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Full text of "The diplomatic correspondence of the American Revolution, being the letters of Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, John Adams, John Jay, Arthur Lee, William Lee, Ralph Izard, Francis Dana, William Carmichael, Henry Laurens, John Laurens, M. de Lafayette, M. Dumas, and others, concerning the foreign relations of the United States during the whole Revolution; together with the letters in reply from the secret committee of Congress, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, also the entire correspondence of the French ministers, Gerard and Luzerne, with Congress"

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DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE 



AJVIERICAN REVOLUTION. 



VOL. V. 






DIPL03IATIC CORRESPONDENCE 



AMERICAN REVOLUTION: 



THE LETTERS OF BENJAAUN FR.\NKLIN, SILAS DEA.NE, JOHN 

ADAMS, JOHN JAY, ARTHUR LEE, WILLIAM LEE, RALPH 

IZ.\RD, FRANCIS DANA, WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, HENRY 

LAURENS, JOHN LAURENS, M. DE LAFAYETTE, M. 

DUMAS, AND OTHERS, CONCERNING THE FOREIGN 

REL.\TIOi\3 OF THE UNITED STATES DURING 

THE WHOLE REVOLUTION; 

TOGETHER wrTH 

THE LETTERS IN REPLY FROM THE SECRET COMMITTEE OF 
CONGRESS. AND THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. 



THE ENTIRE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE FRENCH MINISTER? 
GER.VRD AND LUZERNE, WITH CONGRESS. 



Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from 

the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably 

to a Resolution of Congress, of March STth, 1818. 



r.DlTED 

ny J.\RED SPARKS. 



VOL. V. 



BOSTON : 

N.\THAN HALE AND GR.\Y i: BOWEN ; 

G. t C. t H. CARVILL, NEW YORK ; P. THOMPSOK, WASHINGTON 



1S29. 









'\M 



^•^o^^ 



^ 

X 



Steam Power Press— W. L. Lewis, Printer. 
No. 6, Congress Street, Boston. 



CONTENTS 

OF THE 

FIFTH VOLUME. 

JOHN ADAMS' CORRESPONDENCE, 

CONTINUED. 



Page. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 17th, 

17S0, 5 

Probable eflectsof the armed neutrality. — Critical situ- 
ation of England. — The opposition carry the resolu- 
tion, that the influence of the Crown is increasing, 
and ougiit to be diminished. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April ISth, 
1780, _ - - _ - . - 6 

Encloses a letter written from England on the subject 
of peace with America. — Exposes the errors of the 
writer ; on the confederacy with France and Spain ;, 
on the probability of America violating her treaty 
with France ; on the notion that the policy of 
France has been to expose the States in order to 
exhaust them ; on the plan of a reconciliation and 
re-union of America with (ireat Britain. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 24th, 

1760, ------- 12 

Proceedings of Russia in regard to the armed neutral- 
ity. — Proceedings in Holland in relation to the same 
subject. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, April 25th, 

1780, - - 18 

Enclosing papers from America. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 25th, 

1780, ------- 18 

State of Ireland. 



Vi . CONTENTS. 

Page. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 26th, 

1780, - - 24 

Debate in the House of Lords on the declaration of 
Russia ; Lord Camden expresses iiis astonishment at 
the doctrine of free ships and free goods ; Lord 
Shelburne's remarlts on the critical slate of Eng- 
land —Anti-English policy ofPiussia. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 28th, 

1780, - - "" - - - - 27 

Declaration of the English Council, placing the sub- 
jects of the United Provinces on the footing of neu- 
tral powers, not privileged by treaties. — Address of 
the States of Groningen to the States-General, re- 
commending the protection of commerce by con- 
voys. — Second Address of the States of the same 
Province, proposing answers to the Memorials of 
Sir J. Yorke. — The Province of Holland recom- 
mends the acceptance of the invitation of Russia 
to accede to the armed neutrality. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 29th, 

1780, ._----- 37 

English naval expeditions. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 29th, 

1780, - - 38 

Mutiny in the Englisii fleet. — County meetings adopt 
resolulions censuring the war. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 2d, 
1780, ___--_ - 41 

Memorial of the French Ambassador to the States- 
General, announcing the abolition of the duty of 
fifteen per cent on Dutch merchandise entering 
France. — Decree of the French Council on the same 
subject. — The Seven Provinces have resolved to re- 
fuse the succors demanded by Great Britain ; to 
grant convoys; and to accept tlie invitatioiv,of Rus- 
sia. — Instructions of the States of Holland and West 
Friesland to their deputies in the States-General on 
the attack of the Dutch convoy by the English. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 3d, 

1780, _.-.--'_ 50 

General exchange of prisoners agreed on between 
France and England. 

From Elbridge Gerry to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, May 5th, 1780, ----- 52 

Favorable eftects of the resolutions of Congress for 

' cancelling the two hundred millions of dollars pre- 

k viously emitted on the currency. — New^emission of 

five millions. — Financial concerns of the confeil- 

eracy. 



Pagf. 
To ihe President of Congress. Paris, INIay 8ll), 

1780, ------- 54 

Instructions of the United Provinces to their Minister 
at London, on the subject of Lord Storiiiont's .in- 
swer to former representtitions relative to the attack 
on the Dutch convoy. — Resolutions of the States 
regulating the trade of foreigners with the Dutch 
Colonies. — Proceedings of the diflereni Provinces 
relative to the Russian Memorial ; the granting of 
unlimited convoys ; raising of subsidies. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May Sth, 

1780, ------- 63 

Enclosing the letter of the Count de Florida Blanca 
to the Spanish Minister of the Marine, regulating 
the treatment of neutrals. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May Sth, 

1780, ------- 73 

Copy of the Swedish ordinance providing convoys. — 
Answer of the Court of St James to the Russian 
declaration. — Diflerencc of the English and Russian 
doctrine of blockade in these documents. — English 
recruits in Germany. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May Sth, 

1780, ------- 79 

The Russian declaration hostile to the policy of Eng- 
land. — Lord Stormont 's letter to the Dutch Envoy. 

To an unknown person. Paris, May 9th, 1780, - 82 

Observations on the Dean of Gloucester's proposals. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 9th, 

1780, ------- 84 

The Dean of Gloucester's proposals for a general paci- 
fication. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 10ll», 

1780, ------- 86 

Proceedings in the Irish Cominons relative to the sov- 
ereignty of the Irish Parliament. 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
May 1 0th, 1780, ----- 88 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 11th, 

1780, ------- 89 

Motions of Mr Hartley in the House of Commons, on 
the subject of reconciliation. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, May 9th, 

1780, - - 91 

The American party in England hope to make a sep- 
arate peace with the United States. — The alliance 
witli France will not^e violated. — Mr Adams always 
an advocate of the alliance. 



Vin CONTENTS. 

- ■■ wr 

fage. 

To John Jay. Paris, May 13lh, 1780, - - 93 

Difficulty of influencing the views and conduct of Eu- 
ropean Ministers. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 13th, 
1780, - - 94 

Answer of France to the Russian declaration, approv- 
ing the doctrines of Russia. — Otders issued to the 
English commanders to detain Dutch ships, having 
on board eflecLs belonging to the enemy, or which 
are considered as contraband by the law of nations. 

To John Jay. Paris, May 15th, 1780, - - 98 

Facility and importance of intercepting the English 
West ilndia fleet. — Policy to be observed towards 
Spain and Portugal. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 16th, 

1780, ___-_-- 100 

Rumor of opening the navigation of Antwerp. — ^Naval 
preparations of Austria. 

To M. Genet, at Versailles. Paris, May 1 7th, 1780, 101 

Objections to General Conway's assertion, that the 
alliance between France and the United States is un- 
natural. — Habits ; language ; religion.-— These cir- 
cumstances will rather tend to separate America 
and England. — The commercial interests of Eng- 
land and America diflerent. — Boundaries will form 
a source of dispute. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, May 19th, 
1780, 106 

The Assembly of Pennsylvania cut to pieces the great 
seal of the Province. — American privateeri. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 19th, 

1780, ----__- 107 

Answer of Spain to the Russian declaration, approving 
the principles therein contained. — Conversation be- 
tween _Lord Stormont and the Count de Welderen 
on the attack on the Dutch convoy. — Proceedings in 
Ireland. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 20th, 

1780, - - - - - - - 110 

General Conway proposes a bill for reconciliation 
or peace. — Debate on the subject in the House of 
Commons. — Denmark accedes to the armed neu- 
trality. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 20th, 

1780, _-__._. 116 

General Conway's Speech on his bill for reconciliation. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 23d, 

1780, - - 120 

The diflerent Powers accede to the armed neutrality. 



CONTENTS. IX 

Page. 
Count de Vcrgennes to John Adams. Versailles, 

May 24tli, ITSO, - - - - - 123 

Expressing full confidence in liis conduct in case of 
overtures from England. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 2Gth, 
1780, - - - - - - - 124 

Address of the Bar at Dublin to Mr Grattan. — Reply 
of Mr Grattan. — Extracts from the journals. — Let- 
ter of M. de Sartine, concerning the treatment of 
neutrals. — Letter from the Count de Florida Blanca. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 27th, 

1780, -_----- 133 

Application of the principles of the British Constitu- 
tions to external dominions, extensively studied in 
America. — Effects of the American publications on 
this subject, on other foreign possessions of Great 
Britain. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 1st, 
1780, 135 

Indecisive engagement between the French and Eng- 
lish fleets. — Governor Pownal asks leave to bring 
in a bill authorising a convention, truce, or peace 
with the Colonies. — Tlie House proceeds to the or- 
der of the day. 

To the. President of Congress. Paris, June 1st, 

1780, _.-.-._ 137 

Report of a Commiltee of tlie citizens of Dublin, de- 
claring the independence of the Irish Parliament, 
and returning thanks to those membeis who have 
supported it. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 2d5 

1780, ----.-. 142 

Petitions of the Dutch merchants to the States-Gen- 
eral, and to the States of Holland and West Fries- 
land, praying for a speedy protection of commerce. 
.\nsvvcr of Spain to the Russian declaration. — Ex- 
(racts from the Journals, on the destination of the 
naval forces of France. — Proceedings of Congress 
kept more secret than the plans of the European 
Courts. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 2d, 

1780, ------- 149 

Declaration of Lord George Germain, that there is a 
prospect of peace with America, on good and hon- 
orable terms for England, not witii tlie Congress, but 
with the people. — Fallacy of these statements; Amer- 
ica could not make peace with England, without in- 
volving herself with France and Spain ; Congress 
cannot oppose the will of the people in America, 
which is expressed through the press, the towns, 



C'OiNTENTS. 



Page. 



the juries, and the assemblies. — Other errors con- 
cerning the misery of the people, the debt, dislike to 
France, fcc. exposed. — Barriers to a reconciliation 
or peace between England and America. (A'o/e.) 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 4tli, 

1780, - - - - - -, - 159 

Extracts from numerous European journals. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 5th, 

1780, -_-.-.- iGf) 

Extracts fioni the journals. — Petitions oC the Corn 
Merchants of Amsterdam to the States-General and 
to the States of Holland and ^Vest Friesland, pray- 
ing for protection of the commerce. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 10th, 

1780, - - - - - - - 170 

Preparations for supporting (he armed neutrality. — An 
East India company formed at Trieste. — English 
losses in Africa. — Critical situation of the British 
power in India. — Duty imposetl on sugars imported 
t"rotn England, by the Irish Parliament. — Violation 
of neutral ground on the Dutch coast by the Eng- 
lish. — Representations of tlie States of Holland and 
West Friesland to tlie States-General, and of the lat- 
ter to tiie Dutch iMinisier at London on this subject. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 12th, 
1780, .-._.-- 181 

Extract from Lord Shelburncs Speech, relating to the 
policy of the ?tlinistry towards Russia, Prussia, Aus- 
tria, and Turkey. — The American war was the true 
cause of that policy. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 13th, 

1780, - - '- 18G 

Copy of Governor Pownal's bill, empowering the King 
to make j)eace with the United Slates. — Meeting of 
merchants at I)ul)lin to obtain a duty on sugars im- 
ported into the kingdom. — Proceedings of the Irish 
House of (Commons on tlie same subject. — Port of 
Vendre on the Mediterranean repaired. 

To tiio President of Congress. Paris, June iGlh, 

1780, - - '- - - - - 190 

Extracts from pamphlets publisiied under the name of 
Mr Gnllowixy, but probably written by the refugees. 
— 15( futation of the statements therein contained. 

To ihe Couiit de Vcrgennes. 1-*aris, June IHlh, 

1780, - - ' - - - - - 201 

To the l^'esident cf Con2;ress. Paris, June 17lh, 

1780, - - "- - - - - 201 

Governor Hutchinr.on's death and character. — I'uilhei 
extracts from the pamphlel'; abovementioncd. 



CONTENTS. Xi 

i'agc. 

To the Count de Vergenncs. Paris, Juiiu 20tli, 

17S0, - - - - - - - 207 

On the paving ofl' of the loan office certificates. 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
June 21st, 1780, ----- 208 

Injustice of oblij;ing the Fiencli liolilcrs of the Amer- 
ican paper money to sutler by the depreciation. 

To the Count de Vergenncs. Paris, June 22d, 17SU, 212 

Requesting a delay of the orders instructing the French 
Minister in America to make representations against 
the resolutions of Congress for the paying olT the 
paper money at its depreciated value. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, June 22d, 1780, 213 

Defence of the resolutions of Congress above referred 
to. — The holders have received the bills at the de- 
preciated value, and arc not therefore entitled to the 
nominal value. — The loss will not fall on French hold- 
ers, who have received them at their depreciated value. 
— The same measure was adopted by the colony of 
Massachusetts Bay, without being objected to by the 
English government or merchants. — Very little of 
the paper in the hands of Frencli subjects. 

To B. Franklin. Paris, June 22d, 1780, - - 225 

Suggesting the ])ropricty of requesting a revocation of 
the orders to the French Minister in America, above- 
mentioned. — Evils w hicii they may produce in Amer- 
ica. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 2Gth, 

1780, _.-.-.. 22G 

Clamor in Europe against the resolutions providing 
for the paying off the paper bills. — Interview and 
correspoudeucc with Count de Vergennes on the 
subject. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, June 29th, 
1780, - - - - - - - 228 

Recommends the appointment of Consuls to relieve 
the Minister. — .\lso, that strict instructions be given 
to the commanders of ships-of-war, in which there 
has been a want of subordination. 

To B. Franklin. Paris, June 29th, 1780, - - 231 

Enclosing his correspondence with the Count de Ver- 
gennes, relative to resolutions of Congress for pay- 
in? off the paper money. 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
June 30th, 1780, 232 

Adheres to his former opinions on the subject of the 
paper money. — Expects the views of Congress in 
reply to the representations. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 1st, 1780, 233 



XII CONTENTS, 

I'age. 

To the Presidenl of Coni^ress. Palis, July Gtli, 

1780, - - - - - - - 234 

Lists of French, Spanish, Araerican, and Englisli ves- 
sels taken and destroyed. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July Gth, 

1780,^ ------- 239 

Ivo<;rets the America!) losses, and considers the causes. 
Urges Congress to ciierish the navy wliile it is ni 
their power. 

To ilie President of Congress. Paris, July 7th, 

1780, ... 1 - - - _ 240 

Rejection of Mr Hartley's proposal ior a bill to cm- 
power the King to make peace with America. — 
Abstract of the bill. — Sir G. Saville's motion, that 
(he American war be declared unconstitutional and 
ruinous, rtjcclcd. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July 7th. 

1780, --_--_: 243 

IVliiioii o| the merchants of Amsterdam to the States- 
General, for i)rotectioii of commerce from the En- 

,:;lish. 

B. Franklin to Count de V'ergcnnes. Passy, July 
10th, 1780, - 245 

Agrees that fouign mci chants ought not to suffer from 
the depreciation of the paper money. — Assures him 
that the sentiments of the Americans in general in 
i-egard'to the alliance, ditVcr widely from those ex- 
|)ressed by Mr Adams. 

To the Count deVergennes. Paris, July 13th, 1780, 247 

Determination of tlie English to imdertake a new cam- 
paign. — State of things in America. — The advan- 
tages whicii tlio Englisii derive from being masters 
of the American seas. — The English in America 
have l)een for two years in the power of their ene- 
mies. — Thci>- possessions must be protected and sup- 
plied by a naval power. — A naval superiority in 
those seas is the true policy of America and France. 
Tiie policy of France has been suspected in Amer- 
ica, and misrepresented in England on this point. — 
The real importance of America. — Prejudices against 
the Americans in France. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July 14th, 

17S0, - - - - - -. - 259 

i'loposed congress at St Petersburg. — English ac- 
counts of their successes in America. — Ignorance of 
the American foreign envoys on these subjects. 

To the i^rcsident of Congress. Paris, July 15tli, 

1780, - 2G0 

I'reamlde of tlie Russian ordinance relative to neutral 
rigiits. — There is no appearance of favor to England 
in the liussian Court. 



Page. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July lotli, 

1780, 263 

Attack on the French vessels in the neutral port of 
Rlilo by the English. — Russian, Swedish, Danish, 
and Dutch naval preparations. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July 15th, 

1780, ------- 265 

Enslish, Frencli, and Spanish forces at sea. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 17th, 

17S0, 266 

Reasons why his powers ought no longer to be con- 
cealed from the English Court. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July 19th, 

17S0, ------- 270 

Naval forces of the northern powers. — Russian ordi- 
nance ascertaining the neutral rights of Russian 
commerce. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July 19th, 

1780, ------- 276 

Armed neutral forces. — Quotes speculations from the 
Amsterdam Gazette relative to the effect of the con- 
quest of Mobile by the Spaniards. 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. VersaiHcs, 

July 20th, n'sO, ------ 278 

A French naval force has been sent to America, to co- 
operate with the American military ojierations. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 21st, 1780, 279 

Expresses his satisfaction with the destination of the 
armament abovementioned. 

To tlie President of Congress. Paris, July 22d, 

1780, .- - ■ 280 

Extract from the King's speech on the prorogation of 
Parliament. — Extracts from the journals, showing 
the state of the navies in Europe. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July 23d, 

1780, - 285 

Messengers pass between London and Madrid. 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
July 25th, 1780, 287 

Reasons for opposing Mr Adams' communication of 
his full power.^ to tlie English Ministry. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 26th, 

1780, 294 

Reply to the statements and arguments of tlie preced- 
ing letter. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, Julv 27tli, 

1780, '- - 301 

Observations on Count de Vcr-'ennes' assertion, that 



Page, 
the King Imd taken measures for sustaining Amer- 
ica without solicitations from Congress. — Solicita- 
tions were made through the medium of the foreign 
Envovs of Congress.— Expresses his fears that the 
French have not a decided naval superiority in the 
American seas. 

Count (le Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
July 29th, 1780, ----- 304 

Expresses his dissatisfaction with the remarks of Mr 
Adams. — Shall treat only with Mr Franklin on mat- 
ters concerning the United States. 

Count de Vergennes to B. Franklin. Versailles, 
July 31st, 17S0, - - - - - - 305 

Transmitting his correspondence with Mr Adams, with 
the request that it may be laid before Congress. 
(Letter from the President of Congress to Mr Adams 
on this subject. J\'otc.) 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 14th, 1780, - - - - - 307 

Arrives in Amsterdam. — Importance of maintaining 
an oflScial agent in the United Provinces.— Proba- 
bility of raising a loan in Holland.— Declaration of 
Sweden in regard to neutrality. — Declaration of 
Denmark on the same subject. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, August 17th, 1780, 314 

Absurd political speculations in Europe on the condi- 
tions and prospects of America. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 22d, 1780, ----- 31G 

Answer of France to the Swedish declaration. — Ques- 
tions of Sweden relative to the proposals of Russia, 
for reciprocal protection and mutual assistance of 
the neutrals. — Russian answer. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 23d, 1780, - - - - - - 321 

The English mission to Madrid merely a cover.— Real 
design of England to continue the war, and to sepa- 
rate°the House of Bourbon from America. — Urges 
the sending a r.linister to Holland. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
temhcr 4th, 1780, - - - - - 323 

Capture of the British West India fleet by the com- 
bined fleets of France and Spain. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
tember 5di, 1780, 324 

No measures ever taken in England to fix the English 
language. — Proposes (hat Congress should eflectthis 
object by erecting the American Academy for refin- 
ing and ascertaining the English language, and by 
furnishing the necessary funds for a library and the 
support of its officers. 



CONTENTS. XV 

Page. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
tember 19th, 1780, ----- 327 

Acknowledges the receipt of his commission for ne- 
gotiating a loan. — Uillkulties of this charge. — Ex- 
pediency of a Minister Plenipotentiary to Holland, 
charged with this duty. 

Commission to John Adams, referred to in the pre- 
ceding; letter, __-__- 329 

To llie President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
tember iGtb, 17 SO, 330 

Congress of St Petersburg. — The policy of Holland 
doul)tful. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
tember 24th, 1 780, ----- 332 

Determines to negotiate a loan in a private character. 
— Little reputation of the Dutch ow ing to their lan- 
guage. — Importance of cultivating the English lan- 
guage in America. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
tember 25th, 1780, ----- 334 

General ignorance of America in Holland. — Predomi- 
nance of the English interest there. — Little pros- 
pect of raising a loan. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Sep- 
tember 2Sth, 1780, 338 

The Dutch Ministers to St Petersburg have an audi- 
ence of the Empress. — Their address on this occa- 
sion. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Oc- 
tober 5th, 1780, ------ 340 

The Dutch Ministers to St Petersburg have an audience 
of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess. — Their 
addresses on the occasion. — Report of despatches 
from St Petersburg, which will induce Holland to 
accede to the armed neutrality. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Octo- 
ber 5th, 1780, - - - - - - 342 

Has elTected nothing in regard to the loan. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Octo- 
ber 11th, 1780, - - - - - - 342 

Sketch of the constitution of the Dutch Republic in 
respect to the powers of the Stadtholdcr, with the 
history ef the office. — Copy of the commission of 
the Stadtholder. — Capture of Mr Laurens. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, October 14th, 1780, 3G() 

Thanks Dr Franklin for the communication of intelli- 
gence. — Docs not think it degrading to the United 
States to ask for loans, or to seek the friendship of 
the maritime powers. 



XVI CONTENTS. 

Page. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Octo- 
ber 14th, 1780, 362 

Severe treatment of Mr Laurens. — Determination of 
England to prosecute the war. — Superiority of tlie 
United States to the United Provinces. — Forces of 
the Dutch Republic. — Advantages of a naval power. 
— Prospect of a rupture between England and Hol- 
land. — Proposals for facilitating the loan. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, October 24th, 1780, 3G5 

Uncertainty of a Joan in Holland. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Octo- 
ber 24th, 1780, ------ 366 

Sufferings of Mr Laurens. — Recommends Congress to 
send cargoes to Dutch ports for the payment of the 
interest of the proposed loan. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Octo- 
ber 27th, 1780, - - - - - - 367 

The capture of Mr Laurens' papers has betrayed his 
correspondence with Holland. 

James Lovell to John Adams. Philadelphia, Octo- 
ber 28th, 1780, ------ 368 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Octo- 
ber 31st, 1780, ------ 369 

Influence of the refugees in England —Cruel treat- 
ment of Mr Laurens intended to intimidate the 
friends of America. — Necessary to abandon all hope 
of reconciliation wi(h England. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, November 4th, 1 780, 371 

Requests bira to become responsible for certain bills of 
exchange drawn on Mr Laurens. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, No- 
vember 16th, 1780, 372 

Enclosing Sir J. Yorke's Memorial to the States-Gen- 
eral. — Insolence of that document. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, No- 
vember 17th, 1780, ----- 376 

Difficulties in the way of obtaining a loan. — Remarks 
on the proceedings of England in regard to Hol- 
land. — M. Van Berckel. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Nov. 24th, 1730, 378 

Little prospect of procuring a loan. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, No- 
vember 25th, 1780, , 379 

A plurality of Provinces declare for the armed neu- 
trality. — Accepts the bills on Mr Laurens, under assu- 
rance from Dr Franklin that he will meet them in 
case of Mr Adams' disability. — The fear of the sub- 
mission of Americadiscourages the loan. — TheStadt- 



CONTENTS. XVII 

Page, 
holder .favorable to England. — Sir J. Yorkc's memo- 
rial injures the English cause. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Nov. 30th, 1760, 382 

Has accepted bills on Mr Laurens. — Prospect of a 
loan doubtful. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, No- 
vember 30th, 1780, ----- 383 

The courier, despatciied to St Petersburg by Holland, 
countermanded. — Preponderance of the English in- 
terest in Holland. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 14 th, 1780, ----- 384 

Requests that no more drafts he made on Holland. — 
Little disposition in Holland to furnish a loan. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember ISth, 1780, ----- 386 

Memoiialof Sir J. Yorke, threatening Amsterdam for 
the plan of a treaty with the Americans, unless repa- 
ration is made. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 21st, 1780, ----- 388 

Influence of (he English in Holland, shown by the 
l)rayers in the English churches there, for the dis- 
comfiture of the rebels. 

To the President of Congress." Amsterdam, De- 
cember 25th, 1780, ----- 389 

Politics and disposition of the Prince of Orange. — 
England will probably declare against the Dutch, 
on account of their joining the armed neutrality. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 25th, 1780, - - - - - 391 

Proceedings of the States-General in regard to Amster- 
dam. — They determine to demand satisfaction for 
file memorials of Sir J. Yorke. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 25lh, 1780, ----- 393 

Rumors of the recall of Sir .1. VorRe and other hostile 
indications. , 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 2Gth, 1780, 

Sir .1. Yorke le.ivcs Holland al)t 

To the President of Congress, 
cember 28th, 1780, 

Holland will be su|)ported by 
case of war wilh England. 

To the President of Congress. 

cember 30lh, 1780, ' 397 

Explanation of the opposition of the Province of Zea- 
land to tlip measures of the States-General. 
VOL. v. C 



. 


394 


uj.tly. 




Amsterdam, Do- 




- - _ - 


395 


llie armed neutrality in 




Amsterdam, De- 





Page. 

To the President ot Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 31st, 1780, ----- 404 

Holland will be supported in a war with England, 
eithei- by the armed neutrals, or by the other bel- 
ligerents. — Death of Maria Tlieresa. 

The President of Congress to John Adams. Phila- 
delphia, January 1st, 1781, - - - - 405 

Enclosing his commission as Minister Plenipotentiary 
to Holland, resolve ol' Congress on the Russian 
Declaration (JS'ole) and other documents. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 1st, 1781, ------ 40G 

British Manifesto against tlie States-General. — Orders 
in Council directing the seizure of Dutch ships and 
goods. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 4th, 178), ------ 414 

Popularity of the American cause in the Provinces. — 
Recommends M. Dumas to Congress. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 5lh, 1781, 416 

Abstract of the proceedings in Holland, in consequence 
of Sir J. Yorke's memorial. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 14th, 1781, - - - - 

Resentment in HoUand against the English. — Unpre- 
pared state of tlie country in case of war. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Janu- 
ary 15th, 1781, 419 

Declaration of the States-General on their accession to 
the armed neutrality. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Janu- 
ary 15th, 1781, 422 

The Province of Zealand continues to oppose the rup- 
ture with England. — State of the Dutch marine. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Janu- 
ary 15th, 1781, 423 

Address of the Stadtholder to the States-General, re- 
commending warlike preparations. — The States ap- 
prove tlie proposition and direct it to be commu- 
nicated to the Provinces. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Janu- 
ary 15th, 1781, - 425 

Obstacles in the way of obtaining a loan in Holland. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Janu- 
ary I8th, 1781, 

Proclamation of the States-General for the encourage- 
ment of privateers against the English. — Proclama- 



418 



425 



CONTENTS. 



lion ^lauliiig iiuleiiiiiilicatiuiis tu Itiuse wliu »liull ItK 
wounded in the service of the Republic, in the war 



fiigt. 



To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Feb- 
ruary 1st, 17S1, ------ 433 

Treaty of Marine between Russia and Denmark. — .A 
similar treaty between Russia and Sweden, » ith mod- 
ifications. — The States-General accede to the treaty. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Feb. loth, 1781, '- 443 

Requesting funds to discharge bills drawn on biui by 
Couffrcss. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Feb. 20th, 1781, - 444 

Slate of .American alTairs in Holland. 

To the Due de la Vauguyon. Amsterdam, March 

1st, 1781, ------- 440 

The Province of Friesland resolves to acknowledge the 
independence of .\nierica. — Considers it time to pre- 
pare for the execution of his instructions. — Requests 
iiis opinion on the enclosed project of a proposition 

to the States. 

A Memorial to the States-General, - . - 443 
To the Prince de Gallitzin, Minister ot the Empress 

of Russia. Leyden, March 8th, 1781, - - 449 

Transmitting a resolution of Congress, relative to the 
rights of neutrals. — Would be happy to accede to 
the Marine Treaty in the name of the United States. 

To M. Van Berckel, First Counsellor Pensionary of 
thecity of Amsterdam. Leyden, March 8th, 1781, 450 

Enclosing a resolution of Coagress on the rights of 
neutrals. 

To the Due de la Va+iguyon, Ambassador of France 
at the Hague. Leyden, March 8th, 1781, - 450 

Enclosing ihe resolution of Congress, referred to in 
the precf ding letters. 

From the Due de la Vauguyon to John Adams. 
Hague, March 14th, 17S1, - - - - 451 

Cannot interfere in the measures of Mr Adams in re- 
gard to the neutral powers without instructions. 

To the President of Congress. Leyden, March 18th, 
1781, 451 

Counter manifesto of Holland, in reply to the British 
manifesto. — Memorial of Prince Gallitzin to the 
States-General, offering the mediation of Russia. 

To the President of Congress. Leyden, March 
19th, 1781, - 469 

Acknowledges the reception of his commission n% Min- 
ister Plenipotentia^ to Holland. — Division of sen- 
timents in that country. 



Page. 

[•ess. Leyden, March 
29th, 1781, - 472 

Memorial of the Dutch Minister to the King- of Swe- 
den, demanding the protection of the armed neutrals. 

To the President of Congress. Leyden, March 
29th, 1781, 479 

Additional taxes in Great Britain. — Comparison of 
Lord North with M. Meeker. — Necessity of creating 
a permanent public credit in the United States. — 
Ways and means for effecting it. 

To tlie Due de la Vaugiiyon. Leyden, April 16th, 

1781, ------_ 481 

Acquainting him with the reception of his powers and 
instructions. 

Memorial of Mr Adams to the States-General, - 481 
Memorial of Mr Adams to the Prince of Orange. 
Leyden, April 19ih, 1781, - - - - 493 

Informing the Stadtholdcr of his appointment and 
powers. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, April 27th, 1781, 494 

Protesting a set of bills drawn by Congress, might ena- 
ble him to raise a loan. 

To the Due de la Vaugiiyon, Ambassador of France 

at the Hague. Leyden, May 1st, 1781, - - 49G 

Projjosing that Holland be invited, according to tiie 
terms of tlie treaty between France and America, 
to make common cause with these powers. 

To the President of Congre.ss. Leyden, May 3d, 1781, 497 

Interview with the Grand Pensionary of Holland. 

To the President of Congre.ss. Anisterdam, May 
7th, 1781, 498 

In a second interview with thetTrand Pensionary, he is 
referred to the I'resideiit of the States-General. — In- 
terview with the President, who declinesreceiving his 
commission or memorial, and promises to report to 
the States. — Delivers a letter to the Secretary of the 
Stadtholdcr for the Prince, who declines receiving it. 
— The President reports to the States, who take the 
subject ad referendum. — The French Ambassador at 
the Hague disapproves of the proceedings of Mr < 

Adams, but promises his support. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, May Sth, 1781, - 501 

Generous aid of France. — America might tax Europe, 
by laying export duties. — Cannot accept bills drawn 
by Congress, imlcss Dr Franklin will meet them. 

To die President of Congress. Ainsterdam, May 
16th, 1781, --.,._. 503 

Encloses his memorials to the States and the Stadt- 
holder. — No probability of a speedy decision. — 

Dutch fleet sails. Divided state of opinions in 

Holland. 



CORRESPONDENCE 



OF 



JOHN A D A 31 S 



ONE OF THE CO.MMISSiO.NERS TO FRANCE, MINISTER 

PLENIPOTENTIARY TO HOLLAND, AND ONE OF THE 

COMMISSIONERS FOR NEGOTIATING THE 

TREATY OF PEACE. 



CORRESPONDENCE 



JOHN ADAMS 



CORRESPONDENCE CONTINUED. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OV CONGRESS. 

Paris, April 17lh, 1780. 

Sir, 

Late letters from Dantzic imply, that commerce was 
become very languishing there for some time, excepting for 
ship timber, which bore a very good price there, on ac- 
count of the English, and which they carried away, as well 
in their own vessels as those of Dantzic. 

The new face, which the affairs of Europe are about to 
take from the alliance formed between the powers of the 
North for the maintenance of an exact neutrality, and to 
which people here are fully persuaded that the Republic 
of the United Provinces will agree, gives occasion to con- 
jectures, either, that the war will be pushed this year with 
more vivacity than ever, both by land and sea, or that 
peace may be made without delay. They say, even that 
there may have been already negotiations commenced on 
this subject ; that it is by the intervention of the King of 
Sardinia, who would manage the accommodation between 



4 • JOHN ADAMS! 

the belligerent powers, and that his present Ambassador in 
France is so much the better able to labor usefully 
towards this great work, that having resided in England in 
the same quality he has the advantage to know perfectly 
the Ministers and their system. However this may be, if 
there are sometimes occasions in which one may judge 
of future events by an examination of the present, and re- 
flection upon the past, might one be taxed with partiality 
or temerity, if one ventured to lay it down as a fact, that, 
from the beginning of the contest in which Great Britain is 
at present engaged, her situation has never appeared so 
critical and so dangerous ? In fact, as if it was not enough, 
that she had quarrelled with her Colonies, as if it was not 
enough, that she is at war with two powers so formidable 
as France and Spain in consequence of the quarrel with 
the Colonies, as if her intestine troubles were not enough, 
which, by dividing tiie nation, contribute not a little to 
vireaken it ; and at the end of the perspective, to see Ire- 
land, at the first moment, make as much of it as the Ameri- 
cans, in declaring herself also independent. In spile of so 
many alarming considerations, England still seems to seek 
new enemies, by attacking without distinction the vessels of 
all the neutral nations, and even of her allies. Thus she 
has forced them by this proceeding, not less arbitrary than 
inconceivable, especially in her present circumstances, to 
make a league with each other for the maintenance of the 
safety of the navigation of their respective subjects, as 
well as of the honor of their flags, for which they plainly 
acknowledge at this day, that they never could have 
hoped for any safety, if the English, who, embarrassed as 
they are, treat them nevertheless with so little ceremony, 
could ever recover that superiority, whereof we cannot 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPO.NDENCK. 5 

deny that they' found means to put themselves in posses- 
sion at the end of the last war. 

But such is the fate of all human things ; to liave a 
commencement, to acquire successively an augmentation, 
which ought to he expected up to certain bounds, and be- 
yond which they must necessarily begin to decrease, until 
they descend again to the same point from whence they 
began ; and no human efforts can disturb this constant and 
immutable order. After this declaration let us judge 
whether in fact, this is not the case of England, and we 
may after this predict very nearly the issue of the present 
events, or of those which may take place in the course of 
the year. 

By the English papers, Congress will see the state of 
parties in England, where the stubble is so dry, that the 
smallest spark thrown into it may set the whole field in 
a blaze. Opposition have carried triumphantly in the 
fullest House of Commons ever known, by a majority of 
eighteen votes against the utmost efforts of the Ministry, 
the resolution, that it is necessary to declare, that the 
influence of the Crown has increased, increases, and ought 
to be diminished ; that it is in the power of the House 
to take "cognizance of, and to reform the abuses, which 
may exist in the employment of the civil list revenues, 
as well as all other revenues ; and that it is the duty of 
the House to grant effectual redress to the grievances, 
exposed in the petitions presented to the House by the 
different cities, counties, and towns of the kingdom. By 
the speech of Mr Fox, it will be seen to what soaring 
heights this young statesman aspires. 

Since my arrival the last time in Europe, I have hnd, 
six and forty times, I think, the honor of writing to Con- 



6 JOHN ADAMS. 

gress ; but it seems impossible to get a letter across the 
Atlantic. Many of my letters have been waiting long at 
the seaports for a passage, but when they will obtain it, I 
know not ; if they all arrive, and Congress should be able 
to see atone view the vast chain that is binding almost all 
mankind every day closer and faster together, in opposi- 
tion to the dangerous power, and the intolerable posses- 
sions of the English, they will see how many of the wisest 
hands in the world are at work for their safety and glory, 
and have the utmost cause of gratitude to Heaven for 
ordering events in the course of his Providence so de- 
cidedly in their favor. 

I have the honor to be, »k;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PKESIDKNT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, April 18tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

It is my duty to transmit to Congress, as soon as pru- 
dence will admit, everything which deserves consideration, 
as having either a direct, or an indirect tendency to peace, 
or even to negotiations for that important object. The en- 
closed letter has been transmitted to Paris through such a 
channel, that I have reason to believe, that it was particu- 
larly intended for my inspection. It is from a gendeman, 
who, to do him justice, has long expressed an earnest desire 
for peace, but who, nevertheless, has never yet reflected 
maturely enough upon the state of America, of Great Bri- 
tain, and of all Europe, to get into a right way of thinking, 
concerning the proper means to his end. Congress will per- 
ceive this from the letter itself, in which it is obvious enough. 

The first remarkable sentiment is, "We must at all 



UIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE 7 

events support our national honor, by the most vigorous 
exertions, without shrinking ; but surely, in such a compli- 
cated war as this is, if we can make any equitable offers of 
a treaty to any of the parties, common prudence calls upon 
us to use our endeavors to unravel by negotiation, the com- 
bination of powers now acting against us." In this para- 
graph, 1 see the manifest marks of a mind that has not yet 
mastered its subject. True policy would have omitted 
everything in this letter, which should call up to the minds 
of the people the ideas of national honor. Every man in 
the world, who is thoroughly acquainted with the subject, 
knows that Great Britain never can obtain a peace without 
a diminution of her honor and dignity. It is impossible 
without miracles, and therefore the Englishman, who un- 
dertakes to plan for peace, must be convinced of this and 
take it into his plan, and consequently should avoid with 
the utmost caution every word, which should excite these 
ideas in the minds of the people. They stir passions 
which make them mad. 

He should have avoided with equal solicitude every in- 
sinuation of a design to unravel, by negotiation, the combi- 
nation of powers now acting against Great Britain. This 
combination is in fact much more extensive, much more 
universal and formidable, than the letter writer had any 
idea or suspicion of. But if it had been no more exten- 
sive than France, Spain, and America, the impracticability 
of unravelling it ought to have thrown out this sentiment. 
By it he proposes by negotiation to bring those to dishonor 
themselves, who have certainly no occasion for it ; at the 
same time that he stimulates others to cherish and preserve 
their honor, who have already lost it, and under an abso- 
lute necessity, sooner or later, of sacrificing it. By this 



8 JOHN ADAMS. 

means lie only puts the confederates more upon their 
guard, and renders the attainment of his professed object, 
peace, impossible. 

The next solecism in politics, which he commits, is un- 
dertaking to vindicate America from the charge of having 
sought and formed this confederacy. America wanted no 
such vindication ; it is folly to suppose it a fault, for all 
mankind will agree, even his correspondents themselves, 
that it was wisdom and virtue. Surely another term must 
be given to popular ideas, before they will be brought to 
petition for peace. 

Nor do I think it was prudent in him to hold up the idea, 
that America had proceeded with reluctance and regret to 
the Treaty. That this is true, I know and feel to this very 
moment ; for although I had no such reluctance myself, 
those gentlemen with whom I had the honor to sit in Con- 
gress at the time will remember, that I had very good rea- 
sons to be sensible that others had. But how well soever 
he might be informed of the fact, and from what source so- 
ever he might draw his information, it was bad policy in 
him to hold it up, because he ought to have been equally 
sure, that America has now no reluctance to the treaty, nor 
any inclination to violate it. He ought not, therefore, to 
have held up a hope of this to the people. 

Neither ought he to have flattered the people with hopes, 
that America would not form any perpetual alliance with 
France, nor that their limited alliance might be satisfied 
and discharged. The alliance already made is limited, it 
is true, to a certain number of articles, but not limited in 
its duration. It is perpetual, and he had no grounds to 
sooth the people with hopes, either that France would 
give up any of the articles of the treaty, or that America 
would violate them. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRi:?rOiM)F.NCF.. () 

He ought also to have avoided his iiisiniiaiioiis, that Ame- 
rica has been so much harassed by the war. Tiiis is an 
idea so refreshing to the present passions of the people of 
England, that, instead of tending to dispose them to peace, 
it only revives their hopes of success, and inflames their 
ardor for war. That America has been harassed by the war 
is true, and when was any nation at war without being so ? 
Especially, when did any nation imdergo a revolution in 
government, and sustain a war at the same time without it r 
Yet, after all, America has not been so much harassed, or 
disastered, or terrified, or panic-struck from the beginning, 
as Great Britain has been several times in the course of it. 

But the most exceptionable passage of all, is this. "It 
is apparent to all the world, that France might long ago 
have put nn end to that part of the war, ivhich has been 
most distressing to America, if she liad chosen so to do. 
Let the whole system of France be considered, from the 
very beginning, down to the last retreat from Savannah, 
and I think it is impossible to put any other construction 
upon it, but this, viz. that it has always been the deliberate 
intention and object of France, for purposes of her own, 
to encourage the continuation of the war in America, in 
hopes of cvhausting the strength and resources of this 
country, and of depressing the rising power of America.^'' 

Upon this paragraph 1 scarcely know what rema»-ks to 
make. But after deliberating upon it, as patiently and 
maturely as I can, I will clearly write my oi)inion of it ; 
for my obligations to truth and to my munlry are ante- 
cedent to all other ties. 

I am clearly and fully of the opinion, then, that the 
fact is true, that France might put an end to that part of 
the war, which has been most distressing to Americans ; 

VOL. v 2 



10 -^OHN ADAMS. 

and I certainly know the means were extremely simple and 
obvious, and tliat they were repeatedly proposed, and ex- 
plained, and urged to the Ministry ; and I should have had 
a terrible load of the guilt of negligence of my duty upon 
my conscience, if it had not been done while 1 had the 
honor of a commission to this Court. But, when the let- 
ter writer proceeds so far as to say, that it was to encour- 
age the continuance of the war, in order to exhaust the 
strength and resources of Great Britain, I cannot accom- 
pany him, much less can I join with him in the opinion, 
that it was to depress the rising power in America. I be- 
lieve, on l!ie contrary, that France lias not wished the con- 
tinuance of liie war, but, that she has wished for peace. 
The war has l>een attended with too much loss and danger 
to France, to suppose, that she wished its continuance, and 
if she did not wish its continuance at all, she could not 
wish it to depress the powr;r of i\merica. 

She cou!d not v;ish it. in my opinion, for this reason, 
because it is not the means to lliis end. It has a contrary 
tendency. The longer this war is continued in America, 
the more will America become habituated to the charac- 
ters of the si)ldicr and the marine. i\Jilitary virtues and 
talents and [)assions will gain strength, and additional ac- 
tivity, every year while the war lasts ; and the more these 
virtues, talents, and passions are multiplied, tiie deeper will 
the foundations of American power be laid, and the more 
dangerous will it become to some or other of the powers 
of Europe ; to France, as likely as to any other power, 
because it will be more likely to bo ambitious and enter- 
prising, and to aspire at conquests by sea and land. 

This idea, however, deserves to be considered with all 
the attention that Americans can give to it ; although I am 



DIPLOMATIC CUKUtlSrONDL.NCE. H 

convinced by everylbing I see and read and hear, lliat all 
the powers of Europe, except, perliaps, the House of Aus- 
tria, and I am not very clear in tliat exception, rejoice in 
the American revolution, and consider the independence of 
America as for their interest and happiness, in many points 
of view, both respecting commerce and the balance of 
Europe ; yet I have many reasons to think, that not one 
of them, not even Spain, nor France, wishes to see Amer- 
ica rise very fast to power. We ought, therefore, to be 
cautious how we magnify our ideas, and exaggerate our 
expressions of the generosity and magnanimity of any of 
these powers. Let us treat them with gratitude, but with 
dignity. Let us remember what is due to ourselves and 
to our posterity, as well as to them. Let us, above all 
things, avoid, as much as possible, entangling ourselves 
with their wars or politics. Our business with them, and 
theirs with us, is commerce, not politics, mucli less war. 
America has been the sport of European wars and politics 
long enough. 

I think, however, that tiiis letter writer was very much 
mistaken in his judgment, when he threw out this lan- 
guage. It could be meant only to excite a jealousy and a 
quarrel between France and America, or rather feed the 
Yorkshire people, and the people of England with a hope 
of exciting 5uch a quarrel. This is not the way to come 
at a peace. They will never succeed in such a plan, and 
every attempt towards it is a false policy. 

The next mistake is, the idea of a reconciliation and 
federal union whh America. This must be intended to 
separate us from our allies, which this gentleman ought, 
before now, to have known is totally impracticable. 

I have very little more relish for the notion of a truce. 



12 JOHN ADAMS. 

We are in a safer way at war. We cannot make a truce 
without France. She will never consent, that we should 
make a truce, unless she makes a peace ; and such alter- 
ations may be made in the constitutions of the Courts of 
France and Spain, and in the other Courts and political 
connexions in Europe, before the expiration of the term of 
a truce, that it would be attended with loo much hazard to 
us. Neither France, nor Spain, nor the other powers of 
Europe, might, after a truce, be ready to go to war again ; 
and unforeseen divisions may be excited among ourselves 
by artful emissaries from England. We are going on now 
in a sure and certain road. If we go out of it, we may be 
lost. 

Upon the whole, 1 think, that this letter writer should 
have stated the true situation of Europe, of Great Britain, 
Ireland, and America, 

From this statement, his immediate conclusion should 

have been open conferences for peace ; make peace with 

all the world, upon the best terms you can. This is the 

only chance you have for salvation. It must come to this 

very soon ; otherwise, there will be a total dissolution of 

the British Empire. 

I liave the honor lo be, &,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

ru XHK PRESIDENT OF CONGKESS. 

Paris, April 2-4tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

There is intelligence from Stockholm of the 4di of this 

month, that "the Envoy Extraordinary of the Empress of 

Russia has given notice to that Court, of the declaration 

made by his sovereign, as well to the States-General of 



DirLO.MATIC LUKUKbl'U.NUKNCE. J 3 

the United Provinces as to the powers actually at war, 
demanding, at the same time, that Sweden would accede 
to it, and to tiiis end join herself to Russia, by augmenting 
the Swedish marine, to the end, to concur by this means, 
in the maintenance of a neutrality. Although this Court 
appears very well inclined to enter into the views of Rus- 
sia, nevertheless, it is thought, that before anything will be 
decided upon this object, she will previously give notice of 
it to the Court of France. In the meantime, the Minister 
of Russia at this Court has received orders to treat di- 
rectly of this affair, as well with the Prince de Gallitzin, 
Envoy Extraordinary of her Imperial Majesty to their 
High Mightinesses, as with the other 3Iinisters of th?.t 
Court residing at the neutral Courts." 

There is also intelligence from Ratisbon of the liJth 
of April, that '01. Struxe, Counsellor of the Legislation 
from Russia, has communicated there by order of his 
Court the declaration made by his sovereign to the bel- 
ligerent powers, to the end to make her flag be respected, 
and to protect the commerce and navigation of her sub- 
jects ; and that, in consequence, orders had already been 
despatched to Cronstadt and Archangel to equip there a 
sufficient number of ships of the line." 

There is a paragraph in the Gazette of Amsterdam, of 
the 21st, from Paris of the 14th of April. "It is only by 
conjecture, that we talk of the plan of the next campaign 
in Europe ; and it is also with the same uncertainty, that 
we lend our ear to the report, which runs, that the Count 
d'Estaing will command the combined fleet, and even, 
that the Count dii ChafTault, as well as the Spanish Ad- 
mirals, have ofiered to serve under him. It is pretended, 
besides, that there may very well be also some alteraiions 



14 JOHIN ADAMS. 

in tiiL progress of our AiinisUy, If it is true, as they con- 
linuc lo affirm, tliat the Count de Parades has been ar- 
rested as i; spy of the English Government, to whom he was, 
in fact, in a capacity to discover important particulars upon 
this suhjcct. But there is anotlier piece of news, to which 
we give more credit, beca-ase, really, there is no good citF- 
zen, nor genuine friend of humanity, who does not wish to 
hear it confirmed. !t is, thai there sliould be, as it is said, 
upon the carpet, a plan concerted between all the maritime 
powers of Euiope, to the end to form and digest a uni- 
versal code ior il;e sea, the laws of v.iiich no nation 
should attempt to infringe, without devoting herself to the 
indignation, or exposing herself to the vengeance, of all 
the others ; an important project, if it could be executed, 
which v.'ould insure the happiness and tranquillity of 
nations, and Vvould set bounds, v.'hich could not be passed, 
to tl'/j audacity, as well as tlic avarice of any one, which, 
without any oth.er right than that of force, should pretend 
to arrogate t:) ".: ^Ifhie exclusive empire of the sea." 

There is also intelligence from the Hague of the 19di 
of April, that there was sent on the 1 4th of the month to 
the Assem!j]y of the States-General of the United Prov- 
inces, a Pvlemcrial of the following tenor. 

"Their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, the Commis- 
sioners of the afiiiirs of commerce and navigation, con- 
jointly with some counsellors of Holland, and Ministers of 
the College of Admiralty residing in this Province, hav- 
ing, h\ consequence of a resolution of tlie 4th of this 
montl), examined the Memorial presented the day before 
to llie Generality, by the Prince Gnllilzin, Envoy Extra- 
ordinary of her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, 
by which the IMinister has comniunicated a declaration 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDKNCE. 15 

made by liis sovereign to the Courts of France, Spain, 
and England, that the neutral powers may protect by 
common agreement the commerce and navigation of her 
subjects respectively, as is more fully explained in the 
note of the 4th of April. 

"Wljereupon hai-ing deliberated, their Noble and Grand 
ftiightinesses have thought fit and resolved, that the affairs 
be proposed to the Generality, and that they answer in 
turn to the before mentioned Memorial of the Prince de 
Gallitzin, tiiat their High Mightinesses have received, with 
much satisfaction, the coranmnication, which it has pleased 
her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, to give them of her 
designs, as well as of the declaration, which she has caused 
to be made to the said Courts ; that their High Mighti- 
nesses regard this communication as the most convincing 
proof of the benevolence of her Majesty for this Republic, 
and holding themselves honored by it, they think them- 
selves, consequently, obliged in all respects to give her a 
cordial and positive answer ; that their High Mightinesses 
put the highest value on the new proof, which her Imperial 
iMajesty gives on this occasion of her generosity and ac- 
knowledged equity, as well as on the project she has con- 
ceived, and the means which she has resolved to employ 
to obtain the most exact neutrality in the present war with 
the belligerent powers, and protect not only the honor of 
the Russian flag, as well as the commerce and navigation 
of her subjects, in not permitting them to be disturbed by 
any of the powers at war, but also to assure the liberty and 
repose of Europe upon thet solid foundations of the justice 
of the law of nations and the treaties subsisting, and thus to 
consolidate the equitable system of navigation and commerce 
of the neutral powers ; that their High Mishtinesscs bavins: 



16 JOHN ADAMS. 

nothing more at heart, than to observe a strict neutrality 
with her Majesty, the Eiripress of Russia, in the present 
war, but instructed by experience, in the losses which the 
commerce and navigation of the neutral powers have 
suffered, by the fluctuations and uncertainty of the belliger- 
ent powers in the state of the law of nations, from whence 
have resulted to them many inconveniences and great 
damages occasioned by the operations of the present war, 
their High Mightinesses have judged it necessary, in con- 
cert with her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, to fix this 
law upon a solid basis, and to request, for this end, the 
concurrence of the neutral maritime powers ; diat, more- 
over, as to what concerns the extent and limits of this law, 
their High Mightinesses conform themselves wholly to the 
five points contained in the declaration of her Imperial 
Majesty made to the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and 
London, communicated to their High Mightinesses by the 
Prince de GalHtzin the third of April of this year, and are, 
consequently, ready to make similar declarations to the 
belligerent powers, their High Mightinesses being sin- 
cerely disposed to enter into conferences with her Impe- 
rial Majesty of all the Russias, and other neutral mariume 
powers, upon the measures which may be unanimously 
taken, to the end to maintain effectually, both for the 
present era and for the time to come, the liberty of naviga- 
tion and commerce, by observing an exact neutrality be- 
tween the belligerent powers. 

"That the extract of the resolution to be taken be sent 
by the Agent, Van den Burch Spuonings, back to the 
Prince de Gallitzin, Envoy Extraordinary of her Imperial 
Majesty of all the Russias, to the end to inform his sover- 
eign, and to employ his good ofhccs to lay before her this 



DiPLOiMATIC CORRESPONDENCt:. 17 

answer in the manner ihe most favorable ; that they 
ought also to send a similar extract to ■M. de Swart, Resi- 
dent of their High Mightinesses at the Court of Peters- 
burgii, for liis information, with an injunction to co-operate, 
as far as shall depend upon him, to the success of the salu- 
tary intentions of their High jNIightinesses ; that the same 
measures be taken with regard to the ^linisters of the Re- 
public at the Courts of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Lis- 
bon, with orders to act in concert^ and to support the 
measures of the Russian INIinisters at the Courts where 
they reside." 

Their High Mightinesses having deliberated upon this 
object, the Deputies of Provinces, which have not as yet 
declared themselves, have been desired to pronounce as 
soon as possible the resolutions of the States, their princi- 
pals. The States of the Province of Groningen have de- 
clared themselves authorised, during the suspension of the 
deliberations, to confer on this subject with the Prince de 
Gallitzin for a further explanation, saving the free delibera- 
tions of their principals. 

Amsterdam, 20th of April. The College of Admiralty 
of West Friesland and of the northern quarter have jnit in 
commission, with the participation of His Most Serene 
Highness, the Prince Stadtholder, the frigates of war, the 
iMedemblick, of thirtysix guns, the Horn, Enkhuisen, of 
twenty guns, which will be commanded by the Captain 
Van Regneveld Heckers and Trykenius." 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

VOL. V. .3 



]R JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THK COUNT PE VERGENNES, 

r.'uis, April 25tl), 17§0. 

Sir, 

I have the honor io inform your Excelleiicy, that a small 
sciiooner has arrived at N antes from Baltimore, by wlii'cli 
came the enclosed newspapers, which i send to your Ex- 
cellency without a moment's loss of lime. 1 hope, how- 
ever, your Excellency has rqceived these and many more, 
and nujch fuller intelligence by the same vessel ; but as it 
is possible it may be otherwise, I think it my duly to send 
diem. J have no other news by (his v(;sse! as yet, except- 
ing, that General Gates was appointed to command the 
army in Charleston, an event which I esteem of great im- 
portance, because there is in the mind of the American 
soldier an affection for that officer, and a confidence in 
him, that wii! sliow its effects. 

A vf?ssei from Martinique had just arrived, widi an 
account, that the ]^eRn frigate, Captain Nicholson, had sent 
in there an English frigate sheathed with copper, mounting 
twentyeight guns, which struck after a severe action. 

Jf i siio'iid be so happy as to receive raiy more news 
from this vessel, I slinH have the iionor to transmit it to 
your Excellency. 

] have the honor to be, &.c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THK PRF.STDENT OF CONGRESS, 

Pmis. April 2.5tii. 1780. 

Sir, 
A letter from Dublin, of the JSth of this month, gives us 
the following acrount. "We wait with impatience for the 



DIPLOMATIC CuKKLSFO.NDEiNCE. JQ 

uieetiiJg of Parliameut ; tli>i day ;;pproacljes when llie 
political destiny of this kingdom will be decided. Tliere 
is yet some softness in one party of the Parhauieiit, but 
there is none at all in the body of the people, and espe- 
cially in that of our brave volunte;.rs, who are at once tlie 
adiniraiiou and the firm hope of the nation, which seems now 
to spring up, and out of chaos. One thing very extraordi- 
nary is, that among this body of volunteers, exceeding 
ill fact the number offorlysix thousand men, (although 
in so innocent an army composed of so many discord- 
ant parties, commanded by so many chiefs, some more 
powerful than the others might be suspected of enter- 
taining views a little opposite to patriotism,) no ambitious 
ones, supported by popularity, have undertaken anything, 
not only against the liberties, but even against the tranquil- 
lity of the people; not the least disorder, not even the 
appearance of disunion, or partial cabals. We contem- 
plate with astonishment, mixed with a jcy most intiuiately 
felt, an armed multitude proceeding to give, so to express 
myself, the island to the civil power, and aiding it to pro- 
tect and facilitate the execution of its laws. Such are the 
advantages, which we ought always to provide ourselves 
from an army, the humblest soldier of which finds his in- 
terest in good order and good government. r>]eicenarie3 
fight for money ; volunteers, projirieiors of one part of tiie 
lands, which are proposed to be defended, and of the 
rights, which are to be recovered or protected, have a 
direct interest in preserving in all their vigor the laws, 
which assure to tiiein tlie property of those laiidi, and 
the enjoyment of these rights. 

"While the nation busies itself about its political eajunti- 
palion, and already enjoys it, by anticipation, she does not 



20 



JOHiN ADAMS. 



neglect the advantages already obtained by the firmness and 
the wisdom of her conduct ; all the objects of commerce 
fix the attendance of various committees ; the establish- 
ments are multiplied insensibly in proportion to the rising 
occasions ; where there were manufactories they are busied 
about the means of improving them, where there were 
none, and it appears convenient to establish them, societies 
of adventurers are formed. We have a considerable 
number of woollen stuffs and cloths, we have none of cot- 
ton. At this day Limerick proposes to become the rival 
of IManchester ; they are about making the beautiful vel- 
vets, and stuffs of cotton. One company have appropriated 
to this undertaking a capital of sixteen thousand pounds 
sterling, and they have brought over from England a 
sufficient number of excellent workmen in this business. 

"In reading over my letter, I remark I have stated at for- 
tysix thousand the number of volunteers actually armed 
among us ; we have not yet an exact return, it is possi- 
ble there may be four or five thousand more, because at 
the end of last year we generally reckoned upon forty- 
five thousand, and there have been since formed five new 
corps, commanded by officers as respectable for their per- 
sonal courage, as for their patriotism. If this martial ardor, 
which animates all the orders of the community, has any 
inconvenience, it is, that it takes away from the manufac- 
turers a prodigious number of hands. Independently of 
the time given to military exercise, you would not be able 
to conceive how many people are employed in these mel- 
ancholy but necessary manufactures, which have no other 
use, end, or object, than the destruction of men. The 
casting of cannon, the manufacture of arms of every des- 
cription, of tents, and other articles, which are required 



DIPLOMATIC COUKESFO.NDE.NtE. 21 

for the preparation lor a campaign, employ moreover sev- 
eral thousands of liands; it is true, ti)at the two levies 
divide the lahor between them. 

"They say, that the Duke of Leinster, on whom Ujcy had 
so unjustly ventured to publish some offensive reflections, 
has declared publicly and in the most solemn manner, that 
he will support the people in the vindication of their rights 
to a free constitution absolutely independent. If the se- 
renity of our present situation is sometimes interrupted, it 
is by those unlucky white boys, who, from time to time, 
renew their atrocities. The 1st instant fifty of liiese ban- 
ditti wellmounted met upon an eminence at Cloriseu, near 
to Feathard, where they conducted themselves in an inhu- 
man manner towards two individuals." 

In the French Gazette is an article from London wiiii 
regard to Ireland. "They accuse the Ministry of holding 
relative to that kingdom the same conduct, which they held 
in the beginning of the troubles of America, that is to 
say, to leave the sovereign and the nation in error, con- 
cerning all the facts, and endeavor to inspire into the Brit- 
ish Parliament the most sinister carelessness and inatten- 
tion for the most important of affairs. People hired to 
support among us the blindest con6dence write, that the 
Irish are very well pleased with Lord Hillsborough, that 
the concessions made to Ireland satisfy all its wishes, that 
even the associations enjoy in peace the good that has 
been done to their country. We learn, however, that the 
city of Dublin declares in her common council, that she 
cannot any longer suspend her judgment upon the conduct 
of government, that to destroy the false interpretations, 
which they have endeavored to give to the joy, which lue 
people of Ireland have testified upon the subject of the act, 



22 JOHN ADAMS. 

which gives liberty to their commerce, several counties, 
and the greatest part of the associationSj have thought 
theiiiselves obliged to explain to the public, that the motive 
of thij momentary joy proceeded principally from this, 
that they regarded the liberty of commerce aa a com- 
mencement of the independence of the constitution. 

"The principal creatures of the English Ministry, in the 
Parliament of Ireland, arrived the beginning of this month 
to receive instructions relative to the approaching Assem- 
bly, but they sr.y, that during their absence the chiefs of 
the national party have been employed in promoting the 
meetings of the counties, in cementing the military asso- 
ciations, and encouraging the people to insist upon a decla- 
ration of rights, so that nothing is yet finished in that 
respect. Mr Yelverton proposes to make a motion in the 
Hoyse of Commons, that a sum shall be voted sufficient to 
build four strong frigates, which shall constantly cruise 
upon the coasts of this kingdom to protect merchant fleets 
and convoys,,. Tliis project announces but tt>o plainly the 
design of Ireiaiid to separate herself from us as much as 
she can, and to ov/e her safety only to herself. With what 
view should England insist still with the Irisii upon the pre- 
tension of iiUpremacy ? Li renouncing the advantages, 
which the monopoly of commerce procured, she has des- 
stroyed the only obstacle, vvhicii could oppose itself to the 
independence of Ireland." 

There is in the Ley den Gazette of the 2ist another 
article from London. '-The Earl of Bellamout, v;ho arriv- 
ed here the 5th of this month fl'om Ireland, has had an 
audience of his Majesty, and several conferences with his 
Ministers ; as this nobleman is one of the principal sup- 
poii.ci'3 of t!:e par'y of the administratiGii in tiiat country, 



DFPLOI^TATIC COKRKfrPOrs'nFA'CE. O" 

it is supposed liint his journey licre was occasioned by (ho 
crisis, in which affairs are ihere at tliis time, iNlr Henry 
Flood, who lias come to Court on the same subject, as 
well. as ]Mr Seatoii Perry, the speaker of the Irish Com- 
mons, and Sir Richard Heron, Secretary of the Lord 
Lieutenant, iiave on th.e contrary returned to Dublin. As 
the Parliament was to sit the 10th of this month, we ex- 
pect immediately interesting advices concerning the turn, 
which aliairs may have taken there, and so much the more 
as we knovr, that soon after the meeting, Mr Yelverton in- 
tended to i)ropose a bill, declaratory of the rights of Ire- 
land, as far fis they respect Poyning's law, and the manner 
of passing Irish bills in England. In the meantime, the 
leaders of the two parties endeavored to increase iheir 
forces in the two houses, although the preponderance in 
favor of the Court would scarcely have any effect, in case 
the party the most considerable of the people remain in 
the sentiments they appear to be in at this -day. This con- 
sideration \hey sjy, supported by the advice of Sir Richard 
Heron, I\ir Seaton Perry, and Mr Flood, has determined 
our government to give way to the wishes of the Irish 
nation, by consenting lo the revocation of Poyning's law, if 
there are no other means of assuaging the fermentation of 
spirits. It is true, that some cities, counties, and boioiighs, 
have lately assured the government of tlieir attachment, 
and of their gratitude for the favors granted to Ireland, hut 
there is a great deal wanting before all the people will be 
equally satisfied. The most enlightened part of tfie nation 
regard these same favors as granted to necessity, and purel}- 
precarious as long as the British legislature shall have 
the right to make laws for Ireland. Some magistrates have 
even already refused to execute the laws passed by the 



24 JOHN ADAMS. 

Parliament of Great Britain ; those of the county of Mayo,, 
having been among others required to put in force the act 
against desertions, and to show that they acknowledge no 
others than those, which have been made by their own legis- 
lative body. In general, according to the last accounts re- 
ceived from that country, it appears, that of the four parts 
of Ireland, the provinces of Leinster and Connaught are 
the most tranquil, reposing themselves upon the assurances, 
which have been given them by the respective Colonels of 
their volunteer associations, the Duke of Leinster, and the 
Earl of Clanrlcarde ; and that the Court is disposed to grant 
to the nation all its demands. In the province of Munster, 
they are less quiet, and they persuade themselves, that 
there is little dependence upon a momentary benevolence, 
which is due only to necessity. But the inhabitants of 
Ulster are, of all Ireland, those who aj)pear the most firmly 
determined to procure to themselves, at any price, an entire 
independence of the British legislation, and the formal re- 
nunciation of all acts, which are contrary to it. As this 
province, where they reckon at least thirty thousand fami- 
lies of Protestants, more than all the rest of the kingdom, 
distinguishes itself by the courage of its inhabitants, they 
will risk a great deal if they stir up discontents there." 
I have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

Tt) THF. PRF.SIDF.NT OF CONGRF.SS. 

Paris. April 26th, 17S0. 

Sir, 
At last, even the Morning Post of the ISlh of April 
confesses, that the Memorial from the Empress of Russia 
to tiie States-General has dissipated all their golden 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 25 

dreams of an alliance with the Czarina. It was announced 
to us last week, that a Russian squadron had left Cron- 
stadt to sail to our assistance, nay, some of the puhlic pa- 
pers went so far as to announce their arrival at Plymouth. 
How sadly are we now disappointed ! Instead of an alli- 
ance, we find her Czarish Majesty talks of neutrality, so 
that at present it is pretty clear, that the various powers in 
Europe seem determined to stand oft", and leave us to our 
fate." 

In some confused minutes of a dehate in the House of 
Lords on the 14th of April, it is said, that Lord Camden 
expressed his astonishment and regret at the ^Memorial 
from Russia, in which, contrary to the established law of 
nations, the Empress insisted upon free ships and free 
goods. He pointed out how injurious to the country it 
must be, if neutral vessels were permitted to supply our 
enemies, whom we might blockade, with everything they 
might want, and remarked, that the queen of the seas was 
now deposed, and the Empress had taken possession of 
her throne. In another paper, Lord Shelburne- is repre- 
sented remarking the very dangerous and alarming situation 
they stand in, with regard to their wars and foreign allian- 
ces. "Of the former," said his Lordship, "we have three, 
of the latter none, even the Empress of Russia, that great 
potentate, who was constantly held out by the noble Lord 
with the green riband, (Lord Stormont,) to be our princi- 
pal ally, now shows to all F'^urope by her late maritime 
manifesto, what sort of an ally she means to be to En- 
gland. The thought of that manifesto made him shud- 
der when he first read it, particularly, as he knew how this 
country stood in respect to other powers, when Denmark 
must follow wherever Russia led, when Sweden was ready 
VOL. v. 4 



26 TOHJN ADAMS. 

at the nod of France ; think of Jiaving the whole force of 
the northern powers against iis ; already engaged in three 
wars, and striving all we can to make a fourth with our old 
friends and neutral allies, the States-General/' 

There have appeared few other reflections as yet, upon 
this great event, the Russian declaration. Even the oppo- 
sition seems afraid to lay it open, in all its terrors, to the 
people. They repeat the word neutrality, neutrality, but 
it is as decisive a determination against them, as a declara- 
tion of war would have been, perhaps more so, because 
now there is a probability that the maritime powers will 
be unanimous, wherens in the other case they might 
have been divided. It is very surprising, that the peace 
between Russia and the Turk, and that between the Em- 
peror and tlie King of Prussia, (in which the Empress of 
Russia took a part as spirited and decided as she has upon 
this occasion, in both of which negotiations the British 
ministry ought to have known that Russia and France 
acted in perfect concert,) should not have earlier dissipated 
their golden visions, but so it is, and so it has been ; Eng- 
land, as Governor Pownal says, cannot or will not see. The 
improvcmeiit in the law of nations, which the Empress 
aims at, and will undoubtedly establish, is hurtful (o Eng- 
land, it is true, to a very great degree, but it is beneficial 
to all other nations, and to none more than the United 
States of America, who will be carriers, and I hope for- 
ever neutrals. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 27 

TO THL FKEblUKiNT Of CONGKKSS. 

Paris, April 2Sili, 1780. 

Sir, 

The news from Hambu.rg of the 11th of April is, that 
"the Sieur de Geoss, the Minister of the Empress of Rus- 
sia, near the circle of the Lower Saxony, has communi- 
cated to the Magistracy of that city a declaration, which his 
Sovereign has made to the three Courts at war, for the 
maintenance of the free navigation of neutrals ; and we 
learn, that the same notification has been made to the Re- 
gencies of Lubec and Bremen, on the part of this Sover- 
eign ; who, without ceasing to observe a neutrality between 
the Courts actually at war, considers the liberty of the seas 
as a common good of all nations, which different particu- 
lai"s ought not to interrupt." 

The news from London of the ISth of April is, '-the 
term of three weeks is fixed for receiving an answer to the 
answer of the Memorial, which Sir Joseph Yorke has pre- 
sented to their High Mightinesses, the States-General, 
expired last Thursday ; they have published yesterday a 
Declaration against the United Provinces, of which here 
follows the translation." 

"The Resolution taken at a Council held at St James 
the 17th of April, 17S0, in presence of his 3Iajesty. Since 
Great Britain has been brought involuntarily into a war 
against France and Spain, the Ambassador of the King 
to the States-General of the United Provinces has pre- 
sented several ■Memorials for demanding the succors stip- 
ulated by the treaties. These representations, altliough re- 
peated in the most pressing manner by the Memorial of 
the 21st of March, have remained without answer, and 



28 



JOHN ADAMS. 



iheir High Mightinesses have not manifested an intention 
to oppose them. By delaying thus to fulfil engagements 
the most positive, she deserts the alliance, which has 
subsisted so long between the Crown of Great Britain 
and the Republic, and places herself on a level with neu- 
tral powers, which are not connected with this kingdom by 
any treaty. The principles of wisdom and equity pre- 
scribe, by consequence, to the King no longer to consider 
the States but in die distant relation in which they have 
placed themselves ; and his Majesty having taken this 
subject into consideration, has thought fit, by the advice 
of his privy, council, to put in execution immediately the 
measures, which have been formerly annexed by the Me- 
morial of the 21st of -March last, and which had been pre- 
viously suggested to the Count de Welderen, the Envoy 
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic, by a 
verbal declaration of Lord Stormont, one of the Secretaries 
of State, nearly two months before the presentation of said 
Memorial. For these causes the King, with the advice of 
his Council, declares, that the subjects of the United Pro- 
vinces shall henceforward be considered on the footing of 
neutral powers, who are not privileged by treaties. His 
Majesty suspends by these presents, conditionally, and until 
further order, all the particular stipulations designed to 
favor in time of war the liberty of the navigation and com- 
merce of the subjects of the States-General, such as they 
are expressed in the different treaties, which subsist be- 
tween his Majesty and the Republic, and especially in the 
Marine Treaty concluded between Great Britain and the 
United Provinces at London on the 1st day of December, 
1674. 

"His Majesty, animated by a sentiment of humanity, and 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 29 

willing to spare the interest of individuals, and not seeking 
their damage by an act of surprise, declares, moreover, 
with the advice of his Council, that the execution of the 
present ordinances shall not take place but at the following 
epochs, to wit ; in the Channel and in the northern seas, 
twelve days after this date ; from the Channel and the 
northern seas, as far as die Canary Islands, inclusively, 
both on the ocean and in the ]\Iediterranean, the term shall 
be six weeks, reckoning from the dale of these presents ; 
it shall be of three months from the Canary Islands to the 
equinofctial line or the equator ; and, finally, of six months 
to the parts situated beyond the equator, and, in general, 
in all the other parts of the world without exception, and 
without any more particular determination of time or 
place." 

Hague, April the 23d. The Report of the Committee 
of die Province of Groningen, confirmed by the approba- 
tion of the States of die same Province, has been presented 
to the Assembly of their High Miglitinesses. Here follow 
the contents. 

"Noble and ]\Iighty Lords, 

"In compliance with the resolution of your Noble -Might- 
inesses of the 31st of March last, in consequence of which 
was presented into the hands of the Committee of your 
Noble ISlightinesses, the Report presented the 17th of 
February, by the deputies of their High Mightinesses to 
their Assembly, who had examined that which passed be- 
tween Commodore Byland and the English Commodore 
Fielding, after the relation sent the oth of January, by the 
Count de Welderen to Secretary Fagel, and after having 
heard and collected upon Uiis subject the opinions of the 
Committees present of the colleges of the Admiralty res- 



30 John ADAMS. 

pectivcfy, purporting, among other things, that for the 
Ibture, all merchandises, which the treaties do not posi- 
tively declare to be contraband, ought, without any excep- 
tion, to be under the convoy and protection of the State ; 
the Commiitees have thy honor to report to your Noble 
Mightinesses, tliat, 

"From the commoncement of the present troubles, this 
State has not only done all that which his Britannic Ma- 
jesty, grounding himself upon the law and the treaties, 
could require of the Republic, but, at the same time, has 
relinquished soa:e of the prerogatives, which incontestably 
belonged to it ; that, instead of experiencing on the part of 
England the reciprocation of a treatment thus IViendly, the 
Republic has seen itself cruelly undeceived, as a great 
number of ships Leionpi.ig to its inhabitants have been 
seized by the privateers, and even by the men-of-war of the 
King of England ; ships with their cargoes, or at least one 
of them, declared lawful prize ; violence having even been 
employed on many occasions against our crews, without our 
having been cLie to obtain the least indemnification or sat- 
isfaction for such grievances, notwithstanding all the re- 
peated complaints and representations to that effect; that 
the expcdiiion of Commodore Fielding appeared to have 
been made in conformity to positive orders ; that thereby 
the flags of the States had been notoriously insulted, and 
the ships under the convoy of Commodore Eyland had 
been not only carried into England, but had befjn also there 
detained, although it appeared, that their loading did not 
consist in contraband goods; that this condescension, to 
which the Republic was by no means obliged, had only 
had disagreeable and dangerous consequences, both with 
regard to Groat Britain and other povrers, as is proved by 



DIPLOMATIC COKRESPONDENCE. 31 

the considerations drawn up by the colleges of the Admir- 
alty respectively. The Committees of your Noble Migh- 
tinesses would be, therefore, of opinion, that from this time 
forward and for the future, we ought to take under convoy 
and the protection of the State all the merchandises, which 
the treaties declare not to be contraband, and that they be 
so effectually protected, that we may have no further room 
to fear for the future, that the least insult will be commit- 
ted against the flag of the States, and that, in one word, as 
to what remains, we ought, conformably to the treaties sub- 
sisting, to observe an exact neutrality." 

The State of Groningen has entirely conformed to the 
foregoing Report. 

Second Report presented by the same Province. 

"Noble and iNIighty Lords, 
"■The Committees of your Noble JNIighlinesses, in com- 
pliance with the Resolution of the 26th of Novenjber and 
tlie 2d of December of the last year, as well as of the 23d 
of March last, after an examination of the three Memoirs 
presented by Sir Joseph Yorke, Ambassador Extraordinary 
of his Britannic iMajesty, on the 22d of July and the 26th 
of November, 1779, and on the 20ih of March last, to 
their High Mightinesses, demanding, by the first, the suc- 
cors stipulated by the treaty of 1674 ; insisting, in the 
second, on a catagorical answer ; and finally complaining, in 
the last, of the combat held by Commodore Byland, on 
occasion of what passed witli Commodore Fielding, adding 
thereto, instances to the end to obtain before the ex- 

piration of three weeks a satisfactory answer concerning 
tiie succors demanded, since otherwise, his Majesty would 
regard this Republic on the footing of neutral powers no 



32 



JOHN ADAMS. 



ways favored by treaties, and would conditionally suspend 
all the treaties, and particularly that of 1674, and would 
treat the Republic according to the ordinary law of nations; 
after having also examined several letters, and other pieces 
annexed, successively transmitted by the Count de Welde- 
ren, Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of their 
High Mightinesses to His Britannic Majesty, they have the 
honor to report to your Noble Mightinesses, that after 
having maturely reflected upon what relates to the points 
in question, their advice will be, that in answer to the said 
tliree Memorials of Sir Joseph Yorke, Ambassador Ex- 
traordinary, it ought to be replied, 

"That their High Mightinesses during the troubles sub- 
sisting, which undoubtedly drew their origin A'om Amer- 
ica, and from thence, by an ulterior extension of the war, 
have spread themselves in Europe, have, by observing an 
exact neutrality, giving to his Britannic Majesty the most 
unfeigned proofs of their attachment and of their affeciion, 
even beyond their obligations, by a condescension, to 
which they were by no means obliged towards England, 
but the consequences of which have been, besides the pre- 
judice thereby occasioned to the cominerce and navigation 
of this country, that there has arisen a marked dissatisfac- 
tion, although by no means provoked, of the belligerent 
powers ; and, in particular, the preparations made at the 
same time by land could not but excite the most serious 
attention of their High Mightinesses, to the end that they 
might, without interruption, not deprive themselves of the 
means indispensably necessary, both for their own preser- 
vation and defence, by granting the succors demanded j 
that tliey ought rather to think of demanding themselves, 
in consequence of the aforementioned tn^atics, the succors, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 33 

which would be so necessary to them, upon the least ap- 
prehension of the continuance of the same preparations. 
That their High Mightinesses, founded upon good reasons, 
as well as upon the favorable declarations of his Majesty so 
often reiterated, ought to have expected a reciprocal 
affection and a friendly treatment towards the Republic, 
at least, that he would not have disputed a right, stipulated 
clearly by the most solemn treaties, and of which, so soon 
after the conclusion of the treaty of 1G74, even before the 
war was entirely finished, the subjects of his Majesty, to 
the detriment of this country, make so free a use. 

"Their High Mightinesses, penetrated with the most 
lively grief, have nevertheless perceived, that so far from 
their good intentions and proceedings having operated to 
any happy effect, it has happened, on the contrary, that 
several acts diametrically opposed to justice, have been 
-authorised and executed by connivance, under the illu- 
sory pretext of opposition even to the same connivance, 
and this, in spite of multiplied efforts employed by the Re- 
public to obviate such abuses ; that, moreover, the ren- 
counter between Commodore Fielding and Commodore 
Byland is of a nature, that according to the law of na- 
tions, the flag of a sovereign power being, in fact, every- 
where sacred, the declaration made by the Count de By- 
land, an officer commanding in chief a squadron in the 
name of the Republic whereof he is a subject, ought to 
have been regarded as authentic, and to have stopped at 
once all suspicions, and destroyed the intelligence falsely 
given ; from whence it follows, that the said Commodore 
Byland has not undertaken anything, but for the mainte- 
nance and protection of the honor and respect due to the 
flag of the State ; while the seizure and detention of the 

VOL. V. 5 



34 JOHN ADAMS. 

ships are equally a part of those objects, concernaig which, 
their High Mightinesses ought also to demand a satisfac- 
tion convenient to his JMajesty, as well as a declaration un- 
equivocal for the time to come; adding, at the same time, 
that, after a mature consideration upon the situation in 
which the Republic is at present, their High Mightinesses 
are perfectly acquainted with the succors demanded by 
his Britannic Majesty." 

The States of the Province of Groningen have con- 
formed themselves to the report before mentioned. 

Hague, 22(1 of April. "We learn that the Province 
of Gueldrcs has determined to grant unlimited convoys, 
and, at the same time, to refuse the succors demanded by 
Great Britain ; by means of which, the Seven United 
Provinces are actually of one unanimous sentiment upon 
this object." 

Hague, 2'od of Jlpril. "We learn, that the deputies of 
the Province ol" Holland have already been instructed to 
carry to the Assembly of the Stales-General, the opinion of 
their high constituents concerning the invitation, which the 
Prince de Gallitzin, Envoy of the Empress of Russia, has 
made in the name of her Majesty, to their High Mighti- 
nesses, to protect in concert the navigation of the neuters ; 
and that this opinion, announced in a resolution of the 
Stale of the Province, bearing date the loth of April, 
lends to accept the invitation in terms full of attachment 
and gratitude, declaring, 'that their High Mightinesses re- 
gard the communication, which has been made to them, as 
a signal token of the benevolence of her Majesty towards 
the Republic ; that they honor it, and believe it to be their 
duty to answer it with sincerity and cordiality ; that they 
consider it also as a new proof of the magnanimity and 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESl'ONDKNCE. 35 

the justice of her Majesty, which nro universally acknowl- 
edged, both the end which siie proposes and the measures 
she has projected to maintain in the present war, a neu- 
trality the most rigorous between the belligerent powers, 
and for protecting, not only the honor of the Russian flag, 
and the safety of the commerce and navigation of her sub- 
jects, in not permitting that any of the belligerent powers 
should strike at it ; but also, by establishing by her cares 
the liberties and repose of Europe upon foundations the 
most solid, of equity, the law of nations, and the treaties 
subsisting, and to give validity to an equitable system of 
navigation and of commerce in favor of the neutral 
powers ; that their High Mightinesses, desiring to observe 
with her Imperial Majesty in the present war a scrupulous 
neutrality, have but too much experienced the losses to 
which the navigation and commerce of neutral nations are 
exposed by the uncertain and fluctuating ideas of the bel- 
ligerent powers with regard to the rights of neuters, in 
proportion as they are guided by their private interest and 
by the operations of the war ; that their High Mightinesses 
judge with her Imperial Majesty, that it is of the last neces- 
sity that this law should be fixed upon solid principles, 
and maintained in concert by the neutral maritime powers ; 
that for what concerns the determination of the said right, 
their High Mightinesses conform themselves entirely to the 
five points contained in the declaration, which her Majesty 
has made to the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and Lon- 
don ; that after her example, they arc ready to trans- 
mit parallel to tiie belligerent powers, and that 
they are very much disposed to enter into conferences 
with her Majesty and the other neutral powers, upon the 
measures by which the liberty of navigation and commerce 



36 JOHN ADAMS. 

may be maintained in concert, in a manner the most effica- 
cious, both for the future and for the present, observing, at 
the same time, an exact neutrality among the belligerent 
powers.' 

"The same opinion tends also to cause to be transmitted 
the copy of such a resolution, not only to the Prince de 
Gallitzin, Envoy of her Majesty to the Republic, but also 
to M. de Swart, Resident of their High Mightinesses at 
Petersburg, and to their Ministers at the Courts of Copen- 
hagen, Stockholm, and Lisbon, with orders to these last to 
second, as far as possible, the proceedings of the Court of 
Russia, and to act in concert with the Ministers of her 
Imperial Majesty, &-c." 

Congress will be able to draw just inferences from these 
important papers of State. 

The principle, which the English contend for, lias no 
other foundation but the insular situation of Great Britain, 
and the convenience of that nation. The principle, which 
the neutral powers are contending for, is evidently laid in 
the common good of nations ; in the ease, safety, conven- 
ience, happiness, and prosperity of mankind in general. 
But we shall see, whether obstinacy and fierce passions 
will, at length, give way in one instance. At present there 
is no appearance of it. On the contrary, 1 see no way for 
the English to escape a war with Holland and Russia, 
Denmark and Sweden, and, perhaps, Portugal, unless they 
should be interrupted in their career by a war with one 
another at home. 

When, where, or in what manner, we shall see the un- 
ravelling of the vast plot, which is acting in the world, is 
known only to Providence. Although my mind has been 
full twenty years preparing to expect great scenes, yet I 



D1PL0:S1ATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 37 

confess the wonders of this Revolution exceed all that I 
ever foresaw, or imagined. That our country, so young as 
it is, so humble as it is, thinking but lately so meanly of 
itself, should thus interest the passions, as well as employ 
the reason of all mankind, in its favor, and effect in so short 
a space of lime, not only thirteen revolutions of government 
at home, but so completely accomplish a revolution in the 
system of Europe, and in the sentiments of every nation in 
it, is what no human wisdom, perhaps, could foresee. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT 01" CONGRESS. 

Paris, April 21ftti, 1780. 

Sir, 
- Walsingham sailed from St Helens the 8th vviili the 
Thunderer, the Ramilies, the Berwick, and the Egmont, 
of seventyfour guns, the Scarborough, of twenty, and the 
fire-ships, the Blast and the Salamander ; only four ships 
of the line. On the 11th Admiral Graves followed him, 
with the London, of ninety eight guns, the Bedford, the 
Shrewsbury, the Royal Oak, of seventyfour, the Prudent, 
and the America, of sixtyfour, and the Amphitrite, of 
twentyfour ; these, with the four of Admiral Rodney, make 
fourteen ships of the line. Admiral Parker, it is said, has 
not more than nine fit for service, which will make twenty- 
three, supposing that Graves has the same destination. 
Many people, however, believe he is going to Canada, in 
order to be beforehand of the fleet of Brest, which the 
English suppose has designs upon that Province. ]My 
intelligence from London is, however, that Graves is in- 



38 



JOHN ADAMS. 



tended for the North American station, perhaps New York 
or Georgia. But tiie orders to Graves were so suddenly- 
determined on and given, that tliere has not yet been time 
to discover with certainty his destination. 

The accounts are, that Walsingham returned on account 
of contrary winds Vv-ith his numerous fleet of merchant ships 
to Plymouth; that he sailed again on the 13th, and after 
sailing twenty leagues, with a good wind, he returned a 
second time, imagining that he saw a French fleet of men- 
of-war. The winds have been generally contrary since, 
and we have not yet a certain account of his sailing a third 
lime. 

I have the honor lo be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO T!iK PRESIDKNT Oi;' CONGRESS. 

Paris, April -JOiii, 1780. 

Sir, 

The principal officers named for the command of the 
English fleet in the English Channel, are Sir Charles 
Hardy, Admiral of the White, Commander in Chief; Vice 
Admiral, Admiral Barrington, of the Blue, second ; Vice 
Admiral Darby, of the Blue, third ; and Rear Admiral 
Digby, of the Blue, fourtii. 

The next day after the departure of the fleet of Com- 
modore Walsingham, the London, of ninetyeight guns, 
commanded by Admiral Graves, the Shrewsbury, the 
Royal Oak, of scventyfour, the America, the Prudent, of 
sixlyfour, and the Amphitrite, of twentyfom*, having set 
sail from St Helens, and the Resolution as well as the 
Invincible of seventyfour, intended as part of tlie squadron, 
the crews of tlie two Inst vessels refused to sail until they 



DirLO.MATic caiiiu:sro\i)F:NCE. 39 

should be paid their wages, and have received iheir sliares 
of the prize of the Protee. The eleventh of the month, the 
Resolution, Commodore Ogle, set sail to join Admiral 
Graves, the crew having at length consented to serve, when 
ihey saw their ship surrounded by other vessels, ready to 
fire upon her by order of Lord Longford. The crew of 
the Invincible had more obstinacy, and Admiral Pye was 
forced to send on board the Captains Balfour, Duncan, 
Holt, and Barkner, to persuade them to return to their 
duty. These officers called up u])on deck the mutinous 
sailors, whom they harangued, and to whom they repre- 
sented, tliat the act of Parliament, to regulate the payment 
of wages on board the men-of-war, did not authorise them 
to require more than one month's advance. They did 
not however submit, and the captains having observed, 
that among them there were, above all, four more remark- 
ably obstinate, sent them to the Admiral, who yAil them in 
irons. The next day the Admiral ordered Captain Faulk- 
ner to tell his people, that if they would submit, he would 
restore the four men whom they had arrested. This 
proposition was not listened to, and it was not until the 
14th, that Rear Admiral Graves set sail from St Helens, 
without this last vessel. 

The Admiralty has sent orders to Portsmouth for a 
court martial upon the most mutinous of the crew of the 
Invincible, and it is expected, that as examples, some of 
ihem must lose their lives. 

I have before informed Congress of a resolution of the 
County of York against the American war. This has 
been since repeated by the freeholders of the County of 
Surry, at a meeting held at Epsom the 14th of April. Mr 
Nicholls, in an able speech, proposed the followina; rcsolu- 



40 JOHN ADAMS. 

tion, which was unanimously adopted. "That the Anieri- 
can war originating from the corrupt influence of the 
Crown, and the ill founded assertions of the King's Minis- 
ters in Parliament, is the cause of the present calamitous 
situation of this country." This resolution was unani- 
mously adopted. He then recommended a second reso- 
lution similar to that of the freeholders of Yorkshire, con- 
demning the continuance of offensive operations in Amer- 
ica, which was likewise carried unanimously. 

Mr Budgen then moved a third resolution for thanking 
those members of Parliament, who had uniformly repro- 
bated the American war, which was likewise carried with- 
out opposition. 

1 have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

F. S. Since the above was written, I have found a 
resolution of the County of Hertford, of the 17th of April. 

"Resolved unanimously, that the opinion of the present 
assembly is, that a war against North America is evidently 
a measure, which, by obliging us to carry all our forces to 
that quarter, puts us out of a condiuon to resist with vigor, 
as we might otherwise do, the united efforts of France 
and Spain, while the said war produces no other effect 
upon the Americans than to add to the enmity, which has 
but too long subsisted between us. An enmity, of which 
we have felt the fatal effects, and which, by putting an 
obstacle to our union, threatens England with a ruin as 
complete as it is inevitable." 



UlPLOMAfIC CORRESPONDENCE. 41 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, Mny 2d, 1780. 

Sir, 

On the twentysixth of April the Due de Vauguyon, 
Ambassador of His Most Christian Majesty to the States- 
General, presented a Memorial to their High Mightinesses, 
announcing the abolition of the duty of fifteen per cent, to 
which the greatest part of Dutch merchandises had been 
subject on their entering into France, as well as the resolu- 
tion of the Council of State, taken upon this subject. The 
following are the contents of the Memoir and the Reso- 
lution. 

"High and Mighty Lords, 

"The political system of the King is essentially founded 
upon the invariable principles of justice and moderation. 
His Majesty has given the most unequivocal proofs of it 
from the beginning of the troubles, which have arisen be- 
tween him and the King of England, in pre-engaging all 
the neutral powers, by the display of a disposition the most 
favorable to their prosperity, and by proposing to them no 
other conditions than those of the most absolute impartial- 
ity. His Majesty saw himself, with the most sincere re- 
gret, obliged not to acknowledge this character in the reso- 
lution of the States-General, of the 19th of November, 
1778, by which your High Mightinesses suspended the 
effects of your protection, relative to one branch of com- 
tnerce, the liberty of which was assured to you by the 
public laws of equity, and the most precise stipulations of 
treaties. The King then instructed me to announce to 
your High Mightinesses, that if you determined thus to 
make the sacrifice of one part of your rights to his ene- 

VOL. V. 6 



42 JOHiN ADAMS. 

niies, liis Majesty could not preserve to your subjects the 
advantages conditionally promised by his last regulation, 
nor the ancient favorSj which their commerce enjoyed in 
his States, and which are not the result of any treaty, but 
of a hereditary benevolence and affection. Your High 
Mightinesses assured his Majesty with earhestness, that you 
were decided to observe the most exact neutrality during 
the continuance of the troubles between France and 
England. But if you announced, that the act, which sus- 
pended the effects of the efficacious protection of the Re- 
public in favor of ships loaded with ship timber, ought to 
be regarded as in force until it should be afterwards con- 
firmed, you declared at the same time, that all discussion 
upon this matter ought to be suspended, until after the de- 
liberations which were to ascertain the convoys. 

"His Majesty not perceiving in this new disposition, any 
real alteration of intention, thought that he could not avoid 
setting bounds to the advantages granted in the different 
parts of his kingdom to the Dutch commerce, whilst your 
High Mightinesses continued to suspend, in favor of the 
enemies of his Croun, the exercise of the rights the most 
solidly established ; but he was pleased to preserve them to 
the different members of the Republic in proportion as they 
adopted a system, which at the same time that it is con- 
formable to his views is essentially just. He has applaud- 
ed the remonstrances of your High Mightinesses to the 
Court of London, and the efforts which you have made to 
recover the means of restoring to the flag of the United 
Provinces its ancient consideration, as well as the positive 
order, which you have given to a squadron, to hold itself 
ready to convoy and protect all vessels loaded with objects 
not comprehended among merchandises of contraband. 



DIPLOMATIC C0RRE9F0Mn:.NCK. 43 

from tlie Ume that unlimited convoys should be resolved 
on, and he has constantly desired, that your Hidi Alighti- 
nesses would cease to lay obstacles in the way of the tes- 
timonies of his affection, by attaching yourselves entirely 
to the fundamental principles of your interest, informed of 
your definitive intentions, in this regard, and assured of the 
explanation, which your High Mightinesses are determined 
to make of their neutrality, by granting an efficacious and 
indefinite protection to the commerce and navigation of 
your subjects. His Majesty has hoard with pleasure the 
several representations, which several members of the 
Union, and especially the Prince, who is at the head of 
the Republic,. have made to him relative to the restraints, 
which the commerce of different Provinces experiences in 
the ports of his kingdom, and his ^Majesty has ordered me 
to declare to your High Mightinesses, that he has revoked 
by a decree of his Council, of the 22d of April, 1780, an 
authentic copy of which I have the honor to present, those 
of the 14th of January, the 27th of Apri', the 5th of June, 
and the ISth of September, 1779, but he would not con- 
fine himself to re-establish thus the subjects of your High 
Mightinesses, in the enjoyment of favors, which they ex- 
perienced before the publication of those new laws ; in 
all the advantages conditionally promised by his regulation, 
concerning the commerce and navigation of neuters, he 
would give them a signal proof of his benevolence, and 
he orders me to declare to your High Mightinesses, that 
he has ordered the return of all the sums received by the 
overseers of his Farms, in virtue of the said decrees, he 
flatters himself, that testimonies so important of his affec- 
tion, will convince your High Mightinesses, not only that 
he takes an interest the most sincere in the prosperity of 



44 JOHN ADAMS. 

the United Provinces, but also that justice, moderation and 
beneficence form the essential and invariable basis of his 
conduct and of his proceedings." 

Decree of the King's Council of State of the 22d of 
April, mentioned in the foregoing Memorial. 

"The King, being informed of the dispositions made by 
the States-General of tiie United Provinces for complying 
with the reciprocity required by his regulation of the 26th 
of July, 1778, concerning the navigation of neutral ves- 
sels, and his Majesty, willing in consequence of these same 
dispositions to give a new proof of his affection to the said 
United Provinces, is determined to put an end to the re- 
straints, which the commerce of their subjects have expe- 
rienced in his States, to which end, the report being heard, 
the King being in his Council, hath ordained, and ordains 
as follows. 

"Article i. His Majesty has revoked and revokes 
the decree of his Council of the 14th January, 1779, 
which subjected to a duty of freight the vessels of the said 
subjects of the States-General of the United Provinces of 
the Low Countries ; those of the 27th of April and 5th 
of June, 1779, which establish a new tariff for the objects 
proceeding from their growth, fishery, manufacture, and 
commerce, and that of the 18th of September, 1779, 
which prohibits the entry of the cheeses of North Holland 
in the kingdom. 

"Article h. His Majesty confirms, in favor of the 
said subjects of the States-General of the United Pro- 
vinces of the Low Countries, the advantages conditionally 
promised by the dispositions of his regulation of the 26th 
of July, 1778, concerning the navigation of neutral vessels 
in time of war. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 45 

"Articlk III. His Majesty, willing to give to the said 
subjects of the States-General a signal proof of his benefi- 
cence, has ordained and ordains a restitution of the sums 
of money received by the overseers of his Farms, in virtue 
of the decrees before mentioned. 

"Done in the King's Council of State, the 22d of April, 
1780." 

