Adams Papers
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C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams, 21 October 1784

From C. W. F. Dumas

Lahaie 21e. Oct. 1784

Monsieur

Mardi 19 au soir Leurs H. P. dépecherent un Exprès à Paris, avec l’acceptation unanime de la part des 7 provinces des points réservés en blanc dans le Traité défensif adopté de part & d’autre; & pouvoir à leurs plénipo: de signer ce Traité &c.1

J’attends l’adresse demandée à Londres, non seulement pour les Lettres que je pourrai écrire à V. E. par cette route, com̃e la plus sure dorénavant pour parler Sans gêne; mais aussi pour avoir dans la suite cette occasion de plus pour acheminer mes paquets, surtout en hiver.

Je me rappelle, Monsieur, que vous m’avez dit que cette Rep. a besoin d’une guerre pour se relever entierement. Je m’aperçois que vous aviez raison. Celle dont elle est menacée a déjà produit plusieurs bons effets: par exemple de connoître toutes ses ressources; & elle en a beaucoup; & je ne serois pas surpris de voir son armée en peu de mois doublée: d’engager les Partis à se réunir tout de bon pour la défense com̃une; & je les vois s’acheminer à grands pas vers cette réunion.

La Com̃ission des 6 provinces, pour aller ajuster le Différent au sujet des votes entre les Villes & la Noblesse de la province enrouée d’Overyssel, est complete. J’ignore les dispositions de celui de la Gueldre, frere de Mr. Linde de Hem̃e. Les 5 autres sont bons patriotes.2

Mr. L’Envoyé de Linde, ayant pris congé de L. H. P., est parti pour la Zélande, d’où il ira dans la huitaine se rendre par Calais à Londres.3

Mr. Brush, est revenu fort content de son voyage à Berlin. Il présente ses respects à V. E. Le Roi lui a fait un très bon accueil, & a témoigné recevoir avec plaisir les lumieres que Mr. Brush, selon le desir du Roi, a données à ses ministres sur les avantages d’un Com̃erce direct entre les Etats-Unis & ceux du roi.4

Le Baron de Groothous est grandement dans la faveur du Roi, à qui il a Si bien ouvert les yeux sur les tracasseries internes de ce pays, que le roi a déclaré qu’il ne s’en mêleroit & d’un autre côté ce Monarque a parlé avec estime de la conduite des Pays-bas unis dans ces derniers temps.5

Je suis avec grand respect, / De Votre Excellence / Le très-humble & très / obéissant serviteur

C.w.f. Dumas

Je dois supprimer dans cette Lettre diverses choses concernant cette rep., à cause du danger de la route.

Mes respects à Made. Adams, & à Mess. vos Collegues.

TRANSLATION

The Hague, 21 October 1784

Sir

On the evening of Tuesday the 19th, Their High Mightinesses dispatched an express to Paris with the unanimous acceptance by the seven provinces of the points kept blank in the defense treaty adopted by either side and power granted to their plenipotentiaries to sign the treaty, etc.1

I await the requested address in London not only for the letters that I will be able to write to your excellency by that route, as the most secure for speaking without constraint, but also for the packets that I will be able to send on, especially in winter.

I remember, sir, that you said to me that this republic needs a war in order to rise up completely. I realize that you are right. The one with which it is threatened has already had several good effects, for example, to know all its resources, and it has a lot, and I would not be surprised to see its army double in only a few months; and to engage the parties to join together in earnest for their common defense, and I see them making great strides toward this union.

The commission of the six provinces to adjust the dispute over the vote between the cities and the nobility of Overijssel, which has rendered the province voiceless, is complete. I do not know the mindset of the commissioner from Gelderland, brother of Mr. Lynden van Hemmen. The five others are good Patriots.2

The envoy, Mr. Lynden van Blitterswyck, having taken leave of Their High Mightinesses, departed for Zeeland, from where he will go in the course of the week by way of Calais to London.3

Mr. Brush returned from his trip to Berlin very pleased. He sends his respects to your excellency. The king gave him a very warm reception and claimed to receive with pleasure the insights that Mr. Brush gave to his ministers, at the king’s request, into the benefits of direct commerce between the United States and his dominions.4

The Baron von Grothaus is greatly in the favor of the king, whose eyes he so opened to the internal bickerings of this country that he declared that he will not interfere in it. On the other hand the king has spoken with esteem of the conduct of the United Netherlands of late.5

I am with great respect your excellency’s very humble and very obedient servant

C.w.f. Dumas

I have to suppress in this letter several things concerning this republic because of the danger of this route.

My respects to Mrs. Adams and to your esteemed colleagues.

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “A. S. E. Mr. Adams”; endorsed: “Mr Dumas / 12. Oct. 1784.”

1The Gazette d’Amsterdam of 26 Oct. reported that the States General had received dispatches from Paris a week earlier and had responded with alacrity. The newspaper did not know the contents of the dispatches, but its sources assured that they were of the utmost importance. France and the Netherlands did not sign a treaty of alliance until 10 Nov. 1785, two days after Austria and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau. For both treaties see JA’s second 13 May 1784 letter to the president of Congress, and note 1, above.

2Overijssel went unrepresented in the States General during the summer of 1784 because the provincial assembly was paralyzed by a dispute between the nobility and the bourgeoisie over legislative voting requirements. To resolve the conflict, the other six provinces each appointed an individual to a commission charged with mediating a reconciliation (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 3 Aug., 14 Sept., 5 Oct.).

3Baron Dirk Wolter Lynden van Blitterswyck, the new Dutch minister to Britain, took leave of the States General on 17 October. He arrived in London on 4 Nov. and presented his credentials to George III on the 10th (Gazette d’Amsterdam, 19 Oct., 16 Nov.; Repertorium description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends , 3:264).

4Presumably the New York merchant Eliphalet Brush. Nothing further is known of his visit to Berlin, but he would have been there at approximately the time that the Prussians decided to renew treaty negotiations with the United States. See Brush’s 4 Feb. 1785 letter regarding trade with Tuscany, below.

5Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Ludwig von Grothaus was a retired Prussian lieutenant colonel who in the summer of 1784 traveled to the Netherlands, apparently on his own account. While he was there, Engelbert François van Berckel and Cornelis de Gyselaar, pensionaries, respectively, of Amsterdam and Dordrecht, considered asking him to mediate between the Patriot Party and Princess Wilhelmina of Orange, the Prussian-born niece of Frederick II, but decided not to do so. In the meantime, Grothaus came to side with the Patriots (Ulrich Joost, “Der abenteuerliche Grothaus: Eine Schattenbeschwörung,” Lichtenberg-Jahrbuch, p. 105–106, 109–110, 117 [1990]; P. J. Blok, Verslag aangaande een onderzoek in Duitschland naar archivalia belangrijk voor de geschiedenis van Nederland, 2 vols., The Hague, 1886–1889, 2:19, 20).

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