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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12


Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0147-0001

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-05

From C. W. F. Dumas

[salute] Monsieur

Si je n’ai pas eu l’honneur de vous écrire plutôt,1 c’est que mon intention étoit de passer chez vous la semaine derniere pendant l’absence de nos amis ici. Mais des affaires domestiques m’on ont empêché d’un jour à l’autre: et voici les amis de retour, qui demandent ma présence.
Jeudi passé huit jours, avant l’ajournement, peu s’en fallût que le concert avec la Fce. ne fût résolu. La seule ville de Brille, opinant avec la Noblesse pour qu’on résolût en même temps l’acceptation de la Médiation, rompit l’unanimité, et empêcha de rien résoudre alors. Avant de se séparer, Dort et 6 autres des principales Villes firent insérer une protestation très forte contre la maniere inconstitutionelle dont L. h. p. ont tenu la correspondance avec la Cour de V—, au sujet de l’abolition du Traité de Barriere et de la démolition { 227 } des Villes de ce Traité, sans consulter là-dessus les Provinces; menaçant, Si l’on continuoit de procéder ainsi, de rappeller leurs Députés aux Etats-Générx. Cette démarche inattendue a beaucoup humilié et effrayé ces derniers; et l’on espere qu’elle les rendra moins complaisants à l’avenir, et plus circonspects. Probablement cette semaine décidera de l’affaire du concert, et ensuite celle de la Médiation, qui ne sera acceptée qu’avec de bonnes limitations, qui déconcerteront les vues Anglomanes.2
C’est dommage que nous ne sachions pas encore quand vous aurez votre premiere Audience. Il y a une très belle maison à vendre ici, qui vous conviendroit parfaitement, Monsieur, qui vaut au moins 16000 fl., et qu’on pourroit avoir peut-être à 12000 fl. par le besoin du vendeur. Elle fait ƒ 1000 de loyer. Je l’ai été voir par curiosité. Elle est dans un beau quartier et des plus sains: Spacieuse, élégante, réguliere et moderne: et cela seroit bien plus profitable que de louer. Ce seroit certainement un hôtel digne d’un Mine. Amn.: et il ne sera pas facile de trouver une pareille rencontre, Si celle-ci échappe. Si nous étions plus près du dénouement, je vous aurois conseillé de la venir voir vous-même: elle vous auroit plu; et nous aurions un Hôtel Americain à Lahaie à bon marché.3
J’ai donné commission à un Libraire ici, selon vos ordres, de faire venir d’Allemagne, l’excellent Dictionaire Latin de Robertus Stephanus augmenté et rendu parfait par Gesner, comme aussi le Fabri Thesaurus Lingue latinæ du même Editeur; qui Sont les deux ouvrages les plus accomplis en ce genre.4 Je l’ai chargé aussi de la commission des trois Livres que je vous ai prêtés.
On attend d’un moment à l’autre l’arrivée de Mr. l’Ambassadr. de fce.
Il se passera certainement des choses interessantes cette semaine et l’autre; et j’aurai l’oeil au guet pour vous en faire part.
J’ai reçu une Lettre de Mr. Rob. R. Livingston Secretaire des affaires Etrangeres,5 que je vous ferai lire quand nous nous rejoindrons: ce que je desire fort.
Permettez que je salue ici bien cordialement Mr. Thaxter.

[salute] Je suis avec un grand respect, Monsieur Votre très-humble & très-obeissant serviteur

[signed] Dumas
L’on se dit ici à l’oreille, que le Pce. a déjà promis l’Ambassade d’Amérique à deux personnes successivement, d’abord à Mr. Van Citters, Député de Zélande aux Etats-Généraux, et puis à Mr. Rendorp; et l’on ajoute que ce sera ce dernier qui l’aura. Je n’ai pour { 228 } cela encore que des autorités subalternes. Il se peut que le Prince ait fait ces promesses par plaisanterie.6
Dans ce moment l’on m’apporte la Lettre que voici pour vous Monsieur.