The news from the Hague of the 26th of April is, "that 
the deliberations of the different Provinces, which compose 
ilie Republic, have been continued these last weeks with- 
out interruption, and all the opinions are unanimously 
agreed upon three important objects, which make the mat- 
ter of them, viz. First, the succor demanded by Great 
Britain ; secondly, the convoys to be granted to mer- 
chant ships ; thirdly, the invitation of the Empress of 
Russia to accede to an armed neutrality. The respec- 
tive States of the seven Provinces have all been of opinion, 
first ; 10 excuse themselves from giving the succors de- 
manded. Secondly ; to grant convoys to all merchant 
ships bearing the flag of the Republic, whatever may be 
their cargoes, without any other exception than that of 
contraband regulated by treaties. Thirdly ; to accept 
with gratitude the invitation, and to enter upon this subject 
into negotiation, with the Prince de Gallitzin, Envoy Ex- 
traordinary of Her Imperial Majesty. 

"We learn, even that the States-General have already 
taken resolutions conformable to this opinion. The affair 
of the attack of the convoy, commanded by the Count de 
Byland, does not less engage the attention of the govern- 
ment of the Republic. Tiie States of the Province of 
Holland and of West B^riesland have already formed 
upon this subject the instruction, which they have directed 



46 ■'■ JOHN ADAMS. 

their deputies to carry to the Assembly of their High 
Mightinesses ', it tends, in substance, to represent to the 
Court of London, 'that their High Mightinesses are by no 
means satisfied with the answer of Lord Stormont, given 
the 16th of March, to the just representations of their. 
High Mightinesses concerning the violence done to their 
convoy, inasmuch as this answer only serves to cast upon 
them, by strained arguments, the blame of that which hap- 
pened, and to represent, against all truth, their officer as 
having been the aggressor. That their High Mighti- 
nesses, as well to justify themselves in the eyes of all 
Europe, as to convince, if it is possible. Great Britain, 
have thought it their duty to represent further, that naval 
stores not being merchandises of contraband according to 
the express letter of the treaties, their visitation and de- 
tention, made by order, especially under the flag of their 
High Mightinesses, is a direct attack of their flag, as well 
as of their independence and sovereignty. That, as to the 
allegation of the tseafy of 1674, made by Lord Stormont, 
concerning the visit of merchandises suspected, the con- 
trary of what he advances aj)pears in a manner the most 
evident, by the simple reading of the treaty. That the 
nature of a convoy rendering all visits unnecessary, the 
articles fifdi and sixth of this treaty confine themselves 
manifestly to single ships, from which, nevertheless, they 
cannot in this require more than the exhibition of their 
sea letters, and with regard to vessels detained for an 
enemy's port, that of their passports ; that thus the con- 
duct of Commodore Fielding, approved by his Majesty, 
implies an open violation of this treaty; by consequence, 
neither the orders of tlieir High Mightinesses, nor the act 
of their officer charged with their execiuion, havinir done 



DIPLOMATIC CORKESl'ONDENCE. 47 

any injury to the treaties, nor any hosiiiities having beeu 
committed on their part, but Conimodore Fielding hav- 
ing employed, for the execution of his orders, the force of 
arms against the convoy of the Republic, there does not 
exist the least cause of complaint on the part of his jVIaj- 
esiy ; but on the part of their liigh ^Mightinesses, they 
have had the most just reason of complaint, and that they 
ought to insist still (as their High Mightinesses do insist, 
in the manner the most serious,) upon a satisfaction and a 
suitable reparation, as well as upon the release, without 
further form of process, of the merchant ships and their 
cargoes saiiiiig under the convoy of the Republic, detained 
by force and violence contrary to the tenor of treaties, and 
condemned by the Judge of the Court of Admiralty with 
the same injustice, with which they were attacked by Com- 
modore Fielding, taken, and carried into England. That 
conformably to these principles, the Count de Welderen 
shall be charged to give a reply to Lord Stormont, and to 
support it the most eflectually, as often as he shall judge it 
to be further useful, &ic.' 

"If, on one side, the desire of the Republic to preserve 
an exact impartiality in the present troubles of Europe, 
draws upon her the displeasure of Great Britain, on the 
other side, she sees an end put to those restraints which 
France had laid on her commerce. 

"The Royal College of the Admiralty of Stockholm, has 
sent Jo all the agents and consuls, who reside in foreign 
countries, an ordinance, by which it is announced to all 
masters of Swedish ships, that necessary convoys would be 
given for the protection of the commerce of the subjects of 
this kingdom." 

It is quite unnecessary for me to observe to Congress, 



48 JOHN ADAMS. 

that all these political and maiilime commotions tend either 
to peace, or to the full employment of all the forces of 
our enemy, and, consequently, to our liberty and tranquil- 
lity. 

The general run of speculations and of conversation 
throughout Europe is upon peace. It seems the general 
opinion, that Great Britain will not venture upon so many 
dangers as lie all around her. I wish I could bring myself 
to think so, but I confess I cannot as yet. Signal success 
on the part of the allies might compel them to it ; but 
signal success in favor of the English would urge them 
giddily on, no one can say to what lengths. 

There is a speculative article from Brussels, the 25th of 
April, that is worth transmitting to Congress. "The news 
from Holland speaks of nothing but the sensation, which 
the declaration of Russia has produced. The greatest 
part of the Provinces, which have already given their opin- 
ions upon the Memorials of Sir Joseph Yorke, to excuse 
themselves from furnishing England with the succors de- 
manded, have been eager to declare, that the proposition of 
the Court of Russia could not be more advantageous than in 
the present circumstances, and that it ought to be accepted. 
The English party is very much disconcerted by this 
event, which brings forward a new order of things ; this 
party strives to excite a fear, that the difference of the prin- 
ciples established by particular treaties among the neutral 
powers respectively and the belligerent powers, will form an 
obstacle to the execution of a plan so salutary, which may 
serve forever as a rule in this matter. We know, that 
among the belligerent powers, France has always thought 
that it was just to leave a freedom of navigation to neutral 
powers ; it is well known, that she has a long time respec- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 49 

ted tliis liberty, and that if she has afterwards made regu- 
lations, which restrain that of Holland, it was because she 
has been forced to it, because it was very natural that 
she should seek to stop the vessels bound to the ports of 
England, when this nation made no scruple to stop those 
wliich were bound to hers. And it is well known, too, that 
she never took his part until after she had employed the 
method of representation to determine the Hollanders to 
protect their own commerce. 

Spain appears equally determined to use no more meth- 
ods of rigor and severity towards the vessels of the Re- 
public. There is only England, who appears to oppose 
the general wish, and she ought to perceive, that it is her 
own conduct, which has brought forth the events of which 
she complains. If she had had more moderation and jus- 
tice, the project of an armed neutrality would not have 
iaken place. 

They write from Holland ; "We flatter ourselves, that 
the armed neutrality may contribute to accelerate peace. 
It appears hitherto, that it is England alone, which puts an 
obstacle to it, and it is difficult for her to take her part In 
it. We doubt not that the independence of America, 
which perhaps is already tacitly acknowledged by all the 
Courts of Europe, will be the fundamental basis of an ac- 
commodation. England at the same time will be forced 
to announce a pretended pre-eminence of flag, equally con- 
trary to the laws of nations, and to the first notions of com- 
mon sense. The general liberty of the seas, the re-estab- 
lishment of the respective possessions in the State in which 
there were before hostilities, perhaps the restitution of Gib- 
raltar to its natural masters, and the adoption of the mari- 

VOL. V. 7 



50 TOHN ADAMS 

time code proposed by Russia, will be most probably the 
necessary consequences of the peace." 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDKNT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, Mav 3d, 1780. 

Sir, 

The substance of a cartel for a general exchange of 
prisoners, made upon the sea between France and Eng- 
land, has been published ; it was signed at Versailles the 
12th of March last, by M. le Hor, one of the principal 
clerks of the office of the Marine, authorised to this pur- 
pose by the King, and at London the 28th of the same 
month, by Messrs John Bell, Walter Farquharson, P. 
Corbett, and Robert Lulman, Commissioners of the King 
of England. This treaty, equally useful to the two nations, 
dictated by sentiments, which do honor to the powers at 
war, and to humanity, will it is said be distinguished by 
the true philosophers, who prefer a useful operation to 
folio volumes, which talk of morals and humanity. The 
most perfect equality and reciprocity is established. 

"The prisoners shall be exchanged man for n:ian, ac- 
cording to their rank and qualities, or for a certain number 
of men as equivalent, or for certain sums of money in form 
of ransoms. A French Vice Admiral shall be exchanged 
against an English Admiral, having command ; a Lieuten- 
ant General against an Admiral carrying his flag at 
A Vice Admiral, commanding a squadron, against a Rear 
Admiral ; the Captains of ships commanding divisions, or 
having the rank of Brigadiers against Commodores ; the 



DIPLOMATIC CorUlL&PONDEiNCE. [,{ 

Captains of ships having the rank of Colonels against Post 
Cap4iuns of three years standing, whose rank answers to 
that of Colonels ; the Lieutenants of vessels commanding 
frigates, from twenty to fifty guns, and having the rank of 
Lieutenant Colonels against all other Post Captains who 
have the same rank ; the Lieutenants of vessels of the rank 
of Majors against the Masters and Commanders, or Cap- 
tains who are not Post Captains ; all the other Lieutenants 
of vessels against Lieutenants without distinction ; the 
Captains of fire ships of the rank of Captains of infantry, 
Ensigns of vessels of the rank of Captains of infantry, 
Lieutenants of frigates, or Captains of pinks, on establish- 
ment or for a campaign, and having the same rank, against 
Lieutenants, and in want of these, against Midshipmen ; 
the Gardes du Pavilion against Midshipmen ; the Marine 
officers and subalterns against those of the same denomi- 
-nation or of equal rank ; the respective equivalent for all 
the ranks in men and in money, is from sixty men, or sixty 
pounds sterling, descending to pence, to two men, or two 
pounds sterling ; the sailors are to be exchanged man for 
man, and the equivalent is one pound sterling ; the same 
gradation is to be observed for the officers of the Marine, 
and officers of land forces serving as marines, and land 
officers not serving on board the vessels, but taken at sea, 
as well as the common soldiers. Every three months 
there shall be stated accounts of exchanges, conformable 
to tho foregoing regulations." 

They have also ascertained the price per head of the 
transportation of prisoners, as well as of their subsistence ; 
they have also regulated the conditions of the exchange of 
officers and other prisoners made in merchant vessels, pri- 
vateers, or others, which are not tlje King's ships. Pas- 



62 JOHN ADAMS. 

sengers, not being in the service of land or sea, when they 
shall have been taken, no matter in what vessel, shall not 
be regarded as prisoners, but shall be set at liberty, widiout 
being put into the accounts of exchanges, when they shall 
have proved that they are in the case of the exception. 
All persons, no matter of what denomination, who shall be 
shipwrecked in any vessel whatsoever, at least, if it is 
not in attempting to land, or in protecting some depreda- 
tion upon the coast or in the islands of one or the other of 
the two kingdoms, shall be immediately set at liberty, and 
shall be furnished with the means of returning to their re- 
spective countries, as well as with clothing, if they have 
need of it, as soon as their situation shall be known, and 
the measures necessary for the purpose can be taken. 
I have the honor to be, with respect, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



FROM £LBRIDGE GERRY TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Philadelphia, May 5lh, 1780. 

Dear Sir, 
The resolutions of Congress for calling in and cancelling 
the two lumdred millions of dollars emitted by them, have 
in general been well received. The depreciation is stop- 
ped, and specie, which before the passing of the Resolves, 
was sold for upwards of seventy for one, is now current at 
sixty, and has been lately at fiftyfive. The advantage of 
this plan will be greatest to the landholder, inasmuch as 
the national debt, including certificates and foreign de- 
mands, docs not now exceed five millions sterling, which 
is but a trifling sum compared with the £200,000,000 
sterling due from Great Britain. 



DIPLOMATIC CURKESPOiNDEiNCi:, 53 

Another benefit resulting from it, is a supply of five mil- 
lions of dollars, of the new emission, every dollar of which 
is equal to forty dollars of the old emission. Indeed this 
must be called in before that can be realised j nevertheless 
there is a greater demand among all ranks for conlinental 
money, than there has been since the commencement of 
the war, and specie is no longer hoarded by the disaffected 
or timid. 

With respect to our resources, Congress are at present 
much in want of money, and it is a happy circumstance, 
for their economy is in proportion to their wants. The 
demands on the treasury are generally answered by war- 
rants on the several States, which are careful by some 
means or other to discharge the drafts. The taxes are 
rendered very heavy, but the collection goes on, and I 
doubt not the army will be well fed and paid. INIiiitary 
-stores and clothing must, however, be procured on credit 
in Europe, as well as a considerable loan to serve as a 
fund for drawing on in case of necessity. Trade and pri- 
vateering are brisk, and there is a plenty of goods of every 
kind excepting military, but no money to purchase them. 
This is easily accounted for, since the whole sum in circu- 
lation, as Congress have fixed it. is only five million dollars. 
Our privateers and commerce have nevertheless suffered 
much by the cruisers of the enemy, who have the command 
of the seacoast. 

It is much to be wished, that the Court of France would 
order a squadron superior to the enemy, to be stationed in 
some part of the United States, as the best and only means 
of putting a speedy end to the war. It is almost impossi- 
ble to conceive the havoc, that our privateers made of the 
enemy's cruisers and transports, during the time that the 



54 JOHN ADAMS. 

Count d'Estaing was at Rhode Island and Charleston. But 
our losses at present nearly equal our captures. Indeed 
that very worthy officer, aware of those and other advan- 
tages, ordered the Count de Grasse to be stationed at the 
Chesapeake, but his plan was defeated by the tempestu- 
ousness of the weather. Had the latter arrived with his 
squadron, Charleston would not have been besieged, and 
three or four of our frigates, which are now in Ashley's 
River, and will probably be destroyed, would have been 
employed in intercepting the enemy's transports. 

I forgot to mention a resolution of Congress to pay off 
the continental certificates, according to the value of money 
at the time of their being respectively issued. This is but 
justice, and will undoubtedly be satisfactory to foreigners. 
Bills of exchange are now at fortyfive for one, and will be 
higher in consequence of the great risk of sending vessels 
from the Eastern States to the Southern for produce. 

I am, &£c. 

ELBRIDGE GERRY. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. '; 

Paris, May 8th, 1780. 

Sir, 

The proceedings of the United Provinces of the Low 
Countries are at this period so much attended to by man- 
kind, and are likely to have such extensive and lasting con- 
sequences to us as well as to Europe, that Congress will 
excuse my troubling them with them in detail, however 
dry and iinentertaining they n^ay be. 

Hague, April '30th, 17S0. "We learn that their Noble 
and Grand INIighlinesses, the States of Holland and West 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 55 

Friesland, have taken a resolution which had hecn univer- 
sally adopted, and that it had heen written to the Count de 
Welderen, ^Minister of their High Mightinesses at the Court 
of London, to there represent, 

"That their High Mightinesses had heen hy no means 
satisfied with the answer given the 16th of March, by Lord 
Stormont, to the just representations made in the name of 
their High Mightinesses, by M. de Welderen, their Envoy, 
relative to the violences committed upon the convoy of the 
Republic, inasmuch as this answer by arguments desti- 
tute of all foundation, endeavors to cast the blame of what 
happened upon their High Mightinesses, and to make the 
commandant of their squadron he considered as the ag- 
gressor, which is absolutely false ; that their High Mighti- 
nesses as well for their own justification in the eyes of all 
Europe, as to convince, as far as in their power, his Bri- 
. tannic Majesty of the insolidity of the answer of Lord 
Stormont, and with what incredible contempt of treaties 
their convoy has been attacked, without having on their 
part provoked so hostile an action, have resolved in sub- 
stance to represent ; — That their High iNIightinesscs, having 
always held in high estimation the declaration made by his 
Britannic Majesty of the sentiments of affection for the Re- 
public, flatter themselves that they have given his iMajestv, 
during the continuance of the present troubles, convincing 
proofs of their esteem, and of their sincere desire to main- 
tain and strengthen the ties of this friendship, which for so 
many years had not failed to secure the reciprocal pros- 
perity of the two nations ; that still animated with the same 
sentiments, persisting also in the same principles, and hav- 
ing nothing so much at heart as the quiet and undisturbed 
enjoyment of the rights, assured by the ancient treaties, 



56 JOHN ADAMS. 

iheir High Mightinesses are intimately affected, that his 
Majesty will consider as a provocation the necessity of that 
defence to which they found themselves reduced, in conse- 
quence of positive orders given by his Majesty himself, 
and not having been able to make their representations 
upon this subject attended to, see themselves obliged to 
declare that they can and ought to order to be convoyed 
by vessels of war, all the materials for ship building, which 
shall not be transported to the succor of the enemies of his 
Britannic Majesty, the said materials forming one of the 
principal articles of the free navigation and of the com- 
merce stipulated by the treaties ; but all the merchandises 
of contraband being nevertheless to be excepted. That the 
cargoes of materials for ship building not being considered 
as contraband by the letter of the treaties, ought not to be 
subjected to any visit or detention, above all when they are 
found under the flag of their High Mightinesses ; which, 
nevertheless, has been done in consequence of orders 
given upon this subject, and cannot but be regarded as a 
direct and unprovoked attack of their flag, as well as of 
their independence and sovereignty. That as to what 
Lord Stormont advances in saying, that in virtue of the 
treaty of 1674, all merchant vessels loaded with suspected 
merchandises ought to be visited, to the end to excuse by 
this assertion the conduct of Mr Fielding, it is but a vain 
allegation, contradicted by the very words of the said treaty, 
in which, in truth, there is no mention made of suspected 
merchandises, but only in the third article of commodities 
of contraband, which are particularly enumerated. That 
the convoy, by its nature, rendering useless all visits, the 
fifth and sixth articles of the said treaty of 1674, relative 
to rencounters at sea, explain themselves upon the follow- 
ine: case. We there find literally, 



Dll'LOMATlC CORRi:SPO>DK.NCE. 57 

'That when anv private vessel, subject to one of the 
contracting powers, shall meet in open sea a vessel of war, 
or other vessel provided with a commission from the other 
power, and tliat the said vessel shall not be under convoy, 
she shall not be held only barely to the exhibition of her 
sea letters to justify the property of her cargo, and this in 
consequence of the 8di article of said treaty, except, 
nevertheless, when a merchant vessel shall be destined for 
an enemy's port, she shall be obliged also to show her 
passport, containing the list of effects which shall be on 
board, and to show that she is not loaded with any of the 
articles prohibited by the 3d article of the said treaty.' 

"That, consequently, their High Mightinesses ought to 
conclude, that the assertion of Lord Stormont concerning 
the pretended exception of tiie said treaty, is but an ex- 
tension of a regulation which he alleges for his justification, 
and that thus the conduct of Mr Fielding, approved by his 
INIajesty, is a blow direct and manifest struck at the same 
treaty. That with regard to the property, as well as the 
nature of the cargo of the vessels, which were under the 
convoy of the Republic, Mr Fielding would have been 
able to have abundantly informed himself by the Coimt de 
Byland, to whom their High ^Mightinesses, although by no 
means obliged to this act of complaisance on their part, 
had given permission to consent to this demand, provided 
always, that the maintenance of the rights of the subjects 
of the Republic should not have suffered by it, and that, 
moreover, all possible moderation should be previously 
used. Their High Mightinesses could not do any other, 
than approve in all its points tiie conduct of Count de 
Byland. That thus, in contempt of all law and reason, 
the vessels under convoy having been taken, and the judg- 

VOL. V. 8 



5S -'OHiN ADAMS. 

merit of the legality of their detention sent to the decision 
of judges, who, as tliey ought not to pronounce upon this 
fact but according to the regulations made by his Majesty, 
are ready to declare lawfid the confiscation of materials of 
ship building. That notwithstanding this, no breach of 
treaties having been made, either by the orders of their 
High Mightinesses, or by the conduct of their officer 
charged to execute them, nor any hostility committed, but, 
on the contrary, i\Ir Fielding, in consequence of orders 
which he had received, having employed the violence of 
arms against the convoy of the Republic, it is not cer- 
tainly on the side of his Majesty that there ought to exist 
the least right of complaint, but rather on that of their 
High IMightinesses, who have subjects the most lawful on 
which to make them, and to insist, in the strongest man- 
ner, on obtaining a suitable satisfaction and reparation, as 
w^ell as tlie restitution of the merchant vessels and their 
cargoes, which, being under the convoy of the State, have 
been, against the faith of treaties, attacked and stopped by 
Mr Fielding, taken and carried into England, and against 
all form of justice and equity, so unjustly condemned by 
the Judges of the Admiralty ; and that, finally, M. de 
Weldcrcn shall be charged to conform himself to the 
aforesaid instructions, to demand a positive answer upon 
this subject from Ijord Stormont, and to do upon this ob- 
ject ail that he shall judge suitable to the circumstances, 
in employing to this eflecl his good offices and all the 
efforts of the strictest duty/' 

Their High Mightinesses have also taken the following 
resolution. "Having received a letter from the represen- 
tative of His Most Serene Highness, and from the di- 
rectors of the general and granted Company of the West 



iJiPLOAIAilC CUiaitSl'U.NDK.NCK. 59 

Indies, committees of the respective chambers to tije as- 
sembly of ten, sitting at Amsterdam, written from that city 
liie IStii of this month, ami whereof the contents arc, that 
in conse(|uence of, and to the end to satisfy the resolution 
of their High Mightinesses of the 12th precedent, contain- 
ing their report upon the petition of divers merchants and 
proprietors of ships residing in this country, and^ trading 
with the West Indies ; shewing, thereby, to their Higii 
^Slightinesses, how it was prejudicial to the commerce and 
navigation of this country ; 

'1st. Tiiat when the vessels of other European na- 
tions transport to tlie Colonies of this State, situated in the 
West Indies, and principally at St Eustatia, merchandises, 
without paying the duties of lest and of recognition, that 
the petitioners and other inhabitants of the Republic, going 
Ironi the ports of this country, were, nevertheless, obliged 
to pay to the West India Company ; 

'2dly. That if the said foreign vessels should enjoy 
an advantage so notable, as to transport from America, 
even the merchandises and productions of the country, in 
the ports of their habitation or others situated in Europe, 
and without the limits of this Republic, without paying any 
duty of lest or of recognition, while, nei'ertheless, the pe- 
titioners see themselves not only obliged in going there and 
returning to pay these duties to the West India Company, 
but also to engage themselves under caution, not to return 
into any port of Europe except tiiose of this State. They 
pray that a remedy may be jnovided for this inconven- 
ience ;' 

"Upon which having deliberated, it has been thougjit 
proper, conditionally, and until a final decision of their 
High ^Mightinesses, that it should be determined by these 



60 JOHN ADAMS. 

presents, that foreign European vessels, innportlng mer- 
chandise of any sort to the islands of this State in the 
West Indies, without having acquitted the sums due in this 
country for the duties of lest and of recognition, shall be 
subjected and obliged, after their arrival, to there pay ex- 
actly all the duties, without exception, which the vessels of 
the Republic are held to discharge before their departure 
from Europe ; finally, that conditionally, and until after an 
ulterior disposition of their High Mightinesses, it should be 
seriously forbidden to these foreign European vessels, to 
load in the Colonies of the State, merchandises, except 
under the same obligations and restrictions imposed upon 
ships of the Republic, to wit, to sail only from, and to re- 
turn to the ports of this country, and paying the same 
duties of lest, and sale, and recognition, which the ships of 
the inhabitants of the State are obliged to pay, on return- 
ing to the said ports of the Republic." 

Hague, 3d of May. "There has been sent to the As- 
sembly of their High Mightinesses, a resolution of the 
Province of Gueldres, conforming wholly to that taken by 
the Province of Holland, touching the memorial of the 
Prince Gallitzin, and which authorises at the same time 
their committees to assist at the conferences and negotia- 
tions, to continue them, and to transmit the result of them 
to the deliberations of their Noble Mightinesses, to the 
end that they in course take a resolution according to the 
exigence of the case, and the importance of this object. 

"There have also been presented three resolutions of the 
Province of Zealand ; the first, concerning the requisition 
made by the Admiralty of the quarter of the north, solici- 
ting a subsidy of three hundred and seventyfive thousand 
florins, and to be put in a state to be able afterwards to pay 



DieLUMATlC COUKLSPO.NDENCE. 01 

the annual interest of it ; in consc(|ucnco of which, llie 
Slates of Zealand consent to the borrowing of the said sum 
upon an interest of two and a half per cent, opposing them- 
selves, nevertheless, to the granting to the said College an 
annual subsidy, to be divided in quotas on tlie respective 
Provinces. 

"The second of these resolutions contains an answer to 
a letter of the Admiralty on the Meuse, concerning the 
indemnification of the losses suffered for the transportation 
of the Ambassador Van Haefton, at Constantinople. Fi- 
nally the third resolution is relative to the Memoir of the 
Prince GaUitzin, and has for its object to concur in the 
opening of conferences, provided, that these do not in any- 
thing alter the system of an exact neutrality, adopted by 
the Republic, nor the treaties subsisting ; with a further 
insinuation to the gentlemen, their ordinary depulies, to 
abstain from concurring in any final conclusion upon this 
object, without the consent of their Noble Mightinesses and 
without having previously informed them of what may be 
projected in this respect. 

"The States of Guilderland, in their resolution relative to 
the granting of an unlimited convoy, have also declared, 
that they had believed they had foundation to flatter them- 
selves, that the condescension of .this State, upon the rep- 
resentations of the King of Great Britain, to the eiTect to 
suspend conditionally the protection due to their subjects, 
and which was assured to them by the treaty of 1674, 
w^ould have sufKciently proved the desire, with which the 
Republic was animated to testify to his Majesty as well as 
to Great Britain, a deference the most marked, preserving 
always the observation of an exact neutrality, but that 
convinced of the contrary, as well by the declarations as 



(32 JUlliN ADAMS. 

by even the liostiiilierf cummilied u^^aiiibt iIjc subjects oi" 
the Repubh'c, they have now thought theniselves founded 
in putting an end to the limitation of convoys, in granting a 
free course to ihe proleclion ol coninierce, according to 
the treaties ami thr; law of nations. For which reason, 
the aforesaid Slates would no more make any difliculty to 
conciu' to maintain wiih liu; Ibrces of the country, the 
right of the Republic, lawfully acquired by solemn treaties, 
but that not being, nevertheless, intimately convinced, that 
in case of a further opposition the Republic is in a state of 
defence sufhcient upon the sea, it would consequently be 
to be feared, lliat such a part would not serve, but to throw 
the State into still greater embarrassments, and operate an 
effect contrary to the end proposed. Thus then, suppos- 
ing that the high confederates should judge it indispensably 
necessary to grant an unlimited convoy, the intention of 
their Noble Mightinesses would not be in any degree to 
retard or suspend such a resolution, but on the contrary, 
to show their condescension and their desire to contribute 
to the unanimity of this State, they would take away all 
reflections, of what importance soever they may appear to 
ihem, submitting themselves to the penetration of those of 
the confederates, who, being more interested in navigation 
and maritime commerce, have already authorised and in- 
structed their committees, in the generality, to consent 
with the concurrence of other Provinces to an unlimited 
convoy." 

\Ve read also in another resolution of the States o( 
Friesland, these remarkable words, "that the Empress of 
Russia lias never given a more shining proof, than in the 
present conjuncture, of her attachment to this Republic, 
which ought to engage the State to correspond by senti- 



niPLO.M.vnr C(tKRF,Sl'ONDE.\CE. 63 

mcnts proportioned to those, which her INIajcsly has dis- 
covered, both for the well being and the safety of her own 
States and subjects, and to procure to all Europe a perfect 
tranquillity founded upon motives the most equitable, and 
upon treaties, and to the end to prevent and hinder for the 
future the damages, which commerce and navigation have 
suffered until this time, and to maintain and cause to be ob- 
served a perfect neutrality between the belligerent powers." 
I may conclude this letter by observing, that I am in- 
formed, they talk in Holland of laying an embargo, to pre- 
vent the English from making many prizes, and that there 
is another rumor of opening the harbor of Antwerp. If 
there is any serious thought of this, it must be the fruit of 
English intrigue with Austria. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO TFIF. PRF.SinENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, May 8th, 1780. 

Sir, 

At the same time that the conduct of Great Britain to- 
wards the neutral powers is marked by a severity, that is 
without example, that of France and Spain is distinguish- 
ed by a moderation and liberality, that deserves to be imi- 
tated. I have before transmitted to Congress the declara- 
tion of the King of France, and the decree of his Coun- 
cil, abolishing the restrictions on the Holland trade. In 
this letter I shall give an account of the conduct of Spain. 

On the 13th of March, the Count de Florida Blanca 
wrote a letter to the Marquis Gonzalez de Castigon, the 
Minister of the Marine, to serve as a regulation for the 
navigation of neuters, as follows ; 



64 JOHN ADAMS. 

"Most Excellent Lord, 
"From the commencemeiit of the present war with 
Great Britain, the King declared sincerely, and even in a 
manner that is unexampled, his intentions of blockading 
Gibraltar, and his Majesty gave by me a formal notification 
of it to all the foreign Ministers and Ambassadors, to the 
end that they might be in a capacity to inform their re- 
spective nations of it, and that tliese might avoid in their 
navigation and in their conduct the consequences and pro- 
cedures authorised by tlie right of nations and the general 
laws of war. The King declared at the same time by his 
ordinances concerning privateering, published in the sight 
of all the world, 'that with regard to the merchandises, pro- 
ductions, and effects of the English, loaded on board of 
vessels bearing the flag of a h'iend or a neuter, his Majesty 
would conduct himself according to the procedure, which 
the English should adopt towards cargoes of the same 
kind, to the end to avoid by this reciprocity of conduct, 
the enormous inequality, the prejudice, and even the ruin 
to which the commerce and the subjects of his Majesty 
would be otherwise exposed.' In spite of these disposi- 
tions so full of equity, of frankness and good faith, the 
captains and masters of neutral vessels have not ceased to 
abuse without shame the impunity of llieir flags, whether 
by sliding clandestinely into Gibraltar, with cargoes of 
provisions, even with those which were destined for the 
fleets and armies of the King, whether by concealing a 
great part of tlieir loading, consisting in powder and other 
merchandises of contraband, or by disguising (by double 
and fictitious p:ipers, which they cast into the sea, when 
they saw themselves pursued) the property of their vessels 
and efiects, as well as iheir destination for persons and 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 65 

places dilferent from those to whom ihey rcal!y belonged, 
and to which they were bound, or whether finally by mak- 
ing a formal resistance against the King's ships or his pri- 
vateers, when they endeavored to take a view of some 
vessels, which they supposed neuter. 

"Although these facts are notorious, and have been 
proved by formal processes, these men, greedy of gain, 
and perverse, have filled all Europe with the noise of their 
clamors, propagating falsely, that orders had been given to 
detain and to seize all neutral vessels, that would pass the 
Straits, whilst in fact the orders were confined to the 
detention of vessels suspected by their course, or their 
papers, and which were loaded with provisions or effects 
of the enemy, a moderation very different from the con- 
duct which has been held by the navy and the privateers 
of England, in detaining and declaring good prize neutral 
vessels, not only when they carried Spanish productions, 
but of whatever kind the merchandises were, which they 
had taken on boarfl in the ports of Spain, or although they 
were only bound to this Peninsula, taking also and carrying 
to Gibraltar the neutral vessels, whicl) passed in their sight 
with cargoes of provisions, although the whole was but a 
feint and a disguised agreement made beforehand widi 
persons interested in these frauds. These clamors have 
been accompanied with several complaints, which have 
been made to the King, filled with the exaggerations and 
falsehoods beforementioned, and the complainants have ad- 
dressed themselves in the same manner to their respective 
Courts, without considering, that conformably to all the 
treaties of peace and of commerce the royal tribunals of 
the marine of the Admiralty, as well inferior as superior, 
were open to them to hear their allegations and proofs, 

VOL. V, 



66 JOHN ADAMS. 

pronounce sentence upon the processes, which they should 
institute, and repair the wrongs, which the detained vessels 
should have suffered, in one case or the other, without suf- 
ficient reason, although to this moment this point has never 
heen legally verified. But the captains and masters have 
always obstinately insisted, that without other proofs than 
their relations and their applicadons to the Ministry, they 
should be released, and die delays and damages of their 
detention made good to diem, and this solely because the 
clemency, the equity, and even the indulgence of the 
King recommended to the judges of the marine, had set 
several vessels at liberty, which had been detained with 
justice, and which might have been declared good prizes, 
conformably to law, and to die practice of our enemies. 

'•To dissipate even the very shadow of such like pretexts 
the Count de Recliteren, Envoy of the United Provinces, 
and the other ]\Iinisters of foreign Courts, were notified 
beforehand, that if they proposed any means of preventing 
frauds, and causes of suspicion, the King, to give a fresh 
proof of the good correspondence and friendship, which he 
desired to maintain wiUi these Courts, would adopt such of 
those means as should be proper to produce such an effect ; 
and as to this day they have not proposed nor regulated 
any means of this sort, his Majesty has judged proper to 
take by himself the measures, which arc consistent widi 
his sovereignty, uniting to that end the substance of those 
whicli have been communicated hitherto, and manifesting 
in a manner, if possible, still more positive his intentions, so 
full of justice, of equity, and of moderation, as being founded 
upon the rcsoludon of inaking ihem be observed with 
punctuality. 

"Artici.k r. Th;u the vessels with a neutral flag;. ■ 



Ull'LOMAlK COUUESHO.NDK.NCK. 07 

making sail through ihc Straits, whether on the side of the 
ocean, or on that of the Mediterranean, may not be molested 
nor hindered in their navigation, so long as they shall 
arrange themselves, as much as shall be possible for tliem, 
along the coasts of Africa, and keeping as far as they can 
from those of Europe, during the course of their passage, 
from llieir coming into it to their going out, provided al- 
ways, that their papers and cargoes be regular, and they 
furnish no just cause to excite suspicions, whether by flying 
away, or by resistance, or by an irregular course, or other 
signs of correspondence with the place blocked up, or with 
the ships of the enemy. 

"Article ii. When the aforesaid vessels of a neutral 
flag shall be destined, with their cargoes, for any ports, 
situated upon the Spanish coast in the Straits, such as 
those of Algeziras or Tarifa, they must lie to, and wait the 
arrival of a Spanish vessel, which making sail towards them 
shall give them the signal, by firing a gun, and after having 
received their declaration shall escort them, or will point 
out to them, according to the circumstances, the way which 
they ought strictly to pursue, for coming more readily, with- 
out any danger, and witliout giving cause of any suspicion, 
to the place of their destination. 

"Article hi. In case the Spanish vessels cruising in 
the Straits, at the entrance, or the oudet, according to the 
exigence of the case or the place, and conformably to the 
orders, with which they may be charged, should judge it 
necessary to convoy neutral vessels, which are traversing 
the Straits, or even those which are coasting along Africa, 
these neutral vessels shall not make opposition to submit to 
the convoy, without going away from it, or furnishing 
reasons of suspicion ; nevertheless, as they may arrive in 



(38 JOHN ADAMS. 

great numbers, ai)d at differeut limes, in such manner that 
it may become prejudicial to wait for the time to be con- 
voyed, and that, moreover, it would be extremely embar- 
rassing to escort each ship in particular, they -shall direct 
their course conformably to the first article, towards the 
coast of AiVica, and shall lollow it until some Spanish ves- 
sel, stationed or cruising in the Straits, presents itself to 
escort them out of sight of the place of the enemy and its 
avenues ; and to this end the vessels, to which the signal 
shall be given, shall stop, as it was said above, and shall 
conform themselves to the dispositions made in respect to 
them, by producing without the smallest difficulty, or resis- 
tance, their papers, and submitting to all that which is pre- 
scribed by the treaties, and the common law of nations 
to the end to prove the property of ships, the legality of 
their documents, as well as of their cargoes and destination. 
"Articm; IV. When such vessels, under the appear- 
ance of neutrals, shall come out of ports situated on the 
coast of Africa, in the Straits, they shall be visited, and 
treated according to the nature of their cargo, or the sus- 
picions which they shall have excited, of intentions to sail 
to carry succors to Gibraltar, supposing always that the 
vessels coming out of the said ports with the design of 
going into Gibraltar, have in fact hoisted a neutral Hag and 
abused it. 

"AiiTicf.E V. Wlicn neutral vessels shall not conform 
themselves to the said dispositions, in whole or in part, in 
particular cases, they shall be seized and carried into port, 
where they shall be declared good prize with all their 
eflects and cargoes, only for being loaded wiUi provisions, 
or with those sorts of eftects specified by the article 15th 
of the regulation for armed vessels, without there being 



DIPLOMATIC CORULSPu.NbL.SCE. gg 

occasion lor any other judicial proof; and, in case that the 
articles before mentioned should not be found on board of 
these vessels, the motives of their contravention of these 
articles shall be juridically examined, and an account of 
them rendered to his Majesty by the Secretary of Stale, 
and of the Department of the IMarine, who shall afterwards 
make known the resolution of his Majesty. 

"Article vi. In case, independently of the contraven- 
tion of these articles, it should be proved that a vessel 
under a neutral flag should be entered into the place, or 
discovered going in (which would manifest a visible and 
formal design of going there) without having lain to, or 
waited for the Spanish vessel, which should have pursued 
her and made her the signal, or should have gone far from 
the coast of Africa, or finally, shall have separated herself 
from the convoy, she shall be in all respects both in going 
in and in coming out treated as an enemy's ship, declared 
according to the tenor of the laws of war to be good prize, 
as well as all her cargo, and all the crew shall be made 
prisoners of war ; because that in such a case th.e flag and 
documents ought to be supposed false, the ship and cargo 
to belong to the enemy, or that one or the other is des- 
tined for his service. 

"Article vii. The neutral vessels, which shall be 
visited by the King's ships, or privateers, upon other seas 
or coasts of the ocean, and the Mediterranean, which have 
no communication with the Straits of Gibraltar, shall 
neither be slopped nor brought into port except in the 
cases specified by the royal regulation, made the 10th of 
July, 1 779, for privateers ; no vexation nor violence shall 
be exercised against the masters of these ships, nor shall 
anything be taken away from them, how small soever may 



70 JOHiN ADAMS. 

be the value of it, under the penalty established by the 
said regulation, extended even by article nineteenth to that 
of death, according to the exigency of the case. 

"Article viii. In case the vessels, stopped by the 
King's ships or piivateers, shall throw their papers into the 
sea, and this fact shall be juridically jjroved, they shall, for 
this reason only, he declared good prize ; which has been 
sufSciently made known by the sixteenth article of the 
regulation for privateers, which treats of this object. 

"Article ix. If it shall be proved that in the cargoes 
of vessels stopped, there should be found some effects the 
property of the enemy, in such case, if the captain shall have 
declared it freely, the said effects shall be unloaded alone, 
the freight of them shall be paid, without retaining long the 
masters or hindering in any manner their navigation, always 
provided, that as far as possible the said vessels shall not 
be put in a situation to run any risk by the taking out the 
effects before menUoned ; a receipt shall be given to the 
captain for the effects discharged, of the condition they 
were in, as well as the amount of their freight as far as the 
place of their destination ; which shall be proved by their 
charter parties o>- documents, to the end to be able to be 
satisfied, what shall be their due from the Commissary of 
the Marine of the first port they shall make, that of which 
they shall give notice by the way of the Ministry, to the 
end that if the receipt of which they are the bearers has 
been given them by a privateer, the amount of it may be 
paid by the owners, and if it has been furnished them by a 
King's ship, measures the most convenient in this respect 
shall be taken, that in case it should be judged absolutely 
necessary to conduct the said vessels into some port there 
to discharge them, they may be indemnified for that which 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 71 

shall be due to them, by reason of their freight, for so 
many days as it shall be judged indispensably necessary 
for them to take up, both in going to the said ports and 
in returning; but, nevertheless, in case the captains should 
conceal the efiects, the property of the enemy, or deny 
that they belong to the enemy, they ought to be pursued 
juridically, and the Judges of the IMarine shall examine 
the case and decide it, with liberty of appeal to a council 
of war, who, conformably to the usage of the English tri- 
bunals, shall declare lawful prize all these effects, which 
shall appear legally to belong to an enemy, by means of 
which, considering the concealment and the denial of the 
said effects, no account shall be made, neither of the freight 
nor of the days lost to masters of vessels, since they will 
have been themselves the causes of the delay occasioned 
to their navigation. 

"Article x. When in the said case, or in others simi- 
lar, the ships of friends or of neutrals shall be stopped and 
brought into the ports, other than those of their destination, 
contrary to the forms prescribed or without having given 
cause for it by well founded reasons, either by the direc- 
tion of their course, or by the state of their papers, by some 
resistance on their part, the nature of their cargo, or by 
other legal causes, founded either on treaties or the usages 
of nations universally adopted, the armed vessels, which 
shall have seized such vessels, shall be condemned to make 
good the lost days as well as the damages and prejudices 
caused to a seized ship ; this condemnation or justification 
shall be mentioned in the same sentence, which sliall con- 
tain the declarations of good or bad prize, and to this end 
ihey shall proceed with the utmost despatch without injur- 
ing however the privileges or principal points, whereof the 



72 JOHN ADAMS. 

jiuture of the thing requires observance, and the decisions, 
whedier of condemnation or acquittal, ought to be execu- 
ted under sureties, as it is regulated for tlie advantage of 
privateers ; and if it liappens that the vessels, which should 
have caused the damage, belong to the King, in that case 
the tribunals or Judges of the Marine shall give notice of 
it to the Secretary of your Excellency, sending to him at 
the same lime justifying [)ieces and tlieir opinion, to the 
end that his Majesty may ordain convenient damages, and 
what shall be judged necessary to prevent or remedy like 
cases ; and it is in this sense that the fortieth and otlier arti- 
cles of the regulation for privateering ought to ho under- 
stood. 

"AuTicLF. XI. The sale of prizes and their cargoes, 
mentioned by the tliirtyseventh, foriyfourth, and other arti- 
cles of the royal ordinance for privateering, shall be made, 
not only after having prepared an inventory of them, and 
in presence of the masters of the interested, or of those 
wha are legally autliorlsed, but also skilful persons shall 
have previously made a formal estimate, in which the causes 
of avarice, or others influencing more or less upon the price 
of effects, shall be examined and juridically proved, in such 
sort, that at all times one may notoriously prove both the 
l^rice of merchandises taxed before the sale, and conse- 
quently the frauds which might be committed during the 
said sale, as W(;ll as the prejudices that might result from 
them. 

"Ahtjclk XII. The intention of his Majesty being, 
that this royal declaration be observed, as making part of 
his ordinances imprinted and published in all his ports and 
maritime places, the King commands me to transmit it to 
vour Excellcncv, to have it published to this end, and that 



DIPLOMATIC* CORRESrONDEXCE. 73 

you see to its punctual execution, while, on my part, 1 shall 
communicate it to all the Ambassadors and foreign Minis- 
ters residing in this Court, to the end that each one may 
give notice of it to his respective nation. 

"Article xiii. In the meantime, his IMajesty requires 
your Excellency to give also the necessary orders to the 
tribunals and counsellors of the Marine, that they may 
expedite, with the utmost diligence, the processes begun 
relative to stopped vessels conformably to the spirit of tliis 
royal declaration, which as to the essentials agrees with the 
precedent ones successively published." 

Thus I have gone through these lengthy state papers, 
but am under fearful apprehensions that Congress will find 
the translation imperfect in some parts, for I have not time 
to revise it. I may take this opportunity to observe, that I 
liave sent many slate papers to Congress, which were orig- 
inally in English, but which I have first found in the for- 
eign gazettes and translated from them ; which will account 
to Congress for the difference, which they will see between 
some papers I have sent and the originals. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, Mav Stii, 1780. 

Sir, 
There is an article of news from the Hague of the 3d 
of 'Shy, that they write from Dort, that the recruits of 
Anspach and of Hanover, in the pay of England, are em- 
barked there and sailed from that city the day before yes- 
terday, in order to go to their destination, 
vur,. v. 10 



74 roHN ADAMS. 

There is news also from Stockholm of the 18th of April, 
that the ordinance, which the College of the Admiralty has 
expedited to all the agents and consuls, who reside in for- 
eign countries, relating to the convoys necessary to the pro- 
tecdon of the commerce of the subjects of this kingdom, 
is as follows, dated Stockholm, April 1st. 

"His Majesty having found it necessary to equip a cer- 
tain number of vessels of war and frigates, during this year, 
to the end to protect the navigation of Swedish merchants, 
the College of the Admiralty, in consequence, makes* 
known, that besides the vessels of war, which are to pro- 
tect the vessels of other nations destined for the ports of 
this kingdom, to the end, that no hostilities may be com- 
mitted upon the coasts of Sweden, the said College has 
further judged it necessary, that some frigates ought to 
serve as convoys to the Swedish ships, which go to navigate 
without the Baltic sea. To this purpose, the Royal College 
of the Admiralty has judged proper to give notice, that the 
Road of Elsinore will be the rendezvous of all the vessels, 
which would take advantage of the convoys, and which 
will sail at four different times, to wit ; 

"The first convoy will sail the 29th of May, with the 
merchant vessels, which may be ready, under the escort of 
the frigate the Zwarte Orn, commanded by the Major Har- 
ald Christiernin, who has orders to conduct them by the 
Canal, [?] as far as Cape Finisterre, and take all possible 
care that the vessels arrive in safety in the ports of their 
destinations, and afterwards to conduct under his convoy, 
destined for the Mediterranean, with the same vigilance, 
through the Strait of Gibraltar, as far as the latitude of 
Malaga. The second convoy will sail the 14tli of July, 
with the frigate Hoken, under the command of the Major 



Ull^LU.MATlC COURLsl'U.NULNCl::. 75 

and Chevalier Samuel Oirskiokl, who is lo convoy with 
the same care the merchant ships as far as Cape Finis- 
terre. 

*'The third will put to sea the olst ol" August under the 
protection of the frigate Upland, commanded by the Ma- 
jor and Baron Solomon Christian Von Kokler. Finally, 
the fourth convoy will sail on the 30th of September, es- 
corted by the frigates Sodermanland and the Jaramas, 
commanded by the Majors and Chevaliers C. M. Wagen- 
felt and Herns Frederic Watchmeister, who are lo convoy 
with the same care the merchant ships as far as Cape Fin- 
isterre, and afterwards those which are destined for Portu- 
gal, Spain, and the Mediterranean, as well as along the 
coast of Europe, as far as Leghorn ; the commandant 
being to consult with the consuls of their nation where they 
cruise during the winter months, to the end to protect the 
ships of Swedish subjects, which trade in the Mediter- 
ranean ; after which, the said frigates are to repair towards 
the middle of February to ^lalaga, and make in the lati- 
tude of that port their cruises until the end of that month, 
to return after that, taking under their convoy the vessels 
from thence, and those coming from the ■Mediterranean, 
to reconduct them through the channel into their country. 

"It ought not, however, to be forgotten, that no mer- 
chant ships will be taken under convoy, but those only 
which shall conform themselves to tlie ordinance Royal of 
the ISth of February, 1779, as well as to the neutrality, 
which his I\Iajesty would maintain with the strictest ex- 
actness. Thus the masters of Swedish ships are adver- 
tised by these presents, and it is even enjoined upon 
them not to carry any succors into the places or ports, 
which may be blocked by one or another of the powers 
now at war. 



7G JOHN AUAMS. 

"Nevertheless, notwithstanding this arrangement, his 
Majesty will permit, to the end that commerce may 
have its course and not he retarded, that liherty he given 
to mercliant shijis to sail without the said convoys, accord- 
ing to the circumstances in which they may iind tliem- 
selves, as well as the facility to separate themselves at sea 
from the King's ships, if their advantage requires it, in 
which case the masters of ships shall be obliged to give 
notice of it beforehand to the commanders of frigates. 'In 
one word, the masters of ships shall be held to conform 
themselves to the orders, which the chiefs of the convoy 
shall give them, and, consequently, to the instructions 
which shall be delivered them." 

Copies are circulated in London, of the answer which 
the Court has made to the declaration of the Empress of 
Russia, presented the first of April to the JV'linistry by M. 
de Simoiin, Minister Plenipotentiary. This piece, which 
was despatched the 13th of April to the Chevalier Harris, 
Envoy Extraordinary of his Britannic JMajesty to the 
Court of Petersburg, is of the following tenor. 

"During the whole course of the war, in which the King 
of Great JJritain finds himself engaged by the aggression of 
France and Spain, he has manifested those sentiments of 
justice, of equity, and moderation, which govern all his 
proceedings. His Majesty has regulated his conduct 
towards friendly and neutral powers according to theirs 
towards bin), conforming it to principles the most clear, 
and the most generally acknowledged of the law of na- 
tions, which is the only law between nations who have no 
treaties, and to the tenor of his different engagements with 
other powers ; which engagements have varied this primi- 
tive law by mutual stipulations, and have varied it in a 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 77 

great variety of different manners, according lo the will 
and the convenience of the contracting parlies. Strongly 
attached to her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, 
hy the ties of a reciprocal friendship and a common inter- 
est, the King, from the commencement of the troubles, 
gave the most determinate orders to respect the flag of her 
Imperial JNIajesty and the commerce of her subjects, ac- 
cording to the law of nations and the tenor which he has 
contracted in this treaty of commerce with her, and which 
he will fulfil with the most scrupulous exactness. The 
orders on this subject have been renewed, and the execu- 
tion of them shall be strictly attended to. It is to be pre- 
sumed, that they will prevent all irregularity ; but if it 
should happen, that there should be the smallest violation 
of these repeated orders, the tribunals of the Admiralty, 
which in this country, as in all others, are established to 
take cognizance of such matters, and which in all cases 
judge solely by the general law of nations, and by the par- 
ticular stipulations of different treaties, would redress the 
injury in a manner so equitable, that her Imperial Majesty 
would be satisfied entirely with their decisions, and would 
acknowledge in them the same spirit of justice which ani- 
mates herself." 

This is said to be the answer to the Empress, and to 
be sure it is complaisant enough ; but still there is a great 
question between the King and the Empress to be de- 
cided. The King says, that all the ports of France and 
Spain are blocked by his fleet. The Empress says, that 
none of them are or will be, but such before which the 
King may send a number of ships to guard the entrance 
into them, and make it manifestly dangerous. She adds, 
that she has armed and will arm to maintain this construe- 



7S JOHN ADAMS. 

tion of the word, and invites all the other maritime powers 
to make a league with her in support of this interpretation ; 
and Holland has already answered that she agrees to it 
with gratitude, and all the other powers will answer the 
same. If the King gives up his interpretation of the word, 
there is an end forever to the naval superiority of Great 
Britain. If he maintains it, it must be hy a war against all 
the nations that use the seas. 

But the government and nation are not yet forsaken by 
their infatuation. They do not see in the declaration of 
die Empress, that she has taken a decided part against 
them. But all the rest of the world sees, that a declaration 
of war against them would not have been a more decisive 
indication of die Empress' judgment or affections. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

P. (S*. There is an article in the Amsterdam Gazette 
of the 2d of May, taken from the Hague of the 30th of 
April, that "Mr Faucet, General in the service of the King 
of England, has set off from his residence, and we learn 
from Dort, that die English vessels are at last arrived 
there, and that the recruits of Anspach and Hanau will be 
embarked in a little time to go to America." 

This Mr Faucet is the ofiicer (they call him General in 
the papers, but I believe he is not more than a Major or 
Lieutenant Colonel) whose whole time and service are 
devoted to picking up the recruits for the German regi- 
ments in die British service. He constantly fills all the 
newspapers of Europe with his motions from place to 
place, and gives his accounts an air of mystery, which 
leaves die world, both in Europe and America, to mag- 



nU'LO-MATlC COKKESl'ONDENCE. 79 

nify ilie numbers he raises at discretion, or rather accord- 
ing to their imaginations. But Congress may rely upon 
this, that the service is very unpopular and odious in Ger- 
many ; that they are put to great trouble and expense, 
annually, to raise the recruits whom they have sent, who 
have never been enough to repair the breaches, and that 
this year they have not been able to get more than last, 
and these will arrive as late as those last year, and in 
all probability as sickly. J. A. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, May 8tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

The English have a faculty of deceiving themselves, 
which has lost tliem thirteen colonies, has brought them 
into a war, first with France and then with Spain, has 
nearly lost them Ireland, and has at last put them in a fair 
way of uniting all the other maritime powers of Europe 
against them. Yet they are still able to deceive them- 
selves. 

There is an example of this in the Hague Gazette of the 
1st of May, in the article Great Britain. 

"They make here a thousand conjectures concerning 
the declaration of this Court of the 17th of this month, and 
the consequences which may result from it. The declara- 
tion of Russia does not afford less matter of speculation. 
It is agreed that it will render the three belligerent powers 
very circumspect in their conduct relative to the com- 
merce of neutral powers, but the more moderate politicians 
cannot persuade themselves, that this declaration is more 
hostile towards England than towards the other powers at 



so JOHN ADAMS. 

war, although our patriots, as they call themselves, exert 
themselves to give it a turn, as if Russia had it in view to 
break with England. 

"Since the unfortunate contest between Great Britain 
and her colonies of America, the balance of commerce be- 
tween Russia and England has been, one year with anoth- 
er, more than five hundred thousand pounds in favor of 
Russia, and there is also a very considerable balance in 
favor of the other northern powers. But these moderate 
English i)olitieians ought to consider, whether this balance 
of commerce is enough taprevent a great and able princess 
from seizing an opportunity of distinguishing her character 
with the world and in history, for wisdom, equity, and 
magnanimity, by )-cndering to mankind a most essential 
service, by introducing into the law and practice of nations 
a reformation of those errors, which the English chiefly had 
attempted to establish ; a reformation which the interest 
and rights of humanity so loudly and manifestly call for, 
and by assisting in the separation of the new world from 
the domination and monopoly of England, which is also so 
obviously for the honor, the prosperity, and the happiness 
of mankind in general. The English should further con- 
sider, whether this balance of trade is likely to be less in 
favor of Russia, for the independence of America, and for 
the security which is aimed at for neutral powers. All the 
world out of England sees that it will not." 

I will conclude this letter, by adding the letter of Lord 
Stormont, of the 17th of April, to the Count de Welderen, 
Envoy Extraordinary of their High Mightinesses. 

"The King has always hoped, that the faith of treaties 
and die tics of an alliance, which has subsisted for more 
than a century, as well as dioso of a reciprocal friendship. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. - 81 

and a common interest joined to the evidence of the dan- 
ger, which threatens the Republic herself, if France and 
Spain accomplish their ambitious designs, would have in- 
duced their High Mightinesses to assist his Majesty to 
frustrate these designs by furnishing him the succors stipu- 
lated by treaties the most solemn. 

"But since their High JMightinesses have adopted anoth- 
er system, as contrary to the interests of the Republic as 
to those of Great Britain, since they have not made any 
answer to the repeated demand of these succors, and have 
not even shown the least intention to fulfd engagements so 
clear and so formal, his Majesty has found himself necessi- 
tated to execute his intentions, which have been so clearly 
announced in the ^Memorial, which his ambassador pre- 
sented the 21st of March last, and in the verbal declaration, 
which I had the honor to make to you, by express order 
of the King. As you are perfectly informed. Sir, of the 
sentiments of his Majesty, it only remains for me to com- 
municate to you, ministerially, the order which the King 
has given in his Council, and to pray you to inform their 
High Mightinesses of it. In reading this order, you will 
there see, Sir, a particular attention to the interests of the 
commercial subjects of their High JMightinesses. The pub- 
lication of the memorial presented by the Ambassador of 
the King, as well as that of the verbal declaration, will, 
without doubt, render all further advertisements unneces- 
sary. But the King desires, that individuals should suffer 
as little as possible from the consequences of a system, 
which their High Mightinesses have adopted, and which 
appears as opposite to the sentiments of the Dutch nation 
as it is to the interests of the Republic." 

How confident these people are, that no other nation of 

VOL. v. 11 



82 JOHN ADAMS. 

Europe understands its own interest. According to them, 
France, Spain, Holland, Russia, and the other maritime 
powers and the United States of America, are all acting, 
shedding their blood, and spending their money for objects 
directly opposite to their proper interests. But it is much 
to be wished that the English, for the sake of their own 
preservation, as well as the report of mankind, could be 
brought to think, that other nations understand their own 
interests very well. 

J have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO AN UNKNOWN PERSON.'' 

Paris, May 9th, 17S0. 

Dear Sir, 

I thank you for your note of yesterday, and the papers 
enclosed. 

The proposals for a general pacification, by the Dean of 
Gloucester, whether they were written by him, or by 
another, were probably intended to feel the pulse of 
France, or Spain, or America. Nay, it is not impossible, 
that they might be intended to sound even so inconsidera- 
ble a [)ortion of existence as ?«Ir John Adams. But it 
must be something rather more plausibly written ; some- 
thing a little more consonant to reason, and to common 
sense, which will draw out of Mr Adams his sentiments on 
the great work of pacification, if ever he should enter into 
any detail 'upon this subject, before general conferences 
take place, which he at present believes he shall not do. 

• The name of the person to whom this letter was sent is not men- 
tioned in the original. 



DIPLOMATIC CUllRESFONUEiNCE. S3 

Concealing, however, my name, you niuy take these 
few observations upon these proposals. 

1. England may be heartily sick of the imprudent part 
she has taken. This point I shall not dispute with the 
Dean of Gloucester. Yet 1 wish she would give some bet- 
ter proof of it, than she has done hitherto. But of Am- 
ericans 1 can speak with confidence and certainty ; and so 
far from being sick of the part they have taken, they look 
upon the past madness of Great Britain, which has com- 
pelled them to overcome all the prejudices and weak pas- 
sions, which heretofore bound them to her, and to become 
independent, as the greatest blessing which Providence 
ever bestowed upon them, from the first plantation in the 
new world. They look upon it, that a council of the 
wisest statesmen and legislators, consulting together on the 
best means of rendering America happy, free, and great, 
could not have discovered and digested a system so per- 
fectly adapted to that end, as the one, which the folly and 
wickedness of Great Britain has contrived for them. Tiiey 
not only see, and feel, and rejoice in the amelioration of 
their forms of government, but in the improvement of their 
agriculture and their manufactures, and in the discovery, 
that all the omnipotence of British fleets lias not been able 
to prevent their commerce, which is opening and extend- 
ing every year, as their population is increasing in the 
midst of the war. 

2. To suppose that France is sick of the part she has 
taken, is to suppose her to be sick of that conduct, which 
has procured her more respect and consideration in Eu- 
rope, than any step she ever took. It is to suppose her 
sick of that system, which enabled her to negotiate the 
peace between Russia and the Ottoman Porte, as well as 



84 JOHN ADAMS. 

the peace of Teschen ; that system, which has enabled 
her to unite, in sentiment and affection, all the maritime 
powers, even the United Provinces, in her favor, and 
against England. It is to suppose her sick of that system, 
which has broken off from her rival and natural enemy the 
most solid part of his strength, -a strength that had become 
so terrible to France, and would have been so fatal to her. 
I do not mean to enlarge. 

As to the propositions themselves, it would be wasting 
time to consider them. Of all the malicious plans of the 
English against America, none has ever been more so 
than this. It is calculated only to make xVmerica the sport 
of Britain in future ; to put it in her power to be forever 
fomenting quarrels and wars ; and, I am well persuaded, 
that America would sooner vote for a hundred years' 
war. 

I may be thought again too sanguine. I have been too 

sanguine these twenty years, constantly too sanguine ; yet 

eternally right. 

Adieu, 

JOHN ADAMS. 

P. S. I do not see Captain Waters's engagement yet in 
any of die papers. I would have sent it to England and 
Holland for publication, if I had known it could not be 
printed here. J. A. 



TO THE lUlESlDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, Mav 9th, 1780. 

Sir, 
I have the honor to enclose to Congress proposals for 
general pacification, by the Dean of Gloucester. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 85 

"Proposals to the English, Americans, French, and 
Spaniards, now at war. 

"First. That Great Britaici shall retain NewfoLindland, 
with the desert coasts of Labradore ; also Canada, Nova 
Scotia, and the country bordering on the Bay of Fmidy, 
as far as the bay and river of Penobscot. 

"Secondly. That all the country from the Penobscot 
river to the river Connecticut, containing almost all the four 
populous Provinces of New England, shall be ceded to 
the Americans. 

"Thirdly. That all the country from the Connecticut 
to the river Delaware, containing the whole of New York, 
Long Island, and the Jerseys, with some parts of two 
other Provinces indenting with them, shall return to Great 
Britain. 

"Fourthly. That all the country from the Delaware to 
the northern boundary of South Carolina, containing the 
greatest part of Pennsylvania, all Maryland, Virginia, and 
North Carolina, shall be ceded to the Americans. 

"Fifthly. That all the country from the northern boun- 
dary of South Carolina to the extreme point of the eastern 
Florida, containing three whole Provinces, shall be retain- 
ed by Great Britain. 

"Sixthly. That West Florida, chiefly barren sand, and 
the Fortress of Gibraltar (totally useless,) shall be ceded 
to Spain, in order to satisfy the punctilio of that nation, 
and that the Spaniards shall give Porto Rico in exchange, 
an island on which they seem to set no value, and which 
indeed is of no use to ihem, though large in itself, stored 
with good ports, well situated, and capable (in the hands of 
the English) of great improvements. 

"Seventhly. Lastly, that the English shall give up the 



86 JOHiN AUAMS. 

conquests they have made on the French in the East 
Indies, vvlio shall do the like lo the English in the West 
Indies." 

I shall make no remarks upon this plan, hut there is no 
Englishman who tiiinks of a wiser, or at least who dares 
propose one. All, who talk of propositions, throw out 
sometliing as absurd and idle as this, wiiich will convince 
Congress that we shall have no peace for some time. 

Tlie French armament, which sailed from Brest the 
2d of May, under the command of M. de Rochambeau, 
of the troops, and M. de Ternay, of the fleet, and the 
armament from Cadiz, of twelve ships of the line, besides 
frigates and other armed vessels, with eleven thousand five 
hundred land forces, Vv'ilh a fine train of artillery, which 
were to sail about the same time, or earlier, both destined 
for America, as it is supposed, will I hope bring the Eng- 
lish to think of some plan a little more rational. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRKSS. 

Paris, May lOUi, 1780. 

Sir, 

On the iOih of April, Mr Grattan, in tiic House of Com- 
mons of Ireland, moved a resolution, "That the King's 
Most Excellent Majesty, Lords and Commons of Ireland, 
are the only powers copjpetent to make laws to hind this 
Kingdom." Mr Stewart seconded the motion. 

The Attorney General moved an amendment to adjourn 
the question until the 1st day of September next. 

Mr Burgh moved another amendment, "That there 
being an equal resolution on the books (in the journals in 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 87 

ihe month of July, 1G41) with the one now moved, the 
same may be, for tliat reason, adjourned to the 1st day of 
September next." 

The House divided at a late hour on the original 
amendment, when there appeared, ayes, ninetyseven ; 
noes, one hundred and thirtysix ; majority, thirtynine. 

Thus the House of Commons have refused to pursue 
the sense of the people, but these are so unanimous and 
so determined, that no magistrate will venture to exe- 
cute any act of the English Parliament. 

Philip and 3Iary, 4. chap. 4tl], thus explains Poyn- 
ing's law. "And this act of the 10th of Henry the 
Seventh, shall be expounded and taken as followeth, that is 
to say, that no Parliament be holden or summoned within 
this realm of Ireland, until the Lieutenant, Chief Gover- 
nor, or Governors, and the Council of Ireland, shall have 
certified the King and Queen's Majesties, her heirs and 
successors under the great seal of the realm, the consider- 
ations, causes, and articles of such acts, as by them shall 
be thought meet to be enacted and passed here by Parlia- 
ment, and shall also have received again their Majesties' 
answer under the great seal of England, declaring their 
pleasure, either for the passing of the said acts in such 
form as ihey should be sent into England, or else for the 
alteration of them, or any part of the same." 

"Section 2d. After such return made, and after li- 
cense and authority to summon a Parliament within the 
said realm of Ireland, granted under the great seal of 
England unto the said lieutenant, or chief governors of the 
same realm, the same lieutenant, chief governor or gov- 
ernors, may summon and hold a Parliament for passing 
and agreeing upon such acts, and no other, as shall be so 
returned under the great seal of England." 



S8 -TOHN ADAMS. 

"G of George 1, chnp. 5, sec. 1. The kingdom of 
ireJand has been, is, and of right ought to be, subordinate 
unto, and dependent upon tlie Imperial Crown of Great 
Britain, as being inseparably united and annexed there- 
unto ; and the King, with the consent of the Lords and 
Commons of Great Britain, in Parliament, hath power to 
make laws of sufficient force to bind the kingdom and peo- 
ple of Ireland." 

"Section 2d. The House of Lords of Ireland have 
not, nor of right ought to have, any jurisdiction to judge 
of, affirm, or reverse any judgment or decree made in any 
court within die said kingdom ; and all proceedings before 
the said House of Lords upon any such judgment or de- 
cree are void." 

These are the political shackles, which the people of 
Ireland are endeavoring to shake ofl'; and if the war con- 
tinues long, they will succeed ; otherwise, not entirely, 
although the authority of die British Parliament will, un- 
doubtedly, be much weakened. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 

JOHrS[ ADAMS. 



COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Translation. 

Versailles, Mav lOth, 1780. 

Sir, 
I owe you thanks for the different communications, 
which you have been so good as to make to mo. If the 
views contained in the letter, which you have confided to 
me, are exact, you ought not to delay in obtaining a proof; 
and in such case, it would bo expedient for you to ascer- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 89 

tain what overtures it is expected you will maUe. I think 
you should not refuse to listen to them. 
I have the honor to be, Sic. 

DE VERGENNES. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OP CONGRESS. 

Paris, May llth, 1780. 

Sir, 

On ]\Ionday, the first of May, Mr David Hartley ex- 
plained what was the substance of his intended motion for 
Friday, respecting the slate of the war. In the course of 
his speech, he moved for a copy of the French Memorial, 
entitled Observations on the justifying Memorial of Great 
Britain, which contains many points of serious informa- 
tion respecting France, Spain and America. He then 
read to the House the three following motions ; the first 
of which, originating in the county of York, is to be made 
jointly by Mr Hartley and his friend Sir George Saville. 

"1st. That it is the opinion of this House, tliat the 
prosecution of an oflensive war in America is most evi- 
dently a measure, which, by emj)loying our great and enor- 
mously expensive military operations against the inhabitants 
of that country, prevents this from exerting its united, vig- 
orous, and firm efforts against the powers of France and 
Spain, and has no other effect upon America, than to con- 
tinue, and thereby increase the enmity, which has so long 
subsisted between the arms of both, can be productive of 
no good whatever, but by preventing conciliation, threatens 
the accomplishment of the final ruin of the British Em- 
pire. 

"2dly. That an address be presented to his ^Majesty, 
VOL. V. 12 



90 JOHN ADAMS. 

Stating the matter of the foregoing resolution, and entreat- 
ing him to concur therewith ; representing, at the same 
time, that they think that they should betray his Majesty 
and their constituents, if they did not distinctly state to his 
Majesty, that nothing less than a total change of councils, 
proceeding from the conviction of past errors, can prevent 
the consummation of public ruin ; but, at the same time, to 
express their fullest confidence, that with a speedy and 
fundamental reformation of councils, under a prudent and 
vigilant administration, they shall be enabled to maintain 
the honor and dignity of this country against any confed- 
eracy of France and Spain, and to effect a reconciliation 
with America, upon beneficial, just, and honorable terms. 

"3dly. That leave be given to bring in a bill, to enable 
his Majesty to appoint Commissioners with sufficient power 
to treat, consult, and finally agree upon the means of re- 
storing peace with the Provinces in North America." 

After which, General Conway rose to declare, that he 
had a bill to propose on the subject of the American war, 
which he would lay before the House tomorrow. He 
gave a general hint of the ideas he entertained on this sub- 
ject. He thought that Parliament ought to come to some 
resolutions to agree on certain propositions, which should 
be held out to the Americans as the foundation of a treaty 
of peace and reconciliation. 

I shall give an account of the debates and decisions on 
the motions when the papers arrive. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDKNCtl. 91 

TU COUNT UE VERGENNES. 

Paris, Ma^- 9Ui, IT&O. 

Sir, 

1 have received llie letter, which you did me the lionor 
to write to me, on the 10th of this montii. 

Although the writer of the letter, an extract of which I 
had the honor to enclose to you, may be right in his con- 
jectures, that the British administration wish to know more 
tlian they do at present of my sentiments upon the great 
subject of a pacificatioo, yet I have had too long expe- 
rience of their principles, views, and tempers, and I know 
that they are too well acquainted with mine, for me to ex- 
pect, that they will directly convey any proposition to me. 
When we hear them affirm in Parliament, that America is 
upon the point of returning to an allegiance to the King of 
England, and that they seriously believe, that America will 
return to such an allegiance ; when the members of the 
opposition, even those who are the most inclined to peace, 
such as Mr Hartley, General Conway, kc. discover plain- 
ly, by their motions and arguments, that their object is a 
separate peace with America, in order to be the better 
able to gratify their revenge against France and Spain, I 
can have no expectations, that they think of applying to 
me, because I think they must be convinced of this, at 
least, that I shall make no separate peace. I thank your 
•Excellency, however, for your sentiments, that 1 ought to 
hear them, in case any overtures should be made to me. 
J should, in such a case, endeavor to hear them with de- 
cency and respect ; but it would require much philosophy 
to hear, with padence, such absurd and extravagant pro- 
positions, as are published in pamphlets and newspapers, 



92 JOHN ADAMS 

and made in Parliament, even by the members of the op- 
position, who profess to be most zealous for peace. 

Our alliance with France is an honor and a security, 
which have ever been near to my heart. After reflecting 
long upon the geographical situation of the old world and 
the new, the agriculture, commerce, and political relations 
of both, upon the connexions and oppositions among the 
nations of the former, and the mutual wants and interests 
of both, according to such imperfect lights as I was able to 
obtain, the result has long since been this, that my country, 
in case she should be compelled to break ofi' from Great 
Britain, would have more just reasons to depend upon a 
reciprocity of the good offices of friendship from France, 
Spain, and the other sovereigns, who are usually in their 
system, than upon those in the opposite scale of the 
balance of power. I have ever thought it, therefore, a 
natural alliance, and contended for it as c rock of de- 
fence. 

This object I pursued in Congress, with persevering 
assiduity for more than a year, in opposition to other gen- 
tlemen of much greater name and abilities than mine, and 
I had at length the satisfaction to find my countrymen very 
generally fall in with the same senfiment, and the honor to 
be appointed to draw the first treaty, which was sent to this 
Court. These facts have been well known in America, 
even to the tories, and the utility and importance of this 
alliance being known to be deeply imprinted in my mind 
and heart, I suppose was a principal cause why the pres- 
ent trust was confided to me by n)y countrymen. These 
facts, although they may have been unknown in France, 
yet having been known to the tories in America, I cannot 
suppose they are ignorant of them at the Court of St 



DIPLOMAflC CORRESPONDE.NCE 93 

James ; I therefore ihink, that neither ihe admioistration 
nor opposiiion in England will ever think of applying to 
me, until they are brought into such a situation as shall 
compel them to sue for peace with all the powers at war, 
which, to be sure, does not appear to be the case at pres- 
ent, nor likely to be, at least before tlie end of this cam- 
paign ; nor then either, without some notable good for- 
tune on the part of the allies in the progress of the war. 
1 have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHX AD.^3IS. 



TO JOEN JAY. 

Paris, yiaj 13tb, 17S0. 

Dear Sir, 

1 bad two days ago the pleasure of yours of the 2f3ih of 
April, and am very happy to have at last received from 
your hand an account of your safe arrival in Madrid. 

The Count de Florida Blanca is allowed to be a man 
of abilities, but somehow or other there is something in the 
European understanding different from those we have been 
used to. Men of the greatest abilities and the most expe- 
rience are with great difficulty brought to see what appears 
to us as clear as day. It is habit, it is education, preju- 
dice, what you will, but so it is. 

I can state a very short argument, that appears to me a 
demonstration upon French and Spanish principles alone, 
that it is more for their interest to employ their naval force 
in America than in Europe ; yet it is in vain, that you 
state this to a Minister of Slate. He cannot see it or 
feel it, at least, in its full force, until the proper point of 
time is past and it is too late. So I think it may be 
demonstrated, that it is the interest of France and Spain 



94 JOHiN ADAMS. 

to furnish America with a handsome loan of money, or 
even to grant her subsidies ; because a sum of nioney 
thus expended would advance the common cause, and 
even their particular interests, by enabling the Americans 
to make greater exertions than the same sums employed 
in any other way. But it is in vain to reason in this man- 
ner with a European Minister of State. He cannot un- 
derstand you. It is not within the compass of those ideas, 
which he has been accustomed to. 

I am happy, however, that at length we have a Minister 
at Madrid ; I am persuaded, that this will contribute vastly 
to opening the eyes both of France and Spain. I shall be 
always obliged to you for intelligence, especially concern- 
ing your progress in your afiair. 

I am, with much esteem, dear Sir, your servant, 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, Mny 13tb, 1780. 

Sir, 

The answer of the King of France to the declaration of 
the Empress of Russia is as follows, dated April 25th, 
1780. 

"The war in which the King finds himself engaged, 
having no other object than the attachment of his Majesty 
to the principles of the liberty of the seas, he could not but 
see with a true satisfaction the Empress of Russia adopt 
this same principle, and show herself resolved to maintain 
it. That which her Imperial Majesty requires of the belli- 
gerent powers, is nothing more than the rules already pre- 
scribed to the French marine, the execution of which is 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 95 

supported with an exactness that is known and applauded 
by all Europe. 

"The liberty of neutral vessels, restrained in a small 
number of cases only, is a direct consequence of the law 
of nature, the safeguard of nations, the solace even of 
those, who are afflicted with the scourge of war ; thus the 
King has desired to procure, not only to the subjects of the 
Empress of Russia, but to those of all the States who have 
embraced a neutrality, the liberty of navigating upon the 
same conditions, which are announced in the declaration 
to which his Majesty answers this day. 

"He thinks he has made a great step towards the gen- 
eral good, and prepared an epoch glorious to his reign, in 
fixing by his example, the rights, which every belligerent 
power may and ought to acknowledge to be acquired to 
neutral vessels. His hope has not deceived him, since the 
Empress, in determining on the most exact neutrality, has 
declared herself for the system which the King supports, at 
the expense of the blood of his people, and since she de- 
mands the rights, which his Majesty would make the basis 
of the maritime code. If there were occasions for fresh 
orders, whereby the vessels of her Imperial ^lajesty should 
have no room to fear being disturbed in their negotiation, 
by the subjects of the King, his Majesty would make haste 
to give them j but the Empress will, no doubt, repose her- 
self upon the dispositions of his Majesty, contained in the 
regulations, which he has published. They are not ac- 
commodated to present circumstances, they are founded 
upon the law of nations, and they are consistent whh the 
character of a Prince, sufficiently happy to find always in 
the general prosperity the measure of that of his own 
kingdom. The King wishes that her Imperial Majesty 



96 JOHiN ADAMS. 

would add to the means, which she may take to fix the 
nature of merchandises, the commerce of which is reputed 
contraband in time of war, precise rules concerning the 
form of sea papers, with which the Russian vessels shall 
be furnished. 

"With this precaution, his Majesty is assured, that no 
incident will arise, which will occasion any regret in any of 
the parties concerned, at the measures taken for rendering 
the condition of Russian vessels as advantageous as possi- 
ble in time of war. Happy circumstances have already 
more than once put the two Courts in a situation to expe- 
rience of how much importance it was, that they should 
explain themselves with openness upon their interests re- 
spectively. 

"His Majesty felicitates himself, upon having an oppor- 
tunity to express to her Imperial Majesty his manner of 
thinking upon a point interesting to Russia, and the com- 
m.crciai powers of Europe. His Majesty applauds so 
much the more sincerely the principles and views which 
direct the Empress, as his Majesty enjoys in common with 
her the same sentiment, which has prompted this Princess 
to m.easures, from whence must result equal advantages to 
their subjects and to all nations." 

No state paper, that I have seen this war, has struck me 
more forcibly than this. The simplicity, openness, sin- 
cerity, and truth of it, form a striking contrast to the dis- 
simulation and insincerity, which are so grossly remarkable 
in the answer of the Court of St James to the same de- 
claration. The one is perfectly becoming the character of 
an august King, the otiier is what I shall leave others to 
name. 

I have the honor to be, he 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC C0RRE5P0.NDENCE. 97 

P. S. Copenhagen, 29th of April. "There have 
arrived here, within a little time, several couriers from Pe- 
tersburg, some of whom have been sent back, and others 
have continued their route for Holland, France, Sec 
Since the arrival of the last, it is thought that our Court 
has acceded to tlie project of an armed neutrality, and that 
it has already agreed with that of Russia, upon the equip- 
ments to be made for this purpose ; at least orders have 
been given to arm as soon as possible two ships of the 
line, the Princess Sophia Frederica, of seventyfour guns, 
and the Danebrog, of sixty. These ships, commanded by 
Kricger and Ellebracht, will go out into the Road imme- 
diately. The government have determined not to keep 
the fleet stationed at Fredericksham, as it has been for five 
years past ; and the Vice Admiral Fischer, who conimand- 
ed there, having been recalled, will be relieved only by a 
Captain." 

The following orders have been given by the King of 
England. 

"Whereas, after our Order in Council of the 17th of 
April, 17S0, the several treaties, which granted particular 
privileges to the subjects of the States-General of the 
United Provinces, relative to their commerce and naviga- 
tion in time of war, are suspended, and the subjects of the 
States-General ought to be considered upon the same 
footing with other neutral States not privileged by treaties, 
until it shall please us formally to signify the contrary ; 
the commanders of our vessels of war, and those of all 
ships and vessels of war, which have letters of marque and 
reprisals, are authorised by these presents and required to 
seize and detain all ships and vessels, belonging to the sub- 
jects of the States-General, when thev shall be found to 
VOL. v. 13 



98 -^OHN ADAMS. 

have on board any eflects belonging to the enemies of his 
Majesty, or effects which are considered as contraband, by 
the general law of nations.'' 

The declaration made to the Stales-General of the 
United Provinces by the Court of St James has been 
followed by prompt effects. The privateer, the Neptune, 
has carried into Margate, the Grede Vizvvagten, going 
from Amsterdam to Nantes with a load of pitch and tar. 
This is the fifth vessel taken from the Hollanders by the 
5th of May, in consequence of iliis declaration, which makes 
so much noise. J. A. 

TO .lOHM JAV. 

Pari.!, May 15tli, 1780. 

Dear Sir. 

I shall not always stand upon ceremonies, nor wait for 
answers to letters, because useful hints may be given, 
which would be lost if one were to wait returns of posts. 

The British Channel fleet is reckoned this year at from 
thirtylbur to thirtyseven ships of the line ; but it is well 
known, that they depend upon seamen to be pressed from 
their first West India fleet, in order to make up this com- 
pulation, without which they cannot make thirty. It is, 
therefore, of great importance that this first West India 
fleet should be iaterccpied. It will come home the latter 
end of .lune, or the beginning of July ; certainly not before 
the middle of June. A ship or two of the line, with a 
fifty gun ship or two and five or six frigates, would have a 
great probability of intercepting this fleet. Is there any 
service upon which such a number of vessels could be 
better employed, than in cruising pretty far in the Ray of 
Biscay, and somewhat north of Cape C^lear with this view ? 



DIFLU.MAIIC COKKESPO.NULiNCK. 99 

It is really astonishing that FVance and Spain should be so 
inattentive to tlie English convoys. The safest, easiest, 
aud surest way of reducing the power and the spirits of the 
English is to intercept their trade. It is every year e.x- 
posed, yet every year escapes ; by which means they get 
spirits to indulge their passions, money lo raise millions, 
and men to man their ships. 

Pray is it not necessary to think u little of Portugal .' 
Should not Spain, France, and America loo, use their in- 
fluence with Portugal, to shut her ports against the armed 
vessels of all nations at war, or else admit freely the armed 
vessels of all ? Under her present system of neutrality, as 
they call it, the ports of Portugal are as advantageous to 
England as any of her own, and more injurious to the trade 
of Spain and America if not of France, while they are of 
no use at all to France, Spain, or America. This little 
impotent morsel of a State ought not to do so much mis- 
chief so unjustly. If she is neutral, let her be neutral; 
not say she is neutral, and be otherwise. 

Would it not be proper for Congress to discover some sen- 
sibility to the injuries, which the United States receive from 
these States, such as Denmark and Portugal ? I think 
they should remonstrate coolly and with dignity ; not go to 
war, nor be in a passion about it; but show that they un- 
derstand their behavior. Denmark restored Jones' and 
Landais' prizes to England, without iinowing why. Why 
would it not do to remonstrate ; then prohibit any of the 
productions of Portugal from being consumed in America .'' 

The prospect brightens in the West Indies. De Gui- 
chen has arrived. De la Motte Piquet has defended him- 
self very well, secured his convoys, fought the Englisfi, 
even with inferior force, and got the better. De GuicUcn's 



100 JOHN ADAMS. 

appearance dissipated all thoughts of their expedition, and 
threw the English Islands into great consternation ; but 
you will see in the public prints all the news. 

The force from Brest, which sailed on the 2d, and that 

from Cadiz, which I hope sailed as soon or sooner, will 

not diminish the terror and confusion of the English in 

America and the islands. \» . - -ii^il. 

I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, May 16tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

1 have delivered to the Chevalier de la Colombe, for- 
merly aid-de-camp to the Marquis de Lafayette, and after- 
wards to the Baron de Kalb, and one of my fellow passen- 
gers in the leaky Sensible to Ferrol, a number of letters 
and three packets of newspapers. He goes in the Al- 
liance. 

In a private letter, which I have received from Brussels, 
I am informed there is a talk of opening the navigation of 
Antwerp. This is a hint. And in the Gazette of France 
of this day, is a paragraph from Vienna of the 14th of 
April, which is another. This Court (Vienna) not having 
yet made any maritime treaty with the States of Barbary, 
and as its commerce in the Mediterranean may be ex- 
posed to their corsairs, their Imperial and Royal Majes- 
ties have resolved in their Council, that there shall be 
this year equipped at Trieste and at Fiume one ship and 
two frigates of war, for the protection of the commerce 
of their subjects. , 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. [01 

Time will discover whether there is any English politics 
in either of them. Two and twenty millions a year is 
enough, without sending additional millions in subsidies. 
I have the honor to be, k,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO M. GENET, AT VERSAILLES. 

Paris, May 17(i), 1780. 

Sir, 
General Conway, in his speech in the House of Com- 
mons, on the Gih of May, affirms, that the alliance between 
France and the United States is not natural. Whether it 
is or not, is no doubt a great question. In order to deter- 
mine whether it is or not, one should consider what is 
meant by a natural alliance ; and I know of no better rule 
than this ; when two nations have the same interests in 
general, they are natural allies ; when they have opposite 
interests, they are natural enemies. The General observes, 
first, that nature has raised a barrier between France and 
America ; but nature has raised no other barrier than the 
ocean ; and the distance and this barrier are equally great 
between England and America. The General will not 
pretend that nature, in the constitution of American minds 
or bodies, has laid any foundation for friendship or enmity 
towards one nation more than another. The General ob' 
serves, further, that habit has raised another barrier be- 
tween France and America. But he should have con- 
sidered, that the habits of affection or enmity between 
nations are easily changed, as circumstances vary, and as 
essential interests alter. Besides, the fact is, that the hor- 
rible perfidy and cruelty of the English towards the Amer- 



i02 JOHN ADAiViy. 

icaiis, wliich they have lakeii cure to make universally felt 
in that country lor a long course of years past, have alien- 
ated the American mind and heart from the English ; and 
it is now niucli to be doubted, whether any nation of Eu- 
rope is so universally and heartily detested by them. On 
the contrary, most of the other nations of Europe have 
treated them with civility, and France and Spain with 
esteem, confidence, and affection, which has c^reatly 
changed the habits of the Americans in this respect. 

The third material, of which the general barrier is crea- 
ted, is language. This, no doubt, occasions many difli- 
culties in the communication between the allies ; but it is 
lessening every day. Perhaps no language was ever 
studied at once by so many persons at a time, in propor- 
tion, as the French is now studied in America. And it is 
certain, that English was never so much studied in France 
as since the revolution ; so that the difficulties of under- 
standiiig one another are lessening every day. 

Religion is the fourth part of the barrier. But let it be 
considered, first, that there is not enough of religion of any 
kind among the great in England to make the Americans 
very fond of ili< m. Secondly, that what religion there is in 
England, is as lar from being the religion of America as 
that of France. The hierarchy of England is quite as 
disagreeable to America as that of any other country. 
Besides, the Americans know very well, that the spirit of 
propagating any religion by conquest, and of making prose- 
lytes by force or by intrigue, is fled from all other countries 
of the worlfl, in a great measm'o, and that there is more of 
this spirit remaining in England than anywhere else. And 
the Americans had, and have still, more reason to fear the 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESrONDENCF., 103 

least as far as bishops and liierarcliy go, from a connexion 
with England, than with anj' other nation of Europe. 

The alliance with France has no article respecting reli- 
gion. France neither claims nor desires any authority or 
inriuence over America in this respect ; whereas, England 
claimed and intended to exercise authority and force over 
the Americans; at least, so far as to introduce bishops; 
and the English Society for Propagating Religion in For- 
eign Parts, has, in fact, for a century, sent large sums of 
money to America to support their religion there, which 
really operated as a bribe upon many minds, and was the 
principal source of toryism. So that upon the whole, the 
alliance with France is in fact more natural, as far as reli- 
gion is concerned, than the former connexion with Great 
Britain, or any other connexion that can be formed. 

Indeed, whoever considers attentively this subject, will 
see, that these three circumstances of habit, language, and 
religion, will for the future operate as natural causes of 
animosity between England and America, because they 
will facilitate migration. The loss of liberty, the decay of 
religion, the horrible national debt, the decline of com- 
merce, and of political importance in Europe, and of mari- 
time power, which cannot but take place in England, will 
tempt numbers of their best people to emigrate to America; 
and to this, fashion, language, and religion will contribute. 
The British government will, therefore, see themselves 
obliged to restrain this by many ways; and among others, 
by cultivating an animosity and hatred in the minds of 
their people against the Americans. Nature has already 
sufilciently discovered itself, and all the world sees, that 
the British government have for many years, not only in- 
dulged in themselves the most unsocial and bitter passions 



104 JOHN^ADAiMS. 

against Americans, but have systematically encouraged 
them in the people. 

After all, the circumstances of modes, language, and 
religion, have much less influence iri determining the 
friendship and enmity of nations, than other more essential 
interests. Commerce is more than all these and many 
more such circumstances. Now it is easy to see, that the 
commercial interests of England and America will forever 
hereafter be incompatible. America will take away, or at 
least diminish, the trade of the English in ship building, in 
freight, in the whale fisheries, in the cod fisheries, in furs 
and skins, and in other particulars, too many to enumerate. 
In this respect, America will not interfere with France, 
but on the contrary, will facilitate and benefit the French 
commerce and marine, to a very great degree. Here, 
then, will be a perpetual rivalry and competition between 
England and America, and a continual source of animosity 
and war. America will have occasion for the alliance of 
France, to defend her against this ill will of England, as 
France will stand in need of diat of America, to aid her 
against the natural and continual jealousies and hostility of 
England. 

The boundaries of territory will also be another con- 
stant source of disputes. If a peace should unhappily be 
made, leaving England in possession of Canada, Nova 
Scotia, the Floridas, or any one spot of ground in America, 
they will be perpetually encroaching upon the States of 
America ; whereas, France, having renounced all territo- 
rial jurisdidion in America, will have no room for contro- 
versy. 

The people of America, therefore, whose very farmers 
appear to have considered the interests of nations more 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 105 

profoundly than General Conway, are universally of the 
opinion, that from the time they declared themselves 
independent, England became their natural enemy and 
as she has been for centuries, and will be the natural 
enemy of France, and the natural ally of other natural 
enemies of France, America became the natural friend of 
France, and she the natural friend of the United Stales ; 
Powers naturally united against a common enemy, whose 
interests will long continue to be reciprocally secured and 
promoted by mutual friendship- 
It is very strange, that the English should thus dogmati- 
cally judge of the interests of all other nations. According 
to them, the Americans are, and have been for many 
years, acting directly against their own interest ; France 
and Spain have been acting against their own iiiterests ; 
Holland is acting against her own interest ; Russia and the 
Northern Powers are all acting against their own interests ; 
Ireland is acting against hers, &ic. ; so that there is only 
that little island of the whole world, that understands their 
own interest ; and of the inhabitants of that, the commit- 
tees, and associations, and assemblies, are all in the same 
error with the rest of the world ; so that there remains 
only the Ministry and their equivocal and undulating ma- 
jority, among all the people upon the face of the earth, who 
act naturally, and according to their own interests. The 
rest of the world, however, think that they understand 
themselves very well, and that it is the English or Scottish 
majority who are mistaken. 

Your friend, &,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

VOL. V. 14 



106 TOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE COUNT DE VEKGENNES. 

Paris, May 19th, 1780. 

Sir, 

I have the honor to enclose a few newspapers, received 
by the last post from Boston, by the way of Bilboa. 
There is very little news. I have letters as late as the 
27th of March. 

The most remarkable thing in tlie Pennsylvania Gazette 
is, that the great seal of the Province of Pennsylvania was 
brought into the House of the Assembly of that State, and 
bv order of the House defaced and cut to pieces, which, 
to be sure, is no proof of a desire to go back to their 
old government. I do not see how they could have ex- 
pressed a stronger contempt of it. 

In the Independent Chronicle of the 9th of March is a 
list of prizes, made by the privateers of the middle district 
of the Massachusetts Bay, only since the last session of the 
Court of Admiralty. They amount to nineteen vessels ; 
which shows Uiat privateering flourishes in those seas, and 
also shows what havoc may, and probably will be made 
among the English transports, provision vessels, and mer- 
chant-men, when the superiority of the French and Span- 
ish fleets comes to be as clear, as it soon will be ; perhaps, 
as it is now, nnd has been, since the arrival of M. de 
Guichen. 

In a private letter of the 27th of March I am told, that 
two prizes liad just then arrived, one with four hundred 
hogsheads of rum, and another with four thousand barrels 
of flour, pork, and beef, articles much wanted by the 
enemy, and not at all amiss in Boston. 

The convention had gone tlirough the constitution of 



DIPLOMATIC COKRCSrOMJEiNCE. 107 

government, and luid accepted the report of the committee 
with some few unessential amendments. 
I liave the honor to be, &tc. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, Mav 19lh, 1780. 

Sir, 

The answer of the King of Spain to the declaration of 
the Empress of Russia, is said to be in substance, 

"That the King has received with pleasure the overtures, 
which have been made to him on the part of her Majesty, 
the Empress of Russia, relative to the measures which this 
Princess proposes to follow, both with regard to the Courts 
actually at war and the neutral powers ; tiiat these princi- 
ples are precisely the same which have governed the King 
heretofore, and which he has endeavored to recommend 
to Great Britain ; that from the beginning of the troubles, 
his Catholic Majesty has not departed from the system of 
equity and of moderation, of which he has given proofs to 
all the powers of Europe, and that it is solely upon the 
arbitrary proceedings of England, that he determined 
upon more vigorous measures ; that since the English, far 
from respecting the neutral flags, have even allowed them- 
selves to attack vessels, the cargoes of which are author- 
ised by treaties, it became necessary, that Spain on her 
part should take care of her interests ; that the King, not 
content to confine himself to the frequent marks which he 
has given of his equity, declares, moreover, tiiat he is 
ready to show all possible deference for those of the neu- 
tral powers, who shall determine to protect their flags, and 
that he will continue faithful to his engagement, until Eng- 



108 JOHN ADAMS, 

land shall put mi end to those exactions, which liei- ships 
do not cease to commit ; that in fine, his Catholic Majesty 
accedes to the other articles of the declaration presented 
the 15ih of April, by the Sieur de Sirtovief, but flatters 
himself at the same time, that for what concerns the 
blockade of Gibraltar, her Imperial Majesty will prescribe 
to her subjects to conform themselves to the restrictions 
proposed by the ordinance issued at Madrid the 13th of 
March last." 

It is said, that in conformity to the resolutions taken by 
their High Mightinesses the 25th of last month, the Count 
de Welderen has presented a Memorial to Lord Stormont, 
who after having run it over answered, "that he would 
lay it before his Majesty, and request his orders upon the 
subject ; although beforehand he could assure him, that 
the King highly approved the conduct held by Mr Field- 
ing, as well as the manner in which he had executed his 
orders," adding, "that at London we think that Mr Field- 
ing conducted himself according to the tenor of treaties, 
and that it was the Count de Byland that violated them." 

This answer having given rise to an animated conversa- 
tion between the Count de Welderen and Lord Stormont, 
the latter employed all possible arguments to prove, that it 
was the Count de Byland who had been the aggressor, 
while, on the contrary, the Minister of their High IMighti- 
nesses had asserted, and incontestably proved, "that their 
High Mightinesses had never consented, that any ship found 
under the convoy of one of their vessels of war should be 
visited ; and that, consequently, Commodore Fielding, who 
ought not to have been ignorant of the treaties, and who, 
nevertheless, had so manifestly infringed them, had been 
truly the aggressor, in sending out his armed boat." 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 109 

Tliat as to the lust point of the said INJeinorial, relative 
to the liberation, without any form of process, of the vessels 
seized sailing under convoy of the Count de Byland, Lord 
Stormont answered, "the way of appeal lay open to the 
parlies interested, but that it was not in the power of his 
Majesty to transgress the ordinary forms, by making any 
alteration in the decrees pronounced upon this occasion." 

Ireland, although her Parliament has discovered symp- 
toms of timidity or diffidence in postponing the great ques- 
tion to September, has not yet finished her roll upon the 
stage. It should be remembered, first, that she has post- 
poned, not determined, the controversy. Secondly, that 
all parties in the House united in declaring their senti- 
ments, that Ireland was not subject to any foreign legisla- 
tion. In this, even Mr Foster, who is reputed the Minis- 
terial agent in the House of Commons, and the Attorney 
General himself, concurred. Thirdly, that it is still in 
contemplation to pass a mutiny act through the Irish Par- 
liament, which must be grounded upon the supposition, 
that the English mutiny act is not binding ; and whether 
such a bill shall pass or not, many magistrates will not exe- 
cute the English act. Fourthly, the volunteers of the lib- 
erty of Dublin have resolved unanimously, on the 2Gth of 
April, that it is inexpedient to remain any longer under 
the command of his Grace the Duke of Leinster. Fifthly, 
the body of lawyers, on the 30th of April, admitted Mr 
Grattan as an honorary member of their society, and 
unanimously voted an address to him, which, with his an- 
swer, Congress will see. 

I am very sorry it is not in my power to enclose to 
Congress the English papers later than the 5th, because 
they contain intelligence of importance, which is favorable 



IIQ JOHN ADAMS. 

to us from the West Indies. But the packet from Lon- 
don to Ostend was taken by a French privateer and car- 
ried into Dunkirk, after the mail had been cast into the 



sea. 



I have the iionor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, May 20th, 1780. 

Sir, 
In the Hpuse of Commons on the 6th of May, General 
Conway read the title, and explained the clauses, of his 
proposed bill for reconciliation or peace with America. It 
consisted in the repeal of all the acts, which have revolted 
America. He desired, that the House would receive it, 
add to it, subtract from it, modify and alter it, as they 
pleased. 

Lord Nugent agreed to the necessity of doing some- 
thing, which should give Great Britain a hope of reconcili- 
ation with America ; he did not approve the tenor of the 
bill, although he seconded the motion, but invited the 
House to prepare one. 

