Papers of John Adams, volume 12

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

To C. W. F. Dumas

To C. W. F. Dumas, 13 March 1782 JA Dumas, Charles William Frederic To C. W. F. Dumas, 13 March 1782 Adams, John Dumas, Charles William Frederic
To C. W. F. Dumas
Amsterdam March 13. 1782 Sir

I have recd your two Letters both without Date and one without a Name.1 My Respects and Thanks to Mr Carmichael &c. I have Some of the Resolutions of Congress touching that department but cannot Say whether I have all.

I have had last Evening an agreable Interview with the two worthy Gentlemen you mention. They are both of opinion, that it is better to wait and See what will be proposed by the grand Besogne.2 As to any ministerial Step to be taken by me, at present, it had better be omitted. Let Us leave, the Members to their own Enquiries and Reflexions and Judgment.

As to the conciliatory Project I have an utter detestation of it, between you and me. Besides Friesland will not agree to it: So that it cannot pass if Holland should adopt it. Friesland has set, the right Example and will be followed by all in time. The Members of the Regency here are thinking very Seriously, and will determine right in the End if We do not furnish them an Excuse by talking of conciliatory Propositions.

I shall fall naturally in the Way, of Several Mercantile Houses here and shall See if, their aid can be obtained, in their Way.

The late Visit of the Ambassador here, and his Conversation with320 several Persons will have a good Effect. The British Cause will become more and more, disgusting, contemptible and ridiculous, every day. There is no danger of Perselytes to that side. So that all must come into the sentiments of Friesland, e’er long. Dont let Us be impatient. It is not possible to make right and Wrong meet half Way. Is not the G. Pensionary at the Bottom of the conciliatory Project? I have altered my Design of coming to the Hague. Shall not come on saturday. Perhaps not for some Weeks.

With great Esteem yours J. Adams3

RC (DLC:C. W. F. Dumas Papers); endorsed: “250/Amst. 13e. Mars 1782 S. E. Mr. J. Adams.”


Of First and second letters of 11 March, both above.


When this letter was printed in the Boston Patriot of 5 Jan. 1811, JA identified the “grand Besogne” as “the committee of great affairs of the regency of Amsterdam.”


Immediately following this letter in the Boston Patriot, where the closing and the signature were omitted, JA wrote,

“In proportion as the probability of my obtaining the object so long pursued, increased; the activity of my disguised enemies redoubled their secret intrigues. Whether Mr. Dumas was drawn in, to assist in this project of reconciliation, the design of which was merely procrastination, by any insinuations from any gentleman of the French legation, (for the compt Vergennes was certainly mortified at my prospect of success) or whether the grand pensionary, Mr. Van Bleiswick had any agency in it, or whether the burgomaster Rendorp of Amsterdam, who thought himself sure of an embassy to one of the empires if he could recommend himself at court by defeating, had employed in a round about manner, any of his confidential instruments to raise doubts in the mind of Mr. Dumas; I shall leave to the conjectures of your readers. Indeed all these causes might unite. Nor was this the last effort of the kind.”