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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 6

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0163-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: First Joint Commission at Paris
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-19

C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners: A Translation

[salute] Gentlemen

Nulla dies sine linea.1 I had the honor to send you, by the last regular mail, the insidious article inserted in the Gazette de la Haie by Sir Joseph Yorke and the dispatch from Count de Degenfeld. On the 16th I sent the material that you found enclosed to Leyden.2 On the 17th the local gazeteer, by order of Baron de Reischach, envoy of the Court of Vienna, with bad grace, sang the following palinode: “We are required by a very good source to state that the article in our No. 71 concerning Mr. Lee, the American agent, was not furnished to us by the Court of Vienna or by any of its ministers” Next Tuesday there will be something else in the Leyden paper.3 As you can see, we are waging a small war here. We keep our hands in until the game begins.
Today the Grand Facteur predicted that permission to present the treaty will arrive on Tuesday. I gathered that his House expects that it will produce a formal resolution on the part of those here at their next assembly. I hope so with all my heart, but I do not believe it. We are not in a position to be able or even to dare to attempt such an accomplishment. For us, the essential point to be achieved—and it surely will be—is to rid the ill-intentioned of any pretext for or hope of bringing the Republic to share any of their views and, in this respect, nothing could be better than the manner in which we are now proceeding.
I will keep this until Tuesday.
The Grand Facteur's prediction came to nothing. You will see, I told him, this treaty will be made public in the American and British ga• { 223 } zettes with the result that my démarche with the Grand Pensionary will cease to have either merit or propriety. What can I tell you? he answered, the deed is done; we have written and cannot now go forward before receiving a reply; it may come on Friday.
Today the Gazette de Leyde contained the following:
“Through the efforts of the government our commerce has increased in the midst of our neighbors' quarrels. For some time we have been made to conceive the hope of seeing it flourish more than ever if our town [Ostende] would become a port open to the Americans. This hope has been strengthened by the news of the arrival of an American agent at Vienna.”4
I am, gentlemen, with a very real respect, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] D
This letter did not go out last Tuesday because, all things considered, its contents did not seem urgent enough not to wait for the next regular mail.
I finally have permission to take the treaty to the Grand Pensionary and for him, and also our friend, to read it; but with the accompanying order that no one be given a copy of it. In addition, I was told that Mr. Franklin was apprised of all this and approved it fully.
This morning someone told me that the Assembly of the Dutch States will meet in only 19 days. I will seek further information concerning this.
RC (MH-H: Lee Papers); addressed: “à Leurs Excellences Messieurs les Plénipotentiaires des Etats-Unis de l'Amerique Paris.” Part of address page cut out where docketing might have been.
1. Not a day without a line.
2. This material appeared in the Gazette de Leyde of 19 June in the form of an “Extrait d'un Lettre de La Haie.” A clipping of that article is in the Lee Papers (MH-H) and may have been enclosed with this letter.
3. Dumas' reference is not clear, but see the passage inserted by Dumas in the continuation of his letter under 23 June.
4. This passage, taken from a “Lettre d'Ostende,” came at the end of that letter, which also commented on British naval activities and the depredations of the Guernsey privateers.

Docno: ADMS-06-06-02-0164

Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-20

From Richard Henry Lee

[salute] My dear Sir

Our enemies at N. York had contrived to distress us a good deal by a publication that the Boston was taken and carried into England. We were at first greatly concerned for our Friend, until we reflected on the lying genius of our enemies, and the improbability that Heaven would permit such a triumph of Vice over Virtue. Now we are made happy by an account from Boston that { 224 } you are safely arrived in France. The Treaty with France was soon ratified here, desiring only that the 11th. and 12th. Articles might be reconsidered and omitted. Three Copies of the ratification have been sent away from hence near a month, and now, 3 more are dispatching. The former dispatches would inform you the determination of Congress upon the English Acts of pacification, before we knew of our new Alliance, and these will acquaint you with the reception Messrs. the Commissioners from London have met with. The figure they cut is truly ridiculous. If this were all it would be happy for England, but she seems now to be a Setting Star. Two days ago the B: Army abandoned Philadelphia and our Troops are in possession of that City. The enemy are in the Jersies, but whether they mean to push for Amboy, or embark below Billingsport on the Delaware, is yet uncertain. The Jersey Militia are in readiness, and if our Army can cross Delaware in time, the gentry will yet get a parting blow.1 The friends to the future happiness and glory of America are now urging the Confederation to a close, and I hope it will be signed in a few days.2 All but a few Delegates have powers, and those that have not, come from Small States, that will undoubtedly <come> fall in. Our next business is Finance, and this is a Momentous point indeed. Every state exclaims, We are Overflown with our emissions of Money, yet all seem to be going on in the same beaten Track, and will I fear until invincible Necessity shall force a change. I wish to bring you, and my brother Doctor [Arthur] Lee, to be well acquainted. Republican Spirits who have so successfully labored for the liberty of their Country, and whose sole object is the security of public happiness, must esteem each other. The Continental Army is now on a much more respectable footing, both for <strength> numbers and discipline, and supplies of every kind, than it has been since the War began. It will give me singular pleasure to hear of your happiness at all times. I am dear Sir most sincerely and affectionately yours.
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
P.S. Cannot Monsr. Beaumarchais demand against us be fully and fairly explained. There is mistery in this business that demands to be thoroughly developed. Be so kind as contrive the <enclosed safely to my brother> lette[r] for my brothers safely to them.
[signed] R.H.L
{ 225 }
1. At Monmouth Court House, N.J., on 28 June, Washington's troops, fresh from Valley Forge, caught Clinton's army on its retreat to New York. The battle, indecisive because both sides could claim victory, was notable as the longest battle of the war, the last major engagement in the north, and the end of Gen. Charles Lee's military career (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:576–586).
2. The Articles of Confederation were signed by eight states on 9 July (JCC, 11:677).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.