Benjamin Franklin Papers

Dumas to the American Commissioners, 18[-28] December 1778: résumé

Dumas to the American Commissioners1

ALS: Harvard University Library; AL (draft): Algemeen Rijksarchief; copy:2 National Archives; transcript: Harvard University Library

<The Hague, December 18[-28], 1778, in French: Committees have been established to work on the new British complaints and on the response to the French ambassador. I am translating Amsterdam’s protest and will have copies made for Congress.3 December 19, morning: Having heard that the admiralty secretly planned to issue an advisory letting stand the refusal of convoys, the French ambassador has delivered a note to the Grand Pensionary strong enough to require a yes or no answer.4 December 19, evening: By a plurality the Assembly has adopted the admiralty’s position; Amsterdam has delivered a protest denying the city’s responsibility and hence absolving it from any consequences that might result from the answer to France. December 22: I learn that the court of London is no longer content with the resolution taken on November 18.5 That taken on the 19th of this month has not yet been brought before the States General. The Assembly of Holland has been adjourned until next Tuesday [Dec. 29], perhaps in order for the delegates to obtain instructions for a new response to the French ambassador. December 24: The Dutch envoy reports that the British have ordered the seizure of neutral ships carrying masts, etc., to France. I have authorized the use of your letter about a Dutch prize brought into Charleston.6 December 28: I have come to Amsterdam to confer on some undertaking which could be very beneficial to America, and I leave tomorrow for The Hague.>

1Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 284–9.

2In Dumas’ hand and sent to Congress.

3See Dumas’ letters of Nov. 20 and Dec. 8.

4Dumas later provided a copy of the note: Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 349–50.

5While protesting British violations of Dutch rights, the resolution took no steps to provide protection for Dutch shipping. News of the British action came from the Dutch minister at the British court, Jan Walraad, graaf van Welderen, for whom see XXVII, 129n.

6The commissioners’ letter is above, XXV, 147–8; here Dumas also describes the meeting with an investor in the ship that prompted his action.

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