Benjamin Franklin Papers
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Dumas to the American Commissioners, 1[-3] January 1779: résumé

Dumas to the American Commissioners6

ALS: American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): Algemeen Rijksarchief; copy:7 National Archives; transcript: Harvard University Library

<The Hague, January 1[-3], 1779, in French: Our friend has no doubts that an important person [the stadholder] has been greatly influenced by Sir Joseph Yorke and has made secret arrangements with his cousin [King George III]. The French ambassador has received the reply of the States General, which he has rejected. Soon he will make public a declaration depriving Dutch ships of trading privileges with France. He believes this will benefit the anti-British party. The reply of the States General, unconstitutionally taken without consulting the respective provinces, does not differ significantly from that of the States of Holland. January 2: The Dutch are trying to present their response through Mr. Berkenrode in Paris.8 Our friend has played a prestigious role. The British commissioners have returned.9 Their expedition against Carolina has failed, Admiral Byron’s fleet was badly damaged by a storm, and d’Estaing sailed from Boston on November 4. From want of news from you I am reduced to telling what I hear from the enemy. January 3: The French ambassador will wait to carry out his threats until the States of Holland reassemble in mid-month. There is news from Hamburg about the Prussian army and the arrival of Prince Repnin in Breslau.1 The Russians will create a diversion in Hungary; the king [of Prussia] wishes to maintain his posts in Silesia and is in good health and spirits. The Prussians are working on commercial treaties with Russia and Saxony. May this year bring God’s blessings on the United States.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 330–4.

7In Dumas’ hand.

8The effort failed: see Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 334n. Mattheus Lestevenon van Berkenrode was Dutch ambassador to the French court: Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter, III, 263.

9On Dec. 22 Carlisle reported their arrival in London: Stevens, Facsimiles, XII, no. 1231.

1The great Russian general and diplomat Prince Nikolai Vasil’evich Repnin (1734–1801) arrived at Breslau on Dec. 16: Public Advertiser, Jan. 6, 1779. The Russians had put themselves forward as mediators of the war between Austria and Prussia, begun the preceding summer because of the Austrian acquisition of a sizeable portion of Bavaria. Both the Austrians and Prussians were ready for a peace in which Austria would return most of the territory to its former owner; on March 10 an armistice was arranged and peace negotiations began at the town of Teschen: Paul P. Bernard, Joseph II and Bavaria: Two Eighteenth Century Attempts at German Unification (The Hague, 1965), pp. 128–30.

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