2. Livingston refers to Dumas’ serial letter of 1 May – 4 July that Congress received on 3 Oct., the same day on which the second of JA’s letters of 16 May
arrived (vol. 11:317–319;
, 21:1032–1033). Dumas’ letter reported on JA’s efforts to present his memorials of 19 April
(vol. 11:272–284) to the Dutch government and gave details of JA’s meetings, at which Dumas was present, with the grand pensionary, the president of the States General, and the secretary to William V (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
, 4:393–397, which prints a later version of the letter that extends to 13 July). The explanation for JA’s actions that Livingston desired was contained in JA’s letters of 3
May to the president of Congress (vol. 11:301–302, 305–308). There he explained his reasons for undertaking to present the memorials and then to publish them. Unfortunately, although both letters are in the PCC
, there is no indication as to when they were received.
Livingston was not alone in his criticism of JA’s conduct in the Netherlands, as is evident from Edmund Randolph’s letter of 9 Oct. to Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Papers
, 6:128–129). JA, in his reply of 19 Feb. 1782, below, and other letters written at the same time, mounted a vigorous defense of his actions. JA’s letters indicate his frustration with Livingston’s criticism and instructions that betrayed a fundamental lack of knowledge or appreciation of European politics and Dutch government and society. His exasperation was made more intense because when he received Livingston’s letter his efforts to obtain Dutch recognition of the United States seemed to be bearing fruit.