Adams Papers

To John Adams from C. W. F. Dumas, 17 June 1785

From C. W. F. Dumas

Lahaie 17e. Juin 1785


V. E. Verra par les copies ci-jointes, qu’il ne s’est agi que de rendre à ces Messieurs d’Amsterdam un service, qu’ils me demandoient instam̃ent, & auquel j’ai cru, & devois croire, ne pouvoir honnêtement me soustraire, quand même vous ne m’auriez pas recom̃andé le soin de vos Livres: ce qu’ils ignoroient quand ils m’écrivirent la premiere de ces Lettres.1

Je viens de recevoir l’honorée vôtre du 13e. court., & aurai l’hoñeur d’y répondre l’ordinaire prochain. Le temps ne me permettant plus d’ajouter à celle-ci, que les temoignages du respect avec lequel je suis avec ma famille, De Votre Excellence le très-humble & trèsobéissant serviteur

Cwf Dumas

Ma Lettre alloit partir, quand Mr. Fagel m’a envoyé sa ci-jointe, pour vous l’acheminer.2


The Hague, 17 June 1785


Your excellency will see by the copies enclosed herein that it was only a matter of rendering a service to the gentlemen of Amsterdam, for which they were requesting me insistently and which I did not believe and ought not believe I was capable of honestly avoiding even if you had not entrusted the care of your books to me, of which they were not aware when they wrote me the first of these letters.1

I have just received your honored letter of the 13th of this month and will have the honor to respond upon the next regular post. Time does not permit me to add more to the present letter than the affirmation of the respect with which I am, with my family, your excellency’s most humble and most obedient servant

Cwf Dumas

My letter was about to depart when Mr. Fagel sent me the one attached hereto, in order to send it along to you.2

RC and enclosures (Adams Papers); internal address: “A Son Excellence Mr Adams M.P.”; endorsed: “M. Dumas / 17. June. 1785.”

1Dumas was upset by JA’s decision to relieve him and his wife from any further responsibility for readying JA’s household effects for transport to London (to Dumas, 10 June, above). He, therefore, enclosed copies of six letters on the matter that had passed between himself and members of the loan consortium. On 3 June Nicolaas van Staphorst wrote to Dumas, enclosing JA’s letter of 29 May (to the consortium, 29 May, and note 2), and indicated that the consortium’s members were unable to go to The Hague to supervise the packing of JA’s furniture and effects and asked whether Dumas and his wife could act in their stead. On 4 June Dumas replied to the full consortium that he and his wife would be happy to undertake the charge, which would be facilitated by the 1784 household inventories that Marie Dumas had in her possession and which had been signed by Christian Lotter (vol. 13:26–48). Dumas indicated he would procure the needed passports, but he also noted that he would need an authorization to present to Lotter so that he might not present any difficulties. Staphorst replied on 5 June 1785 that the authorization would be forthcoming as soon as Wilhem and Jan Willink returned from the country. The full consortium wrote on the 6th, enclosing an excerpt from JA’s letter to it of 29 May and authorizing the consortium to do whatever was necessary to accomplish the task.

The members of the consortium wrote again on the 8th, indicating that Lotter had visited them to complain about the Dumases’ intervention in what Lotter assumed to be his responsibility (from Lotter, 7 June, above). The consortium was distressed at the situation that now existed, and, therefore, Jacobus de la Lande visited The Hague on Sunday, 12 June, in an attempt to resolve it. In a note, Dumas indicates that he and his wife went to the legation with De la Lande on Monday, 13 June, where they worked all day and into the evening by which time the most difficult part of the packing had been completed, that of JA’s library.

Upon returning home that evening, Dumas found JA’s 10 June letter, above, which led him to inform De la Lande that he and Marie should be excused from any further participation in the undertaking. According to Dumas, De la Lande’s pleas for their continued assistance were of such urgency that they were unable to refuse. Finally, on 15 June, Dumas wrote to the consortium that the packing so far as it depended upon him and Marie was completed, and that in compliance with De la Lande’s instructions he had procured or was procuring the needed passports. See also the consortium’s 17 June letter, below.

2Presumably Hendrik Fagel’s 17 June letter, below.

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