Adams Papers

John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas, 25 August 1784

To C. W. F. Dumas

Auteuil near Paris August 25th: 1784.

Dear Sir.

I had a tedious Passage of two Days from Helvoet and was at last obliged to Land at Leostoff a dozen Leagues from Harwich, and ride from thence twenty four miles in a Cart before I could find a Post Chaise; but on Saturday noon, I had the Satisfaction of meeting my friends in perfect Health at the Adelphi Buildings in London, I never set my Foot in any other House, till next Morning at ten, when we all embarked on board a Coach which John had in Readiness. We had another long Passage from Dover, but reached Paris, on the 13th and on the 17th left the Hotel de York, for this Hill at Auteuil, where Mr: Barclay had taken me a House, Vis-à-Vis la Conduite. The House is large and convenient enough. The Garden is elegant. The Situation is excellent, far enough from the Mass of Putrifaction in Paris, and high enough above the Fogs of the Seine. but its best Recommendations, are its Tranquility, and its proximity to my beautifull park the Bois de Boulogne, where I can walk or ride as I please. it is within a mile of Mr: Franklin, at whose house we shall do Business, as his Infirmity prevents him from riding in a Carriage, or going abroad, except for a Walk. Congress have cut out work for us, enough for two Years.1

I should be obliged to you for the News and Politicks of the Hague, from time to time, you may address your Letters to me, here or under cover to Mr: Barclay.

Mrs: and Miss and Mr: J. Q. Adams join with me, in friendly Regards to yourself Madame and Mademoiselle Dumas.— I am half sorry Mr: Jefferson arrived so soon, which prevented us a Months Residence at the Hague.— Once more after an Interruption of ten Years, I pronounce myself a happy Man, and pray Heaven to continue me so.

Our Commissions, which are as numerous as the sands, are limited to two Years, during which time I hope I shall never cease to be an Inhabitant of Auteuil, as I am weary of Wandering and Wish to be fixed in some regular Course.

I should be obliged to you particularly for the earliest, Intimation what is like to be the Fate of the Scheld.2

With great, and sincere Esteem I have the honour to be / Dear Sir, / Your most obedient, humble Servant

John Adams.3

RC in JQA’s hand (DLC:Dumas Papers); addressed: “Hollande / à Monsieur / Monsieur C. W. F. Dumas / a / La Haye”; internal address: “Mr. Dumas”; endorsed: “Auteuil près Paris 25 Aout 1784 / Mr. J. Adams.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107.

1For a contemporary view of Paris, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 7, above.

2Dumas replied to this letter on 31 Aug. (Adams Papers). With his reply he included an enclosure that he believed contained information of which JA and his colleagues should be aware. He instructed JA that after the enclosure had been read it should be sent by the first packet leaving Lorient for New York. It is impossible to know with certainty what the enclosure was, but it was likely Dumas’ letter to the president of Congress that he began on 18 Aug. and finished on the 30th. In that letter Dumas included the proposed response of the States General to Frederick II’s letter of 19 March concerning opposition to William V and the stadholderate, for which see JA’s second 13 May letter to the president of Congress, and note 1, above. Dumas also included exchanges between the Dutch and Austrian plenipotentiaries at Brussels over Joseph II’s effort to reopen the Scheldt River to navigation, most notably the 23 Aug. memorial from the Austrian plenipotentiary, the Comte de Barbiano-Belgiojoso, to the Dutch negotiators in which he reiterated the Austrian demands that the Netherlands agree that navigation of the Scheldt should be completely free and that Austrian vessels were free to trade with Dutch ports in Europe as well as the East and West Indies (PCC, No. 93, III, f. 15–25, 133–135; No. 115B, f. 40, 42–47; Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, description begins The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from … 1783, to … 1789, [ed. William A. Weaver], repr., Washington, D.C., 1837 [actually 1855]; 3 vols. description ends 3:502–511). For the States General’s response to Barbiano-Belgiojoso’s memorial, see Dumas’ 3 Sept. letter, and note 1, below.

3In JA’s hand.

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