"It is certain," said Lord Nugent, "that in the alarming 
situation we are in, it is of decisive importance to make 
peace with America, for in fact we having nothing but her, 
there does not remain to us one power in Europe, and 
what is worse, an armed neutrality against the spirit of 
treaties, speaking the language of neutral powers, seconds 
efficaciously the powers who are our enemies. It is about 
twenty years, that the state of affairs is considerably 
changed in Europe ; it is the King of Prussia, who has 
effected this revolution. Considering the turn, which affairs 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. m 

have taken under his reign, Prussia gives actually as much 
umbrage to the House of Austria, as the House of Bour- 
bon gave it heretofore ; so that on one hand the difference 
of interests, on the other the influence of certain Courts, 
and in several other Cabinets a profound indifference, have 
totally turned what is called the balance of power ; never- 
theless, if those of the Princes of Europe, who ought to 
sustain us, contemplate coldly our fall, they have not only 
renounced the principles of honor, but they have even lost 
out of sight their proper interests ; for if they suffer the 
House of Bourbon to become the first maritime power of 
Europe, their States must in their turn partake of our fall ; 
but they occupy themselves with momentary interests, and 
sacrifice to transient considerations those solid and perma- 
nent interests, which wise men never lose sight of." 

By comparing this speech with the declaration of Lord 
Nugent's repentance for having called us rebels, and the 
Ode to Mankind, and altogether with the true state of facts 
and political interests of the world at present, we shall see, 
that his Lordship is more of a poet and an honest man, 
than he is of a great statesman ; for in the first place the 
armed neutrality is not against the spirit of treaties, in 
the next place, it is not in fact the King of Prussia, but 
the United States of America, who have effected the revo- 
lution in the political system and the variation in the bal- 
ance of power. Thirdly, it is not because certain powers 
contemplate coldly the fall of England, but because they 
see England is unable to stand in the rank she once held, 
and that there is a new power arising in the West, in which 
they are all interested, who will not only maintain her 
ground, but advance with a rapidity, that has no example, 
and that it is the interest of all the powers, that no one of 



112 JOHN ADAMS. 

them should have an exclusive monopoly of the commerce 
or political weight of this rising State, that stimulates them 
to favor it. 

But it is really surprising to observe how lew persons 
there are in England, who have reflected upon the present 
state of the world, and have had sagacity enough to pene- 
trate the true principles of its policy. 

Mr Eden followed Lord Nugent in the debate, and in- 
dulged himself in sporting with the flowers of rhetoric, 
and pleasantries of wit, without many solid observations 
that deserve notice. It may not be improper to remark 
two or three things however. "In general," says he, "the 
object of tlie honorable member. General Conway, is ex- 
tremely praiseworthy ; but the present moment is not 
proper for the pursuit of it ; it is not at present, that Par- 
liament can say, v;e will grant this, or will refuse that, be- 
cause they ask nolhing of us. Every unsolicited offer will 
be regarded as a tacit confession of our weakness ; a 
useless instrument in the hands of the well intentioned in- 
habitants, it will become an offensive and dangerous arm in 
the hands of Congress. It is important for the present, to 
leave the scales in the equilibrium where they are. The 
return of the Americans to die suggestions of duty and 
loyalty now divides die Continent, by diminishing the 
number of the supporters of rebellion, now shaken to its 
centre. In such circumstances a manly confidence, wis- 
dom, and moderation may make the balance incline to our 
side. Precipitation in our councils, superfluous discus- 
sions, domestic divisions, premature and imprudent over- 
tures, may draw it over to the other forever. I sny super- 
fluous discussions, this is the most dangerous of all those 
that 1 comprehend in the number, and consequendy to put 
an end to it, I demand the order of the day." 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 113 

Lord George Gordon seconded the motion of jNIr Eden, 
not because he was of his opinion, for he ridiculed it with 
all the wit imaginable, but because the General's bill ap- 
peared to him to announce a commission as ridiculous as 
that of 17S0,* since probably they would not begin by 
acknowledging the independence of America. i\Ir Cruger 
said, that if peace with America could not be obtained 
without acknowledging her independence, they ought not 
to hesitate a moment. INIr VV. Pitt said, that neither con- 
ciliatory bills, nor peace making commissioners, would make 
peace with America. The Ministry must retire. The 
Americans will never listen to any propositions until the 
present Ministers resign their places to men, who have not 
lost the confidence of America by deceiving them, and the 
confidence of the nation by imposing upon Parliament. 

Here is another proof among many, that are given every 
day by the opposition themselves, of their hunger for the 
loaves and fishes, and that they do not mean with good 
faith to make peace. America would as readily make 
peace upon proper terras with the present Ministry as any 
other, and she would not make peace upon improper terms 
with any other Ministry sooner than with the present. 

Lord George Germain said, "If our reconciliation with 
America depended upon the resignation of the present 
Ministers, and they were convinced of the efficacy of this 
measure, I am persuaded they would take it unanimously 
forthwith. Most certainly all good men in the kingdom 
ought to wish, that peace may be made upon honorable 
and advantageous terms. This is the wish of my heart, 
and I flatter myself, that its accomplishment is not far off. 
This is not speculation, my opinion is founded upon fresh 

• It is thus in the manuscript, but it should probably be 177S. 

VOL. V. 15 



114 JOHN ADAMS. 

advices. I firmly believe, that the moment of reconcilia- 
tion is not far distant. The state of profound distress, to 
which the Americans find themselves reduced, has brought 
them back, if not to duty in general, at least to reflection, 
and to a knowledge of their true interests ; and I can as- 
sure the House, that the greatest number not only desire to 
return to their allegiance, but express the desire of it, and 
testify that they are ready to seize a favorable opportunity, 
and would not wait for any opportunity, if they were not 
held in by the tyranny of those, who have made them- 
selves masters of power. I do not think, that the Congress 
will ever appear disposed to enter into treaty, but the mis- 
ery of the people, but the depreciation of the paper money, 
but the burden of debt, under which the community stag- 
gers, but the repugnance, which all orders of the people 
testify for the alliance, which they have made them con- 
tract with France, the little utility, which this alliance has 
been of to America, all announce in fine, that the different 
assemblies of that Continent will not be long before they 
come to terms." 

It is really difficult to say what epithets ought to be 
given to this speech. When a Minister of a great nation 
can rise in its great Council, and with so much cold blood, 
so much solemnity, and such appearance of reflection and 
deliberation affirm such things, what shall we say ? 

The absurdity of his distinctions is not less remarkable, 
than the grossness of his misinformation respecting facts, 
that Congress will not treat, but the several Assemblies will. 
Is not Congress the creature of the Assemblies ? Do not 
the Assemblies create the members of Congress every 
year? Cannot they annihilate them every moment? Can- 
not the Assemblies instruct their members of Congress ? 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 116 

Cannot the people instruct their members of Assembly ? 
But it is endless to remark. The same system of fraud 
and misrepresentation, which first deceived Great Britain 
into this controversy and war with America, still deceives 
them into the continuance of it, and will deceive them to 
their ruin. This should be the less afflicting to America, 
as, since there is every reason to think, that Great Britain 
will be hereafter our natural and habitual enemy, disposed 
to war with us whenever she can, the more completely she 
is exhausted, humbled, and abased before the peace, the 
securer we shall be forever after. 
1 have the honor to be, &tc. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

P. S. The Charge des Affaires of Denmark has noti- 
fied to the ^Ministry at Stockholm, the 2Stli of April, that 
this Court had acceded to the armed neutrality, to which 
the Empress of Russia hnd invited it, and he has requested, 
in consequence, in the name of his sovereign, his Swedish 
jNIajesty, to enter into the same confederation. Although no 
positive answer has as yet been given him, it is nevertheless 
not at all doubted, that Sweden will concur with the othei 
neutral maritime powers, to restrain the excesses of the arm- 
ed ships and cruisers of the belligerent powers ; an excess 
of which the rencounter of the frigate Illerim, with a cruiser 
fi-om Mahon, furnished a new example, as was remarked 
at the head of the relation, which the Court has published 
of it. J. A. 



116 JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS." v 

Paris, May 20tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

As my English papers, contaiuing the debates on the 6th 
of this month on General Conway's motion, are lost in the 
sea, I shall give Congress the several accounts of them 
from the foreign gazettes. That of the Hague gives the 
following account of the General's discourse. 

"Two powerful motives have induced me to undertake 
the formation of this bill ; the indispensable necessity in 
which we find ourselves to make peace with America, and 
the favorable disposition in which I suppose America to be. 

"To show die nature of the horrible war, which I pro- 
pose to put an end to, it is necessary to go back to its ori- 
gin. I find it in that committee of darkness, which met in 
this house fifteen years ago at midnight. This company 
of black conspirators, who plotted in their conventicle the 
destruction of the British empire, and sowed the seed of 
all the evils, of all the disgraces, and of all the insults under 
which England and America have groaned, from the fatal 
moment in which this senseless committee conceived the 
extravagant idea of drawing a revenue from the colonies, 
by taxhig subjects in a house where they had no represen- 
tatives. Thank heaven I have no reproach to make to 
myself. I opposed, in the time of it, this horrible measure, 
and predicted the fatal effects, and I have the chagrin to 
see all my predictions accomplished ; from error to error, 
from one false measure to another, we are arrived to the 
brink of a precipice, down to the bottom of which we feel 
ourselves irresistibly hurried by the weight of our debts. 

"From the time that the word independence, coming 



DIPLOMATIC COKRESPONDENCE. 117 

Irom America, resounded in this house, we have endea- 
vored to evince that the Americans had originally this inde- 
pendence in view. Nevertheless, the events have demon- 
strated that nothing was further from their idea. When 
I express myself thus, i speak of Americans in general. I 
pretend not to insinuate, that there were not among them 
some men of inferior rank, who have thought that they saw 
their present interest in the independence of their country. 
In so vast a country it is impossible, that there should not 
be found some such senseless men, and I should be more 
senseless, more absurd, than the absurdest of them all, if I 
could doubt of it a moment. But again, once more ; the 
mass of the nation did not aim at iiidependenre ; when we 
had forced this peaceable people to a just resistance, what 
happened here ? Our lawyers opened the road of error ; 
we never inquired how we could appease these rising trou- 
bles. Grave men, distinguished by the most eminent 
talents, and by the most influential offices, talked of con- 
quest and submission ; 'The Rubicon is passed,' said they, 
'the sword is drawn, if you do not kill them they will kill 
you.' The lawyers were powerfully seconded by the 
reverend ministers of a religion, which teaches peace and 
recommends brotherly love. The robe and the mitre, ani- 
mating us in concert to massacre, we plunged ourselves 
into rivers of blood, spreading terror, devastation, and 
death over the whole continent of America, exhausting our- 
selves at home both of men and money, dishonoring for- 
ever our annals, we became the objects of horror in the 
eyes of indignant Europe ! It was our reverend prelates 
who led on this dance, which may be justly styled the 
dance of death ! These reverend prelates have a terrible 
account to give to their country and to their consciences ; 



11 B JOHN ADAMS. 

they have opened upon iheni the eyes of the nation, who 
have justly styled thein the rotten part of tiie constitution. 
"Such is the horrid war, which we have maintained for 
five years. What have been its horrible fruits ! a ruinous 
war to sustain at^ainst the two branches of the House of 
Bourbon ; we are crushed under the burden of an immense 
debt ; at war with America ; at war with France ; at war 
with Spain, without having a single ally or a single power 
for our friend. On the contrary, seeing distinctly and 
without doubt, that all foreign powers act directly or indi- 
rectly, in a manner absolutely contrary to our interests, not 
to say in a hostile manner, there are none, even down 
to the little inhabitants of Lubcck, of Dantzic, and of Ham- 
burg, who are not against us ! This is not all. What 
is much worse still, we see Holland, our natural ally, op- 
posed to our interests, and refusing us the slightest succor. 
We are precisely at this moment the deer marked out for 
the chase, detached by the blood hounds from the rest of 
the flock which abandons us ! If our situation is terrible, 
we need not believe, that the Americans repose themselves 
upon beds of roses ; far from it, and it is from the bosom of 
their distress that the ray of hope issues, which in my opin- 
ion shines upon us at this day. We have forced them to 
contract an alliance with France ; this alliance was not nat- 
ural ; nature, habit, language, and religion, all conspire to 
raise a barrier between France and America ; all tend to 
bind again, between England and America, the natural ties 
heretofore fortunate and happy. The Americans have not 
found in their great and good ally, the friend that they 
sought in him ; they have a natural aversion even for the 
tide of a King. They prefer the republican institutions to 
absolute monarchy ; they are overloaded with an immense 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDKNCE. 119 

debt, the burden of which France has not appeared for- 
ward to lighten for them. Their paper money is fallen to 
such a degree of depreciation, that they have given forty 
dollars in paper for one dollar in silver, worth four shillings 
and sixpence. The greatest part among them groan under 
the tyranny of those, who have made themselves masters 
of power, desiring ardently the restoration of the ancient 
form of government ; their troops ill paid, and still worse 
clothed, have been reduced to such dreadful extren)ities, 
that the last summer, in the course of a fatiguing march, 
they saw themselves reduced to the ration of a handful of 
pease a day ; as for the rest, their allies know as much 
upon this point as we. A Frenchman, distinguished by 
his talents, sent some years ago by his Court to America 
to observe the disposition of the people and the state of 
things, k.c. in a letter, which he wrote from the place of 
his destination, serves himself of these remarkable expres- 
sions ; 'one shall find in a coffee-house of Paris a great 
deal more enthusiasm for the cause of liberty, than in any 
part of America.' 

"Let us take advantage of these circumstances. Let 
us put an end to the war of America, to the end that we 
may unite more efficaciously all our efforts against the 
House of Bourbon. I believe we shall not find much hos- 
tility. France has not gained, Spain has considerably lost, 
let us strike both the one and the other more decisive blows. 
We cannot do this without making peace with America, 
We cannot obtain this peace but by offering reasonable 
terms of reconciliation. I have maturely examined all 
which has been proposed before me. I have come as near 
as possible to the plan of conciliation, drawn by the Earl 
of Chatham. I mav sav, indeed, that I have taken it for 



120 'fOHN ADAMS. 

my model. But 1 .have departed from it in the most 
essential point. The Earl of Chatham's bill had for its 
foundation this express condition, that America should ac- 
knowledge the sovereignty of Great Britain, and that each 
assembly should furnish to the mass of the public revenue 
a certain quota. Certainly, if we were to make at this 
day to America a similar proposition, they would laugh in 
our faces, and would treat those who should dare to make 
itj as smartly as they treated the Commissioners, who vis- 
ited her in 1778. The great object of my bill is, that 
something certain should be done, which may be proper to 
convince America of the sincerity of those views, with 
which we invite her to enter into some conciliatory con- 
vention with his Majesty. In one word, the title of my 
bill is an analysis of it ; — A Bill to appease the Troubles, 
7vhich have sometime subsisted between Great Britain and 
America, and to authorise his Majesty to send Commis- 
sioners, clothed with full Powers to treat with America.''''^ 

T have the honor to be, Sic. 

.JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRKSIOENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, Mav 23d, 1780. 
Sir, 
The public papers announce, that all the maritime pow- 
ers have acceded to the proposition of Russia respecting 
an armod neutrality. 

The following article from Stockholm is of the 2d of 
May. "Our Court has accepted the plan of an armed 

* See Mr Adams's rcniaiks on this speed), in a letter to M. Genet, 
above, p. 101. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDExNCE. 121 

neutrality, which the Empress of all the Russias has pro- 
posed to it ; and in consequence has given orders to equip 
six more ships of the line ; so that our naval force will con- 
sist, like that of Denmark, of six ships of the line and six 
frigates, whereof six vessels of war will remain in the port 
of Carlserona, equipped and ready to be employed, on the 
first order." 

The article from Copenhagen is of the 9th of May. 
"The Court has acceded to the proposition of her Majesty 
the Empress of Russia, in regard to an armed neutrality, 
and in consequence, they are busy in taking measures for 
the armament. Besides the four vessels of the line and the 
two frigates, which they equipped, the Court have further 
put in commission two other ships of the line, the Jylland 
of ten guns, and the Mars of sixty, and they are taking all 
possible pains both here and in Norway, and in the other 
Provinces of this kingdom, to recruit the number of men 
necessary for this armament. Two of our ships of the line, 
the Wagrien and the Infods, passed iuio the Road last 
Saturday. The same day Captain Ziervogel, command- 
ing a frigate, set sail with the officers and crews necessary 
to bring here the two frigates, which are at Fredericksham 
in Norway. The Russian ships of war, Captain Spendof, 
who has wintered here, and the frigate of the same nation, 
which was upon its return from Norway, set sail yesterday 
for Petersburg." 

There is another article from Paris of the 12ih of ]May. 
"The Court of Portugal," they say, "has given assurance 
to ours of arming if necessary to maintain the neutrality, 
and by means of the accession of this Power to the system 
it appears, that there can remain little hope to England of 
finding an ally, who will make a common cause with her, 
VOL. V. IG 



122 'OHiN AUAMS. 

and aid her to preserve the empire of the seas, of which 
she flattered herself she would never be dispossessed." 

Another article from Hamburg of the 12th of May. 
"At a time, when there is an extraordinary dearth of news, 
our politicians occupy themselves about the declaration of 
the Court of Russia to the belligerent Powers, and the pro- 
position of this same Court to the neutral Powers. Already, 
they say, it is no longer doubtful, that the Courts of Swe- 
den, of Denmark, and the States-General of the United 
Provinces, have acceded to the proposition of the Empress 
of Russia, and that they arm themselves. It is now the 
problem, to know if the Court of Portugal will follow their 
example. In the meantime, our speculators appear in gen- 
eral very curious to know, what will be the measures, which 
the neutral Powers will take for the execution of their de- 
signs, and at what time the plan of this armed neutrality can 
have its effect." 

Another is an article from London of the 12th of May. 
"The day before yesterday, the Court received despatches 
from its Ministers in the Northern Courts, which confirm 
the news of a plan of confederation formed by the Powers 
of that part of Europe, for the protection of their respec- 
tive subjects against the attacks of the belligerent Powers. 
The despatches of Sir Joseph Yorke announce, they say, 
an approaching negotiation between the Court of London 
and the States-General, to the end to adjust amicably the 
difference arisen between the two nations, relative to the 
capture of some Dutch vessels, and the insult offered to 
the flag of the Republic, by Commodore Fielding. It is 
believed, that this affair will be terminated to the mutual 
satisfaction of the two parties, and that this negotiation may 
well serve to pave the way to a reconciliation among the 



DIFLO.MAIIC CuRRESPONUr.NCE. |23 

Powers at war, to which there is no doubt England would 
sincerely agree, upon honorable conditions." 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

P. S. A second division is said to be preparing at 
Brest, of several ships of the line and several thousand 
men. J- A. 



COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Translation. 

Versailles, May 24th, 1780. 
Sir, 
I have received the two letters, which you have done me 
the honor to write to me on the 12th and 19th of the pre- 
sent month. 1 had no need of your apology to induce me 
to render justice to the patriotic sentiments with which you 
are animated. You understand the interests and engage- 
ments of your country, and I am persuaded you will never 
have any other object, than to consolidate both the one 
and the other. You can judge by this, Sir, what confi- 
dence we place in your principles, and what security we 
feel beforehand, as to the conduct you will hold, in case 
the Court of London should propose to you overtures of 
conciliation. 

I offer you many thanks for the American gazettes, 
which you have been so kind as to send me. 1 will take 
care that they shall all be returned. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 

DE VERGENNES. 



124 JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT UF CONGRESS. 

Paris, May 26tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

At a numerous assetribly of gentlemen of the law in 
Dublin, held the 30th of April, Captain Henry Hewart in 
the chair, after having collected the votes, Henry Grattan 
was unanimously admitted an honorary member ; and it 
was agreed with the same unanimity, that the following ad- 
dress should be presented to him. 

"Sir; — The body of the gentlemen of the law, am- 
bitious of associating to themselves a man, whom they 
consider as an ornament of his country, and as the firm 
support of her rights, unanimously prays you to accept the 
title of honorary member of the society, as an unequivocal 
testimony of their admiration of vast talents when they are 
displayed in the cause of liberty and virtue. They re- 
quest you, particularly, to accept of their most affectionate 
thanks for the noble efibrt, that in concurrence with sev- 
eral of the most respectable persons in the kingdom, you 
made on Wednesday, the 19th current, in defence of the 
rights of the people, and in endeavoring to unite the Brit- 
ish Empire ; they assure you, that although the event has 
not entirely answered, either to their expectations or to 
the nobleness of your efforts, they are firmly determined 
to sustain their rights, such as they are laid down in the 
resolutions, which you have proposed. They esteem it 
happy to see, that without excepting even the servants of 
the Crown, all the members of the House have acknowl- 
edged the truth of the principle upon which those resolu- 
tions stood, although the majority has not accepted them, 
alleging, that at this critical time it was not necessary to 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 125 

reneu' llie declarations ali-eady standing on the journals of 
the House and subsisting; in full force." 

To this address, Mr Grattan made the following reply. 

"Gentlemen ; — I esteem myself infinitely honored to be 
a member of an association, which has merited for a long 
time my attention and my admiration. By*declaring that 
there is no power capable of subjecting this country, but 
the King, the Peers, and Commons of Ireland, you render 
a great service to this nation, because you give to all the 
other corps of volunteers the great example, to make the 
same declaration of their rights under the sanction of your 
corps, who not only protect the nation in arms, but by 
your knowledge and authority, propagate the great prin- 
ciples of law and liberty. 

"In a country which possesses laws like ours, and men 
of your merit agitate the great question of libi;rty, it is to 
be free. I rejoice then that the rights of Ireland have been 
discussed. This discussion has opened the eyes of a 
people, who had slept during the course of a century, and 
forced almost all the representatives of this people, who are 
susceptible of principle, to deny that any foreign legislature 
has rights over Ireland ; and makes this declaration circu- 
late through all the great associations of the kingdom, and 
will finally extirpate all that remains of authority usurped 
by the British Parliament. 

"1 observe, with satisfaction, that you think like me, 
that liberty is the lie which preserves the union of Great 
Britain and Ireland. We are attached to Great Britain, 
but not to its yoke. Common privileges formed originally 
our connexion with Great Britain ; these same privileges 
will render this connexion indissoluble. If Ireland ac- 
knowledged as a slav^e the supremacy of the British Par- 



126 JOHN ADAMS 

liameut, she would be the enemy of British liberty, be- 
cause in that case she would league herself with the I\iin- 
isters to annihilate the system of government, and precipi- 
tate all the subjects of his Mnjesty into a state of equality. 

"I regard the liberty of Ireland as adding to the safety 
of that of Great Britain, which, instead of protestations of 
loyalty extorted from a Province devoted to pillage, will 
actually receive a tribute of aliection sensibly felt on the 
part of a iree people. As a friend of the constitutions 
of the two kingdoms, as desirous of an honorable and 
permanent union, I esteem myself happy to see myself 
enrolled among men, who have your courage and your 
principles." 

On the 13th of April, ,lhc British frigate the Hy.-ena, 
Captain Thompson, arrived at Gibraltar at midnight, hav- 
ing escaped the fire of three batteries, three chebecs 
of twentyeight guns each, and a frigate of thirtytwo. 
Don Barcelo, in the Spanish Admiral, pursued him in a 
fifty gun ship. The Don's squadron consists of six ships 
of the line, one frigate of thirtytwo guns, three chebecs of 
twerttyeight guns each, and a number of fire-ships and gal- 
lies, which intercept all which pass the Gut, and completely 
blockade Gibraltar, and the squadron of Commodore El- 
liot, reduced to the Panther, the Enterprise, and three 
smaller vessels. The garrison is said to be in good spirits, 
although a malignant fever brought in by the Spanish pris- 
oners has carried off a great many njen, particularly in 
the regiment of Highlanders. The wants of the garrison, 
however, will soon be very great, particularly of fuel. 
Captain Thompson carried the news, that they are soon to 
have a powerful succor from Admiral Graves. It is very 
probable, that the Ministry may send Graves to attempt to 



niPLOMATIC CORRKSPO.NDENCE. Jo? 

act over again tlie part of Admiral Rodney, and after 
throwing assistance into Gibraltar, pass on to America. 
It is to be hoped, that Graves will not have Rodney's luck. 
It is pretty certain he lias not all his dexterity. Yet I 
cannot but think the Spaniards are imprudently exposed in 
that part. The English have filled all the newspapers of 
Europe for three weeks, with lists of ships of the line to 
compose the grand fleet in the channel, which they have 
made amount to forty. But at last comes out a frank 
and honest confession in the Courier de I'Europe, that 
they can muster but twenty. 

On the IGih, Admiral Edwards hoisted his flag at 
Portsmouth, on board the Portland, of fifty guns, and 
made the signal of departure for all the merchant ships 
which he is to convey to the Banks of Newfoundland. Sir 
Charles Hardy, commander-in-chief of the channel fleet. 
Governor of Greenwich hospital, and a representative of 
Plymouth, is dead. Rivingston is next in command, but 
it is said the place of commander-in-chief will be offered 
to Admiral who refused it before Hardy was ap- 
pointed. 

We read from Hamburg, 19th of ^lay. "Conversation 
here turns wholly upon the plan of an armed neutrality, 
proposed by the Empress of Russia, and the more we ex- 
amine, the more we are convinced of the great advantages, 
which this plan will procure, not only for the present, but 
the future. In the meantime we learn, that the neutral 
powers will not delay to put to sea strong squadrons to pro- 
tect their commerce, and it is even pretended, that if the 
English continue to molest neutral ships, it may well hap- 
pen in a little time, that they may form against them some 
enterprise of consequence. It is assured, that the Hanse- 



128 



JOHN ADAMS. 



atic towns have acceded to the armed neutrality proposed. 
It is reported, that conferences between the maritime pow- 
ers will be held at the Hague, and that they will be 
opened as soon as the Baron d'Erensworth, the new Min- 
ister of the King of Sweden to their High Mightinesses, 
shall arrive there. They say in London, that the Baron 
de Nolker, Minister of Sweden, has presented to the 
Court a memorial containing very lively complaints, touch- 
ing the hostilities committed by an English vessel against 
the Swedish vessel the Jllerim, commanded by the Cheva- 
lier d'Ankerlo, in which this Minister demands satisfaction 
for the violences committed against the said ship. They 
add, that his Excellency at the same time declared, that 
the King, his master, was resolved to defend and maintain 
with his arms in his hand the system of neutrality adopted 
by his Majesty." 

They say too, in London 16th of May, that government 
have had the satisfaction to learn, that the convoy from 
Cork and from Plymouth, consisting in merchant ships, 
and a considerable reinforcement of troops, although dis- 
persed after their departure, had arrived in the West India 
Islands. 

Paris, I6th of May. "Divers advices announce, that 
the English, since the declaration made to the States-Gen- 
eral of the United Provinces, have already stopped several 
Duich ships, loaded only with innocent merchandises, and 
whereof the transportation has never been prohibited to 
neutrals by the treaties. This arbitrary proceeding will 
appear, without doubt, so much the more surprising to the 
maritime powers of the North, as at the same time his 
Majesty, always guided by the principles of wisdom and 
the most exact equity, has sent the strictest orders to all 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 129 

the commandants and captains of his vessels of war, and 
privateers of his kingdom, to let pass freely and without 
any hinderance all the neutral vessels, without distinction, 
even although bound to an enemy's port, provided they 
are not loaded with any arms, or warlike stores, whereof 
the transportation is forbidden by the treaties. Of this 
we may be assured more authentically by a letter written 
by M. de Sartine to jNI. de jMistral, Commissary General 
of the ports and arsenals of the Marine of the King, and 
Ordonnateur of the port of Havre, which is of the follow- 
ing tenor. 

'You know, Sir, that the war undertaken by the King 
has no other end but the desire, with which his Majesty 
feels himself animated for the maintenance of the liberty of 
navigation. In consequence, he has seen with a great deal 
of pleasure, that the greatest part of the powers of the 
North incline, and have taken the resolution to co-operate 
in it already, by regulations relative to it, as his Majesty 
has made known to the commanders of his squadrons, his 
intentions relative to the measures and precautions, which 
the captains of his vessels of war, and other vessels ought 
to observe towards ships belonging to the subjects of the 
neutral powers, and which the former may meet at sea. 

'His Majesty then has charged me to repeat his orders 
given in this regard, and to order you to exhprt the cap- 
tains and other officers of vessels armed as privateers to 
conform themselves with more attention than ever to the 
tenor of the regulations relative to neutral vessels, and in 
particular to those belonging to the Russians. To this 
end, his Majesty orders the captains of vessels armed for 
privateering, and others, to use the greatest circumspection 
toward all neutral vessels, and according to the exigence 
VOL. V. 17 



130 TOHiN ADAMS. 

of tlie case, to afford thern all the assistance of which they 
may stand in need, not to give the least hinderance to their 
navigation, although their cargoes may be destined for the 
enemy's ports, nor to slop them, except in cases in which 
the captains of Frencii armed vessels shall have well 
founded reasons to believe, that the said vessels navigate 
for the subjects of the King of England, under the shelter 
of the flag of a neutral power, to the end to avoid by this 
way the being visited according to the usages established 
in such cases, or in which they shall attempt to transport 
to the enemy the effects of contraband, such as arms of all 
kinds, and other warlike stores. 

'The intention of the King is, that yon give notice of 
these presents to the Commissaries of the Department of 
Havre de Grace, ordering them, at the same time, to send 
copies to all the captains of vessels armed as privateers, 
and other vessels ready to go out, or who come in, to the 
end that they conform themselves with the greatest cir- 
cumspection to what is here prescribed in regard to neu- 
tral vessels, and in particular to those belonging to Rus- 
sia.' " 

They write from Brest the 8th of this month, that they 
expected a fleet from Bordeaux, loaded with stores, pro- 
visions, and wine, the arrival of which was very necessary 
for the prompt equipment of a squadron destined to trans- 
port a second division of troops, of four or five thousand 
men. They add, that they expect also, with no less impa- 
tience in the same port, the convoy, which went out froni 
St Malo, the 23d of March, which is still detained at Cher- 
bourg, which consists in a great measure in cast cannon 
and artillery stores, which are to serve, they say, for a de- 
scent, which is projected in England, and which it is 



UIPLO.MATIC t'UKKKbi'U.NUK.NCK. 131 

siroiigly iisiei'ted ilie governiiieiit has by no means re- 
nounced. The hitter part is probably only what wc call a 
scarecrow. 

Hague, 2lst of May. "We see here a cO[)y of a letter 
written by his Excellency the Count de Florida Blanca, 
Secretary oi' State of his Catholic Majesty, to the Count 
de Rechteren, Minister of their High Mightinesses at the 
Court of Spain, dated at Aranjues, the 1st of May, 1780, 
which is of the following tenor. 

"Sir; — His ^Majesty has learned, that tfie boat of a clie- 
beck, commanded by Don Barthelemi Rosello, having 
seized a Dutch vessel, named the Spaar, Captain John 
Tierds Wagenaar, coming out of Gibraltar, where he had 
unloaded a cargo of fiour, which lie was carrying from 
Ferrol to Cadiz ; on account of the purveyors of our Ma- 
rine the said vessel has been set at liberty, upon the decla- 
ration which he made, that lie had been taken under Cape 
Espartel, by the English privateer, the Maidstone, who 
had conducted him to that place. Neverdieless, we have 
proofs that the vessel has been met at the entrance of the 
port of Cadiz, having at that time her cargo ; that by con- 
sequence, her pretended capture by tiie English privateer 
is a pure fiction, and the introduction into Gibraltar of a 
load of five thousand one hundred and sixtytwo and a 
quarter quintals of castile of flour, a manifest theft commit- 
ted upon the provisions of the Marine of the King ; and to 
the end that such villanies may be punished and prevented 
hereafter, his Majesty has ordained, that a prosecution be 
commenced against the said Wagenaar, and that I give 
you notice of it, to the end, that you may inform their 
High Mightinesses, to whom his Minister at the Hague has 
orders to complain highly of a theft, which ought not to 
have been the fruit of the complaisance, which the King 



132 JOHN ADAIVIS. 

has used towards the flag of ihe Republic. I shall add, 
that his Majesty hopes that their High Mightinesses by the 
remedy, which they shall provide, and by the severe pun- 
ishment of the guilty, will spare him the pain of taking 
himself the j)recaulions necessary to suppress such crying 
excesses." 

In the Hague Gazette of the 24th of May, is the follow- 
ing article from London, of the 19th of May. "On the 
17th, the King returned from Windsor to St James, and 
assisted at a great council. The conduct of several Courts 
of Europe, in the present conjuncture, excites all the at- 
tention of our Ministry ; we foresee here what will be the 
effects of an armed neutrality, and we fear that there will 
result from it consequences dangerous to the general repose 
of Europe. There are persons, nevertheless, who pretend 
to foresee, that this decision of the neutral powers will pro- 
duce events, which will facilitate an accommodation be- 
tween the belligerent powers, but that there will be no 
question about it, until after that France and Spain shall 
have made all their efibrts to take away from England the 
empire of the seas, and procure to Europe an entire liberty 
of commerce, two points on which they found their present 
hostilities, and which serve as attractions to excite other 
powers to enter into their views. England, on her part, 
will employ all her forces to maintain her superiority at 
sea, on which depends the prosperity of this country, and 
the safety of its detached dominions ; and although her 
enemies are numerous and formidable, she is not without . 
hopes, that the present campaign will bring back the Colo- 
nies of America to their ancient relations of interest, and 
dispose the powers at war to hearken to conditions of ac- 
commodation." I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



UIPLO.MATIC COllRESPO.NUEiNCE. 1 33 



TO THE FKESIDENT OF CONGKESS. 

Paris, May 27ili. 17S0. 

Sir, 

In the beginning of this controversy with Great Britain, 
the Americans made such extensive researches into the 
principles of the British constitution, and into those con- 
troversies which had taken place in former ages, concern- 
ing their application to external dominions in Ireland, Scot- 
land, Wales, Gascoine, Guienne, Jersey, Guernsy, Man, 
&.C. and published the result of their inquiries to the world, 
which were read with avidity everywhere, that I consider 
those publications as having laid the foundation of most of 
ihe events that have happened since. The proceedings of 
Ireland in 1779 and 1780 may be read in some publica- 
tions made in America in 1774 or 1775. I have long ex- 
pected to see something produced by the same principles 
in the East Indies, and at last I find I am not disappointed. 
In the General Advertiser of May 13th is this paragraph. 

"We are authorised to correct the account, that appeared 
in this paper on last Thursday, concerning the petitions 
lately arrived from the East Indies. It is not true, that the 
British inhabitants of Bengal have sent over a petition to 
his Majesty to abolish the Court of Judicature established 
there. Their petition is addressed, and will shortly be 
presented to Parliament ; and so far from wishing to abol- 
ish the court of justice, they only pray that its constitutional 
powers may be restrained. The grand object of their peti- 
tion is, to ol)tnin *a trial by jury in all cases, where it is by 
law established in England,' which they conceive is one of 
those inherent, unalienable, and indefeasible rights, of which 
neither time nor circumstance can deprive a British sub- 



li}4 JOHN ADAivJ;^. 

ject, living under British laws, antl vvliich the Judges in 
Bengal have lately ventured to declare they are not entitled 
to, except in criminal cuse^j. 

"The prayer of the Persian petitions already presented 
10 one of the Secretaries of State, from the natives of dif- 
ferent districts in the provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and 
Orissa, is, we understand, to be relieved from the hard- 
ships they suffer by the establisliment of the English Court 
of Judicature. They express, in the strongest language, 
their distress and terror at tlic extraordinary powers as- 
sumed and exercised by the judges. They pray to be 
exempted from the jurisdiction of a court, to whose rules 
they are utter strangers, and from the control of laws, 
which they consider as calculated for a different stale of 
society, and which are abhorrent to the manners, institu- 
tions, and religion of their forefathers." 

If this war continues, we shall hear more of the East 
Indies and their claims. Great Britain holds them by a 
slender thread, and by the good will only of a few indi- 
viduals. 

Among the English papers, which 1 enclose to Congress, 
will be found a Dialogue in the Shades between the Duke 
of Devonshire, the Earl of Chatham, and Mr Charles 
York. It was written by Edward Jennings, of Maryland, 
now residing at Brussels, a gentleman of great merit. 
I have the honor lo be, Sic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESrOiNDENCE. 135 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 1st, 1780. 

Sir, 
This morning a friend at Versailles sent me two English 
papers of the 26lh and 27th of J\Iay, containing Rodney's 
account of an action between the French and English 
fleets on the 17 th of April. At the conclusion of the bat- 
tle, says Rodney, the enemy might be said to be com- 
pletely beat. How easy it is to say and write this ! Much 
easier than to find a sufficient number of persons ready to 
believe it. Such was the distance of the van and the rear 
from the centre, and the crippled condition of several ships, 
particularly the Sandwich, which for twcntyfour hours was 
with difficulty kept above water, that it was impossible to 
pursue them that night without the greatest disadvantage. 
He found it in vain to follow them with his Majesty's fleet, 
in the condition they were in, to Guadaloupe, and accord- 
ingly put away to Fort. Royal Bay, Martinique, there to 
wait for them. 

The French Admiral appeared to Rodney a brave and 
gallant officer, and was nobly supported during the whole 
action. The killed on board the English fleet were one 
hundred and twenty, the wounded, three hundred and fif- 
tythree ; four hundred and seventythree in all. These cir- 
cumstances are very far from giving authenticity to the 
idea, that the French were beaten. It has every appear- 
ance of a third general drawn battle, in which the English 
have ultimately the worst. Drawn battles do not maintain 
the empire, the domii^iion, the sovereignty, the mastership 
of the seas. To all these they pretend, and they must 
make good their pretensions by clear victories, or they are 



13G JOHN ADAMS. 

undone. The French Court has not yet received any ac- 
count. 

ENGLISH LINE OF BATTLE. 

The Sterling Castle to lead with the starboard tack, tlie 
Magnificent with the larboard tack. 

Rear Admiral Parker^s Division. 











Guns. 


Men 


Sterling Castle, 


Captain Caskett, 






64 


500 


Ajax, 


Uvedale, 






74 


600 


Elizabeth, 


Maitland, 






74 


600 


Princess Royal, 


C R. A. Parker, 
I C. Hammond, 


^ 

5 


90 


770 


Albion, 


Bawyer, 






74 


600 


Terrible, 


Douglas, 






74 


600 


Trident, 


Malloy, 






64 


500 


Greyhound frigate. 












Si', 


'• G. Rodney^s Division. 








Grafton, Com. C 


ollingwood, Capt. Ni 


ewnl 


lam 


, T4 


6J7 


Yarmouth, 


Bateman, 






64 


500 


Cornwall, 


Edwards, 






74 


600 


Sandwich, Sir G. 


Rodney, C. Young, 






90 


732 


Suffolk, 


Crespin, 






74 


600 


Boyne, 


Cotton, 






68 


520 


Vigilant, 


Home, 






64 


500 



Venus, to repeat signals, Deal Castle, Pegasus, frigates. 

Rear Admiral Roioleifs Division. 
Vengeance, Com. Hotham, Capt. Holloway, 
Medway, Capt. Affleck, 

Montague, Houlton, 

Conqueror, R.A.Rowley, Watson, 
Intrepid, St John, 

Magnificent, Elphinstone, 



74 


617 


60 


420 


74 


600 


74 


617 


64 


500 


74 


600 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 137 

Andromeda frigate. Centurion to assist ilie rear in case 
of need. 

On ihe 24th of May, Governor Pownal moved in the 
House of Commons for leave to bring in a bill, "to enable 
the King to make a Convention or Truce, or to conclude a 
Peace with the Colonies, on Terms convenient and neces- 
sary." This motion was seconded by J\lr Dunning, and 
after debate the order of the day was moved, which was 
carried by 113 against 52. 

It is said, that Johnstone despatched C. Maclawrin from 
Lisbon to S. G. Rodney with advice, that fourteen sail of 
the line, with ten thousand troops, sailed from Cadiz to the 
westward the 2Sih of April. 

The Hudson'^Bay fleet, consisting of the Beaver, Cap- 
tain ^loore, the Sea Horse, Christopher, the Prince Ru- 
pert, Prichards, and the King George, Fowler, have com- 
pleted their lading at Gravesend, and will soon sail. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 

.JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 1st, 1780. 

Sir, 

In consequence of an advertisement published to this 
effect, the corporation of the citizens of Dublin, having as- 
sembled on the Uth of May, at Thalsel, the committee 
named the 29ih of February last, to prepare and present 
resolutions relative to the affairs of the times, made the fol- 
lowing report, which was unanimously approved. 

"We, members of the committee appointed at a general 
meeting of the citizens, held the 29th of last February, 

VOL. V. 18 



12S 1^*11^' ADAMS. 

having taken into consideration the objects, the examina- 
tion of which was committed to us, submit to our fellow 
citizens the following resolution. 

"That we think, that it is the absolute duty of every vir- 
tuous citizen to declare, in the most explicit manner, what 
he thinks relatively to tlie great constitutional objects, 
which have been suspended in the moment when we ex- 
pected it the least, as well as to co-operate with courage 
and unanimity in everything which can tend to the acqui- 
sition of these same objects. That our sincere desire is, 
to maintain an inviolable connexion between Great Britain 
and Ireland, to establish and fix this connexion upon the 
only basis which can render it stable and permanent ; that 
of a royalty inseparable from the common rights of an 
ecjual liberty. That it is at this time necessary to declare, 
that the King, the Peers, and Commons of Ireland, are 
the only powers to which it belongs to make laws for bind- 
ing this kingdom. 

"That in putting in use all the constitutional means, 
whatever be the public or private character with which we 
may be clothed, whether we arc magistrates, jurors, or 
simple individuals, we will maintain and propagate these 
principles, and we will adhere invariably to the great and 
important objects of our instructions, those of establishing 
the independence of the Parliament of Ireland, and of ob- 
taining a modification of Poyning's law. 

"That all the plans of reformation, which may be pro- 
posed, are necessarily vain and of no effect, while the in- 
fluence of the Crown, arising from the profusion with 
which the people bestow their grants, and from the impru- 
dent prodigality of Ministers, shall not be diminished ; 
and that wc ought constantly to employ our efforts to ob- 



DUM-O.MATIC COKRESPO.NUKNCK. 1 31) 

tain a system ol retieiicliment and economy, to the end 
the better to diminish the means of corruption. 

"That the independent electors of Ireland, are j)articn- 
larly called upon to make their efibrts to procure for the 
nation more virtuous representatives, more equality in the 
representation of the people in Parliament, and to study the 
most effectual measures to obtain these desirable ends. We 
think that the said electors cannot better succeed, than by 
refusing with firmness to vote for any man, provided either 
with places or pensions, or who shall have acted in any 
manner contrary to the inherent rights or manifest senti- 
ments of the people ; and by giving for instructions to 
their representatives to make all their exertions to obtain 
an augmentation in ilic number of members, who represent 
the counties, the populous cities, and the independent 
towns. 

"That we pledge ourselves to each other, and all to our 
country, by all which n.en know that is sacred, to take 
the foregoing resolutions for the rule of our conduct, and 
that at all opportunities, and by all constitutional means, 
we will support the spirit and principles of them. In testi- 
mony of this solemn declaration, we have all signed the 
said resolutions. 

'■^Resolved unanimously, That the said resolutions thus 
signed by the members of the committee, shall be deposi- 
ted in the cofTee-house, at the Royal Exchange, there to 
receive the signatures of the citizens." 

Continuation of said Report. 
"We, members of the committee, &,c. propose further 
to our fellow-citizens the following resolutions. 

'•That our sincere thanks be presented, in the most re- 



140 JOHN AUAMS. 

spectiul nuainer to Henry Grattau, for the motion, excel- 
lently well conceived, which he has made in Parliament 
the 19th ol" April last, tending to a declaration, that his 
most excellent Majesty the King, the Peers, and Com- 
mons of Ireland, are the only power to which it belongs to 
make laws capable of binding this kingdom. 

"That thanks also be presented to the ninetyeight mem- 
bers, which supported this great constitutional assertion ; 
passed unanimously. 

"That our sincere thanks be presented, in the most re- 
spectful manner, to Barry Yelverton, for the patriotic mo- 
tion which he made in Parliament the 25th of last April, 
to the end to introduce regulations concerning the manner 
in which bills are transmitted from this kingdom to Eng- 
land. The object of this motion being to hinder the un- 
consUtutional interposition of tiie privy council, in obtaining 
the modification so much desired of Poyning's law, 

"That thanks be given also to the one hundred and six 
members who seconded this manly effort ; passed unani- 
mously. 

"That our sincere thanks be presented to our worthy 
representatives, Doctor William Clement and Sir Samuel 
Bradstreet, Baronet, on account of the uniformity of their 
conduct in Parliament, and particularly for the zeal with 
which they have supported the two important motions 
aforesaid ; conforming themselves in this to the late in- 
structions, which they have received from us, and second- 
ing the general wisli of this kingdom ; passed unani- 
mously. 

"That our sincere thanks, and full of gratitude, be pre- 
sented in the most respectful manner to the noble Lords 
who have opposed, and to those who had the courage to 



DH^LU-MAfiC CoKKLbPU.NUE.NCE. I4I 

protest against the last paragraph ol the address, which the 
House of Peers presented to the throne, the 2d of March, 
last. The said paragraph containing insinuations, wlilch 
were neither founded upon facts nor authorised by actions, 
implying reproaches, which the people of Ireland hav;i r.ot 
merited, and contained in these words ; 'that they would 
use all possible endeavors to discourage and disappoint all 
endeavors, which ill advised men may employ to the end to 
excite ill founded fears in the minds of the people of his 
Majesty, or to divert their attention from those advantages 
relative to commerce, which have been granted to us in so 
great an extent ;' passed with three negatives. 

"That we earnestly request our magistrates not to give, 
in any manner nor on any occasion, any effect to any law, 
which does not proceed from, or has not received the 
sanction of the King, the Peers, and Commons of Ireland. 
That while they conduct themselves thus, they shall re- 
ceive from us the most constant and the most firm support, 
to the end to annihilate the ill founded hope, which may 
have been conceived, of subjecting Ireland in any case to 
a foreign legislation ; passed unanimously. 

"That it is the opinion of this committee, that the tuo 
great and favorite objects of the people, viz. a declara- 
tion of its rights and a modification of Poyning's law, hav- 
ing been suspended in Parliament in a manner so unex- 
pected, it appears at this time of absolute necessity to 
form a committee of correspondence, to the end to co-op- 
erate with such other committees of the same nature as 
may be formed in the kingdom, in the measures the most 
proper to give fxtension and safety to the advantages rela- 
tive to cotimierce, which we have at last obtained ; to 
restore still further our rights and liberties, and to pre- 



142 JOHN ADAMS. 

serve the constitution oi" Ireland liee and independent ; 
passed with one negative." 

The committee of correspondence was named ijpon the 
spot, and formed of fifteen members. 

Thus a new epoch is formed in tlie politics of Ireland ; 
hitherto they had l(.'ft the supreme direction of aflairs in 
the hands of l^arliament. The people have now taken it 
into their own hands. The committee of Dublin, by com- 
municating with other committees through the kingdom, 
will be able to conduct the body of the kingdom, and unite 
the various parts of it in certain ])rinciples, wliich will by 
degrees work themselves into a system, and complete the in- 
dependence of Irish legislation. This will depend, however, 
upon the continuance of the war; for if England should be 
wise enough to make peace, of which there is little proba- 
bility, the spirit of Ireland will evaporate, and their beauti- 
ful edifice dissolve, like the fabric of a vision. 
1 iiave the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONf.RESS. 

Paris, June 2d, 1780. 

Sir, 

We are informed from the Hague, of ihe 28th of May, 
that the merchants of the Republic have presented two 
petitions, one to their High Mightines.ses, and the other to 
their i^oble and Grand Mightinesses. The tenor of the 
first is as follows. 

"To their High Mightinesses, our Lords, the States- 
General of the United Provinces. 

"Tiic undersigned, merchants, assurers, and owners of 



DM'LOMAJIC CORRESPO.NDENCK J 43 

vessels, and freighters, established in these Provinces, give 
respectfully to understand, that it is v\nth sentiments of the 
most sensible .gratitude, that the Commerce has been in- 
formed of the afTectionate resolution taken by your High 
Mightinesses to equip a number of vessels of war to the 
end to protect the free navigation of the subjects of this 
State. But as the petitioners were ignorant, that the ac- 
tivity of the progress of the said equipment has to this 
lime been retarded, both by the sickness, which prevails 
among the crews of the vessels ready to put to sea, and 
by the want of experienced seamen, necessary to» the 
equipment of vessels put into commission, and by other 
causes ; while in this interval the most favorable season for 
navigation slips away, many ships loaded with merchan- 
dises dare not set sail from the ports of this countr)', for 
want of the necessary protection ; while they cannot find 
means here, nor elsewhere, of insuring but a small portion 
of those vessels and their cargoes, and that, even at enor- 
mous premiums, such as have never before been demand- 
ed, being from twenty to thirty per cent, which occasions 
an interruption and an inactivity to their navigation so ex- 
cessive as well as to their commerce, that their total ruin 
roust necessarily result from it ; all the commissions for 
merchandises passing elsewhere, without a hope of being 
able ever to see them return here, which an unfortunate 
experience has already many times proved. For these 
causes, the petitioners humbly pray, that it may please 
your High Mightinesses, to grant and effectuate as soon as 
possible the protection necessary ; as the commercial in- 
terest on their part are ready to co-operate effectually, to 
complete the crews, and to submit to all prompt and con- 
venient measures, which, according to the exigence of the 



144 -^OHN ADAMS. 

case, and the urgent circumstances youi- High Mighti- 
nesses, according to yojL- enlightened wisdom, shall judge to 
be the most proper for the preservation of the commerce 
and the navigation of your subjects." 

The second petition is as follows. 

"To their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, our Lords, 
the States of Holland and West Friesland. 

"The subscribing merchants, assurers, owners of ships, 
and freighters, all living in tiiese Provinces, give respect- 
fully to understand, tiiat the petitioners pressed by the 
urgent necessity, and to the end to ward off the total ruin 
of commerce and navigation, withoiit which neither they 
nor the greater part of the inhabitants of the Republic can 
subsist, have addressed themselves to your High Mighti- 
nesses, our Lords, the States-General of the United Prov- 
inces, to solicit a prompt protection, by the way of petition, 
of which the petitioners have the honor to annex a copy. 

"Nevertheless, although the petitioners have every reason 
to flatter themselves, that an arrangement equally ready 
and efficacious, will soon fulfil their wishes ; nevertheless, 
the better to complete their views, and for the preservation 
of commerce and navigation, the soul and the nerve of the 
prosperity of the Republic, and to the end to prevent its 
inaction, as well as the total ruin of the petitioners, which 
would infallibly follow, they tliiiik that it would be very 
necessary, that it may please your Noble and Grand 
IVIightinesses, to second in this the petitioiiers, as in your 
high wisdom you shall judge expedient and convenient." 

I have before sent a copy of what was published for the 
answer of the Court of Madrid to the Russian Declara- 
tion. But, as that Court has now published an authen- 
tic copy, which is a little different from that, although 



riPLOMATlC CORRESPONDF.NCE. 145 

more clear and better, I beg leave to trouble Congress willi 
a translation of it. 

"The King has been informed of the fashion of think- 
ing of the Empress of Russia, in regard to the powers, 
both belligerent and neuter, by a INIemorial, which INI. Ste- 
phen de Zinowioff, Minister of that sovereign, has present- 
ed on the 1 5th of this month, to the Count de Florida 
Blanca, first Secretary of State. The King considers this 
act of the Empress, as an eftect of the just confidence, 
which his JMajesty has merited on his part ; and it is to 
him so much the more agreeable, as the principles adopted 
by this sovereign are those which have ever governed the 
King, and which his r\lajesty endeavored, by all possible 
means, although without effect, to induce England to ob- 
serve, during the time that Spain herself was neuter. 
These principles are those of justice, of equity, and of 
moderation ; these same principles in fine, Russia, and all 
the powers have acknowledged in the resolutions of his 
Majesty ; and it is only by the conduct, which the English 
navy has established, both in the last and present war, (a 
conduct, which subverts the rules the most constantly ob- 
served in regard to neutral powers) that his Majesty has 
seen himself under the necessity of imitating it ; because 
the English not respecting the neutral flag, when it had on 
board the effects of an enemy, although they were not 
contraband, and this flag not defending itself against these 
violences, they could not, with justice, hinder Spain from 
using equal reprisals, to secure herself from the enormous 
prejudice, which would result from an inequality in this 
respect. 

"The neutral powers, on their side, have also given oc- 
casion to the inconveniences, which they have suflered, by 
VOL. v. 19 



146 JOHN ADAMS. 

having served iheiuselves witli double papers, and other 
artitices, to the end to prevent the capture of their vessels. 
From (-his have folloued the numerous captures and de- 
tentions, as well as the consequences, which have resulted 
from them ; although in truth, lliese have not been so pre- 
judicial as has been pretended. On the contrary, we 
know, that some of these detentions have turned to the ad- 
vantage of the owners of the cargoes ; the provisions, of 
which they were composed, having been sold in the port 
where the ships were tried, at a price higher than the price 
current at the place of their destination. 

"The King, nevertheless, not content with these proofs 
of his justification, manifested to the eyes of all Europe, 
would at this day have the glory of being the first to give 
the example of respecting the neutral flag of all the 
Courts, which have consented, or which shall consent, to 
defend it, until his Majesty shall see the part, which the 
English navy shall take, and until he shall discover, by ex- 
perience, whether this navy will restrain itself or not, as 
well as the English privateers. And to this end to make 
it appear to all the powers liovv ready Spain is to observe, 
now she is at war, the same rules, which she desired 
while she was neuter, his Majesty conforms himself to the 
other points contained in the declaration of Russia, it be- 
ing well understood, that what concerns the place block- 
aded, of Gibraltar, the danger of entering into that sub- 
sists in the manner in which this point is ascertained by the 
fourth article of the said declaration, by the means of the 
number of vessels stationed there to form the blockade ; 
a danger, however, which the neutral vessels may avoid, 
bv conforming to the rules of precaution established in the 
declaration of his Majesty, of the 13th of March last, 



DIPLOMATIC COKRESFONDKXCE. 147 

whicli lias been coinmiinicated to the Court of Petersburg 
by the means of its JNIinister. 

"Aranjuez, the ISth of April, 1780. 

DE FLORIDA BLANCA." 

There are two articles worth translating from the foreign 
gazettes, if it were only ns specimens of the art, which is 
employed to keep the enemy in uncertainty about the de- 
signs of this Court, and the destinations of their fleets, 
whether successfully or not. 

The first is, Amsterdam, 29th of May. A letter from 
Toulon, of the 8th of this month, contains the following de- 
tails. "Orders have arrived here from Court, to send out 
into the Read, as soon as may be, the ships of the line, 
the Zele and the jNIarseillois ; but as the destination of 
these two ships is kept extremely secret, we exhaust our- 
selves in conjectures concerning the object of the opera- 
tions, which they are ordered to execute. Some will have 
it, that they have orders to go and join the squadron of 
Don Solano, which sailed from Cadiz the 2Sth of last 
month, which it is pretended is bound to Brest. Others 
presume, that they have no other commission, than to go 
and cruise in the neighborhood of ]Mahon, to keep in the 
privateers, which frequently come out fron) thence, and 
which give extreme trouble to the navigation of the ports 
of the Mediterranean ; in fine, there are some wlio believe 
that these vessels are to co-operate in an important enter- 
prise, which is to be attempted in that sea. However this 
may be, as we 'know that a number of vessels have been 
taken up upon freight, on account of the King, and tliat 
they may easily embark in our port eleven or twelve thou- 
sand men ; as moreover, it is more than probable that on 



148 JOH.V AJ)Al\]S. 

the oiiu liauii, the entrance of the Straits of Oibraitar being 
sufficiently guanied by the Spaniards, so that there will 
not be occasion for a strong squadron to protect the trans- 
port vessels, vvliich may be employed in an expedition 
against Mahon ; and that on the other hand, die English 
being sufficiently occupied on diverse sides, may not be 
able easily to send to the relief of this island, we conclude 
from the combination of these different circumstances, that 
it may very well happen, that they may attempt this con- 
quest, the success of which does not appear in effect to 
present any very insurmountable difficulties, and which 
would procure, after all, an advantage sufficiently import- 
ant to the good of our commerce in general to merit that 
at least we should make the essay." 

The other article is in tlie Amsterdam Gazette of the 
30ih of May, and Irom Paris the 23d of May, 1780. 

"We are of opinion here, that M. de Ternay is ordered 
to conduct the division of M. de Rocliambeau to Canada, 
and tliat with so much the more Ibundation, as we see 
everywhere what M. de Sartine has published of the de- 
spatches of the Count de Guichen, diat the arrival of his 
squadron in the seas of the Antilles, was sufficient to give 
us there a decided superiority. We cannot, moreover, 
but applaud the prudence of !\1. de Guichen and M. de 
Bouille, in not sacrificing, perhaps in vain, a great many- 
lives, to expel the English from the island of St Lucia, 
these two Generals having, without doubt, designs more 
important, and the success of which appears to them more 
certain, which naturally raises conjectm'cs, that M. do 
Guichen proposed very soon to put to sea. However this 
may be, there are, nevertheless, other people who pre- 
sume, that if the Count de Rocliambeau does not go di- 



DIPLOMATIC COKKESFuNDEiNCE. 149 

recily to Canada, he may very well go and disembark at 
Rhode Island, where he may make a place of arms, in 
order to go from thence, and join himself to General 
Washington, and attack New York together, while it is 
unfurnished with a strong garrison." 

In this manner it is, that some person or other is em- 
ployed to give scope to the speculations and conjectures of 
the public, while the Courts of Europe flatter themselves, 
that their real Councils are kept secret. There is reason, 
however, to believe that, in fact, the Councils of all the 
Courts of Europe are penetrated by their enemies. The 
Councils of Congress, in many striking and important in- 
stances, although necessarily confided to such numbers, 
have been much more inviolably kept, without the aid of 
hired paragraph writers to disguise them. Our character 
and interest depend upon improving this fidelity, as well as 
upon discountenancing both by manners and authority, that 
base art so prevalent in Europe, that ol political lying. 
1 have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHN ada:ms. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 2d, 1780. 

Sir, 
When a Minister of an ancient nation, which has been 
renowned for its wisdom and virtue, as well as power, rises 
in a popular assembly, which is the most conspicuous 
theatre in Europe, and declares, as it were, in the face of 
all the world, and with an air of reflection, of deliberation, 
and of solemnity, that such and such are his own opinions, 
concerning the truth of facts, and the probability of future 
events, one cannot call in question his good faith, although 



150 JOHN ADAMS. 

we may know his information to be false, and his judgment 
enoneoLis. 

Lord George Germain, in the debate in the House of 
Commons, on the 6tii of May, dechu'cd, that '-he flattered 
himself the completion of the chief Avish of his heart, 
peace with America, on what he thought good and honor- 
able terms for Great Britain, was not far off. He veril)' 
believed, and his belief was not merely' speculative, but 
founded on recent information, that the moment of concili- 
ation u\n;s near. His Lordship described the misery, 
which the Americans felt at this time, and stated, that the 
greatest majority of the people there were ready and de- 
sirous to return to their allegiance, but that they were pre- 
vented by the tyranny of those, who had got the power 
of government into their own hands. He did not be- 
lieve the Congress would ever treat for peace, but from 
the condition of affairs in America, from the depre- 
ciation of their paper currency, from the poverty and dis- 
tress of the country, from the great debt it groaned under, 
from the dissatisfaction, which ail ranks of people ex- 
pressed at the alliance with France, from the little beneht 
America had derived from that alliance ; from all these 
considerations he did believe, that the people of America 
and the Assemblies of America would soon come to 
terms." 

There may be some ambiguity in the phrase, "good and 
honorable terras for Great Britain ;" but there can be no 
reasonable doubt, that his Lordship meant either to return ' 
to their allegiance to Great Britain, or at least to make a 
peace with her, separate from France. V/hether the Am- 
ericans ever will agree to such terms or not, being a ques- 
tion concerning a future event, cannot be decided by wit- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPOISDENCE. 151 

nesses, nor any other way, but by probable arguments. 
There is one argument, Nvhich liis Lordship does not ap- 
pear to have considered. It is of some weight. It is 
this, that in order to return to their allegiance to the King 
of England, or make a peace with him, separate from 
France, they must involve themselves in a certain war 
with France and Spain, at least, and indeed, according to 
present appearances, with Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Hol- 
land, and Portugal, for every one of these powers appear 
to be as decided against the claims, pretensions, and usur- 
pations of Great Britain upon the seas, as France and Spain 
are. There is not an American merchant, yeoman, trades- 
man, or seaman, but knows tliis, or will know- it very soon. 
Americans must therefore be destitute of that common 
share of reason, which God has given to men, to exchange 
the friendship of all the nations of the world for their 
enmity, merely for the sake of returning to a connexion 
with Great Britain, which could not protect them, and 
which they have the best reasons to dread as the greatest 
evil that could befal them, from the unheard of tyrannies 
and cruelties they have already experienced from her. 
His Lordship is desired to consider this, and to ask himself 
if he was an American, whether he would wish to run 
under the broken fragments of an empire, that is dashed 
in pieces, like a china vase, and commence a fresh war 
against a combination of all the nations of the world, who 
discover a degree of esteem and regard for America. 

If the Americans are as miserable as his Lordship 
represents them, will they be likely to increase that misery 
tenfold, and make it perpetual, by exposing the cause of 
a ruined empire, and going to war with half a dozen that 
are not ruined ? 



152 JOHN ADAMS. 

If we believe the testimonies of witnesses, who come 
from all parts of America, we shall be convinced, that his 
Lordship deceives himself. Every man from that country, 
who knows the principles and opinions of the people, de- 
clares, that they are, with an unanimity, that is unexampled 
in any other revolution, firmly determined to maintain their 
sovereignty and their alliances, and that there is nobody 
there who utters a wish of returning to the government of 
Great Britain, or even of making a separate peace. 

But if his Lordshij) was a candid inquirer after truth, 
and had a mind suflicienlly enlightened to discover the 
means, that are in the power of all men, of obtaining it, he 
might have seen his error. There are certain marks, by 
v;hich the opinions, princii)les, inclinations, and wishes of 
a people, may be discovered with infallible certainty, 
without recurring to witnesses, or to far fetched argu- 
ments. 

The press, the towns, the juries, and the Assemblies, 
are four sources, from whence an unerring demonstration 
of the true sentiments of the people of America may be 
drawn. There is not in any nation of the world so unlim- 
ited a freedom of the press as is now established in every 
State of America, both by law and practice. Every man 
in Europe, who reads their newspapers, must see it. 
There is nothing that the people dislike, that they do not 
attack. They attack oflicers of every rank in the militia, 
and in the army ; they attack judges, governors, and mag- 
istrates, of every denomination. They aliack Assemblies, 
and Councils, members of Congress, and Congress itselt", 
whenever lliey dislike their conduct. But 1 appeal to 
every newspaper upon the Continent, whether one para- 
graph, one wisli, or hint of returning to the government 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 153 

of Great Britain, or of making a separate peace, has ever 
appeared. 

The towns in many parts of America are small districts 
of territory, on an average perhaps six miles square. By 
the ancient laws of the country, which are still in force, 
any seven inhabitants of one of these towns have a right 
to demand of the magistrates a public assembly of all. 
There are necessarily several of these town meetings 
every year, and generally a great number of them. In 
these assemblies, every man, high and low; every yeoman, 
tradesrjian, and even day laborer, as well as every gentle- 
man and public magistrate, has a right to vote, and to 
speak his sentiments upon public affairs, to propose mea- 
sures, to instruct their representatives in the Legislature, 
k.c. This right was constantly and frequently used under 
the former government, and is now much more frequently 
used under the new. The world has seen some hundreds 
of sets of instructions to representatives under the former 
government, wherein they enjoined an open opposition to 
judges, governors, acts of Parliament, King, Lords, and 
Commons of Great Britain. What is there now to prevent 
ihem from opposing Congress ? Nothing. Has a single 
vote of any one of these towns been read, or one speech 
heard, proposing, or uttering a wish to return to the gov- 
ernment of Great Britain ? Not one. Is not this a de- 
monstration of the sentiments of the people ? 

Juries in America were formerly another organ, by 
which the sentiments of the people were conveyed to the 
public. Both Grand Juries and Petit Juries, have ex- 
pressed themselves in language sufficiently bold and (ree, 
against acts of Parliament, and the conduct of Great Brit- 
ain. But has any one ever uttered a word against Con- 
VOL. V. 20 



154 JOHN ADAMS. 

gress, or the Assemblies, or the judges, under their new 
governments ? or a wish to return to the obedience of 
England? Not one. But it is said, the paper money 
embarrasses Congress. What then ? Does this tend to 
make them dissolve their union ? To violate their alli- 
ances ? Would the paper money embarrass Congress less 
if they had a war to maintain against France and Spain, 
than it does now ? Would not the embarrassment be much 
greater ? Does the paper money prevent the increase and 
the population of the States ? No. Does the war prevent 
it ? No. Both the population and the property of the 
States have increased every year, since this war began. 
And all the efforts of Great Britain cannot prevent it. On 
the contrary, has the wealth and population of Great Brit- 
ain increased ? Has h.er commerce increased ? Has the 
political weight of the nation in the scales of Europe in- 
creased ? Let a melancholy Briton tell. 

His Lordship talks about the misery of the people in 
America. Let him look at home, and then say, where is 
misery ! where die hideous prospect of an internal civil war 
is added to a war with all the world. The truth is, that ag- 
riculture and manufactures, not of luxuries, but of necessa- 
ries, have been so much increased by this war, that it is 
much to be doubted, whether they ever fed or clothed them- 
selves more easily or n>ore comfortably. But, besides this, 
the immeiise depredations they have made upon the British 
trade, have introduced vast quantities of British merchan- 
dises of every sort. And in spite of all the exertions of 
the British fleet, their trade is opening and extending with 
various countries every year, and Britain herself is forced 
to aid it, and will be more and more ; a recent proof of 
which, is the permission to import American tobacco into 



DIl^LUMATK CJUUULSPOMJE.NCF.. 155 

ihe kintjdom Irom any [)ari ol the wuild in ncuUal liol- 
lonis. 

The great dehi is also nieiiliuued. Do they pay an 
interest for this del>t ? Is every necessary and convenience 
of life taxed to perpetuity, to pay this interest? Is the 
whole equal in proportion to their ahilities to the debt of 
England ? Would the debt be rendered less, by joining 
Great Britain against France and Spain ? Would the war 
against France and Spain be shorter, less expensive, or 
less bloody, than the war against England ? By returning 
to England, would not their debt be ten times more bur- 
densome ? This debt is as nothing to America, once give 
her peace, let the Americans trade freely with one another, 
and with all other nations, and this debt would be but a 
feather. Let them come under Great Britain again, and 
have the communication between one Colony and another 
obstructed, as heretofore, and their trade confined to Great 
Britain, as heretofore, and this debt would be a heavier mill- 
stone about their necks, than that of England is about theirs. 

A general repugnance to the alliance with France, is 
mentioned. A greater mistake was never made. On the 
contrary, every step of Congress, every proceeding of 
every Assembly upon the continent, every prayer that is 
made in the pulpit, and every speculation in the news- 
papers, demonstrates the high sense they have of the im- 
portance of this alliance. It is said, that this alliance has 
been of little utility. Has it not employed the British 
army ? has it not cut out work enough for the British 
navy ? has it not wasted for England her annual twenty 
millions.'' has it not prevented these from being employed 
against America ? has it not given scope to Atnerican pri- 
vateers ? has it not protected the American trade ? has it 



150 JOHN ADAMS. 

not hurt that of Great Britain ? iias it not engai^ed Riissm, 
Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and Portugal, at least to a 
neutrality? at least has. it not contributed much to these 
vast advantages to America .'' has it not taken away from 
Great Britain the dominion of the sea, so far as to allow 
liberty of navigation to others ? It is true, the alliance 
might have been of more utility to all the allies with the 
same expense, if France and Spain liad sooner adopted 
the policy of sending more of their forces to America. 
But they arc now so well convinced of it, that unless mira- 
cles are wrought to prevent it, America and England too 
will soon see more of the effects of this alliance. Let 
Britain tremble at the consequences of her own folly and 
her own crime. 

His Lordship says, that the people vvould return to their 
allegiance, if they were not restrained by the tyranny of 
those who have got the powers of government. These are 
the Assemblies, Senates. Governors, and Congress. Now 
what power have any of these, but what die people please to 
allow them ? By what engine is this tyranny exercised ? Is 
it by the militia.'* In order to judge of this, let us consider 
the constitution of the militia. The militia, is in fact the 
whole people, for by the laws of every State, every man 
from sixteen to sixty years of age, belongs to the militia, is 
obliged to be armed, to train and march upon occasion, or 
find a substitute. The officers are chosen by the men, ex- 
cept the General ofiicei's, who are appointed by the Assem- 
blies. It is this very militia which forms the body of voters, 
who annually choose the members of the Assembly, and the 
senators, and governors. Is it possible these men should 
tyrannise over men upon whom they arc so entirely de- 
pendent ? As well might it be reproached to his Lordship 



DlPLUMAilC COUKLSi^O.NDL.NCE. 157 

and his colleagues in adminisU-ation, that they tyrannised 
over their royal master, who can displace them at his 
pleasure. The Assemblies thus annually chosen by the 
people, or militia, annually choose the delegates in Con- 
gress, and have power to recall them at pleasure. Will 
the militia then obey either Assemblies or Congress in the 
execution of tyrannical orders, or any orders that are not 
generally agreeable to them ? The thing speaks lor itself. 
Is it the Continental army then, that is the instrument 
of their own servitude and that of their country ? Every 
officcy holds his commission at the pleasure of Congress. 
But his Lordship and his colleagues often represent the 
Continental army as so small and feeble, as to be unable 
to make head against the British troops, and it is true that 
they are constantly employed in that service, and it is true 
that they are nothing in comparison with the militia. What 
would become of them then, if the militia or any consider- 
able number of them were to join the British troops? 

There has never been any part of the Continental army 
in more than three or four of the thirteen States at a time, 
watching the motions of the British army and confining 
them to the protection of their men-of-war. What has 
there been then in the remaining nine or ten States for an 
instrument of tyranny ? This is too ridiculous to need 
many words. 

His Lordship concludes, with a distinction, if possible, 
less grounded than his assertions. He says, that Congress 
will never treat, but that the people and the Assemblies 
will. Wliere does his Lordship find the ground of his 
difference between the Congress and the Assemblies ? Arc 
not the members of Congress made of the same clay ? Are 
they not themselves members of the Assemblies ? Are 



158 JOHN ADAMS, 

they not the creatures of the Assemblies? Are they not 
annually created ? Are they not dependent every moment 
upon the Assemblies for their existence ? Have not the 
Assemblies a right to recall them when they please, and 
appoint others by law and the constitution ? Have not the 
Assemblies a right to instruct them how to act? If they do 
not obey these instructions, cannot the Assemblies displace 
them and appoint others who will be more obedient ? If 
the Assemblies desired a reconciUation with England, 
would not they appoint a Congress who desired it too? 
If the people desired it, could not they appoint Assemblies 
who would soon make a Congress suitable for their pur- 
pose ? But I have been too long ; his Lordship betrays 
such misinformation of facts, such an inattention to those 
obvious marks of the feelings of a people, as are infallible 
indications of their designs, and such a want of knowledge 
of the laws and constitution of the United States, as excite 
astonishment in an impartial examiner, and a real commis- 
eration for the unhappy nation, who are devoted to des- 
truction from his errors and delusions.* 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

* Barriers between Great Britain and the United States of America to 
a Reconciliation, Alliance, or even Peace. 

1. The malice, revenge, pride, obstinacy, and absurdity of the King 
and royal family. 

2. The guilt and danger of the Ministry, danger to their lives and 
present safety, as well as of ruin to their fortunes, characters, and rep- 
utations. 

3. The ambition and avarice of tlio Ministry, whose chiefs have the 
same hunger for the loaves and fishes as the Ministers ; as little atten- 
tion to, and affection for the public as they ; and, therefore, dare not 
displease the King, and so give up their hopes of his favor, by adopting 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 159 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 4tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

We learn from the Hague, the 30th of ^lay, that their 
Noble and Grand Mightinesses have resolved since the offer 
of the Commerce, to take for the equipment of the vessels 
of war put into commission a certain portion of the crews 
of merchant ships. 

As I wish to inform Congress at some time or otlier of 
all the conspicuous characters in Europe, who have pene- 
trated enough of the system of events, that compose the 
present great epoch, and have had sufficient firmness to 
resist the unnatural efforts and solicitations, which Great 
Britain has made to disturb St, I think it is proper to take 
notice, that the Count de Panin, who has been very ill of 
a chronical disorder, was on the 2d of May much better, 
and made his appearance at the Court of St Petersburg. 
This Minister, I fancy, will have s^reat merit with posterity, 
for the part he has acted for several years in the politics 
of Europe. 

Extract of a letter from Cadiz, 2d of May. "The con- 
voy under the escort of Messrs de Thomasco and de So- 
lano, continued in sight all day, the 2Sth of April ; the 
29th it went off with a fair wind, which continues to this 
time. We expect the division of Toulon in fifteen days. 
Then Don Gaston will go out with a squadron of twelve 
ships, and all the French vessels, which may be collected 
in Cadiz. If the thirteen vessels, which are ready at Fer- 

any principles, or espousing any system, that could lead to reconcilia- 
tion, or to peace. 

4 The general prevalence of profligacy 



160 -lOHN ADAMS. 

rol, join this commander, his fleet will be very respectablej 
and will not fear that thn enemy sisonld oppose his janction 
with that of Brest." 

Toulon, lOth of Maij. "The order, which the King's 
ships, the Zele and the Marseillois, of seventyfour guns, 
have received unexpectedly to sail, gives place to several 
conjectui'es. The most probable is, that they are to join 
the divi,■^ion of French vessels, which are in the bay of 
Cadiz ; -dn^Ji that after they shall be united, they will go in 
concert with a Spanish squadron to Brest, to form a part 
of the fleet destined to cruise in the English Channel. 
There have been taken up in our port, several uierchant 
vessels on account of the Kinfi;, to the end to go and carry 
to Cadiz the ])rovisions of the French division, commanded 
by the Chevalier Beausset. It is confirmed, that the Ex- 
periment, commanded by M. de Martelly Chautard, is 
arrived at Silarseiiies, to escort from thence in concert u'ith 
the frigate the Graciente, and ti:e cutter the Naiade, a 
considerable convoy of vessels, bound fur the islands in 
America." 

Brest, Iblh of May. "The convoy, wliich was coming 
here from Bordeaux, to form the second division of the 
expedition under tlie command of Messrs de Ternay and 
do Rochambeau, escaped the gale of uind by taking slie!- 
tcr in L'Orieni. The Z\!agnanime, which was coming 
here from Rochfort, having lost an anchor, was obliged to 
return thidier." 

Fark, 2bih ofMcnj. "Letters from Cadiz, dated tlie 
.Oth of this nwnth, announce tiie departure c^ the French 
squadron, v;liich was in the Road, under the command of 
M. de Beausset. It was furnished with provisions for six 
inonths, and before it put to sea it took in more, for six 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 161 

weeks ; it was to have sailed the 6th. We are absolutely 
ignorant of the object of iiis expedition. M. Beausset has 
despatches, which lie is not to open until he arrives at a 
certain latitude. This squadron, composed of five ships of 
the line, and loaded with provisions for seven and a half 
inonihs, is it bound to the Indies? We do not believe that 
it is. But to combine with M. de Ternay at a certain 
latitude ? Some persons presume so. Others maintain, 
that this squadron is to make part of the fleet of observa- 
tion in the Channel, and that the circumstance of seveir 
and a l^ilf months' provision is a falsity, which ought not 
to be believed." 

They write from Rochfort, that the Invincible, a new 
ship, of one hundred and four guns, is actually in the 
Road. The command of this vessel has been given to JM. 
de la Gary. The following article shows, that some for- 
eign merchants are enterprising a trade towards America. 

Ostend, 2o(l of May. "The ship, the City of Brus- 
sels, Captain Peter Voughen, of five hundred tons, be- 
longing to merchants of Brussels, who had loaded her for 
St Eustatia, has had the misfortune to strike, the 20th of 
this month, in going out of the basin. In spite of the alac- 
rity with which they labor to get her afloat, and repair the 
damage she has sustained on the occasion, we think she 
cannot again be put in a condition to proceed to her desti- 
nation." 

Leijden, 30th of May, 17S0. "The convoy of troops, 
which has arrived so apropos, at Barbadoes, and from 
thence to St Lucia, at the very instant that the Count de 
Guichen conducted to the Antilles a considerable rein- 
forcement for the French troops, is that which sailed from 
Portsmouth the 2Tih, and from Piymoulh the 30ih of 
VOL. \. 21 



163 JOHN ADAMS. 

Jnnuaiy, under convoy of the Intrepid, of sixtyfour guns, 
with some frigates, and which was dispersed upon the coast 
of Ireland. An officer of the sixtyeighth regiment, (one of 
tlie four regiments embarked upon this convoy,) writes 
from Antigua, the 19tli of March. 'We have been arrived 
here two days ; we sailed from Plymouth the 30th of 
January, in concert widi the eightyseventh, ninetieth, and 
ninetylirst regiments, under convoy of the Intrepid, of six- 
tyfour guns. Tlic next day wc were separated from the 
convoy by a great storm, which lasted six days, and we 
saw nothiing more of any vessel. Having no orders con- 
cerning our destination, as we were not to receive them 
till we had doubled Cape Lizard, we were in great pain 
concerning the part we should take. C'ommanding eighty 
soldiers on board this vessel, it fell to me to direct their 
route. I ordered the master to conduct us to the first of 
our West India Islands, which we could gain, and in con- 
sequence we arrived here safe and sound. God knows 
what is become of the rest of the convoy ; I hope that it 
will join us soon.' "' 

The following article I add, from the Mercury of France, 
of the 3d of June. 1 cannot answer for the truth of it, nor 
do I know that it is false. 

"They write from London the J 1th of May, that a 
rouricr despatciied from the Hague, by Sir Josepli Yorke, 
h;i(l arrived with the following news. In consequence of 
the permission granted by the States-General for the pas- 
sage of the recruits from Brunswick, Hesse, Hanau, Sic. 
in the pay of Great Britain, through the territory of the 
Republic, and for their embarkation in one of their ports, 
one ship of war and transports have sailed from England, 
to take on board ibrse recruits destined for the army in 



DIPLOMA lie CUUKESPO.NDLNCE. lOo 

Canada. Bui scarcely were ilie troops mid liieir baggage 
embarked, when there arrived an order of the States-Gen- 
eral to stop their departure. They attribute this conduct 
of the States-General to the formal demand, which they 
have made upon Great Britain, of the restitution of the 
Dutch vessels taken by Commodore Fielding. In conse- 
quence, the transports and recruits would remain in Hol- 
land, until entire satisfaction should be given to the States - 
General upon this object." 

Brussels, 30th of May. '-The arrival of extraordinary 
couriei^ continually from Versailles and jNIadrid to Lis- 
bon, gives rise to conjectures, that the good intelligence, 
which reigns between this Court and that of London, may 
very well change in part, and that at least his Most Faithful 
Majesty is not far from adopting the system of Holland and 
the Northern powers, the effect of which must be the 
maintenance of the liberty of the navigation and of the 
commerce of their respective subjects, against the continual 
depredations of privateers." 

Paris, 20th of May. "We learn by letters from Ferrol, 
that the Intendant of the Marine in that port had received 
orders to send out without delay, eight ships of the line 
and four frigates, and to deliver them packets, which are 
sent him, not to be opened but in a certain latitude. They 
write from Brest, that they continue to work at the arma- 
ment of the vessels intended for the fleet ; there are sev- 
eral of them already in the Road. The Actif of seventy- 
four guns came in on the 17th. They expected in that 
port the fleet from Bordeaux, loaded with stores, provi- 
sions, and wine. Their arrival is necessary to equip com- 
pletely the squadron destined to transport a second division 
of troops of four or five thousand men. The convoy, 



164 JOHN ADAMS. 

which sailed from St AJalo on Good Friday, was still at 
Cherbourg. It is so much the more valuable, as it con- 
sists partly of cast cannons, and other pieces of artillery, 
brought in wagons from the arsenals, for the descent which 
was to have been made last year. The English who know 
its value, do not lose sight of it, as they say. And it is 
said, if they were not restrained by a calculation of the 
expense, they would bombard Cherbourg, if they could 
not come at the vessels in port to burn them. It is be- 
lieved that a few ships of the line may soon go out of 
Brest, to give chase to the English and scatter them from 
Cherbourg. 

London, '20ih of May. "The despatches, which the 
Court has received from its Ministers in the Northern 
Courts, confirm the plan of confederation of the powers of 
this part of Europe to protect the commerce of their subjects 
against the attacks of the belligerent powers, and we can- 
not dissemble that more moderation on our part would 
have hindered this event, which is about to strike the last 
blow to our maritime supremacy, and snatch from us for- 
ever the empire of the seas, which are about to become 
again free as they ought to be." 

Cadiz, 5th of May. "The fleet which sailed from this 
port the 2Stl) of last month, has been met in the latitude of 
Lagos, by a vessel which arrived yesterday. Since that 
lime, the progress of it has not been retarded. The wind 
is changed, and is favorable. It is composed of twelve 
ships of the line, ^\vc frigates, seven privateers armed by 
the trade, sixty four transport vessels, with twelve thousand 
land forces, artillery, and warlike stores, and fiftynine mer- 
chant vessels, three of which are French and three Ameri- 
can. There remain in this port fifteen ships of the line. 



DIFLOMATIC C0RRES1'0M)K.NCE. 165 

whereof ten are ready to go to sea, the five others will be 
immediately. There are eight at Coruniia, tlve frigates 
and one cutter, in condition to sail at the first orders. 
The convoy which sailed from Brest on the 14th is ar- 
rived there with the frigate, the Leocadia. We have seen 
come to anchor in this bay, the flag of truce, the Sartine, 
which brings from the Indies M. de Bellecombe, formerly 
governor of Pondicherry, and the other officers. This 
vessel being otT St Vincent, had the misfortune to meet the 
squadron of Commodore Johnstone. He made the signals 
of a ^ag of truce, and seeking to fly, when in contenipt 
of the law of nations. Commodore Johnstone who was in 
the Romney, sent him two broadsides, which killed and 
wounded twentyfive persons on board the Sartine. The 
Captain and two officers are in the number of the slain. 
They expected so little such an attack, that the people 
were all upon the tillace, and one bullet fell dead at the 
feet of I\I. de Bellecombe. Johnstone, knowing his error, 
or at least pretending to have been mistaken, ceased firing, 
and wrote a letter of excuse. One would think he should 
not come off" so easily, and that his nation should not even 
content herself to disavow his conduct. 

"M. de Beausset set sail yesterday with his five ves- 
sels ; he goes to cruise in the latitude of Lisbon, and lie 
may very well combine himself with the seven vessels, 
which were to go out of Ferrol. It is believed he will 
return here as soon as the squadron of Toulon shall ar- 
rive." 

I have ihe honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



iGG JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THH PKEiJlDKNT (>y CONGRESS. 

riiiis, June uth, 1780. 

Sir, 

The fleets of Graves und Walsingham are real objects 
of humor. All Europe was amused with Walsingham's 
squadron, and assured that it was to sail as long ago as last 
January or February. Tiiere has scarcely a newspaper 
appeared in Europe since that time but has iiad some arti- 
cle respecting it, all tending to show that it was ready, or 
nearly ready, to sail. 'Iliis is in order to keep up the 
spirits of friends, and at the san)e time play upon the 
fears of enemies. The last Courier de I'Europe has tlic 
following article. 

Torbay, '20th of May. "Although the wind had been 
favorable for ten days past, Walsingham's fleet could not 
have taken advantage of them, the Commodore having re- 
ceived, on tlie 10th, orders from the Admiralty to wait for 
the rest of the transports bound to Quebec, and the East 
India ships, which nov*' lie at Portsmouth. He will escort 
them without altering his course as far as IMadcira." 

PlymoiitJi, Vth of May. "The squadron of Admiral 
Graves, sailed from hence this morning, is destined for Ja- 
maica. It consists of four ships of the line, two frigates, 
and transports, having on board three thousand land forces. 
This fleet is the reinforcement which the armament, which 
was in preparation at Jamaica for an expedition, waited for 
the sixth of April last, wlien the packet boat sailed. The 
passage of such a fleet cannot take less than two months ; 
so that it cannot arrive at Jamaica until the end of July. 
Never was there such confusion and timidity, and irresolu- 
tion and unsteadiness in the naval and maritime affairs of 
England. Witness the following paragraph." 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 167 

Portsmouth, 22d of May. '*The following vessels of 
war iiad come to sail with their respeQtive convoys, but 
they have returned here again. The Endyniion, of forty- 
four guns, Captain Cartaret ; the Beaver's prize of sixteen, 
Captain Drummond, and the Zephyr, of fourteen, Captain 
Inglis, for the coast of Guinea. The fi-igate Aurora for 
Plymouth, the sloops Swallow and Wasp. 

.May loth. "It is said, the regiment of Colonel Rains- 
ford passed through London to go to Portsmouth, des- 
tined to Jamaica. Tt will be escorted out of the Channel 
by tjie Grand Fleet, then it will make a common course 
up to a certain latitude, with the fleet destined for the East 
Indies." 

Petersburg, 9th of May. "Our fleet, destined to main- 
tain the neutrality at sea, is ready to sail from Cronstarlt. 
They sav, that after having passed the Sound, it will clear 
off all cruisers whatsoever, not only in the Baltic Sea, but 
those which are in the neighborhood of Norway, as far as 
Archangel. The report prevails, even that we shall equip 
immediately a second squadron, destined to reinforce the 
first." 

Hague, 2lst of May. "The corn merchants living in 
Amsterdam, presented last Friday two petitions, the first 
of which is of the following tenor. 

"To their High Mightinesses, our Lords the States-Gen- 
eral of the United Provinces. 

"The subscribing merchants, trading chiefly in grain, at 
the Exchange of the Corn Merchants of the city of Am- 
sterdam, respectfully make known, that the scarcity of grain 
among foreigners having been the cause that they have 
been charged, for sometime, and from all parts with very 
considerable commissions for sending off theirs, which can- 



158 JOHN ADAMS. 

not but give a new activity to this important branch of com- 
merce ; the difficulties, which in tlie present situation of 
affairs embarrass navigation, have raised the jjrice of freight 
to such a degree, that several masters of ships iiave entirely- 
refused to navigate towards the south, considering that 
they could not expose themselves to execute the commis- 
sions of the said merchants in grain, without running the 
risk of being seized and taken, which became extremely 
prejudicial to the corn,' which is liable to take hurt and to 
corrupt ; from whence it must necessarily result, that for 
want of sales the petitioners see themselves on one hand 
deprived of a reasonable profit, and on the other find 
themselves forced to keep iheir grain in their magazines 
for a longer space of time, while, moreover, the importation 
by the Baltic, which diminishes by this means considera- 
bly, cannot fail also to give to this branch of commerce, so 
interesting for the Republic, a most sensible blow, to the 
great prejudice of the petitioners, as well as to the agricul- 
ture of these provinces, the advantage of which increases 
in proportion to the augmentation of the export of corn. 

"For these causes, the petitioners address themselves in 
all humanity to your High Mightinesses, respectfully pray- 
ing, that according to your known wisdom and foresight, it 
may please your High Mightinesses to grant them a rem- 
edy, and grant them a protection as prompt as convenient 
to commerce and to the navigation of the petitioners, to 
the end, that their vessels loaded with corn may, without 
any impediment, make sail toward all places that are free. 
The petitioners, on their part, will be zealous to second 
vigorously all the measures, which in this respect your 
High Mightinesses may judge convenient and necessary." 

The second of the petitions contains as follows. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. J 69 

"To their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, our Lords, the 
States of the Province of Holland and of West Friesland, 

"The undersigned, niercliants dealing chiefly in grain, 
at the exchange of the corn merchants of the city of Am- 
sterdam, give respectfully to understand, that to the end to 
preserve and maintain this branch of commerce so im- 
portant for them, they had found it of the last necessity to 
address themselves by the way of a petition, to their High 
Mightinesses the States-General of the United Provinces, 
tending to request a prompt, convenient, and sufficient 
protection in favor of their navigation, for the reasons more 
fully particularised in the said petition, of which they take 
the liberty to annex a copy ; humbly requesting your No- 
ble and Grand Mightinesses to cast a propitious eye upon 
the address of the petitioners, and to be so good as to favor 
it with your powerful protection, that they may be at length 
remedied against the unjust vexations, and the ruinous 
seizure of their ships, and against all the shackles, which 
have been put upon their commerce, while the petitioners 
on their part offer to concur with all their hearts, and with 
zeal, in all convenient measures, which, in this respect 
your Noble and Grand ^Mightinesses shall judge to be 
necessary, to come at the end proposed." 

Hamburg, 2Gth of May. "They write from Stock- 
holm, that the Court of Sweden had positively accepted 
the plan of an armed neutrality, proposed by Russia, and 
given orders to equip six more ships of the line, so that at 
present the naval forces of Sweden, like those of Den- 
mark, consist in ten ships of the line and six frigates, 
whereof six ships of the line are ready to make sail from 
the port of Carslscroon. 

"We learn from the Sound, that the 21st of this month 



170 JOHN ADAMS. 

the English ship the Chatham, of fifty guns, commanded by 
Captain G. Allan, was arrived there, as well as the frigates 
the Siren, the Lizard, and the Lynx, under the command 
of the Captains Dodde, Parry, and Britton, of twentyfour 
and twenty guns. The cutters, the Bussy, Captain 
Coaths, of twelve guns, and the Frederick, C. Pasechall, 
of eight. These two last have sustained in the North Sea 
a brisk action with two French cutters, one of which was 
named the Alexander, of fourteen guns, which they have 
conducted to the Sound. It is not known what is become 
of the other prize, which they think is sunk, or carried to 
Norway." 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June lOtli, 1780. 

Sir, 
We read, under the head of Hamburg, of the 20lh of 
May, that the project of a confederation, armed for the 
maintenance of the navigation of the neutral powers, ap- 
pears every day to assume more consistency. The fleet 
armed in Russia for the protection of her neutrality, and of 
her commerce, is composed of fifteen ships of the line, 
four frigates, and a large number of smaller vessels. Their 
orders are to sweep, not only the Baltic Sea, but the Swe- 
dish Sea, and the neighborhood of Archangel, of all the 
corsairs of the belligerent powers. They assure us at the 
same time, that orders are given to equip at Revel and at 
Archangel a second fleet of twenty ships of the line ; 
Sweden arms ten, and six frigates. She will send out at 
first but four of ihc former, the six others will remain at 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDEiNCE. |71 

Carslscrooii, but in a condition to sail at tlie first signal. 
They are busy in Denmark in arming a like number. 
They assure us even that there are orders to augment it. 

The opinion the most general is, that the powers, which 
are to enter into the armed neutrality, will confine them- 
selves at first to make their navigation to be respected, and 
will not appear as mediators, but when they shall see that 
the fate of arms shall make the balance incline too much 
to one side, to the disadvantage of the other. It will be 
then, that they will intervene for a re-establishment of the 
equilibrium, by moderating the too excessive pretensions 
of some, and by repairing the losses, which the misfortune, 
the negligence, or the unskilfulness of others shall have 
occasioned them. One does not know, which we ought 
to admire most, the immutability of the English, in the 
midst of all the movements, which they excite, or the 
movements themselves, which they are no doubt them- 



selves astonished to have excited. This recalls the 



say 



of an Englishman, who seeing a magnificent chapel built 
for the accomplishment of a vow, made in the midst of a 
battle, cried, "When the Emperor made this great vow, he 
had great fear." Is it not astonishing, that the most for- 
midable maritime powers of Europe should have believed 
their rights so much in danger, as to make it their duty to 
confederate against the arbitrary pretensions of England ? 
It would be much more astonishing, if she should be able 
to realise them, but this is not to be presumed. 

Under the head of Italy, Genoa, the 10th of May, we 
read, "They write from Trieste, that they are actively em- 
ployed there in arming a company of commerce for the 
East Indies. The grant (charter, patent, octroi) is very 
soon to a])pear in print, that every one may have shares in 



172 JOHN ADAMS. 

it, and have a part in the advantages that shall result from 
it. As it is of importance to our Conrt, that the produc- 
tions of the country should be transported to foreigners, 
this company will obtain all the privileges necessary to put 
it upon a flourishing footing. They are taking all possible 
measures, that the funds advanced should produce to the 
proprietors a considerable interest. Austria proposes to 
observe the most exact neutrality with all the maritime 
powers, and to form alliances with the States of Barbary. 
Tn the meantime, that we may have nothing to fear from 
these last, our vessels will be partly armed for war, and 
partly loaded with merchandises." 

A sensible letter from London (real or lictitious I know 
not) snys, ''The armed neutrality engages still the attention 
of our Court. We do not cease to dread here, that it 
will have melancholy consequences. If some persons 
flatter thetnselves, that it may lead to peace, others think 
that we cannot make an advantageous one. France and 
Spain ap>pear determined not to lay down their arms until 
ihev shall have taken away from us the empire of die seas, 
and rendered commerce and navigation free. We are not 
ignorant, that the wish of Europe is in their favor, and 
the armed neutrality has sufficiently demonstrated it. Our 
?'.liiiisl!'y \'.e!l convinced, that it is upon a superiority at sea, 
that depends the safety of our possessions in the four quar- 
ters of the world, v/ill neglect nothing to preserve it. But 
it is at least necessary, that by a prudent conduct towards 
the neutral powers, we should engage thera to permit us to 
enjoy it. The [lart which we act cannot but alienate them. 
Far from retracting, we go directly on." 

According to the account of the ofiicers arrived in the 
cartel ship, the Sarline, the squadron of Admiral Hughes, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 173 

in its passage from Europe to the Cape of Good Hope, has 
suffered considerable losses, which have very much dimin- 
ished it. They are persuaded, that it has not suffered less 
in its route to the Indies, during which it has had con- 
stantly contrary winds, and that it has been scarcely able 
to land in Asia a number of troops sufficient to put the 
English forces there in the condition they were in before 
the war. Admiral Hughes had said to the Governor of 
the Cape, that his orders were to go and attack Manilla. 
But it is most probable, that at his arrival at Madras, he 
found -"himself in an impossibility of undertaking anything 
this year. He has not a sufficient number of troops with 
him, and far from being able to take any in India, those 
already there are sufficiently occupied with the chiefs of 
the country, and have occasion for reinforcements. Nad- 
giskan. General of the Emperor of Mogul, threatens them 
in Bengal. The Marattas disturb them at Bombay ; and 
Hyder Aly Khan upon the coast of Coromandel. The 
English, troubled in their own possessions, have more cause 
to think of preserving them than of attempting elsewhere 
expeditions, that would weaken them. 

The last letters from the gold coast of Africa contain the 
following details. "One of our out-forts, called Succon- 
dee, has been attacked sometime since by a French frig- 
ate, of forty guns. She cast anchor in the Bay within 
cannon-shot of the fort, which was falling in ruins, de- 
fended solely by some pieces of artillery, almost out of a 
condition for service, and in which was a garrison of four 
men, to wit ; the commandant, one sergeant, and two sol- 
diers, which in such a situation could not make a long re- 
sistance. Nevertheless, before they surrendered, they 
killed six Frenchmen, and wounded twelve. The ser- 



174 •JOHN ADAMS. 

geant of the fort was killed ; and the commandant, seeing 
that the enemy had effected their landing with two hun- 
dred men, saved himself by retreating back into the coun- 
try. The French have derived neither honor nor profit 
from the expedition ; they have found nothing but the 
effects of the commandant, valued at eight hundred pounds 
sterling, which they destroyed. The fort contained noth- 
ing valuable. They spiked the cannon, which they found 
upon carriages, and broke off the trunnions ; after which 
they went off without attempting anything against the other 
forts. The same letters add, that the Governor of Cape 
Coast Casde, and those of the other forts, were preparing 
to quit a service, in which they could not long remain, the 
company having stopped the arrearages which were due to 
them, as well as to those in general who have been em- 
ployed since the month of December, 1778, and having 
refused to reimburse them the sums, which they have 
advanced out of their pockets for the maintenance of the 
forts of the governnient, and which amount to half of their 
private fortunes. By a conduct so unjust, and without 
example, the principal officers find themselves ruined, and 
the inferior oflicers and soldiers are dying with hunger. 
There was scarcely an English vessel upon the coast, and 
the price of all the necessaries of life were raised more 
than an hundred per hundred. What defence could be 
made by people in such a situation, if attacked by the 
French, who burn widi a desire of forming an establish- 
ment upon that coast." 

