George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric Dumas, 28 May 1785

From Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric Dumas

at the Hague May 28th 1785


Since full nine years I have the honor to be a Servant, as unexpectedly called as scrupulously loyal to the United States in this Country, I wanted only a proper occasion for paying your Excellncy directly my share in the admiration which Mankind owes to your Virtues. Now it presents itself with the most charming grace, my eagerness in taking it up, will not, I hope, appear unseasonable.

Favoured with the benevolence of his Excy the Marquis De Verac Embassador of the French Court at the Hague (as I was formerly, and still am with that of his worthy predecessor the Duque de La Vauguyon now at Madrid), he has contrived, and perfectly succeded, to surprize me in the most delicate and noble way, by sending me the fine brazen Bust of your Excellency on an elegant Pedestal, with a card directing it “to Mr Dumas from a friend of the United States.” The bearer had vanish’d away; but I went immediately to tell his generous Principal, that happier than Diogenes, I was favoured with the Image of a Man living, and coming without a lanthorn to acknowledge the Man that favoured me with it.1

I look now on myself, Sir, as being the Flamen in this Country of your Glory, and boast of my room as being the Sanctuary, where are introduced your homagers, the friends of Civil Liberty, Equality and true Greatness.2 Your Excellency’s most obedient, humble and respectfull Servant

C.w.f. Dumas

ALS, DLC:GW; ADf, Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Netherlands; copy, DLC:GW. The copy is in Dumas’s hand and has been docketed by GW.

Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric Dumas (1725–1796), who was born of French parents in Germany and had been living in The Hague since 1756, was an agent in Holland during the American Revolution for both the United States and France. At this time he was the unofficial chargé d’affaires there for the United States. For details of his career, see GW to Gouverneur Morris, 28 Nov. 1788, n.3; see also Dumas to GW, 13 June 1789.

1Charles-Olivier de St. George, marquis de Vérac (1743–1828), was minister to St. Petersburg from 1779 until recalled in 1784 to become ambassador to Holland, where he remained until 1789. Paul-François de Quélen de Stuer de Caussade, duc de La Vauguyon (1746–1828), was ambassador to the United Provinces when in January 1784 he became ambassador to Spain. He continued as ambassador in Madrid until 1789.

2GW acknowledged on 3 Oct. from Mount Vernon the receipt of Dumas’s letter: “Your letter of the 28th of May from the Hague, does me great honor.

“The expression of it is too flattering for me not to regret that my merits fall far short of the compliment you have made me.

“I shall consider it however as a mark of your politeness whilst I have the honor of assuring, you of the esteem and respect with which I am—Sir Your Most Obedt & most Hble Servt Go Washington” (ALS, private donor; LB DLC:GW).

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