Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from C. W. F. Dumas, 23 October 1788

From C. W. F. Dumas

The Hague, 23 Oct. 1788. Encloses letter for Congress; these leave nothing to add, but he would like to have TJ’s opinion particularly on the plan he proposes, a plan dear to his heart because of his love for the United States and Congress and for his own welfare: it will give him protection as a citizen and servant of the United States, and will enable him to render “un nouveau service important aux Etats-unis. Car le passé, le présent, et Dieu sait quel futur en ces pays, doivent, selon moi, rendre au moins les Pays-Bas Autrichiens un objet plus que jamais digne d’attention pour la navigation des Etats-Unis.”

RC (DLC); 2 p.; endorsed. FC (Dumas Letter Book, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC). Enclosure (FC, same): Dumas to Jay, 21 Oct. 1788 (described in Dipl. Corr., 1783–89 description begins [William A. Weaver, ed.] 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, 1837, 3 vols. description ends , iii, 629, as being among the missing dispatches from Dumas between 1 Aug. 1788 and 20 Jan. 1789), stating that the Deputies still do not recognize him as a servant of Congress despite the most convincing proofs; that he informed them he had reported everything to Congress and must await orders, which he could scarcely expect before spring, for an appointment in acceptable form; that the Baron de Staremburg had interrupted him to say that this signified nothing to them and even if he should receive orders it would do him no good, he would not be accepted, and he would know why; that he had denied this, for they could only accuse him of “mes étroites liaisons d’amitié avec la plupart des membres du précédent Gouvernment qu’on envisage et veut faire envisager aujourd’hui comme une cabale ou faction séditieuse, qui renversoit ce qu’on appelle la Constitution”; that a very respectable diplomat had written him consolingly, saying that in every case he had acted properly and that “il restoit au Congrès de suppléer aux formalités, et de ne pas s’exposer plus longtemps aux procédés d’un Allié si peu amical” that Dumas knew no better way of disposing of these formalities than by a simple resolution of Congress authorizing Jay to accredit him to the court of Brussels, where he would not only endeavor under the direction of Mr. Jefferson to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce, but would also be able to render accounts of whatever was of interest to the United States in that country; that this course would preserve not only his honor, but also the dignity of Congress, without embroiling the United States in Dutch factional disputes; that unless this were done he would be “tympanisé, dans les discours et dans les Gazettes du pays, comme un fugitif ou comme un intriguant, allant cabaler ça et là contre les intérêts de l’Etat,” which would expose both him and his family to danger; that he thinks he has a duty to submit these ideas to Congress, to Jay, and to Mr. Jefferson, &c.

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