Papers of John Adams, volume 17

Sir The Hague, 7 June 1785

I find myself honored by your letters of 11, 18, and 29 May.1 I feel the incongruity there would be in coming to take leave without letters of recall, and I am taking care to make it felt as well by all of those who speak of it with me. I hope that Mr. Franklin shall conserve as much vigor of body as he demonstrates of mind as he engages himself at eighty years of age.

I would be most grateful if you were to have the goodness to indicate the character, sir, that you would like me to assume with Sir Harris when he returns here. When he came in his official capacity, he announced his arrival to all, the large and small, but he did not call at the Hôtel des États-Unis or at my residence. I thereby concluded that we were to be like two 164parallel lines, which being extended in the same direction, never make contact. But as this only concerns personal obligations that we do not have for each other, I am prepared, if the service to the United States will benefit, to go to his residence if you wish.

I prayed the gentlemen from Amsterdam to notify me the moment they begin the removal and packing of your effects, and I await the call at any time now to go to the legation and tend to the books, shelves, and ladder that you have entrusted to me.2

As to the external affairs of the republic, they continue to drag on at length. The internal ones move forward with greater vigor. On Friday there was a resolution pertaining to Rotterdam that was quite disagreeable to the stadholder and his followers, and a proposition from Amsterdam, rendered immediately commissorial, even more alarming to him. His commission as captain general grants him the command, but not the direction, of the army; he seized the latter, as he did quite a few other things. There is every reason to believe that some order shall be imposed on this soon.3

Affairs in the empire are in a crisis, the developments of which I shall perhaps soon be able to inform you.

My family, sir, is sensitive, as they ought to be, to your good memory, and present to you, as well as to the Adams ladies, their respects along with mine.

Your excellency’s most humble and most obedient servant

Cwf Dumas

You would be so kind, sir, after having read the letter herein, to have the goodness to reattach the seal with a wafer and send it along.4

I am informed that tomorrow Mr. Maillebois will present a memoir to the States General against the stadholder.5

P.S. I was about to send off this letter, when a friend, upon the recess of a meeting of Their High Mightinesses, of which he is a member, came to notify me cordially and confidentially that Their High Mightinesses received the news from London of your excellency’s audience and introduction as minister of the United States to His Britannic Majesty;6 that this astonished and wounded Their High Mightinesses; that it was found neither decent nor proper to send and authorize a minister to one nation who is already authorized to another without giving notification nor explanation to the latter; that during this meeting of the assembly a king of Sweden was said to have taken a similar proceeding as an affront and a hostile act; that in the debates that this occasioned some well-intentioned and moderate persons (among others the friend, whom I will reveal to you in due time) suggested that Mr. Fagel be entrusted to inform me of this and to remedy the affair with me in such a way that Their High Mightinesses might be satisfied; but that the sentiment of others, the identities of whom are easy to guess, prevailed, namely, to write directly to their minister in London to ascertain whether the Mr. Adams who has recently had an audience with His Britannic Majesty was the same person still found to be 165authorized to them, or another person of the same name. I was apprised of all of this expressly to inform you of it without delay, and it is thought that the affair could still be resolved without a scandal, disagreeable as much to your excellency as to Congress, if you were to write and have a letter presented with dispatch to Their High Mightinesses, wherein you would present your case and the particular circumstances that are sure to exonerate Congress.7 I sign off with great haste as your excellency’s aforementioned

Cwf Dumas