C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation
The Hague, 25 June 1781
I intended to have the honor of writing to you tomorrow, but His Excellency, the French ambassador, has just this moment asked me to write to you. He says that you had asked Mr. Bérenger, French chargé des affaires, what reasons warranted your presence and an interview with you in France, and that he knows these reasons. If you can take the trouble to come here to the Hague, he will communicate them to you.1
I have been asked for the printing costs for your memorial in the three languages. I will add up the total, which my first one will bring to you, and I will ask your permission to draw on your account for it in order to satisfy these gentlemen.
I have the honor to be with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
P.S. Some very interesting things are happening here concerning the internal affairs of the republic, of which I am sure you have heard talk. It is a real crisis2 that will be decided on either this week or next week. I do not believe I should confide anymore to you about it on paper since it is such a delicate affair, or, moreover, America is not at all involved except that it is only by the outcome that decisions can be made. We can discuss it if you come here.
RC (Adams Papers).
1. See the letter of 5 June from Laurent Bérenger and JA’s reply of 8 June, both above. JA probably met with the French ambassador on either 28 or 29 June. JQA’s Diary indicates that on those days JA was at Leyden, a short distance from The Hague. The meeting with La Vauguyon convinced JA that he had no choice but to meet with Vergennes at Versailles about the proposed Austro-Russian mediation. JA’s reluctance to go is clear from his letter to Bérenger of 8 June and his comments in 1809 when he published the documents relating to his visit to Paris in the Boston Patriot. In the Patriot he stated: “I was minister plenipotentiary for making peace: minister plenipotentiary for making a treaty of commerce with Great Britain: minister plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses the States general: minister plenipotentiary to his serene highness the Prince of Orange and Stadtholder: minister plenipotentiary for pledging the faith of the United States to the Armed Neutrality: and what perhaps at that critical moment was of as much importance to the United States as any of those powers, I was commissioner for negociating a loan of money to the amount of ten millions of dollars, and upon this depended the support of our army at home and our ambassadors abroad.
“While I was ardently engaged and indefatigably occupied in studies and efforts to discharge all these duties, I was suddenly summoned to Versailles, to consult with the Comte de Vergennes, upon something relative to peace. What should I do? My country and the world would consider my commission for peace as the most important of all my employments, and the first to be attended. I hesitated not a moment, left all other business in as good a train as I could, and set off for Paris.” He added, “Though I thought I was negociating for peace, to better purpose in Holland than I could in France, yet as I could not be responsible for that, I was obliged to depart” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot description begins Correspondence of the Late President Adams. Originally Published in the Boston Patriot. In a Series of Letters, Boston, 1809[–1810]; 10 pts. description ends , p. 106–107).