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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0100-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-02-15

C. W. F. Dumas to John Adams: A Translation

[salute] Honoured & Dear Sir

Without wanting to disagree with any of the good reasons you gave me in your letter of the 12th regarding the prompt publication of the resolution of Congress, I would, however, have wanted it to be postponed for at least another day, for all the reasons which I have had the honor to tell you. The printed copy that you have was a sufficient guarantee of the démarche that I could have made in order for you to form a liaison at the present time with a minister, and through him, with his court. I believe your commission will lead you to this liaison sooner or later. As for the present, nothing is happening here that is worth your attention. A courier is expected here near the end of the month, with a response to the reclamation that the republic sent by courier on the 12th of January regarding the captured vessels and the stipulated relief.1 I think this courier will bring dispatches preparatory for peace or for continued war with England, depending on whether or not that power seems reasonable or stubborn.
I have been using a cipher with the committee for foreign affairs since the beginning of my correspondence with Congress. If Mr. Lovell uses that one, I would be able to decipher any letter that he sends to you if you send me the letter or a copy.2
{ 149 }
In the East Indies British affairs are in a bad state. Hyder Ali Kahn has taken Mahé for France. The Mahrattas fought them at Arcot. Their forces there consist of only three ships of the line and some frigates. The French called in by Hyder Ali Kahn, arrived there five ships of the line strong.3
I hope, sir, that, for greater security in case of accident, you have sent or will send a duplicate and triplicate of your letter written to Congress on my behalf.4
I remain at your service, be it at Leyden, here, or at Amsterdam, and with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. The courier that was supposed to depart for St. Petersburg on 29 Dec. 1780 was delayed until 12 Jan. (from Dumas, 28, 29 Jan., both above).
2. Dumas' cipher bore no resemblance to that used by James Lovell in his correspondence with JA (Weber, Codes and Ciphers, p. 23–25, 580–587).
3. Dumas refers to the outbreak of the Second Mysore War in July 1780. The source of his information is unknown; detailed accounts of the opening battles between the army of Hyder Ali, Sultan of Mysore, and the forces of the British East India Company did not reach England until late March (from Edmund Jenings, 4 April, and note 3, below). Nor was the information provided altogether accurate. The British took Mahé and the other French possessions in India by early 1779 and retained them throughout the war with France. In addition, the French naval force in Indian waters undertook no significant operations in support of Hyder Ali or against the British in either 1780 or 1781 (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence, p. 124; B. Sheikh Ali, British Relations with Haidar Ali, 1760–1782, Mysore, India, 1963, p. 244–246; Mahan, Navies in the War of Amer. Independence, p. 235– 236, 239–240).
4. See JA's letter of 4 Jan. to the president of Congress, and note 6, above.

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0101

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-02-16

From John Thaxter

[salute] Sir

Your favour of yesterday was recieved this morning. I am never more happy than in hearing, that things are in a good State in our Country, and that the People are in good Spirits, and bent on War. Those “Pauses and Stops” mentioned in yours of the 12th.1 would be very injurious to Us, and that Species of “Circumspection,” our Destruction. Every body here talks of Peace—it is not the Doctrine of the British Cabinet, and perhaps not the most wholesome one here. It is not however my business to say so. No Letters of Marque and Reprisals being as yet granted, gives Room to Suspicions that Propositions are on the Carpet. Americans know very well what British Propositions, Conciliation and amicable Conferences mean—mere Pauses for Breath. Whether they are to be of the same Nature towards this Country, may be easily determined from the profitable War they at present carry on against it.
Mr. Dana does not mention that he had wrote to You, nor does he { 150 } write any News. He wishes that Stephens may enquire at the Post Office, whether there are any Letters for him—he says there are two for him from America somewhere, but he cannot find them—he is very anxious to get them.
There is an English East India Man ashore at Catwich valued at Million—the Governor of Madrass was on board—the Prisoners are taken good Care of I have heard, being under a strong Guard.2
The young Gentlemen are very well and desire their Duty to You.

[salute] I have the Honour to be, with the most perfect Respect, Sir, your very humble Servt.

[signed] J Thaxter
1. JA's letters of 15 and 12 Feb. have not been found.
2. The East Indiaman General Barker went aground on the morning of 16 Feb. between Noordwijk and Zandvoort, two or three leagues northwest of Leyden. The vessel, valued at £200,000, was carrying Sir Thomas Rumbold, former governor of Madras (Gazette de Leyde, 20 Feb.; London Chronicle, 20–22, 22–24, 24–27 Feb.).
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.