The losses in Africa are considerable, and the English 
are threatened with more considerable in India, where the 
natives of the country begin lo be weary of the vexation of 
foreigners, who coujc from Europe to subject them to the 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDKNLE. 175 

yoke. The Emperor of jNlogul threatens ihcm in Bengal, 
the Marattas at Bombay, and the famous Hyder Aly upon 
the coast of Coromandel, and the domestic troubles which 
have arisen in the bosom of their establishments, may put 
them out of a condition to defend them. All Europe 
prays for the liberty of the seas, and waits with impatience 
the effects of the union of the maritime powers, which must 
put a bridle upon the violent and arbitrary proceedings of 
the English. 

On the ISth and 19th of May there were warm debates 
in th^ House of Commons of Ireland, where the patriotic 
party carried a duty of twelve shillings per quintal on su- 
gars imported from England. On the 22d, it was resolved 
by an hundred and forty voices against eighteen, that a bill 
should be brought in for the punishment of mutiny and 
desertion, and to establish better regulations for the land 
forces. TliJs is a decisive measure, and if it is admitted, 
it concedes the principle, that the British Parliament has no 
authority over Ireland. 

Hague, 4th of June. *'M. de Nowicoff, Secretary of 
the Prince de Gallitzin, Envoy Extraordinary of the Em- 
press of Russia, being returned here the first of this month 
at night, from Petersburg, where he has been as express 
some weeks ago, the Prince de Gallitzin had the next day 
a conference with some members of government. A sec- 
ond express, sent to Petersburg by the same Minister 
about the middle of April, returned last night. We flatter 
ourselves, that the despatches which they bring will con- 
tribute to accelerate the execution of the project of an 
armed neutrality, for which her Imperial Majesty continues 
to testify the most favorable dispositions, provided that the 
other neutral powers act readily in concert with her. The 



]76 JOHN ADAMS. 

meicliants of Dort and Rotterdam have followed the ex- 
ample of those of Amsterdam, by presenting on the 2d 
a petition to the States-General, to the end to supplicate 
them to hasten the equipment of the vessels, which it has 
been resolved to arm, and to give to commerce the efiec- 
tual enjoyment of the protection of the State. According 
to the ordinance projected to accelerate this equipment, 
'no merchant vessel belonging to the subjects of the Re- 
public can put to sea, without voluntarily delivering to the 
college of the Admiralty at least the third man of her crew, 
under penalty of six hundred florins per head, upon the 
captains and freighters of the vessel, which shall attempt to 
go out without having made the said delivery.' It will not, 
however, take place but twice a year, viz. the two first 
voyages which a vessel shall make> and from this will be 
excepted those upon which there shall be but two men 
besides the master, the vessels employed in the different 
fisheries, the ships of the East India Company, and those 
of the West Indies ; in fine, the foreign vessels manned 
with crews of their own nation, &,c." 

April 2\si^ 1780. "It happened that the French pri- 
vateer, the Spring, commanded by Captain John Hue, 
and mounted with four guns, which had anchored in the 
Road of Helvoetsluys, put to sea in company with some 
Dutch vessels, bound to the Greenland Fishery. Three 
Scotch coal vessels put to sea at the same time, and soon 
after two others, somewhat larger. The three largest hav- 
ing come just opposite the point of Westland, the French 
privateer, which was not at the distance of more than four 
yards from die shore, opposite the Cape of the Isle of 
Goree, wore round to return into port ; the three coal ves- 
sels perceiving it, made the same manceuvre, and bore 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 177 

down upon the French privateer, upon which the latter 
approaching nearer and nearer the coast, and passing along 
very near it under the city of Goree, to enter into the port, 
they hegan to fire upon him wiih ball, and they continued 
to cannonade him incessantly, although this little vessel, 
which in truth carried French colors, did not answer them 
with more than one gun. They jjursued him quite up to 
the lighthouse of Goree, only at the distance of about six 
yards (I suppose ship's yards) west of the place, where 
they forced her to run ashore. Ti)e vessel was there 
stopped upon the sand, and the crew crawling along upon 
the bowsprit in the sea, saved themselves at land. Mean- 
time, the three coalmen did not cease to fire upon the little 
privateer, without regarding even a large number of work- 
men who were about their business on shore. So that the 
bullets passed tlirough the midst of these people, and just 
over their heads, and they were very happy to run off and 
save ihcmseli-es in ihe Downs. The three coalmen, not 
content to have pushed thus far their enterprise, continued 
not only to fire upon the privateer stopped in the sand, 
without any crew, but in fine, they came to anchor at the 
distance of about forty yards from this vessel, while the two 
smaller coalmen were come out of the Bay of Helvoetshiys, 
and were under sail near and round it, firing upon it until 
noon, when the tide began to set afloat the privateer, which 
liad been stopped for two hours. Then the English went 
on board with their boats, took down the French flag, took 
the vessel off the shore, and attached her broadside and 
broadside to the largest of the coalmen. They took away 
from her many effects, under the eyes of the Dutch coast- 
ing pilots, who having asked in English, what was their 
design in regard to liie privateer, and having cautioned 
VOL. v. 23 



178 TOMK ADAMS. 

them to take care what they did, the captain of the 
largest of the coalmen answered, "We will take her, we 
are also privateers." 

Their Noble and Grand JMightinesses, the States of Hol- 
land and West Friesland, after having stated these circum- 
stances to the States-General, have adopted in their report ; 
'•that they consiiJered this excessive audacity of the En- 
glish or Scotch coalmen, as a manifest and voluntary viola- 
tion of the territory of the Republic, accompanied with cir- 
cumstances the most aggravated, as having been committed 
in going out of a harbor of this country, and in a place where 
it could not be doubtful that they were within reach of the 
cannon of the shore, since their own balls reached the land, 
without the least provocation from the French privateer, 
vvhich did not fire a single gun. So that this action of the 
coalmen, has had no other cause than a premeditated hos- 
tility, whilst there was not the least reason to fear that the 
privateer, aftcn* having got to sea, would interrupt one of 
them, considering that the attack was begun on their part, 
in the very moment when the privateer had tacked about 
to quit the open sea and return into port, besides, that he 
was pursued for two hours after that he was indubitably 
aground upon the shore, and that the enterprise was fin- 
ished by taking away the French privateer from th.o Dutch 
shore, contrary to the exhortation and warnings of the 
coasting pilots. That in the judgment of their Noble and 
Grand iViightinesses, the States-General had not only a 
)'i?:!it to complain of the insolence so excessive on the part 
of the English or Scotch masters, which their High Mighti- 
nesses adrnit into the ports of the Republic, but that they 
cannot even sufter them without wounding the neutrality, 
which they have embraced in the present troubles, and 



Dlf-LOMATIC CUKKEsFU.NUEiNCE. J79 

withoiil prejudicini; the dignity, the sovtreignly, and the 
independence of the State ; and having been under obliga- 
tion eflectually to have opposed and hindered ihem, even 
by Ihrce, if they could have been informed in time of these 
violences, they cannot excuse themselves from demanding, 
in a manner the most serious, the vessel vviiich was taken, 
and from demanding of liis Britannic Majesty, a suitable 
satisfaction for this conduct of iiis subjects." 

After diis report, the States-General have resolved, the 
13ih of May, "that advice of these facts should be sent to 
the Count de Welderen, Envoy Extraordinary and Pleni- 
potentiary of their High Mightinesses at the British Court, 
by sending him copies of the depositions joined to the 
letter of the Receiver-General of the Customs of their 
Noble and Grand Mightinesses, in the country of Voorne, 
dated the 4ih day of May last, by which he has informed 
of the facts the Lords, the Deputy Counsellors of Holland, 
as the said depositions are annexed to the letter, which the 
said counsellors have addressed to their Noble and Grand 
Mightinesses the 5lh of the same month, concerning this 
afTair ; and at the same time, the Count de Welderen 
should be instructed to give notice, in the manner that he 
shall judge the most convenient and the most eflectual, 
of the said insolences committed by the masters of the 
English or Scotch coal vessels, and to complain, in the 
name of their High ^Mightinesses, ol a violation so incon- 
testible of their territory and of the law of nations, by the 
way of open force ; that their High Mightinesses cannot 
think, that his Britannic Majesty can or will suffer that his 
subjects should allow themselves in such excesses ; that in 
consequence, the Count de Welderen should demand a 
suitable satisfaction : that the masters of the coal vessels 



ISO JOHIS ADAMS. 

should undergo a correction, and lliat the Frencli vessel 
taken should be brought back to the place from whence 
she has been taken, or at least, that she should be restored 
to their High I\5ightinesses, to the end that they may dis- 
pose of lier in the manner they shall judge proper ; and 
that the damages caused to this vessel, directly upon the 
territory of their High Mightinesses, where she ought to 
have enjoyed the same safety as the coal vessels in the 
Road of Helvoetskiys, and through all the extent of the ter- 
ritory of their High Mightinesses, should be made good." 

The English frigate, the Ambuscade, Captain Phipps, 
has taken, on the '24th of April last, iii the Bay of Biscay, 
four Dutch shij)s, which have made some resistance, so that 
there were some men killed and wounded on both sides. 
One of the Dutch captains was killed. They were bound, 
it is said, from Helvoetskiys to Spain. Tliey have been 
carried into Plymouth, where arrived at the same time a 
Spanish frigate of tliirty guns, taken, they say, by the 
English frigate, the Medea, off the port of Brest, where 
she was going with despatches from the Court of Madrid, 
relative to the junction of the Fiench and Spanish fleets. 
This is not likely, since the despatches go by land from 
Court to Court. 

I shall finish this tedious letter, by enclosing a letter 
from the Count d'Urre Molans, proposing to raise some 
horse at the expense of himself and his officers. I prom- 
ised to enclose it to Congress, which was all 1 could do. 
But I hope, before an answer can come, the American 
States will have no ir:ore occasion for cavalry. 
1 have the honor to be, &,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



Dll'LU.MAriC CORKESFONDE.NCE. Igl 

TO Tlit: rRKSIDENT OK CONGUESS. 

Paris, June 12tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

I cannot omit to request the attention of Congress to a 
debate in the House of Peers on the 1st of June, upon 
Lord Shelburne's motion for a variety of State papers to 
be laid before the House. I liave had the honor to trans- 
mit these papers to Congress before. His Lordship in his 
speech upon tiiis occasion has displayed more knowledge 
of the affairs of Europe, than all the debates in the two 
Houses, and all the newspapers and pamphlets have con- 
tained for a long time. I will translate from a French 
translation, not having the original before me, what he 
says of Russia. 

"With regard to the papers, which concern Russia, 1 see 
in the first place, in the declaration made by that Court in 
1779, that under pretence of some disorders commilted in 
the Baltic Sea by an American privateer, (Captain Mc- 
Neal, I suppose,) the Empress announces to Great Britain, 
that she is about to form a league with the Kings of Swe- 
den and Denmark, for the protection of commerce in that 
sea. Tills Princess must have known our Ministers per- 
fectly well, to hope that they would fall into the snare. 
Yes, she knew that they would bite at the hook, when it 
was covered with the bail of some appearance of hostility 
against the Americans. While they were running after 
the dainty worm, all Europe saw clearly that this exclu- 
sion from the Baltic Sea was general for all armed ves- 
sels, whether American or English ; but Russia was too 
wise to begin by speaking of English vessels. It is, never- 
theless, curious to consider the nature of the right alleged 



]y2 JUHiN ADAMS. 

by ihe Coui Is ol' Petersbujg, Stockhohn, and Copenhagen. 
to arrogate to themselves the dominion of llie Baltic ; a 
dominion no mention of which is made in any treaty ex- 
isting, and of which no one ever heard any mention made. 
They say to you, that God Ahnighty intended that these 
three powers should govern exclusively over this vast sea. 
The terms of the declaration say expressly, that nature has 
given them tliis right ; if this declaration is extraordinary, 
and without example, the last declaration cf the Empress 
of Russia is much more astonishing. This Princess dares 
to announce a maritime code, which will serve as a rule 
for all Europe, i will acknov^ledge, that when this Impe- 
rial decree for the first time fell into my hands, I was con- 
founded ; 1 felt in a moment, that Russia, this Empire 
coming out of the cradle, scarcely reckoned a ie\w years 
ago in the number of maritime pov/ers, this Russia, which 
the Ministers declared to us was our friend and our ally, 
was disposed not only to refuse us assistance, but moreover 
to contribute to the annihilation of the maritime power of 
Great Britain. The Empress declares in this Manifesto, 
that free ships render the effects free, that they have on 
board ; she djes not confine herself to establish this prin- 
ciple in iavor of the vessels of her nation, she makes it 
general, she invites ail the Stales of Europe, whether 
neutral or belligerent, to unite with her to maintain it, and 
to set them an example she informs them, that to main- 
tain it effectually she equips a powerful squadron. What 
has given occasion to this astonishing measure ? The in- 
fraction of treaties on the part of Great Britain. By the 
treaties of 1673 and 1674, Holland had a right to carry 
all, which was not expressly declared contraband ; in spile 
of the existence of these treaties, Commodore Fielding 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 1S3 

received the extravagant orders to seize a Dutch convoy. 
This act of madness alarmed Russia, who forthwith pub- 
lished her Manifesto, which Holland, France, and Spain 
have received, with all the marks of the most perfect satis- 
faction. France has not failed to seize this opportunity to 
press the completion of the maritime code announced by 
the Empress, promising to adopt it, and to unite with her 
to support it. 

"Such is the situation in which we find ourselves ; not a 
single ally I there did remain to us one friend ; Adminis- 
tration has found the secret to break with him. Is it not 
the most consummate madness not to have sought to insure 
a single ally ? Opportunities have presented themselves 
more than once, more than twice, more than four times. 
If at the end of the war Administration was weary of the 
connexion with the King of Prussia ; if they preferred the 
friendship, or even the alliance of the House of Austria, 
the opportunity of making sure ol" it presented itself a few 
years ago. In 1773, the epocha of the troubles in Poland, 
Great Britain would have made a friend of this House, by 
interposing its authority ; this measure would have been 
agreeable to more than one power of Europe. If we had 
preferred the alliance of the King of Prussia, an opportu- 
nity has presented more recently of procuring it, that of 
the death of the Elector of Bavaria ; sometime before this 
event, France foresaw it with terror. She perceived how 
much it might turn to ihe advantage of Great Britain, and 
how much the wnr, that it would infallibly occasion be- 
tween the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, would be contrary 
to her interests. What parts have our Ministers acted in 
this circumstance ? They let it escape like the first ; in- 
stead of ronciliating the friendship of Anslria, or renewing 



184 JOHN ADAMS 

that of Prussia, they have discovered the secret of disgust- 
ing these two powers, as well as nearly all those of Eu- 
rope ; they have suffered that France should be the me- 
diator between them, and make their peace. 

Their conduct in regard to the Court of Petersburg, has 
been equally chargeable with negligence ; they have let 
slip one or two occasions of conciliating the friendship of 
that Court. At the time of her rupture with the Porte, 
what part have they acted ? They did not enter into the 
negotiation ; but, which they will perhajis have cause to 
repent, they sent vessels to the Russians to teach them 
how they might obtain and preserve that domination of the 
seas, to which they pretend at this day. Such are the 
fruits of the prudence and wisdom of our Ministers. They 
have lost America, the most beautiful half of the Empire, 
and against the half that remains to us, they have excited 
all the powers of Europe. I say decidedly, that they have 
lost America, because, after what has passed in Hol- 
land and in Russia, one must be very short sighted not to 
see, that in fine, and at present, the independence of 
America is consummated. The maritime code confirms 
the rest. France and the other maritime powers, whose 
interest it is, that America should never return to the 
domination of England, will take care to comprehend her 
in the code; but I forewarn the Administration, that this 
code will soon be in force ; that if they do not speedily 
make arrangements with Holland, there will be soon held 
at the Hague a Congress, to the effect to give the sanc- 
tion of maritime Europe to the law which establishes, that 
free ships shall make free goods." 

I cannot say that his Lordship is perfectly fair in this 
speech, nor that he has been much wiser than the Minister. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 185 

The true cause why the JMinister suffered France to make 
the peace between Russia and the Turk, and between 
Austria and Prussia, was tbe American war. While they 
pursued that phantom, all their men, all their ships, and all 
their money were necessary, and the whole not enough ; 
so that they had not the power to lend troops, ships, or 
guineas to the Emperor, the King of Prussia, the Grand 
Seignior, nor the Empress of Russia. If they had been 
wise, made peace with America, acknowledged her equal 
station with the powers of the earth, and conciliated as 
much as they then might have done, her affection and her 
commerce, they might have preserved their importance in 
Europe at the peace of Teschen and the other peace. 
But my Lord Shelburne should have remembered, that 
he was at that time as much against acknowledging Ame- 
rican independence, and as much for prosecuting the war 
against America as ihe Ministers ; so that it does not ap- 
pear, that his wisdom was so much greater than theirs. I 
am glad, however, that his Lordship is convinced, and I 
hope some time or other the Minister will be ; but they 
have all called us rebels, till they have turned their own 
heads. This word rebellion makes Englishmen mad j 
they still continue to use it, and by this means as well as 
many others, to nourish and cherish the most rancorous 
and malignant passions in their own bosoms against us, and 
they will continue to do so a long time to come. 

I have the honor to be, k.c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

VOL. v. 24 



186 JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THF. PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 12th, 1780. 

Sir, 

The following is given in ihe public papers, as a copy 
of the bill proposed by Governor Pownal, on the 24th of 
May, for putting Great Britain in a situation for making 
peace with America. 

"In order to reinove all doubts or disabilities, which 
may prevent, obstruct, or delay the happy work of peace, 
may it please your Majesty, that it may be declared and 
enacted, and it is hereby declared and enacted, he. &ic. 

"That his Majesty is empowered to make a conven- 
tion or truce, or to conclude a peace with ihe inhabitants 
of New Hampshire, i\Iassachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, 
and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, the three Delaware Counties, Mary- 
land, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, in 
North America, convened in Congress, or in any other 
Assembly or Assemblies, or with any person or persons 
authorised to act for, and in behalf of the same, in such 
form and manner as he, by virtue of the prerogative of his 
Crown hath power to do in all other cases, and on such 
terms and conditions, as in the course of events shall be- 
come convenient and necessary for tlie honor and welfare 
of his Majesty and his people. And in order thereto, be 
' it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after 
the passing of this act, it shall, and may be lawful, for his 
Majesty to appoint such person or persons (subjects of 
Great Britain) as his Majesty in his wisdom shall think fit, 
and fully to authorise and empower the same to treat, con- 
suit, and agree with the said Americans, or with any part 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESl'ONDKNCE. 187 

of them, or with any person or persons acting lor and in 
their behalf to the said purpose of convention, truce, or 
peace. And be it further enacted, that from and after the 
passing of this act, it shall, and may be lawful, for his ]\Iaj- 
esty to grant safe conduct to any such person or persons 
whatsoever, as his Majesty shall see cause and judge 
proper to receive on the ground of treaty for such conven- 
tion, truce, or peace, in like manner as he is by divers 
ancient statutes empowered to do in the cases therein 
specified/' 

On the 19th of iMay, at a meeting of the wholesale mer- 
chants of Dublin, and several merchants of the out-ports, 
convened by the committee of merchants, the following 
resolutions were unanimously agreed to. 

^^Resolved, That this kingdom cannot possibly derive 
any material advantages from a free trade with the British 
Islands in the West Indies, without securing a market here 
for raw sugar ; that being the cspital article here of the 
produce of those Islands, and the principal return to be 
'obtained for any manufactures of Ireland, which may be 
exported to the British Colonies. 

'■'-Resolved, That a market here foi- our raw sugar, can 
only be secured in a tolerable degree, by laying an addi- 
tional duty on refined sugar, of sixteen shillings and seven 
pence half penny per hundred weight, being three times 
the additional duty to which liie raw material is intended 
to be subjected. 

^^Resolved, That we view with the utmost concern and 
astonishment, a measure likely to be adopted, not only 
destructive of the sugar refinery of this kingdom, but, con- 
sequently, frustrating the professed benefits held out to 
Ireland on laying open to her the Colony trade. 



ISS JOH-N ADAMS. 

'■'■Resolved, That we verily believe this to be tlie insid- 
ious intention of those in Great Britain who have sugges- 
ted the measure. 

^'Resolved, That wc cannot but hold in the utmost con- 
tempt and detestation, every Iriohman of whatever rank or 
station, who, from private and selfish considerations, shall 
prove base enough to be subservient to the insidious pur- 
pose of those, who aim at baffling and defeating the com- 
mercial interests of this too long oppressed and unkindly 
treated coimtry. 

'■'■Resolved, Tliat if we find the commercial interests of 
our country deserted, where we have and ought to expect 
guardianship, whether from ignorance of the subject, mis- 
representations received and too easily listened to, or any 
other cause, it will then be incumbent on us, as the only 
remedy for self preservation, to enter along with our fellow- 
citizens and countrymen, of whose general concurrence 
on such a necessary occasion we entertain no doubt, into 
such an eflectual association against the importation and 
use of the manufactures of this kingdom, as may secure to 
the industry of Irishmen, the benefits at least of their own 
consumption. 

^^Resolvedf Tliat a committee be appointed to transmit 
copies of these resolutions to the merchants of the princi- 
pal trading towns in this kingdom, and that the said com- 
mittee do consist of Mr. Hartley, &c. 

"Resolved, That the committee be empowered to con- 
vene a general meeting when they shall think fit." 

On the 15ih of May, Mr. Martin, in the House of Com- 
mons of Ireland, after having laid open in great detail, the 
increase which had crept in by degrees upon the civil es- 
tablishment of Ireland, proposed that a committee should be 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDILNCE. ISO 

appointed, and especially instructed to examine into this 
alarming augmentation, and to propose a plan of economy, 
by means of which tliey might lighten the burden of the 
civil establishment of Ireland of the useless weight, which 
overloaded it ; but he withdrew his motion on account of 
the shortness of the time and the assurance that was given 
him, that this object should be one of the first attended to 
next session. 

On the 17th, the House in a committee of ways and 
means, resolved upon a duty of five shillings and tenpence 
per hundred weight to be laid on refined sugar, imported 
from England. 

On the 18th, they were about to confirm the resolution, 
when an opposition arose, and Mr Yelverton spoke with 
so much energy, that the next day, the 19th, the House 
resolved upon a duty of twelve shillings, to the great detri- 
ment of the refiners of sugar at London. IVlr Yelverton 's 
oratory was neither more nor less, than that he would head 
the people, the only argument which carries any decisive 
weight in that House, and this very seldom fails. 

Nothing which is now, or will soon be interesting to the 
commerce and navigation of the United States, is improper 
for me to send to Congress. 

The port Vendres, situated in Roussiilon, twenty leagues 
from Barcelona and four from Roses, upon the coast of 
the Mediterranean, having been a long time filled up and 
abandoned, the King has ordered the reparation of it, and 
it is now in u condition to receive not only merchant ves- 
sels of any size, but frigates, and will very soon be fit for 
ships of the line. This port, the position of which forms 
the centre of the coast of the Mediterranean, receives by 
its right all that comes out of the Straits, and by its left 



190 JOHN ADAMS. 

what comes from the Levant and the coast of Italy, at the 
passage of the Gulf of Lyon ; and it presents to all the 
commercial nations, not only a center of union, the most 
advantageous for reciprocal commerce, but at the same 
time a mart, and an asylum so much the more safe, as 
this port is sheltered from all the winds by the mountains, 
which surround it, and as vessels are there as quiet as in a 
canal, and as it is not yet known but to those who within a 
year past have taken refuge in bad weather, and have 
owed their safety to it, several having perished for want of 
knowing it, they have given two points by which to know 
it, by painting white the fort St Elme, and the tower of 
Massanc, placed upon the highest mountain of the Py- 
renees, which are seen at the distance of fifteen or twenty 
leagues at sea, and they have placed at the entrance of the 
port a lighthouse, which throws its light more than five 
leagues in the night. Roussillon, moreover, can furnish 
by itself wines of the first quality, oils, iron,'silks, and wools, 
almost as beautiful as those of Spain, and many other pro- 
ductions. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, .luiie llitli, 1780. 

Sir, 
1 have lately obtained a sight of a number of pamphlets, 
published in London, which are given out as written by Mr 
Galloway, but there arc many circumstances in them which 
convince me they are written in concert by the refugees. 
I see many traces, which appear unequivocal, of the liand of 
Governor Hutchinson in some of them. I have read them 



DIPLOMATIC CORRKSrONDENCE. 191 

with pleasure and surprise, because it seems to me, that if 
their professed intention had been to convince America, 
that it is both her interest and duty to support her sove- 
reignty and her alliance, they could not have taken a method 
so effectual. 

"Such treaties" says he, (iliat is an offensive and defen- 
sive alliance between France and America) "will naturally 
coincide with their several views and interests, as soon as 
American Independence shall be acknowledged by the pow- 
ers of Europe. America will naturally wish, while she is 
rising from her infant state into opulence and power, to 
cover her dominions under the protection of France, and 
France will find new resources of strength in American 
commerce, armies and naval force. 

"The recovery of America from the disasters and dis- 
tresses of war will be rapid and sudden. Very unlike an 
old country whose population is full, and whose cultivation, 
commerce and strength, have arrived at their height, the 
multiplication of her numbers, and the increase of her power 
will surpass all expectation. If her sudden growth has 
already exceeded the most sanguine ideas, it is certain, that 
the increase of her strength, when supported and assisted 
by France, and pushed forward by the powerful motives 
arising from her separate interest, her own preservation, 
and the prospect of her owa arising glory and importance 
*imong nations, will far outrun any idea we have had of her 
late population. Nor will it be the interest of America to 
check the ambition of France, while confined to Europe. 
Her distance, and the safety arising from it, will render her 
regardless of the fate of nations on this side of the Atlantic, 
as soon as her own strength shall be established. The 
prosperity or ruin of kingdoms, from whose power she can 



192 JOHN ADAMS. 

have nothing to fear, aad whose assistance she can never 
want, will be matters cf equal inditterence. She can wish 
for no other connexion with Europe than that of com- 
merce, and this will be better secured in the hands of an 
ally than in those with whom she holds no other connex- 
ion. (The word no is an evident error in the press.) So 
that it will be of little concern to her whether Great Bri- 
tain, Spain, Holland, Germany, or Russia, shall be ruled 
by one or more monarchs. The new States are and will 
continue the allies of France, our natural enemy, unless re- 
duced, and although at this time by far die greater part of the 
people w'ish and hone for an union with this country, and 
are ready to unite with us in reducing the power of their 
tyrants, in the moment the least encouragement shall be 
given for that purpose, which the infatuated policy of every 
commander has hitherto withheld, yet should they be dis- 
appointed in their hope, it will compel them lo unite widi 
the enemies of this kingdom. 

"The mode of carrying on the war, more cruel to 
friends than to foes, added to the inhumanity and treachery 
of this country, in not exerting its powers for their relief, 
will not fail to create permanent enmity and resentment, 
and the obligations ol gratitude to the nation, which shall 
save them from our ravages, will stamp impressions never 
to be eflaced. Advantage will be taken of these disposi- 
tions by the policy of France, to establish treaties of alli- 
ance and commerce with them, which will be founded on 
two great principles, their own mutual interest and the sub- 
duing the power of Great J3ritain ; and if she should be 
permitted to trade with them at all, it will only be to share 
with other nations in the worthless remains, after their own 
and the purposes of their allies are served." 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 193 

Here Congress will see the extreme ignorance or de- 
ception of the writer, in affirming, that the "far greater 
part of the people wish and hope for a union with Great 
Britain, and are ready to unite in reducing," &ic. But 
notwithstanding tlie had faith of the writer, we see that 
such is the force of truth, that he cannot adduce an argu- 
ment to persuade the English to continue the war, without 
producing at the same time a much stronger argument to 
persuade the Americans to adhere to the last to their sove- 
reignty and their alliances. Of this nature are all his 
other arguments. 

"With the Independence of America," says he, "we 
must give up our fisheries on the Bank of Newfoundland, 
and in the American seas." Supposing this to be true, which 
it is in part, but not in the whole, if Great Britain loses her 
fisheries, does not America gain them ? Are they not an 
object then to America, as important and desirable as to 
Great Britain ? Has not America then at least as strong 
and pressing a motive to fight for them as Great Britain ? 
The question then is reduced to another, which has the 
best prospect of contending for them successfully ? Am- 
erica, favored by all the world, or Great Britain thwarted 
and opposed by all the world. And to whom did God 
and nature give them ? The English lay great stress upon 
the gifts of God and nature, as they call the advantage of 
their insular situation, to justify their injustice and hostil- 
ities against all the maritime powers of the world. Why 
should the Americans hold the blessings of Providence in 
a lower estimation, which they can enjoy, without doing 
ii\jury to any nation or individual whatsoever? 

"With American independence, we must give up thirty- 
five thousand American seamen, and twentyeight thousand 
vni,. V. 25 



194 JOHN ADAMS. 

more bred and maintained in those excellent nurseries the 
fisheries. Our valuable trade, carried on from thence 
with the Roman Catholic States, will be in the hands of 
America. These nurseries and this trade will ever re- 
main the natural right of the people who inhabit that coun- 
try. A trade so profitable, and a nursery of seamen so 
excellent and so necessary for the support of her naval 
force, will never be given up, or even divided by America 
with any power whatsoever." 

Jf Great Britain loses sixtythree thousand seamen by 
our independence, and I believe she will not lose much 
less, I mean in the course of a few years, will not America 
gain them ? Are sixtythree thousand seamen a feebler 
bulwark for America than Great Britain ? Are they wea- 
ker instruments of wealth and strength, of power and 
glory, in the hands of Americans, than in those of the 
English ; at the command of Congress than at the com- 
mand of the King of England ? Are they not then as 
strong a temjitation to us to continue the war, as to them ? 
The question then recurs again, which has the fairest pros- 
pect of success? America, which grows stronger every 
year, or England, which grows weaker? 

"The British islands," he adds, "in the West Indies 
must fall of course. The same power that can compel 
Great Britain to yield up America, will compel her to give 
up the West Indies. They are evidently the immediate 
objects of France." 

The true political consequence from this is to stop short, 
make peace, and save the British islands while you ran ; 
once taken, it will be more diflkult to get them back. 
The whole returns again to the question, are you able to 
keep peace at home and in Ireland, and the East Indies, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE 195 

to settle matters with llie maritime powers, and go on with 
the war long enough to beat France and Spain, make them 
renounce the war, and after that reduce the United States 
of America to submission ? Will your soldiers, your sea- 
men, and your revenues hold out till this is done, and after 
it shall be done, be sufficient to keep up a force sufficient 
to keep down France, Spain, and America ? 

"France," he subjoins, "expects from the independence 
of America, and the acquisition of the West India Islands, 
the sovereignty of the British seas, if not of Great Britain 
itself " 

Is not this the strongest of all arguments for putting an 
end to the war? Now you may make peace, and keep 
the West India Islands, and secure the neutrality at least of 
America for the future ; and in this case you may at least 
maintain your owa sovereignty, and the freedom of the 
British seas. France at present claims no more tiian free- 
dom on any seas. If you make peace at present, you 
may have more of American trade in future than France, 
and derive more support to your navy than she will to her 
marine from that country, and consequently may preserve 
your liberty upon all seas ; but by pushing the war you 
will weaken yourselves and strengthen France and Spain 
to such a degree, that they will have in the end such a 
superiority as may endanger your liberty. But if Great 
Britain is to lose the West India Islands, and the sove- 
reignty of the seas, by the independence of America, 
surely France, Spain, or America, or all three together 
are to gain them. And are not these advantages as tempt- 
ing to these powers as to England, and as urgent motives 
to pursue the war ? 

So that we come again to the old question, which is 



196 JOHN ADAMS 

likely lo hold it ont longeal? Tiiu immense inexhaustible 
resources of France, Spain, and Anierica together, or the 
ruined, exhausted, or distracted kingdom of Great Britain. 
The writer goes on. "France has long struggled to rival 
us in our manufactiues in vain ; this will enable her to do 
it with effect." If England were to make peace now, it 
is very doubtful whether France would be able to rival her 
in manufactiu'es, those I mean which are most wanted in 
America, of wool and iron. But if she continues the war, 
France will be very likely to rival her, to effect, as it is 
certain she is taking measures for the purpose and the lon- 
ger the war continues, the more opportunity she will have 
of (pursuing those measures to effect. 

"We receive," says he, "from the West India Islands, 
certain commodities absolutely necessary to carry on our 
manufactures to any advantage and extent, and which we 
can procure Irom no other country. We must take the 
remains from France or America, after they have supplied 
themselves and fulfilled their contracts with their allies, at 
their own prices, and loaded with the expense of foreign 
transportation, if we are permitted to trade for them at all." 
Is it possible to demonstrate the necessity of making peace, 
now while we may, more clearly ? We may now preserve 
the West India Islands, but continuing the war we lose 
them infallibly. 

"But this is not all wc shall lose with the West Indies," 
says the writer. "We must add to our loss of seamen 
sustained by the independence of America, at least twenty 
thousand more, wlif) have been bred and maintained in the 
trade from Great Britain to the West Indies, and in the 
West India trade among themselves, and with other parts, 
amounting in the whule to u[)wards of eighty thousand ; a 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 197 

loss, which cannot fail to affect the sensibility of every 
man who loves this country, and knows that its safety can 
only be secured by its navy." 

Is not this full proof of the necessity of making peace ? 
These seamen may now be saved, with the islands whose 
commerce supports them. But if we continue the war, 
will France and Spain be less zealous to conquer your 
islands ? Because, by this means they will certainly take 
away from you, and divide among themselves, twenty thou- 
sand seamen. Taking these islands from you, and annex- 
ing them to France and Spain, will in fact increase the 
trade of France, Spain, the United Provinces of the Low 
Countries, the United States of America, and Denmark ; 
and the twenty thousand seamen will be divided in some 
proportion among all these powers. The Dutch and the 
Americans will have the carriage of a good deal of this 
trade, in consequence of their dismemberment from you, 
and annexion to France and Spain ; do you expect to save 
these things by continuing the war ? Or that these powers 
will be less zealous to continue it, by your holding out to 
them such temptations ? 

"Will not Great Britain lose much of her independence 
in the present state of Europe," continues the writer, "while 
she is obliged to other countries for her naval stores ? In 
the time of Queen Anne, we paid at Stockholm three 
pounds per barrel for pitch and tar, to the extortionate 
Swede ; and such was the small demand of those coun- 
tries for the manufactures of this, that the balance of trade 
was greatly in their favor. The gold which we obtained 
in our other commerce, was continually pouring into their 
laps. But we have reduced that balance, by our importa- 
tion of large quantities of those supplies from America." 



198 JOHN ADAMS 

But what is there to hinder Great Britain iVotii import- 
ing pitch, tar, and turpentine from America, after her inde- 
pendence ? She may be obliged to give a somewhat 
higher price, because France, Spain, Holland, and all 
other nations will import them too. But will this higher 
price induce Ainerica to give up her independence ? Will 
the prosi^ect which is opened to the other maritime powers 
of drawing these supplies from America, in exchange 
for their productions, make them less zealous- to support 
American independence ? Will the increase of the de- 
mand upon the northern powers for these articles, in con- 
sequence of the destruction of the British monopoly in 
America, make these powers less inclined to American 
independency ? The British monopoly and British boun- 
ties, it was in fact, which reduced the price of these arti- 
cles in the norliiern markets. The ceasing of that monop- 
oly and those bounties, will rather raise the price in the 
Baltic, because those States in America in which pitch 
and tar chiefly grow, have so many articles of more profit- 
able cultivation, that without bounties it is not probable that 
trade will flourish to a degree, to reduce the prices in the 
north of Europe. Should a war take place between Us 
and the northern powers, where are we to procure our 
naval stores ? inquires the pamphleteer. 

I answer, make peace with America, and procure them 
from her. But if you go to war with America and the 
Northern Powers at once, you will get them nowhere. 
This writer appears to have had no suspicion of the real 
intentions of the Northern Powers, when he wrote his book. 
Wiiat he will say now after the confederation of all of them 
against Great Britain, for I can call it no otherwise, 1 am 
at a loss to conjecture. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESrONDENCE. 199 

"Timber of every kind, iron, saltpetre, tar, pitch, tur- 
pentine, and hemp, are raised and manufactured in Amer- 
ica. Fields, of a hundred thousand acres, of hemp, are 
to be seen spontaneously growing between the Ohio and 
the Mississippi, and of a quality little inferior to the Eu- 
ropean." 

Are not these articles as precious to France, Spain, 
and Holland as to England ? Will not these powers be 
proportionably active to procure a share of them, or a lib- 
erty to trade in them, as England will be to defend her 
monopoly of them ? And will not America be as alert to 
obtain the freedom of selling them to the best advantage in 
a variety of markets as other nations will for that of pur- 
chasing ihem ? 

Will the coasting trade, and that of the Baltic and Med- 
iterranean, with the small intercourse we have in our bot- 
toms with other nations, furnish seamen sufficient for a 
navy necessary for the protection of Great Britain and its 
trade ? Will our mariners continue as they are, when our 
manufactures are laboring under the disadvantage of receiv- 
ing their materials at higher and exorbitant prices, and 
selling at foreign markets at a certain loss. Will these 
nurseries of seamen, thus weakened, supply the loss of 
eighty thousand, sustained by the independence of Amer- 
ica, and the conquest of the West Indies? 

But what is the tendency of this ? If it serves to con- 
vince Britain that she should continue the war, does it not 
serve to convince the allies that they ought to continue it 
too ? For they are to get all that Britain is to lose, and 
America is to be the greatest gainer of all ; w-hereas she is 
not only to lose these objects, but her liberties too, if she is 
subdued. France, Spain, and all the other maritime pow- 



200 JOHN ADAMS. 

ers, are to gain a share of these objects, if Britain loses 
them ; whereas they not only lose all share in them, but 
even the safety and existence of their flags upon the ocean 
may be lost, if America is reduced, and the British mo- 
nopoly of American trade, fisheries, and seamen is revived. 

"It does not require the spirit of divination to perceive 
that Great Britain, robbed of her foreign dominions and 
commerce, her nurseries of seamen lost, her navy weak- 
ened, and the power of her ambitious neighbors thus 
strengthened and increased, will not be able to maintain 
her independence among the nations." 

If she would now make peace, she might preserve not 
only her independence, but a great share of her present 
importance. If she continues this war but a year or two 
longer, she will be reduced to the government of her own 
island, in two independent kingdoms, Scotland and Eng- 
land probably. As to conquest and subordination to some 
neighboring power, none that has common sense would 
accept the government of that island, because it would cost 
infinitely more to maintain it than it would be worth. 

Thus I have given some account of these "cool thoughts 
on the consequences of American independence," which 1 
consider as the result of all the consultations and delibera- 
tions of the refugees upon the subject. 

I think it might as well have been entitled, an Essay 
towards demonstrating that it is the clear interest and the 
indispensable duty of America, to maintain her sovereignty 
and her alliances at all events, and of France, Spain, Hol- 
land, and all the maritime powers to support her in the pos- 
session of them. 

1 have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 201 

TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES. 

Paris, June IRtli, 1780. 

Sir, 
I have just received a letter from Nantes, brought in a 
ship from New London. I enclose your Excellency a 
newspaper enclosed in it, and an extract of the letter, 
which is from a gentleman who is a member of the assem- 
bly, and one of the judges of Boston. This is all the news 
I have. I hope your Excellency has more by the same 
vessel. 

I have the honor to be, &£c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

P. S. I have mislaid the letter from Boston. The 
extract informed, that a bill had passed the two Houses of 
Assembly, adopting the resolution of Congress of the ISth 
of March, and establishing an annual tax for seven years, 
for the redemption of their part of the bills payable in sil- 
ver and gold, or in produce at the market price, In hard 
money. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 17th, 1780. 

Sir, 
The refugees in England are so great an obstacle to 
peace, that it seems not improper for me to take notice 
of ihem to Congress. Governor Hutchinson is dead. 
Whether the late popular insurrections, or whether the 
resolutions of Congress of the ISth of March, respecting 
their finances, by suddenly extinguishing the last rnys of 
his hopes, put a sudden end to his life, or whether it was 
VOL. V. 26 



202 - r JOHN ADAMS. 

\ - 

/ 
owing to any other cause, I know not. He was born to 

be the cause and the victim of popular fury, outrage, and 
conflagrations. Descended from an ancient and honorable 
family, born and educated in America, professing all the 
zeal of the congregational religion, affecting to honor the 
characters of the first planters of the new world, and to 
vindicate the character of America, and especially of 
New England, early initiated into public business, industri- 
ous and indefatigable in it, beloved and esteemed by the 
people, elected and trusted by them and their representa- 
tives, his views opened and extended by repeated travels 
in Europe, engaged in extensive correspondence in Eu- 
rope as well as in America, favored by the Crown of 
Great Britain, and possessed of its honors and emoluments ; 
possessed of all these advantages and surrounded by all 
these circumstances, he was perhaps the only man in the 
world who could have brought on the controversy between 
Great Britain and America, in the manner and at the time 
it was done, and involved the two countries in an enmity, 
which must end in their everlasting separation. Yet this 
was the character of the man, and these his memorable 
actions. An inextinguishable ambition and avarice, that 
were ever seen among his other qualities, and which grew 
with his growth and strengthened with his age and expe- 
rience, and at last predominated over every other prin- 
ciple of his heart, rendered him credulous to a childish 
degree, of everything that favored his ruling passion, and 
blind and deaf to everything that thwarted it, to such a 
degree, that his representations, with those of his fellow- 
laborer, Bernard, drew on the King, Ministry, Parliament, 
and nation, to concert measures, which will end in their 
reduction and the exaltation of America. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRLSPO.NDENCE. 203 

I think 1 see visible traces of his councils in a number 
of pamphlets, not long since published in London, and as- 
cribed to Mr Galloway. It is most probable, that they 
were concerted between the Ministry and the refugees in 
general, and that IVIr Galloway was to be given out as the 
ostensible, as he probably was the principal author. 

"The cool thoughts on the consequences of American in- 
dependence," although calculated to inflame a hasty warlike 
nation to pursue the conquest of America, are sober reasons 
for defending our independence and our alliances, and there- 
fore proper for me to lay before my countrymen. The pam- 
phlet says, "it has been often asserted, that Great Britain 
has expended in settling and defending America, more 
than she will ever be able to repay, and that it will be 
more to the profit of this kingdom to give her indepen- 
dence, and to lose what we have expended, than to retain 
her as a part of her dominions." To this he answers, "that 
the bounties on articles of commerce, and the expense of 
the last war, ought not to be charged to America, and that 
the sums expended in support of Colonial governments, 
have been confined to New York, the Carolinas, Georgia, 
Nova Scotia, and East and West Florida. That New 
England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tvlaryland, Delaware, 
and Virginia, have not cost Great Britain a farthing, and 
that the whole expense of the former is no more than 
£1,700,000, and when we deduct the £700,000, extrava- 
gantly expended in building a key at Halifax, we can only 
call it one million." He concludes, "that posterity will 
feel that America was not only worth all that was spent 
upon her, but that a just, firm, and constitutional subordi- 
nation of the Colonies, was absolutely necessary to the in- 
dependence and existence of Great Britain." Here I 
think I see the traces of Mr Hutchinson. 



204 JOHN ADAMS. 

Another argument, he says, much relied on by the ad- 
vocates for American independence is, "that a similarity of 
laws, religion, and manners, has formed an attachment be- 
tween the people of Great Britain and America, which 
will ensure to Great Britain a preference in the commerce 
of America." He agrees, "that a uniformity of laws and 
religion, united with a subordination to the same supreme 
authority, in a great measure forms and fixes the national 
attachment. But when the laws and the supreme author- 
ity are abolished, the manners, habits, and customs de- 
rived from them will soon be eflaced. When different 
systems of laws and governments shall be established, 
other habits and manners must take place. The fact is, 
that the Americans have already instituted governments, 
as opposite to the principles upon which the British gov- 
ernment is established as human invention could possibly 
devise. New laws are made, and will be made in con- 
formity to, and in support of their new political systems, 
and of course destructive to this national attachment. 
Their new States being altogedier popular, their essential 
laws do already, and will continue to bear a greater re- 
semblance to those of the democratical Cantons of Swit- 
zerland, than to the laws and policy of Great Britain. 
Thus we find, in their first acts, the strongest of all proofs 
of an aversion in their rulers to our national policy, and a 
sure foundation laid to obliterate all affection and attach- 
ment to this country among the people. How long then 
can we expect that their attachment, arising from a simi- 
larity of laws, habits, and manners, if any such should re- 
main, will continue ? No longer than between the United 
Provinces and Spain, or the Corsicans and the Genoese, 
which was changed, from the moment of their separation, 
into an enmity, which is not worn out to this day." 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 205 

How it is possible for these rulers, wiio are the crea- 
tures of tlie people, and constantly dependent upon them 
for their political existence, to have the strongest aversion 
to the national policy of Great Britain, and at the same 
lime the far greater part of the people wish and hope for a 
union with that country, and are ready to unite in reducing 
the powers of those rulers, as this author, asserts, I know 
not. 1 leave him to reconcile it. If he had been candid, 
and confessed that the attachment in American minds in 
general is not very strong to the laws and government of 
England, and that they rather prefer a different form of 
government, I should have agreed with him, as I certainly 
shall agree, that no attachment between nations arising 
merely from a similarity of laws and government, is ever 
very strong, or sufficient to bind nations together, who 
have opposite or even diiferent interests. 

"As to attachments," says he, "arising from a similarity 
of religion, they will appear still more groundless and ridic- 
ulous. America has no predominant religion. There is 
not a religious society in Europe, which is not to be found 
in America. If we wish to visit the churches of England, 
or the meetings of the Lutherans, Methodists, Calvinisls, 
Presbyterians, Moravians, jNIenonists, Swinfielders, Dump- 
lers, or Roman Catholics, we shall find them all in Amer- 
ica. 

"What a motley, or rather how many different and op- 
posite attachments, will this jumble of religions make. 

"Should there be any remains of this kind of national 
attachment, we may conclude, that the Lutherans, Calvin- 
ists, Menonists, Swinfielders, Dumplers, and Moravians, 
will be attached to Germany, the country from whence 
they emigrated, and where their religions are best tolera- 



206 JOHN ADAMS. 

ted ; the Presbyterians and Puritans to Ireland, and the 
Roman Catholics to France, Spain, and the Pope, and the 
small number of the Church of England to Great Britain. 

"Do we not daily see, Monarchies at war with Monar- 
chies, Infidels with Infidels, Christians with Christians, 
Catholics with Catholics, and Dissenters with Dissenters ? 
What stress then can be justly laid on an attachment aris- 
ing from a similarity of laws, government, or religion ? 

"It has also been asserted, that America will be led 
from motives of interest, to give the preference in trade to 
this country, because we can supply her with manufac- 
tures cheaper than she can raise them or purchase them 
from others. 

"But a commercial alliance is already ratified, greatly 
injurious to the trade of Great Britain, and should France 
succeed in supporting American independence, no one can 
doubt but other treaties, yet more injurious, will be added ; 
and as to the ability of America to manufacture, she pos- 
sesses, or can produce a greater variety of raw materials, 
than any other country on the globe. When she shall 
have a separate and distinct interest of her own to pursue, 
her views will be enlarged, her policy exerted to her own 
benefit, and her interest instead of being united with, will 
become not only different from, but opposite to that of 
Great Britain. She will readily perceive, that manufac- 
tures are the great foundation of commerce, that com- 
merce is the great means of acquiring wealth, and that 
wealth is necessary to her own safety. With these inter- 
esting prospects before her, it is impossible to conceive, 
that she will not exert her capacity to promote manufac- 
tures and commerce. She will see it to be clearly her 
interest not only to manufacture for herself but others. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 207 

Laws will be made granting bounties to encourage it, and 
duties will be laid to discourage or prohibit foreign impor- 
tations. By these measures iier manufactures will in- 
crease, her commerce will be extended ; and feeling the 
benefits of them as they rise, her industry will be excited, 
until she shall not only supply her own wants, but those of 
Great Britain herself, with all the manufactures made with 
her own materials. The natin-e of commerce is roving; 
she has been at different periods in possession of the Phoe- 
nicians, Carthaginians, and the Venetians; Germany and 
France lately enjoyed her, and supplied Great Britain with 
their manufactures. Great Britain at present folds her in 
her arms." 

Surely it was never intended that any American should 
read this pamphlet, it contains so many arguments and 
motives for perseverance in our righteous and glorious 
cause. It is astonishing, however, that, instead of stimulat- 
ing England to pursue their unjust and inglorious enter- 
prise, it does not convince all of the impracticability of it, 
and induce them to make peace. 
I have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE COUNT DK VERGENNES. 

Paris, June 20th, 1780. 

Sir, 
Last evening I received the letter, an extract of which 
I have the honor to enclose. It is from ]Mr Gerry, a 
member of Congress, who has been a member of their 
Treasury Board from the beginning of the year 177G.* 

• See this letter above, dated May 6ih, 1780, p. 52 



208 JOHN ADAMS. 

It is much to be regretted, that the Congress did not 
publish their resolution to pay off the loan office certifi- 
cates, according to the value of money, at the time of 
tlieir being respectively issued, with their resolutions of the 
ISih of March ; because this I think would have prevented 
the alarm, that has been spread in Europe. It will be 
found, that almost all the interest that European merchants 
or others have in our funds, lies in these certificates, and 
that almost all the paper bills now in possession of tlieir 
factors in America, have been received within a few 
months; immediately before the 18th of March, and con- 
sequently received at a depreciation of forty for one, at 
least, perhaps at a much greater. 

AUhough some Europeans may have considerable sums 
in loan office certificates, yet I have reason to believe, that 
the whole will be found much less than is imagined. 
They have realized their property generally as they went 
along. Some may have purchased land, others have pur- 
chased bills of exchange, others have purchased the pro- 
duce of the country, which they have exported to St 
Eustatia, to the French West India Islands, and to Eu- 
rope, 

I have the honor to be, &c. ■ 

JOHN ADAMS. 



COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Translation. 

Versailles, June 21st, 17S0. 

Sir, 
I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write me on the 16th of this month, and also the extract 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 209 

of the letter addressed to you from Boston, dated the 2Gth 
of April. 

From this it appears, that the Assembly of .Massachu- 
setts has determined to adopt die resolution of Congress, 
fixing the vqlue of the paper money at forty for one in 
specie. On reading that resolution, I was persuaded, that 
it had no other object than that of restoring the value of 
the paper money by lessening its quantity, and that in con- 
sequence of that operation the paper not brought in would 
take its course according to the circumstances, that would 
give it a greater or less degree of credit. What confirmed 
me in this opinion, was the liberty given to the possessors of 
the paper money to carry it to the treasury of their State, 
or to keep it in their own possession. But from the infor- 
mation I have since received, and the letter, which you have 
been pleased to communicate to me, I have reason to be- 
lieve, that it is the intention of Congress to maintain the 
paper money invariably at the exchange of forty for one, 
and to settle on that footing all the paper money, which 
has been thrown into circulation, in order to reduce insen- 
sibly the two hundred millions of dollars, for which it is 
indebted, to five millions. 

I will not presume. Sir, to criticise upon this operation, 
because I have no right to examine or comment upon the 
internal arrangements, which Congress may consider as 
just and profitable ; and moreover I readily agree, that there 
may be some situations so critical as to force the best regu- 
lated and best established governments to adopt extraor- 
dinary measures to repair their finances, and put them in a 
condition to answer the public expenses; and this I am 
persuaded has been the principal reason, that induced 
VOL. V. 27 



210 JOHN ADAMS. 

Congress to depreciate the money, which they themselves 
have emitted. 

Rut while I admit, Sir, that that Assembly might have 
recourse to the expedient abovementioned in order to re- 
move their load of debt, I am far from agreeing, that it 
is just, or agreeable to the ordinary course of things to ex- 
tend the effect to strangers, as well as to citizens of the 
United States. On the contrary, 1 think it ought to be 
confined to Americans, and that an exception ought to be 
made in favor of strangers, or at least, that some means 
ought to be devised to indemnify them, for the losses they 
may suffer by the general laws. 

In order to make you sensible of the truth of this obser- 
vation, I will only remark, Sir, that the Americans alone 
ought to support the expense, which is occasioned by the 
defence of their liberty, and that they ought to consider 
the depreciation of their paper money, only as an impost 
which ought to fall upon themselves, as the paper money 
was at first established only to relieve them from the ne- 
cessity of paying taxes. I will only add, that the French, 
if they are obliged to submit to the reduction proposed by 
Congress, will find diemselves victims of their zeal, and I 
may say of the rashness, widi which they exposed them- 
selves in furnishing the Americans with arms, ammunition, 
and clothing ; and in a word, with all things of the first ne- 
cessity, oi which the Americans at the time stood in need. 
You will agree with me. Sir, that this is not what the sub- 
jects of the King ought to expect, and that after escaping 
the dangers of the sea, the vigilance of the English, in- 
stead of dreading to see themselves plundered in America, 
they ought on the contrary, to expect the thanks of Con- 
gress, and of all the Americans, and believe, that their 



UIFLOMATIC COKRESPONDHNCE. 211 

property will be as secme and sacred in America as in 
France itself. 

It was with this persuasion, and in a reliance on public 
faith, that they received paper money in exchange for their 
merchaDdise, and kept that paper with a view to employ it 
in new speculations of commerce. The unexpected re- 
duction of this paper overturns all their calculations at the 
same time that it ruins their fortune. I ask, Sir, if these 
consequences can induce you to believe, that this act of 
Congress is proper to advance the credit of the United 
States, to inspire a confidence in their promises, to invite 
the European nations to run the same risks, to which the 
subjects of his 31ajesty have exposed themselves ? 

These, Sir, are the principal reflections occasioned by 
the resolution of Congress of the ISth of jMarch. I 
thought it my duty to communicate them to you with an 
entire confidence, because you are too enlightened not to 
feel their force and justice, and too much attached to your 
country, not to use all your endeavors to engage it to take 
steps to do justice to the subjects of the King. 

I will not conceal from you, that the Chevalier de la 
Luzerne has received orders to make the strongest repre- 
sentations on this subject, and that the King is firmly per- 
suaded, that the United States will be forward to give to 
him, on this occasion, a mark of their attachment by grant- 
ing to his subjects the just satisfaction, which they solicit 
and expect, from the wisdom and justice of the United 
States. 

I have the honor to be, k.c. 

DE VERGEiVNES. 



212 JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES. 

Paris, June 22d, 17S0. 

Sir, 

I received this day tlie letter, which your Excellency 
did me the honor to write we on the 21st of this month. 

1 thank your Excellency for the confidence, which in- 
duced you to communicate this letter to me, and the con- 
tinuance of which I shall ever study to deserve. 

When your Excellency says, that his Majesty's Minister 
at Congress has already received orders to make repre- 
sentations against the resolutions of Congress of the 18th of 
March, as far as they effect his subjects, I am at a loss to 
know with certainty, whether your Excellency means only, 
that such orders have lately passed, and are sent off" to go 
to America, or whether you mean, that such orders were 
sent so long ago as to have reached the hand of the Che- 
valier de la Luzerne. 

If the latter is your Excellency's meaning, there is no 
remedy ; if the former, I would submit it to your Excel- 
lency's consideration, whether those orders may not be 
stopped and delayed a little time, until his Excellency Mr 
Franklin may have opportunity to make his representations 
to his Majesty's Ministers, to the end, that if it should ap- 
pear, that those orders were issued in consequence of mis- 
information, they may be revoked, otherwise sent on. 

I will do myself the honor to write fully to your Excel- 
lency u[)on this subject without loss of lime, and although 
it is a subject on which 1 pretend not to an accurate 
knowledge in the detail, yet I flatter myself I am so far 
master of the principles as to demonstrate, that the plan of 
Congress is not only wise, but just. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 213 

TO thf: count de tergennes. 

Paris, June 22d, 1780. 

Sir, 

I this clay acknowledge the receipt of the letter, which 
you did me the honor to write to me on the 21st. 

I have the honor to agree with your Excellency in 
opinion, that it is the intention of Congress to redeem all 
their paper bills which are extant, at an exchange of forty 
for one, by which means, the two hundred millions of dol- 
lars, which are out, will be reduced to about five millions. 

I apprehend, with your Excellency, that it w'as neces- 
sary for the Congress to put themselves in a condition 
to defray the public expenses. They found their cur- 
rency to be so depreciated, and so rapidly depreciating, 
that a further emission sufficient to discharge the public 
expenses another year, would have, probably, depreciated 
it to two hundred for one ; perhaps, would have so totally 
discredited it, that nobody would have taken it at any rate. 
It was absolutely necessary, then, to stop emitting. Yet 
it was absplutely necessary to have an army to save their 
cities from the fire, and their citizens from the sword. 
That army must be fed, clothed, paid, and armed, and 
other expenses must be defrayed. It had become neces- 
sary, therefore, at this time, to call in their paper ; for 
there is no nation that is able to carry on war by the 
taxes, which can be raised within the year. But I am far 
from thinking, that this necessity was the cause of their 
calling it in at a depreciated value, because I am well 
convinced that they would have called it in at a deprecia- 
ted value, if the British fleet and army had been with- 
drawn from the United States, and a general peace had 



214 JOHN ADAMS. 

been concluded. My reason for this belief is, the evident 
injustice of calling it in at its nominal value, a silver dollar 
for a paper one. The public has its rights as well as in- 
dividuals ; and every individual has a share in the rights of 
the [)ublic. Justice is due to the body politic, as well as 
to the possessor of the bills ; and to have paid oft' the bills 
at their nominal value, would have wronged the body 
politic of thirtynine dollars in every forty, as really as if 
forty dollars had been paid for one, at the first emission in 
1775, when each paper dollar was worth, and would fetch 
a silver one. 

I beg leave to ask your Escellenc} , whether you judge 
that the Congress ought to pay two hundred millions of 
silver dollars, for the two hundred millions of paper dol- 
lars which are abroad ? I presume your Excellency will 
not think that they ought ; because I have never met with 
any man in America or in Europe, that was of that opin- 
ion. All agree, that Congress ought to redeem it at a 
depreciated value. The only question tiien, is, at what 
depreciation ? Shall it be at seventyfive, forty, thirty, 
twenty, ten, or five, for one ? After it is once admitted, 
that it ought to be redeemed at a less value than the nomi- 
nal, the question arises, at what value ? What rule ? 1 an- 
swer, there is no other rule of justice than the current 
value, the value at which it generally j)asses from man to 
man. The Congress have set it at forty for one ; and 
they are tiie best judges of this, as they represent all parts 
of the continent where the paper circulates. 

I think there can be little need of illustration ; but two 
or three examples may make my meaning more obvious. 
A farmer has now four thousand dollars for a pair of oxen, 
which he sells to a commissary to subsist the army. 



DII'hOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 215 

When tlie money was issued in 1775, lie would liavc been 
glad to have taken one hundred. A laborer has now 
twenty dollars a day for his work ; five years ago, he 
would have been rejoiced to have received half a dollar. 
The same with the artisan, merchant, and all others, but 
those who have fixed salaries, or money at interest. jNlost 
of these persons would be willing to take hard money for 
his work and his produce, at the rate he did six years 
ago. Where is the reason, then, that Congress should 
pay them forty times as much as they take of their neigh- 
bors in private life ? 

The amount of an ordinary commerce, external and in- 
ternal, of a society, may be computed at a fixed sum. A 
certain sum of money is necessary to circulate among the 
society, in order to carry on their business. This precise 
sum is discoverable by calculation, and reducible to cer- 
tainty. You may emit paper, or any other currency for 
this purpose, until you reach this rule, and it will not de- 
preciate. After you exceed this rule, it will depreciate ; 
and no power, or act of legislation hitherto invented, will 
prevent it. In the case of paper, if you go on emitting 
forever, the whole mass will be worth no more than that 
was, which was emitted within the rule. When the paper, 
therefore, comes to be redeemed, this is the only rule of 
justice for the redemption of it. The Congress have fixed 
five millions for this rule. Whether this is mathematically 
exact, I am not able to say ; whether it is a million too 
little", or too much, I know not; But they are the best 
judges ; and by the accounts of the 'money being at sev- 
enty for one, and bills of exchange at fiftyfive for one, it 
looks as if five millions was too high a sum, rather than 
too small. 



216 JOHN APAMS. 

It will be said, that the faith of society ought to be 
sacred, and that the Congress have pledged the public 
faith for the redemption of the bills, at the value on the 
face of ihem. T agree that the public faith ought to be 
sacred. But wlio is it that has violated this faith ? Is it not 
every man, who has demanded more paper money for his 
labor or his goods than they were v/orth in silver ? The 
public faith, in the sense these v.'ords are here used, would 
require that Congress should make up to every man, 
who for five years past has paid more in paper money 
for anything he has purchased, than ho could have had it 
for in silver. The public faitii is no more pledged to the 
present possessor of the bills, than it is to every man, through 
whose hands they may have passed, at a less value than 
the nominal value. So that according to this doctrine. 
Congress would have two hundred millions of dollars to 
pay to the present possessors of the bills, and to make up to 
every man, through whose hands they may have passed, the 
difference at whicii they passed between them and silver. 

It should be considered, that every man, whether native 
or foreigner, who receives or pays this m.oney at a less 
value than the nominal value, breaks this faith. For the 
social compact being between the whole and every individ- 
ual, and between every individual and the whole, every 
individual, native or foreigner, who uses this paper, is as 
much bound by the public faith to use it accor(]ing to the 
terms of its emission as the Congress is. And Congress 
have as good a right to reproach every individual, who 
now demands more i)ai)er for his goods than silver, with a 
breacli of the public failli, as ho has to reproach the public 
or dieir representatives. 

I must beg your Excellency"'s excuse for calling your 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 217 

atlenlion a liiile longer to ihis head of public faith, because 
1 cannot rest easy, while my country is supposed to be 
guilty of a breach of their faith, and in a case where I am 
clear they have not been so, especially by your Excellency, 
whose good opinion they and 1 value so much. This pub- 
lic faith is in the nature of a mutual covenant, and he who 
would claim a benefit under it, ou5ht to be careful in first 
fulfilling his part of it. When Congress issued their bills, 
declaring them, in effect, to be equal to silver, they un- 
questionably intended that they should he so considered, 
ajid that they should be received accordingly. The peo- 
ple, or individuals covenanted, in effect, to receive ihetn at 
iheir nominal value ; and Congress, in such case, agreed 
on their part to redeem them at the same rate. This 
seems to be a fair and plain construction o( this covenant, 
or public faith ; and none other I think can be made, that 
will not degenerate into an unconscionable contract, and so 
destroy itself. 

Can it be supposed, that Congress ever intended, that if 
the time should come when the individual refused to ac- 
cept and receive their bills at their nominal value, and de- 
manded, and actually received them at a less value, that, 
in that case, the individual should be entitled to demand, 
and receive of the public, for those very bills, silver equal 
to their nominal value ? The consideration is, in fact, r:)ade 
by the public at the very instant the individual receives the 
bills at a discount ; and there is a tacit and implied agree- 
ment springing from the principles of natural justice or 
equity, between the public and the individual ; that as the 
latter has not given to the former a consideration equal to 
the nominal value of the bills, so in fact, the public shall not 
be held to pay the nominal yalue in silver to the individual. 
VOL. V. 2S 



218 JOHN ADAMS. 

Suppose it otherwise, and how will the matter stand ? The 
j)ublic offers to an individual a bill, whose nominal value is, 
for example, forty dollars, in lieu of forty silver dollars ; 
the individual says, I esteem it of no more value than one 
silver dollar, and the public pays it to him at that value ; 
yet he comes the next day, when the bill may be payable, 
and demands of the public forty silver dollars in exchange 
for it. And why ? Because the bill purports on the face of 
it, to be equal to forty silver dollars. The answer is 
equally obvious with the injustice of the demand. Upon 
the whole, as the depreciation crept in gradually, and was 
unavoidable, all reproaches of a breach of public faith 
ought to be laid aside ; and the only proper inquiry now 
really is, what is paper honestly worth ? What will it fetch 
at market ? And this is the only just rule of redemption. 

It becomes mc to express myself with deference, when 
I am obliged to differ in opinion from your Excellency ; 
but this being a subject peculiar to America, no example 
entirely similar to it, that 1 know of, having been in Eu- 
rope, 1 may be excused, therefore, in explaining my senti- 
ments upon it. 

1 have the misfortune to differ from your Excellency, so 
far as to think, that no general distinction can be made 
between natives and foreigners. For, not lo mention that 
this would open a door to numberless frauds, I think, that 
foreigners when they come to trade with a nation, make 
themselves, temporary citizens, and tacitly consent to be 
bound by the same laws. And it will be found, that for- 
eigners have had quite as nmch lo do, in depreciating this 
money, in proportion, as natives, and that they have been 
in proportion much less sufferers by it. I might go 
further and say, that they have been in proportion greater 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 219 

gainers by it, without sufibring any considerable share of 
the loss. 

The paper bills out of America, are next to nothing. I 
have no reason to think, that there are ten thousand dollars 
in all Europe ; indeed, I do not know of one thousand. 
The agents in America of merchants in Europe, have laid 
out their paper bills in lands, or in indigo, rice, tobacco, 
wheat, flour, kc. ; in short, in the produce of the country. 
This produce they have shipped to Europe, sold to the 
King's ships, and received bills of exchange, or shipped to 
the West India Islands, where they have procured cash, or 
bills of exchange. The surplus they have put into the 
loan offices from lime to lime, for loan offices have been 
open all along, from 177G, I believe, to this time. When- 
ever any person lent paper bills to the public, and took 
loan office certificates, he would have been glad to have 
taken silver in exchange for the bills, at their then depre- 
ciated value. Why should he not be willing now? Those 
who lent paper, when two paper dollars were w^orth one in 
silver, will have one for two ; those who lent, when forty 
were worth one, will have one for forty ; and those who 
lent, when paper was as good as silver, will have dollar for 
dollar. 

It our Excellency thinks it would be hard, that those 
who have escaped the perils of the seas and of enemies, 
should be spoiled by their friends. But Congress have not 
spoiled any ; they have only prevented themselves and the 
public from being spoiled. No agent of any European 
merchant, in making his calculations of profit and loss, 
ever estimated the depreciated bills at the nominal value ; 
they all put a profit upon their goods sufficient to defray 
all expenses of insurance, freight, and everything else, and 



220 JOHN ADAMS. 

had a great profit besides, receiving the bills at tiie current, 
not the nominal value. 

It may not be amiss to state a few )M'icPs current at Bos- 
ton the last and the present year, in order tc; show the pro- 
fits which have been made. Bohea tea, (oi'ly sous a pound 
at L'Orient and Nantes, Ibrtyfive dollars; salt, which costs 
very little in Europe, and used to be sold for a shilling a 
bushel, forty dollars a bushel, and in some of the other 
States, two hundred dollars, at tinrs ; linens^ which cost 
two livres a yard in Fi'ance, forty dollars a yai'd ; broad- 
cloths, a louis d'or a yard here, two hundred dollars a yard ; 
ironmongery of all sorts, one hundred and twenty for one ; 
millinary of all sorts, at an advance far exceeding. These 
were the prices at Boston. At Philadelphia, and in all the 
other Slates, they were nnich higher. These prices, I 
think, must convince your Excellency that allowing one 
half, or even two thirds of the vessels to be taken, there is 
room enough for a handsome profit, deducting all charges, 
and computing the value of bills at the rate of silver at tiie 
time. 

There are two other sources from which foreigners liave 
made great profits. The difiercnce between bills of ex- 
change and silver. During the whole of our history, when 
a man could readily get twentyfive paper dollars for one in 
silver, he could not get more than twelve paper dollars for 
one, in a bill of exchange. Nearly this proportion was 
observed all along, as I have been informed. The Agent 
of a foreign merchant had only to sell his goods for paper, 
or buy paper with silver at twentyfive for one, and imme- 
diately go and buy bills at twelve for one. So that he 
doubled his money in a moment. 

Another source was this ; the paper money was not alike 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 221 

depreciated in all places at the same lime. It wa? forty 
for one at Philadelphia, sometimes, when it was only 
twenty at Boston. The agent of d foreign merchant had 
only to sell his goods, or send silver to Philadelphia, and 
exchange it for paper, which he could lay out at Boston 
for twice what it cost him, and in this way again double 
his property. 

This depreciating paper currency being, therefore, such 
a fruitful source for men of penetration to make large pro- 
fits, it is not to be wondered that some have written alarm- 
ing letters to their correspondents. 

No man is more ready than I am to acknowledge the 
obligations we are under to France ; but the flourishing 
state of her marine and commerce, and the decisive influ- 
ence of her councils and negotiations in Europe, which all 
the world will allow to be owing in a great measure to the 
separation of America from her inveterate enemy, and to 
her new connexions with the United States, show that the 
obligations are mutual. And no foreign merchant ought to 
expect to be treated in America better than her native 
merchants, who have hazarded their property through the 
same perils of the seas and of enemies. 

In the late Province of the ]Massachusetts Bay, from the 
years 1745 to 1750, we had full experience of the opera- 
tion of paper money. The Province engaged in expen- 
sive expeditions against Louisburg and Canada, which oc- 
casioned a too plentiful emission of paper money, in conse- 
quence of which, it depreciated to seven and a half for 
one. In 1750, the British Parliament granted a sum of 
money to the Province to reimburse it, for what it had 
expended more than its proportion in the general expense 
of the empire. This sum was brought over to Boston in 



222 JOHN AUAMS. 

silver and gold, and the Legislature determined to redeem 
all their paper with it at the depreciated value. There 
was a similar alarm at first, and before the matter was un- 
derstood, but after the people had time to think upon it, 
all were satisfied to receive silver at fifty shillings an ounce, 
although the face of the bills promised an ounce of silver 
for every six shillings and eight pence. At that time, 
the British merchants were more interested in our paper 
money, in proportion, than any Europeans now are ; yet 
they did not charge the Province with a breach of faith, or 
stigmatise this as an act of bankruptcy. On the contrary, 
they were satisfied widi it. 

I beg leave to remind your Excellency, that lit that 
time, the laws of Massachusetts were subject not only to 
the negative of the King's Governor, but to a revision by 
the King in Council, and were there liable to be affirmed 
or annulled. And from the partial preference, which your 
Excellency well knows, was imiformly given to the sub- 
jects of the King, within the realm, when they came in 
compeUtion with those of the subjects of the Colonies, 
there is no reason to doubt, that if that measure, when 
thoroughly considered, had been unjust in itself, but the 
merchants in England would have taken an alarm, and 
procured the act lo be disallowed by the King in Council. 
Yet the merchants in England, who well understood their 
own interests, were quite silent upon this occasion, and the 
law was confirmed in the Council ; nor can it be supposed 
lo have been confirmed there in a manner unnoficed. It 
liad met vvidi too much opposition among a certain set of 
interested speculators in the then Province, for that sup- 
position to be made. And the case of the British mer- 
chants, at that Ume, differed in no respect from the present 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 003 

case of the French, or other foreign niercliants, except 
that the credits of the former were vastly greater, and tliey 
must have, consequently, been more deeply interested in 
that measure of government^ than the latter arc in tlie 
present one. Their acquiescence in the measure, and the 
confirmation of that act, must have rested upon the full 
conviction of the British administration and of die mer- 
chants, of the justice of it. Your Excellency will agree, 
in tl'.e difficulty of making any distinction between the 
French merchant and the Spanish or Dutch merchant, 
by any general rule ; for all these are interested in this 
business. 

Your Excellency is pleased to ask, whether 1 think 
these proceedings of Congress proper to give credit to the 
United States ; to inspire confidence in their promises, and 
to invite the European nations to partake of the same risks, 
to which the subjects of his iMaJesty have exposed them- 
selves ? 

I have the honor to answer }our Excellency, directly 
and candidly, that I do think them proper for these ends, 
and 1 do further think them to be the only measures that 
ever could acquire credit and confidence to the United 
Slates. I know of no other just foundation of confidence 
in men, or bodies of men, than their understanding and 
integrity ; and Congress have manifested to all the world 
by this plan, that they understand the nature of their paper 
currency, that its fluctuation has been the grand obstacle 
to their credit ; and that it was necessary to draw it to a 
conclusion, in order to introduce a more steady standard 
of commerce ; that, to this end, the repeal of their laws, 
which made the paper a tender, and giving a free circula- 
tion to silver and gold, were necessary. They have fur- 



224 JOHN ADAMS. 

ther manifested by ibeso resolutions, that they are fully pos- 
sessed of the only pri.-iriple there is in the nature of tilings 
for doing justice in this business, to the public and to indi- 
viduals, to natives and foreigners, and that they are suffi- 
ciently possessed of the confulence of the people ; and 
there is sufficient vigor in their government to carry it into 
execution. 

Notwithstanding all, if any European merchant can show 
any good reason for excepting his particular case from ths 
general rule, upon a representation of it to Congress, J 
have no doubt they will do him justice. 

JMoreover, if his Excellency the Chevalier de la Lu- 
zerne can show, that the sum of five millions of dollars is 
not the real worth of all the paper money that is abroad, 
and that ten millions of dollars is the true sum, I doubt not 
Congress would alter their rule, and redeem it at twenty 
for one. But I doubt very much whether this can be 
shown. But I cannot see that any distinction could be 
made between French mcrcliants and those of other na- 
tions, but what would be very invidious and founded upon 
no jirinciple. I cannot f^ec tliat any distinction can be 
made between natives and foreigners, but what would have 
a most unhappy eflect upon the minds of the peo[)le in 
America, and be a partiality quite unwariantable ; and, 
therefore, your Excellency will see, that it is impossible 
for me to take any steps to persuade Congress to retract, 
because it would be acting in direct repugnance to the 
clearest dictates of my understanding and judgment, of 
what is right and fit. 

I cannot excuse myself from adding, that most of the 
arms, ammunition, and clothing for the army, have been 
contracted for here, by the I\]inistcrs of Congress, and paid 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 225 

for, or agreed to be paid for here, in silver and gold. 
Vi'.vy little of these articles have been shipped by private 
adventurers. They have much more commonly shipped 
articles of luxury, of which the country did not stand in 
need, and upon which they must have made vast profits. 

Thus have I communicated to your Excelleiiry my 
sentiments, witli that freedom, which becotnes a citizen of 
the United States, intrusted by the public with some of its 
interests. I intreat your Excellency to consider them as 
springing from no other motive, than a strong attachment 
to the union of the States, and a desire to prevent all un- 
necessary causes of parlies and disputes; and from a 
desire not only to preserve the alliance in all its vigor, but 
to prevent everything, which may unnecessarily of)pose it- 
self to the affection and confidence between the two nations, 
wliich I wish to see increased every day, as every day 
convinces me more and more of the necessity, that France 
and America will be under, of cherishing their mutual 
connexions. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO B. FRANKLIN. 

Paris, June 22il, ITSO. 

Sir, 
I have this day the honor of a letter from his Excel- 
lency the Coimt de Vergennes, on the subject of the reso- 
Uilions of Congress, of the ISth of March, concerning the 
paper bills, in which his Excellency informs me. that the 
Chevalier de la Luzerne has orders to make the strongest 
representations upon the subject. I am not certain whether 
bis Excellency means, that such orders were sent so long 
VOL. V. 29 



226 JOHN ADAMS. 

ago as to have reached the hand of the Minister at Congress, 
or whether they have been lately expected. If the latter, I 
submit to your Excellency, whether it would not be expe- 
dient to request, that those orders may be stopped until 
proper representations can be made at Court, to the end, 
that if it can be made to appear, as I firmly believe that it 
may, that those orders were given upon misinformation, 
they may be revoked, otherwise sent on. 

Your Excellency will excuse this, because it appears to 
me a matter of very great importance. The aiFair of our 
paper is sufficiently dangerous and critical, and if a repre- 
sentation from his Majesty should be made, advantages will 
not fail to be taken of it by the tories, and by interested 
and disappointed speculators, who may spread an alarm 
among many uninformed people, so as to endanger the 
public peace. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 26tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

The resolutions of Congress, of the 18th of March, 
respecting the paper bills, appeared first in Europe, as re- 
cited in the act of the Assembly of Pennsylvania ; they 
were next published in the English newspapers, as taken 
from a Boston paper published by the Council ; at last the 
resolutions appeared in the Journals of Congress. 

A great clamor was raised, and spread, that the United 
States had violated their faith, and had declared themselves 
bankrupts, unable to pay more than two and a half per 



DJPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 227 

cent. A gentleman soon after called on me, and told me, 
that the Court was alarmed, ajid that the Count de Ver- 
gennes would be glad to consult me upon the subject. I 
then received a letter from Boston, acquainting me, that the 
Legislature of Massachusetts had adopted the plan. Of 
this letter I sent an extract immediately to the Count, and 
waited on him at Versailles, where I had the honor of a 
long conversation with his Excellency on the subject. He 
desired me to converse with his first Secretary, which I 
did particularly. 

His Excellency told me he had wrjtten to me on the 
subject, and that I should receive the letter the next day. 
On my return from Versailles, I received a letter from Mr 
Gerry, informing me of the resolutions to pay the Loan 
Office certificates, at the value of money at the time when 
they were issued. I had before told the Count, that 1 was 
persuaded this was apart of the plan. I sent an extract of 
this letter also to the Count, without loss of time. The 
next day I received the letter from his Excellency, the 
copy of which, and of my answer, are enclosed. Yester- 
day, Mr Trumbull of Connecticut, favored me with a law 
of the State, respecting this matter, and an estimate of the 
gradual progress of depreciation. These papers I forth- 
with transmitted to his Excellency. 1 am determined to 
give my sentiments to his Majesty's Ministers whenever 
they shall see cause to ask them, although it is not within 
my department, until I shall be forbidden by Congress ; 
and to this end I shall go to Court often enough to give 
thera an opportunity to ask them, if they wish to know 
them. 

The clamor that has been raised, has been so in- 
dustriously spread, that 1 cannot but suspect, that the mo- 



22S JOHN ADAMS. 

live at bottom has either been a wish to have an opportu- 
nity of continuing the profitable speculations, which artful 
men are able to make in a depreciating currency, or else 
by spreading a diffidence in American credit, to discourage 
many from engagii.g in American trade, that the profits of 
it may still continue to be confined to a few. 
I have the lionor to be, Sec. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDEiNT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, June 29tli, ITSO. 

Sir, 

The disputes about the Alliance, have been so critical 
and disagreeable, that Congress will pardon me for making 
a kw observations upon our arrangements here. 

I apprehend, that many of the disputes, delays, and 
oiher inconveniences, that have attended our affairs in this 
kingdom, have arisen from blending the offices of political 
INlinisier, Board of Admiralty, Chamber of Commerce, and 
Commercial Agent together. The business of the JMinister 
is to negotiate with the Court, to i)ropose and consult upon 
plans for the conduct of the war, to collect and transmit 
intelligence from other parts, especially concerning the 
designs and the forces of the enemy. This is business 
enough for the wisest and most industrious man the United 
Stales have in their service, aided by an active, intelligent, 
and laborious sccretar}'. But added to all this, our Minis- 
ters at the Court of Versaiiles, have ever been overloaded 
with commercial and Admiralty business, complicated and 
perplexed in its nature, and endless in its details. But for 
this, 1 am persuaded much more might have been done in 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 229 

the conduct of the war, and the United Slates might have 
had more effectual assistance, and France and Spain too 
fewer misfortunes to bewail. 

I would, therefore, beg leave to propose, to appoint a 
consul without loss of time to reside at Nantes, and to him 
consign all vessels from the United States. I think it 
should be an American, some merchant of known charac- 
ter, abilities, and industry, who would consent to serve his. 
country for moderate emoluments. Such persons are to 
be found in great numbers in the United States. There 
are many applications from French gentlemen. But I 
think that a want of knowledge of our language, our laws, 
customs, and even the humors of our people, for even 
these must be considered, would prevent them from giving 
satisfaction, or doing justice. Besides, if it is an honor, a 
profit, or only an opportunity to travel and see the world 
for improvement, I think the native Americans have a 
right to expect it ; and further, that the public have a right 
to expect that whatever advantages are honestly to be 
made in this way, should return sometime or other to 
America ; together with the knowledge and experience 
gained at the same time. 

These consuls, as well as the foreign Ministers, should 
all be instructed to transmit to Congress, written accounts 
of the civil and military constitutions of the places where 
they are, as well as all the advantages for commerce with 
the whole world, especially with the United States. These 
letters preserved, will be a repository of political and com- 
mercial knowledge, that in future times may be a rich 
treasure to the United States. To these consuls, the com- 
mercial concerns of the public should be committed, and 
the vessels of war. It will be necessary sometimes to send 



230 JOHN ADAMS. 

a fiigate to Europe to bring intelligence, to bring passen- 
gers, even, perhaps, to bring commodities, or fetch stores. 
But I hope no frigate will ever again be sent to cruise, or 
be put under the command of anybody in Europe, consul 
or Minister. They may receive their orders from the 
Navy Board in America, and be obliged to obey them. I 
have had a great deal of experience in the government of 
these frigates, when I had the honor to be one of the Min- 
isters Plenipotentiary at the Court of Versailles, and after- 
wards at Nantes, L'Orient, and Brest, when 1 was seeking 
a passage home. Disputes were perpetually arising be- 
tween officers and their crews, between captains and their 
officers, and between the officers of one ship and another. 
There were never officers enough to compose a court mar- 
tial, and nobody had authority to remove or suspend offi- 
cers without their consent ; so that in short, there was little 
order, discipline, subordination, or decency. 

Another thing, when frigates are under the direction of 
an authority at a distance of three or four hundred miles, 
so much time is lost in writing and sending letters and 
waiting for answers, it has been found an intolerable em- 
barrassment to the service. It is now two years since 
consuls were expected, and a secretary to this mission. 
It is a great misfortune to the United States that they have 
not arrived. Every man can see that it has been a great 
misfortune, but none can tell how great. There is much 
reason to believe, that if our establishments here had been 
upon a well digested plan and completed, and if our affairs 
had been urged with as much skill and industry as they 
might in that case have been, that we should at this mo- 
ment have been blessed with peace, or at least with tran- 
quillity and security, which would have resulted from a 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 231 

total expulsion of the English from the United States and 
the West India Islands. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO B. FRANKLIN. 

Paris, June 29tb, 1780. 
Sir, 

I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter of the 
Count de Vergennes to me, of the 21st of this month, and 
a copy of my answer to his Excellency, of the 22d. 

This correspondence is upon a subject that has Iain 
much out of the way of my particular pursuits, and, there- 
fore, I may be inaccurate in some things ; but, in the 
principles, I am well persuaded I am right. I hope that 
things are explained so as to be intelligible, and that there 
is nothing inconsistent with that decency, which ought in 
such a case to be observed. 

If your Excellency thinks me materially wrong in any- 
thing, I should be much obliged to you to point it out to 
me, for I am open to conviction. 

This affair, in America, is a very tender and dangerous 
business, and requires all the address, as well as all the 
firmness of Congress, to extricate ihe country out of the 
embarrassment arising from it ; and there is no possible 
system, I believe, that could give universal satisfaction to 
all ; but this appears to me, to promise to give more gene- 
ral satisfaction, than any other that I have ever heard sug- 
gested. I have added copies of the whole correspondence. 
I have the honor to be. Sue. 

JOHN ADAxAlS. 



232 JOHN ADAMS. 

COUNT DE VF.TIGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Translation. 

Versailles, June 30(1], 1780. 

Sir, 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write me on the 22d inst. on the subject of the resolution 
of Congress of the 18th of March last. I have already 
informed you, that it was by no means my intention to ana- 
lyse this resolution, as it respects the citizens of the United 
States, nor examine whether circumstances authorise the 
arrangement or not. I had but one object in writing to 
you with the confidence I thought due to your knowledge 
and your attachment to the alliance, which was to convince 
you that the French ought not to be confounded with the 
Americans, and that there would be a manifest injustice in 
making them sustain the loss with which they are threat- 
ened. 

The details into which you have thought proper to enter 
have not changed my sentiments ; but I think that all further 
discussion on this subject will be needless, and I shall only 
observe, that if the King's Council considers, as you pre- 
tend, the resolution of Congress in a wrong point of view, 
the Chevalier de la Luzerne, who is on the spot, will not fail 
to elucidate the matter ; and if Congress on their part shall 
not adopt the representations, which that Minister is charged 
to make to them, they will undoubtedly communicate to us 
iheir reasons to justify their refusal. 

Should they be well founded the King will take them 
into consideration, his Majesty demanding nothing but the 
most exact justice. But shotdd they be otherwise, he will 
renew his instances to the United States, and will confi- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 233 

dently expect from their penetration and wisdom a decision 
conformable to his demand. His Majesty is the more 
persuaded tliat Congress will give their whole attention to 
this business, as this Assembly, which has frequently re- 
newed the assurance, values, as well as yourself, Sir, the 
union wiiich subsists between France and the United States, 
and that they will assuredly perceive that the French 
deserve a preference before other nations, who have no 
treaty with America, and who even have not, as yet, ac- 
knowledged her Independence. 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 

DE VERGENNES. 



TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES. 

Paris, July 1st, 1780. 

Sir, 

I had this morning the honor of your letter of the 30th 
of June. 

It is very certain, that the representations from his INla- 
jesty, which may be made by his Minister, the Chevalier 
de la Luzerne, will be attended to by Congress with all 
possible respect ; and its due weight will be given to every 
fact and argument, that he may adduce ; and I am well 
persuaded, that Congress will be able to give such reasons 
for their final result, as will give entire satisfaction to his 
Majesty, and remove every color of just complaint from his 
subjects. 

As in my letter of the 22d of last month, I urged such 

reasons as appeared to me incontestible, to show that the 

resolution of Congress of the 18th of March, connected 

with the other resolution, to pay the loan office certificates, 

VOL. V. 30 



234 



JOHN ADAMS. 



according to the value of money at the time they were 
emitted, being a determination to pay the full value of all 
the bills and certificates, which were out ; and the depre- 
ciation of both being more the act and fault of their posses- 
sors than of government, was neither a violation of the 
public faith, nor an act of bankruptcy. I liave the honor 
to agree with your Excellency in opinion, that any further 
discussion of these questions is unnecessary. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 6th, 1780. 

Sir, 
In the public papers of the latter end of June, are lists 
of the vessels of war and privateers taken and destroyed 
by the powers at war. 



VESSELS TAKEN FROM FRANCE. 

Vessels. Guns. 

Protee, 64 Taken by Admiral Digby, 

Fortune, .... 42 u a u Rowley, 

Blanche, 30 " " " " 

Prudente, .... 36 Ruby, Everett, 

Danae, 34 Experiment, Wallace, 

Sartine, 32 Admiral Vernon, 

Licorne, 32 " " 

Alcmene, .... 30 Proserpine, Sutton, 

Oiseau, 20 Apollo, Pownal, 

AdvenfvU'e, .... 26 Admiral Arbuthnot, 

Pilote, 14 Commodore Reynolds, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 235 

Vessels. Ciuns 

Mutin, 14 Commodore Reynolds, 

Coureur, 14 Admiral Keppel. 

Destroyed. 

Valeur, -G Experiment, Wallace, 

Recluse, 24 " " 

VESSELS TAKEN BY FRANCE. 

Ardent, G4 D'Orvilliers, 

Experiment, .... 50 D'Estaing, 

Minerva, .... 32 

Montreal, 32 Le Bourgoyne, 

Fox, 2S La Junon, 

Active, 28 

Ariel, 20 D'Estaing, 

Lively, 20 D'Orvilliers, 

Ceres, IS D'Estaing, 

Weazel, 16 

Senegal, 10 

Zephyr, 14 

Alert, 10 D'Orvilliers, 

Thunder Bomb, ... S D'Estaing. 

Destroyed. 

Juno, 32 At Rhode Island, 

Flora, 32 

Lark, 32 

Orpheus, 32 

Quebec, 32 By the Surveillante, 

Cerberus, .... 28 At Rhode Island, 

Rose, 20 At Savannah, 



236 JOHN ADAMS. 

Vessels. Guns. 

Falcon, 18 At Rhode Island, 

King Fisher, .... 16 u u u 

PRIVATEERS TAKEN FROM FRANCE. 

Lion, ...... 40 

Monsieur, 40 

Due de Cogny, ... 36 

Belhune, 30 

Menagere, .... 30 

Hercule, 30 

Comte d'Artois, ... 28 

Lis, 28 

Sphinx, ..... 20 Retaken by the French, 

Helena, 16 " " " 

Jackall, 10 " " " 

VESSELS TAKEN FROM SPAIN. 

Phoenix, 80 By Admiral Rodney, 

Monarca, 70 

Princessa, 70 

Ammonica, 32 Pearl, Montagu, 

Margarita, .... 28 Johnstone. 

Destroyed. 
S. Domingo, .... 70 By Admiral Rodney, 
S. Eugenio, .... 70 
S. Julian, 70 

PRIVATEERS TAKEN FROM THE SPANIARDS. 

Guipuscoa, 64 Sta Teresa, . . 28 

San Carlos, .... 52 Sta Bruna, . . 26 

San Carlos, 32 Solidad, ... 26 

San Rafael, .... 30 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 



237 



VESSELS OF WAR TAKEN FKOM CONGRESS. 



Vessels. 


Guns. 




Hancock, . . . 


32 


Rainbow, Sir George Collier. 


Raleigh, . . . 


32 


Experiment, Wallace, 


Providence, . . 


, 32 


Admiral Arbuthnot, 


Boston, . . . 


32 


(C (C 


Delaware, . 


30 


Lord Howe, 


Virginia, . . . 


30 


St Albans, Onslow, 


Oliver Cromwell, 


24 


Beaver Sloop, Jones, 


Hampden, . . 


, 20 


Sir George Collier, 


Trumbull, . . 


20 


Venus, Ferguson, 


Cumberland, . 


. 20 


Pomona, Waldgrove, 


Ranger, . . . 


20 


Admiral Arbuthnot, 


Alfred, . . , 


. 20 


Ariadne, Pringle, 


Hunter, . . . 


18 


Sir George Collier, 


Cabot, . . 


. 18 


Hope, Dawson, 


Lexington, . . 


IG 


Alert, Bazeley. 



Bricole, pierced for 



Destroyed. 



60, mounting 


40 


Admiral Arbuthnot, 


Bon Homme Richard 


,44 


Serapis, Pearson, 


Randolph, . . . 


3G 


Yarmouth, Vincent, 


Warren, . . . 


32 


Sir George Collier, 


Washington, . . 


32 


Captain Henry, 


Effingham, . . 


28 


C( (( 


Queen of France, 


28 


Admiral Arbuthnot, 


Fruit, .... 


2G 


(( (( 


General Moultrie, 


20 


(( (( 


Nutre Dame, 


IG 


(( (( 



JV. B. Seventeen armed ships, from fourteen to 
twentyfour guns, destroyed by Sir George Collier, at 



23£ 



JOHN ADAMS. 



Penobscot ; three frigates, and two sloops destroyed by 
the same, upon the stocks at Portsmouth, the gallies de- 
stroyed upon Lake Champlain. in Georgia, Sic, the ships 
destroyed in Egg Harbor, at Bedford, kc. 

VESSELS OF WAK TAKEN BY CONGRESS. 
Vessels. tluns. 



Serapis, 44 

Drake, 18 

Thorn, IG 

Countess of Scarborough, 22 



Paul Jones, 
Ranger, Paul Jones, 
Boston, Tucker, 
Paul Jones. 



Acteon, 
Mermaid, 
Merlin, . 



Destroyed. 
64 At Mud Fort, 
28 At Fort Sullivan, 
21 Off Cape Henlopen, 
18 At Mud Fort. 



VESSELS OF WAR DESTROYED BY ACCIDENT. 



EnMish. 



Vessels. 


Guns. 


Vessels. 


Guns. 


Somerset, . . 


. . 64 


Cruiser, . . 


. . 16 


Repulse, . . 


. . 32 


Otter, . . 


. . 16 


Arcthusa, . . 


. . 32 


Pomona, . 


. . 16 


Liverpool, 


. . 28 


Zebra, . . 


. . 16 


Syren, 


. . 28 


Cupid, 


. . 16 


Leviathan, 


. . 26 


Savage, 


. . 16 


Grampus, . . 


. ,. 26 


Pegasus, . . 


. . 14 


Tortoise, . . 


. . 26 


Spy, . . 


. . 14 


Glasgow, . . 


. . 24 


Swallow, . . 


. . 14 


Vestal, . . 


. . 20 


Viper, . . 


. . 14 


Mercury, . . 


. . 20 







DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 239 

French. 

Vessels. Guns. 

Roland, .... G4 Monarque, .... 64 
Zephyr, .... 32 Fox, 28 

Spanish. 

Pondersoso, ... 70 Rosa, 30 

Notre Dame, . . . Congres, .... 

St Joseph, ... TO Carmes, . . . . 3G 

I have the honor to be, Sec. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 6th, 1780. 

Sir, 
In looking over the long list of vessels belonging to the 
United States, taken and destroyed, and recollecting the 
whole history of the rise and progress of our navy, it is 
very difficult to avoid tears. Nevertheless, what we have 
done and lost, shows what we can do. Our resources of 
materials, artists, and seamen, are not exhausted. But it is 
impossible not to inquire, whether we have nc^ committed 
errors in the destination of our vessels? Whether our navy 
is equal to the attack or defence of places.'' Whether our 
articles of war for the government of the marine, are ade- 
quate to the introduction of that obedience and discipline 
that are necessary ? W^hether cruising for the protection 
of our own trade, against the depredations of privateers 
and smaller vessels of war of our enemies, and for the 
purpose of making prizes of transports and merchant ships, 
is not the object fittest in the present stage of our naval 
history, to encourage seamen to engage in our service, to 



240 JOHN ADAMS. 

form officers, to supply the United States with many things, 
and to weaken and distress our foes ? Officers who have 
a thirst for glory, and wish to distinguish themselves by 
brilliant battles, ought not to be discouraged, but I cannot 
but think, that at this period they would do more essential 
service to their country, by a line of conduct leading to 
fewer laurels, but more wealth. 

In all events, however, it is to be hoped and presumed, 
that Congress will give great attention to their navy, to the 
augmentation of ships, the multiplication of seamen, the 
improvement of discipline, and the formation of officers. 
Americans, I see, must cherish their own navy. I fear 
that no other nation v/ould grieve very much at the total 
destruction of it, before the conclusion of a peace- I am 
sorry to say this ; but I have heard such hints as convince 
me, that it is my duty to put Congress on their guard, and 
to entreat them to leave nothing unattempted to put their 
marine upon the best footing in their power. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 7th, 1780. 