Docno: ADMS-06-12-02-0147-0002

Author: Dumas, Charles William Frederic
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1782-02-05

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

[salute] Sir

The reason that I did not write sooner1 is that I had planned to spend last week with you during our friends’ absence here. But my domestic affairs prevented me from leaving, for one reason or another, and now our friends have returned, which requires my presence.
A week ago Thursday, before the adjournment, the resolution with France very nearly happened. Only the town of Brille, which agrees with the nobility that the resolution should come at the same time as the acceptance of the mediation, prevented a unanimous vote. Nothing was resolved as a result. Before dispersing, Dordrecht and six other principal cities protested very strongly against the unconstitutional conduct of the high mightinesses by maintaining correspondence with the Court of Vienna regarding the abolition of the treaty of barriers and demolition of the cities in this treaty, without consulting the provinces on this point. They threatened to recall their deputies to the states general if this action continues to move forward. This unexpected proceeding humiliated and scared the deputies. Perhaps it will make them less complaisant and more circumspect in the future. This week, the accord will probably be decided upon, as well as the mediation, which will only be accepted with strong limitations, and which will thwart the views of the Anglomanes.2
It is unfortunate that we do not yet know when you will have your first audience. There is a very nice house for sale here that would suit you perfectly, sir, and that is going for 12,000 florins but is worth at least 16,000. The rent for it is ƒ1000. I saw it out of curiosity. It is in a nice neighborhood that is one of the most desirable. It is spacious, elegant, well appointed and modern, and would be more profitable to buy than to rent. It certainly would be a house fit for an American minister, and if it goes, it will be hard to find another one that is comparable. If we were closer to a denouement, I would advise you to come see it for yourself. You would like it very much and we would have an American residence at the Hague for a good price.3
According to your orders, I have commissioned a bookshop here to obtain Gesner’s edition of Robert Stephanus’ excellent Latin dictionary from Germany. I also asked for Fabri’s Latin thesaurus by Gesner. These two works are the best of their kind.4 I also asked that they obtain the three books that I lent to you.
We are awaiting the French ambassador’s arrival any moment now.
I am sure that something interesting will happen here in the next weeks and I will keep my eyes open for anything to pass on to you.
{ 229 }
I received a letter from Mr. Robert R. Livingston, secretary for foreign affairs,5 that I would very much like you to read when we see each other.
Please extend my cordial wishes to Mr. Thaxter.

[salute] I am with great respect, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant

[signed] Dumas
It is whispered here that the Prince has already promised the American ambassadorship to two people successively, first, to Mr. Van Citters, Zeeland’s deputy to the states general, and then, to Mr. Rendorp. It is being said that the latter will have it. But I only have inferior sources for this information. It could be that the Prince is joking with these promises.6
At the present moment, it is time for this letter to you, dear sir, to be sent.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “à Son Excellence Monsieur Adams, Ministre Plenipo: des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, sur le Keyzersgragt près du Spiegelstraat, Amsterdam.”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Dumas 5th. Feby. 1782.”
1. Dumas’ last letter was of 15 Dec. 1781, above.
2. See Dumas’ letter of 14 Feb., below.
3. This is the first mention of Dumas’ actions on JA’s behalf in the purchase of a house at The Hague. On the Fluwelen Burgwal, it was the first legation building owned by the United States. For an illustration of the site about 1830, just before the house was razed, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:ix–x, 65.
4. The works by Robert Estienne (Latinized to Robertus Stephanus) and Basilius Faber that are mentioned in this letter had long been available in a variety of editions. Dumas specifically refers to the versions edited by Johann Matthias Gesner, which appeared at various times and places, of Estienne’s Thesaurus Linguae Latinae and Faber’s Thesaurus Eruditionis Scholasticae. JA purchased an edition of Estienne’s work in March 1780 and it is in JA’s library at MB (Diary and Autobiography, 2:437, 441; Catalogue of JA’s Library). Editions of Faber’s work are in both JA’s and JQA’s libraries (same; Catalogue of JQA’s Books).
5. Livingston to Dumas, 28 Nov. 1781 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:30–32). Livingston approved of Dumas’ efforts on behalf of the United States, called for his continued correspondence, remarked on the absence of letters from JA regarding the presentation of his memorial to the States General, and noted the opportunities offered the Dutch by the victory at Yorktown. Livingston also informed Dumas that Congress would not increase his allowance.
6. The first Netherlands minister to the United States, Pieter Johan van Berckel, was appointed in May 1783 (PCC, No. 129, f. 21; Schulte Nordholt, Dutch Republic and Amer. Independence, p. 252–253).
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.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/