Adams Papers

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation, 24 July 1778

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

The Hague,24 July 1778


Because the Grand Facteur forgot to return my news from Germany on the 31st, I was obliged to translate in haste that which I sent that day. Here are some excerpts.1 The English papers and the letters from Amsterdam are filled with the allegation that the French have declared war on England. The British stocks fell about 2 percent in Amsterdam; there are no buyers even. It is reported that the Dutch vessels from St. Eustatius and Curacao that were conducted into Plymouth have been released. I would be greatly relieved if it were confirmed because the merchants, our great friends, are interested in a large portion of the vessel from Curacao bound for Zeeland. Otherwise, I would be rather pleased to see the British anger our phlegmatic Batavians with their attacks.

I have just received the packet you had the kindness to send me, gentlemen, on behalf of the honorable Committee of Secret Correspondence. Its content makes me very happy, especially since I see that all the letters I wrote them, through Y, reached them, one after another prior to 2 May, and have proved to be all the more agreeable in that they filled a gap of almost one year, during which several mishaps had deprived them of yours.2

I will continue to put to good use every available occasion here to add to our friends and weaken the enemy which is a Goliath and I but a small David with some pebbles for my weapon. With that, however, I have already significantly weakened it and hope finally to demolish it or at least make it more manageable.

On Monday I will perhaps deliver the treaty to the Grand Pensionary and send it also to Amsterdam. Two copies are being made for this purpose in which, by an order of the House3 (which the Grand Facteur had the kindness to read to me and in which I had the refined pleasure of hearing myself referred to by the flattering expression: friend of Mr. Franklin), Articles 11 and 12 will be omitted for reasons which the Grand Facteur explained to me, and which I will not repeat here since you know them already. I am, with the most respectful devotion, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant


RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed, not by JA: “Dumas 24 July 78.”

1These were extracts from dispatches sent by the Dutch representatives in Vienna, London, Paris, and Berlin. In letters of 29 June, and 1 and 8 July, Count Dagenfeld reported from Vienna on the impending war in Bavaria and the departures of the Prussian minister and William Lee. Reports on British and French naval movements were contained in letters from Count Welderen from London on 14 July and from Mr. Berkenrode from Paris on 12 July. Count Heide wrote from Berlin on 14 July that the British minister had accused the French of being the aggressor in the naval action of 22 June, the French minister stating the contrary, and reported on the movements of the Prussian Army against Austria. Dumas also noted dispatches from Madrid, Lisbon, Cologne, St. Petersburg, and Constantinople, none of which contained anything of importance.

2The letter from the Committee for Foreign Affairs to Dumas was that of 14 May, while Dumas’ letter Y was that of 16 Dec. 1777 (PCC, No. 79, 1; No. 93,1).

3That is, the French Foreign Ministry.

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