Sir, 
On the 27th of June Mr Hartley, after a speech of an 
hour long, moved, that the House would give him leave to 
bring in a bill, to the end to empower the Court, to adopt 
the most proper means to make peace with America. 
After a short debate, the question being put, the majority 
was for the negative. This motion is said to have had the 
less success, because it is founded on a principle abso- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 241 

lutely false and derogatory to the royal prerogative. The 
King of England, to make peace, wants nothing but the 
will. It is in this case only that he is absolute. The 
American war was commenced without the participation 
of Parliament. Why should they give the King new pow- 
ers to bring it to a conclusion ? There is but one means 
of forcing him to it, and that is by refusing him the neces- 
sary subsidies ; and they are now further from this than 
ever. But it is ridiculous to labor to clothe the King with 
powers, which are inherent in his title. It is, in other words, 
to permit him to be a King. 

The bill is of the following tenor. "Whereas for some 
years there have arisen unfortunate disputes between Great 
Britain and several Provinces of North America, which 
have occasioned the calamities of war; to the end to pre- 
vent a greater effusion of blood, and to re-establish peace, 
he it enacted, that his Majesty be permitted by virtue of 
letters patent, to nominate Commissioners with power to 
treat, consult, and agree upon the means of restoring peace, 
in concert with persons authorised for this purpose by the 
said Provinces of North America. That, to facilitate the 
good intentions of this bill, be it enacted, that the King 
give power to the said Commissioners, to cause to be sus- 
pended all hostilities by land and by sea, for so long a time 
and under such conditions and restrictions as they shall 
judge proper. That, to tlie end to establish upon a good 
foundation, a cordial reconciliation and a durable peace 
between Great Britain and the said Provinces, by rein- 
stating them in their ancient friendship, his 3Iajesty may 
legally permit his said Commissioners to grant and to rati- 
fy, from time to time, any article of pacification, which 
thus granted and ratified, shall have its full and entire effect 

VOL. V. ul 



242 ■'oniN' ADAMS. 

for ten years, to be ciaLed from t!ie 1st of August of the 
present year. Tliat, for removing every obstacle, which 
may oppose itself, to the full execution of any article of 
pacification, his Majesty shall be at liberty, by any order in 
writing, signed with his hand and countersigned by one or 
more Secretaries of State, to authorise the said Commis- 
sioners to suspend, during ten years, to be dated from the 
1st of August of the present year, the execution of any act 
of Parliament, which concerns the said Provinces, so far 
as the said acts, their clauses or conditions, may put any 
obstacle to the full effect, and to the execution of any arti- 
cle of pacification between Great Britain and the said Pro- 
vinces. That, to the end to establish a durable reconcilia- 
tion, and a perpetual peace between Great Britain and the 
said Provinces, be it enacted, that all and every article of 
pacification, resolved and ratified for ten years as aforesaid, 
shall be from time to lime communicated to both Houses 
of Parliament, to be by them examined, as forming the 
base of a sincere and durable union ; and that every one of 
the said articles having been once approved in Parliament, 
shall have forever its full and entire effect. That the 
present act shall remain in force until the 31st of De- 
cember." 

Having been disappointed, by another accident, of my 
English papers, 1 have been obliged to translate this bill 
from the Courier de I'Europe, I hope to transmit the ori- 
ginal in a few days. Jt is however of so little consequence, 
that it is scarce worth transcribing. Other grounds must 
be taken than that of General Conway, Governor Pownal, 
or Mr Hartley, before anything will be done in earnest 
towards peace. The history of Charleston, and the num- 
berless fictions with which the stockjobljers have decorated 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 043 

it, have raised the stocks three and a half per cent, and 
have given such a temporary intoxication to the people, 
that scarce anything is talked of but unconditional sub- 
mission. 

The affair of Mobile, the dispersion of both the outward 
and homeward bound Quebec fleet, the indecisive battles 
between do Guichen and Rodney, and the anxiety for Wal- 
singham's fleet, and twenty other fears, begin now to sink 
their spirits again. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

A". B. Sir George Savillo moved on the same day a 
resolution, that the American war was unconstitutional, ex- 
pensive, and ruinous, but this motion was rejected by nearly 
the same majority. 



TO THE PRESIDKNT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 7tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

On the 21st of last month, the merchants of the city of 
Amsterdam arrived at the Hague, and presented to their 
High Mightinesses a petition, conceived in these terms. 

"To their High ^lightinesses, our Lords, the States- 
General of the United Provinces. 

"The subscribers, all merchants, trading to the West 
Indies, and established imder the jurisdiction of this State, 
give respectfully to understand, that, to their great regret, 
the petitioners have learned, by the way of a ship, lately 
arrived from Cura^oa, the unheard of ill treatment exer- 
cised by the English in taking the barques belonging to the 
subjects of their High Mightinesses, which trade with the 



'/44 JOHN ADAMS. 

French possessions in the said countries, and which, loaded 
with the productions of ihe sn.id countries, purchased or 
consigned, make sail to return to the islands or places 
which belong to the doniiuions of their Higii Mightinesses, 
without having even to this time, that your petitioners 
know of, returned either the barques or cargoes ; but so 
far from it, that the cargoes of some of them have been 
already condemned, and the barques restored empty ; a 
fate which the petitioners fear to see others undergo like- 
wise. And as by these vexations and unparalleled ill treat- 
ment, the subjects of your High Mightinesses, contrary to 
all kinds of right, are deprived of their property and effects 
embarked, as well as of the liberty which is assured to 
them by the treaties subsisting between the Crown of Eng- 
land and this State, and by these means see diemselves 
reduced to an impossibility of being able to procure for the 
ships sent from home to the West Indies, the cargoes ne- 
cessary for their return, all expeditions and adventures of 
merchandises from our countries to these places must ab- 
solutely cease, and draw after it the inevitable ruin of this 
branch of commerce, so important as well as that of many 
of the subjects of your High Mightinesses, both in this 
country and in the West Indies." 

"For these causes, the petitioners pray, in all humility, 
that your High Mightinesses would be pleased to take this 
navigation and commerce, forming an object so consider- 
able, under your elleclual protection, in the first place, by 
granting the necessary convoy to ships which go to the 
West Indies, or which return from thence, and in the next 
place, to order to cruise in those seas a sufficient number 
of vessels of war, or even to order them to escort the 
barques in question, and other trading ships, loaded with 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 045 

productions and effects permitted by the treaties, and 
making sail for the French Colonies, or returning from 
them, to the end to secure them from all further insult; 
which will preserve at the same time the petitioners, as 
well as many other subjects of the Republic from total 
ruin. Tiiat it may, moreover, please your High Mighti- 
nesses to charge the Count de Welderen, your Envoy Ex- 
traordinary to the British Court, to make the necessary 
representations touching the seizure of these barques, to 
seek to obtain of the English Ministry, that the requisite 
orders may be sent to the Colonies of his Britannic Maj- 
esty, for releasing the aforesaid barques with their cargoes, 
paying, at the same time, the expenses occasioned by 
their seizure ; in fine, that by the good and efficacious 
offices of his Excellency, things may be directed in such a 
manner, that on the part of the Court of St James, they 
may write to Jamaica and elsewhere, and not interrupt for 
the future, the subjects of their High Mightinesses in the 
exercise of this lawful commerce, but to permit them to 
enjoy a free navigation and commerce, such as have been 
solemnly accorded and guaranteed to them by the treaty 
of 1G74." 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



B. FRANKLIN TO COUNT DE VERGENNES. 

Passy, July lOlh, 1780. 

Sir, 
1 received the letter your Excellency did me the honor 
of writing to me, dated June 3()th, together with the 
papers accompanying it, containing the correspondence of 



246 JOHN ADAMS. 

Mr Adams.* I have taken some pains lo understand the 
subject, and obtain information of facts from persons re- 
cently arrived, having received no letters myself that ex- 
plain it. I cannot say, that I yet perfectly understand it, 
but in this I am clear, that if the operation directed by 
Congress in their resolution of j\farch the ISth occasions, 
from the necessity of the case, some inequality of justice, 
that incoi5venience ought to fall wholly on the inhabitants 
of the States, who reap with it the advantages obtained 
by the measure ; and that the greatest care should be 
taken that foreign merchants, particularly the French, who 
are our creditors, do not sufier by it. This I am so con- 
fident the Congress will do, that I do not think any repre- 
sentations of mine necessary to persuade them to it. 

I shall not fail, however, to lay the whole before them ; 
and I beg that the King may be assured that their senti- 
ments, and those of the Americans in general, with regard 
to the alliance, as far as 1 have been able to learn them, 
not only from private letters but from authentic public 
facts, differ widely from those that seem to be expressed 
by Mr Adams in his letter to your Excellency, and are 
filled with thn strongest impressions of the friendship ot 
France, of the generous manner in which his Majesty was 
pleased to enter into an equal treaty with us, and of the 
great obligations our country is under for the iniportant 
aids he has since afforded us. 

I have the honor to be, he. 

B. FRANKLIN. 

* This letter is printed in Franklin's Correspondence. Vol. III. 
p. 152. 



IMPI.OMATIC CORRESPONDKNCE. i47 



TO THE COUNT DK VERGSNNES. 

Paris, Jiilv 13lli, 1780. 

Sir, 
By the treaty of alliance of the Gth of February, 1778, 
his ^lajesty and the United States agreed, in case of war, 
to join their councils and efforts against the enterprises of 
the common enemy ; to make it a common cause, and aid 
each other mutually with their good oflices, their councils, 
and iheir forces, according to the exigencies of conjunc- 
tures; and each of the contracting parties, in the manner it 
may judge most proper, is to make all the efforts in its 
power against the common enemy. 

1 have cited these clauses from the treaty, not as foun- 
dations of any demand that I have to make, because they 
are neitiier proper to support any demand, nor have I au- 
thority to make any if they were, but as an apology for the 
liberty I take of requesting your Excellency's attention to 
a few observations upon the present conjuncture of affairs. 
It is certain, from the best intelligence from London, as 
well as from the debates in Parliament, on the several mo- 
tions which have been made for a pacification, that the 
British INIinistry are inflexibly determined to pursue the 
war another campaign in America, to send more troops 
and ships there, if they possibly can obtain them, and to 
put to the hazard not only the national credit, but their 
maritime power, and even their political existence, rather 
than give up their designs of domination over America ; 
and indeed this is not at all to be wondered at, that the 
Ministers and the nation, wlio have so far lost their justice, 
their liumanity, and policy, as to deliberately form and 
pursue the jjlan of changing the foundations of the laws 



248 -TOHN ADAMS. 

and governments of thirteen Coloi 
to slavery, and who have pursued this object with such 
sanguinary fury for so many years, should persist so as to 
bury themselves in the ruins of their empire, rather than to 
fail of their purpose, when it is plain they consider, and 
that not without reason, the same ruin in the independence 
of America, and her connexion with France. 

The conduct of Count de Guichen, on the 17th of 
April, and the 15th and 19th of May, in the West Indies, 
does great honor to the national bravery, as well as to 
their science in naval tactics, and shov/s that there is no 
cause to fear that the enemy will obtain any advantage 
there. Yet nothing has yet been done on either side that 
seems decisive. 

The .advantages, which Spain' has gained in West Flor- 
ida, and particularly of late at Mobile, and the probability 
that she will succeed in gaining both the Floridas, show 
that the English are on the losing hand in that quarter ; but 
it is not the loss of both the Floridas, nor of all the West 
India Islands, in my opinion, that will induce them to make 
peace, and acknowledge the independence of America in 
alliance with France. They will see every possession 
they have beyond the island lopped off, one after another, 
before they will do this. 

I pretend not to know, to what part of America M. de 
Ternay and Pvl. de Rochambeau are destined, but to what- 
ever part it is, whether Canada, Nova Scotia, New York, 
Carolina, or Georgia, I have no hopes of anything deci- 
sive from their operations, although they should be instruc- 
ted to co-opcrato with General Washington. If they 
should bo destined against Canada or Nova Scotia, they 
may succeed; but this success will not be decisive. If 



OU'LOMATIC CORRESPOiSDENCE. 249 

they are intended against New York, I have no hopes of 
their success. The naval force is not suHicicnt to com- 
mand the seas. Admiral Graves, added to tlie ships 
before at New York, will be superior ; and I shall venture 
to give my opinion, that without a superiority of naval 
force, clear and indisputable, New York will never be 
taken. It is so situated, so fortified, it is garrisoned with 
troops so accustomed to war, and so embittered and in- 
flamed by cruel passions, carefully nursed up in their 
breasts by their King and their Generals, and it is univer- 
sally regarded by them a port of such essential importance, 
that I confess I should despair of success against it, with an 
army twice as numerous as that of the Generals Washing- 
ton and Rochambeau united, while the English are masters 
of the seas, or even while they have there an equality of 
naval power. 

Most people in Europe have wondered at the inactivity 
of the American army, for these two years past ; but it is 
merely from want of knowledge and attention. The true 
cause of it is, the English have confined themselves to their 
strong holds in seaport towns, and have been sheltered 
from all attacks and insults by the guns of their men-of- 
war, and forever will be so, while they have the superiority 
at sea. If our army had been three times as numerous as 
it was, it must have remained inactive, without a fleet to 
co-operate with it ; for an attack upon New York without 
a fleet, would have been only sacrificing the lives of thous- 
ands of brave men, without a possibility of succeeding. 

Had the English two years ago marched into the coun- 
try from Philadelphia, instead of retreating back with pre- 
cipitation to New York, Europe would have heard more 
of the exertions of the American artny. so much iiioie, that 
VOL. V. 32 



250 JOHN ADAMS. 

ill Miy serious opinion, you would iiave heard of dieir total 
destruction. As it was, they were closely pursued, attack- 
ed, and if not beaten, they had much the worst of the ac- 
tion, for besides their loss in killed and wounded, and in 
those who perished under the fatigue and heat of the day, 
not less than five hundred deserted from them, and their 
desertions would have been multiplied in every unsuccess- 
ful engagement within the country. 

If in the last year the British army had marched out 
into the country, instead of remaining under cover of their 
mcn-of-wai-, 1 am equally clear, that they would have been 
ruined. The English, ever since the alliance, have been 
fearfully apprehensive of an attack upon their strong holds 
upon the coast by the French. This it was that induced 
them to retreat from Philadelphia to New York, and this 
lias kept them almost wholly confined to that garrison the 
last year, i mention this, merely to wipe off the imputa- 
tions said to result from the inactivity of our army, since 
the alliance, by showing the true cause of it, that it pro- 
ceeds not irom any change of sentiments in the Americans, 
but from the change of the mode of prosecuting the war 
on the part of our enemies. 

I am, however, clearly of ojjinion, and 1 know it to be 
the general sense of America, that the English, both in 
North America and in the West India Islands, have been 
for these two years past absolutely in the power of their 
enemies ; and that iliey are so now, and will continue to be 
so, in such a degree, that noticing will be wanting but at- 
tention to their situation, and a judicious application of the 
forces of the allies to accomplish the entire reduction of 
their power in America. In order to show this, let me 
beg your Excellency's attention to a \'ew remarks upon the 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 251 

situalion of the Englisli, and upon ihe method of applying 
the force of the allies so as to reduce them. 

The English are in possession of Canada, u province 
vastly extensive, and in which there is a great number of 
ports, at a great distance from each other, necessary to be 
maintained among a people too, who arc by no means at- 
tached to them, but who would readily afibrd all the assist- 
ance in their power to the united forces of France and 
the United States, and who would join them in considera- 
ble numbers. !n this whole province, the English have 
not, comprehending the garrisons of all their ports, more 
than four thousand men. 

The English are in possession of Nova Scotia ; they 
have in Halifax and the other parts of the province, and at 
Penobscot, about three thousand men. Bui the people of 
this province being descendants and emigrants from New 
England, chiefly, are discontented with the British govern- 
ment, and desirous of joining the United Stales. They 
are in possession of New York Island, Staten Island, and 
Long Island, where they have in all of regular British 
troops, thousand men. The militia, volunteers, &.c. 

of whom ihey make such an ostentatious display in the 
despatches of iheir Generals, and in the gazelle of St 
James, are of very little consideration ; their numbers are 
much exaggerated ; it is force, fear, and policy, thai enrol 
the greater part of them ; there are perhaps fifteen thous- 
and inhabitants of the city. These, together with the army 
and navy, are fed and supplied with provisions, and stores, 
and fuel, and their cattle and horses with forage, brought 
by sea from Quebec, Halifax, Ireland, and the West In- 
dies, except the small quantity, which they draw from 
Lone; Island and Staten Island. 



252 ■'OHN ADAMS. 

They are now in possession of Charleston, in South 
Carolina, and Savannah, in Georgia. Their armies and 
navies in these places, as well as the inhabitants, must be 
chiefly supplied by sea in the same manner. They are 
still perhaps in possession of St Augustine, in East Florida, 
and Pensacola, in the west. From these places, they 
have drawn of late years great supplies of lumber and 
provisions for their West India Islands. The number of 
troops in Georgia and Carolina may amount to thous- 
ands. They are in possession of Jamaica, Barbadoes, 
Antigua, St Christophers, and St Lucia, and other islands. 
These draw supplies of provisions and lumber, he. from 
Quebec, Halifax, Pensacola, and Augustine, that is from 
the Floridas. The number of troops they have in each 
island, I am not able to ascertain ; but certainly they are 
not strong in any of them ; and the climate in the West 
Indies, and in Georgia and Carolina, is making a rapid 
consumption of their men. 

From this sketch, it will be easily seen, what a great 
number of posts they have to sustain : how these are inu- 
tually connected with, and dependent on each other, and 
that their existence in all of them depends upon their supe- 
riority at sea, and that to carry on the intercourse and 
communication between these various places, a vast num- 
ber of transports, provision vessels and merchant ships are 
necessary. This is so much the fact, that the English na- 
tion has now Hltle navigation left, but what is employed in 
maintaining the communication of these places with one 
another and with Europe. Here then it is, that the Eng- 
lish commerce and navy is vulnerable ; and this it is, which 
clearly points out to their enemies the only sure and cer- 
tain way of reducing their power in that quarter of the 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 253 

world ; and if it is reduced there, it is brought into a nar- 
row compass everywhere. 

The policy and necessity of keeping always a superior 
fleet both in the West India Islands and on the coast of the 
continent of North America, is from all this very obvious. 
The English are so sensible of this, that they dread it 
as the greatest evil that can befall them. The appearance 
of the Count d'Estaing upon the coast of North America, 
never iailed to throw the English into the utmost terror 
and consternation. 

The appearance of a French fleet upon our coasts has 
repeatedly compelled, and ever must compel, the English 
to call ofl:" from their cruises all their frigates and other 
ships, and to assemble them at New York, for their security 
and the defence of that place. These are among the happy 
effects of such a measure, the communication of the United 
States not only with each other but with the West Indies, 
with France, and all other parts of Europe, with which 
they have any concern, is immediately opened, and they 
are thereby easily furnished, in all parts, with everything 
fitting and necessary to carry on the war with the greatest 
vigor. His Majesty's fleets and armies will be amply and 
much more cheaply supplied, and his subjects will reap, in 
common with the inhabitants of the United States, the 
benefits of this free commerce. It will give free sea-room 
to the few frigates belonging to Congress and the several 
States to cruise for the merchant ships, provision vessels, 
and transports of the enemy. It gives opportunity also to 
the privateers to do the same. There are at this day, 
notwithstanding the dreadful sacrifices made at Charleston 
and Penobscot, sacrifices, the necessity of which would 
have been entirely prevented by a few ships of the line. 



254 JOlTN ADAMS. 

the Continental frigates, the Confederacy, which is arrived 
at Philadelphia, the Alliance which will soon be there, the 
Trumbull, the Deane, the Bourbon, and also a ship of fifty- 
six guns, which is nearly ready for sea. The State of 
Massachusetts has two frigates and smaller vessels. There 
are besides these, now in being, belonging to Newburyport, 
Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, Portsmouth, Boston and 
Rhode Island, about forty privateers. There are several 
belonging to Philadelphia. 

If a French fleet should constantly remain upon that 
coast, the number of these privateers would be doubled in 
a very few months. What havoc then must these armed 
vessels make, especially if a few French frigates should be 
also ordered to cruise for prizes among the provision 
vessels, merchant ships, and transports, passing and rej)ass- 
ing to and from America and the West India Islands to 
Euro})C, and to and from America and the West Indies, 
and to and from Quebec, Nova Scotia, New York, 
Charleston, Savannah, and the Floridas. Such depreda- 
tions have several times been made by our cruisers alone, 
as to reduce the English at New York to very great distress, 
and it would be very easy in this way to reduce them to 
such misery ns to oblige them to surrender at discretion. 

1 therefore beg leave to submit it to your Excellency's 
consideration, whether there is any ])ossible way that a 
marine force can be employed against the English, so 
much to the advantage of France and die disadvantage of 
England, as in this way, and whether uj)on the principles 
of French interest and policy alone, even without taking into 
consideration that of the United States, a fleet ought not 
to be constantly kept in North America. The advantages 
they will there have in artists, supplies, accommodations, 
he. above the English, are obvious. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESrONDLNCE. 255 

But the question will arise, where shall they winter ? I 
answer, they can winter with perfect security and advan- 
tage, either at Boston, Rhode Island, Delaware, or Chesa- 
peake Bays. 

Another question will arise, whether they should all win- 
ter together in one port, or be separated to several ports ? 
I apprehend, however, that it wonld be most prudent to 
leave it to the discretion of the commander-in-chief of the 
squadron, to keep the squadron together, or to detach 
parts of it, according to the exigencies oi the service, advis- 
ing with Congress, or with the Chevalier de la Luzerne, 
from time to time. 

Two ships of the line, with three frigates, stationed at 
Boston, with orders to cruise occasionally for the protec- 
tion of French and American trade, and the annoyance of 
the enemy, the same number at Rhode Island with the 
same orders, the same number at Delaware river, with 
similar orders, and a like number in Chesapeake bay, with 
like orders, which would make eight ships of the line and 
twelve frigates, I have a moral certainty would, in one 
year, reduce the power of the English in North America, 
to absolute annihilation, without striking a blow on land. 
These ships would make a diversion of an equal force of 
the English, from the West India Islands, so that they 
would be in that respect as usefully employed for his Ma- 
jesty there as anywhere. Eight ships of the line, and 
twelve frigates, stationed together at Rhode Island, with 
orders to cruise for the same purposes, would do the same 
thing. 

Which plan would do best, I dare not undertake to say, 
but until further informed and instructed by Congress, I 
should think however that the best plan would be to station 



256 JOHN ADAMS. 

the fleet for the winter, either m Delaware or Chesapeake 
Bay ; and as the war has lately turned to the southward, 
1 am inclined to think that Chesaoeake Bay would be the 
most proper. 

But in all events, I beg leave to entreat in the most 
earnest manner, that a powerful fleet may be ordered to 
winter somewhere in North America. By this means 
I think there is a moral certainty, the English will be 
ruined there, whereas if dependence is had upon the as- 
sault and attack of their strong holds, without the most 
absolute command of the sea, I fear it will end in disap- 
pointment and disgrace. 

There is the more urgent reasons for laying these con- 
siderations before your Excellency, because there is a 
portion of the people in America who wish to return to the 
domination of Great Britain, many of whom are artful and 
sensible men. They take notice of every circumstance of 
the conduct of France, and represent it in such a light as 
they think will throw a prejudice against the alliance into 
the minds of the people. They represent the affair of 
Rhode Island and of Savannah, and of some other things, 
as proofs that the Court of France do not iiiean to give 
any effectual aid to America, but only to play off her 
strength against that of Britain, and thus exhaust both. 
The refugees in England concur with them in these repre- 
sentations, and the Ministry and the members of Parlia- 
ment in their i)ublic speeches represent the same thing. 

Even Mr Hartley, who is more lor peace than any man 
in that kingdom, in a printed letter to the inhabitants of the 
county of York, says, "It is our duty to unravel by nego- 
tiation, the combination of powers now acting against us ;" 
and 1)2 says further, in express words, that "It is apparent 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 257 

to'all the world, lliat Fiance iniglil long ago iiavc put an 
end to that part of the war, which has been most distress- 
ing to America, if they had chosen so to do." He must 
mean here the war of their frigates and privateers upon our 
trade. "Let the whole system of France be considered," 
says he, "from the beginning down to the late retreat from 
Savannah, and 1 think it is impossible to put any other con- 
struction upon it but this, viz. that it has always been the 
deliberate intention and object of France, for purposes of 
their own, to encourage the continuation of the war in 
America, in hopes of exhausting the strength and resources 
of this country, and of depressing the rising power of 
America." This is not only the language of Mr Hartley, 
but the general language of newspapers and pamphlets, and, 
I am well informed, of conversation in England. These 
are very industriously sent to America, ihrougii various 
channels, which cannot be stopped by laws, art, or power. 
The body of the people have great confidence in the 
sincerity of France : but if these contrary opinions should 
be suffered to gain ground, as they most assuredly will if 
something is not done to prevent it, when all the world sees 
and declares as they do, that it is the best policy of France, 
if she considered her own interest alone in the conduct of 
the war, to keep a superior naval force upon the coast of 
the continent of North America, 1 leave your Excellency to 
judge what a melancholy effect it will have upon our affairs. 
There is no event, in my opinion, which would have so 
direct a tendency to give force and extent to opinions so 
dangerous to both nations, as the calling off from the con- 
tinent your naval force, during the winter, and not keeping 
a superiority there through the year. I scruple not to 
give it as my opinion, that it will disunite, weaken, and dis- 
vol,. V. 33 



258 JOHN ADAMS. 

tress us more than we should have been disunited, weak- 
ened, or distressed, if the alliance had never been made. 

The United States of America are a great and powerful 
people, whatever European statesmen may think of them. 
If we take into our estimate the numbers and the charac- 
ters of her people, the extent, variety, and fertility of her 
soil, her coiimierce, and her skill, and materials for ship- 
building, and her seamen, excepting France, Spain, Eng- 
land, Germany, and Russia, there is not a state in Europe 
so powerful. Breaking off such a nation as this from the 
English so suddenly, and uniting it so closely with France, 
is one of the most extraordinary events that ever hap- 
pened among mankind. The prejudices of nations in 
favor of themselves, and against all other nations, which 
spring from self-love, and are often nurtured by policy for 
unworthy purposes, and which have been ever certainly 
cultivated by the English with tiie utmost care in the minds 
of the Americans, as well as of the people of every other 
part of their dominions, certainly deserve the attention of the 
wisest statesmen, and as they are not to be eradicated in a 
moment, they require to be managed with some delicacy. 
It is too often said in France, where the prejudice 
against the English has not been fostered into so much 
rancor, because Franco never had so much to fear from 
England, as England has from France, "That the Amer- 
icans and the English are the same thing," not to make 
it appear, that there are some remnants of prejudices 
against the Americans among the French, and it m.ust be 
confessed there are some in America against France. It 
is really astonishing, however, that there are so iew, and it 
is the interest and duty of both to lessen them as fast as 
possible, and to avoid with the nicest care, every colora- 
ble cause of reviving any part of them. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 259 

1 beg your Excellency to excuse ibis trouble, because 

ilie state of things in North America lias really become 

alarming, and this merely lor the want of a few French 

men-of-war upon that coast. 

1 have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 14tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

The advices from the Hague of the 9th of this month 
are, that the talk had been of a Congress to be held in 
that place ; but as her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, 
had given to understand, that she desired that the confer- 
ences should be held at Petersburg, the States-General 
have consequently named, upon the proposition of his 
Serene Highness, the Prince Stadtholder, the Baron de 
Waassenaar Starrenburg, and the Baron Van Heckeren de 
Brantzenburg, Deputies to the Assembly of their High 
Mightinesses, on the part of the Provinces of Holland, 
West Friesland, and Utrecht, Ministers Plenipotentiaries to 
go to Petersburg, to the end to assist there at the confer- 
ences, which are to be held for the protection of the com- 
merce of neutrals. 

And that the Chevalier Llano, now Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary of his Catholic Majesty to their High IMightinesses, 
had arrived at that residence. 

The English continue to fill all the newspapers of Eu- 
rope with the despatches of Clinton, Cornwallis, Tarleton, 
&.C. of their triumphant progress in Carolina, and we are 
unable to obtain a syllabic from any part of America to 



2(30 JOlJiN ADAMS 

contradict it, or explain it. It is devoutly to be wished, 
that Congress would appoiiit some active and intelligent 
Secretary ibr Foreign Affairs, and make it his duty to 
transmit the journals, newspapers, and other intelligence, 
and duplicates and triplicates oi' them, to their servants 
abroad. Vessel alter vessel arrives, even directly from 
Philadelphia, and we cannot get the journals, papers, and 
scarcely a private letter by them. Surely the department 
of foreign affairs is of some importance to the United 
States, and their most important officers abroad ought not 
to be less informed, than every private merchant. The 
successes of the English in Carolina have filled them with 
the most lidiculous exultations. They have throvs^n off the 
mask entirely, and talk now almost universally of nothing 
but unconditional submission ; not an idea of peace is en- 
tertained. They are perfectly confident die Congress will 
not maintain their authority three months. They have 
filled the world with histories of insurrections at Philadel- 
phia, which drove die Congress to Lancaster, killed the 
French Minister, he. he. &ic. The stocks rose three 
and threefourths per cent. This is the wise nation, that 
is to govern America, as they think, at their pleasure. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

■ro THE FUKSIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Faiis, .Ii.lv 15tli, 178U. 

Sir, 

The news from Petersburg of the 13tli of June is, that 

the last advices received from Mohilew have confirmed the 

news, that the Empress would return sooner than was at 

first expected, and that the Emperor, under the name of 



DIPLOMATIC LUKKEbl'U.NDLACK. 2()l 

tliu Count de Falckensteiii, would arrive at the same time, 
at Petersburg. That the Heet of Cronstadt had been 
eight or ten days in the road, waiting only for their final 
instructions to put to sea. It will be sepaj-ated into three 
divisions, each of five ships of the line, under the com- 
mand of the Rear Admirals Barisson, Cruse, and Polibin. 
Since the departure of a courier, which j\lr Harris, the 
British Envoy, has expedited to his Court, the 26th of 
last month, a report has been spread, that he has de- 
manded his recall. 

The ordinance, which the Empress has passed at 
Czarsko-Zelo, on the 19th of ]May, to the end to ascertain 
the rights and duties of her subjects relative to the neu- 
trality, is too remarkable, in the present conjuncture, not to 
be given entire to the public. The following is the pre- 
amble. 

"The maritime war, subsisting for some time between 
Great Britain, on the one part, and France and Spain on 
the other, has begun lately to do equal injury to the com- 
merce and the navigation of our faithful subjects. We 
have not in consequence failed to employ for their protec- 
tion and indemnification from all the losses, which have 
been occasioned to ihem, our most efficacious intercession ; 
in consequence of which several merchants have already 
obtained, in proportion to their demands, a considerable 
indemnification. Nevertheless, although we doubt not, 
that all the others will be equally indemnified by the bel- 
ligerent powers, yet we cannot regard the particular com- 
pensation of individuals, as a suflicient pledge of the safety 
upon which neutral nations may hereafter depend. From 
this motive, we have resolved not only to take measures 
the most effectual for the maintenance of the maritime 



:262 JOH.N ADAMS, 

commerce oi our subjects, but to put ihem in execution, in 
case of need. They have already been announced to all 
Europe, by a declaration delivered in the same terms to 
the three belligerent powers, by which we fix expressly 
and with precision, the rights and prerogatives of a com- 
mercial neutral flag. The one and the other are founded 
either upon the proper terms of our Treaty of Commerce 
with the Crown of Great Britain, or upon the evident and 
immutable principles of the law of nature and nations. But 
while we require of other nations, for our proper utility the 
entire and unlimited accomplishment of their duties, we 
are not less fixed in the intention on our part to observe 
inviolably, in regard to them, the obligations of the strictest 
neutrality. Thus it is necessary, that all our subjects 
should conform themselves vigorously in their maritime 
commerce, and iu the enterprises relative to it, to this our 
will. In default of which, they will render themselves un- 
worthy of our protection and of our succor. But to the 
end, thai no mau may fall into error by ignorance, we 
order our College of Commerce to notify the Russian mer- 
chants trading in our ports, that while they enjoy an entire 
liberty of trading and sending their vessels to all parts of 
Europe, they are bound to observe, conformably to our 
treaties with different {)0wers, and to the ordinances of 
each place, that which follows." 

This is the preamble ; the purview shall be sent to Con- 
gress as soon as it appears. 

It seems that the Empress, as well as the Ottoman 
Porte, has not a little resented the indecent and groundless 
assertions, with which England has filled Europe and Am- 
erica, that the Empress would take part with thetn, and 
that there were misunderstandings subsisting between Pe- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESFONDKiNCK. J63 

tersburg and Constantinople. I think it can be no longer 
doubted, that Russia will never take part with England, 
and that while she is determined upon a neutrality, every 
other maritime power of Europe must do the same, or 
join against England. It is equally plain, that England 
must come into the system of rights preparing for neutrals, 
or go to war with all the maritime powers of the world. 
This is too decisively and obviously advantageous to North 
America, to need any comments. 
1 have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 15th, 1780. 

Sir, 
The news from Constantinople is, "that upon the advice, 
that a fleet of French merchant-men from Marseilles, was 
blocked up by the English cruisers in the port of Milo, the 
Count de St Priest, Ambassador of France, presented a 
Memoir to the Porte, complaining of this last violation of 
the last agreement made between the Ottoman government 
and the Ambassadors of the belligerent powers, for the 
maintenance of the neutrality. In consequence, the Re's 
Effendi requested Mr Ainslie, the British Ambassador, to 
give orders conformably to the said agreement, to the cruis- 
ers of his nation, to respect the coasts, forts, and havens 
of the Ottoman Empire, and not to commit hostilities but 
in open sea. The Ambassador answered, "that he ap- 
proved the requisitions of the Porte too much, not to con- 
tribute all that lay in his power, to make the English cruis- 
ers observe the orders which had been before given them." 



204 JOHN ADAMS, 

Nevertheless, the Count de St Priest judged proper, by- 
way of further precaution, to send the consul of his nation, 
who resides at the Dardanelles, to the Capitan Pacha, 
who is now in the Archipelago with his fleet, to desire him 
to have a care that the French, fleet should suffer no in- 
sult. The Ottoman Admiral immediately complied with 
this requisition ; and we learn by the French consul, who 
is returned here, that having found this commandant at 
Metelin, he had no sooner learned the object of his com- 
mission, than he detached some to go to the succor of the 
fleet blocked at Milo. But his assistance will not have 
been necessary, because, according to letters from Smyr- 
na, the six English cruisers, which held the French fleet 
shut up, having had the audacity to attack this convoy 
even in the port, the Chevalier d'Entrecasteux, who com- 
manded it, had shattered them, after an engagement of 
several hours, in such a manner, that he had put them out 
of a condition to keep the sea, and that they must have 
retired to Paros." 

Stockholm, 21(h of June. "The King having judged 
proper to name an Admiral General of his fleet, has 
chosen for this eminent post, the Major-General and Com- 
mander of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword, 
Henry de Trolle. M. de Moussin Puschkin, Envoy from 
Russia, is arrived here from Petersburg." 

TIague, 10th of July. "The Admiralty of Amsterdam 
has put in commission, with the advice of the Prince 
Stadlholder, the vessels, the Admiral de Reister, of sixty- 
eight guns, and the Hereditary Prince, of fiftysix." 

Hamburg, 23(1 of June. The Mars, a Danish man-of- 
war of fifty guns, commanded by Captain Luken, and 
three frigates, with seventyeight merchant ships of differ- 



DIPLOMATIC COKRESPONDENCE. 0(55 

cut naiions, under convoy, sailed fiom the Sound the ISth 
of this month." 

It thus appears, that Russia, Holland, Sweden, and Den- 
mark, are proceeding in earnest to convoy their trade, 
and increase their naval force, to protect the confederacy 
in favor of the rights of neutrality. 
I have the honor to he, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGUESS. 

Paris, July 15th, 17S0. 

Sir, 
It is worth while to lay before Congress the following 
statement, which is lately published in the papers. 

English Shi2}s of the Line. 

Now under Rodney, including the Triumph of 
seventyfour guns, arrived from Cork, the beginning 
of May, - - 22 

JV. B. The Fame, of seventyfour guns, was 
taken to pieces last winter, to repair the other 
vessels of Jamaica. The Sultan from St Lucia, 
and the Hector from Europe joined, in March, the 
two sixtyfours which were at that station. Jamaica, 4 

They say that Arbulhnot has sent to Jamaica 
the Russell and Robust, - _ _ _ o 

The loth of May, sailed with Graves, - - 7 

The 3d of June, sailed with Walsingham, - 4 

39 
French and Spaniards. 
With De Guichen, _ . - . 23 

VOL. V. 34 



260 JOHN ADAMS. 

Left at Martinique, the Dauphin Royal, of 

seventyfoui- guns, to protect the port, . _ i 

At the Havana, under D. Bonnet, - . , g 

At St Domingo, under De la Motte Piquet, - 5 

Sailed iVom Cadiz, the 2Slh of April, under D. 

Solano, -----__ 12 

M. de Ternay, the 3d of May, - - - 7 

56 

A superiority, against which, all the events of the war 
evidently show that it is impossible to resist. But the 
ministerial peoj)le have mnrle Rodney take Don Solano 
with his twelve ships, which shifts the balance to — English, 
iifij'onc, French and S[)aniards, fortyfour. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES. 

Paris, July 17tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

in your Excellency's letter to me of the 24th of Feb- 
ruary last, I was honored with your opinion in the follow- 
ing words. 

"Witii regard to the full powers, which authorise you to 
negotiate a treaty of commerce with the Court of T^ondon, 
I think it will be j)rudent not to communicate them to any 
body whatever, and to take every necessary precaution, 
that the British Ministry may not have a premature know- 
ledge of them. You will no doubt readily feel the motives, 
which induce me to advise you to take this precaution, and 
it would be needless to explain them." 



Dll'LOMAlIC CUKRKSPONDENCK. 2G7 

1. 1 slioultl liavo been very happy if your Excellency 
had hinted at the reasons, which were then in your mind, 
because after reflecting upon this subject, as maturely as I 
can, I am not able to collect any reasons, which appear to 
me sufficient for concealing the nature of my powers in 
their full extent, from the Court of London. On the con- 
trary, many arguments have occurred to me, which seem 
to show it to he both the policy of the United States, and 
ray particular duty, to communicate thcni. 

2. Your Excellency will recollect, that my commissions 
empower me to join with the Ministers of the belligerent 
powers in making peace ; to make a treaty of commerce 
with the Ministers of his Britannic Majesty, and to repre- 
sent the Congress as then- Minister Plenipotentiary, at the 
Court of London. It seems to me then, inconsistent with 
the design and nature of my appointments, to conceal them 
from the Court of London. 

3. I think also, that announcing my powers to the Court 
of London, would have a tendency to draw out from them 
some proofs of their present designs, and it is always im- 
portant to discover early the intentions of the enemy, that 
the people may be prepared, botii with councils and forces, 
to resist them if hostile. 

4. The English nation would expect of the Ministers, 
that some answer should be given to me. If it should be 
an insolent one, as there is too much cause to expect, it 
will prepare the minds of the Americans, and of the other 
belligerent powers, for what dicy are to expect, and it will 
alarm and arouse, if anything can, the people of England. 

5. At this particular time, when an election approaches, 
it would throw the Ministry into some embarrassment, for 
the people of England sigh for peace. 



268 JOHiN ADAMS. 

6. Another consideration iias weight with me ; a great 
part of Europe, as well as the people of England, are 
amused by the English Ministers and their emissaries, with 
reports that there is some secret treaty between France 
and the United Slates, by which the former has secured to 
themselves exclusive privileges in some branches of the 
American commerce, which misrepresentations, as they 
are at present an obstruction to peace, would be cleared 
u[) by the communication of my powers. 

7. There are at present many jjersons ol' consideration 
in England, wlio have long followed the Ministry in the war 
against America, who begin to see the impracticability of 
succeeding, and now vote lor |)eace, and will lay hold of 
every occurrence that favors its accomplishment. 

S. At this moment, under the wild impression, that the 
surrender of Charleston has made, it might be improper 
to make the communication, but upon the news coming of 
M. de Ternay's arrival, of Don Solano's, or both, or upon 
the receipt of some intelligence, which may take off a part 
of this impression, I submit it to your Excellency's con- 
sideration, whether it would not be proper to communicate 
my appointments to Lord George Germain. It seems to 
be most proper that it should be done, so that the nation 
may consider them before the meeting of Parliament, and 
that those who are for peace may digest their plans ac- 
cordingly. 

9. Notwithstanding the suppression of the late riots, and 
the consequent temporary relaxation ol the committees and 
associations, the nation is in a most critical situation. 
Those disturbances were not simply the effect of fanati- 
cism and bigotry, but of deep and general discontent and 
distress among the people ; and although tiie Ministry may 



DIPLOMATIC COKKESrONDE.NCE. 0(39 

at present be confident they have suppressed tiieni forever, 
they will surely find themselves nnistaken if they pursue 
this war. I know of no measure, that will be more likely 
to increase the opposition against Administration than com- 
municating my powers. It will at least show all the world, 
that the continuance of the war and the consequent ruin 
of England is their own fault, not that of the Americans, 
who are ready to make peace upon terms honorable and 
advantageous to Great Britain. 

10. I am the more confirmed in those opinions, by the 
communication your Excellency made to me yesterday of 
the message sent by the Court of London to the Court of 
Madrid. I am convinced in my own mind, that that mes- 
sage is insidious in the last degree, and that it is intended 
to answer two ends only ; first, to spy out what they can 
of the political and military plans of Spain ; secondly, and 
principally, to amuse France, Spain, and America too, with 
false ideas of pacific inclinations, simply in order to slacken 
and enervate their preparations for the next campaign. 

11. Sincere intentions of making peace upon any terms, 
which France or America can agree to, consistent with 
subsisting treaties, 1 am as sure they have not, as I am 
of their existence. Now I think there is no way of coun- 
teracting this insidious policy so honorably and so effect- 
ually, as by a frank and decent communication of my full 
powers. This will necessitate them to come to an expla- 
nation of their real intentions concerning America ; for 
there, Sir, lies the obstacle to peace ; all other questions 
would be soon arranged if that was settled. 

1 hope your Excellency will pardon the long letters I 
write you, because it is really a voluminous subject we 
have in contemplation, and mankind in general arc little 



270 JOi^N ADAx\lS. 

less interested in it, than our particular countries. I shall 

hope for the honor of your Excellency's answer upon 

these suhjects. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 19tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

The news from Petersburg of the 16th of June, is, that 
the fleet destined for the protection of the comnnerce of 
that empire was ready to sail. Of the three squadrons 
of which it is composed, one is to cruise, as they learn, in 
the North Sea, the other upon the coast of Portugal, and 
the third in the Mediterranean. This last will winter at 
Leghorn, and the two first in some port of. a friendly 
power, upon the North Sea, or in the Baltic. 

The news from Copenhagen of the 4th of July, is, that 
"the maritime forces of the northern powers begin to put 
themselves in motion for the protection of their commerce, 
in regard to the belligerent powers. The vessels, the 
King of Jutland, and the Prince Frederick, of seventy 
guns, commanded by the Captains de Kaas, and Lous, 
have put into the Road, the 30th of June. The better to 
man them, as well as the other vessels of our squadron, we 
have embarked several detachments of the regiments of 
indintry of Holstein, Falster, and Jutland. The first of 
July we saw pass by here, towards the Sound, three Swe- 
dish ships of the line, coming from the Baltic ; and the 
next day the Russian fleet, composed of fifteen ships of the 
line, and of several frigates, came to anchor in our Road, 
separated into three divisions under the command of Vice 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPOiNDKNCE. 271 

Admirals ile Borislow, de Krnse, and dc Polibiii. They 
say, that is to be followed by the Admiral's vessel, com- 
manded by Vice Admiral Greigh, in quality of Comman- 
der-in-Chief of all the fleet." 

The following are the articles of the Ordinance of the 
Empress of Russia, concerning the navigation of the mer- 
chant flag of Russia. 

"Article i. They may not take any part in the war, 
directly nor indirectly, or under any pretext whatsoever ; 
and they may not even give succor to any of the powers 
at war by carrying them merchandises of contraband under 
the Russian flag. These consist namely, in cannon, mor- 
tars, muskets, pistols, bombs, grenades, bullets, or balls, 
proper to fire, fusils, flints, matches, powder, saltpetre, sul- 
phur, cutlasses, pikes, swords, scabbards, gibernes, saddles, 
and bridles. They ought also to take special care, that 
there be not found on board of any vessel more of these 
warlike stores, than they have occasion for, for their own 
use, and so much that each sailor or passenger may be 
sufficiently provided. 

"Article ii. All other merchandises, whoever may 
be the owners, and even although they belong to the sub- 
jects of one or another of the belligerent powers, may be 
freely embarked upon Russian vessels, and shall enjoy on 
board of them equally with the merchandises of our sub- 
jects, the protection of the Russian flag, excepting those, 
which are contained iu the first article, under the name of 
contraband, as in fact they are declared such in the 
eleventh article of our Treaty of Commerce with England. 
By means of this safety of merchandises permitted in neu- 
tral vessels, our subjects ought also to have a care not to 
embark effects which belong to them, upon vessels of na- 



272 JOHN ADAMS. 

tions engaged in the war, to the end to avoid thus all disa- 
greements and disagreeable rencontres. 

"Article hi. Every vessel going out of the port of 
this city, or of any other of our empire, ought to be furnish- 
ed with sufficient proofs, that she belongs to Russian sub- 
jects ; to wit, with sea-letters, as is the usage, and with a 
certificate of the custom-house, in which it may be de- 
clared first, with what merchandises she is loaded, and 
how much; secondly, on the account of whom they have 
been purchased, and to whom the vessel and the cargo are 
addressed. For the greater safety, the certificates sent by 
the custom-house shall be inspected by the Admiralty, or 
in his default by the magistrate of the place. 

"Article iv. Not only our native subjects shall en- 
joy these prerogatives, but also strangers who are settled in 
our dominions, and who bear like them the public burdens; 
that is to say, during the time that they shall sojourn in our 
country, since, in no other case can it be permitted them 
to employ the merchant flag of Russia. 

"Article v. Each Russian vessel, even in case one 
single owner expedites two or three vessels at a time for 
the same place, ought to be provided in particular with the 
documents mentioned in the third article, which may serve 
to justify their property in case that these ships should sep- 
arate during the voyage, or be obliged to pursue different 
routes. 

"Article vi. It is forbidden to every Russian vessel 
to have connoissements, charter parties, or other sea papers 
double, or doubtful, much less false declarations, inasmuch 
as these always expose to an inevitable danger. Thus 
they should give their principal attention, that their docu- 
ments be in good order and prove clearly, as it is said be- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 273 

fore, the true destination of the vessel, and the nature of 
her cargo. It is also necessary, that the contract between 
the owner of the merchandises and the master of the ves- 
sel, or the agreement known under the name of charter 
party, be always on board. But as it happens very often, 
that the owner of merchandises, in making his adventure, 
whether in his own vessel, or whether in a neutral vessel 
freighted by him, fixes the sale of thera solely by specula- 
tion, by preference in some port, and in case the price in 
this port is too low, in some port more distant ; in this case 
they ought not to fail to name and settle the two ports, 
according to the order of the route and their situation in 
one single connoissement, and not in two. They ought 
also to observe the same precautions in regard to the char- 
ter parties, to the end, that there may be no difference 
between them and the connoissements ; and in case that 
any one of our subjects, in contempt of these dispositions, 
shall allow himself in artifice and duplicity, he may assure 
himself, that he shall never enjoy our. protection, which is 
granted only to lawful and innocent commerce, and by no 
means to illicit and fraudulent traffic. 

"Article vii. Every Russian vessel, which, after 
having unloaded her cargo in any foreign port, has a de- 
sign to return into her country, or to proceed further in 
another foreign place, ought to provide herself in this port 
and in every other, at which she may stop to trade, with 
the documents required by the usages of the country, to 
the end, that they may prove at all times the nation to 
which the ship belongs, the port from which she comes, 
that to which she is bound, and the merchandises with 
which she has been loaded anew. 

"Article vm. Forasmuch as the aforesaid docu- 
VOL. V. 3n 



274 



JOHN ADAMS. 



ments are indispensably necessary to prove the neutral 
property of eftects, which are found on board the ship, they 
ought particularly to take care not to throw them into the 
sea, no more than any other writings or papers, without 
any exception upon any occasion whatever, especially on 
the rencontre of any other vessel, inasmuch as by such a 
step one might expose himself to well founded suspicions, 
and to disagreeable consequences. 

"AiiTiCLE IX. It is necessary to have a scrupulous 
attention, that there be not on board of any Russian vessel 
any merchant, clerk, and never more than one third of the 
seamen, subjects of the belligerent powers, because by 
conducting differently such vessel might expose herself to 
sustain disagreeable disappointments. But as a similar in- 
convenience may easily happen to those sorts of ships, 
which in time of war are purchased of the subjects of the 
belligerent powers, for this reason, from this time, and as 
long as the present maritime war shall last, the said vessels 
may not be purchased, unless under condition, that they 
shall be solely employed in the Baltic, or the Black Sea. 

"Article x. The carriage of all merchandise whatso- 
ever, into places blocked or besieged by sea and by land, 
is entirely prohibited, in consequence of which, if any of 
the merchants of this empire, engaged by the hope of gain, 
shall intermeddle in any such traffic, whatever loss he may 
sustain, he cannot ever have the right of demanding our 
protection. 

"Article xr. All our subjects who, by reason of their 
commerce, find themselves in foreign countries, ought to 
conform themselves exactly to the civil and mercantile 
laws, which shall there subsist, as well as to the ordinances 
of every ])lace where they live, or to which they may send 



Dli'LO.MATIC CORKESFO.NDK.NCE. i>7o 

their vessels. Nevertheless, to the end that they may, as 
much as possible, be instructed in those laws and ordi- 
nances, the College of Foreign Aflairs will communicate to 
that of Commerce, all the writings that have relation thereto, 
that they may be able to give notice of them to the mer- 
chants by the means of the public papers. 

"Article xii. Although our intention is, to protect 
efficaciously and vigorously the navigation and the com- 
merce of our faithful subjects, nevertheless, we intend not 
by any means to permit that there result from it the least 
prejudice to one or the other of the belligerent powers, or 
that individual merchants should profit of it to make unlaw- 
ful gain. To this eflect, we forbid expressly any of our 
merchants and trading subjects to permit strangers to nego- 
tiate, or send ships to sea, under his name. Every per- 
son who shall in this respect transgress our will, shall be 
deprived forever of our imperial protection for his vessels, 
as well as of the right of fitting them out in future. If our 
subjects, interested in maritime commerce, follow exactly 
this ordinance in all its points, they may be assured of our 
entire and unlimited protection concerning their affliirs in 
foreign countries, as well as of a zealous and affectionate 
intervention on the part of the IMinisters, Agents, and Con- 
suls, v;ho reside there on our part. To this end, our Col- 
lege of Foreign Affairs will communicate to them in suffi- 
cient season the most precise instructions. But those 
among our subjects who shall depart from these regula- 
tions, ought not to expect the least protection on our part, 
whatever unfortunate accidents and other damages they 
may sustain, by their voluntary transgression of the orders 
which they shall have received, and not to depart from the 
requisite circumspection recommended to them. The Col- 



276 JOHN ADAMS 

lege ot Couiiiierct;, in uoiiiyiug this ordinance to the body 
of Russian merchants trading in our ports, shall at the 
same lime be held to furnish the custom-houses with the 
necessary instructions relative to this order, as well as to 
communicate our will to the Governors of Provinces where 
there are ports, that at the same time they may be ob- 
served in all the tribunals which may concern them." 

Czarsko-Selole, 19th of May, 1780. The original is 
thus subscribed by the hand of her Imperial Majesty, Cat- 
terine. 

1 have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PKKSIOENT OF CUiNCiKKSS, 

Paris, July 19tli, 17S0. 

Sir, 
There is an article oi news from Copenhagen of the 4th 
of July. "The vessels of war, the Prince Frederick and 
the Jutland, each of seventy guns, and the frigates, the 
Pearl and the Alsen, arc in the Road. The Admiral's flag 
will be hoisted on the Gih on board the Justitia, of seventy- 
four guns, and all the Dutch fleet will consist, this year, of 
ten ships of the line, from seventyfour to fifty guns, and 
six frigates, thirtysix to thirty. There has already sailed 
of this fleet, one ship of sixty guns, for the coast of Gui- 
nea; one of fifty is in the north sea; another is in the Road 
of Elsinore, for a guard ship, and three frigates have sailed 
for America. Thus the squadron will remain composed 
of seven ships of the line and three frigates, which are to 
join the Russian fleet. Yesterday and the day before, 
arrived in the Road of this city a Russian fleet, consisting 



DIPLOMATIC CUHJ^LSPUNUE.NCE 277 

uf fifteen siiips of the line and four frigates, under the toui- 
mand of Admiral Borislow, of Vice Admiral Kruse, and of 
the commandant, Polibin ; and on the 1st of this month, 
there passed before the port of this city, the Swedish ships 
of war, coming from the Baltic Sea, and making sail to- 
ward the Sound." 

Elsinore, 27th of June. "There has sailed from this 
port a convoy of eighteen merchant ships, destined for the 
North Sea, under the convoy of a Swedish ship of the line 
and a frigate." 

There is a paragraph in the Amsterdam Gazette of the 
14th, which is worth translating, because these paragraphs 
oftentimes betray a great deal of politics. It is this ; "the 
conquest of Mobile, made by the Spaniards, the news of 
which has lately arrived here, appears so much the more 
important, as it leads infallibly to that of Pensacola, by 
which the Spaniards may cut oft' one of the principal ave- 
nues of Jamaica, and may^ in time, intercept the com- 
merce and the provisions of this Island, from whence they 
are much annoyed at ^Mexico by the English, w'ho suffi- 
ciently incline to extend themselves when they can, and had 
made since the peace so great progress in this part of the 
world, that to stop them, the war was become almost indis- 
pensable to Spain." It might have been added, that it was 
become indispensable to France too ; for the English have 
ever made it a maxim to go to war with France, as she 
had a 6ne fleet and a flourishing commerce. Burn, sink, 
and destroy, were the words with England whenever a for- 
midable navy appeared upon the ocean, belonging to any 
other nation. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



278 JOHiN ADAMS. 

COUNT DE VERGKNNES TO JOHN ADAMS. 

TransUuion. 

Versailles, Jiilv 20tli, 17S0. 

Sir, 

I have received the loiter, which you did me the honor 
to write me on the 13th of this month. I am very sensi- 
ble of the confidence with which you have communicated 
your ideas on the present situation of the United States, 
and the need they have of the immediate assistance of 
some ships of the line and some frigates. The Chevalier 
de Ternay and the Count de Rochambeau, are sent with 
the express design, which is the subject of your letter. 
They will concert their operations with Congress and witii 
General Washington. And as the King has given them no 
precise orders with regard to their return to Europe, but 
l)as left them at liberty to act as they shall judge proper 
for the relief of America, there is every reason to believe, 
that they will take their station during next winter in 
North America, if that shall be agreeable to Congress, 
and that they will employ the ships and troops under their 
command, according to the plan that shall be settled be- 
tween them and the American Generals. 

You will perceive, Sir, by this detail, that the King is 
far from abandoning the cause of America, and that his 
Majesty, without having been solicited by Congress, has 
taken effectual measures to support the cause of America. 
I flatter myself, Sir, that these generous proceedings will 
excite suitable sensations in Ameiica, and that they will 
prevail over the falsehoods, which the common enemy and 
their wicked adherents propagate there, in order to raise 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDKNCE. 279 

suspic-ions of France, and to induce the Americans to take 
resolutions, which will terminate in their slavery and dis- 
honor. 

I have the honor to be, k.c. 

DE VERGENNES. 



TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES. 

Paris, July 2Ist, 1780. 

Sir, 

I have received the letter you did me the honor to 
write me yesterday, and am extremely sensible of your 
ExceJlency's confidence in communicating to me the des- 
tination of the armament under INI. de Ternay and the 
Count de Rochambeau, and the probability that the ships 
will winter in North Ainerica. 

I assure your Excellency, that scarcely any news I ever 
heard, gave me more satisfaction ; and nothing, in my 
opinion, can afford a more effectual assistance to America, 
or make deeper or more grateful impression on the minds 
of her inhabitants. 

I am infinitely mistaken, if the service of the King in 
the conduct of the war, both in the West Indies and North 
America, does not derive such essential advantages from 
this measure, as will demonstrate its wisdom to all tl.j 
world, as well as to the English and Americans the King's 
determined benevolence to the American cause. 
I have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



280 JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 22d, 1780. 
Sir, 

The King of England's speed) at the prorogation of 
Parliament, contains nothing remarkable, worth the atten- 
tion of America, except compliments to the two Houses 
upon their magnanimity and perseverance in the pursuits 
of this just and necessary war, which he says, has put it in 
his power to make such eftbrts, that he dares hope, with 
the aid of Divine Providence, to disconcert the violent and 
unjust designs of his enemies, and induce them to listen to 
equitable and honorable terms of peace. These efforts 
have already been followed by success both by sea and 
land, and the happy and important turn, which affairs have 
lately taken in North America, makes me conceive the 
best founded hopes of the return of the affection and loy- 
alty of my subjects of the Colonies, and of their happy re- 
union with their mother country. 

There is one more sentence, vi'hich deserves attention. 
"Exert yourselves to inculcate this important truth, that 
rebellious insurrections to resist or reform the laws, can- 
not fail to terminate in the destruction of those who have 
made the attempt, or by the subversion of our happy and 
free constitution." Americans will make their own reflec- 
tions on this speech. It is very certain, that it has not the 
air nor the spirit of peace. 

Madrid, the 21tli of June. "We expect to learn in a few 
days, the formation of the combined fleet in the Bay of Cadiz. 
The following is the state of the Spanish vessels which are 
now there, ready to go out under the command of Lieuten- 
ant General Don Louis dc Cordova; La Tres Sainte 
Trinite, of one hundred and twenty guns; the Foudre and S. 



DIPLOMATIC C0RRE5F0.NDE.NCE. 281 

Ferdinand of eighty ; the Sainte Isabelle, the Ange Gar- 
(Jien, the Serieux, the Atlas, the St Pierre Apotre, the Ori- 
ent, the St Raphael, the St Joachim, the St Damase, the St 
Isidore, the St Eugene, and the St Laurent of seventy ; 
the Mino of fiftysix; the frigates, the Ste Lucie of thlrtysix, 
the Ste Rufnie of twentyeight, the Ste Barbe, and the As- 
somption of twentysix ; the chebecs, the Majorquais, and 
the Murcien of thirtysix ; the St Sebastian of twentyfour, 
and the corvette, the Ste Catharine of eighteen. To these 
vessels must be added the squadron of Ferrol, which 
entered on the 23d of May in the Bay of Cadiz, under the 
command of Don Athanasio Baranda, and composed of the 
vessels, the Conception of ninety ; the St Charles and the 
St Vincent of eighty ; the Ferme, the Galice, the St Pas- 
chal, and the Brilliant of seventy ; the Septentrion of sixty- 
four ; the frigates, El Carmen and the Perpetua of thirtysix ; 
as well as the corvette, the Ste Helene of twentytwo guns ; 
making thus a total of twentyfour ships of the line, six 
frigates, four chebecs, and two cutters." 

Cadiz, the 24ih of June. "The squadron of jNL de 
Beausset, composed of seven ships of the line, anchored 
on the 18th in this Bay. His frigates brought in two small 
ships loaded with corn and flour, and a cutter of twelve 
guns. The cruise of this squadron has served very much 
to keep the enemy's cruisers at a distance ; and the neu- 
trals not fearing to be disturbed, have come here in great 
numbers. The 19th, the Protector, commanded by M. 
D. Achen, arrived here ; she fell into the midst of the 
Quebec fleet ; but as she sailed ill and had no frigate, 
(the Galatea having been separated from her) she was not 
able to take more than two vessels, the cargoes of which 
were rich enough, and which she sent into Lisbon.*' 
VOL. V. 36 



2S2 . JOHN ADAMS. 

Thus the French and Spanish ships at Cadiz amount 
to thirty of the line. This fleet, combined with that of 
Brest, and with the Active, the Guerrier and the Caesar, 
gone to convoy merchantmen to a certain latitude, and to 
a ship of one hundred and ten guns, from Rochfort, and all 
commanded by the Count d'Estaing, would give a good 
account of the English. 

Petersburg, 2od of June. "The squadron equipped at 
Cronstadt, having received its last orders, sailed from thence 
the 19th of this month. As the service to which it is des- 
tined will not permit it to return before winter in the ports 
of this empire, the Court has sent to its Ministers in Holland, 
England, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Denmark, 
orders to request of those respective powers, that there 
may be granted to this scjuadron a free entry into their ports, 
and all the succor of which they may have occasion, in case 
they should be obliged to put in there by any accident," he. 

Copenhagen, 4th of July. "The arrival of the fleet 
of fifteen Russian ships of the line in our port, is soon to 
be followed by the departure of the Danish fleet. The 
Justice, of seventyfour guns, the last of the vessels that we 
have armed to form it, will go tomorrow into the Road ; 
and the day after, the Vice Admiral de Schindel will hoist 
his flag on board of her. We shall then have in service 
eight ships of the line, two of fifty guns, and six frigates, 
lo wit, the Justice, and the Princess Sophia Frederick, 
commandant Krieger, of seventyfour ; the Jutland, and the 
Prince Frederick, Commandants de Kaas and Lous, of 
seventy ; the Droit d'Indigenat and the Wagrie, Captains 
Gormar and Tiillc, of sixtyfour ; the Dannebrog and the 
Holstein, Captains Ellebracht and U. C. Kaas, of sixty ; the 
Mars and the Greenland, Captains TAitken and Knudsen, of 



L'lPLOMATU: CORKKsl'O.MJK.NCK 283 

nit) ; ilie Bornholm and the Riel, Captains Schaning and 
Tender, of thirtysix ; the Moen, Captain Budde, of liiirly- 
four ; the Cronberg, Captain Ziervogel, of ihirtytwo ; the 
Alsen, Captain Count dc Rcventlau, of tuentyfoiir, and 
the Christian, Captain Siockflelk, of twenty guns. Of 
these, nevertheless, tlie Holstcin sailed the 30th for Guinea ; 
the Bornholm, the Moen, and the Christian, are in the 
islands of America, and liie Greenland serves as a guard 
ship in the Road of Helsingore." 

Whatever may be the part that either powers will take 
in regard to the project of an armed neutrality, the three 
Crowns of the North appear uniform in their measures for 
the protection of the commerce of their subjects, and these 
measures have already tha effect, that their ships, particu- 
larly the Swedish and Danish, are already sought for 
freight in the Baltic, in preference to all others, while on 
the other side there arrives no neutral vessels from the 
North Sea, in the Sound, which does not make the most 
bitter complaints concerning the ill treatment received from 
English privateers. A Dutch ship has had nineteen of 
them on board of him since his departure from the coast of 
France, and a Russian ship has been robbed of all his 
victuals by these pirates, who had left him nothing but 
Gruau-Water, and eighteen pounds of bread, upon which 
eight men were to subsist during three weeks. 

Hague, I'ith of July. "Affairs between our Republic 
and the Court of London are still in the same state of 
indecision. We learn, that the latter has answered, by the 
Viscount Stormont to the different ^lemoirs presented 
during some weeks, by the Envoy, the Count de Welderen, 
in which he insisted upon the stipulations of the treaty of 
1674. 'That in answer to these jNlemorials, and to all 



284 JOHN ADAMS. 

those, which could be presented of the same nature, he, 
Lord Stormont, observed that the Count de Welderen in- 
sisted upon that, which at this time no longer existed ; that 
it would be superfluous to repeat what had passed upon 
this subject, that he should confine himself, therefore, to 
remind him of the order, which the King had given in 
his Council, on the 17th of last April, and of which he 
had had the honor to give him official information.' " 

I am thus particular in laying before Congress a state of 
the navies of Europe, because they show the unanimity 
and ardor, with which all the maritime powers are intent 
upon their commercial and naval interests, upon the free- 
dom of commerce and navigation, and upon the rights of 
neutral nations, and to show, that America is universally 
considered by them as such a magazine of raw materials 
for manufactures, such a source of -commerce, and such a 
nursery of seamen, and naval power, that they are deter- 
mined, that no one power in Europe shall ever again mo- 
nopolise it. We must, hov^^ever, fight our own battles, and 
bear our own expenses ; for the slow march of those powers, 
their maxims of dignity and systems of etiquette are such, 
that they must have their own way, and operate in their 
own time. England has hints and warnings enough, but 
she will not take them. These events, however, all show 
the wisdom of Congress, in planning the first treaty, which 
was first sent to the Court of Versailles, upon the principle 
of perfect equality and reciprocity, granting no exclusive 
privileges, and binding herself to no obligation not to ad- 
mit any other, and all other nations to the same ; principles 
from which it is to be presumed we shall not depart. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 285 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Paris, July 23d, 1780. 

Sir, 
I have been amused some time with dark and unintelli- 
gible hints in letters from London, of some messenger sent 
fiom Lord North to Madrid. 

Three weeks ago 1 waited on the Count de Vergennes, 
at Versailles, to acquaint him, that 1 had an intention of 
making a journey to Amsterdam for a few weeks, as I flat- 
tered myself I might form some acquaintances, or corres- 
pondences there, and collect some intelligence, that might 
be useful to the United Stales. His Excellency desired 
me to wait some time, for that in eight or ten days he be- 
lieved he should have something to communicate to me. 
1 assured him, that 1 would not go till I saw him again, or 
heard further from him. This day sevennight, his Excel- 
lency informed me, that he was ready to let me know, that 
a messenger from the Court of London had arrived at 
Madrid, that the Spanish Ministry had demanded the sen- 
timents of the British Court concerning America. He- 
said he was not instructed. He was told he must pre- 
viously explain himself upon that subject. He determined 
lo send an express to London for instructions. This the 
Count de Vergennes said would take up two months, and 
consequently leave me time enough to go to Holland, but 
if anything should happen in the meantime, he would give 
me the earliest information of it. 

In the Courier de 1' Europe of the 14th of July, is this 
paragraph. 

"The report runs, that a person who has been Secretary 
of the Marquis d'Almodavar, during his embassy from 



2BG J^HN ADAMS. 

the Court of Madrid to that of London, arrived here, 
(London,) some wcel^s ago, on board the ]\lilfbrd, coming 
from Oporto, that after a stay of eight days, this frigate 
had orders to transport to Lisbon this person, accompanied 
by Mr Cumberland, Secretary of Lord George Germain, 
whose instructions imply, that if at the end of twenty days 
lie is not called to JMadrid, he is to return here immedi- 
ately. As soon as this person arrived at Lisbon, he set out 
for Madrid, where fifteen days after, ]\Ir Cumberland was 
invited to go, and where he is at present." 

There is a body of people in England wlio are zealous 
and clamorous for peace, and the Ministry find their account 
in amusing and silencing them i)y equivocal appearances of 
negotiations. They have ever made it a part of their politi- 
cal system, to hold out to America some false hopes of re- 
conciliation and peace, in order to slacken our nerves and 
retard our preparations. They think also, that they can 
amuse the Courts of France and Spain, with a talk about 
conferences and negotiations, while they are secretly con- 
certing measures to succor Gibraltar, and carry on their 
operations the next campaign. But serious llioughts of 
peace upon any terms that we can agree to, I am persua- 
ded they never had ; but if they ever did entertain any 
thoughts of negotiation, it must have been at the time of 
their consternation for Sir Henry Clinton, and their despair 
of his success. 

The total and absolute suppression of the tumults in 
London, and the triumphant success of Clinton, beyond 
their most sanguine expectations, has now given them such 
confidence and exaltation tiiat the people of America w'ill 
dethrone Congress, and, like the Israelites of old, demand a 
king, that they now think of nothing but unconditional sub- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 2S7 

mission, or at least of delusive proffers of terms, which 
they know the majesty of the people in America will not 
agree to, in order to divide us, to make a few gentlemen 
apostates, and some soldiers deserters. 
I have the honor to be, k.c. 

JOHN ada:\is. 



COUNT DE VERGENNES TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Translation. 

Versailles, July 25tli, 1780. 

Sir, 
I have received the letter, which you have done me the 
lionor to write to me on the 17th of this month. I have 
read it with the most serious attention, and in order to give 
you an answer with greater exactness, I have placed in the 
margin every paragraph which seemed to require obser- 
vations on my part. You will there see, Sir, that I con- 
tinue to be of opinion, that the time to communicate your 
Plenipotentiary power to Lord Germain is not yet come, 
and you will there find the reasons on which I ground my 
opinion. I have no doubt you will feel the force of them, 
and that they will determine you to think as I do. But if 
that should not be the case, 1 pray you, and in the name of 
the King request you, to communicate your letter and my 
answer to the United States, and to suspend until you shall 
receive orders from them, all measures with regard to the 
English Ministry. I shall on my part, transmit my obser- 
vations to America, that M. de la Luzerne may communi- 
cate them to the members of Congress, and I am persuaded 
that that assembly will think the opinion of the Ministry of 



288 JOHN ADAMS. 

France worthy some attention, and that they will not be 
afraid of neglecting or betraying the interests of the United 
States, by adopting it as a rule of their conduct. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

DE VERGENNES. 



Observations on Mr Adamses Letter of July 17 th, 1780. 
Translation. 

I. The reasons, which determined the Count de Ver- 
gennes to give Mr Adams that advice are so plain, that 
they must appear at first view. 

1st. To be solicitous about a Treaty of Commerce, 
before peace is established, is like being busy about furnish- 
ing a house, before the foundation is laid. 

2d. In the situation in which America stands at present 
with regard to England, to announce to that power that 
they have forgotten her system of tyranny, her cruelties, 
and her perfidy, is discovering too great a degree of weak- 
ness, or at least too much good nature, and inviting her to 
believe, that the Americans have an irresistible predilection 
for her, and to fortify her in the opinion she entertains, that 
the American patriots will submit through weariness, or the 
preponderating influence of the tories. 

3d. To propose a Treaty of Commerce, which must be 
founded on confidence, and on a union equivalent to an al- 
liance, at a time when the war is raging in all its fury, when 
the Court of London is wisliing to ruin or to subjugate 
America, what is it but to give credit to the opinion, which 
all Europe entertains, conformable to the assertions of the 
English Ministers, that the United States incline towards a 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDKNCE. 2S9 

defection, and that they will be faithlul to their engagements 
with France, only till such time as Great Britain shall fur- 
nish a pretext for breaking them. 

II. A person may be furnished eventually with pleni- 
potentiary powers, without being under the necessity of 
publishing them, until circumstances permit him to use 
tiiem. This happens every day. JNIr Adams is charged 
with three distinct commissions. 1. To take a share in 
the future negotiations for peace. 2. To conclude a treaty 
of commerce with Great Britain. 3, To represent the 
United States at the Court of London. It requires no 
great effort of genius to show, that these three objects can- 
not be accomplished at the same moment of time, nor that 
the two last cannot serve as an introduction to the first. It 
is necessary first of all to obtain from England an acknowl- 
edgment of the Independence of America, and that ac- 
knowledgment must serve as a foundation for a treaty of 
peace. Until this is obtained, Mr Adams cannot talk of a 
treaty of commerce. To propose one while the Court of 
London is flattering itself with the hopes of subduing Ame- 
ica, and while with that view it is making the most stren- 
uous efforts, would in the view of that Court be to propose 
what was chimerical, and would be taking a step which it 
would hold in derision. 

The case would be the same, were one at tliis time to 
talk of a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States 
appointed to reside at the Court of his Britannic Majesty. 
The only powers, therefore, which circumstances permit 
Mr Adams to announce, are those which authorise him to 
take a part in the negotiations for peace. The two other 
powers can be of no avail until the conclusion of that peace, 
so that it would be at least useless to produce them at pre- 
voL. V. 37 



290 JOHN ADAMS. 

sent ; and consequently Mr Adams will not act inconsistent 
with the design and nature of his appointment by conceal- 
ing them from the Court of London. Although the Count 
de Vergennes is unacquainted with the instructions of Mr 
Adams, yet he is persuaded that they are conformable to 
the foregoing reflections, and that they do not direct him to 
make an immediate communication of his powers relative 
to a treaty of commerce, any more than they order him to 
make a separate peace with Great Britain. This opinion 
is founded on that which the King's Ministry entertain of 
the wisdom, prudence and fidelity of Congress. 

II L It is to be observed, that the English Ministry 
would consider tiiat communication as ridiculous ; so that 
it is deceiving one's self to suppose, that it will engage 
them to enter into any conference, or so say anything more 
than what is contained in the resolutions of Parliament, 
namely, that they will listen to the Americans and receive 
them into favor, when they return to their former alle- 
giance. It can answer no good purpose to draw from 
them such an answer, nor can the United States want such 
an answer, to inform them of the present sentiments of the 
Court of London, and much less to prepare with councils 
and arms to resist them. It is astonishing to talk of prepa- 
rations of councils and arms, when the w'ar is raging in all 
its fury, when it has now lasted six years, and England has 
not yet made one overture to the Americans, that can au- 
thorise them to believe that she would agree to their inde- 
pendence. 

IV. The English Ministry would cither return no an- 
swer, or if they did it would be an insolent one. In case 
of the latter, why should a man needlessly expose himself 
to insult, and thereby make himself the laughing-stock of 



UIl'LOMATIC CORRLSPO.NDF.NCE. 091 

all tjie nations who have not yet acknowledgetl the inde- 
pendence of the United States? But there is reason to 
believe that Mr Adams would receive no answer, because 
the British Ministry v.'oukl not think themselves bound to 
return one to a man who assumes a character, which the 
Court of London must consider as an insult. It should not 
be forgotten, that that Court always considers the Ameri- 
cans as rebellious subjects. With such an opinion, how 
could Lord Germain receive a letter from Mr Adams, 
taking upon himself the character of Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary from the United Stales of North America ? How 
could that Minister bear the mention of a treaty of com- 
merce, which can only take place between independent 
nations ? These observations will convince Mr Adams, 
that France has no occasion for the expedient which he 
proposes, to discover the sentiments and dispositions of the 
Court of London, and that we arc already perfectly ac- 
quainted with what we ought and may expect from it, in 
the present situation of affairs. 

V. The silence, or the answer of the English Ministry, 
let whiclv will happen, will nehher alarm nor arouse the 
people of England. That people, without doubt, desire 
peace and an accommodation with America. But we find 
that only some individuals talk of independence, and these, 
more from a spirit of opposition than from conviction. 
There never has been a single motion made in Parliament 
tending to grant that independence. Yet the people have 
friends and protectors in Parliament. From this, ]Mr 
Adams may judge into what embarrassment the announc- 
ing ills powers would throw the Ministry. 

VI. England, as well as the rest of Europe, is per- 
fectly acquainted with the nature of the engagcmenis, which 



292 JOHN ADAMS. 

subsist between France and the United States. The King 
caused a declaration to be made by his Ministry on the 
13th of March, 1778, that he had not secured to himself 
any exclusive privilege by the treaty of commerce of the 
6th of February of the same year, and his Majesty has 
confirmed that declaration in a writing published by his 
order. So that the plenipotentiary powers of Mr Adams 
can disclose nothing new, either to England or to the other 
powers of Europe, and the false opinion of the Court of 
London in this matter can be no obstacle to a peace. If 
any such obstacle existed, the English Ministry would 
themselves find means to remove it, if they were deter- 
mined to make i)eace ; depend upon that. 

VII. It is certain that the whole English nation, and 
even the JMinisters themselves, wish for peace. But it has 
been observed, thiit there has not been a single modon 
made in favor of the independence of America. Certainly 
the plenipotentiary powers of Mr Adams will not change the 
present dispositions of the people in that respect, and con- 
sequently the communication that might be made of them, 
will neither facilitate nor accelerate the conclusion of peace. 

VIII. This is a sensible reflection. It proves thai Mr 
Adams is himself convinced that there arc circumstances, 
which may induce him to conceal his powers. The King's 
Ministry think that such circumstances will continue till the 
English nation shall show a disposition to acknowledge the 
independence of the United States. That acknowledg- 
ment will not be facilitated by proposing a treaty of com- 
merce. For the English are at present well persuaded, 
that they will have such a treaty with America when they 
shall judge it proper. They have besides, as Mr Adams 
has himself mentioned in his letter of the 19th of February 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 293 

last, a full knowledge of his commission, so that the com- 
munication of his full powers will teach them nothing new 
in this respect. 

IX. In answer to this paragraph it may be observed, 
that there is not an Englishman who is not persuaded that 
the United States are disposed to grant the advantages of 
commerce to their ancient metropolis ; but it would be a 
very difficult task to persuade an Englishman or any think- 
ing being, that by granting independence in exchange for 
these advantages, the Court of London would make an 
honorable and advantageous peace. If this was the real 
sentiment of the people of England, why have they for 
these six years past, without murmuring, furnished ruinous 
supplies for subduing America ? 

X. The English Ministry either have sincere inten- 
tions of making peace, or they mean to amuse and pene- 
trate the designs of Spain. In the first case, they will ex- 
press the conditions on which they desire to treat ; they 
will then be obliged to explain their views and their de- 
mands with regard to America. They assuredly forget 
nothing which they think will forward peace, and upon 
agreeing to her independence, their first care will be to 
demand equal privileges with France in regard to com- 
merce. On the contrary, if the English Ministry only 
means to amuse Spain, to penetrate her designs and to 
slacken her prepnrations for war, Mr Adams should do the 
Ministry of Madrid justice to believe that they will have 
sagacity enough to discover their views, and have under- 
standing and prudence sufficient to determine on the con- 
duct they ought to pursue. 

XI. If Mr Adams is as sure as he is of his existence, 
that the Ensilish Ministry have no intention of making 



^94 JOHN ADAMS. 

peace on tei'ms which France w.kI America can agree to, 
to what purpose coniniunicate to them at present powers, 
which cannot be made use of until after the peace. How 
can B'lr Adams persuade himseh", that the Court of London 
will be seduced by the bait of a treaty of commerce, while 
it still manifest-; an irivincible repugnance to acknowleds^e 
the independence of America. V/henever it shall be dis- 
posed to acknowledge that independence, it will of itself 
propose the conditions on which it will be then proper to 
grant it, and Mr Adams may rest assured, that it will not 
forget the article of commerce. Then will be ilie proper 
time for him to produce his plenipotentiary powers. In 
the meantime, it is necessary to pursue measures ior the 
establishing the foundation of that negotiation, namely, the 
independence of America, and that, can only be etfected by 
carrying on the war with vigor and success. 



TO THE COUNT DR VERGENNES. 

Paris, July 26th, 1780. 

Sir, 

I have rec<.ived the letter, which your Excellency did 
me the hone.' io write me on the 25lh of tliis month. 

The sincere respect I entertain fur your Excellency's 
sent-ments would have determined me, upon the least inti- 
mation, to liavo communicated my letter and your answer 
to Congress, and to suspend, until 1 should receive orders 
on their pari, all measures towards the British Ministry, 
widiout your Excellency's retjuisition in the name of the 
King. 

1 shall transmit these papers to Congress, and 1 doubt 



UIl'LOMATIC CORREs^rO.NDtNCL. 295 

not the reasons your Excellency lias iidilucetl will hff suf- 
ficient to induce them to suspend any communication to 
the British Ministry, as it is undoubtedly their wisdom to 
conduct all such measures in concert with their allies. 

There is a great body of people in America, as deter- 
mined as any to support their independence, and their alli- 
ances; who notwithstanding wish that no measure may be 
left unattemi)ted by Congress, or their servants, to manifest 
their readiness for peace, upon such terms as they think 
honorable and advantageous to all parlies. Your Excel- 
lency's arguments, or indeed your authority, will probably 
be sufficient to satisfy these people, and to justify me, 
whereas without tb.em I might have been liable to the cen- 
sure of numbers. For it is most certain, that all due de- 
ference will be shown by the people of the United States 
and their servants, both in and out of Congress, to the sen- 
timents of the Ministry of France. 

This deference, however, by no means extends so far as to 
agree in all cases to those sentiments without examination. 
I cannot, therefore, agree in the sentiment, that proposing 
a treaty of peace and commerce, is discovering a great 
deal of weakness, or that the Americans have forgotten the 
British system of tyranny, cruelty, or perfidy, or to invite 
her to believe the Americans have an irresistible predilec- 
tion for England, or to fortify her in the opinion, that the 
American patriots will submit through weariness, or through 
fear of the preponderant inlluence of the tories. 

And so far from thinking it would give credit to the opin- 
ion, if there be such a one in all Europe, that the United 
States incline towards a defection, and that they will noi 
be faithful to their engagements, it seems to me on the 
contrary, it would discredit (he opinion which prevails too 



296 JOHN ADAMS. 

much in Europe, that there is some secret treaty be- 
tween France /and the United States, by which the for- 
mer is entitled to exclusive privileges in the American 
tuade. 

It is very true, that the independence of America must 
be acknowledged before a treaty of peace can be made. 
But a prospect of a free trade with America, upon princi- 
ples of perfect equality and reciprocity, like that between 
France and the United States, might be a powerful in- 
ducement with the people of England, to acknowledge 
American independence. Indeed 1 do not see any other 
considerable motive, that England can ever have to make 
that acknowledgment. The Congress have given -no posi- 
tive instructions respecting the time or manner of making 
these powers known to one Court or another. All this is 
left at discretion, and to a construction of the Commission- 
ers themselves. It is very certain, that all the belligerent 
powers are busily occupied every winter in their councils, 
and preparations for the ensuing campaign. And it is also 
certain, that the artifice of the British Ministry, in holding 
up to view every winter some semblance of a design of 
reconciliation formerly, and of peace latterly.; has been a 
real engine of hostility against America, equal to a con- 
siderable part of the British army. Neither the people 
of America, nor Mr Adams, have the least dread upon 
their minds, of an insolent answer from one of the British 
Ministers, nor of the ridicule of those nations who have 
not yet acknowledged the independence of America. No 
man of any knowledge, justice, or hunianit)', in any of 
those nations, would laugh upon such an occasion, on the 
contrary, he would feel a just indignation against a Minis- 
ter who sliould insult a message so obviously calculated for 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 297 

ihe good of England, and of all Europe, in the present 
circuoistances of afiairs. 

I am very much mistaken, for 1 speak upon memory, if 
tlie Duke of Richmond did not make a motion two years 
ago in the House of Lords, and if Mr Hartley did not 
make another about a year ago, which was seconded by 
Lord North himself, in the House of Commons, tending 
to grant independence to America. And it is very cer- 
tain, that a great part of the people of England think that 
peace can be had upon no other terms. It is most clear, 
that the present Ministry will not grant independence ; the 
only chance of obtaining it is by change of that Ministry, 
The King is so attached to that iMinistry, that he will not 
change them, until it appears that they have so far lost the 
confidence of the people, that their representatives in Par- 
liament dare no longer to support them, and in the course of 
the last winter the weight and sentiment of the people were 
so considerable, as to bring many great questions nearly to 
a balance, and particularly to carry two votes, one against 
the increase of the influence of the Crown, and another 
against the Board of Trade and Plantations, a vote that 
seemed almost to decide the American question, and they 
came within a very few voles of deciding against the 
American Secretary. Now where parties are approaching 
so near to a balance, even a small weight thrown into either 
scale may turn it. 

In my letter of the 1 9th of February, I said, that my 
appointment was notorious in America, and that therefore 
it was probably known to the Court of London, although 
they had not regular evidence of it. The question then, was 
more particularly concerning a commission to assist in the 
pacification. This was published in the American news- 

^ VOL. V. 3" 



29S JOHN ADAMS. 

papers, in a general way, but I have no reason to think 
they are particularly informed of these matters ; if they 
were, no evil that I am aware of could result from giving 
them the information officially. Certainly they have no 
official information, and it is denied, that they know the 
nature of Mr Adams' commission. 

Without any great effort of genius, I think it is easy to 
demonstrate to any thinking being, that by granting Ameri- 
can independence, and making a treaty of commerce upon 
principles of perfect reciprocity, England would in the 
present circumstances of affairs make an honorable and an 
advantageous peace. It would have been more for their 
honor and advantage never to have made this war against 
America, it is true, but having made it, all the dishonor 
and disadvantage there is in it are indelible, and after thir- 
teen colonies have been driven to throw off their govern- 
ment and annihilate it in every root and branch, becoming 
independent in fact, maintaining this independence against 
a force of forty thousand men and fifty ships of war, that 
would have shaken most of the States of Europe to the 
foundation, after maintaining this independence four years, 
and having made an honorable treaty with the first power 
in Europe, after another power had fallen into the war in 
consequence of the same system, after the voice of man- 
kind had so far declared against the justice of their cause, 
that they could get no ally, but on the contrary all the 
maritime powers are entering into a confederacy against 
them, upon a point which has been a principal source of 
their naval superiority in Europe ; in these circumstances, 
the only honorable part they can act, is to conform to the 
opinion of mankind, and the dishonorable and ruinous part 
for them to act is to continue the war. For the principle, 



DIPLU.MATIC COUHLiJi'O.NDENCE. 299 

ihat liie j)eople have a right to a fonn of government ac- 
cording to their own judgments and inclinations, is, in lliis 
intelligent age so well agreed on in the world, that it would 
be tliought dishonorable by mankind in general, for the 
English to govern three millions of people against liieir 
wills by military force, and this is all they can ever hope 
for, eren supposing they could bribe and tempt deserters 
enough from our army and apostates from our cause to 
make it impossible for us to carry on the war. This, how- 
ever, I know to be impossible, and that they never will get 
quiet possession again of the government of any one whole 
State in the thirteen ; no, not for an hour. If England 
considers further, that America is now known all over Eu- 
rope to be such a magazine of raw materials for manufac- 
tures, such a nursery of seamen, and such a source of 
commerce and naval power, that it would be dangerous to 
all the maritime powers to sufter any one of them to es- 
tablish a domination and a monopoly again in America. 

I know there exists in some European minds, a preju- 
dice against America, and a jealousy that she will be hurt- 
ful to Europe, and England may place some dependence 
upon this prejudice and jealousy, but the motions of the 
maritime powers begin to convince her, that this jealousy 
and prejudice do not run so deep as they thought, and 
surely there never was a more groundless prejudice enter- 
tained among men, and it must be dissipated as soon as the 
subject is considered. America is a nation of husbandmen, 
planted on a vast continent of wild uncultivated land, and 
there is, and will be for centuries, no way in which these 
people can get a living, and advance their interest so 
much as by agriculture. They can npply themselves to 
inanufaclures, only to fill up interstices of time, in which 



300 ^OHN ADAMS. 

they cannot labor on their lands, and to commerce, only to 
carry the produce of their lands, the raw materials of man- 
ufactures, to the European market. 

Europe is a country whose land is all cultivated nearly 
to perfection, where the people have no way to advance 
themselves but by manufactures and commerce ; here are 
two worlds then, fitted by God and nature, to benefit each' 
other, one by furnishing raw materials, the other manufac- 
tures, and they can never interfere. The number of 
States in America, their position and extension over such a 
great continent, and their fundamental constitution that 
nine States must concur to war, show that nine of these 
States never can agree in any foreign war, or any other, 
but for self defence, if they should ever become pow- 
erful. But in this case, however disagreeable a prospect 
it may open to Americans, Europe has an everlasting war- 
ranty against their becoming dangerous to her in the nature 
of men, the nature of her governments, and their position 
towards one another. 

All these circumstances serve to show, and the people of 
England begin to be sensible of it, that Europe will never 
suffer them to regain their domination and monopoly, even 
if the English were able to extort a forced submission. In 
this situation then, the only honorable and advantageous 
course for England is to make peace, and open commerce 
with America, in perfect consistency with her indepen- 
dence and her alliances. The people of England cannot 
be said to furnish subsidies without murmuring, for it is 
certain there never was so much murmuring and such radi- 
cal discontent in that nation nor any other, but at the eve 
of a revolution. 

I very cheerfully agree with your Excellency in opioion, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDEiNCE. 301 

ihat the Court ol' Spain has sagacity enough to penetrate 
and to defeat the deceitful designs of the English, and am 
not under other apprehensions from thence, than that the 
report of a negotiation with Spain will leave some impres- 
sions in America, where I believe the English Ministry 
chiefly intend it. I have already said, that from the pre- 
sent British Ministry I expect no peace. It is for the na- 
tion and for the change of Ministry, as a step towards 
peace, that 1 thought it might have some effect to make 
the communication, and to satisfy those people in America, 
who without the most distant thought of departing from 
their independence or their alliances, wish still to take 
every reasonable measure towards peace. Your Excel- 
lency's letter will convince them, that my apprehensions 
were wrong, and your advice will undoubtedly be followed, 
as it ought to be ; for they cannot promise themselves any 
advantages from the communication equivalent to the in- 
conveniency of taking a measure of this kind, which ought 
not to be done but in concert, against the opinion of the 
Ministry of France. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES. 

Paris, July 27th, 17S0. 

Sir, 
Since my letter of the 21st, and upon reading over 
again your Excellency's letter to me of the 20th, I ob- 
served one expression, which I think it my duty to con- 
sider more particularly. The expression 1 have in view, 
is this, "that the King without having been solicited by the 



302 JOHN ADAMS. 

Congress, had taken measures the njost efficacious to sus- 
tain the American cause." 

Upon this part of your letter, 1 must entreat your Excel- 
lency to recollect, that the Congress did as long ago as 
the year 1776, before Dr Franklin was sent off for France, 
instruct him, Mr Deane, and Mr Lee, to solicit the King 
for six ships of the line, and I have reason to believe, that 
the Congress have been from that moment to this, persua- 
ded that this object has been constantly solicited by their 
Ministers at this Court. 

in addition to this, I have every personal, as well as 
public motive to recall to your Excellency's recollection, a 
letter or memorial, which was presented to your Excellen- 
cy in the latter end of the month of December, 1778, or 
the beginning of January, 1779, in which a great variety of 
arguments were adduced to show, that it was not only good 
policy, but absolutely necessary, to send a superiority of 
naval force to the coasts of the Continent of America.* 
This letter, together with your Excellency's answer, ac- 
knowledging the receipt of it, I transmitted to Congress 
myself, and their Journals show, that they received them 
near a year ago, so that Congress I am persuaded, rest in 
the most perfect security in the persuasion, that everything 
has been done by themselves and their servants at this 
Court, to obtain this measure, and tliat the necessary ar- 
rangements of the King's naval service have hitherto pre- 
vented it. 

But if it was oniy suspected by Congress, that a direct ap- 
plication from them to the King was expected, I am assured 
they would not hesitate a moment to make it. I am so con- 

* See this memorial, or letter, in tiie Commissioners' Correspondence, 
Vol. I. page 500. 



DIPLOMATIC CORUESPONDENCE. 303 

vinced by experience, of the absolute necessity of more 
consultations and communications between his jNIajesty's 
Ministers and the Ministers of Congress, that I am deter- 
mined to omit no opportunity of communicating my sen- 
timents to your Excellency, upon everything that appears 
to mc of importance to the common cause, in whicli 1 can 
do it with propriety. And the communications shall be 
direct in person, or by letter to your Excellency, without 
the intervention of any third person. And I shall be very 
happy, and think myself highly honored, to give my poor 
opinion and advice to his JMajesty's Ministers upon any- 
thing that relates to the United States, or the common 
cause, whenever they shall be asked. 

I wish I may be mistaken, but it could answer no good 
purpose to deceive myself; and I certainly will not disguise 
my sentiments from your Excellency. I think that Admi- 
ral Graves, with the ships before in America, will be able 
to impede the operations of M. de Ternay, of M. de Ro- 
chambeau, and of General Washington, if their plan is to 
attack New York. 

If there should be a naval battle between M. de Ternay 
and Admiral Graves, the event is uncertain. From the 
near equality of force, and the equality of bravery and of 
naval science which now prevails everywhere, I think we 
cannot depend upon anything decisive in such an engage- 
ment, unless it be from the particular character of Graves, 
whom 1 know personally to be neither a great man, nor a 
great officer. If there should be no decision in a naval 
battle, Graves and his fleet must lay at New York, and 
M. de Ternay and his, at Rhode Island. I readily agree, 
that this will be a great advantage to the common cause, 
for the reasons mentioned in my letter to your Excellency 



304 JOHN ADAMS. 

of (he 1 3th of this month. But still 1 beg leave to suggest 
to your Excellency, whether it would not be for the good 
of the common cause to have still further resources in 
view, whether circumstances may not be such in the 
West Indies, as to enable M. de Guichen to despatch 
ships to the reinforcement of M. de Ternay, or whether it 
may not consist with the King's service to despatch ships 
from Europe for that purpose, and further, whether the 
Court of Spain cannot be convinced of the policy of keep- 
ing open the communication between the United States 
and tiie French and Spanish Islands in the West Indies, 
so as to co-operate w^ith France and the United States in 
the system of keeping up a constant superiority of naval 
power, both upon the coasts of North America and in the 
West India Islands. This is the true plan which is finally 
to humble the English, and give the combined forces the 
advantage. 

The English, in the course of the last war, derived all 
their triumphs, both upon the Continent of America and 
the Islands, from the succors they received from their Col- 
onies. And I am sure that France and Spain, with at- 
tention to the subject, may receive assistance in this war, 
from the same source equally decisive. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

COUNT DE VERGEiVNES TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Translation. 

Versailles, .luly 29tli, 1780. " 

Sir, 
I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write me on the 27th of this month. When I took 



DIPLOMATIC CORUESPO.NDENCi:. 305 

upon myself to give you a mark of my confidence, by in- 
forming you of the destination of Messrs de Ternay and 
Rochambeau, I did not expect the animadversion, wliich 
you have thought it your duty to make on a passage of my 
letter of the 20th of this month. To avoid any further 
discussions of that sort, I think it my duty to inform you, 
that Mr Franklin being the sole person who lias letters of 
credence to the King from the United States, it is with 
him only that I ought and can treat of matters, which 
concern them, and particularly of that which is the subject 
of your observations. 

Besides, Sir, I ought to observe to you, that the passage 
in my letter, which you have thought it your duty to con- 
sider more particularly, relates only to sending the fleet 
commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay, and had nothing 
further in view, than to convince you, that the King did not 
stand in need of your solicitations to induce him to interest 
himself in the affairs of the United States. 
I have the honor to be, Sec. 

DE VERGENNES. 



COUNT DE VERGKNNES TO B. FKANKLIN. 

Translation. 

Vrrsaillns, July 31st, 1780. 

Sir, 
The character with which you are invested, your wis- 
dom, and the confidence I have in your principles and sen- 
timents, induce me to communicate to you a correspon- 
dence, which I have had with Mr Adams. 

You will find, I think, in the letters of that Plenipoten- 
tiary, opinions and a turn, which do not correspond cither 
VOL. v. 39 



306 " JOHN ADAMH, 

with tlie manner in which I explained myself to liim, oi 
with the intimate connexion which subsists between the 
King and the United States. You will make that use of 
these pieces, vviiich your ])rudence shall suggest. As to 
myself, I desire, that you will transmit them to Congress, 
that they rnay know the line of conduct, which Mr Adams 
pursues with regard to us, and that they may judge whether 
he is endowed, as Congress no doubt desires, with that 
conciliating spirit, which is necessary for the important and 
delicate business, with which he is intrusted:" 
! have the honor to be, &c. 

DE V ERGENNES. 

" A cop}- of the Correspondence ijelwccn Count de Vcrgennes and 
Mr Adams, rcspectiiijj the communication of liis powers to the Britisli 
Ministry, being forwarded to Congress, a committee was appointed to 
consider the subject. Conformably to their report, tlie President wrote 
to Mr Adams tin; following letter in the name of Congress, on the lOtli 
of January, 1781. 

"Sir, 
■"Congress considers your correspondence wiiii the Count de V'er- 
gennes, on the subject of communicating your Plenijjotentiary powers 
to the Ministry of CJreat Britain, as flowing from your zeal and assiduity 
in the service of your country ; but I am directed to inform you, that 
the opinion given to yoii by that Minister, relative to the time and civ- 
cimislances proper for communicating your powers, and entering upon 
thr; execution of them, is well foimdcd. 

