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To Thomas Jefferson from C. W. F. Dumas, 29 April 1789

From C. W. F. Dumas

The Hague, 29 Apr. 1789. Presumes that TJ is still in France since there has been no word of his departure; presents his compliments to TJ and to Short, who will open Dumas’ letters in TJ’s absence. Hopes to hear from TJ in America; his letters “me rendront aussi heureux que mes forces et mon âge me le permettront.” Will rejoice at TJ’s return, “si Dieu me laisse vivre. Au cas que le Congrès ne jugeât pas à propos de faire entamer un traité de Commerce avec la Cour de Bruxelles, je voudrois du moins être accredédité de sa part, du Département des Affaires Etrangères, pour notifier à ladite Cour la nouvelle forme de la Confédération de nos Etats-Souverains et lui remettre en même temps une Lettre formelle du Congrès, pour la faire passer à l’Empereur sur le même sujet. Cette formalité, sans conséquence pour les Etats-Unis, leur sera utile pour la suite. Je prie Votre Excellence de vouloir bien faire valoir cette idée en Amérique,” for its acceptance would greatly increase Dumas’ stature “vis-a-vis d’un certain public.

RC (DLC); 2 p.; in French. FC (Dumas Letter Books, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC). Recorded in SJL as received 3 May 1789. Enclosure: Dumas to Jay, 27 Apr. 1789, stating that he would like for all of his dispatches to contain matter of interest, but the intermittent political fever, which torments all Europe by its rising and falling, and the languor surrounding him, which nothing interrupts but the noise of carriages, military exercises, drunkards, and street beggars, prevents; that the price of bread continues to rise excessively; that he prays heaven to spare them from such disorders as are taking place in France and Spain; [in postscript dated 29 Apr.:] that the last letters from Vienna indicated no hope was entertained of the emperor’s recovery; that his death would leave the German empire without a head—a “Nouvelle pomme de Discorde pour l’Europe”; that France, being occupied with internal reforms, might be able to remain aloof from the contest, at least for the time being; that the remainder of Europe, except the Southern extremities and perhaps Italy, would be drawn in; that the United States are happy to be situated so far from all of this; that he is ill and feeble and has strength only to ask the protection of Congress, &c. (FC in Dumas Letter Books, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC; in FC there is a long passage in which Dumas requests that, since the new Congress has assembled, his plea be presented for the determination of his own fate and that of their house; this passage is crossed out and in the margin Dumas wrote: “N.B. Je n’ai point encore fait usage de ce qui est en crochet ici, ni peut-etre le ferai.” A translation of the letter to Jay is in Dipl. Corr., 1783–89 description begins [William A. Weaver, ed.] 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, 1837, 3 vols. description ends , iii, 635–6).

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