C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation
The Hague, 18 August 1778
Since my last letters,1 nothing worthy of writing about has occurred. That is not to say, however, that every day I have not had some occasion of acting for the general welfare of the cause and, therefore, of visiting the French embassy daily in order to receive intelligence and letters, or to provide extracts2 which sometimes are sent to the Cabinet, but more often, and even with regularity, go to certain ports. I am convinced that by serving the great ally of the Union in this fashion I am serving her. But to detail all these things would be endless and both useless and boring to you, notwithstanding the fact that owing to their nature, these transactions should not be unnecessarily exposed to the hazardous fate of a letter. Your friend, the Chevalier,3 is, in part, aware of all this. He sent me, through the ambassador, the gazette from Yorktown,4 which Mr. Franklin did me the favor to send him for me, and today’s Gazette de Leyde is filled with it. Here, Gentlemen, is a copy of the letter I wrote yesterday to our good friend Mr. van Berckel, Pensionary of Amsterdam.5 I have just showed it to the Grand Facteur who is very pleased with it.
My friends’ vessel, which I had the honor to mention to you some time ago,6 has left. I entrusted to it a packet for the congress and a letter of recommendation addressed to the commanding officer of the harbor where they will land. If its journey is successful, it will encourage others to follow their example and thereby increase the amount and thus lower the prices of goods in America. I have the honor to be, with the most respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
Tomorrow, I am sending another packet to America in the manner described earlier.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plenipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l’Amerique Paris.”; docketed, not by JA: “Monsr Dumas la haie 18 Augt 1778” on the last page of the enclosure and in reference to it: “La Haie 17 Augt 1778 M. Dumas.”
2. Presumably extracts of dispatches from Dutch ministers abroad to Their High Mightinesses.
3. Presumably Sir George Grand.
4. Dumas is referring to the Pennsylvania Gazette, published in York, Penna., from 20 Dec. 1777 to 20 June 1778. The information in the final issue, the arrival of the Carlisle Commission in America and the deliberations of the congress concerning it, is the same as that printed in the first three pages of the Gazette de Leyde of 18 Aug., under the heading “De York Town en Pensylvanie, le 22. Juin.” The reason for the discrepancy in dates is not known.
5. The letter, omitted here, was a reply to van Berckel’s letter of 31 July, which was inserted in Dumas’ letter to the Commissioners of 4 Aug. (above). In it Dumas thanked van Berckel for his expressions of support for the American cause, urged him to greater efforts to hasten a rapprochement between the United States and the Dutch Republic, and pointed to the rejection by the Continental Congress of the proposals made by the British peace commission. For an English translation of this letter, see Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Washington, 1889; 6 vols. description ends , 2:687–688.