•'Congress have no expectations from the influence, which the people 
may liave on the British counsels, wliatcver may be the dispositions of 
that nation or their magistrates towards these United States, nor are 
they of opinion, that a change of Rlinistry would produce a change of 
measures. They therefore hope, that you will bo very cautious of ad- 
mitting your measures to be influenced by presumptions of such events, 
or their probable consequences. 
'•I am, etc. 

S. HCNTINGTON, 

President of Congress. 



DIPLOMATIC CURl{ESP0NUi:iNLi:. 301 



TO THE PRESIDK.NT OK CONtiKESS. 

Ainstt'idtim, August 14tU, 1780. 

Sir, 

On the 27ili of July I set out from Paris on a journey to 
Amsterdam. I left Mr Dana and Mr Thaxter at Paris, 
who will regularly transmit to Congress whatever shall 
occur of importance to the United States to know. They 
will also enclose all the English, French, and Dutch ga- 
zettes. They are exerting themselves in this Republic to 
man tlieir ships of war, in which they have great success, 
as they give very great premiums for seamen, as far as 
sixty ducats a man. The Russian men-of-war are arrived 
and anchored in sight of the Texel, and several of their 
officers have been ashore in this city. The Plenipoten- 
tiaries are gone to Petersburg. Sweden and Denmark 
have adopted the declaration of Russia. It is whispered, 
that the Dutch Ministers to the Congress at Petersburg 
are shackled with instructions, to insist on a warranty of 
their possessions in the East and West Tndies, previous to 
their acceding to the confederation of the maritime pow- 
ers, but this instruction produced a jirotest of the city of 
Amsterdam, with such reasons against it, that it is thought 
the opposite party will not venture to take upon themselves 
the consequences of a refusal to join in the confederation; 
so that it is expected the treaty will take place. 

It is universally considered as a great misfortune to us, 
by all whom 1 converse with here, that I\Ir Laurens is 
not arrived. Some prudent person, authorised by Con- 
gress, is earnestly desired here. He would not be pub- 
licly received, at least until the States shall take a decided 
part with the other maritime powers against England ; this 



308 JOHN ADAMS. 

case, however, may soon hapjoen. But there is not in 
Europe a better station to collect intelligence from France, 
Spain, England, Germany, and all the northern parts, nor 
a better situation, from whence to circulate intelligence 
through all parts of Europe than this. And it may be de- 
pended on, that our cause has never suffered from any- 
thing more than from the failure of giving and receiving 
intelligence. A Minister here, from Congress, would be 
considered as the centre of communication between Amer- 
ica and this, and many other parts of Europe ; and I have 
since my arrival here, been more convinced than ever, that 
Congress might open a considerable loan here, and be sup- 
plied from hence with stores and with clothing, and at the 
same time be gradually extending the commerce between 
this country and America, to the great advantage of both. 
I have had a great deal of conversation upon the subject 
of a loan, and shall have more. I am sure that a loan 
might be obtained by any one with powers from Congress. 
But there are no powers as yet arrived in Europe that will 
ever succeed here. 

We are still in daily hope and expectation that Mr Lau- 
rens will arrive ; but should he decline to come, or in case 
any accident has befallen him, I most earnestly recommend 
to Congress the appointment of some other gendeman, with 
a proper commission, with full powers and especially to 
borrow money, and to sign proper promissory notes for the 
payment of it. 

The King of Sweden is at Spa, from whence in the let- 
ter of the 30th of July the public are informed, that his 
Majesty, the first who during the present maritime war has 
given validity to the rights of neuters, by means of the 
declaration which he caused to be made the last year to 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 309 

the belligerent powers, and by means of the protection 
which he granted from that lime to the commerce and the 
navigation of his subjects, in sending out from his ports a 
numerous squadron, has manifested the consistency of his 
sentiments and disposition in this respect, by a new decla- 
ration, lately made to the Courts of Madrid, Versailles, 
and London, an authentic copy of which here follows. 

DECLARATION OF SWEDEN. 

"From the commencement of the present war, the King 
has taken care to make known his fashion of thinking to all 
Europe ; he has prescribed to himself a perfect neutrality ; 
he has discharged the duties of it with scrupulous exact- 
ness ; he has thought himself entitled to enjoy in conse- 
quence of it the rights attached to the quality of a sov- 
ereign absolutely neuter. Notwithstanding his trading sub- 
jects have been obliged to demand his protection, and his 
Majesty has found himself under a necessity of granting it 
to them. To fulfil this object, the King caused to be 
armed tlie last year a certain number of vessels ; one part 
of them he employed upon the coasts of his kingdom, and 
the other has served to convoy the Swedish merchant ves- 
sels, in the different seas where the commerce of his sub- 
jects called them to navigate ; he communicated these 
measures to the belligerent powers, and he prepared him- 
self to continue them in the course of the present year, 
when other Courts, which had equally adopted a neutrality, 
communicated to him the dispositions which they had 
made, conformable with those of the King, and tending to 
the same end. The Empress of Russia caused to be pre- 
sented a declaration to the Courts of London, Versailles, 
and Madrid, by which she informed them of the resolution 



310 JOHN ADAMS. 

she had taken lo defend the ('orninei-ce of her subjects, 
and the universal rights of neutral nations. This declara- 
tion was founded upon principles so just, that it did not 
appear possible to call them in question. The King has 
found them entirely conformable to his own cause, to the 
treaty concluded in 16GG, between Sweden and England, 
and to that between Sweden and France ; and his Maj- 
esty has not been able to excuse himself from acknowledg- 
ing and adopting these same principles, not only with re- 
gard to the powers with whom the said treaties are in 
force, but also with relation to those who are already 
involved in the present war, or who may become so in the 
sequel, and with whom the King has no treaty to appeal to. 
It is the universal law, and in default of particular engage- 
ments, this becomes obligatory upon all nations. In con- 
sequence of which, the King declares once more, that he 
will observe in future tlie same neutrality, and with the 
same exactness, which he has observed heretofore. He 
will forbid his subjects, under severe penalties, to deviate 
in any manner whatsoever from the duties which a similar 
neutrality imposes ; but he will protect their lawful com- 
merce by all means possible, when they shall conduct it 
conformably lo the principles abovementioned." 

From Hambtu'g, the ist of August, we have the follow- 
ing article. "All nations and all commercial cities being 
interested in the liberty of the seas and the safety of navi- 
gation, attacked and violated in our days, in a maimer 
whereof history furnishes few examples, we have not learn- 
ed here with less joy than in the rest of Europe, (if we 
except perhaps Great Britain.) the generous resolution 
which the three Powers of the North have taken to protect, 
by an armed neutrality, the commerce of their subjects, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 31 1 

and at the same time the rights of all nations ; rights imme- 
morial, which honor and justice alone ought to cause to bo 
respected, without having occasion to recur to the sanction 
of treaties. The Court of Denmark has adopted these 
principles into the declaration, which, after the example of 
Russia, she has made to the belligerent powers, and which 
is conceived In these terms.'' 

DECLARATION OF DENMARK. 

"If a neutrality the most exact and the most perfect, 
with^a navigation the most regular, and an inviolable res- 
pect for treaties had been sufficient to place the freedom 
of commerce of the subjects of the King of Denmark and 
Norway in a state of safety from these misfortunes, which 
ought to be unknown to nations which are at peace, and 
who are free and independent, it would not be necessary 
to take new measures to insure them this liberty to which 
they have a right the most incontestible. 

"The King of Denmark has always founded his glory 
and his gra'ndeur upon the esteem and the confidence of 
other people ; he has made it a law to himself, from the 
commencement of his reign, to manifest to all the powers, 
bis friends, a conduct the most capable of convincing them 
of his pacific sentiments, and of his sincere desire to con- 
tribute to the general prosperity of Europe. His proceed- 
ings, the most uniform and which nothing can conceal, are 
a proof of this. He has not hitherto addressed himself, 
but to the belligerent powers themselves, to obtain the re- 
dress of his grievances ; and he has never failed of moder- 
ation in his demands, nor of gratitude when diey have had 
the success, which they ought to have. But the neutral 
navigation has been too often molested, and the most in- 



312 JOHN ADAMS. 

nocent commerce of his subjects too frequently disturbed^ 
for the Kin§ not to think himself obliged to take at present 
measures proper to assure to himself and to his allies, the 
safety of commerce and navigation, and the maintenance 
of the indispensable rights of liberty and independence. 
If the duties of neutrality are sacred, if the law of nations 
has also its decrees adopted by all impartial nations, estab- 
lished by custom, and founded in equity and reason, an 
independent and neutral nation does not lose by the war of 
another the rights which it had before that war, because 
that peace continues for her with all the belligerent people, 
widiout receiving, and without having to follow, the laws of 
any of them. She is authorised to make in all places, 
(die contraband excepted) the traffic, which she would 
have a right to make if peace existed in all Europe, as it 
exists for her. The King pretends to nothing beyond 
that which neutrality entitles him to. Such is his rule and 
that of his people, and his Majesty not being able to avow 
the principle, that a belligerent nation has a right to inter- 
rupt the commerce of his States, he has thought it a duty, 
which he owed to himself and to his people, faithful ob- 
servers of his regulations, and to the powers at war them- 
selves, to lay open to them the following principles, which 
he has always had, and which he will always avow, and 
maintain in concert with her Majesty the Empress of all 
the Russias, whose sentiments he acknowledges to be en- 
tirely conformable to his own. 

"1st. That neutral vessels may navigate freely from 
port to port, and upon the coasts of nations at war. 

"2d. That the efiects belonging to the subjects of the 
powers at war may be free upon neutral vessels, excepting 
merchandises of contraband. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 313 

"3d. That nothing be understood by this denomina- 
tion of contraband, but that which is expressly defined as 
such in the third article of the Treaty of Commerce with 
Great Britain, in 1770, and in the twenty sixth and twenty- 
seventh articles of his treaty of commerce with France, in 
1742; and the King will equally avow that, which is fixed 
in these articles towards the powers, with which he has no 
treaty. 

"4th. That we should consider as a port blocked, that 
into which no vessel can enter without an evident danger, 
by reason of ships of war, stationed to form very near an 
effectual blockade. 

"5ih. That these principles serve as a rule, in all pro- 
ceedings, and that justice be rendered with despatch and 
according to the documents of the sea, conformably to 
treaties and to received usages. 

"His iMajesty does not hesitate to declare, that he 
will maintain these principles, as well ns the honor of 
his flag, and the liberty and independence of commerce, 
and of the navigation of his subjects ; and it is to this end, 
that he has caused to be armed a part of his fleet, although 
he desires to preserve with all the powers at war, not only 
the good intelligence, but even all the intimacy, which a 
neutrality can admit. The King will never deviate from 
this, without being forced; he knows the duties and the 
obligations of it ; he respects them as much as his treaties, 
and desires nothing but to maintain them. His Majesty is 
also persuaded, that the belligerent powers will do justice to 
these motives ; that they will be as far as he is himself 
from everything, which oppresses the natural liberty ol 
men, and that they will give to their Admiralties and to 
vot,. v. 40 



314 JOHfV ADAMS. 

their officers, orders conforniable to the principles here an- 
nounced, which evidently tend to the prosperity and the 
interest of all Europe. 

•'Copenhagen, July the 8th, 1780." 
1 have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO B. FRANKLJN. 

Amsterdam, August !7th, 1780 

Sir, 

I was never more amused with political speculations, 
than since my arrival in this country. Every one has his 
prophecy, and every prophecy is a paradox. One says, 
America will give France the go-by. Another, that 
France and Spain will abandon America. A third, that 
Spain will forsake France and America. A fourth, that 
America has the interest of all Europe against her. A 
fifth, that she will become the greatest manufacturing coun- 
try, and thus ruin Europe. A sixth, tiiat she will become a 
great military and naval power, and will be very ambitious, 
and so terrible to Europe, in short, it seems, as if they 
had studied for every impossibility, and agreed to foretell 
it, as a probable future event. 

i tell tiie first, that if the King of France would release 
America from her treaty, and England would agree to our 
jj^.dependence, on condition we would make an alliance 
ofK^nsive and defensive with her, America ought not to ac- 
cept it, and would not, because she will in future have no 
security for peace, even with England, but in her treaty 
with France. I ask the second, whether he thinks th-e 
connexion of America of so little consequence to France 
and Spain, that they would lightly give it up. I ask the 



DIPLOMATIC COKRtSPONDE>CE 3J5 

third, whether the family coinj)act added to ihe connexion 
with America, is a trifling consideration to Spain. To tlie 
fifth, 1 say, that America will not make manufactures 
enough for her own consumption these thousand years. 
And to the sixth, that we love peace, and hate wnr so 
much, that we can scarcely keep up an army necessary to 
defend ourselves against the greatest of evils, and to secure 
our independence, which is the greatest of blessings ; and, 
therefore, while we have land enough to conquer from the 
trees and rocks and wild beasts, we shall never go abroad 
to trouble other nations. 

To the fourth I say, that their paradox is like several 
others, viz. that Bacchus and Ceres did mischief to man- 
kind, when they invented wine and bread ; that arts, 
sciences, and civilization have been general calamities, &l,c. 
That upon their supposition, all Europe ought to agree 
to bring away the inhabitants of America, and divide them 
among the nations of Europe, to be maintained as paupers, 
leaving America to be overgrown again with trees and 
bushes, and to become again the habitations of bears and 
Indians, forbidding all navigation to that quarter of the 
world in future. That mankind in general, however, are 
probably of a different opinion, believing that Columbus, 
as well as Bacchus and Ceres, did a service to mankind, 
and that Europe and America will be rich blessings to 
each other, the one supplying a surplus of manufactures, 
and the other a surplus of raw materials, the productions 
of agriculture. 

It is very plain, however, that speculation and disputation 
can do us little service. No facts are believed, but de- 
cisive military conquests ; no arguments are seriously 
attended to in Europe but force. It is to be hoped, our 



316 JOHiN ADAMS. 

countrymen, instead of amusing themselves any longer with 
delusive dreams ol peace, will bend the whole force of 
their minds to augment their navy, to find out their own 
strength and resources, and to depend upon themselves. 
1 have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, August 22d. 1780. 

Sir, 
In a letter of the I4th instant, I had the honor to trans- 
mit to Congress the declaration of the Courts of Sweden 
and Denmark, conformable to that of Russia, which have 
been presented to the belligerent powers. I now send the 
answer of the King of France to the declaration of Swe- 
den. It is conceived in these terms. 

Ansiver of France to the Declaration of Sweden. 

"The King has constantly desired, that the neutral 
powers should not receive any damage by the war in 
which his Majesty is engaged ; his orders have assured to 
the vessels belonging to these povi'ers the enjoyment of all 
the liberty, wliich the laws of the sea allow them ; and if 
any individual navigators have had cause to complain of 
having suffered by the violence of the subjects of his Maj- 
esty, he has rendered them immediate and am|)le justice. 

His Majesty has seen with satisfaction in the declaration 
which has been presented to hiu), on behalf of the King of 
Sweden, that it was the intention of this Prince, to con- 
tinue to protect the navigation of his subjects against all 
violence ; that even his Swedish Majesty had resolved to 
take measures, in concert with other Courts, and especially 



UIPLU.MATIC COKKEbl'U.NDEISCE. 317 

with the Empress ol Russia, to accomplish muie clfectually 
this purpose. The King cannot but wish, that the confed- 
eration of his Swedish ISIajesty with those powers, may 
produce tlie benefit which they promise themselves from 
it ; that the ocean may be free, conformably to the law of 
nations and to treaties, which are known to be nothing 
more than explanations of that law ; and, in fine, that all 
the nations who have no part in the war, may not suffer 
the evils of it. His Majesty has renewed to the officers of 
his marine, and to the privateers which carry his flag, 
orders entirely conformable to the principles, upon which 
must depend the safety and tranquillity of all neutral 
vessels. For a stronger reason still, the subjects of the 
King of Sweden ought to be assured, t^at they will meet 
with no obstruction from those of his Majesty, since there 
is no Frenchman, who is ignorant of the alliance and 
friendship, which has so long subsisted between the two 
Crowns. 

"The precautions which l)is Swedish Majesty has taken, 
as they must confine the Swedish navigators within the 
bounds of the most exact neutrality, so they will be a new 
motive for them to demand the execution of those laws, of 
which their master discovers himself to be a zealous de- 
fender ; laws, which the King ardently wishes to see 
adopted by the unanimous concurrence of all the powers, 
in such a manner, that no one may have to suffer by the 
war, if his sovereign does not take a part in it, provided he 
shall conform to the rules prescribed, to prevent all abuse 
of the neutral flag. Versailles, 4th of August, 17S0." 

In a London paper of the 15th of August, are the fol- 
lowing queries of the Court of Sweden, relative to the pro- 
posal, which the Court of Russia has made for the recip- 
rocal protection and navigation of their subjects. 



313 -fOHN ADAMii. 

Queries of the Court of Sweden. 

"1st. How, and in what manner, a reciprocal proiection 
and mutual assistance shall be given ? 

"2d. Whether eacli particular power shall be obliged to 
protect the general commerce of the whole, or if, in the 
meanlitne, it may employ a part of its armament in the 
protection of its own particular commerce ? 

"3d. If several of their combined squadrons should 
meet, or, for example, one or more of their vessels, what 
shall be the rule of their conduct towards each other, and 
how far shall the neutral protection extend ? 

"4th. it seems essential to agree upon the manner, in 
which representations shall be made to the powers at war, 
if, notwithstanding our measures, their ships of war, or 
armed vessels, should continue to interrupt our commerce 
iii any manner ; must these remonstrances be made in the 
general name of the united powers, or shall each particu- 
lar power plead its owa) cause only .'' 

"5th. Lastly, it appears essentially necessary to provide 
against this possible event, where one of the united powers 
seeing itself driven to extremities, against any of the powers 
actually at v/ar, should claim the assistance of the allies in 
this convention to do her justice, in what manner can this 
he best concerted ? A circumstance, wriich equally requires 
a stipulation, that the reprisals in that case shall not be at 
the will of such party injured, but that the common voice 
shall decide ; odierwise, an individual power might at its 
pleasure draw the rest against their inclinations and in- 
terests into disagreeable extremities, or brealc the whole 
league, and reduce matters into their original state, which 
would render the whole fruitless and of none effect." 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. gjg 

^inswer of the Court of Russia. 

"1st. As to the manner in which protection and mu- 
tual assistance shall be granted, it must be settled by a 
formal convention, to which all the neutral powers will be 
invited, the principal end of which is, to ensure a free navi- 
gation to the merchants ships of all nations. Whenever 
such vessel shall have proved from its papers, that it carries 
no contraband goods, tlie protection of a squadron or 
vessels of war shall be granted her, under whose care she 
shall put herself, and which shall prevent her being inter- 
rupted. From hence it follows ; 

"2d. That each power must concur in the general secu- 
rity ol commerce ; in the meantime, the better to accom- 
plish this object, it will be necessary to settle, by means of 
a separate article, the places and distances which may be 
judged proper for the station of each power. From that 
method will arise this advantage, that all the squadrons of 
the allies will form a kind of chain, and be able to assist 
each other; the particular arrangements to be confined 
only to the knowledge of the allies, though the convention 
in all other points will be communicated to the powers at 
war, accompanied with all the protestations of a strict 
neutrality. 

"3d. It is undoubtedly the principle of a perfect equal- 
ity which must regulate this point. We shall follow the 
common mode with regard to safety ; in case the squad- 
rons should meet and engage, tjje commanders will con- 
form to the usages of the sea service, because, as is 
observed above, the reciprocal protection under these 
conditions should be unlimited. 
> "4th. It seems expedient, that the representations 



320 JOHN ADAxMS. 

mentioned in this article be made by the party aggrieved, 
and that the Ministers of the other confederate powers 
support those remonstrances in the most forcible and effi- 
cacious manner. 

"5th. We feel all the importance of this consideration, 
and to render it clear, it is necessary to distinguish the 
case. If any one of the allied powers should suffer itself 
to be drawn in by motives contrary to the established prin- 
ciples of a neutrality and perfect impartiality, should injure 
its laws, or extend their bounds, it cannot certainly be ex- 
pected that others should espouse the quarrel ; on the 
contrary, such a conduct would be deemed an abandoning 
the ties which unite them. But if the insult offered to one 
of tlie allies should be hostile to the principles adopted and 
announced in the face of all Europe, or should be marked 
with the cliaracter of hatred and animosity, inspired by re- 
sentment at these common measures of the confederacy, 
which have no other tendency than to make, in a precise 
and irrecoverable manner, laws for the liberty of com- 
merce, and the rights of every neutral nation, then it shall 
be held indispensable for the united powers to make a 
common cause of it, (at sea only) without its being a 
groundwork for other operations, as these connexions are 
purely maritime, having no other object than naval com- 
merce and navigation. From all that is said above, it 
evidently results, that the common will of all, founded 
upon the principles admitted and adopted by the contract- 
ing parties, must alone decide, and tliat it will always be the 
fixed basis of the conduct and operations of this union. 
Finally, we shall observe, that these conventions suppose 
no other naval armament than what shall be conformable 
to circumstances, according as these shall render them 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 321 

necessary, or as may be agreed. It is probable, that this 
agreement, once ratified and estabhshed, will be of the 
greatest consequence ; and that the belligeient powers 
will find in it sufficient motives to persuade them to re- 
spect the neutral flag, and prevent their provoking the 
resentment of a respectable communion, founded under the 
auspices of the most evident justice, and the sole idea of 
which is received with the universal applause of all impar- 
tial Europe." 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, August 23d, 1780. 

Sir, 

The errand of Mr Cumberland to Madrid is a mere 
finesse of the British ■Ministry, intended to aid the stock- 
jobbers to keep up the stocks, aid the loan, and the canvass 
for an election, and lull the belligerent powers, while they 
prepare their measures for future enterprises and another 
campaign. They have carried this plot so far, that I see 
some paragraphs in the foreign papers, which seem intend- 
ed to counteract it. 

The truth is, according to my information, that orders 
are already sent out by the British cabinet to prosecute the 
war with vigor in North Carolina and Virginia, the ensuing 
fall, winter, and spring. General Prevost is ahaui to sail 
with some frigates to aid their operations on Cape Fear 
river. It is said at the same time, that they are sounding 
the House of Bourbon through Sardinia, and have made 
some loose propositions of accommodation, the groundwork 
of which is the sacrifice of America ; and there is no 
VOL. V. 41 



322 JOHN ADAMS. 

doubt they would yield to France and Spain very great 
things to carry their point against America, who may de- 
pend upon the utmost exertions of their malice and re- 
venge. But all this will not do. France and Spain are 
now responsible for their conduct to the rest of Europe, 
especially the Northern powers ; and besides this, the sep- 
aration between America and England is an object of 
more pressing importance to France and Spain, than 
any concessions that England can make them. So that 
America need not be under any apprehensions of being 
deserted. 

If, however, she were to be deserted by all the w^orld, 
she ought seriously to maintain her resolution to be free. 
She has the means within herself. Her greatest misfor- 
tune has been, that she has never yet felt her full strength, 
nor considered the extent of her resources. 

i cannot but lament, however, that there is no represen- 
tation of Congress in this Republic, vested with powers to 
borrow money. This would be a double advantage. We 
should avail ourselves of a loan, and at the same time 
lessen the loan of England. A loan once begun here, 
would rapidly increase, so as to deprive the English of this 
resource. This is the method in which commerce may be 
extended between the two Republics, and the political sen- 
timents and system of Holland changed. I fancy that seve- 
ral very heavy and solid houses here might be persuaded to 
become security for the payment of interest, and that con- 
tracts might be made with them to send them remittances 
in produce, either to Europe, St Eustatia, St Thomas, 
&,c., to enable them to discharge the interest. Might not 
merchants be found in Philadelphia, Boston, and many 
other places, who would enter into contract with the pub- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 323 

lif to remit such a sum as siiould be agreed on, in the pro- 
duce of the country to such houses here ? This method, if 
Congress should think it expedient to fall into the way of 
sending lleets of merchantmen under convoy, would easily 
succeed. The safe arrival of the Fier Roderique, with so 
large a number of vessels under her care, gives great en- 
couragement to the plan. 

1 have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Arasteidani, September 4th, 1780. 

Sir, 

I have the pleasure to write to Congress news, which I 
hope they will receive many otlier ways before this letter 
can arrive, viz. ; that the outward bound British West In- 
dia fleet of fiftytwo sail and five East Indiamen, on the 9th 
of August, fell in with the combined French and Spanish 
fleets, about sixty leagues from Cape St Vincents, and 
were most of them taken ; the frigates which composed the 
convoy and four of the West Indiamen alone having escap- 
ed. This is the account. We may possibly hear of some 
deductions, but the account in general is authentic, and of 
very great importance, as the value of the property is large, 
the number of soldiers and seamen considerable, and the 
disappointment to the fleets and armies of our enemies in 
the East and West Indies and in North America, not to be 
repaired. 

This news has been from the 22d of August to the 3d 
of September in travelling from London to Amsterdam, 
where it makes a very great sensation indeed. We had, at 



324 JOHN ADAMS. 

the same time, news of the capture of most of the Quebec 
fleet by an American frigate and two briganlines. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, September 5th, 1780. 

Sir, 

As eloquence is cultivated with more care in free Re- 
publics than in other governments, it has been found by 
constant experience that such Republics have produced 
the greatest purity, copiousness and perfection of language. 
It is not to be disputed, that the form of government has 
an influence upon language, and language in its turn influ- 
ences not only the form of government, but the temper, 
the sentiments, and manners of the people. The admira- 
ble models which have been transmitted through the world, 
and continued down to these days, so as to form an essen- 
tial part of the education of mankind from generation to 
generation, by those two ancient towns, Athens and Rome, 
would be suflicient without any other argument to show 
the United States the importance to their liberty, prosperi- 
ty, and glory, of an early attention to the subject of elo- 
quence and language. 

Most of the nations of Europe have thought it necessary 
to establish by public authority, institutions for fixing and 
improving their proper languages. I need not mention the 
academies in France, Spain, and Italy, their learned labors, 
nor their great success. But it is very remarkable, that 
although many learned and ingenious men in England 
have from age to age projected similar institutions for cor- 
recting and improving the English tongue, yet the govern- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. S25 

mc4it have never found lime to interpose in any manner ; 
so that to this day there is no grammar nor dictionary ex- 
tant of the English language, which has the least public 
authority, and it is only very lately, that a tolerable dic- 
tionary has been published, even by a private person, and 
there is not yet a passable grammar enterprised by any 
individual. 

The honor of forming the first public institution for re- 
fining, correcting, improving, and ascertaining the English 
language, I hope is reserved for Congress ; they have every 
motive that can possibly influence a public assembly to 
undertake it. It will have a happy efiect upon the union 
of the States to have a public standard for all persons in 
every part of the Continent to appeal to, both for the sig- 
nification and pronuncia'iion of the language. The consti- 
tutions of all the States in the Union are so democratical, 
that eloquence will become the instrument for recommend- 
ing men to their fellow citizens, and the principal means of 
advancement through the various ranks and offices of so- 
ciety. 

In the last century, Latin was the universal language of 
Europe. Correspondence among the learned, and indeed 
among merchants and men of business, and the conversation 
of strangers and travellers, was generally carried on in that 
dead language. In the present century, Latin has been 
generally laid aside, and French has been substituted in its 
place ; but has not yet become universally established, and 
according to present appearances, it is not probable that it 
will. English is destined to be, in the next and succeeding 
centuries more generally the language of the world, than 
Latin was in the last, or French is in the present age. 
The reason of this is obvious, because the increasing popu- 



326 JOHiN ADAMS. 

lation in America, and their universal connexion and cor- 
respondence with all nations will, aided by the influence of 
England in the world, whether great or small; force their 
language into general use, in spite of all the obstacles that 
may be thrown in their way, if any such there should be. 

It is not necessary to enlarge further, to show the mo- 
tives which the people of America have to turn their 
thoughts early to this subject ; they will naturally Occur to 
Congress in a much greater detail than 1 have time to hint 
at. I would therefore submit to the consideration of Con- 
gress, the expediency and policy of erecting, by their au- 
thority, a society under the name of "The American Acad- 
emy, for refining, improving, and ascertaining the English 
Language." The authority of Congress is necessary to 
give such a society reputation, influence, and authority, 
through all the States, and with other nations. The num- 
ber of members of which it shall consist, the manner of ap- 
pointing those members, whether each State shall have a 
certain number of members, and the power of appointing 
them, or whether Congress shall appoint them, whether 
after the first appointment, the society itself shall fill up 
vacancies, these, and other questions, will easily be de- 
termined by Congress. 

It will be necessary, that the society should have a 
library, consisting of a complete collection of all writings 
concerning languages of every sort, ancient and modern. 
They must have some officers, and some other expenses, 
which will make some small funds indispensably necessary. 
Upon a recommendation from Congress, there is no doubt 
but the Legislature of every State in the confederation 
would readily pass a law, making such a society a body 
politic, enable it to sue, and be sued, and to hold an estate, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 327 

real or personal, of a limited value in that State. I liavc 

the honor to submit these hints to the consideration of 

Congress. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAiNlS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, 

Amsterdam, September 19tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

The day before yesterday, IMr Dana arrived here from 
Paris,' with die despatches which came by Mr Searle. 

I am very sensible of the honor that is done me by this 
appointment, and yesterday morning I set myself seriously 
about discharging the duties of it, and this day I have been 
some leagues into the country upon the same service. 
There are good reasons for concealing the names of the 
"■entlemen to whom I have applied for advice and assist- 
ance, but they are such as Congress, I think, would have 
approved if they had themselves been here. 

I was told very candidly, that I might possibly be much 
mistaken in my information ; that, possibly, I might think 
that money was more plenty here than it is ; that x\merica 
bad more friends than she has ; and that the difficulty of ne- 
gotiating a loan here was less than it is ; that it was mysterious 
that Congress should empower any gentleman to negotiate a 
loan, without, at the same time, empowering the same, or 
some other, to negotiate a political treaty of alliance and 
commerce, consistent with the treaties already made with 
other powers ; that a jNIinister Plenipotentiary here, would 
be advised to apply directly to the Prince and the States- 
General ; that he would not be affronted or ill treated by 
either, and whether received publicly or not, would be 



32S JOHN ADAMS. 

courted by many resjjectable individuals, and would greatly 
facilitate a loan. 

I was, however, encouraged to hope, that I might have 
some small success, and was advised to a particular course 
in order to obtain it, that cannot as yet be communicated. 
I must, however, apprize Congress, that there are many 
delicate questions, Avhich it becomes my duty to determine 
in a short time, and perhaps none of more difficulty than 
what house shall be applied to, or employed. I have 
no aflections or aversions to influence me in the choice. 
And shall not depend upon my own judgment alone, with- 
out the advice of such persons as Congress will one day 
know to be respectable. But offence will probably be 
taken, let the choice fall upon whom it may, by several 
other houses, that have pretensions and undoubted merit. 
As this may occasion censure and complaints, I only ask 
of Congress not to judge of those complaints without hear- 
ing my reasons, and this request I presume I need not 
make. I have only to add, that the moment Mr Laurens 
shall arrive, or any other gentleman, vested with the same 
commission, I will render him ev'ery service in my power, 
and communicate to him every information I may possess. 
But I ought not to conclude without giving my opinion, 
that it is absolutely necessary that Mr Laurens, or who- 
ever comes in his place, should have a commission of 
iNIinistcr Plenipotentiary. If that gentleman was now here 
with such a commission, it would have more influence 
than perhaps anybody in America can imagine, upon the 
conduct of this Republic, upon the Congress at Peters- 
burg, and upon the success of i\Ir Jay, at IMadrid. 
I have the lienor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 329 

Commission to John ^'Iclams, referred to in the jveceding 
Letter. 

Whereas, by our commission to Henry Laurens, bear- 
ing dale the 30ih day of October, in the year of our 
Lord 1779, we have constituted and appointed him, 
the said Henry Laurens, during our pleasure, our 
agent for and on behalf of the said United States, to 
negotiate a loan with any person or persons, bodies politic 
and corporate ; and whereas the said Henry Laurens has, 
by unavoidable accidents, been hitherto prevented from 
proceeding on the said agency, we, therefore, reposing 
especial trust and confidence in your patriotism, ability, 
conduct, and fidelity, do by these presents, constitute and 
appoint you, the said John Adams, until the said Henry 
Laurensj or some other person appointed in his stead, 
shall arrive in Europe, and undertake the execution of the 
aforesaid commission, our agent for and on behalf of the 
said United States, to negotiate a loan with any person or 
persons, bodies politic and corporate, promising in good 
faith to ratify and confirm whatsoever shall by you be 
done in the premises, or relating thereunto. 

Witness his Excellency, Samuel Huntington, Pres- 
ident of the Congress of the United States of America, at 
Philadelphia, the 20th day of June, in the year of our 
Lord, 17S0, and in the fourth year of our independence. 
SAMUEL HUNTL\GTON, President. 



42 



330 JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, September 16th, 1780. 

Sir, 

I have the honor to send by this opportunity a few pam- 
phlets and papers. The pamphlets relate to subjects which 
interest the United States, and therefore ought to be com- 
municated to Congress for their consideration. 

The attention of mankind is now turned, next to the 
Congress of America, upon that at Petersburg. The last 
letters from London say that they have information, that 
one of die first measures of this confederation will be an 
acknowledgment of American independence. Whether 
this is true or not, I am not able to sa-y. The councils of 
the sovereigns of Europe are not easily penetrated ; but it 
is our duty to attend to them, and throve into view such 
information as may be in our power, that they take no 
measures inconsistent with their and our interest for want 
of light, a misfortune that may easily happen. In this 
view, I could wish that the United States had a minister at 
each of the maritime Courts, I mean Holland, Russia, 
Sweden, and Denmark, and, as the Cabinet of Berlin has 
much influence in the politics of Europe, Prussia. I say 
this upon supposition, that Congress can devise means of 
defraying the expense, which to be sure amounts to a large 
sum. 

i have heard that Mr Searle has arrived at Brest, but 
am not informed of his destination, nor whether he has 
despatches for me. I am anxious to learn from Congress 
what their intentions may be respecting me. I have as 
yet received no authority to draw upon any fund whatso- 
ever for my subsistence, nor to borrow money for that or 



Dll'LOMATlC CUKKEsPu>DE.NCE. 331 

any other purpose. I see no prospect of my commission 
being of any uliliiy. Although many persons here think 
that peace will be made in the course of the ensuing win- 
ter or spring, yet I must confess I am of a different opin- 
ion. The idea, that France will dictate the conditions of 
peace, if it is made now, cannot be borne by Englishmen as 
yet, thev are not yet sufficiently humbled, although proba- 
bly every year will add some fresh humiliation to the de- 
mands upon their country. The English privateers have 
taken some Russian vessels loaded with hemp and iron, 
which must bring the question to a legal decision. The 
Admiralty will probably discharge them, and the Ministry 
will give up the point of free ships making free goods, pro- 
vided the Dutch agree with the Northern Powers, for they 
will not venture upon a war with all the v.orld at once. 
Besides the military force, which they could not stand 
against, they would not be able to obtain any stores for 
their navy. But the great question now is, whether the 
Dutch will agree. Their deputies are instructed to insist 
upon a warranty of their East and West India dominions. 
Whether the Northern Powers will agree to this condition, 
is a question. The States-General, liowever, are silling, 
and will wait for despatches from Petersburg, and will 
probably be much governed by events. What events have 
happened in the West Indies and North America we shall 
soon learn. 

Digby has sailed with a part of Geary's late fleet, 
whether for another expedition to Gibraltar, or whether 
for the W^est Indies or North America, is unknown. The 
success of these operations will probably influence much 
the deliberations both at Petersburg and the Hague. This 
time only can discover. It is said, however, that M. Le 



332 , JOHN ADAMS. 

Texier will be exempted by the Stales-General from the 
payment of duties upon his masts, hemp, iron, and other 
naval stores that lie is sending over land, to the French 
Marine. The capture of fiftyfive ships at once, so much 
wealth, so many seamen and soldiers, and such quantities 
of stores, is a severe stroke to the English, and cannot but 
have the most excellent effects for us, both in the West 
Indies and North America. The right vein is now opened, 
and I hope that the Courts of France and Spain will now 
be in earnest in convoying their own commerce and cruis- 
ing for that of their enemies. This is a short, easy, and 
infallible method of humbling the English, preventing the 
effusion of an ocean of blood, and bringing the war to a con- 
clusion. In this policy, I hope our countrymen will join, 
with the utmost alacrity. Privateering is as well under- 
stood by them as any people whatsoever ; and it is by cut- 
ting oft' supplies, not by attacks, sieges, or assaults, that I 
expect deliverance from enemies. And I should be want- 
ing in ray duty, if I did not warn them against any relaxa- 
tion of their exertions by sea or land, from a fond expec- 
tation of peace. They will deceive themselves if they de- 
pend upon it. Never, never will the English make peace 
while they have an ?rmy in North America. 
I have the honor to be, &,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, September 24th, 1780. 

Sir, 

Since the receipt of the despatches from Congress, 
brought by Mr Searle, I have been uninterruptedly 



DIPLOMATIC CORKESPONDK.NCE. 333 

employed in alteiiipiing to carry into execution tlicir 
designs. 

The first inquiry which arose in my own mind was, whetlier 
it was prudent to make any commiinicalion of my business 
to the States-General or to the Prince. Considering that 
tny errand was simply an affair of credit, and that 1 had no 
political authority whatsoever, I thought, and upon consult- 
ing gentlemen of the most knowledge, best judgment, and 
most undoubted inclination for a solid and lasting connex- 
ion between the two Republics, 1 found them of the same 
opinion, that it was best to keep my designs secret as long 
as I could. 

I then inquired whether it would be proper to communi- 
cate anything to the Regency of Amsterdam, or any branch 
of government whatsoever ; and I was advised against it, 
and to proceed to endeavor to effect a loan upon the sim- 
ple foundation of private credit. I have accordingly made 
all the inquiries possible, for the best and most unexcep- 
tionable House. Tomorrow I expect an answer to some 
propositions which I made yesterday. 

This business must all be settled with so much secrecy 
and caution, and I am under so many difficulties, not un- 
derstanding the Dutch language, and the gentlemen I have 
to do with not being much more expert in French than I 
am myself, and not understanding English at all, that the 
business goes on slower than I could wish. Commodore 
Gillon, by his knowledge of Dutch and general acquaint- 
ance here, has been as useful to me as he has been 
friendly. 

I never saw the national benefit of a fine language gen- 
erally read and spoken in so strong a light as since I have 
been here. The Dutch language is understood by nobody 



334 ^^'^^ ADAMS. 

but themselves, the consequence of which has been, that 
this nation is not known. With as profound learning and 
ingenuity as any people in Europe, they have been over- 
looked, because they were situated among others more 
numerous lind povverful llran they. I hope that Congress 
will take warning by their example, and do everything in 
their power to make the language they speak, respectable 
throughout the v^'orld. Separated as we are from the 
Kingdom of Great Britain, we iiave not made war upon 
the English language any more than against the old Eng- 
lish- character. An acadeniy instituted by the authority of 
Congress for correcting, improving, and fixing the English 
language, would strike Great Britain with envy, and all 
the rest of the world with admiration. The labors of such 
a society would unite all America in the same language, 
for thirty millions of Americans to speak to all the nations 
of the earth by the middle of the nineteenth century. 

I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS, 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, Scploinber 25tli, 1780. 

Sir, 
There are some jjcrsons in this Republic wlio have been 
attentive to this war, and wl;o know somewhat of the his- 
tory of the rise and progress of the United States of Amer- 
ica, but it is astonishing that the number should be so small. 
Even in the city of Amsterdam, which is the most atten- 
tive to our affairs, and the best inclined towards us, there 
are few persons who do not consider the American resis- 
tance as a desultory rage of a few enthusiasts, without order, 
discipline, law, or government. There are scarcely any 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESrONDENCR. 335 

that have an adequate idea of the numbers, tlie increasinc; 
population, or the growing commerce of America. 

Upon my arrival here, some gentlemen were inquisitive 
about our forms of government. I asked if they had seen 
them in print ; I was answered, no. Upon this I made it 
my business to search in all the booksellers' shops for a col- 
lection of American Constitutions, which was published in 
French two or three years ago, but could 6nd only two 
copies, which 1 presented to the gentlemen who made the 
inquiry. Nothing would serve our cause more than hav- 
ing a complete edition of all the American Constitutions 
correctly printed in English at Philadelphia, by order of 
Congress, and sent to Europe, as well as sold in America. 
The Rhode Island and Connecticut Constitutions ought not 
to be omitted, ahhough they ll<'^'e undergone no alteration ; 
and it would be well to print the Confederation in the same 
volume. This volume would be read by everybody in 
Europe who reads English, and could obtain it, and some 
would even learn English for the sake of reading it ; it 
would be translated into every language of Europe, and 
would fix the opinion of our unconquerability more than 
anything could, except driving the enemy wholly from the 
United States. 

There has been nobody here of sufficient information 
and consideration to turn the attention of the public towards 
our affairs, to communicate from time tolime to the public, 
in a language that is understood, intelligence from England, 
France ov America ; but on the contrary, there have been 
persons enough employed and well paid by our enemies, 
to propagate misinformation, misrepresentation, and abuse. 
The ancient and intimate connexion between the Houses 
of Orange and Brunswick, the familv alliances, and the 



336 ^OU:i ADAMS. 

vast advantage which the Princes of Orange have derived 
in erecting, establishing, and perpetuating the Stadtholder 
against the inclination of the republican party, and the reli- 
ance which this family still has upon the same connexion 
to support it, have attached the executive power of this 
government in such a manner to England, that nothing but 
necessity could make a separation. On the contrary, the 
republican parly, which lias heretofore been conducted by 
Barneveh, Grotius, the De Witts and oilier immortal patri- 
ots, have ever leaned tcvvards an alliance with France be- 
cause she has ever favored the republican form of govern- 
ment in this nation. All parties however agree, that En- 
gland has been ever jealous and envious of the Duich com- 
merce, and done it great injuries ; that this country is more 
in the power of France if she were hostile, than of En- 
gland, and that lier trade with France is of vastly greater 
value than tlnit with England. Yet England has more in- 
fluence here than France. The Dutch, some of them at 
least, now see another commercial and maritime power 
arising, which it is their interest to form an early connex- 
ion with. All parties here see that it is not their interest 
that France and Spain should secure too many advantages 
in America, and too great a share in her commerce, and 
especially in the fisheries in her seas. All parties too see 
that it would be dangerous to the commerce, and even In- 
dependence of the United Provinces, to have America 
again under the dominion of England, and the republicans 
see, or think they see, that a change in this government 
and a loss of their liberties would be the consequence of 
it too. 

Amidst all diese conflicts of interests and parties, and all 
these speculations, the British Ambassador, with his swarms 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESl'ONUENCE. 337 

of agents, is busily employed in propagating reports, in 
which they are mucii assisted by those who are called here 
Stadlholderians, and there has been nobody to contradict 
or explain anything. This should be the business in part 
of a Minister Plenipotentiary. Such a Minister, however, 
would not have it in his power to do it effectually, without 
frequent and constant information from Congress. At 
present this nation is so ignorant of the strength, resources, 
commerce, and constitution of America, it has so false and 
exaggerated an imagination of the power of England, it has 
so' many doubts of our 6nal success, so many suspicions of 
our falling finally into the hands of France and Spain, so 
many jealousies that France and Spain will abandon us, or 
that we shall abandon them, so many fears of offending the 
English Ministry, the English Ambassador, the great 
mercantile houses, that are very profitably employed by 
both, and above all, the Stadtholder and his friends, that 
even a loan of money will meet with every obstruction and 
discouragement possible. These chimeras, and many 
more, are held up to the j)eople, and influence their minds 
and conduct to such a degree, tliat no man dares openly 
and publicly disregard them. 

I have this day received an answer to some propositions, 
which 1 made last Saturday to a very respectable house, 
declining to accept the trust ])roposed. I do not, however, 
despair ; I still hope to obtain something ; hut I am fully 
persuaded, that without a commission of Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary, and without lime and care to lead the public 
opinion into the truth, no man living will over succeed, to 
any large amount. Those persons, who wish to lend us 
money, and are able to lend us any considerable sum, are 
the patriots, who are willing to risk the resentment of the 
VOL. V. 43 



33S JOHiV ADAMS. 

Britisli and the Stadtholder, for the sake of extending the 
commerce, strengthening the political interest, and pre- 
serving the liberties of their country. They think, that 
lending us money without forming a political connexion 
with us will answer these ends. Tiiat cause stands very 
insecurely, which rests on the shoulders of patriotism in 
any part of Europe. But in such case, if patriotism is left 
in a state of doubt whether she ought to sustain it, the 
cause must fall to tiie ground. 
I have the honor to he, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Anisteidani, September 2Stli, 1780. 

Sir, 

On the 5th of this montii, the Barons of Wassenaar and 
Heekeren, Ministers Plenipotentiary of the States-General, 
had their first audience of the Empress of Russia, pre- 
sented their letters of credit, and were graciously received. 
The Baron de Wassenaar, in presenting his letters of 
credit, addressed to the Empi'css ihe following speech. 
"Madam, 

"The States-General, our masters, having received with 
a lively gratitude the invitation, which your Imperial Ma- 
jesty has been so good as to make to them to take in con- 
cert with you the measures the most proper and the most 
cftccttial for the maintenance of the rights of their respec- 
tive subjects, and of the dignity of their States, have 
thought, that they could not answer thereto with more 
promptitude than by ordering us to your Court, to the end 
to endeavor to conclude a project as great as it is just and 
erjuitalile, the honor of wbifh is solely duo to your Impe- 



DIPLOMATIC fOKKLSI'O.NDKiNLl-: 33«J 

rial Majesty, and wliicli apparently must complete the 
glory of your reign, already lamous by so many illustrious 
events, and immortalise your name, by rendering you the 
support and the protectress of the most sacred rights of 
nations. 

"Tlieir High ^lightinesses will esteem themselves happy, 
if they may, on this occasion, strengthen still further, and 
by indissoluble ties the union, which already subsists be- 
tween your empire and their Republic, and make them- 
selves regarded by you as your most faithful and sincere 
allies, while they shall always esteem it an honor to give 
marks of the respectful regard and perfect veneration, 
which they have for your person, ajid eminent qualities. 
Our wishes will be complete. Madam, if in succeeding 
to serve our masters in so desirable an object, and upon 
which they have founded the greatest hopes, our Minis- 
try might be agreeable lo you, and procure us the ap- 
probation and the high benevolence of your Imperial 
Majesty." 

The Empress made to this discourse a very gracious 
answer, in saying, that it was very agreeable lo her, 
that their High Mightinesses considered the project upon 
this footing, and that she should act, in this affair, by giving 
proofs of the rectitude of which she discovered in all her 
actions. 

I have the honor to be, &cc. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



340 JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THK PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Ainslordam, October 5tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

On the Gth of September, the Baron de Wassenaar 
Starenburg, and tbe Baron de Heekeren Brantzenburg, 
Ministers Plenipotentiary of their High Mightinesses, the 
Slates-General of the United Provinces, had their first 
audience of their Imperial Highnesses, the Grand Duke 
and the Grand Duchess, and the Baron de Wassenaar 
Starenburg had the honor to address, on this occasion, to 
the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess tiie following 
discourse. 

"My Lord Duku, 

*'The States, our masters, in sending us to the Court of 
her Imperial Majesty, your august mother, have directed 
us at the same time, to renew to your Imperial Highness 
the assurances of their most perfect consideration, and 
their respectful regards. The harmony and good under- 
standing, which have subsisted between this Empire and 
their Republic, make them hope, that your Imperial High- 
ness will be so good as to support with your credit the 
object, which makes the subject of their Mission, and 
thereby give to their High Mightinesses a new mark of the 
friendship, with which you have always honored them, and 
of which they will be zealous in all circumstances to en- 
sure the continuance. Permit, My Lord Duke, that after 
having acquitted ourselves of these orders of our masters, 
we may have the honor to recommend our Ministry and 
our persons to the high benevolence of your Imperial 
Highness." 

The Baron de Wassenaar then addressed himself to tbe 
Grand Duchess in the following terms. 



UIPLUMATiC CUKKEbPONDENCE. 341 

•'Madam, 

"Theii- High Mightinesses tlie Slaies-Geneiai, our mas- 
ters, in accrediting ns at the Court ol' her Imperial Majesty, 
your august mother, have also commanded us to assure 
your Imperial Highness of tJieir most respectful sentiments, 
and of the interest, which they will not cease to take in 
everything, which may contribute to your prosperity, and 
that of your Imperial House. Permit us. Madam, to 
recommend ourselves to the precious benevolence of your 
Imperial Highness." 

The Grand Duke answered, "that nothing could be 
more agreeable to him, than to see those Ministers Pleni- 
potentiary acquit themselves happily of their commission, 
that to this end he should not fail to support it as far as 
should be in his power, as he considered the Republic as 
the first ally of the Empire ; charging them to write this 
to their High Mightinesses as his sincere sentiments." 

On the Gth of September the Prince of Prussia arrived, 
and made a magnificent entry into the city of Petersburg. 

Last night I had a letter from M. Dumas, at the Hague, 
dated llie 3d of October, in which he writes, that a courier 
had arrived from their Plenipotentiaries at Petersburg, with 
despatches, which take away all plausible pretext from the 
temporisers, for delaying the accession of the Republic to 
the armed neutrality ; that according to appearances, the 
Emperor, the Kings of Prussia and Portugal would accede 
to it likewise, and that all would agree in a maritime code, 
which should be useful to all for the future. 

But this intelligence is so genera], and has the air of 
■ being so conjectural, that I know not how much depen- 
dence is to be had upon it. 

I have the honor to be, Sz-c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



342 JOHN AUAMS. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OK CONGRESS. 

Aiiisterdam, October 5th, 1780. 

Sir, 
1 have no other inlormaiioi) to give Congress respecting 
the execution of my new commission, except that I have 
been busily occupied ever since my receipt of it, in making 
the most particular inquiries I could concerning the best 
house, the best terms, Sic. I shall delay finishing any 
contracts with any house for a little while, in hopes of Mr 
Laurens' arrival with a commission as Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary. If he does not arrive in a reasonable time, I 
shall proceed as well as I can. 
1 have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, October lltli, 1780. 

Sir, 

It may serve to let Congress into the springs and mo- 
tives which actuate this Republic, to be furnished with the 
following skeu li of the Constitution, so far as it respects 
the authority of the Stadtholder. 

"The seven Provinces of the Low Countries, formerly 
fiefs of the German Empire, but now for near two centu- 
ries so strictly united and confederated by the celebrated 
treaty of Utrecht, were before their union long governed 
by Dukes, Earls, Bishops, and other Lords, who witii a 
limited power were the sovereigns of them. When this 
country fell to the house of Burgundy, and afterwards to 
that of Austria, these princes in their own absence, estab- 
lished here Stadtholders or Governors, to whom they were 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 343 

obliged to give ample powers. Tiiese Stadtholders or 
Lieutenants had the administration of government, and 
presided in the courts of justice, the department of which 
was not then confined to judge of the law-suits of tiie citi- 
zens, but extended itself to affairs of State, in which the 
States themselves had little to do under the last Earls, who 
did not consult them, but when there was a question con- 
cerning taxes, or the safety of navigation and the fishery, and 
when it was necessary for such purposes to raise money. 

"The Stadtholders also took an oath to the States, by 
which they promised to maintain their fundamental laws 
and their privileges ; at the inauguration of Princes, they 
received their oath at the same time with the States of the 
Provinces of which they were Stadtholders. 

"It was upon this footing that William the First, Prince 
of Orange, was made Governor and Lieutenant-General of 
Holland, Zealand, and Utrecht, by Philip the Second, 
when he was upon his departure for Spain. This commis- 
sion is dated the 9th of August, 1559. It contains among 
other things, 'We establish him in die state of Governor 
and Lieutenant-General of our counties of Holland, of 
Zealand, of the country of Utrecht, West Friesland, 
Voorne and the Brille, lands adjacent and annexed to our 
said Earldoms of Holland and Zealand.' The troubles 
arising soon after, he accomplished in 1576 a particular 
union between Holland and Zealand, the States of which 
conferred upoa him as far as in them lay, the sovereign 
authority for all the time that these two Provinces should 
be at war and in arms, as the former had invested him 
with the same authority the year before. 

"In 1581, the same thing was repeated by Holland, and 
soon after bv Zealand ; and in 1584, already elected Earl 



34-1 JOHN ADAMS, 

of Holland upon certain conditions, he would 

have been invested with the sovereignty in all its forms, it 
he had not been assassinated by a villain hired and set to 
work by the Court of Spain. During the troubles, the 
States declared more than once, that they acknowledged 
the Prince of Orange in quality of their Governor-General, 
and Lieutenant of the King, in the Provinces of Holland, 
Zealand, West Friesland, and Utrecht, upon the same 
footing as these offices had been conferred upon him by 
his Majesty, there having been since no change or altera- 
tion of anything, which was conformable to the laws and 
customs of the country. Holland was the first, which in 
1575, gave him a greater authority, but we do not find 
anywhere that the States ever declared him Stadtholder in 
their name; and Maurice, his son, ought to be considered 
as the first Governor and Stadtholder of their creation. 
His first instructions are extant ; they were very confined ; 
but they gave him more authority in 1 587, after the depar- 
ture of the Earl of Leicester. His successors in the Stadt- 
holdership have had no instructions, but only commissions, 
and since that time their authority is very much augmented. 
"The commission given the 12th of May, 1747, to his 
Serene Highness, William the P'ourlh, father of the pre- 
sent Stadtholder, by the States of Holland, who conferred 
upon him, 'The power, the authority, and the command, 
to exercise the office of Governor, Captain-General, and 
Admiral ; to protect, to advance, and to maintain the rights, 
the privileges, and the well being of the Province and of 
its members, cities and inhabitants, as well as the worship 
of the true reformed Christian religion, such as it is taught 
in the public churches, and to [)reserve and defend it 
against all molestation, oppression, disorder, disunion, delri- 



niPLOMATlC CORRKSPONDK.NCE. 345 

ir.ent and damage. Moreover, to adminisler justice in the 
said Province of Holland and West Friesland, to obtain 
and duly to grant the provisions of justice to all those who 
shall require it, and to put them in execution, the whole, 
as far as regards the affairs of justice, by the advice of the 
President and Counsellors of the Court of Holland and 
West Friesland. To him, moreover, is given the power of 
granting, after having taken tlie advice of the Court of Jus- 
tice, letters of grace, remission, pardon, and abolition, pro- 
vided the said letters be duly it being well 
understood, nevertheless, that they shall not be granted for 
murders, unpardonable in their nature, or for enormous 
crimes committed, or by premeditated 
design ; and for what concerns the military and the police, 
to act in this respect with the approbation of the States 
and the advice of their Counsellors and Deputies, con- 
formably to their instructions ; to change the Burgomas- 
ters and the Sheriffs of the cities and places of the Pro- 
vince, as may be convenient, conformably to the privileges 
of each city and of each place ; moreover, both by land and 
sea, to watch over the safety and the good order of places 
and foitresscs of the Province where there shall be occa- 
sion.' 

"The conditions upon which William the First was 
elected Earl of Holland, are related in the seventh volume 
of the history of the country, according to the resolutions 
of the States of Holland of that time. The Prince had 
agreed to them. All the cities of Holland, excepting Am- 
sterdam and Gonda, had consented to them ; and the Pro- 
vinces of Zealand and Utrecht would without doubt have 
followed this example. These conditions contained among 
others, 

vor,. V. Ai 



346 JOHN ADAMS. 

First, That if the Prince contravened in any points, and 
did not redress the grievances at the requisitions of the 
States, these should be free from all engagements to him, 
and should have a right to provide of themselves for the 
government. Secondly, That after the death of the 
Prince, such of his sons as the States should judge the 
most capable, should be made Earl on the same footing. 
Thirdly, That the Prince should engage himself by oath 
lo the observation of these conditions stipulated, and that 
the States on their part should do the same towards him. 

"In the preamble of the acts, by which the States confer 
the sovereign authority upon Prince William the First, is 
found these remarkable words, which are there laid down 
for a fundamental rule. 'That all Republics and commu- 
nities ought to preserve and maintain themselves, and for- 
tify themselves by unanimity, which cannot take place 
among so many members often different in will and in sen- 
timents ; it was by consequence necessary that the gov- 
ernment should be conferred upon one single chief.' From 
the establishment of the Republic, the good politicians and 
the greatest part of the inhabitants of these Provinces have 
regarded the Stadtholderian government as an essential 
part of the constitution. Accordingly, it has not been but 
twice without a Stadtholder, that is to say, from the year 
of 1G50 to 1672, and again from the month of March, 
J 702, to April, 1747. 

"The Stadtholdership has not been interrupted in Fries- 
land, nor in the Provinces of Groningen and Ommelanden ; 
but heretofore, the power of the Stadtholders of these two 
Provinces whose ancient instructions are to be found in 
Aitzema and elsewhere, although they have no place at 
present, w^s confined in more narrow bounds, and until 



DIPLOMATIC CoKKESt'ONUtNCE. 347 

Williain the Fourtlj, tliere never was a Stacliliokler ol' all 
the seven Provinces together. 

"The Stadtholdership, and the oflices of Captain-Gene- 
ral and Admiral-General of each of the seven Provinces of 
the country of Drenthe, and of the generality, are at pre- 
sent hereditary, not only in the male line, but also in the 
female. The Stadtholder cannot declare war, nor make 
peace, but he has, in quality of Captain-General, the com- 
mand in chief of all the forces of the State, and the ntiili- 
tary men are obliged to obey him in all that regards the 
milita'ry service. He is not restrained by instructions, and 
he disposes of the patents, an article very important in all 
that concerns the military. 

"In this Republic, they call patents the orders in 
writing, which the Captain-General sends to the troops 
to march. He orders the marches, provides for the gar- 
risons, snd changes them at his pleasure. The ordinances 
and military regulations proceed from him alone ; it is he, 
who constitutes and authorises the High Council of War of 
the United Provinces, and who, as Captain-General of 
each Province, disposes of all military offices as far as that 
of Colonel, inclusively. The highest posts, as those of 
Field Marshals, of Generals and Lieutenant-Generals, are 
given by the States-General, who choose those to fill them 
whom his Highness recommends. It is he also, who gives 
the governments, commandants, &,c. of cities and places of 
arms of the Republic, and those of the barrier. The per- 
sons named, present their acts to their High Mightinesses, 
who provide them with commissions. In disposing of 
civil employments, which are in their departments, the 
States-General have always a great deal of regard also 
to the recommendations of his Highness. The power 



348 JOH.M ADAMS. 

of tl 3 Sladlliolder, as Grand Admiral, extends itself over 
everything which regards the naval forces of the State, 
and the other afiairs of the departments of the Admiralties. 
These councils, called the Admiralties, preside over the 
perception [?] of the duties of entries, inwards and out- 
wards, and have the direction of the custom-house, as well 
as that of the Admiralty. He presides here in person or by 
his representatives ; and as chief of all these councils in 
general and of each one in particukir, he is able to cause 
to be observed and executed their instructions, both by 
themselves, and what concerns them. He disposes of the 
employs of Lieutenant-Admirals and others, who com- 
mand under him, and creates also the captains {de haut 
bord.) The Grand Admiral, who has his part in all the 
prizes which are made, both by the vessels of the State 
and by privateers, establishes, when it is necessary, mari- 
time councils of war, who do riglu in the name of their 
High Mightinesses, and of his Highness, but whose sen- 
tences are not executed until after he has approved and 
confirmed them. It is the same in those of the High 
Council of War of the United Provinces. 

"Here follows the commission of the Prince, exactly 
translated from the Dutch. 

"The States-General of the United Provinces of the 
Low Countries, to all those who shall see or hear these 
presents, greeting. We make known, that it being neces- 
sary to authorise and establish one person capable and 
qualified as Captain-General and Admiral-General of the 
people of war, by sea and land, who are in our service, 
for the maintenance of the State and of the government of 
this country, and for the direction of the affairs of war ; for 
these causes, considering the good qualities and the ca- 



DIPLOMATIC COKKESPOMJENCE. 349 

pacity of his Highness, the Prince William Charles Henry 
Friso, by the Grace of God, Prince of Orange and of 
Nassau, Earl of Catzeneltebogen, Vianden, Dietz, he. k,c. 
he. and relying upon his firmness, valor, and inclination, 
for the prosperity of these countries, we have established 
and authorised, and we do establish and authorise his 
Most Serene Highness, the said Prince William Charles 
Henry Friso, Captain and Admiral-General over the 
people of war, who are in our service by sea and by land, 
giving to his Highness full power and authority to com- 
mand, in that quality, all the said troops, and order them 
all that is convenient for the conservation and the mainte- 
nance of the' union, for the safeguard and the defence of 
the State, for \he tranquillity, the rights and the privileges 
of the country, both in general, and of each Province in 
particular; and for the protection of the inhabitants, as 
also for the conservation of the true reformed religion, in 
the manner that it is at present exercised, and under the 
public authority in the associated Provinces and cities ; in 
fine, for the maintenance of the present form of govern- 
ment ; the whole with the authority, the rights, the honors, 
and pre-eminence, thereto annexed. We have, moreover, 
conferred on his Serene Highness, as we hereby confer 
upon him, by these presents, until we shall have made 
known that we have disposed otherwise, the free power to 
dispose of patents and other things which relate to war, 
as the Lords, Princes of Orange, glorious ancestors of his 
Serene Highness have done, in quality of Stadtholders 
with relation to the troops. We command and ordain, 
most expressly, to all and every one, particularly to the 
officers of the troops, Colonels, Captains of Cavalry and oi 
Infantry, and of other people of war in our service and 



350 J^HiN ADAMS. 

pay, to acknowledge, respect, and obey liis Serene Higli- 
ness in that quality, giving him all succor, favor, and assist- 
ance, in executing his orders. His Serene Highness, as 
Captain-General of the State, shall take the ordinary oath 
to us, or to those wiiom wc shall depute Tor that end, upon 
the instructions* \v!)ich we shall judge proper to prepare 
in this respect. Done, iu our Assembly at the Hague, 
the 4th of May, 1747. 

"The Sladtholder grants likewise, letters of grace, of 
pardon, and abolition, bodi of the crimes which they call 
communia delicta, and of military offences. In Holland 
and Zealand, these letters are made out for the former, in 
the name of the States, with tiie advice of his Highness ; 
in cases of common crimes, ho consults the courts of jus- 
tice, the counsellors deputies of the Provinces, the Council 
of State, and the tribunals of jusUce of the cities respec- 
tively, according to the nature of the case, and concerning 
the others, the High Council of War, he, 

"In the Provinces of Holland and Zealand, the Stadt- 
holder makes every year an election of the magistrates 
of the cities, upon a representation or nomination of a 
double number, which the cities themselves send to him. 
He has the choice of two, and in some cases, of three can- 
didates, whom the Stales of Holland name to fill the 
offices, which their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, and 
formerly the Chamber of Accounts of their dominions had 
the disposition or election of, when there was no Gover- 
nor. In some cities, the Stadtholder elects only the 
sheriffs, in others the burgomasters and sheriffs, and in 
some, the counsellors of the cities also. The magistrates, 
in taking possession of their offices, promise by oath, to 

* No such instructions exist. 



DIPLOMATIC C0RRE3P0NDF,>rF,. 351 

maintain the rights, privileges, and immunities of their 
cities and citizens; and they take an oath also of fidelity 
to the States of Holland and Friesland. In 1G72, the 
magistrates of Dort, added 'as also to his Serene Highness, 
the Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the Province,' and 
the same thing was done in 1747, but only in Dort. 
When the States, in extraordinary cases which require it, 
judge proper to invest him with an act of authority, he can 
dismiss all these magistrates and replace them by others. 
This was done upon this footing, in 1G72 and 1748. 
'Saving their honor, and without its being permitted to sus- 
pect them of having ill conducted in the exercise of their 
offices, the Stadtholder promising to take, in case of need, 
their persons and their families under his protection and 
safeguard, &tc.' The Prince of Maurice having changed 
in 1718 the magistrates of the greatest part of the cities, 
wa^thanked for it by the States of Holland, who, by their 
resolution of the 16th of Nctvember of the same year, ap- 
proved unanimously of what his Excellency had done. 

"There are some few offices, which, by the constitution, 
the States have the disposal of, but in effect, the Stadt- 
holder disposes of all offices, and is by this means in a ca- 
pacity to oblige and attach to him, the magistrates of the 
cities, and other persons whom he pleases to gratify with 
them. He elects the counsellors and inspectors of the 
dykes of Rhynland, of Delfland, and of Schieland, &ic. 
upon a presentation of three persons which these Colleges, 
established in Holland for many centuries, send directly to 
him. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in an old or- 
dinance, calls these oflicera Counsellors of the Dykes. 
Their offices are for life ; and besides these three Col- 
leges, there are still several others in Holland, but the 
three abovementioned are the most considerable. 



552 J<^'^^ ADAMS. 

'^In virtue of the regulations made in 1674 and 1675, 
and renewed since the accession of the Prince to the Stadt- 
holdership, he has a great power in the Provinces of 
Guelderland, Utrecht, and Overyssel. The decision of the 
differences, which may there arise among the respective 
members and quarters belong to him ; all the offices and 
commissions, which are exercised both in the Provinces 
and without. The States of Guelderland had, in 174S, 
conferred on the Prince Stadtholder the power of correct- 
ing, changing, and augmenting the regulation of the Re- 
gency of the year 1675, as his Highness should judge 
necessary for the good and advantage of the Province, in 
case that in this regulation he should find articles, which, 
according to the constitution of the present forni of govern- 
ment, have occasion to be altered. But his Highness, in 
re-establishing it, did not judge proper to avail himself of 
this concession, which he nevertheless accepted in 1760. 
See the last article of the regulation published that year. 
In 174S, the Quarter of Nimeguen made a present to the 
Prince of die Earldom of Culembourg, and the States of 
Overyssel did the same with regard to the lands, which 
they possessed in the Earldom of Banthelm. By this he 
is the First I\[ember of the States, and Sovereign Lord of 
the Lower Earldom. 

"He has at his disposal all the offices and commissions 
ill the Provinces of Groningen and Ommelanden, since the 
regulation of the year 1 748, and the Prince Stadtholder 
has also acquired the greatest prerogatives in Friesland, by 
the regulation of December, 1748. As Stadtholder of 
the country of Drenthe and of the territory of the Gene- 
rality, he has also very fair prerogatives, and annual ap- 
pointments. The Council of State of tiie United Pro- 



DIPLOMATIC COFIRESPONOENCF,. 353 

vinces, as well as the (Councils Deputies of Holland and 
West Friesland, have, of their own motion oftered, and at 
last conceded to his Higiiness all the employments which 
were in their disposal. By ihe articles ninth, sixteenth, 
and twentyfust of the Treaty of Union of Utrecht, the 
Stadtholders of that time had been named provisionally, 
arbiters of the differences, which contrary sentiments and 
opposite views might occasion among the confederates, 
who, in thus submitting to an arbitration of points so im- 
portant, had considered no doubt, that in fact there could 
not be any union or confederation among allies, who united 
Uiemselves so closely, without agreeing upon means of 
coming to a conclusion, in cases, in which the plurality of 
voices did not take place. 

"Since die re-establishment of the Stadihoidership on 
the footing where it is at present, similar diflerences be- 
tween the Provinces are no longer to be feared; the 
Prince Stadlholder, being fortified with a power suf- 
ficiently great to maintain the union, by preventing the 
consequences of all which might distiub it, or being a pre- 
judice to the State in general, or to the Provinces, or their 
Quarters, or their members in particular; finally to take 
and put in execution the measures and resolutions neces- 
sary, &:c. His Highness presides in the Court of Holland, 
and in the Courts of Justice of the other Provinces, and 
his name is placed at the head of their commandments, 
ordinances, and bills. In Overyssel and in the Province 
of Utrecht, the fiefs are held in the name of the Prince 
Stadtholder. He is supreme curator of the Universities of 
Guelderland, of Friesland, and Groningen, Grand Forres- 
ter and Grand Hunter in Guelderland, Holland, and other 
places. 

VOL. V. 45 



354 JOHN ADAMS. 

"In the Province of Utrecht, his Highness, by virtue of 
the regulation of the year 1G74, disposes of the provost- 
ship, and other benefices, which have remained attached to 
the chapters, as also the canonical prebends, which have 
fallen vacant in the months which were formerly called 
Popish. 

"Conformably to the first article of the instructions of 
die Council of State of the United Provinces, the Stadt- 
holder is the first member of it, and has there the right of 
suffrage, with an api)ointment of twentyfive thousand florins 
a year. In virtue of a resolution of the States-General, of 
the 27th of February, the Prince of Orange had enjoyed 
it before his elevation to the Stadtholdership, having been 
placed, from the year 1 670, in the Council of State. The 
26th of July, 1746, their High Mightinesses granted the 
same appointments to the Prince Stadtholder. 

"He assists also, whenever he judges proper for the 
service of the State, at the deliberations of the States- 
General, there to make propositions, &c. and sometimes 
also at die conferences held by the Deputies of their High 
Mightinesses in the several departments, according to the 
order established nt the Assemblies of the States of par- 
ticular Provinces, and at those of their Counsellors, or 
States Deputies. Jn Ciiiicldcrland, in Holland, and in the 
Province of Utrecht, his Highness participates of the 
sovereignty, as Chief, or President of the body of Nobles; 
and in Zealand, where he possesses the Marquisate of 
Veero and of Flessingue as First Noble, and represent- 
ing alone all the nobility. In his absence, he has in 
Zealand his representatives, who hold the first place, who 
have the first voice in all the councils, and the first of 
whom is always First Deputy from this Province at the 



UM'LOMATIC COUUi:SrOM)EiNCE. 355 

Assembly of iheir High Mightinesses. Tlie three quarters 
of the Province of Giielderland conferred the dignity of 
Chief, or President of the Body of Nobles, on his Serene 
Highness, in 1750. None of his predecessors had it, but 
Basnage says, in his Annals of the United Provinces, that 
the Prince William the Second, a little before his death, 
had a design to get himself elected First Noble in Guel- 
derland, where the nobility had been nt all times devoted 
to him. 

''The Body of Nobles uf Holhvid, having prayed in 
1635, the Prince Frederick Henry to do them the honor 
of being their Chief, his Highness, who as Stadtholder had 
neither seat nor voice in the Assembly of the States of 
the Province, graciously accepted of this offer, and became 
thereby a permanent member of it. The Body of Nobles 
have done the same with regard to the successors of this 
Prince. 

"Veere and Flessingue are two of the six cities, which, 
with the First Noble compose the Assembly of the States 
of Zealand. The councils in Zealand, in which the Prince 
or his representatives have the first voice, arc the Assembly 
of the Slates, and of the Counsellors Deputies ; in the 
Council of the Admiralty, in the Chambers of Accounts, 
and in the Assembly, that they name the States of Wal- 
cheren, a College, which has the care of the dykes of this 
part of the Province. It appears, that under the prece- 
dent Stadtholders, the Assembly of the Stales of Zealand, 
composed, as at present, of the First Noble, and the six 
cities, disposed of all provincial offices and commissions, 
and one may see, by the resolution of the States of Zea- 
land of the 15th of June, 1751, how this affair has been 
resulaled. 



356 JOHN ADAMS. 

"Ill 1749, the Prince Stadtholder was created by the 
States-General, Governor-General and Supreme Director 
of the Companies of the East and West Indies, dignities 
which gave him a great deal of authority and power, and 
which had not been conferred upon any of his predeces- 
sors. They have not yet been rendered hereditary. He 
has his representatives in the respective chambers, and 
chooses the Directors of the two companies, upon a nom- 
ination of three persons, who have ;he qualifications neces- 
sary to be elected. From his elevation to the Stadthol- 
dership, the Prince enjoyed in Zealand this prerogative. 
His Serene Highness enjoys, without paying taxes, as the 
precedent Stadtholder might have enjoyed, the thirtieth 
part of ail the divisions, which the East India Company 
makes ; that is to say, tlie dividends of sixtysix actions 
and two thirds, each action being reckoned at three thou- 
sand florins, old capital. See the resolutions of their 
High Mightinesses, of the twentyseventh of November, 
1747, when the company gives to the interested a dividend 
of fifty per cent, the portion of the Stadtholder amounts to 
fifty thousand florins. The Prince Stadtholder represents 
the dignity and the grandeur of the Republic, and without 
bearing the name of sovereign, and doing all in the name 
of the States, of which he is the Lieutenani-General, he en- 
joys in several respects, even the effects of the sovereignty. 
We have already seen what are his principal prerogatives, 
his authority, his great credit, and his influence in all 
affairs. 

"The Ambassadors and other Ministers in foreign Courts 
hold their commissions and receive their instructions from 
the States-General, who nevertheless do not name to these 
employs, excepting such as are agreeable to the Prince 



DU'LOAIATIC CUKUHSil^u.NDl'.NCL. 357 

Stadlholder, iind reconitneniled by liis Highness. These 
Ministers address their despatches to their High Mighti- 
nesses, or to their Register, and correspond also with the 
Counsellor Pensionary of Holland. They also render an 
account to the Prince Stadtholder of the negotiations with 
which they are charged, and of all important and secret 
affairs. 

"Treaties, alliances, conventions, Sic are negotiated, 
signed, and ratified in the name of the States-General, 
after having been communicated to the Provinces and rati- 
fied" by them. The name of the Prince Stadlholder does 
not appear, but he can, when there is a question concern- 
ing his particular aflairs, enter into negotiation with foreign 
Courts, and conclude with them treaties, as it was done 
with Spain in 1646 and 1647. 

"Some of the foreign Ministers who reside at the Hague, 
are also accredited with the Prince Stadlholder. The 
prerogatives of the Prince Stadtholder of the Republic are 
at present sufficiently fixed ; but they are not precisely the 
same in all the Provinces. The appointments and reve- 
nues of the Stadlholder and Captain-General, to consider 
them even in proportion, cannot be put in parallel with 
tiiose of a King of England. Nevertheless, it is reckoned 
that the revenues of the Stadtholdership of the Seven 
United Provinces, of the country of Drenthe and the Ter- 
ritory of the Generality, comprehending the twentyfive 
thousand florins which the Prince enjoys annually as First 
Member of the Council of State, and the dividends of the 
company of the East Indies, amount to three hundred thou- 
sand florins a year. The Stadtholder pays neither imposts 
nor taxes, excepting those which they call in Holland Odi- 
narcs Verponding, which is raised in this Province upon 



358 JOHN ADAMS. 

ilie lands and upon the houses, &c. The body guards 
and the aid-de-camp of his JMost Serene Highness are en- 
tertained at the expense of the union. Holland alone pays 
the company of a hundred Swiss, and makes good the 
hire of the houses, which the Prince Stadthokier and some 
of the principal officers of his house occupy at the Hague, 
who enjoy also a freedom from excises. On some occa- 
sions, the Counsellors Deputies of Holland and West 
Friesland, dispose, upon the proposition of the Stadlholder, 
or of the Counsellor Pensionary in his behalf, of certain 
siuns necessary for the service of the State ; and upon an 
act of this Council, they pass them in account at the Re- 
ceiver-General of the Province. 

"As Captain-General of the imion, his Highness iias a 
hundred thousand florins of appointments a year, besides 
tvventyfour thousand from Friesland, and twelve thousand 
from Groningen, in quality of Captain-General of these two 
Provinces. In time of war, the State grants extraordinary 
sums to the Captain-General, for the expense of each cam- 
paign. 

"The Prince Stadtholder, as the eminent head of the 
Republic, is icvcred, honored, and respected by all the 
world. The Princes of Orange, by the great revenues of 
their patrimonies, both of their principalities and of their 
signorial lands in France, Germany, and Burgundy, and in 
divers places of the United Provinces, have frequently 
been a great support to the State. William the First, the 
father of his country, who always preferred the pros- 
perity of the Republic to his own and that of his house, 
raised twice, and led an army, in a great part at his own 
expense, as we may see by the public declaration, which 
the States-General made of it, in the inscription" of the 



niPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 359 

mausoleum, which they raised to the memory of this great 
man, in one of the churches of Delft. 

"Offers the most tempting for them and for their houses 
have been made to the Stadtholders, provided they would 
depart ever so little from the engagements which they had 
taken with their country ; but they have rejected them all 
with disdain, and would not have other friends nor other 
enemies than those of the Republic. As she was in some 
sort their daughter, they could not but iiave a lively affec- 
tion for her, to such a degree as to be at all times ready to 
sawifice their lives and all things to her defence. Thus 
they have been the authors and conservators of her liber- 
ties, in the first place against the Spanish tyranny, and 
since against an enemy still more formidable, who opened 
to himself in 1672 a passage into the heart of the Repub- 
lic. The same thing was near happening in 174S." 

I have translated this from the French, because it is not 
often to be found, and is the shortest and best account of 
the Stadtholdership I can find. It is full of instruction to 
the United States of America, and will serve to explain 
many political phenomena. As all these powers are in 
possession of a I'amily connected by blood and by ancient 
habits and poliucal alliances to that of Hanover, we may 
easily see, that the American cause will meet with power- 
ful obstacles. 1 am still, however, of opinion, that it would 
be good policy to send a Minister Plenipotentiary here, 
accredited both to the States-General and to the Prince 
Stadtholder, without this even a loan of money will scarcely 
succeed. Mr Laurens is taken and carried to England. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



3(50 JOHN ADAMS. 



TO i;. frRANKLIN. 

Amsterdam, October 14tli, 1780. 

Sir, ' 

The extracts of letters you were so good as to send me, 
have been inserted in the papers, and I should be obliged 
to you for future communications of the same kind. Not- 
withstanding the flow of spirits, and the vigorous exertions 
of our countrymen this year, I am sorry to say I cannot 
see a prospect of anything decisive this campaign. The 
fatal defect in the plan of the campaign in not sending a 
sufficient number of ships with M. de Ternay, or soon after 
him, wall render abortive all the great exertions and im- 
mense expenses of the year. And, at the same time, 
Cornwallis will spread too much devastation at the south- 
ward, where the want of numbers of wliites, the great 
numbers of blacks, and above all the want of discipline 
and experience, will make the people long unhappy and 
unfortunate. 

The ill luck of Carolina, pursues her citizens even to 
sea, and to Europe, I think. Can nothing be done for the 
relief of Mr Laurens. Will you be so good as to apply to 
Court, and see if they will send us somebody suitable to 
exchange for him ? After exchanging so many military 
men as prisoners of war, it is pitiful to use Mr Laurens as 
they do. 

I have felt the mortification of soliciting for money as 
well as you. But it has been because the solicitations 
have not succeeded. I see no reason at all that we should 
be ashamed of asking to borrow money, after maintaining 
a war against Great Britain and her allies for about six 
years, w^ilhout borrov/ing anything abroad, when England 



DIPLOMATIC COKRESPONUENCE. , 361 

has been all the time borrowing of all the nations of Eu- 
rope, even of individuals among our allies, it cannot be un- 
natural, surprising, or culpable, or dishonorable for ns to 
borrow money. When England borrows, annually, a sum 
equal to all her exports, we ought not to be laughed at for 
wishing to borrow a sum, annually, equal to a twelfth part 
of our annual exports. We may, and we shall wade 
through, if we cannot obtain a loan ; but we could certainly 
go forward with more ease, convenience, and safety by the 
help of one. I think we have not meanly solicited for 
friendship anywhere. But to send Ministers to every great 
Court in Europe, especially the maritime Courts, to pro- 
pose an acknowledgment of tlie independence of America, 
and treaties of amity and commerce, is no more than be- 
comes us, and in my opinion is our duty to do. It is per- 
fectly consistent with the genuine system of American 
policy, and a piece of respect due from new nations to old 
ones. The United Provinces did the same thing, and 
were never censured for it, but in the end they succeeded. 
k is necessary for America to have agents in different parts 
of Europe, to give some information concerning our affairs, 
and to refute the falsehoods that the hired emissaries of 
Great Britain circulate in every corner of Europe, by 
which they keep up their own credit and ruin ours. I have 
been more convinced of this, since my peregrinations in 
this country than ever. The universal and profound igno- 
rance of America here, has astonished me. It will require 
time and a great deal of prudence and delicacy to unde- 
ceive them. The method you have obligingly begun of 
transmitting me intelligence from America, will assist me in 
doing, or at least attempting, something of this kind, and I 
therefore request the coniinuance of it, and have the honor 
VOL. V. 40 



362 -TOHN ADAMS 

to be, with respectful compliments to Mr Franklin and all 
friends, Sir, your most obedient servant, 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, October 14th, 1760. 

Sir, 

Repeated letters from London confirm the account of 
Mr Laurens being confined in the Tower, so close a pris- 
oner, that neither his old correspondents, nor even his 
refugee relations, are suffered to speak to him. 

There have been so many precedents of exchanges, Mr 
Lovell, as well as the ]\Iajor-Generals, Sullivan, Stirling, 
Lee, and others, having been exchanged as prisoners of 
war, that it is very extraordinary they should now treat Mr 
Laurens as a prisoner of State. It is not, however, 
merely a proof that passion and caprice govern their coun- 
cils. I conceive it is intended to signify to the tories in 
America, whom they believe to be more numerous than 
they are, and to their officers and troops serving in that 
country, ihat now they have obtained an election of Par- 
liament to their minds, they are determined to prosecute 
the war with vigor, and to bring America still to unlimited 
submission. For, however, our countrymen may have 
flattered themselves with hopes of peace, there is nothing 
lurthcr fiom llio thoughts of the King of England, his Min- 
isters, Parliament, or nation, (for they are now all his,) 
than peace, upon any terms that America can agree to. 
There is no future event more certain in my mind, than 
tliat they never will acknowledge American independence 
while they have a soldier in the United States. Nay, 



DIPLOMATIC CORRKSFONDENCE. 303 

ihey would not do it, even after their troops should be 
driven from the continent. 

I think I see very clearly, that America ninsl s^ruw up 
in war. It is a painlul prospect, to be sure. But when I 
consider, that there are more people in America than there 
are in the United Provinces of the Low Countries, that the 
earth itself produces abundance in America, both for con- 
sumption and exportation, and that the United Provinces 
produce nothing but butter and cheese, and tiiat the Uni- 
ted Provinces have successfully maintained wars against 
the formidable monarchies of Spain, France, and Eng- 
land, I cannot but persuade myself, it is in the power of 
America to defend herself against all that England can do. 

The Republic, where I now am, has maintained an 
army of a hundred and twenty thousand men, besides 
a formidable navy. She maintains at this day a stand- 
ing army of thirty thousand men, which the Prince is 
desirous of augmenting to fifty thousand, besides a con- 
siderable navy ; all this in a profound peace. What cause, 
physical or political, can prevent three millions of people 
in America from maintaining for the defence of their 
altars and fireside, as many soldiers as the same number 
of people can maintain in Europe, merely for |)arade, I 
know not. 

A navy is our natural and our only adequate delence. 
But we have only one way to increase our shipping and 
seamen, and that is privateering. This abundantly pays 
its own expenses, and procures its own men. The sea- 
men taken, generally enlist on board of our privateers, 
and this is the surest way of distressing their commerce, 
protecting our own, increasing our seamen, and diminish- 
ing those of the enemy. And this will finally be the way, 



364 JOHN ADAMS. 

by capturing their supplies, that we shall destroy, or capti- 
vate, or oblige to fly, their armies in the United States. 

A loan of money in Europe would assist privateering, 
by enabling us to (it out ships the more easily, as well as 
promote and extend our trade, and serve us in other ways. 
1 fear that Cornwallis' account of his defeat of General 
Gates, whether true or false, will extinguish the very mod- 
erate hopes which I had before, for a time. 

There is a prospect, however, that the English will 
force this Republic into a war with them, and in such case, 
or indeed in any case, if there were a Minister here ac- 
credited to the States-General and to the Prince Stadt- 
holder of the United Provinces of the Low Countries, he 
would assist a loan. There is another measure which 
may be taken by Congress to the same end ; that is, send- 
ing some cargoes of produce, upon account of the United 
States directly here, or to St Eustatia, to be sold for the 
payment of interest. The sight of a few such vessels and 
cargoes would do more than many long reasonings and 
negotiations. 

Another method may be taken by Congress. Make a 
contract with private merchants in Philadelphia, Boston, 
Maryland, Virginia, or elsewhere, to export annually pro- 
duce to a certain amount, to Amsterdam or St Eustatia, or 
both, to be sold for the payment of interest. The mer- 
chants, or houses contracted with should be responsible, 
and known in Europe, at least some of them. 

This country has been grossly deceived. It has little 
knowledge of the numbers, wealth, and resources of the 
United States, and less faith in their finally supporting their 
independence, upon which alone a credit depends. They 
have also an opinion of the power of England, vastly 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 3(55 

higher tlian the truth. Measures must be taken, but with 
great caution and delicacy, to undeceive them. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO B. FKANKHN. 

Amsterdam, October 24th, 1780. 

Sir, 

1 have this moment the honor of your letter of the 20th 
of this month, and it is as cold water to a thirsty soul. I 
have been busily employed in making inquiries, in forming 
acquaintances, and in taking advice. In hopes of Mr 
Laurens' arrival, and wishing him to judge for himself, I 
have not decided upon some questions that necessarily 
arise. 1 am not able to promise anything, but I am led to 
hope for something. The contents of Mr Jay's letters 
will certainly be of great weight and use. I am assured of 
the good will of a number of very worthy and con- 
siderable people, and that they will endeavor to assist a 
loan. 

Let me entreat your Excellency to communicate to me 
everything you may further learn respecting the benevo- 
lent intentions of the Court of Madrid, respecting this mat- 
ter. I will do myself the honor to acquaint you with the 
progress I make. I was before in hopes of assisting you 
somewhat, and your letter has raised these hopes a great 
deal, for the English credit certainly staggers here a 
little. 

The treatment of Mr Laurens is truly afiectiiig. It 
will make a deep and lasting impression on the minds of 
the Americans; but this will not be a present relief to him. 



366 -JOHN ADAMS. 

You are, no doubt, minutely informed of his ill usage. 
Can anything be done in Europe for his comfort or re- 
lief? 

X have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, October 24th, 1780. 

Sir, 

1 have received several letters i'rom London concerning 
Mr Laurens. It is certain, that he has been treated with 
great insolence by the populace, in his journey from Dart- 
mouth to London, and that he is confined to a mean 
apartment in the Tower, denied the use of pen and ink, 
and none of his friends has been able to obtain leave to 
visit him, excepting his son and Mr Manning, and these 
positively limited to half an hour. He is sick with a chol- 
era, much emaciated, raid very much incensed against the 
authors of his ill usage. I saw last night a letter from Mr 
Manning himself, so that there is no doubt of the truth of 
this account. This deliberate, this studied manifestation to 
all the world, of their contempt and hatred of all America, 
and of their final determination to pursue this war to the 
last extremity, cannot be misunderstood. The honor, the 
dignity, the essential interests, and the absolute safety of 
America, requires that Congress should take some notice 
of this event. I presume not to propose the measures that 
might be taken, because Congress are in a much better 
situation to judge. 

1 have waited in hopes of Mr Laurens' arrival, but now 
all hopes of it are extinguished. I must fix upon a house, 
and settle the conditions, in pursuance of my commission. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 367 

No time has been lost ; it has all been industriously spent 
in forming acquaintances, making inquiries, and taking ad- 
vice of such characters as it is proper to consult. The 
present state of things affords no hopes, but from a partic- 
ular order of men. These I have endeavored to gain, 
without giving offence to any others, and I am not without 
hopes of obtaining something, though I much fear it will 
be short of the expectations of Congress. I am not at 
liberty yet to mention names, hereafter they will be known. 
I cannot with too much earnestness recommend it to Con- 
gress, to take measures if possible to send some cargoes 
of produce to Amsterdam, or St Eustatia, for the purpose 
of paying interest; a little of this would have a great 
effect. 

I ought not to conclude without repeating my opinion, 
that a commission to some gentleman, of Minister Pleni- 
potentiary, is absolutely necessary. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHN ADAIMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, October 27th, 1780. 

Sir, 

It seems to be now certain, that some of Mr Laurens' 
papers were taken with him. 

There have been sent to His Most Serene Highness, 
the Prince of Orange, copies of letters from M. de Neuf- 
ville, Mr Gillon, Mr Stockton, and Colonel Derrick, and 
a copy of the plan of a treaty projected between the city 
of Amsterdam and Mr William Lee. 

The Prince was much affected at the sight of these 
papers, and laid them before their Noble and Grand 



368 JOHN ADAMS. 

Mightinesses, the States of Holland and West Friesland. 
One gendeman, at least, was present, who was concerned 
in die transaction with Mr Lee, who handsomely avowed 
the measure. The Regency of Amsterdam have since 
given in writing a unanimous avowal of it, and of their de- 
termination to support it. The letters of M. de Neufville 
and Mr Gillon are said to be decent and well guarded. 
So that upon the whole it seems to be rather a fortunate 
event, that these papers have been publicly produced. I 
wish I could say the same of Mr Laurens' captivity, but I 
cannot. The rigor of his imprisonment, and the severity 
of their behavior towards him, are not at all abated. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 

.JOHN ADAMS. 



JAMES LOVELL TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Philadelphia, October 28th, 1780. 

Sir, 
I shall endeavor to write largely to you, but I will not 
at this moment risk the sailing of the vessel for that pur- 
pose. It is reported, that Mr Searle is taken. Our affairs 
in Holland must in such case be very bad, as you will not 
have received any powers for acting instead of Mr Lau- 
rens, who is too probably taken and carried to England, 
from Newfoundland. And I also know of other fatalities 
of my letters. 

Your obedient servant, 

JAMES LOVELL, 

For the. Committee of Foreign Affairs, 

N. B. Copies of your commission and instructions for 
a loan are enclosed. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 369 

TO TUi: PRESIDKNT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, October 3Ut, 1780. 

Sir, 

The Briiisli Ministry, by the terrible examples of the 
rioters, have so intimidated the nation, and by their suc- 
cess in the late elections have so great a majority in Par- 
liament, that they think themselves secure for seven 
years, and seem determined to go on with more vigor than 
ever. 

The letters from their Generals Clinton, Cornwallis, he. 
show, they are now adopting a new system. These letters 
are full of panegyrics upon the tories and refugees. 
Gage, and the two Howes, and Burgoyne, made light of 
these auxiliaries, which made Mr Galloway their enemy, 
who has been very industrious in exposing their characters. 
Indeed the Ministry seem to be wholly governed now by 
Mr Galloway, and their Generals seem to have adopted 
the same sentiments. The consequence is, that in Amer- 
ica, at least where the British army rules, the refugees are 
cherished. Cornwallis, in his last letter, in which he gives 
an account of his battle with General Gates, assures the 
Ministry, that he is determined to make some examples 
among his prisoners. But none of these are more deci- 
sive proofs of their present system, than their treatment of 
Mr Laurens, whom they are holding up to that nation in 
the frightful character of a rebel, knowing that this word, 
and this idea, is enough to inflame them beyond all degrees 
of reason. 

It is not only in England and America, that they mean 
to spread a terror; they think, that they can terrify all 
nations, this in particular. They have sent over to His 
VOL. V. 47 



370 JOHN ADAMS. 

Most Serene Highness, the Prince of Orange, some copies 
of letters taken with Mr Laurens. I cannot learn, that 
there are any, but IVom M. de Neufville and Mr Gillon, 
who are here. But it is propagated, that there are many- 
more, and M. Van Berckel and the Baron Van der Capel- 
lan are named. But 1 have very good reason to believe, 
that they have not a line oT either. 

The English are giving out, as is their practice every 
fall, that they are determined to send great forces to Ame- 
rica. Fourteen regiments are talked of, ten thousand 
men, but these threats will be executed as usual. Four- 
teen regiments, if they send them, will not produce four 
thousand men in America, to repair all their losses in 
North America and the West Indies. 

We have one enemy more pernicious to us than all their 
army, and that is an opinion, which prevails in too many 
American minds, that there is still some justice, some 
honor, some humanity, and some reason in Great Britain, 
and that they will open their eyes and make peace. That 
there arc individuals who have these virtues cannot be 
doubted. Rome had many such, even after the ultimi 
Romanorwn. But they were so {ew, in comparison to 
the whole, and had so little share in government, that ihey 
only served, by their endeavors to bring things back, to 
make the nation more miserable. 

I am so fully convinced, that peace is a great way off, 
and that we have more cruelty to encounter than ever, that 
T ought to be explicit to Congress. We shall be forced to 
wean ourselves from the little remainder of affection and 
respect for that nation. Nay, even from our curiosity. I 
cannot think it decent, that any American should volun- 
tarily set his foot on British ground, while we are treated 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPO.NUK.NCE. 37 1 

as we are. The practice is too common to step over, 
upon motives of curiosity, pleasure, or business, and 1 can- 
not but think it ought to be discountenanced. 

I have the honor to be, kc. 

JOHN ADAxMS. 



TO B. FRANKLlxN. 

Amsterdam, November 4th, 1780. 

Sir, 
M. de Neufville this morning brought me a number of 
bills of exchange, drawn upon Mr Laurens, in the month 
of July, amounting to seven or eight hundred pounds sterl- 
ing, and informed me that your Excellency had declined 
becoming responsible for them and referred him to me. I 
have inquired of Mr Searle, who informs me there are 
about twenty thousand pounds in such bills now on their 
way. If there were only seven or eight hundred pounds, 
I would accept them, for the honor of the United States, 
and run the venture of being able to pay them, by borrow- 
ing, or some way or other ; but twenty thousand pounds is 
much beyond my private credit. I have been and am 
pursuing all those measures, to which I am advised by gen- 
tlemen, in whose judgment I can justify placing confi- 
dence, and am not without hopes of succeeding in some 
measure ; but I have not as yet been able to obtain any 
money, nor any certainly of obtaining any in future. 1 write 
this, therefore, to your Excellency, that if you could see 
your way clear to become responsible for these bills, for 
the present, 1 will engage to see them paid with the money 
I may borrow here, if I borrow enough before the term for 
their payment expires, or n:^ much of them as \ sihall be 
able to borrow ; but in this case, if I should not succeed 



372 -JOHN ADAMS. 

in obtaining the money, your Excellency will be answera- 
ble. I should be sorry that the credit of the United States 
should sufier any stain, and would prevent it if I could ; 
but at present it is not in my power- 

The successes of the English at the southward, added 
to the many causes that obstructed our credit in this Re- 
public before, some of which it would not be prudent to 
explain, will render a loan here difficult ; but I still hope 
not quite impracticable. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, November 16th, 1780. 
Sir, 
On the 10th of this month. Sir Joseph Yorke presented 
to the States-General the following 

MEMORIAL. , 

"High and Mighty Lords, 
"The King, my master, has discovered during the whole 
course of his reign the most sincere desire to maintain the 
union, which has subsisted for more than a century between 
his Crown and this Republic. This union rests upon the 
immovable basis of reciprocal interest; and as it has con- 
tributed much to the prosperity of the two nations, the 
natural enemy of both employs all the resources of his 
policy to destroy it. For sometime past, this enemy has 
not labored but with too much success, being supported by 
a faction, which seeks to govern the Republic, and which 
is always ready to sacrifice the general interest to private 
views. The King has seen with as much surprise as re- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRKSPO.NDENCE. 373 

gret, the little effect which has been produced by his re- 
peated demands of the succors stipulated by the treaties, 
and the representations of his Ambassadors, concerning the 
daily violations of engagements tlie most solemn. 

"The moderation of the King has induced him to attri- 
bute this conduct of your High Mighlinesses, lo the in- 
trigues of an overbearing cabal ; and his Majesty would 
still persuade himself, that your justice and your intelli- 
gence will determine you to fulfil your engagements to- 
wards him, and to prove by all your proceedings your 
resolution to put in vigor the system formed by the wisdom 
of your ancestors, and the only one which can ensure the 
safety and glory of the Republic. The answer of your 
High Mightinesses to this declaration, which the subscriber 
makes by the express order of his Court, will be the touch- 
stone of your sentiments and intentions towards the King. 

