Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from C. W. F. Dumas, 16 September 1788

From C. W. F. Dumas

Lahaie 16e. 7br. 1788.


La Lecture que Votre Excellence fera de la Dépeche ci-jointe pour le Congrès, ne me laisse rien à ajouter, sinon le desir de savoir, lorsque V. E. voudra bien m’en accuser la réception, son sentiment personnel du tout, dont je fais le plus grand cas, suite naturelle du vrai et sincere respect avec lequel je suis De Votre Excellence Le très-humble & très-obéissant servitr,

C W F Dumas

RC (DLC). FC (Dumas Letter Book, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC). Enclosure: (1) Dumas to Jay of 4 Sep. 1788, stating that the forced loan has met with difficulties; that it is astonishing to see the bitterness toward a certain great power exhibited by the English faction, and the lack of concern shown toward these accumulated affronts is still more so; that certain observations of Cicero (non spes, sed dolor est major, &c.) apply to the good citizens of the country; that the gazettes are filled with continual bulletins of the armies of the belligerents, and he is thankful that there is more encouraging news from America; that a professor of law at Leiden had been dismissed because he could not bring himself to take a certain new oath; that the tomb of Capellen de Pol had been blown up; that the prince and princess were received at Amsterdam with respect by officials and small crowds, but many did not appear on the streets; that between one and two o’clock they went to the bourse, where only the bankers Hope and Muilman were present, “et une foule de Juifs et de gens du commun des deux sexes,” while all the other merchants waited in the cafés for this court to leave, only reassembling at the bourse for business at two-thirty, perhaps the latest ever; that the princess wished to see the Comédie Française, but this proved to be difficult because the performance was not strictly speaking a public affair but arranged by private subscription of individuals, most of them of the Patriotic party and including even the cast; that the difficulty was avoided by the giving of a command performance, 800 tickets being printed and the banker Hope buying fifty at £3 and distributing them free, but only 250 were sold and not more than twenty women were present; that the anniversary of the restoration of the stadtholder will be celebrated at The Hague on the 18th when the prince and princess will attend “un grand Concert de 50 à 60 Musiciens, où l’on donnera entre autres un Te Deum,” for which between three and four thousand tickets have been sold—a fact that will offset “un peu de la glace d’Amst[erdam]”; that the forced loan has not as yet succeeded, &c. (FC in Dumas Letter Book, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC). (2) Dumas to Jay, 16 Sep. 1788, enclosing four documents and informing him that, if any response is made to him, he will report it, other wise “leur silence me servira de réponse”; that meanwhile he can only guess what draws this upon him, knowing only that, especially since 1782, “je suis noté auprès de certaine Puissance, qui peut tout ici présentement; et qu’après avoir fait insulter l’Ambassadeur d’une Puissance rivale, et l’Envoyé d’une autre grande Puissance,” it is not surprising that he should be harassed on the most frivolous pretexts; that “Il se peut aussi, qu’à l’occasion de l’Envoi prochain dit-on de Mr. V. B[ercke]l le fils, on veuille savoir au juste ma relation avec les Et. Unis, soit pour le qualifier conséquemment, ou, ce qui ne me surprendroit nullement, pour lui enjoindre, par complaisance pour la susdite Puissance, de se donner des mouvemens directs ou indirects en Amérique afin d’obtenir mon rappel ou éloignement”; that time will reveal these hidden objects; that the populace continues its orgies; that the forced loan has succeeded; that among those perpetually banished is Jacob van Staphorst, brother of Nicolas; that [in postscript] these messages may have only the object of further distressing him in respect to the forced sale of his house; that he must therefore renew his request for a letter of credence. Dumas added another postscript to this dispatch on 20 Sep., enclosing another note from him to Fagel which he wrote on the 19th, having had no reply to his of the 14th; this and the other four enclosures he had shown to “Deux Diplomatiques de mes amis” who had found his procedure “comme absolument en regle” and that of the others shocking (same). The enclosures have not been found, but they were clearly an exchange of correspondence between Fagel, secretary of the Estates General, and Dumas concerning the latter’s status. These two letters to Jay are listed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–89 description begins The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from the Signing of the Definitive Treaty of Peace … to the Adoption of the Constitution, Washington, Blair & Rives, 1837, 3 vols. description ends , iii, 628, as being among the Dumas dispatches between 1 Aug. 1788 and 20 Jan. 1789 that are missing. One of the five enclosures was Dumas’ letter to Fagel acknowledging receipt of a document signed by Fagel (itself being another of the enclosures) asking in the name of the Estates General that Dumas state, in writing, by what warrant he serves as agent of the United States, and informing him that, the next morning, he would begin to examine his papers and to draw from them those that were pertinent to the inquiry, the originals of which he would always be ready to display to Fagel and to accompany them with a statement tending to satisfy the Estates General (Dumas to Fagel, 11 Sep. 1788, in the evening; FC in Dumas Letter Book, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC).

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