Adams Papers

From John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas, 29 May 1783

To C. W. F. Dumas

Paris May 29. 1783.


Last night I received your Favour of the 23d. of May.— I regret extreamly that I must loose the opportunity of the Company of Mr Vanberckel to America: but there is no appearance, that the definitive Treaty will be Signed in Time to allow me that Satisfaction and Advantage.

The Treaty with Sweeden is now printing with a Collection of the Constitutions and Treaties, which is making under the Correction of the Duke de la Rochefaucault, but I cant Say when it will be ready.1 I Should be glad to Send a Copy of it to our good Friend Luzac, but I have none.

Your Amuzements with your Ward, are very rational and will turn very much to his Advantage. You make him translate Suetonius, I hope in Writing, either into French or English.

The Desire of our Friends, Shall be attended to, respecting a certain Ambassador extraordinary.2

I rejoice in the Arrival of the Ratification of our Treaty and Convention. If it were possible, I would go to the Hague to make the Exchange and to Amsterdam to Sign Some more Obligations, but as Mr Hartley is here, and We know not the day and hour when We may be called to Business, I am afraid I cannot with Prudence, quit this Station. It may be expected by their High Mightinesses that I should make the Exchange in Person, and I should wish for that Honour, but considering the Circumstances, I think they will not take it amiss, if it is offered by another. I therefore request of you sir, to make an offer of the Exchange in my Behalf.—3 If you receive the Ratification of the States General you will please to keep it, under Lock & Key, untill my Return.

I have the Honour to be

LbC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Dumas.”; APM Reel 108.

1This was Constitutions des treize États-Unis de l’Amérique, Paris, 1783, a collaboration between Benjamin Franklin and the Duc de La Rochefoucauld, who translated the documents. A copy of the volume is in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library description begins Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917. description ends ). For a detailed account of the publication of this collection, based in part on The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America, which Congress published in 1781 at JA’s recommendation (vol. 10:178–179; 11:476–477), see Luther S. Livingston, Franklin and His Press at Passy, N.Y., 1914, p. 181–188.

2Sir Joseph Yorke. See Dumas’ letter of the 23d, and note 4, above.

3Dumas exchanged the ratifications at The Hague on 23 June. He informed Livingston of the exchange in a letter of that date, carried by Pieter van Berckel, who was departing for America later that day (Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. description begins The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, ed. Francis Wharton, Washington, 1889; 6 vols. description ends , 6:502). He informed JA of the event in a brief note of the 24th (Adams Papers).

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