"His Majesty has had for sometime indications without 
number of the dangerous designs of an unbridled cabal. 
But the papers of Mr Laurens, who calls himself a Presi- 
dent of a pretended Congress, have made a discovery of a 
conspiracy without example in the annals of the Republic. 
It appears by these papers, that the gentlemen of Amster- 
dam have commenced a clandestine correspondence with 
the rebels of America, from the month of August, 177S, 
and that there were instructions and full powers given by 
them, relative to the conclusion of an indissoluble treaty of 
amity with these rebels, subjects of a sovereign, to whom 
the Republic is bound by engagements the iiiost strict. 
The authors of this conspiracy pretend not to deny it ; on 
the contrary, they avow it, and endeavor in vain to justify 
it. It is in these circumstances, that his Majesty, depend- 
ing on the equity of your High Mightinesses, den)ands a 



374 JOHN ADAMS. 

Ibrmal disavowal of a conduct so irregular, not less con- 
trary to your engagements the most sacred, than to the 
fundamental laws of the Batavian Constitution. The King 
demands also, u prompt satisfaction proportioned to the 
ofience, and an exemplary punishment of the Pensionary, 
Van Berckel, and of his accomplices, as disturbers of the 
public peace, and violators of the law of nations. 

"His Majesty persuades himself, that the answer of your 
High Mightinesses will be prompt and satisfactory in all 
respects. But if ilse contrary should happen, if your 
High Mightinesses refuse a demand so just, or endeavor to 
evade it by silence, v/hich will be considered as a refusal, 
in that case, the King will not be able to consider the Re- 
public itself but as approving of misdemeanors, which it 
refuses to disavow and to punish ; and after such a con- 
duct, his Majesty will see himself in the necessity of taking 
such measures, as the maintenance of his dignity and the 
essential interests of his people demand. 

"Done at the Hague, the 10th of November, 1780. 
JOSEPH YORKE." 

Whether Sir Joseph Yoike, after twenty years' lesidence 
in this Republic, is ignorant of its Constitution, or whether, 
knowing it, he treats it in diis manner, on purpose the more 
palpably to insult it, I know not. The sovereignty resides 
in die States-General ; but who are the States-General ? 
Not their High Mightinesses, who assemble at the Hague 
to deliberate ; these are only deputies of the States-Gene- 
ral. The States-General are die Regencies of the cities, 
and the bodies of nobles in the several Provinces. The 
Burgomasters of Amsterdam, therefore, who are called the 
Regency, are one integral branch of the sovereignty of the 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 375 

Seven United Provinces, and the most material branch of 
all, because the city of Amsterdam is one quarter of the 
whole Republic, at least in taxes. 

What would be said in England if the Count do Weld6- 
ren. Ambassador at the Court of London, had presented a 
iNIemorial to the King, in which he had charged any in- 
tegral part of their sovereignty, as the whole House of 
Lords, or the whole House of Commons, with conspira- 
cies, factions, cabals, sacrificing general interests to private 
views, and demanded exemplary punishment upon them ? 
The cases are in nature precisely parallel, although there 
are only three branches of the sovereignty in England, 
and there are a greater number than three in Holland. 

There are sti-ong symptoms of resentment of this out- 
rageous Memorial in Amsterdam ; but whether the whole 
will not evaporate, I know not. Many persons, however, 
are of opinion that a war is inevitable, and ensurance can- 
not be had even to St Eustatia, since this Memorial was 
made public, under twenty or twenty five per cent. 

This Memorial is so like the language of Lord Hills- 
borough and Governor Bernard, that I could scarcely for- 
bear substituting Boston for Amsterdam, and Otis, or Han- 
cock, or Adams, for Van Berckel, as I read it. I should 
not wonder if the next Memorial should charge the Repub- 
lic with rebellion, and except two or three from pardon. 
I have the honor to be, k.c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



376 JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, November 17tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

From the time of the arrival of my commission, T have 
been constantly employed in forming acquaintances, mak- 
ing inquiries, and asking advice; but am sorry to be obliged 
to say, that hitherto 1 see no certain prospect of borrowing 
any money at all. 

For some years past, all the information I could obtain 
from this country, led me to think that America had many 
friends in this Republic, and that a considerable sum might 
be borrowed here, provided application was made to Dutch 
iiouses, of old lamilies and numerous connexions. And 
after my arrival here, I had the opinion of persons Vv'hom I 
had every reason to think knew best, that if proper powers 
should arrive from the thirteen United States, money might 
be had. But now that all agree, that full powers have ar- 
rived, I do not find the same encouragement. This nation 
has been so long in the habit of admiring the English, and 
disliking the French, so familiarized to call England the 
natural ally, and France the natural enemy of the Repub- 
lic, that it must be the work of time to eradicate these pre- 
judices, although the circumstances are greatly altered. 
Add to this the little decision and success which has ap- 
l)eared in the conduct of the affairs of America and her 
allies, and the series of small successes which the English 
have had for the last twelve months ; the suspense and un- 
certainty in which men's minds have been held respecting 
the accession of the Dutch to the armed neutrality ; and at 
last die publication of some papers taken with iMr Laurens, 
the part the Stadlholder has acted, and the angry Memo- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 377 

rial of Sir Joseph Yorke coiiccniiiig them ; all iliese things 
together liave thrown this nation into a slate of astonish- 
ment, confusion, and uncertainty, to such a degree, that no 
house tiiat 1 have as yet thought it prudent to apply to, 
dares lo undertake the trust. The times are now critical 
indeed. The question will be decided in a few days, 
whether the Republic shall join the armed neutrality or 
not. Four Provinces have voted for it : two others have 
voted in such a manner that their deputies may agree to 
it ; and most men say it will be decided by the plurality. 

The King of England demands a disavowal of the Am- 
sterdam Treaty, and the punishment of the Regency. 
They will not be punished, nor their conduct disavowed. 
The King of Enghmd, therefore, must take such measures 
as he shall think his dignity, and the essential interests of 
his people require What these will be, time alone can 
discover. Many think ho will declare war, but more are 
of a different opinion. 

Congress, who have been long used to contemplate the 
characters and tl)c policy of this King and his IVlinisters, 
will see that they are now pursuing towards this Republic, 
the same maxims which have always governed them. 
Their measures in America, for many years, were calcu- 
lated to divide the many from the few in the towns of Bos- 
ton, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston ; next, to 
divide the Provinces from their capitals, and then to divide 
the rest of the Continent from those Provinces, whicli took 
the earliest a decided part. 

Their plan now is, to divide the people of Amsterdam 

from their Burgomasters, and to single out M. Van Bcrckel, 

for the fate ol Barnevelt, Grotius, or Dc Witt ; to divide 

the other cities of Holland from Amsterdam, and the other 

VOL. V. 48 



378 JOHN ADAMS. 

Provinces of the Republic from Holland. But they will 
succeed no better in Holland than in America, and their 
conduct bids fair to make ISl. Van Berckel the most res- 
pected and esteemed of all the citizens. 

In the present critical state of things, a commission of a 
Minister Plenipotentiary would be useful here. It would 
not be acknowledged, perhaps not produced, except in 
case of war. But if peace should continue, it would secure 
its possessor the external respect of all. it would give him 
the right to claim and demand the prerogatives and privi- 
leges of a Minister Plenipotentiary, in case anything should 
turn up which might require it. It would make him con- 
sidered as the center of American afl'airs, and it would 
assist, if anything would, a loan. 

1 cannot conclude without observing, that I cannot think 
it would be safe for Congress to draw for money here, 
until they shall receive certain information that their bills 
can be honored. There are bills arrived, which if Mr 
Franklin cannot answer, must, for what I know, be pro- 
tested. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO H. FRANKLIN. 

Amsterdam, November 24th, 1780. 

Sir, 
The letter which your Excellency did me the honor to 
write me on the 13th is received, and I have accordingly 
accepted the bills, and shall draw upon your Excellency 
about the time they become payable, for money to enable 
me to discharge them, provided I should not succeed in my 
endeavors to borrow it here. 



DIPLOMATIC CUKKLSFU.NUENCE. 379 

1 have liilherto 110 prospect at all. Wlieii I first arrived 
here, I had sucli informations as made me believe that a 
sum of money might be had upon the credit of the United 
States. But the news from Carolina and New York and 
the West Indies, but above all, the affair of the Burgomas- 
ters and Sir Joseph Yorke's ^Memorial, have struck a panic 
which must have time to wear off. At present I meet 
with only one gentleman who tliinks anything can be 
done, and I fear that he deceives himself. 

I hope by this time your Excellency's health is restored, 

and have the honor to be, &.c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THK PRESIDF.NT OF CONGKESS. 

Ainsteidam. November 25th, 1780. 

Sir, 

It is now cert|iiii that the States-General have, by a plu- 
rality of five Provinces, determined to accede to the armed 
neutrality. Zealand and Guelderland have agreed to it 
likewise ; but upon condition of a warranty of the pos- 
sessions of the Republic. If ihe intention of Sir J. Yorke's 
memorial was to intimidate their High Mightinesses from 
this measure, he has missed iiis aim. Nor will the con- 
duct of the Burgomasters of Amsterdam be disavowed, 
nor M. Van Berckel, nor his accomplices, punished. We 
shall see how the British Ministry will disentangle them- 
selves from this perplexity. 

All these things, however, so far from aiding our affairs 
in this nation, seejn to have put an entire slop to them for 
the present. The nation is trembling for their commerce, 
tiieir monev in the British funds, their East and West India 



380 .JOH:N AD A.MS. 

jDOSsessioiis, mid no man dares engage in a measure that 
may in some degree increase the alarm. 

The bills upon Mr Laurens 1 have accepted, those of 
thcni at least that have arrived, upon an assurance from 
Dr Franklin, that in cisse I should not be able to borrow 
the mone) by tliu time ihey i)econie payable, that I may 
draw upon him tor it. I think Congress will perceive the 
danger of drawing any more, until they shall receive intel- 
ligence from me that the money is ready. 

ThL> (.iioice of ;i house is a po'iit of so much import- 
ance, that I could not justify makina it, without tlie most 
mature inquiry and leHection. Not only the success of 
the negotiation will depend upon it, but the political con- 
sequences of it will he importani. 1 iiave made every 
inquiry and several proposals, but all have; been politely 
declined. There are. two houses which I believe would 
accept it, but these, although respectable, are so far from 
the first rank that I should be sorry to fix upon either, if I 
could see a prospect of gaining one of higlier rank. I am 
told, that opening the loan now would injure us exceed- 
ingly ; but 1 know not what to judge. I have found so 
many opinions mistaken, that in this country 5 cannot judge 
which are well founded. 

Fear is ever the second passion in minds goveriK^d by 
avarice. As long, therefore, as the English misrepresen- 
tations can make people here believe that there is a possi- 
bility of conquering America, or of our returning to the 
government of England, so long we shall find little credit 
iiere. 

The Prince was ill advised when he undertook what he 
was not obliged to do, in producing Mr Laurens' papers, 
which he did too, in a manner justly oft'ensive to the United 



Ult^LU.MATlC COimtSFONDKNCi;. 39 1 

States. It was the part ot Sir Joseph Voike to have pro- 
duced them, not to the Prince, but to their High Mighti- 
nesses. His Serene Highness, therefore, in this work of 
supererogation, gave himself the air of an instrument of Sir 
Joseph, which has not at all recommended him to the 
Dutch nation. 

But Sir Joseph, or iiis nraster, has committed a gjealer 
mistake in presenting that intemperate memorial. It is 
said, that he pleads positive orders ; but many believe that 
if he had such orders, lie procured them from his Court, 
an(i- that the memorial was prepared at the Hague, and 
adjusted to the state of parties and politics in the Repub- 
lic. Be this as it may, both the Prince and the Ambassa- 
dor have missed their aim, and the publication of Mr Lau- 
rens' papers has had a contrary efTect from what they ex- 
pected and intended. 

The Republic, however, is in an embarrassed situation. 
The Prince lias a decided inclination for England. He 
has the command of armies and navies, and the gift of 
so many offices, that his influence is astonishing among the 
nobility, and all the higher families. Besides this, the 
clergy are very generally devoted to him, and their influ- 
ence among the populace is very great ; so that there is 
great danger that the Republic will not be ab!e to exert its 
real strength, even in case England should continue their 
hostilities. I say continue, because it is certain that by 
repeated violations of territory, as well as by innumerable 
captures of innocent vessels, hostilities have been long since 
begun. 

It is the opinion of many here, that without the discov- 
ery of ]Mr Laurens' papers, the Republic would not have 
acceded to the armed neutrality. As this great confed- 



382 



JOHN AWAMb. 



eration is now determined on, we sliall see what will be its 
effects. Tiie Empress of Russia is not of a character to 
be trifled witii ; yet I think the Engfish will not respect the 
new arrangement. Tiiey will violate the principles of it, 
at least tow-ards the Dutch, and risk a war with all the 
maritime powers of the world at once, rather than relin- 
quish America, and agree to the principle of free ships, 
free goods. 

I have the honor to be, k.c, 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO B. FRANKLIN. 

Amsterdam, November 30tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

1 have already accepted bills drawn upon i\lr Laurens, 
to the amount of thirtyfour thousand three hundred and 
fiftyeight guilders. How many more will arrive, I know 
not. I shall inform your Excellency from time to time, 
as they appear, and I accept them. 

This Republic is in a violent crisis. If a certain party 
prevails, we shall raise no money here ; if they do not, we 
shall raise vtiy little. Patience is recommended to me, 
and delay in hopes of a turn of affairs. I am advised to 
do nothing, to attempt nothing, not even to choose a house, 
at present. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 383 

TO THE PUESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, November 30th, 1T80. 

Sir, 
The stale of parties in this Republic is still crilical. 
Many anonymous pamphlets appear on both sides. Those 
which proceed from the English party, are virulent against 
M. Van Berckel. The Republic itself wavers, according 
to events and causes, which are impenetrable. A few days 
ago, the plan appeared to be, to accede to the armed neu- 
trality, in order to satisfy one party, and to disavow the 
conduct of Amsterdam, in forming with oNlr Lee, the 
project of a treaty, in order to appease the other.* Fifteen 
cities, even in the Province of Holland, have disavowed 
this measure ; Haerlem and Dort are the only two, which 
have approved it. The Grand Pensionary of Holland 
has sent after the courier, who had been despatched to the 
Plenipotentiaries at Petersburg, and brought him back to 
the Hague. What alteration is to be made, is unknown. 
It is now given out, that they have determined to increase 
the fortifications of the maritime towns, and augment their 
garrisons. » 

I see every day more and more of the inveterate preju- 
dices of this nation in favor of the English, and against the 
French ; more and more of the irresistible influence of 
the Stadtholder, and more and more of the irresolution, 
uncertainly, and confusion of the nation. How the whole 
will conclude, 1 know not. One thing, however, is cer- 
tain, that Congress can depend upon no money from 
hence. I have, confiding in the assurances of Dr Frank- 
lin, accepted all the bills drawn upon Mr Laurens, which 

• See this project of n treaty in William Lee"s Correspondence, Vol. 
II. pp 310. 313, 



384 JOHN ADAMS. 

liave yet been presented to uie, amounting to thiityfonr 
thousand three hundred and liltyeight guilders ; but I have 
no prospect of discharging them, or even of deriving my 
own subsistence from any other source than Passy. Con- 
gress, will, therefore, I presume, desist from any further 
drafts upon Holland, at least until they receive certain in- 
formation that money lias been borrowed, of which I see 
no present prospect. 

1 have the honor to be, k,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO TFir. PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amstet-dani. Decsmbor 14tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

[ am every day accepting the bills of exchange, which 
were drawn upon Mr Laurens ; but I have no prospect of 
obtaining money to discharge them, from any other person 
dian Dr Franklin. 

For some years before I came to Holland, every per- 
son 1 saw from this place assured me, that in his opinion, 
money might be borrowed, provided application was made 
with proper powers directly from Congress to solid Dutch 
houses. After my arrival here, these assurances were re- 
peated to nie, by persons whose names I could mention, 
and who 1 thought could not be deceived themselves, nor 
deceive me. But now that powers have arrived, and ap- 
plication has been made to Dutch houses undoubtedly 
solid, these houses will not accept the business. In short, 
I cannot refrain from saying, that almost all the profess- 
ions of friendship to America, which have been made, turn 
out, upon trial, to have been nothing more than little adu- 
liuions to proctu'c a share in our trade. Truth demands 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 385 

of me this observation. Americans find here the polite- 
ness of the table, and a readiness to enter into their trade, 
but the public finds no disposition to afford any assistance, 
political or pecuniary. They impute this to a change in 
sentiments, to the loss of Charleston, the defeat of Gene- 
ral Gates, to Arnold's desertion, to the inactivity of the 
French and Spaniards, &ic. Sec. he. But I know better. 
It is not the love of the English, although there is a great 
deal more of that than is deserved, but it is fear of the 
English and the Stadtholderian party. 

I iiiust, therefore, entreat Congress to make no more 
drafts upon Holland, until they hear from me that their 
bills can be accepted, of which, at present, I have no 
hopes. 

People of the first character have been, and are still 
constantly advising, that Congress should send a Minister 
Plenipotentiary here, and insist upon it that this would 
promote a loan. It is possible it may ; but I can see no 
certainty that it will. Sending a few cargoes of produce, 
would do someihins;. 

The Dutch are now felicitating themselves upon the 
depth and the felicity of their politics. They have joined 
the neutrality, and have disavowed Amsterdam, and this has 
appeased the wrath of the English, the appearance of 
which, in Sir Joseph Yorke's Memorial, terrified them 
more than I ever saw any part of America intimidated in 
the worst crisis of her affairs. The late news we have of 
advantages gained by our arms in several skirmishes in 
Carolina, contributes a' little to allay the panic. But all in 
Europe depends upon our success. 
F have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 
VOL. V. 49 



386 -JOHN ADAMS. 

' ■ ■ TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, December ISth, 1780. 

War is to a Dutchman the greatest of evils. Sir Jo- 
seph Yorke is so sensible of this, that he keeps alive a 
continual fear of it, by memorials after memorials, each 
more affronting to any sovereignty of delicate notions of 
dignity than the former. By this means he keeps up 
the panic, and while this panic continues, I shall certainly 
have no success at all. No man dares engage for me : 
very few dare see me. 

On Tuesday last, the 12th of December, the British 
Ambassador had a conference widi the President of the 
States-General, and upon that occasion presented to their 
High Mightinesses the following Memorial. 
"High and Mighty Lords, 
"The uniform conduct of the King towards the Repub- 
lic, the friendship which has so long subsisted between the 
two nations, the right of sovereigns, and the faith of en- 
gagements the most solemn, will, without doubt, determine 
the answer of your High Mightinesses to the Memorial, 
which the subscriber presented some time ago, by the ex- 
press order of his Court. It would be to mistake the wis- 
doin and the justice of your High Mightinesses to suppose, 
that you could balance one moment to give the satisfaction 
demanded by his Majesty. As the resolutions of your 
High Mightinesses, of the 27th of November, were the 
result of a deliberation, which regarded only the interior of 
your government, and it was not then in question to answer 
the said Memorial, the only remark which we shall make 
upon those resolutions is, that the principles which dictated 



LUFLU.MATIC COlinESPONDENCE. 387 

ihem, prove evidently the justice of the demand made by 
the King. In deliberating upon this Memorial, to which 
the subscriber hereby requires, in the name of his Court, 
an answer immediate and satisfactory in all respects, your 
High Mightinesses will recollect, without doubt, that the 
affair is of the last importance ; that the question is con- 
cerning a complaint made by an offended sovereign ; that 
the offence, of which he demands an exemplary punish- 
ment and complete satisfaction, is a violation of the Bata- 
vian constitution, whereof the King is the warranty, an in- 
fraction of the public faith, an outrage against the dignity 
of his Crown. The King has never imagined that your 
High ^Mightinesses would have approved of a treaty with 
his rebel subjects. This would have been on your part a 
commencement of hostilities, and a declaration of war. 
But the offence has been committed by the magistrates of 
a city, which makes a considerable part of the State, and 
it is the duty of the sovereign power to punish and repair 
it. His Majesty, by the coinplaints made by his Ambas- 
sador, has put the punishment and the reparation into the 
hands of your High ^lightinesses, and it will not be but in 
the last extremity, that is to say, in the case of a denial of 
justice on your part, or of silence, which must be interpre- 
ted as a refusal, that the King will take this charge upon 
himself. 

"Done at the Hague, the 12th of December, 1780." 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS, 



388 -JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGllLSS. 

Ainsteidain, December 21st, 1780 

Sir, 

The sentinieiits and affections of a jjeople may be 
learned IVou) many little circunistances, which few people 
attend to. Tlie poets and orators are generally considered 
as the surest repositories of popular ideas, both in ancient 
and modern nations. The clergy may be classed among 
the latter, and it is very certain, that most public preachers 
accommodate both their sermons and their prayers, in 
some degree, to the general taste of their hearers, and 
avoid everything which will unnecessarily give them 
offence. 

At Rotterdam, there are several English ch'irches. 
The Presbyterian church, which would be the least likely, 
one should think, to be bigotted by England, I attended. 
The parson in his prayer, after petitioning heaven for the 
States of Holland and West Friesland, the States-General 
and Council of State, and for the Prince of Orange, their 
hereditary Stadtholder, and Governor, &c. added a pe- 
tition for England, for die King, Queen, and royal family, 
for their health, long life, and prosperity, und added, that 
he might triumph over all his enemies in the four quarters 
of the world. 

At Amsterdam, 1 have attended both the Episcopal and 
Presbyterian churches, and heard similar supplications to 
heaven in both. At Utrecht, I attended the Presbyte- 
rian church, and there heard a prayer for the English, with 
much more fervor and in greater detail. The parson was 
quite transported with his zeal, and prayed that the rebel- 
lion, which has so long prevailed, might be suppressed, and 



DIPLOMATIC CUKKKM'O.NDE.NCK. 3S9 

liide its liend in shame. At Leyden there is another Eng- 
lish church. The parson, I am told, is a tory, but pru- 
dently omits such kind of prayers. 

This is quite a work of supererogation in the reverend 
zealots, and is, therefore, a stronger proof that such senti- 
ments are popular. The English, who are very numerous 
in all these cities, are universally in favor of the British 
Ministry. But there are so many Dutch families who 
worship in these churches, that the parsons would not give 
them offence, if such prayers were offensive. This is the 
more remarkable, as the religion of North America is 
much more like that of this Republic, than like that of 
England. But such prayers recommend the parson to the 
Prince of Orange, and to the English party, and no other 
party or person has influence or courage enough to take 
offence at them. 

I have the honor to be, k.c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, December 2oth, 1780. 

Sir, 

It is very difficult to discover with certainty the secret 
spring, which actuates the Courts of Europe ; but what- 
ever I can find, with any degree of probability, 1 shall trans- 
mit to Congress at one time or another. 

The Prince of Orange is himself of the royal family of 
England ; his mother was a daughter of King George the 
Second, and this relation is no doubt one among the several 
motives, which attach the Stadtholder to England. His 
Princess is a niece of the King of Prussia, and it is be- 
lieved is not perfectly agreed with His Most Serene High- 



390 JOHN ADAMS. 

uess, in his entluisiasm for tlie English Court. The King 
of Prussia has a great esteem and affection for his niece, 
with whom he frequently corresponds. In some of his 
letters he is supposed to have expressed his sentiments 
freely upon the Prince's conduct, intimating, that his High- 
ness would take too much upon himself, and make himsell" 
too responsible, if he persevered in a resolute opposition to 
the armed neutrality. The Empress of Russia, who pos- 
sesses a masterly understanding, and a decided inclination 
for America, is thought too, to have expressed some un- 
easiness at the Prince's political system. The King of 
Sweden, who was lately at the Hague, Is reported to have 
had free conversation with the Prince upon the same sub- 
ject. All these intimations together, are believed to i)ave 
made His jMost Serene Highness hesitate a little, and con- 
sider whether he was not acting too dangerous a part, in 
exerting all his influence in the Republic, to induce it to 
take a part in opposition to the general sense and incli- 
nation of the people, and to all the maritime powers of 
Europe. 

The English Court is undoubtedly informed of all this. 
They dread the accession of the Dutch to the armed neu- 
trality, more t;;.;n all the other branches of that confeder- 
ation, because of tlie rivalry in commerce, and because 
the Dutch will assist the Royal Marines of France and 
Spain, more than all the others. The present conduct of 
the English indicates a design to go to war with the Dutch, 
on pretence of an insult to their Crown, committed two 
years ago, by a treaty with America, in hopes, that the}'' 
will not be supported in this quarrel by the confederated 
neutral powers. But they will be mistaken. The artifice 
is too gross. The confederated powers will easily see, that 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 301 

the real cause of olience is the accession to the armed 
neutrality, and the conduct of Amsterdam, in projecting a 
treaty with America, only a pretence. 
1 have the honor to be, &:.c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, December 25tli, 1~S0. 

Sir, 

The dispute between Great Britain and the United 
Provinces is now wrought up to a crisis. Things must 
take a new turn in the course of a iew days, but whether 
they will end in a war, or in the retraction of one party or 
the other, time alone can determine. 

I have before transmitted to Congress the two Memo- 
rials of Sir Joseph Yorke, against M. Van Berckel, and 
the Burgomasters of Amsterdam. The language of both 
is conformable to that domineering spirit, which has actu- 
ated the Councils of St James, from the beginning of this 
reign, and they have committed the honor and dignity 
of the King, and engaged the pride of the nation so far, 
that there is no room left for a retreat, without the most 
humiliating mortification. On the other hand, there is 
authentic information, that the States proceeding in their 
usual forms, have determined to refer the conduct of Ain- 
sterdam to a committee of lawyers, who are to consider 
and report, whether the Burgomasters have done anything, 
which they had not by law and the Constitution authority 
to do. It is universally known and agreed, that the report 
must and will be in favor of the Burgomasters. This re- 
port will be accepted and confirmed by the States, and 



392 JOHN ADAMS. 

transmitted to all the neutral Courts, in order to show 
them, that neither the Republic in general nor the city of 
Amsterdam in particular, have done anything against the 
spirit of the armed neutrality. The States have also de- 
termined to make an answer to the British Ambassador's 
Memorials, and to demand satisfaction of the King his 
master, for the indignity offered to their sovereignty, in 
those memorials. In this resolution, the States have been 
perfectly unanimous, the Body of Nobles, for the first time, 
having agreed with the Generality. The question then is, 
which power will recede. I am confidently assured, that 
the States will not ; and indeed if they should, they may 
as well submit to the King, and surrender their indepen- 
dence at once. 1 am not, however, very clear what they 
will do. 1 doubt whether they have firmness to look a war 
in the face. Will the English recede, if the Dutch do 
not ? If they should, it would be contrary to the maxims, 
which have invariably governed them during this reign. It 
will humble the insolent overbearing pride of the nation ; 
it will expose the Ministry to the scoffs and scorn of op- 
position ; it will elevate the courage of the Dutch, the 
neutral powers, and the House of Bourbon, not to mention 
the great effect it will have in America, upon the whigs 
and tories, objects which the British Court never loses 
sight of. 

This Republic is certainly, and has been for several 
weeks, in a very violent struggle. It has every symptom 
of an agony, diat usually precedes a great revolution. The 
streets of the city swarm with libels of jiarty against party. 
Some masterly pamphlets have been written in favor of the 
Burgomasters. Thousands of extravagant and incredible 
reports are made and propagated. Many new songs 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 393 

appeal' among the populace, one particularly adapted for 
the amusement of the sailors, and calculated to inspire them 
with proper sentiments of resentment against tiie English. A 
woman, who sung it in the streets, the day before yester- 
day, sold six hundred of them in an hour, and in one spot. 
These are symptoms of war. But it is not easy to con- 
quer the national prejudices of a hundred years' standing, 
nor to avoid the influence of the Stadtholder, whicii is 
much more formidable. In this fermentation, the people 
can think of nothing else, and I need not add, that J have 
no chance of getting a ducat of money, but I think Con- 
gress will see the necessity of having here in these critical 
times more ample powers. 

1 have the honor to be, k.c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THF, PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdnm. Deceiribor 25tli, 1780. 

Sir, 

Affairs are still in suspense. This day being Cliiist- 
mas, and yesterday a Sunday, there was no public Ex- 
change held on either. But business, and especially stock- 
jobbing, goes on without ceasing, being done at the coffee- 
houses on Sundays, and holy-days, when it cannot be held 
upon 'Change. 

The English mail, which had been interrupted by con- 
trary winds for three posts, arrived on Saturday. The 
English gazettes of the 19th announced, that Sir Joseph 
Yorke was recalled, and a Dutch war was inevitable. 
Private letters informed, that the Count de Weldercn was 
about leaving the British Court, and that an embargo was 
VOL. V. 50 



394 JOHN ADAMS. 

laid on all Dutch siiips in Great Britain ; that the stocks 
had fallen two per cent, and that a war was inevitable. 
Tile stock-jobbers, Englishmen, and others at the coffee- 
houses, had melancholy countenances, and uncommon 
anxiety. News was also propagated from the Hague, that 
Sir Joseph Yorke was gone. Odiers said he had received 
his orders to go. As there was no Exchange, the public 
judgment is not made up, whether there will be war or not. 
Some gentlemen of knowledge and experience think all 
this a farce, concerted at the Hague, between Sir Joseph 
and his friends there, and the ^finistry in England, in 
order to spread an alarm, intimidate the States into an 
answer, which may bo accepted with a color of honor, he. 
or to do something worse, that b, rouse a spirit among the 
mobility against the Burgomasters of Amsterdam. I can- 
not, however, but be of opinion, that there is more in this, 
and that the Ministry will carry tlieir rage to great ex- 
tremities. They have gone too far to look back, without 
emboldening their enemies, confounding tiieir friends, and 
exposing themselves to the contempt and ridicule of both. 
A few hours, however, will throw more light upon this im- 
portant subject. The plot must unravel immediately. 
1 have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, December 2r)th, 17S0. 

Sir, 
The public papers of this morning inform me, that Sir 
Joseph Yorke left the Hague on the morning of the 24lh, 
without taking leave of anybody, and bent his way to Lon- 
don by the way of Antwerp and Ostend. 



UIFLUMAllC COKKESi'U.NDK-NCE. 395 

Sometime in ilie moiitli ol' April last, u certain British 
Ambassador, who liad an inclination to take a lew of the 
pleasures of Paris in his way to Germany, said in that city, 
where 1 received the information in the time of it, "to be 
sure the Americans will carry their point, and establish 
their independence, for there will infallibly be a war be- 
tween England and Holland before Christmas." 

If the war is considered to commence from the depart- 
ure of the Ambassador, Sir Joseph went ofi' exactly in 
time to accomplish the prophecy. Since the departure of 
Sir Joseph has been generally known, the city has been in 
a fermentation. The English Ministry are cursed here as 
heartily as anywhere in general. Things are said by our 
friends to be in a very good situation, but I never know 
what to believe. The English are very bold 1 think ; they 
are very enthusiastic, they are sure of the assistance of 
Providence, as sure of success against all their enemies as 
the old lady was of relief from want, and making her for- 
tune, by drawing a prize in the lottery. "But have you 
bought a ticket, mamma ?" said her daughter. "No, my 
child," replied the old lady, "I have no ticket, but Provi- 
dence is Almighty, and therefore I am sure of the highest 
prize, ticket or no ticket." 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PKESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, December 28tb, 1780. 

Sir, 
The Dutch say, that the English are acting the part of 
the sailor, who having quarrelled with three others, as stout 
as himself, and got his bones broken and eyes beat out in 



39G JOHN ADAMS. 

the squabble, challenged four more to fight him at the 
same time, that he might have it in his power to make up 
with all seven w'dli honor. 

If the English are not actuated by the same blind and 
vindictive passions, wliich have governed them so many 
years, it is in:;}}Ossible to see through their policy. 1 diink 
it is impossible they should be ignorant of the articles of 
conlederalion of the neutral powers. These articles as I. 
am informed, warrant to all the neutral powers their trea- 
ties with England, and stipulate that if either is attacked 
alter the 20th of November last, it shall be made a com- 
mon cause. 

If the English should issue letters of marque against the 
Dutch, the States-General will not immediately issue let- 
ters of marque in return, but will represent the facts to 
the Congress at Petersburg, and demand the benefit of the 
treaty of armed neutrality, and all the powers who are 
parties to that confederation will join in demanding of 
England restitution, and in case of refusal, will jointly issue 
letters of marque and reprisal. 

The political machine that is now in motion, is so vast, 
and comprehends so many nations, whose interests arc not 
easy to adjust, that it is perhaps impossible for tiie human 
understanding to foresee what events may occur to distiu'b 
it. But at ]iresent there is no unfavorable appearance 
from any quarter. We are in hourly expectation of inter- 
esting news from the English, French, and Spanish fleets, 
from Petersburg, from London and the Hague, and espe- 
cially from North America. Every wheel and s[)ring in 
the whole political systeni of Europe would have its mo- 
tions rapidly accelerated by certain news from America, of 
any decisive advantage obtained over Cornwallis, in South 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESrO.N'UCNCE. 397 

Carolina ; so true it is, that America is tiic very centre and 
axis of the whole. 

The death of the Empress Queen it is generally thought 
will make no alteration in die system of Europe. Yet it is 
possible after some time there may be changes, none, how- 
ever, which can be hurtful to us. 
1 have the lionor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, December 30th, 1780. 

Sir, 

The Province of Zealand having been opposed to the 
Other Provinces in so many instances, and having lately 
protested against the resolution of the States-General, 
which begin to be thought spirited, it may be useful to ex- 
plain to Congress the causes which influence that Province 
to a conduct which is generally thought to be opposite to 
the true interest of the Republic in general. 

In the States of Zealand there are only five voices, 
three of which are absolutely in the discretion of the Prince 
of Orange, who has one voice as Stadtholder of the Pro- 
vince, another as Marquis of Veere, and a third as First 
Noble. The Stadtholder is therefore absolute in this Pro- 
vince, which accounts at once for its conduct upon every 
occasion. The friends, however, of the Prince, of Eng- 
land, and of Zealand, are not willing that the world should 
believe that the Prince's power in this Province, and his 
attachment to England are the sole causes of its conduct 
upon every occasion, and therefore they enlarge upon sev- 
eral topics, as apologies and excuses for a behavior, which 
cannot wholly be justified. The arguments in justification 



398 JOHK ADAMS. 

or excuse of Zealand are drawn ironi lour principal sources. 
First, the situation of the islands, which compose the Pro- 
vince. Secondly, the interests of its particular commerce. 
Thirdly, the weakness of its interior forces. Fourthly, the 
stale of its finances. 

1. The territory of Zealand consists of five or six isl- 
ands, two of which are moderately large, and the rest very 
small. These islands are formed in the mouth of the 
(Escaut) Scheldt, by the sea, or by the different branches 
of the Scheldt itself. In case of a sudden invasion, these 
islands separated from the Province of Holland by an arm 
of the sea, are too unconnected to receive any immediate 
assistance. Such an invasion is so much the more easy 
for the English, as Zealand is very near them. They may 
invade this Province even before a suspicion should be con- 
ceived that the project had been formed. Who shall op- 
pose their enterprise ? Shall it be the French, who are now 
friendly ? Dunkirk, it is true, h near enough, but what 
forces are there at Dunkirk ? The only naval force there, 
consists of a few privateers, who could neither oppose an 
armament escorted by British men-of-war, nor venture to 
transport troops to oppose it, even supposing the invasion 
was not made by surprise. Shall the Zealanders them- 
selves make a resistance to the English ? But separated 
from one another by waters, which would necessarily retard 
their junction, the island of Waicheren, the principal of all, 
would be in possession of the enemy before they could put 
themselves in a posture to repel force by force. It is, 
moreover, not only possible but easy to make a descent 
upon Zealand by so many places, that the Zealanders with 
their own forces alone could not defend effectually all the 
passages. Eight thousand English, or even a smaller 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 399 

number would force the Zealanders everywhere, because 
there is nowhere a fortress capable of holding out twelve 
hours. The ports of Flushing r.nd Veere are the only 
ones which have any defence ; but they are very far from 
the state in which they ought to be, to stop an enemy de- 
termined upon pillage, animated by revenge, and whom the 
pleasure of doing mischief instigates forcibly. It is con- 
ceded that if the English descended in Zealand, they would 
be constrained to abandon it very soon ; that they might 
and would be driven from it in a few days ; that the figure 
which they would make would be neither glorious nor hon- 
orable, and that their temerity would cost them dear ; but 
the disorder caused by an invasion remains after the expul- 
sion of the invaders. The people invaded arc always the 
victims of the evils which they have suffered, and these 
evils, always considerable to the individuals, are seldom 
compensated entirely. When an incendiary has burned 
my house, whether he is punished or not, my house is con- 
sumed and lost to me. The exactions, the pillage, and all 
the abominations which follow the coups ih main of an un- 
bridled soldiery, would be cruelly felt by the unfortunate 
Zealanders, even after the perpetrators should be driven 
out, or sacrificed to the public resentment. 

2. The peculiar commerce of Zealand. This Province 
has no other than that small commerce, which is known by 
the name of the coasting trade. This kind of trade is con- 
siderable in the Provinces of Holland, North Holland, and 
Friesland. The number of vessels employed in these 
three Provinces in this kind of trade is inconceivable, and 
the greatest part of them is destined for the service of 
France. All which France receives from foreigners, and 
all which it furnishes to foreigners, is carried in these Hoi- 



400 JOHN ADAMS. 

land vessels, and if there was no other than the freight for 
the masters and owners of these vessels, this profit would 
still be of the greatest consideration. Thus it is not sur- 
])i'ising that the Province of Holland has taken such strong 
measures in favor of France. Its particular comnierce 
would naturally determine it this way. On the contrary, 
Zealand employs the small number of her merchant ships 
in a commerce with England, a commerce so much the 
more lucrative, as it is almost eniirely contraband or smus- 
gled. 

The profits to be made on brandy and other spirituous 
liquors, imported clandestinely into England, are very con- 
siderable ; and it is Zealand that makes these profits, be- 
cause they are her subjects who enteHain a continual cor- 
respondence will) the English smugglers. The proximity 
of the coasts of Zealand to those of England, renders this 
commerce, which is prohibited to English subjects, sure 
for the inhabitants of Zealand. Fishing barks are suffi- 
cient to carry it on, and lliese barks are rarely taken, 
whether it is that they are difficult to take, or uhcther 
there is not much desire to take them. These barks, 
ai'rivcd upon the coasts of England, find others wliich 
coriie to take what ih.ey I)ring. The place where this traf- 
fic is held, is generally sonie creek upon the coast of 
England, where the vessel rnay be loaded and unloaded in 
secrecy. i\lorcovcr, those whom the English i\linistry 
appoint to prevent this commerce at sea, are those uiio favor 
it. ^Ve know very well the decided inclination of tiie Eng- 
lish in general, and, above all, of their seamen for strong 
liquors. Zealand, concui'ring openly in the measures, which 
the Republic is now taking against England, or, if you will, 
against the powers at war, would draw upon itself particu- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 401 

larly the hatred, anger, and vengeance of a nation, without 
which it is impossible to sustain its trade, and this Province 
would, by this means, deprive a great number of its sub- 
jects of a source of gain, which places them in a condition 
to furnish the imposts which they have to pay. Is it not 
then the part of prudence in the States of Zealand, to avoicf 
with care everything that might embroil them, particularly 
with England ? Is it not also the wisdom of the States- 
General to have a regard to the critical situation of one of 
the Seven Provinces which compose the union ? 

3. The weakness of her internal forces. Zealand is 
open on all sides to the English. To set them at defiance, 
she ought to have in herself forces capable of intimidating 
Great Britain. But where are such forces to be found? 
In the garrisons, which the Republic maintains there ? Two 
or three thousand men dispersed at Flushing, at Veere, 
and in some other cities, are but a feeble defence against 
a descent of six or seven thousand English, well deter- 
mined. Will these troops of the Republic be supported 
by armed citizens ? Suppose it j their defeat will be not 
less certain. These citizens, who have never seen a loaded 
musket discharged, are more proper to carry an empty 
fusil, to mount guard at a state-house, which is never to 
be attacked, than to march to the defence of a coast threat- 
ened witii a descent, or to present themselves upon the 
parapet of a fort, battered with machines that vomit forth 
death. These citizens, or rather these soldiers of a mo- 
ment, would carry disorder into the ranks, and do more 
injury than service, by giving countenance to the flight of 
tiiose brave warriors, who make it a point of honor to com- 
bat with a steadfast foot. ^Moreover, who are these citi- 
zens, which might be joined to the regular troops? Aro 

VOL. V. 51 



402 



JOHN ADAMS. 



they the principal inhabitants ? Those who have the most 
to lose ? Those to whom birth and education have given 
sentiments of honor and of glory ? No. These have, by 
paying sums of money, exemptions, which excuse them from 
taking arms, to defend the country in time of peace. Is it 
credible that in the most critical moments they will gen- 
erously renounce these exemptions ? It will be, then, 
the citizens of the second order, the artisans, or people 
who have little or nothing to lose, who will serve for the 
reinforcement to the veterans. Experience demonstrates 
what dependence is to be placed at this day upon such 
militia. It would be in vain to oppose to this the time of 
the revolution, those times of the heroism of the ancestors 
of the Dutch. The cause is not the same ; diey attack at 
this day in a different fashion, and perhaps the defence too 
would be made in a very different manner. It might be 
otherwise, if the coasts of Zealand were fortified with good 
forts, or if the cities of Flusliing and Veere were in a con- 
dition to sustain a siege of some months, and with their 
little garrisons stop the assailants, until the arrival of suc- 
cors. But one must be very litde informed not to know 
that the English, although they should be incommoded in 
their landing, would nevertheless effect it with litde loss. 

4. The state of her finances. Zealand, of all the Seven 
Provinces, is that which costs the most for the maintenance 
of her dykes. More exposed than all the others to be 
drowned by the sea, her coasts require continual repairs. 
These reparations cannot be made, but at great expense. 
Unprovided with wood suitable for the construction of ram- 
parts capable of stopping the waves, which beat upon her 
continually, she is obliged to import from foreigners those 
numberless and enormous timbers, which art substitutes in 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 403 

ihe place of those rocks, \vl)icli nature has granted to other 
countries, for holding in the ocean n^nd restraining its fury. 
It is necessary, therefore, that a great part of the public 
revenue of the Province should go to foreigners. She 
must, moreover, furnish her quota to the general treasury 
of the Republic ; from whence it follows, that she cannot 
expose herself to the indispensable necessity of increasing 
her imposts, to furnish the new expenses, which an extra- 
ordinary armament would bring upon all the State. jMore 
than once, in time of peace, the public coffers of the State 
have been obliged to furnish to the Province of Zealand, 
the succors which she could not find at home, without re- 
ducing her subjects to the most horrible c istress. To what 
condition, then, would those subjects be reduced, if in the 
progress of the armed neutrality, such as is proposed, or in 
a war with England, they should still be obliged to pay 
new contributions ? All the world agrees that Zealand 
is poor ; it must be acknowledged then that she will be 
plunged in the lowest indigence, if the expenses of the 
country are augmented, although there are many individ- 
uals in Zealand who are very rich and grand capitalists, 
and luxury among the great is carried to excess as immod- 
erate as it is in Holland. Zealand has so long embarrassed 
the Republic in all their deliberations concerning the armed 
neutrality, and lately concerning the serious quarrel, that 
England has commenced against her, that I thought it 
would at least gratify the curiosity of Congress to see the 
causes which have governed, laid open, as I find them ex- 
plained in conversation and in public writers. Zealand's 
reasons seem to be now overruled, and the Prince's abso- 
lute authority there of little avail. To all appearances, the 
English must recede, or contend with a bitter enemy in 



404 JfOHN ADAMS. 

this Republic. Old prejudices seem to wear off, and it is 
now said publicly, that the friendship between the English 
and Dutch has been like the brotherly love between Cain 
and Abel ; yet 1 can never depend upon anything here 
until it is past, I have been so often disappointed in my 
expectatious. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

t 

Amsterdam, Dpcember 3lst, 1780. 

Sir, 
It will scarcely be believed in Congress, that at a time 
v/hen there are the strongest appearances of war, there has 
not been a newspaper nor a letter received in this city 
from London, since the 19th or 20th of the month. 
There are symptoms of a more general war. If Britain 
adheres to her maxims, this Republic will demand the aid 
of Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia, in pursuance 
of the treaty of armed neutrality. These powers will not 
be duped by the artifice of the British Court, and adjudge 
this war not a casus fuderis, when all the world agrees, 
that the accession of the Republic to the armed neutrality 
is the real cause of it, and the treaty between Mr Lee and 
M. de Neufville, only a false pretence. If the armed 
neutral confederacy takes it up, as nobody doubts they 
will, all these powers will be soon at war with England, if 
she does not recede. If the neutral powers do not take it 
up and England proceeds, she will drive this Republic into 
the arms of France, Spain, and America. In this possi- 
ble case, a Minister here from Congress would be use- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 406 

ful. Ill case the armed neutrality take it up, a Minister 

authorised to represent the United States to all the neutral 

Courts, might be of use. 

The Empress Queen is no more. The Emperor has 

procured his brother INlaximilian, to be declared coadjutor 

of the bishopric of Munster and Cologne, which aflecis 

Holland and the Low Countries. He is supposed to have 

his eye on Liege ; this may alarm the Dutch, the Kin^ of 

Prussia and France. The war may become general, and 

the fear of it may make peace, that is, it might if the King 

of England was not the most determined man in the world. 

But depressed, and distracted, and ruined as bis dominions 

are, he will set all Europe in a blaze before he will make 

peace. His exertions, however, against us cannot be very 

formidable. Patience, firmness, and perseverance are our 

qjily remedies ; these are sure and infallible ones, and with 

this observation, I beg permission to take my leave of 

Congress for the year 1780, which has been to mo the 

most anxious and mortifying year of my whole life, (sod 

grant that more vigor, wisdom, and decision may gove-rn 

the councils, negotiations, and operations of mankind in the 

year 1781. 

I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Philadelphia, January 1st, 17S1. 

Sir, 

You will receive herewith enclosed, a commission as 

IMinister Plenipotentiary to the United Provinces of the 

Low Countries, with instructions for your government on 

that important mission, as also a plan of a treaty with 



406 JOHN ADAMS, 

those States,* and likewise a resolve of Congress relative 
to the declaration of the Empress of Russia, respecting the 
protection of neutral ships, &Lc.f 

Proper letters of credence on the subject of your mission 
will be forwarded by the next conveyance ; but it is thought 
inexpedient to delay the present despatches on that account. 
I have the honor to be, Sic. 

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, President. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. • ■ 

Amsterdam, January 1st, 1781. 

Sir, 
The mail from London, arrived this morning, brought 
us, for a new years' entertainment, the following 

MANIFESTO. 

a 

"George R. — Through the whole course of our reign, 
our conduct towards the States-General of the United 
Provinces, has been that of a sincere friend and faithful 
ally. Had they adhered to those wise principles, which 

•^ Sec tills coininission, the instructions, and the phTii of a treaty, in 
fhe Secret Journals, Vol. II. pp. 376 et seqq. 

t The following- is tlie resolve of Congress here alluded to. 

"In Congress, October 5th, 17S0. Her Imperial Majesty of all the 
Russias, attentive to the freedom of commerce and the rights of nations, in 
her declaration to the belligerent and neutral powers, having proposed 
regulations, founded upon principles of justice, equity, and moderation, 
of which their Most Christian and Catholic Majesties, and most of the neu- 
tral maritime powers of Europe, have declared their approbation, Con- 
gress, willing to testify their regard to the rights of commerce, and their 
respect for the sovereign who has proposed, and the powers who have 
approved the said regulations, 

^'Resolved, That the Board of Admiralty prepare, and report instruc- 
tions for the commanders of armed vessels, commissioned by the Uni- 



DIPLOMATIC CORHKSPONDENCE. 407 

used to govern ilie Republic, lliey iiuist have shown them- 
selves equally solicitous to maintain the friendship, which 
has so long subsisted between the two nations, and which 
is essential to the interests of botli ; but from the preva- 
lence of a faction devoted to France, and following the 
dictates of that Court, a very different policy has prevailed. 
The return made to our friendship, for sometime past, has 
been an open contempt of the most solemn engagements, 
and a repeated violation of public faith. 

"On tiie commencement of the defensive war, in which 
we found ourselves engaged by the aggression of France, 
we showed a tender regard for the interests of the States- 
General, and a desire of securing to their subjects every 
advantage of trade, consistent with the great and just prin- 
ciples of our own defence. Our Ambassador was in- 
structed to offer a friendly negotiatioti, to obvinte every- 
thing that might lead to disagreeable discussion ; and to 
this offer, solemnly made by him to the States-General the 
2d of November, 177S, no attention was paid. After the 
number of our enemies was increased by the aggression of 
Spain, equally unprovoked with that of France, we found 
it necessary to call upon ihe States-General for the per- 
formance of their engagements. The 5th article of the 
perpetual defensive alliance between our Crown and the 
States-General, concluded at Westminster, the 3d of 
March, 167S, besides the general engagement for succors, 

ted States, conformable to the principles contained in the declaration of 
the Empress of all (he Russias, on the rights of neutral vessels. 

"That the Ministers Plenipotentiary from the United States, if invited 
thereto, be, and hereby arc, respectively empowered to accede to such 
regulations conformable to the spirit of the said declaration, as may be 
agreed upon by the Congress expected to assemble, in pursuance of 
Ihe invitation of her Imperial Majesty.' 



4C8 JOHN ADAMS. 

expressly stipulates, 'That that party of the two allies that 
is not attacked, shall be obliged to break with the ag- 
gressor in two months after the party attacked shall re- 
quire it.' Yet two years have passed, without the least 
assistance given to us, without a single syllable in answer to 
our repeated demands. So totally regardless have the 
States been of their treaties with us, that they readily 
promised our enemies to observe a neutrality in direct con- 
tradiction to those engagements, and whilst they have 
withheld from us the succors they were bound to furnish, 
every secret assistance has been given to the enemy ; and 
inland duties have been taken off, for the sole purpose of 
facilitating the carriage of naval stores to France. 

"in direct and open violation of treaty, they suffered an 
American pirate to remain several weeks in one of their 
ports, and even permitted a part of his crew to mount 
guard in a fort in the Texel. 

"In the East Indies, the subjects of the States-General 
in concert with France, have endeavored to raise up ene- 
mies against us. In the West Indies, particularly at St Eus- 
tatia, every protection and assistance has been given to our 
rebellious subjects. Their privateers are openly receiv-ed 
in the Dutch harbors, allowed to refit there, supplied 
with arms and ammunition, their crews recruited, their 
prizes brought in and sold ; and all this in direct violation of 
as clear and solemn stipulations as can be made. 

"This conduct, so inconsistent with all good faith, so 
repugnant to the sense of the wisest part of the Dutch 
nation, is chiefly to be ascribed to the prevalence of the 
leading magistrates of Amsterdam, whose secret corres- 
pondence with our rebellious subjects was suspected long 
before it was made known by the fortunate discovery of a 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 409 

treaty, the first article of wliich is, 'Tliat there shall be u 
firm, inviolable, and universal peace and sincere friendship 
between their High Mightinesses the Estates of the Seven 
United Provinces of Holland, and the United States of 
North America, and the subjects and people of the said 
parties; and between the countries, islands, cities, and 
towns, situated under the jurisdiction of the said United 
States of Holland, and the United Stales of America, and 
the people and inhabitants thereof, of every degree, with- 
out exception of persons or places.* 

"This treaty was signed in September, 177S, by the 
express order of the Pensionary ot Amsterdam, and other 
principal magistrates ol' that city. They now not only 
avow the whole transaction, but glory in ir, and expressly 
say, even to the States-General, that what they did was 
what their indispensable duty required. In the meantime, 
the States-General declined to give any answer to the 
Memorial presented by our Ambassador ; and this refusal 
was aggravated by their proceeding upon other business, 
nay, upon the consideration of this very subject to internal 
purposes ; and while they found it impossible to approve 
the conduct of their subjects, they still industriously avoid- 
ed to give us the satisfaction so manifestly due. VVe had 
every right 40 expect, that such a discovery would have 
roused them to a just indignation at the insult ofiered to us 
and to themselves, and that they would have been eager to 
give us fnll and ample satisfaction for the offence, and to 
inflict the severest punishment upon the offenders. The 
urgency of tiie business made an instant answer essential to 

• See the whole of this treaty in William Lee's Correspondence, 
Vol. II. p. 313. 

VOL. V. 52 



410 -TOHN ADAMS. 

the honor and safety of this country. The demand was 
accordingly pressed by our Ambassador, in repeated con- 
ferences with the Ministers, and in a second Memorial ; it 
was pressed with all the earnestness, that could proceed 
from our ancient friendship, and the sense of recent in- 
juries ; and the answer now given to a Memorial on such 
a subject, presented more than five weeks ago, is, that the 
States have taken it ad referendum. Such an answer upon 
such an occasion could only be dictated by the fixed pur- 
pose of hostility meditated and already resolved by the 
States, induced by the offensive Councils of Amsterdam, 
thus to countenance the hostile aggression, which the 
magistrates of that city have made in the name of the Re- 
public. 

"There is an end of the faith of all treaties with them, 
if Ainsterdam may usurp the sovereign power, may vio- 
late these treaties with impunity, by pledging the States to 
engagements directly contrary, and leaguing the Republic 
with the rebels of a sovereign to whom she is bound by 
the closest ties. An infraction of the law of nations, by 
the meanest member of any country, gives the injured 
State a right to demand satisfaction and punishment ; how 
much more so, when the injury complained of is a flagrant 
violation of public faith, conunitted by leading and pre- 
dominant members of the State ? Since then the satisfac- 
tion we have demanded is not given, we must, though most 
reluctantly, do ourselves that justice, v/liich we cannot 
otherwise obtain. 

"We must consider the States-Cieneral as parties in the 
injury, which they will not repair, as sharers in the aggres- 
sion, which dicy refuse to punish, and must act accord- 
ingly. We have, therefore, ordered our Ambassador to 



DIPLOMATIC CuKKKShU.NDENCK. 411 

withdraw iVoin the Hague, and shall immediately jiursiie 
such vigorous measures as the occasion fully justifies, and 
our dignity and the essential interest of our people re- 
quire. From a regard to the Dutch nation at large, we 
wish it were possible to direct those measures wholly 
against Amsterdam ; but this caimoi be, unless the States- 
General will immediately declare, that Amsterdam shall 
upon this occasion receive no assistance I'rom them, but be 
left to abide the consequences of its aggression. 

"Whilst Amsterdam is suffered to prevail in the general 
councils, and is backed by the strength of the State, it is 
impossible to resist the aggression of so considerable a part, 
without contending with the whole. But we are too sen- 
sible of the common interests of both countries not to re- 
member, in the midst of such a contest, that the only point 
to be aimed at by us, is to raise a disposition in the Coim- 
cils of the Republic to return to our ancient union, by 
giving us that satisfaction for tiie past, and seciu'ity for the 
future, which we shall be as ready to receive, as they can 
be to offer, and to the attainment of which we shall direct 
all our operations. We mean only to provide for our own 
security by defeating the dangerous designs that have been 
formed against us. We shall ever be disposed to return to 
friendshi|) with the States-General, when they sincerely 
revert to that system, which the wisdom of their ancestors 
formed, and which has now been subverted by a powerful 
faction, conspiring with France against the true interests of 
the Republic, no less than against those of Great Britain. 

"St James, December 2Uth, 17S0." 

"At the Court at St James, the 20th of December, 
J 780. 

"Present, — The lvin_;'s most Excellent Majesty in 
Council. 



412 JOHN ADAMS. 

"His Majiisly liaving taken into conbideration liie many 
injurious proceedings ot the Slates-Genera! of the United 
Provinces and their subjects, as set forth in his Royal 
Manifesto of this date, and being determined to take such 
measures as are necessary for vinchcating the honor of his 
Crown, and for procuring reparation and satisfaction, is 
pleased, by and with the advice of iiis Privy Council, to 
order, and it is hereby ordered, that general reprisals be 
granted against the ships, goods, and .subjects of the States- 
General of the United Provinces, so that as well iiis Maj- 
esty's fleet and ships, as also all other ships and vessels 
that shall be commissioned by letters of marque, or gene- 
ral reprisals, (jr otherwise, by his Ttlajesty's con)missioners 
Jbr executing ihe office of Lord High Admiral of Great 
Britain, shall, and may lawfidly seize ail ships, vessels, and 
goods belonging to the States-General of the United Prov- 
inces, or their subjects, or others, inliabiting within any 
of the territories of the aforesaid States-General, and bring 
the same to judgment in any of the Courts of Admiralty 
within his Majesty's dominions. And to that end, his 
Majesty's Advocate-General, wiUi the Advocate of the 
Admiralty, are forthwith to prepare the draft of a com- 
mission, and })resent the same to his Majesty at this Board, 
authorising the commissioners i'ov executing the ofHce of 
Lord Higli Admiral, or any person or persons by ihein 
empowered and appointed, to issue forth and grant letters 
of marque and reprisals to any of his Majesty's subjects, 
or odiers whom the said commissioners shall deem fitly- 
qualified in that behalf, for the apprehending, seizing, and 
taking the shii)s, vessels, and goods belonging to the States- 
General of the United Provinces, and their vassals and 
subjects, or any inhabiting within the countries, territories. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 4 [3 

or dominions of the aforesaid States-General ; and that 
such powers and clauses be inserted in the said commis- 
sion as have been usual, and are according to former pre- 
cedents ; and his Majesty's said Advocate-General, with 
the Advocate of the Admiralty, are also forthwith to pre- 
pare the draft of a commission, and present the same to 
his Majesty at this Board, authorising the said commission- 
ers for executing the ofHce of Lord High Admiral, to will 
and require the High Court of Admiralty of Great Britain 
and the Lieutenant and judge of said Court, his surrogate 
or surrogates, as also the several Courts of Admiralty 
within his Majesty's dominions, to take cognisance of, and 
judicially proceed upon all manner of captures, seizures, 
prizes, and reprisals of all ships and goods that are, or 
shall be taken, and to hear and determine the same ; and 
according to law to judge and condemn all such ships, 
vessels, and goods, as shall belong to the States-General of 
the United Provinces, or th.eir vassals and subjects, or to 
any others inhabiting within any of the countries, territo- 
ries, and dominions of the aforesaid States-General ; and 
that such powers and clauses be inserted in said commis- 
sion as have been usual, and are according to former 
precedents ; and ihey are likewise to prepare, and lay 
before his Majesty at this Board, a draft of such instruc- 
tions as may be proper to be sent to the Courts of Admi- 
ralty in his Majesty's foreign governments and plantations, 
for their guidance herein ; as also another draft of instruc- 
tions for such ships as shall be commissioned for the pur- 
poses aforementioned." 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



414 JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THE PUESIOENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, .lanuarv 4tli, 178!. 

Sir, 

Notwithstanding the inHiience of the Enghsh nation, 
notwithstanding the influence of old prejudices and habits, 
notwithstanding the apprehensions that are entertained for 
immense sums in the English funds, and for the sudden 
destruction of an innumerable navigation at the commence- 
ment of a war ; and above all, notwithstanding the author- 
ity and influence of the Stadtholder, 1 am confidently as- 
sured by several gentlemen, that the national opinion and 
affection is with us. Tlie Baron Van der Capellan, with 
whom I have the honor of an agreeable acquaintance, is of 
opinion, that four fifths of the nation wish us success in 
our enterprise. 

Tlie symptoms of popularity in this city are decisive. 
The Sunday before last, in tlie Presbyterian meeting, the 
parson, beginning as usual to pray for the King of Eng- 
land, was absolutely interrupted by a general murmur. 
On Christmas day, he attempted to repeat his imprudence, 
and was interrupted by still greater confusion ; so that last 
Sunday he had learned discretion to leave out wholly this 
offensive clause. On the evening of new year's day, at 
the theatre, the public were entertained with the national 
tragedy, as it is called, Gysbrecht Van Amstd, after which 
the actors, as is customary, addressed the audience. 
There were many strokes in this address, which suffi- 
ciently indicated tlie spirit of the limes, particularly a solenm 
injunction, that "they must not bo slaves," and a quotation 
from a very popular song, with which the streets have rung 
these ten days, which were deeply and universally ap- 
plauded. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. ,115 

The presses swarm wiih pamphlets, liandbills, songs, 
and poems, generally much against the English, and com- 
monly with some favorable hints to Americans. The con- 
versation in private families, and the toasts in jovial circles, 
indicate a tremendous spirit in the body of this people, 
which, if once let loose from restraint, and properly 
directed, would make this nation the worst enemy that 
England ever had. It is essential to attend to these 
symptoms of popularity at this time, and in this country, 
because it is manifest, that the whole system of the Eng- 
lish, in concert with their faction in the Republic, is now 
bent to excite the populace against the burgomasters of 
Amsterdam. They succeeded in 1748, and accomplished 
a change in the Regency. If they could succeed in the 
same manner now, they would change the political system 
of this nation entirely, and by this means, in the present 
situation of affairs in Europe and America, it is plain, they 
would work its entire and irretrievable ruin. 

Yet the course is so circuitous, to apply to the Courts 
of Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, to induce them to join 
in demanding satisfaction of England, the shocks upon 
'Change will be so great, by the sudden capture of so many 
ships, so many ensurers, merchants, 8cc. will be ruined, 
and there will be so many arts to divide and discourage 
this people, that I cannot pretend to foresee what will hap- 
pen. The confusion is yet so great, that I have no hopes 
at present of obtaining money. There must be time for 
the fermentation to go off; and the quarrel with England 
must become in the minds of all irreconcilable, before we 
can try the experiment whether we have any credit or not. 

If Congress should think proper to send powers here to 
treat with the States-General, I bee; leave to submit to their 



416 JOHN ADAMS. 

consideration the case of M. Dumas. He was early em- 
ployed in our affairs here, has neglected all other business, 
has been attentive and industrious, and is a gentleman of 
extensive learning and amiable character. I believe he is 
not ambitious or avaricious, but moderate in his expecta- 
tions. Whoever shall be honored vvith^ povvei-s from Con- 
gress to reside here would find his assistance useful, for he 
is much devoted to the American cause ; 1 hope, therefore, 
that Congress will pardon me if I venture to recommend 
him to their attention. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 
/ ^ Amsterdam, Jamiarv 5th, 1781. 

Sir, 

On the 10th of November, 1780, the Memorial of Sir 
Joseph Yorke to the States-General was presented, for a 
disavowal, satisfaction proportioned to the offence, and pun- 
ishment of the guilty. 

November 2Sth. A formal disapprobation of the States- 
General of the conduct of the Regency of Amsterdam. 

December 12lh. Second Memorial of Sir Joseph 
Yorke, for a satisiiiction proportioned to the offence, and 
the punishment of the guilty. 

14th. Answer of the States-General despatched by 
express to London, importing, that their High Mightinesses 
had taken the said Memorials ad referendum. 

16th. Order of his Britannic Majesty to Sir Joseph 
Yorke to withdraw from the Hague, without taking leave, 
despatched by express; arrived at the Hague on the 23d. 

19th. Letter of the Count de Welderen to the States- 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESFO.NDE.NCE. 417 

General, acknowledging the receipt of those of the 12th 
and of the 15th ; Declaration of the States-General, touch- 
ing their accession to the confederation of the North. 

20th. Signature of the Manifesto of his Britannic Ma- 
jesty, published the 2 1st in the London Gazette extraordi- 
nary. 

21st. Expedition of an express to Sir Joseph Yorke, 
arrived at the Hague on the night of the 23d, with the 
Manifesto published the 21st. 

22d. Resolution of the States-General to refer the 
affair of the satisfaction and punishment of the guilty, to 
the Provincial Court of Justice. 

25th. The departure of Sir Joseph Yorke for Ant- 
werp. 

26lh. Expedition of an express to the Count de Wel- 
deren, with orders to present the Declaration touching the 
Confederation of the North, and to withdraw from Lon- 
don, without taking leave. 

28th. The ordinaiy packet from London not yet ar- 
rived, and the last letters from London are of the 19th. 

In this rapid succession have events rolled one after 
another, until the war has seemingly become inevitable. 

The Prince of Orange has made a requisition or propo- 
sition to the States-General, to augment their navy with 
fifty or sixty vessels of war, and their army to fifty or sixty 
thousand men. The ships of war will be agreed to, but 
the troops not, as I am told. Once more I beg leave to 
say, I can believe nothing until it is past. 

I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

VOL. V. nS 



418 JOH-N ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, Jnniinrv 14th, 1781. 

Sir, 

In an excursion, which 1 have lately made through the 
principal cities of this Province, Haerlem, Leyden, the 
Hague, and Rotterdam, I have had an opportunity of per- 
ceiving that there is a spirit of resentment against the Eng- 
lish very general among the people. Notwithstanding this, 
everything is so artfully retarded, the manifesto, the letters 
of marque, and above all, the decision of the Court of Jus- 
tice of Holland is so studiously delayed, while the English 
are making such vast depredations upon the defenceless 
merchant vessels, that I cannot yet be sure that war is de- 
cided. The counsels of the Prince, united with those of 
the proprietors in British funds, and the distresses of mer- 
chants may yet induce the Republic, against the general 
sense of the nation, to sue for a dishonorable peace. 

I have received a letter, however, since my return, from 
M. Dumas of last Friday, which informs me that a letter 
is received from the Plenipotentiaries at Petersburg, dated 
the 19th of December, announcing that the Empress of 
Russia was well satisfied with all that had passed ; that she 
had seen the two last Memorials presented by Sir Joseph 
Yorke to their High Mightinesses, and tlmt she had more 
indignation than surprise at the sight of them ; (it may be 
doubted, however, whether this is not a mistake, as the last 
Memorial wa.s dated the 12tb, and the letter of the Minis- 
ter the 19th,) that the signature was to be on the 23d, after 
which, these Ministers were to display the character of 
Ambassadors Extraordinary, and thaltliey would forthwith 
despatch nnother express with the convention signed. This 



DIPLOMATIC C0KRE3P0NDENCE. 419 

express is now expected every moment, and as soon as he 
arrives, iheir High Mightinesses will publish the Manifesto. 
This little delay is but a pure formality. In the meantime, 
ihey resolved on the 12th of this month to distribute letters 
of marque to privateers, and orders to the ships of the 
State, to seize everything they can belonging to the Eng- 
lish. 

Notwithstanding this, there are no privateers ready, and 
I fear there are fewer ships of war ready than there ought 
to be. It will be long before the Dutch can do any great 
things, and they must suffer very severely. Such are the 
effects of blind and mistaken policy. War is so new and 
so terrible a thing to this people, they are so divided in 
sentiment, their minds are so agitated with uncertainty, 
irresolution, and apprehension, that there is as yet no pos- 
sibility of borrowing any money. 

I must therefore repeat the request, that Congress would 
not think upon drawing for any more money here, until 
they receive certain advices from me, that there is some in 
hand. 

I have the honor to be, in-c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, January 15th, 1781. 

Sir, 
The following is the declaration of the States-General, 
of their accession to the armed neutrality. 

DECLARATION. 

"Their High jNIightinesses, the States-General of the 
Tnited Provinces of the T.ow Countries, having had nothing 



420 -f^JHA ADA.M3. 

more at heart, since the cuuuneiiceineiit oi the present war, 
and having desired nothing rnoie earnestly, than to observe 
invariably the most strict and tiie most perfect neutrality 
between the belligerent powers, and to fulfil at the same 
lime their essential and indispensable obligations by granting 
a convenient protection to the commerce and the naviga- 
tion of their subjects, and by maintaining and defending the 
rights and liberties of their neutral flag, have learned with 
the highest satisfaction, that her Majesty, tlie Empress of 
all the Russias, constantly animated with noble and gener- 
ous sentiments, which tnust transmit to the latest posterity 
the immortal lustre and renown of her glorious reign, has 
thought fit to declare to the belligerent powers, 'That being 
in the intention to observe during the present war the most 
exact impartiality, she is determined to maintain, by all the 
means the most efficacious, the honor of the Russian flag, 
as well as the safety of the commerce and the navigation 
of her subjects, and not to suffer any of the belligerent 
powers to give them i\ny interruption.' The sentiments 
and the views of their High Mightinesses answer perfectly, 
and are entirely conformable to the principles, which make 
the basis of the declaration of her Imperial Majesty ; and 
they consequently do not hesitate to lay open, after her 
example, to the belligerent powers, the same principles, 
which they are determined to follow, and lo maintain in 
concert with her Imperial Majesty : viz. 

'•1st. That neutral vessels may freely navigate from 
port to port, and upon the coasts of the powers at war. 

"2dly. That t'ne eiiects belonging to the subjects of the 
powers at war, shall be free upon neutral vessels, except- 
ing only merchandises of contraband. 

"3dly. That with rr;;ard to contraband, their High 



DIPLOMATIC COURLSl'ONDENCE. 421 

Mightinesses adhere lo what is stipulated by the treaties 
concluded between them and the belligerent powers, and 
more expressly, 1^' the sixth article of tiie treaty of marine 
with the Crown of Spain of the ITlh of December, 1G50 j 
the third article of the treaty of marine with the Crown of 
England of the 1st of December, 1674 ; and the sixteenth 
article of the treaty of commerce, of navigation and of 
marine with the Crown of France of the 1st of December, 
1739, for twentyfive years. The dispositions and deter- 
minations of which treaties, in their full extent relative to 
merchandises of contraband, their High JMightinesses con- 
sider as entirely founded on natural equity and the law of 
nations. 

•'4thly. That no place shall be adjudged blockaded, but 
when ships of war, stationed in the neighborhood, shall 
hinder, that no vessel can enter without evident danger. 

"Sthly. That these principles shall serve as rules to 
judge of the lawfulness or the unlawfulness of prizes. 

"As these principles form and constitute the universal 
rights of neutral powers, and as they are, moreover, con- 
firmed by treaties which can never be lawfully annulled or 
altered, or suspended but by a common act, and reciprocal 
consent of the contracting parties, their High Mightinesses 
flatter themselves, that the belligerent powers will acknowl- 
edge and respect the justice of them, by giving no obstruc- 
tion to the comnrierce of the subjects of their High Might- 
inesses, and by not troubling them in the free enjoyment 
of rights, the propriety of which cannot be contested, to the 
flag of neutral and independent powers." 

I have the honor to be. Sec. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



422 JOHN ADAMS. 

■) ■ - 
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, January 15th, 178]. 

Sir, 

Zealand is still endeavoring lo divert the Republic from 
its interest and its duty, to embarrass its operations, and 
involve it in disgrace and ruin. 

The Directors of the Company of Commerce, and that 
of Ensurance, and a great number of merchants, estab- 
lished at Middleburg, in Zealand, have presented a petition 
to the States-General, to supplicate their High Mightinesses 
to try again the way of negotiation, and to endeavor to 
prevent by this means the damages with which the subjects 
of the Republic are still threatened, by a war with Eng- 
land, and to come to a friendly accommodation. This 
petition has been supported by a resolution of the States 
of Zealand, transmitted to the Assembly of the States- 
General ; but it is said, that this petition has been rendered 
commissorial, and will not be taken into consideration, un- 
less the English should make some propositions of peace. 
The state of the Marine of this Republic, during the year 
1781, as it has been proposed by the petition of the Coun- 
cil of State, is, two vessels of seventy guns, and five hun- 
dred and fifty men ; nine of sixty guns, and four hundred 
and fifty men ; fifteen of fifty guns, and three hundred 
men ; two of forty guns, and two hundred and seventy 
men ; one of forty guns, and two hundred and fifty men ; 
fourteen of thirtysix guns, and two hundred and thirty men; 
thirteen of twenty guns, and one hundred and fifty men ; 
five sloops, one hospital ship, four packet boats, twelve 
larsie armed vessels, sixteen smaller : making in the whole 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 423 

ninetyfour ships, and eighteen thousand four hundred and 
ninety men. 

I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, January 16th, 1781. 

Sir, 

The Prince, on the 26th of December, made a propo- 
sition to the States-General, viz. in substance, "That His 
Most Serene Highness had ah'eady communicated the last 
year to the respective Provinces his advice, to equip fifty 
or sixty vessels of war, and to augment the land forces to 
fifty or sixty thousand men, to put the frontier places in a 
good state of defence, and to provide necessary magazines 
of warlike stores, to the end, to be in a condition to defend 
the lawful rights of the Republic ; that His Most Serene 
Highness had seen with satisfaction, that as far as respected 
the marine, it had been made better in some degree ; and 
that he flattered himself, that the States of all the Pro- 
vinces would reinforce it for the ensuing year, with re- 
doubled zeal, since they could not be too much upon their 
guard in the present conjuncture ; that it was equally ne- 
cessary to put the Republic in a convenient state of de- 
fence, on the land side ; and that he hoped, that they 
would at this day think seriously of it ; that they would 
augment the fortifications, and supply the magazines, since, 
if they failed in this. His Most Serene Highness would not 
be responsible for tiie events, &:c." 

The States-General, after having thanked the Stadihol- 
der, for his assiduous zeal and solicitude to maintain the 
Republic in the enjoyment of its liberty and independence, 



424 JOHN ADAMS. 

resolved, "That the proposition of His Most Serene High- 
ness should be communicated to the respective Provinces, 
and that it should be represented to them, that His Most 
Serene Highness, animated with the purest love of his 
country, insists with reason (at this day when the danger is 
immediate, and war appears inevitable) upon the necessity 
of making unanimous efforts, to the end to resist this dan- 
ger, and to preserve the Republic, by joining courage to 
prudence ; that the maritime forces of the Republic are 
not yet sufficient lo protect the commerce, the source of 
the well being of the public in all its branches, and to en- 
sure from ail invasion the possessions of the Republic, both 
in the East and the West Indies ; that, therefore, their 
High Mightinesses think themselves under obligation to 
pray the members of the union, in a manner the most 
friendly and the most pressing, to fix their attention as 
soon as possible upon these objects, and to accomplish 
them with vigor, since the storm, which approaches at sea, 
may easily, by a sudden revolution, discharge itself upon 
the continent, so that an augmentation of land forces is as 
indispensably necessary, as the armament by sea ; that 
from these motives, their High Mightinesses assure them- 
seli^es, that since there no longer remains for the Republic 
a choice between peace and war, the respective members 
of the union will endeavor, as far as possible to defend 
their country, and all which is dear to them, by acting with 
sjnanimity, coin-age, and candor." 

.; I have the honor to be, &,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPO.NDENCL 425 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amgtnrdam, January 15th, 1781. 

Sir, 

Congress will not expect me lo write upon the subject 
of peace at this time, when the flames of war are spread- 
ing far and wide, with more rapidity than ever, and I have 
no comfortable tidings on the subject of money. 

In the first place, I believe there is not so much money 
here as the world imagines ; in the next place, those who 
have what there is, have now no confidence in any nation 
or individual. All credit seems at a stand. 

The Republic will want a loan ; the northern neutral 
powers will want loans, and even a loan will be wanted to 
support the credit of a number of houses in the mercantile 
way, which are affected by the violent and sudden revolu- 
tion of the times, and by the piratical depredations of the 
English. I hope, therefore, that Congress will not ven- 
ture to draw here, until they have certain information that 
they may draw with safety. 

I have the honor lo be, &x. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO TUE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, January 18th, 1781. 

Sir, 
At length one act has appeared, which looks like war. 
The following placard was resolved on the 12ih of this 
month. 

"The States-General of the United Provinces of the 
Low Countries to all those wiio shall see, hear, or read 
VOL. V. 54 



426 



JOHiN ADAMS. 



these presents. Greeting. Know ye, that the King of 
Great Britain having thought proper, without any lawful 
cause, to attack in a hostile manner this Republic, and as 
we are oLliged to neglect nothing, which can serve for our 
defence, and to use at the same time the right, the example 
of which the conduct of the said Crown has commenced 
by setting us, and to act against it, in the same mantjer as 
they act against us, and consequently to do to the said 
King, and to his subjects, all the prejudice, which shall be in 
our power j for these causes, and for the protection of the 
commerce and of the navigation of this country, we have 
thought fit to establish, and to permit to all the subjects of 
these States, who shall take or destroy any English vessels 
of war, or privateers, the following rewards. 

I. "All those who shall fit out a privateer, and shall 
have obtained of his Highness the Prince of Orange and 
Nassau, in quality of Admiral-General of these countries, 
suitable commissions, after having given beforehand the 
requisite securities, shall not be held to furnish the third 
man of their crew, as it is ordained by the placard of 
their High Mightinesses, of the 2Gth of June, 1780, ex- 
cepting those who will load with merchandises, and take at 
the same time the said letters of marque. Those, who 
shall have taken and conducted into one of the ports, or 
roads, within the jurisdiction of one of the Colleges of 
Admiralty of this country, a vessel of war or privateer of 
the King of Great Britain, shall draw, moreover, a bounty 
of one hundred and fifty florins for each man, who shall 
be found at the commencement of the combat on board of 
the said vessel of war, or privateer, as also a like sum for 
each pound of ball which the artillery, which shall be 
found on hoard the said vessel at the time aforesaid, can 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESFU.NDENCE 427 

discharge at one lime, not iocluding the swivels, or ilie 
balls of the new artillery, called carronades, valued only at 
one quarter of their weight j in such sort, that if one of 
our privateers shall make herself master of an English 
vessel of war, or privateer mounted, for example, with 
forty pieces of cannon, carrying altogelher three hundred 
and fifty pound weight of ball, that is to say, forty carron- 
ades, and fourteen hundred balls of eight pound, and the 
crew of which shall be two hundred and twenty men, shall 
receive for bounty or reward, by calculating each man and 
each pound of ball upon the footing of one hundred and 
fifty florins, the sum of eighlyfive thousand eight hundred 
florins, and thus more or less in proportion to the crew ; 
and the caliber of the cannon, which shall be found at the 
time of the combat, upon the English ship, besides the 
booty and the prize, and all the effects which shall be 
found on board, without any other deduction to be made 
from it, than the tenth for the Admiral. 

II. "The said recompenses assigned for prizes shall 
also take place in case the English vessel of war, or priva- 
teer, shall be totally destroyed, whether our armed vessel 
shall have sunk her, or burnt her, or shipwrecked her, or 
whether the said vessel shall have perished in any other 
manner, after having been taken ; provided, nevertheless, 
that this recompense is not to be claimed in the whole, at 
least if the crew of the vessel destroyed has not been 
taken or killed. And if it should happen, that they have 
only driven the enemy's vessel on shore, so that the vessel 
has perished, but the crew has saved itself, our letters of 
marque shall not enjoy, in this case, but one half of the 
bounty or reward promised ; so that in the case last 
mentioned they shall receive only fortytwo thousand nine 



428 JOH^^ ADAMS. 

hundred florins, instead of eightyfive thousand eight hun- 
dred. 

in. "Provided, nevertheless, that neither the prize nor 
the bounty shall ever be adjudged to any of our letters of 
marque, until after the affair shall have been carried before 
one of the Colleges of the Admiralty of this country, and 
the sentence shall have been there pronounced in her favor. 

IV. "The said Colleges of the Admiralty may not ad- 
judge these rewards, until after the Captain, Lieutenant, 
and Pilot of the privateer, as well as those who shall 
have freighted her, their book-keepers, and others author- 
ised, shall have declared by a solemn oath, that the vessel 
of war, or privateer, of which they have made themselves 
masters, has been duly taken without any collusion directly 
or indirectly with the English, or with any other known 
to them. In case the freighters, who claim the adjudica- 
tion of prizes and bounties, are out of the country, absent, 
or hindered by some other obstacle, it shall suffice, that 
the book-keepers, or some other authorised, take the oath, 
but so far as it is of \m knowledge for himself, and for 
his freighters, conformably to the special procuration, which 
he shall have for this effect ; the freighters nevertheless 
shall be obliged to take an oath beforehand before the 
magistrate of their residence, or before other persons com- 
petent, whose testimonies they shall send. 

V. "And for the better encouragement of the said 
ships, which shall have armed as privateers, we ordain, 
that those who shall have been wounded in a combat with 
the English ship, shall be maintained at the expense of the 
State, without its costing anything to the proprietors of the 
privateers, or those who shall be on board. We ordain 
also, tliai those who shall be maimed in fighting an English 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 429 

ship, shall be gratified on the part of the State, and without 
its costing anything to the freighters, with the moiety of the 
recompense granted by the Republic to those who serve 
on board vessels of war ; they shall not, however, have a 
right but to those rewards which are given once, and not 
to those which shall be granted weekly, or monthly, or 
otherwise. As to what respects the maintenance of the 
wounded, the account of it shall be presented to the com- 
petent College of the Admiralty, to be there examined and 
duly regulated, so that the maimed, to the end that they 
may enjoy the moiety of the recompense proposed, may 
procure themselves an act of the said College of the Admi- 
ralty, after having furnished it the necessary proofs. 

VI. "For the encouragement of the ships of war, 
as well as the merchant vessels, which may be provided 
with commissions to make use of, in case of need, to 
cause to the English ships all the prejudice possible, we 
intend that the English ship of which they may make them- 
selves masters, of what nature or denomination soever it 
may be, shall be given them entire, the tenth for the Admi- 
ral excepted, without pretending, however, to any further 
recompense. 

VII. "If it should happen, that our privateers, mer- 
chant vessels, or others armed for a cruise at the expense 
of individuals of this country, should retake any vessels or 
effects belonging to the subjects of the State, and that such 
recapture shall be made in the space of fortyeight hours 
after they shall have been in the hands of the enemy, they 
shall enjoy in that case one fifth of the just value of the 
vessels or effects, which they shall have delivered ; but if 
the recapture shall be made in the space of four days after 
the vessel shall have been in the hands of the English, they 



430 



JOHN ADAMS. 



shall have one third of ihe said value j and if ihe recap- 
ture shall be made after four days, they shall have the 
moiety of it, without having any further regard to the 
greater or lesser time, that the said vessels or effects re- 
taken shall have been in the hands of the English, after 
the expiration of the four days. 

VIII. "The adjudication of any one of the said recom- 
penses, as well as the acts of the respective Colleges of the 
Admiralty in favor of the maimed or wounded, being shown 
to the Receiver-General of the duties of entry and clear- 
ance, to receive the appointed recompense, the payment of 
it shall be promptly made by the said Receiver-General at 
the Hague, or in the place of the College of Admiralty, in 
which the sentence or the taxation shall have been pro- 
nounced, as it shall be most convenient for the said Re- 
ceiver-General. 

IX. "Which Receiver-General shall be provided with 
sufficient sums of money to satisfy the said payments, and 
he shall always take care, that after having paid some 
bounties, he has always wherewith to satisfy promptly those 
which may be demanded of him in the sequel, either by 
the second moiety of the duties of Last and Vielgeld, or by 
negotiating successively the sums which he shall have. oc- 
casion for, for a supply. 

X. "In all cases, the privateer, who shall have taken 
or destroyed any English vessel, ought to take care to give 
without delay, and as soon as he arrives, notice to the said 
Receiver-General of the value of the bounties, which he 
has a right to claim, to the end that the said Receiver- 
General may be in a condition to make prompt payment. 

XI. "And in all the respective Colleges of Admiralty, 
where the case shall be brought, they shall take care to 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDLNCt. 43I 

render prompt sentences, even by postponing to other 
times the other affairs which may be before them. 

XII. "And in case an appeal or revision should be de- 
manded, and by this means the sentences of the said Col- 
leges sliail be annulled, we have desired that in this case, 
the recompenses assigned by the sentences of the Admi- 
ralty should be delivered to the said privateers, so that the 
demand of revision may not suspend or hinder the pay- 
ment ; we mean at the same time, that the sureties, which 
the ships going to cruise ought to furnish, shall be obliged 
in that case to augment the surety, and to promise a prompt 
restitution of what shall have been paid to the said priva- 
teers in consequence of sentences of the Admiralty, in case 
that these sentences shall be reversed in the revision, and 
the privateers denied their demand. And to be the more 
sure that the sums delivered in such cases be restored, we 
have declared, and do declare by these presents, that the 
vessels and all which belongs to them, with which the said 
prizes shall have been made, shall be held judicially to 
make restitution of the bounties received ; and that the 
said juridical obligation shall commence from the day that 
the said privateers shall have received their commissions, 
and shall go upon a cruise. 

XIII. "And this placard shall have its effects from the 
day of this publication ; and that nobody may preteuJ 
ignorance, we request and demand the Lords, the States, 
the Stadiholder, the Counsellors, Committees, and the 
Deputies of the States of the respective Provinces of Guel- 
derland, and the Earldom of Zuiphen, of Holland, and 
West Friesland, of Zealand, of Utrecht, of Friesland, of 
Overj'ssel, aiid of Groningen and Ommelanden, and all 
otiier members and officers of iustice, that thev announce, 



432 JOHN ADAMS. 

publish, and post up this ordinance immediately, in all the 
places of this country, where it is customary to make such 
annunciations, publications, and postings ; we charge and 
enjoin moreover, the Counsellors of the Admiralty, the 
Advocates of the Treasury, Secretaries-General of Con- 
voys, and Licensers, Receivers, Masters of Convoys, Con- 
trollers, and Searchers, and at the same time the Receiver- 
General of the augmentation of the duty of Last and Viel- 
geld, and to all others to whom it belongs, to govern them- 
selves exactly according to the tenor of these presents." 

Their High Mightinesses have also published the follow- 
ing. 

"The States-General of the United Provinces to all 
those who shall see, hear, or read these presents. Greet- 
ing. We make known, that to the end to encourage 
the loyal inhabitants of this State, we have thought pro- 
per by the present publication, to notify to all and every 
one, and to assure them that all those who, employed in 
the service of the Republic, in the war at sea, may be 
maimed in such a manner as to become incapable of gain- 
ing their livelihood by labor, and shall desire to be assisted 
by a sum of money, payable once for all, shall receive in 
proportion to the importance of their wounds, that which 
follows. 

1. "For the loss of two eyes, fifteen hundred florins ; 
for the loss of one eye, three hundred and fifty florins ; as 
to other accidents, which may happen under the case men- 
tioned, gratifications shall be given according to the good 
pleasure of the respective Colleges of the Admiralty. 

2. "For the loss of two arms, fifteen hundred florins ; 
for the loss of the right arm, four hundred and fifty florins; 
for that of the left arm, three hundred and fifty florins ; 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 433 

and for other accidents and wounds in these members, at 
the discretion of the Colleges of the Admiralty, upon which 
each one depends. 

3. "For the loss of two hands, twelve hundred florins ; 
for the loss of the right hand, three hundred and fifty flor- 
ins; for that of the left hand, three hundred and fifty flor- 
ins ; as to lesser accidents, valuable at sums less consider- 
able, at the discretion aforementioned. 

4. "For the loss of two legs, seven hundred florins ; 
for the loss of one leg, three hundred and fifty florins; for 
accidents less serious, the gratification shall be fixed by the 
Colleges of the Admiralty. 

5. "For the loss of two feet, four hundred and fifty 
florins; for that of one foot, two hundred florins; and for 
smaller wounds, at the discretion of the respective Col- 
leges. 

6. "Moreover, all those who in the service of the Re- 
public shall be maimed to such a degree as to be no longer 
able to gain a living by labor, nor to provide in any manner 
for their subsistence, shall receive during their lives, one 
ducatoon a week ; and all other wounds or mutilations 
less considerable shall be paid in proportion." 

1 have the honor to be, k,c. 

.lOHN ADAMS. 



TO THF. PRESIDFNT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, February 1st, 1781. 

Sir, 
One of the most brilliant events, which has yet been 
produced by the American Revolution, is the following 
Treaty of Marine, concluded at Copenhagen, the 2Sth of 
vol,, V, 55 



434 JOHN ADAMS. 

June, 1780, old style, between her Majesty, the Empress 
of Russia, and his Majesty, the King of Denmark and of 
Norway, for the maintenance of neutral mercantile naviga- 
tion, and in which his Majesty, the King of Sweden, as 
well as their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the 
United Provinces, have taken part and acceded, and 
which has been signed respectively, at St Petersburg, the 
21st of July, 1780, and the 5th of January, 1781. 

TRBATY OF MARINE BETWEEN RUSSIA AND DENMARK. 

"As by the war by sea, which has actually broken out 
between Great Britain, on one side, and France and Spain 
on the other, the commerce and the navigation of neutral 
powers suffer considerable damages, her Majesty, the Em- 
press of Russia, and his Majesty, the King of Denmark 
and of Norway, in consequence of their assiduous atten- 
tion to unite their proper dignities, and their cares for the 
safety and the well being of their subjects, from the regard 
which they have so often testified for the rights of nations 
in general, have found it necessary, in the present circum- 
stances, to determine their conduct according to those sen- 
timents. 

"Her Majesty, the Empress of Russia has, by her dec- 
laration, dated the 28th of February, 1780, to the bel- 
ligerent powers, exposed to light, in the face of all Europe, 
the fundamental principles, which spring from the original 
law of nations, which she claims, and which she adopts as 
a rule of her conduct in the present v/ar. As this atten- 
tion of the Empress, to watch over the reciprocal rights of 
nations, lias united the suffrages of all the neutral powers, 
so she has engaged herself in it, as an affair, which con- 
cerns the most essential of her interests, and she has car- 



Dii'LOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 435 

ried it to that length, tliat we may seriously consider it as 
a subject worthy of the times present and to come, con- 
sidering that it is to bring into one system, and establish 
permanently, the rights, prerogatives, and engagements of 
neutrality. 

"His jMajesty, the King of Denmark and of Norway, 
convinced of these principles, has likewise established and 
demanded them in the declaration of the Sth of July, 
1780, which he has caused to be presented, as well as 
that of Russia, to the belligerent powers ; and to give 
fbem support, he has caused to be equipped a part of his 
fleet. From hence has arisen the harmony and unanimity, 
with which her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, and his 
Majesty, the King of Denmark and of Norway, have 
judged necessary, by a reciprocal friendship and confi- 
dence, and conformably to tlio interests of their subjects, 
to confirm these common engagements, to be concluded 
by a formal convention. In this view, their said Imperial 
and Royal Majesties have chosen and named for their 
Plenipotentiaries, viz. her ?.Iajesty, the Empress of Russia, 
M. Charles Van Osten, nam.od Saken, present Counsellor 
of State, Knight of the Order of St Anne, Minister Pleni- 
potentiary of her said Majesty to the Court of Denmark, 
&,c. k.c. ; and his Majesty, the King of Denmark and of 
Norway, M. Otton, Count de Thott, Privy Counsellor, 
Knight of the Order of the Elephant, &c. ; M. Joachim 
Otton de Schack-Reventlaw, Privy Counsellor, Knight of 
the Order of the Elephant, Sic. ; M. Jean Henri d'Eicli- 
stedt, Privy Counsellor, Governor of his Royal Highness, 
the Hereditary Prince, Knight of the Order of the Ele- 
phant, he. ; and M. Andre Pierre, Count de Bernstorfi', 
Privy Counsellor, Secretary of State of the Department of 



436 JOHN ADAMS. 

Foreign Affairs, Director of the Royal German Chancery, 
and Knight of the Order of the Elephant, he; who, after 
having exchanged their full powers, which are found in 
good and due form, have agreed and resolved upon the 
Articles following. 

"Article i. That their said IVIajesties have sincerely 
resolved to maintain constantly the most perfect friendship 
and concord with the powers actually engaged in the war, 
and to observe the most scrupulous neutrality ; that they 
declare, in consequence, to hold themselves exactly to this, 
that the prohibition to carry on commerce of contraband 
with the powers actually at war, or with those, who may 
in the sequel be engaged in it, shall be strictly observed by 
their subjects. 

"Art. II. To avoid all error and misunderstanding 
concerning the subject of the name of contraband, her 
Majesty, the Empress of Russia, and his Majesty, the 
King of Denmark and Norway declare, that they acknowl- 
edge only as effects of contraband, those which are com- 
prehended in the treaties subsisting between the said 
Courts, and one or the other of the belligerent powers. 

"Her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, conforms herself 
entirely to the tenth and eleventh articles of her treaty of 
commerce with Great Britain, and extends also the en- 
gagements of this treaty, which are entirely founded upon 
natural law, to the Crowns of France and Spain, which at 
the date of the present convention, have no treaty of com- 
merce with her en)pire. His Majesty, the King of Den- 
mark and Norway conforms himself, on his part, princi- 
pally to the second article of his treaty of commerce with 
Great Britain, and to the twentysixth and twentyseventh 
articles of his treaty of commerce with France, and ex- 



DIPLOMATIC CORUESPO.NUENCE. 437 

tends also the engagements of this latter to Spain, consider- 
ing that he has not with this last Crown any treaty, which 
determines any conditions upon this subject. 

"Art. hi. As by this means the contraband is de- 
termined and fixed, conformably to special treaties and 
conventions subsisting between the high contracting parties 
and the belligerent powers, and principally in the treaty be- 
tween Russia and Great Britain, of the 20th of June, 
1766, as well as by that between Denmark and Great 
Britain, dated the Ulh of July, 1670, and by that conclu- 
ded between Denmark and France, the 23d of August, 
1742, the will and intention of her Russian Imperial ]\laj- 
esty, and his Majesty the King of Denmark and Norway 
are, that all other commerce shall be, and remain free. 

"Already their .Majesties, in their declarations presented 
to the belligerent powers, have grounded themselves upon 
the general principles of the law of nature, from whence 
are derived the liberty of commerce and of navigation, the 
rights of neutral nations, and have resolved to depend no 
longer upon the arbitrary interpretations, that partial ad- 
vantages and momentary interests may dictate. In this 
view, they have agreed upon the following articles. 

"1. That it shall be lawful for every vessel to navigate 
from one port to another, and upon the coasts of the bel- 
ligerent powers. 

"2. That the efl'ects belonging to the subjects of the bel- 
ligerent powers shall be free upon neutral vessels, except 
merchandises of contraband. 

"3. That to determine what ought to be held a port 
blocked, that alone can be considered as such, in which the 
vessels, which would enter, shall be exposed to an evident 
danger, by the force, which with this view attacks it, and 



438 JOHJN AUAMS. 

by its vessels, which shall have taken a station sufficiently 
near. 

"4. That neutral vessels rnay only be stopped for just 
causes, and upon evident proofs ; that, without loss of 
time, right shall be done tliem, and the procedures shall 
be always uniform, prompt, and according to the laws; 
and that every time, besides reparation to those who shall 
have suffered without cause, there shall be also given a 
complete satisfaction for the insult committed against the 
flags of their Majesties. 

"Art. IV. To the end to protect the general com- 
merce of their subjects, supported by the fundamental 
rules above laid down, her Majesty, the Empress of all the 
Russias, and his Majesty, the King of Denmark and Nor- 
way, have thought fit, each one in particular, in order to 
obtain these ends, to equip a proportional number of 
vessels of war and frigates. The squadron of each one of 
these respective powers shall be stationed in a certain lati- 
tude, and shall be employed in convoys, according to the 
exigence of the case, in which the commerce and the nav^ 
igation of each nation may be. 

"Art. v. If the merchant ships of one of tiie contrac- 
ting powers shall be in a part of the sea where the ships 
of war of their own nation are not stationed, and, for this 
reason, cannot enjoy their protection ; in that case, the 
commander of the vessels of war of the other power, being 
thereto required, shall grant them, with good faith and sin- 
cerity, the necessary assistance ; and in this case, the 
vessels of war and frigates of one of the two powers, shall 
protect and support the merchant vessels of the other ; 
provided, nevertlieless, that, under the shelter of the pro- 
tection demanded, there be not exercised any prohibited 



DIPLOMATIC C9RRESP0NDENCE. 439 

commerce, contrary to the laws adopted by the neu- 
trality. 

