as to leave us with goods on hand, which are both unassorted, unsaleable and uncharged, to sell which requires the patience of Job..."

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