C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation
The Hague, 14 February 1782
This morning, the accord with France and the mediation were resolved in the states of Holland.1 It is a singular cuisine that can season two things so incompatible and a singular stomach that can swallow and digest them. The mediation was accepted with the exception of the republic’s rights to the armed neutrality. According to the resolution, the belligerent powers must be notified about the peace negotiation. I do not know any other particulars of the resolution, but I will know more tomorrow. Wentworth2 was sent here by the British government. At eleven o’clock this morning he was in a meeting with the Russian ambassador. He is presenting himself as the little ambassador. Mundus vuit decipi, ergo decipiatur.3 We will remain honest. We will have the last laugh.
Mr. Barclay and Mr. Thaxter have seen you know what. I believe that by their report you will realize that I have not exaggerated and it would be a good purchase. You must not take too long to decide, sir, because someone might buy it or rent it soon. I could buy it for you provisionally under my name. Tantum4 for today because the mail is about to leave. I am, with the most sincere respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
RC (Adams Papers).
1. For French and English translations of the resolutions, see the Gazette de Leyde, 21 Feb.; The Remembrancer . . . for the Year 1782, pt. 1, p. 249–250.
2. Paul Wentworth, a British agent, arrived at The Hague on 1 Feb., ostensibly to arrange a prisoner exchange. In fact, the North ministry, at least partly to mollify the opposition, had sent him to sound out the Dutch government about a separate peace. It was a mission doomed to failure. The British conditions, which included a commitment by the Dutch not to recognize the United States and to expel JA, proved unacceptable. Just as unacceptable to the British were the Dutch demands that the free ships make free goods provision of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1674 be reaffirmed, that captured Dutch possessions be returned, and that the Netherlands be paid an indemnity for its maritime losses (Edler, Dutch Republic and Amer. Rev. description begins Friedrich Edler, The Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, Baltimore, 1911. description ends , p. 199–200; Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American Revolution: The Foundations of American Diplomacy, 1775–1823, N.Y., 1935, p. 168).
3. The world wishes to be deceived, and let it be deceived.
4. So much.