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To George Washington from Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric Dumas, 13 June 1789

From Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric Dumas

at the Hague 13th June 1789.

Sir,

It is impossible for the oldest Diplomatic Servant of the United States to suppress the joy which he feels at the happy news of the eminent dignity which has been conferred on Your Excellency by the unanimous voice of the Sages appointed for that purpose by the freest People on Earth, without highly participating in it with this noble People, and with them paying to your Excellency the justest homage, and with them beseeching God to bless you as this People will be blessed under the most virtuous and paternal direction that exists.

How sincerelly do I share in the filial love which they bear, and which they ought to bear, towards your Excellency! It flows, throughout my family, from a pure source, and from those immutable principles which have guided me, with so much success in the service of the United States, to the good graces of their friends, and which have incurrred for me the implacable hatred of their enemies.

The honorable Congress are informed thereof by my dispatches, and especially by those since the month of September last, and by others annexed, and they are informed of the letter which I wrote to the Secretary of their High Mightinesses of the 14th Septr and of the resolution taken thereon, they are informed by my Postscripts of the 9th and 21st of October.

I have taken the liberty to suggest to the honorable Congress, as the best advice, the means to manage those here, and yet to continue me under the protection of the laws of Nations, in this country, to wit to give me a credence at the Court of Brussells, and to make me Bearer of the letters of Congress, as well to that Court as to that of Vienna, to make them directly and immediately acquainted with the Majesty of the Congress of the United States under its’ new form, and charging me to minute a treaty of friendship and commerce, provisionally, with the Austrian Netherlands, which would be good and useful at all times, but above all in the situation which is very apparent since the last engagements of this Republic, by which she is drawn into the quarrels of the Northern Powers.1

Their Excellencies Messrs Adams, Jay, Jefferson, and Mr R. Morris will be so good as to make known to your Excellency my disagreeable situation, and the urgent need there is that something should be done on my subject, that will convince the Public that if I am not agreeable to the ruling-Party here at this day, I do not the less enjoy the favor and protection of the August Congress, and of your Excellency—for whom I am with the most profound respect, the most humble & most obedient2

C. f. Dumas.

Translation, DNA:PCC, item 93; ALS, in French, DNA:PCC, item 93; ADf, Algemeen Rijksarchief, Netherlands: Dumas Letter Book; copy, in Dumas’s writing, DLC: Dumas Papers. The text has been taken from a translation prepared for GW’s use.

For an identification of Dumas and his stormy career as an unofficial agent for the United States in Holland, see GW to Gouverneur Morris, 28 Nov. 1788, n.3.

1Dumas made the same proposals in a letter to acting Secretary of State John Jay, 15 June 1789 (DNA:PCC, item 93).

2The original document reads: “Il est impossible au plus ancien Serviteur Diplomatique des Etats-Unis, de contenir la joie que lui a causé l’heureuse nouvelle de l’éminente Dignité déférée à Votre Excellence par la Voix unanime des Sages, élus pour cet effet par le Peuple le plus vraiment libre de la terre, sans la partager hautement avec ce noble Peuple, l’épancher comme Lui devant Ve Exce, Lui en offrir comme lui le plus juste hommage, prier Dieu avec lui de La bénir, comme ce Peuple va être béni sous la Direction la plus vertueuse & la plus paternelle qui existe. O que je partage de bon coeur l’amour filial qu’il porte & doit porter à V. E.! Il découle chez moi de la source pure des principes immuables qui m’ont guidé avec tant de succès dans le service des Etats-unis, attiré les bonnes graces de leurs amis, & l’implacable haîne de tous ceux qui ne le sont pas. L’honble Congrês en est instruit par mes Dépeches, spécialement par celles depuis le mois de Sept. dernr & suivants, & par leurs annexes, notamment la Lettre que j’ai dû écrire à Mr le Greffier de L. H. P. le 14e Sept., la Résolution qu’Elles ont prise là-dessus, mes Postcrits du 9 & 21 Oct. &c. J’ai pris la liberté de suggérer à I’honble Congrès, sauf meilleur avis, un moyen de ménager ceux d’ici, & de me conserver néanmoins sous la protection du Droit des Gens dans ce pays: savoir, de m’accréditer auprès de la Cour de Bruxelles, & me rendre porteur de Lettres du Congrès, tant pour la dite Cour que pour celle de Vienne, pour leur donner connoissance directe & immédiate de la Majesté du Congrès des Etats-unis sous sa nouvelle forme, & me chargeant de minuter un Traité d’amitié & de Commerce, provisionnellement avec les Pays-Bas Autrichiens, qui seroit bon & utile en tout temps, mais sur-tout dans le cas, très-apparent depuis les derniers engagemans de cette République, où elle se trouveroit entraînée dans les querelles des Puissances du Nord.

“LL. EE. Mr Jn Adams, Mr Jn Jay, Mr Ths Jefferson, & Mr Rob. Morris, voudront bien faire connoître à Votre Exce ma désagréable situation, & le besoin urgent que j’ai, pour qu’il soit fait quelque chose à mon sujet, qui convainque le Public, que si je ne suis pas agréable au Parti dominant aujourd’hui ici, je n’en conserve pas moins les bonnes graces & la protection de l’auguste Congrès, & de Votre Excellence, de qui je suis avec le plus profond respect Le très-humble & très obéissant Serviteur.”

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