"Art. VI. The present convention cannot be retroac- 
tive, and, by consequence, we cannot take part in differ- 
ences, which have arisen before its conclusion ; at least, if 
these affaiis do not concern the violences which continue 
still, and which tend to oppress all the neutral nations of 
Europe. 

"Art. VII. If, in spite of the vigilant and friendly care 
of the two powers, and the exact observation of the neu- 
trality on their part, the Russian or Danish merchant 
vessels are insulted, or taken by the vessels of war, or pri- 
vateers, of one or the other of the belligerent powers, in 
that case, the Minister of the party offended shall make 
representations to the Court, whose vessels of war or pri- 
vateers shall have been guilty of this act, shall demand the 
restoration of the vessel taken, and shall insist upon a 
suitable reparation, without ever losing sight of the satisfac- 
tion for the insult done to the flag. The Minister of the 
other contracting party shall second efficaciously and seri- 
ously these representations, and shall thus continue them 
conjointly and unanimously ; but if they refuse, or put off 
from time to time to do right, touching such grievances, 
in this case, their Majesties shall make reprisals against the 
power which refuses to do them right, and shall unite 
themselves forthwith, in the most efficacious measures for 
this just reprisal. 

"Art. viir. If one or the other of the contracting 
powers, or both together, rn virtue of this convention, or 
any other which may he made, which may have relation to it, 
are disturbed, molested, or attacked, it is agreed that tiie 
two powers shall act in concert, to defend themselves re- 



440 JOHN ADAMS. 

ciprocally, and to procure themselves, by united efforts, an 
entire and satisfactory reparation, both for the insult done 
to the flag, and for the loss caused to their subjects. 

"Art. IX. This Convention is resolved and fixed for 
all the time that the present war sliall continue, and shall 
serve as the basis of all the engagements which may be 
contracted in the sequel, according to the circumstances 
of the times, and upon occasion of new wars at sea, which 
may unfortunately trouble the repose of Europe ; besides, 
these conditions shall be regarded as subsisting, and shall 
have a legal validity in the affairs both of commerce and 
navigation, and in the determination of the rights of neutral 
nations. 

"Art. X. As the end and the principal motive of this 
Convention is. to assure the general liberty of commerce 
and of navigation, her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, and 
his Majesty, the King of Denmark and of Norway, agree 
and engage beforehand, to permit that other neutral powers 
accede to diis convention, and by taking cognizance of 
these principles, to partake also of the obligations and 
advantages of the said convention. 

"Art. XI. To the end that the belligerent powers 
may not pretend a cause of ignorance of these said en- 
gagements between the said Courts, the high contracting 
parties will communicate in a manner the most friendly to 
all the belligerent powers these maxims, in which they 
have united, which measures are so much the less hostile, 
as they are not hurtful to any other power; but have 
solely for their object the safety of the commerce and of 
the navigation of their respective subjects. 

"Art. XII. The present Convention shall be ratified 
by the two contracting parties, and the ratifications shall 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 441 

be exchanged in good form in the term of six weeks, lo 
be computed from the signatures, or even sooner, if it may 
be. In faith of which we have, in virtue of our full pow- 
ers, signed the present, and sealed it with our seals. Done 
at Copenhagen, the nineteenth of July, 1780. 

CHARLES VAN OSTEN, named SAKEN, 

0. THOTT, 

1. SCHACK REVENTLAW, 

A. P. C03ITE DE BERNSTORFF, 

H. EICHSTEDT." 
The ratifications of this Convention were exchanged at 
Copenhagen the 16th of September, 17S0, by the same 
Ministers Plenipotentiary who signed it, and as to this end, 
the iNIinisters Plenipotentiary named to this purpose, viz. 
on the part of her Imperial IMajesty, the Count Nikia 
Panin, actually Privy Coimsellor, Senator, Chamberlain in 
Exercise, and Knight of the Orders of St Andrew, St 
Alexander Newsky, and St Anne, and the Count John Os- 
terman, Vice Chancellor, Privy Counsellor, and Knight of 
the^Orders of St Alexander Newsky and St Anne ; and on 
the part of his Majesty the King of Sweden, the Baron 
Frederick Van Nalken, Envoy Extraordinary of his Swed- 
ish Majesty at the Court of her Imperial Majesty, Cham- 
berlain, Commandant of the Order of the Polar Star, 
Knight of the Orders of the Sword and of St John, have 
signed, the 21st of July, 1780, at St Petersburg, a similar 
Convention, conceived in the same form, and word for 
word, of the same tenor with that signed at Copenhagen, 
except the second article, in which the stipulations of con- 
traband being resolved and latified, to which they are to 
adhere, in consequence of treaties subsisting between the 
Crown of Sweden, and the other powers, we have to this 

VOL. V. 50 



442 JOHN AUAMS. 

purpose, to avoid the repetition of what has been already- 
said, added here, literally, the said second article. 

Wc ouglit ibrtiier to recollect, that the two Kings, who 
have joined in this affair to her Imperial Majesty, have 
acceded as principal contracting parties to the treaties con- 
cluded between her Imperial Majesty and the said Courts, 
and have signed with their own hands upon this subject on 
one part and the other, an act, which has been exchanged 
at St PetersbiH-g by the Ministry of her Imperial Russian 
Majesty. 

Here follows the second article of the treaty concluded 
and signed at Petersburg, the 21st of July, 1780, between 
her Imperial Majesty and his Majesty the King of Sweden. 

"Airr ir. To avoid all error and misunderstanding on 
the subject of the name of contraband, her Imperial Ma- 
jesty of Russia and his Majesty the King of Sweden de- 
clare, that they acknowledge only as effects of contraband 
those which are contained in the treaties subsisting between 
the said courts and one or other of the belligerent powers." 

Her Majesty the Empress of Russia conforms herself in 
this entirely to the tenth and eleventh articles of her Treaty 
of Commerce with Great Britain, and extends also the 
engagements of this treaty, which are entirely founded 
upon the law of natin-e, to the Crowns of Frauce and 
Spain, which at the date of the present Convention have 
no Treaty of Commerce with her empire. His Majesty 
the King of Sweden refers himself principally on his part 
to the eleventh article of his Treaty of Conmierce with 
Great Britain, and to the tenor of the preliminary Treaty 
of Commerce concluded in the year 1741, between the 
Crowns of Sweden and France, although, in this last, the 
contents of contrabar.d are not expressly determined, but 



DlPLUiMATlC COKUESru.NDENCE. 443 

as lilt; two Powers have tliereiii uiidtiiitood to consider 
one another as Ciena amicissima, and that as Sweden has 
therein reserved the same advantages, which the Hanseatic 
cities enjoy in France, IVoin the most remote limes to the 
present. The advantages, which are comprehended in 
the Treaty of Utrecht, being confirmed, the King has not 
found anything necessary to he added. With regard to 
Spain, the King finds himseU" in the same case as the Em- 
press, and after her example he extends to this Crown the 
engagements of the said treaties, wholly founded on natu- 
ral law. 

Their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the 
United Provinces of the Low Countries, have acceded 
the 20th of November, 1780, upon the same footing to the 
said Convention, and it has been signed the 5th of January, 
17S1, at St Petersburg, only with the addition of a thirteenth 
article, which with relation to command, in case of ren- 
counter or combination of the squadrons and the vessels of 
war of the two parties, there shall be observed what has 
been the usage between crowned heads and the Republic. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADA.AIS. 



Sir, 



TO B. FRANKLIN. 

Amsterdam, February loth, 17S1. 



This morning the house of Botereau &i Co. of this city, 
presented to me sixtysix bills of exchange, drawn by Con- 
gress on the 2Gth day of October last, in favor of Nathan- 
iel Tracy, of Newburyport, amounting to the sum of ten 
thousand pounds sterling, payable at ninety days sight. I 



444 ^^^^ ADAMS. 

was obliged to ask the favor ol' the house to wait until 1 
could write to your Excellency, to see if you can furnish 
the funds to discharge the bills. Without your warranty 
they must be protested, for I have not yet obtained a single 
ducat, nor any certain assurances of one. 

I have at length fixed my plan, and when it shall be 
made certain that the war with England is to continue, 
the prospectus will be published and the experiment tried. 
Some persons think 1 shall get some money ; but there is 
no certainty of it. If this people should make peace with 
England, which they will if they can, we shall get no 
money at all. 1 think, however, that a peace is impossible, 
and therefore am not without hopes of borrowing some 
money. 1 must request the lionor of your Excellency's 
answer by the return of post, because at that lime M. Bo- 
tereau will expect an answer from me. 

With great respect, I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO B. FRANKLIN. 

Amsterdam, February 20tli, 1781. 

Sir, 

Yesterday I had the honor of yours of the 12th, and 
will take an early opportunity to send you all the lights I 
can obtain, by inferences from the numbers of the bills. 
Those already presented, I shall accept, according to your 
advice. 

The Duo de la Vauguyon is returned. I had the honor 
to make my compliments to him on Saturday at the Hague, 
where I attended Dr McLane's Church on Sunday, and 
the Prince's review upon the parade afterwards, and 
where I propose in future to spend more of my time. 



DIPLOMATIC CORKESFONDE.NCE. 445 

You need not be anxious about tbe result of my demand 
ol" an answer. It was a measure, to wbich 1 was advised 
by the Due de la Vauguyon, and by the Count de Ver- 
gennes, and by several worthy gendemen in the govern- 
ment here. It was intended to bring necessarily into de- 
liberation a connexion with France and America, on one 
side, at the same time when they considered the mediation 
of Russia, on the other, in order to prevent their accepting 
the mediation without lirnitaiions. 

The great city has lately faultered very much in point 
of firmness. I cannot but wish, that the proposition for an 
accession to the alliance between France and iVmerica, 
could have been made last week, the critical moment 
when it would have infallibly, I think, prevented the ac- 
ceptation. But France did not think it politic to do any- 
thing against the views of Russia. But nothing but delay 
will come of this mediation. The United States, however, 
stand here in a more respectable light than in Spain. 
Here they are openly and candidly demanding an answer. 
If they receive one in the negative, it will be no more than 
the Republic has a right to give, and we shall lose nothing, 
but remain exactly where we were- If they give no 
answer for a year to come, the dignity of the United States 
is safe ; that of the United Provinces will be hurt by the 
delay, if any. In Spain, the United States have been 
waiting in the person of one of their presidents, now going 
on three years, and have no answer. Now, I say, it is 
better to be open. Here the constitution demanded pub- 
licity. In Spain it forbid it. But the dignity of the 
United Slates is injured more than it would have been, if 
the demand to that Court could have been made public. 
For my own part, I own, as a private citizen, or as a pub- 



446 JOHN ADAMS. 

lie man, I would not advise the United States to wait for 
ever, either in Spain or Holland, if it does not suit their 
afiairs to make a bargain with us, let them tell us so candid- 
ly, and let us all go home, that at least we may not be under 
the necessity of calling upon your Excellency for water to 
drink, which had much belter quench the thirst of our 
army. 

I should be very much obliged to you for a copy of the 
replication of the two Imperial Courts, and of the new pro- 
position of the Court of London, of which 1 have only had 
a confused intimation. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE DUC DB LA VAUGUYON. 

Amsterdam, March 1st, 1781. 

Sir, 

As Friesland has taken the Provincial Resolution to 
acknowledge the independence of America, it seems to be 
high time for me to prepare for the execution of my 
instructions from Congress of the 16th of August, which I 
had the honor to communicate to you on the 25th of 
November, and which had been previously communicated 
to the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Versailles. 

From these instructions it appears, that His Most Chris- 
tian Majesty had made, by his Minister, to Congress, a 
tender of his endeavors to accomplish a coalition between 
the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the United 
States, and that this tender was accepted by Congress as a 
fresh proof of his Majesty's solicitude for their interests. 

By another Resolution, 1 am instructed to propose a 



niPI.OMA'JlC CORRESPONDENCE. 447 

Treaty of Alliance, between His Most Christian Majesty, 
llie United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United 
Stales of America, having for its object and limited in its 
duration to the present war with Great Britain, and confor- 
med to the treaties subsisting, between His INlost Christian 
Majesty and the United States. 

The system of operations was thus settled at Philadel- 
phia between the King, by his Minister, and the Congress, 
and for obvious and wise reasons, the Minister of Congress 
at the Hague was to make the proposition to their High 
Mightinesses, and the Ambassador of his Majesty was to 
countenance and support it either publicly or privately, as 
he should judge proper, until the States-General should 
listen to it, so far as to enter into the negotiation. 

In pursuance of these propositions, it seems to be 
necessary for me to go to the President of their High 
Mightinesses, and without offering him anything in writing, 
to make him the proposition, in the words of the enclosed 
project, or others equivalent. 

Friesland has taken so decided a part, and the other 
Provinces, especially Holland, are animated with such a 
spirit, that I cannot but flatter myself such a proposition 
would now run with rapidity through the seven Provinces, 
and contribute very much to accelerate the period of this 
bloody and ruinous war. 

I have the honor to request your Excellency's sentiments 
upon the subject, and to be, with the most sincere and 
inviolable attachment, your Excellency's most obedient and 
most humble servant, 

JOHN ADAMS. 



448 -lOHN ADAxMS. 



A. MEMORIAL TO THE STATES-GENERAL. 

To their High IMightinesses, the States-General of the 
United Provinces of the Low Countries. 
High and jMighty Lords, 

The subscriber, a IVlinister Plenipotentiary from the 
United States of America, has the honor to lay before your 
High Mightinesses, as one of the high contracting parties 
to the Wai'ine Treaty, lately concluded, relative to the rights 
of neutral vessels, a resolution of Congress of the 5th of 
October last, concerning the same subject. 

As the American revolution lurnished the occasion of a 
reformation in the maritime law of nations, of so much 
importance to a free communication among mankind by 
sea, the subscriber hopes it may not be thought improper 
that the L^nited States should become parties to it, entitled 
to its benefits and subjected to its duties. To this end, 
the subscriber has the honor of requesting that the resolu- 
tion of Congress may be taken into the consideration of 
your High Mightinesses, and transmitted to the Courts of 
Russia, Sweden, and Denmark. 

The subscriber begs leave to subjoin, that he should 
esteem it one of the most fortunate events of his life, if this 
proposition .■should meet with the approbation of your 
High Mightinesses, and the other powers who are parties 
to the neutral confederacy, and he be admitted, as the 
instrument of pledging the faith of the United States to 
the observance of regulations, which do so much honor to 
the present age. 

The Has^ue, March Sth, 17S1. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDE^XE. 449 



TO THE PRINCE DE GALLITZIN, MINISTER OF THE 
EMPRESS OF RUSSIA. 

Levden, March 8(li, 1781. 

Sir, 

I have lately received from Congress, as one of their 
Ministers Plenipotentiary, their resolution of the 5th of 
October last, relative to the rights of neutral vessels, a 
copy of which I do myself the honor to enclose to your 
Excellency, as the Representative of one of the high con- 
tracting parties to the Marine Treaty, lately concluded 
concerning this subject. As I am fixed by my duty for 
the present to this part of Europe, I have no other way of 
communicating this measure of Congress to the Northern 
Courts, but by the favor of their Ministers in this Republic. 
I must, therefore, request of your Excellency, if there is 
no impropriety in it, to transmit the resolution to the Min- 
ister of Foreign Affairs of her Imperial Majesty. 

Your Excellency will permit me to add, that 1 should 
esteem myself very fortunate to be the instrument of pledg- 
ing, in form, the faith of the United States of America to 
a reformation in the maritime law of nations, which does so 
much honor to the present age. 
I have the honor to he, &.r. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

Transcripts of the above letter were sent on the same 
day to the Baron de Sapherin, Envoy of the King of Den- 
mark at the Hague ; and to the Baron d'Ehrenswerd, 
Envoy of the King of Sweden at the same place. 
VOL. V. 57 



450 JOHN ADAMS. 



TO M. VAN BERCKEL, FIRST COUNSELLOR PENSIONARY 
OF THE CITY OF AMSTERDAxM. 

Leyden, March Sth, 1781. 

Sir, 
I have the honor to enclose a Resolution of Congress of 
the fifth of October last, and to inform you, that I have this 
day communicated it to their High Mightinesses, the States- 
General, and to the Ministers of Russia, Sweden, and Den- 
mark, at the Hague. 

With the greatest respect I have the honor to be, &;c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE DUG DE LA VAUGLTYON, AMBASSADOR OF FRANCE 
AT THE HAGUE. 

Leyden, March Sth, 1781. 

Sir, 

I have the honor to enclose a copy of a Resolution of 
Congress of the 5th of October last, and to inform your 
Excellency, that I have this day communicated it to their 
High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Pro- 
vinces, and to the Ministers of the Courts of Russia, Swe- 
den, and Denmark, at the Hague. 

Your Excellency will permit me to hope for your con- 
currence in support of this measure, as there may be occa- 
sion, and to assure you of the great respect and considera- 
tion with which I have the honor to be, &£c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CUKUESPONDENCE. 45 1 

KROM IHK DLC 1)E LA VAUGUYON TO JOHN ADAMS. 

Translation. 

Hague, March 14tli, 1781. 

Sir, 

1 have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write to me, as also the copy of the resolution of Con- 
gress of the United States of North America, thereto 
annexed. You announce to me, that you have made an 
official communication thereof to the President of the As- 
sembly of the States-General, as also to the Envoys of the 
Courts of Petersburg, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, and 
you request me to support this step with my good offices. 
I am persuaded, Sir, that you clearly perceive the impos- 
sibility of my seconding this measure, without the express 
order of the King, whatever may be my personal zeal for 
the true interests of North America. 

Receive, Sir, the very sincere assurance of the senti- 
ments of the most distinguished respect with which 1 have 
the honor to be, he. 

THE DUG DE LA VAUGUYON. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Leydcn, Marcli 18th, 1781. 

Sir, 
At length, notwithstanding liie mediation of the Empress 
of Russia, the States-General have published the following 
Manifesto. It is entitled, the Counter Manifesto of the 
States-General of the United Provinces of the Low Coun- 
tries. 



452 JUHiS ADAMS. 

COLNTEH MANIFKSTO. 

"If ever the annals of the vvoiid have luniished an ex- 
ample of a free and independent State, hostilely attacked 
in the manner the most unjnsi, and without the least ap- 
pearance of justice or ecjuity, by a neighboring power, long 
in alliance, and strictly connected by ties founded upon 
connnon interests, it is, without contradiction, the Republic 
of the United Provinces of the Low Countries, which finds 
itself in this case, in relation to his Majesty, the King of 
Great Britain, and his Ministry. 

"From the commencement of the troubles arisen be- 
tween that Kingdom and its Colonics in America, their 
High Mightinesses, by no means obliged to take the small- 
est part in them, had formed the firm and invariable design 
to adopt and to follow in relation to these troubles, the sys- 
tem of the most perfect and the most exact neutrality ; 
and when the same troubles had afterwards enkindled a 
war, which extended itself to more than one power, and 
spread itself to more than one part of the world, their High 
Mightinesses have constantly observed and maintained the 
same system, while at the same time they liave not neg- 
lected to give, on more than one occasion, and relative to 
llie most essential objects, the most convincing proofs of 
their sincere disposition to satisfy the desires of his Majesty, 
as far as they could advance, without wounding the rules 
of impartiality, and without compromising the rights of their 
sovereignty. It was in these views and to this end, that 
their High Mightinesses at first, and at the first requisition 
of his Britannic Majesty, published prohibitions the most 
express against the exportation of military stores to the 
Colonies of his Majesty in America, and against all fraudu- 
lent commerce with the same Colonies ; and to the end, 



DIPLOMATIC CORKESPO.NUENCE. 4g2 

that those prohibitions should be executed the more efiec- 
tually, their Hi^h 31ightinesses did not hesitate, moreover, 
to take measures \vl)ich did not fail to restrain and confine 
very greatly, the navigation and the commerce of their 
own subjects with the Colonies of the State in the West 
Indies. 

"It was, moreover, in the same views, and to the same 
end, that their High Alighlinesses sent orders the most pre- 
cise to all the Governors and Commanders of their Colo- 
nies and of their establishments, as well as to all the offi- 
cers, commanders of their vessels of wars, to take special 
care to do nothing towards the flag of the American Con- 
gress, from whence they might lawfully infer or deduce an 
acknowledgment of the independence of the said Colo- 
nies. And it was above all in these views and to this end, 
that their High iMighlinesses having received a memorial, 
which was presented to them by the Ambassador of Eng- 
land, containing complaints the most spirited against the 
Governor of St Eustatia, condescended to deliberate con- 
cerning this memorial, although conceived in terms little 
accommodated to those respects, which sovereign powers 
reciprocally owe to each other. 

"This deliberation was soon followed by the recall of 
the said Governor, whom their High Mightinesses ordered 
to render an account of his conduct, and whom they did 
not permit to return to his residence until after he had 
exculpated himself of all the accusations brought against 
him by a justification of himself in detail, a copy of which 
was transmitted without delay to the Ministry of his Bri- 
tannic Majesty. It was by means of these measures, that 
their High INlightinesses, having always had it at heart to 
avoid giving the smallest cause of dissatisfaction to his Bri- 



4^4 JOHiN iDAMS. 

tannic IMajesly, have constaiitly endeavored to entertain 
and to cultivate his friendship and good understanding. 
But the conduct of his Britannic Majesty towards the Re- 
public has been diametrically opposite. 

"The troubles between the Courts of London and Ver- 
sailles had scarcely broken out, when we saw the ports of 
England filled with Dutch ships unjustly taken and detain- 
ed. These vessels navigated under the faith of treaties, 
and were not loaded with other merchandises than with 
those wliich the express tenor of treaties declared free and 
lawful. We saw those free cargoes forced to submit to 
the law of an arbitrary and despotic authority. The Cabi- 
net of St James knowing no other rules than a pretended 
right of temporary conveniency, thought proper to appro- 
priate those cargoes to the Crown by a forced purchase, 
and to employ them to the profit of the royal navy. The 
representations the most energetic, and the most serious on 
the part of their High Mightinesses against such proceed- 
ings were to no purpose, and it was in vain that we de- 
manded in the strongest manner the treaty of commerce, 
which subsisted between P^ngland and the Republic ; by 
this treaty the rights and liberties of the neutral flag were 
clearly define:! and stated. The subjects of Great Britain 
have enjoyed the full advantage of this treaty in the first 
and the only case, in which it pleased the Court of London 
to remain neuter, while the Republic was at war ; at pre- 
sent in the reciprocal case, this Court cannot without the 
greatest injustice refuse the enjoyment of the same advan- 
tages to the Republic ; and as little as his Britannic Ma- 
jesty had a right to take away the advantageous effects of 
this treaty from their High Mightinesses, as little founda- 
tion had he to pretend to turn them from a neutrality, which 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 455 

they had embraced, and to force ihein to plunge them- 
selves into a war, the causes of which liad an immediate 
relation to rights and to possessions of his Britannic Ma- 
jesty, originating without the limits of defensive treaties. 

"And, nevertheless, it was this treaty, which his IVIaj- 
jesty, from the commencement of the troubles with the 
Crown of France, made no scruple to infringe and violate. 
The contraventions and infractions of this treaty on the 
part of Great Britain, and the arbitrary decisions of the 
courts of justice of that kingdom, directly contrary to the 
express sanction of this same treaty, multiplied from day 
to day ; the merchant vessels of the Republic became the 
innocent victin)s of exactions and accumulated violences of 
the English men-of-war and privateers. Not content with 
this, even the flag of the State was not spared, but openly 
insulted and outraged by the hostile attack of the convoy 
under the command of the Rear Admiral, the Count de 
Byland. The strongest representations on the part of the 
State to his Britannic INIajesty were useless. The vessels 
taken from this convoy were declared lawful prizes ; and 
this insult committed to the flag of the Republic was soon 
followed by the open violation of its neutral territory, both 
in Europe and in America. We shall content ourselves to 
cite two examples of it. At the Island of St Manias, the 
vessels of his Britannic IMajesty attacked and took by 
force several vessels, which were in the Road, under the 
cannon of the fortress, where, according to the inviolable 
law of nations, these vessels ought to have found a safe 
asylum. The insolences cominitted by an English armed 
vessel upon the coast of the Republic, near the Island of 
Goedereede, furnish a second example of these violences ; 
these insolences were pushed to such a degree, that seve- 



456 -WHN ADAMS. 

ral inhabitants of the Island, who were upon the shore, 
where they ought to have thought themselves sheltered 
from all insult, were exposed by the fire of this vessel to 
the most imminent danger, which they could not avoid but 
by retiring into the interior part of the Island. Unheard 
of proceedings, for which the Republic, notwithstanding the 
strongest and best founded representations, has not been 
able to obtain the smallest satisfaction. 

"While atlairs were thus in a situation, which left to 
their High Mightinesses no other alternative, but to see 
the navigation and the commerce of their subjects, upon 
which depend the prosperity or the ruin of the Republic, 
wholly annihilated, or to come to violent measures against 
their ancient friend and ally, the magnanimous heart of her 
Majesty, the Empress of Russia, engaged her to invite the 
Rejjublic with equal aiiection and humanity, to take meas- 
ures the most just, and entirely conformable to the treaties 
which subsist between them and the other powers, to the 
end to defend and to maintain, conjointly with her Im- 
perial Majesty and the other powers of the north, the 
privileges and the immunities, which the law of nations 
and the most solemn treaties assure to the neutral flag. 
Tiiis invitation could not but bo infinitely agreeable to 
their High Mightinesses, considering that it offered them a 
means of establishing the |)rotection of the commerce of 
their subjects upon the most solid foundation, and opened 
a way lo plane their independence in safety from all in- 
fraction, without derogating in the least from the alliances 
contracted, both wilh his Britannic iMajesty and with (he 
other belligerent povvci's. 

"But it is tiiis same means, which the Court of Lon- 
don has endeavored to take away from the Republic, by 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDEiNCE. 457 

proceeding; with precipitation to extremities the most out- 
rageous, by the recall of her Ambassador, by the publica- 
lion of a Manifesto containing pretended grievances, and by 
granting letters of marque and of pretended reprisals 
against the State, its subjects, and their goods ; by which, 
this Court has but too plainly discovered her designs long 
since formed, of laying aside the essential interests which 
united the two nations, and of breaking the ties of ancient 
friendship, by attacking this State by a war the most 
unjust. 

"It will not be necessary to refute at length the reasons 
and pretended griefs alleged in the Manifesto, to con- 
vince every impartial man of their insolidity. It is suffi- 
cient to observe, in a few words, relative to the offer made 
by his Britannic Majesty, to open friendly conferences, 
that it was the abovenientioned Treaty of Marine, which 
alone could make the object of those conferences ; that the 
dispositions of this treaty, conceived in the most expressive 
terms, could not be liable to any doubt nor equivocation, 
that this treaty gives neutral powers the right of transport- 
ing freely in the ports of the belligerent powers all sorts of 
naval stores ; that the Republic proposing to itself no other 
end, and desiring of his Britannic Majesty no other thing, 
than the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the rights stipu- 
lated by this treaty, a point so evidently clear, and so in- 
contestably just could not become the object of a negotia- 
tion, or of a new convention derogatory to this treaty, so 
that their High Mightinesses could not persuade themselves 
nor show themselves disposed to renounce, voluntarily, 
rights justly acquired, and to desist from these rights from 
regard to the Court of England ; a renunciation, which, 
being advantageous to one of the belligerent powers, would 
vol,, v. 08 



458 JOHiN ADAMS. 

have been little compatible with the principles of the neu-" 
trality, and by which their High Mightinesses would have 
exposed, on the other hand, the safety of the State to 
dangers, which they were obliged carefully to avoid ; a re- 
nunciation, moreover, which would have caused to com- 
merce and navigation, the principal support of the Repub- 
lic, and source of her prosperity, an irreparable prejudice ; 
since the different branches of commerce, strictly connect- 
ed with each other, form a whole, whereof it is impossible 
to cut off so principal a part, without necessarily causing 
the destruction and ruin of the whole body ; not to men- 
tion, that at the same time that their High Mightinesses 
made, with reason, a difficulty to accept the proposed 
conferences, they have not a little modified and tempered 
the actual exercise of their right by a provisional resolu- 
tion. 

"And as to what relates to the succors demanded, their 
High Mightinesses cannot dissemble, that they have never 
been able to conceive how his Britannic Majesty has 
thought, that he could insist, with the least appearance of 
Justice or of equity, upon the succors stipulated by the 
treaties, at a time when he had already beforehand with- 
drawn himself from the obligation, which those treaties 
imposed upon hiui towards the Republic. Their High 
Mightinesses liave not been less surprised to see, that while 
the troubles in America, and their direct consequences 
could not concern the Republic in virtue of any treaty, 
and that die succor had not been demanded, until after the 
Crown of Spain had augmented the number of belligerent 
powers, his Britannic Majesty has, nevertheless, taken the 
occasion of this event to insist upon his demand with so 
much earnestness, and such an ardor, as if his Majesty 



L'lJ'LU.MATIL LUiatK^ru.NUK.NCE. 459 

thought himself to have a n§ht to pretend and to maintain, 
that a war, once enkindled between him and any other 
power, was alone sufticient to oblige the State to grant 
forthwith, and without any anterior examination, the succors 
stipulated. 

"The Republic, it is true, had obliged itself by the 
treaties to assist Great Britain at all times, when this king- 
dom should find itself attacked, or threatened with an un- 
just war ; and what is more, the Republic ought in this 
case, according to the same treaties, to declare war against 
the aggressor ; but their High Mightinesses never pretend- 
ed to abdicate the right, which flows necessarily from the 
nature of every offensive alliance, and which cannot be 
contested to allied powers, to examine in the first place, 
and before the granting of succors, or taking part in the 
war, the principle of the dissensions which have arisen, and 
the nature of the difference, which lias given occasion to 
it, as well as also to examine and ' weigh thoroughly the 
reasons and the motives, which may establish the casus 
fiederis, and which ought to serve as a basis of the justice 
and the lawfulness of the war, on the part of that one of 
the confederated powers, who demands the succor. Aud 
there exists no treaty, by which their High INIightinesses 
have renounced the independence of the State, and sacri- 
ficed their interests to those of Great Britain, to such a 
degree, as to deprive themselves of the right of examina- 
tion, so necessary and so indispensable, by engaging them- 
selves to measures, by which they may be considered as 
obliged in duty to submit to the good pleasure of the Court 
of England, by granting the succors demanded, even 
where this Court, engaged in a quarrel v/ith another power, 
judges proper to prefer the way of arms to that of a 
reasonable satisfaction upon just complaints. 



460 JOHN ADAMS. 

"It was not then by a spirit of party, or by the device 
ol' a predominant cabal, but after a mature deliberation, 
and in a sincere desire to maintain the most precious inter- 
ests of the Republic, that the States of the respective 
Provinces have all unanimously testified, that tiiey were of 
opinion, that the succor demanded ought to be refused in 
a manner the most polite; and their High Mightinesses 
would not have failed to iiave transmitted to his Britannic 
jMajesty conformable to these resolutions, an answer to the 
repeated demands of succors, if they had not been pre- 
vented by the violent and unheard of attack of the flag of 
the State under the command of Rear Admiral Byland, 
by the refusal to give satisfaction upon a point so grave, 
and by the declaration not less strange than unjust, which 
his Majesty thought fit to make relative to the suspension 
of the treaties, which subsisted between him and the Re- 
public. Also many events, which by requiring delibera- 
tions of quite another nature, put an end to those, which 
had taken place on the subject of the said requisition. 

"It is in vain, and contrary to all truth, that they have 
endeavored to multiply the number of grievances, by al- 
leging the suppression of tlie duties of exportation as a 
measure tending to facilitate the transportation of naval 
stores to France ; for besides, that this suppression forms 
an object, which regards tlie interior direction of com- 
merce, to which all the sovereigns have an incontestible 
right, and whereof they are not obliged to give an account 
to any body, this point has, it is true, been taken into con- 
sideration, but has never been concluded ; so that these 
rights are still received upon the ancient footing: and that 
which is advanced in this regard in the manifesto, is found 
destitute of all foundation, although we cannot refrain 



DII'LUMATIC COltfiESI'ONDENCK. 4()1 

from saying, that the conduct of liis Britannic Majesty 
towards the Republic, furnished but too many motives to 
justify a similar measure on the part of iheir High INIighti- 
nesses. 

"The discontent of his Britannic Majesty, on the subject 
of what passed with the American, Paul Jones, is also 
quite as ill grounded. Already for several years, their 
High Mightinesses had resolved, and published every- 
where, precise orders concerning the admission of priva- 
teers and armed vessels of foreign nations with their prizes, 
in the ports of their domination, orders, which to that time 
had been observed and executed without the least excep- 
tion. In the case in question, their High Mightinesses 
could not depart from those orders, in regard to an armed 
vessel, who, furnished with a commission of the Ameri- 
can Congress, was found in the Road of the Tcxel, com- 
bined with frigates of war of a sovereign power, without 
erecting themselves into judges, and pronouncing a decision 
upon matters, in which their High Mightinesses were in no- 
wise obliged to take any part, and in which it did not ap- 
pear to them convenient to the interests of the Republic to 
meddle in any manner. Their High Mightinesses then 
thought fit not to depart from the orders given so long ago, 
but they resolved to give the most express prohibition to 
hinder the said armed vessel from providing herself with 
warlike stores, and enjoined upon her to quit the Road as 
soon as possible, without remaining there longer than the 
time absolutely necessary to repair the damages suffered at 
sea, with the formal denunciation, that in case of a longer 
delay we should be obliged to compel his departure, to 
which end the officer of the State, commanding at the said 
Road, took care to make the requisite dispositions, whereof 



4G2 JOHN ADAMS. 

this armed vessel had scarcely the tune to prevent the 
effects. 

"In regard to what has passed in the other parts of the 
world, the informations which their High Mightinesses have 
received from time to time from the East Indies, are di- 
rectly opposite to those, which ap[)ear to have come under 
the eyes of his Britannic Majesty. The repeated com- 
plaints, which the directors of the East India Company 
have addressed to their High Mightinesses, and which the 
love of peace has made them stifle in their bosoms, are - 
incontesllble proofs of it. And the measures taken with 
regard to the West Indies, enumerated heretofore, ought 
to serve in all times as an irrefragable proof of the sin- 
cerity, the zeal, and the attention with which their High 
Mightinesses have taken it to heart, to maintain in those 
countries the most exact and the most strict neutrality ; 
and their High IMightinesses have never been able to dis- 
cover the smallest legal proof of any infraction of their 
orders in this respect. 

"As to what concerns the project of an eventual treaty 
with North America, conceived by a member of the gov- 
ernment of the Province of Holland, without any public 
authority, and the memorials j)rcsented upon this subject 
by Sir Joseph Yorke, the afiair happened in the following 
manner. As soon as the Ambassador had presented the 
memorial of the 10th of November of the last year, their 
High Mightinesses, without stopping at expressions little 
suitable among sovereigns, u'ith which this memorial was 
filled, did not delay to commence a deliberation the most 
serious upon this subject, and it was by their resolution of 
the 27th of the same month, that they did not hesitate to 
Jisavoiv and to tVisapprove publicly all which had been 



DIPLOMATIC COKR'iSrONDE.NCK. 463 

done in this respect ; after which, they liad all reason to 
expect that his Britannic Majesty would have acquiesced 
in this declaration, since he could not be ignorant that their 
High Mightinesses exercise no jurisdiction in the respec- 
tive Provinces, and that it was to the States of the Pro- 
vince of Holland to whom, as clothed like the Slates of 
the other Provinces, with a sovereign and exclusive au- 
thority over their subjects, ought to be remitted an affair 
relatively to which their High ^Mightinesses had no reason 
to doubt, that the States of the said Province would act 
according to the exigence of the case, and conformably to 
the laws of the State and the rules of equity. 

"The earnestness with which Sir Joseph Yorke insisted, 
by a second memorial, upon the article of the punishment, 
cannot therefore but appear very strange to their High 
IMightinesses, and their surprise increased still more when 
three days afterwards, this Ambassador declared, verbally, 
to the President of their High Mightinesses, that if he did 
not receive that day an answer entirely satisfactory to his 
memorial, he should be obliged to inform his Court of it by 
an express ; their High Mightinesses, informed of this dec- 
laration, penetrated the importance of it, as manifesting vis- 
ibly the measure already resolved in the Council of the 
King ; and although the established customs admit not of 
deliberations upon verbal declarations of foreign ^Ministers, 
tliey judged it nevertheless proper to depart from them on 
this occasion, and to order their Secretary to wait on Sir 
Joseph Yorke, and give him to understand that his memo- 
rial had been taken ad referendum by the Deputies of the 
respective Provinces conformably to received usages, and 
to the constitution of the government; adding, what appears 
to have been omitted with design in the manifesto, that 



464 JOHN ADAMS. 

they would endeavor to complete an answer to his memo- 
rial as soon as possible, and as soon as the constitution of 
the government would permit. Accordingly, a few days 
after, the Deputies of Holland notified to the assembly of 
their High Mightinesses, that the States of iheir Province 
had unanimously resolved to require the advice of their 
Court of Justice, on the subject of demand of punishment, 
charging the said Court to gire their opinion the soonest 
possible, laying aside all other affairs. Their High Might- 
inesses did not fail to transmit forthwith this resolution to 
Sir Joseph Yorke ; but what was tlieir surprise and their 
astonishment, when they learned that this Ambassador, 
after having reviewed his instructions, had addressed a bil- 
let to the Secretary, by which, in accusing this resolution 
with being evasive, he refused to transmit it to his Court ; 
which obliged their High Mightinesses to send the said 
resolution to the Count de Welderen, their Minister at 
London, with orders to present it as soon as possible to the 
Ministry of his Britannic Majesty ; but the refusal of this 
Ministry threw an obstacle in the way of the execution of 
these orders. 

"After this explanation of all the circumstances of this 
affair, the impartial public will be in a condition to set a 
just value upon the principal motive, or rather pretext 
which his Britannic Majesty has used to let loose the reins 
of his designs against the Republic. The affair reduces 
itself to this. His Majesty was informed of a negotiation 
which should have taken place in the year 1778, between 
a member of the government of one of the Provinces and 
a representative of the American Congress, which negotia- 
tion would have had for its object to project a treaty of 
commerce, to be concluded between the Republic and the 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE 465 

said Colonies, cnsu quo, viz. in case llie independence of 
these Colonies should have been acknowledged by the 
Crown of England ; this negotiation, although conditional, 
and annexed to a condition, which depended upon an act 
to be antecedently performed by his Majesty himself; this 
negotiation, which without this act, or this anterior declara- 
tion, could not produce the smallest effect, was taken in so 
ill a part by his ^lajesty, and appeared to excite his dis- 
content in such a degree, that he thought fit to require of 
the State a disavowal and a public disapprobation, as well 
as a complete punishment and satisfaction. It was forth- 
with, and without the least delay, that theii' High Mighti- 
nesses granted the first part of the requisition, but the 
punishment demanded was not in their power, and they 
could not agree to it, without flying in the face of the fun- 
damental constitution of the Slate. The States of the 
Province of Holland were the only tribunal lo which it be- 
longed to take legal cognizance, and to provide for (he case 
by the ordinary and regular ways. 

"This Sovereign, constantly attached to the maxims, 
which obliged it to respect the authority of the laws, and 
fully convinced that the maintenance of the department of 
justice in all the integrity and impartiality which are insepa- 
rable from it, ougiit to form one of the firmest supports of 
the supreme Power ; this Sovereign, constrained by every- 
thing which is most sacred to defend, and to protect the 
rights and the privileges of its subjects, could not forget 
itself to such a degree as to subscribe to the will of his 
Britannic Majesty, by giving a blow to these rights ny\(\ 
privileges, and by overleaping the bounds prescribed by 
the fundamental laws of the government. These laws re- 
quired the intervention of the judiciary department, and 
VOL. V. 59 



466 -^OHN ADAMS. 

this was accordingly the means vvhicli the said States re- 
solved to employ, by requiring upon this object the advice 
of the Court of Justice established in their Province. It is 
by following this course that they have displayed before 
the eyes of iiis Britannic Majesty, of the English nation, 
and of all Europe, ihe unalterable principles of justice and 
equity, which charncterise the Batavian Constitution, and 
which in a part so important of the public administration 
as is that which regards the exercise of the judiciary 
power, ought forever to serve as a buckler and a rampart 
against everything which could hurt the safety and the 
independence of a free nation ; it was also by this means, 
and by following this course, that very far from shutting 
the road of justice, or evading the demand of punishment, 
they have on the contrary, left a free course to the way of 
regular proceeding, and conformable to the constitutional 
principles of the Republic ; and it is finally by the same 
means, that by taking away from the Court of London all 
pretence of being able to complain of a denial of justice, 
they have prevented even to the smallest shadow or appear- 
ance of reason, which could authorise this Court to use 
reprisals to which, nevertheless, it has made no scruple to 
recur in a manner equally odious and unjust. 

"But whiie the State took measures so just and so 
proper to remove all subject of complaint, the measure 
which was the epoch of the commencement of the rupture 
had already been resolved and concluded in the Council 
of the King. This Council had resolved to try all sorts of 
means to traverse and hinder, if it had been possible, the 
accession of the Republic to the convention of the Powers 
of the North, and the event has clearly demonstrated, that 
it is in hatred and resentment of this convention that the 



DIt'LO.MATIC COKKLshO.NUK.NCL:. 4^7 

said Court has sutFered itself 10 be diuwii into the part, 
which it has been pleased to lake against the Republic 
For these causes, and since that after the repeated outrages 
and immense losses, which the subjects of the Republic 
must have sustained on the part of his iMajesty, the King of 
Great Britain, their High Mightinesses find themselves 
moreover provoked and attacked by his said Majesty, and 
forced to employ the means which they have in hand, to 
defend and avenge the precious rights of their liberty and 
independence, they assure themselves with the firmest 
confidence, that the God of armies, the God of their 
fathers, who by the visible direction of his Providence 
sustained and delivered their Republic in the midst of the 
greatest dangers, will bless the means, which they have 
resolved to put in operation for their lawful defence, in 
crowning the justice of their arms, by the succors always 
triumphant of his Almighty protection, while that their 
High Mightinesses will desire with ardor the moment, 
when they shall see their neighbor and their ally, now^ their 
enemy, brought back to moderate and equitable senti- 
ments ; and at this epoch, their High ^Mightinesses will 
seize with earnestness all events, which, compatible with 
the honor and independence of a free State, may tend to 
reconcile them with their ancient friend and ally. 

"Thus done and resolved at the Assembly of their High 
Mightinesses, the Lords the States-General of the United 
Provinces of the Low Countries, at the Hague, the 12th 
of March, 1781." 

It is remarkable, that their High Mightinesses, after so 
many delays, have chosen for the publication of this Mani- 
festo, a time when the mediation of the Empress is depen- 
ding. This mediation appears in a memorial, presented 
the 1st of March to the States-General, in these words. 



468 JOHiN ADAMS. 

"High and Mighty Lords. — As soon as her Majesty, the 
Empress, was informed of the sudden departure from the 
Hague of the Ambassador of his Britannic Majesty to your 
High Mightinesses, guided by the sentiments of friendship 
and benevolence, which she professes towards the two 
powers, she did not wait for further explanations, concern- 
ing the consequences, which might be produced by a pro- 
cedure so alarming for their reciprocal tranquillity and 
well-being, to make by her Minister at the Court of London 
representations the most pressing, to the end to divert it, if 
it were possible, from coming to violent measures, and to 
induce it rather to prefer those of softness and conciliation, 
offering herself to co-operate in everything which might 
depend upon her. Although her Majesty has not yet had 
the time to receive the answer of the Court of London, 
she has, nevertheless, reason to presume, that her insinua- 
tions there will be received with pleasure. 

In this conhdence, the Empress does not hesitate to 
give a new proof of her salutary intentions in favor of the 
reunion of two States, for whom she has an equal affection, 
and whom she has seen for so long a time live together in 
an intelligence the most perfect, and the most natural to 
their respective interests, by proposing to them formally 
her good offices and her mediation, to interrupt and put an 
entire end to the discord and the war, which has broken 
out between them. While M. Simolin, the Minister of 
the Empress at the Court of London, acquits himself of 
the orders, which she has given him concerning this object, 
the undersigned has the honor to fulfil the same task, on 
his part, towards your High Mightinesses, and to assure 
you of the zeal and earnestness with which he should 
desire to labor at the precious work of the re-establishment 



Dll'LOMATIC CURRKSl^O.NUENCE. 469 

of the repose and the tranquillity of your State. The dis- 
interestedness, the impartiality, and the views of general 
beneficence, which have insiamped their seal upon all the 
actions of her Imperial :\lajesty, preside equally in this. 
The wisdom and the prudence of your High Mightinesses 
will know how to acknowledge in her these august charac- 
ters, and will dictate the answer, which the subscriber will 
have to transmit to her, concerning the execution of his 
orders. 

"The Hague, March 1st, 1781. 

THE PRINCE DE GALLITZIN." 

The offer of mediation was accepted by their High 
Mightinesses with gratitude. 

I have the honor to be, &£c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO THK PRESIDE?[T OF CONGRESS. 

Lejdeu, March 19th, 1781. 

Sir, 
I have received your Excellency's letter of the 1st of 
January, with the commission and instructions enclosed.* 
1 am very sensible of this fresh instance of the confidence 
of Congress, and shall do everyth.ing in my power to dis- 
charge the duties of this new trust ; but I am obliged to 
say, that no commission that ever was given, required more 
patience, fortitude, and circumspection than this, virtues 
which I much fear have not fallen in sufficient quantities 
to my share. 

' Appointing him Minister Plenipotentiary to the St.ites-General of 
Holland and the Prince of Orange. See the Commission, Instructions, 
and Letters of Credence, in tiie Secret Journals of Congress. Vol.11, 
pp. 376,377,391 



r 



470 JOUiN ADAAJS. 

I have experienced since my residence in this Republic, 
a great change in the external behavior of several persons 
of rank, who upon my first arrival received me with dis- 
tinction, but from the moment of the publication of the 
papers taken with jMr Laurens, have been afraid to see 
me. The nation has indeed been in a violent fermentation 
and crisis. It is divided in sentiments. There are Stadt- 
holderians and Republicans ; there are proprietors in Eng- 
lish funds, and persons immediately engaged in commerce; 
there are enthusiasts for peace and alliance with England ; 
and there are advocates for an alliance with France, Spain, 
and America ; and there is a third sort who are for adher- 
ing in all things to Russia, Sweden, and Denmark ; some 
are for acknowledging American independence, and enter- 
ing into treaties of commerce and alliance with her : others 
start at the idea with horror, as an everlasting impediment 
to a return to die friendship and alliance with England ; 
some will not augment the navy without increasing the 
army ; others will let the navy be neglected rather than 
augment the army. 

In this perfect chaos of sentiments and systems, princi- 
ples and interc.ts. it is no wonder there is languor, a weak- 
ness and irresolution, that is vastly dangerous in the present 
circumstances of affairs. The danger lies not more in the 
iiostile designs and exertions of the English, than in the 
prospect of seditions and commotions among the people, 
which are every day dreaded and expected. If it were 
not for a standing army, and (roops posted about in several 
cities, it is proijable there would have been popular tumults 
before now ; but everybody that 1 see, appears to ine to 
live in constant fear of mobs, and in a great degree of un- 
certainty whether they will rise in favor ol~ war or against 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 471 

it ; in favor of England or against it ; in favor of the Prince 
or of the city of Amsterdam ; in favor of America or 
against it. 1 have ventured in the midst of these critical 
circumstances, pressed as I am to get money to discharge 
the bills of exchange, which Congress have drawn and T 
have accepted, to open a loan; but this is looked upon as 
a very hardy and dangerous measure, which nobody but 
an American would have risked, and I am obliged to assure 
Congress, that people are as yet so much afraid of being 
pointed out by the mob or the soldiery, as favorers of this 
loan, that I have no hopes at all of succeeding for several 
months, if ever. 

I have been advised to do nothing, in consequence of my 
commission, to the States at present, for fear of throwing 
before the people new objects of division and dissension. I 
have, how^ever, communicated to their High Mightinesses, 
and to the Ministers of Russia, Denmark, Sweden, and 
France, the resolution of Congress, of the 5th of October, 
relative to the principles of the neutral confederation. The 
memorial and letters I have transmitted to Congress.* 

Whenever I shall communicate to their High Mighti- 
nesses the-full powers of Congress, the course will be this. 
They will lie long upon the table, then taken ad referen- 
dum, that is, sent to the several Provinces, cities, and 
bodies of nobles, who compose the sovereignty, or as some 
say, the deputies of the sovereignty ; these will deliberate, 
and deliberate, and deliberate, and probably some will be 
for, and some against making a treaty, at least it is sup- 
posed that Zealand and one or two other Provinces will 
be against it. But in the meantime, there will be much 

* See the Memorial and thcFC Letters above, pp. 448, 449, 450. 



472 JOHN ADAMS. 

communication and negotiation among individuals at least, 
between this country and Russia, Sweden and Denmark 
upon the subject ; and if it is iriie, as I am informed in 
a letter from Mr Gerry, that a .Minister is apj3ointed to 
the Court of Petersburg, as i liope it is, and that the same 
Minister, or some other, is empowered to treat with Swe- 
den and Denmark, it is not impossible, I think it indeed 
probable, that we may succeed with these four nations at 
once ; for let mo add, there is not in my apprehension the 
least prospect of a general peace. England is at her old 
game of seduction and division, and is laboring under the 
pretence of employing the Emperor of Germany and the 
Empress of Russia ia mediations for peace, insidiously to 
embroil all Europe in the war. 

From motives of philanthropy, I hope she will not suc- 
ceed, unless the same feelings of humanity should prompt 
me to wish all mankind at war with that nation, for her 
humiliation, which is at this time, if ever one was, Hostis 
humani generis. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGnESS. 

Lcj'dcn, March 29tii, 1781. 

Sir, 
The Baron de Lynden, Envoy Extraordinary from their 
High Mightinesses at the Court of Stockholm, had, about 
the 28th of February, a conference with the Count Ulrich 
Scheffer, to whom he presented, on the part of his mas- 
ters, a Memorial too important to be omitted. It is as 
follows. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 473 

"The subscriber, Minister Extraordinary of their High 
Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces, 
to liis Majesty, the King of Sweden, by express orders 
received from his masters, has the honor to propose to his 
Majesty, 

"Tliat their High Mightinesses, by their resolution of 
the 20ih of November, having acceded to the confedera- 
tion of the armed neutrality, according to the invitation 
given by the powers of the North, placing the most perfect 
confidence in the |)ower, the magnanimity, and the fidelity 
of their Imperial and Royal ■Majesties, for fulfilling their 
engagements, and maintaining their dignity, by completing 
a work so gloriously undertaken, to wit, the liberty of the 
seas for neutral nations, did not suffer themselves to be 
diverted by the consideration of the consequences, which 
this accession and this declaration might draw upon the 
Republic from the part of the belligerent powers ; but their 
High Mightinesses declared themselves for this accession 
and this declaration, relying, without reserve, i^on the 
sentiments of their Imperial and Royal ^Majesties, which 
they manifested in the season, by the steps taken in this 
respect. 

"That the event has entirely justified the instances of 
iheir High Mightinesses in regard to the British Court, 
since its Minister, after several vain attempts tending to 
impede the accession to the alliance in question, resolved, 
from the time when he had the first intimation of it, to 
speak a language altogether unheard of, and such as is 
scarcely agreeable to those resi)ects, which sovereigns re- 
spectively owe each other, without allowing to the Repub- 
lic the time necessary to take the affair into deliberation, 
conformably to a political system, which his Britannic fla- 
vor- V. GO 



474 'OHN ADAMS 

jesty i'ully iindei'stands ; tlie Minister, nevertheless, insist- 
ing on a j)ron)pt and immediate satisfaction, and the pun- 
ishment of a pretended ofience, occasioned by the discov- 
ery of a negotiation with North America, without being 
satisfied by the provisional answer, or by the formal dis- 
avowal of their High Mightinesses touching the said nego- 
tiation, in which, as his Britannic Majesty has acknowledg- 
ed, they iiad in nowise participated, nor had any knowledge 
of it ; a negotiation relative to a |)retended treaty, which, 
at the first glance of the eye, indicates sufficiently by its 
proper terms, to be nothing more than a project of an 
eventual treaty made by certain individuals, without being 
formally authorised thereto by the magistrates of Amster- 
dam, as a body, nor by the States of the Provinces of 
Holland, and still less by the States-General, who alone 
are authorised to contract engagements in the name of the 
Republic. The IMinister in question refiised even to ac- 
cept the resolution, which enjoined on the Court of Hol- 
land, (the Province, which alone this affair concerns,) to 
deliberate, whether the laws of the country could authorise 
to pursue in justice the persons accused, and to punish 
them? A formality, without which no punishment can be 
inflicted, either in England, in this Republic, or in any 
other country. This Minister added menaces, that his 
Sovereign would procure for himself the satisfaction de- 
manded ; he was, at the same time, determined to attack 
the Republic by surprise, and to precipitate so violently the 
measures taken to commence hostilities, that my Lord 
Stormont, making use of vain pretences, would not even 
accept, on the part of the Count de Welderen, the said 
declaration, and answered him in writing, that he could 
not consider him any longer as the Minister of a friendly 



IMPLOMATIC COKRESPONDKNCE. .\' [, 

power, after having announced to him oflicially ihc mani- 
festo of the King ; while the same manifesto, which is re- 
markable, was sent to the Count de Welderen one hour 
before the time fixed the evening before by Lord Stor- 
mont, after repeated rc(iiiesls to have a conversation with 
him. 

"Besides, although in the manifesto in question, they 
make no mention of the accession of the Republic to the 
armed confederacy, (which it was necessary most carefidly 
to pass over in silence,) it a|)pears, however, distinctly to 
the penetrating eye of your Majesty, as well as to that of 
all Europe, if they will compare together the whole pro- 
gress of this action, the time and the manner, in which 
the Manifesto was published, that the hatred occasioned by 
the accession of the Republic to the armed neutrality, is 
the true motive of the resentment of his Britannic Majesty, 
and lias prompted him to a manifest aggression against the 
Republic, by capturing innnediately a great number of 
merchant vessels belonging to her subjects, as well as some 
vessels of war. Besides, that this same Manifesto, known 
to your Majesty, discovers sufficiently the original of this 
hatred ; considering, that among the pretended causes of 
offence serving to justify the hostile measures against the 
Republic, they there allege, that she has declared herself 
neuter. The Cabinet of St James, disdaining to observe, 
that this answer ought to offend the Powers of the North, 
to whom the treaties subsisting between England and the 
Republic are perfectly known, and that these powers 
could not be taxed with concluding a treaty of neutrality 
with a power, which they had not judged to be lawfully 
neuter in the present war, and without observing, that this 
liberty of negotiating has been by England herself jnit out 



47G JOHN ADAMS 

of all doubt, since by her suspension of llie treaty of 1674, 
made the 17th of April, 1780, she has declared, that she 
would hereafter regard the Republic as a neutral power, 
not advantaged by any treaty. 

"That in virtue of the reasons alleged, the hatred of 
Great Britain pierces, still more visibly, through the re- 
proach inserted in the said jManifcsto against the Republic, 
that she has advanced and favored the transportation of na- 
val stores to France, by the suspension of duties upon 
those effects ; at the same time, that it appears, that this 
suspension has never taken place, and that the Republic 
has a well founded right to make this transportation, not 
only during the continuance of the treaty of 1674, but also 
according to the j)ririciple prescribed to the neutral powers 
by the convention of the confederation ; that a further ex- 
amination of this manifesto should be superfluous, since 
his Majesty may himself estimate its value, and must, 
moreover, be convinced, that the conduct of their High 
Mightinesses, observed from the commencement of the 
troubles in regard to Americaj has evidently proved, that 
they have in nowise favored the revolted Colonies of 
America ; witness the condescension in favor of England, 
to which the Republic was not obliged by the shackles im- 
posed upon the commerce of her Colonies, by the pro- 
hibition to take under convoy vessels loaded with ship- 
timber, and by the recall of the Governor of St Eustatia, 
upon the ill founded complaints of the British Ministry; 
condescensions, which have been rewardeil by the attack 
and capture of the convoy sailing under the command of 
Count de Byland, by a violation of the territory of the 
Republic, and by the capture of American ships under the 
cannon of St Martins. That since their High Mightinesses 



Dli'LO.MAllC COURESPONDE.NCi: 477 

have laitlifully observed this system of modeiation, it is 
manifest, that the resentment of his Britannic Majesty can- 
not be regarded, but as an cfiect of a resentment occa- 
sioned by the engagement taken for the neutrality, and to 
this efiect their High Mightinesses are well founded to 
claim tlje tenor and the sense of the articles seventh, 
eighth, and ninth of that alliance, which forms the basis of 
the union of the neutrality contracted with their Imperial 
and Royal jMajesties ; that thus, there ought not to exist 
anv further difficulty in fulfilling towards their High jNligh- 
tinesses, become allies, the engagements, which are con- 
tracted in virtue of the known convention, of which they 
ought to be regarded as members, at the very moment 
even when this convention has been formed and concluded 
by their High ]\Iightinesses at the Hague, and when their 
declaration has been despatched to the belligerent powers, 
conformably to the said accession and convention. 

"That if their High Mightinesses had occasion to com- 
plain of a single act of offence, or attack committed against 
them, and liable to be redressed upon general representa- 
tions to their allies, they would have demanded their inter- 
vention for the redress of such a grievance, rather than 
to have recourse to arms ; but as at present their High 
]Mightinesses see themselves positively attacked by iiis 
Britannic Majesty, on occasion and in resentment of the 
aforesaid alliance, they find themselves obliged to defend 
themselves, and to repel the attack in the same manner 
in which it has been made, by returning hostilities for hos- 
tilities ; being moreover persuaded, that the allied powers 
will not make any difficulty to make common cause with 
them, to procure to the Republic the satisfaction and in- 
demnificalion of the losses sustained, by an attack as unjust 



478 JOHiN ADAMS. 

as it is violenl, and that the allies will concur with their 
High Mightinesses, in taking such further arrangements as 
the present circumstances require. This is what their 
High Mightinesses solicit earneslly, expecting it with so 
much more confidence, as they are intimately convinced 
that the generous and equitable sentiments which animate 
their Imperial and Royal Majesties will prevent them from 
suffering the Republic to become the victim of a political 
system as glorious as it is equitable, conceived for the 
maintenance of the safety and the right of neuters, while 
the Republic alone exposed to all die violence of this un- 
just attack of England, might with difficulty make head 
against it, and thereby run the risk of becoming entirely 
useless to the confederation. 

"For these causes, the undersigned insisted upon the 
motives alleged above, fully convinced that the ratifications 
of the treaty signed at Petersburg will be made as soon as 
possible, and he has the honor, in the name and by the 
express order of his masters, to demand the accomplish- 
ment of the articles seventh, eighth, and ninth of the said 
treaty, and to require in virtue of it a prompt and sufficient 
succor of his l^Iajesty, whose equitable and magnanimous 
senUments, known to all Europe, will not permit him to 
abandon a work wortliy of all praise. 

"The friendship and affection of your Majesty towards 
their High Mightinesses, appear to assure them beforehand 
of the succors which they expect from his Majesty, and to 
promise to the subscriber an answer as prompt as satisfac- 
tory, which he ought to press with so much the more zeal, 
as every moment of delay occasions great and irreparable 
losses to the Republic. D. W. VAN EYNDEN." 
1 have the honor to be, 8ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



nirr.OMATlC CORT^F.SrONDF.NCE. 479 

TO THE PRESIDENT O.^ CONGRESS. 

Levden, lAIarcli 29lh, 1781. 

Sir, 
It is of importance to the people of America to observe 
how much lighter their own burthens are than those of 
their enemies, and for this reason I have every year since 
I have been in Europe taken notice of the new taxes laid, 
annually, in perpetuity upon the people of Great Britain by 
Parliament, in support of tyranny, in addition to all former 
debts and taxes. One sixth part of the new taxes of this 
year would be more than sufficient to pay the interest of 
the whole sum which America will expend this year in 
support of liberty. The new taxes consist in an additional 
duty of five per cent upon all articles subject to the duty of 
excise, except malt, soap, and candles, and green leather, 

valued at £150,000 sterling. 

Seven per cent upon the drawbacks 

at the custom-house, - - 107,000 

An additional duty of one penny three 
farthings upon each pound of to- 
bacco, ----- 61,000 
Aduty of a halfpenny upon each pound 

of sugar, - - - - 320,000 



704,000 
The interest of the new loan is said to 

amount only to - - _ 000,000 



Which leaves a surplus of - - 44,000 

There cannot be a more striking contrast than that be- 
tween the conduct of Lord North and M. Necker. The 



480 JOHN ADAMS. 

abil'ties of the former as a financier consist wholly in laying 
new taxes without end ; those of the other lie in finding 
resources for vast expenses, without laying any new bur- 
thens on the people. M. Necker is laying a foundation 
for a credit in France as solid as that of Great Britain, by 
stating to the public the expenses and revenues. This is 
the only solid foundation of public credit. America will 
never obtain a credit of any consequence in Europe until 
she has a credit at home. It is demonstrable that the peo- 
ple of America are able to lend to Congress every year 
njorc than money enough to -carry on the war, and pay all 
expenses. What is the reason they do not. The reasons 
are plain ; first, they have not known that their public 
money was expended by any fixed rule, so that they could 
judge how much it amounted to ; secondly, they did not 
see any certain prospect of the punctual payment of interest 
or principal at a fixed value. All the art of financiering in 
America lies in ascertaining with precision by a fixed stand- 
ard, how much our expenses are ; next ascertaining what 
our income is ; thirdly, how much must be borrowed ; 
fourthly, how to assure the payment of interest and prin- 
cipal. 

If taxes could be laid by Congress upon exports and 
imports, and upon the consumption of articles of luxury, 
convenience, and necessity, as they are in Europe, Amer- 
ica would be able to raise more every year in taxes than 
she has ever spent in one year. Nay, we might oblige 
foreigners to pay all the expenses of the war, and establish 
a credit much more solid than that of Great Britain, be- 
cause we have not such a debt to begin with. But without 
reciirring to this system, which might injure our commerce 
as well as our liberties, it is unquestionably owing entirely 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPO.NDKNCE. 48 1 

to regulations of prices, embargoes, and stamping an arbi- 
trary value upon what had no value, that has hitherto 
ruined our credit. But when all these systems shall be 
totally abolished in the several States, and measures shall 
be taken to lay annual taxes of a certain value, and these 
taxes mortgaged for the payment of interest, there is not 
a doubt but ei'ery State may obtain credit enough for the 
necessities of its own inhabitants. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE DUG DE LA VAUGUYON. 

Leydcn, April IGtIi, 1781. 

Sir, 
I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, diat 1 
have received from Congress full powers and instructions 
to treat with the States-General, and to conclude a treaty of 
amity and commerce consistent with the relations already 
formed between the United States and France ; and that 
I have also received a letter of credence, as a Minister 
Plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses, and another to 



With the greatest respect, Sec. 

JOHN ada:ms. 



MEMORIAL TO THE STATES-GENERAL. 

To their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the 
United Provinces of the Low Countries. 
High and Mighty Lords, 

The subscriber has the honor to propose to yoin- Higli 
Mightinesses, that the United States of Aniericri iu Con- 

VOL. V. Gl 



4S2 fOHN ADAMS. 

gress assembled, have lately thought fit to send him a 
commission (with full powers and instructions) to confer 
with your High Mightinesses, concerning a treaty of amity 
and commerce ; an authentic copy of which he has the 
honor to annex to this memorial. 

At tlie time, when the treaties between this Republic 
and the Crown of Great Britain were made, the people 
who now compose the United States of America, were a 
part of the English nation ; as such, allies of the Republic 
and parties to those treaties ; entitled to all their benefits, 
and submitting cheerfully to all their obligations. 

It is true, that when the British administration, renouncing 
the ancient character of Englishmen, for generosity, justice, 
and humanity, conceived the design ol subverting the polit- 
ical systems of the Colonies ; depriving them of the rights 
and liberties of Englishmen, and reducing them to the 
worst of all forms of government ; starving the people by 
blockading the ports, and cutting ofl' their fisheries and 
commerce ; sending fieets and armies to destroy every 
princij)le and scniiment of liberty, and to consume their 
habitations and their lives ; making contracts for foreign 
troops and alliances with savage nations, to assist them in 
their enterprise ; casting formally, by act of Parliament, 
three millions oi peo[)Io at once out of tlie protection of the 
Crown ; then, and not till then, did the United States of 
America, in Congress assembled, pass that memorable act, 
by which they assumed an equal station among the nations. 

This immortal Declaration, of the 4th of July, 1776, 
when yVmerica v/as invaded by a hundred vessels of war, 
and, according to estimates laid before Parliament, by fifty- 
five thousand of veteran troops, was not the effect of any 
sudden passion, or enthusiasm ; but a measure which had 



DIPLOMATIC CUURKSrONDLiNCi:. 4e3 

been long in deliberation among the people, maturely 
discussed in some hundreds of popular assemblies and 
by public writings in all the States ; it was a measure 
which Congress did not adopt, until they had received 
the positive instructions of their constituents in all the States; 
it was then unanimously adopted by Congress, subscjibed 
by all its members, transmitted to the Assemblies of the 
several States, and by them respectively accepted, rati- 
fied, and recorded among their archives ; so that no 
decree, edict, statute, placard or fundamental law of any 
nation was ever made with more solemnity, or with more 
unanimity or cordiality adopted, as the act and consent of 
the whole people, than this ; and it has been held sacred 
to this day by every State with such unshaken firmness, 
that not even the smallest has ever been induced to depart 
from it ; although the English have wasted many millions, 
and vast fleets and armies, in the vain attempt to invali- 
date it. On the contrary, each of the thirteen States 
instituted a form of government for itself, under the 
authority of the people ; has erected its legislature in the 
several branches ; its executive authority with all its offices ; 
its judiciary departments and judges ; its army, militia, 
revenue, and some of them their navy ; and all these 
departments of government have been regularly and con- 
stitutionally organised under the associated superinten- 
dency of Congress now these five years, and have acquir- 
ed a consistency, solidity, and activity, equal to the oldest 
and most established governments. 

It is true, that in some speeches and writings of the 
English, it is still contended, that the people of America 
are still in principle and affection with them ; but these 
assertions are made aG:ainst such evident truth and dcmnn- 



484 JOillN ADAMS. 

stration, that it is surprising tliey should find at this day one 
believer in the world. One may appeal to the writings 
and recorded speeches of the English for the last seven- 
teen years, to show that similar misrepresentations have 
been incessantly repeated through that whole period, and 
that the conclusion of every year has in fact confuted the 
confident assertions and predictions of the beginning of it. 
The subscriber begs leave to say from his own knowledge 
of the people of America, (and he has a better right to ob- 
tain credit, because he has better opportunities to know, 
than any Briton whatsoever,) that they are unalterably de- 
termined to maintain their independence. He confesses, 
that, notwithstanding his confidence through his whole life, 
in the virtuous sentiments and uniformity of character 
among his countrymen, their unanimity has surprised him ; 
that al! the power, arts, intrigues and bribes, which have 
been employed in the several States, should have seduced 
from the standard of virtue so contemptible a iew, is more 
fortunate than could have been expected. 

This independence stands upon so broad and firm a 
bottom of the people's interests, honor, consciences, and 
affections, that it will not be affected by any successes that 
the English may obtain, either in America or against the 
European powers at war, or by any alliances they can 
possibly form, if indeed in so unjust and desperate a cause 
they can obtain any. Nevertheless, although compelled 
by necessity, and warranteil by the fundamental laws of the 
Colonies and of the British constitution ; by principles 
avowed in the English laws, and confirmed by many exam- 
ples in the English history ; by principles interwoven into 
the history and public right of Europe, in the great exam- 
ples of the Helvetic and Batavian confederacies and many 



Ull'LU.MATIC C<jUlii:s?I'UNDKiNCE. 4y5 

Others, ami rrequenliy acknowletlged and ratified by tlie 
diplomatic body ; principles founded in eternal justice and 
the laws of God and nature ; to cut asunder forever all the 
ties which had connected them with Great Brihiin ; yet the 
people of America did not consider theujselves as separat- 
ing from their allies, especially the Republic of the United 
Provinces, or departing Irom their connexions with any of 
the people under their government ; but, on the contrary, 
they preserved the same affection, esteem, and respect for 
the Dutch nation in every part of the world, which they 
and their ancestors had ever entertained. 

When sound policy dictated to Congress the precaution 
of sending persons to negotiate natural alliances in Europe, 
it was not from a failure in respect that they did not send a 
Minister to your High iNlightinesses with the first whom 
they sent abroad ; but instructed in the nature of the con- 
nexions between Great Britain and the Republic, and in 
the system of peace and neutrality, which she had so long 
pursued, they thought proper to respect both so far, as not 
to seek to embroil her with her allies, to excite divisions in 
the nation or lay embarrassments before it. But since the 
British administration, uniform and persevering in injustice, 
despising their allies, as much as their colonists and fellow- 
subjects ; disregarding the faith of treaties, as much as that 
of royal charters ; violating the law of nations, as they 
had before done the fundamental laws of the Colonies and 
the inherent rights of British subjects ; have arbitrarily set 
aside all the treaties between the Crown and the Republic, 
declared war and commenced hostilities, the settled inten- 
tions of which they had manifested long before, all those 
motives, which before restrained the Congress, cease, and 
an opportunity presents of proposing such connexions as 



4S6 JOHN ADAMS. 

the United States of America have a right to form, consist- 
ent with those ah'eady formed with France and Spain, 
which they are under every obligation of duty, interest, and 
inclination to observe sacred and inviolate, and consistent 
with sucli other treaties as it is their intention to propose to 
other sovereigns. 

A natural alliance may be formed between tlie two Re- 
publics, if ever one existed among nations. The first 
planters of the four northern States, found in this country 
an asylum from persecution, and resided here from the 
year 1G08 to the year 1G20, twelve years preceding their 
migration. They ha\e ever entertained, and have trans- 
mitted to posterity, a grateful remembrance of tljat protec- 
tion and hospitality, and especially of that religious liberty 
they found here, though they had sought them in vain in 
England. 

The first inhabitants of two other States, New York and 
New Jersey, were in^mediale emigrants from this nation, 
and have transmitted their religion, language, customs, 
manners, and character ; and America in general, until her 
relations were formed with the House of Bourbon, has 
ever considered this nation as her first friend in Europe, 
whose history and the great characters it exhibits in the 
various arts of peace, as well as achievements in war by 
sea and land, have been particularly studied, admired, and 
imitated in every State. 

A similitude of religion, although it is not deemed so 
essential in this as it has been in former ages to the alliance 
of nations, is still, as it ever will be thought, a desirable 
circumstance. Now it may be said with truth, that there 
are no two nations whose worship, doctrine, and discipline, 
arc more alike, than those of the two Republics. In tiiis 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCF 487 

particular, llicrelbre, as far as it is of weight, an alliance 
would be perfectly natural. 

A similarity in tiie forms of government is usually con- 
sidered as anotlier circumstance, which renders alliances 
natural ; and although the constitutions of the two Repub- 
lics are not perfectly alike, there is yet analogy enough 
between them to make a connexion easy in this respect. 

In general usages, and in the liberality of sentiments in 
those momentous points, the freedom of inquiry, the right 
of private judgment, and the liberty of conscience, of so 
much importance to be supported in the world, and im- 
parted to all mankind, and which at this hour are in more 
danger from Great Britain, and that intolerant spirit, which 
is secretly fermenting there, than from any other quarter, 
the two nations resemble each other more than any other. 
The originals of the two Republics are so much alike, 
that the history of one seems but a transcript from that of 
the other ; so that every Dutchman instructed in the sub- 
ject must pronounce the American revolution just and ne- 
cessary, or pass a censure upon the greatest actions of his 
immortal ancestors ; actions which have been approved 
and applauded by mankind, and justified by the decision 
of Heaven. 

But the circumstance, which, perhaps in this age, has 
stronger influence than any other in the formation of friend- 
ships between nations, is the great and growing interest of 
commerce, of the whole system of which through the globe, 
your High Mightinesses are too perfect masters for me 
to say anything, that is not familiarly known. It may not, 
however, be amiss to hint, that the central situation of this 
country, her extensive navigation, her possessions in the 
East and West Indies, the intelligence of her merchants, 



488 JOHN AUAMS. 

the number of iier capitalists, and the riches of her funds, 
render a connexion with her desirable to An->erica. And 
on the other hand, the abundance and variety of the pro- 
ductions of America, the materials of manufactures, navi- 
gation, and commerce, the vast demand and consumption 
ol the manufactures of Europe, of the merchandises from 
the Baltic, and from the East Indies, and the situation of 
the Dutch possessions in the West Indies, cannot admit of 
a doubt, lliat a connexion with the United States would be 
useful to this Republic. The English are so sensible of 
this, that, notwithstanding all their professions of friendship, 
they have ever considered this nation as their rival in the 
American trade ; a sentiment which dictated and main- 
tained their severe act of navigation, as injurious to the 
commerce and naval power of this country, as it was both 
to the trade and the rights of the Colonies. There is now 
an opportunity olTered to both to shake oil' this shackle 
for ever. If any consideration whatever could have pre- 
vailed with the English to have avoided a war with your 
High Mightinesses, it would have been an apprehension of 
an alliance between the two Republics ; and it is easy to 
foresee, that nothing will contribute more to oblige them to 
a peace than such a connexion once completely formed. 
It is needless to point out particularly what advantages 
might be derived to the possessions of the Republic in the 
West Indies, from a trade oi)ened, protected, and encour- 
aged between them and the Continent of America, or wJiat 
profits might be made by the East India Company, by 
carrying their eflects directly to the American market; 
how much even the trade of the Baltic might be secured 
and extended by a free intercourse with America, which 
has ever had so large a (icmand, and will have more, for 



DIl'LO.MATIC CORRESPOINDENCE. 489 

hemp, cordage, sailclotl), and other articles of that com- 
merce ; how much tlie national navigation would be bene- 
tlttcd, by building and purchasing siiips there ; how much 
the number of seamen might be increased, or how inucn 
advantage to both countries to have their ports mutually 
opened to their men-of-war and privateers, and their 
prizes. 

If, therefore, analogy of religion, government, original 
manners, and the most extensive and lasting commercial 
interests, can form a ground and an invitation to political 
connexions, the subscriber flatters himself, that in all these 
particulars tlie union is so obviously natural, that there has 
seldom been a more distinct designation of Providence 
to any two distant nations to unite themselves together. 

It is further submitted to the wisdom and humanity of 
your High Mightinesses, whether it is not visibly for the 
good of mankind, that the powers of Europe, who are 
convinced of the justice of the American cause, (and 
where is one to be found that is not) should make haste to 
acknowledge the independence of the United States, and 
form equitable treaties with them, as the surest means of 
convincing Great Britain of the impracticability of her 
pursuits ? Whether the late Marine Treaty, concerning 
the rights of neutral vessels, noble and useful as it is, can 
be established against Great Britain, who never will adopt 
it nor submit to it, but from necessity, without the inde- 
pendence of Air.erica ? Whether the return of Amer- 
ica, with her nurseries of seamen, and magazines of ma- 
terials for navigation and commerce, to the domination 
and monopoly of Great Britain, if that were practicable, 
would not put the possessions of other nations beyond seas 
VOL. V. 62 



490 JOHN ADAiMS. 

wholly in the power of that enormous Empire, which has 
long been govei'ned wholly by the feeling of its own pow- 
er ; at least without a proportional attention to justice, hu- 
manity, or decency? When it is obvious and certain, that 
the Americans arc not ijiciincd to submit again to the 
British government, on one hand ; and that the powers of 
Europe ought not, and could not, with safety consent to 
it, if they were, on the other ; why should a source of 
contention be left open for future contingencies to involve 
the nations of Europe in still more bloodshed, when, by 
one decisive step of the maritime jiowers, in making 
treaties with a nr.lion long in possession of sovereignty, by 
right and in fact, it might be closed ? 

The example of your Higii ^iighliucsscs would, it is 
hoped, be followed by all the maritime powers, especially 
those, which are parties to the late Marine Treaty ; nor can 
an ap[)rehension, that the independence of America would 
be injurious to the trade of the Baltic, be any objection. 
This jealousy is so groundless, that the reverse would hap- 
pen. The freight and cnsurancc in voyages across the 
Atlantic are so iiigh, and the price of labor in America so 
dear, that tar, pilch, turp(^ntin(% and ship-timber can never 
be transported io Europe at so cheap a I'aie as it has 
been and will be afiordcd by countries round the Baltic. 
This commerce was sujiportod by the English before the 
revolution with (lifficully, and n;)t without large Parliamen- 
tary b'ounlics. Of iiemp, coi'dagc, and saiieloth, there will 
not prob;ib!y lie a sndlciency ra:s*^rl in America for her 
own cousiimplit n in many centuries, for llu^ plainest of all 
reasons, because these articles can be imported from Am- 
sterdam, or even from Petersburg, or Archangel, cheaper 
than they can bo raised at home. America will therefore 



1311'LO.MATU- CUlUU^SPONDliNCE. 491 

be i'or ages a markci lor iiiosi ol" iliese articles of lliu Bai- 
lie trade. 

Nor i:i there more solidity in anollier sujipositioii, propa- 
i^ated by tlie English to prevent other nations from pur- 
suing their true interests, that other colonics will follow the 
example of the United States. Those powers, which have 
as large possessions as any beyond seas, have already de- 
clared against England, apprehending no such conse- 
quences. Indeed there is no probability of any other power 
of Europe following the example of England, in attempt- 
ing to change the whole system of the government of col- 
onies, and reducing them by oppression to the necessity of 
governing themselves. And without such manifest injus-- 
tice and cruelty on the part of the metropolis, there is no 
danger of colonies attempting innovations. Established 
governments are founded deeply in the hearts, the pas- 
sions, the imaginations, and iinderslandings of the people, 
and without some violent change from without, to alter the 
temper and character of the whole people, it is not in 
human nature to exchange safety for danger, and cc:tain 
happiness for very precarious benefits. 

It is submitted to the cousideratiorvof your High Mighti- 
nesses, whether the system of the United States, which 
was minutely considered and discussed, and unanimously 
agreed on in Congress in the year 1776, in planning the 
treaty they proposed to France, to form equitable com- 
mercial treaties with all the maritime powers of Europe, 
without being governed or monopolised by any ; a system 
which was afterwards approved by the King, and made the 
foundation of the treaties with his Majesty, a system to 
which the United States have hitherto constantly adhered, 
and from which they never will depart, unless compelled by 



492 JOHiN ADAMS. 

some powei's cieciariiig against them, which is not ex- 
pected ; is not tlie only means of preventing this growing 
country from being an object of everlasting jealousies, rival- 
ries, and wars among the nations? If this idea is just, it 
follows, that it is the interest of every State in Europe to 
acknowledge American independence immediately. If 
such benevolent policy should be adopted, the new world 
will be a proportional blessing to every part of the old. 

The subscriber has the further honor of informing your 
High Mightinesses, that the United States of America, in 
Congress assembled, impressed with a high sense of the 
wisdom and magnanimity of your High Mightinesses, and 
of your inviolable attachment to the rights and liberties of 
mankind, and being desirous of cultivating the friendship of 
a nation eminent for its wisdom, justice, and moderation, 
have appointed the subscriber to be their Minister Pleni- 
potentiary to reside near you, that he may give you more 
particular assurances of the great respect they entertain for 
your High Mightinesses, beseeching your High Mighti- 
nesses to give entire credit to everything, which their said 
Minister shall deliver on their part, especially when he 
shall assure you of the sincerity of their fi-iendship and 
regard. Tiie original letter of credence, under the seal 
of Congress, the subscriber is ready to deliver to your 
High Mightinesses, or to such persons as you shall direct 
to receive it. He has also a similar letter of credence to 
his Most Serene Highness the Prince Stadtholder. 

Al! Vv'hirh is respectfully submitted to the consideration 
of your High Mightinesses, together with the propriety of 
appointing some person or persons to treat on the subject 
of this mission, by 

JOHN ADAMS, 

Leyden, April 19th, 1781. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 493 



MEMORIAL TO THS i-KINCt OF Ol'.ANGK. 

Leydcii, April lytli, 1781. 

To his Most Serene Highness, the Prince of Orange 
and Nassau, Hereditary Stadtholder and Governor of the 
Seven United Provinces of the Low Countries. 

The subscriber has the honor to inform your Most Se- 
rene Highness, that the United States of America, in Con- 
gress assembled, impressed with a deep sense of your wis- 
dom and magnanimity, and being desirous of cultivating 
the friendship of your Highness and of the Seven United 
Provinces of the Netherlands, who have ever distinguished 
themselves by an inviolable attachment to freedom and the 
rights of nations, have appointed the subscriber to be their 
Minister Plenipotentiary at your Court, that he may give 
you more particular assurances of the great respect they 
entertain for your Highness and for the people over whom 
you preside as Stadtholder, beseeching your Highness to 
give entire credit to everything which their said iMinister 
shall deliver on their part, especially when he shall assure 
you of the sincerity of their friendship and regard. The 
original letter of credence, under the seal of Congress, he is 
desirous of the honor of delivering whenever and in what- 
ever manner your Highness shall judge proper to receive 
it. He has the further honor of informing your Highness, 
that the said United States have honored him with full 
powers to form a Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the 
States-General, and also with letters of credence as Minis- 
ter Plenipotentiary to their High ]Mightinesses ; in conse- 
quence of which he has done himself the honor to present 
a Memorial, a copy of which is here annexed. 



494 JUHIN AUAlVIS. 

The subscriber in the discharge ol these trusts considers 
liirusell' rather as projjosing a lenovaliou of old friendsliips 
than the ionuaiioii of new ones, as the Americans have 
over been the good and I'aiddul allies of" lliis nation, and 
have done jiolhing to forfeit its esteeu). On the contrary, 
they arc confidenl, the}' liave u better title to it. as they 
adhered steadfastly through every trial to those principles 
which foi-nicd and supported the connexion, princi[)les 
which k)undeil and have supported this Republic, while 
others have wantonly abandoned them. 

Tlie subscriber thinks himself particularly ibrlunate to 
be thus accredited to ii nation, which has made sucli mem- 
orable exertions in favor of the rights of men, and to a 
Pi'ince, whose iliusti'ious line of ancestors and predecessors 
have so often supported in Holland and England those lib- 
erties for which the United States of America now con- 
tend ; and it will be the completion of his wishes if he 
should be so happy as to recommend the cause of his 
country to the favorable attention of your Most Serene 

Highness and of this people. 

JOHN ADAMS. 

TO K. FRANKLIN. 

Amsterdam, April 27tli, 1781. 

Sir, 

1 have received your Excellency's letter of the 21st, and 
will send you the list of the bills, and of the times of their 
becoming due, according to your desire, as soon as I can 
make it out. 1 will examine IM. de Neufville's bill, and if 
it is good accept it. 

From the time 1 received from Conirress their orders to 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 495 

borrow money here, I have constantly in my letters re- 
quested that no drafts might be made upon me, until there 
was news from me, that 1 had money to discharge them, 
and this request I shall repeat. But the cry of the army 
for clothes, induces Congress to venture upon measures, 
which appear hazardous to us. However, by the intelli- 
gence I have, they had grounds to expect that the drafts 
hitherto made would be honored. 

I sometimes think, however, paradoxical as it may seem, 
that one set of bills protested, would immediately procure 
Congress a large loan. No bills are in better credit than 
these. There is an appetite here for American trade, as 
ravenous as that of a shark for his prey ; and if they saw a 
prospect of having their trade broken up, tiiey would do 
much to save it. 

I have the honor to acquaint your Excellency, that I 
some time ago received from Congress, full powers to con- 
clude with the States-General of the United Provinces of 
the Low Countries, concerning a Treaty of Amity and 
Commerce ; and that I have very lately received a letter 
of credence, as Minister Plenipotentiary to their High 
Mightinesses, and another to his Most Serene Highness, 
the Prince of Orange. Being thus fixed to this country 
for the present, I have taken a house in Amsterdam, on 
the Keizcrsgragt, near the Spiegel street, for the conven- 
ience of our countrymen, who have occasion to visit me, 
and of the merchants, who have bills upon me, until their 
High Mightinesses shall have taken the necessary lime to 
deliberate upon it, and determine to acknowledge the inde- 
pendence of the United States, enter into a treaty with 
them, and receive me at the Hague. If this should hap- 



496 JOHN ADAMS. 

pen, I hope we shall obtain a credit here ; but we never 
shall before. 

I have the honor to be, k.c. 

JOHiN ADAMS. 



TO THE DUG DE LA VAUGUYON, AMBASSADOR OF FRANCE 
AT THE HAGUE. 

. . ^ - I Leyden, May 1st, 1781. 

Sir, 

By the tenth article of the Treaty of Alliance between 
France and America, the Most Christian King and the Uni- 
ted States agree, to invite or admit other powers, who may 
receive injuries from England, to make common cause with 
them, and to accede to that alliance, under such conditions 
as shall be freely agreed to, and settled between all the 
parties. 

It will be readily acknowledged, that this Republic has 
received injuries fi'om England; and it is not improbable, 
that several other maritime powers may be soon, if they 
are not already, in the same predicament. But, whether 
his Majesty will think fit to invite this nation at present to 
accede to that alliance, according to the article, must be 
submitted to his wisdom. 

It is only proper for me to say, that whenever your Ex- 
cellency shall have received his Majesty's commands, and 
shall judge it proper to take any measures, either lor ad- 
milting or inviting this Republic to accede, I shall be ready, 
in behalf of the United States, to do whatever is necessary 
and proper for them to do upon the occasion. 
I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 497 

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

LevdcDjMav 3il. 17S1. 
Sir, 

On the 1st of May I went to the Hague, and wrote to 
his Excellency, Peter Van Bleiswick, Grand Pensionary 
of Holland, that having something of importance to com- 
municate to him, I proposed to do myself the honor to 
wait on him the next morning at half past eight, if that 
time should be agreeable to him ; but if any other hour 
was more convenient, I requested his Excellency to men- 
tion it. The answer, which was not in writing, was, that 
half past eight should be the time. 

Accordingly, the next morning I wailed on him, and 
was politely received. I informed him that I had asked 
his permission to make him this visit, in order to inform 
him, that I had received from my Sovereign, the United 
States of America, full powers to treat with the States- 
General, and a letter of credence, as a 31inister Plenipo- 
tentiary to their High iMiglitinesses, and another to his 
Most Serene Highness, the Prince ; and that it was my 
intention to communicate those powers and letters to their 
High Mightinesses, and to his JNIost Serene Highness on 
Friday next, the 4th of May. 

His Excellency said he would acquaint the States- 
General and his Highness with it ; that, in his private opin- 
ion, he thought favorably of it, but that he must wait the 
orders of his masters ; that it was a matter somewhat deli- 
cate for the Republic. I replied, as to the delicacy of it 
in the present state of open war between England and Hol- 
land, I hoped that it would not be any obstacle ; that I 
thought it the interest of tlic Republic, as well as that of 

VOL. V. 03 



498 JOHN ADAMS. 

America. His Excellency rejoined, "one thing is certain, 
we have a common enemy." 

As this was a visit simply to impart my design, and as I 
knew enough of the delicate situation, and of the reputed 
sentiments of this oflicer, to he sensible that he did not 
wish to enter into any very particular conversation at this 
time upon public affairs, I here arose to take n)y leave. 
His Excellency asked me if I had any good news from 
America ? I answered, none very late. He then said, he 
should be very glad to form an acquaintance with me. 
I answered, this would be very flattering to me, and thus 
look my leave. 

Tomorrow morning, 1 propose to go to the President of 
the States-General, to Secretary Fagel, and to the Secre- 
tary of the Prince. This moment, for the first time, I 
have received the Congress account of General Morgan's 
glorious victory over Tarleton. 

I have the honor to be, he. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. 

Amsterdam, May 7tli, 1781. 

Sir, 
On the 4lh of May, 1 did myself the honor to wait on 
Peter Van Bleiswick, Grand Pensionary of Holland, and 
presented him a letter containing a copy of my Memorial 
to the States-General, &c. His Excellency said, that it 
was necessary for me to go to the President and Secretary 
of their High Mightinesses, and that it was not customary 
for foreign Ministers to communicate anything to the 
Pensionary of Holland. I told him that I had been ad- 
vised by the French Ambassador to present copies to hirn, 



and lliey were only copies, which I had die honor to oft'er 
him. He said he could not receive them, th;il I must go 
to the President; but said he, "it is proper lor me to ap- 
prise you, that tlie President will make a difficulty, or 
rather will refuse to receive any letter or paper from yon, 
because the State you say you represent, is not yet ac- 
knowledged to be a sovereign Slate by the Sovereign of 
this nation ; the President will hear what you have to say 
to him, make report of it to their High Mightinesses, and 
they will transmit it to the several Provinces for the delib- 
eration of the various members of the sovereignty." 

I thanked his Excellency for this information and de- 
parted. 1 then waited on the President of their High 
Mightinesses for the week, the Baron Linde de Hemmen, 
a deputy of the Province of Guelderland, to whom I com- 
municated, that I had lately received from my sovereign, 
the United States of America in Congress assembled, a 
commission with full powers and instructions to treat with 
the Stales-General concerning a treaty of amity and com- 
merce ; that I had also received a letter of credence as 
Minister Plenipotentiary to their High Mightinesses, and I 
prayed him to lay before their High ISIigiitinesses cither 
the originals, or a ^Memorial, in which I had done myself 
the honor to state all these facts and to enclose copies. 

The President said that iie could not undertake to re- 
ceive from me either the originals, or any ^Memorial, be- 
cause America was not yet acknowledged as a sovereign 
Slate by the sovereign of this country ; but that he would 
make report to their High 3.1ightinesses of all that I had 
said to him, and that it would become the suLject of dclib- 
eratioh in the several Provinces ; that he thought it a mai- 
ler of great importance to the Republic. I answered, that 



500 J^Wi^ AUAMS. 

i was glad lo hear hiiu say that he ihought it important ; 
that 1 thought it was the interest ol the two Repubhcs to 
become connected. I thanked him for his politeness and 
retired, after having apprised him that I ihought in the pre- 
sent circumstances, it would be my duty to make public in 
print my application to their High Mightinesses. I had 
prepared copies of my Memorial, &c. for the Secretary, 
M. Fagel ; but as the President liad refused to receive the 
originals, I thought it would be inconsistent for the Secre- 
tary to receive copies, so I omitted the visit to his ofiice. 

I then waited on the Baron de Ray, the Secretary of 
the Prince, with a letter addressed to his Most Serene* 
Highness, containing a Memorial, infora:iing him of my 
credentials to liis Court, vv.d copies of the Memorial to 
their High Mightinesses. The Secretary received me 
politely, took the letter, and promised to deliver it to the 
Stadtholder. He asked me where 1 lodged ; T answered, 
at the Parliament of England, a public house of that name. 

Returning to my lodgings, I heard about two hours after- 
wards, diat the Prince had been to the assembly of the 
States-General for about half an liour ; and in about an- 
other hour, the servant of the house where I lodged, an- 
nounced to me the Baron de Ray. I went down to the 
door to receive him, and invited him into my room. He 
entered, and said that he was charged on the part of the 
Prince with his compliments to me, and to inform me, that 
as the independence of my country was not yet acknowl- 
edged by the Sovereign of his, he could not receive any let- 
ter from me, and therefore requested that I would receive 
it back, which I did respectfully. The Secretary then 
politely said he was very iiuich obliged to me for having 
given him an opportunity to see my person, and took his 
leave. 



LUI'LO.MATIC COHKESl'U.NUKNCL. 5(Jl 

The President made report to their High Mightinesses, 
as soon as they assembled, and his report was ordered to 
be recorded 5 whereupon the Deputies of each of the 
Seven Provinces demanded copies of the record to be 
transmitted to the respective Regencies for their delibera- 
tion and decision ; or in the technical language of this 
country, it was taken ad referendum on the same day. 

The next morning I waited on the French Ambassador, 
the Due de la Vauguyon, and acquainted him with all the 
steps I had taken. He said he still persisted in his opin- 
ion, that the time was not the most favorable, but as the 
measure was taken, I might depend upon it he would, as 
an individual, support and promote it to the utmost of his 
power. 

It would take a large space to explain all the reasons 
and motives which I had for choosing the present time in 
preference to a later ; but I think I can demonstrate, that 
every moment's delay would have been attended with dan- 
ger and inconvenience. All Europe is in a crisis, and this 
ingredient thrown in at this time will have more effect than 
at any other. At a future time I may enlarge upon this 
subject. 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 

JOHN ADAMS. 



TO B. FRANKLIN. 

Amsterdam, May 8th, J7SI. 

Sir, 
I have the honor of yours of the 29th of April, and ac- 
cording to your desire I have enclosed a list ol the bills 
accepted, with the times of their becoming due, and shall 



502 " JOHN ADAMS. 

draw for ihe money to discharge them only as they be- 
come pa^-able, and through the house of Fizeaux &; Grand. 

I sincerely congratulate you upon the noble aid obtained 
from the French Court, for die current service of the year. 
Aids like this for two or three years, while the -United 
States are arranging their linances, will be a most essential 
service to the common cause, and will lay a foundation of 
confidence and affection between France and the United 
States, which may last forever, and be worth ten times the 
sum of money. It is in the power of America to tax all 
Europe whenever she pleases, by laying duties upon her 
exports enough to pay the interest of money enough to 
answer all their purposes. England received into her Ex- 
chequer four hundred thousand pounds sterling in duties 
upon the single article of tobacco, imported from Virginia 
annually. What should hinder the government of Virginia 
from laying on the same, or a greater duty, on the expor- 
tation ? Europe would still purchase Virginia tobacco, if 
there were eight pounds per hogshead duty to be paid. 
Virginia alone, therefore, could in this way easily pay the 
interest of money enough to carry on the whole war for 
the thirteen Stales for many years. The same reasoning 
is applicable to every article of export. 

Yesterday were presented to me fifty bills of exchange 
for eleven hundred guilders each, drawn by Congress upon 
me on the 27di day of January, 17S1, at six months sight. 
And on the same day other bills from No. .37 to No. 76 
inclusively, drawn on me on the same 27th day of January, 
1781, for five hundred and fifty guilders each, payable at 
six inonths sight, were presented to me. I asked time to 
write to your Excellency, to know if these bills and the 
others, drawn at the came time, can be discharged by you. 



DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 503 

If they cannot, it will be wronij to ac<;ept tliem, for I have 
no prospect at all of getting the money here, unless the 
States-General, who have taken the independence of Amer- 
ica ad referenchim, should determine to acknowledge it. 

About the same time that their High Mightinesses took 
the acknowledgment of the independence of the United 
States ad referendum, ^[. Van Berckel demanded a de- 
claration of his innocence, or a trial. Whether the two 
affairs will aid or counteract each other I cannot tell. 
1 have the honor to be, Sec. 

JOHN ada:ms. 



TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGKESS. 

Amsterdam, May 16th, 1781. 

Sir, 
I have tlie honor to enclose copies of the memorials, 
which I had the honor to present on the 4th instant to the 
President of their High ^Mightinesses, and to the Secretary 
of his Most Serene Highness.* The former has been 
published in English, French, and Dutch, and has been 
favorably received by the public ; but the public voice has 
not that influence upon government in any part of Eu- 
rope that it has in every part of America, and therefore I 
cannot expect that any immediate effect will be produced 
upon the States-General. They will probably wait until 
they can sound the disposition of the Northern Powers, 
Russia particularly ; and if they should not join in the 
war, their High Mightinesses will probably be willing to 
be admitted to accede to the treaty of alliance between 
France and America. 

* Thesie mrmorials arc dated on the lyth of April. Sec above, 
p. 493. 



Xlu. 




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