Adams Papers

From John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas, 16 April 1783

To C. W. F. Dumas

Paris April 16. 1783


In Answer to the Inquiry of Mr Fagel you will please to inform him that the Letters of Credence of Mr Van Berckell should be addressed “To the United States of America in Congress assembled”

“Friends and Allies.”

The King of France indeed has added the Word “great.” “great Friends and Allies.”— But I think it would be much better to leave out the Word great and all other Epithets.— Congress have never assumed any other Style, and I hope they never will assume or receive any other.1

I have the Honour to be sir your / respectfull and obedient servant

John Adams

RC (PHC:Charles Roberts Autographs Coll.); internal address: “Mr Dumas.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.

1For Hendrik Fagel’s inquiry, see Dumas’ letter of 11 April, above, and for the form used by France, see the letters of credence of 28 March 1778 and 31 May 1779, respectively, for Conrad Alexandre Gérard and the Chevalier de La Luzerne as French ministers to the United States (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 11:753–754; 15:1279). Actually the French formula was “Très chers, grands amis et alliés” or “Very dear, great friends and allies.” The Dutch took JA’s advice and Van Berckel’s 27 May letter of credence was addressed “Aan de vereenigde Staaten van America in het Congres vergadert Onse Vrienden en Geallieerden” or “To the United States of America in Congress Assembled Our friends and Allies” (PCC, No. 129, f. 21, 23).

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