Dumas to the American Commissioners9
ALS: American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): Algemeen Rijksarchief; copy: National Archives
<The Hague, November 3, 1778, in French: Our friend1 has warned Mr. Baker, the secretary of the Amsterdam Admiralty, that if the Admiralty’s preliminary advisory serves to weaken the protest to the English court he will communicate the action to the entire business community.2 Such an action would have serious consequences. It certainly would provoke another protest to the States General and would increase public dissatisfaction to its maximum.>
9. Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 187–8.
1. “Notre ami” was Dumas’ customary way of referring to Engelbert François van Berckel, his close collaborator and the pensionary of Amsterdam. Other abbreviations and code names Dumas used include “G——P——” (Pieter van Bleiswijk, the Grand Pensionary of Holland, functionally the Dutch foreign minister); the “Grand Facteur” or “G—— F——” (the duc de La Vauguyon, French minister to the States General); the “substitut” (Laurent Bérenger, chargé d’affaires in La Vauguyon’s absence); and “Leurs Hautes Puissances” or “LL.HH.PP.” (the States General). The stadholder or hereditary chief executive, Prince William V of Orange, sometimes appears as the “Prince” or the “Grand Personnage.” For a capsule account of the Dutch political scene and its chief actors see Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 50–1n.
2. The Amsterdam Admiralty is discussed in ibid., VII, 188n. The Dutch protest was over British seizures of their ships: XXVII, 116–17, 388, 396, 650–1, 660–1.