Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from C. W. F. Dumas, 1 August 1791

From C. W. F. Dumas

The Hague, 1 Aug. 1791. A letter from Paris reports that the Constitution, reduced to essentials, will be presented this week to the King, not to be sanctioned but accepted. After that the King will no longer be uneasy. They will lose no time in finishing the elections already begun for a new Assembly, to which the present one will gloriously give way. If the news of this solemn event takes place after his next dispatch, he will immediately send another. The enclosures, of which he can guarantee the authenticity, concern the peace between the Emperor and the Turks.

He will say nothing of the atrocities at Birmingham, except that it appears they were committed by some ecclesiastics in collusion with someone in the ministry (apparently Grenville). It was a crime of the feudal ecclesiastical hierarchy, perpetrated in hatred on the 14th of July, a day celebrated anywhere else in an irreproachable manner. P.S. 2 Aug. The Dutch ambassador at Paris is said to have reported on 29 July that the Constitution would be presented to the King on 4 Aug. and he would be given the remainder of the month to decide whether to accept or refuse it.

FC (Dumas Letter Book, Rijksarchief, The Hague; photostats in DLC); at head of text: “No. 80.” RC (missing) recorded in SJL as received 22 Oct. 1791. Enclosures not found.

The riots at Birmingham began with the mob’s attack on the hotel at which a dinner was held on the 14th of July to commemorate the fall of the Bastille. Mistakenly assuming that Joseph Priestley was the organizer—he had been dissuaded from attending—the mob attacked his home and destroyed most of his papers, books, and apparatus. The rioting continued for two days, with seven homes and two meeting houses being burned and much property destroyed. Dumas, having contempt for Grenville and believing him to be the dominant person in the ministry, found it easy to hold him responsible.

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