Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from C. W. F. Dumas, 14 August 1788

From C. W. F. Dumas

The Hague, 14 Aug. 1788. Hoping that TJ receives Gazette de Leide as ordered, he only encloses a letter to Congress and transmits following from friends in Amsterdam, who have it from Daniel Parker, dated the 8th: “This moment I have received advice, that the State of Virginia adopted the new Constitution on the 25th June. This comes by a Ship arrived this Day, and may be depended on.”—“Ce n’est pas ma faute si le dernier article fourni à Mr. Luzac ne parut pas avant hier dans son papier. J’espere de le voir inséré dans celui de Vendredi.”

RC (DLC); endorsed. FC (Dumas Letter Book, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC); differing in that Daniel Parker’s letter is not quoted but instead there is the following: “(fiat insertio d’après la Lre. de Mr. N. Hubbard, d’hier 12e.),” the phrase “d’hier 12e.” being explained by the fact that Dumas altered the date of the above letter from 13 to 14 Aug. Enclosure: Dumas to Jay, 9 Aug. 1788, with postscripts of the 11th, 13th, and 15th, stating that he is sending gazettes by two vessels leaving from Amsterdam; that he cannot emphasize too much the opinion given him that “les Et-Un. prennent toutes les précautions possibles, sans donner de l’ombrage, afin que leurs Pêcheurs et Navigateurs soient sur leurs gardes contre toute surprise,” to be put into effect the moment a rupture takes place in Europe; that, aside from the gravity of the source, what gives weight to the warning is (1) the rancor toward the United States on the part of England because former subjects are now become equals, (2) the customary practices of that power in the beginning of its wars with France, and (3) the advantage of procuring sailors for its own use and depriving the United States of them; that the general precaution necessary is that of defending coasts, harbors, and rivers, “bien armés et alertes” that here the financial affairs of the province are in the greatest embarrassment, a loan of 15,000,000 florins having been opened and, what is without precedent, not subscribed; that various other expedients have been tried in order to stave off total bankruptcy and ruin of commerce; that the illumination on the Princess’ anniversary was more splendid than ever before, enough powder having been wasted to enable Constantinople or Belgrade to be taken and the orgies having made sleep impossible; that [in postscript of 11th] he encloses a plan for the emission of a loan of five million florins at 4%; that [in postscript of 13th ] he has just this moment learned of the ratification of the Constitution by Virginia, and he hopes that the prediction made in the attached article in the Gazette de Leide will prove similarly valid for the otherstates; that “Les Russes chantent aussi le Te Deum pour le combat naval du 17 dans la Baltique”; that the gazettes will inform Jay of the probable course that the spreading conflict will take; that he desires to quote from dispatches of 26 July and 1 Aug. 1788 those passages particularly requiring the attention of Congress; that the touchstone for matters relating to the prevailing system in Europe is Cicero’s nihil simplex, nihil in politicis honestum, nihil illustra, nihil forte, nihil liberum; that, thanks to God, the United States has given “le plus illustre et depuis la création l’unique Exemple de Sagesse et de perfection progressive à tous les Gouvernemens et de félicité vraie à tous les peuples du monde—Ainsi soit-il, et que Dieu les bénisse de plus en plus et avec eux leur honble Congres & V.E.” that [in postscript of 15th ] Baron de Capellen de Marsh, a refugee in Paris, had been condemned by the Court of Gueldre to be disgraced and to have his head cut off; and that at Overyssel the tomb of Capellen de Pol and the monument erected by the Patriots had been smashed by cannon powder (same; the RC of this letter, along with others from Dumas to Jay between 1 Aug. 1788 and 20 Jan. 1789 are missing, but are listed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–89 description begins The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from the Signing of the Definitive Treaty of Peace … to the Adoption of the Constitution, Washington, Blair & Rives, 1837, 3 vols. description ends , iii,628–9).

The Ernier article fourni a Mr. Luzac was that respecting the reception of John Adams (see note to TJ to Dumas, 30 July 1788). Dumas wrote Adams at this time congratulating him upon his arrival, informing him that he had sent to Luzac the details that he had received “de la bonté de Mr. Jefferson,” quoting almost word for word the passage from his letter to Jay about the example set by the United States for all the world, and repeating the words of Cicero (same, dated “Août 1788”). The news of Virginia’s ratification, received in London by Parker on 8 Aug., in Amsterdam by Hubbard on 12 Aug., in The Hague by Dumas on 13 Aug., and in Paris by TJ about 17 or 18 Aug., was evidently the first that came to him, Cutting’s more direct letter of 8 Aug. having been delayed (see TJ to Cutting, 23 Aug. 1788).

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