Adams Papers

John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas, 11 December 1784

To C. W. F. Dumas

Auteuil near Paris Dec. 11. 1784


I received in due Season and in good Condition your Favour of the 7. of Nov.— But Dr Franklin being confined to his House by the Stone, and Mr Jefferson in Paris, by other Sickness, I have been [th]e only American Minister who could move, and have been obliged to oscillate So much between Auteuil, Passy and Paris that I have had no Time to answer you.

I presume you must have been misinformed concerning the Principle and Motive, of a certain metaphysical Distinction, between Mr. Le Baron and Mr L’Envoyèe.1 because he2 gave me, expressly a different one. viz. that his Master expected, an official Annunciation from the United States. 2. because I dont take his Master to be an Ideot, nor Lunatick and he must be one or the other, to believe either the United Provinces or United States, Rebells, at this Day. He might as well imagine himself a Rebell against the Crown of France, because he governs in Germany, where Charlemain, who wore the Crown of France once Governed. 3. because We have made, through the Comte De Mercy the Proposit[ion] which Congress ordered and have received an Answer in these words “Sur la Proposition des Etats Uni[s d’Ameri]que J’ai fait parvenir à ma Cour relativement a des Arrangements de Commerce à prendre entre les deux Dominations respectives, Je viens, Monsieur, de recevoir l’ordre, d’avoir L’honneur de vous prevenir que Sa Majesté l’Empereur a agrée ladite Proposition, et qu’elle enjoint au Gouvernment general des Pays Bas de S’occuper des moïens d’y donner Suite.[”]3

RC (DLC:Dumas Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 107. Text lost where the seal was removed has been supplied from the LbC.

1“Mr. Le Baron” is presumably the Baron von Reischach, Austrian minister to the Netherlands, while “Mr L’Envoyèe” was probably the Baron Karl Emmerich Reviczky von Revisnie, Austrian minister to Prussia (Repertorium, description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends 3:82–83, 86).

2Presumably Reischach.

3The French text is taken from a 28 Sept. letter to Benjamin Franklin from the Comte Mercy d’Argenteau, the Austrian ambassador at Paris. As translated for Congress, the passage reads, “With Respect to the Proposition of the United States of America, that I forwarded to my Court, concerning the Arrangements of Commerce to be adopted by the respective Dominions, I have received the Order, Sir, which I have the Honor to communicate to you, that his Majesty the Emperor has agreed to the said Proposition, and that he has directed the Government Genl. of the Low Countries [Austrian Netherlands] to adopt Measures to put it in Execution” (PCC, No. 100, II, f. 228–229).

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