Benjamin Franklin Papers

Dumas to the American Commissioners, 10 November 1778: résumé

Dumas to the American Commissioners6

AL: American Philosophical Society; AL (draft): Algemeen Rijksarchief; copy: National Archives

<The Hague, November 10, 1778, in French: Tomorrow the Admiralty will issue its advisory, refusing to negotiate with Sir Joseph Yorke and insisting on the restitution of the captured ships, but ruining everything by in effect suspending convoys. Our friend seems embarrassed. Another person7 says Amsterdam can successfully oppose this measure if it stands firm; otherwise France will retaliate by withholding privileges and seizing Dutch ships. My next letter will report either the city’s successful opposition or the thunderbolt against Dutch commerce and navigation. Our friend has told me the provincial assembly will not adjourn this week; I send you a copy of a letter I wrote him.8>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6Published in Taylor, Adams Papers, VII, 203–5.

7Presumably the French ambassador La Vauguyon.

8In his letter to Van Berckel Dumas castigated the decision not to offer convoy protection to ships carrying timber, masts, and other naval stores. He claimed it would disgrace the nation before all the world and encourage its pro-British faction to move for further concessions, for example expanding the Dutch army. He expressed optimism, however, that for this crisis Amsterdam, by its firmness, would save the republic from these misfortunes.

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