Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from C. W. F. Dumas, 26 October 1787

From C. W. F. Dumas

The Hague, 26 Oct. 1787. The enclosed gazette, specifically published to plague him, shows that his condition, instead of being mitigated, as TJ and Adams intended, has been aggravated and his existence rendered insupportable. Jacob van Staphorst, who is on his way to Paris, can relate many things concerning Dumas’ distress which his own diminishing strength does not permit him to write. [Postscript:] This letter is not being sent until 30 Oct.

RC (DLC); 1 p.; in French. FC (Rijksarchief, The Hague: Dumas Letter Book; photostats in DLC). Recorded in SJL as received 4 Nov. 1787. Enclosures: (1) A copy of The Hague Gazette for 24 Oct. 1787, containing an extract from resolutions of the States General of 18 Oct. stating that they had received a letter of 4 Oct. from their ambassadors at Versailles (L’Estevenon de Berkenroode and Brantzen) informing them of TJ’s “private visit” on the preceding day to each of them in which he asked that Dumas “be protected from all insult and danger to himself, his family, and property”; that the ambassadors could not refuse this request and therefore solicited such protection; that Fagel, secretary to the States General, had also received a letter from John Adams of 1 Oct. 1787, making a similar request; that Fagel was authorized to reply to Adams that the states of Holland and West Friesland had been asked at once to give Dumas proper protection on Dumas’ own request of 28 Sep.; that the States General “would not willingly suffer Mr. Dumas to be disturbed any more than one of their own citizens; but are obliged to declare to Mr. Adams that the said Dumas deserved their protection but little, as he had behaved most indecorously in every respect; for which reason, they request Mr. Adams not to employ him any longer, but to appoint some one else to perform his duties during his absence”; and that a copy of this resolution be sent to the ambassadors at Versailles for their information and in order that they might communicate it to TJ (translation printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–89 description begins The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from the Signing of the Definitive Treaty of Peaceto the Adoption of the Constitution, Washington, Blair & Rives, 1837, 3 vol. description ends , iii, 596–7). (2) Though not mentioned by Dumas, he also enclosed a letter of the same date to Jay, which in turn enclosed a copy of the extract from The Hague Gazette, explaining that in consequence of this attempt to injure him by vague expressions, he had been “threatened openly and loudly; insulted by persons employed for the purpose; followed by crowds, as a Kees, a name signifying dog, given to the Patriots in derision, as that of Yankee was applied to the Americans”; that the “whole political system of this country, with regard to Europe and America, is changed” and the “government … in fact military, the executive power … everything, the legislative nothing”; and that every attempt is made to depreciate the United States” (same, iii, 595–6; FC in Dumas Letter Book, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC).

On this same date Dumas wrote to van Staphorst giving an account of his intolerable situation and concluding: “Je vous conjure de voir Mr. Jefferson, rue neuve de Berry, près la Grille de Chaillot. 11 est instruit de [mon] affreux état et peut vous mon[trer] la Gazette virulente de la Haie que je lui envoie aujourdhui, qui m’expose toujours plus” (same).

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