Benjamin Franklin Papers
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Dumas to the American Commissioners, 4 September 1778: résumé

Dumas to the American Commissioners3

ALS: American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): Algemeen Rijksarchief

<The Hague, September 4, 1778, in French: Mr. van Berckel and I propose an ambitious initiative4 for which we need supporting papers. Please send either a proposal for a general treaty of amity and commerce or a declaration that you desire the Netherlands to conclude with the United States a treaty similar to the American treaty with France. The Grand Facteur approves this plan and thinks no time should be lost. If sent at once it will arrive just as the Assembly of the States of Holland adjourns and van Berckel will be able to begin immediately proceedings with Amsterdam. This plan is very auspicious because it would no longer be America soliciting, but the city pressing for it. Our friend is as enthusiastic about it as I am. He has composed an important document on Dutch politics. The merchants of Amsterdam have agreed to equip fifteen warships at their own expense. Several merchants have asked for compensation for vessels seized by the British. If the republic tolerates such seizures France threatens to exclude Dutch coastal shipping from her ports.5 This has reduced an important personage [the Stadholder?] to silence. A new 54-gun ship has caught fire under suspicious circumstances.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII.

4That of obtaining from the regents of Amsterdam a declaration in favor of a Dutch-American commercial treaty.

5A diplomatic tactic which eventually proved very successful in stimulating Dutch resistance to the British: see Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American Revolution (rev. ed.; Bloomington, Ind., [1957]), 138–40.

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