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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: La Vauguyon, Paul François de Quélen de Stuer de Causade, Duc de
Date: 1781-02-19

To the Duc de La Vauguyon

[salute] Sir

As I have been informed that your Excellency has had occasion, lately to enquire, whether any Person now in the Republick had Authority to treat in Behalf of the United States of America with the States General of the United Provinces, I beg Leave to lay before you, a Copy of a Commission, which I have the Honour to hold from Congress.
Your Excellency will observe that in this Commission, I have not the Title <of Ambassador, Envoy> of Minister Plenipotentiary: but only that of Agent to negotiate a Loan: Nevertheless, the Power is full to do every Thing necessary to effect the Loan; and to this Purpose to treat with any Body Politick, and the Promise of Congress is absolute to ratify in good Faith whatever may be done, in the Premises or relating thereto.
Your Excellency will observe also, that there is no express mention in the Commission of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce nor a Treaty of Alliance offensive and defensive. Yet, if Such a Treaty should be necessary to accomplish a Loan, I suppose the Power is sufficient to negotiate and execute it, and Accordingly I Should not hesitate to enter into Conferences upon the subject, with Persons properly Authorized and even to execute in all the Forms a Treaty, one Article of which should be a Loan to the United States.
A Case, or indeed Several Cases may happen in a short time, in which it would be proper to carry into Execution that Article of the Treaty of Alliance between France and the United States, which Stipulates, that other Powers shall be invited to acceed to that Alliance.1 The Time may Soon arrive in which it would be proper to invite the states General, to such an Accession. I <should not Scruple to { 154 } join> Submit to your Excellencys Consideration whether, the inclosed Commission would not be Authority sufficient for me to undertake to represent the United States for such a Purpose Provided a Loan to the United States were made one Article of the Treaty. If your Excellency should be of this opinion, I shall be ready to act in Concert with you whenever the King shall judge proper to commence the Negotiation.
<Your Excellency will excuse, my not Writing in French, as I am not a Sufficient Master of that Language, to write in it.>
I have the Honour to be, with great Respect, your Excellencys most obedient and most humble servant2
Dft (Adams Papers); notation: “Sketch of a Letter. not Sent.”
1. Art. 10 of the Franco-American Treaty of Alliance (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:39).
2. JA probably did not send this letter immediately because he sought Hendrik Bicker's opinion of his powers before raising the issue with the French ambassador. The arrival of JA's commission as minister to the Netherlands on 25 Feb., however, made the queries in this letter irrelevant (to Hendrik Bicker, 1 March, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0105-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-02-19

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Les derniers papiers Anglois ont copié de la Gazette de N. York un long article au sujet d'une prétendue sédition d'un Corps de 2000 h. de l'armée du Gl. Washington. Quelque décréditée que soit, avec raison, cette source impure, cela ne laisse pas d'inquiéter ici ceux du bon parti, et de donner quelque espoir aux Anglomanes. Ayez donc la bonté, Monsieur, de me marquer en réponse, le plutôt le mieux ce que vous savez ou croyez du fait, et, en supposant qu'il y eût quelque chose de vrai, quelles en pourroient être les conséquences, afin que je puisse tranquilliser les faibles, et rabattre la joie des malintentionnés.1
Mercredi prochain les Etats provinciaux d' Hollde. se rassembleront. Il faut espérer que la Scene ici s'animera un peu alors. Le temps s'approche où nous devons avoir des nouvelles de Petersbourg.
Je suis avec grand respect, Monsieur Votre très humble & très obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0105-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-02-19

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

[salute] Sir

The latest English newspapers have copied a long article from the New York Gazette on the subject of an alleged mutiny of 2,000 men in General Washington's army. However discredited, for good reason, this impure source { 155 } may be, the news is cause for concern here for the good party and gives some hope to the Anglomanes. Please sir, answer me as soon as you know or are persuaded of the facts, and, supposing some of it is true, tell me what the consequences will be so that I may calm the weak and diminish the joy of the ill-intentioned.1
The provincial states of Holland will reassemble next Wednesday. One must hope that the scene here comes alive at least a bit. The time approaches when we ought to have news from St. Petersburg.
I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. The account of the mutiny of the Pennsylvania Line that appeared in various London newspapers, including the London Chronicle of 8–10 Feb., came from New York's Royal Gazette of 6 January. The article referred to Washington as a lieutenant general of France and left little doubt that his army was disintegrating. For a fuller view of this event, see James Lovell's letter of 2 Jan., and note 6, above.
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.