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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0229-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Date: 1779-01-16

C. W. F. Dumas to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

I know that you received my letters of 2 and 8 December. Since then, I have had the honor of writing you three more, dated 18–24 December, 1–3 January, and 12–15 January.
Yesterday, the 15th, in the evening, just as I was sending off my last, the French Ambassador sought me out in order to have me meet with our friend to confirm, on the Ambassador's behalf, that this morning he will present a mémoire to the President of Their High Mightinesses together with the King's new order excluding the commerce and naviga• { 359 } tion of the Republic, excepting only that under the flag of Amsterdam, from the favors that France permits neutrals to enjoy at sea and in its ports1 and will, although it is contrary to custom, afterwards make the rounds of the town halls of all the towns of Holland in order to express to their respective pensionaries the regret and repugnance of the King at being forced by them to issue the said order.
I waited at the Embassy until two in the morning to give the Ambassador, who was dining elsewhere, our friend's answer. The same night he sent an express to his Court, and this morning I hold myself in readiness to report, on his behalf, to our friend on what happened.
This morning the Ambassador, after presenting his memorandum, &c., to the President of Their High Mightinesses, made his rounds to inform the Grand Pensionary of Holland, the greffier of Their High Mightinesses, and the Pensionaries of the towns of Dordrecht, Amsterdam, La Brille, and Rotterdam. He spent nearly two hours with the deputies of this last town. He expressed to everyone the King's regret at having to rescind, except in the case of Amsterdam, his favors. All expressed their displeasure, more at this discrimination than the deprivation, and seemed to fear I know not what bad consequences. They claimed that it was unprecedented and contrary to their constitution to treat with only one town. The Ambassador replied that this was untrue, that there was no treaty or convention whatsoever between France and Amsterdam, and that it was being permitted continued possession of what it already enjoyed and, to the contrary, the Republic should deem itself lucky that, thanks to Amsterdam, it did not lose everything. Next week he will see the Pensionaries of the other towns.
As to the rest, I think that all this will resolve itself quite amicably and that the Republic, seeing how serious this is, will decide to give full satisfaction to France.
I did nothing today but give an account to the Ambassador of yesterday's meeting with our friend. Tomorrow I am to meet again with the Ambassador, who will then have some message to give me. I will tell you, gentlemen, only the essentials and spare you the details of my comings and goings and the messages with which I am charged as a result. After the outcome, the only interesting part, an account of the minutia by which it was achieved would be superfluous and boring. I will say only that my intervention avoids the sensation that would result from too frequent visits which one would not want noticed.
There was nothing new today. Tomorrow the States of Holland will reassemble, and we will learn of Alkmaar's decision and the resolution adopted by the Province. I am with very great respect, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant2
[signed] Dumas
{ 360 }
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amerique à Passy”; docketed by William Temple Franklin: “16 Jan. 1779 Dumas to the Commrs.” LbC (Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeling, Dumas Papers, vol. 1).
1. That is, the Netherlands, except for Amsterdam, was to be excluded from the privileges granted neutral ships under article I of the regulation of 26 July 1778 (see Dumas to the Commissioners, 10 Nov., note 3, above). For the French text of the new regulation, which was dated 14 Jan. but was to go into effect on the 26th, see Martens, ed., Recueil des principaux traités d'alliance , 4:xxx; for English translations, see vol. 2 of Almon's Remembrancer for 1778, p. 357–358, or the Annual Register of 1779, p. 423–425. According to the regulation, Amsterdam was excluded because of its vigorous efforts to force the Republic to obtain British assurances that the Dutch flag would be respected as that of a sovereign state and that Dutch commerce would enjoy the freedom guaranteed by the dictates of its treaties and the law of nations.
2. This paragraph does not appear in Dumas' Letterbook. There, under 18 Jan., is only the notation: “Expedie celle-ci par voie de Rotterdam” (Sent by way of Rotterdam). For an explanation of this, see the paragraph dated 24 Jan. in Dumas' letter of the 19th (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0230-0001

Author: La Blancherie, Pahin Champlain de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-01-18

From Pahin Champlain de La Blancherie, with a Contemporary Translation

[salute] Monsieur

J'ay l'honneur de vous envoyer les details relatifs a l'Etablissement de la correspondance generale sur les sciences et les arts que j'ay preparé depuis quatre ans, et dirigé particulierement depuis le comencement de l'année derniere; la consistence qu'il a acquise d'abort par la recomandation de l'academie des sciences, et ensuite par des temoignages recues de la protection de Leurs Majestés, me font esperes que vous voudrés bien, Monsieur, contribuer au succès de cette entreprise par tous les moyens qui dependront de vous, et principalement en honnorant de votre presence, l'assemblée ordinaire des sçavants des artistes et des etrangers distingués qui en font partie; et surtout celle de mecredi prochain, la premiere aprés les vacances d'automne.
J'ose vous demander cette grace au nom des sea van ts et des artistes empressés de vous rendre juge de leurs travaux, et protecteur de leurs talens; je ne serai pas moins flatté qu'Eux, Monsieur, de pouvoir vous rapporter une partie de ma gloire et de mes succès.
Je suis avec un Respect infini Monsieur Votre très humble et très obeissant Serviteur
[signed] La Blancherie1

Docno: ADMS-06-07-02-0230-0002

Author: La Blancherie, Pahin Champlain de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-01-18

Pahin Champlain de La Blancherie to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Sir

I have the Honour to send you some Particulars relative to the establishment of a general Correspondence upon Sciences and Arts { 361 } which I have prepared, four years since, and particularly directed since the Beginning of the last year. The Consistency which it has acquired firstly by the Recommendation of the Academy of Sciences, and since by many Proofs of the Protection of their Majesty's, make me hope, Sir, that you will be so good as to contribute to the success of this enterprize by all the Means in your Power, and particularly, in honouring with your Presence, the Assembly of the Learned, the Artists, and the distinguished Strangers who are a Part of it; and above all, that of Wednesday next, the first after the Vacancies [holidays] of Autumn.
I take the Liberty of begging this favour, in the name of the Learned and Artists, who desire to have you a Judge of their Labours, and protector of their Talents. I Will not be Less flatter'd, Sir, than they, to be able to pay you the Hommage of my Glory and of my Successes.
I am with an infinite Respect, Sir &c.
[signed] de la Blancherie1
RC and translation (Adams Papers).
1. There is no indication that JA responded to this invitation from Pahin Champlain de La Blancherie, who, between 1778 and 1788, sought to create an international center for the promotion of relations between learned men. In pursuit of this goal he established a “Salon de correspondance,” where meetings could be held at no charge, and a periodical, Nouvettes de la République des Lettres et des Arts, to which JA subscribed in 1782 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale ; Jefferson, Papers , 12:99, 317).