Adams Papers

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation, 2 December 1778

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

The Hague, 2 December 1778


Today I have the honor to send you the resolution1 of which I have already spoken. What delayed me a little was my recent trip to Amsterdam, a bothersome cold which I brought back with me, and the three copies which I had to make to send in successive letters to the congress. This piece fully deserves to be published in both French and English for the service of the United States because of the intimate knowledge that it displays respecting the finances, politics, and the ground and naval forces of this Republic. It is the English party that schemes to have the Republic increase the former and continue to neglect the latter. If it were to succeed, there is no doubt that the Republic would immediately be put to the service of England. Judge, therefore, gentlemen, of what importance is the strong resolve of the great city.

The period of calm in which we are now will last another ten to twelve days, until the States of the Province reconvene. May God send us before then some great and good news from America. I would put it to more than one good use, and it might produce more than one good result. The London Evening Post of 26 November2 makes us hope that Clinton has been very roughly handled.

I am, with great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant,


RC with one enclosure (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l’Amérique à Passy, pres Paris.”

1This was Dumas’ 22-page French translation of Amsterdam’s resolution against the augmentation of the army, which had been placed before the Provincial States on 8 Sept. and promised to the Commissioners. See Dumas’ letters of 4 and 9 Sept., and 27 Oct. (all above).

2The London Evening Post of 26 Nov. carried a report, apparently obtained from vessels that had left New York on 19 Oct., that Gen. Clinton had gone out with two-thirds of his Army to attack a convoy of 300 wagons carrying supplies to Boston for the use of Estaing’s fleet. The escort, however, proved to be stronger than expected, forcing Clinton to retreat to New York. No account of such an engagement has been found in American sources.

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