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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gillon, Alexander
Date: 1781-03-10

To Alexander Gillon

[salute] Sir

I have received the Letter which you did me the Honour to write me on the Eighth of this Month, requesting of me to furnish you with fifty obligations of the United States, to enable you to discharge the Debts of the Ship of which you have the command, in the Service of the State of South Carolina.
I have considered your Letter, Sir, and all the Arguments contained in it, with all that Attention and Respect which is due to your Character and the State in whose Service you are: but the more I have reflected upon them, the more clearly I have been convinced, of the Impropiety of my consenting to what you request. It would be an illegal and unconstitutional Step—without the Colour of Authority. It would be a precedent that would be not only pernicious but ruinous to the United States. In Short it would be no better than an Embezzlement of the public Money. It is quite Sufficient to Say this, to justify my final refusal.
{ 191 }
I might add to this Considerations of various other Kinds, but they are unnecessary, and it would be improper for me to mention in this Letter Things which ought to be kept Secret. I am myself in a Situation much more deplorable than, yours, because the danger to the public Credit of the thirteen United States is certainly of more Consequence and more melancholly, than the danger or the Loss of a single ship, whether She belongs to the United States or any one of them. If this whole matter were to be laid before Congress, the Delegates from South Carolina themselves, would be the first to justify me. I feel for you and your disappointments. I know your Exertions. But this can be no Excuse to me, to do a wrong Thing, knowing it to be so.

[salute] I have the Honour to be with much Esteem & respect,

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0133-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-10

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

J'ai porté ce matin vos divers paquets, en commençant, selon vos ordres, par le Pt. de L. h. P——.2 Sur les questions qu'il m'a faites, d'où elle venoit? Quel en étoit le contenu? &c. Je vous ai nommé, ainsi que le lieu actuel de votre séjour, et votre qualité de Minre. Plénipe. des Etats-Unis en Europe: J'ai dit le contenu en substance: et je lui ai laissé mon nom sur une Carte, et ma demeure. Quant aux trois Mines. du Nord, comme c'est aujourd'hui leur jour de Courier, je n'ai pu être admis que chez celui de Danemarc, qui m'a chargé de vous assurer, Monsieur, qu'il enverra votre Lettre à sa Cour. J'ai laissé aux deux autres, avec une Carte, celles qui étoient pour eux. Mr. le D. De la V—— m'a dit qu'il vous répondroit. J'envoie ce soir à notre Ami celle qui lui est destinée.3 J'ai l'honneur d'être avec un respect sincere, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obéissant serviteur
[signed] Dumas

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0133-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-03-10

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

[salute] Sir

This morning I delivered your various packets, as you ordered, beginning with the president of their High Mightinesses.2 He asked some questions such as “where did this come from?” “What are its contents?” etc. I named you, as well as your current location, and your capacity as minister plenipotentiary of the United States in Europe. I told him the substance of what { 192 } the packet contained and left him a card with my name and residence. As for the three northern ministers, it was their mail day so I could only gain entry to see the Danish minister. He asked me to assure you, sir, that he will forward your letter to his court. I left the packets with a card for the two other ministers. The Duc de La Vauguyon told me he would respond to you. This evening I will send our friend his packet.3 I have the honor to be with sincere respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant
[signed] Dumas
1. JA wrote a brief note to Dumas on 10 March (LbC, Adams Papers), enclosing copies of Congress' resolution of 5 October.
2. The president of the States General the week of 3–10 March 1781, was apparently a Mr. van Wadenoyen (Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 160), although a letter of 14 March from Jean de Neufville & Fils names a Mr. Lohman as the president, below. On 28 April the London Courant reported that JA “had caused a memorial to be presented to their High Mightinesses by the Sieur Dumas, offering a negociation of a particular nature; but is said that no answer will be given, as the independency of the said States has not yet been acknowledged by the Republic.” For a similar report, see the London Chronicle of 26–28 April.
3. For the letter of 8 March to Engelbert François van Berckel (LbC, Adams Papers), see JA's letter to La Vauguyon of that date, and note 1, 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, 2014.